Belgian Christmas Ale
pFriem Family Brewers

Belgian Christmas AleBelgian Christmas Ale
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Style:
Strong Ale - Belgian Dark
Ranked #64
ABV:
8%
Score:
88
Ranked #7,493
Avg:
4.13 | pDev: 11.14%
Reviews:
16
Ratings:
45
From:
pFriem Family Brewers
 
Oregon, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  2
Gots
  6
SCORE
88
Very Good
Belgian Christmas AleBelgian Christmas Ale
Notes: In Belgium, Old St. Nick delivers a bundle of sticks to those who have behaved badly throughout the year. Just to be safe, we suggest foregoing cookies and leaving Santa a pFriem Belgian Christmas Ale. Brewed with coriander in a rich, Dubbel base, its toffee aromas and hints of fresh, ripe orange will leave a milk-chocolaty velvet coat on Santa’s tongue and guarantee that you won’t be getting sticks this year.

ABV 8.0% IBU 30

FLAVOR PROFILE
Creamy Milk Chocolate, Ripe Orange, So Smooth!

AVAILABILITY
Limited

INGREDIENTS
MALT
Gambrinus Canadian Pilsner

HOPS
German Perle

YEAST
Belgian Ale

SUGAR
Belgian Dark Candi Sugar

SPICES
Coriander

Deep ruby red, with dark undertones, while supporting a thick off-white foam. Toffee aromas dance with fresh ripe orange. Creamy milk chocolate covers the tongue, but is lifted by zesty lemon. Velvet coats the mouth at the finish while saying “so smooth”.
Reviews: 16 | Ratings: 45 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of REVZEB
REVZEB from Illinois

4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Murky opaque brown with a cream cap and thick spotted lacing. Coriander and pressed flowers incorporate into the orange zest, genera esters, light cocoa, caramel and huge belgian yeast in the nose. Taste adds candi sugar, prune, a touch of dried apricot, with herbal hop kisses, but where the nose kept the flavors distinct, as the taste goes down the glass things start to muddle. Feel has that wonderful belgian yeast softness and estery finish with hop kisses, light, frothy and spiced notes from coriander keep interesting. Best christmas beer of 2020-21 season so far! The wife loved it

Jan 15, 2021
Photo of MikeWard
MikeWard from Pennsylvania

3.61/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

375ml bottle into a tulip. Bottled 11/4/20, so 7-8 weeks old.

Dark brown body, clear dark amber when held up to a light. Big foamy slightly off white head persists in good form throughout, though leaves little lacing.

Not much of an aroma, a little sweet mustiness.

On tasting, faint tastes of sweet malt, warm booze, and boiled sweets. However the dominant flavor is a lime bitterness from the coriander. And it's a heavy touch to this palate. As the drink goes on, this seems to lessen somewhat in intensity.

Mouth closer to full than medium, finish a slightly dry bitterness.

Overall, this beer didn't taste as advertised in th BA notes here. No chocolate or orange, just boiled candy a bitter coriander.

Dec 27, 2020
Photo of woemad
woemad from Washington

3.94/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.7oz bottle purchased at Community Pint, in Spokane, Washington, for $6.99. The space set aside on the rear label for a freshness date has been left blank, so it's hard to say just how old this beer is.

Poured into a Belgian-ish glass, this was a dark brown color, taking on a slightly lighter shade of mahogany when held directly up to light. Big, massive, pillow we had. Lots of lace.

Nose is of coriander. Lots of coriander. There's also scents of toffee, some dark fruits and a bit if tobacco, but the coriander rules the nasal roost.

Flavor is like a dubbel with an extra amount of coriander added. Sure, there is flavors of dark fruits, such as raisins and figs, and some dark vault flavors such as cocoa and coffee, and a bit of pipe tobacco, but coriander is what jumps out especially.

Relatively full-bodied, with a slightly creamy mouthfeel. It's a little bit too heavy to be mistaken for an authentic Belgian ale, but as American examples of the style go, it's not bad.

