Corsendonk Christmas Ale | Brouwerij Corsendonk

BA SCORE
92
outstanding
606 Reviews
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
Reviews:
606
Ratings:
1,208
Avg:
4.13
pDev:
10.41%
 
 
Wants:
90
Gots:
189
For Trade:
1
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 606 | Ratings: 1,208
Photo of deapokid
3.63/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Opening with a rich amber hue, this acidy ale leaves a nice lace of foam on the glass and takes on a reddish holiday glow.

Its aromas seem more like those of a cider or champagne and first sniffs give off a bouquet of tart and bitter fruit aromas.

As for first sips, the mouth feel is overwhelmingly dry, but since I expected that (I'd been forewarned), the alcoholic finish and deep bitterness weren't too much of a shock.

One of the best aspects of this beer is the subtle cherry flavor that permeates as the ale warms. It manages to coat the back of the tongue in a sweet fruit taste that makes this initially off putting brew seem better in hindsight.

Although it may not be a repeat performer (one was enough for me), this is a nice change of pace for the holidays and I'd be willing to give it another spin next Christmas.

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Photo of drmeto
3.64/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

L:
-pours a hazy ruby red with a medium,foamy,beige head
-low carbonation visible
S:
-Earthy,Plums,Rose Hip,Sweet,cooked Potatoes,Cherries
T:
-fruit Syrup.Earthy,Raisins,cooked Potatoes,Figs,Plums
F:
-medium to high carbonation
-light to medium body
-faint Alcohol noticeable
O:
A solid Winter Ale.

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Photo of santoslhalper
3.65/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearence: Pours a dark ruby red with a fomay beige head. The head clings nicely.

Smell: The smell burns the nostrils a little bit, but it's mostly of sticky sweet malts.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Incredibly well-balanced for sure, but the flavors that are there are nothing special. It's smooth as all hell, but the flavors don't live up to their expectations. The mouthfeel is creamy but medium bodied.

Drinkability and Overall: This is a good beer, but doesn't live up to it's expectations. That doesn't take away from the fact that it's a solid brew, and an enjoyable one at that. It just seems to me there are much better beers of this style out there.

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Photo of Longstaff
3.66/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

I thought this was a decent beer that was easy to drink, but compared to other Belgian style Christmas ales, I thought this was lacking in flavor. It poured beautifully with a one inch big bubbled head. The body was dark until held up to the light then was reddish and crystal clear. The most dominate flavor was metallic, with chocolate, maltiness, and spices very subdued. Alot like their pale ale but darker with a touch of chocolate flavor. A bit thin on mouthfeel with a high carbonation level made it easy to drink. I think I would rather have Delerium Noel or N'Ice Chouffe instead.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.67/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I know I've reviewed this before and just haven't gotten around to typing up my notes, but I was in the mood for a Belgian and nabbed this at a Whole Paycheck in Manhattan for $10.99 USD to revisit. 'Tis the season, anyway...

BOTTLE: Seasonal label art depicting a wintry night, a star, and a Christmas tree. Has an odd twist-wire cap over a cork (sort of a wire cage and cap without the cap; instead there's a metal clamp). Best before: 07/09/19. 750ml format. Brown glass. Imported by St. Killian Importing Co.

8.50% ABV. "Dark ale refermented in bottle."

Served cold into stemware and allowed to come to temperature over the course of consumption.

HEAD: Occupies half the glass with its lively pale khaki colour fluffy, mushrooming out of the rim. Creamy and soft as can be, with a nice complexion and a light consistency. Retention is excellent - ~10+ minutes.

BODY: Deep dark sanguine with an enchanting glow. No yeast is visible within, but it's really too dark to see anyway (some might mistake it for black when viewed from a distance).

It's a classic appearance for a Belgian dark ale. I'm excited to try it.

AROMA: Dark fruit is instantly noticeable, with notes of dark cherry, plum, date, prune, and faint fig. Spicy Belgian yeast is obvious, with notes of fennel, licorice, anise, and possibly coriander coming through. Slightly jammy, with a natural fruit syrup aroma. I can tell there's some dark malt sweetness, but the aromatic focus stays squarely on the dark fruits and yeast, evoking a nice mulled drink. Possibly some candi sugar too.

