Great Lakes Christmas Ale - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Christmas AleGreat Lakes Christmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

2,746 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,746
Reviews: 839
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 13.16%
Wants: 144
Gots: 534 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: OldFrothingSlosh on 11-16-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,746 | Reviews: 839
Photo of BeerHistoryGuy
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

I don't have the ability to pour it as I am on the road, so I can only comment on the taste.

This is one of my favorite winter/Christmas beers. There is a nice hint of spices, cinnamon and ginger come through, along with a nice honey taste. It's not nearly as sweet as some holiday beers, but it balances well with the overall taste of the Ale -- along with the aforementioned spices -- that truly make this a balanced beer.

I love this beer. It is a Christmas treat, like a not-too-sweet spiced cake, that's perfect for kicking back, watching some TV, and just relaxing.

Photo of NYR_Rob
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A much better version of Pete's Wicked Winter.

Photo of Luigi
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a rick clear copper color with a two to three finger (depending how aggressive you pour) off white head. Lacing stick all around the glass with each sip as the head retains as a thick blanket until the last drop.

The aroma is sweet but not over whelming. A perfect blend of honey, brown sugar, cinnamon. and ginger.

The taste reflects the aroma. Ginger bread, honey, cinnamon, hints of caramel, and a soft biscuit And toasted bread malt.

There is a light yet syrup texture on the palate. Mildly dry finish with lingering spice.

The Great Lakes Brewing company has yet to disappoint me. This brew is prefect to these cold fall and winter months and with a healthy ABV at 7.5%, it truly warms you up.

Photo of sarbast
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

My favorite beer! The appearance is cinnamon, as is the aroma, as is the taste. It is not as sweet as many of the other spiced/winter warmers. There is a smokiness to this, not overly so. Frankly, I could drink this all day. Wonderful taste, lighter than anticipated, but packs a wallop.

Photo of tmm313
4.48/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoyed this beer. It poured a crystal clear amber color with thick head and nice lacing. Smell was super sweet with loads of caramel, some citrus, apple, ginger, coriander, some chocolate, and rich honey. Taste was nice as well. Super malty with nice bready notes, slight grapefruit, cinnamon and ginger. Mouthfeel was medium, slick, and drying. I had a great time drinking it.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy reddish-brown body with a thin creamy tan head. The head holds OK, drops to a creamy collar and thin surface covering, and leaves some spotty lace. The aroma expresses soft dark fruit, sweet toffee, a touch of cocoa and some mild spice. Very nice! The full body combines with a very fine carbonation from bottle conditioning to give a smooth and creamy mouthfeel.
The flavor offers a very nice blend of softly sweet malt with a touch of honey and chocolate, and mild spice (cinnamon, ginger). It finishes semi-dry with a lingering sweet malt, some clear cinnamon flavor, and a drying spiciness. The alcohol is almost completely hidden! Very well-balanced with just enough spice to keep it interesting throughout the glass, but not overwhelm the palate. Definitely a seasonal to look forward to!

Photo of Clydesdale
4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep, somewhat hazy dark copper color. The robust head has a faint tan tint and a thick, dense, creamy texture. Retention is good, and lacing is also attractive.

S: Sweet and spicy in the nose - quite festive. Ginger, sweet honey, caramel, and cinnamon. Some mild dark fruit and cocoa is present as well.

T: A pleasant punch and counterpunch of sweetness and spice. Honey, caramel malt, and toffee balanced with a measured dose of cinnamon and a near-perfect amount of ginger providing a bite. It's a lot like a gingerbread cookie, actually. There's also a bit of a leafy hop bitterness that keep the sweetness in check. Dark fruit (raisins and maybe cherries) and cocoa linger in the background. Alcohol is very well-hidden amongst the other flavors.

M: Medium-bodied. A touch of sticky sweetness and a spicy finish. Carbonation is smooth and creamy. An appealing, inviting mouthfeel.

D: While this beer may not totally live up to its legendary reputation in Cleveland, it's still a wonderful winter warmer with an almost flawlessly integrated spice character. This scores big points for its seasonal flavor - without question a true Christmas Ale rather than a limited release winter beer.

