St. Bernardus Christmas Ale | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
705 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:
705
Ratings:
2,185
Avg:
4.19
pDev:
9.31%
 
 
Wants:
184
Gots:
443
For Trade:
6
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 705 | Ratings: 2,185
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 donniecuffs
3.75/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

At the Cloverleaf Tavern, Caldwell NJ: poured mahogany with one finger of khaki head with good lacing. Smelled of candied fruit, cloves, and blood orange; very unique. Tasted of orange, clove, allspice, and candi sugar; very similar to the nose. However, the alcohol burn was certainly evident in the finish. Very malty, velvety mouthfeel..probably the best aspect of this beer. Good sipping beer.

 397 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 EPICAC
3.62/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy-brown with a beige head that thins to a film.

Smell: Subdued, some dark fruit, malts and a light spiciness.

Taste: Sweet malts, dark fruit, a nice alcoholic spice, and a light bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, carbonation is a little high.

Drinkability: Too sweet and spicy.

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Photo of BigCheese
4.41/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brother got me a 750ml for christmas, paired with some top notch BBQ from Blue ribbon in arlington. A great contrast to the salty/savoryness of a heavy meal.

A: Pours a dark ruby red, semi transparent, with a super huge frothy white head that lasts througout. Leaves some dark lacing. Really beautiful, a massive head that locked super sticky, like melted marshmallows.

S & Taste: Lots of dark fruits, brown sugar, prunes, chocolate covered cherrys, rasins, maybe even some cognac like notes. Some sugar candies, and that classic super funky belgian yeast. A little bready, with some clove/all spice. Very tasty, a good dessert beer, that contrasts well with smoked meats. Would also go well with salty cheeses, or cured meats. Very rich but not cloying, which was impressive. Pretty well balanced, and hidden ABV.

M: Rich syrupy, very carbonated for richness. Rather drinkable for ABV/OG.

O: I dont usually like belgian Quads or Tripels as their often cloying. This was quite excellent though. Would pair great with christmas dinner. Could go well as a dessert on its on, with dessert, or in contrast to a savory dish. Too much flavor for white meat or blander food. One of my favorite belgians.

 1,201 characters

Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a St. Bernardus chalice. Small, off-white head sinks into a murky amber body. Aroma is mainly of sweet dark fruits, dates, figs and raisins. Taste is sweet, slightly warming, and includes all of the aforementioned fruits and some peppery spice. ABV is wonderfully hidden behind the loads of flavors in this beer. A truly special and delicious treat. Paired well with Thanksgiving deviled eggs, sweet potatoes and cornbread.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark opaque brown with a tan head.

S: Banana, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg in the nose.

T: Nutmeg and banana come through strong, cinnamon is there as well, especially present in the finish.

M: Full bodied and smooth.

O: Probably the second best beer they make. It's a great beer to have on Christmas.

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Photo of constantine_272
4.26/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

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

Poured from a 750 ml bottle (marked best by 07/07/12) into the appropriate St. Bernardus glass.

A: Pours a very dark brown (almost black) color with a huge thick and billowing light tan head. Great head retention leaves a big head throughout with some light lacing.

S: Some light sweet malts in the nose along with some floral accents.

T: Dark malts up front in the form of figs and raisin although with very little sweetness. The finish is peppery with some light spices. The spices tend to dominate the palate. Not quite as much complexity as I like to see in this style.

M: A creamy mouthfeel with very high carbonation.

D: Good drinkability due to the fact that the alcohol is nowhere to be found, especially for a 10% brew. This was a good offering but I think that this one will likely get better with a little aging.

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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.

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Photo of Mar02x
3.5/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - A dark brown beer with a fluffy head. There are some carbonation bubbles visible that a racing to the top.

S - Fruity and fresh nose, spices, caramel and vanilla scents.

T - Caramel, candy sugar, nutty flavors, spices, vanilla , oranges - very complex but not so nice.

M - A lot of carbonation that quickly disappears.

O - A good Christmas ale but not so special. It is over the top. A not so good attempt to make something good even better.

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

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass. Pours dark caramel brown with a thick, eggshell colored head that dissipates slowly. Plenty of lacing is left on the side of the glass during consumption. There are aromas of banana, spices such as cinnamon and clove, malt, fig, and some caramel sweetness. The malt backbone is bready and mildly sweet with banana, cinnamon, clove, and fig. The 10% alcohol is well hidden in this beer. Saying the taste follows the nose is true, but it also understates the execution of the well-balanced and complex flavors in this beer. One flavor does not dominate the other. The beer is medium to full bodied with strong carbonation. This makes the beer smooth and dangerously drinkable. If you are looking for a great Belgian strong dark ale, this is a great place to begin.

