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Christmas Ale | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
93
outstanding
678 Reviews
Christmas AleChristmas Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Belgium | website

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by seaoflament on 10-23-2007

BEER STATS
Reviews:
678
Ratings:
2,075
Avg:
4.19
pDev:
9.31%
 
 
Wants:
178
Gots:
415
For Trade:
6
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 678 | Ratings: 2,075
Photo of janubio
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brown colour, creamy, off white head that fades to a ring and lace. SMell of dark fruits, candied fruits, spices(cinnamon, cloves, cardamom).Medium body, grat carbonation, sweet palate. Taste of "polvorones", candied fruits, anise, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg... Very complex. And great.

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow...now this is a f* Belgian Strong Dark Ale!!!

Pours a slightly hazy dark brown color with a full finger light tan head of tiny bubbles that resist fading. The smell is CLASSIC!! I mean 'I'm lov'in' the Belgian yeast, malty core with dark fruit, figs, NECCO chocolate and just the right amount of holiday spices.
Nicely carbonated, the mouth feel is complimented by the creaminess of the head and the figgy flavors. Full flavored, this is textbook to style...the Belgian malty fruit thing is center stage... the mouth feel is creamy and much heavier than your everyday abbey ale. The 10% ABV is well integrated. I personally HIGHLY RECOMMEND this one as part of your holiday festivities!! Another High Quality product from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV.

 754 characters

Photo of humuloner22
4.46/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Solid brew. Not a Christmas spice beer at all. This beer is crafted to introduce an element of times past for the holidays. Don't get me wrong I like spiced beers from time to time but this beer brings an element to holiday beers that are not the norm and that is a plus. This beer is a "Christmas" beer however, I could see myself drinking it all winter long. Its a solid Belgian style ale.

Color: Dark red, almost like currants, but it also has a dark brown mixed in. Its not clear but it does have a some invitation to light, also when poured this beer has a tremendous head and it actually blew out of the bottle when I opened it, which was done fairly carefully.

Aromas: Wine like, with dark fruits, currants, prunes, raisins and other dark dried fruits.

Taste: Sweet, dark fruits, very close to a barley wine, but it has a regular wine flavor profile going on as well. It is not cloying at all but its like a plumb pudding in a glass. Its very traditional Belgian/ old European flavor profiles here.

Overall: This beer tastes like it comes from an older time and i can respect that. I wouldn't drink it all the time but it was a nice experience and change of pace.

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Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.46/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

As close as you can get to christmas pudding in liquid form. An already stunning quad with christmas spices added, this is the best christmas beer ive tried. Smell is delicious, caramel and spices with a strong hint of banana custard, taste is the same,strong banana custard finish again.smooth as anything.....just a great seasonal beer.

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Photo of HalfFull
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked 750 ml. bottle into a wine glass. Christmas Ale pours somewhat light for the style, a clear reddish brown in color and with an inch of meringue like tan head. Make that two inches, no three inches. A fervent boil of carbonation built the foam up after the pour until it peaked an inch above the rim of the glass. Kind of like a Santa hat on top of the brew. Retention and lacing, as expected from the pour, are robust.

Nose is initially light for the style, with the firm carbonation and apple notes being the only things strong enough to pierce the dense blanket of foam. Spiced chocolate cherry reveal a decent depth after the foam settles to a steady cap. Vinous notes accompany along with a sense of champagne like effervescence. Yeast subtleties expand with warming and combine beautifully with the malt/spice balance giving a bump to the rating. Nutmeg and cinnamon and dried flowers are subtle and enticing.

Flavor is light and fruity and with nary a note of alcohol in sight. Notable cherry wraps around some light fig notes. A lingering spice finish maintains for a full 30 seconds each sip. Flavor improves and expands as the carbonation settles, revealing the nuances that said bottle conditioning helped create. Offers a smooth feel and a body that belies it's own strength. This beer drinks like it's 7 or 8 percent, never revealing its true nature.

