Extra 4 Belgian Abbey Ale
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Extra 4 Belgian Abbey AleExtra 4 Belgian Abbey Ale
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Style:
Belgian Pale Ale
Ranked #15
ABV:
4.8%
Score:
88
Ranked #9,368
Avg:
3.95 | pDev: 9.37%
Reviews:
93
Ratings:
390
From:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
 
Belgium
Avail:
Rotating
Wants
  24
Gots
  56
SCORE
88
Very Good
Extra 4 Belgian Abbey AleExtra 4 Belgian Abbey Ale
Notes:
Reviews: 93 | Ratings: 390 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of TheHammer
4.16/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured with a thumb of head that laced and retained like crazy till the very end, as it left foam on the bottom of the glass. The body is a very bright and pale yellow sunshine color that showcases ample carbonation. The colour is a bit light, though, betraying it's low ABV, which I think is the only thing keeping in from a perfect score.

Smell: White bread malt dominates the notes with notes of pear, grape, clove and a subtle earth. It require warming to come out (as initially the earth and bread held sway) but once warmed, the potency came out. Even still, wish it had more strength behind it.

Taste: Chewy bread malt to start with a slight lemon zest note that turns to mild fruit as pear, grape and a touch of mild herbs comes forward before a crisp brush of earth and floral hops rounds out the experience. Complex and simple at the same time, which for 4.8% is a solid feat.

Mouthfeel: A big fan of that pilsner like crispness, but it's damped a bit after that nice finish, as my biggest complaint for this beer is the slightly musty earth aftertaste. Thankfully it does not build and dissipates quickly. The carbonation is exceptional on this one, helping out the entire beer and leaving a nice sudsy sensation. The transitioning is great too as it smoothly coasts as you drink it.

Drinkability: Light bodied, which for a beer that bright in colour and that low in ABV had better be. Settles down well and once again that crisp note does wonders here, and that pome fruit yeast makes this a beer you want to savour slowly, but can't because it's such a pleasant and light experience. If it wasn't for the brief musty tone hampering it's refreshing factor, and that it is a bit mild for the style, it would have earned the perfect.

Final Thoughts: St Bernardus does it again, but are we really surprised? There is a reason why despite not technically being a Trappist ale (anymore), the cheese factory in Watou continues to produce exceptional offerings, and this is no different. Stuff like this makes you wonder how light lager even came to be. Two thumbs up here.

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Photo of taxandbeerguy
4.07/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

330 ml bottle served cold into a chalice. LCBO purchase for about $3.50 CDN.

Appearance - Slightly hazy rich golden colored brew. Topped two two plus fingers of extravagant white head that spills out of the glass. Good staying power and some bits of curtain lacing.

Smell - Earthy with lots of bready notes up front, there's a subtle mustiness in there with possible a hint of grape and apple skins.

Taste - middling bitterness, some bready flavors, mineral water and subtle earthiness. Pear and apple muddled in somewhere. The signature yeast makes an appearance as well. In a sense with the cleanness of the brew, remind me of a scaled way back Duvel, a simple yet delicious beer with no frills added.

Mouthfeel - Light bodied, super fizzy, works well with the flavor profiles.

Overall - Really glad to have tried the Extra 4, it may still be my least favorite beer from St. Bernardus but given their dubbels, tripels, quads, and witbier, this is more of an acknowledgement of how great the brewery truly is. Definitely worth a try and with the Chimay Doree, one of only a couple truly trappist-style pale ales out there.

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Photo of octortus
3.99/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

330 ml Bottle. ABV 4.8%.
Appearance : Very slightly veiled yellow gold, Two fingers of off-white lightly fluffy head, Airy lacing, Moderate carbonation, Fantastic retention, Much more cloudy if you are not careful with the yeast.
Aroma: Bready pale malts, Slight banana, Pear, Apple, Floral, Spice.
Mouthfeel: Above light body, Silky, Bitter, Soft carbonation, Lingering bitterness.
Flavour: Pale bready malt, Hops, Pear, Apple, Floral, Spice.
Overall:

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.21/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

330 mL bottle from the LCBO; best before Oct 14 2020 and served slightly chilled.

Pours clear and effervescent, boasting a pale golden-hued body that is capped off with more than a finger of billowing, fluffy white head. It briefly rises above the rim before settling off at a painfully slow pace - even at the ten minute mark, a creamy half-inch cap is still in place, with a full, even coating of lace having been applied in its wake. The aroma is subtle but pleasant - I'm getting grainy pale malts, sugar and yeastiness, the latter imparting suggestions of apple skin, underripe banana and stone fruit. Slightly floral and grassy, too; nothing too exciting going on, but it's appropriate for the style.

