Holiday Spice Lager Beer | Lakefront Brewery, Inc.

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Holiday Spice Lager BeerHoliday Spice Lager Beer

Brewed by:
Lakefront Brewery, Inc.
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.40%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Spice beer brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, orange peel, and clover honey.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-03-2002

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Reviews: 144 | Ratings: 309
Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
4.92/5  rDev +30.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Since this beer is brewed less than 2 miles from my house, I cant be anymore thankful for such a wonderful local creation. I really get excited each december for the seasonal beers that surface in local shops. I first tried this beer last winter and was floored with perfection of it. It is a very complex holiday brew with tons of different and fabulous flavors. It pours a burnt orange color with a small head on it. The nose of this beer is full of coriander, honey, and other spices, but it isnt overpowered by any one specific ingrediant. With each sip, the flavors just jump out at you. This review was sampled 12/7/03 from a bottle that was brewed the 2nd week of 12/02. The high abv is not noticed at all. I suggest to anyone that has the ability to get this beer; STOCKPILE if you have the room for it. It only gets better with storage. This is truly one of my favorite beers!

New Review....2004 Version
I got the first batch off the line and this year's may blow other years out of the water. Last year's weaker ABV is no longer present. This baby packs old school Holiday Spice punch. The Spices are blended masterfully and the aroma screams Winter! I have been waiting and it paid off! On Thanksgiving, sip this with a nice turkey dinner and give thanks that you are in Lakefront's distribution radius.

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Photo of ZAP
4.89/5  rDev +29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of my favorite winter beers I've tried...I'd love to have a keg of this $hit on tap for the cold winter months....hard to believe this is close to 10%..thanks to BigHuge via Pieman for the bottle...

Aroma is awesome...strong strong spicy ciniman and nutmeg...The aroma is dang near perfect and I'm rating it that way...I could smell this b!tch all night long....

The taste isn't far behind..for a winter beer it is spectacular...make that for a spice beer it is spectacular...amazingly the spiciness does not overwhelm...there is a incredibly tasty bready malt base to go along with the excellent spicy flavor..

It poured a dark cloudy orange...feels nice in the mouth...not overly sweet or overloaded with spices...I rate drinkability very high as this may be my favorite winter of the year along with Winter solstice from Anderson Valley...

I've found Lakefront to be a bit of an odd brewery...their regular beers are solid but not worth jumping up and down over...but their hard to find seasonals like this...their Bee Line Barley Wine and their Big Easy Blonde Doppelbock are truly special...

I'd pay up to $20 for a sixer of this I love it so much...What I wouldn't do for a kegger of this on tap in my basement....2-or 3 a night would help me fight through these -25 below Northern Minnesota Winter nights...If you see this buy it and drink it...and hord it for the future...

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Photo of Stezz420
4.78/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Interesting take on a Christmas beer.

Tan colored lager with small head retention.

Smells heavily of cloves, cinnamon, Christmas popery.

The taste is pretty much just like the smell. Lots of cloves and cinnamon, definitely a bit tangy and spicey.

Not a lot of carbonation in this one, but the booze is very well hidden for how thick it is.

Overall not the best, but still tasty for how strong it is.

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Photo of mooseisloose
4.74/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a gift form upper Midwest relatives, when here at Christmastime, oh my Gawd, didn't know this was 11% until I opened this review page, might be a record for me (on second check it's #2 on my personal ABV). Well then, let's give it a whirl! Serving slightly chilled, not cold as this should bring out what this selection has to offer. Popping the top I get a big waft of cloves, allspice and cinnamon, not unlike a pumpkin pie. Pours into a tulip glass a deep root beer color with a medium bubble head that wisps away. On the taste, this brew start with a big syrup-thick mouthfeel, very high viscosity. The taste has an upfront spicyness just like the smell. The middle taste has some roasted malts, then the finish has a dry chocolate slight bitterness. All this while maintaining spice flavors through the whole taste. This is one holiday brew.To sit next to the fireplace or as a desert beer, I don't know how this brew could be beat. Outstanding.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.7/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear maroon color, small off-white, slightly red head. A very well spiced beer, lots of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in the nose. Really doesn't smell or taste anything like your average beer of any style, that's what's great about the winter warmer, it's a style based on a goal, rather than ingredients or brewing style. Taste is dominated by mulling style spice flavors combined with alcohol to do exactly what the style suggests. Medium mouthfeel, with some alcohol burn. Good drinkability. A perfect beer for a cold winter's night.

