Great Lakes Christmas Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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88
very good
851 Reviews
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Great Lakes Christmas AleGreat Lakes Christmas Ale
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:
851
Ratings:
2,970
Avg:
3.91
pDev:
24.3%
 
 
Wants:
152
Gots:
709
For Trade:
10
User Reviews
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Reviews: 851 | Ratings: 2,970
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.

 816 characters

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.

 444 characters

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.

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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.

 869 characters

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.

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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 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.

 1,330 characters

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 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!

 334 characters

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.

 714 characters

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

A slightly hazy, slightly dark brownish-red Spiced Winter Ale with a moderate, tan head. I smell cinnamon, ginger, and other spices. I taste many flavors, honey, ginger, and cinnamon, along with a maltiness, and a slight bitterness as it finishes. The cinnamon and ginger linger in my throat. The body is medium in my mouth. Overall, an enjoyable "cinnamon" Seasonal Ale (I emphasize the cinnamon because I almost would like less of its flavor, but just a bit).

(source: PremierGourmet; Buffalo, NY)

 502 characters

Photo of BuckeyeOne
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a standard pint glass a clear copper with a small head and very little lace

Ginger and cinnamon is very prevalent in the nose. Cannot pick up any hops. Only the hint of sweet bread.

The flavor is ginger and cinnamon (and allspice?). Very sweet upfront and only a little bitter in the back. Sweet honey in the aftertaste.

Smooth. Oily.

I could only drink a couple of these. The "holiday" spice is a bit overwhelming.

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Photo of chiefydawg
4.24/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of the several holiday beers I anticipate every year. Now I am documenting (for myself at least) justu why.

Dull copper colored with lazy fizz and a weak head. I would penalize this more if this wasn't consistent, and other holiday brews didn't look that way. Makes it look more potent. Grrr baby.

Whoa, there it is - that spiciness I look for in a winter warmer! Nutmeg, alcohol, gingerbread man, cinnamon... This makes me feel like I'm bouts to be getting warmed up this winter evening.

The taste follows suit, keeping the spice, lending some mild honey stickiness and more alcohol for some kick. Not much hop here, but it's a little too crowded for our favorite herb. The spices and alcohol offset the sweetness very nicely.

It's heavy and sweet like I like, and well-balanced as I've mentioned. I also said I didn't mind the flatness, but I would have enjoyed this if it had a little pop to it. It's like a prized beer that has sat in a growler too long, but I just opened the bottle.

An always welcome way to keep the cold and slush from becoming a downer, I will always cherish my GLCA. Because of the heaviness, alcohol, and spices, they force moderation, but that's the nature of this Great beast.

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

Pours a dark copper colored with a thick, foamy, white head that dissolves slowly, with some remaining the entire time. Leaves little lacing.

Pleasantly light aroma steeped in ginger & honey with hints of floral hops rounding it out. Light spice notes. Not picking out much malts.

Spicy ginger with cinnamon and a nice hop bitterness on the finish with a light malt foundation. Very nicely spiced.

Solid mouthfeel in this one. Medium bodied with a refreshing effervescence.

Overall, one of the lighter, more flavorful Christmas brews that I've had.

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Photo of Whiteweasel
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a seidel.

A: Frothy, orange/mid-brown hazy ale with a nice persistent head. Microbubbles in the head and slightly off white.

S: Very sweet, flavourful nose with powerful scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and a little maltiness. Very very delectable. Probably one of the best scents I've ever taken into my nose.

T: Like a toned down version of the scent. Strong ginger and cinnamon, but not much else. Beer is still a month and a half away from its expiration date, so I don't think its a freshness issue. Its still pretty tasty though. A delicious combination of ingredients with a hint of lost potential.

M: Smooth and full of micro-carbonation. No alcohol. Very pleasant after-taste.

D: Great beer to enjoy at any time of day, 7.5% abv be damned. I could have 2-3 in a row but the ABV and the simplicity of the flavours keeps it at that. Good but not great

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

Very Clear, rich dark copperish red color. Looks like big red in a glass. Thick 1/2" head at pour, with a 1/4" head remaining throughout out most of the glass. Very Spicey aroma, cinnamon, glove, ginger. As beer warms, aroma becomes more like a ginger bread. Same spices found in flavor, relatively consistent from beginning to end, a little sweet. Slight dry finish. Very drinkable christmas ale. Easy, slightly crisp. Probably my top seasonal from Great Lakes.

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Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.91 out of 5 based on 2,970 ratings.
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