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Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Christmas AleChristmas Ale

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

1,387 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1387
Reviews: 574
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.22%


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)
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Ratings: 1,387 | Reviews: 574 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of KTCamm
KTCamm

New Jersey

4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Champagne bottle poured into a Duvel glass. 12/26

Pours deep dark brown with immense thick white foam. Heavy lacing, patchy all over. Rich toasty fruity nose, raisins and cinnamon. Nutmeg. Plummy. Hearty flavor, spiced malt, quite boozy. Cherries. Chocolate. Loads going on here. Powerful carbonation. Excellent.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2013 15:09:04 | More by KTCamm
Photo of mdagnew
mdagnew

United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)

4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle bought from Beers Of Europe

Poured a deep mahogany red / brown colour... Creamy tan head poured big and foamy then faded slowly to almost nothing... very light sticky lacing...

Aroma - Very tart and spicy dark fruits (raisins, currents, prunes), molasses / dark muscovado sugar sweetness, light smokey notes, toasted maltiness, strong Belgian yeastiness, fruit loaf and alcohol soaked Christmas cake, cinnamon, light peppery hops, some rum hints...

Taste –- Dark juicy fruits (prunes, blackcurrents, raisins), pretty noticable alcohol notes, sweet nuttiness, medicinal, some liquorice, burnt toffee sweetness, toasty malts, spicy hops, some pine notes...

Feel - Pretty smooth and creamy... medium body...fairly drinkable even at 10%..

Overall - An excellent beer - pretty much how i expect Belgian Christmas beers to be... recommended...

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2013 16:47:38 | More by mdagnew
Photo of brewskifan55
brewskifan55

Mississippi

4.11/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay goblet

A: Ice tea amber, opaque. A tan two finger head that lingers. Very thick lacing.

S: Bready malts, cinnamon, nutmeg, dark fruits (dates, plums figs, cherries)

T: Follows nose in holiday style. A great Belgian Quad. Belgian yeast slides down the chimney for a great finish.

M: Medium to heavy with thick, chewy carbonation.

O: A terrific seasonal. Just a shade under the abt 12. Recommended. Great to give as a gift.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2013 18:42:16 | More by brewskifan55
Photo of LeRose
LeRose

Massachusetts

4.36/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This bottle was a gift in December 2012. Poured into a tulip.

Appearance - murky brown/reddish color. Nice fluffy white foam on top that persisted.

Smell - immediate hit of alcohol which shouldn't be a surprise. Dark fruit - fig and data aromas. Lightly spice notes on the nose - clove, cinnamon. Very toasty. The aroma set the expectation that this was going to be very sweet. Bready and malty.

Taste - yeasty, bready, and malty. The alcohol was not as noticeable on the taste. Heavy on the fruit notes - plum/fig/date maybe a hint of sweet cherry. Not nearly as sweet as I expected. I thought the spice components were very laid back and complimented the beer rather than dominating it - wonder if this is age related? Thought the balance was great - not a cloying, overly-spiced holiday brew.

On the tongue, kind of a medium body, pretty smooth. Where did the 10% ABV go? Carbonation was high, but not overly fizzy.

Overall I think this is an excellent beer and if memory serves, it is somewhat of a bargain in terms of price. Obviously a year in waiting did not hurt it any. I would not hesitate to pick up leftover bottles and let them stay with me until next Christmas. Good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2013 01:04:06 | More by LeRose
Photo of Tingle
Tingle

New Jersey

4.11/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

St. Bernardus 12 is a favorite of mine, so I had to try the Christmas Ale.

Christmas Ale is definitely a bit fruitier, and less chocolately. Mouthfeel was a bit thinner than expected, but still not bad. I like the 12 slightly better, but you really can't go wrong with any of the Bernardus beers around the holiday season..

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2013 16:31:02 | More by Tingle
Photo of micromaniac129
micromaniac129

Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a russett brown color with blood orange highlights. The deep beige head explodes during the pour and ends quite tall. Not that dense of a head it fades rather quickly with some spotty lacing.

