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

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Reviews: 190 | Ratings: 737
Photo of puboflyons
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Receive as a trade from a non BA member. Sampled on July 24, 2014.

It pours a medium amber-copper color with a long lasting off-white head and great clarity. It looms like it should and nothing more.

It is the aroma that really jumps out at me with a wide variety of pungent herbs such as Ginger and Rosemary. Some toasted malts and mild earth.

Medium body.

The taste has many of the same herbal characteristics with the added touch of nutmeg, which I did not get in the aroma. Thin hop finish. Overall, not a bad beer.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle
Served in a perfect pint

A - It is burnt orange in color with amber and golden highlights. My pour yielded me an inch of beige head. There are tons of tiny bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass.

S - It smells like ginger bread. I also get cinnamon, and it almost has a brown sugar smell.

T - I get the typical spices one would expect, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove.

M - Medium

O - It is a solid Christmas ale. It has all the characteristics one would associate with Christmas. A little past the season but it is still good.

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Photo of damndirtyape
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. No date on bottle, but I'm assuming it's from this year since I bought it recently after it started showing up in the Dayton area this year.

Appearance: Clear dark copper with a off white to light tan head. Initial pour gave 1/4" foam, but this died down fairly quickly and left a thin ring at the edge and the barest hint of foam in the middle. Some little islands and strands of lacing noted.

Smell: Hmmm....mildly boozy with some barest hints of cinnamon at the end. Sweet, with a bit of honey and also something solvent-like.

Taste: Sweet malt right up front with spices in the middle (mostly cinnamon to me, but I can pull out the nutmeg too) mixed in with some honey, and then the finish is spicy, boozy, tea-like in bitterness, and just a hint of solvent too.

Mouthfeel: Slick, but a little bit thick and syrupy at the same time. Carbonation prickles on the tongue and then is gone. Very little lingering mouthfeel.

Overall / Drinkability: I remember hearing that this beer was created by someone involved in inventing the original Great Lakes Christmas Ale, and this one was a copy of the original with some extras spices thrown in. I had the GL Chirstmas Ale again night and after that tasting last night, I can say that the two beers are quite different. This one is much sweeter, has a bit more boozy flavor to it that is quite noticeable, and the ginger in the Great Lakes makes it quite different than this one. Interestingly, both seem to have a tea-like bitter finish (same hops?) So now that I'm done comparing the two, what do I think? Definitely a winter warmer, but I'm not crazy about the solventy notes I get through the whole drink, even after it warmed up. The cinnamon and nutmeg are a nice touch, and it definitely warmed me up this evening so this is a Winter Warmer, just not a great one in my opinion. Something about that solvent smell and taste I'm not really enjoying I guess, but otherwise an interesting one to try.

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Photo of zsk
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, dark copper color with a 3/4 inch head. Good lacing on the glass as I drink it. The taste is everything listed onthe bottle. This beer tastes like Christmas. It is similar to Great Lakes Christmas Ale. Cinnamon, nutmeg and in the background, honey and ginger. It is too high in alcohol to be a session beer, but the alcohol is hidden behind those spices. I like Old Leghumper from Thirsty Dog and now this one. It might be time to revisit their beers.

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Photo of Immortale25
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Duvel tulip. No readable freshness date.

A- Pours a light brown color with a 1/4 inch light tan head that retains a bit before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a small side patch of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a broken ring behind.

S- Clove-y aroma that's slightly sweet. Maybe some ginger.

T- More clove and a solid alcohol presence. Somewhat toasty and a bit sweet.

M- Has a moderate sharpness with medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the fuller side.

O- Was expecting more from this as it's pretty highly regarded in the Winter Warmer category. Has a little too much booze presence for my taste and the spices are kind of one-dimensional.

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Photo of mbudner
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. 2009 release.

A- Pours a transparent amber with a 2-finger white head.

S- Granted, I read the bottle before opening, but the ginger and cinnamon/clove are unmistakable in the nose. I get some tobacco as well. The sweet maltiness I get could be the honey used in the beer or simply the darker, caramel-like malts.

T- Disappointingly, the taste is nowhere near the nose. Caramel, sweet malts (but a little too bland). The cinnamon is there, but nothing like the aroma. None of the flavors are bad, it's just a lot more bland than I expected from the smell and less spiced than I like from a winter warmer/Christmas beer (and this says a lot because I do not enjoy overly spiced winter warmers). None of the ginger is coming through in the flavor. Not too sweet, which is nice, none of the cloying flavors I often find in some of the bigger winter/Christmas beers.

M- Nicely carbonated and actually quite thin for an 8%+, not thin in a bad way, but not cloying. Nothing really special about the mouthfeel (good or bad).

