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 DavidEddie
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Happy Holiday's fellow BA‘s!

Best before 09/08/12 printed on the bottom.

Murky brown in appearance. A very dense, thick off white head. Pillow like sticky lacing, that hangs around. Aromas of raisins, tons of other dark fruits, and spices. Well blended flavors of dark fruits, tart grape, candied sugar, mild chocolate, and some spices of clove and cinnamon. Finishes with some warming alcohol. Mouth feel is creamy and smooth. Highly carbonated, very fizzy. Drinkability is excellent and very enjoyable. Very similar to Abt 12. If you like boozy beers, then this one's for you. CHEERS!

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Photo of ksimons
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-a deep chestnut with ruby highlights and a good two fingers worth of cream colored head

S-caramel, toffee, chocolate, dark fruits of cherries, figs, raisins, and yeast

T-matches the smell nicely, lots of caramel and toffee, dark fruit, cocoa, light banana, Belgian yeast, and just a touch of hops to round things out

M-medium body, spicy carbonation

Overall a really delicious BSDA and Christmas beer. Really great tasting and nicely complex.

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Photo of oglmcdgl
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On draft at kraftworks.

A- comes to me with a small cap of tan head that settles quickly leaving just a few spots of lace. Hazy murky dark brown red in color.

S- candied fruits and a subtle sherry note. Light fall spice that reminds me of christmas go figure. Cloves and nutmeg with some fried orange peel.

T- dark roasted malts bring in some light coffee and chocolate then the long and slow roll into candied dark fruits, cloves, a touch of cinnamon. Apple skins and apple brandy.

M- just about medium in body with a lightish carb that let's you really feel the brew and almost makes it feel a bit more substantial before its perks its head and washes it all away.

D- killer killer stuff. I love it what else can I say. one of if not the best xmas brew ever.

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Photo of WillDavis707
4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer on Xmas night. Everything that you would want out of a Belgian, and nothing you don't.

Dark fruit flavors, yeasty but not overpowering, smooth as can be!

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep burgundy color ale with a super large foamy head with great retention and good lacing. Aroma of dry fruit and fruity ester with some candi sugar and some nicer Belgian malt. Taste is a well balanced mix between some fruity ester, some dry fruits such as figs and notes of Belgian malt. Body is full with great carbonation and no appearance of alcohol. Very well done though it probably fell short of the ABT 12.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750mL corked and caged bottle into a Dogfish Head snifter. The pour is copper-colored and dark, though not quite as dark as Abt 12, and highly effervescent. It sports 2 fingers of creamy, fine, and very well-sustained head that never completely fizzled out. The nose is not too punchy and I get notes of dark fruit, cinnamon, and allspice. The spices seem to mask the rich, bready, pastry-like aroma of the standard Abt 12.

The beer has a medium body with a firm feel, though a bit thinner than Abt 12. The high level of carbonation wakes up the palate, intensifies the spices, and cuts the sweetness. Brief, bready, biscuity malt flavors of sweet bread and cake greet you first. They are quickly overtaken by the carbonation and turn to dark fruit (raisins and dates) and nuts, and then holiday spices take over and you get ginger, allspice, and a sarsaparilla-like finish. No booziness. The finish is slightly dry and appetizing. Like Abt 12, the beer tends to get a little sweeter as it de-gasses.

Overall, a very good beer, but I definitely prefer Abt 12. I generally avoid winter warmers and holiday-spiced beers, but this one is very well done. The spices are not overwhelming or unbalancing, but to me they still detract from the sweet, rich flavor characteristic of the style. I doubt I will try this again, but it's not because I didn't like it. Anyone who enjoys holiday beers should check this one out (and definitely try De Dolle Stille Nacht while you're at it).

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a balloon glass.

Look: A dark reddish mahogany, very hazy, holds up a cream colored head. The head recedes to a thick soapy film. Light lacing.

Aroma: Figs, cherries, spices such as cinnamon, tart cranberry, malts.

Taste: Fruity and spicy with cranberries, apples, and cherries coming to mind. Malty with just enough sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, dry boozy finish.

