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Great Lakes Christmas Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
88
very good
859 Reviews
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
Reviews:
859
Ratings:
3,006
Avg:
3.91
pDev:
24.3%
 
 
Wants:
152
Gots:
739
For Trade:
9
User Reviews
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Reviews: 859 | Ratings: 3,006
Photo of Dave128
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Sam Adam's Perfect Pint glass.

A - A rigorous pour yields a 3 to four finger head that is quite nice and goes down slowly. The initial head leaves some lacing, but the head is pretty much nonexistent after that. Color is clear amber.

S - Smells of wintry spices. But not too strong. I get a lot of alcohol on the nose.

T - Starts off spicy and finishes pretty dry but not bitter. I don't really get any spices but I do get a mild herbal note from the honey. The alcohol on the nose doesn't translate into the taste.

M - Medium bodied with light carbonation. Good for the style.

O - A nice winter warmer, but some of the flavors are a little strong whereas others are a little too weak.

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Photo of johnd513
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a hazy reddish-brown with a thin tan creamy head. Smells sweet with cinnamon and nutmeg. The taste is sweet up front and then becomes spicy. The spiciness stays on the tongue after drinking. The mouthfeel has medium body and moderate carbination. Drinkability is decent. I enjoyed the single and could probably have a couple.

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Photo of Thanby
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a nice clear copper color with a finger of off-white head that leaves good, sticky lacing.

The aroma is mainly of winter spices, being cinnamon, ginger, honey, nutmeg and maybe some clove in that order. All come through and for once in a winter warmer the cinnamon isn't overbearing. The sweet caramel malt fills it out, and there some other bready malt characteristic in the background.

The flavor is full of the spice boquet, again with cinnamon in the lead, but the honey dries things out a tiny bit and leaves room for the roasted malt to show through. Not very common for this style, and something I really enjoy.

Sweet and roasty malt flavors make up the finish with a thin sheet of dry cinnamon that isn't too sweet and isn't too bitter. Medium body, not as syrupy as a typical winter warmer, good carbonation and supremely drinkable. This is definitely my favorite in the category and is a nice break from the typical sickly sweet or "beat you in the face with a cinnamon stick" warmer. Everything in balance and still festive enough to satisfy, it doesn't get much better than this.

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Photo of ValpoExpo
4.64/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A winter classic from Northeast Ohio. You have to be VERY careful with GLBC's Christmas Ale because it will knock you on your butt in no time. It truly is the perfect sweet honey, alcohol infused taste of Christmastime. November 1 (the release date of Christmas Ale) is a holiday in itself for Northeast Ohioans.

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

A - Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip. A rich amber beer with a slight off-white head. Steady stream of tiny bubbles.

S - Orange, honey, cinnamon and vanilla in the aroma. Some maltiness behind that. Not quite as much going on here as I'd like from a christmas ale.

T - Starts off malty, but not too sweet. A lot of cinnamon following that which lends it a bit of dryness and astringency. Finishes very dry with firm bitterness (probably accentuated by the dryness and astringency). Some alcohol heat peeking through as well, probably accentuated by the dryness.

M - Medium bodied beer. A mild lingering astringency at the finish.

O - A very nice Christmas beer, that's definitely on the dry side of the style. If it were balanced a bit sweeter with a little less astringency, it would be easier to drink, but it's one of my go-to Christmas beers when I can get it.

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Photo of bowersdm
3.02/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A - ruby/orange amber color. i can't quite describe it. it had a stiff 2cm off-white head.

S - nothing really. some spices and some alcohol.

T - faint malt taste with some spices (cinnamon, cloves, maybe nutmeg), a touch of hops. not much else. honey, maybe. something besides malt is providing a sweetness to the beer.

M - eh, fair.

D - Great Lakes let me down. I may give this a shot again next year, but I'll stick to SN Celebration Ale for my christmas beers.

 505 characters

Photo of xare
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured as a dark caramel color with excellent head. Laced very well and had outstanding carbonation.

Smelled like a mixture of winter spices, hops, and the alcohol is almost entirely hidden by the other aromas. Overall, excellent for a winter warmer.

