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Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

633 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 633
Hads: 1,892
Avg: 4.19
pDev: 16.23%
Wants: 172
Gots: 342 | 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: 633 | Hads: 1,892
Photo of mjaskula
4.48/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a large wine glass. Pours a dark brown with red highlights. The huge head pours thick and thins out to a film, leave a small amount of lacing.

Aroma is thick and sweet with dark fruits, and a bit of alcohol. Really inviting. The flavor is big and complex, continuing the nose. Lots of sweetness and dark fruit flavors, some spiciness. A bit of alcohol heat. There's some tartness in the finish as well.

The mouthfeel is pretty thick, but the high carbonation and dryness balance it out well.

I'm not sure what makes this a christmas beer, but it's really good regardless.

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Photo of sjccmd
4.39/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I believe it said best buy 2012 on the bottom of the bottle.

Pours dark amber with ruby highlights and a light tan fizzy head. Lacing is pretty thin. Nice looking, but looks like it doesn't have as much body as I'd like.

The smell is pretty much everything I'd want to smell in a BSDA. Dark fruits, brown sugar, raisins, caramel, with a touch of spiciness.

The taste initially follows the sweetness of the smell but is rounded off with slightly bitter roasted malts, alcohol warmth, and a dry finish.

The mouthfeel is a bit of a let-down. It's not very thick and little too fizzy for my liking. It delivers the flavors decently, but I was hoping for more body.

Still decently drinkable especially for the ABV. A bit of a slow drink, but it's worth savoring.

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Photo of erikm25
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a medium to heavy caramel brown coloring. Hints of copper and bronze highlights. The head is a massive, deep, and sticky pillow of slightly off white fluff. Retention is perfect. Lacing coats and sticks all around the glass. Looks like the frosted windows of my apartment that I have been seeing recently.

S: Subtle dough nose that is spiced with some fruit and candies. Notes of chocolate. Crisp apples and ripe pears with a healthy dash of black pepper. Sugary with a citrusy orange tinge. Not overwhelmingly spicy but the aromas are warm and welcoming.

T: Complex spiciness with thick malt back. Vanilla and coriander. Gingerbread with raisins and clove. Peaches, candy canes, and subtle black peppers. Toasted rye bread sprinkled with brown sugar, grapes, and ginger. A pinch of cinnamon and peppercorns. Very mild pumpkin pie like taste. Mild hops towards the finish. The ABV is high but no alcohol is present in the taste.

M: Creamy and full bodied. Great carbonation.

D: I had been saving this one for a few weeks to cap off Christmas night. Very drinkable and a great offering for the holiday season. Complex and first rate beer.

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Photo of Vendetta
3.91/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is plum, pruney. Cloudy, unfiltered. Stagnant, medium foam head. Thick, foamy paste of a lacing down the glass as it's consumed.

Smells vinous and sweet.

Taste is extremely complex as per norm of the St Bernardus brews that I've had. Very vinous and a bit dry up front, finishes pruney and much more on the sweet side. Leaves a significantly plum aftertaste. Warms the belly nice thanks to the ABV but it really isn't all that detectable. Perfect winter beer.

Mouthfeel is also very very good. Thick, full-bodied without being punishing to drink. Little carbonation.

This is a very, very good example of a Belgian beer and if you have any remote interest in the style then you'll love this one.

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Photo of ruckzuck
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought at some point in November, finally getting around to drinking as Christmas approaches.

A - dark brown, super thick off-white head

S - fruity, citrusy, sweet malt, people note dark fruits and that sort of comes across to me

T - spicy, sweet, malty, bit of alcohol,

M - smooth, a bit of carbonation, nice all around

D - wow. This is a fine, fine beer (would you expect anything else?), but I think more than 1 750 mL of this would be crazy. Luckily I split mine with my gf, and I think 1 glass will be enough. Really enjoyable and warming me up nicely. Highly recommended for the holidays!

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Photo of amphion1065
3.11/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750 mL bottle with a "13.08.16" date stamp, served in a Duvel tulip.

Quite a loud pop when I uncorked the bottle, though thankfully this wasn't a gusher. Pours a light, reddish copper brown. A huge, 2.5-finger light tan head with very tight bubbles last and lasts - the retention is excellent. Lacing is gorgeous.

Lots of citrus in the aroma. Right off the bat, orange peel and a heavy dose of coriander come into play. A very strong Belgian yeast character. Underneath, some toffee, prunes and vanilla. It's a sort of strange combination, like a Christmas pudding or fruitcake with an amped up citrus zest.

Predictably, there's plenty of orange in the taste. A peppery kick to the finish, which largely drowns out the dark fruit flavors at work. Man this is hot, far more so than Abt. 12, and the booze is pretty distracting. An odd, astringent bitterness in the back end.

Mouthfeel is solid, lively and just heavy enough. I expect nothing less from this brewery.

Judged against other BSDAs, this is pretty mediocre. As a Christmas ale, I feel just about the same.

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Photo of drcarver
3.85/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - a very translucent brown with below average carbonation and a fluffy head that leaves decent lacing

S - as compared to other it has a fairly vegetable earthiness matched with the yeast and hint of dark frutis that come with the style.

