Nutcracker Ale | Boulevard Brewing Co.

very good
896 Ratings
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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Ratings: 896 |  Reviews: 349
Photo of Fatehunter
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out of a 12oz into a tulip glass. Nice copper/amber color, almost transparent. A dirty-white quarter inch head.

S - Hops. Citrus and Granny Smith apple.

T - Malty rounded out by hoppy bitterness. There's a little apple or pear at the end too.

M - Soft texture. Light carbonation.

D - A good beer. Great balance. The fruit notes on the nose and tongue were really nice. I really liked the texture, it was almost creamy.

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

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a nice dark amber color with some nice copper hints and some slight ruby hints. there is a nice 1 inch head that is off-white and quite soapy and chunky with some nice stickiness to it.

S - Aroma has some nice sweet caramel hints mixed in with some bread notes and also some slight gingerbread and some nice sweet Christmas spice. Surprisingly and deliciously there is some nice grassy hop character to the nose as well.

T & M - Starts off with great notes of malt and spice. Good Christmas sweetness balanced by some slight bread notes and a good grassy character. Not too bitter but hop flavor is there and delicious. I recall teh draft verison to be a bit spiceire and enjoyed it more but this is still one of the better winter warmers of the year for me.

D - Delicious and drinkable with a low ABV and some great flavor.

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Photo of wolfinthemirror
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a great looking beer in the glass. a generous 2 inches of head results from the pour, and sticks around a long time. Very hazy, golden honey-orange color, and definitely unfiltered which is great!

lots of spicy hops in the nose, and i also smell some apples, very pleasant.

Starts out very spicy and hoppy, which leads into a sweetness, like caramel covered apples. Lots of flavor, and hoppy enough to leave a lingering taste of bitterness. Very tasty brew, reminds me of a bit of more balanced version of Sierra Nevada's Celebration ale.

Medium bodied, moderate carbonation. nice and crisp.

I look forward to this beer each winter, and when I have it in my fridge, it seems to go pretty fast. This is a great beer to drink leading up to the holidays. The site lists the ABV at 6.6%, but the bottle says 5.9%, so this is a great beer to enjoy all evening long!

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very nice beer, perfect for the cooler and cold nights.
A deep ruby, clouded brown pour. A fairly nice and rocky off-white head made this beer look really darn good.

Aroma starts off with piney hops and some earthiness. Very slight hints of spice remind me of the season. Delicious and balanced.

Again, the hops come out first, this time in the taste. Pine and some hints of orange peel. Yet the balance is perfect as it drinks. Nutty and a bit herbal, but not the clovey kind. Full bodied and seems just a hearty drink without the thickness.

Great drinking, solid beer.

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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 AlCaponeJunior
4.09/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fresh into the local store today.

Very brown in color, hazy in clarity, one finger head that dissipated into a thin later, moderate lacing.

Smells absolutely great! Almost like cutting open a fresh ruby red grapefruit. A little bit of spice accents a nice hoppy aroma balanced with caramel malts and floral background. I haven't smelled a beer that smells this good in quite a while. I can't stop sniffing the glass!

Now the taste doesn't exactly match the smell, but is quite good nonetheless. Caramel malts dominate, floral hops are moderate, grapefruit citrus is present too (but mildly so, not really matching the smell), a hint of nuts, and a slight tang of spices rounds off a very nice holiday treat.

Feels medium bodied and slightly warming on the way down. Ample but not overwhelming carbonation.

Drinks very nicely. Will for sure be purchasing again. An excellent seasonal and an excellent all-around beer from an excellent brewer. Great Job Boulevard!

I think I will take a couple sixers of this to the thanksgiving holiday meal. Should fit in very nicely.

Overall value is quite high at 7.50 a sixer!

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Photo of katan
3.86/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz into a pint

A - Deep brown color, very opaque and somewhat hazy. Appears to have a strong yeast suspension. Head formation is strong, roughly brown in color.

S - Lightly malty, lightly hoppy. Well balanced. A caramel malty note tied to a light floral hop.

T - Starts off with a caramel malt, sometimes lightly nutty. Mid-stream gets a combination of toffee, somewhat spicy, and a hair of cinnamon. Finishes more sweet, malty, lots of warmth.

M - Moderate body and moderate carbonation. Has a silky smooth style, very light and fluffy. Finishes very clean, without a the stick of its strong malty profile.

D - Very drinkable for the winter months. ABV is higher, but perfect for warming you up on a December night. Not filling, flavors are strong - probably not a great sessioning beer outside of a winter night.

A solid winter warmer. I don't quite get the wet hopping that the description indicates.

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Photo of philbertk
3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
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 JToad
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer of this, curious to try it. Most Boulevard stuff has been hit or miss with me, so here goes nothing:

Poured directly into my DFH pint glass a hazy amber, with mahogany highlights. Minimal head made of lots of tiny bubbles. Lacing is thin and watery.

Smells of hops, appears to be of the English variety. I could be way off, but it reminds me of an English pale ale just off the nose. Some earthy notes, bit of grass.

Tastes of slight hop bitterness, but this beer's backbone is of biscuity malt. Nicely carbonated, which helps out the maltiness.