Delicate flavour profile, with grainy, crackery pale malt sweetness coming through right off the bat, followed by mild hints of apple, apricot and citrus zest. Hints of grassy hops and spiciness crop up towards the back end, with a faint touch of banana becoming just a little more noticeable as the glass warms; it's grainy-sweet at first, but the aftertaste does trend dry in the long term. Light in body, with a lot of zip - I found it over-carbonated at first, but if you give this beer some time to air itself out, the mouthfeel goes from frothy/prickly to smooth and easy-drinking. Tossing back a few of these would be no problem at all.

Final Grade: 4.21, an A-. Extra 4 is probably the least interesting St. Bernardus product I've sampled to date, but don't take that the wrong way - that statement is mostly an artifact of the style itself, i.e. a 4.8% table beer is almost never going to be as complex as a dubbel, tripel, quad, or even a witbier. That being said, I do try to grade to style, and as far as BPAs go this is a perfectly acceptable option, though not necessarily my top choice. Some time I'll have to compare this one side-by-side with Chimay Dorée and Spencer's Trappist Ale - which (if you're a patersbier purist, at least) are its only direct competitors in this market.
[Updated Oct 16 2019] - I did just that, and the end result was Extra 4 coming in second place because of its heavy carbonation issue. That being said, it was a tight race because they're all very good beers, with this one actually being the cleanest tasting and most well-balanced of the trio IMO. Definitely pick this beer up and give it a shot if you have any interest in lighter Belgian ales.

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Photo of BGDrock
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, pure gold body, covered with a frothy, angel-white head, thick and holding strong for several minutes.
Aroma has loads of coriander, some lemon zest, yeast spice, touch of banana.
Taste is driven by the yeast - banana, butter fat, light spice (coriander, clove), balanced by prominent pale malt, cereal and grain flavours. Feel is effervescent, lively with carbonation, big bubbles. Residual sugars kick in at the end, making the finish medium-dry and a touch too sweet and cloying for my taste.

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Photo of FLima
3.7/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Drank at the brewery tap. Slightly hazy golden yellow color with a thick head with good retention
Aroma with notes of candied sugar, orange marmalade and floral and citrusy hops.
Flavor with notes of fresh local floral and herbal hops, wheat, orange peel, mild candied sugar and lemongrass. Dry aftertaste with a medium but persistent bitterness.
Refreshing Belgian Blonde Ale with balanced hoppy floral and citrusy notes. That was exactly what I needed after biking from Poperinge to the St. Bernardus brewery next to the French border.

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Photo of JimKal
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had this today. Pours a darkish yellow with a nice head. Mouthfeel is light to medium. But the taste is where this beer shines. It delivers a lot of flavor at a relatively low ABV. This pairs well with food. the yeast really does a good job delivering the flavor.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.35/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a one finger white head that fades quickly to a ring leaving no lace. Almost clear pale straw color. Medium carbonation and light-medium bodied. Light hop nose and flavor is tart citrus and some Belgian yeast. $4.79 for a 330ml bottle from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, VT.

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Photo of bobv
4.19/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Moderate pour yields an over one inch white head with a slightly hazy, light golden body. Nose of spice, bread, and some yeast. Taste mirrors nose and then some. Beautiful example of the style and can't believe I'm reviewing this for the first time. Definite breadiness on the finish in a delicious way with some hop bitterness back there as well. Well done, bald guy!

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Photo of stevoj
3.28/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Average Belgian ale, light and airy, bordering on witbier. Fruity and grainy, overall light body, pale golden with small frothy head. Least favorite of their lineup.

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Photo of janubio
3.77/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pale golden colour, small head that fades soon, good lace.
Aroma of spieces, clove, coriander, banana, oranges (slightly), malts.
Light body, fruity harsh palate, good carbonation.Bitter finish.
Taste of prunes, banana, pepper, clove.
Light and refreshing, but complex beer.

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Photo of Dope
3.84/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

08/10/18 date, I assume this is roughly 2 months old as a result

A: Pours a very pale yellow, quite cloudy however. Enormously tall white head. Head is thick and foamy and doesn't budge an inch for several minutes. Big chunks of lacing everywhere.

S: Grassy for sure. Lightly grainy.

