Pater Lieven (Kerst Pater Special) Christmas | Brouwerij Van den Bossche

63 Reviews
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Pater Lieven (Kerst Pater Special) ChristmasPater Lieven (Kerst Pater Special) Christmas

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van den Bossche

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by zerk on 01-01-2003

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Reviews: 63 | Ratings: 88
Photo of josanguapo
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From cervezasespeciales. In Grimbergen glass. Playing A Golden Wake. Sweet, some liquorice and with enough bitterness to compensate. Flat carbonation makes it dangerously drinkable

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Photo of JDK
4.18/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Purchased a 32oz growler at Karoc's Marathon Sidney OH. I enjoyed this and the alcohol can really sneak up on you because you really cannot taste or feel it so I'm glad I got the size I did. Definitely worth a try!

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from 4/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a dark red amber with very little head. Dark fruit and sweet malt aroma. Very sweet toffee and fruits, intense at first, but fading quickly. Doesn't leave much of an impression. Pleasant, but understated and not memorable.

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Photo of deebo
3.6/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Delirium Cafe in Brussels.

A-Clear, dark brown with red tints. Weak tan head that quickly dies without lacing.

S-A hint of funky yeast, otherwise fairly clean aroma.

T-Yeasty, malty sweet. A touch of funkiness...has the guezue here funked this beer up or is it supposed to have that hint of sourness?

M-Medium bodied and carbonated.

D-Probably too good. As the beer warms you get a bit of an alcohol burn, but wouldn't guess the strength of this one.

O-Still looking for a bad Belgian beer, not my favorite but still better than average.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
2.92/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750ml into Orval chalice.

Pours with a short cream colored head over a dark cola colored body.

Aromas are really slight for the style. Roasted fig, red grape, cocoa beans.

Incredibly smooth - very easy drinking. Flavors include ripe red grapes, cinnamon, roasted malt. Very sweet and almost syrupy, with the weak carbonation. Still could not tell this was 9%.

Overall, this is a really easy drinking BSDA, but lacked some of the depth you generally get, particularly in the aroma and body.

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Photo of rvdoorn
2.32/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Shared this one with friends during our annual pre-X-mass beertasting.
Look: the beer pours a dark brown color with a small white head.
Smell: Seven-up with licorice.
Taste: Seven-up with licorice.
Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation and medium body.
Overall: If you like overly sweet beer without any depth and taste layer, OR if you like Seven-up with licorice, this is your beer!

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Photo of jwhancher
3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Scored a 750ml bottle at a beer festival last month.

A: Pours a dark chocolate color. I poured mine into a snifter glass. When held up to the light, it's a very dark amber color with a nice off-white head that lingers a little.

S: Aromas of chocolate & toffee.

T: Tastes like a chocolate/caramel/toffee bite-size candy bar w/raisins. The taste isn't very strong or overpowering, it's kind of laid back and asks you to do some of the work. Somewhat on the dry side.

M: Something seems to be missing. It sort of tastes like a diet soda in that there is carbonation & flavor present, but that it's a little empty in fulfilling your quench of thirst and longing for a great taste.

D: I don't mind this beer but I don't think I'm overly thrilled. It's doesn't seem to live up to it's Belgian holiday beer status in my opinion.

I really appreciate getting to try this beer, but I don't think I'll be looking out for this one in the future.

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Photo of drumrboy22
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage. Cork started coming out on it's own after it was uncaged. Poured from 750mL into a Delirium Noel snifter. Beer was a dark brown cola color, with a huge, four-finger, foamy head. Moderate carbonation and light lacing.

Aroma was dark fruit (cherries and raisins), caramel and brown sugar.

Taste was caramel, cherries, apricots and oak.

Very smooth and easy drinking. Nice, fairly light christmas beer.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
4.01/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

33cl Brown bottle poured into a Gordon's Thistle shaped glass.

Deep, dark ruby/heavy brown body, good foaming biege head on top, looked every inche a Christmas cracker.

Liquorice and spices with a bit of toasted malt in the nose.

Liquorice dominates the taste as well as the aroma, the spices and malts coming very distant also rans. The 9% is very evident and adds some umph to the proceedings. This is a rich, creamy brew that is far too easy to drink, a lovely Christmas beer in all aspects.

