Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,710 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,710
Reviews: 610
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.46%
Wants: 137
Gots: 258 | 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: 1,710 | Reviews: 610 | Display Reviews Only:
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3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

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3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

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3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

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3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

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3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

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3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

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3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

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3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

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3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

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3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

Photo of BeerMeBrah
3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

Photo of UrbanCaveman
3.51/5  rDev -17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle, poured into a snifter at room temperature.

A: Pours a rich, deep bronze-brown, and forms a fantastically thick head with good retention. Fairly clear, enough to see the bubbles rising from the bottom. Lacing is rather remarkable - this amount of froth and lacing should not even be possible for a 10% ABV beer!

S: Sweet malt and yeast, wreathed through with plum, fig, and cherry notes. The candi sweetness is of course present, along with just a tinge of funk.

T: So, that's what a quad with cinnamon in it tastes like. There's significant heat in this, from a combination of cinnamon spice with noticeable alcohol. Sweet malt, candi sugar, and dark fruits, particularly cherry, are all present, but beneath the spiceahol mix. The finish leaves a lingering burn.

M: Rather thin and sharply carbonated for a quad, actually. I was expecting something stickier, given the head and lacing.

O: I am rather underwhelmed by this beer, especially from St. Bernardus. The Abt 12 is spectacular, but this does not disguise the alcohol content half as well - instead, it disguises the underlying yeast flavors with alcohol and spice. I wouldn't say it is a bad beer, but I would not go out of my way to have it again. Perhaps if I were to encounter it on tap somewhere for a decent price per pour.

Photo of StarlightSeraph
3.53/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My 150th review, on Christmas night.

Poured from a corked and caged 75 cl bottle into my Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours a murky mahogany, with hints of red when held up to a light. Two fingers of thick, frothy off-white head. Tons of lacing.

Smell: When I opened the bottle, I got a whiff of cinnamon and gingerbread, but I didn't really get that in the glass. In the glass, all I can really get is the belgian yeast.

Taste: An intense, sweet and tangy roasted-chocolate flavor is the first thing that hits the taste buds. Tangy fruits are there in the background, as is the belgian yeast. A definitely burn from the alcohol as it goes down.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly, incredibly high carbonation, almost to the point of it being painful on the tongue. I realize that most Belgians are highly carbonated, but this is one of the most intensely carbonated beers I've ever tasted. It is nice and creamy, though.

Drinkability: A definite sipper, both due to the carbonation and the high alcohol. An enjoyable beer, too, although I was a little disappointed that there wasn't more of a...special, or holiday, feel to this beer - it tasted almost generic, and there wasn't something that made it stand out. I would certainly have it again, but it's not one I would spend hours searching for. I wouldn't mind having one of these on hand to age, though.

Photo of Vixie
3.53/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark ruby red color. Looks black at first, but when held to the light, it is deep red. Forms a very large tan head, pour this one carefully, or you will overflow your glass with foam.

The smell is very malty, but I can detect some spice as well. Pepper, licorice, and cinnamon come to mind as I'm smelling it.

Fruity with a hint of spice. Raisin and a bit of cinnamon apple, with a bit of pepper behind it. There is some nice alcohol warming at the finish.

The feel seems a bit weak for the style, I was expecting a bit more presence.

A decent beer, but not as complex as I was expecting. I have had several beers of this style, and it doesn't quite match up to the best of them. Still, it is a nice beer to drink on a cold night, and glad I tried it.

Photo of Domingo
3.53/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I like the normal St. Bernardus offerings, so I picked this up for the season and ended up drinking it on New Year's Day.
Pours a darker brown than their normal abt 12 and it has a massive tan head. After the head started taking over I had to lighten up on the pour a little. Pretty impressive for something this potent.
Smells chocolately, raisin-like, and boozy. There's a little bit of a floral hop presence, too. The Belgian yeast is in check a little bit, but it's there.
Tastes boozier than I expected. It also has a pretty sharp hop bite in the finish, too. Flavors are of roasted nuts, caramel, chocolate, and sugars. Nothing really unusual to be honest, but a standard dark Belgian ale with more alcohol burn and hops.
Mouthfeel's thick and chewy, but that's what a beer like this needs.
It took me about an hour and a half to finish my half of the bottle and when I was done, I was done for the evening. It's just a little too much considering I didn't find the flavor to be all that unique.
Not bad, but I'm not sure it's anything I'll pick up again unless it's on sale.

