Christmas Ale | Olde Hickory Brewery

24 Reviews
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Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Brewed by:
Olde Hickory Brewery
North Carolina, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Loki on 12-29-2003

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Reviews: 24 | Ratings: 83
Photo of detgfrsh
3.22/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

From a bomber dated 10/25/16. Pours a caramel color with a half finger of tan head. Very little smell, slightly sweet malt. Light feel. Tastes of honey and spices, but has very little depth. Some lingering warmth. An okay winter warmer, but not great.

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Photo of bwiles
3.38/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Christmas Ale ha a lite cinnamon taste. The ginger flavor is slightly heavy. While I enjoy spicy tastes in winter beers this one is a little weak in flavor overall. It was very hard to taste any orange flavor or honey. I think with a little tweaking they could have a great winter ale.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.17/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

on-tap at Mac's Speed Shop on South Blvd

I do not understand breweries like Olde Hickory that seem to crush the more challenging styles (barrel aged beers, imperial IPA's, etc) but consistently trips over themselves when crafting more basic beers. Christmas Ale is just the latest example - a crappy and muted winter warmer at best. Bland spicing, 'off' malt profile, artificial ginger. Not good.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.81/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This comes out of the bottle like a carbonated bomb with a rush of bubbles that built a huge head of fizz and then a ton of tiny bubbles racing throughout the body. The color was a ruddy brown with dashes of orange in it.

The aroma is fruit cake that has been spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon. Very nice, very Christmas, I just wish the candy dried fruit was a little more segregated.

This is Christmas on the tongue with a malty, fruity body but tons of spicy nutmeg and cinnamon. Really like the flavors.

The feel is a bit airy, but exceedingly crisp. Maybe not a winter sipping beer but a rather refreshing Christmas Day drink.

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Photo of blackie
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

bomber from Bottle Revolution

a: poured into a wide piraat snifter, this christmastime drank is a light amber maple in color, supporting a tight off-white head with spotty retention

s: some amber malty sweetness in the form of caramel, bready, a nice, modest spice presence - the cinnamon, fresh ginger, and orange peel blend together nicely; nice earthy/sweet honey aroma - that doesn't hold up too often in the final product, lightly hopped with a subtle dried grass aroma, smells like holiday cookies

m: lightly dosed with smooth carbonation, body around medium

t: malty caramel with tastefully applied holiday spice combine to create a flavor reminiscent of holiday baked goods, the cinnamon comes out most with ginger just behind, good dark honey flavor, the malting here is on the lighter side for a holiday ale - which works well as it leaves room for the spice and honey to really round out the flavor, only slightly sweet to start - soon swept up by a moderately acidic but benignly flavored hop profile, the bitterness is a little dry and metallic and maybe a little off kilter - but not a major issue, lingers nicely on the tongue

o: while I'm a fan of spiced Christmas ales - even the fairly extreme ones - I enjoyed the restraint used in spicing this one, it's easily noticeable and a prominent feature, but nicely balanced with lightly sweet amber malts

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.6/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours an extremely lightly hazy medium amber in color with some ruby red and copper highlights and moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a two to three finger tall dense foamy beige head (with a little bit of sudsiness near the surface) that slowly reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer with a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of caramel malts with some honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Overall the aroma is slightly sweet.

T: Overall this beer is lightly sweet but not cloying in any way, upfront there is a light to moderate flavor of caramel malts with just the lightest touch of honey. There are some slightly stronger flavors of spices - cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and a touch of clove.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Slightly creamy but perhaps a little bit thinner than expected for the style.

O: This beer has a really nice holiday flavor - similar to a sugar cookie or snickerdoodles. I found it to be pretty enjoyable but I might have preferred it to be a little more cloying and a little heavier in body.

