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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

1,425 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,425
Reviews: 576
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 101
Gots: 144 | 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: 1,425 | Reviews: 576 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of GarthDanielson
GarthDanielson

North Carolina

4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured on-tap and served in a chalice, the beer is a dark, ruby coloring that is hazy, with a clingy, coating, off-white head. Nose of date, cherry, fig, roasted notes, booze, and sour tannins. Flavors are tart and crisp forward, with cherry tones forming a foundation beneath old-world fruit richness of date and fig. Very layered, very rich, and very balanced. Rich cherry and fig aftertaste, with earthy and woody notes. The finish is lingering sweet, with a perfect balance. Great beer!

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2014 03:29:46 | More by GarthDanielson
Photo of Gavage
Gavage

New Jersey

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

Appearance: brown in color with a 2" head that falls pretty quickly. Some spotty lace develops during the session.

Smell: big malt sweetness, brown sugars, and bits of spice.

Taste: huge malt profile, brown sugar, prunes, black plums, some softer spiciness, light alcohol, yeast, and a nice bitterness makes up a full flavored ale.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Lightly crisp to start, smooth at the finish. Relatively short aftertaste with this one.

Drinkability: this one goes down quickly despite the high alcohol levels. A few of these could be consumed in a session, but you will be feeling it quickly.

Serving type: on-tap

03-09-2009 12:16:36 | More by Gavage
Photo of robbyc1
robbyc1

Illinois

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

Big looking belgian with a massive amount of head, my first look more to come.

Nice fruity nose with yeasty esters, some bubblegum, dark fruit wafts from the glass.

It tastes like the nose with a bit hit of not overdone sweetness at the end, very complex, spicy, with intriguing aftertaste.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2009 18:22:31 | More by robbyc1
Photo of aorloski
aorloski

Massachusetts

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

Appearance - Let me just say, this is a standard st. bernardus, very carbonated, my cork popped right out when the cage came off and bubbled out all over my floor, whatever. Pours a very hazy dark brown with golden notes on the edges. Huge head, obviously, probably 3 or 4 fingers.

Smell - dark fruits, winter fruits, figs, raisins, plums, candi sugar, belgian spices and yeast, smells great.

Taste - Follows the nose COMPLETELY, dark fruits dominate this with touches of sweet belgian candy sugar. Not a lot of belgian yeast comes through this, just a lot of very very sweet sugars and fruits, very tasty brew.

Mouthfeel - I am indifferent i guess, i give it a 4 because i think for the style this needs to be pretty carbonated. I rather do like how st bernardus carbonates their beers, it leaves a very crisp feel on the palate.

Overall - An incredibly delicious brew and so fitting for a christmas setting. I bought two to see how one tastes in the summer out of curiosity!

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2011 01:09:44 | More by aorloski
Photo of DavidST
DavidST

Texas

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

Poured from a 75 co bottle into a goblet, 2010 edition. This pours a slightly hazy dark tea color with a decent white head which dissipates quickly. The smells are of belgium yeast esters, dark fruit and spices. Feel is very high carbonation, medium feel. The taste is good pretty malts, lots of ripe dark fruit, a little alcohol burn, but tasty.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2012 03:35:27 | More by DavidST
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

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).

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2007 00:49:27 | More by zeff80
Photo of walshclimb
walshclimb

Nevada

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2008 20:00:59 | More by walshclimb
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

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

Appearance: Expected a bit more carbonation when I popped the cork so I was not surprised that the head was not overly impressive; after a few minutes, all that remains is a film and a ringlet, though it is rather leggy, leaving quite a smattering of dots and dashes

Smell: Spice cake aromatics, with ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove joining the dark fruit (fig and date) elements

Taste: Spice cake with caramel frosting; in the middle, the fig and date flavors develop, along with all the spices detected in the aroma; a little tartness, after the swallow, along with a balsa wood dimension, brings an interesting phenolic angle to the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: One of the better Christmas ales to come out of Belgium; my bottle was a bit undercarbonated but still quite good

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2012 21:28:57 | More by brentk56
Photo of BlackBearForge
BlackBearForge

Florida

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

St. Bernardus Christmas pours a deep burgundy brown with a generous ecru head of creamy foam which leaves nice sheets of sticky lacing.

The aroma has a nice spicy yeast scent bound in dark malty fruits... raisins, plums, apricots and also brandied pears.

