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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: 1,890
Avg: 4.19
pDev: 9.31%
Wants: 171
Gots: 339 | 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: 1,890
Photo of mdunman
3.18/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Opaque brown color that pours a very thick light tan head that stays around til the very end.

S: Wine like aroma, smell of red grapes and alcohol.

T: Starts with a fairly sweet grape flavor then progresses to a mild wine like taste, grapes and alcohol, with spices around the edges and finishes with a merlot like dryness.

M: Feels like a champagne, loaded with carbonation and gives a bit of sizzle across the whole of the mouth.

Not a typical Christmas Ale by any means. Very original sensation from start to finish, but this wasn't my kind of beer. And at $11 for a 750mL bottle, I don't think I'll be picking one up next year.

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Photo of david18
3.18/5  rDev -24.1%
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.

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Photo of Pahn
3.18/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Burp Castle, NYC. Poured into Chimay chalice.

Appearance: Murky, chocolate-brown like coffee. No head and some speckled lacing.

Smell: Weak scent of Belgian yeast and grape.

Taste: There's some notes of grape, caramel, and brown sugar, but the dominant taste is cola. There's a bright Belgian yeast flavor at the end that's reminiscent of the finish of Saint Bernardus's quad, which is this beer's high point. The alcohol is hot and dominant. There's some noticeable hops. The flavor is a bit wine-like and dark. It's sweet and tart, almost sour. The flavor was very uneven; each sip was different, and, more often than not, unpleasant. At times, dangerously close to cough syrup.

Mouthfeel: Watery and syrupy, with way over the top carbonation.

Drinkability: Decent, considering the ABV.


This beer tasted unfortunately close to cola. The horribly overdone carbonation doesn't help matters. Very disappointing offering from such an outstanding brewery.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.2/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

750 ml bottle. Served in a chalice, the beer pours dark brown with an inch and a half frothy tan head. Head retention and lacing are both pretty good. Aroma is nice, it smells like dark fruit, cinnamon, bread, yeast, pepper, cloves, and caramel. Taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also a good bit of alcohol/booze and also a slight metallic taste noticable. Mouthfeel/body is medium with high carbonation. Way too much carbonation for my taste. This hurts the drinkability for me. The high carbonation makes this brew hard to drink, it feels like I'm drinking bubbles and not liquid. Overall it's a decent brew, but would be much better if the carbonation was cut down some. It looks good and tastes good, but it's not easy to drink at all.

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Photo of mrfrancis
3.21/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours what initially appears to be a nearly opaque black, but when held up to the light, the ale is actually a clear, dark, brownish amber. This ale pours with a tremendous, rocky beige head that laces deep into the glass. It's really a good looking beer.

S: The smell is a bit of a disappointment really, as soft, gentle aromas of banana, cream, milk chocolate, figs, and dates fill the nose. I was expecting something a bit spicier and more assertive. At least there is nothing in the way of an alcohol aroma.

T: Opens sweet and rich with notes of caramel, dark bread, pear drop candy, banana, chocolate, heavy cream, figs, raisins, and dates. Unfortunately, there is an overwhelming alcohol flavor and presence that singes the tongue and obliterates any chance of other flavors developing. The finish is hot and intoxicating with pear drop, banana, cream, and chocolate notes lost in a swirl of fiery alcohol.

M: Full bodied and filling with active carbonation. This ale is initially smooth, creamy, malty, and rich, but once the alcohol kicks in, it dries out completely. Very difficult to drink. I cannot figure out why this beer is so off-kilter.

O: I've always been a fan of both St. Bernardus and this style, so I really wanted to like this beer. Unfortunately, I just couldn't. The overwhelming alcohol presence and heavy mouthfeel ruined this one for me. I doubt I'll be purchasing this beer again.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.26/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured on tap giving off a very nice opaque dark brown nut quality body. Good looking tan cream head almost as well.

Smell is a one trick pony. This is an all out banana syrup bomb, not even starch smelling just like faint Dairy Queen banana topping. I am not a fan of bananas so this makes for a not enjoyable smell and review for me (keep that in mind). Taffy notes as well, and with brown sugar notes and mild butter.

Taste is actually solid with a nice simple carbonation and sour chew quality. Banana syrup but not too thick body leaving a good finish.
Strangely enough, I am not a fan of this flavor but this is a well put together brew. I wouldn't want this again, but I can see the reasons why people would have this beer again no problem.

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Photo of BeRanger
3.27/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours kind of a murky brown with about 2-3 fingers of white head that stayed for quite some time.

S - The smell was nice, plentiful spices and yeast. Seemed rich of cinnamon, plum and other sweet smells.

T - Taste the cinnamon, plums and other spices/sweet flavors. Unfortunately for me the taste was ruined by the extremely high carbonation. It was too much to handle.

M - Medium body with extremely high carbonation.

