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Great Lakes Christmas Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 851 | Ratings: 2,973
Photo of malcontent
4.26/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The 2006 incarnation of one of my favorite beers, I can't wait!

Deep amber liquid capped by a foamy head that holds together beautifully. Sticky lacing creeps down the side of the glass and holds its form perfectly.

Hops, grapefruit and cloves are just some of the key components of the scent although some soft malt and pepper aromas linger as well.

Not as hoppy as the smell would have led me to believe but tasty nonetheless. Very well-rounded malt sweetness with delecate use of spices and some wonderful tree fruit flavors. Totally tummy-tingling.

Not syrupy but not that crisp either. If there is a downfall for this brew it's just that it doesn't lend itself to all-night consuption. However, I would still try!

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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 Pegasus
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Exquisite copper color, with a small tan head, mild carbonation, and scattered lacing.

Aroma: A slight spiciness is notable, as well as caramel, honey, and a mild hop presence; quite pleasant, in all.

Taste: Opens with a wave of spices, among them cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and orange peel. Although secondary to the spices, the malt flavors are caramel and toasty, and carry solidly from the beginning of the taste, until its end.

Mouth feel: Smooth, rich, very full, soft, and pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: Quite well-made, excellent, a wonderful holiday ale.

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Photo of Magpie14
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Apperance: deep amber color with a touch of copper tint to it, slight lacing and head retention.

Smell: big smell of fruit and hops, mostly orange peels and slight spice. Very nice smelling spice like cloves and ginger? mmmm!

Taste/Mouthfeel: yum! tasty beer overall. Taste follows with the smell: orange peels, cinnamon and a sweet taste lingers of honey/brown sugar and is very pleasing, lingering hoppy taste to boot. Very smooth and rewarding! I can see why they call this a winter warmer has strong alcohol content.

a good mix of flavors and medium mouthfeel. Just a down right good beer! I will have this in the fridge for the holiday's

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Photo of jcdiflorio
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served from a 12oz. long neck brown bottle into pint glass.

Clear,medium copper color,off-white head,creamy,layer of foam throughout the beer.Lots of carbination,lively looking.
Sweet honeyied malty aroma,spicey,a candy-like smell,hints of vanallia,cinnamon,nutmeg,ginger,complex and inviting.
A spicey taste,lots of cinnamon,a sweet malty taste,vanallia,a bitter taste of the ginger,but just a hint,a sharp,clean,spicey,bitter finish.
A medium body with creamy texture.A very good winter ale with a lot of holiday flavors,but not overdone,very drinkable and enjoyable. Give it a try.

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Photo of beerphan
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle -> imperial pint
best by: 1.22.07

Pours a clear bright copper with a billowing dense head that leaves behind gobs and rings of lace. Minimal carbonation.

Nose: Cinammon, ginger, and malts.

Taste: Tons of sweet caramel malt, cinammon, honey and nutmeg. No alcohol presense with only a splash of bitterness this brew finishes spiced sweet.

Incredible full clean mouth.

Only have a few bottles today, but a few cases of this will be making the holiday rounds. Happy Holidaze, great lakes!

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Photo of hoppymeal
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours copper in color and clear with a small light cream colored head that fades back quickly. Aroma is honey and malty sweetness along with maraschino cherries, and a little alcohol in the aroma as well. Taste is like a sweet bread of some kind, a light dessert bread to have with coffee. There is more honey sweetness and cherry flavor along with a little of the cinnamon and spice flavor and a yeasty breadiness. Mouthfeel is light to medium in body, a somewhat sparkling carbonation is prickly on the tongue. Interesting flavors, fairly light and subtle, good beer.

 569 characters

Photo of ndekke39
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank this from a 12 oz bottle with a 1/17/07 best-by date. Poured a beautiful reddish-copper color with a small white head. Little retention. Smells of toasted barley, some warm spices like clove or cinnamon. Tastes sweet toasted barley, hints of bread, caramel. Excellent aftertaste of the barley - that in particular travels well. The bread and spices come out more as the beer returns to room temperature. Mouthfeel is a nice balance of creaminess and light carbonation. Overall, another strong offering from Great Lakes, and one of my favorites in the Winter Warmer style.

