Corsendonk Christmas Ale - Brouwerij Corsendonk

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Corsendonk Christmas AleCorsendonk Christmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

1,068 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,068
Reviews: 565
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 10.6%
Wants: 73
Gots: 128 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Corsendonk visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: pezoids on 11-22-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (15) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,068 | Reviews: 565
Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Well, from the start I knew this was going to be a special beer. Almost a medicinal aroma.

But once I tasted it, I realized what the smell and taste were. They were barleywine tastes. That boozy somewhat dark-fruitish tastes. And yes, I guess somewhat medicinal.

For me, this was very much like drinking a barleywine. A very incredibly smooth one. This one had a good bit of age. The beer is from 2008, so I'm wondering how age affected this beer.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.59/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A color that straddles eggplant and plum, underneath a lovely tan head. Intense aromatics: raisins, plums, port, cinnamon, ginger cloves. A generous buzz on the tongue fueled by a great array of hops,and held up by solid malt base. Overall, one gets a feel of holiday breads, cakes ginger cookies. Very tasty, warming, delicious.

Photo of dahlen22
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Deep amber with a copious amount of head.

Aroma: Fruitcake and corriander.

Taste: Ok...have had this beer so many times that I have lost count. However, this review is different b/c I put a bottle from last Christmas (2011) in the cellar and just popped the cork. This is truly amazing after 9 months in the cellar. Cherries, corriander, dark fruits, fruit cake with an almost sherry-port like finish. Smooth and creamy and oh so easy to drink.

Overall: This beer is tops in the Christmas beer market...that being said, put in the cellar for 9 months (or more), this beer is an A+. Good thing I have a few more in the cellar from last Christmas ; )

Cheers!!

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.57/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

8.5 oz bottle poured into a Corsendonk Christmas Ale glass.
8.5% ABV, Best before end 07/09/11 printed on back label

A - Poured with care to leave the bottle's undoubtedly thick sediment behind, this beer produces a creamy light tan head that froths up to a sizable stature. Chunky lace delicately blankets the glass like powdery snow on an evergreen. The dark cherry wood beer is still hazy despite the pour but by the beer's lighter toasted oak base carbonation can be seen rushing from a nucleation point, feeding the tall head.

S - Exotic and voluptuous Corsendonk Christmas Ale gushes with dark fruits and sweetness. Caramelized dark candi sugar is reminiscent of warm brown sugar and molasses with a touch of smoke while the earthy yeast nose presents fig, candied date, and a touch of prune juice. Malty and smooth, the nose of this beer is warm and inviting!

T - Not unlike the aroma, Corsendonk Christmas Ale has a powerful fruit aspect that ties the fig, date, and prune into more sweetness than the nose lets on. Brown sugar, dark candi sugar, caramel and toffee overlap a touch faint touch of smoked malt that lingers with the earthy and dry toasted malts before a faint touch of alcohol spice trails off.

M - Corsendonk Christmas Ale starts with a nice smooth feel but succumbs to a blast of heavy carbonation, which I find actually detracts from the flavor of the beer, scrubbing the tongue profusely (though, on the other hand, makes it a prime candidate to pair with dinner). Soothing feeling, this medium-full bodied beer has a delicate warming alcohol finish.

O - Best By date? HA! This precious beer has been sitting in the basement for over 3 years and doesn't show any signs of degradation; instead, expanding on it's fantastic Belgian yeast characteristics wonderfully. Dark fruit and sweet nuances play off the dry, toasted malt for a nearly perfect dark ale that soothes with every sip, warming gently from within. Make this a Christmas staple. I think I'll have to get a large bottle for my celebration!

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.57/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed this from a bottle and on-tap quite many times. Greatest experience with this was buying the grand 3L bottle (in Dec '08), sitting on it until July, and priming myself for mayhem - sharing it with a buddy - while watching "Unforgiven" for the first time. Priceless.

This is a dark, richly malty, lovely, quintessentially holiday-time ale that I could actually, jubilantly drink whenever. Always pours with an excitedly effervescent head - not real compact, almost champagne-like, a coffee-sand color, decent leavings. The color appears reddish-brown at one angle, brownish-red at another - rosewood, overall (refer. my link).

Dense, caramelly-biscuity aroma by and large - plenty dark, lightly chocolate/toffee malt, and lingerings of dark, drupey fruity ester. The taste is surely up there with the best of Belgian Xmas-time beer. Dark fruity, smooth malts loom large - the fruitiness taking on some wonderful mostly fig and prune characteristics - but fall a good bit short of being sweet...

Really what you're getting here is an ale boasting those dark fruits via yeast, and rich, cakey malts - moderately thick in flavor yet somewhat light on the palate - and a nice, clean finish - MOR dryness. Spices/spicing, if added (which I don't believe they are), are/is virtually non-existent - something I greatly appreciate about the Belgian holiday offerings.

This is just so good. Come, you must try it!

Photo of Bighuge
4.57/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This bottle appears to be the 2002 edition.

This beer is a deep clear ruby color. Just a swirl of a head. Color of brown. Recesses to an edging and a few peninsulas jutting out from the glass side. Lacing is intricate. Wood, cinamon and subtle pine notes make a presence on the nose. Body is about light-medium. Hard to believe this brew is 8.5 a/v. Not a trace of alcohol lingers on my tongue. Cinamon, ginger and nutmeg, oh my. Not sure if I've got all the spices correct, but there is definitely some nicely integrated spicing. Not as over the top as the Anchor "Our Special Ale," which is good in it's own right. Some slight bitterness is noted from the hopping. Maltiness is so subtle and nice. Delicate pine and spruce notes blend in nicely as well. Incredibly drinkable and tasty brew. Beautiful.

Photo of RoyalT
4.55/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Thick, hazy brown in color with a nice, tan head that left some cool pittings on top of the liquid.

Smell – The sharp yeast leads the way for this BSDA heavy-hitter. The malty yeast is huge and introduces a complex mix of dark fruits such as cherries, figs, and especially dates.

Taste – Man, oh, man, this is a hearty brew. The sugars come out big time at the taste, sweetening up the already fruity compliment to this monster malt base. This is Belgian yeast at its finest.

Mouthfeel – Full with a nice, mildly fluffy mouthfeel. Incredible.

Drinkability – This is EXACTLY my idea of a Belgian winter ale. I’ll call it a night and dream of these flavors.

Comments – Similar to the Unibroue Maldite, if you like that (and if you don’t then go away).

Update – I bought a bottle of this in 2008 and cellared it for three years. – opened in May 2011 and it still could stand another three years put away. It’s sugared up a little bit more but nothing like I thought. Fortunately this is a great ale all the way around. And again the real highlight for me is the incredible mouthfeel. The head also come up much nicer than I remember so I upped that score 0.50.

Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.55/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into the Corsendonk Christmas Ale glass- pours an opaque nutty brown color. This beer is very active and has a two finger head with good retention and some lacing; the foam is a light tan color and creamy. It smells of yeast, malted barely and a hint of molasses and alcohol. This is a very sweet beer- it tastes much like it smells. The most wonderful part of this brew in my opinion is the full carbonation that supports the alcohol sweetness. It's very refreshing. Definitely a beer worth buying and something I would get again.

Photo of ZAP
4.55/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy brownish/amber...nose is very interesting...dark fruits combine with a pudding like smell....body is a little too thin in my opinion but is very drinkable, and smooth. A lovely milk chocolate flavor emerges first and is followed by dark fruits....sweet ripe plums are definitelyevident...some subtle spicing (ginger?)makes this even more tasty...I love this beer...a great Christmas beer but also just a great beer on its own...the Alcohol is not noticable on the taste but it warms you up...a great tummy warmer and my tummy is needed a lot of warming these days..

Photo of George
4.54/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful beer, before i knew it i finished my glass

Photo of MadScientist
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A dark brown beer with a deep garnet hue and good clarity. The persistent head is light tan, producing about of finger of compact foam from a slightly aggressive pour.

S: Prunes and raisins with pepper and alcohol. This beer has a moderately-strong dark, dried fruit aroma with moderate, peppery phenols. The malt aroma is in the background with a light, sweet aroma. There are no hops aromas and moderately-light flowery alcohol aroma.

T: It tastes like brown sugar and fruit without being cloyingly sweet. There is a moderately-strong fruit presence with flavors of prunes, raisins and figs. The yeast also brings a great pepper flavor, the coriander brings a bit of orange and nuttiness to the party. The hops have light earthy flavor and a moderately-light hops bitterness. the balance is slightly towards the bitter. The finish is off-dry with a fruity aftertaste and lingering spice.

M: A medium-full and creamy with a moderately-strong level of carbonation.

O: An awesome dark strong with a great balance of flavors! This category is a bit challenging for me because I have a strong preference for drier beer which may factor into my enjoyment of this beer. That being said the flavors of fruit and spice blended with alcohol and brown sugar are all so nicely balanced without getting too sweet.

Photo of chuckbeaster
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving: 750ml bottle poured into my Gulden Draak chalice. best by 20/08/14 on the bottle. so i'm drinking this just in time.

Appearance: very dark burgundy (almost the color of a pakistani spassartite garnet). two fingers of off-white head. dissipated slowly, and left a thin film on top with nice lacing.

