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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 706 | Ratings: 2,186
Photo of kevinlater
3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle into snifter. "A 26.06.19". consumed dec 27 2015

a: opaque deep dark brown/chestnut with bubbly tan head

s: dates, raisins, figs, prunes, and overripe bananas all over strong clove. some brown sugar aroma

t: jam-like fruity sweetness and acidity up front -- prunes, raisins, dates, figs. clove, brown sugar, slight gingerbread, and slight cinnamon in the mid-palate. finishes clove spicy with a sub-moderate bitterness

m: a bit light for my liking. on the medium-minus side of things. bubbly carbonation

o: a good, drinkable, fruity dark ale

 565 characters

Photo of ChrisMon02
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

Pours a murky brown color with a tall 3 finger head. Soapy sud like lacing clings to the glass.

Smells of yeast, figs, plums and anise.

Taste mimics the nose. Sweet finish that last bit is not cloying.

Mouthfeel is soft. Plenty of champagne like carbonation. Goes down easily.

This is a nice quad. A bit sweet for my taste but a 12 oz bottle is perfect. Very enjoyable and fits the season well. Would have again.

 457 characters

Photo of mothmanscott
4.48/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dull/murky cola brown with a tall (3 finger), long lasting, light tan/beige head with variable size/textured foam and some webby lace. Aroma is spice, yeast, bread, some banana, fig/raisin, faint cherry & anise, very faint alcohol for a 10% ABV. Even so the smell becomes slightly vinous as the brew warms. Taste is dark bread, molasses & faint caramel malt, Belgian yeast, anise/licorice, dark fruits, hints of pear, banana & cherry. Finishes dry & spicy with a drawing bitterness. Afrertaste is lightly fruity, dark malt, alcohol & bitterness. Alcohol is much more assertive in the mouth than the nose manifesting as spice, bitterness & warmth. Mouthfeel is heavy bodied with high carbonation, alive in the mouth grainy, prickly spice, lightly chewy, dry & complex. Absolutely amazing!

 795 characters

Photo of Hoppsbabo
3.85/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Quadrupel in appearance. The head looking like recently activated yeast.
S: Smells like regular St Bernardus Abt 12.
T: Extremely phenolic, loads of nail varnish, bubblegum and bready yeast. This just tastes like regular Abt 12. Perhaps a little drier.
O: It's a slightly dry Abt 12. Not great. Not a fan of St Bernardus on the whole. Overrated.

 349 characters

Photo of puck1225
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An excellent beer! Pours a dark brown with a creamy head and great lacing. Beautiful sweet fruity smell. The taste has many characteristics, mainly dark fruit and warm spice. Candied pears and a bit of licorice. A great beer for the Christmas season or anytime you want something different and special.

 302 characters

Photo of Tilley4
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoying on Christmas Eve while watching A Christmas Story...

What a delightful offering... It has all the aspects of an English Christmas pudding in a glass... Loads of spices, dark sweet fruits, rich malt and that wonderful Belgian yeast... Truly a joy to drink as it enhances the day... Nice and boozy... The beer is a tad over carbonated but still a masterpiece... As the beer warms up, it gets bigger and bolder... This one's a sipper and a damn tasty one... Merry Christmas!

 490 characters

Photo of jrenihan
4.26/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Unsurprisingly, a very nice beer. Pleasantly sweet without being cloying, and with a bit of a dry finish. A notable fruity flavour, almost apple-like, along with brown sugar, plum and general spice-like flavours, although it doesn't appear that any are used in the beer. Bready with a "yeasty" character. The nose is very fruity and sweet smelling, losing the spicy dryness that is present in the flavour.

 405 characters

Photo of WunderLlama
4.19/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into pint glass

Dark reddish brown , cola like appearance, frothy taupe two finger foam cap

Aroma of dark fruits , roast malts

Taste of dark fruits , alcohol present

Sudsy, , fizzy, feel the alcohol

Good beer

 229 characters

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.

 565 characters

Photo of kitch
4.17/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 330ml bottle with a best before date of 30th July 2018, poured into a Chimay goblet glass.

Appearance: It poured a dark brown colour with a two finger creamy puffy beige head that dissipated slowly to a nice half finger puffy cap that gives nice curtain like lacing.

Aroma: Nice dark fruit cherry, plum, prunes and raisin with hints of apple, banana and spice pepper.

Taste: Much like the aromas, there’s candied sugar, apricot, cherry, fig, plum and hints of banana. Caramel and toffee comes out as it warms. The alcohol is there but does not affect the taste and is slightly stronger when warm.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, medium bodied with mid to high carbonation.

Overall: Not quite Abt 12 but it is still a great beer from this Trappist brewery that I would buy again next year.

 784 characters

Photo of Marius
4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33cl bottle. Dark ruby pour, with a tall tan-coloured head. Smells of dried fruit (figs, prunes, raisins), toasted dark sugar, chocolate, spices. The taste is very rich and complex, with strong notes of cherries and cherry liquor, followed by caramelized apples, faint cinnamon, red wine and rye bread. An excellent winter warmer, warm, sweet and spicy aftertaste, medium to full bodied and lively mouthfeel due to the high carbonation.

 436 characters

Photo of NilocRellim
4.04/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Pours a clear mahogany colour. Fruity nose with a Belgian yeasty banana aroma, slightly spicy and alcoholic. Sweet and malty but blended, with sticky tree fruits; slightly alcoholic in flavour despite the 10%.

