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Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,420 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,420
Reviews: 576
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 100
Gots: 143 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website
Belgium

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: 1,420 | Reviews: 576 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

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

Pours brown with a beige head. Lots of extremely small, fine bubbles. The aroma is Belgian yeast as well as dark fruits and candi sugar. The taste pretty much follows the aroma, with lots of caramel malt. The overall flavor is pretty sweet and the alcohol is present and warming. Medium mouthfeel and highly carbonated.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2010 18:01:50 | More by Mora2000
Photo of Rifugium
Rifugium

Pennsylvania

3.88/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

First had: ???
This review is for a recent tasting, on tap at Capone's, Norristown, PA

I hadn't had this in a while, so I figured I'd give it another spin. Slightly hazed, ruddy brown pour, with a small cap of off-white head that retained well and left a bit of lacing on the snifter. Nice aroma, toasted bread, light spice, yeast, peach and pear. Taste reflected the nose, caramel malts, yeast, brown sugar, allspice, candied fruits. It's an easy drinker, medium-bodied, crisp, flavorful, some boozy heat, but as it is a 10% quad, you have to expect that a little.

Serving type: on-tap

01-09-2013 03:48:41 | More by Rifugium
Photo of SocalKicks
SocalKicks

California

4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

12-24-2013 04:56:51 | More by SocalKicks
Photo of mactrail
mactrail

Washington

4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Lovely dark brew in the tulip glass. Distinctive for the great sensual body and the big, sudsy mouthfeel.

Licorice and cherries come to mind immediately. It’s not overly sweet, though it’s hugely rich. Plenty of malt with shades of dark roasted barley and a deep, intriguing complexity. This one is on my list to try again, but I’m glad I was able to have the tap version.

Certainly one of the best Belgian beers I’ve had. On tap at Pizza Port in Ocean Beach. Transcribed from 12/12/12 tasting notes.

Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2013 04:51:29 | More by mactrail
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

3.78/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best By 09/08/2012, Sampled December 2007
Served only lightly chilled, the beer is clearly well carbonated as even a reasonably careful pour produces a billowing, slightly over-flowing, initially seven-finger thick, lightly browned, tan colored head of foam that slowly recedes while leaving a delicate lacing pattern on the sides of my 30cl Tripel Karmeliet tulip. the beer sits in my glass a burnt, amber tinged, very dark brown color, but shows a brilliantly clear, dark ruby hue when held up to the light. In passing inspection of the nose, aromas of dark fruit and spices mix quite equally. A deeper draught of the nose reveals aromas of raisins, figs, concentrated plum, brown sugar, sweet cola, clove, touches of allspice, a hint of molasses, dark chocolate, light ginger or maybe really galangal and even some cardamom like notes. The aroma ends up being a bit more focused on the dark, caramelized fruit notes with just a backdrop of spice character that leaves no doubt that this is a Belgian yeast strain.

The carbonation provides a prickly, lightening effect to what is really a medium full beer. It does not drink as heavy as the 10% alcohol might suggest, but is certainly has that Belgian lightness that is in many of the better made strong beers from their. The beer is definitely sweet, which accentuates the quite noticeable dark fruit character; caramelized plums, figs, raisins and even some apple flavors are individually noticeable. The beer finishes with a mix of spiciness and warming alcohol that is a touch pepper-like, with some spicy ginger, toasty brandy & rum, and some turpene driven phenolic clove / cardamom notes. Bread like malt notes reminiscent of toasted bread, hints of browned-whole-grain bread, touches of rye, caramelized-dark German bread, biscuit malt and roasted / broiled / concentrated figs.

The second pour has just as voluminous a head as the first, and the beer, a little more chilled now, tastes even a bit lighter than it did initially. The ample carbonation focuses the flavors more on the peppery spice notes, while softening the rich fruitiness that is there after it has mellowed. This is certainly a contemplative brew; I could wish for a bit more malt complexity in the flavor (at times the alcohol and spiciness can be a little too much), but the nose really is quite intriguing. While I certainly enjoy the lightness / heft of this brew as is, it seems to be missing a bit of richness that could add a bit more balance (these are not necessarily opposing characters though as some richness could be added without making this beer feel heavier).