Well balanced mouthfeel, not thick and sticky, yet not watered down either. Somewhere in the middle, which adds to the drinkablity for this.

At 6.6%, it would be easy to finish this sixer in one siting, yet I'm not sure I want to. Enjoyable and extremely drinkable, yet not the best beer I've had. Not dissapointed, but nothing too exciting here really.

Solid choice, just won't wow you.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.74/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, best by 2/15/11. Pours a bright hazy copper chestnut color with a medium creamy off white head that retains fairly well and laces the glass.

The aroma is resiny, fruity, slightly perfumey hops with some bready caramel/toffee malts.

The flavor is caramel malts, nuts and a little molasses with some bright resiny fruity hops in the finish. As it warms, a lot more fruitiness comes out. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with soft carbonation.

Overall, a nice surprise. It's very well balanced and has some nice bright hoppiness. I'll have to add this to the list to get each winter.

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Photo of codewarrior
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz from a 6-pack, poured into a Smokestack chalice.

First batch of the year to hit Argonaut, snagged it up immediately.

L: Deep rusty orange-brown. Clears as it opens up. 1-finger of creamy head, good lacing.

S: Big hops right up front fading into a caramel sweetness. Good crispness.

T: Hops and sweetness simultaneously into a hoppy middle and a smooth caramel sweetness in the back.

F: Crisp. Clean. Smooth.

D: Simple, good-twist, not overpowering.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Brownish amber, somewhat murky. Nice off white head leaves to disk pretty quick. Lots of cling lace.

S - Malty, dark fruit smell, spices.

T - Like a rich barley wine style with lots of Thanksgiving spices thrown in.

M - Harsh finish, balance going everywhere.

D - Interesting beer and glad to try it, but not one for session for me.

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Photo of StlHopHead77
3.6/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a swarthy,reddish amber with a one-finger
fluffy head of light-pinkish white.The head slowly recedes leaving thin strands of lacing.Mild to moderate carbonation is present.

S-Piny hops,Gingerbread,mulling spice and toasty malt.This definitely smells like the holidays.Not overdone on the spice though.Hops are still a main player.

T-Dry spice,orange peel,clove and toffee/malt nuttiness.Sweet citrus from the hops,deliberate spice and caramel.

M-This beer is medium bodied with some active carbonation.It is relatively creamy with a dry finish and a lasting piny/spice aftertaste.

D-I think if this beer is consumed when it is intended to be(It is a Winter Warmer,correct?)
It's drinkability is pretty high.

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

Acquired courtesy of beerbeagle via Nobody Wants To See a Beer Geek Naked 2 BIF so a big THANK YOU goes out to him!
Poured in to a pint glass.
Consumed 7/19

A: This beer pours a hazy, murky, amber color with a one finger of off white head. Head recedes at a moderate pace leaving wispy lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is of light nutmeg spicing, brown sugar, caramel malt and toffee.

T: Taste starts with nice sweet toffee malt flavoring. Nutmeg, and a raisin flavoring creeps in with caramel flavoring before a nutmeg and nuttiness takes over. Finish is slightly of brown sugar but then a piney hop bite takes hold.

M: Lighter side of medium body, medium carbonation, creamy at first with a dry finish.

D: Goes down alright, mild kick, decent representation of style. Winter warmers used to be one of my favorite styles - although I've moved away from them, if you're looking for a decent winter warmer, this is one to go with.

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Photo of wnh
3.32/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass. (Consumed 1.4.10)

Pours a hazy reddish copper, old gold highlights around the edges, with a frothy, creamy off-white head.

Lots of sweet caramel malt on the nose, with an array of hops showing citrus, pine resin, dried pineapple, and a bit of earthiness. Complex, but kind of muddled. Nice toasted malt underneath.

Surprisingly spiced on the palate, though I can't identify the spice. Reminiscent of cinnamon, but earthier. Dried tropical fruit mid-palate, subtle but showing pineapple and perhaps mango. Finishes dry with a mild earthy bitterness. Quite a bit going on here, really, but it's muddled up and difficult to parse. A few of the various flavor components seems to suddenly appear on one sip and then all but disappear on the next. As the beer warms I pick up an earthy, slightly astringent nuttiness on the finish. Complex, again, but lacking.

Medium bodied and kind of harshly firm. A relatively good beer, but disappointing because it seems like it could be so much better.

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Photo of biggred1
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pumpkin orange with blonde highlights a big fluffy light tan head that leaves scaps of lace on the glass. Nice fruity citrusy hops and caramel in the nose with a touch of holiday spice and toast. Medium bodied with mild carbonation. A good winter brew, almost more IPA than winter warmer though.

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

This beer is left over from the Holiday season.

A - Pours a flocculant hazy orange brown color with good creamy head that dissipates down to a thin ring with only a few laces.

S - Dark fruit malts, orange peel. Citrus hops.

T- Moderate bitterness, sweet malts. Spicy on the tongue. Maybe a hint of clove like phenols. Alcohol in the end.