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Photo of pants678
4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A hazy, deep, opaque amber with a solid beige foam.

Sweet yeast, chocolate, tinge of pine.

Well hopped cherries with a mix of spices and molasses. The finish of gingerbread which gives the sort of Christmas feel. The body, though, is a bread with figs or grapes and brown sugar. Bit too sweet, but the finish counter acts

Surprising I finished in a single sitting. Medium body that hides the 10%.

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Photo of Naugros
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

When opening Belgian beers with basket and cork I am wary of overflowing suds, but once in a while one of the more highly carbonated bottles doesn't do that and the gases release from the bottle and leave a fog lying in the neck. As you tilt the glass to pour they all wisp their way out of the bottle into the glass and them up and out. Fascinating...either that or I'm very bored.

Coppery brown, ruddy, close to purple is color with a high standing head that dissipates into a bubbly 1/2" layer, leaving behind clumps of lace on the sides of the glass. The carbonation is very evident as the bubbles climb the sides of the glass, building the chunky head.

Fruity esters rise from the beer and carry with them sourness and sweet maltiness, presenting as tropical fruits and cherries with some dark bread.

Another beer that has the taste falling short of the smell. It's still quite yummy, but I wish more of the esters translated. I was really looking forward to some subtle sourness balancing fruity and malty sweetness. That's sort of here, but the sourness comes through as vinous on the tongue and tropical fruits and cherries give way to the better known dark fruits, namely figs and raisins. Perhaps this is the effect of 10% alcohol coming through on your palate.

The vinous nature of the beer takes over, leaving you salivating as you drink and much of the aftertaste action takes place in the back corners of your mouth. Not bad, but not wonderful either.

So far this one of my favorite winter offerings this year. St. Bernardus rarely disappoints and this is no exception.

 1,589 characters

Photo of taylor714914
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

As a huge fan of the ABT12, I was excited to see this on tap at Always Ron’s in Hagerstown.  A murky brown, the smell is of figs, dates, toffee, and all around fruitcake flavors.  First sip evokes memories of dried fruits and various forms of sugar…brown sugar, honey, turbunado sugar, on and on.  It seems that the sweetness can morph into whatever style of sugar my brain wants.  The dried fruits complement this well.  A rich, thick brew, the mouthfeel is heavy and rich, and a 7 ounce pour was perfect.  A great strong ale for the Christmas time.

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Photo of bucklemyshoe
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Notes from Christmas day 2010:

#12 - 12 beers of Christmas. 750 mL bottle at 45 degrees into a St. Bernardus chalice.

A: It pours a mostly opaque ruby red color with an enticing two-finger, off-white head that becomes a bit rocky but laces well.

S: Intense spicy banana notes, cherries, candi sugar, nutmeg, and cinammon.

T: It appears to be an excellent blending of the Belgian Stong Dark Ale with holiday spices; banana that lingers throughout, candied plums and figs, candi sugar, cinammon, and nutmeg all show through.

M: It has a relatively thick body with a syrupy feel and finishing stickiness.

D: This is terrific and definitely the best abbey-style Christmas ale.

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Photo of homebrewhawk
3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml corked bottle served in a Blvd. Smokestack Chalice. Cellar temp.
Poured a deep brown/ruby. Medium bubbled off white head. Lively carbonation. Spicy aroma with a little alcohol. Hint of a musty smell.
Full bodied brew. Lots of sweet malt and raisins. Slight hop bite in the middle. Finishes with a little banana and clove.

Drank this one after everyone left on Christmas Day. Good way to finish the holidays.

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Photo of Lexluthor33
4.7/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours cherry brown with a foamy head and an amazing lace.
The aroma of malts then spices and finally the hops,fruits and yeast flow out. The alcohol can be picked up ,but only lightly.

I let this one sit for a few minutes and warm up. I then sipped on it and the first thing that hit my tongue was the sweet,dark fruits and some alcohol. Along the way the malts,spices such as cloves and even cinnamon could be tasted.
The feel was smooth and creamy with a full body and medium carbonation.

Notes: This is what Christmas is really about.(just kidding)
This beer really does make me feel the holiday season. There is something so rich and satisfying after a snifter glass of this brew that leaves one wanting more.
I believe there are two types of session beers. Summer/all season and winter session brews such as this one.
Expect to get a little warm and twisted off winter sessions due to higher ABV,but I had four glasses in a four hour span and certainly could have had more.

