Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,710 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,710
Reviews: 610
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.46%
Wants: 137
Gots: 258 | FT: 7
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,710 | Reviews: 610 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jmccraney
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of eric5bellies
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank from my Leffe Chalice.

A - A very nice head complemeted by a rich mahogany colour. The head is virtually the same for the entire beer.

S - Small amount of yeast and spice.

T - There is some spice and definitley some aniseed here. Lots of dark fruits that is followed by a boozey finish.

M - Medium to full body with medium carbonation and very very smooth.

D - Yet another top brew by St Bernardus, would go down well with christmas pudding.

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

this brew pours up a red tinted brown color with a nice frothy off white head. great lacing. the nose is red apple, faint candy sugar, sweet malts, caramel, pear. the taste is very sweet, dark cherries, yeast, chewy malts. medium bodied and medium carbo. I like Belgium Holiday Ales because they generally don't have a set taste and they are all different. A solid beer.

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.83/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

75cL bottle from The Lighthouse in Manchester, Maine. Pours a hazy but still translucent dark copper with a half inch of light tan head. Smells intensely fruity and spicy, with banana, nut, and chocolate notes. Tastes fruity, chocolatey, and spicy, with an underlying toastiness. Banana, nut, cherry, dates, and cloves all play nearly equal roles. On the heavier side of medium-bodied with ample carbonation. More of a sipper, though one sip most definitely invites another and this beer was gone long before I wanted it to be. Wow. Quite possibly the best beer this brewery makes, a phenomenal Christmas beer, and one of the most flavorful and complex beers I've had all year. Amazing!

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.68/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed 1/4/2009 (bottle dated 19/08/12):

Pours a huge, active, frothy tannish colored head, with big bubbles. Body is a dark brown color, can't see through at all. Very floral, sweet smelling nose. Dark fruit like plum or grape. Some spiciness too, and a little bit of alcohol. Not an overpowering aroma. sweet spicy, effervescent aftertaste, not too drying, thirst-quenching. A fruity taste, somewhat dark, but some light fruit present too, like pear and banana. Nice winter spices. Carbonated palate, somewhat creamy. Not too bad, tasty for a spiced brew. Even tastier as it warms.

Photo of bruachan
3.58/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

deep mahogany with sudsy head that, predictably, didn't really last

strong dark fruit with some vinous and even genuinely winey elements. slight airy hops, cinnamon

warming and spicy. mouthfeel is good and provides a decent palette on which to base the tasty brew. plenty of dark continental malts. with time the breadier variety of malt experiences begin, taking the place of the fruitier kind bit by bit. cola. despite the heat to be expected of a 10% beverage, this one doesn't really have it; though warming, very drinkable

that being said, it's not all that impressive, to be honest

Photo of russwbeck
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Rustico for their Festivus Event.

A: Muddy brown pour with hints of orange. A finger or so of off-white head 4

S: Tons of Belgian yeast and candied sugar, mixed with Christmas ale spices 4

T: I'm impressed by how much this tastes like a Belgian instead of a Christmas ale. Very tasty with the spices stepped up a notch. Sweet and appropriately seasonal. 4

MF: Light to medium body with good carb. 4

O: I liked this, but it didn't overwhelm me. 4

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a St. Bernardus branded goblet.

The bottle creates a loud pop when I pull the cork, but it is no gusher. A burgundy brown colored beer is full and rich to the eye, with a full eggshell white head that is initially huge before settling down a little bit.

The aroma is full of plums, dates, and a bit of raisins. Holiday spices light up the nose as well. All of these aromas exist in front of a full caramel malt.

My first sip is quite sweet. Brown sugar, plums, dates, figs, and raisins are the most noticeable at first. The holiday spices from the nose come through as well; nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon all work well with the fruit notes. A bit of bread crusts and sweet caramel provide the malt presence. There is a bit of booze and light dry bitterness toward the end of the sip.

From the pop of the cork, it was obvious that this is a well-carbonated brew. It is a overly creamy carbonation with a little bit of a bubbly nature as well, as I am used to in the abbey ales. The flavor starts sweet and sticky and finishes with a light residue on the lips.

Overall I thought this was quite complex and enjoyable. Pretty much what I would expect out of St. Bernardus.

Photo of ChrisL24481
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of leitmotif
3.63/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.6/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: 1/2" tan head over brown liquid.

S: Pears, green apples, green grapes, cherries, strawberries, grass and flowers.

T: Strawberries, pears, cherries, figs, dark grapes, biscuity malt, and grass.

M: Medium viscosity and and high level of foamy and soft carbonation.

O: One of the best Christmas Beers I have ever had. Somewhat dry and not too sweet, the flavours of the yeast are fantastic.

Photo of belgbeerdrinker
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of Gehrig
4.83/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed on tap at the classic Crane Alley in Urbana, IL after finishing the Christmas shopping this afternoon.

