Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,864 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,864
Reviews: 643
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 156
Gots: 307 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website
Belgium

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,864 | Reviews: 643
Photo of Premo88
4.04/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

25.4 oz. bomber poured into chalice

(25.07.18 printed on cap; best before July 25, 2018)

L: classic Belgian foam pours out of bottle -- couldn't properly pour this brew into anything but a wide-mouthed glass; tan foam is super thick and lasts forever atop an amber brew ... the color is relatively light for a quad, reddish brown, copper, red, nothing black nor mud-brown; clarity is uncanny -- even off the pour, it looks almost 80% clear, and as it sits in the glass for a few minutes, sure enough it clears up to almost German-lager-like proportions ... absolutely beautiful; no sticking or lacing but otherwise a perfect-looking beer

S: grapes, wine, sweet grapes ... copper, metal rust; dark dried fruits, even some dried cranberries in there, but mostly dates and raisins

T: slightly boozy punch of sweet dark fruits, dates mostly, and wine/grapes; a little yeast/grain in the aftertaste

F: fantastic! i'm a sucker for carbonation, so the Belgians are my favorites, and this one delievers. very full and carbonated but just light enough to be very drinkable; possibly too carbonated ... you *do* have to drink through foam often

O: dangerous beer here -- perhaps the lightest, easiest drinking quad I've run across so far in limited experience with the style; it's got plenty of dark-fruit notes, even as dark as raisins, but it's still very accessible and sweet

Photo of cjgiant
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
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 timontheroad
4.24/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark reddish-brown, with a nice one finger of light foam that receded pretty quickly, very light lacing. The aroma is heavy of dark fruits and sweet malt, with a very light nutmeg or allspice note. The taste is very nice, with sweet malt, figs, plums, raisins, nutmeg and a touch of vanilla blending superbly - not one overpowers any of the others. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied, very smooth, with just a touch of alcohol burn. I think this one would really benefit from a bit of aging. Overall this is a very tasty beer, fits perfectly for the season.

Photo of jcruelty
3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

I can't remember exactly what this tasted like. That's the problem w/ having a Christmas beer party... there's so many good ones but they all blur. I think I slightly prefer Scaldis Noel

Photo of jokemon
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

i like it, not too sweet and a nice spice finish cheers!

Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.29/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage into a chimay chalice.

Pours with plentiful carbonation forming a nearly everlasting off white head of billowy Belgian-classic head. Looks dark brown in low light but shows a misty autumn tinged rusty glow when held to light.

Smells light a true classic BSDA. Rich and layered malts coming off the foamy head Brings to mind platters of bread and cracked barley cereal. Yeasty esters are present but not out of control. A hint of banana and clove and a touch of classic Belgian yeasty herbal bite.

The flavor is like a multiple course dinner. Explosive carbonation blows up the initial yeasty esters on the palate. This is great, and is followed by some nice spices that make me think of holiday tea. Cinnamon perhaps? I am finding these to be very subtle, and take a 3rd row jump seat to the massive and poised nature of this big Belgian. After the spices comes the warm dark bready notes of the malts. There is a bit of dried fruit here as well, but it is held firmly down by the yeasty bite of a "relatively" young quad.

There is very little "heat", but a fair amount of bite from the strong estery yeast presence. The feel is on the dry side and not at all heavy because of all the carbonation.

This is excellent stuff as I would expect from this brewery. Why have I never tasted it before? I have three more bottles to cellar and I expect them to improve. Hopefully after a year or so the spices will integrate a bit, and as they fade after more years I hope to see some development of the dark fruit, leather, tobacco favors that can show up in the great quads as they age. Maybe the spices will be able to last till then too, time will tell.

Photo of Rhubbs
5/5  rDev +18.2%

love this beer! even at the price of $22 a bottle (canadian) its worth every penny.
everything you love about the ABT12 with a little more spice. dare to say my #2 beer

Photo of cambabeer
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%

This was good. Very nutmegy and peppery. Very warming with the alcohol and cinnamon. Mild hops, fairly high carbonation, medium body.

