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Great Lakes Christmas Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
88
very good
850 Reviews
THE BROS
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BEER INFO

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

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:
850
Ratings:
2,968
Avg:
3.91
pDev:
13.04%
 
 
Wants:
154
Gots:
707
For Trade:
9
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 850 | Ratings: 2,968
Photo of btorsdog
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not a big fan of spiced up brews and all,but this Christmas Ale coming from GLBC(The Masters of Balance)is a very good offering! Every year I end up drinking a ton of this stuff(commonly called "Christmas Crack" around here)due mostly to the fact that it is just downright GOOD!If ya get a chance try it,price seems to keep going up though,so I've been gettin 'er on tap(which is even better!)for around 5 bucks a pint,Happy Holidays!

 434 characters

Photo of dhartogs
4.53/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A friend from Cleveland sent me a 6-pack. A very hyped up beer and I wanted to see what it was all about.

Nice spicy aroma, hazelnut in color, with a medium head.

Not sure how to describe it, just enough spice to let you know it's there but not enough to overpower the ale. By the end of the bottle, which was poured into a pint glass the spice was a more present.

Overall I really liked this beer and will look forward to the next Christmas ale.

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Photo of mashedpotatoes
4.85/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is truly an incredible beer. Definitely one of my new favorites. The balance is perfect. Beautiful copper color pour with a medium to thick head with perfect lacing. Smell is subtle but intriguing. Taste is very smooth, very clean yet a bit complex. The ginger doesn't come through until later. When finishing off your first bottle the cinnamon is much more pronounced at the bottom. The finish is incredible and really keeps you coming back for more. Highly, highly recommended. Seasonal availability Oct through Dec.

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Photo of fvernon
3.1/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A surprise extra from Corbet - thanks! Poured at 55 degrees into a Portsmouth tulip from a bottle; January 2012 vintage. It pours a clear honey-copper with a short-lived but thick eggshell head, slowly dissolving into nothing but a small film hanging in the middle of the glass.

The aroma is really interesting - it starts as a sour cherry, then transitions into oak wood chips and rye bread. The initial sip is very interesting, and not at all what was expected from the aroma - thyme, clove, and cinnamon. It's basically a savory beer, but lacking in some sweet and spicy to offset the savory spices.

The mouthfeel is just about right, but I'm having trouble getting over the spice profile. Either a bit more honey or a stronger hop bitterness would really help me out here (or a good mix of the two).

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Photo of babyhobbes
3.61/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured with very little head but some lacing. It is a pleasing amber color. I smell some spice, notably cinnamon and ginger. The spiciness is not very strong in taste or smell. The taste is somewhat hoppy and bitter with a decent dose of ginger. This is a smooth beer in the mouth with a nice carbonation level.

I like this Christmas Ale but I wouldn't want to down several in one sitting.

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Photo of k3n
2.35/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottle traded from tangfoot (thanks!), dated freshest by 1/19/07. Got in under the wire.

A: Really nice coppery-orange color. Not much head or carbonation.

S: Slightly malty smell, mostly sweet, reminds me of spiced apple cider.

T: In a word: Sweet. IMO, too sweet. The malty sweetness runs right into the gingery, honey sweetness. There's a bit of acidity at the end, but is then overwhelmed by the cloying honey.

M: Mouthfeel is light to begin with, but that sticky honey taste/feeling hangs around too long at the end.

D: Not impressed with the drinkability of this one, and I tend to favor winter warmers. Seems like there's not enough balance to this one.

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Photo of AndrewRivera21
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

A must have for the Christmas season. Guaranteed to keep you warm on the cold winter nights. One thing I have noticed is that the taste seems to change year to year. I personally enjoy this brew with a nice coating of cinnamon and sugar along the rim of the glass! Great Lakes never disappoints!

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Photo of Bones54
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Coming from the Cleveland area, the Great Lakes Brewery, and especially the Christmas ale are as much of Cleveland lure as Chief Wahoo and the Dawg Pound.
Appearance: Served from a 12 oz. bottle, into a pint glass. The beer is dark copper color, and comes with a thin but lasting head.
Smell: The strong smell of cinnamon greets the nose like the smell christmas cookies pouring out of the kitchen on Christmas morn.
Taste: the smell only contributes to the exceptional taste. I remember first tasting a Christmas Ale a few years back and literally jumping out of my seat. Maybe it's because it was truly one of the first micrbrews I came to taste and was not ready for the sensational trip my taste buds would go through. Cinnamon is the most dominating taste, with the ginger finding its way through. However, I have a hard time noticing the honey in the ale.
Mouthfeel: Literally warms the mouth. The aftertaste, however can leave a lingering feel in the mouth that is often hard to get rid of.
Drinkability: Now do not mistake my score. The beer is Very drinkable. However the alcohol content and potent flavors make it difficult to drink more than two or three.
Haven't had a chance to have my fair share of Christmas brews yet, but I have to believe that this one will be hard to top.

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Photo of CGiusti23
4.41/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

With so many Christmas beers out there, I am so glad I snagged Great Lakes Christmas Ale up! Its a perfect mix of spices and flavor that just gives this Ale such a perfect taste. Highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good beer around the holidays. Even light beer drinkers will enjoy this at a family party. Either way its a win win, great beer.

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Photo of irishmoss
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great seasonal ale that is winter, that is Christmas. Nice and fresh, just arrived today. It was served a little cold, so I got another one to allow it to come down to temperature.

Nice dark copper copper with a great light tan head that clings to the sides of the glass leaving excellent lacing. It smells of cinnamon and ginger, with hints of all spice. The tastes were similar with roasted barley and a little sweetness. The spiceyness or the higher alcohol content were not overpowering. I really like this one and look forward to it every year.

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Photo of Tifore
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a tulip.

A - Pours a orange, brown, amber color that is clear. It develops a 1/2 finger head that turns to nothing quickly and has a small ring around the edge of the glass.

S - Lots of cinnamon, clove, allspice, and ginger in the nose. Pretty intense but thats what GLBC is known for in their Christmas Ale.

T - Taste has all the spices from the nose at first taste. Slight booze and sweetness comes next and hangs around for a while.

M - Mouthfeel is medium. Not too heavy and not too light. Somewhat oily and smooth.

D - A good drinkable Christmas Ale. Alcohol creeps on you and will catch you off guard. (Has happened to me a few times) Three is typically my limit and boy are you feeling good.

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Photo of crc1935
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had this beer from a growler that was poured from a keg in Erie, PA

Appearance - light amber/orange. Larger head than normal due to pouring from a growler to regular glass.

Smell - Sweet, nutty, and spicy.

Taste - Light honey and nutmeg taste balanced with slight bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Lightly carbonated to balance the taste. Very smooth ale.

Overall - This is an excellent Christmas Ale, though its legend seems to be elevated by scarcity. Still love the chase.

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Photo of MacDomer
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a fairly clear burnt orange with golden highlights on the edges. Nice two finger head with a standard pour. Head quickly fades to leave little puddles of bright white froth surrounded by a thin ring which lasts for the duration of the beer. Little to no lacing.

S - A bit of foral hops, a hint of caramel, and some faint alcohol notes, but mostly just spices - allspice, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg - as well as natural honey. This is all gingerbread and honey.

T - Replica of the smell, really - caramel and spice. Maybe the slightest bit of vanilla and pear, but this again is really all about the spice. Finishes with some hop bitterness, but not much

M - Smooth, coats the mouth from the get-go. Low carbonation up front, but it seems that it builds up and you feel it much more on the back of the tongue on the way down. A bit slick.

D - I'm not the biggest fan of the style, but this one grew on me since the last time I had it almost a year ago. I'd drink about a 6 pack per winter, and that would be plenty for me. It does put you in the holiday mood with the flavor profile, I'll say that much.

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Photo of HopNelius
3.82/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Red/orange body with a medium head not overly carbonated.
S-Smell notes of Ginger and Cinnamon. Smells of holiday spice.
T-The ginger and Cinnamon hit you immediatly but mellow out for the finish.
M-nice.
O-Great Christmas Beer. In my part of the country it sells out quick.Not a beer that I would want to drink everyday but I appreciate a few around the hoidays. The Ginger and Cinnamon balance makes this beer unique compared to other Christmas Ales I have had. The 7.5 abv is balanced nicely and does not come off boozy at all.

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Photo of songoose
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice beer. Can certainly taste all the spices: cinnamon, ginger, and also the honey is very prominent (which is probably why this drinks so smoothly, even at 7.5%).

The ginger was a little off-putting for me - not that it was overwhelming, just that I didn't feel it was quite the right spice choice for a Christmas Ale. Even so, this is one of the better Christmas Warmers out there.

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Photo of schanker21
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Golden brown with a tan head.

S- Really spicy. Smells like Christmas, too bad I'm a couple months late...

T- Big malt presence with a lot of spiciness to it. Alcohol presence as the brew warms.

M/D- Good carbonation. Easy to drink. A good winter warmer. Another solid brew from another great midwestern brewery.

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

Backlogged review circa 12/25/2011

Appearance: Ruby red with faint copper hues.

Smell: Overwhelming ginger and honey accompanied by accents of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Taste: Sweet and smooth, spice cabinet. Thick honeycomb combines with candied giner and snickerdoodle cookies.

Mouthfeel: Slightly thin with strong carbonation.

Overall: One of many delicious Christmas Ales/Winter Warmers made in Ohio. Highly sought after and terribly scarce around the holidays due to a huge notoriety. I'm not sure if it's worth the trouble every year.

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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.

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Photo of RickKrumenacker
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of ChiSox05
3.94/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Whoa, smelling this one straight from the bottle is like opening a box of honey graham crackers. Nice aroma. In the glass, lighter than I would have expected. This beer is clear, sandy-orange color. Couple thin rings of foam.

You just can't miss the honey in this one. Such a unique smell. Constant honey with lots of cinnamon and ginger in there too. smells like hop infused graham crackers....mmm

Tastes like a lightly malted, medium ale with cinnamon and ginger. Complex beer with a hint of bitter hops and spiced semi sweet malt taste. Each element is doing its own thing, not exactly blending well. Not much aftertaste at first, but near the end of the bottle, the spices and honey aftertaste show up. Hides the 7.5% very well.

I'd only have a couple of these at a time. I could see this as a great beer to wrap up your Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. All in all, a unique, above-average winter seasonal with a great smell, cinnanninnanim.

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Photo of heidelbeerg
4.09/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a clear amber/honey color with a fluffy off white head. The smell was fantastic. Sweet malts and spice. Reminds of the spice blend for pumpkin pies. The taste is a little on the sweet side. The spice flavor is not too involved and is balanced with enough hops to round it all out into an good tasting drinkable brew. The mouthfeel was pretty good. Enough carbonation, slightly thick and syrupy but not too bad. Well worth a try.

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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 granite
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A---It poured copper with thin white head.

S---Cinnamon and toasted malt.

T---It was very dry and slightly astringent. Very little malt flavor. Some warming alcohol and it finished all spices.

M---Thin-medium bodied.

D---Now this is a great winter warmer. Nice use of spice and just enough alcohol to balance.

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

Purchased in Dayton, Ohio in November, enjoyed today. Hint of spices originally, but when poured they were explosive. Good name, the smell did remind me of Christmas-time. I was most stuned by the crystal clear copper color, quite magnificant. Beer was extremely balanced. My wife thought it to be a bit too "complex" for her liking. Overall a great beer, which I will get again.

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

S: nice and malty no spices to smell,

V: nice Garnet color little bit of a head, nice and clear.

M: nice and smooth good medium to full body, reminded me of a Biere de Garde

T: mellow maltiness and I can see the honey, but cannot taste it.

D; I wish they had this one all year long a very nice winter warmer, I said that before but it reminded me of a Jenlain Ambre ( Biere de Garde)

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Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 850 ratings.
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