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Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

633 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 633
Hads: 1,893
Avg: 4.19
pDev: 16.23%
Wants: 172
Gots: 342 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: seaoflament on 10-23-2007

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (12) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Christmas Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 633 | Hads: 1,893
Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle opened on 12.7.12

A - Pours a deep brown with a ruby hilights. A huge foamy light tan head with amazing retention forms.

S - Spices, raisins, figs, light fruit, cola.

T - Similar, spices are more up-front and dominating.

D - Great carbonation and a medium to light body.

O - Belgian Abbey with Christmas Spices.

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Photo of Treebs
3.89/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml c&c bottle served in an English pub glass. My future mother-in-law surprised me with this on Christmas.

A: Pours a hazy, dark cherry wood color with a deeper brown body. A thick light tan head forms on the pour that slowly recedes to a hefty cap. Sticky sheets of lace are left down the glass.

S: Dark malts and some honey sweetness. A little fig in the periphery. Bready notes with some musty yeast.

T: Dark bread sweetness with some underlying cinnamon and nutmeg like spices. There are some minimal banana esters from the yeast. Oaty and nutty as well.

M: A little too prickly on the carbonation. Medium bodied with the booze nicely hidden.

O: Very nicely developed flavors with some hidden booze. Definitely drank like it was 7-8%. I would have liked a little less carbonation to smooth out the mouthfeel, but overall it was very nice.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.92/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale has a thick, frothy, light beige head, made up of very tiny bubbles. The appearance is brown, with evident tiny bubble streams up the side of the glass and a nice lacing sheen. The aroma is of a strong, yeasty, fruit (plum, raisin, dates), brown bread, and a mild spiciness. Taste is similar, with even some banana showing up. There is an underlying alcohol presence, which, however, is not unpleasant. The mouthfeel is light to medium and prickly, and St. Bernardus Christmas Ale finishes mostly dry, mellow, and drinkable. One can certainly detect brandy-wine type qualities here, and it’s nice to see a Christmas beer without all the offensive, over-the-top flavoring. Overall, this is a world class beer! A true beer fan must try it!


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Photo of ksimons
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage

A- Dark amber/chestnut colored body with a bubbly, frothy head.

S- Belgian spices, honey, dried fruit, raisins, hazelnut, cocoa.

T- Belgian spices come through with some honey and hazelnuts. Also get a lot of raisin and possibly some nutmeg.

M- Full bodied, high carbonation.

O- Good Belgian Christmas ale.

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Photo of Hex92
3.78/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought the bottle around Christmas 2011, just opened it in Dec 2012.

I hoped that it would be a bigger version of the abt 12. Not so much.

A- huge head that lingers. Reddish gold hue.
S- smells like a tasty beer.
T-typical dried fruits the alcohol is well hidden, but the flavor is nothing like abt 12. Its actually pretty tame for the style. Very dry not very malty, not much spice or much else present. Its tasty, but not great.
M- a bit thin doesn't coat the mouth really at all.

O- for the money I would rather buy the abt. This is a decent beer, but not worth $13.

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Photo of Philly82785
4.62/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my favorite Christmas brews. Pours a nice dark brown, with several inches of head. A nose of banana, raisin, and cloves. Flavor of raisins, figs, and a tad boozy. Very malty with little to no hop presence. Has a nice velvet mouth feel.

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Photo of macrosmatic
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Poured from corked & caged bomber into a Peg's snifter glass.

A: Nearly opaque, rich brown in color, with a huge light tan head that lingers.

S: Rich sweet malt, fruity esters with apple and banana prominent, some booze.

T: Follows the nose almost identically, but adds some spiciness. I suppose that's the Christmas aspect? The palate isn't as boozy as the nose suggests.

M: Medium body, good carbonation, moderate alcohol presence given the hefty ABV.

O: Pretty tasty! Don't know that I'm going to actively seek it out every year, but certainly enjoyable.

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Photo of tectactoe
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown, ruby red color; murky and opaque with a thick, fluffy, creamy, and long-lasting beige head. Sweet and malty aromas jump from the glass immediately upon pouring; wine-like in aroma, with grapes and phenolic smells meshing together. Apple skins, berries, prunes, and a subtle hint of clove from the signature Belgian yeast. In the taste, there are many more spices coming out than were in the aroma. Nutmeg, anise, ginger, tiny bits of cinnamon, maybe even a touch of white pepper. Some light cocoa notes all around, bready and thick in flavor, clove and some spicy bitterness hits fast on the tail end. Earthy, dirty, and again full of boozy fruits - plums, figs, apples, soaked in booze. Bread and a touch of rye in the aftertaste. Thick body, heavy, lots of fine carbonation.

A solid Christmastime BSDA that acts as a wonderful winter warmer. One of the things I like about most BSDA's are their complex flavor profiles, and this one is no different. Lots of things going on, but they work together well.

