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Great Lakes Christmas Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
88
very good
859 Reviews
Great Lakes Christmas AleGreat Lakes Christmas Ale
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
859
Ratings:
3,007
Avg:
3.91
pDev:
24.3%
 
 
Wants:
152
Gots:
740
For Trade:
9
User Reviews
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Reviews: 859 | Ratings: 3,007
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice orange amber with a decent head that fades pretty quickly. Smellis honey up front wit some spice on the finish (coriander?, Fennel seed? Caraway?). The taste is an explosion of honey- enough to make this really be more of a Braggot in style, and more of the same spice on the nose. The honey is delicious- not just sweet, but very floral wildflower honey. Mouthfeel is surpisingly dry and refreshing. Quite drinkable.

 430 characters

Photo of ABOWMan
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What's not to like. Three fingers of creamy white head, and a nose full of aroma. Hints of vanilla, spice? and honey in addition to hops makes you want to take a sip. When you do, you'll get a mouth full of flavor with lasting impact after you swallow.The appearance is slightly cloudy and the color is a nice amber, almost like honey.

 335 characters

Photo of rlshep
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is cinnamon and ginger.

Pours one finger white head that dissipates quickly. Very little lacing Light amber color. Very clear.

Cinnamon and ginger in really good balance. Bready malts. Light caramel finish. Bitterness is medium high. No hop character.

Mouthfeel is low and finishes dry. Alcohol present but not overwhelming.

Truly a beer greater than the some of its parts. Dryness from honey makes this dangerously drinkable. All elements of the beer are very well balanced.

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Photo of OSUbrewman
4.31/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A deep golden amber with little or know head, however, there was some lacing which was a pleasant surprise

Smell: Full of Christmas cheer, this brew overwhelms you with hints of vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger

Taste: Smooth and warm, honey and cinnamon dominate the taste. Little to no omnipresent alcohol "burn", which was nice for a change for a beer of this ABV.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and Warm

Drinkability: Extremely drinkable, which can be hazardous with a beer of this strength.

Overall: An outstanding brew from my favorite brewery. I look forward to this beer every year and it never disappoints! This year, replace your bourbon egg nog with a truly fantastic brew, Great Lakes Christmas Ale!

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Photo of jeffmonarch
4.31/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - Light copper color with little head. What head there is dissappears quickly.

S - Sweet and spicy.

T - Sweet with a spicy zing. Good carbonation. This beer has a mix of many spices that keep your tastebuds spinning.

M - Great! This beer fills your mouth and continuously attacks your mouth with flavor.

D - Good. I can sit back and enjoy a couple of these very easily.

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Photo of jpro
4.31/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sixer from Salud Beer Shop. 12oz poured into a snifter...

A: Rosy copper; one-finger, off-white head; no lace; no retention; unique color.

S: Toasted malt; gingerbread; light cinnamon notes; not overly spiced, though; brown sugar.

T: Cake; honey roasted malt nuttiness; brown sugar; light nutmeg and allspice; cinnamon; again, not overly done with the spice; not much alcohol.

M: Medium feel; moderate carbonation with a little zing; not heavy at all.

O: A great Christmas beer - one of the best; quite drinkable, too.

*from notes 01.08.14

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Photo of tectactoe
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours an orange and amber hybrid color with a ton of red hues and a pretty exceptional amount of clarity all around. Small white head fades quick and doesn't leave much lacing at all.

The nose.... what to say about the nose. Full of a basket of toasted malts and spices - most prominent being cinnamon, but also included are nutmeg and maybe some ginger. There's really so much going on and it's executed with a careful hand; there's really something to be admired in the aroma profile.

The taste hits with an incredibly unique and well-executed balance of sweet and spicy malt - sweetness in the form of caramel, toffee, and butter, and spicy in the form of cinnamon and nutmeg. Very nutty, and with the spices, it resembles a warm pecan pie.

Yeast is noticeable in the background, provides a nice bready and buttery aftertaste (think Christmas sugar cookie). Honey is hard to detect, but is noticeable at the tail end as the beer starts to warm up a little bit. Medium body, not too sticky on the mouth, low to medium carbonation.

