St. Bernardus Christmas Ale | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

706 Reviews
St. Bernardus Christmas AleSt. Bernardus Christmas 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: 706 | Ratings: 2,186
Photo of Jeffreysan
4.93/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, deep, dark, mahogany color, with a finger and a half of white-colored head that slowly dissolved away into a lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very nice and very aromatic, with tons of bready, toasted malt, imparting notes of freshly baked pastry, as well as lots of dried stone fruit, such as raisins, prunes, figs, apricots, and cherries. I also get toffee and brown sugar, a touch of dark chocolate, a touch of licorice, and lots of funky Belgian yeast, which imparts aromas of saddle leather, wet blanket and roasted chestnuts. Smells inviting and delicious!

Taste: Absolutely delicious! Fantastically, so! There is lots of bready, toasted malt up front, followed by lots of dried stone fruit, such as raisins, prunes, figs, apricots, and cherries. There is also quite a bit of toffee and brown sugar-like sweetness, as well as a touch of dark chocolate, a touch of licorice, and lots of nutty, spicy, funky Belgian yeast.

Mouthfeel: Slightly chewy and nicely effervescent as there is quite a lot of carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 10%, there is just a hint of a pleasant alcohol warmth on the palate, otherwise, the alcohol is very well masked.

Overall: This is another absolutely fantastic beer from St. Bernardus! Each one that I’ve had has been absolutely stellar! I highly recommend each of the beers from this fantastic Belgian brewery!

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Photo of stevoj
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Schwing! Sitting around on Christmas Eve and sipping this beauty. Nice sour smell of dried fruit and molasses, dark, dark brown with oily skin of a head.Flavor repats the fruit theme with a little sweetness, alcohol isn’t noticed until its on its way down your throat. Really, really good!

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

A - Pours a dark brown, raisin color with a very thick, creamy, toffee colored head that doesn't go away - very thick, frothy lacing.

S - Belgian spice, banana, bready, yeasty, some chocolate aroma.

T - Raisins, figs, prunes, chocolate, bananas, clove, roasted sweet caramel/toffee malt, some alcohol presence, lingering mild chocolate bitterness.

M - Big full body, viscous, slippery, light carbonation turns to a creamy finish.

O - Outstanding beer.

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

750 ml bottle from Systembolaget, Sweden in december 2014. Pours hazy, brown-reddish with a three finger high beige foam that leaves lacing on the glass.

Nose: Belgian yeast, spice, fried fruit, plum, banana and fresch apples.
Taste: Syrup, dried fruit, dark malt, chocolate, spice, raisin, coffee and bread - Really good!

Medium, complex body with a great carbonation and a very good job on hiding the alcohol.
Tasty with a sweetnes that ends with a lillte bitternes - Great!

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Photo of PlutonowyManiek
3.78/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Weak head. On the surface danced just fine bubbles.
Bouquet is clear cloves, orange, spices evocative of winter.
Taste is very dry, plums and all the characteristics of aroma reminiscent of mulled wine, is also bulky and heavy, and of course alcohol, which is incredibly warming up.
Alcohol (10%) in beer is well hidden. St. Bernardus Christmas Ale enchants bitterness which is dry, seasoned.
This beer is a "fat", rich, yet easy to drink, saturation of more than average.
Highly recommend for winter evenings by the fireplace with a good book.

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Photo of hophugger
4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy deep gold with amazingly fizzy head and nice lacing. Aroma is of ripened fruit and bready malt. Taste is sweet malt, with hints of raisin and dark fruits. Some yeasty notes here also. Mouthfeel is mild and pleasant. 10% ABV is very well hidden !!

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

Pours out a hazy leathery brown with a thin head. Smells fruity with spicy Belgian yeast - caramel malts. Taste: caramel malt base and spicy yeast. Umami savory yeastiness. Dried fruits and berries. Finishes dry. Moderate weight on the tongue with active prickly carbonation. Delicious.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Brief write-up. Oh man, what a killer Noel ale, rich and spicy yet oh so dangerous. The Belgian yeast is powerful, but it remains impeccably balanced throughout. I'm amazed how light and effortless this remains. I'd drink this during the 4th of July, it's that damn good.

4.32/5: Christmas in March, mofos!

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Photo of captaincoffee
4.26/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml...half price at my local place. Guess they didn't think anyone would want a Xmas ale in Feb, but I figured a St Bernardus quad would have some staying power (if not aging power).
Pours brown with sizable stick head. Great nose. Tons of fruity esters. Good full mouth feel and not particularly hot for a 10% brew. Big malt, spice, complex flavor profile. Very enjoyable. Glad I got 2.

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

Brown/ruby pour with khaki head (12oz draft into snifter); fruit, cloves, cinnamon, and banana notes; sweet malt with stone fruit with banana and clove from the yeast; medium feel and good tongue coating; overall, complex -a lot of flavor and alcohol-a good way to end the drinking day!