Note: From a bottle this beer needs to release some carbonation to really shine. Pop it cold and let it outgas and warm before serving. Malt structure is welcomingly light for the ABV yet offers good depth.

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Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet.

A -Beautiful brown-black color. Amazing head, 3 fingers or more.

S - Lovely complext flavors. Raisiny, hints of fig.

T - Just an awesome beer. Perfectly balanced. Hardly taste any alcohol while it's going down. Candy for adults. Wanted to give this a 5, but you gotta leave room for better.

M - Lucious, medium to full bodied.

O - What a nearly perfect beer for those who love strong Abbey ales. And I do. Could drink this from the Macy's parade to first day of spring.

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Photo of BeTheBall
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Dark amber color; beautiful pillowy head that lasts for a long time, some lacing on the glass as the beer drains.

S: dark fruit and a slight alcohol presence.

T: complex and rich fruits such as raisins, figsd, plums, apples? Very tasty.

M: mouthfeel is extraordinary, coating the entire mouth, tonugue and throat. Well above average, even for Belgian ales I've had.

D: 10% ABV is not for the faint of heart, but the huge and delicious flavors do a pretty good job of hiding it, to a point.

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Photo of ShrLSU
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml into a Westy goblet. First had it at the Brick Store in Atlanta and bought a bottle to take home from Green's Liquor.

A: Poured a dark brown color with a frothy tan head. The head sticks to the glass after drinking and settling..

S: This smells like Christmas. Cinnamon, dark fruits, some slight hops, and a warm spice scent. Just a perfect example of what you would think of a typical Belgian scent crossed with christmas flavors.

T: Very fruity and spicy. The Cinnamon is nice after the dark fruits and apple taste settle in. A lite alcohol bite at the end. This gets better as it warms as well.

M: Very carbonated. It tingles in the mouth but you can gradually go through the flavors in the beer as it tingles away at your tongue.

D: This is one of the best Christmas beers i've had. It's very complex but very enjoyable. If you love Belgians and the christmas beer style then this ones a must. I hope we get this close to Louisiana. I'll definitely crack one of these come December 25th.

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Photo of fx20736
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a St Bernardus chalice, served at cellar temp.

Dep chestnut brown with a pale khaki head and nice lacing.

aroma of fresh baked bread, bananas and brown sugar.

mouthfeel is light and frothy

taste of baked bread, plums, bananas and a clove-like spiciness.

Notes: Super! This is really good stuff. I've had 5 different beers by St Bernardus and love 3 of them; Pater 6, Abt 12 and this Christmas Ale.

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Photo of DCon
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on-tap @ the International Tap House in Chesterfield, MO during the Black Friday "iTap Style" Event for $7. Tapped from the Black Tap Handle that has St Bernardus w/ a Santa Claus hat on into a 12oz Chimay Chalice Glass.

Aroma- A very sweet and complexed aroma comes from this one! Has a ton of malt, caramel, and fruit that hits the nose strongly. The fruit is a mixture of plums and light cherries (often found in Michigan brews), and then follows with a light noble hop aroma! Everything in the spectrum of the aroma!

Appearance- Received with a 1 finger head that is very frothy and lasts for good time. Has a dark, caramel looking body but much darker and is hazed beyond reason. Leaves THICK lacing behind.

Flavor- Has an extremely sweet and wild flavor here! Strong malts and cherries come out and give a puckering flavor. A medium-high bitterness level is present and can't put my finger on the "true" style this should be! I would say everything is blended harmoniously here and I enjoyed every last drop!

Mouthfeel- Medium-Full Bodied, Medium Carbonation, Smooth, Bit of Booze, and then has a nice alcohol warming finish. Wish there was more hops and that cherry flavor on the palate... Guess you can't get too much of a good thing sometimes!

Overall Impression- Rich, Complexed, and a very WILD Christmas Ale! I'm definitely stopping by Lukas Liquor to pick up a bottle of this and review/enjoy again! I suggest you do the same (but of course, your local bottle shop). See if you can spot the cherries in this one! There were a huge attribute in this brew for me that made it so enjoyable. Thanks Brouwerij St. Bernardus! Fantastic.

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Photo of nlmartin
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the 2011 edition. The beer was served in a wide mouthed goblet.

A- The body of the beer is black. No opaqueness to light. The head is thick biege coloration. Nice head retention that stands up to the mustache test. Thick lacing marks this beers passage.

S- Dark roasted and toasted malts. Caramel breadyness, peppery yeast, dark fruits raisins, candied figs, mixed berries and cherries, spice bill is cinammon, cardamon, allspice, nice peppery yeasty flavors. The alcohl peaks out and says hello from time to time.

T- The beer was a bit cold to begin with but opens up very nicely as the beer warms. Major delivery on the beers aroma. Nicely executed! The beer is a bit sweet at first but between peppery yeast esters, spices and alcohol it brings the sweetness to heel.

M- Full bodied majorly aggressive carbonation. The beers body and carbonation works well together. The alcohol is a bit hot but not annoying.

O- Very tasty! I love St Berandus. I am really enjoying the Christmas version. If you like big beers this will deliver what you are craving.

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Photo of Chico1985
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first St. Bernardus beer, pretty stoked. Cork pops off with a big explosion, hitting the ceiling followed by a little bit of foaming spillage. It's a Christmas miracle! Pours very dark, looks black until held up to the light which makes it blood red with lots of sediment floating about. Big fluffy pillow of off-white head rests on top, leaves good lacing. Smell is big on Belgian yeast, fruit and a bit of booze. Taste is excellent with lots of flavors bursting through. I'm tasting lots of fruit, mostly dark ones such as cherries, plums and raisins, also a hint of banana. Lots of Belgian yeast/biscuit taste, winter spice and molasses as well. Alcohol extremely well-hidden the entire time. Very tasty and complex. I will definitely buy this next year.

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Photo of anteater
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle.

A: Dark dark brown with a medium light tan head, great retention.

S: Sweet belgian candi sugar, brown sugar, cherries, chocolate, belgian yeast. Light, intense, refreshing and invigorating.

T: Chocolate covered cherries up front, sweet malt and molasses. This is really delicious stuff.

M: Slightly dry, really nice drinkability.

O: I think St. Bernardus Christmas is a fantastic beer. It is one of the very first good beers, and perhaps the very first great belgian beer I've ever had and has always lived up to my first memories of how good it was.

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Photo of BlindPig
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours with a huge tan head into the St. Bernys goblet. Murky dark brown body with some murky ruby hues. Great head retention and nice thick lacing that sticks to side of glass, a lot!
S- Huge spice, clove, light nutmeg, toffee, chocolate, some mint, blend between grass and weaker pine (almost like a Christmas tree), and one or two other things I just can't pick out make up a nice complex aroma.
T- Most everything in the nose comes out in the flavor. You can almost taste Christmas in a glass. Alcohol tickles the tongue a little bit and warms up throat very soothingly.
M- Medium body with high carbonation like most of St. Bernys beers.
D- St. Bernys has yet to let me down and once again they pull off another great beer. Wish you could find this in Vegas. I would love to have a few of these closer to Christmas. Also I think it would be great with a year or two on it.

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Photo of Boto
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle: This one pours a very cloudy mahogany brown color. There was almost no head on it, and left no lacing. Nice nose! Christmas spices, caramel malt, faint dark fruits, some breadiness and Belgian yeast notes. The taste is very good. Rich malts, not too much sweetness, dark fruits, yeasty and bready, Christmas spices. Definitely a keeper! Has this on tap at Monks also and was equally good as the bottled version!

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Photo of alkemy
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fluffy, voluminous creamy tan head. I had to cut the pour short for fear of overflow.