Smell: dark fruits, sherry, belgian yeast, spices (clove, cinnamon, and maybe coriander)

Taste: dark dried fruits (prune, fig), apple/pear, roasted malts, spice (but not as much as one would expect from a xmas belgian), some candy sugar, some bready notes, and a very very slight bitter note at the end. almost no alcohol taste at all.

Mouthfeel: medium body, crisp, great carbonation, with a slightly dry finish

Overall: probably my favorite christmas belgian ale. i highly recommend this beer for both the beginner and the seasoned expert. a very complex, but balanced beer. very easy drinking, be careful!

Photo of crossovert
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage. Came with a glass which I will use for this review.

Pours a deep dark brown with hints of ruby when held to light. The head fits perfectly in the Corsendonk branded glass and it is off white, semi quickly dissipating, with some spotty lacing.

Smell is typical belgian dark, but with an elevated level of fruitiness. In addition to the normal dark dried fruits, I sense some banana, citrus, and grapes. There is also a hint of spice.

The taste follows suit, but with a nice hit of spices. The sweetness is very balanced and the fruit flavors are vibrant and up front. There are also hints of caramel and a small amount of alcoholic bite. The mouthfeel is silky smooth with a perfect amount of carbonation, though the bottle is far too small at 8.5 oz.

This is a fantastic brew, for lovers of Belgian Stong Dark ales. This one is highly drinkable, downing a whole gift pack of these would be feasible, though you'd be feeling it.

Photo of John_M
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There aren't a lot of things about Winter that I look forward to, but the annual arrival of this beer is certainly one of them. Had this on tap at Mahaffey's the other night.

The beer pours a reddish amber color, with minimal head retention, but excellent, lingering lacing. One gets an initial blast of sweet malt on the nose, but it's intermixed with lots of wonderful spices, including allspice and nutmeg. The flavor profile on the palate is straight from beer heaven. The beer is moderately sweet, but that sweetness is braced with flavors of cola, cherry, rootbeer and even more spice, including nutmeg and ginger. The beer is medium bodied with an abv. that is pretty well disguised. The beer is not at all heavy or tiring to drink, and is really what I've come to think of as the quintessential Belgian X-mas beer.

Excellent and highly recommended.... especially if you can get it on draft.

Photo of DogFood11
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown rich looking body with a formidable head and decent lacing although its fairly slick. Bakery type bread smells with some dark fruits, cinnamon.

This is one rich brew, big body and silky smooth. Huge malts mixed with the dark fruity type aroma, spiced up cinnamon. Alcohol is evident and adds to the enjoyment as it is mellowed by the malt madness.

Incredibly smooth for such a strong beer, I absolutely loved the mouthfeel as it was incredibly smooth for such a rich and high alcohol brew.

Photo of IPAcraig
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Having this beer after a long day at the beach with the dogs, and brewing afterwards; a tripel braggot. Poured into my De Garre snifter just before we finish watching "The Last King of Scotland".

This beer has a gorgeous body. A deep redish ruby, with a big cream head. It was gone quickly, but it had good lacing.

This beer has a big fruit aroma (strawberries, et al), coupled with a dry, toasty smell as well.

The fruitiness is apparent in the taste first as well. This beer manages to produce a large amount of esters without being very phenolic. The alcohol is extremely well subdued. It has a bit of sweet spice in finish. I expected it to be a bit drier after the aroma.

Nice medium bodied beer with medium carbonation. It could be a bit more carbonated.

Exceptionally drinkable. Exceptionally flavorful. I will definitely have more of these before the winter is up.

Photo of ADR
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opaque and very deep brown color, a mountain of bottle-conditioned head. Laces in simple blobs, however. Very pleasant chocolate covered strawberry aroma with a little zip of yeastiness. Highly carbonated, not usually something I like, but a nice match to the malt expression of fleshy pears and decided peach tones. Finishes with more astringency but with a pop of confectioner's sugar. In some ways, this reminds me of a Dubbel that finishes like a Duvel, a fine example of complexity and the brewing art. Very nice beer...

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Corsendonk Christmas Ale has a thin, beige head, a brown, bubbly, opaque appearance, and pretty much no lacing left behind. The aroma is of rich, sweet, spicy malt and fruit. Taste is of dark, sweet bread, rich, moist, fruit cake, dark fruit, sugars, and a fairly pronounced, balancing bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium and prickly, and Corsendonk Christmas Ale finishes semi-wet and dessert like. Very little of an alcohol pick-up, here.

RJT

Photo of obywan59
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle. Label has blue night sky with falling snow and Christmas star; also decorated Christmas tree. No born on date, but "best before end" date of 11/09/11.

Like dark brown translucent coffee in appearance. After having sampled a series of beers with weak heads, I made the mistake of pouring directly into the bottom of the glass and got a light brownish white head that fully filled 9/10s of my 12 oz. Old Guardian glass. My second pour was better till I got cocky and overflowed a fast rising 3-inch head. 3rd pour down the side of the glass the whole way gave a 1 1/2 finger mounded head. Moderate lacing.

