Christmas Ale | Breckenridge Brewery

418 Reviews
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Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Brewed by:
Breckenridge Brewery
Colorado, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.10%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
The chill of a Colorado high-country winter calls for a beer with extra flavor and strength. Here it is. At over 7% alcohol, with a sturdy texture and rich flavors of caramel and chocolate, our holiday seasonal is the fermented equivalent of a good fire.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-28-2002

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Reviews: 418 | Ratings: 1,081
Photo of jeffdr123
3.92/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, reddish brown. Not much of a head, but that's fine. It's a low-key winter warmer, compared to some. More of an interesting brown ale. I tasted the cookie dough, the caramel, and the hops to temper it all. A pleasant change of pace without tasting like someone drowned a Christmas cookie in my beer. I'd buy it again.

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Photo of The_Kriek_Freak
3.81/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

It pours a purpleish brown, clear and with hardly any head at all. The aroma is of raisins and dried fruit. The flavor is fairly mild and not very complex for most part. Not overly sweet and with bitterness that only shows up at the very end. Not as fully bodied as other winter warmers I've had before.

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Photo of chinchill
3.48/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap in Atlanta.

Smooth, medium body with medium carbonation.

mahogany colored body with a very good off-white head.

Spicy aroma that correctly suggests that the the flavor may be a bit over spiced. Slightly bitter although lightly sweet up front.

Overall: ok but still disappointing.

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Photo of GreatHammerhead
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz bottle with no freshness date poured into a pint glass.

Look: Red brown in color with a tan one finger head that very quickly collapses into a soapy residue.

Smell: A bold profile that mostly features malts and some corn.

Taste: Malts with some indistinguishable spices. Has flavor but still seems kinda watery.

Feel: Thin mouthfeel with average carbonation.

Overall: Not terrible but not very good either.

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Photo of 88caprice
3.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Orange-tinged, dark amber. Nice creamy head that stays and sticks to the glass.
Smells like caramelized roasted malts and dark sugar. Maybe some dried fruit.
Tastes big and malty. Sweet, but not syrupy. Like a sticky copper kettle. A slight spicy zing.
Body is full, a little chewy. Moderate carbonation. Alcohol presence.

Very nice.

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Photo of Roby923
3.72/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark amber in color. Plenty of toffee, chocolate malts with hints of licorice. Lighter on the hops. Very smooth taste. Higher in ABV. Bottled from Total in Bmore.

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Photo of Ruger_44-Redhawk
3.64/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Despite the low rating this has received, I really enjoy this as a winter beer. Enjoyed day after Christmas Day 2016 in Littleton, CO. It's an above average winter, but I would drink it again. Taste of lots of caramel and a little spice.

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Photo of Jelitikasez
4.75/5  rDev +35.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Definitely my favorite Christmas beer ever, one of my favorite beers ever.

Sweet and spicy, but no candy cough syrup thing going on.
Silky mouth feel, pleasant weight.

Beautiful rich amber tangerine color.

NOT: Dry, sparkling, light or citrusy. This, for me, is a good thing.

This will not be everyone's thing, but I really love it.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.59/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I swear, I reviewed this from a 5L mini-keg (CAN) at one point, but either I never transcribed my tasting notes or something went afoul on here. No matter. Today is Merry New Christmas Beer Sunday (Week 618) & I am spending my morning unwrapping (or at least opening) as many Christmas beers as possible before my 1140 departure. I bought some nice presents for myself as a B&N employee during the 40% (!) off employee appreciation period & I am perusing "1001 Beers to Try Before You Die" as part of today's imbibing.

From the bottle: "Plenty of good cheer [...] Good friends ever near".

I had to do a little redding up, as I may have a guest over this afternoon, which allowed me to take my foot off of the gas for a moment. In Pop!ping the cap on this one, I was able to exercise some restraint on the pour, but I still got a one finger head of sandy/light-ecru head with modest retention. Color was Brown to Dark Brown (SRM = > 22, < 27) with NE-quality clarity & deep Amber highlights. Nose was more chocolaty than spicy, but a theme was certainly beginning to develop here. Where Pumpkin Ales tend to be highly spicy, these Christmas beers seem to be more bready, chocolaty and with just a tinge of spice. My recipe called for dry Italian Dressing mix or I was going to use some spiced beer in the crock pot. I may try the recipe again, sans any dressing mixes and use a dark Holiday ale instead. Once again, I digress. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste was more muted than in the previous beers in terms of its spice and chocolate characteristics, but instead, I was getting a more pronounced fruitiness, especially of sweet cherries (!). Finish was semi-sweet, not really my bag. I guess that they cannot all be winners.

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Photo of Griffin2
3.25/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.
L - Poured a reddish brown with minimal white head.
S - Smells of Matt and spices.
T - Taste matches the smell.
F - Moderately carbonated.
O - Decent Christmas ale.

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Photo of ANIMOUL
3.82/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Brilliant looking beer. Tastes of raisins, chocolate, and caramel... maybe not in that order. Definitely reminds me of Christmas, albeit a slightly dysfunctional one. Different... sort of. Try it.

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Photo of Suds
3.67/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Chestnut brown color with a medium-sized off-white head, this is a nice-looking beer. The aroma has some malt, along with a decent scent of mixed spices. The taste is sweet, with dried fruit and serious spice notes. It's spot-on for a Christmas ale...full in body, enjoyable, and just a little warming.

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Photo of dar482
3.52/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer comes in deep amber to amber brown color, with a nice hint of clarity.

The aroma offers bit of piney and cabinet spice, toasty notes, mint, caramel sugar, wonderful depth of caramel malts.

