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RATINGS: 889   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.48   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 225   ABV: 7.5%
Specialty Belgian malts create a deep garnet color and a truly rich old European flavor in our classic Christmas Ale. And the generous amount of crystal hops adds that extra spicy aroma to your pint, perfect for a wintry night. Our Christmas Ale brings good tidings and joy to each Holiday Season. A two-time Gold Medal Winner in the World Beer Championships.

The original Goose Island Christmas Ale clocked in at 5.7% ABV. There was no 2010 vintage. The 2011 vintage saw a bump to 6.2% ABV but no new entry. The 2012 vintage was bumped up further to 7.5% ABV.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
11026 (1772) - Alabama, USA - JAN 16, 2005
Bottle from Styles. Ceep chestnut color. Off-white head fades to ring the edge and leaves good lacing. Sharp hoppy and nutty aroma. Medium bodied. Very hoppy flavor. Decent, not really what I expect in and Old Ale.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Brodie (540) - Blowing Rock, North Carolina, USA - JAN 15, 2005
Dark toast, faint coffee, fruity hops, and dark caramel in the aroma. Clear ruby color, thin beige head. Flavor matches the aroma, on the bitter side, nice balance. Full-bodied, lingering bitterness in the finish. A nice winter warmer.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
mixamatt (427) - San Francisco, California, USA - JAN 14, 2005
Malty slight fruitcake aroma. Dark crimsom appearance with full tan head. Mallty coffee flavors with medium hop bitternessand some fruity peach apricot flavors toward the finish.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 13/20
Pailhead (5633) - Plymouth, Michigan, USA - JAN 4, 2005
Bottle: Light malt (almost pale lagerish) with light spice aromas. Pours a dark transparent red with a tan head with fair retention. Real light malt up front with a watery citrus hop and spice finish. Would be much better if they brought out the existing flavors a little more.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
bu11zeye (12256) - Frisco (Dallas), Texas, USA - JAN 3, 2005
(Bottle) Pours an amber-brown body with a small beige head. Aroma of molasses, coffee, and roasted malt. Bitter finish. Flavor of roasted coffee, spices, and a hint of smoke.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Styles (2014) - Lincoln Park, Michigan, USA - DEC 31, 2004
Pours dark mahogany with little head that fades fast. Spicey nose with hints of sweet malt. Aroma is much stronger than the flavor. A liitle raisin with a spice finish. Smooth easy winter ale but not enough flavor.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
FlacoAlto (3849) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - DEC 29, 2004
Pours a brilliantly clear dark ruby-amber color, it is topped by a frothy amber colored head that is about an inch thick. The aroma has notes of caramel, alcohol, hints of roasted malt, toasted biscuits, subtle hop aromatics made up of citrus and herbs. The toasted malt notes come to dominate the aroma after a while.

The taste is interesting, the roasted, toasted malty notes are definitely prominent, but there is an interesting layer of hops floating on top, that mixes with some sweet malt caramel notes. The hops are not dominant, but strike a really nice balance with the various malt components with the notes of sharp herbs, and citrus. As this beer warms up it starts to pick up more of the sweet caramel notes, and perhaps a hint of diacytel as well. The beer has a solid bitterness to it as well, the finish is hoppily bitter, with a bit of astringency in the finish.

This is quite tasty, but it seems a little harsh in the finish, I will have to try a couple more of these, especially since this one started out 5 to 10 degrees too cold.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
IndianaRed (2865) - Boise, Idaho, USA - DEC 28, 2004
Bottle pours a dark clear brown witha very small light tan head. Very nice persiistant lacing. Aromas are a bit sour, woody and dry. Flavors are dry, metallic and bitter. Feel is quite thin and carbonation is lively. Thanks to MrFacto

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Nuffield (3835) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - DEC 28, 2004
Brown/red color with an off-white head. Toasted, nutty aroma, some alcohol, but a bit burnt in my opinion. I didn’t care for the flavor, which was like burnt bacon, with a long-lingering bitterness. I never got completely comfortable with my bottle and I didn’t enjoy trying to pair it with any of the foods I was eating--all of which were leftovers from yesterday’s Christmas dinner. I started out drinking this before dinner and it just didn’t blend when I took it to the table. Oh well, you can’t please everyone....

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
StewardofGondor (1934) - Washington Heights - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 27, 2004
UPDATED: NOV 18, 2005 November 2005 bottle.
Deep, rosy lacquered brown in color with a lovely, half-inch jiggly, frothy head. Aroma entices with rye, pine, cedar, butter pecan frozen custard and maple syrup over a chocolate chip stranded from a pancake. Flavor is mostly in line with how I remember the 2004 bottle, but now I pick up additional nuances. Pumpernickel, rye and scratchy pecans. Some brown ale latitudes. Cocoa powder dryness and sweetness. Unsalted hazelnut sequences provide an earthy-sweet dimension. Modestly lively, dry and bitter on the palate with spritsy carbonation. Finishes dry, bitter and similar to rye pretzel bread. Not quite the showstopper as I saw it as in my early beer rating days, but tasty and commendable, and still worthy of praise as being my gateway beer to Goose Island.

Christmas 2004 bottle.
This beer was excellent. Brought it to the Christmas festivities and it was the first beer to go (I had a lot to do with that.) Pours a deep brownish-red. Nice, small off-white head which clings to the glass each step of the way. Smell and taste are both hard to pinpoint - oats, oak-roasted, and a nutty-pine combination. Finish is warming, leaving an aftertaste of yeasty honey baked bread. Bottom line is that this beer is rich and fulfilling. Definitely worth purchasing again.

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