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12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale | Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

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very good
188 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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User Reviews
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Reviews: 188 | Ratings: 722
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears a dark chestnut brown hue with a large off white khaki head with fine intricate lacing between each sip, retention is decent. Aroma offers up a nice mix of Christmas spices, according to the label it says honey cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. What stands out to me is the spicy ginger along with earthy and pine hops, of course a strong honey sweetness rides in the sidecar. Very complex and full of Christmas senses, supposedly the same recipe as the Great Lakes Christmas ale according to a recent thread, rumor? I'm not sure but it smells pretty close. Flavor is nice spices play nice with bitter and spicy edges, I'm getting Christmas spiced bread with powdered yeast drizzled with honey and caramel, let's not forget spruce tips and a raw earthy bitterness with just a touch of booziness about it. I can't believe this brew is scoring in the middle of the road category, because it's fantastic. I'm ready for a whole sixer better yet a mixed sixer half Great Lakes Christmas Ale and half of this fine brew. Mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied with some thicker textures joining the party, some honey and some rough spice induced bitterness in the finish. Also some soothing alcohol burn that makes the whole experience work a little better, and drinkability wise it's pretty easy to drain a 12 ounce pour if you let your palate adjust to the honey and spices. Throw a cigar into the mix and it will hold up equally as well.

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Photo of Tee76
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
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 IIKaRuII
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tall glass, It appears a lighter amber color with almost no head on an aggressive pour. I smell a faint cherry smell with a high malt smell. it goes down like a lager, but finishes like the ale it is. Taste is a nice sweet malt taste with a hint of cherrys as well. This is a VERY drinkable beer as it has little to no bitter finish. All and all a VERY pleasant beer to enjoy!

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Photo of nicholas2121
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale brewed by Thirsty Dog Brewing Company, with an ABV of 8.30% This brew pours out a light brown color with an off white head. The smell is rich with spices and sweetness. 12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale put you in the mind set of Christmas cookies. You also pick up a hit of grains and malts in the smell of this brew. The taste is rich with flavor, you pick up on the spices in this brew. There is cinnamon and a hit of pumpkin spice. This brew has a nice balance to it, there is nothing overpowering in it. The mouthfeel is nice and clean. 12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale is a great drinking brew. Thirsty Dog Brewing Company did a nice job with this one. I would buy this brew again. Overall I'm giving this brew a 4.25 out 5.

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Photo of movingtrain
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a Piraat glass.

Pours a reddish-brown with a half finger tan head.

Aroma is of honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, light hops, bitter apple, brown candy sugar, and orange blossom.

Tastes is very spicy, with a thick honey flavor in the finish. Some cinnamon and nutmeg for sure. Malts are heavy in the flavor, with a peppery-sweet spice on the tongue. Hops take a back seat in this one, but play out a nice balance in the overall flavor.

Overall, this is a very good holiday beer/winter warmer. It's up there in alcohol content, but that doesn't really overpower in the flavor. The aroma is good, and much of that is tasted in the flavor. One of the best I've had so far this season.

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Photo of ccahoon22
4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was on cask in the Tremont area of Cleveland. Also was infused with cherries, which made it that much better.

A - Dark amber in color with almost no head (from the cask)

S - Not strong, some spice and cherries

T - A pretty bold but smooth taste, definite cherry taste

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Photo of OsuJohn
4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- darker than an amber, kinda like a dark Irish red.. clear and retaining about an inch of head. No laceing.

S- now I sound pretentious... Roasted barley, caramel, orange?

T- malty, a little bit of bread or biscut

M- I can feel the alcohol in the end, but overall not bad. Smooth until the end where you have a slight alcohol taste.

O- I think I will buy it again... It should be noted that this beer competes directly with Columbus brewing company winter warmer and great lakes Christmas ale. In Columbus it will be. A close call between this beer and Columbus winter warmer.

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Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a crystal goblet- pours a clear, amber/mahogany color with minimal head, modest retention for what little there was, a few spots of lacing.

Definitely do get some honey in the nose- also nutmeg and cinnamon, but a good dose of like amber honey.

Taste is consistent with the smell- some nutmeg up front, followed by a biscuity malt taste, then a big dose of honey sweetness, which is then spiced up by the cinnamon and maybe some allspice.

Mouthfeel is nice- medium body, smooth feel, light to moderate soft carbonation. I like this one and I would recommend it to those looking for a nice accompaniment to desert or just a nice beer for a cold winter day (do we even get those anymore?).