Photo of xare
4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured as a dark caramel color with excellent head. Laced very well and had outstanding carbonation.

Smelled like a mixture of winter spices, hops, and the alcohol is almost entirely hidden by the other aromas. Overall, excellent for a winter warmer.

Taste is outstanding as well - you can hit hints of clove, cinnamon, malts, and probably mace as well. The complexity of this beer comes from your ability to distinguish winter spices from one another but they all melded into a warm taste almost like a spiced cider but without any apple notes.

Mouthfeel and drinkability were both great for this beer, especially considering the high ABV and the spiciness of the beer. Overall, this is one of my favorite winter beers by far. I will definitely drink more of this and eagerly anticipate its release every winter.

Photo of heyitsbyron
4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a bottle from a six pack from Woodman's in Madison ($5.99 for 6 on clearance) into a pint glass. Evidently, according to the botttle, I was supposed to have enjoyed this beer by 1/28/06. For $5.99/6, I'll enjoy it whenever I damn well please.

Poured slightly more orange than copper. Head was pale pale beige and didn't stick around long. Maybe 1-1.5cm at most. Nothing special, nothing bad.

Smelled just spectacular. Fruity and spicey. Like spiced mulled fruit, fills the nose. Cinnamon and ginger mostly.

It tastes like a healthy malange of cinnamon, honey, ginger, and nutmeg. I don't taste as much cloves as they claim. Ah well. Also have a strong honey flavor. I'm amazed at this much spice because normally brewers tone it way down. Has a strange "foody" flavor that reminds me of Thanksgiving. I have no idea how they obtain it, but I hope it's intentional because it's great. No real hops or malts to speak of, but who cares? This is fantastic.

Solid in the mouth without feeling sticky or syrupy. Perhaps a bit coarsely carbonated, but hard to notice.

7.5% alcohol? Bring it (especially for this price). This is a marvelous beer for drinking anytime the temperature is below, say, 50 degrees. I'll look forward to this from here on out. I can put back a few in a sitting, it just warms me up inside. My favorite seasonal and my favorite red ale; it probably works its way into my top 5 all around favorites too. Probably wouldn't drink too much outside the fall/winter though.

Photo of GordonQuid
4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a sifter glass by brewer recommendation. Deep amber in color with a foamy white half inch head and ample lacing.

Smell is that of mulling spice and sweet fruity candy.

The taste is an exceptional blend of caramel malt, mulling spice and hop. A delicious medium bodied beer. Very drinkable.

Photo of gearbike
4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A darkish golden pour from tap with a small white lacing around glass. You can't miss the sweet smell. The word snappy fits this beer well. It is a winter warmer but not from the usual alcohol burn. The alcohol is almost completely hidden. The warm comes from the mix of cinnamon, hops, and most of all spiciness. The alcohol must be there because I sure did feel it after finishing the glass.

Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It pours a copper color with a decently sized fizzy head.

The nose is strong of honey and has a nice yummy sweet aroma.

Flavor is sweet of cinnamon, honey, and ginger. Very fresh tasting. Very delicious. And just in time for Christmas.

Although this is very warming, I must say its much different than other winter warmers I've tried. It's lighter in color and has a large Ale appeal to it all around. Maybe its not true to style, or maybe its just expanding my horizons a little.

The mouthfeel is great, nice body and great carbonation. Excellently done. Drinkability is great too. I have a couple other beers to drink tonight, but I'd love to trade them in for more of these. Great Offering. Get it while you can!

Photo of Ellbert
4.46/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Red/amber color with a small white head. There was some lace on the glass but nothing too great.

Smell: Malty but spicy. Sweet but tangy. Spices like cinnamon come through in the aroma very nice.

Taste: Very malty with a good mix of spices. You can taste cinnamon sugar in here. Hops have a nice after taste in this brew.

Mouthfeel: Nice and rich, perfect for a winter warmer.

A great winter warmer brew. I will be drinking a lot of this brew during the winter.

