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
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 679 | Ratings: 2,079
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.

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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.

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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!

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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!).

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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.

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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.

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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

Photo of spacecake9
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opened a bottle from Xmas 2014. Poured into a goblet.
A - Pours a dark brown with a large head that leaves a thick cap and a lot of lacing.
S - Aroma is Belgian yeast, banana and bready,
T - Flavor is a bit sweet, malty and dark fruit.
M - Carbonation is high. Medium mouth feel.
O - This is a tasty Quad.

 310 characters

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

While smelling this beer I pick up fruity notes of banana and dark fruits. The carbonation looks quite high with lots of little tiny bubbles. Dark bronze in color. Much more dark fruit comes through in the taste with a bit of chocolate in there. A slight alcohol taste but hidden pretty well for 10% abv. It is very carbonated and has a prickly mouthfeel with a medium heavy body. The carbonation from this beer leaves you quite full. I don't pick out a lot of spices in the beer like I was expecting. I would drink again but would probably not look specifically for it in the store.

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Photo of Biggiekrock627
3.62/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had out of the bottle pouted into a Belgian style tulip glass. A number of sour notes to the smell and taste that seemed off. Not sure if I had a bad batch but almost felt like a lambic style any other st. Bernadus beers

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.12/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 8/9/2015 at Natty Greene’s Tavern, in North Attleboro, MA served in an over-sized wine glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains fruit, brown sugar, Belgian yeast, caramelized malts and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of dark fruit, brown sugar and caramel. Then some breadiness comes in from Belgian yeast and a hearty malt character. The hops presence is very mild but complementary and brings a very good balance considering the sweetness. The after-taste is sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, deceptively strong kick, good representation of style, this is a solid beer to drink for a while if you’re in the mood for the style.

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Photo of pat61
4.52/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Poured brilliant chestnut crowned by a persistent, light tan stiff 2” meringue-like foam collar that leaves gothic window lace.
S: Dark dried fruit and fruit cake.
T: Layers of flavor composed of rich malt, dark dried fruit, fig, spice, hints of anise, and fruit cake. There is some lingering carmel with a hint of chocolate especially in the finish and the aftertaste. Moderate bitterness.
F: Medium body, very creamy with above average carbonation.
O: Another classic from a fine brewery.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.93/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, deep, dark, mahogany color, with a finger and a half of white-colored head that slowly dissolved away into a lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very nice and very aromatic, with tons of bready, toasted malt, imparting notes of freshly baked pastry, as well as lots of dried stone fruit, such as raisins, prunes, figs, apricots, and cherries. I also get toffee and brown sugar, a touch of dark chocolate, a touch of licorice, and lots of funky Belgian yeast, which imparts aromas of saddle leather, wet blanket and roasted chestnuts. Smells inviting and delicious!

Taste: Absolutely delicious! Fantastically, so! There is lots of bready, toasted malt up front, followed by lots of dried stone fruit, such as raisins, prunes, figs, apricots, and cherries. There is also quite a bit of toffee and brown sugar-like sweetness, as well as a touch of dark chocolate, a touch of licorice, and lots of nutty, spicy, funky Belgian yeast.

Mouthfeel: Slightly chewy and nicely effervescent as there is quite a lot of carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 10%, there is just a hint of a pleasant alcohol warmth on the palate, otherwise, the alcohol is very well masked.

Overall: This is another absolutely fantastic beer from St. Bernardus! Each one that I’ve had has been absolutely stellar! I highly recommend each of the beers from this fantastic Belgian brewery!

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Photo of stevoj
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Schwing! Sitting around on Christmas Eve and sipping this beauty. Nice sour smell of dried fruit and molasses, dark, dark brown with oily skin of a head.Flavor repats the fruit theme with a little sweetness, alcohol isn’t noticed until its on its way down your throat. Really, really good!

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a dark brown, raisin color with a very thick, creamy, toffee colored head that doesn't go away - very thick, frothy lacing.

S - Belgian spice, banana, bready, yeasty, some chocolate aroma.

T - Raisins, figs, prunes, chocolate, bananas, clove, roasted sweet caramel/toffee malt, some alcohol presence, lingering mild chocolate bitterness.

M - Big full body, viscous, slippery, light carbonation turns to a creamy finish.

O - Outstanding beer.

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

750 ml bottle from Systembolaget, Sweden in december 2014. Pours hazy, brown-reddish with a three finger high beige foam that leaves lacing on the glass.

