X-Mas Zinnebir | Brasserie de la Senne

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X-Mas ZinnebirX-Mas Zinnebir
Very Good
143 Ratings
X-Mas ZinnebirX-Mas Zinnebir

Brewed by:
Brasserie de la Senne

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Risser09 on 12-10-2007

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 143 |  Reviews: 94
Photo of ROGUE16
5/5  rDev +32.6%

Photo of bdbd
5/5  rDev +32.6%

Photo of ccrida
4.8/5  rDev +27.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

At least from Xmas '06, I picked it up in early '07 and didn't get around to it this season until tonight. Poured into my large Gulden Drak tulip, Xmas Zinnebir is a pitch dark ruby with a massive, pillowy tan head that is frustratingly long lasting - this could pass for a RIS! The way it fills the glass just beautiful, even if it's not really leaving much lace (which is probably just my dirty glass anyways). Served at cellar temp.

Smell is soft dried fruits and powdered sugar, a little bit of bubblegum. Extreamly alluring, I just can't get enough.

Taste is very nice and rich rummy malt,not nearly as sweet and fruity as it smells, especially for the first few sips while the palate adjusts to the bitter, astringently dry finish. I really appreciate the depth and esters, this beer is in great shape even if only 1+ year old. I just keep finding myself bumping up the scores as I enjoy this, so much flavor for the size, wow.

Mouthfeel is super smooth, with a medium-light body that is very nice. Wow am I impressed by how well this beer drinks, why have I been putting it off for months??

Drinkability is exceptional, particularly for me because it actually drinks like a BSDA, just as satisfing but not as strong. Damn near perfect, it's just so well executed and approachable, I almost gave it all 5's.

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4.75/5  rDev +26%

Photo of Dbrag
4.75/5  rDev +26%

Photo of philipquarles
4.57/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a de la Senne tulip, X-Mas Zinnebir is much darker than its year-round cousin--a very hazy dark amber with a tall off-white head. Nice retention and lacing; settles to a solid half-finger of foam.

The smell is close to normal Zinnebir, with a lot of citrus esters up front, along with some slightly bready/lightly roasted malt. Hints at gum almost.

The taste is quite different from what I was expecting. Roasted malt comes through first, followed by bitter hops. Some slight chocolate notes and light fruit esters. Really nuanced.

Mouthfeel is quite decent, though slightly overcarbonated for my tastes.

A great beer, as always, from de la Senne.

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Photo of CharlesRiver
4.48/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml corked and capped bottle, similar to the Fantome lineup. I am a little nervous about carbonation due to no pop when un-corked. Once poured, the beer started to come to life with bubbles making their way to the top.

A dark reddish-brown color with a small tan head. Darker than I expected. The smell is caramel, raisins and something metallic. The taste is very smooth. Similar to the smell but with a great hop character ending. I know this beer is only 6.6% alcohol but it is still hidden nicely. As it warms, I also pick up some fig, date and earthy notes.

This is a very unique beer that seems to come to life in your glass. It takes on many shapes but to me, the ending is the best. Read the side of the bottle. Interesting notes about not using sugars or cheap grains. Good to see. I will be on the lookout for their other beers.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
4.43/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a brown mahogony that just barely allows light thru in the thin areas in the glass. Head is pillowy and perfect...a foamy khaki colored mass resting peacefully on top of the brew.

S: Hazelnut, caramel, milk chocolate, a bit of coffee and s'mores.

T: Begins like chocolate milk with an interesting roasted kick to accompany it. There is a definite cream flavor which is working for me. Ever so slight sour twang can be found as well. Some subtle yeast action present and accounted for. Finishes cafe au lait with just a smidgeon of roastedness.

M: Full and creamy. The head really helps the mouthfeel out. Honestly, the best mouthfeel I've sampled in a long while.

D: Talk about a beer that defies classification. Is this a stout? Perhaps a brown ale? Or is it a porter? Belgian Dark ale? I wasn't all that impressed when I first cracked it open, but this one is growing on me. Well balanced to say the least with flavors working very well together. A winner.

