12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale | Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

very good
190 Reviews
12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale

Brewed by:
Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
Ohio, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.30%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
This beer's name sums up the idea of bringing the best together to celebrate. It is filled with seasonal flavors from generous amounts of toasted and caramel malts, mixed with equally generous amounts of honey, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. We feel it is the perfect libation, filled with flavors of the season.

Added by imaguitargod on 11-18-2008

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 190 | Ratings: 737
Photo of BigD1972
1.72/5  rDev -55.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Just like the Harpoon Winter Warmer,..this Beer is awful!!! It's like drinking a liquid Christmas tree. The piney taste and over spiced taste makes this brew hard to swallow. The smell is actualy not that bad but, it is the calm before the storm. Not impressed at all.

 268 characters

Photo of 2x10
2.21/5  rDev -43%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

smells like carrot juice with minimal spice on the nose.

Has a strong honey feel on the tongue. strange. aftertaste is thick and sweet with a hint of mixed spices, but none highlighted.

Not a favorite in our camp. didnt taste any spices, just hops and honey. Honey overpowers every spice and flavor. Tasted to us like a typical i.p.a. with ALOT of honey. disappointed

 370 characters

Photo of Mitchster
2.28/5  rDev -41.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

$2.19 for a 12 oz bottle @ BevCo. Brewed with honey, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. 21.5 IBUs, OG=18.5P. 8.3% ABV.

Filtered, pours out to a clear chestnut, forming a limpid off yellow head with poor retention and sparse lacing. Moderate carbonation. The aroma opens with some subtle biscuit malt and toast, then is followed by an overwhelming spice note...mostly cinnamon and ginger. The mouthfeel is clean with a medium body. Taste is potent with spices, too much for my tastes. I like the more balanced examples of the style, like Great Lakes BC. This is way over the top. Bitterness is mild. Not much more to comment on here. If you like strongly spiced beers, you'll probably like this. I don't.

 699 characters

Photo of imaguitargod
2.31/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

After extensive searching I was surprised this one wasn't here on BA, so it's time to add my first beer. This spiced Ale pours to a medium head that dissipates to a slight foam ring around the edge of the bottle. No lacing appears on the glass and the color of the beer can only be described as Klingon Blood Wine Red. A decently spiced taste with an overwhelming syrupy thickness. The syrup taste is way distracting and comes across as bad honey/maple syrup. This is followed up by the ginger. The cinnamon and nutmeg hit as an aftertaste and the nutmeg grabs you at the back of the throat which comes off as a bitterness which isn't quite pleasant. Really a middle of the road beer that can be slightly enjoyed for a pint but after that it's a bit tough. I definitely recommend drinking it out of a tulip glass because it softens the spices slightly.

~Jonathan Passow

 872 characters

Photo of johng
2.47/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

First time I ever drank this, could not find any Corsendonk Xmas this year so tried something new. Overpowering taste of ginger with some heavy clove action. Liked the mouthfeel. No real scent to it but a bit of sourness. Better as it got warmer like most Xmas ales but wouldn't recommend it. Disappointing effort from Thirsty Dog in my opinion.

Read on another beer site that this was similar in formula to Great Lakes Xmas Ale. Not even close.

 446 characters

Photo of OWSLEY069
2.58/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clean amber color with a small off white head. In the aroma, sweet and spicy, with a few honey like notes. In the taste, spicy, cinnamon primarily, and some hints of clove like honey. A spice bite and medium to light bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry cinnamon in the aftertaste. Kind of average, big cinnamon, hints of honey, but it does hide the alcohol.

 363 characters

Photo of Innocentexile
2.61/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

poured from 12 oz.

