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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

1,425 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,425
Reviews: 576
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 101
Gots: 144 | FT: 5
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)
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Ratings: 1,425 | Reviews: 576 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dnichols
dnichols

Washington

4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I sampled with imacoug (BA member) a caged and corked 750 ml bottle that we poured into chilled chalices.

A: I poured a dark brown body with a moderate tan head that receded to an even cover. The lacing was modest and did not retain as the beer was consumed.

S: It had a bold dark yeasty profile supported by dark toasted and sweet malts and a spicy rich hoppy presence that was reminicent of nutmeg, cinniman, and all-spice.

T: Each sip presents a front of strong yeast and toasted malts. The dark chocolate is followed by spices that are reminiscent of hot chocolate spiced with marshmallows, cinnamon and nutmeg.

M: It was full bodied with a creamy richness of the yeast and malts hid well the high ABV however, there was a lingering sour aftertaste that detracted from the experience.

D: The full body creamy richness and the well crafted and balanced spices makes this a wonderful winter brew. However, the high ABV and lingering sourness off set its qualities and make this a one bottle a night brew for me (but a fine bottle it is).

Mouthfeel – This is not quite full-bodied but it is big. The carbonation is strong and fluffy, tickling the inside cheeks like a good BSDA should.

Drinkability – This is a terrific addition to the St Bernie inventory. It's a wonderful wintertime specialty ale.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2007 03:30:12 | More by dnichols
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

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

2007 Edition

A – Poured out a rich amber color with a beautiful, tan, foamy, three-finger head. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S – It smelled of dried fruits (pear and apple). There was also a strong malty presence.

T - The taste was quite complex. Spices hit the tongue on first sip, cinnamon and maybe vanilla. A rich, roasted malt flavor lasts throughout. It had a biscuity quality, as well.

M – It was soft and smooth with a warm alcohol presence. This is a very heavy-bodied beer.

D – This is a very nice Christmas Ale. It is quite a lot to handle in one sitting. I might have to pick up another and cellar it (the bottle claims it can be cellared for up to 15 years).

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2007 00:49:27 | More by zeff80
Photo of Bierguy5
Bierguy5

Ohio

4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml, 10% ABV, best before 7/8/12. Pours a very dark chestnut color with some ruby hues. Thick, foamy tan head. The head stays on top like a pillow top, and turns into this great frothy, rocky top. Head retention was perfect. Even at the end of the glass, there was a layer of foam left. Huge sheets of lace left coating nearly the entire glass. Impressive so far.

Lots of complexity in the nose. Fruity, spicy, yeasty aromas. Earthy, figs, plums, and a whiff of alcohol. Very enjoyable. Layers of aroma.

Dark bready flavor, darker fruits, some fig, spices and yeasty character. Again, layers of flavors, without being overwhelming.

Warming alcohol. Frothy carbonation gives this a medium body feel. A big beer, with layers of character. Very nice.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2007 14:42:38 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of BuckSpin
BuckSpin

Maine

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

Presentation: v.2007 750ml bottle in a stemmed tulip

Opened with more of a "BANG" than a "POP"! Poured crisp, lively, crackiln' with lots of energy. Deep, lush sweet nose, rich with caramelized malts & fruits like dark cherry, raisin, fig. Belgian yeasts are present as well as spices like coriander dance in the background overtop a faint, yet noticeable, sharpness from lurking alcohol. With some time to bloom it softens & grows a little rounder, fuller, some faint chocolate is present.

The head of a snappin', cracklin', sticky 2 fingers (can't believe I typed "sticky fingers") worth of very loose, dull parchment hued foam fades rather quickly, leaving only a thin blanket with a decent edge ring that is already lacing. Color is classic - deep & ruddy, almost opaque to the naked eye, its actually a hazy cranberry hue, dark, softly radiant with a faint brassiness.

Crisp & lush, it comes out of gate guns blazing with an almost sharp spiciness just edgy with coriander & pepper. Sharply semi-dry, the aridity acts as a buffer for the rich caramelized malts that resonate fruit sweetness from dark cherry, raisin, a little fig. The yeast quality only accentuates the spices & dryness. The hops, playing bass in the background, provide an almost overlooked bitterness, a slight burnt quality, that really grounds the lush caramels, sharp spices & dry, yeasted feel with a soild anchor. These monks sure do know how to keep many balls in the air & balance many different qualities/tastes/mouthfeels so that no one is dominate & all are countered against another.

This is definitely a sipper, both out of respect for its complex taste structure & the well hidden (until the swallow) alcohol. Personally I enjoy a beer that causes me to downshift & relax, so this is fine by me.

