Corsendonk Christmas Ale | Brouwerij Corsendonk

BA SCORE
92
outstanding
1,212 Ratings
Corsendonk Christmas AleCorsendonk Christmas Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Corsendonk
Belgium
corsendonk.com

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by stirgy on 11-22-2001

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,212
Reviews:
608
Avg:
4.13
pDev:
10.41%
 
 
Wants:
92
Gots:
192
For Trade:
1
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,212 |  Reviews: 608
Photo of clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a leather couch brown with a tawdry two-finger tan head that left lacing down the glass. A great smell of roasted malts, chocolate and bread along with some spiciness. Smooth, slightly creamy and medium-bodied with a mix of some fruits, both dark and tart, and a great balance w/ some sweet malts (caramel and chocolate mostly). This leads to an easy-going and warming brew (the ABV is hidden well) that has a slightly tart, dry finish to complement the overall sweet, silky texture of the beer as it passes over the tongue. This is a great X-Mas beer, as it is one you can sip on and it warms you up on a cold night.

 624 characters

Photo of UncleJimbo
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap at "Christmas in July" at The Blind Tiger. Presumably 2002 vintage.

This ale poured a dark brown color with hints of red. The foam was tan and settled relatively quickly. The smell was vinous, with the smell of alcohol. The taste was slightly sweet malt but with caramel, oak, fig, and vinous grapes in the mix. The mouthfeel was smooth and light on the tongue. The body was medium and the carbonation low. This was a good, enjoyable strong ale.

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Photo of DamDweller
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Corsendonk Christmas, 2009

Nice drinking beer that would go well with all food types, ranging from steak to a nice white fish.

Initial pour has an appealing chestnut color with a strong head. There is a slight citrus smell along with a heavy alcohol presence. Drank this beer right out of the fridge, which was a big mistake. It completely dulled the complex flavors. After letting the beer warm up a bit there was a nice chocolate malt flavor that cleared tongue quickly followed by strong taste of prunes and young cherries. At the end, a moderate hop finish showed itself and cleaned the pallet well. Considering the alcohol percentage and the initial smell, I was surprised to not taste much alcohol at all, especially keeping the style in mind.

This was a good beer and one that I wish I had more than one bottle of. It would be drinkable any time of year with a wide variety of foods. The mouthfeel is refreshing and yet the body was strong enough to be enjoyed during the coldest part of the year.

 1,008 characters

Photo of Filosoof
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great, great look. Dark brown with a sand coloured lasting top. The smell belongs to dark, cold winter nights. In summer I advise more freshness.

S: creamy, coffee/toffee;
T: round, quite sweet but not too, caramel, it could have some more spices or hop to make it really interesting;
M: mouthfull cream and CO2; round finish.
O: nice, welldone, but not the real top in this style.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a clear deep brown color ale with a nice huge foamy head with good retention and some nice lacing. Aroma of bubblegum and sweet malt is really enjoyable and somewhat reminiscent of great Belgian dark ale. Taste is a mix between some bubblegum notes with a nice fruity ester and some sweet Belgian-type malt. Body might be slightly thin for the style with some great carbonation and no apparent alcohol. I was expecting something good but definitely this one exceeded my expectation.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a small glass. Label says best by the end of 22/09/14 which means September 22nd, 2014 since the Europeans put their dates in a different order.

A- Pours a black color that turns a reddish hue when put up to the light with 3/4 of an inch of off-white head that relinquishes to an 1/8 inch ring around the glass's edge and has some nice, sticky lacing.

S- A very apparent pear smell ascends and is quite pleasant. Other notes of apple as well as the ever-present Belgian yeast.

T- Pears come through in the flavor just as well but give way to a pretty strong metallic taste that I don't appreciate. Plenty of banana notes from the yeast but it's buried a bit quickly by the heavy malt base. Some spice makes an appearance but isn't one of the main components of the profile. Bit of a soapy taste when I swish.

M- Soft, yet bold with medium-high carbonation.

O- You can't ask for much more in a Belgian winter ale. Not a lot of Christmas spices or herbs but still memorable and comforting

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Photo of metter98
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is clear and very dark amber in color and has a light to moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a two finger high beige head that died down but left a thin layer of bubbles consistently covering the surface.
S: The nose has aromas of dark fruits, spices and yeast.
T: Flavors of spices stand out in the overall taste, which also has notes of dark fruits and yeast.
M: It feels medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate to high amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is extremely easy to drink - any traces of alcohol arde barely perceptible and the beer goes down very smoothly.

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Photo of nhindian
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a Fantome tulip.

A - A careful pour yields a dark brown beer with ruby-tinged highlights. Opaque but thankfully pretty clear from sediment. I can actually see quite a bit of carbonation on the sides of the glass and lots of bubbles stick to the sides. A 3-fingered head floats on top, lasting almost the entire beer, gradually shrinking. Lacing is pretty consistent and abundant.

