't Smisje Kerst | Brouwerij Smisje

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't Smisje Kerst't Smisje Kerst
Very Good
111 Ratings
't Smisje Kerst't Smisje Kerst

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Smisje

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Also known as Smiske Winter

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-15-2003

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 111 |  Reviews: 74
Reviews by BuckeyeNation:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bronzed kumquat with a citrine-like luminescence when sunshine is allowed entry. Kerst's crown is yet another Belgian masterpiece of foam. It looks absolutely stunning after the initial pour and is impressively rocky as it melts. A beautiful array of abstract-patterned lace is icing on the cake.

Although the nose isn't quite the appearance's equal, it's still a good example of the style. Present are earthy caramel, bruised apples, figs and a subtle spiciness that I would never have identified as coriander and grains of paradise if those ingredients weren't listed on the label.

Kerst is unlike any BSDA that I've ever had. It's impressively spicy, but not in a Belgian yeast kind of way. Obviously, coriander and grains of paradise are responsible for that distinctivness. The latter is especially peppery and pungent, so you'd better be a fan or you won't care for this beer at all.

Beneath all the top note cacaphony is a pretty nice BSDA that features flavors of caramel, dark honey, tobacco, medium-dark fruit and a hint of alcohol. One more year in the cellar might have eliminated that last one. The final pour murks things up quite a bit and sends the spiciness into overdrive. Subtle it ain't.

The mouthfeel is good without being a standout. The beer features a light creaminess that stops just short of expansive. I hate to knock the drinkability score back a half notch, but the grains of paradise overload would keep me from drinking another bottle until... next winter at least.

With the exception of Vuuve (a less than spectacular witbier) and Wostyntje (a mustard seed BSPA), Brouwerij De Regenboog creates good, solid, drinkable beer. Kerst Belgian Winter Ale is a unique ale from a country that specializes in unique ales. Worth a look.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not a style I venture to very often but after lookin over some info on this beer I grabbed it over the weekend.Poured into a goblet kind of a russett color with some deep orange hue a frothy slight off white head atop,a mix of dark fruit and nuts really stand out aroma wise,somemildly sweet brown suagar as well.Starts out a little sweet on the palate with some spiced cherry and raisin flavors but a big peppery finish really rounds it out well,it has a boozy fruit cake character that is nice, the spicey finish really compliments it.Just really solid it has complexity and finess.

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Photo of generallee
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Patra for this wonderful birthday gift. It pours a dark iced tea color with a thick white head that fades off quickly. It does leave some lace on the glass even without much of a head. The aroma has sweet ripe fruit notes with bready malts and earthy yeast. The medium body is full of malts, yeast and coriander. Sweet and sour fruit notes pop out then fade off into a light bitter hops finish. Over all it's a very good, but average, Belgian ale.

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Photo of Kraken
3.38/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed 2/12/09

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into a 16oz pint glass. Cracked the bottle cap and was greeted to a bottle geyser. Luckily I manged to get the majority of the bottles contents into the glass. Emergency pour generates less of a head then I anticipated. 3 fingers of seltzer white head that sticks around. Very nice lace. Massive dime sized chunks of seaweed green floaties. Color is a slightly Ruby amber.

Nose- Spicy, some light clove and corriander. Hints of lemon zest.

Palate- Sweet, with a slight tang. Lemon zest. Slightly woody. Some sourness. Funk from prolonged bottle conditioning.

Mouthfeel- Slightly Sticky moderate carbonation

Drinkability- One is enough. Was expecting a little more.

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Photo of pat61
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Has a tartness on the nose and a little funk. Hazy amber, bone white stiff cap dissipates to ½” from 3”. Palate: fruit, rich malts, bubble gum, pineapple, peach with a balance of tart and sweet. Medium body, above average carbonation.

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Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask pour at the Brick Store.

Pours a purple-brown color with a large-bubbled off-white head that diminishes very quickly into a thin ring around the glass leaving no lacing but decent legs.

Smells of raisins, plums, brown sugar, and alcohol. It warms slightly and the nose sweetens a bit.

Tastes very good. Lots of dark fruit flavors up front that are joined by brown sugar and a hint of spiciness midway through the sip. The ending is mildly dry.

