Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Corsendonk Christmas Ale | Brouwerij Corsendonk

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
588 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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 588 | Ratings: 1,171
Photo of webmanspidey
4.16/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice, this is a dark brown color with around half an inch of fluffy head. The smell is very sweet with some hints of plums, brown sugar, and cherry. The taste is a smooth mix of grapes and dark fruit with interesting twists like orange peel and lemon. Alcohol is hidden very well.

 297 characters

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

A: dark brown with thick khaki head on the pour.

S: Strong Belgian dark smell with yeast and dark fruits like raisin. Sweet and malty as well.

T: fruity, heavy on the Belgian yeast, but also some spice and sweetness. The spice is not bad at all.

M: fluffy and smooth with good carbonation.

O: delicious beer. Not quite up there with the best of the Belgians, but very good and a nice treat this time of year.

 416 characters

Photo of atomicbeer
3.71/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 11/9/11. Purchased December 2011. Opened 12/28/12. Pours a cloudy brown-garnet color with a tall beige head. Mild aroma of figs, plum, and mild cinnamon. Taste follows: figs, dates, plums, and browned apple and some mild cinnamon and allspice, all stewed in a alcohol base. The 8.5% ABV is not real evident. Goes down juicy and smooth. Very nice.

 359 characters

Photo of vette2006c5r
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Christmas Ale poured a dark brown color, with a nice large brown lacing head. The aroma contained lots of spices, mostly sweet spices such as cinnamon. The taste was very full bodies, nicely carbonated, had strong hints of Belgian candy spices, as well as nutmeg and cinnamon. Good full body, and enjoyable to drink. Overall its a very good beer, felt it was a little overrated, but deffently enjoyable.

 403 characters

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.

 1,318 characters

Photo of morimech
3.91/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best before 20/08/15 750ml bottle

Brown color with a red tint. A large head forms and slowly settles to a thick cap. Large amount of lacing is left down the glass.

Aroma consists of dark fruit, caramel, bread, and some musty grains. The aroma is the weakest part of this beer.

Nice vinous qualities in the flavor. Dark, dried fruit like dates and prunes. Some caramel and mild spice as well. Tastes festive.

The body is a little thin but has excellant carbonation. Bottle-conditioning done well.

A good holiday ale.

 520 characters

Photo of fx20736
4.7/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pouured from a 330ml bottle into a goblet, served at cellar temp.

Beautiful, rich red mahogany with a thick brown sugar colored head. Decent lacing.

Aroma; rich, deep malt. Lavender, vanilla, pepper, cloves, oak, sherry.

Mouthfeel; is light and effortless.

Taste; easily the plummiest beer I have tasted. Oak, spices, vanilla on a thick bed of malt.

One of the best beers I have ever tasted. Will buy more soon.

 416 characters

Photo of draheim
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL (best before 20/08/15) into a chalice. Pours a clear mahogany w/ a thick khaki head, sticky lace.

Aroma is sweet, fruity, bready. Dark candi sugar, figs, dates, plums, grapes.

Taste follows nose. Sweet candi sugar, dark fruits, spices. So much dark fruit, has an almost grape juice quality.

Mouthfeel is clean and crisp, finishes dry.

Overall a solid, if somewhat one-dimensial, BSDA.

 394 characters

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

Presentation: 8.5oz brown pop top, foiled, with nice label. Best by September 2014 clearly stamped on the back. The label says this is 8.1%, not 8.5% as stated above. Poured into my Ommegang glass.

Appearance: Attractive dark amber-orange beer with a large, fluffy ivory cap with nice retention. Fairly bright, except for some tiny sediment in suspension. Massive sheets of Belgian lacing.

Smell: Lots of sweet, dark fruit leads here, with sweet grapey wine and perhaps some dark, sticky dried fig as well, backed by very soft (and indistinct) spices. Definitely on the sweet side; a couple of swirls in the glass bring out fainter notes of caramel and light bready malt. Overall, very nice.

