Corsendonk Christmas Ale | Brouwerij Corsendonk

BA SCORE
92
outstanding
602 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 pezoids on 11-22-2001

BEER STATS
Reviews:
602
Ratings:
1,205
Avg:
4.13
pDev:
10.41%
 
 
Wants:
91
Gots:
189
For Trade:
2
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 602 | Ratings: 1,205
Photo of KMillard
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Chimay goblet glass. Nice tight head, lacing, dark, but Amber in the light. Smell very close to the taste. Comparing to the similar Chimay darkest beer, this beer has strong fruit smell and taste, but sophisticated fruit. Raisins, figs, dates. A Nestle Chunky bar minus the chocolate. The high alcohol content is not apparent. This is however a very thick and complex ale. If you enjoy dark, complex beers, this is most worthy. Merry Christmas!

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Photo of Marraybay
3.3/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Amber red with exceedingly generous head; nice glass presentation. Fruity and vinous in the nose and registers the same on the palate. Sweet and syrupy; effervescent. A bit of a balance issue for me in that I felt some citrus and or bitterness was needed as a counterpunch to the sweetness. Also a bit of a metallic note toward the finish that I find unappealing. Fairly big beer at +8, but not overwhelmingly so. Interesting beer, but as someone who isn't a great fan of the style, I probably wouldn't revisit.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.67/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I know I've reviewed this before and just haven't gotten around to typing up my notes, but I was in the mood for a Belgian and nabbed this at a Whole Paycheck in Manhattan for $10.99 USD to revisit. 'Tis the season, anyway...

BOTTLE: Seasonal label art depicting a wintry night, a star, and a Christmas tree. Has an odd twist-wire cap over a cork (sort of a wire cage and cap without the cap; instead there's a metal clamp). Best before: 07/09/19. 750ml format. Brown glass. Imported by St. Killian Importing Co.

8.50% ABV. "Dark ale refermented in bottle."

Served cold into stemware and allowed to come to temperature over the course of consumption.

HEAD: Occupies half the glass with its lively pale khaki colour fluffy, mushrooming out of the rim. Creamy and soft as can be, with a nice complexion and a light consistency. Retention is excellent - ~10+ minutes.

BODY: Deep dark sanguine with an enchanting glow. No yeast is visible within, but it's really too dark to see anyway (some might mistake it for black when viewed from a distance).

It's a classic appearance for a Belgian dark ale. I'm excited to try it.

AROMA: Dark fruit is instantly noticeable, with notes of dark cherry, plum, date, prune, and faint fig. Spicy Belgian yeast is obvious, with notes of fennel, licorice, anise, and possibly coriander coming through. Slightly jammy, with a natural fruit syrup aroma. I can tell there's some dark malt sweetness, but the aromatic focus stays squarely on the dark fruits and yeast, evoking a nice mulled drink. Possibly some candi sugar too.

Aromatic intensity is average, letting the subtle notes entice without beating you about the head with big bold aromas. Cherry dominates. I'm looking forward to the first sip.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Yeasty spices marry well with dark fruit in this well-balanced yet complex and subtle brew, with the licorice/fennel/anise family of spices edging out coriander and subtle cacao (or maybe it's cassia?) for the title. A dark malt backbone provides enough sweetness and body, but this brew is almost refreshing it's so approachable. On the light side of medium-bodied, with none of its 8.50% ABV noticeable whatsoever.

Dark fruit is given as much emphasis as the spices, with dark cherry leading the pack trailed by dates, prunes, and possibly fig; plum didn't quite make the cut as far as I can tell. A candi sugar like flavour lends complexity without taking the balance too far towards the sweet end of the spectrum. Raisin imbues this already lively estery Belgian ale with further classic Belgian dark ale flavour.

When prompted to find dried orange rind, I do find it buried in there, but I won't pretend I'd pick it up in a blind tasting.

Subtlety is what works here; each note is vivid enough to contribute without overwhelming the rest of the brew as a whole.

No overt hop flavours. No off-flavours/faults. No booze.

Depth of flavour could be improved, but it's nice as-is. Flavour duration and intensity are style appropriate (which is to say moderate).

