Christmas Ale | Goose Island Beer Co.

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Christmas AleChristmas Ale
Very Good
1,330 Ratings
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.30%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,330 |  Reviews: 573
Reviews by RandyKemka:
Photo of RandyKemka
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

More User Reviews:
Photo of elNopalero
4.66/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled on 11/11/11, enjoyed during the winter holidays of 2013.

I have no recollection purchasing this but found it tucked away in the basement of my parents’ house. Thought it would be fun to enjoy it.

This pours a ruddy raisin-color with thin foaming. It’s murky in appearance, like a poorly filtered French press cup of coffee.

The bottle calls this a American Brown Ale but honestly it pours more like a Belgian spiced dubble. There’s a light, low aroma of dried stone fruits, raisin and dates, with a sweet and sweetly-spiced flavor of cloves and allspice blended with the raisin and dates. I found it a delicious and welcome surprise.

 651 characters

Photo of RoyalT
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Some ABAs can be murky, but this is actually quite nice. The brown color is a light-brown and very pretty, and the head came up on an easy pour and left a lot of lacing.

Smell - The malts are about as richly toasted as you can get without smelling burnt or roasted. The sugars are very, very mild. I can catch a few other smells like cocoa and coffee grounds but again they are very light. This is a subtle masterpiece.

Taste - This is like a whole-wheat piece of bread toasted until it's almost burnt. Again the sugar is very light, not even like sugar but more like the residual sweetness you get from eating raw barley. There's a sneak peak of hops in here that just does get noticed.

Mouthfeel - This is almost medium-bodied with just the right amount of dull carbonation and thankfully not overly bitter as some American efforts at the style tend to be.

Drinkability - As I said before, this is a subtle beer that will reward the patient drinker from beginning to end. I suppose you could age it a bit to meld the flavors, but I found the various smells and tastes to be quite entertaining.

 1,113 characters

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice solid brew. Deep malt backbone, light hop bitterness that is just present enough to keep you thirsty for more. Slender sand head, mildly clingy. Caramel is the overriding aroma. Coffee with caramel syrup makes up the bulk of the flavor. Slightly smoky. Orange peal finish. This is a concrete beer with a great price. It’s really quite a steal.

 349 characters

Photo of OhioBobcat
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
3.34/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one is a dark, murky, brown to deep cherry color. Three fingers of spongy, lightly toasted head slowly dindle to two and leaves a nice lacing. Smell is very faint but as a lightly roasted maltiness.

A rich caramel coffee slides into a quite bitter finish. This is clearly well-made beer, but the alcohol makes itself a little too well-known for my tastes. I will probably stow one of these and come back to it in a year.

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Photo of skybluewater
3.41/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice garnet color. Not much lace. Smell is rather unusual. There's a bit of chocolate there, but there's also something else I don't care for, but can't describe. Taste isn't bad, just average. A touch of chocolate, with not much else. The mouthfeel's a bit too thin, and there's not enough alcohol to warm me up on a cold night.

I have to say I'm disappointed with this offering from GI. There are better, more warming beers of this style out there. While not a bad brew, I wouldn't buy again, unless part of a "pub pack".

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Here's another one I look forward to every year. Pours a nice raisin/red color, with hints of bright red popping out from behind the light. A nice tan head tops it off with some gentle lacing. Aromas of piney hops mix with toffee, fruit, nuts and caramel. Nice spicy tones as well, quite a sniffer.

First sip is a tantalizing mix of burnt chocolate, nuts and toffee all floating in some piney hop goodness. A nice bitterness flows over the back of the palate. There's alot going on here, with hints of fruit and spice as well. A tasty winter warmer that I always enjoy.

Mouthfeel has a good body and creaminess...a pleasure to consume. I could easily sit down to a sixer of this on a cold winter night. Just a damn fine brew and a must try from Goose Island.

 764 characters

Photo of sabitu
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of Kjanisch7
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of chOAKbarrell
3.6/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle dated 9/29/05. No light passes through this beer at all. Nice frothy head with lots of lacing. Smells pretty malty sweet. Flavorful and pleasing to the palate. I dont know what to compare the taste to. The mouthfeel seems kind of thin for such a robust beer. Not knowing a whole lot about winter warmers, I'd say this is probably slightly above average.

 360 characters

Photo of danthehopslamman
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of csmartin6
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of warnerry
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Saying goodbye to the holidays with a couple of Christmas beers. 2011 release.

A - Pours a nice mahogany color with two fingers of tan head, but there is loads of suspended material, even after a gentle pour and being upright for at least a month. Head has decent retention and leaves a small amount of lacing.

