Christmas Ale | Breckenridge Brewery

417 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: 417 | Ratings: 1,080
Photo of Ryanm1
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pouring beer into a glass is overrated, so I won't comment on the color on this pass. It tastes more vanillay than most other winter warmers. It's as if Breck just tweak their Vanilla porter recipe to get this brew. It does stack up higher than the average beer in regards to abv but the elevated alcohol content is not discernible in the taste. Malt caramel flavors up front.

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Photo of MattyG85
4/5  rDev +14.3%
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.

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Photo of MarkQ617
3.47/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Had this poured into my mug. Decent amount of off-white head, average lacing, average carbonation. Notes of hazelnut and molasses, but nothing too strong. The color is a medium brown, very inviting. Frankly would have just liked more flavor.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.37/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

The Breckenridge Xmas ale is ok....the beer poured ruby amber with thin slightly offwhite head that is leaving a spotty lace. The scent carries slight lactose and some spices. The taste is bitter thou the draw and a funky after taste. The body is medium with decent carbonation. Overall....its ok...

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Photo of Chaz
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear brown-amber in color, topped with a tan head. Nice looking beer overall.

Nose is fairly neutral and malty, but with a hint of spicy hops, and a little bit of warming alcohol.

"Apple" is my first impression. It tastes like a ripe apple dipped in a spicy, boozy caramel sauce. Hop use is -by today's standards- minimal, but appropriate or the style, and this beer straddles the lines (which often blur between winter warmer / Old Ale / traditional British barley wine) very adeptly.

It's been a while since I've had this (ten years already?), but this one is as good for the style as I remember it being.

Body and mouthfeel are both very good. It's not too thin, it's not too boozy-hot, it is easily-drinkable, and is probably dangerously-drinkable at this strength. So it's a very good sipper

Definitely worth re-visiting.

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Photo of microbrewlover
3.25/5  rDev -7.1%

This brew pours a brown color with red highlights when held up to the light. There is a small off white head which does not last long with moderate lacing.

The smell is mostly sweet malts along with some nuts and floral hops.

The taste follows the nose with a rich sweet malt body, followed by a nutty taste then a cherry taste. There is a nice hop finish, slightly spicy hops. Just a hint of alcohol leaks through. The mouthfeel is thick and bready.

Overall this is a decent winter warmer; it is worth a try.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%

Has a kind of wintery feeling to it, good for those family gatherings you really hate. But - it isn't so high in alcohol that you'll be stumbling around, tripping over a string of christmas lights, embarrassing your wife and validating the dislike the inlaws have always had for you. Plus the label is nice and festive! It's a must-have for late november and all of december.

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Photo of y0tommyb
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%

I got a 6 pack of this for 7.99 what a steal!!

A: Brown but still slightly see through nice lacing and a thin head
S: Malt, slight spices, brown sugar
T: Smooth malts, spices, brown sugar, high% alcohol but still is easy to drink
M: Smooth not too heavy not too light with a good amount of carbonation
O: Very solid Christmas Ale especially for the price, definitely give this a try if you appreciate Breckenridge's other offerings such as Vanilla Porter.

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Photo of grammodesguapote
3.02/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

From bottle, no date. Pours a dark, though very clear, copper with a white head. Aroma is very mild, some raisin-like aromas, rich malt. Taste is all malt, not picking up much in the way of Christmas spices, mostly a rich roasted caramel malt backbone balanced well with mild bitterness. Mouthfeel is rich and slightly sticky. I wish it was colder outside, maybe I would have enjoyed this more in New Hampshire, but in Texas, I am less impressed.

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Photo of nicholas2121
4.38/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Christmas Ale brewed by Breckenridge Brewery with an ABV of 7.40% This brew pours out a nice brown color with a nice light brown head. Christmas Ale has the loo of most Ales on market, no saying that is a bad thing. The smell is rich with flavors and grains. You also pick up on some spices and sweetness in the smell of this ale. Christmas Ale is a really inviting brew. The taste is bold with flavor you pick up on the grains and malts in this brew. Then there is a nice smooth spicy aftertaste. This brew has a real nice balance to it, there is nothing overpowering about this brew. The aftertaste is nice with a burnt caramel taste, with a hit of spice. You don't notice the high ABV in this brew, it is just that smooth. The mouthfeel of Christmas Ale is rich , smooth, and filling. Christmas Ale is smooth but bold tasting brew. This was better than what I was expecting. I would buy this brew again. Breckenridge Brewery, did a nice job with this ale. Over all I'm giving this Christmas Ale a 4.25 out of 5.