T/M - sweet brown sugar like front followed by a roasted carrot flavor. Finished with a hint of alcohol (which is scary that it isn't more prominent). Medium full body with a smooth feel.

D - not bad.

Oh yeah and the cork damn near took my head off shooting out of the bottle.

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Photo of LeRose
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

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Photo of ryrust5301
3.76/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a caged and corked 750ml. bottle into my St. Bernardus Goblet. Nice touch throwing a santa hat on the monk with snow falling in the background.

Appearance - This one poured extremely well. Color is a hefty dark brown almost chocolate color. Massive head crowned this one. Two fingers in size of tan, puffy, chunkiness. After the head calms down a blanket of clumpy white bubbles coats the top.

Smell - Very thick with an alcohol bite. Same as the regular Abt 12 with rich dark fruits, raisin, and a sweet mollasses coating. Dark fruits win out, but there's a spiciness there also.

Taste & Mouthfeel - This one definitely has a nice thick body to it. Lite carbonation keeps the body in check and pulls it back a little bit. Sweet dark fruits like plums, and raisins with a spicy bite in the back give this brew a nice round complexity. Thick bready malts coat the throat for awhile on the aftertaste.

Drinkability - I prefer the Abt 12, but this is one I can look forward to trying again come Christmas time. Would make a heavenly sipper on Christmas eve or night, shared with the family celebrating the holidays.

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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 StarlightSeraph
3.53/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My 150th review, on Christmas night.

Poured from a corked and caged 75 cl bottle into my Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours a murky mahogany, with hints of red when held up to a light. Two fingers of thick, frothy off-white head. Tons of lacing.

Smell: When I opened the bottle, I got a whiff of cinnamon and gingerbread, but I didn't really get that in the glass. In the glass, all I can really get is the belgian yeast.

Taste: An intense, sweet and tangy roasted-chocolate flavor is the first thing that hits the taste buds. Tangy fruits are there in the background, as is the belgian yeast. A definitely burn from the alcohol as it goes down.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly, incredibly high carbonation, almost to the point of it being painful on the tongue. I realize that most Belgians are highly carbonated, but this is one of the most intensely carbonated beers I've ever tasted. It is nice and creamy, though.

Drinkability: A definite sipper, both due to the carbonation and the high alcohol. An enjoyable beer, too, although I was a little disappointed that there wasn't more of a...special, or holiday, feel to this beer - it tasted almost generic, and there wasn't something that made it stand out. I would certainly have it again, but it's not one I would spend hours searching for. I wouldn't mind having one of these on hand to age, though.

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Photo of JamisonM
4.72/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 bottle 750 ml bottle corked and caged served in a snifter

A: 3 fingers of head, tan head with the body being a nice mahogany pretty dark, hazy as well.

S: Dark Cherry with some of that spicy Belgian Yeast sweet notes but also some more vinus notes smells great!

T: Oh my my that is good! Tons of dark fruits Cherry Plum Fig and dates notes come all flying at you at once. nice complex flavors and very flavorful! Alcohol is masked well.

M: Mouth is med and carbonation is high

D: super drinkable and enjoyable

Overall: A great beer I wish I would have bought more and now its all sold out! I am getting at least 2 bottles next year! This is one of the very best Christmas/winter seasonal's I have had! I highly recommend this one!

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Photo of jdhowe
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Reviewed from notes from a blind tasting

A: Pours a clear golden amber with a slight tan head of large bubbles. Nice clarity (4.5)

S: Sweet grapes, fig, dates, candied, and a hint of peppery spice. (4.5)

T/M: Light/medium mouthfeel with very high carbonation level. Sweet and fruity throughout with a very slight bitterness to balance. Grape juice and candy up front lead into fig and a candy sugar finish. (4.5/4.5)

O: Very nice. High carb actually makes this super drinkable for what it is, and the peppery spice with a year of age on it melds beautifully with the beer.

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Photo of Ryanm1
5/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First thing I must say about this beer is that is was overwhelmingly carbonated. Normally, carbonation isn't the first thing I notice about a beer, but tasting this is just pops off your tongue. It's almost like eating pop rock and a can of cola. I don't want that to come off as a bad thing because it wasn't, it was a very enjoyable beer, possibly one of the best I've ever had. Pours a dark brown decievingly so as you'd expect a belgiany golden color. Also decving is the slight amount of head on the pour which is in no way indicative of the bursting flavor you are going to have jumping around in your mouth. Molasses, apricots and licorice can be found upon hitting the palate. 10% ABV.

This is my interpretation of a perfect Christmas Ale.

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Photo of selecter70
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mmmm...not quite what I was expecting from a "Holiday" (grr..Christmas) Ale. But thanks to Christopher's in Cambridge & St. Bernardus, I can expand my expectations of such! It was lovely to find this gem on draught, served proper, glassware & all. Served up dark & mysterious with a thin, lacey head that soon disappeared, a grape-malt & lavender aroma pervaded, but not tacky or overwhelmingly so. The color showed in the light as a dark purple-brown and an intial alchol nose upon sipping soon opened to a chewy dunkelweiss with grape hints in a Belgian lambic style. Quite a lovely sipping & savoring ale (& quite potent!).

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Photo of jmvecchio1
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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Photo of tbeck
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown in color with no clarity. Head is an off white/brown and thick. Aroma is some malts, fruit and slight hops. Very sweet. Sweet taste with some malts and hops. Lots of spice and very fruity. Excellent texture and body but not heavy. An excellent session beer especially around the holidays.

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Photo of sennin
4.52/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a wide nosed wine glass, 2012 edition.

A: Pours a brown/dark auburn color. Apparent lacing throughout the drinking session, sticks quite well to the glass. Cloudy in appearance, foam is an off-white head color. Nothing all that special, but definitely nice to look at.

S: First whiffs gives way to a biscuit like smell. Figs, orange peel, and citrus smells appear after. Very pleasant smelling beer. Prepares you for what is to come quite well.

T: Gets sweeter as it warms, but not cloyingly so. It's actually a perfect balance between sweet and bitter. Very elegant. Alcohol is present but is not overpowering at all. Figs tastes are pleasant much like what you get in the nose, and give way to something of a dark chocolate bitterness with a slightly caramel like backbone. Excellent. Overall, the beer is very malty but it strikes a very good balance as a whole. This is a great tasting beer and only gets better as you drink it.

M: Creamy and slightly bubbly. Once again, there is a perfect balance between the two. It wraps around the tongue and the feeling stays a long time after you sip. It is a very pleasant mouthfeel and definitely one of the best that I have yet tasted.

This is the best Christmas Ale I have had. Everyone should try this beer, it doesn't matter if you like or dislike beer. This is one of those brews that could turn a Miller Lite drinker into a craft beer/Belgian ale lover over night. Get out grab a glass and raise it to the sky.

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Photo of ShrLSU
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml into a Westy goblet. First had it at the Brick Store in Atlanta and bought a bottle to take home from Green's Liquor.

A: Poured a dark brown color with a frothy tan head. The head sticks to the glass after drinking and settling..

S: This smells like Christmas. Cinnamon, dark fruits, some slight hops, and a warm spice scent. Just a perfect example of what you would think of a typical Belgian scent crossed with christmas flavors.

T: Very fruity and spicy. The Cinnamon is nice after the dark fruits and apple taste settle in. A lite alcohol bite at the end. This gets better as it warms as well.

M: Very carbonated. It tingles in the mouth but you can gradually go through the flavors in the beer as it tingles away at your tongue.

D: This is one of the best Christmas beers i've had. It's very complex but very enjoyable. If you love Belgians and the christmas beer style then this ones a must. I hope we get this close to Louisiana. I'll definitely crack one of these come December 25th.

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Photo of tkelley
4.14/5  rDev -1.2%
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!

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Photo of gdfan47
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
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

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Photo of DAllspaw
4.7/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle conditioned poured into tulip..

I have never seen a beer produce so much carbonation out of the bottle. A gentle pour produced 3.5 head of cloud like mocha foam which dispersed with webbing down the glass. Unreal.

Smell is initially raisins and some baking spice and figs. Definitely a hint of sweetness.

Taste is exceptional. Nice toffee like taste at first, then cherries and spiced cake. Ends a little hot, would be interesting to see how it ages.

Can't imagine a better winter warmer.

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Photo of PlutonowyManiek
3.78/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Weak head. On the surface danced just fine bubbles.
Bouquet is clear cloves, orange, spices evocative of winter.
Taste is very dry, plums and all the characteristics of aroma reminiscent of mulled wine, is also bulky and heavy, and of course alcohol, which is incredibly warming up.
Alcohol (10%) in beer is well hidden. St. Bernardus Christmas Ale enchants bitterness which is dry, seasoned.
This beer is a "fat", rich, yet easy to drink, saturation of more than average.
Highly recommend for winter evenings by the fireplace with a good book.

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Photo of ales4baldo
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P-Old looking individual thats probably St. Bernardus himself. Either way label definitely shows a winter theme and a merry Christmas.

A-Pours somewhat thin and watery. Got a fluffy and airy looking head. Seems to stay put. About a finger and a half i would say. A cloudy rustic almond dark brown.

S-Smells good. Belgian candy and malts along with the sweet sugars that come with the booze that sneaks up the nose the longer you smell. Plums and black licorice and nuts, maybe a little nutmeg and cinnamon, can be found.

T-Lots of Belgian malts. The candy is ever so present as it usually is. Lots of yeast and black licorice. I do get a nutmeg and cinnamon feel to this one along with some nice booze. Nothing to heavy though. Little raisins as well and maybe some dark wheat bread.

M-Sits pretty easy on the palate. Seems to be a little thin and soft. Carbonation is pretty high but leaves a nice crisp finish. Medium body.

O-A nice beer. Nothing super unique about this one but would like to grab another one to age and let sit. Good all around BSDA with nice flavors. Would like to see more smoothness to this one but thatll probably come with aging.

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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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Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
93 out of 100 based on 633 ratings.