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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: 1,083
Avg: 4.13
pDev: 14.77%
Wants: 76
Gots: 139 | 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: 1,083
Photo of John_M
4.52/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There aren't a lot of things about Winter that I look forward to, but the annual arrival of this beer is certainly one of them. Had this on tap at Mahaffey's the other night.

The beer pours a reddish amber color, with minimal head retention, but excellent, lingering lacing. One gets an initial blast of sweet malt on the nose, but it's intermixed with lots of wonderful spices, including allspice and nutmeg. The flavor profile on the palate is straight from beer heaven. The beer is moderately sweet, but that sweetness is braced with flavors of cola, cherry, rootbeer and even more spice, including nutmeg and ginger. The beer is medium bodied with an abv. that is pretty well disguised. The beer is not at all heavy or tiring to drink, and is really what I've come to think of as the quintessential Belgian X-mas beer.

Excellent and highly recommended.... especially if you can get it on draft.

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Photo of wl0307
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The 6th beer on my 2008-9 Belgian Winter Ale tasting "panel". Coming in a tiny and slim 250ml brown bottle, BB 17/11/08, served lightly chilled in Westmalle's broad-rimmed chalice. * Note: this beer is tasted right after the famous Westvleteren 12, but I trust my palates won't be biased (hopefully).

A: pours a deep dark brown hue with ruby glows when seen against light, supported by lively input of fine fizz and topped with a light tan frothy head with good retention.
S: spiced dried tangerine peels, salted hawthorn fruits, black-cherry-ish & salty-sweet black-prune jam, treacle and black malt syrup, a touch of spiciness... Overall, richly fruit-estery, but integrated and approachable, neither heavy nor alcoholic.
T: a big swallow of spicy dark-prunes and treacle-ish dark malts is laced by plentiful aroma of cloves, cinnamon stick, dried-salted hawthorn-fruits and Chinese "luohanguo", leading slowly to a quietly herbally-dry and faintly bitter finish where the fruitiness, spicy yeastiness and bitter-sweet syrupy dark malts intertwine harmoniously.
M&D: very tasty indeed, this big dark ale treads exceptionally light with the help of refreshing but "spongey-textured" fizziness; it also benefits hugely from a complex spicy-fruitiness due to the work of hops and yeasts. With such little hint of alc. shown on the palate, this is a highly-drinkable and reasonably complex dark ale suitable for any occasion and all seasons!

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Photo of jdhilt
4.46/5  rDev +8%
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.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.07/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer has a deep mahogany-brown body that glows when held to the light. The head is a thick cream off-white that last and last. It has a gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles to keep the head going.

S- The smell of pale malt is a base for notes of dark cherries, plumes, figs and a note of aromatic spices like ginger with a faint cinnamon. There is a perfume sweetness that ties all the aromas together.

T- There is a sweet lightly toasted malt flavor that has lots of nice complexity. Notes of pears and plums compliment the malt with a spicy hint of pepper at the finish. A faint note of apple with the carbonic bite at the finish has a good balance.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a strong fizz in the texture. There is a soft alcohol warmth that enhances the spicy finish.

D- This is a very nice winter beer. The fruit and spice flavors really give more depth to the malt without overpowering the flavors of the typical Dark Ale. Winter was made for beers like these.

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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 akorsak
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 330 mL bottle.

A: The ale is a dark ruddy brown color, opaque through and through. At the narrower spots of my mug, brighter dark colors emerge. A huge head, 3+ fingers, threatened to overflow and make a mess. Splotchy lace followed.

S: The nose is thick with a sweet yeast strain followed by dark fruits, candi sugar and spices. Green apples and plums mix nicely with the candi sugars.

T: Dark and delicious. The ale isn't shy about its depth. Candi sugars, darkly sweet, lead off with fruits following in short order. Moderate spices add to the warmth of the ale, cinnamon and clove primarily. The carbonation that was so huge in the pour has disappeared, leaving the full flavors to linger on the palate.

M: The mouthfeel is rich, Belgium at its best. The candi sugars are sweet and never drop off.

D: The ale is big, not one that I'd want to drink from a 750 mL bottle. The fullness of the flavors is excellent, rich and satisfying.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750mL bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: medium brown hue with a moderate haze and two fingers of frothy tan foam. Head has good retention and an attractive, chunky lace is left on the glass. I like it.

Smell: quite sweet with a nice maltiness and a bit of chocolate character. There's also a dusty element I quite like. It's not bursting with fruitiness, yet it is still very good in its own subdued way. Quite good indeed.

Taste: sweet but not overwhelmingly so, with a nice malty character and some subtle flavor of dark fruit -- raisins and dates. This is a very low-key beer, but I like it anyway.