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Photo of jmbranum
4.63/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bought in Manhattan, KS but enjoyed at home in OKC.

Pours a dark coffee brown into the glass with a big fluffy tan head. Pleasant spicy aroma, but fairly subtle.

Flavor is rich and deep. Raisins, nutmeg, cloves, and hint of cinamin, lots of maltyness, tiny bit of lingering chocolate, maple syrup, caramel, tiny bit of orange, just a bit of black pepper and ginger. Very complex. Some nice balanced toastyness, but not too much. Very smooth. Maybe even a little bit of cream in the mix.

Mouthfeel is glorious. Perfectly smooth.

Long linger aftertaste. Alcohol is high but you can't taste it. Very well hidden. Dark chocolate and pepper is what lasts.

Overall, a very good beer.

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Photo of brakspear
4.62/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a find Lakefront's 2002 Holiday Spice on tap in northern Wisconsin was like finding a pearl in an oyster.

This specialty beer pours a dark peach with a pleasant frothy head forming and lingering throughout.

The aroma screams spices and malty sweetness. I detected, I think, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and perhaps cloves.... all balanced with an ever present honey and malt base.

The taste is very sweet, perhaps from the honey, but the spices and high alchohol, along with a generous hop presence blance this beer very well. A potent brew for the holday season.

I first sampled Lakefront's Holiday Spice back in 1993 or 1994 in a special tasting held in the old Riverwest brewery...since I moved, I have missed its yuletide presence every is a great beer to go out of the way to purchase if you are ever in Milwaukee when the mercury drops below zero.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours brilliant garnet amber, ¼” cream colored foam cap, dissipates to a thick film.
S: Malt, honey, orange and spice aromas.
T: Rich deep honey flavors blending with rich malt, orange zest and spices.
F: Medium body and medium high carbonation but comes across soft giving the beer a little creaminess.
O: This is a stealth beer – it does not taste the least bit alcoholic and certainly does not taste like a 9.4 % abv beer.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.47/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Light brownish, burnt orangy yellow color thats quite clouded and has a strange glow from the bottom up with a medium ivory colored head from a vigorous pour, sits soft and thick but dwindles down somewhat fast; minimal stringed lace. Aroma is a whole lotta spice! Allspice, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, fly across the air and is very fresh and lovely into the nose, a light touch of dulled plum and sweet potato and toasty malts are in the back but are hard reaching due to the very spicy array this holiday keeper has. Taste is much more subdued then the smell gives way too, which is a good thing, I don't think I would like a glass of allspice, would you? But the spices are there but favorably mixed with a soft toasted Vienna-like maltyness with a slight sweetness underneath some of the allspice and ginger. Quite a nice semi-milding taste thats very pleasant and subtle. Good medium body feel and has a lingering spiced dryness for the finish. The 9.5% ABV surprised me, its no where to found if that is truely the ABV, no where. This was gone in no time and goes down super easy with a good little zip of spice. More please. Thanks jeffboo!!

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Photo of Ohiovania
4.45/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this at a work Christmas party, now I'm on my second six pack. I'm not usually a fan of holiday beers/ spiced beers but I tried after a recommendation from a friend. For me this spiced beer hits it right on the head. It's not over the top but is very spice forward. I feel like all of the spice have their place on stage with this one. It's a little sweet but just what I'm looking for after trying all the messes of Christmas past. And at 11% this beer is crazy drinkable. I almost think it has to be a typo, haha.

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Photo of chakadrum
4.45/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I started sipping away at this brew and felt inspired to review it. It wasn't until I saw the BA entry that I discovered it was 9.5% ABV. This is a sneaky beer.

A - I love the color. Fairly dark but a nice ruby hue. The head dissipated rather quickly but each time I raise the glass for a sip the resulting lacing was slick yet nice. There is a good circular presence of lacing/head around the glass throughout the entire drink.

S - Spices. And even most noticeably, licorice.

T - Spices and a subtle amount of licorice. I also sense a bit of apple in that initial sweet sip. This is what I expect a winter warmer to taste like.

M - It has a pleasant thickness to it. Carbonation feels good. My mouth is happy to pass this one on.

D - As I mentioned, this one is sneaky. It goes down super easy. Definitely the type of beer I'd like to have while I sit around the fire at the theoretical family lodge.

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Photo of jtw5877
4.42/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish brown sort of hue with a very long lasting white head which leaves nice lacing down the sides of my glass. A strong but not overpowering cinnamon/nutmeg aroma. A very smooth spicy malty flavor, ABV is very undetectable. An outstanding winter warmer.

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Photo of tapman
4.4/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown with plum colored highlights, got 1 finger head out of an aggressive pour and thick, creamy lacing afterwards. Carbonation appears moderate.

In the nose I get pumpkin pie spice, or the collection of spices in pumpkin pie spice rather, a little warm alcohol, vanilla, banana, clove and a slight roast aroma.

This tastes like a mix between bananas foster and creme brulee to me. I barely taste the alcohol at all and I am hard pressed to believe this is 11%. Spices are blended well with the big malt profile, which I would assume left plenty of extra maltose in this brew, and some Noble hops. Almost belgiany in character and my theory is that the spices imitate the by products of belgian yeast pretty well.

Perfectly chewy for this type of beer with enough carbonation to keep it from getting syrupy.

This beer is pretty good. I couldn't drink too many as the high alcohol is getting to me already. I compare this to Anchor's Christmas ale which in my opinion has a better appearance, a richer, more unique aroma and taste as well as a silkier mouthfeel, but that's it. I like this one better than all the rest of the winter warmers I have had this year next to Anchor's.

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Photo of output01x
4.39/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A strong pour yields a 1-finger tan head that fizzes and crackles away until all that is left is a thin dusting covering a blood clot-red body. Lacing is nearly non-existant.

The first thing noticed is bananas. They are ripe, ready for eating, and beckoning. A sweet maltiness, and some spices (nutmeg and clove, specifically) are also noticed. Which is rather odd as I can normally pick up cinnamon.

Dark and sweet malt flavors hug your taste buds leaving little (but some) room for the spices. Clove and cinnamon are quick to join the party but fall into the shadow of a long-lasting banana note. Odd though it may be in a dark lager, I really enjoy the banana as it plays quite nicely with the spices and sweet malt.

Thick and full bodied, this beer hits your mouth hard. Sticky and somewhat syrupy, it coats your mouth very well, but decent carbonation helps to prevent this brew from being too sticky.

The 11% ABV is completely masked and is nearly undetectable. The thick mouthfeel makes this a definite sipper but the excellent flavors and smells keep me wanting more. This will definitely be in my glass next Christmas morning.

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Photo of ethosx19
4.39/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had to drink this one out of the bottle, but it still was one of my favorites of the night. Aroma was mostly of spices with cinnamon dominating. Flavor was of cinnamon, orange, hops, and some alcohol. A good holiday beer to make the conversations with relatives a bit more lively.

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Photo of sweethome
4.37/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light brown with an orange hue. Medium head is white. Generous nose - holiday spice indeed....ginger, cinammon, and the orange mentioned on the lable. Christmas spices in a bottle.

Nice velvety mouthfeel. Smooth, but full of flavor. Great balance between the spices and rich malts. The hop bill seems turned up on this years version. Alcohol warmth is also present.

A significant amount of ginger, but not overpowering.

Great beer for holiday parties or just by a warm fire.

Lakefront has always produced a fine beer with this style, this year it is hoppier, a little less spicy - but still well spiced - and significantly higher in alcohol.

A fantastic holiday beer.

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Photo of Megahertz
4.34/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottled on 10-23-12, poured into a Hoffman House chalice.

A - Deep red with a slight white head. Faintly hazy. Christmas-looking.

S - Complex spicy aroma with a hint of orange. Somewhat reminds me of a belgian ale.

T - Vibrant and fruity with a moderate dose of spices. Strong brown sugar sweetness. The orange is apparent in the mid. Finish is surprisingly dry for such a sweet, malty beer. Reminds me of a spiced Brown Shugga'. Very warming in the finish!

M - Medium body with light carbonation. Could use a bit heavier body.

O - A brown-sugary sweet, fruity and mildly spicy strong lager. Clean yet complex, this would be an excellent choice for the Christmas season.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.32/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 fluid ounce brown glass bottle. The metallic brass colored crown cap has the Lakefront Brewery Logo on it; a red ‘LB’ with a mug full of golden beer. A single 180° obverse label has a red background with a green wreath which has the Lakeland Brewery logo above it. The words ‘Holiday Spice Lager Beer’ rotate around the edges of the wreath. ‘Seasons Greetings’ is emblazoned across the middle whilst it is described as ‘Brewed with Honey, Oranges & Spices’ in the center. No listed strength, yet it does have a punch marked system on the right hand side of the label that shows that this was Bottled During Week 1 of November – 2004 I assume.

Appearance: Thick whiff of spicy carbon dioxide fills the air above my desk. Pours with a lovely dark copper body that is perfectly clear. The head is off-white and ½” thick at first. It calms down but stays at ¼” and uniform throughout. Nice carbonation, finely attenuated, bold and supportive.

Nose: Honey, Orange and Spices. Well the nose has a thick Christmas Spices odor, lots of Cinnamon and All-Spice soaked in warm toasted malts. Oranges are there, they are of the Orange Liqueur type though - pungently alcoholic. Thick nose that doesn’t disappoint.

Taste: The oranges and spiced Satsuma zest fill the taste profile at first. Toasted malts bring up the middle with some Cinnamon and a light honey sweetness. Orange marmalade finish that has a nutmeg skid mark. Sweet at times but never in an annoying way…I’m no fan of sweet brews but I enjoyed this one, the honey sweetness mixes with the toasted malts well and provides a nice balance to the sharp oranges and spices. Really enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Solid feel, a strong 4.0 no doubt. The body has lots of density but is not overpowering. Oh the alcohol – yeah, where the hell is it?!?!

Drinkability: Rather well put together I have to say. Bloody quaffable.

Overall: NICE!! And a Lager to boot!! Impressive. I liked this. A tasty high octane Crimbo brew that pleases. Nicely balanced too.

Another Spicy-Cinnamon-Honey-Roll-Hesperidium BigCheers to Sir BigHuge for this one.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.32/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer appears to be a nicely carbonated, chill hazed, dulled scarlet red. A slight ivory white film coats the surface. The aroma is nice...cinamon, orange and toasted malt. The taste is all about the spices. Cinamon is dominant. Ginger is there. And seemingly nutmeg. The malt base is very sweet. The honey adds some sweetness as well. Even with the sweetness and spice, this beer is pretty drinkable. A holiday favorite of mine.

Thank you Pieman for the sixer.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.32/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brownish color, lighter-red at glass's foot, with a nice, tight, tannish ring of foam above.
Aroma: an instant stand-out, with cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, big, beautiful spiciness, quite nice. I love it!
Taste: verrry nice, deep and hearty, fully spiced, full-bodied, with a medium finish, and thoroughly tasty, if at times a touch hollow. That's just me feeling the lager of this brew, but the thinness I detect at times doesn't detract from the fullness of the flavor. All my old anti-Winter-Lager prejudices are rescinded and I can enjoy this brew in full. Really, a wonderful creation, not too far away from the likes of Anchor OSA, I don't mind saying!
Mmmm, this was a bottle whose contents did not falter at all throughout it's stay on my palate and I hoist my glass to Mr. Jeffboo for providing this sumptuous repast!

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Photo of CFHMagnet
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had one of these last night. Gave weaker head than I remember from last year, so tonight I poured it a little more aggressively. I was rewarded with a finger and a half of head the color of banana pudding. Color is a nice rich brown and there is lacing; albeit weak; noted throughout consumption. When held up to the light a stream of bubbles can be seen rising from the bottom center of the glass and disappearing up into the body of the beer.

Banana tannins are strong on this beer. Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger are main spices noted, with clove playing second fiddle. A little dark fruit and malt are noticed in the background as well. Very complex as winter warmers go.

Malt, a pervading banana flavor and mixed spices are the main flavors. The taste is good but doesn't seem as complex as the nose. I catch some dark fruit in there as well the more I search.

This is a medium bodied beer that goes down very quick and easy for 11% ABV. It does develop the alcohol burn in the back of the throat, but hey, winter WARMER, right?

This is my favorite winter warmer. I like most of the ones I've tried, but this one I keep on coming back to. I do have to second that note on the side of the page that says it isn't recommended for cellaring. I attempted to cellar a 6 from last years batch, and it just ended up tasting like bad bananas with some spice. So don't ruin the beer, drink it while it's fresh.

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Photo of dpend
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 4th Week of November

Poured a wonderful deep teak color, but had to be poured aggressively to conjure up a good sized off-white head. Lacing was almost symmetrical. Aroma hits with nutmeg,cinnamon, malts and orange peel.
Taste was very nice and full of malts and spices,that carry through and well into the slightly hoppy finish. Mouthfeel is a bit light, but this IS a lager and stays within character. A wonderful offering from this brewery and I can see it gaining a lot of popularity among the masses.

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Photo of mnredsoxfan69
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is my first time with a holiday lager. It pours dark brown with a thick beige head that takes a little while to settle down. Not much lacing on the drink down but some.

It smells of Christmas/Thanksgiving spices with a little roasted maltiness.

Big spicy flavor mixed with honey. I didn't taste as much orange as some of the others have noted. Long malt and spice finish. The blend of flavors hides the high alcohol content.

A substantial, medium body without lager's usual crisp/dryness. Excellent mouthfeel.

Make sure you have something to eat before you try drinking this. It WILL knock you on your ass if you aren't careful. I love the flavors and the smell. They say holidays to me. Had I not read the label I would have thought it to be a dark, winter ale.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Festive reddish orange with a bronze-like glow when backlit with sunshine. A stationary storm of fine yeast makes the beer look even more attractive. The golden beige crown doesn't look tremendous, but it gets the job done, laying down streamers of suds as it starts to fade.

Holiday beer rule #1: spices should be present. Holiday Spiced Lager contains cinnamon and cloves, in addition to orange peel and honey. I probably couldn't have identified the ingredients if blinded, but the combination of sweet, fruity and spicy is very nice.

This is an exceptionally well-crafted winter warmer. My only (minor and nitpicking) quibble is that it would have been better as an ale. The proportionality of the extra ingredients is right on the money. Some might think it's too heavily spiced. I think it's juuust right.

HSLB doesn't drink anywhere near its 9.5% ABV. The lagerilicious mouthfeel is build for speed (incredibly smooth and silky, with no rough edges in sight) and there isn't even a smidgen of alcohol. Now that I'm into the middle portion of the bottle, there's no doubt that the taste score deserves a bump. This is compulsively drinkable beer.

I don't want to simply recite the ingredients listed above when describing the flavor profile, but they're all present and accounted for. A thick layer of clover honey and spiced orange marmalade on toasted bread gets it about right. What a fantastic combination of sweet, bitter, citrus fruity and spicy.

Holiday Spice Lager is Lakefront Brewery's best offering by a country mile. I'm amazed at how seamlessly integrated and how delicious it is after a mere six months in the bottle. It probably ages exceptionally well, but I can't imagine that it'll be any better in the future than it is right now. This is a 'case' beer for sure.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.29/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

3.0 A: Lightly hazed dark orange amber color. Just half a finger of frothy beige head that fell quickly, leaving no lacing.

4.0 S: Very nice mix of spices. Nutmeg stands out the most, followed by cinnamon and honey. Clove adds that extra something to really make this a great spice blend. Orange is somewhere underneath. Malts give a pleasant caramel aromas. Quite clean overall.

4.5 T: I didn't expect a lot from a brewery that I've never heard of, but it appears that this is a sleeper. I have to say this is the best winter warmer I've had this year. Spices follow the nose and as an added bonus, the cinnamon isn't strong enough to add that goofy flavor that cinnamon tends to add. Caramel maltiness with a slight graininess. Again, quite clean allowing the malts and spices to do their thing.

4.5 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Very creamy given the body. Super smooth.

4.5 D: I'm going to have to look for this next year. I only wish I drank this a few weeks ago when I first bought it so I could buy some more. Very good example of the style.

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Holiday Spice Lager Beer from Lakefront Brewery, Inc.
3.77 out of 5 based on 309 ratings.
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