Holly Jolly Christmas Ale | Fat Head's Brewery & Saloon

very good
45 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Holly Jolly Christmas AleHolly Jolly Christmas Ale

Brewed by:
Fat Head's Brewery & Saloon
Ohio, United States

Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.40%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BB1313 on 12-07-2012

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 45 | Ratings: 364
Photo of tigg924
3/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had on tap. Pours clear, orange-brown in color with 1/2 inch head. Taste is holiday spices: cinnamon, clove, orange peel, and toasted malt. Medium bodied, sweet, with moderate carbonation. Fairly standard winter warmer type of beer. Not a bad beer by any stretch, but kinda what I would expect from a brewery's holiday ale. Solid, but I would not rush to get this.

 370 characters

Photo of Benjolovesbeer
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip, color is velvety red with a low carbonation of slow rising bubbles in the body, thin bubbly white head.
Feel: scotchy, medium to heavy tannins.
Aroma: cinamon, vanilla, scotch, nutmeg.
Taste: boozy, malty, spicy, herbal, honey, cinnamon, blackcherry, clove, earthy, hoppy, sweet almond finish that dissolves off the tongue quickly so the booziness really isn't overwhelming, it's a strong boozey whisky bite in the beginnong that leaves with sugary sweet sensations that fades quickly wanting you to take another sip. It's a slow sipper that finishes rather quickly. It's a bit like brandy.
For a Christmas ale it is a good after dinner beer. Don't understand the low rating for this, for a Christmas ale it has the flavors you want.

 758 characters

Photo of woodychandler
3.74/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I just had occasion to revisit GLBC's Christmas Ale and I thought that since I am on a Christmas Ale kick, I would take in another Ahia brewery's offering. A trio of us made a recent foray to Malvern for beer & this was one of the bottles that came home with me. Merry Christmas (a few days late) & Season's Beatings to the Kleveland Klowns this coming Sunday, courtesy of Th' Stillers, 'n' 'at!

From the bottle: :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 that you will enjoy this holiday creation with it's [sic] 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! (R) [undersigned] Matt - Chris - Glenn"; "A great beer to spice up your holidays".

I gently Pop!ped the cap since their Fat Man was emblazoned on it & then I conducted a gentle pour sine I was using a smaller glass than what the bottle held. I still got two fingers of dense, rocky, tawny head with good retention for my efforts. Color was a Coppery-Brown (SRM = > 17, < 22) with NE-quality clarity & mahogany highlights. Nose was more gingery spicy than cinnamon, but both were evident. Mouthfeel was thin-to-medium, not watery, but very thin as compared to GLBC Christmas Ale. The taste was very spicy and the ginger was prevalent, overpowering the honey and leaving the cinnamon in the background. Finish was absolutely dry, thanks to the spices. It was decent, but I would prefer the GLBC version over this one, given a choice. That said, this might be better mulled in a double boiler & I can provide instruction, if you like.

 1,857 characters

Photo of justintcoons
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a shaker pint.

Reddish-mahogany with a short tan head. Good clarity with yeast sediment dancing around. Lively carbonation.

Cherry, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and plum.

Honey, maraschino cherry juice, and black plum. Light bouquet of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

Medium-plus bodied, crisp, and silky with a drying finish.

A nicely spiced holiday beer. Well balanced and hides the abv well.

 458 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a clear copper color, capped by a two finger ecru head; the retention is disappointing and there is minimal lacing

Smell: Herbal thyme aromatics dominate, with orange, juniper berry, honey and assorted Christmas spicing, primarily ginger and cinnamon

Taste: Spice cake malt and honey flavors, at the outset with the herbal and holiday spice mix building; through the middle, the orangey bitterness becomes prominent; the herbal and juniper tones return, in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A bit of a muddle, sort of like blending a pale ale with a winter warmer, and the herbal tones just don't work well on my palate with the hops

 695 characters

Photo of TX-Badger
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a reddish brown color with ivory colored head. Spices, toast, roasted malts on the nose; follows onto the palate. Medium bodied. Finishes with spice.

 155 characters

Photo of cambabeer
3.66/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

I had this for the second time last night, and while good, it feels forced to me. Yes, it tastes like christmas, nutmeg, cinnamon, and the alcohol is somewhat noticeable. It's not very balanced to me, however.

