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Corsendonk Christmas Ale - Brouwerij Corsendonk

Corsendonk Christmas AleCorsendonk Christmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

860 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 860
Reviews: 530
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 10.58%

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)
View: Beers (9) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 860 | Reviews: 530 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of falloutsnow


3.76/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2013 05:55:17 | More by falloutsnow
Photo of pkalix


4.71/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

super dark brandy color with incredibly tight bubbly head and light, loose lacing.
smells like dark fruit, fig and raisin.
sweet and malt-y with dark fruit, same fig and raisin with other flavors and aromas.
was expecting a heavier brew but this is pleasantly in between a heavy and light, and slightly sweet with very little bitterness. although it's a warmer january evening here in SoCal, i can still appreciate the intent of the dark beer. i like the other corsendonks and this is my first time with their christmas ale. beautiful appearance- awesome head and great color below. great taste and a higher abv. absolutely serves the purpose!

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2013 02:07:48 | More by pkalix
Photo of magine


4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours into a Corsendonk Christmas Ale glass.

Pours a hazed dark amber with lots of ruby red tint. Huge big fluffy bubbles make up a light brownish/tan head. Lots of bubbles cascading up to make up the head. Has almost a red tint to the head, great lace and thick chunky island remain. Great looks.

Brew smells of dark fruits and yeasts. Pretty good nose.

Brew is spiced up front; lots of dark fruits balanced perfectly by a creamy head and feel. Warming alcohol and spice lingers. Very complex and very good.

A complex tasty, drinkable brew here. I have owned the glass for years and now I finally get to try the brew. It did not dissapoint; one of the best dark Belgian ales I have tried.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2013 01:58:13 | More by magine
Photo of JerzDevl2000

New Jersey

4.14/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked this up at ShopRite Liquors yesterday, still surprised that there were 4 packs of this on the shelf a month after Christmas. The 330 cl bottles were a good size to have a night like this, given the cold weather and the level of alcohol in this. Even though this was meant as a Holiday beer, I loved this as a Winter Seasonal and a change from the darker and sometimes heavier brews that fill the stores this time of the year and the fullness of the taste was only the icing on the cake!

The pour to this was nice, with a rich brown hue and dark, garnet edges. Lots of spice and dark malt to the nose, with some plum and apricot tossed in for good measure. This was repeated in the taste along with some brown sugary sweetness and valencia to balance out the heavier notes. The spice in here was not like cinnamon but was more of the holiday variety. Just enough carbonation here to be present without overpowering everything and the lacing wasn't present since the body of this beer wasn't terribly thick. Only when I finished off the contents of the bottle could I feel the alcohol coming on slowly.

Most beers of this style tend to be a bit overpowering to me, but not this one. Not too sweet, strong, or complex, this held its own on a cold night like this and had just enough to it that I didn't chug it down either. Recommended for those looking for a good Winter Beer that doesn't present itself as such!

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2013 08:46:29 | More by JerzDevl2000
Photo of ujsplace


4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clicked the review button and was taken to the login screen. Lost my entire review, so this is going to be short and sweet.

A great looking brew with lots of complex flavors; predominantly dark fruits and Christmas-type spicing.

Will absolutely seek this out again next year.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2013 01:22:41 | More by ujsplace
Photo of peensteen

Ontario (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brownish-ruby red colour, more than a finger of tan/off white head, good amount of lace as well. Smell is of spice and dark fruits, yeast and some spice, orange peel, touch of alcohol, cinnamon, raisin and plums and a bit of brown sugars. Taste is of dark fruit, yeasty with spices, orange peel, corriander, only mildly sweet with some sugars and a fruity aftertaste. Medium carbonation, medium- full bodied. Quite delicious, above average and something I had no problem finishing a 750ml of.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2013 12:53:50 | More by peensteen
Photo of VALIS666

New Hampshire

3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2013 23:05:42 | More by VALIS666
Photo of Radome


4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tasted from a 750 ml bottle bought in Madrid.

A - Beer is medium to dark brown and slightly cloudy. Some light comes through the glass when held up to a lamp. Head is just off-white, thick and fluffy and maintains that way throughout.

S - Aroma is mostly about the malt, like toasted grain and molasses. There is also a green grass note, lemon zest and maybe a hint of a spice, but I can't identify which spice. Finally, there is a hint of alcohol and an old wood smell that makes me think this may have been aged on wood. There might even be a tiny bit of smokiness.

T - The taste is also lighter than expected. Sweet, grainy malt with some light molasses and dark fruits. This is followed by a light herb/spice note and finally a sweet, very slightly boozy finish. The tastes are very complex but somehow give an overall clean, open impression, not heavy and smothering.

M - Medium body; fairly sweet and mouth-coating finish. Low to medium hops bitterness. A low level of alcohol burn. Noticeable carbonation fizz, but not distracting.

O - Although I can detect a bit of spice (possibly from yeast), this is not an overly-spiced Christmas ale that tries too hard. A supremely well-balanced beer. It is complex yet drinkable, dark and sweet yet not smothering. My hat's off to the brewers.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2013 22:33:55 | More by Radome
Photo of JeffH


4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Deep brown with a light, quickly dispersing head
S- dried fruits, brown sugar
T- Crisp start with waves of dried, sweet fruit. Nice malt finish with a small amount of yeastiness
M- Lighter than expected with a high carbonation
O- Very good beer, looking forward to another soon

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2013 01:22:48 | More by JeffH
Photo of jrenihan

Ontario (Canada)

4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

BB 22/09/14

Beer is a very deep reddish brown. A monster-sized beige head on top. Head fades moderately, good lace.

Sweet, bready malts are strong in the nose. Fruits accompany this: orange, raisin. A bit of spicing. Yeast. A bit reminiscent of fruitcake.

Taste is good. Fairly dry for the style, with dark fruits (raisin, fig, plum), bready malt and spices all present. A hint of chocolate. Finish contains the spices the most, almost herbal. Spices are present but fairly subdued, complementing the beer rather than serving as the main attraction, which is nice.

Full bodied, moderate carbonation, bready.

Overall, very good. A nice rendition of a Christmas ale, with the spicing at a very nice level.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2013 00:31:14 | More by jrenihan
Photo of mscudder


4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a chalice.

A - Dark ruby-brown hue with a one-finger khaki head. Fair retention and above average lacing.

S - Warm sweet dark fruits: raisin, orange and figs. Brown sugar and molasses contribute to the heavy sweetness.

T - Big complex sugar coating my palette. Lots of spices alongside what stands out as dark cherries among other fruits. Belgian yeast opens the beer up and concludes with a subtle warmth.

M - Soft medium body with moderate carbonation. Slight chewiness. Nice byproduct of all the sweetness.

O - A nice Christmas showing from Corsendonk. Aside the Berdardus Christmas, this might be my new go-to.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2013 04:14:52 | More by mscudder
Photo of hosehead83


4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2oz. bottle into a tulip glass.
Dark brown/tea color, with an inviting head of tan foam.
Aroma-Heady whiff of dark fruits and Belgian spices
Taste-Sugared plums, spicy Belgian yeast, brown sugar, caramel, faint smoke and mineral finish. Excellent character and complexity. A great winter/Christmas brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2013 16:15:24 | More by hosehead83
Photo of webmanspidey


4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice, this is a dark brown color with around half an inch of fluffy head. The smell is very sweet with some hints of plums, brown sugar, and cherry. The taste is a smooth mix of grapes and dark fruit with interesting twists like orange peel and lemon. Alcohol is hidden very well.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2012 23:23:34 | More by webmanspidey
Photo of Holland


4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: dark brown with thick khaki head on the pour.

S: Strong Belgian dark smell with yeast and dark fruits like raisin. Sweet and malty as well.

T: fruity, heavy on the Belgian yeast, but also some spice and sweetness. The spice is not bad at all.

M: fluffy and smooth with good carbonation.

