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Christmas Ale | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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679 Reviews
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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

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Reviews: 679 | Ratings: 2,080
Photo of bronco94
4.67/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 bottle poured into a snifter

A - dark brown with a slight hint of red when held to the light, thick tan head that receded slightly and remained through the duration of the beer. Great lacing

S - like Christmas in a bottle...Belgian 'yeastiness', spices (cinnamon, nutmeg), candied dark fruits (raisins/figs)

T - follows the smell nicely. Like the smell, but slightly sweeter. Mild alcohol presence can be tasted which works well with the sweetness. The Belgian yeast flavor is very present

M - Nice medium bodied mouthfeel, moderately carbonated...just enough to make it flow silkily through your mouth.

D - easy to sip on and finish a 750ml in an evening. The alcohol is there, but hidden fairly well. I could easily drink one of these each week throughout the holiday season..it is a great beer

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Photo of david131
4.67/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- A deep, dark leathery brown liquid with a bit of murkiness to it. When held to a light, there are some ruby highlights at the edges. The creamy light brown head is thick and has excellent retention.

S- Brown sugar, vanilla, plums, gingerbread, and bubblegum. Very aromatic, unique, and inviting.

T- Same as the aroma. Sweet and malty with a nice fruity finish.

M- Exceedingly creamy and smooth with a good amount of carbonation to keep things lively.

D- Very drinkable considering the alcohol content. Very well made. World class.

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Photo of rangerred
4.67/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip out of a 750ml bottle.

Pours a hazy dark brown with some reddish hues. Billowy tan head with incredible head retention and huge chunks of lacing hanging onto the sides of the glass.

Instant Belgian character on the aroma with clove and banana from the yeast. Brown sugar and some molasses are present along with some toast. Licorice along with a hint of cinnamon, nutmeg, and dark fruits.

Lots of dark fruit in the flavor along with more banana and clove. More brown sugar with strong caramel notes. A very slight bit of tartness on the tip of the tongue. Moderate sweetness that perfectly compliments the other flavors. The finish is moderately dry leaving just the smallest hint of residual sweetness. Alcohol is completely hidden save for a slight bit of warming making this a pleasure to drink.

Overall, this is really one of the best beers I have ever had. Just so much going on and all the flavors and characteristics are perfectly balanced. Dangerously drinkable and one to really savor during the holidays.

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Photo of brownbeer
4.65/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I think this is a 2007 vintage, as the cork has a best before date of 2012. I assume it's a five year date. Although, that contradicts the suggestion on the bottle to age it up to 15 years. I digress.

Dark brown with a nice, light brown head, retention, the whole nine. Looks great.

The first thing I notice in the aroma is licorice. Then fig, Christmas plum pudding. Too many great notes for me to understand. Christmas in a bottle.

Spicy yeast flavors, a hint of apple fruitiness, fruitcake, nutmeg, caramel, raisin. Full, creamy body with a nice, warming finish. Could possibly benefit from a softer carbonation.

I'm not sure if the two years of age helped this out, but this beer is in that small group that defines Belgian greatness. Classy stuff.

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Photo of Dodo2step
4.65/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

P- Al's of Hampden

A- a frothy mountainous four and half finger head. Color is that of iced tea or prune juice.

S- dark candied fruit, raisins, plum and brown sugar. A notrsilating smell. All the smells complement each other perfectly.

F- the plum and raisin comes out more in the tongue. carbonate brown sugar malts but all in all very nice.

M- like a chewy oatmeal raisin cookie. Carboanted at first but it tapers off as it goes down.

O- a heavy beer so it took me a while. i savored it thought. this is one of the best i have ever had.

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Photo of beergoot
4.65/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark copper body topped with a thick, sticky off-white head. Figs, licorice, holiday spices, and some alcohol notes wrapped up in the aroma. Sweet, malty, spicy, boozy flavor; well-blended and intriguing taste surprises with every sip; brown sugar and molasses; medium alcohol warmth melds with a gentle hop bitterness finishes the taste experience nicely; slightly phenolic. Medium-heavy body; vinous; wet and juicy.

