Christmas Ale | Goose Island Beer Co.

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Christmas AleChristmas Ale
Very Good
1,329 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:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-21-2001

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,329 |  Reviews: 573
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Spice beer without noticeable spice in taste. Malty including a degree of chocolate malt and chocolate syrup. Nice brown appearance with lace. good carbonation. Nothing too special and par for this brewery. Thanks Woolfs at Doug Shoemaker super tasting.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this back to back with Bell's Christmas Ale. Reviewed from notes.

A: 1.5 finger head on a murky brown body.

S: burnt toast, nuts, breads and some grains.

T: Fairly dynamic for a brown ale if that is what this is. Nuts and caramel up front with herbal and slightly musty hops with a dark fruit note.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: These seasonals are always interesting. Will pick one up again next year.

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Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Tieman for sharing this one at his tasting.

2009 vintage. Bottled 10/9/09.

Pours a hazy dark orange with a foamy orange-tan head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, citrus zest, and a slightly funky aroma. Taste is much the same with a mild hop bitterness with each sip, but there is no funk that comes across in the flavor. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but it seems to be show some age at this point.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.47/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 Bottling. Pours a clear dark bright copper with a light white head.

Nose is light milked coffee, roasted grain character.

Mouthfeel is medium bold with a little creamy character.

Flavors are bitter espresso/grapefruit skin and same in the finish.

Roasted grain character all around, flavors and finish and with a final bitter espresso character.

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Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of Knapp85
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought a vintage bottle from 2008 while at the brewpub in Chicago. The beer poured out as a nice muddy brown color with a pretty good looking head on top. Some retention with a touch of lacing also. The smell of the beer reminded me more of a barley wine... I never would had said this was a brown ale. The smell is sweet, lots of caramel, maple and very malty. No hops aroma just very soft and malty. The taste of the beer is almost fruity with some spice and brown sugar. This tastes nothing like a brown ale to me. The mouthfeel is soft, creamy, warming and mellow. Overall very impressive beer. Really glad I grabbed a bottle of this. Very good beer all around.

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Photo of djrn2
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of nmann08
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of metter98
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is cloudy reddish brown in color and poured with a finger high beige head that slowly died down but has good retention properties. A light amount of carbonation is visible.
S: An interesting mix of spicy aromas dominates the nose--cinnamon and nutmeg seem to stand out in particular--and there are notes of fruit cake and hints of pine resin hops.
T: Like the smell, the taste is rather complex and has a mix of holiday spices and fruit cake flavors along with a mild amount of bitterness and some malty sweetness.
M: The beer feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a light to moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer wasn't overly difficult to drink considering all of the spices and the sweetness, but there's no way that I could have more than one of these in a single sitting.

Note: 2009 vintage

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Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Aroma: Intriguing, smells of sweet malt, roasted malt, cherry tartness and mild ethinol.
Appearance: nice dark ruby red with a brown hue. Nice 3/4" head that would linger if you drank from a cleaner glass than I am. Off white head with tight bubbles.
Taste: Sweet with mildly noticable hop flavor. Flavor quicky thins leaving a roasted and noticable grainy charactor. Flavors remain consistent through the finish.
Aftertaste: mildly bitter, sweet, hints of roast. Leaves the mouth thick and tacky.
Impression: I think the beer wants to be a porter when it grows up. But, still prefer it to most brown ales that I have tried. Not Goose Islands best.

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Photo of WillieThreebiers
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled on 11/11/11. Pours very cloudy reddish brown color with a nice 2 finger fairly dense khaki head with nice retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Slight spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of caramel, toffee, biscuit, nuttiness, pepper, toast, pine, and herbal. Very nice and well balanced aromas with good strength. Taste of caramel, toast, biscuit, pepper, clove, toffee, nuttiness, pine, and herbal spiciness. Lingering notes of caramel, toffee, biscuit, nuttiness, pine, and herbal spiciness on the finish for a bit. Nice balance of flavors with good complexity. No cloying flavors at all after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with almost zero warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very nice holiday brown ale. Well balanced and fairly robust; and very smooth to drink. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a dark brown with a small, short-lived head. Leaves good lace.