A-hazy red/brown color. absolutely zero head. laces a little bit though

S-subtle scent of spices and cinnamon. not very impressive though. i was "searching" for a scent. it's there, its just not flamboyant

T-weird. I got an alcohol taste with very slight spices and ginger. not really appealing to me. I really have a hard time tasting the "christmas" in this ale. maybe its just a bad bottle

O-not at all what I was expecting. not very good to me. again, maybe just a bad bottle. I'll need a fresh one. but thats hard since they dont date the bottles

 574 characters

Photo of sjohansen
2.78/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 Dogs pours a pretty clear amber; almost copper in color. There is very little head from a pretty rough pour, and what was there disappeared quickly. No visible rising bubbles.

The nose is off. It smells like a wild field. I don't want to say salad, because it's not the standard DMS, but there is a leafy green scent. It sweetens up to a Splenda like sweetener as it warms.

Hops come to the forefront (herbal bitterness,) but get smashed in the aftertaste by sweet caramel. The caramel turns to honey as it warms. Has a syrupy aftertaste, slightly cloying.

Medium bodied, smooth, slick.

It was ok. Winter beers have to come with something special, especially because of what's available. This one didn't cut it. As a side note... for as sweet as it was, I really wish there was more to the nose.

 802 characters

Photo of Doomcifer
2.8/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a relatively clear, darker shade of amber with minimal head. Not much lacing to mention. Smells VERY strongly of nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice. Smells of relatively nothing but holiday-like spices, and very strongly. Taste is much the same...strong nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, subtle hop spice...malty. Decent carbonation, medium bodied. Very sweet and spicy. One bottle is enough. Not totaly impressed.

 414 characters

Photo of Thanby
3.1/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Has a nice nut-brown look, but with almost zero head and lacing.

Smells like a lot of cinnamon backed by some honey and other traces of spice. Hard to pick out the actual malt, no detectable hops.

My friend described this pretty well when he tasted it, "It's like they dipped a cinnamon stick in honey and beat you in the face with it." Still having trouble picking out any malt character, the cinnamon is just overwhelming.

Still very smooth, the spices aren't TOO spicy, but the cinnamon just dominates and mutes everything else. A little sticky finish with a dry cinnamon flavor that lingers after the sweetness fades.

Definitely festive, warms the tummy, but not my favorite winter ale.

 694 characters

Photo of secondtooth
3.11/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep ruby with a minimal head. Lace is thick and dense, but not so detailed.

Nose is fruity, spicy, and reminds me of a fruitcake. I don't consider that good nor bad, per se.

Taste is thick, malty, and syrupy. The sweet cinnamon and spice essence is most prominent with this heavy-bodied, rich, and fairly complex holiday ale. Seems a bit too heavy-handed for my taste, though, and this is not one I'd pursue again.

 425 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.13/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle consumed at our Christmas in July tasting this past weekend. Served in a SAVOR snifter.

Pours a dark amber-bronze color with a pretty good white head and a nice collar throughout. Some spotty lacing. The nose brings some light cinnamon and nutmeg. The flavor has the cinnamon and nutmeg as well, but with the addition of a good amount of pine. Medium body and a really dry finish. Decent enough, but not something I'd go back to.

 437 characters

Photo of JRed
3.15/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark amber in color with white head that develops a mist over top. Aroma of cinnamon, spices, caramel, and slight apple. Tastes of apple skins, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, then booze comes in and slicks the palate. Light in body with medium carbonation. A boozy winter warmer.

 274 characters

Photo of phreshbeer
3.22/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Somewhat muddy/cloudy - reddish in color. Off white head that dissipates rather quickly.

S: Cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon lead the way.

T: Anticipated by the aroma, the taste follows suit with tons of spice, also hints of honey and banana.

M/D: Somewhat light on the tongue. After such a strong spicy smell I was slightly cautious of this beer. However, I found it to be rather drinkable ( especially @ 8% ).

 413 characters

Photo of BrianOhio
3.23/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The pour produces a one finger head that doesn't linger too long. Cloudy, deep amber in color.