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Photo of GPHarris
2.68/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

a - poured a one finger thick bubbly tan head that left a thin ring throughout. the body was a deep amber color.
s - oranges with some honey and malt sweetness to balance it out.
t - oranges with some spices with a grainy/bready balance.
m - thin.
o - not overly impressed. seems to be a mish-mash of flavors and aromas that don't mesh well. a little dull.

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Photo of Durge
3.41/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at The Mellow Mushroon in Greensboro, NC, this holiday brew is a dark mahogany color with solid off-white fluff on top and lots of lacing. The aroma is weak wheat, really nothing more which seems very odd for a Christmas brew. The flavor is better with mild evergreen and caramel with a little citrus apple brightness. i also detected just a touch of cardboard but not much. There is some distinct juniper and allspice. It's medium light in body with a mild, tingly feel. Good but not great.

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Photo of tdm168
3.46/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - dark orangish amber with a big frothy, white head that has good retention

S - a bit soapy, a hint of yeast, all around unusual aroma

T - nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, caramel, faint orange peel

M - medium bodied, good carbonation

This is an all-right beer. There isn't anything to separate it from the dozen other beers out this time of year with the exact same spice profile. In the end this is a decent beer but boring. It was nice to try once, but I won't be buying it again.

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Photo of beer2day
3.48/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sat on this one for a bit to see if age would smooth it out some.

Orange gold pour with 2 fingers of darker khaki head. Thin lace and decent head retention well into the glass.

Nose is very understated for a winter warmer. Sour fruit (cherries, apples), caramel malt, allspice, and light earth hops round things out. A touch of light peat lingers there too. Not bad, but could be more aggressive.

Tastes is definitely on the sweet side. Honey, flowery hops and a light, spicy finish define this glass. Leaves with a cake-like sweetness on the back end. Not bad, but just a bit too sweet.

Feel is too thin for the flavors, even though they are light.

Overall, not the best offering from OH. Didn't care for it much back in January and not much better now.

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Photo of jmarsh123
2.46/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a reddish brown with a small off-white head and good lacing down the glass.

Smells like nutmeg with some malty sweetness.

Starts off slightly spicy then recedes into a honey sweetness with a little nutmeg. Definitely malt forward.

Too thin for my taste. Carbonation level is good.

Usually like Olde Hickory, but this one doesn't do it for me. A bit too sweet without the backing mouthfeel and kind of bland overall.

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Photo of CooperEllis
3.26/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not a bad bottle overall but a bit disappointing as it is very thin in the mouthfeel and the flavor is dominated by the two added favors: honey and "spices" here nutmeg.

Redish amber, thin bubbles, no lacing.

Nose is honey, nutmeg, ginger and clove.

Thin mouthfeel, a thin bit of malt but taste is dominated by the cinnamon, nutmeg, clove. Crisp ending helps but I think this misses the mark a bit.

One of the people I had this with felt it was the "tastiest" of the bottles we sampled tonight.


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

Poured from a bomber into a Dead Guy Ale pint and the brew is a clear medium dark brown with coppery notes. The small off white head (1/4") disappears and covers the brew around the edge of the glass and a whispy covering on the beer itself. The lacing is whispy as well.

The aroma is malty and spicy.

The flavor follows the nose with the spices composed of Ginger (minor flavor), Cinnamon (more minor flavor), and orange zest (probably the most noticeable, yet very subdued) as well as "local" honey which contributes some minor sweet tones. There is no bittering or flavoring hops to speak of, but evidentley enough are present to keep this from being to sweet.

It has a medium mouthfeel with no stickiness on the corners of the lips and lowish carbination.

This is a good beer that hits alot of marks on the style description. Not a beer that I would actually seek out, but one that is a B+ brew per style description and that is not over the top with spices.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.28/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From 12/18/11 notes. Received as an extra from Beerverage; thanks man. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into my Bell's tulip.

a - Pours a clear dark amber-orange color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of honey, fruity malts, spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, and bready malts. Pretty nice nose, reminds me of gingerbread cookies.

t - Taste is very bland; some light cinnamon, bready malts, and toasted malts. No honey or fruit here like in the nose. Not bad but a step down from the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

o - Overall a bit disappointing. The nose was nice and promising full of cinnamon and nutmeg, but the taste was very bland. Not a bad beer but probably something I'd pass on next time.

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Photo of jsanford
3.97/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a Pint Glass.

A - Pours a dark amber with a fluffy off-white head that settles to a slight haze.
S - Sweet, malty aromas of caramel, honey, baked bread, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Smells like a Christmas cookie!
T - The Christmas cookie comparison is pretty apt for the taste as well, more amber malt, caramel, honey, and spices. The honey is much more noticeable then in the nose, really lightens the body and contributes to the overall drinkablity.
M - A bit thinner then I expected, but not a huge complaint overall. Probably around medium-bodied overall, with a nice creaminess and good carbonation. I suppose I'm used to big, syrupy Winter Warmers, the drinkability of this one is a refreshing change.
O - I really like this Winter Warmer, solid brew from a solid brewery!

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Photo of lanamj
3.62/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle served into a Green Man pint glass.

A- Its a clear copper color that has a soapy white head that holds nicely. The lace retention is very sticky and thick. I like the look but it seem a little to filtered for me. I can see right through it, like a x-mas Vienna lager.

S- Very well blended. Nothing is dominate on this one all the right smells are here and are balanced well just rather faint. I like the cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and all spice on the nose. The honey blends well with the malts to make this a great smelling beer. Saying that its a faint smell and would like more of it.

T- Honey and crystal malts make this one nice and smooth with a faint sweet flavor. While the spice is on the other side evening it all out to create a nice blend of what we know as Christmas flavors. Still faint and wish it was stronger. Not much in the way of hops here but for the style i feel that's ok.

M- Good but complements my opinion on the appearance, it drinks like a lager. I want a winter warmer to warm me up due to the fact it's a nice hearty beer, not a light crisp lager.

O- A nice beer but faint in its stance. I feel a heavier ABV and ingredient load would benefit this one. I love Old Hickory and again they did a good job.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.18/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. "To ensure brewery fresh taste keep me cool, serve me cool, and enjoy me before" M [May] 11" notched.

This one was contained in another badass box of beer sent from a great trade partner, Onenote81. Thanks Jon!

A - Beautiful color and clarity, it's a vibrant, brilliant orange with golden highlights and amber low-lights. A finger of foam rests on top lightly with a ring of bubbles trailing in the wake.

S - While the Christmas cookie-like nose is mild, it's certainly inviting. Raw honey sweetens the amber malt and cinnamon and nutmeg dashed in. A pinch of yeast appears on the finish. Low presence leaves me wanting.

T - Toasted amber malts push past the mild spice and raw honey sweetness to leave a bready flavor offset by earthy Willamet hops that are very slightly noticeable.

M - Spritzy carbonation is well-balanced but doesn't do much to mask the thin feel of this brew. Light-bodied, it falls flat mid palette through the finish. Moderately dry ending.

D - The aroma needs elevating as well as the body, and the flavor could use more in general. I like subtlety in brews, especially winter sippers, but this is just lacking a bit. Another bottle I find myself wishing I opened with company.

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Photo of craytonic
3.95/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pour is a clear ruby-amber, nice head on the pour, good lacing.

Smell: Smells like christmas! Cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger.

Taste: Also tastes like christmas! Lots of cinnamon, cocoa, allspice, orange peel, nutmeg and ginger. Also some candied nuts.

Mouthfeel: Perhaps slightly thin but creamy. Could be a bit more carbonated.