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Photo of ChrisH1024
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this Dog on tap poured into a Sniffer. It looks hazy brown with good head retention. It smells of nutmeg, cinnamon and a nice refreshing almost pine smell. It tastes fantastic with notes of all spice, cinnamon and nutmeg throughout. Each flavor is distinct, but work so well together. The mouthfeel is great, creamy yet carbonated and goes down smooth. Overall its a great beer, one of the best Christmas beers around! All I want for Christmas is 12 beers a pouring.

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Photo of ckollias
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this 12 oz bottle out of a pub glass.

A: Pours a dark copper almost brown hue with a thin 1-finger head that quickly dissipates into a wispy lace. Long stringy trail all the way own the glass.

S: Spicy malt and hop aroma fills the nose. Hints of caramel and cinnamon in the background.

T: Smooth and tart and much more bitter than sweet. There are some complex flavors here - including toasted malts, caramel, honey, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.

M: medium carbonation nd medium body and an alcoholic kick.

O: This is what a Christmas ale should taste like. A little on the tart side but tasty as can be.

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Photo of creepinjeeper
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Even with some time on it, this beer delivers on holiday cheers. Honey amber in color. Not much of a head. No lacing either. The smell is honey caramel swee in the forefront on a background of ginger. The taste is the opposite. Ginger is the first thing to hit your taste buds, followed by a mix of honey and cinnamon. The feel is creamy at the finish clings to your tongue. One of the better Christmas / winter warmers out there.

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Photo of stakem
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter. Thanks go to my brother for giving me this. The brew appears a clear amber color in my glass with a finger of tan head composed of large bubbles that fade fast. The brew is clear for the most part, but holding it up to the light shows some particulate hanging.

The aroma of this brew gives way immediately to hints of cinnamon. There is some other spiced quality going on here bringing forth thoughts of holiday spices and Christmas cookies of some sort. Across the back, a light indication of the 8% abv is noticed.

Taking a sip, this brew also tastes just like a Christmas cookie of sorts. Cinnamon and spices mingle with a toasty grain flavor that almost reminds me of ginger snaps. A bit of herbal hops keep things in check but this brew is all about the toasty almost nutty grain flavoring that is integrated with the spices. This is a winter warmer that is on the heavier side of the spiced spectrum but it works for me... maybe because it is out of season and the spices have faded a bit or maybe this is just a really different brew compared to what I have been drinking these past couple of months. Regardless it is pretty good and well balanced.

This is a medium bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation. As expected, the spices were the main component but everything worked together quite nice. I can't say that I would take down several of these but in the festive spirit of the seasons I would no doubt try this again.

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Photo of stercomm
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle

A - Light coppery with a very slight off-white head , great glass lacing almost looks like frost on the window

S - Get a maltiness and some cinnamon

T - Wow, this beer has a lot going on, get a slight sweetness on the front that is immediately replaced by a burst of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and possibly some cloves), finish nice and dry just the way I like it.

M - Full bodied, medium carbonation, some sweetness.

O - I really like this beer, a great Christmas ale, the spices are exceptional

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this beer from Auslander. Thanks Chris!

12oz bottle served in a glass beer mug.

L - clear amber color with an off-white head that thinned to a ring leaving a few trails of lacing.

S - blend of holiday spices, nice aroma.

T - very good tasting Winter Warmer the spices are mellow and sweet from the honey.

F - medium bodied with a smooth feel.

D - goes down too easy for a beer over 8% abv.

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Photo of CaptCleveland
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Single 12oz pour into pint glass from cellared 6-pack from 2008-09 season.

Dark, mahogany-colored liquid with thin white foam; white lace covers the inside of the glass as the beer is consumed. Nutmeg predominates, tempered by the sweet fragrance of ginger and mild honey. Well-balanced combination of seasonal spices, but not too sweet. Just enough honey to reign in the nutmeg and ginger. Aforementioned spices mix with cinnamon to bring forth a nicely seasoned ale. Sweetness is tempered and the overall flavor is kept tight and dry, eliminating that sticky, sugar-cookie cloying flavor that is typical of these offerings. For a high ABV brew, the alcohol is nicely balanced, testament to the brewers skill.
Overall 12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale presents the seasonal category well but also is versatile to be sipped on any occasion.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.19/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, 8.3% abv. Pours a dark chestnut color. Some lighter amber edges. Thin tan head disappears immediately.

Pleasant aroma of spices with a caramel background. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and a whiff of ginger. Christmas like spices without being earthy. Just a slight hint of alcohol.

