St. Bernardus Christmas Ale | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
2,193 Ratings
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
Ratings:
2,193
Reviews:
709
Avg:
4.19
pDev:
9.31%
 
 
Wants:
188
Gots:
447
For Trade:
6
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Ratings: 2,193 |  Reviews: 709
Photo of Sammy
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at the Tops Tasting Room. Finally got up to this. Pours gorgeous black with a significnat white head, and some spices holding on the tap. Lacey. This is a rich ale, mildly malty, with ginger, allspice, c-hop, white pepper. Just had been tapped last night.A sipper.

 279 characters

Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Word of caution, make sure you aim this one away from anything breakable or your face as my cork rocketed across the room unlike any I have ever seen. Large frothy head, nice retention on a deep clear amber body.

S: rich dark fruit aroma with mostly fig and cherry and strawberry, not too sweet.

T: more dark fruit but more sour than sweet. Spicey Belgian yeast as well.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation. Semi dry in the finish.

Overall: a Little sour but overall a nice drinkable strong ale from this brewery.

 525 characters

Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Best by 8/3/16.

Pours a murky dark brown with a huge 3 inch foamy beige head that settles to a small cap. Base on the first pour I got mostly foam so I think there may an issue with the carbonation on this one. A latticework of thin rings lines the glass on the drink down. Smell is of bready malt, brown sugar, and some dark fruits. Taste is very much the same with a nice flavor of dark fruits (raisins, plums, etc.) on the finish. Like I suspected based on the pour, this beer has an extremely high level of carbonation with a very crisp and bubbly mouthfeel. Way overcarbonated in my opinion but without any indicators of infection or the like. Overall, this is a good BSDA and a very nice beer to sip on for Christmas night but the mouthfeel brings down my enjoyment of this beer.

 786 characters

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -4.5%

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

perhaps my favorite holiday beer of the year this year, as good as any out there thats for sure. its funny listening to a bar full of people drinking this beer, "it tastes just like banana bread" they say, but i really didnt get that from this. it does have comforting hearty seasonal bakery thing going on, but i dont get the banana in the least. instead i get a nice caramelized bready grain base, brown sugar, and spicy belgian yeast. if this is in fact a spiced ale and not just presenting that complexion from the yeast, than its a genius blend and dose, because it fits so seamlessly into the beer, soft ginger, clove, and nutmeg in here perhaps, or maybe its just a perfect yeast strain at the perfect temperature. i get subtle vanilla, tobacco, licorice, tea, raisin, dried fig, molasses, even subtle maple, its beautiful and complex, and the mouthfeel is amazing too. no trace of the alcohol, smooth and rich but also not too sweet and extremely well carbonated, this is what you want quads and holidays ales to feel like! sturdy but not too sturdy. there is not a chill in the world that this beer couldnt warm up, perfect for the season, expertly refined, fancy in the glass, and something to share without a doubt. absolutely loved it, great to have it on tap for the first time, and now the bar for holiday beers has been set impossibly high. tons going on here, lots of layers, a cohesive whole, puts me right in the christmas spirit!

 1,448 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
5/5  rDev +19.3%

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -16.5%

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.

 439 characters

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -10.5%

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.

 614 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.53/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Belgian Strong Dark Ales are very well suited for the holiday season even without the spicy additions common to Christmas deserts. The sweeter, succulent, and savory yeasty spice and fruity esters make for a complex staple layered on the supple malt base... absolutely sublime.

St. Bernardus' Christmas Ale pours with a rusty copper appearance with dark orange highlights and hints of garnet here and there. Mild haze and yeast caused a diffused glow to permiate the glass. A froathy mix of tightly and loosely knit head character shows great staying power and intricate patterns of lace upon the glass. A very solid Belgian look, albeit a touch light in color compared to others of the style.

Yeasy, spicy, fruity, and sweetly settled on the nose. Fruitcake-like aromas give a glimpse into the cherries, apples, figs, grapes, dates, plumbs, and sweetbread notes that set the malty and estery start to the session. Rummy alchols tickle the nose and give a sweet and vinous note to the aroma.

Delicious sweet malts give the impressions of confectioner's sugar, supple malty sweetness, and savory desert breads and coffee cake. Fruity with grapes and raisons, plumbs, and prunes, stone fruits, dehydrated dark fruits, apples and cherries all play into the estery mix as provided by yeast. Yeasty spices also attribute notes of corriander, black peppercorn, cinnamon, and a pleasant citrusy note that might be curaco additions or hop derived. Rum-like and red wine alcohols seem to be the catalyst that brings all the flavors together to give the rounded impression of rum-soaked fruitcake.

