St. Bernardus Christmas Ale | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
706 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:
706
Ratings:
2,187
Avg:
4.19
pDev:
9.31%
 
 
Wants:
187
Gots:
445
For Trade:
6
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 706 | Ratings: 2,187
Photo of ryanonline
4.7/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep dark brown with some burgundy highlights and an enormous off white head that sits around for quite a while leaving some very thick gob like lacing.

smells very sweet with some strong hints of cherries and dark fruits with some fairly light spice notes to it. there is some cinnamon and even a touch of clove but many of the other notes are not so noticeable.

the taste is the same but with some more balanced characteristics. the cinnamon is more prevalent but not so strong that it overtakes the other flavors. a very light floral hop flavor lingers in the background.

the mouthfeel is exceptionally creamy and full bodied, the carbonation is soft and foamy. very sweet finish.

may not be super drinkable because it is pretty complex and full bodied. still very good though.

awesome beer, basically like a spiced abt 12.

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Photo of dbell23
4.7/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass. Two finger head that settles to a thin beige head that lingers throughout the drinking. Great lacing. Super dark brown color.

Smell is spicy dark Belgian. Cloves, Christmas spices dominate with malty Belgian ale fragrances. All dark Belgian aromas.

Taste is so complex. Belgian yeast, Christmas spices, smooth malts, toffee, caramel, with a hoppy/phenol finish that has a brown sugar lingering flavor. Alcohol is totally hidden. Great, sitting in front of the fire after a hike in the snow.

Mouthfeel is perfect for this type. Smooth medium/heavy. Just what I look for in this type beer.

Overall a great Belgian winter beer. Can't wait to drink this one again.

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Photo of Cozzatoad
3.63/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml cork caged bottle

A- Foam immediately pours out of the bottle, and it keeps building inside even after a few pours. Slightly murky brown, with ruby hints if seen through light. Huge head that quite quickly recedes to about one finger of slightly off-white soapiness. Loads of lacing on the glass

S- Dried and dark fruits among a strong alcohol feel, with a faint spicy note to it. A hint of lactic acidity as well

T- A suprisingly dry and not so strong malt character (with some notes of caramel) sets this beer apart from most belgian strong ales and other St. Bernardus beers as well. A slighlty musty herbal feel plays a major role in this beer, though in my opinion it is not perfectly balanced with the beer's dry malt character. Strong alcoholic feel, with both plain alcohol and spicy notes from the esters. Assertive dark fruit notes of cherry, raisin and maybe more. A faint hint of lactic sourness as the smell suggested. Extremely complex, but a bit messy

M- It's dry malt charcter has this beer feeling quite light in body if compared to most belgian strong ales and given it's ABV. Alcohol can definitely be felt, and though it brings a nice warming feel it gets a bit too much in the way in my opinion. Average and spot-on carbonation

O- As i have already mentioned this beer is very complex but quite a bit of a mess. It still is decently drinkable and warming, but it's musty, herbal character just not gets in the line with it's dry malt character. I didn't notice bad or completely off flavours nor any other major issue, so i'm reviewing it

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Photo of Mavigo
4.61/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this from Discount Drinks in Farmington Hills. Served in a snifter.

A: Pours a hazy, amber-mahogany color, very bubbly, with a 1/4 inch beige head that dissipates after a few minutes leaving some patches of lace.

S: Great aroma, plums, dried fruits, bananas, spices, cinnamon, cardamom, yeast, malts, wheat

T: Tastes awesome. Very sweet, definitely a quad. Very rich and robust, dark fruitiness, complimented with yeast, malts, spices.

M: Full bodied with ample amounts of carbonation, well balanced, great flow, great taste.

O: This was awesome, Merry Christmas! Another great beer from St. Bernardus. A bit expensive though.

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Photo of BWH3
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle which I found for under $11 in center city Philadelphia

A: A solid medium brown the color of pecan containing a few shades of red when held to the light. The head is big bubbly beige but fades quite easily but fortunately leaves a lovely lacing.

S: Bubble gum, sour cherry, anise.

