1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Corsendonk Christmas Ale - Brouwerij Corsendonk

Not Rated.
Corsendonk Christmas AleCorsendonk Christmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

911 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 911
Reviews: 537
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 10.6%
Wants: 66
Gots: 68 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Corsendonk visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: pezoids on 11-22-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Corsendonk Christmas Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 911 | Reviews: 537 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kmo1030
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

dark garnett brown, with a tan head that doesn't hang around for too long.
the aroma is of faintly medicinal fruits, mainly of the of berry variety (strawberry, raspberry, courrants(?)), but also containing cherry, plum and earthy fig type aromas, and even a little bit of sweet orange. it's a little vinous as well. there are traces of chocolate and toffee beneath the fruit. a little spicy in a indefinite way. malts come out more forcefully with some warmth. the yeast obviously played a big part in this one.
the taste is very fruity too, with the same type of fruit profile as the aroma. there is a powdery cocoa flavor intertwined with toffee. you pick up some anise, a little corriander (?). some yeasty qualities towards the finish.
the body is full-ish with active, but soft carbonation.
very good drinkability due to it's great flavor and aroma, and masking of it's abv. a great strong dark that was actually quite a surprise. one of my new favorite winter seasonals.

kmo1030, Dec 19, 2007
Photo of Blakaeris
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

Blakaeris, Dec 19, 2007
Photo of IPAcraig
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

IPAcraig, Dec 17, 2007
Photo of Tilley4
1.78/5  rDev -57.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Picked this up last week and thought I would give it a go. Corked bottle.

This looks really good. It's a dark reddish brown type color with a nice fluffy head.

This smells kinda musty here. A bit like rotten fruit. Very much like wine.

This belongs in the wine section of the store. It tastes just like wine to me. A wine with a malty character to it. Big disappointment here. After reading some of the reviews, I was expecting to really enjoy this but I just didn't.

Maybe I got a bad bottle or something, I don't know. I just didn't care for this.

Tilley4, Dec 13, 2007
Photo of John_M
4.55/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

John_M, Dec 07, 2007
Photo of iceviper22
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a Mad Elf Chalice

Pours a deep reddish brown color with a 1/4 inch or so of loose bubbly tan head that fades quickly.

Smells of fruits, maltyness, nutmeg, and oranges are present. No real alcohol aroma to it.

It has a sweet, spicy and bitter taste to it with the nutmeg and orange hints peeking through. It has a moderate amount of carbonation.

Overall, it's a little bitter for a winter beer but a decent brew that I could enjoy once or twice a year for the holidays.

iceviper22, Dec 06, 2007
Photo of BeerBelcher
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a clear copper brilliant color with a minimal head. Aroma was a malty cerealness (that I didn't care for) combined with clove and ethyl hexanoate (liquorice) notes. Aroma struck me as being very floral. Flavor was yeasty and champagne-like with lots of clove flavor, but definitely less complicated than the aroma. Mouthfeel was smooth and good.

I'd recommend this.

BeerBelcher, Dec 05, 2007
Photo of twbrewer
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a deep red color with a huge off-white or tan colored foam that slowly falls to a thick sticky layer.

S-The smell of spices and caramel malt hits me first then a faint fruit and a very Belgian yeast smell comes thru.

T-Very close to the smell but in addition there is a orange peel and coriander and then a slight earthy/spicey hop taste.

M-Medium body with great carbonation.Sweet but also slighty dry on the palate.

D-This is a great Christmas/Winter Warmer.It is a smooth sweet beer that is very drinkable and the 8.50% is very well hidden.I might keep remaing bottles until next winter!

twbrewer, Dec 05, 2007
Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best By: 18/09/08

Been holding on to this one for about a year.

Poured into a Delirium tulip a nice dark mahongy color, nice carbonation, nice two-finger foamy tan head, lots and lots of nice sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty, yeasty, nice touch of figs, raisins, and plums, also some caramel notes. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, nice dark fruits/caramel. The alcohol is hidden very well. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is my first Corsendonk and it's very tasty, I do have another brew by them, I'm sure it will be awesome as well. Recommended.

Wasatch, Dec 05, 2007
Photo of windigo32
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was at the Lehigh Valley Mall at a little German place called Dunderbach's. It's a carryout/eat in place, but they have a bar with a huge German and Belgian selection. They had this one on tap.

A: Served in the proper Corsendonk Christmas Ale glass which looks like a brandy snifter, it is a true sight to behold. The beer is a nice deep brown with a head that is retained well.

S: There is a definate licorice smell to this beer. It is a bit more than subtle, but you can't really say it smells like licorice because it's not like sticking your nose to a Twizzler.

T: I tasted this beer not knowing where it was from, and immediately asked the person behind the bar to check the keg and see who the brewer was for me. I knew it was Belgian. The taste is very similar to Delerium Tremens from Huyghe brewery but with a licorice and kind of nutmeg taste to it. It is very good.

