Schlafly Christmas Ale | The Schlafly Tap Room

BA SCORE
84
good
189 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Schlafly Christmas AleSchlafly Christmas Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
The Schlafly Tap Room
Missouri, United States
schlafly.com

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

Added by hopsaplenty on 11-02-2006

BEER STATS
Reviews:
189
Ratings:
542
Avg:
3.71
pDev:
12.4%
 
 
Wants:
23
Gots:
84
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 189 | Ratings: 542
Photo of GuyFawkes
4.14/5  rDev +11.6%
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.

 334 characters

Photo of kopper65
4.13/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Color is similar to iced tea, sort of an orangish-brown or copper color. Very little head and not much lacing to speak of, either.

Smell: Spicy with orange, cinnamon and clove, and some maltiness.

Taste: Spicy with malty sweetness. You can really taste the orange peel and cloves right off the bat. Then the cinnamon comes in and finally, some hops. I really enjoy this beer. It is one of my holiday favorites and due to the spicy ingredients that dominate the taste, actually makes me think of Christmas.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied carbonation, which suits this beer just fine. Smooth to watery with a crisp finish.

Drinkability: This beer is meant to be enjoyed during the holidays, and I have no problem with that whatsoever. Although slightly overpowering, and for that reason I like to mix it up with other styles. This also helps with the ABV level of this beer, which, if you're not careful, can take you by surprise.

 936 characters

Photo of BigJim5021
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer of this stuff for a family gathering. At $10.50, I was hoping for good things. No disappointment there.

Pours a hazy amber with a nice white head. Head settles down into a nice ring with a good deal of lacing.

The smell is goddamn phenomenal, I tells ya. It's like a spicy, sweet, orangey Christmas tree.

Flavor is damn good too. It's not as spicy or sweet as it smells, but it's definitely got a hint of citrus and some nice, piney hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is a tad beyond medium bodied. Carbonation is spot-on. The finish is nice and dry. Nicely played.

Drinkability is high for a beer clocking in at 8%. I might have to pick up some more of this in anticipation of the ensuing holidays. I really didn't like Schlafly's Pumpkin Spice offering, but their Christmas Ale is the shit.

 806 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes, poured into a shaker pint from the bottle at Jackie's in Silver Spring.

A solid two maybe three finger head off white in color, some good staying power. Body appearance is great dark orange and crystal clear. Some small carbonation rises slowly, not much lacing but a little. Good looking beer.

Even off the pour this bottle releases quite a bouquet. Lots of cinnamon, sweet nutmeg almost allspice too. Toasty malts and a bit of actual hot brown spicy heat. Impressive.

Taste is spicy hot in the palate. Matching the nose of sweet brown nutmeg and the like. Malt action comes with a brown sugar finish and toast a little. Spicy heat detracts a little, but the flavors are quite good. Medium carbonation with a good feel.

Overall a solid Christmas beer from Schlafly, love this brewery.

 801 characters

Photo of dcotom
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

 332 characters

Photo of Monkeyknife
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stumbled onto four bottles from 2007 recently.

Poured from the bottle a cloudy amber gold with a sea of tiny floaties. I assume those are from aging a year. The beige head is creamy but small.

Aroma of sweet malts, Juicyfruit gum, orange peel, ripe orchard fruits, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.

Tastes of sweet malts, candy sugar, cinnamon, cloves, apple, and just a hint of spicy hops. Not overly sweet or fruity. Finishes quite clean.

Light-to-medium bodied, slightly dry, and lightly carbonated.

A fine ale for the Christmas season, indeed. A great drinker.

Now to pick up some 2008.

 592 characters

Photo of ScorpyX
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice amber color. Translucent appearance with a lot of carbonation visible.

S: Detect orange peel, ginger, and cinnamon. Little bit of cherry, too.

T: Citrus sweetness, ginger, and pine up front. Very sweet beer.

M: Medium bodied and smooth, though gets a little sticky as you work your way through the bottle. Not overwhelming, though.

Nice beer. Reminds me of Christmas, so it's quite fitting.

 413 characters

Photo of barefootbrewer
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Golden with a fluffy, creamy head. The carbonation bubbles were continuous.

