Great Lakes Christmas Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Great Lakes Christmas AleGreat Lakes Christmas Ale
Very Good
3,116 Ratings
Great Lakes Christmas AleGreat Lakes Christmas Ale

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

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by OldFrothingSlosh on 11-16-2002

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,116 |  Reviews: 886
Photo of JCaweinstein
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Crystal clear copper colored ale with 2 finger bubbly head which goes away rather quickly.
I pick up the honey first and can also detect the ginger.
Honey sweetness followed by the ginger and cinnamon. There's also a touch of hops coming through.
Medium bodied mouth coating ale. It's very smooth with a touch of crispness up front, leaves a spicy aftertaste.
A good holiday beer for sure. It's spicy and sweet and aside from a quickly receeding head it looks great.

 466 characters

Photo of RickKrumenacker
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours to a crips golden orange resulting in a single finger head that dissipated fairly quickly.

S - I couldn't place it at first, but the initial scent is ginger. Also get some sweetness in the aroma as the beer warms a little. Other holiday type spices are in the background. About half way through the beer I seemed to pick up some orange zest as well.

T - Very similar to the smell. I taste a lot of ginger up front. I like it. A little hoppy near the end of the drink, but not overpowering. Finishes with a bit of warming alcohol.

M - Very smooth throughout. Crisp flavors throughout. Low to moderate carbonation.

D - A great beer for a cold winter evening. Has everything that I am looking for in a good winter ale.

 731 characters

Photo of SheepNutz
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into a tulip-style glass. It pours a clear medium red color with one finger of head. There is just a tiny bit of lacing. The smell is dominant with cinammon, but also has hints of nutmeg and cherry to it. The taste has lots of cinammon and honey sweetness that is just a tad cloying. A good bite of hops on the finish. The mouthfeel is just a little light for this style. The drinkability is very very good though for a 7.5% brew. Enjoyable as a dessert beer, and I might even try mulling it.

 512 characters

Photo of elgiacomo
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Big thanks to Adam for this unexpected gift!

Pours clear copper with a one finger off white head that doesn't leave much lacing and holds a light cap.

Aroma is strong on the cinnamon along with some ginger, honey, bread and caramel malt. Moderate to good strength.

Flavor features a nice dose of cinnamon and ginger, honey-slathered bread, caramel and toffee, a fair bit of sweetness, not much hops or bitterness. Spices are done just right, not overpowering but not too subtle with cinnamon being the predominant spice and ginger taking a backseat.

Mouthfeel is creamy, medium bodied, medium carbonation.

Nice spiced Winter Warmer, I like the addition of honey in this one.

 697 characters

Photo of budsboy
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours bright orange-amber, crystal clear, with a small white head that shrinks back quickly to a skimming of white on the top.

Smells of spice and malt: Sweet sugary carmel, cinnamon, maybe nutmeg, corriander.

Taste is sweet carmel malt, nearly cloying but backing off just in time, balanced by cinnamon-like spices and a green hop bitterness. Aftertaste is a tingling bitterness that lasts.

Medium-bodied and slick mouthfeel. Carbonation is subdued.

One of my favorite seasonals and one that makes me happy to live in Ohio. Another real treat from the professionals at Great Lakes. Quality stuff.

 610 characters

Photo of AARomanov
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a copper-gold with slight venetian red hues. The head is barley of white approaching the lightest levels of khaki. Head recedes quickly with no lacing (I'm sorry but does anyone really care about lacing? Like seriously, what the f. I could not think of a beer quality less interesting and varied to describe)

Ar - Mostly spices and malts with gingerbread being predominant.

T - Mouthfeel is nice and the beer is much lighter than any Christmas ale I've had before but the flavors keep it from being watery. The brown-sugar malts are very well balanced and do not make this on overly sweet beer.

D - Oh yeah, very drinkable and definitely would enjoy this with the family around the Christmas tree. If my wife didn't leave with the kids 6 Christmases ago. Drinking problem my ass, screw her I never said she had a make-up problem just cuz she needed it every day before leaving the house and going to work. And there's another thing that's overrated, WORK!

