Christmas Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Christmas AleChristmas Ale
Very Good
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Do not open ‘til Christmas? Whoever coined that phrase obviously hasn’t tasted Christmas Ale’s fresh honey, cinnamon, and ginger flavors.

A Yuletide’s worth of holiday spices and sweet honey to keep you a-wassailing all season long.

World Beer Championships 6-Time Medal Winner Since 1999 (Gold, Silver)

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 911 | Ratings: 3,203
Photo of daliandragon
3.74/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked this up on a whim at Whole Foods last week. Not much for head and the nose is vaguely spicy but little more. The promised cinnamon and honey make themselves apparant early. There is a late tartness that could be credited to the ginger. Although I don't love the flavor, the late ginger kick does keep this from becoming oversweet, which is often a downfall of winter warmers. Interesting, I would definitely try it again, in season.

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Photo of DaveyCream
4.41/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very good Christmas ale. The key with this beer is the mixture of spices. You are able to smell and taste the cinnamon. They balance it out well to avoid making it too sweet. Always have a ton of these around the holidays and have to pace myself with them so I do not get sick of them too early.

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Photo of arizcards
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a single from TW Arrowhead 11-13-18 for $2.99. Best by 2-11-19; consumed 3-6-19...whoops but cold stored since purchase.

Beer poured a reddish brown with a decent white head that dissipated pretty quickly.

Nose has hints of ginger and cinnamon.

Taste is ginger forward with cinnamon in the mix. Finishes with a touch of sweetness but hopped enough to prevent cloying.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and fairly smooth.

Overall a nice spin on the holiday theme, good incorporation of spices!

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Photo of JimboBrews54
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

If you’re looking to sip a beer by the fireside on a cold winter night, this beer is for you. It has a great amber color and light head that makes pouring it a pleasure to watch. When you bring the beer to your face you can definitely pick out the ginger and cinnamon, and that smell transfers into a really great taste that continues to deliver sip after sip. While the cinnamon and ginger flavors drive the drinking experience, it’s the crisp, full finish with honey undertones that is the real MVP. This beer is flavor packed and is definitely one to be enjoyed over a dinner or couch session, as the full flavor it delivers is something to be savored, not chugged.

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Photo of Dr_Gonzo
4.21/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tall clear pint glass. Appearance has a rich glowing amber, finger thick head, good retention and lacing. Moderate carbonation.

Aroma's most dominate notes are the holiday spices and cherries, along with cinnamon, ginger, toasted bread, nutmeg, honey, and sugar.

Taste isn't as prominent as the aroma, but the spices, nutmeg, and toasted bread are all upfront. Other aromatic notes are on the side. Slightly bitter, more so sweet. Feels smooth.

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Photo of izraelc
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A holiday favorite of mine. Pours a deep copper. Smells like holiday cheer. Spicy clove taste mixed with a fruity finish. I think ill pour one for Santa. Merry Christmas!

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Photo of beersampler6
3.69/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Fairly nice, definitely seasonal beer that feels like Christmas. Pours a lighter copper color with a little lingering head and spotty lacing. Smells of Christmas spices, malt and honey - maybe with a trace of herbal hops. Taste follows the nose, along with some caramel and vanilla. Smooth thin mild mouthfeel, good carbonation. A little overspiced, in my opinion, but still fairly enjoyable.

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Photo of OhioBeerFan
4.19/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours a nice copper with a light tan head.

S: Smells of holiday spices. Aromatics are half of the experience so make sure to use a nice glass. I used a simple pint glass.

T: Tastes of holiday spices, not subtle but not in your face.

F: Medium carbonation, medium body

O: This is one of the best Christmas Ales I've had. Many did not have a very good flavor profile. Its a Christmas ale, I want nutmeg cinnamon! This beer delivers that and then some. I highly recommend this beer for a quality, flavorful Christmas Ale. That 7.5% ABV should sell it on its own too :D.

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Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into glass. Best by date mentioned on label is '02/11/19'.
Clear, medium amber colored body. Not much of a head, just some fizziness upon pouring, which results in a very thin ring. No lacing.
Aroma is malty with spices of cinnamon.
Taste is honey sweet, with good level of malts and spices of ginger and cinnamon. Taste profile is much the same throughout.
Medium mouth feel. Okay carbonation.
From the appearance to the smells and flavors, this is qualifies as a very well done Christmas holiday beer. Probably should remain a seasonal beer because it so well fits the nuances of the dark winter holidays.

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Photo of dwillie733
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Great Christmas ale. Good spices and great taste. Would buy again. Great lakes needs to produce this beet on a regular basis. Smell is good and aroma awesome.

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Photo of Fatheroftoomany
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Smooth and festive. Doesn’t feel like 7.5% which is a good thing. Nice color and head when poured into a glass. Taste lingers in your mouth for a while. It’s a good aftertaste.

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Photo of rudiecantfail
4.02/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a tulip glass.

L---Clear, dark copper color. Head was minimal and had zero retention. Left some spotty lacing.