The flavor follows with that malty sweetness up front, a bit of dark fruit, onto a cut of spicy and earthy hops on the finish. The beer dries out wonderfully, with a medium lingering aftertaste of more bark and roots, some lingering toasted crust. Mouthfeel is medium, but doesn't offer much depth for a 7.1% beer.

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Photo of yuenglingfan101
4.5/5  rDev +28.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not a bad beer taste like caramel but kinda bland medium color and goes down really smooth great beer for the winter months and that is good drinking to me

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Photo of KLHBB
3.57/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bitter taste of barrel-aged. Pours a dark brown, I wish it was sweeter. Rich velvety texture, overall good but I know I prefer others. Big alcohol taste and punch.

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Photo of dbl_delta
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Undated bottle into pint glass. Pours a dark honey-amber with a moderate off-white head. Initial impression is spiced caramel with maybe some dark fruits - kind of like the Christmas fruit cake that you never get around to eating but throw out in February. Medium-thin mouthfeel, medium carbonation. Alcohol isn't particularly well hidden. Slightly bitter finish. Not one of BB's better efforts.

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Photo of jzlyo
4.05/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aroma is caramel malts, spices and slightly musty. The flavor is caramel malts, Christmas cookie spices, slight fruit an a mildly sweet/mostly smooth finish.

 159 characters

Photo of zac16125
3.4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass
2015 Vintage

Full disclosure, I found this buried in my freezer after being there for a few months, not sure how that affected the beer. Took out of freezer a couple weeks ago, so well thawed out!

A: Very hazy, dark copper/brown, decent sized white head, dissipates fairly quickly and leaves only minimal lacing. 3.25

S: Subtle aromas as a whole. Lots of malty characters, caramel is prominent. Not much else to balance out. 3.25

T: Roasty, hebaceous, subtle toffee/caramel. Pretty good but not a lot going on. 3.5

M/D: Fuller bodied, carbonation on the higher end but not bad, drinkability is average. 3.25

O: Its ok, worth a try but not something I would probably get again. Although maybe I should give it a try fresh (and sans freezing experiment). 3.5

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Photo of PhillyB
4.04/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Got this beer on sale several months after Christmas 2015. A good purchase if I do say so myself.

Look: Dark reddish brown with a thin tan head.

Smell: Dark dried fruits, malt. Quite sweet smelling.

Taste: Similar to smell, not quite as sweet with a lingering finish.

Feel: Slightly richer than a standard ale, almost chewy but not creamy.

Overall: A slightly heavier ale that does as it describes. Warms you in the colder weather, but can also be refreshing in warmer climes.

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Photo of crob3888
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a ruby copper hue with barely any head, disappointing but the color is beautiful. Aroma and flavors are Christmas desserts: malty fruit cake, cookies, plum pudding. Slightly disappointing mouthfeel...but the flavors are nice and drinkable and the alcohol is hidden, making it easy to enjoy multiple when family is ruining your holiday vibe ;)

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.64/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Superbowl special. This one is especially appropriate on this night as it's blustery and nasty out.

The BB Christmas Ale pours a beautiful toffee caramel chocolate body, almost fading from one color to another as it forms. The head is nice and porous, creme brule colored, and leaves rings.

Lots of yeast out front, with Christmas time spices including nutmeg, allspice, gingerbread, and cinnamon. There's a distinct citrus note fused with orange scrapings and hop sharpness that pokes right through to keep it a bit hoppy. The yeast is still a contender though, finishing out the aroma strong just as it started.

The flavor delivers on the yeast but only in a two dimensional way, giving off a sort of mineral water character. This is followed by citrus and roasted amber malts, eventually morphing into a short of chalky, powdery flavor. Overall it lacks punch and lasting enjoyment.

Feel is heavily carbonated, a touch dry, and ends pasty.

Overall the Christmas Ale isn't bad, but it isn't good either. I wouldn't revisit it again unless some friends were passing them out.

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Photo of alarmclock314
3.78/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, no date. Pours hazy amber with a large sized off-white head; some lacing. Smells of piney hops, ginger, clove, and caramel; medium intensity. The taste follows exactly with some mild dryness; below average intensity. Average carbonation and below average body. Overall, it's a solid Winter Warmer, but could use bolder flavors and more malt.

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Photo of JSigsbach
2.81/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Not coming back for this one. Only thing that makes this a Christmas offering is the label.

Appearance: Brown bottle; Direct pour Sam Adams tulip. Amber with orange/ pumpkin tones reminiscent of fall offerings.
Aroma: Very hoppy, very citrusy.
Mouthfeel: Full bodied but a little fizzy
Aftertaste: Citrusy, slightly hot/boozy with bitter finish; NO "caramel" or "chocolate" tones as advertised and not sure if this is label mind trick
Overall: Well made but nothing at all special as a holiday offering and a little disapointing from a fine brewery. Only thing remeniscent of a "good fire" is the hot imbalance.

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Photo of GreatStoutman
2.59/5  rDev -26%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Decent winter beer and I can appreciate them toning down the spices on this one, but I found it very bland. Thin body, light on smell and not much else going on. The alcohol is nicely hidden, but not a whole lot good to say about this.

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Photo of wattoclone
3.87/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Received a bottle of the 2015 version as a gift. Nice dark brown color with a small thick head. Not a huge aroma or taste, but pleasant and appropriate for the style. The malty richness is followed by a subtle pine finish perfect for the season. Not much fruit or spice, just a nice rich maltiness with hints of flavors. Certainly one of the better winter beers, just not exceptional.

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Christmas Ale from Breckenridge Brewery
3.5 out of 5 based on 1,081 ratings.
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