Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,722 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,722
Reviews: 612
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.46%
Wants: 137
Gots: 257 | FT: 7
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,722 | Reviews: 612 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tdmccarthy
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of Jason1337
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of irishkyle21
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of NateMac13
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of JMS1512
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of JakerLou
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of ortie
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of freewill35
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of TwelveOunces
4.85/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml poured into a St. Bernardus Goblet

A- Pours a monster beige head with tight bubbles and beautiful lacing. The beer itself is deep dark brown with reddish orange hues.
S- Big dark fruits that I expected. Rum soaked raisins. Burnt caramel, maybe even some honey? Grapefruit, a little alcohol, figs, pretty good stuff. maybe some figs and cinnamon as well.
T- A full variety of crazy flavors, different with every sip. Creamy caramel mixed with dark fruits, Some cinnamon and ginger make this thing come alive. Sugary sweet fruit aftertaste with brown sugar. Started to taste the alcohol after it warmed up a bit.
M- Boatloads of carbonation, its a truly living beer. Definitely a warming in the stomach because its 10%. This thing pours with a lot of foamy head so be cautious on the pour as the head goes nowhere.
O- Awesome beer. It is in my opinion, a little better then the 12. Its just like the twelve but with a slight Christmas kick.

Photo of Dukeofearl
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle for $11.99 at Hi Time Wine in Costa Mesa, CA. Purchased in December 2007 and tasted in January of the following year.

Pours a deep chocolate brown with a massive St. B. style foamy off-white head. After letting it settle a while (giving me a great chance to smell it), I finally got to try it out.

Aroma is typical of the rich full dark Belgian abbey beers- cocoa and raisins and dates and a hint of spiciness. A little sweet smelling.

Flavor is nice. I just have to use plain words sometimes when describing beer, and for this one, it's nice. Rich creamy mouthfeel surrounds milk chocolate, raisins and figs and perhaps some berries, a bit of grass, and a hint of spices (I am never good at identifying them specifically). Also, a touch of alcohol heat, but generally well hidden.

A good, OK, a very good beer. In my mind, I think I would rather have the plain old "normal" St. Bernardus lineup than this special brew, but that's just me. Recommended.

Photo of Tom-Peters
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of PaBeerLover
5/5  rDev +18.2%

Photo of JamesStreet
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of BB1313
4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a deep brown with not much light getting through; huge fluffy off-white head that sticks around and leaves awesome lacing and retention. The aromas are full of dark fruits and sweet malts. Lots of raisins and plums. Dark cherries too. Some dates in the mix. Candied sugar aromas are there. Of course there's some yeast. The flavors really match the nose. Tons of sweet fruits. Hints of bubblegum and banana too. More plums. Lots of sweet cherries. Finishes with some holiday spices. There's a subtle earthiness. Woodsy. The flavors are very clean. There's basically no hints of alcohol and just finishes with the slightest warmth. Mouthfeel is wonderful. It's full-bodied with very active carbonation. Very smooth, fluffy, and creamy. This makes a nice sipper with a nice complexity.

This is a great Quad. The craftsmanship is very impressive. This is pretty similar to their Abt 12, in my opinion. There's minor differences, especially the subtle spices. I think I'd give Abt 12 the edge, but I'd have to do a side by side to really tell. Either way, this is a great beer. Recommended.

Photo of magictacosinus
4.51/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a mini snifter at a blind quad tasting out of a 750ml bottle, courtesy of jdhowe. 2012 vintage. Later that evening, I opened up a fresh 2013 vintage (out of a 11.2oz bottle) that was dated with a "best by" date of "24/7/18." Am I the only one that thinks it's bizarre that the larger bottles say that this variant of St. Bernardus will age up to 13 years in the bottle, but the smaller ones have expiration dates, for whatever reason?

While the newer bottle poured a near exact rendition of the regular Abt. 12 (brown, plum tinged, big frothy head), the '12 vintage was astonishingly clearer and showcased less frothiness at the top, in spite of a playful blast of carbonation at the bottom. Some cloudiness and sediment - looked exactly like the regular Abt. 12 (also '12 vintage) that was next to it during the tasting.

When I took a whiff out of the glass, however, I knew instantly that this had to be the spiced ale - it's such a distinct, unique aroma. At first, you get a cascade of delicate, dried dark fruits, ranging from raisins, dates and blackberries, but then it is overtaken by the caramel and replaced with ginger peel, allspice, cinnamon, and most notably of all, crushed red pepper. Yes, indeed, the pepper a fabulous addition to the base beer, and sets a savory standard that masks and washes away the booze and potentially additional sweetness at the finish. Very bright and unique, especially for a mass-produced Belgian spiced ale.

The flavor continues to showcase the excellent balance between the flavorful, crisp malt profile, as well as the spices at hand. Firm, yet not over the top, notes of raisins, berries, and prunes, with an impressive prickly spiciness from the pepper, as well as some cinnamon, allspice, and some faded finger peel. Contains a slight wet yeasty character and some extra sweetness from the alcohol that is canceled out nicely by the spices. With the biscuit, caramel forward profile, this feels like a much lighter beer than it really is. Carbonation is just right, and something truly unique is happening to this vintage. I'd imagine, over time, that it would develop fascinating notes of oxidation akin to Sherry, and the complexity inhibited by the spices would increase ten fold. Really incredible stuff, with all things considered.

I knew this would be the clear winner of the tasting as soon as I took a sip of it - it may not have the yeasty prowess of other quads we tasted, nor as much of a robust malt profile, but it certainly wins in its ever unique profile and versatility for the pure and simple purpose of consumption. I'd love to buy a case of this and see how it evolves over the course of 12 years, but every vintage is different, it seems. The 2012, from what I can gather, is going to be quite generous in its development. The '13 is drinking supremely well as well, and whether fresh or aged, this beer really knocks most spiced beers out of the park, and perhaps most of its other Belgian peers overall.

Photo of ari32
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%

Photo of jayhunter357
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of doughanson78
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of BuckTuckian
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Photo of wonothesane42
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of innominat
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of sbricker
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.72/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In my humble opinion, St. Bernardus does nothing but make great beers. Every style they make is superb. I'm hoping their Christmas beer meets the same standards.

Murky brown in the glass with just a hint of a wispy brown head. Licorice and dark fruit aromas and mulling spices.

Rich dark fruit and bready dark malt. Some warming alcohol and anise. Very thick and malty, lots of black currant and ripe plum, More licorice in the finish and aftertaste. Yummy!

Great stuff. I need to get some more.

Photo of Pearlstreetbrewingco
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%

Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
94 out of 100 based on 1,722 ratings.