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): 7.70%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
A rich, copper colored, hearty ale perfect for the holiday season with a malty sweetness and spicy hop character. The generous use of five different malts is responsible for the full flavor and high alcohol level of this beer.

Added by kbub6f on 11-12-2001

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Reviews: 224 | Ratings: 601
Photo of Sammy
3.86/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Consumed at my cellar temperature, low Sixties, and not recommended mid-Fifties. Bonus in trade from a generous Texas trader. Like a Belgium, with a good mix of malts. Alcohol aroma. Pours medium body and significant white head. Yeasty taste, very drinkable indeed. Above average mouthfeel.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.65/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The base beer here has the taste and texture of a solid Amber Ale with good hopping from a mix of American citrus hops and English earthy ones. A big toffee flavor takes the beer from nose to finish, carying a lot of spices along- nutmeg, allspice, orange peel, and cinnamon could all be in there but not at high enough level to single out. Like a lot of Ambers, the beer has a grain taste and texture leading into the finish but the abundant hops help to keep things clean and somewhat dry. Otherwise, a great looking beer carries a brilliantly clear amber color with good head formation, retention, and even better lacing. Good job Saint Arnold!

Thanks Exiled!

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Photo of brentk56
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a rather modest cap that quickly fades to ringlet while leaving only a few shards here and there

Smell: Has a bit of a Dr. Pepper aroma, with an herbal character mixed with toffee and holiday spices

Tatse: Opens with an herbal toasted malt character that adds a bit of nuts and malty brown sugar depth before the piney bitterness arrives at mid-palate; after the swallow, the hops and malt notch up to another level, with some subtle nutmeg and cinnamon elements adding the holiday aspect

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A very nice winter warmer, with some crusty bread, nuts and holiday spices pairing alongside some balancing hops

Thanks, ericandersnavy, for the oppportunity

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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 oline73
3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours a mostly clear reddish amber with a small amount of off white head. The head fades to a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Sweetness hits the nose first, lots of malt and caramel notes. There is a fruity cherry note in there as well.

Taste: Quite similar to the smell. Sweet but it's not as dominant as the smell. The cherry and caramel notes are there as well. The finish is slightly bitter with very mild alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly carbonation and an extremely dry finish.

Overall: The finish on this beer was overly dry. Still a very good beer and I would have another.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Medium sized off white to light tan head settles into a nice lacing above a clear caramel copper colored beer.

Roasted caramel malts blended with Christmas style spices in the aroma.

Dark caramel roasted malt dominate the taste with some light spices and lighter hops rounding out the palette.

A light caramel remains in a light dryish aftertaste on this medium bodied beer.

A decent tasting Christmas beer, you can taste the spices but they don't overwhelm the beer taste.

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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 mothman
4.02/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Sam Adams Sensory Glass. No freshness date. Bottem of cap read: Hop to it!

Pours a thin head that doesn't last very long. Color is a hazy orange copper.

The aroma is of spices. A nut mag flavor is present. There also seems to be some cherry aromas floating around, as well as slight earthy hops.
The first thing I tasted in this beer was the hops. It tasted kind of like SN Celebration. The hops were very earthy, followed by holiday spices. There was also a vanilla flavor present.

Mouthfeel starts out bitter, like an ipa, but the gets really smooth. However, it leaves a dry aftertaste like an ipa.

Overall, this is a really easy to drink and at 7% I could easily session this beer. It is complex and has a lot of taste to it. I really like this winter beer.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Thanks go to Armock for this in a BIF last year.

Pours a clear amber with 1 1/2 fingers of creamy off-white head. 1/2 finger or so of retention hangs tough, leaving a great looking cascade back that unfortunately doesn't stick around much except for some slight spotty lacing. The aroma is sweet smelling with notes of bread, citrus, and caramel. Floral hops with a light spicy element also weave there way in and out of the bouquet.

The taste is similar, with a sweet mix of caramel, doughy malts, and citrus that imparts a tangy feel. Sweetness is balanced out by a moderate spicy hop profile that lingers for a bit. The mouthfeel is lighter-medium bodied that feels a little thicker a first that then thins out rather quickly. I'm wishing that this body went a little deeper. Alcohol is fairly well hid though.

