Nutcracker Ale | Boulevard Brewing Co.

very good
349 Reviews
Nutcracker AleNutcracker Ale

Brewed by:
Boulevard Brewing Co.
Missouri, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.80%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Nutcracker Ale is Boulevard’s holiday gift for real beer lovers. This hearty, warming brew is a classic winter ale, deep amber in color, with hints of molasses balanced by the “spiciness” of freshly harvested Chinook hops.

38 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-11-2002

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Reviews: 349 | Ratings: 896
Photo of rtrasr
4.84/5  rDev +28%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A perfect winter warmer. Starts rather caramel like with hints sorghum syrup, then the spiciness of the hops kick in. I wonder if this beer is the closet thing we produce that is closest to a true Burton Ale, someone needs to ask the Zythophyle. I love this beer by an open fire.

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Photo of CU570M
4.83/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer poured a red brown color. Kind of like tea. There was no head. The smell on this one was rich and fruity. One of the most fragrant, aromic beers i have ever smelled. The taste is much the same with fruity tones. I really can't describe it. I guess kind of like starfruit. This beer has some woody notes as well. Mouthfeel was dry and enjoyable. Drinkability on this one is very high for me. WHAT A GREAT GREAT BEER!

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Photo of haggadah
4.7/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Made w Chinook hops, Nutcracker is a seasonal beer that I look forward to every year. The Chinook hop was developed as recently as 1985. It has a spicy flavor--definitely tasting of grapefruit and pine. About as close as I'll ever get to a spruce beer.

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Photo of jmbranum
4.62/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The numerical scores above are from the most recent tasting.

Review of 12-13-2012:

Poured from a bottle in a pint glass. Nice super-smooth/creamy head that leaves lots of lace on the glass.

Excellent hop-laden aroma. Flavor is complex and spicier than I remembered it being. Lots of herbal hops, some raisins, brown sugar, malty grain. Very hoppy but more of a floral tone than a bitter tone. Starts dry but moves towards a little bit of sweetness and finishes again on the dry side of things.

Medium to full mouthfeel. Slightly creamy.

Overall, this beer is a new favorite Christmas beer.

Preview review: 2-25-2008
AP 4.5, AR 5.0, F 4.5, MF 4.0, OA 4.5
a great christmas beer.

poured from a bottle into mason jar.

very fresh tasting with glorious hop aroma. good balance with rich malty wheat breadnotes. just a bit of spices, but I would prefer a bit more spices.

2007 edition. this is much better than I remembered.

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Photo of Chiefy770
4.57/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 Edition.

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Light brown body with a nice reddish-orange glow. An off-white fluffy head formed and left a modest amount of lacing throughout.

Smell: A blend of citric and pine hops really stand out... almost thought I was about to sip an IPA. Rich and sweet notes of caramel are also present, making this smell a bit more like its style.

Taste: The pine-rich hops from the nose are front and center on the first sip. The malts follow up almost instantly and even out the taste with sweet and toasty malts. The balance between the malts and hops is near perfection. The bitterness and sweetness are both present and linger around for just the right amount of time in my opinion.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. The carbonation carries the hops nicely but there is a great base on here for the malts to sit on.

Overall: I was very impressed with this offering from Boulevard. My only suggestion is that they turn down the hops just a bit. There are great moments when this beer evens out and is nearly perfect but there are also many occasions when the hops dominate the taste. I would recommend this to any and all beer lovers. Definitely a brew I am looking forward to having next winter.

