Beer Review: St. Bernardus Pater 6

BREWERY’S DESCRIPTION: This name became a reference. This beer is mostly pointed out with its product name: “a Paterke”. This “Paterke” is a chestnut coloured dark beer with a high fermentation (6.7 alcohol content) and a full taste.

Over time many craft beer geeks have placed beers from St. Bernardus on their list of go to Belgian beers. As such, after having tried every one of their beers besides Pater 6, I was glad to find some bottles of it while at a NJ beer store about a week ago. Clocking in at 6.7% ABV, I was curious to see how this Belgian Dubbel would compare to its bigger brothers aka Prior 8 and Abt 12.

After deciding to use my Corsendonk glass for this beer, I poured in the entire contents of the bottle (including the yeast). In terms of color it poured an opaque ruby red with a fluffy three finger head (mix of large and small bubbles), and lighter red highlights when held up to light. Over time the head slowly condensed to 2 fingers in size and left great lacing.

When it comes to Belgian beers I look to the aroma as an indicator of how complex the taste will potentially be. However, in the case of Pater 6 the initial  aroma was a bit puzzling. I was met with a perfumey spiciness that was at times a bit soapy in nature. Though, behind that there was some nice Belgian candi sugar sweetness, alcohol esters, and a touch of lemon.

To my surprise the taste was initially much different in that my palate was met by a burst of dark fruits (cherry, dates), belgian candi sugar, and bubblegum. As the beer warmed up those flavors mixed with the perfumey / spicy yeast notes from the aroma and at times I picked up a slight woody quality at mid palate. As is with many Belgian beers, the finish was a bit dry and the dark fruits and yeast character lingered after each sip.

Pater 6’s mouthfeel was similar to others Belgian dubbels in that it had a medium mouthfeel and some tongue prickling carbonation in the finish. As I finished the beer I began to compare it to it’s bigger brothers and found it to be both similar and different. Meaning, while it did have some great characteristically belgian flavors, its yeast character and aroma were quite different than in the Prior 8 and Abt 12. In the end I would buy this beer again for its unique blend of flavors. However, when in the mood for a dubbel I’d probably go for Prior 8 or Westmalle Dubbel. Rating 7/10

Adventures Into The Mind of a Beer Geek: Over the past few months I’ve met a bunch of craft beer drinkers who say that they are not big fans of Belgian beers. While I can accept that every beer drinker has his or her own preferences. I feel that developing a knowledge and appreciation for Belgian beers is an important factor in developing one’s palate and realizing the extent of yeast’s influence on beer’s flavor profile. In addition, Belgian beers tend to have added ingredients such as dark and light candi sugar, orange peal, and coriander in them. So to me Belgian beers can be compared to a musical symphony where all its (their) parts need to meld together to produce a enjoyable final product. Yet another beer style that is worth mentioning here for its yeast strain’s influence is the Hefeweizen or German wheat beer. Its characteristic flavors are bubblegum, clove, banana, and lemon; most of which come the hefeweizen yeast strain. So in conclusion while you may not need Belgian beer styles in your list of go to styles, having an appreciation for what they bring to one’s palate development is in my opinion a must.

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About The Brewed Palate - Barry

NJ (formerly NYC) based home brewer and craft beer enthusiast sharing his brewing and imbibing adventures on thebrewedpalate.com. "Spreading the messages of craft beer one palate at a time."
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