1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.
BA SCORE
89
very good

2,173 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,173
Reviews: 773
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 13.13%
Wants: 107
Gots: 213 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,173 | Reviews: 773 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

CRJMellor, Dec 24, 2003
Photo of endincolorado
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Clear, deep amber with a modest cream-white head and decent lace.

Smell- Strong notes of ginger and cinnamon. Roasted malt in the background (though tough to find through all the spice).

Taste- Roasted malt, and lots of ginger, cinnamon, and some honey. More of a hop-character than I remember from previous years'. Refreshing and tasty (though the spice can be overwhelming).

Mouthfeel- Medium body. Pretty satisfying for the style.

Drinkability- Though I claim not to love this beer (maybe because of all the hype) I can't deny that it's a tasty example of the style, and a staple of the holidays. I couldn't finish a six pack alone-- but then the alcohol whispers "yes you can."

endincolorado, Nov 06, 2009
Photo of biggred1
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Coppery amber with a creamy sand colored head that leaves blobs of lace on the glass as it melts. The nose is spicy cinnamon, ginger snap cookies and honey with underlying toasted barley. This is good ale for sure, the honey is certainly more evident in the flavor than the aroma and the ginger is a tad heavy handed for my liking. All in all though the flavors work well together and the alcohol is well hidden. Medium light bodied with prickly carbonation. A fine take on the style, I could certainly see drinking this around the holidays.

biggred1, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of portia99
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle received in trade with Hoppymcgee. Thanks for this one Greg! Poured into a Bruery tulip.

A - Pours a perfectly clear amber color. A low cap of white foam briefly lingers and then fades quickly to a thin whie collarwith a small touch of lacing on the glass.

S - Lightly malty, good dose of cinnamon. Somewhat fruity...I think I'm getting sour cherries, but not sure. A touch of burnt malt aroma, but color does not indicate its presence. Interesting aroma...kinda like it.

T - Hmm, not exactly sure what I'm getting out of this. I think I'm getting some honey flavor combined with the cinnamon spiciness. Not really getting the ginger in the taste, but I feel it's spiciness. Not especially sweet or bitter...just well balanced. Overall, I think the cinnamon has the highest presence, but the flavors are really well rounded and a touch subdued. I like what I'm tasting, just wish there was a little more of it.

M - The lasting impression is that of spicy ginger. Disappointly, not prominant enough in the taste, but I sure feel it - in a good way. Fairly light in body. Carbonation is medium to high. Spices leave a lingering impression but they are not overbearing.

D - Very nice winter warmer/Christmas beer. Spices are present but not overbearing, as in other examples of this style. Pretty enjoyable. Glad to have a chance to try this one. Wouldn't mind spending the holidays with a six pack of this one.

portia99, Jan 14, 2010
Photo of goblue3509
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cystal clear copper color with a tight one finger head which gives way to almost nothing. There are strings of lace left on the glass. The aroma has a biscuit malt backbone with hints of honey, ginger, and cinnomon. There is also a hint of spruce and piney hops. The taste follows suit, there is a biscuit malt backbone with a cinnomon and a big ginger taste to it. At the very back end the ginger gives way to a spruce hop bite. The mouthfeel is moderately carbonated and slightly dry. Overall it is a solid beer, near the top of the class, but not the top of the class.

goblue3509, Dec 10, 2011
Photo of bamadog
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very interesting beer that sat really warm in my stomach -- the "winter warmer" is definitely the best way to describe it.

Appearance: Dark coppery red; a nice 2 finger head that was thick and pillowy -- the carbonation was clearly visible and looked like it was going to last throughout the drink.

Smell: Couldn't get much out of it at all -- there was a very slight hoppiness to it as it warmed, but nothing overly discernable.

Taste: Bitter, cinammon is very pronounced and that added to the slight sting on the tongue from the bitter. Some slight sweetness was up front as well, but I'm not sure what the source of it is.

Mouthfeel: Sticky and a little oily -- I felt like I needed to cleanse my palate after a bit which is kind of odd to me as I typically like the stickiness; however, the spiciness lingered nicely because of it and that was nice.

Drinkability: Fair enough I would say -- I could easily sit down and drink two or three of these. The spiciness was very interesting and the physical effect of it on the stomach makes it more worthwhile -- definitely a seasonal drink though.

bamadog, Dec 09, 2008
Photo of Jayli
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired from Csmiley via Review This! BIF so a big THANK YOU goes out to him!
Consumed 12/15

A: This beer pours a crystal clear amber/burnt orange with a one finger of off white head. Head recedes quickly leaving a nice wispy lacing behind.

S: Nose is mostly of ginger, some touches of honey and very faint malts.

T: Taste is of major ginger notes up front with some nutmeg mingling in. Taste then evens out with a bit of honey and breadiness in the middle. Finish has a bit of piney hop bitterness mixed with some cinnamon.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation (which is visible), slick, smooth mouthfeel.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, bit of a sweet cinnamon aftertaste, I could certainly enjoy a few of this with desert.