Photo of emerge077
3.55/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It looked nearly perfect in the light, tiny jets of carbonation raced through the hazy chestnut liquid, with a fluffy head of tan foam. Every so often, larger bubbles would be carried upward from the bottom, powerless in the slipstream.

Strong aroma of bubblegum/banana from the yeast esters. Slight sweetness, bordering on cloying.

Deeply malty flavors with light fruit and nuttiness. A bit too sweet for my taste, but it's not overdone. Dry finish hints at the high abv, but it's hidden in the taste. I'm happy that I shared this at a holiday party instead of trying to drink the whole thing myself.

Photo of illidurit
3.55/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On tap at The Red in Santa Cruz. Pours a muddy dark brown with a thick tan head that sticks around until the liquid is gone. Great thick lacing. Aroma is very deep, with fig, overripe plum, green apple, caramelized orange peel, ginger, phenols, and a touch of saccharine cola. Flavor is a little more straightforward. Rummy raisins, orange peel, ginger, and licorice. Alcohol and carbonation are a bit too apparent and so this beer is not particularly drinkable, but it is a nice warming winter treat to share.

Photo of jazzer
3.56/5  rDev -15.8%

Photo of smcolw
3.58/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Massive 80% head in the glass. Settles steadily leaving spotty lace on the glass. Cloudy light brown color.

Sugar candy and alcohol are the dominant aromas. Mild hop in the background.

Creamy with a mild sweetness and the archetypical Belgian flavor from the yeast. Alcohol is potent and adds to the rich body. The swallow has a faint touch of hop, but it's a predominantly sour malt flavor. The aftertaste is brief.

Photo of bruachan
3.58/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

deep mahogany with sudsy head that, predictably, didn't really last

strong dark fruit with some vinous and even genuinely winey elements. slight airy hops, cinnamon

warming and spicy. mouthfeel is good and provides a decent palette on which to base the tasty brew. plenty of dark continental malts. with time the breadier variety of malt experiences begin, taking the place of the fruitier kind bit by bit. cola. despite the heat to be expected of a 10% beverage, this one doesn't really have it; though warming, very drinkable

that being said, it's not all that impressive, to be honest

Photo of rajendra82
3.58/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The classic St. Bernardus packaging was themed in red and green on this bomber, and the jolly monk had donned a Santa Clause hat as snow covered the brewery shield. Is this going to really be “bringing heavenly nectar within reach” as promised? There was only one way to find out.

The cork came off with a loud pop, but the beer stayed put inside the bomber. As I poured it into a St. Bernardus goblet, the beer was murky brown in color, and the head was only one finger tall. The aroma was heavy with anise and had some banana notes as well. The taste seemed like a watery version of the Abt 12, except it seemed almost salty. The dark malts seemed to be struggling to rise above the huge carbonation sting. There were overtones raisins, figs, red apples, and brown sugar, but everything seemed to be diluted with club soda. The alcohol was well hidden as expected. There was some earthy yeast flavor in the taste as well. I'd say that this was quite a complex beer, but not all aspects of complexity were working towards a cohesive whole. As it warmed up some, the carbonation became more subdued, allowing me to appreciate the flavors better. Medium full mouthfeel was good, but never approached that velvety smoothness of the exceptional quadruples.

A good beer, but pales in comparison with its other illustrious brethren. Not a fair standard I suppose, since most other beers do as well.

Photo of simoen
3.59/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Beer-Ed
3.59/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Scotchale
3.6/5  rDev -14.9%

Photo of Bernoulli
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.)

Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,710 ratings.