Up front sweetness gives the early impression of cloying or heavy sweetness. But the beer seems to evaporate off of the palate, much in the same was as does cotton candy- leaving a powdery dry alcohol warmth and only a memory of sweetness. The beer weighs effortless on the late palate and stomach for a remarkably drinkable session for such strength in both taste and alcohol. Assisted by strong effervescent, the beer lifts off of the tongue with ease.

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale does all that world class Belgain Strong Ales are expected to, and with many extraordinary nuances to set it apart from the mere good ones. An absolute delight with each sip as new flavors reveal themselves with each visit to the glass. The descriptor words for this beer are seemingly endless.

 2,370 characters

Photo of biboergosum
4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml corked and wired bottle, shared with my dark Belgian-loving sweetie (uh, beer, that is...).

This beer pours a muddy, sediment-strewn, and rather dark orange-brick brown colour, with an ambitious rising column of frothy, and fairly soapy beige head, which leaves some thorough swaths of sudsy lace around the glass in its very somnolent wake.

It smells of chewy raisins, caramel/toffee malt, everything ever baked by my mom for Christmas, a bit of earthy yeast, and softly simmering alcohol (which also has something in common with my dear mom's holiday goodies). The taste is more caramel and raisin malt sweetness, plummy fruit, nutmeg and cinnamon spice, brown sugar, and strongly warming alcohol.

The carbonation is sedate, but not exactly absent in its gently frothiness, the body well weighted, smoothly-textured, and a tad creamy. It finishes with that same complex, spiced Christmas baking sweetness, all duly steeped in rum.

Overall, much like other holiday season libations, this is a barely restrained, indulgent sipper, for satisfying that sweet tooth, keeping out the chill, and keeping all that other craziness to an acceptable hum. Very worthy of checking out if you like the style, or just need a cool Christmas gift for the beer geek on your list - hint, hint.

 1,288 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Expected a bit more carbonation when I popped the cork so I was not surprised that the head was not overly impressive; after a few minutes, all that remains is a film and a ringlet, though it is rather leggy, leaving quite a smattering of dots and dashes

Smell: Spice cake aromatics, with ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove joining the dark fruit (fig and date) elements

Taste: Spice cake with caramel frosting; in the middle, the fig and date flavors develop, along with all the spices detected in the aroma; a little tartness, after the swallow, along with a balsa wood dimension, brings an interesting phenolic angle to the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: One of the better Christmas ales to come out of Belgium; my bottle was a bit undercarbonated but still quite good

 829 characters

Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of emerge077
3.56/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It looked nearly perfect in the light, tiny jets of carbonation raced through the hazy chestnut liquid, with a fluffy head of tan foam. Every so often, larger bubbles would be carried upward from the bottom, powerless in the slipstream.

Strong aroma of bubblegum/banana from the yeast esters. Slight sweetness, bordering on cloying.

Deeply malty flavors with light fruit and nuttiness. A bit too sweet for my taste, but it's not overdone. Dry finish hints at the high abv, but it's hidden in the taste. I'm happy that I shared this at a holiday party instead of trying to drink the whole thing myself.

 605 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep burgundy color ale with a super large foamy head with great retention and good lacing. Aroma of dry fruit and fruity ester with some candi sugar and some nicer Belgian malt. Taste is a well balanced mix between some fruity ester, some dry fruits such as figs and notes of Belgian malt. Body is full with great carbonation and no appearance of alcohol. Very well done though it probably fell short of the ABT 12.

 433 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of zeff80
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 Edition

A – Poured out a rich amber color with a beautiful, tan, foamy, three-finger head. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S – It smelled of dried fruits (pear and apple). There was also a strong malty presence.

T - The taste was quite complex. Spices hit the tongue on first sip, cinnamon and maybe vanilla. A rich, roasted malt flavor lasts throughout. It had a biscuity quality, as well.

M – It was soft and smooth with a warm alcohol presence. This is a very heavy-bodied beer.

D – This is a very nice Christmas Ale. It is quite a lot to handle in one sitting. I might have to pick up another and cellar it (the bottle claims it can be cellared for up to 15 years).

 694 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

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

Appearance: Poured from a 750ml bottle depicting a jolly monk (with a Santa hat) drinking beer in the snow. The beer itself is dark amber, nearly black, with a cloudy tan head that doesn't show any sign of fading.

Smell: Caramel and chocolate, wintry spices, a bit of alcohol. Very aromatic.

Taste/mouthfeel: Dark dried fruits, caramel, a bit of molasses. Dry and spicy in the finish with a greater hop presence than I was expecting. Crisp but soft carbonation similar to other St. Bernardus brews. This is nice, but I think it will drink better with 5 or 6 months on it. Recommended.

 586 characters

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St. Bernardus Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.19 out of 5 based on 2,193 ratings.
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