Merry Christmas indeed! I really enjoyed drinking this Corsendonk beer, and here is my review of it.
Visual: This beer was a very deep reddish-brown with a good, long head retention. It looked a lot like a normal Belgian brown ale in the glass.
There was a lot going on in the aroma of the beer. I found that it was very pleasing to sit and sniff. The first aroma that I noticed was an almost candyish note (I couldn’t put my finger on the specific candy that it reminded me of). It almost had hints of maple syrup on the nose. I don’t know if anyone else caught it, but I smelled what was almost a touch of a soapy aroma. Overall the beer had the smell of fruits. Being that it was 8.5%, there was a winish quality to the odor of the beer, along with hints of alcohol. In terms of the fruit aroma, I pinned it down as dried apricots. There was almost a touch of apricot tea in the aroma.
The apricot tea aroma translated into the taste of the beer. Since the beer was finely carbonated, it was full and bubbly in the mouth. Roasted grains started jumping out about halfway through a sip of the beer. There was also a nice dry and hop bitterness at the end of the brew. I found that the beer had a very nice sweetness to it, which would disappear with further attenuation. The further that I got toward the bottom of the bottle, the more the metallic quality that it gained (it was hardly noticeable in the beginning). In addition, there was little overwhelming spice in the beer, which is so common in many Christmas beers.
All in all this was an enjoyable beer to drink. If it had any weakness, it was the metallic quality toward the end of the bottle. I also would like to note that I had this beer with some peppery Venison summer sausage, which went very nicely with the taste profile (give it a whirl).