Overall: Delicious, with a perfect blend of fruit, malts, and spiciness. This tastes how a Christmas ale should in my opinion. Consumed on Christmas day, 2014.

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Photo of runningjoke
4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The appearance was everything I expected. It's head was large with tight bubbles which turned to foam before turning into lace. A quick swirl will pump up the foam again. When held up to the light it has an opaque caramel/toffee color with some mahogony-red highlights at the edges and bottom of the glass. Continuous columns of bubbles stream to the top of the glass.
Malty smell with traces of cider, rum-raisin, and allspice.
Spicy and hot. It is malty with very little hop character. aftertaste has a slight astringent quality. This beer is really smooth and flavorful. It is an exceptional beer, fitting for a limited release.

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Photo of TDotScott
4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into a bolleke goblet.

L- medium dark brown with an off-white head that shrinks down to a half inch. This half inch just doesn't quit.

S- Spicy phenols, like pepper and cinnamon. Big dark fruits and brown sugar, very raisiny.

T- sour cherry. Definitely acidic, with rummy candi sugar. Spicy phenols are here, with alcohol evident.

F- alcohol heat, with intense carbonation. The body seems lessened because of it

O- Not quite as good as the Abt 12, but a great glass

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Photo of dahlen22
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After having a Bernadus 12 on tap at the Eulogy Bar in Philadelphia, I figured I would give this a go. The beer is a reddish-brown color with a nice 1/2 inch of head. The aroma is nice, but taste is what matters.

This beer has plenty of legs and tastes good. It starts off velvety with a slight bit of spice and caramel. It then goes into raisons, toffee, and some winter spices. Being 10%, I would not sit down and drink more than one or two, but this is a beer for the winter months. As far as Christmas beers goes, this is not quite as good as a Corsendonk Christmas, but it does rank high within this category of beers. Merry Christmas!!

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Photo of tzieser
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage poured into wine glass.

pours dark brown in color with a thick off white head. little to no sediment visible.

amazing aroma. sweet smells of belgian candi sugar, molassas like malts, notes of various spices and belgian yeast.

amazing flavor. sweet and complex. belgian candi sugar again, with big malts and lots of belgian yeast flavor. very similar to the abt 12 but with more spiciness, but the spices are still very subtle thanks to the extra year of cellaring. probably the best holiday beer you can get.

smooth and creamy mouthfeel; good drinkability. wish i had more than 1 bottle.

a must have for the holidays.


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Photo of RedBrewer83
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into goblet...

A: Dark brown amber body with a big three finger creamy tan head that falls slowly leaving great lacing and a thick foam head on top of the beer.

S: Raisins, figs, dried fruit, candy caramel malt, spices (nutmeg, clove, allspice). Smells like Christmas!

T: Follows nose with added flavor intensity and a hint of booze that comes across in a delicious way! A little intense on the sweetness, but somehow not cloying.

M: Smooth carbonation, almost velvety mouthfeel and nice dry finish that keeps this from being an overly sweet cloying beer.

D: For being such a big beer that is so complex and sweet it is pretty drinkable, but not great, this is definitely a sipper, but on a cold winter night this would probably be perfect!

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Photo of FreshHawk
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy chestnut brown with a good amount of sediment. Smaller, bubbly, foamy, light, off-white head. Disappears pretty fast leaving a wispy ring of lace.

S - Classic BSDA aroma with a bit more spice that others. Dark fruit, dark bread, and some spiciness (both Christmasy and BSDA spice).

T - Like the aroma this has what you would expect from a BSDA. Plenty of raisin and some dark bread. A good amount of spice including some earthy spice, cinnamon, clove, pepper, and a touch of orange peel. Some Belgian yeast flavors come out. More bitter than I was expecting.

M - Medium body with average carbonation. Has a bit of a zesty feel and less creaminess than I was expecting.

D - It made for a nice holiday sipper. Lots of spice and typical BSDA flavors. A little strong with the spice and bitterness cuts down on how easy it is to drink.

