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Corsendonk Christmas Ale - Brouwerij Corsendonk

Not Rated.
Corsendonk Christmas AleCorsendonk Christmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

912 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 912
Reviews: 537
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 10.6%
Wants: 66
Gots: 69 | 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
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Ratings: 912 | Reviews: 537 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of gpcollen1
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a voluptuous ruby brown into it's glassware. The head quickly fades to a skim as the bubble periodically burp from teh bottom of the glass.

Aromas are sweet and lightly spicy with hints of anise and pears. To my lips it bubble gently and slide on down. Hints of raw sugar caramels with some spice that I cannot place. A bit of a twang on the finish - hoppy yet not.

Quite a delicious Christmas brew indeed. Alcohol is well hidden and each sip leaves me craving more and more.

gpcollen1, Feb 21, 2007
Photo of cjgator3
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Pours a dark plum brown that produces large creamy light tan head. The aroma is light and bready with a slight amount of tartness. It is also a tad floral with some spice and citrus (mainly oranges). The taste is also bready with a good amount of malt flavor followed by a slightly spicy and tart middle that is finished by a pleasant bitterness and slight warming from the alcohol. This beer is very drinkable despite it's hight ABV. Overall, this is a very good Christmas beer from Belgium that is recommended. I will have to revisit this again next year.

cjgator3, Feb 20, 2007
Photo of scruffwhor
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- a very clear brown with lots of rubyhighlights throughout. OK bubbling, good head and sparse lacing throughand through. ooks more like an English Brown ale than a Belgian.

Smell- Made me think of fruit cake with a shotof brandy to warm the chest and stomach.

Taste- Starts with wet, figgy malts that subside to darker, carmalized fruits with a touch ofsome roast. Brown sugar apple plumspice to finish.

Mouthfeel-You don't se that much carbonation, bout you can feel it. Balanced and easy to drink, especially for 8.5% abv.

scruffwhor, Feb 14, 2007
Photo of AltBock
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got the little bitty 25cl or 8.5 fl oz. bottle that comes in the Corsendonk Christmas holiday pack. The one with the glass in it. I didn't buy the pack because my local beer shop keeper broke it up. The label is a kids drawing of a beautiful Belgian Christmas morning with snow falling, a misshapen sunburst star glowing in the early morning sky, and oranges ripening on a pine tree. Wait a minute, oranges growing on a pine tree? Yes, oranges. I thinking they were suppose to be orange colored Christmas ornaments, but they are clearly oranges ripening on a pine tree in the dead of winter. I would like to know how they do that. Above the big yellow letters of "Corsendonk Christmas Ale" is the Corsendonk family crest or a just gold symbol that has something to do with Christmas. In the lower right hand corner is the word "Dark Ale" translated into 6 different languages. This beer sure gets around. On the back is a blue with gold trim label that has the US Government warning, where it was brewed, refund, a best before date, and the time it was stamped that is right next to the date. Mine was stamped best before 6/9/08. That might mean it's best before June 9th or since it's European, maybe September 6th of 2008. Either way I drank it well before it expired. Corsendonk also wrapped the bottle cap with blue paper that was annoying to get off. Everytime I look at that label, I just can't figure out how they grew oranges in the dead of winter. :-)

Appearance: When poured into an official Corsendonk Christmas Ale glass (which I obtained earlier late last year), the beer was a very Christmassy translucent pine tree green. No No, it was actually a wonderful deep dark ruby red brown color with a half inch of this off white color head of foam to it. The head of foam receded away very nicely and left a small skim of foam, foamy rings, and some spotty off white colored rings around the glass. If the head of foam was a bit whiter, it would look like the snow you would find on Christmas morning. Although the color of this beer looked nothing like a Christmas Day, I have to commend Corsendonk Christmas Ale for it's wonderful color.

Smell: To me, it really didn't smell like anything or even remotely close to anything you would find on a Christmas Day, but I really couldn't careless. I really enjoyed the fine aroma of this beer. The first aroma that came to me was dark cherries with a hint of other dark fruits behind that. Then came the dark roasted malts, Belgian yeast, a touch of sweet caramel, and the smallest drop or two of cinnamon stick at the end. OK, maybe you might find the smell of cinnamon stick on a Christmas morning, but that really doesn't instantly remind me of Christmas. The aroma reminds of a smell you find coming from a great beer and of course, this is one of them.

Taste: Again, I have to say that this taste, like the smell reminds me nothing of Christmas. I couldn't careless if it reminded me of Thanksgiving. I enjoyed the taste like I did with the aroma. It had an initial taste of dark fruits, but this time the cherries didn't stand out, it was the plum. Then came the Belgian yeast, a nip of dark roasted malts, Belgian candy sugar, cloves, and a trace of spices at the end. The Belgian yeast in the taste was a bit more potent then it was in the smell. If the taste had any orange mixed in with pine to it, then I could have put that it tasted like the tree on the label. This taste didn't remind me of Christmas morning like some, but instead it reminded me of elements you'll find a good brew.

Mouthfeel: It was medium bodied, dry, and with an alcohol taste somewhere in the background. Sometimes it was there, sometime it wasn't. It came and went as if had a mind of it's own. If you somehow took a sip the wrong way I did, you will then feel the alcohol burning sensation go all the way to your nose. Toward the bottom of the glass, I noticed that the I somehow anger the alcohol because it got violent toward my tastebuds. It must have know that I was about to finish the beer and I didn't have any more.

Drinkability: Even though it reminded me nothing of Christmas, I might have to try this beer again next Christmas season. If it tastes this good in late January, then it might taste even better in early December. I doubt it, but it's fun to think that. As you can tell, I enjoyed this beer very much and I wished that Jolly Olde St. Nick himself came down the chimney and magically turned this little dinky 8.5 fl oz. bottle to a big 750ml bottle. I still can't get over how they grow oranges on pine trees during the winter season in Belgium.

AltBock, Jan 28, 2007
Photo of msubulldog25
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split a 33cl bottle with my wife (guldengirl) on Saturday...our second and probably final one of these beers til next winter.

A: Deep amber with warm shades of ruby hugging the edges. A small fluffy ivory-colored head that fades to a wispy film.

S: A shot of licorice straight up the nose, sugary and spicy. Generally sweet and malty - with molasses, cloves, cinnamon and yeast. Smells like Christmas, winter and all things good in the world on a frosty evening in January.

T: Big licorice/anise flavor with ripe cherries and holiday spices. While the flavors are mostly malty sweet and spicy, the finish is a little dry and peppery.

M: Medium body/mouthfeel with a moderate amount of carbonation. Spices dance aggressively across the tongue and there's a slight but pleasant alcohol warming in the finish.

D: Certainly one we'll have again. Good smells & flavors, a well-crafted ale evocative of the Christmas season and our time spent in Belgium.

msubulldog25, Jan 22, 2007
Photo of Suds
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a big, dark-brown beer with an light-tan head. The liquid is shadowy, with faint reddish-hues when held to the light. The aroma is predominately geared toward sweet malt, assisted with a lot of competing sensations: yeast, cherries, cinnamon, bubble-gum esters, nutmeg, and a handful of other spices. The taste is sweet and characteristically Belgian. Full malt flavor with some alcohol and an abundance of fruit flavors. There’s very slight warming, and it hides its alcohol surprisingly well. Fairly high carbonation and quite full bodied. This is a complex and enjoyable winter ale. I’d seek it out again.

Suds, Jan 19, 2007
Photo of Lupin
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Smells and pours much like ommegang abbey ale. Lots of spices obviously present here, and a deep amber hue, but not much of anything in suspension here. I'm not sure if this really dark enough to be considered a dark ale. Poured gently into the ommegang "where brewing is an art..." flute with an appropriate head that dissipated as expected. Minimal lacing

The most blatant odor and taste upon initially tasting this brew was licorice. Something else very distinctive was definitely there, but I couldn't think of what it was. It was rather difficult to think of anything else for the first few sips, though. As my palate adjusted and the beer warmed, earthier tones revealed themselves and the other spices managed to neutralize my initial impression.

