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Saint Arnold Christmas Ale | Saint Arnold Brewing Company

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Saint Arnold Christmas AleSaint Arnold Christmas Ale

Brewed by:
Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Texas, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 11-12-2001

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Reviews: 221 | Ratings: 588
Photo of goochpunch
2.39/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a clear copper with moderate carbonation. Thick offwhite head that settles down to a thin layer and leaves nice raised lacing. Aroma is a lot of sweet with some toasted notes and piney hops. Some fruitiness I can't put my finger on. Kind of a strong almost chemically tinge in the nose. Tastes like when a kid pours too much sugar in the Kool-Aid. Lots of toasted malt with cocoa hints. Hops don't show up as much as in the smell, but I get a little pine and even less citrus. Really sickly sweet without enough character to justify it. Mouthfeel is syrupy and slick, which adds to the gag factor of the flavor profile. This is hard to finish for me.

Quite different from what I remember, having it on tap, but it grosses me out just the same.

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Photo of shivtim
2.46/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to my friend from Houston for bringing me this beer.

Poured into a pint glass. Nice rich brown/copper color. Slightly translucent with orange hints. Thick khaki head.

Nose is yeasty and doughy, with malt. Very slight spice, maybe anise. Overall quite bready.

Taste is old malt, kind of a stale ricey quality. I don't pick up much in the "christmas" department. Slightly metallic even. Not good.

Dry and thin mouthfeel. Acidic tasting.

Can't say I like this beer...

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Photo of ritwingr
2.52/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

One of the more nondescript "craft" beers I've had in some time. Pours root beer brown with virtually no head.

Smell is not much...but what there is smells distinctly like sour milk. Not milk that's weeks past its expiration date, but milk that is clearly on the way to going bad in a day or so.

That same sourness us there in the taste. It isn't vile. It isn't even overly offensive. But that's all I get from it beyond a little more carbonation than I expected.

What in Hell is Christmas about this thing is beyond me. Half a notch up from a Bud....but that's about it.

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Photo of Theitos
2.67/5  rDev -28%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured in to a pint glass

A: Pours a deep amber color. There is no head and no lacing.

S: I smell a little spice and a hint of cherry.

T: It tasted like they made a beer and then thought oh if we put spice in it we can call it a christmas beer. I also tasted some cherry in it. I just felt like it wasn't blended as well as it could have been.

M: Smooth with a dry finish. The taste lingers

O: The beer is ok, but I would pass over this for other holiday ales.

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Photo of Fenris244
2.69/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Freshness date on the bottle is 10/08/10

Poured into a pint glass

Pours a light amber with one finger head that dissipates very quickly leaving a weak ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass

Aroma is faint but there are traces of spices and a sweetness not much else unfortunately

Almost sweet with a taste of cooked grains and a little bit of hops to finish it out

Not much to it, it's almost watery but is at least smooth and crisp

It's a serviceable beer, I could drink 10 of these with how smooth it is, that's not to say that I would though. It's not a bad beer but it is pretty bland. 

I definitely would not have this at my Christmas dinner

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
2.82/5  rDev -24%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a thin reddish orange. There is almost no head to this beer whatsoever. Absolutely no lacing as it drinks.

S: Smells of malt, spice (nutmeg), and a bit of booze. I'm also picking up just the slightest hint of cherry.

T: Not good. It taste like a lager that has had some spices dumped into it.

M: Light bodied beer. Finishes a bit hot.

O: Not a fan of this beer at all. It's like a spicy lager. No thanks. I've had other beers from Saint Arnold that have been outstanding, but this beer falls short for me.

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Photo of hobbes2112
2.83/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle

Pours deep red/copper with a very small Ivory head. Smell is not nearly as spicy or alcoholic as I expect in a Christmas beer, mostly just grainy/malty. Taste starts sweet and malty, but then turns quite astringent. Strong warming malt finish with a slight bitterness.

Like many of the other reviews, I enjoyed it a lot more when it had warmed up a bit.

Not bad, but really didn't give me what I wanted in a Christmas beer.

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Photo of jwff
2.9/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a rigid, reddish-orange that leans more towards red. Very mild head presence that fizzes away and becomes a white, soapy outline on the glass. Not much carbonation to be seen, if any. The first scent that immediately stands out is raspberries followed by chocolate, and a swirling mix of sweet malt and sugar. There is a very faint alcohol tinge, but not enough to detract from the score.

