Saturday, January 2, 2010

St Bernardus Christmas Ale



Christmas Ale

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
 

Belgium

Belgian Strong Dark Ale
 

10.00% ABV





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. (ratebeer.com)

Background:

I think this may be my new favorite Belgian Christmas Ale. Corsendonk Christmas Ale was my favorite for several years. That was until I tasted this beauty. I really didn’t now how good this was until I tried by old favorite, Corsendonk the other night and realized the St. Bernardus was the superior brew. I also bought a 1/6 keg of this for our two annual Christmas Parties; Popcorn and Cranberry stringing on Dec. 23 and our Christmas Eve party. We did finally kill the keg when I poured the last two growlers to take over my father’s house on Christmas Day.

Review:

The bier pours a dark cloudy dark brown with a rich tan head.

There are sweet dark roasted Belgian malts on the nose with some of those sweet dark fruit esters and volatiles that are escaping from this rich tan head. There is also just a hint of Christmas spices peeking through.


Oh my, what a bier. Sweet dark roasted malts upfront then a nice effervescence followed by a creamy mouthfeel aided by that rich head. The finish is a sweet malty goodness alone with some very nice Christmas spice and that classic Belgian yeasty aftertaste.

This seems to be a little crisper and definitely more carbonated than the draft was. Duh, I guess that’s all the some effect of the carbonation. The draft also seemed a little maltier than this bottle. I fully expected the bottle conditioned 750 to have a slightly different character to it. You know, that an extra yeasty character from the bottle conditioning. We’ll have to see how it goes one it warms and opens up a little.

It is warming a little, now at 58 degrees, and is much smoother and richer then it was earlier.

This is one of those beers that just keeps getting better as it warms.

Now at 60 degrees and it just makes you melt into your seat. This is such a soothing and relaxing bier; it’s like therapy in a class.

The beer is 65 degrees now. There is very little carbonation left and this bier is smooth, rich and creamy. This is one excellent bier.

This is so good I hate the finish the glass. Wow what a fantastic bier.

I just poured some of the lees into my empty glass to try them. Boy, they are some funky lees. I know I’ve said this time and time again but PLEASE! Do not pour the lees into the glass while tasting the bier. It will completely change the characteristics of the brier. By all means taste the lees but do so separately after tasting the bier as it was intended by the brewer. Sorry I feel like that’s my Belgian Bier PSA.

Well, it’s official. This is my new favorite Christmas Bier. An A+ for St. Bernardus Christmas Ale. It is much like St. Bernardus 12 but with some added Christmas magic.

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