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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

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BA SCORE
86
very good

175 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 175
Reviews: 123
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 12.6%
Wants: 2
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: 175 | Reviews: 123 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kennyo
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%

had this beer in a bar and it is always tough to get real readings out of a beer

POured a crystal clear brown color with little to no head, could be because it is in a bar glass. Aroma is deep malt with some spices on the nose. Taste is malt, molasses taste on the toungue with a very dry finish. It has nice carbonation although there is a littl carbonation bite on the toungue.

A very nice, drinkable christmas beer that doesn't go over the top with spices and the like.

kennyo, Dec 21, 2006
Photo of Freshie
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Amber color with slight head. Varying size bubbles dissipate to the sides somewhat quickly.

Sweet malt smell. Somewhat like candy, maybe honey. Also, maybe a little nut.

The taste is a smokey/sweet malt. Spiced hops comes afterwards with a very active carbonation. Adds bite the hop middle-taste. Medium-bodied.

Very malty but the hops adds spice, in combination with that biting carbonation.

I would suggest some pizza with this holiday brew.

Cheers!

Freshie, Dec 19, 2006
Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%

Dark copper body with ruby-red highlights and a little over an inch of offwhite head. Smells roasty with some diacetyl. Scent is not that strong. Tastes roasty, malty, yeasty with hints of spice and diacetyl. Medium in body. Tasty little brew. I like it, though not as much as I like the Halloween ale.

MrHurmateeowish, Dec 11, 2006
Photo of kelticblood
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%

Great roasted malt with a bitter grainy aroma. Hints of sweet bread-like and slight raisin smell. Has a nice dark clear copper color. Head started off great but fizzled out to almost nothing with half a minute. No real lacing present. Has the typical Gritty's signature of a fizzy carbonation. The taste isn't really bitter but the after-taste has a lingering bitterness in the throat. This is somewhat drinkable, although I probally wouldnt buy it again. It is very average and just about straight 4's. A bit watery on the mouthfeel and looks thicker than it is. Has a very light fizzy texture in the mouth and goes down smooth. The 6.20ABV is well-hidden and might sneek up on you. Overall it is average, but worth a try. I expected something stronger from a winter Christmas Ale.

kelticblood, Dec 03, 2006
Photo of oberon
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%

Great to see Gritty McDuff brews now available in wny,poured a deep rich bronze with a hefty tight 1 one finger slight off white head.Fruity yeasty aromas along with some caramel and biscuity malt a tad of butter,flavors seem to be malt tilted somewhat buttery and caramelly with some orange-like fruitiness a lighter leafy hop hits in the finish.A sustaining malty brew quite flavorful a few years ago this would have been it for me that is until I found the blessed hop,as is I still really enjoyed this brew.

oberon, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of riversider76
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%

Pours a deep rich copper. Thin tan head, with some retention, and just a bit of lacing. Smell is malty,and spicey. Body is medium with some carbionation. Taste is sweet,spicy,and fruity up front.With a decent warming finish,with a bit of hopps. Merry Christmas!

riversider76, Nov 19, 2006
Photo of jmz62565
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%

Pours a clear deep dark mahogony red with a large tan foamy head. The head leaves just alittle lacing,but otherwise this is a good looking beer. The smell is a little on the slight side with pine, cinnamon,butter,hops, and other Christmas spices. The taste is a mixture of hop pine and bitterness with holiday spices. A very good mixture makes this a nice drinkable beer. A real Holiday treat.

jmz62565, Nov 18, 2006
Photo of WanderingFool
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%

Gritty's Christmas Ale pours a beautiful, clear dark copper color with a frothy light tan head on top. The foam fades slowly to a thick ring around the surface leaving a few spots of lace on the glass as it goes down. A mild aroma of pine, dry malt and a touch of spice.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is smooth on the palate with a nice carbonated fizz on the tip of the tongue. The flavor is mainly sweet malt with some fruity notes and a hint of spice mixed in. I can detect cherry and bubblegum up front. Towards the back some crisp hoppy spice notes help balance out all the malt. Once gone some of the sweet malt flavor lingers on the palate.

