1. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Christmas AleChristmas Ale

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

1,384 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1384
Reviews: 574
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.22%


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)
View: Beers (12) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Christmas Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,384 | Reviews: 574 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of bbkd3b
bbkd3b

California

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

2010 vintage poured into a tulip glass. The smiling monk always brings joy to me.

Beautiful dark ruby body shoots out of the bottle to give life to a stunning, 2-finger head. Light tan, and with massive retention, the two combine to make up one of the best looking beers I've come across.

A very sweet aroma drifts up the nose. Cinnamon, hints of nutmeg, and a thick serving of plums, raisins, and other dark fruits give this beer an attractive scent. No trace of hoppiness, alcohol, or yeast to be found here. Just a really thick, lovely smell. Makes me think of the holidays.

The creamy body almost destroys the tastebuds with a wave of dark fruits. It's so potent it's hard to describe. Letting it settle a bit reveals a much more subtle, likable side of the brew - the sweetness. A nice serving of sweet malts and a trace of brown sugar finish off the brew. It really massages the tongue with its carbonation. Clean finish, and a hint of alcohol to remind the drinker that this is no beginner's brew! Really well-done.

Overall/notes - Christmas in a bottle! I've heard and said this phrase before, but it here it really rings true. It definitely needs a bit of warming, but you'll be rewarded in kind. With the exception of that first shockwave, I had little to no complaints about this ale. Drink and be merry!

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2011 03:28:08 | More by bbkd3b
Photo of Jerone
Jerone

Florida

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark brown color with a one and a half finger cream colored head that sticks around for a bit, leaves okay lacing.

S - Dark fruit such as raisin, fig, dates and some nice yeasty and breadiness mixed in with malts and brown sugar.

T - Taste is similar to the smell but more prominent on the yeast and bread, there is also some toffee notes as well with the dark fruit. Also a touch of spice in there but not too much.

M - Medium verging on full bodied beer with a touch of carbonation to make everything meld together.

O - A great Christmas beer that I recommend to anyone who likes these types of beers.

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2011 15:22:03 | More by Jerone
Photo of tillmac62
tillmac62

South Carolina

4.04/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark brown pour with a massive head with excellent lacing that lasts forever. Nose is of dark fruit, raisins and dates, against a malt backbone with a hint of spice. Light medium body and very well carbonated. Alcohol is well hidden with dark fruit and malt flavors. Spice is present, but subdued. Clean finish with a slight alcoholic bitterness. Not as flavorful or smooth as Gouden Carolus Noel, which in my opinion, is the best of the Belgian Christmas ales.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2013 21:32:17 | More by tillmac62
Photo of BMan1113VR
BMan1113VR

California

3.93/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007. Good Looking muddy brown brew with a slight orange tinge. Head pours large and stays pretty well. Head is an off-white tan in color, creamy smooth in texture, and has nice lacing. Aroma is complex with cirtus hoppy-ness coming throught the most. Allspice and a light yeasty-dough aroma is second, followed by many other smells including chocolate, apple, and possibly even red wine. Flavor was pleasent, starting on the sweetish side and over a long duration finishing ever so slightly bitter-sour with defined fruit undertones. Medium in body with a lively carbonated but creamy texture, the overall mouth feel is clearly the best part of this brew. Pretty good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2008 16:15:24 | More by BMan1113VR
Photo of FleeVT
FleeVT

Florida

4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into an over sized copa de vino.

A: Pours a dull, syrup mahogany with a heavy haze to it. A creamy white head that leaves beautiful lacework caps her off.

S: Sweet malts and fruits hit you first. Apply cider, raisins and currants pave the way to a backdrop dominated by yeast and a hint of alcohol. You definitely don't expect a 10 percenter based on the nose.

T: Lots of dark fruits and molasses on the palate. The alcohol cuts through that sweetness and brings with it some holiday spices, clove and vanilla. The Belgian yeasts, which in my opinion can be overdone in this style, are perfect.

M: Smooth like velvet, just as the bottle declares. There is definitely carbonation that bites into your tongue, but it works and it's smooth. Medium to heavy bodies that fades in the back as the alcohol warms the mouth.

D: All winter long. Enjoy this slowly and relish.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2008 02:41:07 | More by FleeVT
Photo of Hex92
Hex92

Virginia

3.75/5  rDev -11.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2012 02:21:01 | More by Hex92
Photo of joeskirkie
joeskirkie

New Jersey

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

It sits in it's chalice opaque and dark brown in the middle, showing hints of copper around the edges. It had a very thin off white head that didn't linger.

Scents of raisins and/or currants, spicy yeast, some earthy bread.

Mmmm, slightly sour Belgian yeast gives way to a sweeter profile with hints of cinnamon chocolate and citrus. As I go on some dark fruits join the party.

Very nice carbonation, this beer makes it's presence known.

Will I get more? I'd bet on that.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2008 01:12:45 | More by joeskirkie
Photo of BeTheBall
BeTheBall

Massachusetts

4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Dark amber color; beautiful pillowy head that lasts for a long time, some lacing on the glass as the beer drains.

S: dark fruit and a slight alcohol presence.

T: complex and rich fruits such as raisins, figsd, plums, apples? Very tasty.

M: mouthfeel is extraordinary, coating the entire mouth, tonugue and throat. Well above average, even for Belgian ales I've had.

D: 10% ABV is not for the faint of heart, but the huge and delicious flavors do a pretty good job of hiding it, to a point.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2009 13:09:46 | More by BeTheBall
Photo of searsclone
searsclone

Arizona

4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had to use a corkscrew to get the bottle open, date on bottom of bottle is 19/08/12, reviewed in late January 2011. Poured into 2 New Belgium globe glasses. A ridiculous amount of tan head. Copper golden color with a huge amount of sediment. You can really tell that this one is alive.

Smells like raisins and brown sugar, and as it warms, fruitcake.

Taste of raisins, fruit, burnt sugar, burnt apricots and a vanilla finish. Alcohol is well hidden. As it warms, and I read some of the other reviews, I get a bit of a tobacco finish. Also, something that I can't figure out, maybe smoke or burnt toast?

Mouthfeel is lighter and cleaner than expected.

The 75 cl bottle is perfect size for two people.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2011 23:38:41 | More by searsclone
Photo of sjccmd
sjccmd

Minnesota

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I believe it said best buy 2012 on the bottom of the bottle.

Pours dark amber with ruby highlights and a light tan fizzy head. Lacing is pretty thin. Nice looking, but looks like it doesn't have as much body as I'd like.

The smell is pretty much everything I'd want to smell in a BSDA. Dark fruits, brown sugar, raisins, caramel, with a touch of spiciness.

The taste initially follows the sweetness of the smell but is rounded off with slightly bitter roasted malts, alcohol warmth, and a dry finish.

The mouthfeel is a bit of a let-down. It's not very thick and little too fizzy for my liking. It delivers the flavors decently, but I was hoping for more body.

Still decently drinkable especially for the ABV. A bit of a slow drink, but it's worth savoring.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2010 21:34:32 | More by sjccmd
Photo of ABOWMan
ABOWMan

Ohio

4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2009 20:12:21 | More by ABOWMan
Photo of LeRose
LeRose

Massachusetts

4.36/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This bottle was a gift in December 2012. Poured into a tulip.

Appearance - murky brown/reddish color. Nice fluffy white foam on top that persisted.

Smell - immediate hit of alcohol which shouldn't be a surprise. Dark fruit - fig and data aromas. Lightly spice notes on the nose - clove, cinnamon. Very toasty. The aroma set the expectation that this was going to be very sweet. Bready and malty.

Taste - yeasty, bready, and malty. The alcohol was not as noticeable on the taste. Heavy on the fruit notes - plum/fig/date maybe a hint of sweet cherry. Not nearly as sweet as I expected. I thought the spice components were very laid back and complimented the beer rather than dominating it - wonder if this is age related? Thought the balance was great - not a cloying, overly-spiced holiday brew.

On the tongue, kind of a medium body, pretty smooth. Where did the 10% ABV go? Carbonation was high, but not overly fizzy.