Aromatic intensity is average, letting the subtle notes entice without beating you about the head with big bold aromas. Cherry dominates. I'm looking forward to the first sip.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Yeasty spices marry well with dark fruit in this well-balanced yet complex and subtle brew, with the licorice/fennel/anise family of spices edging out coriander and subtle cacao (or maybe it's cassia?) for the title. A dark malt backbone provides enough sweetness and body, but this brew is almost refreshing it's so approachable. On the light side of medium-bodied, with none of its 8.50% ABV noticeable whatsoever.

Dark fruit is given as much emphasis as the spices, with dark cherry leading the pack trailed by dates, prunes, and possibly fig; plum didn't quite make the cut as far as I can tell. A candi sugar like flavour lends complexity without taking the balance too far towards the sweet end of the spectrum. Raisin imbues this already lively estery Belgian ale with further classic Belgian dark ale flavour.

When prompted to find dried orange rind, I do find it buried in there, but I won't pretend I'd pick it up in a blind tasting.

Subtlety is what works here; each note is vivid enough to contribute without overwhelming the rest of the brew as a whole.

No overt hop flavours. No off-flavours/faults. No booze.

Depth of flavour could be improved, but it's nice as-is. Flavour duration and intensity are style appropriate (which is to say moderate).

Not an oily, gushed, hot, harsh, astringent, rough, or (horribly) syrupy brew. It does have a thick filling presence on the palate, bringing the weight needed to sustain its many flavours. Bready.

The mouthfeel doesn't accentuate specific notes per se, though its slightly syrupy feel coupled with its thickness helps play to the dark fruit a bit more. Smooth and wet, though I think a slightly more powdery dry feel might be interesting. Carbonation is near perfect; bottle reconditioning was the right move.

OVERALL: I'm pissed at myself I didn't find the orange peel until it was pointed out to me, but I digress (it seems so obvious once you know to look for it).

It's not the *best( Belgian dark ale out there, but it's easily one of the best 50. Remarkable balance, an emphasis on subtle delicate flavours (instead of big bold extremes that drown out everything else), and an enjoyable melange of decadent dark fruits and dry spices make this a winning beer with high drinkability for the style. So much easier to drink than the vast majority of American expressions of the style, Corsendonk is a brew I'll enjoy getting through a full 750ml of myself and it'll be hard to go back to shelling out $15+ for American-brewed bombers of beers that are usually nothing special knowing this sits on shelves for $10.99 even as an import in one of the most expensive metropolitan areas in the U.S. At Belgian prices, you'd be an idiot not to buy it.

A Christmas ale for the ages.

B (3.67) / GOOD

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a light brown cola like color with a red tint and a bubbly yellow tan head.

Smells of dry bitter yeast, sweet honey, caramel and ginger.

Tasted of sour wheat, subtle chocolates, hazelnut, anis and grapefruit rind with a dry sour finish. There are some good flavors present, but they don’t seem very well blended and the predominant dryness tends to detract from some of the subtleties.

The mouth feel was thin with intense small bubbles.

This was a very disappointing discovery after having this on tap.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle

dark brown with autumnal plum highlights. leaves a pillowy cap of dreamy, cloud-like head on top. lacing is sheeting. thick as balls and no joke.

aroma is grandiose... christmas spice and fresh fruitcake. candied fruits, cherries, oranges and plums. almond hints. freshly ground cloves and nutmeg.

tastes evenly strong with less character than the smell would imply. black pepper and wood begin and coffee cake muffin fills out the body. big age and bitter spice qualities hide the once-lively sweet fruits. mild musty apricot tang makes up for it a bit.

a sipper for sure. over carbonated. reminiscent of big xmas belgians like stille nacht but without the malty backbone or estery goodness. grassy. decent but does not live up to the hype. go for a scaldis or stille for excellence in this genre.

will try a 750 this xmas and rereview.

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Photo of deejaydan
3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Mours a ruby brown, sticky sticky lacing, and good head and retention. Aroma is raisiny, and slightly phenolic. Taste is refreshing, slight flavor of wood and a light mouth puckering, phenols are present and funky. Mouthfeel is okay, slightly dry though. Drinkablilty is ok, nothing great.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a clear copper brilliant color with a minimal head. Aroma was a malty cerealness (that I didn't care for) combined with clove and ethyl hexanoate (liquorice) notes. Aroma struck me as being very floral. Flavor was yeasty and champagne-like with lots of clove flavor, but definitely less complicated than the aroma. Mouthfeel was smooth and good.