T: Lightly grassy up front. Light grainy malt, a little wheaty, a little crackery. Decent hit of bitterness on the back end with some grassy and herbal hops. Clean crisp finish.

M: Lighter bodied, smooth and clean.

O: Not a bad BPA. Very light and plain but agreeable. On the bitter side for sure.

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Photo of Shanex
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought this one in a local beer store for 2.10€.

Poured a small white head fading quickly.

Smells and taste like any Belgian in the style. It's a good Belgian abbey ale offering. Never heard of this one until now and likewise every St bernardus offering a good one.

Cheers.

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Photo of drtth
4.06/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The lightly hazed yellow beer with a 1/4" white head is served in a tulip glass. The foam persists reasonably well but is gone entirely by about midway though the beer.

The aromas include the spicy and peppery notes of the Belgian yeast along some fruity, almost floral character all mingled with some slight bready notes in the background.

The flavors are much as expected from the nose, with lots of the spicy peppery yeast showing as well as the fruity flavors. There's also a taste of sweetness and some herbal bitterness. The slightly sweet doughy malt remains in the background and is less prominent than the bitterness

The mouthfeel is on the light side of medium bodied and the persistent carbonation is noticeable but on the light side of moderate. The finish begins as the herbal bitterness arrives on the scene and then all the flavors slowly fade away to the end.

On the whole a pleasant Belgian pale ale that would be worth repeating. Enough complexity to be interesting but not so much as to require full attention so it would be good with a meal and/or an evening's conversation over dinner and beyond.

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Photo of captaincoffee
4.07/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours very pale and a little hazy, with a large white head that has great staying power for a 4.8% beer and leaves good lacing. Nose is light esters, citrus, and a refreshing light yeast note that makes me think this is a wit and reminds me of Hoegaarden. Flavor is crisp and light, a bit of grain and citrus, but has a well rounded character that is hard to find at this ABV. Crisp light mouthfeel. Overall, a very solid beer when available.

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Photo of Hunter
2.96/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Look - hazy golden ale, some flotsam in the glass. Thin head of white, dissipates quickly, tracing appears afterwards
Smell - berry fruit jam, maple, yeasts
Taste - strangely empty, but notes of hay, light fruit sugars - berry gives way to dried apricot
Feel - dry, clean
Overall - light and refreshing, but not memorable. A good ale, worth trying but not repeating.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.82/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

As I remarked in the New Beer Sunday (Week 633) thread, today is New Odds & Sods Sunday here at Chez Woody. I am using The Who's 1974 album as the soundtrack & I am simply winnowing down some unrelated oddballs as a part of the Eradication of the Bottle Backlog here at Chez Woody. No rhyme, no reason, just bottles.

I really dig the father on the labels with his bald pate, rosy cheeks, upraised R index finger & full goblet in his L hand. I have recreated that pose many times for photos as Bro. Woody with The Order of Disorder.

I Pop!ped the cap & began a very gentle pour as befits a beer of this caliber. Once sufficiently decanted, I gave it a vigorous in-glass swirl to raise two fingers of foamy, fizzy, bone-white head that quickly fell away to wisps. Color was Yellow-Gold (SRM = 4 - 5) with NE-quality clarity, leading to a visit from The Gelt Gang of Croesus, Mammon & Midas, all clamoring for a taste until I pointed out that it is Sunday at Abbaye de Chandler & they must be respectful or be asked to leave. They immediately settled down & so we passed the communal chalice to everyone's delight. Nose had a most pleasant honey-bready aspect. Mmm. Mouthfeel was medium, which was surprising, given its status as a simple Patersbier/Table Beer. The taste was not as sweet as the nose had led me to expect. Instead, there was a grassy, hay-like sharpness to accompany the honey, bready sweetness. It was entirely reminiscent of youthful summers spent at my maternal grandparents' house, in close proximity to working farms. Finish was semi-dry & refreshing, but I was not finding it as sustaining as my brethren might. I need something stronger, dig? I can't just be chipping when I am jonesing, y'know? Onward!

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Photo of joaopmgoncalves
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured to a Duvel glass.

A: The body is yellow light, having a one finger thick white head.
S: The aroma has a strong belgian yeast profile with a malty backbone.
T: The taste is regular of a BPA but less prominent, having a belgian yeast profile that uses some acidity to connect with the bitterness of the small amount of hops used. The sweetness of the malts is also present at the beginning.
M: Body is medium to medium low. Carbonation is mild. Bitterness is mild, acidity is low. The density here is too low.
O: Was expecting more from St. Bernardus. For a BPA, the density should be higher. The flavor should also be more expressive.

