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 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.

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Photo of Beginner2
3.67/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This does what a holiday beer should do: evokes the season via smells and warms the body.
The malt backbone was balanced with spices.
I bought it on sale last season and it was still good for this.
While I spend more time with the Belgians at this time of year, I hope to go back to this one.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.73/5  rDev +0.5%
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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Photo of thekevlarkid
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Out of a bottle this beer was a hazy, copper/bronze color with a good amount of rising carbonation and a tan head. The retention was good and the lacing in bands all the way down my glass. The aroma was of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, caramel malt and some light citrus notes. The flavors were very enjoyable to me. I tasted all the aforementioned spices built atop a solid caramel malt backbone with only light hopping which gave it a nice finish. Balanced and not overly spiced as many holiday ales tend to be. Additionally, there was almost no sign that the beer was 8% ALC and I didn’t realize it until after I’d enjoyed a few! The mouthfeel was good, the body surprisingly light and the carbonation appropriate.

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Photo of reebtaerG
3.74/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured 12oz bottle into a Sam Adams Boston Lager glass

A-lovely amber color with a thin creamy white head with little lacing

S-aromas of Christmas of clover and cinnamon

T-great taste sweet malt caramel with the clover and cinnamon with a light spicy finish

M-is light body and low carbonation mouthfeel which was great with Xmas dinner

O-this a great beer by schlafly for the winter ale

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Photo of secondtooth
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours semi-hazy ruby, with very little carbonation and only a thin wisp of lace.

Nose is heavily spiced -- lots of brisk, wintery elements like cinnamon and allspice seem most prominent.

Taste is heavy-bodied, malty and spicy, with a slight warmth at the finish. A perfectly enjoyable sipper, and an ideal "winter warmer".

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Photo of bnes09
3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Orange amber ale with thick white head. Head sticks around in a thin blanket with some lace patching.

Smooth aromas of whole grains, caramel, spices, citrus fruits and mild alcohol flood the nose and lure me in.

Diverse flavor profile. Caramel malt sweetness with a touch of wheat. Semi-assertive citrus hop bitterness. Orange. Nutmeg. Mild alcohol warmth. All in balance.

Brawny medium-bodied with good carbonation and a crisp and semi-dry finish.

This is a solid winter seasonal. Seems to warm with each sip. Plenty of complex and interesting flavors that blend well together. One of the best brews yet from Schlafly's.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Re-review from the 2011 batch, bottled.

Amber colored and clear, with a 1.5 finger head and good lacing, a little stickier this year.

I smell malts, bready and toasty, spices (plenty of nutmeg and cinnamon), and a slightly grainy aroma. A bit odd but not bad smelling at all.

Tastes again like I expect from this type of brew. Spices come out strong but not too strong, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and pepper all come to mind. A malty backbone is accented with a little hops and citrus. Alcohol could be concealed a bit better, still slightly noticeable.

Feels warming and tangy due to the spices and alcohol.

Pretty good but not the best of the winters/holiday treats that are available.

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Photo of Jayli
3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Recieved this from diekia so a big THANK YOU goes out to her!

A: This beer pours a burnt orange color with a 1/4 inch of white head and not much lacing to speak of.

S: Nose is of orange peel, clove, and a hint of malt.

T: Taste is - holy citrus and malt batman! Taste starts with a crazy amount of clove and orange peel. Heavy malt presence comes through with a boatload of sweetness - brown sugar, molasses and honey. Finish has a decent hop presence.

M: Medium body, light carbonation, very dry throughout and a bone dry finish. I've never had a beer finish this dry before.

D: This is a tasty little beer, it's one that you could have one or two, but not sessionable.

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Photo of rangerred
3.34/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a tulip.

Pours a very dark brown with abundant carbonation leading to a long-lasting head with plenty of lacing on the sides of the glass.

Aroma at first strikes me as soapy but farther along there is some cinnamon and clove along with honey. Maybe just a light touch of pine. All of it is a bit light, though.

The flavor closely resembles the nose with the spices equally light. Cinnamon and clove once again dominate but they just don't really have any staying power. Gingerbread seems to be a lingering quality with a silky and spritzy mouthfeel. Thankfully the sweetness is held in check with just a brief shot of alcohol towards the finish.

