Great Lakes Christmas Ale - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Christmas AleGreat Lakes Christmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,746 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,746
Reviews: 839
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 13.16%
Wants: 144
Gots: 536 | FT: 7
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
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Ratings: 2,746 | Reviews: 839
Photo of mentor
3.26/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a one finger tan head over a crystal clear copper liquid. Smells gentle chocolate, some ginger and coriander. Comes across as a brown ale.

Tastes wet sweet with lotsa brown ale character. Chocolate and nutty with a delicious gingerbread cookie character. Fuzzy hop character, cinnamon, and sweet coriander flavor. Drying finish from herbal aromatics and cleaning alcohol. Aftertaste is dry with ginger. Md-light body and moderate carbonation. Not alot here, but still enjoyable.

Photo of GPHarris
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a - poured a two-fingers thick off-white head into a tulip glass. the body was bright and crystal clear copper...stunning clarity. it left a thin ring of lace that was gone halfway through which is probably the only thing keeping this from being at least a 4.5.
s - honey, fruits, hints of cinnamon and an underlying breadiness.
t - honey and cinnamon. this is sweet as syrup, borders on too sweet but it's not but it's definitely just a sipper.
m - smooth and coating, slick on the tongue. the finish begins to bubble more. very nice.
d - very good but they could tone down the sweetness a tad and this would amazing.

Photo of JToad
3.91/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at a bar in Elkhart Indiana called the Chubby Trout. My wife and I split a pitcher of this for $5.50.

Poured the draft into a tulip glass. The beer is a dark copper color.

Smells of subtle fruit and spice. Can definetely tell its a Christmas beer.

As it warms, the spices really begin to show. I noticed large amounts of cinnamon and corriander the warmer it got. At 7.5% ABV, it hits you pretty quick.

My wife who is not normally a beer drinker, really enjoyed this the more she drank of it. It was nice to sit in front of the window and watch the snow fall, while sipping this winter warmer. I havent been too dissapointed with many Great Lakes brews, and this one is no different. Very good Christmas Beer.

Photo of OWSLEY069
2.83/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clean copper color with a tan/ off white head. In the aroma, cinnamon and a sweetness. In the taste, cinnamon and mixed holiday spices. A smooth, yet sticky-sweet mouthfeel and a dry cinnamon aftertaste. Not bad, but cinnamon is a bit much. Easy to drink, but I don't think I could drink two.

Photo of david131
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- A very pretty amber colored beer with a thin, creamy looking head. Very very clear.

S- Christmas spice and everything nice. Raisin, minty, earthy, malty, and spicy. Has sort of a "cold" smell to it. Unique and enjoyable.

T- Minty, spicy and sweet malt. Tastes like a Christmas tree.

M- Crisp and refreshing with good carbonation.

D- An enjoyable and unique beer. Christmas in a bottle right here.

Photo of jeffmonarch
4.31/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - Light copper color with little head. What head there is dissappears quickly.

S - Sweet and spicy.

T - Sweet with a spicy zing. Good carbonation. This beer has a mix of many spices that keep your tastebuds spinning.

M - Great! This beer fills your mouth and continuously attacks your mouth with flavor.

D - Good. I can sit back and enjoy a couple of these very easily.

Photo of BeerTruth
4.07/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to pimpp for this festive ale. Syracuse just got two inches of snow, let's drink for the season!

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic.

Pours a clear light amber with a one finger off-white head that dies down to a thin layer of almost nothing. Some stickiness remains on the sides of the glass. Smell is a powder cinnamon and a gingerbread aroma. Light honey and peppermint tickle the nose as well. Chesnut flavors up front with a fresh cinnamon sweetness. Some floral hops that mellow out from the caramel malt. Light to medium body with a decent carbonation. This warmer is like Goldschläger gone beer, but in a good way. I never would have guessed the 7.5% abv., wow. Great brew for the holiday season.

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 JamesS
3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

Photo of genog
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at brazenhead, in an imperial 20 oz pint.

Pours a nice crystal and bubbly copper color with a thin layer of off white head. Smell is of strong cinnamon and some ginger bread, as well as a thin amount of honey. Taste is very sweet at first then then gingerbread kind of kicks in, very limited bittering. Mouthfeeling is nice and light.

Photo of BDIMike
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a fairly clear brown. Nice head that stayed throughout the entire beer.
Great aroma. Smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, gingerbread, and a whole bunch of spice.
The taste is very spicy too. All the Christmas flavors make an apperance, same as the smells above.
An okay mouthfeel. Could be a little heavier to match the taste.
Don't think about drinking more than two of these. Spices can get to you, along with the incredibly high alcohol content.

Photo of pwoods
1.93/5  rDev -51.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12oz. brown bottle, purchased from Party Source, poured into a pint. 1/22/08 best before date.

A: Pours a deep copper that is probably clearer than any other beers I've seen. Very small amount of very small bubbles lazily stroll to the top. average pour produced only 1/2 finger of off white head and didn't last very long.

