Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
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Ratings: 1,434 | Reviews: 576 | Display Reviews Only:
4.4/5 rDev +4%
Consumed Christmas eve 2011.
A: Things open up with a violent and loud uncorking. A cola-otter-brown pour yields a monstrous rocky, foamy head that was porous and moderate on the hold leaving splotchy sticky patches on the glass for lace. Near black coloring while in the chalice is actually a very dark burgundy when backlighted revealing a vigorous effervesce. Additional pours yielded a mushrooming effect on the head which showed more resilience in its stay of execution.
S: Sugary dark plums, sweet caramel syrup, with a good Belgian yeastiness can first be found on the nose with some musky damp grains. Soft traces of estery pear drop, sweet chocolate and bananas are also evident. A 10.0%abv that is very well concealed aromatic wise never giving any indication this is a hint above 5%.
T: Yeasty with chocolate, dried banana, and pear notes from the yeast. Sweet caramel some sugary dark plums, raisins and a very bready palate add some depth. The alcohol feels/tastes more at home like a 5% as with the nose, very well refrained. The yeasty nature is nicely highlighted with a light musky nature of damp pale grains. Sweet bready caramel, malty, lush flavor.
M: Edgy carbonation provides a good deal of activity on the tongue. Creamy, frothy texture, full malt body adds lushness with some raisiny alcohol hints upon the swallow.
O: Overall a great all around beer and worthy of a special occasion. Very easy drinkability despite its indicated alcohol content. Malty lush body with a good support of yeasty character makes this all you can want from a Belgian dark ale. Once again Brouweij of St. Bernardus and St. Sixtus (Westvlteren) seem to be in a league of their own when it comes per style and overall quality.
12-26-2011 21:55:11 | More by beerthulhu
3.63/5 rDev -14.2%
750 ml bottle, Lexx picked this one up.
Pours a cloudy orange/brown, big and loose off white head forms, settles to a thin layer, leaves behind some decent lace. Smell is caramel, cinnamon, bread, yeast, apples, alcohol, pretty rich aroma, nice. Taste is raisins, caramel, spices, bread, quite sweet, apples and spice in the finish, touch of brown sugar. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with high carbonation. Overly sweet, carbonation was a little too high, made it kind of prickly. Overall okay but I was expecting more from this. Thanks Lexx!
02-22-2008 00:35:12 | More by Viggo
4.24/5 rDev +0.2%
A: Pours a rather dark brown color with a very large foamy tan colored head. Great head retention with foamy lacing all around the glass.
S: Very complex and rich. Lots of dark fruit, raisins and figs, with some caramel, brown sugar, toffee, and a candy sweetness.
T: Very nice flavor profile, more dark fruit that lasts throughout, more raisins, plums, and a little cherry. The back end is filled with some caramel, brown sugar, and a slight sweetness. A little bit of doughy malt in the middle and a bit of Belgian yeast.
M: Medium to full bodied with a nice level of carbonation.
O: Another fantastic beer from St. Bernardus, deep and complex. A great beer to sip over a long evening.
01-20-2013 06:19:31 | More by mdaschaf
4.4/5 rDev +4%
A - dark amber with a big, white head that has great retention
S - baked apples, some spices, cinnamon, Belgian yeast
T - baked apples, caramel, faint cinnamon, spices
M - medium to full bodied, smooth, well carbonated
This is a nice, malty beer where the yeast does a great job imparting spice and character. The ABV was well hidden, there was great balance and drinkability, and it has a solid all around flavor profile. This is definitely a winter beer worth checking out.
01-19-2013 22:59:18 | More by tdm168
4.5/5 rDev +6.4%
Dark mahogany body. Thick crop of beige head. It sticks around forever, though it does diminish ever so slightly creating a rocky landscape on top of the nectar. Very inviting nose. Subtly, yet very pleasing to the sense of smell. Doughy yeastiness with bready malts and cinnamon spiciness blend to give the warm aroma of comfort. Biscuity malt base serves nicely for the layers of complexity on top. Spice tones intermingle with fruits and candy. Light alcoholic tones are present to create a little warmth. Body is light-medium and the carbonation lends an ever so sublte effervescence to the whole experience. This is quite enjoyable and I'm not exactly surprised being that it comes from my favorite Belgian Brewery.
