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Corsendonk Christmas Ale | Brouwerij Corsendonk

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587 Reviews
Corsendonk Christmas AleCorsendonk Christmas Ale

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Corsendonk

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by pezoids on 11-22-2001

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Reviews: 587 | Ratings: 1,167
Photo of Zraly
4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a wonderful midnight amber. A nice off-white head sits like royalty amass the dark elixir. Pungent spice smells permeate one's nose and invite to take a taste of what must be heavan in a glass.

Rich fruitcake flavors along with dark caramel malts predominate the upfront sweet notes. Strangly crisp at a point, and a thick, luxurious finish. Sweet and full-bodied. Carbonation is supportive, but not intrusive. Winter spices manage to sing like a Christmas choir. A naunce of alcohol laps against one's palate. Banana-yeast backround plunges the depths of this ale into the rare, charted territories with high levels of complexity, strangeness and assertiveness...all at once. Beautiful.

I'm drinking this to start off my night. If my night is half as good as this, I'm in for a real treat.

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

From notes:


A - Brownish, but is dark ruby colored when held up to light. 2 finger head. Fine creamy tan foam with unbelievable lacing.

S - Dark fruits, figs, spices (clove, coriander, nutmeg, maybe a tiny bit of anise).

T - Sweet, spicy dark fruit. Molasses, candi sugar, mild spiciness (clove and coriander), caramel, and even a little chocolate in the finish.

M - Medium, creamy and well carbonated.

O - Awesome. I could drink these regularly, without a doubt. This has to be my favorite Christmas beer.

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

Another beer I've been wanting to try for quite some time, and it was everything that I had hoped.

Pours a dark brown with a very thick head. Smell is of caramel, spices, and flowery hops.

Body is medium-full with flavors of spice, bright hops, and slightly candy-sweet. I was quite surprised by the hoppiness. Very easy to drink and with the higher alcohol, it really warms.

A great winter-warmer...definitely one of my favorites.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.46/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a nice and creamy head that takes a while to dissipate. The beer itself is a dark brown color with shades of purple and opaque. The overall look is pretty good and is very nice. While some BSDAs are darker, the color on this one work swell for the style and a fresh change of pace.

The beer smell is very good and surprisingly balanced. The main notes deliver a fruity smell amplified by strong Belgian sugar notes. The fruit notes are mainly dark fruit notes such as a ripe plum with a slight date and fig note to it.

The beer taste has the same notes. The overall taste is a dark fruit taste amplified by the Belgian sugar. The dark fruits are the same; a ripe plum with fig and dates. However, the beer also seems to have a slight alcohol note to it but not a very strong one. The beer taste also appears to have a slight hop presence.

The mouthfeel is fairly good. The beer is heavy bodied with a certain thickness to it. There also appears to be a slight burn to it.

Overall, a fairly good BSDA and worth getting when you can.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.46/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a two-fingered, thick, light tan head leaving an even lace. Color is a dark, clear amber. Light-medium carbonation. Light malty/hoppy nose. Medium bodied. Starts smooth and malty, finishes with a warming touch. Excellent Christmas ale. $7.50 for a 750ml bottle.

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Photo of parkcenterlounge
4.46/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Excellent Christmas beer. Belgian Strong Ale tastes too smooth to be so strong. Had from draft and has a very light feel with great subtle spice notes. Don't miss out when this comes around

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Photo of MattyG85
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml corked bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a hazy and dark brownish ruby with a moderate amount of rising bubbles. Big two finger light tan head which settles into a thin creamy layer. Leaves some good lacing.

Smell: A yeasty, spicy, and fruity Belgian aroma with hints of winter spice and dark fruit. Belgian yeast with hints of funk, pepper, clove, cinnamon, and cardamom. Toasted malt with bready hints of biscuit, straw, toast, and cracker. Big mix of fruit esters with hints of banana, apple, pear, lemon, grape, raisin, cherry, plum, fig, and prune. Also some sweet hints of candied Belgian sugar and subtle hops. A very good aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a yeasty, spicy, and fruity classic Belgian taste with good notes of fruit and spices. Belgian yeast with spice notes of pepper, funk, clove, cinnamon, and cardamom. Toasted malt with notes of biscuit, grains, straw, toast, and cracker. Good mix of fruit with notes of banana, pear, green apple, lemon, grapes, cherry, raisin, fig, plum, and prune. Sweet taste of Belgian candied sugar. Background notes of floral hops. A very nice Belgian taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a fairly high level of carbonation. Creamy, crisp, and fairly chewy. Alcohol heat is pretty light.

Overall: A very good Belgian Dark Ale. Good mix of yeast and spice notes with the fruity esters.

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Photo of glid02
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this on-tap at the Brick Store in Atlanta.

Pours a dark amber with a two-finger tan head. The head sticks around for quite a while before settling into a pancake on top of the beer. Lacing is decent.

Smells of fruits - mostly light but hints of darker ones - along with mild spices and milder yeast smells.

Tastes good. Light fruit flavors up front that segue into darker fruits and very light spices. There's a nice classic Belgian aftertaste - very sweet but not overly so.

Mouthfeel is very good. Good thickness with a grainy carbonation that does it's job very well. Smooth.

Drinkability is good. I finished this very easily and could've had another.

Overall this is a solid Christmas beer that should be in everyone's rotation.

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Photo of watermelonman
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured to a dark brown with a good head that lasted well. The lace looks good too.

The smell, taste, and mouthfeel are all very good. A dark mix of esters and malts dominate the overall flavor, with fruits coming through strong in the taste. The mouthfeel took me by surprise. It's very pleasing without being too sharp or too heavy at all. Drinkability is also very good, being both easy to drink and enticing.

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Photo of Stubbie1
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark brown hue and frothy white head (well maybe a bit off white) tops this beer. Spice is strong on the nose with dark fruit like plumbs and figs. A smooth and silky mouthfeel is present. The taste is malt and spice and a hint of alcohol wash across the pallet. This is a wonderful and easy drinking brew. After 2 or more the spice gets to be a bit much (well for me) Because of this beer, Xmas should come twice a year.

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Photo of Traquairlover
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into tulips.

A = Dark red oak with yellowish head consisting of foam and largish bubbles, great retention, light lacing.

S = This has an almost perfect dark Belgian ale smell. Strong yeasty esters with sweet spun sugar, black peppery spiciness, fruitcake.

T = Very good tastes that track the smells very well except slightly less of a yeasty bite than I expected, this is well blended with sweet dried fruits, mincemeat spices, fresh doughy cinnamon bread. Only marked down because I felt that it was strong at the beginning and end but lacked some slight fortitude at midpalate.

M = Medium heavy body, great carbonation level, great mouthcoating, almost no real burn from the high ABV and what there is goes so well with the flavors and warming Winter mood that it fits perfectly.

D = I think this is a definite pleasing drink for a cold Winter's eve, great seasonal. It does become somewhat cloying a little too soon though.

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Photo of MTNboy
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured into my glass with a lot of foamy head and formed a beautiful lace as it dissipated. It has a body full of haze and carbonation. Its coloring is a moderate brown with a reddish hue. There is a strong fruity and malt aroma with just a little spice to the nose. It has a lot of citrus esters and malt to the flavor. There is some hop bitterness but not much. It has very smooth mouthfeel with virtually no signs of it high alcohol content.

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Photo of Greggy
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml --> 2 years of age

A- 1 finger thick head. Ruby/dark red body. Nice fine layer of sediment throughout the glass.

S- Big molasses, brown sugar sweetness, dark fruits. Quite malt driven.

T- Starts with a great malty sweetness, slightly medicinal spiciness, some brown sugar, molasses, and anise. The finish is long, malty, with residual spice.

M- Nice low carbonation when combined with the ABV makes for a nice full body. Alcohol is well hidden.

D- I would like to try this fresh, but I feel that as it sits at 2 years of age is quite tasty. Perfect for any winter evening.

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Photo of superspak
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into signature globe glass, best before 8/20/2015. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy deep reddish brown color with a 1-2 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of big raisin, plum, cherry, fig, orange peel, caramel, molasses, toffee, dark bread, nuttiness, light chocolate, coriander, light pepper/clove, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Incredible complexity and balance of fruity/earthy yeast, spices, and dark/bready malt notes; with good strength. Taste of big raisin, plum, cherry, fig, orange peel, caramel, molasses, toffee, dark bread, nuttiness, light chocolate, coriander, light pepper/clove, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Slight earthy yeast spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, cherry, fig, orange peel, molasses, toffee, dark bread, nuttiness, light chocolate, light coriander/pepper/clove, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and robustness of fruity/earthy yeast, spices, and dark/bready malt flavors; with an awesome malt/yeast balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, moderately creamy, and lightly slick mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an absolutely incredible Belgian strong Dark ale. All around amazing complexity and balance of fruity/earthy yeast, spices, and dark/bready malt sweetness; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. An absolutely amazing offering. Love it every year.

