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Christmas Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

633 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 633
Hads: 1,892
Avg: 4.19
pDev: 16.23%
Wants: 172
Gots: 342 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website

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: 633 | Hads: 1,892
Photo of mugglesandhops
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Horse Brass.

A- The light was fairly low in the bar and this looked very dark, almost black in color

S- Smelled spicy and fruity, dark fruits, fig, cherry.

T- Very good. Dates, raisins, nutmeg, alcohol.

M- Thick full bodied

D- This is definitely a slow drinker here. Perfect for the cold holiday season.

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Photo of Jerone
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

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Photo of FleeVT
4.52/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

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Photo of imasloth
4.2/5  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.

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Photo of Biggiekrock627
3.62/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had out of the bottle pouted into a Belgian style tulip glass. A number of sour notes to the smell and taste that seemed off. Not sure if I had a bad batch but almost felt like a lambic style any other st. Bernadus beers

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Photo of BeTheBall
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

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Photo of sprat1960
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
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!

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Photo of mcann2pu
3.7/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Not sure of the date on this bottle, the background color on the logo was blue though,
a- pours into my glass an interesting redish color, a good three fingers worth of thick tan head that settled down to maybe a 1/4 of an inch worth,
s- first to the nose is the spice, very Christmas like smell, then I can pick up on the sweet fruit smell that I would associate with this brewery,
t- good taste, the spie is not too overpowering and I feel that it blends well with the sweet tasting malts,
m- good.
d- fairly high, good beer overall, not bad for a x-mas release, but I still would take the 12 over this one,

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Photo of joeskirkie
4/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

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Photo of ABOWMan
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

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Photo of RandomExile
4.58/5  rDev +9.3%
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

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Photo of bigkahunas4
3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

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Photo of Kallessin
4.06/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of Mahlik
4.72/5  rDev +12.6%
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.

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Photo of Dmart1223
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

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Photo of julian89
4.54/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

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Photo of Celt44
4.52/5  rDev +7.9%
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!

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Photo of ryannosaurus
3.78/5  rDev -9.8%
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.

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

While smelling this beer I pick up fruity notes of banana and dark fruits. The carbonation looks quite high with lots of little tiny bubbles. Dark bronze in color. Much more dark fruit comes through in the taste with a bit of chocolate in there. A slight alcohol taste but hidden pretty well for 10% abv. It is very carbonated and has a prickly mouthfeel with a medium heavy body. The carbonation from this beer leaves you quite full. I don't pick out a lot of spices in the beer like I was expecting. I would drink again but would probably not look specifically for it in the store.

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Photo of jbone78
3.97/5  rDev -5.3%
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

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Photo of aeminter
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

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Photo of tburkhart
3.43/5  rDev -18.1%
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.

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Photo of THORN
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

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Photo of chiefydawg
4.07/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

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Photo of dudemuskie
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
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!

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Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
93 out of 100 based on 633 ratings.