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Christmas Ale | Breckenridge Brewery

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404 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: 404 | Ratings: 1,047
Photo of ksimons
3.68/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-a clear chestnut with a thin layer of cream head that sticks to the glass

S-malt, caramel, raisins, but not getting much spicy aromas

T-a little on the weak side, malt, caramel, and a very small amount of hop bitterness

M-mouthfeel is actually pretty decent, medium body, light carbonation

Overall it is hard to believe this is a Christmas ale, the spice profile is basically non existent. Nice maltiness though.

 418 characters

Photo of XenonX
1.6/5  rDev -54.2%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Appearance is very nice, caramel in color. Looks to be a nice heavy ale. Very citrus hoppy smell. Taste, Lemon pledge mixed with hairspray...almost synthetic . Mouthfeel is full however and actually a little pleasant! Overall however, I really tried to get through the entire bottle. Alas, I had to cast the last third to the polluted depths of the lake that caught on fire to be with its kind. I am not a fan.

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Photo of oberon
3.68/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear rich tawny color with a half finger creamy off white head atop,nice broken lace left behind as it settles slowly.Dark fruit leafy somewhat spicy hops in the nose,a little cakiness in the background as well.Decent flavors but they lack depth,a decent leafy hoppiness goes pretty well with mild caramel and dark fruit sweetness,drying in the finish.The problem is the flavors all end abruptly,it's close to being really damn good,it's still a pretty decent winter warmer as is.

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Photo of CFHMagnet
3.48/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A normal pour netted me about a finger of creamy head whose color was somewhere in between light yellow and light tan. This quickly dissipated but left a little froth and lacing over the copper body.

Smells of sweet malt, christmas spices including cinnamon and nutmeg and a faint whiff of alcohol at the end.

Sweet malt says a quick 'hi' to your tongue before being inundated with a peppery holiday spice mix. There is a faint banana flavor that mixes with the spice near the end, until a bit of alcohol takes that over. Dry, spicy finish.

 543 characters

Photo of Kendo
3.3/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Body is clear chestnut-brown with a small whitish head that's gone fast.

S: LIke a brown ale - sweet malt (toffee) and a touch of nuttiness.

T: Caramel malt, toffee, brown bread and spices - maybe some cinnamon, otherwise the spices fall in the "nondescript" or the "I can't quite make them out" categories. Slight metallic aftertaste does battle with the sweetness and spices for supremacy. Not loving the overall effect.

M: Light-to-medium in heft.

O: OK, far from great.

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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 TheManiacalOne
3.2/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Acquired via trade from MilwaukeeCrusher, so a big “Thank You” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains fruit, spices, caramelized malts and some hops.

T: The taste starts out with sweet flavors of caramel, spices, figs and dark fruit. Then a hearty malt character comes in along with background flavors of chocolate and smokiness. The hops presence is decent for the style and brings a little balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, decent kick, decent representation of style, there is some complexity to it but overall it’s just a mediocre beer.

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Photo of mountdew1
3.88/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a dark orange amber with a 1 finger bubbly white head. Head didn't last long at all. Aroma was of sour fruit, with a bit of alcohol if you got up close. A very small touch of sweetness. Taste was sweet to finish, but started off with very mild and well balanced. A hint of spice, but also traces of a chocolate. Interesting, but very mellow flavors. A bit under stated. Intensified the longer it sat. Felt good in the mouth, coated well with the right amount of carbonation. Not a bad winter warmer, just a bit more subtle than I normally expect.

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Photo of JohnnyMc
3.07/5  rDev -12%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

This is an extremely subtle beer compared to most Christmas Ales. There is a very big and distinctive malt taste with hints of spices.

The aroma also has a hint of spices and maybe slight chocolate. While not a bad beer, this is underwhelming compared to most Christmas Ales and seasonals out there.

The carbonation level is also too high for this style and there isn't much going on beyond the the malt backbone.

 416 characters

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.3/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a dark burnt orange/reddish hue body with a medium sized foamy beige head that has decent lasting power. Aroma of wet bread, some burnt caramel, and yeast. The flavor is basically malts with some notes of gingerbread, caramel, toast, and some light fruit rinds. I was disappointed as I expected more spices and maybe creaminess as well The body has a medium mothfeel and lighter carboantion but a sort of slimy feel as it coats your mouth. Wanted more out of this one after a long search for this one.

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Photo of Zachtheporter
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured from a 12 oz bottle.

A- Pours a Dark ruby with a thick white frothy head that lingers.