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Photo of obywan59
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a corked and wired 750 ml bottle. Smiling monk in a Santa cap on the label. According to the back label, this is the "youngest descendent" in the St. Bernardus family. This beer is matured for 3 months in tanks before bottle conditioning and will age for up to 15 years.

After the cork popped off like a rifle shot, the beer poured a rather dark translucent brown into my St. Bernadus xtra-large wine glass, with a substantial 2 finger head that recedeed somewhat quickly leaving light lacing and a ring around the edge.

Aroma of tart and dark fruits and a spiciness that seems at first to come from the Belgian yeast. Later though, I caught a couple of whiffs of actual spice.

The taste is wonderfully spicy and sweet, but it also delivers an almost citrusy, grapefruit-like tartness. I caught a bit of bitterness in the middle early on, but later the sweet and the tart flavors dominated.

This beer is very fizzy, but after that sensation dissipates, the mouthfeel is really smooth. There is substantial alcohol burn in the throat. Very warming.

I'm sure the Captain and coke I had with the guys after we got off work contributed, but the 10% ABV DEMANDED that I savor this beer unhurriedly.

Overall, while I would normally prefer a sweeter, less tart brew, this is an excellent offering for sampling on a cold winters night.

 1,338 characters

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.

 399 characters

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

750ml bottle served in a snifter.

pours a murky chestnut tone while yielding a generous 2"+ beige/tan head. strong retention and patches of lacing evident.

nose offers a strong spice presence with other notes of dark fruit, caramel, brown sugar, and belgian yeast.

flavor follows the aroma with strong opening salvo of spices, followed by the malt and caramel / brown sugar elements, then the dark fruits. tasty, relatively complex. medium-plus bodied mouthfeel with some prickly carbonation.

overall, it's a bit reminiscent of (at the risk of being simplistic) a spiced version of the abt 12 - which i would prefer. a very good christmas ale, just nothing overly spectacular.

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Photo of seand
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a translucent dark reddish brown, with a huge amount of tan head. The cork was pushing itself out once I got it started, and came out with a pop, but no overflowing. Most of the head disappears pretty quickly, but some clumps retain and leave pretty good sheets of lacing.

S: Rich and deep, with a somewhat subtle rendition of the normal belgian spices. There's also a touch of something almost smoky. Very nicely put together.

T: Complex with very deep flavors, but also manages to feel simple subdued. The finish is there, but the aftertaste doesn't last too long, except for a touch of a smoky scotch note, which is the only indication of the booze content I notice.

M: Medium body, actually surprisingly light towards the finish. Medium but prickly carbonation.

Overall this is quite nice, but you do have to pay attention to it; it's complex, but not a flavor bomb. I can't quite place why, but it does feel like a christmas beer to me, despite not really having any christmas-y spices as far as I can tell.

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Photo of silverking
3.89/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- murky brown with a fluffy tan head. Excellent head retention and decent lacing.

S- tart cherry, plum, nice malt backbone. I also get hints of cocoa and toffee. Alcohol.

T- plum and cherry wrapped in dark malts. The toffee comes through in the finish.

M- lighter than expected, with champagne-like carbonation.

O- good, I just wish it had a fuller body.

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Photo of mountdew1
4.06/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass. Color was a nice dark reddish color with a frothy dirty white head, small traces of carbonation rising from the bottom in a few places.. Head clung to the sides nicely, and then lasted a bit. Aroma was sweet, slightly fruity. Had hints of a mid range wine as well with just tad of alcohol. Flavor was fruity sweet, but not overly so. A small bit of spice hiding in there, but reminded me very much of a barleywine. Coated the mouth extremely well, felt nice and rich and creamy, with just a hit of carbonation in the mouth. Overall, a solid beer. Hid the ABV well, but was definitely a sipper, and most likely suitable for cold weather, not late August.

 680 characters

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

750ml bottle into Waton Tulip.
A: A very foamy head, pours a three finger height and holds throughout. The body is a deep brown hue and has a thick haze and a steady stream of carbonation. The lacing is a thick coat of sticky lace.
S: The aroma is a bit on the lighter side for the style. The note of a Belgian yeasty clove. The note of a tripel on the front and a low level of complexity is found.
T/M: The front shows a note of dark fruits and a bit of a domination of fig. A bold taste that is on the higher end of a medium bodied intensity. The mouthfeel is a clean and crisp taste that is a classic Belgian taste. The finish is a bit on the sweet side, that shows a hint at the abv in this brew.
D: This is a great winter brew that shows classic style notes and a sweet winter warmer. While I would only visit this brew once a season, I would still highly recommend it.

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St. Bernardus Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.19 out of 5 based on 2,185 ratings.
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