Christmas Ales

A catch-all given to special beers made for Christmas and New Year celebrations. These ales are typically higher in alcohol (5.5%-14%) and are distinguished by the inclusion of dark flavored malts, spices, herbs, and fruits.

Lambswool was a medieval Christmas ale made with roasted apples, nutmeg, ginger, and honey. It was called Lambswool due to its frothy head. Today most Christmas ales are based on higher alcohol beers, such as old ales, barleywines, and strong ales, and usually include spices such as cinnamon, cumin, orange, lemon, coriander, and honey.

Some of the best known American Christmas Ales are Great Lakes Brewing Company Christmas Ale and Anchor Brewing Company Christmas Ale, also known as "Our Special Ale."