Corsendonk Christmas Ale | Brouwerij Corsendonk

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
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
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 587 | Ratings: 1,166
Photo of sponberg
3.85/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark reddish brown with a lacy white head. Dark malts and spice in the nose - almost Christmas cookie like.

Very tingly mouthfeel to start (settles a bit with time), with a round chocolate and date malt base. Very firm bitterness, tastes like it's mostly due to spice rather than hops. Curacao orange and spices (clove, coriander, ginger) start to round out the flavor along with a Belgian yeastiness through the sip. Finishes with a slightly bitter malt and spice flavor that's rather enjoyable. Very drinkable to start, but to me the spices would get old after a couple.

 575 characters

Photo of claspada
3.85/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aromas of fairly mild dark fruit, burnt caramels, candy sugar and sweet malts. Obvious Belgian yeast smells as well.

The taste is very light roast with a bit of mild dark fruits. There is also some light caramel, cocoa and toffee. Flavors of prunes, raisins and dark cherries. At the end, a moderate hop finish showed itself and cleaned the pallet well.

The mouthfeel is on the dry-side, delightfully round with a alert carbonation while some alcohol reveal itself in that of a warming manner. Smooth and very pleasant to the palate. Mild, but not weak, very simple yet balanced.

 581 characters

Photo of uvachief
3.84/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured aggressively from a 12oz bottle that was about 40 degrees. Huge amounts of creamy head. Full 4 fingers or more that lingered significantly. Had to wait several minutes for head to break and recede. Beautiful deep ruby brown color. I small malts like a loaf of fresh bread but not overpowering. Not much else maybe caramel. True Belgian Strong Ale. Light bodied in the mouth. Taste spices like cloves, nutmeg, caramel and hops. Citrus buried in there as well. Goes down smooth with no burn. Hides the high abv well. Winter Warmer on steroids. Nicely drinkable. Good change of pace beer from the fruit/vegetable beers and lighter than a heavy Russian Imperial Stout. I like it but wasn't blown away. $4.99 for a 12oz bottle.

 746 characters

Photo of PacNWDad
3.84/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

L: Pretty caramel-amber color. Reasonable amount cream colored head on pour, then lots of lace on the sides. A bit cloudy.

S: Caramel, yeast, roasted malt, earth and coriander.

T: Sweet lead with some hops bitterness and a bit of sour bringing up the rear.

F: Very smooth, moderately carbonated, extremely drinkable, surprisingly little alcohol notes given the strength.

O: A very enjoyable winter beer.

 457 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 SIRIUS2
3.82/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I poured this into a goblet styled glass from a 750ml bottle which produced a notable and foamy head. The nose was rich with malt and a spice that I would later realize as anise. Upon tasting there is an immediate malt presence that fades relatively quickly to allow for quick light hoppy finish with the linger taste of black licorice. There was pretty good warming on the way down but it wasn't at all unpleasant.

I'm not a huge anise/black licorice type of person so this one isn't going to be a personal favorite. That aside, everything else comes together to make a very enjoyable brew. Great for Christmas and that's probably often enough for me.

 654 characters

Photo of RedBeerchetta
3.82/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at American Craft.

Not muc of a head, and I like head on Christmas beers.

Scent is great. Cinnamon, some citrus, biscuits. Nice, just lacking a little "breadiness" for my palate.

Taste is a bit thin, but still enjoyable. Caramel, sweet, holiday spices. Yum, but Christmas beers are my favorite and this isn't my favorite of those.

 340 characters

Photo of Czequershuus
3.82/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

This beer pours rich brown with a large head. The aroma is full of candied dark fruits, as well as clove and nutmeg. The flavor is a similar mildly sweet mix of raisin, currant, and spices. The mouthfeel is rather creamy. Overall this was a fun tipple for present opening.

 273 characters

Photo of garymuchow
3.81/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Stored for at least 3 years. Labeled as best before 25/09/05. Hope it's not too late, but at 8.5% it shouldn't be too bad. Cork on so tight it required a corkscrew.
Pours relatively thick and dark. Candy sweet with a rich dark fruit quality. Huge tan head that settles on it's own time. Pours initially without the yeast at first, therefore clear and clean pour of dark amber of brown and burgundy. Significant lacing as it settles. Alcohol becomes more apparent without losing the initial qualities. Sweetness becomes deeper and loses the candy quality.
Flavor is not as bold as anticipated. Yeast qualities are well noted with the alcohol following suit. Moderately dry with no particular hop flavor. Starts with a light sweetness. Middle holds a rather strong hard water/metallic flavor that distracts some and includes a mild aqueous note as well. Slight oxidation of the cardboard type, but it's mild (and of course my mistake for cellaring so long). Get little shots of caramel. There seems to be a bit of vanilla with the yeast (not sweet though).
Feel is unspectacular. Seems fairly typical for style. Relatively smooth. Carbonation is a little low, but does seem to produce plenty of fill once consumed.
Drinks pretty well. Not too rich and I was able to complete the bottle while watching a movie (Hellboy) and other than a slight buzz and carbonation fullness, no damage done.
750ml bottle courtesy of Secret Santa 2005 and a former BA who I can't recall. Thanks.