S: Spicy cinnamon(like Big Red) is the first thing that hit me. Brown sugar, clove, nutmeg, and ginger bread also make an appearance. Not getting anything else but spices. Not terrible but not very complex, either.

T/M: Dominated by hot cinnamon and a cough syrup taste. Some clove and ginger try to make there way through but just don't manage. I don't even want to finish this. Body is medium heavy and carbonation is low.

D: Didn't drink much at all. Winter Warmer isn't my favorite style but I don't dislike it by any means... this one just didn't do it. It's very unfortunate, too, since GLBC is one of my favorite breweries.

Photo of CDBeerDisappear
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Christmas Ale, we always look forward to this seasonal favorite. A lot of breweries have beers with Christmas names (like Santa’s Butt) but this beer really captures the flavors of the holiday. It’s brewed with honey and spiced with fresh ginger and cinnamon which gives it the great holiday aroma. Good mouth feel with good carbonation to release those spicy smells makes this a very drinkable beer.

Photo of joe1510
4.12/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle
$10.99 6-Pack
Binny's Orland

Best Before 12/31/07

Let's see how the first Christmas beer of the season goes down. Great Lakes Christmas Ale pours a stunningly crystal clear copper. A one finger head formed as I poured but fell to a solid crown in no time. A good amount of carbonation streams to the surface keeping what head is there alive.

According to the bottle this has a combination of cinnamon, ginger, and honey. The cinnamon and ginger are definately there in the aroma and actually are the spotlight of this brew. There's some toasted malt in the background but it's only there as a backdrop for the spicing. I can't pull any honey out of the smell. It does smell like Christmas. As I was about finished with this review it dawned on me the aroma has a strong aroma of gingerbread. Don't know how that didn't register a little quicker.

The honey shows up in the flavor faintly. Toasted grains are the malt backbone. The spicing is, again, the highlight of this beer. Ginger, cinnamon, and honey glide over the maltiness in that order of intensity. A mouthful of gingerbread greets you and slightly fades toward the finish. The honey is mellow and ends things off nicely.

Medium bodied and coating on the swallow. This beer has a solid carbonation that keeps things moving but there is a (just short of) sticky quality on the finish that actually goes nicely with the body and spicing.

Tonight is downright cold and this is a good brew to enjoy as the holiday season quickly comes into view.

My first Christmas brew of the season and a good way to start things off. The aroma of this beer screams Christmas and it doesn't dissapoint.

Photo of mashedpotatoes
4.85/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is truly an incredible beer. Definitely one of my new favorites. The balance is perfect. Beautiful copper color pour with a medium to thick head with perfect lacing. Smell is subtle but intriguing. Taste is very smooth, very clean yet a bit complex. The ginger doesn't come through until later. When finishing off your first bottle the cinnamon is much more pronounced at the bottom. The finish is incredible and really keeps you coming back for more. Highly, highly recommended. Seasonal availability Oct through Dec.

Photo of hustlesworth
3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- clear copper/iced tea colored brew with 1in of spongy pancake batter beige-gray head. settles to a very thin ring.

S- cinnamon, ginger burns the nose slightly. smells like french toast with a hint of vanilla, maybe from the honey. dig past the spice and theres some caramel malt and a woodsy hop aroma.

T- a complex ale due to the added spices. cinnamon dominates, alcohol, ginger snap cookie, burnt pancake, slight mocha-coffee in the malt, aromatic wood, thanksgiving desserts. at the end, astringent bitter hops mingle with the spicy sweetness but fade quickly.

MF- slightly syrupy, coating, mid to low carbonation, honey and spices feel cloying, but would probably go great with a similar flavored dessert like pumpkin pie or apple fritter.

D- a nice treat for the holidays, but i prefer to stick to the basics. a find all the various spices unnecessary and i get tired of them quickly. after i finish one of these, i want something thats just :water>grain>yeast>hops:

Photo of csmiley
3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Photo of letsgopens
3.89/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on-tap at Buffalo Wild Wings in Downtown Youngstown, this winter warmer pours a very nice mahogany copper with a good looking, frothy, white head that holds well and leaves a nice lace ring.

The aroma is malty and sweet with a decent amount of spice and just a hint of hops. Fairly malty and somewhat uneventful but still pleasant.

Very sweet with more malt and lots of spice and fruit: orange and cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom. Moderate hops for the style. One curious characteristic is a noticeable metallic flavor; not unappetizing but curious. Of course there's a very significant amount of alcohol warmth. For its fairly average ABV, this selection will certainly keep you toasty on a chilly winter evening.

Starchy and smooth but with a bit of sharpness and plenty of warmth in the finish. Moderate carbonation really ups the spice on the tongue. Another well crafted beer from Great Lakes. Oh, and watching the Steelers stomp the Ravens on Monday Night Football doesn’t hurt the experience either.

Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.63/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Medium red/brown body that looks similar to a dark red ale. Foamy white head that has great retention at 1/2 finger. Body is transparent.

S- Nose is light and dominated by cinnamon and honey. Ginger and other warn spices are noted in the background along with a slight hoppiness.

T- Initial taste is very brassy and metallic. Cinnamon and other spices are noticeable in the background but the honey almost disappears. Finish is quite clean and a slight metallic bitterness lingers on the palate.

M- Medium carbonation and medium weight body. Nice and easy to swallow but nothing remarkable.

D- This gets a 4.0 from me for two reasons. 1. It was easy to finish in a short amount of time and I probably could have consumed more of it. 2. I would have never guessed the ABV was so high because there is no hint of that anywhere in the smell/taste/mouthfeel. Other than that-this is an above average winter warmer that I will probably have again before the season is over but it was nothing that impressed me too much.

Photo of nvsblman
4.6/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Crystal clear golden brown with about a finger of white head. Aroma is of ginger, honey, and a little cinnamon. Nicely sweet, not at all too sweet. The flavor shows about the same balance as the aroma. The ginger stand out a bit more than the other flavors and lingers a little longer, but the sweetness of the honey and the spiciness of the cinnamon provide a nice balance. Medium bodied with a bit of creaminess. This would be great to have around during the holiday season.

Photo of LeftonJackman
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Christmas comes early in Cleveland, OH! Great Lakes Brewery taps it's first keg of its storied Christmas Ale in October and I was there for the festivities!

Perhaps it is part anticipation, but the Christmas Ale is a sight to behold. A deep, warm amber appearance is a perfect prelude to the warm, seasonal taste. The off-white head is about a finger and melts perfectly to lace.

Drawing deeply I get cinnamon, ginger and a perfect amount of honey. The honey is present but not overpowering. It smells like a warm draft on a bitter Cleveland winter's night.

The taste is a good follow to the nose. Spicy and moderately sweet thanks to the honey. Aptly named as Christmas Ale, this is a cool weather beer.

With only a slight bitterness it awakens the tongue and does not batter the back of the mouth. Chin-up and catch the hints of bitterness in the back of the throat.

Lovely drinkability, but beware the ABV. It is stronger than your average beer and is to be celebrated, not consumed.

There is a very good reason that this beer is a back-to-back Gold Medal Winner.

On-tap is the way to go.

Photo of aforbes10
3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have no idea where i got this, but i have a good idea where it is about to go! Pours as a shiny red beer with hints of brown. Smells like one of those off-brand colas you get from a 25cent machine. plummy and spicy with notes of nutmeg, maple, honey and cinnamon, but still in a kind of cheap soda way. Very tasty though. a veritable fruitcake of flavors...nutmeg is the most pronounced, with a lot of ginger as well and cinnamon....not over the top in flavor though...spices run thick but there's a nice malt backbone in it. Medium bodied and well balanced. One of the better spiced beers ive tried.

Photo of drseamus
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The body of this beer is beautiful, a very bright dark amber/reddish hue. However, the one finger white head that I got by pouring from about 6 inches above the glass disappeared almost instantly leaving only the faintest of rims around the glass and some speckled spots of head in the center.

S: This is definitely a winter warmer. Along with the rush of caramely malty aromas pouring from this glass was riding ginger, cinnamon, honey, and other spices that immediately bring the holidays to mind.

T: Ginger is very prominent in the flavor. There are other flavors playing second violin like cinnamon, malt, and other spices that I can't name specifically but again, remind me of the holidays.

M: Very smooth beer. It has a medium body with no carbonation.

D: This is a pretty good beer considering I drank it in July. It would be even better in the winter I bet.

Photo of Imstillthegman
3.45/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Sephiroth for the extra in a trade.

Pours a clear copper color with a half-inch off-white head. Head quickly fades and leaves only a spot or two of lacing.

The aroma is intriguing, yet a bit of a turn-off at the same time. Not sure which way I am going here. Sweet malts, dark fruits, spices and a faint honey smell. Bringing back memories of those weird herbal medicines my mother would mix up and try to get us to take.

The flavor is exactly as the label would have you believe. The spices make it different than just about any winter warmer I have had. The honey isn't easy to pick out, but it's there.

Slightly creamy, medium bodied beer. Spicy, herbal aftertaste. Glad I got to try it, but I don't think I would ever buy it.

Photo of ppoitras
3.18/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle obtained via trade with Lewis13 from RB. Thanks for the opportunity... Best by Jan 19, 2006. Oops.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" beige head over the slightly cloudy coppery amber brew. Head fades at a moderate pace, with sporadic lasting lace. Aroma is dominated by sweet malts and spices. Taste is a muddy mixture of spice, grains, and piney hops. Mouthfeel is kind of thin, and this isn't something I would probably search out again. But as a one-time seasonal visitor, it's not too bad.

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