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X-Mas Zinnebir - Brasserie de la Senne

Not Rated.
X-Mas ZinnebirX-Mas Zinnebir

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very good

131 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 131
Reviews: 91
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 14.02%
Wants: 1
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brasserie de la Senne visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Risser09 on 12-10-2007)
View: Beers (16) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 131 | Reviews: 91 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rkuhnel
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From 330 ml bottle this Belgian Pale Ale poured a hazy amber with fizzy white head and good lacing. Nose of fruits with a hint of spices. Lively body and pleasant mouthfeel. Flavor of caramel malts and sweet fruits. Bitter finish. I enjoyed this brew.

Photo of smcolw
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large doughy head with a slow rocky withdrawal; leaving lace on the glass as it recedes. Dark amber color (almost like watered down maple syrup) with the slightest of haze.

Wonderful and interesting aromas of Caribbean spices (mainly all spice). Some alcohol in the nose. A little bit of pine hop, too.

Complex: Starts off dry, soon a sense of pepper comes into play, followed by a mildly bitter hop bite. The swallow is mostly hop and the aftertaste features some of the alcohol warmth. Good body and moderate carbonation.

I am surprised by the other reviews on this beer; I found this to be complex, full-bodied and delicious--in short, a beer worth seeking out.

Photo of Dukeofearl
2.53/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

11.2 ounce bottle from a Shelton Bros. Belgian Holiday beer gift pack.

Pours a amber-brown, slightly cloudy, with a strong, steady carbonation that keep a nice beer-cap around a long time.

Aroma is malty, slightly sweet, with an ill-defined herbal spiciness. I wish I could figure it out.

Flavor- well, I really can't figure this out. There is just something wrong here. Sharp, herbal, bitter, dry, and wrong. All spices mangled and mixed and muddied, no clear pattern, no real "beer" flavor.

It just does not work for me. I haven't tried the complete gift pack yet, but I'm pretty sure this is the one I don't like.

Photo of ybnorml
2.78/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A hazy brown beer with copper highlights. Has a nice creany off white head. The aroma has a strong dried fruit and apple chatacter with a cinnamon spiciness in the background. The flavor has an odd mix of tastes whirling around in your mouth, rubber tire, wood and a piny hop bitterness. There is a real dry finish almost mouth pucking . Kinda reminded me of some Lambics I have had but this is not supposed to be a lambic.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle, with some kind of post-modern artwork on the cover,

A: Pours a rather cloudy dark brown, kind of confused as to why this is classified as a BPA instead of a BDA. Anyway, it has a really nice off-white/beige head, huge in the beginning and leaves a nice rim around the glass for the duration, spotty lacing as well.

S: Interesting, opening the bottle, I got a hint of yeast esters, dark fruit which was strong, later after the beer is poured, I got more of a hint of hops and spice, more mild a sensation.

T: At first I was expecting a standard Belgian dark brew, with some spices as part of the Christmas season, but when I first tasted the beer I got an unexpected, but actually pleasant sensation - hops. This is a very hoppy dark ale for Belgium, but it mixes quite well with mild tobacco notes and dark malt. No real esters to be found here. A different but enjoyable experience for a dark Belgain brew.

M: Nothing too exciting, quaffable, nice carbonation and aftertaste, medium-bodied. Though at times it feels just a little too light on the palate, also medicinal notes and phenols make an appearance on certain sips at the back of the tongue, sometimes I enjoyed them and they worked with the flavour, other times they seemed to detract from the overall experience, kind of all over the place.

D: This is an interesting dark beer and my second in the Christmas in Belgium set. A nice little hoppy Christmas beer, though I don't think I'd buy it again at the price that I'm seeing it in stores, but a quality product, nonetheless.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown that is clouded. Nose is perfume touched with an almost floral/tree like fragrance. Kind of like smelling an almost budding something-or-other. Flavor is nice. Evenly spiced. Nice level of sugar and yeast funky. Smooth liquid feel with a low carbonation. This is a smooth beer. Nothing wild or crazy. I might easily be convinced to go for more after a first.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330 ml from the Shelton Bros Christmas in Belgium mixer pack. Poured into my Kasteel tulip.

