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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: 1,872
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 9.09%
Wants: 157
Gots: 314 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Christmas Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 627 | Hads: 1,872
Photo of joeskirkie
4/5  rDev -4.3%
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. (475 characters)

Photo of don1481
4.34/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a 4 pack of 11.2oz bottles on clearance at Woodman's. Let's see how this stacks up to Abt 12.

11.2 oz bottle poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very very dark reddish brown. Big, frothy head that takes quite some time to die down, leaving a sticky lacing along the side of the glass.

Smell: From the moment I poured this, I got hit by the same sort of sweetness that Abt 12 has in it. The brown sugar, dates, raisin notes come shining on through. I don't smell any real booziness to it. Maybe a trace of banana here, with some nutmeg and holiday type spices.

Taste: That's... different. This hits you in a different way than Abt 12. More of the holiday spices, but the date/raisin notes still are definitely here. A complex taste to it, pretty crisp, but not boozy at all.

Mouthfeel: Bubbly and crisp. Lingers a bit longer in the aftertaste, in a warming manner from the alcohol. Not a burning sensation, thankfully. Definitely a lighter body to it.

Overall: Dangerously sessionable for a 10% ABV. Very enjoyable. I'd love to age a couple of these in the basement. (1,089 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 bigkahunas4
3.93/5  rDev -6%
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. (321 characters)

Photo of RandomExile
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
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 (752 characters)

Photo of sprat1960
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Chestnut brown with flashes of red and yellow. Pours with a light tan creamy two finger head that dies down gradually leaving a thin, even layer of foam on the surface of the beer and a little sticky lacing on the glass.

Smell: Delicious. Grainy, slightly sweet (think molasses).

Taste: Delicious. Taste close to how its smells. Grainy, slightly sweet, mildly peppery finish.

Feel: Full, medium body with nice mild carbonation.

Overall: Delicious. smooth quad. Would love to drink this again! (516 characters)

Photo of PlutonowyManiek
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Weak head. On the surface danced just fine bubbles.
Bouquet is clear cloves, orange, spices evocative of winter.
Taste is very dry, plums and all the characteristics of aroma reminiscent of mulled wine, is also bulky and heavy, and of course alcohol, which is incredibly warming up.
Alcohol (10%) in beer is well hidden. St. Bernardus Christmas Ale enchants bitterness which is dry, seasoned.
This beer is a "fat", rich, yet easy to drink, saturation of more than average.
Highly recommend for winter evenings by the fireplace with a good book. (544 characters)

Photo of Kallessin
4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
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. (723 characters)

Photo of Mahlik
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle poured into tulip glass

A - Pours a dark brown with reddish hues. Pours with a big pillowy cream-colored head. Head retention is really solid. Head dissipates to a thick crown, leaving behind great streaks of lacing.

S - Such an amazing aroma on this beer. Dark fruits such as raisins and figs hit the nose first. Plenty of Belgian yeast characteristics. A great spice profile including cloves and cinnamon. Pleasant aroma of brown sugar pushes through. Some banana notes as well.

T - Dark fruits and bready malts make the base of the flavor. A nice blend of caramel, cloves, brown sugar and cinnamon enter along with some fruity esters from the yeast. Sweet but not overbearing. I know it's been said by many others but I think rum-soaked fruitcake is a good description.

M - Medium-full bodied with slightly more than medium carbonation. Big, rich and sweet. Alcohol presence is above average but this is not quite a sipper. The alcohol seems to fade away before the aftertaste. A nice dry finish.

O - Fantastic. I've made this beer a part of my Christmas morning traditions. A perfect beer for the holidays. I enjoy just sitting by the tree and indulging on the rich, sweet taste of this beer. The dark fruit, bread and spice elements all blend to create an amazing Christmas experience. (1,312 characters)

Photo of Dmart1223
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Interesting beer, if you can get it. It's kind of like fermented fruitcake.

Christmas Ale pours thick, with LOTS of almond-white head that sticks around and plenty of carbonation. It's dark maple brown, a little cloudy, with some hints of red.

The smell's where I got the fruitcake. Just fruit all around, the most interesting of which was either pineapple, pear or both for some reason. I also might've gotten some melon and berries.

That fruitiness also comes out in the taste, which gave me hints of the above fruits, as well as also cherries. The Belgian yeast gives it a funky taste, and the 10% ABV, rather than sticking out, warms your soul.

This is a big, bold beer with a lot going on. I'd like to store one of these for a year to see the difference. (766 characters)

Photo of julian89
4.54/5  rDev +8.6%
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. (709 characters)

Photo of Celt44
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
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! (564 characters)

Photo of jbone78
3.97/5  rDev -5%
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 (529 characters)

Photo of aeminter
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
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. (287 characters)

Photo of tburkhart
3.43/5  rDev -17.9%
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. (329 characters)

Photo of THORN
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
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. (587 characters)

Photo of chiefydawg
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber Brown cloudy effervescent body with big foamy light khaki head. Decent lace.