S: Pumpkin, vanilla, sweet and spicy.

T: Hoppy and piney. Definitely suited for the holidays. (This beer does not taste at all like it smells - weird.)

M: Medium bodied and fitting.

D: Excellent beer. I think I'll be looking for this one again next holiday season.

 347 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - reddish amber, a good-sized head slows down the pour into a standard pint glass. A minute later, the beer is practically coverless. Some very fine sediment suspended in the brew.

Aroma - some spice and caramel at first, turning slightly metallic and fading back to a light grain, licorice, and cinnamon smell.

Taste - sweet with licorice, citrus, clove, and a touch of the metal, too. The maltiness is nice, a good base to work from. There are some mild hops after the swallow and some creeping warmth in the aftertaste. The finish is extended by the spices and wrap things up well.

Mouthfeel - a little heavier and a good fit. Carbonation is there but a bit restrained, maybe just not so big due to the body.

Drinkability - a great seasonal ale. Good fireside brew, let it warm up a little to let the flavors shine.

 841 characters

Photo of Dave128
4.09/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at pazzos pizza pub in Lexington KY. Brought to me in a pint glass.

A - Almost no head with only a slight ring around the edge of the glass. Lacing is nonexistent and color is clear amber.

S - Smells like Christmas. I don't know how else to describe it. It smells like a pot of spices my mom would simmer on Christmas morning.

T - Similar to the nose, but alcohol is very evident.

M - medium bodied. Correct for the flavors present.

O - Pretty awesome smelling beer. Alcohol is a little heavy though.

 520 characters

Photo of gpogo
4.09/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Hazy orange/light amber with large off-white head

A- Cloves and orange, slightly pumpkin and maybe a bit of ginger

T- taste is right in line with the aroma. A bit more bitter than originally revealed though. Slight spiciness comes through at the end. Spiced aftertaste(cloves and slightly spicy feel)

M- Medium body with a decent amount of carbonation.

D- Probably my favorite holiday offering. Sadly I'll have to wait until near next december for more of these. Very delicious and very affordable. Not an every day refreshing drinker(not spiced for that), but I'd enjoy it fairly often.

 594 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.08/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Schlafly Christmas Ale
12 oz. bottle; $2.49 @ Joe Canal's, Egg Harbor Twp., NJ

Wow, what a great beer! I'm surprised I've never tried this before, but then again I am a little "gun shy" when it comes to spiced beers.

It's a little bit sweet, but that's balanced by the spices and a nice bit of fruitiness. And the spices aren't overdone. I'd imagine you could have two of these in a row without having either the sweetness or spice build up on your palate. At the same time, it's not a weak or light beer, it's pretty flavorful. There's a decent amount of malt here, and a good 8% abv to boot!

Maybe it's the choice of spices that I like so much: orange peel, juniper berries, ginger root, cardamom and cloves; and the fact that they're so bright and that I can actually pick each one out. But there's no cinnamon or nutmeg either, and that makes a difference as they both tend to be a bit heavy and stick on the palate. And although a lot of people like to think of cinnamon and nutmeg as "Christmas spices", I think this one tastes just fine.

I'm not sure that I would drink it other than as a seasonal, or with special events, but I'm really impressed and I think that it would make a great after-dinner beer, or even an apertif. Quite nice!

 1,250 characters

Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.07/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark, bright amber with a thin sheet of white lacing that combs the pint glass. Streaky, thunderstorm lacing. Sweet piney hops, freshly baked apple pie, cloves, gingerbread and nutmeg are all in the aroma, sets up for a great first impression. Spicy malts, massive cloves and nutmeg that turn creamy. Full bodied; pumpkin and apple pie crust with orange peel and caramel roll noted. Large winter spices, cloves, gingerbread cookies, and spicy cinammon come to fruition. Talk about a full flavored spiced up beer; props to Schlafly for marketing this as a winter ale, one to look forward to each year!

 600 characters

Photo of Gehrig
4.07/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Burnt orange with ruby trim and a finger of white foam that recedes a bit too fast for my liking. Strong smell of the advertised orange peel and cloves, unmistakably so, with some caramel malt for structural integrity.

