St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

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2,622 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,622
Hads: 8,649
Avg: 4.42
pDev: 17.19%
Wants: 643
Gots: 1,983 | 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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 2,622 | Hads: 8,649
Photo of mactrail
3.83/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber and well carbonated. Rich but only slightly sweet. Complex rhythm of flavors as you'd hope from a good Belgian ale. Honeyed taste with nutty flavors. Interesting bitter twang adds to the long aftertaste. Raising, caramel, bitter chocolate.

Great dessert beer. Rich and perks up the taste buds.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.48/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap 1/7/07 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a goblet.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a short beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of yeast, roasted malt, chocolate and a touch of dark fruits.

T: Taste is very-well balanced with flavors of yeast, chocolate, caramelized malt and dark fruits. No one flavor takes dominance. There is a slight hops bitterness in the background. The high ABV is extremely well-hidden.

M: Very smooth, medium body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Very tasty, goes down ridiculously easy which will make the ABV catch up to you in a hurry. This is a very good beer. At the time that I am writing this review, the beer is #15 on the Best of BA. Believe the hype.

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

Picked this bottle up at Capone's, decanted the corked and caged brown 750ml into a goblet.
A - A deep caramel brown with a medium tan head that has good retention.

S - Malty w/ a sweet dry scent and supple soft fruit odors.

M - A snap of carbonation w/ a spicy yeast note and slightly dry nutty textures.

T - A great smooth caramel and toasted malt taste combines w/ a candy-like nutty taste. A dry effortless nuance of dates and vanilla flavor that hints at candy sugar. The abv is well masked and the subtle sweetness makes you want to sip at it. The smooth dry malt combines w/ a subtle fusel alcohol tinge as it warms with a fig-like sweetness. The flavor is very subdued, yet well balanced and interesting.

D - An fantastic quad, that is highly drinkable for the 10% that it is. Soft, smooth and light in body, never cloying. Wonderful in every sense, a true taste delight.

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Photo of Jason
4.4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: The glass is rimming with lace, hazed brown colour gives the appearance some depth.

Smell: A spike of clove, layers of ripe fruit and malt sweetness are what the aroma is all about.

Taste: Clove is certain to be the first flavour you taste as it rides the wave of sweetness, big brown sugar flavour with some cake like malty qualities. Some buttery and phenolic flavours shoot to the palate in the middle to make it a bit juicy. Some earth and carob flavours in the mix. Alcohol is a little evident, it hiding under the sweetness right behind the fruity flavour that soon flare into esters and mild solvent flavours. Finishes sweet and warming.

Mouthfeel: Exceedingly smooth with a creamy full body after the smoothness moves through.

Drinkability & Notes: I’d have no problem sipping this all night long. A heavenly abbey ale that goes down as one of the best for me.

Thanks to D & V International for the sample.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.6/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Truncated review below. Reviewed side by side with a Rochefort 10 and a Westvleteren 12. I'll come back and give this its own proper review in the future.

1 pint 9.4 fl oz brown glass bottle with cage and corked cap served into a Biere de Saint Louis Alsace teku. Expectations are very high; I've had this before and loved it.

Overcarbonated - the cork shot up and hit the ceiling upon opening.

HEAD: No bubble show forms as it's poured. Head is 2 fingers of pale khaki colour. No lacing is left on the sides of the glass.

BODY: Red-brown colour. Murky and muted. Not looking fantastic, but it's more than acceptable for a quad.

Not the rich appearance of superior quads, but appealing.

AROMA: Kind of muted. I have to search for the dark fruits: plum, fig, that's about it. Not finding the prune or the dates of superior quads. Belgian malts. Some biscuity yeast. Raisin. Maybe some cream. Starchier than the Rochefort 10.

A pleasant but reticent aroma of mild strength.

No hop character or alcohol is detectable.

