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St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,622 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,622
Hads: 8,653
Avg: 4.42
pDev: 17.19%
Wants: 643
Gots: 1,986 | FT: 51
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (12) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of St. Bernardus Abt 12 Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,622 | Hads: 8,653
Photo of smanders
4.03/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Cocoa brown color with a pillow-like head. The lacing is as intricate as a spider web.

Smell - raisins, clove, and charred wood.

Taste - Sweet malt with the lingering warmness of alcohol. Savor the flavor because you shouldn't be chugging this one.

Mouthfeel - motor oil, but in a good way.

Drinkability - If you can't/don't enjoy a good Belgian brew every now and then there's something misfiring in your wiring. A wonderful example of a "Quad."

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Photo of tillmac62
4.03/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Medium heavy body with a nice mouthfeel. Little hop presence to balance the alcohol, but balance is achieved via a nice rich malty taste and mouthfeel. The finish is slightly alcoholic, but pleasant. Overall, an outstanding beer for the high 10.0% alcohol content.

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Photo of InandOutBeerGuys
4.03/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm going on memory of a few months ago...A delightful pair brought me two bottles back from their monastic tour in Belgium I dont recall the date-if there was one but I imagine it was fairly fresh. The first bottle poured wonderfully toffee brown with a semi-sweet very malty backbone. Black pepper dominated the spices. The other bottle has been cellared for a while now, I beleive I'll try it tonight with dinner & report very soon with notes.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.03/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at Nona's in SLO and split between wiseman Jorge and myself (Nick). Poured into a Duvel tulip and a Stella goblet.

Appearance: Chunky, opaque, earthy-tree bark color with TONS of carbonation. Bubbles stick to the glass as streams of carbonation rush toward the surface. Massive, loose, soapy khaki-colored head with great retention. No apparent lacing. Jorge gives it a 4; Nick gives it a 4.5.

Smell: Milk chocolate (maybe more of cocoa powder), banana, raisins, sour Belgian yeast, smoke, some spicy notes. Nothing overwhelming. Alcohol is well-masked. We both agreed on the score here.

Taste: Cocoa and figs jump out at us first. Doughy malts, dark currants, cola, spices (cinnamon, black pepper), banana, and alcohol. Aftertaste is surprisingly dry. Jorge gives it a 4; Nick gives it a 4.5.

Mouthfeel: A good amount of sting in this one. Not really fellin it. Carbonation, alcohol and spiciness attack the mouth and throat. Other than that, a very solid body with great warming effect though not much mouth-coating.

Drinkability: This beer is 10.5% and certainly feels like it. I can't ever imagine myself drinking one of these while doing homework. As a matter of fact, I'm doing homework right now... or at least trying too. Coupled with the mouthfeel, this just isn't something that you could sit around drinking for hours.

Wiseman Nick: A- (4.15)
Wiseman Jorge: B+ (3.85)

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Photo of chrisafari
4.03/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Yard-House in Irvine, california. Pours dark brown, deep reddish amber with small white head. Slight aroma of hops with powerful sense of spice and alcohol. Flavor of spice, pepper and sweet plums. Finishes with a slight ting of alcohol. Very enjoyable!

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.03/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330 mL bottle,

A: Pours a dark red brown with a full off-white head, quite a gusher at first. Good head retention, limited lacing.

S: A lot of dark fruit and sugar.

T: Sweet malt and candi sugar notes start out. Fig juice, green seedless grapes, and a fair amount of ethanol are in there too. Light coffee note at the end.

M: Sweet start with a dry finish. Very smooth, low carbonation actually in the finished product for the gusher it is.

D: Very drinkable for it's strength; this is a good beer. Is it top 25 for me? No, but it's a brew I'd drink any time.

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Photo of Daniellobo
4.03/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very nice Belgium quad, top range for the style.

