riversideAK (5625) - Shoreline, Washington, USA - DEC 25, 2008
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle given to me by my folks for Christmas. A nice gift. Pours a hazy shade of brownish red with a fantastic head and some sticky lacing. The aroma is of fruit cake, dark fruits, alcohol, candy sugar. Flavors of sweet over ripe fruit, dark sweet bread, sugar, candy, Belgian yeast, spice. Just a ton of shit going on. Some booziness in the finish that lingers on the palate. Sweet, spicy, yeasty, warming. Lots of carbonation, sticky dry finish. Good stuff.
GAManiac (1944) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - DEC 25, 2008
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
No better way to spend a Christmas evening than sipping on a St. Bernardus Christmas Ale. 750mL bottle poured into a goblet.
Pours a deep, murky brown with ruby hints around the edges. The head is a full three fingers and shows no sign of receding, leaving tons of lacing down the glass.
The nose doesnt surprise too much, though there arent lots of spice presence that I may have expected from a Christmas ale. The main aromas are the Belgian yeast and candi sugar that form the base with hints of dark fruits and bread as well.
The taste is also mainly that of a dark Belgian with tons of sweet malts, Belgian yeast and candi sugar. However, I definitely get more spices than the aroma would suggest as well as raisins and plums. There is a slight bitterness in the aftertaste along with some alcohol burn that warms me up a bit.
The mouthfeel is creamy but with tons of carbonation that helps coat the palate with the sticky sugar sweetness that dominates. The finish is just a tad dry.
Ive always been a big fan of St. Bernardus, so I was expecting a great beer and it delivered. One of the best holiday beers Ive had recently. Highly recommended!
craftbeerdesign (2182) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - DEC 25, 2008
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
shared 750 ml bottle. pours a brilliant deep red with a quarter inch off white head. some cinnamon and spice in the aroma. very nice over the palate... big full body up front with some yeast, spices, plum and raisins. soft on the sides and a nice strong finish. a bit of alcohol at the end as well as bigger notes of the dark fruits. this is a really nice Holiday beer...
beercollector (23) - Astoria, Oregon, USA - DEC 24, 2008
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Fort George BrewPub has a keg of this wonderful beer. They served it with the main course at their Collaboration Dinner featuring Belgian beers and seafood courses created by guest chefs.
The executive chef for the local school district food service created a ling cod stuffed with fresh razor clams served with sauteed chard and croquette potatoes. The Christmas Ale balance well with this main course.
This is a really special malty, high gravity beer that matched well with the rich razor clams.
RollinHard (1024) - Fort Worth, Texas, USA - DEC 23, 2008
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours beautifully with a reddish mahoghany color and a large tan head that sticks forever with nice lacing. Can it look better? Aroma begins with cinnemon, apricot, cloves and follows up as the beer warms with toffee, cocoa, and a little bit of berry. Tastes slightly drier than expected with some cocoa and toffee, toast, chocolate, lots of pear and apricot, mild cinnemon spice and small amount of heat. FInishes, spicy and warming with the taste of almonds and christmas bread on the throat. Medium to full bodied, highly carbonated, and very creamy. Well made for sure, just not as awesome as the Abt 12.
Brigadier (3000) - Clevelandish, Ohio, USA - DEC 23, 2008
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
750 ml bottle
**Summary** - I had high hopes for this after previous experiences with St Bernardus. In the end it was disappointing; I would love to pick up one to age to see if that improves things down the road.
** Aroma / Appearance** - A billowing head rushes down to fill the glass. After a few minutes it sinks to a chestnut brown color with clear lacing. Chocolate, malt, bready, and a little boozy it is sweet and dense.
**Flavor / Palate** - Carbonated and chocolately the experience was different than I expected. Warm and mellow it comes across as a little stronger than it should be in my opinion. For the volume it should have more flavor. It is above average but somehow just lacking that something special.
thenick (766) - North Bellmore, New York, USA - DEC 21, 2008
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bomber. Pours a dark brown with dark ruby streaks. Aroma is malt, candi sugar, cinnamon, and dark fruit - plum, fig, cherry). Flavor is thick and complex with dark fruit up front with malt, candi sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and Belgian yeast detectable as well. The alcohol burn is very slight, not as much as you would think for a beer this strong. I loved it, another masterpiece from these guys.
jmm635 (881) - Havertown, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 21, 2008
3.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Poured dark brown with a maroon/purple hue. Non-existant head. Complex aroma of malts, figs, a little alcohol, but mostly cherries. Flavor is mostly dominated by the cherries. Palate has a nice long finish, but seemed a bit thick. Overall, a pretty nice Christmas beer!
TOSG55 (223) - Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA - DEC 19, 2008
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. Pours an opaque brown with plenty of yeast sediment, and a thick, bubbly head. Aroma of sour yeast and sweet malts. The taste is fairly complex, with sweet caramely malts and flavors of dark fruits, particularly cherries. The yeast is somewhat more sour than is typical. Very nice.
bierkoning (10374) - La Tropica, NETHERLANDS - DEC 19, 2008
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
2008 corked bottle. Dark brown color. Malt, cinnamon and cardemom in the aroma. Malty sweetish, alcoholic, heavily spiced flavor with cinnamon and cardemom. Some caramel in the background. Disappointing, though absolutely a well made beer.