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Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Christmas AleChristmas Ale

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

1,389 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1389
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
Ratings: 1,389 | Reviews: 574 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of KAP1356
KAP1356

Pennsylvania

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Capone's. Served in a 13 oz. tulip...

A - Presented a dark, murky brown, reddish-amber color. A one finger cream color head had nice retention. Some light lacing.

S - Dark, rich, candy-like fruits like dates, figs, and raisins up front. Some cherries and plums also stand out. Lots of bready malts and carmel come next with some light spiciness from the yeast.

T - Follows the nose well with deep, rich fruits standing out. Dates, figs, and raisins mix well with cherries and some plums. Candy sugar and breadyt malts also come through adding nicely to the sweetness the fruits present. Some sweet toffee also comes out along with a nice hint of chocolate.

M - Medium to full bodied beer with a very smooth mouthfeel. Carbonation was adequate. Very slight hint of alcohol as the beer warms. Really nice, rich body.

O - I really enjoyed this one. I actually liked it better than Abt 12, which I was pleasantly surprised at. I definitely look forward to trying this one again next Christmas!

Serving type: on-tap

02-02-2012 20:42:28 | More by KAP1356
Photo of Hopdaemon39
Hopdaemon39

New York

4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Acme in Rochester. Unfortunately it was not poured into the proper vessel (it was poured into a strange pint type glass). The appearance rating suffered- it pours a deep mahogany with lots of head and good lacing.

Smells very sweet- ALMOST like alcohol but sweeter and with a little spice. Very pleasant.

Tastes rich and malty. It is a very sweet beer with the appropriate spices- maybe a little cinnamon and nutmeg. Also a little taste of yeast.

Mouthfeel is incredible- this is an amazingly refreshing beer for how sweet it is and how alcoholic it is. It is medium to full bodied with light to medium carbonation.

This a definitely a beer worth drinking again and again if you can find it and want to shell out the bucks.

Serving type: on-tap

01-28-2012 01:17:29 | More by Hopdaemon39
Photo of david18
david18

New York

3.2/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I had a twelve ounce draft of this at the Amsterdam Ale House on Manhattan's Upper West Side. This was an ok beer but not great. I usually don't like Winter Ales but it was really more of a typical belgian dark than what one might typically think of a winter beer as.

Appearance was typical of the style. A dark mahogany but not a lot of head. Belgian lacing was still there, however.

Aroma was a little thin. Dark fruit and esthery yeast, as expected, but a little underwhelming.

Flavor as well was not as interesting as I had hoped and the alcohol heat was a little bit much.

Overall an OK beer but not too great. Their quad is much better.

Serving type: on-tap

01-19-2012 20:27:18 | More by david18
Photo of BretSikkink
BretSikkink

Mexico

3.65/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured with a decent foamy head of some stature, although by the time I get to my table it is much reduced. Colors of brown and red, hazy, leaning towards black on the shadowed side of the glass.

Nose is very malty, with dried fruit, molasses, allspice notes. Estery as well.

The bubblegum ester note is most prominent on the flavor, alongside the mulling spices. If this doesn't sound tasty to you, don't bother. Peppery hops. Lots of esters and phenols, but the spices are big.

Full body with a smooth carbonation. Finishes strong and sweet. Way too rich for me, but it's a fair Belgian winter ale.

Serving type: on-tap

01-06-2012 05:45:21 | More by BretSikkink
Photo of mltobin
mltobin

Connecticut

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

Served on-tap over in NY state.

Appearance is deep red-brown, some lacing going on. Its` nose has raisins, yeast, candy, brown sugar and figs. A very robust smelling beer. Taking a sip of this strong dark ale and I taste spices from the winter season such as cinnamon and clove, along with some more dark fruits. MF leans towards full, the alcohol does not really hide. Sip this one and enjoy on a cold winter day.

Serving type: on-tap

01-05-2012 02:28:57 | More by mltobin
Photo of Jerone
Jerone

Florida

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark brown color with a one and a half finger cream colored head that sticks around for a bit, leaves okay lacing.

S - Dark fruit such as raisin, fig, dates and some nice yeasty and breadiness mixed in with malts and brown sugar.

T - Taste is similar to the smell but more prominent on the yeast and bread, there is also some toffee notes as well with the dark fruit. Also a touch of spice in there but not too much.

M - Medium verging on full bodied beer with a touch of carbonation to make everything meld together.

O - A great Christmas beer that I recommend to anyone who likes these types of beers.

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2011 15:22:03 | More by Jerone
Photo of russwbeck
russwbeck

Virginia

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

On-tap at Rustico for their Festivus Event.

