St. Bernardus Witbier | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

660 Reviews
St. Bernardus WitbierSt. Bernardus Witbier

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Style: Witbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jason on 01-06-2003

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Reviews: 660 | Ratings: 1,528
Photo of youknowmyname
3.79/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Odor: Pepper and cloves.

Pour: light Milky orange, Unfiltered, Decent head, Laces the glass well. Served in a chalis

Taste: Dry Pepper. Can taste faint citrus that changes into a heavy yeast aftertaste. Most Witbeirs have a sweeter citrus taste, this does not. Rather than the pulp of citrus fruits this tastes like the peel. Not a bad thing, but different from most witbeirs I have had. Light carbination with a very dry finish.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: Hazy opaque golden with a white head.

S: Nice orange-forward fruitiness over nutmeg, cloves and cardamom undertones.

T: Tart lemon, orange, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom. Typical flavors of a Witbier: akin to a saison, but more fruity and less spicy.

M: Saison-like mouthfeel, somewhat harsh and light bodied.

O: Definitely recommended. One of my favorites from the brewery, typical of the style, but delicious.

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Photo of wedge
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Cloudy, sunny peach color capped by a slender creamy white head. Aromas of cracked wheat, fresh oranges, creamy vanilla sweetness, light on the spice, with some smooth, well-integrated coriander. Citrusy, lightly spiced flavor with a notable wheat-y twang, a touch of clove, and some yeast. Dry, textured mouthfeel, with a slight lingering tanginess that makes for a refreshing, easy-drinking wit. A well-crafted wit from St. Bernardus, which comes as no surprise.

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Photo of flyingpig
3.92/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

330ml Bottle from Beers of Europe website (£1.79):
Cloudy golden yellow with a huge, foamy white head that seems to get bigger as it settles and opens up. Retention is great & there is nice lacing too.

Fruity with some wheat and yeast coming through. Lots of citrus and some coriander too. Very slightly sour and with some orange as well.

Wheat & some light wheat and coriander with light citrus and lemon. The beer is quite sweet and fruity with a pleasant taste that is very much what I'd been expecting from this one.

Smooth and light medium bodied without seeming thin or watery. There was strong carbonation to give the beer a lively and quite refreshing feel.

A nice tasting beer, that smooth and very fruity with a good, refreshing finish. It went down very well and was exactly what I've come to expect from a good example of the style. Simple with a good balance but pulled off well.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
4.41/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 330 ml bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. This brew is allegedly quite close to Pierre Celis' original Hoegaarden recipe and is widely regarded as a decent stab at what genuine witbier used to taste like before the style became industrialized and relatively insipid. This sort of snobbery aside, I do see what the critics mean. St. Bernardus wit is a milky banana yellow hue, super cloudy and infused with particulate material from yeast. Aroma is correspondingly yeasty, sweet, citrusy, and spicy with a touch of Belgian funk and a decent burst of clove phenolics. Few North American wits smell like this. Palate features Indian round coriander seed, lemony and slightly tannic but not overpowering, orange rind, sweet grainy malt that combines with the citrus to evoke lemon meringue pie, and a surprisingly rich earthy spice that prevents things from being too sweet. Dry and woody in fact, with sour apple notes and a touch of butterscotch in the finish. Nicely carbonated (which is to say highly so). Should this be deemed the witbier Platonic ideal? Quite possibly, although dare I say that I prefer the more aggressive Unibroue yeast in Blanche de Chambly? Its almost a dead heat between these two. In the St. Bernardus Trappist influenced take reviewed here, everything is truly in its right place and the overall effect is earthy, spicy, dry, and as well-calibrated as a Swiss watch. Precise and technically proficient but still a work of art in the Belgian beer sense.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
4.41/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours cloudy pale yellow with a big off-white head that is dirtied with some yeast. The amazing thing is that the head is big but incredibly delicate. It is as if it could collapse on its own weight. Never seen a head like this before. Decent lace is a result.

Yeast, sweet wheat, some coriander and white pepper. Great nose.

Yeasty flavors, sweet grain, a little lemon, a little lemon rind bitterness, some spice. Clean flavors, nice malt finish with mild bitterness.

Light bodied, nice carbonation.

What to say here…just try this. Looked at this one for years and never grabbed one. Wow, do I feel like a dummy.

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Photo of mmva321
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet.