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Photo of Cih26d
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Simple but really solid winter brew. Doesn't have the spices or fruit sometimes seen in holiday beers. Nice Amber with subtle hops and good finish. Enjoy

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Photo of captenaj
4.48/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer was tremendous. The deep amber color with a minimal head was very pleasing. The smell was of nuts, maybe spice and maybe a little fruity. Nothing too powerful. The taste was smooth with a very complex character: first was a slight nutty taste, then spices such as cinnamon, maybe nutmeg. The alcohol was there but was very subtle. Mouthfeel was good, but perhaps a little thin. Overall and excellent brew.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears cloudy nearly opaque amber almost marron hued nice sized caramel tan head leaves fine lacing. Aroma contains a great hop profile christmas tree esque piney character nice doughy malt not overly sweet thank god no holiday spices to kill it finishes a bit citrusy sort of celebration like but unique and it's own. Taste is one great hoppy winter warmer once again thanking the beer gods that some brewers leaves out holiday spices and substitue semi sweet caramel malt profiles with yeasty bread chacter blended with a wallop of pine cone and citrus flavored hops, nicely done. Mouthfeel is medium bodied texture is silky smooth of course carbonation is perfect why mess it up now. Drinkability effortless b/c it's so good yet challenging due to the flavors that one could without a doubt crave.

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Photo of jsh420
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

best by 02/15/11

pours cloudy ruby amber with a 1+ finger head that left spotted lacing

smell - sweet candy dark fruit with some light fruits too - apple peach apricot

taste - what the hell has blvd been doing besides brew some amazing overlooked beers in twist off 6packs - again i bought a 6pack of this beer and instead of reviewing the first i am reviewing the last - 1-6 this beer was the same amazing beer - very fruity next to plenty sugary malts - this winter brew will have me dreaming of sugar plums dancing on my taste buds

mouhtfeel is light/medium with lots of carbonation that some how works

drinkability - yes i want more and yes i will get some - i plan on going back to the store and buying then out (around 2+ cases)

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Photo of bfields4
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy amber body. Nice tight off-white head with good retention.

Nice hoppy aroma citrusy and piny with a nice caramel toffee malt backing. Cinnamon and coriander holiday spiciness is faint, but present.

The spices are a little more present in the taste. Good nutty toffee quality too. Rounds out with a nice splash of grapefruit to let you know the hops are still here.

Nice chewy full bodied beer. A good array of complexity to provide a full experience for this hopped up winter warmer. Kind of reminds me of a mini barley wine.

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Photo of mynie
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice warmer pour. Perfect black cherry with a nice, tight and retentive head.

Very dry smell, grapefruit hoppy. Mmm mmm mmm. Wonderfully balanced with a candy coated Christmas winter malt. Such a combo! Jesus I do not expect so nice a scent to come from this brewery.

And whoa it appears I underestimated Boulevard! This is like a great winter APA mixed with a great warmer in a perfectly balanced beer! Great citrus and grapefruit hops to start with, moving into dryer, more juicy hops in the middle, and ending on a warm, sweet dark malt. Excellent.

Wow just wow. I would have never guessed it, but the best seasonal I've had since fall ended is far and away this beer.

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Photo of dngilb
4.44/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pours out an amber and has a small, white head.

S - Smells great... a little fruit and touch of grain.

T - I taste white grape and pear.

M - It finishes dry. Light to medium-bodied.

D - This is a pretty good winter treat and a very good offering from Boulevard. I rarely buy a 6 pack, but I did buy 6 of these.

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Photo of iowaero
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark amber with thin white head

S- Nice citrus pine with a very small hint of some winter spice

T - Wonderful big caramel malt with plenty of piney hops to finish. Very very tastey.

M - Very creamy, low carbonation, yet not too heavey.

D - Way too easy for 6.6. Could just have one or drink with a meal, or a session. Nice. My favorite winter warmer.

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Photo of SpecialK088
4.4/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a willy

A-Nice dark amber good big long lasting head.

S-hops, sweet spices also some piney notes.

T-Nice complex flavor good hop bite with a spicy sweet middle and finish a nice clean finish to.

M-Very good carbonation level medium body feels good in your mouth and going down.

D-Every winter from this point on and i may backstock some!

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Photo of BeerWizard
4.39/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First tried this a few years back and wasn't wowed by it, which made it all the more surprising trying it again and finding it so enjoyable.