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson, AZ

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2007 04:25:53 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of jwc215
jwc215

Wisconsin

3.4/5  rDev -19.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2008 03:55:27 | More by jwc215
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Rochefort10nh

New Hampshire

4/5  rDev -5.4%

11-25-2011 15:01:41 | More by Rochefort10nh
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

25.4 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a dark sepia brown, with a full, off-white/tan head, that stays robust throughout the whole glass, leaving excellent, thick lacing. A sight to behold.

S: Smells mainly of dark malt, sugar, molasses, and gingerbread.

T: The taste is a complex cornucopia of dark flavours. Heavy brown sugar is mixed with prune and fig, which in turn meets cinnamon, nutmeg, and all-spice to create a truly fantastic taste experience, one of the best BSDA's I have ever had. This was close, not quite a 5, if 4.75 was an option, I'd probably give it that, a fantastic flavour overall.

M: Thick and rich, smooth, phenolic, a great warming wintertime brew.

D: I think I have found the ultimate beer to pair with pumpkin pie in this one. Full of rich, complex, dark flavours, St. Bernardus Christmas Ale is a world-class Yule beer made by one of the best producers in Belgium. I really liked this beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2007 21:36:56 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of smcolw
smcolw

Massachusetts

3.58/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Massive 80% head in the glass. Settles steadily leaving spotty lace on the glass. Cloudy light brown color.

Sugar candy and alcohol are the dominant aromas. Mild hop in the background.

Creamy with a mild sweetness and the archetypical Belgian flavor from the yeast. Alcohol is potent and adds to the rich body. The swallow has a faint touch of hop, but it's a predominantly sour malt flavor. The aftertaste is brief.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2008 23:57:05 | More by smcolw
Photo of BlackHaddock
BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

4.75/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At last I’ve had an on-tap Christmas Ale that I could review (the other times I’ve drank it I didn’t really have reviewing opportunities). This time however was different: the lovely Red Rose bar in Brugge being the venue. 33cl for Euro 4.00, worth every cent.

Poured into a St Bernardus goblet it looked the business in every way: Jet black with a deep beige crown of tight bubbles sat on top. The head stayed and gave waves of lacing as I wolfed the brew down.

The smell was of dark, rich, candied fruits with a good measure of caramel and malts thrown in.

The taste always blows me away, creamy, rich and hearty in every way, yet it’s so mellow the 10%ABV does not show at all; this is a dangerous brew and so, so easy on the palate it just slides down the throat at an alarming rate. A brew to savour, but very difficult not to quaff at pace and order another, and another, and another. Whatever spices they use just enhance the flavours from the mash tun and helps to turn the brew from excellent to superb.

A true classic and a beer I’ll never tire of drinking (if I’ve got the next day off).

Serving type: on-tap

12-15-2011 16:45:46 | More by BlackHaddock
Photo of mendvicdog
mendvicdog

Maryland

4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

12-11-2011 04:12:22 | More by mendvicdog
Photo of Gavage
Gavage

New Jersey

4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-09-2009 12:16:36 | More by Gavage
Photo of beernads
beernads

Florida

3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

05-08-2013 08:06:41 | More by beernads
Photo of GClarkage
GClarkage

California

3.7/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12/27/08- Purchased at Hi-Times in Costa Mesa, CA.

Presentation- 750ml bottle, both caged and corked. Poured into my St. Bernardus chalice. 2008 Edition.

Appearance- Deep caramel-brown in color. Yeasty and murky. About a 1.5 inch head which holds up very well. Leaves some small chunks, patches and streak of lace behind.

Smell- Not hugely outgoing, but caramely and notes of dark fruits including rasins and plums. Good nose, but light.

Taste- Damn annoying metallic note at the end of every swallow. Slowly fades a bit after every sip, but still never totally goes away. Loys of caramel and very sweet. Fruits are sweet and chewy with mostly figs and rasins...fruit is held in check and alochol is slightly detected. Sweet, but not really in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation level, lightly chewy and a medium to fuller mouthfeel.

