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Christmas Ale | Breckenridge Brewery

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401 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: 401 | Ratings: 1,033
Photo of MNJR
4.09/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very good strong fall/winter ale. Not flavored or spiced as far as I can tell. Deep amber/brown color, very smooth and warm flavors. I enjoy this every year as an introduction to the massive onslaught of heavily spiced holiday beers. Makes the transition between Oktoberfest and spiced beers. Tastes like a light Dopplebock with some clean and refreshing spicy flavors without heavy spice additions which get predictable and boring after a while. A go-to favorite of mine this time of year.

 496 characters

Photo of pat61
4.08/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Breckenridge Christmas Ale pours brilliant garnet tinged chestnut under a thin, off-white foam cap that marks each drink with a thin line. Dried fruit on the nose accompanies dark sugar and cake aromas. Dark, rich cakey bread leads the palate with spice, figs and a suspicion of cherry sweetened with light molasses with an earthy hop presence in the background.

 363 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.08/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a translucent dark mahogany with a fine-bubbled beige head. Aroma is spicy - mainly cinnamon - and somewhat malty. Mouth-filling flavor is spicy, mostly cinnamon and cloves, with a fruity undertone and a hint of spicy hard candy. Texture is rough, lively and tingly.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
4.07/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Straight pour into a pint glass. The color is a very sexy and enticing caramel brown with copper tones. Two fingers of off-white head developed and dissipated slowly, leaving a nice Brussels lacing along the inside of the glass and a thick foamy cap.

Smell: There is an immediate scent of caramel malts, which I assume is the backbone of the beer. However, it is then overpowered by a strong aroma of pale ale/grapefruit citrus and winter spices. After that come roasted caramel and chocolate malts and some dark fruits, mostly cherry.

Taste: Spicy and hoppy, but not overpowering. The grapefruit citrus comes first, reminding me of pale ale. It is very subtle and allows the malt backbone to come through: caramel, chocolate, toffee, and perhaps a little coffee. The flavor is also lightly spiced to give it a slight festive kick, but I cannot pin down the exact spices. The cherry from the smell is also present, but is only a minor player.

Drinkability: A very good beer. I like how it was not excessively hoppy or spicy, but offered just enough bitterness and kick to keep it respectable. It is an excellent alternative to the "hop bombs" released for the winter holiday season.

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Photo of SawDog505
4.06/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a 13 oz tulip glass. Pours mahogany with a 3 inch sticky white head that leaves behind plenty of lace.

Smell is toffee, caramel, bread, hazelnut, and brown sugar.

Taste follows wonderfully toffee, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, and hazelnut.

Mouthfeel is a little bigger than medium, moderate carbonation, not dry, and very drinkable.

Overall this is a really solid winter warmer/brown ale.

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Photo of Winter
4.05/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark copper with a creamy khaki head. Aroma consists of sweet caramel malt with hints of citrus and piney hops. There's a hint of brown sugar also. Smooth medium-bodied mouthfeel. Flavors of caramel and chocolate malt are apparent upfront. Piney hop bitterness arrives midway and carries into the finish. Obviously, the 7.4% abv supports why it's listed as an American Style Strong Ale on Breckenridge's website, but the taste reminds me of a hearty amber in my opinion. I think some of that can be contributed to the addition of the black patent malt that's utilized also. It definitely adds a nice depth of flavor to the finish. I was pleasantly surprised by this one. A very nice Christmas Ale that's produced without the use of traditional holiday spices.

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Photo of PhillyB
4.04/5  rDev +15.8%
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.

 481 characters

Photo of Microbrewtaster
4.03/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Cigar City Snifter

A- This beer pours a dull brown in color with a white head that is small, maybe a half finger, and dissipates rather quickly. The lacing is also sub par as there is barely any to speak of.

S- There is a real heavy malt, with some spice notes, and a slight toffee, and booze smell.

T- There is some cinnamon, some roasted malts, and a very slight hint of booze, nothing near the 7.4% ABV that it says it is. there is also a caramelized sugar taste that makes for a terrific finish.

M- This is a medium bodied beer that has a good amount of carbonation. it is nice and crisp as the finish goes, not quite the way this style is meant to be but it works for me. U

O- While I did not expect much from this beer I enjoyed it more and more as time went on, while its taste is rather mild it is pleasant and while not considered a sessionable beer It is one i can see myself enjoying a couple of.

