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Corsendonk Christmas Ale - Brouwerij Corsendonk

Not Rated.
Corsendonk Christmas AleCorsendonk Christmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

888 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 888
Reviews: 535
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 10.58%
Wants: 56
Gots: 58 | 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: 888 | Reviews: 535 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Asgeirr
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%

Appearance: Corsendonk Christmas Ale pours a dark vermilion colour along with a thick crown of great posture and light brown-to-soy-like tone. The descent of the glorious crown is a slow process to behold eventually leaving a half-full apparel of lacing.

Smell: A distinct form of acridity, a mild butter 'n' floral sweetness, some soy, and a small amount of lactose.

Taste: Mild sweetness in the tone of dark fruits followed by a equally mild bitterness interspersed with caramel-to-butterscotch flavours. Occasionally the bitterness peaks and makes itself more noticed in some of the intervals, but on an finishing note, it's overall pretty timid.

Mouthfeel: Dry, delightfully round with a alert carbonation while some alcohol reveal itself in that of a warming manner.

Drinkability: Smooth and very pleasant to the palate. Mild, but not weak, more so "moderately distinct", that is to say: balanced. More please!

Asgeirr, May 20, 2010
Photo of CHickman
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%

Pours dark chestnut brown with a 2 inch foamy/cloudy tan head that lasted a few minutes; good lacing that sticks to the glass.

Smells of sweet malt, yeast, light caramel, fruits like dates or cherry, grains, spices and light hops. Very nice nose and a fine start.

Tastes of sweet malt, sour apple, citrus (lemon or orange peel, or both), fig or dates, cherry, caramel, yeast, brown sugar, toasted grains, sherry or a sweet alcohol like rum, and a tart and almost sour finish where the fruit leaves a pucker and the sweet malt trails in an almost bitter way. The alcohol was present, but the fruits and spices muted it and helped it go down with ease. A very well balanced beer for all it's flavor complexities.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy, with very light to no carbonation, a medium body with a little chewy feel to it, yet it's easy to drink.

Very nice enjoyable winter ale that was sweet, fruity and delicious. As it warms up it gets sweeter and more complex, but was not too sweet. A great Christmas Ale that was a very good beer to sip and savor.

CHickman, Apr 22, 2010
Photo of everetends
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%

My last beer at Heroes Grille in Jacksonville, Al. I was kind of shocked to see it on the bottle list and I figured what the hell. The 330cl bottle ran me $7. Served up in a Chimay Goblet.

A: Poured out of the bottle comes a reddish brown body that is actually pretty clear. Has a decent amount of carbonation activity going around in here. The head is a wonderful, fluffy, one finger cloud of lightly tanned head. The head just coats the glass and throws lace all over it. The head has some pretty good lasting power, falling slowly to a quarter finger and lasting throughout. Good looking brew.

S: Fruity and sweet. Lots of fruits in this mix. Prune, fig, cherry, raisin, and orange peel. Little bit of spicy with some cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. More orange flavor coming through, more as a liquor. Brown sugar and molasses sweeten things up. Very nice.

T: The fruits dominate the flavor with most of it being prune and orange. There are still notes of plum, cherry and fig. Cinnamon is very light, and the spiciness is mostly clove and some nutmeg. Brown sugar once again makes its presence know. Alcohol is once again in an orange liquor flavor. Little bit of bready malt and a touch of chocolate round things off. Tasty stuff.

M: This a medium bodied brew and that comes off a bit weird considering how big the flavors and aromas are. It just takes you back a bit. Carbonation was medium and could have been a little less present, but it didn't hurt the beer for me. Alcohol was light but warming. The beer stayed sweet on the palate but wasn't cloying. Aftertaste was orange liquor and brown sugar.

D: This was a sipper because it does come across as a big beer from the bold flavors and aroma. This just resonates Christmas in flavor and aroma to almost perfection. The only negative I can give it is that the feel was a bit light. Otherwise, this is a wonderfully enjoyable beer. Glad I finally got a chance to drink it and the suprise in finding it made it that much better. I will absolutely be looking for this next Christmas to enjoy and cellar.

everetends, Apr 11, 2010
Photo of elgiacomo
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%

11.2oz bottle, best before September 7, 2011. Pretty sure this is a Christmas 2009 bottle, maybe 2008.

