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Christmas Ale 2011 | Abita Brewing Co.

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Christmas Ale 2011Christmas Ale 2011
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Abita Brewing Co.
Louisiana, United States
abita.com

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Christmas Ale (November - December) rounds out our calendar. Generally, this beer is a dark ale, however, the recipe changes each year, offering a unique product crafted with special care. Enjoy your holidays with Abita Christmas Ale.

Added by EgadBananas on 11-06-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
52
Ratings:
162
Avg:
3.21
pDev:
39.88%
 
 
Wants:
1
Gots:
14
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 52 | Ratings: 162
Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.04/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours a clear dark brown with a 1 inch foamy off-white head that settles to a thin film. Thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, garlic, and onions. A pretty horrific smell for a Christmas beer. Taste is exactly the same with the garlic and onion flavor being overpowering. A pretty assertive bitterness makes it that much worse. The beer has a pretty crisp and clean mouthfeel. Overall, this is a horrible beer. Based on other reviews I think that I may have purchased a bad bottle or something. This was a drainpour for me.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.09/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

wow so weird. never had one anything like this. pours more like a red than a brown ale (which i think this beer may be miscategorized on here...). small head, nice activation when the glass is jostled. not spicy like christmas ales can be, and not all boozed out either. smells malty and heavy like a good old world red ale, but the taste is much more than that. complex and smokey, almost like a scotch with peat smoked malts its very organic in nature. on flavor alone id tag it a scotch red ale, and while ive never heard of such a style, this christmas beer lays the groundwork for one... clever and different and one of the most dry finishing beers ive ever consumed. as soon as its coming alive in the mouth, its gone without a trace... same as the beer itself. damn that was great

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Photo of Knapp85
3.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a brownish red color, with a tan colored head on top. The smell of the beer has some light toasted notes with some spices mixed in there also. The taste of the beer was a little spicy but not anything too flavorful here. There was a slight flavor of Christmas berries in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel was pretty smooth with a dry finish. Overall this beer wasn't terrible but had room for improvement.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
2.48/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark, reddish brown, nice fluffy white head. Not much aroma to this one, maybe some faint nuttiness. Taste is light to medium bodied, not a great mouthfeel. Some roasted malt, not much for hops. A very, boring bland beer for me.. this one did not work well for me at all. Odd finish to it even, something about the taste just feels off and I've had 100 better christmas seasonals than this one, I would pass in the future.

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Photo of smcolw
2.35/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Clear, neutral brown color with a good starting head that leaves plenty of ring lace.

Interesting combination of earthiness, darker dry malts and mild hop. There is also an off smell that reminds me of beef soup.

Thin body with a moderate level of carbonation. The off aroma shows up in the taste. Beyond that, this is a hoppier brown ale. It Lands on the drinkable side but barely. Disappointing.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.27/5  rDev +33%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Today is my Christmas in July! I am emptying out my backlog of bottles and this just surfaced in the inventory. Cheers!

From the bottle: "Each year at the Abita Brewery we craft a special dark ale for the holiday season. Each year the recipe changes so that Abita Christmas Ale is always the perfect gift."

My pour achieved a finger of fizzing tawny head that quickly fizzed its way out of existence. Color was a deep reddish-amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose smelled minty, wintergreen with a hint of chocolate. I was put in mind of a Girl Scouts Thin Mint or a Peppermint Patty. Nice. Mouthfeel was medium and it really tasted like a liquid G. S. Thin Mint! Man, I was digging that. Finish was semi-dry and again, the Thin Mint comparison held up. Happy Christmas in July!

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.72/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep crimson amber ruby brown color in the body with a light beige head forming thick and dwindling down. Aroma is a bit skunky with earth and pine pretty christmas ale-ish though. Flavor has mild pine a bit of citrus and harsh flavors going on with a middle of the road caramel malt backbone it's the new Christmas tree beer. Definitely not one dimensional a bit earthy and spicy with Christmas flavors I'm actually enjoying this beer. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a session ale diving down for a Christmas beer from outside of NOLA. Actually a pretty solid offering what's up with this beer being so good and matching my palate during the holiday season, damn good.

 678 characters

Photo of smakawhat
3.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Christmas over.. but not for ME! Let's so how this plays out. Poured into a nonic pint glass.

A simple foamy three finger off white head produced, sits on a dark ruby and clear body. Head is a bit "potted" but seems to hold up well.

Nose is interesting. Sugar sweet mild nutmeg like spice, and a light brown sugar. Malt seems a little buried, but I am liking this sweetness angle.

Taste is an interesting mix. Not as sweet forward, but brings a very burnt grain. A little watery with not such a pleasant finish. Very burnt and wet finish and very fleeting.

Overall not that great, as the beer warms it starts loosing appeal to me and gets quite one dimensional. Feels like a very watered down brown ale, and missing the sweet notes that are on the nose which never seem to return.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.75/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours dark brown with hints of red at the bottom. A large tan head is at first compact but then turns more airy. Slow dissipation leaves decent lacings.

