Holly Jolly Christmas Ale
Fat Head's Brewery & Saloon

Holly Jolly Christmas AleHolly Jolly Christmas Ale
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Fat Head's Brewery & Saloon
Ohio, United States
Winter Warmer
Ranked #59
Ranked #21,997
3.79 | pDev: 11.87%
Jan 15, 2022
Dec 07, 2012
Very Good
Holly Jolly Christmas AleHolly Jolly Christmas Ale
Notes: Once upon a frozen evening way up north, a sweet local honey named Holly inspired our Jolly Fat Man (as only Holly can) to create this festive spiced holiday ale. We think you will enjoy this holiday creation with it's aromas and flavors of Christmas day. Sweet malt, ginger, honey and cinnamon spice. Sip this by the fire with your significant other. Who knows, maybe it will lead to a little inspiration of your own. From our Jolly Fat Man to yours, Happy Holidays.

Chill out man, have a beer!
Matt - Chris- Glenn
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Ratings by zac16125:
Photo of zac16125
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
by zac16125 from South Carolina

Fat Heads Holly Jolly Ale
12oz bottle into a pint glass
no bottling dates but vintage 2015

A: Crystal clear, dark amber, 2 fingers width of tan head has good retention and leaves a small amount of lacing. 4.25

S: Very malty, almost smoky, decent amount of spice. 3.5

T: More spice then the aroma, in a good way; some juniper/pine; still quite malty. Theres a prominent “Christmas spice” that I for some reason can’t place. 3.75

M/D: Fuller side of medium body, carbonation appropriate, drinkablity is average. 3.5

O: Pretty good beer, not something I'd drink frequently and 1 is plenty, but a good beer if you are looking for something different. 3.75

Dec 23, 2015
More User Ratings:
1.85 by CopperMtnPlowboy from Ohio on Jan 15, 2022
Photo of TonyLema1
3.64/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
by TonyLema1 from South Carolina

L: deep amber color, thin tan head, nice lacing
S: cinnamon and other spices
T: nice amber ale with a hint of spice
F: spices linger on the back end
O: nice overall holiday ale

Dec 24, 2021
3.98 by Blogjackets from Ohio on Dec 22, 2021
3.9 by Meddwol from Michigan on Dec 18, 2021
3.88 by Keananmichael5 from California on Dec 06, 2021
Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by BEERchitect from Kentucky

Taking a classic American Amber Ale down a fully decked hall of holiday cheer, Fat Head's trades a balance of hops with that of holiday spice to warm the senses and to put a sparkle on the tastebuds.

Holly Jolly shows a reserved collection of spice as the caramel and pie accented spices weave together a bright and fresh holiday perfume. Deep amber and sharing a sense of honey, the malt aromas trend in a granola, caramel and toasty direction. With sweeter palate introductions, the early impressions of graham cracker, granola, caramel and honey have a savory and sweet say.

And with that malt-centric flavor setting the tone for the session, the additions of spice have a warming balance through the middle palate with those nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger flavors simmering on the tastebuds. With a slight nod to bitterness, the balance of the beer is heavily reliant upon the spices with a light and woodsy spin toward the end.

Medium full, rounded and crisp, the sweeter tone carries a richness through the finish while the warming spice and moderate alcohol helps with a late turn to dryness. Its a pleasant and wintry beer that doesn't labor the palate unnecessarily or overwhelm the senses with heavy perfume.

Nov 29, 2021
Photo of bubseymour
4.09/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by bubseymour from Maryland

I’m not a big fan of winter warmer beers. This one seems solid for the style.

Nov 26, 2021
Photo of izraelc
2/5  rDev -47.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2
by izraelc from New York

Pours a deep amber. Thick foam. Spicy aroma. About what I expected from a malt beverage. Too many flavors going on at once. Very spicy. Artificially sweet. Tastes like a 40 with a cinnamon stick in it. I definitely don't feel jolly anymore. I'll finish it but I won't like it.

Sep 23, 2021
3.71 by Lelampp from Ohio on Dec 31, 2020
Photo of damndirtyape
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by damndirtyape from Ohio

12oz bottle, served in a nonic glass. Bottled on 10/23/20 14:43.

Appearance: Perfectly clear/bright copper-amber, with a thick off-white head. Sheets and strands of persistent lacing.

