XXXmas Ale | Left Hand Brewing Company

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XXXmas AleXXXmas Ale
XXXmas AleXXXmas Ale

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.60%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 42 | Ratings: 47
Photo of mactrail
2.97/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

The nice mahogany color is the best feature of this stuff. It's sweet and spicy, like a Christmas malt liquor. Still, is it drinkable? Possibly, but it needs a chaser. Overall this is just hot and dirty, unpleasantly sweet, with cheap candy flavors. The long overdone spice flavor ends with cloves sticking in my throat. Thank goodness they've discontinued this. My notes were from 2006 on this one.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.2/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Received this one as Christmas gift from my lovely wife. Pours a dark ruby-red color, with a little bit of off-white foam. Aromas of Christmas spice--cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice. Somewhat malty on the palate, with the same lineup of spices cutting the sweetness. Ok, but nothing special.

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Photo of robbyc1
3.17/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A dark look with a fluffy head, this does have the nose of honey and spices including cinnamon, clove, and anise. Nice nose, but it doesn't carry though to the taste. The roasty malt supports a sweetness from the honey, but it's over the top, a bit cloying, and the spices don't combine very well. The base beer would be something to try without all else, but it's hard to discern underneath. A bit of a mess, with a medium body, silky with good carbonation, not a great drinker overall, but not bad. It was hard to finish a bomber between two people.

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

Pours a nice rich dark amber, and mostly clear with a medium to short lived beige head. Smell is sweet pumpkin pie like spices. If I didn't know it wasn't a pumpkin beer that's what I would have guessed it was. Taste is crisp, lightly hoppy and bittered but with a touch of alcohol flavor and pumpkin pie like spice with nutmeg and cinnamon. Medium bodied with soft to medium and slightly crisp carbonation and a dry finish to it. Not a bad winter beer at all.

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Photo of blakesell
4.36/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 22oz bomber into a Belgian Duvel glass.

Appearance- Beer pours a clear brown with red hues with a finger thick cap of Irish cream foam. Lacing sticks to the sides and the edges of the glass.

Smell- Ginger and spruce, malt and sugar, I had to recheck the style guidelines on this one and it is quite up to snuff with the stipulations. A lot of honey in the scent as well, hops are subdued but just enough in the nose to know they are there.

Taste- Spicey, sprucey and creamy. Plenty of cinnamon, pine tips, honey, clove, and ginger all laced through the beer. Rich and malty with just enough hops to balance out the beer with excellent bitterness. A bit of lemon rind also lingers in the finish.

Mouthfeel- Creamy and slightly sticky, full bodied, a bit chewey, and fairly highly carbonated. Slightly warming.

Drinkability- This went down quite smooth and I wouldn't mind another. Apparently Eric likes this style as there are more than one different xmas brew from Left Hand. Like Pokemon, I'll try to catch them all.

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Photo of rye726
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, not sure on the vintage as Left Hand does not to label the bottles. Likely '07 or '06.

A nice medium brown color with an off white silky gead. Poor retention shows this could be a couple years old.

Bamb, an complex malt profile surrounded by a mixture of stong spices and earthy floral hops. Nutmeg, corrainder, clove, ginger, cinnamon and some orange or lemon rinds.

This was not at all out of balance. The huge spice variety is balanced well and compliments the beer. A strong full bodied malt presence keeps the foundation.

Full and creamy body with perfect carbonation. I am now thinking this beer is at least 1 or 2 years old which influences this review, but this is for sure a well made brew. Can drink this ginger powered drink all summer or winter long.

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Photo of kosmoraios
4.74/5  rDev +31.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, red mahogany color with a 1-finger off-white head that dissipates quickly. Minimal lacing. Moderate amount of carbonation bubbles visible when the glass is held to the light.

Smell is very nice! Piney hops and spices like cinnamon, clove and nutmeg make this ale smell like the essence of Christmas. Can't wait!

