Corsendonk Christmas Ale | Brouwerij Corsendonk

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BA SCORE
92
outstanding
587 Reviews
Corsendonk Christmas AleCorsendonk Christmas Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Corsendonk
Belgium | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
587
Ratings:
1,166
Avg:
4.13
pDev:
14.77%
 
 
Wants:
85
Gots:
172
For Trade:
2
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 587 | Ratings: 1,166
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 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 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 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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Photo of GClarkage
3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

01/08/05- Purchased at Mollie Stones in Burlingame, CA

Presentation- 750ml bottle with no date. Poured into my Duvel glass.

Appearance- Lovely thick white head, dark brown semi cloudy pour and wonderful lacing.

Smell- Much dark fruits (plums, raisins, dates), and plenty of spices including cinnimon and ginger root.

Taste- Fairly metallic and a tad stale tasting. Plenty of raisin and date flavors. Good amount of cinnimon and a bit of dark chocolate.
Liquorice is present also. Very flavorful, but a bit cardboard stale tasting.

Mouthfeel- Fairly full and chewy consistency. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability- THis one would be a pretty darn good one except for the metallic and stale issue. It wasn't super stale, but enough to throw off the taste buds and knock it down a notch.

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Photo of tempest
3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Crescent & Vine in Astoria. It reminded me of the St. Bernardus Christmas Ale, though this was a touch more drinkable. My only complaint was that the spice dominated the aroma. The flavor was more balanced with dark fruits, caramel, coriander and citrus notes.

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Photo of WesWes
4.67/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours an amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is awesome. It has a very sweet and slightly tart malt scent. It is quite complex; full of fruitiness and a molasses aroma. The taste is great as well. It has a very smooth malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes fruity and warm. This is an exceptional brew. It has great mouthfeel. It is a full bodied with adequate carbonation. This is a kick ass beer. It is full of flavor and aroma; a good drinker. This is one of the best Belgian beers I've ever sampled.

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

Appearance: pours a dark brown color with a 1" tan colored head that lasts a while. Moderate lace paints the glass.

Smell: light chocolate, lots of malt sweetness, and a bit of fruit sweetness creates a mild but pleasant aroma.

Taste: nice malt flavor with some chocolate, a hint of spice and earthiness, prunes sweetness, and a moderate bitterness. Alcohol is barely noticable.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Crisp to start, smooth and a bit creamy at the finish. Long aftertaste.

Drinkability: a nice xmas beer to slowly sip in front of a roaring fire. Definitely worthy of a try.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Glad I got to try this one. This is my first beer from Corsendonk. Hopefully it will not be my last.

The beer pours a dark brown color with a large, rocky tan head. The aroma is roasted malt, Belgian yeast, candy sugar and a little bit of anise. Still, it doesn't have near as much of the anise/licorice flavor that some other Belgian Christmas beers have, such as Gouden Carolus Noel.

The flavor is great. I get a lot of dark fruit notes, as well as some caramel and other dark - but not roasted - malts. The beer is fairly sweet and has a nice candy sugar taste. There is a slight bit of anise in the flavor and the alcohol is very well hidden.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A very nice Belgian Christmas beer.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.95/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a dark, hazy reddish amber with a massive light tan head with good retention and great lacing. Aroma of dried and fresh dark fruit, bready malt and an almost minerally spicing. Flavor follows, dominated by dark dried fruit, brown sugar, coriander and oxidation flavors. Finishes semi-dry with dark fruit, spicing and faint hops. Medium bodied. The bottle has a "best before" date of 2015, but serious online research does not reveal how that translates to bottling date. There is noticeable, but pleasant oxidation flavor here, so I'm curious how old the bottle is. A pleasant, but somewhat understated Belgian strong dark ale.

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

Although I drank this out of season, it was still a knockout. Poured a clear dark brown with llight and airy, but thick (three fingers) head. Taste is smooth and mellow, very malty, but no hint of the 8.1% ABV. This was an easy drinker, and very pleasurable. Highly recommend.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best By: 18/09/08

Been holding on to this one for about a year.

Poured into a Delirium tulip a nice dark mahongy color, nice carbonation, nice two-finger foamy tan head, lots and lots of nice sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty, yeasty, nice touch of figs, raisins, and plums, also some caramel notes. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, nice dark fruits/caramel. The alcohol is hidden very well. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is my first Corsendonk and it's very tasty, I do have another brew by them, I'm sure it will be awesome as well. Recommended.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.03/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On Tap,
Corsendonk off the spout has a amberish hue hinting towards polished brown. a trace amount of dark tan foam up top, leaving squiggles around the glass that fade. Smell is pretty spicy and caramel, sweet ridden. Get alot of toffee, with some winter spice on top of some grain and a whiff of alcohol. Not all that impressive in all honesty. Taste pretty much solidifies my fears, Corsendonk Christmas really ain't about nothing. Sure it has some winter spice with caramel malt/toffee. I even get some faint applesauce taste and plum. It just comes down to, I don't like it all that much. It does not move me. The alcohol is hidden really well though, so there is that. Body is pretty dead on arrival, just feels like some life was lost on this. Medium in build, light in carby. While this was a beer I got into good beer with, it's not one that will be sticking around for me.

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

Best by date January 2007, Sampled July 2006
Pours with a large, initially three and a half finger thick, amber-cream colored head that leaves a rocky, lace leaving texture as it slowly falls back into the beer. The beer is a dark, brownish color with a touch of amber. It shows a brilliantly clear ruby hued beer when held up to the light. Rich, aromatic notes of concentrated malt greet my nose. Notes of raisins, dates and figs mingle with sweet notes of caramel, toffee, . both a spicy note of clove and bit rum-like hot alcohol are just slightly noticed among the other notes. Overall the aroma is quite sweet and almost even a bit sticky; very desert like in its aromatics.

A creamy mouthfeel is balanced almost immediately by a tingly carbonation. The beer is not nearly as sweet tasting as the aroma would suggest, which is good as I was not sure if I was up fro a sticky brew. Notes of concentrated malt are here though. I get notes of dark caramelized fruit, notes of burnt raisins and roasted plums. Light notes of toasted malt join a hint of roasted grain. The fruit notes are what really stand out here; this brew is rich and satiating, yet actually not heavy and even a bit light and easy to drink, though I would characterize this as being light on the palate. Some spicy cola like notes are also in this beer as well as some light notes of clove. Actually the cola like note is definitely interesting, it is mostly the caramel flavors from cola, but definitely some of the spiciness is in this beer as well. This beer is quite interesting, perhaps a touch on the simplistic side, but quite good none the less.

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Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
4.13 out of 5 based on 1,166 ratings.
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