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Great Lakes Christmas Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
88
very good
850 Reviews
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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
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Reviews: 850 | Ratings: 2,968
Photo of KeefD
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at the Great Lakes bar in the Cleveland Airport. Review from notes: 22oz pour. Dark amber with orange highlights, nice fluffy off-white head that left little lacing, probably from the frosted glass. Spicy, malty aroma with hints of maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Flavor was malty sweet, nice amount of spices, again with the cinnamon and nutmeg, along with a bit of orange peel for good measure. A nice piney hop flavor shows up here and there. Citrusy flavors make an appearance but get pushed out of the way by the spices. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel, very delicious Christmas Ale. One of the best Winter Warmers I've tried.

 639 characters

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 thegodfather1076
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was served out of a 12oz. bottle dispensed into a glass....

Initial review is on the GLBCA 2010 Edition.

Presentation- Great artwork and label in the GLB style.

Appearance - GLBCA is a copperish orange color ale with an off white one finger heard that leaves a nice lacing down the entire glass.

Smell - GLBCA has a wonderful smell. This offering is packed with Christmas spices and they def come through in the smell. Nutmeg, Honey, Cinnamon, Ginger are all apparent in the smell.

Taste - A very tasty beer that is heavily spiced with traces of nutmeg, honey, cinnamon, ginger throughout. A slightly malty flavor provides a good ale taste that balances out the heavy spices.

Mouthfeel - Definitly a full bodied offering that is smooth but slightly heavy in the mouth.

Drinkability - A true winter warmer with a fairly high alcohol content. GLBCA is very drinkable because of the flavor but if more than 3 of these are consumed you will definitly start to feel it!!!!

Being from Akron, OH I really enjoy GLBCA but has become so hard to find in this area that I have had to turn to other offerings at times. I would highly recommend as far as the actual beer goes.

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Photo of trbergman
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A - Ruby orange with one inch of sticky off-white head. Good sheets of lace.

S - According to the label, Great Lakes uses honey, ginger, and cinnamon in this beer, and all are evident in the nose. Honey is definitely the strongest, with ginger close behind. There's also a hint of toast and some fruity/floral aromas.

T - Good malt backbone, with a bit of toasted bread. The malt is not obtrusive and allows the spicing to shine. At the same time, the spices are not overdone. No real hop flavor, and minimal hop bitterness. Very well balanced.

M - Medium body, peppery carbonation.

D - I wish all winter warmers were this good. Although the spices are the main feature here, they're still restrained enough to maintain a high quaffability. Alcohol is well hidden. All the same, I'm not sure I could drink more than one or two in a sitting.

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Photo of SitkaSteve
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Wow, I'd never thought I'd ever get to try this. A buddy of mine got this in a trade.
Bottom right corner reads "Please enjoy by 02/20/15."
This was poured into a tulip.
The appearance was a hazy bronzed brown color with a light carbonation seen rising to fill a one finger white foamy head that dissipated fairly quickly. Light stringy lacing stuck finely to the sides of the glass.
The smell, hot damn, wow. Well, it had a nice sweet cherry to light spruce and combined with a super nice sweet honey.
The taste takes those previously mentioned flavors to combine and make lip smacking sticky tasting. I like it. A nice sweet honey aftertaste leads to a sweet wet finish.
The mouthfeel was about a light to medium on the body with a fairly decent sessionable aspect to it. The carbonation seemed fairly appropriate for the style and for me, slightly smooth and honey sticky.
Overall, hot damn, wow and holy crap! This is probably one of my favorite winter warmers I've ever had. I wish I could get this on a regular basis.

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Photo of tillmac62
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear medium amber. Nice head and lacing that diminishes in about 2 minutes. Nose is mostly malt sweetness against a hint of soft spice. Medium bodied with a nice slick feel and well carbonated. The taste is slightly sweet with only a suggestion of spice, creating a nice balance of flavor that is subdued when compared to ST 2Xmas, which accentuates spice flavor. A nice crisp finish that brings the carbonation and spices (ginger and cinnamon) a bit more forward. If you want sweet with a hint of spice, then this beer is for you. If you prefer spice flavor, go with Southern Tier 2Xmas. Both are expertly crafted brews that achieve their respective flavor profiles.

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Photo of innersanctum
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a special one from the guys on the Erie shoreline! Had the opportunity to have a few of these this season, as well as compliment my Cleveland friends. Apparently this beer is revered there and folks will stock up on a case or two, but once you have a sip you'll see why. This is one of the more unique products from GL.

Appearance: Dark coper/orange with a nice thick head.

Smell: Cinnamon spice, and all those other fruit cake season gems.

Taste: Warm, zesty and complex. Despite some of the fruit, this is well balanced and its a nice sipper in the cold season.

Mouthfeel: Despite the complexity this is not a terribly heavy brew, but be warned:

Drinkability: At 7.5% this one is a real creaper because one or two of these in a snifter, while a smaller pour, can pack a nice punch.

Serving type: on tap in a snifter glass

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Photo of damndirtyape
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Single bottle served in a tulip. I know the glass recommendation is tumbler/nonic for this beer, but I'm now more sure it's wrong. GLBC has the beer shown in snifter, and after drinking it once in a tumbler I can say that a snifter or Tulip is really the way to go with this beer.

The beer poured a 1/4" thick foam that died down to a nice thin foam across the top. Nice lacing on the sides of the glass as you drank it down - which I didn't notice so much in the tumbler. A nice copper orange color, with plenty of little bubbles moving up through the beer. The foam is a very light tan fine bubble foam, a little bit of a sparkle to it as you hold it up to the light.

Smell - I only got ginger with the tumbler but with this I get a hint of ginger and a nicely strong cinnamon. No hops or malt really in the smell.

Taste - quite nice. A sweet ginger flavor up front, followed by the cinnamon and then a slightly bitter finish followed by nice malty aftertaste. Really a great beer for sipping and savoring slowly.

Mouthfeel - because of the tulip I think its holding onto the carbonation more - so spicy on the tongue but otherwise nothing really special to me.

Drinkability - I could easily have another. I think I will. A nice holiday treat and I'm glad I was able to get a six pack while in Cleveland earlier this month because I cannot find it now in Dayton.

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Photo of Glanzman
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle served in a pint glass.

Pours a nearly clear, amber color with a 1 finger head. Nice lacing throughout.

Smells of Christmas spices and citrus hops.

Taste pretty much how it smells with a slight, but pleasant, bitterness at the end.

One of the best winter warmer beers around and worthy a six pack or two.

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Photo of CincyScot
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Last year (2014) this beer was FANTASTIC....this year (2015) it is only GOOD. Every year it seems like breweries fiddle with the recipe of their Christmas ales...this year they went South a bit.

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Photo of TimPowell
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Every November, I look forward to combing the shelves of my local beer store for some of my favorite Winter Warmers. Great Lakes Brewing Company once again steps up with an exceptional beer.

Pouring the bottle I was taken by several things;

Color-A rich, deep amber, almost smokey in color.

Nose-Not as stong as I remember. You may notice slight hints of cloves or cinnamon. I would say this beer is better served at warmer temperatures. This is not the beer to be poured in to an ice cold glass.

Head-I was dissapointed pouring did not produce more of a head on the beer.

Tasting this beer really was the reward. Hints of caramel, malt, and some seasonal spice was followed by a wonderful hop finish.

Great Lakes Christmas Ale should make every beer drinkers Christmas list during the holiday season.

 807 characters

Photo of beergod1
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful red hue with quickly fading white head. Aroma of ginger, some other spices. Some lacing and rings around the glass, reminds me of snow. Flavor is nice balance of cinnamon, ginger, and sweet honey. Very drinkable, and at 7.5% abv. it's very sessionable, for about 4 beers (230z. brewtus at applebee's), then it's nap time.

 331 characters

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.

 285 characters

Photo of ne0m00re
4.34/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Live review of "Christmas in a Bottle."
A: Poured a clear reddish amber with a nice cream head that faded to a nice collar, thin film, and a little lacing.
S: Cinnamon and clove, apple and pumpkin pie (which is probably a result of the honey based on the mead character), on top of a malty caramel. The hops (Fuggles, probably?) are a bit earthy and leafy and break through in the end. A nice "warm" welcoming beer.
T: The spices come off a little strong in clove with cinnamon in the back and linger through most of the beer, fading to a dry cinnamon with mead alcohol. Caramelized sugars dominate with leafy earthy hops and the recipe seems like it would be very similar to the Octoberfest if it wasn't for the spice (not a bad thing).
M: Slightly thicker with a frothy carbonation at first that lets go to a mildly sticky dark caramelized stickiness.
D: Pretty good. The residual sweetness is pretty intense after a couple, though.

