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St. Bernardus Abt 12 (60th Anniversary "Special Edition") - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
St. Bernardus Abt 12 (60th Anniversary "Special Edition")St. Bernardus Abt 12 (60th Anniversary "Special Edition")

Educational use only; do not reuse.

236 Reviews

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Reviews: 236
Hads: 294
Avg: 4.39
pDev: 9.34%
Wants: 54
Gots: 26 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Todd on 05-08-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

From the brewer: The St.Bernardus Abt 12 is recognized as one of the best ales in the World. For the occassion of our 60th Anniversary our Brewmaster Bert Van Hecke created a unique and special variety of the St. Bernardus Abt 12. This 'Special Edition' contains hops from Poperinge: Challenger and Golding, and has been brewed with black, amber, Munich and pale ale malts. Alc. 11% Vol.
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Reviews: 236 | Hads: 294
Photo of Budlum
4.63/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I've toted this around for 9 years and kept it stored at cellaring temperatures. The cork fought a bit, but I was presently surprised to see carbon dioxide vapor after the bottle was opened. It worked! This beer pours a deep ruby red brown and was topped with a fluffy tan head - impressive after 9 years in the bottle. The nose is a bit muted, but still presents tons of sugary sweet smells from prunes, dates, molasses, rum, and raisins. Alcohol is non-detect, but as mentioned the smell isn't very powerful. The flavor profile matches all of the deep fruit notes blended with lighter flavors of apricot danishes and a faint allspice note; big bold flavors. This is so smooth and everything a big quad should be. The mouth feel is nicely viscous, but actually finishes slightly dry which is my only perception of alcohol content.

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Photo of Boto
4.62/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

750ml bottle: Finally popped the cork on this one. Got a fairly loud "pop", but it didn’t foam over. It pours a fairly opaque mahogany brown color. There was just a bit of a tan head that settles into a thin film and leaves some lacing. It has a good nose. Some dark fruits in there, as well a some faint cherries. Lots of malts, maybe some vanilla, toffee, there is lots going on here. Very smooth tasting. Absolutely no taste of alcohol, even though it is 11%. Malty, dark fruits, with a very subdued sweetness. Very complex. This is just excellent. I wish I had a few more of these!

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

this is something very special. i think it came out in 2006, so it has been carefully cellared for some time, and while some say may be past its prime, i think its drinking absolutely beautifully. price tag on the canister says $12.99. i find that remarkable because if that came out today it would be 30 bucks. the value and illusion of value in beer has never been higher, and for an item like this, it would fetch higher returns now. a cool slice of recent beer history. the beer itself is just wonderful. delicate and elaborate and absolutely a special version of the abt 12 we all know and love. the color is reddish hued rust to molasses, its fizzy for its age, and has an elegant cream colored head over an inch tall and never relaxing at all, its already relaxed at that height. the aroma is divine, well matured big caramel malts and that ramadan dried fruit element, dates and figs and raisins, all expertly balanced together. the label says they used some new hops for this recipe, but i get very little from that in nose or taste, i can assume its faded some, but my guess it this was never a very hoppy brew, instead a demonstration of grain forward flavor unrivaled in quality and depth. the mouthfeel makes a huge impression here. its so soft and delicate on the palate, barely medium bodied at this point, but still well carbonated. not punchy aggressive carbonation, but subtle, consistent, and expressive. the tiny bubbles carry tobacco and dried plum notes to the tongue, and that bernardus belgian yeast with its spice and blooming floral uniqueness to the forefront with the grain. down easy, the alcohol is invisible, but this is a beer to savor with friends. it felt right to drink it in a dark cellar on a rainy night. not sure how much of this is still around, but i cant see it improving any from here. if youve got one squirreled, blow the dust off, find some mates, and pour it up. a very special beer, lucky to be a part of this one.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.45/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Hazy copper body. Khaki head. Medium collar.

Smell - Oxidized. Cardboard, not sherry. Fruity malt. A bit of yeast.

Taste - Caramel. Some dark fruits. Oxidation kicks in shortly thereafter. Cardboard that doesn't improve it.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Cardboard. Slick body.

Overall - Just too old. Not even as good as the regular St. Bernardus.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a cloudy mahogany (dark brown with some subtle hints of red). The beer has a half finger tall light beige head that reduces to a thin layer over the entire surface of the beer, though thicker at the edges of the glass. Significant lacing is observed.

S: Strong aroma of sweet malts with some hints of caramel, lots of dark fruit, and the definite presence of the yeast.

T: A very complex flavor profile to this beer. It starts out with some very sweet malts showing hints of caramel + toffee, that is followed by lots of dark fruit, and finally the finish is yeasty (like the stuff you normally get at just the bottom of the bottle). There are some hints of spices that are normally associated with the yeast as well which linger.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Very smooth.

O: Really a lot better than the standard St Bernardus 12 (which is a phenomenal beer). Great flavor, wonderfully enticing aroma, and looks great in the glass. It aged really well and I'm glad I had the opportunity to share this one with some friends. Would jump at the chance to have this one again if I came across it.

