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Corsendonk Christmas Ale - Brouwerij Corsendonk

Not Rated.
Corsendonk Christmas AleCorsendonk Christmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

562 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 562
Hads: 1,082
Avg: 4.13
pDev: 14.77%
Wants: 76
Gots: 139 | FT: 0
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.
View: Beers (15) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Corsendonk Christmas Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 562 | Hads: 1,082
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 Dukeofearl
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

In years past, I have only found this beauty in 750 ml bottles- this year my local favorite store also had it in 4-packs of 33 cl bottles, and it was cheaper (per oz) than buying the big bottle- double score for a higher ABV brew! Poured in a proper Corsendonk tulip glass.

This pours a very nice brown with garnet touches and a nice moderately sized off-white head. Aroma is what you would expect from a Christmas ale- lots of gentle spices on top of a bready malty brew. The flavor includes nuts and winter spices (nutmeg and clove, among others I can't identify) that are all are there in a gentle way- not in your face with a 2x4. Alcohol presence is a little stronger than I like, but not overpowering like in some brews.

Overall, I am not a big fan of Christmas ales- usually a little too "wintery" for sunny southern California, I guess. Also, some are pretty out there in terms of spicing. This brew has those elements, but more subtly than others I've had. This is a nice presentation from a brewery I like all their products. Corsendonk was really my first experience with Belgian beer a couple years ago, and therefore, it's a favorite in my household!

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Photo of Higravity
4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours Garnet red-brown with a little head that doesn't last too long and leaves a little lace. It has a smell of caramelly malt and spicey fruits along with spices. It is very up front with the alcoholic taste of fruit citrus lined with spices of other warmers. It seems a little thin but not too noticable as the complexity of the drink is what I seem focused on. It is very drinkable and at this price I will have a few more.

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Photo of BeerManDan
3.91/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When poured, the color was a dark brown with a reddish hue. There was very little foam but, nice lace. The smell was the weakest link to this fine dunkel. I could pick up the malts and a hint of spice and citrus. The flavor was of a mild sour spritzy orange taste, with a hint of roasted malts and spice. A well balanced dunkel, maybe just a bit to sour in the after taste. But, still well crafted!

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Photo of rkhaze
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear red/amber with a big creamy beige head. Disappated to a collar quicker than I thought and had noticeable carbonation.
Nice spicy aroma. Clove, nutmeg, sweet malt, brown sugar and over-ripe bananas. On the verge of having a bubblegum aroma.
Bready malt and fruitcake tastes. Brown sugar, holiday spices and lots of ripe fruit of all colors. A little cloying but finishes with a slight earthy/woody flavor and a mellow bitterness. Great balance of assorted tastes. Excellent!
Light bodied with a full, round mouthfeel and lots of carbonation.
Rich, flavorful, spicy and filling.

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Photo of TheLiterati
4.82/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a $20 gift pack (as a gift to myself!) at my local Whole Foods Market. Came complete with eight bottles of ale and a gratis gift glass to enjoy them in. Also available in a brown bomber, which is good to know since I'll definitely enjoy more of this seasonal for as long as it’s available.

Pours a nice deep brown, with a deep and creamy caramel colored head. Scents of plums, raisins, dates, cloves tease the olfactory. The taste is much the same: deep and complex, mildly fruity and even woodsy, with a smooth mouthfeel and pleasant carbonation.

Quite the quaffable ale.

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Photo of Stimack
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was able to try this brew on tap the tonight at Mahar’s. The brew poured to a very clear deep red/brown color with a nice off white head that broke down slowly and left great lacing. The aroma’s are fantastic with citrus fruit, malt, spices and candy. This is a great brew with the citrus, malt and slight chocolate tastes coming together and being enhanced by the spiced flavors. Also a slight alcohol flavor can be caught at the end of a pull. Over all this is a fantastic brew, glad I was able to give it a try and now a staple for the Christmas season.

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Photo of bark
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The colour is dark brown-red, the beige foam is finger thick and quite light. The liquid is clear.

The smell is very fruity with flavours of brown sugar, aroma hops and candy sugar. There is also a hint of acid candy.

The carbonation is nice - rather soft with small bubbles. Creamy!

