1000. St. Bernardus Abt 12 60th Anniversary Edition

I've probably explained what the numbers before each beer mean on the blog before, but I'll mention them again for this post. I started keeping track of the different beers that I'd had my senior year of college. The beer list is yet another example of my obsessive side. Once I started the list I had to continue adding to it. I started keeping notes on most of the new beers that I try in January 2006, when I started this blog at beer number 308. Over the 6 years that I've been keeping a list I've averaged about 165 new beers a year, however the yearly average stands at about 210 new beers since I started the blog. Hopefully 2000 won't be another 5 or 6 years away...

1000. St. Bernardus Abt 12 60th Anniversary Edition

I originally purchased two bottles of the 60th anniversary edition of St Bernardus Abt 12 at Downtown Wine & Spirits in the last few months of 2006. My intention at the time was to have one beer then, and to cellar the other. For whatever reason I ended up leaving both bottles in the cellar. Having both bottles in the cellar made picking out beer number 1000 for the list very easy. Jadyn and I split this beer on April 8th. I let it warm to around 50ยบ F before splitting it between Westvleteren and Ommegang chalices.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Year: 2006
Alcohol: 11.00%
Serving: Bottle, 750 mL
Style: Quadrupel, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: 4.5 | Smell: 5.0 | Taste: 5.0 | Mouthfeel: 4.5 | Drinkability: 5.0

Overall: 4.85

This beer initially pours a mildly hazed, amber color, but becomes much darker and cloudier as the end of the bottle is poured. A half-inch thick, creamy, beige head tops the beer. The head retains well, and leaves generous lace clinging to the side of the glass. Small flecks of yeast on top of the head give the beer a cinnamon-dusted appearance.

The aroma is malty and complex, and gives away the fact that this beer has been aged. An aroma characteristic of aged Belgian Quads and Strong Dark Ales - somewhere at the intersection of boozy, vinous and buttery - greets the nose first. Notes of toffee and candi sugar are present, but have likely faded. Swirling brings out an acidic, cherry aroma as well as hints of chocolate.

This quad is malty and sweet upfront. A mild, bready sweetness is first evident, followed by sweeter flavors of caramel and candi sugar. Raisin and fig flavors appear towards the center and are followed by a lightly tart, cherry flavor. The cherry malts combined with the alcoholic spice give the beer a boozy, vinous quality that moves into a mildly bitter finish. Ageing, at least as compared to regular St Bernardus Abt 12, seems to have mellowed out the fruit in the center, and brought out tart and boozy characters. This beer is medium-bodied and smooth with moderate carbonation. It's not as thick as most quads. Has this relative thinness always been an aspect of the beer, or is it a consequence of cellaring?

Delicious, smooth and complex. I think ageing does a lot for this style as a whole. Deciding whether to have the next bottle sooner or later will be a tough decision.