St. Bernardus Christmas Ale | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
706 Reviews
St. Bernardus Christmas AleSt. Bernardus Christmas Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Belgium
sintbernardus.be

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:
706
Ratings:
2,186
Avg:
4.19
pDev:
9.31%
 
 
Wants:
187
Gots:
443
For Trade:
6
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 706 | Ratings: 2,186
Photo of CHickman
4.48/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours hazy copper brown in color with a foamy/creamy tan head that stays around for quite some time; smells of sweet malt, dark fruit, spices and caramel. Decent lacing sticks to the glass.

Tastes of sweet malt, spices, caramel, raisin, pepper, apricot, dates or plum, grains, light hops, coriander, and some yeast. An excellent balance and mix of flavors that feels very creamy (says velvety on the bottle, which I agree with) on the tongue with practically no carbonation. Gets sweeter and the alcohol shows up as it warms, but remains well balanced and enjoyable throughout. The taste lingers after each sip and allows the fruits and mild spices to be savored and not conquered by the alcohol content, which does not detract from the overall flavor.

An excellent Christmas Ale which was one of the best I've ever had. It went down easy on it's own as well as complimenting the meal I had it with. A great beer!

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Photo of mothmanscott
4.48/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dull/murky cola brown with a tall (3 finger), long lasting, light tan/beige head with variable size/textured foam and some webby lace. Aroma is spice, yeast, bread, some banana, fig/raisin, faint cherry & anise, very faint alcohol for a 10% ABV. Even so the smell becomes slightly vinous as the brew warms. Taste is dark bread, molasses & faint caramel malt, Belgian yeast, anise/licorice, dark fruits, hints of pear, banana & cherry. Finishes dry & spicy with a drawing bitterness. Afrertaste is lightly fruity, dark malt, alcohol & bitterness. Alcohol is much more assertive in the mouth than the nose manifesting as spice, bitterness & warmth. Mouthfeel is heavy bodied with high carbonation, alive in the mouth grainy, prickly spice, lightly chewy, dry & complex. Absolutely amazing!

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Photo of dcmchew
4.48/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

0.75 bottle, using my tiny new Westy XII glass.
Dark brown with some copperish hues, one finger head, medium retention, very sticky lacing afterwards.
Fruity smell, with red grapes, prunes, banana, also caramel, dark christmasy spices.
Sweet caramel takes center stage, with musty grapes and plums, cherries, some citrus here and there, heavily spiced. Yeasts were really busy, giving off clove, ginger, low cinnamon, anise and faint vanilla. Malts aren't robust, bit bready, like a nice foundation for the complex spices. Warm alcohol, nicely hidden.
Smooth mouthfeel, a little bit syrupy, perfect actually. There's also quite a lot of fizz at first, that enhances its drinkability. Sweet, but does not cling in the aftertaste.
Quite a dangerous beer, very tasty and balanced, one might finish the 0.75 l bottle without even noticing. Christmas ale indeed.

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

Pours out a hazy leathery brown with a thin head. Smells fruity with spicy Belgian yeast - caramel malts. Taste: caramel malt base and spicy yeast. Umami savory yeastiness. Dried fruits and berries. Finishes dry. Moderate weight on the tongue with active prickly carbonation. Delicious.

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

Pours a cloudy brown with a fizzy tan head. Head falls to about nothing. Some lace.

This has a big malty nose filled with nice spice. Smells sweet.

Nice sweet malt taste, obviously. Has a bit of spice a regular Abt 12 does not however it resembles that beer, which is great since I love that beer.

Nice smooth, somewhat chewy mouthfeel with a good bite.

Love it. Awesome Christmas brew. Much enjoyed.

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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 Bruno74200
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L - Beautiful white head over a brown body

S - spicy (nutmeg, cinnamon) and estery

T - Rumy and vinous with different estery notes, spicy (pepper, and cinnamon mostly), a bit of licorice, grapes, red apple, dates. Nuts (almonds, hazelnuts)

F - Dry mouthfeel with a vivid carbonation

O - A great quadruple and a great Christmas beer. Balanced perfectly

 355 characters

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.

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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.

 1,017 characters

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.

 880 characters

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.

 854 characters

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.

 536 characters

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.

 923 characters

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.19 out of 5 based on 2,186 ratings.
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