Ok, this beer is incredibly sweet, almost puckeringly so. There is an intense raspberry tartness that sits on the tongue while other sugars creep up to "fuel the fire." A light chocolate flavor in the finish is there to tug the reigns and tame this beast. The mouthfeel is interesting, because it feels like I'm taking a bite of a really rich dessert chocolate. Something so rich that it's good in small doses, but 12 ounces is a little too much for me.

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Photo of jt31914
3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: 1 finger of head with a darker amber color; not overly carbonated.

S: Smells sweet like typical winter warmer; Smells a little smoky, but very mild

T: Smoky taste, kind of bitter and pretty weird. The smoky flavor is dominant, but I can't tell what else is there.

M/D: Fairly drinkable, especially for the 7 percent. Okay mouthfeel that is not overly smooth, but not great.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.01/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer struck me as being overly light for a Christmas beer, and is rather thing from a mouthfeel perspective. This beer also struck me as overly light in hoppiness, and a bit unbalanced in terms of too much malted milk ball character.

Beer pours a sparkling amber color with excellent head formation (cumulus and towering and composed of tiny bubbles). Aroma is lightly fruity hoppiness with too much maltiness for my liking. Mouthfeel is rather flat. Flavor is a light sweet maltiness with a whiff of sweet hoppiness. I'm not really impressed with this beer.

Not really recommended, but not too bad (can't say too much negative about it).

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Photo of kojevergas
3.02/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard Saint Arnold label art (mainly green in colour) and a red branded twist-off pressure cap acquired at me local HEB grocery as part of a mixed 6er and served into an Avery stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average given the brewery. 2013 vintage. No ABV is listed on the bottle, but Saint Arnold's website confirms it as 7.0%. ABW is 5.6%. Reviewed as an old ale because Saint Arnold's website identifies this beer explicitly as an old ale, and it's won medals in the old ale category.

Served cold - straight from me fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as I pour.

Pours a half finger wide head of off-white colour, which recedes so fast - inside of 15 seconds - that there's no time to note its thickness or creaminess. Hopefully needless to say, I'm unimpressed with the head. 7% ABV is a bit high, but I've seen many an old ale that holds up for at least 2 minutes.

Body colour is a semitransparent rich copper/auburn. It's on the lighter side for the style. It's glowing, but I'm reticent to call it vibrant per se. Translucent. No yeast particles are visible.

Overall, it's not unique or special, and falls within style conventions. There are no egregious flaws. I'm looking forward to trying it.

Sm: Caramel/caramalts. Hints of toffee. Plenty of Christmasy spices - nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon. Brown sugar. Cidery notes/apple fruit. Green grapeskin. Hints of spruce wood and nectar. Hop character is floral and fruity, but none of the notes therein are particularly evocative or distinct and are hard to identify as a result. Almonds. Slightly bready. The spices seem to play well with the dominant caramel sweetness. It evokes a Christmas ale character, primarily because of the spicing.

No yeast character or alcohol is detectable.

A pleasant aroma of average strength. I'm looking forward to trying it. It's quite approachable, but I wouldn't say it's real welcoming or inviting.

T: The body is comprised of toffee and caramel/caramalts, with some pale malt and amber malt in there too. A spruce note emerges at the end of the first act and stays through the latter two acts, lending the flavour profile a guiding cohesion. Complementary spices are present but insubstantial: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg. I get a fairly medicinal note I can't quite place, but it accompanies the caramel-induced sweetness. The brown sugar from the aroma never makes an appearance in the flavour profile. The hop profile mostly matches the aroma: there are plenty of fruity and floral hop notes, but also some unexpected herbal notes.

No yeast character or alcohol comes through. Yeast attenuation ought to be higher given the style. It could use a higher ABV and less of a hop presence.

Generally cohesive, but the build isn't a gestalt one. There's some mild complexity here, but nothing too impressive. Subtlety is wanting as well. It has a loose balance to it. Below average depth and duration of flavour. Average intensity of flavour.

I'd like to see some darker malts used in the grain bill. It strays a bit too far from the style for my tastes.

Mf: Sticky, smooth, wet. Medium bodied. Somewhat nectary. Slightly syrupy. Thick to style. Decent presence on the palate. I wouldn't quite call it chewy.

Not astringent, hot, gushed, boozy, harsh, rough, oily, or creamy.

