Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

627 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 627
Hads: 1,867
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 9.09%
Wants: 156
Gots: 312 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 627 | Hads: 1,867
Photo of njmoons
4.49/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An excellent sweet Belgian Dark.

Was happy to find this on tap at the local Beer Bar.

Pours a dark reddish brown with little if any head.

Smell is of sweet friuts, figs, raisins, and some spice. The sweet smells over shadow light notes of malt, chocolate, and there is little if any alcohol in the smell.

Taste starts sweet with fruit and spices in good balance, slightly overshawdowing the malt. The sweet flavor last right through the end, but never is overwhelming to the flavor of the beer. The finsih is mildly bitter (very mild), slightly alcohol warm, and unexpectedly crisp. Taste is almost a 5 just a little sweet for me. Overall one most unique beers that I have truely enjoyed with the combination of subtle flavors and balance making this a winner!

The mouthfeel is heavy and consistent with the style. Drinkability is excellent for such a strong beer, but after a couple you really start to feel it. (918 characters)

Photo of TheEremite
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was pleasantly surprised with this beer. I bought it in 07 and it stuck around in the closet until I decided it was time to clear out some beers.

Smells fantastic, like a strong dark Belgian should. There may have been some spices once but they're all but gone now... or maybe it's just the yeast. I can't tell

I taste a lot of dark fruit flavors and high lov crystal malts. The raisin malty sweetness tastes fantastic. I don't really know what I expected but it was really a treat. I'll grab another one if I find it again. (528 characters)

Photo of bobjonesSD
3.99/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at O'brien's

It was poured on-tap into a chimay goblet with the silver edge - looked a nice dark brown/black with very little head likely due to the pour. It smelled terrific - dark and spicy with a fruitiness as well. The taste was also quite good but I expected a little more from the smell. Mouthfeel was merely ok - perhaps slightly more carbonated than I would have expected. Drinkability was good - I would have drank several more of these. (455 characters)

Photo of morebeergood
3.45/5  rDev -17.5%
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. (563 characters)

Photo of wordemupg
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

13/07/09 750ml corked bottle i got at dalhouise co-op

A dark brown with some ufo's

S quite nice some raisins booze and lots of spice,

T also quite nice yeast, bread and yes lots of spice, raisins, and nutmeg sits heavy booze is there but would not guess 10%

M thick but not creamy nor chewey, good carbonation, Solid overall

D not the best day for drinking, "summer" night in calgary would have been better as a winter warmer (DUH) (439 characters)

Photo of mulder1010
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a 750 poured into my Belle-Vue kriek glass.

A--a dark brown color with a nice head. Light brown head that lasted for a near minute and well carbonated. Good lacing with the glass.

S-- mmmm spices. Smells a bit like Chimay but with a bit more spice. A bit of plum and rasin. Smells like a Christmas beer should.

T-- More plum. Still a bit like Chimay to me. Get a lot of spices, bit of orange in it as well. Not as heavy as I had thought.

M--Very solid. Already like this beer, good mix of fruit and spices. Do not get the ABV 10% until it goes down, slight burn but that is ok.

D-- Very drinkable. Savor this beer on a good cold night. It will keep you warm. I could easily see drinking 2 of these puppies and still wanting more. A classic example of a good Christmas Ale. Very well done. Too bad it is July and I am in Sydney, Australia. (844 characters)

Photo of srandycarter
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this a few years back and was not happy. I love this brewery, so I had to give it another shot. Old review follows. Glad I tried it again.

A - Dark raw honey, very carbonated pop of cork. Nice thick near white head, leaves slowly to disk. Lots of persistent cling lace.

S - Bready, dark cooked fruits. Banana ever present. I am looking forward to this.

T - Shazam! Banana bread, and some holiday dark fruits to go along with it. Nice meal. Heat pretty well masked in taste. Knocked it a little for a small sour twang at the end that didn't seem to go with it.

M - Medium to heavy mouth, nice carb and wonderful balance considering the massive flavors.

D - Even at this ABV, I could give it a go for some time!

