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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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Ratings: 1,384 | Reviews: 574 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of AgentMunky
AgentMunky

California

3.88/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a growler into a 25cL St. Bernardus goblet.

A: A creamy head appears, shot through with bubbles. The beer is dark, ruddy brown, turning translucent when backlit. Beautiful lacing all down the sides.

S: Banana pudding. Cloves. Light yeast and other fruits.

T: A tad tart. Figgy fruit. Lightish and spicy -- cloves and possible fennel. It definitely improves as it warms, opening up other fruits, but staying somewhat sour. Aftertaste is drying and not the best part of the taste.

M: Smooth but watery; it feels like apple juice. Some carbonation keeping things lively.

D: A very enjoyable beer, but not the best Christmas ale, BSDA, or St. Bernardus.

EDIT: After two days in the fridge, the character of this beer changed drastically. Obviously, it became less carbonated and more sticky, but, more dramatically, the sourness disappeared completely to be replaced by maraschino cherries and a cough syrup flavour. The smell is different too -- cherries, christmas cake, and plum pudding.

Serving type: growler

12-15-2010 01:50:00 | More by AgentMunky
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 reebtaerG
reebtaerG

Maryland

4.49/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-20-2014 13:21:56 | More by reebtaerG
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
Photo of BigCheese
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
Photo of Durge
Durge

Connecticut

3.7/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A murky mahogany color with an island of wispy off-white fizz on top and decent traces of lace. The aroma offers delicate malt and hints of apple and maybe even a touch of clove. Weaker than I expected but it comes through if you give it a chance. The flavor commands an unusual fruit melange that includes cotton candy mango and grapefruit. Quite odd. At once interestingly nice but then a bit off-putting. Caramel malt is definitely there but the odd fermenting fruit flavors take over and it's attention getting. There's some cinnamon and grassy grain apple to top off this interesting brew. Alcohol is not overly notable but it's a little warming. The body is easily medium with a good fizzy carbonation that gives it a slightly lighter feel for the style. Worth a try but not a real wow for me.

Serving type: on-tap

01-29-2014 04:15:11 | More by Durge
Photo of BeerDocT
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
Photo of abeeronthebeach
abeeronthebeach

Washington

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

A – Muddy brown, bringing to mind chocolate-ginger biscuits. Lively jets of bubbles.
S – Fresh, yeasty, subtle malts, and a little plum and caramel. Something of a mild Single Malt character emerges after letting the beer sit a quarter of an hour.
T – Not too overpowering. Savoury and appetizing. Malty with a little bitterness to the finish. Not as boozy as I’d have expected.
M – Pretty nicely balanced. Fizziness but not too much of it.
O – Remarkably drinkable at 10%. Nicely balanced and quite a mellow beer in all respects. Would have liked a bit more dark dried fruit and spice since it’s a Christmas Ale. Quite pricey too.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2014 23:41:51 | More by abeeronthebeach
Photo of GarthDanielson
GarthDanielson

North Carolina

4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured on-tap and served in a chalice, the beer is a dark, ruby coloring that is hazy, with a clingy, coating, off-white head. Nose of date, cherry, fig, roasted notes, booze, and sour tannins. Flavors are tart and crisp forward, with cherry tones forming a foundation beneath old-world fruit richness of date and fig. Very layered, very rich, and very balanced. Rich cherry and fig aftertaste, with earthy and woody notes. The finish is lingering sweet, with a perfect balance. Great beer!

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2014 03:29:46 | More by GarthDanielson
Photo of tkelley
tkelley

Massachusetts

4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle drank over several pours (this is from the first) poured into a Chimay chalice. Hoping to make this a bowl game tradition -- Go Tigers!

A -- murky reddish brown color, opaque body. Fizzy white head that pillows at first and dies down to thin layer. Okay lacing.

N -- yeasty, toasted malts, and some holiday spices.

T -- Really good. Boozy, sweet, with lots of dried fruit notes. Obviously Belgian yeast upfront. Toasted malts and those spices again, but not too much like you see sometimes.

M -- Nice and fizzy like a good Belgian should be. Somehow also smooth. A little warm on the back end.

O -- Love it. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2014 01:48:12 | More by tkelley
Photo of Dope
Dope

Massachusetts

3.93/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Best before 04.09.18. (current year batch)

A: Pours a murky, dark red/brown. Ridiculously tall and fluffy light brown head. Head fades slowly with great retention. Minimal fluffy dots of lacing.

S: Somewhat traditional BSDA at first, lots of dark fruits and heavy bready malt notes. Spices kick in shortly, nutmeg and cinnamon I would say. Lots of cloves too. Belgian winter warmer, eh?

