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St. Bernardus Christmas Ale | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding
682 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:
682
Ratings:
2,100
Avg:
4.19
pDev:
16.23%
 
 
Wants:
180
Gots:
429
For Trade:
6
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 682 | Ratings: 2,100
Photo of scootny
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A dark cola brown color with a sizable head of off white foam. Good lacing and retention. Aromas of fruitcake and rum. Bananas and toffee. Good Belgian yeast profile and a bit of sweet alcohol. Taste is much the same with a bit of bready malt at the core. Spiced and toasty. Raisins and figs really push forward here and the alcohol while well integrated is apparent in the finish. Finish is dry and earthy with a bit of fusel booze. Some good bittering. A warming and very complex beer here. Feel is thick and rich with a lightly prickly carbonation. Goes down nicely and the flavors develop nicely as it warms. A sipper for sure but you keep sipping often. Yum.

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Photo of ByTor2112
4.12/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours up a shade of brown that leans towards being mahogany, ruby-reddish. Big foamy head that hangs out for a while but diminishes.
Aroma-Big fat bready-fruity goodness. If the flavor is anything like the aroma, it is going to be sweet.
Mouthfeel-Medium carbonation delivers a very sweet body with some booziness. The alcohol is not too hot, but present. The malt is obviously there but the fruit profiles along with rich bready flavors really dominate with this one. The yeast has chosen to put these to the forefront, and the malt backbone is disguised. Sweet and rich and tasty. The finish reveals a little of the Belgian-yeast-funk, a bit on the tangy side. The fruitiness of the aroma and flavor swings from fig to raisin to cherry to...This was a good one to share with others who are not big beer folks and everyone enjoyed it.

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Photo of philbe311
3.81/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - This one has a head that just doesn't stop... Four plus fingers of airy continually rising light khaki colored head with a slightly rocky top that is audibly fizzy... Excellent retention... Ultimately what is left is a full creamy lace with a mound of foamy head in the center of the glass... The head sits a top a murky medium-to-dark brown colored body... Still for the most part with no discernible carbonation... A good bit of lacing clings to the glass...

S - Belgian yeast and a slight bit of funk to start... Next are a truck load of dark fruit aromas highlighted by dates, raisins, and plums... Bread pudding... Perhaps some tobacco notes...

T - Not as malty as expected... Fig... Raisins... Dark breads... Some Belgian yeast notes... The finish is a unique blend of vanilla and tobacco... A touch of booze on the finish...

M - On the lighter side of full bodied... A delicate carbonated tickle on the tip of the tongue... Sleek and slightly sticky... A tinge of alcohol induced heat... Warming throughout...

D - An easy drinking Belgian Strong Dark Ale which should be no surprise coming from a Trappist brewery... I would gladly enjoy this offering each holiday season...

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Photo of jbone78
3.97/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought this bottle in 2008, but the date indicates that it is a 2007. Let's see what it's all about.

Pours hazy brown with nice carbonation into my St. Bernardus glass. Signature yeasty dark fruit smell. Taste is different than the expected St. bernardus. You get an initial spice followed by a large figgy flavor. The dark fruit flavors fade into a vanilla/yeasty finish that is really nice.

This beer has not been in our local stores for the last year or so. But the next time I see it, I will buy more.

Merry Christmas

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

Appearance: Pours a murky brown with a thin tan head.

Smell: Sweet and spicy. Raisins cherries and figs and the usual dark fruit smells with lots of Belgian yeast and malty sweetness. Maybe a little bit of sour apple.

Taste: Figs and raisins dominate the taste at first but the yeast remains throughout. Very nice alcohol burn throughout but thats no surprise since its 10% ABV. Not overly sweet like the nose.

Mouthfeel/drinkability: Mouth feel is smooth and creamy with a full body and moderate carbonation.

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

A - Hazy chestnut brown with a good amount of sediment. Smaller, bubbly, foamy, light, off-white head. Disappears pretty fast leaving a wispy ring of lace.

S - Classic BSDA aroma with a bit more spice that others. Dark fruit, dark bread, and some spiciness (both Christmasy and BSDA spice).

T - Like the aroma this has what you would expect from a BSDA. Plenty of raisin and some dark bread. A good amount of spice including some earthy spice, cinnamon, clove, pepper, and a touch of orange peel. Some Belgian yeast flavors come out. More bitter than I was expecting.