From 6.09 A3 S4.5 T3.5 M3.5 D3.5
Damn. First Lost Abbey Angel's Share Brandy last night , 750 corked, flat. Tonight, this one, completely flat too. Both have great taste, but without carbonation, it's like saltines without the salt. I am not going to even bother drinking it. Need a food recipe to use it.... (1,028 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.31/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep burgundy color ale with a super large foamy head with great retention and good lacing. Aroma of dry fruit and fruity ester with some candi sugar and some nicer Belgian malt. Taste is a well balanced mix between some fruity ester, some dry fruits such as figs and notes of Belgian malt. Body is full with great carbonation and no appearance of alcohol. Very well done though it probably fell short of the ABT 12. (433 characters)

Photo of BradLikesBrew
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Caramel/copper body with a frothy head. Sweet raisins, spiced stone fruits, and a little funk. The palate is sweet caramelized sugars, raisins, figs, spice, earthy yeast, alcohol, and a bitter finish. The body is medium and finish dry. Good brew from one of the top Belgian brewers. Like ABT 12, but maybe a touch more sweetness. (329 characters)

Photo of Ragingbull
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I had bought a bottle of this during the holidays in 2007 and upon a recommendation from the local beer guy tried "cellaring" it for a year.
Dark amber in color with reddish tint. Thick frothy head and a little bit volatile. Sweet malty nose with fruity and floral hints. Fruity malt attack with a sweetness like licorice. Very malty. The malt is so strong that it presents as a sweet beer even though it is isn't sweet in a sugar sense. The body is sufficient to carry the 10 percent alcohol which is impressive by itself. Clean finish with lingering malty aftertaste. Some spicy notes and an effervescent type of feel to it. (627 characters)

Photo of ShareANevada
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a respectable muddled brown into my unibroue stem. A delicate lovely head sticking around for a bit. Smells of fruits and spices, just as one would expect. The first couple sips surprised me with the carbonation. Very fine bubbles, but more than I expected, perhaps the beer was yet too cold.

As it breathed, the carbonation settled down a little and made for a very nice treat. Just lovely balanced flavors, no hint of the lurking 10%. This was a very enjoyable beer, and i'm anxious to see was 2 years on one of these would do. (537 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy dark amber color with a dirty white head and good carbonation. Nose is malt, yeast, driedf fruits, spiciness and candy. Taste was of malt, caramel and candy with the added spice. Finish was nice, not as boozy as the 10% ABV leads you to believe. Good brew overall. (280 characters)

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled this at the 2009 Central Coast BA Bacchanal.

Appearance: Light brown in color and very cloudy. A fizzy white head quickly retreats to a mere ring. Light lacing.

Smell: Loads of sweet malt and sour Belgian yeast. Caramel, spice, dark fruit (prunes?), and orange rind.

Taste: Same as the scent, but with added clove and extra spice. Very malty, very tasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body, highly carbonated, and pretty dry. Active, malty, and chewy.

Drinkability: Wish I had more of this. The little 4oz. sampler wasn't enough. Really tasty, but I could see this one being very hard to finish on one's own. The carbonation, spice, and body may get to ya. (660 characters)

Photo of mugglesandhops
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
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. (333 characters)

Photo of Gavage
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
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. (615 characters)

Photo of bimish
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured into a goblet. Clear, medium reddish brown color. Thin head disspiates quickly, minimal lacing. Average carbonation.

S - Nice malty aroma, lots of caramel notes. Spicy and fruity aromas also apparent.

T - Beautiful, well-rounded malty flavor. Very little bitterness, but malty flavors offset nicely by complex spicy and citrus flavors.

M - Good carbonation level, nice, medium-bodied mouthfeel.

D - Very drinkable for a couple of bears, but the spicy flavors would wear on your after a few. (509 characters)

Photo of far333
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Christmas gift from my wife. Served at cellar temp in a crystal snifter.

Murky orangey brown colored with a light brown head that settles out quickly leaving no lace. Yeast chunklets are suspended and moving around.

Aroma of sweet raspberry and honey, some heather and yeastiness.

Rich flavor of sweet caramel and toffee, raspberry and pomegranate, lots of other sweet fruits, hints of vanilla and leather. Honey notes, a bit floral. Subtle phenols. Very smooth for its strength.

Moderate carbonation, silky but bordering on syrupy. Tingly on the tongue. Finishes crisp.

Tasty beer, very rich. Good after dinner sipper. (624 characters)

Photo of asabreed
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Corked and caged bottle into a Brooklyn snifter.

Appearance: Dark hazy amber brown with tons of billowing and lacing, though it settles more quickly and surprisingly than I expected for such a brew. The color's perfect for a Christmas night. Not opaque, but when light hits the dark brown and sometimes-bright amber, it's a sigh to see.

Smell: So much here. Whiffs of candied fruit, molasses, vanilla, cola, raspberry, tobacco, cherry, pepper, marmalade, tropical fruits. The list literally changes every five minutes with temperature changes. I'd love to have a bottle of this ten years from now.

Taste: A beer that makes the air through the nostrils taste better as breathing seems to naturally happen. Big candied fruits and spice, and perfect for Christmas. Licorice, molasses, caramel malts, yeast and fruit esters, tropical fruit, raspberry comes through nicely, vanilla, dates, maybe some figs. Again, age and time and a long time with this beer brings out so much. And it seriously does a lot for the air you breathe, which I love about great Belgians.

