Nutcracker Ale | Boulevard Brewing Co.

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

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Reviews: 348 | Ratings: 893
Photo of CHADMC3
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a walnut colored body beneath the frothy light tan head which slowly dissolves yet maintains a constant presence atop the beer with a sticky ring of lacing.

Sweet caramel, nutty, and biscuit malt accompany the Cristmas spices and yeast.

The flavor is a bit nuttier than the aroma, again biscuity and sweet with hints of spices.

The mouthfeel is medium in body with generous carbonation.

A tasty winter warmer with just the right amount of spices which do not dominate the palate.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Translucent ruby, some carbonation, one finger head that tries to leave behind some lacing

S-Spices, nuts, some roasted malt, vanilla, sugar.

T-Spices, nuts, some malt that balances nicely with the spices, not much bitterness. Pine and brown sugar.

M-Light to medium bodied, nice carbonation, smooth.

O-A nice spice forward Christmas brew.

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Photo of Flightoficarus
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's that time of year for winter ales again! Finally giving this one a shot.

A - Pours a copper-mahogany hue, with a nice two-finger tan head. Lacing is pretty minimal after the head is gone though.

S - Smell is of molasses, candied fruits (orange is most prevalent), caramel, and various spices.

T - Mmm..taste is of rich, bready caramel malts, with candied plums, oranges, cinnamon, and nutmeg, with a hint of nuttiness. Finishes with just a hint of hoppiness. This is one complex, and very tasty winter brew!

M - Full bodied, with just the right, modest amount of carbonation. Pretty easy to drink, and satisfying at the same time.

O - This one was a pleasant surprise for sure. Very good winter ale for a very cheap price! I'm going to have to hunt some more of this down, and very soon!

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Photo of homebrew311
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served On tap at Durty nellies. Appearance is a slightly hazy amber with thin layer of white head which retains a micro layer and leaves decent lacing. Nose starts with aromatic hops, and a mild festive spicing which features a touch of nutmeg along with a strong malty base. Taste is hoppy up front with pine and resin with a background of ginger and nutmeg. The spices are minuscule compared to the hop profile as this drinks more like an IPA than a winter warmer. Mouthfeel is highly carbonated with a light body. Overall, an enjoyable brew but not a standout.

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Photo of NickSMpls
3.6/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy amber pour, with small head. Light aroma of roasted malt. Taste is typical of the style,
But nothing exceptional. We have noticed variations from year-to- year for Nutcracker Ale. As a winter warmer, it's mid of the pack.

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Photo of JMad
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brownish gold color with a foamy off white head. Surprisingly I could smell fresh peaches, lots of caramel and some citrus. The taste is very piney with followed by a candy like sweetness and lots fresh hop flavor. The beer is medium bodied and the carbonation makes it feel soft and silky with a nice dry finish. I thoroughly enjoyed this winter warmer and plan on buying some more.

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Photo of BikingDutchman
4.16/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark reddish copper color with a thick fluffy off white head. Lacing is pretty and the head retention is really good.

S - Smells balanced between caramel notes and fruity hop scents. Some brown sugar smells come through too.

T - Very balanced between the Chinook hops and the sweet malt flavors. The malt tastes like brown sugar, kind of like a Christmas cookie. Sweet, but definitely not cloying. The sweet taste covers up any alcohol flavors.

M - Medium bodied with an almost slick feel.

O - One of my favorite winter seasonals that I buy every year. I absolutely love the fresh hopped Chinook flavor and aroma. It fits perfectly with the sweet malt flavors.

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Photo of billab914
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into my Devil's Backbone glass. It poured caramel brown in color with a frothy, bubbly head covering the top. Good head retention.

The aroma has a good amount of malty, caramel flavors to it with some notes of brown sugar as well. I get some herbal spices to it as well, which compliment the maltiness pretty well.

The taste shows a little more of a herbal hoppiness to it with a touch of pine and citrus. The malty, caramel and brown sugar flavors come out as well, especially in the finish. It comes together pretty well.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being a little above average. Overall it was a pretty good beer. Pretty flavorful and easy drinking. There wasn't really anything really outstanding about it but it was a pretty solid version of the style.

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Photo of TheCondor
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really enjoyed this brew when I had it around Christmas time. Lo and behold, I’m in this ghetto little liquor store I’ve never been in the other day, and I ask the guy for some Boulevard. He points me in the right direction and says “I gotta get rid of this Nutcracker Ale s*it, or it’ll go bad. I’ll give you half price.” Ok. Did you really have to twist my arm? Poured from bottle into pint glass.

Appearance – Pours an awesome looking dark amber/toffee color with a nice three finger head and excellent lacing for the entirety of the glass. It’s everything I remembered this beer to be.

Smell – The nose on this brew is interesting. At first whiff it kinda smells like a pale ale, but after a few sniffs there is certainly a malty presence and even a subdued spice in the smell. Got a nice pine, citrus hoppiness.