Not an oily, gushed, hot, harsh, astringent, rough, or (horribly) syrupy brew. It does have a thick filling presence on the palate, bringing the weight needed to sustain its many flavours. Bready.

The mouthfeel doesn't accentuate specific notes per se, though its slightly syrupy feel coupled with its thickness helps play to the dark fruit a bit more. Smooth and wet, though I think a slightly more powdery dry feel might be interesting. Carbonation is near perfect; bottle reconditioning was the right move.

OVERALL: I'm pissed at myself I didn't find the orange peel until it was pointed out to me, but I digress (it seems so obvious once you know to look for it).

It's not the *best( Belgian dark ale out there, but it's easily one of the best 50. Remarkable balance, an emphasis on subtle delicate flavours (instead of big bold extremes that drown out everything else), and an enjoyable melange of decadent dark fruits and dry spices make this a winning beer with high drinkability for the style. So much easier to drink than the vast majority of American expressions of the style, Corsendonk is a brew I'll enjoy getting through a full 750ml of myself and it'll be hard to go back to shelling out $15+ for American-brewed bombers of beers that are usually nothing special knowing this sits on shelves for $10.99 even as an import in one of the most expensive metropolitan areas in the U.S. At Belgian prices, you'd be an idiot not to buy it.

A Christmas ale for the ages.

B (3.67) / GOOD

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Photo of MacMalt
4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 vintage. Poured into tulip glass. It pours a dark ruby color with mahogany hues and one finger of foamy, ecru-colored head and lacing with nice retention. It smells of sweet malt, brown sugar, candied fruit, and a whiff of coffee. The taste is berry-forward with plum, banana, clove, coriander, nutmeg, and pepper. There is also some subtle brown sugar. It finishes with just a touch of bitterness and pepper. It is medium-bodied with lively carbonation and the 8.5% ABV gives it substance without overwhelming. Overall, it's a delightful Christmas Ale that lends a sparkle to the season!

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Photo of Marius
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

25cl bottle. Dark ruby-brown pour with a tan head that gives way to a sticky lacing.Smells like dried fruit, coffee, chocolate, toffee, red grapes, copper. The taste follows the same notes, bitter-sweet leaning towards sweet, with a medium body, soft carbonation and a sticky sweet aftertaste.

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Photo of dragos
4.84/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer is great. It looks dark in the glass, however sometimes you get either some yeast or coagulated proteins which seem to float in the bottle.
The mouth feel is perfect for a Christmas ale, medium to full. Not too full to overload your tongue and mouth but just enough to keep it interesting.
The flavour is superb. It has loads of dark fruit of all kinds. Sip it slowly and try to name everything you taste. I cannot get enough of this. Too bad it is only available during Christmas time.
I recommend this beer fully. Remember, this beer is not about the hops but malts and fermentation which means yeast.

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Photo of Bierliebhaber3
3.98/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This Belgian strong dark ale pours a dark brown color with a slight red tint and a thick, foamy tan head. The smell is surprisingly very mild with only hints of caramel malts and some spices. The taste is more appropriate with many of the flavors typical of Belgian beers: banana bread, coriander, cloves, plums, and some spicy snap at the finish. The flavors are certainly present, but they’re still a little more subdued than what I would expect out of a Belgian beer of this color. The alcohol is noticeable, but also a little more subdued than I would guess from an 8.5% beer though it does send a nice warmth through you. The body is medium, which again is a little lighter than I would expect from the color. Not a bad beer by any means, but a little bit disappointing based on how high the rankings are. I would just like some more punch out of it, but it is still a finely crafted beer.

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Photo of gandres
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

11.2 ounce bottle to wine glass
reddish brown, clear, medium tan head quickly head goes away
Nose: malty with a hint of beries drink: berries come out
tasty, medium bitter
lively carbonation
very good beer ok to repeat, look for
Drank: April 30, 2016

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Photo of bushbeer75
4.17/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

poured from 11.2 oz. brown bottle - best before 19/08/18

Corsendonk Christmas Ale changed the color of my tulip glass to a dark mahogany producing a generous 2-finger thick tan head. The head held well and eventually formed clingy lacing. The nose was first hit with dark fruits (i.e., plums, raisins) and brown sugar (caramel) followed by nice holiday spices. The taste matches the nose almost perfectly except the spices are more predominate. The mouth feel was crisp, smooth and had a dry finish with light warmth from the alcohol, The body and carbonation is medium .

This [true] Belgian Strong Dark Ale is one nice brew for the holidays - for that matter ANYTIME!

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Photo of Cthulhusquid
4.78/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Three finger white-brown head, very dark brown red-tinged body.

Smell: Dark fruits, marshmallow, weak spices (smells almost like Dr.Pepper), and has a light vinous quality. You can even smell the alcohol a bit, which I didn't like.

Taste: Sweet dark fruits (mainly plum), marshmallow fluff, cinnamon, pepper, and notes of wood and chocolate.

Feel: High carbonation, medium bodied, and has a noticeable alcohol bite.

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Photo of erk0607
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Clear, effervescing red-tinged brown with a creamy beige head.

S: Dark, malty

T: Creamy, strong spices though I couldn't say which, malty, like a dark Christmas ale should

F: Slightly foamy on the tongue, not heavy per say, but a sipping beer for sure

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Photo of Cyrano41
4.93/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this just after new years. Poured a dark, opaque brown into a standard pint glass. The smell was spicy and pleasant, I didn't know what to expect from this one but it exceeded even the bar set by the other Corsendonk ales I've had. I immediately wanted another one and regretted only picking up the one in my build your own from six pack from total wine. Isn't "Give me another" the highest praise ?

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Photo of tekstr1der
3.91/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Good looking pour is clear, dark brown with lasting beige pillow on top. Aroma has some spices I'm not too fond of - anise and clove. I can smell the Belgian yeast and malt I enjoy beneath, but the spice is detracting. Flavor is better, with the spices more subdued, some ripened fruits and sweet malt. Slightly thin, but smooth mouthfeel. Not sure I'll revisit this one.

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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.

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Photo of jspaner
3.58/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a rich, dark reddish-brown color with a thin layer of head. The smell is the usual Belgian yeasty aroma, but with spices, typical of Christmas beers. Nothing extraordinary here, it's probably what you would expect. The taste is slightly tart, and I found the spices to be over-represented. I would prefer more dark fruit flavors or mild malty flavors, but if it's there, it seems to be hidden behind the spiciness. I detect a little nutty flavor, but the spices (anise?) seem to dominate. The aftertaste is a bit bitter & tart. Overall it's a tasty dark Belgian ale, but I had hoped for more balance. The spices dominate, to the detriment of the other flavors.

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Photo of archyquaffer
4.24/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served from a 330 ml (11.2 oz) Euro-brown bottle into a small pilsener glass. The label has some nice Christmas art, with a medieval-looking Madonna and child standing in a monastery. The label includes a "best before" date of August 2018. A moderate pour produces a creamy, chunky and quite sticky head of about an inch. The beer is a ruddy, yellowish-brown and fairly hazy with light carbonation.

The aroma has a sharp, cider-like tartness. The flavor is not as tart as the aroma suggests, but is nonetheless pleasantly acidic, with cherry, apple and melon notes, with balance provided by a dose of mild earthy funk, a touch of sweet tobacco, and a subtle nuttiness. The mouth feel is creamy and frothy.

This beer is quite a treat and very reasonably priced at $2.95 for the bottle, purchased at Front Street Market in Butte, Montana. I'm enjoying this during the NFL's wild card weekend. I may go back and obtain more of this for cellaring.

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Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
4.21/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From the year old bottle, it pours a darkish brown with a moderate head with large bubbles, dissipating somewhat rapidly into a small covering of the liquid. Somewhat spicy and fruity to the nose, followed by an easy drinking similar flavor in the mouth. It went too quickly! Yum!

