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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:
431
For Trade:
6
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 682 | Ratings: 2,100
Photo of woemad
4.34/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle purchased at the Spokane Valley Total Wine for $5.99. According to the rear label, this is best before June 29, 2018.

Poured into a St. Bernardus glass (love it when beer and glassware meet), this was a dark brown color, showing off reddish highlights when held up to light. There was a big, thick beige colored head that took it’s time to drop.

In the nose, I got fruit, sweetness, and spiciness kinda like a candy apple paired with a banana. Other fruits were present, however, as I also got some prune and fig aroma.

Sweet and fruity in the taste as well, but balanced with some spices a more dark fruitiness that lends some bitterness and, so, balance to the proceedings. One thing not present in the taste is the alcohol (10%) of this beer. As it warmed, the spices came out more, but not the booze, and it remained dangerously drinkable throughout.

Fairly light bodied for a big boozer, as is standard with beers of this style, and the mouthfeel had that effervescence that is so hard for American versions to capture.

I don’t think this is as complex as a quad like St. Bernardus’s Abt 12, but there’s still quite a bit going on in this beer, and all of it delicious. Yep, I’d drink it again!

 1,228 characters

Photo of Whiteturtle
3.61/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle, poured into la chouffe tulip.

Eyes: Pours a milky caramel latte colour. With the always expected monster head that accompanies BSDA's.

Nose: Some of the usual suspects- currants, cherries, burnt sugar, caramel, toasty malts, anise. And a few others accompany- peppercorns, clove, rum, vanilla, and straight up alcohol. No joke, I dipped my nostrils pretty deep into my glass, and I think my nashairs (short for nasal-hairs, haha) got singed.

Taste: Dark cherries, anise, plums. Spicy berries. Maybe a touch of mint. But not a lot of holiday spices at first. I can tell that this will change (improve) with warmth. Very juicy though, lots of cherry/berry flavors.

Cheeks: Surprisingly light-bodied. Carbonation tickles the tongue. The 10% is tough on the nose, but its pretty easy going down the hatch. Doesn't burn the mouth too much either. The reserved use of the holiday spices lets the body of the beer shine through as a decent BSDA.

Overall: Middle of the road for my journey through Christmas Belgian ales this year. So far, I would put La Chouffe and Corsendonk over this. But I enjoyed this more than Gouden Carolus and Delirium Noel (what the hell happened to Delirium Noel??? so disappointed). This is really good, but somewhat forgettable. I enjoyed every sip I had, but the taste disappears very quickly. And the taste that is there is very mild. I don't mind christmas/winter ales taking it easy on the spices, but I at least want to know they are there if I'm buying them. I could smell the anise and clove, but couldn't really taste much outside of the initial anise notes. Regardless, this is a solid BSDA if you're looking for one. St. Bernardus does a good job, and they made another solid offering with this ale.

 1,756 characters

Photo of PorterLambic
4.29/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Opaque, very dark brown with an off-white head. Drops to a ring that just hangs forever.
Smell is malt, cherry, wood, sour. Great balance.
Taste is malt, some tart cherry, oak, spice, and something I can't identify. Balanced well but could use a bit more spice to differentiate from the standard offerings.
Medium bodied, very light effervescence. Smooth, cleaner finish than expected. Good stuff.

 398 characters

Photo of breadwinner
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Really nice Christmas beer that'll jump up and hit you like a Mac truck in spite of its kind and festive appearance. Some spices, some dark fruit, some fruity/banana-like esters on the nose, along with a sweet bready note + candi sugar. Palate is similar, a touch more phenolic bite alongside enduring sweetness, the yeast really coming through as you go. Body is bubbly and full, as you'd expect. Nice stuff for Christmas festivities -- a beer for sharing.

 457 characters

Photo of superspak
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into signature chalice; best before 6/29/2019. Pours lightly hazy very dark reddish brown color with a 1 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big raisin, plum, apricot, fig, cherry, pear, apple, coriander, pepper, clove, light banana, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/bready malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big raisin, plum, apricot, fig, cherry, pear, apple, coriander, pepper, clove, light banana, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Large amount of yeast/coriander spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark fruits, coriander, clove, pepper, banana, toasted biscuit, brown sugar, brown bread, nuttiness, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/bready malt flavors; with a great malt/yeast spiciness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Good amount of dryness from carbonation and yeast spiciness. Medium-high carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, crisp, moderately creamy/bready, and lightly prickly mouthfeel that is awesome. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding Belgian strong dark ale! All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/bready malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to sip on for 10%. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,730 characters

Photo of WillDavis707
4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer on Xmas night. Everything that you would want out of a Belgian, and nothing you don't.

