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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

1,808 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,808
Reviews: 631
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 139
Gots: 278 | FT: 7
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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,808 | Reviews: 631 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of 1950carlen
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of MattyG85
4.87/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from 750 ml bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep and dark brownish amber red with lots of bubbles. Huge six finger bubbly off white head that slowly fades into a thin patchy layer. Leaves some good lacing on the glass.

Smell: Huge aroma of dark fruits leaps out of the glass. Raisins, prunes, figs, dates, and dark cherries. Lots of Belgian yeast with some hints of clove spice. Some hints of cinnamon and nutmeg spices. Also a hint of banana and brown sugar. Great mix of dark fruits and spices.

Taste: Just as great as the smell. Spicy Belgian yeast with cloves and banana. Huge taste of dark fruit with notes of raisins, figs, prunes, dates, and dark cherries. Also a noticeable presence of winter spices including cinnamon and nutmeg. Some caramel malts in the background provide some breadyness. Very fruity but not overly sweet. Spices add a lot.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a carbonation on the higher side. fruity and somewhat sticky. Spicy and finishes dry. No alcohol heat noticeable.

Overall: A very good Belgian Dark Ale and one of the best Christmas beers in the world. Great use of dark fruits and spices.

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

750ml poured into a St. Bernardus Goblet

A- Pours a monster beige head with tight bubbles and beautiful lacing. The beer itself is deep dark brown with reddish orange hues.
S- Big dark fruits that I expected. Rum soaked raisins. Burnt caramel, maybe even some honey? Grapefruit, a little alcohol, figs, pretty good stuff. maybe some figs and cinnamon as well.
T- A full variety of crazy flavors, different with every sip. Creamy caramel mixed with dark fruits, Some cinnamon and ginger make this thing come alive. Sugary sweet fruit aftertaste with brown sugar. Started to taste the alcohol after it warmed up a bit.
M- Boatloads of carbonation, its a truly living beer. Definitely a warming in the stomach because its 10%. This thing pours with a lot of foamy head so be cautious on the pour as the head goes nowhere.
O- Awesome beer. It is in my opinion, a little better then the 12. Its just like the twelve but with a slight Christmas kick.

Photo of fx20736
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a St Bernardus chalice, served at cellar temp.

Dep chestnut brown with a pale khaki head and nice lacing.

aroma of fresh baked bread, bananas and brown sugar.

mouthfeel is light and frothy

taste of baked bread, plums, bananas and a clove-like spiciness.

Notes: Super! This is really good stuff. I've had 5 different beers by St Bernardus and love 3 of them; Pater 6, Abt 12 and this Christmas Ale.

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

A: a dark red color with an equally dark red head. great retention and the brew leaves a pretty lacing as well.

S: sweet brown sugar. cinnamon. a little tobacco. a smooth maltyness that is a bit warming.

T: nutty and fruity. chestnuts and figs. caramel. little bits of roast. a good deal of malt on this body. the finish is a bit champagne-like. im gonna say it is actually a bit dry.

M: like i noted on the palate, a champagne like fizz on a very full body.

D: a delicious belgian dark from a brewery that doesnt really make a bad beer. wouldnt hate to see this year round. dangerously drinkable and hard to detect the 10%ABV on this tasty treat.

Photo of wisrarebeer
4.58/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: deep copper-red color, incredible rich pillowy tan head that kept it all the way, clear
S: milder nose, rich roasted powdered malt and marmalade with earthy leather
T: full taste, no readily noticeable EtOH, just a bit in finish, incredibly smooth and rich with deep chocolate and roasted malt flavors
M: rounded with incredible depth and balance, tastes like it's been aging for years

Photo of SolarMikey
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of zapahoppa
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of DrSuds
5/5  rDev +18.2%

Photo of boltfan
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

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

A - Dark brown color with a one and a half finger cream colored head that sticks around for a bit, leaves okay lacing.

S - Dark fruit such as raisin, fig, dates and some nice yeasty and breadiness mixed in with malts and brown sugar.

T - Taste is similar to the smell but more prominent on the yeast and bread, there is also some toffee notes as well with the dark fruit. Also a touch of spice in there but not too much.

M - Medium verging on full bodied beer with a touch of carbonation to make everything meld together.

O - A great Christmas beer that I recommend to anyone who likes these types of beers.

Photo of rapidsequence
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, poured into a snifter-- several times. It was $13.25 from Pints O'Plenty. This years vintage- bottled in August.

Appearance: Dark brown and nearly clear. The head is off white to light brown and enormous. It fades to a stiff centimeter of tightly bubbled foam, and that never completely fades. Thick lacing. This is a winner.

Smell: It has that powerful, wonderful, distinctive St. B yeasty aroma. Spicy without being overly cloved. Dark fruits-- more plums and red grapes than raisins and prunes. A little cherry. Really great.

Taste: Very spicy, fruity, and yeasty. Like a rummy fruitcake. Its not as deep and rich as the ABT 12, and its more spicy tasting. Near the end there's a little yeasty tartness, then a bitterness that is probably orange peel. Not a fan of orange peel, or any similar citrusy bitterness in Belgian beers, so this takes it down a notch for me.

Mouthfeel: Its of course highly carbed, appropriately, but soft and not tingly. Feels big, but thins out slightly at the finish. Really good.

Overall: Excellent beer. As above, I could do without the bitterness, but its a great Christmas beer.

Photo of CelticAleMan
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of JustABeerGuy
5/5  rDev +18.2%

Photo of guild337
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of jtmcgraw
5/5  rDev +18.2%

Photo of Fermenticusrex
4/5  rDev -5.4%

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 jdense
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml. bottle, 2009 vintage, shared at Twelve Beers of Christmas tasting, 12.18.11.

3/4 finger medium brown head, slow dissipation with some lacing over dark brown opaque body. One of the best smelling beers I've had in a long time, pronounced stone fruit presence, plums, raisins, red currants, a little bit of pluots, balanced nicely with floral hop aromas. Taste features the above stone fruit profile with healthy dose of caramel malt or dark candi sugar which provided quite a bit of residual sweetness. Mouthfeel is well on the full side of medium, good effervescence, a surprisingly astringent mouthfeel given the inherent sweetness. This has to be one of the world's best Christmas beers especially when aged, though drinkablility is a bit impaired by high ABV.

Photo of AmericanGothic
4.36/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked and caged 750 ml bottle into a Unibroue tulip.

A: Pours a cloudy, medium brown color with two fingers of billowy, pale tan head. Exceptional retention and lace, vigorous carbonation.

S: Sweet, stewed figs and cherries, cinnamon and cardamom.

T: Much like the smell, except more intense. Spicy figs and cherries, also a little banana and prune. Sweetness is fairly low but not absent. Peppery spice floats over the other flavors and gives them something to play off of. As the beer warms, cinnamon and brown sugar joins the flavor profile. Still later, some dark berry notes. Very complex.

M: Full bodied, but the carbonation keeps it afloat. Faintly astringent.

O: This is a very tasty beer. The most interesting thing is the way the fruity and peppery esters separate from each other, makes for a very pleasant beer. I will need to have this again before the holidays are through, probably more than once.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Belgian Strong Dark Ales are very well suited for the holiday season even without the spicy additions common to Christmas deserts. The sweeter, succulent, and savory yeasty spice and fruity esters make for a complex staple layered on the supple malt base... absolutely sublime.

St. Bernardus' Christmas Ale pours with a rusty copper appearance with dark orange highlights and hints of garnet here and there. Mild haze and yeast caused a diffused glow to permiate the glass. A froathy mix of tightly and loosely knit head character shows great staying power and intricate patterns of lace upon the glass. A very solid Belgian look, albeit a touch light in color compared to others of the style.

Yeasy, spicy, fruity, and sweetly settled on the nose. Fruitcake-like aromas give a glimpse into the cherries, apples, figs, grapes, dates, plumbs, and sweetbread notes that set the malty and estery start to the session. Rummy alchols tickle the nose and give a sweet and vinous note to the aroma.

Delicious sweet malts give the impressions of confectioner's sugar, supple malty sweetness, and savory desert breads and coffee cake. Fruity with grapes and raisons, plumbs, and prunes, stone fruits, dehydrated dark fruits, apples and cherries all play into the estery mix as provided by yeast. Yeasty spices also attribute notes of corriander, black peppercorn, cinnamon, and a pleasant citrusy note that might be curaco additions or hop derived. Rum-like and red wine alcohols seem to be the catalyst that brings all the flavors together to give the rounded impression of rum-soaked fruitcake.

Up front sweetness gives the early impression of cloying or heavy sweetness. But the beer seems to evaporate off of the palate, much in the same was as does cotton candy- leaving a powdery dry alcohol warmth and only a memory of sweetness. The beer weighs effortless on the late palate and stomach for a remarkably drinkable session for such strength in both taste and alcohol. Assisted by strong effervescent, the beer lifts off of the tongue with ease.

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale does all that world class Belgain Strong Ales are expected to, and with many extraordinary nuances to set it apart from the mere good ones. An absolute delight with each sip as new flavors reveal themselves with each visit to the glass. The descriptor words for this beer are seemingly endless.

Photo of mynie
4.37/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours uncontrollably fizzy in a not very nice way. It's good looking once it settles, but that takes too damn long.

Smells of strong, wonderful fruit esters with big nodes of bananas and peppers along with plums, pears, and gigantic yeasty cloves. Very nice.

Tastes like it smells only good god it is as smooth as red velvet cake. Caramel gets overtaken by fruit, which gets overtaken by spice, which gets overtaken by boozy burn, and then everything ends on more spice, but then, even after that, there lingers silky smooth fruit with more bananas and the burn, holy heaven above the burn does not abate.

Photo of freduardo
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%

Photo of Dmart1223
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Interesting beer, if you can get it. It's kind of like fermented fruitcake.

Christmas Ale pours thick, with LOTS of almond-white head that sticks around and plenty of carbonation. It's dark maple brown, a little cloudy, with some hints of red.

The smell's where I got the fruitcake. Just fruit all around, the most interesting of which was either pineapple, pear or both for some reason. I also might've gotten some melon and berries.

That fruitiness also comes out in the taste, which gave me hints of the above fruits, as well as also cherries. The Belgian yeast gives it a funky taste, and the 10% ABV, rather than sticking out, warms your soul.

This is a big, bold beer with a lot going on. I'd like to store one of these for a year to see the difference.

Photo of KirstenJ
5/5  rDev +18.2%

Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,808 ratings.