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Schlafly Christmas Ale | The Schlafly Tap Room

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Schlafly Christmas AleSchlafly Christmas 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

Added by hopsaplenty on 11-02-2006

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Reviews: 182 | Ratings: 519
Photo of TMoney2591
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

It may not be the Christmas season anymore, but the weather's close enough for me not to care too much right now. This stuff pours a clear midnight amber-tawny topped by a finger of pale khaki foam. The nose comprises candied orange peel, light cocoa, brown sugar, cinnamon, caramel, allspice, ginger, and a touch of sweetbread. The taste brings in more of the same, the caramel drying out to a graham cracker-like situation and taking a back seat to the panoply of spices in play. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, a tasty, spicy brew for these still-frigid times.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.67/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes 2/25/11

A: Poured a clear ruby/copper color. Small one finger white head with poor retention and no lacing.

S: Lots of spice, mostly cinnamon and nutmeg. A little bit of orange peel.

T: Very similar to the nose, but more pronounced. Lots of cinnamon and nutmeg, but by far the most dominant flavor is bubble gum.

M/D: Light bodied with good carbonation and quite smooth. A pretty good beer, but had high hopes after trying their pumpkin beer in the fall, which was amazing.

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Photo of smcolw
3.62/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good starting head that settles quickly but leaves some decent spotty lace. The color is darker amber and appears to be perfectly clear.

Aroma: Lots of cinnamon, nutmeg and sweet molasses. There's a some lesser clove and alcohol smell.

Starts off spritzy and malty. It transitions into white peppery spice. The aftertaste is very dry and the alcohol warms the throat. Relatively thin body but this may be from the high carbonation.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 11/17/10 notes. Had on tap at Churchkey in Washington, DC.

a - Pours a amber color with one inch of white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of cinnamon, cloves, spices, and fruity malts.

t - Tastes same as the smell with cinnamon and spices, fruity malts, and then also some graham crackers and bready malts.

m - Medium body, very smooth, low carbonation.

d - A pretty decent spiced beer, I enjoyed the taste a little more than the smell. Would be willing to try again.

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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.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Trying the Schlafly Christmas Ale this evening and the beer pours a mostly clear amber color with about a half inch off-white head. Lacing and head retention are both decent. The scent is very sweet and spicy, I can smell cloves, cinnamon, orange peel, and some ginger. It tastes pretty much the same as it smells, but the clove flavor is the strongest. Also, I think it tastes more spicy than sweet. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit coating and is well carbonated. Overall, it can be a tough beer due to the amount of spice in this beer, I don't think I could drink more than 2 or 3 of these at a time.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.6/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer is brown and clear with almost a reddish hue to it and a thin head that forms a halo around the edge of the glass. Beer is lightly carbonated and leaves very little evidence in the form of lacing that it was ever there.

Aroma is spicy, almost like cloves and cinnamon. Eh...

Beer is light in body and sweet at the lead off and finishes with a light cinnamon flavor in the background. It's nice, not a great beer in my opinion but a drinkable one. The spices aren't terrible, its just an average beer.

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Photo of Tone
4.14/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, amber/red color. 1/2 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of strong spice (nutmeg), yeast, slight citrus, sweet malt, alcohol, and some herbs. Fits the style of a Herbed / Spice Beer. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong spice, herb, slight citrus, alcohol, sweet malt, and slight yeast. Overall, a refreshing but non-session ale with good body and complexity.

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

Thanks goes out to bort11 for this brew.

2008 Edition

Pours a very nice hazy amber color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger plus creamy tan head, with lots of nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some cinimmon, nutmeg. The taste is malty, slightly sweet, with nice touch of spices. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a tasty brew, I enjoyed the 08 better. Thanks Tim.

Thanks goes out to bort11 for this brew.

2007 Edition

Pours a very nice hazy amber color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy tan head, with lots of nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some cinimmon, nutmeg. The taste is malty, slightly sweet, with nice touch of spices. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a tasty brew, Thanks Tim.

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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.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

- Brewed with orange peel, cloves, and spicy hops.

A: Dark coppery-penny coloring shows a fine mist of effervesce within. A bready, buff head sits atop moderately before succumbing to a slight creamy covering. Lacing is minimal, a few splashes adore the glass at best.

