Christmas Ale
Sly Fox Brewing Company

Christmas AleChristmas Ale
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Winter Warmer
Ranked #156
ABV:
6.5%
Score:
84
Ranked #36,534
Avg:
3.71 | pDev: 14.29%
Reviews:
189
Ratings:
437
From:
Sly Fox Brewing Company
 
Pennsylvania, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  7
Gots
  49
SCORE
84
Good
Christmas AleChristmas Ale
Notes: This malty, full-bodied red ale is made with traditional mulling spices: Ginger, Clove, All Spice, Cinnamon & Nutmeg. If this one doesn't get you into the Christmas spirit, you truly are a Scrooge.

Bottled: 16.0 OG | 16 IBUs | 6.5% ABV

Canned: 14.0 OG | 16 IBUs | 5.5% ABV
Reviews: 189 | Ratings: 437 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Colenso
Colenso from Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: thin head with plenty of lacing, straw-colored with a reddish hue
S: Malt, pumpkin spice, nutmeg, general seasonal (Christmas) spice on the palette
T: Hop bitter finish, no noticeable off-flavors but wasn't really picking up the ginger
M: Thin, mild carbonation, somewhat watery
O: It was a fine brew, but I wouldn't want to drink multiple of these. No enough body to support the spice. A bigger mouthfeel would improve this beer.

May 16, 2020
Photo of MikeWard
MikeWard from Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz can into a pint glass last night at Hucklebucks, Pottsville PA. 2018 release, best by 3/29/19.

Dull dark amber body with a small off white lead leaving little in the way of lacing.

Aroma of the usual Christmas spices, Cinnamon being the most noticeable.

Actually tastes better then I expected. Often with these Christmas beers, the spices, particularly cinnamon , are very strong and quite often a little bitter and harsh. Not the case here. present, but nicely balanced, making for a smooth enjoyable drink. Good solid malt background.

Mouth above medium, finish smooth, spicy, and slightly sweet,

All in all, and enjoyable drinkable beer on a cold winter night.

Jan 04, 2019
Photo of Vetbidder
Vetbidder from Pennsylvania

3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Darker amber look with a decent tan head. Sweet malt nose, I’m not getting a ton of spice. Got the spice on the flavor plus sweetness with just a slight spicy bite. Just Ok carbonation and a thicker feel. Not bad...

Dec 09, 2018
Photo of rudiecantfail
rudiecantfail from Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a tulip glass.

L---Crystal clear, orangey amber color. Slightly off-white head faded to a cap fairly quickly and left very good lacing.

S---They advertised a spiced ale, and they deliver on it. Cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice. Initially has a pumpkin beer scent, but then the ginger & clove kick in and it's full of christmas. Some underlying malts are there, but no hoppiness at all.

T---Lots of nutmeg & cinnamon. Again, the other mulling spices kick in and steer it away from pumpkin beer territory. All flavors come from the spices.

F---A bit thick. Coating. Creamy.

O---A nice effort. Tastes like christmas. I wouldn't drink this in the spring or summer, but it's in the 20s today in December and this is well suited for that.

Dec 09, 2018
Photo of Fatheroftoomany
Fatheroftoomany from Pennsylvania

2.43/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Almost red ale in color. Smell is of something cinnamon mixed with something I can’t pin but it’s not good. Had a cigarette taste and a smooth finish. Not my first choice for a winter beer.

Dec 09, 2018
Photo of Act25
Act25 from New Jersey

3.84/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2017 Edition.
A) Mahogany, ruby with tan head that dots a bit, fades fast. (all those additives!)
s) In a good way, it's cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg on caramel malt body.
t) Follows the smell, no wrong turns or over spicing. Pleasing and not in your face.
f) Thinner than I like but fresh, not cloying, clean finish. makes you reach out for salty, savory snacks and mustard.
o) Solid Xmas offering. upper mid pack?