Mouthfeel: Hugely bubbly and full and effervescent and tingly and smooth and creamy. Perfection.

Drinkability: A pretty awesome beer, St. Bernardus or not. A lot to admire, which I wasn't surprised about. It's fairly expensive, but certainly worth it, especially for a beyond-great holiday brew to share with friends and family. I can't think of a better one to drink at Christmas really at this point, and I can't believe it's taken me this long to get to it. (1,531 characters)

Photo of sprucetip
4.34/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle into goblet.

Hazy medium brown, modest head fades fast and leaves film, spotty lacing. Red highlights.

Peach raisin and generally fruity esters. Spicy, anise perhaps. Heat, sweet and malty.

Candy sugar and malty sweetness, dark fruit, hint of hops, some booze. Very smooth and complex. Mostly balanced but a bit on the sweet side.

Medium carbonation, rich full texture, warming, very clean and smooth finish.

A bit too sweet to drink a whole lot of, but very rich and complex. Definitely a solid and genuine Belgian strong. (537 characters)

Photo of Vendetta
3.91/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is plum, pruney. Cloudy, unfiltered. Stagnant, medium foam head. Thick, foamy paste of a lacing down the glass as it's consumed.

Smells vinous and sweet.

Taste is extremely complex as per norm of the St Bernardus brews that I've had. Very vinous and a bit dry up front, finishes pruney and much more on the sweet side. Leaves a significantly plum aftertaste. Warms the belly nice thanks to the ABV but it really isn't all that detectable. Perfect winter beer.

Mouthfeel is also very very good. Thick, full-bodied without being punishing to drink. Little carbonation.

This is a very, very good example of a Belgian beer and if you have any remote interest in the style then you'll love this one. (709 characters)

Photo of beer2day
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aged 1 year in the cellar.

Pours a deep caramel with a building head. Nose speaks of caramel malt, candy sugar, with a hint of spice (nutmeg, but not sure).

Hits the tongue and the caramelized candy sugar nose transfers. Appropriately thick and malty. Finishes sweet with a slight nod to the abv.

Would have marked the smell score higher, but it did not quite live up to the taste.

Not my favorite St B, but good on a cold night with the fire going. (455 characters)

Photo of ABOWMan
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer easily pours a four finger head of frothy amber colored foam that lingers throughout the entire tasting. t's residual, leaves a network of lacing on the glass marking each resting point along the journey. The color of this brew is a copper orange and is slightly cloudy which hints at the flavor that is in store.

The aroma is of spice, roasted malt, citrus, fruit and alcohol.

The flavor delivers along the same line. Roasted caramel, orange, yeast fruitiness typical of most Belgium beers, and hints of corriander and clove, which are not overbearing. I was please to see the spiciness take a back seat in this Christmas ale, allowing the typically strong belgium influences to take center stage.

The mouthfeel was full bodied and think which one would expect from a beer this this backbone and ABV. No disappointment here.

This Ale was worth the price and is worthy of being opened any time of year despite it's name. (935 characters)

Photo of Foxman
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours a hazy and potently carbonated brownish amber with orange-gold margins. A hand-span of light beige frothy head sno-cones the top of the glass eternally. Ropey lacing tethers the inside of the glass.

In the aroma, caramel and tart wheat join a fruity candy note. Clove, papaya, and a dash of pepper crisp things capably. Still, a hot vent of alcohol makes denoting much else a bit of a strain.

Upon sipping, toasted malt carries caramel and a melon fruitiness, while currants mingle with clove, coriander, and a notable green apple crispness. Alcohol is again hot and broad-chested. Residual sugar sweetness, some yeasty dough, and a growing dry bitterness jockey for front position in the sensory cavalcade of a lasting finish.

Between medium and full bodied, the thick grain accompanies an airy presence to deliver a round, creamy character to the palate.

It's not as multi-dimensional and smooth as many St. Bernardus offerings, but it says Happy Holidays in a bold, auspicious manner. In fact, it's the almost obnoxiously prevalent ABV, searing and blearing, that holds things back a bit. And yet, despite the intimidation factor, I'm happier at the end of the bottle than at the beginning, and that's in a good way. (1,236 characters)

Photo of Atricapilla
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Westmalle goblet. It is a medium to dark mahogany color with a medium sized, foamy, dirty-white head that laced away.

Aroma: Some light malt, dark fruits, apple, with a bit of ethanol.

Taste: Again, light malt with a bit of date. A hint of some medicinal herbs and has an ethanolic finish. (329 characters)

Photo of robbyc1
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
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. (292 characters)

Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
93 out of 100 based on 627 ratings.