Pitted fruit scent accentuates light tobacco leaf. Candilike maltiness. Some Belgian funky yeast.

Prune juice concentrate takes center stage early. Dark chocolate (without the roast) and mellow caramel back it up.
By this description of its dominant flavors, one would think this is cloying. But take into account the surprisingly bitter hop backdrop, high carbonation, and Belgian sharpness, this beer turns out quite balanced. There is this unidentifiable spice lurking, like allspice or nutmeg (I am a grilling/stir fry type, not baker, so hard to place this spice - sorry).

Crisp yet filling malty mouthfeel with a clean, lasting bitterness (yeah that's right). Still, there is this light pruney coating on the tongue long after each swallow. Interesting for sure. The Belgian twang even hangs out awhile (especially in the burp 15 minutes later...). The considerable 10%ABV is cloaked. I mean I let some sit for an hour in a warm room and it still was chill.

Overall an intriguing ale. Kind of like an Old Ale w/ a shake of pale chocolate malt chucked onto a frenzied slurry of spicy phenolic Abby yeast.
I dunno. Belgians brewers just do what they want, eff the style, and I respect that (extreme beer in the USA). Strange and yummy. Quaint step out of the ordinary. (1,360 characters)

Photo of dudemuskie
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a bottle of this in the cellar for close to a year...figured a little belated Christmas present to myself would be a lovely idea after a 14 hour work day!

Appearance- Tight light beige head quickly rises, nearly like that of a glass of champagne, and quickly fades to a very thin residual ring. Deep brown with faint reddish-orange highlights, slightly hazy from bottle refermentation.

Aroma- Whoa, lots going on here! Perfumey alcohols, candilike caramel and raisins, hints of honey and very soft cinnamon spice. Dark dried fruits like cherries and maybe even a hint of apricot. Nice yeast character also. Incredibly complex and an excellent nose suitable for a winter warmer!

Flavor- Starts sweet with caramel, raisins, rich toffee and opens up to a wonderful yeasty, softly spicy, middle. Finishes rich, but not overwhelming with a perfumy, almost powdery fruitiness. Some herbal hop notes present as well as some warming alcohol. Long lingering finish of warm bread/biscuits, herbal hops, and soft yeast spice. Very nice.

Mouthfeel- Champagne-esque CO2 works very well with the higher alcohol. Medium bodied, moderate residual sweetness, low to no bitterness as spice from yeast is primary balance for malty/candi sugar sweetness. Slightly dry but sticky finish.

Overall- Excellent winter warmer, would like to try one fresh to see what the spice level is and how muted the perfumy alcohol notes are as opposed to this older bottle. Have a feeling a bottle of this fabulous winter brew would hold up for quite some time! Well worth a try, especially this time of year! (1,584 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 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 ryannosaurus
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750 poured to snifter.

Deep brown, translucent, big tan head that settles quickly, leaving a light lacing.

Aroma is yeasty banana and brown sugar

Taste has more elements, less of the banana with some toffee and coffee, a bit of cloves, some actual hop bitterness to balance. Just a trace of butteriness. I'd expect some hot alcohol warning at 10% abv, and it isn't there... kind of sneaky.

Mouth feel is less thick than I'd expect, nice sting from the CO2.

Banana in the nose obscures some of the more subtle flavor elements, but they are there. If you like St B's dark, you will like this for the same reasons. Nice one to wrap up the holiday. (649 characters)

Photo of jtd1969
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - reddish brown color with lots of lacing and carbonation

S - sweet Belgian yeast, some Christmas spices, dark fruit

T - dark fruit like cherries and plums, some fig, hints of nutmeg and cinnamon

M - full bodied, medium-high carbonation, smooth

O - Really really good. I could drink this all Christmas. Alcohol is so hidden, Special beer. (344 characters)

Photo of fartingdog
3.43/5  rDev -17.9%
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. (381 characters)

Photo of Kbogac
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice from a bomber. Huge foam! Maybe two inches of thick creamy head that slowly dissipated to a nice 1/4 inch layer that lasted to the end. Great lacing too. Scent is dark fruit, molasses, a little orange and clove. Taste is similiar, dark fruits and molasses. Good carbonation with a medium mouthfeel. Overall a great beer. I was defiantly wanting more when it finished. Highly recommended. (409 characters)

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

Pours a dark ruddy amber with a thick head and minimal lacing. Smells of spices, raisins, plums, cherries and brown sugar. Taste is more spices, dark fruits, brown sugar and molasses. Mouthfeel is smooth with medium carbonation and a dry finish. Overall a fantastic Christmas ale (my new favorite)! which is a nice alternative to the Abt 12. Alcohol is well hidden for 10% ABV. Merry Christmas! (394 characters)

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