Taste – Malts and spices up front, on target with the winter warmer style. What I really like about it is the citrusy and pine hops at the finish to balance it out. A good combination, not like many other winter warmers I have had. I really enjoy this brew, kinda wish they did it year-round.

Mouthfeel – Light bodied with some decent carbonation to it. Not too bad at all. Finishes with some bitterness that will stay with you a minute.

Overall – Like I said, I really like this beer, and wish they would do it year round and just call it something else. It’s got a decent ABV, tastes good, just presents a taste and style combination that you don’t see every day, which I think is what makes it so fun. I could easily drink a copious amount of this brew while I read a book by the fire in between runs for logs. Awesome.

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Photo of beergoot
3.31/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at Trinity Brewing in Colorado Springs...

The beer was a dark, ruby red with a creamy white head. The scent was of sweet malts with earth and grass notes. Taste was lightly spiced with malt tones and had a soft bitter finish. Mouthfeel hovered between light to medium, kind of velvety overall.

In the end, this came across as a mediocre holiday ale, ultimately fair but non-distinct. It's worth drinking, but not worth too much effort to hunt down.

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Photo of Treebs
3.14/5  rDev -16.9%
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 StonedTrippin
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours a mellow cherry red color with a gentle haze. huge white fluffy head sits atop this holiday looking beer. smells a but fruity, with plums, cherries, and maybe even figs in the nose. a slight sour smelling as well, which isnt entirely enticing. taste is surprisingly complex for what is billed as a winter warmer. i taste none of the usual alcoholic sweetness i ascribe the this genre of beer. theres a definite malt profile to this one tempered by some fruity yeasty things. mild honey and allspice flavors in the background too. mouthfeel is very nice, with an almost belgian style vibrancy to the feel, with a lovely dried fruit finish. i could wish for a higher abv here, but this one works just as it is.

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Photo of icecube
3.62/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A little cloudy reddish color

Smell: A mix of maltiness and cedar hops

Taste: Sweet, bready malts with a medium hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel: Light to Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Aftertastes linger slightly.

Drinkability: I enjoyed this beer for a winter seasonal. It has a nice balance of malt and hops. There are so many bad Winter beers this falls in the good but not great category. I like a little spice in my Winter brews but not too much.

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Photo of tykees88
3.37/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- nice two finger head. Pretty nice golden color.

S- Smells like fresh hops. Very interesting. Not what you would expect from a winter warmer.

T- Taste is like a pale ale with a slight bit of spice to it.

M- Light bodied. Just the opposite of what I would expect

O-It's avg. to above. Just a fresh hop ale that I would like more under a different name and style

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Photo of chilidog
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up in a samplar pack in western Indiana, surprised and glad i got this beer.

Pours a nice dark amber hue, tanny head that does disapate and spots to lace.

Aroma os spice, pine and hoppy floralness.

Taste is allspice, cinnamon with clove and then a citric hop wave rolls over it all. A bready toast or biscuit malt backs things up nicely.

Mouth is left with a hoppy, leaf like finish.

Overall a surprised holiday ale indeed. The hop is the surprise for there is alot more than expected for a holiday ale.

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Photo of imasloth
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured into a glass goblet, the ale is brown with a reddish-orange twinge. The pour gives a thin almond-coloured head that recedes quickly into a rim around the top of the liquid. Sediment (yeast) remains at the bottom of the bottle.

S- Sweet, piney, citrus. Malt, hops, and hops respectively. Some very light spicy notes.

T- Good-balanced upfront with both malt and the citrus hops. Followed by strong bittering, piney flavor that finishes. Mix of citrus and piney aftertaste.

M- Fairly light bodied and smooth, until the bitterness hits your salivary glands and makes them pucker a bit. Some dryness in the after-feel.

O- Good, hoppy addition to the seasonal ale rotation. Nothing overwhelming but decent enough.

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Photo of Docer
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: (4.0)
- Semi-cloudy amber brew with a couple fingers of slow forming light tan head. The head has settled leaving some bubbly lace behind with a thin pillowing blanket above the ale. Solid.

Smell: (4.0)
- Light zingy spice, a pleasant citrus zest and almost orange peel character, light brown sugar, and a touch of molasses. Overall a unique and pretty good smell.. almost like a fruitcake without being overwhelming. Perhaps some light bitter grassy hops.

Taste: (3.5)
- Indeed like a waldorph's salad of sorts. Fruity canned mandarin orange, grape peel, and light sweet bready grain with a hint of molasses and/or brown sugar. Very interesting and unique brew. Love the bitter earthy hops to balance it out.

Mouth Feel: (3.5)
- Lightly creamy and smooth medium bodied brew. Plenty carbonated and easy to belch. Bit chewy and drying, and has a very tart bitterness that leaves a little zingy feel on the tongue. Not bad.

Overall: (3.5)
- I like this better than most winter beers that seem too sweet and loaded with spice. This one takes on a whole different spectrum of winter flavors. Seriously, we all know those fruity salads with mayo and walnuts. This is much like that, an amber with all those flavors without the dank mayo and nutty flavor. Not bad.