 209 characters

Photo of Discos2
3.59/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Look- nice dark Amber/red.
Smell- very aromatic. The spices u want from a holiday beer are all there.
Taste- great spiced ale. Cinnamon, nutmeg, roasted malt.
Feel- bright, spicy and crisp. Slightly sticky.
Overall- if you like spiced winter brews, this is a good one.

 269 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The Holly Jolly is a solid Christmas Ale....there are just a few critiques on each category that I must give and reasons as to why this beer didn't score higher with me.....even though I think it might be my favorite Xmas Style Ale I've tried to date. The beer poured a very nice rich amber with thin white head....but no lace (deduct). The scent has spice and pine needles not overpowering (which I like)....but not as strong as others (deduct). The taste is evenly balanced...again the spice and pine not overpowering...again which I like and makes it sessionable. The mouthfeel is medium in body with good carbonation. Overall this is good and I like it....but if you're looking for a gingerbread man in a Xmas tree bold punch in the face....this is not it. Very subtle an nice.

 787 characters

Photo of zac16125
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

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

 667 characters

Photo of Glanzman
4.04/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle served in a pint glass.

Pours a nice caramel color with 1 finger tan head.

Smells, and taste subtly like Christmas... pretty light with the spices.

And ok beer.

 179 characters

Photo of Stevem68
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a ruby Amber color. Has a light holiday spice and malt aroma. Flavor is malty, smooth, a little sweet and has a holiday spice flavor. Overall a nice Christmas ale.

 169 characters

Photo of Gauss
2.69/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 2.75

This Cleveland beer just didn't live up to my expectations. Honestly it's all in the smell. I can't get the slight vomit odor out of my nose. It's very smooth and has a decent honey flavor but it just doesn't do it for me.

 222 characters

Photo of nicholas2121
4.47/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Holly Jolly Christmas Ale brewed by Fat Head's Brewery & Saloon, with an ABV of 7.40% This brew pours out a nice brown color with a nice off white head. I really like the look of this brew. Holly Jolly Christmas Ale, looks good in a paint glass. The smell is rich with spices , malts, and grains. You also pick up a hit of hops in the smell of this brew. There is a lot going on in Holly Jolly Christmas Ale, this is a good drinking brew. Now for the taste , it is bold with flavors. You pick up on the nice spices in this brew. There are also some nice grains and malts in this brew. Holly Jolly Christmas Ale, has a nice balance to it, there is nothing overpowering about this brew. The mouthfeel of Holly Jolly Christmas Ale, is rich bold and clean. You really can't pick up on the 7.40% ABV. Overall I'm giving Holly Jolly Christmas Ale a 4.50 out of 5. Fat Head's Brewery & Saloon, did a nice job with this one. This is a nice Christmas brew

 959 characters

Photo of schoolboy
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The Lake Erie region has a lot of great breweries and great Xmas drinks coming out of those breweries. This is the best of those holiday drinks I've tried this year. Really, there is no reason to look any further, this is the one. I had a taste at their pub on Lorain and now a bottle too.

It is a pretty brown ale. Nice and clear with extremely fine head. The aroma is exquisite. As good as any in the style. It smells hoppy and spicy all nicely balanced.

The taste is an easy drinking strong holiday drink. Not too bitter but not too spiced and punchie. It lingers on the palate on the sweet side, appropriately. I hope to serve these to guests a few times this year but I don't want another right now - one is enough, give me something sour or sitter or ... over the top. Cheers.

 785 characters

Photo of Hop_God
3.82/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep brown mahogany to ruby red.

S: very spicy and "christmas" forward, baking spices

T: much of the same as the smell, some spiciness, nutmeg, hint of cinnamon, then a blast of hops.

F: very crisp and a big bite.

O: for the type of beer it was a pretty decent version.

 276 characters

Photo of barczar
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I'm not a Christmas beer fan, and I'm not a fan of ginger, so this is not my fave.

Ginger and allspice dominate both aroma and flavor. Cola notes become evident in the aftertaste. There's a touch of toasted malt.

 213 characters

Photo of stumac
4.09/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Guess I gotta write a review cuz it's not letting me do a quick score. My buddy brought this down from his hometown in Ohio back here to Texas. Nice treat. Looks solid. Very clear. No head. Nose isn't too pungent. Nose and flavor are the same except the flavor has more malt flavor. Holiday spices, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla. Medium body, mellow carbo, solid brew

 363 characters

Photo of Beef_Curtains
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

Caringly dispensed into a mug from a 12 oz bottle

Appears a sedatious reddish-brown color with a solid finger of fluffy foamy goodness

Smells like Christmas: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, fuitcake, honey and a little caramel.