Good taste, good enough to make me wish for a "tweener" grade of 4.25--between good and very good. This is really good--clove and some cinnamon predominate--but orange peel and citrus hops are nicely represented. Delicious, smooth mouthfeel, accessible and easy on the palate.

Schlafly rarely makes beer that wows me and, while Christmas Ale doesn't wow me, it's better than a good many Schlafly offerings I've enjoyed. This is a solid, rather enjoyable Christmas Ale that should please, and deserves a spot in many a fridge over the Holidays.

 765 characters

Photo of MCain04
4.06/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Acquired in a trade with beergod1, thanks! Brewed 11/12, drank 02/13. Poured into a 14oz tulip. Let's go!

Appearance: Opaque amber color, off-white 2 finger head, good retention and lacing.

Smell: Spicy, malty, sweet, nutty. Just what I want out a christmas ale aroma.

Taste: Sweet and malty, apple, some spices. Maybe a tad too sweet for my liking. A little citrus and lemonade. Complex flavor profile that isn't amazing but isn't the worst. No alcoholic heat, not much bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Low-moderate carbonation. Smooth, medium body. A tad sticky, a tad dry.

Overall: Not bad at all! Pleasantly surprised with this. One of the top 5 Christmas ales I've had before. If only it were a little less sweet, I'd really like it. Wouldn't mind trying this again.

 768 characters

Photo of MizzouBrew
4.06/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark reddish brown. Minimal head with some light lace. If you were to try and describe how Christmas would taste in beer form, Schlafly Christmas Ale is it! And at 8%, winter warmer is right. Great winter beer.

 228 characters

Photo of pmcadamis
4.05/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - This one is a deep orange amber color that is clear, and lighter than I expected. Most Christmas/Winter brews tend to be on the dark side, but this one is the color of a good IPA. The head is initially three fluffy fingers, and settles to a persistent finger of cloud-like foam. Big sheets of lace slide down the glass, leaving nice big arcs in their wake. Head retention is pretty good for a high abv brew.

S - Candied apples (not caramel apples, but the candied apples covered in sugary red stuff), orange zest, wintergreen and peppermint. This smells like a mixed bag of Christmas candy. I'm reminded of those candy canes (sans hook) that some in a ton of different flavors. There is definitely a nice Christmas tree sappy hop note that reminds us that this is beer...not liquid holiday candy.

T - Hoppy, sweet, and well spiced. This seems like it is an IPA style beer that has been Christmas-ified with nutmeg, cinnamon, orange rind, and peppermint. Red apple skin and vinous grape skin tartness keep this lively.

M - This is medium bodied and initially quite sweet before transitioning to a ridiculously dry and dusty finish. I find that many spiced beers have a dusty finish...like putting dry cinnamon in your mouth. The alcohol is extremely well hidden...I would have never guessed that this was 8%!

D - A good sipper for a cold holiday season night. It's 33 degrees and wet here in central Illinois... the perfect time for a spicy and boozy winter ale. This one is pretty good, but not as glorious as I expected from a "special release" beer from Schlalfly. I do like the SN Celebration - like take on a winter brew.

 1,634 characters

Photo of rlee1390
4.04/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Clear ruby, some carbonation, one finger head

S-Spices galore, cinnamon, nutmeg, caramel, malt, all balanced nicely together.

T-Not as good as the nose, still good though. Spice heavy, cinnamon, less malt than the nose.

M-Light, some carbonation, tad watery though.

O-A nice spiced Christmas brew, a good one, not the best, but good.

 339 characters

Photo of IntriqKen
4.03/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks rsyberg01 for this bit of St. Louis Christmas.
Pours a glowing red/amber with a moderate white head that melts to a sticky lacing.
Aromas are so spicy I am reminded of a pumpkin ale....cinnamon, cloves, orange peel. Very fresh smelling spices.
Taste is so spicy again I am reminded of a pumpkin ale. Tons of cinnamon, a little cloves, corriander, and orange peel hop bitterness on the tail end.
Aftertaste is a tingly spiciness reminiscent of a wheat. A little white pepper in the hop bite.
Nice full comfortable mouthfeel.
This is an unusual winter ale...very spicy...not bad and the farther I get into the bottle the more I like it. Could that be the 8% talking?
Very tasty.
Thanks Ric.