S---Strong cinnamon. Bready malts as well.

T---Cinnamon & ginger are prominent. Some cherry also. A little bit of booziness is smoothed over by the honey. A very nicely done combination of flavors.

F---A little syrupy. Not very well carbonated. No alcohol burn.

A big hit in the category that matters most, taste. A little hit & miss in the other categories. Still seems like a solid Christmas Ale.

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Photo of Gatch
4.46/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best by 02/11/19. So glad this makes its way to Florida! Gorgeous burnt orange color. Looks like whiskey/bourbon. This is a great winter warmer. Super festive. Makes me want to listen to Christmas music. All the aromas and flavors are there, with a delicious malty and spicy finish. For some reason, I was more hyped for this than most seasonals, and this really hit the mark.

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Photo of MoreBeer4me
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

THIS is an incredibly GREAT Christmas Ale. Very non-beer-like and a good brew to serve at holiday parties and such. I can see non-beer drinkers liking this. Will be picking up a case to serve on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. It's quite "Festive".

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Photo of mj24053
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Really good Winter ale. Can really taste the spices. Good hop and malt balance. Slightly bitter aftertaste. Perfect blend of just enough spices but it still tastes like a beer. Medium to high carbonation. Alcohol taste is noticeable. Very good. If I want a winter ale this will be on my short list

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Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a bronze color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of spices, some light malts. Taste is malts, ginger, a bit of cinnamon and cherries, alcohol is well hidden. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a decent beer.

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Photo of PrideofCleveland
5/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The very beer that took my craft virginity about a year ago, I was used to the oh so dull flavors of college piss water when I went to a friends house for New Years and unwittingly picked up a bottle that would end my tragic relationship with macrobreweries. Poured into a glass rimmed with cinnamon sugar, this brew knocked my socks off! Strong cinnamon and ginger flavors are potent, but entirely pleasant and slowly dissipate into a dry aftertaste. Surprised my parents with this on Christmas Day, and it went perfectly with the holiday meal. Highly recommend making this a Christmas tradition!

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Photo of Bluerabbitbell
3.72/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Final getting around to reviewing this ale. Have had it several times, but must have forgotten to rate. On tap at Washington PA Ablebee's for lunch date with Leah. Great color, good mix of spices for a great winter choice!

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Photo of citizencane
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark amber with minimal to moderate head and a decent amount of lacing. Tastes of spices...nothing I can detect specifically, but a melange of Christmas spices. I think there are cinnamon, nutmeg, and something bringing smoothness, either cherries, or honey, maybe both or something different? Feel is crisp and thirst quenching but not dry. Doesn’t feel like toothpaste or a Christmas tree was left in my mouth either. I’m picky as hell about Christmas beers, but this is a good example of the style and I look forward to having it again.

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Photo of Lembeh
4.44/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

When it comes to Christmas Ales look no further. Pours a beautiful dark copper, the nose is dark caramel, stone fruits, holiday spices. The taste follows the nose but with a richer flavor profile. This tastes like a much bigger beer than it is. One that I look forward to every Christmas.

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Photo of HorseheadsHophead
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Hazy, yet transparent dark amber with a foamy off white head. Medium-poor retention; a thin film remains, leaving occasional splatters of lacing.

S: Tons of pickled ginger, hints of toasted brown bread, and cinnamon.

T: Lots of pickled ginger, a big toasted brown bread malt, hints of cinnamon, smooth honey sweetness, and then sweet cherry on the finish.

F: Medium, moderately carbonated, oily, slick, with some residual sugars.

O: A solid Winter Warmer, but more importantly, a great ginger beer!

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Photo of claminat420
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

*2017 edition* enjoy by 02/11/18 21239FM marked on bottle. hardy pour into a pint glass.

Appearance- transparent amber color with a off white head that leaves some decent amount lacing.

Aroma- oddly enough spiced cherries. really good.

Taste- get a slight cherry note up front and a nice pleasant honey taste in the finish. abv is well hidden. caramel malt in the middle. really nice.

Mouthfeel- medium/ heavy bodied. alil over carbonated.

Drinkability- hopefully gonna pick up another sixer.

Overall- this is a nice winter spiced ale. honey is the key player and is nice when it's -3 outside. I tip my hat to the 2017 edition.

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Photo of craftaholic
3.69/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Has a nice fluffy mouthfeel, smells like sweet malts and spices. Tastes like spice up front but has a really peculiar almost metallic finish. It's tasty but not my favorite Christmas ale.

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Photo of haines710
3.52/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful looking dark Amber beer. Smell and taste is too metallic for me. I am not a huge fan of this type of beer. Burns a little going down. This is a warmer that is good for the holiday season. Nice night time feel but still not one I would want to have again.

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Photo of AyatollahGold
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

This was a very enjoyable Christmas ale. The nose is almost like a candle because of the cinnamon that comes through. It has a FULL body. The honey makes it very smooth and the spices give it a nice flavorful kick. I like this.

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Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.95 out of 5 with 3,203 ratings