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Holiday Spice Lager Beer - Lakefront Brewery, Inc.

Holiday Spice Lager BeerHoliday Spice Lager Beer

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250 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 250
Reviews: 137
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 16.71%

Brewed by:
Lakefront Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Herbed / Spiced Beer |  9.40% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Spice beer brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, orange peel, and clover honey.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-03-2002)
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Ratings: 250 | Reviews: 137 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Minotaur


3.93/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours from the tap into a goblet a dark cloudy brown; it has a dense, thick head that evaporates quickly and leaves an attractive skim on the top of the beer.

The aroma is strong with honey, clove, cinnamon. There is a slight dark fruitiness: cherry, plumb.

The taste is very "in your face" with both spice and alcohol. It is a very strong array of spices: nutmeg, cardamom, clove, cinnamon, honey. The fruitiness remains in the taste: elements of the orange as well as berry or lighter/sweeter fruit (apple, pear?) come through. There is some bitterness and a toasty malt taste. Overall it is well blended but intense set of tastes. It has elements of a bock beer, traditional warmer, and strong spiced ale. Compared to other warmers which attempt to hint around at the spice... this puts that element right up front.

It is tingly and bubbly in the mouth and down the throat. This would normally lead to higher drinkability. But the lingering strong alcohol presence seems to make the mouth feel a bit more astringent. And that makes it only moderately drinkable.

It was unique for

Serving type: on-tap

12-24-2009 02:24:26 | More by Minotaur
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark amber in color with a 3" thick head. Some nice lace paints the glass during the session.

Smell: holiday spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg are pleasant and easy to detect.

Taste: mild malt presence with some cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, plums, and a decent bitterness to balance it out. Alcohol is mildly noticeable.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lighlty crisp to start, smoother and a bit dry at the finish. Aftertaste is long as the flavors linger in the mouth for a while.

Drinkabiliy: nice beer for a cold winter day. Slow sipping but more than one could be enjoyed in a session.

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2009 12:45:46 | More by Gavage
Photo of NJpadreFan

New Jersey

3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Lakefront- Holiday Spice Lager

A- Hazy red/ brown with a small light lacing head.
S- Sugary sweet candy and malt. Slight touch of cherries and cinnimon.
T- Super sweet sugary cherry, with hints of caramel, cinnimon, grape, and orange.
M- Varying between sweet and sour. Very fruity, barely any spices other than dry cinnimon noted. Fruity tartness dominates.

Overall- Too tart and fruity sour.

Serving type: on-tap

01-07-2009 21:57:33 | More by NJpadreFan
Photo of brakspear


4.65/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a surprise...to find Lakefront's 2002 Holiday Spice on tap in northern Wisconsin was like finding a pearl in an oyster.

This specialty beer pours a dark peach with a pleasant frothy head forming and lingering throughout.

The aroma screams spices and malty sweetness. I detected, I think, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and perhaps cloves.... all balanced with an ever present honey and malt base.

The taste is very sweet, perhaps from the honey, but the spices and high alchohol, along with a generous hop presence blance this beer very well. A potent brew for the holday season.

I first sampled Lakefront's Holiday Spice back in 1993 or 1994 in a special tasting held in the old Riverwest brewery...since I moved, I have missed its yuletide presence every year...it is a great beer to go out of the way to purchase if you are ever in Milwaukee when the mercury drops below zero.

Serving type: on-tap

12-20-2002 18:04:02 | More by brakspear
Photo of don1481


3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle for $0.99 on clearance at Groppi's? Why the heck not. Poured into Mr. Pint

Appearance: Deep reddish-brown with virtually no head. Very fizzy.

Smell: Lots of holiday spices. Honey? Check. Ginger? Check. Cinnamon? Oh yes. Nutmeg, cloves, and orange cloves? Yup, yup, and yup. Smells delicious.

Taste: ... something seems amiss here. The spices seem muted compared to the heavenly smell. Flavors are understated. Not bad, but not spectacular like I was expecting from the smell. Sigh. For something that's 9.4% ABV, I'm pleasantly surprised with how well the alcohol is hidden, though.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied for sure. Sticky.

Worth $0.99 for sure. Not worth $9.99 for a 4 pack in-season. Maybe I'll grab another to age for a year, but... eh.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2014 01:20:36 | More by don1481
Photo of alphagnome


3.86/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Surprisingly dark brown body that pours with a nice, light brown head that has horrible retention. Good carbonation. No lacing.

Here is where this one shines. Very sweet with gobs of spicing. Looking for truth in advertising? Here it is - everything the label calls out is detectable. Nutmeg and cloves are the most prominent. Honey is noticeable with a hint of orange. Very clean.

A pleasant bitterness right up front followed quickly by a full on assault of spice. Tons of nutmeg and cinnamon lace a very sweet, lightly roasted malt backbone.

Big body for a lager. Spritzy carbonation. Sweet finish.

I found myself enjoying this concoction of spices. It's easy to drink considering its' big body.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2014 18:58:48 | More by alphagnome
Photo of mnredsoxfan69


4.31/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is my first time with a holiday lager. It pours dark brown with a thick beige head that takes a little while to settle down. Not much lacing on the drink down but some.

It smells of Christmas/Thanksgiving spices with a little roasted maltiness.

Big spicy flavor mixed with honey. I didn't taste as much orange as some of the others have noted. Long malt and spice finish. The blend of flavors hides the high alcohol content.

A substantial, medium body without lager's usual crisp/dryness. Excellent mouthfeel.

Make sure you have something to eat before you try drinking this. It WILL knock you on your ass if you aren't careful. I love the flavors and the smell. They say holidays to me. Had I not read the label I would have thought it to be a dark, winter ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2014 19:31:57 | More by mnredsoxfan69
Photo of Pintofbrown


4.06/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured this into a shaker pint. Bottled on 11/18/13.

It is surprising how dark this holiday lager is: very dark cola brown with orange-tinted highlights only showing at the bottom of the glass. You have to give props to the tawny head: it builds to almost two-fingers of fizz before receding to a ring around the glass.

The aromas are very malty and only lightly spiced. It takes some serious agitation to get out the clove, nutmeg, and barely perceptible ginger. The orange peel is very subtle, but it is there. The cinnamon is buried by the sweet and brown sugary nature of the bouquet. That has to be the melding of the bready malt and gobs of honey that are in the nose. Very spiced or not, this beer smells great.

This Holiday Spice Lager Beer starts on the palate with the orange peel and brown bread malt. A quick and sharp bite of ginger hits strongly on mid-palate, with the finish including the nutmeg and clove bittering things up. There is a pervasive sweetness throughout the drink, and again, the cinnamon does get lost, but flashes every once in a while. It is very welcome how easy it is to pick out the spicing with each subsequent sip. Palate shift does muddle the spicing a little, and makes the clove-y-cinnamon bittering on the finish more pronounced.

Lakefront's holiday beer is more creamy than anything else. It has a slightly dry finish as well. This feel would be perfect if the finish emphasized the honey and fruit cakiness as opposed to the bittering clove and nutmeg.

Hands down, this is the most well spiced holiday beer I have had yet. Next year at Christmas time, I will be eagerly looking out for this beer. It is one thing to have nice spicing, it is another thing entirely to have that and a solid malt base to build off of, which Lakefront definitely does with this beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2014 08:13:18 | More by Pintofbrown
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

2.65/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

A: Coppery exit from the bottle turns a deep christmas burgundy in the glass with a dark tan head that is skimpy, washy, and quick to dissipate. Large collection of macro-bubbles stick to the glass walls.

S: Cinnamon, cold cola, and nutmeg are very soft, low key with no real contributer stepping up.

T: Flavor was spicy, with some cinnamon-nutmeg, toasted caraemel sweetness and a hint of clove and toffee. Cypress and some saffron are also evident. The spicing is heavy handed, perhaps a bit to much so. The flavor is sickening sweet, with some dry cherry coughsyrup and a touch of pine-scotch alcohol coming there-after.

