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: 1,867
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 9.09%
Wants: 156
Gots: 312 | 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: 1,867
Photo of Dodo2step
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

P- Al's of Hampden

A- a frothy mountainous four and half finger head. Color is that of iced tea or prune juice.

S- dark candied fruit, raisins, plum and brown sugar. A notrsilating smell. All the smells complement each other perfectly.

F- the plum and raisin comes out more in the tongue. carbonate brown sugar malts but all in all very nice.

M- like a chewy oatmeal raisin cookie. Carboanted at first but it tapers off as it goes down.

O- a heavy beer so it took me a while. i savored it thought. this is one of the best i have ever had. (543 characters)

Photo of beergoot
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark copper body topped with a thick, sticky off-white head. Figs, licorice, holiday spices, and some alcohol notes wrapped up in the aroma. Sweet, malty, spicy, boozy flavor; well-blended and intriguing taste surprises with every sip; brown sugar and molasses; medium alcohol warmth melds with a gentle hop bitterness finishes the taste experience nicely; slightly phenolic. Medium-heavy body; vinous; wet and juicy.

A very well-done holiday beer. Big and beautiful with excellent balance and complexity. Festive flavors abound and make for a near perfect beer to sip on a cold, winter afternoon while sitting with a crackling hardwood fire nearby. (650 characters)

Photo of MeanGene
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Big ol' 22 oz bomber into my Ayinger Celebrator glass.

I've had the pleasure of having this beer last Christmas for the first time and thought it was terrific. Went back the next day and our local store was all out.

Luckily, our local Wegman's picked it up this year in abundance!

Pours a dark red with a one-finger white head with formidable lacing.

Smells like a Belgian with winter spices

Taste is terrific. Admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of Belgians...I like them don't get me wrong but I'm hard to really impress. This is out of this world though. Good amount of winter spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc) with a nice finish

Mouthfeel is very satisfying...stays with you for a few minutes but really pleasant.

Drinkability is higher than average for a big beer...still, wouldn't want to drink more than one in a night!

Pick it up!! (839 characters)

Photo of spointon
4.64/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at the Bavarian Lodge in Lisle, IL. Served in a stemmed tulip glass.

A= This ale poured a slightly murky mahogany brown color with a 3/4" light tan head. Lots of evident carbonaton release kept the head at 1/4" all the way down the glass.

S= I found a lot of Belgian charater, malty sweetness, carob, and a hint of spice in the aroma. Very nice.

T= Incredible restraint on the spices! The flavor was mostly a rich dark Belgian strong, but those spices just kept surfacing and then disappearing before I could get a good read on them. Superb balance of spice to everything else. Speaking of which, I also noted caramel, treacle, and some dark fruitiness (raisins, figs, and plums). Some spicy alcohol in th efinish but not as much as one would expect at this ABV.

MF= Medium bodied with a soft and velvety feel despite the very obvious and active carbonation release. Nice warming quality from the alcohol.

D= Really an exceptional beer and easily the best "Christmas ale" I have had to date. Dangerously drinkable despite the big ABV. (1,059 characters)

Photo of merlin48
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Corked and caged bottle found at Pappy's Beer Store out in the middle of nowhere a couple miles north of Cumberland Gap. Served slightly chilled into a St Bernardus goblet. Pours a clear, but dark, chestnut body that has an exceptional ruby glow when held to light. Beige head retains very well and leaves some classical sheet lacing.

Aroma hints at the bountiful Belgian flavors to follow. Lots of dark fruits, bubblegum, Belgian yeasties,and a plethora of malty attributes that include caramel and milk chocolate. A hint of tart cherries underneath.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, satiny and full bodied with a moderate carbonation.

Taste seems to be dominated by dark fruits. Lots of dates, figs, and raisins. Plenty of caramel notes. Bubblegum and Belgian yeast notes. Damn! What an expressive malt base-teasing with nuttiness and a touch of molasses. Hints of earthy and floral hops add somewhat of a bitter balance. Dark rum notes in the middle and into the finish remind you that this is 10% abv. Finsihes with an earthiness and maltiness that lets you know this is a genuine Trappist experience.

