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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: 77
Gots: 145 | 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 tillmac62
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a slight ruby cast. Nice long lasting head that laces well. Malt and yeast nose with a touch of spice against a dark fruit background. Medium bodied with a creamy mouthfeel. Good carbonation. More flavorful than a typical trappist ale. Well balanced with the 8.1% alcohol perfectly hidden by the malt bill. Nice dark fruit flavor of raisins and figs with a touch of spice. Clean finish with residual notes of malt, fruit and alcohol.

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Photo of KajII
3.79/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

[Suggested Glassware: Trappist Glass]

The pour was a dark murky chestnut brown with a small (less than 1 finger) light brown creamy head that was mostly diminishing, reducing to a thin puddled film with a small collar and had good runny lacing.

The aroma was of a toasted bread malt and a musty earthy Belgian yeast with notes of caramel, citrus (lemon and orange), dark fruit (raisons and prunes), brown sugar and a slight medicinal odor.

The taste was moderately sweet and very malty with a touch of brown sugar and caramel from the get go, and then it became a tad yeasty and decently fruity with a light citrus spicy finish that had a hint of alcohol right at the end. The flavor lasted an average duration after the swallow, with a smooth malty fruitiness left behind to lie on the taste buds for just a bit longer.

Mouthfeel was almost medium in body with a creamy texture and a carbonation that was quite lively.

Overall this was a fantastic brew that was smooth, creamy and rather tasty, making it exceptionally easy to drink. In fact I need to watch how much I drink of it, due to the high ABV which is almost hidden entirely...


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Photo of tigg924
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had on tap at New World Tavern--served into a tulip glass

Appearance: chestnut brown in color, 1/2 inch head, clear, medium carbonation

Smell: holiday spice and pumpernickle bread

Taste:holiday spice, pumpernickle bread, big molasses, cinnamon, raisin, and slight cherry

Mouthfeel: heavy bodied, medium carbonation, sweet with slight bitterness

Overall: A really good holiday ale that I was pleased to find on tap in July. Love the complexity and the molasses taste. I will now make this a part of my routine holiday beer pick up list.

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Photo of RickS95
4.04/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown pour with quite a bit of red. While it's dark, it's a bit clear. The head is impressive. Several fingers thick, really nice retention, sloppy lace left behind. It's a dark off-white foamy looking display of bubbles.

Classic Belgian smell, though I question the Christmas aspect of the beer. Lots of dark ripe fruits. Slight caramel malt note. The slightest bit of alcohol.

A bit of a let down. The fruity flavors never really came through. There was some spice and maltiness, but everything in the nose never made it to the tongue. It's certainly not bad, just a bit of a downer after how good it looked.

It's an easy sipper. The taste is easy on the palate and the high alcohol doesn't overwhelm. The flavor is mostly neutral. The fruity sweetness never presents itself, though it's slightly tart in the finish. No real hoppy bitterness and only faint heat from the alcohol. Carbonated, dry finish. At the high end of medium body.

Better than any American rendition of the style, but a step below some of the other Belgians. A good beer overall that I'm glad I tried. Will be proud to have the bottle in my collection.

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
3.89/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

33cl bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a very dark amber color with two fingers of off white head. Great lacing and retention.

S: Prunes are the strongest aroma present, moderately strong for the style. Nutmeg, orange peel, peppercorn, and a bit of licorice are also present.

T: Much milder than the aroma. Dark fruits are still there, but the beer is pretty dry. Peppercorn and citrus are there to balance.

M: A bit thin with strong carbonation.

O: The smell is quite nice - a nice array of dark fruits paired with great Belgian yeast esters. The smell doesn't quite have the punch or complexity that the aroma has. Overall good, but not great.