I'd recommend this.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours burgundy with a massive beautiful off-white creamy head that stays for a really long time before it dissipates leaving lots of lacings.

S: Belgian, yeasty, light perfumed, lots of spices. Sweet malts.

T: Sweet light roasted malt, lots of dark dried fruits. Very belgian. Not as well balanced as I hoped for.

M: The aftertaste is rather long and holds mostly sweetness. The body is full and the carbonation is medium. A warm alcoholic feeling.

D: Not the best Belgian strong dark ale, and not very "christmasy". I'll buy a Trappist one next time.

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Photo of psinderson
3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark, almost ruby red. Decent off-white head.

Smell: Very minimal aroma, but mostly malt, caramel.

Taste: Complex taste, mostly fruit. I sense some molasses and cherries with a mild hop finish.

Mouthfeel: Much thinner than expected.

Drinkability: Decently drinkable, but taste complexity may turn off some.

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Photo of MattBrooks
3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours cloudy brown with plenty of yeasty goodness floating about. Smelled like a super-strong ale, which is exactly what it is supposed to smell like. Didn't notice any other discerning smells to make this winter seem more special than others; although it could be considered that this isn't a seasonal (other than the label) because the expiration date on this bottle was 2 years from now. The taste was pleasureable, and although the alc content is high, it really didn't come off that way to me. All in all, a very good example of the style, certainly worth picking up a few more. Almost wish I could get it in the big-big bottle size the other Corsendonks come in.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.69/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle,

A: Pours burgundy/brown with a light tan fizzy head.

S: Strong sugary malt, molasses, apple peel.

T: Huge malt and sugar character on the first taste, almost gingerbread like. Very sweet. Bit of dark fruit in there as well, raisin bread.

M: Overly carbonated at first, but it dies down. Medium bodied, smooth, cloying at times.

D: A good beer, just the residual sugars get to be too much, I'd rather have a 330 mL bottle next time. That said, I finished the 750 relatively quickly and enjoyed it.

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Photo of far333
3.7/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A dark copper to brown color with a low beige head that leaves sticky, chunky lace around the inside of the glass. Aroma is sugary and fruity. Flavor is sweet and yeasty, with noticeable notes of cinnamon and nutmeg and sweet fig. A smooth mouthfeel leads to a sweet and yeasty finish, with honey and pear and yeast lingering in the aftertaste.

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Photo of 86MonteSS
3.7/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A belgian dark ale indeed. Pours dark brownish red with a short lasting head. Smells very grassy and a little yeasty. Tastes like a basic belgian dark with a little more hops and a lot more alcoholic flavor. There's a bitter aspect to it that's very hard to describe, and I give up easy. Aftertaste is very slight.

I tried this for the first time about a year ago and must have gotten it mixed up with another beer because this time it wasn't at all what I expected. It's a good seasonal but doesn't tickle my fancy the way so many other winters have. Oh well.

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Photo of atomicbeer
3.71/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 11/9/11. Purchased December 2011. Opened 12/28/12. Pours a cloudy brown-garnet color with a tall beige head. Mild aroma of figs, plum, and mild cinnamon. Taste follows: figs, dates, plums, and browned apple and some mild cinnamon and allspice, all stewed in a alcohol base. The 8.5% ABV is not real evident. Goes down juicy and smooth. Very nice.

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Photo of VALIS666
3.71/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a huge head into a Duvel tulip glass. Very pleasant deep brown color held to the light. However, both the scent and the taste are far lighter than I expected. The most dominant smell I got was a watery, rusty scent, not particularly good. The taste is clean and smooth and strongly carbonated with a bit of spice and sweetness. A decent beer but far less robust than I expected.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.71/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz. bottle served in my St. Bernardus chalice. Best before 21/09/14 indicated on the back label. Pours a deep mahogany with a dense, fluffy, 1.5 inch, cream-colored head that eventually settles into a sold, quarter inch cap. Sheets of lacing appear on the tilt side of the glass leaving residual spots and strands of lacing as it disperses. Nose reminds me of concord grape jelly off the bottle pop; however this dissipates into a faint vinous quality. Yeast and a light earthy/herbal quality add a complementary component. Taste follows nose; however, I also get a slightly metallic character in the flavor profile towards the back which somewhat kills it for me. Mouthfeel is light-medium in consistency with a pleasant, easy carbonation and a slightly creamy texture. Overall, a decent BSD; however, the metallic flavor really negatively impacts an otherwise good brew. That said, alcohol is really well-hidden at 8.5%. I've been wanting to try this beer for a while but I have to say that I'm a little disappointed.

