Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Corsendonk Christmas Ale - Brouwerij Corsendonk

Not Rated.
Corsendonk Christmas AleCorsendonk Christmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

562 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 562
Hads: 1,082
Avg: 4.13
pDev: 14.77%
Wants: 76
Gots: 139 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Corsendonk visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: pezoids on 11-22-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (15) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Corsendonk Christmas Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 562 | Hads: 1,082
Photo of CrellMoset
3.78/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Belgian Bar at Brickstore Pub, Decatur, GA. Served in a long-stemmed Belgian chalice.

Appearance: A robust, lively, ruby colored brew with a healthy amount of fine-bubbled active carbonation. A huge foamy off-white head with great retention, like a huge mass of snow, initially leaves an equally huge amount of sticky lacing, but it fades quickly as this brew warms.

Aroma: Lightly spiced and fruity - anise and cloves are accompanied by a number of other distinct phenolic notes. Fruity notes are both light and dark - figs and pears are both noticeable. It's well-balanced and pungent enough, but not really all that amazing a combination, in my opinion.

Taste: Malty, mostly to the tune of caramel and sweet, sugared, bready notes. Light spice and phenols again, with anise, white pepper, and candied ginger melding with the same fig and pear notes from the nose.

Mouthfeel: Medium to thick bodied, with a low, smooth, even carbonation that lends a frothy milk-like feel.

Drinkability: This was a decent brew, though I can't say I was blown away by it. The spices and fruits were, though balanced, a little medicinal tasting. I didn't not enjoy this one, but it probably won't become my Belgian winter go-to.

 1,230 characters

Photo of falloutsnow
3.76/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From: Binny's, Champaign, IL
Date: Bottled 2012, lot 8116
Glass: Tulip

Corsendonk's Christmas Ale is a fairly standard BSDA that has plenty of caramel malt and plum/prune character for interest, though I did not notice the spicing that others mention in their reviews, and this would have added some welcome additional complexity to the overall beer. This was a fine example of the style, above (the 3.0) average, but still not one I found overly exciting for my palate (I find myself preferring Trois Pistoles or N'Ice Chouffe to this).

Pours an expansively voluminous head, many centimeters in height, even with a fairly slow pour. Bubbles in this huge mass are initially small, but as time elapses and the head is exposed to oxygen, the bubbles on top become increasingy large and collapse upon themselves. The head very slowly descends to a thin cap of foam atop the body, leaving copious and thick lacing across the entire glass. This ranges from thick, ropy strands to intricate lacelike patterns. The body is a very dark amber color, light bringing out brown-amber hues and showing that the beer is transparent.

Aroma is mild overall, primarily grape-like or vinous with slight plum and cola-like attributes, along with hints of caramel and toasted or darkly kilned malt.

Front of palate picks up fruity grape esters along with some prune/plum and richly malty sweetness. Mid-palate experiences flavors of plum/prune, grape, toasted malt, caramel and slight toasted nut flavor, a surprise hint of potting soil. Back finds some toasted malt, plum/prune, grape, caramel, and mild graininess. Aftertaste of plum/prune, grape, mildly kilned malt with a slight caramel and nut flavor (probaby from Special B malt usage).

Beer is medium-bodied, with high levels of fairly aggressive carbonation, giving this an at-first fizzy mouthfeel that quickly foams up on the palate to become fairly smooth and easy-flowing. Closes quite dry, with moderate stickiness remaining across the palate.

 1,992 characters

Photo of Yesac
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Murky ruby/brown. Small bubbly head which is a little uncharacteristic of this style.

S- Light aroma. Very sweet fruits & brown sugar.

T- Sweet candy, caramel. The taste is very subtle. Nice spice finish.

M- Active carbonation. Think bodied.

D- One easy drinker here. I'm sure this will pair well with a Christmas meal. Good beer but nothing over the top about it.

 374 characters

Photo of BeerLover729
3.74/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

 516 characters

Photo of hellbilly
3.73/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

bottle BB 12/09/09

slightly hazy pour is maroon brown and capped by a thin tan head.

there are some floral tea-like qualities in the aroma underneath brown sugar, golden raisins, vanilla, sweet malt and cinnamon-y spiciness.

the flavor profile pretty much masks the aroma... along with some yeasty earthiness, faint chocolate and banana starch with a dry spiced finish. it is a bit sweet but definitely doable. light to medium bodied given the abv% with a smooth rich texture.

insanely easy to drink...

 523 characters

Photo of cyberbmcd
3.73/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a fine beer in the Belgian Ale tradition.

It pours a dark Brown with a one finger head that dissipates a little too quickly. Fine lacing and a sweet smell accompany.

It has a smooth silky mouthfeel. Starts out sweet with a blast of nutmeg then finishes with a bitter bite. you can taste the cinnamon and nutmeg and wintery spices that it's brewed with.

The champagne style cork was a nice touch as well.

Overall, this is a fine brew to sip with your family at Christmas dinner or while typing a review for beer advocate, whatever the case may be.