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Photo of Briarbush
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The beer poured a deep copper with an auburn hue. Little lacing with a small head. Smell is good with a prevailing cinnamon smell little ginger. The mouthfeel was excellent with a great full body. I really enjoyed the subtle flavors of this beer. It isn't very drinkable, I imagine after a couple the spices would become pretty abrasive. The only downside to this beer is the complexity, being a beer n00b it is hard to take it all in. Great Beer. This beer at 7.5% is pretty potent. Beware cravings of eating ginger bread cookies after drinking this beer.

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Photo of cproioi
2.68/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Upon being Served this beer at Molly Malones in Cincinnati I gaze at it. The beer is of a brownish red color with an almost tan head with slight carbonation present in the body. The aroma and taste went hand in hand. They both had a strong maltiness to it with an even stronger Ginger aroma and taste that seemed to over power everything. Even with the extremely strong ginger in it I could still make out some cinnimon and something that was reminded me of coriander. The mouthfeel was a medium body with carbonation dancing on the tounge. The drinkability was rather low, the beer did not leave me wanting another.

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Photo of cabsandking
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


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Photo of bluejacket74
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The bottle says it's best served before 1/22/07. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a dark copper color with a nice off-white head and good lacing. It smells like cinammon, ginger, pine/floral hops, nutmeg and honey. The flavor is spicy, tasting like it smells. There's also some sweet malt and caramel in the taste. The mouthfeel is medium/full and a bit chewy. Even with the 7.5% ABV, this is a pretty drinkable beer. It goes down pretty easy. Overall, I think this is a pretty good beer. I wish Great Lakes would make this all year long.

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Photo of bigdeuce
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this is an incredibly easy drinking Christmas winter warmer. Has lots of cinnamon flavors in it and some ginger as well. Pours an oft-red color with some head, not much, doesn't lace much either. Of course the one I had was way too cold. Very smooth and clean taste. Very potent, although it doesn't initially seem like it as the alcohol is barely detectable. I highly recommend this one!

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Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a medium amber hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a sweet malt aroma complimented by cinammon and honey.

The taste was a nicely spiced solid grain experience. Elements of spicy cinammon and sweet honey complimented the toaty biscuit flavor.

The mouthfeel was full.

Overall a nice and potent winter warmer. Would like to get my hands on some more.

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Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Best before 1/17/07.Tis not quite the Xmas season but its great to see the Winter Warmer/Holiday brews out and Iam glad to be able to get this locally,poured a lighter clear copper with a thin 1/2 finger white head left pretty quickly leaving no mark of lace behind.Honeyish esters really stand out in the nose along with some light roasted nut and a real leafy hop presence wich was nice with most beers of the style not showing enough hop presence this was a nice thing to see,the cinnamon and honey imparted in this beer show thru nicely upfront melding into a dryer leafy almost earthy like presence finishing with a sharp ginger-like note that lingers.Interesting I must say no way I would think this 7.5% alc a little light but man it goes down easy and it warms the inside a little,I like it its not overly sweet and has a hop presence to it.

 849 characters

Photo of scott
3.66/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful copper body with two finger head of tight, spritzy bubbles.
Smell was earthy/bready with very subtle hints of holiday spice.
Taste was an average, middle of the road malt character that I certainly didn't expect from one of my favorite breweries. There is a beautiful rendevous of energy with each sip, yet it gives way to a lackluster finish, making one think of which other beer they get to try when this one is finished.

 435 characters

Photo of Osiris9588
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with a freshness date of 1/7/07. Pours a ruddy copper color, with a one finger which dissipates quicky and leaves no lacing.

Spices dominate the nose: ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon, along with hone and pine notes--like a big bowl of pot pourri.

The flavor is also well spiced, kissed by a honied sweetness, and undercut by a caramel maltiness that approaches chocolate on the finish. The mouth is warm, spicy, and complex, and slighly creamy.

Very drinable, much more so than many christmas brews which tend to over do it on the spice in my opinion. This a more elegant incarnation of the style to which I look forward to when the fall chill enters the air.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.4/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a slightly cloudy orange caramel color with a short lived 1/4" head of off white foam. It is gone within about 20-30 seconds.

Aroma: My first impression is of fresh spices mixed with some sweet caramel. The spices also contribute a floral presence. I am not too good at picking out particular spices, but they are definitely there.

Taste: The flavor is rather dry from the spice, and the mix of sweet toasty malt gives it the balance of some kind of breakfast cereal. It quite distracting to me, but it is not bad. There is a bit of a roasty note here, but it takes a back seat to the spice additions. The finish has malt and spices sharing the stage. I don't pick up the 7+% alcohol.

