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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 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!

 752 characters

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 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 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.

 835 characters

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.

 303 characters

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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Photo of erikm25
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a medium to heavy caramel brown coloring. Hints of copper and bronze highlights. The head is a massive, deep, and sticky pillow of slightly off white fluff. Retention is perfect. Lacing coats and sticks all around the glass. Looks like the frosted windows of my apartment that I have been seeing recently.

S: Subtle dough nose that is spiced with some fruit and candies. Notes of chocolate. Crisp apples and ripe pears with a healthy dash of black pepper. Sugary with a citrusy orange tinge. Not overwhelmingly spicy but the aromas are warm and welcoming.

T: Complex spiciness with thick malt back. Vanilla and coriander. Gingerbread with raisins and clove. Peaches, candy canes, and subtle black peppers. Toasted rye bread sprinkled with brown sugar, grapes, and ginger. A pinch of cinnamon and peppercorns. Very mild pumpkin pie like taste. Mild hops towards the finish. The ABV is high but no alcohol is present in the taste.

M: Creamy and full bodied. Great carbonation.

D: I had been saving this one for a few weeks to cap off Christmas night. Very drinkable and a great offering for the holiday season. Complex and first rate beer.

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Photo of jspaner
4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Looks like a Christmas beer should, dark and rich in color. The smell has the typical Belgian beer aroma, sweet, yeasty, and in this case, a bit of dark fruitiness. The taste is sweet, with a little cherry and some spices, and a bit medicinal, but very nice. The feel is moderate with low carbonation. The 10% abv is not overpowering to the feel or taste. Another great beer from a great brewery!

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Photo of Vendetta
3.91/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is plum, pruney. Cloudy, unfiltered. Stagnant, medium foam head. Thick, foamy paste of a lacing down the glass as it's consumed.

Smells vinous and sweet.

Taste is extremely complex as per norm of the St Bernardus brews that I've had. Very vinous and a bit dry up front, finishes pruney and much more on the sweet side. Leaves a significantly plum aftertaste. Warms the belly nice thanks to the ABV but it really isn't all that detectable. Perfect winter beer.

Mouthfeel is also very very good. Thick, full-bodied without being punishing to drink. Little carbonation.

This is a very, very good example of a Belgian beer and if you have any remote interest in the style then you'll love this one.

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

Bought at some point in November, finally getting around to drinking as Christmas approaches.

A - dark brown, super thick off-white head

S - fruity, citrusy, sweet malt, people note dark fruits and that sort of comes across to me

T - spicy, sweet, malty, bit of alcohol,

M - smooth, a bit of carbonation, nice all around

D - wow. This is a fine, fine beer (would you expect anything else?), but I think more than 1 750 mL of this would be crazy. Luckily I split mine with my gf, and I think 1 glass will be enough. Really enjoyable and warming me up nicely. Highly recommended for the holidays!

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Photo of amphion1065
3.11/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750 mL bottle with a "13.08.16" date stamp, served in a Duvel tulip.

Quite a loud pop when I uncorked the bottle, though thankfully this wasn't a gusher. Pours a light, reddish copper brown. A huge, 2.5-finger light tan head with very tight bubbles last and lasts - the retention is excellent. Lacing is gorgeous.

Lots of citrus in the aroma. Right off the bat, orange peel and a heavy dose of coriander come into play. A very strong Belgian yeast character. Underneath, some toffee, prunes and vanilla. It's a sort of strange combination, like a Christmas pudding or fruitcake with an amped up citrus zest.

Predictably, there's plenty of orange in the taste. A peppery kick to the finish, which largely drowns out the dark fruit flavors at work. Man this is hot, far more so than Abt. 12, and the booze is pretty distracting. An odd, astringent bitterness in the back end.

Mouthfeel is solid, lively and just heavy enough. I expect nothing less from this brewery.

Judged against other BSDAs, this is pretty mediocre. As a Christmas ale, I feel just about the same.

 1,070 characters

Photo of drcarver
3.85/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - a very translucent brown with below average carbonation and a fluffy head that leaves decent lacing

S - as compared to other it has a fairly vegetable earthiness matched with the yeast and hint of dark frutis that come with the style.