The nose had a sour and vinagary smell, at first then notes of fruitcakes and yeast come into play.
My first sip and I thought how thin it was. I was expecting a thick and velvetty quad.
Plenty of dark fruits and malty grains plus a hint of citrus and all of a sudden it's like a fruitcake. My first couple of sips I had a good alcohol burn but smoothes out as I go.
The mouthfeel, I don't know, the high carbonation makes the feel of the beer explode on the palate.
A very good beer with a great depth of flavor.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2013 14:11:27 | More by micromaniac129
Photo of mooseo
mooseo

Pennsylvania

4.63/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2013 02:14:44 | More by mooseo
Photo of ryannosaurus
ryannosaurus

Arizona

3.8/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750 poured to snifter.

Deep brown, translucent, big tan head that settles quickly, leaving a light lacing.

Aroma is yeasty banana and brown sugar

Taste has more elements, less of the banana with some toffee and coffee, a bit of cloves, some actual hop bitterness to balance. Just a trace of butteriness. I'd expect some hot alcohol warning at 10% abv, and it isn't there... kind of sneaky.

Mouth feel is less thick than I'd expect, nice sting from the CO2.

Banana in the nose obscures some of the more subtle flavor elements, but they are there. If you like St B's dark, you will like this for the same reasons. Nice one to wrap up the holiday.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2013 00:57:12 | More by ryannosaurus
Photo of BB1313
BB1313

Ohio

4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a deep brown with not much light getting through; huge fluffy off-white head that sticks around and leaves awesome lacing and retention. The aromas are full of dark fruits and sweet malts. Lots of raisins and plums. Dark cherries too. Some dates in the mix. Candied sugar aromas are there. Of course there's some yeast. The flavors really match the nose. Tons of sweet fruits. Hints of bubblegum and banana too. More plums. Lots of sweet cherries. Finishes with some holiday spices. There's a subtle earthiness. Woodsy. The flavors are very clean. There's basically no hints of alcohol and just finishes with the slightest warmth. Mouthfeel is wonderful. It's full-bodied with very active carbonation. Very smooth, fluffy, and creamy. This makes a nice sipper with a nice complexity.

This is a great Quad. The craftsmanship is very impressive. This is pretty similar to their Abt 12, in my opinion. There's minor differences, especially the subtle spices. I think I'd give Abt 12 the edge, but I'd have to do a side by side to really tell. Either way, this is a great beer. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2013 20:52:53 | More by BB1313
Photo of Mavigo
Mavigo

Michigan

4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
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, 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.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2013 04:56:27 | More by Mavigo
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Connecticut

4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle into a St. Bernardus chalice.

A: Clear deep brown body under two fingers of dense tan head. Tremendous retention and thick lace. Gorgeous.

S: Dark fruit dominates, with huge fig, raisin, and date. Some sweet/tart cherry as well, with rich toasted breadiness underneath. Decadent and yet delicate. Terrific.

T: Bready up front, with dark fruits close behind. Some nice fig gives way to a strongly boozy finish, though, marring things a bit after such a lovely start. The aftertaste balances the alcohol warmth with some spicy yeastiness, though, making the overall package pretty enjoyable. Definitely a bit of a letdown after the phenomenal aroma, but an excellent BSDA all the same.

M: Thick, soft, and as creamy as can be. Perfect.

O: It's been too long since i had ABT 12, but this reminded me more of Rochefort 10 than anything else. The aroma in particular took me back to a rainy afternoon in Belgium, sipping a Rochefort in its eponymous home town. I'm curious to see whether a year might tone down the booziness just a bit and make this a truly world-class beer.

Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2013 04:46:23 | More by woosterbill
Photo of gueuzeonhigh
gueuzeonhigh

Maine

3.64/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

As soon as I saw "Christmas Ale" on the label I expected beer as a mulled wine wannabe.
But to my surprise! Poured into my bar glass with an effervescent and lively head that refused to settle. It fought the walls of my glass as it succumbed to the inevitable forces of gravity. Looked all the world like unfiltered apple cider. A nice bucolic nose-- yeast, the grain harvest and some citrus zest thrown in for good measure.