Smells like a Belgian. Some light sweetness and spice.

Very smooth for a Belgian, not off-putting at all. Some light sweetness with a bit of tartness as well. The sweetness seemed to increase a bit by the 3rd glass. 8.5% ABV warms nicely on the way down, but doesn't bite back.

Moderate "Goldilocks" body. Not too thick, not too thin, it's just right.

Certainly not a guzzler, but I give it high marks for drinkability.

This is the 3rd Christmas themed BSDA I've sampled in the past 2 weeks along with Troegs Mad Elf and Delirium Noel and although I enjoyed them all, this is easily my favorite. Fuller in appearance, taste, and body than the Mad Elf, (although the Mad Elf is glorious to look at in the glass) and at the same time thinner and more drinkable than the Delirium. The Corsendonk strikes the happy medium. Perfect for our first truly frigid, (19 degrees) snowy night of the season. The 8.5% AVB is quite enough alcohol for the 750, thank you!

Photo of KarlHungus
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a murky amber-brown color. The head is a firm, light tan inch of foam which recedes slowly leaving nice lacing. The aroma is of ginger, anise, brown sugar, and licorice, with undertones of bready malt. The taste has everything from the aroma, with a nice soft roundness. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with small, lively carbonation, and a silky texture. Overall, this is a very nice dark Belgian ale. I will certainly drink this again.

Photo of PBRstreetgang
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep chestnut with amber highlights. Pale tan head immediately fills the glass-then settles to one finger of dense soap bubbles, retains a cap very well and leaves spotty lacing. Complex phenolic nose with dark toasted malt in the background. Dark fruit aromas like dates and plums- and light fruits like peaches. The taste is sweet toasted dark malt upfront then turns tart and phenolic through the middle. The aftertaste hints at dryness, cleansing some of the mild residual fruit sweetness and faint phenolic bite. No perceivable hops here, but this balances fine without. Low carbonation and med/full body create a velvety texture, and the tart phenol/fruitness fades with the residual sugar for a satisfying but not overpowering finish. Drinks very well for the style...everything a Belgian strong dark ale should be.

Photo of stevoj
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Although I drank this out of season, it was still a knockout. Poured a clear dark brown with llight and airy, but thick (three fingers) head. Taste is smooth and mellow, very malty, but no hint of the 8.1% ABV. This was an easy drinker, and very pleasurable. Highly recommend.

Photo of Vengeance526
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy dark red amber color with a rich off-white head that has great retention and leaves a lot of sticky lacing.

A lot of yeast and candied sugar in the initial aroma, followed closely by dried fruits and Christmas spices in the back.

The taste really comes through as you slowly let it warm. Some prunes and figs start things off. Next comes a slight sweetness of brown sugar. Towards the end, some sour cherry notes show up and give way to notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, all leading to a sweet, bready and yeasty finish.

Medium to full bodied with a rich creamy mouthfeel. Overall a great Christmas beer that can be enjoyed anytime of year. The alcohol is hardly noticeable at all. One of my favorites every year.

Photo of GPHarris
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage

a - poured a three-fingers thick light tan head into a tulip glass that left great lacing and sheeting throughout. the beer billows nicely as well. the body was a bright mahogany with red tints.
s - clove, cinnamon, yeast, cake.
t - dark fruits like plums and cherries with a hint of spice.
m - thick and coating.
o - very complex and delicious seasonal.

Photo of scootny
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

8.5 oz bottle into my Chimay chalice. A tightly carbonated head of about a finger. Spots of lace on my glass as it fades. A slightly hazy chestnut colored beverage sits with a light covering of bubbles in my drinking vessel. Mild carbonation. Stately.

Smell is of sweet burgundy, candy sugar, malt, and spice. A trace of floral hops cuts in and out. Yeasty esters mix with fusel alcohol to suggest well brandied fruitcake.

Taste is of malt, roasted sugar, and light caramel with an alcoholic edge. Toffee shows up and a blend of dark fruits and spice carry the taste to its finish. Light and clean hops cut off the sugar and alcohol train quickly. A lingering dryness with biscuits and graham crackers come after the hops and set up the next sip. Fruitcake suggested in the nose becomes real in the mouth. Superb.

Mouthfeel is medium heavy, a gentle chewyness. Carbonation is a creamyesque spritzy. A little more than you might expect from observing the glass but perfect for the brew.

Drinkability for a strong winter is surprising. Goes down easy for a liquid fruitcake. Must be the perfect hop balance and carbonation. May be the great holiday standard.

Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
93 out of 100 based on 1,068 ratings.