Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
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Ratings: 1,441 | Reviews: 576 | Display Reviews Only:
4.45/5 rDev +5.2%
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!
02-23-2014 21:25:15 | More by Boto
3.61/5 rDev -14.7%
From: Binny's, Champaign, IL
Date: "08-08-17" stamped on cage
St. Bernardus' Christmas Ale is a caramel, phenol, and ethanol-forward strong Belgian ale that is marginally satisfying for these flavors (though I'd go with any doppelbock instead). At times, I think I'm drinking caramel-colored and flavored fizzy, but less sweet, soda pop. Feeling generous, I say this is good, but not at all amazing, and at $12 for 750ml, I'll let it pass in the coming years (give me a Het Anker Blauw instead).
Pours a large (>3cm) head of medium-sized, beige-colored bubbles, yielding a somewhat frothy appearance. Retention is excellent, the foam lasting several minutes in a slow decline to a thick ring around the perimeter of the glass and a modest film lingering atop the body of the beer. Lacing is excellent, with meringue-thick and complex patterns clinging to all sides of the glass. Body is a very dark brown color, with light bringing out slightly lighter brown-orange hues around the periphery. Highly numerous and vigorous carbonation visible along the sides of the glass, but not through, the body being opaque.
Aroma is sweet, of very dark to burnt caramel, cloves, nutmeg, black pepper, anise, and slight ethanol. Despite the apparent complexity, the aroma is only moderately strong, robust, or expressive and does not make me get particularly excited about the beer.
Flavor of caramel-anise-ethanol as major notes with cloves and nutmeg, subtle dried dates and brown figs, and light banana ester as more minor characters. Front of palate is of dark caramel-like sweetness, ethanol, anise, light banana ester and dried dates. Mid-palate of dark and burnt caramel-like sweetness, anise, cloves, nutmeg, and slight ethanol. Back of palate of dark caramel, anise, ethanol, cloves and nutmeg (sharp phenols), much lesser light banana and dried dates. Aftertaste of ethanol, caramel-like sweetness, clove-like phenols, and cough syrup.
Beer is medium-light in body, with carbonation of high intensity, resulting in a somewhat fizzy, calming to foamy and smooth mouthfeel. The mouthfeel fits the expected idea for a Belgian trappist, though I think it's a bit overly aggressive and rough for such a huge beer. Ethanol present as slight heat in nostrils and mild burn on the back of the throat. Closes dry, with moderate stickiness lingering on the palate.
02-22-2014 07:22:58 | More by falloutsnow
4.49/5 rDev +6.1%
Poured 750 ml bottle into St. Bernardus glass
A-Poured a misty brown-amber body, with a slightly off white one finger head.
S-Complex fruity and malty aroma, apricots/peaches, apples, slightly dusty, slightly sweet, overall lovely.
T-Taste is sweet, malty, light plum, full taste supported by a light tartness - and supported well! Some banana, nutmeg and spice.
M-Full bodied, soft, nice smooth mouthfeel and good carbonation.
O-Overall a great Christmas Ale, my new favorite.
02-20-2014 13:21:56 | More by reebtaerG
4.35/5 rDev +2.8%
Picked up a 4 pack of 11.2oz bottles on clearance at Woodman's. Let's see how this stacks up to Abt 12.
11.2 oz bottle poured into pint glass.
Appearance: Pours a very very dark reddish brown. Big, frothy head that takes quite some time to die down, leaving a sticky lacing along the side of the glass.
Smell: From the moment I poured this, I got hit by the same sort of sweetness that Abt 12 has in it. The brown sugar, dates, raisin notes come shining on through. I don't smell any real booziness to it. Maybe a trace of banana here, with some nutmeg and holiday type spices.
Taste: That's... different. This hits you in a different way than Abt 12. More of the holiday spices, but the date/raisin notes still are definitely here. A complex taste to it, pretty crisp, but not boozy at all.
Mouthfeel: Bubbly and crisp. Lingers a bit longer in the aftertaste, in a warming manner from the alcohol. Not a burning sensation, thankfully. Definitely a lighter body to it.
Overall: Dangerously sessionable for a 10% ABV. Very enjoyable. I'd love to age a couple of these in the basement.
02-16-2014 03:41:50 | More by don1481
Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,441 ratings.