As far as Christmas ales go, this is a definite winner and I will certainly return to it next year. Spicy and dry, but without the overbearing heat/warming feel of the spices of a lot of other winter brews (affligen noel, which i enjoy heartily, comes to mind). I don't think I could enjoy more than a bottle of this, but it's definitely suited to being a wonderful starter beer for a winter session.

Lupin, Jan 11, 2007
Photo of kingjames1
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany, with a fluffy tan head that evenly dissipates to thin lacing. I smell hints of chocolate, cinnamon & cloves, vanilla, raisins, and belgian yeasts. Taste is dark breads, caramels, christmas spices,and a tinge of hops bitterness, leaving a satisfying dryness. A very palatable mouthfeel, and very drinkable. This is perhaps the best representation of a beligan christmas i've had. Delicioius!

kingjames1, Jan 09, 2007
Photo of CherylM
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It is rich, full-bodied, dark beer which produces a lively head at first pour. It is malty and enhanced with flavors of candied cherries, almonds, cinnamon, spices. All the flavors mellow together nicely without being too sweet. It is very smooth, not a lot of carbonation, and the high alcohol content is not really noticable.. A delightful beer which I look forward to each Christmas.

CherylM, Jan 04, 2007
Photo of mdagnew
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

250ml bottle bought from belgianshop.com

Poured a deep mahogany red / brown colour... Creamy tan head poured big and foamy then faded slowly to almost nothing... very light sticky lacing...

Aroma - Very tart and spicy dark fruits (raisins, currents, prunes), molasses / dark muscovado sugar sweetness, light smokey notes, toasted maltiness, strong Belgian yeastiness, fruit loaf and alcohol soaked Christmas cake, light peppery hops, some rum hints...

Taste – Dark juicy fruits (prunes, blackcurrents, raisins), pretty noticable alcohol notes, sweet nuttiness, medicinal, some liquorice, burnt toffee sweetness, toasty malts, spicy hops, some pine notes...

Feel - Pretty smooth and creamy... medium body...fairly drinkable even at 8.5%..

Overall - An excellent beer - pretty much how i expect Belgian Christmas beers to be... recommended...

mdagnew, Dec 28, 2006
Photo of BlindPig
2.93/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A- Big darker tan head on a clear deep amber body (can't really see through it til you hold it up to the light).
S- Spices come through first. A big malt aroma too. Also something weird comes through too. Like toothpaste or light pine cones?
T- Big malt body with a dose of spices. Some light european hops also come out. A weird lighter taste comes through (which seems very out of place) but I can't pinpoint what it is.
M- Medium body with low to medium carbonation.
D- It's a kind of weird beer. I think their other two are a lot better. Can't see me drinking the whole bottle of this. Just some weird aromas and flavors come out of this.

BlindPig, Dec 28, 2006
Photo of barefootbrewer
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a dark brick red color with a thick head. The lacing is about average. This is a pretty beer in general. The smell is fantastic. A blend of spices (nutmeg) and various fruits (almost like a fruit salad). The taste is malty with a sweet/spice finish. The mouthfeel is delicate and carbonated. This is a wonderful seasonal beer which I’d look forward to drinking during the holiday season!

barefootbrewer, Dec 27, 2006
Photo of Bobikel
2.85/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served in a caged and corked 750ml bollte.

Appearance - Pours a deep clear red. A small 1/2 inch head appears and stays for quite some time. Lacing is very good.

Smell - Rigid deep maltiness, and some hops. A little soapy? Maybe infected?

Taste - Yeasty, warm, and a little cloying. Plum, and corriander.

Mouthfeel - Highly effervescent, dancing on the toung with a pleasant pointyness. A little thick.

