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Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

633 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 633
Hads: 1,890
Avg: 4.19
pDev: 9.31%
Wants: 172
Gots: 339 | 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: 1,890
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.

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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.

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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 .

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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%.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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

A-Dark brown with a large frothy head. Takes quite some time for me to be able to drink past the foam. Lots of lacing.

S-Like many have said before. Its bottled Christmas. Smells like Santa's beard. Christmas spices all over the place.

T-Cinnamon, nutmeg etc. Belgian yeast. Dark fruits. I find that the alcohol is masked more in this one than the Abt 12. Excellent for the season. Perfect application of the flavors.

M-Medium to heavy. Smooth. Quite delectible.

D-Not an overly easy drinker due to the alcohol level. Still, pretty damn good.

An excellent Christmas Ale. Happy to try it.

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

Appearance: Pours a brown body with a large, foamy khaki-colored head. Quite effervescent!

Smell: A nice mix of pitted fruits with notes of cocoa powder, holiday-minded spices, cracked black pepper, and yeast.

Taste: Juicy dark fruits with a hearty dusting of cocoa and tossed with a mix of sugar 'n' spice. Slight bready yeastiness. Just of earthy bitterness. Semi-dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Well carbonated. Warming alcohol presence.

Drinkability: A fine holiday sipper (regardless of the 10% ABV) that made for pleasant Christmas Day drinking.

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

This poured a nearly opaque dark mahogany with tons of fluffy tan head. It smelled like spicy and sour Belgian yeast with rich caramel, nutmeg, candi sugar, fresh wheat, and a bit of alcohol. It tasted like wild creamy yeast and spicy malt, with some sweet candi sugar and caramel and a bit of raisin and fig and alcohol. It was slightly thick with moderate carbonation, and had a bittersweet and sour aftertaste. Overall this had a great dark Belgian scent and taste with a bit of a spicy twist for the holidays. It had good body too, but the alcohol was fairly hot, so a fresh bottle wasn't entirely easy to drink. It was still enjoyable to sip, but it didn't blow me away like Abt 12 first did. Regardless, with some age this would be amazing.

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Photo of Vendetta
3.91/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is plum, pruney. Cloudy, unfiltered. Stagnant, medium foam head. Thick, foamy paste of a lacing down the glass as it's consumed.

Smells vinous and sweet.

Taste is extremely complex as per norm of the St Bernardus brews that I've had. Very vinous and a bit dry up front, finishes pruney and much more on the sweet side. Leaves a significantly plum aftertaste. Warms the belly nice thanks to the ABV but it really isn't all that detectable. Perfect winter beer.

Mouthfeel is also very very good. Thick, full-bodied without being punishing to drink. Little carbonation.

This is a very, very good example of a Belgian beer and if you have any remote interest in the style then you'll love this one.

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Photo of TeddyBrewsky
3.91/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a good seasonal beer. However, I thought it was a little too sweet and carbonated for my liking. I think next time I could split it with somebody because it is too rich to drink the whole bomber by myself.

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Photo of babaracas
3.91/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From corked and caged 750ml. Pours a mostly clear dark reddish brown with two fingers of creamy khaki colored foam. Settles to a decent sized clump and coats the glass in thick lace. Smell: quite vinous and fruity...cherry, raisin, plum. Brown sugar. Very slightly acetic. Taste: brown sugar, tartish apple skin, red plum, cherry. Vinous again. Feel is extraordinarily creamy, but is also massively carbonated which boots the flavors from the tongue too early. Though the high carbonation and the decent but nondescript hopping keeps it from being really sweet. It might just be me or this bottle, but this one seems like a combo of a BSDA with a mild flanders red. Interesting, but odd. Best by 7/28/15, so bottled 7/28/10.

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Photo of tempest
3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Farmhouse in Emmaus, PA. Overall, this is a pretty good Belgian, but it's not as complex at the Abt 12. It actually reminds me of Chimay Blue more than Bernardus 12. The flavor comes off like a cinnamon spice caramel apple with toasted toffee and sweet bread. Delicious, but it doesn't reach the depths of a great strong dark ale. Still very easy to drink. Worth a try.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml Bottle from Total Wine Tampa FL - 2012 edition - $9

Appearance – Brown colour with an above average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation and there is some great lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell – Malts, caramel, fruit cake, dark fruits, all spice

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel, and a bit of chocolate. There is also some raisins/plums/cherries, oranges, and an all spice mix,

Overall – You have to be in the mood for a beer like this. Perhaps October is a little early for a christmas tasting brew. Regardless, as far as Xmas beers though, this one is solid. It's got a fruit cake like flavour and the ABV is very well hidden

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Photo of hckyfn9999
3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium brown with golden hues into a St. Bernardus chalice. There is about a finger of creamy, light tan colored head with great retention which is par for their brews. Aroma is sweet, with some brown sugar, dark fruit, and banana. Also a lot of spice as well. Some clove and a little ginger.

The taste is similar to the aroma. Very spicy, more so than their other beers, seems as though there is a touch of cinnamon to go along with the clove and ginger. A very fruity and banana-like yeast presence. Nice beer, and a nice way to enjoy Christmas. Not my favorite of their beers with all of the spice that brings the drinkability down some.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into a large goblet shaped glass

Pours a pretty cloudy brown color, big coarse head and a LOT of active carbonation that sustains the head. Looks like the head is clinging pretty strongly, leaving some impressive lacing. Smell is spicy, I smell nutmeg and cinnamon mainly, I can smell dark fruits like plums and cherries. It smells very Belgian, which probably means I can really smell the yeast.

Taste is surprisingly not sweet. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, it's very strong, which means a lot of sugar must have fermented out. The dark fruits have a strong presence, as does the alcohol, the carbonation is so strong it comes out in the flavor as well. Aftertaste sweetens up a bit.

Mouthfeel is a difficult to describe combination of light and heavy...it's rather thick and sticky, but the carbonation makes it sort of seem lighter than it is. It's kind of nice. The strong taste and the strong alcohol make it not so easy to drink. It's a good and interesting beer, though.

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