I’ve been way behind on my Christmas beers this year, mostly because I’ve had a nasty cold that stayed with me for just about 3 weeks! I just wasn’t into trying new beers I guess. Well, one of the Christmas beers I did try once I kicked my cold was the Delirium Noel and I thought it was simply amazing!
So amazing in fact, I got the idea that perhaps grabbing some other Belgian Christmas beers to try would be the best way to catch up and celebrate the season! So, when I was at my local Whole Foods I stopped by their usually decent beer selection to see what they had to offer. One of the Belgian Christmas beers I selected, and the focus of tonight’s beer review is the Corsendonk Christmas Ale!
The bottle is kind of cool – it has a real cork and cage and the beer opened with a ‘pop!’ that was neat! Seems like a happy beer right off! Compared to the Delirium Noel, the Corsendonk Christmas Ale had the aforementioned pop, and in addition this beer really created an insane head of foam that was very slow to fizzle out. Very nice lacing was also evident on my glass as well.
The smell was very similar to the Delirium Noel – I’m thinking there is a ‘Christmas Belgian Ale’ style where there are a lot of similarities in look, smell and taste? We’ll see! (I have one more Belgian Christmas Ale to try 🙂 )
This 8.5%ABV dark Belgian ale was brownish in color, but quite cloudy. The smell was similar to the Delirium Noel, but I think less intense in just about every way. It was sweet smelling, but much more subtle than the Delirium. There was a subtle malty aroma, along with the plum or raisiny components – yet still not as pronounced. The thing I noticed most I think in comparison to Delirium Noel was the more toned-down candy sweetness. Still, there was hardly a trace of alcohol that I could pick up.
The taste really followed the aroma nicely. I thought it was quite good, and had I not just had the Delirium Noel, I would think this were a great Christmas Beer! It is good, its subtly sweet, has hints of fruity tartness and its not as amped up on the candy sweetness that Delirium Noel presented – but its there. The mouthfeel is actually a little more active in comparison which isn’t surprising I suppose considering the ‘pop’ from the cork and the humongous head this beer created. I think the Delirium Noel was a bit flat in comparison. There was the nice spiciness that gives a bit of a bite, but still there was almost hardly a hint of alcohol flavor in this 8.5% brew. (These Belgians hide that flavor quite well I think in spite of the higher ABV)
So, what do I think of the Corsendonk Christmas Ale? well, it isn’t bad. It has a really nice flavor, sweet, subtle spices, nice beer for the Christmas season. The mouthfeel is much less sticky than the Delirium, but the flavors overall, while very nice, to me were just not as interesting or impressive as Delirium Noel.
As Bob said in his review earlier this year of Corsendonk Agnes its “good, but not that good.” I’ll say something similar about the Corsendonk Christmas Ale. Its good, but its not great, but that still earns 3 stars from me which means if you see the Corsendonk Christmas Ale, go ahead and try it!
So far, Delirium Noel is my favorite Belgian Christmas Ale this year. What’s yours?