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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

818 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 818
Hads: 2,804
Avg: 3.91
pDev: 24.3%
Wants: 156
Gots: 599 | 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: 818 | Hads: 2,804
Photo of GoalieRon33
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a- golden amber color. White head when poured into a pint glass. Decent retention.

s- not a lot to speak of. weaker spices overall, maybe with a slight maltiness.

t- this beer shines in the catagory that matters. It tastes awesome. Sweet, heavier malty taste. hint of honey, with an overall spicey note. nutmeg, cinnimon, ginger, maybe even some coriander.

m- medium to heavy body. overall smooth, with a slight hoppy ending

d- lovely christmas beer. So easy to drink, even with the 7.5 abv. If I could find it in PA, i would buy cases upon cases of this stuff. I would drink it every day with every meal.

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Photo of StretchZep
5/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Awesome winter warmer. Had it yesterday on tap in a 23 oz glass. Lots of cinnamon and clove flavors. Nice malt balance. No hop bitterness at all but anything but sweet. Really nice Holiday beer that you find yourself looking forward to year after year.
Loved this beer to death and will be looking to pick up a case as soon as I can!

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Photo of Crundy
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Bright and clear amber color with a foamy cream colored head, lots of visible carbonation

Smell: Bready, orange citrus hop, spices, feint malt flavor

Taste: Nice hop flavor, feint malt, bread, and nutmeg and cinnamon spices

Mouth Feel: Nice bite, medium bodied, dry

Overall: good beer, more hoppy than malty but it does have a good balance of flavors. Great Christmas beer.

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Photo of Ezekiel81923
4.41/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found a loner at Capone's. Wanted to give it a whirl since I'm interested in finding a winter warmer I actually like. Poured this one into a pint glass.

Appearance: Clear amber color. Small tan head that recedes quickly but leaves some spotty lacing. This isn't as dark as other "winter warmers" I've tried which, as far as I'm concerned, is a good start.

Smell: Smells like Christmas to be honest. Ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cherry, sweet bready malts. This is the kind of thing I hoped for out of other winter brews.

Taste: Spicy. Strong notes of ginger and cinnamon. It's sweet as well. Some cherry, raisin, nutmeg. Some hop bitterness. Solid malt backbone without being too heavy. Not much hop presence to speak of other than the bitterness. Real solid.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, medium carbonation. Spiciness lingers on the tongue. Carbonation adds a tingling sensation. Just a slight alcohol warmth as it goes down, but that could just be lingering spice in the back of my throat...it's that faint.

Drinkability: I only had one of these but I wish I had many more. It doesn't matter to me that it's after christmas, this was a delicious beer whose only limitation might be the abundance of spice.

Glad I got to try this one. I'm not sure much of it made it to PA, hopefully we get plenty for next year that I can drink it up over the holidays.

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Photo of brown2cu
3.27/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a honey like color with a half finger head that completely disappears after about a minute. Completely nonplussed.

S: Smells like a spice rack winter warmer; cinnamon, ginger, honey, and nutmeg are all prevalent.

T: Cloyingly sweet with a slight spiciness to it as well. As this beer warms a whiskey-esque taste comes into play as well, however, nothing remarkable as well.

M: Medium bodied with active carbonation; gets syrupy and flat after it warms.

O: Worth a try but falls short on what I normally expect from great lakes.

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Photo of trumick
4.37/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color with a thin head that leaves nice lacing all around.

Scent is of sweet, biscuity malts, and spices like nutmeg and ginger.

The taste really stands out in this one. There's lightly sweet malts with some fruity notes, light hop flavor, spiciness is not overwhelming at all. The cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger are all well balanced within the sweetness of the malt, and the ever so slightly bitter hops. The finish is lightly sweet, dry and spicy. The abv. is nicely hidden in the mix of malty spiceness. The taste is exceptional.

Mouthfeel is smooth, light to medium bodied with the perfect amount of light carbination for this beer.

Drinkability is good. This is a beer that tastes soo good the abv is dangerous. I could easily put several away without realizing that fact until it's cab callin time.

Nice, nice beer from GLB. I will buy it again before they are gone till next year.

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Photo of challenja
4.14/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served On Tap at the Black Squirrel in Adams Morgan DC.

A: A Nice orange red glow with a head that dissipates quickly to no existence at all. A look of really well aged and expensive bourbon.

S: Now here is the stinker, not that it smell that bad but its not as powerful as most Christmas Ales. There is cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, breaded malt, and wild cherry. It could be that for a badly washed glass deadened the smells. Really good powerwashers are needed like in upscale beer joints.

T: Nutmeg ripe cherry pumpkin spice honey light cinnamon tast, subtle mid-western hops, and a light bready backbone. Subtle sweetness that entices the palate to have another!

M: Nice lingering medium carbonation that is passionate between the gums. I like how it lingers on the palate and entices the tongue.

