Christmas Ale 2008 | Abita Brewing Co.

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Christmas Ale 2008Christmas Ale 2008
47 Ratings
Christmas Ale 2008Christmas Ale 2008

Brewed by:
Abita Brewing Co.
Louisiana, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Officially an "American Nut Brown Ale."

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 47 |  Reviews: 43
Reviews by jeremyd365:
Photo of jeremyd365
4/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer appears a red amber with low to medium carbonation. It's got a solid, thick, white head. It smells delightful- like christmas! (Spicy with some hops). Medium-bodied and slightly bitter in the mouth with a spicy-ish creamy flavor, not too strong, but distinct. Slight aftertaste of the spice. Definitely a drinkable beer. As far as xmas ales go, this wasn't overly flavorful but was pretty good. Something everyone could drink. Ok, not the kids.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of mrquartetman
2.41/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Taste memory is unreliable, I know. But still . . .Back sometime in the early to mid-'90s - it was, I think, 1995 - I really got interested in Holiday/Winter beers. One of the first, and, as I remember it, best Christmas ales I had then was Abita's Christmas Ale. I got to enjoy it only for a couple of years, since Abita disappeared from the Illinois market not long after that and didn't come back for a long time.

What I remember was a truly dense and malty Christmas ale that had a spicy flavor, a worthy competitor to the great Anchor Our Special Ale.

Now it is 2008. I did have the Abita last year and wasn't impressed. In fact, I was disappointed, partly because of that lingering taste memory. But Abita says it changes its Christmas ale each year, so I had hopes that it would be better this year. It's not.

It pours with an amber color and a minimal, quickly disappearing head. It nose iis also minimal, with hints of hop hiding in a somewhat malty accent.

I expect a winter warmers to have at least some density to it Otherwise, it's just another summer ale. This thin brew lacks body and describable mouthfeel. It has some malt flavor and some residual hop, but has no persistence on the palate and disappears in the follow.

I know that these guys can do better than this and wonder why they didn't.

I think I'll keep my old taste memory.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
2.9/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Well I really dug the Restoration pale ale this one doesn't hold a flame to that, I can't even nail what style they are going for here. Does pour nicely with a bright clear ruby body and an off white khaki head forming thick but dwindling rather quickly, mild uneven scant lacing forms around the sides of my glass. Aromatics offer mild pine tones I can't decipher whether it's a hop nose or young spruce tips. Malt sweetness does offer some Christmas spiced nutty bread dough combo, but it's faint compared to that initial pine tones. Flavors do get better as they warm the pine becomes more subtle some tree bark and nuty with a lingering bitterness lacquered in Christmas spices nutmeg with an air of cinnamon. Mouthfeel is medium to lighter bodied at times a bit watery like many of the Abita offerings but it works. No homerun for me here this is a mediocre ale for the season especially when comparing it to the rest of the competition out there. I'm moving on to the Great Lakes Christmas Ale after this one, I'm sure I'll have better luck.

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Photo of glid02
3.46/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this bad boy from ShrLSU, for that I am much obliged. I'm fairly confident it's the 2008 as it certainly doesn't look like an amber, nor does it taste much like one, also the bottle has a 20 and two 08's down at the bottom.

Pours a light copper color with a one-finger white head. The head dissipates into a patchy layer of bubbles on top and a medium-sized ring around the glass. Lacing is decent.

Smells of buttery caramel malts, maybe diacetyl. There's also a very slight amount of spice in there.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Buttery caramel/diacetyl taste up front with some deep spices coming out as the beer warms. There's a touch of bitterness at the end, and the spices stick around after the sip is done.

Mouthfeel is good. Good thickness and carbonation.

Drinkability is good. No problem finishing one, but I'm not sure about another.

Overall this was an interesting beer and thanks to ShrLSU again for sending this to me. The diacetyl is a bit overpowering in the smell, but it is a bit milder in the flavors and the spices go a long way towards making this beer better. Give this one a shot.

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Photo of slk22
3.43/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a honey/amber color, a slight cloudiness, with a cream colored head that stays for a while. Aroma is light to medium with notes of cookie dough, malt, and yeast. Taste is quite mild and follows the nose. Mild cookie dough flavor and caramel malt. Body is light-medium with medium carbonation. This is a very easy beer to drink. Somewhat mild, but pleasant.

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Photo of philipquarles
3.09/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The 2008 version pours a clear copper with a rather large off-white head. Nice retention and lacing.

Biscuity malt on the nose, along with mild piney hops and some buttery notes (diacetyl?) as well. The taste is similar, with sweet malts up front, followed by a fair amount of hop bitterness.

Not a great beer, but not bad by any means. It's oddly reminiscent of a cross between the Jockamo IPA and the Restoration Pale Ale.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured a clear, burnt coppery-orange with a nice frothy cream colored head that left a nice sticky residual band lacing. Visible carbonation was soft and almost non-detect. Retention was strong, lasting for several minutes in the center while it clung and maintained nicely around the rim.

