Corsendonk Christmas Ale - Brouwerij Corsendonk

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Corsendonk Christmas AleCorsendonk Christmas Ale

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991 Ratings

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Ratings: 991
Reviews: 541
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 10.84%
Wants: 69
Gots: 105 | 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)
View: Beers (11) | Events
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Ratings: 991 | Reviews: 541 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Greggy
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

Photo of glid02
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this on-tap at the Brick Store in Atlanta.

Pours a dark amber with a two-finger tan head. The head sticks around for quite a while before settling into a pancake on top of the beer. Lacing is decent.

Smells of fruits - mostly light but hints of darker ones - along with mild spices and milder yeast smells.

Tastes good. Light fruit flavors up front that segue into darker fruits and very light spices. There's a nice classic Belgian aftertaste - very sweet but not overly so.

Mouthfeel is very good. Good thickness with a grainy carbonation that does it's job very well. Smooth.

Drinkability is good. I finished this very easily and could've had another.

Overall this is a solid Christmas beer that should be in everyone's rotation.

Photo of Traquairlover
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into tulips.

A = Dark red oak with yellowish head consisting of foam and largish bubbles, great retention, light lacing.

S = This has an almost perfect dark Belgian ale smell. Strong yeasty esters with sweet spun sugar, black peppery spiciness, fruitcake.

T = Very good tastes that track the smells very well except slightly less of a yeasty bite than I expected, this is well blended with sweet dried fruits, mincemeat spices, fresh doughy cinnamon bread. Only marked down because I felt that it was strong at the beginning and end but lacked some slight fortitude at midpalate.

M = Medium heavy body, great carbonation level, great mouthcoating, almost no real burn from the high ABV and what there is goes so well with the flavors and warming Winter mood that it fits perfectly.

D = I think this is a definite pleasing drink for a cold Winter's eve, great seasonal. It does become somewhat cloying a little too soon though.

Photo of IronCitySteve
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Fatheads.

A: A copperish brown color. Gave a nice 1 finger foam head that quickly disappeared. Minimal to no lacing.

S: The smell intensified as it warmed a bit. Lots of spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar, dark fruit.

T: Really put together well. All the flavors marry well and is a great Christmas Belgian Ale. Lots of dark fruit, caramel and spice flavoring.

M: Gave a sweet dry finish. Made you crave more.

D: A higher ABV makes this more of a really slow sipping beer. A must drink for the holidays!

Photo of aubuc1
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle in to a goblet

Pours a clear ruby brown with a tightly constructed light tan head.

Malty, bready yet pruney smell.

Very bright taste. Peppery, bready yet sweet taste.

Very carbonated mouthfeel and a well drinking beer make this a Christmas delight. Not quite as good as I expected, but very good none the less.

Photo of pinotboy007
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on 11/28/08 on tap at Brasserie Beck, Washington, DC.

A - Beautiful deep chestnut with a beige cap served in the Christmas Ale chalice.

S - Malt, leather, toffee.

T - Malt, toffee, dried dates and figs, almond, leather. Delicious!

M - Splendid creaminess and a soft carbonation that was made this pretty darn exceptional.

D - Hugely drinkable but it would be a bit rich as an after dinner drink. I recommend it before the meal or on its own. Very nice stuff.

Photo of thierrynantes
3.25/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Beer bottle (25cl.), tasted in 2005.

Appearance : black color with brown reflections. Tan foamy head.
Smell : soft caramel.
Taste and mouthfeel : Somewhat bitter, well malted, spicy notes, sweet flavors come once in the mouthful.
Drinkability : an average beer in the style Belgian strong dark ale. I prefer Agus or Pater.

Photo of CrellMoset
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Belgian Bar at Brickstore Pub, Decatur, GA. Served in a long-stemmed Belgian chalice.