Dr: Drinks pretty decently for the somewhat high ABV. I love that it doesn't feel like a poor man's barleywine like many (subpar) Old Ales, but it does go too far in the Amber direction - it's overly hopped for the style, there's not enough complexity/subtlety, and it's just all around unremarkable. You could do worse than to end up with a 6er of this in your fridge, but having tried this as a single I wouldn't buy it again or recommend it to friends. It could do with the warmth and added flavour of a higher malt, higher ABV build.

Devotees of traditional old ales will likely be disappointed, but the price point here makes this worth trying. Saint Arnold has put forward an inoffensive brew with Christmasy spices and above average alcohol. At the end of the day, this beer will get you drunk. Without effort, I was able to to kill the bottle inside of 15 minutes.

On the high side of average. Not worth aging. Serve cold.

High C

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Photo of
3.03/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A very good looking beer. Clear, dark brown with copper highlights in color. Light brown, smallish sized head.

Aroma pleasant as well, sweet and malty, with quite a bit of spice. Some hops mixed in there to add a bit of floral character.

Taste, well, off the cliff we go. A small cliff, but....Primarily malt, no big surprise given style. Heavily spiced, too much so, and verges on medicinal. Alcohol is present, but not obnoxious.

Medium bodied and low in carbonation. Too low for my taste. Slick.

Overall, just didn't do it for me. Too malty (appropriate for style though), overly spiced, and too flat.

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Photo of BKotch
3.06/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice dark-amber color and clarity. Not much of a head. Am I the only one that has a problem with St. Arnold's house yeast strain? I detect it in almost all of their beers --it imparts a kinda funky nose and taste to this otherwise fruity-malty brew, which could also use some hops to balance the flavors better.

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Photo of TXGenX
3.06/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a St. Arnold tumbler

A -- Foamy tan head about 2 fingers high. Fine lacing. Medium brown with copper notes.

S -- Not much aroma at all.

T -- Roasted malt predominates. Some chicory. A little bit of grapefruit on the finish.

M -- Smooth. Not much bite.

I'm not entirely sure what the difference is between this and the brown ale. Although, to be honest, I haven't had the brown in a while. This is a nice warming ale but really not that special to me.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.06/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Dogfish Head signature glass. Stamped 282-283/6 113011. I'm going to hazard a guess that means it was bottled on 30 November 2011?

A: Half a finger of head. Good bubbles. Amber brown, but transparent in the light.

S: Spiced fruit; slightly metallic.

T/M: I fear this may have set too long, or perhaps it wasn't very good to begin with. Either way, it's not quite what I think a winter warmer should be like. Strong and sweet, with flavours of molasses and dark fruit. Carbonated, but light in body, which conspires to downplay the sweet nature of the beer.

O: I suppose it's a little bit above average, stylistically, but in general, I wouldn't particularly recommend it. I suppose I'd drink another, but I'd have to be in the mood.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.08/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle shared by Azurelimits. Served in a tulip.

Pours a copper-bronze color with a very thin head that quickly fades into a thin white color. There are a few bubbles on top as well. The nose is quite plain with just a tad bit of pine and cinnamon along with some caramel backing. The taste is along the same lines--pine and a bit of faint spicing plus a bit of caramel sweetness. Medium body with average carbonation. Overall, nothing offensive as it doesn't take the spicing too far, though it's quite boring.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.09/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle obtained as part of Secret Santa 07 package from RickSawyer. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 2" beige head over the clear orangey amber brew. Thick head holds steady, with heavy coating lace. Aroma is minimal, with light spicing evident. Taste is average, again with spicing the only real standout characteristic. Mouthfeel is a bit on the harsh aide, and drinkability is kind of limited by all of the above. Winter warmers are not usually my favorite style, and this one seems to fit into that mold. Your mileage may vary.

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Photo of JDV
3.1/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear copper pour with an offwhite head. Metallic toffe malt aroma with a hint of spice as well. Taste is light toffee flavored malt again, with a light note of spices coming into the flavor as well and a light bitterness. Slightest hint of alcohol shows, but still very drinkable. Decent beer all around, but just not my favorite style.

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Photo of dungaree
3.11/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle. Almost no head, fizzles away too quickly even after holding the bottle several inches above the glass. The smell is promising but unfortunately the taste doesn't quite deliver. I expect a little more out of a seasonal ale such as this. It definitely has a little bit of spice one should find in the style but not enough. Too much of the pervasive caramel, slickness off the tongue that one gets from St. Arnold's beers. I've got a couple left in the fridge but they're not calling my name!