M: sticky, bubbly on the tongue with a medium bodied with some alcohol warmth.

O: Overall a bit unbearing sweet and over-spiced and one that didn't sit well with me. A hot mesh of spicy sweetness, unbalanced, a hard one to consume and not one that i will miss next holiday season.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2014 00:35:38 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of DerekQXQX


3.74/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This came from a 12oz bottle but I don't think it was completely full so it was more like a 10.5-11oz pour. It tastes good. I am a fan of spiced beer and this was unbelievably drinkable. I love the tingle of the spice on the after taste and it reminds me of a gingerbread house. Or a gingerbread home rather. I don't know what makes it a gingerbread home but lord knows I've been trying for some time...sigh...I wish I was better at things.


Serving type: bottle

12-28-2013 19:02:44 | More by DerekQXQX
Photo of ONUMello


3.59/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Amber color with a thin head that quickly settles
S: Sweet with caramel, fig, molasses, cherry pie filling and nutmeg
T: Sweet, a bit boozy but flavorful with notes that largely match the nose: caramel/molasses, fig, spice particularly nutmeg. A touch bitter on the finish
M: I think the alcohol is what contributes the most to this beer, in both a good and bad way. Yes it's a bit hot. Fairly full-bodied, but also somewhat smooth. All of those attributes are from the alcohol level IMO
O: Definitely worth a try... smells good, tasty but I think it wuld be better balanced if the alcohol were a point or two lower

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2013 14:11:44 | More by ONUMello
Photo of JuicesFlowing


3.18/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a balloon glass.

The beer is a really dark mahogany with ruby hues. A cream colored head recedes to a light wisp, little or no lacing.

The aroma is a blend of ginger, faint orange peel, brown sugar, and some booziness from the 9.4% ABV.

The taste spicy cinnamon, ginger, and again, some booziness.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied.

Overall, not that complex. The high ABV helped keep this beer from a lower score.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2013 01:55:13 | More by JuicesFlowing
Photo of bushbeer75


3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz brown bottle dated on neck October 23, 2012. According to Lakefronts website 9.4 ABV and no mention of 11 ABV.

Lakefront Holiday Spice Lager filled my pint glass with a almost clear dark amber colored body and produced a very, very small off-white slightly bubbly head that dissipated quickly to a thin ring of bubbles. The nose is sweet, fruity and spicy. The taste is smooth, dominate by spicy cinnamon, orange, clove and a little sweet from the honey. There is just enough hops to balance and keep this lager from becoming too sweet. The mouth feel is a little sticky, high medium bodied and there is a light warming alcohol character.

Holiday Spice Lager is only the second herb/spiced beer I have had. To date Holiday Spice is by far my favorite in the style. This lager goes well paired with BBQ potato chips.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2013 22:28:44 | More by bushbeer75
Photo of wingman14


3.66/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a reddish brown with a nice off white head that sticks around for awhile. Smell is clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, sweet notes, very powerful, mostly inviting. Taste starts with the clove and cinnamon and moves to the nutmeg, and stays sweet throughout. A hint of orange comes in at the aftertaste, then the cinnamon and clove linger. The high ABV comes through at the end of each sip, easy to tell that it is much higher. A medium mouthfeel, not super smooth, but nice, the noticeable ABV takes away from the beer. Overall a nice holiday beer, super spiced, tons of flavor, not for those looking for subtle. Worth a taste.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2013 23:19:40 | More by wingman14
Photo of flagmantho


3.45/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: deep tawny brown hue with a haze-free body and a robust effervescence. The head poured a finger of creamy ivory foam but doesn't have a lot of retention. That color is just so rich, though.

Smell: nutmeg, cinnamon and clove are all right there. I feel like the underlying beer is quite sweet smelling, like a bock; I suppose it could be a lot worse, though, at 11%.