M - Moderate body. Dry finish. Lingering bitterness. Phenolic numbing effect in the mouth. Alcohol on the breath.

D - Drinkable, but would not want too many.

Overall - Not my style generally, but this one kept the winter warmer-type novel "flavorings" to a minimum. I could drink a few around a fire with family or good friends.

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Photo of rye726
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm always a fan of the Winter Warmer style, but this one did not really do it for me. I find myself feeling this way quite frequently with Boulevard. Their Smokestack beers are very nice, but their basic beers are pretty average.

Pours an orangish brown with a tan head. Fruity malts, light hops and spices. Nice medium body.

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

Pours a nice auburn color with a welcoming topping of off-white/beige head the bubbles away quickly.
Smell is sweet-some hints of caramel and nuts, some slight malt.
Taste is also sweet- has some hints of nutmeg and another spice- toasty malts with a sweet syrup ending.
Finish is wet-quickly dissolving lightly sweet after-taste.
Drinks well-it warms the body nicely- a solid choice any chilly night of the year.

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Photo of corby112
3.24/5  rDev -14.3%
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 birchstick
3.28/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - pours a dark amber with a nice looking one-finger head

S - smells of citrusy hops, cinnamon, and some sugar

T - taste really doesn't follow the nose very closely. There are hints of black licorice, bready malts, piney hops, and a little bit of spice. The taste is pretty strong, which isn't a bad thing, it's just that I don't think the flavors blend very well together. It seems like something is a little off to me, but I can't tell with full certainty. Not bad, but interesting.

M - full and smooth - good mouthfeel

D - This was an interesting beer to say the least. At least to me it seemed pretty unique. I don't know I would get it again, but it is worth a shot if you are looking for a different kind of holiday cheer.

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

A - a hazy and cloudy tawny color. Decent sized beige head, with slightly below average retention.

S - Caramel and bread smell. A fair amount of hoppy citrus smell, and some spices (Cinnamon amongst others).

T - Has a base of caramel and nutty malts along with some toffee. There is also some spice, cinnamon and nutmeg, amongst other winter spices. These are all pretty basic Winter beer flavors. Where this provides a bit of deviation is the amount of citrus hops in it. While not overly hoppy, you can definitely taste them.

M - Medium body and fairly smooth and rich.

D - Pretty drinkable, like other Winter beers, it depends on your mood and it could be a bit much if you have a couple of these.

Notes: More hops than you would expect, pretty good mix. A little too hoppy for me (in that I was expecting less hops and more caramel/nutty malt and spice).

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

A: Poured a murky orange-apple with a high rate of turbidity that distorted visibility with a suspension of micro yeast particles. The head was foamy with a dull vinyl beige color with only moderate retention though it did hold a respectable skim coating for the remainder of the drink. The visible effervesce was strong and vibrant, evident even beneath the murky appeal.

S: The nose had dried lemon grinds with fresh ever-green leaves. Light traces of spicing could be detected, most notable warm cola and a warm piney feel giving this a nice festive nature.

T: The flavor had a rush of spicing from the start all vying for time on the tongue. A light helping of spicy cloves, pears and lemon meringue is most note-able. A spiciness of caradamom provides spicy cola notes that complimented the fresh citric elements from the Chinook late additions. Moments of dried fruit (pineapple), tart tangerines are also evident. The malting was fresh and bready of lemonbread with sweet elements of caramel coming through like apple brown betties. With a name like Nut cracker I was expecting more of a nutty appeal in the form of a Christmas brown ale, but only managed to identify the cola notes.

M: The mouthful was tingly with a good deal of carbonation creaming up rather nicely upon the hold. Edgy with a fresh bready feel and medium consistency makes for a fairly good hold.

D: Once again decent drinkability per style, with a festive blend of spices gives this a holiday feel but a couple is plenty at one sitting.

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Photo of tronester
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy orangish brown with a huge tan head. Smells strongly of roasted malts and spicy hops. Taste is caramel malt up front, with a woody, earthy, yet also citrusy hop finish. Mouthfeel is very rich and smooth, average carbonation levels. Drinkability is good, this is a good winter warmer that I plan on buying next year.

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Photo of pokesbeerdude
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a six pack of this at Arctic Liquors in Steamboat, CO. Around $8.

A: Very hazy copper color with an enormous rocky sand colored head, a good inch worth or so. Very cloudy. Decent head retention and nice lacing.

S: Initially a big hit of citrus hops, bready malts, some nutmeg, maybe a little ginger, some cinammon, but mostly bready malts. That's the big thing I get here. Pretty nice here.

T: Bready malts, a healthy dose of caramel, excellent hop bitterness and nice citrus profile, and thrown in there are some nice winter spices. Some notes of cinnamon, and maybe some nutmeg. The citrus from the hops, the caramel malt, and the spice makes this taste a little like my mom's holiday spiced cider. Just a little. Very enjoyable.

M: Medium body, slightly warm alcohol, decent carbonation. Nice here.

D: Not bad, definitely a consideration for a winter session, but maybe falls a little short here. I really enjoy this beer, but would probably reach for something a little more "roasty" in the winter. Nice beer from a brewery that is really growing on me.

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