A: Beautiful in its simplicity. A very consistent, cloudy body that's a beautiful amber that seems deep. A pale white head tops it off. It is bubbly and dissipates leaving a thin film on top.

S: A beautifully classic witbier smell. Strong aromas of coriander and orange pop up over a well balanced base of spicy malts and hearty wheat. Extremely well balanced, I only wish it were stronger.

T: Outstanding flavors here. Coriander and orange and lemon and wheat are all balanced to near perfection. It strikes me as a great, classic witbier taste done without surprises but is simply better made than others.

M: Almost perfect. It has a great amount of carbonation. The thin body just has a bit more weight to it that really enhances the experience. It's perfect right away, but is just a little bit too watery on the finish. It still leaves some great lingering flavors in your mouth though. Excellent.

O: At once highly refined and well crafted but also free from pretension in its simplicity, this is a witbier done right, and a great go to for a light beer when you don't necessarily need the extreme boldness of other styles.

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Photo of FLima
4.16/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Hazy amber orange color with a thick head with medium retention and leaving some laces.
Slightly sour aroma with notes of banana and coriander.
Flavor of bananas, elegantly spiced, fresh orange-lemon, bubblegum and a hint of tartness and salt. Mildly dry aftertaste.
Full body with appropriate carbonation, a bit effervescent.
Perfect executed wit, very smooth and packed with assertive flavors.

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Photo of tkelley
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

330 mo bottle poured into my Nightshift tulip. Fizzed up when I opened the bottle but not too badly.

A - very nice body color, almost lemony. Very hazy and opaque. Not as much head as. Expected. Died down quickly.

N - smells of citrus, primarily lemon. Yeasty too with notes of of coriander.

T - yeasty, lemony, and spices (coriander). Very refreshing. A little bit of booze taste, surprising because t is only 5.5%.

M - fizzy. Pleasant aftertaste.

O - really good. Brings elements of a Belgian abbey ale to the witbier game. Cheers!

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Photo of LambicPentameter
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Enjoyed out of a brown 330 mL bottle with the only indication of date being a "best by" date of 2015, but I have no idea what St. Bernardus uses for their lead time between bottling and best by. The bottle conditioning may be giving this one a long shelf-life. Poured into a 16 oz nonic style tumbler.

Appearance - Pretty much your prototypical-looking witbier, with a body that is substantially hazy and the color of golden yellow straw, with sunny highlights where the light shines through the most. Atop the body sits a rocky two finger stark white head, that slowly starts to dissipate, leaving what looks like foamy swiss cheese as the larger bubbles start to burst. Sticky, moderate lacing.

Smell - Spicy wheat grain and lemon zest are the predominant characteristics here, with a healthy dose of generically fruity phenols giving it a bit of depth. Some faint sweetness as well, presumably from the yeast.

Taste - The coriander and orange peel make their presence known here, but there is also a slightly sourish element that is often noticeable in witbiers, but on a much more subdued level than this one. Zesty and assertive to the taste buds. By no means would I call this beer "Sour", but the bit of tartness from the grain and lemony characteristics makes for a very complex and flavorful wit. This is definitely up there in taste as far as the style goes.

Mouthfeel - A little less creamy/round than wits I've had in the past, making it feel a little bit thin of body, but with amply moderate carbonation. Semi-dry finish.

Overall, this is a fantastic example of the style. The spices are very much present, but they don't overwhelm the simpler grain characteristics, giving it nice drinkability. I also personally like the slightly tart element to the beer, because it makes it nice and refreshing. Would definitely buy again in a 4-pack now that I've had it.

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Photo of Das_Reh
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 12 oz bottle into a weizen glass

A = very dense and cloudy; an opaque, milky yellow beer with a thick fluffy white crown

S = typical wit aromas of citrus, coriander, wheaty and yeasty, albeit a bit subdued... perhaps I'm drinking it too cold?

T = Tangy and wheaty, the coriander isn't as pronounced as I was expecting, very citrusy with a lemony tartness. This beer is subtle, and one I'll have to try again and savor as I don't think I allowed myself to -really- enjoy the nuances in this brew.

M = creamy and soft, perfect carbonation

O = One of the best beers I've ever had, but too expensive to enjoy often.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.16/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-hazy yellow color with a nice white head and good lacing

S-wheat, malt, yeast, citrus, cloves

T-bready malt, wheat, yeasty, orange, cloves, coriander, hint of tartness

F-medium body with nice lively carbonation, smooth

O-nice belgian wit, good flavor and could drink this a lot, even better in summer

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Photo of mizx
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle, served in a tulip glass.