This beer tastes like Christmas in a bottle. The fact that it's a holiday release makes it all the more alluring and I feel like a little kid on Christmas when I finally get my hands on some.

 1,230 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love a beer that actual tastes like the description. There's no lip service with this beer! The warmer the Great Lakes Xmas gets, the more the aroma and favors become. This is not a session ale, so careful with consumption...pace yourself.

Drink it up to make the Holiday Season a true event. Enjoy!

 302 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A nice crisp amber with a touch of head.

S - Honey, cinnamon, hops, and spices.

T - Wow it's like it tastes... red. Must be the honey and the mead playing together. Slight cinnamon and a mild hop profile makes it good,

M - Very medium bodied. Liked it.

D - Yes and I will enjoy the last five. Very pleasant offering from Great Lakes!

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Photo of KeefD
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at the Great Lakes bar in the Cleveland Airport. Review from notes: 22oz pour. Dark amber with orange highlights, nice fluffy off-white head that left little lacing, probably from the frosted glass. Spicy, malty aroma with hints of maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Flavor was malty sweet, nice amount of spices, again with the cinnamon and nutmeg, along with a bit of orange peel for good measure. A nice piney hop flavor shows up here and there. Citrusy flavors make an appearance but get pushed out of the way by the spices. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel, very delicious Christmas Ale. One of the best Winter Warmers I've tried.

 639 characters

Photo of GRPunk
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A- It poured a deep amber/copper with a 1-1/2 finger head and light carbonation.

S- Nice spices blended with sweet malts and light hop tones. The ginger and honey aromas were very apparent.

T- Noticeable honey and spice, even in the finish. There was sitll a lot of malt flavor with some lighter hop tones.

M- Very solid feel. Medium-light caronation with a little hop bite.

D- Great taste makes for an easy drinker even at a solid 7.5% ABV.

Overall- This is a new Christmas favorite. It's renewed my faith in winter warmers (of which I've recently had a hard time finding something with a good balance of flavors). It was a nice combination of malts and spices which are definitely noticeable, but not overdone.

 752 characters

Photo of thegodfather1076
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was served out of a 12oz. bottle dispensed into a glass....

Initial review is on the GLBCA 2010 Edition.

Presentation- Great artwork and label in the GLB style.

Appearance - GLBCA is a copperish orange color ale with an off white one finger heard that leaves a nice lacing down the entire glass.

Smell - GLBCA has a wonderful smell. This offering is packed with Christmas spices and they def come through in the smell. Nutmeg, Honey, Cinnamon, Ginger are all apparent in the smell.

Taste - A very tasty beer that is heavily spiced with traces of nutmeg, honey, cinnamon, ginger throughout. A slightly malty flavor provides a good ale taste that balances out the heavy spices.

Mouthfeel - Definitly a full bodied offering that is smooth but slightly heavy in the mouth.

Drinkability - A true winter warmer with a fairly high alcohol content. GLBCA is very drinkable because of the flavor but if more than 3 of these are consumed you will definitly start to feel it!!!!

Being from Akron, OH I really enjoy GLBCA but has become so hard to find in this area that I have had to turn to other offerings at times. I would highly recommend as far as the actual beer goes.

 1,183 characters

Photo of trbergman
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A - Ruby orange with one inch of sticky off-white head. Good sheets of lace.

S - According to the label, Great Lakes uses honey, ginger, and cinnamon in this beer, and all are evident in the nose. Honey is definitely the strongest, with ginger close behind. There's also a hint of toast and some fruity/floral aromas.

T - Good malt backbone, with a bit of toasted bread. The malt is not obtrusive and allows the spicing to shine. At the same time, the spices are not overdone. No real hop flavor, and minimal hop bitterness. Very well balanced.

M - Medium body, peppery carbonation.

D - I wish all winter warmers were this good. Although the spices are the main feature here, they're still restrained enough to maintain a high quaffability. Alcohol is well hidden. All the same, I'm not sure I could drink more than one or two in a sitting.

