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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

1,384 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1384
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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 1,384 | Reviews: 574 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of cokes
cokes

Wisconsin

4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Muddied auburn-brown with a short tan lacing. Lacing was non-existent. I imagine a bottle would fare better in the looks department.
It noses of figs, sugar cookies (with sprinkles), chocolate-covered candied oranges, black cherries, liquorice, pepper, clove, and wet hay.
It begins through the mouth with a rotund maltiness full of black raisins, sweet dough, gingersnaps (wet, and undercooked), molasses, orange candies, liquorice, burnt peaches, and cherries. The middle dries it significantly with roasted grain, peppercorns, allspice, and granite. Hopping is minor, with just traces of wet grass around the swallow. Alcohol is present, but mellowed, in a sweet, sugary, aged rum sense.
The meaty, full body is given some levity by the steady, percolating, tiny carbonation.
This is a jovial holiday concoction. It's more or less like a fruitier, spiced 12.

Serving type: on-tap

12-11-2008 06:46:11 | More by cokes
Photo of illidurit
illidurit

California

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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-08-2008 02:37:13 | More by illidurit
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BamaBeerBuff

North Carolina

3.7/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at the Brickstore Pub on 12/6/08. Served in a St. Bernardus chalice.

A: A deep brown with ruby/violet highlights. The head is thick and creamy, almost like a nitro-stout. Retention is good, but not as nice as the Abt 12. Thick sheets of lace on the goblet are welcome.

S: Initially, a spiced aroma (cinnamon and clove). With time and warming, candied dark fruit (cherry, plum, raisin) becomes more apparent. Also, a strong apple aroma emerges with swirling.

T&M: Yeasty, fruity, and spiced. The alcohol is prominent and a bit distracting. Dark fruit flavors and winter spice are most prevalent in the flavor. Body is full with a refined carbonation that tingles the tongue. Nice mouthfeel.

D: It was rather difficult for me to down my chalice-full of this beer. This beer is 10% ABV and doesn't hide it in the least. The heat from the alcohol makes it difficult to drink and detracts from some of the flavors that otherwise may emerge. I sampled on-tap, but I think getting a bottle of this and sitting on it for a year may do it some good.

Serving type: on-tap

12-07-2008 23:54:37 | More by BamaBeerBuff
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BeerImmediately

Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Flying Pig in Malvern on Friday, to help celebrate the 75th anniversary to the end of Prohibition!

Dark copper-brown color with minimal head.

Smelled of deep, ripe fruits (raisins in particular), with complex spices including nutmeg and cinnamon, and definite bready / yeasty quality.

Tasty, indeed. Everything from the nose transferred over, with a little touch of hop bite and maybe some clove.

Pleasant carbonation, and really nice drinkability - had no idea this was 10% ABV.

A MUST-HAVE for the holidays!!

Serving type: on-tap

12-07-2008 20:52:00 | More by BeerImmediately
Photo of jpiper
jpiper

Ohio

3.65/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured (too cold) into an older St Beranardus chalice.

In the low light, an amber-brown with a creamy, soapy head which dissipates to a beautiful lace.

The aromas are feint at this temperature. A good swirl later in the session brings out dried fruit aromas.

Flavors are caramel malt, raisins, dates. Sweet and spicy. It's a good flavor, last time I had it it seemed too sweet and somewhat unpleasant, but this is much more drinkable. There is a little hop profile, giving just a hint of bitterness (accompanying the spice: cinnamon, clove), but the sweetness powers through (the spice sticks around for a while). The yeast reminds of other St Bernardus brews.

Smooth mouthfeel, but a bit heavy and cloying. This one is a sipper. Tough to imagine drinking more than one of these.

Good, but not great.

Serving type: on-tap

12-05-2008 04:46:28 | More by jpiper
Photo of glid02
glid02

Georgia

4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at the Brick Store in Atlanta.

Pours a slightly hazy brown color with ruby highlights. The head is one-finger of tan frothy goodness that sticks around for a while before dissipating into a thin, even layer across the top. Lacing is very good.

Smells of both light and dark fruits with an earthy sweet aroma. There's also a bit of spice in there - cinnamon or nutmeg.