Translucent straw and proper apple juice-like colour, small off-white head fizzled away mostly, but
leaves slightly stretchy rings on the glass. Sweet and orange pith/zest aromas, wheat,
slightly grassy with a little funky yeast. Well balanced similar flavours, really refreshing beer. More sour in the fruity sense than the smell, there's also some slight pepper. Medium body, smooth, with a nice effervescent finish.

I haven't had many Witbiers, but I wouldn't think you could go too far wrong with this one. Good value too (for good Belgian beers) when you can find it here.

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Photo of Underrower
3.28/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle that came in St. Bernardus 6 mixed pack. Severed in goblet.

I could see the cloudiness in the bottle when I held it up to the light. Looks golden and cloudy like you would expect from an unfiltered Wit.

Smells of wheat with a hint of salt and small hint of must.

Tastes...funky but not bad funky if you know what I mean. I did not expect that. Hits me at first that this is sort of like a weak sour. Has notes similar to Westbrook Gose does in middle of it's flavor ride. Taking more of a taste, I taste wheat and feel the nice carbonation and then taste slight bit of cherries all in the first second and then it switches to the weak alka seltzer/musty cellar like water taste that slowly just passes away with an elegance till only the mouth feel persists. Interesting beer. Sours are growing on me just because the flavors are so interesting but they are not flavors I can say I totally like yet but like the experience and this reminds me of a sour.

Mouth feel is very nice as it is somewhat glossy or viscous. Does not finish dry but lingers nicely.

Over all I gave it a little higher because it is well constructed, the flavors move along nicely and I know there are lots of fans that love these flavors. If someone offered me one I would be delighted and enjoy it but I would not spend my hard earned cash for what it sells for again when I could buy something else I enjoy more. Good flavorful experience but not exactly my flavors or favorite style. (For reference my favorite styles are big sweet, Belgian Strong Dark Ales, Bruins and Dubbels)

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Photo of VoodooBear
4.01/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 330mL brown bottle, served in an oversized wine glass.

Appearance: Two finger, fluffy white head, with a cloudy, deep gold color.

Smell: The stronger aromas are of malt, banana, coriander and a faint anise scent in the background.

Taste: Very balanced sweet and sour taste. The more prominent notes are of malt, yeast, anise and clove.

Mouthfeel: It's very smooth and creamy. It goes down easily and has medium carbonation.

Overall: Very well balanced, a great beer all around. It's a very filling and satisfying. so not something you want to have two or three of. It's a beer to sit down with for a while, enjoy the nuances in it and have a good time.

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Photo of Smurf2055
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours very light straw/honey color with about a finger of head. Nice lacing.

Smell is cloves, wheat, and a hint of orange. Very sweet.

Taste is a lot more sour than the smell would suggest. Lemon and orange zest, and some clove.

Smooth beer, very easy drinking. Good carbonation. Good beer.

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Photo of Vixie
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a light cloudy yellow with a creamy white head that lingers for a bit.

Smell reminds me first of cheese, there is a lot of malt, and some citrus, orange and lemon. There is also a hint of coriander, pepper, and apple.

Starts out malty, then citrus notes kick in, mainly orange. There is a bit of pepper as well, and the finish reminds me a bit of spiced apple cider.

The carbonation makes it tingle on the way down, and is a bit on the thick side.

I don't have a lot of experience with this style, but it this beer is any indication, will be seeking it out more. It goes down easy, yet is nice and complex. Would be a nice beer on a hot day, but a good one to savor, as there is a lot going on here. I could easily drink more of this.

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Photo of SmashPants
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: standard brown 330mL bottle with a pretty tacky-looking Belgian macro label.

Appearance: as witbiers go, this looks pretty spot on. A hazy mid straw-yellow with a two-finger head that drops quickly to a rocky one-finger.

Aroma: a bit sweeter than the usual witbier - Belgian yeasts per the norm, but also lemon citrus, sweet wheat and some earth as well.

Taste: more fruits here than on the nose - definite green apple, lemon zest, orange and that sweet wheat up front. Some spices at the back - cardamon and coriander. One of the better wits I have had to date, but considering it is over AU$140 a case, it had better be.

Aftertaste: the sweetness falls away somewhat to be replaced with those Belgian yeasts and spice.