Taste is amazing. Other reviews say it was very sweet - I don't find this to be the case. In my opinion it is pleasantly dry. The toasty malts lend a toffee sweetness. Hops are piney and floral, and beautifully balanced. Plenty of spices - cinnamon, clove, nutmeg - very Christmassy. A hint of cashew nuttiness. Very complex, some apple and pear come out as the ale warms.

Mouthfeel is spicy, a little oily, stays on the tongue. Ample carbonation. I'd drink this all day.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Left Hand- XXXmas Ale

Appearance- reddish copper brown with no head.
Smell- Very sweet and spicey. Cinnimon mostly dominate.
Taste- Molasses and caramel malt with a big spice flavor. Cinnimon, nutmeg, clove, and licorice.
Mouthfeel- Sweet up front, slighty dry in the end.

Overall- A nice Winter Warmer. Very sweet though. Thumbs up, for sure!!

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.85/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

When still a little refrigerated, the beer is very ruddy and hazey. But a warm, lightly carbonated deep mix between copper and garnet come together. The beer looks a little more coppery as it warms. The aromas were definetly X-Mas-ey. Nutmeg and cinnamon with other holiday spices. The flavor is just like the smell but with more definition to the nutmeg and general undefinable spices thrown in. The general malt sweetness shines through as well. Nice and roasty/toasty, a little bready even. Smooth palate and nice soft lingering palate help to finish this beer. Very drinkable for a high abv brew.

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Photo of Morris729
3.62/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a ruby copper color with a think foamy white head that loves to cling to the sides of the glass. Nose is fruity hops with a bit of spice. Taste begins with sweet fruit and cake-like malt followed by a spiciness of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. Citrusy orange hops come across towards the end. Alcohol is fairly well hidden.

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Photo of k75
4.47/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Liquid Christmas candy.

great aromas of sweet orange and spice ( clove, allspice? )

tastes great , and I don't usually enjoy a heavily spiced beer
( think Anchor mid - 90's )

enjoyable in small amounts ( 3 of us shared a 22 )

perfect take on a sweet, candied and spiced ale.

I'll have it again...


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Photo of bennetj17
3.32/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2005 version.

A: Glowing, clear amber, virtually no head, weak frothiness with little carbonation.

S: Nutty caramel, raisin, hint of cherry. Not a real strong aroma, but decent.

T: Cinnamony malt, dry with a hint of gingerbread. Pleasant taste up front, weak finish. Alcohol seems pretty low for almost 9% though.

M: Very average, medium body, decent carbonation.

D: This beer had a pleasant flavor, but was very one dimensional. There wasn't much in the finish either. I wouldn't recommend this one as there are many better winter ales out there...

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Photo of BeerSox
3.82/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber into mug.

Cloudy dark amber color with a thin light tan head that settles to a think cap. Strong lacing along the glass.

Sweet malt background with a prominant cinnimon spice aroma along with clove and some caramelized sugar. Warming alcohol is also included.

Strong spicy flavors with bits of pumpkin pie coming through among the warming alcohol. The high carbonation along with the spiciness and alcohol lends a little bit, which then moves to a slightly hoppy finish with tiny bits of phenols and apple cinnimon. The alcohol is hidden well.

This is a very spiced variety of winter warmer. Not bad, although it may be too spicy for some. Watch out for the alcohol, as it can sneak up on you. You'll probably be satisfied by the time you reach the end of the bottle.

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Photo of AlexJ
4.03/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another nice surprise from Left Hand, been looking at it on the shelves for a long time, finally decided to give it a whirl.

Dark mahogany brown pour with a thick 2 inches of khaki froth that leaves scores of lace on my glass as it slowly recedes. Cascades of bubbles feed the head for a long time.

Aroma is sweet and spicy. Brown sugar and cinnamon toast drizzled with vanilla infuzed molasses. Gingersnaps, clove, and nutmeg, with a tease of pine hops.

