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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

1,968 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1968
Reviews: 767
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: 1,968 | Reviews: 767 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of JToad


3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-05-2007 03:37:52 | More by JToad
Photo of OWSLEY069


2.8/5  rDev -29.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-03-2007 12:40:17 | More by OWSLEY069
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.

Serving type: on-tap

11-30-2007 21:26:51 | More by JamesS
Photo of genog


3.88/5  rDev -2%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

11-29-2007 05:33:45 | More by genog
Photo of letsgopens


3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

11-07-2007 02:36:14 | More by letsgopens
Photo of LeftonJackman


4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

10-20-2007 13:50:45 | More by LeftonJackman
Photo of mcallister


4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A lively, vibrant, shiney elixr. A caramel/nutmeg brown with a small off white head that fades moderately and has good retention.

I've been drinking this beer for years now and am finally reveiwing it. I will say that this beer on draught walk all over the GL Christmas out of bottle. However the bottle is also very good but in my opinion would probably score a quarter point lower overall in a review. A bottle review of this is inevitable.

Full of Christmasy joy in the nose. Cinnamon and nutmeg galore, Very clean smelling, this beer just tastes and smells "clean". Hints of brown sugar, caramel, and very light floral hop aromas.

By far my favorite winter warmer made of the spiced variety. Again very clean and delicous tasting and again, what every spiced Christmas beer should be. (Not necassarily:)). Mouth full of cinnamon, and freshly grated nutmeg, ever so slight bit of ginger, and other spices.

Mouth is full and rich, sweet on the mid palate but ends dry. For a Chirstmas spiced beer (not my favorite style) this beer is highly drinkable and highly delicious.

Serving type: on-tap

12-27-2006 00:33:48 | More by mcallister
Photo of neenerzig


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

Got a pint of this on tap at Becky's, a pub on East 18th Street near the CSU campus where I go to grad school. To celebrate our last day of classes on Wednesday, some of my classmates and myself went to Becky's for lunch and drinks between classes. First time I ever went to class with an alcohol buzz, and it wasn't intentional either. This is perhaps even slighly better on tap then out of the bottle. Mine had a nice foamy head about an inch thick before settling. Aromas of cinammon, ginger, a bit of hops, nutmeg, and honey are all present. This beer has a bitter yet sweet taste with flavors of malt, hops, cinnamon, a dash of honey, perhaps some caramel, and some other spices. Extremely well balanced taste. Has a nice creamy and crisp mouthfeel with light to moderate carbonation. Quite easy to drink indeed. A kick ass beer. Get some before it is gone until next year!


Serving type: on-tap

12-08-2006 05:22:58 | More by neenerzig
Photo of Briarbush


4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The beer poured a deep copper with an auburn hue. Little lacing with a small head. Smell is good with a prevailing cinnamon smell little ginger. The mouthfeel was excellent with a great full body. I really enjoyed the subtle flavors of this beer. It isn't very drinkable, I imagine after a couple the spices would become pretty abrasive. The only downside to this beer is the complexity, being a beer n00b it is hard to take it all in. Great Beer. This beer at 7.5% is pretty potent. Beware cravings of eating ginger bread cookies after drinking this beer.

Serving type: on-tap

11-04-2006 16:27:35 | More by Briarbush
Photo of cproioi


2.65/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Upon being Served this beer at Molly Malones in Cincinnati I gaze at it. The beer is of a brownish red color with an almost tan head with slight carbonation present in the body. The aroma and taste went hand in hand. They both had a strong maltiness to it with an even stronger Ginger aroma and taste that seemed to over power everything. Even with the extremely strong ginger in it I could still make out some cinnimon and something that was reminded me of coriander. The mouthfeel was a medium body with carbonation dancing on the tounge. The drinkability was rather low, the beer did not leave me wanting another.

Serving type: on-tap

11-02-2006 21:00:21 | More by cproioi
Photo of cabsandking


4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


Serving type: on-tap

10-29-2006 16:31:52 | More by cabsandking
Photo of plaid75

New York

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

Poured a medium amber hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a sweet malt aroma complimented by cinammon and honey.

The taste was a nicely spiced solid grain experience. Elements of spicy cinammon and sweet honey complimented the toaty biscuit flavor.

The mouthfeel was full.

Overall a nice and potent winter warmer. Would like to get my hands on some more.

