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Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

627 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 627
Hads: 1,872
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 9.09%
Wants: 157
Gots: 314 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Christmas Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 627 | Hads: 1,872
Photo of Metalmonk
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The pour results in a superbly fluffy head (two fingers), which crackles and deflates very slowly, leaving super-sticky styrofoamish lace on the glace. Color is a deep chocolate-brown in color, nearly opaque; difficult to see the bubbles feeding that mammoth head.

As a Christmas ale, it's appropriately fruity and spicy in the nose, recalling tart/young gooseberry and cranberry; light sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. Earth/mineral, shaved chocolate and a fairly assertive alcohol creep into the aroma.

Flavor stays on the fruity/spicy tip of the aroma , but on the tongue the fruits turn darker and the spices less sweet. Some white pepper and clove bite along with a fig/grape hint. Has a woody herbal/spiced tea vibe...and then with warming, it transforms. What I get after about 30 minutes is cinnamon roll--equal parts gooey, yeasty dough, caramel-ish qualities and cinnamon spice. Ghostly specters of root beer or Dr. Pepper work their way into the finish, and that is not a criticism, and hopefully not a cheapening of this beer's quality--just an approximation of another flavor characteristic of this complex beer.

Mouthfeel is wonderful, having a vibrant carbonation, a nice balancing velvet smoothness, and an overall airiness. A little bit of stick throughout the mouth.

No surprise that those behind St. Bernardus, monks or otherwise, would turn out an excellent Christmas ale. Their regular line (which is anything but regular) consists of some of the greatest beers in the world, and this one is no exception. (1,530 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.43/5  rDev +6%
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. (629 characters)

Photo of Stoneman78
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass
A- Murky caramel/orange hue, huge amounts of off-white frothy head that is effervescent and mostly sustaining, splatters of lacing
S- Nose is dark fruits, sweet belgian candy, alcohol, green apples, and spices
T- Initial taste is dark fruits followed by spritzy spices, peppermint, and bananas, finishes with sweetness and alcohol warming
M- Full-bodied, thick chewy texture, amped-up carbonation
D- Smooth and balanced strong ale, milder spice flavors and lively carbonation contribute to a unique taste profile, very easy-drinking but best enjoyed sipping slowly on a cold night (612 characters)

Photo of cjgiant
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap:
Second time having this beer on tap. First time I was generally impressed and not in a rating mood. This time confirmed that I should have been impressed.

Pour is a amber/auburn/brown, with nice off-white to tan head that films the surface through most of the pour. Lacing is significant on a washed glass. Nose is confusing. I get a nice scent, but I'm not sure it fits the style. Up front I almost get Sprite-like lemon-lime soda notes. This is backed, and in different sniffs overcome by and balanced by the normal dark fruit notes I'd expect from a quad. Maybe it's the Chrtmas spice that doesn't come through "properly" to me. I really like it, but not sure it's "to style".

Feel is actually somewhat lift and effervescent, which I think is the most non-stylistic flaw in the beer. Funny thing is, like the confusing smell, for lack, I like this as well, personally. The tastes are honey-sweet versions of dark fruits, tending towards candied versions thereof. The Sprite flavors come with the feel, and are noticeable to me in the background. There is very little bitterness to speak if, and whole I would describe the beer as fairly sweet, it's not syrupy sweet.

A definite must have during the holiday season. (1,241 characters)

Photo of patre_tim
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown with a light cherry tinge when held to the light. Topped with 3 fingers of beige fluffy head. Chunky snow like lacing.


S: Prunes, cherries, raisins, figs, Christmas pudding.


T: Cherries, orange, prunes, raisins, Christmas pudding, a light iron quality. Nutmeg, mace, cinnamon.


M: Thick, dark and syrupy, light foamy carbonation.


O: Excellent brew. Got online in Thailand, drank for the second time January 5th, 2015. Drank first at Turkey Creek, NC two summers ago. I went to the brewery near Watou last Christmas, and they had none left. I asked the head brewer to be sure to send more brews, particularly this one, to China. Was glad to have at least found it in Thailand. (704 characters)

Photo of BurlesqueRadio
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
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. (923 characters)

Photo of drpimento
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served with a smallish, cream colored head and lots of lace. Color is a cloudy brown amber. Aroma is super malty, vineous, yeast, caramel, toffee, fruit. Flavor's very similar to nose with toffee, caramel, malt, yeast, carbonic tang all in the fore! Body and carbonation are faultless. Finish is malt, carmel, toffee and a touch of fruit while of average length. Luscious beer! (377 characters)

Photo of HalfFull
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked 750 ml. bottle into a wine glass. Christmas Ale pours somewhat light for the style, a clear reddish brown in color and with an inch of meringue like tan head. Make that two inches, no three inches. A fervent boil of carbonation built the foam up after the pour until it peaked an inch above the rim of the glass. Kind of like a Santa hat on top of the brew. Retention and lacing, as expected from the pour, are robust.