Tastes very good. Somewhere between a trippel and a dubbel with a bit of spice. Pear and fig flavors meld seamlessly with hints of cinnamon and a slight touch of yeast. The dark fruit flavors seem to linger a bit longer than the light fruits. The alcohol is not a factor save for a nice warming sensation.

Mouthfeel is great. Smooth with subdued carbonation that coats the mouth.

Drinkability is great. The high ABV is not a factor except for making it a bad idea to drink too many of these. Really an easy brew to quaff.

Overall this is a very good beer that everyone should try this time of the year.

Serving type: on-tap

12-03-2008 15:33:34 | More by glid02
Photo of gdfan47
gdfan47

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pours a dark brown with a little bit of head

alot lighter than I thought it would be

it smells like pine and cinnamon and a little root beer

it tastes really good, really smooth not too sweet

its really light and not too carbonated very easy to drink

very fun to drink and I couldnt really taste the alcohol at all

another good beer by st bernardus

Serving type: on-tap

12-01-2008 02:10:56 | More by gdfan47
Photo of gciccarelli
gciccarelli

Pennsylvania

3.68/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Capone's. Served in Leffe goblet.

A - A deep, dark brown color with a small of-white head. Virtually no lacing.

S - Spices and malt presence. Hint of plum and cherries as well.

T - On the sweet side...perhaps a bit too much for me. Has that almost vinegarette-style taste....but also manages to be vaguely reminiscent of a candy cane. Definitely reminds one of Christmas. Big spice presence, malt, cherry...

M - Very highly carbonated, and somewhat syrupy.

D - Heavy body and too much sweetness would make it harder to have more than one...

Not a bad beer, but not my favorite. Too sweet for me...worth checking out if that's what you're into.

Serving type: on-tap

11-29-2008 00:24:31 | More by gciccarelli
Photo of corby112
corby112

Pennsylvania

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

Served on-tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, PA.

Pours a dark ruby/ chestnut brown with thick, slightly beige head. Pleasant aroma consisting of cherries, dark fruits, chocolate, cinnamon spice and alcohol. Very smooth drinking and surprising amount of fruit. Cherries, plum, sugar cane, dark berries and peppery cinnamon taste. Dry finish with a nice alcohol warmth. A very nice balance of maltiness, spiciness, fruit and alcohol. Very tasty!

Serving type: on-tap

11-28-2008 10:07:04 | More by corby112
Photo of Magpie14
Magpie14

Michigan

4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: deep brown with ruby hues shining though, spotty creamed off-white lacing. Served in a snifter...

S: spiced plums and cherries, sweet malts tones with raisins

T: creamy and rich with a spiced maltiness. Chocolate covered cherries, reminiscent of a port wine. Has a dash of cinnamon and cloves with poof of yeast/bread. Makes for a real nice winter warmer at the fireplace. On the sweeter side of life, but yet, well rounded.

M: creamy to the tilt, wonderful feel and amazingly soft on the tongue. Goes down real easy and can get ya in trouble if your not careful

D: one of the smoother beers and nicest christmas ales I have had. It was complimenting the cool brisk day we had and warmed me up real nice and fuzzy like. Try it and love it!

Serving type: on-tap

11-26-2008 02:49:59 | More by Magpie14
Photo of bonbini26
bonbini26

New Jersey

3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ Track 84, Warwick, RI

A: Poured a dark, clear, ruby with a foamy white head, about 3 fingers, average swiss lacing during drinking

S: Almost like a pumpkin ale, minus the pumpkin, spices, fruity malts from a belgian ale you expect, and lingering hops

T: Very fruity and spicy. with belgian maltiness and sweetness,

M: The sugars coat the mouth along with the carbonation of the hops and alcohol is tame, but noticeable

D: This is a very nice xmas beer, complex, yet drinkable, another excellent brew from St. Bernardus, a must for any belgain fan

Serving type: on-tap

11-19-2008 04:29:25 | More by bonbini26
Photo of DmanGTR
DmanGTR

New York

4.88/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at Monk's Cafe in Philly

A - Poured from tap dark brown/red with a creamy 0.5" off white head that clung nicely to the authentic 25th anniversary St. Bernardus goblet. Excellent lacing prevailed throughout.

