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: 2,752
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 12.05%
Wants: 147
Gots: 547 | 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: 2,752
Photo of Fergyx825
2.41/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: a brownish red beer, with some head on the pour. It sticks around for a bit around the edges of the beer and on the surface of the beer. This matches the description of a winter warmer.

Smell: at first you can smell the spices in this beer, they smell rich and thick. Cinnamon and nutmeg, and then you can smell the light hops of the beer, and some maltyness in it.

Taste: the rich spicy flavor is evident, the beer is spicy like fire sauce. Its very high in alcohol content. This is not enjoyable whatsoever.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation, and a medium thickness beer. These match each well.

Overall: This looks good, smells good, but it tastes terrible. I was looking forward to this too. (708 characters)

Photo of PHBoiler
3.61/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pure ruby red color, which is festive and beautiful. I get some spices on the nose. Not a big aroma at all. I get some orange, cinnamon spice, and a bit of pie spice in the body. It's really a bit flat for me. Mouthfeel is normal for this style. Overall, I don't think I'd go for this beer even during the holidays. It feel short in the base beer for me, so the minimal spices just didn't elevate it enough. (407 characters)

Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Picked this up in Totowa yesterday, being told that that was enjoyable and a good seasonal beer. While I didn't know what to expect with this, I can honestly say that I've never had anything like this before. This was certainly spicy but not to a large extent and because the alcohol was quite recessed, those notes shone through quite nicely. This was a bit light in hue for a Winter Warmer but certainly full and worth savoring, after the adjusting to the slightly unusual notes in this beer!

The pour to this was a light hazelnut with a moderate amount of head that quickly dissipated and some lacing that slid down the edges of my pint glass after every sip. Loads of ginger in the nose and more of a gingerbread in the taste, reinforced by cinnamon, nutmeg, a bit of lemon pepper, and other wintry spices. Some graham cracker in this too but this never felt too thick or chewy - the mouthfeel was quite nice and pretty balanced, with just a hair too much carbonation. A bit of lemon zest and ginger lingered in the aftertaste, leading me to want to take another sip to subdue it just a bit.

The alcohol was present but because the spice was so pronounced, I felt that it did more of the warming than the booze did. By the end of the bottle, the strength of this could be felt but not to the point where I wouldn't have another one of these. Two would be just about it though, as this would not be a beer to chug in large quantities. If you're decorating a gingerbread house or having a plate of cookies around the fire, grab this beer and enjoy. It's a good choice for this time of the year and not like anything else on the shelf, all while staying stylistically and seasonally true to form. (1,700 characters)

Photo of brewtus
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours copper brownish orange with a singe finger white head. Smell is tons of nutmeg, heaps of ginger, plenty of honey, malty, bready. Tastes as promised , very fresh ginger, smooth honey, nutmeg, cinnamon, sweet brown sugar. Carbonation is nice. Overall I like this beer, I don't think it's the greatest Christmas ale out there. If you're not aware, people go a lite overboard for this, but hey I'm all about supporting a great Ohio brewery. A little sweet for me, but a very enjoyable seasonal . (497 characters)

Photo of THFCBeerBQ
3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bought a 6-pack of 12oz bottles at my local Wegman’s supermarket. Drink by date of 3/20/14 stamped on label. (More than three months from now so this is pretty fresh)

Poured semi-vigorously into a pint glass.

A-Light brown in color. Super filtered with a fair amount of visible carbonation. Quarter-inch head present with some lacing. (good, not great)

S- Sweet smell, predominantly gingerbread, cinnamon and other holiday spice. While it’s more of a sweet, caramel, malty nose there is a faint floral hop aroma present as well. I often find that Great Lakes’ brews are light on aroma but BIG on taste, let’s hope this is the same.

T- Sweet caramel flavor hits your palette first and carries all the way through this brew. Spice comes into play pretty early with gingerbread and nutmeg. The swallow releases a faint ginger and honey, hop flavor before leading into a slightly toasted aftertaste that’s lightly sprinkled with cinnamon.

M- Light-to-medium mouthfeel with textbook carbonation.

O- I never thought honey and ginger would go with cinnamon and holiday spice and I am still not overly convinced. This is a pretty good brew because Great Lakes is a pretty good brewery but I am not sure how many of these I would have back-to-back. I think this flavor combination would wear out on me sooner rather than later. Still, I am glad I gave this one a go.

86/100 (1,385 characters)

Photo of coldy
4.41/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Its that time of year, and I was reminded of my annual treat of Great Lakes Christmas Ale. As craft beer continues to grow, the shelves are packed with winter/Christmas varieties, but this particular continues to be an all time favorite. This beer has a wonderful balance, with just enough fruit/cherry without it being over powering.
The aftertaste has a light wheat, and the overall taste is a great representation of what a Christmas Ale should taste like. Delicious (469 characters)

Photo of Kendo
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Poured from the bottle into a Corsendonk Christmas glass. Body is clear reddish-brown with no head whatsoever.