Presentation: 750 ml. corked bottle. Old fashion front label design with the image of a smiling monk holding a glass of the brew. Lengthy note on the back with historic touches covering the main characteristics of the beer, including some general serving indications. The label indicates to "see top" for freshness date but the top (cork, cover, neck...) is absent of any date. Shows only Alc. by Vol. (10%) Poured into a snifter.

A - Deep brown with ruby edges with a frothy head, with great retention and a rather nice lace on the glass.

S - Malt sweetness, Belgium yeast tones over dark fruits and a sugary sense.

T - Assertive malty sweet malty flavor with a fruity range and a tad of spices. Alcohol booziness only emerges as it warms up.

M - High carbonation for a medium body that works rather smoothly, with even a creamy feel under the tingly bubbly texture.

D - It is rather drinkable, a great sipper, although it does not feel like a tremendously complex or layered quad.

Notes: A very nice quad/dubbel, and somewhat underrated? Mmmm, lacks a minor kick to make it a total favorite but there is not a trace of displeasure in drinking this one.

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Photo of SFLpunk
4.03/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Did a tasting called "My Four Quads" - Westvleteren 12, St. Bernardus Abt 12, Rochefort 10 & Koningshoeven Quadrupel.

Label dated: 07 05 14
Pours a hazy brown with tan head that grips the glass.

Nose: Similar nose to the Westy 12 but brighter, a little hop quality creeps through all those raisin, fig, date aromas. Something like model glue is there too. Carl had an awesome observation: uncooked white bread dough.

Palate: Rich but not as creamy as the Westy 12 with warming alcohol. Bright yet wooly. Nice rough texture with flavors of fresh figs, bittersweet chocolate, and old leather. That pizza dough note is present on the palate, too. Finish is brighter than the Westy 12 with less astringency but some citrus notes.

My 3rd favorite of the 4.

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Photo of JizackFH
4.03/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - This beer pours a dark brown color that has some hints of ruby. It has a nice bubbly 2-finger off-white head. The head falls to a nice little ring around the edge.

S - The smell is malty and yeasty. There are some light notes of brown sugar, alcohol, and it is a bit earthy.

T - This tastes of sweet malts and some spices. There is almost no hop presence. It is also bready and there is a mild alcohol taste. Overall it has a nice complex flavor, there are quite a few tastes that I just can't put my finger on.

M - It has a medium body and tingly carbonation. It goes down easy and the finish is quite dry.

D - This has good drinkability. It tastes good and goes down easy. I think this is a really good beer, and I would definitely try this one again.

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Photo of output01x
4.02/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330 mL. capped bottle (Best Before 07/15/15) into a chalice.

A strong pour yields a 1-finger tan-colored head that quickly recedes to a thin, clumpy dusting and thin foam ring. The body is a mahagony brown that nears black. Some decent lacing can be seen throughout consumption, but is not strong enough to stick around.

Sweet dark fruits comprise the majority of the nose. Notes of plum and raisin are joined by banana, candi sugar, and licorice.

Sweet and earthy at first, this beer's taste is as complex as it is delicious. Like the nose, it carries notes of dark fruits including plum and raisin. It also has flavors of brown sugar, molasses, burnt caramel, and spices. Some light alcohol warmth is also noticeable, but just barely.

Medium to full bodied with good carbonation, this beer is as sippable as it is gulpable. The body is nice and light considering the flavors, giving this beer a very refreshing quality. The carbonation is only slightly fizzy and does not get in the way of the flavors at all.

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Photo of whiplash3825
4.02/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into the included St. Bernardus goblet an almost opaque black with deep plum highlights where the light hits. One-finger head quickly desolves to a thin lingering cap. No lacing.

Ripe plums, raisins, and fig, along with sweet malts and brown sugar. Noticable alcohol.

Wow! Clove-laced ripe fruit and brown-sugar malts perfectly balance (and compliment) the warmth of the alcohol with a surprisingly neutral finish. Slightly metal aftertaste.

Just about perfect mouthfeel and carbonation level. Smooth!

