Great Lakes Christmas Ale - Great Lakes Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 2,112 | Reviews: 770 | Display Reviews Only:
3.55/5 rDev -10.4%
From a trade with DuqTroops.
A: The ale is a deep amber, almost brown color with a white wisp of head that has not retained or laced.
S: The aroma is spicy with honey sweetness and nutmeg.
T: The ale has a great deal of strong spices. First is the ginger, providing a slightly sweet but very drying flavor. The ginger is quickly followed by cinnamon, honey and nutmeg. The final flavor to pop up is a strong cardamon.
M: The spices are plentiful and strong, creating the best winter warmer I've had this season.
D: The spices are strong, good for a cold winter night (not the 50 degree nights we've been having thus far in December). I may even mull a bottle and see if the heat brings out more spices.
12-15-2006 01:41:32 | More by akorsak
3.98/5 rDev +0.5%
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.
12-01-2013 01:46:26 | More by dbrauneis
2.85/5 rDev -28%
(Served in an American pint glass)
A- This beer a nice deep orangish-brown body that is crystal clear and a nice thin off-white head sits on top. It has a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles.
S- The smells of graham crackers and toasted malt with a hint of biscuit malt and a slight spice smell that is a bit off.
T- The slight sweetness of toasted malt is mixed with a taste of cinnamon and ginger that taste chemical together. The finish has a slight ginger hint. The hop spiciness is very faint at the finish and the alcohol doesn't really come through much.
M- Nice medium mouthfeel with some fizzy making it feel more full. No alcohol warmth or astringency.
D- This beer has a good base beer but the cinnamon and ginger are not good spices to pair. Even when the spices are good quality they have a chemical taste and smell to them.
11-18-2005 04:08:34 | More by rhoadsrage
3.88/5 rDev -2%
Thanks to BuckEyeNation for this one.
Pours a clear copper color, a quick fizzy head, nice carbonation, not much lacing afterwards. The nose is of sweet malts, ginger, and honey. The taste follows the nose, quite different Winter Warmer than other's I've had, nice sweet/honey taste, clean finish. Light-Medium body. Very drinkable, would be fooled about the 7.5% ABV though, tasty. Would recommend at least once.
12-29-2006 00:28:06 | More by Wasatch
3.93/5 rDev -0.8%
12oz bottle poured into a small snifter during a blizzard. Not yet available in eastern PA, thanks Matt for getting this.
Christmas looks like a fusion of sunset orange, burnt, rusted penny with a slight hazy appearance. Looks kinda thick out the bottle, a elevated pour started off producing no activity, than all of a sudden, BOOM, a big mound of tannish/beige foam, no stickage no lace, just streaks.
The smell is also a fusion of spices from the kitchen with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, which I personally can't stand in my beers, eeek. I won't subtract for that though. No sign of any hops but there is a sweet malty scent.
A Winter Warmer with alot of spices, this kind of reminded me of drinking different flavored iced teas for some reason. I just get a iced tea vibe from this. A mix between cinnamon, ginger and tea pouches. Luckily the ginger is subdued. A small bite of bread at the end of churrrch and no hops to speak of.
This manages to come off real spicy without the long and sometimes overbearing aftertaste that come with the style. This comes and goes like a flash with a iced tea finish, I'm serious. It's medium bodied but feels and goes down lighter than that. Carb is smoooth with no bite at the end of the tounge.
This is good, a nicely spiced ale with the ABV somewhere in the middle. While I can only take a single serving of winter warmers in my experience, I could see myself drinking a few of these because of the light aftertaste. Well balanced and mad drinkable.
02-11-2010 04:40:57 | More by BARFLYB
4/5 rDev +1%
Appearance: pours a golden color with not much lacing and no head.
Smell: The spice smell is prevalent in a good way.
Taste: Sweet and malty balanced just right.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied feels good going down.
Drinkability: The best Christmas ale and very easy to drink all night just don't plan on driving home.
11-21-2010 21:33:39 | More by ejimhof
3.15/5 rDev -20.5%
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.
05-11-2007 02:02:51 | More by ppoitras
4.13/5 rDev +4.3%
a. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. A bit of head that fades to the edges. Copper in color and clear.
s. Spices and honey are apparent. Some malt adds to the mix.
t. A nice complex brew here. Some nice caramel malt. Hints of pine from the hops (possibly spruce as well?). Some spice (cinnamon and nutmeg namely) in the background, and the honey only adds to a lingering sweet finish, otherwise balanced out by the bitterness.
m. Medium bodied crisp and refreshing. A challange to my palate and a dry semi sweet finish.
d. This is a most excellent winter warmer. Complex and warming indeed. A winner. What I have come to expect from this brewery.