TEXTURE: Smooth and wet, but it has enough slight coarseness to coax out a bit more depth of flavour. I love the creaminess, but it could be more soft. Complements the taste well. Nice presence on the palate. Comfortingly soft. Very approachable.

TASTE: Belgian malts. Biscuity Belgian yeast. Wisps of faint dark fruits - plum, fig, and raisin. It's a teensy bit starchy, which I don't dig. Much more muted and reticent than I remember. It lacks the depth and duration of flavour of Westvleteren 12 and Rochefort 10.

O: Certainly a good quad, but not up to par with the other two in this side-by-side. I do like it, but I'll plan on reviewing it on its own properly.


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Photo of Rifugium
4.63/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First had: on tap at Eulogy, Philly, PA

Most enthusiasts know and love this beer, as do I. Many said enthusiasts also prefer this beer to such heavy hitters as Rochefort 10 and Westvleteren 12. Well, it's certainly more obtainable than the latter, and cheaper than the former, but as far as being better, I supposed that's a matter of personal taste.

Pours--preferably into a chalice, and more preferably into a signature chalice--a deep carameled mahogany color with a firm, creamy half inch of ivory head that retains through the session, and leaves beautiful lacing. When you see a beer presented like this, it's just...this is what beer is supposed to look like. This is craftmanship. Aroma is rich with dark sugars, dark fruits, and spicy Belgian yeast. Taste of toasted bread, with lots of brown sugar up front, along with dark dried fruits--raisins, figs, plums--caramel, tobacco, almond, subtle hop spiciness, and an ubiquitous alcohol bite. Not heavy, but full-bodied, and highly drinkable.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.15/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Out of an 11.2 ounce bottle.

Pours a murky ruby brown. Mild nose with slight yeast tones. Touch of grapefruit scents. Flavor seems dominated by the alcohol. A bit of brown sugar sweetness. Basically I feel like this is a bucket of overdone sweetness. Feel is so-so. Carbonation seems to high and I feel it interferes with the flavor. Drinkability has to stay at 4. It just seems too much. I tried the Prior 8 right before this and found I liked it much better. I will concede that I may have gotten a weak bottle and I will plan to try it again in the future.

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Photo of russpowell
4.56/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Date of 26 08 10. Pours burgundy/chestnut (a hazy red when held to the light) with 2+ fingers of pillowy tan colored head. Great lacing & head retention

S: Fruitty & bready with hints of chocolate

T: Fruitty, cakey with hints of plum liquor up front. Raisins & chocolate follow. Oaky dryness, leather and a hint of fruitcake settle in as this warms. Earthy grainyness and hops are there as well. Cinamon, apple pie, warming boozeyness. a tinge of tobacco, figs, dates, bitterness & dryness all show up in the finish. Super complex & satisfying

MF: Medium/heavy bodied, vinous & slightly carbonated

Drinks too easy. I believe this would shine with beef or Christmas pudding. At $3 for a 300ml bottle, a steal!

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

Poured this into my SA glass. A dark brownish color with about two fingers of an off white head that laced my glass throughtout. Tasted to me of dark fruits,raisins/plums. Has nice carbonation with a smooth drinkability with some alcohol on the finish. Overall this is a very good beer. I must try this on draft next time I'm in Olde City....

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After picking up my first bottle from Vintage Cellar, I called them back due to the fact when I cracked the last bottle it was completely flat without carbonation. So, I called them back and let them now and they shipped out another without a problem, good customer service down there. Appearance: Lucious semi gelatinous tan colored head placed ontop of deep ruby brown cloudy body the lacing is layered in thick patches excellent appearance head is unrelenting lasts great retention. Aroma: Apple, raisin, ginger bread dough, layers of candied sugar plum brandy like tones with the alcohol layers this is excellent. Taste hasn't evolved too much since the last time I tasted but this is most definitely an experience. Mouthfeel: Creamier than before with an even smooth carbonation this one is silky in texture and devine going down.