A: Muddy brown pour with hints of orange. A finger or so of off-white head 4

S: Tons of Belgian yeast and candied sugar, mixed with Christmas ale spices 4

T: I'm impressed by how much this tastes like a Belgian instead of a Christmas ale. Very tasty with the spices stepped up a notch. Sweet and appropriately seasonal. 4

MF: Light to medium body with good carb. 4

O: I liked this, but it didn't overwhelm me. 4

Serving type: on-tap

12-21-2011 04:06:00 | More by russwbeck
Photo of gatornation
gatornation

Minnesota

3.9/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap

A-pours a ruby brown color with a light tat puffy head nice collar and lacing

S- was dark fruit with spice like cinnamon and nutmeg some fig

T- was better nice spice and belgian yeast with some toffee and coffee some chocolate

M- medium carbonation with some really nice spice tastes mixed dark fruit and hops, loads of flavor as it warmed

O - a nice strong dark ale with a nice crispy spicy flavor

Serving type: on-tap

12-18-2011 21:18:26 | More by gatornation
Photo of BlackHaddock
BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

4.75/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At last I’ve had an on-tap Christmas Ale that I could review (the other times I’ve drank it I didn’t really have reviewing opportunities). This time however was different: the lovely Red Rose bar in Brugge being the venue. 33cl for Euro 4.00, worth every cent.

Poured into a St Bernardus goblet it looked the business in every way: Jet black with a deep beige crown of tight bubbles sat on top. The head stayed and gave waves of lacing as I wolfed the brew down.

The smell was of dark, rich, candied fruits with a good measure of caramel and malts thrown in.

The taste always blows me away, creamy, rich and hearty in every way, yet it’s so mellow the 10%ABV does not show at all; this is a dangerous brew and so, so easy on the palate it just slides down the throat at an alarming rate. A brew to savour, but very difficult not to quaff at pace and order another, and another, and another. Whatever spices they use just enhance the flavours from the mash tun and helps to turn the brew from excellent to superb.

A true classic and a beer I’ll never tire of drinking (if I’ve got the next day off).

Serving type: on-tap

12-15-2011 16:45:46 | More by BlackHaddock
Photo of DCon
DCon

Missouri

4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

11-26-2011 18:51:10 | More by DCon
Photo of drpimento
drpimento

Wisconsin

4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
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!

Serving type: on-tap

11-18-2011 05:44:51 | More by drpimento
Photo of jmvecchio1
jmvecchio1

Missouri

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

The beer pours out a dark brown color and has a creamy head that gives way to lacing that lingers for the entirety of the beer.

The smell is a strong, fruity aroma that packs a powerful punch of pears and apples with a slight hint of citrus.

At first sip you get a dominant pear punch that gives way to a malty apple juice finish.

Looking at this beer you don’t notice any carbonation, but this beer does have a carbonated mouthfeel.

Serving type: on-tap

07-16-2011 19:55:58 | More by jmvecchio1
Photo of smakawhat
smakawhat

Maryland

3.28/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured on tap giving off a very nice opaque dark brown nut quality body. Good looking tan cream head almost as well.

Smell is a one trick pony. This is an all out banana syrup bomb, not even starch smelling just like faint Dairy Queen banana topping. I am not a fan of bananas so this makes for a not enjoyable smell and review for me (keep that in mind). Taffy notes as well, and with brown sugar notes and mild butter.

Taste is actually solid with a nice simple carbonation and sour chew quality. Banana syrup but not too thick body leaving a good finish.
Strangely enough, I am not a fan of this flavor but this is a well put together brew. I wouldn't want this again, but I can see the reasons why people would have this beer again no problem.

Serving type: on-tap

01-10-2011 18:48:46 | More by smakawhat
Photo of oglmcdgl
oglmcdgl

Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On draft at kraftworks.

A- comes to me with a small cap of tan head that settles quickly leaving just a few spots of lace. Hazy murky dark brown red in color.

S- candied fruits and a subtle sherry note. Light fall spice that reminds me of christmas go figure. Cloves and nutmeg with some fried orange peel.

T- dark roasted malts bring in some light coffee and chocolate then the long and slow roll into candied dark fruits, cloves, a touch of cinnamon. Apple skins and apple brandy.

M- just about medium in body with a lightish carb that let's you really feel the brew and almost makes it feel a bit more substantial before its perks its head and washes it all away.

D- killer killer stuff. I love it what else can I say. one of if not the best xmas brew ever.