T: Spicy, caramelized cherries with notes of cinnamon and licorice. Sweet up front then bitter and spicy hot. The phenols bring out the heat as well as the alcohol. This one brings the heat. The alcohol is a bit palpable but I am sure if one aged the beer it would mellow some.

M: Nice effervescence. Light medium body. Head retention could be better but is not below average.

D: St. Bernardus once again makes a fantastic beer that needs to be sampled by all.

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Photo of bluegrassbrew
3.81/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into a tulip.

Pours a deep brown with a massive head that leaves nice chunky lacing around the glass.

Smell is hot, hot, heat! Alcohol mostly.

Taste is heavy on the alcohol. Hints of nutmeg and dates.

Mouthfeel is creamy and good.

Overall, this is a solid beer, but not as good as I expected it to be. Compared to the Abt. 12 the alcohol is more noticable and it is less complex. That being said, it was still tasty and easy to drink.

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Photo of corey0212
4.55/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky chestnut brown, slight reddish highlights when held to light, and an absolutely gigantic foamy beige head, settles extremely slowly and leaves big clumps of lacing on the glass. Lots of spicy dark fruits on the nose, raisin, plum, fig, and big Belgian yeast aromas. Taste follows right along, some belly-warming alcohol, slightly earthy character to the beer as well. Really, I'm having a hard time imagining anything more enjoyable to sip on during a freezing snowy night, with the holidays right around the corner. Absolutely delicious.

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Photo of YieldToNothing
5/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

first 5 star review
750ml poured into a st bernardus chalice

pours an opaque brown with a quarter inch head. taste hints at nutmeg, smell has some cinnamon going on.

taste is full, this is a heavy beer but the abv is definitely well hidden.

i love this beer and i'm one of few that likes this better than the abt 12.

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Photo of natelocc787
3.72/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Red crimson beer with an off-white foamy head. The nose smelled like a Christmas fruitcake. Lots of nuts, toffee, mild chocolate and raisins. The taste was there, mouthfeel was not. A slow sipper for sure, dark brown bread, sweet almost cloying from the malts, dark candi sugar and spice cake in the taste. Mouthfeel was not alive, not sharp either but dull, slightly dry and semi-flat tasting. Definitely a complex beer, just not impressed with much else.

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Photo of GatorBeerNerd
4.56/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a dark amber brown with a couple finger thick fluffy tan head. The head clings to the side all the way down. This one could be the post card for a tasty looking beer.

S: A very subtle fruity smell along with the characteristic aroma of Belgian yeast mixed in. I like the aroma a lot, but there are a lot in this style that are more inviting.

T: One sip and you know this is a St Bernardus brew. It has the classic yeast taste that is evident in all of their line. There is a fruity taste and hints of brown sugar as well. The alcohol definitely warms in the after taste but it is hidden well in the mouth. There is no alcohol burn at all. In the end I marked this down slightly since the taste isn't very complex, but I really enjoyed this one.

M: For my tastes, this one has the perfect amount of in mouth carbonation as well as an excellent viscosity. Rolling it around in the mouth is almost as enjoyable as each swallow.

D: Even though the warming affect of this one makes you not be able to knock it back as fast as you might want, I still gave it a 5. That is because this one it is the most drinkable of this style I have ever had. For a winter warmer, it is easy to drink.

God bless St Bernardus, they make some fine beers!

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Photo of 01001111
4.52/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Cloudy, warm, caramel amber.

S: Sweet banana bread. Very malty.

T: Much like the smell; sweet, caramel bread flavors with hints of spice, nuttiness, and dark candied fruits.

M: Full bodied and smooth with a bit of zest.

O: Quite an amazing brew. If it weren't for the sweetness I could make this a regular indulgence.

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Photo of Naugled
3.47/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

served in a goblet.

Dark hazy brown with a fine creamy head that very quickly dissipates

Very sweet nose, smells like candi or soda

Woah, a very sugar forward beer. Tastes like there's nothing but sugar in this. Dark sticky sweet sugar. Some hotness comes through, but is needed to cut the syrupiness.