Photo of assurbanipaul
4.46/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a deep honey-amber color with a tall frothy tan head. Aroma is spicy with sweet malts, cloves, faint yeast and fresh gingerbread.

Taste is frosted gingerbread cookies and malt. Nicely seasoned, not too sweet, good flavors of allspice, cinnamon and honey. A gentile, mildly bitter hoppiness arrives as it warms, towards the end of the glass. Might be a good candidate to try warmed a bit.

Mouthfeel is medium, smooth but not real heavy. No trace of alcohol in the taste despite the ABV, very soft on the palate, very drinkable. An excellent pale winter ale, one I would drink seasonally if I could. Thanks to AKSmokedPorter for this bottle.

Photo of lukekruse1
4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

For those of you outside of Northeast Ohio, Great Lakes Christmas Ale is more than simply another beer. It has a devoted cult following and cases usually sell out within days of hitting the shelves. I had to call 3 groceries stores this year before finding one for myself.

A - Beautiful red ale with slight head retention.

S - Malts, Cinammon & Honey

T - They call this "Christmas Crack" for a reason around here. Honey, Malts and a sweet finish.

M - As with all Great Lakes Brews, this one feels "just right."

D- At 7.5% be careful. The taste hides it well. This one does sit a bit heavy, so more than 3 in a session is probably overdoing it.

Overall this is the best "Winter Warmer" of many I've tried. A true Cleveland classic.

Photo of davecavemaster
4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If you live where they distribute Great Lakes beer, then you look forward to their yearly release of Christmas Ale. This is my favorite seasonal beer.

great lakes christmas ale

Christmas, it seems... pours a beautiful clear and copper color. So long green and red.

The head is a nice off white foam. The foam dissipates, and turns into a thin coating on the sides of the glass, and in the center. Nice amount of lacing sticks around while you drink.

The nose of this brew is heavy on the honey and ginger spices it is brewed with. Malty, but a sweet and pleasant blend of fragrances.

The taste of Christmas follows the nose. The sweetness of the honey hit me first, followed by the spices, and then a bit of the hops bite at the end. This is a truly wonderful flavor combination, and the ratio is just right.

Not a heavily carbonated beer, but just enough to make it tingle in your mouth and make the flavors stand out. Very crisp for all the malty tastes, not sticky at all.

Great beer! Although at 7.5%, you need to be careful how fast you put them down.

If you have not tried this seasonal, and can find it near you..I highly recommend checking it out. I would lay money on it becoming one of your favs.

Photo of pacothrash
4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ordered in pint at Beef O'Brady's and really enjoyed this beer. This was my first GL Christmas Ale on draft. It was brownish/orange with a small head. The smell and taste were very similar with some nutmeg, cinnamon and maybe a hint of ginger. This is an excellent Christmas ale and is very drinkable. I ended up having a few.

Photo of eth916
4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on draft at local BW-3

A - Nice 1/2" foamy head and nice glass lacing.
Nice medium amber color.

S - Cinnamon and bitter hops.

T - Cinnamon, spice and bitter hops.

M - Smooth beginning with a slightly bitter cinnamon finish.

D - Easy to drink with any meal. Love the beer - would definitely recommend. A winter favorite.

Photo of kirok1999
4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm not much for flavored beer but this one is one of my favorites.
Appearance- Gold copper, clear with a nice white head that mildly clings to the glass.

Smell- Sweet malt, ginger or cinnamon and honey.

Taste- Mildly sweet, ginger up front with a nice malt to back it all up. Some mild hops to add balance.

Mouthfeel- Crisp and clear, mild carbonation with a nice clean finish.

Drinkability- I can't wait for this one every year. I try to buy a case to keep in the cellar for those special occasions when I want a flavored beer.

