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:
3,063
Avg:
3.91
pDev:
13.04%
 
 
Wants:
154
Gots:
778
For Trade:
10
User Reviews
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Reviews: 879 | Ratings: 3,063
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!

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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 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.

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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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Photo of car2052
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle to pint glass.

A: Clear copper, white 3/4 in. head.
S: Honey, Chocolate, Ginger
T: I taste the honey upfront and throughout the taste. Some other spices like ginger and clove peek through as well. Caramel from the malt, as well as a strong ale character i get with many stouts and porters.
M: Medium.
O: Nice spiced beer. Good with a Christmas turkey and stuffings.

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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)

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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 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 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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Photo of dudemuskie
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

App- Pours deep reddish amber with one finger of off white head that slowly clings to the glass and eventually fades to a lingering 1/4" sudsy foam.

Aroma- Rich maltiness (carmel and brown sugar) with hints of ginger, cinnamon, and a kiss of honey sweetness. Very inviting but not overwhelmingly spicy. Not much for hops in the nose.

Flavor- Caramel maltiness and honey sweetness opens up to a nice balancing ginger/spicy flavor- gives way to a fairly well balanced beer b/w malty/honey sweetness, hop bitterness, and spices. Caramel malt and candy-like sticky sweetness take center stage, though the spice and earthy hops help keep it from being overwhelmingly sweet. Nice lingering maltiness.

Mouth- Moderate carbonation, big malty flavor makes for medium to full bodied beer but relatively (and deceivingly) refreshing/drinkable for ABV. One of my favorite winter warmers! This one will catch up with you! Drink it fresh to get the full experience, or, if you think its too spicy let it mellow for a while and the flavors will round out!

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Photo of challenja
4.14/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served On Tap at the Black Squirrel in Adams Morgan DC.

A: A Nice orange red glow with a head that dissipates quickly to no existence at all. A look of really well aged and expensive bourbon.

S: Now here is the stinker, not that it smell that bad but its not as powerful as most Christmas Ales. There is cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, breaded malt, and wild cherry. It could be that for a badly washed glass deadened the smells. Really good powerwashers are needed like in upscale beer joints.

T: Nutmeg ripe cherry pumpkin spice honey light cinnamon tast, subtle mid-western hops, and a light bready backbone. Subtle sweetness that entices the palate to have another!

M: Nice lingering medium carbonation that is passionate between the gums. I like how it lingers on the palate and entices the tongue.

O: A real winner in terms of a winter Christmas ale. I rank it third only behind the Mad Elf and Fireside Chat. Sorry Anderson Valley Winter Solstice.

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Photo of hops4me
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - brilliant bright copper. Off white head that quickly falls in to the glass. Lacing is minimal.
S - sweet malt and honey. Toffe/caramel smells. Slight spice in there as well. Maybe some floral hop notes.
T - Toasted malt. Caramel malt sweetness. Ginger is in there but not overpowering. Good malty flavor.
M - medium
D - Very drinkable. Alc is well hidden. Excellent copper ale. Reminds me of Otter Creek copper...only much better.

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

A - Golden amber pour into my pint glass with a fairly small fizzy light tan head.

S - Honey, spice, and everything nice

T - Spicey clove, ginger, cinnamon, orange and honey with a bitter finish

M - Moderate carbonation and body

D - Very good holiday warmer. Still good in July. Definitely warms the throat. Solid release from Great Lakes.

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Photo of thirdeye11
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to amietaj1 for the extra in a trade!!

Presentation: Poured from 12oz bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

A: This beer pours about a 1/2 finger of head, large bubbles resting on top. There is a lot of lacing on the glass, but the head retention is average at best and dissipates pretty quickly. The beer is a beautiful auburn color, deep red and light brown.

S: Smells like honey, a lightly roasted caramel malt, and reminds me in some ways of barleywine. I like it a LOT. There is no hint of cinnamon or other spices as the label suggests.

T: This beer tastes amazing. It doesn't really remind me of a winter warmer but there are tastes of sweet orange blossom honey, some type of spices which are unidentifiable but not cinnamon as suggested by the label, a well balanced sourness competing with the honey sweetness, and even a mild smooth hop presence. This beer is superbly balanced.

M: A little under carbonated and thin it makes up for it slightly in the oiliness from the hops.

D: I could drink this all night and not be upset about it. The sourness might get to me after 3 or 4, but it's really solid in this category.

My second Great Lakes beer I am noticing a profile among their beers. I'm really liking them. This is probably my favorite winter warmer that I've had by far, but doesn't remind me much of the others I've had so take that with some caution. Highly recommended for beer drinkers and non-drinkers alike! This beer is superb in almost all respects.

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Photo of sublimesipping
4.8/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap and quaffed at Bado's in the Iron City on boxing day. I have had this beer a number of times before, and it has always been at the top of my christmas ale list. The pints tonight absolutely knocked my socks off as well as knocked me on my a--. Very clean lines at this here establishment and the keg seemed very fresh as well so ratings are given as such. Apearance absolutley beautiful reddish mahagony color with good billowy head and eferesence. wonderful notes of the usual spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, etc but this beer was extremely well balanced with great harmony of flavors- excellent body and high, high drinkability. Great Lakes has always been one of the top notch midwestern brewers; these pints confirmed their rep in my mind and palate as well as reiniforced my view of this beer as the creme of their rotation. Drink it while you can and happy holidays.

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Photo of Popkas
3.28/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Clear amber color with a finger head that held for some time finally dissipating into a thin ring.

S: Getting some spice, ginger and honey.

T: Taste is an interesting blend that I can't nail down. Certainly ginger and honey, but something else. Maybe clove. Bit of a metallic after taste.

M: Medium and smooth.

D: Not sure what it is, but not finding it terribly drinkable.

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Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.91 out of 5 based on 3,063 ratings.
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