The taste has a nice spiciness to it, cloves and cardamon with a full dark fruit flavor including dark cherries, grapes, plums and their dried counterparts raisins and prunes. Orchard fruits also make an appearance like sun warmed ripe pears. Alcohol is nicely integrated in the matrix of complex fruit flavors and is noticed mostly as a pleasant warmness. The finish is dryer than expected given the strong sweetish fruit and malt flavors.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, medium and creamy, slightly chalky and finishes smooth.

This is a very tasty Holiday treat that I can easily look forward to every year. It is a slow drinking beer but savoring it's complex flavors is no problem! Every Belgian beer I try just leads me want to try another.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2009 23:37:56 | More by BlackBearForge
Photo of dudemuskie
dudemuskie

Illinois

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

Had a bottle of this in the cellar for close to a year...figured a little belated Christmas present to myself would be a lovely idea after a 14 hour work day!

Appearance- Tight light beige head quickly rises, nearly like that of a glass of champagne, and quickly fades to a very thin residual ring. Deep brown with faint reddish-orange highlights, slightly hazy from bottle refermentation.

Aroma- Whoa, lots going on here! Perfumey alcohols, candilike caramel and raisins, hints of honey and very soft cinnamon spice. Dark dried fruits like cherries and maybe even a hint of apricot. Nice yeast character also. Incredibly complex and an excellent nose suitable for a winter warmer!

Flavor- Starts sweet with caramel, raisins, rich toffee and opens up to a wonderful yeasty, softly spicy, middle. Finishes rich, but not overwhelming with a perfumy, almost powdery fruitiness. Some herbal hop notes present as well as some warming alcohol. Long lingering finish of warm bread/biscuits, herbal hops, and soft yeast spice. Very nice.

Mouthfeel- Champagne-esque CO2 works very well with the higher alcohol. Medium bodied, moderate residual sweetness, low to no bitterness as spice from yeast is primary balance for malty/candi sugar sweetness. Slightly dry but sticky finish.

Overall- Excellent winter warmer, would like to try one fresh to see what the spice level is and how muted the perfumy alcohol notes are as opposed to this older bottle. Have a feeling a bottle of this fabulous winter brew would hold up for quite some time! Well worth a try, especially this time of year!

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2010 03:12:08 | More by dudemuskie
Photo of Drew966
Drew966

Florida

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2008 05:53:24 | More by Drew966
Photo of JoEBoBpr
JoEBoBpr

Missouri

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

2011 Version
Poured into a Chimay goblet from a 750ml bottle.

A - A nice strong pop is heard after the cork is pulled. Pours a nice slight caramel color with some brown notes and a huge 2 inch slightly off white head. The head is dense and creamy almost like a cappuccino.

S - Traditional and delicious BSDA spice. SOme nice yeasty phenols. There is also a ton of bready malt with some slight clove and some nice cinnamon notes. The aroma is delicious and silky smooth. There is some slight caramel sweetness and mild alcoholic notes.

T & M - Wow. Soo creamy. Traditional Dark Ale spice is present. There is some slight peppercorn and of course some clove. There is also a nice bready taste that has some slight sweet hints. Cinnamon is perceived as well. There is some alcoholic notes that are present yet welcome and warming. The beer is smooth and well crafted. It is quite complex as well. There are some dark fruit undertones throughout the middle portion of the beer that can be perceived better as it warms. This is not only a delicious winter beer it is actually a delicious beer period.

O - Very good beer by St. Bernardus. Complex yet approachable and high on the ABV but not too intense. Very good beer and great for the cooler weather.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2011 20:25:50 | More by JoEBoBpr
Photo of BierJager89
BierJager89

California

4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark opaque brown with a tan head.

S: Banana, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg in the nose.

T: Nutmeg and banana come through strong, cinnamon is there as well, especially present in the finish.

M: Full bodied and smooth.

O: Probably the second best beer they make. It's a great beer to have on Christmas.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2014 18:04:59 | More by BierJager89
Photo of TurdFurgison
TurdFurgison

Ohio

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

A new beer to try from St. Bernardus, I planned to wait until closer to Christmas-time but couldn't hold out. We poured it into St. Bernardus glasses and drank it near a Christmas tree in any case.

The beer was dark brown with a thick head, but lacked the floaties from ABT 12 and the creaminess in the foam that ABT 12 provides. Still looked OK, just closer ot the Prior 8 in appearance. The aroma was the signature yeastie fruitiness, but with a hint of spice I haven't noticed in the sibling beers. This spice came through in the flavor as a peppery note, a little biting, I'm not sure how to record it except "cracked pepper". Very nice, definitely you'd know in a blind taste test who made it, but you'd also know it was a little different. Highly recommended, along with all their other beers.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2007 13:57:57 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of mugglesandhops
mugglesandhops

Oklahoma

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

Had this on tap at the Horse Brass.

