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:
185
Gots:
443
For Trade:
6
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 705 | Ratings: 2,185
Photo of FosterJM
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

966th Review on BA
Bottle to Wine Glass
750 Ml C/C

2011

Shared with friends at our 2nd annual Way before Xmas, Xmas dinner

Purchased at Bevmo Chino Hills

App- A lighter caramel brown with a very fast receding one finger head. White in color with a good bit of a pond layer. Zero cling however. A bit lacking in the normal BSDA.

Smell- A huge amount of Belgian Yeast with a lot of aromatics. Rich pine, citrus, fruits and vanilla. A little all over the place but very complex and layered.

Taste- This smelled almost the exact opposite as it tasted. It tasted like Christmas with more richness, more pine more layers and a bit more complex than I was thinking. It still was a BSDA with a yeasty note and a good bit of malts but had a bit more fruit than the standard 12 did.
I like the little bit of dryness on the last part of the tounge. A nice note of complexity.

Mouth- A medium body with a good bit of bubbles behind and and a lot of some yeast. I like the feel on this one.

Drink- I really liked this beer. It was a good way to end the evening with friends for a Xmas party in the beginning of Dec. I would/should go get another bottle of this one to age till next year.

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Photo of amphion1065
3.11/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750 mL bottle with a "13.08.16" date stamp, served in a Duvel tulip.

Quite a loud pop when I uncorked the bottle, though thankfully this wasn't a gusher. Pours a light, reddish copper brown. A huge, 2.5-finger light tan head with very tight bubbles last and lasts - the retention is excellent. Lacing is gorgeous.

Lots of citrus in the aroma. Right off the bat, orange peel and a heavy dose of coriander come into play. A very strong Belgian yeast character. Underneath, some toffee, prunes and vanilla. It's a sort of strange combination, like a Christmas pudding or fruitcake with an amped up citrus zest.

Predictably, there's plenty of orange in the taste. A peppery kick to the finish, which largely drowns out the dark fruit flavors at work. Man this is hot, far more so than Abt. 12, and the booze is pretty distracting. An odd, astringent bitterness in the back end.

Mouthfeel is solid, lively and just heavy enough. I expect nothing less from this brewery.

Judged against other BSDAs, this is pretty mediocre. As a Christmas ale, I feel just about the same.

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Photo of Kbogac
4.62/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice from a bomber. Huge foam! Maybe two inches of thick creamy head that slowly dissipated to a nice 1/4 inch layer that lasted to the end. Great lacing too. Scent is dark fruit, molasses, a little orange and clove. Taste is similiar, dark fruits and molasses. Good carbonation with a medium mouthfeel. Overall a great beer. I was defiantly wanting more when it finished. Highly recommended.

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Photo of DCon
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on-tap @ the International Tap House in Chesterfield, MO during the Black Friday "iTap Style" Event for $7. Tapped from the Black Tap Handle that has St Bernardus w/ a Santa Claus hat on into a 12oz Chimay Chalice Glass.

Aroma- A very sweet and complexed aroma comes from this one! Has a ton of malt, caramel, and fruit that hits the nose strongly. The fruit is a mixture of plums and light cherries (often found in Michigan brews), and then follows with a light noble hop aroma! Everything in the spectrum of the aroma!

Appearance- Received with a 1 finger head that is very frothy and lasts for good time. Has a dark, caramel looking body but much darker and is hazed beyond reason. Leaves THICK lacing behind.

Flavor- Has an extremely sweet and wild flavor here! Strong malts and cherries come out and give a puckering flavor. A medium-high bitterness level is present and can't put my finger on the "true" style this should be! I would say everything is blended harmoniously here and I enjoyed every last drop!

Mouthfeel- Medium-Full Bodied, Medium Carbonation, Smooth, Bit of Booze, and then has a nice alcohol warming finish. Wish there was more hops and that cherry flavor on the palate... Guess you can't get too much of a good thing sometimes!

Overall Impression- Rich, Complexed, and a very WILD Christmas Ale! I'm definitely stopping by Lukas Liquor to pick up a bottle of this and review/enjoy again! I suggest you do the same (but of course, your local bottle shop). See if you can spot the cherries in this one! There were a huge attribute in this brew for me that made it so enjoyable. Thanks Brouwerij St. Bernardus! Fantastic.

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Photo of imasloth
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured from a large bottle into a snifter, the carbonation described by other reviewers was no myth. The cork is raring to come out of the bottle once the cage is removed. It pours a dark liquid giving a huge almond-coloured head that remains thick for some time. Nice looking lacing up to the top of the glass.

S- Nice, sour malt and light bitter smell.

T- Sweet upfront, followed by delicious rich malt. Prune and maybe a light orange.

M- Medium to medium-heavy body with some feel from the 10% alcohol and a warmness after swallowing.

