Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,705 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,705
Reviews: 608
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.46%
Wants: 137
Gots: 258 | 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: 1,705 | Reviews: 608 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sparky44
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of jmjwolfman
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of sbricker
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of mds1101
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of eulerthegrape
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of BeerNDoggerel
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of EricTheRed
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of brheuer
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of mjaggers
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of archero
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of charles_walker1980
4.49/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of reebtaerG
4.49/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured 750 ml bottle into St. Bernardus glass

A-Poured a misty brown-amber body, with a slightly off white one finger head.

S-Complex fruity and malty aroma, apricots/peaches, apples, slightly dusty, slightly sweet, overall lovely.

T-Taste is sweet, malty, light plum, full taste supported by a light tartness - and supported well! Some banana, nutmeg and spice.

M-Full bodied, soft, nice smooth mouthfeel and good carbonation.

O-Overall a great Christmas Ale, my new favorite.

Photo of TheBeerTrekker
4.48/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown color with a small tan head that dissipates quickly.

Smell of banana, Belgian yeast, plums, raisins, spices.

Taste of slightly roasted malts, caramel, dark fruits.

Medium body with moderate carbonation.

Overall a great winter brew, well balanced, crisp and enjoyable after every sip.

Photo of dcmchew
4.48/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

0.75 bottle, using my tiny new Westy XII glass.
Dark brown with some copperish hues, one finger head, medium retention, very sticky lacing afterwards.
Fruity smell, with red grapes, prunes, banana, also caramel, dark christmasy spices.
Sweet caramel takes center stage, with musty grapes and plums, cherries, some citrus here and there, heavily spiced. Yeasts were really busy, giving off clove, ginger, low cinnamon, anise and faint vanilla. Malts aren't robust, bit bready, like a nice foundation for the complex spices. Warm alcohol, nicely hidden.
Smooth mouthfeel, a little bit syrupy, perfect actually. There's also quite a lot of fizz at first, that enhances its drinkability. Sweet, but does not cling in the aftertaste.
Quite a dangerous beer, very tasty and balanced, one might finish the 0.75 l bottle without even noticing. Christmas ale indeed.

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

An excellent sweet Belgian Dark.

Was happy to find this on tap at the local Beer Bar.

Pours a dark reddish brown with little if any head.

Smell is of sweet friuts, figs, raisins, and some spice. The sweet smells over shadow light notes of malt, chocolate, and there is little if any alcohol in the smell.

Taste starts sweet with fruit and spices in good balance, slightly overshawdowing the malt. The sweet flavor last right through the end, but never is overwhelming to the flavor of the beer. The finsih is mildly bitter (very mild), slightly alcohol warm, and unexpectedly crisp. Taste is almost a 5 just a little sweet for me. Overall one most unique beers that I have truely enjoyed with the combination of subtle flavors and balance making this a winner!

The mouthfeel is heavy and consistent with the style. Drinkability is excellent for such a strong beer, but after a couple you really start to feel it.

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.

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

Pours a cloudy brown with a fizzy tan head. Head falls to about nothing. Some lace.

This has a big malty nose filled with nice spice. Smells sweet.

Nice sweet malt taste, obviously. Has a bit of spice a regular Abt 12 does not however it resembles that beer, which is great since I love that beer.

Nice smooth, somewhat chewy mouthfeel with a good bite.

Love it. Awesome Christmas brew. Much enjoyed.

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

Wow...now this is a f* Belgian Strong Dark Ale!!!

Pours a slightly hazy dark brown color with a full finger light tan head of tiny bubbles that resist fading. The smell is CLASSIC!! I mean 'I'm lov'in' the Belgian yeast, malty core with dark fruit, figs, NECCO chocolate and just the right amount of holiday spices.
Nicely carbonated, the mouth feel is complimented by the creaminess of the head and the figgy flavors. Full flavored, this is textbook to style...the Belgian malty fruit thing is center stage... the mouth feel is creamy and much heavier than your everyday abbey ale. The 10% ABV is well integrated. I personally HIGHLY RECOMMEND this one as part of your holiday festivities!! Another High Quality product from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV.

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

A - Nice deep brown with a foamy off white to tan head...

S - Malts and a bit of cereal, some alcohol, rose petals, dried stone fruits

T/M - Wow, definitely a Belgian Strong. High carbonation...a bit of a bite.

I could get used to drinking this, but I don't think my waste band could.

Photo of tvljr
4.46/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of cjgiant
4.46/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap:
Second time having this beer on tap. First time I was generally impressed and not in a rating mood. This time confirmed that I should have been impressed.

Pour is a amber/auburn/brown, with nice off-white to tan head that films the surface through most of the pour. Lacing is significant on a washed glass. Nose is confusing. I get a nice scent, but I'm not sure it fits the style. Up front I almost get Sprite-like lemon-lime soda notes. This is backed, and in different sniffs overcome by and balanced by the normal dark fruit notes I'd expect from a quad. Maybe it's the Chrtmas spice that doesn't come through "properly" to me. I really like it, but not sure it's "to style".

Feel is actually somewhat lift and effervescent, which I think is the most non-stylistic flaw in the beer. Funny thing is, like the confusing smell, for lack, I like this as well, personally. The tastes are honey-sweet versions of dark fruits, tending towards candied versions thereof. The Sprite flavors come with the feel, and are noticeable to me in the background. There is very little bitterness to speak if, and whole I would describe the beer as fairly sweet, it's not syrupy sweet.