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Photo of TexIndy
3.13/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle with no date into pint glass. Was a solid amber color with a small head that faded to a thin wisp for the remainder. Smell was weak with sweet malt blending well with spicy from the hops. Mouthfeel was pretty standard. Overall was a decent beer and worth trying. (3, RB, T,O)

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Photo of Beaver13
3.15/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. Pours clear red amber with a small creamy white head that goes to a thin film that leaves some lacing.

The aroma is sweet figgy malts with a little spice.

The flavor is sweet biscuity malts with some dark fruit and light spice. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with prickly carbonation.

Overall, an OK kind of bland Christmas beer.

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Photo of TBoneJones
3.16/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours caramel brown, thin head and thin looking body. Lacks lacing.
Smells faintly of pine and apple with a spice.
Tastes bitter and biscuity, and the light apple flavor is there but lacking the spice i thought i detected with my nose earlier, and with a metallic tart finish I'm not quite digging.
Feels smooth enough though, better than I expected from how this appears in my pint glass. Ok in that department. Just ok.
Overall this is a blah brew to me, despite the great respect I have for this brewery.

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Photo of Premo88
3.16/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into tulip
(365-366/FX100713 printed on bottle on top line; 17:52 printed on bottom line)

L: red, clear ... very interesting look, and standard Saint Arnold clarity -- it's as if all of Saint Arnold's brews are made following the German purity laws, pretty impressive. very soapy head, tannish on top of the brown/amber brew (red) that doesn't last long, doesn't stick, doesn't lace

S: that old ale pumpkin, cantaloupe kind of smell ... it's sweet but that muted sweetness. an obvious malt takeover and a unique mix -- not bready, not sweet biscuits, not prunes, not raisins ... it's NOT a lot of things you expect from malt, but there's no doubt it's malty. reminds me a lot of the pumpkin ales out these days.

T: follows the nose with a little less sweetness ... again, pumpkin, cantaloupe. it has a bit of a nutmeg taste to it, too, but this brew is all beer -- no additives to the holy quartet of water, barley, yeast, hops.

F: not bad considering how weak the head appeared ... enough carbonation and weight to feel good enough

O: i can see, smell and taste plenty of unique notes and good things to tell it's a solid brew, but this profile is so hard for me to describe other than to use the word "off." it's definitely got a bit of a christmas feel with the pumpkin and nutmeg notes, but my guess is if you're looking for a winter seasonal (which this is regardless of style), you can find other brews you like better, Saint Arnold's Winter Stout being a possibility.

winter warmer or old ale -- either way, it's not my favorite style, so my numbers will be off by 0.25 to 0.50 or more. i personally wouldn't recommend trying more than a single brew or two of this ... i made it through a 6-pack fine, but i won't touch this one again.

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Photo of johnnyirishman
3.16/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Apperance- A nice Reddish copper color with a sand colored head that dissapated to decent lacing.

Smell- A malty aroma is abundant in this one. Not suprising with most winter warmers.

Taste,Mouthfeel- Toffee toasted malts in the front, with a slight nutty finish. Good carbonation and body

Drinkability- Good drinkability, I could definately sit and have a few of these back to back.

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Photo of Treebs
3.16/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got this as an extra in a trade, thanks Brad! Poured from a bottle into a Great Divide Cervoise goblet.

A: Pours a nice deep amber with light orange hues around the edges. A one finger white head pops up and then goes down just as quick.

S: I'm picking up some faint caramel malts and some light grassy pine, but nothing really else and the smell is faded (it's probably 8-10 months old at this point so I'll take that into consideration). There is a very slight booze note on the backend.

T: Some piney and grassy hops are very present with a slight spice undertone. The bready malts create the backbone for the rest of the brew, but like the nose has faded with Father Time.

M: It's very smooth and crisp, light to medium bodied. Very drinkable at this point.

O: Very faded in its time. This beer really doesn't hold up well. in terms of flavor profiles, but it is far from undrinkable. I would love to try this beer fresh to see if there are any spices or anything else that may have faded.

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Saint Arnold Christmas Ale from Saint Arnold Brewing Company
3.71 out of 5 based on 588 ratings.
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