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Photo of metter98
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is hazy very dark mahogany in color and poured with a small off white head that never quite died down, consistently left a thin layer of bubbles on the surface. It also left some lacing running down the sides of the glass.
S: There are moderately strong sweet malty aromas in the nose along with notes of dark fruits and yeast.
T: Like the smell, the taste is complex and has flavors of dark fruits and malty sweetness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and extremely smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. The yeast also adds a bit of chewiness.
O: This is a great beer to sip that is very complex and hides its alcohol well. It seems to have become even smoother after several years of aging. The yeast also shines through and the initial pour tastes like what you would expect from the bottom of a bottle of another beer when the yeast particles are poured out.

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Photo of drowland
4.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to whoever brought this to the Rav Pig for RBWG 2010! The pour is a wonderful amber with a huge off-white head. The aroma is ridiculously complex... bread, malt, caramel, and so much more. The flavor is that and so much more... caramel, grain, yeast, grapes, and so much I can’t explain. Amazing.

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Photo of Viciousknishs
4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A- pours a dark tawny color with a finger and a half of light ligh tan head. Great retention. Sticky lacing.

S- GIGNTIC fig aromas with raisin and plum notes. Slight toasty malt notes with a bit of blonde tabacco and and congnac. Spice chracters on the finish.

T- great bready malts with great spice characters. Fresh fig, plum and raisin. Blonde tabacco, rum cake and congnac character but incredibly more smooth. Finishes with a malt caramel and yeast dark fruit flavor.

MF- smooth coating mouthfeel with a light medium body and soft fine carbonation.

D- 100% drinkability

overall one of the best aged brews I've had. Thanks theformula for this one.

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Photo of tastybeer
4.8/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This bottle is about five years old, and now its supposed to be at its prime. Time for the having!

Looking good. Dark, deep woody brown, thick and hazy as far as I can tell, with a large spongy orange-taupe colored head. Dense bubbly goodness... Not much lace sticks once the head shrinks in size. Aroma is extensive. It seems to go on for exponential miles. There is a whole lot going on here. I don't know where to start. Its hard to begin picking out all the individual scents and flavors because of how they all come together so well. Mmmmm. Everything about this is smooth, bright, malty, velvety, and sweet. Its candy-like, but far from cloying. Full body with a fluffy, satiny, medium feel. The alcohol fits in perfectly with the rest of it, and this certainly does not feel like 11%.

This beer is awesome. If only there were more.

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Photo of wedge
4.55/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best Before: 02/05/11 Well...close enough.

Pours a dark garnet color under a thick slab of a head that gradually settles to a creamy covering. Mellow, smoothed-out aroma that initially springs from the glass when pouring, but seems to become much more subtle soon after. Dried fruits like fig and raisin, brown sugar, light toffee, and even a bit of banana bread. Delicious flavors of sweet bread, raisins, caramel, mild spicy phenols. Very, very tasty. Light molasses and really only the slightest hint of age, which is surprising. Some near chocolaty roastiness enters at it warms complemented by a berry-like tartness. So deep and complex, but it all comes together perfectly as one super-smooth awesome beverage. No alcohol save for the warmth in my throat. Creamy and just drying enough to beckon another sip but...must...resist...drinking too fast. This is a luxurious treat! Looks like I need to lay down a couple Abt 12s and hope that they age as well as this. I'm a little sad that I'll probably never have this again...

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Photo of claspada
4.56/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shout out to HimerMan for cellaring this so well and offering me 3 bottles in trade. Bottled in 2006, comes in a nice navy tin Special edition package/tube. The guy that I got this from said the actual beer probably has never see the light of day since it was bottled. Back of the bottle/container if came in has a nice description is in Dutch as well; wonder what it says... Crazy, anyway...
Aromas begin with a ton of dark fruit mainly huge raisin and fig smells. When I re-smell I get some nice Belgian yeast esters, banana and a little spice/clove. As it warms I get a little more toffee sweet maltiness and the faintest hint of booze. Really nice; overall kinda like rum soaked dark banana bread.
The tastes begin with really nice caramelized brown sugar and toffee maltiness. Next I get the prune, raisins and fig dark fruitiness I was getting on the nose. As it warms the yeast flavors really come out in full force with a fairly large spice/clove and a much lesser banana flavor which lingers a little on the palate. Wow, this has aged to perfection.
Zero, I repeat, ZERO alcohol taste/flavors; this drinks like a 7-8% Dubbel not a 11% Quad. Ridiculous.
The mouthfeel is full and yet carbonated quite nicely from the Belgian yeast. Really really great. The finish is a bit stickier and less dry then I usually expect/prefer in my Belgian ales, but maybe that's the age/maybe it was always like this. I honestly don't care it's great.
Overall, wow if you have this beer drink it, it can't get any better. If you are a fan of the original 12, you should really try to track this down because it is honestly better. I used to think original 12 was the best Quad I ever had but I can say I like this more. I have had this 3x and have had my mind blown on 3 separate occasions; this stuff is freakin' epic!!! I just got a Westy 12 to compare but damn this is going to be hard to beat.

