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 SupaCelt
2.77/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This creature of winter sports a rich amber colour that leans into the red. Head formation consists of a beige hued topper that quickly drops into spitty gobs. Bubbly on the real. Positive for lace. Inspiring. Then: BOOM HEADSHOT! the nose weilds a sharp solvent dagger that reminds me of urinal cakes. Pissy scents too. Strangely candy fruity and Jons to Go-ish. The flavour is ground up sugar plum bushes, fruitcake trees and solvent. Feels like artificial flavours. Little bit of Frankinsense, psych. Let her sit a bit...The nose never gets better. The taste, however, is quite an improvement. Dark fruits. Sugar. Pepper and anise. The finish is somewhat flowery like that of a heather beer. Bizarre in that unpredicatable winter warmer way. The mouthfeel is medium or there abouts. Somewhat slick and syrupy. Drinkability is troubling. You could probably buy one bottle and pour everyone in the family a thimble full at "Christmas Time" and it would most likely be enough or more than enough in some instances. This one was a bit of a challenge. For some reason, I'll try it again next holiday season.

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Photo of berserker256
2.78/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Decent looking dark ruby/brown color with dark head. Smells a bit hoppy with some sweet prune-like odor and maybe some spice. I'm not crazy about the flavor. It's bitter with some lingering unpleasant aftertaste... Like the bitterness of an orange peel. Good body and texture but not very drinkable. Pretty mediocre in my opinion.

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Photo of beveragecaptain
2.79/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle. Breckenridge Christmas Ale pours out a dark amber color with a medium sized head. The aroma is bready malt, almonds, pine, and cooked vegetables. Toasted malt flavor is nice up front, but it's quickly ruined by a cooked vegetable taste. The finish is metallic. Medium mouthfeel. This beer has some nice malty flavors, but there are also some nasty off-flavors. The result is a mediocre Winter Warmer.

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Photo of gtermi
2.81/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The beer pours a dark gold with a thicker head that quickly fades.

S: The beer at first smell very hoppy, but the more it sat, the more it smelled more like roast beef to me. Not very appealing.

T: This beer is very boring. It is pretty light tasting and all i pick up in a little hops and spice.

M: The beer is pretty smooth, but nothing special.

O: I am shocked that breckenridge would put their name on this beer. They make some amazing beers and this is by far the worst one from them.

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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 benito
2.81/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From the bottle, this poured a cola brown with medium head and lots of carbonation. The lacing and legs were good, hanging on throughout my sampling. The bouquet was uninteresting: soapy and an unpleasant hint of vomit. After agitation, I got a nice whiff of chocolate and carmel, also a hint of cinnamon.

The taste is a nice balance of malts and spice. The carmel dominates the body, and I noticed a bouquet of spices in the finish: cinnamon, vanilla, and cloves. There's little aftertaste.

Overall, I thought this was a nicely bodied and refreshing Winter Warmer that was spiced just right, but which was, otherwise rather non-descript. Worth trying if you come across it, though I won't buy a sixer this Holiday season.

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Photo of bastardface
2.81/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Breckenridge has pretty good selection in beers. I saw this Christmas Ale that just got into my beer store. There's nothing really Christmasy about. It's average at best as a beer but still relatively drinkable. It has a harsh taste to it and a little bitter flavor.

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Photo of TastyTaste
2.83/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours out to a nutty brown clear color, with a nice off-white head. Smelled lightly of alcohol light spiced scents. Alcohol was very present in the flavor, along with some thin cinammon and gingerbread flavors. Pretty sweet, but not one of the better winter warmers that I have had, kind of dissapointing. There are many better beers than this one trick pony.

 359 characters

Photo of Dizzy
2.85/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours brown with red highlight and a off white creamy head. Smells like malts (maybe some roasted malts) and a little bit of fruitiness. I'm tasting cloves, less malt then I expected and a little hop bitterness. There is some alcohol burn as well. I was expecting the spice flavors to be more prominant as well. The mouthfeel is thinner than I would expect for a winter warmer. This isn't bad, and is probably worth trying, but I am a little disappointed with this one. You'd be better off picking up Breckenridge's Oatmeal Stout.

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Photo of winomark
2.85/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a medium copper with a frothy light tan head that quickly fades.