Apr 12, 2018
Photo of Ozzylizard
Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

3.35/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

$ 7.00 (Including tax)/750 mL cork and cage bottle ($ 0.270/oz) from Franklin Beer, Franklin, PA.
Undated bottle (2017 vintage) stored at 42 degrees and served at 42 degrees in a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter. Opens with a slight “Pop”.
Appearance – 3.5.
Body – Garnet, clear, effervescent.
Head – Large (Maximum seven cm, initially aggressive then controlled, pour), tan, low density and fizzy, rocks, rapidly diminishing to three to four mm frothy ring and a complete layer. Head retraction leaves some drag marks. Head from second pour is less fizzy but otherwise identical.
Lacing – Poor – some small islands and some drag marks but no rings of lacing.
Pour – Brownish-yellow, clear.
Aroma – 3.5 - Weak ginger and nutmeg.
Flavor – 3.25 -A mélange of spices with nothing really standing out. Allowing it to warm in my mouth accentuates the clove and the fizziness. No hops, no malt, no alcohol, no diacetyl.
Palate – 3 - Thin, watery, fizzy.
Impression and summation – 3.5- Fortunately for my tastes, the spices are not overpowering. This is remarkable for winter warmers in that the spices are not so overpowering as to be obnoxious. However, they are muddled to the extent that you know they’re present but you can’t tell what they are. Overcarbonated.

Jan 19, 2018
Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
BeerAndGasMasks from Virginia

4.03/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the older can, it pours a clear reddish amber with a nice frothy head. The head lasts a bit and leaves lacing as you enjoy it. Christmas spices in the nose. The mouth follows, with a spiced malt flavor.

Mar 06, 2017
Photo of The_Beer_Guru
The_Beer_Guru from New York

3.94/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with a very thin head. Smells of allspice, cloves, cinnamon, malt, and nutmeg. This taste like a straight up gingerbread cookie. Very good beer and I taste everything that I smelled. Pretty smooth and surprisingly not that malty. Perfect balance of a mild sweetness and a mild carmel malt. Very good winter beer and would definitely buy again!

Dec 02, 2016
Photo of thebeers
thebeers from Pennsylvania

3.21/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Straight up amber color with a thin finger of tan tinted head that isn't that lasting and leaves only modest lacing.

Big Christmas spice aroma -- nutmeg, mace, cloves, ginger.

The taste is pretty thin up front. Not too much of an aftertaste either, dry and slightly bitter, with a muddy mix of the spices from the nose omnipresent in the background throughout the drinking experience. There's a touch of honey sweetness in there. Reminds me of carrot cake more than anything.

Watery, thin bodied mouthfeel. Not my thing.

Nov 19, 2016
Photo of dacrza1
dacrza1 from New Jersey

3.34/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3.25

DATE TASTED: January 29, 2016... GLASSWARE: Mad Elf snifter... OCCASION: celebrating another Friday night with Shan and the Tank... APPEARANCE: dense, burnt sienna body that releases little effervescence...the thin white line forms the head, with a smear of an island in the middle... AROMA: the can's claims are tangible in the aroma--cinnamon and ginger are the most dominant scents; nutmeg and clove are present...the addition of maple syrup to the olfactory is surprising, as are the wet, toasty malts... PALATE: fizzy early and flat at the finish, with a warming, syrupy draw--not the flourish that I hoped for in a Christmas beer, nor is it as full-bodied as it could be... TASTE: nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon definitely evoke the Christmas spirit--even a month after its exit... the syrupy kickback detracts from the overall flavor--it runs akin to cough medicine, with some malt return to add balance--possibly a brown ale base is in here... OVERALL: This beer gets a bit of a boost from the nostalgia spawned from last week's Lamb of God/Anthrax concert in Philly...however, the beer on its own does its job but does not demand a second purchase--a reasonable holiday drink that doesn't distinguish itself...at 5.5%, a favorable drink to combo...

