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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.

8,198 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,198
Reviews: 2,608
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 559
Gots: 1,625 | FT: 48
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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,198 | Reviews: 2,608
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5/5  rDev +11.9%

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4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of Chrysostom
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

God has a Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God the Son, the Son of God, and is fully God himself. He is God manifest in the flesh. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...there was a man, John, who came to preach the Word.

Now, the Beergod has a son, St Bernardus (Abt 12). St Bernardus is the Son of the Beergod, and in him the fullness of the Beergodhead dwells bodily. He is Beergod manifest in the glass. God created the Beergod, and St Bernardus was in the beginning with the Beergod, and St Bernardus is the Beergod...there is a man, by the name of Chrysostom, who came to preach the Word.

"When the Beergod became flesh, after dinner, he likewise took a bottle of St Bernardus and poured it, saying, This is my blood of the Brew Covenant, which is poured out for many for the inebriation of souls."

St Bernardus is the best beer in the world. Chimay is magnificently superb: it is a signal beer. Other beers: excellent. But St Bernardus Abbot 12 is the Beergod incarnate, made in to a liquid in a glass by some not-monk-monks, to dwell amongst and be drunk by men.

The only thing I have a question on is "appearance"... It's hard to pour, and if poured poorly, will get a bunch of the black yeast-floaties in it, which are unappetizing. If poured poorly, it's a 4.75 on appearance. If poured correctly, it's a 7 out of 5.

Presentation: 750mL, corked and caged. Absolutely awesome label of a jolly, tipsy monk (they changed the colours of his robes when St Bernardus became "not Trappist" about 20 years ago, so he's not a member of any identifiable order now... he used to be in Trappist habit) with ruddy cheeks, making the Priest's sign of benediction with one hand, and toasting your health with an overflowing goblet of St Bernardus in the other. Is there any better way to do so?

A: Poured in to Chimay chalice. A cloudy dark brown, like clean mud made from good earth, which appears black from many angles. Light will show through edges when held directly to a source of light, but the heart is impenetrably opaque, much as the complexity of this beer itself is. On a proper, smooth pour, one finger of thick, creamy, pillowy head, overflowing the rim, is left, which recedes slowly to a thin layer on the face of the beer. It laces the glass in an almost-solid sheet of foam. Don't judge a book by its cover? You can judge this beer by the label, and the pour.

"It looks like what a quad should look like."

S: Surprisingly subdued for such a big beer. There are strong notes of brown malt (think Samuel Smith's Nut Brown) and Belgian yeast, with a mild alcohol character. However, the malt smells -thick-: there is no other way that comes to mind to describe it. There are hints of molasses, brown sugar, grape, prune, date, fig, and other dark fruit, as is par for the course, although the fruit character is much more mild when compared to such a beer as Westmalle Dubbel. The smell becomes more pronounced as it warms. I'm surprised I can smell so little - I'm more-than-likely halfway-ill, so that's probably dulling my olfaction.

"It smells like what a quad should smell like."

T: Much as the smell, but bigger, bolder, and not subdued. Incredibly complex interplay of malt, a dominant grape-like flavour, sugar, the slightest spiciness, and Arabian dried dates. There is no perceptible alcohol character in the flavor. There is a mild sweetness without cloyingness as it hits the tongue. There is a carbonic astringency on the finish, whether from the subdued hops or carbonation, I don't know. It finishes surprisingly cleanly for such a thick, full, malty libation.

"It tastes like what beer should taste like."

M: Highly-carbonated, but blends well with everything else. Causes the flavours to explode on the palate, and contributes to a dry and lingering clean finish. There is a tingle that is left for a moment after the beer has gone, probably due to carbonation. Does not coat the mouth like many malt-bombs that are more familiar, such as double IPAs. Absolutely perfect.

D: Extremely high. A clean beer with complexities begging for another sip, and a completely-hidden, occulted 10% ABV. I could drink 4 or 5 fifths of this, but the drunkenness would have affected my tastebuds to the point that it would be a waste of money; anything more than 2 fifths of this, and you're not getting the full taste - switch to something else.

I gave the smell of this, and appearance, a 4.75 to start, for what reason I don't know, maybe comparison to the Platonic Form of "beer" existing in the Third Realm. However, on this earth, I think it unlikely this beer can be surpassed, and know that it has not yet been surpassed.

It was $11.99 for a fifth, but, like Macallan 25 (which is generally in the ~$750 for a fifth), if this was $50+ a fifth, it would still be worth it to taste, even if too expensive to drink regularly.

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4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle split with my girlfriend at Giacomo Hotel in Niagara Falls, NY. Great memories associated with this one as we consumed it during our one-year anniversary trip.

Pours a hazy beautiful brown. Decent sized head. Some sediment is suspended in the glass.

Lots of fruit, bready, biscuity malt in the taste. Some hop bitterness that almost gives it a nice grassy flavor. Strong Belgian yeast flavors as well. Seems to be spiced- possibly with cloves? I'm not sure, but I like it.

Full bodied mouthfeel, well carbonated.

One of the best Belgian beers on the market in the US. A true classic. I will always hold this beer dear in my heart due to the memories associated with drinking it.

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look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This pours a medium brown color with a foamy, beige head. It has a very inviting aroma of malts and yeast. The taste is rather amazing and easy to see why this is considered one of the best beers in the world. The texture is well carbonated as wheat, spices, and yeast tickles your taste buds. Quite filling and very well made, as if I would expect anything less from Belgium.

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look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A – Dark brown with a dusting of white bubbles that looks fantastic, but it dissipates fast and some lacing that make this brew look even better!

S – Very complex smell. I would have thought the smell was going to be much more intense. It is somewhat mild with medium-fruits, it’s earthy and somewhat peppery spicy aspect to it. Just smells unbelievably good!

T – The taste of this beer just screams quality, is so incredibly complex, and still so drinkable. And it only gets better as it warms in your glass, so each sip is better than the last.

M – The mouth-feel is surprisingly lighter than I would have expected, but it just just about perfect as well. If it was heavier it wouldn't work as well. The steady carbonation gives it a creaminess that is just delightful.

O – This is one of the best beers that I have ever had and surely one of the best beers on the face of the earth. I have been told that is beer is a near duplication of the legendary Trappist Westvleteren 12 (which I have never had). Copy or no, I'm heading back to Wegman's to get another bottle of Abt 12 right now.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 8,198 ratings.