One and one-half fingers of caramel-colored froth top a cloudy ruby-amber body; ample lacing on the St. Bernardus glass (yes, they have a few at Crane Alley), good duration, and lovely color give this a terrific appearance. Wonderful, fruity smells, vinous with some orange peel, some spice (cinnamon and ginger), and a bit of chocolate. Very sweet nose, very good.

Magnificent, smooth taste, heavy on the sweet fruit--maraschino cherries, grape, orange--but, from cranberry and dried fruit such as date and raisin emerging in the second half, with a distinctly sour finish that adroitly balances Christmas Ale and forestalls any cloying. Some semi-sweet chocolate peeks through the dense layers of fruit. Creamy smooth mouthfeel, making this all too easy on the palate. So impressive is how well the high ABV (10.0%) is masked. It was only in the second glass, which I immediately ordered after dousing the first, that I felt it and, by then, it was remarkably easy to accept.

Outstanding BSDA and winter beer, St. Bernardus Christmas Ale filled me with Christmas cheer all day long. What a tremendous find, and kudos to Crane Alley for finding a place for it in their typically stellar lineup of wares.

First rate.

Photo of Braz
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark ruby with huge rocky white head that stays bubbly throughout. Lots of fruity aromas. Citrus, banana, raisin, clove are all apparent.
Strong flavor. Can taste raisin and figs. Alcohol taste is heavy as well, like brandy perhaps. Very malty, little to no hop presence.
Huge body and tons of carbonation. Very lively and strong brew with a velvet like texture. Only minor complaint would be that it's almost too bubbly and it gets in the way of the flavors.

Photo of yancot
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of sprucetip
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle into goblet.

Hazy medium brown, modest head fades fast and leaves film, spotty lacing. Red highlights.

Peach raisin and generally fruity esters. Spicy, anise perhaps. Heat, sweet and malty.

Candy sugar and malty sweetness, dark fruit, hint of hops, some booze. Very smooth and complex. Mostly balanced but a bit on the sweet side.

Medium carbonation, rich full texture, warming, very clean and smooth finish.

A bit too sweet to drink a whole lot of, but very rich and complex. Definitely a solid and genuine Belgian strong.

Photo of KJ2013
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

Photo of dansmcd
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of DanGeo
4.24/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of lovindahops
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours a firm cola color with ruby hues on the edges where light hits the glass. The foam literally becomes a batch of cake like frosting all over the glass. And it does not go away

S- dark raisins, candied sugar, and Belgian yeast all over. Some cinnamon and nutmeg too

T- good flavor with the dark fruit in the focus. Delicious Belgian components make this a treat.

M- great creamy and smooth flavors. Literally coates the palate with flavor

O- pretty good Belgium brew that has some good flavors. I will always grab one around Christmas time

Photo of rowingbrewer
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of coz
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of HollyHops
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of gpblackgt
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

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

Served in Chalice glass. A glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As served the beer is a nice brownish mahogany color with ¼" tan head that soon recedes to a small ring of foam with an irregular patch of foam on the surface. Initially sipping leaves some leggy lacing but with the high alcohol it is neither dense nor long lasting. As the head recedes down to just a small ring and an irregular patch of foam that covers less than half of the liquid, sipping leaves behind only sparse legs and speckles of lacing. Well before the beer is gone the head, ring of foam and any lacing is long gone.

Smell: The aroma is soft, sweet and restrained but definitely contains spice and fruity malt. There is some, but not much alcohol detectable, however, there are some spicy earthy hop characteristics in here along with the fruity malt sweetness that runs through the whole aroma. While initially the aroma seems not to be a very complex one, the complexity grows as the beverage warms and as one spends more time with it.

Taste: The flavor is light, refreshing, clean, and subtle with some nice fruity sweetness without being too rich or too sweet. The dominant flavor has some dark fruits and some spicy earthy character, part of which may come from the hops. Some of the sweetness seems to be from the alcohol which is nicely controlled and has no burn at all.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium to full-bodied with very moderate but persistent carbonation. However, by the end of the beer the carbonation is present only in a slight prickling sensation in the mouth. The finish is medium to long and begins with the mix of earthiness and light sweetness that trails off to spicy, peppery dryness.

Drinkability: This is really a nice beer for sipping and in many ways is a showcase for the spices and the subtle effects of the noble hops. I'll be looking out for this in the future. As a seasonal treat this is a nice one to have and to serve. If it were not for the ABV I'd have another immediately this one is gone. Based on my experience with St. Bernadus Abt 12 I was expecting a more malt dominant brew as a Christmas seasonal. However, while this beer has malt present there is a very different balance between malt and hops than in the 12. Here the spiciness is never lost in the malt. At first I was not sure I liked this beer but as I have sipped my way slowly through it I find a growing appreciation for the balance of flavors. In addition this one has shown some very nice and interesting changes in flavors as it warmed to room temperature.

Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,710 ratings.