Nose is initially light for the style, with the firm carbonation and apple notes being the only things strong enough to pierce the dense blanket of foam. Spiced chocolate cherry reveal a decent depth after the foam settles to a steady cap. Vinous notes accompany along with a sense of champagne like effervescence. Yeast subtleties expand with warming and combine beautifully with the malt/spice balance giving a bump to the rating. Nutmeg and cinnamon and dried flowers are subtle and enticing.

Flavor is light and fruity and with nary a note of alcohol in sight. Notable cherry wraps around some light fig notes. A lingering spice finish maintains for a full 30 seconds each sip. Flavor improves and expands as the carbonation settles, revealing the nuances that said bottle conditioning helped create. Offers a smooth feel and a body that belies it's own strength. This beer drinks like it's 7 or 8 percent, never revealing its true nature.

Note: From a bottle this beer needs to release some carbonation to really shine. Pop it cold and let it outgas and warm before serving. Malt structure is welcomingly light for the ABV yet offers good depth. (1,594 characters)

Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet.

A -Beautiful brown-black color. Amazing head, 3 fingers or more.

S - Lovely complext flavors. Raisiny, hints of fig.

T - Just an awesome beer. Perfectly balanced. Hardly taste any alcohol while it's going down. Candy for adults. Wanted to give this a 5, but you gotta leave room for better.

M - Lucious, medium to full bodied.

O - What a nearly perfect beer for those who love strong Abbey ales. And I do. Could drink this from the Macy's parade to first day of spring. (496 characters)

Photo of BeTheBall
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Dark amber color; beautiful pillowy head that lasts for a long time, some lacing on the glass as the beer drains.

S: dark fruit and a slight alcohol presence.

T: complex and rich fruits such as raisins, figsd, plums, apples? Very tasty.

M: mouthfeel is extraordinary, coating the entire mouth, tonugue and throat. Well above average, even for Belgian ales I've had.

D: 10% ABV is not for the faint of heart, but the huge and delicious flavors do a pretty good job of hiding it, to a point. (496 characters)

Photo of ShrLSU
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml into a Westy goblet. First had it at the Brick Store in Atlanta and bought a bottle to take home from Green's Liquor.

A: Poured a dark brown color with a frothy tan head. The head sticks to the glass after drinking and settling..

S: This smells like Christmas. Cinnamon, dark fruits, some slight hops, and a warm spice scent. Just a perfect example of what you would think of a typical Belgian scent crossed with christmas flavors.

T: Very fruity and spicy. The Cinnamon is nice after the dark fruits and apple taste settle in. A lite alcohol bite at the end. This gets better as it warms as well.

M: Very carbonated. It tingles in the mouth but you can gradually go through the flavors in the beer as it tingles away at your tongue.

D: This is one of the best Christmas beers i've had. It's very complex but very enjoyable. If you love Belgians and the christmas beer style then this ones a must. I hope we get this close to Louisiana. I'll definitely crack one of these come December 25th. (1,017 characters)

Photo of fx20736
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a St Bernardus chalice, served at cellar temp.

Dep chestnut brown with a pale khaki head and nice lacing.

aroma of fresh baked bread, bananas and brown sugar.

mouthfeel is light and frothy

taste of baked bread, plums, bananas and a clove-like spiciness.

Notes: Super! This is really good stuff. I've had 5 different beers by St Bernardus and love 3 of them; Pater 6, Abt 12 and this Christmas Ale. (434 characters)

Photo of DCon
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on-tap @ the International Tap House in Chesterfield, MO during the Black Friday "iTap Style" Event for $7. Tapped from the Black Tap Handle that has St Bernardus w/ a Santa Claus hat on into a 12oz Chimay Chalice Glass.

Aroma- A very sweet and complexed aroma comes from this one! Has a ton of malt, caramel, and fruit that hits the nose strongly. The fruit is a mixture of plums and light cherries (often found in Michigan brews), and then follows with a light noble hop aroma! Everything in the spectrum of the aroma!

Appearance- Received with a 1 finger head that is very frothy and lasts for good time. Has a dark, caramel looking body but much darker and is hazed beyond reason. Leaves THICK lacing behind.

