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 Thorpe429
3.21/5  rDev -22.3%
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.

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Photo of oberon
4.02/5  rDev -2.7%
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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Photo of jlindros
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
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 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 chinchill
4.27/5  rDev +3.4%
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 BuckeyeNation
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Corsendonk Christmas Ale sports a beautiful, festive label showing a Christmas tree and a giant gold star against the backdrop of a snow-filled blue sky. Best before date of 9-22-05. This is my first Belgian beer and the first time that I've used my new chalice.

Although there was a big blast of carbonation when I popped the crown, the beer itself doesn't seem to be overly carbonated. Up top is a voluminous, rocky, tan cap that fades to a thin film and leaves a small amount of lace. The color is dark ruby with bright cherry accents and is simply beautiful. The beer smells like holiday spiced fruitcake and is incredibly complex.

The flavor profile is dominated by dark, dried fruits. Christmas spices abound. There's an underlying sourness that fades to a pleasing bitterness on the finish. Alcohol is extremely well hidden. The mouthfeel, although borderline creamy, isn't mouthfilling. Drinkability is pretty good, but is limited somewhat by the ABV.

All in all, Corsendonk Christmas Ale is a very nice winter warmer of a BSDA and is one that I'll look for every year.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Clear, deep reddish-brown body with a well-sized, foamy, light khaki-colored head. Nice creamy lacing on the way down.

Smell: Malty, sweetish aroma smelling of molasses, brown sugar, and simple syrup -- all sorts of sweet treats. There's a strong, downright perfumy orange note in the nose, like sniffing a full shot of triple sec. Touches of spicy and light floral hints.

Taste: Sweet, dark maltiness with tastes of dark caramel, molasses, and brown sugar. Slight nuttiness, maybe even some slight breadiness. As was the case with the aroma, there's that very distinct orange fruitiness. Pleasant spiciness with an extra added dash of coriander. Very, very faint floral hint. Never more than a minor bitterness present. Pinch of cocoa powder arrives late in the flavor. Finishes fruity with a lingering maltiness and hint of earthy spice.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A tasty wintertime offering from Corsendonk and one I'd be happy (yes, happy) to return to next year.

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

On-tap 12/21/2012 at Track 84, in Warwick, RI served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a dark reddish brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, brown sugar, apples, Belgian yeast and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of apples, caramel and brown sugar. Then some Belgian yeast and hearty malt character breadiness comes in. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a solid beer to drink for a while if you’re in the mood for the style.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.83/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap I believe at Belgian Cafe, Philly, PA. This was a recent tasting at Pinocchio's, Media, PA.

Darker red-brown color, deep but clear, with a foamy khaki head that receded to a thin layer, leaving generous lacing on the glass. Aroma of dark sugars, light spice, orange blossom. Taste of caramel, brown sugar, cinnamon, cocoa powder, toasted bread, yeast, orange blossom, raisins, light floral hop notes. Medium body, moderate carbonation, fairly smooth, and a pretty pleasant drink overall.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a cloudy brown color, with a nice head that stayed around for the whole glass. Laced up the entire glass! Smell was nicely spiced, nutmeg, cinnamon. Taste followed suit. Almost had a spiced rum taste to it. No hint of alcohol, and very full feeling. Again very spiced taste about it, which cuts down on the drinkability of it a bit. All said, family enjoyed it, got a couple calls of"its different". But this was a nice holiday feeling brew.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.93/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I enjoyed a tulip of this served on tap at the Market Cross Pub in Carlise
This review is taken from notes I made.

A - Ruby, Chestnut Hue. Thin white wisp of a head.

S - Wine like, fruity esters and bready with a slighty spiced aroma.
T - Dates and sugar with a slightly alcoholic presence up front. Minimal wood essence is evident.

M - Thin and light for the amount of gravity it contains, warmth of alcohol in the finish.

D - A pleasant holiday beer, not overpowering, but substantial and nicely balanced with just enough spice and sweetness complimenting the yeasty aromas.

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Photo of russpowell
3.8/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

BBD of 12/09/09 I think, kind of blurred print

Pours an effervescent ruby red/chestnut with 3+ finger of tan colored head into my La Chouffe snifter.