Short lasting lite tan head... little lacing showing.. slightly hazy chesnut with red highlites.

Aroma is hard to put a finger on... initially it reminds me of Coke coffee and a spicy punch... sorta like a darker saison.

Most interesting thing about the flavor is a roasted malt/cocoa powder finish... fairly dry throughout... Big yeasty spiciness... caramel flavor without the sweetness... tobacco leaves.. lite to lite/medium body with alot of fine bubble carbonation... just a very very dry finish. Has an oak aged characteristic to it... very complex but very hard to pin-down... I honestly think a little more body and sweetness could really pull this one together.

I would certainly buy this brew again.. if I had ready access to it.. I don't believe for a second that aging will help, there already was a mess of yeast in the bottom of the bottle.... I would still pick it up though simply to share with friends and try and figure out what flavors are packed into this little bottle.

Photo of unibrew
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got this in a Belgian Xmas pack of 5 beers. Individually, it's 11.2oz. of beer. I read the other reviews, and I pretty much agree.

I think this is a pretty decent beer... it fits in with other Belgians, with some odd berries and what not thrown in. Now, I wouldn't likely order this if there were better brews available, but, it's not a bad beer at all. God knows I've tried MUCH worse!

It's pretty drinkable.. not great on taste.. maybe a little too flowery or perfumy for my liking. I'd say it's the Magic Hat #9 of Belgium. That should tell you all you need to know!

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This label art is about as weird as their Taras Boulba, maybe even weirder...computery, with another Picasso character, some animal woman with a bob holding a beer, lit by a star, and there's another animal in a suit opening an enormous bottle. Strange. I won't look too far for the meaning!

Dark brown/burgundy, plummy appearance, litte head atop.

Very aromatic, wafts out from the start, but let's go in...dark fruit & spices, cola & a bit of cocoa, licorice...raisins and pepper.

Taste: darker, spicier, but none too rich. Hot. Bigger spice that I expected. Light bodied, compared to the fierce flavor, and the spice sticks out way too much without some tasty malt to back it up. More I drink, the more annoying is this prickly heat. I'm not digging the Zennebir, nossir.

There's some taste, but it's overpowered by this intense spicy, cola-y...Dr. Peppery thing...not what I'm looking for !

C'est la vie!


Photo of Risser09
3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Tulip - 2007 release - Served at cellar temperature

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy copper color with red highlights and a 2" tall tan head. The head was quick to rise and created a decent cake of foam. Very little lacing is left on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Smells of a Belgian farmhouse ale or saison. Malt frame with plenty of Belgian spice. Aromas of wood, dried fruit, figs, plums, some leather and raisin.

Taste: A rather crisp maltiness hits me in the mouth. Dry oakiness is a major flavor as well. Others include rum raisin, belgian yeast and a really strong vanilla extract (without the vanilla harshness). This is a tasty beer.

Mouthfeel: Very sharp with the oaky dryness and alcohol burn. I wonder if this isn't higher than 6.5% after refermentation in the bottle. There seems to be a lot of yeast in there. Medium body and a moderately creamy finish. Belly warming alcohol.

Drinkability: I enjoyed this beer a lot. I don't think it was worth the $4.50 I paid for it, though. I'm confused as to why this is considered a Christmas Ale. There aren't a whole lot of Christmas spices in there, but it is tasty nonetheless. Worth a try.