S: Not much of a nose; mild malt with a touch of fruit and spice.

T: Nice, but nothing earth-shattering. Brown bread, fruit (think cherries or berries) and a hint of spice (both cinnamon & ginger come to mind at different times). Finishes with a bit of lingering sweetness, though it's not cloying at all. The 7.5% ABV is well-hidden, though felt in the belly as warmth.

M: Medium in heft, a wee bit sticky.

O: Good stuff. An easy-to-drink winter warmer. Reminds me subtly of gingerbread cookies. (614 characters)

Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle purchased at the brewpub, poured into a bulbed Great Lakes Pint glass (also purchased at the brewpub). Liquid portion comes out a nice amber that kind of totes between a hearty orange and autumn brown. Nice orange cremcicle colored head that's frothly looking with mostly small bubbles. Crazy good clarity on this beer, can see right through it.

This isn't a strong Christmas beer in the nose, but it still smells good. I like it that way, some breweries will over due it with the spices. Like caramel and toffee malts sprinkled with more cinnamon than nutmeg, then drizzled with some slightly milky honey. Some spicy hops to follow at the end.

Taste is on par with the smell. Lots of spiciness and the cinnamon seems stronger in the flavor than the smell. Got some natural sweet and somewhat bitter breadiness followed by some earthy hops. Christmas spiciness is the dominant feature here though, cinnamon, nutmeg, ect, then followed by a creamy honey glaze.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, clean crisp nice balance from the hops, slight bite from the alcohol. Clean and a gentle bitterness at the final feel; slightly spicy and even a little creamy. Pretty drinkable, one bottle is enough for me and I'd only drink it around the holidays, hits the spot when looking for a nice Christmas Ale. (1,309 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear medium amber in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and a faint amount of copper highlights. The beer has a finger tall creamy foamy light beige head that slowly reduces to a large patch of thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer with a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of caramelized and toasted malts with slightly stronger aromas of ginger, vanilla, and nutmeg.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of caramelized and lightly toasted malts with a touch of sugar cookie sweetness. There is a nice combination of spices which follow that includes ginger, vanilla, and nutmeg.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: Overall the flavor of this beer reminds me of a combination of gingerbread and sugar cookies - one of the better Christmas beers that I have tried. Easy to drink and enjoyable with very well hidden alcohol. (1,022 characters)

Photo of micromaniac129
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This beer has a murky orange brown color. More towards th brown side.
The head formed was tall and beige in color with a dense body that was pocked with large bubbles.
A pretty good amount of lacingf was left behind.
The aroma was of sweet malts. Slight roasted malts intermingled nicely with the sweet malts. Hints of bitter chocolate were noted too.
Taste was like the nose wih a sweeter malt taste that had some underlying roastedness.
A little bit of cococa came through too.
There is a fairly large alcohol presence that puckers the tongue and probably takes away from the taste.
Overall I liked it. Good flavor but too much alcohol presence. (647 characters)

Photo of sarbast
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

My favorite beer! The appearance is cinnamon, as is the aroma, as is the taste. It is not as sweet as many of the other spiced/winter warmers. There is a smokiness to this, not overly so. Frankly, I could drink this all day. Wonderful taste, lighter than anticipated, but packs a wallop. (287 characters)

Photo of fx20736
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bought a single bottle from Beers of the World on 11/22/13. Sell by date is 01/31/14.

Poured from bottle into a pint glass, served at cellar temp.

appearance: medium-dark amber with a rocky shortbread head of sticky foam.Nice lacing.

aroma: Caramel malt, ginger, maybe some honey. Nice.

mouthfeel: just ok.

taste: Brown sugar sweetness, spices like ginger, cloves and coriander and a slight chocolatey finish. Honey makes an appearance at end also.

notes: Like every beer drink from Great Lakes, I detect cocoa at the end. The difference is, it works for this beer just like it works for Eddy Fitz. This beer is better than Sam Adams Winter Lager, however I don't like it well enough to buy again. Still I wouldn't turn it down if it were offered. (753 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 MilkMan126
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Looks great. Red amber color with a small head that dissipates. Would look great next to your mom's Christians decorations.

Smell is excellent. Ginger cookies with brown sugar and icing. Spices come through aggressively.

I taste ginger and other spices. Cinnamon and vanilla are present. Nice biscuit malt flavor underneath reminds you it's a beer after all. It provides a nice warming sensation. Bitey carbonation adds to the effect. Let it warm a little before drinking to get all the flavors - it gains a nice balance but the spices will still hold up more than anything. Medium to full body.

Complex but not too spicy, which I appreciate. It warms the spirit and reminds me of Christmas comfort. People rave about this winter delicacy in Columbus, Ohio. I can see, smell, and taste why. (794 characters)

Photo of granger
4.37/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The pour has nearly no head and the beer is mildly carbonated. The color is a thick amber while the smell has faint traces of honey and stronger hints cinnamon and other spices. You'll be able to taste the spices, and the drinkability is excellent for a 7.5 ABV beer. This ale sets the bar by which all other winter beers should be measured. (341 characters)

Photo of screamking
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into GL Christmas ale snifter. I've had this glass for 7 yrs, this is the first time it's had GLCA in it.