O: delicious beer. Not quite up there with the best of the Belgians, but very good and a nice treat this time of year.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2012 03:46:43 | More by Holland
Photo of atomicbeer

New Mexico

3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2012 05:06:14 | More by atomicbeer
Photo of stakem


3.28/5  rDev -21.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2012 00:15:58 | More by stakem
Photo of morimech


3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best before 20/08/15 750ml bottle

Brown color with a red tint. A large head forms and slowly settles to a thick cap. Large amount of lacing is left down the glass.

Aroma consists of dark fruit, caramel, bread, and some musty grains. The aroma is the weakest part of this beer.

Nice vinous qualities in the flavor. Dark, dried fruit like dates and prunes. Some caramel and mild spice as well. Tastes festive.

The body is a little thin but has excellant carbonation. Bottle-conditioning done well.

A good holiday ale.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2012 19:24:22 | More by morimech
Photo of fx20736

New York

4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pouured from a 330ml bottle into a goblet, served at cellar temp.

Beautiful, rich red mahogany with a thick brown sugar colored head. Decent lacing.

Aroma; rich, deep malt. Lavender, vanilla, pepper, cloves, oak, sherry.

Mouthfeel; is light and effortless.

Taste; easily the plummiest beer I have tasted. Oak, spices, vanilla on a thick bed of malt.

One of the best beers I have ever tasted. Will buy more soon.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2012 16:40:40 | More by fx20736
Photo of draheim


4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL (best before 20/08/15) into a chalice. Pours a clear mahogany w/ a thick khaki head, sticky lace.

Aroma is sweet, fruity, bready. Dark candi sugar, figs, dates, plums, grapes.

Taste follows nose. Sweet candi sugar, dark fruits, spices. So much dark fruit, has an almost grape juice quality.

Mouthfeel is clean and crisp, finishes dry.

Overall a solid, if somewhat one-dimensial, BSDA.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2012 06:20:20 | More by draheim
Photo of BedetheVenerable


4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 8.5oz brown pop top, foiled, with nice label. Best by September 2014 clearly stamped on the back. The label says this is 8.1%, not 8.5% as stated above. Poured into my Ommegang glass.

Appearance: Attractive dark amber-orange beer with a large, fluffy ivory cap with nice retention. Fairly bright, except for some tiny sediment in suspension. Massive sheets of Belgian lacing.

Smell: Lots of sweet, dark fruit leads here, with sweet grapey wine and perhaps some dark, sticky dried fig as well, backed by very soft (and indistinct) spices. Definitely on the sweet side; a couple of swirls in the glass bring out fainter notes of caramel and light bready malt. Overall, very nice.

Taste: Sweet, grapey red wine, supported by very subtle spice notes. I swore I got vanilla on the first sip, but I'm having trouble finding it now. Booze (even at only 8.1%) is perfectly integrated into the fruity and spicy aspects of this; I suspect that if I had a 750 of this, I'd drink the whole thing down rather quickly and then wonder why I was a bit light-headed. Flavorful and sweet, but ends fairly dry so that it's not at all cloying.

Mouthfeel: Fantastic. Fluffy, soft, and just...nice.

Overall: Just short of fantastic. Even though this is really, REALLY good, I don't think I like it QUITE as much as St. Bernardus. The sweet grapey flavors (I swear, as much as I hate to say this, it reminds me of Concord wine or the like, but oh so much better) and soft spice flavors are really nice. The only downfall here is a bit of a lack of complexity which, in time, might be forthcoming. At any rate, darn good stuff.

At around $6.99-8.99 for a 750, I'd give this a solid 89-90 B+/A-

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2012 04:49:26 | More by BedetheVenerable
Photo of WillCarrera


4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, best before August 20, 2015, poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a deep ruby color, topped with an inch of khaki head, leaves great lacing.

S- Bready malt, caramel, yeast and spice.

T- Sweet dark fruits, some sweet bready malt, caramel and light spiciness, some clove and anise.

M- Medium-bodied, smooth feel, semi-dry feel.

O- A solid holiday beer, not one of my favorites but worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2012 02:05:42 | More by WillCarrera
Photo of MadScientist

New York

4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A dark brown beer with a deep garnet hue and good clarity. The persistent head is light tan, producing about of finger of compact foam from a slightly aggressive pour.

