1. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Christmas AleChristmas Ale

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

1,384 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1384
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)
View: Beers (12) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Christmas Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,384 | Reviews: 574 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Underrower
Underrower

Georgia

2.65/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

750ml bottle served in a small goblet

Looked good but maybe a little lighter in color than the ABT12. Not much foam when poured at first but later glasses had more foam. That slightly rosey transparancy in a strong dark belgian ale concerns me. Usually, the dark ales with no red color turn out to taste the best unless we are talking about Gulden Draak.

Smelled good. Had some fruit and bread on the nose.

When cold it was pretty good and I had high hopes as it warmed and opened but by the end of the bottle the hopes were dashed. What opened up was sickening sweetness then bitter and lots of alcohol taste.

Creamy mouth feel and nice carbonation. Warmed up it did pour a nice head of foam.

Overall, I should have kept cold. I will not be buying this again. I like sweet beers but this kind of sweetness is something else entirely. I have tried most of the St Bernardus offerings and I have to rate Abt 12 number one followed by the Tripel then the Pater 6 and Watou Tripel. This Christmas Ale I will lump in with the Prior 8 and the Wit as beers I will probably never have again.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2013 13:33:52 | More by Underrower
Photo of tubeyes
tubeyes

Texas

4.01/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A dark dark brown, min head, nice lace.
S lots of strong fruity, dates, whipped cream.
T alcohol upfront, lots of great fruitiness, more of the nose greatness, plums, dark fruit.
M great carbonation and elegant velvety mouthfeel, lots of great fruity aftertaste.
O very enjoyable, had on tap at OSDH Denton on world beard day. Loved it, very warming, although we were sitting in a humid Texas evening, it was still very nice and comforting

Serving type: on-tap

09-08-2013 01:25:56 | More by tubeyes
Photo of BurlesqueRadio
BurlesqueRadio

Florida

4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I bought this beer at a liquor store in downtown Denver two days before Christmas last year. I was spending the holidays away from my family living 1,500 miles from them and wanted to grab a sixer of ANYTHING. There were so many brews (even collaborations) by Lagunitas & Dogfish Head that I'd already tried from this particular liquor store so I was definitely in gear to snag something different.

I had my first St. Bernardus at a WOB on my 21st birthday and thought it tasted so delicious that I could barely remember my evening after 4 too many. The Christmas Ale had to hold up to the name so I gave it a shot.

I remember thinking that I needed to take smaller sips, an extremely sweet beer with a very strong mouthfeel and such a high ABV definitely indicated so. Soothing, velvety- Christmas-y. The sweetness reminded me of a concentrated caramel syrup, but in the best way possible. In beer. One of my favorites.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2013 02:43:21 | More by BurlesqueRadio
Photo of superspak
superspak

Michigan

4.23/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into signature chalice; best before 7/24/2017. Pours lightly hazy very dark red color with a 1 finger foamy light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big raisin, plum, fig, pear, light banana, brown sugar, molasses, toast, clove, pepper, brown bread, coriander, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity/spicy esters with balanced malt sweetness; and good strength. Taste of raisin, plum, fig, pear, light banana, clove, pepper, toast, brown sugar, coriander, brown bread, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of dark fruits, banana, toast, brown sugar, clove, pepper, brown bread, coriander, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast ester flavors with dark malt sweetness; with zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a slick, crisp, and moderately prickly mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent Belgian strong dark ale! Great balance and complexity of fruity/spicy esters with malt sweetness; and very smooth and crisp to sip on for 10%. A highly enjoyable offering.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2013 04:31:51 | More by superspak
Photo of KickInTheChalice
KickInTheChalice

Illinois

4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a St. Bernardus branded goblet.

The bottle creates a loud pop when I pull the cork, but it is no gusher. A burgundy brown colored beer is full and rich to the eye, with a full eggshell white head that is initially huge before settling down a little bit.

