Christmas Ale | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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679 Reviews
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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

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Reviews: 679 | Ratings: 2,080
Photo of cbutova
3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes that I took a few nights ago. Pours a hazy dark copper-brown color with a gigantic creamy head that would not go away. The head is so creamy that I could almost skim it off and eat it. Medium lacing is left on my glass. Smell is huge fruit and spices. There are yeasty/bread-like notes and a tiny bit of alcohol. I get cloves, coriander and pine in the nose as well. The smell is a bit too spicy to me. The taste is also very fruity. Dark fruits like raisins attack the mouth. Nutmeg, coriander and cloves also assault the palette. There is also a huge yeast taste but no alcohol, impressive for 10%ABV. The taste is a little over the top for me in fruits and spices. The mouthfeel is a bit watery to me. Not what I expected from the huge creamy head. Lighter body than I would want for a pretty big beer. A huge coat of spicy fruit is left on a warm tongue. As far as DB, drinking a lot of this would be tough. I am very happy that I halved the bottle because the spices become extremely powerful after even one pint. The alcohol also starts to get pretty hot as it warms up.

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

on tap

A-pours a ruby brown color with a light tat puffy head nice collar and lacing

S- was dark fruit with spice like cinnamon and nutmeg some fig

T- was better nice spice and belgian yeast with some toffee and coffee some chocolate

M- medium carbonation with some really nice spice tastes mixed dark fruit and hops, loads of flavor as it warmed

O - a nice strong dark ale with a nice crispy spicy flavor

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

This is a perfectly fine beer but with all the outstanding Christmas beers out there the St. Bernardus Christmas Ale doesn't really distinguish itself. The best thing I can say about the nose is it's rather unremarkable...mostly malt with some alcohol. The taste is good...again mostly malt with just a touch too much alcohol for my taste. If you like warmers try the Delirium Noels which hides it's 10.0% ABV much better than this one. There's definitely some dried fruit on the palate but no nutmeg or other x-mas spices in this one. Mouthfeel and drinkability are in line with the taste.

Recommended Music Pairing: Ray Charles - The Spirit of Christmas

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

750ml bottle into snifter. "A 26.06.19". consumed dec 27 2015

a: opaque deep dark brown/chestnut with bubbly tan head

s: dates, raisins, figs, prunes, and overripe bananas all over strong clove. some brown sugar aroma

t: jam-like fruity sweetness and acidity up front -- prunes, raisins, dates, figs. clove, brown sugar, slight gingerbread, and slight cinnamon in the mid-palate. finishes clove spicy with a sub-moderate bitterness

m: a bit light for my liking. on the medium-minus side of things. bubbly carbonation

o: a good, drinkable, fruity dark ale

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

Poured from a growler into a 25cL St. Bernardus goblet.

A: A creamy head appears, shot through with bubbles. The beer is dark, ruddy brown, turning translucent when backlit. Beautiful lacing all down the sides.

S: Banana pudding. Cloves. Light yeast and other fruits.

T: A tad tart. Figgy fruit. Lightish and spicy -- cloves and possible fennel. It definitely improves as it warms, opening up other fruits, but staying somewhat sour. Aftertaste is drying and not the best part of the taste.

M: Smooth but watery; it feels like apple juice. Some carbonation keeping things lively.

D: A very enjoyable beer, but not the best Christmas ale, BSDA, or St. Bernardus.

EDIT: After two days in the fridge, the character of this beer changed drastically. Obviously, it became less carbonated and more sticky, but, more dramatically, the sourness disappeared completely to be replaced by maraschino cherries and a cough syrup flavour. The smell is different too -- cherries, christmas cake, and plum pudding.

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

750ml poured into a chalice

Appearance is a rich brown colour with an inch of tan head

Smell is of allspice, nutmeg and raisins

Taste is malty richness, accompanied by hints of allspice, raisin and cocoa. Sweet aftertaste, but not too sweet, but rather a plesant aftertaste.

This is a fairly highly carbonated beverage with a solidly strong, big bodied mouthfeel. At 10% alcohol, this is extremely drinkable. A very plesant Belgian holiday brew that I would drink again in a heartbeat

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

Poured into a chalice. The beer had a nice, tan two inch head on it that seemed to last an eternity. It was a beautiful shade of mahogony brown. Smell seemed very bready with a hint of maybe figs and...raisins? The taste had a lot of alcohol. Alcohol was the first thing that I could tast and the last. In between, were the flavors of figs, a faint taste of anise, more bread and a hint of toffee. Overall, a very nice beer to wrap up to on a very cold evening. It did seem a little hot, but over the course of the bottle (and as it warmed to room temp), it seemed to mellow out quite a bit.

