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Nutcracker Ale | Boulevard Brewing Co.

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very good
348 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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 348 | Ratings: 883
Photo of ScorpyX
2.38/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Bottle pour into a tall glass

A: Dark amber color, too hazy to see through. Darker where the foam is. Finger-width head dissipates to leave behind some lacing.

S: Smell is malty with some fruitiness to it. Has a bit of an apple scent to it.

T: I seem to detect the piney and fruity tastes above all. Some hops add bitterness, but nothing overwhelming. The tart lingers.

M: Good amount of carbonation, but not so much that it dominates. Medium-bodied, but a thickness does linger to an extent.

D: While not overly heavy, the combination of the feel and the taste go together for a beer that would give me trouble drinking multiple. Not a bad beer, but I have had a number of winter ales that, in my opinion, are superior, particularly for the season. Good try, but not one I'll actively seek out.

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Photo of blakelive784
2.63/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz bottle served in a pint glass (a winter warmer at 5.9%? I'm skeptical) :

A - Pours a deep, orange amber color with a tall 2.5 finger head. Retention is very good and the head is decently creamy.

S - Grassy lemon, caramel, grapefruit, and musky hops. Really pretty muddy, though, I hope the flavors are more defined.

T - Overbearing citrus hops open and stay throughout. There's a buried caramel and toasted malt foundation, but it's hard to find. Even with the low abv, it finishes with an ethanol aftertaste. Uninteresting and uninspired.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and wet. Meh.

D - It's not bad, but far from anything good, especially when there are many, many better choices in this style.

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Photo of bjohnson
2.68/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

thanks to vancer for the chance to try this offering. appreciate the opportunity.

Pours a dark reddish almost maroon color with a one finger cream colored head. Quite fluffy with nice retention. Sweet malt notes with hints of dark fruit and sweet caramel. Lightish pine and grapefruit hop notes. Biscuity and bready malt profile.

Dark fruits come first. Toasted grains with a nutty characteristic. Bitterness stings the tongue. Leafy and spicy hop notes. Light mouthfeel. Carbonation is a bit too much. grassy hop notes come through as it warms. A bit more pleasant when it's colder. I'd pass again.

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Photo of GuinnessSmurf
2.87/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Finally - its time for Winter seasonal beers!

Appearance: It has a redish orange color burried within a darker ale body. There is a nice head of medium sized bubbles.

Smell: Strange...it has a cola/rootbeer (annise) happening. It also has a very dusty odor. I thought maybe my glass was dirty, so i washed it, dried it and poured a second one...still there though. None the less, a very interesting odor.

Taste: There is a mild bitter opening that is much like their pale ale. It moves into a medicinal flavor that is difficult to trace - at times it was minty, and at other times it was peppery.

Mouthfeel: Nothing special here...just a medium bodied beer.

Drinkability: My overall impression was that this was not a repeat beer. I had 3 of them so far, but only because I'm out of anything else to drink. I forced the other 3 on company.

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Photo of tut2528
2.99/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2012 release

A: pours a nice murky brown, with a nice fingers worth of frothy beige colored head formation. moderate lacing is seen as well. just a couple of swirls in the glass re-creates a nice slick creamy looking film

S: hops right up front with a massive alcohol burn. behind the alcohol lies some subtle spices, a sweet malt and a slight touch of fruit (possibly berries), nuts, and interestingly i pick up on celery (like how celery tastes)

T: very underwhelming. hops, nuts, spices, and alcohol. just a slight touch of fruit in there, but I not enjoying this balance

M: medium bodied, leaves hops and a slight nutty character on the palate. slight alcohol presence is also felt as it warms up the gums.

O: usually I enjoy Boulevards offerings, but I could easily do without this one because I dont find this one all that well balanced, and the alcohol keeps all the other aspects of the brew at bay

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
3/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle - 2006 edition - thanks to jhammerly

Pours a very murky chestnut brown with a dense beige head that maintains. Thick lacing on the glass.

Aroma is quite yeasty with a sweet fruitiness and a hint of hops.

Taste is yeasty upfront leading into a light caramel malt and toasted nutty flavor. Fairly sharp bitterness towards the finish with an herbal hop flavor.

