Tonight we will partake of another beer deemed “special” in my mind. Special due to the fact that Beer Advocate has an extremely high rating for this beer and also that it cost in the neighborhood of ten bucks a bottle (25.4 fl. oz.) This beer was an impulse buy the last time we visited Binny’s in Plainfield. The beer in question is St. Bernardus Abt 12 Belgian Abbey Ale brewed by Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV, Belgium. BA has classified this beer as a Quadrupel, a specific Belgian style of beer. There I was with 20 bucks to burn or save. I chose the beer over the bank account. Picked up two bottles. They’ve been in my fridge for about a month now, calling me, beckoning like a wanton woman each time I opened the door.
Saturday afternoon found me waiting in a long line of traffic to get into this year’s Hunnert Car Pile Up event held at the Grundy County Speedway just north of town. But alas, there were so many cars and so many people there that traffic was at a standstill and the Illinois State Police has closed off the event for spectators. An hour sitting in creeping traffic just to get waved off at the gate by a trooper. I was so bummed.
Tonight will be the night that we drink some Belgian Abbey ale.
At the appropriate time, I grabbed the first bottle. It was one of those bombers with the cannon barrel mouths, a cork and a wire cage. Unwind, uncork and pour into the (more familiar lately) Duvel tulip glass. The label on the bottle suggested that the beer be served between 52°-56°. My fridge was set at 44°, but that didn’t seem to get in the way with the first tastes. I’m sure that as the beer got warmer in the garage, more of the flavors would come out.
The beer poured up with a nice opaque of purplish-red color.The head came up a good two inches in the glass. The liquid was so opaque that no bubbles were visible. The aroma was slight with a hint of a sweet but dark citrus like a Bing cherry or something.
The first sip was delightful. It reminded me a lot of the Delirium Tremens I had a while ago. This beer however, had more body and flavor than the D.T.s did. There’s a fruity note to it, a sweetness, but I couldn’t nail it as to which one. There was a slight grape, a hint of cherry and an off flavor that reminded me of a wine. But it’s not at all like a wine because it didn’t have that sharp, tart taste at the swallow. This beer is very smooth and very drinkable.
The flavor was full and had a lot of body to it. The tastes ran the gamut across the malty to sweet to malty range, but this beer does not have a lot of either one dominating the taste. The sweetness was there but it wasn’t cloying. It was just perfect. The malts were somewhat subdued, but every other sip brought forth some of the malt characteristic. The dark citrus overtones were the most predominant. The taste will carry you away.
Before long, a little space heater was switched on in my stomach, attesting to the high ABV of this beer. But this beer didn’t taste hot at all. The alcohol was completely absent in the taste and manifested itself a little later. With that in mind, this beer should be considered a laid back sippin’ beer. A small glassful before bedtime would be perfect on a cold night. Insomnia? Here’s the remedy. A good dose of Abt 12 will send you off for a comfy stint in the arms of Morpheus.
Once again, we have landed and have partaken of a very special beer. I recommend having some available for any occasion that you deem special. If your team wins the playoffs or the World Series or the Super Bowl, have some Abt 12 on hand to wash all the lite beer down and put the dot under the exclamation point of the day. An interesting note: offer some of this beer to a wine lover you know and see what he/she says.
Looks like we have another favorite on our hands. This beer is highly recommended.
The SixPackTech ratings for St. Bernardus Abt 12 Belgian Ale are:
Taste: A- > Dark and delicious slapped on your tongue.
Smoothness: A > A freshly waxed fender.
Drinkability: A > So good. I must have more.
Bang for the buck: B > Worth every cent for this sense of “special.”
ABV: 10% (Be careful.)
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: Doesn’t smell bad. (sip) Oh. No oh, I, oh. No. I don’t like it. Just plain and simple. Plblbt! (C’mon! Just one sip? Maybe the second one will be different.)