O: A real winner in terms of a winter Christmas ale. I rank it third only behind the Mad Elf and Fireside Chat. Sorry Anderson Valley Winter Solstice.

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Photo of JToad
3.91/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of nouseforotacon
2.77/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Celebrating the birth of my 1st nephew, Mattéo Raphael, who was born today on Dec. 4, 2006.

Transparent, beautiful golden amber bottom with a thin and rapidly diminishing foam web of sticky film. Minimial lacing on top and on the edges of the glass.

Sweet, layered honey smell with malts and fruits. Hints of ginger and other spices, biscuity, with Christmas cookie-like notes. Nice nose.

Upfront biscuit/bread in flavor profile with a surprisingly good deal of hop bitterness. Burnt caramel. Sweet, honey stickiness. Spice profile is nowhere near as pronounced as I would've hoped. Lingering fruitiness.

Not quite sure how I feel about this one. Burnt and bitter, with only a tiny hint of sweetness or spiciness. Overall product is not so delightful, nor drinkable. Guess I'll have to celebrate this special season and day with something else.

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Photo of chadspivey
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this from Sephiroth in a trade. Thanks for the opportunity.

A: pours a light copper color with a small off-white head.

S: cinnamon, honey, spices, and alcohol.

T: tastes like Christmas. Sweet cinnamon, honey and ginger, along with other spices. This is a desert beer. Has a lot in common with a pumpkin ale.

M: medium bodied. The spices slightly sting the tongue. Really nice mouthfeel.

D: considering how sweet this beer is, I’d say it still goes down rather smooth. I wouldn’t drink more than 2 or three of these though.

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Photo of MarkLinton1
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

One of my favorite Holiday brews. Beautiful copper color with thin white head with nice clingy lacing. Wonderful Winter Warmer with lots of subtle flavors. Ginger, raisin, cinnamon, honey and sweet bread malts. A very slight taste of hops in the finish. I foresee a few 6 packs of this beer in my fridge over the holidays.

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Photo of Megahertz
4.11/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz into a New Belgium globe.

A - Brilliantly clear bright red with a moderately large, white head. Very pretty.

S - Mulling spices, citrus zest & gingerbread cookie-like sweetness.

T - Malt-forward with restrained spicing; cinnamon & ginger apparent but not overdone or hot. Honey and spices give the impression of a ginger snap with icing. No major hop components.

M - Heavy body with brisk carbonation that helps cleanse the otherwise sweet palate.

O - A sweet, cookie-like interpretation of a holiday ale.

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Photo of littleshamrocks
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz brown bottle with the enjoy by date clearly printed on the label. Served in an imperial pint.

Pours a medium copper with golden highlights and about one finger of off-white head. Clarity is sparkling clear and the carbonation is lively. The head settles quickly leaving little lacing. Overall appearance is inviting. The nose is biscuity malts with hints of honey and spices. Taste is semi-sweet maltiness with definite gingerbread and cinnamon cookie similarities. Spicy goodness. Mouthfeel is medium+ bodied with a coarse texture and tons of carbonation. Finish is lightly chalky.

This is a full-on spicy winter warmer. The taste is very reminiscent of holiday goodies. All of the ingredients are in balance and blend very well together. This is probably the best winter warmer that I have tried thus far. The spices and the 7.5% abv will certainly warm you on a cold winter night.

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Photo of Bills453
4.01/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Poured from a bottle into a goblet. Nice orange golden color. Great foamy 2 finger off white almost cream colored head.

Smell - I love the smell of this beer. Smells like caramel malts and some delicious holiday spices. Nutmeg?

Taste - taste is a very nice mixture of holiday spices. I can't stand the over poweringly sweet Christmas beers. This one is not that and tastes very good.

Mouthfeel - good

Overall - a great offering from Great Lakes. One of my favorite winter time seasonals around.

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Photo of tmcelvain
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Fairly strong flavors of nutmeg and cinnamon in this brew. Small, quickly disapating, lacy head over a crimson body make this a bold beer in the glass. The body displays a malty base for the spiced flavor, which finishes with a slightly bitter, but well balanced hop edge. Cannot drink many of these before the spices just take over. A solid Christmas Alle - slightly above average for the style, but not one I wold squirrel away to drink throughout the year. Perfect for your tree trimming party. Watch out - I was alos surprised to learn the alcohol content on this one.

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Photo of btorsdog
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not a big fan of spiced up brews and all,but this Christmas Ale coming from GLBC(The Masters of Balance)is a very good offering! Every year I end up drinking a ton of this stuff(commonly called "Christmas Crack" around here)due mostly to the fact that it is just downright GOOD!If ya get a chance try it,price seems to keep going up though,so I've been gettin 'er on tap(which is even better!)for around 5 bucks a pint,Happy Holidays!

