Saturday, 14 March 2009

St Bernardus Abt 12 Special Edition

François was in from Kenya this week, so we had him and some others over for dinner and a few Belgian beers. Living in Africa, François was after some decent beer and good cheese, and I think we hit the nail on the head: to get started, we sampled Rochefort 8, Rochefort 10 and Chimay Blue, and after the main course, we had a cheese board including Chimay cheese.

But the real star of the evening was a couple bottles of St Bernardus Abt 12 Special Edition. Yes, one of these bottles was my birthday present, and I had intended to age it for a few years. However, the shop around the corner just got another shipment of the same batch, so cellar supplies have already been refreshed.

“Cloudy”, was François’s first comment, followed by “tasty”. I found it much like St Bernardus Abt 12, but with some liquorice notes. Fiona agreed, saying it was, “like the liquorice in a sherbet fountain”. In other words, light rather than strong.

François also found peppermint, as well as plum, cherry and gingerbread. Fiona, “old plums, maybe, peppermint and fruit, dried apricot”. Nico wrote down that it was “softer than Chimay Blue, a bit sweet and creamy”. I was sensing nutmeg.

The regular St Bernardus Abt 12, which is also sold around the corner, has become a fairly regular beer for me. Our original tasting notes had “banana” down as a component, but over the last two or three months of drinking it fairly often, I have to say I haven’t noticed banana at all. It’s time for a new blog entry on that one.

But returning to this St Bernardus Abt 12 Special Edition: this is an excellent beer. Aging is likely to make it legendary. If I can just have enough patience...


  1. I had the occasion to drink the regular Abt12 on tap, but I still aven't had this beer in bottles. I only found the tripel, but no Prior or Abt...
    I bet it's great, considering what bottle conditioning could do.
    I wish there were a good beer shop near me... :D

  2. You can get Abt12 on tap where you live? Wow!

  3. also among my favorites but you really should try to score a bottle of St. Bernardus makes you almost believe in Santa Claus !!

  4. Hi,

    I like your writing style.
    I am belgian myself, and I can assure you that there is truth to the "banana" note you speak of. In fact, and most of my friends here would concurr, it's very noticeable in Chimay Bleue too. Especially when you just opened it, at the beginning of the drink. It's something I have noticed in several different brown beers.

    Now I have only tasted 3 or 4 american beers in my life, and the same goes for pretty much any country... but I think I have a fair deal of experience with belgian beer. A friend of mine brews his own, too. Please continue your blog, and if you ever, ever look for a contact in Belgium. Don't hesitate to write, I live in Eupen, near the German border.

    Have a nice day.


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