Photo of bcholka1
5/5  rDev +18.2%

I deeply enjoy the ABT12, however I just purchased a few 11.2 oz bottles of this Christmas Ale. For me this is nearly the best ale I have tried. I prefer a sweeter ale with less hops and this is it.

Photo of UrbanCaveman
3.57/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle, poured into a snifter at room temperature.

A: Pours a rich, deep bronze-brown, and forms a fantastically thick head with good retention. Fairly clear, enough to see the bubbles rising from the bottom. Lacing is rather remarkable - this amount of froth and lacing should not even be possible for a 10% ABV beer!

S: Sweet malt and yeast, wreathed through with plum, fig, and cherry notes. The candi sweetness is of course present, along with just a tinge of funk.

T: So, that's what a quad with cinnamon in it tastes like. There's significant heat in this, from a combination of cinnamon spice with noticeable alcohol. Sweet malt, candi sugar, and dark fruits, particularly cherry, are all present, but beneath the spiceahol mix. The finish leaves a lingering burn.

M: Rather thin and sharply carbonated for a quad, actually. I was expecting something stickier, given the head and lacing.

O: I am rather underwhelmed by this beer, especially from St. Bernardus. The Abt 12 is spectacular, but this does not disguise the alcohol content half as well - instead, it disguises the underlying yeast flavors with alcohol and spice. I wouldn't say it is a bad beer, but I would not go out of my way to have it again. Perhaps if I were to encounter it on tap somewhere for a decent price per pour.

Photo of BMMillsy
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%

Corked and caged 750 ml bottle shared with Dad. Pours dark reddish brown, some purple color, creamy one finger white to off white head. Aroma has much more fruit character than the 12, with lots of sweet cherry notes, caramel malts, funky Belgian yeast of course, and candi sugar. Much more muted hop notes here than the 12 as well. Flavor follows the smell closely with big sweet fruit flavors--tastes like the added cherries to this one, but can’t find info on fruit additions--light spice, candi sugar and sweet malts. Very smooth and pleasant. Sweet but not cloying. Medium carbonation and plus body. This was really nice.

Photo of Dougology
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Purchased in Italy. Very dark with lots of bubbles. Can't even tell that it's 10%.

Photo of gonzo000
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Top 5 christmas beers year in and year out.

Photo of leffebrown84th
3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

Not too bad. Tastes like an apple wheat beer with spice. At 10 abv it is easy to drink and alcohol is well hidden.

Photo of Devil-Doc
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

Full great flavor, nice head

Photo of spinrsx
3.9/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml Bottle from Total Wine Tampa FL - 2012 edition - $9

Appearance – Brown colour with an above average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation and there is some great lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell – Malts, caramel, fruit cake, dark fruits, all spice

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel, and a bit of chocolate. There is also some raisins/plums/cherries, oranges, and an all spice mix,

Overall – You have to be in the mood for a beer like this. Perhaps October is a little early for a christmas tasting brew. Regardless, as far as Xmas beers though, this one is solid. It's got a fruit cake like flavour and the ABV is very well hidden

Photo of rden4654
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%

Decent Beer I would not go out of my way to buy it though.

Photo of jdhowe
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Reviewed from notes from a blind tasting

A: Pours a clear golden amber with a slight tan head of large bubbles. Nice clarity (4.5)

S: Sweet grapes, fig, dates, candied, and a hint of peppery spice. (4.5)

T/M: Light/medium mouthfeel with very high carbonation level. Sweet and fruity throughout with a very slight bitterness to balance. Grape juice and candy up front lead into fig and a candy sugar finish. (4.5/4.5)

O: Very nice. High carb actually makes this super drinkable for what it is, and the peppery spice with a year of age on it melds beautifully with the beer.

Photo of kkleu357
4.6/5  rDev +8.7%

From notes on 12/12/13

Very sweet smell. Kind of like bubble gum. Nice shiny brown pour. Awesome taste. Sweet, malty, caramel, and bananas. Very fine beer.

