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Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,845 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,845
Reviews: 640
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 145
Gots: 299 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website
Belgium

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,845 | Reviews: 640
Photo of zimm421
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle. Bottle was corked and caged. At first, didn't appear to be highly carbonated, but when poured, a huge head appears. Head is tan and very fluffy. Great retention. The beer appears a nice brown color with hints of red around the edges. The head leaves great lacing.

Nose is full of dark fruit, great Belgian yeast, dark bread and nice sugar. Not overpowering, but it smells wonderful. Taste is full of the dark fruit, alcohol and yeast. This is very sweet, and doesn't have a whole lot of balance, which is the only downside. There are some spices, but they don't do much.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, with high carbonation levels. Overall, this is a great brew, that goes down wonderfully. Besides the lack of balance, everything works together in great ways.

Photo of Leftofthedial
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of caedmon2
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of ejw127
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of jcone17
5/5  rDev +18.2%

Photo of jbear68
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

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

750 mL corked and caged bottle, with 10.02.16 printed on cage, I assume a best by date, probably 5 years out.

appears a murky dark brown, with thick foamy head that settles into a 1/4" covering of fine tiny bubbles. great lacing.

sweet and spicy herbal aroma. fruity, plum-like notes. taste is not as sweet, but rich and malty. the winter spices are fairly muted. medium body, extremely smooth carbonation. goes down easy.

Definitely one of the finer Christmas beer offerings.

Photo of LornaLee
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of dbellizzi
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of jimmy82063
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml Bottle Best Before 8/24/14....Poured into a SB Chalice...

Have had this in the cellar dating to 2009....need to restock.

A) Nice frothy head that quickly fades,minimal lacing, lite brown colour.

S) Lighly spicey, banana, clove, all spice.

T) This has been in the cellar and has been properly aged for 2 years. I can still get some spiciness that distinguishes this from the 12. Wished I had more of this vintage.

M) Lightly carbonated.

O) Great beer...not much more to say...

Photo of cdwil
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of seanyfo
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle BBE 17 Sept 2015

Poured 3 times into Westmalle chalice

A- dark garnet bottle with little light perception. Clarity hard to measure. 2 finger head is thick and creamy. Retention is good and lacing is excellent

S- up front almonds and a hint of marzipan. A hint of barnyard Brett like quality comes through amongst a dark fruit plum note

T- almond sweet nut quality up front with hint of dark fruit. This balances with a medicinal/hint of Brett like bitterness in the full finish. Extremely smooth with no alcohol heat

M- medium to high carbination, medium body but due to
carbonation , overall it's quite light on the tongue. Fantastic considering abv, would expect it to be stickier. Very smooth indeed!

D- if I didn't know what I was drinking I wouldn't have said this had anything to do with Christmas. No real Christmas spice note for me but that's no bad thing. Would have liked to taste more malt depth/complexity but overall tasty and deceptively smooth. No alcohol heat at all. Dangerous stuff and potentially one to age!

Photo of voodoo
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of kmwilson76
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of arkansastroy
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of Converge
4.11/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a 22oz goblet. This review was originally planned for yesterday, but long story short, it just didn't fit in. So, here we go! Bought the bottle in mid-August, so it's had a bit of time to mature.

A - Nice thick and creamy head. Deep garnet hue, with moderate sediment haze going on. Unrelenting head retention that leaves behind thick webs of sticky lacing.

S - Figs, plums, candi sugar, Belgian spices and yeast. Traces of dark chocolate, dates, and dried bananas.

T - Dark fruits, candi sugar, and Belgian yeast. Figs, dates, Belgian spices, and caramel malt. Finishes with some dark chocolate and green apple sourness. Little bits of brown sugar and dried cherries appear as well, but remain fairly muted. Light hop presence in the finish, but not nearly as much as other reviews hinted at. Alcohol presence is minimal.

M - Creamy smooth carbonation with a medium-to-big bodied feel. Fits well with the flavor profile.

D - My first BSDA, and a solid one at that. Doesn't exactly show off a whole lot of seasonal flavors, but I enjoyed it a lot overall. Sort of reminded of the Abt 12, but I liked this one a bit more. Nice and easy to drink, but the 10% ABV is disguised way too well; this one will certainly sneak up on you!

Photo of JayS2629
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Honest opinion. I enjoy the original Abt 12 imensely and think whatever spices are added to this one are a detraction. I still enjoy this one emensely as well and appreciate the spirit it was intended for. It is a great holiday, seasonal treat and deeply complex and sophisticated. Monk magic!

It pours a murky brown that is almost black. Cola like with a huge rocky off-white head three fingers thick and with steady staying power. Frothy rings of thick lace linger.

The aroma is spicy and full of belgian yeast esters. Dark fruit and spices. Over ripe plum, dates, and fig with cherry notes and caramel undertones. Thick toffee melts into musky, funky yeast phenols.

The taste gets really spicy. Holiday spices shine against yeasty spice notes. Nutmeg and cinnamon tones surf on the wave of funky belgian yeast tones of dark fruit,candy sugar, and dark rum notes. Musky notes and metallic, medicinal tones intrude slightly. Some may enjoy these licorice like flavors.

Mouthfeel is creamy and medium bodied.

easy sipper. Complex, interesting, and enjoyable. Slightly under the original Abt. 12 but still amazing.

Photo of tedho21
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of Lantern
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of Adrianized
4/5  rDev -5.4%

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

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.

Photo of jak
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of barnzy78
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of Cozzatoad
3.63/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml cork caged bottle

A- Foam immediately pours out of the bottle, and it keeps building inside even after a few pours. Slightly murky brown, with ruby hints if seen through light. Huge head that quite quickly recedes to about one finger of slightly off-white soapiness. Loads of lacing on the glass

S- Dried and dark fruits among a strong alcohol feel, with a faint spicy note to it. A hint of lactic acidity as well

T- A suprisingly dry and not so strong malt character (with some notes of caramel) sets this beer apart from most belgian strong ales and other St. Bernardus beers as well. A slighlty musty herbal feel plays a major role in this beer, though in my opinion it is not perfectly balanced with the beer's dry malt character. Strong alcoholic feel, with both plain alcohol and spicy notes from the esters. Assertive dark fruit notes of cherry, raisin and maybe more. A faint hint of lactic sourness as the smell suggested. Extremely complex, but a bit messy

M- It's dry malt charcter has this beer feeling quite light in body if compared to most belgian strong ales and given it's ABV. Alcohol can definitely be felt, and though it brings a nice warming feel it gets a bit too much in the way in my opinion. Average and spot-on carbonation

O- As i have already mentioned this beer is very complex but quite a bit of a mess. It still is decently drinkable and warming, but it's musty, herbal character just not gets in the line with it's dry malt character. I didn't notice bad or completely off flavours nor any other major issue, so i'm reviewing it

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Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,845 ratings.