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Photo of Caveworm
4.25/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Christmas Ale - Breckenridge Brewery. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, this brew's got a one 1/2 finger thick light tan mildly porous head, secular yet solid lacing, and rather dark clear amber body. A "nice&toasty" appearance,if you will.

The aroma here is pretty strong with "winter spice". I can't personally place my fingers on what exactly they are, but they compliment the higher abv of this brew.

The taste is pretty identical for the most part. I can also detect a singed caramel attribute, too.

Mouthfeel is slightly thicker and has got a bold alcohol note. Got a snow shovel?hahahaha

Overall a 4.25 for Christmas Ale - Breckenridge Brewery. I copped a case of this this the day my local grocer that's got a decent craft selection got it shipped in, so I'm glad I got a fairly decently fresh six pack. I will probably buy this brew again.

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Photo of dcscientist
4/5  rDev +14.3%
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.

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Photo of metter98
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is relatively clear yellow, brown, and amber in color and has a faint amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that faded away, leaving only a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas of nutty malts and holiday spices are present in the nose—allspice seems to stand out in particular.
T: The taste seems to follow the smell, except that there are additional hints of caramel and a slight amount of of bitterness. Hints of sweetness and toffee become noticeable once the beer warms up.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer isn't that difficult to drink and has subtle hints of Christmas spices. I wish that the spices could have been stronger, but this might not be a bad choice for people that want subtle hints of spices and not something that is overpowering.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of nbaradel443
4.8/5  rDev +37.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Seasonal beers are definitely not my thing but if anything out beats the crown vally imperial pumpkin in the seasonal category it's this Christmas ale by Breckenridge it's absolutely amazing the taste is great very flavorful it has a nice color and it is a beer that you could drink at anytime I've even seen it come in mini kegs and that's bad ass around Christmas you would be insane to not pick this up if you see it

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Photo of Bierwolf
3.11/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours dark with one finger of light tan foam, not cloudy but not clear. A little carbonation.

Smell: Sweet, apple, floral, malt.

Taste: Light fruity taste with a little bit of malt in the background. Very little hop bitterness.

Mouth Feel: Smooth and medium bodied. Easy to drink.

Over All: An easy drinking beer but I was a bit disappointed as it was not what I expected for a winter warmer. The beer just did not give me a satisfying finish for the style. Not a bad beer but not what I expected.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.62/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep red-amber with a lovely pad of creamy foam. Lacing is thick and sheeting. Very appealing to look at.

Caramel/toffee, cereal English maltiness, a little wintry spice, and earthy tones. Simple, but uncompromised.

Hoppy notes of orange and earthiness mesh well with a sweeter caramel grain with cereal, toffee, and toast. Bitter, but unaggressive. Nice overseas flavor, not dissimilar to an ESB.

Drinks soft and wooly. Has a tiny bite of carb. Alcohol is somewhat noticeable.

Good, but not great. It's a standard, but pales in comparison to other Christmas solids.

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Photo of tronester
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish brown with a massive tan head. Aromas of vanilla, citrus and brown sugar. Taste begins with some vanilla, then some orange, then a big caramel malt finish. A tiny bit of bitterness in the aftertaste. Mouth feel is full. Overall an easy drinking winter warmer.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This poured a deep, auburn hue with a thick cap of dense foam. Quite striking in appearance.

The scent is a little lost on me but I do find some nice malt character. There is some barley, caramel, roasted grain and then a hop cone finish.

The flavor resembles more a pale ale on my palate as I get a lot of the barley malt coupled with a flowery hop. I get no spice, as I'd expect from a warmer but it seems to follow all the tasty qualities of a Pale Ale.

The feel is very full, smooth and hearty without being too airy with carbonation.

This is a quality Pale Ale, whether the description claims otherwise.

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Photo of JeremyAnaya
3.99/5  rDev +14%
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 Lucas1000
3.71/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice ruby color. Pretty clear. Head is ok, with a decent retention.