Appearance: A robust, lively, ruby colored brew with a healthy amount of fine-bubbled active carbonation. A huge foamy off-white head with great retention, like a huge mass of snow, initially leaves an equally huge amount of sticky lacing, but it fades quickly as this brew warms.

Aroma: Lightly spiced and fruity - anise and cloves are accompanied by a number of other distinct phenolic notes. Fruity notes are both light and dark - figs and pears are both noticeable. It's well-balanced and pungent enough, but not really all that amazing a combination, in my opinion.

Taste: Malty, mostly to the tune of caramel and sweet, sugared, bready notes. Light spice and phenols again, with anise, white pepper, and candied ginger melding with the same fig and pear notes from the nose.

Mouthfeel: Medium to thick bodied, with a low, smooth, even carbonation that lends a frothy milk-like feel.

Drinkability: This was a decent brew, though I can't say I was blown away by it. The spices and fruits were, though balanced, a little medicinal tasting. I didn't not enjoy this one, but it probably won't become my Belgian winter go-to.

Photo of Hunter
4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

appearance: deep, rich brownish ruby color, pillowy dense head

smell: lovely hints of spice accompanies the malt, sugars and grassy undertones

taste: splendid! earthy, woody, spicy. some heat from the alcohol as well.

mouthfeel: cloying aftertaste that isn't unpleasant

drinkability: this is a lovely winter warmer

Photo of MTNboy
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured into my glass with a lot of foamy head and formed a beautiful lace as it dissipated. It has a body full of haze and carbonation. Its coloring is a moderate brown with a reddish hue. There is a strong fruity and malt aroma with just a little spice to the nose. It has a lot of citrus esters and malt to the flavor. There is some hop bitterness but not much. It has very smooth mouthfeel with virtually no signs of it high alcohol content.

Photo of BWH3
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Flawless light caramel tinged brown ale with big brawny beige head. Hope you have the time to watch this head slowly dwindle into a fat ring and gorgeous lacing. Just effervescent enough. Clarity is crystal clear. My only negative is that it could be just a hair darker for a BSDA especially a seasonal specialty brew.

S: Marriage of dark fruit and banana esters. The spiciness is there but not all that robust or amazing.

T: Dark fruit (prune > raisin) and caramel sweetness dominate up front. A spicy note follows. The taste ends in a very unique toasted bread/yeast flavor that is very enjoyable. Hops seem absent, but do serve to cleanse the palate from the sweetness and bread/toast flavor.

M: Just thin enough and appropriately carbonated. Great head retention. Finish is balanced.

D: A 750mL of this amongst friends by the fire is the perfect holiday treat.

Photo of dnichols
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It was poured from a corked and capped 750 ml bottle.

A: It poured a copper tinted brown body with a one finger dense and creamy head that retained well. It had clumping and leggy lacing that fell slowly into the liquid.

S: It smelled of candy coasted caramel mats with a coating of fruity esters.

T: It was deeply and sweetly malted with lots of caramel and hints of roasted chocolate malts. The toffee like profile was complemented by prunes and cherries and hints of dark pepper.

M: It was a full bodied beer with moderate carbonation and a smooth rich presence. It finished sweet, dry and clean.

D: It was smooth, rich, and complex. It is a bit heavy and has too high an ABV to be a long session beer...but as a holiday treat it holds up well.

Photo of Floydster
3.33/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle at Naja's Place in Redondo Beach last night for five dollars, 2004 vintage, then a 2007 bottle after we got home to see the differences, poured into a Chimay goblet both times, split with my buddy Nathan

A-Brown, probably medium but with almost a tint of purple, 3/4 inch tan head both times around, neither lasted long, not much retention, but there was some lacing
S-Nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar, prunes, raisins, dates, Belgian yeast, sweet malt, caramel, toffee, and various spices that remind you of the holidays
T-First taste is caramel, especially in the older bottle, brown sugar and somewhat chewy malts in the middle, finish is slightly dry but yeasty at the same time with plenty of dark fruit in the back, later on more sweetness comes to the surface but so does the alcohol and it is not hidden very well in either bottle, actually prefer it warm but it does have a much stronger flavor at that point
M-Full bodied even the aged one, not near enough carbonation which caused it to be rather syrupy, sweet, boozy, and fruity mouthfeel, taste lingers
D-Could not drink much of this stuff, six ounces each time was plenty and sometimes felt like too much, pretty heavy on the stomach, ABV is pretty high for what it is, not very smooth

