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Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

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

1,807 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,807
Reviews: 631
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 139
Gots: 278 | 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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,807 | Reviews: 631 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Kahlerbock
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of starrdogg
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Wildman
3.63/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a cloudy dark amber color and formed a very airy large head that coated the glass with lace as it slowly subsided. A heavy amount of carbonation is present. An aroma of malt, yeast and candy. The flavor was of malt, caramel and candy. Fairly light compared to other styles by this brewery. The finish was quite sprite. Not a bad beer, but not up to the others from the brewery. Aging may help this one to improve.

Photo of spoony
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From a 750 ml bottle to a wine glass.

A-The beer is the color of black tea and murky. The head is short and off-white in color. No lacing is left behind, but the head has great retention like you would expect from a traditional Belgian beer.

S-The aroma is absolutely delicious, but brace yourself for the sweetness. I get brown sugar, molasses, candy sugar, and massive gingerbread type spices like clove, cinnamon, and a hint of pepper. There is also some dark, dried fruit. In fact, the aroma reminds me of fruit cake. Hops are an afterthought.

T-The taste is similar to the smell, but whereas the sweet, sugary flavors smell delicious, they become a bit TOO much on the palate. Still, the spicy, sweet, fruity mixture is what I think of when I think of Christmas flavors, so it works for me.

M-Somewhat surprisingly, I find the feel to be a bit thin and less creamy that I like for a quad/BDSA. Its not bad, but not as good as Abt 12.

O-Setting aside my quibbles with the mouthfeel, this is a great holiday offering. It doesn't rank as high as the Abt 12 because even I found it a bit too sweet and spicy, but if you want a big, dark, holiday offering, there are not many choices better than this.

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

Pours out a dark Ice Tea color with 1/2 finger of off-white suds. Not a lot of lacing.
Smell is malty belgian yeast with funky raisin and cinnamon. Can't smell the alcohol.
Taste is corriander and nutmeg mixed with vanilla and banana oils with a sugary caramel malty finish.
Mouthfeel is really clean with no trace of alcohol. The aftertaste is almost non-existant.
Wonderful drinkability here. Too bad this only comes out once a year.

Photo of HattedClassic
4.39/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance:
The beer pours a nice and creamy tan head that takes a while to dissipate. The beer itself is a dark brown. The beer leaves quite a bit of lacing on the glass. Obviously, the beer is opaque.

Smell:
The beer has a strong, fruity, and sugary smell. The fruit smells are mainly dark fruits such as black cherry and a little bit of plum. The beer also has a strong Belgian sugar note that blends well wit the cherry tartness and dark fruit sweetness. The smell also has a slight yeast note that comes out when it's cold. Additionally, there is a slight caramel malt smell and a hint of alcohol as well.

Taste:
The beer taste has the same notes as the aroma. The beer has a Belgian sugar note that mixes well with the dark fruit notes. The dark fruit notes come off as plum and cherry while there also appears to be a bitter hop note. The yeast is not as present in the aste as it was in the nose. However, the alcohol is more pronounced.

Mouthfeel:
The beer has some serious carbonation, which makes what would have been a heavy bodied beer lighter. The biting carbonation definitely changes the texture from something that would have been smooth to something crisp.

Overall:
A good beer that I most likely will buy again during the Christmas season.

Photo of scott2269
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of mikepcarney
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of Mikecap
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

Photo of callmemickey
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of Lawnboy33
5/5  rDev +18.2%

Photo of woodchip
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of HoistinBrews
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of JayS2629
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Honest opinion. I enjoy the original Abt 12 imensely and think whatever spices are added to this one are a detraction. I still enjoy this one emensely as well and appreciate the spirit it was intended for. It is a great holiday, seasonal treat and deeply complex and sophisticated. Monk magic!

It pours a murky brown that is almost black. Cola like with a huge rocky off-white head three fingers thick and with steady staying power. Frothy rings of thick lace linger.

The aroma is spicy and full of belgian yeast esters. Dark fruit and spices. Over ripe plum, dates, and fig with cherry notes and caramel undertones. Thick toffee melts into musky, funky yeast phenols.

The taste gets really spicy. Holiday spices shine against yeasty spice notes. Nutmeg and cinnamon tones surf on the wave of funky belgian yeast tones of dark fruit,candy sugar, and dark rum notes. Musky notes and metallic, medicinal tones intrude slightly. Some may enjoy these licorice like flavors.