Smell: Definite sweet malt, honey, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Taste: Tastes a lot like it smells, with the malt having a bit of a sugar-cookie flavor to it with all the spices mixed in. There is sharp spicy/mild bitter finish at the end that lingers a bit. There is a bit of a cinnamon "red-hot" consistency to the finish.

Mouthfeel: Dry finish, good carbonation, warming from the spices.

Overall / Drinkability: A very good version of this style. Sometimes the spices are out of whack with everything else in this style, but in this case, it's just over the edge to show you it has a lot of spices, but, it's tempered with the malt and honey. Definitely warms you up. I would need to pair this with the right dessert, as by itself, I'm fine with just one because it's strong flavored and any more would completely wreck my palate.

Dec 28, 2020
3.55 by Unclevince from West Virginia on Dec 20, 2020
3.77 by Danzifer from Ohio on Nov 25, 2020
Photo of EMV
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by EMV from Pennsylvania

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Lagunitas mason glass

L: Clear copper brown pour with massive fluffy white head. Great retention and lacing. Beautiful beer.

S: Toasted malts and seasonal spices. Clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.

T.F: Just like it smells. Bready... caramel malts and toasted earthy grains. Spice is present but not obnoxious... sweetness and spice forward with a bit of hop balance. Medium bodied... smooth carbonation.

O: I'm not a big fan of the style but it's decent for a spiced Christmas beer. Fat Head's does solid work, and this was easily drinkable.

Feb 20, 2020
3.84 by Hefsbeercaps from Ohio on Feb 09, 2020
Photo of puck1225
4.17/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by puck1225 from Texas

Had this from tap at the Pittsburgh taproom.

Poured into a English pint. Excellent head and lacing. Reddish brown color.

Classic winter warmer smell and taste, malty and warm spices. Enjoyed it very much at the end of the meal!

Jan 12, 2020
Photo of jkblr
3.86/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by jkblr from Indiana

12oz bottled 10/22/19 poured into a becher glass at fridge temp 7.4% ABV. The beer pours bright ruby tinted amber in color with sticky light khaki colored head. The head recedes to a thin ring and leaves a little lacing. The aroma is mild, yet spicy, with cinnamon and ginger showing up first, followed by honey and malt. The taste follows the nose with gingery spice up front and the honey and malt showing up mid palate, but always dried & countered by the spices. Minimal bitterness as the taste after swallowing is just a gentle ramp down of the initial flavors. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with just less than medium carbonation and a dry (spice) finish. Overall, very good. This beer really highlights the ginger, but not in an overpowering way. Very festive, but I prefer a touch of malt complexity as well.

Jan 05, 2020
3.71 by DougT from Ohio on Dec 30, 2019
3.63 by BirdsandHops from Oregon on Dec 30, 2019
3.81 by TheBeerMaster1 from New York on Dec 29, 2019
4.21 by lccrunchy from Pennsylvania on Dec 28, 2019
Photo of philbe311
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by philbe311 from Pennsylvania

A billowing active pour yields a finger's worth of lush light khaki colored froth... Color is a completely translucent copper... A spicy nose highlighted by cinnamon and juniper berries... Perhaps some hints of cranberry and cherry as well... Medium bodied... Super smooth and quaffable... The flavor profile is consistent with the nose and reminds me of a ginger snap cookie... Very simple, straightforward and enjoyable winter warmer... A job well done by Far Head's... I'll need to remember this one for next season...

Dec 26, 2019
Photo of Lucular
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by Lucular from Maryland

12 oz bottle split with my brother-in-law on Christmas evening. Very easy to drink despite being spice-forward thanks to a nice dark malty/toffee flavor and creamy mouthfeel.

Note: This should be classified as a winter warmer.

Dec 26, 2019
3.93 by lsudduth from Ohio on Dec 26, 2019
3.8 by Mrseanworldwide from Ohio on Dec 26, 2019
3.91 by cozmo from New York on Dec 22, 2019
4 by MJSFS from Florida on Dec 07, 2019
3.46 by bschmidt_37 from Illinois on Nov 28, 2019
Photo of softmachine
4.41/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by softmachine

L: A nice dark amber brown with a moderate white head.

S: Lots of honey and ginger, with a touch of cinnamon and caramel, as well as clove.

T: The taste of honey is at the forefront, and really steals the show with this beer. Ginger spice comes in more prominently after the initial honey kick, fading out to a slight blend of the above flavors with a touch of caramel and cinnamon.

