Christmas Ale
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Christmas AleChristmas Ale
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Quadrupel (Quad)
Ranked #11
ABV:
10%
Score:
94
Ranked #1,223
Avg:
4.24 | pDev: 8.96%
Reviews:
787
Ratings:
2,388
From:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
 
Belgium
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  200
Gots
  510
SCORE
94
Outstanding
Christmas AleChristmas Ale
Notes:
Reviews: 787 | Ratings: 2,388 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of PaulGutterman
PaulGutterman from Michigan

3.81/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance- Coca Cola with a medium-thick head.
Aroma- sweaty funk and red wine
Mouthfeel- Silky and medium-full to full body, backed up by moderate to full-strength carbonation, and moderate acid
Flavor-Rich/intense red wine with spices, a little madieraized (oxidized), dry overall, followed by a metallic finish.

Jun 28, 2020
Photo of CTHomer
CTHomer from Connecticut

3.94/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: slight haze; brownish garnet in color; less than a 1 finger tan head that receded to a splotchy cap; very little lacing;

S: spicy yeast, red wine, dark fruit, ginger, and floral;

T: at the start, it reminded me of the gum in Topps baseball cards; from the middle through the finish, it's slightly spicy cherry juice; mild bitterness in the aftertaste;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation; dry finish; hides the ABV really well;

O: flavor was good; aroma was better; lack of any significant head was a disappointment;

Apr 21, 2020
Photo of Kolb
Kolb from Montana

4.44/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful aroma of raisins, figs, nutmeg, cola, pepper, booze, malt. Big fluffy head. Decent level of alcohol heat in the taste along with wonderful jammy dark fruit and peppery spice. Light chocolate, a hint of tartness, red grapes, brown sugar. Finishes dry with a spicy aftertaste. A wonderful beer.

Apr 06, 2020
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stortore from Illinois

4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle into a goblet. 2018 edition, had 3/22/19.

Pours a beautiful ruby color, somewhat opaque, with a one and a half inch foamy head on a very careful pour, with great retention and a good amount of foamy lacing. Aromas of grapes, plums, cola, toffee, a little black pepper, light spices- coriander, clove. Flavors of grapes, malt, caramel, plums, some dates, a little cola, light spices- again, coriander, cloves. Smooth, a solid medium to full body, well carbonated on the high side.

The spices are subtle but effective. It’s not as good as Abt 12, but it’s really solid and enjoyable. Well worth a purchase.

Mar 13, 2020
Photo of Gajo74
Gajo74 from New York

4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Coming out of bottle, a clear brown color that looks much darker in the glass. A large and well retaining foamy tan head rises to the top, yielding lacing throughout.

A pleasant aroma evokes Christmas spices as well as typical attributes of the Belgian Quad style. Aromas of dark fruit, particularly plums, red grape and raisins stand out, as well as cherry. Aromas of biscuity amber malts are supported by holiday like spices such as brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Interestingmy, there is a light tartness that reminds me of key lime pie.

The taste opens by highlighting rich, toasty and biscuity amber malts that provide a moderate sweetness balanced by a dry finish. There are bright notes of dark fruit such as cherry, raisins, plum, prune, and red grape, the latter of which provides a light vinous tartness. Adding to the complexity, there are flavors of Christmas spices, light peppery phenols, cola, bubblegum, hint of chocolate, amber candi sugar, and a touch of earthy hops that provide a gentle bitterness. The alcohol is amazingly hidden, clean and not particularly spicy or warming.

Medium to full bodied, however, feels light on its feet. The carbonation is lively while the mouthfeel is smooth. The balance is really nice, especially as the complexity of flavors come together real nicely as the drink warms.

I was really impressed with this as it has similar qualities to ABT 12, of which I’m a fan of, with just the right amount of seasonal spices to make it interesting. Easy to drink to boot.

Jan 17, 2020
Photo of rex_4539
rex_4539 from Greece

3.25/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

L: Dark brown color, massive five finger tan colored head, messy lacing, good carbonation. Looks horrendous.