Aroma is very strong of nutmeg and clove. Taste follows suit - malty, with strong emphasis on the clove. I even pulled cloves out of my spice rack to confirm that is what I was getting. As the taste lingers, you do pick up some subtle ginger and honey. I had hoped to get some dark fruit notes in the finish, but did not.

If you are a fan of GL Christmas Ale, you will probably like this beer a bit, but in my opinion it's not as complex nor as good. Just too much clove for my taste.

 581 characters

Photo of xare
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured as a brown clear liquid with a small amount of white head that disappeared after about a minute. Doesn't lace. At the edges of the glass, the color lightens up and becomes honey-colored.

Smell is of nutmeg and some alcohol. It's better than most winter warmers I've had in the past, but nutmeg isn't my favorite of the spices used in this brew. If you like nutmeg though, you'd bump this up a notch.

Taste is of nutmeg with a touch of cinnamon and a hint of ginger. Certainly couldn't detect the honey that they used. The taste is somewhat boozy as well, but if you're into that, bump this up a notch. It was almost like a nutmeg-rum-soaked cookie ball flavor, minus the cookie. And minus the rum flavors.

Mouthfeel was average. No creaminess after the head went away. It was crisp and clean though and not cloying or suffocating with spices. Solid 3.

Drinkability suffered a bit as you can taste the alcohol and it shows. I like the alcohol to be well-hidden or for the beer to be easily drunk without worrying about the heat coming from it. Maybe if the booziness goes away with age, then this would be a prime candidate for aging.

Overall, it's a decent beer but certainly not a replacement for either Great Lakes or Barley's Christmas Ales. The three are similiar - the thing that makes this one different is the nutmeg and the booziness of the brew. If you're into either one of those features, then by all means go for this brew. Otherwise, it's a solid beer but not one that I'd buy year after year.

 1,518 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

BOTTLE: Brown glass. Pry-off crown cap. 355ml format. Cost was $2.99 at Whole Paycheck in NYC.

"Ale brewed with honey & spices." "filled with seasonal flavors from generous amounts of toasted and caramel malts, mixed with equally generous amounts of honey, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg." 21.5 IBUs. O.G. = 18.5 Plato. 8.30% ABV.

Aroma brings chestnuts, amber malts, cherry puree, caramel, nutmeg, cinnamon, caramel, ginger snaps, and toast. Some brown sugar would liven this up. Aromatic intensity is average.

TASTE: Slightly toasty amber malt backbone. Caramel. Faint spicy notes - nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, maybe cardamom. On the sweeter side but not cloying, though there's no hop presence really. A middling build that hides its ABV well but lacks the depth and complexity of flavour to really impress.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, medium-bodied, slightly sticky, a biteen syrupy, unrefreshing. Well-carbonated. Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

OVERALL: Drinkable and approachable, with a well-hidden ABV. Unfortunately, it doesn't offer much in terms of vivid or expressive constituent notes, and it isn't a beer I'd want a 4 pack of (even only once a year). I adore a few Thirsty Dog beers I've tried; this isn't one of them, but it's far from a bad beer.

High C+ (3.25) / ABOVE AVERAGE

 1,326 characters

Photo of tchenery
3.26/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice brown color, not too dark. Decent, but small white head on top.

Smells too spiced. I'm picking up anise and cinnamon. I just made a homebrew that I overspiced and it smells a lot like this one.

Very licorice in flavor. Kind of a grainy brown ale. It's ok, but I'm not crazy about it. It is very sneaky though with it's 8.3% ABV. I wouldn't have expected that.

Mouthfeel is pretty full, drinkability would lend itself to one a night in the right company of the holiday season. Fireplaces and whatnot.

 509 characters

Photo of hosehead83
3.27/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a twelve ounce bottle into a standard pint glass
Copper/ruby in color with a short one-inch head of foam
Aroma-cinnamon, nutmeg, malt
Taste-Big onrush of spices, mostly nutmeg, some honey sweetness and caramel-Abit heavy on the spices, leading to a rather acidic, unbalanced finish. Definite sipper.