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Photo of MsRif
4.42/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at Teresa's Next Door in Wayne, PA. Poured a hazy dark brown color with an off-white head that receded quickly, leaving spotty lacing. Had an aroma of spices, yeast, dark fruits and sweet malts. Tasted of yeast, cinnamon, plums, cherries and sweet malts. Very, very "Belgian."

Medium mouthfeel with light carbonation. I really enjoyed this brew. I prefer it slightly to the regular Zinnebir. I will absolutely get it again if Teresa's still has it on tap during my next visit!

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Photo of GbVDave
4.38/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a DT tulip.

A - Dark, dark brown with a slightly reddish tinge, opaque, almost black. Beautiful, off white, and creamy 2 finger head lingers for a few minutes and then vanishes. Almost no lacing.

S - Herbal hoppiness, tangy apples.

T - Initial pour was bitter, carbonated and slightly bready. As it warmed the carbonation died off and flavors of raisins, plums, and roasted chocolate poked through. Spicy without being "spiced".

M - Sharp at first and then creamy as it warms.

D - Dangerously drinkable. Thank god it's $13.99 a bottle because this is a definately a sessionable beer.

A rare treat well worth seeking out!

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.38/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a somewhat hazy cola brown with a VERY thick, it not overly persistent, light tan head. Aroma is sharp, malty, yeasty and just a little fruity. Flavor is quite strong, being yeasty and malty with an undertone of spice and more than a hint of fruit, mostly apple and pear. Texture is fizzy, tingly and rough, leaving a fruity and slightly bitter aftertaste.

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Photo of cokes
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Mildly obscured ruby crowned with a blanched tan stack.
Splintery applewood and balsa nose, and uric acid,with a backing of crushed pears, grape skins, and wet hemp rope.
Maltiness ensues first, full of yellow apples and green pears and red grapes. It migrates towards hard biscuits and dry toffee, but only for a moment, as wooden hues immediately gather. Maple, oak, and driftwood, sandy and beached. Some burlap sack, bretty funk then a gentle graphite astringency, with dashes of sweet vanilla. And there is a moment or two of near lager briskness. It concludes with an ongoing chicory and crushed leaf hop bitterness and a minor rose vinic tang.
Medium bodied with a rushing carbonation upfront, that quells to a gentle sizzle with time.
Generally in the Biere de Garde style, this is positively poundable. If not for the price ($13/750mL) this is a near perfect session. As it is, one bottle is nowhere near enough. And seemingly, neither is one wallet.

Plus you gotta love the homedrawn label of two (presumably) drunken cows imbibing in front of hay pile containing a wailing and neglected and naked baby, (presumably) Jesus. That's the type of shit that gets Family Services called and Pat Robertson red in the face.
Is this the Anti-trappist, then?

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Photo of emerge077
4.32/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clever label, nice looking bottle.

Pours a deep reddish brown. Two fingers of foam rise and fall in the Moinette chalice. Skim of foam uncannily resembles the continent Antarctica...hmm.

Smell is light, fruity, and pleasant. Predominant notes of green apple and pear.
A dark, bready malt hides in the background.

Taste is alot like the aroma, sliced green apple, pear, malty with an interesting Belgian yeast character. It's fairly simple, but pretty tasty, similar to a Dubbel. Alcohol is present more as it warms, but it's well integrated.

Mouthfeel is medium, tiny bubbles of carbonation make it smooth one, with a fairly dry finish. A fairly easy sipper, but maybe one to try once a year, due to the pricetag.

Label notes: The name Zinnebir is a play on the term "zinneke" - Brussels slang for "little bastards", referring to those young men living in the poor quarters of Brussels (where the Zinne river once flowed) who have one Flemish-speaking & one French-speaking parent. The brewer Bernard Leboucq identifies strongly with the "little bastards": he is French-speaking Bruxellois, now brewing in rough Flemish farm country.

 1,154 characters

Photo of wl0307
4.32/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Coming in a 330ml slim brown bottle, BB Nov. 07. Served lightly chilled in a broad-rimmed chalice.

