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Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

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

1,421 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,421
Reviews: 576
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 100
Gots: 143 | FT: 5
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: 1,421 | Reviews: 576 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ROGUE16
ROGUE16

Delaware

5/5  rDev +18.2%

12-07-2011 19:47:11 | More by ROGUE16
Photo of DmanGTR
DmanGTR

Florida

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 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 puboflyons
puboflyons

New Hampshire

4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the corked, caged 750 ml. bottle. Sampled on December 6, 2013.

It has a brown-ruby red with decent clarity and a fluffy, long-lasting beige head.

Loads of character on the aroma including bready roasted malts, dark fruit, mild spice, Belgian sugar, and a touch of alcohol.

The body falls into the medium range. It starts light but seems to get heavier.

Like the aroma, the taste is alive with toasty malts, dark fruit, molasses, and raisins but it ends with a big lingering hop bite at the finish. Some alcohol burn.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2013 03:41:49 | More by puboflyons
Photo of KAF
KAF

Iowa

4/5  rDev -5.4%

07-07-2014 04:39:09 | More by KAF
Photo of Jwale73
Jwale73

Rhode Island

4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've been waiting to try this beer for a while but got totally shut out last year. 750ml corked and caged bottle served in my St. Bernardus chalice. Be careful opening this one - once I removed the cage the cork fired like a shotgun blast and ricocheted off the ceiling. Pours a deep plum color with a slightly hazy clarity. Head starts off as a fluffy, two inch, cream-colored cloud of foam. As the head recedes into a quarter inch cap, delicate, textured spots and strands of lacing are revealed and exhibit excellent adhesion. This beer looks exquisite in its proper glassware. Nose expresses dark fruits with a slightly vinous character, Belgian yeast and some nutty notes (perhaps hazelnut). Taste follows nose - flavor profile is pretty standard for the style in my opinion; however, there's a trace of ethanol that overshadows things a bit, making it difficult to tease out the subtleties. I also get a little wet cardboard towards the finish, but it dissipates quickly. Mouthfeel is light-medium with a slightly prickly carbonation, as well as a bit of gassiness. Overall, a very solid Belgian Strong Dark; however, perhaps a little young. I would probably sit on this vintage for a couple more years.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2011 01:14:55 | More by Jwale73
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Connecticut

4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle into a St. Bernardus chalice.

A: Clear deep brown body under two fingers of dense tan head. Tremendous retention and thick lace. Gorgeous.

S: Dark fruit dominates, with huge fig, raisin, and date. Some sweet/tart cherry as well, with rich toasted breadiness underneath. Decadent and yet delicate. Terrific.

T: Bready up front, with dark fruits close behind. Some nice fig gives way to a strongly boozy finish, though, marring things a bit after such a lovely start. The aftertaste balances the alcohol warmth with some spicy yeastiness, though, making the overall package pretty enjoyable. Definitely a bit of a letdown after the phenomenal aroma, but an excellent BSDA all the same.

M: Thick, soft, and as creamy as can be. Perfect.

O: It's been too long since i had ABT 12, but this reminded me more of Rochefort 10 than anything else. The aroma in particular took me back to a rainy afternoon in Belgium, sipping a Rochefort in its eponymous home town. I'm curious to see whether a year might tone down the booziness just a bit and make this a truly world-class beer.

Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2013 04:46:23 | More by woosterbill
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 ArrogantB
ArrogantB

Colorado

3.25/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Christmas Eve seemed an appropriate time top open this beer. It was very dark brown with a white head and the bubbles seemed really compacted together. It smelled like slight herbal mints, whiff of chocolate (barely detectable), and raisins. The flavor was raisin and plum-like. Decent stuff but the 10.5 ABV knocked me down.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2007 17:40:07 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander

Illinois

3.8/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750mL corked and caged bottle poured into a tulip.

(A)- Pours a dark burnt sienna color. Produced a giant head of fluffy tan colored froth. Great retention and tons of lace.

(S)- Rich bits of dark fruits, yeasty lemon and banana, and a clay-like earth. Very subtle bits of spices.

(T)- Same like the smell was. Though, a much sharper yeast presence than the smell led me to believe, but has the same great dark fruits: plum, cassis, grape, and raisin.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. A bit heavy in the yeast department, so it really gets a bit earthier and drier than expected.

(D)- Overall, another solid beer from St. Bernardus. Malty and rich with classic components.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2012 16:49:46 | More by sweemzander
Photo of Boone757
Boone757

Maryland

4/5  rDev -5.4%

01-01-2014 18:40:27 | More by Boone757
Photo of FosterJM
FosterJM

California

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

966th Review on BA
Bottle to Wine Glass
750 Ml C/C

2011

Shared with friends at our 2nd annual Way before Xmas, Xmas dinner

Purchased at Bevmo Chino Hills

App- A lighter caramel brown with a very fast receding one finger head. White in color with a good bit of a pond layer. Zero cling however. A bit lacking in the normal BSDA.

Smell- A huge amount of Belgian Yeast with a lot of aromatics. Rich pine, citrus, fruits and vanilla. A little all over the place but very complex and layered.

Taste- This smelled almost the exact opposite as it tasted. It tasted like Christmas with more richness, more pine more layers and a bit more complex than I was thinking. It still was a BSDA with a yeasty note and a good bit of malts but had a bit more fruit than the standard 12 did.
I like the little bit of dryness on the last part of the tounge. A nice note of complexity.

Mouth- A medium body with a good bit of bubbles behind and and a lot of some yeast. I like the feel on this one.

