1. Rating beers by attributes (look, smell, taste, feel, overall) is back! Read the latest update ...
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Corsendonk Christmas Ale - Brouwerij Corsendonk

Not Rated.
Corsendonk Christmas AleCorsendonk Christmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

888 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 888
Reviews: 535
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 10.58%
Wants: 56
Gots: 58 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Corsendonk visit their website
Belgium

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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Corsendonk Christmas Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 888 | Reviews: 535 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Chico1985
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Sierra Grille, glad to be able to try it this winter, I always dug the label.

Poured very dark brown with a big foamy 2-finger tan head. Retains well not shrinking much, leaves some lacing.

Nice dark fruit, caramel and Belgian spices in the nose.

Lots of dark fruits noticeable in the taste, lots of plums and figs definitely. Has a nice spice profile to match, which does give it a nice holiday feel. Nice Belgian yeast taste too, and notes of caramel and chocolate as it warms.

Light body, maybe a bit thin but for 8.5% it wasn't bad. Not much alcohol taste in this one.

A really nice balanced holiday Belgian...I definitely would like to get a bottle or 2 of this.

Chico1985, Dec 21, 2010
Photo of Mjoepp
3.43/5  rDev -17.5%
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.

Mjoepp, Dec 19, 2010
Photo of jlindros
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Armsby Abbey Belgian Christmas night. 2009 vintage, and it ended up being one of the better beers of the night.

It comes with a dark roasty mahogany brown hazy color with a decent head.

Nose of light spices, very light, with some cinnamon, nutty malts, raisins, dark aged Belgian malts, and a little booze.

Taste is malty, lots of Belgian dark malts, caramel, a little brown sugar, light spices, Belgian fruity yeast with some raisin and fig, little sweetness and creamy hearty taste. A very light booze.

Mouth is medium to a little heavier bodied with decent carbonation.

Drinkability is decent, sweetness is balanced well, not much for a boozy taste, and smooth drinking for the most part.

jlindros, Dec 18, 2010
Photo of Pencible
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

Pencible, Dec 16, 2010
Photo of Gavage
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a dark brown color with a 1" tan colored head that lasts a while. Moderate lace paints the glass.

Smell: light chocolate, lots of malt sweetness, and a bit of fruit sweetness creates a mild but pleasant aroma.

Taste: nice malt flavor with some chocolate, a hint of spice and earthiness, prunes sweetness, and a moderate bitterness. Alcohol is barely noticable.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Crisp to start, smooth and a bit creamy at the finish. Long aftertaste.

Drinkability: a nice xmas beer to slowly sip in front of a roaring fire. Definitely worthy of a try.

Gavage, Dec 15, 2010
Photo of rarbring
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is clear deep amber, a hint of copper, a tan head that leaves much lacing.

The smell is fruity, peaches, pears, sweet wine, almonds.

Tasting of syrup, sherry, preserved sweet fruits, some grassy bitterness.

Medium carbonation, small bubbles, soft and a bit oily, a dry warm finish.

Can probably be matured for a while to really peak.

rarbring, Dec 15, 2010
Photo of sweemzander
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

8.5oz bottle poured into a stemmed glass. Best by 07/09/2011.

(A)- Pours a dark mahogany color that has plenty of ruby red highlights. Produced a great fluffy tan head with great retention. Tons of lacing all over the place.

(S)- An earthy barnyard dryness with some nice ripe dark fruits, biscuits, and lemony banana. Hints of a cinnamon or nutmeg spice in the far background.

(T)- Again, an earthy barnyard hay dryness up front, but meshes into a nice dark fruit/ biscuity/ spice profile.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Nice ripe dark fruits in the body. A nice earthy dry spiciness combo. Some residual bitterness on the finish that bumps this down a bit.

(D)- I look forward to this one every year when it comes out. A great Belgain Dark that has everything you should expect for the style. Tasty and easy to enjoy without being too rich or filling.

sweemzander, Dec 15, 2010
Photo of BlackHaddock
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
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!