The aroma is full of plums, dates, and a bit of raisins. Holiday spices light up the nose as well. All of these aromas exist in front of a full caramel malt.

My first sip is quite sweet. Brown sugar, plums, dates, figs, and raisins are the most noticeable at first. The holiday spices from the nose come through as well; nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon all work well with the fruit notes. A bit of bread crusts and sweet caramel provide the malt presence. There is a bit of booze and light dry bitterness toward the end of the sip.

From the pop of the cork, it was obvious that this is a well-carbonated brew. It is a overly creamy carbonation with a little bit of a bubbly nature as well, as I am used to in the abbey ales. The flavor starts sweet and sticky and finishes with a light residue on the lips.

Overall I thought this was quite complex and enjoyable. Pretty much what I would expect out of St. Bernardus.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2013 00:51:02 | More by KickInTheChalice
Photo of ngeunit1
ngeunit1

California

4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark ruby-black with a big finger of frothy dark khaki head. Fades slowly.

S - Sweet dark caramel malts, dark fruits, Belgian yeast, clove, coriander, pepper, other spices, candi sugar, booze.

T - Sweet dark caramel malts, raisin and other dark fruits, Belgian yeast, clove, coriander, pepper, other spices, candi sugars, some booze.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth with a warming, sweet, and lightly spicy finish.

D - Great balanced Quad. Good mix of yeast and malt flavors.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2013 08:00:42 | More by ngeunit1
Photo of Smurf2055
Smurf2055

Washington

2.78/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into tulip at Uber in Seattle.

Appears dark hazel with very little head. Nice lacing.

Aroma seemed a bit weak. Slightly malty, and a small fruit aroma. Very subtle.

Taste was a bit bitter with a small alcohol burn. Somewhat complex, but nothing really stood out.

Palate was a bit grainy with little carbonation.

Not sure what was going on with this, but I wasn’t all that impressed...

Serving type: on-tap

04-01-2013 21:21:59 | More by Smurf2055
Photo of curasowa
curasowa

New York

4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Hazy, dark red color with two fingers of light tan head that fades very slowly with a thick curtain of lace.

Aroma: Lots of ripe fruit, mostly cherry and raisin over toasted malt. Faint hints of yeast and lemon mix in here and there.

Taste: Full bodied and creamy up front with lots of malt sweetness, along with some sticky, candy-syrup sweetness. A surprising amount of carbonation lightens things up in the middle, where some of the fruit notes show up along with some molasses and that wonderful Belgian yeastiness. A little bit of boozyness on the way out, but otherwise a lingering, slightly bready finish.

The Rest: Fantastic. A terrific Quad with big, bold flavors yet with layers of subtlety.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2013 22:27:23 | More by curasowa
Photo of YieldToNothing
YieldToNothing

New York

5/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

first 5 star review
750ml poured into a st bernardus chalice

pours an opaque brown with a quarter inch head. taste hints at nutmeg, smell has some cinnamon going on.

taste is full, this is a heavy beer but the abv is definitely well hidden.

i love this beer and i'm one of few that likes this better than the abt 12.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2013 03:11:01 | More by YieldToNothing
Photo of Auraan
Auraan

Arizona

4.98/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2013 06:11:38 | More by Auraan
Photo of GreesyFizeek
GreesyFizeek

New York

4.44/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at MacGregor's Grill and Taproom in Henrietta, NY.

Pours a dark brown, almost black. Belgian style huge head, 2.5 inches or so.

Smells like fruitcake, cherry, plums, raisins, and Belgian yeast.

Tastes similar- fruitcake, cherry, plums, raisins, and Belgian yeast- with strong dark fruits and fruitcake flavors- bready malts plus cherries, plums, and raisins give the fruitcake impression. Some cinnamon as well. Very sweet, not really cloying though, fortunately.

Thick, creamy body and mouthfeel. Low carbonation.

A great Christmas beer. Not quite as good as Abt 12, but still one of St. Bernardus' better offerings.

