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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

819 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 819
Hads: 2,810
Avg: 3.91
pDev: 24.3%
Wants: 157
Gots: 602 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 819 | Hads: 2,810
Photo of 33nickadams
3.57/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Transparent copper amber hue that has a about a finger of head that dissolves rather quickly. Smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves- similar to pumpkin ales that I have tried. Interesting taste. Very balanced malty spicy sweetness with a slight earthy bitterness that follows. Mouthfeel has a medium body and well-carbonated. Overall, too similar to other pumpkin ales to set itself apart for me.

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Photo of Baileyuk
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Head was minimal but lacing was okay. Nothing special for sure. Color was an attractive light brown with a reddish hue.

Smell had Nutmeg and ginger heavily in the nose.

Taste had a good spicy blend. Ginger was dominant but not overpowering. Maybe some nutmeg (fainter than in the nose), also some cinnamon and all spice. All the flavors were well balanced to definately dominate but give a decent taste.

The carbonation was excellent and there was little evidence of the power if the abv was really 7.5%. I was not overly pleased with this beer but it is fairly decent in you like spiced christmas ales.

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Photo of cadizkyguy
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoyed this Christmas Ale from Great Lakes. I'm surprised to see some grade it very low because Winter Warmers, such as this brew, are different from the beers we enjoy the rest of the year. It has a nice frothy head and a nice amber color and I really enjoyed it, even after consuming two Goose Island Christmas Ales, which had quenched my holiday thirst. Great Lakes makes some great brews and I look forward to reviewing some more.

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Photo of ProudBeerSnob
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a chalice. Thick tan-ish head topping a beautiful copper color. Aroma hints of what's to come- fruity and spicy. Very good mouthfeel, not too overewhelmig, due to good balance.
Winter warmers are not my personal fave, but this is a decent, much better than the last one I had- Harpoon's.

I would probably pick up another one next year when I'm in Cleveland (in-laws) especially seeing as how I hear that they run out of this one.


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Photo of midnite2sixman
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

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Photo of schusterbauer
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

nocticably better on tap, but still a fine beer. less balanced from the bottle, with cinnamon and nutmeg taking a much more prominant place in the flavor profile. from the tap this is a very creamy and smooth beer, from the bottle it's a bit on the thin side.
all in all though, still a very nice winter brew. the honey, nutmeg, hops, and pine flavors make a very nice combination.

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Photo of dciBA
3.35/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured amber into a pint glass. No head or lacing whatsoever. Smells of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Quite a spicy, flavorful beer. A nice balance of holiday/baking spices when cold, but ginger takes over when warm. The ginger flavor stays on the palate for several minutes. The body and mouthfeel are where this beer shines. Very smooth, almost creamy as it goes down. The strong, almost overpowering amount of ginger keep the drinkability score low. This is a solid, good tasting beer, but I'd only ever want to drink one at a time.

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Photo of LairdChisholm
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pours a clear golden copper color with a slight off-white head that has sub par retention. No lacing here. There is a good amount carbonation bubbles heading to the top.

S - Nice smell here. I get some caramel malts, cinnamon and a hint of cherry.

T - Up front we have a nice mix of hops and caramel malts which help balance this Winter Warmer out nicely. In the middle there are hints of cinnamon and clove which are there just enough and not overwhelming. Just like at the beginning, malts and hops bring this to a very nice, balanced finished.

M - Very nice carbonation helps bring out these flavors very well.

D - Considering the higher ABV for a winter warmer and the great taste, you can't do much better.

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Photo of scottyb88
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 bottle.
A- pours a brownish orange color with a creamy head and decent lacing

S-orange peel, honey, nutmeg, and a little brown sugar

T-the aroma flavors are prominent in the taste, but not one ingredient over powers anything else; there's a sweet, almost candied pecan flavor that lingers, which blends nice with the honey

M-nice, medium to full body and creamy mouthfeel; a lingering dryness from the hops

O-I feel like I've had a better version of this beer in years past, but it's a decent offering. The alcohol is well hidden and it's not too sweet

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Photo of MCDuhamel
4.14/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler into a pint glass at around 45 F. Pours a very clear amber, with light carbonation. About a once inch white head that quickly collapses to a thin film. The nose is mostly cinnamon, nutmeg and maybe a touch of vanilla. In the mouth the first impression is toffee, followed by the spices and a nice dryness. There's a slight hops bitterness that provides some structure and prevents the beer from being too sweet. More carbonation than might be expected from the limited bubbles reveals itself as well. The mouthfeel is medium to full, and a little slick. This is a very nice winter beer, showcasing the spices without being too heavy-handed. The keg version is superior to the bottled version.