Mouth feel: medium in body with plenty of fine carbonation. This is a beer that goes down very easily.

Overall: one of the better witbiers I have had to date - well-balanced with citrus, Belgian yeast, earth characters and wheat. Not sure it is worth over AU$140 a case (2013), but one every now and then would be fine.

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Photo of Knuckles_Nuclear
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a nonic. Pale straw-colored yellow pour with a small but persistent head, a bit of lacing, and a subtle nose that reminded me of fresh-cut hay, with citrus notes.

Very refreshing, drinkable, and well-balanced. Citrus hops cut with a malty sweetness. I could have a few of these without getting filled up. Nothing outstanding, but a solid summer session brew.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.59/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

From the 12 fl. oz.bottle dated 28-02-14. Sampled on June 25, 2013.

Wow! Where do I start? It has a milky pale yellow pour with a foamy white head that lingers.

The aroma emits all of those classic Belgian aromas such as pale malts, Belgian candied sugar, orange, pear, or another citrus note, and downplayed spices.

The body is light to medium and kind of on the smooth side.

The taste is far more sweet than I might have expected with roasted pale malts, Belgian sugars, citrus, and a finish that is low in bitterness. The sweetness is the leader. Witbiers are about midway on my list of favorite styles but I could drink this one regularly.

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Photo of chanokokoro
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 33 cl bottle into a St. Bernardus Watou branded chalice

Pours a hazy straw golden with a pure white fluffy one and half finger head. Frantastic retention, plenty of lacing. Light citrus notes, coriander, and just an edge of earthiness on the nose. Smooth and velvety on the palate with just a touch of creaminess. Opens with gentle fruit notes, with some citrus zest joined by clove, and some earthiness. Yeast makes it presences well-known middle palate with most some grain and ample malt. Finishes with some light tart notes. One of the better witbiers available and wonderful beer overall.

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Photo of wattoclone
5/5  rDev +20.5%

This is the gold standard of witbiers. The taste is smooth and intense, balanced and pure perfection. Is it worth 3X the price of Blue Moon? Yes. WillI keep a stash for regular consumption? No, but then I am a dark beer fanatic and only drink witbier for refreshment. A must try to experience the potential of the style.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.91/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


LOOK: Cloudy brew with a bright gold color. Bubbly, sparkling head formed and receded to just a fine covering. No real lace, a small amount of sediment. Looks the part and I included the yeast purposely.

SMELL: Yeasty and wheaty , but the yeast has so much character. Grape, raisin, musty basement and lemon are all very present in a strong aroma. This is perfect to style, and worthy of being Pierre Celis Signature Selection as the bottle proudly states.

TASTE: Juicy flavor of apple, tart grape, orange peel, bit of funk. Tart to the sour glands, but with a depth of dusty malt character. Funk, coriander, and malts adding a balancing sweetness. Very faint herbal and grassy hoppy bitterness. Has a vague, almost smoked flavor, closer to well done toast. Clove and peppercorn emerge later in the flavor profile.

FEEL: Medium to full bodied, with a sour tang. The finish is appetizingly dry and crisp. Champagne like carbonation. A perfect feel on a Belgian classic. It just does not get better than this feel.

OVERALL: Worthy of being named "Best Witbier in the World". Easily the best example of the style I have encountered. The complexity from the yeast alone was great, but the rest of the flavors were also great. Exactly what a Belgian White should be. Seek this out if you enjoy Wheats, Sours, or Belgian Ales. Absolutely phenomenal wit.

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle into a Saint Bernardus glass

A: Pours a light, hazy golden color with a finger of fluffy head that quickly falls to a thin film. Average lacing.

S: A strong wheat aroma dominates with cardamom and a bit of lemon zest. A touch of clove.

T: Wheat is still quite strong, but I get quite a bit of orange zest, almost as if there is a slice of orange in the beer. The beer stays dry with a nice spiciness.

M: Medium thickness with strong, creamy carbonation.

O: A nice Witbier, but I'm honestly not sure I could tell this from the BMC versions. It is a bit spicier and drier I believe, but it's similar for sure. Maybe my palate just isn't quite there for Witbier. Either way, I'd take an Allagash White over this any day.

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Photo of rickyleepotts
3.05/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

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, switch 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 isa 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!

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St. Bernardus Witbier from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.15 out of 5 based on 1,528 ratings.
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