Christmas Ale | Breckenridge Brewery

416 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: 416 | Ratings: 1,078
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.

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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
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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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Photo of BrownAleBollocks
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a rich, deep brown/mahogany color with a two finger off white head. Aroma is caramel, toffee, dark fruit, and a touch of earth and chocolate. Taste follows with a hint of chocolate at first, then caramel, toffee, a little bit of earthy spice and bready malt, although not as much dark fruit as the nose suggests. Mouthfeel is a little on the thin side for a winter warmer type beer, but not bad. Overall a nice winter beer that has the rich flavors for a cold evening, and the drinkability for a session.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.31/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Short Review. I've had this beer a few time and for some reason I thought it changes every year, so I bought this yeasts and it was just how I remember, it's pretty middle of the road with a generic malt flavor and some bitterness on the finish. Not bad and it's fairly drinkable, but it's not memorable and it doesn't keep me coming back for more.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.54/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a three-finger khaki head that fades quickly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Chrystal clear amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Very light caramel and malty nose and flavor is toasted malt, light spices. Slight drying finish. The 12oz bottle was a gift.

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Photo of SawDog505
4.06/5  rDev +16%
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 keithmurray
3.61/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - copper colored beer with off white head

Smell - caramel

Taste - caramel, toffee, date, nutmeg

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, medium carbonation, sweetness from the caramel notes, smooth and easy drinking

Overall - a pleasant surprise of a winter warmer, I think this is slightly better than something like Sam Adams Winter Lager. Would be easy to drink 3 or 4 of these in a setting. Worth a shot.

Price Point - $1.79/12 oz single

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.83/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A: opaque; medium brown in color with some ruby at the edges; 1 finger light tan head that receded to a thin collar; sheets of lace;

S: chocolate, caramel, spice cake;

T: chocolate for a brief moment, then caramel and spice cake from the middle through the finish; mild bitterness at the end;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation; dry finish;

O: I especially liked that the spices couldn't be tasted separately - they came through as a blend;

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed from the 12 oz bottle in a pint glass via a friend from work---Thanks Justin

This Christmas ale pours a nice reddish mahogany brown with a nice head of off white foam that settles to a thin ring, thin layer, and nice lacing. Nose of spruce, spice cake, as well as caramel and brown sugars. Flavors follow the nose with strong spice caked cinnamon and medium amounts of brown sugars and cocoa hit on all sides followed by spruced hop notes and a moderately bitter spice and bittering hop note. Decent mouth feel, warming alcohol on the back, and a semi dry finish. Solid for the season.


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Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
3.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This was poured into a pint glass.
The appearance was a soft hazy yet somewhat transparent bronzed orange color with a one finger white colored head that dissipates at a nice pace. Lacing was there but mostly messy and all over the place.
The smell had some nutmeg, ginger, pine and allspice blended into some sweet caramel malt.
The taste takes those flavors to combine nicely then becomes dry with the pine in the aftertaste.
The mouthfeel was about a light to medium with the spices blending into the malts nicely so not to disrupt the balance of some stickiness that tries to stick to my tongue. Still, it feels good with spices and the bitterness even coming together nicely to be an enjoyable harshness.
Overall, this is one of the first American styled winter warmers that I ever had and still appreciate it today. I'd have again.

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Photo of MNJR
4.09/5  rDev +16.9%
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.

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Photo of lokicat444
3.96/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a huge foamy head, three fingers high; the beer's color is an attractive mahogany. The smell is pleasant, reminiscent of nondescript sweet malts and perhaps a hint of tartness. Upon first taste, my mouth is hit with a strong malt backbone. Seconds later, I detect a nuanced blend of spices, which reminds me of nutmeg, ginger, and pine. For a Christmas beer, the spices are well-done; they do not overwhelm the palate and relegate this beer to a mere holiday novelty. The mouthfeel is just right; slightly syrupy and pleasing.

Overall, this beer reminds me a light dopplebock with a slight spice twist. I very much enjoyed this beer and look forward to sampling more brews from Breckenridge (I just moved to the Littleton CO area).

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
2.75/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Pours a solid brown color with not much head. Aroma is sweet and syrupy with faint hints of caramel malts and a bready undertone. Roasted malts arise in the forefront of this beer's flavor. Sweet throughout. It has a funky afterfinish flavor that I cant quite figure out. Some kind of syrupy candy with a slight hop twist.

This is average at best.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.35/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy rings line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, earth, caramel, dark fruit, and slight spice aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, dark fruit, earth, spice, and slight char flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of toast and earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer that is drinkable, but the aromas on this one are slightly better to me.

Serving type: bottle.

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Christmas Ale from Breckenridge Brewery
3.5 out of 5 based on 1,078 ratings.
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