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.82/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750 shared with a work buddy... 2014 bottling.. Pours a deep walnut but still shows good clarity, khaki head sticks around forever with nice lacing. Toasty with a bit of spice cake essence.. Not as rich as some of the other Quads but still very respectable.. Very high carbonation IMO, pretty burpy.. With warmth, the spices bloom a little more than I appreciate.. Nothing wrong with it, I just prefer the Abt 12 better.


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

750mL corked and caged bottle (bottled 2014) served in a Karmeliet Tulip glass.

Appearance: Brown with copper highlights - a bit cloudy but the light still goes through. Thick and massive tan head upon pouring that died down to a persistent 1/8" thick foam. Plenty of persistent lacing - thick sheets and strands.

Smell: Cloves and banana, powdery yeast, hint of fruity esters.

Taste: Lots of flavor going on: Classic Belgian yeast flavors, candi sugar, fruity esters, hint of tart cherry, hint of toffee, caramelized malt. Bitter and sweet finish with leafy hops and caramelized malt. Very delicious.

Mouthfeel: Airy and prickly carbonation at first. As the beer warmed up and the carbonation died back a bit, the beer gets a bit sticky but still smooth.

Overall / Drinkability: I personally felt the alcohol was well hidden for a quad, but I could notice it in a pleasant way about 2/3 through the glass. Full of flavor, well worth savoring as a sipper, and a big bottle is the best way to enjoy this beer to get a nice serving of the beer. It went well with food (Doro Wat) and I think it would pair well with a wide range of food. While I was not able to have this at Christmas, I think I'm going to have to pick it up again next year and see if I can make it a Christmas day beer. A very good Quad and a very good beer.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Vertical of 2010-2013 shared by raveskdr. Thanks Chris! Copper brown body with a broken beige head. Aromas of Belgian yeast, caramel malt, well water, mineral, raisins. Smooth flavor, showing some signs of age (’10, ’11). Medium bodied with soft carbonation on all vintages, with the most recent perhaps a bit more vibrant. Lots of flavor. Slightly sweet, with subtle spice and a touch of brown sugar. Tasty.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.11/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Served in a chalice glass.

Appearance: Hazy brown with an [white] orange tinted head. Head is an off-white that settles super quick after one sip. At initial pour rises maybe to half an inch at best.

Smell: Light banana scent compliment with a dose of honey.

Taste: Lightly sweet with touch of nutmeg and banana. Also lightly spicy more like touches of nutmeg throughout the brew.

Mouth: medium and sticky. Bready feel, almost reminds you of a cinnamon raisin bagel.

Overall: incredible brew which took me by surprise. Mellow and strong, has pretty much everything you are looking for in a beer.

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Photo of sprat1960
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Chestnut brown with flashes of red and yellow. Pours with a light tan creamy two finger head that dies down gradually leaving a thin, even layer of foam on the surface of the beer and a little sticky lacing on the glass.

Smell: Delicious. Grainy, slightly sweet (think molasses).

Taste: Delicious. Taste close to how its smells. Grainy, slightly sweet, mildly peppery finish.

Feel: Full, medium body with nice mild carbonation.

Overall: Delicious. smooth quad. Would love to drink this 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 TheSixthRing
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Poured into a Samuel Smith pint glass to reveal a murky auburn brown with a thick, rocky beige colored 3 finger head. Excellent retention, leaving behind a thick layer of suds. Lacing is chunky in spots and spotty in others and exhibits great stick.

Smell - Belgian yeast funk that can be picked up from a mile away. Tart apple and green banana. Settles as it warms, developing fruitcake-like aromas.

Taste - Starts with notes of plum and banana bread. Light sour funk. Spice hits mid-taste. Hints of rum-raisin alcohol in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Full in body with moderate carbonation. Silky smooth texture.

Overall - Mmmm. Really, really good. Perhaps my favorite quad yet, in part to the fact that it doesn't make me feel like I'm gonna develop diabetes from drinking it, as most are too sugary and syrupy for my liking. This one is up my alley, though. Nice, smooth delivery of a complex yet refined dark, fruity and bready profile.

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Photo of bmcmahon1024
4.81/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Drank for the first time this past Christmas season and I now babe a new favorite Christmas beer. Perfectly balanced and with a high abv I would have never guessed it to be so smooth. The Abby ales are rising to the top of my favorites list.

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Photo of Beric
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Serving: Bottle into snifter
Served: 1 January 2015

Appearance: Not the prettiest of beers when poured. Pours a deep brown with some musky tints. Due to the ABV, the head quickly collapses into a haphazard ring of moldy looking bubbles. Little to no lacing.

Aroma: Alcohol perceptible in the nose, giving a slight medicinal smell (though this is to be expected given the ABV). Strong notes of plum, date, and raisin.

