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Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,389 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1389
Reviews: 574
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.22%

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website

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: 1,389 | Reviews: 574 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of julian89


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

I had this beer a long time ago, found a paper record of my review and figured I'd transfer it to BA.
Poured from bottle to snifter.

Appearance: Light opaque brown with a creamy 2 inch head and good retention. Minimal lacing.

Smell: Glorious dark fruit and sweet malt smell. Dominated by all spice, plum, pear, and apricot. Very Christmas like.

Taste: Right off the bat it has that strong Belgian sweetness. Fruit taste is prominent just like the Bernardus Triple. The spices make it a very festive beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium to thick bodied with excellent carbonation.

Drinkability: Great beer and easily drinkable. You can drink this beer pretty much year round. May be a little heavy for summer though.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2012 15:54:58 | More by julian89
Photo of tbeckett

Ontario (Canada)

4.26/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from Harvest Wines. From notes.

A - Poured a dark reddy brown colour with good carbonation and a lovely, thick one finger of light brown head. Great thick lace and one finger of retention. Looked lovely the whole way.

S - Vinous, dark fruit, yeast, sweet dark fruit.

T - Yeast, dark fruit, sweet. Pretty nice. The vinous element is subtle but nice and clearly there but tucked away behind that fruity sweetness. Little to no spice.

M - Medium carbonation and a full body with good feeling for the carbonation.

O/D - Lovely stuff. Rich and malty. I can imagine loving this with snow coming down. Good stuff. Tad sweet perhaps.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2012 01:08:03 | More by tbeckett
Photo of BostonHops


4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle served in a snifter.

pours a murky chestnut tone while yielding a generous 2"+ beige/tan head. strong retention and patches of lacing evident. nose offers a strong spice presence with other notes of dark fruit, caramel, brown sugar, and belgian yeast.

flavor follows the aroma with strong opening salvo of spices, followed by the malt and caramel / brown sugar elements, then the dark fruits. tasty, relatively complex. medium-plus bodied mouthfeel with some prickly carbonation.

overall, it's a bit reminiscent of (at the risk of being simplistic) a spiced version of the abt 12 - which i would prefer. a very good christmas ale, just nothing overly spectacular.

(originally reviewed: 12-07-2011)

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2012 22:50:12 | More by BostonHops
Photo of jjanega08


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

No freshness dating on the bottle.

A= Pours a deep bark hazy brown color with a huge off white tannish head on it that holds great retention and great lacing. Pretty typical of St. B's beers in appearance.

S= This doesn't have any "christmasy" spice to it which is nice since it's May. There is a great spicyness to the yeast odor to it that covers some darker fruit aroma as well as some candied sugar typical of a Belgian.

T= The taste is similar to the aroma. Dark fruit and spicy Belgian yeast that gives off an almost bannana like flavor to it. Nice amount of candied sugar that I usually associate with St. B's beers. A solid pick.

M= Highly carbonated and light on the tongue.

O= Another solid beer from St. B's. Bought as a gift and I appreciated it so much I bought another. This is a solid beer that will put you in the holiday spirit no matter the season.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2012 22:11:29 | More by jjanega08
Photo of gtermi


4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: This beer pours a VERY dark copper body with a thick white head that slowly fades. As the beer fades, it leaves a lot of thick lace on the glass.

S: This has a strong amount of Belgian yeast that gives off that amazing fruitiness and a sort of floral scent. Its very sweet too that tingles the nose.

T: This is where the beer REALLY shines for me. It just has that perfect amount of malt, sweetness and yeast. It is very sweet and lingers for a very long time. It almost has a fruit juice flavor to it.

M: Now I don't exactly love the mouthfeel because the beer feels so thick when I drink it. The carbonation is a killer and makes it a little less enjoyable to drink.

O: This beer is great and I would for sure buy it again. I seem to find beers that use Belgian yeasts a little too carbonated, but I guess thats just how the yeast works.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2012 06:16:18 | More by gtermi
Photo of kylehay2004


4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Word of caution, make sure you aim this one away from anything breakable or your face as my cork rocketed across the room unlike any I have ever seen. Large frothy head, nice retention on a deep clear amber body.