 1,475 characters

Photo of ImusBeer
3.8/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served up in an 11oz wine glass, white wine.

It had a more brown appearance than black, with a tan head and produced some thin lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell was mostly light smoke and oak with some dark fruits. Taste of roasted malt, sweet malt/molassas, prunes with some spiceness like nutmeg.

The mouth was mostly thin for the color but did have some silkiness on the tongue. The alcohol is a bit too high for many of these but it's a really good sipping beer.

 478 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
3.8/5  rDev -8%

Pours two fingers of head on a dark brown body.
The aroma is roasted malt, anise, smoke and pine.
The taste starts with a mild malty sweetness, toffee, burnt wood and mild lemon bitterness. Nicely complex profile.
The texture is crisp and a bit too fizzy.
A wonderful ale.

 272 characters

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

 865 characters

Photo of Chinon01
3.8/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The taste of this beer is of orange, orange peel and orange Tang with yeast sizzle and noticeable hops in the finish. It also leaves a touch of cocoa around the outer back of the tongue and has a very clean finish. The mouthfeel was average and the drinkability was good.

 271 characters

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

A: A lot of CO2. Tan, sparkling thick head. Kind of airy, but resides slowly. As for the body: clear reddish brown/dark copper amberish color.

S: Belgian yeast esters, tart crystal malt and fruitcake. Cheeries and almonds. Hints of spices, cardamom, ginger and clove. I pick up a very slight hoppiness in the spicy nose, sort of like Saaz hops.

T: Cinnamony dark candi sugar. Alcoholic warmth and belgian abbey yeast character. Kinda sweet and syrupy, almost resiny. I don't get any hop flavor or bitterness. Smooth, but a bit too unbalanced - way too sweet and syrupy for my taste. Hints of dark crystal and chocolate malts, finishes semi-dry.

M/D: Medium body, a bit over-carbonated for the style (not extremely though) but very smooth on the palate and easily drinkable for being such a high gravity beer.

 811 characters

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

On tap at the gingerman nyc. Poured into corsendonk tulip.
Deep hazy brown with thick head. Malty belgian aroma.
Slightly sweet fruity taste with malts and spices. Its pretty darn tastey and a great christmas brew...although it does leave me hangin a bit. Its missing that little something...

 294 characters

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

Thanks to Ratman for bringing this one to the Christmas party. Very impressive presentation in the 3 litre bottle; not sure we would finish it, but we did so rather quickly. Poured a clear ruby brown with a small, lasting amber head. Aroma was malty and spicey. Palate was medium bodied and dry. Flavors of sweet malt, spices and a bit of fruitiness with a dry finish.

 368 characters

Photo of haz77
3.8/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a very dark burgundy with an inch of tan head. This falls to a thin layer after about a minute.

S - Rum, Christmas pudding, slight metallic background, cherries, figs, plums, some toffee.

T - Begins with the fruits mentioned and some tartness before a creamy Christmas spice middle takes over. Starts to dry out towards the end and the alcohol comes through with a slight metallic taste.

M - Smooth, creamy, medium body and carbonation.

D - Not bad, but there are certainly other dark Belgians I would look towards first. Decent drinkability.

 564 characters

Photo of sabrills70
3.8/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a fairly deep brown with a creamy 2 finger head good longevity and very god lace. Wheat malt is predominate in the aroma mixed with brown sugar and spicy fruit aromas. Slight wheat malt mixed with huge amounts of brown sugar taste. Slight roasted bitterness. Spicy and slightly fruity. Could use some aging as it is a bit harsh still. Side note - I have had 4 of these in the last week and some of them had much more of a wheat malt flavor then others. Creamy. Good brew to savor by the fire this time of year.

 516 characters

Photo of spense727
3.79/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Great head and lacing
Smell - Belgian, bananas, brown sugar, a bit metallic
Taste - Very tasty with a bit of spicyness, a bitmetallic in aftertaste
Mouthfeel - Very carbonated, light
Overall - Tasty, fits style very well. Very drinkable.

 250 characters

Photo of KajII
3.79/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

[Suggested Glassware: Trappist Glass]

The pour was a dark murky chestnut brown with a small (less than 1 finger) light brown creamy head that was mostly diminishing, reducing to a thin puddled film with a small collar and had good runny lacing.

The aroma was of a toasted bread malt and a musty earthy Belgian yeast with notes of caramel, citrus (lemon and orange), dark fruit (raisons and prunes), brown sugar and a slight medicinal odor.

The taste was moderately sweet and very malty with a touch of brown sugar and caramel from the get go, and then it became a tad yeasty and decently fruity with a light citrus spicy finish that had a hint of alcohol right at the end. The flavor lasted an average duration after the swallow, with a smooth malty fruitiness left behind to lie on the taste buds for just a bit longer.

