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Corsendonk Christmas Ale - Brouwerij Corsendonk

Not Rated.
Corsendonk Christmas AleCorsendonk Christmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

894 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 894
Reviews: 535
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 10.58%
Wants: 58
Gots: 61 | 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: 894 | Reviews: 535 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jwc215
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle, best before end of 07/09/08:

Pours brown with a thin tan head that soon settles to a thin cover, then a patch.

The smell is brandyish with prunish fruitiness and light herbal spicing. Some caramel and graininess mixes in in the back. Very aromatic and inviting.

The taste is of berry-like and darkish fruitiness with light herbal spicing. The background has caramel and graininess with some dark sugar candy. The sweetness is balanced by a lightly spiced yeast and some earthiness. Some warming alcohol in the finish. Stays pretty even throughout, with just a touch more maltiness as it completely warms.

Medium-bodied with soft carbonation.

As this is the third offering from this brewery, my opinion is that they don't "push the envelop", but make solid brews. This is a slower sipper than the other two - but was meant to be.
This has a complex aroma and is a tasty one to sip on in the wintery Christmas season!

jwc215, Dec 23, 2007
Photo of Vancer
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ho ho ho, 2 days till Xmas - close enough! Finally a Corsendonk brew for my Corsey Tulip.

Easy pour, massive rocky head billows up - islands of lace. Great aroma of winter spices with the classic Belgium yeast. Zesty tasting brew with the spices and malt balanced well with the hops. A surprisingly dry brew, finishing crisply with the spices.

Quite a winter warmer. Tasty.

Vancer, Dec 22, 2007
Photo of albern
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a wonderful dark Belgian ale. The beer pours a pretty thick, frothy, light brown head that retains for awhile, and just cuts an enticing image. The smell is plums, maybe a tinge of apricot, some yeast, and some sweet malts. This Christmas ale is quite full bodied, quite dark, bottle fermented, plenty of yeasty carbonation, with lots of warming alcohol notes. This is a delightful beer for a cold winters day. I'm looking out my window at more than 2 feet of accumulated snow in my New England backyard a few days before Christmas, and this beer fits the cliche in all the right ways. The taste is Belgian in that you'll get plenty of syrupy, candied sugar fermentation, sweet malts, yeasty carbonation and fizz, deep and rich fruitiness along the plum, apricot, prune family. The mouthfeel is thick, sweet, syrupy, warming, and wonderful. The aftertaste is fairly modest for a beer with 8.5% ABV. You won't get that throaty burn, but you will come back for more. L'Chaim.

albern, Dec 21, 2007
Photo of BeerLover729
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Opaque dark brown beer with a big frothy that subsides but remains throught the drink. The smell is lightly molassesy and not much else. The taste is a progression of malty, kind of creamy, and tart. Some "Xmas spice" is detectable (cloves, cinnamon, etc.), mostly cloves, but subdued compared to the malty, creamy, brown sugar dryness. This beer has a creamy, smooth, but sharply carbonated medium body. Its drinkable but the maltyness has some cloyingness to it. It stll tasted really good to me though. Good beer.

BeerLover729, Dec 21, 2007
Photo of yelterdow
2.73/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Best by 12/09/09... thanks Adam for the gift. I'll be serving this in an Ommegang tasting tulip at cellar temperature with a hunk of Chimay cheese... always a perfect companion with a Belgian Dark ale.

Appearance- With a color equivalent to a rich, fine cognac, the beer pours beautifully... clear with a billowing, foamy head that fills as much of this glass as the beer itself. After many minutes, the clingy lacing drops off and settles to an uneven translucent map.

Smell- Aromas of spiced holiday cookies, bready and full with suggestions of rum and nutmeg. Perfumy and flowery. Not very complex but pleasant and nostalgic.

Taste- While the malts get things started right, the instant after the swallow things go downhill quickly. Seems that the heavy use of spices completely dominate and overwhelm the palate, leaving no space for anything else to happen.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- A bit explosive in the initial burst, it eases up shortly thereafter but doesn't ever flatter the beer. With the yeast addition, the sharp aftertaste quiets and the texture eases. This tasting went a full two hours, but unfortunately it will forgotten beneath many more memorable Belgian ales.

yelterdow, Dec 21, 2007
Photo of czfreeman
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured out a very lovely dark-ruby-brown color. Very foamy head, long rentention. smells of christmas! malts,fruits, plums,pineapple aromas on the end. Tastes as good as it smells, rich fruit flavors coming through. The mouthfeel is very satisfying,coats the mouth with a nice long finish. Highly enjoyable brew that I will look foward to every season.

czfreeman, Dec 20, 2007
Photo of grub
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

christmas tasting hosted by biegaman on dec 15/07. he contributed this one. thanks jan!

750ml bottle, corked and caged, best before 12/09/09.

pours deep ruby red with a big fluffy off-white head. the head drops slowly and leaves spotty lace behind.

aroma is nice. clearly belgian yeast. light alcohol. very light cardamom. bit of earthy/musty character. bready malt.

taste is nice. big fruit. low bitterness level. light belgian yeast and spice. bready malt. bit of alcohol. caramel and toffee. orange peel.

mouthfeel is good. medium-low carbonation level. medium body.

drinkability is good. well balanced. a nice christmas ale - good balance of fruit and light spice to keep it interesting, but not unpleasant or overpowering. if only they all showed this kind of balanced restraint!

grub, Dec 19, 2007
Photo of drpimento
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lovely, heavenly beer! A masterpiece. Pours with a nice fine head that lasts for a while but eventually mostly dissapears. Plenty of lace. Nice dark brown with strong red highlights. Spicey fruity malty nose. Good carbonation. Warming. Excellent mouth witth an extended finish.

drpimento, Dec 19, 2007
Photo of kmo1030
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
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 +7.5%
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 +8.9%
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 -57.2%
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 +9.4%
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 -2.6%
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 -11.5%
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 -6.3%
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 +4.6%
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 -3.8%
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 -3.8%
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 -0.7%
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 +5.3%
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 +11.8%
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 -5%
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 -3.8%
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%
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
Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
93 out of 100 based on 894 ratings.