1. Extreme Beer Fest tickets go on sale Sat, Sep 27 @ Noon EDT.
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

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

1,446 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,446
Reviews: 578
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 106
Gots: 152 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Christmas Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,446 | Reviews: 578 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of impending
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml into a tulip. Pours a deep garnet, back lite it would make a nice ornament. Dense towering head, nice lacing.

Merry Christmas to my nose, a wonderful Noël scent rich with spices atop a classic strong dark.

The taste is wonderful, try it. This is the Noël of the season plus wonderful in July.
quadish
simply superb
cheers
jd

impending, Dec 30, 2010
Photo of BB1313
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a deep brown with not much light getting through; huge fluffy off-white head that sticks around and leaves awesome lacing and retention. The aromas are full of dark fruits and sweet malts. Lots of raisins and plums. Dark cherries too. Some dates in the mix. Candied sugar aromas are there. Of course there's some yeast. The flavors really match the nose. Tons of sweet fruits. Hints of bubblegum and banana too. More plums. Lots of sweet cherries. Finishes with some holiday spices. There's a subtle earthiness. Woodsy. The flavors are very clean. There's basically no hints of alcohol and just finishes with the slightest warmth. Mouthfeel is wonderful. It's full-bodied with very active carbonation. Very smooth, fluffy, and creamy. This makes a nice sipper with a nice complexity.

This is a great Quad. The craftsmanship is very impressive. This is pretty similar to their Abt 12, in my opinion. There's minor differences, especially the subtle spices. I think I'd give Abt 12 the edge, but I'd have to do a side by side to really tell. Either way, this is a great beer. Recommended.

BB1313, Dec 25, 2013
Photo of KeyWestGator
4/5  rDev -5.4%

KeyWestGator, Nov 30, 2013
Photo of MattSweatshirt
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opening this thing is a danger to ones face as the cork skyrocketed off as soon as I untwisted the cap. Took a minutes to locate the cork. Keep away when opening for safety's sake.

Poured the 750 bottle into a chalice producing a huge bubbly/sudsy off white/tan head with a brown body and red highlights. Head sticks around forever!

Stereotypical strong dark smells of dark fruits. I can pick up on some of the “holiday spices” going on but I mostly get cinnamon and nutmeg. If theres anything else I don’t know.

The spices and dark fruit are what hit first but theres a nice caramel thing going on and the hop finish is wonderful. Love this thing. I almost want to give it a 5.

Lovely smooth medium body. Not a bunch of carb that I was expecting since it blew the cork off. That’s prob where some of it went. Leaves a little tongue tingle.

MattSweatshirt, Dec 15, 2011
Photo of Gatch
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012. Says it can be aged up to 15 years. I can't imagine how good this would be after a few years, let alone 10 or 15.

A: Deep, dark brown with shades of ruby red. Big, fluffy, off-white to light brown head that builds and fades quickly leaving behind a fizzy, thin layer of foam on top until the first sip.

S: Mmmm...figs, raisins, dark and sweet malts, ripe plums, dark bread, sugar. Very nice. But as the beer warms, some of this disappears, surprisingly.

T: Crazy amount of carbonation (expected from the huge pop from the cork when opened). Thick, creamy, and full of flavor. Sweet, sugary, roasted malt complemented by dark, poached, sugary fruits.

M: Super carbonated and full of roasted flavor. The flavor is stronger than the body makes you believe. A tad cloying in the finish with some warmth from the alcohol.

O: It's a great beer but doesn't seem to be anything crazy or special. Spot on for the style, though. Spiced enough to make this feel like a holiday ale.

Gatch, Dec 25, 2012
Photo of tdmccarthy
4/5  rDev -5.4%

tdmccarthy, Dec 12, 2013
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.

Braz, Dec 13, 2012
Photo of dkw0063
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

dkw0063, Feb 03, 2014
Photo of Stigs
3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle served in an oversized wine glass / snifter

A - poured about a finger of loose bubbly khaki foam which quickly fell to a ring around the glass and small floating island in the middle. the beer is a dark and cloudy amber/brown.

