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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.

2,647 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,647
Hads: 8,748
Avg: 4.42
pDev: 17.42%
Wants: 672
Gots: 2,062 | FT: 49
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: 2,647 | Hads: 8,748
Photo of crwills
4.52/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great, great beer, but takes some getting used to.

Pours darker than I expected into an oversized wine glass. This was my first taste of this beer, although I have another 12 oz and 2 bombers of it stashed away. Colour is brown, opaque, with a nice 1" head that sticks around for a while. Attractive pour, although a bit dull in colour for such a highly rated beer.

Smell is very malty, elements of grape, prunes, raisins. Bready, like fresh sweet breakfast buns. Some spicy notes, and a bit of alcohol.

Taste evolves. My first taste, I have to admit I really didn't like it. By the time I finished, I wanted more. It's fascinating, and incredibly complex. Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy. Absolutely no harshness. Malty, bready, and dark, sweet fruits. A little bit of upfront bite to it from the mild carbonation, but it fits right into the profile. Very balanced, and obviously and incredible amount of time has gone into perfecting this.

Not my favourite, but I must give respect -- a great, great beer.

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Photo of djeffbee
4.6/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle - thanks to Red, White and Brew - Mount Holly, NJ.

A - Thick dark brown . A carmel head sits on top - with lacing that lasts throughout the whole experience. Masterful.

S - Caramel, figs, rasins, nuts, brown sugar, and slight hops are present.

T - This should not be imbibed without the proper glass to take in the whole experience. As you smell, sip and hold on the tounge the aroma marries the malty, fruity, bready taste.

M - Smooth, yet hearty

D - Great until you read the label - 10%ABV, you wont last too long. The alcohol is well masked in my opinion.. A 12 oz chalice or two is enough for me to fully enjoy this masterpiece end to end...

@7.99/750ml - this is a steal.

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Photo of weeare138
4.73/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears a murky dark brown with some glowing red highlights. A thick, soapy fluff of tan head floats on top of the beer. Scattered webs of lacing are left all over the glass.
Smell is of caramel, cocoa, raisins, doughy bread, nuts, brown sugar, nougat, vanilla, and anise.
Taste is even better than the aromas in a solid batch of Belgian goodness that will knock the socks off of any beer lover(or non-beer lover for that matter).
Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, sugary, and full of doughy yeast and rich malt.

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Photo of Tupperwolf
4.83/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've been saving this one for some time now - not sure what to expect, but expectations are high. A beer does't get to be number 4 on the top 100 list without being exceptional.

Pour into my tulip a dark brown that becomes, to my surprise, almost completely black; It forms a beautiful, rocky, fluffy meringue-like head, and in some lights reveals its mysterious depths to be a carefully decanted clear dark, glowing ruby. The head is exceptional, leaving wallls of lacing, and the beer seems to change color depending on the light.

Gentle twinges of alcohol lead and blend into a varied, mixed bunch of scents. Lots of dark fruits here - raisins, plums, black cherries just beginning to overripen, just slightly tart. A slight wet-earth woodiness, and a roasted sugar sweetness backed up by espresso bitters.

This has a nice, soft sugary flavor that builds and smooths out as it warms; It's there, but it's not overdone; It has a sweet, slightly woody dark fruit flavor that carries small, vaguely detectable notes of coffee or roasty smoke - mostly, it's sweet, slick, and very slightly spiced by its alcohol - which, I may add, is almost completely absent, considering this is over 10%abv.

Smooth mouthfeel almost devoid of carbonation despite the lustrous head, which is perfect for me. There's enugh carbonation to build the flavors and sensations of this beer, but not enough to disrupt a smooth, delightful drinking experience.

This is one of the first Belgians I've hadd, out of many, which tempts me to have a second glass immediately after the first. Normally I have to take a break with something less complex or less alcoholic, but this is really, relaly good.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
4.52/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle purchased at LaBodega in Riverside, CA. for $3.99 in January, 2006. Best by date of Oct 2009.

I have had this beer on any number of occasions, and I was really surprised when I recently discovered that I hadn't reviewed it. Pours a deep mahogany with a pretty tan head made of very tiny bubbles.

The aroma is what makes this beer supreme. There are only a few beers that I could just sit and smell all day long- this is one of them. Rich chocolate and candy and dark fruit (dates and plums and black cherries), some brandy notes and this stuff is heaven.

Flavor is marvelous as well, but not quite as incredible because of the alcohol burn on my tongue (I never know if that should be included in taste or mouthfeel). Somewhat sharper and drier than expected from the aroma, but all the aromas are there in the flavor as well.

Rich full mouthfeel, the alcohol burn keeps this from being incredible. ABV keeps drinkability from being as high as the other scores- for drinakbility, I'll take the 6 or 8, both wonderful beers in themselves.

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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 klewis
3.16/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

750 ml bottle

A: Pours a dark reddish-brown with a big foamy head. Leaves gobs of lacing on my goblet.

S: Strong yeasty aromas mixed with dark fruit and cherry. It also reminds me a little of red wine.

T: Taste is salty and metallic with a mild acidity. I detect some citrusy flavors and something else that I can't identify, but the weird salty/acidic flavors are overpowering everything else.

M: Full bodied with a sticky texture.

D: I tried this once before and didn't care for it much, but I bought it again hoping that I got a bad bottle. Nope. I've enjoyed every other Belgian that I've had, so I'm a little perplexed as to why this one tastes so different to me. A positive is that the alcohol is very well hidden, but for the price, I don't think that this is worth buying again.

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Photo of geexploitation
4.87/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is an exceedingly complex beer. Tasting it, I feel like I'm just scratching the surface of what's in here, and that I could discover more with later tastings.

Pours a dark ruby-ish brown with a ton of carbonation. Nice, thick head that sticks around throughout the drinking time. The aroma is very busy -- the things that jump out at me are clove, candi sugar, and a bit of sour apple. Maybe a bit of raisin, too, and definitely some heavy alcohol fumes. Taste is, again, complex, with the cloves asserting themselves once again. Alongside the cloves are two main kinds of sweetness: one a kind of figgy, fruity sweetness, and one straight candi sugar. The high alcohol content comes through in a kind of vodka-ish, peppery aftertaste. This beer goes down very thick -- it's hugely rich and something you want to sip, not gulp.

This is one of those beers you want to continuously sip over an evening. Lots of stuff going on here, which means it'll hold your interest. Wonderful.

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Photo of johnniemarg
4.28/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown that is almost opaque once poured into the tulip. Nice inch and a half of head that stays around for a while. Beautiful lacing.

Aroma of cherry, plum, vanilla, a little caramel, alcohol.

This is tasty. Dark malt with some raisin flavor and a little bit of anise. There is a lot more going on, but I can't think of how to describe it because it's very complex and I'm a belgian novice. Alcohol comes on strong in the end.

Nice creamy but slick medium body. Warming due to the alcohol content.

This is a tasty belgian brew. Some people might not care for the alcohol bite.

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Photo of maddamish
4.36/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Creamy tan head that is about three fingers thick. Cloudy dark brown in color.

Smell: There is a very sweet malt type presence in the nose with clove and cinnamon in the background. Some brown sugar as well as a trace of black licorice.

Taste: Sweet maltiness is the strongest note. Orange pulp, raisin and spice notes round out this complex beer.

Notes: A very good beer. I have had some Quad’s that have overwhelmed me with a strong alcohol presence. Not this one. This quad is well crafted and a pleasure to drink. At $13.95 for a four pack, it s hard to justify the price outside having some friends come into town, but well worth grabbing if you haven’t tried it before.

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Photo of timtheenchanta
4.67/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy brown drink with carbonation bubbles rising the entire time. Very large off-white head that stays throughout the drink. Tons of lacing. Nose of sweet ripened fruit, yeast, and clove cigarettes. Very sweet smell. More clove in the taste along with afore mentioned sweet fruit and strong alcohol taste that is present but not overpowering and that doesn't take away from the rest of the flavors. As soon as you swallow, the wave of warm strong alcohol taste and feel hit hard. It's not a bad thing at all. Mmm that feels good. Creamy feel to this beer with a smooth but strong finish. I'm not sure I could have more than one or two of these in a night simply because of the alcohol content. If I could I would though! Great beer. Go pick this one up.

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Photo of gmcfarre
4.49/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As I found myself in Iowa City this weekend, I decided to stop into John's Grocery and pick up some choice brews. This was the most anticipated, so much so that I even bought the St. Bernardus Chalice for proper consumption. Here we go...

A - Deep dark opaque brown w/ solid 1 inch head. Leaves thick sheets of lacing on glass that seem to build up on top of each other, then slowly work back down into the head. Beautiful.

S- Not quite what I expected. Kindof a citrusy, vinegar and alcohol smell going on here. I'm getting worried...

T- And my worries were assuaged by the richness and complexity of the taste. Full of dark malt with loads of sweetness. The alcohol adds a nice warming spiciness to the beer. Never have I had a beer where the smell and taste were so completely different.

M- Very creamy, nice crispness on the tongue from the carbonation.

D- Certainly a sipper and one to enjoy. Alcohol makes its presence felt after a bottle, but not overpoweringly so. But hey, that's part of the fun of drinking isn't it?