S- Smell reminded me right of the bat of an old ale. Fruity notes coalesce with hints of hops and barley. Smells somewhat like strawberries.

T- Tastes is malty and sweet. Very sweet, with a hint of hops near the end. You can taste the earthy barley notes. Hints of rhubarb and strawberries along with citrisy orange notes that hit you at the end. Strong carmaley malty overtones at the beginning.

M- Thick but clean. smooth on the tongue and mouth.

Overall a very good winter warmer very reminiscent of an Old Ale. Would definitely buy again.

 642 characters

Photo of hopfacebrew
3.18/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Note: This review was a re-post from my former account, jmkratt, which was hacked and I lost all my reviews...sorry for the redundancy.

Poured from bottle to Schooner glass.

A - Translucent Dark Red/Amber color. Half finger white head with very little retention of lacing.

S - Holiday spices are slightly present but I was not able to detect anything else.

T - Tastes starts with a pleasant blend of caramel malts mixed with spices that seem to be cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Continues through a sweet malty flavot with a hint of fruit.

M - Medium mouthfeel. Very little warmth and and after taste of spice. Seems to finish soapy.

D - Its drinkable but it will hit you with the higher alcohol.

Overall it was an average beer IMO. Nothing too outstanding to report though I am glad I tried it.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 01-15-2011 20:18:47

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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 yesyouam
3.4/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Breckenridge Christmas Ale is a very clear and sparkling ruby ale with a sand colored head that fades to a bubbly film and leaves very nice lacing on the glass. It has sort of a sweet malty aroma of caramel and chocolate. The hops seem a little spicy and there may be orange peel in there. It's pretty light bodied and smooth. The finish is quick, clean and dry. It doesn't taste sweet like it smells. It's almost a little salty. DMS is detected, along with a note of cherry or plum. It's reasonably bitter. The bitterness lingers for a while after the finish, along with a peppery rumble and maybe phenol. It tastes ok, but it's not very focused. It goes down pretty smooth, but it's a little strange tasting. Maybe I shouldn't be drinking Christmas ale in January.

 766 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.18/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | 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.

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Photo of McNealc31
3.71/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rather than focusing on spices, Breckenridge Christmas Ale instead reminds you of of warm, sweet carbs.

Loads of sweet caramel and toffee followed by freshly baked dark bread fill the nose. The lacing left behind is like a dusting of snow on a mahogany cabin. The citrusy hops do eventually kick in with a bigger jolt than expected. More chocolate and a little bit of smoke as it warms.

I like this take on the style. There is a hint of cinnamon, but this is decidedly a malt-forward winter warmer. A quite tasty one

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Photo of Immortale25
3.48/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Dogfish Head tapered pint. No freshness date.

A- Pours a reddish brown color with a 1/2 inch white head that has very lengthy retention. Some fluffy lacing and spread out bubbles as it slowly settles to an 1/8 inch of head.

S- Has a clean, malty nose with some toffee, brown sugar and a faint bit of nutmeg.

T- Flash of booze upfront that hesitantly mellows out and leads to roasted nutmeg and a touch of cinnamon. Can't get over the sharp astringency that's present after every sip. Even with a 7.4% ABV, this beer shouldn't taste that strong. After multiple sips, a mild sweetness comes through but isn't enough for the flavor profile to recover.

M- Ultimately, the mouthfeel is the biggest bummer of this beer. Just way too bright and prickly. I attest that to the medium-high carbonation, as winter warmers are usually more subdued in that department. It wouldn't be that big of a deal if the rest of the beer's characteristics weren't so flawed.

O- It's always disappointing when someone recommends a beer and you spend money on it but end up disliking it. C'est la vie.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.6/5  rDev +31.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a balloon glass.

Breckenridge Christmas Ale pours a deep murky mahogany color with a cream colored head. A patch of bubbles and thin film are what remain after the head recedes. A nice sheet of light sticky lacing clings to the glass. The aroma is Christmas in a glass to me- a combination of pine, cedar, and orange peel immediately awaken my nose. Also, faint roasted malts linger in the background. The taste profile also starts out with an earthy, woody cinnamon-cedar note. Bright orange peel follows, mixed with some malt sweetness. The finish is piny hops, completing a well-rounded excursion into my favored Christmas Ale year after year. There is a notable tartness in the aftertaste. On a side note, I dig the artwork on the bottle, it has a weird Dickensonian feel about it to me.