Notes: A BSDA with plenty of spice and bitterness. Good beer but I was expecting a little more. I enjoyed it for a holiday sipper for a winter day with family. Good beer overall.

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Photo of cbarrett4
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from tap at Henry's 12th street. Medium head settling to a nice lace. Dark brown hue. Packed with dark malty goodness, and holiday spices, nutmeg, molasses, brown sugar. Yum. Rich flavors of dark malts and said molasses, spices. Medium weight, almost smells and tastes like it needs more body. Smooth, low tannins, very easy on the finish. Good brew, but expect more from this brewery and at this price.

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Photo of Gavage
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: brown in color with a 2" head that falls pretty quickly. Some spotty lace develops during the session.

Smell: big malt sweetness, brown sugars, and bits of spice.

Taste: huge malt profile, brown sugar, prunes, black plums, some softer spiciness, light alcohol, yeast, and a nice bitterness makes up a full flavored ale.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Lightly crisp to start, smooth at the finish. Relatively short aftertaste with this one.

Drinkability: this one goes down quickly despite the high alcohol levels. A few of these could be consumed in a session, but you will be feeling it quickly.

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Photo of robbyc1
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big looking belgian with a massive amount of head, my first look more to come.

Nice fruity nose with yeasty esters, some bubblegum, dark fruit wafts from the glass.

It tastes like the nose with a bit hit of not overdone sweetness at the end, very complex, spicy, with intriguing aftertaste.

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Photo of DavidST
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 75 co bottle into a goblet, 2010 edition. This pours a slightly hazy dark tea color with a decent white head which dissipates quickly. The smells are of belgium yeast esters, dark fruit and spices. Feel is very high carbonation, medium feel. The taste is good pretty malts, lots of ripe dark fruit, a little alcohol burn, but tasty.

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Photo of zeff80
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 Edition

A – Poured out a rich amber color with a beautiful, tan, foamy, three-finger head. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S – It smelled of dried fruits (pear and apple). There was also a strong malty presence.

T - The taste was quite complex. Spices hit the tongue on first sip, cinnamon and maybe vanilla. A rich, roasted malt flavor lasts throughout. It had a biscuity quality, as well.

M – It was soft and smooth with a warm alcohol presence. This is a very heavy-bodied beer.

D – This is a very nice Christmas Ale. It is quite a lot to handle in one sitting. I might have to pick up another and cellar it (the bottle claims it can be cellared for up to 15 years).

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Photo of brentk56
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Expected a bit more carbonation when I popped the cork so I was not surprised that the head was not overly impressive; after a few minutes, all that remains is a film and a ringlet, though it is rather leggy, leaving quite a smattering of dots and dashes

Smell: Spice cake aromatics, with ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove joining the dark fruit (fig and date) elements

Taste: Spice cake with caramel frosting; in the middle, the fig and date flavors develop, along with all the spices detected in the aroma; a little tartness, after the swallow, along with a balsa wood dimension, brings an interesting phenolic angle to the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: One of the better Christmas ales to come out of Belgium; my bottle was a bit undercarbonated but still quite good

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Photo of BlackBearForge
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

St. Bernardus Christmas pours a deep burgundy brown with a generous ecru head of creamy foam which leaves nice sheets of sticky lacing.

The aroma has a nice spicy yeast scent bound in dark malty fruits... raisins, plums, apricots and also brandied pears.

The taste has a nice spiciness to it, cloves and cardamon with a full dark fruit flavor including dark cherries, grapes, plums and their dried counterparts raisins and prunes. Orchard fruits also make an appearance like sun warmed ripe pears. Alcohol is nicely integrated in the matrix of complex fruit flavors and is noticed mostly as a pleasant warmness. The finish is dryer than expected given the strong sweetish fruit and malt flavors.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, medium and creamy, slightly chalky and finishes smooth.

This is a very tasty Holiday treat that I can easily look forward to every year. It is a slow drinking beer but savoring it's complex flavors is no problem! Every Belgian beer I try just leads me want to try another.