Drinkability - Not really a sesionable drinker, nor is it a quiet-night sipper.

Overall - Fun to try, but a little dissapointing. Reminds me a little of Lefthand's "Goosinator", but with a little more depth.

Bobikel, Dec 26, 2006
Photo of mikesgroove
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a cloudy brown color, with a nice head that stayed around for the whole glass. Laced up the entire glass! Smell was nicely spiced, nutmeg, cinnamon. Taste followed suit. Almost had a spiced rum taste to it. No hint of alcohol, and very full feeling. Again very spiced taste about it, which cuts down on the drinkability of it a bit. All said, family enjoyed it, got a couple calls of"its different". But this was a nice holiday feeling brew.

mikesgroove, Dec 26, 2006
Photo of malty
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

8.2 oz. bottle best before 8/22/07.

Pours a brown russet color with a slight chill haze. A frothy billowing 2" light beige head sit solidly atop this wonderful smelling liquid... Nice globs and rings of lacework.

Smells like rum soaked figs and prunes. Faint cinnamon and anise scents hide behind vanilla and nutty nougat.

Hearty and fresh flavors of dark fruits and dark roasted and slightly gritty malts. The flavors are a bit rustic but all are clean and beautifully balanced; Zesty cinnamon, warming dark rum, almonds and cherries along with other faint and well-placed spices.

Mouthfeel is gorgeous; on the medium side of full bodied with fine and playful carbonation. Long flavorful and warming finish.

Drinkability is also great. I could picture myself drinking a few wide-mouth goblets of this, but I only bought this single bottle.

A fantastic a well-crafted Christmas Ale for sure. Masterfully crafted and balanced with the right amount of heft to fill and warm the belly with enough grace to be set alongside the finest holiday dinners. I'm content drinking mine right here at the computer in the same room with my son kicking his Nerf soccer ball against the wall over and over and over again, (and I'm not annoyed in the least). A wonderful Christmas offering.

malty, Dec 24, 2006
Photo of IntriqKen
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep, dark amber with an offwhite full finger head that takes it time melting to top-covering sticky lacing.
Aromas are caramel, both dark and light fruits, and spices like corriander, cinnamon, and clove.
Mouthfeel is initially soft on the tongue then slightly biting. Both of which could come from the tiny carbonation.
Taste is blended caramel, dark fruits, and spices. Finish is slightly bitter from the hops...sort of a citrus peel sharpness that cleanses the pallete nicely.
Aftertaste is the memory of toasted caramel and a hint of belgium yeast.
Where is the alcohol? I sense it neither in the aromas nor the taste.
This is a wonderfully complex winter brew and definitely worth seeking out.
Many thanks to numenor1 for the SS 06 package that included this.

IntriqKen, Dec 24, 2006
Photo of HopDerek
4.83/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served on tap in a Corsendonk Christmas Ale glass.

Appearance is deep brown with dark red hues, with a lovely off white head and some lacing. Smells of fruits, spices, and caramel. Tastes of cherries, cinnamon, nutmeg, other spices, sugar, and some smokiness. Very smooth and creamy, yet also a bit chewy. An excellent Christmas brew, looking forward to having another one next year.

HopDerek, Dec 23, 2006
Photo of benmiliron
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Received an 8-pk. with glass from my sister as a Christmas gift. Thanks sis!

A smoky brown tan color, good foamy head that fades quickly. Some lacing. Smells of sugar, malt, spice and all things nice. Not much hop aroma, but the bitter is there in the taste. Taste is superb. Belgian fruits, spices, yeast and malts, a bit of smoke, and candied plums. Mouthfeel is sticky with good carbonation to support. Maybe a hair too fizzy.

This is one of the best Christmas ales out there.

benmiliron, Dec 22, 2006
Photo of jscottku21
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap, this ale was quite good. Spices including cinnamon and cloves were very distinct yet not overwhelming. Extremely drinkable, although the 8.5% will surely catch up with you, I would absolutely revisit this excellent offering from Corsendonk. Cheers!

jscottku21, Dec 22, 2006
Photo of FtownThrowDown
2.95/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into my St.B chalice.
Pours a dark ruby brown with only a slight head. Can catch a glimpse of light around the edging of the beer.
Smell is yeasty, with some candy sugar. There is a earthy fruit and a slight alcohol smell coming through as well.
Taste is dark ripened fruit and yeast. There is more alcohol coming through in the taste than was found in the smell.
The mouthfeel is very carbonated with a slight burn to it.
A decent holiday offering but not my favorite.

FtownThrowDown, Dec 21, 2006
Photo of Shaw
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A beautiful amber in color with an equally beautiful off-white head. This beer practically glows in the proper light.

It smells of dried fruit and malt with just the hint of sourness.

The taste is very good. Notes of fruit mix with mustiness and just a bit of bitterness to create a very complex flavor.

The body is nice and chewy yet smooth and creamy as well.

Overall this is an excellent beer. I'm quite fond of the style and Corsendonk keeps my faith alive.

Shaw, Dec 20, 2006
Photo of dgfair
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into my Chimay goblet, best before September 18, 2008.

A - Clear brown liquid with a reddish hue as the light comes through. Nice fluffy, cream-colored head that dissipates slowly to a nice layer.
S - Sweet sugar smell, with a hint of clove and coriander. A little bit of ripe fruit, kind of a raisin smell to it. Also a touch of an underlying earthy, woody smell.
T - Wow...ripe dark fruit, figs, raisins, a little pear perhaps, all balanced by a peppery clove flavor that keeps the fruitiness in check perfectly. Also a nice full malt flavor that comes out in the swallow as the alcohol gives a nice warming flavor in the throat.
M - A little creamy, a little bubbly, very well balanced. Feels great in the mouth and on the swallow.
D - Very nice winter Belgian ale. I would certainly like to sit around and drink a couple of these on a winter evening. Overall, a drinkable, complex, delicious Belgian ale. A great offering from Corsendonk, probably my favorite of their offerings. Stock up in the winter months while you can.

dgfair, Dec 20, 2006
Photo of Westsidethreat
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Hazel chestnut color with depth. Khaki head is creamy and frothy. So far so good.

S: Cherry slushy, oak, burnt caramel, toast and maple.

T: Begins sweet and fruity with some serious figs, over ripe dark cherries, blueberry and raspberry. I think the next flavor I identify could be described as brown sugar bubble gum, quite nice. You can find anise, nutmeg and perhaps some coriander as well. Perhaps some lemon on the tip of the tongue too. Most of the malty backbone seems to actually be accounted for by the sugar added. Finishes with hints of apricot, peach yogurt and brown sugar.

M: Medium body, full mouthfeel with just a bit of fluffiness.

D: This beer reminds me a lot of the Delerium Noel but sort of like the less alcohol cousin. Good drinkability and not too sweet.

Westsidethreat, Dec 18, 2006
Photo of ccrida
2.42/5  rDev -41.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Served on draft in a regular Corsendonk cervoise, it was a dark amber in a color with very little head or carbonation, but left behind a nice khaki lace. The aroma was mainly sweet malt and yeast, but fairly mild. The taste was immediately dominated by anise, which gave way to a nice malt backbone and a bit of fig or prune, then a slightly boozy finish. I had trouble getting by the anise, which I'll admit is far from my favorite spice, and not normally so overbearing as to turn me off from the rest of the brew. The mouthfeel was a bit thin for the style, and since I didn't care for the spice used, I didn't find this one to be that drinkable. I should also note that the 8.5% ABV was no less evident then some of the +10% Noels that are much more balanced. I seem to recall liking the Corsendonk Noel last year, so I'm not sure if the recipe has changed, the keg I drank from needed aged, or my palate is finer tuned, but this year it's my least favorite of any holiday beer so far.

ccrida, Dec 14, 2006
Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
93 out of 100 based on 912 ratings.