S: rich dark fruit aroma with mostly fig and cherry and strawberry, not too sweet.

T: more dark fruit but more sour than sweet. Spicey Belgian yeast as well.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation. Semi dry in the finish.

Overall: a Little sour but overall a nice drinkable strong ale from this brewery.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2012 06:41:05 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of jdhilt

New Hampshire

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Will pour a five+ finger cream head that fades very slowly, leaving some lace. Deep, opaque brown color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Nose is Belgian yeast and flavor is sweet Belgian yeast and spice, nice Christmas ale. Higher ABV is hidden. $11.20 for a 750ml caged & corked bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2012 23:45:55 | More by jdhilt
Photo of IronLover


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep walnut brown in color and murky. Poured with a billowy off-white foam with awesome retention that left huge sheets of lacings on the glass. Spicy aromas hit the nose first with sweet estery and dark malts in the background. Medium bodied with aggressive yet smooth delicate carbonation. Dark fruit and banana flavors from start to finish with spices overtop. Herbal hops come and go through the middle. The flavors are consistent and coexist nicely as not one flavor overwhelms the others. Finishes semi-dry with a light yeasty and spicy aftertaste.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2012 18:00:38 | More by IronLover
Photo of JohnnyMc


4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This stands out as one of my new favorite Christmas Ales. The aroma has a nice blend of spices, malts and cherries. From the first sip the great balance of cherries and honey mix with the malts and spices that evoke memories of Christmas.

While a very strong beer there is no taste of alcohol and even with the cherries, honey and spices this is not a sweet beer either. This is great for the holiday season.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2012 04:11:06 | More by JohnnyMc
Photo of eduardolinhalis


4.23/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml served in a La Trappe Trappist chalice.

A: Pours a dark amber to brown color with a big creamy fluffy beige head. A bit cloudy. Good retention. A thin layer is always there and many lacings are left

S: Mainly dark fruits and caramel. Plums, dates, figs and raisins. Caramel malts, Belgian yeasts, toffee and alcohol in the end

T: Follows the nose: Dark fruits, toffee, caramel malts and Belgian yeasts. Sweet taste and mild on bitterness, quite bready as a traditional Belgian strong Ale. Alcohol can be also felt in the end

M: Full creamy and molasses body. Medium carbonation. Alcohol in the end

O: Very drinkable and tasty beer. Exactly what you expect from a St. Bernardus beer... An excellent beer! ;)

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2012 16:44:21 | More by eduardolinhalis
Photo of KAP1356


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Capone's. Served in a 13 oz. tulip...

A - Presented a dark, murky brown, reddish-amber color. A one finger cream color head had nice retention. Some light lacing.

S - Dark, rich, candy-like fruits like dates, figs, and raisins up front. Some cherries and plums also stand out. Lots of bready malts and carmel come next with some light spiciness from the yeast.

T - Follows the nose well with deep, rich fruits standing out. Dates, figs, and raisins mix well with cherries and some plums. Candy sugar and breadyt malts also come through adding nicely to the sweetness the fruits present. Some sweet toffee also comes out along with a nice hint of chocolate.

M - Medium to full bodied beer with a very smooth mouthfeel. Carbonation was adequate. Very slight hint of alcohol as the beer warms. Really nice, rich body.

O - I really enjoyed this one. I actually liked it better than Abt 12, which I was pleasantly surprised at. I definitely look forward to trying this one again next Christmas!

Serving type: on-tap

02-02-2012 20:42:28 | More by KAP1356
Photo of lovindahops

New York

4/5  rDev -5.4%
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

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2012 04:20:24 | More by lovindahops
Photo of Hopdaemon39

New York

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

Had on tap at Acme in Rochester. Unfortunately it was not poured into the proper vessel (it was poured into a strange pint type glass). The appearance rating suffered- it pours a deep mahogany with lots of head and good lacing.

Smells very sweet- ALMOST like alcohol but sweeter and with a little spice. Very pleasant.

Tastes rich and malty. It is a very sweet beer with the appropriate spices- maybe a little cinnamon and nutmeg. Also a little taste of yeast.