Medium body, plenty of carbonation.

Extremely average across the board. Still drinkable, but very unimpressive compared to other Boulevard beers.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.01/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a hazy reddish-brown with a massive 2.5 finger egg-white head, overflowing from my glass. Decent lacing.

S: Up front there is a lot of apple and some floral hops, with a decent amount of alcohol.

T: It tastes almost like cider with a light citrus kick to it. Some bready malt fills out the flavor profile. After finishing the review, I went back and read some others, and this flavor profile doesn't really jive with most, might be a little past due, looked for a best by and didn't find one, might have been rubbed off?

M: Medium bodied with high carbonation, texture is a little on the grainy side.

O: Not sure on this one, I am guessing its no longer good, but can't imagine a change this drastic. Will try again.

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Photo of Bagman007
3.02/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served on a bottle poured into a pint glass,

A - Brown coloring with a lot of head.

S - Has a nutty caramel scent to it with some noticeable hops.

T - Strong caramel scent with a slightly hoppy finish.

M - Initially malty and smooth with a slightly dry, hoppy finish.

D - Very drinkable beer. Not too hoppy.

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Photo of philbertk
3.03/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Boulevard Brewing Company--Nutcracker Ale--Our Unfiltered Winter Warmer--Beer Elf Signatures--2010 12 oz. Bottle. 5.90% ABV. 38 IBU's. (3.0 / 5.0 ) Amber Ale. No sediment. Dense rocky lacy light orange head & bright cloudy color. Malty floral hop fruit ester front. Malty frothy sweet caramel fruit ester zesty rich Amber Ale body. Mild hop lingering ester end. A little sweet & fruity. Sampled 11/20/2010 from 6-Pack purchased for $7.99 @ Seattle QFC--Ballard on 11/5/2010.

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Photo of lester619
3.05/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a hazy dark red-orange to brown with a medium tan head with good clingy lacing. Smell is malty sweet with some vanilla-molasses and spicy hop cinamon ginger in the background. I like the taste better than most spiced winter warmers. It has a nice balanced sweet malty molasses caramel body with a fair amount of bitter citrusy hops in the finish. The cinamon, ginger, nutmeg orange come out at the end. I am going to stop trying to make myself like spiced beer. It's not happening for me. Anyway as this style goes, I think this is most drinkable one I have come across. Not bad.

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Photo of plfahey
3.12/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Deep amber in color, with brilliant ruby highlights when held to the light. Very clear. Nice, thick, off-white head with a fine bead and good retention. Some evidence of lacing. Gorgeous.

Aroma-Up front I get an aroma of fresh cut apples that is a little bit acetaldehyde-like, mixed with some light perfumy alcohols. With the spices I detect along side it (cinnamon, light clove), it gives the perception of mulled cider. Behind the apple is some roasted malt, with some light citrus/pine hops to back it up.

Flavor-Just a suggestions of the tart apple flavor around the edges, there's more roast and hop flavor in the flavor. The malt comes across as roasty and bready, and the hops seem piney and citrusy. Hop bitterness is moderate, and leaves the aftertaste quite dry. Not bad, but the tart apple flavor fights with everything else in the beer.

Mouthfeel-Medium body, enhanced by the moderately high carbonation. Slight alcohol warmth. Relatively smooth, though a bit high on the carbonation.

I was not overly impressed with this one. Absent the apple flavor, this probably could have been a pretty good beer-however that flavor really fought with the other components of the beer, making for a less than pleasant experience.

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Photo of bearcamp
3.13/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2009 Version is WAY different form prior years. Much more hoppy! More like an IPA/PA this year than the malty sweetness than I'm used too. Much more carbonation than prior years. Can you tell yet that I like the Nutcracker of the past. This years batch is good, but not what I'm used too!. Almost SN celebration copy! Miss the old Nutcracker!

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Photo of morimech
3.14/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear copper color with a large white head that slowly settles to a thick cap. Plenty of sticky lacing is left on the glass surface.

Something about the aroma that turns me off. It smells like grape juice. Some pine aroma comes from the hops. Also a little spice is detected.