M - Medium body with average carbonation. Has a bit of a zesty feel and less creaminess than I was expecting.

D - It made for a nice holiday sipper. Lots of spice and typical BSDA flavors. A little strong with the spice and bitterness cuts down on how easy it is to drink.

Notes: A BSDA with plenty of spice and bitterness. Good beer but I was expecting a little more. I enjoyed it for a holiday sipper for a winter day with family. Good beer overall.

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

75cl e bottle served in a chalice.

L - hazy brown color with a creamy beige head that left some thick globs of foam around the glass.

S - tart plums, sour purple grapes.

T - tart dark fruits with Belgian yeast finishing tart and dry.

F - medium bodied with a creamy feel.

D - good drinkability.

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Photo of Long813
4.01/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage: 2010

A: Dark borwn, almost black body boasting a huge four fingers of off white foamy head. Retention is great through the entire drink leaves amazing lacing.

S: Strongest aroma is the spice. Clove, bernardus yeast. Nice sweet notes of toffee and molasses. Might be crazy but I get some bubble gum in there too.

T: Little weaker than the aromas, all the same characteristics, spice up front mixed with yeast. Sweet candy and sugar notes.

M: Medium bodied with high carbonation. Sweet sticky feeling left in the mouth with some hints of alcohol.

D: Not bad, not bad. I don't think it's amazing, but it is a pleasing brew and I'd probably get it again to age.

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

A: Poured into my St. Bernardus chalice, this BSDA pours a medium brown with a ruby hue. The head is 1 finger thick and very bubbly.

S: The aroma is very sweet and is heavy in notes of dark fruit, raisins and figs, coupled with slight notes of the typical Belgium yeasty spice/clove.

T: The flavor is great. Everything present in the nose shines on the pallet. Dark figs and raisins. Maybe some bruised apples. Belgium spice is kept at the minimum, but adds complexity on the back of the pallet.

MF: Mouthfeel is a little light for a Belgium, but not bad.

D: Drink is good too, but not outstanding.

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

2009 vintage poured into wine glass.

pours dark brown in color with a thick off white head. little to no sediment visible.

amazing aroma. sweet smells of belgian candi sugar, molassas like malts, notes of various spices and belgian yeast.

amazing flavor. sweet and complex. belgian candi sugar again, with big malts and lots of belgian yeast flavor. very similar to the abt 12 but with more spiciness, but the spices are still very subtle thanks to the extra year of cellaring. probably the best holiday beer you can get.

smooth and creamy mouthfeel; good drinkability. wish i had more than 1 bottle.

a must have for the holidays.

MERRY CHISTMAS!!

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

750ml bottle of the 2009 vintage (Aged a year in my cellar) poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Rich dark brown with a 1/2" head that dissipates to about a 1/16". Very nice lacing throughout the beer.

Smell: Like the Abt. 12, dark fruit, Belgian yeast, and a hint of spice. Much more spice than the Abt. 12 for sure.

Taste: Excellent, a spicier version of the Abt. 12. Again, the dark fruit, the spice, the Belgian yeast. Just a delicious Christmas beer.

Mouthfeel: Very, very, smooth. Which is surprising as it is highly carbonated (the cork "shot" out and it gushed).

Drinkability: Great flavor, smooth, ABV very well masked, an easy drinking beer.

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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.

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Photo of drcarver
3.85/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - a very translucent brown with below average carbonation and a fluffy head that leaves decent lacing

S - as compared to other it has a fairly vegetable earthiness matched with the yeast and hint of dark frutis that come with the style.

T/M - sweet brown sugar like front followed by a roasted carrot flavor. Finished with a hint of alcohol (which is scary that it isn't more prominent). Medium full body with a smooth feel.

D - not bad.

Oh yeah and the cork damn near took my head off shooting out of the bottle.

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Photo of WanderingFool
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale pours a dark, cloudy mahogany color with a huge, rocky off white head on top. As the foam slowly dissolves it leaves behind netted patterns of lace on the glass.

The aroma is full of dark fruits and spice with some hints of malt mixed in. Grapes and raisins with a little bubblegum, plus clove and orange peel are all noticeable.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is light on the palate, dry with an very active effervescent fizz. The flavor is loaded with sweet dark fruit notes and spices. It begins with raisins, grapes, figs and some cherry. Hints of bubble gum are present. In the middle spicy notes of clove and orange peel move in. It finishes dry and slightly bitter with a taste of cranberry. Once gone the clove and dark fruit notes linger on the palate.