Taste: sweet, almost sickly sweet, brew. The spices don't work as well in the flavor as they do in the aroma. Upon further tasting, the disappointing beginning actually ends in a decently spiced pumpkin-pie-type finish. Not the worst thing in the world, although I don't love that start.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good level of carbonation, just as you might expect from the strong apparent effervescence. There's a really good level of creaminess here, which works well in the style.

Overall: an interesting beer, definitely one to limit to once a year. It is a lot like a pumpkin beer without the pumpkin (read: cinnamon and nutmegy), and has some flaws, but overall it is drinkable and perhaps worth a try if you're into this sort of thing.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2013 19:16:34 | More by flagmantho
Photo of silverking


3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours a dark, clear red/brown with a tan head with poor retention. lacing is moderate while the head lasts. It reeks of clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The malt, however, shines through that dense jungle of spice brilliantly. The taste is nice and malty with all of those wonderful holiday spices. there is also a moderately bitter hop presence. The finish is very bread-like, almost to the point that you can chew on it. There is moderate carbonation with a moderately full mouthfeel. The finish is a bit on the dry side, but it's quite pleasant.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2013 18:57:03 | More by silverking
Photo of ncketchum


4.15/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served chilled in a SN pint, 2012 vintage

A - pours a dark, murky brown, 2 fingers of light brown head

S - Lots of spice - cinnamon, nutmeg - but not overpowering, on top of a bready malt backbone

T - The spice again is evident up front, substantial yet somehow mellow. Malt follows, no hint of alcohol

M - Very smooth, no hint of alcohol, minimal carbonation

O - I can't believe how well they hide the 11% abv, and I also can't believe I've waited till now to try this one. This beer rivals other holiday brews I've tried recently, I think I'll be picking up a 6 pack soon.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2012 04:24:47 | More by ncketchum
Photo of Roland45s


3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A spicy robust beer with a heavy smell of nutmeg. Couldn't really get the "orange peel" but don't know that I cared to. Poured with a less than 1" head, not too heavy. Definitely would recommend this for a second round. Abv was very masked behind the rich robust mouthfeel of spices.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2012 13:00:35 | More by Roland45s
Photo of Ohiovania


4.45/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this at a work Christmas party, now I'm on my second six pack. I'm not usually a fan of holiday beers/ spiced beers but I tried after a recommendation from a friend. For me this spiced beer hits it right on the head. It's not over the top but is very spice forward. I feel like all of the spice have their place on stage with this one. It's a little sweet but just what I'm looking for after trying all the messes of Christmas past. And at 11% this beer is crazy drinkable. I almost think it has to be a typo, haha.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2012 00:34:07 | More by Ohiovania
Photo of chinchill

South Carolina

3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle of 2012 (October) Lakefront Holiday Spice served in a Unibroue snifter.
A: clear mahogany color, with a fine but too perishable head.
S: Excellent aroma [4.25] of cinnamon and other "holiday" spicing in good combination.
T: Citrus, bready malts, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg all in evidence and in rather good balance. Lightly bitter-sweet.
I was about to write that the ABV is poorly hidden, then I checked it (ABV = 11%!) so I will instead say that it is partially hidden and that this beer is highly (dangerously) drinkable for the ABV. Although quite fresh, this is sufficiently mellow and smooth to suggest it has already been properly aged a while.

O; LB manages to pack a lot of flavor in this holiday lager without going over the top on spicing. Should age well: I need to try to get a few more for my cellar.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2012 23:10:53 | More by chinchill
Photo of BeerFMAndy


4.2/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
11% ABV, Vintage 2012, Bottled on 10/23/12 printed on the neck.

A - Holiday Spice pours a beautiful and dark crimson amber color that is briefly topped by a thin ivory head which, due to the alcohol, disappears rather quickly leaving little lace on the glass. A good swirl reveals some lingering alcohol legs with dribble down the glass slowly.

S - The aroma is close to the epitome of a holiday beer. Spices flourish in the nose with lots of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. A kiss of hops imparts a small earthy pine cone hint before moving to orange peel that gives the nose a nice citrus zest. Toasted wheat and oat bread with some warm biscuit provide a great base for the medley of scents and provides a nice transition to the honey-filled mead-like warm alcohol finish.

