Name: St. Bernardus Wit
Brewery: Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Country of Origin: Belgium
City & State: Watou, Belgium
Alcohol Content (ABV): 5.5%
First Brewed: 2001
Hazy orange-colored beer beneath a slight, white head. The nose comes in with citrus, orange peel, pepper, and coriander. Curacao orange is repeated in the palate, which is also spicy on a slightly sour-sweet base. A clinging wheat mouthful, just a bit dry, completes the picture.
This brewing company is known for their Abt 12, a beer that is apparently the same (or based on the same) recipe as the Westvleteren 12, the “best” beer in the world. I have had the Westvleteren 12, and it’s just OK. Cool story, but requires too much work to obtain a bottle. It has only been available in the United States once… and it was way out of my price range. We have one bottle of the Westvleteren 12 in the cellar, and one day, when we drink it, we will grab a bottle of St. Bernardus Abt 12 and a bottle of Trappistes Rochefort 10 and do a blind taste test. They are all Belgian quads, a style that I have yet to fall in love with. They are good, don’t get me wrong… but they sometimes bore me. Anyway, I have not tried the Wit from St. Bernardus, but the BeerAdvocate bros gave it a 99… so it better be good! As much as I don’t like quads, I really dislike wheat beers. They just tend to bore me. I blame Blue Moon! Let’s see what Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV has to offer in this bottle. Cheers!
In the Glass: The beer actually looks good in the glass. Not as much orange, more a nice hazy yellow. The head was thick, too. A VERY impressive pour for a beer that I don’t generally care for. Oh, and last night I helped teach a beer class at Total Wine & More in Scottsdale. It was fun, and we featured ALL canned beers. The AmeriCAN beer festival is coming up in a few weeks. We will be there with the full report! This beer also produces a really nice sticky lace. I hope it smells good!
Nose: Holy coriander. Wow, that is harsh. I expected this to be more fruity… again, thanks to Blue Moon. I know Blue Moon is not a good example of the style, but still. Just to be clear, I did not fruit my beer! Blue Moon, when ordered in a bar, is typically served with an orange wedge. In Europe they use a lemon wedge, but still… fruit!
A second whiff and all I get is coriander. It’s OK… but nothing to write home about. I would love to meet those BeerAdvocate bros just to chat about what they like in a beer.
Flavor: Not as much coriander as I expected. It is a bit too carbonated, but finished smooth. Again, not sure why this impresses so many people… because it’s just OK. Nothing against the brewery, as they are a great example of Belgian beers… but man, this is just not my style. I am sure this is a good example of a traditional witbier… but again, for $3.49 I could buy a much better (maybe even bigger) beer. The burp didn’t really impress me, either.
Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel here is nice, thick, and creamy. But there are a few too many bubbles for me. I did, on that sip, swish the beer around a little bit in my mouth. I got a blast of lemon zest there, but it quickly turns back to the spicy coriander that I just can’t get away from. I wonder if a few ice cubes, yes ice cubes, would bring this beer down a notch on the spice. A lot of beers are served over ice in Europe. Not this one, in particular… but I feel this would be a good one to ice down.
Aftertaste: There isn’t a big aftertaste here. The spices stick around, but leave me with a subtle drying finish requiring me to take another sip. I will say, about this style, if you are new to craft beer, this is a good/safe way to start. Nearly every brewing company makes a wheat/white beer. So if you are new to craft beer, start here. Funny story… last night in the beer class, a guy likes the Maui Bikini Blonde Ale more than anything we tried. He would LOVE this beer! Oh well, glad I got to try this. I wouldn’t buy this again, but it was fun learning about the Pierre Celis connection to this brewery/beer. Cheers, people!
St. Bernardus Wit – The bottle says: “NA”
Ricky said that the Brew Bros. gave this beer a 99 on Beer Advocate. That must mean it’s supposed to be good. It is a St. Bernardus, and they do make some good beers. It’s a wheat beer, which is a bit different from the other ones I’ve had from them. It definitely looks like a wheat beer in the glass. Or a witbier, actually. (I’m not exactly sure what the difference is, I have to confess.) It’s very thick, hazy, and a golden yellow color. It had a lot of head when poured into the glass, and there’s still some sticking around even now. It smells the way you would expect it to, very citrusy, even lemony. I have to reiterate again exactly how thick it is. There is no seeing through the glass with this one. I can’t wait to see what it tastes like.
Hmm. I’m not sure exactly what to say about this one. There’s a little bit of carbonation there, a little bit of the citrusy lemon taste, and it’s definitely thick. It’s good, better than a lot of wheat beers, but I’m not sure I’d rate it as high as a 99. It has a good mouthfeel, and all of the flavors do balance well together. But it’s not as special as I hoped, I guess. I might buy this one again, but I don’t think it would be at the top of my list, and it’s not quite as good as other offerings I’ve had from St. Bernardus. I think I’ll stick with their St. Bernardus Abt. 12!