Thirsty Dog's 12 Dogs of Christmas came from Great Lakes Brewing Company?

Discussion in 'Great Lakes' started by tmusil14, Oct 26, 2012.

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  1. tmusil14

    tmusil14 Initiate (0) Oct 26, 2012

    I heard this story a while ago and am trying to figure out if its true or not. Rumor has it that Thirsty Dog's 12 dogs of Christmas ale used to be the Great Lakes Christmas Ale. When the brewmaster of Great Lakes left, he took the recipe for Great Lakes Christmas ale with him to Thirsty dog brewing company and used it to make 12 dogs of Christmas. Since then Great Lakes has been recreating the recipe for its Christmas ale each year. However, I can't find anything on the internet to support this claim. Has anybody heard of this story and care to elaborate?
  2. JM03

    JM03 Initiate (0) Nov 12, 2010 Ohio

    It is true that the brewer left Great Lakes to go there, but as far as the recipe thing I am not sure.
  3. BB1313

    BB1313 Poo-Bah (2,863) Jul 16, 2009 Ohio

    That's been the rumor forever. I'm not sure how true it is, but I believe it considering they're basically identical recipes. I just find Thirsty Dog's to be much sweeter.
    JoeyBeerBelly likes this.
  4. VncentLIFE

    VncentLIFE Meyvn (1,366) Feb 16, 2011 North Carolina

    Honestly, Ill just take both.
  5. klinger

    klinger Initiate (98) Oct 9, 2012 Ohio

    I've heard that story from a few bartenders, along with many others, in the area over the years, but I'm not sure if it's true or not. My side-by-side taste test with last year's offerings told me they are extremely close in taste. Even though TD is a bit more "local" to me, I prefer GL.
  6. fiver29

    fiver29 Disciple (395) Sep 18, 2007 Ohio

    Same here. I've heard this for years. Mainly from beer store owners who were told by distributors. Then on places like this seem to perpetuate the story every year.
  7. Spider889

    Spider889 Savant (991) Mar 24, 2010 Ohio

    Unless the brewer brought a pre-existing recipe to Great Lakes, it is doubtable that a recipe created in-house would be "allowed" to leave, especially one so profitable.

    That said, good-will is a characteristic of many craft breweries, so maybe they had an agreement or were just nice. Even more likely: how possible is it to prove a known recipe was stolen, and how cheap/easy would it be to fight the issue in court? Not insinuating anything about the actual situation because I don't know, but if the brewer left and decided to brew the exact same beer somewhere else there seems like little that anyone could do about it.

    Definitely similar beers but they are different. Personally I think that many people, in their frustration over the availability of Great Lakes Christmas Ale in years past, just wanted to find a substitute, and that the relationship between the breweries given the brewer makes for an awfully good story.

    Bartender: "Ohh, sorry we're out of that, but have you tried this? It's essentially the same beer - some have told me it's even better. And by the way, have you heard the story behind this one?"

    The beer sells itself at this point. And this is not far off from what I have been told several times by bartenders and customers last year.
    Blackwing17 likes this.
  8. WassailWilly

    WassailWilly Initiate (0) Sep 8, 2007 New York

    I will find out this year with a magnum of Thirsty Dog and some Great Lakes side by side !
  9. ScienceMarcus

    ScienceMarcus Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2014 Ohio

    Ferocious and Fasnic like this.
  10. BigSpeen3436

    BigSpeen3436 Aspirant (206) Oct 23, 2013 Ohio

    Yes, I have heard from Luke at GLBC that this rumor is completely false.
    jampics2 likes this.
  11. jampics2

    jampics2 Meyvn (1,440) Dec 19, 2008 Ohio

    Wish we could penalize you 10 karma points for linking to a Marc Bona article :stuck_out_tongue:
  12. Tee76

    Tee76 Initiate (0) Sep 25, 2009 Michigan

    I heard that rumor too. Either way i prefer 12 dogs, its just got more flavor...fantastic beer! Great Lakes is no slouch either though.
  13. miketd

    miketd Zealot (503) Mar 2, 2006 Ohio

    I don't know if it's true or not either, but didn't Xmas ale used to be a lot higher abv? Either way, it is definitely one beer that is different every year.
  14. jampics2

    jampics2 Meyvn (1,440) Dec 19, 2008 Ohio

    IIRC, Xmas ale is the same recipe that it has been since the second year it was brewed. The first year was about 1.5% higher and was jokingly referred to as "Christmas Jail" since so many patrons and staff had unanticipated detours in the drunk tank on their way home. But I've never heard this from any of the brewers, just from long time GLBC customers.

    The differences in the flavors in each year's honey and cinnamon give the beer a slight palatable variation each year, but it's not any more different than, say, a wet hopped ale where the hop crop varies slightly from one year to the next. In other words, its the same beer but the ingredient variation can make it taste slightly different each year.
  15. BigSpeen3436

    BigSpeen3436 Aspirant (206) Oct 23, 2013 Ohio

    I definitely remember the ABV being either 8% or 8.5%, but that had to be 6-7 years ago.
  16. BeerBuckeye

    BeerBuckeye Zealot (597) Oct 2, 2009 Ohio

    And certainly not as much as SN Celebration's cinnamon variation from year to year :slight_smile:
    steebo777 likes this.
  17. HighRollerII

    HighRollerII Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2013 South Carolina

    I picked up a six pack of 12 dogs yesterday. Super excited to see it out already. I'm from out of town visiting ohio so that was a plus in my book.
  18. BeerBuckeye

    BeerBuckeye Zealot (597) Oct 2, 2009 Ohio

    I must say, I do like that they release the sixers in July, too.
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