Corsendonk Christmas Ale | Brouwerij Corsendonk

BA SCORE
92
outstanding
1,213 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:
1,213
Reviews:
608
Avg:
4.12
pDev:
10.44%
 
 
Wants:
92
Gots:
192
For Trade:
1
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Ratings: 1,213 |  Reviews: 608
Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A winter warmer brown and spicey Belgium brew. Thanks Doug Shoemaker for an extra from your Esprit order. Easy drink, hard to believe its 8.5%. Foamy initial pour. Lots of malt and some sugar. yeastiness is there. Nicely hopped. Light medium mouthfeel.

 252 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -15%

Photo of kylehay2004
3.05/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Half finger head, on a clear dark amber and red body. Not much lacing. Aroma is almost nonexistent. What is there is a mild pungent and sour grape like aroma. this is a very drinkable mild dark fruit Belgian dark strong. A very safe member if the genre. Medium in body and moderate carbonation. Overall may be my least favorite in this genre. These beers should be bold, this one is weak.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.97/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best before 8/1/16.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, dark fruit, and slight spice aromas. Taste is much the same with malt and dark fruit flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and prickly mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a nice mix of malt and dark fruit qualities.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -15%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage, been cellaring. pours a redish hued sappy brown color, like a maple leaf. smells very boozy with notes of vanilla, sweet malts, and holiday spice. flavor peppers in some dried fruit tones and a big rich mouthfeel. not as carbonated as a fresh one might be, but it lends a nice mellow character here. belgian yeast floating around inside a little bit, imparting a slightly funky finish. good but not incredible holiday brew

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Photo of kjkinsey
4.24/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a nice looking reddish brown color, the head was fluffy and tan in color. The lacing was a little sticky and hung around for a little while. The smell of the beer has a pretty typical Belgian aroma to it, It's yeasty, sweet and has a slight roasted aroma to it. The taste of the beer has a good sweet malt character to it that's balanced with a spicy aftertaste. The mouthfeel of the beer gives off a pretty good warming sensation as yu drink it. Overall I think it's a good Christmas brew, worth checking out.

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Photo of nmann08
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of metter98
4.06/5  rDev -1.5%
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 BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quite similar in Conrsendonk's Brown Ale, which is esquisit, but with a better musky aroma and flavor. Also has added spices that blend with the light tartness. The color is a solid brown with a ruby tint and floating spices and yeast; otherwise fairly clear with a stubborn foamstand. Smells malty, tart, spicy, woodsy, and lightly sour--typical of Belgians. Atypical in the use of nutmeg, allspice, cinnemon, and lightly pepperred. Viscous, round body with light wine, cider fruitiness and acidic. Finishes sweet, tart, and spicy with a light dryness. Delicate and bold--a joy to drink.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.67/5  rDev -10.9%
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 brentk56
4.65/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark russet brown color with a fluffy tan head that dissipates to some islands but leaves plenty of lace around the glass

Smell: Dark fruits, brown sugar, a variety of holiday spices (cloves and anise) as well some orange peel

Taste: Starts out with some fragrant dark fruit and brown sugar tones with nice complexity from the spices; mid-palate the flavor dries out dramatically, and provides a nice oaky finish with some fruit still hanging around

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a lot of fizzy carbonation

Drinkability: This is one lovely Holiday ale

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Photo of zeff80
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Arrived in a Corsendonk Christmas Ale goblet, a somewhat cloudy, dary burgundy color with a one-finger, khaki head of foam. It left behind wispy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of dried fruits - plum, pear and raisin with some Christmas spices, like nutmeg.

T - It hits you with bready malts and the dried fruits. Raisin comes through the storngest. Plus, there is nutmeg flavor and touches of vanilla.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth with a dry finish. A medium-bodied ale.

D - This is a Christmas ale that does not disappoint. Fabulous on tap. It was a thrill to find it at Cafe Hollander.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.06/5  rDev -1.5%
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 zestar
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of superspak
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

 1,699 characters

Photo of Boone757
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of olradetbalder
3/5  rDev -27.2%

Photo of chinchill
4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Served in a Corsendonk Christmas Ale glass.
Pours a beautiful mahogany color; clear with a large, durable and thick tan head that leaves lots of lacing. Perfect appearance.

Nutty and spicy, with a rather high level of carbonation that makes for a lively feel. Lightly tart, with a strong dark fruitiness, especially in the aftertaste. Flavor better than aroma, although both evolve and improve with warming. A revisit finds a surprising amount of licorice (think black jellybeans) in this bottle.

O: Everything comes together nicely in this beer, despite my lack of love for the yeasty aroma. Excellent and highly recommended. (Aged bottle about 8 months past BB date was as good as ever).

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.21/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Bruery tulip. Picked up at State Line.

Pours a dark brown with some slight purple coloring. One-finger head with a slight bit of ringy lacing. There is some light foam on top throughout The nose brings some light caramel, dates, and some other dark fruits There is slight bit of roast and cream. Pretty plain.

The taste is very light roast with a bit of mild dark fruits. Very light amount of black licorice. There is also some light caramel and toffee. Medium body and light carbonation. Not a stellar brew, but pretty good.

 541 characters

Photo of jlindros
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Armsby Abbey Belgian Christmas night. 2009 vintage, and it ended up being one of the better beers of the night.

It comes with a dark roasty mahogany brown hazy color with a decent head.

Nose of light spices, very light, with some cinnamon, nutty malts, raisins, dark aged Belgian malts, and a little booze.

Taste is malty, lots of Belgian dark malts, caramel, a little brown sugar, light spices, Belgian fruity yeast with some raisin and fig, little sweetness and creamy hearty taste. A very light booze.

Mouth is medium to a little heavier bodied with decent carbonation.

Drinkability is decent, sweetness is balanced well, not much for a boozy taste, and smooth drinking for the most part.

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Photo of oberon
4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this last night at the Spring House Drafting Room,pours a deep amber with some orange tint do it with a great creamy head.The aroma was awesome very orangy and nutty very perfumy on the nose.Taste is nutty with a touch of smokiness with some nice rich chocolaty tones.A nice full flavored beer I wanted to drink alot more,but was a little heavy after two,but still a real nice brew.

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Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
4.12 out of 5 based on 1,213 ratings.
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