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

2,746 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,746
Reviews: 839
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 13.16%
Wants: 144
Gots: 534 | FT: 6
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,746 | Reviews: 839
Photo of dhartogs
4.53/5  rDev +14.7%
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.

Photo of CGiusti23
4.41/5  rDev +11.6%
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.

Photo of irishmoss
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

Photo of Tifore
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a tulip.

A - Pours a orange, brown, amber color that is clear. It develops a 1/2 finger head that turns to nothing quickly and has a small ring around the edge of the glass.

S - Lots of cinnamon, clove, allspice, and ginger in the nose. Pretty intense but thats what GLBC is known for in their Christmas Ale.

T - Taste has all the spices from the nose at first taste. Slight booze and sweetness comes next and hangs around for a while.

M - Mouthfeel is medium. Not too heavy and not too light. Somewhat oily and smooth.

D - A good drinkable Christmas Ale. Alcohol creeps on you and will catch you off guard. (Has happened to me a few times) Three is typically my limit and boy are you feeling good.

Photo of MacDomer
3.55/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a fairly clear burnt orange with golden highlights on the edges. Nice two finger head with a standard pour. Head quickly fades to leave little puddles of bright white froth surrounded by a thin ring which lasts for the duration of the beer. Little to no lacing.

S - A bit of foral hops, a hint of caramel, and some faint alcohol notes, but mostly just spices - allspice, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg - as well as natural honey. This is all gingerbread and honey.

T - Replica of the smell, really - caramel and spice. Maybe the slightest bit of vanilla and pear, but this again is really all about the spice. Finishes with some hop bitterness, but not much

M - Smooth, coats the mouth from the get-go. Low carbonation up front, but it seems that it builds up and you feel it much more on the back of the tongue on the way down. A bit slick.

D - I'm not the biggest fan of the style, but this one grew on me since the last time I had it almost a year ago. I'd drink about a 6 pack per winter, and that would be plenty for me. It does put you in the holiday mood with the flavor profile, I'll say that much.

Photo of HopNelius
3.82/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Red/orange body with a medium head not overly carbonated.
S-Smell notes of Ginger and Cinnamon. Smells of holiday spice.
T-The ginger and Cinnamon hit you immediatly but mellow out for the finish.
O-Great Christmas Beer. In my part of the country it sells out quick.Not a beer that I would want to drink everyday but I appreciate a few around the hoidays. The Ginger and Cinnamon balance makes this beer unique compared to other Christmas Ales I have had. The 7.5 abv is balanced nicely and does not come off boozy at all.

Photo of songoose
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice beer. Can certainly taste all the spices: cinnamon, ginger, and also the honey is very prominent (which is probably why this drinks so smoothly, even at 7.5%).

The ginger was a little off-putting for me - not that it was overwhelming, just that I didn't feel it was quite the right spice choice for a Christmas Ale. Even so, this is one of the better Christmas Warmers out there.

Photo of schanker21
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Golden brown with a tan head.

S- Really spicy. Smells like Christmas, too bad I'm a couple months late...

T- Big malt presence with a lot of spiciness to it. Alcohol presence as the brew warms.

M/D- Good carbonation. Easy to drink. A good winter warmer. Another solid brew from another great midwestern brewery.

Photo of Trystero
3.92/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Backlogged review circa 12/25/2011

Appearance: Ruby red with faint copper hues.

Smell: Overwhelming ginger and honey accompanied by accents of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Taste: Sweet and smooth, spice cabinet. Thick honeycomb combines with candied giner and snickerdoodle cookies.

Mouthfeel: Slightly thin with strong carbonation.

Overall: One of many delicious Christmas Ales/Winter Warmers made in Ohio. Highly sought after and terribly scarce around the holidays due to a huge notoriety. I'm not sure if it's worth the trouble every year.