A—Cloudy, deep mahogany with the afforementioned head…which does not soon dissipate. Sticks to the glass like
Whipped egg whites.
S—Thankfully, the “christmas” spicing is absent. Plums and apricots. Also a whiff of muenster cheese as odd as that sounds.
Beyond that it has the typical banana and bubble gum.
T—Dark fruits dominate the taste. As with many Belgian’s, the taste follows the scent quite closely. It’s sweet, but the alcohol lends enough warmth to make this feel really balanced.
M—Pretty carbonated, but it has enough weight to keep it from “biting”
D—It’s good…it’s real good. The first few drinks, the warmth of the alcohol was noticeable, but that quickly faded. I think it’s less boozy than the abt 12. Very good.

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Photo of CHADMC3
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The deep walnut brown body gives off only a slight white head with little noticeable carbonation.

Aroma is of sweet, dark fruit, molasses, and malt.

A slight spice such as nutmeg or cinnamon is faint amongst the dark fruits of raisins or fig with hints of yeast as well.

Little carbonation, medium body, dry, and an excellent array of character for the palate.

This is a fantastic beer. Tons of deep flavors, almost too easy to drink, begging you to take another sip, and the high ABV does not overwhelm amongst the various flavors.

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Photo of patre_tim
4.44/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown with a light cherry tinge when held to the light. Topped with 3 fingers of beige fluffy head. Chunky snow like lacing.


S: Prunes, cherries, raisins, figs, Christmas pudding.


T: Cherries, orange, prunes, raisins, Christmas pudding, a light iron quality. Nutmeg, mace, cinnamon.


M: Thick, dark and syrupy, light foamy carbonation.


O: Excellent brew. Got online in Thailand, drank for the second time January 5th, 2015. Drank first at Turkey Creek, NC two summers ago. I went to the brewery near Watou last Christmas, and they had none left. I asked the head brewer to be sure to send more brews, particularly this one, to China. Was glad to have at least found it in Thailand.

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Photo of BurlesqueRadio
4.44/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I bought this beer at a liquor store in downtown Denver two days before Christmas last year. I was spending the holidays away from my family living 1,500 miles from them and wanted to grab a sixer of ANYTHING. There were so many brews (even collaborations) by Lagunitas & Dogfish Head that I'd already tried from this particular liquor store so I was definitely in gear to snag something different.

I had my first St. Bernardus at a WOB on my 21st birthday and thought it tasted so delicious that I could barely remember my evening after 4 too many. The Christmas Ale had to hold up to the name so I gave it a shot.

I remember thinking that I needed to take smaller sips, an extremely sweet beer with a very strong mouthfeel and such a high ABV definitely indicated so. Soothing, velvety- Christmas-y. The sweetness reminded me of a concentrated caramel syrup, but in the best way possible. In beer. One of my favorites.

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Photo of drpimento
4.44/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served with a smallish, cream colored head and lots of lace. Color is a cloudy brown amber. Aroma is super malty, vineous, yeast, caramel, toffee, fruit. Flavor's very similar to nose with toffee, caramel, malt, yeast, carbonic tang all in the fore! Body and carbonation are faultless. Finish is malt, carmel, toffee and a touch of fruit while of average length. Luscious beer!

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Photo of Marius
4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33cl bottle. Dark ruby pour, with a tall tan-coloured head. Smells of dried fruit (figs, prunes, raisins), toasted dark sugar, chocolate, spices. The taste is very rich and complex, with strong notes of cherries and cherry liquor, followed by caramelized apples, faint cinnamon, red wine and rye bread. An excellent winter warmer, warm, sweet and spicy aftertaste, medium to full bodied and lively mouthfeel due to the high carbonation.

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Photo of glid02
4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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

Pours a slightly hazy brown color with ruby highlights. The head is one-finger of tan frothy goodness that sticks around for a while before dissipating into a thin, even layer across the top. Lacing is very good.

Smells of both light and dark fruits with an earthy sweet aroma. There's also a bit of spice in there - cinnamon or nutmeg.

Tastes very good. Somewhere between a trippel and a dubbel with a bit of spice. Pear and fig flavors meld seamlessly with hints of cinnamon and a slight touch of yeast. The dark fruit flavors seem to linger a bit longer than the light fruits. The alcohol is not a factor save for a nice warming sensation.

