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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

2,723 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,723
Reviews: 834
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 13.16%
Wants: 144
Gots: 508 | FT: 10
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: 2,723 | Reviews: 834 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ramrod666
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of amalburg
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of neenerzig
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
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!


Photo of samie85
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Originally consumed 12/21 at the Great Lakes brewpub.

A-Pours an amber color with a white head.

S-I got ginger and cinnamon with maybe a hint of hops.

T-Spicy ginger wtih cinnamon and a nice hop bitterness on the finish with a light malt foundation.

M-Medium bodied with a refreshing effervescence.

D-I had to dock it a bit here as it is not terribly easy to drink more than a couple of these. It is, however, the perfect way to end a winter evening at the GLBC brewpub.

Photo of spw109
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

Photo of dataylor21
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of patm1986
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.14/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance -- Pours a bright brassy orange with two fingers of sudsy beige head. IPA?

Smell -- Honey malt, ginger, allspice, cinnamon stick, mild floral hops. Quite delightful.

Taste -- Wow, incredibly sweet. Honey, sugar plum, candied ginger, allspice, cinnamon, gentle floral hops. Drying green tea-like tannic finish. Lingering flavor of candied ginger.

Mouthfeel -- Medium in body with moderate frothy carbonation. Tannins in the finish akin to well-steeped green tea. A bit distracting, frankly.

Drinkability -- Ho Ho Ho... Quite Christmas-y, also quite cloying. Nice spicing, really like the ginger, but man, why so sweet? Maybe I'll leave the other five for Santa...

Photo of Winter
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear copper in color with a creamy light tan head. Spicy nose consists of ginger, honey, spices and malt. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a touch of crispness to it. Spices are detected in the flavor also. Cinnamon, ginger and honey all combine for a sweet malty front. At times I wish the honey was reduced a bit because it tends to add a bit of an off flavor. Hopping seems minimal. Alcohol can be detected in the finish. This is a very good Christmas spiced ale. Comparable in flavor to Lakefront's Holiday Spice, which is one of my favorites.

Photo of megamass
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of TheMultiYeast
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of Flabbyjandro
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of tjsdomer2
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Decent foam. Not that thick, but layer stays on the top. Great lacing! Pretty solid copper with a nice red tint. Good, not great carbonation. Not terribly red, but I definitely sense the Christmas in this.

Smell: Vanilla, honey, and some vague cinnamon or nutmeg? Fantastic, yet not too strong. Sweet and fairly pungent, but not too much, as I've said.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Awesome! An initially wave of malty honey, followed by cinnamon and hops, with a great vanilla-like alcoholic finish. Good feel overall, though I wish it were a bit thicker to hold up to the taste.

Drinkability: You only need 1 or 2 of these. A good sipper, the alcohol makes this less than perfect.

Overall: Quite an awesome beer. Very balanced overall. Let this give you a holly jolly Christmas.

Photo of riversider76
3.38/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours golden with a hint of orange color. Head quickly goes into a decent lace. Light spice/honey flavor with lots of carbonation. Hoppy, with a bit of a bite at the finish. I'm not a huge fan of the bitter edge in some Ale , but this was better than expected. Give it a try.

Photo of geexploitation
4.14/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, bright ruby amber with virtually no head or lacing. Nice, subtle spicing on the nose. It seems there is some orangey spice in there -- maybe they used orange peel. The overall impression is one of sweet spiciness, kind of like a rich fruitcake. It's a good nose for the style. On the palate, brisk carbonation at first, then warm orangey spices and sweet malts. The palate is well balanced and not cringingly spiced. Mouthfeel is quite nice, with a thick body and plenty of carbonation to scrub the palate. Overall, this is an excellent winter warmer. Not as subtle as it could be, but not out of whack either. Warming and substantial, this is a very good interpretation of the style.

Photo of target88
4/5  rDev +1.3%

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 Reaper16
3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

served on-tap @ Black Rock, Chicago, IL, into a pint glass

Pours a very clear amber color. A nice 1.5 finger head the color of buttermilk (it could be whiter than that; the lighting is odd in this bar).