O- Delightful beer that I look forward to getting next year as well. Pairs nicely with the summer sausage and cheese spread I've got going.

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Photo of jayhawk73
4.28/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown w/ a nice once finger cocoa head. Excellent lacing left on my snifter glass. Nose is mainly figs, raisin, dark fruit, clove, and other spices. Not quite as strong as I'd like, but still very balanced and pleasant. Taste steps it up a notch- this is one of the better Belgian Christmas brews I've had. Just super balanced and really well put together. Feel is full, smooth, and incredibly balanced... Pretty amazing! Overall, this is probably the #2 Belgian Christmas beer I've had- it's definitely worth a buy. Cheers!

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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 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 drpimento
4.44/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served with a smallish, cream colored head and lots of lace. Color is a cloudy brown amber. Aroma is super malty, vineous, yeast, caramel, toffee, fruit. Flavor's very similar to nose with toffee, caramel, malt, yeast, carbonic tang all in the fore! Body and carbonation are faultless. Finish is malt, carmel, toffee and a touch of fruit while of average length. Luscious beer!

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

Serving Type - Caged and corked 22oz bottle

Appearance - Golden tan/brown, huge monster 5+ inch foamy, creamy head, tons of lacing.

Smell - Bready, yeasty aroma, spices, dark fruits, some sugars, Some floral fruits also. Totally what you want from a belgian strong ale.

Taste - A spiced up fruitier version of 12 basically is how i would describe this. Lots of fruits, espically cherry, and added spices start this beer off. The grassy/floral hops add some dry bitterness. Yeast also adds a grassy, easrthy feel along with some dry bready quality. The alcohol is present in each drink, warms slighty and actually works well with the sweetness.

MOuthfeel - Its a big beer, and lots of flavor. Medium thickness, coats tounge with spices, fruits, malts, yeast and a little booze. Pallete gets remaining fruits and yeast, and alcohol. Aftertaste is a little dry and yeasty.

Overall - Fantastic, love this! A boat load of flavor, easy to drink, but this 22oz is plenty. A great once a year beer that i seek out annually and use to start my holidays with. Christmas has started offically for me. Great beer, espically for St. Bernardus 10 and 12 fans.

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

2011 Version
Poured into a Chimay goblet from a 750ml bottle.

A - A nice strong pop is heard after the cork is pulled. Pours a nice slight caramel color with some brown notes and a huge 2 inch slightly off white head. The head is dense and creamy almost like a cappuccino.

S - Traditional and delicious BSDA spice. SOme nice yeasty phenols. There is also a ton of bready malt with some slight clove and some nice cinnamon notes. The aroma is delicious and silky smooth. There is some slight caramel sweetness and mild alcoholic notes.

T & M - Wow. Soo creamy. Traditional Dark Ale spice is present. There is some slight peppercorn and of course some clove. There is also a nice bready taste that has some slight sweet hints. Cinnamon is perceived as well. There is some alcoholic notes that are present yet welcome and warming. The beer is smooth and well crafted. It is quite complex as well. There are some dark fruit undertones throughout the middle portion of the beer that can be perceived better as it warms. This is not only a delicious winter beer it is actually a delicious beer period.

O - Very good beer by St. Bernardus. Complex yet approachable and high on the ABV but not too intense. Very good beer and great for the cooler weather.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.01/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've been waiting to try this beer for a while but got totally shut out last year. 750ml corked and caged bottle served in my St. Bernardus chalice. Be careful opening this one - once I removed the cage the cork fired like a shotgun blast and ricocheted off the ceiling. Pours a deep plum color with a slightly hazy clarity. Head starts off as a fluffy, two inch, cream-colored cloud of foam. As the head recedes into a quarter inch cap, delicate, textured spots and strands of lacing are revealed and exhibit excellent adhesion. This beer looks exquisite in its proper glassware. Nose expresses dark fruits with a slightly vinous character, Belgian yeast and some nutty notes (perhaps hazelnut). Taste follows nose - flavor profile is pretty standard for the style in my opinion; however, there's a trace of ethanol that overshadows things a bit, making it difficult to tease out the subtleties. I also get a little wet cardboard towards the finish, but it dissipates quickly. Mouthfeel is light-medium with a slightly prickly carbonation, as well as a bit of gassiness. Overall, a very solid Belgian Strong Dark; however, perhaps a little young. I would probably sit on this vintage for a couple more years.

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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 nlmartin
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the 2011 edition. The beer was served in a wide mouthed goblet.

A- The body of the beer is black. No opaqueness to light. The head is thick biege coloration. Nice head retention that stands up to the mustache test. Thick lacing marks this beers passage.

S- Dark roasted and toasted malts. Caramel breadyness, peppery yeast, dark fruits raisins, candied figs, mixed berries and cherries, spice bill is cinammon, cardamon, allspice, nice peppery yeasty flavors. The alcohl peaks out and says hello from time to time.

