Liam Deegan

Beer Review: St. Bernardus Abt. 12

In Quad, Reviews on April 7, 2010 at 5:32 am

This Belgian Quadrupel style beer is often compared to the very hard to get and coveted Westvleteren 12.  Westvleteren 12 is a Quad only available at the monastery in Belgium and only with a reservation to purchase it.  Most beer lovers say St. Bernardus Abt 12 is comparable and being that it is very widely available in the states, a lot easier to come by than the legendary Westy 12.  I really enjoyed this one.

Some quick information: a Quad is a somewhat new style which notes it strength higher than a Tripel.  The Abt. is short for abbott the highest level in monasic culture, which references that this is the highest quality beer produced for the most esteemed guests.  12 refers to the degrees Plato, the Belgian system of measurement for gravity or amount of dissolved solids (sugars), which is what alcohol comes from.  The higher the degrees Plato, which is basically the gravity measurement (1.012) and dropping the 1 and the decimal point, he higher the alcohol content of your beer, so watch out!

Here’s my review:

Pours a deep hazel and produces a dense, khaki head that leaves chunky lacing all around my Chimay goblet.

This beer smells of rich malt, dark fruit, mostly fig and raisin, followed by a bready aroma and fruity esters from the yeast.  Other notes are of dark cherry, banana, ripe fruit skin, and clove.

The first sip is prickly carbonation from the bottle conditioning, but quickly turns into a creamy sweet malt bomb that then displays dark fruit on the palate, followed up by a dry cocoa powder that plays nicely with a warming alcohol finish.

There is lively carbonation up front but it maintains a creamy mouthfeel and full body.

In my opinion, this is a great dinner or dessert beer.  It will go great with steak or salmon and will hold up to strong cheeses both due to it’s rich quality and palate cleansing ability through heavy carbonation.  For dessert, I would love to have it with fruit tart or shortbread and the malt will harmonize well with a sweet dessert featuring both fruit and bread or biscuit flavors. (Fruit Pie, strawberry shortcake, blueberry cobbler).  There is no doubt this beer will encourage a decadent dining experience.

ABV: 10.5%

Style: Belgian Quad


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