X-Mas Zinnebir | Brasserie de la Senne

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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

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Reviews: 94 | Ratings: 142
Photo of ToasterChef
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from my notes. Served at Novare Res as part of their bottle room clearance sale. It's a brown and ruby colored beer that looks dark and opaque. A small tan head sits atop the liquid. Many interesting scents in the aroma, such as plum, chocolate, rum raisin and an overarching mild sweetness. The flavor is malty. I can taste cherry juice and a little bit of alcohol. The finish seems to be slightly acidic. It isn't spiced, nor is it overly warming; I don't feel as though this beer needs to be a winter seasonal. It has a body that straddles the line between medium and light. As a swish it around my mouth, it foams up greatly. There is a small slick coat left behind. It's a pretty drinkable beer with nothing offensive about it, but after awhile I'd need to order something hoppier. Still, worth trying a bottle if you get a chance.

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Photo of Shakujin
3.92/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle at Delirium Cafe Reserve in Akasaka, Tokyo

Appearance: Black with some light brown highlights.

Aroma: Strong semi sweet chocolate and coffee.

Taste: A lot more flavor than I was expecting from this guy. Taste is less on the sweet side and more on the coffee chocolate side. Those flavors come in first followed by some citrus(?) hop flavors and a substantial bitterness in the back. Hit me as a cross between dry stout and an American pale ale, something like that.

Mouthfeel: Light-Medium.

Drinkablitiy/Overall: Much different from what I was expecting from the Xmas label. Could see myself having a few, especially with the flavor packed into the small package. Could do some interesting desert pairings, or perhaps some well grilled veggies, match the burt flavors with the grilling and the hops with the tanginess of the veggies.

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Photo of rtepiak
4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
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 glid02
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased from Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours a hazy dark amber color with a two-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of lightly toasted malts with hints of light molasses and loads of spices that are almost tea-like. As the beer warms the aroma sweetens a bit and hints of plums waft out.

Tastes similar to how it smells, although not as smooth. Lightly toasted caramel malt flavors with mild amounts of toffee kick things off. Overripe dark fruit flavors join in midway through the sip along with hints of nutmeg. The fruit flavors carry through to a slightly muddled ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is OK. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass however I'm not sure about another.

Overall it's been a few months since Christmas and while I'd hoped this one hadn't turned over too much I have to think that it has. Still not a bad beer but not worth seeking out.

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Photo of melitameister
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Rich brandy color with some cloud from the bottom dwelling yeast which I pour cause I like it in my drink.
S - complex and balanced with some spice (clove, alspice), malt, candy sugar, hint of fruit (cherry, pineapple) and hello from the happy little yeasties.
T - Burnt maple sugar, lemon, vanilla, brandy, leaving with a fine hops bitter nicely balanced with the malt, fruit and spice. Long with lots going on.
M - Creamy and rich
D - With a name like X-Mas Zinnebir, who would think this was not all that dark, not cloyingly sweet, just a fine tasty concoction. Hope I can find more.

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Photo of ThaCreep
2.93/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Brownish color, like dark caramel. Aromas of red and black fruits and caramel quickly transplanted by the power of spices and spice that occupy central places in this beer. The yeast is also present in the nose but also spicy. The body is just as much and it tastes a little taste of hops. Unfortunately, the spicy side, which is far from being transcendent, is rapidly taking over the rest goes up and spread in the aftertaste and leave a bad trace.

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Photo of tempest
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle for $3.75 from Abe's Cold Beer. Poured a clear, brown with a light tan head. This isn't much like most winter-styles, there's a bit of corriander flavor (maybe some nutmeg), but this is mostly a hoppy Belgian brown ale that finishes with a big bitter kick that's a mix of dry chocolate and orange peel. The main flavor tastes like caramel with toasted bread crush and a hint of sweet chocolate. Overall a mix of bitter candy malt flavors. Interesting, but not amazing. Certainly worth a try.

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Photo of abrand
3.43/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11 ounce bottle poured into the Leffe oversized winer. Very artsy, contemporary artwork on the label.

The X-Mas Zinnebir pours a cola brown with a off - white 2 finger head that fizzles down and leaves some pretty lacing on the sides. Aromas is sweet and musky. Some subtle notes of caremel and chocolate. Quaff is apples, malts, with a dry champagne finish. Most definitely a very unique tasting Belgian ale. Mouthfeel is dry and bubbly. Drinkability is mediocre with most of this coming from the uniqueness of the pour and quaff. I can't describe a similar tasting beer that I have tried and at 4 bucks a bottle little too steep to make it very drinkable.

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Photo of albern
3.38/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'm not sold on this beer. It has too many off spicy flavors, and not enough sweet Belgian malts and yeastiness to warrant a strong rating. The beer looks decent with an dark amber, slightly mahogany color. The head has a bit of lace and some retention to it. There is some sediment in the beer but it is mostly clear. The nose on the beer is caramel malts, some phenols, spicy yeast, a touch of ABV.