Mouthfeel is incredible- this is an amazingly refreshing beer for how sweet it is and how alcoholic it is. It is medium to full bodied with light to medium carbonation.

This a definitely a beer worth drinking again and again if you can find it and want to shell out the bucks.

Serving type: on-tap

01-28-2012 01:17:29 | More by Hopdaemon39
Photo of david18

New York

3.2/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I had a twelve ounce draft of this at the Amsterdam Ale House on Manhattan's Upper West Side. This was an ok beer but not great. I usually don't like Winter Ales but it was really more of a typical belgian dark than what one might typically think of a winter beer as.

Appearance was typical of the style. A dark mahogany but not a lot of head. Belgian lacing was still there, however.

Aroma was a little thin. Dark fruit and esthery yeast, as expected, but a little underwhelming.

Flavor as well was not as interesting as I had hoped and the alcohol heat was a little bit much.

Overall an OK beer but not too great. Their quad is much better.

Serving type: on-tap

01-19-2012 20:27:18 | More by david18
Photo of kkipple

South Carolina

4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed a 750 of this to drink after Christmas with friends. It's been a while since I've had one. Love the bottle art. No idea how old this isn't.

A. Sint Bernardus Christmas produces a huge, 3 inch tall dense, moussy tan head almost immediately upon pouring. The beer is cola colored and dark. The head is impressive, but a bit much, and needs to fall before any 'headway' can be made on the brew.

S. Belgian all the way. Big dark malt sweetness, plus the candi sugar that takes it up a few rungs. Phenloic-spice, pepper, heavy on the Belgian yeast now, then pear, candi sugar, light banana, black bread, sweet, smooth, dark fruits... covers a highly diverse amount of smells and does them very well. The nose here is both complete and inviting, and while you can pick booze up, it is very restrained for 10%.

T. Classic Belgian Strong Dark, but with more spice that you might be used to. Sweet and estery-sour, raisin and dark prune / plum, then at turns rummy, spicy,sweet, cola-like. The Belgian character here is wonderful, lending a sprightly complexity that is (to me) better than the normal Abt 12, which itself is no weakling. This tastes aged, meaning all the flavors have blended and rounded out, and the booze is nowhere to be found until you get that welcome warming feeling. Soft, yet boldly flavored, and delightful.

M / O. Full bodied beer for sure, but smooth and sweet, the malt finish fading out slowly, lingering. What a tasty brew this was! If this is fresh, then it is a tremendous recipe. I really do think this is the second best beer I've had from this brewery, after the 60th Anniversary. Saint Bernardus Christmas is a true Belgian classic, and one that will be finding its way into my glass a good deal more often. Highly recommend.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2012 03:44:14 | More by kkipple
Photo of sweemzander


3.8/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750mL corked and caged bottle poured into a tulip.

(A)- Pours a dark burnt sienna color. Produced a giant head of fluffy tan colored froth. Great retention and tons of lace.

(S)- Rich bits of dark fruits, yeasty lemon and banana, and a clay-like earth. Very subtle bits of spices.

(T)- Same like the smell was. Though, a much sharper yeast presence than the smell led me to believe, but has the same great dark fruits: plum, cassis, grape, and raisin.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. A bit heavy in the yeast department, so it really gets a bit earthier and drier than expected.

(D)- Overall, another solid beer from St. Bernardus. Malty and rich with classic components.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2012 16:49:46 | More by sweemzander
Photo of 3HovsepiansBrews


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 ales4baldo


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

P-Old looking individual thats probably St. Bernardus himself. Either way label definitely shows a winter theme and a merry Christmas.

A-Pours somewhat thin and watery. Got a fluffy and airy looking head. Seems to stay put. About a finger and a half i would say. A cloudy rustic almond dark brown.

S-Smells good. Belgian candy and malts along with the sweet sugars that come with the booze that sneaks up the nose the longer you smell. Plums and black licorice and nuts, maybe a little nutmeg and cinnamon, can be found.

