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Corsendonk Christmas Ale - Brouwerij Corsendonk

Not Rated.
Corsendonk Christmas AleCorsendonk Christmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

890 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 890
Reviews: 535
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 10.58%
Wants: 56
Gots: 60 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Corsendonk visit their website
Belgium

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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Corsendonk Christmas Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 890 | Reviews: 535 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sfprint
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

exp 11/27/11

A: Single finger head, hazel nut body, w rootbeer foam colored head. Micro uniform rising carbonation. Significant lacing.
S: Sweet coffee liqeur, chocolate, spices (cinnamon/nutmeg) Pretty sweet. Artificial grape.
T: Coffe and bitter chocolate but not too bitter. There is a degree of sweet and syrupyness but it sits in the perfect place and is quite nice.
M: Light numbing, fairly soft
O: Very good, nice balance as well as variety of flavors. with that said, i don't love it but others will.

sfprint, Aug 30, 2011
Photo of woodychandler
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My basement/cellar continues to unearth some gems (hopefully). This one as a Best By date of 18/09/08 but given its ABV, I should be all right.

From the bottle: "Dark Ale"; "Dark Ale refermented in bottle."

I got a finger of deep-tan head with good retention off of my very gentle pour. Color was a solid garnet with NE-quality clarity. Nose smelled of maple syrup, anise, milk chocolate, toffee and some mustiness. Mouthfeel was absolutely creamy and the taste was of Sugar Babies (caramel enrobed in milk chocolate) and it was MUCH more pleasant than my last encounter with those candies. I was still pre-teen, but I had had several cavities filled (and none since), but those candies ripped out the bottom two for the second time (!), the first time from Jujubes, another candy that I have not touched since. Finish was warm, not hot as the heat had had some time to die down, with a continued caramel/chocolate flavor and even some coffee on the extreme finish.

woodychandler, Aug 17, 2011
Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a nice looking reddish brown color, the head was fluffy and tan in color. The lacing was a little sticky and hung around for a little while. The smell of the beer has a pretty typical Belgian aroma to it, It's yeasty, sweet and has a slight roasted aroma to it. The taste of the beer has a good sweet malt character to it that's balanced with a spicy aftertaste. The mouthfeel of the beer gives off a pretty good warming sensation as yu drink it. Overall I think it's a good Christmas brew, worth checking out.

Knapp85, Aug 03, 2011
Photo of CuttDeez
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a snifter

A - A deep rustic brown body. Very big kahki light brown head that is both foamy and bubbly with lace.

S - Fruit and molassas. Great carmalized sugars and roasted sugar and good fruit profile. The beer also smells of spices of clove and cinnamon it is very easy to pick up in my opinion.

T & M & D - The taste starts out with a big malty sweet profile and tons of dark fruits - both of which meld together and work well. Then the spices and aromatics that were in the nose come through in the middle and end of the beer. The beer becomes earthen and oaky on the finish but only slightly with a little spice and malt as well. Medium boddied with slight carbination make this beer feel great.

O - Good Xmas beer and you can enjoy it any time as well. Thanks SB for hooking me up!

-Cheers

CuttDeez, Jul 28, 2011
Photo of CelticAleMan
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes:

01/28/11

A - Brownish, but is dark ruby colored when held up to light. 2 finger head. Fine creamy tan foam with unbelievable lacing.

S - Dark fruits, figs, spices (clove, coriander, nutmeg, maybe a tiny bit of anise).

T - Sweet, spicy dark fruit. Molasses, candi sugar, mild spiciness (clove and coriander), caramel, and even a little chocolate in the finish.

M - Medium, creamy and well carbonated.

O - Awesome. I could drink these regularly, without a doubt. This has to be my favorite Christmas beer.

