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Christmas Ale | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

YOUR RATING = None |
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:
2,076
Avg:
4.19
pDev:
16.23%
 
 
Wants:
178
Gots:
414
For Trade:
6
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 679 | Ratings: 2,076
Photo of woosterbill
4.38/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle into a St. Bernardus chalice.

A: Clear deep brown body under two fingers of dense tan head. Tremendous retention and thick lace. Gorgeous.

S: Dark fruit dominates, with huge fig, raisin, and date. Some sweet/tart cherry as well, with rich toasted breadiness underneath. Decadent and yet delicate. Terrific.

T: Bready up front, with dark fruits close behind. Some nice fig gives way to a strongly boozy finish, though, marring things a bit after such a lovely start. The aftertaste balances the alcohol warmth with some spicy yeastiness, though, making the overall package pretty enjoyable. Definitely a bit of a letdown after the phenomenal aroma, but an excellent BSDA all the same.

M: Thick, soft, and as creamy as can be. Perfect.

O: It's been too long since i had ABT 12, but this reminded me more of Rochefort 10 than anything else. The aroma in particular took me back to a rainy afternoon in Belgium, sipping a Rochefort in its eponymous home town. I'm curious to see whether a year might tone down the booziness just a bit and make this a truly world-class beer.

Cheers!

 1,099 characters

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

A - Really big head, basically 2/3 glass of foam. As the rocky head settles, and it settles very slowly, it leaves a spider web of sticky lace. The body is slightly hazy, and very dark brown with just a hint of red.

S - Fruity notes and dark malt combine to product distinct aromas of prunes, figs, and raisins. There is a nice, herbal hop undertone as well as a subtle note of alcohol.

T - Sweet and fruity up front with a strong alcohol note. Big, roasty flavors come in next with lots of chocolate and fruity notes of bananas and prunes. Herbal hops are present throughout the experience and they linger and provide a bit of bitterness to mingle with the intense toffee and chocolate flavors in the finish. There is a late alcoholic note, and quite a lot of tobacco character that lasts longer than any of the other flavors.

M - High carbonation, thick body and a dry finish.

D - I expected a big beer, but this is huge. Very complex, with a very nice, wintry roasted quality. Not exactly an easily drinkable beer, but my overall impression is very favorable. Considering the complexity and the high alcohol content, I am inclined to think that this would age very well. I also think that with its smokey tobacco flavors, this is one of the few beers I have had that could really stand up to a good cigar.

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

A: a dark red color with an equally dark red head. great retention and the brew leaves a pretty lacing as well.

S: sweet brown sugar. cinnamon. a little tobacco. a smooth maltyness that is a bit warming.

T: nutty and fruity. chestnuts and figs. caramel. little bits of roast. a good deal of malt on this body. the finish is a bit champagne-like. im gonna say it is actually a bit dry.

M: like i noted on the palate, a champagne like fizz on a very full body.

D: a delicious belgian dark from a brewery that doesnt really make a bad beer. wouldnt hate to see this year round. dangerously drinkable and hard to detect the 10%ABV on this tasty treat.

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

Appearance:
The beer pours a nice and creamy tan head that takes a while to dissipate. The beer itself is a dark brown. The beer leaves quite a bit of lacing on the glass. Obviously, the beer is opaque.

Smell:
The beer has a strong, fruity, and sugary smell. The fruit smells are mainly dark fruits such as black cherry and a little bit of plum. The beer also has a strong Belgian sugar note that blends well wit the cherry tartness and dark fruit sweetness. The smell also has a slight yeast note that comes out when it's cold. Additionally, there is a slight caramel malt smell and a hint of alcohol as well.

Taste:
The beer taste has the same notes as the aroma. The beer has a Belgian sugar note that mixes well with the dark fruit notes. The dark fruit notes come off as plum and cherry while there also appears to be a bitter hop note. The yeast is not as present in the aste as it was in the nose. However, the alcohol is more pronounced.

Mouthfeel:
The beer has some serious carbonation, which makes what would have been a heavy bodied beer lighter. The biting carbonation definitely changes the texture from something that would have been smooth to something crisp.

Overall:
A good beer that I most likely will buy again during the Christmas season.

 1,265 characters

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.

 762 characters

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.

 484 characters

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.

 1,118 characters

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

Poured into a snifter from a 22oz bottle.

A - Pours a deep slightly hazy amber forming a massive off-white head. Very little lacing on the glass.

S - Rich aroma of dark fruits with a little Belgian candy sugar aroma and a hint of alcohol.

T - Dark fruit flavor mixes with the malts creating a sweet thick taste that coats the palate. No hop presence is detected and the alcohol in the finish is very mild. Very complex taste.

M - A little thicker than medium mouthfeel with a good amount of carbonation that is continuous. Very clean finish.

D - This should be had all year, not just at Christmas. Great Belgian dark! Great flavor and mouthfeel. The only downside to the drinkability is the higher abv., and I wouldnt even consider that a downside. Overall another great beer from St. Bernardus!!!

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Photo of mactrail
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Lovely dark brew in the tulip glass. Distinctive for the great sensual body and the big, sudsy mouthfeel.

