Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

633 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 633
Hads: 1,893
Avg: 4.19
pDev: 16.23%
Wants: 172
Gots: 342 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website

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: 633 | Hads: 1,893
Photo of BeerNemesis
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale. 750ml. Dec. 2009 vintage

Rich reddish-brown color with a 1 finger tan head. Cloudy body with some sediment. Mild carbonation, mediocre lacing.

Raisins and figs were prominent. Brown sugar, spices and a malty backbone were also there.

Deep malty flavor, with raisins being prominent. Other fruity flavors (figs and pears maybe) were present. There was some alcohol burn, but altogether I didn't find it disturbing in the least. Semi-sweet finish.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability:
Smooth, dry, well carbonated and a medium body. Great drinkability. When served at around 55 degrees, you get a lot of complexity that isn't present at colder temperatures. As it warmed, I really started to enjoy and appreciate it more. The raisin flavor really opens up as the temperature rises.

Notes: I noticed many comments saying that there is not much flavor to the Christmas Ale. I disagree. It is very flavorful, if a little one-sided (in the raisin and fruity aspects). Perhaps they didn't let it warm...

 1,048 characters

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

Popped the cork and this exploded with foam. Had to wait 15 minutes before i could pour it. Not sure what happened. Off white head is thick and creamy. Body is clear and deep brown. Aroma is of belgian yeast with some spice and dark dried fruit. Alcohol is barely noticeable in taste. Sweet, fruity and malty. Feel is moderate and has the slightest tingle from carbonation. Very drinkable, but share it with a friend as the alcohol will seriously sneak up on you.

 463 characters

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

Poured a cloudy dark amber color with a dirty white head and good carbonation. Nose is malt, yeast, driedf fruits, spiciness and candy. Taste was of malt, caramel and candy with the added spice. Finish was nice, not as boozy as the 10% ABV leads you to believe. Good brew overall.

 280 characters

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

This stands out as one of my new favorite Christmas Ales. The aroma has a nice blend of spices, malts and cherries. From the first sip the great balance of cherries and honey mix with the malts and spices that evoke memories of Christmas.

While a very strong beer there is no taste of alcohol and even with the cherries, honey and spices this is not a sweet beer either. This is great for the holiday season.

 410 characters

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

Bottle from Kingdom Liquor, FL.

Poured hazy brown color with a large fizzy brown head that was mostly lasting with excellent lacing. Aroma was as complex heavy spicy nutmeg and yeast. Medium body with a creamy texture and soft carbonation. Heavy spice bittersweet flavor with a heavy bittersweet finish with medium alcohol bite.

Good brew.

 341 characters

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

This brewery is one of my favourites, so when I saw the Christmas Ale in Buffalo it was a no brainer.

Pours a rich dark brown with a creamy tan head that slowly dropped to a collar, but left some good lace going down. Sweet malt aroma, with some cinamon and chocolate mixed in.

Sone good yeastiness in the flavour, which gives off some mild bread notes, and a good shot of spice. Fruity sweet malts give a juicy raisin and date character, while some brown sugar adds to the sweetness. Decent so far, all the way up to the body, which is askew. Slightly too light for the style, and slightly too carbonated... a couple years should fix one of those.

I'm slowly going off these Belgian Strong Darks, as the sweetness doesn't appeal to me as much as it used to. That said I do think this is a nice example of the style, and would be a definite reccomendation for lovers of good Belgian beer.

 891 characters

Photo of bobjonesSD
3.99/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at O'brien's

It was poured on-tap into a chimay goblet with the silver edge - looked a nice dark brown/black with very little head likely due to the pour. It smelled terrific - dark and spicy with a fruitiness as well. The taste was also quite good but I expected a little more from the smell. Mouthfeel was merely ok - perhaps slightly more carbonated than I would have expected. Drinkability was good - I would have drank several more of these.

 455 characters

Photo of D23
3.98/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A) Pours a mahogany color with a fluffy off white head. Good lacing throught the glass.

