Corsendonk Christmas Ale | Brouwerij Corsendonk

BA SCORE
92
outstanding
605 Reviews
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
Reviews:
605
Ratings:
1,208
Avg:
4.13
pDev:
10.41%
 
 
Wants:
90
Gots:
190
For Trade:
2
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 605 | Ratings: 1,208
Photo of John_M
4.52/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There aren't a lot of things about Winter that I look forward to, but the annual arrival of this beer is certainly one of them. Had this on tap at Mahaffey's the other night.

The beer pours a reddish amber color, with minimal head retention, but excellent, lingering lacing. One gets an initial blast of sweet malt on the nose, but it's intermixed with lots of wonderful spices, including allspice and nutmeg. The flavor profile on the palate is straight from beer heaven. The beer is moderately sweet, but that sweetness is braced with flavors of cola, cherry, rootbeer and even more spice, including nutmeg and ginger. The beer is medium bodied with an abv. that is pretty well disguised. The beer is not at all heavy or tiring to drink, and is really what I've come to think of as the quintessential Belgian X-mas beer.

Excellent and highly recommended.... especially if you can get it on draft.

 901 characters

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.

 516 characters

Photo of puboflyons
4.41/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Corked, caged 750 ml. bottle with an expiration date of 17 Aug 2018. Sampled on November 15, 2015.

The pour is mahogany amber-red with a long lasting foamy tan head.

All kinds of interesting aromas here. I pick up sweet barley malts, coriander,clove, black licorice, plums, a little orange zest, slight smoke, and Belgian candied sugar. Everything melds together well. No booze on the nose.

Medium to bold body but it is so lusciously soft and smooth.

Same sweet barley malt, citrus, and slightly spicy flavor but I pick up the alcohol burn here however it is warming and mellow to the end. This would be great by a wood stove fire.

 639 characters

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!

 629 characters

Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours burgundy with a massive beautiful off-white creamy head that stays for a really long time before it dissipates leaving lots of lacings.

S: Belgian, yeasty, light perfumed, lots of spices. Sweet malts.

T: Sweet light roasted malt, lots of dark dried fruits. Very belgian. Not as well balanced as I hoped for.

M: The aftertaste is rather long and holds mostly sweetness. The body is full and the carbonation is medium. A warm alcoholic feeling.

D: Not the best Belgian strong dark ale, and not very "christmasy". I'll buy a Trappist one next time.

 559 characters

Photo of clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a leather couch brown with a tawdry two-finger tan head that left lacing down the glass. A great smell of roasted malts, chocolate and bread along with some spiciness. Smooth, slightly creamy and medium-bodied with a mix of some fruits, both dark and tart, and a great balance w/ some sweet malts (caramel and chocolate mostly). This leads to an easy-going and warming brew (the ABV is hidden well) that has a slightly tart, dry finish to complement the overall sweet, silky texture of the beer as it passes over the tongue. This is a great X-Mas beer, as it is one you can sip on and it warms you up on a cold night.

 624 characters

Photo of HopHead84
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

We were just getting ready to leave the bar when Paul walks back to the table with a Jeroboam of this beer. Thanks Paul! Consumed on 10/24/2009 and poured into a snifter.

The beer is dark, dark brown, and is made of what appears to be liquid beer. The head that sits on top of the beer is fizzy and frothy and exhibits funny Belgian mannerisms.

The nose is spicy and phenolic with notes of white pepper and Belgian yeast. The malt is bready and evokes images of a silly Belgian family sitting beside a distinctly Belgian fire within a silly little Belgian house in the dead of winter. I seem to have just written "peppery, spicy" over and over for the smell. I do recall the bready character reminding me of dark bread. Notes of cinnamon, clove, and dark fruits are present.

The flavor is sweet bready malt with that same white peppery spiciness. Other notes are of cinnamon, clove, and molasses. Alcohol is well hidden and I detect Belgian yeast character. The beer is medium bodied with a very high level of carbonation. This is a great Christmas beer. Highly recommended.

 1,077 characters

Photo of rudzud
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes taken at the Armsby Abbey's yearly Belgian Christmas on 12/15.

*2009 Vintage*

A - Mahogany pour with a nice light head but fades to leave super lacing and deanse clouds.

S - Earthy light funk. Very light on fruit notes as well as some good belgian spices.

T - Dense, deep fruits along with light sugars and sweet malts. This while not sticky, is almost lip smacking good. The spice note really falls in line with the whole Christmas brew.

M - Medium carbonation tickles the tongue. Incredibly nice and light on the mouth.

D - Great mouthfeel and taste and that clumpy head all work together for a very enjoyable strong dark ale.

 645 characters

Photo of jdhilt
4.46/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a two-fingered, thick, light tan head leaving an even lace. Color is a dark, clear amber. Light-medium carbonation. Light malty/hoppy nose. Medium bodied. Starts smooth and malty, finishes with a warming touch. Excellent Christmas ale. $7.50 for a 750ml bottle.

 267 characters

Photo of weeare138
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lot date: 9/30/06...

Appears a dark brown with ruby highlights when held to the light. A small, light tan head slowly fades into a mild, bubbly cap and collar. Scattered streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of caramel, raisins, vanilla, brown sugar, nougat, and toasted almonds.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas in a decadent, flavor that reminds me of a Mars bar with raisins. Pretty tasty stuff.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth, semi sweet of caramel, and a light dry, mildly spiced finish.
Mineral characteristics make this beer stand it's own ground among the big players in Belgium. A solid Belgian Strong Dark just starting to touch on oxidation after close to 2 1/2 years in the cellar. Pretty nice!

 727 characters

Photo of cjgator3
4.16/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Pours a dark plum brown that produces large creamy light tan head. The aroma is light and bready with a slight amount of tartness. It is also a tad floral with some spice and citrus (mainly oranges). The taste is also bready with a good amount of malt flavor followed by a slightly spicy and tart middle that is finished by a pleasant bitterness and slight warming from the alcohol. This beer is very drinkable despite it's hight ABV. Overall, this is a very good Christmas beer from Belgium that is recommended. I will have to revisit this again next year.

 596 characters

Photo of Haybeerman
4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Reddich brown colr. Poured a 3 finger off-white head that slowly condenced to a big dollup. Lacing wahed down the glass in sheets.

S: Dark juicy fruits and spices. White pepper in the end.

T: Figs, raisins, plums and lots of other dark fruits. Sweet candi sugar and lingering spices combine with yeast notes.

M: Medium-to-heavy body. Medium carbonation. Thick and creamy. Alcohol

D: Flavorful and balanced. Really nice beer.

 431 characters

Photo of wl0307
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The 6th beer on my 2008-9 Belgian Winter Ale tasting "panel". Coming in a tiny and slim 250ml brown bottle, BB 17/11/08, served lightly chilled in Westmalle's broad-rimmed chalice. * Note: this beer is tasted right after the famous Westvleteren 12, but I trust my palates won't be biased (hopefully).

A: pours a deep dark brown hue with ruby glows when seen against light, supported by lively input of fine fizz and topped with a light tan frothy head with good retention.
S: spiced dried tangerine peels, salted hawthorn fruits, black-cherry-ish & salty-sweet black-prune jam, treacle and black malt syrup, a touch of spiciness... Overall, richly fruit-estery, but integrated and approachable, neither heavy nor alcoholic.
T: a big swallow of spicy dark-prunes and treacle-ish dark malts is laced by plentiful aroma of cloves, cinnamon stick, dried-salted hawthorn-fruits and Chinese "luohanguo", leading slowly to a quietly herbally-dry and faintly bitter finish where the fruitiness, spicy yeastiness and bitter-sweet syrupy dark malts intertwine harmoniously.
M&D: very tasty indeed, this big dark ale treads exceptionally light with the help of refreshing but "spongey-textured" fizziness; it also benefits hugely from a complex spicy-fruitiness due to the work of hops and yeasts. With such little hint of alc. shown on the palate, this is a highly-drinkable and reasonably complex dark ale suitable for any occasion and all seasons!