Jan 30, 2016
Photo of farrago
farrago from New Jersey

3.19/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Two fingers of frothy foam, really whipped up with full mix of bubble sizes and a cratered surface, minimla stick to the lacing. The liquid is red cherry wood color, crystal clear and shiny, the bubbles are very tiny but spread out wall to wall. The nose comes off as on the thin side, all the spices listed are accurate plus cola, orange peel, golden raisin and fig notes, disappears just as you are starting to get into it. Light-bodied, basically a replica of the experience in the nose, starts with a mix of baking spice while here you get a light breadiness and molasses, toffee to cola. The carbonation is not strong but seems so given relative lack of richness to the liquid. Fewer notes of dried fruit and no fresher fruit nor citrus to act as supplement, maybe apple or cherry. Not bitter, not too dry, the mouth feel is innocuous. It’s just the lack of flavor which is troublesome. You have to assume that the brewmaster intended this as some kind of counter-position to “overdone” versions of the category. Just too boring to want to revisit ever. (2015 version)

Jan 10, 2016
Photo of Gmann
Gmann from New York

3.34/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a light Amber color with a short wispy beige head that settles into a light ring.

The aroma is of light spice; cinnamon, nutmeg, clove.

The taste is similar to the nose. Big spice flavor; cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, allspice. Some tea like flavors from the malt. Hard to distinguish this from a pumpkin spice brew.

The feel is light to moderate with fizzy carbonation. Starts sweet on the palate but finishes with an earthy bitterness and quite dry.

An average spiced brew nothing I would search out.

Dec 06, 2015
Photo of utopiajane
utopiajane from New York

3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

nose is fruity with a big burst of cinnamon that thankfully wanes to a sweetened soft dark bread with dark fruit like raisin and fig. Ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon all on the nose nicely and not too loudly either. Nutmeg is forward. Ginger is soft and not taking over. Taste is soft breaddy malts with a little breaddy sweetness. a sticky kind of sweetness. Dark fruits are the backdrop and the hops are subtle and not very bitter. This beer reminds me of all the pumpkin ales I have had so far this year. I am not finding much a difference in the flavors. The beer does have a very good balance though as far as the flavors being kind to each other. Nothing is in excess. Finishes a bit sweet and plenty malty.

Dec 06, 2015
Photo of q33jeff
q33jeff from New Jersey

3.01/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3

Can to snifter. Deep dark reddish brown, clear. Brazilian cherry. Aroma is cherry, honey cranberry, brandy, wine, cloves. Taste is honey, ash, ginger?. A lot of aromatics do not show up in the taste. Feel is watery, medium carb, but little body. Good, not great.

Nov 26, 2015
Photo of Billquirk
Billquirk from New Jersey

2.95/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not the type of Christmas Ale I was hoping for. The mouthfeel was extremely thin, and the taste was overpowering in the nutmeggy-ginger side, but not at all in a good way.

Dec 22, 2014
Photo of tigg924
tigg924 from Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a brown color with one inch head. Cinnamon, clove, nut and ginger dominate. Good light bodied ale with moderate carbonation. A good holiday beer.

Dec 14, 2014
Photo of kilo_005
kilo_005 from Pennsylvania

3.98/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 Version - Poured from a can into a pint glass.
A: Reddish copper color - the color is nice. Small head, some lacing.
S: Obviously a lot going on here given the style. It's just various spices you would use in Christmas baking - cinnamon, ginger, etc. I think the strongest smell is ginger.
T: The key to this beer that makes it good is that even though there's tons of, well, adventurous winter flavors, the beer itself is not overwhelmingly sweet. You get hit with the flavors initially, but the after taste is just like a slightly bitter ale. I think this is good, because I don't want a really sweet beer like some are of this style.
M: Good - light carbonation and good slightly bitter aftertaste.
O: If you want a beer in this style that isn't too cloyingly sweet, this is the way to go. Plus the cans are certainly festive !

Dec 08, 2014
Photo of Hired_Goon
Hired_Goon from Pennsylvania

2.92/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

I really liked the 2013 version of this beer. I picked up a six pack of cans of the 2014 version. I'm hoping that maybe I just got unlucky as it was not very good. Kind of tasted like Budweiser with a hint of cinnamon.

Nov 27, 2014
Photo of DMXLOX22
DMXLOX22 from Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +21.3%

Picked up the 2014 version of this brew at my local establishment, Civera's in Drexel Hill. Let's see how this brew goes on Thanksgiving eve.

Appearance: Pours a copper brown, deep red. Leaves behind a quite impressive head that is about an inch thick after pouring and dissipates kind of slowly as the brew goes down and leaves a decent lacing on the way down.

Smell: Upon first sniff, the aroma gives off cinnamon, some light allspice and some light biscut-like aroma. Further inspection of the aroma, I get more cinnamon and very light nutmeg-like and other gentle spices. Very little gingerbread aroma. Not too bad. Nice and somewhat balanced.

Taste: Upon first sips, I can detect some light allspice, also some light biscut-like flavors. Second and third sips, I can detect the nutmeg and cinnamon which isn't too bad and smooth and come creamy flavors. Sweeter caramel and some toffee flavors also comes through as the brew goes down.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation with a medium body. Goes well down the slower you go. Not too bad aftertaste, not very dry at all.

Overall: Coming into this brew, I was glad I grabbed it since I missed last year's version. Not too bad upon first pour and inspection. Smell and taste matches up pretty consistent and go well and well-balanced. I was quite satisfied with this brew, but the flavor was a bit overpowering. I would maybe try again maybe on a colder night. I would recommend to a friend. Cheers!

Nov 27, 2014
Photo of Billolick
Billolick from New York

3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce can, Best By 03/24/14 printed on the bottom of the can.

Pours darker amber, minor khaki head, leaving a smattering of fine bits of scattered lacing.

Cinnamon dominates the nose as well as the palate. Hints of ginger but mostly cinnamon and more cinnamon. Too much cinnamon. Meh, not my favorite winter warmer, over spiced and under malted.

Feb 06, 2014
Photo of Cylinsier
Cylinsier from Pennsylvania

3.76/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Tap

Pours clear reddish brown with a yellowish head. Retains as a film.

Smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, and biscuit malt.

Biscuit malt with brown sugar, cinnamon, and cloves.

Medium to thin body with tingly carbonation on the tongue.

Pretty tasty winter ale with good spice flavor and aroma, worth a try but could stand to have a fuller body.

Jan 23, 2014
Photo of Stinkypuss
Stinkypuss from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decanted into a 22oz glass. Pours a clear amber color with a soapy white head. Aroma of cinnamon and spice. In the taste, doughy malts, cinnamon, ginger and clove. Has a semi sweet caramel malty ness and a dry spice. Medium bodied with a dry finish. Overall, a really nice cellar treat. Delicious.

Jan 22, 2014
Photo of sulldaddy
sulldaddy from Connecticut

3.87/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Sampling a cellar temp can poured into a tulip glass. The can is a gift from my brother for CHristmas.
The beer pours a deep mahogany color with ruby highlights. There is a dense creamy eggshell head of 2 cm foaming up and it fades to a thick edge layer and wispy islands in the center.
Aroma is sweet and spicy, I get rich nutmeg and cinnamon mixing with a sort of apple cider sweetness. Some brown sugar and bready notes as well just like a apple crumb.
First sip reveals an average body and smooth silky texture. Fine tingly carbonation that tickles on the palate after each sip.
The flavor is sweet and spicy just like the nose with caramel and brown sugar, sweet nutmeg and cinnamon that lingers on my palate.
A very nice beer that is sweet and may be too much if you dont like that, but I enjoy it and find it easy to drink.

Jan 10, 2014
Photo of 57md
57md from Pennsylvania

3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2013 version: Appearance is a reddish copper with a half finger of head that dissipated quickly. Seasonal spices abound in the nose. I also swear that I smelled a hint of evergreen tree. The flavor profile is a nice balance between malt and seasonal spices, especially gingerbread. The finish is quite dry and titillatingly hoppy.

2015 version: The finish seemed more heavy on the spice this year than in 2013. That made this offering somewhat less dirnkable.

Jan 03, 2014
Christmas Ale from Sly Fox Brewing Company
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 437 ratings