T/M - sweet brown sugar like front followed by a roasted carrot flavor. Finished with a hint of alcohol (which is scary that it isn't more prominent). Medium full body with a smooth feel.

D - not bad.

Oh yeah and the cork damn near took my head off shooting out of the bottle.

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Photo of ryrust5301
3.76/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a caged and corked 750ml. bottle into my St. Bernardus Goblet. Nice touch throwing a santa hat on the monk with snow falling in the background.

Appearance - This one poured extremely well. Color is a hefty dark brown almost chocolate color. Massive head crowned this one. Two fingers in size of tan, puffy, chunkiness. After the head calms down a blanket of clumpy white bubbles coats the top.

Smell - Very thick with an alcohol bite. Same as the regular Abt 12 with rich dark fruits, raisin, and a sweet mollasses coating. Dark fruits win out, but there's a spiciness there also.

Taste & Mouthfeel - This one definitely has a nice thick body to it. Lite carbonation keeps the body in check and pulls it back a little bit. Sweet dark fruits like plums, and raisins with a spicy bite in the back give this brew a nice round complexity. Thick bready malts coat the throat for awhile on the aftertaste.

Drinkability - I prefer the Abt 12, but this is one I can look forward to trying again come Christmas time. Would make a heavenly sipper on Christmas eve or night, shared with the family celebrating the holidays.

 1,128 characters

Photo of selecter70
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mmmm...not quite what I was expecting from a "Holiday" (grr..Christmas) Ale. But thanks to Christopher's in Cambridge & St. Bernardus, I can expand my expectations of such! It was lovely to find this gem on draught, served proper, glassware & all. Served up dark & mysterious with a thin, lacey head that soon disappeared, a grape-malt & lavender aroma pervaded, but not tacky or overwhelmingly so. The color showed in the light as a dark purple-brown and an intial alchol nose upon sipping soon opened to a chewy dunkelweiss with grape hints in a Belgian lambic style. Quite a lovely sipping & savoring ale (& quite potent!).

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Photo of StarlightSeraph
3.53/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My 150th review, on Christmas night.

Poured from a corked and caged 75 cl bottle into my Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours a murky mahogany, with hints of red when held up to a light. Two fingers of thick, frothy off-white head. Tons of lacing.

Smell: When I opened the bottle, I got a whiff of cinnamon and gingerbread, but I didn't really get that in the glass. In the glass, all I can really get is the belgian yeast.

Taste: An intense, sweet and tangy roasted-chocolate flavor is the first thing that hits the taste buds. Tangy fruits are there in the background, as is the belgian yeast. A definitely burn from the alcohol as it goes down.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly, incredibly high carbonation, almost to the point of it being painful on the tongue. I realize that most Belgians are highly carbonated, but this is one of the most intensely carbonated beers I've ever tasted. It is nice and creamy, though.

Drinkability: A definite sipper, both due to the carbonation and the high alcohol. An enjoyable beer, too, although I was a little disappointed that there wasn't more of a...special, or holiday, feel to this beer - it tasted almost generic, and there wasn't something that made it stand out. I would certainly have it again, but it's not one I would spend hours searching for. I wouldn't mind having one of these on hand to age, though.

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Photo of JamisonM
4.72/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 bottle 750 ml bottle corked and caged served in a snifter

A: 3 fingers of head, tan head with the body being a nice mahogany pretty dark, hazy as well.

S: Dark Cherry with some of that spicy Belgian Yeast sweet notes but also some more vinus notes smells great!

T: Oh my my that is good! Tons of dark fruits Cherry Plum Fig and dates notes come all flying at you at once. nice complex flavors and very flavorful! Alcohol is masked well.

M: Mouth is med and carbonation is high

D: super drinkable and enjoyable

Overall: A great beer I wish I would have bought more and now its all sold out! I am getting at least 2 bottles next year! This is one of the very best Christmas/winter seasonal's I have had! I highly recommend this one!

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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.