 703 characters

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.03/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From bottle to Bruges hybrid class on 2/10/11

*I'm performing a "Spring Cleaning" of sorts, and finishing off the holiday beer in and around my home - this being one of them.

A: Like a shiny, new Christmas ornament. It's simply gorgeous - rich carmine in color, it's slightly hazy and when poured, yields a robust 1.75 finger head with great retention and lacing.

S: Alcohol first and foremost, then undertones of cinnamon spice and orange citrus. I don't detect any hop presence, but I'm certainly not complaining as this is really well done.

T: Extremely well balanced, as the spicy cloves and nutmeg dance ever so gracefully with the 8% alcohol. Coriander and orange zest work their way around the taste buds. It all finishes a bit hot, but isn't that the point on a cold winter's night?

M: Heavy and thank God for it. This isn't a lawnmower beer, it's to be enjoyed by the fire while telling tales of yore. Creamy and inviting.

O: The review above was performed two months after purchase. For as quaffable as it is today, it is simply outstanding when fresh. Most of the lovely spices are still there, but have been slightly muted, even while sitting in my fridge for a couple of months.

Schlafly's Christmas Ale is one the best holiday brews I've encountered. Like their Pumpkin Ale, they really know how to walk the fine between too little and too much. This is so well balanced, and it makes for supremely enjoyable drinking. Like Christmas itself, I'll be looking forward to this one all year.

 1,508 characters

Photo of rundocrun
4.02/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12-oz bottle into a snifter.

A - Comes out of the bottle a coppery orange-brown color. Faint rose highlights. Has a 1/4 inch of coarse white head that fades fast.

S - Has a definite aroma of cloves, spruce and banana-like esters.

T - Sweet and caramely up front with more banana and a noticeable spicy nutmeg character. An almost bubble-gum like sweetness comes in toward the middle. Mild hop bitterness on the sides of the tongue that lasts through the finish. Some mild alcohol bite and orange peel in the finish as well.

M - Has a nice hefty body to it with good carbonation. Sweet and syrupy residual mouthfeel. The 8% ABV leaves a pleasant warmth in the chest.

Overall: a sweet, spicy, and warming winter beer. Not exceptional but definitely above average.

 780 characters

Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer typifies what a spiced holiday beer should be - lots of spice but doesn't taste like someone stuffed a mincemeat pie in a bottle. Cloves and nutmeg are nicely integrated into the sweet-ish malt, but are well moderated throughout the draft and don't become cloying. Within this class, I think this is a very good example.

For folks who have criticized this beer for having a lot of spice, that is like criticizing an IPA for having a lot of hops.

 459 characters

Photo of drtth
4/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

 1,105 characters

Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into dimpled mug (I also had it on tap once in a bar in DC). Pours a hazy orange with a thin-moderate linen white head that lasted through the first quarter of the glass and left partial lace. Pleasant aroma of orange peel, honey, and cloves - subdued holiay spcies. Decent carbonation. The flavor is mild malt with stronger orange peel, honey and cloves. Black pepper emerges in the aftertaste about five seconds after the swallow and lingers for several seconds.

 488 characters

Photo of MadCat
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Nice ruby amber color with a short tan head that dissipates quickly

Smell: Some nice Christmasy spices up front, along with some malty sweetness

Taste: Reminds you of fresh baked gingerbread, got all the spices there, along with nice bready, caramely malts. There are other Christmas spices and malt flavors in there as well, so its not like drinking liquid gingerbread. Just gives you that warm inviting feeling, invoking memories of Christmases past.

Mouthfeel: Light body, good carbonation, little bit of spicy finish

Overall: A good Christmas beer, and even better for a spiced one. I enjoy it and would gladly recommend to anyone looking for a solid seasonal choice.

 687 characters

Schlafly Christmas Ale from The Schlafly Tap Room
3.71 out of 5 based on 542 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe