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Corsendonk Christmas Ale - Brouwerij Corsendonk

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Corsendonk Christmas AleCorsendonk Christmas Ale

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1,050 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,050
Reviews: 559
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.63%
Wants: 72
Gots: 122 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Corsendonk visit their website

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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,050 | Reviews: 559
Photo of krunchie
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A lot of CO2. Tan, sparkling thick head. Kind of airy, but resides slowly. As for the body: clear reddish brown/dark copper amberish color.

S: Belgian yeast esters, tart crystal malt and fruitcake. Cheeries and almonds. Hints of spices, cardamom, ginger and clove. I pick up a very slight hoppiness in the spicy nose, sort of like Saaz hops.

T: Cinnamony dark candi sugar. Alcoholic warmth and belgian abbey yeast character. Kinda sweet and syrupy, almost resiny. I don't get any hop flavor or bitterness. Smooth, but a bit too unbalanced - way too sweet and syrupy for my taste. Hints of dark crystal and chocolate malts, finishes semi-dry.

M/D: Medium body, a bit over-carbonated for the style (not extremely though) but very smooth on the palate and easily drinkable for being such a high gravity beer.

Photo of Ezekiel81923
3.48/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Heard this was a tasty winter warmer. Picked up a 12oz'er at Capones to give it a whirl. Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Clear, deep ruby red/brown color with a big tan head. This one left a lot of spotty lacing down the glass.

Smell: Big malty profile with some holiday spiciness to it. Ginger, nutmeg, dark fruits and a warm alcohol aroma.

Taste: Not much of a christmas spice beer, mostly dark fruits with some spicy hints in the finish. Sweet at times as it warms up. Moderate malt backbone. Some warming from the alcohol. Finishes dry.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, almost creamy. Finishes dry as I said earlier, very mild bitterness as well. Sweet, with some alcohol warming that gets a little overbearing the warmer it gets, at least for my tastes. Lightly carbonated.

Drinkability: Just one for me. Medium-Full bodied beer, not as heavy as its color would indicate. Just too much alcohol presence.

Not a big fan of the style, though this might change my mind. Not a bad beer, just not my thing.

Photo of sjccmd
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark amber or a light maple syrup with a decent sized very light tan head. Slightly murky towards the bottom of the bottle.

Smells delicious. Rum cake comes first to mind. Candied fruits, brown sugar, a spiciness that comes from either spice or a very nice subtle heat from the alcohol. Ginger and dates.

The taste is slightly more subtle. Initial fruity flavors finish dry and spicy. The spiciness/heat is very unique. It has a sharp cinnamon character and provides a nice amount of warmness...pretty perfect for a Christmas ale. This flavor is a little dominating, leaving the dark fruit flavors behind, but it's not offensive.

Medium amount of carbonation (but kind high for the style). It doesn't have quite as much body as I'd like. As the carbonation dies down, it kind of leaves the beer without much body.

This is a very enjoyable beer to drink, but sharing between a couple of friends was nice. I could drink the 750ml bottle by myself, but it might've been a bit of a chore.

Photo of cnozzy
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bought from a wineshop near my office, 6-pack with a chalice, which is hard to find in Beijing.
Poured from a 250ml bottle to the Corsendonk chalice
Appearance: Reddish brown color, with a very nice light tan head, leaves behind a little lacing.
Smell: Smells of toasted malts and some dark fruits.
Taste: Malty, spices, and some western flavors that I can't tell. A dry aftertaste.
Mouthfeel/Drink: Full bodied with a good carbonation. Very drinkable.

Photo of madtowndmb1
4.44/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a great beer!

Pours a very murky brown with a small tan head on it. Smells of dates, brown sugar figs. All the dark fruits are there.

The taste is the gem here though. Such an easy drinker for 8.5%. The dark fruits are there but not over the top. Nice malt backbone to hold it all together.

I could drink these all night. Now this was aged 1 year and I do prefer it this way, but it's good fresh too!