The malt gives a light caramel flavor but the hops are much more dominant. A little citrus and resiny charactor comes from the hops. The spice does not really combine very well with the hops. Something just seems a little off in the aroma and taste in this beer. Needed more malt charactor as well.

Medium body but just a bit overcarbonated.

Not a favorite of mine. I tried this on two different days to see if my tastebuds were off. Tasted the same. I just did not like the hop and spice combination.

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Photo of Treebs
3.14/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle served in a DFH signature glass. Best by 2/28/2012.

A: Pours a light plum color with some mixes of brown also. The head is very large on the pour, about two inches in height, that sticks around for quite some time and leaves some sticky sheets of lace.

S: Caramel malts, some dark fruit, light sweetness and yeasty spice all mix in the nose. Doesn't really smell like the typical winter warmer.

T: The toffee malts are the base for the taste, but the yeast really comes through giving it a little spice. Some clove and sweet fruits round it out.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Slighty chewy texture. It just doesn't seem to work with this style.

O: This isn't your typical winter warmer. I thought it was more of a weizenbock type beer than anything else. Not a bad beer, but nothing special by any means and don't go in thinking you're going to get a boozy and sweet winter warmer.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
3.15/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1 finger head and a ruby color with decent retention.

Caramel and toffee notes, however there is an iron undertone that leads to stale/oxidized characteristics.

Taste is sweet of caramel and toffee. There is a tiny bit of undiscernable spic and some hop flavoring. There is a bit of fusel alcohols as well.

Fusel alcohols get in the way of a potentially decent beer. The carbonation is good.

Brewing flaws are apparent in this one. I won't be trying it again.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.16/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle poured into a nonic. Best by 02/07/14.

(A)- Pours a hazy bronze colored amber. Some good off-white to tan colored froth. Good retention and lacing.

(S)- A very sweet caramel and honey malt base meets very subtle toasted nuttiness and fig.

(T)- Again, very caramel and honey sweetness with a lightly toasted nuttiness and fig.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. A touch sweet, but not very complex.

(O)- A slightly richer and sweeter beer, but nothing that really reminds me of the holiday season.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.16/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. Brown twisty with Best before 2/1/05 on the bottle
Aroma: An odd harsh hop aroma. Hard to pinpoint, but different.
Appearance: Clear to hazy orange/amber with a nice tan head. The head lingered and left a solid coat of heavy lace.
Flavor: Seems to be based on an amber ale. A sweet start is cut short by a harsh bitter finish. Some alcohol noted as well as a touch of rain water that I associate with an organic beer. Sample was a bit oxidized showing a touch of cardboard within the best by date.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, medium carbonation.
Overall Impression: Not my cup of hop tea. No real malt tastes, not much spice to put it in a winter mood. An enjoyable beer, but a bit different. Big props to babydoc who set me up with the generous trade!

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Photo of walleye
3.16/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

from the bottle. I shared this with bieristgut. poured a mahogany with light tan head. aroma, sour grapes, honey, malts apples the sour kind, grapefruit, molasses. flavor caramel, musty,wheat, malts and just a hint of alcohol. a little weak but not to bad.

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Photo of timtheenchanta
3.2/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Hazy light brown liquid with a medium head that dissipates quickly.

Good spicy hop balanced caramel malt nose.

Very sweet malt taste. Not much spice to my surprise. Slight alcohol taste to it. Slight hop taste to it. A medium bitterness in the palate with slight caramel malt.

Good brew. Thanks go out to bditty187 for this one.

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Photo of timbro81
3.21/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Head billows out from my mug at the bar. I see that the color is a hazy copper in my friends glass (my mug is ceramic). Somewhat sweet, but not of the good variety, in the nose. Good malt to hop balance mingled with usual Christmas spices (ginger, cinnamon, maybe some orange). Light mouthfeel followed by a short lived aftertaste. Not the best for the style.

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Photo of Mistofminn
3.24/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle was the 4th and final beer of the night from a Boulevard 12-Pack Sampler. Poured from a brown fat bottle into a pint glass.

