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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: 1,872
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: 1,872
Photo of txbrewer
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark brown (slight red with the light showing through it) with a healthy head that holds for a few minutes and then fades to plenty of stuck lacing in the glass.

S - a little yeasty, a little toffee/chocolate bittersweet, just a touch of alcohol. When I first popped the bottle (champagne corked 750 mil) it had a bit more of the sweetness to it, once poured though, it diminished.

T - mild hops with the toffee/chocolate bittersweet coming through but not overpowering.

M - easy going, all the smells and flavors blend well enough to keep this going down quite easy.

OK, ever made that root beer float and had the head that just took a few to go away...that is how this poured. I am currently at the end of the bottle and there is still some lacing sticking around the pint glass. For me, this has just enough of the hops and toffee/chocolate to keep me coming back for another (and I am wanting a second bottle at the moment). I will be back for another of these and will be looking for other St Bernardus bottles in the local markets. (1,046 characters)

Photo of ByTor2112
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours up a shade of brown that leans towards being mahogany, ruby-reddish. Big foamy head that hangs out for a while but diminishes.
Aroma-Big fat bready-fruity goodness. If the flavor is anything like the aroma, it is going to be sweet.
Mouthfeel-Medium carbonation delivers a very sweet body with some booziness. The alcohol is not too hot, but present. The malt is obviously there but the fruit profiles along with rich bready flavors really dominate with this one. The yeast has chosen to put these to the forefront, and the malt backbone is disguised. Sweet and rich and tasty. The finish reveals a little of the Belgian-yeast-funk, a bit on the tangy side. The fruitiness of the aroma and flavor swings from fig to raisin to cherry to...This was a good one to share with others who are not big beer folks and everyone enjoyed it. (835 characters)

Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz caged bottle into pint glass - new bottle i think. Pours a deep mahogany brown with slight off white head. Nice deep dried fruit typical belgian dubbel aromas bu mixed with big spice character. Taste is of dried fruit and lots of spices - nutmeg, cinnamon, etc...its a bit heavy on the spice, but its still excellent. Deff worth having and a great brew for the holiday season...this would probbaly mellow a bit with some age. (442 characters)

Photo of mdagnew
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle bought from Beers Of Europe

Poured a deep mahogany red / brown colour... Creamy tan head poured big and foamy then faded slowly to almost nothing... very light sticky lacing...

Aroma - Very tart and spicy dark fruits (raisins, currents, prunes), molasses / dark muscovado sugar sweetness, light smokey notes, toasted maltiness, strong Belgian yeastiness, fruit loaf and alcohol soaked Christmas cake, cinnamon, light peppery hops, some rum hints...

Taste –- Dark juicy fruits (prunes, blackcurrents, raisins), pretty noticable alcohol notes, sweet nuttiness, medicinal, some liquorice, burnt toffee sweetness, toasty malts, spicy hops, some pine notes...

Feel - Pretty smooth and creamy... medium body...fairly drinkable even at 10%..

Overall - An excellent beer - pretty much how i expect Belgian Christmas beers to be... recommended... (860 characters)

Photo of TheQuietMan22
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured into a tulip. The cork practically jumped out with a little effort, and there was a loud and authoritative POP! I thought the beer would start overflowing, but it stayed calm. The color is a dark, ruby. Just as another reviewer reported, a massive head of dense, tan head developed after a gentle pour. It dissipated very slowly to leave a billowy lacing and trails along the glass.

Smell: Lots of dark fruit and sharp spice. Bready yeast, green apples, plum, figs, cloves, and pepper. It has a noticeable alcohol edge to it, which reminds me of brandy.

Taste: Mirrors the smell with the dark fruit and spice. The plum and figs create the backbone, and it is supported by the clove and pepper spice. Bready yeast, caramel malt, and green apple emerge after the beer has warmed. The alcohol is very noticeable, though not distracting; it fades as the beer warms, but provides a nice warming feeling with each sip, which is very appreciable in the winter.

Drinkability: Frankly, it justifies the price. And then some. This is a very tasty and potent holiday beer. It makes an ideal stocking stuffer. (1,119 characters)

Photo of Kendo
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a Duvel tulip. Body is medium brown in color with a 2-finger light tan head.

S: Very nice - dried fruits, especially figs. Also roasted chestnuts, holiday spices (cinnamon & nutmeg) and fruitcake-type scents. Smells like the holidays.

T: First impression: spice, fruit and malt. Taste of brown sugar and hazelnuts, also brown bread. Holiday spices (allspice, cinnamon) show up, as well as a generally earthy taste. Dark fruits evident as well (figs come to mind again). Some heat at the finish and down the gulley.

M: Nice fizziness; call it medium in heft.

D: Very good. A nice holiday offering, though I wasn't blown away by it. (649 characters)

Photo of OakedCanuck
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into Trois Pistoles goblet.

The beer pours a dark brown to black but with a hint of purplish edges. A nice light fluffy head that has ok lacing. The smell follows the taste. You can taste dark fruits (plum, currant, some raisin), figs, some spices and strong belgian yeast which is no surprise. You can definitely feel the alcohol in the mouth and the carbonation, sharp bite on the tongue. This beer is delicious and a great Christmas release. (465 characters)

Photo of ThirstyBird
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on New Years Eve 2009 from a 750 bottle

A - Pours a deep root beer reddish brown with a light tan head that turns into a skim coat. Nice lacing.
S - Sweetness from the heavy malt are apparent then comes the deep dark fruit odors. Raisins , figs maybe a slight spice note as well as some yeast.
T - As with the smell I get the sweet Malt up front with the dark ripe fruit. A tough of hops on the finish a little dry and spicy.
M/F - Full bodied. A bit sticky but smooth as hell.
D - This is a sipper. Quite sweet so limiting to one would probably be wise. (562 characters)

Photo of Tingle
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

St. Bernardus 12 is a favorite of mine, so I had to try the Christmas Ale.

Christmas Ale is definitely a bit fruitier, and less chocolately. Mouthfeel was a bit thinner than expected, but still not bad. I like the 12 slightly better, but you really can't go wrong with any of the Bernardus beers around the holiday season.. (325 characters)

Photo of micromaniac129
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a russett brown color with blood orange highlights. The deep beige head explodes during the pour and ends quite tall. Not that dense of a head it fades rather quickly with some spotty lacing.

The nose had a sour and vinagary smell, at first then notes of fruitcakes and yeast come into play.
My first sip and I thought how thin it was. I was expecting a thick and velvetty quad.
Plenty of dark fruits and malty grains plus a hint of citrus and all of a sudden it's like a fruitcake. My first couple of sips I had a good alcohol burn but smoothes out as I go.
The mouthfeel, I don't know, the high carbonation makes the feel of the beer explode on the palate.
A very good beer with a great depth of flavor. (721 characters)

Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Served in a chalice glass.

Appearance: Hazy brown with an [white] orange tinted head. Head is an off-white that settles super quick after one sip. At initial pour rises maybe to half an inch at best.

Smell: Light banana scent compliment with a dose of honey.

Taste: Lightly sweet with touch of nutmeg and banana. Also lightly spicy more like touches of nutmeg throughout the brew.

Mouth: medium and sticky. Bready feel, almost reminds you of a cinnamon raisin bagel.

Overall: incredible brew which took me by surprise. Mellow and strong, has pretty much everything you are looking for in a beer. (605 characters)

Photo of scruffwhor
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The perfect looking Belgian brew, deep, murky brown with dark ruby highlights and a great, thick retaining head. The only thing that its look is lacking is the bubbling. The aroma is very Belgian and awesome in that sense, but not very Christmasy. Makes me think of figs and sweet bread. The taste is very pretty sweet and complex. Lots of brown sugar with some with a few spices. Hints of clove and cinnamon. But just not as seasonal as expected. (447 characters)

Photo of Converge
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a 22oz goblet. This review was originally planned for yesterday, but long story short, it just didn't fit in. So, here we go! Bought the bottle in mid-August, so it's had a bit of time to mature.

A - Nice thick and creamy head. Deep garnet hue, with moderate sediment haze going on. Unrelenting head retention that leaves behind thick webs of sticky lacing.

S - Figs, plums, candi sugar, Belgian spices and yeast. Traces of dark chocolate, dates, and dried bananas.

T - Dark fruits, candi sugar, and Belgian yeast. Figs, dates, Belgian spices, and caramel malt. Finishes with some dark chocolate and green apple sourness. Little bits of brown sugar and dried cherries appear as well, but remain fairly muted. Light hop presence in the finish, but not nearly as much as other reviews hinted at. Alcohol presence is minimal.

M - Creamy smooth carbonation with a medium-to-big bodied feel. Fits well with the flavor profile.