Taste is outstanding as well - you can hit hints of clove, cinnamon, malts, and probably mace as well. The complexity of this beer comes from your ability to distinguish winter spices from one another but they all melded into a warm taste almost like a spiced cider but without any apple notes.

Mouthfeel and drinkability were both great for this beer, especially considering the high ABV and the spiciness of the beer. Overall, this is one of my favorite winter beers by far. I will definitely drink more of this and eagerly anticipate its release every winter.

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Photo of TheBear11D
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a copper orange-red amber color with nearly no head.

Smells are lively and very present. There was aroma of ginger, spice, cinnamon with a relaxed smell of honey.

The spices are very noticeable up front. The cinnamon and ginger stand out and then allow the honey to take over and soften the flavor of beer.

Medium mouthfeel that is very smooth and easy to consume.

This beer is very drinkable and quite suiting for the holiday season.

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

What's not to like. Three fingers of creamy white head, and a nose full of aroma. Hints of vanilla, spice? and honey in addition to hops makes you want to take a sip. When you do, you'll get a mouth full of flavor with lasting impact after you swallow.The appearance is slightly cloudy and the color is a nice amber, almost like honey.

 335 characters

Photo of ken3c
4.37/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear honey color. Thin head resolves to a ring of foam and laces a little.

Aroma has a malt sense with various spices. I think I can smell anise, nutmeg, and maybe spruce. Maybe a hint of clove. This smells wonderfull.

Very sweet and somewhat balances by a piney bitterness. The spices add interest. The aftertaste is still sweet. There is a sense of diacetyl but it blends well. Very little sense of alcohol.

Smooth and lightly carbonated. Medium to full bodied.

Very drinkable. Dangerous.

 511 characters

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 33nickadams
3.57/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Transparent copper amber hue that has a about a finger of head that dissolves rather quickly. Smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves- similar to pumpkin ales that I have tried. Interesting taste. Very balanced malty spicy sweetness with a slight earthy bitterness that follows. Mouthfeel has a medium body and well-carbonated. Overall, too similar to other pumpkin ales to set itself apart for me.

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Photo of Baileyuk
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Head was minimal but lacing was okay. Nothing special for sure. Color was an attractive light brown with a reddish hue.

Smell had Nutmeg and ginger heavily in the nose.

Taste had a good spicy blend. Ginger was dominant but not overpowering. Maybe some nutmeg (fainter than in the nose), also some cinnamon and all spice. All the flavors were well balanced to definately dominate but give a decent taste.

The carbonation was excellent and there was little evidence of the power if the abv was really 7.5%. I was not overly pleased with this beer but it is fairly decent in you like spiced christmas ales.

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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.

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Photo of cadizkyguy
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoyed this Christmas Ale from Great Lakes. I'm surprised to see some grade it very low because Winter Warmers, such as this brew, are different from the beers we enjoy the rest of the year. It has a nice frothy head and a nice amber color and I really enjoyed it, even after consuming two Goose Island Christmas Ales, which had quenched my holiday thirst. Great Lakes makes some great brews and I look forward to reviewing some more.

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

Served in a chalice. Thick tan-ish head topping a beautiful copper color. Aroma hints of what's to come- fruity and spicy. Very good mouthfeel, not too overewhelmig, due to good balance.
Winter warmers are not my personal fave, but this is a decent, much better than the last one I had- Harpoon's.

I would probably pick up another one next year when I'm in Cleveland (in-laws) especially seeing as how I hear that they run out of this one.

Cheers!

 454 characters

Photo of midnite2sixman
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an amber maple syrupy color.

Smells like cinnamon and a hint of ginger

Tastes spicey but with a nice balance between the barley hoppy taste and the holiday flavoring.

Mouthfeel is slightly nutty just a bit of sweet.

Definitely a great seasonal and worth picking up.

 275 characters

Photo of schusterbauer
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

nocticably better on tap, but still a fine beer. less balanced from the bottle, with cinnamon and nutmeg taking a much more prominant place in the flavor profile. from the tap this is a very creamy and smooth beer, from the bottle it's a bit on the thin side.
all in all though, still a very nice winter brew. the honey, nutmeg, hops, and pine flavors make a very nice combination.

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Photo of StretchZep
5/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Awesome winter warmer. Had it yesterday on tap in a 23 oz glass. Lots of cinnamon and clove flavors. Nice malt balance. No hop bitterness at all but anything but sweet. Really nice Holiday beer that you find yourself looking forward to year after year.
Loved this beer to death and will be looking to pick up a case as soon as I can!

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Photo of MarkLinton1
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

One of my favorite Holiday brews. Beautiful copper color with thin white head with nice clingy lacing. Wonderful Winter Warmer with lots of subtle flavors. Ginger, raisin, cinnamon, honey and sweet bread malts. A very slight taste of hops in the finish. I foresee a few 6 packs of this beer in my fridge over the holidays.

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Photo of dciBA
3.35/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured amber into a pint glass. No head or lacing whatsoever. Smells of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Quite a spicy, flavorful beer. A nice balance of holiday/baking spices when cold, but ginger takes over when warm. The ginger flavor stays on the palate for several minutes. The body and mouthfeel are where this beer shines. Very smooth, almost creamy as it goes down. The strong, almost overpowering amount of ginger keep the drinkability score low. This is a solid, good tasting beer, but I'd only ever want to drink one at a time.

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Photo of hophead723
4.41/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I got just one of these to see just how good it is. Great Lakes is top notch stuff, and they have yet to disappoint. I put it in the freezer and it cooled down to probably 32°F, but when I poured it I let it warm up until I could really taste everything it had to offer. Poured into a tulip glass.

Look: Mahogany-orange amber color, off white almost tan head, with lacing that drags all the way down the glass.

Smell: Like gingerbread and fruitcake! It really does smell like fruitcake and candied ginger. Reminds me of freshly baked gingerbread cookies.

Taste: Just the right amount of sweetness underneath a warm ginger flavor that is present no matter how cold the beer is. Multi-layered complexity in the malt profile, but it all coalesces into one beautiful harmonious whole like a choir of Christmas carolers. There is a superb lingering of Wildflower honey that comes in at the end of each gulp.

Feel: Medium body, crisp. I realized that the body can be described so simply because it is flawlessly executed. This is Great Lakes' forte.

Overall: Pure gold. This is definitely the best Christmas beer I have had this year! All the other one's I've had are like pumpkin beers; I like the idea of them but they are rarely made well enough to match the expectation. But this one is excellent and a must try for sure.

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Photo of LairdChisholm
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pours a clear golden copper color with a slight off-white head that has sub par retention. No lacing here. There is a good amount carbonation bubbles heading to the top.

S - Nice smell here. I get some caramel malts, cinnamon and a hint of cherry.

T - Up front we have a nice mix of hops and caramel malts which help balance this Winter Warmer out nicely. In the middle there are hints of cinnamon and clove which are there just enough and not overwhelming. Just like at the beginning, malts and hops bring this to a very nice, balanced finished.

M - Very nice carbonation helps bring out these flavors very well.

D - Considering the higher ABV for a winter warmer and the great taste, you can't do much better.

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Photo of scottyb88
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 bottle.
A- pours a brownish orange color with a creamy head and decent lacing

S-orange peel, honey, nutmeg, and a little brown sugar

T-the aroma flavors are prominent in the taste, but not one ingredient over powers anything else; there's a sweet, almost candied pecan flavor that lingers, which blends nice with the honey

M-nice, medium to full body and creamy mouthfeel; a lingering dryness from the hops

O-I feel like I've had a better version of this beer in years past, but it's a decent offering. The alcohol is well hidden and it's not too sweet

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Photo of MCDuhamel
4.14/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler into a pint glass at around 45 F. Pours a very clear amber, with light carbonation. About a once inch white head that quickly collapses to a thin film. The nose is mostly cinnamon, nutmeg and maybe a touch of vanilla. In the mouth the first impression is toffee, followed by the spices and a nice dryness. There's a slight hops bitterness that provides some structure and prevents the beer from being too sweet. More carbonation than might be expected from the limited bubbles reveals itself as well. The mouthfeel is medium to full, and a little slick. This is a very nice winter beer, showcasing the spices without being too heavy-handed. The keg version is superior to the bottled version.

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Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.91 out of 5 based on 3,006 ratings.
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