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style
Brewed by St. Bernardus Brouwerij
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
Watou, Belgium

bottled
common

on tap
common

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 1229   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.88   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 300   ABV: 10%
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COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
St. Bernardus Christmas Ale is the youngest descendant in the illustrious family of delicious Abbey Ales by Brewery St. Bernardus. This specialty beer of 10% alc. vol. is characterized by its deep dark colour, with a creamy, thick head and a full, almost velvety taste with a fruity nose. It's a seasonal ale, brewed annually for the holiday season. The long winter nights are perfect moments to savour this ale with or without friends and to enjoy its unique, complex taste and after-taste.


3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Taverner (1100) - San Ramon, California, USA - NOV 8, 2009
Fruity, yes. Very fruity. Pours a brown sugar-brown with frothy, soapy, sudsy tan head. Aroma is very fruity - notes of fig, raisin, apricot and other dried fruit. Also notes of must. Has just a touch of brett in it - from what I can tell, which gives this beer a very dry flavor on the palate. Not sure if this was intended or not, but at this point is very welcome, as it has not going full steam. Ends clean.

4.1
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
GMCC2181 (1539) - Newark, Delaware, USA - NOV 5, 2009
Bottle caged and corked, picked up at Stateline. Muddy brown/red-ish color, big head. Nice aroma of some spices, dark fruits. Taste is great...just what I was looking for in a holiday ale. Really nice spice, banana, fruity, cinnamon and some light roasted maltiness to it. Each sip, gets better. It has a creamy smoothness that makes it way to easy to drink for being ten percent. Overall a great beer to sip on a cold rainy night.

3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
elihapa (1532) - Honolulu, Hawaii, USA - OCT 28, 2009
On tap, Wurstkuche. Pours brown-ruby, slightly opaque, and with a small beige head. Aroma has initial bready, sweet malt, then moves into the Christmas spice cabinet: nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon. Palate is similar to Abt 12, but less creamy. Flavor starts with a bite of sweet malt and brown sugar. The noel spices really come into their own in the finish, a bit heavy-handed if you ask me. The finish is peppery, boozy, with strong cinnamon. Just doesn’t come through with the smoothness I wanted from a winter warmer. Fittingly, this beer tastes like a Belgian version of Anchor’s Our Christmas, but less well put together. Doesn’t even compare when put next to Abt 12. Perhaps better bottle-fermented than on tap.

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
VertBaconStrips (2139) - Asshat, Alberta, CANADA - OCT 21, 2009
K, almost a year old... My bottle pretty much exploded. Dumped out a massive bubbly light brown cap that stays forever and leaves a total disaster in my glass... the foam has tons of speckly sediment trapped in it. It’s hard to tell on the colour with so much sediment - seems reddish when up to a light with the crown gone. Attentive yet uninspiring nose: sweet caramel, dates.. or figs? weak molasses, raisin, dark fruit, spices that may be hiding the alcohol... I really don’t think I can breathe deep enough to pick up the alc. Banana? Hell yea... seems to be becoming more prevalent. It’s taken a while for these aromas to free themselves. As this warms a plumy spice with a very distant banana becomes the standard. Gonna be feeling this by the time I finish it! The taste is infectious - I cannot stop drinking this! I predict that I’ll finish the entire 750ml in under 20 mins. What a tasty beer - nothing that blows me away but just so damn drinkable. Spices, sweet caramel, plumbs and raisins on the first sip. Sweet and spiced and done to perfection. This is no complex beer but the flavours are perfect. Very well balanced... ahhaha now that I’m drunk and way to jacked on Slipknot it’s hard giving 10’s and 5’s. Light dates, nut and chocolate, tons of malts. Over medium bodied, smooth, nice spice, finishes wonderfully.

4.2
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
BeerChaser0078 (909) - Melbourne, AUSTRALIA - OCT 17, 2009
750ml Bottle. Pours a deep dark reddish copper colour with a bubbly beige head that lasts for ages. Nose shows a little bit of alcohol as well as notes of raisins, dates, malt, cherry and a hint of chocolate. Flavour is also full of dark fruits, malt, spice and some more chocolate. While it is surprisingly highly carbonated, it is still very smooth and the alcohol is very well hidden. I’m yet to be disappointed by St Bernardus and this beer is one of their best, excellent at any time of year.

4.5
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
njmoons (59) - New Jersey, USA - OCT 2, 2009
An excellent sweet Belgian Dark. Was happy to find this on tap at the local Beer Bar. Pours a dark reddish brown with little if any head. Smell is of sweet friuts, figs, raisins, and some spice. The sweet smells over shadow light notes of malt, chocolate, and there is little if any alcohol in the smell. Taste starts sweet with fruit and spices in good balance, slightly overshawdowing the malt. The sweet flavor last right through the end, but never is overwhelming to the flavor of the beer. The finsih is mildly bitter (very mild), slightly alcohol warm, and unexpectedly crisp. Taste is almost a 5 just a little sweet for me. Overall one most unique beers that I have truely enjoyed with the combination of subtle flavors and balance making this a winner! The mouthfeel is heavy and consistent with the style. Drinkability is excellent for such a strong beer, but after a couple you really start to feel it.

4.7
   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
KornDogg (544) - Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 27, 2009
Deep and Dark with large tannish red head...strong fruity aroma ... the sweet fruity flavor balances out the alcohol and warming power... great Ale, not really sure what the difference is between this and the regular abt 12

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
wetherel (1836) - Encinitas, California, USA - AUG 22, 2009
On tap at PP Carlsbad. Dark red amber color. Creamy offshite lingering head. Sweet. A bit of booze. Banana belgian yeast aroma. Wonderful beer.

4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
BroSpud (1793) - , Massachusetts, USA - AUG 20, 2009
Julio’s Belgian Beer Festival. Sample. St Bernardus has not dissapointed me yet. They had this one on draft for sampling. Pours a deep dark with a nice head. Surprisingly little alcohol taste for a 10%.. As with their other offerings a very complex taste with alot of subtle flavors that change as the beer warms. I am getting several bottles of this for the holidays.

4.8
   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 20/20
BigBen2120 (688) - Derry, New Hampshire, USA - AUG 17, 2009
(Review written December 2008) 75cL bottle from The Lighthouse in Manchester, Maine. Pours a hazy but still translucent dark copper with a half inch of light tan head. Smells intensely fruity and spicy, with banana, nut, and chocolate notes. Tastes fruity, chocolatey, and spicy, with an underlying toastiness. Banana, nut, cherry, dates, and cloves all play nearly equal roles. On the heavier side of medium-bodied with ample carbonation. More of a sipper, though one sip most definitely invites another and this beer was gone long before I wanted it to be. Wow. Quite possibly the best beer this brewery makes, a phenomenal Christmas beer, and one of the most flavorful and complex beers I’ve had all year. Amazing!


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