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Photo of dudemuskie
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a bottle of this in the cellar for close to a year...figured a little belated Christmas present to myself would be a lovely idea after a 14 hour work day!

Appearance- Tight light beige head quickly rises, nearly like that of a glass of champagne, and quickly fades to a very thin residual ring. Deep brown with faint reddish-orange highlights, slightly hazy from bottle refermentation.

Aroma- Whoa, lots going on here! Perfumey alcohols, candilike caramel and raisins, hints of honey and very soft cinnamon spice. Dark dried fruits like cherries and maybe even a hint of apricot. Nice yeast character also. Incredibly complex and an excellent nose suitable for a winter warmer!

Flavor- Starts sweet with caramel, raisins, rich toffee and opens up to a wonderful yeasty, softly spicy, middle. Finishes rich, but not overwhelming with a perfumy, almost powdery fruitiness. Some herbal hop notes present as well as some warming alcohol. Long lingering finish of warm bread/biscuits, herbal hops, and soft yeast spice. Very nice.

Mouthfeel- Champagne-esque CO2 works very well with the higher alcohol. Medium bodied, moderate residual sweetness, low to no bitterness as spice from yeast is primary balance for malty/candi sugar sweetness. Slightly dry but sticky finish.

Overall- Excellent winter warmer, would like to try one fresh to see what the spice level is and how muted the perfumy alcohol notes are as opposed to this older bottle. Have a feeling a bottle of this fabulous winter brew would hold up for quite some time! Well worth a try, especially this time of year!

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Photo of Drew966
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale pours a mahogany brown with a huge tan head from a brown 750 ml bottle. The aroma is spicy. The taste is also quite spicy, almost a wintergreen like flavor, but not as strong. Spice definitely dominates the flavor, but dark fruits are also present. A very enjoyable Christmas beer, definitely worth a try.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Version
Poured into a Chimay goblet from a 750ml bottle.

A - A nice strong pop is heard after the cork is pulled. Pours a nice slight caramel color with some brown notes and a huge 2 inch slightly off white head. The head is dense and creamy almost like a cappuccino.

S - Traditional and delicious BSDA spice. SOme nice yeasty phenols. There is also a ton of bready malt with some slight clove and some nice cinnamon notes. The aroma is delicious and silky smooth. There is some slight caramel sweetness and mild alcoholic notes.

T & M - Wow. Soo creamy. Traditional Dark Ale spice is present. There is some slight peppercorn and of course some clove. There is also a nice bready taste that has some slight sweet hints. Cinnamon is perceived as well. There is some alcoholic notes that are present yet welcome and warming. The beer is smooth and well crafted. It is quite complex as well. There are some dark fruit undertones throughout the middle portion of the beer that can be perceived better as it warms. This is not only a delicious winter beer it is actually a delicious beer period.

O - Very good beer by St. Bernardus. Complex yet approachable and high on the ABV but not too intense. Very good beer and great for the cooler weather.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A new beer to try from St. Bernardus, I planned to wait until closer to Christmas-time but couldn't hold out. We poured it into St. Bernardus glasses and drank it near a Christmas tree in any case.

The beer was dark brown with a thick head, but lacked the floaties from ABT 12 and the creaminess in the foam that ABT 12 provides. Still looked OK, just closer ot the Prior 8 in appearance. The aroma was the signature yeastie fruitiness, but with a hint of spice I haven't noticed in the sibling beers. This spice came through in the flavor as a peppery note, a little biting, I'm not sure how to record it except "cracked pepper". Very nice, definitely you'd know in a blind taste test who made it, but you'd also know it was a little different. Highly recommended, along with all their other beers.

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Photo of mugglesandhops
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Horse Brass.

A- The light was fairly low in the bar and this looked very dark, almost black in color

S- Smelled spicy and fruity, dark fruits, fig, cherry.

T- Very good. Dates, raisins, nutmeg, alcohol.

M- Thick full bodied

D- This is definitely a slow drinker here. Perfect for the cold holiday season.

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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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