Served almost room temp into a Duvel tulip. Pours brown with strong red highlights in the glass and produces a large fluffy and foamy light beige head that holds a nice foamy cap and leaves rings and spots of lacing.

Aroma is that wonderful dark Belgian malty and yeasty smell, candi sugar, cherries, some other dark fruits, and spice.

Flavor is cherries, fruits, sweet malts, candi or brown sugar, bread, toast, yeast, delicious. Alcohol well hidden for the style but makes a little bit of an appearance in the finish.

Mouthfeel is creamy and full, some carbonation bite, real easy drinking.

Damn this is some good stuff, always passed by the $18 4-packs and was glad to see this on the singles shelf. Worth every penny, a fantastic Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

elgiacomo, Mar 28, 2010
Photo of brdc
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%

Small capped bottle, approximately 6 years old.
Poured into a goblet.

The presentation is a typical, gorgeous belgian presentation; very dark brown, tan head that is dense and fluffy, very long lasting, leaving loads of lacing on the sides of the glass.
The aroma is delicate, tofee and chocolate, dark fruits.
A bit thinner than expected on the palate, it shows similar flavors than the aroma, but a bit too understated; all the flavors are nice and pleasant, but not in your face as I would prefer.
Good, but not great.

brdc, Mar 13, 2010
Photo of CHSLBrew
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%

Poured into a Corsendonk Christmas Ale goblet.

A-Big, characteristic Belgian ale head, tan in color and fluffy in density, sustaining well. Hay, dark copper-brown brew.

S-Yeast and clove, along with a dense cluster of other spiciness. Sweet malt melds nicely with the spicy characters.

T-Toffee candy sweetness, slight yeasty bread, with toasty, warm spices. Along with the spice, fruit character shines through, on the lines of apple, pear, peach and nutty berry.

M-Moderate body with a fine-bubbled, medium-high carbonation.

D-A very appropriate Christmas and winter holiday beer. It certainly hits the spot with a pleasant complexity.

CHSLBrew, Mar 08, 2010
Photo of gford217
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%

Pours a dark ruddy brown in the glass which actually shows through as a deep, clear copper when held up to light. The head is enormous and fluffy, hanging on for the duration as a big cap and solid lacing.

Aroma is sweet with candi sugar, raisins and roasted malts. There is also a significant Christmas spice presence with the Belgian yeast adding to that character.

The taste is excellent with a mixture of caramelized sugar, dark fruits and even more spice presence than the aroma suggests - clove and cinnamon especially.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and sticks to the palate after each sip.

Sugar and spice and everything nice in this Christmas ale. It's one of the better winter brews I've had this season. Very enjoyable.

gford217, Feb 20, 2010
Photo of fastsrt
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%

Poured 11.2 ounce bottle in chalice.
A: deep brown, nice head.
S: dark dried fruit, yeasts.
T: great, raisin, yeasts juicy malts with a sweet inviting finish, this beer is perfectly balanced,
M: this is a bit thin when compared other beers in this style category. no booze what so ever. well crafted.
D: winter warmer, such rich flavors, but i dont know about the best christmas ale i want some spice in my christmas ales. goes down like water. at 8.5% wow. I bought 2 bottles one i will bust out next christmas. but this one is is a base line I hope this one ages well.

fastsrt, Feb 18, 2010
Photo of akorsak
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%

A 330 mL bottle.

A: The ale is a dark ruddy brown color, opaque through and through. At the narrower spots of my mug, brighter dark colors emerge. A huge head, 3+ fingers, threatened to overflow and make a mess. Splotchy lace followed.

S: The nose is thick with a sweet yeast strain followed by dark fruits, candi sugar and spices. Green apples and plums mix nicely with the candi sugars.

T: Dark and delicious. The ale isn't shy about its depth. Candi sugars, darkly sweet, lead off with fruits following in short order. Moderate spices add to the warmth of the ale, cinnamon and clove primarily. The carbonation that was so huge in the pour has disappeared, leaving the full flavors to linger on the palate.

M: The mouthfeel is rich, Belgium at its best. The candi sugars are sweet and never drop off.

D: The ale is big, not one that I'd want to drink from a 750 mL bottle. The fullness of the flavors is excellent, rich and satisfying.

akorsak, Feb 07, 2010
Photo of Vengeance526
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Pours a hazy dark red amber color with a rich off-white head that has great retention and leaves a lot of sticky lacing.