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Photo of DAllspaw
3.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on tap
deep auburn color, more like a brown ales. This is definitely a malt forward beer, with some baking spices, especially cinnamon, just a shade heavy on the cinnamon frankly, but nicely spiced. Also get a bit of piney hops.

A bit thinner than other winter/Christmas ales, but a good easy drinking beer.

 308 characters

Photo of StLThrash
3.95/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Very clear, deep mahogany / brown with a hint of red. Poured with a nice beige 1 1/2 finger head and left slight lacing. Very nice-looking and tempting brew.

S - The chocolate and caramel malts shine through, with hints of toasted bread and spices, which you would expect in a winter warmer. The spice is not overwhelming though.

T & M - Similar to the smell, a lot of up front caramel and chocolate hints, and finishes with the spice. A little thin mouthfeel, balanced well with carbonation. For over 7%, very drinkable.

Overall - A nice tasting winter seasonal. Not too overly spiced, and balanced well with the malt character. Give it a try.

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Photo of BigPlay1824
3.36/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed in a pint glass

A: Pours a deep amber color that is perfectly clear with a finger of foamy light tan head that is very fine in character, leaves a decent amount of lacing
S: smells nicely nutty and has a bit of a deep sweet note like molasses
T: has a taste that doesnt quite match up with the smell, more coffee malts, nice but deep
M: medium carbonation leaves the mouth with a sikly feeling
O: a pretty decent brew but definitly not one of my favorites, really has a taste that makes sense for the season but not so much on the smell, appearance is good

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Photo of biegaman
3.65/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

There's enough thick, cottony head to probably prevent a quarter from sinking to the bottom if it were dropped in. Now that's what you like to see in a beer! The body too is a nice sight: a deep tone but one that is clear and ripe with highlighting. Suitably, Christmas Ale is the colour of chestnuts... that were roasted on an open fire.

The aroma is underlined by a toasted and nutty-sweet maltiness and, just perhaps, the odd fruity ester. There's also a subtle and surprising citrus character that whistles notes of Moroccan tangerines. It is a wonderful compliment to the slight chocolaty character of the brown malt. Just a sliver of the 7.4% alcohol shows.

A winter warmer should be as malty as a filet mignon steak should be juicy. Breckenridge's offering contains enough toasty, nutty-sweet grain to be considered a tenderloin cut, but I'm not sure that I'd call it a true filet mignon. It's too thin and dry a cut; still good, but simply lacking the benefit of bacon-wrapped goodness.

For a malt-forward and relatively high alcohol beer, something keeps Christmas Ale considerably approachable and refreshing. Each sip concludes with a zestful, bright splash of orange-y citrus and an earthy, almost savory note of spicy, leafy hops. There's also little not to like about the beer's smooth caramel sweetness.

Breckenridge's Christmas Ale brought me plenty of good Christmas cheer. It is an ideal holiday ale as it has plenty of delicious malt and hop flavour yet is balanced and moderate enough so as to appeal to more mild drinkers as well. In other words, it's an excellent option for family or work get togethers; a real crowd (and beer geek) pleaser.

 1,672 characters

Photo of Treyliff
3.38/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark amber color with red accents, very small head but good lacing.

S- A bit of toasted bread, spices, with a little chocolaty kick. All very subtle though, nothing profound.

T- Bready and malty notes, also a spicy aspect that almost resembles pine needles. Fitting for a Christmas Ale I suppose. Also a bit of chocolate malt.

M- OK, but seems a little thin for me. Carbination was pretty good.

Overall a pretty good Winter Warmer, but that's about it. Nothing outstanding, but worth a try.

 498 characters

Photo of MTNboy
3.63/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It is amber colored with a red hue. It had a lot of great lacing but the head was mediocre.

Smell: Roasted malt but kind of plain.

Taste: It has a roasted porter charcoal like flavor, caramel and I would say most of the flavor comes from the malt. There are some hop tones but most of the bitterness comes from roasted hops. There are some spice flavors that finish sweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and smooth

Overall: Not bad it is an average holiday beer.

 472 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.2/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Nice dark amber color with decent carbonation. Dark roast malt with a touch of butter seems to be the main event. Some slight caramel flavors. Modest bitterness without much hop aroma. Very plain and tending towards dishwater. Faint nose of cold offee and charred paper.

I don't find much reasons to drink Breckenridge beers. You could call this one a Dark Pizza Parlor Lager and it might score better.

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Christmas Ale from Breckenridge Brewery
3.49 out of 5 based on 1,047 ratings.
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