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Photo of Pencible
3.71/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This poured a clear dark ruby with moderate light tan head.
S: It smelled like very faint and dry earthy spices and nitrogen. Not much malt or yeast or hops.
T: It tasted like brown sugar and earthy dry spices and wild yeast, with a bit of esters and powdered sugar. It had a dry and bittersweet aftertaste.
M: It was thick with a bit of smooth carbonation. Very hearty.
D: This was kid of bland, but it still tasted good enough. Body was excellent, and the alcohol was well hidden, so it was very easy to drink. Not sure if age would help, but it was enjoyable fresh. Good holiday Belgian if you're looking for something simple, instead of the other holiday Belgians that are so deeply rich and complex.

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Photo of Sigmund
3.72/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750 ml corked "champagne" style bottle, packed in metal gift box. Now available in Norway (Vinmonopolet). Very dark reddish brown colour, slightly hazy. Moderate tan head. Very nice aroma of Christmas spices, oak, raisins, old sherry, toffee and treacle. Flavour is very malty sweet, plenty of caramel and some spices, hints of smoke, tart/bitter finish. Fizzy mouthfeel - due to the aggressive carbonation and tart finish this beer was not a "silky smooth" experience for me. I actually preferred du Bocq’s Regal Christmas to this one (haven’t tried them side by side, though). R.C. is also somewhat less expensive.

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Photo of hellbilly
3.73/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

bottle BB 12/09/09

slightly hazy pour is maroon brown and capped by a thin tan head.

there are some floral tea-like qualities in the aroma underneath brown sugar, golden raisins, vanilla, sweet malt and cinnamon-y spiciness.

the flavor profile pretty much masks the aroma... along with some yeasty earthiness, faint chocolate and banana starch with a dry spiced finish. it is a bit sweet but definitely doable. light to medium bodied given the abv% with a smooth rich texture.

insanely easy to drink...
7/4/7/3/16/3.7

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Photo of cyberbmcd
3.73/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a fine beer in the Belgian Ale tradition.

It pours a dark Brown with a one finger head that dissipates a little too quickly. Fine lacing and a sweet smell accompany.

It has a smooth silky mouthfeel. Starts out sweet with a blast of nutmeg then finishes with a bitter bite. you can taste the cinnamon and nutmeg and wintery spices that it's brewed with.

The champagne style cork was a nice touch as well.

Overall, this is a fine brew to sip with your family at Christmas dinner or while typing a review for beer advocate, whatever the case may be.

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Photo of BeerLover729
3.74/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Opaque dark brown beer with a big frothy that subsides but remains throught the drink. The smell is lightly molassesy and not much else. The taste is a progression of malty, kind of creamy, and tart. Some "Xmas spice" is detectable (cloves, cinnamon, etc.), mostly cloves, but subdued compared to the malty, creamy, brown sugar dryness. This beer has a creamy, smooth, but sharply carbonated medium body. Its drinkable but the maltyness has some cloyingness to it. It stll tasted really good to me though. Good beer.

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Photo of Marius
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

25cl bottle. Dark ruby-brown pour with a tan head that gives way to a sticky lacing.Smells like dried fruit, coffee, chocolate, toffee, red grapes, copper. The taste follows the same notes, bitter-sweet leaning towards sweet, with a medium body, soft carbonation and a sticky sweet aftertaste.

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Photo of Yesac
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Murky ruby/brown. Small bubbly head which is a little uncharacteristic of this style.

S- Light aroma. Very sweet fruits & brown sugar.

T- Sweet candy, caramel. The taste is very subtle. Nice spice finish.

M- Active carbonation. Think bodied.

D- One easy drinker here. I'm sure this will pair well with a Christmas meal. Good beer but nothing over the top about it.

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Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
4.13 out of 5 based on 1,208 ratings.
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