St. Bernardus Christmas Ale | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

706 Reviews
St. Bernardus Christmas AleSt. Bernardus Christmas 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: 706 | Ratings: 2,187
Photo of snaotheus
3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into a large goblet shaped glass

Pours a pretty cloudy brown color, big coarse head and a LOT of active carbonation that sustains the head. Looks like the head is clinging pretty strongly, leaving some impressive lacing. Smell is spicy, I smell nutmeg and cinnamon mainly, I can smell dark fruits like plums and cherries. It smells very Belgian, which probably means I can really smell the yeast.

Taste is surprisingly not sweet. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, it's very strong, which means a lot of sugar must have fermented out. The dark fruits have a strong presence, as does the alcohol, the carbonation is so strong it comes out in the flavor as well. Aftertaste sweetens up a bit.

Mouthfeel is a difficult to describe combination of light and's rather thick and sticky, but the carbonation makes it sort of seem lighter than it is. It's kind of nice. The strong taste and the strong alcohol make it not so easy to drink. It's a good and interesting beer, though.

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Photo of IronCitySteve
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark brown color with some amber hues. Provides a nice thick tan foam head. There is some spotty to moderate lacing.

S: Lots of raisin, brown sugar, prunes, yeast and some clove spice.

T: Is a rather sweet tasting beer. The dark fruit tastes like it was store in booze. There is a lot of sugar taste in there as well. In addition, the alcohol is prevalent.

M: Leaves a thick sweet taste on the palate with a twinge of alcohol.

D: I enjoy the beer, but this was a tad too sweet for me. I would certainly enjoy another, but it is a sipping beer for sure.

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Photo of nrbw23
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a dark reddish brown color with a creamy tan head. Head has great retention and leaves some spotty lacing.

S- Smells of sweet malts and dark fruits. Hints of chocolate, candied fruits and a bit of Belgian yeast.

T- Taste is dark fruits, sweet malty yeast, and warming alcohol. Maybe a hint of darker malts and chocolate.

M- Medium in body and carbonation. I found this one to be creamy, silky smooth, and a bit sticky.

D- I had no problem killing this one myself. A very excellent brew.

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Photo of gtn80
3.96/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Chimay chalice.

Appearance is a dark brown with some red highlights when held up to the light. Head is fluffy on the pour, settles to a nice coating of tiny bubbles throughout the glass.

Smell is pretty muted at cellar temps, lots of malt and dark fruits are subtle in the background.

Taste is surprisingly light for a 10% abv beer. Bit of black licorice at first, gives way to dark fruits, figs and raisin at the background. Tons of malt, very sweet, no hop bitterness or roastiness to speak of.

Mouthfeel is great. Creamy. The beer is heavy but the carbonation lifts it off the tongue. So smooth.

Drinkability is great, due to the carbonation it definitely isn't cloying. Flavors are interesting and light. Dangerously smooth at 10%.

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Photo of ianjsullivan
4.17/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

ST: 750 poured into a Tulip glass

A: A nice, thick, yellow, brown foam sits on top of a chestnut brown with hints of red. It is cloudy when held to the light. The head leaves some lacing.

S: Yeast, clove, and raisin dominate.

T: Fruity and sweet, it has slight bread upfront, some clove, and then raisins. The finish is dry and has a bit of plum, some mild alcohol, and spice. This is a very balanced beer; it is hard to believe it has 10 perfect alcohol.

M: Creamy and medium bodied.

D: Since it is smooth, and the finish is dry, the beer is balanced.

Overall: What a beer. It has lots of complex flavors, but, more importantly, it has restraint. Like any good Belgian beer, it has elegance. At 10 percent, it puts some warmth in your cheeks. It is without a doubt a great beer for the season.

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

Popped the cork and this exploded with foam. Had to wait 15 minutes before i could pour it. Not sure what happened. Off white head is thick and creamy. Body is clear and deep brown. Aroma is of belgian yeast with some spice and dark dried fruit. Alcohol is barely noticeable in taste. Sweet, fruity and malty. Feel is moderate and has the slightest tingle from carbonation. Very drinkable, but share it with a friend as the alcohol will seriously sneak up on you.

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

Poured from 750ml bottle into Orval chalice.

