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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: 1,086
Avg: 4.13
pDev: 14.77%
Wants: 78
Gots: 146 | 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: 1,086
Photo of stakem
3.29/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml into a couple of snifters. The brew appears a polished clear color of mahogany with a rich 2 finger topping of yellowish stained khaki head. As the cap slowly fades, it leaves a thick wall of lace sticking all over the glassware. Rising bubbles maintain a thin film across the top and a light swirl revives the cap.

The aroma has a bit of mineral and metallic elements coupled with dark burnt sugar like caramel and toffee. Some fruity hints like raisins and plums are also present mixed with a bit of herbal to medicinal quality. Across the back are some citrus zesty elements that are faintly like lemon or orange.

The taste is mutually carbonic in flavor that brings out some mineral and metallic elements. The maltiness is a bit like raisins, blended with toffee and caramel. Some herbal hops bring out a bit of medicinal aspect to this brew that lingers long inside the mouth. For being 8.5%, the alcohol is fairly well integrated.

This is a medium to fuller bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is a decent offering with a minimal zesty spiced influence that is just enough to set it off as being different from the standard belgian style strong ale. Overall not bad and it is something I would drink again if offered but not something I would have to drink to make my Christmas complete.

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Photo of dqrull
3.3/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber, thick foam, about a finger high. Little to no lace lingering on the inside of the glass, foams up really nice after some swirling, sexy.

Smell is appealing, dark fruits, yeast esters, somewhat malty and sweet, and there is some kind of spice in the back that I cant really place, nothing my palate is familiar with...

The taste pretty much delivers what the smell promised, but I find that the unknown spice is taking over a bit much at the end, and it spoils it a bit for me. As the spice surfaces though, there is a slight bitterness also, which saves the beer a little.

Mouthfeel is creamy and pleasant.

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Photo of Floydster
3.31/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle at Naja's Place in Redondo Beach last night for five dollars, 2004 vintage, then a 2007 bottle after we got home to see the differences, poured into a Chimay goblet both times, split with my buddy Nathan

A-Brown, probably medium but with almost a tint of purple, 3/4 inch tan head both times around, neither lasted long, not much retention, but there was some lacing
S-Nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar, prunes, raisins, dates, Belgian yeast, sweet malt, caramel, toffee, and various spices that remind you of the holidays
T-First taste is caramel, especially in the older bottle, brown sugar and somewhat chewy malts in the middle, finish is slightly dry but yeasty at the same time with plenty of dark fruit in the back, later on more sweetness comes to the surface but so does the alcohol and it is not hidden very well in either bottle, actually prefer it warm but it does have a much stronger flavor at that point
M-Full bodied even the aged one, not near enough carbonation which caused it to be rather syrupy, sweet, boozy, and fruity mouthfeel, taste lingers
D-Could not drink much of this stuff, six ounces each time was plenty and sometimes felt like too much, pretty heavy on the stomach, ABV is pretty high for what it is, not very smooth

I preferred the fresher batch to the older one but they had very little difference, just more sugary in the newer bottle, not the best Christmas ale I have had but still not bad, definitely with a Belgian twist, not a bad price for what it is, especially surprised that a four year old bottle cost so little at a bar, might drink again, recommended

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Photo of guinnessman
3.32/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Excited to try this one after a recommendation from a coworker. Poured with a nice 1/2-in. head in a Konings Hoeven chalice. A very pretty ruby color, that keeps me staring. I wasn't getting many aromas, only a fruit I can't pinpoint. Tasting grapefruit and cherries, and after warming a bit I tasted banana, also, a little but of alcohol lingers but not very noticeable. A nice tingling mouthfeel I rather enjoyed.