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fairly well carbonated, with only a touch of work I easily get a four-finger thick, amber to dark tan colored pillow of froth sitting atop a deeply burnt, amber colored brew (not quite black, but close enough). Surprisingly when I hold the beer up to the light I can see right through it; The light shows a brilliantly clear, and I mean brilliantly clear, deep ruby hue that is absolutely gorgeous. the head leaves lots of lacing as it slowly subsides and even forms a varied, interesting surface with lots of elevation change. The aroma has a nice burnt note to it, but the fruitiness is the first thing that I notice; notes of concentrated plums, raisins and even a touch of tart apple notes are the most noticeable fruit aromatics. The roast character brings a sharpness to the aroma as well as carrying a rich malt character. Aromatics reminiscent of well toasted whole grain bread, touches of dark chocolate, dusty burnt grain husks and something like toasted, crushed soda cracker dust. Touches of liquorice, aromas of cloves, hints of toasted allspice add a spicy component to the nose. The aroma is quite nice and I really like how no one component is dominant; each of my three groupings (fruit, malt & spice) add a noticeable, but well integrated component to the aroma.

Served cool (about 58°F / 14°C), the beer has a soft creaminess to it that is contributed by the residual malt sugars. The sweet malt notes add a touch of body to what is most definitely an easy drinking brew. The sweetness accentuates some notes of raisins and concentrated plum, but compared to the aroma these have lost their intensity and focus. Instead the apple notes (both sweet & tart varieties) as well as fresh, ripe, slightly tart plum notes and even a hint of some concord grape flavors. The fruitiness definitely has a roasted, slightly burnt edge to it and the finish even has slight drying effect with the soft, modestly astringent burnt malt character. This has a really nice malty middle to it; flavors of toasted grain, deeply caramelized / slightly burnt malt sugars, The burnt fruit notes, the toasty malt and the smooth roast character make me think they used some Special B malt here. Spicy notes of clove, cardamom, and cola form a subtle backdrop to the more dominant characteristics already mentioned.

A very tasty beer; this is full flavored, yet not overwhelming. Once again I have been quite impressed by the, now, three beers that I have had from this brewer. I'll definitely make sure I pick up the other brews from these guys as I can. I really dig how light and easy drinking this beer is; this makes it quite a bit easier to finish a whole 750ml bottle on my own. Of course it doesn't hurt that I am really enjoying this beer too, but at least I won't be completely useless after finishing this brew. Looking at some other reviews of this beer I get the feeling that a bit of age has done a lot for this beer.

Photo of GClarkage
4.28/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

06/30/07- Purchased at CVS Pharmacy in Billings, MT.

Presentation- 750ml bottle with no visable freshness info. Poured into my Duvel glass.

Appearance- Dark brown, maybe a bit a red in the mix. Mahogoney? Head is about 1/2 inch on the pour. A decent sized ring remains. Light patchy lace is left behind.

Smell- Not a huge nose, but what is there is nice. Light dusting of clove with some dark fruits and maybe a bit of dark chocolate.

Taste- Mixture of the nose. More spicy notes than anything. Clove and maybe even a light cinnimon taste combines with some raisins and maybe plums. Chocolate is there, but hidden behind the spicy flavor. A nice sweetness forms as the beer warms to room temp.

Mouthfeel- About perfect carbonation with a light slick sweet taste remaining on the tongue.

Drinkability- A better than expected find from Billings...in a pharmacy of all places. Has a really nice flavor and sweetness from a lower abv brew. Pretty impressed with this Belgian Dark.

Photo of czechsaaz
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice malt aroma with spicy notes. I get licorice and vanilla with fruity yeast profile like plums. I also get chocolate and a hint of red wine like acidity.

Deep brown colored with a thick tan head that lasts and leaves solid amounts of lacing.

Flavor starts off very malty with more ripe fruit like black cherries and prunes. There's a pretty up front roast malt component too which lingers on the aftertaste a little too much giving it a little tannic effect. Some hop bitterness, but very restrained. I also get more spice but it's so subtle that I think it's more yeast than added spices. I still get licorice and also nutmeg. Overall it's very nice well rounded flavor.

Medium bodied with pretty high carbonation level. very lively.

Very approachable dark belgian ale. nice and complex but light enough to be a drinkable beer instead of a sipper.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Almost opaque roasted walnut brown (that becomes much murkier later) with dusky cherry highlights when backlit. Why am I not surprised that the huge, wheat toast brown cap looks fantastic? I swear I can identify Belgian beer on the pour simply by looking at the head. It's whipped creamy, is persistent and looks like it'll leave more than a little lace for my viewing pleasure. This is what a Belgian dark ale should look like.