S)Subtle hints of spice. Very faint No scent jumps to the front or overpowers. Also a hint of bananna.

T) Dark fruits and sweet malt. Alcohol taste is present but not overpowering.

M) Medium body ever so slight stickey finish.

D) Easy drinker given the ABV. As the beer warms the flavors come thru. Very enjoyable Christmas brew.

 470 characters

Photo of brystmar
3.98/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from its bottle into my Tremens snifter. The beer pours a nice darkish brown color with lots (2-3 fingers worth) of foamy head. Good retention of the head with plenty of lacing remaining on my glass. Smells strongly of various spices -- none of which I can pinpoint -- with a hint of mint in the background.

Given the spicy smell, I was expecting similar results in the taste department, but that wasn't the case at all. The flavors of malt and spice balance each other out well and led to a very pleasant drink.

Carbonation is just about perfect for this full-bodied brew; it has a pleasant mouthfeel overall. Much more smooth of a drink than I expected from its sharp smell. Cheers!

 693 characters

Photo of jbone78
3.97/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought this bottle in 2008, but the date indicates that it is a 2007. Let's see what it's all about.

Pours hazy brown with nice carbonation into my St. Bernardus glass. Signature yeasty dark fruit smell. Taste is different than the expected St. bernardus. You get an initial spice followed by a large figgy flavor. The dark fruit flavors fade into a vanilla/yeasty finish that is really nice.

This beer has not been in our local stores for the last year or so. But the next time I see it, I will buy more.

Merry Christmas

 529 characters

Photo of teromous
3.97/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: First of all the head on this beer is simply amazing. The head does not even want to recede! The beer itself pours a rich brown color and billions of tiny bubbles rise to the top. As expected from a head this powerful, it laces the glass and doesn't go away.

S: There isn't a spice smell at all. I guess I expected some from a Christmas beer. The room instantly fills up with a unique Belgian beer scent. There is a yeasty smell to the beer but not overpowering.

T: A sip of this gives off a very thick, rich, full mouth of...well, Belgian beer! It has a slight hint of alcohol but is very smooth. There is no spice to this beer, as it seems the beer is more of a winter warmer than a spiced holiday beer. It has a very earthy flavor, bordering on a light oak. It is a rich beer but not very complex.

M: It has a very lush mouthful and warms without burning. It seems to be lacking something in the aftertaste.

D: This is very drinkable. It would probably go well with a gamy meat without spoiling the palate.

 1,016 characters

Photo of BMan1113VR
3.97/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007. Good Looking muddy brown brew with a slight orange tinge. Head pours large and stays pretty well. Head is an off-white tan in color, creamy smooth in texture, and has nice lacing. Aroma is complex with cirtus hoppy-ness coming throught the most. Allspice and a light yeasty-dough aroma is second, followed by many other smells including chocolate, apple, and possibly even red wine. Flavor was pleasent, starting on the sweetish side and over a long duration finishing ever so slightly bitter-sour with defined fruit undertones. Medium in body with a lively carbonated but creamy texture, the overall mouth feel is clearly the best part of this brew. Pretty good stuff.

 675 characters

Photo of artoolemomo
3.96/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Almost all head and fortunately, the retention isn't great. The head is light and spicy beige while the body is a mauve, deep maroon that appears as a dull maroon with hints of garnet. A considerable amount of lacing is left behind.

Nose- The aroma from the bottle is strong and simplistic. Almost all bananas. A suggestion of cloves. Add a slight cream and it's almost Twinkies. The aroma from the glass is subdued. Faint banana, faint cream. Some cloves.

Taste- Banana and cloves on the forefront but because of the strength of the banana, the cloves seem inviting. Some brown bread, molasses, and aspects of brown sugar. Heavy on Belgian spice- cloves, coriander, but more than that, resilient cinnamon. A complex array of fruity esters which range from orange to lemon to raisin. The fruitiness builds as I drink this and becomes a positive aspect of the beer. Perhaps what I like best about this beer is the amazing balance and integration. It is not in your face like the last Quad I had (BBQ) and thusly, is more enjoyable. The spice (mostly cinnamon) is resilient and might be why they christened this their Christmas Ale. Fairly standard Belgian quad. That is to say, it's a good beer. Almost a really good beer. Slight cherry. Crisp and clean finish.