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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 Ozzylizard
3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

$ 12.50/25.4 oz bottle + $ 2.68 shipping = $ 0.593/oz from Blackwell’s Wines and Spirits, SF CA
Undated bottle at 42 degrees into hand washed and dried JK snifter, allowed to warm to 50 degrees
Resounding “POP” when cork is pulled
Aroma of spices and fruits
Head large (five cm, aggressive pour), off white/light tan, creamy/fizzy with rocks, diminishing to three to six mm irregular ring and partial layer mostly a single bubble thick
Lacing poor – rare tiny island of tiny bubbles
Body medium brown, opaque, some effervescence
Flavor unremarkable – spice and fruit, nothing outstanding; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl. The carbonation overpowers any nuances of flavor.
Palate medium, creamy, lively almost fizzy carbonation (Bottle conditioned)

Appearance 4, Aroma 4, Flavor 3.75, Palate 3.75, Overall 4

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Photo of theopholis
3.89/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750mL bottle.

Appearance- Body is a failry cloudy, medium brown with shades of red/orange when held to the light. I was careful with the bottle, so I shouldn't have gotten any sediment. Oh well...

Despite an tall pour, there was no head whatsoever. Just a few bubbles on top. the bubbles to leave a very tight ring as you drink down.

Smell- Fruity (with lots of lighter fruits), much lighter smelling than it looks. Some pleasant notes of bubble gum, sour cherry, some unidentifiable spice. Very inviting.

Taste- Wow. Very flavorful. A spicy, malt sweetness, with a mouth full of hops that weren't in the nose assaults your taste buds. this is definitely a sipping beer. Nice blend of cook cherries, cinnamon, with an odd hop flavor on the back of the tongue. Like they used a weak hop tea, but a lot of it. Sweet up front then mildly bitter and hoppy. A hint of phenolic heat. The very last sensation you get is a subtle mix of alcohol and tannins in the nasal passages as it slides down the gullet.

Mouthfeel- Medium body (for the style). Despite the lack of head, it does have some decent carbonation, but not very lively. This is a bottle conditioned beer, which could explain the lack of head and effervescence.

Drinkability- Quite good. I will probably pick up a couple of bottles and save them for next year. Give them a couple of good shakes to get the yeast going again.

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

On tap at the Capital Ale House in Richmond; served in a snifter
Cloudy brown with thin head, nice spice aromas; this is definitely a slow drinking beer, not one to consume in multiples, the 10% ABV is there, but somewhat masked with a nice taste; decent mouthfeel; this is one I would go back to, but not buy in large quantities unless you were serving to people that could appreciate this style.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

750 ml c&c bottle served in an English pub glass. My future mother-in-law surprised me with this on Christmas.

A: Pours a hazy, dark cherry wood color with a deeper brown body. A thick light tan head forms on the pour that slowly recedes to a hefty cap. Sticky sheets of lace are left down the glass.

S: Dark malts and some honey sweetness. A little fig in the periphery. Bready notes with some musty yeast.

T: Dark bread sweetness with some underlying cinnamon and nutmeg like spices. There are some minimal banana esters from the yeast. Oaty and nutty as well.

M: A little too prickly on the carbonation. Medium bodied with the booze nicely hidden.

O: Very nicely developed flavors with some hidden booze. Definitely drank like it was 7-8%. I would have liked a little less carbonation to smooth out the mouthfeel, but overall it was very nice.

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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 tempest
3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Farmhouse in Emmaus, PA. Overall, this is a pretty good Belgian, but it's not as complex at the Abt 12. It actually reminds me of Chimay Blue more than Bernardus 12. The flavor comes off like a cinnamon spice caramel apple with toasted toffee and sweet bread. Delicious, but it doesn't reach the depths of a great strong dark ale. Still very easy to drink. Worth a try.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml Bottle from Total Wine Tampa FL - 2012 edition - $9

Appearance – Brown colour with an above average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation and there is some great lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell – Malts, caramel, fruit cake, dark fruits, all spice

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel, and a bit of chocolate. There is also some raisins/plums/cherries, oranges, and an all spice mix,

Overall – You have to be in the mood for a beer like this. Perhaps October is a little early for a christmas tasting brew. Regardless, as far as Xmas beers though, this one is solid. It's got a fruit cake like flavour and the ABV is very well hidden

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Photo of hckyfn9999
3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium brown with golden hues into a St. Bernardus chalice. There is about a finger of creamy, light tan colored head with great retention which is par for their brews. Aroma is sweet, with some brown sugar, dark fruit, and banana. Also a lot of spice as well. Some clove and a little ginger.

