Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
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Ratings: 1,439 | Reviews: 576 | Display Reviews Only:
5/5 rDev +18.2%
Poured into a Duvel tulip glass. Pours dark caramel brown with a thick, eggshell colored head that dissipates slowly. Plenty of lacing is left on the side of the glass during consumption. There are aromas of banana, spices such as cinnamon and clove, malt, fig, and some caramel sweetness. The malt backbone is bready and mildly sweet with banana, cinnamon, clove, and fig. The 10% alcohol is well hidden in this beer. Saying the taste follows the nose is true, but it also understates the execution of the well-balanced and complex flavors in this beer. One flavor does not dominate the other. The beer is medium to full bodied with strong carbonation. This makes the beer smooth and dangerously drinkable. If you are looking for a great Belgian strong dark ale, this is a great place to begin.
12-26-2012 00:35:59 | More by acevenom
4.98/5 rDev +17.7%
Poured a beautiful deep, dark color with two fingers of rich off white head. Gorgeous. Scents of dark fruit, banana, alcohol and Belgian yeast. The flavor is excellent, dark fruit, raisins, chocolate, Belgian sugar, slight hints of alcohol and peppery notes are present. Light carbonation and a sticky, let drinkable body lead to an excellent mouthfeel. A fantastic Belgian. By far one of my absolute favorites.
03-09-2013 06:11:38 | More by Auraan
4.98/5 rDev +17.7%
A-Dark raisin brown body. Off-white four finger head, (yes four) that has a slight hue of pink to it. The head is incredibly soapy and foamy. Your cup will runneth and floweth over. Head is also flaked with crystals that glitter throughout like fresh fallen snowflakes. Patchy, clumpy, sticky lace decorates glass.
S-Bourbon. Sour skins of grape, cherry and apple. Baking spices. Molasses. Brown sugar. Doughy. Yeasty. Inhale deeply enough your nose might sneeze from the pure abundance of spiced yeast.
T-Brown sugar. Cherry almond. Ginger bread or something wow. Nutmeg. Vanilla. Rum. Oak/woodsy. Bourbon. Cookie. Dry cinnamon & clove. Fruit flavored glazed pies like apple & cherry. Slightest of grape flavor, akin to an astringent red wine grape. The most subdued banana note, like a custard. One can go on and on deciphering flavors. The most consistent note was the hard to describe cherry-ginger-glazed pie STRONG middle-sip flavor.
M-Medium-low body. Medium-heavy carbonation. Sip starts tart, sweet and spiced. Then a punch of bitter-sweet bourbon uppercuts in the middle. Also in the middle is a sweet yeasty/doughy pie/donut note. The end of the sip is all of the aforementioned in harmony, slowly fading away into the aftertastes. The after is a gentle titillation of dry bitter holiday spices.
The yeast is the star here, swamping your palate with prickling sensations. And the hops as well bring this effect. Very sticky your lips get with time.
O-St. Bernardus does no wrong. This Christmas Ale ages perfectly, you can sip one in the summer. This quad was meant to be sipped. So complex and boozy. I do wish the body was more grand and creamy, silky. Other than that, you can't get much better in look, smell and taste. Quads are probably the best beer style on Earth. St. Bernardus Christmas Ale is powerful proof for that claim.
04-16-2014 10:20:33 | More by shacawgo24
4.94/5 rDev +16.8%
Deep mahogany brown, with little sparklies in it. The head is enormous with huge retention. After minutes, it starts to fall leaving craterous holes around the edges with sticky, gluey lacing. You can literally see the spices and the fruity flavors that will soon be coming your way.
Smells rich and fruity. Dark, ripes fruits fill the nose. Slightly peppery with some pear and a bit of alcohol. Figs, raisins, plums waft up from the glass to greet you.
Everything I said about the smell goes for the taste. Dark fruits, pepper, pear and pepper dance on the tongue. I don't know how you'd improve the taste of this beer.
It's creamy and full bodied. There's a fruity sweetness followed by a tangy, dry finish. Eventually, the alcohol shows up with a slight heat. Like the taste, I'm not sure how a beer, particularly a quad, could feel better than this.
This is an exceptionally good beer. It's very alcoholic but it's well-hidden. Easy to drink. I wish this wasn't a seasonal. Unless I crack open a bottle of Westy 12 that's been aging for a year, I already know this is the best beer I'll have this year.
02-11-2013 00:46:08 | More by RickS95
4.93/5 rDev +16.5%
St. Bernardus Christmas Ale has a thick, frothy, light beige head, made up of very tiny bubbles. The appearance is brown, with evident tiny bubble streams up the side of the glass and a nice lacing sheen. The aroma is of a strong, yeasty, fruit (plum, raisin, dates), brown bread, and a mild spiciness. Taste is similar, with even some banana showing up. There is an underlying alcohol presence, which, however, is not unpleasant. The mouthfeel is light to medium and prickly, and St. Bernardus Christmas Ale finishes mostly dry, mellow, and drinkable. One can certainly detect brandy-wine type qualities here, and it’s nice to see a Christmas beer without all the offensive, over-the-top flavoring. Overall, this is a world class beer! A true beer fan must try it!