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Photo of atsprings
3.9/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Flying Saucer Charlotte served in a standard pint glass a crisp orange with a decent light khaki head that diminishes to a ring and leaves just a bit of lacing on the glass. Aroma is mild caramel malts and cinnamon. The taste is a nice amount of cinnamon in front of caramel malts and a hint of nutmeg. The beer is quite light, crisp and very smooth with decent carbonation. This is an enjoyable, quite sessionable Winter Warmer, I would love to see Olde Hickory available in Raleigh.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.72/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cracked this bottle with fellow BA, ClarkPinnock, on New Year's Eve. Poured my allotment into a pint glass. Pours a ruby red with about an inch of off-white head. The nose is full of cinnamon, nutmeg, some toasted sugar, and floral tones.

The mouth is a little flat and tame. Could use a bit more zip. The flavors start out with some sweet honey, sugary sweetness with a wash of cinnamon and vanilla on the finish. This could have been a bit more bold in flavor, but it was decent nonetheless. I'd have this again, but it's not one of OHB's best. Drinkable still.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.4/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A nice local & seasonal brew, sent by craytonic (thanks, Matt). 22 ounces in a brown bottle, emptied to a pint.

Label: A perfectly snowy/Thomas Kinkade-ian scene.
'Ale Brewed with Honey & Spices'. Notched at '...enjoy me before': A[pril] 11

A: Perfectly clear and the epitome of 'auburn'. Relatively little carbonation; what there is: lazy. C'mon, bubbles, wake up!!! Nice color and clarity, but otherwise a dull beer to look at. Scrawny whitish head that fades to near-nothingness; tiny lace flecks that don't last long.

S: A malty and vaguely 'gingerbread' nose, candied and pleasantly spiced. Certainly malt-centered but I'm OK/intrigued by a winter warmer so sweetly scented.

T: Buttery biscuit and a thin dusting of 'Christmas Spice', a sugar-sweet cinnamon and buttery toffee. Nutty roast is thematic here; flowery honey, light spices, a little cocoa and touches of apple and pear provide some backing and depth. Not TOO sweet, but borderline...

M: Disappointing feel: thin and underwhelming, carbonation-wise. Somehow, though, a coating gumminess catches up. Overall, a strange mouthfeel and not very appealing...

D: Not hard at all to drink, just not very remarkable; if sweeter winter ales are your thing, this may be perfect for you. Me? I'd have preferred a little more balance (not to mention, vibrance!); some hop depth and busier carbonation could work wonders. Just alright... but as a sucker for malty yumminess, I'm drinking one if you give me another...

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Photo of oberon
3.83/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first CHRISTmas/winter seasonal beer of 2010.Poured into a imperial nonic clear rich bronze with a thinner but well defined white head,a mix of cinnamon and ginger spice along with a subtle British style hard water element.A good does of ginger and cinnamon hits the palate up front with some candied orange peel,I like the crisp crust flavor in the finish.A little thin but its a good way to start the winter seasonal beer off this year,a nice beer.

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Photo of Jason
3.25/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown bomber with a drink before date on the side of the label.

Brassy golden color, very clear with a thin lace on top. Lemony, spicy, malty, honey aroma. Modest crispness shows some slickness in the mouth. Some pie spice, biscuity malt, slightly buttery and a faintness of honey hit the taste buds. Very light on the hops, spiciness lingers for a little while, honey flavor and maltiness bring a sweet finish.

A sweeter Winter Warmer, not half bad.

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Photo of Loki
3.85/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 64oz growler fresh from the brewpub.

Appearance: Slightly cloudy, cinnamon color with a nice white head. Some lacing on the glass, but nothing special.

Smell: Roasted malt, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice, and some very soft, floral hops. More malty, than spicy, but nice.

Taste: Solid roasted malt that gives way to a bevy of well balanced Holiday spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and more. Very subtle hops help finish the taste and give a balance to the sweet malt.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, with mild carbonation and a clean, crisp finish.

Drinkability: Very good, compliments the holiday meals and could easily stand on its own.

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Christmas Ale from Olde Hickory Brewery
3.49 out of 5 based on 83 ratings.
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