The taste is similar to the aroma. Very spicy, more so than their other beers, seems as though there is a touch of cinnamon to go along with the clove and ginger. A very fruity and banana-like yeast presence. Nice beer, and a nice way to enjoy Christmas. Not my favorite of their beers with all of the spice that brings the drinkability down some.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into a large goblet shaped glass

Pours a pretty cloudy brown color, big coarse head and a LOT of active carbonation that sustains the head. Looks like the head is clinging pretty strongly, leaving some impressive lacing. Smell is spicy, I smell nutmeg and cinnamon mainly, I can smell dark fruits like plums and cherries. It smells very Belgian, which probably means I can really smell the yeast.

Taste is surprisingly not sweet. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, it's very strong, which means a lot of sugar must have fermented out. The dark fruits have a strong presence, as does the alcohol, the carbonation is so strong it comes out in the flavor as well. Aftertaste sweetens up a bit.

Mouthfeel is a difficult to describe combination of light and's rather thick and sticky, but the carbonation makes it sort of seem lighter than it is. It's kind of nice. The strong taste and the strong alcohol make it not so easy to drink. It's a good and interesting beer, though.

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Photo of Vendetta
3.91/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is plum, pruney. Cloudy, unfiltered. Stagnant, medium foam head. Thick, foamy paste of a lacing down the glass as it's consumed.

Smells vinous and sweet.

Taste is extremely complex as per norm of the St Bernardus brews that I've had. Very vinous and a bit dry up front, finishes pruney and much more on the sweet side. Leaves a significantly plum aftertaste. Warms the belly nice thanks to the ABV but it really isn't all that detectable. Perfect winter beer.

Mouthfeel is also very very good. Thick, full-bodied without being punishing to drink. Little carbonation.

This is a very, very good example of a Belgian beer and if you have any remote interest in the style then you'll love this one.

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Photo of TeddyBrewsky
3.91/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a good seasonal beer. However, I thought it was a little too sweet and carbonated for my liking. I think next time I could split it with somebody because it is too rich to drink the whole bomber by myself.

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Photo of babaracas
3.91/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From corked and caged 750ml. Pours a mostly clear dark reddish brown with two fingers of creamy khaki colored foam. Settles to a decent sized clump and coats the glass in thick lace. Smell: quite vinous and fruity...cherry, raisin, plum. Brown sugar. Very slightly acetic. Taste: brown sugar, tartish apple skin, red plum, cherry. Vinous again. Feel is extraordinarily creamy, but is also massively carbonated which boots the flavors from the tongue too early. Though the high carbonation and the decent but nondescript hopping keeps it from being really sweet. It might just be me or this bottle, but this one seems like a combo of a BSDA with a mild flanders red. Interesting, but odd. Best by 7/28/15, so bottled 7/28/10.

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Photo of bonbini26
3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ Track 84, Warwick, RI

A: Poured a dark, clear, ruby with a foamy white head, about 3 fingers, average swiss lacing during drinking

S: Almost like a pumpkin ale, minus the pumpkin, spices, fruity malts from a belgian ale you expect, and lingering hops

T: Very fruity and spicy. with belgian maltiness and sweetness,

M: The sugars coat the mouth along with the carbonation of the hops and alcohol is tame, but noticeable

D: This is a very nice xmas beer, complex, yet drinkable, another excellent brew from St. Bernardus, a must for any belgain fan

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Photo of bigkahunas4
3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml into an oversized wine glass.

Nice, dark cola colored body, with a cookie dough head. Really thick lacing. Nose was of apple jelly and a bit of alcohol.

Brew was nice and creamy, with flavors such as apple, sweet breads, and alcohol.

This was tasty, but a bit too sweet for me to have too much of.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Dark brown with a large frothy head. Takes quite some time for me to be able to drink past the foam. Lots of lacing.

S-Like many have said before. Its bottled Christmas. Smells like Santa's beard. Christmas spices all over the place.

T-Cinnamon, nutmeg etc. Belgian yeast. Dark fruits. I find that the alcohol is masked more in this one than the Abt 12. Excellent for the season. Perfect application of the flavors.

M-Medium to heavy. Smooth. Quite delectible.

D-Not an overly easy drinker due to the alcohol level. Still, pretty damn good.

An excellent Christmas Ale. Happy to try it.

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Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.19 out of 5 based on 2,080 ratings.
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