Serving type: on-tap

01-03-2011 03:43:01 | More by oglmcdgl
Photo of gpatt55
gpatt55

California

3.8/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On-Tap @ The Daily Pint

Pours a rich ruddy brown with a nice thin head and fine lacing. Nose is fairly subdued with yeasty/dark bread, chocolate and fruitcake notes. Fairly rich and sweet on the attack but the body isn't as heavy. Compared to the Abt 12 this is less weighty and fairly drinkable. Mouthfeel lacks some weight and richness one would expect from this style. A little more density would help to balance the 10% ABV. Still the pedigree shows with excellent purity in the dark malt/yeasty/toffee flavors. A fine Xmas ale for a winter night but by no means transcendent.

Serving type: on-tap

12-31-2010 04:12:21 | More by gpatt55
Photo of mavbrew
mavbrew

Massachusetts

4.22/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had at Ebenezer's, served in chalice.

A: Pours a dark brown color with amber highlights, typical of the style. There is a slight off-white head.

S: Smells of dark fruits and yeast.

T: The taste is what you would expect from the smell, dark fruits, yeast and malts. Has a bit of a sweet flavor. Finish is smooth.

M: Medium bodied with light carbonation.

D: There is a slight taste of alcohol but the 10% is masked pretty well, making it highly drinkable. Very good offering and a must try BSDA.

Serving type: on-tap

12-29-2010 22:59:56 | More by mavbrew
Photo of Gehrig
Gehrig

Illinois

4.83/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed on tap at the classic Crane Alley in Urbana, IL after finishing the Christmas shopping this afternoon.

One and one-half fingers of caramel-colored froth top a cloudy ruby-amber body; ample lacing on the St. Bernardus glass (yes, they have a few at Crane Alley), good duration, and lovely color give this a terrific appearance. Wonderful, fruity smells, vinous with some orange peel, some spice (cinnamon and ginger), and a bit of chocolate. Very sweet nose, very good.

Magnificent, smooth taste, heavy on the sweet fruit--maraschino cherries, grape, orange--but, from cranberry and dried fruit such as date and raisin emerging in the second half, with a distinctly sour finish that adroitly balances Christmas Ale and forestalls any cloying. Some semi-sweet chocolate peeks through the dense layers of fruit. Creamy smooth mouthfeel, making this all too easy on the palate. So impressive is how well the high ABV (10.0%) is masked. It was only in the second glass, which I immediately ordered after dousing the first, that I felt it and, by then, it was remarkably easy to accept.

Outstanding BSDA and winter beer, St. Bernardus Christmas Ale filled me with Christmas cheer all day long. What a tremendous find, and kudos to Crane Alley for finding a place for it in their typically stellar lineup of wares.

First rate.

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2010 23:48:00 | More by Gehrig
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34

Illinois

4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Saw this on tap at Local Option last night, couldn't pass the chance to finally tick a top Belgian...Dark brown pour, but a really deep hue that I like. The head is light tan, creamy with good retention and lacing...Finally a Christmas beer aroma that doesn't overpower the senses. Dark fruits with spice, but spice is an accent not the center of the beer. The taste is the same, dark fruits with spice.

Worth trying, great winter Christmas beer.

Serving type: on-tap

12-19-2010 19:21:33 | More by jrallen34
Photo of jlindros
jlindros

Massachusetts

4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Armsby Abbey Belgian Christmas night, 2007 vintage. This was the catch of the night, so delicious.

Comes with a light Belgian fizzy head and light lacing, over dark brown molasses color with hints of rosy hue, and very dark with very little light coming through.

Nose comes with sweet malts, Belgian dark malts, little candi sugar, caramel, toffee, aged malts, slight dark raisiny fruits, and just the faintest hit of spices and nutty aromas.

Taste brings lots of raisin and dark fruits, little plug and fig, nutty malts, plenty of Belgian dark malts and that aged malt taste, smooth and semi sweet, some dark candi sugar and little caramel, hints of spice and a little warming booze, a little bitterness too. Finish lingers with lots of dark malts, a little sweetness and more candi sugar, and hints of fruits that linger for a while.

Mouth is medium to a little heavier bodied with decent carbonation and very little warming booze.

Drinkability is pretty good, drinks a lot smoother and lighter than 10%, and sweetness is balanced well and the aged malt flavor probably helps.

Serving type: on-tap

12-18-2010 02:55:06 | More by jlindros
Photo of rudzud
rudzud

Massachusetts

4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Armsby Abbey's yearly Belgian Christmas on 12/15.

*Note: This is a 2007 vintage*

A - Poured into a goblet this has a nice mahogany, cloudy pour with one of the most impressive heads I've ever seen. This 1 finger of big bubble head hung around for the duration of the ale leaving massive, clumpy side lacing. I'ver never seen bubbles of this size before in my brew, its insane!

