Brewed and Bottled by Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV in Watou, Belgium. Western Europe.
Winter Seasonal (Limited Release)
25.4 fl. oz. / $11.99 USD / 10% ABV
12 fl. oz. / $ 6.45 USD / 10% ABV (2013)
About: "St. Berneardus Christmas Ale is the youngest descendant in the illustrious family of delicious Abbey Ales brewed since 1946. This specialty ale is characterized by its deep dark color with a creamy, thick head, and full, almost velvety mouthful with a fruity nose. These exceptional quality ales are brewed by using only the finest malts, local grown hops, yeast and Artesian water pumped from a depth of 500 feet."
Second Thoughts: One of my very first Christmas ales and one that I've really fallen in love with with each time I drink it. Pours a dark reddish brown with a thick luxurious head full of foamy bubbles. The scent is incredible as always.
Poured this into my goblet. The smell is just beautiful. Nicely spiced and that base beer underneath is stupendous. A real treasure. The taste is out of this fucking world. It just explodes into a galaxy of flavors and all of them are amazing. Dark fruits, plums, sweet haze of booze, luscious malt bill, beautiful spice that tingles on the tongue.
A crazy mouth feel that just pops everywhere. The head hits with the liquid and gets between the gums and tingle away. It's smooth and soft. Nice.
This is one of my favorite beers of all time.
Thoughts: Uncorked this bad boy and there was a lot of smoke. It poured a very dark, almost bloody looking amber with a creamy, puffy head that foamed like mad. It's got a very unique color that I haven't seen much. A strange hue. Not really brown and not really nearly purple, but interesting nonetheless.
Alcohol, malt and hops hit the nose first as this one is still cold. I breathe in harder and get a whiff of cinnamon and spice. Smells really sweet, but there's a lingering hop in there that's being naughty! As it warms the nose stays its ground. Defiant one, aren't we!?
Malty, little attack of the hops. Spices are nice and full flavored. It's a bit peppery. Picking up dark fruits, almost like ripped open plums in blackberry juice... Dashes of nutmeg and freshly ground cinnamon. There's an undertone of grapes or wine, but it doesn't distract. The clove here, is probably the deciding factor in a brew like this. This clove is blended to perfection within the contents of the brew's entirety. It comes off sweet, mild and smokey but doesn't leave any languishing harshness. It falls back appropriately and lets the other spices, malt and hops just circle around and twirl. Very nice.
Pretty damn creamy. Heavy froth in the mouth. Thick. This is some serious drinking.
Aftertaste is bready. I really like this beer. Don't love it necessarily, as for a Christmas brew that tinge of extra-strong awkward hop comes through a bit much, but damn is it still good. A Hell of a lot better than most of the rest I've tried. So far this is ranking about 2'nd place out of the holiday feasting.
Ah, this is bottle conditioned. I just poured the rest of it into my mug. Not that I can see anything in there as it's hazy as a snowy Christmas morning. Another thing I like about this one is that this brew doesn't fuck around. The booze is hard, and these are some hard times. So therefore, I thank you St. Bernardus. You've made the moment in time a little more tolerable. Until next time.