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Corsendonk Christmas Ale - Brouwerij Corsendonk

Not Rated.
Corsendonk Christmas AleCorsendonk Christmas Ale

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

975 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 975
Reviews: 540
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 10.84%
Wants: 69
Gots: 99 | 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)
View: Beers (11) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 975 | Reviews: 540 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Gmann
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Photo of PlaywrightSam
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Photo of phrygian68
4.65/5  rDev +12%
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!

Photo of saintwarrick
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

Photo of Beerbuddha
4/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

Photo of letsgopens
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Photo of PorterLambic
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours coppery red with a head that last forever. Tan head, creamy with great lacing.
Smell is sweet, malt, pepper with a hint of hops.
Taste is sweet, malt, dark fruit with a hint of hop in the afteretaste only.
Full bodied, mellow, smooth, very little effervescence, lightly warming. Very good indeed.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle with a best before end date of 9/18/2008. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a brown/ruby color with a half inch off-white head. It smells like citrus, spices, dark fruit, bread, bananas and pears. It tastes very fruity, like dark fruit, pears and bananas, and also like pepper, cloves and Belgian yeast. Mouthfeel is medium/full, but a bit over-carbonated to me. Drinkability is OK, it's smooth but the high carbonation cuts down on the drinkability. Overall I think this is a decent beer, but I think it would be better if the carbonation was lower. But even then, I'd still drink it again given the chance.

Photo of TheEremite
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought an 8 pack after christmas 2005. It was on sale and I thoguht I'd give it a shot. I shared 5 of them then and I wasn't impressed. I threw the other 3 in the cellar for the next few years and thought I'd pop one open last night. It's a totally different beer. I wish I had saved the other 5.

Appearance: Deep brunette/brown with copper highlights. Creamy, long lasting head about 1/2 cm.

Aroma: Bright and crisp belgian esters, prune, cherry, pear

Taste: Complex chocolate (but not roasty) toffee, caramel with cherry, and some notes of dried fruit. There was some oxidation, but it only added to the complexity.

Mouthfeel: Bright carbonation, but not harsh. Finishes dry and does not linger.

Drinkability: Extremely drinkable, especially for an 8.5% alcohol beer. I've got two more that have been sitting since xmas '05. I'm not sure how much longer I can wait to drink these.

Photo of sacfly
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL, Best before end 07/09/08 0 09:00 I like dates, but the date and hour it will decline?
Pours an impressive clear ruby/brown color with a thick tan/brown head. Aroma is Belgian musty yeast, as expected, not much else. Thick, creamy malt backbone. Hints of chocolate, nutmeg, yeast, bread, lightly fermenting fruit (pears). Yummy. Yeasty, dry aftertaste. Flavors linger. Usually the flavor follows the aroma, but not this one. Much more complex than the aroma indicates. I’m loving this beer, even though it’s about 85F here in May, a far cry from Christmas.

Photo of Tyrawlings
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. Bottle poured into a snifter glass.

A: Dark brown in color with ruby hues. Dense tan head pours two fingers thick. Good retention. Very impressive sticky lacing.

S: Dark chocolate. Citrus. Christmas candy. Nutmeg. Anise. Alcohol.

T: Soft malt presence is immediately taken over by tastes of citrus fruit and the sweetness of caramelized sugar and is followed by anise. Rich caramel malts give a good balancing effect and a soft taste of chocolate and grain. Dry warming alcohol burn in the throat.

M: Silky smooth and rich. Moderate carbonation. Warming and dry.

D: Very sweet and complex. A nice Christmas offering that does'nt go overboard with the holiday spices. Recommended.

Photo of Slatetank
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I enjoyed a tulip of this served on tap at the Market Cross Pub in Carlise
This review is taken from notes I made.

A - Ruby, Chestnut Hue. Thin white wisp of a head.

S - Wine like, fruity esters and bready with a slighty spiced aroma.
.
T - Dates and sugar with a slightly alcoholic presence up front. Minimal wood essence is evident.

M - Thin and light for the amount of gravity it contains, warmth of alcohol in the finish.

D - A pleasant holiday beer, not overpowering, but substantial and nicely balanced with just enough spice and sweetness complimenting the yeasty aromas.

Photo of macster
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pous a quite translucent deep mahogany/burgundy-red color. Produces a sturdy, thick beige colored head with excellent durability throughout the glass. No lacing noted.

Pleasant, but somewhat muted aromas of brandy-soaked dark fruits, sherry, ripe black cherries, dark caramel malt and brown sugar. Some faint notes of yeast, ripe banana and spices linger in the background.

Mouthfeel is well balanced with a nice full, thick chewiness along with a palate tingling spritzy carbonation.

Initial taste is that of sweet crystal malts, dark brown sugar and melted caramel candies. Flavor then seems to transcend quickly to a complex blend of ripe brandied dark fruits, licorice, cinnamon, nutmeg and dark pumpernickel bread. A dash of hoppy or herbal bitterness appears late to tame any overt sweetness. Alcohol is more apparent as glass warms, but not coarse or obtrusive in any way.

Well balanced and classy all around

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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...

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.

Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
93 out of 100 based on 975 ratings.