It's kinda scary just how easy this is to drink... I'm doing my best to keep the reins tightened. Also IMO this is much better at the higher end of the suggested serving temp.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.02/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Very dark reddish brown, night quite consistent color all the way through, tinges of yellow flash where the light manages to sneak through. Huge head, guess I had a bad pour because my beer exploded all over the place. Slowly dissipated with minimal lacing.

S - Sugary and fruity, get some carmel, maybe some chocolaty-coffee tones. A little pungent.

T - Sweet, sugary taste followed by decently strong alcohol taste. Not a lot of carbination, but enough to give it a little bite on the end. Lingering finish a little sour.

M - Not really that heavy, expecting more substance from a beer like this. Pretty smooth.

D - Easy to drink. For a quad, I could put away a couple of these because of how relatively light it is. Would do this one again.

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Photo of nhindian
4.02/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a Delirium Tremens tulip.

A - When I first opened this, it was a bit of a gusher. Lost a little bit but I was able to salvage it for the most part. Poured into a Delirium Tremens tulip and built a nice, creamy 3 fingered head that stuck around for the majority of the beer. Pours a very dark brown with copper edges, muddy with some sediment and completely opaque. Not very much lacing which I was a bit surprised about.

S - Smell is definitely boozy at first. Behind the alcohol you get some really nice, sweet, dark fruits, figs, some sweet malts, and grapes. A nice mix between the alcohol and fruit.

T - Taste follows the nose for the most part. Get some hot alcohol at first and then tannic grape. Reminds me of a complex wine. Can really taste the Belgian sugar and candied fruits. Keep getting a range of different flavors from the malty breadiness to the dark fruit back to alcohol. A relatively dry finish that really helps keep the palate refreshed.

M - Mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied and has a good amount of carbonation to keep things interesting.

D - Drinkability is pretty moderate. The flavors are quite complex and enjoyable, but the hotness and tannins detract a bit. Drank over about a span of 40 minutes and it was interesting to see how the complexion changed as it warmed up. Got more of the fruits as a result but it became a bit more boozy and dry as well.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.02/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy deep brown with a huge off white head that slowly dissipates to a cap as it sticks itself all over my glass. Smells of dark fruits raisins prunes fig come to mind. Also has a sweet dark sugar and molasses aroma as well. Twinge of alcohol evident too. Taste is sweet with dark fruits, molasses, brown bread, melanoidin and alcohol. Carbonation is high, mouthfeel is full and sticky sweet, body is thick. I liked this one, but I thought the alcohol was a little to present. Good, but maybe needs some age to mellow it out a bit. I also would have liked a bit less carbonation.

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Photo of 7ways
4.02/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Ruddy Belgian brown with a full inch of cinnamon speckled head.

N- Yeasty. Fig/prune, buttery raisin toast. Sweet alcohol, maybe congac.

T- Like drinking a big spicy raisin. Nice. Also more dark fruit, clove, pepper; minimal candi sugar and fruit cookies on the finish. The alcohol was rather apparent, but warming. On par for the abv.

M- Classic Belgian mouthfeel.

D- Funny, as much as I appreciate what a great beer this is, I'm in no hurry to try it again.

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Photo of mikereaser
4.02/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours a murky dark brown with a 1/4 inch of off white foam

S - very complex brew. raisins and candied sugar, sweet malts, almost too much going on to be able to describe it

T - citrus & floral hops, sweet malts, cloves, grapes, cherries, very sugary tasting, again, there is so much going on that its hard to describe

M/D - very easy to drink, but maybe a bit too sugary for me, but this is definitely one to try.

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Photo of TheEclecticGent
4.01/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had the St. Bernardus 12 on-tap at Summits in Sandy Springs, GA.

Appearance: This beer pours a deep ruby-brown with a moderate tan head that slowly faded. Every sip left a ring of lace on the glass that formed a curtain of lace that extended to the bottom of the St. Bernardus chalice.

Smell: This beer has some malty sweetness and a raisin/dried fruit smell that I couldn't quite place.