 311 characters

Photo of GRPunk
3.29/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a nonic pint.

A- A thin khaki head almost instantly disappears. The bronze body is clean with moderate-light carbonation. Sticky rings fall back into the body.

S- It's a nice combination of sweet and spicy. Initially, I picked up a lot of honey and cinnamon. A caramel malt backbone comes through with more investigation. It's all very Christmas-like.

T- A little overwhelming. All of the spices combine to become a little muddled. Grainy malts are in the background, but get overwhelmed by the spices. Only late in the glass did they come close to a balance with the spices. It does finish quite clean and the alcohol is really well hidden in the flavor.

M- Heavy spicing contributes to a little chalky feel. Light carbonation. A little warming alcohol is a nice touch.

D- At first I thought this was really going to be a one and done. I even noted that it might be difficult to spread a six-pack over the season. However, it kind of grew on me by the end. It's a good holiday nightcap. I'm glad I tried it, and would drink it again when I'm looking for a spicy holiday brew.

 1,100 characters

Photo of avalon07
3.3/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a clear consistency. There was a half inch of foamy, fairly long-lasting head. Very little lacing.

S: The aroma was dominated by spices, nutmeg and cinnamon particularly.

T: Like the smell, the taste had a spice-heavy lean to it, with a lot of cinnamon and nutmeg in it. Also a little malt and caramel as well. Not a bad flavor, but kind of one-dimensional.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a crisp finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This isn't a terrible beer, but is definitely wildly uneven.

 557 characters

Photo of nukem5
3.3/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark copper in color very little head.

S: Carmel, malts, cherries, figs, cinnamon, ginger.

T: Toasted and carmel malts, honey, ginger, a nice complex flavor that reveals something new with each sip which by the end of the glass demands one more.

M: Medium body almost no lacing.

D: One drink leads to another and they keep tasting better, nice to cellar and store for a while. Mine was a good 8 months old and the 8.3 ABV is not overpowering but offers a great balance for a great beer.

 493 characters

Photo of eskildow
3.31/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It is a cloudy amber colour that is really quite attractive. A spicy smell, particularly clove, cinnamon, and perhaps some cardamom. The flavour is festive, of clove and juniper, quite astringent. Bitter aftertaste with pumpkin spice notes.

 243 characters

Photo of sweemzander
3.34/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. No bottled date.

(A)- Pours a copper amber color that produced no head formation except for some tan bubbles.

(S)- A spicy apple & honey with bits of cranberry.

(T)- Very dry with a musky-like honey & cranberry. Has a big corn husk background.

(M)- A good carbonation level & balance to it with a relatively good feel to it. Slightly off-putting with the muskiness & corn husk.

(D)- A basically good beer to have around for the holidays. Not too shabby in the flavor department, but I would rather grab another than this one in the style; enjoyable enough.

 609 characters

Photo of Broman
3.34/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance- Pours a deep red color, when held to the light tiny bubbles can be seen plentifully rising. A moderate head floats atop that dissipates rather quickly. As the head disappears the bubbles follow at the same rate. Overall an exciting beer to look at initially.

Smell- Not an overly powerful smell. Somewhat disappointing from how the beer looks. Slight hints of malt, cinnamon, and sweetness are what is most prevalent.

Taste- The smell is backed up with the taste. Most abundant is the malty characteristics. Slight cinnamon flavor is masked in under the heavy malt. Virtually no aftertaste lingers. Overall easy beer to drink, enjoyable taste, but not overly excitable.

Mouthfeel- A slight sting on the tongue disappears quickly. Medium body feel in the mouth. No initial flavors seem to break through.

Overall- Better than most christmas beers out there. It does not try and overpower you with sweet and cinnamon flavors. It has a nice offering of malt taste and seems to have good body. Overall this is an enjoyable beer and would recommend to anyone who is an avid christmas ale drinker.

 1,106 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
3.88 out of 5 based on 737 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.