Overall, a very standard Christmas ale that is pretty drinkable. For me, though, I prefer something a bit heartier that packs a bigger punch in this style.

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Photo of WesMantooth
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- A deep amber red, semi transparent pour. A decent off white head that leaves a slight ring.

S - Nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves/all spice, ginger. A slight sourness.

T - Initially, I get that sourness. Definitely has some citrus. I assume from the orange peel listed in description. All of the spices seem to mix together. Pretty noticeable alcohol for 8%. No real single one stands out until the aftertaste, where I notice more cinnamon and cloves. Also some sweetness in the form of honey. A lot of thick malt. Reminds me quite a bit of the malt base in their pumpkin.

M - Still a medium body for as heavy of a malt base as it has. Average carbonation. A considerably dry, and slightly spicy finish.

O - I had high hopes for this based on the Pumkin Ale being one of the best out there, and for the most part, it didn't disappoint. Looks like I am going to have a +rdev on this one based on the other scores. I think it could do without the orange/citrus aspect, and it does seem slightly boozy for what it is. However, it is an excellent winter warmer that I would likely enjoy again… if I wasn't surrounded by Great Lakes and Thirsty Dog :)

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
2.86/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into a standard pint glass. The beer is a hazy copper color. The head dissipates quickly leaving nothing, and no lacing at all. The beer smells boozy with lots of different spices. I was hesitant to buy this, and the taste confirms why I shouldn't have: it's just over-the-top with flavor, like most of the Schlafly beers I have tried are. Sweetness and spices just blow your taste buds into defensive mode. There's a lot of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and the likes in this. It tastes like Chai tea, and almost could pass for a Pumpkin ale. And just like their Pumpkin ale, this beer is loaded at 8% ABV and goes down too smooth, so watch out.

Overall, I just don't like the sweetness overload on top of the high alcohol content. Plus, the spices are in overdrive, so this beer is just a bit too much, all the way around. This might be the last Schlafly beer I ever try.

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Photo of alleykatking
3.77/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle. Thanks to VinnieVanGogh for this bottle.

A- Pours a light hazed amberish orange color. Two finger head shows low retention. Some spotty lacing on the sides of the glass...nothing else.

S- Spicing on this beer does come through a lot with cloves being the leader. Undertones of cinnamon and orange peel act as a nice buffer between the caramel malts and medium alcohol tingling the nose. Didn't get any hops in the nose but it really wasn't too important.

T- Light toasted malts with a nice orange peel upfront. Clove comes out as well in the front of the beer but no real other spicing besides light pepper notes here and there. Caramel malts in the middle of the beer. Medium alcohol flavor with some light bitter earthy hops in the ending of the beer.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Clove and caramel malts are left on the palate. Aftertaste is bitter hops, big alcohol warming notes, and spicing linger for awhile. Flavors were kept in check with other flavors so none were over the top. No off flavors were present in the beer. Medium alcohol drying on the palate.

D- A nice spiced winter seasonal beer. The flavors were well balanced but the aroma at times seemed to be a little muted. The ABV is present toward the ending of the beer but only for a second or two. Would love to try this stuff again....I think a little fresher bottle will do this beer a little more justice.

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Photo of budgood1
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours out of the bottle a glowing and darkish rust colour with a big frothy head that settles to a rocky lace. aroma is a unique combination of orange peels and cloves, just as the label on the bottle states. there is an underlying caramel malt nose and some leathery, soapish notes as well. very festive. i'd say the flavour is malty at first...very rich, candy sweet and warming. then come complimentary spices...more orange and clove...maybe some nutmeg too. all very well within the parameters of a balanced x-mas spice ale. there is a touch of spicy hops that add a welcome bitterness to offset the heavy maltiness and serve well to intermingle with the clove notes and any other peppery (alcohol) nuances that make this beer a very nice x-mas/winter sipper. the body is full and the mouthfeel slippery; sledding down my throat like a toboggan down an ice encrusted hill. very nice. drinkability is great; this could be an all evening sipper beside a fire or a festive quaffer at a holiday soiree. nevertheless...i found it to be a nicely balanced holiday spiced ale worthy of any wintertime quaffing. hard to believe that this is 8.00% ABV.

thanks to my brother who brought this up from st. louis at thanksgiving.

i was saving this for a special occasion...and i think i found one as this evening my wife and i went for a six mile walk in -15 below temperatures on the coldest day of the winter thus far here in northern minnesota and witnessed Comet McNaught. just because we could. gotta love rural living.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.84/5  rDev +3.5%
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 bum732
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

S: Fruitcake like, clove, oranges, ginger, fruity hops, slightly caramel malt, some spiciness, spices are dominant.

L: Brilliant burnt orange, decent carbonated head that dissipates to a light dusting.

T: Spicy rich caramel and melanoinden malt. Some orange peel and slightly spicy hoppy bitterness. Finishes quite sweet with some hoppy leafiness.

M: Medium-full body, medium carbonation.

Ok beer spices are a bit much, they really clash with the malt. Kind of messy.

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

Pours a medium amber color with a smaller tan head that falls to a ring not much lace.

Aroma is nice malty caramel mingled with lots of orange citrusy aromas that mingle with spice lots of clove thru out along with cinnamon hints noted. Nice spicy malty brew strange that it smells like popari.

Taste is some caramel malt that is swamped by orange peel, cloves and again with light cinnamon. Decent malt base but loaded up with spice even spicy hops noted. Decent brew probably very nice spice/herb beer as there are plenty of both to go around. Just a little too much for me to say good though.

Mouthfeel in a solid medium with a good mellow level of carbonation noted.

Drinkability is for me not great but its not a bad brew just not something I could see myself drinking lots of. No notice of the 8% at all, very well hidden. Want to thank merlin48 for sending this one my way.

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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.

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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 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.

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Photo of peabody
4.2/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours our a really clean effverscent ice tea color with very little suds. Some lacing.
Smell is very spicy. Fresh corriander and nutmeg/allspice/pumpkin pie. Can't really smell the alcohol here.
Can't taste the alcohol here either. This is very refreshing for a christmas ale. Very spicy and a great balance between bitter and sweet. Hey, this is good and from Schlafly!
Mouthfeel is clean for the most part because of the bitter blackness at the end.
Drinkability is good here is you like the spices.
All in all, a pretty darn good beer.

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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.

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Photo of Tilley4
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up from the local bottle shop today... A new arrival to our area...

Pours a dark amber appearance with a fluffy creamy head... Very inviting..

The first thing I get off of this is the spices such as the orange peel and cloves along with a big dose of booze... Deep and malty and rather Christmas-like...

Big boozy maltiness that melds into a sweet spiciness from the cloves... At first, I wasn't sure if I liked this but it really opens up as it warms and gets really tasty...

A sipper, for sure... This would be terrific with some gingerbread or fruitcake...a nice seasonal effort from Schlafly...

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Photo of kbutler1
3.46/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Poured into a tulip glass a clear medium copper amber color with a slight off white 1 finger head. The aroma is a a muted, subtle citrus and spice of cinnamon. The taste is a lot more flavorful than the nose with a sweet gingerbread like start along with sweet citrus. Fairly malty. Medium mouthfeel. Ends with a slight bitterness. Overall, this is a decent drinking beer. The booze is only slightly noticeable.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
4.21/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sampling right now on 12/24/14. 12 ounce bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a reddish-burnt orange in color with a half-finger foamy & creamy off-white head that settles down to about 1-2mm along the top with more along the sides of the glass. A decent amount of lacing is seen when sipped that sticks to the glass in small spots. The aroma is very pleasant and is of sweet caramel malts with spices. Even more going on with the taste as the mix of spices (cloves, hint of ginger and juniper berries) with some orange zest. Very smooth and goes down easy. Love the mix of the above flavors on this seasonal brew. Medium-bodied with perfect carbonation. Another great brew from Schlafly. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Photo of brewskifan55
3.4/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

poured into a snifter

A: An opaque cherry color. A tan one-finger head that dissipates fast. Frothy lacing.

S: Cinnamon, cloves, allspice. Biscuity malts.

T: Follows nose with a festive flavor. Caramel, sweet with a spicy finish.

M: Thin with a kinda watery carbonation. This is what ruined it for me. I miss the robustness from the Pumpkin ale.

O: Disappointed. Wanted to like it. But just too thin. Add some robustness and you have my vote.

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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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