T-Lots of Belgian malts. The candy is ever so present as it usually is. Lots of yeast and black licorice. I do get a nutmeg and cinnamon feel to this one along with some nice booze. Nothing to heavy though. Little raisins as well and maybe some dark wheat bread.

M-Sits pretty easy on the palate. Seems to be a little thin and soft. Carbonation is pretty high but leaves a nice crisp finish. Medium body.

O-A nice beer. Nothing super unique about this one but would like to grab another one to age and let sit. Good all around BSDA with nice flavors. Would like to see more smoothness to this one but thatll probably come with aging.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2012 03:41:14 | More by ales4baldo
Photo of Bigbadbudman


4.9/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was my first Christmas ale I have tried. And as usual like all St. Bernardus beers it was simply amazing. The fruits and chocolates all worked very well together. Tremendous amount of alcohol present which is always good. But it was very well balanced with the taste. There is an amazing head when poured out of the bottle. I actually had to use my Stella knife to cut the head off. A must try in my book.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2012 01:57:46 | More by Bigbadbudman
Photo of BretSikkink


3.65/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured with a decent foamy head of some stature, although by the time I get to my table it is much reduced. Colors of brown and red, hazy, leaning towards black on the shadowed side of the glass.

Nose is very malty, with dried fruit, molasses, allspice notes. Estery as well.

The bubblegum ester note is most prominent on the flavor, alongside the mulling spices. If this doesn't sound tasty to you, don't bother. Peppery hops. Lots of esters and phenols, but the spices are big.

Full body with a smooth carbonation. Finishes strong and sweet. Way too rich for me, but it's a fair Belgian winter ale.

Serving type: on-tap

01-06-2012 05:45:21 | More by BretSikkink
Photo of 01001111


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

A: Cloudy, warm, caramel amber.

S: Sweet banana bread. Very malty.

T: Much like the smell; sweet, caramel bread flavors with hints of spice, nuttiness, and dark candied fruits.

M: Full bodied and smooth with a bit of zest.

O: Quite an amazing brew. If it weren't for the sweetness I could make this a regular indulgence.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2012 02:16:30 | More by 01001111
Photo of mltobin


4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap over in NY state.

Appearance is deep red-brown, some lacing going on. Its` nose has raisins, yeast, candy, brown sugar and figs. A very robust smelling beer. Taking a sip of this strong dark ale and I taste spices from the winter season such as cinnamon and clove, along with some more dark fruits. MF leans towards full, the alcohol does not really hide. Sip this one and enjoy on a cold winter day.

Serving type: on-tap

01-05-2012 02:28:57 | More by mltobin
Photo of jpro

South Carolina

4.7/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brought this one out to close out Christmas day. 750mL bottle poured into a Duvel tulip... (from notes)

A: Dark, ruby-brown; three-finger, beige head is nice and chunky, and leaves some serious gobs of lace; tiny bubbles keep a creamy head of retention going strong.

S: Toasted caramel malt; spice; light banana; clove; figs; very rich aroma.

T: Belgian yeast spiciness... especially clove, which peeks through more than on the nose; molasses; candi sugar; bubble gum; banana bread; very complex and satisfying.

M: Near full mouthfeel; high, extra zingy carbonation; alcohol shows up a little more with warmth.

O: A great winter sipper; complex and delicious; another superb ale from St. Bernardus! Mmmm....

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2012 16:51:36 | More by jpro
Photo of Vixie


3.53/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark ruby red color. Looks black at first, but when held to the light, it is deep red. Forms a very large tan head, pour this one carefully, or you will overflow your glass with foam.

The smell is very malty, but I can detect some spice as well. Pepper, licorice, and cinnamon come to mind as I'm smelling it.

Fruity with a hint of spice. Raisin and a bit of cinnamon apple, with a bit of pepper behind it. There is some nice alcohol warming at the finish.

The feel seems a bit weak for the style, I was expecting a bit more presence.

A decent beer, but not as complex as I was expecting. I have had several beers of this style, and it doesn't quite match up to the best of them. Still, it is a nice beer to drink on a cold night, and glad I tried it.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2012 02:24:09 | More by Vixie
Photo of DavidST


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
Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,389 ratings.