It grows drier & crisper on the palate, the malts take on a cracker-like quality, more breadlike. The spice aspect melds with the yeast & dryness, slowly fading but still a combined force to be reckoned with & enjoyed. The alcohol (as mentioned previously) is well hidden but, on the throat, definitely rises up with not so much a whisper but a steady chorus of warmth that steadily & continualy builds in strength until the whole of my cranial orifice from my upper jaw up are warm & alive with a steady, warm glow.

It finishes with a nice, bittersweet adieu, slowly fading off and trading sharp spices & aridity for soft warmth & an constant, burning glow, leaving a surprising clean & sweet aftertaste that echoes of caramel, stone fruits & just a hint of bread, Definitely a sipper for a cold night.

This was a damn nice beer. Not surprisingly it was rather complex yet very well balanced. A great beer that would be perfect to take the chill off any beer lover. That said, I do think this would (as the bottle indicates) benefit from a few years (well, maybe more than a few) of cellaring to round it off and soften those edges. They suggest up to 15 years. Not sure I could wait that long, but I do think a few years would definitely reward the cellarer (cellarer?) with a more robust, full beer.It would take a very, very strong cheese to hold up to this. A great Belgian winter ale, definitely recommenced & strongly suggested as a cellaring candidate....but definitely worth at least one bottle's worth of enjoyment now.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2007 03:12:54 | More by BuckSpin
Photo of weeare138
weeare138

Pennsylvania

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

The cork flew out of the top as I was on my last twist of the cage. Thank goodness it only left a small battle scar in TomDecapolis' ceiling...
Appears a hazy dark amber with a soapy head of light tan foam that slowly fades out. Spotty lacing clings to the sides of the glass.
Smell is of raisins, plums, cocoa, anise, nutmeg, caramel, and brown sugar.
Taste echoes the aromas with the trademark Saint Bernie yeast pulling through with a touch of holiday spicing to make it complete.
Mouthfeel is medium full and lingering of raisins, fig newtons, fennel, sweet nougat, caramel, and pine needels.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2007 20:07:41 | More by weeare138
Photo of willjschmidt
willjschmidt

California

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

Poured from a 750 ml bottle (marked best by 07/07/12) into the appropriate St. Bernardus glass.

A: Pours a very dark brown (almost black) color with a huge thick and billowing light tan head. Great head retention leaves a big head throughout with some light lacing.

S: Some light sweet malts in the nose along with some floral accents.

T: Dark malts up front in the form of figs and raisin although with very little sweetness. The finish is peppery with some light spices. The spices tend to dominate the palate. Not quite as much complexity as I like to see in this style.

M: A creamy mouthfeel with very high carbonation.

D: Good drinkability due to the fact that the alcohol is nowhere to be found, especially for a 10% brew. This was a good offering but I think that this one will likely get better with a little aging.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2007 03:55:14 | More by willjschmidt
Photo of Franchise
Franchise

Oregon

4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This offering from St. Bernardus pours a delicious dark brown leaving a thick tan head that is frothy and typical from the previous offerings from St.Bernardus. The aroma is very fruity, plums, figs, dates, brown sugar, sweet earthy spices and dark pitted fruit. There is also a faint sour fruit aspect in the back of this brew but nothing over powering. The taste starts matly, fruit, brown sugar, spiced seasoning, just a fantastic array of flavors and aromas massaging the palate. The finish is slightly tart on the back of the throat, hard to make out any specific christmas spices in this brew but that doesn't matter to me. A quality brew made for sipping at 10% abv the alcohol presence is barely visible well hidden in this beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2007 00:42:22 | More by Franchise
Photo of homebrewhawk
homebrewhawk

Kansas

3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml corked bottle served in a Blvd. Smokestack Chalice. Cellar temp.
Poured a deep brown/ruby. Medium bubbled off white head. Lively carbonation. Spicy aroma with a little alcohol. Hint of a musty smell.
Full bodied brew. Lots of sweet malt and raisins. Slight hop bite in the middle. Finishes with a little banana and clove.

Drank this one after everyone left on Christmas Day. Good way to finish the holidays.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2007 18:07:25 | More by homebrewhawk
Photo of hckyfn9999
hckyfn9999

Missouri

3.9/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium brown with golden hues into a St. Bernardus chalice. There is about a finger of creamy, light tan colored head with great retention which is par for their brews. Aroma is sweet, with some brown sugar, dark fruit, and banana. Also a lot of spice as well. Some clove and a little ginger.

The taste is similar to the aroma. Very spicy, more so than their other beers, seems as though there is a touch of cinnamon to go along with the clove and ginger. A very fruity and banana-like yeast presence. Nice beer, and a nice way to enjoy Christmas. Not my favorite of their beers with all of the spice that brings the drinkability down some.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2007 02:42:46 | More by hckyfn9999
Photo of bosco7
bosco7

Pennsylvania

4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big frothy head sits a top a dark brown beer. Head retention is superb.

Cola, apple, cherry, almond, acetic, spicy phenolics, and cocoa powder in the nose.

Tastes much better than it smells. I was a little worried that this would be thin and cola-ish. Starts big and full of toffee flavors then moves into chocolate, cherry, almond, cola, roasted malt, macerated plum, vanilla, and baked raisin (think the raisins in an oatmeal raisin cookie that get a little crunchy). Black pepper, nutmeg, and more almond in the finish. Hop character is earthy.

Carbonation is high but with a couple swirls it becomes less prickly and lets the body of the beer shine. This was quite the treat. So complex and drinkable: a perfect winter companion.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2007 01:53:00 | More by bosco7
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a brown body with a large, foamy khaki-colored head. Quite effervescent!

Smell: A nice mix of pitted fruits with notes of cocoa powder, holiday-minded spices, cracked black pepper, and yeast.

Taste: Juicy dark fruits with a hearty dusting of cocoa and tossed with a mix of sugar 'n' spice. Slight bready yeastiness. Just of earthy bitterness. Semi-dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Well carbonated. Warming alcohol presence.

Drinkability: A fine holiday sipper (regardless of the 10% ABV) that made for pleasant Christmas Day drinking.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2007 20:38:16 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of ArrogantB
ArrogantB

Colorado

3.25/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Christmas Eve seemed an appropriate time top open this beer. It was very dark brown with a white head and the bubbles seemed really compacted together. It smelled like slight herbal mints, whiff of chocolate (barely detectable), and raisins. The flavor was raisin and plum-like. Decent stuff but the 10.5 ABV knocked me down.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2007 17:40:07 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of mntlover
mntlover

Tennessee

3.08/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a nice deep brown murky color, with some red note showing thru, nice rich Belgian look to it. Head is rich nice fluffy tan that last and lasts finally falls to ringed scum that laces all the way down.

Aroma is rich malty sugary molasses with dark fruits mingled through out. Some light spice and nice alcohol notes that blend into the mix.

Taste is wow carbonation is noticed right away a downer for me anyway. Malty in taste, molasses brown sugars mingled with fruits plums raisins. Finish has hints of liquorice left from the malt, also finishes with spice cloves, pepper and hops.

Mouthfeel is the down fall of this brew, the burst of carbonation up front just turned me off. I am sure the flavors would have been much better if the tingling in my mouth wasn't masking the flavors in this beer.

Drinkability is not good for me wouldn't want to try this one again. Find this a problem with Belgians sometimes, just too much CO2 for my tastes. Looked great smelled great first sip ruined it for me, as I finished the bottle CO2 did mellow some what but still too much for me, wanted to like it but.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2007 03:16:28 | More by mntlover
Photo of Patrick999
Patrick999

Florida

4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had a full bottle to myself this Christmas Eve...even though I pulled out all the stops with a St. Bernardus, I couldn't sway anyone from wine. Oh well....a bottle of this all to myself, things could be worse. Served it pretty warm, maybe slightly above cellar temp - wanted to let the full flavor of this baby pull through.

Appearance - While I may not have tasted the thousands of beers many of you have, I've still tasted and reviewed some excellent beers, and I swear I've never seen anything like this. The head was copious, and retention was unparalleled. Lacing? Forget that, more like DRAPES. No lacing, but drapes. I've not seen that before....the head clung to the glass as if glued there. I'd give this a 10 if I could.

Smell - pretty standard for a BSDA. Nothing really distinguished this as a "Christmas Ale" - sniffed blindly, I'd have a hard time distinguishing this from a regular St. Bernardus or a Chimay Blue. Raisins, prunes, currants, alcohol. Don't get me wrong, it smells great - I know I'm drinking a hell of a beer.

Taste, feel, drinkability - Congruent with its aroma, I couldn't really pick out anything "Christmas-y" about this beer. It tasted like a quad. A very good quad. Sweet, but I tasted a fairly muscular hop trying to push its way through the sweet dark fruits and vinous character. Alcohol is assertive, but you won't really view it as a detriment. 10%, yes, but it's manageable....just have it with some hearty food and it'll be great. Smooth and goes down easy - especially with a bold meal. I would expect nothing less from St. Bernardus, and this did not disappoint. Actually a bit more dry in the finish than I expected, suggesting a smoky Merlot.

Did I finish the whole 750 alone? You damn well better believe I did.

12/25 edit - This left me with probably my biggest hangover of the year. I don't know what the deal is....it's not as if I've never had a 750 of strong beer to myself. Be careful with this one.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2007 02:57:47 | More by Patrick999
Photo of brdc
brdc

Wisconsin

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

Large corked and caged bottle, poured into a goblet.

Perfect presentation, a dark brown with multiple red highlights, and an everlasting creamy, dense tan head that keeps a thick collar and a clinging lace all the (long) way down to the end. The aroma strikes you right as you pour it, that malty sweetness, candy sugar, caramel, an explosion of dark fruits, and a peppery spiciness.

Full bodied and creamy, it is also malty and sweet as expected, caramelized, with multiple dark fruits coming and going, warmingly alcoholic with the same peppery spiciness of the aroma, but here a bit exaggerated, which limits its drinkability.
A very good brew, but not spectacular as I expected from St Bernardus.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2007 02:24:02 | More by brdc
Photo of DavidEddie
DavidEddie

Illinois

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

Happy Holiday's fellow BA‘s!

Best before 09/08/12 printed on the bottom.

Murky brown in appearance. A very dense, thick off white head. Pillow like sticky lacing, that hangs around. Aromas of raisins, tons of other dark fruits, and spices. Well blended flavors of dark fruits, tart grape, candied sugar, mild chocolate, and some spices of clove and cinnamon. Finishes with some warming alcohol. Mouth feel is creamy and smooth. Highly carbonated, very fizzy. Drinkability is excellent and very enjoyable. Very similar to Abt 12. If you like boozy beers, then this one's for you. CHEERS!

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2007 02:06:21 | More by DavidEddie
Photo of scruffwhor
scruffwhor

Illinois

4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The perfect looking Belgian brew, deep, murky brown with dark ruby highlights and a great, thick retaining head. The only thing that its look is lacking is the bubbling. The aroma is very Belgian and awesome in that sense, but not very Christmasy. Makes me think of figs and sweet bread. The taste is very pretty sweet and complex. Lots of brown sugar with some with a few spices. Hints of clove and cinnamon. But just not as seasonal as expected.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2007 05:29:32 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of joepais
joepais

Maine

4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well two days till Christmas so time to pop the cork on this one. The bottle poured ruby red with a large billowy light coco brown head. Aromas of Belgium yeast, fruit and spices (cinnamon, ginger and clove) filled my nose. This ale has a full creamy mouth feel with carbonation that tickles the tongue. The first thing I noticed about the Flavors was sweet fruit figs and raisins with a nice balance of Christmas spices. A nice bitter finish that is not to over whelming, almost the typical peppery bite. The alcohol is extremely well hidden and this beer will sneak up on you. Great holiday offering from St. Bernardus hope to find another one for next year.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2007 22:08:16 | More by joepais
Photo of EPICAC
EPICAC

Massachusetts

3.6/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy-brown with a beige head that thins to a film.

Smell: Subdued, some dark fruit, malts and a light spiciness.

Taste: Sweet malts, dark fruit, a nice alcoholic spice, and a light bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, carbonation is a little high.

Drinkability: Too sweet and spicy.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2007 01:37:16 | More by EPICAC
Photo of Westsidethreat
Westsidethreat

California

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

A: Super carbonated, will need to let this one chill out. As it falls, it leaves a sticky/sudsy webbing of sandy colored bubbles. Body is a deep, dark, mahogany brown.

S: A lot of yeast in the nose. Also some subliminal brown sugar, aluminum, minor dark fruits, cookie dough and spices.

T: First impression is the alcohol in this beer. This beer needs to be layed down for at minimum a few more months to let it chill out a bit. But enough of that, lets get back to business. After the alcohol, a molasses like sweetness mixes with the traditional Bernardus yeast. Spices of the likes of nutmeg, allspice, coriander and maybe even trace cinnamon can be found. The bready malt could be a bit richer and less subdued…but I bet some age would help that. Finishes quite yeasty with a whole lotta alcohol converges on all sides of the palate.

M: Full body and with just a touch of carbo sting.

D: I’m conflicted. This beer needs some time to lay down but I fear that the spices will be lost. Well, its way too hot now but I’m reviewing it for what it is. Its taking me a while to get through it. And as the flavor is good, its horribly unbalanced right now.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2007 16:12:36 | More by Westsidethreat
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

3.55/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It looked nearly perfect in the light, tiny jets of carbonation raced through the hazy chestnut liquid, with a fluffy head of tan foam. Every so often, larger bubbles would be carried upward from the bottom, powerless in the slipstream.

