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: 895
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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Photo of BierJager89
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Hazy red-orange, with a tan head.

S: Pineapple, mango, orange hop character blended perfectly with cinnamon and clove spiciness in the nose.

T: Orange, mango, lemon, grapefruit and pine. Cinnamon and nutmeg show up in the finish and aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied and smooth, but also a bit foamy.

O: Taste is not quite what I had hope for after the nose, but it smells really good.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.16/5  rDev -16.4%
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 Captain_Komamura
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - a tannish colored head, with a dark amber body.

Smell - It is a piney/hoppy smell, with a bit of malts.

Taste - a hoppy bitterness to it, with some spices; not as sweet as I was expecting it to be.

Mouthfeel - a good bodied beer.

Overall - A pretty decent beer, although it wasn't that sweet.

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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 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 a0lbudman
4.09/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-dark amber in color with a large off white head that fades slowly
S-at first smell it was a piney hops with a touch of spice and molasses
T-spicy hop and malt with a molasses flavor that goes to a warming hop bitterness that sweetens as the finish comes around
M- light body and high carbonation
O- one of the likable winter warmers. Looking forward to next years

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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 kismet
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

very fine holiday offering from boulevard. this wet hop chinook ale pours a great dark, hazy red-brown hue with a creamy, stubborn head. smell is of hop oil, burnt brown sugar, and a little booze on the end. taste is easy to enjoy...hoppy and creamy, easy on the palate, and very drinkable. i enjoyed it even more as it warmed. i would definitely purchase this one again.

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.91/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: amber body, finger off-white head, solid lacing

S: molasses, brown sugar, mild candied sugar,
hint of biscuit

T: molasses, bready, brown sugar, grassy/spicy

M: med body, smooth/semi-bubbly/crisp

O: Nice offering from Boulevard. Would get
again and ABV seems to be well hidden. Perfect
pairing for a frigid day in front of the fire.


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Photo of StoneTSR
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

APPEARANCE: With just a moderately aggressive pour, the head really foamed up. I was unable to get the entire beer into my Boulevard pint glass at first and had to wait a moment, actually a few minutes, for the head to die down enough for it all to fit. Needless to say, head retention was strong. That led to some nice lacing, thick rings around the back of the glass showing the history of this particular beer. Underneath it all is a very attractive amber colored beer with a touch of haze.

SMELL: At first sniff the aroma is fairly intense, with a good dose of spice, a touch of piney hops and some molasses.

TASTE: Malt hits the front of the palate early along with a good dose of spice. Midway through the sip, the hops blend beautifully with the spice and hit the back of the palate with a grassy, spicy citrus taste. The finish is dry with one last little hoppy bite.

MOUTHFEEL: Perfect. Medium bodied, with a solid carbonation. Sweet at the beginning and end with a dry middle, the Nutcracker never goes too far in either direction.

OVERALL: Really well done, hoppy example of a winter warmer; insanely easy to drink, and dangerous at 7.8%.

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Nutcracker Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
3.78 out of 5 based on 895 ratings.
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