Appearance: Pours a murky mahogany amber brown tone wih the lightest trickling bubbles of a head thin layer of bubbles on top with absolutely no lacing at all here, on top of that when I popped the cap no air released from the bottle interesting. Aroma: Ambrosia enticing spices, blends of fruit juice, alcohol infused figs, this beer is definitely out there some anise tones with a peppery finish just the most unique smell I have ever come across with all the complexity it still holds the candy like smell of wow, complex. Taste: A warming spiced up alcoholic flavor with trickles of leaves a thick dark roasted malt aftertaste on my tongue this beer is complex creamy flavor hard to describe must be experienced I guess, not sure if I love it but it's good. Mouthfeel: Is think lacking any much carbonation redefines beer I guess but overall an experience to be had, I must find some Westy 12 now but this beer is interesting. Drinkability: Challenging to the senses I am dragging just trying to figure this one out, it goes down incredibly smooth I have no idea what the abv is but I'm sure it's capable of rattling the skull.

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Photo of smcolw
3.53/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy with LOTS of suspended yeast clumps. Some light shines through. Nice head with good lace after each sip.

Earthy and slightly sweet aroma. Low level of Belgian yeast and hop.

Rich and creamy, the alcohol is ever-present. A little oily in the body. The aftertaste reminds me of a swallow of brandy. The flavor has some hard-stone fruit tones, such as plum and cherry.

The story of this beer is the alcohol, which I find distracting. IMHO, the dilemma with Quads is that they are made extreme without placing stronger flavors in the brew (like darker malts or more hops). So, I find these to be a little too one-dimensional.

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Photo of superspak
4.42/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into signature chalice, best before 6/1/2017. Pours slightly hazy/cloudy dark reddish brown color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, and reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big raisin, plum, fig, date, cherry, toast, toffee, brown bread, brown sugar, clove, pepper, light chocolate, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Fantastic aromas with awesome balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and fruity/spicy yeast notes; with good strength. Taste of big raisin, plum, fig, date, cherry, toast, toffee, brown sugar, brown bread, clove, pepper, light chocolate, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Good amount of earthy yeast spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, fig, date, cherry, toast, toffee, brown bread, brown sugar, clove, pepper, light chocolate, herbal, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/bready malt flavors; with a great crisp malt/yeast balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, moderately crisp, and lightly slick/creamy/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an absolutely incredible Quadrupel style. All around fantastic complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/bready malt sweetness; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. An insanely delicious offering as expected.

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

The jovial monk on the label seems the perfect host, holding his chalice aloft, and, after drinking down this deliriously delectable ale, who can argue his happiness? Not I, not I!!

Color is a dark russet brown, and head is enormous, majestic, utterly awesome!

Aroma hits you right off: earthy, nutty, and not merely deep, but cavernous. Incredibly complex, and utterly gorgeous: cocoa,plum, port wine, medicine, and a very apparent alcoholic character, plus anise, pepper, and more, so much more!

On first sip, I can't help but think that "complexity" is a shallow term with which to circumscribe the many aspects of this amazing brew. So much to contend with, so much going on!
I need to take a breath and reel from the feeling, and seek relief from the rush! Extraordinary!

Integration is perfect: there are hops aplenty, and massive malt, but nothing sticks out above or beyond, it all joins forces to create this amazing masterpiece.

Was this only 10%? Oh, they must be happy monks, indeed!

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Photo of mdfb79
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - Pours a darker brown color with 2 fingers of an off white foam with decent retention and moderate carbonation.

s - Smells of yeast, some sweet fruits and malts, maybe a little alcohol.

t - Tastes of sweet malts, some apples/fruit, bread, yeast, and a tiny bit of alcohol which becomes more apparent in the aftertaste.

m - I would say a medium body that is smooth and not very carbonated.

d - Overall I thought this was a very good Belgian quad. It smelled and tasted great, and was a very nice, smooth balance between sweeter malts and bread/yeast. Would love to have this again, the only thing aganist it might be that the 10.5% ABV will limit the amount you'd have in one night.

