Corsendonk Christmas Ale | Brouwerij Corsendonk

BA SCORE
92
outstanding
1,211 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:
1,211
Reviews:
607
Avg:
4.13
pDev:
10.41%
 
 
Wants:
91
Gots:
191
For Trade:
1
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,211 |  Reviews: 607
Photo of mothmanscott
4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a murky but hazy cola brown with sediment. The pour produces a tall, 3 finger, long lasting, tan head that leaves a frosty, webby coating of lace as it recedes. Aroma is fresh cut pumpernickel, spice, yeast, fig/raisin, anise/licorice, Bakers cocoa, toffee, a little banana & faint cherry. Alcohol is well hidden for a 10% ABV. Even so the smell becomes slightly vinous as the brew warms. Taste is dark bread, molasses & faint caramel malt, earthy Belgian yeast, prune/raisin, spice, anise/licorice, cocoa, a little banana & thin hints of white fruit & cherry. Finishes dry & spicy with a shortlived, drawing bitterness. Afrertaste is a rapidly diminishing dark bread, molasses, dark fruit, alcohol & light bitterness. Alcohol is much more assertive in the mouth than the nose but remains subdued for an 8.5 ABV. Mouthfeel is heavy bodied with high carbonation, alive in the mouth, grainy & prickly, lightly chewy, dry & complex. Very good but somewhat lacking when compared to St. Bernardus Christmas Ale.

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Photo of BeenTired
4.21/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of KMillard
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Chimay goblet glass. Nice tight head, lacing, dark, but Amber in the light. Smell very close to the taste. Comparing to the similar Chimay darkest beer, this beer has strong fruit smell and taste, but sophisticated fruit. Raisins, figs, dates. A Nestle Chunky bar minus the chocolate. The high alcohol content is not apparent. This is however a very thick and complex ale. If you enjoy dark, complex beers, this is most worthy. Merry Christmas!

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Photo of KCarr
4.41/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Radcpa
4.21/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Aged for six months. Dark brown appearance with two finger white head that dedicates quickly. Nice fruity aroma. Taste is very smooth fruity with out any alcohol aftertaste.

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Photo of Heeenrik
4.09/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Marraybay
3.3/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Amber red with exceedingly generous head; nice glass presentation. Fruity and vinous in the nose and registers the same on the palate. Sweet and syrupy; effervescent. A bit of a balance issue for me in that I felt some citrus and or bitterness was needed as a counterpunch to the sweetness. Also a bit of a metallic note toward the finish that I find unappealing. Fairly big beer at +8, but not overwhelmingly so. Interesting beer, but as someone who isn't a great fan of the style, I probably wouldn't revisit.

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Photo of avisong
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of logicalparadox
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Lodisgrisen
4.09/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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 jmg480
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Beerasaurus
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of SamuelMiller
3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of MacMalt
4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 vintage. Poured into tulip glass. It pours a dark ruby color with mahogany hues and one finger of foamy, ecru-colored head and lacing with nice retention. It smells of sweet malt, brown sugar, candied fruit, and a whiff of coffee. The taste is berry-forward with plum, banana, clove, coriander, nutmeg, and pepper. There is also some subtle brown sugar. It finishes with just a touch of bitterness and pepper. It is medium-bodied with lively carbonation and the 8.5% ABV gives it substance without overwhelming. Overall, it's a delightful Christmas Ale that lends a sparkle to the season!

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Photo of jslice99
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of sphmiel
3.77/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark brown, fading head. Dark fruit and Belgian yeast, sticky sweetness lingers. Solid Christmas brew.

108 characters

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

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 LJTate
4.21/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of dragos
4.84/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer is great. It looks dark in the glass, however sometimes you get either some yeast or coagulated proteins which seem to float in the bottle.
The mouth feel is perfect for a Christmas ale, medium to full. Not too full to overload your tongue and mouth but just enough to keep it interesting.
The flavour is superb. It has loads of dark fruit of all kinds. Sip it slowly and try to name everything you taste. I cannot get enough of this. Too bad it is only available during Christmas time.
I recommend this beer fully. Remember, this beer is not about the hops but malts and fermentation which means yeast.

 615 characters

Photo of wpreynolds
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of Bierliebhaber3
3.98/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This Belgian strong dark ale pours a dark brown color with a slight red tint and a thick, foamy tan head. The smell is surprisingly very mild with only hints of caramel malts and some spices. The taste is more appropriate with many of the flavors typical of Belgian beers: banana bread, coriander, cloves, plums, and some spicy snap at the finish. The flavors are certainly present, but they’re still a little more subdued than what I would expect out of a Belgian beer of this color. The alcohol is noticeable, but also a little more subdued than I would guess from an 8.5% beer though it does send a nice warmth through you. The body is medium, which again is a little lighter than I would expect from the color. Not a bad beer by any means, but a little bit disappointing based on how high the rankings are. I would just like some more punch out of it, but it is still a finely crafted beer.

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Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
4.13 out of 5 based on 1,211 ratings.
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