Taste: Sweet, grapey red wine, supported by very subtle spice notes. I swore I got vanilla on the first sip, but I'm having trouble finding it now. Booze (even at only 8.1%) is perfectly integrated into the fruity and spicy aspects of this; I suspect that if I had a 750 of this, I'd drink the whole thing down rather quickly and then wonder why I was a bit light-headed. Flavorful and sweet, but ends fairly dry so that it's not at all cloying.

Mouthfeel: Fantastic. Fluffy, soft, and just...nice.

Overall: Just short of fantastic. Even though this is really, REALLY good, I don't think I like it QUITE as much as St. Bernardus. The sweet grapey flavors (I swear, as much as I hate to say this, it reminds me of Concord wine or the like, but oh so much better) and soft spice flavors are really nice. The only downfall here is a bit of a lack of complexity which, in time, might be forthcoming. At any rate, darn good stuff.

At around $6.99-8.99 for a 750, I'd give this a solid 89-90 B+/A-

 1,693 characters

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.

 793 characters

Photo of WillCarrera
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, best before August 20, 2015, poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a deep ruby color, topped with an inch of khaki head, leaves great lacing.

S- Bready malt, caramel, yeast and spice.

T- Sweet dark fruits, some sweet bready malt, caramel and light spiciness, some clove and anise.

M- Medium-bodied, smooth feel, semi-dry feel.

O- A solid holiday beer, not one of my favorites but worth a try.

 410 characters

Photo of MadScientist
4.53/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A dark brown beer with a deep garnet hue and good clarity. The persistent head is light tan, producing about of finger of compact foam from a slightly aggressive pour.

S: Prunes and raisins with pepper and alcohol. This beer has a moderately-strong dark, dried fruit aroma with moderate, peppery phenols. The malt aroma is in the background with a light, sweet aroma. There are no hops aromas and moderately-light flowery alcohol aroma.

T: It tastes like brown sugar and fruit without being cloyingly sweet. There is a moderately-strong fruit presence with flavors of prunes, raisins and figs. The yeast also brings a great pepper flavor, the coriander brings a bit of orange and nuttiness to the party. The hops have light earthy flavor and a moderately-light hops bitterness. the balance is slightly towards the bitter. The finish is off-dry with a fruity aftertaste and lingering spice.

M: A medium-full and creamy with a moderately-strong level of carbonation.

O: An awesome dark strong with a great balance of flavors! This category is a bit challenging for me because I have a strong preference for drier beer which may factor into my enjoyment of this beer. That being said the flavors of fruit and spice blended with alcohol and brown sugar are all so nicely balanced without getting too sweet.

 1,310 characters

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.57/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

8.5 oz bottle poured into a Corsendonk Christmas Ale glass.
8.5% ABV, Best before end 07/09/11 printed on back label

A - Poured with care to leave the bottle's undoubtedly thick sediment behind, this beer produces a creamy light tan head that froths up to a sizable stature. Chunky lace delicately blankets the glass like powdery snow on an evergreen. The dark cherry wood beer is still hazy despite the pour but by the beer's lighter toasted oak base carbonation can be seen rushing from a nucleation point, feeding the tall head.

S - Exotic and voluptuous Corsendonk Christmas Ale gushes with dark fruits and sweetness. Caramelized dark candi sugar is reminiscent of warm brown sugar and molasses with a touch of smoke while the earthy yeast nose presents fig, candied date, and a touch of prune juice. Malty and smooth, the nose of this beer is warm and inviting!

T - Not unlike the aroma, Corsendonk Christmas Ale has a powerful fruit aspect that ties the fig, date, and prune into more sweetness than the nose lets on. Brown sugar, dark candi sugar, caramel and toffee overlap a touch faint touch of smoked malt that lingers with the earthy and dry toasted malts before a faint touch of alcohol spice trails off.

M - Corsendonk Christmas Ale starts with a nice smooth feel but succumbs to a blast of heavy carbonation, which I find actually detracts from the flavor of the beer, scrubbing the tongue profusely (though, on the other hand, makes it a prime candidate to pair with dinner). Soothing feeling, this medium-full bodied beer has a delicate warming alcohol finish.