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Photo of chinchill
4.53/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

served in proper St. Bernardus snifter :)

Appearance, aroma, taste and mouthfeel are all superb. Yeasty, but not too much. Some spiciness, but again not too much; more than a little fruity. Very complex flavor without a heavy body. My only significant criticism is that it seems a bit too sweet.

Savored slowly... Although the taste changed a bit with changing temperature, there was no overall sizable change in quality: great chilly, at near room temperature, and everywhere in between.

High ABV mostly hidden.

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Photo of orangesol
4.13/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at Shady McGrady's into a snifter.

A - Pours deep brown with a thick cap of one finger tall white head, dissipating down to a light film, leaving thin webs of lacing down the glass.

S - Very strong smell overall. Hints of sweet malt, dry yeast, strong booze, dark fruits, and a touch of caramel sweetness. The booze is ever present and seems to only get stronger as the beer begins to warm.

T - Now we are talking. Still plenty of warming alcohol but it is tempered with hints of sweet malts, dark fruits, dry Belgian yeast, and some light spice. Finish is a mix of sweetness and warming booze. Very nice beer overall, just a touch too boozy for my liking.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Sweet, boozy, feel with most of it lingering throughout the finish.

D - Pretty good. I like quad's, and this one is no different, but they really wear on me over the course of the glass. The combo of high price, $8 for this snifter...ouch!, and the strong booze really bring the drinkability down.

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Photo of jwc215
4.53/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yesterday, I had the pint corked bottle. Today I had the 11.2 oz. bottle.
Poured into chalice.
It poured brown with a thick, creamy two-finger off-white head that after a minute or so went to half the size and remained there - just as a great beer's head should do. Wonderful to look at!
This beer has been reviewed so many times - I just want to say what impressed me the most - the spices and fruitiness was very creamy - some of the wonderful tastes were almost lost in the creaminess. It was a wonderful sipping beer - The alcohol warmed the body at the end - This was a great beer - similar to the trappist ales - but creamier, and with a little bite at the end. I don't know - IMO - that it was an all "5" beer - but, very close - if 4.75's could be given - I would have given it that. It was truly a pleasure.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.23/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked bottle without a freshness date into a St. Bernadus goblet. Beer is brown, high haze, white head made up of smallish bubbles, lacing on glass, carbonation mild.

Aroma is very weak and subtle. Some sweetness a little alcohol, no hops or roast.

Beer is full bodied and smooth. Yeasty flavor, tons of malt, some sweetness from the malt / alcohol. This is a really good beer. It is not as good as I remember though. I feel like I've had better quads to date. I will try it again and review it again in the future, even though I'm giving it a good review now, it didn't live up to my memory.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best before 08-09-16

A: Pours a cloudy mahogany to dark brown in color with ruby highlights and a huge two finger tall beige head. The head has great retention continuing to be over a finger tall for a long time and never completely going away. Significant lacing is observed.

S: The smell is of sweet malts, Belgian yeast, and dark fruits - black cherry, date, plum, and raisin. There are subtle hints of spices and caramel/toffee/molasses.

T: Lots of dark fruits - date, plum, raisin, and black cherry - upfront with the malt body and sweetness. That is followed by the candi sugar and a caramel/toffee flavor. The finish of the beer has some spices/pepper, hints of noble hops, and just the most subtle hint of alcohol heat.

M: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Slight dryness in the finish.

O: A wonderful beer with a very nice complexity of flavor and balance. I shouldn't be surprised as I have been impressed with every beer I have had from St. Bernardus. Another one of those beers that I continue to drink and appreciate over many years. The alcohol is well hidden considering the ABV but this is a sipping beer.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to DmanGTR for sending this in my very first trade! Now consuming it for my one year anniversary on BA!

750 ml bottle poured into a DFH signature glass

A: Pours a ruby/brown color, slightly hazy with one finger of off white head. Great retention, lasting for the entire time I drank this beer. Left some very pretty lacing down the sides.

S: Lots of dark fruits, some cherries, plums, and some bruised apples. Also a little bit of vanilla and a little bit of spice.

T: Nice darker fruit flavor, raisins, a little bit of cherry, some yeast, and a little bit of spice. As it warms an apple flavor develops.

M: Medium bodied, but slightly lighter than expected. Nice carbonation.

O: Really good beer, very impressed. This is my first quad and I think it will be a style that I seek out more. Really easy drinking.

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Photo of mothman
4.05/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Tripel Carnielit(sp) Tulip.

Poured a 1/2 finger tan head. Good retention. Really good lace walls. Color is a dark caramel brown.

Aroma: Big grape juice aroma, raisins, grapes, plums, dried cherries. A very intriguing aroma.

Taste: Raisins, cherries, plums, booze. Big malt flavor. A very typical quad, but well done.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, smooth, and just a tad boozy. Leaves a grape juice aftertaste. Full bodied with a high level of carbonation.

Overall, this is a sipper, but I do like it a lot. Not something I would buy a lot of, but every once in a while it would be a nice treat.

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Photo of stakem
4.05/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Al's served in a snifter. Pours a murky color of dark puddle water brown. The head appears as a tan film across the top that doesn't last long. Spots of lace cling to the glass. Once the beer warms, it it gains some retention power when the glass is swirled.

The aroma is a mixture of dark sugary sweetness mixed with belgian yeast character like clove. The sugary sweetness of the aroma seems slightly fruity suggesting plums and a touch of chocolate malt before returning to the spiciness of the belgian yeast character. As it warms, it really picks up a young "green" yeast quality that is acceptable but not really all that appealing.

The taste includes the belgian yeast characteristics upfront tasting spicy and quite a bit clove-like. A solid layering of seemingly numbing alcohol is present with both a solvent flavor and warming factor. There is a mild amount of fruity flavor tasting like pear skins that never gets too sweet as it is kept in check by both the alcohol and a bit of hop bitterness that is quite earthy. The major player throughout this experience is the spice of the yeast and it finishes quite dry for how fruity sweet you might think this is based off of the nose.

This is a full bodied offering that is lightly carbonated. Easy drinking for how big the abv is but my guess is this particular offering is quite young considering the young yeasty quality that is quite bold in this brew. For all the praise and glory this beer gets I was not that big of a fan and prefer Rochefort 10 by a wide margin compared to this. I will re-evaluate the previous statement once I get a chance to sit down an enjoy a bottle of Abt 12 that is several years old.

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Photo of WesWes
4.27/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a deep dark brown/black color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a nice malty scent with a fruity Belgian yeast aroma. It boasts of pale and crystal malts; very complex. The taste is good. It has a very smooth and rich malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes warm and fruity. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very enjoyable brew with loads of flavor and aroma; a good drinker.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.53/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark mahogany hue with a big creamy head that leaves sizable lace ringlets in its wake.

S: Enticing aromas of Belgian yeast, bread, Abbey ale, subtle fruit, alcohol.

T: Fabulous beer. This has been a "go to" beer for me for many years. It sounds appealing any time of day, any time of year. Extremely well crafted, this beer opens up as it warms and tastes incredible. As far as quads, this is second only to Westvleteren 12, in my humble opinion.

M: Very smooth with just the right carbonation. Slight alcohol finish.

D: Highly recommended. A world class beer.

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Photo of tdm168
4.05/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brownish amber with 1" of off white head that has great retention. The nose has notes of bread, caramel, clove, and yeast. The taste is rich caramel, slightly bitter, spicy, and slightly boozy. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, warm, and well carbonated.

The alcohol is present and adds a great amount of warmth making this one a sipper. The flavor is solid and the subtleties are there. It's probably one of my favorite St. Bernardus brews.

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