Aroma: Sweet malt, slightly toasty. Some hops give some balance.

Taste: Good malt base, slightly smoky with a crisp finish. Hop bitterness shows up mid-palate.

Mouthfeel: Flavorful, but crisp and refreshing. Malt and hops balance nicely.

Drinkability: Easy-drinking, but lacking in character. Worth a try, but no need to work too hard to find.

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2.85/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - 1/4" off-white head that is gone quick. Light brown caramel color. No lace. Looks timid.

S - Sweet, fruity malt. Clean hop aroma in the rear.

T - Some earthiness. Caramel as it warms up. Some bitterness at the end. Some fruit.

M - Thin mouthfeel. Short finish. Decent carbonation.

D - Just OK. Not much there overall.

 333 characters

Photo of northaustin
2.85/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured into a schnifter. pours a deep dark red with a half finger of pretty uneven white head which disappears very quickly and leaves no lacing.

smell is very subtle and at best subdued. very little malt presence, no hops or fruit, no alchohol.

taste is a bit stronger and has a nice malt bill that reminds me of a light scottish ale. still very slight though.

mouthfeel: not really anything to comment on. i would like a syrupy feeling as provided by other winter warmers but i wont complain.

drinkability: its good and has a nicely masked abv but there is nothing really special or amazing about this beer.

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Photo of Schmittymack
2.86/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2008 vintage in swingtop bottle, poured a dark brown with very little head into the trusty old pint shaker glass. Aroma was sweet malt with a hint of spices. Taste was malty goodness with some spices, finish was very odd: kind of sour or spices gone bad? Normally this is one of my favorite Christmas brews; I don't believe I'll age one this long again. Decent but definitely off.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.88/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served on-draught into a conical pint glass at Breckenridge barbecue in high altitude Denver, Colorado. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a one finger head of fair cream, good thickness, and good retention. Colour is an amber-copper.

Sm: Nothing. Could be because me nose is broken. All apologies, lads.

T: Amber hops, light toasted malt, light caramel, and cream. Very timid; the flavours hardly come through at all. Balanced but quite muted.

Mf: Smooth and wet. A touch sharp. Complementary of the flavours of the body. A bit too thick.

Dr: Drinkable, but unremarkable and a bit boring due to its muted nature.

12/19/16: brief 2nd impressions.

Malty and spicy, hitting wintry notes of artificial chestnut and faux-unrefined sugar. Amber malts, caramel, cream.

Balance is off. Depth of flavour is poor. Pretty mediocre fare across the board.


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Photo of grayburn
2.88/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer pours a dark brown with a tiny head of little bubbles.
The smell is very sweet, with a bit of hoppiness and maybe some cinnamon in there somewhere.
The taste is not well blended, there are some hops, some sweet malt, and some spices, they struggle for the spotlight, just not very well melded together.
The mouthfeel is light and oily, there isn't much bitterness and it is a bit cloying.
The drinkability is low not because of the abv but because this beer just doesn't come together, the flavors act like they are arguing.

 534 characters

Photo of zimm421
2.91/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint glass. Appears a dark brown with amber hints. Has a decent tan head that is pretty thick and leaves nice lacing.

Nose is very malty. Some caramel, spiciness and just overall sweetness. Taste is again sweet, but has more balance than the nose. Some hops, but not much and again the spices and caramel malts. Not overly impressed here, pretty boring.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a slightly above average carbonation. Overall, a decent brew, but nothing to be amazed over.

 524 characters

Photo of mpahnke
2.91/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I was a bit disappointed by this beer. While it did have a decent malt characteristic, the beer was quite bland. In my opinion, a winter beer should have a bit more spice than what was here.

Another reviewer mentioned that it was too hoppy...I must disagree. While this style shouldn't be hoppy...i felt it didn't have enough. However, I may be a bit biased, as I really prefer the hops.

 388 characters

Photo of Crosling
2.92/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served with a reddish brown color and a dense white head. Nice lacing and head retention throughout the session. Caramel, chocolate, rich malts and some off-scents in the aroma. Pretty poor flavor. Some off flavors on-tap compared to the bottled version. Nonetheless, there is some chocolate and caramel on the palate. Pretty full bodied with a nice bitter finish. But the off flavors were too much to bare.