S - regular St. Bernardus with a touch of santa. cinnamon, very dark and ripe fruits such as raisins and plums, hints of belgian yeast and grapes, finishes with a very light kiss of alcohol.

T - strong dark belgian yeast brings in a touch of the cinnamon and spice behind it. fruits of raisins and slightly sour grapes with a touch of doughy malt carrying it all. wonderful and festive.

M - typical slightly high carbonation but the sweetness adds a bit of overwhelming chewy and stickiness. overwhelming halfway into the first glass, the low point of this one.

D - a good slightly different twist on an exceptional beer. overall pretty enjoyable.

Stigs, Dec 26, 2009
Photo of Archemedies
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Archemedies, Mar 21, 2012
Photo of OriolesFan1008
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

OriolesFan1008, May 30, 2012
Photo of kingmaker
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

kingmaker, Jan 26, 2013
Photo of Nichols33
3/5  rDev -29.1%

Nichols33, Aug 24, 2014
Photo of hopkrid
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

hopkrid, Oct 14, 2013
Photo of JimGlonke
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

JimGlonke, Apr 30, 2012
Photo of GPHarris
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.

GPHarris, Jan 15, 2014
Photo of jayhunter357
4/5  rDev -5.4%

jayhunter357, May 25, 2013
Photo of Kromes
3.93/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: A dark, dark amber with ruby highlights and a thick off white head that sits on top of the beer. Good lacing down the glass.

S: Roasted malt, bready yeast, anise, dark fruit and spice.

T: A toasted brown sugar, molasses, and dark fruit flavor to start, the boozy flavors then kick in along with a lighter fruitiness, bitterness and belgian funk in the beer.

M: Lower carbonation and a sticky, syrupy feel and it leaves the mouth a little dry and with a peppery spice.

D: The beer has a very strong flavor. You can definitely taste and feel the alcohol. However, the beer is tasty and has quite a kick.

Kromes, Dec 16, 2010
Photo of Tom-Peters
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Tom-Peters, Jan 03, 2014
Photo of johntfox
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

johntfox, May 21, 2013
Photo of fthegiants
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

fthegiants, Dec 20, 2013
Photo of mithrascruor
3.73/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a hazy dark brown color with a nice tan head that slowly becomes a thick film and laces the glass.

Smell: Rich malty aroma of fruit (fig, pear), some sugar and spices, and a bit of orange peel.

Taste: Deep malty flavor with a bit of raisins and sugar towards the finish. Aftertaste has some bitterness. Surprisingly not much to the flavor, I felt.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a good deal of tingly carbonation. Pretty smooth, but I thought that the carbonation was a bit too much.

Drinkability: Strong in the alcohol department, but it isn't really present in the taste.

Honestly this was a bit of a let-down. Maybe I'd set my hopes too high, having been waiting for a good time to enjoy this bottle that I'd had since Xmas, but that surely isn't all. I would have expected a bit more flavor and aroma; it didn't really feel like a Belgian Christmas ale, and for a beer of this style it wasn't particularly impressive.

mithrascruor, Feb 06, 2010
Photo of HamGlade10
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

HamGlade10, Feb 27, 2012
Photo of HollyHops
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

HollyHops, Dec 01, 2013
Photo of Pahn
3.18/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Burp Castle, NYC. Poured into Chimay chalice.

Appearance: Murky, chocolate-brown like coffee. No head and some speckled lacing.

Smell: Weak scent of Belgian yeast and grape.

Taste: There's some notes of grape, caramel, and brown sugar, but the dominant taste is cola. There's a bright Belgian yeast flavor at the end that's reminiscent of the finish of Saint Bernardus's quad, which is this beer's high point. The alcohol is hot and dominant. There's some noticeable hops. The flavor is a bit wine-like and dark. It's sweet and tart, almost sour. The flavor was very uneven; each sip was different, and, more often than not, unpleasant. At times, dangerously close to cough syrup.

Mouthfeel: Watery and syrupy, with way over the top carbonation.

Drinkability: Decent, considering the ABV.

---

This beer tasted unfortunately close to cola. The horribly overdone carbonation doesn't help matters. Very disappointing offering from such an outstanding brewery.

Pahn, Dec 26, 2009
Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,446 ratings.