Mouthfeel- A little below medium bodied with ample carbonation.

Drinkability- Pretty easy going with an aspect of smoothness and creaminess to boot. Is it worth 12 bucks a bottle? No but it seems consistent with the style.

Overall- It is what it is. Another competent quad. Does that make it amazing, no. Still quite enjoyable .

 1,610 characters

Photo of gtn80
3.96/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Chimay chalice.

Appearance is a dark brown with some red highlights when held up to the light. Head is fluffy on the pour, settles to a nice coating of tiny bubbles throughout the glass.

Smell is pretty muted at cellar temps, lots of malt and dark fruits are subtle in the background.

Taste is surprisingly light for a 10% abv beer. Bit of black licorice at first, gives way to dark fruits, figs and raisin at the background. Tons of malt, very sweet, no hop bitterness or roastiness to speak of.

Mouthfeel is great. Creamy. The beer is heavy but the carbonation lifts it off the tongue. So smooth.

Drinkability is great, due to the carbonation it definitely isn't cloying. Flavors are interesting and light. Dangerously smooth at 10%.

 770 characters

Photo of Stigs
3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle served in an oversized wine glass / snifter

A - poured about a finger of loose bubbly khaki foam which quickly fell to a ring around the glass and small floating island in the middle. the beer is a dark and cloudy amber/brown.

S - regular St. Bernardus with a touch of santa. cinnamon, very dark and ripe fruits such as raisins and plums, hints of belgian yeast and grapes, finishes with a very light kiss of alcohol.

T - strong dark belgian yeast brings in a touch of the cinnamon and spice behind it. fruits of raisins and slightly sour grapes with a touch of doughy malt carrying it all. wonderful and festive.

M - typical slightly high carbonation but the sweetness adds a bit of overwhelming chewy and stickiness. overwhelming halfway into the first glass, the low point of this one.

D - a good slightly different twist on an exceptional beer. overall pretty enjoyable.

 893 characters

Photo of Kromes
3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: A dark, dark amber with ruby highlights and a thick off white head that sits on top of the beer. Good lacing down the glass.

S: Roasted malt, bready yeast, anise, dark fruit and spice.

T: A toasted brown sugar, molasses, and dark fruit flavor to start, the boozy flavors then kick in along with a lighter fruitiness, bitterness and belgian funk in the beer.

M: Lower carbonation and a sticky, syrupy feel and it leaves the mouth a little dry and with a peppery spice.

D: The beer has a very strong flavor. You can definitely taste and feel the alcohol. However, the beer is tasty and has quite a kick.

 608 characters

Photo of rfgetz
3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark copper brown with an small, dense off-white head. Clumpy retention, minimal lacing. Smell is of dark fruit (fig, prune, raisin) with mulling spice background. Taste is sweet dark fruit (fig, prune, raisin, date) with a mulling spice background. Velvety smooth on the palate with only a minimal alcohol burn. Very nice holiday brew with a full flavor profile without going overboard on any particular ingrediant.

 424 characters

Photo of Travlr
3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Amber brown, with a thin light tan head and a scant malty aroma. Full mouth, light chocolate start progressing to caramel with some spice. Sweet, but not too overly so. i'd like to try this one after laying it down for 3 or 4 years - hopefully will become more complex.

 269 characters

Photo of Dope
3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Best before 04.09.18. (current year batch)

A: Pours a murky, dark red/brown. Ridiculously tall and fluffy light brown head. Head fades slowly with great retention. Minimal fluffy dots of lacing.

S: Somewhat traditional BSDA at first, lots of dark fruits and heavy bready malt notes. Spices kick in shortly, nutmeg and cinnamon I would say. Lots of cloves too. Belgian winter warmer, eh?