T - Despite the spice-rich aroma, the flavor is much more "beer-like" with spices as an afterthought making way for toasted, bread-like malts. Strong alcohol interrupts with a strong presence initially that fades quickly, blending into a sweet, honey coated biscuit malt flavor. Well balanced spices but a bit sweet.

M - Very smooth and robust, this is a full-bodied brew that's finishes with an almost cloying level of sweetness and faded dry spice that lingers on the tongue. Warming alcohol almost becomes solvent-like with a strong presence and finish.

O - Nothing ushers in winter and the Christmas spirit better than some Kenny G holiday classics and a snifter of Lakefront's soothing Holiday Spice. The beer's spicy aroma and full, rich flavor work well with it's high alcohol and warming feel but I seem to enjoy this (especially when compared side-by-side) with a year on it. Luckily Lakefront released a plethora of Vintage 2011 where the alcohol is more subtle and the spice, believe it or not, seems to shine with a little more cheer. Whether you enjoy it fresh or aged, this beer is certainly a holiday staple, worthy of any celebratory occasion!

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2012 20:30:46 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of BasterdInABasket


3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, 2011 Vintage, bottled Nov 17 2011, poured into Tulip glass
A- Hazy Amber/Brownish in color, one finger off-white head, minimal retention, very little lacing
S- A lot of spice, mostly nutmeg, some cinnamon, honey-like sweetness
T- Nutmeg, ginger, cinnnamon, mostly sweet malts, citrus/orange in there too. Very little spice stays after finish, end dominated more by some booziness and honey sweetness, At 11% alcohol is mostly hidden though
M- Medium-Full, A pretty smooth, drinkable spiced beer, not overly sweet, little carbonation works well
O- The best seasonal LF has to offer, I usually get a six pack of this each holiday, a nice spiced beer to mix it up once in while

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2012 04:54:55 | More by BasterdInABasket
Photo of Weli


4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Dark amber color with thin white head residing to fine white lacing

S-Quite reminiscent of pumpkin pie, with notes of cinnamon and clove, with a strong malty presence

T-Big and boozy with a nice warming note, rich malt flavor with a finish of spice. Nicely balanced

M-Full bodied, without being cloying. Big and boozy nice winter beer

O-I'm not usually a big fan of spice beers but this one is very well balanced. A single bottle is a nice stocking stuffer.

Update: had no idea this beer was that strong until I looked at the above criteria! Wow, it really hides the alcohol well, would have expected an 11% beer to be much less sessionable!

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2012 00:25:46 | More by Weli
Photo of cindyjeffsmith


3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: handsome auburn, mostly clear, dark though not opaque. No head to speak of but the bubbles keep coming.
Smell: yep, that's a spiced beer. Aromatic spices up front. Citrus and some sweet malt supporting.
Taste: very nice balance of all the flavors mentioned above. I believe it's the honey that really makes this shine, with the aromatic spices and citrus supporting.
Overall: nice surprise. Big beer, nice and balanced. Great holiday treat.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2012 21:56:58 | More by cindyjeffsmith
Photo of DrDemento456


3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Well doesn't look like a lager but I guess for 11% it wasn't meant too. Orange honey amber, clear and dark with little head that falls to a sticky lace ring.

S - Smell is light almost like an English brown with herbal tea malts and a touch of cinnamon or nutmeg. Smells mild with little notable ABV.

T - Well it's not bursting with flavor most notable is the English like brown malts, nutmeg, and mild cinnamon tones. Maybe it's the orange peel that provides an almost hop bitterness. I applaud that it's very balanced.

M - I don't know where it is but if I were to guess (and you have to since it's not listed on the bottle) it seems around 8%. A fine winter warmer,

Overall I tried their other beers and it seems this has the most balance and taste I ever tried from them. Worth picking up a single which was hella cheap at around 2 bucks.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2012 22:13:14 | More by DrDemento456
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Holiday Spice Lager Beer from Lakefront Brewery, Inc.
84 out of 100 based on 250 ratings.