A lot of yeast and candied sugar in the initial aroma, followed closely by dried fruits and Christmas spices in the back.

The taste really comes through as you slowly let it warm. Some prunes and figs start things off. Next comes a slight sweetness of brown sugar. Towards the end, some sour cherry notes show up and give way to notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, all leading to a sweet, bready and yeasty finish.

Medium to full bodied with a rich creamy mouthfeel. Overall a great Christmas beer that can be enjoyed anytime of year. The alcohol is hardly noticeable at all. One of my favorites every year.

Vengeance526, Feb 06, 2010
Photo of tjkurz
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%

This is one of the best beers I have ever had. Pours (into snifter) dark with decent head smells like christmas, tastes like christmas - some spice nutmeg clove - some fruit - subtle brandy - all delicious. Creamy and carbed nicely - warm - very drinkable for its abv.

tjkurz, Jan 26, 2010
Photo of Haybeerman
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

A: Reddich brown colr. Poured a 3 finger off-white head that slowly condenced to a big dollup. Lacing wahed down the glass in sheets.

S: Dark juicy fruits and spices. White pepper in the end.

T: Figs, raisins, plums and lots of other dark fruits. Sweet candi sugar and lingering spices combine with yeast notes.

M: Medium-to-heavy body. Medium carbonation. Thick and creamy. Alcohol

D: Flavorful and balanced. Really nice beer.

Haybeerman, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of BigJim5021
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%

Pours a murky cola brown with an fluffy off-white head that persists like a bad rash. It looks extra-nice in the included Corsendonk Christmas Ale goblet.

The aroma is heavy on dark fruits, Belgian yeast and Christmas-y spices. Slightly vinous too.

Flavor matches the smell, with a nice sweet maltiness to boot.

Mouthfeel is medium with good effervescence and a dry finish.

This tasty brew goes down really easily. It's a shame that it's only around during the Christmas season.

BigJim5021, Jan 16, 2010
Photo of zeff80
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%

A - Arrived in a Corsendonk Christmas Ale goblet, a somewhat cloudy, dary burgundy color with a one-finger, khaki head of foam. It left behind wispy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of dried fruits - plum, pear and raisin with some Christmas spices, like nutmeg.

T - It hits you with bready malts and the dried fruits. Raisin comes through the storngest. Plus, there is nutmeg flavor and touches of vanilla.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth with a dry finish. A medium-bodied ale.

D - This is a Christmas ale that does not disappoint. Fabulous on tap. It was a thrill to find it at Cafe Hollander.

zeff80, Jan 07, 2010
Photo of srandycarter
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Poured into a Corsendonk Christmas Ale glass.

A - Cola brown, big off white head the is slow to leave. This lace beginning to gather on the sides.

S - Tropical fruit, juicy fruit smell, a bit of leather or tobacco on the end.

T - Beautiful, lush fruity mouth. Some cotton candy, and nice complex malt/yeast mix.

M - Creamy, medium to heavy body, nice balance.

D - A very nice offering from Corsendork.

srandycarter, Jan 05, 2010
Photo of samie85
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%

Reviewed from notes. Originally consumed 12/31.

A-Pours a cola black with a thick, three finger, light brown head. I know Belgians have a reputation for great head but this is ridiculous (all puns aside).

S-I get spicy belgian yeast off the bat with dark fruit, and bit of chocolate malt.

T-Spicy yeast is at the forefront with dark fruit, chocolate malt, a bit of spice(cinnamon), and a hint of a bourbon-like quality.

M-Light bodied and effervescent, although creamy.

D-This goes down surprisingly easy and the carbonation is a big factor. This is a pretty complex beer but a personal yearly treat.

samie85, Jan 02, 2010
Photo of thecarster1
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%

a- bottle poured into a snifter, one and a half fingers worth of tan dense creamy head that doesn't want to budge - eventually it fades to a quarter to half inch and stays there, dark matte mahogany color, very attractive brew.

s- lots to smell here, belgian yeast off the bat, carmelized figs, toasted bread, candied dark fruits, clove.

t- lots of dark fruits, belgian yeasts, rich malt, clove, alcohol is hidden so well here - as it warms it becomes more apparent, fig, dark cherry, alot of candied sweetness. this is one complex beer that i've had a couple times before and am really taking the time now to pick apart and review - i'm getting so much more than i had the first couple times.

m- medium bodied with some creaminess.

d- this is one drinkable belgian, i'm not sure how many i'd have just because of availability and price so one for a special night is good for me. this is a christmas ale that i'll be picking up yearly for sure.

thecarster1, Jan 01, 2010
Photo of Rayek
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%

Poured into a Tulip.