Photo of Lepley
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Amberish, orange. One finger of tan head, good lacing and retention.
S: Sweet, citrus, fruity.
T: Tangy, citrus, spicy, cinnamon, orange, ginger, good hoppiness to finish off.
M: Watery, good carbonation.
D: Pretty solid brew. Definitely feels like Christmas. I recommend trying it.

Photo of RickKrumenacker
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours to a crips golden orange resulting in a single finger head that dissipated fairly quickly.

S - I couldn't place it at first, but the initial scent is ginger. Also get some sweetness in the aroma as the beer warms a little. Other holiday type spices are in the background. About half way through the beer I seemed to pick up some orange zest as well.

T - Very similar to the smell. I taste a lot of ginger up front. I like it. A little hoppy near the end of the drink, but not overpowering. Finishes with a bit of warming alcohol.

M - Very smooth throughout. Crisp flavors throughout. Low to moderate carbonation.

D - A great beer for a cold winter evening. Has everything that I am looking for in a good winter ale.

Photo of ChiSox05
3.94/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Whoa, smelling this one straight from the bottle is like opening a box of honey graham crackers. Nice aroma. In the glass, lighter than I would have expected. This beer is clear, sandy-orange color. Couple thin rings of foam.

You just can't miss the honey in this one. Such a unique smell. Constant honey with lots of cinnamon and ginger in there too. smells like hop infused graham crackers....mmm

Tastes like a lightly malted, medium ale with cinnamon and ginger. Complex beer with a hint of bitter hops and spiced semi sweet malt taste. Each element is doing its own thing, not exactly blending well. Not much aftertaste at first, but near the end of the bottle, the spices and honey aftertaste show up. Hides the 7.5% very well.

I'd only have a couple of these at a time. I could see this as a great beer to wrap up your Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. All in all, a unique, above-average winter seasonal with a great smell, cinnanninnanim.

Photo of Paulieblaze
2.69/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

This stuff is good for a beer or 2. Don't buy a 12 pack and think you will enjoy the whole pack.

Photo of heidelbeerg
4.09/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a clear amber/honey color with a fluffy off white head. The smell was fantastic. Sweet malts and spice. Reminds of the spice blend for pumpkin pies. The taste is a little on the sweet side. The spice flavor is not too involved and is balanced with enough hops to round it all out into an good tasting drinkable brew. The mouthfeel was pretty good. Enough carbonation, slightly thick and syrupy but not too bad. Well worth a try.

Photo of heyitsbyron
4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a bottle from a six pack from Woodman's in Madison ($5.99 for 6 on clearance) into a pint glass. Evidently, according to the botttle, I was supposed to have enjoyed this beer by 1/28/06. For $5.99/6, I'll enjoy it whenever I damn well please.

Poured slightly more orange than copper. Head was pale pale beige and didn't stick around long. Maybe 1-1.5cm at most. Nothing special, nothing bad.

Smelled just spectacular. Fruity and spicey. Like spiced mulled fruit, fills the nose. Cinnamon and ginger mostly.

It tastes like a healthy malange of cinnamon, honey, ginger, and nutmeg. I don't taste as much cloves as they claim. Ah well. Also have a strong honey flavor. I'm amazed at this much spice because normally brewers tone it way down. Has a strange "foody" flavor that reminds me of Thanksgiving. I have no idea how they obtain it, but I hope it's intentional because it's great. No real hops or malts to speak of, but who cares? This is fantastic.

Solid in the mouth without feeling sticky or syrupy. Perhaps a bit coarsely carbonated, but hard to notice.

7.5% alcohol? Bring it (especially for this price). This is a marvelous beer for drinking anytime the temperature is below, say, 50 degrees. I'll look forward to this from here on out. I can put back a few in a sitting, it just warms me up inside. My favorite seasonal and my favorite red ale; it probably works its way into my top 5 all around favorites too. Probably wouldn't drink too much outside the fall/winter though.

Photo of shanegatter
3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Dark Amber color, smooth spice taste, this was my introduction into "specialty" (non bud light) beer

Photo of granite
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A---It poured copper with thin white head.

