Saint Bernardus began brewing commercially in 1946. One of their best known and loved beers is their ABT 12 which is a Quadruple Ale. ABT is short for Abbott, the highest level in monastic culture. In reference to the beer, calling it an ABT is to say the beer is of the highest quality and only served to the most esteemed guests. The 12 refers to the degrees Plato, the Belgian system of measuring gravity. The higher the degree of Plato, the higher the alcohol content.
The beer pours a deep mahogany with reflective copper hues when viewed in the light. The three finger soapy tan head has amazing retention. Once it does finally dissipate, a moderate lacing is left behind. The carbonation, marked by the persistent rising of tiny bubbles in the glass, is certainly noticeable.
The nose opens with malty aromas that almost immediately transitions to notes of fruit. The fruit notes consist of ripe bananas, stone fruits (apricot, black cherry and plum) and dark dried fruits (raisins, figs and dates). Caramel, toffee and molasses notes add an unmistakable sweetness.
On the palate, sweet malt and yeasty bread notes form the backbone for this world class beer. Dark stone fruit and dried fruit notes of plums, black cherries, figs and raisins dance around the mouth. Sweet flavors of caramel and toffee are met by a drying note of cocoa powder. Light spice notes of coriander and clove add complexity. The finish showcases a warming boozy note. The mouthfeel is creamy and thick without being syrupy or cloying.
A great beer from St. Bernardus. This beer could easily be the standard by which all other Quadruples should be judged. A great beer for the upcoming snowy days. The perfect pair a for tangy goat cheese, rack of lamb or apple pie.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.5 Pints out of 5
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