The taste is soft yet complex: Lots of sweet notes of brown and candy sugar, dried fruits (apricots?), berries, some hints of yeast and a somewhat sour touch. The aftertaste is filled of pleasant sweet malt and a slowly growing bitterness to accomplish the sweetness. The high alcoholic level surprised me, as the smell and taste didn’t reveal it at all.

This must be an extraordinary after dinner-beer!

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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 WesWes
4.67/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours an amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is awesome. It has a very sweet and slightly tart malt scent. It is quite complex; full of fruitiness and a molasses aroma. The taste is great as well. It has a very smooth malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes fruity and warm. This is an exceptional brew. It has great mouthfeel. It is a full bodied with adequate carbonation. This is a kick ass beer. It is full of flavor and aroma; a good drinker. This is one of the best Belgian beers I've ever sampled.

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Photo of BrewMaster
3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2004 bottle. Served from a 750 ml corked bottle. The cork was held on by a small strap that ran across the top of the cork. It's a very interesting looking manner of securing a cork. Lot no. 131484 stamped on to the sides of the cork.

The beer poured a reddish tan with an off white, and large-bubbled head. The aroma is sweet with notes of grape and maple. The flavor has notes of white grape, caramel, nutmeg, clove, anise, bitter root, and a light heather aftertaste. There is an undue harshness to the flavor and it could certainly use some age. It is also very carbonated, almost too much.

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Photo of ybnorml
4.44/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a bottle of the 2003 vintage and today is Oct 4,2004. Dark brown in color with hints of amber when the light hits it just right. Has a small beige head. The aroma hints at herbs and spices but is has predominate dried fruit plummy presence. There is a distinct chocolate taste at first. Followed by a plummy fruitiness and a smooth herb and spice finish. As it warms there is an addition of chocolate to the aroma.

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Photo of mattcrill
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours burgundy brown with a rocky white head.

Smell: cloves and spice abound! Smells like a festive candle that's burning. Definitely reminds me of colder months with a fire going and some Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby singing some Christmas tunes by the tree.

Taste: almost tea-like with smatterings of spice and cinnamon. A sweet malty finish rounds out this unique brew.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied to thin but very complex and enjoyable.

Drinkability and overall: Great! Spices dominate and it is a pleasant drink. I'm always worried about drinking Belgian beers because I don't think my palate is worthy enough to pick up all the nuances of a finely crafted Belgian beer. I think this is the case for this beer. In other words, it's better than I can describe. Definitely worth your time to try and I will re-visit this one in December.

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Photo of AllThingsNinja
3.28/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This dark brown ale poured a large and retentive head that left pleasant lace upon my glass. The spicy aroma of cinnamon, ginger, and thyme was intriguing. Unfortunately, the flavor of the beer was not especially complex, and not entirely pleasant. Maybe this was a bad bottle but sour grapes flavors overpowered the chocolate and other malt notes. As the ale warmed, sweetness became a stronger presence but it never became interesting.

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Photo of Rastacouere
3.35/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Appearance proposes a huge off-white head over a dark brown body. Aroma is quite rich, very spicy with tons of cinnamon, cardomom, thyme, sage, ginger, nuts, caramel, tobacco, chocolate and a mild alcohol touch. Quite complex and appealing. It's another story on the palate though where we have another sad case of beer whose aroma doesn't match the aroma's promises. The flavors are just not so well blended together and the balance lacks where it's just some vaguely thrown spices to stop the sweetness. Not to help anything, it's very effervescent on the tongue, almost fizzy. Finish is malty sweet and a bit unclean.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep amber, light brown hue, thin, yet bubble-bath like off-white head. Has a sweet, candy cane, malt-like aroma, perhaps some spices on the nose as well. Massive offerings up front, in this full-bodied masterpiece - some citrus, defining esters, sharp spices, coriander and plums are most noticeable. Tucked away are the decent winter spices, hops are quite noticeable, incredible malt-based backbone, ginger, cinammon, fresh grapes, even a burnt liked toast presence to her. The body maintains your a-typical Belgium yeasty/spicy offerings. For a winter brew, one of the best you'll find; superior in every fashion.

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Photo of IceAce
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving type: 8 Oz. Bottle

Appearance: Thick collar of light tan foam with definite staying power. The beer is burnt copper and clarity is outstanding.

Aroma: Malty, spicy, and sugary all rolled up into a very enticing nose.

Taste: Grand malty brew well balanced with the sugar and spice one expects from a Belgian Holiday beer. The finish is dry and leaves a definite sweetness on the lips.