O - I was pretty disappointed with this bottle as I felt the carbonation was extremely high compared to what it should be. I have one more bottle in my cellar that I hope to enjoy sometime in the near future. If it's less carbonated, I intend to possibly change the review. I liked the flavors that were coming through however.

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Photo of Brabander
3.3/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had bought this bottle at the brewerie when i visited it together with the guys from the Sierra Nevada brewerie. I had high hopes of this beer because i love the beers Bernardus makes. This beer however disapointed me. That was funny in a certain way because we drank the beer in a tasting session with some BA's at my place and the rest was enthousiastic about it.

There we go! Poured in a tasting glass the beer looks ok. Nice head but a little bit too much carbonation for a dark beer. You could say it is an overcarbonated 12.

I will try this one on tap when i am at the Christmasbeerfestival in Essen this weekend.


We had this beer at the end of 2011 at my cousin Peters place. Great beers and great fun.

This beer was poured in my Essen Christmasbeerfestivalglass (what a word for wordfeud!) The beer was disappointing again...

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.3/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Christmas Eve seemed an appropriate time top open this beer. It was very dark brown with a white head and the bubbles seemed really compacted together. It smelled like slight herbal mints, whiff of chocolate (barely detectable), and raisins. The flavor was raisin and plum-like. Decent stuff but the 10.5 ABV knocked me down.

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Photo of jwc215
3.4/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 ml cage-corked bottle, poured into glass chalice provided by Wasatch:

Pours hazed dark brown with a thin tan head that becomes a large island. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is of dark bread, light spiciness, in an herbal way. There's a hint of prune and anise.

The taste is of spicy pumpernickel. Not spiced, but spicy. Yeasty with some anise and earthy notes. Sharp, yet creamy. Potency might add more body than is actually there.

This was less than expected for the brewery. I tend to prefer the non-spiced winter beers, but this one - well...doesn't really do it for me. Nice, but expected better from this brewery.

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Photo of MacDomer
3.43/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this on Christmas Eve and am now just getting to reviewing. I am a huge fan of Bernardus Tripel and Abt 12, but this was a letdown from an otherwise great brewer.

Split a corked & caged 750 mL bottle with the family. Poured into a Westy chalise and two Chimay chalises.

A - Medium brown to dark in color, with a decent microfoam head (typical Belgian). Some yeast floaties as well - berk. Visible carbonation.

S - Some nice yeast and fruit notes in the nose, along with alcohol (not much). However, this was the first Belgian that I'd consider medicinal smelling. A bit of a turnoff.

T - Dark fruits, such as raisin and plum, a bit of bitterness, but again there's the medicinal quality. Odd. Not a fan. Some spices that start off fairly well, but they fade and take backstage to some strange herbal medicinal quality.

M - As you would expect from the style, but a bit over carbonated.

D - Won't buy this one again, but was fun to try nonetheless. If friends have it, I'd give it another go, but I was underwhelmed this time.

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Photo of tburkhart
3.43/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Shared with BA raznug on the 1st anniversary of our homebrewing.

Pours a very nice caramel color. Typical think Belgian head. Very think carbonation. The big bubbles turn to more of a creamy head as the it settles.

Typical Belgian spices in the nose.

Typical Belgian spices in the taste.

An OK beer. I've had better Belgians.

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Photo of fartingdog
3.43/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2007 bottle (fresh), opened 12/10/07. Bottle opens with a loud 'pop'.

A- Dark brown with ruby hilights, big rocky head.

S- Spicy esters.

T- Mildly tart, malty, earthy, light hints of fruit.

M- Med body, loads of carbonation.

D- Not bad, carbonation is a little too much *burp*.

Not a bad beer, but i think I expected a little better from St. B. Not the hilight of the season.

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Photo of VTR
3.45/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bomber for a Christmas Celebration. Poured a dark ruby red with a small white fluffy head. I picked up what I thought to be malts in the nose along with spices, dark fruits, and floral notes. Taste was off for me at first. I did not detect the spice(s) in the taste as I did in the nose. I definitely tasted what I thought to be fruits and some sort of for lack of a better work floral taste(s). I am glad I was sharing a bomber because I would not have been able to drink this by myself. The alcohol was well hidden. I am new to quads but I would purchase again.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.45/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Kinsale as part of their Xmas in July weekend. Served in a tulip style glass. Dark orange & reddish color. No real head and doesn't look very carbonated. Smelled a lot like cinnamon and orange peel. Has a definite dubbel taste to it. Lots of ripe fruit and jam. The only thing that surprised me was the mouthfeel. I found this beer very thin and watery. I expected a bit more from such a well know Belgian brewer. It was a nice beer on a cool evening, but not one of my favorite Christmas beers I've ever had. Not hearty enough for a winter themed beer.

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Photo of Naugled
3.47/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

served in a goblet.