This isn't bad, but not as good as I had hoped for. I can't help but think that it might be a bit past its prime, perhaps this is left over from last year's holiday season. With the lack of any date, who knows?

Dec 25, 2020
Photo of TheGent
TheGent from New Jersey

4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look: The beer pours translucent. It’s dark brown in the base of the goblet and light brown at the top. Some tiny bubbles streaming up from the bottom. A khaki colored head that’s one solid pillow of foam. It looks like the top of a Guinness. Some lacing as I drink the beer.

Smell: The aroma has glorious notes of malt and yeast driven sweet, spice, and fruit. Nutmeg, cinnamon, nutty, apple, pear, raisin, red grape, dark bread. There’s a slight hint of 8% ABV.

Taste: On the tip of tongue there’s some nutty and a hint dark dried fruit sweetness. On the side the sweetness picks up to a more sugary date flavor. The finish has a dry and doughy flavor with moderate ABV warmth and cardamom spice. Some welcomed herbal and burnt sugar bitterness.

Feel: Light on the palate with medium level of carbonation. Dry and slightly warm on the finish.

Overall: This beer is excellent. It’s simple in nature and complex in flavor. Malt and yeast shine, ABV gives a friendly wave hello.

Dec 19, 2020
Photo of brentk56
brentk56 from North Carolina

4.24/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a clear chestnut color with a one finger beige head; splashy lacing

Smell: Caramel, dark fruit (fig/date), coriander and holiday spices (cinnamon and clove)

Taste: Caramel, fig and date forward with the spices emerging, particularly coriander and, to a lesser extent, cinnamon and clove; nicely blended flavors in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation

Overall: An early (or late) Christmas celebration on the tastebuds; enjoyable

Thanks, The_Gingerbeard_man, for the opportunity

Oct 06, 2020
Photo of mushroomcloud
mushroomcloud from Texas

4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12.7oz bottle corked and caged on 11-1-19, opened 12-24-19.
2 finger dense and creamy off-white head with excellent retention. The beer itself is brown and a bright, clean amber when held to the light. A plethora of carbonation racing up to hold the head in place. Thick sheet of lace.
Very floral and zesty aroma to start. Lemon zest, lemon oil. Pepper. Hint of brown sugar. Fantastic use of coriander here, excellent.
Brown bread, subtle orange and lemon...zesty and just a touch herbal.
Medium body, high carbonation. Delicate mouthfeel. Medium length, clean and dry finish.
Very good to Outstanding. Subtle but complex flavors, looks phenomenal, nice feel and finish. I want more.

Dec 25, 2019
Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
Eamonn-Cummings3 from New York

4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a high sided tulip glass.

Look is a dark brown ruby with a frothy off white head.

Aroma is toffee Belgian dark fruits with a hint of spice.

Taste is a lot lighter than I expected with a light Belgian quad note at the end.

Dec 24, 2019
Photo of beergoot
beergoot from Colorado

3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark copper body; lively carbonation; dense, sculpted head. Earthy, musty aroma; vinous. Relatively light malt base flavor; faint chocolate; a bit spicy; candi sugar sweetness; a tad phenolic. Medium body; fluffy; alcohol warmth permeates the mouthfeel; lightly sweet yet feels dry overall.

Overall, this is an enjoyable holiday ale. Its appearance is the real highlight. The taste is very subtle with all the elements it delivers. Very nice.

Dec 22, 2019
Photo of Ozzylizard
Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

3.54/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

$ 9.74 (Including shipping)/375 mL cork and cage bottle ($ 0.767/oz) from Tavour, Seattle, WA. Reviewed 1/5/19.
Undated bottle. Stored at 42 degrees and served at 45 degrees (per bottle instructions) in a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter.
Appearance – 4.
Body – Medium reddish-amber, clear.
Head – Large (Maximum 6.5 cm, controlled center pour), initially fizzy, light tan, medium density, average retention, diminishing to a four mm ring and a thin complete layer with a few rocks.
Lacing – None.
First pour – Medium brown, clear.
Aroma – 3.75 - Dark fruit, mostly figs – weakens.
Flavor – 3.5 - Begins with some dark fruit, ends with a slight bitterness. Generally weak and muddled. No alcohol (8% ABV), no diacetyl, no dimethylsulfide.
Palate – 3 – Medium, less than creamy, lively carbonation bordering on fizzy.
Impression and interpretation - 3.5 – For my taste, does not live up to the pFriem hype. Closer to Mad Elf (sans cherry) than either La Terrible or Cuvee Van De Keizer Blauw.

