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Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,456 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,456
Reviews: 581
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 112
Gots: 161 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: seaoflament on 10-23-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,456 | Reviews: 581 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Jesstyr
4.88/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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.

Jesstyr, Dec 14, 2009
Photo of canucklehead
4.88/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What a Xmas treat this beer is with a nose that never stops developing and a huge head flecked with brown spots from the sediment. I got a huge rounded mouthfeel with lots of dark candy fruits and typical Belgian yeast. No spices in this Xmas ale but rather the suggestion of Xmas pudding. I really savoured this beer with every sip as it was part of a trade and not available in BC.

canucklehead, Dec 21, 2009
Photo of DmanGTR
4.88/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at Monk's Cafe in Philly

A - Poured from tap dark brown/red with a creamy 0.5" off white head that clung nicely to the authentic 25th anniversary St. Bernardus goblet. Excellent lacing prevailed throughout.

S - Malty, dark fruits, figs and currants. subtle notes of hops and sour apple. slight yeastiness and light hints of holiday spice. Quite different from the usual holiday ales.

T - Initial caramel malty sweetness, candi sugar. fresh hops and spices mingle in a wondrous balance. Lingering aftertaste adds to ongoing pleasure. Swirls of fruit, malt, hops, and spice hides the alcohol quite well.

M - Full bodied and mild carbonation. Very smooth.

D - Extremely drinkable. I could do a few of them in an evening

Overall - I was highly impressed with this offering from St. Bernardus. Quite different than what I expected from a holiday beer, almost like a Chimay Blue but less fruity. Candi sugar and caramel malts prevail and make for a sweet ride throughout the experience, yet it is well balanced with slight hop notes. For $8.50/12 oz, it was definitely worth every drop. I would like a few bottles to cellar and see how it turns out next year. An excellent accompaniment for a fireside chat after a nice holiday dinner. Highly recommended.

DmanGTR, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of anakar
4.88/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Spectacular.
Now that we've made things clear let me break this down.

App: Apart from the very lovely and festive looking bottle it comes in, this beer pours a very dark caramel, almost black, with a thick a medium lasting head of fluff.

Smell: Taking a whiff makes you think of several things, the first being - this is a strong one (10% alc ain't no joke), once you got past that, you can sense some very heavy caramel and barleyish smells, just makes you think of stooping lower and lower into an old armchair.

Taste: This is where "Spectacular" comes in. Mind you, this is no light brew and should be takes very seriously. It's flavor is rich and full of alcoholic fumes, anybody who ever had a triple or a quad should know what they taste like, this one is classic but a bit more (to the better).

Feel: is also superb, going all over your mouth it slushes away easily, it has very little carb-bite to it, but it isn't creamy (like a guinness). Watch out! the 10% hits pretty quickly and made me a bit woozy after a pint.

Overall: I've said it before and I'll say it again "SPECTACULAR" - keep it for special occasions.

anakar, Jan 05, 2013
Photo of GPHarris
4.88/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2011 vintage

a - poured a three-fingers thick, dense tan head into a tulip glass that settled to a thick sheet with great lacing throughout. the body was dark reddish-purple.
s - big aromas of cherry, plum and raisin.
t - same as the aroma but with some spice as well. some good malt sweetness too. very complex as all St. B beers are.
m - lively carbonation.
o - excellent as always from St. B. i'll always drink one of these during the holidays i hope.

GPHarris, Jan 15, 2014
Photo of icetrauma
4.85/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured this 2010 vintage into my Chimay Chalice. Poured your usual belgian brown color with 1 finger of off white lacey head that disappeared over time.

Smell was that of deep dark fruits and a even bready malt.

Taste was superb as to be expected from St. Bernardus brews. Touch of bready malt up front with berries and dark fruits such as fig and black cherries lingered on the palate as the brew made its way down.

Mouthfeel was nice and smooth. Medium feel. Not to thick and not thin by any means.

Drinkability on this is a must have for any belgian beer fan. I will procure another bottle and cellar it. I can only imagine how much smoother and silkier this brew will get with time.

icetrauma, Dec 29, 2010
Photo of noslenwerd
4.85/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Hazy brown with a burnt orange tint.

S: Smells spicy and fruity

T: The taste to me was amazing and everything I expect from a dark belgian ale. A bit more carbonated than your average belgian dark, but I thought of it as a good thing. Very complex flavor but no one flavor hit me, but was mildly fruity.

Summary: Extremely drinkable beer and thus far my favorite "Winter Warmer" to . Will for sure be drinking this one again...

noslenwerd, Nov 18, 2009
Photo of TwelveOunces
4.85/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml poured into a St. Bernardus Goblet

A- Pours a monster beige head with tight bubbles and beautiful lacing. The beer itself is deep dark brown with reddish orange hues.
S- Big dark fruits that I expected. Rum soaked raisins. Burnt caramel, maybe even some honey? Grapefruit, a little alcohol, figs, pretty good stuff. maybe some figs and cinnamon as well.
T- A full variety of crazy flavors, different with every sip. Creamy caramel mixed with dark fruits, Some cinnamon and ginger make this thing come alive. Sugary sweet fruit aftertaste with brown sugar. Started to taste the alcohol after it warmed up a bit.
M- Boatloads of carbonation, its a truly living beer. Definitely a warming in the stomach because its 10%. This thing pours with a lot of foamy head so be cautious on the pour as the head goes nowhere.
O- Awesome beer. It is in my opinion, a little better then the 12. Its just like the twelve but with a slight Christmas kick.

TwelveOunces, Dec 25, 2011
Photo of phishgator
4.85/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

From a 750ml into a chalice. Nice hazy, brown carbonated with a decent head for ten perecent. lacing is slight. The aroma is fruity like sweet sugary candy. The taste is just like the smell, but with bread pudding taking over. Rasins and molasses also come through in the flavor. There is a lot going on with this brew. The body is full, but that doesn't stop you from craving more.

phishgator, Dec 16, 2010
Photo of JLeege
4.83/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage.
750 corked 'n caged, poured into a snifter.

Appearance- Pours a cola like color with a bubbly 2 finger just off white head. Great head retention, leaves good lacing.

Smell- Dark fruits right off the bat, aromas of grape/raisons, cherry, plum. Some light spicing. Lots of Belgian yeast on the nose. Smells terrific!

Taste- Again fruity, up front, dark fruits mostly with pronounced grapey notes. Very yeasty as well. Chocolate and cherry notes in middle of the drink. Some brown sugar flavors as well as some light maple syrup. Some banana bread and clove at the finish. Nice layering of flavors in this brew. Similar flavor profile to a nice spiced rum actually. Some slight alcohol is noticed on the finish, but deffinitly not fusel or anything. Quad-esq in the overall flavor.

Mouthfeel- High carbonation but still has a full and creamy feel to it. A slight warming is noticed, which I am liking, and looking for in Belgian of this strength on a winter night.

Overall- Glad I finally got around to trying this one. One of the best "Christmas" ales I have ever had. The flavors of this are perfect for the holiday season and it is not overspiced, for my taste, as some X-mas brews seem to be. Great beer overall and at a very fair price, this is one of the cheapest Belgian imports in my area (bumps up the drinkability a bit). Very impressed, will hopefully be revisiting this again soon and often over the winter!

Edit: Just checked and this is my highest rated beer to date (out of what I have reviewed). When I think about it, this makes perfect sense, this beer is exceptional!

JLeege, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.83/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

75cL bottle from The Lighthouse in Manchester, Maine. Pours a hazy but still translucent dark copper with a half inch of light tan head. Smells intensely fruity and spicy, with banana, nut, and chocolate notes. Tastes fruity, chocolatey, and spicy, with an underlying toastiness. Banana, nut, cherry, dates, and cloves all play nearly equal roles. On the heavier side of medium-bodied with ample carbonation. More of a sipper, though one sip most definitely invites another and this beer was gone long before I wanted it to be. Wow. Quite possibly the best beer this brewery makes, a phenomenal Christmas beer, and one of the most flavorful and complex beers I've had all year. Amazing!

MrHurmateeowish, Dec 09, 2008
Photo of Gehrig
4.83/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed on tap at the classic Crane Alley in Urbana, IL after finishing the Christmas shopping this afternoon.

One and one-half fingers of caramel-colored froth top a cloudy ruby-amber body; ample lacing on the St. Bernardus glass (yes, they have a few at Crane Alley), good duration, and lovely color give this a terrific appearance. Wonderful, fruity smells, vinous with some orange peel, some spice (cinnamon and ginger), and a bit of chocolate. Very sweet nose, very good.