Strong aroma of bubblegum/banana from the yeast esters. Slight sweetness, bordering on cloying.

Deeply malty flavors with light fruit and nuttiness. A bit too sweet for my taste, but it's not overdone. Dry finish hints at the high abv, but it's hidden in the taste. I'm happy that I shared this at a holiday party instead of trying to drink the whole thing myself.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2007 01:48:28 | More by emerge077
Photo of joe1510
joe1510

Illinois

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

750ml
$10.99
Binny's Orland

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale pours the darkest red imaginable. If this beer is not directly backlit it borders on black. When backlit there's a mahogany hue with tiny carbonation bubbles rushing to the surface. A one finger beige head formed on the pour that had strong staying power from the massive amount of carbonation. Leaves drink lines after each sip. An excellent looking beer.

Smell is full of candy and spice. Brown sugar, gingerbread cookies, some spicy yeast, cinnamon, and dark bread. This beer really does bring out the smells of Winter and Christmas.

The massive carbonation seems to get in the way of the flavors slightly. It's good without a doubt but the carbonation has things moving far too quickly. All the aromas mentioned above are present in the flavor as well and meld nicely. Flavor is slightly more spicy with hints of pepper.

The carbonation is a little too much. Does give a nice frothy mouthfeel but pushes the flavors through too quickly. Leaves a nice tingle on the back of the tongue.

This beer goes down easily and is definately enjoyable. That said, two goblets in a sitting is enough for me.

Another beer of the highest quality from St. Bernardus. Of course that's to be expected. This beer has some really nice Christmas spicing.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2007 01:05:23 | More by joe1510
Photo of bluegrassbrew
bluegrassbrew

Georgia

3.8/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into a tulip.

Pours a deep brown with a massive head that leaves nice chunky lacing around the glass.

Smell is hot, hot, heat! Alcohol mostly.

Taste is heavy on the alcohol. Hints of nutmeg and dates.

Mouthfeel is creamy and good.

Overall, this is a solid beer, but not as good as I expected it to be. Compared to the Abt. 12 the alcohol is more noticable and it is less complex. That being said, it was still tasty and easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2007 02:47:28 | More by bluegrassbrew
Photo of tavernjef
tavernjef

Minnesota

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

Pours out a dark brown to settle a nearly mat black with a small sense of brownness to its body. Very heavy looking and an impressively tall capping to top it off of light crispy brown foam thats a bit rough and tumbled. Kinda crunchy looking at first but developes into a moderately creamy bubbleness and density as it sits. It keeps well and stretches all sorts of wonderful lacing that looks of wet powdered sugar.

Nice lofty aroma of cookie dough and spice. Crisp yet round with a full on malt tilt of breads and dark fruits. Mostly figgy, touch of raisin, perhaps some dates and molasses covering the big breadyness. Nice yeastyness to it which seems to be adding a root beerish type of hints to its dryness. Slender hops add some grassyness to its spicy complexity which included some anise, cinnamon, mint, and ginger cookies.

Flavors are bold, lasting and carry alot of what the smell leads to with its big maltyness and yeastified balance. Firm grip of dark candish malts leads right in with a nice holiday cake-like dimension of figgyness first, then dark cherry, dates, chocolate covered raisins, and then the peppy spices. Notes of root beer, anise, pepper, carrot cake, and ginger make their way in and out of the malty doughy darkness but linger mostly across its finish with a slender, delicately woven dryness of grassy hops. Pretty damn solid! Perhaps not quite a match to the Abt 12, but damn if its not close!

Feel is big, bold, and beautiful. The girth is massive in the body of this stuff. Heavy yet smooth, crunchy and crisp yet creamy with a whole lotta malts to create an exceedingly thick bread/cake-like structure of body. Not to mention the subtle details of yeasty play, dark fruity tang, perfectly intensed warmness, hoppy dryness, and spice. Which all lasts forever and a day the second it spills on to your palate.

Wow! Great stuff! No big surprise really. St. B knows how to impress and this is perfect for the holidays!

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2007 15:53:03 | More by tavernjef
Photo of fartingdog
fartingdog

California

3.43/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2007 bottle (fresh), opened 12/10/07. Bottle opens with a loud 'pop'.

A- Dark brown with ruby hilights, big rocky head.

S- Spicy esters.

T- Mildly tart, malty, earthy, light hints of fruit.

M- Med body, loads of carbonation.

D- Not bad, carbonation is a little too much *burp*.

Not a bad beer, but i think I expected a little better from St. B. Not the hilight of the season.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2007 16:07:55 | More by fartingdog
Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,425 ratings.