T: Lots of christmas spices here. Loads of cinnamon primarily, but nutmeg and cloves are prominent as well. Maybe even allspice? A little dark fruits but the spices really shine here. Big bready malts on the back end with a little bit of stinging alcohol. Pretty clean and cinnamony aftertaste.

M: Medium heavy, very smooth. High carbonation.

O: A belgian winter warmer if I've ever had one. Very spicy, almost a little too one-note since the spices are so prominent. Quite tasty though, I will give it that.

 902 characters

Photo of elNopalero
3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pours a tan-brown color. It has a spicy aroma—I pick up a lot of the so-called holiday spice mix blended/balanced with an estery Belgian-style aroma. Upon tasting I find cinnamon and cloves dominate, along with an underlying Belgian quad taste. Warms nicely with little hint of its strength. Tasty.

 305 characters

Photo of homebrewhawk
3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml corked bottle served in a Blvd. Smokestack Chalice. Cellar temp.
Poured a deep brown/ruby. Medium bubbled off white head. Lively carbonation. Spicy aroma with a little alcohol. Hint of a musty smell.
Full bodied brew. Lots of sweet malt and raisins. Slight hop bite in the middle. Finishes with a little banana and clove.

Drank this one after everyone left on Christmas Day. Good way to finish the holidays.

 414 characters

Photo of hero27
3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Corked/caged 750ml bottle with the monk looking quite festive sporting a santa hat.

Pours a murky brown that is to be expected..a generous foamy head rests on top.
An array of different spice flavors from cinnamon & cloves to nutmeg & ginger..very unique. The earthy malts & boozyness also add some Christmas-y flair to this beer, that would be a fantastic Christmas gift to any beer lover (sounds like I'm trying to sell you the stuff)

The only disappointing thing I found was that the carbonation of this beer was off the charts..the first sip I took was nearly undrinkable because as soon as I'd take a sip, I had a mouth full of foam. After shaking up the bottle a few times, it settled down and the mouthfeel was much better..I'd suggest cautiously taking out the cork and letting this one sit for a while before drinking it.

I'm going to save a bottle for next Christmas, this should hold up really well.

 913 characters

Photo of nickhiller
3.94/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: thick, groggy and opaque chocolate brown. A crazy 2 1/2 finger tan head with unbelievable retention and great lacing.

S: musty, funky, yeasty. The acidity is immediately apparent. It smells a little bit like vomit (just being honest). Some cherry, dark fruits and banana in the background.

T: syrupy malt, Belgian yeast, finish carries some strong dark fruits--cherries, plums, blackberries-- and dried fruits--prunes, raisins,

M: medium bodied with sharp carbonation reflecting the aforementioned head. Finish is warm and soothing.

D: for me, the appearance is the best thing about this beer. I've never seen a beer as opaque, a head as thick with such good retention and carbonation as unrelenting. The beer itself is good but in a I've-definitely-tasted-this-type-of-thing-before kind of way. I'm feeling that ABV though, warming on a cold winter day, a great feeling.

 882 characters

Photo of bonbini26
3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ Track 84, Warwick, RI

A: Poured a dark, clear, ruby with a foamy white head, about 3 fingers, average swiss lacing during drinking

S: Almost like a pumpkin ale, minus the pumpkin, spices, fruity malts from a belgian ale you expect, and lingering hops

T: Very fruity and spicy. with belgian maltiness and sweetness,

M: The sugars coat the mouth along with the carbonation of the hops and alcohol is tame, but noticeable

D: This is a very nice xmas beer, complex, yet drinkable, another excellent brew from St. Bernardus, a must for any belgain fan

 560 characters

Photo of bigkahunas4
3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml into an oversized wine glass.

Nice, dark cola colored body, with a cookie dough head. Really thick lacing. Nose was of apple jelly and a bit of alcohol.

Brew was nice and creamy, with flavors such as apple, sweet breads, and alcohol.

This was tasty, but a bit too sweet for me to have too much of.

 321 characters

Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
93 out of 100 based on 633 ratings.