Drinkability- Without the metallic note it's very good. Not quite up to their flagship, but could be almost as good. With the note it's slightly annoying and better than average.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2008 05:42:40 | More by GClarkage
Photo of corby112
corby112

Pennsylvania

4.22/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, PA.

Pours a dark ruby/ chestnut brown with thick, slightly beige head. Pleasant aroma consisting of cherries, dark fruits, chocolate, cinnamon spice and alcohol. Very smooth drinking and surprising amount of fruit. Cherries, plum, sugar cane, dark berries and peppery cinnamon taste. Dry finish with a nice alcohol warmth. A very nice balance of maltiness, spiciness, fruit and alcohol. Very tasty!

Serving type: on-tap

11-28-2008 10:07:04 | More by corby112
Photo of imperialking
imperialking

Illinois

4/5  rDev -5.4%

01-09-2012 04:11:24 | More by imperialking
Photo of weeare138
weeare138

Pennsylvania

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

The cork flew out of the top as I was on my last twist of the cage. Thank goodness it only left a small battle scar in TomDecapolis' ceiling...
Appears a hazy dark amber with a soapy head of light tan foam that slowly fades out. Spotty lacing clings to the sides of the glass.
Smell is of raisins, plums, cocoa, anise, nutmeg, caramel, and brown sugar.
Taste echoes the aromas with the trademark Saint Bernie yeast pulling through with a touch of holiday spicing to make it complete.
Mouthfeel is medium full and lingering of raisins, fig newtons, fennel, sweet nougat, caramel, and pine needels.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2007 20:07:41 | More by weeare138
Photo of yourefragile
yourefragile

District of Columbia

3.75/5  rDev -11.3%

05-01-2013 03:40:35 | More by yourefragile
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

4/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2009 19:41:39 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

3.88/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Farmhouse in Emmaus, PA. Overall, this is a pretty good Belgian, but it's not as complex at the Abt 12. It actually reminds me of Chimay Blue more than Bernardus 12. The flavor comes off like a cinnamon spice caramel apple with toasted toffee and sweet bread. Delicious, but it doesn't reach the depths of a great strong dark ale. Still very easy to drink. Worth a try.

Serving type: on-tap

12-13-2008 02:15:47 | More by tempest
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 750 mL corked and caged bottle purchased at State Line.

A: The ale opened with a great pop and build-up of head in the glass. The first pour resulted in 2 fingers of beer and 4 fingers of head. As it receded, the lacing was minimal, focused at the base of the beer and the mouth of the glass. The ale is a hazy amber color, more orange at the base and brown at the mouth.

S: The nose has a strong cinnamon and nutmeg nose, touched by brown sugar and St. Berny's distinctive yeast. The nose is full and warming.

T: The first sip is heavy on boozy warmth, good for a cold Christmas eve. The overcarbonation in the pour has left the body somewhat flat and complacent. Dark candi sugars and yeasty fruit flavors mix nicely, sweet with raisins, apples, cinnamon and a touch of hoppy bitterness. The spice profile has the versatility to hang with a wassail. This, foreseeably, could even be mulled for a real warming treat.

M: The ale does not disappoint, lots of flavor is packed into the 750 mL packaging. The body is very similar to the Abt ale, which is a proven winner.

D: The abv is high but the flavor profile makes up for it. I only bought one bottle, so I will have to sit patiently until next Christmas.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2008 00:41:49 | More by akorsak
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

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

Bomber, caged and corked, best before date etched on the bottom of the bottle (sometime in 2012) Pours dark dark brown, initially under a huge head, that slowly recedes , leaving gobs of heavy lace all over the glass. Cola and raisin nose, prickly carbonation, lots of character and cola, dark fruits, yeasty goodness and alcohol all swimming around. Let it warm up, let the flavors open up and savor this flavorful Belgian beauty

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2008 22:46:55 | More by Billolick
Photo of oriolesfan4
oriolesfan4

Maryland

4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

11-08-2012 05:38:00 | More by oriolesfan4
Photo of orangesol
orangesol

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -5.4%

01-20-2013 18:34:20 | More by orangesol
Photo of jdhilt
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
Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,420 ratings.