12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale | Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

very good
191 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

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Reviews: 191 | Ratings: 739
Photo of genog
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this as a comparison of christmas ales. 12 oz bottle poured into a small 4 oz taster glass. Poured a copper color with some tan head that disappears. Aroma was nutmeg and cinnamon. Taste was very similar with a warming mouthfeel that was medium. Very good winter warmer that i thought gave great lakes a run for the money.

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Photo of malty
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage.

Poured into my thick, dimpled-wall stemmed old school Busch Bavarian Beer chalice a vividly clear ruby/amber color with a dense & creamy settled 2" beige head. Larger sized carbonation visibly uprising at a less than moderate rate. Very handsome broken walls of stringy lace all the way down.

This baby is full of fresh Christmas spices for sure. Cinnamon & ginger provide a bright and edgy gateway for the earthy nutmeg to lounge itself through the door. Anise is apparent in the background, while some toffee notes echo in the flanks. This promises to be a great tasting winter warmer. So let's see...

The ground cinnamon commands the first stare, just like in the nose. The ginger doesn't taste as bright and fresh as it smelled, but it's there nonetheless - but doesn't tastes ultra-fresh as I was hoping. The nutmeg is in check. Honey is there, but in the background. Everything is clicking along nicely. The malts are soft and sweet, but there is a nice dryness at the end. Definitely starts and ends with cinnamon.

Mouthfeel is very soft and creamy. It's a solid medium body with fine carbonation that you can feel initially, but glides away rather quickly. Has a nice 'cask' mouthfeel, if you can imagine that. The finish is cinnamon and chalky dry.

Drinkability is very good. I'm practically done with my 12 oz. sample, and I'm very surprised because it didn't feel like I drank that much (yet).

Overall a very nice Christmas beer that has all the key/featured spices of the season present and accounted for. I personally would have liked to have tasted a bit more honey and smidge less cinnamon, but that's splitting hairs. Reminds me of a darker, rounder and creamier version of Great Lakes Christmas Ale, which is saying ALOT in my book!

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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.

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Photo of nrbw23
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark amber color with very thin off white head. Head turns into a few layer of bubbles and leaves some nice spotty lacing.

S- Smells of honey, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, spices & earthy hops aromas. Hints of cinnamon & clove. Just what I expected here.

T- This one follows the nose really well. Spice is every here ginger, clove & cinnamon. A touch of toasted malts. About as close to my personal favorite Great Lakes for sure.

M- Medium body with fairly good amount of carboantion.

D- Good drinkability. I was pretty happy with this one.

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Photo of Tee76
4.27/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark Amber/brown color very little lacing or head

S: Carmel, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger & other numerous spices. Nice aroma

T: Wow! this beer is full of flavor, spices come through nicely.Tastes slightly sweet with nutmeg/cinnamon being the predominant flavor

M: Medium body with decent carbonation

D: Was really happy with this beer, keeps tasting better & better as you go on, not to mention it has 8.3 ABV but it's not overpowering. You could easily drink "to many of these". Excellent "Winter Warmer" HIGHLY recommended!!

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Photo of Spider889
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As time goes on I think I am more a fan of the "idea" of a Christmas Ale, but in practice most fall short, or wind up trying waaay too hard. This one was well balanced and refreshing, while still imparting the flavors appropriate to the season.

Had on tap at Riverside in Kent as a leftover of their Christmas in July month-long celebration.

Nice amber color with a good heavy 1.5 inch head. It receded quickly but left excellent freckled lacing down my pint.

The aroma was very subdued compared to most holiday ales. It consisted largely of diluted cinnamon.

The beer is a decently strong ale with plenty of caramel malt sweetness, subtle cinnamon, and brown sugar. The beer is medium bodied and very easy-drinking.

Not nearly as good as Great Lakes version, this still does the job and could be had in greater quantities before succumbing to cinnamon fatigue... some holiday ales can get out of control. Worth a try for sure.

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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.