Magnificent, smooth taste, heavy on the sweet fruit--maraschino cherries, grape, orange--but, from cranberry and dried fruit such as date and raisin emerging in the second half, with a distinctly sour finish that adroitly balances Christmas Ale and forestalls any cloying. Some semi-sweet chocolate peeks through the dense layers of fruit. Creamy smooth mouthfeel, making this all too easy on the palate. So impressive is how well the high ABV (10.0%) is masked. It was only in the second glass, which I immediately ordered after dousing the first, that I felt it and, by then, it was remarkably easy to accept.

Outstanding BSDA and winter beer, St. Bernardus Christmas Ale filled me with Christmas cheer all day long. What a tremendous find, and kudos to Crane Alley for finding a place for it in their typically stellar lineup of wares.

First rate.

Gehrig, Dec 23, 2010
Photo of kensuthe
4.8/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark brown 750ml bottle with the St. Bernardus monk in a Christmas hat with snow in the background over a green shield. Poured into a St. Bernardus chalice. Topped with an inch thick, fluffy tan head that stuck around and clung to the sides of the glass on the way down. Rich, dark brown beer with small carbonation trailing up the sides of the glass.

Smell: Belgian yeast, figs, raisins, other fruits, cinnamon, nutmeg, other spices, slight alcohol tinge, and bread are all in the aroma. A very appealing smell to compliment a very pleasing head.

Taste & Mouthfeel: The taste of Belgian yeast, a combination of tartness and sweetness from the various fruit components, and a slight holiday spiciness all blend together to produce a cheerful, satisfying taste. The aftertaste has a slight alcohol flavoring, with a mellow blended sugar, spice, and fruit tone. The carbonation makes the beer feel like silk in your mouth, and it is pleasant and light when swallowed.

Drinkability: You might think that a moderate alcohol content mixed with a slightly high amount of carbonation would make this beer less drinkable, but the flavors and smells combine with these factors to make a highly, highly drinkable beer. Sit back on a cold night and relax with this beer, and let it warm you up from within and make you think about happy times.

The only thing bad I have to say about this beer is that I didn't buy enough, so now my wife and I will have to wait until next year for more.

kensuthe, Apr 21, 2008
Photo of Alex93se
4.8/5  rDev +13.5%

Alex93se, Oct 12, 2014
Photo of Tiernan
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

Tiernan, Dec 27, 2012
Photo of SanFranJake
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

SanFranJake, Dec 21, 2012
Photo of reitzbrewing
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

reitzbrewing, Jan 22, 2013
Photo of weonfire
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

weonfire, Nov 24, 2012
Photo of ASTASOLLILJA
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

ASTASOLLILJA, Sep 18, 2012
Photo of aleslover
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

aleslover, Nov 20, 2012
Photo of Larrydoherty
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

Larrydoherty, Dec 30, 2012
Photo of mattyb85
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

mattyb85, Dec 29, 2012
Photo of mj81
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

mj81, Dec 11, 2013
Photo of Rwalford74
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

Rwalford74, May 31, 2013
Photo of BlackHaddock
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At last I’ve had an on-tap Christmas Ale that I could review (the other times I’ve drank it I didn’t really have reviewing opportunities). This time however was different: the lovely Red Rose bar in Brugge being the venue. 33cl for Euro 4.00, worth every cent.

Poured into a St Bernardus goblet it looked the business in every way: Jet black with a deep beige crown of tight bubbles sat on top. The head stayed and gave waves of lacing as I wolfed the brew down.

The smell was of dark, rich, candied fruits with a good measure of caramel and malts thrown in.

The taste always blows me away, creamy, rich and hearty in every way, yet it’s so mellow the 10%ABV does not show at all; this is a dangerous brew and so, so easy on the palate it just slides down the throat at an alarming rate. A brew to savour, but very difficult not to quaff at pace and order another, and another, and another. Whatever spices they use just enhance the flavours from the mash tun and helps to turn the brew from excellent to superb.

A true classic and a beer I’ll never tire of drinking (if I’ve got the next day off).

BlackHaddock, Dec 15, 2011
Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,456 ratings.