09-25-2008 00:51:10 | More by Stinkypuss
4/5 rDev +1%
12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, best before 2/22/2013. Pours lightly hazy copper amber color with a small 1 finger fairly dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty minimal lacing on the glass. Aromas of caramel, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, toast, brown sugar, cherry, raisin, bread, and herbal spiciness. Very nice aromas with good strength and balance. Taste of caramel, bread, toast, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, honey, brown sugar, raisin, and herbal spiciness. Slight spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, clove, bread, and herbal spiciness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice malt/spice flavor balance with good complexity; zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a lightly creamy and slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice spice amber ale! Well balanced with good flavor complexity; very smooth and easy to drink. Very enjoyable offering as expected.
12-09-2012 05:58:39 | More by superspak
District of Columbia
3.85/5 rDev -2.8%
Bottle shared by Dreadnaught33. Thanks Jonathan!
A: This beer appears a slightly hazy shade of orange, with an eighth inch of head that falls away after a few moments, leaving some decent lacing upon the glass.
S: The aroma is very potent, with a huge bouquet of spices, including cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
T: The taste is full of Christmas spices, with hints of alcohol when you delve past the dominant spice scents. I would like the beer to be a bit more robust, and / or have a more substantial malt bill, better supporting the myriad of pleasant spices used in this creation.
M: Thin in body, with moderate carbonation.
D: A nice choice if you're in the mood for a spiced Christmas brew.
12-22-2010 05:53:51 | More by Huhzubendah
4.03/5 rDev +1.8%
Antique copper kettle with vivid - and very pretty - overtones of auburn; it is both spotlessly clear and eloquently coloured. Even lightly tipping the glass will cause the bubbles, which flutter like snowflakes, to actively stagger back on course upwards. Its filmy layer of head looks anemically thin but actually has a fair retention and can be very responsive to swirling.
The aroma has the unmistakable distinctness of honey and a sweetness that overcoats the fine hop presence as well as a bulky chunk of malt. Those malts, which seem a lot more dominant in this sample, have a very British makeup to them. They smell of ever so finely toasted bread and offer hints of butterscotch, walnuts, toffee, and crisply baked cookies.
The spices may be subtle and delicate but they are not entirely indistinct. A sort of 'right off the baker's spice rack' general brown spice character can be both smelled and tasted. The label gives its secret away as being cinnamon and ginger, but I would also buy into nutmeg and/or cardamom. The flavour bears much resemblance to gingerbread and/or spiced Christmas cake.
The malts, never to be forgotten, provide a good, ample dousing of caramel, maple and nuts. Something is reminding me of candy apples and apple turnovers. The honey is very forward and overrules most of the spice with notes of sticky sweet nectar and the wholesome taste of strained liquid honey.
Most impressive, perhaps, is that absolutely none of the 7.5% alcohol is noticed. This certainly drinks as easy as any standard strength pint. The honey and spices make the beer taste mulled and pacify the bitterness right out of the beer, causing it to drink with an almost sugar-coated sweetness. The balance of spices and the integration of honey works wonderfully with these toasty, toffee coated malts.
It seems regardless of how many of these I buy, I always end up wishing I had another bottle. Granted, I'd make that same statement of anything by Great Lakes Brewing but I really do consider their Christmas Ale to be a fantastic seasonal offering. It is a savory, warming, and easy drinking ale perfectly suited for the holiday season - I better buy even more next year!
12-21-2008 22:43:08 | More by biegaman
3.4/5 rDev -14.1%
Poured on tap at Jose Andres' America Eats Tavern into a pilsner style glass.
No foam or head presented. Clear dark orange body with some slow rising carbonation coming up. Since there is only the body to describe there's not much else to say.
Nose is pretty muted. There's faint dry malt, and some mild nutmeg. But really it's a pretty closed nose.
Taste is mild bread dough, mixing with not clove spices. Sweetness comes on the aftertaste more so, even some fruity cherry sensations. Mouthfeel has some sticky like quality but it's also a bit wet, carbonation seems a little fizzy but tolerable.
Overall, not sure how much this was opened up on the pour, but it seems like I am preferring Great Lakes out of the bottle than on tap based on my experience.
12-11-2011 14:41:44 | More by smakawhat
4/5 rDev +1%
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.
10-23-2006 20:20:56 | More by plaid75
4.03/5 rDev +1.8%
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.