S - Yeasty dough with raisins and dark fruit. Light aromas, yet what coems through is heavy.

T - Big raisin notes on this along with maybe some cherries too. So mellow and smooth thanks to the aging. There are some subdued carmel and malt flavours that are really pleasant.

M - Low carbonation due to age which is understandable. Not too heavy but it is syrupy.

D - Smooth, solid flavours with a great appearance. The appearance of this really sealed the deal for me. Such a gorgeous ale.

Serving type: on-tap

12-16-2010 20:51:40 | More by rudzud
Photo of drummstikk
drummstikk

California

3.83/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer tastes like cherry cough syrup! But it's really not bad at all. It has none of the bitter or minty flavors of Robitussin, but all of the sweet estery plastic-cherry-goodness. Allspice and ginger combine in the tart medicinal finish, caramelized sugar and caramel malts fill out the middle, and bright Belgian phenols start us all off. Hop aroma is absent, while hop bitterness just peaks through the finish. Body is thick and syrupy, and carbonation is light. Color is hazy dark amber/ light brown. Fruits are present all throughout: cherries, plums, with a hint of peach and melon. Aroma is funky and phenolic.

Don't worry about the 10% ABV -- it will go down smooth, just like a good medicine.

My only complaint is that this beer is a bit sweet for all its medicinal flavors. The gestalt is an underattenuated ale with Brettanomyces cherry pie flavors. If I hadn't been a sickly child, swilling Dimetapp every winter, I am sure this beer wouldn't conjure the same images. As it is, a dryer finish would steer me into bliss.

Serving type: on-tap

12-16-2010 01:34:47 | More by drummstikk
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Stuffed Sandwich

A: The pour is a dark brown color with some amber sort of highlights and an appropriately large off-white head.

S: A really rich, luscious nose of caramel, brown sugar, candi sugar, and toffee. Tons and tons of fruits too, like cherries, figs, and plums.

T: The flavor is just as wonderful. Sweet brown sugar and caramel lead the way with plenty of cherries, plums, and raisins to provide further sweetness. There's some clove and nutmeg flavors as well as a nice yeastiness.

M: The body is medium with a really full and rolling carbonation.

D: Maybe the best of all the Belgian Christmas beers I've had to this point. This is pretty much what I think of/look for in this kind of beer.

Serving type: on-tap

12-10-2010 09:24:12 | More by womencantsail
Photo of mbrown26
mbrown26

North Carolina

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

Had this on-tap at the Thirsty Monk South.

A: A great dark beer with a nice head. It was a little too dark for me to get a real picture of the color, but it was dark and the head was nice. Lacing stayed throughout the glass.

S: Reminded me of the ABT. 12. Got fruity and malty notes.

T: Lots of malty flavor that has hints of cloves and cinnamon. Very flavorful. A different kind of beer if you're only used to pale ales or IPA styles.

M: Thick and syrupy, but clean.

D: Easy to drink, but one glass sure does for you.

Serving type: on-tap

12-07-2010 03:27:47 | More by mbrown26
Photo of dnarx
dnarx

Texas

4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Was a nice dark orangy-brown with a tan head that left lacing up the side.

S: Smelled of dark fruits and spice

T: Slightly sweet but not overwhelmingly so, nice dark fruit flavors mingling with the spice, like a great bread pudding without the bread.

Mouthfeel was smooth with a good body.

Overall I really enjoyed this beer, I only had one because of the alcohol content and the sweetness, although subtle a little more than I prefer.

Serving type: on-tap

12-05-2010 22:14:20 | More by dnarx
Photo of jnn4v
jnn4v

Virginia

4.22/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Brasserie Beck in Washington DC.

A: Mahogany / walnut brown color. Translucent around the edges and generally hazy. No sediment. Moderate cream colored head with very fine texture.

S: Nutmeg, ginger, and other holiday spices are the very first thing I noticed. Also some dried dark fruits like raisins and dates as well as spiced or candied nuts.

T: Good flavor. Spices are the most dominant trait, but they aren't overpowering. Some good mixes of nutty flavors with molasses and brown sugar malts, dates, raisins and prunes.

M: Very good mouthfeel. Good body and texture from the viscosity. Nice, refined carbonation as well.

D: Different than I expected (I'd been hoping for Abt 12 plus spices, and this is more of a brown with spices). However, it definitely grew on me. Very drinkable at refrigerator, cellar or room temperature.

Serving type: on-tap

12-03-2010 22:16:02 | More by jnn4v
Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,389 ratings.