BlackHaddock, Dec 12, 2010
Photo of vandemonian
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Red in colour with a huge cream-coloured head that lasts and lasts. The smell is of dark malts with some yeast. The taste is malty with a hint of charcoal and fruitiness at the end. Very nice, but not the most complex Belgian strong. This beer is thick, foamy and very drinkable.

vandemonian, Dec 07, 2010
Photo of caddybuyer
3.38/5  rDev -18.8%
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.

caddybuyer, Dec 06, 2010
Photo of ZeroSignal
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, best by 7/9/11

A - Medium chestnut brown pour with a vigorous, meringue style off-white head. Awesome retention and lacing.

S - A malty brew with x-mas and mulling spices mixed in. Hints of something spicy...can't quite put my finger on it.

T&M - Immediately struck by the warming nature of this one...a great winter brew. Fruity alcohol and big malt flavors. Bits of dark fruit and licorice. Medium-full body and sweet in the finish.

D - Good enough to make this chilly night feel not so bad. A great winter warmer.

ZeroSignal, Dec 04, 2010
Photo of dcx10music
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark brown that shows shades of red and even purple when held up to light. Semi-small off-white head and minimal lacing. Surprisingly opaque. Very easy on the eyes.

S - A tad mild, but the actual smell is quite nice. A fruity splash of grape is balanced out nicely by a sturdy roasted malt backbone. Nice, but I wish it was a little more pungent.

T - The elements of the smell sort of reverse roles in the taste. The roasted maltiness is the most prominent flavor and is complimented by a light grape fruitiness. Quite nice.

M - Perfect, in my opinion. Rich, thick, and creamy. This kind of brew needs those qualities, and this one packs them in spades.

D - Easy to down, but a little on the filling side. I could drink 2 of these, but largely because they come in such small bottles.

Notes - A wonderful holiday brew. Its biggest weaknesses have nothing to do with the actual drink: the bottles are too small, and it's only available at Christmas. Time to stock up!

dcx10music, Dec 04, 2010
Photo of radioscooter
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Why I love Christmas part 324: "Amazing beers from breweries I don't usually care much about or for."

Corsendonk is a classic Belgian brewery that I just don't usually love the beer from. I mean, what's the point of brewing in Belgium if you're not making Quads right? (joke)

Anyway, I'm not a Blonde or really much of a trippel fan but I thought - hey it's Christmas, let's try all the Christmas Ales.

I am glad this one made it onto my list. It was recommended by the bartender lady at the Sharp Edge when I stopped by today to apparently get raped on bottles of Samichlaus. But that's a whole 'nother rant. Welcome to PA. Bend over.

Phenomenal pour and foamy, thick creamy caramel head with beautiful drapey lacing. Like a picture of how beer should look.

Aroma is medium fruity and of course, spicy.

Taste is old world malty, fruity spicy goodness with a hint of pepper. The impulse to chew it slowly is very strong. Getting the blend of creamy foam with the underlying beer right is easy and makes it so much more enjoyable.

A touch too carbonated for me, but that's probably what is making this great foam. And it seems a little heady for only an 8.5, but these are hairs we're splitting now.

"You lad, what day is it today?" "Today sir? Why it's Christmas Day!"

Would that all Christmas ales were this splendid.

radioscooter, Dec 02, 2010
Photo of OneDropSoup
3.55/5  rDev -14.7%
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.

OneDropSoup, Dec 01, 2010
Photo of psuKinger
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review written from my notes from last night at the bar. On tap at 6-and-Save, poured into a Piraat Tulip glass.

A: Ruby reddish hue and deep brown, with a thin white head that clung nicely to the glass.

S: Muted smell of roasted malts and spices. I'm also picking up a little bit of a yeasty presence.

T: Thick and spiced, I pick up cinnamon and candied sugar on a thick malt backbone with a moderate yeast presence and just a touch of alcohol. A good Belgian Christmas Ale.

