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:
171
For Trade:
2
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Reviews: 587 | Ratings: 1,166
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 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 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 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 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 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.

 279 characters

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.

 729 characters

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

A. Served ontap into a Corsendonk Christmas snifter. Dark brown abbey ale with a light tan head.

S. Whiffs of dark fruits and candi sugar, some distant booze.

T. Dark plums, very ripe apples, sweet malts. Adequetly hopped to balance. Baked apple pie, brown sugar. As it warms more of the fruityness comes out.

M. Medium bodied and slightly chewey.

D. This is probably my favorite Christmas beer. I think last years was better, but that was after some aging. Nice stuff.

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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 BlackHaddock
3.51/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

25cl Brown bottle, best before 21 Sept 2011, drank and reviewed 12 Dec 2010. Poured into a thistle shapped glass (Gordon Finest Gold).

The beer has a dark ruby red appearance, a good foaming head of tan coloured bubbles sat on top, looked good. Lacing clung onto the glass well.

The smell was fairly weak, burnt/roasted malts and some hints of smokey peat bogs!

The taste was all malts, chocolate malts mostly, the flavours all revolved around that really.

Well carbonated, almost fizzy to be honest, but not quite. The alcohol is hidden nicely and the beer is very easy to drink. I like Corsendonk beers, whoever brews them!

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

The beer's appearance is most earthy, both for of its crude brown tone as well as the ocher stained head which overlay the beer with a woody and ribbed covering, like the rough outer layer of tree bark. The first pour was significantly clearer and more luminescent than the second, although both concealed a little ruby colouring that was visible only when held directly into the light.

Dipping my nose into the glass for the first time caused my head to swing back; if I were blindfolded I would have thought I was smelling a sherry or cherry brandy. This sucker is more potent than its 8.5% would indicate. The aroma is lush with notes of spiced holiday cake and festering fruits. The brewers claim only coriander is used but I could easily entertain the notion of many other spices. It's temptingly enticing.

The aroma gives off a fair warning: if bold, distinctive, aggressively charismatic beers aren't your thing then stop here. Drink no further. Otherwise, it's a good bet you'll find this beer too much to handle. The taste unravels like an onion, one layer at a time: a holiday cake spiced with brown sugar, cinnamon, coriander and clove; hot oatmeal with clumps of raisin and figs; citrus juice and a bundle of white wine grapes; chestnuts and a shot of brandy...

Layer by layer the taste grows stronger and more distinctive. Many holiday ales smack of figgy pudding and the like, but few (if any, to this extent) contain such a flood of distinguishing flavours. The texture that accompanies them is equally diverse, ranging from brightly citric to spiritedly spiced to dry, malty and bready. In one sip you are entertained by all elements of the beer: a rich maltiness, a tangy spice, a delightfully nuanced yeast.

'Christmas Ales' can belong to any category of beer styles, but if we were to lump them all together as a group I'd say that Corsendonk's would be among the standouts. Part of this is because I find that slightly stronger, heartier, spiced ales tend to be better suited to the holidays but mostly it is because this happens to be one of the more distinctive, flavourful, finely crafted ales I've had in Christmases past, present (and very likely) future.

 2,187 characters

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 flagmantho
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750mL bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: medium brown hue with a moderate haze and two fingers of frothy tan foam. Head has good retention and an attractive, chunky lace is left on the glass. I like it.

Smell: quite sweet with a nice maltiness and a bit of chocolate character. There's also a dusty element I quite like. It's not bursting with fruitiness, yet it is still very good in its own subdued way. Quite good indeed.

Taste: sweet but not overwhelmingly so, with a nice malty character and some subtle flavor of dark fruit -- raisins and dates. This is a very low-key beer, but I like it anyway.

Mouthfeel: medium body but with a huge carbonation and giant, if somewhat evanescent, creaminess. Love it.

Overall: a fantastic beer. It drinks damn easy for 8.5%. I usually like a little more complexity, but this beer's subtlety is its personality. Great.

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Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
92 out of 100 based on 587 ratings.
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