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Christmas Ale | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
93
outstanding
676 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
676
Ratings:
2,072
Avg:
4.19
pDev:
16.23%
 
 
Wants:
178
Gots:
415
For Trade:
6
Christmas AleChristmas Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Belgium | website

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by seaoflament on 10-23-2007

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 676 | Ratings: 2,072
Photo of Long813
4.01/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

 675 characters

Photo of Jwale73
4.01/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've been waiting to try this beer for a while but got totally shut out last year. 750ml corked and caged bottle served in my St. Bernardus chalice. Be careful opening this one - once I removed the cage the cork fired like a shotgun blast and ricocheted off the ceiling. Pours a deep plum color with a slightly hazy clarity. Head starts off as a fluffy, two inch, cream-colored cloud of foam. As the head recedes into a quarter inch cap, delicate, textured spots and strands of lacing are revealed and exhibit excellent adhesion. This beer looks exquisite in its proper glassware. Nose expresses dark fruits with a slightly vinous character, Belgian yeast and some nutty notes (perhaps hazelnut). Taste follows nose - flavor profile is pretty standard for the style in my opinion; however, there's a trace of ethanol that overshadows things a bit, making it difficult to tease out the subtleties. I also get a little wet cardboard towards the finish, but it dissipates quickly. Mouthfeel is light-medium with a slightly prickly carbonation, as well as a bit of gassiness. Overall, a very solid Belgian Strong Dark; however, perhaps a little young. I would probably sit on this vintage for a couple more years.

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Photo of Floydster
4.01/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml corked and caged bottle purchased from Walnut Liquorette back in January for eleven dollars, split with my friend tonight, poured into my Chimay goblet

A-Dark brown with some auburn highlights, 1 1/4 inch foamy light tan head that stuck around for a real long time, incredible retention and sticky lacing

S-Belgian yeast that is typical in these brews, nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar, bready malt aromas, wide variety of spices that were not too strong but certainly there, and red apples

T-Started out tasting exactly like the ABT 12 in my opinion, the whole difference was that it was a little breadier instead of being more sugary, the aftertaste had the same sweetness, this one also felt a little thicker and filling in a way, started to taste an array of spices after about fifteen minutes and then could tell this was a Christmas beer, not much fruit in the taste, malt and brown sugar were dominant throughout, nice twist on a classic beer

M-Sweet, spicy, and chewy mouthfeel, medium bodied, lots of carbonation, hence the bottle gushing when I popped the cork, long lasting taste

D-Probably could not have drank this bottle by myself, ten percent alcohol would catch up to me very quickly, smooth though, a little heavy on the stomach because of the sweetness

Similar to St. Bernardus in many ways, this one will probably age beautifully, would drink again, hopefully it is released again next holiday season, recommended

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Photo of Oxymoron
4.01/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Merry Ho ho ho this fat man! Pours a merky brown color with some lighter tan hues throughout. A off white colored head left good retention but limited lacing. Both did not last through the tasting.

The nose has a lot going on. Some lighter malt notes with a light chocolate aroma and a touch of caramel. Some complexity but limiting in a way. A noticeable spice aroma. Some baking spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and a light ginger aroma. Some other spice notes, white pepper and a light pear note on the backend. Yeast is noticeable, and distinct with St Berny beers.

The taste is a bit more one sided to the spices, relative to the nose. The same spices mix in with more of a hint of cloves and cinnamon. The ginger backs off but there is a rose peddle flavor on the back end. The yeast also comes out with more of a light fruity taste. Almost like a fruitcake like taste. The malt is present but is limited with more of a malty taste and hints of coco. Some minor heat and a touch of fusels as well.

The body is closer to moderate but a bit much for a Belgium holiday beer. Some heat from the alcohol. Overall good but very muddled together. Would have liked to see the spice back off and more Belgian characteristics come out.

 1,234 characters

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

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #47 (Dec 2010):

Sizable head drops down to a latte-like foam; this ale is nearly black in color as well. Candied fruit, plum pudding, hint of broth, burnt sugar and mulling spices scream X-mas to the nose. Carbonation smoothes the palate, silky with a delicate but thick medium body. Malt character is on the dry side for the most part; a smattering of caramel is in the middle. A bit hoppy with a side of phenols, all of which go herbal. Alcohol is pretty tame for 10 percent--it warms but does not rake the taste buds too much. Fruity, spicy and yeasty with hints of dark sugar and some earthy yeast in the drying finish. Super complex, yet still a sipper. This ale is waiting to be thrown at a rich holiday meal.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours brown with a beige head. Lots of extremely small, fine bubbles. The aroma is Belgian yeast as well as dark fruits and candi sugar. The taste pretty much follows the aroma, with lots of caramel malt. The overall flavor is pretty sweet and the alcohol is present and warming. Medium mouthfeel and highly carbonated.

 319 characters

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

While smelling this beer I pick up fruity notes of banana and dark fruits. The carbonation looks quite high with lots of little tiny bubbles. Dark bronze in color. Much more dark fruit comes through in the taste with a bit of chocolate in there. A slight alcohol taste but hidden pretty well for 10% abv. It is very carbonated and has a prickly mouthfeel with a medium heavy body. The carbonation from this beer leaves you quite full. I don't pick out a lot of spices in the beer like I was expecting. I would drink again but would probably not look specifically for it in the store.

 590 characters

Photo of spacecake9
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opened a bottle from Xmas 2014. Poured into a goblet.
A - Pours a dark brown with a large head that leaves a thick cap and a lot of lacing.
S - Aroma is Belgian yeast, banana and bready,
T - Flavor is a bit sweet, malty and dark fruit.
M - Carbonation is high. Medium mouth feel.
O - This is a tasty Quad.

 310 characters

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

750ml bottle into Waton Tulip.
A: A very foamy head, pours a three finger height and holds throughout. The body is a deep brown hue and has a thick haze and a steady stream of carbonation. The lacing is a thick coat of sticky lace.
S: The aroma is a bit on the lighter side for the style. The note of a Belgian yeasty clove. The note of a tripel on the front and a low level of complexity is found.
T/M: The front shows a note of dark fruits and a bit of a domination of fig. A bold taste that is on the higher end of a medium bodied intensity. The mouthfeel is a clean and crisp taste that is a classic Belgian taste. The finish is a bit on the sweet side, that shows a hint at the abv in this brew.
D: This is a great winter brew that shows classic style notes and a sweet winter warmer. While I would only visit this brew once a season, I would still highly recommend it.

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

Gonna give this one 4's across the board. It's aite, but it takes backseat to the big dog. It reminds Raul of this one time when he dated a twin; I'd look at the doppelgänger, and always wondered...but there has to be a reason why I chose twin #1 over #2.

So, like said ex's sister that I never got a piece of; St. Berny Christmas was a bit less flavorful, slightly less robust, but I'm sure like a romp with sister #2, it was still a good time.

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Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

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

Got this beauty from my nephew Kevin. Dark mahogany-ruby pour with huge three finger head with great retention and lacing. Big herbal, complex nose with hints of black cherries, metal, brown sugar, dark fruits, and tobacco. The taste is complex as well. Lots of black cherries, plums and bananas with a nice herbal backbone with hints of cinnamon, cloves and vanilla and just a touch of chocolate and orange peel. The finish is crisp and dry. The mouthfeel is carbonated, but slightly syrupy. The alcohol is extremely well hidden. It's not as "christmasy" as I had hoped, but still a classic beer from a great brewery. Thanks Kevin!

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

Pours a dark ruddy amber with a thick head and minimal lacing. Smells of spices, raisins, plums, cherries and brown sugar. Taste is more spices, dark fruits, brown sugar and molasses. Mouthfeel is smooth with medium carbonation and a dry finish. Overall a fantastic Christmas ale (my new favorite)! which is a nice alternative to the Abt 12. Alcohol is well hidden for 10% ABV. Merry Christmas!

 394 characters

Photo of zookerman182
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is dark ruby red and clear with a two finger head.
Aroma is cherries, tartness and spices.
Flavor is dark fruit and black cherry with some spice on the back end.
Mouthfeel is bubbly and bitter and spice slightly lingers with each sip.
Great beer for the holidays!

 275 characters

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

It sits in it's chalice opaque and dark brown in the middle, showing hints of copper around the edges. It had a very thin off white head that didn't linger.

Scents of raisins and/or currants, spicy yeast, some earthy bread.

Mmmm, slightly sour Belgian yeast gives way to a sweeter profile with hints of cinnamon chocolate and citrus. As I go on some dark fruits join the party.

Very nice carbonation, this beer makes it's presence known.

Will I get more? I'd bet on that.

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

Enjoyed this 750ml bottle out of a Belgian tulip glass.

A: Pours a dark amber hue with a huge, off-white, fizzy, 5-finger head that spills over the top of my glass. Head last forever, leaving a nice trail down the side of the glass and ends in a large solid fizzy lace.