A very well-done holiday beer. Big and beautiful with excellent balance and complexity. Festive flavors abound and make for a near perfect beer to sip on a cold, winter afternoon while sitting with a crackling hardwood fire nearby.

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Photo of MeanGene
4.65/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Big ol' 22 oz bomber into my Ayinger Celebrator glass.

I've had the pleasure of having this beer last Christmas for the first time and thought it was terrific. Went back the next day and our local store was all out.

Luckily, our local Wegman's picked it up this year in abundance!

Pours a dark red with a one-finger white head with formidable lacing.

Smells like a Belgian with winter spices

Taste is terrific. Admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of Belgians...I like them don't get me wrong but I'm hard to really impress. This is out of this world though. Good amount of winter spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc) with a nice finish

Mouthfeel is very satisfying...stays with you for a few minutes but really pleasant.

Drinkability is higher than average for a big beer...still, wouldn't want to drink more than one in a night!

Pick it up!!

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Photo of spointon
4.64/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at the Bavarian Lodge in Lisle, IL. Served in a stemmed tulip glass.

A= This ale poured a slightly murky mahogany brown color with a 3/4" light tan head. Lots of evident carbonaton release kept the head at 1/4" all the way down the glass.

S= I found a lot of Belgian charater, malty sweetness, carob, and a hint of spice in the aroma. Very nice.

T= Incredible restraint on the spices! The flavor was mostly a rich dark Belgian strong, but those spices just kept surfacing and then disappearing before I could get a good read on them. Superb balance of spice to everything else. Speaking of which, I also noted caramel, treacle, and some dark fruitiness (raisins, figs, and plums). Some spicy alcohol in th efinish but not as much as one would expect at this ABV.

MF= Medium bodied with a soft and velvety feel despite the very obvious and active carbonation release. Nice warming quality from the alcohol.

D= Really an exceptional beer and easily the best "Christmas ale" I have had to date. Dangerously drinkable despite the big ABV.

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Photo of merlin48
4.63/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Corked and caged bottle found at Pappy's Beer Store out in the middle of nowhere a couple miles north of Cumberland Gap. Served slightly chilled into a St Bernardus goblet. Pours a clear, but dark, chestnut body that has an exceptional ruby glow when held to light. Beige head retains very well and leaves some classical sheet lacing.

Aroma hints at the bountiful Belgian flavors to follow. Lots of dark fruits, bubblegum, Belgian yeasties,and a plethora of malty attributes that include caramel and milk chocolate. A hint of tart cherries underneath.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, satiny and full bodied with a moderate carbonation.

Taste seems to be dominated by dark fruits. Lots of dates, figs, and raisins. Plenty of caramel notes. Bubblegum and Belgian yeast notes. Damn! What an expressive malt base-teasing with nuttiness and a touch of molasses. Hints of earthy and floral hops add somewhat of a bitter balance. Dark rum notes in the middle and into the finish remind you that this is 10% abv. Finsihes with an earthiness and maltiness that lets you know this is a genuine Trappist experience.

It's been way too long since I've savored one of these special brews from these smiling monks. Absolutely exceptional brew here.

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Photo of Kbogac
4.62/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice from a bomber. Huge foam! Maybe two inches of thick creamy head that slowly dissipated to a nice 1/4 inch layer that lasted to the end. Great lacing too. Scent is dark fruit, molasses, a little orange and clove. Taste is similiar, dark fruits and molasses. Good carbonation with a medium mouthfeel. Overall a great beer. I was defiantly wanting more when it finished. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Philly82785
4.62/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my favorite Christmas brews. Pours a nice dark brown, with several inches of head. A nose of banana, raisin, and cloves. Flavor of raisins, figs, and a tad boozy. Very malty with little to no hop presence. Has a nice velvet mouth feel.

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Photo of BobZ
4.62/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle of the 2009 vintage (Aged a year in my cellar) poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Rich dark brown with a 1/2" head that dissipates to about a 1/16". Very nice lacing throughout the beer.

Smell: Like the Abt. 12, dark fruit, Belgian yeast, and a hint of spice. Much more spice than the Abt. 12 for sure.

Taste: Excellent, a spicier version of the Abt. 12. Again, the dark fruit, the spice, the Belgian yeast. Just a delicious Christmas beer.

Mouthfeel: Very, very, smooth. Which is surprising as it is highly carbonated (the cork "shot" out and it gushed).

Drinkability: Great flavor, smooth, ABV very well masked, an easy drinking beer.

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Photo of jtinks
4.61/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a corked 750ml bottle in a de koninck "bolleke" glass...nice reddish color with about a three-quarter-inch head. quite delicious. beer like this almost makes a chicago winter worthwhile. smells like melting caramel and tastes very malty. i think i detect some coriander notes in there.

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Photo of Mavigo
4.61/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this from Discount Drinks in Farmington Hills. Served in a snifter.

A: Pours a hazy, amber-mahogany color, very bubbly, with a 1/4 inch beige head that dissipates after a few minutes leaving some patches of lace.

S: Great aroma, plums, dried fruits, bananas, spices, cinnamon, cardamom, yeast, malts, wheat

T: Tastes awesome. Very sweet, definitely a quad. Very rich and robust, dark fruitiness, complimented with yeast, malts, spices.

M: Full bodied with ample amounts of carbonation, well balanced, great flow, great taste.

O: This was awesome, Merry Christmas! Another great beer from St. Bernardus. A bit expensive though.

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Photo of mooseo
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

750ml bottle into snifter.

A - Dark brown with ruby highlights. A titanic off white head sticks around until the end.

S - Banana, dark fruit, plum, bready malt. Traces of herbal spice and alcohol.

T - Dried dark fruit, fig, plum, banana, Belgian yeast. Bready malt provides a solid backbone. Sweet and complex. Alcohol is surprisingly muted.

M - Silky and creamy. Full bodied, high carbonation. Warming alcohol.

O - A delicious quad. This beer evolves as it warms, bringing out more flavor and complexity. Perfect to wind down with on a cold winter day.

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Photo of KonigObHops
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours a dark brown, slightly cloudy with a thick, off-white head that takes a long time to dissipate. Good Belgian Lace.

The beer smells sweet and the alcohol is already present.

The initial taste is sweet, sugary, and fruity. In the middle, the alcohol is very present, with hints of spice (nutmeg? coriander? cinnamon?) along with the fruity taste. The finish is crisp and sweet. This beer is like candy in a bottle.

The mouth feel is sharp and crisp.

Overall, this is a great Christmas Ale. It is not as rich and spiced as many Christmas Ales and you need to be in the mood for an extremely sweet Belgian Ale, but if you are, then this is an amazing beer.

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Photo of rye726
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Head is a bit thin, but the beer is a rich rosewood color. Nose of dark candy malts, ripe fruit, christmas spices, and Belgian yeasts. The taste is sweet and malt strong but well balanced by the spices and herbal, peppery yeasts. Full body and perfect carbonation. Never a bad beer from Bernardus.

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Photo of kkleu357
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%

From notes on 12/12/13

Very sweet smell. Kind of like bubble gum. Nice shiny brown pour. Awesome taste. Sweet, malty, caramel, and bananas. Very fine beer.

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: 1/2" tan head over brown liquid.

S: Pears, green apples, green grapes, cherries, strawberries, grass and flowers.

T: Strawberries, pears, cherries, figs, dark grapes, biscuity malt, and grass.

M: Medium viscosity and and high level of foamy and soft carbonation.

O: One of the best Christmas Beers I have ever had. Somewhat dry and not too sweet, the flavours of the yeast are fantastic.