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Photo of CharlesRiver
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

To start I must say that I have never had a cork come off that hard before. 750ml corked and caged. Best before appears to be some time in 2006.

Pours out a dark brown color with a good size tan head. The smell is spicy and sweet. Raisins and chocolate come through for me. First sip, Wow. What a complex beer. Sweet in the beginning, spicy and crisp in the end. More raisins, nuts, earthy notes and molasses (sp?) come through. The taste is a bit dry in the end but leaves a wonderful warming. So complex and balanced at the same time which is amazing for a younger "big" beer.

Overall, delicious. I have one more bottle in the basement that is from last year. I think I will purchase a couple more to cellar as well.

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Photo of Blakaeris
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear orange-mahogany in color. head is a huge pillowy tan mass with decent lacing.

Aroma is candylike sweetness with strong apricot fruitiness and peppery yeasty spices.

Taste is big, sweet and fruity. Generous apple and dark fruit notes up front. Strongly spiced with nutmeg, pepper and ginger. Midway through the caramel and orange peel make an appearance. Finish is smooth a pleasant warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth with plenty of carbonation.

This is a tasty treat. Complex, but very smooth and approachable.

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Photo of AlexJ
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber brown pour with a sizable off-white head that quickly reduces to a thin veil leaving delicate whisps of lace.

Aroma is sweet and fruity with hints of toasted nuts and maple syrup. There is a strong floral presence that adds to the sweetness.

Flavor is rich with chewy caramel, candy sugar, strawberries, apricot, and melon. Sweet but not cloying. Heavy emphasis on the berry and apricot flavors. Reminds me of Binchoise Special Reserve.

Body falls just below medium with a soft creamy texture and light carbonation.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In a 12 oz. brown bottle with a freshness date (of a year an half after this Christmas I might add) printed on the festive looking label, the packaging oozes the spirit of the season.

The beer poured dark amber red, with a foamy tall head that left a lot of lace. There was good bit of cloudy evidence as a result of the bottle conditioning with yeast. The aroma was very sweet like a bowl of sweet cherries drizzled with honey. The taste was boldly malty with dark skinned fruits, brown sugar, honey, cloves, and cinnamon.

Very soft and creamy mouthfeel, with just a hint of herbal hop bitterness that lingered, this was a smooth, and rich tasting beer that is worth savoring each year. Outstanding beer, and very drinkable, even at 8.5% ABV.

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Photo of scootny
4.48/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

8.5 oz bottle into my Chimay chalice. A tightly carbonated head of about a finger. Spots of lace on my glass as it fades. A slightly hazy chestnut colored beverage sits with a light covering of bubbles in my drinking vessel. Mild carbonation. Stately.

Smell is of sweet burgundy, candy sugar, malt, and spice. A trace of floral hops cuts in and out. Yeasty esters mix with fusel alcohol to suggest well brandied fruitcake.

Taste is of malt, roasted sugar, and light caramel with an alcoholic edge. Toffee shows up and a blend of dark fruits and spice carry the taste to its finish. Light and clean hops cut off the sugar and alcohol train quickly. A lingering dryness with biscuits and graham crackers come after the hops and set up the next sip. Fruitcake suggested in the nose becomes real in the mouth. Superb.

Mouthfeel is medium heavy, a gentle chewyness. Carbonation is a creamyesque spritzy. A little more than you might expect from observing the glass but perfect for the brew.

Drinkability for a strong winter is surprising. Goes down easy for a liquid fruitcake. Must be the perfect hop balance and carbonation. May be the great holiday standard.

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Photo of Radome
4.48/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tasted from a 750 ml bottle bought in Madrid.

A - Beer is medium to dark brown and slightly cloudy. Some light comes through the glass when held up to a lamp. Head is just off-white, thick and fluffy and maintains that way throughout.

S - Aroma is mostly about the malt, like toasted grain and molasses. There is also a green grass note, lemon zest and maybe a hint of a spice, but I can't identify which spice. Finally, there is a hint of alcohol and an old wood smell that makes me think this may have been aged on wood. There might even be a tiny bit of smokiness.

T - The taste is also lighter than expected. Sweet, grainy malt with some light molasses and dark fruits. This is followed by a light herb/spice note and finally a sweet, very slightly boozy finish. The tastes are very complex but somehow give an overall clean, open impression, not heavy and smothering.

M - Medium body; fairly sweet and mouth-coating finish. Low to medium hops bitterness. A low level of alcohol burn. Noticeable carbonation fizz, but not distracting.

O - Although I can detect a bit of spice (possibly from yeast), this is not an overly-spiced Christmas ale that tries too hard. A supremely well-balanced beer. It is complex yet drinkable, dark and sweet yet not smothering. My hat's off to the brewers.

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Photo of dacrza1
4.49/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

DATE TASTED: December 28, 2015... GLASSWARE: Corsendonk tulip...OCCASION: enjoying each day of the Christmas break with a review... APPEARANCE: pours a dark, lustrous purple brown body; immense, three-finger brown head forms creamy, bubbly cork that retains its dignity for quite some time; when it acquiesces, what is left is equally majestic--a flurry of Brussels lace ... AROMA: plum and raisin, doughy, toasted malts and earthy hops mingle with less dominant citrus to provide a welcoming, complex aroma... PALATE: strong, commanding yet smooth sip; maltiness is apparent in its fortitude at the finish, while the early palate suggests some hop activity; lively during its middle passage, while dry at the end--full-bodied, thick, and not at all bitter... TASTE: first, the toasted sweetness of bread and chocolate converge; just as quickly, orange and licorice arrive to create a nuanced holiday flavor; malts are doughy, slightly smoky and formidable; plum and pear make the fruitiness even more apparent--quite a cocktail, but one that holds to its original mission of drinkability...OVERALL: I purchased this months ago in preparation for this season--yet so far from its end date of January 2017--and this old friend does not disappoint. Up to 8.5% ABV as per its label, this cream, full-bodied beer relentlessly pleases sip after sip, a perfect comrade for the freezing rain falling outside...not much to find fault with here--a great drinking experience...

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Photo of ADR
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opaque and very deep brown color, a mountain of bottle-conditioned head. Laces in simple blobs, however. Very pleasant chocolate covered strawberry aroma with a little zip of yeastiness. Highly carbonated, not usually something I like, but a nice match to the malt expression of fleshy pears and decided peach tones. Finishes with more astringency but with a pop of confectioner's sugar. In some ways, this reminds me of a Dubbel that finishes like a Duvel, a fine example of complexity and the brewing art. Very nice beer...

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Corsendonk Christmas Ale has a thin, beige head, a brown, bubbly, opaque appearance, and pretty much no lacing left behind. The aroma is of rich, sweet, spicy malt and fruit. Taste is of dark, sweet bread, rich, moist, fruit cake, dark fruit, sugars, and a fairly pronounced, balancing bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium and prickly, and Corsendonk Christmas Ale finishes semi-wet and dessert like. Very little of an alcohol pick-up, here.


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Photo of obywan59
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle. Label has blue night sky with falling snow and Christmas star; also decorated Christmas tree. No born on date, but "best before end" date of 11/09/11.

Like dark brown translucent coffee in appearance. After having sampled a series of beers with weak heads, I made the mistake of pouring directly into the bottom of the glass and got a light brownish white head that fully filled 9/10s of my 12 oz. Old Guardian glass. My second pour was better till I got cocky and overflowed a fast rising 3-inch head. 3rd pour down the side of the glass the whole way gave a 1 1/2 finger mounded head. Moderate lacing.

Smells like a Belgian. Some light sweetness and spice.

Very smooth for a Belgian, not off-putting at all. Some light sweetness with a bit of tartness as well. The sweetness seemed to increase a bit by the 3rd glass. 8.5% ABV warms nicely on the way down, but doesn't bite back.

Moderate "Goldilocks" body. Not too thick, not too thin, it's just right.

Certainly not a guzzler, but I give it high marks for drinkability.

This is the 3rd Christmas themed BSDA I've sampled in the past 2 weeks along with Troegs Mad Elf and Delirium Noel and although I enjoyed them all, this is easily my favorite. Fuller in appearance, taste, and body than the Mad Elf, (although the Mad Elf is glorious to look at in the glass) and at the same time thinner and more drinkable than the Delirium. The Corsendonk strikes the happy medium. Perfect for our first truly frigid, (19 degrees) snowy night of the season. The 8.5% AVB is quite enough alcohol for the 750, thank you!

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a murky amber-brown color. The head is a firm, light tan inch of foam which recedes slowly leaving nice lacing. The aroma is of ginger, anise, brown sugar, and licorice, with undertones of bready malt. The taste has everything from the aroma, with a nice soft roundness. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with small, lively carbonation, and a silky texture. Overall, this is a very nice dark Belgian ale. I will certainly drink this again.

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Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
4.13 out of 5 based on 1,167 ratings.
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