Overall I think this is an excellent beer and if memory serves, it is somewhat of a bargain in terms of price. Obviously a year in waiting did not hurt it any. I would not hesitate to pick up leftover bottles and let them stay with me until next Christmas. Good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2013 01:04:06 | More by LeRose
Photo of Ryanm1
Ryanm1

Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First thing I must say about this beer is that is was overwhelmingly carbonated. Normally, carbonation isn't the first thing I notice about a beer, but tasting this is just pops off your tongue. It's almost like eating pop rock and a can of cola. I don't want that to come off as a bad thing because it wasn't, it was a very enjoyable beer, possibly one of the best I've ever had. Pours a dark brown decievingly so as you'd expect a belgiany golden color. Also decving is the slight amount of head on the pour which is in no way indicative of the bursting flavor you are going to have jumping around in your mouth. Molasses, apricots and licorice can be found upon hitting the palate. 10% ABV.

This is my interpretation of a perfect Christmas Ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2013 01:43:10 | More by Ryanm1
Photo of imasloth
imasloth

Texas

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

A- Poured from a large bottle into a snifter, the carbonation described by other reviewers was no myth. The cork is raring to come out of the bottle once the cage is removed. It pours a dark liquid giving a huge almond-coloured head that remains thick for some time. Nice looking lacing up to the top of the glass.

S- Nice, sour malt and light bitter smell.

T- Sweet upfront, followed by delicious rich malt. Prune and maybe a light orange.

M- Medium to medium-heavy body with some feel from the 10% alcohol and a warmness after swallowing.

O- Delightful beer that I look forward to getting next year as well. Pairs nicely with the summer sausage and cheese spread I've got going.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2011 18:30:51 | More by imasloth
Photo of bigkahunas4
bigkahunas4

Massachusetts

3.93/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml into an oversized wine glass.

Nice, dark cola colored body, with a cookie dough head. Really thick lacing. Nose was of apple jelly and a bit of alcohol.

Brew was nice and creamy, with flavors such as apple, sweet breads, and alcohol.

This was tasty, but a bit too sweet for me to have too much of.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2008 13:39:01 | More by bigkahunas4
Photo of Kallessin
Kallessin

Massachusetts

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

Has tons of sizzling bubbles at first pour that settles to a very fluffy, foamy tan head. A deep murky brown with peach and caramel highlight when held up to the light.

A very fruity and spicy aroma with a fair amount of sweet malt and yeasty bread. Hints of sugary candy, pear and apple and some earthy hops.

Taste very fruity and spicy with lots of sweetness. Some spiced fruitcake, black cherries, orange peel, tart caramel apples and hints of brown sugar. A little boozey and barely a hint of bitterness.

Very warming and tingly mouthfeel. There's tons of carbonation in there giving it smooth, but foamy sensation.

This is a great sipping beer. Fairly complex and flavorful with a satisfying warming feel about it.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2009 00:58:22 | More by Kallessin
Photo of craftaholic
craftaholic

New York

4.06/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Pours a muddy deep brown glass with very active streams of carbonation leading up to a frothy head that has great retention. The head has a beige color and the alcohol leaves a thin layer as it walks around the glass.

Nose- The aroma is very thick banana yeast with a slight spice and dark fruit notes. There is some hop presence. Nothing overpowering.

Taste- The banana and clove yeast flavors are very strong in the forefront. Then swoops in a wave of bready malts and brown sugar sweetness. There are dark fruit notes of cherries and raisins but also some light orange and lemon. The spice is what makes this a great christmas ale with a strong clove, cinnamon and even ginger notes running rampant. Lastly the alcohol is definitely there, it attempts to hide among the spice and myriad of flavors but sticks out like a sore thumb.

Mouthfeel- Creamy and rich and aptly carbonated.

Drinkability- A nice sipper for a cold eve because the alcohol doesn't hide too well as the brew warms. Would I be seeking it out at $12-14 a bottle again? No. However it is definitely a good spiced quad.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2013 04:38:52 | More by craftaholic
Photo of RandomExile
RandomExile

Maryland

4.6/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A: mid-brown, prominent rising bubbles, partly translucent; light brown persistent smooth silky head; bands of intricate, frosted lacing I've never seen before.
S: fresh and malty, faint banana, enticing
T: banana, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, a hint of bubblegum, a yeasty floor that holds it together, an after-finish of apple peel
M: crisp, on the dry side, fresh but present
O: Served in a snifter, the appearance is a magical wintry snowglobe with reverse snow (streaming up, of course) which could only be improved by a deep, less muddy color. The nose is fresh and inviting, but I wish it were deeper and richer. A subtle and complex quad which somehow betrays no sign of it's 10% abv. Remarkable.

