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Great Lakes Christmas Ale - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Christmas AleGreat Lakes Christmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,121 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,121
Reviews: 770
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 13.13%
Wants: 96
Gots: 194 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: OldFrothingSlosh on 11-16-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,121 | Reviews: 770 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tastybeer

North Carolina

4.15/5  rDev +4.8%

A: Ruby-auburn color, crispy clear, warm and inviting. The orange/peach tinted white head is a tasty looking mix of large and fine bubbles. Big at first and then quickly becomes a thin sheet with a frothy ring. Lace is spotty and shifting.

S: Delicious holiday smells all over. Thyme, pine, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, honey, sugar, candied lemon, cardamom, sage, doughy bread... Lots of smells (perhaps some by association) come to mind. All ties together surprisingly well too. Delicate and soft.

T: Taste is perfect for the season. Spicy, flavorful, easy on the palate, and super smooth.

M: Very light feel to it. Almost light bodied but softly thickened with honey syrup. Oddly, I kind of like the syrupy-ness. Carbonation levels are perfect. Interesting and enjoyable.

O: Good stuff.

11-12-2012 01:17:04 | More by tastybeer
Photo of GilGarp


4.15/5  rDev +4.8%

On-tap at Mitchell's Fish Market in Beachwood, Ohio.

Served cold in a pint glass, it has a radiant copper-orange color with near-perfect clarity and creamy head. The head has pretty good retention and leaves very nice lacing on the glass.

Aroma is full of "holiday" spices, as I like to call them. Cinnamon, clove, maybe some ginger.

Flavor is really just about spot-on for the winter warmer style. It has a great caramel/toffee backbone with layers of those same spices I picked up in the aroma.

Medium body and lowish carbonation seem just about right for the style. The alcohol is evident but not distracting. Drinkability is limited, as most of this style are, just because the palate can only handle so much spicey/boozy goodness.

Overall this seems like the quintessential winter warmer. Maybe (likely) because I grew up in Cleveland but still a very special seasonal from Great Lakes.

12-28-2009 23:22:49 | More by GilGarp
Photo of mtnbikerpa


4.15/5  rDev +4.8%

I had this brew last weekend at the Burning River Fest put on by Great Lakes Brewing.

It was served in a plastic cup with over flowing head. Deep copper color. Strong scents of clove and other cookies spices. Very full of flavor. It aged well. Mouthfeel was nice and smooth. Very easy to drink a couple of these.

07-26-2010 18:16:31 | More by mtnbikerpa
Photo of AwYeh


4.15/5  rDev +4.8%

A: Pours a slightly hazy golden amber color, with one finger of white head.

S: Honey and spices are present in the aroma, though not as strong as I was expecting.

T: Fantastic; this beer is perfectly spiced, with cinnamon and ginger complementing the honey excellently. Ginger is so intense I got the sensation that I was in between pieces of sushi after I had swallowed the first gulp. This beer may be just as enjoyable at room temperature as it is chilled, thanks to these spices.

M: No flaws here; beer is sweet but not sticky, perfectly carbonated and goes down smooth.

D: Despite somewhat high ABV, it would be easy to put a few of these away in a row.

If you're fortunate enough to be in an area where you can actually find this around Christmas, stock up and enjoy it all season long.

12-21-2010 08:06:11 | More by AwYeh
Photo of Urbancaver


4.15/5  rDev +4.8%

Appearance- Poured very crisply with a small amount of head. For some reason I expected this to be darker but its a reddish amber

Aroma- Mostly just cinnamon and honey. The spices are mostly lost to the smell

Taste- very tasty combination of spices. The hoppiness is a bit strong but the spice blend pairs well.

Mouthfeel- A bit bitter (I plan on buying another bottle or two to try in a few months)

Drinkability- The alcohol is barely detectable... this beer really truely tastes like christmas to me!

12-04-2009 02:08:56 | More by Urbancaver
Photo of webmanspidey


4.15/5  rDev +4.8%

12 ounce bottle poured into Chimay chalice. This is translucent, and a pink/peach color. Smell is sweet and fruity with hints of berries, pomegranate, honey, and cinnamon. Taste is well balanced and drinkable with a slightly bitter finish. The spices are definitely present but not as intense as in the smell. Great drinkability for the ABV. Nearly no alcohol presence.

I haven't been too big of a fan of this style in the past but this one's pretty good.

