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
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 706 | Ratings: 2,186
Photo of omnigrits
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml cork and cage into a tulip.

Man, this is one of the liveliest beers I've poured in a long time. Despite being careful I got about 20% beer and 80% head which I had to let subside before topping up. Lots of lace, obviously.

A very sweet, malty Belgian nose. Lots of typical spicy Belgian yeast aromas.

Plenty of sweetness up front but also a pleasant bitterness and a dry finish, leaving both a barley sugar and a hoppy aftertaste.

Good body, well-hidden but noticeable alcohol presence.

A very nice example of a dark Belgian ale.

 554 characters

Photo of atremains
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper/amber with a MONSTROUS head that does not quit, must wait 3-5 minutes for it to die down and pour the rest of the beer. Smell is caramel, raisins, dark fruits, sweet, and toasty. Taste is big and sweet, lots of fruits and some burnt toast. Caramel as well. Mouthfeel is good, creamy, could be a tiny bit heavier. Lots of fruity sweetness, the alcohol is well masked but it warms nicely. Good brew, lots to take in.

 434 characters

Photo of timontheroad
4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark reddish-brown, with a nice one finger of light foam that receded pretty quickly, very light lacing. The aroma is heavy of dark fruits and sweet malt, with a very light nutmeg or allspice note. The taste is very nice, with sweet malt, figs, plums, raisins, nutmeg and a touch of vanilla blending superbly - not one overpowers any of the others. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied, very smooth, with just a touch of alcohol burn. I think this one would really benefit from a bit of aging. Overall this is a very tasty beer, fits perfectly for the season.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a rather dark brown color with a very large foamy tan colored head. Great head retention with foamy lacing all around the glass.

S: Very complex and rich. Lots of dark fruit, raisins and figs, with some caramel, brown sugar, toffee, and a candy sweetness.

T: Very nice flavor profile, more dark fruit that lasts throughout, more raisins, plums, and a little cherry. The back end is filled with some caramel, brown sugar, and a slight sweetness. A little bit of doughy malt in the middle and a bit of Belgian yeast.

M: Medium to full bodied with a nice level of carbonation.

O: Another fantastic beer from St. Bernardus, deep and complex. A great beer to sip over a long evening.

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Photo of hophugger
4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy deep gold with amazingly fizzy head and nice lacing. Aroma is of ripened fruit and bready malt. Taste is sweet malt, with hints of raisin and dark fruits. Some yeasty notes here also. Mouthfeel is mild and pleasant. 10% ABV is very well hidden !!

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thoroughly enjoyed from the growler via Eightball Brewing in a snifter.
This FINE Belgian Christmas pours a nice red tinged mahogany with a moderate
head of white foam that subsides to a thick ring, light pool, and subtle lacing.
Nose of candied figs, plum, vanilla, mild cinnamon, mild nutmeg, brown sugars,
and light banana bread notes. Flavors follow the nose with light exceptions with
vanilla and a hint of orange peel awash in brown sugars. Fig and plum notes dance on
the middle of the taste and fade into herbal traces of cinnamon and nutmeg with light
phenol notes from the yeast reminiscent of banana bread mixed with a hint of cherries
and a touch of herbal hops on the rear to keep things lively. Excellent mouth feel; medium
light carbonation is lightly prickly with a warming background and sweet lightly spiced
finish that is lightly dry.

Overall a fantastic brew and one I look forward to each Christmas.

Cheers

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Vertical of 2010-2013 shared by raveskdr. Thanks Chris! Copper brown body with a broken beige head. Aromas of Belgian yeast, caramel malt, well water, mineral, raisins. Smooth flavor, showing some signs of age (’10, ’11). Medium bodied with soft carbonation on all vintages, with the most recent perhaps a bit more vibrant. Lots of flavor. Slightly sweet, with subtle spice and a touch of brown sugar. Tasty.

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Photo of jspaner
4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Looks like a Christmas beer should, dark and rich in color. The smell has the typical Belgian beer aroma, sweet, yeasty, and in this case, a bit of dark fruitiness. The taste is sweet, with a little cherry and some spices, and a bit medicinal, but very nice. The feel is moderate with low carbonation. The 10% abv is not overpowering to the feel or taste. Another great beer from a great brewery!

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Photo of GOBLIN
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Amazing Belgian quad ! Pours a beautiful dark murky oak in color with a ruby hue. Outstanding head retention that seems to last through the last drop. Aromas are oaky, cherries, a subtle touch of cinnamon and pumpkin but the cherries really steal the show. As usual the taste is the same again with the cherries riding shotgun. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy along with a nice touch of carbonated belgian craftsmanship. Overall, this was a nice choice for this year's Christmas eve beer. Rich and complex however not too heavy but still bold enough for the purpose.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Poured into a Samuel Smith pint glass to reveal a murky auburn brown with a thick, rocky beige colored 3 finger head. Excellent retention, leaving behind a thick layer of suds. Lacing is chunky in spots and spotty in others and exhibits great stick.