Mouthfeel is good. It has a good thickness with very light carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass, although another might be a bit much. It's not that it's not good, just that it's a sipper.

Overall this was a solid BSDA that I'd be interested to try from a bottle. Worth a taste if you see it on cask.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.52/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Holiday schmoliday, Belgian Xmas beers are best whenever you pop the top...

Into my Moinette goblet goes a hazy caramel brown color with a thin head that lessens pretty quickly to a bubbly skim. Some decent lace is built up during the drinking.

The aroma is great, featuring cherry-chocolate, apple pie spices, and a mild slap of yeasty goodness. But smell it while you can, because as soon as the head dies down (which it did quickly), most of the aroma goes with it. Its lack of stamina is the only reason I didn't rate the smell at 4.5, or even 5.

A most excellent flavor profile favors cherries, milk chocolate, real apple cider, and white pepper, with a yeasty sourness that gives background and depth to the rest. Anise comes out in the finish. Complex and utterly delicious, I didn't want this to end.

The mouthfeel goes right along with the apple cider element, being chewy and creamy. An excellent delivery for the flavor combination here.

With the 11% alcohol merely providing a warming glow, this is one of the best Belgian holiday ales I've ever had. Easily worth the 3.50 Euro I had to pay for the 33 cl bottle.

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Photo of mattfancett
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Winter brew pours very dark with good sized head. Knockout alcohol should be noted please, take this like a winter warmer nightcap. A bit of spicy nose. Noticeable corriander,brown sugar ,orange and clove. Not substantially yeasty, pleasing Belg though not overwhelmed.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Slightly different label art on my bottle - also this batch comes in at 12% ABV. Poured from a 330mL bottle into my Westvleteren chalice.

Opaque raw sienna and copper liquid. Magnificent head retention - the crown looks like a wheat-colored souffle dotted with chocolate from the lees - raised well above the rim of the glass. Multiple layers of lacing hide any legs that might be present.

Rich complex yeast aromas along with a deep maltiness and a pleasant spiciness suggesting pepper, ginger, and cinnamon.

The foam itself almost tastes like beef jerky, but in a good way - the ale is suffused with flavor: dark fruit esters, lots of spice (the grains of paradise in particular are intriguing and well matched to this beer), rich dark malt, caramel...the list goes on. Sweet-ish, but the spice and alcohol seem to dry things out a bit in the finish. As the ale warms, there is a slight hint of smoke in the aftertaste as well.

Warm, creamy, medium-heavy bodied, pillowy, and effervescent.

Despite the high ABV, this is incredibly drinkable, and perfect for the Winter season - creative yet traditional.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.37/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of beerthulhu
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a medium amberish-orange with a soft, creamy ivory capping that soon gave way but left a solid rim lacing. The visible carbonation was soft.

S: filled with sour oranges, coriander, paradise seeds (yes I detected them and have used them myself in homebrews) along with a slight sour yeastiness.

T: The initial flavor yielded a sour yeasty spiciness and sour oranges. Paradise seeds are also well detected while the coriander provides subtle hints as well. There is a light spicy alcohol presence but is sweet along with some sour apple cider notes and grain sweetness. The abv of 11.0% is extremely well hidden. Overall a very nice sweet and spicy palate with a well hidden abv.

M: full and viscose with dry bitter orange peels left on the fade. There is a good carbonation presence as well.

D: ABV is incredibly well hidden, perhaps to much so for its own good. Wow.

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Photo of emerge077
4.28/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark orangey brown, with two fingers of dense foam. Right off the bat, banana and bready spice aromas are pretty big. Lace rings the glass in an elegant way.

Taste is not too heavy or rich, but still brings alot of big spice and yeast flavors. Banana, gingerbread, coriander, and a lightly bitter earthiness. The bottle mentions grains of paradise, that could be the bittersweet earthiness.

Mouthfeel is creamy and chewy, delicious to drink and savor. Seems pretty balanced for the variety of flavor. At 11%, one will do it for me, but it never gets tiring. Recommended!


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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.06/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a murky dirty brow color ale with a super large foamy head with great retention and great lacing. Aroma of sweet malt with typical Belgian malt and light spices mix. Taste is also a very well balanced mix between somerich sweet Belgian malt well balanced by some spices such as coriander and a spicy peppery yeast finish. Body is full with limited filtration and great carbonation with no alcohol was apparent.