M: Thick and bubbly at first, but falls apart in a light creamy matter in my mouth. Carbonation level is just perfect here. This beer really is shining from this aspect.

D: I will return to this... just not for my next pint (unless, of course, it was offered to me for free). The muted scents, the moderate yeast presence, and the slight touch of alcohol burn are the only things standing between this and a really BIG score from me. As such, it's good, but not perfect.

psuKinger, Nov 29, 2010
Photo of BrianBoruma
4.88/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've actually had this one several times on tap but reviewing a bottle recently purchased served in a brewery glass.

A: Thin white head over a dark brown body with rubyish highlights. Head leaves lacing as I consume it.

S: Fruits, dark fruits, spices are hard to distinguish, I like that. I get some allspice and cinnamon, maybe some anise.

T: Lots more dark fruits, a bit like raisins or plums, spices come forwards in the finish, definitely get a bit of anise in there and some cinnamon. Malt comes a bit afterwards and a slight warming sensation from the alcohol. Can't tell if the floral comes from phenols or hop selection.

M: Rather well rounded. Not too much malt roundness, like a true Belgian this one finishes dry, not syrupy for the amount of alcohol.

D: Definitely could have another on a cold winter night. Though past that would not be a good idea with the 8.5% Definitely makes it on the list of favorite seasonals though.

BrianBoruma, Nov 17, 2010
Photo of drabmuh
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle opened by Thorpe. I had the St. B at dinner after this bottle, I liked this one as a Christmas ale slightly more. Beer is dark brown with a thin white head that leaves lacing on the glass, carbonation moderate.

Beer smells sweet and malty with a little bit of spice. Slight allspice.

This is a celebration ale so I don't mind the spice in the palate, its subtle and in the background rather than flogging you with it. This is a really nice beer. Its light in body, sweet and has some yeasty breadiness to it at the end. I would have it again.

drabmuh, Nov 15, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
3.2/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Bruery tulip. Picked up at State Line.

Pours a dark brown with some slight purple coloring. One-finger head with a slight bit of ringy lacing. There is some light foam on top throughout The nose brings some light caramel, dates, and some other dark fruits There is slight bit of roast and cream. Pretty plain.

The taste is very light roast with a bit of mild dark fruits. Very light amount of black licorice. There is also some light caramel and toffee. Medium body and light carbonation. Not a stellar brew, but pretty good.

Thorpe429, Nov 15, 2010
Photo of NODAK
2.38/5  rDev -42.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Aroma is fairly sweet...some definite notes of brown sugar, and perhaps some dark fruit in there as well. Nice and smooth.

Pours a very dark brown with a somewhat thin, loose head.

Carbonation is pretty prickly on this one. Body on the beer is surprisingly not that sweet at all. There is some molasses and dark fruit, but it's pretty light and is covered up somewhat by the carbonation as well. There's a sour note near the finish...and a pretty heavy bitterness there as well for this style. Definitely dry. One person called it "chemically bitter". Not bad of a description...it's not very pleasant. Also a bit of a metallic taste as well. Comes across as far less sweet and thick than most beers of this style, and more hoppy.

For style, it isn't one of my favorites. I look to these beers to be more flavorful....this one doesn't excite me. In fact, it's rather hard to drink.

NODAK, Nov 03, 2010
Photo of TheSarge
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A good amount of lkhaki colored head, and the body is brown and opaque.

Ginger, coriander, cola, and a light chocolaty aroma.

In the taste I get candied sugar, coriander, and cola like flavors with herbal spiciness.

The consistency of this brew is kind of like champagne. Very carbonated and medium to full in body. Not really warming in the end, which is a good trait.

TheSarge, Nov 02, 2010
Photo of megahurts4
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Corsendonk Christmas Ale

Served at 54 degrees Fahrenheit

Appearance: Dark brown with a large head and lacing.

Smell: Spices and a slight alcohol tinge.