 934 characters

Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
4.34/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

All of the years I had this when I lived in Michigan, its nice to revisit an old favorite sent from a friend.
This was poured into a pint glass.
The appearance was a sly burnt orange color with a one finger white foamy head that quickly dissipated. Barely any lacing formed around the glass but what was there were minor strings here and there.
The smell had a nice blend of honey, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, clove with some sweet grassy hops ending to surround my nose.
The taste was mainly sweet up front with a nice backup of the spice. Lingering honey sweet aftertaste slides into the finish.
The mouthfeel indicates that there is a nice spicy to sweet sort of dry feel having a light to medium body with a good almost semi-slick sort of feel sliding around my tongue. Even with the spices, there isn't much clingy-ness.
Overall, wonderful winter warmer that I would have again if I could get it again. And this one goes well with Christmas spiced cake.

 958 characters

Photo of Hoptometrist
4.34/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from the bottle into a nonic glass

A- Poured a very clear lighter amber color with a two finger soapy head

S- Huge aroma of cinnamon, ginger, citrus, and floral notes. This smells like Christmas at home

T- Big on the cinnamon, ginger, citrus and honey notes, great balance among those flavors. Sweet biscuit and cracker like malt flavors. Finishes on a nice bitter note

M- Smooth, pretty high carbonation, effervescent

O- This beer is the holiday season in a glass, a cornucopia of holiday flavors and spices. A beer I look forward to every winter. Very good out of the bottle, even better on tap.

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Photo of ajm5108
4.34/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber with moderate head. Cinnamon all over the aroma, along with some cardamom, spicey phenols and amber hops. The cinnamon is definitely the major note on the tongue, and the honey really comes out as well. The malt profile isn't very hefty or bready, just enough to anchor the spice. It segues into a clove spice at the end, less sweet and a little huskier. Finishes very clean. Overall I enjoyed it, but there is definitely a lot of the cinammon. It isn't a subtle beer, and I like a sprinkle of cinammon on plenty of refreshments, but this beer comes tad close to going overboard with it, even if for me it stayed on the good side.

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Photo of MacQ32
4.34/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a golden color with a slight tint of amber, head is copper/ginger and 2 fingers tall. Decent retention, ok lacing.

S - Caramel and honey up front, with some cinnamon spice and brown sugar

T - Lots of cream caramel/honey with spiced cinnamon and ginger, maybe a hint of citrusy orange flavors as well. Possibly the best Christmas Ale I've had

M - Medium bodied or less, slightly sticky on the tongue, just the right amount of carbonation, quite drinkable but still has moderate warming characteristics.

O - New favorite Christmas beer!

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A lovely clear amber red color with a nice fluffy white head. Small bubbles run up the side of the glass. Quite a interesting nose...citrusy hop tones collide with cinammon and sweet honey. Nice and complex.

First sip is an incredible mix of spiceness, I pick out cinammon, a nice ginger bite along with cirtusy hop notes and a sweet caramel malt background. Almost a subtle cherry / floral taste comes through as well. A very tasty winter brew if I do say so myself....extremely unique.

Mouthfeel is nearly perfect, smooth and creamy with good body. Easy to drink and nice on a cold night. This is a great holiday brew and I recommend to anyone looking for something different!

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

Although I've had this beer dozens of times, I haven't actually taken the time to review it, so I thought I'd do so before Christmas passes too far into the past.

Poured from a 2009 vintage bottle, so we'll see how well it cellared. Pours a copper color with a soapy white head.

Smells sweet, slightly boost, with hints of ginger, honey, spice, and malt.

Malty, sweet, and spicy, this 2009 vintage seems to have mellowed from a typically tasting GL Christmas Ale for an an even smoother than usual experience. Honey, ginger, and floral notes present, with no hint of the wallop of alcohol that can sneak up on you with this brew. Very low bitterness to finish, this beer is going down way too easy!

Medium bodied, and very easy drinking.

A Cleveland favorite, this is easily one of the best Christmas brews around. Highly drinkable, the only concern is the alcohol content will catch up on you if you're not careful. When they say winter warmer, they're not kidding!