S: Aromas of dark fruits, chocolate, and spicy malt.

T: Similar to the smell dark fruits and hints if chocolate. Solid malty background with a smooth middle and finishes slightly sweet.

M: Very strong and boozy. Heavy body and heavy carbonation.

O: Excellent strong Belgian Christmas ale. Great flavors, aroma, and mouth feel.

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Photo of jmvecchio1
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours out a dark brown color and has a creamy head that gives way to lacing that lingers for the entirety of the beer.

The smell is a strong, fruity aroma that packs a powerful punch of pears and apples with a slight hint of citrus.

At first sip you get a dominant pear punch that gives way to a malty apple juice finish.

Looking at this beer you don’t notice any carbonation, but this beer does have a carbonated mouthfeel.

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

Poured from 750ml bottle into a heavy chalice glass. A- Murky caramel/orange hue, huge amounts of off-white frothy head that is effervescent and mostly sustaining, splatters of lacing S- Nose is dark fruits, sweet belgian candy, alcohol, green apples, and spices T- Initial taste is dark fruits followed by spritzy spices, peppermint, and bananas, finishes with sweetness and alcohol warming M- Full-bodied, thick chewy texture, amped-up carbonation D- Smooth and balanced strong ale, milder spice flavors and lively carbonation contribute to a unique taste profile, very easy. One of my top winter brews.

 605 characters

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

Caramel/copper body with a frothy head. Sweet raisins, spiced stone fruits, and a little funk. The palate is sweet caramelized sugars, raisins, figs, spice, earthy yeast, alcohol, and a bitter finish. The body is medium and finish dry. Good brew from one of the top Belgian brewers. Like ABT 12, but maybe a touch more sweetness.

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Photo of delta490
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky brown with a decent cap of light tan head that quickly disappears. Almost no lacing is left behavior be. The aroma is fruity and sweet, but think brown sugar and burnt sugar. The taste is much the same with just a little bit of spices. The body is remarkably light and drinkable with just a little bit of carbonation.

 331 characters

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

A- pours a firm cola color with ruby hues on the edges where light hits the glass. The foam literally becomes a batch of cake like frosting all over the glass. And it does not go away

S- dark raisins, candied sugar, and Belgian yeast all over. Some cinnamon and nutmeg too

T- good flavor with the dark fruit in the focus. Delicious Belgian components make this a treat.

M- great creamy and smooth flavors. Literally coates the palate with flavor

O- pretty good Belgium brew that has some good flavors. I will always grab one around Christmas time

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

On-tap at Rustico for their Festivus Event.

A: Muddy brown pour with hints of orange. A finger or so of off-white head 4

S: Tons of Belgian yeast and candied sugar, mixed with Christmas ale spices 4

T: I'm impressed by how much this tastes like a Belgian instead of a Christmas ale. Very tasty with the spices stepped up a notch. Sweet and appropriately seasonal. 4

MF: Light to medium body with good carb. 4

O: I liked this, but it didn't overwhelm me. 4

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Photo of beer2day
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aged 1 year in the cellar.

Pours a deep caramel with a building head. Nose speaks of caramel malt, candy sugar, with a hint of spice (nutmeg, but not sure).

Hits the tongue and the caramelized candy sugar nose transfers. Appropriately thick and malty. Finishes sweet with a slight nod to the abv.

Would have marked the smell score higher, but it did not quite live up to the taste.

Not my favorite St B, but good on a cold night with the fire going.

 455 characters

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

Had this on 2011-12-16 in Columbia, PA

A - Pretty clear, dark mahogany with a 2-finger head that quickly fades to 1/2-finger leaving mild lacing.

S - Sweet and earthy spices, dark yeasty bread, dark fruit, citrus and alcohol.

T - Dark dried cherries, toasted fruit cake (is there such a thing?), apple cider, a little funk, mild hop bitterness, alcohol. Dries reasonably well and leaves a sweet-sour-bready aftertaste.

M - Medium body and medium-high carbonation. Viscous and champagne-bubbly.

O - Seems like an effervescent Imperial Saison with some holiday spices. Quite pleasant. A nice holiday diversion.

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

A: Ruby-brown semi-opaque body with a thin tan head.
S: Malts, cream, belgian sugars, molasses
T: Butter and molasses initially with some malt and barley. A little bit spicy toward the end but finishes smooth.
M: Heavy and rich, definitely a sipping beer.
D: Overall a great representation of the style.

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Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
93 out of 100 based on 676 ratings.