Christmas Ale 2011 | Abita Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
76
okay
162 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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
Ratings:
162
Reviews:
52
Avg:
3.21
pDev:
22.74%
 
 
Wants:
1
Gots:
14
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 162 |  Reviews: 52
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.

 830 characters

Photo of thekevlarkid
3.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Out of a bottle this beer was a perfectly clear, garnet color with a two finger khaki-colored head. It displayed good retention as a collar and left lacing in sliding bands and spots. The aroma was complex filled with toasted grains, caramel malt, a hint of nuts and light hops. The flavors were odd for a "Christmas Ale," in my opinion. I tasted lots of roasted and toasted malt hints of caramel and coffee beans and wood. Semi-sweet at first, it eased towards a rooty, earthy finish of bitterness. The mouthfeel was creamy, the body medium and the carbonation medium/light. Not bad per se, but it reminded me of Autumn and not Christmas.

 639 characters

Photo of hosehead83
3.94/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a "stubby" 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Clear, dark copper in color, with a moderate head of foam.
Aroma-Citrus/orange peel
Taste-Orange, white grapefruit,faint cinnamon, orange peel/rind bitterness in the finish. Pretty tasty with a rather unique flavor for a Christmas ale. Certainly worth a try.

 322 characters

Photo of JeffTheJuice
3.75/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of larryi86
3.02/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- Brown with a two finger off-white head.

S- Some hops, some roasted malts, mainly wet grass, really not a fan.

T- There are a good amount of different flavors but they don't all work together. Getting roasted malts, earthy spices, some floral notes, and a hint of wet grass, but no where near as much wet grass as the nose and not as off putting.

M- Medium body.

O- Very disappointing, was hoping for better before I poured this. Maybe I got a bad bottle...This is drinkable which surprised me after smelling the beer.

 560 characters

Photo of sparx1100
3/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of JuicesFlowing
2.86/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a standard pint glass. The beer is a ruby-tinted toffee color. The head is off-white colored and frothy. Good head retention, in fact it stays in tact all the way down (with a good pour). Decent sticky lacing. The beer smells peppery. I cannot pinpoint the exact taste of this beer. It is weird to say the least. It tastes like black pepper and is malty, but another reviewer mentioned an onion taste, and I can't say that I disagree. Weird. The mouthfeel is medium to light bodied.

Overall, I kind of thought I liked this beer at first, but as I'm finishing off my six pack, I have decided it tastes too much like onions and black pepper. I have edited my review to reflect my opinion. I'd say buy one bottle just to experience a different take on a Christmas Ale, but more than one is pushing it.

 812 characters

Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a stubby 12-ounce bottle into a New England Patriots pint glass.

A: Poured a dark, caramel-amber color with a two-finger thick head of off-white carbonation that subsided quickly and left little more than a faint ring of soap suds.

S: Malty with a hint of spicy hops and nutmeg. Some powdery chestnut and fruity esters kick around as well.

T: Fairly straightforward two-row caramel malt up front with a hint of seltzery, metallic bitterness, stewed fruits and a little veggie flavor as well. The hops come in around mid-palate with some light, spicy and citrus flavors before washing down pretty clean and balanced with little residual bitterness or sweetness.

M: Clean, balanced, trending more medium bodied, but lacking the richness to be very satisfying.

O: A mediocre 5.5% ABV American brown/amber ale but a change of pace from the slew of other winter brews. Not bad for Abita, but not great for a craft beer. I'll reach for an English style or something with more hop bite to chase my winter blues.

 1,021 characters

Photo of Sellen
3/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of Zachtheporter
3/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of shand
3.64/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

You know what? This is actually a pretty interesting beer. It's honestly something like a mildly spiced pale ale, with a bit of roastiness on the finish. It's a decent looker, a nice red-copper color with a fairly big head that quickly drops. Smell is very weak. The taste is pretty good though, big floral hops with a bit of caramel malts and a slight spiced background. The mouthfeel is very high carbonated and fairly light-bodied, and the drinkability is quite good. Overall, a solid brew.

 551 characters

Photo of zbooks
3/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of Lantern
4/5  rDev +24.6%

Photo of brewskifan55
3.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter

Appearance: Clear, dark cherry color with a small head that quickly disappears. Decent lacing.

Smell: strong hop presence; piney.

Taste: earthy, hoppy. Dry, hop finish with cinnamon and nutmeg. Not what I was expecting. Where did the malts go?

Mouthfeel: medium; oily coating on the tongue

Overall: This is a hophead's Christmas dream. Only I'm not a hophead. And it really doesn't taste like a Christmas ale. I really miss the malt presense that's been in past batches. Let it warm, the taste gets smoother. But don't expect any snow this Christmas.

 577 characters

Photo of TrickkyGangsta
2/5  rDev -37.7%

Photo of RDW
3.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of grahamboudreaux
4/5  rDev +24.6%

Photo of teromous
4.41/5  rDev +37.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A: The color of this beer is dark brown with hints of red, similar to a stained rosewood table. Unfortunately there is no real head on this at all. Despite the opacity of its color, there is no haze or turbidity. No lacing to speak of.

S: Wow, I really get a punch in the face with hops. I know that this style is very open to interpretation, but it is clear that they've taken the AIPA approach on this one! I pick up very strong resinous and pine-like hops. It literally smells like a fresh bag of opened hops, and I don't think I can make it any clearer than that. I don't pick up any spice, which I'm still on the fence about. I know that Christmas ales usually have spice additives.

T: I get a very earthy flavor from this. It has a kind of oak flavor, backed by the very strong hop flavor of pine and resin. It tastes almost exactly as it smells. There is considerable bitterness, but it is not overwhelming. It's nearly perfect.

M: The mouthfeel is pretty good. I think that it could be carbonated a bit more. It has a very solid presence in the mouth, but it doesn't really dance like I feel it should.

O: Overall I thought this was a very good beer. If you're looking for something with holiday spice, this is not it. To me this is more of a "winter warmer" which is perfect for the holidays. IPA fans will be thrilled. I am definitely satisfied with this beer.

 1,374 characters

Photo of justinm4bama
3.5/5  rDev +9%

Photo of TheSarge
3.81/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Looks perfect with a two finger thick light tan head, which retains quite well. The body is cleanly filtered and is dark copper in color.

The aroma gives off mint, caramel, orange rind, and maybe nutmeg.

The taste has a metallic and bready toffee kind of taste to it. This would be a good desert beer.

Feels medium in body with good carbonation; leaves the palate a bit on the dry side.

 389 characters

Photo of fuzzcherry
3.5/5  rDev +9%

Photo of bryanlindsey12345
3.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of sommersb
2.49/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Tasted On: 12-19-2011
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle
Glassware: Globe glass
Purchased: Single from Whole Foods, Nashville

Pours a clear, dark brown color, which when held to light looks like a dark amber. Head retention and lacing are good from the finger and a half of tan head.

The aromas are none too pleasant - initially I get floral hop smells, followed by a strange vegetable odor that might be described as onion.

Thankfully it doesn't taste like onion, but the taste isn't that great. This is pretty hoppy and bitter brown ale, with little or no malt character. I also don't get any spices that you might expect in a so-called Christmas ale.

The feel is pretty carbonated with a medium amount of body. The aftertaste is moderately bitter.

Overall not a very good beer, and I can't recommend trying this. Perhaps I got a bad bottle.

 869 characters

Photo of mwar
2/5  rDev -37.7%

Photo of dsauter
3/5  rDev -6.5%

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe