Saturday, January 3, 2009

Saint Bernardus Abt 12 review

St. Bernardus Abt 12Back in August of 2008, I had a chance to sample a beer that I knew I wanted to revisit again. Little did I know it wouldn't be until just last week that I had the perfect opportunity to taste it again. I chose New Year's Eve to break open a bottle of St. Bernardus Abt 12 Belgian Abbey Ale, one of the top rated beers on BeerAdvocate. This beer is brewed by Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV of Watau, Belgium.

The last time I had this Belgian quad beer was during a lunch outing at a local Fort Collins deli where they actually had this on tap. This time, I bought a full 26.4oz bottle of this big 10% ABV beer and decided to celebrate the incoming new year with it.

Abt 12 is considered a "living ale", meaning there are still enough living yeast in this bottle to culture. Abt 12 is bottle conditioned and is matured at least 3 months before being released to the public. This beer is said to be ageable for up to 15 years. However, I had no interest in aging this beer further. I had purchased this beer back at the end of August and the 4 extra months was long enough to wait.

Appearance: This brew pours a deep mahogany in color and had an enormous 3-finger tall white head. There was a loud pop when the cork was removed and I knew this beer was well carbonated. As I poured this beer there were already bits of yeast sediment in the 1st glass but that's ok, the yeast often adds quite a bit of flavor if you don't get too much of it all at once. I chose to pour this into my new New Belgium globe glass in order to help bring out the full flavor for this sampling.

Aroma: The aroma was rich with raisins and dark fruits. Mix that in with caramel malts and a floral sweetness with spicy nose. You could also pick out a Belgian yeast aroma as this beer warmed.

Taste: The taste was much like the smell, full bodied, creamy, semi-sweet with a nice blend of fruit, malts and yeast. It was a nice mix of sweet and spice with a slight bitter finish. Very tasty right from the start. I was glad I chose this beer to celebrate the new year with.

Overall: I opened this beer around 8:00pm and savored it all the way until nearly 11:00pm. This is a great beer to sip slowly and enjoy. I agree with the masses, St. Bernardus Abt 12 is one of the best out there. If you've never tried this beer you really should. It gets a very big Thumbs Up and a recommendation to buy for a special occasion or just a great beer to share with friends. What a nice way to cap off the year.

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