Christmas Ale | The Schlafly Tap Room

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Christmas AleChristmas Ale
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Brewed by:
The Schlafly Tap Room
Missouri, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our Christmas Ale is a warming winter ale that blends the spices of the season with sweet caramel malt. Orange peel, juniper berries, ginger root, cardamom and cloves are added for spiciness. We use honey in the fermentation process, which raises the ABV without producing too much heat from the alcohol content.

Many breweries produce richer, higher alcohol beers for the winter holiday season, bolder than their year-round offerings. The inspiration for this beer came from spiced holiday beverages such as wassail and mulled wines. Around the holidays, the sweet and spicy aromas, not to mention the booze, in such libations tend to smooth the rougher edges of enjoying each other’s company and spreading goodwill.

30 IBU

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 192 | Ratings: 564
Photo of Snowcrash000
3.67/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a reddish mahogany coloration with a medium, fizzy head. Smells of caramel malts, with a faint hint of ginger and clove. Taste is quite malt-forward, with caramel and bready malts taking center stage. Quite a bit of spice coming through as well, with nutmeg, cardamon, ginger and clove being most noticeable. Perhaps a hint of cinnamon in there as well. Finishes with a medium, spicy bitterness. This reminded me a lot of a Pumpking Ale, which shouldn't be too surprising, I guess. Nice enough, with a decent malt bill and nice spicyness and bitterness. Nothing too outstanding, but well-balanced.

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Photo of q33jeff
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75


Bottle to snifter.

LOOK: red, brown, lasting medium head.
AROMA: allspice, cinnamon, fruitcake, baking soda
TASTE: bread, spice, cranberry, orange

An above average Christmas beer.


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Photo of KLHBB
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fuzzy mahogany, smells of caramel and nutty malt. Taste of spice, gingerbread, not too sweet. Medium mouthfeel, quite excellent, Schlafly is always good.

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Photo of Qbdoo
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I do not generally like Christmas Ales but this is the best I've had. A dark nut brown color. Aroma is a caramel and just a hint of nutmeg. Taste similar. The spices are subdued, which for me is the key to a good winter warmer. There's also a slight sweet syrupy quality. Very nice.

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Photo of Pencible
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: This poured a clear dark mahogany with light tan head.
S: It smelled like earthy caramel and nutmeg, with a little cinnamon and nutty toffee.
T: It tasted like cooking vanilla and earthy caramel, with some nutmeg and cinnamon and nutty malt. It had a clean and sweet aftertaste.
M: It was oily with a little carbonation. Nice full body.
D: This was a nice beer with well balanced scent and taste, with solid body. The finish was smooth so it was easy to drink. Not earth shattering but very enjoyable.

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Photo of cyclonece09
3.52/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from a bottle. Pours red amber with a small white head. Smells of Christmas spices and light grain. Tastes of spices and cinnamon. Beer is light to medium bodied, good carbonation, fairly easy drinking. Overall, an above average beer.

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Photo of dcotom
4.12/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is exactly what I have in mind when I hear the term "winter warmer." Dark chestnut color, light tan head, lots of lacing. Dark, sweet, caramelly roasted malt backbone, spice forward with big flavors of clove, ginger, and cinnamon. Nice alcohol warmth, dry finish. My sample was bottled in October 2014, and has aged quite well.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4.14/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled 10/21/14; drank 1/3/15 @ the Yarchives.

Poured from the bottle into a glass.

Clear brown/orange rust appearance.

Big khaki head; frothy lace.

Allspice, brown sugar & caramel nose.

Medium thin mouthfeel.

Brown sugar & mild cinnamon flavors up front; smooth caramel finish. No booze heat. An enjoyable winter warmer.

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Photo of Griffin2
3.4/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.
L - pours a reddish amber with a slight white head.
S - Smells of spices.
T - Tastes malty and spicy.
F - Moderately carbonated.
O - This is a decent Christmas ale.

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Photo of teromous
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On the bottom of the label on the front center of the bottle: "10/26/2016 09:53"

Appearance: The body is a dark mahogany with various browns and reds as light strikes the glass from different angles. The beer has great clarity. The head is a light tobacco stained yellow color with a creamy consistency. Great retention and lacing.

Aroma: I get this mix of a flowery and potpourri-like aroma with what smells like ginger and bay leaves. It has a very cool aroma that does smell like Christmas.