Flavor is chewy caramel malts and oatmeal raisin cookies. Hints of cocoa and toffee intertwine with Christmas spice and a evergreen wreath of piney hops in the finish. This is over 8%, never would have guessed it, this is smooth.

Body is just above medium, with a creamy texture and chewy mouthfeel. A bit intensely spiced to drink a ton of, but very good all the same.

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Photo of UncleFlip
3.83/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Copper to brown, hazy in the glass. Half-finger tan head, a little loose.

A little hopy on the nose, wiht a spicy wet towel under. A bit of maltiness there, but not enough for my personal tastes.

On first taste, t reminds me a good bit of pumpkin pie spice. There's some ginger there, too, on top of a thick heavy maltiness...not bad at all.

Body is average to hearty, with a healthy carbonation- but not TOO much.

Not my first choice, but remarkably drinkable. Not bad at all.

Be well

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Photo of SupaCelt
3/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I am so paranoid about drinking this. I have no idea which winter this one was released on but I am sure it was a long time ago. At least an eon. The pour throws some rich amber coloured fluid into my glass. This thing is like red fo'real. Minimal lace follows a minimal head. Damn thing is nearly flat. The nose smells like cola with some fermented fruit skins floating in it. The taste is much the same. Cola. Yeah, and there is some crazy spice and fruitcake stuff going down too. The mouthfeel is oily and sugared. Drinkability not so great. This thing just takes the winter warmer gross potential and runs with it. I am sure it is dated, but still this thing should stay on the shelf. I wouldn't recommend this to a Thunderbird swillin wino with some Christmas cash to blow. Blaaah.

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Photo of gbontrag
3.73/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

smells surprisingly sour; spicy and woody, and really ripe bananas.
nice off-white froth climbs to the lip of the glass over a glowing walnut colored brew. It's thin, but leaves good lacing.
Nice drink. The mouthfeel is spicy, thin, but full. The carbonation is really beautiful.
Tastes of rich, overripe fruits, and the wood notes are great. Taste some black tea. Reminds me of a bock. the winter warmer moniker seems tacked on, but it's a good beer.

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Photo of BeerAngel
3.35/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber color with a modest 1-finger off-white head that appears to hang around. The smell is mostly of fruit, spices, and something musty in the background. The taste is more spices up front and tapering into a fruity flavor with just a hint of hops in the end. Again, there's something musty about this beer. This is a light to medium bodied beer that finishes with a slightly dry spiciness. This could be a dangerous beer if the drinkability factor was better...but it's not there. The ABV is hidden well, but the taste doesn't lend itself to wanting another.

Notes: Sort of reminds me of Anchors OSA regarding the spices, only a thinner version. Not bad, but I think it could stand a tad more hops and body.

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Photo of VoodooBrew
3.23/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

XXX Mas eh? Kinda like Ho Ho Ho...

The beer pours a burnished copper color with a decent head. Alas, this may be the most attractive aspect of the beer. The aroma contains some of the usual "holiday" elements: most notably a spiciness, especially cinnamon and cloves. The nose is sweet, almost perfumy. More cinnamon is to be had in the flavor, but it's more of a cinnamon mouthwash quality. Inasmuch as the flavor seems to lean so heavily on this cinnamon spice element, I'm reminded of those "pumpkin" beers. And I don't really like those much either.

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Photo of Fish113d
3.82/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

*Poured into a pint glass from a tap chilled.

Pours a chestnut hue with a slight thin tan edge layer; slightly hazy throughout the body.

Aroma reminds me of chocolate mint chip with some nutmeg or cinnamon. Interesting.

Sipping reveals a lot of chocolate up front along with some nutmeg and slighty caramel malts. Some alcohol on my palate as well with a slightly drying oak finish. Nice.

Creamy full body with a healthy bit of alcohol. Drying on the finish due to the alcohol. A bit dry, but suits the style.