Also tastes like Christmas: a smooth wave of the aforementioned spices and more stemming from a rigid malty spine.

A nicely carbonated, medium bodied beer

Very similar to the classic Great Lakes Christmas Ale. At 10.99 a sixer, this will definitely be added to my annual Christmas lineup

 517 characters

Photo of Spadoof
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Served from a 12oz bottle into a 22oz snifter. No bottled on date present.

A - Pours a semi transparent hue of red/orange/brown with a finger thick white cap. Most of the lacing falls leaving some soapy bubbles on the side of the snifter.

S - The smell really packs a punch... Christmas in a bottle. Fresh ginger and cinnamon up front followed by sweet blast of honey, cherry and alcohol.

T - Ginger, cinnamon and festive spices up front are sharp on the tongue. Hints of fresh fruit and sweet malt come through in the middle followed by pungent honey. Alcohol and carbonation come through at the to gently cleanse the palate leaving a semi sweet mixture of honey and ginger.

M - Medium carbonation, thick body.

O - Fantastic! Probably in my top three christmas ales! Will definitely be purchasing more.

 808 characters

Photo of Hoptometrist
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from the bottle into a goblet glass. The third beer of my 2014 twelve beers of Christmas.

A- Poured a dark reddsih brown color with lots of streaming carbonation and off-white soapy head that left dense, splashy lace.

S- Big aroma of cinnamon, ginger, honey, and cracker malt character. This really smells like Great Lakes Christmas Ale.

T- Huge cinnamon and ginger, some honey sweetness, cracker and bready malt notes, light orange peel and brown sugar notes.

M- Smooth, medium body, prickly carbonation, and semi-dry finish.

O- Very good spiced Christmas Ale that tastes that is heavy on the spices of the season and a nice malt backbone. This beer is very similar to Great Lakes Christmas Ale in my opinion with Holly Jolly being just a little more malt forward.

 781 characters

Photo of AC-Mivsek
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%

A- Pours a clear reddish amber, thin khaki head which dissipates quickly. Mild carbonation.

S- Very spicy, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, honey, some cola aspects to it as well. Hearty, robust nose.

M- Smooth, silky. Coats the tongue with cinnamon sweetness.

T- Spicy and sweet. Cinnamon and honey seem to dominate, malty back-end.

O- I feel this is a great example of a christmas ale. Very spice heavy, not quite warming enough for me though. I'd go winter warmer over herb/spice ale next time.

 496 characters

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle pours a mostly clear brownish-crimson color with a fluffy head of tan head. Fades pretty fast and does not leave much lace.

Aroma is ginger galore with the sweet cinnamon-honey coming a close second. Smells very much like a gingerbread cookie.

Taste mixes malt flavors with the spices better than the nose would indicate, still quite cookie-esque though. The honey comes forth in this beer more so than any other beer I have had, maybe even as much as DFH Midas Touch. The ginger seems to help that perception, as does the rich malt. Mouthfeel is great - full and silky. I like this one quite a bit but I could see it being too rich for more than one or two in a sitting.

 686 characters

Photo of ClePaul
4.14/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Look 9/10
Smell 18/20
Taste 37/40
Feel 9/10
Drinkability 17/20

Overall 90/100

Fat Heads Holly J olly pours a amber reddish orange, with just a bit of Haze~ Light and radiant lacing~a Aroma is nice and spicy, citrus ginger and honey, smells wonderful~ Palate is kicking with some dazzling citrus and spice, dry but sweet, light to med body~ Taste is Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice, Orange Peel, Honey, Coriander, Clove, Hops, Bread malts and Caramel~ A very good winter warmer~ Smooth and spicy not very complex, yet easy to drink~ A bit of bitterness lingers on the tongue~ Overall: 7.9

 663 characters

Photo of rlee1390
3.76/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Clear deep amber, not much carbonation, one finger head that doesn't long at all.

S-Very spice heavy; nutmeg, cinnamon, some caramel and slight honey.

T-Rather sweet with spices. Caramel and malt to begin with cinnamon and nutmeg in the finish. No bitterness though.

M-Light, very light and watery without any carbonation.

O-As it warms it becomes slightly bland, the spice is still there but nothing special. A good beer but not worth having again.

 455 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Holly Jolly Christmas Ale from Fat Head's Brewery & Saloon
3.8 out of 5 based on 364 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.