St. Bernardus Abt 12


Abt12bThis has been one of my favorite beers for several years now and I thought it was about time to sing to you of its praises.

According to the Beer Judging Certification Program (BJCP) it is categorized as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale (Category 18E). The distinction of the term “Quad” is also applicable here, but there is a bit of discussion about what that means exactly. That particular term arose to distinguish this kind of beer from the BJCP-recognized categories of Belgian/ French ales- Witbier, Belgian Pale Ale, Saison, Biére de Garde, and Specialty Ale.

But I digress.

This is an Abbey ale as opposed to a Trappist ale which is a fascinating topic. To learn more, follow this Wiki link, and St. Bernardus in particular,

Oops, I digressed again.

I retrieved the bottle from the fridge and opened it and was patient enough to wait for the fifteen minutes it took to warm up to ideal drinking temperatures. That was harder that I thought it would be. I swept the floor, straightened my side of the bedroom (a seemingly never ending task- I think the Entropy Fairies sneak in when I’m gone). Each time I returned to measure the temperature, it was rising, but oh so slowly. I don’t rush.I did some dinner prep-grilled tofu and vegetable tacos (I don’t always eat bacon).

I came back to my glass, and there was a mother#$%^ing house fly, INSIDE THE GLASS! Once again, moving with my Bourne-like reflexes, I covered the top with my hand and swirled. The fly was doused and quickly dispatched. It was only in the beer for two seconds which is well within the generally accepted though scientifically unverified “3 second rule”. And I am not one to waste beer.

Finally, at 55°, I could sit and savor.

Sweet grain dominates the aroma with a bit of raisin and spice. Similar on the palate and no hop bitterness. This is a heady 10% ABV so I encourage to share with a loved one. I didn’t however.

This is a layered beer that I love to roll around in my palate to pick up the many nuances. It would be an outstanding match with a roasted chicken. Recently, we have started doing cheese plates with a glass of port foe celebratory dinners. I think Abt 12 would provide a better match with a mild bleu or smoked gouda.

When drinking this beer I get a feeling similar to this…You are reading a book you have come to love and you strum the remaining pages with your thumb and realize that you are coming to the end. You feel enlightened (and, in this case, due somewhat to the 10% ABV) and a little bit sad. I was somehow reminded of this…

In the summer before the beginning of our senior year in high school, Jim McLean and I went to see the movie, American Graffiti. We witnessed people grappling with some of the issues that were barreling toward us. I felt a mixture of excitement and sadness. After movie ended, we sat there in our individual reveries. We didn’t say anything, we didn’t move. We stayed in the theater and watched it again.

Geez, I’m going out to buy another Abt 12.

P.S. The Lost Abbey remains unopened in the refrigerator..