You know those beers you see on the shelf but never try? Not neceasrily because you think they’re bad, you just always find a better option, or can’t afford the price tag. One of those beers for me is St. Bernardus Abt 12. After hearing a friend rave about the gift pack he purchased, I had to finally make the plunge and pick up a bottle for myself.
I expected a lot out of this beer, which has earned a 100th percentile rating at RateBeer. I’ve heard many people speak highly of it as one of the finest examples of Belgian brewing, and, honestly, I’m a bit embarassed that I had yet to try it.
Out of the bottle, this beer froths up immediately, even with a gentle pour. The massive head which billows above the rim of the glass smells of bananas and has a very sweet fruity flavor. You’re going to get to know this head, as it sits on the beer for some time and you have to do a little digging to get through to the actual beer. I love the amount of fruit that comes through in this beer, balanced by a serious kick of alcohol and a caramelly sweetness. Swish it around in your mouth and the flavors open up, as well as a good amount of foam. This isn’t a bad thing as the beer feels like a cloud as it passes through your mouth.
I said I had high expectations for this beer and all it did was meet them and possibly exceed them. A difficult beer for a novice to drink, seasoned pros should also be wary, as the 11 ounce bottle definitely slowed my evening down considerably. Don’t let this one stay on the shelf any longer.