Smell - Belgian yeast funk that can be picked up from a mile away. Tart apple and green banana. Settles as it warms, developing fruitcake-like aromas.

Taste - Starts with notes of plum and banana bread. Light sour funk. Spice hits mid-taste. Hints of rum-raisin alcohol in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Full in body with moderate carbonation. Silky smooth texture.

Overall - Mmmm. Really, really good. Perhaps my favorite quad yet, in part to the fact that it doesn't make me feel like I'm gonna develop diabetes from drinking it, as most are too sugary and syrupy for my liking. This one is up my alley, though. Nice, smooth delivery of a complex yet refined dark, fruity and bready profile.

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Photo of KYGunner
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Gorgeous hue with a festive brightness and a color resembling the dried candied fruits that come so clear in the taste. This dark cherry or mahogany was topped by a dense froth.

The sweet smell of dates, prunes, raisins and plums hit the nose with a malty back drop that fruit cake. This is called a Christmas Ale for a reason.

The flavor is dried candied fruits with lots of prunes, dates, raisin and plum. Much like the nose there's a malty cake taste that melds well an brings it all together.

The flavors are certainly in line with a Quad but it has a fruit cake like thickness that makes this an excellent winter holiday beer. Sweet and savory notes of dried candied fruits couple with malt to give this an excellent smoothness.

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Photo of Spikester
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

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Photo of draheim
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Third in my "three beers of Christmas" series.

750mL bottle (best by 7/27/2015) into a chalice. Pours a beautiful clear mahogany w/ a rich creamy off-white head.

Aroma is warm dark bread, rich malt, figs, spice, and sweet candi sugar.

Taste follows nose: fermenting dark fruit, sweet malt, yeast, raisins, spice, and some nice warm booze. Mouthfeel is full-bodied with a little tingle from the carbonation.

Overall another great Belgian Christmas ale. Not too much difference among the three I tried, and all are worthy.

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Photo of superspak
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into signature chalice; best before 6/29/2019. Pours lightly hazy very dark reddish brown color with a 1 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big raisin, plum, apricot, fig, cherry, pear, apple, coriander, pepper, clove, light banana, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/bready malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big raisin, plum, apricot, fig, cherry, pear, apple, coriander, pepper, clove, light banana, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Large amount of yeast/coriander spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark fruits, coriander, clove, pepper, banana, toasted biscuit, brown sugar, brown bread, nuttiness, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/bready malt flavors; with a great malt/yeast spiciness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Good amount of dryness from carbonation and yeast spiciness. Medium-high carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, crisp, moderately creamy/bready, and lightly prickly mouthfeel that is awesome. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding Belgian strong dark ale! All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/bready malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to sip on for 10%. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,730 characters

Photo of Gusmotel
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a St. Bernardus snifter glass.

Appearance: Extremely dark, but not pitch black like a standard stout. Foam dissipated quickly into a frothy coating.

Aroma: Sugar, spice, and everything nice. The only thing this beer didn't smell like was freshly fallen snow and a warm fireplace. Both of these though I would recommend pairing with this beer. Sugar, Cinnamon Sticks, Light Citrus, Cloves, and maybe a splash of vanilla. Reminded me of warm Gluhwein in the Vienna Christmas market.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Complex. Light carbonation. Most of the aforementioned spices spring up initially. A surprisingly medium body for such a thick tasting beer. Not milkshake thick, maybe it's just the multitude of Christmas flavours that are screaming to get out. Hops weren't so noticeable as it ended more with that herbal alcohol taste one expects from a Belgian Christmas Offering.

Overall: Not overly sweet or spicy, though there is a definite abundance of this in the beer's character. Again, probably best served when it's cold outside as it will warm you right up. Bought a second bottle to open Christmas Day.

 1,120 characters

Photo of jzeilinger
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a dark brown, raisin color with a very thick, creamy, toffee colored head that doesn't go away - very thick, frothy lacing.

S - Belgian spice, banana, bready, yeasty, some chocolate aroma.

T - Raisins, figs, prunes, chocolate, bananas, clove, roasted sweet caramel/toffee malt, some alcohol presence, lingering mild chocolate bitterness.

M - Big full body, viscous, slippery, light carbonation turns to a creamy finish.

O - Outstanding beer.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On Tap at Monk's

A- Christmas ale in the tulip holds a very dark brown hue but is slick looking in the liquid. The head is nice and tight with a cinnamon color to it leaving lines of lace.

S- Loads of sweet malt with a nice spicy under lay which come up more with warming. Also getting a lot of dark fruit of many varieties. Some chocolate and caramel remain at a distance. Belgian yeast with a bunch of warming.

T- This is in my top three for christmas ales, a style im not crazy about, but I always seem to go for this one. It's probably because it does not remind me of christmas offerings that much Chocolate, malt sweetners, Belgian candi yeast, alot of dark fruit especially cherry and plum. Some raisins and a bunch of spices str8 off the rack. Now what make's it so special, well it's the balance of these ingredients, it's level. The spices do not get in the way as many winter beers do, here they dance with the other flavors.