Serving type: on-tap

10-23-2006 20:20:56 | More by plaid75
Photo of sublimesipping


4.83/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap and quaffed at Bado's in the Iron City on boxing day. I have had this beer a number of times before, and it has always been at the top of my christmas ale list. The pints tonight absolutely knocked my socks off as well as knocked me on my a--. Very clean lines at this here establishment and the keg seemed very fresh as well so ratings are given as such. Apearance absolutley beautiful reddish mahagony color with good billowy head and eferesence. wonderful notes of the usual spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, etc but this beer was extremely well balanced with great harmony of flavors- excellent body and high, high drinkability. Great Lakes has always been one of the top notch midwestern brewers; these pints confirmed their rep in my mind and palate as well as reiniforced my view of this beer as the creme of their rotation. Drink it while you can and happy holidays.

Serving type: on-tap

12-31-2005 06:47:46 | More by sublimesipping
Photo of maddamish


4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Amber in color. Little to no head on this one with just as little lacing.

Smell: Heavy malt smell with hints of pine and cinnamon.

Taste: At first it was very malty till it warmed up a bit then you could really taste the pine and a slight presence of cinnamon.

Notes: It was nice to be able to get this on tap at the Winking Lizard in Akron Ohio. A great brew.

Serving type: on-tap

12-11-2005 03:58:33 | More by maddamish
Photo of AltBock


3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this on-tap at a local sports pub that served to me not too cold in a 12oz. American pint glass.

Poured a wonderful ruby red color with a nice head of white sticky foam. The aroma to me was like a lot Christmas, some pine, spices and hops in the background. Up front in the taste were spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, and then after all those spices a strong hoppy citrus flavor emerged. A strong hop aftertaste lingered on for a while after that. This goes down nice and smooth, but be careful this beer hides it alcohol content very well. I learned that the hard way. This was a nice Winter Warmer and would also make for a nice Christmas Day drink.

Serving type: on-tap

12-02-2005 04:55:12 | More by AltBock
Photo of crookedhalo


3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a lightly hazed medium amber color with a sustaining light cream-colored head. Spiced and malty nose, but something distracting in the aroma, oddly something like a urinal chip (maybe it's just my imagination, or the guy at the bar next to me just is wearing urinal chip cologne*). Light ginger and nutmeg spicing amidst a paler malt sweetness finishing lightly dry and astringent, with some biscuity maltiness lingering. A bit heavy, but drinkable even after the holdays are forgotten but it is still frigid outside.

*This review is proof that sometimes a bar is not the best atmosphere to be taking notes. 95% of my on-tap reviews are from growlers consumed in the privacy of my apartment.

Serving type: on-tap

02-12-2005 00:38:43 | More by crookedhalo
Photo of foXXtail


3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer tastes like Christmas. That’s all there is to it. Sleigh rides, decking the halls, wassailing, trimming the tree…. It’s all there.

Served in a globe glass, this beer reminds me a lot of Santa. Big and round with a jolly red hue, topped off by a fluffy white head. The nose is quite inviting, with plenty of plum sweetness and spice.

The beer starts of quite strongly pine flavored, which gives way to more familiar hop flavors quickly. A fruity malt blends nicely with the bitter hop, and provides a great balance in the brew. Spice flavors are quite strong, particularly ginger and cinamon. The aftertaste is gentle, but leaves me wanting to take another sip. Sadly, the effervescence of this beer fades quickly in the mouth, though the consistency is quite nice.. .not too thick, not to thin.

Another success by the Great Lakes Brewing Company!

Serving type: on-tap

02-02-2005 21:18:33 | More by foXXtail
Photo of kmpitz2


3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer came a nice rubyed folden color with a finger of head that slowly receded from the beer. The nose was slightly cherry, with caramel and spices dancing around in the background. The flavor was pretty full on the spices, with the caramel playing more of a background role in this one. There were hints of a cherry flavor in there as well, but very far in the background. The feel was just shy of moderate. Overall this was a nice beer. I'm not a big fan of the winter warmers with spices added, but this was a solid beer.

Serving type: on-tap

12-24-2004 00:56:22 | More by kmpitz2
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 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 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 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 GreatPondBrewer


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

Solid spiced beer and perfect for the season. Was a pretty standard amber color with a styrofoam white head. Smell was a 50/50 split between malts and spices. Malts were biscuity and there was a small hint of alcohol that was masked by nice clean notes of cinnamon. Taste was full-bodied with the ginger playing a bigger role complementing the juicy malts. Mouthfeel was good as well. Just an all around solid beer.

Serving type: on-tap

11-30-2003 17:09:26 | More by GreatPondBrewer
Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,968 ratings.