Christmas Ale | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding
679 Reviews
Christmas AleChristmas Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Belgium | website

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:
679
Ratings:
2,079
Avg:
4.19
pDev:
16.23%
 
 
Wants:
179
Gots:
416
For Trade:
6
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Reviews: 679 | Ratings: 2,079
Photo of midaszero
4.02/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Hazy dark amber with one finger of white head and okay lacing

S - Malty with floral hop notes. A little faint

T - Taste like Christmas. Nice and malty with some spice mixed in. There are some red grape notes. ABV hidden pretty well

M - Medium thick body with medium carbonation

D - Pretty easy to drink and very enjoyable

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Photo of brewdude1982
3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was a bomber poured into a snifter.

This pours an opaque brown and smells like Belgium yeast an then sweet. It tastes belgiumy and is sweet and malty. It had good carbonation and a medium body. Overall I would recommend if you can find it but its seasonal and I got it after Christmas.

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

A - Pours a deep ruby red color with light brown head and plenty of retention.

S - Figs, raisins, apples, sugar, and bready malt.

T - Definitely on this sweet side but not in a bad way. Plenty of dark fruits mix well with an almost rock candy taste. Cinnamon and nutmeg spices can also be tasted.

M - Full bodied and provides a nice covering mouthfeel.

D - I polished this off quite easily and the flavors are not too bold and could allow for a second to be had.

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Photo of UrbanCaveman
3.57/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle, poured into a snifter at room temperature.

A: Pours a rich, deep bronze-brown, and forms a fantastically thick head with good retention. Fairly clear, enough to see the bubbles rising from the bottom. Lacing is rather remarkable - this amount of froth and lacing should not even be possible for a 10% ABV beer!

S: Sweet malt and yeast, wreathed through with plum, fig, and cherry notes. The candi sweetness is of course present, along with just a tinge of funk.

T: So, that's what a quad with cinnamon in it tastes like. There's significant heat in this, from a combination of cinnamon spice with noticeable alcohol. Sweet malt, candi sugar, and dark fruits, particularly cherry, are all present, but beneath the spiceahol mix. The finish leaves a lingering burn.

M: Rather thin and sharply carbonated for a quad, actually. I was expecting something stickier, given the head and lacing.

O: I am rather underwhelmed by this beer, especially from St. Bernardus. The Abt 12 is spectacular, but this does not disguise the alcohol content half as well - instead, it disguises the underlying yeast flavors with alcohol and spice. I wouldn't say it is a bad beer, but I would not go out of my way to have it again. Perhaps if I were to encounter it on tap somewhere for a decent price per pour.

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Photo of sjccmd
4.39/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I believe it said best buy 2012 on the bottom of the bottle.

Pours dark amber with ruby highlights and a light tan fizzy head. Lacing is pretty thin. Nice looking, but looks like it doesn't have as much body as I'd like.

The smell is pretty much everything I'd want to smell in a BSDA. Dark fruits, brown sugar, raisins, caramel, with a touch of spiciness.

The taste initially follows the sweetness of the smell but is rounded off with slightly bitter roasted malts, alcohol warmth, and a dry finish.

The mouthfeel is a bit of a let-down. It's not very thick and little too fizzy for my liking. It delivers the flavors decently, but I was hoping for more body.

Still decently drinkable especially for the ABV. A bit of a slow drink, but it's worth savoring.

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

Deep dark brown with some burgundy highlights and an enormous off white head that sits around for quite a while leaving some very thick gob like lacing.

smells very sweet with some strong hints of cherries and dark fruits with some fairly light spice notes to it. there is some cinnamon and even a touch of clove but many of the other notes are not so noticeable.

the taste is the same but with some more balanced characteristics. the cinnamon is more prevalent but not so strong that it overtakes the other flavors. a very light floral hop flavor lingers in the background.

the mouthfeel is exceptionally creamy and full bodied, the carbonation is soft and foamy. very sweet finish.

may not be super drinkable because it is pretty complex and full bodied. still very good though.

awesome beer, basically like a spiced abt 12.

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Photo of Cozzatoad
3.63/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml cork caged bottle

A- Foam immediately pours out of the bottle, and it keeps building inside even after a few pours. Slightly murky brown, with ruby hints if seen through light. Huge head that quite quickly recedes to about one finger of slightly off-white soapiness. Loads of lacing on the glass

S- Dried and dark fruits among a strong alcohol feel, with a faint spicy note to it. A hint of lactic acidity as well

T- A suprisingly dry and not so strong malt character (with some notes of caramel) sets this beer apart from most belgian strong ales and other St. Bernardus beers as well. A slighlty musty herbal feel plays a major role in this beer, though in my opinion it is not perfectly balanced with the beer's dry malt character. Strong alcoholic feel, with both plain alcohol and spicy notes from the esters. Assertive dark fruit notes of cherry, raisin and maybe more. A faint hint of lactic sourness as the smell suggested. Extremely complex, but a bit messy