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Photo of stevoj
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Schwing! Sitting around on Christmas Eve and sipping this beauty. Nice sour smell of dried fruit and molasses, dark, dark brown with oily skin of a head.Flavor repats the fruit theme with a little sweetness, alcohol isn’t noticed until its on its way down your throat. Really, really good!

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Photo of megahurts4
4.59/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale

Appearance: Dark red with lot of good lacing.

Smell: Nutmeg, spices, and yeast.

Taste: Nutmeg, yeast, and warm malts.

Mouthfeel: medium and smooth.

Bottom line:
This is a very good beer. It is very smooth and warming. The malts compliment the yeast and give a nice inviting drink. I just want more. I really like this beer. I'm glad I have a second bottle for aging.

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Photo of PatrickCT
4.59/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 ounce bottle poured into a Spencer glass.

a: A vibrant chestnut body with a rusty orange ring when held to the light, 2 finger pillowy off white head with large, lively bubbles.

s: Fruitcake and Stollen. Soft bready malts, candi sugar, apricots and plums.

t: Dry malts, figgy, candi sugar and caramel. Ricola like medicinal herbs mingle with the alcohol and a slight spiciness finishes.

mf: Creamy, drinkable, medium carbonation. The alcohol bite is very well hidden.

o: This is THE Belgian Christmas Ale. Complex yet drinkable, it brings to mind an Old World Christmas through its aroma and taste. Just the right amount of alcohol bite gets through to remind you are drinking a 10% beer.

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Photo of pjwilson
4.59/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured in to Chimay chalice.

A: good quad amber

S: sweet figs brown sugars

T: so sweet so good. Classic quad greatness

Mouthfeel: yep it's soft

O: as good as Abt 12

Yeah it's great. Made the mistake of starting this too cold. Opened up after warming

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Photo of wisrarebeer
4.58/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: deep copper-red color, incredible rich pillowy tan head that kept it all the way, clear
S: milder nose, rich roasted powdered malt and marmalade with earthy leather
T: full taste, no readily noticeable EtOH, just a bit in finish, incredibly smooth and rich with deep chocolate and roasted malt flavors
M: rounded with incredible depth and balance, tastes like it's been aging for years

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Photo of tavernjef
4.58/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a dark brown to settle a nearly mat black with a small sense of brownness to its body. Very heavy looking and an impressively tall capping to top it off of light crispy brown foam thats a bit rough and tumbled. Kinda crunchy looking at first but developes into a moderately creamy bubbleness and density as it sits. It keeps well and stretches all sorts of wonderful lacing that looks of wet powdered sugar.

Nice lofty aroma of cookie dough and spice. Crisp yet round with a full on malt tilt of breads and dark fruits. Mostly figgy, touch of raisin, perhaps some dates and molasses covering the big breadyness. Nice yeastyness to it which seems to be adding a root beerish type of hints to its dryness. Slender hops add some grassyness to its spicy complexity which included some anise, cinnamon, mint, and ginger cookies.

Flavors are bold, lasting and carry alot of what the smell leads to with its big maltyness and yeastified balance. Firm grip of dark candish malts leads right in with a nice holiday cake-like dimension of figgyness first, then dark cherry, dates, chocolate covered raisins, and then the peppy spices. Notes of root beer, anise, pepper, carrot cake, and ginger make their way in and out of the malty doughy darkness but linger mostly across its finish with a slender, delicately woven dryness of grassy hops. Pretty damn solid! Perhaps not quite a match to the Abt 12, but damn if its not close!

Feel is big, bold, and beautiful. The girth is massive in the body of this stuff. Heavy yet smooth, crunchy and crisp yet creamy with a whole lotta malts to create an exceedingly thick bread/cake-like structure of body. Not to mention the subtle details of yeasty play, dark fruity tang, perfectly intensed warmness, hoppy dryness, and spice. Which all lasts forever and a day the second it spills on to your palate.

Wow! Great stuff! No big surprise really. St. B knows how to impress and this is perfect for the holidays!

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Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.19 out of 5 based on 2,080 ratings.
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