Taste: Sweet and refreshing. Very similar to other Belgian ales, but with a very faint dark chocolate and coffee flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium and smooth.

Bottom line:
This is a very good beer that is well crafted. It is most definitely an after dinner beer with the sweetness to it.

megahurts4, Oct 08, 2010
Photo of DamDweller
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Corsendonk Christmas, 2009

Nice drinking beer that would go well with all food types, ranging from steak to a nice white fish.

Initial pour has an appealing chestnut color with a strong head. There is a slight citrus smell along with a heavy alcohol presence. Drank this beer right out of the fridge, which was a big mistake. It completely dulled the complex flavors. After letting the beer warm up a bit there was a nice chocolate malt flavor that cleared tongue quickly followed by strong taste of prunes and young cherries. At the end, a moderate hop finish showed itself and cleaned the pallet well. Considering the alcohol percentage and the initial smell, I was surprised to not taste much alcohol at all, especially keeping the style in mind.

This was a good beer and one that I wish I had more than one bottle of. It would be drinkable any time of year with a wide variety of foods. The mouthfeel is refreshing and yet the body was strong enough to be enjoyed during the coldest part of the year.

DamDweller, Sep 23, 2010
Photo of JayQue
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer on August 1 in Tidewater VA, not @ Christmas time, but it proved to be a very versatile big Belgian beer. On a cool, wet evening, this one went down real well with cheese and crackers. Poured from a corked and caged 750ml bottle into my Chimay goblet. Looked real good. Dense dark brown color, ruby lights at the bottom and sides of the glass and a big antique white/light tan pillowy head. Great retention and lacing...a nice looking beer!!!

Smell was fairly mild dark fruit, candi sugar and sweet malts. Taste was very good. Dark fruit (cherries and raisins) andsweet malts were the primary flavors, Belgian yeast and candi sugar there too. Not much in the way of spices for a Christmas beer. Mouthfeel was fairly light for a Belgian...not a bad thing for summertime drinking. Still rich, very smooth and no unpleasant alcohol burn. All the flavors seem to blend very well.

Very drinkable for a big beer. Just as enjoyable on a cool summer night as it would be as a winter nightcap. A very tasty and accessible Belgian.

JayQue, Aug 02, 2010
Photo of halo21
4.9/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: We poured this amber and brown colored beer hard into a Duvel snifter glass, with plenty of room for the tan chunky head to expand upwards. It was dark and rich looking, with fine carbonation bubbles.

Smell: Rich, with candied fruits; big raisin and a bit of apple, all with a kick of spice.

Taste: Sweet with fruit flavors, malts and yeast, with a drying spice finish; coriander and a bit of pepper in the background.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied, with warming heat and nicely viscous; finely carbonated that is almost a festive component.

Drinkability/Palitability: Medium to high - very smooth and warming, but at 8.50% ABV, this is not a Summer session beer, but a few would go down easy on a cold Winter night.

Notes: This is an A+ beer, not only in the style of beer, but across all brews. The best part about winter is the big heavy beers that are released and enjoyed. This bottle was popped open not only on a bitter cold day, but also a long workday full of manual labor and cleaning. Perfect end to the day.

halo21, Jul 24, 2010
Photo of TheHoppiest
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Prepared from my a voice memo recorded at the Beer Engine last night.

Served in a small snifter, it is a cheery ruby mahogany color with very little head. Despite the absence of any head, it gets decent lacing down the sides as it is consumed.

Smells spicy, with dark fruits - grapes, currants, figs.

This is one of the better Christmas ales I've had. Spicy, fruity, and very flavorful, it finishes with a hint of cinnamon.

Mouthfeel is smooooth. Reminds me a bit of Troegg's Mad Elf in its smoothness.

Highly drinkable, my only regret is that I now have another great beer to fit in amongst the other good Christmas ales out there come December. Thank goodness for Christmas in July!

TheHoppiest, Jul 24, 2010
Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
93 out of 100 based on 888 ratings.