 1,441 characters

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

8.5oz bottle poured into a stemmed glass. Best by 07/09/2011.

(A)- Pours a dark mahogany color that has plenty of ruby red highlights. Produced a great fluffy tan head with great retention. Tons of lacing all over the place.

(S)- An earthy barnyard dryness with some nice ripe dark fruits, biscuits, and lemony banana. Hints of a cinnamon or nutmeg spice in the far background.

(T)- Again, an earthy barnyard hay dryness up front, but meshes into a nice dark fruit/ biscuity/ spice profile.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Nice ripe dark fruits in the body. A nice earthy dry spiciness combo. Some residual bitterness on the finish that bumps this down a bit.

(D)- I look forward to this one every year when it comes out. A great Belgain Dark that has everything you should expect for the style. Tasty and easy to enjoy without being too rich or filling.

 870 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.07/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer has a deep mahogany-brown body that glows when held to the light. The head is a thick cream off-white that last and last. It has a gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles to keep the head going.

S- The smell of pale malt is a base for notes of dark cherries, plumes, figs and a note of aromatic spices like ginger with a faint cinnamon. There is a perfume sweetness that ties all the aromas together.

T- There is a sweet lightly toasted malt flavor that has lots of nice complexity. Notes of pears and plums compliment the malt with a spicy hint of pepper at the finish. A faint note of apple with the carbonic bite at the finish has a good balance.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a strong fizz in the texture. There is a soft alcohol warmth that enhances the spicy finish.

D- This is a very nice winter beer. The fruit and spice flavors really give more depth to the malt without overpowering the flavors of the typical Dark Ale. Winter was made for beers like these.

 1,033 characters

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

A 330 mL bottle.

A: The ale is a dark ruddy brown color, opaque through and through. At the narrower spots of my mug, brighter dark colors emerge. A huge head, 3+ fingers, threatened to overflow and make a mess. Splotchy lace followed.

S: The nose is thick with a sweet yeast strain followed by dark fruits, candi sugar and spices. Green apples and plums mix nicely with the candi sugars.

T: Dark and delicious. The ale isn't shy about its depth. Candi sugars, darkly sweet, lead off with fruits following in short order. Moderate spices add to the warmth of the ale, cinnamon and clove primarily. The carbonation that was so huge in the pour has disappeared, leaving the full flavors to linger on the palate.

M: The mouthfeel is rich, Belgium at its best. The candi sugars are sweet and never drop off.

D: The ale is big, not one that I'd want to drink from a 750 mL bottle. The fullness of the flavors is excellent, rich and satisfying.

 943 characters

Photo of Immortale25
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a small glass. Label says best by the end of 22/09/14 which means September 22nd, 2014 since the Europeans put their dates in a different order.

A- Pours a black color that turns a reddish hue when put up to the light with 3/4 of an inch of off-white head that relinquishes to an 1/8 inch ring around the glass's edge and has some nice, sticky lacing.

S- A very apparent pear smell ascends and is quite pleasant. Other notes of apple as well as the ever-present Belgian yeast.

T- Pears come through in the flavor just as well but give way to a pretty strong metallic taste that I don't appreciate. Plenty of banana notes from the yeast but it's buried a bit quickly by the heavy malt base. Some spice makes an appearance but isn't one of the main components of the profile. Bit of a soapy taste when I swish.

M- Soft, yet bold with medium-high carbonation.

O- You can't ask for much more in a Belgian winter ale. Not a lot of Christmas spices or herbs but still memorable and comforting

 1,005 characters

Photo of barczar
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%

Esters of pear and green apple contrast dark Belgian candi sugar in the aroma. Flavor is similar, with pronounced esters dominating and finishing fairly sweet and toasted.

