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 mynie
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice warmer pour. Perfect black cherry with a nice, tight and retentive head.

Very dry smell, grapefruit hoppy. Mmm mmm mmm. Wonderfully balanced with a candy coated Christmas winter malt. Such a combo! Jesus I do not expect so nice a scent to come from this brewery.

And whoa it appears I underestimated Boulevard! This is like a great winter APA mixed with a great warmer in a perfectly balanced beer! Great citrus and grapefruit hops to start with, moving into dryer, more juicy hops in the middle, and ending on a warm, sweet dark malt. Excellent.

Wow just wow. I would have never guessed it, but the best seasonal I've had since fall ended is far and away this beer.

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

Pours a turbid mixture of brown, black and maroon with a big bubbly ecru head and minimal lacing.
Aroma of roasted nuts, caramel, chocolate and some resined hop paste.
Flavors doimnated by sweet malts and chocolate but as it warms the subtle but strong hopping comes through and really makes for a well balanced brew.
Mouthfeel is full in the mouth with palate coating denseness and a variety of flavors which works it way through the variety of tastebuds. Slightly picy finish wish is a bit surprising but very interesting.
Drinkability is very solid, really enjoyable. Kind of beer that you can't just have one of. I have not have this brew for several years and much better than earlier versions that I remembered.

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Photo of BigRedN
4.07/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Part of a mixed 6-pack purchased from the Still.

Appearance: Poured from the stubby bottle with a best by 02/01/06 date into my pint glass. The beer is a murky brown, with a 1/2 inch off white head. Bottle states "Our Unfiltered Winter Warmer", I guess that would explain the haziness of the beer. The head lingered before settling to a spotty cloud with a ring around the glass. Lacing is patchy at best.

Smell: Unexpectedly hoppy, aroma is predominatly piney. As it is warming as I consume this I detect a faint roasted malty aroma (a little like toast), but the hops stilll trump this scent. I would almost expect this to be an IPA.

Taste: Touch of malt on the onset, quickly overcome by hoppy bitterness. Once again, a surprizing piney flavoring. Some dark fruit flavors in the middle and aftertaste as well. I sense no spices, and there is definitely nothing nutty about this "Nutcracker". As I mentioned before, it is almost like this is a well made IPA.

Mouthfell: Medium in body, good carbonation, lively. There is a slight alcohol burn down the back of my throat as I consumed this. A solid beer nonetheless.

Drinkability: Enjoyable in moderation. A solid winter seasonal beer from one of my favorite breweries. I would not discourage anyone from giving this a try if they have the chance.

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Photo of sevineyes
3.54/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown bottle with the beer name in the teeth of a nutcracker's mouth.

A: Cloudy brown on the orange side. Poured with a 1/2 head that dissolved fast. Leaves some scattered lacing.

S: Piney and sweet fruit. Cherries, grapefruit, honey.

T: Malty but with a grapefruit or citrus rind taste prevalent - but not like you might be used to in an IPA even though I feel that element is coming from the hops. Ends bitter with some alcohol warming.

M: Lots of carbonation on the tongue. Satisfying feel, but not coating.

D: Fair

Overall: A decent drink, but not one of my favorites. The more the citrus and bitterness lingers in my mouth the more it makes me want to go get an ESB. Definitely worth the try

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Photo of budgood1
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours out a thick, rich and very cloudy looking amber colour. a big and bubbly tan head appears and slowly reduces to a frothy film. lots of festive lace adorns the glass as i drink. a perfect looking beer. lots of piney solvency in the nose...followed by grapefruit and lemon tones....needless to say this beer smells festively hoppy! taste is lots of slick and sugary maltiness followed by plenty of pine and citrusy hoppiness. hops are plenty flavourful, and used less for bitterness and more for flavour. there are plenty of hints of alcohol spiciness...yummy! mouthfeel is slick, sweet and slippery...the overall body is above medium and filling. the bitterness coming from the hops become apparent in the finish, making the lingering flavours seem not so sugary sweet and cloying. drinkability is good. i like this holiday offering.

a nice x-mas/winter offering...the use of the chinook hops are the star of this brew and i'm enjoying it immensely. this is an outstanding beer.