 209 characters

Photo of 57md
4.06/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a muddy copper color with edges that are both copper and honey toned. There was practically no head. The nose has notes of both raisins and bananas. The body was a bit thinner than I expected but the flavor profile is highlighted by the essence of dried fruits and seasonal spices.

 290 characters

Photo of janubio
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brown colour, creamy, off white head that fades to a ring and lace. SMell of dark fruits, candied fruits, spices(cinnamon, cloves, cardamom).Medium body, grat carbonation, sweet palate. Taste of "polvorones", candied fruits, anise, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg... Very complex. And great.

 294 characters

Photo of MrDell
4.99/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


St. Bernardus Christmas Ale
Quadrupel - 10% - 750ml bottle - Bottled 28.07.15 (Almost 5 months old)

St. Bernardus’ website:
St.Bernardus Christmas Ale is a dark seasonal brewed in the classic 'Quadrupel' style of Belgium's best Abbey Ales. (10,0 % ABV) Similar to all the beers from our brewery, it greets the drinker with the signature aroma of the St.Bernardus house yeast strain (in use since 1946!) Rivalling the complexity of the St.Bernardus Abt 12, St.Bernardus Christmas Ale offers a spicy, mint-like flavor profile exuding the tastes of warming alcohol, fermented molasses, apricots, licorice and marzipan that are highligted by the perfect balance of brewing sugars.

Appearance: As soon as I poured this beer I noticed how similar to its brother Abt. is in both looks and aroma so this review maybe more of a comparison. Very deep brown with a big, noisy cappuccino coloured head. If memory serves me correctly, ever so slightly darker than the Abt.

Aroma: Straight away that lovely trademark yeast, that originates from St. Sixtus (Westvleteren), hits you followed by loads of dark fruits and alcohol. Smell very similar to Abt. but with a bit more punch, especially where the fruitiness is concerned.

Taste: St. Bernardus Abt. 12 on steroids! Absolutely fantastic. So complex with such a long finish. Flavours include fig, liquorice, dates, dark cherries, brandy, raisins, red wine, dark toffee, banana, burnt caramel... it's like a British Christmas pudding in a glass!

Mouthfeel: Creamy, smooth, oily and then ever so slightly drying finish.

Overall: So, the big one – is it better than Abt. 12? Very difficult to say, having had Abt. So many times and this just the once but at this stage I actually think it is… just! Either way, they are VERY similar, both are favourites and both are world class beers. The Christmas Ale is just that tiny bit tastier, perhaps due to the spices.
11 / 10.

 1,930 characters

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

 491 characters

Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.46/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

As close as you can get to christmas pudding in liquid form. An already stunning quad with christmas spices added, this is the best christmas beer ive tried. Smell is delicious, caramel and spices with a strong hint of banana custard, taste is the same,strong banana custard finish again.smooth as anything.....just a great seasonal beer.

 338 characters

Photo of Buck89
4.21/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter. Dark walnut color with a thick tan head that lingered nicely. The nose was full of spices, clove, plum, dark bread, fruitcake, and yeast. The taste was quite similar, with fig and raisins dominating with the malt, and only a hint of spiciness. The floral and estery notes seemed a bit toned down, and the finish was warm and a bit sweet, but not cloying. Brightly carbonated and full-bodied.

 414 characters

Photo of rarigney
4.06/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very enjoyable beer. Very dark mahogany appearance, a little sweet perhaps, but very drinkable. Bought a 4 pack at Total Wine, may get another before they're gone for the season.

 178 characters

Photo of ocelot2500
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep mahogany color with a soda like off-white head that leaves little bits of lacing.

Smells of a mix of dark fruits and some spice.

Tastes of spiced fruit layered with some buttery bread notes. Fruit notes lead off with apple, raisin, and fig. Some caramel and burnt sugar notes come next with a moderate amount of sweetness. Spice adds next with clove, nutmeg, and star anise. As it warms, banana comes through more. Some earthy and herbal hops add a bit before the finish. Finishes with a lingering spiced fruit note.

Mouthfeel is full with a slightly effervescent amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a tasty quad and is well worth a visit.

 666 characters

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!

 396 characters

Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is the first review I've done in quite some time, so why not start with a classic. I've had a lot of Belgian Christmas beers over the years, and this is one of the best. I was lucky to be able to try it on tap, thanks to the guys at #3 Craft Brews here in Cape Coral. The beer is sweeter and less carbonated than the regular 12 (which is one of my absolute favorite beers). A nice seasonal treat, but it would be too sweet for me on a regular basis (in fact, I'm going to have a chocolate chip cookie with it in a little while!).

 534 characters

Photo of josanguapo
5/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From cervezasespeciales. In Teku glass. Watching Son of Anarchy 2x03. Superb in all aspects. The perfect christmas beer. Amazing nose, tasty, warming, great body.

 162 characters

Photo of mabermud
4.06/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look: Dark chocolate hued with mahogany. The head was off-white, tinged yellow, and dirty. Quick dispersion. Maybe one or two bubbles left on the surface at a minute. I know, these beers normally look this way, but the look deserves the score.
Smell: Rich Belgian aroma, yeasty, dark beer smell. Sweet, yeasty, medicinal aromas. This has the smell of something I used to drink when I was sick in elementary school.
Taste: Yeasty, cherry cough drops.
Feel: Medium throughout. The carbonation has no essence, it just disappears. POOF.

Overall - It has been a decade or so since I last had this. It tastes about the same. It's special, but then again, maybe it isn't. Not my style of beer. It's good, but it isn't if this is not your style of beer. I personally, have some appreciation for this beer.

 818 characters

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.

 699 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.