Serving type: on-tap

03-07-2013 00:34:14 | More by GreesyFizeek
Photo of HattedClassic
HattedClassic

Virginia

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance:
Pours a dark and deep purplish dark brown. Lots of lacing on the glass. The light tan head lasts a nice long while.

Smell:
Sugar, yeast and cherry.

Taste:
Belgian sugar. Yeast. Cherry and dark fruits.

Mouthfeel:
Light carbonation. Heavy bodied.

Overall:
A fairly good beer that I most likely will buy again during the Christmas season.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2013 03:14:33 | More by HattedClassic
Photo of Scooter51
Scooter51


5/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was recently in my favorite establishment in Rochester, NY which happens to have over 130 taps. To say they have a great selection would be an understatement.

I came upon St. Bernardus Christmas Ale quite by accident. I had requested a second of my usual amber beer from a well known German brewery that is quite good in its' own right, and for whatever reason the bartender provided me St. Bernardus Christmas Ale.

While it was a bit of a change from my usual beer of choice, I must admit that I was quite surprised by it's appearance, smell, taste mouthfeel and overall quality as my ranking of 5 indicates.

It was as if I walked into my favorite establishment and was swept off my feet by the most beautiful, intelligent, personable woman I had ever met. It was one heck of an experience.

It is important that I mention that this particular ale has an ABV of 10, so I would caution anyone to be very judicious when imbibing this great brew to either be home or have a designated driver. Cheers!

Serving type: on-tap

02-16-2013 21:49:19 | More by Scooter51
Photo of jroberts8811
jroberts8811

Missouri

4.89/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-15-2013 00:34:17 | More by jroberts8811
Photo of RickS95
RickS95

Indiana

4.94/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2013 00:46:08 | More by RickS95
Photo of gabedivision
gabedivision

New York

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

Poured from a 750 ml to a Rochefort chalice

A- Pours dark brown, with a creamy and frothy white head

S- Pungent dark fruits, sweet sugar, some toffee, very rich.

T- Sweet brown sugar, carbonation tingle up front, ,dry sweet dark fruits, alcohol on the finish, a weird metallic after taste that lingerd in my mouth long after the sip.

M- Full bodied, decent amount of carbonation that tingles in the mouth, finishes dry.

O- This beer has everything i want in a quad, except for the taste, they really lost me on it, looks perfect, smells amazing, taste just isnt there for me, not feeling this one St. Bernardus

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2013 02:13:29 | More by gabedivision
Photo of yamar68
yamar68

Minnesota

4.24/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Swampy tobacco brown body with a massive beige head that paints lace all across the sides of the glass, retaining rather well.

Oh that smells beautiful - cinnamon toast, fresh bread, caramel malts and plenty of that signature St. Bernardus burnt brown sugar. The only descriptors I can come up with seem to suggest something entirely sweet but it really isn't... at least not any sweeter than most of the classic Belgian darks. This really does smell fantastic. What a pleasant change of pace compared to most American Christmas beers.

On the palate it doesn't provide quite the same degree of depth. Raisin, figs and dates... mellow cinnamon/brown sugar, there's almost like a honeysuckle type finish that cleans up the tongue. It's a bit more tame than the nose would suggest. Smooth, though, and exceedingly drinkable.

Merry fucking Christmas!

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2013 01:46:57 | More by yamar68
Photo of MDDMD
MDDMD

Pennsylvania

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

A-dark brown color with hints of ruby and a nice light tan head with good lacing

S-malt, cinnamon, cloves, raisins and plums, brown sugar

T-malt, dark fruit, brown sugar,cinnamon, cloves, hints of licorice

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth, alcohol very well integrated

O-a delicious Christmas beer to savor during the cold months

Serving type: on-tap

01-23-2013 02:27:13 | More by MDDMD
Photo of Dodo2step
Dodo2step

Pennsylvania

4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

P- Al's of Hampden

A- a frothy mountainous four and half finger head. Color is that of iced tea or prune juice.

