Corsendonk Christmas Ale - Brouwerij Corsendonk

Not Rated.
Corsendonk Christmas AleCorsendonk Christmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

1,068 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,068
Reviews: 565
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 10.6%
Wants: 73
Gots: 128 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Corsendonk visit their website
Belgium

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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,068 | Reviews: 565
Photo of bark
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The colour is dark brown-red, the beige foam is finger thick and quite light. The liquid is clear.

The smell is very fruity with flavours of brown sugar, aroma hops and candy sugar. There is also a hint of acid candy.

The carbonation is nice - rather soft with small bubbles. Creamy!

The taste is soft yet complex: Lots of sweet notes of brown and candy sugar, dried fruits (apricots?), berries, some hints of yeast and a somewhat sour touch. The aftertaste is filled of pleasant sweet malt and a slowly growing bitterness to accomplish the sweetness. The high alcoholic level surprised me, as the smell and taste didn’t reveal it at all.

This must be an extraordinary after dinner-beer!

Photo of rajendra82
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In a 12 oz. brown bottle with a freshness date (of a year an half after this Christmas I might add) printed on the festive looking label, the packaging oozes the spirit of the season.

The beer poured dark amber red, with a foamy tall head that left a lot of lace. There was good bit of cloudy evidence as a result of the bottle conditioning with yeast. The aroma was very sweet like a bowl of sweet cherries drizzled with honey. The taste was boldly malty with dark skinned fruits, brown sugar, honey, cloves, and cinnamon.

Very soft and creamy mouthfeel, with just a hint of herbal hop bitterness that lingered, this was a smooth, and rich tasting beer that is worth savoring each year. Outstanding beer, and very drinkable, even at 8.5% ABV.

Photo of WesWes
4.67/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours an amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is awesome. It has a very sweet and slightly tart malt scent. It is quite complex; full of fruitiness and a molasses aroma. The taste is great as well. It has a very smooth malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes fruity and warm. This is an exceptional brew. It has great mouthfeel. It is a full bodied with adequate carbonation. This is a kick ass beer. It is full of flavor and aroma; a good drinker. This is one of the best Belgian beers I've ever sampled.

Photo of BrewMaster
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2004 bottle. Served from a 750 ml corked bottle. The cork was held on by a small strap that ran across the top of the cork. It's a very interesting looking manner of securing a cork. Lot no. 131484 stamped on to the sides of the cork.

The beer poured a reddish tan with an off white, and large-bubbled head. The aroma is sweet with notes of grape and maple. The flavor has notes of white grape, caramel, nutmeg, clove, anise, bitter root, and a light heather aftertaste. There is an undue harshness to the flavor and it could certainly use some age. It is also very carbonated, almost too much.

Photo of ybnorml
4.44/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a bottle of the 2003 vintage and today is Oct 4,2004. Dark brown in color with hints of amber when the light hits it just right. Has a small beige head. The aroma hints at herbs and spices but is has predominate dried fruit plummy presence. There is a distinct chocolate taste at first. Followed by a plummy fruitiness and a smooth herb and spice finish. As it warms there is an addition of chocolate to the aroma.

Photo of mattcrill
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours burgundy brown with a rocky white head.

Smell: cloves and spice abound! Smells like a festive candle that's burning. Definitely reminds me of colder months with a fire going and some Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby singing some Christmas tunes by the tree.

Taste: almost tea-like with smatterings of spice and cinnamon. A sweet malty finish rounds out this unique brew.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied to thin but very complex and enjoyable.

Drinkability and overall: Great! Spices dominate and it is a pleasant drink. I'm always worried about drinking Belgian beers because I don't think my palate is worthy enough to pick up all the nuances of a finely crafted Belgian beer. I think this is the case for this beer. In other words, it's better than I can describe. Definitely worth your time to try and I will re-visit this one in December.

Photo of AllThingsNinja
3.28/5  rDev -21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This dark brown ale poured a large and retentive head that left pleasant lace upon my glass. The spicy aroma of cinnamon, ginger, and thyme was intriguing. Unfortunately, the flavor of the beer was not especially complex, and not entirely pleasant. Maybe this was a bad bottle but sour grapes flavors overpowered the chocolate and other malt notes. As the ale warmed, sweetness became a stronger presence but it never became interesting.

Photo of Rastacouere
3.35/5  rDev -19.3%
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.

Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep amber, light brown hue, thin, yet bubble-bath like off-white head. Has a sweet, candy cane, malt-like aroma, perhaps some spices on the nose as well. Massive offerings up front, in this full-bodied masterpiece - some citrus, defining esters, sharp spices, coriander and plums are most noticeable. Tucked away are the decent winter spices, hops are quite noticeable, incredible malt-based backbone, ginger, cinammon, fresh grapes, even a burnt liked toast presence to her. The body maintains your a-typical Belgium yeasty/spicy offerings. For a winter brew, one of the best you'll find; superior in every fashion.

Photo of IceAce
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving type: 8 Oz. Bottle

Appearance: Thick collar of light tan foam with definite staying power. The beer is burnt copper and clarity is outstanding.

Aroma: Malty, spicy, and sugary all rolled up into a very enticing nose.

Taste: Grand malty brew well balanced with the sugar and spice one expects from a Belgian Holiday beer. The finish is dry and leaves a definite sweetness on the lips.

Mouthfeel: This is a BIG beer that literally assaults the palate. The brew is anything but thin and is perfectly carbonated.

Drinkability: High marks in this catagory as this beer has the ability to transport the taster to a place where the weather is cold, the nights are long, and brewers keep their customers warm and cozy.

Photo of RoyalT
4.55/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Thick, hazy brown in color with a nice, tan head that left some cool pittings on top of the liquid.

Smell – The sharp yeast leads the way for this BSDA heavy-hitter. The malty yeast is huge and introduces a complex mix of dark fruits such as cherries, figs, and especially dates.

Taste – Man, oh, man, this is a hearty brew. The sugars come out big time at the taste, sweetening up the already fruity compliment to this monster malt base. This is Belgian yeast at its finest.

Mouthfeel – Full with a nice, mildly fluffy mouthfeel. Incredible.

Drinkability – This is EXACTLY my idea of a Belgian winter ale. I’ll call it a night and dream of these flavors.

Comments – Similar to the Unibroue Maldite, if you like that (and if you don’t then go away).

Update – I bought a bottle of this in 2008 and cellared it for three years. – opened in May 2011 and it still could stand another three years put away. It’s sugared up a little bit more but nothing like I thought. Fortunately this is a great ale all the way around. And again the real highlight for me is the incredible mouthfeel. The head also come up much nicer than I remember so I upped that score 0.50.

Photo of hollicetales
3.61/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured a deep honey brown with almost ruddy garnet coloring...great thick white head with aroma of bready fruit and spice...great full bodied mouth feel starts off with that hoppy almost woody alcohol sugary taste with slight almost weird notes of toffee and then fruity plum figish notes with a finish of spice but not overpowering....this slow drinker will warm a soul up on a cold night

Photo of UnionMade
3.52/5  rDev -15.2%
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.

Photo of jdhilt
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a two-fingered, thick, light tan head leaving an even lace. Color is a dark, clear amber. Light-medium carbonation. Light malty/hoppy nose. Medium bodied. Starts smooth and malty, finishes with a warming touch. Excellent Christmas ale. $7.50 for a 750ml bottle.

Photo of jtw5877
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a deep brownish hue with a kinda white, kinda tan head. Nice maltiness, and some characteristic yeastiness, plus a little bit of biscuity kinda fruity flavor to it. A welcome surprise to find at my local farm market. And a bargain, at 4.39 for a 750ml I will be drinking these until they are gone. Overall a great holiday beer.

Photo of oberon
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this last night at the Spring House Drafting Room,pours a deep amber with some orange tint do it with a great creamy head.The aroma was awesome very orangy and nutty very perfumy on the nose.Taste is nutty with a touch of smokiness with some nice rich chocolaty tones.A nice full flavored beer I wanted to drink alot more,but was a little heavy after two,but still a real nice brew.

Photo of granger10
3.57/5  rDev -14%
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.

Photo of mschofield
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle
Hazy Golden amber, with a red tinge, 2 finger tan head, laces in sheets.
Spicy, fruity and sweet aroma.
Very malty, and I picked up a number of tastes mainly fruit grape, chocolate, orange peel, raspberry, strawberry, cherry, and a little nutty and anise (licorice). Quite complex.
Medium to full feel, a little oily/syrupy.

