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
88
very good

809 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 809
Hads: 2,750
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 6.41%
Wants: 147
Gots: 544 | FT: 8
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 809 | Hads: 2,750
Photo of GordonQuid
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
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. (304 characters)

Photo of gearbike
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
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. (393 characters)

Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
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! (721 characters)

Photo of Ellbert
4.46/5  rDev +14.4%
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. (485 characters)

Photo of assurbanipaul
4.46/5  rDev +14.4%
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. (651 characters)

Photo of lukekruse1
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
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. (736 characters)

Photo of davecavemaster
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
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. (1,216 characters)

Photo of pacothrash
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
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. (326 characters)

Photo of eth916
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
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. (332 characters)

Photo of kirok1999
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
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. (542 characters)

Photo of LeftyBWS
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
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. (924 characters)

Photo of Hophead717
4.44/5  rDev +13.8%
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. (999 characters)

Photo of BeerLovinBuckwildUnicorn
4.43/5  rDev +13.6%
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. (756 characters)

Photo of deejaydan
4.43/5  rDev +13.6%
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. (314 characters)

Photo of auroracrisis
4.43/5  rDev +13.6%
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. (721 characters)

Photo of TravelinJones
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
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. (851 characters)

Photo of schleprock
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A nice reddish color with a creamy head.

S: Floral with ginger and cinnamon notes.

T: Took me a while to figure the mix of spices honey, ginger, cinnamon and possibly some nutmeg in there.

M: carbination is correct for this beer and even though it's higher in alcohol, I didn't notice it.

D: On tap this is one of the best if not the best Christmas beers you can find. It was so good we kicked the keg. A great mix of spices in this beer.

I enjoyed it so much I ran to liquor stores trying to get some. All I could find was a couple six packs, it's such a hot seller that one store owner told me the distributor was limiting people to two cases each. (662 characters)

Photo of MCain04
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 12/12, drinking about 6 weeks fresh. Poured into a Spiegelau glass. $13/6pack

Appearance: Clear golden orange color, 1-2 fingers of off-white head. Mild lacing, decent retention.

Smell: How a Christmas ale should smell. Spicy, cinnamon, roasty malts, nutty. Very nice.

Taste: Follows along with the smell profile. Really nice spice profile carrying through onto the taste. Really liking this. Not too hoppy or bitter. No heat or alcohol present.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, moderate carbonation, average finish.

Overall: Really enjoyed this. One of the best Christmas Ales I've had. Better than Goose Island's Christmas ale, in my opinion, and less expensive. Next to blackout stout, probably my favorite offering from Great Lakes. (735 characters)

Photo of DeFaz
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a ruby color with great clarity and a medium head. Some lacing sticks to the glass. The color is pretty.

Smell: This is one of the best smelling beers I've encountered. Malt, bold but not overpowering cinnamon, and other spices including nutmeg. Sweet smelling but not too sweet.

Taste: As winter warmers go, this is probably the best tasting one I've had. The spices aren't over the top, but the main spices here, cinnamon and nutmeg, allow for a fairly sweet beer with just touch a spice, complimenting the malt nicely. This is sweeter than most, but again, it is nicely balanced, and the ABV is concealed.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with carbonation on the lower end of the spectrum. For being fairly sweet it manages to avoid being sticky and leaves a pleasant aftertaste.

Overall: This is a fantastic beer to enjoy during winter months and tastes like Christmas. The price keeps going up each year (this year it's $11.99/six pack where I live) but it's worth splurging. It's a simple beer but one that is well constructed. (1,047 characters)

Photo of JackTheRipper
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ok, I reviewed this on tap, now I've got a few bottles and am drinking one as I write this.

Appearance: Nice color, deep coppery. Head was smallish, but there's a little bit of lacing.

Smell: Cinnamon, honey, a very faint musty smell in the nose.

Taste: The tap stuff was fives across the board, this is good, but not that good. There's a more distinct hoppiness in this version. The spiceyness isn't as pronounced. Still a great tasting beer, a bit more balanced than the tap stuff.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is just a touch too high, still a wonderfully full bodied feel to this. Warms very nicely, the alcohol is well masked in the taste, but once swallowed, seems to shine a bit brighter.

Drinkability: Very High. While I miss the absolute joy that was the tap version, this is an exceptional beer, IMHO. I bought a sixer of these and have not one regret when I think about the other five waiting for me. Highly recommended if you can find it. (959 characters)

Photo of Crundy
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Bright and clear amber color with a foamy cream colored head, lots of visible carbonation

Smell: Bready, orange citrus hop, spices, feint malt flavor

Taste: Nice hop flavor, feint malt, bread, and nutmeg and cinnamon spices

Mouth Feel: Nice bite, medium bodied, dry

Overall: good beer, more hoppy than malty but it does have a good balance of flavors. Great Christmas beer. (389 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a clear amber color and a modest head that leaves dots of lace

Smell: Nutmeg, cinnamon and a bit a honey along with the caramel base

Taste: Biscuity flavors up front with plenty of Christmas spices building by mid-palate; modest earthy hops appear after the swallow

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: One of the great Christmas beers out there (411 characters)

Photo of schoolboy
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Alright, I admit that I had three (honest to goodness) pints of this at Night Town and it did me in. It was on an empty stomach and I take Lyrica for back pain. But I couldn't resist the outstanding taste of Christmas Ale as it should be.

They served it properly too - the temperature was perfect
(not co cold). How could I not havea few? Fortunately they ran out because some lady tried to buy me another (and then I would have been completely out of it).

Pretty close to perfect. (486 characters)

Photo of beck4020
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a rather appropriate ale for the winter months. There is a very clear but dark auburn color and very little head develops. The alcohol is rather prevalent but it is hidden to a degree by the noticeable smell of spices, which gives the ale both a distinct smell and taste. Although this is darker ale, temperature is very important in this case. A little colder is better for this gem of Great Lakes. (407 characters)

Photo of Bones54
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Coming from the Cleveland area, the Great Lakes Brewery, and especially the Christmas ale are as much of Cleveland lure as Chief Wahoo and the Dawg Pound.
Appearance: Served from a 12 oz. bottle, into a pint glass. The beer is dark copper color, and comes with a thin but lasting head.
Smell: The strong smell of cinnamon greets the nose like the smell christmas cookies pouring out of the kitchen on Christmas morn.
Taste: the smell only contributes to the exceptional taste. I remember first tasting a Christmas Ale a few years back and literally jumping out of my seat. Maybe it's because it was truly one of the first micrbrews I came to taste and was not ready for the sensational trip my taste buds would go through. Cinnamon is the most dominating taste, with the ginger finding its way through. However, I have a hard time noticing the honey in the ale.
Mouthfeel: Literally warms the mouth. The aftertaste, however can leave a lingering feel in the mouth that is often hard to get rid of.
Drinkability: Now do not mistake my score. The beer is Very drinkable. However the alcohol content and potent flavors make it difficult to drink more than two or three.
Haven't had a chance to have my fair share of Christmas brews yet, but I have to believe that this one will be hard to top. (1,298 characters)

Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 809 ratings.