Mouthfeel: medium body but with a huge carbonation and giant, if somewhat evanescent, creaminess. Love it.

Overall: a fantastic beer. It drinks damn easy for 8.5%. I usually like a little more complexity, but this beer's subtlety is its personality. Great.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours burgundy with a massive beautiful off-white creamy head that stays for a really long time before it dissipates leaving lots of lacings.

S: Belgian, yeasty, light perfumed, lots of spices. Sweet malts.

T: Sweet light roasted malt, lots of dark dried fruits. Very belgian. Not as well balanced as I hoped for.

M: The aftertaste is rather long and holds mostly sweetness. The body is full and the carbonation is medium. A warm alcoholic feeling.

D: Not the best Belgian strong dark ale, and not very "christmasy". I'll buy a Trappist one next time.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from somewhere local.

Poured into a Rapscallion snifter, formed an inch tall foamy tan head. Beer was translucent, but not clear, and of a bright reddish brown hue. Heavy foam lacing prevalent. Aroma is Belgian spicing and malts, with a bit of room left for some fruitiness. Taste is initially sweet malt, quickly enhanced by the spicing, then closing with a dry, slightly warming finish. Mouthfeel is quite creamy, and this brew is quite drinkable for its potency. Happy holidays would brought on by a few of these.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.41/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Corked, caged 750 ml. bottle with an expiration date of 17 Aug 2018. Sampled on November 15, 2015.

The pour is mahogany amber-red with a long lasting foamy tan head.

All kinds of interesting aromas here. I pick up sweet barley malts, coriander,clove, black licorice, plums, a little orange zest, slight smoke, and Belgian candied sugar. Everything melds together well. No booze on the nose.

Medium to bold body but it is so lusciously soft and smooth.

Same sweet barley malt, citrus, and slightly spicy flavor but I pick up the alcohol burn here however it is warming and mellow to the end. This would be great by a wood stove fire.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.16/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Pours a dark plum brown that produces large creamy light tan head. The aroma is light and bready with a slight amount of tartness. It is also a tad floral with some spice and citrus (mainly oranges). The taste is also bready with a good amount of malt flavor followed by a slightly spicy and tart middle that is finished by a pleasant bitterness and slight warming from the alcohol. This beer is very drinkable despite it's hight ABV. Overall, this is a very good Christmas beer from Belgium that is recommended. I will have to revisit this again next year.

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Photo of Haybeerman
4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Reddich brown colr. Poured a 3 finger off-white head that slowly condenced to a big dollup. Lacing wahed down the glass in sheets.

S: Dark juicy fruits and spices. White pepper in the end.

T: Figs, raisins, plums and lots of other dark fruits. Sweet candi sugar and lingering spices combine with yeast notes.

M: Medium-to-heavy body. Medium carbonation. Thick and creamy. Alcohol

D: Flavorful and balanced. Really nice beer.

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Photo of rudzud
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes taken at the Armsby Abbey's yearly Belgian Christmas on 12/15.

*2009 Vintage*

A - Mahogany pour with a nice light head but fades to leave super lacing and deanse clouds.

S - Earthy light funk. Very light on fruit notes as well as some good belgian spices.

T - Dense, deep fruits along with light sugars and sweet malts. This while not sticky, is almost lip smacking good. The spice note really falls in line with the whole Christmas brew.

M - Medium carbonation tickles the tongue. Incredibly nice and light on the mouth.

D - Great mouthfeel and taste and that clumpy head all work together for a very enjoyable strong dark ale.

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Photo of Viggo
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Christmas tasting with biegaman, grub and ThatWineGuy, biegaman busted this one out.

Pours a clear ruby red, some brown hints, very thick off white head forms, leaves tons of lace sheets, settles to a thick layer, very pretty. Smell is apples, spices, caramel, yeast, bread, nice malt layers, spices are done right, nice fruitiness. Taste is yeasty, some spices, bread, caramel, apples, banana, wheat, citrus, oak, lots of fruit, neat! Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium to high carbonation, easy to drink, nice flavours, great Christmas beer. Thanks Jan!

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Photo of Bighuge
4.57/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This bottle appears to be the 2002 edition.

This beer is a deep clear ruby color. Just a swirl of a head. Color of brown. Recesses to an edging and a few peninsulas jutting out from the glass side. Lacing is intricate. Wood, cinamon and subtle pine notes make a presence on the nose. Body is about light-medium. Hard to believe this brew is 8.5 a/v. Not a trace of alcohol lingers on my tongue. Cinamon, ginger and nutmeg, oh my. Not sure if I've got all the spices correct, but there is definitely some nicely integrated spicing. Not as over the top as the Anchor "Our Special Ale," which is good in it's own right. Some slight bitterness is noted from the hopping. Maltiness is so subtle and nice. Delicate pine and spruce notes blend in nicely as well. Incredibly drinkable and tasty brew. Beautiful.