10-25-2004 23:00:13 | More by Viggo
4.35/5 rDev +9.8%
Hazy scarlet red in color. Thin creamy, yet bubbly, tan head. This beer smells like Christmas: Cinamon, spice and everything nice. The beer tastes like Christmas joy as well. The cinamon is the main player of the spices, but the orange contributions are notable and enjoyable as well. Nice little biscuity malt backbone and some alcohol notes to give a little umph to this beer. Carbonated nicely. Medium body. One of the more enjoyable spiced winter offerings I have come across. Thank you PhantomVoodoo for the sample.
I have now sampled 6 Great Lakes beverages. I can't comment on their consistency as I don't have consistent access to them, but the quality of the brews I've had is extremely high. One of the best in the US in my opinion. I've doled out 4.5s to the Elliot Ness, Burning River and Dortmuder Gold. I've rated the Edmund Fitzgerald a 4.6, the X-mas ale a 4.4 and the Loctender Lager a 4.25. My new top 3 would include K-ZOO, Stone and Great Lakes.
I'd love to see what they could do with a Barleywine, Imperial Stout or IPA.
12-26-2002 20:18:53 | More by Bighuge
3.5/5 rDev -11.6%
One of the best midwest holiday ales. Looks dark brown/red/copper. Aroma is very much like Christmas: some beer, pine, gravy, mashed potatoes, yams, ham, cranberry, cinammon mesh.
Taste, you pick up some of those things, who knows, maybe a little pumpkin and coriander. A few of the things in Anchor Christmas probably, but more pronounced in this offering.
Drinkability suffers a little, too sweet and just too much like food in a blender to keep chugging these along. Heavy.
01-02-2010 05:27:38 | More by Beerandraiderfan
3.38/5 rDev -14.6%
Thanks to jtd1969 for sharing this one with me.
Pours a deep amber with a quarter of an inch of off white head that has little retention. The nose is sweet with mild notes of honey, faint cinnamon, and fainter ginger. The flavor opens up with some faint honey and then moves into a candy-like, sugary sweetness. The finish has notes of cinnamon and very faint ginger. The flavor profile overall is rather light and laid back. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth, and moderately carbonated.
This isn't a bad beer, but it's uninteresting. There's is nothing that sets it apart from any of the other winter warmers that are also brewed with cinnamon, ginger, and honey. It was nice to try once, but I wouldn't have it again.
02-05-2012 17:59:46 | More by tdm168
4.2/5 rDev +6.1%
Picked up a 6 pack of this when I was back in Buffalo for the holiday. I didn't even know Great Lakes distributed to the area and I was very surprised to see it in the local grocery store.
Poured from a 12 bottle into a tulip glass. Poured a dark amber somewhat reddish color with thick white head settled to a small ring that clung to the side of the glass.
Aroma has a lot of spices in it, mostly cinnamon and ginger. Taste also has a lot of spices, cinnamon seems to be the most present but not dominating. Medium bodied and moderate carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good for a spiced beer, I usually can't drink much of these but this one is pretty easy to drink.
Spices are nicely done in this one, they are not so overpowering I can't have more then one. Very good holiday beer and I will be buying this again whenever I go home for the holidays.
12-04-2009 01:25:08 | More by billab914
3.69/5 rDev -6.8%
12 oz bottle served in a goblet.
Body is deep amber-copper with excellent clarity. Head has poor retention.
Smells and tastes like a spicy brown ale. The spice mix says "winter holidays" and, while obvious and too strong for some ales, is not so powerful as to mask the solid caramel and medium roast malts used in this ale. Acceptably sweet.
Medium body with medium-light carbonation.
04-20-2014 00:38:04 | More by chinchill
3.95/5 rDev -0.3%
Poured from a bottle into a tumbler pint, the beer is a bright, lightly carbonated, copper coloring with a filmy, sparse, thin, white head coating the surface. Aromas of cinnamon spiced honey sweetness, both rich and smooth. Some roasty, bready notes in the background, also. Flavors are rich and sweet, on a very smooth, robust body. Almost creamy feel in mouth. The honey creates a semisweet, solid backbone with spiced and fruit highlights. The spice profiles of nutmeg, cinnamon, and all-spice are very subtle, and blended very well. This is what fruitcake is supposed to taste like, instead of candied evil and garbage. Lightly spiced aftertaste, with the honey giving off some tropical fruit esthers, also. Smooth, clean finish. Very tasty brew, and extremely easy to drink.
01-03-2013 00:59:50 | More by GarthDanielson
Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,112 ratings.