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Corsendonk Christmas Ale | Brouwerij Corsendonk

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
92
outstanding
584 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
584
Ratings:
1,158
Avg:
4.13
pDev:
14.77%
 
 
Wants:
86
Gots:
172
For Trade:
2
Corsendonk Christmas AleCorsendonk Christmas Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Corsendonk
Belgium | website

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by pezoids on 11-22-2001

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 584 | Ratings: 1,158
Photo of Greggy
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml --> 2 years of age

A- 1 finger thick head. Ruby/dark red body. Nice fine layer of sediment throughout the glass.

S- Big molasses, brown sugar sweetness, dark fruits. Quite malt driven.

T- Starts with a great malty sweetness, slightly medicinal spiciness, some brown sugar, molasses, and anise. The finish is long, malty, with residual spice.

M- Nice low carbonation when combined with the ABV makes for a nice full body. Alcohol is well hidden.

D- I would like to try this fresh, but I feel that as it sits at 2 years of age is quite tasty. Perfect for any winter evening.

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Photo of superspak
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into signature globe glass, best before 8/20/2015. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy deep reddish brown color with a 1-2 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of big raisin, plum, cherry, fig, orange peel, caramel, molasses, toffee, dark bread, nuttiness, light chocolate, coriander, light pepper/clove, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Incredible complexity and balance of fruity/earthy yeast, spices, and dark/bready malt notes; with good strength. Taste of big raisin, plum, cherry, fig, orange peel, caramel, molasses, toffee, dark bread, nuttiness, light chocolate, coriander, light pepper/clove, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Slight earthy yeast spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, cherry, fig, orange peel, molasses, toffee, dark bread, nuttiness, light chocolate, light coriander/pepper/clove, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and robustness of fruity/earthy yeast, spices, and dark/bready malt flavors; with an awesome malt/yeast balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, moderately creamy, and lightly slick mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an absolutely incredible Belgian strong Dark ale. All around amazing complexity and balance of fruity/earthy yeast, spices, and dark/bready malt sweetness; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. An absolutely amazing offering. Love it every year.

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Photo of CharlesRiver
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

To start I must say that I have never had a cork come off that hard before. 750ml corked and caged. Best before appears to be some time in 2006.

Pours out a dark brown color with a good size tan head. The smell is spicy and sweet. Raisins and chocolate come through for me. First sip, Wow. What a complex beer. Sweet in the beginning, spicy and crisp in the end. More raisins, nuts, earthy notes and molasses (sp?) come through. The taste is a bit dry in the end but leaves a wonderful warming. So complex and balanced at the same time which is amazing for a younger "big" beer.

Overall, delicious. I have one more bottle in the basement that is from last year. I think I will purchase a couple more to cellar as well.

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Photo of Blakaeris
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear orange-mahogany in color. head is a huge pillowy tan mass with decent lacing.

Aroma is candylike sweetness with strong apricot fruitiness and peppery yeasty spices.

Taste is big, sweet and fruity. Generous apple and dark fruit notes up front. Strongly spiced with nutmeg, pepper and ginger. Midway through the caramel and orange peel make an appearance. Finish is smooth a pleasant warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth with plenty of carbonation.

This is a tasty treat. Complex, but very smooth and approachable.

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Photo of AlexJ
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber brown pour with a sizable off-white head that quickly reduces to a thin veil leaving delicate whisps of lace.

Aroma is sweet and fruity with hints of toasted nuts and maple syrup. There is a strong floral presence that adds to the sweetness.

Flavor is rich with chewy caramel, candy sugar, strawberries, apricot, and melon. Sweet but not cloying. Heavy emphasis on the berry and apricot flavors. Reminds me of Binchoise Special Reserve.

Body falls just below medium with a soft creamy texture and light carbonation.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In a 12 oz. brown bottle with a freshness date (of a year an half after this Christmas I might add) printed on the festive looking label, the packaging oozes the spirit of the season.

The beer poured dark amber red, with a foamy tall head that left a lot of lace. There was good bit of cloudy evidence as a result of the bottle conditioning with yeast. The aroma was very sweet like a bowl of sweet cherries drizzled with honey. The taste was boldly malty with dark skinned fruits, brown sugar, honey, cloves, and cinnamon.