S: No doubt about the cloves, spicy cinnamon and cola are also there. The dried orange peels is also fairly dominant. Very xmasy, fresh pine, gingerbread and sweet baked sugar cookies.

T: Dominant orange peel first arrives on the flavor, along with sweet baked cookie malt. Pine and ginger closely mirrors the nose. Spicy hops, golding like, with some honey pine. A dusting of dry caramel malt residue covers the tongue on the swallow.

M: spicy and gingerly, dry caramelized malt dusting residue sits on the tongue. Enough carbonation to give this some feel without distraction.

O: Overall a lot of spicy xmas nature here. Sweet and festive and blends rather nicely together. It is what it is a xmas beer, limit of one is fine.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.99/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of russpowell. Thanks Russ!

It pours a clear red with a 2 finger head of foam.

The smell is awesome. Loads of cloves, oranges, hint or 2 of cinnamon. Now that's a spicy brewski.

The taste follows the nose for the most part. Big cloves, oranges, spiciness from the hops, but no apparent taste of any cinnamon. This is a very tasty Spiced beer indeed.

Medium describes the body and carbonation...very smooth mouth feel and it's a pretty easy drinker. Nicely done.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed 1/2" beige head over the slightly cloudy dark amber brew. Thick head lasts nicely, with lasting lace. Aroma is a light popourri, ample spicing, but not over the top. Taste is just what the label indicates, a zesty citrus cut with clove. Again, moderate amounts here, not falling for the overdo that many spiced beers do. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, with relative easy drinkability. Not the world's biggest spiced beer fan, but this one pulls it off rather well.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, bottled on 11/12/2009. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a mostly clear amber color with about a half inch off-white head. Lacing and head retention are both decent. Aroma is very sweet and spicy, I can smell cloves, cinnamon, orange peel, and some ginger. It tastes pretty much the same as it smells, but the clove flavor is the strongest. Also, I think it tastes more spicy than sweet. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit coating and is well carbonated. Drinkability is good, the alcohol in this brew is well hidden. However due to the amount of spice in this beer, I don't think I could drink more than 2 or 3 of these at a time. With that being said, I think this is a good overall brew, and I'll have to pick some more up next year.

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Photo of tigg924
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: minimal head, hazy, orange-brown in color

Smell: toasted malt, cinnamon, caramel, and clovess

Taste: lots of caramel malt, cinnamon, caramel, and a touch of earthy hops in the middle

Mouthfeel: heavy bodied, medium carbonation, very sweet and spicy with a slight bitter jump in the middle

Drinkability: A nice and malty holiday treat where the alcohol really sneaks up. The combination of spices is good. A sipper that is one I will revisit.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.23/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled 01 December 2010, from the Village Pump.

Pouring a beautiful crimson with a dense, off-white head with excellent retention and nice lacing, this is a rather beautiful beer. The nose is a blend of spices and bright orange peel, in some ways, like a holiday candle. The hop character is a little herbal, and has a touch of soap to it as well. The spice character is interesting. A little bit potpourri-like, with some clove, mace and maybe even some grains of paradise? The orange peel is rather dominant here. Solid.

The palate opens with a mild medicinal sweetness along with a blend of spices and herbs. Again, this really is like potpourri, with a melange of flavors present. Pine and citrus from the hops, an herbal character that I can't entirely describe, and a blend of spices with clove, cinnamon and a little nutmeg. Orange peel isn't as noticeable here, for some reason.There's a bitterness present that reminds me of grains of paradise for some reason. The alcohol is rather noticeable, even when cold, making this harsher than it needs to be. The booze also makes this more noticeably medicinal, which isn't entirely appealing. Medium in body with a high level of carbonation that is surprisingly creamy, this feels decent on the palate. Mildly bitter and mildly herbal on the finish, this is decent. Ultimately, not terribly enjoyable, but I don't regret buying a single.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice looking scarlet red hue. Glows in a way. Pretty hazy. Thin off white head. Sporadic lace is left behind. Nose is very spicy. Get the cloves bigtime. And some orange notes. Caramel malt notes are evident as well. First sip is not bad, which is good because I'm not a big fan of cloves in beer. But it's not overpowering in this one. And the orange notes blend nicely with the crystal malt in this brew. Hops add some nice spiciness as well. Body is about medium to medium-full. Carbonation is appropriate. This is a nicely balanced spiced Christmas beer that is quite enjoyable. It's the type of beer I'd hit up for a 6er or 2 around Christmas if it were available around here.