S: Prunes and raisins with pepper and alcohol. This beer has a moderately-strong dark, dried fruit aroma with moderate, peppery phenols. The malt aroma is in the background with a light, sweet aroma. There are no hops aromas and moderately-light flowery alcohol aroma.

T: It tastes like brown sugar and fruit without being cloyingly sweet. There is a moderately-strong fruit presence with flavors of prunes, raisins and figs. The yeast also brings a great pepper flavor, the coriander brings a bit of orange and nuttiness to the party. The hops have light earthy flavor and a moderately-light hops bitterness. the balance is slightly towards the bitter. The finish is off-dry with a fruity aftertaste and lingering spice.

M: A medium-full and creamy with a moderately-strong level of carbonation.

O: An awesome dark strong with a great balance of flavors! This category is a bit challenging for me because I have a strong preference for drier beer which may factor into my enjoyment of this beer. That being said the flavors of fruit and spice blended with alcohol and brown sugar are all so nicely balanced without getting too sweet.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2012 01:19:24 | More by MadScientist
Photo of zac16125

South Carolina

4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330mL bottle into a chalice
21/08/15, which I believe is this years vintage

A: Pours a dark brown with reddish hues when held up to light. Just over 1 fingers width of light tan colored head, which takes a good amount of time to dissipate down. A thick coat of film remains throughout the entire drink, but leaves only vary sparse patches of lacing.

S: Spice is the most prominent aroma, along with some caramel and an orangey citrus. Brown sugar and nutmeg. Smells very nice, but rather tame.

T: Dried dark fruit, orange, lots of spice, a dark sweetness like brown sugar or molasses although Im not really picking up either flavor specifically, cocoa notes, a touch of hop bitterness.

M/D: Manages to pull off the creamy smoothness with concurrent biting carbonation, like only a good Belgian beer can do. Medium bodied, no hint of the ABV. Drinkability is great.

O: Overall, a very nice Christmas ale. All of the great Belgian Strong Dark's that come out this time of year is one of the many reasons winter its my favorite beer "season". This one is very good, but St. Bernardus Christmas ale still remains the king for me. This is one Ill be sure to come back to again next year.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2012 01:12:49 | More by zac16125
Photo of thecheapies


4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured carefully from a 250ml bottle into the a Corsendonk Christmas glass.

Looks dark red-mahogany with over an inch of lacy suds despite a very delicate pour. Looks like the holidays to me. After all, I stare at one of these every Christmas season.

Festive combination of soft and cedary spices, alcohol, and dark fruits. Nutty yeast spills into the fruits and comes out with aromas of Belgian chocolate. Nice.

Cedary spice, coriander, bakers chocolate, dried fig, roast chestnut, brandy, and spicy finish. Subtle clove and cooked apple. This beer screams Belgian Christmas to me in a classic way.

Medium to above-medium body with a spicy prickle from the carbonation. Pronounced alcohol that warms me well.

Classic Belgian ale. Enjoyable fresh and with age. Excellent late-night beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2012 13:44:42 | More by thecheapies
Photo of Ryan011235


4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an Orval chalice on 11/13/12

Bottle was on clearance, so I'm guessing it's from last year.

Dark, cola brown with a one finger cap of light sandy foam. The head dissipates at a moderate rate but last once it settles onto itself. Very good lace that looks like old, frayed foam padding.

Spices and dark bread take up a good portion of the aroma: cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and herbal notions. Some darker fruits, too. Raisins, figs and hints of deep candied fruit. All told, the aroma is on the tame side.

The flavor, however, is an attention-getter. Both the spices and bread (and especially the spices) are ramped up. Heck, the spices practically sift across the palate; it's that great sort of dry spice. Fruits are less of a focal point here which keeps the beer from being sweet. Herbal hop lingerings.

The feel is robust and billowy, mainly due to the carbonation. Hints of granular underpinnings.

This is a really good beer. The late MbpBugeye told me temperature is crucial with this one; he was dead on the money. Drink this well above fridge temperature. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2012 03:42:28 | More by Ryan011235
Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
93 out of 100 based on 860 ratings.