T- The beer was a bit cold to begin with but opens up very nicely as the beer warms. Major delivery on the beers aroma. Nicely executed! The beer is a bit sweet at first but between peppery yeast esters, spices and alcohol it brings the sweetness to heel.

M- Full bodied majorly aggressive carbonation. The beers body and carbonation works well together. The alcohol is a bit hot but not annoying.

O- Very tasty! I love St Berandus. I am really enjoying the Christmas version. If you like big beers this will deliver what you are craving.

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

Appearance - Let me just say, this is a standard st. bernardus, very carbonated, my cork popped right out when the cage came off and bubbled out all over my floor, whatever. Pours a very hazy dark brown with golden notes on the edges. Huge head, obviously, probably 3 or 4 fingers.

Smell - dark fruits, winter fruits, figs, raisins, plums, candi sugar, belgian spices and yeast, smells great.

Taste - Follows the nose COMPLETELY, dark fruits dominate this with touches of sweet belgian candy sugar. Not a lot of belgian yeast comes through this, just a lot of very very sweet sugars and fruits, very tasty brew.

Mouthfeel - I am indifferent i guess, i give it a 4 because i think for the style this needs to be pretty carbonated. I rather do like how st bernardus carbonates their beers, it leaves a very crisp feel on the palate.

Overall - An incredibly delicious brew and so fitting for a christmas setting. I bought two to see how one tastes in the summer out of curiosity!

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
4.12/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured into a tulip. The cork practically jumped out with a little effort, and there was a loud and authoritative POP! I thought the beer would start overflowing, but it stayed calm. The color is a dark, ruby. Just as another reviewer reported, a massive head of dense, tan head developed after a gentle pour. It dissipated very slowly to leave a billowy lacing and trails along the glass.

Smell: Lots of dark fruit and sharp spice. Bready yeast, green apples, plum, figs, cloves, and pepper. It has a noticeable alcohol edge to it, which reminds me of brandy.

Taste: Mirrors the smell with the dark fruit and spice. The plum and figs create the backbone, and it is supported by the clove and pepper spice. Bready yeast, caramel malt, and green apple emerge after the beer has warmed. The alcohol is very noticeable, though not distracting; it fades as the beer warms, but provides a nice warming feeling with each sip, which is very appreciable in the winter.

Drinkability: Frankly, it justifies the price. And then some. This is a very tasty and potent holiday beer. It makes an ideal stocking stuffer.

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Photo of taigor
4.38/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into chalice glass.

A - Poured dark mahogany non-transparent color with huge head that slowly dissipated leaving significant lacing around the glass.

S - Mostly dark fruits and spices with bready yeast and malts.

T - Dark fruits predominate, figs, raisins, cherries with banana, bready yeast and lots of spices.

M - Medium bodied with high carbonation.

O - Great Christmas Ale with ABV very well hidden. I highly recommend it.

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Photo of DaveHS
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage.

A-Cork comes out with a loud POP. Even with a gentle pour there's 2+ inches of foamy, porous head, speckled with brown dots of what I can only assume is yeast. Reduces fairly quickly, leaving spotty, intermittent lacing.

S-Musty overripe apples, cloves, coriander, dry earthy hops. Not a bold or spice forward as many other Belgian Christmas releases.

T/M-Very subtle and delicate, considering the style. I'm used to Belgian Christmas beers taking a more bombastic approach to elements like spicing and density of the mouth feel. This is a straightforward, well made dark strong ale. I doubt this was made using any traditional holiday spices. The soft, creamy body ebbs and flows, exposing soft black licorice and marzipan flavors. Notes of caramel and plum round out the corners of the palate, leading into an exquisite, simple finish that lingers just long enough, not overstaying its welcome but imprinting trace flavors on the back of the throat. Leaves you wanting more.

O-A typically classy, high quality beer St. Bernardus. I expect this bottle would be fantastic with a few more years on it.

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

This beer has been sitting in the fridge at my other house that has been vacant for a year, but I believe that it was close to Christmas that I bought this beer and stuck it there and forgot about it. We are getting it cleaned up, so I pulled this beer out to review. I'm sure that the age hasn't hurt it at all, so let's give it a shot.

Appearance: Typical for St Bernardus, the beer is very well carbonated and I have a 3 finger head that is growing a little bit since the pour. After about 5 minutes the head was fading back into the beer and leaving huge amounts of lace on the glass. The beer is really dark, so I can't comment on the clarity.

Aroma: Through the foam I could get a little bit of sweetness from caramel, some dark fruit like plums, and a little bit of spice that I assume is from the alcohol. As the head fades, you can pick up the sweetness clearer and the yeast is contributing some subtle bread-dough notes.