Photo of patre_tim
4.44/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown with a light cherry tinge when held to the light. Topped with 3 fingers of beige fluffy head. Chunky snow like lacing.


S: Prunes, cherries, raisins, figs, Christmas pudding.


T: Cherries, orange, prunes, raisins, Christmas pudding, a light iron quality. Nutmeg, mace, cinnamon.


M: Thick, dark and syrupy, light foamy carbonation.


O: Excellent brew. Got online in Thailand, drank for the second time January 5th, 2015. Drank first at Turkey Creek, NC two summers ago. I went to the brewery near Watou last Christmas, and they had none left. I asked the head brewer to be sure to send more brews, particularly this one, to China. Was glad to have at least found it in Thailand.

Photo of chinchill
4.21/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Large 75cl bottle (2012?) served in a large Piraat tulip.

A: Dark but clear red-brown body. Large, durable, off-white foamy head,with exceptional lacing. Patchy sticky lace decorates the glass well after tipping.

Aroma: Dark fruits and dark bread crust. Faint spices. yeast and an unfortunate touch of must comes with the yeastiness.

Flavor: Sweet, but not overly so, with hints of toffee and brown sugar. Hints of spices including nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. A suggestion of rum. Dark fruit in abundance. No mustiness, thankfully. Complex and layered. Faint, ripe banana. Loads of depth here, and other flavor components come and go, adding to the enjoyment of this great ale.

Feel: medium body. Medium-heavy but soft carbonation makes for a light and lively feel.. Smooth, sticky and gently warming.

O: More like an ABT 12 than St. Bernardus Prior 8. Better than the Prior 8 and, if not for the aroma, it would be better than the ABT 12 too. Despite the Xmas theme, quite enjoyable in the summer. Highly recommended.

Photo of steelersfan6669
3.83/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

even In the summer this beer is good.
slightly cloying but the spice kind of balances it well.

A-brown with a lot of carb and foam

S-spices , molasses, sugar , yeast and a bread or dough quality

T-almonds ,oak or wood, vanilla , cloves , cinnamon , dried cherries.

M-heavy carbonation , sweet , heavy

O-I like this beer on a chilly evening when I only want one beer .

Photo of shacawgo24
4.98/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A-Dark raisin brown body. Off-white four finger head, (yes four) that has a slight hue of pink to it. The head is incredibly soapy and foamy. Your cup will runneth and floweth over. Head is also flaked with crystals that glitter throughout like fresh fallen snowflakes. Patchy, clumpy, sticky lace decorates glass.

S-Bourbon. Sour skins of grape, cherry and apple. Baking spices. Molasses. Brown sugar. Doughy. Yeasty. Inhale deeply enough your nose might sneeze from the pure abundance of spiced yeast.

T-Brown sugar. Cherry almond. Ginger bread or something wow. Nutmeg. Vanilla. Rum. Oak/woodsy. Bourbon. Cookie. Dry cinnamon & clove. Fruit flavored glazed pies like apple & cherry. Slightest of grape flavor, akin to an astringent red wine grape. The most subdued banana note, like a custard. One can go on and on deciphering flavors. The most consistent note was the hard to describe cherry-ginger-glazed pie STRONG middle-sip flavor.

M-Medium-low body. Medium-heavy carbonation. Sip starts tart, sweet and spiced. Then a punch of bitter-sweet bourbon uppercuts in the middle. Also in the middle is a sweet yeasty/doughy pie/donut note. The end of the sip is all of the aforementioned in harmony, slowly fading away into the aftertastes. The after is a gentle titillation of dry bitter holiday spices.
The yeast is the star here, swamping your palate with prickling sensations. And the hops as well bring this effect. Very sticky your lips get with time.

O-St. Bernardus does no wrong. This Christmas Ale ages perfectly, you can sip one in the summer. This quad was meant to be sipped. So complex and boozy. I do wish the body was more grand and creamy, silky. Other than that, you can't get much better in look, smell and taste. Quads are probably the best beer style on Earth. St. Bernardus Christmas Ale is powerful proof for that claim.

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 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.

Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,864 ratings.