A definite must have during the holiday season.

Photo of glid02
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at the Brick Store in Atlanta.

Pours a slightly hazy brown color with ruby highlights. The head is one-finger of tan frothy goodness that sticks around for a while before dissipating into a thin, even layer across the top. Lacing is very good.

Smells of both light and dark fruits with an earthy sweet aroma. There's also a bit of spice in there - cinnamon or nutmeg.

Tastes very good. Somewhere between a trippel and a dubbel with a bit of spice. Pear and fig flavors meld seamlessly with hints of cinnamon and a slight touch of yeast. The dark fruit flavors seem to linger a bit longer than the light fruits. The alcohol is not a factor save for a nice warming sensation.

Mouthfeel is great. Smooth with subdued carbonation that coats the mouth.

Drinkability is great. The high ABV is not a factor except for making it a bad idea to drink too many of these. Really an easy brew to quaff.

Overall this is a very good beer that everyone should try this time of the year.

Photo of caddybuyer
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a caged and corked 750 on Christmas afternoon at cellar temperature. I bought this bottle last year so there is at least a year of age in this one. Looking forward to trying it.

A real foamer, this bottle.

A-Deep garnet brown with ruby highlights when held to light. Moderate clarity with a fair amount of sediment. Rocky, creamy tan head that doesn't budge even a few minutes after pouring. Amazing this head. Like whipped cream.

S-Sweet malts and dark fruits. Not a terribly pungent nose, but what I am getting is very aromatic. Hints of chocolate, and candied fruits underscored by Belgian yeast.

T-Dark fruits, marachino cherries, sweet malty yeast, and warming alcohol. I have not had a regular Abt 12 in a long time, but not sure how different this is than that. I don't recall the sweet dark cherry flavor that pervades this beer, so I'd say this holiday offering is a bit different. I'm liking it a bit better as well, but I'm a sucker for flavorful holiday brews. No holiday spices of note here, maybe just a hint of cinnamon. Call this liquid rum soaked fruitcake. YUM!

M-Creamy, silky smooth, a bit sticky, this is the perfect mouthfeel without being overpowered by efferevescence as so many of these Belgians tend to be. Spot on.

D-Drinkability? Well, I cracked this 750, and I'm damn well going to finish up this fine brew, but this one is a treat to be savored.

This is the first time I have ever tried this. Bought another earlier in this season to age for next year, now I am interested in cracking it open to see how it compares to the aged version. For some reason, these go on deep discount after Santa arrives. Heading to the beer store tomorrow to see what is left.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The pour results in a superbly fluffy head (two fingers), which crackles and deflates very slowly, leaving super-sticky styrofoamish lace on the glace. Color is a deep chocolate-brown in color, nearly opaque; difficult to see the bubbles feeding that mammoth head.

As a Christmas ale, it's appropriately fruity and spicy in the nose, recalling tart/young gooseberry and cranberry; light sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. Earth/mineral, shaved chocolate and a fairly assertive alcohol creep into the aroma.

Flavor stays on the fruity/spicy tip of the aroma , but on the tongue the fruits turn darker and the spices less sweet. Some white pepper and clove bite along with a fig/grape hint. Has a woody herbal/spiced tea vibe...and then with warming, it transforms. What I get after about 30 minutes is cinnamon roll--equal parts gooey, yeasty dough, caramel-ish qualities and cinnamon spice. Ghostly specters of root beer or Dr. Pepper work their way into the finish, and that is not a criticism, and hopefully not a cheapening of this beer's quality--just an approximation of another flavor characteristic of this complex beer.

Mouthfeel is wonderful, having a vibrant carbonation, a nice balancing velvet smoothness, and an overall airiness. A little bit of stick throughout the mouth.

No surprise that those behind St. Bernardus, monks or otherwise, would turn out an excellent Christmas ale. Their regular line (which is anything but regular) consists of some of the greatest beers in the world, and this one is no exception.

Photo of HalfFull
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked 750 ml. bottle into a wine glass. Christmas Ale pours somewhat light for the style, a clear reddish brown in color and with an inch of meringue like tan head. Make that two inches, no three inches. A fervent boil of carbonation built the foam up after the pour until it peaked an inch above the rim of the glass. Kind of like a Santa hat on top of the brew. Retention and lacing, as expected from the pour, are robust.

Nose is initially light for the style, with the firm carbonation and apple notes being the only things strong enough to pierce the dense blanket of foam. Spiced chocolate cherry reveal a decent depth after the foam settles to a steady cap. Vinous notes accompany along with a sense of champagne like effervescence. Yeast subtleties expand with warming and combine beautifully with the malt/spice balance giving a bump to the rating. Nutmeg and cinnamon and dried flowers are subtle and enticing.

Flavor is light and fruity and with nary a note of alcohol in sight. Notable cherry wraps around some light fig notes. A lingering spice finish maintains for a full 30 seconds each sip. Flavor improves and expands as the carbonation settles, revealing the nuances that said bottle conditioning helped create. Offers a smooth feel and a body that belies it's own strength. This beer drinks like it's 7 or 8 percent, never revealing its true nature.

Note: From a bottle this beer needs to release some carbonation to really shine. Pop it cold and let it outgas and warm before serving. Malt structure is welcomingly light for the ABV yet offers good depth.

Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,705 ratings.