Package says it is brewed with fresh hops, and bottle art is officially seasonal in red and green with some nutcracker teeth and 'stache. Body is a rusty brown-orange with heavy suspended, grainy sediment, and a shortish, off-white head. Nose is super-hoppy, tropical fruit, citrus, a tad sour - just yeasty. Flavor is citrusy, perfect sweet-malt balance for me. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, moderate carbonation.

Stylistically it throws me - it's like a fresh-hop-dubbel, which I've never heard of, but I like the shit out of it. Overall, pretty masterful, and one of my favorites from this year.

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Photo of tmcelvain
4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Beautiful copper color - so hazy that I can't see through it. Nice foamy head.
S: Full bodies malt smell.
T: Fairly sweet; faint citrusy hops mixed with some caramelly malts and a dried candy aftertaste.
M: pleasantly thick with a refreshing medium carbonation.
D: Very drinkable for any season in my opinion. Lots of body in this WW, without being overly spiced like some holiday ales.
Overall a bit sweet perhaps, but full-bodies enough to keep from a cloyingly sweet flavor.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a shaker pint glass.

The beer is a hazy cinnamon-amber. A sturdy, fluffy off-white vanilla head sits on top, and with a hard pour, it's a beautiful frothy sea-foam head. Sticky lacing that disappears. Smells of pine, apricots, and hop citrus. The beer tastes very much like a Boulevard beer -- highly carbonated, very tangy, hop citrus, pine, and maybe a hint of spices. The is a crisp tangy apple note that dominates the taste profile. Cinnamon and rich malts are in the finish.

The mouthfeel is sticky, and very much in the same vein as most pale ales. Overall, I'm biased, I love this beer every December. And honestly, it actually is a lot better than most of the other Winter Warmers out there. I love the color, taste, and feel, and it's very consistent every year.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I snatched up one of the last few sixers of this yesterday in hopes it would still be fresh even though it was sitting on the non-refridgerated sale shelf. Thankfully Boulevard packages their bottles in boxes that allow very little light penetration, if any, because the beer was still magnificent.

It poured to a dark nutty brown amber color with a slightly off-white head. The little bubbles build up to about an inch from the pour and back off to about a centimeter as it settles. The smell wasn't particularly breathtaking... it took quite a bit of agitation to produce a good whiff. What I did detect was roasted barley malts and hops with a slight hint of pine.

The taste, as usual, was the best part. The sip starts off with a bit of malty sweetness with a well blanced hop character in the finish. This doesn't quite have as big of a kick as many winter warmers I've had in the past, but I could taste the alcohol in the finish, so I could tell it was doing its job. I will definately drink more of this next year.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cherry caramel suffused with glowing sunset orange. Nutcracker has a wonderful, festive color that reminds me of any number of American barleywines. The lightly creamy, orange-tinted, golden beige cap looks good as well, even if it doesn't look like it'll be a lace monster. This is one tremendous looking winter warmer.

The nose is a keeper too, in large part because I can appreciate the citric hoppy goodness emanating from the Magnum, Cascade and Chinook. I wish the caramel maltiness and the orange and grapefruit hoppiness of the nose was even more prominent, but I've chosen not to mark it down for a wee lack of power. Besides, warming opens it up quite nicely.

Nutcracker Ale certainly has no shortage of flavor. Boulevard Brewing has seen fit to pack it with ingredients, something that I wish more brewers of winter warmers would do. From a hophead's perspective at least, this is a balanced beer. Malt and hops, sweet and bitter; both are well accounted for and neither gets the upper hand at any point along the flavor arc.

Each mouthful reminds me of well-toasted whole grain bread slathered with melted caramels and orange and white grapefruit marmalade. It's sweet and nutty and spicy and bitter and tangy all at once. I wasn't sure what to make of it initially, but now I'm definitely a fan. Warming helps, so I'll be sure to start my next bottle out at barely cool.

The mouthfeel is akin to a mid-range IPA. It may be just a tad light for a big winter warmer, but then given the ABV, it could be hardly be called a big winter warmer. It sure is big on flavor though. I'm enjoying the incredible smoothness and the perfect (read: restrained) amount of carbonation.

