St. Bernardus - Christmas Ale (2010)
This is one of my all-time favourite holiday beers, so it's no surprise that I started with it. However, this is a bottle from 2010 that has been resting comfortably in my beer cellar for the past three years. Holiday beers often have higher ABV and sometimes include strong flavours of spices, fruits and sugars and a little extra time can help to calm things down and balance it out. I also just enjoy seeing how beers change as they age.
There was still plenty of carbonation when I popped the corked and the head dissipated down to a thin layer of bubbles in the glass. It has such a wonderful aroma of dark fruits, sweet malts and holiday spices that are also carried over into the flavour. It tastes of plums, dates, and apricots with sweet caramel malts along with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg in the finish. All that combined with the bready flavours from the St. Bernardus house yeast and its like a slice of my Mother's Christmas cake in a glass. And although it's a hefty 10% ABV, the past few years in the cellar have helped to take the edge off and give it a smooth and creamy mouthfeel.