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 superspak
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, best before 2/15/2017. Pours slightly hazy/cloudy deep orange/amber/light copper color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big grapefruit, orange peel, caramel, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, cherry, plum, apple, pepper, pine, light nuttiness/toffee, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of citrus/pine hops, fruity yeast, brown sugar, and moderate dark/bready malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big grapefruit, orange peel, caramel, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, cherry, plum, apple, pepper, pine, light nuttiness/toffee, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Light-moderate pine/grassy/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, orange peel, caramel, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, cherry, plum, apple, pepper, pine, light nuttiness, and herbal/floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Great complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/pine hops, fruity yeast, brown sugar, and moderate dark/bready malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance, and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light dryness from lingering bitterness, increasing through the glass. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, and moderately bready/grainy/creamy/sticky balanced mouthfeel that is great. Minimal warming alcohol for 7.8%. Overall this is a great English strong ale. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/pine hops, fruity yeast, brown sugar, and moderate dark/bready malt flavors; very smooth and easy to drink for the ABV. Really well balanced and not overly bitter for being fresh. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of ColoradoRich
3.86/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Hoppier than many holiday brews at 38 IBU, but pleasantly so for those of us not uber passionate about the IPA set. Pours a great red Amber color, and has a smell that reminds me of pinon.

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Photo of akolb
3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber-red. Aroma has sweet caramel, a touch of piney hops, and bread. Aroma has a suprising amount of citrus, along with some bready brown malts and a nice bitter finish. A little light bodied for my liking. Some spice and alcohol.

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Photo of barczar
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Aroma is sweet, with fruity amber malt notes. Touch of citrus.

Flavor is citrusy throughout, with an amber malt backbone and moderately bitter finish that lingers. Molasses sweetness surfaces in the aftertaste.

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Photo of jw4free
3.66/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Weizen glass. L: cloudy dark Amber, light brown. Excellent thick tan head. Fades slowly. S: over hopped at the start. Pine fades to bear out malts of raisin, prune and molasses. Let this one rest and warm. T: citrus and fruity yeast. Decent blend. Good spice from hops. F: warming alcohol. O: good drink to crack open and sip over a long conversation.

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Photo of WunderLlama
3.89/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Brown with great lacings, one finger taupe , layer of foam settles on the way down

Spicy notes of cinnamon

Suds up nicely , smooth , slight lingering finish

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Photo of Suds
3.49/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This beer is light brown, hazy (murky), with a small off-white head. Nice lace. The aroma is a little malty, with some nutty and vanilla scents. The taste is moderately sweet, with a very malty balance. Full in body and quite warming. It's a great winter warmer.

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Photo of schoolboy
4.24/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a very nice surprise from Boulevard - a quality, unique holiday brew at popular prices.

It's pretty in the glass. Brown, with stuff suspended. A fine head continues throughout. The aroma is a yeast funky, slightly hopped smell. Very nice.

The taste is yeast dominated. It's somewhat dry and slightly Belgian tasting. It does not have that spice taste nor much sweetness. A very interesting and unique taste.

Ah, it tastes slightly boozy too, and that lingers. Quite a great holiday brew.

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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 UCLABrewN84
3.56/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best by 2/16/16.

Pours a hazy copper with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Tiny particles of sediment are seen suspended in the beer after the pour. Smell is of malt, citrus fruit, citrus zest, and earthy hop aromas. Taste is much the same with malt, citrus zest, grapefruit juice, pine needle, and earthy hop flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with nice flavors, but the aromas on this one work together slightly better to me.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of BB1313
3.41/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Best by 2/16/16. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a very hazy chestnut with a tan head that fades leaving very nice retention and nice lacing. Some sediment/floaties. The aromas are malty. Lots of orange zest along with hints of caramel. Very subtle alcoholic aromas. Some fresh dough. The flavors are bold. Tons of orange. Spicy hops. Tons of malts. Some toffee and more caramel. Some molasses. Subtle pine notes. Alcohol goes unnoticed. Mouthfeel is great. It's medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. Extremely light, creamy and fluffy. Very smooth.

Solid winter brew. Nice balance between spicy hops and malty goodness.

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Photo of MizzouBrew
4.06/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a mildly opaque amber brown with a thich frothy head. Tastes like a strong brown ale with mild hop presence. Can't really taste the 7.8%. A good sipping winter warmer that I would definitely drink again.