 930 characters

Photo of ujsplace
4.02/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

This is a deep brown colored ale with a bright white head that is foamy. The head fades and leaves a nice thin layer on top. Descent lacing.

Smells of roasted caramel, sweet malt, fig, nutmeg and allspice.

Has a really nice buttery malt middle with a hint of hops. Good, interesting flavor.

Creamy and smooth mouthfeel.

I enjoyed this brew. The spices are not too overdone, the brew goes down nice and easy. Thanks for the brew bro...

 467 characters

Photo of MattyG85
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tall pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep brownish amber with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of off white head that settles into a thin patch.

Smell: A toasty malt forward aroma with hints of biscuit and caramel. Toasted barley malt with hints of biscuit, grains, toasted bread, caramel, nuts, and yeast. Subtle hints of cinnamon and clove spicing. Sweet hints of brown sugar. Subtle fruit hints of apple, fig, and dates. Light earthy hop hints.

Taste: Like it smells, a toasty and nutty malt forward taste with notes of biscuit, caramel, and nuts. Toasted barley malt with notes of biscuit, grains, caramel, toast, nuts, and yeast. Light spice notes of clove and cinnamon. Sweet taste of brown sugar. Fruit undertones with notes of apple, fig, and dates. Subtle earthy hops in the background.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy and smooth with a drying finish.

Overall: A pretty decent take on a Winter Warmer. The winter spice is very subtle but there is a nice toasty caramel malt flavor.

 1,088 characters

Photo of dstc
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brown color with a ruby tint to it. Decent tan head falls to a minimal one. Decent lace.

Sweet malt aroma with mild spice.

Sweet spiced malt up front immediately followed by strong hop flavor. Hops seem to be the dominant flavor. Mild bitter finish.

Medium bodied in the mouth with a slight bite.

Decent easy drinking brew.

 338 characters

Photo of atr2605
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a deep red amber with an off white head with good retention
S-brown sugar, plums, and spice
T-Caramel, toasted malt, brown sugar, and a bit bready. Hops provide a nice balance but dont lend much to flavor
M-Medium bodied
O-Well balanced and very drinkable. Starts a little sweet but the varied malt profile keeps everything in check. Nice beer

 351 characters

Photo of rockdick
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was my first "winter brew" to try and was much different than I anticipated, in a good way though. Poured a dark, reddish-brown color with a head that lasted pretty long. Smelled and tasted of sweet caramel and chocolate malts. Very appealing to the palate.
This stuff is pretty strong too. 2 or 3 sitting around the Christmas tree will make you see reindeer or elves running around your living room. Good stuff, I'll be buying it again.

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Photo of granger10
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this at just above room temp. I think it was meant to be tried this way. Warmed up to room temp after a few sips.

Here's the review.

This winter seasonal from Breckenridge pours a deep mohagany color with brown around the sides. A smaller but tight light tan head sits atop. Moderate lacing.

Aroma of chestnuts and figs at first. There's also a strong earthy character in there.

Taste is dominant on caramel. The caramel is nice and warming. Some slight roasted malts underneath. A little bit of butteryness along with some earthiness the further I go. Some spicy hops come towards the finish along with pine and resin notes.

Mouthfeel is medium. Not the thickest winter warmer but not weak either. Carbonation is a little low but not flat. I actually like that the spice is weak. Nice changeup to get spicy flavors from the hops in a winter warmer rather than a pile of ginger and nutmeg and cinnamon just thrown in there.

This is a nice, rather easy to drink high abv beer. Nothing spectacular but I'd definitely get it again.

 1,058 characters

Photo of Dubblebock
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Straight across 4's for this year's version of the Breckenridge Christmas Ale. I picked up a bottle on my last trip through Grapevine Market in Austin, as I was putting together a holiday sampler.

The beer poured with a deep brown tone with a slight touch of red highlights. Good fluffy head and a decent, malty nose.

The taste was rich and bready, with a good hop presence. There was an almond presence backed up by a crackery backbone. I was through with the mug before I knew it.

Bold mouthfeel, very drinkable. A strong winter warmer, though, so be careful if downing more than one. A nicely rounded beer.

 619 characters

Photo of ckollias
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Pours a dark reddish-brown hue with a frothy, white, 2-finger head that last for a long time, leaves a 360 trail all the way down the glass, and ends in a solid persistent lace. It is odd to see such a white head on a darker beer.