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Photo of mashedpotatoes
4.85/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is truly an incredible beer. Definitely one of my new favorites. The balance is perfect. Beautiful copper color pour with a medium to thick head with perfect lacing. Smell is subtle but intriguing. Taste is very smooth, very clean yet a bit complex. The ginger doesn't come through until later. When finishing off your first bottle the cinnamon is much more pronounced at the bottom. The finish is incredible and really keeps you coming back for more. Highly, highly recommended. Seasonal availability Oct through Dec.

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Photo of fvernon
3.1/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A surprise extra from Corbet - thanks! Poured at 55 degrees into a Portsmouth tulip from a bottle; January 2012 vintage. It pours a clear honey-copper with a short-lived but thick eggshell head, slowly dissolving into nothing but a small film hanging in the middle of the glass.

The aroma is really interesting - it starts as a sour cherry, then transitions into oak wood chips and rye bread. The initial sip is very interesting, and not at all what was expected from the aroma - thyme, clove, and cinnamon. It's basically a savory beer, but lacking in some sweet and spicy to offset the savory spices.

The mouthfeel is just about right, but I'm having trouble getting over the spice profile. Either a bit more honey or a stronger hop bitterness would really help me out here (or a good mix of the two).

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Photo of dhartogs
4.53/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A friend from Cleveland sent me a 6-pack. A very hyped up beer and I wanted to see what it was all about.

Nice spicy aroma, hazelnut in color, with a medium head.

Not sure how to describe it, just enough spice to let you know it's there but not enough to overpower the ale. By the end of the bottle, which was poured into a pint glass the spice was a more present.

Overall I really liked this beer and will look forward to the next Christmas ale.

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Photo of babyhobbes
3.61/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured with very little head but some lacing. It is a pleasing amber color. I smell some spice, notably cinnamon and ginger. The spiciness is not very strong in taste or smell. The taste is somewhat hoppy and bitter with a decent dose of ginger. This is a smooth beer in the mouth with a nice carbonation level.

I like this Christmas Ale but I wouldn't want to down several in one sitting.

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Photo of k3n
2.35/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottle traded from tangfoot (thanks!), dated freshest by 1/19/07. Got in under the wire.

A: Really nice coppery-orange color. Not much head or carbonation.

S: Slightly malty smell, mostly sweet, reminds me of spiced apple cider.

T: In a word: Sweet. IMO, too sweet. The malty sweetness runs right into the gingery, honey sweetness. There's a bit of acidity at the end, but is then overwhelmed by the cloying honey.

M: Mouthfeel is light to begin with, but that sticky honey taste/feeling hangs around too long at the end.

D: Not impressed with the drinkability of this one, and I tend to favor winter warmers. Seems like there's not enough balance to this one.

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Photo of AndrewRivera21
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

A must have for the Christmas season. Guaranteed to keep you warm on the cold winter nights. One thing I have noticed is that the taste seems to change year to year. I personally enjoy this brew with a nice coating of cinnamon and sugar along the rim of the glass! Great Lakes never disappoints!

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Photo of Bones54
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Coming from the Cleveland area, the Great Lakes Brewery, and especially the Christmas ale are as much of Cleveland lure as Chief Wahoo and the Dawg Pound.
Appearance: Served from a 12 oz. bottle, into a pint glass. The beer is dark copper color, and comes with a thin but lasting head.
Smell: The strong smell of cinnamon greets the nose like the smell christmas cookies pouring out of the kitchen on Christmas morn.
Taste: the smell only contributes to the exceptional taste. I remember first tasting a Christmas Ale a few years back and literally jumping out of my seat. Maybe it's because it was truly one of the first micrbrews I came to taste and was not ready for the sensational trip my taste buds would go through. Cinnamon is the most dominating taste, with the ginger finding its way through. However, I have a hard time noticing the honey in the ale.
Mouthfeel: Literally warms the mouth. The aftertaste, however can leave a lingering feel in the mouth that is often hard to get rid of.
Drinkability: Now do not mistake my score. The beer is Very drinkable. However the alcohol content and potent flavors make it difficult to drink more than two or three.
Haven't had a chance to have my fair share of Christmas brews yet, but I have to believe that this one will be hard to top.

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Photo of CGiusti23
4.41/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

With so many Christmas beers out there, I am so glad I snagged Great Lakes Christmas Ale up! Its a perfect mix of spices and flavor that just gives this Ale such a perfect taste. Highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good beer around the holidays. Even light beer drinkers will enjoy this at a family party. Either way its a win win, great beer.

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Photo of irishmoss
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great seasonal ale that is winter, that is Christmas. Nice and fresh, just arrived today. It was served a little cold, so I got another one to allow it to come down to temperature.

Nice dark copper copper with a great light tan head that clings to the sides of the glass leaving excellent lacing. It smells of cinnamon and ginger, with hints of all spice. The tastes were similar with roasted barley and a little sweetness. The spiceyness or the higher alcohol content were not overpowering. I really like this one and look forward to it every year.

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Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 818 ratings.