Great Lakes Christmas Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
88
very good
3,072 Ratings
Great Lakes Christmas AleGreat Lakes Christmas Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States
greatlakesbrewing.com

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
Ratings:
3,072
Reviews:
880
Avg:
3.91
pDev:
13.04%
 
 
Wants:
153
Gots:
778
For Trade:
10
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,072 |  Reviews: 880
Photo of AlaskanYoung
2.75/5  rDev -29.7%

Photo of saburky
2.75/5  rDev -29.7%

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 mattfafrak
2.8/5  rDev -28.4%

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 DoctorZombies
2.85/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Lite Amber pour with off white head. Clove and spice notes. Clove,banana,spices and honey. Lite mouthfeel. Honey is cloying.

125 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!

 184 characters

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 mwckiltedsavage
2.88/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Photo of brewohio1
2.89/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Photo of thebowski
2.9/5  rDev -25.8%

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

Photo of Sabtos
2.96/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of justintcoons
2.96/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a pilsner glass.

Appearance
Brownish amber with 2 fingers of off-white head. Excellent clarity and moderate-heavy carbonation.

Nose
Ginger, toast, caramel, cinnamon and blackberry.

Taste
Raw grains; some toasted, others drizzled with caramel. A lot of ginger spice. Some hints of cinnamon, orange zest and perhaps some blackberry. Something reminds me of cranberries as well?

Mouthfeel
Light-medium bodied, smooth and clean.

Overall
I don't care much for this Christmas offering. Pretty boring and somewhat over-spiced.

 536 characters

Photo of hero27
2.97/5  rDev -24%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Translucent, dark amber color. A thin head which leaves minimal lacing due to the oily consistency of this brew. Subtle aromas of ginger and honey.. Sweet honey flavor combined with spices. Somewhat clumsy..seems like ingredients are just thrown together, if that makes any sense. I'm not sure I agree with the combination of honey and spices like this..just seems like they mixed a honey beer and a spicy beer together by accident. I couldn't really pick up individual flavors, so it left me with a spicy honey aftertaste. Medium bodied, oily mouthfeel. Fairly drinkable, but this holiday offering from GL didn't really impress me all that much. I'll look forward to Anchor OSA for my spicy holiday fix.

 704 characters

Photo of Avagadro
2.98/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Copper in color with a thin white head. Little evidence of lacing.

S: Aroma is scarce, with little whiffs of pickled ginger coming through occasionally.

T: Mild cinnamon with heavy doses of ginger. Ginger overpowers all other flavor this beer has to offer. It tastes more like pickled ginger than anything, the type you get with your sushi.

M: Medium body with a slight oiliness and a touch of carbonation.

D: I decided to see what all the fuss was about, only to be let down. While it is a decent brew, this one is not worth going out of your way for.

 559 characters

Photo of drstalker
2.99/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Photo of dankjohn
3/5  rDev -23.3%

Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.91 out of 5 based on 3,072 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.