Nose: Belgian yeast, spice, fried fruit, plum, banana and fresch apples.
Taste: Syrup, dried fruit, dark malt, chocolate, spice, raisin, coffee and bread - Really good!

Medium, complex body with a great carbonation and a very good job on hiding the alcohol.
Tasty with a sweetnes that ends with a lillte bitternes - Great!

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Photo of PlutonowyManiek
3.78/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Weak head. On the surface danced just fine bubbles.
Bouquet is clear cloves, orange, spices evocative of winter.
Taste is very dry, plums and all the characteristics of aroma reminiscent of mulled wine, is also bulky and heavy, and of course alcohol, which is incredibly warming up.
Alcohol (10%) in beer is well hidden. St. Bernardus Christmas Ale enchants bitterness which is dry, seasoned.
This beer is a "fat", rich, yet easy to drink, saturation of more than average.
Highly recommend for winter evenings by the fireplace with a good book.

 544 characters

Photo of hophugger
4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy deep gold with amazingly fizzy head and nice lacing. Aroma is of ripened fruit and bready malt. Taste is sweet malt, with hints of raisin and dark fruits. Some yeasty notes here also. Mouthfeel is mild and pleasant. 10% ABV is very well hidden !!

 261 characters

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

Pours out a hazy leathery brown with a thin head. Smells fruity with spicy Belgian yeast - caramel malts. Taste: caramel malt base and spicy yeast. Umami savory yeastiness. Dried fruits and berries. Finishes dry. Moderate weight on the tongue with active prickly carbonation. Delicious.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Brief write-up. Oh man, what a killer Noel ale, rich and spicy yet oh so dangerous. The Belgian yeast is powerful, but it remains impeccably balanced throughout. I'm amazed how light and effortless this remains. I'd drink this during the 4th of July, it's that damn good.

4.32/5: Christmas in March, mofos!

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Photo of captaincoffee
4.26/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml...half price at my local place. Guess they didn't think anyone would want a Xmas ale in Feb, but I figured a St Bernardus quad would have some staying power (if not aging power).
Pours brown with sizable stick head. Great nose. Tons of fruity esters. Good full mouth feel and not particularly hot for a 10% brew. Big malt, spice, complex flavor profile. Very enjoyable. Glad I got 2.

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

Brown/ruby pour with khaki head (12oz draft into snifter); fruit, cloves, cinnamon, and banana notes; sweet malt with stone fruit with banana and clove from the yeast; medium feel and good tongue coating; overall, complex -a lot of flavor and alcohol-a good way to end the drinking day!

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.82/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750 shared with a work buddy... 2014 bottling.. Pours a deep walnut but still shows good clarity, khaki head sticks around forever with nice lacing. Toasty with a bit of spice cake essence.. Not as rich as some of the other Quads but still very respectable.. Very high carbonation IMO, pretty burpy.. With warmth, the spices bloom a little more than I appreciate.. Nothing wrong with it, I just prefer the Abt 12 better.

4.25/4/3.75/3.5/3.75

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Photo of damndirtyape
4.27/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750mL corked and caged bottle (bottled 2014) served in a Karmeliet Tulip glass.

Appearance: Brown with copper highlights - a bit cloudy but the light still goes through. Thick and massive tan head upon pouring that died down to a persistent 1/8" thick foam. Plenty of persistent lacing - thick sheets and strands.

Smell: Cloves and banana, powdery yeast, hint of fruity esters.

Taste: Lots of flavor going on: Classic Belgian yeast flavors, candi sugar, fruity esters, hint of tart cherry, hint of toffee, caramelized malt. Bitter and sweet finish with leafy hops and caramelized malt. Very delicious.

Mouthfeel: Airy and prickly carbonation at first. As the beer warmed up and the carbonation died back a bit, the beer gets a bit sticky but still smooth.

Overall / Drinkability: I personally felt the alcohol was well hidden for a quad, but I could notice it in a pleasant way about 2/3 through the glass. Full of flavor, well worth savoring as a sipper, and a big bottle is the best way to enjoy this beer to get a nice serving of the beer. It went well with food (Doro Wat) and I think it would pair well with a wide range of food. While I was not able to have this at Christmas, I think I'm going to have to pick it up again next year and see if I can make it a Christmas day beer. A very good Quad and a very good beer.

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