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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
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Ratings: 1,446 | Reviews: 578 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Lexluthor33
4.72/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours cherry brown with a foamy head and an amazing lace.
The aroma of malts then spices and finally the hops,fruits and yeast flow out. The alcohol can be picked up ,but only lightly.

I let this one sit for a few minutes and warm up. I then sipped on it and the first thing that hit my tongue was the sweet,dark fruits and some alcohol. Along the way the malts,spices such as cloves and even cinnamon could be tasted.
The feel was smooth and creamy with a full body and medium carbonation.

Notes: This is what Christmas is really about.(just kidding)
This beer really does make me feel the holiday season. There is something so rich and satisfying after a snifter glass of this brew that leaves one wanting more.
I believe there are two types of session beers. Summer/all season and winter session brews such as this one.
Expect to get a little warm and twisted off winter sessions due to higher ABV,but I had four glasses in a four hour span and certainly could have had more.

Lexluthor33, Dec 16, 2008
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.58/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This comes out of the tap an opaque dark brown with a thick pale tan head. Aroma is very hoppy and spicy, inviting a taste. Flavor does not disappoint - it is mainly hoppy with spicy overtones and a spicy, evergreen aftertaste. Texture is very smooth and cooling. An excellent winter brew.

Cyberkedi, Dec 14, 2008
Photo of FleeVT
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into an over sized copa de vino.

A: Pours a dull, syrup mahogany with a heavy haze to it. A creamy white head that leaves beautiful lacework caps her off.

S: Sweet malts and fruits hit you first. Apply cider, raisins and currants pave the way to a backdrop dominated by yeast and a hint of alcohol. You definitely don't expect a 10 percenter based on the nose.

T: Lots of dark fruits and molasses on the palate. The alcohol cuts through that sweetness and brings with it some holiday spices, clove and vanilla. The Belgian yeasts, which in my opinion can be overdone in this style, are perfect.

M: Smooth like velvet, just as the bottle declares. There is definitely carbonation that bites into your tongue, but it works and it's smooth. Medium to heavy bodies that fades in the back as the alcohol warms the mouth.

D: All winter long. Enjoy this slowly and relish.

FleeVT, Dec 14, 2008
Photo of smcolw
3.58/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Massive 80% head in the glass. Settles steadily leaving spotty lace on the glass. Cloudy light brown color.

Sugar candy and alcohol are the dominant aromas. Mild hop in the background.

Creamy with a mild sweetness and the archetypical Belgian flavor from the yeast. Alcohol is potent and adds to the rich body. The swallow has a faint touch of hop, but it's a predominantly sour malt flavor. The aftertaste is brief.

smcolw, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of Wildman23
4.55/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Deep mahogany color with ruby highlights.
Smell- Roasted malts, yeasty spice, mulling spice, milk chocolate, roasted nuts, candied figs, and a hint of grape soda...yes, like Welch's grape soda.
Taste- So smooth, a touch of roasty malts and dark candy sugar upfront before the wave of fruity esters roll onto the palate. Candied figs, plums, ripe red grapes and Red Delicious apple go along with a mellow milk chocolate undertone. All this fruity sweetness gets rolled up into a mellow spicy character, with hints of subtle white pepper, all spice and an almost hidden note of anise. So complex, so much going on, but not overdone or too much. a truly delicious Christmas beer.
Mouthfeel- Smooth and supple with a tiny prickle of effervescence and good lacing throughout.
Drinkability- Well, for an intensely sweet, 10% abv Noel beer, this one rolls down the throat and begs for more to follow... I guess that would be outstanding drinkability!
Overall, I am not a huge fan of the Christmas styles, but this one is a one of a kind, not to be missed, outstanding beer!!!

Wildman23, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of tempest
3.88/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Farmhouse in Emmaus, PA. Overall, this is a pretty good Belgian, but it's not as complex at the Abt 12. It actually reminds me of Chimay Blue more than Bernardus 12. The flavor comes off like a cinnamon spice caramel apple with toasted toffee and sweet bread. Delicious, but it doesn't reach the depths of a great strong dark ale. Still very easy to drink. Worth a try.

tempest, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of peabody
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a dark Ice Tea color with 1/2 finger of off-white suds. Not a lot of lacing.
Smell is malty belgian yeast with funky raisin and cinnamon. Can't smell the alcohol.
Taste is corriander and nutmeg mixed with vanilla and banana oils with a sugary caramel malty finish.
Mouthfeel is really clean with no trace of alcohol. The aftertaste is almost non-existant.
Wonderful drinkability here. Too bad this only comes out once a year.

peabody, Dec 12, 2008
Photo of jjayjaye
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow...now this is a f* Belgian Strong Dark Ale!!!