I preferred the fresher batch to the older one but they had very little difference, just more sugary in the newer bottle, not the best Christmas ale I have had but still not bad, definitely with a Belgian twist, not a bad price for what it is, especially surprised that a four year old bottle cost so little at a bar, might drink again, recommended

Photo of wagenvolks
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Corsendonk Christmas Ale - 11.2 oz bottle (best by 18/9/2008) into a Corsendonk tulip.

The body shows a dark, mahogany hue with a border of crimson and ruby red in the light. An attractive, two-inch thick cap of creamy, manila-colored head forms and lasts throughout the entire session. Top notch retention and decent lacing, fueled by a steady torrent of carbonation rising from the etching at the tulip's base. The aroma has some pronounced dark fruits and spices, including dates, currant, figs, cinnamon, and wheat, but it doesn't exactly jump out of the glass and dazzle the nose like other Belgian's.

Christmas Ale is full-bodied and creamy, with notes of nuttiness, sweetbread yeast, and citrus that give way to spicy malts and dark molasses. Finishes smooth, with a slight hint of booze and raisin bread. The body is perfectly carbonated and flows well across the palate. All in all, a solid brew that I'd be happy to have again.

Photo of blakesell
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This bottle has been aging in my cellar for at least three years under perfect cellaring conditions, cool and dark.

Poured from the 12oz bottle into an over sized brandy snifter.

Appearance- Beer pours a very dark hazy brown with a very light fingernail thin head that lingers for quite some time considering its small size. Lacing clings to the sides of the glass quite well and the head has a strange peninsula swirl thing going on.

Smell- This smells very nice for a Belgian strong dark. Lots of ripe figs and dates upfront with a rich malty background. A light bit of oxidation hints that I may have been storing this beer for a bit long. Very slight hops on the nose, hardly perceivable.

Taste- Rich dark fruits upfront, again the dates first, then the figs. Very malty and rich, without so many of the spices that one might expect from a Christmas ale. There are light spicings but not more than would be expected from a typical Belgian, or even Corsendonk Abbey Brune. A slight lactic tang sticks on the finish, I really feel drinking it fresher would have been a better result. Hops are slight and just enough to provide an adequate balance to the sweetness.

Mouthfeel- Lightly bitter, estery from the yeasts, not warming, medium full bodied, and medium in carbonation.

Drinkability- Pretty nice, I'll have to try a fresher one if I find it again.

Photo of BeerImmediately
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Found this review buried in a pile from Christmas time ... about time to enter it!

Poured an amber brown, with a short cream colored head.

Smell was of rich, dark, ripe fruits - most especially - marachino (sp?) cherries.

Taste of dark chocolate, cherries, and maybe a hint of nutmeg.

Mouthfeel was crisp and dry.

So very drinkable - extremely enjoyable!

Photo of tpd975
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nice egg plant color with a rather weak tan head. The head dies to a collar and leaves some spotty lace.

S: Nice blast of malt and yeast. This is a Belgian Xmas ale no doubt. Tons of dark fruit adn hints of spice especially nutmeg.

T: Taste matches the aroma to a T with the addition of caramelized brown sugar.

M: Full bodied and syrupy.

D: Drinkable, but a 750ml is a bit much for one.

Photo of gpogo
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Clear dark amber with beautiful ruby tint. Large tan coloured head.

A- Sweet malty aroma with typical belgian yeast smell. Dark fruity aroma.