M: The mouthfeel is what you'd expect it to be from looking at it in the glass. Heavy and smooth.

D: Although it is a very good beer, It was my third different beer for the night as I was tasting things to buy for a German themed Christmas dinner. Were I not feeling the effects of some higher ABV beers and feeling full from dinner, I would have ordered more of this beer.

If you can find this on tap, order it.

windigo32, Dec 02, 2007
Photo of phisig137
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours a brown mahogany color, with a two finger head. Good retention, and pretty decent lacing.

S- Licorice, spice, yeast phenols, and a slight underlying sweetness.

F- Sweet caramel malt up front, quickly washed away by waves of spice. Heavy dark licorice, anise, and fennel dominate the flavor. Finish has a touch of alcohol with the spice, making it taste almost like Sambuca.

M- smooth, creamy, and moderately thick

D- pretty good

Overall, pretty nice, although its tough to find a good bottle of it. I'd buy it again, and its well worth picking up, especially if you like licorice.

phisig137, Nov 27, 2007
Photo of Gmann
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber brown color with a dense khaki color head that dissipated into a nice cap. The smell is of dark cherries and prunes, Belgian yeast, and some festive spices. The taste is of a subtle cherry or raspberry syrup, funky Belgian yeast, cinnamon and/or nutmeg spice and a nice bready malt to offset the sweetness. A very fine crafted brew. The feel is well bodied and fizzy, though not as carbonated as the other Corsendonk brews. Perhaps the finest of the Corsendonk brews. Nicely balanced with well hidden alcohol. Nice and complex. I notched the drinkability down a level due to the alcohol.

Gmann, Nov 24, 2007
Photo of PlaywrightSam
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml into tulip glass. A: Amber/brown, light puffy head, nice amount of lacing. S: Toasted malt, dark fruit, caramel, spice. T: Sweet up front, raisins, caramel, pine, some citrus, grassy hops in the finish. Really great balance. M: Moderate carbonation, very smooth. D: Very drinkable. I can detect the alcohol, but it's pretty light for something this strong. Really wonderful beer, I'll probably pick it up again.

PlaywrightSam, Nov 19, 2007
Photo of phrygian68
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Next to the Rochefort Trappist 8 and 10 this is the best belgian dark ale that i have had! pours a dark mahogany with a nice tan 2 finger head! smell is of dark bread,apricots,raisens and figs,taste is the same with low carbonation and a smooth malty finish,wow what a great beer! cant wait till next christmas!

phrygian68, Nov 17, 2007
Photo of saintwarrick
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This ruby brown brew is a first for me. Fizzy off-brown head stays around while the aroma is full of raisin cookies, Christmas spices, orange zest and sugar cookies. Very malty taste to this brew, sweeter than the average winter offering, smooth and milk chocolaty with a bit of a pronounced citrus kick at the end.

A very flavorful brew and surprisingly easy to drink despite the alcohol, which hides in the background.

saintwarrick, Nov 15, 2007
Photo of Beerbuddha
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a nice dark copper color with a thick off white head which disappeared quickly. The smell was malty sweetness with hints of fruits and alcohol. The taste was of dark fruits and figs. The mouthfeel is heavy with minimal carbonation. Overall drinkablity is good. I liked this one. Nice beer to drink during the holidays. I'm glad I picked up the 8 pack with the glass.

Beerbuddha, Nov 11, 2007
Photo of letsgopens
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on-tap at Vintage, this Belgian pours a deep mahogany copper with a frothy beige head that holds well even when poured thin and leaves some nice lace around the glass.

Very fruity and malty. Molasses and black cherry, apple cider, spice, fig/prune/dark fruit. Some Belgian yeastiness but mostly sweet and malty.

Again sweet and very fruity. Lots of honey and a bit of a darker sweetness as well; possibly molasses or a hint of dark maple syrup. Dark fruit is again predominant with cherry and citrus. Not overly spicy but still very festive. Nicely done.

Matted but smooth mouthfeel with low to medium carbonation. Very mellow and silky. This beer would certainly lend itself well to a slice of pumpkin pie or any other sweet, custard-like dessert. Certainly a great selection this holiday season.

letsgopens, Nov 07, 2007
Photo of PorterLambic
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours coppery red with a head that last forever. Tan head, creamy with great lacing.
Smell is sweet, malt, pepper with a hint of hops.
Taste is sweet, malt, dark fruit with a hint of hop in the afteretaste only.
Full bodied, mellow, smooth, very little effervescence, lightly warming. Very good indeed.