A: pours a slightly hazy, copper-ish colour with dark-brown hints; thin, foamy beer head with good retention and a gentle bubbly body.
S: the strong scent of sweetened dried orange-rind and perfumy green apple-ish fruit-esters dominate the nose from the beginning, gradually dissipating to mingle with the maltiness; gradually a deeper, sweet candy-sugary note and profound caramel malts come through, backed by delicious treacle, preserved black-berry+raisins, plenty of juicy fruity+grassy hops firmly in the background. The nose is very different from a standard Belgian dark ale, with a richer fruity hop edge which is, IMO, more common to English ales--actually it gives an impression of well-hopped and malty ESB!! I might be over-joyed to think so~~
T: very light-bodied dark+caramel+chocolate(?) maltiness leading towards colourful flavour of dryish-treacles and caramelised brown sugar, light dark-chocolates, light aftertaste of ripe black-plums, dates and slightly herbal bitter hoppyness and a "settled", licorice and woody aftertaste... Chewy malty overtone, but very lightly-textured with a lively and slightly dry, lingering bitter taste.
M&D: surprisingly light and lively on the mouthfeel, as opposed to the aroma and the colourful flavour; the hoppyness on the palate is not so prominent as the nose, but leaves a quite clean and aromatic hoppy overtone in the mouth. Pretty soul-lifting for a X'mas beer, this is not as strong and heavy as many of its counterparts, but perhaps more quaffable and different.

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Photo of Hhawk06
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one poured brown-to-deep amber in color, with lighter coloring toward the base of the glass. The head is soft and creamy with an off-white tint. Stong aromas involving clove, brandy, and the trademark soft cask-like notes due to the cork. Its a fairly thick body that is mostly steered by a malty smoothness that steadies the beer. Its peppery, raisiny, with a little bit of black licorice. The cask effect lingers and punctuates itself more in the finish. The aftertaste ties up with brandy notes, maybe a bit of dried plum, and a tobacco-like stickiness. This is very good and very drinkable.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.27/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks more like an effervescant stout than a Belgian dark I like it though. Good, light beige head with some mediocre lacing. The aroma was of dark, spiced bread and that hinted at creamy coffe and caramel. The first sip had crewamy chocolate, coffee, caramel, cooked black currants, and pumpernickel bread. Very pleasant taste. Smooth, creamy, velvety body that can be sipped and gulped and still enjoy its vast array of flavors.

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Photo of dcisco44
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%

Photo of samEBC
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%

Photo of GClarkage
4.23/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

06/30/07- Purchased at CVS Pharmacy in Billings, MT.

Presentation- 750ml bottle with no visable freshness info. Poured into my Duvel glass.

Appearance- Dark brown, maybe a bit a red in the mix. Mahogoney? Head is about 1/2 inch on the pour. A decent sized ring remains. Light patchy lace is left behind.

Smell- Not a huge nose, but what is there is nice. Light dusting of clove with some dark fruits and maybe a bit of dark chocolate.

Taste- Mixture of the nose. More spicy notes than anything. Clove and maybe even a light cinnimon taste combines with some raisins and maybe plums. Chocolate is there, but hidden behind the spicy flavor. A nice sweetness forms as the beer warms to room temp.

Mouthfeel- About perfect carbonation with a light slick sweet taste remaining on the tongue.

Drinkability- A better than expected find from Billings...in a pharmacy of all places. Has a really nice flavor and sweetness from a lower abv brew. Pretty impressed with this Belgian Dark.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.23/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fairly well carbonated, with only a touch of work I easily get a four-finger thick, amber to dark tan colored pillow of froth sitting atop a deeply burnt, amber colored brew (not quite black, but close enough). Surprisingly when I hold the beer up to the light I can see right through it; The light shows a brilliantly clear, and I mean brilliantly clear, deep ruby hue that is absolutely gorgeous. the head leaves lots of lacing as it slowly subsides and even forms a varied, interesting surface with lots of elevation change. The aroma has a nice burnt note to it, but the fruitiness is the first thing that I notice; notes of concentrated plums, raisins and even a touch of tart apple notes are the most noticeable fruit aromatics. The roast character brings a sharpness to the aroma as well as carrying a rich malt character. Aromatics reminiscent of well toasted whole grain bread, touches of dark chocolate, dusty burnt grain husks and something like toasted, crushed soda cracker dust. Touches of liquorice, aromas of cloves, hints of toasted allspice add a spicy component to the nose. The aroma is quite nice and I really like how no one component is dominant; each of my three groupings (fruit, malt & spice) add a noticeable, but well integrated component to the aroma.

Served cool (about 58°F / 14°C), the beer has a soft creaminess to it that is contributed by the residual malt sugars. The sweet malt notes add a touch of body to what is most definitely an easy drinking brew. The sweetness accentuates some notes of raisins and concentrated plum, but compared to the aroma these have lost their intensity and focus. Instead the apple notes (both sweet & tart varieties) as well as fresh, ripe, slightly tart plum notes and even a hint of some concord grape flavors. The fruitiness definitely has a roasted, slightly burnt edge to it and the finish even has slight drying effect with the soft, modestly astringent burnt malt character. This has a really nice malty middle to it; flavors of toasted grain, deeply caramelized / slightly burnt malt sugars, The burnt fruit notes, the toasty malt and the smooth roast character make me think they used some Special B malt here. Spicy notes of clove, cardamom, and cola form a subtle backdrop to the more dominant characteristics already mentioned.

A very tasty beer; this is full flavored, yet not overwhelming. Once again I have been quite impressed by the, now, three beers that I have had from this brewer. I'll definitely make sure I pick up the other brews from these guys as I can. I really dig how light and easy drinking this beer is; this makes it quite a bit easier to finish a whole 750ml bottle on my own. Of course it doesn't hurt that I am really enjoying this beer too, but at least I won't be completely useless after finishing this brew. Looking at some other reviews of this beer I get the feeling that a bit of age has done a lot for this beer.

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Photo of adamette
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle which is the second of 5 "Christmas in Belgium" beers that I will taste and rate. The package was $25 making each beer $5 on average. Purchased at Chuck's Fine Wines in Chagrin Falls. Poured into my Great Lakes Christmas Goblet.

A Deep Amberish brown, much like the color of the bottle that it was poured from with a nice generous but short lived head...it lasted about 90 seconds.. No visible lacing.

S Medium to dark malt smell but not much else. Maybe some grains, dark fruits.

T Surprisingly complex with some hops tastes like I usually do not get in Belgians. These hops are well balanced by a big malt profile though. I get horse blanket barley and grains.

M A big beer with some syrupy stickiness, interesting and good. I am not sure that I would call this a Pale Ale because the mouthfeel is more like a Dark Ale.

D Good. Again, because it is not easy to find and is $5 for 11.2 ounces I am not sure that I will be seeking this one out (and if I do I may not see it again!) so that drives the drinkability down for me but on its own merit it is interesting and challenging and ultimately that always helps the drinkability.

Notes: I love the label on this beer. I do not think that the one pictured here does it justice. It is a modern art image which reminds me of La Guernica by Picasso.

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Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.17/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Publick House in Brookline in a goblet.

A: Certainly not a pale ale but it must be mismarked on BA cause it wasn't advertised to me as such. Pours a dark brown but not impenetrable by light. One finger tan foam with medium retention and foamy lacing.

S: Certainly not an overpowering smell- smells faintly of yeast and dark malt.

T: Full dark malty flavor with chocolate notes and a bit of yeast. A very rounded finish but has a nice lasting flavor.

M: Interesting mouthfeel- almost like an Irish stout in that it's slightly carbonated and very slick with no hop bitterness.

Certainly an interesting brew- not one I've seen before- good to try but I won't actively seek it out again.

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Photo of rtepiak
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pour takes me more as a brune if anything. solid amber with an off white head. the bartender a fan of the brewery said was it was just malt and hops make all those aromas. great nose. coriander, orangepeel, beligan sugar equally blended with malt. palate is peppery to my surprise. with a nice malt character. nice caramel, nougat quality. very broad and easy to drink. with a nice board palate but a light fluffy body. great beer.

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Photo of aleyeast
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a large goblet

Deep full brown with some slight red highlights, tan thin head, but it holds.

Candied fruit smell, maybe light raisins

Falvor is similiar with hints of chocolate, very balanced, no noticeable hops and any spices are quite subdued and integrated. Some thin chocolate flavors on the finish.

Very drinkable and balanced, well done

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X-Mas Zinnebir from Brasserie de la Senne
Beer rating: 3.77 out of 5 with 143 ratings