M- Silky, smooth, rich, to die for. Another thing that's great about this offering is the absence of alcohol, it's no where in sight. A big above medium bodied with light but bright carb. This one's a winner, it goes down so, so, so easy. This is not a chore in any way.

D- This is a easy one to drink quick. I could do a whole bottle easily and in fact i will because the way my life's been going recently I need to be drunk more, the 10% helps. Im thinking BSDA with a winter warmer twist. This could be my favorite offering from bernardus, either this or the 12, may have to compare.

 1,528 characters

Photo of Liverpool08
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby red with a deliciuos fluffy mocha colored head. Has the sweet malty/funky aroma of a good Abbey ale. The first sip is YUMMY! Malty, smooth, and creamy, with ahint of cinnamon at the end. Each sip is even better than the first. More malty smoothnes with hints of dried fruits and nutmeg. A great ale for Christmas. I will be looking for this one every December!

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Photo of DrJay
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, coppery red hue with burnt orange edges and a billowing, fluffy cap of beige foam. Great head retention with chunky clumps of foam sticking to the glass at first, then some spotty lacing later. Great aroma - figs and prunes, apple, cinnamon, bready and yeasty, floral hops, bubblegum, pear, and mild medicinal alcohol. Sweet with some warm alcohol up front, dried fruit in the middle, with bread crust towards the end. It finished with a flash of gingerbread and lingering peppery alcohol. Medium to full bodied with very high carbonation. Palate coating with a bit of slickness and warmth. A great winter warmer with pleasing fruity notes. I'm betting this will age gracefully.

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Photo of THORN
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 botle 1 pint 9 Fl. Oz. poured into Duvel snifter.
A: Dark purple red, cannot see through center. Red around the edges with visible CO2 trails on bottom of snifter. Pours 1/2 inch vanilla colored head. Thick sticky lacing left behind around snifter.
S: Sweet toasted malts followed by sweet cherries and ginger. Sight vanilla linger.
T: Dark toasted malts, followed by strong toffee body, Cinnamon and raisins linger into slight alcohol taste.
M: Light on tongue but still syrupy. Slight warming feeling.
D: Very well balanced, slight alcohol is welcome with body that accompanies.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled this at the 2009 Central Coast BA Bacchanal.

Appearance: Light brown in color and very cloudy. A fizzy white head quickly retreats to a mere ring. Light lacing.

Smell: Loads of sweet malt and sour Belgian yeast. Caramel, spice, dark fruit (prunes?), and orange rind.

Taste: Same as the scent, but with added clove and extra spice. Very malty, very tasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body, highly carbonated, and pretty dry. Active, malty, and chewy.

Drinkability: Wish I had more of this. The little 4oz. sampler wasn't enough. Really tasty, but I could see this one being very hard to finish on one's own. The carbonation, spice, and body may get to ya.

 660 characters

Photo of jnn4v
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Brasserie Beck in Washington DC.

A: Mahogany / walnut brown color. Translucent around the edges and generally hazy. No sediment. Moderate cream colored head with very fine texture.

S: Nutmeg, ginger, and other holiday spices are the very first thing I noticed. Also some dried dark fruits like raisins and dates as well as spiced or candied nuts.

T: Good flavor. Spices are the most dominant trait, but they aren't overpowering. Some good mixes of nutty flavors with molasses and brown sugar malts, dates, raisins and prunes.

M: Very good mouthfeel. Good body and texture from the viscosity. Nice, refined carbonation as well.

D: Different than I expected (I'd been hoping for Abt 12 plus spices, and this is more of a brown with spices). However, it definitely grew on me. Very drinkable at refrigerator, cellar or room temperature.

 857 characters

Photo of gdfan47
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pours a dark brown with a little bit of head

alot lighter than I thought it would be

it smells like pine and cinnamon and a little root beer

it tastes really good, really smooth not too sweet

its really light and not too carbonated very easy to drink

very fun to drink and I couldnt really taste the alcohol at all

another good beer by st bernardus

 356 characters

Photo of MDDMD
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-dark brown color with hints of ruby and a nice light tan head with good lacing

S-malt, cinnamon, cloves, raisins and plums, brown sugar

T-malt, dark fruit, brown sugar,cinnamon, cloves, hints of licorice

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth, alcohol very well integrated

O-a delicious Christmas beer to savor during the cold months

 348 characters

Photo of Vengeance526
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark ruby brown color with a 1 finger tan head that quickly settles and leaves a moderate amount of sticky lacing.

Strong aroma of fruits and spices all around. Noticeable amounts of plum with cinnamon and nutmeg upfront.

Taste strongly mirrors the smell with lots of plum and raisin upfront along with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in the middle and a sweet yeasty finish.

Full bodied with a smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this one plays out very much like the Abt 12 but with a more noticeable spice presence. Very enjoyable and a great Christmas treat.

 560 characters

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