M- It's dry malt charcter has this beer feeling quite light in body if compared to most belgian strong ales and given it's ABV. Alcohol can definitely be felt, and though it brings a nice warming feel it gets a bit too much in the way in my opinion. Average and spot-on carbonation

O- As i have already mentioned this beer is very complex but quite a bit of a mess. It still is decently drinkable and warming, but it's musty, herbal character just not gets in the line with it's dry malt character. I didn't notice bad or completely off flavours nor any other major issue, so i'm reviewing it

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Photo of dbell23
4.7/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass. Two finger head that settles to a thin beige head that lingers throughout the drinking. Great lacing. Super dark brown color.

Smell is spicy dark Belgian. Cloves, Christmas spices dominate with malty Belgian ale fragrances. All dark Belgian aromas.

Taste is so complex. Belgian yeast, Christmas spices, smooth malts, toffee, caramel, with a hoppy/phenol finish that has a brown sugar lingering flavor. Alcohol is totally hidden. Great, sitting in front of the fire after a hike in the snow.

Mouthfeel is perfect for this type. Smooth medium/heavy. Just what I look for in this type beer.

Overall a great Belgian winter beer. Can't wait to drink this one again.

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Photo of Mavigo
4.61/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this from Discount Drinks in Farmington Hills. Served in a snifter.

A: Pours a hazy, amber-mahogany color, very bubbly, with a 1/4 inch beige head that dissipates after a few minutes leaving some patches of lace.

S: Great aroma, plums, dried fruits, bananas, spices, cinnamon, cardamom, yeast, malts, wheat

T: Tastes awesome. Very sweet, definitely a quad. Very rich and robust, dark fruitiness, complimented with yeast, malts, spices.

M: Full bodied with ample amounts of carbonation, well balanced, great flow, great taste.

O: This was awesome, Merry Christmas! Another great beer from St. Bernardus. A bit expensive though.

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Photo of BWH3
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle which I found for under $11 in center city Philadelphia

A: A solid medium brown the color of pecan containing a few shades of red when held to the light. The head is big bubbly beige but fades quite easily but fortunately leaves a lovely lacing.

S: Bubble gum, sour cherry, anise.

T: Spicy, caramelized cherries with notes of cinnamon and licorice. Sweet up front then bitter and spicy hot. The phenols bring out the heat as well as the alcohol. This one brings the heat. The alcohol is a bit palpable but I am sure if one aged the beer it would mellow some.

M: Nice effervescence. Light medium body. Head retention could be better but is not below average.

D: St. Bernardus once again makes a fantastic beer that needs to be sampled by all.

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

18.12.2015

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.

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Photo of bluegrassbrew
3.81/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into a tulip.

Pours a deep brown with a massive head that leaves nice chunky lacing around the glass.

Smell is hot, hot, heat! Alcohol mostly.

Taste is heavy on the alcohol. Hints of nutmeg and dates.

Mouthfeel is creamy and good.

Overall, this is a solid beer, but not as good as I expected it to be. Compared to the Abt. 12 the alcohol is more noticable and it is less complex. That being said, it was still tasty and easy to drink.

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Photo of sokol_1993
4.39/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look: dark brown, a good amount of foamy, creamy head.
Taste: full of molasses, sweet maltiness with hints of dark fruit seeping up at the end: plum and grape were dominant. Not much sign of alcohol, even though 10% was in there, which make it dangerously deceptive. Very complex.
Feel: full body, great after taste.

Had a 330ml bottle at wishbeer, Bangkok. Not the right weather for it, but for a quad lover all weather is great.
A great brew, but prefer its brother Abt. 12 more.

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Photo of corey0212
4.55/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky chestnut brown, slight reddish highlights when held to light, and an absolutely gigantic foamy beige head, settles extremely slowly and leaves big clumps of lacing on the glass. Lots of spicy dark fruits on the nose, raisin, plum, fig, and big Belgian yeast aromas. Taste follows right along, some belly-warming alcohol, slightly earthy character to the beer as well. Really, I'm having a hard time imagining anything more enjoyable to sip on during a freezing snowy night, with the holidays right around the corner. Absolutely delicious.

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

first 5 star review
750ml poured into a st bernardus chalice

pours an opaque brown with a quarter inch head. taste hints at nutmeg, smell has some cinnamon going on.

taste is full, this is a heavy beer but the abv is definitely well hidden.

i love this beer and i'm one of few that likes this better than the abt 12.