 569 characters

Photo of Sigmund
3.72/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750 ml corked "champagne" style bottle, packed in metal gift box. Now available in Norway (Vinmonopolet). Very dark reddish brown colour, slightly hazy. Moderate tan head. Very nice aroma of Christmas spices, oak, raisins, old sherry, toffee and treacle. Flavour is very malty sweet, plenty of caramel and some spices, hints of smoke, tart/bitter finish. Fizzy mouthfeel - due to the aggressive carbonation and tart finish this beer was not a "silky smooth" experience for me. I actually preferred du Bocq’s Regal Christmas to this one (haven’t tried them side by side, though). R.C. is also somewhat less expensive.

 618 characters

Photo of atomicbeer
3.71/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 11/9/11. Purchased December 2011. Opened 12/28/12. Pours a cloudy brown-garnet color with a tall beige head. Mild aroma of figs, plum, and mild cinnamon. Taste follows: figs, dates, plums, and browned apple and some mild cinnamon and allspice, all stewed in a alcohol base. The 8.5% ABV is not real evident. Goes down juicy and smooth. Very nice.

 359 characters

Photo of VALIS666
3.71/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a huge head into a Duvel tulip glass. Very pleasant deep brown color held to the light. However, both the scent and the taste are far lighter than I expected. The most dominant smell I got was a watery, rusty scent, not particularly good. The taste is clean and smooth and strongly carbonated with a bit of spice and sweetness. A decent beer but far less robust than I expected.

 385 characters

Photo of Jwale73
3.71/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz. bottle served in my St. Bernardus chalice. Best before 21/09/14 indicated on the back label. Pours a deep mahogany with a dense, fluffy, 1.5 inch, cream-colored head that eventually settles into a sold, quarter inch cap. Sheets of lacing appear on the tilt side of the glass leaving residual spots and strands of lacing as it disperses. Nose reminds me of concord grape jelly off the bottle pop; however this dissipates into a faint vinous quality. Yeast and a light earthy/herbal quality add a complementary component. Taste follows nose; however, I also get a slightly metallic character in the flavor profile towards the back which somewhat kills it for me. Mouthfeel is light-medium in consistency with a pleasant, easy carbonation and a slightly creamy texture. Overall, a decent BSD; however, the metallic flavor really negatively impacts an otherwise good brew. That said, alcohol is really well-hidden at 8.5%. I've been wanting to try this beer for a while but I have to say that I'm a little disappointed.

 1,023 characters

Photo of Pencible
3.71/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This poured a clear dark ruby with moderate light tan head.
S: It smelled like very faint and dry earthy spices and nitrogen. Not much malt or yeast or hops.
T: It tasted like brown sugar and earthy dry spices and wild yeast, with a bit of esters and powdered sugar. It had a dry and bittersweet aftertaste.
M: It was thick with a bit of smooth carbonation. Very hearty.
D: This was kid of bland, but it still tasted good enough. Body was excellent, and the alcohol was well hidden, so it was very easy to drink. Not sure if age would help, but it was enjoyable fresh. Good holiday Belgian if you're looking for something simple, instead of the other holiday Belgians that are so deeply rich and complex.

 707 characters

Photo of far333
3.7/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A dark copper to brown color with a low beige head that leaves sticky, chunky lace around the inside of the glass. Aroma is sugary and fruity. Flavor is sweet and yeasty, with noticeable notes of cinnamon and nutmeg and sweet fig. A smooth mouthfeel leads to a sweet and yeasty finish, with honey and pear and yeast lingering in the aftertaste.

 344 characters

Photo of 86MonteSS
3.7/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A belgian dark ale indeed. Pours dark brownish red with a short lasting head. Smells very grassy and a little yeasty. Tastes like a basic belgian dark with a little more hops and a lot more alcoholic flavor. There's a bitter aspect to it that's very hard to describe, and I give up easy. Aftertaste is very slight.

I tried this for the first time about a year ago and must have gotten it mixed up with another beer because this time it wasn't at all what I expected. It's a good seasonal but doesn't tickle my fancy the way so many other winters have. Oh well.

 563 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.69/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle,

A: Pours burgundy/brown with a light tan fizzy head.

S: Strong sugary malt, molasses, apple peel.

T: Huge malt and sugar character on the first taste, almost gingerbread like. Very sweet. Bit of dark fruit in there as well, raisin bread.

M: Overly carbonated at first, but it dies down. Medium bodied, smooth, cloying at times.

D: A good beer, just the residual sugars get to be too much, I'd rather have a 330 mL bottle next time. That said, I finished the 750 relatively quickly and enjoyed it.

 516 characters

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a light brown cola like color with a red tint and a bubbly yellow tan head.

Smells of dry bitter yeast, sweet honey, caramel and ginger.

Tasted of sour wheat, subtle chocolates, hazelnut, anis and grapefruit rind with a dry sour finish. There are some good flavors present, but they don’t seem very well blended and the predominant dryness tends to detract from some of the subtleties.

