Nutcracker Ale | Boulevard Brewing Co.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
345 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 345 | Ratings: 870
Photo of budgood1
4.08/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

 986 characters

Photo of LordChesterfield
4.24/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

 791 characters

Photo of karst
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

 702 characters

Photo of whynot44
3.96/5  rDev +5%
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.

 684 characters

Photo of walleye
3.16/5  rDev -16.2%
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.

 256 characters

Photo of Vancer
3.99/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

 371 characters

Photo of neonbrown82
4.33/5  rDev +14.9%
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.

 1,028 characters

Photo of RushLimbmalt
4/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

 360 characters

Photo of HardTarget
3.16/5  rDev -16.2%
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!

 761 characters

Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

 824 characters

Photo of beerceller99
3.77/5  rDev 0%
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.

 259 characters

Photo of sulldaddy
3.58/5  rDev -5%
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.

 1,034 characters

Photo of babydoc
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

 691 characters

Photo of skybluewater
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

 265 characters

Photo of swamiswamu
4/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

 268 characters

Photo of mentor
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

 714 characters

Photo of Juggernaut
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

 390 characters

Photo of aracauna
3.57/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

 311 characters

Photo of Ave
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

 400 characters

Photo of GuinnessSmurf
2.87/5  rDev -23.9%
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.

 856 characters

Photo of brewQ
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

 308 characters

Photo of Tballz420
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew is a hazy, murky brown color, with a small tan head resulting from a nice cascading effect. Scent has some spice, maybe some ginger. The main taste that comes through is nuttiness, some spicyness rounding that out. Underlying bitter hops. Not a horrible one, but id turn to some other winter favorites before this one.

 328 characters

Photo of alexgash
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy, rich, cinnamon-brown with sedimentary floaties and a medium-sized, light-tan head.
Sweet cookie malt aroma, with vanilla, brown sugar, egg nog, and yeast. How Christmas-y is that?
Taste starts with the sweet cookie malt. Spices festively ring in, but aren’t over the top like they are in some holiday ales. Bitter, yet spicy, hop bite lifts the sweetness into the yeasty finish. Medium plus bodied, with a moderately creamy feel. A very respectable xmas ale.

 469 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Best enjoyed at cellar temperature (not right out of the fridge!), Nutcracker pours a beautiful chestnut body with a reddish cast beneath a short cap of creamy light beige foam. The nose reveals a combination of light spice and delicate spruce or pine wrapped in a caramelish and slightly biscuity malt. It's medium bodied and its median carbonation lends a gentle zest to the tongue. The flavor is slightly richer than the nose suggests, but delivers the same basic profile with hops arriving up front and giving way to it's maltiness towards the finish. Cellaring this beer for a year, however, softens the hop presence and allows the malt to become more dominant.

 666 characters

Photo of garymuchow
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma has a nice sweet, somewhat spicy malt character with a bit of a hoppy bite. Nice.
Clear, reddish/brown amber. Good color. 1/2 inch head that is brownish.
Enjoyable brown ale qualities. Fullness from malt make it rich but not sweet. A tingly presence of malt up formt, with taste leaving in middle then a long malty dryness on finish. Good hop balance. Hints of toffee.
Even with a malt bite has an ale smoothness and soft carbonation.
Another nice holiday brown ale (see Snow Storm 2003). This works well.

 515 characters

Nutcracker Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
3.77 out of 5 based on 870 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!