Christmas Ale
Upslope Brewing Company - Lee Hill

Christmas AleChristmas Ale
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Style:
Strong Ale - Belgian Dark
Ranked #326
ABV:
8.2%
Score:
85
Ranked #33,870
Avg:
3.75 | pDev: 9.6%
Reviews:
28
Ratings:
115
From:
Upslope Brewing Company - Lee Hill
 
Colorado, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  8
Gots
  19
SCORE
85
Very Good
Christmas AleChristmas Ale
Notes:
Reviews: 28 | Ratings: 115 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Pegasus
Pegasus from Texas

3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Small, fairly coarse off-white head with good retention crowns a bright amber. The lacing is Belgain-style. Before a strong light, reddish-amber highlights are seen.

Aroma: Very sweet aroma of Belgian candi sugar, and as an esteemed reviewer noted, the aroma has a pronounced similarity to a Dubbel. Molasses, caramel, dark fruit, cloves, ripe bananas, coriander, yeast notes and a little bitter orange rind add dazzling complexity. Sweet, vinous alcohol is also notable.

Taste: The taste opens with strong notes of brown sugar, molasses, dark fruits, dark bread and caramel. An undercurrent of earthy yeast runs throughout the taste. Sweet and warming alcohol is prominent throughout, as well. Coriander and ginger add spiciness. Toward the finish, some understated earthy hops help to counterbalance the sweet profile of the taste. Finishes with sweet and spicy flavors against the mild hop bitterness.

Mouth feel: Full and soft, quite pleasant, with a mere intimation of carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: Dramatically complex; would make a spectacular addition to the holiday table. I haven't traditionally associated the Belgian Dark style with the holidays, though surely it is worthy of serious consideration. Hopefully, Upslope will choose to offer Christmas Ale again.

Presentation: Packaged in a standard twelve-ounce aluminum can, served in a South American-style Pilsener glass.

Jan 10, 2021
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch from Colorado

4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. Can

Pours a nice brown color, pretty nice carbonation, with a nice small thick/creamy off-white head, which leaves some sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, with some dark fruits, yeasty, spice notes. The taste is malty, yeasty, dark fruits, spicy. Medium body, with a nice little dry/bitter finish. Overall, a tasty brew.

Apr 05, 2017
Photo of NatGasKing
NatGasKing from Wyoming

3.99/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful deep copper and rust color. Little head that dissipated quickly. Light to medium effervescence. Easily drinkable for high ABV. Fruity bright nose. First scent is fresh, later scents start to show the Christmas seasonings. Love the stout combination with the Abby yeast.

Jan 28, 2017
Photo of Libeertarian
Libeertarian from Montana

4.04/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From notes taken 05/15/16:

Appears a spirit-like deep copper, very clear. There are sparse, fine flecks here, but darkness and clarity hide these well. Thick, fine, foamy, almost creamy head of good retention, perfectly tan. Decent lacing and legs. Definitely detect the Abbey Ale yeast character on the nose. Cinnamon and perhaps ginger and nutmeg aromas. Breadiness, toastiness as well. To the taste, cinnamon strongest, but not overpowering. Overall very Belgian and dark. Bread flavors more subdued, taking a back seat to spiciness and metallic, leathery, funky, and caramel qualities of hops, yeast, and malt. Medium-bodied, nearly syrupy, excellent smoothness, carbonation mostly creamy with tingles and sloshes here and there. As the style suggests, warming. Works well with spiciness. Good work, Upslope! Compare to Belgian Darks and Strong Darks as much as other Winter Warmers. Even certain high ABV Altbiers.

Jun 07, 2016
Photo of arizcards
arizcards from North Carolina

3.56/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a single from TW Arrowhead in early January for $3.49. Received at TW on 11-24-15, best by 2-18-16...whoops.

Beer poured reddish brown with an OK head that dissipated quickly.

Nose is holiday spices and a hint of bubbelgum.

Taste is allspice and abbey yeast phenols.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and not as light as i would expect from an abbey ale.

Overall not a bad beer but nothing special.

Mar 13, 2016
Photo of ocelot2500
ocelot2500 from Maryland

3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear amber color with a tight off-white head that leaves little bits of lacing.

Smells of yeast spice and dark fruits.

Tastes of the dark fruits layered with sweetness and spice. Dark fruits lead off with notes of cherries and raisins. Spice notes come next with clove and some pepper. Caramel sweetness adds towards the middle along with some bubble gum. Next comes herbal hop notes. Finishes with a little sweetness.

Mouthfeel is medium with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a pretty good Belgian Christmas style ale.

