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Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

627 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 627
Hads: 1,871
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 9.09%
Wants: 157
Gots: 314 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: seaoflament on 10-23-2007

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (12) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Christmas Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 627 | Hads: 1,871
Photo of anteater
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle.

A: Dark dark brown with a medium light tan head, great retention.

S: Sweet belgian candi sugar, brown sugar, cherries, chocolate, belgian yeast. Light, intense, refreshing and invigorating.

T: Chocolate covered cherries up front, sweet malt and molasses. This is really delicious stuff.

M: Slightly dry, really nice drinkability.

O: I think St. Bernardus Christmas is a fantastic beer. It is one of the very first good beers, and perhaps the very first great belgian beer I've ever had and has always lived up to my first memories of how good it was. (585 characters)

Photo of BlindPig
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours with a huge tan head into the St. Bernys goblet. Murky dark brown body with some murky ruby hues. Great head retention and nice thick lacing that sticks to side of glass, a lot!
S- Huge spice, clove, light nutmeg, toffee, chocolate, some mint, blend between grass and weaker pine (almost like a Christmas tree), and one or two other things I just can't pick out make up a nice complex aroma.
T- Most everything in the nose comes out in the flavor. You can almost taste Christmas in a glass. Alcohol tickles the tongue a little bit and warms up throat very soothingly.
M- Medium body with high carbonation like most of St. Bernys beers.
D- St. Bernys has yet to let me down and once again they pull off another great beer. Wish you could find this in Vegas. I would love to have a few of these closer to Christmas. Also I think it would be great with a year or two on it. (880 characters)

Photo of Boto
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle: This one pours a very cloudy mahogany brown color. There was almost no head on it, and left no lacing. Nice nose! Christmas spices, caramel malt, faint dark fruits, some breadiness and Belgian yeast notes. The taste is very good. Rich malts, not too much sweetness, dark fruits, yeasty and bready, Christmas spices. Definitely a keeper! Has this on tap at Monks also and was equally good as the bottled version! (425 characters)

Photo of alkemy
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fluffy, voluminous creamy tan head. I had to cut the pour short for fear of overflow.

A—Cloudy, deep mahogany with the afforementioned head…which does not soon dissipate. Sticks to the glass like
Whipped egg whites.
S—Thankfully, the “christmas” spicing is absent. Plums and apricots. Also a whiff of muenster cheese as odd as that sounds.
Beyond that it has the typical banana and bubble gum.
T—Dark fruits dominate the taste. As with many Belgian’s, the taste follows the scent quite closely. It’s sweet, but the alcohol lends enough warmth to make this feel really balanced.
M—Pretty carbonated, but it has enough weight to keep it from “biting”
D—It’s good…it’s real good. The first few drinks, the warmth of the alcohol was noticeable, but that quickly faded. I think it’s less boozy than the abt 12. Very good. (854 characters)

Photo of CHADMC3
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The deep walnut brown body gives off only a slight white head with little noticeable carbonation.

Aroma is of sweet, dark fruit, molasses, and malt.

A slight spice such as nutmeg or cinnamon is faint amongst the dark fruits of raisins or fig with hints of yeast as well.

Little carbonation, medium body, dry, and an excellent array of character for the palate.

This is a fantastic beer. Tons of deep flavors, almost too easy to drink, begging you to take another sip, and the high ABV does not overwhelm amongst the various flavors. (536 characters)

Photo of patre_tim
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown with a light cherry tinge when held to the light. Topped with 3 fingers of beige fluffy head. Chunky snow like lacing.


S: Prunes, cherries, raisins, figs, Christmas pudding.


T: Cherries, orange, prunes, raisins, Christmas pudding, a light iron quality. Nutmeg, mace, cinnamon.


M: Thick, dark and syrupy, light foamy carbonation.


O: Excellent brew. Got online in Thailand, drank for the second time January 5th, 2015. Drank first at Turkey Creek, NC two summers ago. I went to the brewery near Watou last Christmas, and they had none left. I asked the head brewer to be sure to send more brews, particularly this one, to China. Was glad to have at least found it in Thailand. (704 characters)

Photo of BurlesqueRadio
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I bought this beer at a liquor store in downtown Denver two days before Christmas last year. I was spending the holidays away from my family living 1,500 miles from them and wanted to grab a sixer of ANYTHING. There were so many brews (even collaborations) by Lagunitas & Dogfish Head that I'd already tried from this particular liquor store so I was definitely in gear to snag something different.

I had my first St. Bernardus at a WOB on my 21st birthday and thought it tasted so delicious that I could barely remember my evening after 4 too many. The Christmas Ale had to hold up to the name so I gave it a shot.

I remember thinking that I needed to take smaller sips, an extremely sweet beer with a very strong mouthfeel and such a high ABV definitely indicated so. Soothing, velvety- Christmas-y. The sweetness reminded me of a concentrated caramel syrup, but in the best way possible. In beer. One of my favorites. (923 characters)

Photo of drpimento
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served with a smallish, cream colored head and lots of lace. Color is a cloudy brown amber. Aroma is super malty, vineous, yeast, caramel, toffee, fruit. Flavor's very similar to nose with toffee, caramel, malt, yeast, carbonic tang all in the fore! Body and carbonation are faultless. Finish is malt, carmel, toffee and a touch of fruit while of average length. Luscious beer! (377 characters)

Photo of glid02
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at the Brick Store in Atlanta.

Pours a slightly hazy brown color with ruby highlights. The head is one-finger of tan frothy goodness that sticks around for a while before dissipating into a thin, even layer across the top. Lacing is very good.

Smells of both light and dark fruits with an earthy sweet aroma. There's also a bit of spice in there - cinnamon or nutmeg.

Tastes very good. Somewhere between a trippel and a dubbel with a bit of spice. Pear and fig flavors meld seamlessly with hints of cinnamon and a slight touch of yeast. The dark fruit flavors seem to linger a bit longer than the light fruits. The alcohol is not a factor save for a nice warming sensation.

Mouthfeel is great. Smooth with subdued carbonation that coats the mouth.

Drinkability is great. The high ABV is not a factor except for making it a bad idea to drink too many of these. Really an easy brew to quaff.

Overall this is a very good beer that everyone should try this time of the year. (992 characters)

Photo of caddybuyer
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a caged and corked 750 on Christmas afternoon at cellar temperature. I bought this bottle last year so there is at least a year of age in this one. Looking forward to trying it.

A real foamer, this bottle.

A-Deep garnet brown with ruby highlights when held to light. Moderate clarity with a fair amount of sediment. Rocky, creamy tan head that doesn't budge even a few minutes after pouring. Amazing this head. Like whipped cream.

S-Sweet malts and dark fruits. Not a terribly pungent nose, but what I am getting is very aromatic. Hints of chocolate, and candied fruits underscored by Belgian yeast.

T-Dark fruits, marachino cherries, sweet malty yeast, and warming alcohol. I have not had a regular Abt 12 in a long time, but not sure how different this is than that. I don't recall the sweet dark cherry flavor that pervades this beer, so I'd say this holiday offering is a bit different. I'm liking it a bit better as well, but I'm a sucker for flavorful holiday brews. No holiday spices of note here, maybe just a hint of cinnamon. Call this liquid rum soaked fruitcake. YUM!

M-Creamy, silky smooth, a bit sticky, this is the perfect mouthfeel without being overpowered by efferevescence as so many of these Belgians tend to be. Spot on.

D-Drinkability? Well, I cracked this 750, and I'm damn well going to finish up this fine brew, but this one is a treat to be savored.

This is the first time I have ever tried this. Bought another earlier in this season to age for next year, now I am interested in cracking it open to see how it compares to the aged version. For some reason, these go on deep discount after Santa arrives. Heading to the beer store tomorrow to see what is left. (1,705 characters)

Photo of Metalmonk
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The pour results in a superbly fluffy head (two fingers), which crackles and deflates very slowly, leaving super-sticky styrofoamish lace on the glace. Color is a deep chocolate-brown in color, nearly opaque; difficult to see the bubbles feeding that mammoth head.

As a Christmas ale, it's appropriately fruity and spicy in the nose, recalling tart/young gooseberry and cranberry; light sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. Earth/mineral, shaved chocolate and a fairly assertive alcohol creep into the aroma.

Flavor stays on the fruity/spicy tip of the aroma , but on the tongue the fruits turn darker and the spices less sweet. Some white pepper and clove bite along with a fig/grape hint. Has a woody herbal/spiced tea vibe...and then with warming, it transforms. What I get after about 30 minutes is cinnamon roll--equal parts gooey, yeasty dough, caramel-ish qualities and cinnamon spice. Ghostly specters of root beer or Dr. Pepper work their way into the finish, and that is not a criticism, and hopefully not a cheapening of this beer's quality--just an approximation of another flavor characteristic of this complex beer.

Mouthfeel is wonderful, having a vibrant carbonation, a nice balancing velvet smoothness, and an overall airiness. A little bit of stick throughout the mouth.

No surprise that those behind St. Bernardus, monks or otherwise, would turn out an excellent Christmas ale. Their regular line (which is anything but regular) consists of some of the greatest beers in the world, and this one is no exception. (1,530 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at MacGregor's Grill and Taproom in Henrietta, NY.

Pours a dark brown, almost black. Belgian style huge head, 2.5 inches or so.

Smells like fruitcake, cherry, plums, raisins, and Belgian yeast.

Tastes similar- fruitcake, cherry, plums, raisins, and Belgian yeast- with strong dark fruits and fruitcake flavors- bready malts plus cherries, plums, and raisins give the fruitcake impression. Some cinnamon as well. Very sweet, not really cloying though, fortunately.

Thick, creamy body and mouthfeel. Low carbonation.

A great Christmas beer. Not quite as good as Abt 12, but still one of St. Bernardus' better offerings. (629 characters)

Photo of Stoneman78
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass
A- Murky caramel/orange hue, huge amounts of off-white frothy head that is effervescent and mostly sustaining, splatters of lacing
S- Nose is dark fruits, sweet belgian candy, alcohol, green apples, and spices
T- Initial taste is dark fruits followed by spritzy spices, peppermint, and bananas, finishes with sweetness and alcohol warming
M- Full-bodied, thick chewy texture, amped-up carbonation
D- Smooth and balanced strong ale, milder spice flavors and lively carbonation contribute to a unique taste profile, very easy-drinking but best enjoyed sipping slowly on a cold night (612 characters)

Photo of cjgiant
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap:
Second time having this beer on tap. First time I was generally impressed and not in a rating mood. This time confirmed that I should have been impressed.

Pour is a amber/auburn/brown, with nice off-white to tan head that films the surface through most of the pour. Lacing is significant on a washed glass. Nose is confusing. I get a nice scent, but I'm not sure it fits the style. Up front I almost get Sprite-like lemon-lime soda notes. This is backed, and in different sniffs overcome by and balanced by the normal dark fruit notes I'd expect from a quad. Maybe it's the Chrtmas spice that doesn't come through "properly" to me. I really like it, but not sure it's "to style".

Feel is actually somewhat lift and effervescent, which I think is the most non-stylistic flaw in the beer. Funny thing is, like the confusing smell, for lack, I like this as well, personally. The tastes are honey-sweet versions of dark fruits, tending towards candied versions thereof. The Sprite flavors come with the feel, and are noticeable to me in the background. There is very little bitterness to speak if, and whole I would describe the beer as fairly sweet, it's not syrupy sweet.

A definite must have during the holiday season. (1,241 characters)

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: Bark brown, cloudy with lots o bubbles. Big fat foamy tan head.
smell: Fruity and holiday spice. Distinctive banana. Very nice.
taste: Oh this is good. Banana with light holiday spice. Delish.
mouthfeel: A little on the light side.
drinkability: Delish goodness. The alcohol of a 10% is there but with kid gloves. (325 characters)

Photo of Tifore
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Melt Bar & Grilled. Poured into a snifter of sorts.

A - Beer comes to me with minimal head on it. Maybe a quarter finger but disappears fast. Is a deep brown in color and very clear and I can see some carbonation in the glass. Almost resembles rootbeer?

S - Smells absolutely delish. Lots of spice and very crisp smelling. No hoppy bitterness, no overwhelming sweet. Just spice and warm tones.

T - Tastes amazing as well. Lots of spice up front which fades quickly and is followed by a sweetness and warm notes. I can taste a bit of the alcohol but not much.

M - Mouthfeel is light and refreshing. Spice and vanilla notes hang around for a bit.

D - A very drinkable 10% beer. A winter, sit inside and enjoy a few brews beer. I really enjoyed this. Going to pick up a few bombers next time I hit the bottle store. (828 characters)

Photo of kkipple
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed a 750 of this to drink after Christmas with friends. It's been a while since I've had one. Love the bottle art. No idea how old this isn't.

A. Sint Bernardus Christmas produces a huge, 3 inch tall dense, moussy tan head almost immediately upon pouring. The beer is cola colored and dark. The head is impressive, but a bit much, and needs to fall before any 'headway' can be made on the brew.

S. Belgian all the way. Big dark malt sweetness, plus the candi sugar that takes it up a few rungs. Phenloic-spice, pepper, heavy on the Belgian yeast now, then pear, candi sugar, light banana, black bread, sweet, smooth, dark fruits... covers a highly diverse amount of smells and does them very well. The nose here is both complete and inviting, and while you can pick booze up, it is very restrained for 10%.

T. Classic Belgian Strong Dark, but with more spice that you might be used to. Sweet and estery-sour, raisin and dark prune / plum, then at turns rummy, spicy,sweet, cola-like. The Belgian character here is wonderful, lending a sprightly complexity that is (to me) better than the normal Abt 12, which itself is no weakling. This tastes aged, meaning all the flavors have blended and rounded out, and the booze is nowhere to be found until you get that welcome warming feeling. Soft, yet boldly flavored, and delightful.

M / O. Full bodied beer for sure, but smooth and sweet, the malt finish fading out slowly, lingering. What a tasty brew this was! If this is fresh, then it is a tremendous recipe. I really do think this is the second best beer I've had from this brewery, after the 60th Anniversary. Saint Bernardus Christmas is a true Belgian classic, and one that will be finding its way into my glass a good deal more often. Highly recommend. (1,765 characters)

Photo of BeerImmediately
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Flying Pig in Malvern on Friday, to help celebrate the 75th anniversary to the end of Prohibition!

Dark copper-brown color with minimal head.

Smelled of deep, ripe fruits (raisins in particular), with complex spices including nutmeg and cinnamon, and definite bready / yeasty quality.

Tasty, indeed. Everything from the nose transferred over, with a little touch of hop bite and maybe some clove.

Pleasant carbonation, and really nice drinkability - had no idea this was 10% ABV.

A MUST-HAVE for the holidays!! (533 characters)

Photo of jtd1969
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - reddish brown color with lots of lacing and carbonation

S - sweet Belgian yeast, some Christmas spices, dark fruit

T - dark fruit like cherries and plums, some fig, hints of nutmeg and cinnamon

M - full bodied, medium-high carbonation, smooth

O - Really really good. I could drink this all Christmas. Alcohol is so hidden, Special beer. (344 characters)

Photo of bbkd3b
4.41/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage poured into a tulip glass. The smiling monk always brings joy to me.

Beautiful dark ruby body shoots out of the bottle to give life to a stunning, 2-finger head. Light tan, and with massive retention, the two combine to make up one of the best looking beers I've come across.

A very sweet aroma drifts up the nose. Cinnamon, hints of nutmeg, and a thick serving of plums, raisins, and other dark fruits give this beer an attractive scent. No trace of hoppiness, alcohol, or yeast to be found here. Just a really thick, lovely smell. Makes me think of the holidays.

The creamy body almost destroys the tastebuds with a wave of dark fruits. It's so potent it's hard to describe. Letting it settle a bit reveals a much more subtle, likable side of the brew - the sweetness. A nice serving of sweet malts and a trace of brown sugar finish off the brew. It really massages the tongue with its carbonation. Clean finish, and a hint of alcohol to remind the drinker that this is no beginner's brew! Really well-done.

Overall/notes - Christmas in a bottle! I've heard and said this phrase before, but it here it really rings true. It definitely needs a bit of warming, but you'll be rewarded in kind. With the exception of that first shockwave, I had little to no complaints about this ale. Drink and be merry! (1,319 characters)

Photo of Andrew041180
4.41/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured as a nightcap on Christmas Day, 2014.

Deep brown mahogany with ruby highlights in the correct light. Strong carbonation maintains a thin head and accentuates a nice feel. The flavor is breadier than I expected, almost marzen like, but obviously with greater potency. Slightly spicy character, but more related to the yeast than actual spice additions. Quite dry finish, with barely a hint of alcohol. Lovely beer. (425 characters)

Photo of BigCheese
4.41/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brother got me a 750ml for christmas, paired with some top notch BBQ from Blue ribbon in arlington. A great contrast to the salty/savoryness of a heavy meal.

A: Pours a dark ruby red, semi transparent, with a super huge frothy white head that lasts througout. Leaves some dark lacing. Really beautiful, a massive head that locked super sticky, like melted marshmallows.

S & Taste: Lots of dark fruits, brown sugar, prunes, chocolate covered cherrys, rasins, maybe even some cognac like notes. Some sugar candies, and that classic super funky belgian yeast. A little bready, with some clove/all spice. Very tasty, a good dessert beer, that contrasts well with smoked meats. Would also go well with salty cheeses, or cured meats. Very rich but not cloying, which was impressive. Pretty well balanced, and hidden ABV.

M: Rich syrupy, very carbonated for richness. Rather drinkable for ABV/OG.

O: I dont usually like belgian Quads or Tripels as their often cloying. This was quite excellent though. Would pair great with christmas dinner. Could go well as a dessert on its on, with dessert, or in contrast to a savory dish. Too much flavor for white meat or blander food. One of my favorite belgians. (1,201 characters)

Photo of ujsplace
4.41/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice.

Big fluffy antique-white long-lasting head that leaves very nice lacing around the glass; leaving a chunked island in the middle - nice... The brew is a deep, dark, brown (nearly black) with hints of ruby red. Good looking glass of ale.

Smells of spicy, baked bread, yeasts, sweet malts, raisins, cherries and some other dark fruits.

Tastes of sweet over-ripened dark fruits - cherries, rasins and maybe apple as well as some sweet candied malts. Nice hop bitterness finish and a warming alcohol presence.

Thick and slick; good carbonation and hearty.

A very good Belgian strong dark ale, which doesn't come as surprise considering the source. (672 characters)

Photo of MattSweatshirt
4.41/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opening this thing is a danger to ones face as the cork skyrocketed off as soon as I untwisted the cap. Took a minutes to locate the cork. Keep away when opening for safety's sake.

Poured the 750 bottle into a chalice producing a huge bubbly/sudsy off white/tan head with a brown body and red highlights. Head sticks around forever!

Stereotypical strong dark smells of dark fruits. I can pick up on some of the “holiday spices” going on but I mostly get cinnamon and nutmeg. If theres anything else I don’t know.

The spices and dark fruit are what hit first but theres a nice caramel thing going on and the hop finish is wonderful. Love this thing. I almost want to give it a 5.

Lovely smooth medium body. Not a bunch of carb that I was expecting since it blew the cork off. That’s prob where some of it went. Leaves a little tongue tingle. (853 characters)

Photo of DaveHS
4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage.

A-Cork comes out with a loud POP. Even with a gentle pour there's 2+ inches of foamy, porous head, speckled with brown dots of what I can only assume is yeast. Reduces fairly quickly, leaving spotty, intermittent lacing.

S-Musty overripe apples, cloves, coriander, dry earthy hops. Not a bold or spice forward as many other Belgian Christmas releases.

T/M-Very subtle and delicate, considering the style. I'm used to Belgian Christmas beers taking a more bombastic approach to elements like spicing and density of the mouth feel. This is a straightforward, well made dark strong ale. I doubt this was made using any traditional holiday spices. The soft, creamy body ebbs and flows, exposing soft black licorice and marzipan flavors. Notes of caramel and plum round out the corners of the palate, leading into an exquisite, simple finish that lingers just long enough, not overstaying its welcome but imprinting trace flavors on the back of the throat. Leaves you wanting more.

O-A typically classy, high quality beer St. Bernardus. I expect this bottle would be fantastic with a few more years on it. (1,118 characters)

Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
93 out of 100 based on 627 ratings.