S - It smelled of malt, hops and nuts.

T - Tasted strongly of roasted malt. Also, quite nutty and had a subtle hop bite.

M - It was crisp and medium-bodied.

D - Very good winter warmer. Different than most...tasted a little like a nut brown ale.

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Photo of Boone757
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a clear deep brown color ale with a big foamy head with some average retention and some small lacing notes. Aroma of spices with a big caramel malt profile. Taste is also dominated by a big caramel malt presence with some sweet notes and a strange mixture of spices. Body could have been fuller. Interesting but lacking something to be truly great.

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

22 oz bomber 2009

Pours about 1/4 finger of beige head. Fades to a thin layer and leaves a decent amount of lace. Color is a clear copper bronze.

Aroma: Big nut brown malty aroma. Caramel and nuts. Bready malts and maybe some toffee. I also get some dried fruit notes.

Taste: Very malty. The hops are grassy in the background, but overall malts. Lots of nuts and caramel with some toffee hints. I also get some spices here. Again, I get some dried fruit notes, but not a lot.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and bubbly with a tad hop bite. Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Ends malty and dry.

Overall, I wasn't overly impressed with this beer. I think it is a nice winter beer, but nothing I would go crazy for. The price is rather high for the bomber as well. Drinkable, but nothing amazing.

 799 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy, deep mahogany body with a creamy light tan head that holds well and leaves some nice lace throughout the glass. The aroma is cocoa-ish and mildly fruity with a soft background spiciness (piney hops?). The body is medium and creamy in the mouth from a very fine and natural carbonation. The flavor takes an interesting turn with a sweet fruitiness and some citrusy and piney hops atop a lightly syrupy maltiness. A distinct caramel note is revealed as it warms in the mouth, and some chocolatey character remains but it also picks up a roasted edge that combines with a firm bitterness in a dry and lingering, mildly roasty finish. Very nicely done with a good amount of complexity. Interesting and enjoyable. Best enjoyed slightly warmed. Well worth trying.

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

2009 bottle consumed 3/3/2011. I dunno what style this is supposed to be, I guess brown ale fits. Sorta. Winter warmer is probably more appropriate.

Really nice molasses and brown sugar aroma. Little bit o' licorice, and some nice oxidation in the form of old port. Maybe this isn't the best style of beer to age, but actually it smells quite good. Smells kind of like a gingersnap cookie.

Tastes pretty damn good, too. Brown sugar, or even just straight-up sugar cookie is most immediately noticeable. Oxidation gives the beer a mix of soy sauce and port flavors, right in the middle and frankly quite nice. There are some berry/jam-like flavors, which may just be an extension of oxidation. Who knows. The finish is fruity, grainy, fairly mild. It's an easy drinking beer, though very rich and sweet for the modest ABV.

Really nice stuff overall, appropriately Christmas-y but a damn good brew regardless of season.

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Photo of jlindros
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a huge fluffy head that reaches almost 2 fingers and fades very slowly with nice lacing, over hazy yeast chunked dark reddish maroon brown tannish color.

nose has lots of caramel malts, toffee, molasses, sweet smelling malts and sugars but not boozy, bit nutty as well with a hint of christmas spices, and maybe some earthy hops.

Taste starts rich with brown malts, tons of brown sugar and molasses, caramel and toffee, semi sweet, evidence of a darker roasted malt like a dark crystal as there are hints of a salty charred flavor. The malts turn slightly nutty as christmas spices come through lightly cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom?, and creamy. It turns a bit bitter as well as some earthy spicy hops kick in, and the bitterness grows. Finishes fairly bitter, dry but sticky, more creamy caramel, toffee, and molasses.

Mouth is med to full bodied, rich and creamy, good carb.

Overall nice brown ale, hints of spices, nice brown malts, caramel, toffee molasses, brown sugar, and even a nice hop kick. The only issue is the hint of tannic flavor from the hint of darker roast and slight astringent hop.

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Photo of DrBier
3/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of smithj4
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

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Christmas Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 3.79 out of 5 with 1,329 ratings