Jayli, Dec 17, 2009
Photo of JamesS
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Came to the table a nice deep amber/medium copper color. Excellent head and nice lacing, as well. Decent smell, a nice malt/hop mix. Great taste. A very deep ale taste with a wonderful honey kick. I caught a little of the ginger, but not much else over the honey. Goes down very easy, I will definitely have this one again.

JamesS, Nov 30, 2007
Photo of yourefragile
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, clear copper color with a thin beige head supported by small bubbles of carbonation. Not much retention with a moderate amount of streaks of lacing. Aroma is mild and as expected, has a spicy, sweet "holiday" medley of flavors. Initially honey sweet and nutmegy with some other various spices. Flavor is less spicy or sweet than expected, with a strong malt body and a finish balanced with honey sweetness and grainy, cinnamon dryness. Full bodied (almost syrup like at time) with mild, fine carbonation. A very pleasant winter warmer, but a little too mild and boring to be as interesting as some of the Anchor holiday beers.

yourefragile, May 06, 2010
Photo of Brez07
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Maine Beer Company logo glass. Bottled 12/26/10

A: Orange, translucent. Pours with a 1/2 finger white head but doesn't have much retention

S: Nose is initially bread dough and malt, followed by some ginger/spice combo. Very light honey and clove. Maybe some cinnamon too. Spiced bread, orange zest

T: Cinnamon and other spices. Much more spice comes out in the flavor. Some bread malt. Citrus blends in and provides almost a bit of tartness

M: Medium bodied. High amount of carbonation slightly detracts from the overall flavors of the beer as it attacks the front of the palate. Light coriander-like spice remains

D: While I enjoyed this beer, certainly not one of the best holiday beers I've had. The spices became a little too much after about half the beer and the honey failed to balance them out. One is probably enough for me

Brez07, Apr 16, 2011
Photo of HopNelius
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Red/orange body with a medium head not overly carbonated.
S-Smell notes of Ginger and Cinnamon. Smells of holiday spice.
T-The ginger and Cinnamon hit you immediatly but mellow out for the finish.
M-nice.
O-Great Christmas Beer. In my part of the country it sells out quick.Not a beer that I would want to drink everyday but I appreciate a few around the hoidays. The Ginger and Cinnamon balance makes this beer unique compared to other Christmas Ales I have had. The 7.5 abv is balanced nicely and does not come off boozy at all.

HopNelius, Dec 30, 2011
Photo of hoppymeal
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours copper in color and clear with a small light cream colored head that fades back quickly. Aroma is honey and malty sweetness along with maraschino cherries, and a little alcohol in the aroma as well. Taste is like a sweet bread of some kind, a light dessert bread to have with coffee. There is more honey sweetness and cherry flavor along with a little of the cinnamon and spice flavor and a yeasty breadiness. Mouthfeel is light to medium in body, a somewhat sparkling carbonation is prickly on the tongue. Interesting flavors, fairly light and subtle, good beer.

hoppymeal, Nov 10, 2006
Photo of oline73
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very slightly cloudy reddish amber with a finger of creamy off white head. The head fades to a small layer on top of the beer.

Smell: Sweet with some bready malt and a strong fruity presence. Definitely picking up some spice, mainly cinnamon.

Taste: Not as sweet at the smell. Bready malt with the fruity notes. Still picking up some spices, but there is a bitterness in the finish that wasn't in the smell.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly carbonation and a very dry finish.

Overall: This is a really nice Christmas beer. Always try to get a hold of one during the holidays.

oline73, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of MiguelMandingo
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This a review from notes I took early this year.

Appearance - Pours a transparent golden copper color. It produces 1 1/2 finger head that quickly dissipates to a thin crown.

Smell - Spicy - nutmeg cinnamon. The malts take on a biscuity brown sugary flavor.

Taste - Tastes pretty good. Spicy ginger, cinnamon, molasses and brown sugar are the primary flavor notes. It has a nice bitter front end and slightly sweet backend.

Mouthfeel - This brew is sticky with a medium/full body with moderate to low carbonation.

Drinkability - This beer goes down pretty easy. I wouldn't have more than one in a sitting, but it was great on a cold night.

MiguelMandingo, Nov 01, 2008
Photo of womencantsail
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for the bottle, Jeff!

Pours a clear copper color with a finger of off-white head. Lots of cinnamon and ginger aromas, especially ginger. There is a nice bit of sweet malt and bread going on as well. The flavor has plenty of bready malt sweetness as well as some toffee. The ginger is fairly assertive, maybe a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg in there as well. Medium body with low to medium carbonation.

womencantsail, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of midnite2sixman
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an amber maple syrupy color.

Smells like cinnamon and a hint of ginger

Tastes spicey but with a nice balance between the barley hoppy taste and the holiday flavoring.

Mouthfeel is slightly nutty just a bit of sweet.

Definitely a great seasonal and worth picking up.

midnite2sixman, Nov 22, 2008
Photo of illidurit
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden amber color with an attractive off-white head of 2 fingers. Retention is decent, and there's some nice lacing.

Very spicy nose, with cinnamon and clove and ginger on top of a sweet malt base.