It's been way too long since I've savored one of these special brews from these smiling monks. Absolutely exceptional brew here. (1,238 characters)

Photo of Kbogac
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice from a bomber. Huge foam! Maybe two inches of thick creamy head that slowly dissipated to a nice 1/4 inch layer that lasted to the end. Great lacing too. Scent is dark fruit, molasses, a little orange and clove. Taste is similiar, dark fruits and molasses. Good carbonation with a medium mouthfeel. Overall a great beer. I was defiantly wanting more when it finished. Highly recommended. (409 characters)

Photo of Philly82785
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my favorite Christmas brews. Pours a nice dark brown, with several inches of head. A nose of banana, raisin, and cloves. Flavor of raisins, figs, and a tad boozy. Very malty with little to no hop presence. Has a nice velvet mouth feel. (250 characters)

Photo of BobZ
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle of the 2009 vintage (Aged a year in my cellar) poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Rich dark brown with a 1/2" head that dissipates to about a 1/16". Very nice lacing throughout the beer.

Smell: Like the Abt. 12, dark fruit, Belgian yeast, and a hint of spice. Much more spice than the Abt. 12 for sure.

Taste: Excellent, a spicier version of the Abt. 12. Again, the dark fruit, the spice, the Belgian yeast. Just a delicious Christmas beer.

Mouthfeel: Very, very, smooth. Which is surprising as it is highly carbonated (the cork "shot" out and it gushed).

Drinkability: Great flavor, smooth, ABV very well masked, an easy drinking beer. (660 characters)

Photo of jtinks
4.61/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a corked 750ml bottle in a de koninck "bolleke" glass...nice reddish color with about a three-quarter-inch head. quite delicious. beer like this almost makes a chicago winter worthwhile. smells like melting caramel and tastes very malty. i think i detect some coriander notes in there. (297 characters)

Photo of Mavigo
4.61/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this from Discount Drinks in Farmington Hills. Served in a snifter.

A: Pours a hazy, amber-mahogany color, very bubbly, with a 1/4 inch beige head that dissipates after a few minutes leaving some patches of lace.

S: Great aroma, plums, dried fruits, bananas, spices, cinnamon, cardamom, yeast, malts, wheat

T: Tastes awesome. Very sweet, definitely a quad. Very rich and robust, dark fruitiness, complimented with yeast, malts, spices.

M: Full bodied with ample amounts of carbonation, well balanced, great flow, great taste.

O: This was awesome, Merry Christmas! Another great beer from St. Bernardus. A bit expensive though. (638 characters)

Photo of mooseo
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

750ml bottle into snifter.

A - Dark brown with ruby highlights. A titanic off white head sticks around until the end.

S - Banana, dark fruit, plum, bready malt. Traces of herbal spice and alcohol.

T - Dried dark fruit, fig, plum, banana, Belgian yeast. Bready malt provides a solid backbone. Sweet and complex. Alcohol is surprisingly muted.

M - Silky and creamy. Full bodied, high carbonation. Warming alcohol.

O - A delicious quad. This beer evolves as it warms, bringing out more flavor and complexity. Perfect to wind down with on a cold winter day. (559 characters)

Photo of KonigObHops
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours a dark brown, slightly cloudy with a thick, off-white head that takes a long time to dissipate. Good Belgian Lace.

The beer smells sweet and the alcohol is already present.

The initial taste is sweet, sugary, and fruity. In the middle, the alcohol is very present, with hints of spice (nutmeg? coriander? cinnamon?) along with the fruity taste. The finish is crisp and sweet. This beer is like candy in a bottle.

The mouth feel is sharp and crisp.

