Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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Belgian Dark Ale
Ranked #27
Ranked #24,536
3.8 | pDev: 12.89%
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Very Good
Notes: From Pierre Celis, brewed at Brouwerij St. Bernardus.

No longer available in the US.
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Reviews: 205 | Ratings: 279
Reviews by dgallina:
Photo of dgallina
3.15/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a slightly-cloudy copper with a significant creamy white head and good lacing. Smells spicy and fruity (cinnamon, floral notes, perhaps nutmeg), quite effervescent. Flavor is surprisingly weak and thin, however. A *very* brief burst of spice and fruit followed by a big dry finish that doesn't stop. Unnaturally thin and highly-carbonated body for the style.

Easy to drink, sure, but an overly light and flavor-thin beer.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of beerking1
4.04/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another trailblazer from Pierre Celis. Malty sweet, yeast, and a faintly musty aroma. Hazy brown, with a fading head, some pleasant mustiness comes through here as well. Spicy, yeasty flavor, with hints of fruitcake. Tail is mostly dark fruits, with some roasty malt character.

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Photo of revdrjbob
3.52/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Picked this beer and a few others up from Berry Cellars, and to my suprise, was actually in date, woo hoo!!
Poured into goblets, russet brown in colour, cloudy from the yeast, but working well. Thick off white head that leaves lacing on the glass.
Strong “Belgian” yeast aroma, phenolics and spice, an almost “Chimay” aroma, that’s what it reminds me of. Peppery and jammy, hints of honey, fruity like dates and figs, toffee.
Tastes of toffee and malt, yeasty and caramelly. Tastes almost alcoholic and hot, even for only 6.5% abv. As this beer warms it gets even better. Easy bitterness, nice hop flavour and very little hop aroma, very in style. Nice dark malt characteristics, but not roasty or overly sweet.
Finishes sweet then dry, very lingering on the palette, a great drinking Belgian bruin.
Teaser loves the labels.

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Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy garnet body with a fluffy head that settles down and hangs around, lleaving some lacing behind

Smell: A range of medium fruits such as apples and cherries with a touch of nutmeg

Taste: Very subtle flavors of sweet apple and cherry along with a woody aspect; the wood takes over in the finish along with a peppery, nutmeg tone

Mouthfeel: Velvety smooth, medium bodied and highly carbonated

Drinkability: A very pleasant sipper; certainly not as challenging as many other Belgian styles

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Photo of kmpitz2
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes. Beer poured a deep ruby color with a finger of light abd bubbly head that stayed nicely over the beer. Nose was light fruity sweetness, grape, fig, even a touch of caramel. I also got a bit of tartness coming through. Flavor was sweet, fruity and caramel laced with a modest tart finish. Same grape and dark fruits pretty prevalent. Finish reminded me a lot of a sweet-tart candy. Feel was moderate with a light bite on the finish. I enjoyed it. Overall, a pretty nice beer. Flavor and aroma worked together well together. I'm keen to try this in bottle to see how it compares to what I had on tap.

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Photo of oracle
4.21/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

10 oz draft pour in a tulip chalice.

Beer was quite dark brown with about 2 inches of foam, basically from the narrow point of the glass up. Large amounts of lacing left behind.

What little smell I could detect was very nice. Pleasantly sweet malt with floral tones.

Taste was quite mild and very good. Mildly malty and a little dry, quite smooth and delicious.

Very good

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Photo of drpimento
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured with and nice head with plenty of lace. Brownish color with some amber and cherry highlights. Malty body but not too thick. Some sweet/tartness. Dark fruits, toffee, and some yeasty flavors predominate. Very nice. Good finish. Don't notice any alcohol. Interesting beer. Getting harder to find.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a chalice)

A- This beer has a dark brown body with a huge thick creamy light tan head. The head last and last and pulls away from the glass changing into a cloud floating on the beer.

S- The smell of dark candy sugar with notes of toasted sweet malt has a perfume note to it but it doesn't smell overly sweet.

T- The toasted malt has a smooth candy flavor to it with faint hints of prunes and the finish is a nice soft bitter hops. This beer had some good depth to the malt and it wasn't overly sweet but very smooth to drink.

M- This beer had a medium-light mouthfeel with no alcohol warmth. There was a light fizz in the finish that made it feel lighter in the mouthfeel.

D- This taste like the little brother of some of the bigger Abbey beers. It had good balance and nice flavor but it wasn't trying to be a big huge beer. This would be a nice winter session beer.