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Photo of thierrynantes
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, best-by date of 08.08.17, poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a dark garnet color, topped with a huge khaki head withnice retention, leaves excellent lacing.

S- Rich, sweet aroma of caramel, toffee, and sugary, bready malt. There's also a ton of dark fruit and a mild spice. As it warms a really excellent brown sugar aroma becomes a bit more prominent. It smells delicious.

T- Similar to the aroma, lots of brown sugar, caramel and dark fruit on top of a bready malt. There's also a very, very subtle spiciness of clove, nutmeg and cinnamon.

M- Medium-bodied, the feel is smooth and very, very soft.

O- A delicious beer, the flavors are rich and complex with a subtle spice that's really spot on.

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Photo of ummswimmin
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really enjoy this bottle with the cool monk in a Santa hat. I really appreciate this order of monks.

This dark ale came with three fingers of foam with a pretty decent amount of retention. I like the dark coloring to this one.

There is a great smell coming off of this one. You can definitely get a real sour presence. I also smell the dark fruit in there. There isn't much spice in the nose, though.

This is a great sipper by the fire or next to my really hot X-box.

Bernardus makes a great beer, including this one. There is great balance going on. This is an excellent Christmas beer.

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: 1/2" tan head over brown liquid.

S: Pears, green apples, green grapes, cherries, strawberries, grass and flowers.

T: Strawberries, pears, cherries, figs, dark grapes, biscuity malt, and grass.

M: Medium viscosity and and high level of foamy and soft carbonation.

O: One of the best Christmas Beers I have ever had. Somewhat dry and not too sweet, the flavours of the yeast are fantastic.

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Photo of Braz
4.21/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark ruby with huge rocky white head that stays bubbly throughout. Lots of fruity aromas. Citrus, banana, raisin, clove are all apparent.
Strong flavor. Can taste raisin and figs. Alcohol taste is heavy as well, like brandy perhaps. Very malty, little to no hop presence.
Huge body and tons of carbonation. Very lively and strong brew with a velvet like texture. Only minor complaint would be that it's almost too bubbly and it gets in the way of the flavors.

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Photo of brureview
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

First time tasting this beer.

It's a carbonated cloved sipper.

Pours an attractive caramel color with a 2.5 finger head. Quite nice.

The pleasant aroma, although light, is lemon and cloves.

Mouth feel at first tastes smooth- this is a deception- this bottle conditioned beer is highly carbonated.

The taste is cloves-lemon-banana. The carbonation overwhelms the finish, but it is an integral part of the beer's signature. A carbonated sipper.

I prefer the Southern Tier 2xmas for the season. Easy drinking and an excellent spice finish.

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Photo of axeman9182
3.69/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle, courtesy of Amanti Vino's Beer of the Month program. It was poured into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip.

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale pours a very dark mahogany, with a handful of cherry highlights. Roughly two fingers of bone colored foam crown the beer, but head retention and lacing are both a bit disappointing. The nose displays a nice ester and phenol balance. There's plenty of dark fruit in the aroma, with a solid, yet secondary spicy quality to it. There's not as much fruitiness as far as the flavor goes. There's a bit of plum, but overall the sweetness is more caramel than anything else. The clove phenol character is a bit more potent here, perhaps just a little too much for my taste. There's also a warming (but not hot) booziness that lingers a little bit. Can't argue with the mouthfeel though, as the beer is wonderfully dried out and drinkable for 10%, and the carbonation has plenty of life to it. The Christmas Ale isn't the most impressive beer in St. Bernardus's repertoire, but it's still a fairly solid strong Belgian brew.

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Photo of Retta123
3.73/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Chilled Bottle – served in tulip glass. Drank alone while husband hunting.

Appearance: Cloudy, medium red-brown with basically no head and no lacing, some bubble

Smell: Sweet, clean, crisp. Made my nose twitch.

Taste: Apple, honey, banana, cherries, but somehow not overly sweet. Did not taste or identify any spices, no oats, maybe some wheat. Not hoppy. Got a warmer feel as I drank it. Leaves honey flavor on my lips!

Mouth feel: Carbonated but smooth. Not creamy.

Overall: It was much sweeter and lighter than I expected for a Christmas Ale, but I liked it. I don’t know if it is the taste, mouth feel or just the glass, but it reminds me of a good wine. It taste lighter than an 10% ABV, but I got a nice little buzz from one bottle.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 750ml brown cork and cage, cool Christmas-themed Bernardus label. Stamped on the top of the cage is 5-27-15 (Guessing that's the best-by date, but I picked this up last year). Poured into two Chimay glasses and split with my wife.

Appearance: Warm mahogany brew with beautiful garnet highlights. Lots of carbonation and a big light tan cap fades to a creamy half finger after a few minutes and leaves some gorgeous sheets of lace.

Smell: Lots of bready yeast, red wine fruitiness, and some Belgian (yeast) spice. Perhaps a hint of candy sugar. Really nice.