Overall, this is a great Christmas Ale. It is not as rich and spiced as many Christmas Ales and you need to be in the mood for an extremely sweet Belgian Ale, but if you are, then this is an amazing beer. (667 characters)

Photo of rye726
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Head is a bit thin, but the beer is a rich rosewood color. Nose of dark candy malts, ripe fruit, christmas spices, and Belgian yeasts. The taste is sweet and malt strong but well balanced by the spices and herbal, peppery yeasts. Full body and perfect carbonation. Never a bad beer from Bernardus. (297 characters)

Photo of kkleu357
4.6/5  rDev +10%

From notes on 12/12/13

Very sweet smell. Kind of like bubble gum. Nice shiny brown pour. Awesome taste. Sweet, malty, caramel, and bananas. Very fine beer. (156 characters)

Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: 1/2" tan head over brown liquid.

S: Pears, green apples, green grapes, cherries, strawberries, grass and flowers.

T: Strawberries, pears, cherries, figs, dark grapes, biscuity malt, and grass.

M: Medium viscosity and and high level of foamy and soft carbonation.

O: One of the best Christmas Beers I have ever had. Somewhat dry and not too sweet, the flavours of the yeast are fantastic. (394 characters)

Photo of stevoj
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Schwing! Sitting around on Christmas Eve and sipping this beauty. Nice sour smell of dried fruit and molasses, dark, dark brown with oily skin of a head.Flavor repats the fruit theme with a little sweetness, alcohol isn’t noticed until its on its way down your throat. Really, really good! (291 characters)

Photo of megahurts4
4.59/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale

Appearance: Dark red with lot of good lacing.

Smell: Nutmeg, spices, and yeast.

Taste: Nutmeg, yeast, and warm malts.

Mouthfeel: medium and smooth.

Bottom line:
This is a very good beer. It is very smooth and warming. The malts compliment the yeast and give a nice inviting drink. I just want more. I really like this beer. I'm glad I have a second bottle for aging. (399 characters)

Photo of pjwilson
4.59/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured in to Chimay chalice.

A: good quad amber

S: sweet figs brown sugars

T: so sweet so good. Classic quad greatness

Mouthfeel: yep it's soft

O: as good as Abt 12

Yeah it's great. Made the mistake of starting this too cold. Opened up after warming (255 characters)

Photo of wisrarebeer
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: deep copper-red color, incredible rich pillowy tan head that kept it all the way, clear
S: milder nose, rich roasted powdered malt and marmalade with earthy leather
T: full taste, no readily noticeable EtOH, just a bit in finish, incredibly smooth and rich with deep chocolate and roasted malt flavors
M: rounded with incredible depth and balance, tastes like it's been aging for years (388 characters)

Photo of tavernjef
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a dark brown to settle a nearly mat black with a small sense of brownness to its body. Very heavy looking and an impressively tall capping to top it off of light crispy brown foam thats a bit rough and tumbled. Kinda crunchy looking at first but developes into a moderately creamy bubbleness and density as it sits. It keeps well and stretches all sorts of wonderful lacing that looks of wet powdered sugar.

Nice lofty aroma of cookie dough and spice. Crisp yet round with a full on malt tilt of breads and dark fruits. Mostly figgy, touch of raisin, perhaps some dates and molasses covering the big breadyness. Nice yeastyness to it which seems to be adding a root beerish type of hints to its dryness. Slender hops add some grassyness to its spicy complexity which included some anise, cinnamon, mint, and ginger cookies.

Flavors are bold, lasting and carry alot of what the smell leads to with its big maltyness and yeastified balance. Firm grip of dark candish malts leads right in with a nice holiday cake-like dimension of figgyness first, then dark cherry, dates, chocolate covered raisins, and then the peppy spices. Notes of root beer, anise, pepper, carrot cake, and ginger make their way in and out of the malty doughy darkness but linger mostly across its finish with a slender, delicately woven dryness of grassy hops. Pretty damn solid! Perhaps not quite a match to the Abt 12, but damn if its not close!

Feel is big, bold, and beautiful. The girth is massive in the body of this stuff. Heavy yet smooth, crunchy and crisp yet creamy with a whole lotta malts to create an exceedingly thick bread/cake-like structure of body. Not to mention the subtle details of yeasty play, dark fruity tang, perfectly intensed warmness, hoppy dryness, and spice. Which all lasts forever and a day the second it spills on to your palate.

