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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User Reviews
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Reviews: 879 | Ratings: 3,067
Photo of Slynger
4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful crystal clear light copper color with a small, slow rising, fuzzy white head and some lacing to boot.
The first whiffs deliver some sweet caramel and honey along with lightly toasted malts. Subtle cinnamon and ginger spices meld this into a solid and well balanced nose.
The taste is every bit what the nose suggested and more. Lightly sweet honey along with caramel and toasted malts. A faint white grape fruitiness makes an appearance accompanied by ginger and cinnamon, with a very mild bitter hop finish.
Mouthfeel is excellent as great lakes always is. Perfectly medium bodied; honey smooth yet creamy from modest carbonation.
Bottom line, GLBC rocks and so does their winter warmer.

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Photo of mpyle
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

App - Pale amber color, brilliantly clear. Pours a decent sized whitish head, but coarsely bubbled and without great retention.

Aroma - a bit malty, some cinnamon/mint types of spice, alcohol

Flav - A bit minty/mediciny, and with a strong cinnamon flavor. A good, sharp bitterness cuts off the sweet spiciness, and leaves a drier yet still cinammony finish.

MF - Medium to medium-full body, and moderate carbonation. Perhaps a tiny bit of alcohol warming. Spices impact the mouthfeel negatively - not quite astringent, but heading in that direction.

D'ability - spices are too overwhelming to be a very drinkable beer for me. Probably not out of line for a holiday beer, but the best ones are more subtle in the spiciness.

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Photo of Vancer
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From 2007 Secret Santa cartdan, whata guy!!

Another great GL brew, although I will say it needed to grow on me, glad I had a 12er to sample.

Smooth and clear copper pour, ivory head, nice lacing, Sammy glass – you get the point.

Raspy and hoppy aroma, same in the quaff. The cinnamon taste passes for ginger root at the beginning, then settles – guess the sweet honey was kicking in.

A tasty Xmas ale, guessing 6.5% - lets see what BA says… 7.5! well hidden!

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Photo of giblet
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

another gem from GLB. the only reason this did not rate higher for me is the fact that it is not my favorite style of beer. color was nice. excellent carbonation and lace. nice flavor for a spiced beer. so far i am inexperienced in spiced beers and will likely stay that way. this was good just not my cup of tea...or beer.

suckem up and movem out!


i spoke with the guy that i buy most of my beer from about 3 weeks after having this beer. i mentioned to him that it was a bit spicy for my taste. he said to let it age a little. well i forgot that i had two bottles hiding in the back of my fridge until May 18. i pulled them out and drank them. Excellent. much better balance of the spice at this point. i likely did not need to wait this long but i will do this again in 08.

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Photo of cichief
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received two bottles from fellow PA beer lover.

A- Pours a deep amber with a thinnish off-white head.

S- Spicy in the nose, hint of fruit candy, lots of sweetness.

T- Lots of Holiday Spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, etc.), sweet sugar candy, a good holiday punch.

M- Thin to medium in body, very carbonated, but not overly done.

D- Maybe a bit too sweet for me to have many, but a fine Christmas beer all the same.

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Photo of Spidey13
3.26/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I drank this beer on Christmas day, which seemed appropriate. Poured into a snifter. The beer is very pretty; clear and the color of the amber honey I see every year at the KY State Fair. Very small, off-white head which faded very quickly. It smells a bit like honey, malt, and Christmas spices. The mouthfell is medium-thick. Tastes of honey and malt, with a pop of hop bitterness in the mid-back of the tongue. It gets a bit cloyingly sweet toward the end of the bottle, so you really can't drink more than one. It was fun to try, but I probably won't be buying it next year.

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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.

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Photo of wailingwench
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Eye Candy: Dark amber with a off white colored carbonated bubbly head that quickly disappears. Transparent amber in the light, no lacing to speak of. Poured nicely, 2 finger bubbly head. Retained its edges for a min or so, died soon after, appears flat and lifeless. Thin lines of rising carbonation.

The Nose Knows: Sweet sugar cookies, rich honey, candied sweet fruit. The sweetness is almost overdone, borders on cloying.

Tongueland: Thick honey and candied ginger dance a jig on the tongue with Ruldolph throwing in a dash of cinnamon at the end. Dusty and dusty middle, touch of paper and tobacco. Transitions to a palate coating sweetness lingering till the plum faires dance.

Bender Factor: At 7.5, this brew can do some damage. The sweetness is best paired with a contrasting dish rich in nature ie chicken wellington.

ETC: like drinking a beehive without getting stung on the tongue. I would love to see some orange zest or a touch of hemlock hops at the end to cleanse the palate. All in all, one dimensional, but worth a try.

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Photo of jdoncbus
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into tulip glass. One finger head that collapses quickly with low to mid-carbonation. Red-tan color which can leave some solid lacing when swished lightly.

The nose is not very strong but I can make out some clove, ginger, cinnamon, toasty malt, and some sweet hops; somewhat woody as well.

The palate gets hit with the ginger & clove flavors, which leads to a toasty/woody malt with cinnamon presence, and ends with a smokey hop bitterness. Mouthfeel starts off surprisingly bubbly and ends with a nice resin and oily finale.

Overall this is a superb and complex flavored Winter Warmer and my first taste from a bottle. I had a pint of it a few weeks ago but was rushed to down the last half due to a sudden appointment. Follow the bottles advice and serve around 55', it really brings out the various flavors. Another outstanding offering from the people up I-71 & will make sure to pick up another sixer before the end of the season.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.01/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper with about 2 finger widths of fizzy light tan foam. Once it settled down, it retained well with a nice light frothy covering that left some light lacing. Very pleasant looking brew. Aroma is sweetness, spice, and citrus.

Taste is dominated by spice initially. Most notabley cinnamon and ginger. It's nicely balanced though by a mix of honey sweetness and orange zest. Finish is just slightly hoppy. The mouthfeel is on the lighter side of medium with just a slight underpining of heat.

I nice mix of festive flavors and easy drinkibility make this a great Christmas beer and another winner from the GLBC.

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Photo of tctruffin
3.96/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I must admit to a pro-Great Lakes bias, but they keep making quality products. What can I do?

This years Christmas Ale brings the familiar deep amber hue. The bar where I got this in a 25oz mug didn't pour it with any head, and it seemed tad flat. Once I let the ale warm up from its too-cold serving temp, I was able to smell a bit of spice, mainly cinnamon. I seem to remember last year's version having more aroma. However, once I took a sip, I was given all the spice I could want floating on a solid malt base. Cinnamon and nutmeg stand out. What I love about this ale is that if you took away the spices, you'd still have a very tasty, well-balanced ale.

Even though this is a spiced ale, the spices don't assert themselves so much that they overtake the whole show. After downing 25oz, I was seriously considering another mug.

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

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a standard pint glass. Label depicts a toy train hauling little red Christmas ornaments. Described as a "Handcrafted Ale with Spices and Honey." Now that I am back in Ohio, I intend to drink locally and this is my first on the way to trying all Great Lakes stuff.

Appearance: Pours with 1 1/2 inches of near white head that settles quickly into a thin layer, leaving behind a medium amount of lacing. The beer itself is a rich reddish brown with ints of orange. A fair amount of activity can be seen. Crystal clear.

Smell: Smells of roasted malts, toffee, oranges, cloves, and some residual sweetness.

Taste: A decent carbonation bite upfront, followed by a bitterness from orange zest. Ginger follows, and it all finishes with a long, lingering hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Average body and carbonation.

Drinkability: A nice drink for the colder months, with enough spices to accent a solid beer without overpowering it.

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

Appearance: It's a transparent, light copper-amber color. Head was a very thick two fingers, but disappeared pretty quickly. Lacing was average.

Smell: A little light on the nose. Smells predominantly malty. Herbal spices are notable (cinnamon and a little clove). Perhaps a slight banana aroma. Very, very light hop presence is noted.

Taste: Nice and spicy. Cinnamon, pumpkin, ginger, and a slight clove presence are a nice combo. Caramel-toffee malts provide a nice, sweet taste. Hops are noticeable, but it's far from bitter. Slight yeasty or bread-like taste on the tail.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Light bodied leaning toward medium. Carbonation is excellent. 7.5% is perfect for this one. Goes down very smooth and very drinkable. Overall, it's a very good Christmas ale. Certainly recommended.

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Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a clear amber color and a modest head that leaves dots of lace

Smell: Nutmeg, cinnamon and a bit a honey along with the caramel base

Taste: Biscuity flavors up front with plenty of Christmas spices building by mid-palate; modest earthy hops appear after the swallow

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: One of the great Christmas beers out there

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Photo of BMoney575
3.11/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled on 12-11-07
Best before 1-22-08

Pours a golden amber color with bubbles that slowly rise to the surface. The head fades to a thin film, leaving clingy lacing.

Smell is lots of cinnamon and nutmeg, not unlike a pumpkin ale. Maybe a little rum-soaked fruit, if you look for it.

Taste is very much like the smell. Tons of cinnamon, with a subtle fruity twinge. Reminds me of gingerbread.

Mouthfeel is decent, thin, but sticky.

Drinkability is not very good, very one dimensional flavor.

Overall, a cinnamon beer. It overpowers every other flavor, and takes away any variety whatsoever.

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Photo of mentor
3.26/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a one finger tan head over a crystal clear copper liquid. Smells gentle chocolate, some ginger and coriander. Comes across as a brown ale.

Tastes wet sweet with lotsa brown ale character. Chocolate and nutty with a delicious gingerbread cookie character. Fuzzy hop character, cinnamon, and sweet coriander flavor. Drying finish from herbal aromatics and cleaning alcohol. Aftertaste is dry with ginger. Md-light body and moderate carbonation. Not alot here, but still enjoyable.

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

a - poured a two-fingers thick off-white head into a tulip glass. the body was bright and crystal clear copper...stunning clarity. it left a thin ring of lace that was gone halfway through which is probably the only thing keeping this from being at least a 4.5.
s - honey, fruits, hints of cinnamon and an underlying breadiness.
t - honey and cinnamon. this is sweet as syrup, borders on too sweet but it's not but it's definitely just a sipper.
m - smooth and coating, slick on the tongue. the finish begins to bubble more. very nice.
d - very good but they could tone down the sweetness a tad and this would amazing.

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Photo of JToad
3.91/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at a bar in Elkhart Indiana called the Chubby Trout. My wife and I split a pitcher of this for $5.50.

Poured the draft into a tulip glass. The beer is a dark copper color.

Smells of subtle fruit and spice. Can definetely tell its a Christmas beer.

As it warms, the spices really begin to show. I noticed large amounts of cinnamon and corriander the warmer it got. At 7.5% ABV, it hits you pretty quick.

My wife who is not normally a beer drinker, really enjoyed this the more she drank of it. It was nice to sit in front of the window and watch the snow fall, while sipping this winter warmer. I havent been too dissapointed with many Great Lakes brews, and this one is no different. Very good Christmas Beer.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
2.83/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clean copper color with a tan/ off white head. In the aroma, cinnamon and a sweetness. In the taste, cinnamon and mixed holiday spices. A smooth, yet sticky-sweet mouthfeel and a dry cinnamon aftertaste. Not bad, but cinnamon is a bit much. Easy to drink, but I don't think I could drink two.

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Photo of gordavidson
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- A very pretty amber colored beer with a thin, creamy looking head. Very very clear.

S- Christmas spice and everything nice. Raisin, minty, earthy, malty, and spicy. Has sort of a "cold" smell to it. Unique and enjoyable.

T- Minty, spicy and sweet malt. Tastes like a Christmas tree.

M- Crisp and refreshing with good carbonation.

D- An enjoyable and unique beer. Christmas in a bottle right here.

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

Thanks to pimpp for this festive ale. Syracuse just got two inches of snow, let's drink for the season!

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic.

Pours a clear light amber with a one finger off-white head that dies down to a thin layer of almost nothing. Some stickiness remains on the sides of the glass. Smell is a powder cinnamon and a gingerbread aroma. Light honey and peppermint tickle the nose as well. Chesnut flavors up front with a fresh cinnamon sweetness. Some floral hops that mellow out from the caramel malt. Light to medium body with a decent carbonation. This warmer is like Goldschläger gone beer, but in a good way. I never would have guessed the 7.5% abv., wow. Great brew for the holiday season.

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

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle into a Sam Adams pint glass.
A: Rich copper color, quite orangy. Very full white head, bouncy and frothy but smooth. Sheets of sticky lacing, very nice.
S: Citrus and sweet honey, rather floral and yeasty overall with a good amount of sugar, not too much and not too little. Pleasant and enticing. After warming a bit, I notice some other spices, cinnamon maybe and ginger too.
T: Spicy up front with some ginger flavors, and then quite sweet and soft in the middle, letting the honey and sweet malts rise up. The finish lets everything mingle together and fade out. Overall, a unique taste in a beer that I haven't really encountered before, and can't describe all that well. But it is definitely tasty and flavorful, quite enjoyable.
M: Overall smooth, with a nice gingery tingle in the finish. Somewhat watery though.
D: Very nice. Never thought it was 7.5%. I could have a few of those.

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Photo of JamesS
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Came to the table a nice deep amber/medium copper color. Excellent head and nice lacing, as well. Decent smell, a nice malt/hop mix. Great taste. A very deep ale taste with a wonderful honey kick. I caught a little of the ginger, but not much else over the honey. Goes down very easy, I will definitely have this one again.

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Photo of genog
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at brazenhead, in an imperial 20 oz pint.

Pours a nice crystal and bubbly copper color with a thin layer of off white head. Smell is of strong cinnamon and some ginger bread, as well as a thin amount of honey. Taste is very sweet at first then then gingerbread kind of kicks in, very limited bittering. Mouthfeeling is nice and light.

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Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.91 out of 5 based on 3,067 ratings.
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