Opinion: This is an OK beer, but I don't really like a beer that you can positively identify the spice additions. It is OK, but it reminds me more of a food than a beer. I am not going to pour it out, but it isn't one that I will be drinking again anytime soon. Once is enough for a while.

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Photo of kirok1999
4.45/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm not much for flavored beer but this one is one of my favorites.
Appearance- Gold copper, clear with a nice white head that mildly clings to the glass.

Smell- Sweet malt, ginger or cinnamon and honey.

Taste- Mildly sweet, ginger up front with a nice malt to back it all up. Some mild hops to add balance.

Mouthfeel- Crisp and clear, mild carbonation with a nice clean finish.

Drinkability- I can't wait for this one every year. I try to buy a case to keep in the cellar for those special occasions when I want a flavored beer.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.04/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle Inspection: Great label art! 7.5% abv., 55 F serving suggestion, best by Jan 20, 06 (Enjoyed April 29, 06).

Aroma: Nice spiced malt aroma! Ginger is most evident on some caramelized malt notes.

Appearance: Clear amber/brown with a collar and thin cover of off white that lasts, but doesn’t lace.

Flavor: Spice are up front, as they should be. Nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and mild citric flavors that might be hops, might be orange peel. Nice malt base keeps the beer focused and gives a good balanced feel although no evident hops (unless they are citric) are there.

Mouthfeel: Medium light body.

Overall Impression: Enjoyable! Even though the first signs of summer are showing, this brought back the Christmas spirit! A holly-jolly good beer that I recommend any time of year.

Massive thanks to mattcrill for the sample!

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Photo of Crosling
3.06/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Chestnut color. Aroma has a bit of spice from the hops, grape vines, tree brances and caramel and biscuit like malt. Quite honestly, there isn’t much there in the aroma. The flavor is mild, with hints of caramel, cream corn, fruit and roast. This is ok.

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Photo of rrwiltse
3.47/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

7.5%??? Deceptive for sure! For a 'winter warmer' style, this is awfully light.
The first thing that struck me was the ginger aroma--not overwhelming, but just present and pleasant. Hints of the ginger and some cinnamon cross the tongue, but honey lingers. The spices are not too overpowering like many brewers end up with. Balanced and quaffable, not a case buy, but worth a six.

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Photo of heyitsbyron
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a bottle from a six pack from Woodman's in Madison ($5.99 for 6 on clearance) into a pint glass. Evidently, according to the botttle, I was supposed to have enjoyed this beer by 1/28/06. For $5.99/6, I'll enjoy it whenever I damn well please.

Poured slightly more orange than copper. Head was pale pale beige and didn't stick around long. Maybe 1-1.5cm at most. Nothing special, nothing bad.

Smelled just spectacular. Fruity and spicey. Like spiced mulled fruit, fills the nose. Cinnamon and ginger mostly.

It tastes like a healthy malange of cinnamon, honey, ginger, and nutmeg. I don't taste as much cloves as they claim. Ah well. Also have a strong honey flavor. I'm amazed at this much spice because normally brewers tone it way down. Has a strange "foody" flavor that reminds me of Thanksgiving. I have no idea how they obtain it, but I hope it's intentional because it's great. No real hops or malts to speak of, but who cares? This is fantastic.

Solid in the mouth without feeling sticky or syrupy. Perhaps a bit coarsely carbonated, but hard to notice.

7.5% alcohol? Bring it (especially for this price). This is a marvelous beer for drinking anytime the temperature is below, say, 50 degrees. I'll look forward to this from here on out. I can put back a few in a sitting, it just warms me up inside. My favorite seasonal and my favorite red ale; it probably works its way into my top 5 all around favorites too. Probably wouldn't drink too much outside the fall/winter though.

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Photo of Sammy
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Copper brown. Yes a winter warmer, the cinammon, the nutmeg, cocoa. Pleasant, some hops and appropriate carbonation. A nice drink, though not exceptional. A bit sweet maltiness with bitterness in the finish. Pleasant spicy aftertaste. Medium mouthfeel.

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Photo of putnam
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazel orange colored liquid. Scarce topping. Aromas of marshmallows, Juicy Fruit and mulled orange juice. Abundantly nutty. Creamy texture yields to charcoal and graphite flavored tannins. The effect is dry despite candied citrus peel and sweet brown spice flavors. These latter elements ride a hot wave of alcoholic fumes.

Best before 2/14/06

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Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.91 out of 5 based on 2,973 ratings.
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