A. 1 finger head. Decent head retention. Little big of lacing. Dark ruby brown color.

S. Smell is pretty complex. Dark fruit, yeast, sour cherries, spices, brown sugar, clove, raisins, plums.

T. Taste is delicous. Easiest way for me to describe the taste of this beer is a slight weaker spiced up version of Abt 12. Yeast, dark fruit, raisins, pepper, anise. Very delicous sweet and spicy taste.

M. Medium/full bodied. Medium carbonation. Has some lingering sweetness.

D. A very nice seasonal holiday beer. Can't imagine drinking anything better on Xmas. The abv is well hidden.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served ontap into its brand named chalice.

Appears a hazed murky brown, obviously some yeast is there in suspension. Aroma is light and primarily malty with some banana aroma from the yeast. Great belgian ale flavors. Some dark fruits, downplayed spice with light touches of allspice and cinnamon. Some citrus is also noted, possibly from the hops. Brown sugar, burnt caramel. A really nice and well rounded belgian ale. Medium to high level of carbonation with a more-ish finish. I really liked this one. St. Bernardus brews some tasty beers.

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Photo of ixodus
3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Mohawk House in Sparta New Jersey.

A: Poured into a Brooklyn Tulip Glass. Pours a nice dark amber color with a two finger white head that slowly shrinks into a one finger head that stays the entire drink. Great Retention.

S: Sweet, Spicy, Bready, Not smelling much hopiness in this one. Also a slight alcohol smell.

T: Delicious Belgian yeast, bananas. Sweet and spicy citrusy flavors that have a dry finish with a slight hop bitterness. Very good

M: Medium body, medium carbonation.

D: Very drinkable. Hides booze moderately. Gave me a nice warmth from the alcohol but didn't hide it.

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Photo of Tifore
4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Melt Bar & Grilled. Poured into a snifter of sorts.

A - Beer comes to me with minimal head on it. Maybe a quarter finger but disappears fast. Is a deep brown in color and very clear and I can see some carbonation in the glass. Almost resembles rootbeer?

S - Smells absolutely delish. Lots of spice and very crisp smelling. No hoppy bitterness, no overwhelming sweet. Just spice and warm tones.

T - Tastes amazing as well. Lots of spice up front which fades quickly and is followed by a sweetness and warm notes. I can taste a bit of the alcohol but not much.

M - Mouthfeel is light and refreshing. Spice and vanilla notes hang around for a bit.

D - A very drinkable 10% beer. A winter, sit inside and enjoy a few brews beer. I really enjoyed this. Going to pick up a few bombers next time I hit the bottle store.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: Bark brown, cloudy with lots o bubbles. Big fat foamy tan head.
smell: Fruity and holiday spice. Distinctive banana. Very nice.
taste: Oh this is good. Banana with light holiday spice. Delish.
mouthfeel: A little on the light side.
drinkability: Delish goodness. The alcohol of a 10% is there but with kid gloves.

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

On tap at Rustico, beer is brown and mostly clear with a thin brown head of tiny bubbles that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. Carbonation moderate.

Aroma is sweet and clean with minimal yeast esters. Smells good.

Beer is medium in body and sweet up front. The midpalate gives way to a semi-dry finish with some more sweetness and no bitterness, the beer overall is highly drinkable and nice. It falls a little short in the middle of the mouth with the sweetness on either side and dryness at the end. I like this beer and this brewery, they are awesome.

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Photo of ujsplace
4.41/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice.

Big fluffy antique-white long-lasting head that leaves very nice lacing around the glass; leaving a chunked island in the middle - nice... The brew is a deep, dark, brown (nearly black) with hints of ruby red. Good looking glass of ale.

Smells of spicy, baked bread, yeasts, sweet malts, raisins, cherries and some other dark fruits.

Tastes of sweet over-ripened dark fruits - cherries, rasins and maybe apple as well as some sweet candied malts. Nice hop bitterness finish and a warming alcohol presence.

Thick and slick; good carbonation and hearty.

A very good Belgian strong dark ale, which doesn't come as surprise considering the source.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a dark amber with a huge head that lasted throughout the beer. Has a sweet smell, strong nutmeg smell. Very complex taste. Spicey like a good belgin beer, sweet, nutmeg flavors are also presnte. Tastes like a christmas cookie. easy to drink but should be enjoyed slowley. Overall a grea beer perfect for the holidays.