A- The light was fairly low in the bar and this looked very dark, almost black in color

S- Smelled spicy and fruity, dark fruits, fig, cherry.

T- Very good. Dates, raisins, nutmeg, alcohol.

M- Thick full bodied

D- This is definitely a slow drinker here. Perfect for the cold holiday season.

Serving type: on-tap

03-13-2009 14:45:24 | More by mugglesandhops
Photo of DavidEddie
DavidEddie

Illinois

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

Happy Holiday's fellow BA‘s!

Best before 09/08/12 printed on the bottom.

Murky brown in appearance. A very dense, thick off white head. Pillow like sticky lacing, that hangs around. Aromas of raisins, tons of other dark fruits, and spices. Well blended flavors of dark fruits, tart grape, candied sugar, mild chocolate, and some spices of clove and cinnamon. Finishes with some warming alcohol. Mouth feel is creamy and smooth. Highly carbonated, very fizzy. Drinkability is excellent and very enjoyable. Very similar to Abt 12. If you like boozy beers, then this one's for you. CHEERS!

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2007 02:06:21 | More by DavidEddie
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

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

25.4 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a dark sepia brown, with a full, off-white/tan head, that stays robust throughout the whole glass, leaving excellent, thick lacing. A sight to behold.

S: Smells mainly of dark malt, sugar, molasses, and gingerbread.

T: The taste is a complex cornucopia of dark flavours. Heavy brown sugar is mixed with prune and fig, which in turn meets cinnamon, nutmeg, and all-spice to create a truly fantastic taste experience, one of the best BSDA's I have ever had. This was close, not quite a 5, if 4.75 was an option, I'd probably give it that, a fantastic flavour overall.

M: Thick and rich, smooth, phenolic, a great warming wintertime brew.

D: I think I have found the ultimate beer to pair with pumpkin pie in this one. Full of rich, complex, dark flavours, St. Bernardus Christmas Ale is a world-class Yule beer made by one of the best producers in Belgium. I really liked this beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2007 21:36:56 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of siradmiralnelson
siradmiralnelson

Iowa

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

Poured from 750ml bottle into Orval chalice.

A. 1 finger head. Decent head retention. Little big of lacing. Dark ruby brown color.

S. Smell is pretty complex. Dark fruit, yeast, sour cherries, spices, brown sugar, clove, raisins, plums.

T. Taste is delicous. Easiest way for me to describe the taste of this beer is a slight weaker spiced up version of Abt 12. Yeast, dark fruit, raisins, pepper, anise. Very delicous sweet and spicy taste.

M. Medium/full bodied. Medium carbonation. Has some lingering sweetness.

D. A very nice seasonal holiday beer. Can't imagine drinking anything better on Xmas. The abv is well hidden.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2010 17:22:28 | More by siradmiralnelson
Photo of ksimons
ksimons

New York

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

A-a deep chestnut with ruby highlights and a good two fingers worth of cream colored head

S-caramel, toffee, chocolate, dark fruits of cherries, figs, raisins, and yeast

T-matches the smell nicely, lots of caramel and toffee, dark fruit, cocoa, light banana, Belgian yeast, and just a touch of hops to round things out

M-medium body, spicy carbonation

Overall a really delicious BSDA and Christmas beer. Really great tasting and nicely complex.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2012 23:55:35 | More by ksimons
Photo of jdense
jdense

Oregon

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

750 ml. bottle, 2009 vintage, shared at Twelve Beers of Christmas tasting, 12.18.11.

3/4 finger medium brown head, slow dissipation with some lacing over dark brown opaque body. One of the best smelling beers I've had in a long time, pronounced stone fruit presence, plums, raisins, red currants, a little bit of pluots, balanced nicely with floral hop aromas. Taste features the above stone fruit profile with healthy dose of caramel malt or dark candi sugar which provided quite a bit of residual sweetness. Mouthfeel is well on the full side of medium, good effervescence, a surprisingly astringent mouthfeel given the inherent sweetness. This has to be one of the world's best Christmas beers especially when aged, though drinkablility is a bit impaired by high ABV.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2011 14:58:58 | More by jdense
Photo of oglmcdgl
oglmcdgl

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: on-tap

01-03-2011 03:43:01 | More by oglmcdgl
Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,425 ratings.