RATINGS: 890   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.48/5   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.

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FlacoAlto (4182) - 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.

IndianaRed (4633) - 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

Nuffield (4171) - 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....

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.

csbosox (1229) - Prairie Village, Kansas, USA - DEC 26, 2004
12 oz bottle. Tasted this and the Breckinridge Xmas Ale back to back on Christmas Eve. Amber color, off white head. Malty nose, real inviting aroma. The flavor starts malty and sweet and transitions to bitter, citrusy, and floral aromas. Dry finish. This beat the snot out of the Breckinridge Xmas ale.

GregClow (3402) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 22, 2004
Dark ruby-amber colour. Aroma and flavour are both malty and spicey. Mellow, but nice. [Toronto Christmas Party ’04]

Lou18 (1353) - West Paterson, New Jersey, USA - DEC 21, 2004
Much hype, but just average. Tan head on brown body. Had the spice in the nose, but not in the beer. Medium body, noyhing lasting.

jewedekind (450) - Middleton, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 21, 2004
Nice tan head and a sweet, malty, spicy nose. dark amber red-brown. Head is thin and fizzy. Big malt and and big body. A bit roasted and a little warming. Sharp on the tongue, and a bit spicy, in a good way. A fine beer for the season, maybe a bit too laid back for the style.

Armyboy30 (1) - Iowa, USA - DEC 20, 2004 does not count
To the last losers from Canada and Ohio...go drink your wine coolers and leave the beer tasting to people who know and love beer. For a Christmas ale this is a very good one. If you like thick, dark and somewhat bitter beer is hits the spot on a cold day. This beats most beers that are made everyday. This needs to be made year around.

Lubiere (13915) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 19, 2004
Reddish brown ale with no head. Aroma of raisin, wet dog and musk. Raisins and prunes taste overshadowed by evil carboard, some nice hops in mid tastting, a sweetness lingering in mouth. Medium bodied, but falls flat at end.

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