At first I thought the mouthfeel was thin-- along with the flavor, but the more of this libation I consume the more I realize that this Belgian dark ale does indeed have the characteristic of many fine beers of the same style that I've sampled. There's a tartness, a biting edge that keeps the tanking session interesting-- I notice I'm licking my chops for the next sip. There's that tang of the citrus zest that I noted in the nose, the fine bitter hops, I swear I taste green apples, and some hints of spices-- even some coriander-- maybe, perhaps? But I think this is a pure beer-- no "improvements" added beyond the tried and true tradition of the brewing art.

This beer is worth your effort to find and the cost-- the 10% ABV will surely inflate the price per bottle.

One other thing-- it's not just for the Yuletide season-- I've put a few bottles in the cellar.
Come mid summer on a cool evening this should be a genuine treat!

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2013 00:36:33 | More by gueuzeonhigh
Photo of ssarah
ssarah

Colorado

4.01/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Coffee-colored brown, opaque, with thick beige head. Head appears soft and velvety, reminiscent of whipped cream. Head clings to the glass like suds in the bathtub, and lines the upper lip with each sip.

S: Aroma is slightly occluded by the thick head. Subtle aroma of biscuits and toffee malts. Nice balanced smell. Belgian yeast smell noticeable.

T: Roasted malts, caramel, spices create a deliciously balanced strong dark Belgian ale. Faint tart cider flavor. This is a festive Christmas beer that is well balanced and not too sweet like many of its counterparts.

M: Crisp with moderate carbonation. Hint of alcohol at the end of each sip.

O: Has the typical goodness of an authentic dark Belgian beer, with just enough spices to make it festive. I would recommend this beer during the holiday and winter season. Mmm, mmm..!

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2013 21:27:00 | More by ssarah
Photo of ISmith87
ISmith87

Arizona

4.11/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - 4 - Dark red/brown mahogany colored beer that has a nice frothy off white head that leaves a nice lumpy lacing.
S - 4 - Dark fruits, plums, cinnamon, spices, belgian yeast, breadiness, bananas.
T - 4.25 - Dark fruits, plums, cherries, cinnamon. Definite belgian yeast with a nice breadiness to it.
M - 4 - Medium mouthfeel. Alc covered completely. Aftertaste is nice fruity cherry banana belgian awesomeness.
O - 4 - Good belgian beer. Nice and fruity. I'd have it again.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2013 23:59:47 | More by ISmith87
Photo of RaulMondesi
RaulMondesi

California

4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gonna give this one 4's across the board. It's aite, but it takes backseat to the big dog. It reminds Raul of this one time when he dated a twin; I'd look at the doppelgänger, and always wondered...but there has to be a reason why I chose twin #1 over #2.

So, like said ex's sister that I never got a piece of; St. Berny Christmas was a bit less flavorful, slightly less robust, but I'm sure like a romp with sister #2, it was still a good time.

Serving type: on-tap

12-21-2013 02:22:07 | More by RaulMondesi
Photo of Eisen
Eisen

Washington

4.55/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a Westmalle goblet: looks like a wonderfully made milk chocolate with whip cream on top. Thick white head followed by a cloudy chocolate. Alcohol warms it enough so that it smells and tastes like hot chocolate. It almost melts. The sugars and hops are perfectly balanced. At 10%, drinkability is fantastic.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2013 07:17:59 | More by Eisen
Photo of RandomExile
RandomExile

Maryland

4.6/5  rDev +8.7%
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

Serving type: on-tap

12-17-2013 00:10:40 | More by RandomExile
Photo of pjwilson
pjwilson

California

4.61/5  rDev +9%
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

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2013 00:38:53 | More by pjwilson
Photo of taylor714914
taylor714914

Pennsylvania

4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

As a huge fan of the ABT12, I was excited to see this on tap at Always Ron’s in Hagerstown.  A murky brown, the smell is of figs, dates, toffee, and all around fruitcake flavors.  First sip evokes memories of dried fruits and various forms of sugar…brown sugar, honey, turbunado sugar, on and on.  It seems that the sweetness can morph into whatever style of sugar my brain wants.  The dried fruits complement this well.  A rich, thick brew, the mouthfeel is heavy and rich, and a 7 ounce pour was perfect.  A great strong ale for the Christmas time.