Licorice and cherries come to mind immediately. It’s not overly sweet, though it’s hugely rich. Plenty of malt with shades of dark roasted barley and a deep, intriguing complexity. This one is on my list to try again, but I’m glad I was able to have the tap version.

Certainly one of the best Belgian beers I’ve had. On tap at Pizza Port in Ocean Beach. Transcribed from 12/12/12 tasting notes.

 511 characters

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

Pours a muddy brown with a moderate head that dissipates quickly.

Smells of hay, brown sugar, nutmeg, clove, raisins.

Highly spiced, with ginger, coffee, prunes, dark fruit. Fairly sweet, some metalic cola tastes.

Velvety mouthfeel, but light, with cleansing carbonation. It is very spicy, yet also refreshing.

Nice holiday ale, a bit sweet overall, but well spiced. Alcohol is high but the flavors carry it well.

 421 characters

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

One of the nicest Christmas beers I had this year. I'm really glad that St. Bernardus decided to make and bottle this brew. It is still a little sharp, I think a little time in the bottle will smooth out the edges. Nevertheless, it is still delicious now. Pours a beautiful dark brown with a batter like head- big, thick, and creamy and which leaves excellent lacing. Aromas of sweet malt, banana, alcohol, and cookie dough. Well carbonated with flavors of pffefernuse- black pepper, clove, cinnamon, coriander, and cookie dough. Not overly sweet, in fact there is a dry somewhat astringent bitterness throughout that nicely offsets the spice cookie flavors. Delicious! Mouthfeel is carbonated, full, spicy, and creamy. Drinkability should improve with a few more months in the cellar. A great addition to the Belgian winter repertoire.

 836 characters

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

750ml bottle on special at O'Briens in San Diego. Split this with two other people and drank out of Chimay glasses. Awesome looking bottle, with a fancy label.

Pours with a nice head that settles to a solid layer of foam that doesn't dissipate over time. The lacing on the glass is nice. A very dark brown with red hues.

The aroma is not over the top but there is that definite belgian yeast character up front. Bready, dark fruits, and hints of spices. Smells very sweet, and makes your mouth water.

Taste is nice and clean, with no noticeable alcohol except it's warmth. Very balanced and nice, with a sweet dark fruit character along with the usual Belgian yeast. Spices are subtle and enjoyable.

Rather carbonated, but it's the nice small bubble thick carbonation I've grown to love that leaves a velvet mouthfeel with just a bit of a bite. I rate this high on drinkability because I think I could sit around and sip on this all night long. It's not drinkable in the usual sense of the word but being so highly enjoyable you don't want your glass to ever empty.

 1,069 characters

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

Enjoyed on tap at Mellow Mushroom. More yeasty/bready notes in the nose and on the palate. Color is soft brown, hazy, with white head.

Nose is slightly citrus with baked dessert goods.

Palate has an enormous holiday spice with roasted sweetness. Basically a nice, sweet holiday dessert that happens to be a beer.

Finish is long with lingering holiday spice.

 360 characters

Photo of Tilley4
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoying on Christmas Eve while watching A Christmas Story...

What a delightful offering... It has all the aspects of an English Christmas pudding in a glass... Loads of spices, dark sweet fruits, rich malt and that wonderful Belgian yeast... Truly a joy to drink as it enhances the day... Nice and boozy... The beer is a tad over carbonated but still a masterpiece... As the beer warms up, it gets bigger and bolder... This one's a sipper and a damn tasty one... Merry Christmas!

 490 characters

Photo of keepersj12
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is one good beer. Why oh why deer lord would this only be available at Christmas. I guess that answers it's own question. The lord is no fool. Beautiful mud pour. Nice head. Aroma of wine. Taste is sweet then sour and then just good. Heavy alcohol makes it a bit tough to drink when driving. Otherwise down it goes.

 320 characters

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!

 1,319 characters

Photo of Andrew041180
4.41/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured as a nightcap on Christmas Day, 2014.

Deep brown mahogany with ruby highlights in the correct light. Strong carbonation maintains a thin head and accentuates a nice feel. The flavor is breadier than I expected, almost marzen like, but obviously with greater potency. Slightly spicy character, but more related to the yeast than actual spice additions. Quite dry finish, with barely a hint of alcohol. Lovely beer.

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Photo of BigCheese
4.41/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brother got me a 750ml for christmas, paired with some top notch BBQ from Blue ribbon in arlington. A great contrast to the salty/savoryness of a heavy meal.

A: Pours a dark ruby red, semi transparent, with a super huge frothy white head that lasts througout. Leaves some dark lacing. Really beautiful, a massive head that locked super sticky, like melted marshmallows.

S & Taste: Lots of dark fruits, brown sugar, prunes, chocolate covered cherrys, rasins, maybe even some cognac like notes. Some sugar candies, and that classic super funky belgian yeast. A little bready, with some clove/all spice. Very tasty, a good dessert beer, that contrasts well with smoked meats. Would also go well with salty cheeses, or cured meats. Very rich but not cloying, which was impressive. Pretty well balanced, and hidden ABV.