Not bad. The doughy sweetness and spicy nature of the hops used really made this stand out as a decent Christmas beer. Despite the lack of depth to the body, this still stayed fairly quaffable.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Acquired via trade from gramatton, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep golden brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades very quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, spices, some fruit and a little bit of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a grainy breadiness and sweet flavors of caramel, spices and fruit. The hops presence is mild but complementary. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: A little tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, decent representation of style, it's a solid beer overall but there are other beers in the style that I would choose first.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, reddish-orange body with a thin, short-lived, off-white head.

Smell: A keenly malty nose with notes of toasted bread crusts and nutty caramel candy. Light touches of spicy hops.

Taste: Bready, nutty maltiness with a coating of sweet caramel syrup. Slight fruitiness. Earthy, spicy hop character with a restrained measure of bitterness. Finishes warm and fairly dry, considering the sweet start this beer got.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Slight stickiness to the overall mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Well-balanced and remarkably easy to drink considering the ABV percentage. A fine, end-of-the-year brew from St. Arnold.

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Photo of russpowell
4.27/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another one from my in-person trade with twiggamortis420, cheers Greg!!

Pours caramel with 1 finger of tan colored head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Apricots & a touch of breadyness, plus a touch tobacco once warmed up.

T: Breadyness, apricot & plums, & a of bit caramel apple up front. Dryness & caramel & a bit orange slice show as this warms, along with some biscuitty malt, plus a bit of herbal hops. Finishes dry, frutty & with honey, toffee & caramel

MF: Chewy, low carbonation & fairly rich

Drinks pretty easy for the style/ABV, a nice winter warmer that is going down well on a cold March evening, yummy

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

So I am getting to sample yet another fine beer from Saint Arnold. This time I am going to dive into the Xmas release. The pour on this one was very nice, with a rich hazelnut brown color that was full of cloudiness and haze. A very nice three finger high head of tan colored foam rose up, but faded quickly leaving behind some small amounts of foam on top, and a good deal of sticky side glass lace. Some carbonation could be scene streaking up toward the top, overall not a bad look, but still unsure of the style here.

The nose on this one was full of wintery spices. Lots of cinnamon and nutmeg were filling every nook and cranny. A nice gentle hoppiness helped to kick it all forward, before the sweetness of the caramel and brown sugar rolled over everything else. The flavor followed suit very nicely, with a nice rich caramel and nutty flavor coming across first here. This was very sweet, but as it warmed became a little more bready and the nutmeg started to poke its head out a bit more. Some light hints of vanilla and fig were coming through as well. Some nice flavors of cola and a touch of spruce way in the back were now a bit more noticeable as well. The finish was a bit more on the hoppy side, with a touch of floral hops that rounded it out very well. A very nice smooth creamy feel was a good sign that this was a quality medium-bodied ale. Carbonation was no issue as it stayed lively right up until the end. There was really no alcohol in this at all, at least that I could tell so it was easily sessionable and I could have went for another, as none of the flavors were out of character or overbearing in anyway.

Overall, I would have to say this was a really nice beer. I am not sure the style, but a Christmas porter would probably fit the bill. Sure, there are better ones out there, but this was still solid and I would in no way turn it down if I say it again.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Bobby for sharing this one.

A: The pour is a deep amber color with a tan head.

S: Quite bready and mildly spiced in the nose. A bit of brown sugar and caramel as well. Actually fairly reminiscent of "the holidays".

T: The flavors really follow the nose on this one, but there seem to be some signs of oxidation. A bit of cardboard along with the same bread, caramel, and light spice flavors.

M: Light to medium body with a low, rolling carbonation.

D: Not nearly as bad I was anticipating, to be honest. A nice little winter warmer in the beginning of Southern California summer.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was fortunate enough to sample a year-old Winter Stout on-tap at a brewery tour this Saturday. The color is dark brown with ruby highlights. Head is light brown and has good retention. The aroma is of sweet, dark malts with hints of coffee. Taste has a full-on sweet, roasted malt flavor. Coffee and chocolate flavors play a big part in this beer. Roast flavor is also in the mix. The finish has a strong malt flavor with touches of dark fruit and just a hint of alcohol. This aged version is notably better than the bottled version I remember from last year, the flavor is much fuller and nuanced. Thanks to Saint Arnold for the opportunity to sample an aged version of this brew.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.79/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received in a trade with RickSawyer. Thanks for the opportunity.