I'll have to wait for the head to deflate and for the beer to warm a little before making up my mind about the nose. At this point, it smells like a spicy porter or stout. Chocolate and coffee are more prominent than is typical for the style. A pleasing spiciness appears as the beer gains a few degrees.

Zinnebir Xmas is a fairly straightforward dark ale on first blush. On second and third blushes too. Don't get me wrong, I still like it, but part of what I like about Belgian beer is its complexity. It's all well and good that the brewer at Brouwerij Sint-Pieters eschews candi sugar, syrups and spices (in a 'back to basics' kind of way), but the reason those things are used is that they often result in great beer if the brewer is sufficiently talented. Hint: my mind is about to change.

Actually, this beer strikes me as cross between a porter and a Belgian dark ale. The flavors brought out by the generous roasting of barley malt (again, chocolate and coffee) make it darker than the vast majority of similarly styled ales. An underlying yeasty spiciness keeps it true to its country of origin. It opens up quite a bit with warming and I find that I'm enjoying it more with each passing ounce. I can now appreciate coffee-macerated raisins and plums.

The mouthfeel isn't as carbonated as the head (and the head regeneration on all subsequent pours) would lead one to believe. Its lightness is a boon to drinkability, but it certainly isn't as pleasing to the mouth as it should be. It also has a tendency to lose its structure on the finish.

I have no idea what makes this particular offering a Christmas beer, other than the season in which it's released. Xmas (and it non-seasonal sibling Zinnebir) are two good, honest, well-crafted Belgian ales that impress without the aid of bells and whistles. Sometimes I wish more craft brewers shared Mr. Leboucq's brewing philosophy.

Photo of RedHaze
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to bditty187 for this bottle.

Pours a very dark, red tinged brown with a creamy one finger head that settles slowly to a very thick cap. The lacing a very dense, and completely covers the inside o the glass.

Smell; starts out mildly fruity, with some plums, and then becomes mildly coffee-like. Toffee and caramel a present, with a very solid bready aroma floating around in the background.

Taste; dark roasted malts with a little bit of coffee and some touches of chocolate, toffee and caramel. Plums, dates and apples all add a mild fruitiness, and the bready notes come out in the finish. This almost reminds me of a Porter in the flavor, and is not quite what I was expecting from a Belgian dark ale. In any case it's still a really good beer.

Mouthfeel is a bit on the thinner side, but still nice, and the drinkability is really good.

Photo of scruffwhor
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks more like an effervescant stout than a Belgian dark I like it though. Good, light beige head with some mediocre lacing. The aroma was of dark, spiced bread and that hinted at creamy coffe and caramel. The first sip had crewamy chocolate, coffee, caramel, cooked black currants, and pumpernickel bread. Very pleasant taste. Smooth, creamy, velvety body that can be sipped and gulped and still enjoy its vast array of flavors.

Photo of lackenhauser
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very nice, deep brown color with a huge 2" head on top. Mellow aroma-very earth and peppery. Creamy and malty flavor. Somewhat toasted malt with a mellow cocoa flavor. Lacks the spiciness of some Belgians but thats ok. Not overly complex but good notes of figs and dried fruit. Good mouthfeel though the dry finish catches up with you after a while. Very drinkable indeed. Doesnt have that Belgian quality where they have tried to shove 10 pounds of flavor in a 12 ounce glass. Quite enjoyable.

Photo of bditty187
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cherry-mahogany in hue, it is a lovely color; beige foam, at the apex the head was three fingers tall. Head retention was respectable, the foam steadily faded to a soapy collar. The subsequent lacing was unorganized but fairly widespread. Overall, the appearance is quite pleasant.

Malty nose, not rich like a Dubbel or Quad but fairly hearty. Caramel and toffee, light on both accounts. Faint hints of apples, figs, dates, cookies, and cocoa; I also detect some lovely leather aromas. No hops. No spice. No booze. And you call this a Christmas beer? Crazy Belgians! I keep going back to the nose… I like it but I don’t love it. It is kind of straightforward and fairly simple. On the other hand, the bouquet is very articulate. Moderate-high potency… inviting.