This is a very easy to drink beer that doesn't over power you with spices like other Christmas beers.

WanderingFool, Nov 18, 2006
Photo of edchicma
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%

Pours a dark copper with a nice initial head that dissipates quickly.Smell is butterscotch, grass and a touch of malt. Flavor is initially maltyt, then exapnds in a lightly bitter quality, with a slight butter quality..very nice. Mouthfeel is medium with a dryness on the finish that is very good. Smooth enough to rate higher than average on teh drinkability scale.

edchicma, Nov 18, 2006
Photo of Doomcifer
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%

Pours a bright reddish/amber color with a decent, off-white head that fades away into a thin film within a minute.

Smells of sweet malty goodness. Sort of fruity, and a pinch of earthy/spicey tones.

Taste is of sweet malts, with some champagne-like fruit flavors going on...hard to describe. Finishes off with some hop spiciness and bitterness but nothing overwhelming.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation.

This beer is pretty drinkable. Good session beer.

Doomcifer, Nov 15, 2006
Photo of ppoitras
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%

12oz bottle purchased as a single from Julio's, Marlboro, MA, I think. Notched best by Nov06.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/4" tan head over the clear dark amber/copper brew, which has some leafy floaties in it, not sure what's up there. Dense head lasts nicely, with heavy foamy lacing. Aroma is ample grains, with a bit of butteriness, it would seem. Taste is malty, with some dark fruitiness, medium bitterness, and a bit of a weird aftertaste. Hearty grains, a shot of dark fruits, with a dry finish and lingering warming. Mouthfeel and drinkability fine, just that aftertaste kind of quashes things a bit. Not bad, but frankly on-site is the place to drink Gritty's brews, esp on cask.

ppoitras, Feb 03, 2006
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%

Ya gotta love these combo packs. You get to try three or four beers in one 12 pack. This winter seasonal has a nice red color with a small head. It has a predominately spicy aroma. The taste is a sweet malty flavor, with a little hops thrown in. Nice mouthfeel, only a little carbonation. I liked this beer, but I drank it after Gritty's Scottish ale, and it suffers in comparison.

lordofthewiens, Jan 20, 2006
Photo of meathookjones
3.43/5  rDev -10%

Sampled from a 22oz bottle. Dark red colored body with a tall off white fluffy head that gives the glass a decent coating of lace. Aroma is very mild with spice and caramel malts. Light fruit notes as well as some bitterness. The taste was similar with sweet malts and fruits being complemented by a light spiciness. Some chocolate notes were noticeable at times. Finished off caramel fruit with a light spice. Solid body and pretty smooth. Easy enough drinking though the mildness of it could make it a boring drink early in a session. Overall though a decent brew.

meathookjones, Jan 05, 2006
Photo of bjohnson
3.1/5  rDev -18.6%

Gotta love a label with Santa on it. If the fat man gives his approval, I'll try it.

A: Pours a dark amber almost reddish brown with a tiny head that dissipates pretty quickly. Also a bit of fruit too, towards the end.

S: Smells of tons of malts with a little spiciness thrown in thereas well.

T: Taste starts off with a malt beginning the a lot of spices, caramel, and ending with a little bitterness.

M & D: The mouthfeel is pretty good although its not as bitter as I thought it was going to be, being an ESB. I was hoping for more of a heavier beer with a load more taste. Not a bad one though, probably would have a few of these.

bjohnson, Nov 27, 2005
Photo of ybnorml
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%

A clean dark amber beer. Has a big dark beige head. Big malty aroma with strong caramel overtones. The malty sweetness starts at the tip of your tongue the the caramel background hugs the sides of your tongue. The finish is anice smooth and easy bitterness down the back of your throat.

ybnorml, Dec 06, 2004
Photo of PatandDavid
3.03/5  rDev -20.5%

On cask at the GLB this past weekend...I wonder if the serving style left out out all the holiday spirit? Medium dark amber when served, it came topped with a white frothy head. Aroma was mostly all caramel, with some diacetyl getting through. Tastewise: no spice. Bready malt. Low hops in finish. Lacks pizazz. Is this all I'm going to get from Santa? I must have been real bad this year.