Mouthfeel: This is a BIG beer that literally assaults the palate. The brew is anything but thin and is perfectly carbonated.

Drinkability: High marks in this catagory as this beer has the ability to transport the taster to a place where the weather is cold, the nights are long, and brewers keep their customers warm and cozy.

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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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Photo of hollicetales
3.61/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured a deep honey brown with almost ruddy garnet coloring...great thick white head with aroma of bready fruit and spice...great full bodied mouth feel starts off with that hoppy almost woody alcohol sugary taste with slight almost weird notes of toffee and then fruity plum figish notes with a finish of spice but not overpowering....this slow drinker will warm a soul up on a cold night

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Photo of UnionMade
3.52/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours a deep ruddy brown, leaning towards garnet, served in the appropriate christmas ale snifter/goblet. A thick layer of mist tops the beer, holding steadily throughout. Nice lacing, speckling the glass with numerous blobs.
The aroma is immediately hugely estery. A thinner-like feel shoots straight into your sinuses, creating a mild burning sensation. Loads of fig, date, and green raisin. A rich caramel and chocolate maltiness lies beneath, coupled with loads of saccharine candi sugar, and some apparent alcohol. Slightly medicinal phenols, with very slight herbal hops. Somewhat vinous, reminiscent of port.
The flavor starts with heaps of heavy malt, conveying sweet toffee and chocolate. Tons of candi sugar all the way through, journeying into the highly estery fruit. Flavors of plum, fig, green raisin and date, with the fig dominating. A bit of spicy, bready yeast shows up towards the end, with an underlying spiciness of a different nature. Some tangy sourness, with just a touch of herbal hopping. The finish is somewhat cloying, with an odd cacaphony of alcohol, hops, yeast, spice and a candi sugar saccharine sweetness. A lingering saccharine taste, with caramel malt present in the aftertaste. Full bodied, plenty of unfermented sugars, with a fairly mild tingle of carbonation. Smooth drinking, with good complexity.
Probably the most interesting of the Corsendonk beers that I've tried. It's a bit overwhelming in the finish, becoming increasingly difficult to drink the more it warms. The saccharine bite, along with a light alcohol presence, becomes a bit too much for my tastes. Drinkable, but certainly a slow sipper. I prefer something not quite so sweet and sugary. Very good, just not quite to my tastes.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.46/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a two-fingered, thick, light tan head leaving an even lace. Color is a dark, clear amber. Light-medium carbonation. Light malty/hoppy nose. Medium bodied. Starts smooth and malty, finishes with a warming touch. Excellent Christmas ale. $7.50 for a 750ml bottle.

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Photo of jtw5877
4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a deep brownish hue with a kinda white, kinda tan head. Nice maltiness, and some characteristic yeastiness, plus a little bit of biscuity kinda fruity flavor to it. A welcome surprise to find at my local farm market. And a bargain, at 4.39 for a 750ml I will be drinking these until they are gone. Overall a great holiday beer.

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Photo of oberon
4.02/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this last night at the Spring House Drafting Room,pours a deep amber with some orange tint do it with a great creamy head.The aroma was awesome very orangy and nutty very perfumy on the nose.Taste is nutty with a touch of smokiness with some nice rich chocolaty tones.A nice full flavored beer I wanted to drink alot more,but was a little heavy after two,but still a real nice brew.

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Photo of granger10
3.57/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is the final Corsendonk that I have had. I must say it was a bit of a disappointment when comparing it to the other two Corsendonks. It poured an oakish color with a small, airy head and was very transparent. The smell was nice, brown sugar, yeasty, hoppy. But the taste was lacking the complexity I was expecting. Too thin in body and too strong in alcohol flavor. The spices were weak. The main malt flavor was toffee and hops were apparent throughout. The yeast and balance of this beer saved it and made it drinkable but I was a little disappointed.

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Photo of mschofield
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle
Hazy Golden amber, with a red tinge, 2 finger tan head, laces in sheets.
Spicy, fruity and sweet aroma.
Very malty, and I picked up a number of tastes mainly fruit grape, chocolate, orange peel, raspberry, strawberry, cherry, and a little nutty and anise (licorice). Quite complex.
Medium to full feel, a little oily/syrupy.

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Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
92 out of 100 based on 562 ratings.