Thanks Hopsaplenty.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.24/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, "bottled with love on 11/14/2013"
A - ruddy brown color with a very thin ivory head
S - cinnamon, spice, bread, caramel, earth
T - gingerbready, cinnamon, clove, ginger, caramel, molasses, warming booze
M - creamy, a bit chalky, medium-full body
O - ok spiced winter warmer

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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.

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Photo of Suds
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%

Brownish red with a moderately fizzy head, this beer is an attractive pour. The aroma is a mix of malt, spice, and wood. Full flavor, well balanced, and a spicy,ms harpness in the taste. Full bodied.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark chestnut color. The head is a finger high, with a khaki shade and a soft texture. Retention isn't great, though. Small patches of thin lacing are left on the glass. (3.5)

Smell: The spices here do a good job of invoking Christmas, bringing nice savory qualities such as ginger, clove, and juniper. Just like as advertised! In addition, the malt brings some notes of nut, caramel, toffee, and even roast. It smells like a fruit cake without the moronic sweetness. While the nose isn't really my thing, I can't deny it's executed extremely well. (3.5)

Taste: It's weird...because just as the nose suggested, it's a savory brew instead of a bitter or sweet one. The spices end up initially dominating with notes of clove and spruce, before transitioning to notes of caramel, chocolate, and brown sugar. At times, it's faintly roasty. Hell, even some hints of honey and coffee (!) pop up on occasion. While it's not the most cohesive brew in the world, it's still quite complex and even nicely balanced. (3.75)

Mouthfeel: Honey gives it a subtle sweetness...and a nice finishing dryness that makes it go down easily for 8%. Carbonation is gentle, but helps ease this beer down well. (4)

Overall: Wassails can be hit or miss with me. This is a hit, thankfully. Admittedly, the subjective qualities of this don't really appeal to me, so I won't go looking for it again. However, it's superbly made and loaded with complexity, and that means I'm still going to give it a higher score. (3.75)

3.71/5: Really well made, even if it isn't my favorite kind of beer

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.13/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Party Source. This beer is a hazy amber color with a medium thin light beige head. Spotty lacing on the glass. Aroma of citrus peel, coriander and sweet cookies. Light-bodied with a sweet spiced character. Flavors of clove, caramel malt and mild hops. The finish is citrusy with a lingering sweet spice aftertaste. Slightly above average overall.

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Photo of n2185
3.96/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear red-orange with a finger of off-white head that fades into a thin ring with no lacing.

S: Lots of nice spice aromas with cinnamon and nutmeg notes with sweet caramel and bubblegum aromas mixed in. There are vanilla and floral qualities to it as well.

T: Similar to the aroma, lots of sweet spicy flavors. Cinnamon dominates with nutmeg and vanilla flavors also present. Some caramel flavors are also present.

M: Medium body with medium carbonation, this beer is creamy at first with a nice carbonation bite toward the end to accent the spices.

O: A surprisingly good beer that avoids being overly spiced. It definitely tastes like fall and winter in a bottle. It's not extremely complex, but still enjoyable.

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Photo of jrenihan
3.77/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Sammy.

Beer is murky caramel brown in colour, with a smallish tan head.

Nose contains spices strongly, as well as sweet malt.

Flavour strongly contains sweet malt and caramel. as well as a variety of spices. The spices are not quite as prominent as I expected, which is nice.

Moderately carbonated, medium bodied.

Overall. quite nice. I have a low tolerance for spices in beer, but this one works.

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Photo of birchstick
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark orange color, with a small head

S: it has an orange and hoppy/piney aroma

T: tastes hoppy, gingerey, citrusy, and spicey

M: a little too carbonated, burns a bit going down

D: very good beer, one of the better holiday offerings I have tried

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Schlafly Christmas Ale from The Schlafly Tap Room
3.71 out of 5 based on 519 ratings.
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