 971 characters

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

Paid $8.99 for a growler at The Party Source in Bellevue, KY...

The beer pours a clear amber colored based with a medium white head, decent head retention and lacing on the glass. The aroma is a balanced mix of aromatic hops, sweet malts, caramel and cinnamon/anise.

The taste is exceptionally smooth, moderate body, slightly chewy and sweet. It is a perfect mix of the aforementioned aroma ingredients and finishes clean. It is crisp and clean in the mouth and at 7.5%abv is a seasonal pleaser, even if Christmas was a month ago.

Final Thought: Freaking awesome on-tap or in growler... just a great example of Great Lakes' versatility as a top national brewer.

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

Presentation: Standard 12 ounce brown glass bottle. Dark label that has a black background with white lettering. The picture on the main label is that of a green colored model railway car full of Copper colored Christmas Tree Baubles. The brewery blurb goes on to explain that “Its copper color and flavorful taste is derived from cinnamon, ginger and honey”. Recommended Serving Temperature of 45°F, as well as an advertised strength of 7.5%. Enjoy By Date is Dec. 23 03.

Appearance: Amber copper body with some dark tangerine hints. A thin but very uniform dirty-white head forms easily and with the aid of the odd gentle swirl it remains throughout the drink. Some lacing, but it nearly always sinks and slides back down into the Glass out of harms way. Carbonation appears to be average but well attenuated.

Nose: The nose is well rounded and very fruity indeed. Reminds me of cinnamon toffee, mixed with a hint of ginger. Powdery feel in the nasal passage at times.

Taste: Smooth introduction to the beer, aided by the conditioning. Malts with an immediate cinnamon punch. Some spicy ginger comes through in the finish, whilst the middle obviously benefits immensely from the sweet honey. Spicy with a light citric tingle on the tongue in the finish. Very Nice!

Mouthfeel: The finely attenuated carbonation creates a talcum smooth feel, which is a great background for the finely balanced cinnamon and ginger, whilst the honey lends a rich silky feel to malts

Drinkability: I wish I had another one to finish the night with. The 7.5% is nowhere to be seen at all, but the rich full-bodied flavorsome quality of this Christmas Ale is quite literally all over this beer, front to back, top to bottom.

Overall: This would be a very fitting beer to sit down with after a filling Christmas Dinner. Tasty solid brew that has just the right amount of cinnamon and ginger to balance a honey infused malty body.

Four Brews from Great Lakes, all received 4+ marks. Accomplished.

A belated Merry Xmas to BigHuge for the Great Lakes brews. Cheers!

 2,068 characters

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

Hazy scarlet red in color. Thin creamy, yet bubbly, tan head. This beer smells like Christmas: Cinamon, spice and everything nice. The beer tastes like Christmas joy as well. The cinamon is the main player of the spices, but the orange contributions are notable and enjoyable as well. Nice little biscuity malt backbone and some alcohol notes to give a little umph to this beer. Carbonated nicely. Medium body. One of the more enjoyable spiced winter offerings I have come across. Thank you PhantomVoodoo for the sample.

I have now sampled 6 Great Lakes beverages. I can't comment on their consistency as I don't have consistent access to them, but the quality of the brews I've had is extremely high. One of the best in the US in my opinion. I've doled out 4.5s to the Elliot Ness, Burning River and Dortmuder Gold. I've rated the Edmund Fitzgerald a 4.6, the X-mas ale a 4.4 and the Loctender Lager a 4.25. My new top 3 would include K-ZOO, Stone and Great Lakes.

I'd love to see what they could do with a Barleywine, Imperial Stout or IPA.

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Photo of MilkMan126
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Looks great. Red amber color with a small head that dissipates. Would look great next to your mom's Christians decorations.

Smell is excellent. Ginger cookies with brown sugar and icing. Spices come through aggressively.

I taste ginger and other spices. Cinnamon and vanilla are present. Nice biscuit malt flavor underneath reminds you it's a beer after all. It provides a nice warming sensation. Bitey carbonation adds to the effect. Let it warm a little before drinking to get all the flavors - it gains a nice balance but the spices will still hold up more than anything. Medium to full body.

Complex but not too spicy, which I appreciate. It warms the spirit and reminds me of Christmas comfort. People rave about this winter delicacy in Columbus, Ohio. I can see, smell, and taste why.

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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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