Jan 07, 2019
Photo of Lingenbrau
Lingenbrau from Oregon

4.26/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This pours a beautiful and crystal clear ruby red, reminiscent of a red glass ornament lowly lit on the tree. It's large bubbled foamy head is lightly tanned, persistent to the surface, and laces moderately.

Clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon spices mingle and dance around sweet raisons and plum, while an earthy note lingers on.

The blend of spices hit the tongue first, collectively tasting somewhat like cardamom. The citrus spice blend is met by toffee and dark fruits, and banana and esters follow.

A wonderful balance of sweetness and spice is met with a very carbonated and very dry feel. A little alcohol warmth is just right to make it nice and cozy.

pFriem Belgian Style Christmas Ale is a real treat. Like a walk along the edge of a snow dusted town, warmly but dimly lit with festive lights. If I could change one thing, I'd like this to be just a touch more rich, but no complaints here. This will see my refrigerator again in the near future. Cheers!

Dec 17, 2017
Photo of dro7
dro7 from California

4.77/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

375ml corked bottle poured into a Corsendonk chalice. Let this beer warm up, do not drink straight out of the fridge.

Pours amber brown with a very thick head which does not dicipate,

Aroma is bready, Belgian yeast, dates, plum.

Taste: thick bread, Belgian yeast, slight spice, dark fruits, plum, and figs.

Overall: this is an excellent beer, tastes exactly like a Belgian dubbel, not so much like a Belgian Christmas Ale but tastes like a real Belgian. If I were given this blindly, I would assume it was a real Belgian dubbel. Priem's beers always impress me!

Feb 28, 2017
Photo of mactrail
mactrail from Washington

3.4/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

Rich and malty dark amber brew with a modest foam in the Affligem chalice. The creamy carbonation is the best feature. Faint honey aroma. The Belgian yeasty dryness emerges at the finish.

It is hard to criticize what would be a sensational brew from a hundred other breweries. pFirem just makes so much excellent beer in every style. This is the November 2016 batch. Poured from the 375 ml bottle after looking for the pliers. I think 500 ml would be a good size for tasting. Not to mention the price of this stuff.

Dec 09, 2016
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber from Washington

4.02/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a hazy, medium orange amber with lots of small floating particles and a fine one finger khaki head with great retention and lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, Belgian yeast, cinnamon and clove; classic Belgian Christmas profile. Flavor of caramel and candi malt, dark and light stone fruit, lots of cinnamon, light clove and ginger, starts semi-sweet but finishes semi-dry and spicy. Medium bodied with peppery active carbonation. A nice domestic take on a holiday Belgian dark, with classic Belgian strong dark profile amped up with more cinnamon and perhaps ginger. Pleasant seasonal ale.

Jan 12, 2016
Photo of rarigney
rarigney from Washington

4.02/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Very enjoyable Christmas ale, purchased in November at Belmont Station in Portland. Pours a very dark amber with an off-white head. Trying several Christmas ales this year. This is one of my favorites.

Dec 20, 2015
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TheWiltChamberlainofipas from Oregon

4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Awesome beer here. Think belgian dubble but with a wonderful sweetness accompanied by holiday spices. I'm picking up cinnamon, clove, and peppermint with little alcohol present. This is good.

Nov 16, 2015
Photo of Fatehunter
Fatehunter from Oregon

3.37/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Pours a finger of head on a dark amber body.
The aroma is faint caramel and candy.
The taste is a mild candy sweet with a little caramel.
The texture is soft.
It's okay.

Dec 24, 2014
Belgian Christmas Ale from pFriem Family Brewers
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 45 ratings