Serving type: on-tap

12-12-2013 19:33:54 | More by taylor714914
Photo of Hunter
Hunter

Arizona

3.85/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark, nut brown ale with minimal carbonation and lacing. Head was thin and vanished quickly.

Smell: Apples, raisins, mild spice, some alcoholic undertones. Lighter than I expected.

Taste: The high alcohol % comes through on the tongue; Spiced fruit, anise, smoky malt.

Mouthfeel: Nice balance between clean and cloying. the beer stays on the palate after the swallow, but not in an oppressive way.

Overall: A good winter warmer, and worth your time.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2013 01:58:54 | More by Hunter
Photo of puboflyons
puboflyons

New Hampshire

4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the corked, caged 750 ml. bottle. Sampled on December 6, 2013.

It has a brown-ruby red with decent clarity and a fluffy, long-lasting beige head.

Loads of character on the aroma including bready roasted malts, dark fruit, mild spice, Belgian sugar, and a touch of alcohol.

The body falls into the medium range. It starts light but seems to get heavier.

Like the aroma, the taste is alive with toasty malts, dark fruit, molasses, and raisins but it ends with a big lingering hop bite at the finish. Some alcohol burn.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2013 03:41:49 | More by puboflyons
Photo of craftaholic
craftaholic

New York

4.06/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Pours a muddy deep brown glass with very active streams of carbonation leading up to a frothy head that has great retention. The head has a beige color and the alcohol leaves a thin layer as it walks around the glass.

Nose- The aroma is very thick banana yeast with a slight spice and dark fruit notes. There is some hop presence. Nothing overpowering.

Taste- The banana and clove yeast flavors are very strong in the forefront. Then swoops in a wave of bready malts and brown sugar sweetness. There are dark fruit notes of cherries and raisins but also some light orange and lemon. The spice is what makes this a great christmas ale with a strong clove, cinnamon and even ginger notes running rampant. Lastly the alcohol is definitely there, it attempts to hide among the spice and myriad of flavors but sticks out like a sore thumb.

Mouthfeel- Creamy and rich and aptly carbonated.

Drinkability- A nice sipper for a cold eve because the alcohol doesn't hide too well as the brew warms. Would I be seeking it out at $12-14 a bottle again? No. However it is definitely a good spiced quad.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2013 04:38:52 | More by craftaholic
Photo of tillmac62
tillmac62

South Carolina

4.04/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark brown pour with a massive head with excellent lacing that lasts forever. Nose is of dark fruit, raisins and dates, against a malt backbone with a hint of spice. Light medium body and very well carbonated. Alcohol is well hidden with dark fruit and malt flavors. Spice is present, but subdued. Clean finish with a slight alcoholic bitterness. Not as flavorful or smooth as Gouden Carolus Noel, which in my opinion, is the best of the Belgian Christmas ales.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2013 21:32:17 | More by tillmac62
Photo of KYGunner
KYGunner

Kentucky

4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Gorgeous hue with a festive brightness and a color resembling the dried candied fruits that come so clear in the taste. This dark cherry or mahogany was topped by a dense froth.

The sweet smell of dates, prunes, raisins and plums hit the nose with a malty back drop that fruit cake. This is called a Christmas Ale for a reason.

The flavor is dried candied fruits with lots of prunes, dates, raisin and plum. Much like the nose there's a malty cake taste that melds well an brings it all together.

The flavors are certainly in line with a Quad but it has a fruit cake like thickness that makes this an excellent winter holiday beer. Sweet and savory notes of dried candied fruits couple with malt to give this an excellent smoothness.

Serving type: on-tap

12-01-2013 17:30:35 | More by KYGunner
Photo of Bernoulli
Bernoulli

South Carolina

3.6/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

1/2-3/4" head that lasts

dark hazy amber

filled two glasses with an inch for person #3 to try.

Not much of a smell, maybe a wiff of banana bread?

The alcohol flavor is not overpowering at all but you can tell its there if you swish it around. Definite taste of a variety of spices but not that jump out so much you can place them. Carbonation as it goes down. Flavor fades quickly at first. Warm staying power as it goes on.

A warming, not over-powering, satisfying winter ale.

(Even the MGD drinker at the table thought it was ok.)

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2013 21:59:19 | More by Bernoulli
Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,387 ratings.