S: Roasted sweet but still dry dark malt. Faint butter. SOme chocolate and very mild coffee. Some vanilla and some fruityness.

T: Milder than I would have guessed after the smell; but better than the smell (yeah, I know - contradiction). Roasted dark malts, liqourice and coffee. Butter.

M: Quite nice and long aftertaste, bitter and bone dry. Body is medium to full while carbonation is medium.

O: Nice, but far from great. I lack some of the American hops...

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Photo of barczar
3.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber brown color with a half inch fairly solid egg white head that lingers, leaving a hint of lacing when it dissipates.

Heavy toffee and butterscotch aromas dominate, with toasted breadcrust, nuttiness, and a hint of roast malt and pine rounding out the profile. There's a bit of vanilla.

The flavor has an underlying pine character throughout, with heavily toasted malt, almost burnt, and toffee dominating mid palate and carrying into the slightly burnt, bitter finish. Tastes like a burnt pine tree might taste. Vanilla and a hint of ginger emerge as it warms.

Body is on the light side of moderate, with moderate carbonation and a slightly astringent finish. A touch of alcohol warmth is present.

I'm not a huge christmas beer fan, but this is at least not spice overload. I'd probably enjoy this a lot more sans the burnt malt character. Will revisit at christmas.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.56/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Just so you know my bottle looks different from the one pictured. It is red and white with some tree's on it

Picked up this single at my local place for $2.75

A - A very dark shade of brown but clear. Head is a nice full inch and is slightly opaque.

S - I do smell that weird vegetable smell others have described besides the splash of honey and caramel . Smells of almonds as well.

T- Thankfully the taste is more balanced and the vegetable taste isn't picked up, maybe slightly but I get a nice bit of hop presence, which is ok but I do like more malt forward. And a finish similar to "Turbo dog" with a bit of nutty goodness.

M - Light to medium but the hop bitterness is kind of cloying.

Overall I don't know what they could do to make it SMELL better but it was a pretty decent brew just a bit hoppy. It's so weird how it tastes good but smells like steamed brussel sprouts so if you get it I recommend holding your nose while you drink.

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Photo of tigg924
3.28/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: 1/2 inch head, high carbonation, red-brown in color, clear

Smell: toasted malt and cinnamon

Taste: wood, toasted malt, and citrus hops at the end

Mouthfeel: bitter with slight sweetness, moderate carbonation, medium bodied

Overall: This one is ok to just above ok. I have liked other Abita Christmas Ales better. This is kinda like a hoppy American brown. I could have a six of this, but it is not overly memorable.

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Photo of bark
2.68/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The colour is brown-red (30 EBC), the liquid is clear. The two finger head is yellowish and compact. It sinks very slowly leaving no lacing.

The smell is fruity and bitter. Some roasted nutty notes. Bitter oranges and biscuits. It is quite dense and sweet.

The taste is somewhat bitter and roasted with some spicy hints. It is surprisingly thin with some metallic flavours. Dry spicy bread-like notes. The aftertaste got some bitterness, some fried meats and frowsy hops.

The carbonation is mild, the small bubbles light. The liquid is a bit dry.

Thin with odd spicy hints. Not a very good beer.

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Photo of sweemzander
1.77/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12oz. bottle poured into a nonic.

(A)- Pours a burnt caramel brown color that produced a nice cap of tan froth. Decent retention.

(S)- A heavy earthy yeasty bit up front. A strong musk-like almost fruity clay; almost like licorice.

(T)- Similar to the smell. A dusty earthy musk-like metallic clay component. A very sharp spice/yeast on the finish.

(M)- A good carbonation level, but a very sharp/grainy/dry feel I do not quite care for. Finishes with lots of metallic-like bits.

(D)- Sorry, but this one is very disappointing, not to mention, a bit disjointed and near off-putting.

 587 characters

Photo of Darkmagus82
2.92/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into Sam Adams sensory glass

Appearance - Brownish with a bit of red hue. A off color white head formed upon pouring, which gave way quickly with no lacing.

Smell - Sweet smells of caramel and brown sugar up front. These are followed by nutmeg and possibly the slightest bit of cinnamon.

Taste - Not as sweet as would have expected. Much more burnt tasting with a bit of spiciness of nutmeg. There are slight sweet notes of brown sugar later on, but they pale in what would be expected from the smell.

Mouthfeel - Rather average. A little watery with a fair amount of carbonation.

Overall - Nothing to special. If looking for a winter warmer this is not the brew.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.45/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured into an oversized wine glass, because I can.

A: Pours a murky mahogany color body with a fleeting one-finger off-white colored head. Lacing is nice, but the glass put a kibosh on its retention (not like people give a crap about head retention, anyways).

S: Black pepper, coriander, nutmeg, and strong citrus notes - seemingly not from hops, but perhaps a bit of orange peel added to the brew? It's strange, but it somehow works.