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Photo of LordChesterfield
4.24/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aw Jeez! (said like John Travolta). This stuff smells like a friggin' pine tree! It's head remains for quite a respectable amount of time. I'm sure it's being helped along by the wheat included in the malt. It's definitely a red chocolate color. The taste is complex yet understated and you really have to swish it around in your mouth to get the full impression on every part of your toungue. It's absolutely uncanny how much this smells and tastes like a pine tree. It should be tried just for that. It's slightly sweet on the finish and the pine taste does linger. It has quite a bit of body for a beer that is so smooth. A slight smoky flavor surrounds and binds the whole experience which is welcomed. A warming sensation becomes apparent and this beer has thus fullfilled it's destiny.

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Photo of karst
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured dark reddish amber and a moderate 1" off white head that was somewhat dense and presistant in the Grindstone pint glass.

Aroma of piney Chinook hops, vinous oak barrel, caramel and biscuit malts. Similar flavors with dark fruit and just preceptable diacetyl upping the complexity. Full body that made the mouthfeel a dextrinous treat to hold on to before swallowing. Finishes toasty and sweet then the drying hops as an aftertaste. Almost an English style strong ale. This is what I was hoping for when I picked up the Christmas Ale from GLBC. Sometime all you are looking for is close to home. Score a big sucess for Boulevard B.C. to go along with their outstanding Bully Porter and Saison.

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Photo of whynot44
3.96/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Medium/full bodied, hazy chestnut color with a modest tan head.

Aroma is malty with a spicy piney note.

Taste is creamy caramel malt, a bit of citrus - grapefruit?, plums, spices, nuts and oak, with a nice spicy dry finish and definite alcohol warmth.

Creamy with a hoppy, spicy zip and a bit of alcohol warmth for a cool fall or winter day. A good holiday drink.

Update - 2005 edition:
Appearance about the same as 2004. The head disipates fairly quickly to just a ring but does leave traces of lace.
The taste, if anything, is more definitely grapefruit and pine over a nice caramel malt base. Hints of apple as well as plum. Lingering spicy finish and aftertaste.

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Photo of walleye
3.16/5  rDev -16.4%
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 Vancer
3.99/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Whoa, lot more ummph than the regular Boulevard Pale Ale - much darker pour, a hazy dark amber with great head ! Didn’t have a lot of aroma, but left laces all the way down the pint glass. This winter warmer had a nice, woody, spicy taste that finished with a hoppy kick. Nice tingle in the mouth and smooth going down. Will look forward to next year’s Boulevard batch.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I snatched up one of the last few sixers of this yesterday in hopes it would still be fresh even though it was sitting on the non-refridgerated sale shelf. Thankfully Boulevard packages their bottles in boxes that allow very little light penetration, if any, because the beer was still magnificent.

It poured to a dark nutty brown amber color with a slightly off-white head. The little bubbles build up to about an inch from the pour and back off to about a centimeter as it settles. The smell wasn't particularly breathtaking... it took quite a bit of agitation to produce a good whiff. What I did detect was roasted barley malts and hops with a slight hint of pine.

The taste, as usual, was the best part. The sip starts off with a bit of malty sweetness with a well blanced hop character in the finish. This doesn't quite have as big of a kick as many winter warmers I've had in the past, but I could taste the alcohol in the finish, so I could tell it was doing its job. I will definately drink more of this next year.

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

Pours a murky amber and has a thick tan head. It has a spicy hop nose and the spicy character comes through in the flavor and covers up the alcohol very well. It is not too complex at all. Very straight forward in it's flavor. This is a really good winter warmer... I will be revisiting this bier again next year. Kudos to Boulevard for a very good winter ale.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.16/5  rDev -16.4%
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 merlin48
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My second Boulevard, thanks to babydoc. This one pours a muddy brown(unfiltered) body with a 1 cm beige head that disperses some nice patchy lace. Aroma is malty and spicy, with notes of chocolate, caramel, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Some grassy hops are picked up in the background. Very pleasant in the mouth, with an ideal carbonation and tingly body. Taste is quite pleasant, with malty chocolate and caramel maltiness melding with grassy and pine hops, a hint of hazelnut, and some cinnamon and nutmeg. Although I cook with fresh spices, I have been deceived before by noting the definite presence of spices that were actually hops, as may be the case here. This is an excellent winter warmer that is quite well constructed. I wish Boulevard could expand their distribution a bit, so more of us could enjoy their fine brews.

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Photo of beerceller99
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. 2004 bottling. Pours an amber color with a thin tan head. Spicy, sweet malt smell. Medium bodied with a full, creamy mouthfeel. Has a caramel sweet and mild alcohol taste. Finishes with a slight bitterness.
Pretty nice, one of Boulevards better brews.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Another brew from my secret santa mentor!
I am drinking a cellar temp brew in a snifter.
The beer pours a clear amber color with a soft, creamy off white head of 2 cm foaming up easily, some larger bubbles exist in the center. The head fades slowly to a sturdy surface layer leaving nice tight lattice as it sinks.
Aroma is mostly hops, with some pine and grass mixing with a bit of ripe fruit, peaches and plums and a hint of caramel.
Nice fairly thick body with fine and prickly carbonation, the carbonation is the first thing I notice when the beer hits my palate, wish it were a little more gentle.
Flavor is good. I get some of the ripe fruit again with plums prevelant, a mix of caramel and again the piney hops come through. The beer leaves a slightly sweet candy flavor on my palate after I swallow but what I notice most on the swallow is the carbonation leaving a tingle on my gums and palate. The beer is tasty, smooth and very nice on a cold night, but the carbonation is a little sharp IMO.

A nice beer overall.

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

Poured from a 2004 bottle labled best before 02/01/05. The unfiltered brew pours slightly hazy mahogany, nice curtains of bubbles. Head is one finger slightly-yellow wheat, fading to a veil that lasts until the end. Nose is pleasant but not potent; spicy, flowery. Nice mouthfeel, with moderate carbonation yielding a creamy feel but faily dry finish. The taste is sweet malts and light spices; hops interrupt the sweetness to balance but not overpower it... Despite the "added" spices attributed to it by some tasters, the ingredients list only two-row barley malt, whole hops, and yeast. Very nice, not quite as hearty as I'd hoped, but certainly drinkable and one of my Boulevard choices.

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

Pours a murky reddish color. Smells of malt and spice, with a touch of alcohol. Taste is the weak link , with of all things pear coming through, as well as some spiciness in the malt.

Overall, this is yet another winter warmer that I'll be passing up next year.

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

This a great, unheralded holiday brew. The balance of malt and hops is perfect for a winter warmer. The flavor sits on the back of the tongue and rolls forward closing on a hoppy (chinook?) finish. There is a pretty good head and retention. I could drink it all night.

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

Served cold from a fresh "John's Grocery" purchase in December 2004.

Whoa. Unlike any Boulevard selection I've had previously. Pours brown with a single finger head. Smells a bit spicey....some nut & chocolate, but perhaps some nutmeg? The big difference between this and normal Boulevard offerings is the mouthfeel and sweet malt. Thicker and sweeter. Medium-heavy mouthfeel and stamina building umph. Nutty and X-mas spice to taste. Plus, lotsa interesting flavors as it warms...licorice, hint of chocolate, nutmeg (clove?), and other holiday spices. The best selection from Boulevard I've tried yet (and I've tried them all repeatedly). Wish they could impart this mouthfeel and malt sweet to their pale ale.

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

Just tried this one, actually my first Boulevard i've had, and I have to say it was excellent. Poured a dark reddish/brown, with a very nice head, and had a very nice nutty-malty smell.

It has a excellent mainly malty taste, that is very well balanced with great body and is very drinkable. Overall I really enjoyed this one and it really makes me want to try some of boulevard's others.

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Photo of aracauna
3.57/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A rich mahagony brown body is topped by a fleeting, big-bubbled head. The aroma is very malty, heavy on the nuts, with backup notes of caramel and toast. There’s also a bit of baking spices, maybe cinnamon and nutmeg, but they’re not overpowering. The flavor is richly malty and slightly fruity. Pretty tasty.

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Photo of Ave
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours a dark rose amber that is just slightly murky, and with a massive head that settles a bit, but sticks around nicely for some time. The nose is full of floral hops & maybe just a hint of spice. Taste is sweat/bitter hops & just the right amount of malt. Very enjoyable. Mouth feel is spot on, nothing out of place & well balanced all around. One of Boulevards better brews I think.

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Photo of GuinnessSmurf
2.87/5  rDev -24.1%
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: 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 brewQ
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'Tis the season...
A very pretty brew- black but allowing a purple light to come through. The nose is of black malts along with the house character hops (ala the Pale ALe).

Taste hits in waves: sweetness, then hops, then the warmth of alcohol. Good drinking for the holidays- maybe better than last year.

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