The aroma is not a blast of spices like Anchor's winter warmer. It's mostly an amber malt, breadcrusts type malt-forward smell...that's had a Christmas tree car air freshener dipped into it for a few seconds. Fruitcake spices, cinnamon stick, etc.

Upon first sip I know that this is one of my favorite Christmas ales. Not because it's an incredible beer but because the spices don't come first. This is an amber ale, folks. It's bready and malty with a touch of honey. The spices are just accent marks that make the malt flavors more accentuated.

The mouthfeel is a bit thin for me. I had no idea this was 7.5% ABV because of how loose and wet the mouthfeel is (no alcohol burn either). Overall this is a darn solid winter warmer. It doesn't fatigue the palate, so I could absolutely have a couple of these in a sitting.

Photo of JackieTH
3.72/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark orange with a cap of thick white foam.

Smell: Spicy. Ginger and cinnamon layers over a toasted biscuit malt.

Taste: Less spicy with more presence of a biscuit-caramel malt muting a range of christmas spices - ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and dark brown sugar candied fruits.

Mouthfeel: Medium and somewhat creamy.

Drinkability: Medium-high alcohol level and spicy nature make this brew something to enjoy sparingly.

Photo of WVUbrew
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Photo of beveritt
3.82/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a standard pint glass. Label depicts a toy train hauling little red Christmas ornaments. Described as a "Handcrafted Ale with Spices and Honey." Now that I am back in Ohio, I intend to drink locally and this is my first on the way to trying all Great Lakes stuff.

Appearance: Pours with 1 1/2 inches of near white head that settles quickly into a thin layer, leaving behind a medium amount of lacing. The beer itself is a rich reddish brown with ints of orange. A fair amount of activity can be seen. Crystal clear.

Smell: Smells of roasted malts, toffee, oranges, cloves, and some residual sweetness.

Taste: A decent carbonation bite upfront, followed by a bitterness from orange zest. Ginger follows, and it all finishes with a long, lingering hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Average body and carbonation.

Drinkability: A nice drink for the colder months, with enough spices to accent a solid beer without overpowering it.

Photo of e30todamax
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of whitenads
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Photo of VncentLIFE
5/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

100th review! Ein Prosit!

I try to be as scientific as possible, but hype does play into my review. Its one of my most sought after beers in my book, even though it is released yearly in decent quantities.

Pours a red-ish light orange with a near perfect 3/4 inch head. Looks beautiful in the GL Chirstmas Ale snifter.

Smell has the typical GL grain bill, but wait a minute. Theres a ton of spices in this thing. Honey is there, as well as nutmeg and cinnamon in bits. Exactly what a winter warmer should be like.

Taste is fantastic. The honey keeps the grain bill in check in the best way possible. The spices are spicey, accenting the sweetness of the honey which comes in between the initial spices and late dryness. Its really the highlight of the beer. The addition of honey really sets it apart. The dryness on the backend is mead-like, making it crisp and refreshing. Full body which makes it sippable as well as full gulps.

The alcohol really doesnt show up until at least halfway through the finish. the 7.50% makes it presence known, but not in a bad way.

This beer is perfect. A perfect example of something that shouldnt be barrel-aged. The latent sweetness is nice which is accentuated by the dryness from the honey and spices.

Photo of weonfire
4.14/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Golden/brown color. Off white- say...creme color head roughly finger and half. head dissipates in roughly 2-3 min. lacing sticks to high brew point.

S - Lots of spice. nutmeg, pumpkin, cinnamon and vanilla. Wow this smells nice. And certainly not overloaded or unblended like some christmas beers.

T - Real sweet. Nutmeg and pumpkin right away. Cinnamon and vanilla come thru at the end. very floral.

M - As thick as I'd want a beer with this amount of spice to have. Viscosity is high. taste the spice all the way down the throat.

O- If you don't like spicy beers- this isn't for you. i personally find it very well blended. love the spice. very easy on the nose. one of my favorite christmas beers thus far.

Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,723 ratings.