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Photo of natelocc787
3.72/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Red crimson beer with an off-white foamy head. The nose smelled like a Christmas fruitcake. Lots of nuts, toffee, mild chocolate and raisins. The taste was there, mouthfeel was not. A slow sipper for sure, dark brown bread, sweet almost cloying from the malts, dark candi sugar and spice cake in the taste. Mouthfeel was not alive, not sharp either but dull, slightly dry and semi-flat tasting. Definitely a complex beer, just not impressed with much else.

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Photo of GatorBeerNerd
4.56/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a dark amber brown with a couple finger thick fluffy tan head. The head clings to the side all the way down. This one could be the post card for a tasty looking beer.

S: A very subtle fruity smell along with the characteristic aroma of Belgian yeast mixed in. I like the aroma a lot, but there are a lot in this style that are more inviting.

T: One sip and you know this is a St Bernardus brew. It has the classic yeast taste that is evident in all of their line. There is a fruity taste and hints of brown sugar as well. The alcohol definitely warms in the after taste but it is hidden well in the mouth. There is no alcohol burn at all. In the end I marked this down slightly since the taste isn't very complex, but I really enjoyed this one.

M: For my tastes, this one has the perfect amount of in mouth carbonation as well as an excellent viscosity. Rolling it around in the mouth is almost as enjoyable as each swallow.

D: Even though the warming affect of this one makes you not be able to knock it back as fast as you might want, I still gave it a 5. That is because this one it is the most drinkable of this style I have ever had. For a winter warmer, it is easy to drink.

God bless St Bernardus, they make some fine beers!

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Photo of 01001111
4.52/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Cloudy, warm, caramel amber.

S: Sweet banana bread. Very malty.

T: Much like the smell; sweet, caramel bread flavors with hints of spice, nuttiness, and dark candied fruits.

M: Full bodied and smooth with a bit of zest.

O: Quite an amazing brew. If it weren't for the sweetness I could make this a regular indulgence.

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Photo of Naugled
3.47/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

served in a goblet.

Dark hazy brown with a fine creamy head that very quickly dissipates

Very sweet nose, smells like candi or soda

Woah, a very sugar forward beer. Tastes like there's nothing but sugar in this. Dark sticky sweet sugar. Some hotness comes through, but is needed to cut the syrupiness.

Medium mouthfeel, but on the thin side of medium. however not cloying and has a smooth softness to it.

drinkable, but over the top sweet. I guess that's what people want for the holidays.

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

This particular bottle has been aging in my fridge for the last year. The Christmas Ale is bottle conditioned so it poured with a generous head over its deep ruby brown body. The aroma was of fruits and malty sweetness with the taste following the same with some added complexity and a slight bitterness on the palate. The creamy mouthfeel rounded out this truly excellent Christmas Ale that is a fantastic beer for the Holidays.

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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.

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Photo of Jesstyr
4.87/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

St. Bernardus is one of my favorites, so I gave this a try when I saw it on the shelves at Publick House in Brookline. Now I wish I could buy a dozen more. Quickly became one of my all time favorites.

Poured into a stemless tulip glass out of a .

A: dark brown with very creamy head.

S: Rich aroma with chocolate and a little bit of bourbon, and subtle winter spices.

T: Rich flavor of chocolate and dark fruits, not sweet, just a little bit of toffee and raisins and a bit yeasty. Great with cheese.

M: Light and a little creamy.

D: Too easy. Finished the bottle and didnt feel it till much later.

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Photo of LeRose
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This bottle was a gift in December 2012. Poured into a tulip.

Appearance - murky brown/reddish color. Nice fluffy white foam on top that persisted.

Smell - immediate hit of alcohol which shouldn't be a surprise. Dark fruit - fig and data aromas. Lightly spice notes on the nose - clove, cinnamon. Very toasty. The aroma set the expectation that this was going to be very sweet. Bready and malty.

Taste - yeasty, bready, and malty. The alcohol was not as noticeable on the taste. Heavy on the fruit notes - plum/fig/date maybe a hint of sweet cherry. Not nearly as sweet as I expected. I thought the spice components were very laid back and complimented the beer rather than dominating it - wonder if this is age related? Thought the balance was great - not a cloying, overly-spiced holiday brew.

On the tongue, kind of a medium body, pretty smooth. Where did the 10% ABV go? Carbonation was high, but not overly fizzy.

Overall I think this is an excellent beer and if memory serves, it is somewhat of a bargain in terms of price. Obviously a year in waiting did not hurt it any. I would not hesitate to pick up leftover bottles and let them stay with me until next Christmas. Good stuff.

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Photo of pjwilson
4.59/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured in to Chimay chalice.

A: good quad amber

S: sweet figs brown sugars

T: so sweet so good. Classic quad greatness

Mouthfeel: yep it's soft

O: as good as Abt 12

Yeah it's great. Made the mistake of starting this too cold. Opened up after warming

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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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Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
93 out of 100 based on 679 ratings.
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