S: soft dried caramel with a hint of maltiness. After several minutes and attempts I failed to detect much else beyond this. Lacking was the Christmas spices, was rather mundane.

T: started out thin, a near watered down maltiness with only slight hints of dry munich malting. Theres a pretty decent flowery hoppiness that was pretty much the saving grace here. Some dry, whole cinnamon sticks, dried apples and an alcohol warming closes things out here. Have mixed feelings about this, it starts out thin and watery but progresses to a warm and dry flowery hoppiness that pretty much saved this from bombing.

M: light in consistency, with a warming alcohol and hints of spices.

D: At the end of the day hard to justify anything more then an average rating here. Drinkability as well was average as was with most aspects of this beer. A single purchase at best and only recommend for fans of the brewery.

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Photo of theghost3
2.86/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The 2008 Abita Christmas Ales pours a dark copper with a medium light beige head. There's not much to the aroma--just a faint hint of malt and coriander orange.

The taste is just a little malty, no hops, some peppery spices. Mouthfeel is light, some spicy heat yet sticky; an odd combination. There's also a sort of stale quality.

Overall, not one of the more drinkable Abita beers, and definitely not one of their better Christmas Ales. There are just too many other Christbas brews out there to bother with this 2008 version.

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Photo of Gouxman
3.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A light to medium-bodied ale with a reddish copper color and aromas of caramel malts and a touch of citrus hops. A slight hop bitterness is balanced with flavors of toasted and caramel malt. The recipe for this ale changes every year. This year their Christmas ale drinks like either a hoppy red ale or a mild pale ale (IMO).

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.56/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light brown color with a frothy fine-bubbled light tan head. Good retention and lacing.

Sweet caramel malts dominate the nose almost to the point of being one-dimensional. A smattering of floral hops and light berry fruitiness keeps things just interesting enough.

A bit more of a balanced flavor, with toasty malts still reigning supreme. Has some holiday spice notes, but is pretty light bodied and thin. Hard to compare to past vintages since the recipe changes, but this one is a pretty tasty beer, just not very wintery. More of a thirst quenching session beer. A good brew, just not what I look for in a Christmas brew.

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Photo of Murchmac
3.15/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark amber hue. Little bubbles of carbonation make their way to the surface with little lacing that spreads thin around the sides of the glass.

Bubble Gum malty smell with some earthy hops and caramel combine to make this a olfactory experience pleasurable.

Not a bad taste, not a good, some spiciness but way too thin. Whatever flavor of sweetness and hops builds up loses steam as soon as you swallow the swill.

Thin bubbly taste. This beer is like a candy cane. You're excited to eat if but when you do you realize you cant bite into it and it falls apart easily.

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Photo of Raymond69
3.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light red. Decent head , some lacing.

Aroma of faint sweet malts.

Sweet malt and slight hop addition are kinda tasty. Somewhat dry finish.

Decent carbonation , thin mouthfeel.

Overall an easy drinking beer. I'm not sure how it falls into Christmas Ale , but I won't mind drinking them.

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Photo of LordFinley
2.79/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Appearance: Pours a dark coffee color with a beige head, opaque in a clear pint glass.

Smell: Warm cinnimmon spice smell overwhelms the nostrils.

Mouthfeel: Average dark beer texture, somewhat thick.

Taste: Initial taste is toffee with a spicy aftertaste.

Drinkability: Hard to put down more than one of these without wanting to eat some gingerbread or peacan pie.

Overall: This was my first christmas ale and it was delicious but a taste that can only be aquired in the winter months. Abita consistently surpises me with every brew I try.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.22/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I like that Abita changes thier Xmas recipe every year.

Pours transparent brown with a small head that never quite goes away. Scant lace.

The smell is one of the best parts of this beer, I just wish it was stronger. Smells of pears, nutmeg and brown sugar.

Tastes like pears and nut brown sweetness up front with a hoppy fruitcake swallow. Medium body and light carbonation. Easy drinking.

Christmas 08 is somewhat of a brown ale, winter warmer combination. Here's to trying something different.

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Photo of TheDeuce
3.47/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Abita Christmas....

Appearance-pours a dark black/brown, heavy head with thick lace.

Smell-heavy aroma, alcohol and malt and a lot of sugar sweetness.

Taste/Mouthfeel-well balanced malt and sweetness with hop flavor on the back end, smooth throughout with spice at the end.

Drinkability-enjoyable, balanced.

Overall-I enjoyed this Christmas Ale from Abita, fine beer.

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Photo of Clydesdale
3.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a somewhat hazy brownish orange color with a medium sized, frothy off-white head with decent retention and lacing.

S: Some definite caramel and toffee notes, perhaps some hazelnut as well. On the sweet side, with vague hints of spice and leafy hops.

T: Toasted malt dominates without providing much flavor. Subdued caramel. Leafy hops accompany a rough grain huskiness. Some notes of spice, possibly cinnamon. Metallic flavors are also noticeable. Perhaps a hint of pears as I continue to drink.