Drink- I really liked this beer. It was a good way to end the evening with friends for a Xmas party in the beginning of Dec. I would/should go get another bottle of this one to age till next year.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2011 05:08:31 | More by FosterJM
Photo of Lare453
Lare453

Florida

4/5  rDev -5.4%

05-05-2013 22:58:58 | More by Lare453
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 clayrock81
clayrock81

Virginia

4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a goblet for a well carbonated brown body with lasting tan head and bubbly lace. A great yeasty smell along with some sweet caramel malt and minor citric hop bitterness along with orange. Real smooth, a little creamy, medium-bodied with a little bit of oakiness along with minor pepper and spices. Hints of vanilla and chocolate along with caramel give it a balanced sweetness and there is a good fruit base with orange and pear and a little citric notes. Has a dry yet clean finish and the ABV is well hidden. A very enjoyable ale to relax with and sip on.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2009 15:46:38 | More by clayrock81
Photo of rfgetz
rfgetz

New Jersey

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

Pours a dark copper brown with an small, dense off-white head. Clumpy retention, minimal lacing. Smell is of dark fruit (fig, prune, raisin) with mulling spice background. Taste is sweet dark fruit (fig, prune, raisin, date) with a mulling spice background. Velvety smooth on the palate with only a minimal alcohol burn. Very nice holiday brew with a full flavor profile without going overboard on any particular ingrediant.

Serving type: on-tap

11-27-2009 15:38:18 | More by rfgetz
Photo of alexgash
alexgash

Connecticut

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

750 ml bottle, corked and caged.

Dark ruby-tinged maple syrup. Finger of creamy, light khaki head, with okay lacing. Big, rich, rummy fruits on the nose. Pears, fruit cocktail, scorched sugar, raisins, cola, Concord grapes, and perhaps some yeasty sweetbread. Nice, complex, and inviting.

Flash of toasted malt up front. Estery fruit follows and is quickly joined by a huge swell of sweet, fruity, caramely malts. Sweet Concord grapes blend with sugar-coated raisins, perfectly ripe Bartlett pears, brown sugar, and caramel. Sweet cake batter, toasted nuts, and even a little cocoa lead into the finish. Lingering rummy fruits swell once again in the finish. There's also some yeastiness and a cocoa nib and herbal hop bitterness. Warming. Full-bodied with a thick, gently carbonated feel. Very nice, especially on this 10 degree F night!

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2009 01:24:46 | More by alexgash
Photo of mynie
mynie

Indiana

4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours uncontrollably fizzy in a not very nice way. It's good looking once it settles, but that takes too damn long.

Smells of strong, wonderful fruit esters with big nodes of bananas and peppers along with plums, pears, and gigantic yeasty cloves. Very nice.

Tastes like it smells only good god it is as smooth as red velvet cake. Caramel gets overtaken by fruit, which gets overtaken by spice, which gets overtaken by boozy burn, and then everything ends on more spice, but then, even after that, there lingers silky smooth fruit with more bananas and the burn, holy heaven above the burn does not abate.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2011 07:02:35 | More by mynie
Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
TheBeerAlmanac

Kentucky

4/5  rDev -5.4%

12-18-2013 02:28:04 | More by TheBeerAlmanac
Photo of jophish17
jophish17

Georgia

4/5  rDev -5.4%

12-06-2011 17:47:38 | More by jophish17
Photo of Pencible
Pencible

Virginia

3.93/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured a nearly opaque dark mahogany with tons of fluffy tan head. It smelled like spicy and sour Belgian yeast with rich caramel, nutmeg, candi sugar, fresh wheat, and a bit of alcohol. It tasted like wild creamy yeast and spicy malt, with some sweet candi sugar and caramel and a bit of raisin and fig and alcohol. It was slightly thick with moderate carbonation, and had a bittersweet and sour aftertaste. Overall this had a great dark Belgian scent and taste with a bit of a spicy twist for the holidays. It had good body too, but the alcohol was fairly hot, so a fresh bottle wasn't entirely easy to drink. It was still enjoyable to sip, but it didn't blow me away like Abt 12 first did. Regardless, with some age this would be amazing.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2009 19:01:28 | More by Pencible
Photo of CrazyDavros
CrazyDavros

Australia

4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours hazy brown with a small head.
Nose shows doughy yeast, golden syrup, caramel, figs, raisins, cinnamon and a little alcohol. Pretty much Christmas pudding in a glass.
Similarly rich and sweet flavours, the alcohol is a little too much but otherwise very nice.
Carbonation seems a little too high for these flavours.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2011 02:40:45 | More by CrazyDavros
Photo of canucklehead
canucklehead

British Columbia (Canada)

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

What a Xmas treat this beer is with a nose that never stops developing and a huge head flecked with brown spots from the sediment. I got a huge rounded mouthfeel with lots of dark candy fruits and typical Belgian yeast. No spices in this Xmas ale but rather the suggestion of Xmas pudding. I really savoured this beer with every sip as it was part of a trade and not available in BC.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2009 20:01:18 | More by canucklehead
Photo of lordofthewiens
lordofthewiens

Maine

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

A 750ml bottle poured into a goblet. Medium brown color with red highlights. A very thick tan head, almost the appearance of whipped cream. Nice aroma of dark fruit and some sugar. Similar taste, but there was also a pronounced spiciness that lingered really well. A great after dinner sipping beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2007 22:15:27 | More by lordofthewiens
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
JoeyBeerBelly

New York

4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

75cl e bottle served in a chalice.

L - hazy brown color with a creamy beige head that left some thick globs of foam around the glass.

S - tart plums, sour purple grapes.

T - tart dark fruits with Belgian yeast finishing tart and dry.

F - medium bodied with a creamy feel.

D - good drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2010 05:42:53 | More by JoeyBeerBelly
Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,421 ratings.