Pours a slightly hazy dark brown color with a full finger light tan head of tiny bubbles that resist fading. The smell is CLASSIC!! I mean 'I'm lov'in' the Belgian yeast, malty core with dark fruit, figs, NECCO chocolate and just the right amount of holiday spices.
Nicely carbonated, the mouth feel is complimented by the creaminess of the head and the figgy flavors. Full flavored, this is textbook to style...the Belgian malty fruit thing is center stage... the mouth feel is creamy and much heavier than your everyday abbey ale. The 10% ABV is well integrated. I personally HIGHLY RECOMMEND this one as part of your holiday festivities!! Another High Quality product from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV.

jjayjaye, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of cokes
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Muddied auburn-brown with a short tan lacing. Lacing was non-existent. I imagine a bottle would fare better in the looks department.
It noses of figs, sugar cookies (with sprinkles), chocolate-covered candied oranges, black cherries, liquorice, pepper, clove, and wet hay.
It begins through the mouth with a rotund maltiness full of black raisins, sweet dough, gingersnaps (wet, and undercooked), molasses, orange candies, liquorice, burnt peaches, and cherries. The middle dries it significantly with roasted grain, peppercorns, allspice, and granite. Hopping is minor, with just traces of wet grass around the swallow. Alcohol is present, but mellowed, in a sweet, sugary, aged rum sense.
The meaty, full body is given some levity by the steady, percolating, tiny carbonation.
This is a jovial holiday concoction. It's more or less like a fruitier, spiced 12.

cokes, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of brewcrew76
3.85/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Murky brown with amber and ruby highlights and a thin beige head that leaves patches of foam behind.

S - Ripe fruits with a sweet malty nose, raisins and prunes with spicy Belgian yeast, nutmeg and other holiday spices.

T - Spicy, ripe fruits, sweet doughy malts, slight phenolics, candi sugar sweetness, holiday spices with an earthy aftertaste.

M - Medium and chewy, on the higher side for carbonation, slightly slick with the lightest alcohol sting but the 10%abv is extremely well hidden.

D - Very good but spicier and sweeter than other St Bernardus offerings making it just slightly less drinkable.

brewcrew76, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of OWSLEY069
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky amber to brown-ish color with a big light tan head. In the aroma, candy sugar, small roastiness, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In the taste, cinnamon, a dry sugary feel, and small hints of plum (as sugar plums danced in my head, sorry...) A small spicey bite, and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry cinnamon/ spice aftertaste. Quite smooth and not overbarring, nice spices, all around pretty good.

OWSLEY069, Dec 09, 2008
Photo of champ103
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark mahogany color. A large beige head forms with great retention. Plenty of sticky lace is left behind. This looks beautiful in my St. Bernardus chalice.
S: At first, cinnamon and nutmeg hits the nose. Some other peppery spices as well. Dark fruits of figs, plums, and raisins come next. A doughy yeast aroma that I find in many Belgian beers. Complex and wonderful.
T: Cinnamon is upfront again. Lots of dark fruit that follow the nose. Some sweet and malty caramel. A light burnt wood flavor. Dough and yeast.
M/D: A full body that is a bit dry. A light snap of carbonation, but a good creaminess follows. This is exceptionally smooth and easy to drink for the high ABV. Something to sip and savor.

This is a great winter brew. Highly recommended, and something I will have more of.

champ103, Dec 09, 2008
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!

MrHurmateeowish, Dec 09, 2008
Photo of illidurit
3.55/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On tap at The Red in Santa Cruz. Pours a muddy dark brown with a thick tan head that sticks around until the liquid is gone. Great thick lacing. Aroma is very deep, with fig, overripe plum, green apple, caramelized orange peel, ginger, phenols, and a touch of saccharine cola. Flavor is a little more straightforward. Rummy raisins, orange peel, ginger, and licorice. Alcohol and carbonation are a bit too apparent and so this beer is not particularly drinkable, but it is a nice warming winter treat to share.

illidurit, Dec 08, 2008
Photo of BamaBeerBuff
3.7/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at the Brickstore Pub on 12/6/08. Served in a St. Bernardus chalice.

A: A deep brown with ruby/violet highlights. The head is thick and creamy, almost like a nitro-stout. Retention is good, but not as nice as the Abt 12. Thick sheets of lace on the goblet are welcome.

S: Initially, a spiced aroma (cinnamon and clove). With time and warming, candied dark fruit (cherry, plum, raisin) becomes more apparent. Also, a strong apple aroma emerges with swirling.

T&M: Yeasty, fruity, and spiced. The alcohol is prominent and a bit distracting. Dark fruit flavors and winter spice are most prevalent in the flavor. Body is full with a refined carbonation that tingles the tongue. Nice mouthfeel.

D: It was rather difficult for me to down my chalice-full of this beer. This beer is 10% ABV and doesn't hide it in the least. The heat from the alcohol makes it difficult to drink and detracts from some of the flavors that otherwise may emerge. I sampled on-tap, but I think getting a bottle of this and sitting on it for a year may do it some good.

BamaBeerBuff, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of BeerImmediately
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Flying Pig in Malvern on Friday, to help celebrate the 75th anniversary to the end of Prohibition!

Dark copper-brown color with minimal head.

Smelled of deep, ripe fruits (raisins in particular), with complex spices including nutmeg and cinnamon, and definite bready / yeasty quality.

Tasty, indeed. Everything from the nose transferred over, with a little touch of hop bite and maybe some clove.

Pleasant carbonation, and really nice drinkability - had no idea this was 10% ABV.

A MUST-HAVE for the holidays!!

BeerImmediately, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of Nibbley
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really nice brew.
Pours a cloudy ruby,garnett color with a beautiful, thick and creamy two finger head.
Aroma of nutmeg, ginger bread and spice cake.
The taste is a great big malty goodness, with dark fruits and warm spicy ginger bread.
Although a high Abv brew the alcohol is very subdued and well behaved.
I highley recommend this one for the holidays.

Nibbley, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of PorterHall
4.55/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance:750 ml bottle with Santa Claus garbed Monk. Poured into snifter. Head resembled "proofed yeast;" as it waned it lovingly laced the glass.

Smell: The heady aroma danced with yeast and spice, leaving no doubt that I was drinking a Belgian brew.

Taste: This "living ale" was alive with carbonation; not too much, it was bubbly yet smooth. The alcohol was present but always held in check by the lusciousness of the treacle malt. Just enough hops to keep the maltiness in check.

Notes: Merry Christmas to me!

PorterHall, Dec 06, 2008
Photo of froghop
3.48/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

vintage 2007.

pours a dark brown with a large tan bubbly head.

smell is of caramel, spice, malt, and raisins.

taste is very carbonated, somewhat watery, dark fruits, spice, some caramel, end is tangy on the tongue.

overall a good beer but slightly overrated, too much carbonation and needs to be a little thicker for my liking.

froghop, Dec 05, 2008
Photo of jpiper
3.65/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured (too cold) into an older St Beranardus chalice.

In the low light, an amber-brown with a creamy, soapy head which dissipates to a beautiful lace.

The aromas are feint at this temperature. A good swirl later in the session brings out dried fruit aromas.

Flavors are caramel malt, raisins, dates. Sweet and spicy. It's a good flavor, last time I had it it seemed too sweet and somewhat unpleasant, but this is much more drinkable. There is a little hop profile, giving just a hint of bitterness (accompanying the spice: cinnamon, clove), but the sweetness powers through (the spice sticks around for a while). The yeast reminds of other St Bernardus brews.

Smooth mouthfeel, but a bit heavy and cloying. This one is a sipper. Tough to imagine drinking more than one of these.

Good, but not great.

jpiper, Dec 05, 2008
Photo of WesWes
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a cloudy brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich, roasted and crystal malt scent along with a fruity yeast aroma. It's warming to the nose with loads of fruity esters. The taste is good as well. It has a solid malt bill of crystal and roasted malts. It's complex with a warm fruity finish. The alcohol is right up front. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn fine seasonal. It's full flavored and warming; just what I want in the colder months of the year

WesWes, Dec 05, 2008
Photo of BierBrawlinator
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 2 finger head and tapped out at 1 finger the rest of the way. Massive lacing on the sides of a St. Bernardus chalice.

Caramel color with hints of ruby. Initial pour was fairly clear, but almost opaque. Big malt nose coming through with a mild woody funk.

The taste is malty, creamy, smooth and silky with a medium-heavy body that just begs for more.

I had this on tap at Monk's and in a 25oz bottle, and it's consistently incredible. Grab a bottle of this while it's around. You could session with this if you pace yourself.

BierBrawlinator, Dec 04, 2008
Photo of joeskirkie
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It sits in it's chalice opaque and dark brown in the middle, showing hints of copper around the edges. It had a very thin off white head that didn't linger.

Scents of raisins and/or currants, spicy yeast, some earthy bread.

Mmmm, slightly sour Belgian yeast gives way to a sweeter profile with hints of cinnamon chocolate and citrus. As I go on some dark fruits join the party.

Very nice carbonation, this beer makes it's presence known.

Will I get more? I'd bet on that.

joeskirkie, Dec 04, 2008
Photo of glid02
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

glid02, Dec 03, 2008
Photo of gdfan47
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
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

gdfan47, Dec 01, 2008
Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,446 ratings.