PatandDavid, Nov 29, 2004
Photo of UnionMade
4.43/5  rDev +16.3%

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 Loki
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%

Sampled from a 22oz bomber thanks to bennybrew. To little info on the bottle, but smaller Maine producer so we'll let that slide.

Appearance: Great mahogany color that produces a small light beige head thats fades almost immediately. Maybe, due to the fact I sampled at near room temperature. (Sat it out to warm from the fridge and got side tracked.)

Smell: Roasted malt, spices of maybe nutmeg and allspice and something I can't quite place. Hints of roasted coffee in the back.

Taste: Roasted malt, toffee, nutmeg, and a mild coffee bitterness. The coffee taste was too much for my wife, and I thought it quite mild, but I drink very dark, strong coffee (usually serves itself). Quite enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light carbonation, clean, and crisp. Finishes very nicely.

Drinkability: Very good. Nice and flavorful with a good malt backbone and enough hops to clean the sweetness. Overall a very solid ale.

Loki, Dec 29, 2003
Photo of Gusler
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%

The beer pours from the 22 oz. bomber a limpid deep ruby color with the head mountainous in size and semi-creamy in texture, the color a beautiful light tan with the lace a thick and glutinous sheet to meld with the glass. Sweet malt dominates the nose, citrus like crispness with hints of green apples, light floral hop aroma present, start is thickly malt and sweet, top is moderate to full in feel. Finish is quite hop spicy and the carbonation brisk, very dry and the hops stay with you till the very end, quite a quaffable tis’ true, another great brew from a favorite brewery, I thank the grand old man of Maine bennybrew for this bottle.

Gusler, Dec 20, 2003
Photo of jdhilt
3.48/5  rDev -8.7%

Pours with a two-fingered head and leaving a good lace. Beautiful, clear amber/ruby color. Nose is fruity and slightly sweet. Starts with a sweet mix of hops and malt, finishes hoppy. A different Christmas Ale - no spices. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. The ABV is 6.2%.

jdhilt, Dec 20, 2003
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Pours a deep mahogany with a small tan head. Smells fruity (apple or peach?) with light hops.

Taste is also fruity followed by strong hops. really fruity sweet malt but nice strident hops to balance it out. Mouthfeel is really sticky witha nice hoppy aftertaste that lingers nicely on the tongue. Not bad for drinkablility but a bit too sweet for a real session brew. I might get this if I was out but probably won't keep it around the house. Too sweet for my liking.

ViveLaChouffe, Dec 01, 2003
Photo of Bierman9
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%

The color of this Xmas Ale is deep chestnut, with some ruby highlights as well. It is clear throughout, and has a fine, thin head, which leaves just a trace o' lace. Body was decent and medium, and it had a fairly smooth pass across the tongue. Aroma has a touch of caramel-like malt, but hops and butteriness win out. Flavor, too, has some caramel aspects, but the buttery character again takes center stage. Some floral hoppiness co-mingles with the butter, and sticks in the throat for an extended period of time. I get a slight impression that there's some spiciness here. All-in-all a decent Bier, though the flavor imparted by the yeast strain can get old quickly. Thnx to bennybrew for the offering! Cheers!!

overall: 3.9
appearance: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4

649

Bierman9, Nov 07, 2003
Photo of beernut7
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%

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 Jason
4.38/5  rDev +15%

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 BillyBrew
4.45/5  rDev +16.8%

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
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Gritty McDuff's Christmas Ale from Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 175 ratings.