S - Malty, dark fruits, figs and currants. subtle notes of hops and sour apple. slight yeastiness and light hints of holiday spice. Quite different from the usual holiday ales.

T - Initial caramel malty sweetness, candi sugar. fresh hops and spices mingle in a wondrous balance. Lingering aftertaste adds to ongoing pleasure. Swirls of fruit, malt, hops, and spice hides the alcohol quite well.

M - Full bodied and mild carbonation. Very smooth.

D - Extremely drinkable. I could do a few of them in an evening

Overall - I was highly impressed with this offering from St. Bernardus. Quite different than what I expected from a holiday beer, almost like a Chimay Blue but less fruity. Candi sugar and caramel malts prevail and make for a sweet ride throughout the experience, yet it is well balanced with slight hop notes. For $8.50/12 oz, it was definitely worth every drop. I would like a few bottles to cellar and see how it turns out next year. An excellent accompaniment for a fireside chat after a nice holiday dinner. Highly recommended.

Serving type: on-tap

11-16-2008 09:31:57 | More by DmanGTR
Photo of johnmichaelsen
johnmichaelsen

Oregon

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

On tap at Max's yesterday.

The beer pours a very dark brown amber color with excellent head retention and lacing. On the nose I get some cola and cherry, some sweet ice tea, along with some underlying spice. The flavors on the palate generally replicate the nose, and the beer has a moderately sweet, soft, creamy mouthfeel. Abv. is very well disguised, though one senses that it's up there. Still, this beer is ridiculously easy to drink and my 10 ounce goblet was gone far too quickly.

A very nice beer. Not all that different from the regular abt 12, but quite delicious nonetheless. Don't see any previous reviews of this beer on draft, so I'm assuming this may be the first year for this beer to be released in that format. Good stuff.

Serving type: on-tap

11-01-2008 14:57:37 | More by johnmichaelsen
Photo of shacawgo24
shacawgo24

Illinois

4.98/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A-Dark raisin brown body. Off-white four finger head, (yes four) that has a slight hue of pink to it. The head is incredibly soapy and foamy. Your cup will runneth and floweth over. Head is also flaked with crystals that glitter throughout like fresh fallen snowflakes. Patchy, clumpy, sticky lace decorates glass.

S-Bourbon. Sour skins of grape, cherry and apple. Baking spices. Molasses. Brown sugar. Doughy. Yeasty. Inhale deeply enough your nose might sneeze from the pure abundance of spiced yeast.

T-Brown sugar. Cherry almond. Ginger bread or something wow. Nutmeg. Vanilla. Rum. Oak/woodsy. Bourbon. Cookie. Dry cinnamon & clove. Fruit flavored glazed pies like apple & cherry. Slightest of grape flavor, akin to an astringent red wine grape. The most subdued banana note, like a custard. One can go on and on deciphering flavors. The most consistent note was the hard to describe cherry-ginger-glazed pie STRONG middle-sip flavor.

M-Medium-low body. Medium-heavy carbonation. Sip starts tart, sweet and spiced. Then a punch of bitter-sweet bourbon uppercuts in the middle. Also in the middle is a sweet yeasty/doughy pie/donut note. The end of the sip is all of the aforementioned in harmony, slowly fading away into the aftertastes. The after is a gentle titillation of dry bitter holiday spices.
The yeast is the star here, swamping your palate with prickling sensations. And the hops as well bring this effect. Very sticky your lips get with time.

O-St. Bernardus does no wrong. This Christmas Ale ages perfectly, you can sip one in the summer. This quad was meant to be sipped. So complex and boozy. I do wish the body was more grand and creamy, silky. Other than that, you can't get much better in look, smell and taste. Quads are probably the best beer style on Earth. St. Bernardus Christmas Ale is powerful proof for that claim.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2014 10:20:33 | More by shacawgo24
Photo of dcmchew
dcmchew