01-10-2008 05:40:58 | More by Bighuge
4.22/5 rDev -0.2%
Clear, coppery red hue with burnt orange edges and a billowing, fluffy cap of beige foam. Great head retention with chunky clumps of foam sticking to the glass at first, then some spotty lacing later. Great aroma - figs and prunes, apple, cinnamon, bready and yeasty, floral hops, bubblegum, pear, and mild medicinal alcohol. Sweet with some warm alcohol up front, dried fruit in the middle, with bread crust towards the end. It finished with a flash of gingerbread and lingering peppery alcohol. Medium to full bodied with very high carbonation. Palate coating with a bit of slickness and warmth. A great winter warmer with pleasing fruity notes. I'm betting this will age gracefully.
01-27-2008 01:29:10 | More by DrJay
4.23/5 rDev 0%
Large 75cl bottle (2012?) served in a large Piraat tulip.
A: Dark but clear red-brown body. Large, durable, off-white foamy head,with exceptional lacing. Patchy sticky lace decorates the glass well after tipping.
Aroma: Dark fruits and dark bread crust. Faint spices. yeast and an unfortunate touch of must comes with the yeastiness.
Flavor: Sweet, but not overly so, with hints of toffee and brown sugar. Hints of spices including nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. A suggestion of rum. Dark fruit in abundance. No mustiness, thankfully. Complex and layered. Faint, ripe banana. Loads of depth here, and other flavor components come and go, adding to the enjoyment of this great ale.
Feel: medium body. Medium-heavy but soft carbonation makes for a light and lively feel.. Smooth, sticky and gently warming.
O: More like an ABT 12 than St. Bernardus Prior 8. Better than the Prior 8 and, if not for the aroma, it would be better than the ABT 12 too. Despite the Xmas theme, quite enjoyable in the summer. Highly recommended.
06-27-2014 20:32:25 | More by chinchill
4.45/5 rDev +5.2%
Had this on-tap at the Brick Store in Atlanta.
Pours a slightly hazy brown color with ruby highlights. The head is one-finger of tan frothy goodness that sticks around for a while before dissipating into a thin, even layer across the top. Lacing is very good.
Smells of both light and dark fruits with an earthy sweet aroma. There's also a bit of spice in there - cinnamon or nutmeg.
Tastes very good. Somewhere between a trippel and a dubbel with a bit of spice. Pear and fig flavors meld seamlessly with hints of cinnamon and a slight touch of yeast. The dark fruit flavors seem to linger a bit longer than the light fruits. The alcohol is not a factor save for a nice warming sensation.
Mouthfeel is great. Smooth with subdued carbonation that coats the mouth.
Drinkability is great. The high ABV is not a factor except for making it a bad idea to drink too many of these. Really an easy brew to quaff.
Overall this is a very good beer that everyone should try this time of the year.
12-03-2008 15:33:34 | More by glid02
4.38/5 rDev +3.5%
Served in tulip. Poured a very dark, slightly reddish, brown with almost 2 inches of dark khaki colored head that had very good retention and moderate lacing.
The aroma is a pleasantly stimulating mixture of malt and spice. The flavors follow along with a nice yeast taste added to the mix. I can't put my finger on which spices I'm tasting, but they are yummy.
The body is very good, full, well rounded and smooth, without being heavy, sticky or lingering. Drinkability is very good, just watch out for that 10% ABV.
Overall, a wonderful brew. Worth seeking out, a must try.
11-08-2009 00:20:41 | More by beertunes
4.33/5 rDev +2.4%
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!