Had this on-tap at t'Brugs Beertje in Dec 2011, just as lovely!

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Photo of tempest
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a hazy dark red-brown with a light tan head.
Fruity up front, reminds me me of Unibroue's Maudite, with strawberries and plum. There's a mild caramel background malt and a hint of cinnamon. The aroma is tea-like, green tea specifically, with more bready caramel. The aftertaste is a touch astringent, like there's too much spice (though it doesn't taste like that). This might benefit from aging and while it isn't an amazing Belgian, it's fairly nice and tasty.

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Photo of tpd975
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Tony of the OTH for opening this one.

A: Pours a nice dark brown hue with a light sparse head. Little retention and some spotty lace.

S: Bold dark fruit aromas with hints of toasted malt, caramel, and brown sugar.

T: Light toasty malt flavors up front. Lots of figs, plums, and raisins in the middle. Nice prune juice sweetenss. Light spices in the finish with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon. This is one xmas beer you could drink all year long because the spices are so understated.

M: Full bodied, with bold carbonatinon.

D: I enjoyed quite a big helping of this one. It was a real nice sipper and pared well with some smoked cheese.

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Photo of aquatonex
3.03/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a mahogany reddish brown with a lot of effervescence up front that quickly dissipates. Didn't see a lot of lacing at all. Nose was very sweet, some unplaced fruits, and alcohols. Taste is fruity sweet (grapes, slight banana), malty, and a bit alcoholic as well. Was expecting more spice. Lighter bodied than I expected. Overall, a run-of-the-mill type of beer.

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Photo of GatorBeerNerd
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown with slight amber tints. It has about a finger thick head frothy head that disappears faster than I expected leaving a slight covering of the beer. Bubbles continual came to the top the entire way down.

S: Smell of raisins and other fruity tones I cant quite place. The alcohol aroma is there as well but it is very subtle.

T: The fruity taste is definitely there but its not as pronounced as the aroma would make you expect. The fruitiness is very balanced with hops and it leaves a nice clean finish. The alcohol is practically non-existent which is surprising for this level of ABV.

M: Amazing amounts of carbonation in this one. I understand now why you continuously see the bubbles coming up in the glass. It is very thick as I expected based on the dark color. The carbonation is just a little too much of a good thing.

D: With this one being 9% ABV it is amazingly drinkable. The alcohol really doesn't have much of a warming effect at all. The clean finish taste makes you want to go back for more.

I am a little surprised this is a winter release beer. It seems like one that could be enjoyed year round.

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Photo of bilyboy65
3.29/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle with a BBD of 121009 into a pilsner glass.

A: The bottom of the glass has the look of a cloudy dark tan. This gets darker the closer to the top of the glass in which it turns to a brown. The first glass had a lot of carbonation which can be seen. Caused for a giant head, of a light tan that looks almost white, with each pour.

S: Very sweet smell of multiple fruits and a little nutmeg and cinnamon. Fruits could be apples, prunes and grapes/raisens. For a 9% ABV beer there is no hint of the alcohol.

T: Is a complex taste that differs from the smell. In that there are hops that sour the flavorful fruits a little. Very fruity over all taste with a small bitter after taste. The distinct flavors are all present, but don't seem to mesh well with each other. Any sweeter and would almost be a cider instead of an ale.

M: The carbonation dances on the tongue stimulating the entire mouth and not just the tongue. The last pour had less carbonation especially since it sat open for a day in the fridge. This allowed more of the taste to be enjoyed and there was still plenty of carbonation to not make the beer seem flat.

D: Allow the carbonation to settle and this becomes a much more friendlier beer to drink. The flavors are nice and make it an enjoyable beer to drink. Lack of alcohol also heightens the enjoyment.

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Photo of russpowell
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

BBD of: L613 121006....WTFO?? So either 2012, 2010 or 2013, cork came off with a resounding pop!

Pours a ruby tinged chestnut with 1+ finger of sand colored head. The way the head is singing would make Fred Eckart (sic) very happy! Above average head retention & average lacing

S: Woody notes, raisins, herbal hops & apricots

T: Dryness, oaky & caramel notes, plus raisins up front. Apricots, plums, nice chocolate & leafy hops as this warms. Finishes dry with much dark fruits, apples & cinnamon; plus some leafy hops

MF: Medium bodied with lively carbonation, some stickyness once warm

Drinks pretty easy, this will probably hold up a few more years given the lively carbonation, but pretty tasty right now; loads of complex flavor already at the party!

