Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

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

1,708 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,708
Reviews: 608
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.46%
Wants: 137
Gots: 258 | 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: 1,708 | Reviews: 608 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of azorie
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of RichBeer
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of ElGallo
5/5  rDev +18.2%

Photo of bpfrush
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of jeezie
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've been waiting to try this beer for a while but got totally shut out last year. 750ml corked and caged bottle served in my St. Bernardus chalice. Be careful opening this one - once I removed the cage the cork fired like a shotgun blast and ricocheted off the ceiling. Pours a deep plum color with a slightly hazy clarity. Head starts off as a fluffy, two inch, cream-colored cloud of foam. As the head recedes into a quarter inch cap, delicate, textured spots and strands of lacing are revealed and exhibit excellent adhesion. This beer looks exquisite in its proper glassware. Nose expresses dark fruits with a slightly vinous character, Belgian yeast and some nutty notes (perhaps hazelnut). Taste follows nose - flavor profile is pretty standard for the style in my opinion; however, there's a trace of ethanol that overshadows things a bit, making it difficult to tease out the subtleties. I also get a little wet cardboard towards the finish, but it dissipates quickly. Mouthfeel is light-medium with a slightly prickly carbonation, as well as a bit of gassiness. Overall, a very solid Belgian Strong Dark; however, perhaps a little young. I would probably sit on this vintage for a couple more years.

Photo of richbrew
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of millelacsmark
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

Photo of ryanonline
4.72/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep dark brown with some burgundy highlights and an enormous off white head that sits around for quite a while leaving some very thick gob like lacing.

smells very sweet with some strong hints of cherries and dark fruits with some fairly light spice notes to it. there is some cinnamon and even a touch of clove but many of the other notes are not so noticeable.

the taste is the same but with some more balanced characteristics. the cinnamon is more prevalent but not so strong that it overtakes the other flavors. a very light floral hop flavor lingers in the background.

the mouthfeel is exceptionally creamy and full bodied, the carbonation is soft and foamy. very sweet finish.

may not be super drinkable because it is pretty complex and full bodied. still very good though.

awesome beer, basically like a spiced abt 12.

Photo of Lawnboy33
5/5  rDev +18.2%

Photo of Burt
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Elfastball7
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of Jspriest
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of ej285701
4/5  rDev -5.4%

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

This is the 2011 edition. The beer was served in a wide mouthed goblet.

A- The body of the beer is black. No opaqueness to light. The head is thick biege coloration. Nice head retention that stands up to the mustache test. Thick lacing marks this beers passage.

S- Dark roasted and toasted malts. Caramel breadyness, peppery yeast, dark fruits raisins, candied figs, mixed berries and cherries, spice bill is cinammon, cardamon, allspice, nice peppery yeasty flavors. The alcohl peaks out and says hello from time to time.

T- The beer was a bit cold to begin with but opens up very nicely as the beer warms. Major delivery on the beers aroma. Nicely executed! The beer is a bit sweet at first but between peppery yeast esters, spices and alcohol it brings the sweetness to heel.

M- Full bodied majorly aggressive carbonation. The beers body and carbonation works well together. The alcohol is a bit hot but not annoying.

O- Very tasty! I love St Berandus. I am really enjoying the Christmas version. If you like big beers this will deliver what you are craving.

Photo of sbricker
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

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

Appearance - Let me just say, this is a standard st. bernardus, very carbonated, my cork popped right out when the cage came off and bubbled out all over my floor, whatever. Pours a very hazy dark brown with golden notes on the edges. Huge head, obviously, probably 3 or 4 fingers.

Smell - dark fruits, winter fruits, figs, raisins, plums, candi sugar, belgian spices and yeast, smells great.

Taste - Follows the nose COMPLETELY, dark fruits dominate this with touches of sweet belgian candy sugar. Not a lot of belgian yeast comes through this, just a lot of very very sweet sugars and fruits, very tasty brew.

Mouthfeel - I am indifferent i guess, i give it a 4 because i think for the style this needs to be pretty carbonated. I rather do like how st bernardus carbonates their beers, it leaves a very crisp feel on the palate.

Overall - An incredibly delicious brew and so fitting for a christmas setting. I bought two to see how one tastes in the summer out of curiosity!

Photo of TheQuietMan22
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured into a tulip. The cork practically jumped out with a little effort, and there was a loud and authoritative POP! I thought the beer would start overflowing, but it stayed calm. The color is a dark, ruby. Just as another reviewer reported, a massive head of dense, tan head developed after a gentle pour. It dissipated very slowly to leave a billowy lacing and trails along the glass.

Smell: Lots of dark fruit and sharp spice. Bready yeast, green apples, plum, figs, cloves, and pepper. It has a noticeable alcohol edge to it, which reminds me of brandy.

Taste: Mirrors the smell with the dark fruit and spice. The plum and figs create the backbone, and it is supported by the clove and pepper spice. Bready yeast, caramel malt, and green apple emerge after the beer has warmed. The alcohol is very noticeable, though not distracting; it fades as the beer warms, but provides a nice warming feeling with each sip, which is very appreciable in the winter.

Drinkability: Frankly, it justifies the price. And then some. This is a very tasty and potent holiday beer. It makes an ideal stocking stuffer.

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

Poured into chalice glass.

A - Poured dark mahogany non-transparent color with huge head that slowly dissipated leaving significant lacing around the glass.

S - Mostly dark fruits and spices with bready yeast and malts.

T - Dark fruits predominate, figs, raisins, cherries with banana, bready yeast and lots of spices.

M - Medium bodied with high carbonation.

O - Great Christmas Ale with ABV very well hidden. I highly recommend it.

Photo of DaveHS
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage.

A-Cork comes out with a loud POP. Even with a gentle pour there's 2+ inches of foamy, porous head, speckled with brown dots of what I can only assume is yeast. Reduces fairly quickly, leaving spotty, intermittent lacing.

S-Musty overripe apples, cloves, coriander, dry earthy hops. Not a bold or spice forward as many other Belgian Christmas releases.

T/M-Very subtle and delicate, considering the style. I'm used to Belgian Christmas beers taking a more bombastic approach to elements like spicing and density of the mouth feel. This is a straightforward, well made dark strong ale. I doubt this was made using any traditional holiday spices. The soft, creamy body ebbs and flows, exposing soft black licorice and marzipan flavors. Notes of caramel and plum round out the corners of the palate, leading into an exquisite, simple finish that lingers just long enough, not overstaying its welcome but imprinting trace flavors on the back of the throat. Leaves you wanting more.

O-A typically classy, high quality beer St. Bernardus. I expect this bottle would be fantastic with a few more years on it.

Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer has been sitting in the fridge at my other house that has been vacant for a year, but I believe that it was close to Christmas that I bought this beer and stuck it there and forgot about it. We are getting it cleaned up, so I pulled this beer out to review. I'm sure that the age hasn't hurt it at all, so let's give it a shot.

Appearance: Typical for St Bernardus, the beer is very well carbonated and I have a 3 finger head that is growing a little bit since the pour. After about 5 minutes the head was fading back into the beer and leaving huge amounts of lace on the glass. The beer is really dark, so I can't comment on the clarity.

Aroma: Through the foam I could get a little bit of sweetness from caramel, some dark fruit like plums, and a little bit of spice that I assume is from the alcohol. As the head fades, you can pick up the sweetness clearer and the yeast is contributing some subtle bread-dough notes.

Taste: The flavor is bold, and a little stronger than I expected from the aroma. There are lots of dark fruit in the aroma with a defined spice from the alcohol. The initial fruitiness seems to fade quickly, but I think that my palate got used to it quickly and I am sure that the ABV helps that. The body is medium with high carbonation, so that it comes across your palate lively and quickly so that you can't swirl too much for fear of it exploding in your mouth. The caramel malts is very well done in this beer, and gives you some sweetness in the beginning that sticks around and actually challenges the alcohol for the finish. There are some hops in the finish, but it is all about the malt and alcohol. As the beer warms up some, there is more spice coming out that I believe may be actual additions, and I am thinking at least some coriander.

Opinion: As is usual with St Bernardus products, I have been really happy with this beer. It is great tasting and has lots of character and is dangerously easy to drink. That said, I think that I like their Abt12 better, just because. This one comes across a bit fruity in the beginning where I don't remember that with the Abt12. I am splitting hairs here. If you haven't tried this beer...try it. I would recommend anything with St Bernardus written on the bottle, and this beer is no exception. I'm glad that I finally tried it.

Photo of beerdrifter
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this beauty from my nephew Kevin. Dark mahogany-ruby pour with huge three finger head with great retention and lacing. Big herbal, complex nose with hints of black cherries, metal, brown sugar, dark fruits, and tobacco. The taste is complex as well. Lots of black cherries, plums and bananas with a nice herbal backbone with hints of cinnamon, cloves and vanilla and just a touch of chocolate and orange peel. The finish is crisp and dry. The mouthfeel is carbonated, but slightly syrupy. The alcohol is extremely well hidden. It's not as "christmasy" as I had hoped, but still a classic beer from a great brewery. Thanks Kevin!

Photo of jmvecchio1
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours out a dark brown color and has a creamy head that gives way to lacing that lingers for the entirety of the beer.

The smell is a strong, fruity aroma that packs a powerful punch of pears and apples with a slight hint of citrus.

At first sip you get a dominant pear punch that gives way to a malty apple juice finish.

Looking at this beer you don’t notice any carbonation, but this beer does have a carbonated mouthfeel.

Photo of Knapp85
3.35/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours out as a deep red color with a foamy tan colored head. The lacing isn't too bad here. The smell of the beer has a lot of spice to it. There is some decent flavors once the beer warms up. The beer right from the fridge has a metallic flavor at first. The spices kick in and leave a slight amount of heat in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is a little warming and had a lot of carbonation. Overall it's not a bad Christmas ale.

Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,708 ratings.