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Photo of mynie
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Never had this one before. Don't ever recall even seeing it. I remember once, many years ago, talking to a man at John's Grocery who said there just weren't no market for low-ABV Belgians, otherwise there were lots of beers he'd love to stock. Good to see such prejudices coming to an end (or, rather, the price of local beer has grown so porngraphically that it's now economically justifiable for American beersmen to spend 4 buck for 12 ounces of a lower ABV import).

I think I seen on a documentary once that the monks drink this sort of table beer out of bowls. I ain't gonna do that.

So I pour it into a tulip glass. It's dark yellow and fairly translucent but with a good amount of yeast particulate floating around. Nice, rocky white head.

Smells... god this is gonna sound lame, but it smells like a very light version of a dubbel. A "singel," if you will. Floral grain and yeast, with light nodes of pears and potpourri, only without any booze or spiciness.

Tastes very complex but still light and refreshing, with the fruitiness of a Belgian pale and the bright, grassy finish of a good Municher. Apricots, peaches, and hay up from, a little bit of spice in the middle and grassy flowers on the back end. Quite nice.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.24/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV "St. Bernardus Extra 4"
33 cl brown glass bottle
$5.99 @ Total Wine & More, Cherry Hill, NJ

Notes via stream of consciousness: Just getting back to finish up my St. Bernardus reviews, it's not like I haven't had this one many times before. It might be my favorite St. Bernardus in terms of simple drinkability. I could probably drink 8 of these in a row rather easily. But, given the price, that's not an option; I'd rather take the stronger versions when it comes down to money because they all cost roughly the same unless you're buying it by the case, which I cannot afford. Back on track, beautiful pour with a massive head of rocky white brought up over a slightly hazy gold with a brass cast. Excellent head retention due in part to its fine-bubbled gently effervescent carbonation, and very good lacing. The aroma is sweetish with notes of warm honey-drizzled doughy bread, dried apricots, peach, flowers, vanilla, banana, light herbs, yeast, and a dusting of light spice - it's not a bold aroma, but if you look it is complex. The flavor follows with some cereal character (mainly oats and wheat), a greater herbal presence, a hint of lemon, and some more pronounced yeasty spiciness . It's moderately bitter, and despite the sweetness of the malt upfront it finishes dry with residual herbs, flowers, light spice, and a spritz of lemon. It's remarkably drinkable, and at 4.8% ABV it's just a touch weaker than Budweiser. Medium-light in body and slightly creamy with a median, seemingly natural-fine-bubbled carbonation. Subtle, and supple - yet completely fulfilling in flavor! I'd often thought that "La Fin Du Monde" from Unibroue might be my "deserted island beer", but I'd forgotten about this one.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.82/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a clear golden color ale with a large pure white foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of residual sugar with some peppery yeast notes. Taste is a great mix of residual candi sugar with some peppery and spicy yeast notes. Body is about average with good carbonation. Easy drinking with just enough complexity.

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Photo of Jerseyislandbeer
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Cellered for a year and a half since my visit to Belgium and the tour of this excellent brewery. Brought from the shop afterwards. Pours a hazy golden colour with a white head. Aroma has spicy Belgian yeast, pale malts, citrus, fruits & hints of sweet caramel. Moderate carbonation. Tastes follows the same lines as the aroma with banana. A moderate dry bitter finish. A outstanding abbey ale.

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Photo of josanguapo
3/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From Beergium. In La Trappe chalice. Playing Blackwell Legacy. Dry, with notes that reminds me pear and apple cider, a profile that bores me a bit, but with good body for such a low abv.

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Photo of Marius
3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle at home. Clear light pale yellow with a tall white head. Notes of flowery hops, citrus, honey, light passion fruit, yeast, bread, spices. Medium body, medium carbonation and a crisp bitter-sweet finish.

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Photo of vainosuomi
4.02/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Look: hazy light tan, minimal white head
Smell: quite fruity—crisp apple, Belgian yeast, pear, no discernible hops, light pale malt sweetness.
Taste: again fruit forward like nose, slight citrusy and spicy hops, bright and relatively sweet. Dry and mildly bitter finish make the hops more apparent
Feel: Crisp, smooth, moderate carbonation, medium/light body.

Overall: a very solid Belgian pale ale, but I don't see myself getting it much in the future as I prefer Duvel which is generally more available.

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Extra 4 Belgian Abbey Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 390 ratings