 968 characters

Photo of Yancey82
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

my twin brother's absolute favorite beer. youd never suspect its 7.5% abv either. the pour is a light and clear sopper color with a moderate red hue, and a lazy but lasting off white head, foamy, roughly half an inch high. the nose is cinnamon and ginger are evident, as is a richer malty sweet body. the flavor isnt sweet though, and that is this beer's best feature. its spiced, but its dry, its malty, but its crisp, its fruity, but its hoppy. there is a lot of strange contradictions happening here, but all work magically. spice up front, malty candied fruit through the middle, and spruced up groggy booze in the finish. this is yummy as anything thats out this time of year. there is an airy body, feeling much lighter than it must actually be, and a mellow but adequate co2 infusion. one of the best great lakes beers going, and certeinly one of the better winter brews available on the east coast. this is the dope show.

 929 characters

Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber copper with a minimal head. The beer is watery and looks a little thin. This beer would definitely be what the doctor ordered if i was interested in a gulp-able ale that wasn't an added heaviness to my meal or evening.

Smells spicy like a christmas wreath with a little bit of fruity sweetness. If I didn't know any better I would initially think I was about to drink a mulled cider with the amount of spice added. The beer isn't bitter and doesn't have a strong maltiness. There is a generic ale presence, but the spice makes it intriguing.

The beer is a nice spice infusion with a solid ale backbone. I am surprised by how easily the strong aromatics are translated into flavor. I get a mouthful of chrismas spice followed by a smooth ale richness. Great lakes definitely took time in making this beer representative of the season's charisma and for that I give props because I usually am against any overpowering spices, but this time it's refreshing.

The beer is an average ale that doesn't do a tremendous amount for me. I served it cold and it went down smoothly. After letting it adjust to the rooms ambient temperature, I noticed more of the spice that was added. I would recommend a temperature somewhere between 45-55 degrees for maximal enjoyment. The beer is sweet like a candy cane in its aftertaste, which is good and bad, but don't expect any hoppy bitterness.

I would definitely order this beer in a bar, it would accompany any meal quite well. It's sweetness makes it less of a sipper and more of a cold temperature swigging. I would not recommend the warmer temperatures. The christmas spice makes it different from other other ales, it fits nicely into the "winter warmer" class.

 1,761 characters

Photo of EdgarGerik
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of almychristopher
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this beer poured into a four ounce glass in a flight is a nice amber brown color without much head retention to speak of. the aroma brings a good amount of sweet malt character and a bit of floral hops at the back. not nearly as strongly spiced as some holiday brews I've quaffed, all in all very well balanced. the full body and good co2 make this a very drinkable beer, especially for a winter warmer.

 403 characters

Photo of CHADMC3
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rich copper body with a thin off white head that quickly disappears leaving only faint traces of lacing behind.

Pleasant spice aromas of cinnamon and ginger float from the glass with hints of sweet honey beneath and a touch of toffee as it warms.

The flavor is very well spiced featuring a malty palate with cinnamon, ginger, and honey as advertised. There is also something slightly earthy or piney to this beer at the finish.

The warming body is on the fuller side with medium carbonation and a spiced finish.

Great winter warmer. Worth buying a whole case to share meal after meal.

 598 characters

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

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

Pours copper brownish orange with a singe finger white head. Smell is tons of nutmeg, heaps of ginger, plenty of honey, malty, bready. Tastes as promised , very fresh ginger, smooth honey, nutmeg, cinnamon, sweet brown sugar. Carbonation is nice. Overall I like this beer, I don't think it's the greatest Christmas ale out there. If you're not aware, people go a lite overboard for this, but hey I'm all about supporting a great Ohio brewery. A little sweet for me, but a very enjoyable seasonal .

 497 characters

Photo of Phatz
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to Akorsak for this generous gift. You are a real friend. I took the week off reviewing to recover from a cold. What a great way to get going again.

Appearance: Pours a clear copper color with a small ivory head that fades quickly into a collar. Little lacing.

Smell: The aroma is a very pleasant gentle scents of cherry cinnamon caramel and a sticky bun malt attribute.