Medium mouthfeel, but on the thin side of medium. however not cloying and has a smooth softness to it.

drinkable, but over the top sweet. I guess that's what people want for the holidays.

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

This particular bottle has been aging in my fridge for the last year. The Christmas Ale is bottle conditioned so it poured with a generous head over its deep ruby brown body. The aroma was of fruits and malty sweetness with the taste following the same with some added complexity and a slight bitterness on the palate. The creamy mouthfeel rounded out this truly excellent Christmas Ale that is a fantastic beer for the Holidays.

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Photo of jnn4v
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Brasserie Beck in Washington DC.

A: Mahogany / walnut brown color. Translucent around the edges and generally hazy. No sediment. Moderate cream colored head with very fine texture.

S: Nutmeg, ginger, and other holiday spices are the very first thing I noticed. Also some dried dark fruits like raisins and dates as well as spiced or candied nuts.

T: Good flavor. Spices are the most dominant trait, but they aren't overpowering. Some good mixes of nutty flavors with molasses and brown sugar malts, dates, raisins and prunes.

M: Very good mouthfeel. Good body and texture from the viscosity. Nice, refined carbonation as well.

D: Different than I expected (I'd been hoping for Abt 12 plus spices, and this is more of a brown with spices). However, it definitely grew on me. Very drinkable at refrigerator, cellar or room temperature.

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Photo of Jesstyr
4.87/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

St. Bernardus is one of my favorites, so I gave this a try when I saw it on the shelves at Publick House in Brookline. Now I wish I could buy a dozen more. Quickly became one of my all time favorites.

Poured into a stemless tulip glass out of a .

A: dark brown with very creamy head.

S: Rich aroma with chocolate and a little bit of bourbon, and subtle winter spices.

T: Rich flavor of chocolate and dark fruits, not sweet, just a little bit of toffee and raisins and a bit yeasty. Great with cheese.

M: Light and a little creamy.

D: Too easy. Finished the bottle and didnt feel it till much later.

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Photo of pjwilson
4.59/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured in to Chimay chalice.

A: good quad amber

S: sweet figs brown sugars

T: so sweet so good. Classic quad greatness

Mouthfeel: yep it's soft

O: as good as Abt 12

Yeah it's great. Made the mistake of starting this too cold. Opened up after warming

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Photo of shacawgo24
4.98/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A-Dark raisin brown body. Off-white four finger head, (yes four) that has a slight hue of pink to it. The head is incredibly soapy and foamy. Your cup will runneth and floweth over. Head is also flaked with crystals that glitter throughout like fresh fallen snowflakes. Patchy, clumpy, sticky lace decorates glass.

S-Bourbon. Sour skins of grape, cherry and apple. Baking spices. Molasses. Brown sugar. Doughy. Yeasty. Inhale deeply enough your nose might sneeze from the pure abundance of spiced yeast.

T-Brown sugar. Cherry almond. Ginger bread or something wow. Nutmeg. Vanilla. Rum. Oak/woodsy. Bourbon. Cookie. Dry cinnamon & clove. Fruit flavored glazed pies like apple & cherry. Slightest of grape flavor, akin to an astringent red wine grape. The most subdued banana note, like a custard. One can go on and on deciphering flavors. The most consistent note was the hard to describe cherry-ginger-glazed pie STRONG middle-sip flavor.

M-Medium-low body. Medium-heavy carbonation. Sip starts tart, sweet and spiced. Then a punch of bitter-sweet bourbon uppercuts in the middle. Also in the middle is a sweet yeasty/doughy pie/donut note. The end of the sip is all of the aforementioned in harmony, slowly fading away into the aftertastes. The after is a gentle titillation of dry bitter holiday spices.
The yeast is the star here, swamping your palate with prickling sensations. And the hops as well bring this effect. Very sticky your lips get with time.

O-St. Bernardus does no wrong. This Christmas Ale ages perfectly, you can sip one in the summer. This quad was meant to be sipped. So complex and boozy. I do wish the body was more grand and creamy, silky. Other than that, you can't get much better in look, smell and taste. Quads are probably the best beer style on Earth. St. Bernardus Christmas Ale is powerful proof for that claim.

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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 RedBrewer83
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into goblet...

A: Dark brown amber body with a big three finger creamy tan head that falls slowly leaving great lacing and a thick foam head on top of the beer.

S: Raisins, figs, dried fruit, candy caramel malt, spices (nutmeg, clove, allspice). Smells like Christmas!

T: Follows nose with added flavor intensity and a hint of booze that comes across in a delicious way! A little intense on the sweetness, but somehow not cloying.

M: Smooth carbonation, almost velvety mouthfeel and nice dry finish that keeps this from being an overly sweet cloying beer.

D: For being such a big beer that is so complex and sweet it is pretty drinkable, but not great, this is definitely a sipper, but on a cold winter night this would probably be perfect!

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

Aged for six months. Dark brown appearance with one finger head that dedicates quickly. Nice fruity aroma. Very smooth fruity taste without any alcohol taste.

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Photo of omnigrits
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml cork and cage into a tulip.

Man, this is one of the liveliest beers I've poured in a long time. Despite being careful I got about 20% beer and 80% head which I had to let subside before topping up. Lots of lace, obviously.

A very sweet, malty Belgian nose. Lots of typical spicy Belgian yeast aromas.

Plenty of sweetness up front but also a pleasant bitterness and a dry finish, leaving both a barley sugar and a hoppy aftertaste.

Good body, well-hidden but noticeable alcohol presence.

A very nice example of a dark Belgian ale.

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Photo of bilyboy65
4.07/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a pilsner glass. This has also been aged for a year. Purchased Jan 07 and drank Mar 08.

A: Poured a very forthy 3 finger head that was a dark tan color. Lasted for a while as well and left a good film on the glass. The beer was a dark tan color on the bottom of the glass and became darker towards the top.

S: There was a strong apply fruit smell that was complimented nicely by cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar. The smell alone was very warming.

T: There was a hint of the alcohol in the taste of this beer. The fruits were the main course. The cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar teamed up to cause a apple pie flavoring. The aftertaste was very fruity and added a great finish to this beer.

M: The carbonation dances on the tongue bringing out the flavors.

D: There was a lot of carbonation in the beer. Making it challenging to really enjoy the full taste of the beer.

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Photo of ByTor2112
4.12/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours up a shade of brown that leans towards being mahogany, ruby-reddish. Big foamy head that hangs out for a while but diminishes.
Aroma-Big fat bready-fruity goodness. If the flavor is anything like the aroma, it is going to be sweet.
Mouthfeel-Medium carbonation delivers a very sweet body with some booziness. The alcohol is not too hot, but present. The malt is obviously there but the fruit profiles along with rich bready flavors really dominate with this one. The yeast has chosen to put these to the forefront, and the malt backbone is disguised. Sweet and rich and tasty. The finish reveals a little of the Belgian-yeast-funk, a bit on the tangy side. The fruitiness of the aroma and flavor swings from fig to raisin to cherry to...This was a good one to share with others who are not big beer folks and everyone enjoyed it.

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

A: Ruby-brown semi-opaque body with a thin tan head.
S: Malts, cream, belgian sugars, molasses
T: Butter and molasses initially with some malt and barley. A little bit spicy toward the end but finishes smooth.
M: Heavy and rich, definitely a sipping beer.
D: Overall a great representation of the style.

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Photo of mjaskula
4.48/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a large wine glass. Pours a dark brown with red highlights. The huge head pours thick and thins out to a film, leave a small amount of lacing.

Aroma is thick and sweet with dark fruits, and a bit of alcohol. Really inviting. The flavor is big and complex, continuing the nose. Lots of sweetness and dark fruit flavors, some spiciness. A bit of alcohol heat. There's some tartness in the finish as well.

The mouthfeel is pretty thick, but the high carbonation and dryness balance it out well.

I'm not sure what makes this a christmas beer, but it's really good regardless.

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St. Bernardus Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.19 out of 5 based on 2,187 ratings.
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