Mouthfeel is creamy and medium bodied.

easy sipper. Complex, interesting, and enjoyable. Slightly under the original Abt. 12 but still amazing.

Photo of RickS95
4.93/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Deep mahogany brown, with little sparklies in it. The head is enormous with huge retention. After minutes, it starts to fall leaving craterous holes around the edges with sticky, gluey lacing. You can literally see the spices and the fruity flavors that will soon be coming your way.

Smells rich and fruity. Dark, ripes fruits fill the nose. Slightly peppery with some pear and a bit of alcohol. Figs, raisins, plums waft up from the glass to greet you.

Everything I said about the smell goes for the taste. Dark fruits, pepper, pear and pepper dance on the tongue. I don't know how you'd improve the taste of this beer.

It's creamy and full bodied. There's a fruity sweetness followed by a tangy, dry finish. Eventually, the alcohol shows up with a slight heat. Like the taste, I'm not sure how a beer, particularly a quad, could feel better than this.

This is an exceptionally good beer. It's very alcoholic but it's well-hidden. Easy to drink. I wish this wasn't a seasonal. Unless I crack open a bottle of Westy 12 that's been aging for a year, I already know this is the best beer I'll have this year.

Photo of AdamBear
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A-dark chestnut. reddish tint, with a thick dark cream colored head. looks purdy.

S-strong scent of dark belgian spices and sugars. a hint of salted caramel and sweetness.

T-comes in with a really decent taste dark belgian grains and spices...with a nice emphasis on the spice and a certain belgian rawness. its a flavor that really sticks tongue. a good amount of peppercorn here. matching after-taste. high quality in and out. this beer hugs the mouth.

M-really heavy on the carbonation with a fairly dry finish

O-i'm actually surprised at how drinkable this beer is. it goes down very easily for the high ABV. as i drink it more, the flavors in the after-taste seem to come out more. its not my favorite christmas brew, but it isn't bad. i'll get this again some time, but next i'd like to share the 750mL possibly. this is great beer though...a must try.

Photo of KeyWestGator
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of TheSixthRing
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Poured into a Samuel Smith pint glass to reveal a murky auburn brown with a thick, rocky beige colored 3 finger head. Excellent retention, leaving behind a thick layer of suds. Lacing is chunky in spots and spotty in others and exhibits great stick.

Smell - Belgian yeast funk that can be picked up from a mile away. Tart apple and green banana. Settles as it warms, developing fruitcake-like aromas.

Taste - Starts with notes of plum and banana bread. Light sour funk. Spice hits mid-taste. Hints of rum-raisin alcohol in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Full in body with moderate carbonation. Silky smooth texture.

Overall - Mmmm. Really, really good. Perhaps my favorite quad yet, in part to the fact that it doesn't make me feel like I'm gonna develop diabetes from drinking it, as most are too sugary and syrupy for my liking. This one is up my alley, though. Nice, smooth delivery of a complex yet refined dark, fruity and bready profile.

Photo of Danielr26
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of taez555
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled 12/31/07, reviewing from notes.

This beer poured an opaque tannish ruby body with a huge white head.

Nose was typical big Belgian. Loads of Belgian years and phenols. There's a sharp potpourri type holiday spice note Dark dry fruits and touches of caramel. There's a strong alcohol burn in every whiff. As it warms the spices really shine through.

Taste is medium to full bodied. Lots of dry tannins. Loads of big dark prunes, plums, dark raisins mixed with soft caramel, milk chocolate and mild espresso beans. There's a very course large bubbled mouth-feel throughout.

Overall a very good beer. It's no anniversary or abt 12, but still... worth every penny for a solid St. Bernardus.

Photo of mc4z
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of leitmotif
3.62/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of beer2day
4/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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

A: a dark red color with an equally dark red head. great retention and the brew leaves a pretty lacing as well.

S: sweet brown sugar. cinnamon. a little tobacco. a smooth maltyness that is a bit warming.

T: nutty and fruity. chestnuts and figs. caramel. little bits of roast. a good deal of malt on this body. the finish is a bit champagne-like. im gonna say it is actually a bit dry.

M: like i noted on the palate, a champagne like fizz on a very full body.

D: a delicious belgian dark from a brewery that doesnt really make a bad beer. wouldnt hate to see this year round. dangerously drinkable and hard to detect the 10%ABV on this tasty treat.

Photo of kew
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,807 ratings.