Taste is quite malty with a tinge of honey, and drowned in spices like ginger and nutmeg. Finish is medicinal, which clashes with the sweetness.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin for a winter warmer. Carbonation is good and the alcohol is undetectable.

Pretty easy drinking here, with no cloying or out of place flavors or notice of booze.

illidurit, Jan 07, 2008
Photo of curasowa
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper color with 1 finger of head that fades with a ring of lace. Has a faint aroma of roasted malt mixed among a spicy, ginger-ish main note. I also pick-up some medicinal notes, too. The taste is surprisingly smooth and creamy. A malty front end fades as the flavor of clove and nutmeg fill the middle and then a slightly astringent, fast finish. This is a tasty beer; winter warmers have a tendency to be overpowered with spices, but this one is nicely balanced with good complexity.

curasowa, Dec 06, 2009
Photo of andrewjraab
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A. Copper brown with an off white head that quickly dissipates.

S. Nutmeg, cinnamon spice, vanilla, caramel, malts, ginger.

T. Ginger snaps cookies, cinnamon, warming alcohol, medium bodies. Dry bitter aftertaste. The gingers sits on the palate.

O. Really a solid winter Christmas ale. Nice layers of spice with some alcohol backbone to warm ur soul.

andrewjraab, Dec 14, 2013
Photo of Kadonny
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

A: A medium amber orange color with a minimal thin white head. Not much glass lacing.

S: Sweet fruits, spice, sugar sweetness and a hint of some woody hops.

T: Sweet fruits are first with some cherry, plum, raisin and a bit of raspberry coupled with a hefty honey or sugar sweetness and the spices of coriander, cinnamon and nutmeg that take over the flavor. A slight piney hop bitterness comes in a bit at the end, but the sweetness finishes out the beer. Sweeter than I expected.

M: Coating, sweet, a twinge of alcohol and lasting.

D: Medium, it was a good one time beer, but I can't see myself having more than one.

Overall this was a treat to try, but it just didn't seem to have that extra "oomph" that I wanted. It seemed just average to me with nothing special making it stand out. Still, very glad I tried it.

Kadonny, Dec 23, 2009
Photo of DuffDadddy
3.8/5  rDev -4%

DuffDadddy, Sep 15, 2014
Photo of csmiley
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured a medium brown color with a little red. Nice touch for a Christmas Ale. About an inch of head that was average.

S - First smell is of malt and Christmas spice. Too hard to narrow down every single spice used (maybe I should have read the label before I reviewed it). Seems to have a slight roasted smell in the background mixed with alcohol.

T - Sweet flavor comes through first. Maybe a combonation of the Christmas spice and malt. Hop bitterness is more pronounced in the flavor. The abv is mostly covered by other flavors. This makes for a good balance of flavors.

M - All the flavors make this a medium bodied beer which is a good effort considering the alcohol content. Carbonation was just right.

D - This is pretty good beer that I normally end up buying more than once during the season.

csmiley, Nov 08, 2007
Photo of johnd513
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a hazy reddish-brown with a thin tan creamy head. Smells sweet with cinnamon and nutmeg. The taste is sweet up front and then becomes spicy. The spiciness stays on the tongue after drinking. The mouthfeel has medium body and moderate carbination. Drinkability is decent. I enjoyed the single and could probably have a couple.

johnd513, Feb 02, 2009
Photo of misternebbie
3.8/5  rDev -4%

misternebbie, Aug 27, 2014
Photo of Maxwell
3.81/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The beer pours a candied red/amber, almost like a dark fruit punch. It forms a soda-like head of spritzy white bubbles that fade into a scrim. In body the beer is thin and crystal clear, with only a bit of haze coming from its darker coloring. On the nose, the beer smells of soft, warm spices and an indiscriminately fruity malt. The spices are hard to pinpoint, but could contain nutmeg… The smell is softly spicy and festive, but not overwhelmingly pleasing. On the tongue, the beer tastes sweet and spicy. The spice tends far more towards the “Christmas spice” realm than towards the kick of pepper. The sweet malt almost tastes like fruit juice, and is balanced out by the spice which moves in on the middle and finish of the sip. Soft bitterness and light acidity accompany the spice for added balance. In flavor, the beer begins as sweet fruit juice, somewhere between generic fruit punch and apple juice. In the middle of the sip, the winter spices bowl onto the palate, giving hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and generic spice. The finish is of strong winter spices with a touch of grassy bitterness. The fruit juice flavors give a touch of cranberry juice in the finish, which is festive and odd. In the mouth, the beer feels on the light side of medium, practically light, with an oddly watery mouthfeel and a soft carbonation. The mouth is left with a light spice burn, some dryness, and some saliva in the cheeks. Overall, I’m a bit underwhelmed by this iteration. It has some nice winter spice, but the malt character is oddly like fruit juice, which I don’t much care for. This is an interesting beer, but I want more bread and caramel malt flavors and less fruit juice. The spicing is nice, if a bit too much on the end. Not a bad winter warmer, but not my favorite.

Maxwell, Jan 04, 2014
Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,173 ratings.