Great Lakes Christmas Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

very good
879 Reviews
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

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Reviews: 879 | Ratings: 3,063
Photo of Scotchboy
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Jason.

Pours a golden orange bordering on copper, with good clarity and carbonation. An ample off-white-bordering-on-khaki head settles on this beer, barely dissipating and leaving good lacing.

Smells like a spiced brown ale, with caramel malts, spices, a subdued hop presence, and holiday nuts.

Tastes about the same as the smell, a lot like something like Rogue Hazelnut or Moose Drool. I've always dug the smell of brown ales more than the taste, and this beer is not an exception although I like the taste on this one, just not the finish. The malts are sweet, the hops are there and pleasant and not bitter, but there is a slight lingering spiciness and bitterness that is unpleasant.

MF is light to medium, feels chalky at times and finishes slightly watery. Carbonation is low to medium.

Overall I think this is a pretty good beer, and probably very good fresh. Not my favorite but solid.

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Photo of blackearth
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber body with a thin white head that quickly fades. Aroma of fruity esters, ginger, brown sugar and toffee. Medium bodied with medium carbonation level, this beer boasts flavors of cinnamon, brown sugar and ginger with a bit of a spicy finish that's not too sweet, but just right. The ginger flavor dials up as the beer warms and seems to take over more than it should. Overall a good Christmas beer.

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Photo of CooperEllis
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz into .3l glass. Winter Warmer is certainly not my favorite stlye, but I do appreciate the typical fullness and variety of flavors that are presented.

This wasn't long of flavor, but the flavors are so crisp that I'll forgive that. There is a very stong spice note, and the honey that is claimed on the label is amoung the least of the recognizable flavors.

The body is a touch lighter than I find most winter warmers and that plays to this particular brews stregth. A bit undercarbonated, in my opinion, and an unfortunate stale spice aftertaste that pops up but otherwise enjoyable if not memorable.


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Photo of tviz33
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle in to a nonic pint glass.

A- Pours a nice clear orange body with two finger of foamy white head.

S- Smells a lot like a sugary soda at first. Honey and ginger come out as I take few more whiffs. A little molasses is in there as well. Smells inviting.

T- I'd be willing to be the flavors have dissipated somewhat since this one came out. That said, it is still tasty. This one is mostly malty with a subtle hop aftertaste. Faint amounts of spices poke through, but aren't enough to discern what they are exactly.

M- Medium body and lightly carbonated, but smooth.

O- Overall, this beer is just OK for me. I'd like to try it more in season to see if there is a noticeable difference in flavor.

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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.

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Photo of barczar
3.66/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper color with a dense inch talk cream head that lingers. The floaties throughout the brew detract from the appearance.

Aroma is led by sweet caramel malt and cinnamon, with ginger and a hint of pine at the finish.

Flavor is dominated by cloying malt sweetness throughout, giving a cola impression when coupled with the spice profile. Ginger leads the holiday spice parade, with more subtle cinnamon and honey leading to a slightly bitter finish.

Body is moderately heavy with a moderate amount of carbonation, ending with a slight amount of alcohol warmth.

A bit too sweet and ginger forward for my taste, but it's a christmas beer, and definitely not the worst I've had.

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Photo of CaptDavyJones
3.66/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle. Freshness date and ABV is on the label. Rich copper/bronze color, head dissipates very quickly with mild carbonation. The aroma of honey and ginger is predominant with a hint of cinnamon. The honey are ginger are a bit too strong for my liking.
Taste is predominantly ginger and honey, cinnamon is difficult to pick since the ginger/honey are overwhelming. Not sure if this is a beer that is appealing to my palate. However, Great Lakes again does a very good job of masking the ABV. The drinkability is not exceptional, although it looks mighty tempting when poured in a tulip/stemmed glass. Worth giving it a try.

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Photo of schusterbauer
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

nocticably better on tap, but still a fine beer. less balanced from the bottle, with cinnamon and nutmeg taking a much more prominant place in the flavor profile. from the tap this is a very creamy and smooth beer, from the bottle it's a bit on the thin side.
all in all though, still a very nice winter brew. the honey, nutmeg, hops, and pine flavors make a very nice combination.

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Photo of BigBry
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was the Great Lakes seasonal available when I visited O'Shaughnessy's Public House while in Columbus.
Pint filled with a dark caramel color liquid with a short but strong head. Thin sheets of lace, nicely carbonated. Nice smells of spice and hops. Taste was good, with some spices, cinammon, clove, with the dark malt flavors. High alcohol is well hidden. Mouthfeel and drinkability were both OK, maybe a bit thin. I always like a well made local beer.

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Photo of trainradio77
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Not as good this year. The bottles I purchased all had an off flavor. Not good at all and not the same as previous years. On tap was better but still not good.

Purchased 10/26/15. A bit early for Christmas but I was eager to try after last year's debacle. Back to the old version this time. Very good flavor as it used to be. I wish GLB would acknowledge last year was a problem but I'm glad they corrected what ever was wrong.

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Photo of francisweizen
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured out a nice dark crimson colour with a small white head of foam. The aromas were heavily spiced, and consisted of coriander, orange peel(?), perhaps curacao, and more. The malt was in there was well, but where were the hops? The taste was spicy and very malty, almost Belgian-like in character, but noticeable different than most Belgian ales. The mouthfeel was a bit thin in the mouth and the drinkability was decent.


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Photo of HardcoreHopHead
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank from small Rocks glass.

Looked light copper in color with very little head(possibly due to the small amount poured).

Nice nose of Ginger and Vanilla.

On tasting it develops the ginger and vanilla notes into an easy graham character.

Mouth feel was a little syrupy with no effervescence.

Overall this was a good Christmas Ale. I liked its light body and that I could probably turn non-crafters onto it.

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Photo of dtivp
3.64/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep amber with a half finger dull white head, very little retention or lacing.

Aroma of malt, honey and strong cinnamon spice.

Taste follows the nose with sweet honey, malts hints of caramel followed by cinnamon and nutmeg.

Mouth Feel was the light side of medium body, moderate carbonation, smooth with a nice holiday spice flair.

Overall this is a nice Christmas Ale that does not go overboard with the spices as some other Christmas Ales tend to do.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Growler on 11/7/10 from Fatheads Pittsburgh

A-clear pale golden amber with a medium thick tan head.

S-the nose is rather spicey, sweet caramel malts and lots of cinnomon play up front with a touch of nutmeg. Sugary and stick malts are dominant as some raspberry flavors lie behind with a touch of spciy herbal hops in the back.

T-follows the nose to a t, tons of christmas spices, sticky malts, sugar, light fruity sweetness of raspberries, touch of herbal hops in the finish with almost no bitterness.

M-lighter in body, sticky syrup feel to it, medium to light carbonation and a wet juicy finish.

D-well balanced and big christmas spice to it, very easy drinking but a little sticky and syrupy in the feel as more carb would have helped to balance.

Had on draft at the brewpub in Cleveland.

A-nice copper brown color that let a nice amount of light through. it poured one finger of an off white head with almost no bubbles and left a decent lace

S-the aroma was faint and what i was able to get included a light smell of christmas spice, cinnamon and nutmeg

T-i wasn't sure how much taste would hit with the muted smell, but huge christmas spice flavors, lots of cinnamon, nutmeg, and some nice notes of vanilla in there

M-lightly carbonated with a medium body, it has a sharp texture that creates a very crisp finish

D-pretty tassty and crisp towards the finish, i could enjoy this several times over

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Photo of SurgeonGeneral
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Serving temp: 50F Serving glassware: Pint Glass

Aroma: A bready, but not neccessarily yeasty smell blends notes of gingerbread, a sharp sweetness & a slight graininess. A bit of dark fruity esters in there as well.

Appearance: A dark gold color, similar to that of buckwheat honey. Good clarity, excellent off white head retention. Lacing just as expected, excellent.

Taste: A big sweetness with malt overtones but also influenced by the honey used in this brew. Next to flex are the Christmas spices, most notably ginger & cinnamon. A bit on the heavy side with the spices, IMO but that is why this beer is brewed once a year, I suppose. Fades into a somewhat dry spicy finish, balanced very well with a good amount of bitterness.

Mouthfeel: A little light bodied for this brew, IMO, but still medium bodied. Moderate, crisp carbonation.

Drinkability: I'm still not a huge fan of spiced beers, and this one doesn't convert me. However, for what it is, I appreaciate it a great deal. This will be my last until next Christmas.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Medium red/brown body that looks similar to a dark red ale. Foamy white head that has great retention at 1/2 finger. Body is transparent.

S- Nose is light and dominated by cinnamon and honey. Ginger and other warn spices are noted in the background along with a slight hoppiness.

T- Initial taste is very brassy and metallic. Cinnamon and other spices are noticeable in the background but the honey almost disappears. Finish is quite clean and a slight metallic bitterness lingers on the palate.

M- Medium carbonation and medium weight body. Nice and easy to swallow but nothing remarkable.

D- This gets a 4.0 from me for two reasons. 1. It was easy to finish in a short amount of time and I probably could have consumed more of it. 2. I would have never guessed the ABV was so high because there is no hint of that anywhere in the smell/taste/mouthfeel. Other than that-this is an above average winter warmer that I will probably have again before the season is over but it was nothing that impressed me too much.

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Photo of larryarms847
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a somewhat murky copper brown with a thin layer of straight white foam.

Brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, caramel, and toasted oats.

Nutmeg, honey, ginger, brown sugar, and bready malts.

Medium-bodied, light carbonation, sweet malt backbone, some herbal/spice bitterness.

Overall, very subtle aroma, but the spice comes through in the flavor. Has the body of a heavy lager, very smooth, a nice winter brew.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I can't believe I've never reviewed this beer. I've been drinking it for a while now. Pours a clear ruby/brown in color. There is no remaining head that lasts after the pour. There is some definite ginger in the nose, and it's nice. Taste is much the same. Mouthfeel is medium in body and lively on the tongue. Very good, seasonal, sessionable brew.

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Photo of jwc215
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Best before 03/01/14:

Pours a beautiful copper with an off-white head. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is of Christmas spices - cinnamon and ginger - with caramel and a touch of honey.

The taste is of cinnamon, ginger, honey, some pine and caramel. It has a semi-sweet, spicy finish.

It hits full-bodied. Warm going down.

This is a malty, spicy winter ale. A little too spiced for me, but it's still a nice winter sipper.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought a case of this beer after hearing how limited this beer was in distribution. Bit disapointed with this over-hyped Christmas beer. Poured from 12oz bottle into a dimpled mug. Poured a clear golden-amber color with an off-white head. Aroma of spices, mostly ginger, and honey. Flavor follows suit, with hints of spices, mainly ginger and clove, in the opening that give way to a smooth finish. Subdued carbonation. Crisp feel on the palate, and no sign of the 7.5% alcohol.

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Photo of Nachojon
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- 1 1/2 inch creamy white head dissipates very quickly, no lace. Amber colored, transparent. Not the best looking Christmas seasonal I have seen this year by a longshot.

S- A little hop, a little nutmeg, a little cinnamon not as fragrant as expected.

T- Nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, honey. It's a sweet beer, which isn't usually my thing, but it tastes good, tis the season.

M- A little stick, very little carbonation. Warms on the way down, hides the alcohol very well in a warm way.

O- Def not the best Christmas seasonal, but I respect the hell out of this brewery and this is a solid beer I will try every year.

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Photo of angelmonster
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an off white 1 and a half finger head. Amber in color with lively carbonation, head retention and lacing are decent

First smell is of ginger and sweet malt. Also smell some Piny hops.

First taste is spice, ginger, and cinnamon. Honey and hops are also present, plus a weird herbal tea after taste. At 7.5 abv, the alcohol is nowhere to be found

Light body, somewhat creamy head, generously carbonated.

This is definitely a unique seasonal beer. Not overly spiced but spices are prominent flavors. Above average drink ability, thanks alot to Sonicdescent for providing it to me as an extra

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

A medium to full bodied amber ale-like beer with lots of flavors added. Malty without feeling heavy or cloying. A well-woven cherry flavor and aroma melds into the malts. Lightly hopped for balance but little for flavor or aroma, just enough for an extra layer of flavors. Spicy with nutmeg, cinemon, and ginger; without the granular texture that is usually present in bottle conditioned beers. Very smooth and slick to the mouth. Warmingly alcoholic toward the end. Alcohols and cherry flavor resembles cough drops or Vicks 44, but lightly noticed. Lots of peach flavors follow through in the aftertaste. A real good offering by Great Lakes.

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Photo of PHBoiler
3.61/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pure ruby red color, which is festive and beautiful. I get some spices on the nose. Not a big aroma at all. I get some orange, cinnamon spice, and a bit of pie spice in the body. It's really a bit flat for me. Mouthfeel is normal for this style. Overall, I don't think I'd go for this beer even during the holidays. It feel short in the base beer for me, so the minimal spices just didn't elevate it enough.

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Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.91 out of 5 based on 3,063 ratings.
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