I don't get that question asked too often, but every time I do it's always the same answer St. Bernardus Abt 12 60th Anniversary "Special Edition"
I had an old friend ask me this over the weekend and although the answer was simple It got me thinking about my review I posted a few years back. Well I've decided that I'm going to pop another bottle this Sunday during half time and revisit the beer now that it has a few years of age on it.
Here is my old review:
I picked up a case shortly after it's release directly from their US distributor. My brother owns a bar so I often have access to purchase rare an limited stock beers from time to time.
The case didn't look like much at first, but once I popped it open I knew I was about to enjoy a special treat. Each limited edition Tin came packed in it's own little section in the over sized box. After pulling a tin out of the box I was amazed at the craftsman ship of the heavy gauge tin and how great each one was decorated. Normally they don't spend that much time and effort on a tin even for a special or limited edition release.
I have had abt 12 in the past and really enjoyed it for such a strong beer and thought how could they already improve on such an already great beer??
Well although this is a strong beer ( a quad) so it's 11% ABV, it was better then the regular release. It's pours dark pinkish brown with some haze and a massive head that settles slowly. Tons of lacing on the glass indicating how refined the beer really is. The beer has a great spicy, fruity aroma only leaving a hint of alcohol for such a strong beer.
The first sip did remind me of an Abt 12, but this seemed a bit sweeter with a heavier malt and slightly less carbonation. It was amazingly smooth draw with a creamy thick linger of carmaled hops, with a slight hint of vanilla. This a great enjoyable drinking beer. It's the type of beer you want to sip slowly and enjoy sip by sip although you can guzzle because it's has such a mellow draw. You almost have to remind yourself that this is a beer when drinking it. It has quit a bit of complex flavors for a beer. As I continue to drink it reminded me a little like a single malt scotch, but in a beer format if that makes since.
It seems to be a bit young for the amount of complex flavors, sweet, fruity, carmaled, spicy, creamy I'll probably pop another bottle in a few years to allow it to refine a bit. This is by far one of my favorite beers after only 1 bottle because it mixes a wide varity of flavors, with balance AND strength. You can often find a good beer that encompasses a lot of one or the other, but it's rare to find a beer that not only encompasses all 3, but excels in each and every catagory.
This is an amazing beer and has received the highest ratings for a beer in the World. If you have never tried St. Bernardus "The monk beer" your in for a treat. Beer advocate gave it an A out of 233 ratings (including mine) and rate beer gave it a 100 overall and a 99 in style.
If you've tried this beer please add your comments and if not you better get your bottles fast because I only have about 4 cases left and I still have some room in the cellar!!