12-22-2012 13:56:17 | More by RonaldTheriot
4.93/5 rDev +16.5%
Bomber corked and caged - pours a muddy bloody opaque reddish brown with one finger head that sticks around in a chalice glass, smell is complex and exciting..cherries and dark fruit aromas mixed with sugars, vanilla, cokeacola, yeasty bread .. I don't know, the works.. It's good to go. This beer made me crack a window open to let in some cold winter air.. much needed. Grandma used to make amazing nut breads.. I want one of those really bad right now.. would pair so well with this rich brew. Ugh.. the complexity, it's like hearing Beethoven's 9th all over again for the first time or like the first time you found your dad's porno. A world opens up and eyes pop out and mind is dancing in a field of whatevers. Taste .. my stupid childish palate is not ready to even pontificate or articulate but hell.. I've had better beers.. too much christmas cheer makes me giggly and I can't think clearly. (Should have held onto this one for xmass.. oh well.. I shall get another bottle!) Spicey dancing dark fruits and a whole lot of spirit. Certain to make your day a bit brighter in the dreary dread of Christmas season... cause who needs family when you got booze, right? well.. I digress. Anyway, theres a lot to this brew and I get annoyed with myself when I try to pull out a bunch of keywords in the BA community.. "dark fruits, esters, phenols, malts - bready, earthy, etc. hops- citrusy, grapefruity, etc.." oh words. How frustrating they can be.. yet we have nothing else to rely upon. Mouthfeel is spectacuallalalrrl bubbly but not overbearing. Now about this beer I am drinking.. think Abt 12 times 5.. it's delicious in all the right places and I am ever so grateful and humble and I reflect upon life's impermanence and how all humankind is akin and yet so vastly different...
Hare Krishna. Goodnight
Go and buy another bottle of this beer, idiot.
12-11-2009 04:06:51 | More by JVEyck309
4.9/5 rDev +15.8%
This was my first Christmas ale I have tried. And as usual like all St. Bernardus beers it was simply amazing. The fruits and chocolates all worked very well together. Tremendous amount of alcohol present which is always good. But it was very well balanced with the taste. There is an amazing head when poured out of the bottle. I actually had to use my Stella knife to cut the head off. A must try in my book.
01-07-2012 01:57:46 | More by Bigbadbudman
4.89/5 rDev +15.6%
On Tap at Bier Station in Kansas City, MO. Poured into Tulip
A- deep amber, with iltte carbonation. Opaque with 1 finger head. head dissipates quickly and leaves great lacing.
S-spicy! coriander, clove, cinnamon,honey, malt, sweet belgian funkiness, bready, yeasty. yum.
T-wow. sweet, bready, malt bomb. spices galore, completely enhance what would otherwise be their abt 12. nothing i would change or add. perfectly balanced. ABV is completely hidden.
M-full, low carbonation. Clings to the tongue. wonderful.
O- Bernardus is in my top 5 favorites and this beer does not disappoint. Softer/flatter on tap versus bottle but I'm glad I had the chance to get it on tap. kegs are without conditioning so the experiences are different.
02-15-2013 00:34:17 | More by jroberts8811
4.88/5 rDev +15.4%
Poured from 750 ml bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.
Appearance: Pours a deep and dark brownish amber red with lots of bubbles. Huge six finger bubbly off white head that slowly fades into a thin patchy layer. Leaves some good lacing on the glass.
Smell: Huge aroma of dark fruits leaps out of the glass. Raisins, prunes, figs, dates, and dark cherries. Lots of Belgian yeast with some hints of clove spice. Some hints of cinnamon and nutmeg spices. Also a hint of banana and brown sugar. Great mix of dark fruits and spices.
Taste: Just as great as the smell. Spicy Belgian yeast with cloves and banana. Huge taste of dark fruit with notes of raisins, figs, prunes, dates, and dark cherries. Also a noticeable presence of winter spices including cinnamon and nutmeg. Some caramel malts in the background provide some breadyness. Very fruity but not overly sweet. Spices add a lot.
Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a carbonation on the higher side. fruity and somewhat sticky. Spicy and finishes dry. No alcohol heat noticeable.
Overall: A very good Belgian Dark Ale and one of the best Christmas beers in the world. Great use of dark fruits and spices.
12-25-2011 08:08:41 | More by MattyG85
4.88/5 rDev +15.4%
St. Bernardus is one of my favorites, so I gave this a try when I saw it on the shelves at Publick House in Brookline. Now I wish I could buy a dozen more. Quickly became one of my all time favorites.
Poured into a stemless tulip glass out of a .
A: dark brown with very creamy head.
S: Rich aroma with chocolate and a little bit of bourbon, and subtle winter spices.
T: Rich flavor of chocolate and dark fruits, not sweet, just a little bit of toffee and raisins and a bit yeasty. Great with cheese.
M: Light and a little creamy.
D: Too easy. Finished the bottle and didnt feel it till much later.
12-14-2009 18:50:25 | More by Jesstyr
Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,439 ratings.