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Great Lakes Christmas Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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858 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 858 | Ratings: 3,004
Photo of K-Dog
4.27/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look forward to this every year. Hands down my favorite holiday beer. Taste of cinnamon and nutmeg. My second favorite great lakes beer next to blackout stout. This is very underrated. Perfect on a cold fall evening and great for the holidays.

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Photo of NolaHopHead
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle. Amber with slight haze, thin head fades quickly to a ring. Lots of spice in tha aroma, cinnamon. Malty sweet flavor with plenty of cinnamon and ginger spice, maybe a little more than I'd like but not over the top. Buttery semi dry finish. Medium mouthfeel, smooth. Good example of a winter warmer, a little heavy on cinnamon and ginger, but very enjoyable.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours brilliant gold under a thin off-white foam collar.
S: Spices, ginger, honey, light malt.
T: Spiced honey and malt with ginger in the middle and a cinnamon dryness on the finish. Possible coriander. Tastes more like a light fruit cake as it warms.
F: Creamy, medium high body and carbonation.

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Photo of kbwalters
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look = 4.25 Pours a clear, crisp copper color with gold highlights. .5 fingers of light brown head, thick and dense sticky lace.
Aroma = 3.75 Sweet smelling. Caramel malts lead the way but with honey notes and a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon.
Taste = 4.25 Super sweet; malt up front with sweet honey on the backend lingering into the aftertaste; also cinnamon notes.
Feel = 4.25 Full bodied; thick syrupy feel with high carbonation. Fizzy.
Drinkability = 4.25 Just really tasty, nothing detracts from the drinkability.
Overall = 4.125 Overall very tasty beer; sweet and easy drinking.

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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 Jeffreysan
4.04/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, clear, deep, amber color with a quarter of a finger of white head that quickly dissolved into a thin lacing of foam that partially covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Not much in the aroma department, either that or I’m stuffed up. I get faint notes of malt, brown sugar, clove and ginger, but really faint notes.

Taste: What the beer lakes in aroma, it more than makes up for in the flavor. Massive amounts of malt up front, like freshly baked bread, followed by some brown sugar and honey-like sweetness and spices of clove and ginger. Not much in the way of hops which pleases me.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, with some good carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 7.5%, there is no presence of alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is another excellent beer from Great Lakes! I love the malt and the gingerbread-like sweetness and spice! Delicious! I’ll definitely get this every Christmas time!

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Photo of TX-Badger
3.71/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice dark copper/red color with off-white head. Spice, cinnamon, ginger, and caramel malt on the nose; follows onto the palate. Finishes with more spice. Good winter beer.

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Photo of jwhancher
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper with nice frothy white head. Ample lacing clings to the glass sides. Smells as descripted: honey, ginger, and cinnamon. Spices are all very nicely balanced and not too overpowering. Some light alcohol in the nose. An underlying caramel malt sweetness seems evident.

Taste has upfront honey sweetness then ginger then cinnamon. Spices seem a little more dominant in the taste. No hop flavor, but bitterness seems to balance the malts well. Alcohol seems well in check for 7.5. Feels medium to full.

Overall, a nice and pleasant Christmas beer. Spices seem well balanced and an interesting selection at that. While spiced beers aren't my everyday cup of tea, I could enjoy a few of these annually over the holiday season.

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Photo of Phocion
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Live review. 12 oz. bottle dated enjoy by 2/20/15 poured into a dimple mug. Bronze hue with a finger of creamy off-white head with medium retention.

The nose is of malts, spice, and alcohol. Tons of ginger and cinnamon dominate along with a good amount of caramel malts. Alcohol aromas very noticeable for a 7.5% beer. Touch of floral, honey, and biscuity aromas as well.

The flavor is more mild than the nose would indicate. Toasted and coffee malts slightly outplayed out by the spice. I remember more ginger when the beer was a little more fresh, but it's still very evident. Brandy-like alcoholic sweetness.

Medium body and carbonation. Smooth and a bit warming from the alcohol content.

Overall an enjoyable beer, but there are better warmers out there.

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Photo of Barnoloid
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A real winter warmer here, and an annual favorite. Bottle pour - kicks up a nice off white head with clinging lace. Deep copper/orange in color with a slight unfiltered look. The nose is ginger, orange peel and christmas candles. Taste wise, the nose sits true, with a dash of nutmeg and cinnamon and a dollop of honey - maybe a tad more here than previous years, which have had a little more heat. Quite a heavy mouthfeel, which has a thick throat covering sensation which seems to come from the honey. This is a satisfying festive ale with pronounced spices.

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
3.81/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Nice brownish orange color, with a light head. Fades fairly quickly. Decent lacing.

S - Sour notes, along with spices and a caramel maltiness.

T - Following the nose, with a sour fruit note suggesting cherries or cranberries, and a sweet malt backbone of caramel and yeasty bread. Spice comes in light, slightly peppery, ginger and cardamom.

M - Easy drinker, perhaps a bit too light for the style.

O - My only problem is the sour elements almost eclipse the spice and sweet malts. Rather than complimenting the bread and spice, it tugs against it, leaving me wishing I could dial down this element.

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Photo of WhiteHillsStore
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber color with an off-white head that fizzes away rather quickly. The smell is full of sweet aromas such as vanilla and sugar. The taste was not as sweet as I thought with some of the vanilla and caramel but then balances with some spice that makes it much more drinkable. There was a bit of a creamy aftertaste which was very nice as well.