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Photo of sixerofelixir
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, sampled November 2009.

Color is dark copper red, off-white head dissipates quickly. Smell is all spice, I'm picking up mostly cinnamon. Taste is very nutmeg-like, with an ultra smooth honey finish. A good twist of dryness and satiation. I could drink more than a few of these. All in all, a damn good beer for this style.

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Photo of sbw138
4.09/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a bottle from the POPE into a pint glass

Appearance - Dark amber/brown in color with a two finger light brown head.

Smell - Smells like Christmas. In truth though I smell spices like nutmeg, some cumin making it spicy and sweet at the same time.

Taste - Now its really living up to its name. While it has all the characteristics of an ale, the spices are really coming through especially nutmeg making it taste similar to a cookie. Vanilla is another strong taste blending well with malts.

Mouthfeel - Good body, with the right level of carbonation.

Drinkability - The beer itself reminds me in some ways to other seasonal beers especially the pumpkin ones. The spices are not too overpowering and really nice. However, as is the case with most seasonal beers I feel its a session beer. One is good, two at the most. Overall really nice beer though.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of jdhilt
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a one finger cream head that fades very slowly to a thin layer, leaving a good lace. Clear amber color. Malty nose. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Flavor is malty cider and caramel. $2.00 for a 12oz bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to ybnorml for this one.

Pours a nice slightly hazy golden brown color, nice carbonation, small fizzy off-white head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with lots of caramel, nutmeg/cinammon notes. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, lots of caramel notes, a very nice touch of nutmeg/cinammon. Medium body. Drinkable, a pretty tasty brew.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap in a pint glass at Hal & Al's on 12/15/09

A - Dark amber with crimson highlights around the edges. Very thin layer of retention with a few small spots of lacing.

S - Honey, ginger, spices & earthy hops aromas. Hints of cinnamon & clove.

T - Closely follows the nose but with more hop presence offering a decent kick. Spiciness abounds - ginger, clove & cinnamon. A bit of toasted malt; likely pale malt, maybe crystal malt, but I can't say for sure.

M - Medium body with fairly zesty carbonation. Some residual spiciness lingers on the finish.

D - Good drinkability. I was pretty happy with this one; worth a shot.

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Photo of Durge
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An Ohoove special once again. This one appears ruby mahogany colored, clear but dark with a fair light tan head and great webs of lacing. The aroma suggests malty ginger and allspice/ nutmeg. The flavor brings a delightful ginger on malty allspice, almost a menthol or minty effect. It's mid/light bodied, very spritzy with lively bubblage and very drinkable. Really just a classic holiday flavor with oranges and malt blended into the traditional spices. Very smoothly blended, very much a holiday hit not to be missed.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.6/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Uh oh. This may become one of those days when I CAN actually cop to drinking all day. You have to start in the morning to be able to pull it off, but given the weather and my attitude (I am listening to CDR Cody's "Seeds and Stems Blues" and Kris Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Comin' Down", if that gives you any indication). When did my life become a C & W song? Man, I miss my Old Lady.

From the bottle: "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."

I had a finger of light-brown head when I initially poured this sumbich but when I looked away it disappeared like a thief in the night. Color was an orangish-amber with a clarity that made me want to weep for all of the things that have been lost just in my lifetime. Nose had a potpourri-like zest to it that just evoked Christmas and the holidays in my addled mind. Onto a taste. Ho, did somebody say "Ginger"? Jeez, there was Rodgers; the chick from Giggling's Atoll; that doll in Long Beach lo those many years ago who I used to hook up with after shows at Fender's International Ballroom ... Yes, ginger was the first and foremost taste on my tongue. Okay, regrouping, I could also get the cinnamon and nutmeg, but they were lesser players. There was this beautiful stripper who went by Cinnamon when I was down in Roosey Roads, PR and she and her colleague, China, were both from western PA. Oh, the memories ... But I digress again. The beer danced across my tongue on the lightest of feet, almost creamy in its presence. The finish was equally spicy and evocative of a meal in Thailand, on an evening of liberty in 1987. 'Twere the ginger, lads.