 171 characters

Photo of pat61
4.84/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Have had both on tap and from the 33cl bottle. The aroma is a spice and dried fruit combination that evokes alcohol soaked fruit cake. It pours brilliant deep reddish chestnut under a 2" very white tan foam cap that slowly descends to a thick, lacy film. It enters the palate hinting of cherry that morphs to apricot backed by dark dried fruit (figs or dates but not prune) sweetened by dark sugar flavors with a bitter hop accent on the finish. The soft foamy texture is outstanding and is more apparent in the bottled version than on tap. The carbonation is above average and the body hovers around medium.

 608 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle with a best before end date of 9/18/2008. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a brown/ruby color with a half inch off-white head. It smells like citrus, spices, dark fruit, bread, bananas and pears. It tastes very fruity, like dark fruit, pears and bananas, and also like pepper, cloves and Belgian yeast. Mouthfeel is medium/full, but a bit over-carbonated to me. Drinkability is OK, it's smooth but the high carbonation cuts down on the drinkability. Overall I think this is a decent beer, but I think it would be better if the carbonation was lower. But even then, I'd still drink it again given the chance.

 626 characters

Photo of tigg924
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had on tap at New World Tavern--served into a tulip glass

Appearance: chestnut brown in color, 1/2 inch head, clear, medium carbonation

Smell: holiday spice and pumpernickle bread

Taste:holiday spice, pumpernickle bread, big molasses, cinnamon, raisin, and slight cherry

Mouthfeel: heavy bodied, medium carbonation, sweet with slight bitterness

Overall: A really good holiday ale that I was pleased to find on tap in July. Love the complexity and the molasses taste. I will now make this a part of my routine holiday beer pick up list.

 540 characters

Photo of avalon07
4.8/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Poured from a bomber to a tulip glass. Had a dark brown color with ruby red tints. Cloudy consistency. There was a big, off-white, creamy, long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: A fruity, malty, spicy smell. Very aromatic.

T: Tasted of malt, citrus fruits, esters and spices. Remarkably well-balanced with clean lines. Alcohol is barely noticable. An excellent flavor.

M: Lots of carbonation with a very dry finish. Medium- to full-bodied.

D: A drinkable beer if there ever was one. AN extremely well-constructed Belgian Strong Dark Ale that's one of the best I've had in the style.

 585 characters

Photo of ppoitras
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from somewhere local.

Poured into a Rapscallion snifter, formed an inch tall foamy tan head. Beer was translucent, but not clear, and of a bright reddish brown hue. Heavy foam lacing prevalent. Aroma is Belgian spicing and malts, with a bit of room left for some fruitiness. Taste is initially sweet malt, quickly enhanced by the spicing, then closing with a dry, slightly warming finish. Mouthfeel is quite creamy, and this brew is quite drinkable for its potency. Happy holidays would brought on by a few of these.

 532 characters

Photo of scruffwhor
4.17/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- a very clear brown with lots of rubyhighlights throughout. OK bubbling, good head and sparse lacing throughand through. ooks more like an English Brown ale than a Belgian.

Smell- Made me think of fruit cake with a shotof brandy to warm the chest and stomach.

Taste- Starts with wet, figgy malts that subside to darker, carmalized fruits with a touch ofsome roast. Brown sugar apple plumspice to finish.

Mouthfeel-You don't se that much carbonation, bout you can feel it. Balanced and easy to drink, especially for 8.5% abv.

 544 characters

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.5oz bottle poured into a Corsendonk Globe

A beautiful mahogany color with a huge, light tan head. Little lines and dots of lace coat the sides of the glass. A stream of bubbles push north from the nucleation site. The aroma is oddly complex. Fruity esters, tart Belgian yeast, cinnamon, ginger, raisins, plums, and clove. I almost get a little bit of port wine. A sturdy malt base with earthy, dry hops allow all the flavors to dart and dance around. Most similarly resembles raisin bread and ginger cookies. A complex, beer for sure. Medium body with a creamy mouthfeel. Easily drinkable.

 593 characters

Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
4.13 out of 5 based on 1,208 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe