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Great Lakes Christmas Ale - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Great Lakes Christmas AleGreat Lakes Christmas Ale

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

1,974 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1974
Reviews: 768
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 13.13%

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: 1,974 | Reviews: 768 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of ken3c


4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear honey color. Thin head resolves to a ring of foam and laces a little.

Aroma has a malt sense with various spices. I think I can smell anise, nutmeg, and maybe spruce. Maybe a hint of clove. This smells wonderfull.

Very sweet and somewhat balances by a piney bitterness. The spices add interest. The aftertaste is still sweet. There is a sense of diacetyl but it blends well. Very little sense of alcohol.

Smooth and lightly carbonated. Medium to full bodied.

Very drinkable. Dangerous.

Serving type: on-tap

11-29-2004 04:21:33 | More by ken3c
Photo of mattcrill


4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: For freshest taste, please enjoy by 1/08/05 clearly printed on the bottle. Nicely done.

Appearance: Pours clear brick red with a tan to ivory sticky white head.

Smell: Ginger, cloves, honey, and carmel sweetness come billowing out of the glass. The spices dominate but there is a sweet background to it. Overall, very inviting.

Taste: Predominate flavors of ginger and cloves throughout the sip. Some hop bitterness creeps up on subsequent sips. A nice honey presence arises as the beer warms up.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied leaning towards thicker. Definite complex body to it with the carbonation providing a crunchy mouthfeel to it.

Drinkability: Not too over the top for me. I could make this one a session pretty easily. The spices are present but not dominate.

Another winner from GLBC.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2004 17:25:22 | More by mattcrill
Photo of benmiliron


2.9/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Paid $6.99 for a six pack. (2 of which I left at Ellbert's house, providing the review below this one.)

Looks nice and amber-red-orange. Nearly killians in color, but slightly more orange. Smell is mostly ginger and floral, nearly potpourri, but not enough that it's bad. I quite liked the smell. The taste however is clearly over the top ginger, GINGER! The brew could've used half as much and been much better. There are lingering tastes behind the hops but you have to search for them.

There are definitely better xmas brews out there.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2004 00:21:41 | More by benmiliron
Photo of Ellbert


4.47/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2004 02:01:08 | More by Ellbert
Photo of Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a standard bottle, its a nice light reddish colour with generous whitish head. It smells of malt and spice. The taste is richly malty as well, with some spicy notes. The mouthfeel is nice and smooth, just slides down your throat. I give this beer a high drinkability score, easily a beer you could sit down with when its cold and play poker. Excellent beer, very recommended.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2004 23:00:13 | More by Viggo
Photo of andyo


3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this eber on tap at "Bob's Bar" in Clintonville last night with my good buddy Shane.

This beer was very interesting to me. It poured a rich amber/brown color, and gave off a heavy, sweet smell. There was virtually no head on this beer at all.

My initial taste pretty much hit me hard. This is definately not a weak beer in taste! The malts are very pronounced, combined with cinnaman, honey and clove. The flavors are very sharp...if that makes since, and finishes with a bite. I really didn't care for the first sip, but this beer seemed to get better and better. Mouthfeel was thick and sticky.

A really nice, obscure christmas ale, and at $3 a pint at Bob's, I'll be enjoying this one again.

Serving type: on-tap

10-23-2004 13:05:27 | More by andyo
Photo of DrunkenPanther


4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer actually poured a lot lighter in color than I thought. It wasnt as attractive as Id have hoped. I was a bit nervous that the flavor would follow suit. Luckily it didnt.
The smell was very warm and inviting. The cinimmon was very present. It also was very full of a malt scent. Very nice.
The tastes bursts at first with cinimmon. Much like the aroma, it is follwed by another burst of malt. A light malt though and not something heavy that just sits.
Some x-mas beers are hard to get through. This one was surprisingly easy to get through, so I had a second. I didnt grow tired of the spices. It was very nice to drink.
I had this at the Brewery's Pub from a small batch made for July, I was told that they may tweak it a bit for this x-mas (Color was one thing they mentioned).

Serving type: on-tap

08-02-2004 01:40:17 | More by DrunkenPanther
Photo of Mitchster


4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks go to beergeek279 and cupbeerman for bringing a growler of this to Michigan for Trbeer and I to enjoy.

Pours out to a clear, dark caramel, forming a small head with OK retention and lacing (which is pretty typical for a growlerized brew). Carbonation is mild to moderate. Aroma has dominant notes of ginger and nutmeg...tim says cardamom and I can also appreciate that. Taste is an echo of aroma, with a moderate malt sweetness, some amber malt husk, and mild caramel and tobacco lingering in the wake of some herbal and spice bitterness. Mouthfeel is smooth with a medium body.

Like the bottled version, this is nice in that it's not too overwhelming. The spices play second fiddle to the beer itself while accentuating the malts and hops. A good representative of the style.

Serving type: on-tap

07-27-2004 01:12:16 | More by Mitchster
Photo of budgood1


4.6/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours out a very hazy copper colour. off white head and nice lace. aroma of piney and spucey hops, caramel maltiness and bits of chocolate candy. upon tasting... very nice sweet toffee, caramel, cocoa and maltiness...subtle spicy notes of cinnamon and maybe nutmeg...anise, molasses and black licorice, too. the alcohol comes across as peppery and there is piney hop bite to top it all off. the more sips i have of this the more impressed at the balance and delicate interplay the flavours have. the mouthfeel is full and smooth. full sticky sweet body. this is one amazing holiday offering. awesome!

brewed with cinnamon, ginger and honey.

cheers to zap and bighuge for getting this sensational seasonal into my hands!

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2004 00:04:06 | More by budgood1
Photo of CortexBomb


4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a nice deep coppery colour with a frothy head to go along with. Smell is very spice dominated, hints of cinnamon and ginger with an overall sweet tinge, appetizing!

Taste has a nice wave of fruityness and malts up front, and then gives way to a strong spicy back end. A touch of hops is also lurking, along with the bitterness, but they just add character without overwhelming. Quality all the way here.

Mouthfeel definitely has some body, while the drinkability is quite good, a nice winter seasonal by Great Lakes.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2004 00:02:00 | More by CortexBomb
Photo of truthbrew


4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2004 04:38:06 | More by truthbrew
Photo of brewdlyhooked13


4.75/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance - creates a large 3 finger creamy tan head on the pour, very dense on top. Golden orange color with some visible carbonation. A good looking beer.

Aroma - first impression of fruit and cinnamon, very spicy and sweet. Mmmmm....

Taste - nice malty base, but the cinnamon and spice flavors hit the taste buds full force. Some alcohol notes are present, though short-lived. A pretty solid hop presence follows, with just a barely detectable trace of ginger. Smooth aftertaste, a pleasing blend of hops and spices.

Mouthfeel - Solid body, coating the mouth with a bit of a drapy feel, but not overly done.

Drinkability - As it warms, the alcohol presence comes out more, but it can be difficult to have any left by the time it gets to room temperature! A wonderful beer for relaxing with in the evening.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2004 15:48:47 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of Winter


4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear copper in color with a creamy light tan head. Spicy nose consists of ginger, honey, spices and malt. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a touch of crispness to it. Spices are detected in the flavor also. Cinnamon, ginger and honey all combine for a sweet malty front. At times I wish the honey was reduced a bit because it tends to add a bit of an off flavor. Hopping seems minimal. Alcohol can be detected in the finish. This is a very good Christmas spiced ale. Comparable in flavor to Lakefront's Holiday Spice, which is one of my favorites.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2004 21:47:46 | More by Winter
Photo of TheLongBeachBum


4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Standard 12 ounce brown glass bottle. Dark label that has a black background with white lettering. The picture on the main label is that of a green colored model railway car full of Copper colored Christmas Tree Baubles. The brewery blurb goes on to explain that “Its copper color and flavorful taste is derived from cinnamon, ginger and honey”. Recommended Serving Temperature of 45°F, as well as an advertised strength of 7.5%. Enjoy By Date is Dec. 23 03.