S: Medicinal & phenolic notes

T: A bit of caramel, fruittyness ( dates, raisins & orange rinds) with a bit of licorice up front. A bit of booze burn as this warms; ginger, honey & cinnamon also there along with some dates. Above average head retention & lacing. Finishes dry with a bit of licorice, black currant, & tangerine, plus just a bit of herbal hops

MF: Slick, medium bodied with low carbonation

Drinks fairly easy for the abv, a bit too complex for me to stay on all night. Interesting, but not really in my wheel house, I like'em maltier. Did get better as it warmed. Completely different than any other Christmas beer I've had this year, or any other year. One to age & then I bet it really shines

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Photo of Jason
4.62/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz brown euro shaped bottle with a "best before end" date clearly printed.

Appearance: Very hazy with a dark brown hue ... a healthy head crowns the top of the glass.

Smell: Hints of candied citrus fruit, chocolate cake and light x-mas spices ... anise more predominant.

Taste: Very rich, medium to full in body and a very nice textured silky mouthfeel. Flavours go all over with a biggish malty palate. Citrus, fruity esters and spicy alcohol / spicy ( mostly anise ) take up the front while hints of grain, a sweetness from the alcohol and malt with hints of chocolate in the finish. A light tartness slowly fades with a light nutty taste and a ghost like smoke also.

Notes: Similar flavours to an English Plum Pudding. Warms the soul during these long cold winter days. Very flavourful and lacks no complexity ... lively yet a brew to savour. Goes down in the books as one of the greatest winter brews ever ... fantastic!

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear, almost opaque dark reddish brown in color with a moderate amount of active visible carbonation rising quickly along the edges of the glass and moderate amounts of garnet red highlights. The beer has a three finger tall dense foamy light tan head that slowly reduces to a very thick film covering the entire surface of the beer with a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of dark fruits, spices, and that distinctive Belgian yeast.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of slightly sweet dark malts with moderate amounts of dark fruit sweetness. There is a moderate flavor of distinctive Belgian yeast and a moderate to strong flavor of spices (what I think of as holiday or mulling type spices). Minimal amounts of bitterness with no lingering in the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: Extremely easy to drink with very well hidden alcohol. Very enjoyable and a great example of a holiday Belgian ale.

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Photo of smcolw
3.58/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Impressive head. Pours a full brown that allows light to penetrate (clear) barely.

Deep sweet dark malty aromas.

Sweet flavor from the malt. No real noticeable balance with hop. Slight metalic taste. Full bodied with an appropriate amount of carbonation.

Perhaps too much of a good thing. This is a lot like eating a dessert that's too rich and too large a portion to enjoy. I can take this in small batches.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.62/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Time and time again this beer continues to wow, me I am for certain that this beer is one of the most palatable and drinkable of all the Christmas ales, it's amazing stuff. Appearance: Mahogany amber brown in color with a lucious cocoa colored tan head, lacing is fine Belgian style lacing all the way. Aroma: Ginger, spruce tips possibly of hop origin scent, peppery zest blended with more Christmas spice accented by juicy fruit undertones, wow. Taste: Apples, raisins, and some slightly alcohol infused flavor but all in all the spices used ginger, nutmeg mild but kicks through with pure balance bringing some beer nirvana my way. Mouthfeel: Creamy textured with a medium body overall high carbonation but doesn't come off spritzy still very smooth and silky going down. Drinkability: God don't get me started I could indulge in two 750ml bottles of this fine ale effortlessly just a great Belgian Xmas ale to be shared and enjoyed with friends.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by jayhawk73. Thanks Jeff.

The beer is a chestnut brown hue with hints of sunburst orange. The head is a light tan color, leaving plenty of lacing on the goblet. The aroma offers yeast, malt, alcohol, brown sugar. The flavor is distinctly Belgian. A bit sweet, but balanced by a bready, yeast character. Spritzy carbonation and medium bodied. A solid beer. I would definitely have this again.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear but fairly dark brown with a sizeable creme head. The nose is a lot of spices with dough and yeast and just a good overall funk. Hoooh! Hello spices! I'm getting figs and lots of fruit. This is almost like drinking a fruit cake. Nice and spicy and fruity. Feel has a lot of carbonation, but it doesn't really interfere with anything here. Very nice to drink. A good winter treat.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My basement/cellar continues to unearth some gems (hopefully). This one as a Best By date of 18/09/08 but given its ABV, I should be all right.

From the bottle: "Dark Ale"; "Dark Ale refermented in bottle."

I got a finger of deep-tan head with good retention off of my very gentle pour. Color was a solid garnet with NE-quality clarity. Nose smelled of maple syrup, anise, milk chocolate, toffee and some mustiness. Mouthfeel was absolutely creamy and the taste was of Sugar Babies (caramel enrobed in milk chocolate) and it was MUCH more pleasant than my last encounter with those candies. I was still pre-teen, but I had had several cavities filled (and none since), but those candies ripped out the bottom two for the second time (!), the first time from Jujubes, another candy that I have not touched since. Finish was warm, not hot as the heat had had some time to die down, with a continued caramel/chocolate flavor and even some coffee on the extreme finish.