S: Alcohol, belgian yeast, spices. Very boozy aroma.

T: Extremely boozy, Belgian yeast, spices. Nice but this alcohol ruins it.

F: Medium bodied, nicely flavored, hard to drink due to high ABV.

O: Disappointed. It's not a bad beer but nothing I want to drink again.

Jan 13, 2020
Photo of Riff
Riff from Virginia

3.94/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with about a finger of fluffy, off-white head. Smell is sweet malts, spices. Taste is dark fruit, spices, some caramel, bit of cherry, hint of bitterness that seems more to emphasize the sweet. Not that this is overly sweet. Moderately carbonated, easy drinker. This one certainly needs time to warm but that's well worth it. Nice holiday seasonal with flavors that nicely match the season and would pair well with most holiday meals.

Jan 11, 2020
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Franziskaner from Missouri

4.01/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown in color with little penetration to light. There’s a fingernail of brown around half of the rim and covering over half of the top. The aroma is of caramel, figs, dates, and dark malt.
I’m tasting caramel, dates, raisins, juniper ,and dark candy sugar. The mouth is crisp, moderately carbonated, and yet deceptively drinkable for the ABV.

Jan 04, 2020
Photo of MNAle
MNAle from Minnesota

4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Aroma is not too strong, but has the expected fruit / plums, sweet malts, and spice.

The color is dark coffee brown from the front, and a clear ruby red with a backlight. The backlight reveals fine carbonation bubbles rising to a thick, creamy light tan head, with regions of darker tan throughout. Decent retention, leaving streaks and sheets of lacing and a mounded top.

Mouth feel is moderate, perhaps thinner than expected for a beer this robust, smooth with a bit of carbonation feel.

Taste is plums, apple, spices, caramel, with a very slight bitterness in the middle which fades rapidly into the finish. Extremely easy drinking, belying its 10% ABV. Nice semi-sweet malt contribution, although the finish moves a bit toward the dry side. The aftertaste is a pleasant lingering of the various flavors. The finish remains semi-sweet, semi-dry.

Overall, a very nice Christmas seasonal, easy drinking (leading to easy zonking, given the ABV), excellent flavors, enjoyable finish. Great for sipping on a cold, snowy night, but too easy-drinking to actually hold off for the sipping part!

Jan 01, 2020
Photo of defunksta
defunksta from Illinois

3.89/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, nearly black color with a massive, Belgian light tan head that cakes the side of the glass as you drink it. SRM of 22-23. (4.50)

Aroma: Strong aromas of sweet bubblegum and Belgian yeast. Dissected it's brown sugar, cherry, and spices underneath Belgian Yeast. (4.00)

Flavor: Flavor follows the nose. More bubblegum, A strong lemon/lime and apple flavor in the middle as the beer warms. Some Belgian spice, and orange. Then some syrupy caramel, cherry sweetness, and licorice.. Lots of Belgian flavors and finishes sweet. Some chesnuts? I don't think so. Strong alcohol detectable. (3.75)

Feel: Medium-bodied. Strong carbonation, but not crisp. Still smooth, heavy, and sweet. It's sweet, but nice and aerated. (4.25)

Overall: A well-crafted Belgian beer. Nice spices and dark cherry fruit characteristics. The body is nearly perfectly Belgian as expected. Overall, it's sweeter, heavier, and the higher alcohol doesn't afford any beer flavors. Meaning the Belgian flavors could be appreciated at much lower ABV and sweetness. A good beer, but a little overdone and too sweet for my liking. (Final Rating: 3.89)

Jan 01, 2020
Photo of Lucular
Lucular from Maryland

4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

5 oz pour on tap (2018 edition). Very similar to St. Bernardus 12 but with added spices that blend harmoniously with the base beer. That could be due to the year of aging...hopefully I'll drink a fresh version in the future to confirm.