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Photo of Rastacouere
3.35/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Appearance proposes a huge off-white head over a dark brown body. Aroma is quite rich, very spicy with tons of cinnamon, cardomom, thyme, sage, ginger, nuts, caramel, tobacco, chocolate and a mild alcohol touch. Quite complex and appealing. It's another story on the palate though where we have another sad case of beer whose aroma doesn't match the aroma's promises. The flavors are just not so well blended together and the balance lacks where it's just some vaguely thrown spices to stop the sweetness. Not to help anything, it's very effervescent on the tongue, almost fizzy. Finish is malty sweet and a bit unclean.

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Photo of gfreed
3.36/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Relative to other beer from Corsendonk, this is rather uninteresting: it has a flat flavor that wants to be like the palen but doesn't quite have the muscle or the yeast. Relative to other christmas-themed beer in general, however, this is spectacular because it isn't larded with spices and herbs. It's mildly fizzy and has a decent, if understated maltiness that could use a bit of a boost in the flavor and the density. I would like to have had a bit more warmth and zing; nonetheless it's worth a single bottle. I wouldn't invest in a four-pack.

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Photo of caddybuyer
3.38/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2010 release poured fresh.

A-Dark brown pour with garnet highlights when held to light. Thick rocky tan head. Nice looking brew.

S-Belgian yeast, dark fruits and a hint of spice. Very underwhelming overall, I expected this to be a pungent treat for the nose.

D-Nose carries over to the palate and I have to admit that this one was a huge letdown. Yeasty and malty without much body and alcohol present, even my wife who does not drink beer felt this had little to offer in complex taste. Maybe some age? Too bad.

M-Way overcarbonated and much thinner than I would have expected.

D-Based on the reviews I was reading I feel like I was drinking a totally different brew. Not a huge fan of the regular Corsendonk either, so maybe this brewery is just not my thing.

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Photo of Mjoepp
3.43/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown, with light brown head.

S: Fruits, especially figs, spices and caramel notes.

T: Sweet, some alcohol, figs, raisins. Aftertaste is a round taste of alcohol and some bitterness from hops.

Overall: Decent, nothing special among the christmas beers.

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Photo of crnipeter
3.44/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of BrownAleMale
3.46/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Ervs Mug served in a Great Lakes sniffter

Appearance- Mahogony to dark brown with an amber hue. Head is very minimal and stays very minimal all the way through. Very light lacing.

Smell- Very light clove scent. Not getting a ton of specific spices, just a definite spice smell though.

Taste- Pretty much follows the nose. Spice is there but very very light. Im thinking that the flavors and smells are diminished because it was on tap.

Mouthfeel- Medium body with a nice crisp semi carbonated finish.

Overall- I like my winter spiced ales to have a little more pronouced flavors and smells. I do believe the fact that it was on tap may have its part in that.

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Photo of Ezekiel81923
3.48/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Heard this was a tasty winter warmer. Picked up a 12oz'er at Capones to give it a whirl. Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Clear, deep ruby red/brown color with a big tan head. This one left a lot of spotty lacing down the glass.

Smell: Big malty profile with some holiday spiciness to it. Ginger, nutmeg, dark fruits and a warm alcohol aroma.

Taste: Not much of a christmas spice beer, mostly dark fruits with some spicy hints in the finish. Sweet at times as it warms up. Moderate malt backbone. Some warming from the alcohol. Finishes dry.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, almost creamy. Finishes dry as I said earlier, very mild bitterness as well. Sweet, with some alcohol warming that gets a little overbearing the warmer it gets, at least for my tastes. Lightly carbonated.

Drinkability: Just one for me. Medium-Full bodied beer, not as heavy as its color would indicate. Just too much alcohol presence.

Not a big fan of the style, though this might change my mind. Not a bad beer, just not my thing.

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Photo of RandomExile
3.48/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: light-reddish brown, upward streaming lines of carbonation; scant light brown head; light but pervasive bands of pointillist lacing
S: malty, musky, caramel
T: apple-citrus, musky caramel
M: savory, medium-bodied
O: Pretty decent, melds together well but falls a bit short of special. The savory/musky elements might appeal to some, but I'm still looking for something with a fuller body and dry.