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Photo of bruachan
3.81/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

from hudson w&s

after removing the cage this beer opened itself, nearly sending me to the emergency room in the process
pours a likeable garnet with a huge, sudsy head that descends to a ubiquitous upper stratum with circular smudges and frosting stuck all around

corainder dominates the aroma and the taste reflects. truthfully, i would have identified this as a wit in a blind tasting. it even has that wit tartness (but no wheat). i detect the raisin of special b and ginger as it warms

mouthfeel is slightly creamy but well carbonated

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Photo of BrewMaster
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a dark clear color and and a clean tan head. The nose is very sweet with notes of plum, caramel, and sweet malt scents. The flavor is full with dark caramel malts, raisin, and a bit of hop bitterness up front. There's a nice balance of tartness and sweetness to balance the light bitterness of the beer.

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Photo of sacfly
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml “Cave Aged”?

Pours a hazy brown with a moderate head of medium to large tan bubbles. Lightly sweet smelling… rustic… Musty basement flavor. I split the bottle with gdogalicious and we were in agreement. Slight molasses, maybe dark candy sugar is there but overwhelmed by the yeast character. Fades into dryness in the aftertaste. Not real impressed with this one. More odd than good.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, bought online from Cork popped out easily. Poured it into a Duvel goblet.

Appearance: big creamy head at first, which settles down and leaves about a fingers-width on top of the beer. Dark dark color, which shows a ruby tint when held up to the light, but otherwise opaque.

Aroma: Spicy, estery aroma.

Tasty: Good malt, a little toasty, with a good mouthfeel. Hints of breadiness, along with caramel notes present, and a good spiciness from the yeast. Long aftertaste at the back of the tongue. Slightly acidic, and actually quite refreshing for the strength of the beer.

This isn't as complex as many of Belgian's dark beers that one finds in the state, but it's interesting, and highly drinkable. I hope it'll become available in Texas; it's good to have Pierre Celis' brewing skill back.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my parents for giving this bottle to me as a gift! Nice pop of the cork and the beer pours from the 750ml bottle into my tulip glass a nice deep brown with a reddish tinge to it. A half inch of bubbly off white foam sits atop the brew. Aromas of lightly roasted malts, brown sugar and a forward spiciness that has a hint of clove. Dark fruits lurk underneath along with an earthy, musty yeastiness. Quite lovely, maybe even a hint of cinammon.

First sip brings a nice smooth, slightly nutty, lightly roasted maltiness upfront that moves into a wall of spiciness midway through. Earthy yeast tones, brown sugar and a touch of cinammon and clove. Slightly fruity on the way down and even a bit woody. Finsihes dry with a lingering spiciness. This is one tasty brew!

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a vibrant, champagne-esque carbonation that rushes across the palate and makes it a bit creamy. This is a tasty brew that doesn't fail to impress me. I can definetly see myself picking this one up again in the future. A tasty, spicy Belgian brown ale. Thanks again to my parents for this one!

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Photo of Citadel82
3.06/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle with cork and cage. Wide mouthed Grottenbier goblet.

Pours a hazy brown with a short lived one finger head that becomes a thin creamy layer atop the beer.

Smells of yeast and fresh fruit. Melon???

Taste is slightly sweet though not malty - drying to a grapefruit-like sharpness with some detectable alcohol.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with some carbonation.

Drinkable yes, but not so spectacular that I will seek this one out any time soon.

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Photo of AlexJ
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazed black cherry pour with a tremendously stiff, frothy head that retains in full splendor, before eventually settling to a lasting cap, leaving swirly lace deposits as it goes.

Aroma is far more subdued than expected, mainly malt coming through with notions of dark, dried fruit, tart red grape, and chalky minerality.

Flavor is nice, but understated. Caramel and dark fruit malt notes open up for flavors of raisin, plum, and subtly spicey yeast. It has a nice, dry finish that ends rather well hopped.

Body is solid medium, with eggagerated carbonation and a smooth, silky texture and full, expansive mouthfeel. This is something that could be drank en mass, just complex enough to keep your attention whild doing a fine job of slaking your thirst.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

March 2005- On tap at the Toronado in San Francisco, CA

Presentation- Poured from the tap into a tulip style glass.

Appearance- Dark red, maybe scarlet coloring with a nice tight dirty white head and very nice lacing.

Smell- A very sweet and fruity scent along with a few spices and maybe some cloves in the mix.

Taste- Adequate amount of fruit flavors, sweet malt mixture, but far to dry and a bit unbalanced for me. My buddy loved it though.

Mouthfeel- Moderate carbonation and lip smacking dryness.