S- dark candied fruit, raisins, plum and brown sugar. A notrsilating smell. All the smells complement each other perfectly.

F- the plum and raisin comes out more in the tongue. carbonate brown sugar malts but all in all very nice.

M- like a chewy oatmeal raisin cookie. Carboanted at first but it tapers off as it goes down.

O- a heavy beer so it took me a while. i savored it thought. this is one of the best i have ever had.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2013 19:01:06 | More by Dodo2step
Photo of mdaschaf
mdaschaf

Washington

4.24/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a rather dark brown color with a very large foamy tan colored head. Great head retention with foamy lacing all around the glass.

S: Very complex and rich. Lots of dark fruit, raisins and figs, with some caramel, brown sugar, toffee, and a candy sweetness.

T: Very nice flavor profile, more dark fruit that lasts throughout, more raisins, plums, and a little cherry. The back end is filled with some caramel, brown sugar, and a slight sweetness. A little bit of doughy malt in the middle and a bit of Belgian yeast.

M: Medium to full bodied with a nice level of carbonation.

O: Another fantastic beer from St. Bernardus, deep and complex. A great beer to sip over a long evening.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2013 06:19:31 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of mactrail
mactrail

California

4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Lovely dark brew in the tulip glass. Distinctive for the great sensual body and the big, sudsy mouthfeel.

Licorice and cherries come to mind immediately. It’s not overly sweet, though it’s hugely rich. Plenty of malt with shades of dark roasted barley and a deep, intriguing complexity. This one is on my list to try again, but I’m glad I was able to have the tap version.

Certainly one of the best Belgian beers I’ve had. On tap at Pizza Port in Ocean Beach. Transcribed from 12/12/12 tasting notes.

Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2013 04:51:29 | More by mactrail
Photo of tdm168
tdm168

North Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - dark amber with a big, white head that has great retention

S - baked apples, some spices, cinnamon, Belgian yeast

T - baked apples, caramel, faint cinnamon, spices

M - medium to full bodied, smooth, well carbonated

This is a nice, malty beer where the yeast does a great job imparting spice and character. The ABV was well hidden, there was great balance and drinkability, and it has a solid all around flavor profile. This is definitely a winter beer worth checking out.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2013 22:59:18 | More by tdm168
Photo of Rifugium
Rifugium

Pennsylvania

3.88/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

First had: ???
This review is for a recent tasting, on tap at Capone's, Norristown, PA

I hadn't had this in a while, so I figured I'd give it another spin. Slightly hazed, ruddy brown pour, with a small cap of off-white head that retained well and left a bit of lacing on the snifter. Nice aroma, toasted bread, light spice, yeast, peach and pear. Taste reflected the nose, caramel malts, yeast, brown sugar, allspice, candied fruits. It's an easy drinker, medium-bodied, crisp, flavorful, some boozy heat, but as it is a 10% quad, you have to expect that a little.

Serving type: on-tap

01-09-2013 03:48:41 | More by Rifugium
Photo of anakar
anakar

Israel

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2013 14:50:17 | More by anakar
Photo of flagmantho
flagmantho

Washington

4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer on-tap in a tulip at Special Brews in Lynnwood.

Appearance: cloudy, chocolatey brown with a thick finger of creamy tan foam and a nice lace. The lace stays on the glass forever. Beautiful!

Smell: sweet malt with a great dark-fruit aroma. Rich and enticing.

Taste: rich, lustrous malt with a great chocolate, raisin and dark fruit flavor: plum, cherry, dates. A little bit of alcohol warmth throughout. Absolutely delicious!

Mouthfeel: rich body with a good level of carbonation and a wonderful silky smoothness. Awesome!

Overall: delicious, lovely, drinkable treat. I can't believe I've never had it until now.

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2013 22:28:11 | More by flagmantho
Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,384 ratings.