CelticAleMan, Jul 10, 2011
Photo of headbucket
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A nice deep brown color. Nice, big head with a semi-aggresive pour. Lots of lacing left on the glass as the beer recedes. This beer has some of the nicest lacing and foam left on the side of a glass that I have ever seen on a beer. After my second pour(rather aggressive) from a 750ml bottle, there was a solid, thick, and wide layer of foam/lacing left all the way around the glass.

S: the weakest part of the beer for me. It isn't bad, just very tame. grains and yeast, a bit sweet.

T: Nice dark malts, a bit of brown sugar sweetness, belgian yeast flavors, and chocolate(chocolate malt?) over a bit of fruit-citrus but not a bright hoppy citrus, it is like a light orange flavor. the dark malt/chocolate and orange/citrus flavor linger.

M: silky smooth, nice and thick without being syrupy. it is very smooth and silky, goes down very nice.

O: A great beer, probably my favorite christmas beer. This beer and Troeg's Mad Elf are my favorite Xmas beer because they aren't heavily spiced with cinnamon and similar spices/flavors that a lot of american christmas beers have. The alcohol doesn't detract at all. It is slightly evident but doesn't detract at all. I like this beer a bit more as it had warmed up, and as I get closer to the bottom of the bottle. It is malty without being overly sweet and has a great hint of fruit(orange) in it. Will pick up a few more bottles for sure before they disappear from the store I got this bottle from. This is a christmas 2010 bottle.

headbucket, Mar 23, 2011
Photo of dtivp
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a medium dark brown with a large two finger brownish white head that slowly dissipated into nice collar with moderate lacing.

Aroma of yeast, sweet fruits and a hint of spice.

Taste followed the nose with a sugary sweet fruits, butterscotch, yeast and a touch of spice.

Mouthfeel was medium body with lots of carbonation, very smooth and syrupy. Nice warming, however, the alcohol is well masked.

This is a very nice Belgian Ale, look forward to enjoying again.

dtivp, Mar 21, 2011
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #47 (Dec 2010):

From the massive display of head to the inviting brown darkness, this ale warms you just by looking at it. Coriander, cake batter and a peppery herbal spice from the alcohol and yeast infiltrate the nostrils. Smoothness borders on silky, and crispness pops off the full body. Fruitcake of the homemade variety, chocolate-covered oranges, bitterness from the coriander and hops, and hints of carob powder and charcoal make for a very complex brew. Top shelf all the way, a bottle of this is a real treat for the taste buds. By far one of the best winter seasonals on the market.

BeerAdvocate, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of Buggies
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm thinking I have an old bottle or something. Or possibly bot stored right. Or maybe this bad boy just needs to warm up a little. I don't know. I don't get the same big aromas or flavors that most reviewers get.

Pours a dark brown with nice thick head. The aroma is real muted. Smells of yeast and fruit, and a faint hint of spice.

The taste is about the same as the nose. Tastes as Belgium should. Yeast and fruit. A very slight spicy note. Slight caramel notes as well. Slightly sweet finish.

To be honest, this reminds me more of a plain jane dubbel or something. Though it is quite nice and tastes OK, I don't think it is worth the high scores like it has gotten.

But then again, maybe it's just the bottle I got?

Buggies, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of bmwats
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 25 cl bottle, into my Corsendonk Christmas tulip.

A: Medium-dark brown. Pours about a 1 finger, foamy, brown-white head. Settles pretty slowly leaving a blanket of foam on the surface, and some nice beer-ring residue. A decent amount of spotty lacing remains as you drink this one down.

S: Malt grains, almonds, butterscotch, and a little spice.

T: Rich syrupy malt, a little peat, a little almond, a hint of something sweet (maybe some butterscotch), and a little coriander.

M: Hearty. Thick and syrupy feel. Sweet and malty in the front, pungent finish. But not overly dry, and the strong alcohol is nicely disguised.

D: This is a nice brew to savor. Nice flavor and body.

