Great Lakes Christmas Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
88
very good
879 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:
879
Ratings:
3,067
Avg:
3.91
pDev:
13.04%
 
 
Wants:
154
Gots:
778
For Trade:
10
User Reviews
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Reviews: 879 | Ratings: 3,067
Photo of nvsblman
4.6/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Crystal clear golden brown with about a finger of white head. Aroma is of ginger, honey, and a little cinnamon. Nicely sweet, not at all too sweet. The flavor shows about the same balance as the aroma. The ginger stand out a bit more than the other flavors and lingers a little longer, but the sweetness of the honey and the spiciness of the cinnamon provide a nice balance. Medium bodied with a bit of creaminess. This would be great to have around during the holiday season.

 476 characters

Photo of JonathanL7890
3.72/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Many thanks to nrbw23 for this brew.

Poured a 2 finger head into a pint glass.
Color is brown.
Aroma is spruce, piney.
Taste is very smooth, well banlanced. I get the spruce in the taste also. A very malty brew. Lightly hopped.
Drinkability is good but I don't see myself drinking more than a couple.
Another great beerfrom Great Lakes.

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Photo of KBomb
4.53/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lovely ruby/copper colored body, slightly opaque, capped with nearly two fingers of slightly colored head. Delectable to they eye! Rich, sweet roasty malt dominates the aroma complimented nicely by some warming winter spices like ginger and cinnamon. Taste is a marvelous clean, sweet, brown-sugar sweetness with a delicate earthy hop note, honey sweetness complimented with light touches of spice. Like grandmas gingerbread cookies, but finished with an incredibly clean taste. A pleasant brandy-like alcohol warmth fills the esophagus after a few swallows, but no burning or heaviness. Creamy, smooth mouthfeel and moderately weighty body. A Christmas gift to be enjoyed with gratitude and satisfaction.

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Photo of C20Percent
4.29/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear, clean amber-orange with a white head of foam on top. Some bubbles going on in the body. Pretty but nothing crazy special here.

S: Big time honey and spice aroma. Nutmeg and cloves and cinnamon -- smells like Christmas cookies. Very solid aroma.

T: Taste just like it smells. The honey and spice really come through in the flavor. Not only that but it's surprisingly refreshing for a Christmas Ale. I do think this is the best honey brewed beer I've probably ever had. Highly recommended!

M: Impressive carbonation.Medium body. Some chewiness that really brings out the spice. Beer isn't especially smooth to me, but it doesn't cut that hard. And, again I really do appreciate the carbonation and the warmness of the brew.

O: Really enjoy this brew. Maybe the best Christmas Ale I've had. I great offering from GLBC!

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Photo of oracle
4.09/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle in a traditional english pint glass.

Pours a nice dark red color with a nice lacing of white head.

Armoma is mostly mild hops and some spice, noticably cinimon.

Beer drinks quite easily, with a noticable but not overwhelming hop bite and smoot malt finish. Lives up to the style by warming the insides beautifully.

Very nice.

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Photo of mendonjoebeer
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottles into chalice glasses, for myself and 2 buddies. All liked the looks- nice red/brown/orange color.small head stayed long time

Good christmas type smells- cinnamon,sugar,malts,little ginger

Taste is similar to smell, but here is where the 3 of us differ. I taste too sweet for me to fully enjoy, my buddies disagree and like more than I. Too malty for me?

Has nice rich feel

My buddies each had 2 more through the night. 1 was enough for me as there we too many other great choices available.

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Photo of XenonX
4.63/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in a Bottom's-Up cup at Progressive Field.

Appearence: A very dark amber with a beautiful finger thick head.
Smell: difficult to tell with the other smells related to being at a ballpark
Taste: Had a slight malty and bready taste complete with some toffee and cinnamon and nutmeg tossed in for good measure
Mouthfeel: Meduim and creamy with some flirts of carbonation.

To be honest I cannot very well describe this beer having had it at an Indians game in a Bottom's-Up cup to boot! It was part of the whole experience and will always remind me of going to a ball game.

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Photo of JackStraw22
4.36/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Yum. This is a beer to drink with some Christmas cookies and presents. The beer pours a crystal clear, amber orange with a beautiful foamy white head. The overriding taste here is gingerbread. This tastes more like a beer flavored gingerbread cookie than the other way around. But it's oh so good, not too sweet, just a little hop kick to balance it out. I'll be sorry when the holidays are over and I can't get these any more, better stock up. Only downside is the aroma, just not much there. But the taste more than makes up for it.

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Photo of masterbruewer
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a medium copper color with light carbonation. Half-inch thick offwhite head. Solid lacing.

The first smells were of malt followed by hints of spice.

The tastes were faint. Faint malt flavor, faint hops flavor and faint spice flavor. It's not bad, but it's not great either. As it warms the spice flavors come out. In all its a very balance presentation of hops, malt and spice.

Mouthfeel is smooth with a slight carbonation bite.

Very smooth and drinkable.

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Photo of bahumutx
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very clear copper color with a nice creamy white head.

Smell: Malt, Cinnamon and hints of honey.

Taste: Sweet malt and cinnamon starts of this beer. It then ends with a honey and slight pine. Slight alcohol warming is also present. As the beer warms the cinnamon becomes more pronounced but not overpowering and nutmeg flavor also shows up. Hard to pick out all of the different spice flavors.

Mouthfeel: Thin to Medium Mouthfeel. Thin around the edges of my tongue.

Drinkability: I could have a few of these in a sitting.

Another decent brew from Great Lakes Brewing. I would probably have another of these but not my favorite of this style.

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Photo of CDBeerDisappear
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Christmas Ale, we always look forward to this seasonal favorite. A lot of breweries have beers with Christmas names (like Santa’s Butt) but this beer really captures the flavors of the holiday. It’s brewed with honey and spiced with fresh ginger and cinnamon which gives it the great holiday aroma. Good mouth feel with good carbonation to release those spicy smells makes this a very drinkable beer.

 402 characters

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.

 1,100 characters

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.

 312 characters

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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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 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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Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.91 out of 5 based on 3,067 ratings.
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