Overall, this was okay. Decent flavor, but would be better served sharing a bottle of it than drinking too much myself.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.27/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz. bomber

Pours a hazy chestnut brown with a thin white head. Mild lacing on the glass.

Aroma is spicy and malty sweet. Reminds me of a mulled cider or fresh baked spice cookies.

Taste is malty sweet upfront and then a wave of holiday spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg) dominates the flavor. The spices have a very good flavor, but just too much of it. It should mellow with age and be a better beer next year.

Body seems slightly thin. Not enough batter to handle the spice level.

It's an anverge drinking winter warmer (btw - this stye really means nothing). Too spiced for my taste....

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Photo of russpowell
3.14/5  rDev -13%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured dark copper with athin white head that dropped off to zero quickly. Bubbles cling to the side of the glass I drink from. No head retention or lacing at all

Smell: Mostly cinamon, cloves and faint malt

Taste: Cinamon up front and some nutiness ansd warming alcohol

MF: A little thin and undercarbonated

Too one dimensional to reccomend, but will try again just assure I didn't get a crap bottle. If you like x-mas beer but aint looking for complexity this is your beer. Can't believe this was 8.0 abv

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.7/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured into the glass clear medium amber with and off-white head which rose slightly and lasted well to lace the glass.

The aroma was mostly muted spices, cinnamon and clove, and fruity esters. There was a bit of malt in the background mostly comprised of caramel.

The flavor was sweet caramel malt flavor coupled with a subtle and muted spice that was again mainly cinnamon and a bit of clove. There was little bittering to back up the malt, but the beer was not cloying in it's sweetness, but was a bit one dimensional. A fruity cherry impression emerged as the beer warmed.

The finish was even to almost dry with a lasting subtle spice and caramel impression into the aftertaste. The body was medium full. The alcohol was present in the warming after consumption and boosted the spicy phenolics of the aroma.

22 ounce bottle, $5.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
3.73/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

XXXmas is dark copper with a small head that is light brown and creamy. Retention is very weak. The aroma is rather weak, a faint sweetness that is either malts or cinnamon is noticeable alongside a bit of hop. XXXmas has a sweet, dark malt base that seems most like a brown ale. Cinnamon flavor dominates, alongside nutmeg or possibly cloves. An underlying hop flavor adds a bit more spiciness. A few other spice flavors pop through here and there, but, to be honest, I'm not sure what they are. This is a very good spiced beer, I wasn't expecting much after the weak aroma, but was pleasently surprised. This is in the top 2 or 3 of the Christmas beers I've sampled this year.

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Photo of Mitchster
3.4/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brewed with premium pale 2-row, Munich, Crystal and Chocolate malts. Hopped with Magnum & Czech Saaz. Spiced with crushed cinnamon, chopped ginger, orange zest, cardamom, cloves and local clover honey. Paid $3.99 for a 22oz bomber in Boulder, CO.

32 SRM, 7.6% ABV (per the website), 16 IBU's, OG=18.5P.

Pours to a clear dark amber, requiring a hefty pour to form a light khaki head with poor retention and sparse lacing. Carbonation is mild. The aroma is very heavily spiced, with hardly any malts, hops, or yeast peeking through. The most dominant is cinnamon, followed by ginger, clove and cardamom. The mouthfeel is smooth, syrupy and cloying with a medium-dense body. Liquid Xmas cake. The taste is predominantly spicy, but as it settles in the mouth, tobacco, leather, dates and raisins become noticeable. Clean ferment with no off-flavors noticed. Alcohol is barely perceptable. Moderately sweet which IMO enhances the appeal and makes this a real treat. If the carbonation were stronger and it was less sweet, this beer wouldn't be very good.

Ever since I brewed a Xmas ale for myself in 1995 (which was horribly overspiced), I've had a hard time swallowing spiced ales in this style (especially Anchor OSA which always makes me gag). This one I can tolerate, and on some level, actually enjoy. One bottle is definitely enough to share.

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XXXmas Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.61 out of 5 with 47 ratings