Taste: It has a complex but unexpected flavor. It strikes me as a liquorish, raisin, malty, and slightly warming flavor. It defiantly fell outside the average Belgian Abby-style ale. Very interesting.

Mouthfeel: was medium-heavy with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: This beer feels like a "lighter" Belgian beer to the palate, even though it is not. It's quite drinkable but I don't think I'd want to stick with this single style all night.

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Photo of TMB0424
4.01/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750 ML caged-cork bottle. 10% ABV. Poured into a tulip.

This brew pours a delicious looking deep amber brown, with a thick creamy head with excellent retention. Lacing as I drank, simply great looking.

Aroma of smooth malts, a hint of caramel, yeast, with delicate hints of peach and other fruits in the background. Nothing overpowering though.

Good stuff. Extremely smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Taste of peach, apple, hints of banana. Finish is very warming and has a slight spice to it, a perfect offset of the creaminess and fruitiness.

Alcohol content is extremely well hidden, although you know it's there. Quintessential sipping beer.

Definitely highly recommended. It's a beautiful looking brew and the creaminess is simply fantastic.

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Photo of AltBock
4.01/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Corked and caged 750ml bottle with a blue and yellow shield that contains a smiliing monk toasting a goblet that's filled with his beer. You would be smiliing too if you too had a goblet that is filled with Abt 12. The back of the bottle has all the information you need know about this beer. Silk screened to the back of the bottle is a brief history of the brewery, their beer making process, ingredients, how long it will age, best serving temperature, best serving glass, and the ABV%. They do stamp a best before date on the bottle, but they stamp it on the bottom. Mine use to be best before 22/03/12.

Appearance: Served in a Corsendonk Christmas Ale goblet. This beer was murky like a swamp. It was so murky that it was hard to tell what color it was. If I had to say what color it is, I would have to say that it's a dark caramel brown. It had a 1 inch bubbly head of white foam with good retention that left behind a nice sized white film, white foamy rings along the edges, and quite a few streaks of sticky white lace in its tracks.

Smell: Not only was the appearance murky, so was the smell. It was so murky that I had a hard time picking out the different aromas by themselves. All the aromas combined to form one big mob aroma. This mob of an aroma consisted of toasted and roasted malts, dark fruits, candy sugar, citrus fruits, a dash of pepper and yeast, and then ended with some juicy hops.

Taste: The taste was heavy with toasted and roasted malts, caramel, sweet plums, yeast, more dark fruits, bitter citrus hops, and ended with a big bite of sweet alcohol. The alcohol acted as a coating for every taste. For example; when I got the malts, every single malt had an alcohol coating. The same thing went for every other flavor that made it's appearance in the taste. It made for a very interesting taste.

Mouthfeel: It was clearly a full flavored full bodied beer that had a nice sized aftertaste of roasted malts, dark fruits, and crispy citrus hops. After those tastes had their time in the sun, it comes the alcohol. There was more alcohol than flavors. After the taste, I was expecting that to happen. It didn't bother to mask the ABV%. It wanted me to know that it was there and it was staying.

Drinkability: It's about time that I finally decied to pop one open and try it. I was glad that I did. Since it's almost everywhere, I will more likely try this one again in the future. It's one Belgian beer that everyone should try for themselves!

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Photo of dragonWhale
4.01/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

small bottle, fresh, best before 1.13.15 (I think I've deciphered this correctly).
Dark amber, a bit cloudy, nice ring of tan foam encircling with a bit of lacing draped on the glass.
Candy, sweet raisins, a bit of bubblegum, apples to alcohol, of course!
Very sweet raisins and dates in the flavor, alcohol on the backburner, much smoother than I thought it would end up being. The sweetness is sexy, inviting. Come play here, plenty of room for you too. Nice balance from a soft, pining bitterness.
The booze kicks in towards the end, yeah...
Want this one again with some age upon its sweet physique.

