Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
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Ratings: 1,439 | Reviews: 576 | Display Reviews Only:
4.47/5 rDev +5.7%
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.
12-11-2008 20:25:03 | More by jjayjaye
4.3/5 rDev +1.7%
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.
12-11-2008 06:46:11 | More by cokes
3.85/5 rDev -9%
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.
12-11-2008 03:48:41 | More by brewcrew76
4.4/5 rDev +4%
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.
12-09-2008 13:53:06 | More by OWSLEY069
4.25/5 rDev +0.5%
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.
12-09-2008 01:14:40 | More by champ103
4.83/5 rDev +14.2%
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!
12-09-2008 00:23:16 | More by MrHurmateeowish
3.55/5 rDev -16.1%
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.
12-08-2008 02:37:13 | More by illidurit
3.7/5 rDev -12.5%
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.
12-07-2008 23:54:37 | More by BamaBeerBuff
4.43/5 rDev +4.7%
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!!
12-07-2008 20:52:00 | More by BeerImmediately
4.22/5 rDev -0.2%
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.
12-07-2008 19:21:00 | More by Nibbley
4.55/5 rDev +7.6%
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!
12-06-2008 01:22:06 | More by PorterHall
3.48/5 rDev -17.7%
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.
12-05-2008 21:44:14 | More by froghop
3.65/5 rDev -13.7%
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.
12-05-2008 04:46:28 | More by jpiper
4.1/5 rDev -3.1%
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
12-05-2008 00:09:37 | More by WesWes
4.4/5 rDev +4%
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.
12-04-2008 22:19:00 | More by BierBrawlinator
4/5 rDev -5.4%
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.
12-04-2008 01:12:45 | More by joeskirkie
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
4.25/5 rDev +0.5%
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
12-01-2008 02:10:56 | More by gdfan47
4.35/5 rDev +2.8%
Pours a nut brown color with a rich mahogany core and a dark honeyed amber rim. Very light head but tremendous lacing!
Christmasy nose of prunes, sweet malts, root beer, touch of some cinnamon.
Flavors of chocolate covered raisins, rich holiday fruit, sweet christmas breads, with a great frothy root beery sweetness on the finish that just won't quit.
SUPER light carbonation (no "hiss" on opening!), very nice mouthfeel and with super finish.
Very drinkable! Not as heavy as most holiday beers!
11-30-2008 23:58:23 | More by adamparker05
4.08/5 rDev -3.5%
A new Bernardus beer! (At least for Texas). I poured this into a Chimay glass. It has a dark-brown color with excellent head retention, leaving a long lasting layer of creamy foam on top. The nose is sweet, with a lot of dark fruit notes, and a yeasty spiciness overlaying it. The flavor is quite nice. The malt is surprisingly light and not assertive for such a strong beer, adding sweetness but no heaviness. There's a lot of fruitiness, like candied raisins, and a nicely phenolic, almost peppery yeastiness. Quite light bodied for a 10% beer.
Very nice addition to the Bernardus lineup.
11-29-2008 05:35:44 | More by allengarvin
4.58/5 rDev +8.3%
I have only just seen the St. Bernardus "Christmas Ale", but apparently it has been around for a while. Since 'Bernards is the highest ranked beer I've ever drank (according to Beer Advocate) I simply had to try this Christmas Ale.
APP: Pours dark and murky, but thats not a particularly bad thing. Interestingly, like other reviewers, upon each successive pour the head responds much more favorably. Don't know why, but it is interesting. Dark with mahagony colors.
SM: Like a few others I can smell the rum and mollasses. Plus it is definately spicey in a pumpkin sort of way.
Taste: I can taste how it is a very well made beer. It is special. Up to the standards that I and many others have put upon St. Bernardus. Its just that this taste is not my taste. I prefer IPA's. But certainly I can appreciate this well-crafted flavor. It's all there, cocoa, yeast, and some spice.
Drink/Overall: I'm certainly glad I tried it. Well worth a taste-testing. Certainly a high quality beer. I have had my bottle for this holiday season, and I can see how it might be one-bottle-worthy for each new holiday season.
11-29-2008 04:28:56 | More by stevecee2003
4.6/5 rDev +8.7%
Head is a bit thin, but the beer is a rich rosewood color. Nose of dark candy malts, ripe fruit, christmas spices, and Belgian yeasts. The taste is sweet and malt strong but well balanced by the spices and herbal, peppery yeasts. Full body and perfect carbonation. Never a bad beer from Bernardus.
11-29-2008 03:38:14 | More by rye726
3.68/5 rDev -13%
On-tap at Capone's. Served in Leffe goblet.
A - A deep, dark brown color with a small of-white head. Virtually no lacing.
S - Spices and malt presence. Hint of plum and cherries as well.
T - On the sweet side...perhaps a bit too much for me. Has that almost vinegarette-style taste....but also manages to be vaguely reminiscent of a candy cane. Definitely reminds one of Christmas. Big spice presence, malt, cherry...
M - Very highly carbonated, and somewhat syrupy.
D - Heavy body and too much sweetness would make it harder to have more than one...
Not a bad beer, but not my favorite. Too sweet for me...worth checking out if that's what you're into.
11-29-2008 00:24:31 | More by gciccarelli
4.22/5 rDev -0.2%
Served on-tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, PA.
Pours a dark ruby/ chestnut brown with thick, slightly beige head. Pleasant aroma consisting of cherries, dark fruits, chocolate, cinnamon spice and alcohol. Very smooth drinking and surprising amount of fruit. Cherries, plum, sugar cane, dark berries and peppery cinnamon taste. Dry finish with a nice alcohol warmth. A very nice balance of maltiness, spiciness, fruit and alcohol. Very tasty!
11-28-2008 10:07:04 | More by corby112
4.15/5 rDev -1.9%
A: deep brown with ruby hues shining though, spotty creamed off-white lacing. Served in a snifter...
S: spiced plums and cherries, sweet malts tones with raisins
T: creamy and rich with a spiced maltiness. Chocolate covered cherries, reminiscent of a port wine. Has a dash of cinnamon and cloves with poof of yeast/bread. Makes for a real nice winter warmer at the fireplace. On the sweeter side of life, but yet, well rounded.
M: creamy to the tilt, wonderful feel and amazingly soft on the tongue. Goes down real easy and can get ya in trouble if your not careful
D: one of the smoother beers and nicest christmas ales I have had. It was complimenting the cool brisk day we had and warmed me up real nice and fuzzy like. Try it and love it!
11-26-2008 02:49:59 | More by Magpie14
Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,439 ratings.