Mouthfeel is great. Smooth with subdued carbonation that coats the mouth.

Drinkability is great. The high ABV is not a factor except for making it a bad idea to drink too many of these. Really an easy brew to quaff.

Overall this is a very good beer that everyone should try this time of the year.

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Photo of caddybuyer
4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a caged and corked 750 on Christmas afternoon at cellar temperature. I bought this bottle last year so there is at least a year of age in this one. Looking forward to trying it.

A real foamer, this bottle.

A-Deep garnet brown with ruby highlights when held to light. Moderate clarity with a fair amount of sediment. Rocky, creamy tan head that doesn't budge even a few minutes after pouring. Amazing this head. Like whipped cream.

S-Sweet malts and dark fruits. Not a terribly pungent nose, but what I am getting is very aromatic. Hints of chocolate, and candied fruits underscored by Belgian yeast.

T-Dark fruits, marachino cherries, sweet malty yeast, and warming alcohol. I have not had a regular Abt 12 in a long time, but not sure how different this is than that. I don't recall the sweet dark cherry flavor that pervades this beer, so I'd say this holiday offering is a bit different. I'm liking it a bit better as well, but I'm a sucker for flavorful holiday brews. No holiday spices of note here, maybe just a hint of cinnamon. Call this liquid rum soaked fruitcake. YUM!

M-Creamy, silky smooth, a bit sticky, this is the perfect mouthfeel without being overpowered by efferevescence as so many of these Belgians tend to be. Spot on.

D-Drinkability? Well, I cracked this 750, and I'm damn well going to finish up this fine brew, but this one is a treat to be savored.

This is the first time I have ever tried this. Bought another earlier in this season to age for next year, now I am interested in cracking it open to see how it compares to the aged version. For some reason, these go on deep discount after Santa arrives. Heading to the beer store tomorrow to see what is left.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The pour results in a superbly fluffy head (two fingers), which crackles and deflates very slowly, leaving super-sticky styrofoamish lace on the glace. Color is a deep chocolate-brown in color, nearly opaque; difficult to see the bubbles feeding that mammoth head.

As a Christmas ale, it's appropriately fruity and spicy in the nose, recalling tart/young gooseberry and cranberry; light sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. Earth/mineral, shaved chocolate and a fairly assertive alcohol creep into the aroma.

Flavor stays on the fruity/spicy tip of the aroma , but on the tongue the fruits turn darker and the spices less sweet. Some white pepper and clove bite along with a fig/grape hint. Has a woody herbal/spiced tea vibe...and then with warming, it transforms. What I get after about 30 minutes is cinnamon roll--equal parts gooey, yeasty dough, caramel-ish qualities and cinnamon spice. Ghostly specters of root beer or Dr. Pepper work their way into the finish, and that is not a criticism, and hopefully not a cheapening of this beer's quality--just an approximation of another flavor characteristic of this complex beer.

Mouthfeel is wonderful, having a vibrant carbonation, a nice balancing velvet smoothness, and an overall airiness. A little bit of stick throughout the mouth.

No surprise that those behind St. Bernardus, monks or otherwise, would turn out an excellent Christmas ale. Their regular line (which is anything but regular) consists of some of the greatest beers in the world, and this one is no exception.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at MacGregor's Grill and Taproom in Henrietta, NY.

Pours a dark brown, almost black. Belgian style huge head, 2.5 inches or so.

Smells like fruitcake, cherry, plums, raisins, and Belgian yeast.

Tastes similar- fruitcake, cherry, plums, raisins, and Belgian yeast- with strong dark fruits and fruitcake flavors- bready malts plus cherries, plums, and raisins give the fruitcake impression. Some cinnamon as well. Very sweet, not really cloying though, fortunately.

Thick, creamy body and mouthfeel. Low carbonation.

A great Christmas beer. Not quite as good as Abt 12, but still one of St. Bernardus' better offerings.

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Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
93 out of 100 based on 678 ratings.
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