Appearance: Amber copper body with some dark tangerine hints. A thin but very uniform dirty-white head forms easily and with the aid of the odd gentle swirl it remains throughout the drink. Some lacing, but it nearly always sinks and slides back down into the Glass out of harms way. Carbonation appears to be average but well attenuated.

Nose: The nose is well rounded and very fruity indeed. Reminds me of cinnamon toffee, mixed with a hint of ginger. Powdery feel in the nasal passage at times.

Taste: Smooth introduction to the beer, aided by the conditioning. Malts with an immediate cinnamon punch. Some spicy ginger comes through in the finish, whilst the middle obviously benefits immensely from the sweet honey. Spicy with a light citric tingle on the tongue in the finish. Very Nice!

Mouthfeel: The finely attenuated carbonation creates a talcum smooth feel, which is a great background for the finely balanced cinnamon and ginger, whilst the honey lends a rich silky feel to malts

Drinkability: I wish I had another one to finish the night with. The 7.5% is nowhere to be seen at all, but the rich full-bodied flavorsome quality of this Christmas Ale is quite literally all over this beer, front to back, top to bottom.

Overall: This would be a very fitting beer to sit down with after a filling Christmas Dinner. Tasty solid brew that has just the right amount of cinnamon and ginger to balance a honey infused malty body.

Four Brews from Great Lakes, all received 4+ marks. Accomplished.

A belated Merry Xmas to BigHuge for the Great Lakes brews. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2004 05:24:03 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of alexgash


4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was lucky enough to find some of this over at Chicone's in Hudson, while I was home for the xolidays. Pours an orange-amber with an off-white head. Smells of sweet fruitcake malts, lots of spices (cinnamon, ginger, honey, orange?). Very interesting. Taste is rum/fruit cake sweetened malts, followed by the spice rack mentioned above. I'm not always crazy about overly spiced ales, but this one works very well. Finish is slightly bitter with lingering cinnamon and vanilla. Merry Christmas Great Lakes!
"and the people of Cleveland who've suffered for so many years..."
- Dave Berman (off of Silver Jew's The Natural Bridge)

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2004 19:04:09 | More by alexgash
Photo of babyhobbes


3.6/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured with very little head but some lacing. It is a pleasing amber color. I smell some spice, notably cinnamon and ginger. The spiciness is not very strong in taste or smell. The taste is somewhat hoppy and bitter with a decent dose of ginger. This is a smooth beer in the mouth with a nice carbonation level.

I like this Christmas Ale but I wouldn't want to down several in one sitting.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2004 00:22:34 | More by babyhobbes
Photo of JackTheRipper


4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2004 04:28:26 | More by JackTheRipper
Photo of chilidog


4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I finally got ahold of a couple of these for some of the GLBC limited offerings I have to search for out of town. Anyway, I'll gladly make thisone a yuletide tradition. It pours a burgundy, if not a dark cranberry color with a smaller than expected off-white head. The heads fades to a thin film although the carbonation is mild (no fizz) on this full bodied beer. Lace dose manage to dress the glass nicely. The aroma is spice and ginger. The taste is also packed with ginger, spice, cinnamon, caramel malt while backed by a slight alcohol hop. The 7.5abv. dose a nice winter warming job while not overpowering the mouth. A great beer with all or most holiday eat treats.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2004 14:13:54 | More by chilidog
Photo of xgrigorix


4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Twelve ounce brown bottle. Best by date printed on label.

Glowing copper coloured, clear, with intense carbonation. Topped by a firm off white head that retains very well.

Fairly clean nose. Hints of cinnamon, ginger, & a touch of hops.