Mouthfeel was almost medium in body with a creamy texture and a carbonation that was quite lively.

Overall this was a fantastic brew that was smooth, creamy and rather tasty, making it exceptionally easy to drink. In fact I need to watch how much I drink of it, due to the high ABV which is almost hidden entirely...

http://www.facebook.com/KAJIIsBeerReviews

 1,185 characters

Photo of Tyrawlings
3.78/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. Bottle poured into a snifter glass.

A: Dark brown in color with ruby hues. Dense tan head pours two fingers thick. Good retention. Very impressive sticky lacing.

S: Dark chocolate. Citrus. Christmas candy. Nutmeg. Anise. Alcohol.

T: Soft malt presence is immediately taken over by tastes of citrus fruit and the sweetness of caramelized sugar and is followed by anise. Rich caramel malts give a good balancing effect and a soft taste of chocolate and grain. Dry warming alcohol burn in the throat.

M: Silky smooth and rich. Moderate carbonation. Warming and dry.

D: Very sweet and complex. A nice Christmas offering that does'nt go overboard with the holiday spices. Recommended.

 701 characters

Photo of Brabander
3.78/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I bought this beer in december last year to have some Christmas beer for the holidays. I completely forgot to drink this beer and just found it in the fridge. Best before october 2012.

Poured in my Struise glass this beers starts very well. Deepdarkbrown fluid and a four finger head. Watch out for a little gusher, i had one.

Smell of sweetness and a bit of caramel from the burned malts. Some koriander and other spices.

Taste is normal for a Christmasbeer, i have had better ones than this one but also much worser ones. Just a good brew in it's league.

 559 characters

Photo of CrellMoset
3.78/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Belgian Bar at Brickstore Pub, Decatur, GA. Served in a long-stemmed Belgian chalice.

Appearance: A robust, lively, ruby colored brew with a healthy amount of fine-bubbled active carbonation. A huge foamy off-white head with great retention, like a huge mass of snow, initially leaves an equally huge amount of sticky lacing, but it fades quickly as this brew warms.

Aroma: Lightly spiced and fruity - anise and cloves are accompanied by a number of other distinct phenolic notes. Fruity notes are both light and dark - figs and pears are both noticeable. It's well-balanced and pungent enough, but not really all that amazing a combination, in my opinion.

Taste: Malty, mostly to the tune of caramel and sweet, sugared, bready notes. Light spice and phenols again, with anise, white pepper, and candied ginger melding with the same fig and pear notes from the nose.

Mouthfeel: Medium to thick bodied, with a low, smooth, even carbonation that lends a frothy milk-like feel.

Drinkability: This was a decent brew, though I can't say I was blown away by it. The spices and fruits were, though balanced, a little medicinal tasting. I didn't not enjoy this one, but it probably won't become my Belgian winter go-to.

 1,230 characters

Photo of josanguapo
3.77/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From cervezasespeciales. In Teku glass. Watching Sons of Anarchy 2x09. Curious spicy touch. Not sure if id like it if I drink it more times, but im more inclined towards yes.

 174 characters

Photo of falloutsnow
3.76/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From: Binny's, Champaign, IL
Date: Bottled 2012, lot 8116
Glass: Tulip

Corsendonk's Christmas Ale is a fairly standard BSDA that has plenty of caramel malt and plum/prune character for interest, though I did not notice the spicing that others mention in their reviews, and this would have added some welcome additional complexity to the overall beer. This was a fine example of the style, above (the 3.0) average, but still not one I found overly exciting for my palate (I find myself preferring Trois Pistoles or N'Ice Chouffe to this).

Pours an expansively voluminous head, many centimeters in height, even with a fairly slow pour. Bubbles in this huge mass are initially small, but as time elapses and the head is exposed to oxygen, the bubbles on top become increasingy large and collapse upon themselves. The head very slowly descends to a thin cap of foam atop the body, leaving copious and thick lacing across the entire glass. This ranges from thick, ropy strands to intricate lacelike patterns. The body is a very dark amber color, light bringing out brown-amber hues and showing that the beer is transparent.

Aroma is mild overall, primarily grape-like or vinous with slight plum and cola-like attributes, along with hints of caramel and toasted or darkly kilned malt.

Front of palate picks up fruity grape esters along with some prune/plum and richly malty sweetness. Mid-palate experiences flavors of plum/prune, grape, toasted malt, caramel and slight toasted nut flavor, a surprise hint of potting soil. Back finds some toasted malt, plum/prune, grape, caramel, and mild graininess. Aftertaste of plum/prune, grape, mildly kilned malt with a slight caramel and nut flavor (probaby from Special B malt usage).

Beer is medium-bodied, with high levels of fairly aggressive carbonation, giving this an at-first fizzy mouthfeel that quickly foams up on the palate to become fairly smooth and easy-flowing. Closes quite dry, with moderate stickiness remaining across the palate.

 1,992 characters

Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
4.13 out of 5 based on 1,166 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
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!