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St. Bernardus Christmas Ale | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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St. Bernardus Christmas AleSt. Bernardus Christmas Ale
BA SCORE
4.23/5
Exceptional
2,195 Ratings
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
Ranking:
#884
Reviews:
709
Ratings:
2,195
pDev:
9.22%
Bros Score:
4
 
 
Wants:
190
Gots:
449
Trade:
6
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,195 |  Reviews: 709
Photo of electrobop
4.58/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Ned57
5/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of Silke_Neryn
4.01/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

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

Photo of token_23223
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV "St. Bernardus Christmas Ale"
750 ml brown glass bottle, corked & caged
$11.99 @ Total Wine & More, Cherry Hill, NJ

Each year between Thanksgiving and Christmas I gather together a few beers that complete the season for me. Amongst the Belgians, The Abbaye Cistercienne Paix-Dieu, Chimay Grande Reserve, and St. Bernardus Christmas Ale are all must haves.

It pours a fairly clear mahogany brown body before you disturb the yeast, and the head is a pillowy tan that later settles to become denser. The head retention and lacing are very good.

The nose expresses yeasty fruitiness and soft phenolics, as well as some additional soft spice and some lightly sugary malt.

Although it's labeled as a Christmas ale it's not spiced like so many American examples that generally include cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and so forth; and which are generally over-done. The spicing here is more subtle. It's more minty, and cola-like, with notes of licorice and molasses which work well with the rich, sugary malts - it is a quadrupel! You might find some brown sugar, caramel, or even marzipan. But it's also fruity, displaying some dark skinned fruits as well as some underlying apricot and apple. The alcohol has a presence to it, but it doesn't step forward, even in the finish. It's superbly balanced, and finishes mainly dry with lingering spice and a drop of browned sugar.

The body is medium-full with a very fine bubbled effervescent carbonation that lends a little zest before warming to become creamy-smooth.

Overall it's a fairly malty and strong beer that doesn't really come across that way, and at 10% ABV it's dangerously drinkable.

 1,665 characters

Photo of Spikester
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown with two fingers of light tan head that lasts about ten minute. Sheets of fine bubble lace.
Smell is sweet pleasant plum fruit with some fruitcake type scents.
Taste is rich roasted malts with molasses plums toffee some nut like flavors.
Mouthfeel is medium with big carbonation. Finish slightly dry and bitter sweet.
Warmth from the alcohol but very little in the taste. Overall a really fine special occasion beer.

 427 characters

Photo of moundbz
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Peaches13
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Jacobus79
4.83/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Mattymystique
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of abrown13470
4.14/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is my first BA post now that I'm starting to learn how to dissect beer so bear with me. Consumed in a snifter glass.

Appearance - very dark brown/red with 2 fingers of light brown red.
Nose - dark fruit, somewhat phenolic, caramel (?) with slight booziness
Taste - spicy, caramel
Mouthfeel - medium high carbonation. Full bodied. Slightly dry finish
Overall - great beer. I'd be curious to try a cellared bottle.

 420 characters

Photo of Commandophile
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of aaronyoung01
4.06/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of steverx8
4.6/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of madelf66
4.06/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Brewxer
4.8/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

So good that I'd also drink this on New Years Day, at Easter, Thanksgiving, Halloween, every long weekend in the summer, sick days from work, etc. Amazing.

 156 characters

Photo of gr8ful
4.93/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours dark brown from 22 oz bottle. Nice creamy 1/4 inch head. Quickly dissipated. Toasty , bready aroma...smells like roasted malts but not in overpowering way. Tastes like it smells. Warm , carbonated mouthfeel. You can taste the alcohol but it is not too much in the taste. Really good ale. My only slightly complaint is that I can't figure out why this is a "Christmas" ale other than it is fairly high alcohol and tastes as if would be nice to sip by the fire (if it wasn't 77 degrees here in DFW today

 667 characters

Photo of avisong
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of liquorpig
4.48/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Jacobob10
4.39/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle.

Deep brown color with a creamy tan head. From the first whiff of the aroma, I was enamored with this beer. Banana, fig, toasted bread, chocolate, licorice, cinnamon. Wonderfully complex from the strong, yet balanced, malt and yeast. Medium-full bodied, creamy, and just overall delicious.

Given my love for Abt 12, I can't believe it took me this long to try the Christmas Ale but it was worth the wait. A fantastic beer that I will be purchasing every Christmas from now on.

 492 characters

Photo of BIGPOPPAS
3.99/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I was so excited to pop this fresh 2016 bottle of the #2 ranked blind taste test Holiday Brew by Paste..
This was fresh as could be as the foamy head and huge lacing clearly showed me and had to slow my pour .
I love strong dark Belgians and though I thouroghly enjoyed the 22 oz bomber, well I guess my expectations were too great .
As it warmed in the glass the smell and flavors began to grow stronger and stronger and the second half of the bottle was better than the first half ;)

I kept closing my eyes and tried to pretend that it was a blind test , but I truly couldn't taste much difference than just a darker version of a four year old Carolus Gouden van de Keizer except for some spicy notes .

I also would like to add that if given the choice I would choose St Bernardus abt 12 over this beer probably 6 or 7 days of the week.

Overall I still rated it pretty high as it's a quality Belgian brew, but next up will be a bottle of Scaldis Belgian Noel .. maybe not fair as the Scaldis has a year of age and was ranked #1 in the same blind test , plus 50% higher in cost .

HAPPY HOLIDAYS BA GANG !!
CHEERS ;)

 1,120 characters

Photo of KBodner
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of my favorites of the Christmas Ales.
(L) Pours a red/brown with a good frothy tan head & slightly cloudy.
(S) Fruit, malt and a slight alcohol aroma.
(T) Dark fruit flavor with coca & malt
(F) Medium body and a little creamy but very effervescent too.
(O) Such a good balance, at even though it's 10% you might not know it, but it really brings a Holiday taste

 368 characters

Photo of spacebear09
3.76/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of constantine_272
4.26/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown that fizzed up like cola. Head disappeared quick leaving just a thin off white foam ring. The smell is primarily leather, wet fresh oak and red bark chips and clay soil. Fabulous earthy taste. It comes on strong with rich brown leather, soil and meaty portabella. Oak and dark brown sugar with a touch of cocoa build a sweetness in the middle while a tart earthy decomposing banana, strawberry and rhubarb fruitiness finishes and balances the sweetness superbly. While balance is excellent, the body comes up just a little light in the middle and could have used a little more chewy mouth feel.

 605 characters

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Beer rating: 4.23 out of 5 with 2,195 ratings
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