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Photo of kbnooshay
3.91/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The bottle kicks ass, the label is screenprinted on showing a happy monk dude. I Popped this one open causing a loud explosion. Lots of pressure I guess. This poured a gorgous hazy burgundian brown with a nice creamy tan head. The head looks like a root beer float, lots of craters and variation in bubble size. Kinda cool. Good lacing. The aroma is fruity w/light alcohol presence. The flavor is tangy and yeasty. This beer does kick your ass via alcohol but it lacks the flavor that I would think it would need to have to justify the stellar rankings it has gotten. The mouthfeel is pretty great though, very smooth. Moderately drinkable.

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Photo of Orrshow
4.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – Pours a very dark brown color with an almost maroon like haze to it. Head is light and there is lots of it despite an easy going pour. The head rose above the top of the glass and made a strange formation. Bubbles from the bottom of the glass were rising to the top quite actively. Once it calmed down there was a bubbly lacing left on the glass.

Smell – Smell is complex. It’s hard to pick out what I’m smelling. Definitely smells of spice, dark fruits, and Belgian yeast. The strong alcohol scent is there as well.

Taste – The alcohol makes itself known almost instantly, but not in a bad way. The fruity flavor of this beer is wonderful. Tastes of currants or something of the sort. Spice and black licorice also come about. I can’t think of anything but a perfect five for this category.

Mouthfeel – There is a lot of carbonation in this beer. Hits hard but suits the beer and its style. The body on this beer is great as well and it goes down oh so smooth.

Drinkability – Definitely a sipping beer. This one is powerful in every way but still makes you want more.

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Photo of assurbanipaul
3.49/5  rDev -21%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a medium amber with a tall meringue-like head with a lot of staying power. Nose is sweet malt, candy sugar and mild yeast. The very definition of Belgian lace covers the sides of the chalice.

Taste is sweet, roasty malt. Brown sugar, bready, heavily yeasted, lending some characteristic fruity, estery flavors. Some indeterminate spices, raisins, some smoky musty element that is not altogether welcome. The alcohol flavors are masked well but still detectable. Improves as it warms but almost, almost one-dimensional, especially for a Belgian ale.

Mouthfeel is smooth, full-bodied, near syrupy. Borderline cloying, which definitely hurts its drinkability. Is this a good Belgian ale? Yes. Is this a Westvleteren 12 clone, as popularly believed? Hardly. Is this deserving of such a high ranking here? I don't think so.

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Photo of TerryW
2.98/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I'm afraid I'n not as enamoured of this beer as most folks seem to be. Each of the St. Bernardus beers come across to me as underperformers in their various categories, just hinting at what they should be without really delivering.

What disappointed me most about this one was how thin bodied it was. It relied too much on the punch of 12% alcohol and cheated on other aspects of character.

Drinkable, but still just a half-hearted effort.

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Photo of bearrunner44
4.9/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Dark, muddy-brown color. Cloudy to the extreme. Big, fluffy, off-white head completely fills the glass.

Smell- Tangy; full of yeasty aromas and hints of prunes & sour apple. The malt character is full, rich and bready.

Taste & Mouthfeel- Supple, smooth mouthfeel. Full-bodied, but the carbonation lends a delicately light feel. Incredible complexity. Sticky, sweet malt is the first thing to hit the taste buds. A wave of soft, sour flavor takes over soon after. Mellow and sweet. The finish is somewhat estery, with tart prune and clove flavors finding their way into the mix. The warming presence of alcohol becomes pretty obvious in the finish, but by then the beer has already cast its spell. Simply delicious.

Verdict- This isn't a beer, it's an experience.

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Photo of brouwerijman
4.67/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

An excellent strong Belgian ale best tasted with Bernadine, wife of brewer and propietor of the B&B connected to the brewery in Watou, Belgium. She serves a speculous-fudge with the Abt 12 that matches perfectly.

The alcohol is slightly high for my personal taste, but is balanced by the fantastic malt character. Like many strong Belgian ales, this beer is will hopped to balance the heavy malt.

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Photo of nickss
4.68/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have had this brew several times before, and have always loved it, but just have never got around to reviewing it. Well here it is... lets see if this brew holds up under scrutiny.

Let me first say that this is one of the most active beers I've ever seen. I poured this brew VERY gently, and the head still takes up over half my glass. That being said, the color is a nice ruddy ruby brown... almost opaque, but just barely transparent. As I mentioned, huge head... big and rocky and cream-colored.... monstrous gobs of lace.... a thing of beauty. Large chunks of sediment are battered around by the rising carbonation before settling to the bottom.

There is a musty nuttiness to the aroma... very interesting. Along with that, dark fruit, some pear, perhaps some fig. Malty backbone... barely perceptibe alcohol.

Wow.. a truly unique beer. I think that was my first thought last time I tried this brew as well. Wildly complex... I could sit and think about this beer for hours.... but I wont. The alcohol comes out a bit more in the flavour, but not in an offensive way. A surpising amount of citrus, but then again, it seems as if every drop on the palate brings about a new, previously unnoticed taste. Nutty, malty, and yeasty. What a gorgeous flavour.