F: Medium-bodied and crisp, with a smooth, creamy mouthfeel.

O: This is an excellent holiday ale, that goes down smoothly with a lovely spice and honey driven taste. Certainly ideal for a cold and lazy winter Sunday, like today. The look is great, the feel is nice, this is a beer I wouldn't mind buying a six-pack of, which is rare for me!

Nov 24, 2019
Photo of rudzud
3.66/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
by rudzud from Massachusetts

Received as an extra in a trade. Bottled on 10/27/19

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a crystal clear chestnut hue with a fat one finger off white head that fades to leave a thick creamy halo and thin, light blanket.

S - Aromas of ginger, honey, malts, cinnamon..maybe some clove like aroma as well. Some sweeter sugars as well. I actually like the ginger and honey aroma going on...but that's about it.

T - Taste is similar to the nose with sweeter malts and honey up front with plenty of spicy ginger. The cloves are muted, as is the cinnamon, however there is almost a twang on the finish that is incredibly odd. Kinda sorta almost yogurt like. There is also some bitterness on the finish that is odd as well.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, crisp, not overly sticky, alcohol hidden nicely.

O - Overall I really, REALLY liked the honey and ginger in this beer...but sadly that was about it. At least it wasn't as cloy as others in this style though.

Serving Type: Bottle

Nov 22, 2019
3.92 by shreead from Pennsylvania on Nov 18, 2019
Photo of Historiker
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Historiker from Ohio

Nice medium amber color, with 2 fingers of head that reduced to 1/2" and stuck around.
Aroma was weak - To be clear, it wasnt bad - I just didn't really pick up on any distinct scents except malt.
Flavor is another story - this is one of the better Christmas beers I've had this year. Sweet malt was definitely the dominant flavor, with honey, ginger, and cinnamon playing second fiddle (in that order). The body is great - nice and full without feeling like a milkshake.
The thing that really sets this beer apart is that it isn't loaded up with spices, and isn't a beer that someone just slapped a Christmas label on. It's really nicely balanced, with just enough spices to say "I'm a Christmas beer" without insisting upon itself or trying too hard. Overall, this is a Christmas beer I'd buy again.

Nov 17, 2019
3.7 by Vjhillsr from Maryland on Nov 16, 2019
Photo of donzilake
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
by donzilake from Ohio

A billowing active pour yields a finger's worth of lush light khaki colored froth... Color is a completely translucent copper... A spicy nose highlighted by cinnamon and juniper berries... Perhaps some hints of cranberry and cherry as well... Medium bodied... Super smooth and quaffable... The flavor profile is consistent with the nose and reminds me of a ginger snap cookie... Very simple, straightforward and enjoyable winter warmer... A job well done by Far Head's... I'll need to remember this one for next season...

Nov 15, 2019
4.1 by Hernando13 from Ohio on Jul 18, 2019
Photo of Dodo2step
3.54/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by Dodo2step from Pennsylvania

A- amber color with red highlights. Half finger carbonated head that hangs around nicely. clear as well.

S- cant get much from the smell but i do get hints of clove and caramel malt

F- cinnamon spice with caramel malts and back end flavor of clove. There is the honey but it is faint.

M- creamy and medium bodied. A nice xmas ale in March hits the spot. goes down a lil sour and rough but ok nonetheless

O- i have had better but overall it will hit the spot. It needs some work. the clove/allspice and honey need to come through more.

Mar 09, 2019
Photo of AmishSlacker
2.78/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75
by AmishSlacker from Pennsylvania

Poured a light copper/dark amber color. Thick cream colored foam dissipated fairly quick. Smell is very malty. Very little carbonation in mouth. Feels buttery and maybe even a little oily but not unpleasant. Tastes very sweet malty. There are some spices but they are overpowered by malt and then everything fades to a slightly bitter taste. Not my favorite Christmas beer.

Jan 30, 2019
4.09 by JoelZ1 from Pennsylvania on Jan 13, 2019
Photo of SFUprof
4.43/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by SFUprof from Pennsylvania

A nice Christmas beer with plenty of holiday spices. A bit sweet, but is what I expected from this brewery.

Dec 28, 2018
Holly Jolly Christmas Ale from Fat Head's Brewery & Saloon
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 432 ratings