Photo of noslenwerd
4.04/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Pours out creamy, with a nice looking head with large bubbles. Color is mild brown with a slight cherry red tint. Above average lacing for an ale.

S: Mild alcohol smell to it, other than that not very strong smelling. Mild "tuaca" liquor smell.

T: Foams up nicely when it hits your tongue. Not sure how to describe the taste but its very good. Not very "Christmasy" to me but very tasty. The more I drink it the more the overall taste is muted for whatever reason, and the alcohol tastes seems to overtake.

Summary: Mouthfeel on this one is the thing that sticks out to me. Taste is good but nothing out of the ordinary for a belgian dark

Photo of weissbierdrinker
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a ruby brown color with a tan brown head that leaves spotted lacing around the glass.

Smells of holiday spices, and nutmeg.

Taste chewy up front, with caramel and nutmeg maybe some ginger, honey notes, and a warming alcohol flavor that finishes it off.

Absolutely a great beer that has so much going on it's hard to describe. I'm very impressed and I'm going to look for more to stock up on.

Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a thin dark bottle with festive label. Using my Corsendonk chalice. Nice and dark as it pours...with a reddish tone. Kind of murky. Very strong head...light tannish in color, creamy and thick.
Smells like dark dried fruits, slightly spicy(which was expected). A faint candy aroma as well.
GREAT TASTE! Wasn't expecting such a smooth taste. Complex. Lacing is thick and doesn't slide much at all.
I find this brew very smooth and easy to drink. A little too easy to drink...not boozy at all.
Nice beer!

Photo of BevMoAndrew
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a standard pint glass at about 45 degrees.

Pours a clear mahogany with a thick a thick, off-white froth. The nose is sweet with cinnamon, brown sugar, pie crust, baked red apples, caramel, cherry pie filling, cranberries, subtle raspberries. There is a little alcohol sweetness on the finish, but a long finish a great carbonation/mouthfeel. Overall a fantastic brew that really helps put me in the mood for cold days, warm fires, Christmas lights! One of my favorite Christmas beers to date.

Photo of ImusBeer
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served up in an 11oz wine glass, white wine.

It had a more brown appearance than black, with a tan head and produced some thin lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell was mostly light smoke and oak with some dark fruits. Taste of roasted malt, sweet malt/molassas, prunes with some spiceness like nutmeg.

The mouth was mostly thin for the color but did have some silkiness on the tongue. The alcohol is a bit too high for many of these but it's a really good sipping beer.

Photo of HopHead84
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

We were just getting ready to leave the bar when Paul walks back to the table with a Jeroboam of this beer. Thanks Paul! Consumed on 10/24/2009 and poured into a snifter.

The beer is dark, dark brown, and is made of what appears to be liquid beer. The head that sits on top of the beer is fizzy and frothy and exhibits funny Belgian mannerisms.

The nose is spicy and phenolic with notes of white pepper and Belgian yeast. The malt is bready and evokes images of a silly Belgian family sitting beside a distinctly Belgian fire within a silly little Belgian house in the dead of winter. I seem to have just written "peppery, spicy" over and over for the smell. I do recall the bready character reminding me of dark bread. Notes of cinnamon, clove, and dark fruits are present.

The flavor is sweet bready malt with that same white peppery spiciness. Other notes are of cinnamon, clove, and molasses. Alcohol is well hidden and I detect Belgian yeast character. The beer is medium bodied with a very high level of carbonation. This is a great Christmas beer. Highly recommended.

Photo of Travlr
4.14/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reddish brown with a medium white head, decent lacing. Little aroma, but what's there is pleasant enough. Full mouth, very smooth vanilla flavor with a long-lasting cocoa finish. Some notes of roasted dark coffee. Second best of a nine beer tasting at Belga.

Photo of KrisPaulk77
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 bottle, poured into the Corsendonk Christmas Ale chalice.