Atmosphere is nice. Appearance is a great brown tone, with a solid foamy head, and some really nice lacing. Nose has a nice grain and nut profile with some hints of sweet and spice. A thick syrupy body, and a really nice combo grain, sweet, and spice combination. Nothing really stands out. Well balanced. Overall, this is a really good quaff.

bmwats, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of DefenCorps
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Best by 26 August 2012, picked up for 75cents a couple of weeks back. From notes.

Clear mahogany with a dense, khaki-colored head with excellent retention, this beer looks very good. There is no lacing, but patches of foam do stick to the side of my glass. The nose is great. Yeasty, this has a spicy, mildly fruity kick with raisins, prunes, molasses, brown sugar and a little bit of stale cinnamon. Sweetness is reserved, I also get a mild tobacco-like aroma. The yeast character is strong, lending a fairly hefty spice presence to the nose.
The palate opens spicy and fruity with a bit of burnt sugar and cola. Again, the prunes and molasses come through, but this isn't a sweet beer. Quite the opposite, this finishes quite dry. The mid-palate really carries the fruit, and coupled with the strong yeast character, it brings to mind an almost tropical fruit-like intensity. As it warms, the malt complexity does grow, getting a mild dark caramel character to go with the prunes and burnt sugar.Dry with an earthy, leathery malt character, the alcohol is very well hidden here. Spicy and yeasty on the finish, this beer is medium-light on the palate with a high level of carbonation, much higher than I care for, REALLY foaming up in my mouth. This does get distracting fairly quickly, and this is this beers only significant flaw. Solid stuff, I would not hesitate to drink this again.

DefenCorps, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of RDHerm
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, reddish brown with brown highlights. Has a thick, cream colored head that thins out very quickly, leaving a thin head that last for the duration and has excellent lacing.

Has a sweet aroma. Strong notes of yeast and dark fruits, with hints of caramel and spice

Has a surprisingly strong sweet malt flavor that was not present in the aroma. Also has strong notes of dark fruit, with hints of spice, yeast, and a little bit of hop bitterness. The aftertaste is a bit sour, which is strange, but not unpleasant.

Medium body, with a high carbonation level. Very smooth, but just a bit too bubbly.

Great taste, OK feel, and an alcohol content that's not too high make this a beer you could sip all night.

RDHerm, Jan 29, 2011
Photo of CuriousMonk
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml bottle into heavy chalice glass. Pours a transparent dark red with a real nice off-white head with very good retention. Excellent lacing. Very malty, spicey, and fruity aroma. Real nice malt flavor up front. Kind of a creamy, caramel, and fruit combination. Finishes rather spicey with a little clove that continues to linger in aftertaste. Hops are only very subtle. A touch of metal keeps this from being an even better beer. One of the better Christmas brews I've had.

CuriousMonk, Jan 27, 2011
Photo of nhindian
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a Fantome tulip.

A - A careful pour yields a dark brown beer with ruby-tinged highlights. Opaque but thankfully pretty clear from sediment. I can actually see quite a bit of carbonation on the sides of the glass and lots of bubbles stick to the sides. A 3-fingered head floats on top, lasting almost the entire beer, gradually shrinking. Lacing is pretty consistent and abundant.

S - I'm actually not sure what makes this a 'Christmas' version of Corsendonk, as I'm not getting much spices from the nose, and I'm not sure if there should be. There is a bit of spiciness I'd attribute to the yeast, but it could be some light spices added. Anyway, besides that, I get grapes, raisins, tobacco, a hint of leather, some banana. Some darker fruits and sugar. Typically Belgian.

T - The first thing I can pinpoint in the taste is a rum quality, like some rum covered cherries. This is only in flavor, however, as the alcohol is incredibly well-hidden. It's then sugary and sweet, fruity and leathery, and the malts add to a biscuity dryness. Finish is long, sweet, with a tinge of alcohol.

M - Mouthfeel is moderately heavy with medium carbonation. A bit of a spicy finish lends to it being a bit dry, but the sweetness lingers as well.

D - Drinkability is high. An incredibly easy drinking beer that has great flavor to it. Would've liked the aroma to be a bit more ... bold, and maybe something to distinguish itself as necessarily 'Christmas', but I really enjoyed this one.

nhindian, Jan 24, 2011
Photo of tempest
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Crescent & Vine in Astoria. It reminded me of the St. Bernardus Christmas Ale, though this was a touch more drinkable. My only complaint was that the spice dominated the aroma. The flavor was more balanced with dark fruits, caramel, coriander and citrus notes.

tempest, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of BobZ
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 Oz. bottle. Poured into my Duvel Tulip.

Appearance: Rich dark brown, virtually no head at all, but decent lacing throughout the beer.

Smell: Belgian yeast and spice dominate the nose, hints at a deep complexity.

Taste: Sweet maltiness with very pleasant spicing. Dark fruit lies beneath and a gentle hoppy bitterness is also present. A great example of a Belgian Christmas beer.

Mouthfeel: Aggressively carbonated but still pleasant on the palate.

Drinkability: Good beer but not one I could drink many of in a session.

BobZ, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of rudzud
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes taken at the Armsby Abbey's yearly Belgian Christmas on 12/15.

*2009 Vintage*

A - Mahogany pour with a nice light head but fades to leave super lacing and deanse clouds.

S - Earthy light funk. Very light on fruit notes as well as some good belgian spices.

T - Dense, deep fruits along with light sugars and sweet malts. This while not sticky, is almost lip smacking good. The spice note really falls in line with the whole Christmas brew.

M - Medium carbonation tickles the tongue. Incredibly nice and light on the mouth.

D - Great mouthfeel and taste and that clumpy head all work together for a very enjoyable strong dark ale.

rudzud, Jan 18, 2011
Photo of kstokem
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had Corsendonk Christmas Ale on draught at Mahar's Pub in Castleton-on-Hudson just before Christmas. It was offered at $5 for 10 oz. or $10/20oz. I started with a 10 oz. but had to follow it with a second 10 oz. It was one of those "oh I have the perfect beer for me" evenings.

Unfortunately, this beer is seasonal. I went back after Christmas and it was gone. Mahar said he was trying to obtain another keg. It was being searched for among the diminishing stock of Corsendonk Christmas Ale in the Albany/Capital Region, NY.

I hope to check in with Mahar tomorrow to see if he was successful in getting more.

If you come across Corsendonk Christmas Ale
on draught, don't drink it, save it for me.

I have had Corsendonk Christmas Ale in bottles a few times before and it is great that way too, but to my mind, no beer is better in the bottle than it is when you can get it draught style. I did however, recently purchase 2 750ml bottles so I could enjoy the Ale sometime later this year.

I recommend the Mahar's Pub in Castleton on Hudson, NY. It is a small neighborhood off-shoot of the long term, well established Mahar's Pub neighborhood pub on Madison Ave. in Albany, NY. Both Mahar's are serious places to drink a huge international variety of great beers.

kstokem, Jan 18, 2011
Photo of Meerkey
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Bubbly, dark caramel/toffee, umber color -muddy around the edges

S: Dark fruits -cherry

T: More dark fruits, spices, candy, sweet aftertaste that's also gets a little sour. Yummy.

M: Heavy flavor on the tongue -clean finish. Tingly.

D: Flavorful and interesting, very pleasant.

Meerkey, Jan 18, 2011
Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Well, from the start I knew this was going to be a special beer. Almost a medicinal aroma.

But once I tasted it, I realized what the smell and taste were. They were barleywine tastes. That boozy somewhat dark-fruitish tastes. And yes, I guess somewhat medicinal.

For me, this was very much like drinking a barleywine. A very incredibly smooth one. This one had a good bit of age. The beer is from 2008, so I'm wondering how age affected this beer.

GeoffFromSJ, Jan 18, 2011
Photo of nickthetick
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: poured into a corsedonk brewery glass and held up to the light a dark ruby red. A dirty white to light tan head that's nice and thick and very frothy. The head hangs around and leaves some lacing.

S: very spicy and a darker roasted malt sweetness. Biscuity and a little smooth hop notes.

T: sweet malt and common christmas spices, slightly roasted and big cinnamon flavor. The sweetness comes out as dried figs and plums. There isn't a whole lot of hop presence but what is there is earthy.

MF: smooth and complex, medium body. Rich and only a little effervescent.

D: a great Christmas beer at an awesome price especially when a glass is thrown in. A quick christmas buy again.

nickthetick, Jan 18, 2011
Photo of Bouleboubier
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed this from a bottle and on-tap quite many times. Greatest experience with this was buying the grand 3L bottle (in Dec '08), sitting on it until July, and priming myself for mayhem - sharing it with a buddy - while watching "Unforgiven" for the first time. Priceless.

This is a dark, richly malty, lovely, quintessentially holiday-time ale that I could actually, jubilantly drink whenever. Always pours with an excitedly effervescent head - not real compact, almost champagne-like, a coffee-sand color, decent leavings. The color appears reddish-brown at one angle, brownish-red at another - rosewood, overall (refer. my link).

Dense, caramelly-biscuity aroma by and large - plenty dark, lightly chocolate/toffee malt, and lingerings of dark, drupey fruity ester. The taste is surely up there with the best of Belgian Xmas-time beer. Dark fruity, smooth malts loom large - the fruitiness taking on some wonderful mostly fig and prune characteristics - but fall a good bit short of being sweet...

Really what you're getting here is an ale boasting those dark fruits via yeast, and rich, cakey malts - moderately thick in flavor yet somewhat light on the palate - and a nice, clean finish - MOR dryness. Spices/spicing, if added (which I don't believe they are), are/is virtually non-existent - something I greatly appreciate about the Belgian holiday offerings.

This is just so good. Come, you must try it!

Bouleboubier, Jan 13, 2011
Photo of LordHammer
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Christmas gift from my brother in law. Excellent gift.

A: Brilliant mahogany with a tan head. Looks inviting.

S: On initial pour, got a big banana whiff, but once it's in the glass it is much more restrained. Some fruit, smells sweet, bit of banana and some cherries, seems like.

T: Nicely malty, with definite sweet and alcohol notes. A vague spiciness, probably from the yeast, but much less of the fruit than in the nose. Definitely nice, gets better as it warms.

M: Highly carbed, and relatively thin due to the alcohol content. A nice balance to the big flavors.

D: This is delicious, but definitely a one and done sort of situation.

LordHammer, Jan 08, 2011
Photo of TheDTrain
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

D Trains dreaming of Corsendonk Christmas...just like the ale i poured into my Corsendonk Christmas glass!

With an aroma and a taste that follows of holiday spices, fruits like apple, grape, and plum, packed with an alcohol punch, this is Christmas morning for your mouth.

Thanks for the birthday gift BeerFM Andy! www.beerfm.com

TheDTrain, Jan 08, 2011
Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Notes from 12/24/2010:

#11 - 12 beers of Christmas. 750 mL bottle at 42 degrees into a St. Bernardus chalice.

A: This pours a nearly opaque very dark brown color with two-fingers of off-white head that turns a bit rocky and laces very well.

S: Sweet dark fruits (plums and dates come to mind), molasses, and light yeasty spice. It is mostly one-dimensional.

T: Plums and sweet red grapes mixed with what tastes like artificial grape flavoring (like a grape juice cocktail), spicy earthiness, candi sugar, and finishing bitterness not unlike that of grape peel.

M: It has a medium-thick body with a perfect level of carbonation and a mildly sticky feel.

D: This is definitely delicious and a pleasure to drink but it is not as complex as it seemed in years past.

bucklemyshoe, Jan 06, 2011
Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
93 out of 100 based on 890 ratings.