M: Medium bodied with crisp carbonation. Definitely rather dry, with a lingering snap.

D: The flavor seems to be really stuck somewhere between a brown ale and a winter warmer - with mixed results. I like that the spicing isn't overdone, but the taste is characterized a bit too much by the metallic and grain husk flavors for me to rate it much higher. It almost tastes like a nondescript American macro mixed with a nice brown ale in some ways...

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Photo of kdmorse
3.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Love the choice of a pale for the Christmas beer. Not a huge fan of spiced beers, so this is perfect.

Not the best pale I've had, but solid drinking. Decent aroma, but needs a bit more hops. Hop flavor is lacking too, but balance is pretty close. Harsh bitterness lingers a bit. Malt is there, but not much to note.

Easy to drink. Different than other offerings from Abita and a unique pale. Wouldn't buy regularly, but once a year is a nice treat.

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Photo of robbyc1
2.16/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From the bottle, I didn't even know what kind of beer this is, that's why I'm downgrading it. Not a bad APA, but I would expect more. Whole point downgrade per score.

Decent head with a copper clear look.
Malt nose is all, no hops here.
Nice malt taste with a solid finish, not much hops.
OK mouthfeel, easy drinker, but this should not be called Christmas beer, I can buy these types anytime, anywhere.

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Photo of kels
3.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up in a single for a Christmas mix. I think it's cool that Abita chooses to change up their Christmas Ale as a "gift" to drinkers each year. No indication as to style on the bottle. Poured from bottle into an imperial pint.

Appearance: Lovely toasty, golden brown color. reminds me of chestnuts. Very low visible carbonation in the clear liquid. The lofty 2-3 finger light head fades to a 1/2 inch skim quickly leaving very light lacing behind.

Smell: The smell is surprisingly citrusy and bright for a Christmas Ale. It has some piney hops as well, and a creamy tone to the scent.

Taste/Mouthfeel: The taste is strongly grassy and piney in a wet, flat kind of mouthfeel. The bitterness isn't overly strong, and very little malt shines through to balance what's there. The aftertaste is bitter citrus - more like the rind than the flesh, but not in a bad way. It's not bad, but could be improved with a fuller body.

Drinkability: Pretty high - not too bitter to be ruled out as a session beer, but the taste doesn't leave me dying to come back for more.

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Photo of ruckus232
3.14/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

When initially poured it had a clear copper/amber color with a little head. Unfortunately the head disappeared quickly leaving nothing. The head aside this has a very nice color and appearance to it.

The smell is something that is very hard to pick up on at first. Eventually there is a slight hint of citrus, apple and some spice that I can't quite put my finger on.

The taste is a little surprising because the smell was so hard to pick up on. There is a bitterness at the beginning but it leaves quickly followed by an amber ale flavor.

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Photo of fatbatcat
3/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of GRPunk
3.25/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A- It poured with a clean amber-red body with some hints of pink near the bottom of the glass, 1 finger tan head that dropped to a thick lace that left some nice sticky spots on the glass, and medium-heavy carbonation.

S- The aroma was predominantly sweet malts that gave the impression of caramel and a light nuttiness.

T- Again there were sweet malts and a nutty flavor as suggested by the aroma.

M- It was pretty clean. The carbonation left a foamy feel in the mouth. There was little bite from either carbonation or hopping.

D- It's a pretty easy drinker, but it didn't do enough to really make me want to seek it out again.

Overall- I'd say it's pretty similar to the fall offering of the Pecan Harvest Ale. I'm not overly well-versed with Abita, but the last two beers I've tried from them seem very close to one another characteristically.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.53/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Listed as a Brown Ale, I think the beer falls somewhere between a Brown and an Amber, maybe more toward the Amber side of things.

The beer begins with a deep, well, amber hue with a hint of darker malts. Head formation and retention are fair, but do not bring a lot of acclaim.

Aromas of citrusy hops and firm caramel, toffee malts swirl into a nice balance where neither dominates. A yeasty spiciness gives some depth and complexity, but also compromises the clean hop scent.

Maltiness is rich, well attenuated, but ends up a little biscuity. Add the citrusy hops and spiciness and we have a well rounded beer. A light phenolic character and odd spiciness doesn't settle well.

Textures are moderate, creamy and smooth making it very palatable and drinkable.

Though it's a beer that's difficult to praise or criticize, last year's recipe was much, much better. Boy how I'll miss that one.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.5/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Coppery color-very clean and clear. Mild malty aroma-somewhat nutty. Malty and nutty flavor upfront. Decent level of bitterness. Just a hint against the malty backdrop. Somewhat "coppery" flavor-almost blood like. Ok enough mouthfeel Above average overall. On the cusp of being a very decent beer

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Photo of spycow
3/5  rDev -4.5%

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Christmas Ale 2008 from Abita Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.14 out of 5 with 47 ratings