T: Ack. This doesn't. Starts off with a one-two punch of black pepper and orange peel (not citrus hoppiness), without a solid malt base to hold it up. The finish is strangely ashy, where the malt backbone goes from nearly non-existent to intrusively burnt. It didn't completely offend my taste buds, it just left them wholly unimpressed.

M: Far too watery on the finish and thin bodied in my opinion. Strong carbonation helps a little bit, but not nearly enough.

O: Aesthetically, it's pretty nice. And I did get it down fairly easy. But, still, it's not a good beer. I give Abita credit for trying something different with their Christmas ale, but I'm thankful this won't be around for much longer.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.95/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Maybe Im just crazy, but I actually enjoy the Abita Christmas Ale every year. I find it to be better than the ratings deem it to be. I always buy at least two sixers of it each year.

12 oz bottle pours a mostly clear, dark crimson-brown color with a decent, light tan head. Very nice lace.

Nose is piney and citric with a moderate toffee malt background. This one seems hoppier than in years past [yea, yea...insert 'this year is hoppier than last' joke here].

Bitter hops, roasty malt and burnt sugar coat the palate with a highly carbonated, bubbly mouthfeel. I usually dont like something this toasty, but for some reason I find myself attracted to this one. Nutty yeast makes an appearance and there is actually a fair amount going on here. Summation: I like it, I can see why others dont and I will continue to buy it each and every year...Its always similar, but a shade or two different from year to year. Carry on Abita...carry on.

 942 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
3.68/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2012 bottle? No date but I bought it and am drinking it on 31 Oct 2012.
Two fingers of head. Dark brown body, barely transparent.
Smells like toffee, nutmeg and pine.
Stronger bitterness, mildly malty without any serious sweetness.
Soft and fizzy texture. Medium body.
Pretty good Christmas Ale. A good "Christmas" smell but without the weird spice flavors.

 359 characters

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Abita Christmas Ale (2011) has a medium-to-thick, cream-colored head and a fairly dark, yet clear, amber appearance, with some streaming bubbles and a decent amount of thick lacing left behind. The aroma is of pepper and maybe crackers. Taste is of pepper, cracker, cloves, iced tea, and some residual hop bitterness. Moutfeel is medium and soft, and Abita Christmas Ale (2011) finishes mostly dry and easy drinking. Overall, this is very good.

RJT

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.99/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a nice, mostly transparent medium brown, with a light colored finger of head. Aroma is pleasant, with a pretty nice floral hoppy note, nutty, chocolate malts with some slight roasty notes. Roasted malts taste, with light chocolate and nuttiness, caramel and a nice spicy, floral, light citrus hop finish. Medium body, but the lighter side. Average, not bad.

As usual, Abita's Christmas remains one of the few seasonal's that I enjoy thoroughly.

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Photo of Brent
3.06/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'm a bit lost on what makes this a Christmas ale, other than the time of release. Overall, a decent, but unimpressive, brown ale. Adequate malt body with some nice nut flavor. No spicing or other additive flavors common to a seasonal designation. Pleasant, but hardly festive.

 277 characters

Photo of ckollias
2.63/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Pours a dark amber hue with a big tan head that slowly dissipates in to a solid persistent lace leaving a great trail down the whole glass.

S: Strong malty sweet aroma with hints of spices.

T: Smooth tart brew with an bland general malt flavor. There is a little bit of spice here but not much else.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: Man – I thought this beer was going to be awesome just by the smell but the flavor was a big disappointment. Just your average brew and nothing I would grab again.

 571 characters

Photo of schoolboy
3.46/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It is brown and it is an ale, but it is also boring, like a brown can be. It's not my favorite style.

It has a nice head and a mildly pleasing aroma. The taste follows. At least it is easy drinking, but I will try to avoid this in the future.

Why are so many christmas ales mediocre browns.

 293 characters

Photo of rarbring
2.47/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer is deep brown in the amber area, an off-white head that laves very good lacing. Some curtains.

Smelling citric, grape tonic and lemon detergent, old rancid hay.

Starting sweet, toffee, brown bread, old vegetables, grape fruit peel.

Low carbonation, soft but flat, a rather dry finish.

I wonder if this bottle wasn't a bit off. Or I did not like the low carbonation and the hops.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.6/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear dark amber with a tan colored head. Some lace here and a decent skim retention.

Earthy notes and over-browned bread crust. Something else too -- reminds me of pine needles (not piney hops).

Brown bitter breadcrust, a resinous pine flavor, maybe some mint, the flavor waters down a bit, but that is ok, as I'm not sure if anything beyond this intensity would work. Piney/odd light spice intermingling with bitterness on the tail end of this one. The more I drink this, the better I like it.

A little watery, a little mushy. I want a lot more tingle.

This is not a traditional brown, but kinda like a brown, a sahti, and an old ale all combined and left to go semi-flat. Needs better structure, but the malt and spice work ok. I'm probably a bit generous in the rating, but I am rewarding a risky, non-gimmicky brew.

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Christmas Ale 2011 from Abita Brewing Co.
3.21 out of 5 based on 162 ratings.
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