Dark hazy brown with a fine creamy head that very quickly dissipates

Very sweet nose, smells like candi or soda

Woah, a very sugar forward beer. Tastes like there's nothing but sugar in this. Dark sticky sweet sugar. Some hotness comes through, but is needed to cut the syrupiness.

Medium mouthfeel, but on the thin side of medium. however not cloying and has a smooth softness to it.

drinkable, but over the top sweet. I guess that's what people want for the holidays.

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Photo of froghop
3.48/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

vintage 2007.

pours a dark brown with a large tan bubbly head.

smell is of caramel, spice, malt, and raisins.

taste is very carbonated, somewhat watery, dark fruits, spice, some caramel, end is tangy on the tongue.

overall a good beer but slightly overrated, too much carbonation and needs to be a little thicker for my liking.

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Photo of Mar02x
3.5/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - A dark brown beer with a fluffy head. There are some carbonation bubbles visible that a racing to the top.

S - Fruity and fresh nose, spices, caramel and vanilla scents.

T - Caramel, candy sugar, nutty flavors, spices, vanilla , oranges - very complex but not so nice.

M - A lot of carbonation that quickly disappears.

O - A good Christmas ale but not so special. It is over the top. A not so good attempt to make something good even better.

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Photo of jcruelty
3.5/5  rDev -16.5%

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

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Photo of dedrinker
3.5/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Muddy bronze color with a goofy head. Aromas of bubble gum and cough medicine (not in a bad way). The flavors were of raisins ("purple" popsicle from childhood) and some yeast and candi sugar. This may be good after a year in the basement for next Christmas, but I'll take the Abt 12 first.

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Photo of StarlightSeraph
3.53/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My 150th review, on Christmas night.

Poured from a corked and caged 75 cl bottle into my Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours a murky mahogany, with hints of red when held up to a light. Two fingers of thick, frothy off-white head. Tons of lacing.

Smell: When I opened the bottle, I got a whiff of cinnamon and gingerbread, but I didn't really get that in the glass. In the glass, all I can really get is the belgian yeast.

Taste: An intense, sweet and tangy roasted-chocolate flavor is the first thing that hits the taste buds. Tangy fruits are there in the background, as is the belgian yeast. A definitely burn from the alcohol as it goes down.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly, incredibly high carbonation, almost to the point of it being painful on the tongue. I realize that most Belgians are highly carbonated, but this is one of the most intensely carbonated beers I've ever tasted. It is nice and creamy, though.

Drinkability: A definite sipper, both due to the carbonation and the high alcohol. An enjoyable beer, too, although I was a little disappointed that there wasn't more of a...special, or holiday, feel to this beer - it tasted almost generic, and there wasn't something that made it stand out. I would certainly have it again, but it's not one I would spend hours searching for. I wouldn't mind having one of these on hand to age, though.

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Photo of Vixie
3.53/5  rDev -15.8%
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.

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Photo of Domingo
3.53/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I like the normal St. Bernardus offerings, so I picked this up for the season and ended up drinking it on New Year's Day.
Pours a darker brown than their normal abt 12 and it has a massive tan head. After the head started taking over I had to lighten up on the pour a little. Pretty impressive for something this potent.
Smells chocolately, raisin-like, and boozy. There's a little bit of a floral hop presence, too. The Belgian yeast is in check a little bit, but it's there.
Tastes boozier than I expected. It also has a pretty sharp hop bite in the finish, too. Flavors are of roasted nuts, caramel, chocolate, and sugars. Nothing really unusual to be honest, but a standard dark Belgian ale with more alcohol burn and hops.
Mouthfeel's thick and chewy, but that's what a beer like this needs.
It took me about an hour and a half to finish my half of the bottle and when I was done, I was done for the evening. It's just a little too much considering I didn't find the flavor to be all that unique.
Not bad, but I'm not sure it's anything I'll pick up again unless it's on sale.

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Photo of emerge077
3.56/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It looked nearly perfect in the light, tiny jets of carbonation raced through the hazy chestnut liquid, with a fluffy head of tan foam. Every so often, larger bubbles would be carried upward from the bottom, powerless in the slipstream.

Strong aroma of bubblegum/banana from the yeast esters. Slight sweetness, bordering on cloying.

Deeply malty flavors with light fruit and nuttiness. A bit too sweet for my taste, but it's not overdone. Dry finish hints at the high abv, but it's hidden in the taste. I'm happy that I shared this at a holiday party instead of trying to drink the whole thing myself.

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Photo of Bernoulli
3.57/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

1/2-3/4" head that lasts

dark hazy amber

filled two glasses with an inch for person #3 to try.

Not much of a smell, maybe a wiff of banana bread?

The alcohol flavor is not overpowering at all but you can tell its there if you swish it around. Definite taste of a variety of spices but not that jump out so much you can place them. Carbonation as it goes down. Flavor fades quickly at first. Warm staying power as it goes on.

A warming, not over-powering, satisfying winter ale.

(Even the MGD drinker at the table thought it was ok.)

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