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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.

2,684 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,684
Hads: 8,924
Avg: 4.42
pDev: 17.42%
Wants: 692
Gots: 2,194 | FT: 51
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Belgium | 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 (11) | 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: 2,684 | Hads: 8,924
Photo of fingolfin72
4.26/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Twisted Fork.

It looked like a Coke, but the head was fine-textured and enduring.

Not much nose, but I detected a whiff of sugar, cereal and alcohol.

The palate was huge with flavors of brown sugar, maple, coffee, toast, cola, vanilla and a bit of clove-like spiciness. The mouthfeel was creamy and luxurious, with fine-textured and subtle carbonation. The alcohol was apparent, but it was not overbearing. A balanced but firm backbone of mineral and hops ran through the whole flavor profile.

It was served to me a bit too cold, but it really opened up as it went up a few degrees.

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

750mL cork and caged bottle poured into a Westmalle chalice. No best by date printed.

Pours a very dark brown with an almost creamy off-white head leaving traces of lacing around the glass. At first the head dissipated leaving little islands on the beer and somehow gained strength and filled out the glass for a head all around. Pretty strong yeasty aroma, wow, plum, raison, cherries, and maybe even some grapes. Pretty strong, yet complex smell. Taste is full of the same dark fruit, just dancing on the tongue, be prepared. To dig deeper, it starts with a caramel and biscuit flavor then transforms seemlessly into a plum/raison flavor and finishes with a bit of dark cherry flavor. Slightly above average carbonation, with a medium to full body, pretty nicely paired together, maybe a little less carbonation would be better. Very wonderful to drink, but I can't imagine being able to stand after a few of these.

Side note: I definately feel this one is best when it warms. I opened it when it was still a little too cool and as it warmed in front of me it kept getting better.

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Photo of bhb
4.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

St Bernardus Abt 12 is truly a beer deserving of "outstanding".

Pouring with a large frothy head, with a very dark brown almost black colour, it oozes all sorts of aromas. My nose is awash with winter-warming aromas of wine, dates, raisins, banana, oter dark sweet fruits and a hint of citrus for good measure. A very full body and a gentle fizz really gets it going in the mouth, and it goes down extremely well. It costs me 2 euros a bottle (less than $3) so it's a regular for me.

Some say this is like Westvleteren, and some don't. The brewery was at one stage brewing for Westvleteren, so no doubt there are influences in there. But if you're confused as to whether it's the same or not, I've got news for you. I've drunk several of these in my time, as well as westy 12, and most were quite different from Westy (hence my comments in my westy 12 review). Excellent, but different. But tonight I popped open an Abt 12 and, well, it was VERY Westy-like. Perhaps it depends on the brewing season, but this one is very much like Westy. It's got that alcohol/port aroma that's not in the other Abt 12s I had, and it's very very similar to Westy 12, though it is a little less punchy. Best before date of this one is 20-09-10, so if you've got one of those, and it's got port-ish aromas, you're lucky to have an almost-westy batch. Otherwise, it's pot luck and you might just get a fantastic beer rather than a stunning beer.

Overall, this is a brilliant brew, especially as a winter warmer, and will not disappoint.

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Photo of Hautacam
4.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is fantastic !
Very cloudy, orange-brown..lively head..laces , falls to a film and stays.
Smells of fresh bread dough..dried fruit..hint of port and some alcohol.
Taste is amazingly complex! Yeasty, sweet..tons of fruit ( apple,pear,bananas, cherries ), licorice, caramel candy..hint of bubblegum...spices are subtle....Perfect !! Some port wine toward the end.
As it warms it gets better...this really is living up to the reviews...it's just a great, great brew.
Velvety mouthfeel...perfect, lively micro carbonation.
Very drinkable for such an overwhelmngly complex, intense ale.
I will be back for more.