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Photo of dacrza1
4.49/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

DATE TASTED: December 28, 2015... GLASSWARE: Corsendonk tulip...OCCASION: enjoying each day of the Christmas break with a review... APPEARANCE: pours a dark, lustrous purple brown body; immense, three-finger brown head forms creamy, bubbly cork that retains its dignity for quite some time; when it acquiesces, what is left is equally majestic--a flurry of Brussels lace ... AROMA: plum and raisin, doughy, toasted malts and earthy hops mingle with less dominant citrus to provide a welcoming, complex aroma... PALATE: strong, commanding yet smooth sip; maltiness is apparent in its fortitude at the finish, while the early palate suggests some hop activity; lively during its middle passage, while dry at the end--full-bodied, thick, and not at all bitter... TASTE: first, the toasted sweetness of bread and chocolate converge; just as quickly, orange and licorice arrive to create a nuanced holiday flavor; malts are doughy, slightly smoky and formidable; plum and pear make the fruitiness even more apparent--quite a cocktail, but one that holds to its original mission of drinkability...OVERALL: I purchased this months ago in preparation for this season--yet so far from its end date of January 2017--and this old friend does not disappoint. Up to 8.5% ABV as per its label, this cream, full-bodied beer relentlessly pleases sip after sip, a perfect comrade for the freezing rain falling outside...not much to find fault with here--a great drinking experience...

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Photo of sokol_1993
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very fruity, a little bit sour at the end, but the taste itself is not too special or notable.
Not too much aftertaste, but does have some fruity aftertaste.

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Photo of Svingjo
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bought as part of a six pack 250ml gift pack. Pours a dark brown colour with a thick tan head that dissipates fairly quickly leaving a thick ring around the glass. Lots of dark fruit, caramel, and holiday spices. The flavour is much the same with the rich fruit and sweet malt jumping to the forefront. There is a slight alcohol burn but not as much as you might expect given the ABV. There also is a slight hop bitterness that is perfectly balanced. The carbonation is active but just enough to give the medium body feel a nice crispness. An awesome example of the style. One of the better winter warmers.

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Photo of parkcenterlounge
4.46/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Excellent Christmas beer. Belgian Strong Ale tastes too smooth to be so strong. Had from draft and has a very light feel with great subtle spice notes. Don't miss out when this comes around

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Photo of mkh012
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sampled on Christmas 2015. A deep, reddish brown with a sticky tan head. I get raisins, toffee, dried cherries, and slight anise on the nose. Taste starts with lively carbonation and a subtle anise bite. I hate licorice, but it was subtle here and gave way mid-palate to raisins, dried cherries, and holiday spice. Mild cherry or cranberry sweetness lingers. Great aftertaste. The flavors meld and dull a bit as I get further into the bottle. A solid BSDA with nice Christmas-esque flavors.

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Photo of EMV
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

L: Pours a semi-opaque deep mahogany/cherry color. Thick tannish head that sticks around forever... almost foam. Great legs.

S: Dark fruits and caramel... plums and spice.

T/F: Malt and spices.... plums and figs stewed together with brown sugar, cloves, and nutmeg. Faint cocoa notes bouncing around as well. Smooth as silk.

O: A very balanced and drinkable celebration of Christmas. It tastes like an old fashioned dessert, and that's not a bad thing at all. Definitely a seasonal treat and I like the warming at the end.

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Photo of ajm5108
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep brown with a pretty thick head, layer of foam lingers for awhile. Very sweet aroma with candy apple cider, rum raisin, sugary alchohol esters and tropic fruit. Takes you by surprise with just how sweet / fruity it is. The apple / pear flavor is define noticeable, pretty strong spicy phenol taste but not hot or boozey, an licorice / anise flavor comes out towards the end and is the most lingering. Almost tastes like an apple Jagermeister would if it had a thick malt body. It has a good fruit / spice mix but it the bitter anise kinda subsumes the dryer, more subtle fruit notes. So if you like black licorice and spicey phenols then have it. Not bad but not particularly my cup of tea, so to speak.

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

Appearance - dark brown color with tan head

Smell - cocoa, clove, nutmeg

Taste - cocoa, clove, nutmeg, caramel

Mouthfeel - Medium Bodied, Medium plus carbonation, moderate sweetness from the cocoa, clove & nutmeg arrive and linger at the finish line

Overall - this is a nice beverage that I am enjoying. Worth a try for Belgian Ale lovers

Prive Point - $4.29/11.2 oz bottle

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Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
4.13 out of 5 based on 1,205 ratings.
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