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Photo of 0110x011
4.01/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a dark, murky brown with ruby highlights. Thick, rocky, four finger khaki head. Chunky lacing left all over.

S - Dark fruits on the nose, with fig, plum and raisin. A but of spice and earth from the yeast. A dash of leather.

T - Major plum & fig notes, balanced by yeasty spices and earth notes. Alcohol burn is a bit sharp at the beginning, but this mellows somewhat as the beer warms.

M - Medium bodied, with bright carbonation. Dry finish. Dude, this is a SMOOTH beer!

D - The alcohol presence brings the score down, but I could still enjoy a few glasses of this. The bomber was a pleasure from top to bottom.

A quintessential Belgian abbey ale, and a personal favorite.

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Photo of punkrkr27
4.01/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogony with a fair bit of sediment and a giant frothy off white head. Smells of bubblegum, bananna, and a slight sweet mustiness. Flavor is nutty, sweet, a bit astringent, finishing with a bananna clove flavor. Very alcoholic on the finish. Mouthfeel is a little thin and quite carbonated. A really tasty beer but I still much prefer Rochefort or even La Trappe.

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Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle sampled on 12/30/03, out of a St Bernardus goblet that came with the four bottle sampler pack purchased that day in Blacksburg, Virginia(Vintage Cellar had 4 or 5 left then). In addition to the smiling Monk on the label, is a "best before date" in Flemish, French, and a couple other languages, that tell you to drink it before the end of 2005. Okay, I'll bite. Didn't know at the time of sampling if I would last into 2004. The Belgian ale pours into the goblet a deep, dark brown, almost opaque. The head is enormous, beige, and frothy with an abudance of tiny bubbles. Lacing slowly climbs down the glass. The aroma is of a classic brown Belgian strong ale. Bigtime Bananas in the nose, followed by the spice cabinet of coriander and allspice. Medium bodied in the mouth, tart, and a lot of carbonation. Taste begins tart and spicy. The alcohol is not well disguised. Plenty of earthy Belgian yeast notes are also on the palate. The tart fruits(grapes and plums on steroids) ride a solid malt backbone to a smooth, yet powerful finish. Very good ale, and worthy of its lofty rating. Personally, I prefer the St Bernardus Pater 6. The alcohol in the 12 is just a bit too overpowering.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown, muddy look with beige head. Aroma is intense, with lots of brown sugar but also somehow fresh. Taste is balanced at first, with some spices, dark sugar taste but without the sweetness. It slowly builds up to a bittersweet finish. Quite easy to drink for 10% ABV but the alcohol is a bit present in the taste. Carbonation is on the high side, something I don't really enjoy for high ABV beers. Overall it's a good representation of the style but not really my type of beer.

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Photo of basica
4/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was kinda disappointed with this one as I would put it high up; almost there with the Westy's not sure if mine's a bad bottle... I have one more bottle and getting one more from my dutch friend but let's take a look at this one first. It pours out with a huge bubbly head that retains pretty well; color was the typical dark brown as like many dark belgian ales. The smell was yeasty, and alcoholic fruity; somewhat vinous but not as pleasing as I would have liked it to be. I had a sip and it was alcoholic plums or raisins leaving a lot of alcoholic fruitiness on the nose. It was sweet and the yeasty taste was also clear on this one. For some reason this taste reminds me of the Gouden Carolus although I forgot to review it when I tasted it. The after taste was plums, raisins, grapes and was pretty strong and pleasant. This Quad is closed to full body and was clearly rich and almost syrupy. Carbonation was surprisingly high but it was still pretty smooth but drinkability would have dropped due to its high and evident alcohol content. I am pretty disappointed as I put this up close with the Westvleterens but seems like it does not even qualify in my top 10 beers list which I expected it to be in anytime. It is a good beer but unfortunately not great; I would give this review a light pass since I have potentially 2 more bottles to go; let's hope that I am not missing a good bottle here.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
98 out of 100 based on 2,622 ratings.