Flavor- Has an extremely sweet and wild flavor here! Strong malts and cherries come out and give a puckering flavor. A medium-high bitterness level is present and can't put my finger on the "true" style this should be! I would say everything is blended harmoniously here and I enjoyed every last drop!

Mouthfeel- Medium-Full Bodied, Medium Carbonation, Smooth, Bit of Booze, and then has a nice alcohol warming finish. Wish there was more hops and that cherry flavor on the palate... Guess you can't get too much of a good thing sometimes!

Overall Impression- Rich, Complexed, and a very WILD Christmas Ale! I'm definitely stopping by Lukas Liquor to pick up a bottle of this and review/enjoy again! I suggest you do the same (but of course, your local bottle shop). See if you can spot the cherries in this one! There were a huge attribute in this brew for me that made it so enjoyable. Thanks Brouwerij St. Bernardus! Fantastic. (1,657 characters)

Photo of nlmartin
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the 2011 edition. The beer was served in a wide mouthed goblet.

A- The body of the beer is black. No opaqueness to light. The head is thick biege coloration. Nice head retention that stands up to the mustache test. Thick lacing marks this beers passage.

S- Dark roasted and toasted malts. Caramel breadyness, peppery yeast, dark fruits raisins, candied figs, mixed berries and cherries, spice bill is cinammon, cardamon, allspice, nice peppery yeasty flavors. The alcohl peaks out and says hello from time to time.

T- The beer was a bit cold to begin with but opens up very nicely as the beer warms. Major delivery on the beers aroma. Nicely executed! The beer is a bit sweet at first but between peppery yeast esters, spices and alcohol it brings the sweetness to heel.

M- Full bodied majorly aggressive carbonation. The beers body and carbonation works well together. The alcohol is a bit hot but not annoying.

O- Very tasty! I love St Berandus. I am really enjoying the Christmas version. If you like big beers this will deliver what you are craving. (1,068 characters)

Photo of Chico1985
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first St. Bernardus beer, pretty stoked. Cork pops off with a big explosion, hitting the ceiling followed by a little bit of foaming spillage. It's a Christmas miracle! Pours very dark, looks black until held up to the light which makes it blood red with lots of sediment floating about. Big fluffy pillow of off-white head rests on top, leaves good lacing. Smell is big on Belgian yeast, fruit and a bit of booze. Taste is excellent with lots of flavors bursting through. I'm tasting lots of fruit, mostly dark ones such as cherries, plums and raisins, also a hint of banana. Lots of Belgian yeast/biscuit taste, winter spice and molasses as well. Alcohol extremely well-hidden the entire time. Very tasty and complex. I will definitely buy this next year. (760 characters)

Photo of anteater
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle.

A: Dark dark brown with a medium light tan head, great retention.

S: Sweet belgian candi sugar, brown sugar, cherries, chocolate, belgian yeast. Light, intense, refreshing and invigorating.

T: Chocolate covered cherries up front, sweet malt and molasses. This is really delicious stuff.

M: Slightly dry, really nice drinkability.

O: I think St. Bernardus Christmas is a fantastic beer. It is one of the very first good beers, and perhaps the very first great belgian beer I've ever had and has always lived up to my first memories of how good it was. (585 characters)

Photo of BlindPig
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours with a huge tan head into the St. Bernys goblet. Murky dark brown body with some murky ruby hues. Great head retention and nice thick lacing that sticks to side of glass, a lot!
S- Huge spice, clove, light nutmeg, toffee, chocolate, some mint, blend between grass and weaker pine (almost like a Christmas tree), and one or two other things I just can't pick out make up a nice complex aroma.
T- Most everything in the nose comes out in the flavor. You can almost taste Christmas in a glass. Alcohol tickles the tongue a little bit and warms up throat very soothingly.
M- Medium body with high carbonation like most of St. Bernys beers.
D- St. Bernys has yet to let me down and once again they pull off another great beer. Wish you could find this in Vegas. I would love to have a few of these closer to Christmas. Also I think it would be great with a year or two on it. (880 characters)

Photo of Boto
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle: This one pours a very cloudy mahogany brown color. There was almost no head on it, and left no lacing. Nice nose! Christmas spices, caramel malt, faint dark fruits, some breadiness and Belgian yeast notes. The taste is very good. Rich malts, not too much sweetness, dark fruits, yeasty and bready, Christmas spices. Definitely a keeper! Has this on tap at Monks also and was equally good as the bottled version! (425 characters)

Photo of alkemy
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fluffy, voluminous creamy tan head. I had to cut the pour short for fear of overflow.