Okay, quick recap - very nice, especially for a Winter Warmer. Lots of spices, very warming with a fairly full mouthfeel. Worth seeking out, especially at this time of year.

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Photo of Jason
4.14/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown bottle, no freshness date.

Hazed tawny hue, find bubbling up top with some clinging action going on. Honey, candied fruit and ginger all up in the nose with cinnamon and nutmeg on the sideline. No choice but smoothness with the modest level of carbonation given. Spicy with dry cocoa-like maltiness, hint of molasses, residual honey ... ginger is not as strong in the taste and lets the other spices play. The alcohol chimes in late in the game but slowly makes up for time lost with a slow but growing warmth. The nutmeg and hops provide a nice barrier of bitterness to hold back any sweetness that tries to push forward too much. Finishes with a mild dark sugar note, lingering spices and toasty malt.

A pretty damn amazing Winter Warmer ... impressive is the first word that comes to mind. Complex yet dangerously drinkable as well.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.45/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clearish, garnet-hued body with a thin, quickly dissipating, off-white head.

Smell: A blast of blended spices hit the nose first, smelling of nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. Sure, there's some caramel malts, a touch of toast, and a coating of honey, but the aroma is chiefly dominated by spice.

Taste: As there was a Yuletide aroma, there's a Yuletide taste to follow. Toasted breads and sweet flourishes of caramel and honey dogged by a pungent blend of spices. Cinnamon and nutmeg foremost, with a secondary snap of ginger. Touch of bitterness added onto by the generous spice addition. Spice-coated, drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied (just barely). Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Woof. One to try, provided you're a fan of the spiced brews, though of the spice beers I encountered this winter, I still think Lakefront's Holiday Spice Lager Beer, much to my surprise, was my favorite.

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Photo of rtratzlaff
3.38/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy crimson brown body with an off white head that doesn't stick around too much but does leave some lacing.

Aromas are plenty of ginger spice, cinnamon, and nutmug as the label states. The caramel malt pulls through too, but there's no sign of honey to be had above all the spice.

The flavor is strongly of spice, I don't get nearly the sweetness as other have described, but perhaps with some warmth it will happen. 3/4th way through I think I pick up some buttery diacytles on the tongue. The caramel malt strengthens with warmth as expected and does tone down the spice somewhat. If I detect any hop presence it comes off as more piney than anything else. With the amount of spice used in this, and the malt profile, the last sip provided the most enjoyment as the sweet caramel blended well with the spices. Pour this, let it sit and sit and sit. Then sip and sip and sip.

The initial mouthfeel is lighter than I was expecting, and i am not really getting any alcohol. Final mouthfeel was good enough for a winter warmer.

Not a great winter warmer, but not a bad one. Certainly anything 8.3 can be warming, but this one does add a good use of spice. I am still puzzled over the lack of honey. I just don't see that it added anything to this beer. Certainly a one and done beer.

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Photo of Nezzy
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Red/Brown in color with a two finger head that is more toffee in color and not to fast to dissipate.

Smell: this will sound cheesy but smells of the holidays. In truth though I smell spices like nutmeg, some cumin making it spicy and sweet at the same time.

Taste: Now its really living up to its name. While it has all the characteristics of an ale, the spices are really coming through especially nutmeg making it taste similar to a cookie. Vanilla is another strong taste blending well with malts.

Mouthfeel: Good body with some slight carbonation but not too overpowering.

Drinkability: The beer itself reminds me in some ways to other seasonal beers especially the pumpkin ones. The spices are not too overpowering and really nice. However, as is the case with most seasonal beers I feel its a session beer. One is good, two at the most. Overall really nice beer though.

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Photo of OldSchoolGamer
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

With the holiday seasonals coming to an end, I decided to give this one more shot before next year. Here is my review:

A: Pours a deep, hazy ruby red. Almost brown in color. Head is very minimal, but lacing is actually quite nice.