01-04-2014 03:29:46 | More by GarthDanielson
4.23/5 rDev 0%
Bottle opened on 12.7.12
A - Pours a deep brown with a ruby hilights. A huge foamy light tan head with amazing retention forms.
S - Spices, raisins, figs, light fruit, cola.
T - Similar, spices are more up-front and dominating.
D - Great carbonation and a medium to light body.
O - Belgian Abbey with Christmas Spices.
12-24-2012 06:34:14 | More by HuskyinPDX
4.33/5 rDev +2.4%
A new beer to try from St. Bernardus, I planned to wait until closer to Christmas-time but couldn't hold out. We poured it into St. Bernardus glasses and drank it near a Christmas tree in any case.
The beer was dark brown with a thick head, but lacked the floaties from ABT 12 and the creaminess in the foam that ABT 12 provides. Still looked OK, just closer ot the Prior 8 in appearance. The aroma was the signature yeastie fruitiness, but with a hint of spice I haven't noticed in the sibling beers. This spice came through in the flavor as a peppery note, a little biting, I'm not sure how to record it except "cracked pepper". Very nice, definitely you'd know in a blind taste test who made it, but you'd also know it was a little different. Highly recommended, along with all their other beers.
12-09-2007 13:57:57 | More by TurdFurgison
4.25/5 rDev +0.5%
750ml bottle, split
appearance: served in the seldom-used de koninck chalice, garnet-mahogany body, big creamy beige lace. nice
smell: dark belgian sugar, dark fruit, holiday spice
taste: big dark fruit, clove, banana, dark fruit soaked in booze, some holiday spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cherry, brown sugar, crystallized dates. Another nice classic from St. Bernies.
mouthfeel: rich and full, boozy finish
12-03-2012 01:00:39 | More by dirtylou
4.18/5 rDev -1.2%
13/07/09 750ml corked bottle i got at dalhouise co-op
A dark brown with some ufo's
S quite nice some raisins booze and lots of spice,
T also quite nice yeast, bread and yes lots of spice, raisins, and nutmeg sits heavy booze is there but would not guess 10%
M thick but not creamy nor chewey, good carbonation, Solid overall
D not the best day for drinking, "summer" night in calgary would have been better as a winter warmer (DUH)
07-16-2009 06:34:45 | More by wordemupg
4.13/5 rDev -2.4%
The perfect looking Belgian brew, deep, murky brown with dark ruby highlights and a great, thick retaining head. The only thing that its look is lacking is the bubbling. The aroma is very Belgian and awesome in that sense, but not very Christmasy. Makes me think of figs and sweet bread. The taste is very pretty sweet and complex. Lots of brown sugar with some with a few spices. Hints of clove and cinnamon. But just not as seasonal as expected.
12-24-2007 05:29:32 | More by scruffwhor
4.25/5 rDev +0.5%
750ml bottle poured into my large St. Feuillien goblet, the Christmas Ale has St. Bernardus' signature huge, rocky, long lasting head, khaki colored leaving heavy lace. The brew is a dark garnet. St. Bernadus' beers have such amazingly rocky head, they're the reason I basically never give a 5 for appearance to any other beer.
Smell is fantastic, luscious dark fruit dripping with dark candi sugar, with a whiff of booze. Again, they nailed it.
Taste is where the deviation from the abt 12 becomes more evident, less sweet fruit and a notable peppery spiciness, with a bit more phenols and fusels as well. Good, but still a bit of a disappointment, mainly because I love the abt so much, and the skew between the sweet fruity nose and the hasher edges of the taste. I'll have to lay a few down for awhile and see how much it rounds out...
Mouthfeel is slippery and soft, with a full body and high digestability.
Drinkability is average - for a St. Bernadus strong dark, which puts it higher then most. Still, while quite tasty, it drinks like the huge beer that it is, and at it's young age, with rather sharp elbows. Bonus points for the 50's kitsch label.
Served at cellar temp.
12-14-2007 07:53:15 | More by ccrida
Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,434 ratings.