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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

1,416 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,416
Reviews: 576
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 96
Gots: 142 | 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: 1,416 | Reviews: 576 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GilGarp
GilGarp

Colorado

4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We're celebrating Christmas tonight and what better way to do it than with a special Belgian Christmas beer?

Pops with a soft bang and pours into a globe glass. It's a dark redish copper color with lots of fine light brown head. The head settles to an eighth inch layer leaving some lacing behind.

Aroma is difficult to appreciate given that I just filled the house with smoke trying to have a fire in the fireplace. What I can get from it is the classic Belgian dark fruit esters and spice.

Flavor is excellent, as I've come to expect from St. Bernardus. Great depth of character from fruity to spicy, sweet to dry, it has something for everyone to enjoy.

Mouthfeel is typical Belgian with full body and lots of carbonation. Drinkability is good for the style.

It's very similar to the 12 and I would love to try them back to back if I ever get the chance.
Overall a great beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2008 00:43:10 | More by GilGarp
Photo of jimmy82063
jimmy82063

Connecticut

4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml Bottle Best Before 8/24/14....Poured into a SB Chalice...

Have had this in the cellar dating to 2009....need to restock.

A) Nice frothy head that quickly fades,minimal lacing, lite brown colour.

S) Lighly spicey, banana, clove, all spice.

T) This has been in the cellar and has been properly aged for 2 years. I can still get some spiciness that distinguishes this from the 12. Wished I had more of this vintage.

M) Lightly carbonated.

O) Great beer...not much more to say...

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2011 00:32:14 | More by jimmy82063
Photo of KickbacksSteve
KickbacksSteve

Florida

4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a St. Bernardus chalice. Small, off-white head sinks into a murky amber body. Aroma is mainly of sweet dark fruits, dates, figs and raisins. Taste is sweet, slightly warming, and includes all of the aforementioned fruits and some peppery spice. ABV is wonderfully hidden behind the loads of flavors in this beer. A truly special and delicious treat. Paired well with Thanksgiving deviled eggs, sweet potatoes and cornbread.

Serving type: on-tap

11-26-2009 19:45:58 | More by KickbacksSteve
Photo of JayS2629
JayS2629

Alabama

4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Honest opinion. I enjoy the original Abt 12 imensely and think whatever spices are added to this one are a detraction. I still enjoy this one emensely as well and appreciate the spirit it was intended for. It is a great holiday, seasonal treat and deeply complex and sophisticated. Monk magic!

It pours a murky brown that is almost black. Cola like with a huge rocky off-white head three fingers thick and with steady staying power. Frothy rings of thick lace linger.

The aroma is spicy and full of belgian yeast esters. Dark fruit and spices. Over ripe plum, dates, and fig with cherry notes and caramel undertones. Thick toffee melts into musky, funky yeast phenols.

The taste gets really spicy. Holiday spices shine against yeasty spice notes. Nutmeg and cinnamon tones surf on the wave of funky belgian yeast tones of dark fruit,candy sugar, and dark rum notes. Musky notes and metallic, medicinal tones intrude slightly. Some may enjoy these licorice like flavors.

Mouthfeel is creamy and medium bodied.

easy sipper. Complex, interesting, and enjoyable. Slightly under the original Abt. 12 but still amazing.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2011 01:18:53 | More by JayS2629
Photo of wnh
wnh

Missouri

4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a Chimay goblet.
Best by 07/08/2012. 2007 vintage?

Pours a deep orange-tinted chestnut brown, murky and flecked with sediment, even after a gentle pour. Topped by a large and growing foamy ecru head, also flecked with sediment. Multiple rings of lacing left behind.

Rich and spicy nose, bit on yeasty fruit. Aromas of green apples, nutmeg, unripe pears, green bananas, faintly, a touch of candied nuts, and just a whiff of alcohol. Rich and dense and packed, but somehow remains subtle-ish.

On the palate this beer proves to be a continuation of the nose broadly, though some of the specifics differ. Apple note takes on the characteristics of a spiced, aged cider, but still shows some green apple tartness. There's a touch of bright citrus right up front that's gone almost as soon as it appears. More nutmeg and a touch of cinnamon, which seems to bring with it a powdery texture (a phenomenon I've found often with beers that taste like cinnamon). Quite big and strong and just a little rough around the edges. Fades smoothly and quite quickly into mild toasted malt and a lingering spicy nuttiness.

Lots of small bubbles of carbonation that turn out prickly and somewhat unpleasant. Medium-full bodied, somewhat firm. Very tasty, but unfortunately not a beer style that I seem to like.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2009 19:57:32 | More by wnh
Photo of Spineypanda
Spineypanda

Texas

4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark thick liquid with a nice dark and thin head.
Smells of spices and some ginger as well as the smells you get from the Abt 12.
Tastes really nice, like gingerbread and has a good strong abbey ale taste to it that blends nicely.
It is a shame this was the last one in my store, otherwise I would buy another :).

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2009 21:07:33 | More by Spineypanda
Photo of sprucetip
sprucetip

Alaska

4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle into goblet.

Hazy medium brown, modest head fades fast and leaves film, spotty lacing. Red highlights.

Peach raisin and generally fruity esters. Spicy, anise perhaps. Heat, sweet and malty.

Candy sugar and malty sweetness, dark fruit, hint of hops, some booze. Very smooth and complex. Mostly balanced but a bit on the sweet side.

Medium carbonation, rich full texture, warming, very clean and smooth finish.

A bit too sweet to drink a whole lot of, but very rich and complex. Definitely a solid and genuine Belgian strong.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2009 04:09:33 | More by sprucetip
Photo of tbeck
tbeck

Washington

4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown in color with no clarity. Head is an off white/brown and thick. Aroma is some malts, fruit and slight hops. Very sweet. Sweet taste with some malts and hops. Lots of spice and very fruity. Excellent texture and body but not heavy. An excellent session beer especially around the holidays.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2008 05:18:29 | More by tbeck
Photo of adamparker05
adamparker05

California

4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2008 23:58:23 | More by adamparker05
Photo of thierrynantes
thierrynantes

France

4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer bottle (75 cl.) purchased from La Cervoiserie, and tasted in 2012.

Appearance : reddish brown color with a huge tan foamy head.
Smell : dried fruits and spicy aromas.
Taste & mouthfeel : sweet and malty flavors, leading to a dry alcohol finish.
Drinkability : a very good beer in the style Belgian Strong Ale. To drink at cellar temperature.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2012 14:15:54 | More by thierrynantes
Photo of ABOWMan
ABOWMan

Ohio

4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer easily pours a four finger head of frothy amber colored foam that lingers throughout the entire tasting. t's residual, leaves a network of lacing on the glass marking each resting point along the journey. The color of this brew is a copper orange and is slightly cloudy which hints at the flavor that is in store.

The aroma is of spice, roasted malt, citrus, fruit and alcohol.

The flavor delivers along the same line. Roasted caramel, orange, yeast fruitiness typical of most Belgium beers, and hints of corriander and clove, which are not overbearing. I was please to see the spiciness take a back seat in this Christmas ale, allowing the typically strong belgium influences to take center stage.

The mouthfeel was full bodied and think which one would expect from a beer this this backbone and ABV. No disappointment here.

This Ale was worth the price and is worthy of being opened any time of year despite it's name.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2009 20:12:21 | More by ABOWMan
Photo of Haybeerman
Haybeerman

Colorado

4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Slightly cloudy deep brown/amber color with caramel highlights. Poured a 3 finger tan-colored billowy head with good retention; eventually like a dollop of merangue on top. Gobs of lacing (not quite rings).

S: Lots of complex dark fruits. Spices and hot alcohol.

T: Complex rich dark fruits like prunes, figs,raisins and more. Tastes deepened and changes as it warmed. Warming alcohol.

M: Full body. Nicely balance carbonation. Flavors engulf the mouth and tongue. (yeah, I like it a lot)

D: Full drinks make the most of this one, but 10% abv dictates some time in between.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2009 01:48:24 | More by Haybeerman
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Connecticut

4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle into a St. Bernardus chalice.

A: Clear deep brown body under two fingers of dense tan head. Tremendous retention and thick lace. Gorgeous.

S: Dark fruit dominates, with huge fig, raisin, and date. Some sweet/tart cherry as well, with rich toasted breadiness underneath. Decadent and yet delicate. Terrific.

T: Bready up front, with dark fruits close behind. Some nice fig gives way to a strongly boozy finish, though, marring things a bit after such a lovely start. The aftertaste balances the alcohol warmth with some spicy yeastiness, though, making the overall package pretty enjoyable. Definitely a bit of a letdown after the phenomenal aroma, but an excellent BSDA all the same.

M: Thick, soft, and as creamy as can be. Perfect.

O: It's been too long since i had ABT 12, but this reminded me more of Rochefort 10 than anything else. The aroma in particular took me back to a rainy afternoon in Belgium, sipping a Rochefort in its eponymous home town. I'm curious to see whether a year might tone down the booziness just a bit and make this a truly world-class beer.

Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2013 04:46:23 | More by woosterbill
Photo of 3HovsepiansBrews
3HovsepiansBrews

California

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

A - Dark brown/red with a tan head.
S - Plums, raisins, dried apricots, alcohol, cherries.
T - Alcohol, cherries, dried fruits, and toffee. There is also a slight dark chocolate at the end of the sip that lingers.
M - Medium body with mild carbonation.
O - Refreshing and drinkable considering the abv. Nice alcohol warmth with a good flavor and aroma

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2012 01:31:13 | More by 3HovsepiansBrews
Photo of dahlen22
dahlen22

New Jersey

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

After having a Bernadus 12 on tap at the Eulogy Bar in Philadelphia, I figured I would give this a go. The beer is a reddish-brown color with a nice 1/2 inch of head. The aroma is nice, but taste is what matters.

This beer has plenty of legs and tastes good. It starts off velvety with a slight bit of spice and caramel. It then goes into raisons, toffee, and some winter spices. Being 10%, I would not sit down and drink more than one or two, but this is a beer for the winter months. As far as Christmas beers goes, this is not quite as good as a Corsendonk Christmas, but it does rank high within this category of beers. Merry Christmas!!

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2009 23:17:19 | More by dahlen22
Photo of likestoswallow
likestoswallow

California

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

From a 750 ml bottle.

A: Pours a murky brown color with a fair sized beige head that lasts only a short while and leaves plenty of sticky lacing.

S: Loaded with Belgian yeasts, sweet malts, dark fruits and spices.

T: Very complex with more sweet malts, cola, molasses, nutmeg, cloves, figs, dates and walnuts.

M: Full, smooth and malty with subdued carbonation.

D: Wow, for a strong Belgian ale it just does not get any more drinkable than this. Very good with the alcohol well hidden.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2009 20:16:06 | More by likestoswallow
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

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

Bottle: Poured a deep burgundy color ale with a super large foamy head with great retention and good lacing. Aroma of dry fruit and fruity ester with some candi sugar and some nicer Belgian malt. Taste is a well balanced mix between some fruity ester, some dry fruits such as figs and notes of Belgian malt. Body is full with great carbonation and no appearance of alcohol. Very well done though it probably fell short of the ABT 12.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2009 03:04:17 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of rallison
rallison

California

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

Pours a cloudy dark reddish brown with a 1/2 finger head that mostly dies.

Smells of dark fruits with maybe a touch of Belgian Candi Sugar.

Tastes especially of dark fruits, with an emphasis on raisin and apple flavors. Some Candi sugar sweetness. Nice spicing as well. Overall, I enjoy this, but I like the flavors of their normal quad more.

Mouthfeel is rich and satisfying.

Drinkability is quite good.

Overall, recommended. While not my favorite from St. Bernardus, it is still very tasty - and very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2007 08:36:57 | More by rallison
Photo of tzieser
tzieser

Arizona

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!!

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2010 20:34:18 | More by tzieser
Photo of RedBrewer83
RedBrewer83

Oregon

4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into goblet...

A: Dark brown amber body with a big three finger creamy tan head that falls slowly leaving great lacing and a thick foam head on top of the beer.

S: Raisins, figs, dried fruit, candy caramel malt, spices (nutmeg, clove, allspice). Smells like Christmas!

T: Follows nose with added flavor intensity and a hint of booze that comes across in a delicious way! A little intense on the sweetness, but somehow not cloying.

M: Smooth carbonation, almost velvety mouthfeel and nice dry finish that keeps this from being an overly sweet cloying beer.

D: For being such a big beer that is so complex and sweet it is pretty drinkable, but not great, this is definitely a sipper, but on a cold winter night this would probably be perfect!

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2010 01:32:49 | More by RedBrewer83
Photo of FreshHawk
FreshHawk

Illinois

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.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2010 19:22:26 | More by FreshHawk
Photo of cbarrett4
cbarrett4

Oregon

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

Poured from tap at Henry's 12th street. Medium head settling to a nice lace. Dark brown hue. Packed with dark malty goodness, and holiday spices, nutmeg, molasses, brown sugar. Yum. Rich flavors of dark malts and said molasses, spices. Medium weight, almost smells and tastes like it needs more body. Smooth, low tannins, very easy on the finish. Good brew, but expect more from this brewery and at this price.

Serving type: on-tap

11-26-2009 04:14:14 | More by cbarrett4
Photo of drtth
drtth

Pennsylvania

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

Served in Chalice glass. A glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As served the beer is a nice brownish mahogany color with ¼" tan head that soon recedes to a small ring of foam with an irregular patch of foam on the surface. Initially sipping leaves some leggy lacing but with the high alcohol it is neither dense nor long lasting. As the head recedes down to just a small ring and an irregular patch of foam that covers less than half of the liquid, sipping leaves behind only sparse legs and speckles of lacing. Well before the beer is gone the head, ring of foam and any lacing is long gone.

Smell: The aroma is soft, sweet and restrained but definitely contains spice and fruity malt. There is some, but not much alcohol detectable, however, there are some spicy earthy hop characteristics in here along with the fruity malt sweetness that runs through the whole aroma. While initially the aroma seems not to be a very complex one, the complexity grows as the beverage warms and as one spends more time with it.

Taste: The flavor is light, refreshing, clean, and subtle with some nice fruity sweetness without being too rich or too sweet. The dominant flavor has some dark fruits and some spicy earthy character, part of which may come from the hops. Some of the sweetness seems to be from the alcohol which is nicely controlled and has no burn at all.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium to full-bodied with very moderate but persistent carbonation. However, by the end of the beer the carbonation is present only in a slight prickling sensation in the mouth. The finish is medium to long and begins with the mix of earthiness and light sweetness that trails off to spicy, peppery dryness.

Drinkability: This is really a nice beer for sipping and in many ways is a showcase for the spices and the subtle effects of the noble hops. I'll be looking out for this in the future. As a seasonal treat this is a nice one to have and to serve. If it were not for the ABV I'd have another immediately this one is gone. Based on my experience with St. Bernadus Abt 12 I was expecting a more malt dominant brew as a Christmas seasonal. However, while this beer has malt present there is a very different balance between malt and hops than in the 12. Here the spiciness is never lost in the malt. At first I was not sure I liked this beer but as I have sipped my way slowly through it I find a growing appreciation for the balance of flavors. In addition this one has shown some very nice and interesting changes in flavors as it warmed to room temperature.

Serving type: on-tap

11-18-2009 21:42:22 | More by drtth
Photo of jlindros
jlindros

Massachusetts

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

Had on tap at Armsby Abbey Belgian Christmas night, 2007 vintage. This was the catch of the night, so delicious.

Comes with a light Belgian fizzy head and light lacing, over dark brown molasses color with hints of rosy hue, and very dark with very little light coming through.

Nose comes with sweet malts, Belgian dark malts, little candi sugar, caramel, toffee, aged malts, slight dark raisiny fruits, and just the faintest hit of spices and nutty aromas.

Taste brings lots of raisin and dark fruits, little plug and fig, nutty malts, plenty of Belgian dark malts and that aged malt taste, smooth and semi sweet, some dark candi sugar and little caramel, hints of spice and a little warming booze, a little bitterness too. Finish lingers with lots of dark malts, a little sweetness and more candi sugar, and hints of fruits that linger for a while.

Mouth is medium to a little heavier bodied with decent carbonation and very little warming booze.

Drinkability is pretty good, drinks a lot smoother and lighter than 10%, and sweetness is balanced well and the aged malt flavor probably helps.

Serving type: on-tap

12-18-2010 02:55:06 | More by jlindros
Photo of runningjoke
runningjoke

Virginia

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

The appearance was everything I expected. It's head was large with tight bubbles which turned to foam before turning into lace. A quick swirl will pump up the foam again. When held up to the light it has an opaque caramel/toffee color with some mahogony-red highlights at the edges and bottom of the glass. Continuous columns of bubbles stream to the top of the glass.
Malty smell with traces of cider, rum-raisin, and allspice.
Spicy and hot. It is malty with very little hop character. aftertaste has a slight astringent quality. This beer is really smooth and flavorful. It is an exceptional beer, fitting for a limited release.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2010 00:43:44 | More by runningjoke
Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,416 ratings.