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Photo of hreb
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I recently re-discovered this one at Brookline's Publick House, on draught. I subsequently picked up this 250mL mini-bottle, which I'm trying just chilled, served in a Chimay chalice. Best before end 20/08/15. Beer pours a rich brown color with an epic head of a lighter brown. Beer appears to be loaded with bubbles. Aroma is pretty subtle, but yeasty, slightly funky, and spicy. Spice ("natural" spice, that is) comes through much more in the flavor, along with a really rich body, and a mouthfeel that is definitely not too heavy for this heady brew. This Belgian is unbelievably easy drinking due to its fantastic balance and complex flavors. You'll get drunk (or broke) long before getting bored of these.

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Photo of ItsTheLimit
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Corsendonk Christmas Ale is a really lovely, deep mahogany-to-plum color with a really thick tan head. Leaves waves of lacing all the way down the glass. Lots of carbonation apparent, as well.

Smells of Belgian yeast, some dark fruit funk, alcohol and bread. Very inviting.

Tastes of dried fruit, yeasty bread, a little alcohol, but still extremely balanced. Really exceptionally complex, yet drinkable beer.

Great mouthfeel. Very smooth, almost velvety on the tongue.

Overall, this is an excellent beer. I look forward to drinking another and will definitely be trying this in years to come.

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Photo of chinchill
4.11/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Served in a Corsendonk Christmas Ale glass.
Pours a beautiful mahogany color; clear with a large, durable and thick tan head that leaves lots of lacing. Perfect appearance.

Nutty and spicy, with a rather high level of carbonation that makes for a lively feel. Lightly tart, with a strong dark fruitiness, especially in the aftertaste. Flavor better than aroma, although both evolve and improve with warming. A revisit finds a surprising amount of licorice (tihnk black jellybeans) in this bottle.

O: Everything comes together nicely in this beer, despite my lack of love for the yeasty aroma. Excellent and highly recommended.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.95/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a dark, hazy reddish amber with a massive light tan head with good retention and great lacing. Aroma of dried and fresh dark fruit, bready malt and an almost minerally spicing. Flavor follows, dominated by dark dried fruit, brown sugar, coriander and oxidation flavors. Finishes semi-dry with dark fruit, spicing and faint hops. Medium bodied. The bottle has a "best before" date of 2015, but serious online research does not reveal how that translates to bottling date. There is noticeable, but pleasant oxidation flavor here, so I'm curious how old the bottle is. A pleasant, but somewhat understated Belgian strong dark ale.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.91/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at Jon's Bar and Grille - served in tulip

Deep plum, near-purple pour with a thin beige head resting on top. Fades out completely, leaving little lacing or film behind.

Rich and sweet in the nose with candied dark fruits and brown sugar. Dates, raisins and figs, soft alcohol warmth and Belgian yeast.

Malty layers of tasty sweet dark fruit, containing a mix and mash of raisins, dates and figs. Burnt sugar and Belgian yeast resting on top of a thick backbone with toasted warmth. Rich and robust, finishing a bit hot and sweet.

Fuller medium body, decent carbonation, sticky and a bit heavy on the tongue. This fits in well with other Belgian Christmas beers I've sampled, and while still sweet, this isn't as cloying as some others (i.e., St. Feuillien).

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Photo of Braz
4.02/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Dark bread. yeast, grape

Appearance: Huge active white head leaving nice amount of lacing. Very dark amber.

Taste: White grape character. Soft citrus notes. Malty with a lingering sweetness. Very rich with subtle toastiness.

Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated and velvety.

Overall: Very good but maybe a little sweet. I wish the offerings from this brewery were easier to find around here as I'd love to try them all.

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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.

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Photo of pkalix
4.71/5  rDev +14%
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!

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Photo of magine
4.1/5  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.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.13/5  rDev 0%
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!

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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 ujsplace
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

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Photo of peensteen
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

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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.

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Photo of Radome
4.48/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

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Photo of JeffH
4.42/5  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

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Photo of jrenihan
4.13/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of mscudder
4.3/5  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.

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Photo of hosehead83
4.35/5  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.

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Photo of webmanspidey
4.16/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

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