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Photo of Nachojon
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- 1 1/2 inch creamy white head dissipates very quickly, no lace. Amber colored, transparent. Not the best looking Christmas seasonal I have seen this year by a longshot.

S- A little hop, a little nutmeg, a little cinnamon not as fragrant as expected.

T- Nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, honey. It's a sweet beer, which isn't usually my thing, but it tastes good, tis the season.

M- A little stick, very little carbonation. Warms on the way down, hides the alcohol very well in a warm way.

O- Def not the best Christmas seasonal, but I respect the hell out of this brewery and this is a solid beer I will try every year.

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Photo of Bunnyhop
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A slightly hazy, slightly dark brownish-red Spiced Winter Ale with a moderate, tan head. I smell cinnamon, ginger, and other spices. I taste many flavors, honey, ginger, and cinnamon, along with a maltiness, and a slight bitterness as it finishes. The cinnamon and ginger linger in my throat. The body is medium in my mouth. Overall, an enjoyable "cinnamon" Seasonal Ale (I emphasize the cinnamon because I almost would like less of its flavor, but just a bit).

(source: PremierGourmet; Buffalo, NY)

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Photo of BuckeyeOne
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a standard pint glass a clear copper with a small head and very little lace

Ginger and cinnamon is very prevalent in the nose. Cannot pick up any hops. Only the hint of sweet bread.

The flavor is ginger and cinnamon (and allspice?). Very sweet upfront and only a little bitter in the back. Sweet honey in the aftertaste.

Smooth. Oily.

I could only drink a couple of these. The "holiday" spice is a bit overwhelming.

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Photo of chiefydawg
4.24/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of the several holiday beers I anticipate every year. Now I am documenting (for myself at least) justu why.

Dull copper colored with lazy fizz and a weak head. I would penalize this more if this wasn't consistent, and other holiday brews didn't look that way. Makes it look more potent. Grrr baby.

Whoa, there it is - that spiciness I look for in a winter warmer! Nutmeg, alcohol, gingerbread man, cinnamon... This makes me feel like I'm bouts to be getting warmed up this winter evening.

The taste follows suit, keeping the spice, lending some mild honey stickiness and more alcohol for some kick. Not much hop here, but it's a little too crowded for our favorite herb. The spices and alcohol offset the sweetness very nicely.

It's heavy and sweet like I like, and well-balanced as I've mentioned. I also said I didn't mind the flatness, but I would have enjoyed this if it had a little pop to it. It's like a prized beer that has sat in a growler too long, but I just opened the bottle.

An always welcome way to keep the cold and slush from becoming a downer, I will always cherish my GLCA. Because of the heaviness, alcohol, and spices, they force moderation, but that's the nature of this Great beast.

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Photo of pasdachuri
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper colored with a thick, foamy, white head that dissolves slowly, with some remaining the entire time. Leaves little lacing.

Pleasantly light aroma steeped in ginger & honey with hints of floral hops rounding it out. Light spice notes. Not picking out much malts.

Spicy ginger with cinnamon and a nice hop bitterness on the finish with a light malt foundation. Very nicely spiced.

Solid mouthfeel in this one. Medium bodied with a refreshing effervescence.

Overall, one of the lighter, more flavorful Christmas brews that I've had.

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Photo of despainmakesbeer
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very Clear, rich dark copperish red color. Looks like big red in a glass. Thick 1/2" head at pour, with a 1/4" head remaining throughout out most of the glass. Very Spicey aroma, cinnamon, glove, ginger. As beer warms, aroma becomes more like a ginger bread. Same spices found in flavor, relatively consistent from beginning to end, a little sweet. Slight dry finish. Very drinkable christmas ale. Easy, slightly crisp. Probably my top seasonal from Great Lakes.

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Photo of dudemuskie
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

App- Pours deep reddish amber with one finger of off white head that slowly clings to the glass and eventually fades to a lingering 1/4" sudsy foam.

Aroma- Rich maltiness (carmel and brown sugar) with hints of ginger, cinnamon, and a kiss of honey sweetness. Very inviting but not overwhelmingly spicy. Not much for hops in the nose.

Flavor- Caramel maltiness and honey sweetness opens up to a nice balancing ginger/spicy flavor- gives way to a fairly well balanced beer b/w malty/honey sweetness, hop bitterness, and spices. Caramel malt and candy-like sticky sweetness take center stage, though the spice and earthy hops help keep it from being overwhelmingly sweet. Nice lingering maltiness.