Romania

4.48/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

0.75 bottle, using my tiny new Westy XII glass.
Dark brown with some copperish hues, one finger head, medium retention, very sticky lacing afterwards.
Fruity smell, with red grapes, prunes, banana, also caramel, dark christmasy spices.
Sweet caramel takes center stage, with musty grapes and plums, cherries, some citrus here and there, heavily spiced. Yeasts were really busy, giving off clove, ginger, low cinnamon, anise and faint vanilla. Malts aren't robust, bit bready, like a nice foundation for the complex spices. Warm alcohol, nicely hidden.
Smooth mouthfeel, a little bit syrupy, perfect actually. There's also quite a lot of fizz at first, that enhances its drinkability. Sweet, but does not cling in the aftertaste.
Quite a dangerous beer, very tasty and balanced, one might finish the 0.75 l bottle without even noticing. Christmas ale indeed.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2014 18:55:44 | More by dcmchew
Photo of TheBeerTrekker
TheBeerTrekker

New York

4.48/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown color with a small tan head that dissipates quickly.

Smell of banana, Belgian yeast, plums, raisins, spices.

Taste of slightly roasted malts, caramel, dark fruits.

Medium body with moderate carbonation.

Overall a great winter brew, well balanced, crisp and enjoyable after every sip.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2014 01:43:19 | More by TheBeerTrekker
Photo of Ville
Ville

New Jersey

4.26/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

So tasty. Enjoyed this on a snowy ski night. Spicy to taste, I really enjoyed this, I wasn't disappointed at all. Best of all, it only cost me $2 at a food mart that sells singles. Best deal ever. I also grabbed a palate wrecker, and a 400 pound monkey.
The Belgians know how to brew. If you can get your hands on this, I recommend it

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2014 02:06:12 | More by Ville
Photo of Boto
Boto

Connecticut

4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
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!

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2014 21:25:15 | More by Boto
Photo of falloutsnow
falloutsnow

Illinois

3.61/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From: Binny's, Champaign, IL
Date: "08-08-17" stamped on cage
Glass: Tulip

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2014 07:22:58 | More by falloutsnow
Photo of don1481
don1481

Wisconsin

4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2014 03:41:50 | More by don1481
Photo of magictacosinus
magictacosinus

California

4.51/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a mini snifter at a blind quad tasting out of a 750ml bottle, courtesy of jdhowe. 2012 vintage. Later that evening, I opened up a fresh 2013 vintage (out of a 11.2oz bottle) that was dated with a "best by" date of "24/7/18." Am I the only one that thinks it's bizarre that the larger bottles say that this variant of St. Bernardus will age up to 13 years in the bottle, but the smaller ones have expiration dates, for whatever reason?

While the newer bottle poured a near exact rendition of the regular Abt. 12 (brown, plum tinged, big frothy head), the '12 vintage was astonishingly clearer and showcased less frothiness at the top, in spite of a playful blast of carbonation at the bottom. Some cloudiness and sediment - looked exactly like the regular Abt. 12 (also '12 vintage) that was next to it during the tasting.

When I took a whiff out of the glass, however, I knew instantly that this had to be the spiced ale - it's such a distinct, unique aroma. At first, you get a cascade of delicate, dried dark fruits, ranging from raisins, dates and blackberries, but then it is overtaken by the caramel and replaced with ginger peel, allspice, cinnamon, and most notably of all, crushed red pepper. Yes, indeed, the pepper a fabulous addition to the base beer, and sets a savory standard that masks and washes away the booze and potentially additional sweetness at the finish. Very bright and unique, especially for a mass-produced Belgian spiced ale.

The flavor continues to showcase the excellent balance between the flavorful, crisp malt profile, as well as the spices at hand. Firm, yet not over the top, notes of raisins, berries, and prunes, with an impressive prickly spiciness from the pepper, as well as some cinnamon, allspice, and some faded finger peel. Contains a slight wet yeasty character and some extra sweetness from the alcohol that is canceled out nicely by the spices. With the biscuit, caramel forward profile, this feels like a much lighter beer than it really is. Carbonation is just right, and something truly unique is happening to this vintage. I'd imagine, over time, that it would develop fascinating notes of oxidation akin to Sherry, and the complexity inhibited by the spices would increase ten fold. Really incredible stuff, with all things considered.