Drinkability- Interesting at that, but the dryness and it's unbalanced nature doesn't do it for me.

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Photo of paterlodie
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

productiocode 1279 best before end 2005. Pours in mighty fine and forms a thick a stable head. Has the same nice yeastsmell as the other ones from the Watou brewery. Further a nice caremelmalt arome together with roast and these fruits& spice from the yeast make it a complex smell. Taste is full malty, dry, spicy with a roast and hoppy finish. Good beer to enjoy on a long dark and cold night, feels like a lot more then the 6.7% alcohol it says it has.

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Photo of ypsifly
3.74/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Undated 750 purchased at Bello Vino in Ann Arbor and poured into a tulip.

Dark to almost brown copper under a few inches of vanilla that falls to a thin layer of in a few minutes foam. The lace is layered.

Aromas of dark fruits such as plums, cherries and red grapes some sugars and spices. Doughy Very inviting.

The taste follows along the same lines as the nose but is much more subdued. I really have to sip and search out anything more than the fruits which are now tart except for the very begining. Nowhere near as spicy as expected and the dough is gone.

The mouth is quite puckering. While the nose got me exciting, the flavors were a bit of a let down.

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Photo of amatuerbeerguy
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark Brown incolor clarity fair, head retention high. Some raison break thru, with malt being dominant, phenols present spices fairly prevelant, hops flavoring moderate, slight sweetness. with a medium to high body, warming prevalent. Dark color rich malt flavor some accentual flavors prevalent. Warmong and sweetness, medium to high body. A drinkable beer with the 6.7% alcohol.

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Photo of gdogalishus
3.52/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a wine style glass. Hazy brown color with a mild to moderate head. Mild carbonation with laces of fine bubbbles raising through the glass in a few places.
The aroma was sweet. Not a malty sweet, but more like dark belgian candy sugar sweet and a hint of licorice in the background.
The flavor did not disappoint, it tasted very similar to what I expected from the aroma.
Sweet candy sugar and malts up front like a good brown ale should, then fading into a musty basement flavor. Is this the cave aged part??

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Photo of whartontallboy
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of neonbrown82
4.52/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is absolute quality, as I've come to expect from the rest of the St. Bernardus line.

Pours into my St. Bernardus chalice to a clear and dark ruby red color with a good carbonation and a thick creamy head that sticks around through the duration of the glass. Leaves a spotty lacing.

The smell is the weakest link of this brew, but still good. Has an almost over-bearing candi sugar aroma. The smell is good, but not any more distinct or noteworthy than 90% of fine belgian ales I've had the pleasure of sniffing.

The taste soothed my worries about the beer being "just another belgian." This is a sessionable version of the Abt 12. Has some subtle dark fruity/berry flavors with a candi sugar backing (much less dominating than it is in the nose). The flavors are balanced quite perfectly. There is a tiny hint of ethanol in the finish that is soon accompanied by a light fruity aftertase.

The body is full and very smooth and creamy. Chewy. This is a very highly drinkable beer. As I said earlier, its a more easily sessionable version of Abt 12.

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Photo of NiceGuyMike
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark tan or light brown with about a finger of head and some lacing.
classic yeasty malt scents.
Tastes of pepery bitterness and brown sugar sweetness.
Medium bodied, very fizzy.
I'm finding this very drinkable and enjoyable. It's not too strong in alcohol so it's nice drinking.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprised at the style classification--the beer tasted like a very good Oud Brune. A hazy brown brew with mild red highlights decants from the bottle with a overwhelming carbonation and loosely knit head retention. Solid malt bready / fruity aromas combine with a tart (almost sour) note that promises complexity. Flavors of sweet candy and malts are challenged by moderate, earthy hops, wine-like tartness, and a pixie stick-like sweet tart-ness. The sourning compliments the fig, date, plumb flavors nicely without dominating. Very creamy and bready to the texture with that 'crazy' Belgian yeast twang. Finishes with a vineous dryness and a resisual sweetness to allow lingering in the aftertaste. The oly hitch is an astringent bite in the back of the throat that doesn't seem to be hop deriven--maybe a bit too grainy. Nevertheless, the beer exemplifies why this is my favorite brewery--period. Thanks Clvand0

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.81/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with a huge fluffy dirty white head. The aroma is very spicy. I've never smelled a beer quite like this before, but it is nice. The taste is similar to the aroma. The mouthfeel is rather thin for a brew this dark. Overall, this is an enjoyable beer. It's not a beer that I would want to have everyday, but it is an interesting occasional choice.

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Grottenbier from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 279 ratings