S/T: The aroma is definetly spice forward. I get ginger and cinnamon. It actually reminds me a little bit of a Pumpkin Ale. The taste is pretty good. You get a nice mix of spice and malt. Spice is similar to the nose: lots of cinnamon and ginger. The malt is slighly toasty with a bit of sweetness in there. A slight earthyness is present in the finish.

M/D: Mouthfeel is medium bodied and coats the mouth slightly. A tad dry. Drinkability is okay. A little heavier than most Christmas Ales. Probably could not session this one, but still a nice sipper.

Thirsty Dog has added another impressive beer to their lineup. Not the best Christmas Ale, but easily in the top 5. Its hard to beat out Great Lakes, Hoppin Frog or Anchor.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle served in my SA Sensory pint. Poured a translucent copper with a quarter inch, tan-colored head the quickly dissipated into a sudsy, broken film. Mild nose - some nutmeg, cinnamon and perhaps a dash of allspice (not quite pumpkin spice, but well on the road). Taste consistent with nose; your classic winter warmer, but not as cloying. Mouthfeel is medium-light and lively. Very respectable for a Winter Warmer. Not a style I usually grab for, but the subtleties and the well-hidden alcohol makes for an enjoyable seasonal.

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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.

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Photo of mobyfann
3.87/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Paid around $2 for a single...

The beer pours a clear amber colored base, decent head and lacing. The aroma is pretty light, caramelized malts, white pepper, ginger and a touch of hops.

The taste is quite light for the high abv. Very sweet and spicy; cinnamon, ginger, lemon, with sweet malt aftertaste, very nice! Very nice is the mouth, would like to see more head though to smooth it out at 8.3% a surprise, but spicy enough to limit the amount to drink in a session.

Final Thought: Solid seasonal from a very solid brewery!

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Photo of dstc
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color with ruby tones. Average tan head falls to a very small one. Thin lace.

Malt nose with a lot of spice. Ginger is the most obvious.

Very sweet malty brew with big Chistmasy spice. Cinnamon and nutmeg are present but like the aroma the lingering aftertaste is of ginger. Somewhat boozy.

Medium bodied and rather smooth in the mouth. Mild carbonation.

Nice Christmas beer if you are looking for something with a lot of spice.

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Photo of steve8robin
4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one in trade...

A: Dark Copper color with a thick 1 inch head that slowly fades.

S: Hard to get a strong scent. Scents you do get once you grasp it are honey with slight spices.

T: Very smooth. Slight hoppiness upfront with strong spices and a hint of honey. Not too overbearing on any flavor. Very good.

M: Not too crazy about the carbonation feel on this one.

D: Goes down very easy. A hint too watery for my taste, but otherwise, nearly perfect.

All in all, this brew surprised me. I didn't expect it too be as smooth and refreshing as it is. This is a great brew to have after a nice long winter day at work. Not too heavy or too light and very refreshing. Have this if you like the hoppiness to be masked some by flavor.

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Photo of cvstrickland
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The twelve-ounce bottle pours brightly clear and cherry-stained orange in color, with a grainy-bubbled cap of antique ivory-hued foam. The head relaxes slowly and as the drink progresses, healthy rings of lacing are left clinging to sip-lines inside my pint willibecher glass.

The aroma is sweetly laden with holiday spice; nutmeg and cinnamon predominate. A twinkle of spicy ginger livens a light caramel candy background.

The taste is fairly sweet, with a baselayer of caramel maltiness. Dusty cinnamon and a prickle of peppery ginger work in concert with an oily dab of nutmeg to knock the mellow sweetness back and linger on into the aftertaste. Any alcohol flavors are very well-masked in the melange.

The drink is a tad lighter in body than my ideal winter warmer would have, but that factor coupled with mild carbonation enhance the drinkability score quite a bit. The essential internal warming element is not in doubt at all.

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12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
3.88 out of 5 based on 739 ratings.
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