The beer poured a deep, dark beautiful garnet, with ruby hues to the edges. The head was a massive, sand colored two finger affair, that faded away to a small cap of foam. Moderate lacing for the entire serving.
The aroma was malty and sweet, but light. Brown sugar, raisins, and citrus were noticed.
The taste was sweet, but not as sweet as the aroma. There was a noticable spice, and citrus notes, as well as candied fruits, and a slight boozy warmth. The mouthfeel was rich and filling.
I'll definately be waiting to buy the 2009 vintage of this wonderful beer. This is a wonderful beer, a true treat for the holidays, or any other time for that matter.

Photo of bbeane
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not sure what year it's from, but I'm guessing it's pretty old. Best buy year is 08

A- Poured into 16oz tumbler... thick foamy head that slowly recedes slowly and leaves nice lacing. Beer is a dark, mahogony color

S- Sweet malty smell... cinnamon, raisons, plum, brown sugar

T- Not as sweet as it smells. Starts off a bit sweet. Definately tastes raisony and/or plumy. Has a dry finish. Can detect some of the high abv

M- Full bodied with medium carbonation... leaves a bit of alcohol burn in the back of your throat

D- Would definately drink more

~ I definately think that this particular bottle has passed it's prime. I had quite a few of these last Christmas and enjoyed them even more than this one. I'll re-review when I get some more at the holidays ~


Photo of Yesac
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Murky ruby/brown. Small bubbly head which is a little uncharacteristic of this style.

S- Light aroma. Very sweet fruits & brown sugar.

T- Sweet candy, caramel. The taste is very subtle. Nice spice finish.

M- Active carbonation. Think bodied.

D- One easy drinker here. I'm sure this will pair well with a Christmas meal. Good beer but nothing over the top about it.

Photo of BradLikesBrew
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage consumed winter 2008.

Pours a dark brown body with a thin head. The aroma is nutmeg, brown sugar, yeast and raisins. Flavor is a balanced blend of spice, malt, and yeast with a syrupy, full body. This is a solid holiday offering that really improves with age. Not too spicy, a good brew.

Photo of Durge
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A solid mahogany color, dark but clear with a decent light-oatmeal color head and fair lacing. The aroma is raspberry-apple with root beer malt, light but definitive. The flavor brings a new element of heavy toffee malt and sweet licorice, more berry highlights and rice and almond hints. Sort of fizzy with a somewhat viscous feel, yet reasonably drinkable for a Christmas brew. An enjoyable selection, holidays or otherwise.

Photo of theboozecruise
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a pack of these a while back and finally getting around to a review. Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle into a Chimay goblet.

The pour is dark brown, with maybe a hint of red in there... a light head that dissipated fairly quickly. Minimal lacing on this one.

I'm having trouble picking up a distinct smell on this one, it's fairly faint, but what I can get is typical of a Belgian dark. More malt and less fruit than usual, but that's not really a bad thing.

A nice taste to it, but nothing really exciting.

All in all a solid Belgian ale, but nothing that I'm going to seek out again.

Photo of CampusCrew
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My favorite style. It's a nearly perfect beer. This is on the tops of my lists.

appearance: deep brown copper color

smell: sublte spice, dark fruit aroma

taste: beautiful, mild bitterness, rich deep dark flavor and cinnamon on the back end, not overly spiced at all.

mouthfeel: medium bodied

drinkability: a nearly perfect beer.

Photo of Benjiehorn
4.07/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

By and large the best Christmas beer that I've had this year. It helps that I picked the bottle up from Binny's in Lakeview, and it had been aging for a year on their shelf. Lots of nice vanilla and cocoa, a touch of cherry, some brown sugar, and a little bit of raisin. A slight carbonation tingles as it goes down, typical for most Belgians. A great Christmas beer, highly recommended!

Photo of OldYoda
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a a Euro bottle (8.5 oz) into a the small souvenir snifter that came with the 6 pack. Pours a dark plum chocolate color with a one finger foamy head and minimal lacing.

Smell is complex and enticing - fruit and chocolate and anise. Malt and alcohol are strongly present but extremely well balanced.

Taste is outstanding - fruit and anise with a sweet malt backbone and a dry finish.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy - extremely inviting and pleasant.

Drinkability is the only question mark with this brew as it is a sipper and at this ABV one or two is more than enough.

A great beer.

Photo of clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a leather couch brown with a tawdry two-finger tan head that left lacing down the glass. A great smell of roasted malts, chocolate and bread along with some spiciness. Smooth, slightly creamy and medium-bodied with a mix of some fruits, both dark and tart, and a great balance w/ some sweet malts (caramel and chocolate mostly). This leads to an easy-going and warming brew (the ABV is hidden well) that has a slightly tart, dry finish to complement the overall sweet, silky texture of the beer as it passes over the tongue. This is a great X-Mas beer, as it is one you can sip on and it warms you up on a cold night.

Photo of wl0307
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The 6th beer on my 2008-9 Belgian Winter Ale tasting "panel". Coming in a tiny and slim 250ml brown bottle, BB 17/11/08, served lightly chilled in Westmalle's broad-rimmed chalice. * Note: this beer is tasted right after the famous Westvleteren 12, but I trust my palates won't be biased (hopefully).

A: pours a deep dark brown hue with ruby glows when seen against light, supported by lively input of fine fizz and topped with a light tan frothy head with good retention.
S: spiced dried tangerine peels, salted hawthorn fruits, black-cherry-ish & salty-sweet black-prune jam, treacle and black malt syrup, a touch of spiciness... Overall, richly fruit-estery, but integrated and approachable, neither heavy nor alcoholic.
T: a big swallow of spicy dark-prunes and treacle-ish dark malts is laced by plentiful aroma of cloves, cinnamon stick, dried-salted hawthorn-fruits and Chinese "luohanguo", leading slowly to a quietly herbally-dry and faintly bitter finish where the fruitiness, spicy yeastiness and bitter-sweet syrupy dark malts intertwine harmoniously.
M&D: very tasty indeed, this big dark ale treads exceptionally light with the help of refreshing but "spongey-textured" fizziness; it also benefits hugely from a complex spicy-fruitiness due to the work of hops and yeasts. With such little hint of alc. shown on the palate, this is a highly-drinkable and reasonably complex dark ale suitable for any occasion and all seasons!

Photo of drtth
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served lightly chilled in a Corsendonk goblet. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically. (Drunk and reviewed during early January 09).

Appearance: Tan head which leaves behind little lacing. Deep dark purplish red in color.

Smell: Complex with spices and dark fruits (e.g., plums, raisins) all mingled in a wonderful aroma.

Taste: The flavor is much what you'd expect from the aroma--Christmas spices and dark fruits with traces of hop bitterness. There's also some nice chocolate flavor here as well. On the whole it is very rich tasting but in no way heavy or cloying in its sweetness.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is a bit thin and lightly carbonated. The finish is medium long with hints of brandy like flavor, hops and a bit of alcohol.

Drinkability: This has an easy drinkability if you sip slowly. But don't let the ABV sneak up on you while enjoying the feelings of warmth and good flavor.

Photo of weeare138
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lot date: 9/30/06...

Appears a dark brown with ruby highlights when held to the light. A small, light tan head slowly fades into a mild, bubbly cap and collar. Scattered streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of caramel, raisins, vanilla, brown sugar, nougat, and toasted almonds.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas in a decadent, flavor that reminds me of a Mars bar with raisins. Pretty tasty stuff.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth, semi sweet of caramel, and a light dry, mildly spiced finish.
Mineral characteristics make this beer stand it's own ground among the big players in Belgium. A solid Belgian Strong Dark just starting to touch on oxidation after close to 2 1/2 years in the cellar. Pretty nice!

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Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
92 out of 100 based on 1,050 ratings.