S - I'm actually not sure what makes this a 'Christmas' version of Corsendonk, as I'm not getting much spices from the nose, and I'm not sure if there should be. There is a bit of spiciness I'd attribute to the yeast, but it could be some light spices added. Anyway, besides that, I get grapes, raisins, tobacco, a hint of leather, some banana. Some darker fruits and sugar. Typically Belgian.

T - The first thing I can pinpoint in the taste is a rum quality, like some rum covered cherries. This is only in flavor, however, as the alcohol is incredibly well-hidden. It's then sugary and sweet, fruity and leathery, and the malts add to a biscuity dryness. Finish is long, sweet, with a tinge of alcohol.

M - Mouthfeel is moderately heavy with medium carbonation. A bit of a spicy finish lends to it being a bit dry, but the sweetness lingers as well.

D - Drinkability is high. An incredibly easy drinking beer that has great flavor to it. Would've liked the aroma to be a bit more ... bold, and maybe something to distinguish itself as necessarily 'Christmas', but I really enjoyed this one.

 1,503 characters

Photo of Viggo
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Christmas tasting with biegaman, grub and ThatWineGuy, biegaman busted this one out.

Pours a clear ruby red, some brown hints, very thick off white head forms, leaves tons of lace sheets, settles to a thick layer, very pretty. Smell is apples, spices, caramel, yeast, bread, nice malt layers, spices are done right, nice fruitiness. Taste is yeasty, some spices, bread, caramel, apples, banana, wheat, citrus, oak, lots of fruit, neat! Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium to high carbonation, easy to drink, nice flavours, great Christmas beer. Thanks Jan!

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Photo of headbucket
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A nice deep brown color. Nice, big head with a semi-aggresive pour. Lots of lacing left on the glass as the beer recedes. This beer has some of the nicest lacing and foam left on the side of a glass that I have ever seen on a beer. After my second pour(rather aggressive) from a 750ml bottle, there was a solid, thick, and wide layer of foam/lacing left all the way around the glass.

S: the weakest part of the beer for me. It isn't bad, just very tame. grains and yeast, a bit sweet.

T: Nice dark malts, a bit of brown sugar sweetness, belgian yeast flavors, and chocolate(chocolate malt?) over a bit of fruit-citrus but not a bright hoppy citrus, it is like a light orange flavor. the dark malt/chocolate and orange/citrus flavor linger.

M: silky smooth, nice and thick without being syrupy. it is very smooth and silky, goes down very nice.

O: A great beer, probably my favorite christmas beer. This beer and Troeg's Mad Elf are my favorite Xmas beer because they aren't heavily spiced with cinnamon and similar spices/flavors that a lot of american christmas beers have. The alcohol doesn't detract at all. It is slightly evident but doesn't detract at all. I like this beer a bit more as it had warmed up, and as I get closer to the bottom of the bottle. It is malty without being overly sweet and has a great hint of fruit(orange) in it. Will pick up a few more bottles for sure before they disappear from the store I got this bottle from. This is a christmas 2010 bottle.

 1,485 characters

Photo of baybum
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of EMV
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

L: Pours a semi-opaque deep mahogany/cherry color. Thick tannish head that sticks around forever... almost foam. Great legs.

S: Dark fruits and caramel... plums and spice.

T/F: Malt and spices.... plums and figs stewed together with brown sugar, cloves, and nutmeg. Faint cocoa notes bouncing around as well. Smooth as silk.

O: A very balanced and drinkable celebration of Christmas. It tastes like an old fashioned dessert, and that's not a bad thing at all. Definitely a seasonal treat and I like the warming at the end.

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Photo of kingjohnh
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of DanGeo
4.07/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.07/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer has a deep mahogany-brown body that glows when held to the light. The head is a thick cream off-white that last and last. It has a gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles to keep the head going.

S- The smell of pale malt is a base for notes of dark cherries, plumes, figs and a note of aromatic spices like ginger with a faint cinnamon. There is a perfume sweetness that ties all the aromas together.

T- There is a sweet lightly toasted malt flavor that has lots of nice complexity. Notes of pears and plums compliment the malt with a spicy hint of pepper at the finish. A faint note of apple with the carbonic bite at the finish has a good balance.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a strong fizz in the texture. There is a soft alcohol warmth that enhances the spicy finish.

D- This is a very nice winter beer. The fruit and spice flavors really give more depth to the malt without overpowering the flavors of the typical Dark Ale. Winter was made for beers like these.

 1,033 characters

Photo of Bananaman
4.07/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Corsendonk Christmas Ale is the first Belgian Christmas ale I've tried. (Chimay Bleue was a christmas ale from the beginning though, but I don't associate it with Christmas anyway)

Looks good, dark brown color with a "tight" beige foam. Looks really pretty with that cute 25 cl bottle too!

Smells good! Mmm, lots of belgian spices and some orange with a nice character of yeast and chocolate. Really amazing smell anyway!

Taste is good and fillng. Lots of belgian spices, chocolate (not the darkest kind) and some typical notes of yeast and hops. I think this is a great Christmas beer! A real treat, for the low price, and only around 20 SEK or 3 USD.

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Photo of iceviper22
4.07/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a Mad Elf Chalice

Pours a deep reddish brown color with a 1/4 inch or so of loose bubbly tan head that fades quickly.