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

I usually drink this beer whenever I go to the Publick House but this one is a 1 pint, 9.4 ounce bottle from Julios. It poured a cloudy hazy brown with a creamy head that lasts forever. The lacing is great. The aroma is of fruits, raisins, malts, and alcohol. This beer has such a complex taste. It is wonderful and delicious. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. This is definitely not a chugging beer. It is great to sip and sip I will all night until the very last drop of this beauty.

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Photo of acoatley
4.58/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearence: Bueatiful amber wispers of red with a thick silky head..the lace takes a full thirty seconds to roll down the glass.

Aroma: Slight alcohol followed by a mixture of plum and cherry estes pleasant malty sweetness.

Taste: Caramel malty sweet, moderate alcohol lingers pleasently on the palate, pear and plum esters

Mouthfeel: Smothe silkey but finishes crisp

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Photo of Scheity
4.43/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Look at the bottle. There's a reason why the monk so happy with himself. Aside from the inner peace and total life devotion, he's drinking a beer that's packed with more alcohol than the Bush twins -- a little classier, though.

The alcohol barely comes through, though it seeps through the nose at the end of the sip, sneaking up on you. It's crushed under the sheer weight of the beer, an assortment of tons of barley malt and dark, bitter cherries and every fruit darker than that. Could stand to have a little more bitterness, as a finisher, but then again, it's pretty fantastic.

This is a beer to sip by a fire and in the company of good friends, a beer to harmonize with a situation of rich beauty and languor.

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Photo of Optimat0r
4.65/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

appearance - so dark amber its brown...a deep brown almost completely impenetrable by light. minimal foaming.

taste - heavy malts, ended with a perfect fruityness, a hint of cinnemon...extremely complex but not so rich that its overboard. one of the best tasting beers you will ever come across, goes amazing with food. i didnt give it a 5 because of the inevitable occasional hint of alcohol taste that comes through every now and then.

drinkability - unbelieveable, incredible especially considering its 10% alcohol. mouthfeel is the best ive had. tastes amazing through a range of temperatures, great alone or with food, i intend to keep some of this around whenever i can, is perfect in nice 5 oz servings, taste never falters, could sip it all day despite its abv.

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

Appearance: Nice Amber color, thick living head. Lots of carbonation making nice sounds as I sat in the quiet watching it.

Smell: Fruity. Prunes, cherries... faint alcohol scent and the barest touch of cinnimon.

Taste: Follow thru on the fruit smell. Sweet and smooth with a touch of hops on the tail.

Mouthfeel: Smooth yet almost shockingly carbonated. The tastes and carbonation combine to tickle and prickle the palate.

Drinkability: Smooth sipping beer with a deceptive ABV. I could frink 2-3 of these at a sitting, but the higher ABV makes that a questionable pursute. This is one that will sneak up on you.


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Photo of jabocu
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Large bottle poured into glass.

Pours a dark brown translucent color. Has a thick off white head that fell to a 1/4 inch cap with lacings along the side. Aroma was grainy and sweet malts. Fruity like figs or raisins, with earthy and spicy undertones. Taste was just as expected with fruity raisins and figs. Had a very refreshing fruitiness but with just the right amount of hops to smooth down the sweetness and finish with mellow cloves and spices. Has a earthy oaken undertone. Carbonation is medium with medium body. It has a lot of flavor that lasts for a while but with a refreshing mouthfeel. Alcohol is mostly hidden but still has a good warming effect. Wonderful beer that will be around for evenings to sit and chat.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A fine candidate for #500...

Aged for 2 years+, I've just been waiting for the right time...uncaps with an assuring rush of air

Appearance - pours with a quick head-forming froth of bubbles. Viewed straight on, it's got a dull garnet color with a solid foamy cover, the bottom sediment looking like sprinkled cinnamon on top. Held up to a good backlight, there is a whole universe of stuff floating around in that glass. Chunks, flakes, fine granules of stuff.

Aroma - initially a blend of chocolate and alcohol. It settles, the chocolate fades a little but not entirely, and some banana and yeast aromas make it through. After the beer settles, the aroma doesn't. It stays steady, full, and enticing. A sustained head is likely responsible for much of that.