Caramel malt backbone gives way to some of the spices mentioned in the nose. A bit of sweetness up front that dries out near the end. Lingering cinnamon and nutmeg finish.

Medium body, good carbonation. Alcohol is hidden well. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

3.5 A: Clear dark amber color. One fingers of creamy beige head. Retention is a bit below average and a short ring of lacing is left.

4.0 S: I simply love the way beers of this style smell. Solidly spicy with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger and the nutmeg stands out among the other two. The honey is picked up and adds a nice complexity to the brew. Underneath there is a pleasant toastiness with an ample crystal malt component.

4.5 T: The taste is even better than the nose. The ginger perks up and eclipses the cinnamon and nutmeg. This is probably the most gingery beer I've had and I love it. Again, the honey adds a great touch to the brew. Toasty and caramel malts round this out into a wonderful winter brew. Slightest tinge of alcohol - about what you would expect from the ABV.

4.0 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Reasonably creamy, though I prefer more from the style. Super smooth.

4.0 D: Really nice example of what this style can offer. I love ginger and this one delivers plenty of it. Highly recommended.

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Photo of bigdeuce
4.16/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a kinda thin head that goes down quickly, no lacing. Scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla bristle through. Tastes very much as to what it smells like. Very pleasant and easy drinking with nice spices. Not a beer you can guzzle, but nice to have one around the fireplace. Deceptively strong, beware and be careful. True to the style of this spicey beer.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 release. 12oz bottle into a stemmed chalice.

Pours a dark red color with an appropriate inch this head. Great aroma of nutmeg, cinnamon and other similar winter spices. The taste has a big amount of spice but no single spice dominates the palate... i get cloves, cinnamon, honey, nutmeg, coriander, ginger.. lots of toasty malts. Heavier side of medium bodied with mild carbonation. Definitely a slow drinker that would go great by the fireplace on a cold night.

Overall an excellent winter warmer that you should seek out if youre a fan of the style. Liked it a lot.

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Photo of tyauch3
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours an amber-brown with one finger head that dissipates quickly. Smells of caramel, nuts, and tons of spices. Very smooth on the palate and leaves you with an aftertaste of toasted malts and spice. Very smooth, and does not taste like what was anticipated with 8.3% ABV. It is also important to note that this beer does not have the "artificial flavor" that comes with some holiday beers. Overall it is a nice holiday beer with great spice.

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Photo of Jason
4.14/5  rDev +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 Pourharddrinkslow
4.14/5  rDev +7%

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. A reddish-brown color with a slight bubble to it. Minimum head. The smell is that of gingerbread, cinnamon and pinecones. The taste is quite sweet, so if you like your christmas beer on the hoppy side, this one may not be for you. The overwhelming taste, just like the smell, is the gingerbread, a touch of honey, & lots of spices present. My palate not being the most defined in the world tastes cinnamon with a mixture of other tastes that i can't quite pinpoint. No matter your palate though you can't get much closer to a taste that reminds you of Christmas. at 8.3% it's an easy drink and in my opinion is the most versatile "winter warmer" around, drink it Christmas morning as your family opens presents, enjoy it as a dessert beer after a holiday meal, or simply drink a couple to yourself as you watch a great sports game/movie/tv series etc on a cold winters day. Cheers

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Photo of steve8robin
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
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 weeare138
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Capone's...
Appears a dark, semi-transparent brown with a fluffy, off white head that slowly fades out. Scattered bits of lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of hefty amounts of brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and a touch of nutmeg. I'm not a huge fan of spiced ales but this one is pretty enticing stuff.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a mild earthy hop note coming through, along with the caramel, and cinnamon flavors melding into a delicious winter brew.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, balanced spicing with a warming alcohol sensation in the swallow.

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Photo of DannyDan
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours into a brownish red amber color with a small white head that quickly disappears. It has decent carbonation, pretty good retention and decent lacing. The smell is a pleasant mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. When tasting it I get the cinnamon, and nutmeg with a little bit of honey followed by some cloves, and malts with a gingery after taste. It is a very well balanced beer, and can hardly taste the alcohol in it. It has a nice smooth feel to it that leaves a dry chalky feeling with some tart bitterness in the mouth, and it is quite drinkable for being on the dry side. I think that this may be the beginning of a new annual X-mas drink for me. Merry X-mas to all at Beer Advocate (even though I said it a day late).

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12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
3.87 out of 5 based on 722 ratings.
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