T- Initial malty sweetness. Fruity almost tastes like coca cola? Dark fruits perhaps plums and cherries. Oddly I get a grapefruit aftertaste which is quite enjoyable.

M- Medium bodied with high carbonation.

D- Very drinkable. I especially enjoyed the taste, very interesting and like no other belgian I have had.

Photo of scottg
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

8.5 oz bottle poured into Corsendonk Christmas Ale glass that came with the beer. It is a tall snifter glass. The freshness date is 12/09/09.

Pours a medium amber maple syrup color with a one finger, tan, creamy head. Good head retention with medium lacing. Sweet aromas of dark fruit, malt, with spices-> cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, ginger, all together it smells like gingerbread. The spices dominate the up front flavor leading to a sweet maltiness and a dry, hoppy, yeasty finish where the alcohol can be tasted. Medium bodied, lightly carbonated leaving a dry mouthfeel.
Most of the Christmas or holiday ales I've had in the past, including ones I've enjoyed, don't leave me wanting another due to the spices. This isn't the case with this beer because the spices are very well controlled and balanced. I would recommend this beer to anyone who hasn't enjoyed this type of beer in the past.

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a clear deep brown color ale with a nice huge foamy head with good retention and some nice lacing. Aroma of bubblegum and sweet malt is really enjoyable and somewhat reminiscent of great Belgian dark ale. Taste is a mix between some bubblegum notes with a nice fruity ester and some sweet Belgian-type malt. Body might be slightly thin for the style with some great carbonation and no apparent alcohol. I was expecting something good but definitely this one exceeded my expectation.

Photo of scootny
4.51/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

Photo of EStreet20
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Much swelled cork, caged well atop a 750 ml bottle. Best before date of 07/09/08 so I'm pouring it within the window. I honestly forgot about this brew that I bought in the winter. Poured into a Chimay chalice.

According to the cork it's Batch No. 145985

A - Veeeery nice dark look. Not huge on head formation but the little head that forms stays. The beer is a beautiful red color.

S - Whole lot of fruit. Some alcohol, and a touch of yeast. Cherry like aroma on the nose.

T - A big fruity taste initially. Tiny hint of Belgian yeast but mostly big fruity flavors. Cherry flavor is most prevalant for me. Nice taste.

M - High carbonation even among all those big flavors. Very bubbly and Champagne like.

D - Very interesting and makes you want more. A good bottle to split. Could be very nice at Holiday time.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear but fairly dark brown with a sizeable creme head. The nose is a lot of spices with dough and yeast and just a good overall funk. Hoooh! Hello spices! I'm getting figs and lots of fruit. This is almost like drinking a fruit cake. Nice and spicy and fruity. Feel has a lot of carbonation, but it doesn't really interfere with anything here. Very nice to drink. A good winter treat.

Photo of ROMER79
4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer for the first time this holiday season, well actually a little after. It was probably the best winter ale that I have had all season. The pour was a dark brown with a one finger tan head. Fruits, spices, candied sugars, and chocolate were all aromas that this beer gave off. It tasted of chocolate, malts, candied sugars, and it was followed with smoky after notes. It was a well balanced beer with flavors that danced on my palate. Full bodied and easy to drink. Great beer to enjoy!

Photo of jjayjaye
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear dark tea color with mahogany hues and a loose light tan head the fades quickly to surface. Visibly effervescent, tiny pools form to keep the surface happy. The smell is nice. Not terribly aggressive. Primarily earthy Belgian yeast over a mild and semi-sweet malt fig character. The level of carbonation gives the mouth a nice creamy texture. It complements the earthy malt flavors nicely. There is also a spicy note in the taste. Finishes on the dry side. An easy drinker, the 8.5% ABV is well integrated. Overall a lighter bodied product than I anticipated. The folks at Sam the Beer Man come'n through once again. Good call. had fun with this one. The cork restraint device on top was pretty unique too; a big band of metal across the top instead of a logo cap.

Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
93 out of 100 based on 991 ratings.