The mouth feel was thin with intense small bubbles.

This was a very disappointing discovery after having this on tap.

 537 characters

Photo of goodbyeohio
3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle

dark brown with autumnal plum highlights. leaves a pillowy cap of dreamy, cloud-like head on top. lacing is sheeting. thick as balls and no joke.

aroma is grandiose... christmas spice and fresh fruitcake. candied fruits, cherries, oranges and plums. almond hints. freshly ground cloves and nutmeg.

tastes evenly strong with less character than the smell would imply. black pepper and wood begin and coffee cake muffin fills out the body. big age and bitter spice qualities hide the once-lively sweet fruits. mild musty apricot tang makes up for it a bit.

a sipper for sure. over carbonated. reminiscent of big xmas belgians like stille nacht but without the malty backbone or estery goodness. grassy. decent but does not live up to the hype. go for a scaldis or stille for excellence in this genre.

will try a 750 this xmas and rereview.

 864 characters

Photo of deejaydan
3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Mours a ruby brown, sticky sticky lacing, and good head and retention. Aroma is raisiny, and slightly phenolic. Taste is refreshing, slight flavor of wood and a light mouth puckering, phenols are present and funky. Mouthfeel is okay, slightly dry though. Drinkablilty is ok, nothing great.

 289 characters

Photo of BeerBelcher
3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
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.

 383 characters

Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours burgundy with a massive beautiful off-white creamy head that stays for a really long time before it dissipates leaving lots of lacings.

S: Belgian, yeasty, light perfumed, lots of spices. Sweet malts.

T: Sweet light roasted malt, lots of dark dried fruits. Very belgian. Not as well balanced as I hoped for.

M: The aftertaste is rather long and holds mostly sweetness. The body is full and the carbonation is medium. A warm alcoholic feeling.

D: Not the best Belgian strong dark ale, and not very "christmasy". I'll buy a Trappist one next time.

 559 characters

Photo of psinderson
3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark, almost ruby red. Decent off-white head.

Smell: Very minimal aroma, but mostly malt, caramel.

Taste: Complex taste, mostly fruit. I sense some molasses and cherries with a mild hop finish.

Mouthfeel: Much thinner than expected.

Drinkability: Decently drinkable, but taste complexity may turn off some.

 330 characters

Photo of MattBrooks
3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours cloudy brown with plenty of yeasty goodness floating about. Smelled like a super-strong ale, which is exactly what it is supposed to smell like. Didn't notice any other discerning smells to make this winter seem more special than others; although it could be considered that this isn't a seasonal (other than the label) because the expiration date on this bottle was 2 years from now. The taste was pleasureable, and although the alc content is high, it really didn't come off that way to me. All in all, a very good example of the style, certainly worth picking up a few more. Almost wish I could get it in the big-big bottle size the other Corsendonks come in.

 668 characters

Photo of Longstaff
3.66/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

I thought this was a decent beer that was easy to drink, but compared to other Belgian style Christmas ales, I thought this was lacking in flavor. It poured beautifully with a one inch big bubbled head. The body was dark until held up to the light then was reddish and crystal clear. The most dominate flavor was metallic, with chocolate, maltiness, and spices very subdued. Alot like their pale ale but darker with a touch of chocolate flavor. A bit thin on mouthfeel with a high carbonation level made it easy to drink. I think I would rather have Delerium Noel or N'Ice Chouffe instead.

 589 characters

Photo of santoslhalper
3.65/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearence: Pours a dark ruby red with a fomay beige head. The head clings nicely.

Smell: The smell burns the nostrils a little bit, but it's mostly of sticky sweet malts.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Incredibly well-balanced for sure, but the flavors that are there are nothing special. It's smooth as all hell, but the flavors don't live up to their expectations. The mouthfeel is creamy but medium bodied.

Drinkability and Overall: This is a good beer, but doesn't live up to it's expectations. That doesn't take away from the fact that it's a solid brew, and an enjoyable one at that. It just seems to me there are much better beers of this style out there.

 662 characters

Photo of Buggies
3.63/5  rDev -12.1%
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?

 723 characters

Photo of deapokid
3.63/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Opening with a rich amber hue, this acidy ale leaves a nice lace of foam on the glass and takes on a reddish holiday glow.

Its aromas seem more like those of a cider or champagne and first sniffs give off a bouquet of tart and bitter fruit aromas.

As for first sips, the mouth feel is overwhelmingly dry, but since I expected that (I'd been forewarned), the alcoholic finish and deep bitterness weren't too much of a shock.

One of the best aspects of this beer is the subtle cherry flavor that permeates as the ale warms. It manages to coat the back of the tongue in a sweet fruit taste that makes this initially off putting brew seem better in hindsight.

Although it may not be a repeat performer (one was enough for me), this is a nice change of pace for the holidays and I'd be willing to give it another spin next Christmas.

 835 characters

Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
92 out of 100 based on 562 ratings.