 878 characters

Photo of SitkaSteve
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Wow, I'd never thought I'd ever get to try this. A buddy of mine got this in a trade.
Bottom right corner reads "Please enjoy by 02/20/15."
This was poured into a tulip.
The appearance was a hazy bronzed brown color with a light carbonation seen rising to fill a one finger white foamy head that dissipated fairly quickly. Light stringy lacing stuck finely to the sides of the glass.
The smell, hot damn, wow. Well, it had a nice sweet cherry to light spruce and combined with a super nice sweet honey.
The taste takes those previously mentioned flavors to combine and make lip smacking sticky tasting. I like it. A nice sweet honey aftertaste leads to a sweet wet finish.
The mouthfeel was about a light to medium on the body with a fairly decent sessionable aspect to it. The carbonation seemed fairly appropriate for the style and for me, slightly smooth and honey sticky.
Overall, hot damn, wow and holy crap! This is probably one of my favorite winter warmers I've ever had. I wish I could get this on a regular basis.

 1,023 characters

Photo of tillmac62
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear medium amber. Nice head and lacing that diminishes in about 2 minutes. Nose is mostly malt sweetness against a hint of soft spice. Medium bodied with a nice slick feel and well carbonated. The taste is slightly sweet with only a suggestion of spice, creating a nice balance of flavor that is subdued when compared to ST 2Xmas, which accentuates spice flavor. A nice crisp finish that brings the carbonation and spices (ginger and cinnamon) a bit more forward. If you want sweet with a hint of spice, then this beer is for you. If you prefer spice flavor, go with Southern Tier 2Xmas. Both are expertly crafted brews that achieve their respective flavor profiles.

 676 characters

Photo of innersanctum
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a special one from the guys on the Erie shoreline! Had the opportunity to have a few of these this season, as well as compliment my Cleveland friends. Apparently this beer is revered there and folks will stock up on a case or two, but once you have a sip you'll see why. This is one of the more unique products from GL.

Appearance: Dark coper/orange with a nice thick head.

Smell: Cinnamon spice, and all those other fruit cake season gems.

Taste: Warm, zesty and complex. Despite some of the fruit, this is well balanced and its a nice sipper in the cold season.

Mouthfeel: Despite the complexity this is not a terribly heavy brew, but be warned:

Drinkability: At 7.5% this one is a real creaper because one or two of these in a snifter, while a smaller pour, can pack a nice punch.

Serving type: on tap in a snifter glass

 838 characters

Photo of damndirtyape
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Single bottle served in a tulip. I know the glass recommendation is tumbler/nonic for this beer, but I'm now more sure it's wrong. GLBC has the beer shown in snifter, and after drinking it once in a tumbler I can say that a snifter or Tulip is really the way to go with this beer.

The beer poured a 1/4" thick foam that died down to a nice thin foam across the top. Nice lacing on the sides of the glass as you drank it down - which I didn't notice so much in the tumbler. A nice copper orange color, with plenty of little bubbles moving up through the beer. The foam is a very light tan fine bubble foam, a little bit of a sparkle to it as you hold it up to the light.

Smell - I only got ginger with the tumbler but with this I get a hint of ginger and a nicely strong cinnamon. No hops or malt really in the smell.

Taste - quite nice. A sweet ginger flavor up front, followed by the cinnamon and then a slightly bitter finish followed by nice malty aftertaste. Really a great beer for sipping and savoring slowly.

Mouthfeel - because of the tulip I think its holding onto the carbonation more - so spicy on the tongue but otherwise nothing really special to me.

Drinkability - I could easily have another. I think I will. A nice holiday treat and I'm glad I was able to get a six pack while in Cleveland earlier this month because I cannot find it now in Dayton.

 1,371 characters

Photo of Glanzman
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle served in a pint glass.

Pours a nearly clear, amber color with a 1 finger head. Nice lacing throughout.

Smells of Christmas spices and citrus hops.

Taste pretty much how it smells with a slight, but pleasant, bitterness at the end.

One of the best winter warmer beers around and worthy a six pack or two.

