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 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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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

16 ounce pint - Taco Mac in Woodstock, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a relatively clear, dark amber-hued body with a slim, light beige head.

Smell: Moderately spicy with a growing pine resin presence. Toasty, crystal malts. Thin hint of fruit. A bit of alcohol.

Taste: Toasted bread, crystal maltiness with an extra sip of thinned treacle. Scantly nutty. Lightly estery. Woodsy, lightly resiny hops with very light citrus slipping in the taste. Medium bitterness, yet it still finishes a bit sweetish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall: It's fine, but, I'd politely pass it up on a second occasion.

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Photo of chinchill
3.62/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Deep red-amber with a weak head.

Aroma is a mismash of components that don`t gel at first: spices, caramel, earthy hops ... But this improved with some warming or just the repeated tasting. The flavor was initially better than the aroma but as the latter improved they became more similar in both quality and character.

O: an interesting and distinct winter ale. Not challenging although it took me a little while to warm up to it.

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Photo of Zach136
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Hazy amber, thin head.

Aroma: Tropical fuicy fruit hop character.

Flavor: Well balanced caramel malts and hop bitterness with a piney hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and somewhat sticky.

Overall: Probably my favorite winter warmer... because it's loaded with hops.

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Photo of Fuzzycranium
3.99/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A winter warmer which exudes spiciness and freshness warming to the throat.

Appearance = deep amber decent head and lacing

Aroma = wonderfully bright,, clean

flavor = spicy hops, supporting malts a bit of molasses and one of my favorites..chinook hops

Overall= Love it

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Photo of IPA1978
4.06/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. beautiful, the color of liquid brown sugar with a thin cappuccino like head.

S. This beer smells great, brown sugar, dry tea, fruity, awesome.

T. I homebrew and use dark brown sugar alot, lends an earthy molasses sweetness that stands out in this brew. Light phenol, figs/raisin, warming alcohol with fruity, piney hops.

M. Typical blvd beer mouthfeel, lots of fine co2, slighty thin to medium body.

O. A go to holiday staple for me, whats awsome is there is no cinnamon and spice here all the flavors come from the malt, brown sugar and hops. Great at room temp.

Update: The 2013 release is awesome. Blvd has tweaked this beer over the years and it seems to get better every year. Originally this beer was 5.8% abv now its up to 7.8% and better than ever.

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Photo of Jekyll
3.91/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very interesting "winter warmer" to say the least. Total contrast in styles and I wound not qualify this as a winter warmer simply cause of the hop presence. Doesn't make this a bad beer but IMHO has too much going on that contrast and not accentuate. Looks great, smells even better with the usual spices of the season shining through. Taste is unique with a winter warmer with a hop backing that totally doesn't work together the way I imagined. Very thin mouthfeel again not expected. Then again when you throw all logic out the window and don't judge by style it's a damn fine beer. Go figure. I am gonna buy another sixer and let them rest for a while to let the hops mellow than re-visit.

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Photo of MickeyD
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown half finger of head

Not much aroma slight caramel

Definitely caramel notes with a nice spice. Slight hop but very little not a hop head beer

Fairly thin and smooth

Very good beer. I will definitely buy again
I love the spicey bite that follows the smooth caramel

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Photo of rtrasr
4.84/5  rDev +28%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A perfect winter warmer. Starts rather caramel like with hints sorghum syrup, then the spiciness of the hops kick in. I wonder if this beer is the closet thing we produce that is closest to a true Burton Ale, someone needs to ask the Zythophyle. I love this beer by an open fire.

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Photo of Hopswagger
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

P: A brown/ruby red effervescent body with lush tan micro bubble head.

S: Holiday spices, soapy hops, molasses and rich roasted syrupy malt. Spiced rum and dark fruits followed by a bready base.

T/M: Roasted caramel malts, sweet cherries, prunes, dates and a bitter floral and pine profile with a touch of citrus. Nutty with holiday spices that bring a warming holiday sensation to the palate. Heavy doses of malt but a nice hop bitterness to round it out. Body is medium-full and sticky with a gentle sting of carbonation. Finishes dry with lingering caramel and nuts.

O: A great holiday warmer that really packs a flavorful punch. The alcohol is present but does kill the palate. Can't wait to go back to Oklahoma were I can drink this yearly. Cheers!

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Photo of johnkale
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle, 2012 vintage, poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint

A - hazy chestnut, two fingers of rocky beige head with good retention, leaves moderate lacing

S - caramel and toffee up front, pine resin, some mint and dried fruit (prune/raisin)

T - lots of caramel, raisin, grapefruit and pine coming through from the hops with a solid bitterness at the back end

M - medium bodied, moderate carbonation, a little coarse in the finish

O - nicely hopped for a "winter warmer," good depth from the malt, definitely a nice Christmas-themed beer

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Photo of tut2528
2.99/5  rDev -20.9%
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 schleprock
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass

A: Beer pours a nice reddish brown color with a decent foamy head. The lacing doesn't last but leaves spots as you drink.

S: Caramel, citrus, cinnamon, raisin and dark fruits are my take aways from this beer.

T: Toffee, caramel, cinnamon and a bit of citrus along with some spices I just couldn't define, and in a good way.

M: Complex flavors don't disappoint, it's a party in my mouth.

D: This beer is very drinkable. Is it the best holiday beer, no, but it's worthy of buying again and considering it as one of your twelve beers of Christmas each year.

O: I've been disappointed by several Boulevard beers I've tried. I am happy that they have redeemed themselves in my eyes with this one. I'll be a buyer every year if they keep making it.

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Photo of bmwats
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint.

A: Cloudy amber hue. Pours about a 1 finger, foamy, white head. Settles fairly slowly leaving a blanket of foam on the surface. Sporadic, but persistent beer ring lacing

S: Light malt, tea, raisin, sourdough bread, and a little spice.

T: Sourdough bread, with some bitter pecan shell, and sweet raisin.

M: Light body, pungent throughout through the bitter and sweet combo.

D: Goes down easy, but the aftertaste puckers the palette a bit.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Interesting hue, nice foamy head, and some reasonably nice lacing. Nose is sweet and bready with a little spice. Flavor is a pungent combination of bitter nut and sweet raisin. Overall, this is a good quaff.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams "Perfect Pint" glass.

Appearance: Pours a somewhat hazy copper amber orange with a lot of rising bubbles. Huge five finger off white head with good retention. Leaves a lot of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A spicy hop driven aroma with a solid malt backbone. Lively mix of hops with hints of citrus orange, pineapple, mango, and grapefruit. A good amount of earthy and spicy pine resin. Not to be outdone, the bready malts add a nice balancing sweetness with hints of caramel, toffee, biscuit, and soft cracker. Also a little brown sugar in the mix. A really nice and unique aroma for the style.

Taste: Like the aroma hints, a solid mix of spicy and citrus hops along with a sweet bready malt presence. Upfront is a taste of earthy, spicy piney hops and some citrus orange, mango, pineapple, and grapefruit. Hops are lively but not overly bitter. Some brown sugar is tasted. Solid toasty malt presence with a taste of sweet caramel, toffee, crackers, and biscuit. Its a really nicely balanced beer with some nice hop and malt flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, juicy, and fairly slick. Very smooth.

Overall: A really good and interesting take on a Winter Warmer. Good hop spice and fruit esters with a solid malt balance.

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Photo of Living816
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

How did I never try this? I live in Kansas City, my god.

I've always avoided these holiday-themed beers. Most of them suck. Nutcracker Ale doesn't. Amazing beer. Great hop aroma, great malt balance. Almost perfect harmony of malt and hops and body. Rich and smooth. This is a fairly high alcohol beer that drinks like lemonade. If there's one thing Boulevard does better than just about any brewery, it's make a solidly balanced beer.

Awesome beer. I wish I'd have tried this years ago. I've been missing out.

$6-7 for a six pack of this beer? A steal. Get a dozen.

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