Beer of the Weekend #861: St. Bernardus Abt 12 (2012 magnum edition)

The beer of the weekend is another beer I have been aging for quite a while, perhaps too long: St. Bernardus Abt 12 (2012 magnum edition), brewed by the Brouwerij St. Bernardus of Watou, Belgium.

This tasting is out of the ordinary not only because I have aged the bottle for so long, but also because the bottle is so big: 1.5 liters (50.72 ounces). Yowza! The appearance, aroma, and flavor changed as I made my way through the bottle—at two-day endeavor that involved me saving the leftover beer from the first night in my meowler.

Needless to say, I should revisit this beer in the future after buying a smaller, fresher bottle.

At first, the color is a clear, cherry-tinted mahogany that leans toward brown. A finger of tan, buttery, bubbly head leaves a skim and a collar of lacing. On subsequent pours, the appearance darkens and becomes much more turbid as the sedimentation at the bottom is disturbed. A lot of suspended sediment or protein is evident in the final two glassfuls. (Decanting is something I should look into.)

The aroma is fruity, yeasty, and a touch boozy. It is very complex; I don’t know if my nose can do it justice. There are scents of caramel, cherry, toffee, plum, a touch of apple, a hint of banana, raisins, and red wine. It has a slight vinegar scent, so I hope that is not due to how long I’ve aged it. Yeast is also noticeable. On subsequent glasses, the malt and fruit aromas take over, and the vinous characters fade (thankfully).

The flavor is smooth and delicious! The mouthfeel is velvety. The alcohol is noticeable right off the bat and gives the beer a hot toddy character. At first there are flavors of honey, cherry, plum, yeast, light apple, banana, caramel, and raisins. It is boozier than anything else; in that way, it reminds me of whiskey. The darker and fruity flavors, however, begin to dominate after the beer has warmed and in later glasses.

Fun facts about St. Bernardus Abt 12:

• Style: Quad.

• Price: I’m not sure, but it probably was not cheap since it is the magnum edition. Mervgotti—whose employer distributed St. Bernardus beers (wink, wink)—gave this bottle to me in 2013, I think. He gave one to Sweets, too, on the same night. While I aged mine, I think we drank Sweets’ bottle soon afterward.

• Alcohol content: 10 percent ABV.

• Since this is a magnum version, it comes with some special features. The brewery’s logo is embossed on the bottle. The bottle is packaged in a plastic, translucent box with info about the beer, the special label, and the label’s artist. The label is a painting titled
De Abt by Rik Vermeersch.

• The best before date painted on the back of the bottle is 31/12/2017, so I drank it just in time! In fact, I was on the verge of popping the top last year when I noticed that date and decided to save it for one more year. A bad move? Maybe.

The Quiet Man’s grade: B+/A-.

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