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Photo of tsauce2
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

P: 12 fl oz bottle in to a globe glass.

A: SRM is deep amber. Cloudy but without particles/sediment. Head is off white, 1 in, dissipates to 1 cm. Medium carbonation. Light lacing.

S: Very fragrant. A lot of things going on, but all are well balanced. Light citrus (orange), nuts (cashew?), hops, and malt.

T: Follows nose. Many levels to this beer, but all blend well. Initially, hops and citrus additions hit, followed by malt and a touch of nuttiness and spice. Aftertaste is slightly bitter, slightly acidic/citrusy, and malty.

M: Medium body. MF is multifaceted due to diversity of ingredients. At first, this beer gives a hoppy and citrusy mf, but then malt hits with a light sweetness and nuttiness. Finishes semi wet.

O: Very interesting and complex. Easy drinking and quite fun to think about all of the things that go in to this beer. Will buy this beer again.

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Photo of KDawg
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from bottle into a pint glass. Pours a nice medium amber color

very good aromas of christmas spices, malts and some roasted nuts along with some resiny hop aromas as well.

medium bodied with a good attack, but lacking on the mid and back palate. Good flavors of spices, caramel, and malts

a very good christmas ale. Straight forward, but lacking a slight bit of the taste and feel.

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Photo of match1112
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a: pours out the color of liquid caramel with alot of floaties in there, guess that's the unfiltered part. a thin tan head left within seconds and just a small thin layer is left on top.

s: rather inviting. hints of roasted nuts, spice, malts and hops.

t: a nice spicy and nutty taste before it gives way to a well blended hop finish.

m: full body and a little chewy. carbonation tickles the tongue and the hops provide a nice dry finish.

o: not a big fan of winter warmers, but this is one i can and will drink more of. everything is well blended and balanced.

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Photo of meeekyh
3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I have found that I like this brewery for the solid offerings they produce and the occasional stand-out (Boss Tom's comes to mind) and so I figured this would be worth a try, even without knowing if it would be the spice4d variety or not (it isn't).

Color is a cloudy deep-copper with a modest light tan head. Smell is a bit astringent-esque with undercurrents of raisins and pine. Flavor is a compact mouthfull of bitter and sweet with dried fruit and citrus-rind overtones. The feel is on the light side with good carbonation and a bit of a lingering, dry finish.

This is interesting beer, and cheap(ish), which merits a second look. I like it for not being spiced and for being a simple but not pedestrian ale. There is plenty of flavor and balance without being reminiscent of any particular other style. It is robust and bitter, sweet and refreshing. I like it and will surely get more to enjoy this year.


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Photo of gatornation
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

from 12 0z bottle ,BB 02/28/12

A-pours a slight hazed bright copper color with a light tan 2 finger head and nice clingy lacing on glass.. looks good

S- a roasted nut aroma with citrus and pine a bit of spice/hops

T- citrus hops, with a nutty and spicy taste, sweet caramel with baked bread malts, some nutmeg/cinnamon

M- a tad thin in the mouth for a WW, a little bitter with a washed out dry finish,

O- a session-able WW very easy to drink but lacked the punch and taste profile, more spice,hop,malt,toffee

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Photo of lawlerj
3.47/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

A - Pours a semi translucent brown w/ a three finger off white head that dissipates to a thin layer of foam. Doesn't appear to be overly carbonated. Not much in the way of lacing.

S - Big piney hop aroma backed up with a toffee and caramel malt. Some fruity notes as well - specifically, I'm getting a bit of pineapple in the mix.

T - The taste primarily follows the nose - the hop profile dominates with citrus and floral hops, backed up by some very sweet maltiness. There are toffee and bready notes, mixed in with juicy flavors as well.

M - Medium bodied, moderately carbonated. Fairly standard.

O - This an OK winter warmer. I was hoping for a bit more complexity, but definitely a decent brew.

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Photo of Jason
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with a freshness date.

LOOK: Muddled tawny hue, great lacing

SMELL: Christmas pudding, candied fruit, alcoholic esters, toasted bread, herbal hops.

TASTE: Smooth, medium body, raw, rustic, bready, hop bitterness, leafy, ripe oranges, papaya, brown sugar, esters, spicy, grainy, bittersweet finish.

Lot of complexities here, don't rush this beer ... let it warm up slowly and sip it and the flavors will unfold. This ale has more than enough going to put a grin on just about any beer geeks face.

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Photo of coldriver
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into Sam Adams glass. Decent head and lacing, pours a cloudy deep amber. Spicey, fruity, and caramel aromas, like a fruit cake that doesn't suck. Taste of spicy hops, vanilla, bready malts. Medium carbonation with moderately dry finish. I like this, it's a subtle sessionable winter warmer with a nice malt/hop/spice balance.

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Nutcracker Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
3.78 out of 5 based on 893 ratings.
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