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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

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Photo of mtomlins
3.84/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A nice, pleasing Xmas ale, but a little too much nutmeg/clove for my taste. Otherwise, a very pretty beer with a pleasing nose (holiday appropriate!) and is relatively easy drinking.

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Photo of avalon07
3.59/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a yellowish color and a hazy texture. There was an inch of foamy head that lasted an average amount of time. Sparse lacing.

S: Hints of honey and malt in the aroma along with some spices.

T: Tasted of a heavy malt presence, light spices (cinnamon, especially), and honey. A decent enough flavor, but one that seems slightly thin in spots.

M: A good amount of carbonation with an almost herbal finish. Medium-bodied.

O: A pretty good beer. Easy to drink, but not an overwhelming beer.

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Photo of humuloner22
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of the better offerings from Great Lakes that I have had.

Aroma: This one is odd, it almost has a wine like aroma not much in regard to the spices that you will get from the flavor.

Color: Reddish brown hue.

Taste: More sweet and malt driven nice amount of holiday spices. Cinnamon, clove, cardamom are among the flavors I can detect.

Overall: Solid Christmas beer. Nice amount of Christmas flavor going on here.

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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 Roguer
3.76/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Clear dark amber brew, topped with a light, cream-colored head. Poor retention and almost no lacing. Almost completely transparent.

Spices (especially cinnamon) dominate the aroma, with sweet notes of honey and brown sugar behind. A bit of vanilla. In a blind smell test, it would be easy to convince people this is a pumpkin ale.

Flavor is more complete and nuanced than the aroma, but cinnamon still dominates from start to finish. Lots of caramel malt and brown sugar lend a body to complement the spice. I don't get the ginger, and I really only detected honey in the aroma, although it could easily be blending in with the sweet malt body.

Very easy to drink. Nice and smooth, with a warm finish. Dry, spicy finish of cinnamon and nutmeg, yet cloying and sticky. Very lively with moderate sting.

This is pretty tasty, although I generally don't run out to buy spiced beers. It's easy to drink, sweet, and pretty interesting.

A brew like this highlights the fact that during the Fall, people don't like pumpkin; they like pumpkin spice. This beer has almost the exact same flavor profile as most pumpkin beers, albeit with a much smoother and sweeter malt base (and obviously, no pumpkin).

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.94/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This fine winter warmer enjoyed from a growler poured in a Delirium snifter pours a bright reddish amber with a thick slowly dissipating white head that leaves GREAT lacing. Nose of cinnamon, nutmeg, light clove, rich caramel malts, dark cherries, and some light astringent alcohol. Flavors are caramel malts to the front, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg to the sides and back with a light vanilla flavor and cherry taste to the back. Nutmeg and cinnamon resides on the aftertaste heavier this year than in the past, but still a very nice Christmas ale for the holidays. Good carbonation. The ale finishes wet and coating with a light bittering from nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon.


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Photo of KTCamm
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12/9...pours bright copper red, little foam that settles out. Hearty mulled spice nose, ginger bread, cherries, toffee. Taste is a sweet malt, fruity, juicy, clove bitter, flat soda close. Honey sweetness more than anything. One and done.

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Photo of HopBomb515
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear Amber with reddish hues and a small khaki head that faded to nothing and didn't leave any lacing. I didn't see it mentioned but mine had some noticeable sediment floating. Aromas of honey, caramel, cherry, nutmeg and cinnamon. Taste hits up front with caramel and light cherry flavor, nutmeg and cinnamon spices hit mid palate and it finishes with an earthy hop bite woven with some honey, cherry and spice notes. Thin end of medium body, sharp carbonation. Bit of spice laden finish that lingers and tastes, off. Overall one of the better Christmas ales I've had, it could use a touch less spice and a clean up on the finish.

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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 Brackh
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Did a Holiday beer tasting with the wife. You can smell the spices on this one. Doesn't really smell like a winter warmer to me. The taste is sweet and chewy. A little too sweet for my taste. My wife loves it though. Almost buttery sweetness if that makes sense.

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Photo of fscottkey
3.51/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: [4.00] Amber to red color. Has a 1/4 finger white cap (even with a hard pour). The bottle lists the ABV (7.5%) and the best by date 1/25/15.

S: [3.00] I get spices and some Belgian yeast smells.

T: [3.50] I still feel like there is a Belgian yeast taste up front. After that it opens up into a sweet middle. The finish has some mild spices. The overall taste is pleasant - no hint of hop bittering.

M: [4.00] I like the mouth feel. It is really rich and robust with no sense of over carbonation.

O: [3.75] This is a nice beer. It tastes more like a spiced lager to me. The taste is sweet and nice. Very rich malty backbone. There is a low hop level (none detectable). I would drink another - but if I am buying I would get something different.

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Photo of BeerHistoryGuy
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

I don't have the ability to pour it as I am on the road, so I can only comment on the taste.

This is one of my favorite winter/Christmas beers. There is a nice hint of spices, cinnamon and ginger come through, along with a nice honey taste. It's not nearly as sweet as some holiday beers, but it balances well with the overall taste of the Ale -- along with the aforementioned spices -- that truly make this a balanced beer.

I love this beer. It is a Christmas treat, like a not-too-sweet spiced cake, that's perfect for kicking back, watching some TV, and just relaxing.

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Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.91 out of 5 based on 3,004 ratings.
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