The taste is better once things settle. The beer has a spicy grass flavor, some spicy yeastiness, lots of slightly boozy caramel malts, some sweeter malts hidden behind some booze soaked florals. The beer is a tad rough around the edges with a touch of chocolate and a touch of sourishness here and there. This is an okay beer, nothing to rave about, and certainly not festive enough to make it a standout holiday beer.

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Photo of bmwats
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 33 cl bottle into my Duvel sn-ulip.

A: Medium-dark, but "thinning" body. Slight foamy, off-white, head. Settles, but still leaves some pocky bubbly carbonation on the surface. Some spiderweb lacing stays behind as you drink.

S: Roasted malt, coffee, and a little clove and oregano. A little woody. Kinda has a sweet iced-tea tone.

T: Really pale, bitter, pungent malt. A little peaty. A little Italian spice flavor.

M: Light and full-flavored. Really bitter aftertaste remains, and dry finish.

D: Because of the bitterness, hard to do anything but sip this one.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Really strong appearance, and a full complex nose. Flavor is less complex than the nose gives off, but is really "formidable". This beer makes sure you're paying attention. Overall, this is a really good quaff.

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Photo of BTPete
3.28/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle to tulip. Bottle received in Mahar's Advent beers.

A: Dark brown with big 1 inch head. Surprised this is considered a belgian pale all around.

S: Sweet and malty. I'm getting a little odd soapiness which might be the yeast.

T: Sweet up front with some hop bitterness at the end. Balanced. Tasted better than smelled in my opinion.

M: Medium bodied, active, course in my mouth.

D: Although not in love, I like this beer and could have another.

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Photo of kaseydad
3.64/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Snifter pour and am met with a dirty brown ale and a two-finger beige head with nice staying power.

Fruity aroma with whiffs of toffee and slight coffee characters.

I am still looking for the fruity flavor! Malty, yeasty, smoky and bitter are what I am finding. Interesting beer as you look for sweet and get almost none of it. There is a bitterness kick on the buds after each sip. I just picked up an almost tobacco taste in there as well.

Dry mouthfeel.

Not real high on the drinkability as putting the snifter to rest was difficult due to the complexity of the beer.

Definitely a different take on the Belgian Pale Ale. Worth a try if you can find it.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.38/5  rDev +16.5%
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 rhoadsrage
3.15/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(Served in a stemmed strange)
A- During the pour a loud fizzy head soon disappears leaving the dense but clear dark ice tea colored body on its own. There are tiny strands of carbonation trailing to the surface.
S- The yeasty aroma has some prune hints and a softer clove spice note in the finish.
T- This beer has a soft clean flavor with some dried fruit notes with a mineral water taste that turns medicinal when it warms. There is bitter bite at the finish that is not distinctly hops.
M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with no alcohol heat.
D- This beer is a bit thin with the spice and fruit characteristics being pretty light with not much malt underneath.

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Photo of popery
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice, simple Belgian-style ale. The beer pours a dusky copper with a big, frothy head. There's a lot of fruit, caramel, raisins, dough and floral hops in the aroma. The flavor is lightly sweet with a bit of hop bite in the finish, but it's mostly an exercise in Belgian yeast and malt. It's a good but somewhat simple Belgian. The mouthfeel could be fuller. That said, it's not bad for the abv. The beer generally packs more than most of comparable size, and that's always a good thing.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown color with ruby tints and a large off white head that lingers pretty well and leaves good lacing.

Nose is full of belgian yeast, and some typical BSDAish caramely, candyish malt profile, yet not quad buttery or anything.

Hmm. A very interesting and traditional beer. After seeing this, and now tasting it, I do have to say i don't see how this got classified as belgian pale ale and not belgian dark ale. A nice spicy malt profile is evident, with notes of anise and licorice. There is slight hop bitterness, but really nothing to speak of. A great noel style beer, and one you can actually drink alot of.

Mouthfeel is right where it should be, nice carbonation and moderate viscosity. Pretty slick on the palate but there is a touch of dryness on the finish.

Drinkability is pretty strong. Alot of flavor for the abv and lighter mouthfeel.

Overall a very pleasant belgian noel brew. One with good traditional belgian xmas flavor, that is also somewhat sessionable. Really packs alot of flavor for a mere 6.6% without getting to heavy on the palate. I like it, and will be sure to give other beers from this brewery a shot.

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Photo of tmoneyba
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Belmont Party.

Poured hazy brown color with an average frothy off-white head that mostly lasted with good lacing. Moderate yeast, spice and malty aroma. Medium body with a dry texture and soft carbonation. Medium roasted sweet flavor with a medium bittersweet finish of moderate duration.

Good complex brew.

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Photo of Nick3
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer poured into my St. Bernardus chalice. Forms a nice off-white 2 cm head. Some lacing and a beautiful burnt orange color. Nose is pretty non-existent but what I can detect is pleasant and it's floral and citrus with some lemon. Taste is mild and pleasant, a little more malt than I expected up-front but rounded off quickly by the hops and then a wee bit of a bite in the finish. Easy to drink but not the greatest of this style. Not sure about the Christmas tie in on this one but I didn't let that influence my review.