D- Easy drinking. The fact that this is 8.3% is pretty impressive. It drinks, in every way, like a 4.5% slightly spiced winter warmer. I don't love this one, but certainly not a bad beer and amazingly deceptive.

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Photo of Thomas_Wikman
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I liked this winter warmer but it was not exceptional. The look was OK, brown-amber, a bit like a soda, not much head. The aroma was mild ginger and cinnamon but the taste came through more with ginger, cinnamon, and some spices. Overall pretty good.

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Photo of CrellMoset
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle as an extra from thehand - thanks!! Split w/ dkachur, w/ my portion poured into a 12 oz. snifter.

Appearance: Pours a largely transparent, crystalline reddish copper colored brew with not-so-great head retention. Lacing is erratic, sort of thought-bubble-esque scattered all over the sides of the glass. The collar is off-white, and the effervescence is tight, clustered, fine, and fairly fast.

Aroma: I'd like some beer with my ginger, please, kthx. It absolutely dominates everything here, though some earthier, more neutral nutmeg, and perhaps a few light fruity esters.

Taste: Overripe bananas esters in a sea of caramel and spices - festive bananas flambe? Ginger is the most prominent spice here, the most prominent note in fact, though the roasted malts - caramel, maple syrup, toast - aren't far behind, followed by banana and other light fruit esters, with some very obvious nutmeg in the finish. Faint, faint hop bitterness. It's nice, but perhaps a little spice heavy.

Mouthfeel: Probably this beer's best quality - medium thickness, largely even, with enough crisp, fine-to-medium sized effervescence to cut through it well. Pleasant.

Drinkability: A solid if slightly overly-spiced winter warmer. The constituent parts are good, just out of balance. Cut the ginger back a few notches and you'd have a really good beer, perhaps not quite sessionable at 8.3%, but a good in-front-of-the-fire, Christmas-time sorta beer.

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Photo of philbe311
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - Two and a half fingers worth of crisp tightly packed fizzy light khaki colored head with a slight rose colored tint... Excellent retention... The head turns denser and creamier as it the head begins to the settle... A rather unique color that is equal parts bronze and brown... A good bit of briskly paced carbonation with some bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass... A good bit of lacing clings to the sides of the glass...

S - A strong whiff of honey right off of the bat... Some light dark fruit notes... Bursting at the seems with toasted malts... Brown sugar... Some subtle spice notes in the form of cinnamon and ginger... Warming, pleasant and satisfying...

T - The spice component is kicked up a notch on the palette as it takes center stage... The ginger and nutmeg are prominent and the cinnamon is a bit subdued... Then it's the honey... Some dark fruits... A hint of dark sugar... Beings to round out very nicely as it warms a bit, but there's still something slightly off that doesn't quite work for me...

M - Medium bodied... Fairly dense, yet a bit thin... Brisk carbonation... Starts lush and quickly turns dry...

D - An interesting Winter Warmer... Lots of satisfying and redeeming qualities, but in the total this one is a bit less then the sum of its parts... Not a bad beer, but there's something subtle that doesn't quite compute with my palate... Perhaps it's a combination of a bit too much ginger and a mouthfeel that is slightly off... Again, not a bad beer, but far from my favorite winter warmer...

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Photo of CMUbrew
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Review from 12/18/13

A: Rich mahogany color in the glass. Whitish head forms nicely but disappears quickly

S: Spices obviously. Ginger and nutmeg are most prevalent.

T: Ginger and nutmeg mostly, but the spice presence is nice and not overpowering.

M: Maybe not quite as full bodied as I was hoping, but not bad.

O: A very enjoyable spiced beer, though I was hoping for more spices, especially the cinnamon, to stand out.

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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 bieltzc
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer was dark and amber in color. There was not much top to the beer, foam wise. I smelled some cinnamon but the smell was not as potent as the taste.
The taste was a very strong mixture of cinnamon, brown sugar, and nut meg. Not only were there many flavors but it was a crisp. The alcohol did not really linger in my mouth for too long.

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Photo of Sammy
3.72/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pleasant aroma, some dissipitating white cloudy head on cloudy yellow body.Mouthfeel is a tad above average, although tingling from carbonation though it was not apparent or obtrusive. Honey and some spices, nothing too much. Spice and lagerish taste really.Pleasant.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
3.71/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours with a negligable head over a clear, but deep amber colored body, with some carbonation present. Just a spot of lacing.

Aromas are very subdued - hard to pull out. Some caramel sweetness, and a touch malty.

Little bit of a ginger bite in the flavor, with some nutmeg - doesn't really match the description on the bottle, but it's pretty good nonetheless.

Well carbonated and finishes clean.

Can NOT tell that this is 8.5% ABV - this one could get you in trouble. Very quaffable, and zero aftertaste.

