Welcome to BeerAdvocate!

Looking to talk, rate or trade beer? Join today by creating your free account.

Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Christmas Ale 2011 | Abita Brewing Co.

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
75
okay
52 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Christmas Ale 2011Christmas Ale 2011
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Abita Brewing Co.
Louisiana, United States | website

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
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 52 | Ratings: 162
Photo of krs0123
1.59/5  rDev -50.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

on tap into a long trail pint glass.

A - reddish brown, 1/2 inch head, clearish.

S - earthy and dull, lacks the spicy or sweet smell expected from most xmas beers.

T - it would be a stretch to go with earthy hops up front. overwhelming wood notes. unlike anything i've ever tasted. in a bad way...

M - Carbonation was a bit light for me in this style. Watery.

O - I got halfway through it. I enjoyed nothing about this beer.

 429 characters

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 iheartchicken
3.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

poured from a 12oz bottle into a tumbler

A: appears a darker shade of red-orange with an inch tall thick head tan in color. good retention of head. respectable retention.

S: not much here but what I could pick up was very earthy... some toasted malts were noticeable and a hint of earthy hops

T: after the nose, i wasn't too surprised by the taste. watered down compared to many beers of this style. picked up on some earthy hops and definitely got the toasted malts. finish is very off-putting, yeasty and dry

M: very unique, it feels very light and fluffy (almost like its floating in my mouth). medium amount of carbonation.

O: very watered down compared to others of this style, relative to the ones ive tried of course. the mouth feel definitely stood out but overall a little disappointing. guess its a good thing this one changes yearly

 848 characters

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.

 431 characters

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 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.

 687 characters

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.

 1,141 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.

 785 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 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 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 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 ProducerBRBeer
1.99/5  rDev -38%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A - A nice nut brown color with a sticky lace. The head is light brown white and stays for a short time.

S - A floral hop smell with a earthy or acidic hint behind it.

T - very odd taste. It is almost like there is a bit of an onion taste to this beer which might just be me. Maybe it is a floral taste but there is subtle hop tastes to it. I get a slight bite from the malts but I can't shake that after taste. A malty beer.

M - A slight carbonation with a light body.

O - Not a beer I would ever try or buy again. Probably one of my least favorite experiences with a beer. Looked better than it tasted.

 608 characters

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 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

 449 characters

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.

 401 characters

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 rebel1771
2.68/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a reddish brown with a very small white head that dissipates quickly.

S: Mild aroma of hops and a kind of sour funk.

T: The taste has a sharp bitterness up front along with that weird funk from from the smell. Fades to a very slight toasted malt flavor.

O: I can't say I enjoyed this offering very much. The flavors just did not play well together.

 360 characters

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.

 602 characters

Photo of ScorpyX
2.24/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Dark red pour with a thick, two-finger width head. Attractive, transparent appearance.

S: Scent has a strong bitterness to it with a grassy undertone. A little too strong for my liking, giving it an almost rotten smell.

T: Bitterness rules, but not the usual hoppy bitterness I enjoy. There's a sharp, sourness to it along with hints of pine. Tastes a little light damaged, unfortunately.

M: Medium-bodied. Nothing special here.

D: I was very disappointed by this one. Maybe it was a bad sample, but I'm not going to seeking it out again this year.

 556 characters

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

 787 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 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.

 564 characters

Photo of rangerred
3.31/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear dark red with a 1.5 finger tan head that does not fade away. Great score for appearance.

Aroma is of earthy hops and cedar. Perhaps some ginger thrown in as well.

Taste is much like the smell. The same earthy/weedy hop flavor that comes through on the aroma along with some ginger notes. Not a lot of malt flavor, though and everything is quick to fade into a lingering bitterness. Not terribly complex.

Overall, this is just an ok beer. It seems like it is so close to being very good. I would probably get it again, though.

 574 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Christmas Ale 2011 from Abita Brewing Co.
75 out of 100 based on 52 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.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe