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Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

628 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 628
Hads: 1,878
Avg: 4.19
pDev: 16.23%
Wants: 157
Gots: 321 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website

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: 628 | Hads: 1,878
Photo of dar482
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pretty fun take on the base beer with Christmas fruit cake spices throughout. Along with the dark sweet fruits is a general tone of caramelized banana. A decent mouthfeel with good carbonation to move the beer around.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750mL corked and caged bottle into a Dogfish Head snifter. The pour is copper-colored and dark, though not quite as dark as Abt 12, and highly effervescent. It sports 2 fingers of creamy, fine, and very well-sustained head that never completely fizzled out. The nose is not too punchy and I get notes of dark fruit, cinnamon, and allspice. The spices seem to mask the rich, bready, pastry-like aroma of the standard Abt 12.

The beer has a medium body with a firm feel, though a bit thinner than Abt 12. The high level of carbonation wakes up the palate, intensifies the spices, and cuts the sweetness. Brief, bready, biscuity malt flavors of sweet bread and cake greet you first. They are quickly overtaken by the carbonation and turn to dark fruit (raisins and dates) and nuts, and then holiday spices take over and you get ginger, allspice, and a sarsaparilla-like finish. No booziness. The finish is slightly dry and appetizing. Like Abt 12, the beer tends to get a little sweeter as it de-gasses.

Overall, a very good beer, but I definitely prefer Abt 12. I generally avoid winter warmers and holiday-spiced beers, but this one is very well done. The spices are not overwhelming or unbalancing, but to me they still detract from the sweet, rich flavor characteristic of the style. I doubt I will try this again, but it's not because I didn't like it. Anyone who enjoys holiday beers should check this one out (and definitely try De Dolle Stille Nacht while you're at it).

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Photo of spoony
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From a 750 ml bottle to a wine glass.

A-The beer is the color of black tea and murky. The head is short and off-white in color. No lacing is left behind, but the head has great retention like you would expect from a traditional Belgian beer.

S-The aroma is absolutely delicious, but brace yourself for the sweetness. I get brown sugar, molasses, candy sugar, and massive gingerbread type spices like clove, cinnamon, and a hint of pepper. There is also some dark, dried fruit. In fact, the aroma reminds me of fruit cake. Hops are an afterthought.

T-The taste is similar to the smell, but whereas the sweet, sugary flavors smell delicious, they become a bit TOO much on the palate. Still, the spicy, sweet, fruity mixture is what I think of when I think of Christmas flavors, so it works for me.

M-Somewhat surprisingly, I find the feel to be a bit thin and less creamy that I like for a quad/BDSA. Its not bad, but not as good as Abt 12.

O-Setting aside my quibbles with the mouthfeel, this is a great holiday offering. It doesn't rank as high as the Abt 12 because even I found it a bit too sweet and spicy, but if you want a big, dark, holiday offering, there are not many choices better than this.

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Photo of VTR
3.45/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bomber for a Christmas Celebration. Poured a dark ruby red with a small white fluffy head. I picked up what I thought to be malts in the nose along with spices, dark fruits, and floral notes. Taste was off for me at first. I did not detect the spice(s) in the taste as I did in the nose. I definitely tasted what I thought to be fruits and some sort of for lack of a better work floral taste(s). I am glad I was sharing a bomber because I would not have been able to drink this by myself. The alcohol was well hidden. I am new to quads but I would purchase again.

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Photo of TeddyBrewsky
3.91/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a good seasonal beer. However, I thought it was a little too sweet and carbonated for my liking. I think next time I could split it with somebody because it is too rich to drink the whole bomber by myself.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
4.54/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle enjoyed with brother-in-law on Christmas Day. Liked it so much split a bottle with my Mom on boxing day. It's truly a great season to know people who enjoy craft beer as much as you do.

Appearance - Dark brown with two fingers of head when poured into a wine glass. Greta retention and a thin layer of sticky lacing smothered the glass.

Smell - Dark inviting and complex, trace of banana, Christmas baking, candied sugar some dark fruits, plum and cherry. Huge butterscotch aroma upon repeated whiffs.

Taste - Boom! Same as the aroma, like exactly the same. Butterscotch, fruit cake, cherry and plum. Modest alcohol burn. Almost one of those beers where when you take a sip you know but don't really know what you're going to get. Maybe it will taste like cherries and plums? Maybe butterscotch? Amazing.

Mouthfeel - Velvety with perfect carbonation for the body. Simply fantastic.

Overall - What a treat. Great Christmas beer, but I can obviously see this bee delicious at any time, especially in winter. Similar to ABT12, there are resemblances, but this is it's own beer through in through with the butterscotch being the star.

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Photo of SemperIPA
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Teku Beer glass from a 75cl bottle on Christmas Day 2014.

APPEARANCE – Completely opaque auburn brown in color w/ a thick tan head that dissipates into a nice foam lid.

SMELL – Spicy sweet aroma.

