Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

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

1,741 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,741
Reviews: 616
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.46%
Wants: 137
Gots: 261 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Christmas Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,741 | Reviews: 616 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of oglmcdgl
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On draft at kraftworks.

A- comes to me with a small cap of tan head that settles quickly leaving just a few spots of lace. Hazy murky dark brown red in color.

S- candied fruits and a subtle sherry note. Light fall spice that reminds me of christmas go figure. Cloves and nutmeg with some fried orange peel.

T- dark roasted malts bring in some light coffee and chocolate then the long and slow roll into candied dark fruits, cloves, a touch of cinnamon. Apple skins and apple brandy.

M- just about medium in body with a lightish carb that let's you really feel the brew and almost makes it feel a bit more substantial before its perks its head and washes it all away.

D- killer killer stuff. I love it what else can I say. one of if not the best xmas brew ever.

Photo of CrazyDavros
4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours hazy brown with a small head.
Nose shows doughy yeast, golden syrup, caramel, figs, raisins, cinnamon and a little alcohol. Pretty much Christmas pudding in a glass.
Similarly rich and sweet flavours, the alcohol is a little too much but otherwise very nice.
Carbonation seems a little too high for these flavours.

Photo of BeerLover99
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: deep chestnut body, khaki finger head, fantastic lacing.

S: aroma of figs, dates, bread, spices, and yeast.

T: sweet figs, dates, bread, and malt.

M: medium/heavy body,
smooth/chewy/bubbly balance good mouthfeel

D: The 10% ABV is hidden rather well in this beer, but still a big sipper.
Great beer to share with friends are the holidays.

VERY GOOD; GRAB A BOTTLE!

Photo of gpatt55
3.8/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On-Tap @ The Daily Pint

Pours a rich ruddy brown with a nice thin head and fine lacing. Nose is fairly subdued with yeasty/dark bread, chocolate and fruitcake notes. Fairly rich and sweet on the attack but the body isn't as heavy. Compared to the Abt 12 this is less weighty and fairly drinkable. Mouthfeel lacks some weight and richness one would expect from this style. A little more density would help to balance the 10% ABV. Still the pedigree shows with excellent purity in the dark malt/yeasty/toffee flavors. A fine Xmas ale for a winter night but by no means transcendent.

Photo of arizcards
4.24/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a 75cl bottle at Total Wine in early October 2010 for $10.99.

Beer poured a brownish red with a nice off white head initially - 4.0

Nose is wonderful, dark fruits, bread, ripe banana - 4.5

Taste is ripe dark fruit and dark bread - 4.5

Mouthfeel has the classic Belgian yeast strain smoothness traits but it flattens out quickly - 3.5

Drinkability is good. This is a very tasty enjoyable beer that i will try again - 4.0

Re-Review 3-28-2014

Beer poured brown with a nice frothy off white head that is hanging around nicely - 4.5

Nose is dark fruits and hints of holiday spices - 4.0.

Taste is dark fruits and nutmeg - 4.25

Mouthfeel is classic Belgian smoothness, medium body but very smooth - 4.5

Overall this is a very solid brew, not as good as the original ABT but tasty nonetheless - 4.25

Photo of impending
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml into a tulip. Pours a deep garnet, back lite it would make a nice ornament. Dense towering head, nice lacing.

Merry Christmas to my nose, a wonderful Noël scent rich with spices atop a classic strong dark.

The taste is wonderful, try it. This is the Noël of the season plus wonderful in July.
quadish
simply superb
cheers
jd

Photo of mavbrew
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had at Ebenezer's, served in chalice.

A: Pours a dark brown color with amber highlights, typical of the style. There is a slight off-white head.

S: Smells of dark fruits and yeast.

T: The taste is what you would expect from the smell, dark fruits, yeast and malts. Has a bit of a sweet flavor. Finish is smooth.

M: Medium bodied with light carbonation.

D: There is a slight taste of alcohol but the 10% is masked pretty well, making it highly drinkable. Very good offering and a must try BSDA.

Photo of icetrauma
4.85/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured this 2010 vintage into my Chimay Chalice. Poured your usual belgian brown color with 1 finger of off white lacey head that disappeared over time.

Smell was that of deep dark fruits and a even bready malt.

Taste was superb as to be expected from St. Bernardus brews. Touch of bready malt up front with berries and dark fruits such as fig and black cherries lingered on the palate as the brew made its way down.

Mouthfeel was nice and smooth. Medium feel. Not to thick and not thin by any means.

Drinkability on this is a must have for any belgian beer fan. I will procure another bottle and cellar it. I can only imagine how much smoother and silkier this brew will get with time.

Photo of wedge
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased in 2009

Pours a dark plum color under a fluffy, light tan head that settles to a creamy ring. Smells of dark, fruity bread...rich berry and fig, caramelized sugar, faint vanilla bean, and warm spices. Juicy dark fruity flavor...more yeastiness than the nose. A rich maltiness lurks beneath the fruit (and a solid helping of booze). Cocoa, pepper, and xmas spices. Wait for it to warm up a little to bring out the best qualities. Slick, plush mouthfeel - warming and lightly bitter. Once this warmed to slightly cooler than room temperature, everything seemed to come together to form a delightful holiday beer.

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

A dark cola brown color with a sizable head of off white foam. Good lacing and retention. Aromas of fruitcake and rum. Bananas and toffee. Good Belgian yeast profile and a bit of sweet alcohol. Taste is much the same with a bit of bready malt at the core. Spiced and toasty. Raisins and figs really push forward here and the alcohol while well integrated is apparent in the finish. Finish is dry and earthy with a bit of fusel booze. Some good bittering. A warming and very complex beer here. Feel is thick and rich with a lightly prickly carbonation. Goes down nicely and the flavors develop nicely as it warms. A sipper for sure but you keep sipping often. Yum.

Photo of ByTor2112
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours up a shade of brown that leans towards being mahogany, ruby-reddish. Big foamy head that hangs out for a while but diminishes.
Aroma-Big fat bready-fruity goodness. If the flavor is anything like the aroma, it is going to be sweet.
Mouthfeel-Medium carbonation delivers a very sweet body with some booziness. The alcohol is not too hot, but present. The malt is obviously there but the fruit profiles along with rich bready flavors really dominate with this one. The yeast has chosen to put these to the forefront, and the malt backbone is disguised. Sweet and rich and tasty. The finish reveals a little of the Belgian-yeast-funk, a bit on the tangy side. The fruitiness of the aroma and flavor swings from fig to raisin to cherry to...This was a good one to share with others who are not big beer folks and everyone enjoyed it.

Photo of philbe311
3.83/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - This one has a head that just doesn't stop... Four plus fingers of airy continually rising light khaki colored head with a slightly rocky top that is audibly fizzy... Excellent retention... Ultimately what is left is a full creamy lace with a mound of foamy head in the center of the glass... The head sits a top a murky medium-to-dark brown colored body... Still for the most part with no discernible carbonation... A good bit of lacing clings to the glass...

S - Belgian yeast and a slight bit of funk to start... Next are a truck load of dark fruit aromas highlighted by dates, raisins, and plums... Bread pudding... Perhaps some tobacco notes...

T - Not as malty as expected... Fig... Raisins... Dark breads... Some Belgian yeast notes... The finish is a unique blend of vanilla and tobacco... A touch of booze on the finish...

M - On the lighter side of full bodied... A delicate carbonated tickle on the tip of the tongue... Sleek and slightly sticky... A tinge of alcohol induced heat... Warming throughout...

D - An easy drinking Belgian Strong Dark Ale which should be no surprise coming from a Trappist brewery... I would gladly enjoy this offering each holiday season...

Photo of jbone78
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought this bottle in 2008, but the date indicates that it is a 2007. Let's see what it's all about.

Pours hazy brown with nice carbonation into my St. Bernardus glass. Signature yeasty dark fruit smell. Taste is different than the expected St. bernardus. You get an initial spice followed by a large figgy flavor. The dark fruit flavors fade into a vanilla/yeasty finish that is really nice.

This beer has not been in our local stores for the last year or so. But the next time I see it, I will buy more.

Merry Christmas

Photo of meatmallet
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a murky brown with a thin tan head.

Smell: Sweet and spicy. Raisins cherries and figs and the usual dark fruit smells with lots of Belgian yeast and malty sweetness. Maybe a little bit of sour apple.

Taste: Figs and raisins dominate the taste at first but the yeast remains throughout. Very nice alcohol burn throughout but thats no surprise since its 10% ABV. Not overly sweet like the nose.

Mouthfeel/drinkability: Mouth feel is smooth and creamy with a full body and moderate carbonation.

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

A - Hazy chestnut brown with a good amount of sediment. Smaller, bubbly, foamy, light, off-white head. Disappears pretty fast leaving a wispy ring of lace.

S - Classic BSDA aroma with a bit more spice that others. Dark fruit, dark bread, and some spiciness (both Christmasy and BSDA spice).

T - Like the aroma this has what you would expect from a BSDA. Plenty of raisin and some dark bread. A good amount of spice including some earthy spice, cinnamon, clove, pepper, and a touch of orange peel. Some Belgian yeast flavors come out. More bitter than I was expecting.

M - Medium body with average carbonation. Has a bit of a zesty feel and less creaminess than I was expecting.

D - It made for a nice holiday sipper. Lots of spice and typical BSDA flavors. A little strong with the spice and bitterness cuts down on how easy it is to drink.

Notes: A BSDA with plenty of spice and bitterness. Good beer but I was expecting a little more. I enjoyed it for a holiday sipper for a winter day with family. Good beer overall.

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

75cl e bottle served in a chalice.

L - hazy brown color with a creamy beige head that left some thick globs of foam around the glass.

S - tart plums, sour purple grapes.

T - tart dark fruits with Belgian yeast finishing tart and dry.

F - medium bodied with a creamy feel.

D - good drinkability.

Photo of Long813
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage: 2010

A: Dark borwn, almost black body boasting a huge four fingers of off white foamy head. Retention is great through the entire drink leaves amazing lacing.

S: Strongest aroma is the spice. Clove, bernardus yeast. Nice sweet notes of toffee and molasses. Might be crazy but I get some bubble gum in there too.

T: Little weaker than the aromas, all the same characteristics, spice up front mixed with yeast. Sweet candy and sugar notes.

M: Medium bodied with high carbonation. Sweet sticky feeling left in the mouth with some hints of alcohol.

D: Not bad, not bad. I don't think it's amazing, but it is a pleasing brew and I'd probably get it again to age.

Photo of TKEbeerman
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into my St. Bernardus chalice, this BSDA pours a medium brown with a ruby hue. The head is 1 finger thick and very bubbly.

S: The aroma is very sweet and is heavy in notes of dark fruit, raisins and figs, coupled with slight notes of the typical Belgium yeasty spice/clove.

T: The flavor is great. Everything present in the nose shines on the pallet. Dark figs and raisins. Maybe some bruised apples. Belgium spice is kept at the minimum, but adds complexity on the back of the pallet.

MF: Mouthfeel is a little light for a Belgium, but not bad.

D: Drink is good too, but not outstanding.

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

2009 vintage poured into wine glass.

pours dark brown in color with a thick off white head. little to no sediment visible.

amazing aroma. sweet smells of belgian candi sugar, molassas like malts, notes of various spices and belgian yeast.

amazing flavor. sweet and complex. belgian candi sugar again, with big malts and lots of belgian yeast flavor. very similar to the abt 12 but with more spiciness, but the spices are still very subtle thanks to the extra year of cellaring. probably the best holiday beer you can get.

smooth and creamy mouthfeel; good drinkability. wish i had more than 1 bottle.

a must have for the holidays.

MERRY CHISTMAS!!

Photo of BobZ
4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle of the 2009 vintage (Aged a year in my cellar) poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Rich dark brown with a 1/2" head that dissipates to about a 1/16". Very nice lacing throughout the beer.

Smell: Like the Abt. 12, dark fruit, Belgian yeast, and a hint of spice. Much more spice than the Abt. 12 for sure.

Taste: Excellent, a spicier version of the Abt. 12. Again, the dark fruit, the spice, the Belgian yeast. Just a delicious Christmas beer.

Mouthfeel: Very, very, smooth. Which is surprising as it is highly carbonated (the cork "shot" out and it gushed).

Drinkability: Great flavor, smooth, ABV very well masked, an easy drinking beer.

Photo of obywan59
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a corked and wired 750 ml bottle. Smiling monk in a Santa cap on the label. According to the back label, this is the "youngest descendent" in the St. Bernardus family. This beer is matured for 3 months in tanks before bottle conditioning and will age for up to 15 years.

After the cork popped off like a rifle shot, the beer poured a rather dark translucent brown into my St. Bernadus xtra-large wine glass, with a substantial 2 finger head that recedeed somewhat quickly leaving light lacing and a ring around the edge.

Aroma of tart and dark fruits and a spiciness that seems at first to come from the Belgian yeast. Later though, I caught a couple of whiffs of actual spice.

The taste is wonderfully spicy and sweet, but it also delivers an almost citrusy, grapefruit-like tartness. I caught a bit of bitterness in the middle early on, but later the sweet and the tart flavors dominated.

This beer is very fizzy, but after that sensation dissipates, the mouthfeel is really smooth. There is substantial alcohol burn in the throat. Very warming.

I'm sure the Captain and coke I had with the guys after we got off work contributed, but the 10% ABV DEMANDED that I savor this beer unhurriedly.

Overall, while I would normally prefer a sweeter, less tart brew, this is an excellent offering for sampling on a cold winters night.

Photo of drcarver
3.88/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - a very translucent brown with below average carbonation and a fluffy head that leaves decent lacing

S - as compared to other it has a fairly vegetable earthiness matched with the yeast and hint of dark frutis that come with the style.

T/M - sweet brown sugar like front followed by a roasted carrot flavor. Finished with a hint of alcohol (which is scary that it isn't more prominent). Medium full body with a smooth feel.

D - not bad.

Oh yeah and the cork damn near took my head off shooting out of the bottle.

Photo of WanderingFool
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale pours a dark, cloudy mahogany color with a huge, rocky off white head on top. As the foam slowly dissolves it leaves behind netted patterns of lace on the glass.

The aroma is full of dark fruits and spice with some hints of malt mixed in. Grapes and raisins with a little bubblegum, plus clove and orange peel are all noticeable.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is light on the palate, dry with an very active effervescent fizz. The flavor is loaded with sweet dark fruit notes and spices. It begins with raisins, grapes, figs and some cherry. Hints of bubble gum are present. In the middle spicy notes of clove and orange peel move in. It finishes dry and slightly bitter with a taste of cranberry. Once gone the clove and dark fruit notes linger on the palate.

This is a very tasty beer that has many typical Belgian characteristics. I'm not sure what makes it a Christmas beer (orange peel maybe?), but it's definitely something to enjoy while available for the holidays.

Photo of heine21
2.25/5  rDev -46.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Popped the cork on this bad boy and almost took out my bro's eye. Poured into snifters.

A - Agree w/ the cola likeness. Burgundy. Mild non-lacy head.

S - Probably the best part of this beer - licorice, dark fruit, raisin, booze, fig.

T - Sorry - not for me. Something is just off on this one. A slight copper funk is present. A little licoricey, dark fruit flava helps but not enough to rescue this trainwreck.

MF - Weak again. Disapears after swallowed. Evaporates after consumption which may be a positive in the case of this brew.

D - I don't pour anything down the drain (including that Sam Adams soy sauce crap in the blue bottle) but this was close. The best way I can describe this an "off" DFH Immort.

St. B, I love you but this one is not for me.

Cheers.

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

2010 Vintage.
750 corked 'n caged, poured into a snifter.

Appearance- Pours a cola like color with a bubbly 2 finger just off white head. Great head retention, leaves good lacing.

Smell- Dark fruits right off the bat, aromas of grape/raisons, cherry, plum. Some light spicing. Lots of Belgian yeast on the nose. Smells terrific!

Taste- Again fruity, up front, dark fruits mostly with pronounced grapey notes. Very yeasty as well. Chocolate and cherry notes in middle of the drink. Some brown sugar flavors as well as some light maple syrup. Some banana bread and clove at the finish. Nice layering of flavors in this brew. Similar flavor profile to a nice spiced rum actually. Some slight alcohol is noticed on the finish, but deffinitly not fusel or anything. Quad-esq in the overall flavor.

Mouthfeel- High carbonation but still has a full and creamy feel to it. A slight warming is noticed, which I am liking, and looking for in Belgian of this strength on a winter night.

Overall- Glad I finally got around to trying this one. One of the best "Christmas" ales I have ever had. The flavors of this are perfect for the holiday season and it is not overspiced, for my taste, as some X-mas brews seem to be. Great beer overall and at a very fair price, this is one of the cheapest Belgian imports in my area (bumps up the drinkability a bit). Very impressed, will hopefully be revisiting this again soon and often over the winter!

Edit: Just checked and this is my highest rated beer to date (out of what I have reviewed). When I think about it, this makes perfect sense, this beer is exceptional!

Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,741 ratings.