Mouth- Moderate carbonation, big malty flavor makes for medium to full bodied beer but relatively (and deceivingly) refreshing/drinkable for ABV. One of my favorite winter warmers! This one will catch up with you! Drink it fresh to get the full experience, or, if you think its too spicy let it mellow for a while and the flavors will round out!

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Photo of hops4me
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - brilliant bright copper. Off white head that quickly falls in to the glass. Lacing is minimal.
S - sweet malt and honey. Toffe/caramel smells. Slight spice in there as well. Maybe some floral hop notes.
T - Toasted malt. Caramel malt sweetness. Ginger is in there but not overpowering. Good malty flavor.
M - medium
D - Very drinkable. Alc is well hidden. Excellent copper ale. Reminds me of Otter Creek copper...only much better.

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Photo of mikedashg
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Golden amber pour into my pint glass with a fairly small fizzy light tan head.

S - Honey, spice, and everything nice

T - Spicey clove, ginger, cinnamon, orange and honey with a bitter finish

M - Moderate carbonation and body

D - Very good holiday warmer. Still good in July. Definitely warms the throat. Solid release from Great Lakes.

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Photo of thirdeye11
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to amietaj1 for the extra in a trade!!

Presentation: Poured from 12oz bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

A: This beer pours about a 1/2 finger of head, large bubbles resting on top. There is a lot of lacing on the glass, but the head retention is average at best and dissipates pretty quickly. The beer is a beautiful auburn color, deep red and light brown.

S: Smells like honey, a lightly roasted caramel malt, and reminds me in some ways of barleywine. I like it a LOT. There is no hint of cinnamon or other spices as the label suggests.

T: This beer tastes amazing. It doesn't really remind me of a winter warmer but there are tastes of sweet orange blossom honey, some type of spices which are unidentifiable but not cinnamon as suggested by the label, a well balanced sourness competing with the honey sweetness, and even a mild smooth hop presence. This beer is superbly balanced.

M: A little under carbonated and thin it makes up for it slightly in the oiliness from the hops.

D: I could drink this all night and not be upset about it. The sourness might get to me after 3 or 4, but it's really solid in this category.

My second Great Lakes beer I am noticing a profile among their beers. I'm really liking them. This is probably my favorite winter warmer that I've had by far, but doesn't remind me much of the others I've had so take that with some caution. Highly recommended for beer drinkers and non-drinkers alike! This beer is superb in almost all respects.

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Photo of sublimesipping
4.8/5  rDev +22.8%
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.

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Photo of Popkas
3.28/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Clear amber color with a finger head that held for some time finally dissipating into a thin ring.

S: Getting some spice, ginger and honey.

T: Taste is an interesting blend that I can't nail down. Certainly ginger and honey, but something else. Maybe clove. Bit of a metallic after taste.

M: Medium and smooth.

D: Not sure what it is, but not finding it terribly drinkable.

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Photo of Whiteweasel
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a seidel.

A: Frothy, orange/mid-brown hazy ale with a nice persistent head. Microbubbles in the head and slightly off white.

S: Very sweet, flavourful nose with powerful scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and a little maltiness. Very very delectable. Probably one of the best scents I've ever taken into my nose.

T: Like a toned down version of the scent. Strong ginger and cinnamon, but not much else. Beer is still a month and a half away from its expiration date, so I don't think its a freshness issue. Its still pretty tasty though. A delicious combination of ingredients with a hint of lost potential.

M: Smooth and full of micro-carbonation. No alcohol. Very pleasant after-taste.

D: Great beer to enjoy at any time of day, 7.5% abv be damned. I could have 2-3 in a row but the ABV and the simplicity of the flavours keeps it at that. Good but not great

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Photo of rlshep
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is cinnamon and ginger.

Pours one finger white head that dissipates quickly. Very little lacing Light amber color. Very clear.

Cinnamon and ginger in really good balance. Bready malts. Light caramel finish. Bitterness is medium high. No hop character.

Mouthfeel is low and finishes dry. Alcohol present but not overwhelming.

Truly a beer greater than the some of its parts. Dryness from honey makes this dangerously drinkable. All elements of the beer are very well balanced.

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Photo of SiepJones
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a growler

Pours a dark amber with about and inch of head. Scents of sweet malt, and spices. The flavor consists of a strong malty body, some honey and lots of nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove. The clove is very strong on the finish. Slick body with light amount of carbonation. Drinkable beer with not too high of an ABV however one is enough for me. The mixture of spices is good but does not agree with my palate.

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Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 819 ratings.