D - My first BSDA, and a solid one at that. Doesn't exactly show off a whole lot of seasonal flavors, but I enjoyed it a lot overall. Sort of reminded of the Abt 12, but I liked this one a bit more. Nice and easy to drink, but the 10% ABV is disguised way too well; this one will certainly sneak up on you! (1,260 characters)

Photo of magine
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice.

Pours a very dark brown nearing black; cloudy and dirty. Has a fluffy tan head that sits about a pinkie finger width atop the brew. The silky smooth head sits nicely throughout the session. Sticky lace rims the glass all the way down. Very good looking brew.

Brew has a great smell; dark fruits, yeasts, spices. Has a nice fruit dominant nose. Smells good.

Brew is very smooth and has a malty fruity flavor. Yeasts, sweet dark fruits, spices. The head adds to the creaminess of the mouthfeel as you drink. The head on this one sets it apart. This frothy head sticks to your upper lip as you drink. For the style of brew, with the high alcohol, this is one of the best heads I have had for this style of brew. Finishes very balanced and only a tad dry. Sweet taste was expected and is about right for the style, but may put some off to the style. The alcohol is very well hidden. Really good stuff.

Very good brew to drink on a cold night and get ready for Christmas. Very well done flavors and mouthfeel; the added bonus, and what sets it apart from the others I have tried of this type is the great appearance. The velvety smooth head coats the tongue as you drink. Very good sipping brew. This isn't my favorite style of brew, but if you are going to go for a Belgian Strong Dark Ale this is maybe your best option. (1,345 characters)

Photo of Magpie14
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: deep brown with ruby hues shining though, spotty creamed off-white lacing. Served in a snifter...

S: spiced plums and cherries, sweet malts tones with raisins

T: creamy and rich with a spiced maltiness. Chocolate covered cherries, reminiscent of a port wine. Has a dash of cinnamon and cloves with poof of yeast/bread. Makes for a real nice winter warmer at the fireplace. On the sweeter side of life, but yet, well rounded.

M: creamy to the tilt, wonderful feel and amazingly soft on the tongue. Goes down real easy and can get ya in trouble if your not careful

D: one of the smoother beers and nicest christmas ales I have had. It was complimenting the cool brisk day we had and warmed me up real nice and fuzzy like. Try it and love it! (746 characters)

Photo of Fatehunter
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Big three fingers of head, a dark reddish/brown colored body.
Smells of pine, caramel and overripe plums.
Quite malty and the accompanying sweetness. A bit of lemon at the end, but not really bitter. Some plum and banana in the mix too. Great balance and flavors.
Medium body, slightly sticky texture. Carbonation on the high end.
Can't go wrong with this beer, though the high carbonation did detract from the otherwise amazing experience. (440 characters)

Photo of scootny
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A dark cola brown color with a sizable head of off white foam. Good lacing and retention. Aromas of fruitcake and rum. Bananas and toffee. Good Belgian yeast profile and a bit of sweet alcohol. Taste is much the same with a bit of bready malt at the core. Spiced and toasty. Raisins and figs really push forward here and the alcohol while well integrated is apparent in the finish. Finish is dry and earthy with a bit of fusel booze. Some good bittering. A warming and very complex beer here. Feel is thick and rich with a lightly prickly carbonation. Goes down nicely and the flavors develop nicely as it warms. A sipper for sure but you keep sipping often. Yum. (663 characters)

Photo of IronDjinn
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a 750 ml brown caged and corked bottle. A creamy, bubbley tan head crowns a murky, cloudy opaque nut brown body.

Malty and sugary sweet nose, dates, some grape and plum, floral perfume.

Malty flavour up front akin to dark dried fruits, some icing sugar, slick molasses, citrus blossoms, mild spices. Malty and spicy aftertaste.

Light, silky smooth mouthfeel, full and sticky on the finish, amazing for the high octane of this ale.

Deceptively drinkable, plus a great starter ale for the style, it's user-friendly and not intimidating. Perfect for sharing at holiday gatherings as well. (594 characters)

Photo of PaleAlien2
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Deep brown color with a HUGE head. Very murky appearance. Head erupts on this thing like a volcano.

Smell of fruit and alcohol are prevalent in the nose.

Actually surprised, for 10% alcohol this beer is very drinkable. Tastes of biscuits and malt and esthers. No real spices to speak of.

Has a silky smooth mouthfeel. Perfect.

Very good beer. (348 characters)

Photo of Absumaster
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very brown, almost black beer with a fading head. A thin layer of off-white foam on top.

Smell is malty with notes of roast and a fruity Belgian yeast.

Taste is lightly roasted, with a candisugary sweetness. A light bitterness, which is a combination of hop and malt bitterness. The yeast adds a nice fruity, Belgian taste. (328 characters)

Photo of kmo1030
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

pours a dark ruby brown. held up to the light, you can see there are bits and pieces dancing around, i think uncorking aggitated the sediment.
the aroma somewaht subtle, but is malty and darkly fruity. not much of the spicing that is present in the taste is in the aroma, just hints. there is a touch of lemon zest, or something like it, and also berry aromas.
the taste has got a rich malty character thats not too sweet. the same dark fruits come through, grape, berry, fig, a little plum. there is a substantial spice character, mostly cinnamon, but it contains a variety of other complexities, perhaps some clove and nutmeg. it's actually quite peppery too.
the mouthfeel is a medium bodied, with overactive, coarse, clumsy carbonation. i could go for a little more body a more manageable amount of carbonation.
the drinkability is a solid 4. the abv is very well masked, there's no trace other than the slight warming in the throat. it would be even better with body and carbonation adjusted a bit. overall, while not without it's flaws it's a very good winter beer that hits most of the right notes. (1,105 characters)

Photo of ISmith87
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - 4 - Dark red/brown mahogany colored beer that has a nice frothy off white head that leaves a nice lumpy lacing.
S - 4 - Dark fruits, plums, cinnamon, spices, belgian yeast, breadiness, bananas.
T - 4.25 - Dark fruits, plums, cherries, cinnamon. Definite belgian yeast with a nice breadiness to it.
M - 4 - Medium mouthfeel. Alc covered completely. Aftertaste is nice fruity cherry banana belgian awesomeness.
O - 4 - Good belgian beer. Nice and fruity. I'd have it again. (479 characters)

Photo of WesWes
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a cloudy brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich, roasted and crystal malt scent along with a fruity yeast aroma. It's warming to the nose with loads of fruity esters. The taste is good as well. It has a solid malt bill of crystal and roasted malts. It's complex with a warm fruity finish. The alcohol is right up front. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn fine seasonal. It's full flavored and warming; just what I want in the colder months of the year (585 characters)

Photo of Naugros
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

When opening Belgian beers with basket and cork I am wary of overflowing suds, but once in a while one of the more highly carbonated bottles doesn't do that and the gases release from the bottle and leave a fog lying in the neck. As you tilt the glass to pour they all wisp their way out of the bottle into the glass and them up and out. Fascinating...either that or I'm very bored.

Coppery brown, ruddy, close to purple is color with a high standing head that dissipates into a bubbly 1/2" layer, leaving behind clumps of lace on the sides of the glass. The carbonation is very evident as the bubbles climb the sides of the glass, building the chunky head.

Fruity esters rise from the beer and carry with them sourness and sweet maltiness, presenting as tropical fruits and cherries with some dark bread.

Another beer that has the taste falling short of the smell. It's still quite yummy, but I wish more of the esters translated. I was really looking forward to some subtle sourness balancing fruity and malty sweetness. That's sort of here, but the sourness comes through as vinous on the tongue and tropical fruits and cherries give way to the better known dark fruits, namely figs and raisins. Perhaps this is the effect of 10% alcohol coming through on your palate.

The vinous nature of the beer takes over, leaving you salivating as you drink and much of the aftertaste action takes place in the back corners of your mouth. Not bad, but not wonderful either.

So far this one of my favorite winter offerings this year. St. Bernardus rarely disappoints and this is no exception. (1,589 characters)

Photo of taez555
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled 12/31/07, reviewing from notes.

This beer poured an opaque tannish ruby body with a huge white head.

Nose was typical big Belgian. Loads of Belgian years and phenols. There's a sharp potpourri type holiday spice note Dark dry fruits and touches of caramel. There's a strong alcohol burn in every whiff. As it warms the spices really shine through.

Taste is medium to full bodied. Lots of dry tannins. Loads of big dark prunes, plums, dark raisins mixed with soft caramel, milk chocolate and mild espresso beans. There's a very course large bubbled mouth-feel throughout.

Overall a very good beer. It's no anniversary or abt 12, but still... worth every penny for a solid St. Bernardus. (697 characters)

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