Smells of fruits, maltyness, nutmeg, and oranges are present. No real alcohol aroma to it.

It has a sweet, spicy and bitter taste to it with the nutmeg and orange hints peeking through. It has a moderate amount of carbonation.

Overall, it's a little bitter for a winter beer but a decent brew that I could enjoy once or twice a year for the holidays.

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Photo of costanzo_mike
4.07/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Benjiehorn
4.07/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

By and large the best Christmas beer that I've had this year. It helps that I picked the bottle up from Binny's in Lakeview, and it had been aging for a year on their shelf. Lots of nice vanilla and cocoa, a touch of cherry, some brown sugar, and a little bit of raisin. A slight carbonation tingles as it goes down, typical for most Belgians. A great Christmas beer, highly recommended!

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Photo of LordHammer
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Christmas gift from my brother in law. Excellent gift.

A: Brilliant mahogany with a tan head. Looks inviting.

S: On initial pour, got a big banana whiff, but once it's in the glass it is much more restrained. Some fruit, smells sweet, bit of banana and some cherries, seems like.

T: Nicely malty, with definite sweet and alcohol notes. A vague spiciness, probably from the yeast, but much less of the fruit than in the nose. Definitely nice, gets better as it warms.

M: Highly carbed, and relatively thin due to the alcohol content. A nice balance to the big flavors.

D: This is delicious, but definitely a one and done sort of situation.

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Photo of andjusticeforale
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This arrived in its own style glass; Big deep brown with a tan head. Carbonation was fantastic, a little more bubbly than would let a head stay around. A quick swirl brought it back.

This had a nice malty backbone, a beautiful richness and a smooth dry finish. Not much fruit or sices, but there was a nice earthiness, and tremendous drinkability. Alcohol masked fantasically.

What this lacks in overall depth of taste or complexity, it makes up in drinkability. Like a supercharged Corsendonk abbey ale.

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Photo of goochpunch
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Clear brown body with solid head. Smell: caramelized malts, clean yeast, toastiness. Tastes of caramel, dark candi sugar, coriander, pepper, peach. Sharp carbonation and sticky body. This is a tasty, straightforward holiday Belgian beer.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

In years past, I have only found this beauty in 750 ml bottles- this year my local favorite store also had it in 4-packs of 33 cl bottles, and it was cheaper (per oz) than buying the big bottle- double score for a higher ABV brew! Poured in a proper Corsendonk tulip glass.

This pours a very nice brown with garnet touches and a nice moderately sized off-white head. Aroma is what you would expect from a Christmas ale- lots of gentle spices on top of a bready malty brew. The flavor includes nuts and winter spices (nutmeg and clove, among others I can't identify) that are all are there in a gentle way- not in your face with a 2x4. Alcohol presence is a little stronger than I like, but not overpowering like in some brews.

Overall, I am not a big fan of Christmas ales- usually a little too "wintery" for sunny southern California, I guess. Also, some are pretty out there in terms of spicing. This brew has those elements, but more subtly than others I've had. This is a nice presentation from a brewery I like all their products. Corsendonk was really my first experience with Belgian beer a couple years ago, and therefore, it's a favorite in my household!

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Photo of Phatz
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to a split mix case with mugghugger I ended up with 5 of these and boy are they tasty.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful mahogany caramel brown. Translucent. When back lit it showcases a red hue and loads of carbonation. The lacing slides don the walls of my snifter back in to the body but looks nice on every swirl.

Smell: Dark caramel malts, dark fruits - figs- hints of chocolate and nuts with spices of the season and hints of wood loaded in the nose as well. The aroma also allows a bit of booze to come through.

Taste: It has a unique flavor. Somewhat of a farmhouse Saison yeast character laying underneath the syrupy sweet, but inviting, caramel malt, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and more sweet brown sugar flavors. The hops and spices interplay very well malty sweet yet lively feel to this winter ale.

Mouthfeel: It has a thick full chewy yet smooth feel across the palate. Very nice.

Drinkability: This is a big beer for two back to back but I did it. That said it is no sessioner. This one is for sipping at the end of a cold night. It’ll will warm you up wonderfully.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

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Photo of flagmantho
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750mL bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: medium brown hue with a moderate haze and two fingers of frothy tan foam. Head has good retention and an attractive, chunky lace is left on the glass. I like it.

Smell: quite sweet with a nice maltiness and a bit of chocolate character. There's also a dusty element I quite like. It's not bursting with fruitiness, yet it is still very good in its own subdued way. Quite good indeed.

Taste: sweet but not overwhelmingly so, with a nice malty character and some subtle flavor of dark fruit -- raisins and dates. This is a very low-key beer, but I like it anyway.

Mouthfeel: medium body but with a huge carbonation and giant, if somewhat evanescent, creaminess. Love it.

Overall: a fantastic beer. It drinks damn easy for 8.5%. I usually like a little more complexity, but this beer's subtlety is its personality. Great.

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Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
4.13 out of 5 based on 1,212 ratings.
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