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Photo of cleolicious
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A HUGE tan foam head. Sell of plum, caramel and figs. Taste is a complexed mix of malts, slight citrus, cinnamon, nutmeg. Mild carbonation. Mouthfeel is smooth with a lingering of malt on the palate. Much like a desert. This is a great gift for a holiday dinner party.

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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 Thorpe429
4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this with Christmas dinner in 2009. Thanks to my parents for spontaneously picking this up and surprising my wife and I with it for the meal.

Pours a dark caramel with a nice tan head and some good lacing. Nose is quite nice, dominated by plums, figs, dates, nutmeg, allspice, a touch of cinnamon, and some doughy malt. Lovely yeast character. Taste is just as complex and uber integrated. Like a nice holiday dessert without being at all overly sweet. Mouthfeel is nice and creamy; super smooth. Drinkability is quite nice. Will have to make this a tradition.

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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 is a great beer

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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.

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Photo of nickdago
4.06/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz Corked bomber

Poured into a wide Belgian glass. silky looking dark brown with enormous bubbly whitish yellow head.

Smells of fruit, most noticeable aroma was that of a plum.

Was expecting a real boozy taste , but was surprised that this was not the case. The beer tastes as good as it smells with lots of fruitiness coming through. A little on the sweet side, but was expected.

M. Very palatable, smooth finish

D. of course this one is a sipper, but very enjoyable!!

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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 jeffjeff1
3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was one of the christmas presents from my fiance. Almost done with the christmas presents lol

Appearance- brownish red color, nice head

Smell- spices, malt

Taste- spices, dark fruit

Mouthfeel- medium to full bodied

Drinkability- Overall really good, would love to have it again

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Photo of mwilbur
3.77/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 750 mL bottle into snifter.
A: Pours a dark amber color (more reddish with backlighting) with a thin creamy tan head.
S: Belgian yeast, spice (e.g. cinnamon, clove), and dark dried fruit (e.g. raisins, figs). Sweet and bready.
T: The spices take over here and drown out the rest of the brew a bit too much. There is still the belgian yeast, dark dried fruit, and smooth malt notes...but all in the background.
M: Smooth. Medium body. Taste lingers briefly.
D: OK drinkability. Yeah, this is a Christmas brew, but I would tone down the spice on this a bit. I agree with a recent reviewer: give me an Abt 12 any day over this one.

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

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale. 750ml. Dec. 2009 vintage

Rich reddish-brown color with a 1 finger tan head. Cloudy body with some sediment. Mild carbonation, mediocre lacing.

Raisins and figs were prominent. Brown sugar, spices and a malty backbone were also there.

Deep malty flavor, with raisins being prominent. Other fruity flavors (figs and pears maybe) were present. There was some alcohol burn, but altogether I didn't find it disturbing in the least. Semi-sweet finish.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability:
Smooth, dry, well carbonated and a medium body. Great drinkability. When served at around 55 degrees, you get a lot of complexity that isn't present at colder temperatures. As it warmed, I really started to enjoy and appreciate it more. The raisin flavor really opens up as the temperature rises.

Notes: I noticed many comments saying that there is not much flavor to the Christmas Ale. I disagree. It is very flavorful, if a little one-sided (in the raisin and fruity aspects). Perhaps they didn't let it warm...

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.73/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It's time I pop a magnum of fine Belgian beer. On to the beer:

Very bubbly head on top....very heady. The color is dark rbuy brown with some hues of red mixed with the main color. Head retention is very good, and it settles to a creamy lace that's simply attractive to the eye. There's medium firepower in the aroma, yet seems delicate at the same time. Figs, dates, apples,'s good.

The first thing I taste are figs. After that, I can't taste a whole lot. There's a fair touch of alcohol felt in the beer, even if it is 10% ABV. More figs come out of the dark. There's isn't much in the way of other flavor. Ok, there's some pepper. It's light in the way of those famous dark fruits found in dark colored Belgian beer. Things slowly balance out as it warms, with more maltiness and less spice. On the spot in mouthfeel.

A little too one sided at first, but as it warms, things get better. Still, I'll take an Abt. 12 for Christmas instead of the Chrsitmas beer, how's that for irony?

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St. Bernardus Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.19 out of 5 based on 2,187 ratings.
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