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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: 151 | 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 akorsak
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 750 mL corked and caged bottle purchased at State Line.

A: The ale opened with a great pop and build-up of head in the glass. The first pour resulted in 2 fingers of beer and 4 fingers of head. As it receded, the lacing was minimal, focused at the base of the beer and the mouth of the glass. The ale is a hazy amber color, more orange at the base and brown at the mouth.

S: The nose has a strong cinnamon and nutmeg nose, touched by brown sugar and St. Berny's distinctive yeast. The nose is full and warming.

T: The first sip is heavy on boozy warmth, good for a cold Christmas eve. The overcarbonation in the pour has left the body somewhat flat and complacent. Dark candi sugars and yeasty fruit flavors mix nicely, sweet with raisins, apples, cinnamon and a touch of hoppy bitterness. The spice profile has the versatility to hang with a wassail. This, foreseeably, could even be mulled for a real warming treat.

M: The ale does not disappoint, lots of flavor is packed into the 750 mL packaging. The body is very similar to the Abt ale, which is a proven winner.

D: The abv is high but the flavor profile makes up for it. I only bought one bottle, so I will have to sit patiently until next Christmas.

akorsak, Mar 03, 2008
Photo of bditty187
4.58/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fairly reddish-coppery in hue with plenty of brown in the mix as well; attractive color (it's not too murky). Massive beige head, some three fingers worth; head retention was respectable. The bubbles, while large, were slow to fade away. A small, soapy cap lasted the entire consumption. Lacing started before I took a sip, I always liked that. Subsequent lacing was spotty, overall and somewhat disappointing. Still the appearance was respectable... aw hell, this is a good looking beer.

The nose is lightly malty, bread dough mixed with raisins and spices. Notes of brown sugar, figs, cola, and some chocolate; I even get a hint of root beer which I really like. The spiciness is quite light, so much so I can't really pull it apart. I can't tell from the bottle if this beer is spiced or if it is the work of the yeast. Maybe both as it is a Christmas beer after all. While the bouquet isn't very potent I really like what it is saying. Subtly complex and very appealing... maybe better than Abt 12! Or not... it is still an appealing nose.

Big flavors on the palate, way more than the nose indicated. Ripe fruits mixed with alcohol notes, spices (nutmeg, cloves, pepper, and allspice, coriander... to name a few) laced with caramel, molasses, and cookie dough. Pears, apples, figs, raisins, dates and a hint of something tropical... maybe cherries too (I love the fruitiness of this beer). Tongue coating maltiness, lots of caramel and dough with a kiss of chocolate which translates well into the aftertaste. I am totally impressed with the palate. I really like it, there is great depth without being overwhelming. I like the range of flavors... spicy and fruity (both dark and orchard), malty with just a kiss of booziness. This beer is hitting the spot with me... perfectly. I don't know if this beer is as great as I think but so what. I love it.

Medium in body, both light on the tongue and yet filling enough. Airy but amble... none of this makes sense on paper (computer screen) but it works like this on my palate. Moderate carbonation; I think the mouthfeel works very well with this beer. Did I mention the great aftertaste?

Damn drinkable. After tasting this I am even more pissed that I was not able to get this into Nebraska this winter. Next year, for sure! This beer really hit the spot with me. Honestly, this might be my favorite St. Bernardus beer. Damn, damn tasty. Thanks Bill!

bditty187, Feb 26, 2008
Photo of Viggo
3.63/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle, Lexx picked this one up.

Pours a cloudy orange/brown, big and loose off white head forms, settles to a thin layer, leaves behind some decent lace. Smell is caramel, cinnamon, bread, yeast, apples, alcohol, pretty rich aroma, nice. Taste is raisins, caramel, spices, bread, quite sweet, apples and spice in the finish, touch of brown sugar. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with high carbonation. Overly sweet, carbonation was a little too high, made it kind of prickly. Overall okay but I was expecting more from this. Thanks Lexx!

Viggo, Feb 22, 2008
Photo of ROMER79
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a typical ale from Sint Bernardus. It is very similar to the Abbot 12 but with a little more of a spice to it. I really do not think that the St. can make a bad beer.

It pours a deep cherry red color with a tan two finger head that has hints of red in it. It clings to the glass all the way through to the bottom until the last drop.