TASTE – Spicy maltiness with light sweetness and a nice gentle alcohol burn.

MOUTHFEEL – Medium body with big carbonation.

OVERALL – Very nice Christmas Beer! With two bottles of this tonight, at 10% ABV it most certainly is "...the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

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Photo of humuloner22
4.46/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

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Photo of mick303
4.21/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Ruby brown with a great lacing and a good retention on a whispy film head.

S- rich plummy notes with pleasant yeasty esters, dried dark fruits, brown sugar, cherry and brandy notes.

T- very robust with plummy dried fruit notes, toffee, currents, rich cherry and caramel, a bit of a fruit cake character with a warming finish. Some mild spice.

M- bid robust quad, some balanced sweetness with a moderate carbonation, pleasing and warming with very little alcohol spice, just a nice warming finish.

A really nice winter quad that I would really look forward to making a Christmas tradition, this brewery continues to do great beers.

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Photo of Andrew041180
4.41/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured as a nightcap on Christmas Day, 2014.

Deep brown mahogany with ruby highlights in the correct light. Strong carbonation maintains a thin head and accentuates a nice feel. The flavor is breadier than I expected, almost marzen like, but obviously with greater potency. Slightly spicy character, but more related to the yeast than actual spice additions. Quite dry finish, with barely a hint of alcohol. Lovely beer.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a balloon glass.

Look: A dark reddish mahogany, very hazy, holds up a cream colored head. The head recedes to a thick soapy film. Light lacing.

Aroma: Figs, cherries, spices such as cinnamon, tart cranberry, malts.

Taste: Fruity and spicy with cranberries, apples, and cherries coming to mind. Malty with just enough sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, dry boozy finish.

Overall: Delicious, with a perfect blend of fruit, malts, and spiciness. This tastes how a Christmas ale should in my opinion. Consumed on Christmas day, 2014.

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Photo of ColdOneKev
4.09/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Dark ruby body, fluffy huge off-white head fades quickly. Low lacing.
S - Peppery, yeast dominates the nose.
T - Sweet, dark fruits. Pepper, clove. Slight hint of alcohol. Residual sweetness.
M - Medium/thick body. High carbonation. Really moves over the palate, dries out and leaves slight booze burn.
O - I always heard good things and I was certainly not disappointed. Definitely a go-to Christmas from now on.

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Photo of KonigObHops
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours a dark brown, slightly cloudy with a thick, off-white head that takes a long time to dissipate. Good Belgian Lace.

The beer smells sweet and the alcohol is already present.

The initial taste is sweet, sugary, and fruity. In the middle, the alcohol is very present, with hints of spice (nutmeg? coriander? cinnamon?) along with the fruity taste. The finish is crisp and sweet. This beer is like candy in a bottle.

The mouth feel is sharp and crisp.

Overall, this is a great Christmas Ale. It is not as rich and spiced as many Christmas Ales and you need to be in the mood for an extremely sweet Belgian Ale, but if you are, then this is an amazing beer.

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Photo of mattbk
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark, fairly cloudy, but such a luxurious head that doesn't quit.
S: Raisin, fig, the slightest hint of alcohol, sweet candi malts, almost like pie. Not very strong, but very nice.
T: Similar but stronger. Sweet but not at all cloying. Again, raisin and fig. Very, very drinkable for 10%, just enough complexity to make it interesting. Alcohol really, really well hidden, no hint of bitterness. Very, very nice.
M: The best part of this beer. So light, well carbonated but not overly. Not at all syrupy.
O: Really, really like this beer, perhaps more than ABT 12, maybe my favorite quad. It's become a Christmas tradition.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

What better beer to have on Christmas Eve?
There is some really nice soft fruit in this aroma. Sweet and light (apple, orange, pear that sort of thing). Absolutely wonderful. Soft yeasty spicing in the background.
Brownish red and tan head with good stamina.
More classic in taste in style. Clear malt, strong yeast qualities, darker fruits. Clear shot of alcohol in the gut. Richness. Nicely drying on the finish. Huge effervescence in feel.

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Photo of HopBomb515
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Deep brownish mohagany color with a thick tan head and some spotty lacing. Aromas of sweet bread, alcohol soaked dark fruit, fruit cake, spice, burnt caramel and toffee. I could keep going with descriptors because it's a deeply enticing brew. Taste is of alcohol soaked dark fruit, sweet bread, cherry, spice, pear, burnt caramel and toffee. Great creamy mouthfeel, finishes dry. Light medium body and scary drinkability for a beer with 10% alcohol. This is a great Christmas beer with a seemingly endless flavor profile.

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Photo of SlapPalsPodcast
4.55/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A brilliant holiday ale, my favorite, in fact. Rich and complex with tones of delightful spice. Surprisingly easy to drink quickly...though I wouldn't recommend rushing this one.

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Photo of MartzMimic
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at McNellie's OKC. Pours a reddish brown with a fantastically creamy head that hangs around for a long time. Thick, substantial lacing on the glass. It's a bit cold, and I imagine the temperature is keeping the aroma subdued. There's some breadiness and a bit of spice. Lots of dark fruit and spices on the tongue, much like a fruitcake. Sweet toffee on the end, but not a huge aftertaste. It's very creamy, but not overly thick. This is one of the better Christmas beers that I've tried, and I'll certainly choose this one again.

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Photo of HoppyBastard
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a corked bottle 1 pint 9.4 ounce into a Shaker pint glass.

APPEARANCE: pours a clear dark brown color with two-finger tan head after a careful pour, excellent retention, highly carbonated, significant lacing on the glass.

SMELL: sweet malt, pears, bread, faint spice maybe Nutmeg?

TASTE: the taste follows the nose, initially sweet then bread and pears with faint spice taste of cinnamon and a little Belgian funk, the 10% alcohol is noticeable but well disguised.

PALATE: this is a sticky beer with higher carbonation.

OVERALL: this is an excellent beer, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The higher alcohol content would prevent me from having it often but it's great to have on a special occasion like Christmas. This beer would most certainly appeal to anyone who enjoys the Belgian Quad style.

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Photo of Premo88
4.04/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

25.4 oz. bomber poured into chalice

(25.07.18 printed on cap; best before July 25, 2018)

L: classic Belgian foam pours out of bottle -- couldn't properly pour this brew into anything but a wide-mouthed glass; tan foam is super thick and lasts forever atop an amber brew ... the color is relatively light for a quad, reddish brown, copper, red, nothing black nor mud-brown; clarity is uncanny -- even off the pour, it looks almost 80% clear, and as it sits in the glass for a few minutes, sure enough it clears up to almost German-lager-like proportions ... absolutely beautiful; no sticking or lacing but otherwise a perfect-looking beer

S: grapes, wine, sweet grapes ... copper, metal rust; dark dried fruits, even some dried cranberries in there, but mostly dates and raisins

T: slightly boozy punch of sweet dark fruits, dates mostly, and wine/grapes; a little yeast/grain in the aftertaste

F: fantastic! i'm a sucker for carbonation, so the Belgians are my favorites, and this one delievers. very full and carbonated but just light enough to be very drinkable; possibly too carbonated ... you *do* have to drink through foam often

O: dangerous beer here -- perhaps the lightest, easiest drinking quad I've run across so far in limited experience with the style; it's got plenty of dark-fruit notes, even as dark as raisins, but it's still very accessible and sweet

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Photo of cjgiant
4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

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Photo of timontheroad
4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark reddish-brown, with a nice one finger of light foam that receded pretty quickly, very light lacing. The aroma is heavy of dark fruits and sweet malt, with a very light nutmeg or allspice note. The taste is very nice, with sweet malt, figs, plums, raisins, nutmeg and a touch of vanilla blending superbly - not one overpowers any of the others. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied, very smooth, with just a touch of alcohol burn. I think this one would really benefit from a bit of aging. Overall this is a very tasty beer, fits perfectly for the season.

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Photo of jcruelty
3.5/5  rDev -16.5%

I can't remember exactly what this tasted like. That's the problem w/ having a Christmas beer party... there's so many good ones but they all blur. I think I slightly prefer Scaldis Noel

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.29/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage into a chimay chalice.

Pours with plentiful carbonation forming a nearly everlasting off white head of billowy Belgian-classic head. Looks dark brown in low light but shows a misty autumn tinged rusty glow when held to light.

Smells light a true classic BSDA. Rich and layered malts coming off the foamy head Brings to mind platters of bread and cracked barley cereal. Yeasty esters are present but not out of control. A hint of banana and clove and a touch of classic Belgian yeasty herbal bite.

The flavor is like a multiple course dinner. Explosive carbonation blows up the initial yeasty esters on the palate. This is great, and is followed by some nice spices that make me think of holiday tea. Cinnamon perhaps? I am finding these to be very subtle, and take a 3rd row jump seat to the massive and poised nature of this big Belgian. After the spices comes the warm dark bready notes of the malts. There is a bit of dried fruit here as well, but it is held firmly down by the yeasty bite of a "relatively" young quad.

There is very little "heat", but a fair amount of bite from the strong estery yeast presence. The feel is on the dry side and not at all heavy because of all the carbonation.

This is excellent stuff as I would expect from this brewery. Why have I never tasted it before? I have three more bottles to cellar and I expect them to improve. Hopefully after a year or so the spices will integrate a bit, and as they fade after more years I hope to see some development of the dark fruit, leather, tobacco favors that can show up in the great quads as they age. Maybe the spices will be able to last till then too, time will tell.

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Photo of Rhubbs
5/5  rDev +19.3%

love this beer! even at the price of $22 a bottle (canadian) its worth every penny.
everything you love about the ABT12 with a little more spice. dare to say my #2 beer

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Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
93 out of 100 based on 628 ratings.