Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
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Ratings: 1,426 | Reviews: 576 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Agent1:
British Columbia (Canada)
4.3/5 rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Finally, after two years of wanting to open this 750ml, it has been poured and left to warm in my Watou glass. I am excited to see how this recipe will differ from the Abt 12, as it is still one of my all-time favorite beers. Let's see how the Christmas Ale compares!
Appearance - Very active. Held up to the light, you can see that this is fairly carbonated, creating an amazing beige head. Bubbly and creamy. Heavy lacing. A deep, deep brown with a faint ruby hue.
Smell - Ripe cherries and fig, heavy malts with a strong breadiness. A little bit of yeast and liquorice is noticeable, too. Lots to pick up here. Mostly dry fruits, some spices and alcohol. In fact, the alcohol is surprisingly pungent on the nose (definitely in your face). A light acidity consisting of orange peel, lemon but mostly cherries. Faint hops are present as well.
Taste - The alcohol definitely cuts through more than the Abt 12. It seems to have more edge. Dried cherry is the most predominant ingredient in this beer for me. Smooth Belgian candi sugars and plenty of toffee. Bready, like most St. Bernardus products. Faint notes of herbs and spices nearing the finish (perhaps nutmeg and cinnamon, but that may be my imagination!). Curious to know if this is aged in cognac casks, hence the cherry. Figs, liquorice, bitter orange peel, dry hops and alcohol. Again, the abv is definitely more noticeable compared to the Abt 12. Not sure how I feel about this...
Mouthfeel - This travels all throughout the mouth. Very warm and smooth. It stimulates the entire palate. In this sense I really appreciate it, but on the other hand, the alcohol pierces the tongue a little too much. It is not as hidden as the Abt 12 and a little less balanced due to this.
Overall - Personally, I do not find this ale nearly as balanced as the Abt 12. It is a great Christmas beer, but maybe not as quite as good compared to others I've recently had (see my other reviews). I love the cherries in this beer and I certainly appreciate the label! Fairly festive and the dried fruits and cherries really bring out an interesting quality to this. A solid Christmas ale.
Serving type: bottle
12-26-2011 02:15:41 | More by Agent1
More User Reviews:
4.23/5 rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25
Large 75cl bottle (2012?) served in a large Piraat tulip.
A: Dark but clear red-brown body. Large, durable, off-white foamy head,with exceptional lacing. Patchy sticky lace decorates the glass well after tipping.
Aroma: Dark fruits and dark bread crust. Faint spices. yeast and an unfortunate touch of must comes with the yeastiness.
Flavor: Sweet, but not overly so, with hints of toffee and brown sugar. Hints of spices including nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. A suggestion of rum. Dark fruit in abundance. No mustiness, thankfully. Complex and layered. Faint, ripe banana. Loads of depth here, and other flavor components come and go, adding to the enjoyment of this great ale.
Feel: medium body. Medium-heavy but soft carbonation makes for a light and lively feel.. Smooth, sticky and gently warming.
O: More like an ABT 12 than St. Bernardus Prior 8. Better than the Prior 8 and, if not for the aroma, it would be better than the ABT 12 too. Despite the Xmas theme, quite enjoyable in the summer. Highly recommended.
Serving type: bottle
06-27-2014 20:32:25 | More by chinchill
3.81/5 rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
even In the summer this beer is good.
slightly cloying but the spice kind of balances it well.
A-brown with a lot of carb and foam
S-spices , molasses, sugar , yeast and a bread or dough quality
T-almonds ,oak or wood, vanilla , cloves , cinnamon , dried cherries.
M-heavy carbonation , sweet , heavy
O-I like this beer on a chilly evening when I only want one beer .
Serving type: bottle
06-15-2014 00:27:04 | More by steelersfan6669
Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,426 ratings.