Toasty caramel malts, cola, cocoa, maybe a smattering of toffee. Secondary flavors include apples, plums, figs, leather with a faint smattering of oak, rum, and vanilla. The palate is very straightforward but extremely tasty. Part of me wants to call it restrained; part of me wants to call it well-crafted. At first I wasn’t impressed but I got to thinking… why does every Belgian ale have to be over-the-top with alcohol, sugars, and spices? It doesn’t. Kudos to Sint-Pieters for bucking the trend. The aftertaste is big and flavorful; there is a combination of all the flavors mixed (seamlessly) into one. The flavor profile is excellent.

Medium in body, low but natural carbonation; the mouthfeel doesn’t standout but doesn’t fail the beer either.

Drinkable? Yes. However, if I paid full price ($13) I might be a tad disappointed. I bet many BAs would not like this beer. They would call it tame; you need English sensibilities to really enjoy this beer. I like it. I purchased my 750ml in Omaha for, get this, $2.99. You can’t beat a beer on close out and then (I assume) miss-priced on top of that.

Photo of jgnatek
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark red/brown hue, huge brownish head, smell is faint, not very aromatic,

beautiful lacing ensues.

tastes of cocoa, mild sugar, no real spices or hops taking charge. very very drinkable.

hits on the front center of your tongue, no alcohol burn. very well balanced. nice smooth finish.

this is one of the only "Christmas" beers I have enjoyed. zinnebir is doing fantastic things and i urge everyone to try the other products as soon as possible.

Photo of aleyeast
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a large goblet

Deep full brown with some slight red highlights, tan thin head, but it holds.

Candied fruit smell, maybe light raisins

Falvor is similiar with hints of chocolate, very balanced, no noticeable hops and any spices are quite subdued and integrated. Some thin chocolate flavors on the finish.

Very drinkable and balanced, well done

Photo of emerge077
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clever label, nice looking bottle.

Pours a deep reddish brown. Two fingers of foam rise and fall in the Moinette chalice. Skim of foam uncannily resembles the continent Antarctica...hmm.

Smell is light, fruity, and pleasant. Predominant notes of green apple and pear.
A dark, bready malt hides in the background.

Taste is alot like the aroma, sliced green apple, pear, malty with an interesting Belgian yeast character. It's fairly simple, but pretty tasty, similar to a Dubbel. Alcohol is present more as it warms, but it's well integrated.

Mouthfeel is medium, tiny bubbles of carbonation make it smooth one, with a fairly dry finish. A fairly easy sipper, but maybe one to try once a year, due to the pricetag.

Label notes: The name Zinnebir is a play on the term "zinneke" - Brussels slang for "little bastards", referring to those young men living in the poor quarters of Brussels (where the Zinne river once flowed) who have one Flemish-speaking & one French-speaking parent. The brewer Bernard Leboucq identifies strongly with the "little bastards": he is French-speaking Bruxellois, now brewing in rough Flemish farm country.

Photo of
3.6/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle.

Almost opaque with a bright light behind it. Clear, garnet color at edges. Large, rocky, tan colored head.

Classic Belgian scent. Earthy. Alcohol and dark fruits - plums, cherries and raisins.

Initially, rather sweet. Some roast/toast characteristics. Phenolic. Bitterness in aftertaste - grassy. Spicy/pepper at finish, maybe clove.

Medium in body. Medium + carbonation. Drying.

Pretty good. Not sure why it is a Christmas beer, other than the spices. Reminds me a bit of 2006 Anchor OSA, but sweeter.

Photo of Westsidethreat
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a brown mahogony that just barely allows light thru in the thin areas in the glass. Head is pillowy and perfect...a foamy khaki colored mass resting peacefully on top of the brew.

S: Hazelnut, caramel, milk chocolate, a bit of coffee and s'mores.

T: Begins like chocolate milk with an interesting roasted kick to accompany it. There is a definite cream flavor which is working for me. Ever so slight sour twang can be found as well. Some subtle yeast action present and accounted for. Finishes cafe au lait with just a smidgeon of roastedness.

M: Full and creamy. The head really helps the mouthfeel out. Honestly, the best mouthfeel I've sampled in a long while.

D: Talk about a beer that defies classification. Is this a stout? Perhaps a brown ale? Or is it a porter? Belgian Dark ale? I wasn't all that impressed when I first cracked it open, but this one is growing on me. Well balanced to say the least with flavors working very well together. A winner.

Photo of akorsak
3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 750 mL corked and capped bottle.

A: The ale is a dark brown color, close to a dark chocolate. When held to light, brilliant ruby red hints emerge. The head is big, clocking in around 3 fingers.

S: The ale has a deep aroma, full of thyme and a distinctive yeast.

T: The ale has all the trappings of a Christmas beer. It is dark and full of spices. There is some chocolate, sour green apples, a hint of thyme. The lower alcohol fits in well here, giving the spices the main stage.

M: The apple and chocolate mixture is nice, giving a full sweet taste. The mouthfeel brings a depth of spices that just seems to work as a Christmas beer.

D: Very drinkable. The low abv and multitude of spices and flavors is very enjoyable. A good drink.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 750ml green glass Belgium bottle finished with a sunken unmarked cork and sealed with a simple brass colored crown cap. Plain brown paper bag main label has the words ‘Zinnebir Xmas’ above a picture of a pair of farm animals drinking beer together whilst over looking a crying sibling. This picture refers to the name, which means “Little Bastards”, as the label goes onto explain this is a reference to young men of the poorer quarters of Brussels where the River Zinne once flowed, who have one French speaking and one Flemish speaking parent. Described as a “Hand-Crafted Belgian X-Mas Ale” and listed at 6.6% ABV. No freshness date from what I can tell.

Appearance: Ruddy brown with a thick distilled cranberry sauce body, some ruby flashes when penetrated by artificial light. A host of fine streamers rise with a fighting spirit. Super looking head, once of those shaving foam quick rising masses to start with, but a very respectable ¼” thick when it rests and settles down. Light lacing, what does form during the drink tends to slip back down into the dark pool during periods of rest. Softly carbonated with a gentle, but finely dispersed effervescent fizz.

Nose: The nose…is….well…at first, a little strange. Not much popped out at first. Then as it warmed up a tad, I got Terry’s Chocolate Orange (dark) and a backdrop of fresh shoe leather entangled with crumbling rotten oak. Dry with a little sourness to add some excitement.

Taste: Pastel malts, roasted, dry, toasted and leathery with a mushroom aftertaste. Feels like candy sugar exhibits all its traits, except sweetness, in so much as an astringent parched bitterness strikes a chord against berry like dark-fruits. Smatterings of old paper parchments, wax seals and a dusty texture. Black treacle brings some respite to the desert arid tones and a fiery bonfire toffee escarpment bolsters the finish with salted beef. Lingering qualities from all of the earlier inputs with some sugar frosted plums in the swallow.

Mouthfeel: Extremely dry, too dry at times. Spiced malts pep up the palate but the even the dark fruits cannot add enough luscious hydration to balance the bone-dry parched and baron after effects which leave a searing demand for water.

Drinkability: The flavors are a delight, a lovely mix of intriguing A little more acidity would manage the dryness, but set against the malts it combines to forward a rather sharp offering that knocks this one down a half mark for me.

Overall: A very interesting Belgian Dark Ale, lots of twists and turns, fruits and spices, and I am sure neither are added to this brew, so that makes things even all the more interesting. However, it is a little rough around the edges and the dryness ultimately pulls too much from the rest of the beer and downturns the Drinkability. Nevertheless, and despite the price tag of Thirteen Sobs, it is well worth trying, once at least. An interesting newcomer.

X-Mas Zinnebir from Brasserie de la Senne
85 out of 100 based on 131 ratings.