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Photo of stakem
3.29/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml into a couple of snifters. The brew appears a polished clear color of mahogany with a rich 2 finger topping of yellowish stained khaki head. As the cap slowly fades, it leaves a thick wall of lace sticking all over the glassware. Rising bubbles maintain a thin film across the top and a light swirl revives the cap.

The aroma has a bit of mineral and metallic elements coupled with dark burnt sugar like caramel and toffee. Some fruity hints like raisins and plums are also present mixed with a bit of herbal to medicinal quality. Across the back are some citrus zesty elements that are faintly like lemon or orange.

The taste is mutually carbonic in flavor that brings out some mineral and metallic elements. The maltiness is a bit like raisins, blended with toffee and caramel. Some herbal hops bring out a bit of medicinal aspect to this brew that lingers long inside the mouth. For being 8.5%, the alcohol is fairly well integrated.

This is a medium to fuller bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is a decent offering with a minimal zesty spiced influence that is just enough to set it off as being different from the standard belgian style strong ale. Overall not bad and it is something I would drink again if offered but not something I would have to drink to make my Christmas complete.

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Photo of jwc215
3.99/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle, best before end of 07/09/08:

Pours brown with a thin tan head that soon settles to a thin cover, then a patch.

The smell is brandyish with prunish fruitiness and light herbal spicing. Some caramel and graininess mixes in in the back. Very aromatic and inviting.

The taste is of berry-like and darkish fruitiness with light herbal spicing. The background has caramel and graininess with some dark sugar candy. The sweetness is balanced by a lightly spiced yeast and some earthiness. Some warming alcohol in the finish. Stays pretty even throughout, with just a touch more maltiness as it completely warms.

Medium-bodied with soft carbonation.

As this is the third offering from this brewery, my opinion is that they don't "push the envelop", but make solid brews. This is a slower sipper than the other two - but was meant to be.
This has a complex aroma and is a tasty one to sip on in the wintery Christmas season!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.59/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A color that straddles eggplant and plum, underneath a lovely tan head. Intense aromatics: raisins, plums, port, cinnamon, ginger cloves. A generous buzz on the tongue fueled by a great array of hops,and held up by solid malt base. Overall, one gets a feel of holiday breads, cakes ginger cookies. Very tasty, warming, delicious.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a Corsendonk tulip.

Deep mahogany red body, with a real dark mocha to tan three finger head. Some clarity with real nice slow rising carbonation coming up in this glass. Big ring and island clumpy lacing in the middle, with fine bubbles in its makeup, and also some rings an sheets of lacing down the sides. Very impressive, how a proper glass makes a beer look like a winner.

Solid nose, if not sensing obvious. Mild sense of candied sugars, but some real nice phenolic spice clove action with mild caramel. Hints slightly fruity plum a bit with a very sharp aroma but not overpowering or over the top. Quite nice.

Palate really delivers. Classic Belgian character with a nice fruity angle. Dark bread and raisin match together with a big champagne dry carbonation. Real nice warmth and heat to this as it comes off like a Christmas quad practically, thick malted, rich brandy like warmth. Very playful carbonation that gives to a champagne like body, but has the malt thickness take over with brown sugar, cherry like fruit and spices.

Real nice Belgian dark that comes off more like a Christmas quad. Excellent Belgian brew.

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Photo of Billolick
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Teeny bottle, pours darkest of ambers, soft tan head, leaving some lacing. Pungent nose of bready rum raisin dough. this beer benefits from being served at a nice warmer temperature. Cold it had a prickly mouthfeel and some off putting flavors, as it warms it becomes much softer, and the tastes and flavors become rich. Lots of rum, raisin, cookies, mint, smoke, and alcohol flowing across the tongue. Very flavorful and pleasant stuff.

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

Bottle opened by Thorpe. I had the St. B at dinner after this bottle, I liked this one as a Christmas ale slightly more. Beer is dark brown with a thin white head that leaves lacing on the glass, carbonation moderate.

Beer smells sweet and malty with a little bit of spice. Slight allspice.

This is a celebration ale so I don't mind the spice in the palate, its subtle and in the background rather than flogging you with it. This is a really nice beer. Its light in body, sweet and has some yeasty breadiness to it at the end. I would have it 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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