A—Cloudy, deep mahogany with the afforementioned head…which does not soon dissipate. Sticks to the glass like
Whipped egg whites.
S—Thankfully, the “christmas” spicing is absent. Plums and apricots. Also a whiff of muenster cheese as odd as that sounds.
Beyond that it has the typical banana and bubble gum.
T—Dark fruits dominate the taste. As with many Belgian’s, the taste follows the scent quite closely. It’s sweet, but the alcohol lends enough warmth to make this feel really balanced.
M—Pretty carbonated, but it has enough weight to keep it from “biting”
D—It’s good…it’s real good. The first few drinks, the warmth of the alcohol was noticeable, but that quickly faded. I think it’s less boozy than the abt 12. Very good. (854 characters)

Photo of CHADMC3
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The deep walnut brown body gives off only a slight white head with little noticeable carbonation.

Aroma is of sweet, dark fruit, molasses, and malt.

A slight spice such as nutmeg or cinnamon is faint amongst the dark fruits of raisins or fig with hints of yeast as well.

Little carbonation, medium body, dry, and an excellent array of character for the palate.

This is a fantastic beer. Tons of deep flavors, almost too easy to drink, begging you to take another sip, and the high ABV does not overwhelm amongst the various flavors. (536 characters)

Photo of humuloner22
4.46/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Solid brew. Not a Christmas spice beer at all. This beer is crafted to introduce an element of times past for the holidays. Don't get me wrong I like spiced beers from time to time but this beer brings an element to holiday beers that are not the norm and that is a plus. This beer is a "Christmas" beer however, I could see myself drinking it all winter long. Its a solid Belgian style ale.

Color: Dark red, almost like currants, but it also has a dark brown mixed in. Its not clear but it does have a some invitation to light, also when poured this beer has a tremendous head and it actually blew out of the bottle when I opened it, which was done fairly carefully.

Aromas: Wine like, with dark fruits, currants, prunes, raisins and other dark dried fruits.

Taste: Sweet, dark fruits, very close to a barley wine, but it has a regular wine flavor profile going on as well. It is not cloying at all but its like a plumb pudding in a glass. Its very traditional Belgian/ old European flavor profiles here.

Overall: This beer tastes like it comes from an older time and i can respect that. I wouldn't drink it all the time but it was a nice experience and change of pace. (1,177 characters)

Photo of goochpunch
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a hazy leathery brown with a thin head. Smells fruity with spicy Belgian yeast - caramel malts. Taste: caramel malt base and spicy yeast. Umami savory yeastiness. Dried fruits and berries. Finishes dry. Moderate weight on the tongue with active prickly carbonation. Delicious. (293 characters)

Photo of dstc
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy brown with a fizzy tan head. Head falls to about nothing. Some lace.

This has a big malty nose filled with nice spice. Smells sweet.

Nice sweet malt taste, obviously. Has a bit of spice a regular Abt 12 does not however it resembles that beer, which is great since I love that beer.

Nice smooth, somewhat chewy mouthfeel with a good bite.

Love it. Awesome Christmas brew. Much enjoyed. (408 characters)

Photo of jjayjaye
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow...now this is a f* Belgian Strong Dark Ale!!!

Pours a slightly hazy dark brown color with a full finger light tan head of tiny bubbles that resist fading. The smell is CLASSIC!! I mean 'I'm lov'in' the Belgian yeast, malty core with dark fruit, figs, NECCO chocolate and just the right amount of holiday spices.
Nicely carbonated, the mouth feel is complimented by the creaminess of the head and the figgy flavors. Full flavored, this is textbook to style...the Belgian malty fruit thing is center stage... the mouth feel is creamy and much heavier than your everyday abbey ale. The 10% ABV is well integrated. I personally HIGHLY RECOMMEND this one as part of your holiday festivities!! Another High Quality product from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV. (754 characters)

Photo of Bierguy5
4.48/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml, 10% ABV, best before 7/8/12. Pours a very dark chestnut color with some ruby hues. Thick, foamy tan head. The head stays on top like a pillow top, and turns into this great frothy, rocky top. Head retention was perfect. Even at the end of the glass, there was a layer of foam left. Huge sheets of lace left coating nearly the entire glass. Impressive so far.

Lots of complexity in the nose. Fruity, spicy, yeasty aromas. Earthy, figs, plums, and a whiff of alcohol. Very enjoyable. Layers of aroma.

Dark bready flavor, darker fruits, some fig, spices and yeasty character. Again, layers of flavors, without being overwhelming.

Warming alcohol. Frothy carbonation gives this a medium body feel. A big beer, with layers of character. Very nice. (753 characters)

Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
93 out of 100 based on 627 ratings.