Taste: It has a bit of a flavor that I consider artificial red. It is a cherry like flavor with a malt backbone. Ginger and honey and orange clove and cinnamon powder a light doughy flavor that is full of typical Winter Warmer flavors.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and a bit slick through the center but the spices keep it lively on the cheeks. The body is a bit lighter than many Winter Warmers but it works well with this beer.

Drinkability: This is a very drinkable beer. Its lighter body and the friendly flavor make it quite easy to quaff. The alcohol really does not show much through the spices also adding to its easy drinking.

Thanks again Adam

Hope this is helpful.

 1,079 characters

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

A real winter warmer here, and an annual favorite. Bottle pour - kicks up a nice off white head with clinging lace. Deep copper/orange in color with a slight unfiltered look. The nose is ginger, orange peel and christmas candles. Taste wise, the nose sits true, with a dash of nutmeg and cinnamon and a dollop of honey - maybe a tad more here than previous years, which have had a little more heat. Quite a heavy mouthfeel, which has a thick throat covering sensation which seems to come from the honey. This is a satisfying festive ale with pronounced spices.

 560 characters

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

A: Pours a clear medium amber in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and a faint amount of copper highlights. The beer has a finger tall creamy foamy light beige head that slowly reduces to a large patch of thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer with a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of caramelized and toasted malts with slightly stronger aromas of ginger, vanilla, and nutmeg.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of caramelized and lightly toasted malts with a touch of sugar cookie sweetness. There is a nice combination of spices which follow that includes ginger, vanilla, and nutmeg.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: Overall the flavor of this beer reminds me of a combination of gingerbread and sugar cookies - one of the better Christmas beers that I have tried. Easy to drink and enjoyable with very well hidden alcohol.

 1,022 characters

Photo of Gregf51
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of martyl1000
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Side Door, Madison. A quality spiced winter warmer, though too sweet for me.

86 characters

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

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

A: Poured from the bottle into a Corsendonk Christmas glass. Body is clear reddish-brown with no head whatsoever.

S: Not much of a nose; mild malt with a touch of fruit and spice.

T: Nice, but nothing earth-shattering. Brown bread, fruit (think cherries or berries) and a hint of spice (both cinnamon & ginger come to mind at different times). Finishes with a bit of lingering sweetness, though it's not cloying at all. The 7.5% ABV is well-hidden, though felt in the belly as warmth.

M: Medium in heft, a wee bit sticky.

O: Good stuff. An easy-to-drink winter warmer. Reminds me subtly of gingerbread cookies.

 614 characters

Photo of gford217
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle courtesy of Tifore..

Pours a deep amber that shows through clear in the light. The head is frothy, beige and shows excellent retention and lacing.

Aroma is seriously spicy with lots of cinnamon, ginger and allspice. Light caramel malts and chocolate in the background.

Taste is sweeter with the caramel malts and chocolate up front. The spices are still present but more subtle and more prevalent in the finish. Mainly some cinnamon and nutmeg.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied, dry and slightly spicy.

This is a top notch winter warmer with a spice-heavy nose that moderates in the taste with more sweetness. Well balanced and drinkable.

 653 characters

Photo of ToddT
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Copper color liquid topped with a thick khaki colored head. Head lasts for quite some time and leaves lots of lace on the glass.

S- Spice, hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, sweet caramel, and malt as well.

T- Nice mix of spice at first cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg are all present. Mild honey notes and toffee make an appearance about halfway through and lead to the sweet semi dry finish.

M- Medium in body and carbonation, little bit of sweetness starts to build up in the back of the throat just past the halfway point of the glass.

O- Nice winter warmer, nothing too memorable, but not not one to turn down either. The 7.5% ABV is well hidden, it was the sweetness made this a sipper for me not the ABV.

 709 characters

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

Photo of kmpitz2
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer came a nice rubyed folden color with a finger of head that slowly receded from the beer. The nose was slightly cherry, with caramel and spices dancing around in the background. The flavor was pretty full on the spices, with the caramel playing more of a background role in this one. There were hints of a cherry flavor in there as well, but very far in the background. The feel was just shy of moderate. Overall this was a nice beer. I'm not a big fan of the winter warmers with spices added, but this was a solid beer.

 529 characters

Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.95 out of 5 with 3,116 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

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