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Photo of benmiliron
2.06/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

This came in a 5-pack xmas sampler from my sister in law. Coppery deep brown. Smell is cinnamon (?) & some belgian yeasties. Taste is astringent and sharp. Dusty. Mouthfeel is watery but peppery alcohol and a lot of fizz. Not enjoyable at all. Throw it all together and you've got a pretty shitty brew here. I've never had much luck with the xmas packs from overseas. This could be skunked out.

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Photo of adamette
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
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 brewdlyhooked13
2.01/5  rDev -46.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Appearance - pours a hazy caramel amber. It doesn't take but a little encouragement on the pour to whip up two full fingers of bubbly froth. It doesn't stick around, and plain doesn't stick much either. The color is good though, a warm kind of color on this cold wintry evening.

Aroma - a playful fruitiness initially, turns markedly astringent as it sets up. Maybe a hint of grain, but not much here to tempt me.

Taste - some mild grain, just a touch of sweet, then turning harshly bitter and astringent. After reading some reviews, I'm leaning toward the opinion that this beer has a slight to moderate infection, but with Belgians I can't be sure sometimes. While I taste the suggestions of decent flavor, the harsh bitterness is running too rampant to be enjoyable. With some warming I can pick up hints of the yeast, which is a welcome addition to the fray, but I'm mostly not liking this.

Mouthfeel - very carbonated but not a gusher. Very crisp as a result. Average body, too bad there wasn't much flavor to accentuate.

Drinkability - I got through about a third, maybe half of this then gave up. If I see it again, I'll try to get a fresher sample.

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Photo of Kraken
3/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes,
Enjoyed with family on Christmas day. Poured from a capped 750ml bottle into Fin Du Monde Tulip glass. Light and careful pour conjures one finger of sticky white head. Head recedes quickly but leaves behind a copious lace. Color is a slightly cloudy brown.

Nose- Cider-esque elements. Perhaps some mild finishing hops, notes of caramel. Nothing overly complex.

Palate- Very light and pleasant. Mild caramel, and some faint nuttiness. Finishes nicely, plenty of bittering hops, mildly astringent. Woody elements. Long dry finish. Slightly tart. Alcohol is well hidden.

Mouthfeel- Dry and slightly tart.

Drinkability- fair.

I was very excited to try this on Christmas day. However this was not up to expectations. I found it to be fairly thin and simple, the label may in fact be the best part.

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Photo of jdhilt
2.9/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours a three finger cream head that fades slowly to a ring leaving some lace. Cloudy amber color, yeast left in bottom of bottle. Slight spicy nose. Light-medium carbonation and light-medium bodied. Flavor is a spicy caramel, some hops at finish. Better choice is Ridgeway's Pickled Santa for price and flavor. Pricey at $7.22 for a 330ml bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

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Photo of chrisafari
3.46/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aroma: Bubblegum, plums, slight molasses.

Pours: dark brown with a purplish tint, lacy thin white head. Clear.

Taste: Begins smooth with semi-sweet plums and the finish is dry with roasted malt and hint of hops.

Mouthfeel: pretty light with heavy carbonation, really jumps off the tongue. No lacing forming on the glass.

Drinkability: medium to medium-low.

Overall: pretty enjoyable but nothing that blows your socks off.

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Photo of biegaman
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pecan shell with a splash of grenadine, this Christmas beer shines quite resplendently when held to the light. Straight on inspection observes darker tones but it is never without some lighter accenting, especially on the bottom end. The head is ivory white and maintains its stranglehold around the perimeter. The whole thing appears to be quite sumptuous.

The aroma reveals this beer to have a rich side. Your sense of smell is treated to a mix plate of hearty wintertime desserts: candied fruits, butterscotch pecan pie and in particular, figgy pudding. I like these scents any time of year but especially with that hint of spice they seem aptly appropriate for a Christmas themed winter seasonal.

In an attempt to outdo the aroma, its flavour offers boxes full of full-bodied tastes. Notes of wood and nuts combine with sticky, rum-raisin malts. The spices are very forward and mix with a bunch of flavours that include tart mandarins, hints of ginger root, herbal hops, browned sugar, black pepper and cinnamon doused apple skins.

There is the sensation of a strongly steeped herbal tea that lingers astringently after each sip. Esters of dry, tart, heavily bruised fruits, foremost of which is ripe plum and dried plumes along with an undertone of dark grapes. This actually tastes an awful lot like a plum wine.

There seems to be a slight presence of ethanol that thins out the feel considerably. This seems odd for a beer of only 6.5% that has been sitting for a full year already; I think it could be exaggerated by the yeast spice. Either way, the beer certainly has a notable mouthfeel, albeit not the most soothing one. It soaks up all flavour with its exceeding dryness.

I thought X-Mas Zinnebir had a perplexing amount of flavour, but still nothing about the beer was as mind-bending as the label. Disconcerting drawings aside, I was quite pleased with this Brasserie De La Senne offering. Like their other beers, this is one I'd be happy to have again.

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X-Mas Zinnebir from Brasserie de la Senne
3.76 out of 5 based on 142 ratings.
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