Taste: Lots of dark and red fruit (cherries, sweet red wine) with notes of cellar, earth, and a hint of candy sweetness. Green apples on the finish. Mild (balanced, and nowhere NEAR hot) alcohol, ends dry, with a very light bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Awesome; creamy, fluffy, tingly...perfect for the style.

Overall: Even more than the sum of its parts; this usually goes for between 11-13 for a 750 and is relatively widely available. At that price, I think this is (still) after several years is probably my favorite BDSA/Quad out there and, honestly, is close enough to give Westvleteren 12 a run for its money.

A = 93

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Photo of Chaney
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in an Elysian tulip.

A: Poured out a prune, dark brown/purple color, with about a finger or so mocha head that stuck around for a bit.

S: Belgian yeast strain for sure, along with some grape-flavored popcicle. Brown ale-like for sure, along with a healthy dose of prunes and raisons.

T: Nice bitterness here, along with lots of dark fruit, and candy coated booze. Impeccably balanced and then some.

M: The carbonation was fairly high compared to most American versions of this style, but I thought it cut through the potential sugariness quite well. The lacing was moderately splotchy.

O: This brewery produces some awesome beer for sure, and this is one of the many examples!

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Photo of DaveBlack
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep brown color with reddish tints. The head is about 1 1/2 fingers, light tan, and has a seemingly infinite retention.

S: Candied fruits, Belgian yeast, alcohol, and sugary malt. Lots of smells going on here, and they all complement one another.

T: Burnt sugar, earthy yeast, a touch of banana, a little bit of a nutmeg hint as well. Herbal hops balance out the end, along with phenols. The alcohol is definitely present, but in a way that plays nicely with the rest of the flavors, bringing a nice, warming sensation to the beer.

M: Creamy, heavy body with a LOT of carbonation.

O: Not a whole lot about this beer says, specifically "Christmas" but there's a lot that says winter. The spices are warm, the alcohol is warm, the beer is thick and sweet and delicious. Honestly, no single part of this beer stands out to me, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – The beer was served a deep mahogany colored brew with a decent haze and a thick one finger head. The head faded holds on for some time, eventually fading to give a decent level of lacing.

Smell – The aroma was heaviest of dark fruit aromas of plum, raisin and some fig. Mixed with these aromas is a very subtle spice (cinnamon and nutmeg) aroma as well as a yeast aroma and a little bit of banana.

Taste – The taste begins with the dark sweet fruits that were detected in the nose. The raisin and prune character of the taste are soon joined by a yeasty taste as well as a spice flavor. While the spice starts off on the weaker side it soon grows stronger with flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg becoming more potent. Flavors of a banana nature and some bready tastes then come to the tongue. These flavors all mingle together to in the end , with the advent of some alcohol taste, leave a warming fruity spiced taste to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel –The body of the beer is quite creamy with a carbonation level that is rather moderate. The creamy body is fantastic as it baths the tongue in the fruit, bready, and warming alcohol flavors of the brew. The carbonation seems to add just the right excitement to the mouthfeel to complement the spice tastes. Overall rather pleasant.

Overall – Quite tasty of fruit, warming and just the right amount of spice. A delicious winter warmer.

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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 dirtylou
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, split

appearance: served in the seldom-used de koninck chalice, garnet-mahogany body, big creamy beige lace. nice

smell: dark belgian sugar, dark fruit, holiday spice

taste: big dark fruit, clove, banana, dark fruit soaked in booze, some holiday spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cherry, brown sugar, crystallized dates. Another nice classic from St. Bernies.

mouthfeel: rich and full, boozy finish

overall: nice

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Photo of alkemy
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fluffy, voluminous creamy tan head. I had to cut the pour short for fear of overflow.

A—Cloudy, deep mahogany with the afforementioned head…which does not soon dissipate. Sticks to the glass like
Whipped egg whites.
S—Thankfully, the “christmas” spicing is absent. Plums and apricots. Also a whiff of muenster cheese as odd as that sounds.
Beyond that it has the typical banana and bubble gum.
T—Dark fruits dominate the taste. As with many Belgian’s, the taste follows the scent quite closely. It’s sweet, but the alcohol lends enough warmth to make this feel really balanced.
M—Pretty carbonated, but it has enough weight to keep it from “biting”
D—It’s good…it’s real good. The first few drinks, the warmth of the alcohol was noticeable, but that quickly faded. I think it’s less boozy than the abt 12. Very good.

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Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet.

A -Beautiful brown-black color. Amazing head, 3 fingers or more.

S - Lovely complext flavors. Raisiny, hints of fig.

T - Just an awesome beer. Perfectly balanced. Hardly taste any alcohol while it's going down. Candy for adults. Wanted to give this a 5, but you gotta leave room for better.

M - Lucious, medium to full bodied.

O - What a nearly perfect beer for those who love strong Abbey ales. And I do. Could drink this from the Macy's parade to first day of spring.

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Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
93 out of 100 based on 633 ratings.