Smells a bit like spices and nuts. Nothing too overpowering.

Nice hearty taste. Like the spice and hops aftertaste.

Pretty smooth on the intake, nice medium body.

I wouldn't seek this out to drink on my own again, but a good beer to share with friends during holiday festivities.

Definitely a christmas gift for a buddy you're hoping to introduce to craft beer culture.

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Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, best before 1/20/2014. Pours fairly crystal clear orange copper color with a 1 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of raisin, plum, caramel, toast, toffee, brown bread, chocolate, light roast, pine, floral, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt and moderate hop notes; with good strength. Taste of raisin, plum, caramel, toast, toffee, chocolate, brown bread, light roast, floral, pine, grass, and herbal earthiness. Light amount earthy pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark fruit, caramel, toast, toffee, chocolate, brown bread, light roast, floral, and light pine on the finish for a good bit. Nice balance and robustness of malt and hop flavors; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a moderately creamy and lightly slick mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a nice winter warmer style. Good balance and robustness of malt and earthy/spicy hop flavors; and smooth to sip on. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Tilley4
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed this one last night after all the festivities were over... I enjoyed it...deep ruby appearance with a thick creamy head... loads of toasted malts and some fruits... I like that it isn't drowned in cinnamon and spices.... they are there but very subtle... very drinkable brew in my opinion... warm and inviting without being overbearing...

Not world class but very good... I could and probably will have this again closer to Christmas...

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Deep red color with orange hues. White head settles shortly. Thin, broken ring of lacing.

S: Caramel and toast. Fruitcake in a big way. Sweet and bready, berries, cherry, and raisin. Pinch of cocoa. Earthy hops lay in wafts of pine and dry herbs.

T: Grain, toast, pinch of cocoa. Fruit cake. Fruit juice tastes of berry and cherry. Warming herbal hop spice. Marmalade. Drying finish of grain, fruit, and spicy hops.

M: Medium body. Creamy. Aggressive hop oils. Touch of husky grain astringency too. Mild warming alcohol. Strong scrubbing carbonation.

O: This beer falls just a little shy of being really great. I really appreciate a holiday beer that doesn't load in the spices. Breckenridge Christmas does a great job of capturing the essence of the season without resorting to the token buckets full of nutmeg and cinnamon. I just would have liked a little more depth and complexity of malt flavors. As it is, this is still a great seasonal offering with above average drinkability.

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

Beer is a darkish brown that is clear with slightly tannishand creamy head that dissipates quickly. Smell is strongly that of malt. Strong gingerbread notes and bready smells. No citrus or hop notes. Taste is also malty with a hop finish. In addition to the bready malt, the taste also has a gingerbread note to it. The hop finish is a bit butter with a grapefruit note. Mouthfeel is smooth with hints of carbonation. Medium bodied but with a little texture to it. Overall, a decent beer.

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Photo of Brenden
3.66/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This malty, not-too-heavy-not-too-light winter brew is a sort of dark orange-red leaning darker, almost into brown. Building from a light, steady carbonation, a somewhat creamy tan head reaches somewhere just over half a finger. A foam ultimately remains, and it leaves some good stick to the glass.
This beer is spiced, a little bit sweet but leaning more the allspice direction, and at a good level that isn't overkill but isn't too subtle. They come out more in the nose than the flavor, which is unfortunate because it's such a key element in a beer like this. A light note of dark fruits play through underneath a decent complexity of smells and tastes. There's definitely a burnt toffee and sugar cookie thing going, with something of a raw dough element. There's certainly a hops presence, but it's a moderate sort of bitterness to break up the sweetness and the spice and add a little more depth. There's a little citrus to it, maybe, and a touch of pine. The backbone is solidly malty, not much roast but some toast to it, certainly. It's also got lots of caramel and toffee, and there's plenty to it as it's the base for everything to build on. It's not especially rich, but it's not a huge beer. It does lean on the higher side with regards to ABV, though the alcoholic warmth isn't harsh, and it serves its purpose as a warmer for the cold months.
There's a pretty creamy smoothness working well with just a little crispness in what's a nice, solid medium body. Hops coming out into the finish lend a little dryness to a sweeter end.

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Christmas Ale from Breckenridge Brewery
3.5 out of 5 based on 1,080 ratings.
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