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4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A monster 2 and a half finger head of light tan head erupts off the top of a deep brown body. Has hints of ruby red on the edges. Nice staying power to the head fades in a crater like fashion. Nose is very zesty with huge spicey notes, dark fruit, citrus zest, and yeasty vanilla. A slightly soured fruity feel is the first thing to enter the mouth. This is followed by a spicey reci yeasty palate. Starts like a flemish sour and finishes like a true Belgium winter warmer. This beer would go really well with a variety of cheeses. Nicely drinkable and gets even better as it warms.

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Photo of theopholis
3.82/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Pours a slightly cloudy amber with a huge, creamy off-white head. Leaves a nice, sticky, thick lace. Slowly effervesces for quite some time.

Smell- Classic aroma of a Belgian ale with apples, candy sugar, a nice earthy yeast, and a hint of dark fruits.

Taste- Fairly complex. Has a very earthy taste with a nice mix of malt and various spices: coriander, all-spice....Quite interesting. . Really nice.

Mouthfeel- Medium to medium-heavy body. CO2 level is high, but it works.

Drinkability- Very easy drinking for a winter ale.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Scaldis chalice. Pours a murky dark red orange amber with a massive fine off-white head that kept growing from active carbonation. Color isn't that outstanding, but a very attractive head on this beer. Aroma of light fruit, Belgian yeast and spicing with a bit of a sour element. Flavor is hard to describe. Sweet dark malt and dark fruit elements, fruit esters, brown sugar and light caramel in the finish which has a bit of cinnamon and a slight hop kick. Very complex and well integrated to the point that it's hard to distinguish individual flavors. Medium bodied with some creaminess. Delicious. This definitely tastes like a winter season dark Belgian ale. Well done.

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Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of metter98
3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is cloudy light brown in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a two finger high off white head that gradually died down, leaving a large patch of bubbles on the surface and a thick collar around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of dark fruits in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste has flavors of dark fruits and begins to develop a little bit of sweetness and notes of yeast as the beer warms up. There are also some subtle hints of coriander and peppery spices in the finish that add complexity.
M: It feels a little more than medium-bodied and somewhat smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This isn't one of my top favorites of the style, but this beer is incredibly drinkable considering its strength because there are absolutely no traces of alcohol in the aroma and taste.

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Photo of jalop
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.96/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl Bottle, well in date when opened on 10th Jan 2014. Poured slowly into a 'Leffe' badged chalice. Some sediment did get out though.

Good deep mahogany body (with a slight mist from the sediment): the thin head became a wisp and collar far too quickly for me.

Port like aroma, this is a winter brew with attitude, my nose warmed up just sniffing it, actually you can add 'Bovril' to the smell.

Malty molasses sticking to a side of beef left in a shallow mash tun for a week and then had Port or Madeira poured onto them just before bottling, you get the picture.

Rich, tasty and very alcoholic from the off. This is a monster brew that has prune, damsons and spices all vying for attention within the sweet beefy brew.

Barley Wine in feel and taste, very drinkable, but dangerous.

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Photo of kkmiller76
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of mendvicdog
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

Photo of MrBen
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark, hazy orange. Not too much of a head. Same for carbonation. Gummy, candy-like nose. Thick, syrupy, sweet body and flavor masks the whopping 11% very well. I have no idea what the spices are, and they come across as non-descript. However, what they do bring balances out the sweetness nicely. This is a good beer and a nice diversion for the winter.

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Photo of Rastacouere
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2001, first batch. Muddy brown, light off-white cover. Very fruity nose containing a dense creamed berries flavor topped over by fresh bananas, blueberries, cherries etc. Interesting sour hint, mostly fruity. More fruits come out as it warms, notably peaches. Extremely sweet, cream soda level, yet in the genre, this is fun and works well. Just as fruity taste, pie-like, an alcoholic meringous to my senses. Sugary whipped cream strawberries. Very creamy palate enhanced by very light carbonation. Understated spiciness all throughout, I couldn’t name one, I could feel many. Long sweet aftertaste. A big candy. Nice treat, gracias to New York babblers Bill and Warren.

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't Smisje Kerst from Brouwerij Smisje
Beer rating: 3.94 out of 5 with 111 ratings