Photo of beerguy101
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber color. Medium white foamy head. Aroma is spicy and malty. A medium bodied Belgian Ale. Malts are fruity, nutty and sweet. Very spicy and fruity. Cinnamon, cloves, plums and orange. Nicely balanced. Lively carbonation. Smooth taste. Hides the 8.5% alcohol very well. A nice Belgian belly warming ale. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and dry. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

Photo of RedBaron
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A fine Christmas offering from Corsendonk.

The 25oz., corked bottled poured nicely, with a deep reddish hue, and a creamy, off-white and sustaining head.

The smell was of raisins, cinnamon and clove. The initial taste was of complex malts fused with spices (plus raisin and a detection of chocolate). The body was solid, quite full. The finish was smooth and a lovely 'Euro' sweetness lingered and begged the tongue for more. Certainly, however, you want to savor this lovely holiday beer. It's not one to quaff. Matter of fact, I took about 1 1/2 hours to sip at a leisurely pace.

My sample is at least a year old, probably older, as I purchased it last Christmas and hung it in my wine rack for the past year. My wine rack is the worse off now...

Photo of francisweizen
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew was a murky brown colour with a lovely tan head of foam. The aromas were sweet, bready, malty and a bit spicy. The taste was spicy and fruity, with just a hint of booze. The mouthfeel was thick, but stil a bit watery for a Belgian Strong Dark Ale and the drinkability was absolutely great!

Photo of Bierman9
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoyed a corked, 750ml bottle of this today while reading some bier literature and assisting in the preparation of our Christmas feast. The Donk Christmas Ale pours a deep, dark chestnut hue, with glimmering ruby highlights. A lovely color! It has a prodigious, tan head, which is billowy and fluffy. The bubbles are fine on top, a bit larger in the mid-section, and fine again at the base where the plentiful carbonation assists in the head creation. The topping lasts quite well, and lacing is top-shelf! The nose is dryish and fruity, with dark fruit, like raisins, being the main player on this stage. The body tends to the medium side of things, and the carbonation makes for a "lively" bier on the tongue. It has a bubbly, foamy feel, like a good German Hefeweizen. Having a sip, I encounter a touch of semi-sweet, bready malt, with candi-ish overtones. The bier is quite fruity, with dark fruit dominating. It is definitely a warming bier, and quite dry at the finish, perhaps a wisp too dry for me to consider it a frequent-drinking brew. Still, a nice prelude to a wonderful Holiday meal with Family. Frohe Weihnachten, and Zum Wohl!!!

Oddly - drinking this fine bier on Christmas, and it's review #666.... How bizarre! ;-)

overall: 4.1
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4

666

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Corsendonk Christmas Ale sports a beautiful, festive label showing a Christmas tree and a giant gold star against the backdrop of a snow-filled blue sky. Best before date of 9-22-05. This is my first Belgian beer and the first time that I've used my new chalice.

Although there was a big blast of carbonation when I popped the crown, the beer itself doesn't seem to be overly carbonated. Up top is a voluminous, rocky, tan cap that fades to a thin film and leaves a small amount of lace. The color is dark ruby with bright cherry accents and is simply beautiful. The beer smells like holiday spiced fruitcake and is incredibly complex.

The flavor profile is dominated by dark, dried fruits. Christmas spices abound. There's an underlying sourness that fades to a pleasing bitterness on the finish. Alcohol is extremely well hidden. The mouthfeel, although borderline creamy, isn't mouthfilling. Drinkability is pretty good, but is limited somewhat by the ABV.

All in all, Corsendonk Christmas Ale is a very nice winter warmer of a BSDA and is one that I'll look for every year.

Photo of BeefyMee
3.59/5  rDev -13.5%
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.

Photo of counselor
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 corked and caged bottle opened wit a stiff wisp of carbonation. The beer poured a dark cocoa espresso color with a tall foamy head that reduced rather quickly leaving nice lacing on the glass. The smell was spicey, buttery, with layers of yeasty bannana aromas and freshly split oak logs. The taste was well balanced with traditional belgian ale flavors from the yeast bits in the glass. Each sip brought out the changes in this beer as it warmed from the early crisp dry notes of spice and tobacco to the later fruity plum, bannana and fig flavors. Each mouthful was enjoyable from the early cold & well carbonated one to the final warm & flatter one. A fine exmple of a beer!

Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
93 out of 100 based on 1,068 ratings.