M: Rich syrupy, very carbonated for richness. Rather drinkable for ABV/OG.

O: I dont usually like belgian Quads or Tripels as their often cloying. This was quite excellent though. Would pair great with christmas dinner. Could go well as a dessert on its on, with dessert, or in contrast to a savory dish. Too much flavor for white meat or blander food. One of my favorite belgians.

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

Poured into a chalice.

Big fluffy antique-white long-lasting head that leaves very nice lacing around the glass; leaving a chunked island in the middle - nice... The brew is a deep, dark, brown (nearly black) with hints of ruby red. Good looking glass of ale.

Smells of spicy, baked bread, yeasts, sweet malts, raisins, cherries and some other dark fruits.

Tastes of sweet over-ripened dark fruits - cherries, rasins and maybe apple as well as some sweet candied malts. Nice hop bitterness finish and a warming alcohol presence.

Thick and slick; good carbonation and hearty.

A very good Belgian strong dark ale, which doesn't come as surprise considering the source.

 672 characters

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

Opening this thing is a danger to ones face as the cork skyrocketed off as soon as I untwisted the cap. Took a minutes to locate the cork. Keep away when opening for safety's sake.

Poured the 750 bottle into a chalice producing a huge bubbly/sudsy off white/tan head with a brown body and red highlights. Head sticks around forever!

Stereotypical strong dark smells of dark fruits. I can pick up on some of the “holiday spices” going on but I mostly get cinnamon and nutmeg. If theres anything else I don’t know.

The spices and dark fruit are what hit first but theres a nice caramel thing going on and the hop finish is wonderful. Love this thing. I almost want to give it a 5.

Lovely smooth medium body. Not a bunch of carb that I was expecting since it blew the cork off. That’s prob where some of it went. Leaves a little tongue tingle.

 853 characters

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: Bark brown, cloudy with lots o bubbles. Big fat foamy tan head.
smell: Fruity and holiday spice. Distinctive banana. Very nice.
taste: Oh this is good. Banana with light holiday spice. Delish.
mouthfeel: A little on the light side.
drinkability: Delish goodness. The alcohol of a 10% is there but with kid gloves.

 325 characters

Photo of Tifore
4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Melt Bar & Grilled. Poured into a snifter of sorts.

A - Beer comes to me with minimal head on it. Maybe a quarter finger but disappears fast. Is a deep brown in color and very clear and I can see some carbonation in the glass. Almost resembles rootbeer?

S - Smells absolutely delish. Lots of spice and very crisp smelling. No hoppy bitterness, no overwhelming sweet. Just spice and warm tones.

T - Tastes amazing as well. Lots of spice up front which fades quickly and is followed by a sweetness and warm notes. I can taste a bit of the alcohol but not much.

M - Mouthfeel is light and refreshing. Spice and vanilla notes hang around for a bit.

D - A very drinkable 10% beer. A winter, sit inside and enjoy a few brews beer. I really enjoyed this. Going to pick up a few bombers next time I hit the bottle store.

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Photo of kkipple
4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed a 750 of this to drink after Christmas with friends. It's been a while since I've had one. Love the bottle art. No idea how old this isn't.

A. Sint Bernardus Christmas produces a huge, 3 inch tall dense, moussy tan head almost immediately upon pouring. The beer is cola colored and dark. The head is impressive, but a bit much, and needs to fall before any 'headway' can be made on the brew.

S. Belgian all the way. Big dark malt sweetness, plus the candi sugar that takes it up a few rungs. Phenloic-spice, pepper, heavy on the Belgian yeast now, then pear, candi sugar, light banana, black bread, sweet, smooth, dark fruits... covers a highly diverse amount of smells and does them very well. The nose here is both complete and inviting, and while you can pick booze up, it is very restrained for 10%.

T. Classic Belgian Strong Dark, but with more spice that you might be used to. Sweet and estery-sour, raisin and dark prune / plum, then at turns rummy, spicy,sweet, cola-like. The Belgian character here is wonderful, lending a sprightly complexity that is (to me) better than the normal Abt 12, which itself is no weakling. This tastes aged, meaning all the flavors have blended and rounded out, and the booze is nowhere to be found until you get that welcome warming feeling. Soft, yet boldly flavored, and delightful.

M / O. Full bodied beer for sure, but smooth and sweet, the malt finish fading out slowly, lingering. What a tasty brew this was! If this is fresh, then it is a tremendous recipe. I really do think this is the second best beer I've had from this brewery, after the 60th Anniversary. Saint Bernardus Christmas is a true Belgian classic, and one that will be finding its way into my glass a good deal more often. Highly recommend.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Flying Pig in Malvern on Friday, to help celebrate the 75th anniversary to the end of Prohibition!

Dark copper-brown color with minimal head.

Smelled of deep, ripe fruits (raisins in particular), with complex spices including nutmeg and cinnamon, and definite bready / yeasty quality.

Tasty, indeed. Everything from the nose transferred over, with a little touch of hop bite and maybe some clove.

Pleasant carbonation, and really nice drinkability - had no idea this was 10% ABV.

A MUST-HAVE for the holidays!!

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