S - Toasted bread malt, light floral hops, a bit of spice and caramel. Some sweetness in the aroma, maybe a touch of raisin. Actually pretty subtle, but good.

T - Similar to smell, with a bit more sweet malt than in the nose. Nice toasted bread with some spice and a mild hop presence. Also a faint tea taste.

M - Medium mouthfeel with a pretty dry finish.

O - A good Christmas brown ale, but not sure I would go back to this one too often.

 756 characters

Photo of Beaver13
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, bottled on 09/18/12 - 2012 7.3% ABV version. Pours dark reddish brown with a medium creamy light tan head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet nutty malts, brown sugar and dark fruits and a little alcohol.

The flavor is sweet sugary nutty malts, dark fruit and some fruitcake with a medium bitter alcohol bite in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, a nicely balanced Christmas beer. A tad much on the sweet and nutty side for me.

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Photo of therealJAYZ
3.52/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of generallee
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured from a 650ml brown bottle into a nonic pint glass, as is recommended on the label for best enjoyment. The label also has a born on date of 10/30/09 and a description of a local Chicago charity which Goose Island will donate a portion of the profits too from this beer.

Appearance: It has a beautiful deep crimson red body with very good clarity. The head on top has a creamy off white color and a thick, frothy texture. It also hangs on well and leaves loads of thick clingy lacing on the glass.

Smell: The aroma had a much stronger hop presence than I was expecting. It had a very solid pine like hop character with a touch of holiday spice underneath it.

Taste/Palate: First up is a firm hit of hops which bring good earthy and citrusy/pine notes and bitterness. With the hops also comes a solid backing of sweet toasted caramel maltiness. From here spice notes like nutmeg, cinnamon and maybe some bitter orange peel, creep in and add some more depth of flavor. All of these flavors seem to come together and balance each other in the slow lingering finish. The palate has a good firm medium to full body and texture with nice active carbonation.

Notes: The hops were a bit surprising to me at first for a brown ale/Christmas beer but everything comes together nicely in the finish. I also like that it keeps the spicing to a mellow level which adds to its drinkability in my opinion.

 1,419 characters

Photo of nstroup
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with a vintage date of 2011 on the label.

LOOK: Hazed mahogany, awesome lacing

SMELL: Toasted biscuits, chicory, herbal, minty, dried plums, yeast

TASTE: Smooth, creamy, medium body, very toasty, biscuity, dried grass, bread crust, caramel, figs, herbal, orange pith, hop bitterness, tea, semi-dry finish.

An American brown ale strutting around like a Winter Warmer, you have to let this one get to celler temp as it becomes a real treat. Here's to a long winter so I can go through all of the seasoanls I have ... Goose Island was a great way to kick it off.

 581 characters

Photo of merlin48
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This Goose pours a clear, red mahogany with a thin beige head that quickly fades into even lacing of patches and sheets. Aroma begins with caramel, with a spice background, then evolves into a prominent bouquet of citrus and floral hops. Mouthfeel has moderate carbonation, and a mild, spicy bite on the tongue. Taste is dominated by sweet caramel malt, with cinamon and nutmeg in the background. As it warms up, there seems to be an abundance of fresh, green hops that lend a citrus balance. I've gotten this fresh, green, hoppiness from other Goose Island brews, as well, and find it very pleasant. Well balanced, overall, and has very good drinkability for a Christmas seasonal ale, due to the restrained use of the spices.

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Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle sampled (Just missed this one on tap at the Blind Tiger..rats..) Bottled on dating (bottled less then a month ago) and label tells me this will "continue to develop over 5 years" !Anyway this is a good looking and good tasting winter brew. Dark Honey almond in color with a long lasting tan head, leaves gobs of fine lacing. Nose is bready malts and light spice. Malty smooth brew, pleasingly flavorful and satisfying. With notes of caramel, oatmeal cookies. Softly rounded on the tongue. Very nice christmas/winter sessioner.

 542 characters

Photo of mctizzz
2.75/5  rDev -27.4%

Photo of reitzbrewing
4.75/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of Mora2000
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glad I got to try this one. 2009 vintage.

The beer pours a brownish-amber color with a white head. The aroma is very one dimensional. I get a lot of toffee notes, but that is it. No hops, spices, etc... The flavor is much more complex and a big improvement over the aroma. I get a lot of caramel and toffee malts, but there is also a nice hop component to the flavor. I get some grass and pine hops which provide a nice bit of bitterness to balance out all of the malt sweetness. I also get some cocoa in the flavor and maybe a little bit of spice, but if it is there, it is very subtle. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Another good beer from Goose Island.

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Photo of olradetbalder
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

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Christmas Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 3.79 out of 5 with 1,330 ratings