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Gritty McDuff's Christmas Ale - Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Gritty McDuff's Christmas AleGritty McDuff's Christmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

177 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 177
Reviews: 123
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 12.6%
Wants: 3
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company visit their website
Maine, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
If it looks like Ed just got merrier, you're right. Every November heralds the return of our holiday seasonal, Christmas Ale – available on draft and in six-packs. Our Christmas Ale is a robust E.S.B. (Extra Special Bitter) full of holiday cheer. Christmas Ale has a lovely, dark red/amber color and a rich, full-bodied, malty taste with a slightly roasted undertone. We brew our Christmas Ale to an original gravity of 1064 (about 6.2% alcohol by volume) using only the finest English Pale and Crystal Malts, with a touch of Roasted Barley as well. A blend of Clusters, Styrian Goldings, Saaz and Yakima Goldings leaf hops round out this hearty brew. Gritty's Christmas Ale has no additives, fruits or spices. It's just a good honest ale, perfect for the season. And to top it all off, it's already gift-wrapped! Happy Holidays!

28.5 IBU

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 01-11-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 177 | Reviews: 123 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CheckMate
5/5  rDev +31.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz brown bottle obtained at McKinnon's in Salem, NH. pours a ruby red with a half inch of off white head that slowly dissipated. nutty, fruity and chocolatey scents with a touch of diacetyl and hops. tastes of chocolate, fruity and nuttiness, a touch of earthiness from the hops, and a slight alcohol bite. clean finish, moderate carbonation. great beer a bit of a sipper but the first sip invites another.


CheckMate, Nov 19, 2009
Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +31.2%

Rochefort10nh, Nov 28, 2011
Photo of flanmedic51
4.88/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Received a glass from cask at the Gritty's Pub in Freeport, ME. According to the server, it's at cellar temp, just above 40F.

Appearance is dark red with 1" white head that laces the glass nicely while drinking.

MMMM...the smell...It's like smelling a bouquet of flowers. Very floral with a hint of alcohol.

The taste was almost as good as the smell. Malty deliciousness with pear & fig notes and a subtle spiciness. Some diacetyl.

Very smooth mouthfeel, low carbonation, with a slight bitter finish. The great deep malty/fruity flavor lingers on the tongue.

I was absolutely blown away by this seasonal having it off cask. It was an awesome experience, a total flavor explosion that cannot be re-created via a bottle from a 6 pack, although still delicious. When I say it smelled like a bouquet of flowers...dammit, I'm telling you it did!! Always a huge fan of this Gritty's seasonal and probably my favorite with the Halloween Ale a close 2nd.

flanmedic51, Sep 15, 2009
Photo of ZacMetalFan
4.75/5  rDev +24.7%

ZacMetalFan, Apr 18, 2012
Photo of AJ01923
4.75/5  rDev +24.7%

AJ01923, Jul 12, 2013
Photo of Stargazer2892
4.75/5  rDev +24.7%

Stargazer2892, Jul 21, 2014
Photo of lauries444
4.75/5  rDev +24.7%

lauries444, May 19, 2012
Photo of Levich
4.75/5  rDev +24.7%

Levich, Jan 01, 2013
Photo of woodychandler
4.72/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There was only a trace of foam laying across the top of the beer when it was brought to me. Color was a deep amber with NE-quality clarity and ruby highlights. Nose was much spicier than I anticipated. I liked the intermingling of the cinnamon with some sort of mint, spearmint, perhaps. Definitely not peppermint. Mouthfeel was full with a taste like a chocolate candy cane. Maybe I was wrong about it not being peppermint. It had a minty flavor on the tongue, at any rate. Finish had a breathtakingly minty quality. Damn, was this tasty! Do they bottle this one? Or better yet, put it in a CAN? Very refreshing, in a minty sort of way.

woodychandler, Jan 02, 2010
Photo of WhitmansNiece
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%

WhitmansNiece, Dec 01, 2013
Photo of sgregory
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%

sgregory, Nov 10, 2013
Photo of Peyton5410
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%

Peyton5410, Nov 25, 2012
Photo of brendaniel
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%

brendaniel, Feb 18, 2012
Photo of BillyBrew
4.45/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Gritty's casked this treat up in the middle of July, much to my benefit. Great sunny-brown colour with an giant, sudsy-looking head that retains big the whole pint. The scent is enormously sweet and sugary with supporting citrus-tones. The taste was heavily sweet with smooth malts and citrusy hops. Full flavor throughout with a big range from sugary sweet to striking cirtrus-bitterness. The body was a tremedously smooth, medium body without any rough biting.

This Gritty's brew is a full-sensory stimulant, makes you love the complexity and intricacies of beer. This onslaught on the senses does wear on you, but must be enjoyed whenever available. Cheers!

BillyBrew, Jul 15, 2002
Photo of UnionMade
4.43/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark mahogany brown, topped with a half inch of almond head. The head dies out to a thick film after sitting for a couple minutes. Excellent clarity, shining red through light. The head thins to a thick ring around the glass, with a couple sparse blobs of lace.
The aroma is richly malty, with toasty, biscuity malt. Some caramel, with some chocolate malt and estery apple, plum and a hint of pear. Mild british hops bolster and balance the malt, providing an earthy herbal tone. Some light butterscotch. Very pleasant.
Solid malt starts out the flavor, with a bicuity, toasty malt right up front, traveling into a toffee sweetness with a hint of grainy chocolate malt. Some estery pear and plum come through the middle, coupling with some roasted malt bitterness and a mild herbal hopping. Light diacetyl butterscotch is apparent in the finish, with some biscuity malt and herbal hops lingering in the aftertaste. Very smooth and rich, with a full bodied feel on the tongue. Lightly carbonationed, very much in the british style all the way around. Sweetish and robust, with excellent balance. Just the barest wisp of alcohol is evident in the swallow.
A very hearty, warming ESB. This is fantastic. I love beer in this style, and this is a great example. Plenty of fruitiness, with a lovely malt character and terrific hop balance. My only complaint is that I only have two bottles. I'm very happy with this beer.