In poker parlance, Nutcracker Ale is the nuts! It's a fantastic winter warmer from a brewery that has previously impressed me with only two beers, Bully Porter! and Bob's '47 Munich Style Lager. I've never seen it in sixers, only in holiday packs, but I'll have to look harder from now on. Kudos to the boys from Boulevard for this flavorful, incredibly drinkable holiday treat.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My sources tell me this is a 6.6% English style strong ale, not a brown ale. Thus I will review it as such.

Murky looking deep scarlet red appearance. Thin, but dense, beige head caps it off. Retention is good and lacing is in rings. Aroma is big on woody, oak tones. Also some deep maltiness and herbal hop presence. The flavor sure has some character. Thick and vinous. Full body and creamy mouthfeel. Flavors are big on woody tones as well. Oakiness and dry cedar. Malt seems to have a toffee kind of a feel to it. And the hops impart a huge dryness to the finish.

A new seasonal in our area this year and definitely a welcome one.
Reminds me a little of the SnowCap from Pyramid.

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4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy red amber with orange highlights. Small tannish head that dissipated quickly. not much lacing.

Sweet nutty toffee. herbal pine with a tough of grapefruit. Overall somewhat muted.

Sharp herbal pine and citrus. spicy toasty nutty toffee. Big bitter resinous herbal pine aftertaste. well balanced.

full bodied, sticky, dry, smooth, good carb

Good hoppy bitter balanced warmer. I like my winter beers with a little more hops than most have, this was a pleasant surprise. Def worth a try.

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Photo of bort11
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed with my Thanksgiving Dinner.

12 oz bottle poured into an Imperial pint glass. Color is a redding caramel. Nice one finger width head that recedes to a fairly sticky lace. Smell is very malty with a healthy dose of spices. Taste is a caramel maltiness up front but finishes with a hops bitterness. Very well balanced. Very well spiced with a bit of nutmeg and all spice. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a mild carbonation.
This is just about a perfect beer for a heavy meal

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Photo of Zach136
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Hazy amber, thin head.

Aroma: Tropical fuicy fruit hop character.

Flavor: Well balanced caramel malts and hop bitterness with a piney hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and somewhat sticky.

Overall: Probably my favorite winter warmer... because it's loaded with hops.

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Photo of rrski198
4.29/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep red color. Huge off white colored red. Nice lacing.

S: WOW! Outstanding, clean, fresh, citrus, piney hops. One of the best smelling beers i've had. I'm getting alot of grapefruit and lemon. Little bit of booze, but it is perfect.

T: Not quite as impressive as the smell, but again, this is an outstanding beer. Real solid IPA with all sorts of fresh hops flavors going on. Great bready caramel back bone hear that creates an awesome balance and decent body.

M: Good carbonation. Nothing over the top. The body brings it up a rating over average.

D: This is one of the best "seasonal" beers i've got this year. Not sure it qualifies as a "seasonal," as it is a straight forward IPA, however, this beer is perfectly balanced and has a great nose. I have bought this beer quite a few times and will continue to do so.

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Photo of AustinBeerLvr
4.28/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a 12 ounce bottle.

A: Very murkey reddish brown. Poured with a huge amount of head. Leaves a nice lacing as it was being consumed.

S: A blend of citrus and nuts. Very nice, just not quite enough there to be exceptional.

T & M: Up front, I tasted a variety of fruit flavors that were very very pleasant. At the end, there is a nice hop bitterness and a malt sweetness that rounds everything out nicely. This beer quite possibly has more flavor and complexity than any other session beer I have tasted. The mouthfeel is good for the style, neither too heavy nor watery.

D: Very good. Just be careful, as this one is strong.

This is one of my favorite winter warmers I have had. Lots of flavor and complexity, but still very drinkable. Make sure you let this beer warm to a good temperature (I would say close to 50 degrees) before pouring it. I n order to fully appreciate all the complexity, it needs to be warmer than most brews. Nice to see my home state brew such a kick ass winter warmer.

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Nutcracker Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
3.78 out of 5 based on 896 ratings.
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