A: Deep walnut brown with some cloudiness due to a less than calm transport. Very active carbonation. A generous cream head is rocky and firm. Leaves a very generous lace behind.

S: Coriander and cloves dominate. There's a hint of alcohol behind that spice, plus some dark fruits.

T: Spices rule the day here. The spice theme from the nose follows into the flavor. Coriander, pepper and clove flavors give this beer quite the bite. The sweetness of grapes and black cherries holds things together into the dry and spicy finish. Finishes with a nice alcohol warmth.

M: Medium-heavy body feels somewhat slick on the tongue. Carbonation level is right where it should be.

D: An excellent beer that's best consumed in small doses. Definitely worth a revisit next year.

Rayek, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of mckeowbc
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%

I was apprehensive about ordering this beer because I usually don't prefer Belgian ales. I quickly learned that this is not your typical Belgian ale, whereas most Belgian ales taste syrupy sweet to me this beer is very well balanced.

The nose on this beer is big and complex. It's simultaneously fruity like a white wine, a little spicy, a little hoppy and a little malty. You do get a good sense of how strong this beer as well. The first sip does not disappoint. The flavor is complex to say the least but the most impessive thing is there is no rough edges. There's no flavor that is too strong or that becomes overwhelming as you keep drinking. The entire beer is enjoyable and leaves you pleasantly warm.

I'm sorry that I didn't find this beer until after Christmas but from now on this will be a Christmas staple in my house.

mckeowbc, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of crnipeter
3.4/5  rDev -18.3%

750ml into small Chimay chalice. I forgot to look at the production/BBE date but the bottle was quite recent one.
The bubbly head atop of dark brown garnet fluid quickly dissipates forming soapy sheet that disintegrates further into floating patches of agglomerated bubbles. The nose reveals citrus alike aroma that probably originates from copious use of coriander. Thin and crispy with well hidden alcohol the beer is bitter-sweet like a nutmeg and gives an impression of being heavily spiced with coriander and perhaps a warming sensation yielding black pepper. Flavor profile ends with lightly bitter hoppy finish with some dryness. This brew is overly spiced: the qualities of underlaying beer are entirely masked by generous additions of condiments. Spices should enhance the beer not subdue it.Thus I cannot say much about BSDA that served as a platform for this xmas ale - my guess is that brewers used a bit fortified Corsendonk Pater and enriched it with tons of additaments. Not impressed - Corsendonk xmas is like a woman who exaggerates with makeup - instead of stressing out her beauty she looks like a painted clown.

crnipeter, Dec 29, 2009
Photo of Minotaur
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%

The pour on this beer is unique: into a Corsendonk Christmas glad from an 8 ounce bottle it produces an almost volcanic head the color of chimney smoke that erupts over the top of the glass. It hangs around while the beer warms and eventually settles into a half glass high lacing with a frosty skim atop the deep brown-black liquid.

The smell has an earthiness of robust malt, slightly coffee, slightly smokey and lightly citrus hops. It does not smell like your typical Gingerbread Christmas beer.

The taste is complex: deep, sour, also earthy and predominantly bitter. Unlike many Belgian christmas ales it is not syrupy or fruit-spice driven. It has a warming quality but not too alcoholic. There is a presence of Christmas spices but they are very subtle: hidden within drier malts and hop sharpness. With food (garlic spread cheese and wheat bread) a hint of sweetness comes out... but only a bit. Any adjunct sweetness here is secure and not overbearing. There is an amazing sense of balance in this beer.

It has a solid mouthfeel with lingering bitterness. I find it drinkable but not quite as smooth as could be. The carbonation seems lingering and for the type of beer it is I almost would like it to be a bit less so. But otherwise a very well rounded Christmas beer.

Minotaur, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of biegaman
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%

The beer's appearance is most earthy, both for of its crude brown tone as well as the ocher stained head which overlay the beer with a woody and ribbed covering, like the rough outer layer of tree bark. The first pour was significantly clearer and more luminescent than the second, although both concealed a little ruby colouring that was visible only when held directly into the light.

Dipping my nose into the glass for the first time caused my head to swing back; if I were blindfolded I would have thought I was smelling a sherry or cherry brandy. This sucker is more potent than its 8.5% would indicate. The aroma is lush with notes of spiced holiday cake and festering fruits. The brewers claim only coriander is used but I could easily entertain the notion of many other spices. It's temptingly enticing.

The aroma gives off a fair warning: if bold, distinctive, aggressively charismatic beers aren't your thing then stop here. Drink no further. Otherwise, it's a good bet you'll find this beer too much to handle. The taste unravels like an onion, one layer at a time: a holiday cake spiced with brown sugar, cinnamon, coriander and clove; hot oatmeal with clumps of raisin and figs; citrus juice and a bundle of white wine grapes; chestnuts and a shot of brandy...

Layer by layer the taste grows stronger and more distinctive. Many holiday ales smack of figgy pudding and the like, but few (if any, to this extent) contain such a flood of distinguishing flavours. The texture that accompanies them is equally diverse, ranging from brightly citric to spiritedly spiced to dry, malty and bready. In one sip you are entertained by all elements of the beer: a rich maltiness, a tangy spice, a delightfully nuanced yeast.

'Christmas Ales' can belong to any category of beer styles, but if we were to lump them all together as a group I'd say that Corsendonk's would be among the standouts. Part of this is because I find that slightly stronger, heartier, spiced ales tend to be better suited to the holidays but mostly it is because this happens to be one of the more distinctive, flavourful, finely crafted ales I've had in Christmases past, present (and very likely) future.

biegaman, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of ThatWineGuy
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%

Retrieved from biegaman's cellar today and shared on the fourth day of Christmas. Somehow this beer managed to hide away well past its BB date of August 7, 2008, but it held up quite well and was very tasty.

One finger sand-tan head reduced to a stagnant film with thin, sheet lace. On closer inspection, there were numerous tiny bubble centres slowly replenished. The rich, deep brown colour revealed hints of garnet under a bright light, fingers barely visible on the other side of the glass.

The initial swirls revealed an aroma of cherry brandy, yeast, dark fruits. Taste was initially of dark and slightly sour fruits; with air there were hints of prune tort, a fair bit of caramel, molasses, candied dry cherry, overall impressions on the sweet side. Mouthfeel was superb with a silky texture, good balance with residual acidity kicking around and just enough malt. Nice long finish had muted cherry brandy and more dark fruit. Alcohol very well handled. Tasty indeed and much appreciated, thanks Jan.

ThatWineGuy, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of Kendo
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%

My 500th review on BA. Consumed on 12-24-09, Christmas Eve, almost 4 years to the day after I signed up for BA. . . .

A: Poured into a Duvel oversized tulip. Clear reddish-brown body with a 3-finger foamy, light khaki-colored head. Good head retention. Some lace left behind.

S: Malty and yeasty, with appropriate Christmas spices noted. Generally sweet malt aromas -- i.e., molasses, brown sugar and ginger cookies -- and a hint of earthiness, presumably from the yeast. Some basic spiciness as well.

T: Caramel malt, molasses, and brown sugar again. Slightly bready. Orange peel and basic fruitiness -- think dark fruits, e.g. raisins. Grapes too. Nice spiciness with a touch of cocoa powder as it warms. Finishes with a lingering fruitiness.

M: Medium body. Nice carbonation makes it feel lighter on the mouth.

D: Along with Anchor's OSA, this may be the prototypical holiday beer. Good stuff.

Kendo, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of beerwolf77
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%

Poured into a tulip glass the beer is dark blood red with black edges when held to the light. The beige head is enormous and thick. It reaches at least three fingers high before slowly receding to leave a thick web of lace. The retention is superb leaving a perfect cap on top of my beer.

The aroma is sweet candied pears, apples and white grapes along with spices and malt. Rather christmas like.

The flavor is much the same as the nose. Sugary candied fruit, maple syrup, cinnamon toast, and hints of cocoa.

Medium creamy body with loads of carbonation.

Overall a wonderful way to cap off my christmas eve. Actually I wouldn't mind capping off any night with this beer.

beerwolf77, Dec 28, 2009
Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
93 out of 100 based on 888 ratings.