Taste: It has a fair amount of alcohol flavor that pops up right at the beginning and lingers through the beer. This is mixed with a bit of what tastes like cinnamon and just a bit of a woody tasting finish.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium body that tapers into a more light body while drinking and finishes with a bit of bitterness at the back of the tongue. Not much texture to the beer itself. Mostly easy to drink with the exception of the alcohol character which hampers it just a bit.

Overall: It's a good beer with a nice spicy flavor. It is an 8% ABV beer and it will convey in the flavor more than many other beers on the market with a similar or higher ABV. If the prospect of this does not bother you in a winter warmer and you are a fan of spiced beers then I would highly recommend it. Overall I did find it to be an outstanding beer and aside from the beauty it looks like in the glass, the aroma is fantastic and very festive. I would buy it again this year and it would be on the list of beers to try again next year.

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Photo of sphmiel
3.92/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The 2016 vintage. Pours ruby red, white head fades fast. Spicy nose, ginger, cloves, like fresh gingerbread, which carry into the taste. Well hidden alcohol. A welcome sign that the holidays are near.

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Photo of jeranbrews
3.6/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - murky fizzy cedar amber with fluffy cream cheese white head good lacing. 4

S - minty juniper and nutmeg. Spicy banana bread. 4

T - slightly stale rye bread and barley wine 3

M creamy and smooth 4

D surprisingly good even in June 4

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Photo of Grindelvasdrum
3.95/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into glass stein.
A-Very dark, almost opaque with red hues around edges,
Nice one finger tan head, very little lacing.

S-Wonderful cherry, pine, nutmeg & cinnamon
T-Starts dark fruit & spices, at once followed by a big chocolate rush,
it then fades into some smoked almost tobacco notes, &
finally ends with a return to sweet fruit, spices & pine.

M-Good carbonation but only mildly creamy. A bit of alcohol burn.
O-Quite complex, nice holiday sipper.

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Photo of Beginner2
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

This does what a holiday beer should do: evokes the season via smells and warms the body.
The caramel malt backbone was balanced with spices that replaced some hops; at only 30 IBU, that is a welcome relief.
I bought this on sale last January and it was still good for this year.
While I spend more time with dark Belgians at this time of year, I hope to go back to this one to see how I've matured.

12/18/18 This copy also was a year old and my rating is mostly unchanged. So Schafly's probably does age in the one year range. However this 2017 vintage did have an off-aftertaste which was noticeable, but not unfortunate... just giving it average Feel. But that's OK, it is the season to go eat some more butter-fat and wipe that off-taste away.

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Photo of AlarmClock314
3.86/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, bottled on 10/19/15. Pours clear reddish/amber with a large off-white head; some lacing on the glass. Smells of ginger, clove, and sweet malt. The taste follows with spice, malt, and honey; weaker intensity than the smell. Some light sweetness in the aftertaste. Medium body and above average carbonation. Overall, it's a spice-forward and easy drinking beer.

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Photo of 88caprice
3.96/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a stemmed glass.

OVERALL: Deeelightful. A spiced beer that's not too sweet, too bitter, in-your-face, or gimmicky. The spice compliments a fine base brew, rather than covering up for a lame beer that couldn't hold it's own to begin with.

LOOK: Lovely deep amber hue with nice lacing.
SMELL: Crisp and spice-forward, quite sweet, with a malt-hinting backbone.
TASTE: Some initial spice upfront, with a clove-like taste more prevalent at swallow. Afterward, the spiced taste pulls a bitter exit, leaving behind a solid roasted finish. Almost none of the sweetness from the nose follows through to taste. Hides the 8% ABV well.
MOUTHFEEL: Medium bodied and somewhat smooth, lots of carbonated tingles, with a thicker finish.

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Photo of drtth
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours into a Duvel glass a nice clear dark amber, almost brown, color with a 1/2" light tan head that soon recedes leaving a ring of foam, some scattered patches of lacing, an island of foam and a thin film on the liquid. Sipping creates some small scattered patches of lacing.

The aromas include ginger, caramel, cinnamon and some other spices along with a light bready character in the background.

The flavors are much as expected from the nose with the mix of caramel malt, spices and sweetness giving the impression of something akin to gingerbread.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and there's a light prickly feeling from the gentle but persistent carbonation. The finish begins about mid-way through after the malt has given way to the spices and the sweetness begins to fade into a nicely dry, slightly bittered finish that invites another sip.