Dec 31, 2019
Photo of branham1989
branham1989 from Texas

4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV’s Christmas Ale 10% ABV. This Belgian Quad pours a deep dark brown with a thick deep tan colored head that dissipates rather quickly leaving very little lacing on the glass. The aroma is of boozy caramel and molasses chocolate licorice along with dark fruits like raisins plums dates and cherries. The flavor is of dark roasted bready malts along with marzipan orange marmalade caramel spicy Belgian yeast with hints of dates and raisins. The mouthfeel is a bit thin for my liking and I wanted more Christmas flavors like spices in my opinion this beer was just okay nothing overly special. 6/10

Dec 27, 2019
Photo of Anders91
Anders91 from California

4.99/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: wonderful dark brown

Smell: looks of spices, a very well seasoned beer

Taste: a special beer. Although Abt 12 is better overall I appreciate the Christmasy spices and sweet tastes.

Feel: luxuriously smooth.

Dec 26, 2019
Photo of jadpsu
jadpsu from Georgia

3.96/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

LOOK: Pours a very dark brown. Pours a major head that is a deep tan in color but it dissipates very quickly.
AROMA: Boozy! Caramel and molasses, chocolate licorice. Sweet dark fruits. I have a preference that beer not smell like booze, but will give credit for multiple aromas that this beer provides
TASTE: More dark fruits, raisins, cherries cinnamon and whiskey.
The 10% ABV is not masked at all. This is more of a cordial for me.

Dec 26, 2019
Photo of DIM
DIM from Pennsylvania

4.24/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

It's been far too long since I've had the original and this is my first time trying the holiday edition. A lot of what I remember loving about the original is here, rich raisin and fig, toffee, and minimal heat. There is a musty, spice note that I find a bit distracting. Otherwise though, this is as top-notch as expected.

Dec 25, 2019
Photo of andypeters1971
andypeters1971 from Georgia

4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The king of Christmas ales. Spicy but not overtly so. Syrupy but not cloyingly so. It's what you are looking for in a Christmas ale and will not leave you wanting

Dec 23, 2019
Photo of ASKasten
ASKasten

4.19/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

At first I judged the Ale by it’s cover. Gimmicky with the Saint in a Santa hat on a green label outlined in red all surrounding a basic bottleneck. However, the taste was above average. Not bitter, but slightly hoppy with a sweetness.

Dec 22, 2019
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas from Louisiana

3.73/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Currently #65 on the best Belgian Beers list and #12 on the best Belgian Quadrupel style beers list.

BOTTLE: Best before: 13 07 23. Brown glass with a Christmasy red and green label. Green pry-off crown cap. 11.2 fl oz format. A single bottle ran me $5.19 USD plus tax at Martin Wine Cellar in Metairie, Louisiana.

"Abbey ale." 10% ABV. "Christmas ale." (The designation of quadrupel does not appear on the label, though the specialtybeer.com website listed on the label confirms as it such and indicates this is brewed with St Bernardus' house yeast).

Served chilled into a goblet.

APPEARANCE: Fills 85% of my goblet, slowly yielding a dark copper-brown body that's actually transparent. Head retention is excellent for a 10% ABV ale - ~10+ minutes. Head is off-white and soft but light and fluffy. Leaves coating lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

AROMA: Caramel, marzipan, molasses, dark malt sweetness, spicy Belgian yeast, subdued apricot, baked bread, date, sage, clove.

While the aroma is light for a 10% ABV overall, it's more emphatic of Belgian spice than it is of the dark fruits normally featured in the style. I don't get any fig, prune, cherry, or plum, which is quite a change from Trappist quadrupels and most imitations of the style from non-Benelux countries.

Aromatic intensity is extremely low; this is very timid considering its ABV. Suggests a beer rife with complexity and subtlety that drinks strangely easily for its high ABV.

TASTE & TEXTURE: As soft and delicate as can be, yet perfectly carbonated and full-bodied enough to support its many flavours. Smooth, wet, coating, slightly thick in spite of how light it is.