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Photo of Gorilla_Biscuits
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Reminds me of Goose Island's autumn ale, except it it much creamier and a bit heavier in the body. There's a fair amount hop and malt flavours going on here. It just kind of tastes like an IPA, a bit of that tasteless gum flavour, some fruit, molasses, and caramel. Maybe some ginger or cinnamon as well.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.79/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

BB 2/16/15 at 42 degrees into shaker
Aroma – weak piney hops, some spice
Head large (six cm, aggressive pour), light tan, creamy, slooowly diminishing to a creamy layer
Lacing poor – few tiny islands of tiny bubbles
Body dark orange, hazy, effervescent
Flavor – actually, for being eight months past date, one of the few drinkable “winter warmers” I’ve had. The spices have been attenuated to the point that it doesn’t seem like I’m chewing on a spice bag and the hops have blended nicely with the spices; no alcohol, no diacetyl.
Palate medium, slightly creamy, lively carbonation

Appearance 3.75, Aroma 4, Flavor 3.75, Palate 3.75, Overall 3.75

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Photo of infinitebruner
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

March 21, 2015

12 oz bottle, nonic pint glass

A – Medium copper, with a bit of an orange hue. Appears to be mostly clear, with some chill haze. Head is about a half-inch, white to off-white, with moderate-long retention.

S – Grainy, toasty-bready malt, with a large dose of bread crust and crystal/caramel. Hops are piney and resiny, with some passion fruit or guava in the background.

T – Again, very bready, crusty, with a lot of caramel impression. Piney hops, a little bit of fruit, and bitterness flowering on the finish and aftertaste. An impression of spice, not nutmeg but in that vicinity. Malt is the star, but well balanced by the hop flavor and bitterness.

M – Medium-full body, with moderate carbonation. Malty but not very high sweetness, bitterness and a touch of astringency on the finish.

O – Definitely an American version of the winter warmer, with the piney hops, but excellent malt presence, and a balanced, rewarding beer. Solid.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.89/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

$5.99 six pack, alright.

It looks : quiet, foamy head like an old fashioned root beer float. It's about two fingers tall, beige, and leaves moderate lacing behind. Pretty stable head. Body is a dark blood orange color.

It smells : Cranberries, walnuts, blueberry, peach pit,with a faint orange hop note ghosting it.

It tastes : complex. Pale hop hits first and then it morphs into a blueberry and peach cobbler flavor, ending with nutty walnut, dried cranberry, currant, and orange peel. It is very robust and many flavors are to be had here. It wraps itself up in an orange peel at the end. The pale note does clash with the fruity malt flavors unfortunately, so I will dock the score from a 4 to a 3.75.

It feels : medium bodied, lightly carbonated if a bit prickly, ends slightly dry and creamy.

Overall : I've got 5 more of these and I'm not sorry.

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This was enjoyed at the Crescent Moon Ale House in Omaha, Nebraska on their Tuesday pint night. They have one beer for special, and then give you, to take home, the corresponding glassware. This was that offering on a week in late November of 2014. The beer arrived in a Boulevard Nutcracker Ale pint glass showing a ruddy, burnt chestnut coloring. It held a finger’s worth of a creme brûlée colored head, holding onto some nice retention. Wet blobs of lacing were left dripping down the glass. A haze cut clarity, but no sediment was noted. Carbonation appeared to be moderately active. The aroma gave a wintry blend of soured booziness, toasted amber and caramel maltiness, cleanly citric and herbal hop overtones, cranberry fruity sours, chestnut shells, fruit roll up sugary fruitiness, clam sauce, light buttery diacetyls, soy sauce, and nail polish remover. The flavoring to complement gave, upfront, a robust showing of freshly plucked nectary and floral hop sweetness, massive biscuity pale and amber malt graininess, molasses twinge and spice without that dark dankness, cherry oils, and phenolic clove spiciness. The end and after took a deeper turn, churning up mineral earthiness, more citric hop oiliness, dried pine cones and potpourri, old and moldy red and amber maltiness, soured yeasty breadiness, and heavy tannic twinge. The body was medium, but thick around the edges, and carbonation felt to be only mildly active. The mouth was crisply coated and warmed, with tannic dryness for days amongst the curious fruity pucker from the cranberry inclusion. The abv was appropriate, and the beer disappeared like any $2.00 pint night special would.