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Photo of watchnerd
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Lively carbonation in the head and fizzing in the mouth. Prunes, raisins, yeast, and candi sugar in the taste, with some coriander and cinnamon notes.

Quaffable and the 9% is modestly well hidden, only hitting you at the end and after you've had a few. A nice winter warmer.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.35/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Best by date of October 2009; Sampled February 2008
Pours with a frothy, somewhat large bubbled and short lived, dirty, lightly brown tinged, tan colored head. The beer is a very dark, burnt amber color, but does show a brilliantly clear, concentrated cherry color when held up to the light. Dark fruit aromatics waft to my nose as I pour this beer and a deeper inspection confirm aromatics of raisins, prunes and a bit of fig. There is an underlying spiciness here that is somewhat contributed by warm alcohol notes; these aromas are similar to white pepper, clove, a touch of ginger and some more herbal notes that contribute a slight green quality. Underneath the spice and fruit notes is a bit of deeply caramelized malt sugars, toasty bread crusts, and brown sugar that is not very sweet. The aroma is a bit out of whack somehow; it is a touch too vegetal, the spiciness seems a touch too hard and the alcohol can be a bit hot at times; not bad, but not great either.

Sweet and fruity tasting up front; the beer tastes strongly of prunes and raisin. It also has a substantial carbonation to it that causes it to be a bit fizzy. The excess carbonation is easily released, after which the beer becomes a bit more manageable. Quite light feeling for a Christmas beer, but within what I would expect from a Belgian version; the beer is pretty easy drinking, but does have a light fullness to it towards the middle. I think the noticeable sweetness makes this seem a bit thinner than it actually is; it is overly sweet and feels like it should have a bit more body to offset this. A touch of molasses up front, hints of toasty malt towards the end, some dusty browned grain flavors and even a touch of roast character in the finish are what is cleanly noticeable of the grain character (though that molasses note could well be from dark sugars). Not nearly as spicy as the aroma might have suggested, but there are notes of clove, a hint of pepper and a touch of woody, slightly green herbal notes. The combination of sweetness and fruit remind me a bit of grape soda.

The off note of the aroma is much muted in the flavor, but still with the up front sweetness the beer is a bit out of balance in the flavor too. Not a bad beer, just seems not quite dialed in.

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Photo of thartman
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one couldn't wait to get out of the bottle, with its self popping cork! Poured into my favorite belgian goblet, dark brown, border-line black with a thin head. Candy-like smell, some roasted malts. Nice taste, malty, horhound candy flavor, coca-cola-like with a sweet roasted malt finish. Lots of carbonation on the palate. This has been sitting in my cellar for a year, seems to have gotten a little sweeter from what I remembered. Nice Belgian, not exactly what I expected from a Dark Strong Ale, but very good!

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Photo of JohnfromDublin
4.18/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I tasted this bottle on 14.01.08 (Best by 10.10.10). Poured into Chimay goblet, a dense dark ruby brown coloured body with a decent tan head. Hardly any light coming through the brew. Head retention good.
Smelled fairly subdued; malt with citrus notes.
The taste was very good; a full robust malty warming brew. Fairly complex; spice and fruit (did I imagine Christmas pudding?). The nearest "reference" brew to this might be Chimay Bleu. Very tasty. I really liked this.
Thanks to Sofie for bringing this back from Flanders to me.

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Photo of mdagnew
4.39/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle bought from aged for about 18 months...

Poured a deep dark burgundy red colour. Creamy head poured quite loose and foamy then faded to just a thin ring around the edge... no carbonation at all... no real lacing...

Aroma - Strong rich dark fruity sweetness (black cherries and black currents mixed together, some red grapes... reminded me a bit of undiluted black current cordial), some light Flemish sour ale notes, the faintest hint of tobacco just noticeable, soot / charcoal traces, lots of liquorice mixed with some chocolate, some balsamic vinegar... probably the most original smelling beer i've had in a long time...