Dec 12, 2015
Photo of GarrettB
GarrettB from Colorado

3.32/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

The day is closing on Christmas, 2013. What better time to try that Christmas Ale that's been patiently waiting in the refrigerator? Most years I tend to stock up on holiday beers from Christmas, but I wanted to show my Colorado pride and drink something from a little closer to home. It pours from a tall Santa red can, and the beer is almost the same color as the aluminum, with a deep crimson and rosy cheeked red hue, a hypnotizing clarity, and wide columns of bubbles commuting to the underside of the head, itself a thin wreath of creamy, dirty snow colored bubbles. As I sit here with the poured brew a couple feet away I already catch hints of cinnamon and egg nog (really), nd a closer look confirms it: a heavy creamy egg nog freshness flanked by spicy clove, all-spice, and a sweet, pineapple acidity. The taste mirrors the nose with an uncanny precision, where the egg nog spices appear in the first few seconds of the taste and in the aftertaste. A heavy palate and busy carbonation help to lift this beer, which tastes heavy and almost overburdened with Christmas spices and Christmas cheer. Indeed, like Santa Clause, it's heavy and rounded with flavor, but somehow manages to fit in the metaphorical chimney of my picky palate. It's not an everyday beer (is Christmas every day?!) and not even a session beer (you only open presents once on Christmas Day!) but I think it is a fine beer for the holiday, and a spicy way to end a day full of paper ripping and gut stuffing.

Oct 30, 2015
Photo of Bitterbill
Bitterbill from Wyoming

4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best by February 21st.

It pours a clear copper with a 1" head of foam...does have some nice lacing.

The smell is very spicy and fruity. Some nutmeg and cinnamon, some dark fruit which is plum like.

The taste is sweet, spicy, fruity, in that order. The spicy character reminds me of a Belgian Ale of some sort...now picking up cloves and a yeasty/wheaty flavour. The warmer it gets, the more complex it seems to get.

Medium body and carbo.

A very festive enjoyable brew in a 16 ounce can, I probably wouldn't want to drink 'em back to back. ;^)

Dec 25, 2014
Photo of TX-Badger
TX-Badger from Texas

3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear reddish brown with off-white head. Spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and some cloves; follows onto the palate. Medium bodied. Somewhat sweet on the finish.

Dec 07, 2014
Photo of allengarvin
allengarvin from Texas

3.89/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: 4.0 - Lovely ruby color with a small head.
S: 3.75 - Very light aroma, but what there is has notes of ripe apple, raisins, with a faint spiciness.
T: 4.0 - Good dubble sort of flavor with sweet malt, a touch of caramel, ripe dark fruit yeast character, and, as in the nose, a very faint spiciness--if the can didn't tell me it was spiced, I'd mistake it for yeasty phenols.
M: 4.0 - Very belgian mouthfeel, not heavy despite the strength.
O: 3.75 - Decent Belgian-style beer, but not something that will make me come back to buy it again.

Nov 29, 2014
Photo of tempest
tempest from New York

3.75/5  rDev 0%

Nice take on a Belgian ale, but you really need to wait for it to warm up before the flavors opens. When it does, there's a smooth caramel candy malt character that reminds me of St Bernardus. The finish is earthy, dry, and bitter with just a hint of fruit and citrus peel. Give it a shot.

Nov 08, 2014
Photo of ssarah
ssarah from Colorado

3.92/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Clear, dark red color, with small head that disppears within a few minutes of pour.

Smell: strong malt aroma. Sweetness dominates this beer's smell. Hints of clove and nutmeg.

Taste: Nice blend of sweetness and bitterness. It has bitter cider flavors with a malty edge. Clove and nutmeg flavors linger after a sip is taken. Strong alcohol content is noticable but well blended with the rich fruit and spice flavors. The overall flavor grows on you over time.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation. It's bitterness stays around for a few seconds after each sip.

Overall: Strong, sweet, with bitter fruit and spice flavors, this beer is a good Christmas ale. I probably couldn't drink this all night but it is a nice choice for a strong and unique winter beer.

Dec 21, 2013
Photo of Jason
Jason from Massachusetts

3.84/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

16oz can with no freshness date.

Modest carbonation only yields a thing lacing though it does stay around for a while. Aromas of candied fruit, hermit cookies, taffy, pie spice, alcohol, & faint caramel. Semi-chewy maltiness, toasted bread, balanced pie spice, banana pith, moderate level of hopping, warming alcohol, faint bubblegum, light brown sugar, semi-dry finish.

A Belgian-ish Winter Warmer here, great choice with the Abbey Ale yeast and just enough spicing. Seek this one out.

Dec 14, 2013
Photo of utopiajane
utopiajane from New York

3.59/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours copper with a red blush, a thin head that fell quickly and left only minimal lacing. The nose was bubble gum and light flaked grain. Faint bit of cinnamon and clove. Had some vibrant cherry up front and some dark fruit lightly beneath that. A nice honey for malt sweetness turns to a sweetened bread with candied fruit peel. There wasn't much belgian yeast character on the nose. The taste was light enough and the malt was silky and had a carefree taste of light sweet grain. Almost like a honeycake. It was slightly hot and the alcohol imparted a small bitter. The cherry stole the show with a light tartness. As the beer warms you begin to taste a delicate touch of almond. What this beer was missing was carbonation. The mouthfeel was ample but flat. It had a syrupy quality because of that. Again the yeast character was weak and that contributed to the flat mouthfeel too. There were some faint spices in the drink and even a little ginger and pepper to pick it up for a rather nice finish. It finished with an alcohol dryness, and sweet with a light bread and the vibrant cherry. In the aftertaste the dark fruit came forward a bit to give back a little of the depth this was missing up front.

Dec 07, 2013
Photo of puboflyons
puboflyons from New Hampshire

4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the can. Sampled on December 6, 2013.

The color is ruby red to brown with a thin head that fades away after a moment.

The aroma is of breaded malts, light spice, dark fruit, white pepper, and a touch of molasses.

The body is medium.

The taste evolves as it warms. But whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, the alcohol bite slowly creeps in as it warms. Otherwise I get the same bready malts, light spice, molasses, dark fruit as ion the aroma.

Dec 07, 2013
Photo of RonaldTheriot
RonaldTheriot from Louisiana

3.61/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Upslope Christmas Ale has a thin, cream-colored head, slight lacing, and a clear, fairly bubbly, reddish-brown appearance. The aroma is strange- smokey, oddly spicy, sweet, bread crust, and other unidentifiable aromas. Taste is of white pepper, bread crust, sweetness, unusual spices, and even citrus. Bitterness is noticeable but not harsh. The mouthfeel is medium to heavy, and the drinkability is pretty good, and one would not guess this is an over 8% abv beer. Upslope Christmas Ale finishes dry and fairly easy drinking. This is interesting, and I recommend checking it out.

RJT

Dec 07, 2013
Photo of BeerWizard
BeerWizard from Colorado

4.09/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Another $15 four pack of tall cans from Upslope - rrrr! But I had to try it. Comes in a candy-cane swirl 16oz can. Looks festive enough. Pours a dark copper color with some short head, more than I expected for an 8%+ beer, which reduces to an immobile wafer of fine bubbles.

This has been sitting in a pint for a while, and is giving off a bubblegum-banana and vanilla aroma, almost like a cream soda. I know this is spiced but the spice has to be really out front for me to discern what it is, but my wife thinks it's cinnamon and clove. Upslope doesn't tell us exactly what they are.

Flavor is yeasty and sweet, with the spices coming in at the end. Not as sweet as you might expect for an abbey ale, though, and well balanced by the alcohol bitterness. Alcohol is definitely present, but not as hot as you might think for how high this is. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, and carbonation is light to medium.

Overall, good, not totally blown away, but definitely some surprises here. I'd buy it again, too...if only it were cheaper. This Christmas ale has little hope of making it to Christmas, though.

Nov 18, 2013
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.81/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

a different take on a christmas brew, which i found in a can at bike cafe. pours rich malty amber to light nutbrown in color, glowing, with a finger of tan head thats dead and gone in a minute or two. smells like belgian yeast and candy sugar, a lot like a dubbel really, although with a lighter american red malt profile and some spice including cinnamon and honey sweetness. the flavor is identical to the nose. in fact, everything i can smell, i can taste, and nothing i can taste i cant smell, although the taste is much more bold than the nose, a very lively brew. to me this is what i which more xmas beers were like, not too spiced, not too sweet, and creative and balanced. this one has it all really, although the feel let me down a little. more carbonation and more body would have made this a wonderful specimen. instead a slightly flat, quite thin feel made me yearn for more. still, this is a probe in the right direction, and the yeast makes it. there may still be some cans around if you missed it, so get in the mix before its too late if you want a holiday beer with a twist.

Jan 24, 2013
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denver10 from New Mexico

3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a bright ambe with a reddish hue and an off white head. Aroma is sweet maltiness paired with a nice dose of spices. Flavor followed suit; a nice marriage between some sweet caramel and breadiness and a nice dose of spices. Surprised to read its a Belgian style as I didn't notice the yeast. A fuller, semi-active mouthfeel. Overall, an enjoyable beer. Maybe not one I need in heavy doses but a single pour of this certainly did the trick.

Dec 18, 2012
Photo of Beaver13
Beaver13 from Colorado

3.21/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

16 oz can. Pours clear rub red with a smallish fizzy off white head that quickly goes to a thin collar.

The aroma is toasty, bready malts with some muted gingerbread spices.

The flavor is toasty malts with light gingerbread spices and a dry spicy bitter finish. The mouthfeel is pretty full bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, a decent Christmas beer - a bit muted though.

Dec 08, 2012
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alexipa from Colorado

3.96/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Great deep red color. As it should be right? It's a Christmas ale! Nice frothy head.

S: Lots of subtle spices, with a malty caramel undertone. Nutmeg, cinnamon, clove.

T: Really, really good stuff. Sweet and malty straight up front, then the spices come in and round it out- keeping it from becoming cloying. I feel like they may have used the same base beer as their Pumpkin which is definitely a good thing. Tons of clove, some cinnamon, nutmeg, and almost no hop taste.

M: Low carbonation, milky full body. The alcohol is pretty present as well.

O: Excellent, excellent beer. Upslope is on a roll with their seasonals, I don't think I'll be missing another release from these guys.

Dec 05, 2012
Photo of mactrail
mactrail from Washington

2.51/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours a handsome coppery red amber in the tall glass. Lots of foam and a cascade of bubbles, it's quite a nice sight and plenty spritzy in the mouth.

First taste is a shock. It's really sugary, and just seems to get sweeter as you attempt to drink it. I hesitate to try to catalogue all the flavors of this stuff-- Hawaiian Punch, bubble gum, apricot nectar, dried mango, fig jam, and some kind of day-glo gummi candy. Aroma of raisin toast and cinnamon. Some dirty bitterness vainly attempts to balance the candy.

To me this just gets cloying real fast. I thought that after the first sip this would evolve into some beery interest, but it just makes me think of those cheap light fruitcakes from Big Lots. Down the drain with this one.

From the 16 oz can purchased in Denver at Mayfair Liquor.

Dec 05, 2012
Photo of DelMontiac
DelMontiac from Oklahoma

3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 pints can provided by my bro-in-law from Denver, CO.

An aggressive pour yields a two finger off white head and fizzles down to a halo in just under two minutes. Color is red copper. Lace it very scant.

Nice aromas of peppermint, plum, raisons, and caramel malt.

Flavors of doughy cinnamon biscuits, caramel, nutmeg, clove and peppermint dance on the tongue leaving some wisps of licorice and vanilla.

Medium-full feel and not a lot of carbonation. Would benefit from more bubbles.

Luckily, my bro-in-law didn't really dig this and left the remaining cans for me. I'm fond of winter warmers anyway and this one is a keeper. At 8.2%, this one will warm you up. BONUS - It's in a 1 pint tall can!

Nov 30, 2012
Photo of Domingo
Domingo from Colorado

3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Glad to see Upslope canning more beers. They brew a lot more beers than most people realize.
Pours a chestnut brown color. Not much foam going on. A little, but not a ton.
The nose is spicy - a bit reminiscent of the Harpoon or Anchor Christmas ales...but slightly more mellow. Big cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and maybe a little bit of peppermint.
The flavor profile matches the nose, but it's (luckily) not as bold. Plus, as this warms, the more traditional Belgian flavors like burnt sugar and a little cocoa come out. In fact, as this one heads closer to room temperature, the spices become a little more muted and the beer is pretty tasty.
Not too fiery, but still packing some punch. I wish it had a little more carbonation, but I still liked it.
Not bad. With some tweaks this could probably be downright amazing. As it stands, it's still good.

Nov 21, 2012
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Mebuzzard from Colorado

3.2/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A new brew from Upslope for the Santa season...albeit a month too early. Seems like this is a trend nowadays.

Anywho, pours a reddish brown/chestnut. Small head up front, fades to nothing. No lacing.

Aroma of booze, gum, some spices and faint caramel.

Taste: it's not bad, but seems messy. The spices are weak, the caramel burnt, and the booze off and on. The thinness doesn't help. Not that this is a bad beer. It is good. Perhaps more of a good step in the right direction for next year's batch effort. It just seems the spices are vague enough to think that they don't belong here.

Nov 19, 2012
Christmas Ale from Upslope Brewing Company - Lee Hill
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 115 ratings