Very soft and creamy mouthfeel, with just a hint of herbal hop bitterness that lingered, this was a smooth, and rich tasting beer that is worth savoring each year. Outstanding beer, and very drinkable, even at 8.5% ABV.

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Photo of scootny
4.48/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

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Photo of Radome
4.48/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tasted from a 750 ml bottle bought in Madrid.

A - Beer is medium to dark brown and slightly cloudy. Some light comes through the glass when held up to a lamp. Head is just off-white, thick and fluffy and maintains that way throughout.

S - Aroma is mostly about the malt, like toasted grain and molasses. There is also a green grass note, lemon zest and maybe a hint of a spice, but I can't identify which spice. Finally, there is a hint of alcohol and an old wood smell that makes me think this may have been aged on wood. There might even be a tiny bit of smokiness.

T - The taste is also lighter than expected. Sweet, grainy malt with some light molasses and dark fruits. This is followed by a light herb/spice note and finally a sweet, very slightly boozy finish. The tastes are very complex but somehow give an overall clean, open impression, not heavy and smothering.

M - Medium body; fairly sweet and mouth-coating finish. Low to medium hops bitterness. A low level of alcohol burn. Noticeable carbonation fizz, but not distracting.

O - Although I can detect a bit of spice (possibly from yeast), this is not an overly-spiced Christmas ale that tries too hard. A supremely well-balanced beer. It is complex yet drinkable, dark and sweet yet not smothering. My hat's off to the brewers.

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Photo of dacrza1
4.49/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

DATE TASTED: December 28, 2015... GLASSWARE: Corsendonk tulip...OCCASION: enjoying each day of the Christmas break with a review... APPEARANCE: pours a dark, lustrous purple brown body; immense, three-finger brown head forms creamy, bubbly cork that retains its dignity for quite some time; when it acquiesces, what is left is equally majestic--a flurry of Brussels lace ... AROMA: plum and raisin, doughy, toasted malts and earthy hops mingle with less dominant citrus to provide a welcoming, complex aroma... PALATE: strong, commanding yet smooth sip; maltiness is apparent in its fortitude at the finish, while the early palate suggests some hop activity; lively during its middle passage, while dry at the end--full-bodied, thick, and not at all bitter... TASTE: first, the toasted sweetness of bread and chocolate converge; just as quickly, orange and licorice arrive to create a nuanced holiday flavor; malts are doughy, slightly smoky and formidable; plum and pear make the fruitiness even more apparent--quite a cocktail, but one that holds to its original mission of drinkability...OVERALL: I purchased this months ago in preparation for this season--yet so far from its end date of January 2017--and this old friend does not disappoint. Up to 8.5% ABV as per its label, this cream, full-bodied beer relentlessly pleases sip after sip, a perfect comrade for the freezing rain falling outside...not much to find fault with here--a great drinking experience...

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Photo of ADR
4.5/5  rDev +9%
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...

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.5/5  rDev +9%
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

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Photo of obywan59
4.5/5  rDev +9%
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!

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.5/5  rDev +9%
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.

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Photo of PBRstreetgang
4.5/5  rDev +9%
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.

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Photo of stevoj
4.5/5  rDev +9%
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.

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Photo of Vengeance526
4.5/5  rDev +9%
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.

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Photo of GPHarris
4.5/5  rDev +9%
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.

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Photo of crossovert
4.52/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

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Photo of John_M
4.52/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.52/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

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Photo of IPAcraig
4.52/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

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Photo of MadScientist
4.53/5  rDev +9.7%
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.

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Photo of devo1980
4.53/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Absolutely excellent beer. I picked up a case of this in January 2015. The expiration on the beer is 2018. So, I have made a point to drink one each month. This beer gets better each month. A very unique take on a Christmas Ale. Bursting with flavor and taste, difficult to describe as it is not like any other beer i have had.

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Photo of chuckbeaster
4.53/5  rDev +9.7%
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!

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Photo of RoyalT
4.55/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

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Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
92 out of 100 based on 584 ratings.