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Beer Review #182 St. Bernardus Abt 12

This is the third beer that I have reviewed in the St. Bernardus “brand” of beers brewed by Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV of of Watou, Belgium. I have really enjoyed the other two beers from the brewery. They really strike a cord as being traditional Belgian beers that are made with a healthy respect for brewing tradition. I would love to visit the brewery whenever I get the chance to visit Belgium again.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 pours a flat brown color that has a thin off-white head. The liquid is a bit cloudy thanks to the yeast left in the beer to naturally carbonate it. The nose is highly yeasty and spicy. There is some heat present, as this beer comes in at 10%, but it isn’t overwhelming. In addition to the typical Belgian spices I found some of the malt odors very nice. I got some nice whiffs of bread and biscuit. I also got a slight sour smell in the beer, but nothing to really make a big note of.

On my first taste I again noticed a bit of sour flavor, but I found that it wasn’t as much of a sour flavor as it was dark fruits that share the same type of tart flavor. The heat is there, but all of the malt and dark fruits really cover it up nicely. For a beer that has such high alcohol, the heat is well restrained in the flavor realm. The Belgian yeast comes in to finish up the beer with a very “Abbey quality.”

This beer is very thin and highly carbonated for such a big beer. I find that “normal” American beers at this level of ABV tend to be thicker the higher the ABVs. This beer is supposed to be the standard for what a Belgian Quad should be and I can see why it is. It has a complex flavor malt and spices happening and the alcohol is clean. If you want something to keep you warm during the winter, I think this is a great option for you. (more…)

Beer Review #168 St. Bernardus Tripel

It doesn’t feel like that long ago when I reviewed St. Bernardus Prior 8, but it was, that was back in the summer. I had a few of the St. Bernardus beers when I was in Belgium over the summer and my taste for Belgian beers still remains. This ale is brewed by¬†Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV of Watou, Belgium (next trip to Europe Nate, next trip). One of my favorite parts of Tripels is that my wife doesn’t particularly care for them, so I get them all to myself. I also love the taste.

This Tripel pours a nice cloudy blond color and has a fluffy white head. The nose is distinctly yeasty, with some slight Belgian spice in there. As a homebrewer, you quickly learn the smell of yeast, and this beer has lots of yeast smell. I also found some really nice banana in there as well. One notable thing that I didn’t get was heat. For a Tripel and for being an 8% beer, I expected a little heat.

My first taste was packed with a really good malt flavor. There was a wheaty flavor as well which isn’t something I’ve noticed in a lot of Tripels. The banana from the nose also carried through to the taste along with the slight bits of Belgian spice. What I really liked about this beer is how delicate the flavors are composed. The flavors are really balanced but this one is much more malt forward than other Tripels that I’ve had. I still have yet to be disappointed by the St . Bernardus beers. (more…)

Beer Review #126 St. Bernardus Prior 8

Since returning from Europe I have been on a Belgian and German beer kick. When in those countries I made sure not to purchase any beer that I knew that I could easily get here in the States. I mainly did this just so that I could try as many new beers as possible. I did have a few repeats, but for the most part I tired all new beers (to me) on my trip.

One of the beers that I made sure to avoid was today’s subject, St. Bernardus Prior 8. Prior 8 is brewed by¬†Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV of Watou, Belgium. This Belgian ale is an Abbey style ale that comes in at a respectable 8% ABV. It pours a nice brown color and is accompanied by a two finger tan head. This beer is also nice and cloudy as a result of natural carbonation from the yeas that is purposefully left in the beer.

The nose on Prior 8 is wonderfully complex, as an Abbey Ale should be. I found some plum, Belgian spices, and some slight heat. Along with the other odors is the smell of some nice malty sweetness that cuts between the rest of the activity.

On the first taste, all of the flavors that were promised in the nose made a reappearance in my mouth. The plum and Belgian spices mixed wonderfully. The heat was present, but complimented everything else as did the malt sweetness. There were also flavors of raisin and fig mixed in which really added something special to this beer.

I really dig this beer. It might be the fact that I am craving these beers right now, but I think this is something special. I highly suggest this beer if you have never tried it and, if you have already had it, try it again. (more…)