S---Cinnamon and toasted malt.

T---It was very dry and slightly astringent. Very little malt flavor. Some warming alcohol and it finished all spices.

M---Thin-medium bodied.

D---Now this is a great winter warmer. Nice use of spice and just enough alcohol to balance.

Photo of truthbrew
4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased in Dayton, Ohio in November, enjoyed today. Hint of spices originally, but when poured they were explosive. Good name, the smell did remind me of Christmas-time. I was most stuned by the crystal clear copper color, quite magnificant. Beer was extremely balanced. My wife thought it to be a bit too "complex" for her liking. Overall a great beer, which I will get again.

Photo of ledemie
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

S: nice and malty no spices to smell,

V: nice Garnet color little bit of a head, nice and clear.

M: nice and smooth good medium to full body, reminded me of a Biere de Garde

T: mellow maltiness and I can see the honey, but cannot taste it.

D; I wish they had this one all year long a very nice winter warmer, I said that before but it reminded me of a Jenlain Ambre ( Biere de Garde)

Photo of mrquartetman
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - A nice darkish golden amber, small head with poured, not persistent.
S - Aroma is ephemeral, malrt and hints of ginger
T - A malty beer that is spiced, but very subtly, with the predominant spice being ginger. The other spice in the beer (according to the label, cinnamon, along with the ginger and some honey) is not detectable. Whereas the wonderful Anchor Our Special Ale comes up and smacks you in the palate, this one is very quiet in presentation.
M - A malty mouthfeel that is neither dense nor thin. Just right.
D - This is one of the Winter Warmers that could be a session beer, except that it is 7.5% abv

The beer should be served at the temperature recommended on the bottle - 55°F. Otherwise the subtle aromas and flavors are buried.

Photo of Fergyx825
2.41/5  rDev -39%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: a brownish red beer, with some head on the pour. It sticks around for a bit around the edges of the beer and on the surface of the beer. This matches the description of a winter warmer.

Smell: at first you can smell the spices in this beer, they smell rich and thick. Cinnamon and nutmeg, and then you can smell the light hops of the beer, and some maltyness in it.

Taste: the rich spicy flavor is evident, the beer is spicy like fire sauce. Its very high in alcohol content. This is not enjoyable whatsoever.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation, and a medium thickness beer. These match each well.

Overall: This looks good, smells good, but it tastes terrible. I was looking forward to this too.

Photo of crc1935
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had this beer from a growler that was poured from a keg in Erie, PA

Appearance - light amber/orange. Larger head than normal due to pouring from a growler to regular glass.

Smell - Sweet, nutty, and spicy.

Taste - Light honey and nutmeg taste balanced with slight bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Lightly carbonated to balance the taste. Very smooth ale.

Overall - This is an excellent Christmas Ale, though its legend seems to be elevated by scarcity. Still love the chase.

Photo of Icedogs
4.9/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

My favorite Christmas/holiday/winter seasonal of them all, by far. I crave this beer, I stalk it. Yes, I am quite biased in favor of Great Lakes Brewing Company because one of my best friends worked there for nine years and I've spent many a fine afternoon/evening at the place. But my preference for GLBC beer is primarily because the beers are almost always outstanding. Cheers!

Photo of carolinahophead
3.91/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is always a beer that's always hard to get here .
The color is a bright copper , poured a nice head with bold lace .
Tight nose here , you do get nice malt aromas with spice added in .
This is a big holiday brew .. good flavor with sweetness and a little bitterness as well .
The beer has a medium mouthfeel and a surprising long finish .
It's a good beer .. Let's say we will be having one Christmas Eve to enjoy the holiday .

Photo of 29mikoyan
3.67/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A very good holiday ale. You can definitely taste the cinnamon, ginger, and spices. The beer is moderately malty. The aroma is very weak though.

Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,746 ratings.