Overall, this was a nicely spiced winter warmer. The flavoring is savory enough to keep you coming back for more, and the spice is certainly there, but the wonderfully decreased pint night special pricing also helped quite a bit. The beer went well with our jalapeño burger and chicken Caesar wrap, respectively, helping to quell any spice or savoriness from the meal. Really, rather standard, but flavorful, aromatic, and hearty enough for season.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 fl.oz. bottle
Served in a pint glass

L - It is copper in color with tiny bits of suspended yeast. A normal pour yields several inches of tan head.

S - I get a nice citrus aroma. Spiced orange tea comes to mind. I little bit of caramel malt rounds it out.

T - It tastes like a pale ale. I get a solid caramel malt backbone with generous amounts of citrus from the dry hopping. It leaves a fruity aftertaste.

F - Medium

O - It is not a bad beer. It is a nice change of pace from a little of the heavily spiced winter warmers. It is nothing to trade a kidney for, but I would be happy to have it each winter.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.76/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Amber to brown in color with a lot of suspended minuscule sediment within the body gives it a murky complexion. A half inch of tightly knit beige head is present. I smell light malt and perhaps hazlenut. The flavor is more of a nutty fare with gentle citrus dry hopping. The body is fairly smooth and dry.

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Photo of IPAGeorge
4.04/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a wine glass from a bottle.

A. Beautiful deep amber color with an 1/8th inch head that subsides quickly.

S. Nice malt character. Aromas of molasses and barley fill the nose.

T. Nice sweet Carmel malt. Little brown sugary. Good balance with the hops which are a bit piney and slightly bitter. Finishes pretty clean.

M. Medium body, prickly carbonation finishes a little chewy.

O. Nice winter beer that has some warming ability. Good holiday flavors. Very drinkable.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, with best by date 02/17/2015 printed on the bottleneck. A new winter warmer seasonal to me from Boulevard. Acquired a single bottle of this stuff from the local beer store.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a super dark burnt orange-mahogany-rubyish body with about a finger and a half of luxuriously creamy frothy off-white head. Leaves lots of good sticky lacing behind. Lots of dark sediment lurking at the bottom of the glass. Looks very nice.

S - The smell is pleasant enough - bready, doughy, & yeasty, with a touch of hop fruitiness making a brief appearance. Lots of molasses / toffee / brown sugar notes. Very mild herbal spice rack content is noticeable, but faint.

T - Taste is the same - very sweet, brown bread, brown sugar, toffee, and molasses being the main players. A bit of doughy yeast. Mild bitter hop content.

M - The feel is smooth, fluid, crisp, & creamy. Medium-bodied with nice carbonation. Very easy drinking for the moderate 7.80% abv.

Overall, a very nice winter warmer from Boulevard. Simple, but to the point.

Boulevard Nutcracker Ale -----3.5/5

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Photo of BrownAleBollocks
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%

Pour is deep copper to ruby color with a hearty off white head that fades fairly quickly. Leaves good lacing behind. Aroma is of malt sweetness, candy sugar and hops. Taste is slightly sweet with hints of candy sugar, plum, and hops. Can definitely tell the hops are chinook with the bit of spice. Mouthfeel is on the heavier side and coats the mouth. Overall a very nice winter warmer made better with the addition of fresh hops. A wintertime staple.

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Photo of dcscientist
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was happy to try this winter seasonal, since I'd never had it before and wanted to compare it to a couple of my other favorites in this style. It held up fairly well, and I'd buy it again. Good mix of traditional holiday flavors, and a bit higher alcohol content for when you're staying home and out of the snow.

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Photo of nem2006
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured deep amber/copper with lightly tanned, very creamy head. Holds the head well.

Nose: Spicy, slightly piney. Not too overpowering on the hop aroma, but that is almost all you get.

Taste: Medium bodied, well-balanced at the front end. However the hops linger on the tongue after the malt sweetness fades away. Lingers for a while, drying out the mouth slightly.

Overall: A good beer experience. The flavor really changes with the temperature. In my opinion, a bit smoother at lower temps. With higher temps, you get more of the hop/alcohol bite, not necessarily a negative thing.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
3.67/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Also sampled tonight on 3/1/14 but had this one back in 2012. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured into a pilsner flute glass.

Pours a hazy amber bronze in color with a good 1-finger light beige foamy head that settles down to a thin layering. Lacing was seen with each sip but wasn't heavy. The aroma is of caramel malts with a touch of honey and spices. The taste is about the same with some citrus over tones and a strong pepper spice finish. Slightly bitter finish as well.

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