I have a strange feeling that this may be one of the last Winter seasonal's that I have this year. I have stocked up on a few others (Winterhook, Brr, Summit Winter Ale, etc.) so I really have no reason to go out and get a different one. Sad.... Also, may breweries will soon be switching from their Nov-Dec beers to Jan-March beers.

Dark amber color that was surprisingly clear (until I realized the label claims it is unfiltered). Tan head with a bit of lacing.

Spices that remind me of Christmas with fruit tones. Not much in the way of malts.

Tastes nutty (big surprise there) with toasted malt flavor. Spices are also present.

Medium carbonation combine with a medium body to round out the mouthfeel.

It's not bad, but I was expecting better. Maybe I've been blessed with much better winter seasonal's this year so they outshine this one. Not bad, just nothing to write home about.

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Photo of corby112
3.24/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle received in a recent trade with thehand. Thanks again man.

Pours a cloudy, very dark golden orange/chestnut mahogany brown color with dark golden orange hues when held to a light source and a two finger frothy, pillowy yellowish beige head. Excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap. Sporadic chunks of soapy lacing left behind.

Slightly earthy caramel malt aroma that is slightly toasty with subtle hints of dark fruit and peppery spice. Subtle citrus and piny hops with sweet caramel malt, hazelnut and toffee. Slightly medicinal with hints of dark cherry and peppery zest.

Slightly oxidized medium body that is very hop forward for the style with lots of dry earthy pine notes and subtle hints of citrus. There is a very prominent caramel malt backbone with a thick syrupy consistency. Slight peppery spice with hints of dark fruit, mostly tart dark cherry. Slightly creamy mouthfeel which is decently balanced with perhaps too strong of a hop character. Slightly dry finish.

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Photo of CHSLBrew
3.24/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A-Dark amber beer, surprisingly clear, as the label touts the beer as unfiltered. Tan head on top, poured 2-fingers that quickly settled to a nice 1 cm layer for the duration of this beer. Some lacing, attractive.

S-Mostly holiday spices with hints of fruitiness. Lacked a definite malt aroma.

T-Nutty, toasty, caramelly malt-centric flavor, not necessarily big, but it is prominent. Light fruits emerge, mixed with spices (as in the aroma). Some earthy character. No perceptible hop bitterness.

M-Medium-high carbonation cannot quite bolster this medium-bodied beer to a prime winter warmer-caliber body.

D-It's an ok beer. Not great, and its malt presence seemed a bit lacking, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

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Photo of Zebus0
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Pretty good. I've had it on draft before, good coloration, nothing to really write home about.

S- Pretty good. Lot of nut flavor. To me it has a pretty sharp aroma, lots of spices/nuts.

T- Pretty good. Not a ton of hops but the taste is pronounced. Same as aroma, nutty flavor, bit of spice but not overwhelming. Pretty nice flavor.

M- Smoothness. Good ale texture.

D- Pretty good, this is one of my favorite beers for the wintertime. I'll drink it, and I like drinking it.

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Photo of pmcadamis
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Reddish brown russet color with a thick foamy two finger head. Very little lace is left on the glass.

S - Big piney Sierra Nevada-esque hop aroma right of the bat (I wasn't expecting such a hoppy nose in a winter warmer). None of the expected cinnamon or nutmeg. Sorta boring. Just smells like a nicely hopped pale ale to me. Smells dry hopped.

T - Hops again up front, with some subtle mushroom and earth flavors. Odd and vegetal, but more interesting and unique than the nose. Wow....lots of mushroom flavors (I like mushrooms, so this is not a bad thing for me). I can taste a bit of nuttiness in the aftertaste, but other than that, there are just tons of hops.

M - Thick and very creamy to the point of almost being foamy. Tiny bit of sweetness up front develops into a full blown sugary coating, but an extremely dry hoppy finish sort of evens things out. I wouldn't call this balanced however.

D - I would pass on this next time. It's interesting that's for sure....it's just a very odd beer. It's trying to be an IPA, a spiced dark beer, a nut brown, and several other things all at once, and it's not really doing any of them well. It sort of reminds me of SN Celebration Ale, just nowhere near as good.

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Nutcracker Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
3.77 out of 5 based on 883 ratings.
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