T: Lots of christmas spices here. Loads of cinnamon primarily, but nutmeg and cloves are prominent as well. Maybe even allspice? A little dark fruits but the spices really shine here. Big bready malts on the back end with a little bit of stinging alcohol. Pretty clean and cinnamony aftertaste.

M: Medium heavy, very smooth. High carbonation.

O: A belgian winter warmer if I've ever had one. Very spicy, almost a little too one-note since the spices are so prominent. Quite tasty though, I will give it that.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2013 05:55:15 | More by Dope
Photo of mattLummus
mattLummus

Tennessee

4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Really good Ale. Deep head with a fruity/nutty aroma. Nice moderate body with appropriate carbonation. Dark fruity/nutty taste, finish is nice and lingers and then gets hit with an alcohol taste. This beer was definitely enjoyable during the holidays and was an appropriate recipe as a seasonal, probably a top Christmas beer that I've tried.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2013 23:03:28 | More by mattLummus
Photo of silverking
silverking

Florida

3.9/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- murky brown with a fluffy tan head. Excellent head retention and decent lacing.

S- tart cherry, plum, nice malt backbone. I also get hints of cocoa and toffee. Alcohol.

T- plum and cherry wrapped in dark malts. The toffee comes through in the finish.

M- lighter than expected, with champagne-like carbonation.

O- good, I just wish it had a fuller body.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2013 19:42:19 | More by silverking
Photo of KTCamm
KTCamm

New Jersey

4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Champagne bottle poured into a Duvel glass. 12/26

Pours deep dark brown with immense thick white foam. Heavy lacing, patchy all over. Rich toasty fruity nose, raisins and cinnamon. Nutmeg. Plummy. Hearty flavor, spiced malt, quite boozy. Cherries. Chocolate. Loads going on here. Powerful carbonation. Excellent.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2013 15:09:04 | More by KTCamm
Photo of mdagnew
mdagnew

United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)

4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle bought from Beers Of Europe

Poured a deep mahogany red / brown colour... Creamy tan head poured big and foamy then faded slowly to almost nothing... very light sticky lacing...

Aroma - Very tart and spicy dark fruits (raisins, currents, prunes), molasses / dark muscovado sugar sweetness, light smokey notes, toasted maltiness, strong Belgian yeastiness, fruit loaf and alcohol soaked Christmas cake, cinnamon, light peppery hops, some rum hints...

Taste –- Dark juicy fruits (prunes, blackcurrents, raisins), pretty noticable alcohol notes, sweet nuttiness, medicinal, some liquorice, burnt toffee sweetness, toasty malts, spicy hops, some pine notes...

Feel - Pretty smooth and creamy... medium body...fairly drinkable even at 10%..

Overall - An excellent beer - pretty much how i expect Belgian Christmas beers to be... recommended...

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2013 16:47:38 | More by mdagnew
Photo of brewskifan55
brewskifan55

Mississippi

4.11/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay goblet

A: Ice tea amber, opaque. A tan two finger head that lingers. Very thick lacing.

S: Bready malts, cinnamon, nutmeg, dark fruits (dates, plums figs, cherries)

T: Follows nose in holiday style. A great Belgian Quad. Belgian yeast slides down the chimney for a great finish.

M: Medium to heavy with thick, chewy carbonation.

O: A terrific seasonal. Just a shade under the abt 12. Recommended. Great to give as a gift.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2013 18:42:16 | More by brewskifan55
Photo of LeRose
LeRose

Massachusetts

4.36/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This bottle was a gift in December 2012. Poured into a tulip.

Appearance - murky brown/reddish color. Nice fluffy white foam on top that persisted.

Smell - immediate hit of alcohol which shouldn't be a surprise. Dark fruit - fig and data aromas. Lightly spice notes on the nose - clove, cinnamon. Very toasty. The aroma set the expectation that this was going to be very sweet. Bready and malty.

Taste - yeasty, bready, and malty. The alcohol was not as noticeable on the taste. Heavy on the fruit notes - plum/fig/date maybe a hint of sweet cherry. Not nearly as sweet as I expected. I thought the spice components were very laid back and complimented the beer rather than dominating it - wonder if this is age related? Thought the balance was great - not a cloying, overly-spiced holiday brew.

On the tongue, kind of a medium body, pretty smooth. Where did the 10% ABV go? Carbonation was high, but not overly fizzy.

Overall I think this is an excellent beer and if memory serves, it is somewhat of a bargain in terms of price. Obviously a year in waiting did not hurt it any. I would not hesitate to pick up leftover bottles and let them stay with me until next Christmas. Good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2013 01:04:06 | More by LeRose
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Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,384 ratings.