This is a very tasty beer that has many typical Belgian characteristics. I'm not sure what makes it a Christmas beer (orange peel maybe?), but it's definitely something to enjoy while available for the holidays.

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Photo of heine21
2.32/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Popped the cork on this bad boy and almost took out my bro's eye. Poured into snifters.

A - Agree w/ the cola likeness. Burgundy. Mild non-lacy head.

S - Probably the best part of this beer - licorice, dark fruit, raisin, booze, fig.

T - Sorry - not for me. Something is just off on this one. A slight copper funk is present. A little licoricey, dark fruit flava helps but not enough to rescue this trainwreck.

MF - Weak again. Disapears after swallowed. Evaporates after consumption which may be a positive in the case of this brew.

D - I don't pour anything down the drain (including that Sam Adams soy sauce crap in the blue bottle) but this was close. The best way I can describe this an "off" DFH Immort.

St. B, I love you but this one is not for me.

Cheers.

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Photo of JLeege
4.82/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage.
750 corked 'n caged, poured into a snifter.

Appearance- Pours a cola like color with a bubbly 2 finger just off white head. Great head retention, leaves good lacing.

Smell- Dark fruits right off the bat, aromas of grape/raisons, cherry, plum. Some light spicing. Lots of Belgian yeast on the nose. Smells terrific!

Taste- Again fruity, up front, dark fruits mostly with pronounced grapey notes. Very yeasty as well. Chocolate and cherry notes in middle of the drink. Some brown sugar flavors as well as some light maple syrup. Some banana bread and clove at the finish. Nice layering of flavors in this brew. Similar flavor profile to a nice spiced rum actually. Some slight alcohol is noticed on the finish, but deffinitly not fusel or anything. Quad-esq in the overall flavor.

Mouthfeel- High carbonation but still has a full and creamy feel to it. A slight warming is noticed, which I am liking, and looking for in Belgian of this strength on a winter night.

Overall- Glad I finally got around to trying this one. One of the best "Christmas" ales I have ever had. The flavors of this are perfect for the holiday season and it is not overspiced, for my taste, as some X-mas brews seem to be. Great beer overall and at a very fair price, this is one of the cheapest Belgian imports in my area (bumps up the drinkability a bit). Very impressed, will hopefully be revisiting this again soon and often over the winter!

Edit: Just checked and this is my highest rated beer to date (out of what I have reviewed). When I think about it, this makes perfect sense, this beer is exceptional!

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Photo of merlin48
4.63/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Corked and caged bottle found at Pappy's Beer Store out in the middle of nowhere a couple miles north of Cumberland Gap. Served slightly chilled into a St Bernardus goblet. Pours a clear, but dark, chestnut body that has an exceptional ruby glow when held to light. Beige head retains very well and leaves some classical sheet lacing.

Aroma hints at the bountiful Belgian flavors to follow. Lots of dark fruits, bubblegum, Belgian yeasties,and a plethora of malty attributes that include caramel and milk chocolate. A hint of tart cherries underneath.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, satiny and full bodied with a moderate carbonation.

Taste seems to be dominated by dark fruits. Lots of dates, figs, and raisins. Plenty of caramel notes. Bubblegum and Belgian yeast notes. Damn! What an expressive malt base-teasing with nuttiness and a touch of molasses. Hints of earthy and floral hops add somewhat of a bitter balance. Dark rum notes in the middle and into the finish remind you that this is 10% abv. Finsihes with an earthiness and maltiness that lets you know this is a genuine Trappist experience.

It's been way too long since I've savored one of these special brews from these smiling monks. Absolutely exceptional brew here.

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Photo of Gehrig
4.8/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed on tap at the classic Crane Alley in Urbana, IL after finishing the Christmas shopping this afternoon.

One and one-half fingers of caramel-colored froth top a cloudy ruby-amber body; ample lacing on the St. Bernardus glass (yes, they have a few at Crane Alley), good duration, and lovely color give this a terrific appearance. Wonderful, fruity smells, vinous with some orange peel, some spice (cinnamon and ginger), and a bit of chocolate. Very sweet nose, very good.