Dark fruit flavors, yeasty but not overpowering, smooth as can be!

 169 characters

Photo of Trombone69
4.76/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is a delicious brew. A very well disguised 10% ABV. I will definitely be looking to pick up some more of this. As my buddy said, "Have you ever had anything from St. Bernardus that wasn't great?" Nope. Truly a great one.

 228 characters

Photo of Organdrew
3.51/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bought this as seen in the local liquor store flier. Paid about 12$ for a 3/4 litre bottle. Waited until new years eve to open this baby up since I read many good reviews (and the high alcohol percent) and I don't get drunk often. First time drinking a Quadrupel.

Look: Bottle under pressure, pours a dark thick mixture with two inches of head that seems to stay. Color is a deep chestnut or dark brown teddy-bear color. Opaque and muddy. Almost black but brown hues show through.

Smell: Smells like a boozy concoction reminiscent of other craft beers. I tend to have trouble picking out smells. Maybe somewhat fruity/ plumy/ brown sugar like.

taste/mouthfeel: First sip tastes slightly boozy with multiple tastes dancing over the tongue. Deep, thick and complex. I know by the end of the bottle I will be feeling the alcohol. Concurrent sips start to form more palatable tastes and is somewhat sweet, easy to drink, yet heavy. (Brown?) Sugar shines through with each sip. Might be a tad of plum/fig. Creamy? The heavy taste hides the alcohol mostly.

Conclusion: A heavy boozy treat to share with a friend or two. May not be my favorite style, I prefer more golden, red, or lighter colored ales and beers. Reminiscent of a beer flavoured wine. Beware, this sweet easy to drink booze treat might be empty before you realize you've had too much.

 1,348 characters

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.51/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy dark amber color, pretty light for a Quad. Patchy, foamy head lasts a while, leaving lots of lace on the glass. The aroma is full of berry sweetness and biscuit malts. Cherry flavors pop out up front in the taste. Doughy malts and some grains and allspice also In there. Medicinal alcohol is noticeable but not distracting. The mouthfeel is thick and full of carbonation.

A sweet and fruity Quad – lightbodied for the high abv. Worth seeking out,

 476 characters

Photo of keithv70
4.27/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I enjoyed this in a fat tulip glass. The color is deep brown with a good amount of carbonation. The 2 inch tan head subsided slowly, with minimal lacing.

The smell reminds me of tart Belgian yeast, with a strong malt profile. The taste is similar, with slight banana flavor, similar to a good Hefeweizen, on the first few sips. The next few sips revealed some cinnamon and holiday spice. The taste is good, and gets better with each swig.

The mouthfeel is crisp, with a nice carbonated bite for a Christmas Ale. Overall, this is a great seasonal beer that I will try again next year.

 595 characters

Photo of drmeto
4.06/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L:
-pours a cloudy brown with ruby tinges and a big,quickly dissipating,foamy,offwhite head
S:
-plums,raisins,figs,spices,fruitcake,vanilla
T:
-Follows the nose plus caramel and herbs
F:
-high carbonation
-medium to full body
-alcohol noticeable
O:
Very good Christmas Ale of the fruity variety.However theres quite a few better Belgian ones (Delirium Noel,N'ice Chouffe,Kasteel Winter)

 386 characters

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

 565 characters

Photo of ChrisMon02
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

Pours a murky brown color with a tall 3 finger head. Soapy sud like lacing clings to the glass.

Smells of yeast, figs, plums and anise.

Taste mimics the nose. Sweet finish that last bit is not cloying.

Mouthfeel is soft. Plenty of champagne like carbonation. Goes down easily.

This is a nice quad. A bit sweet for my taste but a 12 oz bottle is perfect. Very enjoyable and fits the season well. Would have again.

 457 characters

Photo of mothmanscott
4.48/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dull/murky cola brown with a tall (3 finger), long lasting, light tan/beige head with variable size/textured foam and some webby lace. Aroma is spice, yeast, bread, some banana, fig/raisin, faint cherry & anise, very faint alcohol for a 10% ABV. Even so the smell becomes slightly vinous as the brew warms. Taste is dark bread, molasses & faint caramel malt, Belgian yeast, anise/licorice, dark fruits, hints of pear, banana & cherry. Finishes dry & spicy with a drawing bitterness. Afrertaste is lightly fruity, dark malt, alcohol & bitterness. Alcohol is much more assertive in the mouth than the nose manifesting as spice, bitterness & warmth. Mouthfeel is heavy bodied with high carbonation, alive in the mouth grainy, prickly spice, lightly chewy, dry & complex. Absolutely amazing!