Pours dark ruby amber, with a two finger khaki head. Classic Great Lakes looks, always have great looking beers. The aroma is filled with cinnamon, nutmeg, and a good dose of vanillia. The taste has less sweetness up front, instead there's a nice bitterness in its stead. Mid palate the sweetness kicks is with vanilla. The cinnamon and nutmeg last for quite awhile in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is surpisingly light making it very easy to drink. ABV is a bit high and sneaks up on you. This is a holiday classic in ohio and I don't see that changing anytime soon. (690 characters)

Photo of BMMillsy
3.72/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a pretty ruby color with a small light cream colored head. Arima is subdued cinnamon spice with malt characteristics in the background. Flavor is full of fruit, with a touch of cinnamon. The honey sweetness is definitely present. I like that the spice does not overpower this. Too many of these turn into spice bombs. A great beer to have in front of the fire if you aren't in a big beer mood. Light to medium bodied with good carbonation. One of the best spiced beers I have tried. (488 characters)

Photo of Icedogs
4.9/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

My favorite Christmas/holiday/winter seasonal of them all, by far. I crave this beer, I stalk it. Yes, I am quite biased in favor of Great Lakes Brewing Company because one of my best friends worked there for nine years and I've spent many a fine afternoon/evening at the place. But my preference for GLBC beer is primarily because the beers are almost always outstanding. Cheers! (380 characters)

Photo of MacQ32
4.34/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a golden color with a slight tint of amber, head is copper/ginger and 2 fingers tall. Decent retention, ok lacing.

S - Caramel and honey up front, with some cinnamon spice and brown sugar

T - Lots of cream caramel/honey with spiced cinnamon and ginger, maybe a hint of citrusy orange flavors as well. Possibly the best Christmas Ale I've had

M - Medium bodied or less, slightly sticky on the tongue, just the right amount of carbonation, quite drinkable but still has moderate warming characteristics.

O - New favorite Christmas beer! (548 characters)

Photo of ValpoExpo
4.64/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A winter classic from Northeast Ohio. You have to be VERY careful with GLBC's Christmas Ale because it will knock you on your butt in no time. It truly is the perfect sweet honey, alcohol infused taste of Christmastime. November 1 (the release date of Christmas Ale) is a holiday in itself for Northeast Ohioans. (312 characters)

Photo of PorterLambic
3.31/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a really nice coppery-amber color with a light tan head. Retention is not so great, dropping to a faint ring quickly.
Smell is malty with a caramel note and a weird sweet floral note that is very hard to place specifically. No spice notes to be found though they were expected.
Taste is the same as the smell, malt, caramel, and that same odd sweet floral note. It isn't quite strong enough to be offputting but it isn't able to be overlooked, either. No real spice though a very faint pepper note does show eventually.
Solid medium-full body, somewhat warming, smooth-ish with light effervescence. Nothing great sadly. A decent beer, that's all. (652 characters)

Photo of yesyouam
3.29/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Great Lakes Christmas Ale is a crystal clear amber ale with a soft, waxy, yellowish head that leaves nice lacing on the glass. It has a light aroma with hints of spice and candy. It's medium bodied and a little sharp. The finish is a little metallic and gritty. It's quite sweet and well spiced. It almost tastes like a candy cane. There's a little caramel and some juniper bitterness that lingers after the swallow. This is very clearly a Christmas Ale. The balance is pretty good but it's too sweet to have more than one. (523 characters)

Photo of Foam
3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Ginger fruit.
flower blossoms .
malt.
olive brine ?
sea salt .

that great lakes-ian soul that their brews posess .
best of all, got a bunch of single bottles for $1.00 since it's way out of season .
a spicy nutmeg and ginger-malt finish concludes the taste profile of this Cleveland-brew .
definetly a weirdo/geek even amidst the X-mas beer world .

a few will do ya . (369 characters)

Photo of tmm313
4.48/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoyed this beer. It poured a crystal clear amber color with thick head and nice lacing. Smell was super sweet with loads of caramel, some citrus, apple, ginger, coriander, some chocolate, and rich honey. Taste was nice as well. Super malty with nice bready notes, slight grapefruit, cinnamon and ginger. Mouthfeel was medium, slick, and drying. I had a great time drinking it. (387 characters)

Photo of dtivp
3.64/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep amber with a half finger dull white head, very little retention or lacing.

Aroma of malt, honey and strong cinnamon spice.

Taste follows the nose with sweet honey, malts hints of caramel followed by cinnamon and nutmeg.

Mouth Feel was the light side of medium body, moderate carbonation, smooth with a nice holiday spice flair.

Overall this is a nice Christmas Ale that does not go overboard with the spices as some other Christmas Ales tend to do. (465 characters)

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