 324 characters

Photo of CincyScot
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Last year (2014) this beer was FANTASTIC....this year (2015) it is only GOOD. Every year it seems like breweries fiddle with the recipe of their Christmas ales...this year they went South a bit.

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Photo of TimPowell
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Every November, I look forward to combing the shelves of my local beer store for some of my favorite Winter Warmers. Great Lakes Brewing Company once again steps up with an exceptional beer.

Pouring the bottle I was taken by several things;

Color-A rich, deep amber, almost smokey in color.

Nose-Not as stong as I remember. You may notice slight hints of cloves or cinnamon. I would say this beer is better served at warmer temperatures. This is not the beer to be poured in to an ice cold glass.

Head-I was dissapointed pouring did not produce more of a head on the beer.

Tasting this beer really was the reward. Hints of caramel, malt, and some seasonal spice was followed by a wonderful hop finish.

Great Lakes Christmas Ale should make every beer drinkers Christmas list during the holiday season.

 807 characters

Photo of beergod1
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful red hue with quickly fading white head. Aroma of ginger, some other spices. Some lacing and rings around the glass, reminds me of snow. Flavor is nice balance of cinnamon, ginger, and sweet honey. Very drinkable, and at 7.5% abv. it's very sessionable, for about 4 beers (230z. brewtus at applebee's), then it's nap time.

 331 characters

Photo of Lepley
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Amberish, orange. One finger of tan head, good lacing and retention.
S: Sweet, citrus, fruity.
T: Tangy, citrus, spicy, cinnamon, orange, ginger, good hoppiness to finish off.
M: Watery, good carbonation.
D: Pretty solid brew. Definitely feels like Christmas. I recommend trying it.

 285 characters

Photo of ne0m00re
4.34/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Live review of "Christmas in a Bottle."
A: Poured a clear reddish amber with a nice cream head that faded to a nice collar, thin film, and a little lacing.
S: Cinnamon and clove, apple and pumpkin pie (which is probably a result of the honey based on the mead character), on top of a malty caramel. The hops (Fuggles, probably?) are a bit earthy and leafy and break through in the end. A nice "warm" welcoming beer.
T: The spices come off a little strong in clove with cinnamon in the back and linger through most of the beer, fading to a dry cinnamon with mead alcohol. Caramelized sugars dominate with leafy earthy hops and the recipe seems like it would be very similar to the Octoberfest if it wasn't for the spice (not a bad thing).
M: Slightly thicker with a frothy carbonation at first that lets go to a mildly sticky dark caramelized stickiness.
D: Pretty good. The residual sweetness is pretty intense after a couple, though.

 934 characters

Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
4.34/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

All of the years I had this when I lived in Michigan, its nice to revisit an old favorite sent from a friend.
This was poured into a pint glass.
The appearance was a sly burnt orange color with a one finger white foamy head that quickly dissipated. Barely any lacing formed around the glass but what was there were minor strings here and there.
The smell had a nice blend of honey, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, clove with some sweet grassy hops ending to surround my nose.
The taste was mainly sweet up front with a nice backup of the spice. Lingering honey sweet aftertaste slides into the finish.
The mouthfeel indicates that there is a nice spicy to sweet sort of dry feel having a light to medium body with a good almost semi-slick sort of feel sliding around my tongue. Even with the spices, there isn't much clingy-ness.
Overall, wonderful winter warmer that I would have again if I could get it again. And this one goes well with Christmas spiced cake.

 958 characters

Photo of Hoptometrist
4.34/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from the bottle into a nonic glass

A- Poured a very clear lighter amber color with a two finger soapy head

S- Huge aroma of cinnamon, ginger, citrus, and floral notes. This smells like Christmas at home

T- Big on the cinnamon, ginger, citrus and honey notes, great balance among those flavors. Sweet biscuit and cracker like malt flavors. Finishes on a nice bitter note

M- Smooth, pretty high carbonation, effervescent

O- This beer is the holiday season in a glass, a cornucopia of holiday flavors and spices. A beer I look forward to every winter. Very good out of the bottle, even better on tap.

 610 characters

Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.91 out of 5 based on 3,007 ratings.
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