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Beer Review:
St. Bernardus Abt 12
Watou, Belgium
By: George Zhen

December 20, 2005

(Watou, Belgium) - Belgium is filled with magnificent examples of fine brewing. Some are light, some dark, and a fair amount are kind of like wine. Picking one as the best is like choosing the best Swiss chocolate. Tastes differ, senses are delightfully overwhelmed and each sample brings with it a new challenge to one's skill at crafting hyperbolae. St. Bernardus Abt 12 (blue label) certainly inspires us to elevate that particular craft to new levels.

Brewed in the town of Watou in the Southwest of Belgium, this brew brings with it every bit of the tradition and charm of the region. We were lucky enough to have sampled both draft and bottled versions of this beer. There is a slight difference in head and perhaps a dash more fruit note in the draft variety, but otherwise the brew is similar in form no matter how it is dispensed. We do, however, recommend a nice beer chalice for this beer.

Blue Bernie (as we like to call it) pours nicely with a foamy, light tan head that doesn't diminish significantly. A nice webbing of lacing remains behind as the brew is consumed and almost makes a permanent impression in the glass. Color is dark brown with a hint of red coming through in the light - a beautiful color nearly matching the complexity of the taste itself.

The smell is of malt, yeast, dark fruits and cherries trying their best to mask the alcohol. It takes a while to journey through the complex tasting experience, with notes of fruit and tinges of hop making the perfect balance complete. The finish is long and dry with the bold carbonation tickling the nose for a bit as well.

Did I mention the alcohol? at 9% ABV, this is no simple drinking expedition you're on. This beer will smash you up, if care is not taken. It drinks so nicely that it is easy to find yourself useless and babbling to your friends about things you won't remember in the morning. Trust me, I know what I am talking about here. Pace yourself, limit yourself, hydrate yourself and be careful not to get carried away, because if you don't, they'll carry YOU away.

On our journey to date we've been fortunate to sample some of the world's best. Dogfish Raison D;Etre and Skullsplitter are the only ones scored as perfection so far, and now they have company. This is one of, best beers in the world. Find the Blue Bernie. Try the Blue Bernie. Love the Blue Bernie. You'll worship it as we do.

Note: Can you imagine, the St. Bernardus brewery in Watou, Belgium has a Bed & Breakfast on its grounds? The writer is trying to get his wife to agree on this as a second honeymoon spot. He is hopeful, if not diluted...

Beer Tasting Scorecard
St. Bernardus Abt 12
Attribute Score
Head 5
Color 5
Taste 5
Flavor 5
Effect 5
Overall Score 5.0

For more information on St. Bernardus Abt 12, visit their website at

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