Crisp, but moderately thick at the same time. I expected it to be much more astringent and bitter on the tongue after I saw what happened when I was pouring it, but it is surprisingly subdued on the palate. Quite nice.

Perhaps THE most drinkable 10% brew I have ever tasted. While the alcohol is noticeable, it only serves to add to the experience. Unlike many imperial stouts, there is not a significant amount of thickness to the liquid to impair drinkability. All in all... a experience.... an absolutely amazing beer.... and here's the kicker... I'm not even particularly fond of Belgians.

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Photo of phisig137
4.67/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was poured from a corked 750 into a tulip, showing a hazy dark brown, amber color, letting very little light through. Although this bottle has sat still for 24 hours, there seems to be a good amount of sediment presnet in the pour, almost as if it is unfiltered. Head is moderate, but dissipates fairly quickly, leaving a good amount of lacing. The aroma at first is dominated by sweet flowers, honeysuckles, and brown sugar.

The palate of this beer displays some amazing complexity, mixing flavors of brown sugar, pineaple, maple, caramel all in a thick, syrupy beautiful beer. The flavors coat your mouth, and linger for a long time, allowing you to savor and discover all the complexities of the flavor profile.

Simply, one of my favorite beers. I've heard a rumor that St. Bernardus brews recipes that were sold to them from Westvleteren, and not having tasted them, I could believe it. This beer is flat out phenomenal. If I could change anything about it, I wouldn't.

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Photo of masikon
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a creamy brown with a nice lingering head, smell is malty and sweet with some slight funkiness and a decent amount of alcohol coming through. Taste is fairly full bodied for a belgian with malty richness and suggestions of plums. Mouthfeel is very nice, not too much carbonation and enough body to make this a great sipper. Alcohol comes through in a peppery finish which makes this a beer to respect, just one bottle and I can definitely feel this one. Overall a really world class brew, definitely one that is worthy of it's reputation.

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Photo of CDBeerDisappear
4.32/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark murky brown with tons of creamy head that lasts until the last sip.

S - Rich and fruity, complex aroma of raisins, currants, plums and port.

T - Toasted sweet malt flavor intertwined with dark fruit richness and a luxuriant port essence.

M - Very thick and glutinous with subtle carbonation that balances the viscous feel of the ale on the tongue.

D - A very drinkable brew. I am exceedingly partial to Belgian ales and this one is impressive.

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Photo of sabrills70
3.87/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml silkcreened corked bottle. Pours a mahogony brown with a 1 finger head, OK longevity and good lace. Deep caramel and sugar aromas with dried dark fruit slight hop spicy aromas. Deep caramel and brown sugar taste but with a touch of roasted malt and drited dark fruit flavors. Decent hop flavors and bitterness but fades quickly into a alcohol presence. Carbonation is a bit high which reduces the drinkability. A decent quad that Im sure will be much better with a year in the cellar - I think I will buy another and try.

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Photo of bennetj17
4.13/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The head is a half inch thick, it's tan looking and almost appears gray also. It dissipates pretty fast though, the color is a deep plum and there is lots of floating sediment throughout. The smell is fruity with aromas of rasins and bananas, spice and alcohol. The taste is sweet initially, then becomes a little more tart after a few seconds, with more rasiny fruit notes. The malt flavor is complex and it tastes dry. The finish is not bitter but somewhat spicy and with moderate alcohol flavor. The mouthfeel is excellent, zesty bubbles, not overly thick, incredibly smooth. A solid Quadrupel, many will love it.

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Photo of acrawf6
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First off, this is one of my absolute favorite beers. I should have reviewed a long time ago. Its soo freakin good!

Pours out a deep cloudy dark leathery brown. Some light gets through, which shows its cloudyness. Nice 1 1/2 inch head rises from the glass. Thick lacing.

Smells so very good. sweet spiced fruits come up first, i get apple, a little banana (with cloves), and slight raison. Its a little lighter than what i remembered, but great. A very nice sweet smell too i might add.

Taste. Sensational. again, sweet but has a little amount of tartness i dont remember, and almost doenst seem like it belongs. I get dried plums at first. As it sits on my tongue i get a white wine, or better yet a champagne taste and mouthfeel to it. Alcohol is slightly present, but is masked very well. I love the complexity of this beer. As it warms, more and more flavors come out. Roasted malts come through.

Mouthfeel is great. Good carbonation. Excellent balance. So full, and yet so slick on my tongue.

Overall, just one of the finest beers around. I could have this all day long (well, until i pass out) and not get tire of the complexities. However, i dont feel this bottle represents what i have had before (or maybe its just me tonight). Great stuff.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
98 out of 100 based on 2,647 ratings.