S: Very spicy zesty aroma fills the nostrils. Hints of fruits and lemons are in the background.

T: Slightly sweet brew with a bitter punch. Good malt background and hoppy balance to finish.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation

O: Very tasty Christmas ale with good flavor and aroma. Would grab this again.

 600 characters

Photo of JamesS
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very nice deep copper, nearly brown color, without much head, but with some very good lacing. Great malty Christmas scent (nutmeg, cinnamon, and various spices) withoug going fruity and with a nice hop to almost even it out. Great taste, deep and fizzy with great spice flavors and a well balanced malt/hop combo, leaning towards the malt. It goes down very nicely, overall a really very excellent Christmas beer.

(On tap at Sonka's Irish Pub, Terre Haute, IN)

 469 characters

Photo of GJ40
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap at The Old Monk in Dallas, TX.

Brown but with quite a bit of light coming through and good clarity. A nice biscuity smell with some spices coming through. The flavor is a nice balanced mix of malts, hops and spices. They all come together very nicely. The consistency is moderate and the carbonation was set just right. The glass is left with well defined rings of lacing at the end.

I'm not normally into winter / holiday / spiced beers but I'm working on it this year. I enjoyed this one quite a bit.

 519 characters

Photo of Bizz88
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark amber with a fading fast one fingered tan head with a fair amount of lacing the entire glass. Aromas of cinnamon toffee, brown sugar and malts. On the palate a sweet copious amount of spice. Medium bodied with a fair amount of carbonation. Desent enough brew that is worthy of more than one tasting.

 318 characters

Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark red copper with good clarity and an impressive head that leaves strings of lacing.

S- Nutty bread, flowery hops, and sweet chocolate/caramel.

T- Smooth with a whiskey-like complexity. Sweet caramel and an herbal bitterness

M- Clean, but a bit watery with mediocre carbonation

D- I do like to drink this beer every now and then. I will most likely pick up a 6-pack or two every winter.

 396 characters

Photo of GallowsThief
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A – Cloudy ruby brown pour with one finger of white head that stayed around a bit and left a nice cover.

S – Hops with a touch of bitterness.

T – Like the nose it starts with lightly bittering hops. Nice malt character. Caramel sweetness. Toasty and piney. Warming alcohol effect at the end.

M - Medium to high carbonation and body. Creamy on the palate.

O – Nice solid brew here. Easy drinker and tasty all around.

 481 characters

Photo of dcscientist
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good winter seasonal. Had it on tap at the brewpub with some barbecue and was pretty darn happy. It's a little higher alcohol than some winter beers, but not so much that it knocks you out after one or two. Not as intensely flavored as some others of this style, and a bit subtle, but if that's what you like then give this a try.

 343 characters

Photo of hosehead83
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a twelve ounce bottle into a standard pint glass
Dark tea/caramel in color with a short, one-inch head of foam
Aroma-Spruce, spices and faint citrus
Taste-Spicy malt, spruce notes, subtle citrus-rind/hop finish
Overall, a nice ,drinkable holiday beer to have on hand

 278 characters

Photo of JeremyAnaya
3.99/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint, awesome deep amber/red color. Small half finger head

Smells like some roasty malts mixed with a sweet semi-citrusy note. Very appealing aroma.

A lot going on here. When it first hits the tongue it reminds me of a porter of some sort but that quickly fades into a sweeter lighter taste and feel. Almost a hint of orange/raspberry? whatever this sweet note is, it isn't overpowering, very nice balance.

Great carbonation, medium bodies, smooth and drinkable

Great beer for sitting on the couch and watching the snow fall with friends and family. I will be going back for the mini keg they have available for this brew. Another success for Breckenridge!

Find it, Drink it, Love it

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Photo of jasonjlewis
3.98/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a 2 finger head that keeps retention to the end of the glass.

Smell is of orange peel and cinammon and nutmeg.

Taste is of of some toasted caramel malts with some nice spicig such as orange peel and nutmeg. I think I taste a little cinammon. Slight chocolatey maltiness as well. Hop bitterness is very slight.

Mouthfeel is decent, but is a little dry. Very full. Not a 3.5 really, but if i have to take points off, I'll do it here.

Not a bad beer. A very solid offering from breckenridge that I would session any time. Nothing over the top, a very sessionable beer indeed.

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Christmas Ale from Breckenridge Brewery
3.49 out of 5 based on 1,033 ratings.
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