20oz. / Snifter / Victoria Gastro Pub, Columbia, MD

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Photo of thagr81us
3.5/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from tap into a Trappe Door tulip. Poured a deep brown ruby red with a two finger off-white head that subsided to a half finger slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, spice, funky fruit, fruit, and wood. The flavor was of sweet malt, spice, fruit, alcohol, banana, funky fruit, and earth. It had a light feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. There was quite a bit going on in this one that I usually enjoy about the style. However, there was also something that was rather odd and out of place on this one with the funky fruit aspect. What in the Hell was this??? Not that it tasted or smelled bad, but it was definitely strange to pick up on for sure. As far as the style goes this was a pretty good representation of what one would expect from it. Worth your time trying if you have not done so before or are curious to see if you can pick up on that funky fruit aspect I got.

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Photo of david18
3.5/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I typically don't like christmas ales but this one, as the style suggests, drinks more like a belgian strong than a christmas. If you like belgian strongs but not christmas ales, this one is good for you. I'm not crazy about either but still enjoyed it. Good across the board, but not great at anything. Very dark in color, good fruit aroma and flavor. Especially good on draft on a cold afternoon.

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Photo of aracauna
3.5/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark, dull, cloudy brown body with a decent super-light tan foamy head. The aroma and flavor are brown sugar and very fruity, but the flavor is overall pretty mellow. The flavors are a little dull and this kidn of slides into the middle of the pack of my Belgian strong ale experience.

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Photo of Jon
3.51/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Deep ruby color with a frothy white head. Excellent lace appears down the chalice. Fruity, malty nose with hints of spice, notably coriander and curacao, and a definite yeast presence. Sweet, fruity, lightly toasted character ties in with the spiced notes, though a bit lacking overall. Vinous character seems most dominant with emphasis on raisin, prunes and residual sugar from the the malt. Mouthfeel lacks a bit, too, seeming a bit thin and watery, especially on the finish. Drinks fairly well, though the mouthfeel is not overly appealing. Even so, the beer masks its abv well, making this a decent wintertime sipping beer. I think this beer would be much better at about six months in the bottle with the yeast poured in the glass.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.51/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

25cl Brown bottle, best before 21 Sept 2011, drank and reviewed 12 Dec 2010. Poured into a thistle shapped glass (Gordon Finest Gold).

The beer has a dark ruby red appearance, a good foaming head of tan coloured bubbles sat on top, looked good. Lacing clung onto the glass well.

The smell was fairly weak, burnt/roasted malts and some hints of smokey peat bogs!

The taste was all malts, chocolate malts mostly, the flavours all revolved around that really.

Well carbonated, almost fizzy to be honest, but not quite. The alcohol is hidden nicely and the beer is very easy to drink. I like Corsendonk beers, whoever brews them!

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Photo of UnionMade
3.52/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours a deep ruddy brown, leaning towards garnet, served in the appropriate christmas ale snifter/goblet. A thick layer of mist tops the beer, holding steadily throughout. Nice lacing, speckling the glass with numerous blobs.
The aroma is immediately hugely estery. A thinner-like feel shoots straight into your sinuses, creating a mild burning sensation. Loads of fig, date, and green raisin. A rich caramel and chocolate maltiness lies beneath, coupled with loads of saccharine candi sugar, and some apparent alcohol. Slightly medicinal phenols, with very slight herbal hops. Somewhat vinous, reminiscent of port.
The flavor starts with heaps of heavy malt, conveying sweet toffee and chocolate. Tons of candi sugar all the way through, journeying into the highly estery fruit. Flavors of plum, fig, green raisin and date, with the fig dominating. A bit of spicy, bready yeast shows up towards the end, with an underlying spiciness of a different nature. Some tangy sourness, with just a touch of herbal hopping. The finish is somewhat cloying, with an odd cacaphony of alcohol, hops, yeast, spice and a candi sugar saccharine sweetness. A lingering saccharine taste, with caramel malt present in the aftertaste. Full bodied, plenty of unfermented sugars, with a fairly mild tingle of carbonation. Smooth drinking, with good complexity.
Probably the most interesting of the Corsendonk beers that I've tried. It's a bit overwhelming in the finish, becoming increasingly difficult to drink the more it warms. The saccharine bite, along with a light alcohol presence, becomes a bit too much for my tastes. Drinkable, but certainly a slow sipper. I prefer something not quite so sweet and sugary. Very good, just not quite to my tastes.

