overall
99
99
style
Brewed by St. Bernardus Brouwerij
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
Watou, Belgium

bottled
common

on tap
available

Broad Distribution

Add Distribution Data
RATINGS: 1508   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.88/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 300   ABV: 10%
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.

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3.8
jcos (1851) - Maryland, USA - DEC 21, 2011
Location/Date:Beer tasted on December 17th, 2011.

Appearance:Pours a dark maroon.
Aroma:Aroma is super matly and sweet.
Taste:Complex malty, with some sweetness from darker fruit.
Palate:Medium-medium thicky body, slick.

Summary: A good beer to stay warm with this time of year.

4.1
nyindiansfan (463) - rochester, New York, USA - DEC 20, 2011
Bottle. Pours a cloudy brown nice head. Smells and tastes of dark fruits,yeasty, fruity, spices, maybe bit caramel. Awesome beer lucky to find it even after christmas is over.

3.8
deanso (10128) - Chiang Mai, THAILAND - DEC 19, 2011
15cl bottle sample @ Essen Kerstbierfestival 2011 Thick white head. Clear deep amber pour. Great tasting beer! Yummy!

4.4
erickok (6037) - Leuven, BELGIUM - DEC 19, 2011
UPDATED: FEB 19, 2012 Murky brown with a solid sticky head. Lots of spices here, especially cinnamon and ginger. Cookie dough, candy sugar, pecan and faint dark fruits. Delicious sweet taste. Rich, mouth filling texture that is dangerously easy to drink. Heavy, sticky: tasty! Awesome Christmas beer in true Belgian style - think Corsendonk or N’Ice Chouffe. (75cl bottle) (Rating re-indexed)

3.8
emacgee (4675) - Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA - DEC 18, 2011
Draught at Milltown. Pours murky mahogany brown with two fingers of creamy sandstone tan head leaving a spidery lace as it dissipates. Nose is has lots of ethereal sweet notes and lots of fruity esters. Lightly floral with a lot of sweet spice and phenolic character. Lightly alcoholic with some prune and raisin and other dark fruits, hint of chocolate. Flavor is spicy and lightly sweet. Lots of dark/dried fruits. Very raisiny/pruney, lightly rummy. Some caramel. Hints of alcohol shine through. Medium to full bodied with a soft carbonation.

3.8
ChadPolenz (1816) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - DEC 17, 2011
I split a 750ml corked and caged bottle with a friend. We poured it into tulip glasses.

Appearance: Very dark brown/maroon/mahogany hue. Opaque but plenty of visible carbonation sticks to the side of the glass. Forms a large, white, foamy head which laces and retains quite well.

Smell: Strong banana and clove aroma. More so than anything else, actually. Some general spice to the nose as well as hints of alcohol.

Taste: Belgian quads and "strong dark ales," especially Trappist and abbey brews, tend to have a natural spicy/peppery taste and sensation to them. I think the idea behind St. Bernardus Christmas Ale was to capitalize on that foundation and make it even stronger. The result is a beer that is both effervescent and spicy as can be without actually adding any additional spices to it.

As soon as the beer hits the tongue, the entire mouth is engulfed in classic Belgian spice. Perhaps "spice" isn’t the appropriate description since I can’t pick out any flavors akin to ginger, cinnamon, etc. Rather, it’s closer to table black pepper, but in liquid form. The beer seems to swell up and occupy the mouth with a foamy texture and intense peppery sensation. Once you get used to it you begin to taste the classic Belgian flavors of dark fruit, and confectionary (especially caramel) sweetness Alcohol imparts a subtle warmth on the aftertaste, but otherwise it’s remarkably clean although slightly dry. Tasty and satisfy to be sure, but nothing in the ballpark of genuinely amazing. Perhaps a vintage would be, though.

Mouthfeel: Extremely intense with massive effervescence and a sensation of living foam.

Drinkability: While St. Bernardus Christmas Ale may be a commendable brew for its palate and relative complexity, it must be penalized for its very low drinkability. It’s beers like this I point to as an example of just how zesty and spastic a Belgian yeast strain can be. The carbonation gets stuck in the throat after ever swig, regardless of whether it’s a big gulp or a gentle sip. The 10% ABV is well utilized as there’s only a minor warming sensation and taste, but after one serving you definitely feel it all. You also feel quite full.

3.9
italianjohn (3130) - Penndel, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 17, 2011
Deep plum pour thin off white bubbly beige head sticky striped lacing .... aroma of dark fruits plums, figs .... taste is of dark fruits (plums and figs) with some spices and caramel malts that flows into the backbone .... mouthfeel is soft and very fresh ..... only slight warming in the finish but abv is hidden well .... amazing brew nice to see it on tap

3.9
oldrtybastrd (5002) - Fort Walton Beach, Florida, USA - DEC 16, 2011
Pours a nice dark reddish amber color. Aromas of fruit, and some other hints, maybe some spices, maybe caramel. Flavor is a bittersweet, malty, and a hint of hops with a nice bittersweet finish.

4
craftycarl21 (2338) - Seattle, Washington, USA - DEC 15, 2011
Draught at Churchkey. Deep mahogany pour. Prevalent notes are of cider, plum, fig, apple skin and fruit, and beautiful sweet bosc pear. Rich, decadent mouthfeel, but it still goes down quite smoothly. Absolutely luscious.

4.4
rougeau13 (3008) - Richmond, Texas, USA - DEC 15, 2011
Hazy reddish-brown with a small beige head that quickly dissipates. Aroma of figs, raisins, other sweet fruits, caramel, candy, spice and yeast. The flavor is sweet fruit and malts, with a bit of spice and a mild bitterness. The alcohol is very well hidden. Full bodied with low carbonation and a very mild dryness to the finish. Awesome.


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