Taste: Complex notes of dark, sticky fruits and viscus molasses rounded by softer overripe banana esters from the yeast. Marvelously complex and a beer that gets better with time at room temperature, as the banana esters fade slightly and the date note really starts coming through.

Mouthfeel: Medium-high body and minimal carbonation makes this one a sipper.

Overall: A great beer and one I'll definitely buy again. A good way to usher in the new year! Would highly recommend.

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Photo of dar482
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pretty fun take on the base beer with Christmas fruit cake spices throughout. Along with the dark sweet fruits is a general tone of caramelized banana. A decent mouthfeel with good carbonation to move the beer around.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750mL corked and caged bottle into a Dogfish Head snifter. The pour is copper-colored and dark, though not quite as dark as Abt 12, and highly effervescent. It sports 2 fingers of creamy, fine, and very well-sustained head that never completely fizzled out. The nose is not too punchy and I get notes of dark fruit, cinnamon, and allspice. The spices seem to mask the rich, bready, pastry-like aroma of the standard Abt 12.

The beer has a medium body with a firm feel, though a bit thinner than Abt 12. The high level of carbonation wakes up the palate, intensifies the spices, and cuts the sweetness. Brief, bready, biscuity malt flavors of sweet bread and cake greet you first. They are quickly overtaken by the carbonation and turn to dark fruit (raisins and dates) and nuts, and then holiday spices take over and you get ginger, allspice, and a sarsaparilla-like finish. No booziness. The finish is slightly dry and appetizing. Like Abt 12, the beer tends to get a little sweeter as it de-gasses.

Overall, a very good beer, but I definitely prefer Abt 12. I generally avoid winter warmers and holiday-spiced beers, but this one is very well done. The spices are not overwhelming or unbalancing, but to me they still detract from the sweet, rich flavor characteristic of the style. I doubt I will try this again, but it's not because I didn't like it. Anyone who enjoys holiday beers should check this one out (and definitely try De Dolle Stille Nacht while you're at it).

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Photo of spoony
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From a 750 ml bottle to a wine glass.

A-The beer is the color of black tea and murky. The head is short and off-white in color. No lacing is left behind, but the head has great retention like you would expect from a traditional Belgian beer.

S-The aroma is absolutely delicious, but brace yourself for the sweetness. I get brown sugar, molasses, candy sugar, and massive gingerbread type spices like clove, cinnamon, and a hint of pepper. There is also some dark, dried fruit. In fact, the aroma reminds me of fruit cake. Hops are an afterthought.

T-The taste is similar to the smell, but whereas the sweet, sugary flavors smell delicious, they become a bit TOO much on the palate. Still, the spicy, sweet, fruity mixture is what I think of when I think of Christmas flavors, so it works for me.

M-Somewhat surprisingly, I find the feel to be a bit thin and less creamy that I like for a quad/BDSA. Its not bad, but not as good as Abt 12.

O-Setting aside my quibbles with the mouthfeel, this is a great holiday offering. It doesn't rank as high as the Abt 12 because even I found it a bit too sweet and spicy, but if you want a big, dark, holiday offering, there are not many choices better than this.

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Photo of VTR
3.45/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bomber for a Christmas Celebration. Poured a dark ruby red with a small white fluffy head. I picked up what I thought to be malts in the nose along with spices, dark fruits, and floral notes. Taste was off for me at first. I did not detect the spice(s) in the taste as I did in the nose. I definitely tasted what I thought to be fruits and some sort of for lack of a better work floral taste(s). I am glad I was sharing a bomber because I would not have been able to drink this by myself. The alcohol was well hidden. I am new to quads but I would purchase again.

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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 DenisKolkin
4.54/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle enjoyed with brother-in-law on Christmas Day. Liked it so much split a bottle with my Mom on boxing day. It's truly a great season to know people who enjoy craft beer as much as you do.

Appearance - Dark brown with two fingers of head when poured into a wine glass. Greta retention and a thin layer of sticky lacing smothered the glass.

Smell - Dark inviting and complex, trace of banana, Christmas baking, candied sugar some dark fruits, plum and cherry. Huge butterscotch aroma upon repeated whiffs.

Taste - Boom! Same as the aroma, like exactly the same. Butterscotch, fruit cake, cherry and plum. Modest alcohol burn. Almost one of those beers where when you take a sip you know but don't really know what you're going to get. Maybe it will taste like cherries and plums? Maybe butterscotch? Amazing.

Mouthfeel - Velvety with perfect carbonation for the body. Simply fantastic.

Overall - What a treat. Great Christmas beer, but I can obviously see this bee delicious at any time, especially in winter. Similar to ABT12, there are resemblances, but this is it's own beer through in through with the butterscotch being the star.

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St. Bernardus Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.19 out of 5 based on 2,186 ratings.
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