Marzipan and spice are present up front. A hint of orange marmalade. Caramel. Bready malts. Spicy Belgian yeast. Allspice, clove. Hints of dark fruit (mainly dates and raisin). Faint apricot. The glow of orange and marzipan are what seem to make this Christmasy when coupled with the Belgian spice and reticent herb. Alcohol warmth is there but welcome.

Some may find it a biteen thin.

OVERALL: Rather drinkable considering its high ABV, but not up there with true Trappist executions of the style in my view. It's ludicrously easy to down for a 10% ABV ale, but it doesn't have the intricacy, depth of flavour, or subtlety of something like Westvleteren 12 - even if it does nail the soft delicate mouthfeel. A treasure of a Belgian ale, no doubt, and St. Bernardus' house yeast works wonders here, but if we're picking nits it doesn't compare to the best beers in the style (including St. Bernardus' own Abt 12).

High B (3.73) / GOOD

Dec 15, 2019
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VoxRationis from New York

4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Decanted from an 11.2 oz (330 ml) bottle into a snifter glass; best by 07/13/23.
A: Pours a cloudy, dark copper to brown color with ochre highlights and very, very lively head formation leaving an initially two to three, fluffy, light wheat colored head (half a finger or so), strong retention and solid, whole glass lacing.
S: Tangy/tart. Initial aromas of cherry (at least some kind of berry) and a whiff of lactic acid, with caramel, cinnamon, and cookie emerging.
T: More semisweet than semidry with caramel/molasses, toffee, fig, and walnut, as well as a bit of cinnamon, pepper, and lactic acid. Earthy. Bitterness clearly present, but balanced with the malts and other flavors.
M: Medium to full bodied with robust and persistent carbonation. Very, very smooth and tingling, playful.
O: Delicious and fun. Not quite a spiritual experience, but certainly certainly gets me primed for the holidays. Feeling "Goodwill toward men (and women, mind)" already.

Dec 14, 2019
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HoodviewBrew from Texas

4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An excellent example of a quad hitting all the right targets. I will say that it doesn't really have any uniqueness to it. It tastes like many other exceptional quads. Not necessarily bad but not much to distinguish it from its peers. Having said that it is worth a purchase if it's on the store and your favorite is not nearby.

Dec 12, 2019
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Thankin_Hank from Texas

4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A dark amber, tea colored quadrupel. Aroma is dark fruity, raisins and sweet caramel. Taste is sweet, fruity and raisins. Mouthfeel is fizzy. It's highly carbonated. Overall another tasty Holiday beer.

Dec 10, 2019
Photo of Bluecrow
Bluecrow from New York

4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

-deep red-brown bottle pour with a 5cm foam cap. The aroma is of sweet malt and allspice. The flavor includes fig, raisin and caramelized candi sugar. The mouthfeel is full and a bit sticky. The flavors persist. This is a seasonal gem.

Dec 07, 2019
Photo of EnderFett11
EnderFett11 from Virginia

4.16/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured moderately hard from a bottle into a snifter glass, giving a few fingers of head. Eventually the head faded to moderate lacing. Dark reddish brown color. Smell is primarily spiced fruits like apple or berries. Taste is similar to the smell, with more sweetness coming through as it warms. Light bodied with moderate carbonation, a bit more than I'd like. Definitely a good Christmas beer, but on the pricey side.

Dec 01, 2019
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mngermanshepherd from Minnesota

4.39/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is my first beer from St. Bernardus, poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a dark black with a thick head that settles nicely into a froth resting on top. Taste is spicy, earthy and gives no indication of the 10% ABV. Finish is carbonated, feels good on the tongue.

Nov 29, 2019
Photo of Greywulfken
Greywulfken from New York

4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown body under a fat tan head a coupla fingers high... Lots of spiced fruits and sweet breads here, but I didn't think the beer was too sweet at all - a moderate hop presence adds some bark and bitterness to the overall character... Medium-full feeling with a smooth carbonation... A great quad and perfect for the season and the holidays...

Nov 10, 2019
Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 2388 ratings