 795 characters

Photo of Hoppsbabo
3.85/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Quadrupel in appearance. The head looking like recently activated yeast.
S: Smells like regular St Bernardus Abt 12.
T: Extremely phenolic, loads of nail varnish, bubblegum and bready yeast. This just tastes like regular Abt 12. Perhaps a little drier.
O: It's a slightly dry Abt 12. Not great. Not a fan of St Bernardus on the whole. Overrated.

 349 characters

Photo of puck1225
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An excellent beer! Pours a dark brown with a creamy head and great lacing. Beautiful sweet fruity smell. The taste has many characteristics, mainly dark fruit and warm spice. Candied pears and a bit of licorice. A great beer for the Christmas season or anytime you want something different and special.

 302 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 jrenihan
4.26/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Unsurprisingly, a very nice beer. Pleasantly sweet without being cloying, and with a bit of a dry finish. A notable fruity flavour, almost apple-like, along with brown sugar, plum and general spice-like flavours, although it doesn't appear that any are used in the beer. Bready with a "yeasty" character. The nose is very fruity and sweet smelling, losing the spicy dryness that is present in the flavour.

 405 characters

Photo of WunderLlama
4.19/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into pint glass

Dark reddish brown , cola like appearance, frothy taupe two finger foam cap

Aroma of dark fruits , roast malts

Taste of dark fruits , alcohol present

Sudsy, , fizzy, feel the alcohol

Good beer

 229 characters

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

Amazing Belgian quad ! Pours a beautiful dark murky oak in color with a ruby hue. Outstanding head retention that seems to last through the last drop. Aromas are oaky, cherries, a subtle touch of cinnamon and pumpkin but the cherries really steal the show. As usual the taste is the same again with the cherries riding shotgun. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy along with a nice touch of carbonated belgian craftsmanship. Overall, this was a nice choice for this year's Christmas eve beer. Rich and complex however not too heavy but still bold enough for the purpose.

 565 characters

Photo of kitch
4.17/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 330ml bottle with a best before date of 30th July 2018, poured into a Chimay goblet glass.

Appearance: It poured a dark brown colour with a two finger creamy puffy beige head that dissipated slowly to a nice half finger puffy cap that gives nice curtain like lacing.

Aroma: Nice dark fruit cherry, plum, prunes and raisin with hints of apple, banana and spice pepper.

Taste: Much like the aromas, there’s candied sugar, apricot, cherry, fig, plum and hints of banana. Caramel and toffee comes out as it warms. The alcohol is there but does not affect the taste and is slightly stronger when warm.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, medium bodied with mid to high carbonation.

Overall: Not quite Abt 12 but it is still a great beer from this Trappist brewery that I would buy again next year.

 784 characters

Photo of Marius
4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33cl bottle. Dark ruby pour, with a tall tan-coloured head. Smells of dried fruit (figs, prunes, raisins), toasted dark sugar, chocolate, spices. The taste is very rich and complex, with strong notes of cherries and cherry liquor, followed by caramelized apples, faint cinnamon, red wine and rye bread. An excellent winter warmer, warm, sweet and spicy aftertaste, medium to full bodied and lively mouthfeel due to the high carbonation.

 436 characters

Photo of NilocRellim
4.04/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Pours a clear mahogany colour. Fruity nose with a Belgian yeasty banana aroma, slightly spicy and alcoholic. Sweet and malty but blended, with sticky tree fruits; slightly alcoholic in flavour despite the 10%.

 209 characters

Photo of 57md
4.06/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a muddy copper color with edges that are both copper and honey toned. There was practically no head. The nose has notes of both raisins and bananas. The body was a bit thinner than I expected but the flavor profile is highlighted by the essence of dried fruits and seasonal spices.

 290 characters

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

Brown colour, creamy, off white head that fades to a ring and lace. SMell of dark fruits, candied fruits, spices(cinnamon, cloves, cardamom).Medium body, grat carbonation, sweet palate. Taste of "polvorones", candied fruits, anise, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg... Very complex. And great.

 294 characters

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