Pours a bright, crystal clear dark golden/amber with some red highlights when held to the light. Has a fluffy white head and lots 'o lacing. Beautiful color! Aroma is of caramel malts, and some nondescript spices. Taste is weak caramel malt and some grapefruit. Mouthfeel is a bit thin. Not a bad brew, could use some more malt and a bit more body. Didn't really notice the 7%abv.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours perfectly clear but a slightly darker brownish amber with a creme head. Nose is very light spices and grass tones. Flavor is nice and robust. Good level of earthy tones, but it leans towards the leaf and wood side as opposed to the soil kind of "earth." Smooth and consistent sweetness. Feel is a bit thicker and sticky. Carbonation is a bit lower. A nice one to drink. Bring on winter.

Thanks to ballewblake for this one.

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Photo of jwc215
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to armock for including this in a trade!

Pours reddish amber with a thin white head.

The smell is of caramel/toffee with pine and some fruitcake (bready).

The taste is of caramel/toffee with earthy and piney/woody spicing. A touch of alcohol warmth comes through. An herbal bitterness/woody dryness mixes with the warm sweetness in the finish.

The carbonation is on the higher end of what I'm thinking that it should be, though it does ease up as it progresses. It has a medium, somewhat sticky, body.

A malty, yet with a touch of hops, brew that serves as a nice winter warmer.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.48/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear, and reddish-amber in color, creamy, white head.

Sweet, malty aroma, notes of vanilla and some spice...light fruity esters.

Sweet malt on the tongue and down the throat. Light bodied, mellow finish. Creamy mouthfeel, with small spicy notes that keep the interest up. But not up enough.

Good beer, tasty, drinkable...but nothing special.For a Christmas Ale, it should have some darker malts, and some outstanding flavors. This is no better than average.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to armock for this one.

Pours a nice clean/clear golden brown color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy off white head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some spice. The taste is malty, slightly sweet, with some spice. Medium body, you can feel the warmth from this brew. Drinkable, a very nice winter warmer.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours burnt orange with a minimal white head. The smell is malty sweetness, with a little bit of unidentifiable spices. The flavor is more malt, possibly biscuit malt, with a strong aftertaste of spices such as cloves. There is more in there, I just can't tell exactly what it is. Nothing about this beer really stands out, but it is a very easy drinking, lighter winter warmer with no trace of the 7 percent alcohol. Nice beer.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to turbine2475 for including this beer in a trade and giving me a chance to try it. Pours chestnut with little head but a swirly cap once it settles. Smells of honey, nougat, orange, light spice, and a bit bready. The taste is a bit spritzy, there is more breadiness, a good bit of sweet malt, figs, sweet orange, pear, mace, and maybe some clove and anise on the finish. Fairly complex. The mouthfeel is a bit thick and it is a tad overcarbonated, but it is also nicely creamy and full. This is a decent winter sipper, and I'm glad I got a chance to try it.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a brilliantly clear, rich reddish copper color and is topped by a frothy, initially one-finger thick, tan colored head. The aroma is sweet and malty with notes of toffee, caramel, rum, raisins and perhaps a beginning of some oxidation. There is a light candy sweet note that seems to mix with a note that reminds me of some zesty orange peel, but I can't quite decide if this is hop or malt derived. All in all the aroma is quite malt dominated and rich.

The beer has a nice heft to it as it rests on the palate. Not too heavy, but enough that the beer sticks just a bit to the mouth. The beer is not nearly as malty sweet as I would have guessed from the aroma, instead it has a rich maltiness to it that while not sweet is fairly substantial. In the finish is a nice, though light, herbal bitterness and a lingering suggestion of toasted malt. Solid notes of toffee and caramel combine with a hint of oxidation; all of which contribute to the nice malt character of this beer. Despite the heft of this beer it seem a bit thin, it just seems to disappear from my tastebuds faster than I would expect. Something just seems to be missing here, for some reason I am expecting a richness to this brew that is just not here. It is enjoyable though, and I definitely would not turn down another go at this beer.

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Photo of Derek
4.05/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Copper with a very light tan head. Thin ring of retention, some lacing.

S: Tropical fruit, rind, nice spicing, slight mineral.

T: Nice biscuity malt, slight caramel, orange rind, papaya, a little spice, modest bitterness, alcohol is fairly well-hidden.

M: Moderate body is very smooth & nicely attenuated for its strength.

D: Quite drinkable for its strength.

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Photo of TX-Badger
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear darker copper color with off-white head. Some spice, cereal and bread, and citrus on the nose; follows onto the palate. Finishes with more malt character.

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Saint Arnold Christmas Ale from Saint Arnold Brewing Company
3.71 out of 5 based on 601 ratings.
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