Photo of LeftyBWS
4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle into a Sam Adams pint glass.
A: Rich copper color, quite orangy. Very full white head, bouncy and frothy but smooth. Sheets of sticky lacing, very nice.
S: Citrus and sweet honey, rather floral and yeasty overall with a good amount of sugar, not too much and not too little. Pleasant and enticing. After warming a bit, I notice some other spices, cinnamon maybe and ginger too.
T: Spicy up front with some ginger flavors, and then quite sweet and soft in the middle, letting the honey and sweet malts rise up. The finish lets everything mingle together and fade out. Overall, a unique taste in a beer that I haven't really encountered before, and can't describe all that well. But it is definitely tasty and flavorful, quite enjoyable.
M: Overall smooth, with a nice gingery tingle in the finish. Somewhat watery though.
D: Very nice. Never thought it was 7.5%. I could have a few of those.

Photo of Hophead717
4.44/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A 12 oz bottle, poured into an oversized wine glass.

A: A nice amber/ruby red, with a one finger foamy head on top. The head hangs around for a bit, before dissipating to a cap on top of the beer.

S: A heavenly aroma that just screams Christmas. Perfect ratios of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg first (mostly cinnamon), with biscuity malt notes. Overall, a nice sweet scent, with light hints of fruitness, and just the right amount of spices. Perfect for a winter warmer.

T: Yummy. Great mix of spices, with the cinnamon leading the way, without being overly dominant. Hints of ginger and nutmeg are most pleasant. The beer has the perfect level of sweet maltiness, enhanced by the spices. It tastes also like a gingerbread cookie! Nothing present from the hops. The finish is of the spices.

M: Perfect. Medium body, with enough carbonation, but not too much. Somewhat creamy body overall.

O: Winter warmers are far from my favorite style, but Great Lakes makes a wonderful one. Highly recommend.

Photo of BeerLovinBuckwildUnicorn
4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Full Disclosure: This is absolutely my favorite beer. Perhaps because I had such a wonderful time being introduced to 'Christmas Crack' by amazing people. Perhaps it's because I no longer reside in an area where it's available, or perhaps it's because it's a great fucken beer.. I dunno.

A: Depending on the year it has varied from medium copper to dark amber

S: Slightly metalliac, hints of clove & pine

T: DEEELIIISH!!! Christmas in a bottle (or out of a tap if yer lucky). Hints of clove,orange, carmel. The spice is well balanced with a sweet finish.

M: The spice ignites the front while the carmel, malt smooths out the back. Overall happiness.

Overall: See Disclosure. Pairs wonderfully with Thanksgiving turkey, football chili or Jameson neat.

Photo of deejaydan
4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow. Pours a deep orange color. Slightly decent head and retention here. Aroma is spicy, perhaps cloves, perhaps ginger? Taste is great. Malts, fruits, and spice playing well together. Mouthfeel is thick. I can see how this could warm you up on a cold winter's day. The alcohol is well hidden in this beer as well.

Photo of auroracrisis
4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into a Goose Island pint glass.

Appearance: Copper red with a pinky finger sized head. Lots of bubbles, looks like a real good beer.

Smell: Smells like nutmeg, cloves, spices and malt. Pretty good.

Taste: Oh man, this is great tasting. Tastes alot like cinnamon to me with a malt background. Once it warms I'm sure it'll open up a bit more. As it warms I can begin to taste the nutmeg and cloves which compliment the malt and spices well.

Mouthfeel: Pretty thin and bubbly but it works.

Drinkability: High, high, high. I could drink this all night, it's delicious.

Overall, this is a great beer. I don't know if I could drink it all year 'round but it works well in this weather and season.

Photo of TravelinJones
4.42/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured from bottle into a clear pint glass around 45 degrees.
should have let it warm a little but couldn't wait.

A: very clear amber/orange/copper with 1/2 inch head, which quickly dissipates. small carbonation bubbles trickle up.

S: Strong bouquet of orange blossom, hints of ginger & honey, backed with some spicy hop aromas.

T: Light ginger, cinnamon, and orange flavors blend with moderate bitterness and sweetness, for a very balanced and intriguing flavor. Light biscuity malt background. Much more subtle and balanced with the spices this year. Slightly sweet, but balanced, and finishes more dry.

M: Moderate body and carbonation. Carbonation and spices help dry out the finish.

D: Very drinkable beer -- well-balanced and quaffable, and not over-spiced compared to other years. Easy to drink a few of these, although not a session beer.

Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,746 ratings.