Taste – Lots of rich dark fruits (black currents and red grapes) mixed with liquorice and chocolate... reminded me of a Black Forest Gateau. Kirsch alcohol notes, black treacle sweetness, some burnt nuttiness, faint smokiness, Christmas pudding, brandy / cognac notes, definite sour ale traces...

Feel - Very sharp initially then smooths out nicely... medium / full bodied.. very drinkable for 9%

Overall - A superb and very original Christmas brew... definitely recommended. Also goes very well with white chocolate..

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Photo of Minkybut
3.26/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this beer into my tumbler at 50 degrees. The beer had a giant big head with really great lacing. The taste was sweet and smooth but it had a bit of a mettalic taste which we got from another beer by this brewery. I was okay with the beer and am going to have to try it one more time befor I'm sure if I like it or not.

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Photo of ThatWineGuy
3.38/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Exp 18-10-09. Mohogany colour, generous tan head with some staying power. Smell is of christmas cake, dried green and red cherries. I found the taste hoppy, spicy, sour, sharp. There was a lot of alcohol heat in the mouth, a sherry-like mouthfeel, almost too much alcohol to carry it off and I found this hard to finish actually. I think I might have rushed this one, likely it would have aged nicely and in a year or two, all scores would be higher.

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Photo of thierrynantes
4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer bottle (33 cl.), tasted in 2007.

Appearance: dark brown color, with beautiful tan foamy head (but taking little), average effervescence.
Smell : malty and chocolate aromas.
Taste and mouthfeel : powerful, slightly spicy (if drunk too cold), Malted, chocolate malts finish.
Drinkability : a very good beer in the Belgian style strong dark ale (drink at a temperature> 13 ° C)

Review translated from french 12-26-2008.

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Photo of joepais
3.82/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The bomber poured brown with an thin off white head that turns to a thin lace smells of spices , fruit ,malt and a little vinegar . Medium body with light cabonation on the palate This ale suprised me with very complex flavors lots of fruit , prunes caramel, and spices This ale was a plesant suprise I may get one for christmas or maybe sooner

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cherry tobacco with fluorescent orange edges when sunlight is permitted entry. The golden beige cap is Belgian in quality (high praise) and fills half the glass after a fairly sedate pour. Although it's wonderfully whipped creamy and looks somewhat sticky, very little lace makes its way to the glass.

The nose is a little more rough and earthy than I like in beer of this style. There isn't anywhere near the depth and complexity shown by the best BSDAs. It's dark malty, not especially fruity and only moderately spicy. Here's hoping the flavor goes off in another direction entirely.

Maybe it's because I've had so many stupendous BSDAs, but Special Winter Ale, while good, doesn't strike me as especially well-constructed. One of the problems is that the mouthfeel is too light and too finely fizzy. It's hard to sort through the various flavors when I'm not enamored with the sensory impressions I'm receiving when beer hits mouth.

Like the nose, there's plenty of earthiness to be had. Each mouthful delivers the following: dark caramel, unsweetened chocolate, dried figs, tobacco leaf, freshly-tilled soil and musky spices. I was going to say nutmeg, but that isn't quite it. The beer is at least as bitter as it is sweet, with sour finishing a distant third.

Warming (and repose) brings about more cohesiveness, a more serious mouthfeel and gives the bubbles a chance to calm down. I'm feeling better about things as I reach the midway point of the '750'. If the beer continues to improve at this rate, a score increase is definitely in order. Since the 'best by' date is sometime in 2007, it looks like I've acquired a decently aged bottle.

As anticipated, I'm enjoying the beer more now that it's had a chance to compose itself. It still isn't world-class, but it's good enough to keep me interested and to keep me plumbing its no longer quite so shallow depths. I never would have guessed an ABV of 9.0%. It looks like age has allowed the alcohol to mellow as well.

Kerst Pater Special Winter Ale isn't a head turner by any means. That doesn't mean that it isn't worthwhile beer. For only $6.99 I was willing to give it a chance. Thankfully, it has repaid the favor by giving me enough enjoyment to consider the money well spent.

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Pater Lieven (Kerst Pater Special) Christmas from Brouwerij Van den Bossche
3.7 out of 5 based on 88 ratings.
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