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Photo of goblue3509
2.94/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep brownish red color which is a ruby red color when its held to the light. There is only a slight skim head which gives way to skim around the edges. The head leaves some strings of lace on the glass. The aroma is a little faint, there are hints of caramel malts along with cinnomom and clove as well as some other spiciness. The taste follows close suit to the nose. The taste is a little faint not as full as I had hoped for. There is a caramel malt backbone with a hint of sweetness to it. There is also touches of cinnomon and clove along with a very slight hop bite in the back end. The hope bite is balanced and not over the top. The mouthfeel is well carbonated and a little stingy. Overall it as an okay beer, I wanted a bigger fuller flavor out of it. It a very easy drink. The abv is dangerously well hidden.

 829 characters

Photo of psuKinger
2.96/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle poured into my Sam Adam's Perfect Pint glass. The artwork on the label is full of Christmas Cheer. Let's hope the liquid hidden behind it is as well.

A: Pours a dark ruby red/light brown shade, with an almost-white head on top, about a fingers worth, that foamed up nicely and formed big "pancake batter" bubbles off to the right side.

S: Lots of malt in the nose. Caramel more than toffee. A touch bready, maybe a hint of grass. Also perhaps the slightest hint of spice (nutmeg?). Will confirm on the taste.

T: Holiday spices shine through almost immediately, much more so than in the nose. Underneath is a strong caramel backbone. Hops aren't readily apparent on the first sip, but over time they accumulate in the back of the tongue on the finish. Not a particularly bright, citrusy hop; more of an earthy, pine bitterness.

This beer runs a little sweet, and the caramel is unbalanced for my liking. It is, however, not as far off-balance as some that rely so heavily on caramel malts... the spices and the way the hops accumulate help to maintain some semblance of balance.

M: Thick, full, and sticky. Lots of tongue coating. Carbonation is present, but I'd like to see a bit more, personally.

D/O: Not a bad offering from Breckenridge, but I'm just admittedly not a huge fan of all that Caramel malts. The hops and spices gave it a little mileage for me, but in the end it just feels like I'm being bludgeoned by syrupy/bready caramel sweetness, and I'm just not digging it.

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Photo of hotstuff
2.97/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Hmm.Christmas in September.When poured into my glass, this beer had a very small sized tan head with fine-small sized bubbles that fully diminished.The body was carbonated and clear with a reddish-brown hue.The nose consisted of malt, caramel? and alcohol.The flavor was that of caramel, slightly sour and tart with a lingering aftertaste.It had a smooth mouthfeel, watery, dry finish and medium bodied.There was good lacing with this beer.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
2.97/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance isn't great, the head dissapears after 15 minutes and has a tiny lacing.

Smell is nice, spicy with cloves and a slight coffee flavor and a little scent of some dark fruit, like grapes.

Taste is very clovey with a bitter coffee undertone.

Mouthfeel is ok, but very watery.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
2.97/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into the perfect pint.

4.5 A: Clear orange amber color. Two fingers of beige, fairly dense creamy head. Retention is decent and a good robust ring of lacing is left.

2.5 S: The nose is simple and weak. Faint caramel notes with equally weak cinnamon and tumeric. Not bad, just uneventful for the senses.

3.0 T: Again, not a whole lot going on here. The taste is much more intense than the nose, but still far less than I'd like. To be fair, there is a nice caramel component, but there isn't really anything else aside from a touch of cinnamon.

3.0 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Not as creamy as I'd like.

3.0 D: To summarize: Not much going on, but nothing bad.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
2.98/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours ruby brown with an off-white head that lingers around the outer rim of the beer. The aroma is malty, alcoholic, and deep dark fruit. The flavor is plum with chocolate and the finish is dry and bitter and lasts for a very long time after consumption, to the point of being unpleasant. The body is thin. The beer also has some astringency.

12 ounce bottle, old style label with no date markings on the side.

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Photo of WJVII
3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass this brew is a deep dirty brown color with a slight off white head that faded quickly. The smell of this brew is of some light malts, sweetness with cinnamon and some mild clove. The taste is modest. There is some light roasted malt taste, some faint stailness to it (might be left from a 2007 batch). The finish was a little more alcohol than I would want. Ok brew, but nothing special.

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