Overall I've enjoyed this as a well made Christmas beer that is now on my "buy for Christmas list," to have again next year. While there is not a strong hop presence the spices play nicely with the malt and they all get a chance to shine.

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Photo of BrownAleBollocks
3.77/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep garnet color with a one finger khaki color head. Aroma is a blend of seasonal spices and malt sweetness. Taste follows with seasonal spice, caramel, toffee, biscuit, and a solid malt presence. Mouthfeel is thin to medium and nicely carbonated. Overall a very good winter spiced beer that is reminiscent of Christmas cookies, gingerbread houses, and spiced holiday cake.

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Photo of orcrist_cleaver
4.09/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Burnt umber red. Beaver tones.Thick and rocky head. 1 thick band of lacing before head starts petering out.

S: Mostly herbal pine, juniper, and slice of citrus made spicy with grated ginger. Caramel malt swoops in and takes over a bit too much.

M: Med to full bodied. Spicy, dry finish.

T: Caramel biscuit treacle. Spice perfumes; allspice, cardamom is on check with orange. Good combination. Sweet honey florals with spicy herbal ginger finish. Lots of ginger spice if you like that. A very good Christmas beer with good flavors that complement each other, and elevate above basic potpourri that I get from so many xmas beers. Good compensatory beer for striking out on GL Christmas Ale.

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Photo of threesignificantstarfish
3.99/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Nothing says Christmas like a beer label that says Christmas Ale on it! I mainly just buy this beer around Christmas time because it's like buying egg nog, you just do it. Smell of cinnamon and cloves are my favorite part. Really smooth going down, easy to drink and a good ABV to tolerate the in-laws.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle dated 10/20/2015:
Beautiful dark ruby color with a lasting pink-tinted white head that lasts all pour and laces the glass. Clarity of beer is evident.

Amber/red ale malt with a fruity nature - cherry and apple, or maybe cranapple-like. The spices are present, but meld with the fruit notes-an amalgam of berry, allspice, spruce, cider.

A little sweet to open, with the fruit juice notes from the nose. Spice notes take a second to grab, but wrest control from the fruit about mid taste. A little bitterness hits before the spice fades to end with a nice balance of the two notes by the end. I noticed the bitterness later in the beer.

A refreshing, clean, easy drinking beer. Hits the notes but doesn't excite me.

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Photo of jw4free
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured a 12 oz bottle dated 10/14/2015 into a Weizen glass. L: dark Amber to red color. Clear. 1/2 finger of head that fades moderately. Good lacing. S: complex bouquet of orange, juniper, clove and other spices (cardamom, maybe not..) . Aroma fades quickly after the first couple drinks and into a nice malty sweetness. Let this one rest midway through. T: strong clove and citrus. A bittered malt comes out about halfway through the glass. F: flavors linger in the mouth a bit, not too thin nor too boozy for 8.0%. O: Starts out spicy, but it does settle in the belly.

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Photo of ksimons
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-a ruby color with a thin cream colored head that disappears quickly to leave a ring around the top

S-caramel malt backbone with cinnamon and ginger, kind of smells like a gingerbread cookie

T-caramel malt backbone with lighter spices than in the smell, but still with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg

M-medium body, moderate carbonation, somewhat dry finish

Overall a very attractive looking beer that lives up to it's look, not too sweet, but with enough spices to make it a Christmas beer

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed from the 12 oz bottle in a pint glass. This nice ale pours a bright reddish brown with a modest light tan head of foam that settles to a thin ring and light thin pool with very nice lacing. Nose of cinnamon, clove, ginger, caramel malts, and light biscuit. Flavors follow the nose with ginger and cinnamon blending with honey and sweet caramel malt notes. Oranges and nutmeg (cardamom?) notes follow from the middle to the back of the taste with the ginger leaving a medium herbal note on the aftertaste. Coating finish and nice warming alcohopl. If you like ginger this is your cup of ale. While I can put my dislike for ginger to the side it is a solid brew, but there is just so much of it. Very festive, but a little too much going on.


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Photo of Franziskaner
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Nice amber color with excellent clarity. There's just a trace of fingernail thick beige head around half of the rim and a tiny bit floating in the middle. I smell notes of caramel and just a hint of cinnamon. When I take a sip I taste that nice blend of caramel and cinnamon and perhaps allspice. This is medium bodied and a touch warming with alcohol.

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Christmas Ale from The Schlafly Tap Room
Beer rating: 3.69 out of 5 with 564 ratings