A rush of sweetness, followed by subtle spicing of ginger & cinnamon. A hint of hops dries it out just enough to keep it from becoming cloying. Didn't really pick up on the honey, but its still quite tasty. Brisk carbonation, medium/full bodied, & somewhat creamy. A nicely done beer just for the holidays.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2003 18:31:03 | More by xgrigorix
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4.6/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear, burnished copper-brown topped by a large beige head that displays impressive persistance and leaves a small to moderate amount of lace in sheets when it eventually departs.

The nose is sweet and spicy and the flavor is malty sweet, accented nicely by honey and by abundant caramel/toffee notes. There's some spiciness (especially cinnamon), but it's not overdone.

The finish contains a moderate amount of bitterness and a trace of alcohol. The mouthfeel is exemplary; full and rich, very creamy. Mouthfilling with some mouthcoating as well. Drinkability is high.

Great Lakes Christmas Ale is my first beer from the best brewery in my home state of Ohio and my former residence (3 years) of Cleveland. I'm very impressed. I expected a good, solid Christmas beer and those expectations were met and exceeded by a long shot. I only got a single this year, but you can bet that I'll be getting more of this fine seasonal during my future trips home for the holidays. I would have no trouble at all drinking Christmas Ale year-round.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2003 19:20:11 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of CRJMellor


3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I reviewed in a bottle and really found it too "tricked" up with flavor.
I had it tonight at dinner on draaught and it was so much better I neede to review it again to be fair.

Poured a very clear light copper with thin white head and and thin laces up the side of the glass. Really is a pretty beer.
Ginger and Cinnamon notes are much more sudued on draught and more malt aroas shine through along with a little bit of hops.

Taste has a really nice balance of sweet cinnamon, mild to light malt and a slightly bitter finish. Feels very dry in the mouth, but nice and spicy.

Serving type: on-tap

12-24-2003 01:07:14 | More by CRJMellor
Photo of francisweizen


3.63/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured out a nice dark crimson colour with a small white head of foam. The aromas were heavily spiced, and consisted of coriander, orange peel(?), perhaps curacao, and more. The malt was in there was well, but where were the hops? The taste was spicy and very malty, almost Belgian-like in character, but noticeable different than most Belgian ales. The mouthfeel was a bit thin in the mouth and the drinkability was decent.


Serving type: bottle

12-18-2003 15:31:58 | More by francisweizen
Photo of beerluvr

Ontario (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours with a great light tan head, settling over clear light amber liquid. Light delicate spice in the nose, clean-smelling & not too heavy on malt flavors. The taste had hints of slight phenols with some cinnamon and fruit flavors followed by decent hop bitters. Finishes up dry with a bitter end. A decent Xmas beer, thanks to CRJMellor for the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2003 00:02:02 | More by beerluvr
Photo of beergeek279


3.3/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served on tap in a pint glass at DiMarco's. The color was copper, with a decent white head. The smell was very cinnamony. The taste was a very heavy cinnamon, with a bit of malt coming through. Mouthfeel was smooth. Drinkability-wise, the heavy cinnamon sweetness would not lead to having too many.

Though I certainly appreciate a good, spiced Christmas Ale, this seemed a little bit over the top. Maybe I was drinking it at a time I'd have preferred a more conventional beer rather than with chestnuts roasting on an open fire, but it just seemed out of place.

Serving type: on-tap

12-15-2003 20:03:00 | More by beergeek279
Photo of Shiloh

Ontario (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a very nice festive brew which I would consume more of except for the high ABV.
Beautiful and clear mid orange colour with a short top leaving limited evidence of foam.
Carbonation also is limited.
Aroma has a wlde array of spices.
Wildly spicy taste, predominantly ginger with a slight honey smoothness to aid in the mouthfeel.
I find no evidence of cinnamon as it must be well hidden or, does it arrive as the beverage warms?
Mouthfeel is dry.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2003 01:36:42 | More by Shiloh
Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,974 ratings.