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Photo of Ryanm1
5/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First thing I must say about this beer is that is was overwhelmingly carbonated. Normally, carbonation isn't the first thing I notice about a beer, but tasting this is just pops off your tongue. It's almost like eating pop rock and a can of cola. I don't want that to come off as a bad thing because it wasn't, it was a very enjoyable beer, possibly one of the best I've ever had. Pours a dark brown decievingly so as you'd expect a belgiany golden color. Also decving is the slight amount of head on the pour which is in no way indicative of the bursting flavor you are going to have jumping around in your mouth. Molasses, apricots and licorice can be found upon hitting the palate. 10% ABV.

This is my interpretation of a perfect Christmas Ale.

 749 characters

Photo of jdhowe
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Reviewed from notes from a blind tasting

A: Pours a clear golden amber with a slight tan head of large bubbles. Nice clarity (4.5)

S: Sweet grapes, fig, dates, candied, and a hint of peppery spice. (4.5)

T/M: Light/medium mouthfeel with very high carbonation level. Sweet and fruity throughout with a very slight bitterness to balance. Grape juice and candy up front lead into fig and a candy sugar finish. (4.5/4.5)

O: Very nice. High carb actually makes this super drinkable for what it is, and the peppery spice with a year of age on it melds beautifully with the beer.

 586 characters

Photo of jmvecchio1
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours out a dark brown color and has a creamy head that gives way to lacing that lingers for the entirety of the beer.

The smell is a strong, fruity aroma that packs a powerful punch of pears and apples with a slight hint of citrus.

At first sip you get a dominant pear punch that gives way to a malty apple juice finish.

Looking at this beer you don’t notice any carbonation, but this beer does have a carbonated mouthfeel.

 439 characters

Photo of tbeck
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown in color with no clarity. Head is an off white/brown and thick. Aroma is some malts, fruit and slight hops. Very sweet. Sweet taste with some malts and hops. Lots of spice and very fruity. Excellent texture and body but not heavy. An excellent session beer especially around the holidays.

 307 characters

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

Poured into a wide nosed wine glass, 2012 edition.

A: Pours a brown/dark auburn color. Apparent lacing throughout the drinking session, sticks quite well to the glass. Cloudy in appearance, foam is an off-white head color. Nothing all that special, but definitely nice to look at.

S: First whiffs gives way to a biscuit like smell. Figs, orange peel, and citrus smells appear after. Very pleasant smelling beer. Prepares you for what is to come quite well.

T: Gets sweeter as it warms, but not cloyingly so. It's actually a perfect balance between sweet and bitter. Very elegant. Alcohol is present but is not overpowering at all. Figs tastes are pleasant much like what you get in the nose, and give way to something of a dark chocolate bitterness with a slightly caramel like backbone. Excellent. Overall, the beer is very malty but it strikes a very good balance as a whole. This is a great tasting beer and only gets better as you drink it.

M: Creamy and slightly bubbly. Once again, there is a perfect balance between the two. It wraps around the tongue and the feeling stays a long time after you sip. It is a very pleasant mouthfeel and definitely one of the best that I have yet tasted.

This is the best Christmas Ale I have had. Everyone should try this beer, it doesn't matter if you like or dislike beer. This is one of those brews that could turn a Miller Lite drinker into a craft beer/Belgian ale lover over night. Get out grab a glass and raise it to the sky.

 1,481 characters

Photo of tkelley
4.14/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle drank over several pours (this is from the first) poured into a Chimay chalice. Hoping to make this a bowl game tradition -- Go Tigers!

A -- murky reddish brown color, opaque body. Fizzy white head that pillows at first and dies down to thin layer. Okay lacing.

N -- yeasty, toasted malts, and some holiday spices.

T -- Really good. Boozy, sweet, with lots of dried fruit notes. Obviously Belgian yeast upfront. Toasted malts and those spices again, but not too much like you see sometimes.

M -- Nice and fizzy like a good Belgian should be. Somehow also smooth. A little warm on the back end.

O -- Love it. Cheers!

 634 characters

Photo of gdfan47
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pours a dark brown with a little bit of head

alot lighter than I thought it would be

it smells like pine and cinnamon and a little root beer

it tastes really good, really smooth not too sweet

its really light and not too carbonated very easy to drink

very fun to drink and I couldnt really taste the alcohol at all

another good beer by st bernardus

 356 characters

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