Let’s go ahead and jump right in the description from the website, schlafly.com, shall we?
Our Christmas Ale is a big-bodied, higher alcohol beer, flavored with orange peel, ginger root, juniper berries, cardamom and clove. Large amounts of 2-row and caramel malted barley and honey create the sweetness of this ale.
‘Tis the season to be merry!!!
The Schlafly Christmas Ale clocks in at 8.0% ABV and it comes in a 12 oz. bottle.
The brew poured a very nice, clear, copper to rust color with some burnt orange highlights radiating around the edges and the bottom of the glass. The cap was of good size, off white, smooth and creamy. The retention time was adequate and the lacing looked pretty good too. Not bad on the appearance.
As I leaned in for a whiff, I picked up on the spices right off. Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and some sweet brown sugar. They mention orange peel in the description, but I had a hard time picking up on it. It was very, very faint and insignificant. As the brew began to warm I found that the nose became more “earthy” with a light breadiness. It had a decent little aroma going on here.
The taste presented a nice dose of suitably sweet brown sugar, caramel and cinnamon. The cloves sat right in the middle to create a nice fusion with a relaxed alcohol tone. Again, some light breadiness helped to propagate a befitting “roundness”. Like the aroma, little to no orange peel was found at first, but it started to come on somewhat stronger as the brew warmed. One thing I liked about the taste of this brew was the fact that the flavor was not over the top with the spices. I find that some of these seasonal holiday brews become terribly difficult to drink when they are too robust with character.
The mouthfeel was medium bodied, mostly smooth, dry and somewhat crisp. The carbonation was fine and a little bit of warmth was left behind for me to enjoy between sips. A nice coating of flavor was sticking to the palate after each swallow also.
I, personally, think that the Schlafly Christmas Ale is a pretty good representation of the style even though this type of brew is not a personal favorite of mine. Like I mentioned earlier, some can be a bit overbearing when it comes to the spices. I found this one to be a nice, easy going drinker however. I thought it was well balanced all the way around with an amiable appearance, applicable aroma and a commendable flavor. I would have no problem drinking another while sitting by the fireplace at Christmas time. If you stumble upon a bottle, grab it and give it a test drive. I think you may be surprised by this solid brew.
As always, thanks for reading and commenting everyone. I hope all is well.
Until next time. Cheers.
Score: 3.8 out of 5