What's the difference between normal and Christmas beer? What makes them special?

3 Answers 3


A Christmas Ale seems to be another term for a "Winter Warmer" beer -- a dark, malty beer (raisins, dark fruit) meant to be enjoyed in colder months, with a warming effect, either from the actual alcohol, or spices it was brewed with (think nutmeg, clove, that sort of thing). To my mind, its kindred to a barley wine, just spiced up. This is not a warm summer day, sitting on the porch, type of beer, as you may have guessed.

So a Christmas Ale is a sub-classification of beers in general.

  • But what if Christmas IS in the middle of summer... Like for the whole Southern Hemisphere? :) Aug 8, 2016 at 11:05

What's the difference between normal and Christmas beer?

Beer may be beer to most people, but in Norway the Christmas beer par excellent is the juleøl:

The drink par excellence is the juleøl, the Christmas beer. It is a sweeter than usual beer that norwegians usually drink at Christmas and that is supposed to be good with the big meals. The other traditional drink at this time of the year is the gløgg, mulled wine with spices that people have with almonds and raisins. - The tradition of Julebord in Norway

Christmas beer

Christmas beer


Christmas beer are seasonal beers brewed for consumption during Christmas period. These beers often (but not always) contain more alcohol than the brewery's other types of beer and may also contain spicing. It is usually quite dark, but not as dark as a stout, with a big malt presence.

  • Not all Christmas beers are higher in alcohol content - but most do indeed contain spices and seasonal blends. Spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate, etc...
    – Adam A
    Jan 22, 2014 at 21:07
  • 1
    Cool a downvote without explanation. Constructive people being constructive. Jan 22, 2014 at 21:17
  • And I like the comment restating exactly what was said in the answer.
    – JohnP
    Jan 22, 2014 at 21:24
  • Actually I modified that after the comment :) Jan 22, 2014 at 21:45
  • 3
    Perhaps the negative voter was upset that you posted a question with an answer ready?
    – Greg
    Jan 22, 2014 at 21:57

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