Like I said it is a typical St. B Ale. but it has fruit notes throughout. Figs, spices, cherries, and raisins are all present in this ale for that warm holiday feel.

Great going down the pipes and easy to drink. A little carbonation for the bite with a mix of an alcohol taste. If you let it rest on your palate you will truly respect the flavor in this beer and the message that it sends to your brain when you drink it. It is a great holiday treat and it is very stimulating for relaxing the mind after a long week of work.

ROMER79, Feb 13, 2008
Photo of Beerzebub
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, served in a big wine glass at 59 F/ 15 C.

Attractive dark orangish brown color, medium size fluffy beige head, Chunky lace in rings and impressive bubbly sheets like Havarti.

Smells like tart yeasty berries, with figs, prunes, cocoa, warm spice, woody herbs, violet, root beer, biscuit, and heady solventy alcohol. Elegant, cohesive, and very nice.

Tastes boozy and solventy, with lots of dark sugar and dark fruit, berries, cocoa, and root beer. A welcome balancing hop presence, earthy, herbal, floral. Plenty of warm spice comes in for a long finish; boozy, but the other elements all hang in there. Reasonably balanced despite the big fusel booze, and quite tasty.

Too fizzy at first, but swirling renders it smooth. Very very drinkable, the first 500 ml anyway.

Good stuff.

Beerzebub, Feb 12, 2008
Photo of Springdogg
3.85/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice. The beer had a nice, tan two inch head on it that seemed to last an eternity. It was a beautiful shade of mahogony brown. Smell seemed very bready with a hint of maybe figs and...raisins? The taste had a lot of alcohol. Alcohol was the first thing that I could tast and the last. In between, were the flavors of figs, a faint taste of anise, more bread and a hint of toffee. Overall, a very nice beer to wrap up to on a very cold evening. It did seem a little hot, but over the course of the bottle (and as it warmed to room temp), it seemed to mellow out quite a bit.

Springdogg, Feb 11, 2008
Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.8/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours brown in color with a huge off-white head. The head was at least 2 inches and took several minutes to fall to a froth. Smell is belgian yeast and some dark fruit, figs. I'm not really getting a lot of christmas spice or taste in this. The mouthfeel is full and creamy, very nice. A decent beer, but I couldn't help but to get something metallic out of the taste.

FtownThrowDown, Feb 08, 2008
Photo of BMan1113VR
3.93/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007. Good Looking muddy brown brew with a slight orange tinge. Head pours large and stays pretty well. Head is an off-white tan in color, creamy smooth in texture, and has nice lacing. Aroma is complex with cirtus hoppy-ness coming throught the most. Allspice and a light yeasty-dough aroma is second, followed by many other smells including chocolate, apple, and possibly even red wine. Flavor was pleasent, starting on the sweetish side and over a long duration finishing ever so slightly bitter-sour with defined fruit undertones. Medium in body with a lively carbonated but creamy texture, the overall mouth feel is clearly the best part of this brew. Pretty good stuff.

BMan1113VR, Feb 07, 2008
Photo of ZAP
3/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A-Brugandy brown color...big tan pillowy head builds by the second as it sits in the glass...too much

S-Black licorice and ginger snaps are the first impression....also figs and raisins.

T-Feels pretty hot....boozy and alcoholic....the black licorice and ginger snaps again lead the way....prunes, raisins, figs...some mild bready yeastiness.

M-Too alcoholic...too charged up....

D-One of my least favorite of St. B lot...not horrible but certainly not in the same ballpark as some of my favorites of theirs. Too much air, heat, and a little heavy on the black licorice/ginger snap taste too...

ZAP, Jan 31, 2008
Photo of DrJay
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, coppery red hue with burnt orange edges and a billowing, fluffy cap of beige foam. Great head retention with chunky clumps of foam sticking to the glass at first, then some spotty lacing later. Great aroma - figs and prunes, apple, cinnamon, bready and yeasty, floral hops, bubblegum, pear, and mild medicinal alcohol. Sweet with some warm alcohol up front, dried fruit in the middle, with bread crust towards the end. It finished with a flash of gingerbread and lingering peppery alcohol. Medium to full bodied with very high carbonation. Palate coating with a bit of slickness and warmth. A great winter warmer with pleasing fruity notes. I'm betting this will age gracefully.

DrJay, Jan 27, 2008
Photo of Dukeofearl
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle for $11.99 at Hi Time Wine in Costa Mesa, CA. Purchased in December 2007 and tasted in January of the following year.

Pours a deep chocolate brown with a massive St. B. style foamy off-white head. After letting it settle a while (giving me a great chance to smell it), I finally got to try it out.

Aroma is typical of the rich full dark Belgian abbey beers- cocoa and raisins and dates and a hint of spiciness. A little sweet smelling.

Flavor is nice. I just have to use plain words sometimes when describing beer, and for this one, it's nice. Rich creamy mouthfeel surrounds milk chocolate, raisins and figs and perhaps some berries, a bit of grass, and a hint of spices (I am never good at identifying them specifically). Also, a touch of alcohol heat, but generally well hidden.

A good, OK, a very good beer. In my mind, I think I would rather have the plain old "normal" St. Bernardus lineup than this special brew, but that's just me. Recommended.

Dukeofearl, Jan 27, 2008
Photo of nickfl
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Really big head, basically 2/3 glass of foam. As the rocky head settles, and it settles very slowly, it leaves a spider web of sticky lace. The body is slightly hazy, and very dark brown with just a hint of red.

S - Fruity notes and dark malt combine to product distinct aromas of prunes, figs, and raisins. There is a nice, herbal hop undertone as well as a subtle note of alcohol.

T - Sweet and fruity up front with a strong alcohol note. Big, roasty flavors come in next with lots of chocolate and fruity notes of bananas and prunes. Herbal hops are present throughout the experience and they linger and provide a bit of bitterness to mingle with the intense toffee and chocolate flavors in the finish. There is a late alcoholic note, and quite a lot of tobacco character that lasts longer than any of the other flavors.

M - High carbonation, thick body and a dry finish.

D - I expected a big beer, but this is huge. Very complex, with a very nice, wintry roasted quality. Not exactly an easily drinkable beer, but my overall impression is very favorable. Considering the complexity and the high alcohol content, I am inclined to think that this would age very well. I also think that with its smokey tobacco flavors, this is one of the few beers I have had that could really stand up to a good cigar.

nickfl, Jan 21, 2008
Photo of Drew966
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale pours a mahogany brown with a huge tan head from a brown 750 ml bottle. The aroma is spicy. The taste is also quite spicy, almost a wintergreen like flavor, but not as strong. Spice definitely dominates the flavor, but dark fruits are also present. A very enjoyable Christmas beer, definitely worth a try.

Drew966, Jan 20, 2008
Photo of taez555
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled 12/31/07, reviewing from notes.

This beer poured an opaque tannish ruby body with a huge white head.

Nose was typical big Belgian. Loads of Belgian years and phenols. There's a sharp potpourri type holiday spice note Dark dry fruits and touches of caramel. There's a strong alcohol burn in every whiff. As it warms the spices really shine through.

Taste is medium to full bodied. Lots of dry tannins. Loads of big dark prunes, plums, dark raisins mixed with soft caramel, milk chocolate and mild espresso beans. There's a very course large bubbled mouth-feel throughout.

Overall a very good beer. It's no anniversary or abt 12, but still... worth every penny for a solid St. Bernardus.

taez555, Jan 14, 2008
Photo of Bighuge
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark mahogany body. Thick crop of beige head. It sticks around forever, though it does diminish ever so slightly creating a rocky landscape on top of the nectar. Very inviting nose. Subtly, yet very pleasing to the sense of smell. Doughy yeastiness with bready malts and cinnamon spiciness blend to give the warm aroma of comfort. Biscuity malt base serves nicely for the layers of complexity on top. Spice tones intermingle with fruits and candy. Light alcoholic tones are present to create a little warmth. Body is light-medium and the carbonation lends an ever so sublte effervescence to the whole experience. This is quite enjoyable and I'm not exactly surprised being that it comes from my favorite Belgian Brewery.

Bighuge, Jan 10, 2008
Photo of walshclimb
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very foamy pour. I had to use a 3rd glass due to rapid head building, even pouring very slowly Tan head is very rocky with small bbublles grading to large bubbles at the top. Body is slighly murky dark chocolate color with very active carbonation. Leaves bubbly, spidery lace. Rich and malty aroma with spice, herbs, and a little fruit (apple). Maybe a hint of chocolate and a bit of alcohol smell as well. Big malt IF with slightly acidic finish that is long lived, slowly mellowing to a pleasant bitterness on the tongue. Full bodied with creamy texture and an alcoholic finish. Overall, this is a great slow taster wthat is at once big and very drinkable.

walshclimb, Jan 09, 2008
Photo of dedrinker
3.5/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Muddy bronze color with a goofy head. Aromas of bubble gum and cough medicine (not in a bad way). The flavors were of raisins ("purple" popsicle from childhood) and some yeast and candi sugar. This may be good after a year in the basement for next Christmas, but I'll take the Abt 12 first.

dedrinker, Jan 08, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clouded dark brown with a good sized creme head that leaves a decent amount of lacing on the way down. Nose is spices and yeast. Flavor is extremely heavy on the spices. Just buckets and buckets of them. Dough rests in the background. Carbonation is extremely full and attacks the tongue. Liquid is as it should be. This is definitely a winter style brew. It is so spice forward and heavy on the body that it is to be sipped and savored over time. A nice brew for sure.

RblWthACoz, Jan 07, 2008
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One of the nicest Christmas beers I had this year. I'm really glad that St. Bernardus decided to make and bottle this brew. It is still a little sharp, I think a little time in the bottle will smooth out the edges. Nevertheless, it is still delicious now. Pours a beautiful dark brown with a batter like head- big, thick, and creamy and which leaves excellent lacing. Aromas of sweet malt, banana, alcohol, and cookie dough. Well carbonated with flavors of pffefernuse- black pepper, clove, cinnamon, coriander, and cookie dough. Not overly sweet, in fact there is a dry somewhat astringent bitterness throughout that nicely offsets the spice cookie flavors. Delicious! Mouthfeel is carbonated, full, spicy, and creamy. Drinkability should improve with a few more months in the cellar. A great addition to the Belgian winter repertoire.

Georgiabeer, Jan 05, 2008
Photo of JayQue
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I haven't had a disappointing St Bernadus beer yet. This one pours a dark, dense mahogany color with no light coming through the goblet. Big tan head that slowly recedes to a thick covering. Good lacing. Smell was pretty mediocre for a Belgian.

A really nice mix of tastes. Hops bitterness, spices, Belgian candy sugar and alcohol taste all mixed into a great drinking experience. The sweetness and hops are well balanced so the sweetness is not cloying. The alcohol is warming but not overpowering. The spices let you know this is a winter /Christmas brew. Mouthfeel is rich like you would expect in a Belgian Ale. Drinkability is good but this is a sipper and not a session beer.

I will be adding this to the winter lineup every year.

JayQue, Jan 05, 2008
Photo of Domingo
3.53/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I like the normal St. Bernardus offerings, so I picked this up for the season and ended up drinking it on New Year's Day.
Pours a darker brown than their normal abt 12 and it has a massive tan head. After the head started taking over I had to lighten up on the pour a little. Pretty impressive for something this potent.
Smells chocolately, raisin-like, and boozy. There's a little bit of a floral hop presence, too. The Belgian yeast is in check a little bit, but it's there.
Tastes boozier than I expected. It also has a pretty sharp hop bite in the finish, too. Flavors are of roasted nuts, caramel, chocolate, and sugars. Nothing really unusual to be honest, but a standard dark Belgian ale with more alcohol burn and hops.
Mouthfeel's thick and chewy, but that's what a beer like this needs.
It took me about an hour and a half to finish my half of the bottle and when I was done, I was done for the evening. It's just a little too much considering I didn't find the flavor to be all that unique.
Not bad, but I'm not sure it's anything I'll pick up again unless it's on sale.

Domingo, Jan 02, 2008
Photo of dnichols
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.

dnichols, Dec 30, 2007
Photo of zeff80
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).

zeff80, Dec 30, 2007
Photo of Bierguy5
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.

Bierguy5, Dec 29, 2007
Photo of BuckSpin
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.

BuckSpin, Dec 29, 2007
Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,446 ratings.