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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 BEERchitect
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer holds pretty true to Christmas-ey beers. It's just good to see a new beer from the brewery.

Dense aroma of molassas, caramelized malts, dark (fruit cake) fruits, and a hearty dosing of cinamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, and corriander. Throw in some piney hops and we have a beer that rides the fence of complex vs. muddled.

Dark brown with some burgundy highlights. A clean, clear appearance with outstanding head formation and retention. Light tan laces on the glass- an inviting look.

Flavors get back on track with the nose- malty rich and molassas up front with a lot of sweetness (unresolved malts and sugars). Piney, grassy hops quickly rise to balance (doesn't quite achive it). Additional spices (see nose) thrown in to decorate the taste. The spices seem to scatter the beer too much.

Full, rich, and sweet body fits for the Winter season. Bitterness is primarily acheived with the hops but compounded by the spices (nearly astringent). Finishes quite sweet and with a lot of residual sugars on the mouth.

Sounds a bit harsh, but most Winter Warmers fall into this overly-sweet, artificially-spiced catagories. The beer is par of the course and delightful when in the mood for heavy sweetness and varying spices.

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Photo of rye726
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a twelve ounce bottle into my imperial pint glass. Nice looking beer, dark brown with a silky head. Nose has malts and some spices as well. What I like about this winter warmer is that it show cases the malts rather than the spices. Not overly spiced that is my dear boy. Nice medium body is well carbonated to boot!

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Photo of Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured out as a clear looking orange red color with a nice looking white head on top. The retention and lacing were both very nice on this beer. The smell of the beer is slightly sweet with a subtle spicy note on the nose as well as a faint orange zest aroma too. The taste of the beer as a nice sweet honey flavor upfront that settles into a nice citrusy spicy warming flavor. The mouthfeel is on the heavier side and a little oily, a decent carbonation and it's sticky and finished dry. Overall I though it was a really good brew actually.

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Photo of Jdmpolk
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Brown-amber body topped with a brief finger length of khaki colored head. Slight lacing on the glass ending with a minute head

S spicy sweet with a hint of pair. Cinnamon and nutmeg are apparent. lf there is a trace of hops it is lost in the spice.

T very malty and smooth. There is a feeling of dry spice. Slight cola flavor creeps in at the corners. As it warms there was a toasty slightly coffee back end.

M the beer stays briefly on the young, and then dissipates. The spices remain tingling on the front and back of the tongue.

D a very drinkable beer, made better if it is cold outside. Although this beer's flavor would seem better suited for fall than winter.

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Photo of jampics2
3.67/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at Mavis Winkles.

Amber color with little head.

Smells nice - good amount of spices - ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg. Slight trace of yeast on the end.

Taste follows the smell. Spicey ginger and cinnamon proceed a caramel sweetness. Finishes with a bitter balance. Touch of noticable alcohol in the finish.

Mouthfeel is OK, a bit watery actually in the finish.

Drinakbility is much better than the average spiced X-Mas beer, but is still second to Great Lakes.

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Photo of tempest
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Out of a mixed 6-pack from Liberty St. Tavern. Yeah, the spices are heavy, but paired with a god Christmas cookie, it's quite tasty. There's a overwhelming presence of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger over a sweet, caramel roll malt profile and mellow, but spicy, hops finish. There's no hint of alcohol and if you don't mind the spice, this is a tasty winter treat.

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Photo of hopdog
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle consumed on Christmas Day.

Poured a medium to deep amber color wth an averaged sized off whtie head. Aromas of caramel and spices - all kinds, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and some others. Tastes of the same spices, caramel, and toasty. Definitelhy a spice beer. Alcohol content well hidden as I just noticed it was +8%.

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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 andrewjraab
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A. Dark brownish red with a silky cream colored head. Each drink leaves a speckled streak of foam on the glass.

S. Big spice characteristics: predominantly nutmeg which trumps the cinnamon. Malts, vanilla, chocolate.

T. Smooth and malty followed by a huge taste of nutmeg and cleans up with a warming touch of alcohol.

O. Great for the style. I was a little put off by the overpowering nutmeg flavor, but overall this is solid.

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Photo of chinchill
3.62/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle served in a Belgian snifter.

Feel: medium-full body with medium-light carbonation. A tiny bite on the tongue, presumably from the 8.3% alcohol. Pleasant, spicy aroma but it suggests that there may be too much spicing in the flavor. Tasting confirms this, with the blame largely on nutmeg. Some medium and dark malt with a hint of toffee does show behind the spicing.

O: a good winter seasonal, but a bit too much nutmeg for me. Improved a little with warming.

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12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
3.88 out of 5 based on 737 ratings.
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