PorterLambic, Aug 02, 2007
Photo of bluejacket74
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle with a best before end date of 9/18/2008. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a brown/ruby color with a half inch off-white head. It smells like citrus, spices, dark fruit, bread, bananas and pears. It tastes very fruity, like dark fruit, pears and bananas, and also like pepper, cloves and Belgian yeast. Mouthfeel is medium/full, but a bit over-carbonated to me. Drinkability is OK, it's smooth but the high carbonation cuts down on the drinkability. Overall I think this is a decent beer, but I think it would be better if the carbonation was lower. But even then, I'd still drink it again given the chance.

bluejacket74, Jun 09, 2007
Photo of TheEremite
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought an 8 pack after christmas 2005. It was on sale and I thoguht I'd give it a shot. I shared 5 of them then and I wasn't impressed. I threw the other 3 in the cellar for the next few years and thought I'd pop one open last night. It's a totally different beer. I wish I had saved the other 5.

Appearance: Deep brunette/brown with copper highlights. Creamy, long lasting head about 1/2 cm.

Aroma: Bright and crisp belgian esters, prune, cherry, pear

Taste: Complex chocolate (but not roasty) toffee, caramel with cherry, and some notes of dried fruit. There was some oxidation, but it only added to the complexity.

Mouthfeel: Bright carbonation, but not harsh. Finishes dry and does not linger.

Drinkability: Extremely drinkable, especially for an 8.5% alcohol beer. I've got two more that have been sitting since xmas '05. I'm not sure how much longer I can wait to drink these.

TheEremite, May 22, 2007
Photo of sacfly
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL, Best before end 07/09/08 0 09:00 I like dates, but the date and hour it will decline?
Pours an impressive clear ruby/brown color with a thick tan/brown head. Aroma is Belgian musty yeast, as expected, not much else. Thick, creamy malt backbone. Hints of chocolate, nutmeg, yeast, bread, lightly fermenting fruit (pears). Yummy. Yeasty, dry aftertaste. Flavors linger. Usually the flavor follows the aroma, but not this one. Much more complex than the aroma indicates. I’m loving this beer, even though it’s about 85F here in May, a far cry from Christmas.

sacfly, May 11, 2007
Photo of Tyrawlings
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. Bottle poured into a snifter glass.

A: Dark brown in color with ruby hues. Dense tan head pours two fingers thick. Good retention. Very impressive sticky lacing.

S: Dark chocolate. Citrus. Christmas candy. Nutmeg. Anise. Alcohol.

T: Soft malt presence is immediately taken over by tastes of citrus fruit and the sweetness of caramelized sugar and is followed by anise. Rich caramel malts give a good balancing effect and a soft taste of chocolate and grain. Dry warming alcohol burn in the throat.

M: Silky smooth and rich. Moderate carbonation. Warming and dry.

D: Very sweet and complex. A nice Christmas offering that does'nt go overboard with the holiday spices. Recommended.

Tyrawlings, May 06, 2007
Photo of Slatetank
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I enjoyed a tulip of this served on tap at the Market Cross Pub in Carlise
This review is taken from notes I made.

A - Ruby, Chestnut Hue. Thin white wisp of a head.

S - Wine like, fruity esters and bready with a slighty spiced aroma.
T - Dates and sugar with a slightly alcoholic presence up front. Minimal wood essence is evident.

M - Thin and light for the amount of gravity it contains, warmth of alcohol in the finish.

D - A pleasant holiday beer, not overpowering, but substantial and nicely balanced with just enough spice and sweetness complimenting the yeasty aromas.

Slatetank, Mar 28, 2007
Photo of macster
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pous a quite translucent deep mahogany/burgundy-red color. Produces a sturdy, thick beige colored head with excellent durability throughout the glass. No lacing noted.

Pleasant, but somewhat muted aromas of brandy-soaked dark fruits, sherry, ripe black cherries, dark caramel malt and brown sugar. Some faint notes of yeast, ripe banana and spices linger in the background.

Mouthfeel is well balanced with a nice full, thick chewiness along with a palate tingling spritzy carbonation.

Initial taste is that of sweet crystal malts, dark brown sugar and melted caramel candies. Flavor then seems to transcend quickly to a complex blend of ripe brandied dark fruits, licorice, cinnamon, nutmeg and dark pumpernickel bread. A dash of hoppy or herbal bitterness appears late to tame any overt sweetness. Alcohol is more apparent as glass warms, but not coarse or obtrusive in any way.

Well balanced and classy all around

macster, Mar 19, 2007
Photo of Rudgers73
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a short goblet. There is not much head except for a ring. Very active carbonation though the middle of the glass. The brew is a dark brown with reddish edges. The smell is awesome. Slightly bready with notes of dark fruit, sticky sweet brown sugar, nuts, and raisins. The taste is full, rich, and round. It starts out with a sweet caramel taste then it opens up into a floral, nutty flavor. The raisin and fruit tastes bloom throughout leaving a complex mix of flavor with every sip. As it warms the flavors become much more flowing and rich. The mouthfeel is great, no alcohol bit at all, just incredibly smooth and chewy. I never knew how great this stuff was, I bought the bottle I have now on sale from Christmas. Maybe I should buy a 3 liter next year and share it.

Rudgers73, Feb 22, 2007
Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
93 out of 100 based on 911 ratings.