Taste - begins with a dark, malty sweet flavor. Velvety chocolate and a boozy warmth arrive together. Some mild hop balancing on the swallow as the abv provides a warm, fuzzy finish. Not harsh at all, the end is warm chocolate and a smile.

Mouthfeel - perfect. Soooo smooth. Active carbonation balances out the quad heaviness. Really goes hand in hand with the flavor.

Drinkability - this does not comes across like 10%, what a great beer. I'll have to grab more at my next opportunity.

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Photo of Lnedrive14
4.57/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at Sunset.

I think I actually prefer this beast in the bottle. That might be, however, because when in the bottle I allow it to warm up a bit rather than drinking it cold, which is where this beer shines. In any case, undoubtedly one of the best beers in the world. Big on malts, spices, and dark fruits. Finishes smooth, full bodied, no alcohol presence.

Wish I could drink it every day.

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

This brew poured a very dark brown color with a dense head that stuck to the side of the glass. The beer was so dark in fact, that I could not shine a light through it. The nose was spicy, malty and chocolatey. The taste was impressive, with notes of dark fruit, chocolate, port wine and molasses in the palate. This beer was very rich and luscious. Alcohol was noticable but hidden quite well. St. Bernardus 12 deserves it high rating on the "Best of BA". Excellent beer.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
3.6/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dark red-brown in color with a scuzzy white head that was resilient and never went away. Lace curtained the interior of the goblet in sticky sheets. Nose is sweet malty with a slight hint of spice.

this beer is hyped as being superior to Westy 12. Ummm... not sure I see why that claim holds so well. All the flavors just seem a bit more subdued than Westy 12. Malts are candy sweet with some tired Belgian sugars. Spice flavors were present but they seemed like they were out of date too. Phenols were a bit strong, especially as the beer warmed more. Little bits of cherry too. Full body and flavor. All-in-all it is a drinkable Belgian but not sure it is what everyone pumps it up to be.

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Photo of SethB2
4.52/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Excellent, world class brew here.

Poured out of a bottle into a tulip glass. Nice dark color with medium head that sticks to everything it touches. Nice lacing all around. Smells fantastic. Lots a malted bitter fruits with a hint of alcohol. Taste is great as well. Fruits and sweet malts dominate, like a Belgian beer should. Mouth is full bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Very good. Drinkability is hurt a little by the abv, but I would happily down these until I couldn't stand.

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Photo of quasimoto
3.58/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Its a dark copper with a nice large frothy head. It looks great.

S - Aromas of strong spices and dark malts are the first to grab my nose. After that it turns to licorice, and some cinnamon.

T - Dark strong spicy malts. Its not hops but its very close to it. A lot of things are going on in there.

M - Sharp on the palette at first, the middle is smooth and creamy and finishes dry. Lot of sensations there.

D - Storng ABV makes this one a beer to cherish. Nice to sip and enjoy.

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Photo of edmundfitzoil
4.59/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 11.2 oz. brown bottle poured into my chalice. I picked up the beer at Liquid Solutions in Tigard, OR. I allowed mine to warm up outside the fridge for at least a half an hour before opening and serving. I prefer my beer warm. The beer poured a dark brown with cm+ of head that retained through the drink. A fine lacing inched its way down the glass behind the liquid. The beer smelled wonderfully: big, doughy malts along with raison and some spices. Excellent aroma.

The beer’s flavor was big and comlex like its aroma. With a malt presence at the beginning along with overt hints of different dark fruits. A subdued hop presence and a completely hidden abv., Although thils beer's creaminess points it towards the sipping category, it can sneak up on you while being incredibly drinkable. Plunk me down with some good music and a few good friends and an evening of discussing this beer and whatever else come our way. While other Belgian beers maybe more rare, St. Bernardus is generally readily available and well worth purchasing again because of its exceptional quality.

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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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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
98 out of 100 based on 2,684 ratings.