O - Best By date? HA! This precious beer has been sitting in the basement for over 3 years and doesn't show any signs of degradation; instead, expanding on it's fantastic Belgian yeast characteristics wonderfully. Dark fruit and sweet nuances play off the dry, toasted malt for a nearly perfect dark ale that soothes with every sip, warming gently from within. Make this a Christmas staple. I think I'll have to get a large bottle for my celebration!

 2,033 characters

Photo of BrownAleMale
3.46/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Ervs Mug served in a Great Lakes sniffter

Appearance- Mahogony to dark brown with an amber hue. Head is very minimal and stays very minimal all the way through. Very light lacing.

Smell- Very light clove scent. Not getting a ton of specific spices, just a definite spice smell though.

Taste- Pretty much follows the nose. Spice is there but very very light. Im thinking that the flavors and smells are diminished because it was on tap.

Mouthfeel- Medium body with a nice crisp semi carbonated finish.

Overall- I like my winter spiced ales to have a little more pronouced flavors and smells. I do believe the fact that it was on tap may have its part in that.

 673 characters

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.

 506 characters

Photo of zac16125
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330mL bottle into a chalice
21/08/15, which I believe is this years vintage

A: Pours a dark brown with reddish hues when held up to light. Just over 1 fingers width of light tan colored head, which takes a good amount of time to dissipate down. A thick coat of film remains throughout the entire drink, but leaves only vary sparse patches of lacing.

S: Spice is the most prominent aroma, along with some caramel and an orangey citrus. Brown sugar and nutmeg. Smells very nice, but rather tame.

T: Dried dark fruit, orange, lots of spice, a dark sweetness like brown sugar or molasses although Im not really picking up either flavor specifically, cocoa notes, a touch of hop bitterness.

M/D: Manages to pull off the creamy smoothness with concurrent biting carbonation, like only a good Belgian beer can do. Medium bodied, no hint of the ABV. Drinkability is great.

O: Overall, a very nice Christmas ale. All of the great Belgian Strong Dark's that come out this time of year is one of the many reasons winter its my favorite beer "season". This one is very good, but St. Bernardus Christmas ale still remains the king for me. This is one Ill be sure to come back to again next year.

 1,191 characters

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

Poured carefully from a 250ml bottle into the a Corsendonk Christmas glass.

Looks dark red-mahogany with over an inch of lacy suds despite a very delicate pour. Looks like the holidays to me. After all, I stare at one of these every Christmas season.

Festive combination of soft and cedary spices, alcohol, and dark fruits. Nutty yeast spills into the fruits and comes out with aromas of Belgian chocolate. Nice.

Cedary spice, coriander, bakers chocolate, dried fig, roast chestnut, brandy, and spicy finish. Subtle clove and cooked apple. This beer screams Belgian Christmas to me in a classic way.

Medium to above-medium body with a spicy prickle from the carbonation. Pronounced alcohol that warms me well.

Classic Belgian ale. Enjoyable fresh and with age. Excellent late-night beer.

 792 characters

Photo of brother_kenneth
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Blue 5 in Roanoke VA. Poured into a snifter glass.

A- Dark red, hazy brown with little head.

S- Cherries, Belgian yeast and holiday spices.

T- Well spiced. Some nutmeg, coriander, clove, etc. Some alcohol is noticeable but it isn't overbearing. Some cherries and dark fruit are here as well. Nice carbonation, fairly light body.

O- Very nice Christmas beer! Excellent on tap, hoping to eventually find some bottles!

 430 characters

Photo of Ryan011235
4.21/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an Orval chalice on 11/13/12

Bottle was on clearance, so I'm guessing it's from last year.

Dark, cola brown with a one finger cap of light sandy foam. The head dissipates at a moderate rate but last once it settles onto itself. Very good lace that looks like old, frayed foam padding.

Spices and dark bread take up a good portion of the aroma: cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and herbal notions. Some darker fruits, too. Raisins, figs and hints of deep candied fruit. All told, the aroma is on the tame side.