Magnificent, smooth taste, heavy on the sweet fruit--maraschino cherries, grape, orange--but, from cranberry and dried fruit such as date and raisin emerging in the second half, with a distinctly sour finish that adroitly balances Christmas Ale and forestalls any cloying. Some semi-sweet chocolate peeks through the dense layers of fruit. Creamy smooth mouthfeel, making this all too easy on the palate. So impressive is how well the high ABV (10.0%) is masked. It was only in the second glass, which I immediately ordered after dousing the first, that I felt it and, by then, it was remarkably easy to accept.

Outstanding BSDA and winter beer, St. Bernardus Christmas Ale filled me with Christmas cheer all day long. What a tremendous find, and kudos to Crane Alley for finding a place for it in their typically stellar lineup of wares.

First rate.

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

This beer is uncorked with a resounding 'pop'. It pours a deep, clear, rich, not-quite-crimson red color. The head is towering, firm, and light tan in hue. Nice, big, malt aromas are front and center. Healthy doses of alcohol, dark fruit, and phenols key to the smell as well. The taste is surprisingly smooth, with a serious fullness for the high carbonation levels. Not quite as dry as I expected. The taste is heavy on the malt and fruit character. All in all, this is a fantastic beer.

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Photo of metter98
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is very dark amber in color and poured with a two finger high creamy beige head that slowly died down but left a thin layer of bubbles consistently covering the surface.
S: The nose has aromas of malty sweetness and notes of dark fruits.
T: Like the smell, the taste is rather malty but has a mild amount of sweetness with notes of dark fruits and hints of yeast. The sweetness becomes stronger as the beer warms up.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a high amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is very easy to drink considering its strength because the alcohol is well hidden.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Saw this on tap at Local Option last night, couldn't pass the chance to finally tick a top Belgian...Dark brown pour, but a really deep hue that I like. The head is light tan, creamy with good retention and lacing...Finally a Christmas beer aroma that doesn't overpower the senses. Dark fruits with spice, but spice is an accent not the center of the beer. The taste is the same, dark fruits with spice.

Worth trying, great winter Christmas beer.

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

A: dark murky cranberry color. A huge pillowy off white head tops it off. A good looking beer.

S: Smells surprisingly on the lighter side. I get some sugary dark fruits and not much else.

T: This tastes really good. Lots of caramel. Lots of raisins and dates. Very nice.

M: Just under full bodied. Nice full mouthfeel. Lots of carbonation. Lots of sweetness and bitterness. Very dry in the mouth and on the finish as well.

Overall: I like this one better then I liked St. Bernardus Abt 12. The dryness really makes it enjoyable. It cuts through the sweetness to balance things out. This is the closest beer I've had to Westy 12. It really reminds me of it. I recommend this one highly.

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

Had on tap at Armsby Abbey Belgian Christmas night, 2007 vintage. This was the catch of the night, so delicious.

Comes with a light Belgian fizzy head and light lacing, over dark brown molasses color with hints of rosy hue, and very dark with very little light coming through.

Nose comes with sweet malts, Belgian dark malts, little candi sugar, caramel, toffee, aged malts, slight dark raisiny fruits, and just the faintest hit of spices and nutty aromas.

Taste brings lots of raisin and dark fruits, little plug and fig, nutty malts, plenty of Belgian dark malts and that aged malt taste, smooth and semi sweet, some dark candi sugar and little caramel, hints of spice and a little warming booze, a little bitterness too. Finish lingers with lots of dark malts, a little sweetness and more candi sugar, and hints of fruits that linger for a while.

Mouth is medium to a little heavier bodied with decent carbonation and very little warming booze.

Drinkability is pretty good, drinks a lot smoother and lighter than 10%, and sweetness is balanced well and the aged malt flavor probably helps.

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Photo of Brabander
3.3/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had bought this bottle at the brewerie when i visited it together with the guys from the Sierra Nevada brewerie. I had high hopes of this beer because i love the beers Bernardus makes. This beer however disapointed me. That was funny in a certain way because we drank the beer in a tasting session with some BA's at my place and the rest was enthousiastic about it.

There we go! Poured in a tasting glass the beer looks ok. Nice head but a little bit too much carbonation for a dark beer. You could say it is an overcarbonated 12.

I will try this one on tap when i am at the Christmasbeerfestival in Essen this weekend.

Edit:

We had this beer at the end of 2011 at my cousin Peters place. Great beers and great fun.

This beer was poured in my Essen Christmasbeerfestivalglass (what a word for wordfeud!) The beer was disappointing again...

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St. Bernardus Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.19 out of 5 based on 2,100 ratings.
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