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Photo of pat61
4.84/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Have had both on tap and from the 33cl bottle. The aroma is a spice and dried fruit combination that evokes alcohol soaked fruit cake. It pours brilliant deep reddish chestnut under a 2" very white tan foam cap that slowly descends to a thick, lacy film. It enters the palate hinting of cherry that morphs to apricot backed by dark dried fruit (figs or dates but not prune) sweetened by dark sugar flavors with a bitter hop accent on the finish. The soft foamy texture is outstanding and is more apparent in the bottled version than on tap. The carbonation is above average and the body hovers around medium.

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Photo of bark
4/5  rDev -3.1%
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!

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle with a best before end date of 9/18/2008. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a brown/ruby color with a half inch off-white head. It smells like citrus, spices, dark fruit, bread, bananas and pears. It tastes very fruity, like dark fruit, pears and bananas, and also like pepper, cloves and Belgian yeast. Mouthfeel is medium/full, but a bit over-carbonated to me. Drinkability is OK, it's smooth but the high carbonation cuts down on the drinkability. Overall I think this is a decent beer, but I think it would be better if the carbonation was lower. But even then, I'd still drink it again given the chance.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.17/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- a very clear brown with lots of rubyhighlights throughout. OK bubbling, good head and sparse lacing throughand through. ooks more like an English Brown ale than a Belgian.

Smell- Made me think of fruit cake with a shotof brandy to warm the chest and stomach.

Taste- Starts with wet, figgy malts that subside to darker, carmalized fruits with a touch ofsome roast. Brown sugar apple plumspice to finish.

Mouthfeel-You don't se that much carbonation, bout you can feel it. Balanced and easy to drink, especially for 8.5% abv.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

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Photo of claspada
3.85/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aromas of fairly mild dark fruit, burnt caramels, candy sugar and sweet malts. Obvious Belgian yeast smells as well.

The taste is very light roast with a bit of mild dark fruits. There is also some light caramel, cocoa and toffee. Flavors of prunes, raisins and dark cherries. At the end, a moderate hop finish showed itself and cleaned the pallet well.

The mouthfeel is on the dry-side, delightfully round with a alert carbonation while some alcohol reveal itself in that of a warming manner. Smooth and very pleasant to the palate. Mild, but not weak, very simple yet balanced.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a leather couch brown with a tawdry two-finger tan head that left lacing down the glass. A great smell of roasted malts, chocolate and bread along with some spiciness. Smooth, slightly creamy and medium-bodied with a mix of some fruits, both dark and tart, and a great balance w/ some sweet malts (caramel and chocolate mostly). This leads to an easy-going and warming brew (the ABV is hidden well) that has a slightly tart, dry finish to complement the overall sweet, silky texture of the beer as it passes over the tongue. This is a great X-Mas beer, as it is one you can sip on and it warms you up on a cold night.

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Photo of glid02
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this on-tap at the Brick Store in Atlanta.

Pours a dark amber with a two-finger tan head. The head sticks around for quite a while before settling into a pancake on top of the beer. Lacing is decent.

Smells of fruits - mostly light but hints of darker ones - along with mild spices and milder yeast smells.

Tastes good. Light fruit flavors up front that segue into darker fruits and very light spices. There's a nice classic Belgian aftertaste - very sweet but not overly so.

Mouthfeel is very good. Good thickness with a grainy carbonation that does it's job very well. Smooth.

Drinkability is good. I finished this very easily and could've had another.

Overall this is a solid Christmas beer that should be in everyone's rotation.

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Photo of avalon07
4.8/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Poured from a bomber to a tulip glass. Had a dark brown color with ruby red tints. Cloudy consistency. There was a big, off-white, creamy, long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: A fruity, malty, spicy smell. Very aromatic.

T: Tasted of malt, citrus fruits, esters and spices. Remarkably well-balanced with clean lines. Alcohol is barely noticable. An excellent flavor.

M: Lots of carbonation with a very dry finish. Medium- to full-bodied.

D: A drinkable beer if there ever was one. AN extremely well-constructed Belgian Strong Dark Ale that's one of the best I've had in the style.

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Photo of Gusler
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A murky mahogany color on the pour, with a bountiful head that is also frothy in its texture with the residual lace fine sheets to coat the glass. Aroma of raisins, malt and cotton candy sweet, a true pleasure to the nose. Sweetly malt at the front, top is rich and full, and the finish brandy like, pleasantly hopped, pleasing in its acidity and the aftertaste somewhat alcohol bitter with a nice sense of warmth for the tummy on these cold winter nights.

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