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Photo of scooter231
3.53/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not my favorite Christmas brew. It's pretty enough- ruby red with a pleasant looking white head. Goes down from there. Smell is so raisiny and sweet- like candied raisins, really. Taste is... the same. But more so. SO sweet, SO raisiny- it's overpowering. I feel cavitites growing. Mouthfeel is on the watery/thin side, not digging it. Overall... meh... not bad... great for a sweet tooth craving, otherwise, pass.

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Photo of linnet
3.56/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big beige head, brown/reddish colour. Aroma is yeasty, malty, caramel, straw, hops. Although not very strong flavour is warming with noticable ABV, sugar, malt, dark fruit and some bitterness at the end. This beer reminds me of Chimay bleue, spices. Mouthfeel is lively with small bubbles. This beer was a nice aquaintance.

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Photo of granger10
3.57/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is the final Corsendonk that I have had. I must say it was a bit of a disappointment when comparing it to the other two Corsendonks. It poured an oakish color with a small, airy head and was very transparent. The smell was nice, brown sugar, yeasty, hoppy. But the taste was lacking the complexity I was expecting. Too thin in body and too strong in alcohol flavor. The spices were weak. The main malt flavor was toffee and hops were apparent throughout. The yeast and balance of this beer saved it and made it drinkable but I was a little disappointed.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
3.58/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at House of 1000 Beers in New Kensington, PA.

Poured into a stemmed tulip: Deep brown with a crimson tint under a finger of velvety head. Kind of has a warm glow from within, amber. Attractive beer.

Smells of moderate currant, plum, with a subtle hard candy-like sweetness. Good, but not as complex as I'd expect.

Taste, again, is sweet plum & raisin, other random "dark fruit" tastes, both sweet flesh & a little tart skin with a heavy booze presence. I'm wondering if there was honey in this, based on the heavy dry character. Curls up & gets spicy in the finish -- nutmeg?

Medium-full, decent carbonation, but the booze & spices kind of weigh me down. Good & bad aspects here.

Not a bad, though I can think of plenty other winter ales I'd pick over this. Not as complex & flavorful as I'd like, & that heaviness just drags.

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Photo of smcolw
3.58/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Impressive head. Pours a full brown that allows light to penetrate (clear) barely.

Deep sweet dark malty aromas.

Sweet flavor from the malt. No real noticeable balance with hop. Slight metalic taste. Full bodied with an appropriate amount of carbonation.

Perhaps too much of a good thing. This is a lot like eating a dessert that's too rich and too large a portion to enjoy. I can take this in small batches.

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Photo of nlmartin
3.58/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from the bottle into a gobblet.

Appearance: Pours a nice dark brown with copper tint. The head was fluffy solid white and towered above the beer. Thin spider web lacing remains behind on the glass.

Smell: Malty fruityness with a hint of citrus peel.

Taste: Taste as it smells.

Mouthfeel: Has a nice full bodied velvety mouthfeel.

Drinkability: This is an ok beer; however, there are better beers to choose.

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Photo of BeefyMee
3.59/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle

I was wary at first because there was a definite spruce/pine smell. I didn't like the Anchor OSA because they went overboard in this area. The taste of the Corsendonk was pleasing, however, with a subtle malt flavor smoothing things over and the Christmas tree flavor being complimentary instead of dominant. I enjoyed this one, but I'm still trying to figure out why people want their beer to taste like a tree.

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