UnionMade, Jan 14, 2004
Photo of bigkahunas4
4.43/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tuilp.

Came out of the bottle a caramel color, however, turned to jet black once it was settling in the glass. A nice, one finger, sandy head emerged. Retention was medium, lacing was adequate. Medium strong nose, some buttery figs and sweet candy notes.

Very smooth and well balanced brew. Flavors being with a sweet nuttiness, moving to some woody bitterness, before finishing with some mild honey. Really complex and flavorful for a relatively low ABV (Wait did I just catch a kick of Brett?). Brew is smooth, tingly, with some nice stickiness.

Heck yes! My girlfriend got this for me along with some other random singles - and I probably never would've ever bought this. This is incredibly drinkable, and is extremely sessionable. If you're looking for a nice candied warmer to drink a few of - reach for this!

bigkahunas4, Jan 09, 2009
Photo of Jason
4.38/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 22oz brown bomber with no freshness date.

Appearance: Slightly chill hazed reddish brown with a varied sized bubbly lace that sticks everywhere.

Smell: Buttery diacetyl, neighboring butterscotch in aroma. Candied fruit with a light malt sweetness and a touch of earthy hop.

Taste: Medium bodied with a crisp malty mouth feel, bordering dry though a pinch of residual sweetness is noticeable. Carbonation helps with the crisp malt and mild hop bitterness, chocolaty character is a bit dominant soon followed by an earthy / minty hop flavour with a musty buttery diacetyl flavour from the yeast. Alcohol is present with its light warming feature. Fruity middle to end with hints of melon and pear.

Notes: Sizeable and hearty ESB … full to capacity of malt, yeast and hop flavours. One of the best Gritty brews I have had to date and a great brew to end of the night with.

Jason, Sep 29, 2002
Photo of bob3701
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Pours a clear dark amber with reddish highlights with a small thick head that slowly goes into a film with very good lacing. Buttery toffee aroma. Slight malty sweetness mixed with a little citrus with a mild hoppy bitterness finish. Really enjoyed this brew. Could drink a few of these in a sitting.

bob3701, Mar 03, 2010
Photo of beernut7
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another quality seasonal from Gritty's. Copper color with a foamy lace around the glass. The taste is clean and full with a nice bitterness and a spicy hop profile. Very well brewed and tasty.

beernut7, Nov 04, 2002
Photo of jtierney89
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Brown color with good clarity. 1 finger of off white head. Very faint nose, not a lot going, a bit of spice and pale malt.

Pretty robust beer. I forgot this was an ESB. A really big ESB at that. Prickly carbonation. Nice pale and caramel malts, big nice caramel malts, toffee, sugared biscuit balanced by big earthy hop presence. A really great brew.

jtierney89, Nov 19, 2012
Photo of jwc215
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best by Nov. '08:

Pours rubyish brown with a thin tan head. A trace amount of lacing sticks.

The smell is toffeeish, earthy, lightly minty. Fairly mild, esp. at first, but pleasant.

The taste is toffeeish with an earthy, minty hop background. Near full-bodied, it is a tasty, well-balanced, very easy drinking ale. The alcohol is just enough to give it a nice warming touch without interfering in the taste or drinkability.

jwc215, Jan 18, 2008
Photo of oriolesfan4
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had their Halloween Ale so I tried this one as well.. seems like they skipped Thanksgiving Ale but maybe they'll have it next year.

This a beautiful beer.. pours a deep red with a nice head to it. Taste is somehow subtle, yet present all the way through the drinking in a good way. No overly abundant tastes that stand out but juts lots of hops and malts shining through making for a great tasting beer. A unique beer and I'm glad I got to try it out.. super drinkable.

oriolesfan4, Nov 06, 2008
Photo of lzepplin01
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

lzepplin01, Jan 13, 2014
Photo of jwps214
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

jwps214, Nov 21, 2013
Photo of sraimondi
4.22/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Two finger beige foamy head which lasts throughout the drink, although it shrinks to a film. Very good sheet lacing. A very pretty medium to deep copper color.

Smell is of bread/malt. Surprisingly I don't pick up any real hops notes.

Taste is very good. The thing that hits you is how balanced this beer is, with a very slight hop bitterness in the finish. The other thing that is interesting is that there seems to be a bit of a bourbon flavor at the start?

The mouthfeel is quite good and on style, as very low carbonation lends itself to a soft roundness.

This one is very drinkable, despite the higher than normal ABV. Definitely sessionable.

This is a quality brew! I also think it is alot better than the Halloween Ale, which is the other ESB Gritty's produces. This one is so balanced and smooth. If you like ESBs or balanced brews, definitely pick this one up. One of the best offerings from Gritty McDuff's. I'm hoping my local store has some more, as this will be a case purchase for me.


sraimondi, Dec 08, 2007
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Gritty McDuff's Christmas Ale from Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 177 ratings.