The St. Bernardus Abt 12 is the flagship brew from the range of abbey beers put out by this Watou brewery. This beer is a something of a runaway success, and accounts for more than half of the total brewery output.
It’s by no means a coincidence that the Abt 12 is often compared to the iconic Westvleteren 12 (XII) from the nearby Sint-Sixtus Trappist abbey. The reason? Until 1992 the Sint-Sixtus Trappist beers were brewed, under licence, by none-other than St. Bernardus. And up to this day, the St. Bernardus abbey beers are brewed using the Sint-Sixtus house yeast.
The St. Bernardus brews are distinctive, nonetheless. The brewers here make full use of the slightly salty, but soft, water originating from the local well. Westvleteren’s brewery, by contrast, simply uses water supplied by the local town.
The Abt 12 is a classic Belgian dark quadrupel, with an alcohol content of over 10% ABV. It has been brewed here since 1946, on the basis of the original recipe compiled by the Westvleteren monks.