12-19-2009 04:10:28 | More by webmanspidey
Photo of truthbrew


4.15/5  rDev +4.8%

Purchased in Dayton, Ohio in November, enjoyed today. Hint of spices originally, but when poured they were explosive. Good name, the smell did remind me of Christmas-time. I was most stuned by the crystal clear copper color, quite magnificant. Beer was extremely balanced. My wife thought it to be a bit too "complex" for her liking. Overall a great beer, which I will get again.

03-10-2004 04:38:06 | More by truthbrew
Photo of challenja


4.15/5  rDev +4.8%

Served On Tap at the Black Squirrel in Adams Morgan DC.

A: A Nice orange red glow with a head that dissipates quickly to no existence at all. A look of really well aged and expensive bourbon.

S: Now here is the stinker, not that it smell that bad but its not as powerful as most Christmas Ales. There is cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, breaded malt, and wild cherry. It could be that for a badly washed glass deadened the smells. Really good powerwashers are needed like in upscale beer joints.

T: Nutmeg ripe cherry pumpkin spice honey light cinnamon tast, subtle mid-western hops, and a light bready backbone. Subtle sweetness that entices the palate to have another!

M: Nice lingering medium carbonation that is passionate between the gums. I like how it lingers on the palate and entices the tongue.

O: A real winner in terms of a winter Christmas ale. I rank it third only behind the Mad Elf and Fireside Chat. Sorry Anderson Valley Winter Solstice.

01-21-2012 20:43:15 | More by challenja
Photo of pasdachuri


4.15/5  rDev +4.8%

Pours a dark copper colored with a thick, foamy, white head that dissolves slowly, with some remaining the entire time. Leaves little lacing.

Pleasantly light aroma steeped in ginger & honey with hints of floral hops rounding it out. Light spice notes. Not picking out much malts.

Spicy ginger with cinnamon and a nice hop bitterness on the finish with a light malt foundation. Very nicely spiced.

Solid mouthfeel in this one. Medium bodied with a refreshing effervescence.

Overall, one of the lighter, more flavorful Christmas brews that I've had.

02-04-2010 20:38:57 | More by pasdachuri
Photo of smitty1080


4.15/5  rDev +4.8%

Northeast Ohio is dropping below freezing, but as long as the x-mas ale comes out at the same time I don't mind the cold weather so much.

Pours out golden copper with a creamy head. Smells like Christmas in a glass, hence the name. All warming aromas of honey, cinnamon, and ginger. The taste adds on to the aroma with malty tones and a slight warming from the ABV. I think I know what will accompany my turkey this Thanksgiving.

11-15-2003 16:08:13 | More by smitty1080
Photo of garuda


4.15/5  rDev +4.8%

A - Clear deep copper, white head that retains well with little lacing.

S/T - It's like Christmas in a glass. Graham cracker, ginger snaps, sweet bready malts with low hop bitterness, just enough to balance out the finish.

M - Medium body, carbonation is a little higher than I would have liked.

O - I'm not really a fan of the style overall, but this gets it right.

11-24-2011 12:19:58 | More by garuda
Photo of mvanaskie13


4.14/5  rDev +4.5%

Poured into a standard pint glass, color is transparent amber, lighter on the edges; head is tan, mixture of bubble sizes, good lacing and lingering top.

Smell is spice forward, nice blend of ginger, nutmeg and clove, hints of cinnamon; malt is present, light bread, biscuit and maybe some sweeter caramel, but light.

Taste is similar to the aroma, but a bit amplified: spices are popping but not overwhelming, good blend of clove, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and lighter cinnamon; malt is a good balance to the aroma, bread and biscuit hints of caramel - this beer does not taste anywhere near its strength as the spice covers the sweeter notes below.

Mouthfeel again mixes the spice and malt well, spices cover and dry out the strength of this beer making it very easily drinkable.

Overall, a very, very good winter/christmas ale; heavier spice doses work well in these ales compared to pumpkins because of the heavier malt flavors, a great brew.

12-22-2013 23:58:29 | More by mvanaskie13
Photo of merlin48


4.13/5  rDev +4.3%

Served into a tulip glass, this pours a clear amber body with active carbonation very noticeable. Enormous, beige tinted head is pillowy and drapes the glass with chains of lace.
Aroma is heavy with sharp spices, lots of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Caramel malt is underneath, with a pronounced note of honey.
The mouthfeel is incredible. The high carbonation seems to detonate the spice array into a unique sensation of exploding tingliness. Medium body.
Taste begins dry and spicy, with some hops bitterness. Alcohol warming is quickly noticed. The malt character emerges in the middle, as room temperature is approached, and adds an ideal balance to the hop and spice bitterness. Finish is well balanced and pleasant.
Nicely complex, challenging at times, and enjoyable from start to finish. A very nice winter warmer, with an incredibly silky and playful mouthfeel. Thanks to orbitalr0x for this Great Lakes brew.

12-11-2004 11:21:17 | More by merlin48
Photo of oracle


4.13/5  rDev +4.3%

12 oz bottle in a traditional english pint glass.

Pours a nice dark red color with a nice lacing of white head.

Armoma is mostly mild hops and some spice, noticably cinimon.

Beer drinks quite easily, with a noticable but not overwhelming hop bite and smoot malt finish. Lives up to the style by warming the insides beautifully.

Very nice.

01-04-2005 15:06:55 | More by oracle
Photo of dstc


4.13/5  rDev +4.3%

Pours a clear copper with a huge light ran head. Head falls fairly slow. Nice sticky lace.

Aroma is of malts flavored lightly with cinnamon. Small hint of clove as well.

Very nice spiced malt taste that is backed by floral hops. Spices go great with the slight boozy quality.

Rather full and smooth in the mouth. Mild carbonation and a slight bite.

Really good beer. I like this one a lot and wish I had bought more.

02-09-2010 14:07:30 | More by dstc
Photo of geexploitation


4.13/5  rDev +4.3%

Pours a clear, bright ruby amber with virtually no head or lacing. Nice, subtle spicing on the nose. It seems there is some orangey spice in there -- maybe they used orange peel. The overall impression is one of sweet spiciness, kind of like a rich fruitcake. It's a good nose for the style. On the palate, brisk carbonation at first, then warm orangey spices and sweet malts. The palate is well balanced and not cringingly spiced. Mouthfeel is quite nice, with a thick body and plenty of carbonation to scrub the palate. Overall, this is an excellent winter warmer. Not as subtle as it could be, but not out of whack either. Warming and substantial, this is a very good interpretation of the style.

01-01-2007 00:37:34 | More by geexploitation
Photo of kels


4.13/5  rDev +4.3%

I've had this numerous times, and I'm just now taking the time to sit down and review. Poured from the bottle into a snifter as recommended by the brewer.

Appearance: Pours a lovely color of golden honey and ruby red with a fluffy off-white 2-finger head. The head quickly fades to a skim atop the beer with good lacing all throughout. The beer is not completely clear, but not hazy, either. Light carbonation can be seen.

Smell: Most GLBC beers have very little scent in my experience, so I'm surprised to find such a strong smell from this beer. I can clearly smell the cinnamon and honey along with the malts and the alcohol presence is also pretty notable in the scent.

Taste/Mouthfeel: The malts are clear and present in the first sip and their toastiness makes them take crunchy, if you can imagine that. The cinnamon is very present, and while past encounters with this beer have reminded me of red hot candies or big red gum, it's subtler now - maybe a difference in this year's batch? It isn't as much a hot cinnamon as a savory cinnamon. Flavors of honey add a nice balance. The alcohol is really only a factor in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is light and clear, with some spiciness to keep it interesting - more than just the cinnamon. Something strong like pepper or ginger or allspice.

Drinkability: Pretty high - the alcohol isn't overpowering, but it's present enough to keep this from being called a session beer.

Overall, I'm more impressed with this beer every time I have it. I've enjoyed it on tap, but I think the biggest factor in how well I've liked it is the glassware. This is my best experience with this beer yet, so maybe they're on to something when they recommend a snifter.

12-24-2008 17:43:48 | More by kels
Photo of BeerBuckeye


4.13/5  rDev +4.3%

A - Pours a nice deep reddish amber color with 1.5 finger, off white head that dissipates pretty quickly. Lots of carbonation rising up from the bottom.

S - Very nice, good blend of honey, cinnamon, and cloves. Good bready malt base in there with touch of sugar cookie and buttercream. It's like smelling a holiday candle.

T - Quite a bit of ginger in the first sip, still a little bit of that cinnamon and clove hanging around, fades into that bready malt with just a bit of spice lingering. Very tasty

M - The mouthfeel is medium, the spice, or what I presume to be the cinnamon and honey, leaves the mouth fairly dry. Alcohol easily hidden.

Overall - It's a solid winter warmer, one of the very best

11-03-2011 00:16:46 | More by BeerBuckeye
Photo of Stinkypuss


4.13/5  rDev +4.3%

a. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. A bit of head that fades to the edges. Copper in color and clear.

s. Spices and honey are apparent. Some malt adds to the mix.

t. A nice complex brew here. Some nice caramel malt. Hints of pine from the hops (possibly spruce as well?). Some spice (cinnamon and nutmeg namely) in the background, and the honey only adds to a lingering sweet finish, otherwise balanced out by the bitterness.

m. Medium bodied crisp and refreshing. A challange to my palate and a dry semi sweet finish.

d. This is a most excellent winter warmer. Complex and warming indeed. A winner. What I have come to expect from this brewery.

09-25-2008 00:51:10 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of garymuchow


4.13/5  rDev +4.3%

Been waiting many years to get ahold of this. Happy for the opportunity.
Poured into SA glass where a very large head prevented adequate aroma seeking. Little more golden in color than I anticipated. Very clear. Attractive.
The mild and well blended spices with the malt make up the bulk of the aroma. Emphasis on the well-balanced. Kinda' bready malt in there too.
Flavor notes cinnamon right away, plus some nutmeg, but he former stood out, in a good way. Get that interesting aftertaste and dryness that comes from spiced beer. Tad of warmth. More hops than most for style, especially those with spices.
Lighter body, yet very smooth and soft.
I know I've repeated already, but the balancing of the spices make this a very drinkable beer. No problem with having another.

12-28-2010 03:34:19 | More by garymuchow
Photo of ndekke39


4.13/5  rDev +4.3%

Drank this from a 12 oz bottle with a 1/17/07 best-by date. Poured a beautiful reddish-copper color with a small white head. Little retention. Smells of toasted barley, some warm spices like clove or cinnamon. Tastes sweet toasted barley, hints of bread, caramel. Excellent aftertaste of the barley - that in particular travels well. The bread and spices come out more as the beer returns to room temperature. Mouthfeel is a nice balance of creaminess and light carbonation. Overall, another strong offering from Great Lakes, and one of my favorites in the Winter Warmer style.

11-05-2006 01:50:45 | More by ndekke39
Photo of steve8robin


4.13/5  rDev +4.3%

Got this one from a trade. Opened on Christmas night '09...

A: Awesome medium, dark copper color. 1 inch white head that slowly fades. Looks great!

S: Smell light honey spice scents with a slight hoppiness. Scent is kind of hidden and takes a little to find, but smells good.

T: Very bitter hoppy taste upfront with spruce-like flavors blended well.

M: Perfect carbonation / smoothness to this brew.

D: Very hoppy upfront, but still goes down easy.

All in all, this is a great brew if you like the heavy hopy taste upfront. It's refreshing but still very strong tasting. Not a bad Christmas brew at all. The spruce-like flavors really make this a "Christmas" beer.

12-26-2009 02:41:17 | More by steve8robin
Photo of nrbw23


4.13/5  rDev +4.3%

A- A nice clear copper color with a nice amount of head. Left a really nice lacing also.

S- I could pick up a lot here. Very nice picked up spices such as nutmeg, gingerbread and cinnamon. Also some yeast type aroma and honey. Maybe even a little citrus in there also.

T- Wow starts out a little spicy and then balances out really nice and finishes nice and smooth with a honey taste.

M- Body medium and low in carbonation. Feels great though and goes down incredibly smooth.

D- Very drinkable and is great for the season even though I'm finishing off mine a little late.

03-27-2008 11:40:10 | More by nrbw23
Photo of stimulus

New Jersey

4.13/5  rDev +4.3%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle (6 pack) into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear amber with a light white head.
S: Cinnamon, honey, and caramel malt.
T: Wow, just like the aroma but x10. Also, add in some ginger that doesn't seem to really be in the smell.
M: Light bodied and medium carbonation; smooth until the finish.
D: It tastes and feels like Christmas, if that's what you're going for. I'm surprised at the alcohol content on this one. It's certainly a great example of the winter warmer style.

12-04-2010 02:59:59 | More by stimulus
Photo of Baileyuk


4.13/5  rDev +4.3%

Head was minimal but lacing was okay. Nothing special for sure. Color was an attractive light brown with a reddish hue.

Smell had Nutmeg and ginger heavily in the nose.

Taste had a good spicy blend. Ginger was dominant but not overpowering. Maybe some nutmeg (fainter than in the nose), also some cinnamon and all spice. All the flavors were well balanced to definately dominate but give a decent taste.

The carbonation was excellent and there was little evidence of the power if the abv was really 7.5%. I was not overly pleased with this beer but it is fairly decent in you like spiced christmas ales.

11-30-2008 22:15:32 | More by Baileyuk
Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,121 ratings.