I knew this would be the clear winner of the tasting as soon as I took a sip of it - it may not have the yeasty prowess of other quads we tasted, nor as much of a robust malt profile, but it certainly wins in its ever unique profile and versatility for the pure and simple purpose of consumption. I'd love to buy a case of this and see how it evolves over the course of 12 years, but every vintage is different, it seems. The 2012, from what I can gather, is going to be quite generous in its development. The '13 is drinking supremely well as well, and whether fresh or aged, this beer really knocks most spiced beers out of the park, and perhaps most of its other Belgian peers overall.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2014 20:08:15 | More by magictacosinus
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BigCheese

Massachusetts

4.41/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brother got me a 750ml for christmas, paired with some top notch BBQ from Blue ribbon in arlington. A great contrast to the salty/savoryness of a heavy meal.

A: Pours a dark ruby red, semi transparent, with a super huge frothy white head that lasts througout. Leaves some dark lacing. Really beautiful, a massive head that locked super sticky, like melted marshmallows.

S & Taste: Lots of dark fruits, brown sugar, prunes, chocolate covered cherrys, rasins, maybe even some cognac like notes. Some sugar candies, and that classic super funky belgian yeast. A little bready, with some clove/all spice. Very tasty, a good dessert beer, that contrasts well with smoked meats. Would also go well with salty cheeses, or cured meats. Very rich but not cloying, which was impressive. Pretty well balanced, and hidden ABV.

M: Rich syrupy, very carbonated for richness. Rather drinkable for ABV/OG.

O: I dont usually like belgian Quads or Tripels as their often cloying. This was quite excellent though. Would pair great with christmas dinner. Could go well as a dessert on its on, with dessert, or in contrast to a savory dish. Too much flavor for white meat or blander food. One of my favorite belgians.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2014 02:07:14 | More by BigCheese
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BeerDocT

Georgia

4.06/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many thanks to Minks Beverages on Delk Rd. in ATL for saving me a few bottles of this.

Poured into my old reliable La Trappe goblet, "Le Belgianator."

Appearance 4.0: Poured out a murky, chocolatey brown. Completely opaque, but as the glass lowered, it became translucent. Go figure. Nice 1/2" head slowly faded away to nice foam on top. Decent lacing.

Smell 3.75: Bouquet is very subdued on this brew. The nose became more pronounced as the beer warmed, but still quite subdued. What I do smell is nice: smoked grains, big malt... . Shame there isn't more of it.

Taste 4.25: Front is sweet and spicy, with hints of anise and a slight sourness. Middle is lovely: top of the palate and a perfect blend of sweet and slightly sour with a hint of smokiness and some nice dried dark fruits. Finish is actually somewhat dry...to begin with. Then you are hit with a subdued and wonderfully balanced taste of cloves, cardamon and a very tasty Belgian yeast. Finish is short except in the very top of the palate where you can still detect a certain lovely maltiness for minutes after each lovely gulp.

Mouthfeel 4.0: Mouthfeel definitely enhances the taste of this delicious seasonal.

Overall 4.0: Just an outstanding seasonal brew. Balanced, smooth and dangerously sessionable at its entirely undetectable 9.0%+ ABV, this is a present I want under my tree every year. I know that some purists out there may complain about "Specialty Market" this and that, but if every specialty beer could turn out like this one...wow. All I have to say is, "Vive le marché spécial!!!" Also...why is this not classified as a "Belgian Strong Dark"? Seriously, get it right, folks.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2014 06:16:36 | More by BeerDocT
Photo of BierJager89
BierJager89

California

4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark opaque brown with a tan head.

S: Banana, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg in the nose.

T: Nutmeg and banana come through strong, cinnamon is there as well, especially present in the finish.

M: Full bodied and smooth.

O: Probably the second best beer they make. It's a great beer to have on Christmas.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2014 18:04:59 | More by BierJager89
Photo of GPHarris
GPHarris

Alabama

4.88/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2011 vintage

a - poured a three-fingers thick, dense tan head into a tulip glass that settled to a thick sheet with great lacing throughout. the body was dark reddish-purple.
s - big aromas of cherry, plum and raisin.
t - same as the aroma but with some spice as well. some good malt sweetness too. very complex as all St. B beers are.
m - lively carbonation.
o - excellent as always from St. B. i'll always drink one of these during the holidays i hope.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2014 22:54:02 | More by GPHarris
Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,384 ratings.