12oz / Snifter / Victoria Gastro Pub, Columbia, MD

Serving type: on-tap

12-17-2013 00:10:40 | More by RandomExile
Photo of aeminter
aeminter

Texas

4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Nice deep brown with a foamy off white to tan head...

S - Malts and a bit of cereal, some alcohol, rose petals, dried stone fruits

T/M - Wow, definitely a Belgian Strong. High carbonation...a bit of a bite.

I could get used to drinking this, but I don't think my waste band could.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2010 03:38:05 | More by aeminter
Photo of jbone78
jbone78

Florida

3.98/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought this bottle in 2008, but the date indicates that it is a 2007. Let's see what it's all about.

Pours hazy brown with nice carbonation into my St. Bernardus glass. Signature yeasty dark fruit smell. Taste is different than the expected St. bernardus. You get an initial spice followed by a large figgy flavor. The dark fruit flavors fade into a vanilla/yeasty finish that is really nice.

This beer has not been in our local stores for the last year or so. But the next time I see it, I will buy more.

Merry Christmas

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2010 02:06:57 | More by jbone78
Photo of tburkhart
tburkhart

Ohio

3.48/5  rDev -17.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2008 19:44:25 | More by tburkhart
Photo of Celt44
Celt44

New York

4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Recommended by a local craft brew store owner - My sincere thanks to him.

Appearance is a light reddish hue - almost looks like brandy or cognac from a distance considering the head disperses fairly quickly.

Smell - Strong Malt and Sweetness up front. Citrus fruits, very slight alcohol. Very appealing

Taste - Malts and cranberries. Hops makes and appearance. Grapefruit bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel - Beautiful - It's a Belgian!

Overall one of, if not thee best beer I've had that has called itself a "Christmas" beer or ale. Can't wait till next year!

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2009 21:34:52 | More by Celt44
Photo of THORN
THORN

Minnesota

4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 botle 1 pint 9 Fl. Oz. poured into Duvel snifter.
A: Dark purple red, cannot see through center. Red around the edges with visible CO2 trails on bottom of snifter. Pours 1/2 inch vanilla colored head. Thick sticky lacing left behind around snifter.
S: Sweet toasted malts followed by sweet cherries and ginger. Sight vanilla linger.
T: Dark toasted malts, followed by strong toffee body, Cinnamon and raisins linger into slight alcohol taste.
M: Light on tongue but still syrupy. Slight warming feeling.
D: Very well balanced, slight alcohol is welcome with body that accompanies.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2009 06:59:58 | More by THORN
Photo of julian89
julian89

Georgia

4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer a long time ago, found a paper record of my review and figured I'd transfer it to BA.
Poured from bottle to snifter.

Appearance: Light opaque brown with a creamy 2 inch head and good retention. Minimal lacing.

Smell: Glorious dark fruit and sweet malt smell. Dominated by all spice, plum, pear, and apricot. Very Christmas like.

Taste: Right off the bat it has that strong Belgian sweetness. Fruit taste is prominent just like the Bernardus Triple. The spices make it a very festive beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium to thick bodied with excellent carbonation.

Drinkability: Great beer and easily drinkable. You can drink this beer pretty much year round. May be a little heavy for summer though.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2012 15:54:58 | More by julian89
Photo of tkelley
tkelley

Massachusetts

4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle drank over several pours (this is from the first) poured into a Chimay chalice. Hoping to make this a bowl game tradition -- Go Tigers!

A -- murky reddish brown color, opaque body. Fizzy white head that pillows at first and dies down to thin layer. Okay lacing.

N -- yeasty, toasted malts, and some holiday spices.

T -- Really good. Boozy, sweet, with lots of dried fruit notes. Obviously Belgian yeast upfront. Toasted malts and those spices again, but not too much like you see sometimes.

M -- Nice and fizzy like a good Belgian should be. Somehow also smooth. A little warm on the back end.

O -- Love it. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2014 01:48:12 | More by tkelley
Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,384 ratings.