Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,865 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,865
Reviews: 643
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 156
Gots: 307 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website
Belgium

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,865 | Reviews: 643
Photo of rfgetz
3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

Photo of Travlr
3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

Photo of Dope
3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

Photo of elNopalero
3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

Photo of homebrewhawk
3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

Photo of hero27
3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

Photo of artoolemomo
3.96/5  rDev -6.4%
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 .

Photo of ajm5108
3.96/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Some dark raisin & alcohol smells, you get some of that latent alcohol taste mixed in with the bready malt and dark fruit / raisin.

Photo of gtn80
3.96/5  rDev -6.4%
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%.

Photo of jbone78
3.97/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought this bottle in 2008, but the date indicates that it is a 2007. Let's see what it's all about.

Pours hazy brown with nice carbonation into my St. Bernardus glass. Signature yeasty dark fruit smell. Taste is different than the expected St. bernardus. You get an initial spice followed by a large figgy flavor. The dark fruit flavors fade into a vanilla/yeasty finish that is really nice.

This beer has not been in our local stores for the last year or so. But the next time I see it, I will buy more.

Merry Christmas

Photo of teromous
3.97/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

Photo of BMan1113VR
3.97/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

Photo of D23
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A) Pours a mahogany color with a fluffy off white head. Good lacing throught the glass.

S)Subtle hints of spice. Very faint No scent jumps to the front or overpowers. Also a hint of bananna.

T) Dark fruits and sweet malt. Alcohol taste is present but not overpowering.

M) Medium body ever so slight stickey finish.

D) Easy drinker given the ABV. As the beer warms the flavors come thru. Very enjoyable Christmas brew.

Photo of brystmar
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from its bottle into my Tremens snifter. The beer pours a nice darkish brown color with lots (2-3 fingers worth) of foamy head. Good retention of the head with plenty of lacing remaining on my glass. Smells strongly of various spices -- none of which I can pinpoint -- with a hint of mint in the background.

Given the spicy smell, I was expecting similar results in the taste department, but that wasn't the case at all. The flavors of malt and spice balance each other out well and led to a very pleasant drink.

Carbonation is just about perfect for this full-bodied brew; it has a pleasant mouthfeel overall. Much more smooth of a drink than I expected from its sharp smell. Cheers!

Photo of bobjonesSD
3.99/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at O'brien's

It was poured on-tap into a chimay goblet with the silver edge - looked a nice dark brown/black with very little head likely due to the pour. It smelled terrific - dark and spicy with a fruitiness as well. The taste was also quite good but I expected a little more from the smell. Mouthfeel was merely ok - perhaps slightly more carbonated than I would have expected. Drinkability was good - I would have drank several more of these.

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

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #47 (Dec 2010):

Sizable head drops down to a latte-like foam; this ale is nearly black in color as well. Candied fruit, plum pudding, hint of broth, burnt sugar and mulling spices scream X-mas to the nose. Carbonation smoothes the palate, silky with a delicate but thick medium body. Malt character is on the dry side for the most part; a smattering of caramel is in the middle. A bit hoppy with a side of phenols, all of which go herbal. Alcohol is pretty tame for 10 percent--it warms but does not rake the taste buds too much. Fruity, spicy and yeasty with hints of dark sugar and some earthy yeast in the drying finish. Super complex, yet still a sipper. This ale is waiting to be thrown at a rich holiday meal.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours brown with a beige head. Lots of extremely small, fine bubbles. The aroma is Belgian yeast as well as dark fruits and candi sugar. The taste pretty much follows the aroma, with lots of caramel malt. The overall flavor is pretty sweet and the alcohol is present and warming. Medium mouthfeel and highly carbonated.

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

750ml bottle into Waton Tulip.
A: A very foamy head, pours a three finger height and holds throughout. The body is a deep brown hue and has a thick haze and a steady stream of carbonation. The lacing is a thick coat of sticky lace.
S: The aroma is a bit on the lighter side for the style. The note of a Belgian yeasty clove. The note of a tripel on the front and a low level of complexity is found.
T/M: The front shows a note of dark fruits and a bit of a domination of fig. A bold taste that is on the higher end of a medium bodied intensity. The mouthfeel is a clean and crisp taste that is a classic Belgian taste. The finish is a bit on the sweet side, that shows a hint at the abv in this brew.
D: This is a great winter brew that shows classic style notes and a sweet winter warmer. While I would only visit this brew once a season, I would still highly recommend it.

Photo of RaulMondesi
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.

Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The cork flew out of the top as I was on my last twist of the cage. Thank goodness it only left a small battle scar in TomDecapolis' ceiling...
Appears a hazy dark amber with a soapy head of light tan foam that slowly fades out. Spotty lacing clings to the sides of the glass.
Smell is of raisins, plums, cocoa, anise, nutmeg, caramel, and brown sugar.
Taste echoes the aromas with the trademark Saint Bernie yeast pulling through with a touch of holiday spicing to make it complete.
Mouthfeel is medium full and lingering of raisins, fig newtons, fennel, sweet nougat, caramel, and pine needels.

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

Got this beauty from my nephew Kevin. Dark mahogany-ruby pour with huge three finger head with great retention and lacing. Big herbal, complex nose with hints of black cherries, metal, brown sugar, dark fruits, and tobacco. The taste is complex as well. Lots of black cherries, plums and bananas with a nice herbal backbone with hints of cinnamon, cloves and vanilla and just a touch of chocolate and orange peel. The finish is crisp and dry. The mouthfeel is carbonated, but slightly syrupy. The alcohol is extremely well hidden. It's not as "christmasy" as I had hoped, but still a classic beer from a great brewery. Thanks Kevin!

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

Typical St Bernardus with some seasonal spices

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

Pours a dark ruddy amber with a thick head and minimal lacing. Smells of spices, raisins, plums, cherries and brown sugar. Taste is more spices, dark fruits, brown sugar and molasses. Mouthfeel is smooth with medium carbonation and a dry finish. Overall a fantastic Christmas ale (my new favorite)! which is a nice alternative to the Abt 12. Alcohol is well hidden for 10% ABV. Merry Christmas!

Photo of zookerman182
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is dark ruby red and clear with a two finger head.
Aroma is cherries, tartness and spices.
Flavor is dark fruit and black cherry with some spice on the back end.
Mouthfeel is bubbly and bitter and spice slightly lingers with each sip.
Great beer for the holidays!

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

It sits in it's chalice opaque and dark brown in the middle, showing hints of copper around the edges. It had a very thin off white head that didn't linger.

Scents of raisins and/or currants, spicy yeast, some earthy bread.

Mmmm, slightly sour Belgian yeast gives way to a sweeter profile with hints of cinnamon chocolate and citrus. As I go on some dark fruits join the party.

Very nice carbonation, this beer makes it's presence known.

Will I get more? I'd bet on that.

Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,865 ratings.