The flavor, however, is an attention-getter. Both the spices and bread (and especially the spices) are ramped up. Heck, the spices practically sift across the palate; it's that great sort of dry spice. Fruits are less of a focal point here which keeps the beer from being sweet. Herbal hop lingerings.

The feel is robust and billowy, mainly due to the carbonation. Hints of granular underpinnings.

This is a really good beer. The late MbpBugeye told me temperature is crucial with this one; he was dead on the money. Drink this well above fridge temperature. Recommended.

 1,091 characters

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

A: 1/2" tan head over mahogony liquid.

S: Grapes, cherries, figs and pears.

T: Lemon, grass, cherries, figs, pears, and dark grapes.

M: Medium to thin viscosity and a medium level of fine carbonation.

O: The hop presence in this Christmas beer sets it apart from most others. The yeast is very tasty as well.

 312 characters

Photo of dahlen22
4.58/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Deep amber with a copious amount of head.

Aroma: Fruitcake and corriander.

Taste: Ok...have had this beer so many times that I have lost count. However, this review is different b/c I put a bottle from last Christmas (2011) in the cellar and just popped the cork. This is truly amazing after 9 months in the cellar. Cherries, corriander, dark fruits, fruit cake with an almost sherry-port like finish. Smooth and creamy and oh so easy to drink.

Overall: This beer is tops in the Christmas beer market...that being said, put in the cellar for 9 months (or more), this beer is an A+. Good thing I have a few more in the cellar from last Christmas ; )


 676 characters

Photo of soulfly1492
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Lots of dark fruits. Caramel, molasses, good amount of alcohol. Some bitter pine and floral English hops. Good dose of darker Munich malt. some mild roasty black malt perhaps.

Appearance: Deep, near opaque purple, like a beat juice! Very large light brown head. Great retention and tons of lacing.

Taste: Dates and plums. Roasty malts. Very mild piney and floral hops. Pilsner and Munich malt bitterness. Good bit of residual sugars. Moderate alcohol flavor comes out as it warms up. Mild wortiness.

Mouthfeel: Moderate to high carbonation. Stinging bubbles. Medium body. Mildly warming, but fitting as this gets the Christmas Ale label.

Overall: Good Belgian Strong Dark Ale. A bit of wortiness from dark malts and a nice dose of a warming sensation.

Consumed on 4/21/2012. Bottle dated 9/13/2014.

 810 characters

Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

250ml bottle served in a Trappist glass.

A: Pours a dark amber to brown color forming a big creamy beige head. Medium retention and many lacings left. Quite clear

S: Delicious bready and fruity smell. Brown sugar, caramel malts, Belgian yeasts, dark fruits. Strong notes of dry plums and dry raisins

S: Like the nose, brown bread, dark dry fruits, brown sugar, Belgian yeasts and licorice. Upfront is very sweet candy sugar. Yeasts are quite earthy. End is mild bitter

M: Creamy heavy molasses body. Reasonable carbonation. Light hoppy and bready aftertaste. Warm alcohol

O: Authentic Belgian ale. Well done. Very tasty and drinkable

 640 characters

Photo of MatthewWilde
4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sample: 1 bottle 2002 (aged 9 years)

A: Very brownish red (garnet-like), strong head when poured which became a nice light head during drinking, moderate internal carbonation (even after such long aging)

S: Sweet, almost floral, definite traces of alcohol, some vanilla notes, dried fruit, cherries, not incredibly fragrant, however

T: Lightly fruity, some citrus, almost a bit creamy, nice tartness and sweetness, not very bitter at all

M: Quite light in the mouth, easy to drink even at 8.5% abv, hardly any aftertaste, doesn't wear on the mouth

O: A great all-around brew, probably a bit past its peak at this point but still delicious nonetheless

 655 characters

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

2006 vintage at Kulminator. Poured into a mini snifter. Low head and retention. Of course considering the age.  Dark, dark ruddy brown body. Aroma dominated by brown sugar, molasses, raisins, port and vanilla. Taste is malty sweet, caramel, vanilla. Low carbonation. Zero alcohol. None. This is a great example of why people have cellars. Perfect. 

 350 characters

Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
4.13 out of 5 based on 1,171 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!