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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:
2,969
Avg:
3.91
pDev:
24.3%
 
 
Wants:
153
Gots:
707
For Trade:
9
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 850 | Ratings: 2,969
Photo of Sideswipe
2.46/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. The beer looks great. A very clear copper color with a finger of off white head. I can smell the spice from a foot away. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice. All these and more are confirmed when I take a drink. Wow, there is a lot of spice here, and a sweetness that must be the honey that was mentioned on the label. Mouthfeel is ok due to the carbonation, but I just can't get past the overwhelming spicyness of this brew. For me drinkability of his beer is non existent. There is just too much of a spice presence. Perhaps I have been drinking IPA for too long to truly appreciate this style. I will not be having another one of these.

 675 characters

Photo of circus_cat
2.54/5  rDev -35%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

If you charge that insane amount for a beer, people are going to be disappointed when it doesn't taste really special. Some ginger, cinnamon, and grassiness. Pretty good, but again--when Dogfish Head charges me $10 for a 12 oz, I'm annoyed at the cash register but pleased when I see how worth it it is. This just annoyed me all around.

 336 characters

Photo of jrallen34
2.61/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

I drank this from a 12 oz bottle into my Rochefort glass.

The beer pours a very bright yet dark clear amber with about 2 fingers of heading falling quickly. However, it leaves a nice soapy top on the beer and a lots of solid white lacing on the glass.

Can you say nutmeg? That's all you get at first sniff in this ale with a little mixture of spice. I'm trying to pick something else out but all you get is christmas but its a tad to much.

The taste is a huge let down in flavor from the aroma because you would expect huge flavors. But all you get right away is very light watery mouthfeel which is extremely off putting. As far as taste I almost just only taste water with a little nutmeg.

As far as drinkability you could crush a lot of these because its like, but I'm not sure why you'd want to.

Overall, from the hype I've heard this beer was a big let down in every sense. I would not encourage anyone to drink this.

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Photo of hardy008
2.61/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Copper color with an off white two finger head with decent retention and minimal lacing. The aroma has light amounts of cinnamon, ginger, and honey with caramel and biscuit malt. Not much aroma coming through, hopefully the taste will be bolder.

The taste is mostly biscuit malt. I can taste some cinnamon, ginger,honey, caramel malt and some hops, but the biscuit malt taste is the dominant flavor. I was hoping the caramel malt would stand out, but no such luck, at least not in this bottle. I also don't care for the taste of spices trying to interact with biscuit malt. Doesn't work for me.

Light side of medium bodied, with average carbonation. The aftertaste has some spice, but not much else. Not my favorite Great Lakes beer. It is drinkable, but there are better Winter Warmers than this.

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Photo of mwbeerman
2.66/5  rDev -32%
look: 5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber/copper color with a full head that dissipates rather quickly. Crystal clear with very little visual carbonation. Lots of spice in the smell, cinnamon being the most prevelant with a complementary sweet spice (cloves?). Caramel and sweet malt also in the aroma, along with a slight roast. Altogether a very fragrant beer. Cinnamon hits the palate right off the bat, transitioning into a a sweet malt/caramel flavor, creating a very enjoyble contrast. Finishes with an unappealing bitter spice aftertaste (think the bitterness in cinnamon without the sweet). Spices are aggressive in this beer, but not in a bad way. A nice medium body, though I would have preferred a thicker beer (On the other hand, I have had thinner winter warmers...). Very nice balance to this beer, mixing the bitter spice and the sweet malt. The carbonation in the beer brings forward the spice bite, aiding in the contrast through most of the sip. I will be revisiting this beer throughout the winter, although I would like to see a tiny bit more hop presence in the beer. A great beer to keep you warm.

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Photo of BZero007
2.66/5  rDev -32%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Picked up this bottle at Rodmans in DC. 2010 Bottling had in December.

Poured a crystal clear amber color with an ever so slightly off white head. The brew looks great and leaves lace through out the glass. Smell is a bit off putting as a clovey aroma takes over the brew in a bad way. The taste reminded me for some reason of candy canes with an ever so suddle hint of bitterness in the background. The spice was around and mixing with this candy cane flavor and did not sit well with me. Mouth feel was good and carbonation was good for the target profile. I would have to say I will pass on this brew the next year.

 619 characters

Photo of BigMike
2.66/5  rDev -32%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: A nice burnt copper orange color with a creamy eggshell colored head. Initially 3 fingers disipates to about one quickly. Overall it's a nice looking ale.

S: I definitely get the cinnamon and Ginger. Those are the two stand out aromas. Caramel and toffee are right there too.

T: cinnamon is the dominate flavor here. Ginger, honey, toffee and light caramel notes also.

M: Mouthfeel is light and very smooth. This one goes down very easy. There's almost zero indication of the 7.5% abv.

Overall: after a few sips this isn't very enjoyable. gets a bit redundant. I wouldn't want to drink any more.

 606 characters

Photo of jmyers89
2.67/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A lot of people find ths beer really good, however I think there was too much clove, some of the spice that they use (nutmeg,ginger, brown sugar, etc..) I thought tasted a little off. Basically I thought this beer tasted just like a ginger bread coockie... not a fan.

 267 characters

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 bobhits
2.69/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

This is a really nice looking beer. It's got a nice head that though a bit airy to the touch (instead of more a creamy head) lasts well and leaves a nice lace. The amber color is rich and nice as well.

Maybe it's because the bottle said it had honey in it, but that's the smell that first came to mind. There are some spices and hops that seem to mix together to create a second smell but the the honey smell really stood out.

The first taste is basically that of water and spices. I find it hard to not combine mouth feel and taste as they are the same here. The beer has this overpowering spice character with a bit of sweetness (honey) and some hops there that much like the smell seem to mix in well with the hops. With this I would expect something thicker to allow the flavor to linger and develop in the mouth but instead the beer is very watery and basically it just doesn't work for me. I want my beer to linger a bit longer and be somewhat sticky especially a winter style beer. This stuff even with the strong carbonation when you pour it doesn't really have it any of it left when you drink it.

It's watery and thus you can drink a lot of these and they go down really quickly.

That said I'm done with this when the 6 pack is done. This is the first beer from Great Lakes that I wasn't blown away by but hey you can't always be perfect. This beer however imo is average at best.

 1,396 characters

Photo of BeerMeColorado
2.7/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Not sure why all the high scores.
Light amber. Crystal clear. Poor head retention.
Malt forward. Alcohol warmth comes through.
Decent mouthfeel.
Irish Spring soap?
Overall an average winter warmer for me.

 205 characters

Photo of AlexFields
2.73/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Thanks to the guy at the BASC release who gave these for free to my friend Photekut (who then gave one for free to me).

Nice reddish amber color with a good sized and attractive head.

Nose is all christmas spices. Unfortunately, my christmas spice vocabulary is not quite up to snuff, and I'm not going to make a fool of myself by naming a bunch of random spices that I couldn't actually identify by smell. Suffice it to say this beer just smells like a ton of different wintry spices thrown together at random. Not that appealing.

Taste is similar to the nose but better. There's more of a balance to the spice flavors and less weird clash than in the nose. There's also a decent honey-sweet backbone that stops the beer from being totally overrun by the spices. Still, though, let's not kid ourselves, this beer is all about the spices, and if you don't love winter spices this isn't the beer for you. I get cinnamon and maybe nutmeg, but again, I don't know my winter spices well enough to name a bunch of specific ones.

Nice mouthfell, welll carbonated.

I don't generally care that much for winter warmers, and this one is no exception. Heavy on the spices, light on everything else. Drinkable, maybe even good if you're into this kind of thing, but I'm not really into this kind of thing.

5.7/10

 1,306 characters

Photo of jdonley1180
2.75/5  rDev -29.7%

Ginger, and lots of it. If you used to like Great Lakes Christmas ale and think it just isn't what you remembered. Try Thirsty Dogs "Twelve Dogs of Christmas", it's the old GL Xmas ale recipe

 191 characters

Photo of nouseforotacon
2.77/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Celebrating the birth of my 1st nephew, Mattéo Raphael, who was born today on Dec. 4, 2006.

Transparent, beautiful golden amber bottom with a thin and rapidly diminishing foam web of sticky film. Minimial lacing on top and on the edges of the glass.

Sweet, layered honey smell with malts and fruits. Hints of ginger and other spices, biscuity, with Christmas cookie-like notes. Nice nose.

Upfront biscuit/bread in flavor profile with a surprisingly good deal of hop bitterness. Burnt caramel. Sweet, honey stickiness. Spice profile is nowhere near as pronounced as I would've hoped. Lingering fruitiness.

Not quite sure how I feel about this one. Burnt and bitter, with only a tiny hint of sweetness or spiciness. Overall product is not so delightful, nor drinkable. Guess I'll have to celebrate this special season and day with something else.

 857 characters

Photo of WakeandBake
2.8/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a clear amber color pour with a small soapy offwhite head , little to no lacing left , medium carbonation . Aroma is a jumble of spices , cloves , ginger, cinnamon and maybe an artifical honey note .Flavor just seems off , sort of a spicy mess with lots of cloves, a little caramel, candy cane and rasins with a spruce type hop finish , medium body , slick mouthfeel , short finish almost metallic, with fruitcake flavored burps , I would say this is quite sessionable if one was to care for it more than I did . I love you guys at GLB but this one was just not for me

 568 characters

Photo of Gouxman
2.81/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A beautiful amber color with an aroma of pine trees and nutmeg. This Christmas Ale is full of holiday spice. Flavors of cinnamon, baked apples, honey, ginger, and cloves combine to make a festive ale which encompasses all of the flavors and aromas you would associate with Christmas.

This is one of the top selling Christmas beers. I can see why people like this beer, but it's not for me. The holiday spice overpowers anything else found in this ale. I always try at least one each year, but it's not something I can sit and continually enjoy.

 545 characters

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.

 300 characters

Photo of lester619
2.86/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Very dark brown mahogony with a huge light brown head. Pretty beer. Spices hit you hard early on. There is a big malty presance with a fair amount of herbal, cirtus hops. The spice is in control though. I try to keep an open mind with a beer like this. I don't like spiced beers as a rule. As this style goes it's one of the better ones. Cloves, cinamon, a ton of nutmeg, anise, I'm sure there are more that I can't identify right away. Very malty-sweet. I think they use honey or maybe brown sugar to help it along. It has a little bit of a herbal bitterness from the hops in the finish. I think that is why it is a little more balanced than some of the other examples. It helps to cut the spice a little and cleanse the pallet between sips. If I'm in the right mood one is somewhat enjoyable. I can't do a second. Would be pretty good beer if they left the spice out.

 869 characters

Photo of Buzaglod
2.86/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

I've enjoyed the GL xmas ale in this past however this year I was disappointed. It overall felt very heavy, too dark and was not as enjoyable to drink as it has been in previous years

 183 characters

Photo of DarthVorador
2.86/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Not a fan of this one at all! It smells & tastes like something from Sam Adams, but worse. Great Lakes is one of my favorite breweries, but I think they dropped the ball on this one!

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Photo of rhoadsrage
2.88/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer a nice deep orangish-brown body that is crystal clear and a nice thin off-white head sits on top. It has a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles.

S- The smells of graham crackers and toasted malt with a hint of biscuit malt and a slight spice smell that is a bit off.

T- The slight sweetness of toasted malt is mixed with a taste of cinnamon and ginger that taste chemical together. The finish has a slight ginger hint. The hop spiciness is very faint at the finish and the alcohol doesn't really come through much.

M- Nice medium mouthfeel with some fizzy making it feel more full. No alcohol warmth or astringency.

D- This beer has a good base beer but the cinnamon and ginger are not good spices to pair. Even when the spices are good quality they have a chemical taste and smell to them.

 855 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.88/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a light ruby color ale with a medium light brown foamy head with a quite excellent retention. Aroma of light spices, honey with some bitter hops. Taste is lighter then expected with the honey being immediately recognizable. Bitter taste at the end is also quite enjoyable. I would have hope for a bit more malt and more character for a ‘’Christmas’’ special type beer.

 387 characters

Photo of nick76
2.9/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The aroma is malty and almost fruit like but has a hint of honey and mixed spices. The appearance is amber with an average head. The flavor is like the aroma and not that pleasant but not that bad. The palate is smooth but thin. Overall not as special as I wanted. Thank you Depak.

 281 characters

Photo of jangotaurus
2.93/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Slightly darker brown in color, my sample only had the slightest detectable head.

Smell: Slightly spicy aroma of nutmeg and sweetness.

Taste: Light body, smooth mouth feel. Very sweet malty honey flavors. Strong Nutmeg flavor. I found this beer to be too sweet on its own, and combined with the spiciness it was a bit off putting. It would make a decent desert beer and would probably compliment some pumpkin pie quite well.

 440 characters

Photo of magictacosinus
2.94/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Alright, time to get back to reviews. Thanks, Todd! Poured out of a 12oz bottle into a wine tulip glass. Freshness date is "1/18/14." Consumed on "1/25/14." Shouldn't be too much of an issue.

Pours an amber golden color with a decent white fizzy head that whittles down to a tiny, thinned ring over the course of consumption. It may be the glass or the age on this, but lacing is minimal as are any noticeable legs. It is, nevertheless, quite viscous, especially for what seems to be an apparent run-of-the-mill winter warmer.

Smells extremely sweet - notes of honey, butterscotch, and toffee are all up in this, with the spices pushed way to the back. It's difficult to find them, but eventually they come around: ginger peel, cinnamon, brown sugar, as well as apples and bananas. Very sugary and not very spicy or zesty from the spices this was brewed with. The alcohol, alas, is well hidden. It's a different take on the style, but perhaps one that would appeal to fans of sweeter seasonal ales.

The flavor is the same story, with, as far as I can tell, far more muted spices on the palate completely taken over by the sugary malty profile. Honeyed, alongside sweet notes of toffee and butterscotch that last on the palate for a good long while. Finishes slightly fruity, as well as mildly spicy from the ginger and cinnamon, but the honeyed profile of the beer is victorious - as is the sweetness. Slight oxidized notes of sherry are definitely present. Isn't too much of a chore to drink, although it definitely gets more syrupy the more it warms up. The alcohol comes around over time, which only increases the sweetness. As a result, it's a bit difficult to finish.

As much I have been happy with Great Lakes in the past, I feel like as much as I should have probably had this a bit fresher, I don't think this would have been any less sweeter in the end. The ingredients are thankfully well presented, but the amount of residual sugars I had to wade through to get to them did not make it wholly worthwhile. Nevertheless, I'll happily give this a re-review when it comes out this year if I'm able to get my hands on a fresh bottle.

 2,143 characters

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