Wow! Great stuff! No big surprise really. St. B knows how to impress and this is perfect for the holidays! (1,957 characters)

Photo of RandomExile
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A: mid-brown, prominent rising bubbles, partly translucent; light brown persistent smooth silky head; bands of intricate, frosted lacing I've never seen before.
S: fresh and malty, faint banana, enticing
T: banana, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, a hint of bubblegum, a yeasty floor that holds it together, an after-finish of apple peel
M: crisp, on the dry side, fresh but present
O: Served in a snifter, the appearance is a magical wintry snowglobe with reverse snow (streaming up, of course) which could only be improved by a deep, less muddy color. The nose is fresh and inviting, but I wish it were deeper and richer. A subtle and complex quad which somehow betrays no sign of it's 10% abv. Remarkable.

12oz / Snifter / Victoria Gastro Pub, Columbia, MD (752 characters)

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This comes out of the tap an opaque dark brown with a thick pale tan head. Aroma is very hoppy and spicy, inviting a taste. Flavor does not disappoint - it is mainly hoppy with spicy overtones and a spicy, evergreen aftertaste. Texture is very smooth and cooling. An excellent winter brew. (289 characters)

Photo of PorterHall
4.57/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance:750 ml bottle with Santa Claus garbed Monk. Poured into snifter. Head resembled "proofed yeast;" as it waned it lovingly laced the glass.

Smell: The heady aroma danced with yeast and spice, leaving no doubt that I was drinking a Belgian brew.

Taste: This "living ale" was alive with carbonation; not too much, it was bubbly yet smooth. The alcohol was present but always held in check by the lusciousness of the treacle malt. Just enough hops to keep the maltiness in check.

Notes: Merry Christmas to me! (518 characters)

Photo of GatorBeerNerd
4.56/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a dark amber brown with a couple finger thick fluffy tan head. The head clings to the side all the way down. This one could be the post card for a tasty looking beer.

S: A very subtle fruity smell along with the characteristic aroma of Belgian yeast mixed in. I like the aroma a lot, but there are a lot in this style that are more inviting.

T: One sip and you know this is a St Bernardus brew. It has the classic yeast taste that is evident in all of their line. There is a fruity taste and hints of brown sugar as well. The alcohol definitely warms in the after taste but it is hidden well in the mouth. There is no alcohol burn at all. In the end I marked this down slightly since the taste isn't very complex, but I really enjoyed this one.

M: For my tastes, this one has the perfect amount of in mouth carbonation as well as an excellent viscosity. Rolling it around in the mouth is almost as enjoyable as each swallow.

D: Even though the warming affect of this one makes you not be able to knock it back as fast as you might want, I still gave it a 5. That is because this one it is the most drinkable of this style I have ever had. For a winter warmer, it is easy to drink.

God bless St Bernardus, they make some fine beers! (1,245 characters)

Photo of stevecee2003
4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have only just seen the St. Bernardus "Christmas Ale", but apparently it has been around for a while. Since 'Bernards is the highest ranked beer I've ever drank (according to Beer Advocate) I simply had to try this Christmas Ale.

APP: Pours dark and murky, but thats not a particularly bad thing. Interestingly, like other reviewers, upon each successive pour the head responds much more favorably. Don't know why, but it is interesting. Dark with mahagony colors.

SM: Like a few others I can smell the rum and mollasses. Plus it is definately spicey in a pumpkin sort of way.

Taste: I can taste how it is a very well made beer. It is special. Up to the standards that I and many others have put upon St. Bernardus. Its just that this taste is not my taste. I prefer IPA's. But certainly I can appreciate this well-crafted flavor. It's all there, cocoa, yeast, and some spice.

Drink/Overall: I'm certainly glad I tried it. Well worth a taste-testing. Certainly a high quality beer. I have had my bottle for this holiday season, and I can see how it might be one-bottle-worthy for each new holiday season. (1,114 characters)

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