Taste: The flavor is bold, and a little stronger than I expected from the aroma. There are lots of dark fruit in the aroma with a defined spice from the alcohol. The initial fruitiness seems to fade quickly, but I think that my palate got used to it quickly and I am sure that the ABV helps that. The body is medium with high carbonation, so that it comes across your palate lively and quickly so that you can't swirl too much for fear of it exploding in your mouth. The caramel malts is very well done in this beer, and gives you some sweetness in the beginning that sticks around and actually challenges the alcohol for the finish. There are some hops in the finish, but it is all about the malt and alcohol. As the beer warms up some, there is more spice coming out that I believe may be actual additions, and I am thinking at least some coriander.

Opinion: As is usual with St Bernardus products, I have been really happy with this beer. It is great tasting and has lots of character and is dangerously easy to drink. That said, I think that I like their Abt12 better, just because. This one comes across a bit fruity in the beginning where I don't remember that with the Abt12. I am splitting hairs here. If you haven't tried this beer...try it. I would recommend anything with St Bernardus written on the bottle, and this beer is no exception. I'm glad that I finally tried it.

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

Got this beauty from my nephew Kevin. Dark mahogany-ruby pour with huge three finger head with great retention and lacing. Big herbal, complex nose with hints of black cherries, metal, brown sugar, dark fruits, and tobacco. The taste is complex as well. Lots of black cherries, plums and bananas with a nice herbal backbone with hints of cinnamon, cloves and vanilla and just a touch of chocolate and orange peel. The finish is crisp and dry. The mouthfeel is carbonated, but slightly syrupy. The alcohol is extremely well hidden. It's not as "christmasy" as I had hoped, but still a classic beer from a great brewery. Thanks Kevin!

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Photo of jmvecchio1
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours out a dark brown color and has a creamy head that gives way to lacing that lingers for the entirety of the beer.

The smell is a strong, fruity aroma that packs a powerful punch of pears and apples with a slight hint of citrus.

At first sip you get a dominant pear punch that gives way to a malty apple juice finish.

Looking at this beer you don’t notice any carbonation, but this beer does have a carbonated mouthfeel.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.89/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This beer pours out as a deep red color with a foamy tan colored head. The lacing isn't too bad here. The smell of the beer has a lot of spice to it. There is some decent flavors once the beer warms up. The beer right from the fridge has a metallic flavor at first. The spices kick in and leave a slight amount of heat in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is a little warming and had a lot of carbonation. Overall it's not a bad Christmas ale.

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Photo of bbkd3b
4.41/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage poured into a tulip glass. The smiling monk always brings joy to me.

Beautiful dark ruby body shoots out of the bottle to give life to a stunning, 2-finger head. Light tan, and with massive retention, the two combine to make up one of the best looking beers I've come across.

A very sweet aroma drifts up the nose. Cinnamon, hints of nutmeg, and a thick serving of plums, raisins, and other dark fruits give this beer an attractive scent. No trace of hoppiness, alcohol, or yeast to be found here. Just a really thick, lovely smell. Makes me think of the holidays.

The creamy body almost destroys the tastebuds with a wave of dark fruits. It's so potent it's hard to describe. Letting it settle a bit reveals a much more subtle, likable side of the brew - the sweetness. A nice serving of sweet malts and a trace of brown sugar finish off the brew. It really massages the tongue with its carbonation. Clean finish, and a hint of alcohol to remind the drinker that this is no beginner's brew! Really well-done.

Overall/notes - Christmas in a bottle! I've heard and said this phrase before, but it here it really rings true. It definitely needs a bit of warming, but you'll be rewarded in kind. With the exception of that first shockwave, I had little to no complaints about this ale. Drink and be merry!

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

Aromas are sweet and spicy with dark fruits, including raisins, prunes, and figs. AS it warms you can detect more the the complex maltiness highlighted by molasses and some burnt brown sugar.
The taste begins with a solid dark maltiness including dark crystals and roasted malts. As it warms you get more of the complex dark fruitness once again highlighted by dates, raisins and prunes. Further sampling allows you to detect more of the spicy Belgian yeast flavors.
The mouthfeel nice with a solid full body and pleasantly well carbonated. Overall this is a fine holiday sipper best enjoyed with your family and/or friends. My uncle and I thoughly enjoyed this while the family rushed to the kitchen for the desserts, we already had ours in our glasses...

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

shared with a fellow BA, several months after the holidays
A - impenetrable plumb purple, tall head dissipated very slowly
S - rich dark fruits, sweet burnt sugar and light x-mas cake spices
T - sugar plums dancing in my head, similar to the nose with the addition of herbal hops, yeasty, and phenolic
M - very creamy and full to start, begins to thin out with spices and sweetness that lingers
O - a winter warmer if there ever was one, its not the super spiced up version that some go for, but is more of a strong sweet belgian with a little x-mas cheer baked in, well worth a purchase

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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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