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Photo of Angst
4.85/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Dark reddish brown with a frothy head.

S: Dark fruits, brown sugar, & raisins

T: Brown sugar, dark fruits, bread, simply outstanding!

M: Perfect carbonation, nice full bodied.

D: For a high ABV, this drinks very nicely!

O: An amazing beer that has held up well. Glad I have a couple more bottles. This was one of the first beers that made me say "Wow!" If you have the opportunity to try one of these do not pass it up!! Great beer!

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Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.94/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle poured into mini snifter. Beige head, quickly extinguishing. Aroma dominated by dates and figs. Also prominent is the "aroma of age", which I would describe as brandy or port. Captivating. Taste of molasses, brown sugar, candy sugar, fig and port. No alcohol present. Zero, zip. Amazing. Way too easy to drink, dangerously so. If you ever see this anywhere, buy it....no matter the cost.

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Photo of Pencible
4.55/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: This poured a cloudy dark mahogany with fluffy light tan head and some sediment.
S: It smelled like super sweet and rich brown sugar and toffee and powdered sugar, with some banana bread and Belgian yeast.
T: It tasted like sweet brown sugar and earthy milk chocolate and powdered sugar and toffee and banana bread, with some Belgian yeast and dry spices. It had a sweet and spicy aftertaste with lingering deliciousness.
M: It was thick with smooth natural carbonation. Nearly perfect.
D: I had this back to back with a bottle of 2010 Abt 12, and this was far superior. An fantastic brew with great balance and delicate complex flavors. Amazing body too, with well hidden alcohol, so super easy to drink. But this is one that should clearly be sipped. After 5 years, this might as well still be fresh, so it could clearly keep maturing in the cellar for another decade or two. Simply a wonderful beer.

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Photo of jeffaz02t
4.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep dark brown with a slight tint of maroon. Thick, puffy head. Lacing unlike most beers I have ever seen.

S: Yeast; figs, deep dark fruits, alcohol hints as well.

T: upfront is the malt sweetness and fig/dark fruitiness. The phenols and alcohol kick hits you from here until the end, with a slight hop bitterness. This bitterness is one of the main
differences I noticed right away when comparing to the regular Abt 12.

M: Full-bodied and on the light side of medium carbonation. Smooth!

D: So smooth and tasty it is easy to drink a few of these! I wish this was not retired.

Notes: Taken from notes in June of 2007. 750 ml bottle purchased at De Bierkoning in Amsterdam.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.62/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Huhzubendah - a Zealot of Beer in The Halls of Beerdom. Beerdom looks a lot like boredom. Just saying, I was too poor to buy this while it was on shelves in FL, and regretted it for a long time. This quad rivals almost all other quads out there. I still love Westys and also Struise, this is a great great beer. I can't wait for their 70th anniversary.

Beer is brown and hazy with a decent head that leaves some lacing on the glass. Carbonation is moderate.

Bready and estery aroma with a variety of fruits and malt sweetness in there as well. Smells great.

Beer is medium to light in body with an effervescent palate. The beer leads off with some candy sweetness and the midpalate is dominated by the yeast and the esters and the finish is clean and not dry without an aftertaste. Its really drinkable and the mouthfeel is great. I really enjoyed this beer.

St. Bernardus ABT12 is a solid beer and this one is even better. Who knew?

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I popped a bottle of this and shared it with Matt and his wife tonight.

A: Hazelnut brown with a gigantic tan head that leaves plentiful lacing.

S: Incredibly wonderful scents of Belgian yeast, dark fruits.

T: Again - wonderful. This is a world class quadrupel. A notch above the standard Abt 12. The yeast character/flavor is just outstanding.

M: Coats the palate and leaves a long lingering yeast aftertaste.

D: Second only to Westvleteren 12 as the best Belgian quad I have ever tasted.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a semi-hazy, chestnut/mahogany with a half inch, frothy, loose, cream-colored head that dissipates into a skim and slick. Nose is sweet - dark fruit, grapes, bubblegum and a feint, chemical smell. Taste follows nose, with the chemical character fading and a significant yeast presence expressing itself from start to finish. Mouthfeel is medium-light, with some acidity and a carbonation level that falls just shy of lively. I had the opportunity to try this beer when it was first released, and I have to say that the beer has matured nicely. Unfortunately, I didn't pick up any additional bottles to cellar - big mistake. I think this beer will continue to improve with age.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. Thanks to Azurelimits for giving me this bottle as a birthday present.

Pours a nice brown-mahogany color with a good creamy head. Nose brings some dark fruits, fig, dates, caramel, and a bit of booze. Taste is quite good with some dark fruits, caramel, alcohol, and brown sugar. Nice, creamy mouthfeel with low levels of carbonation. Drinks quite well. This has aged nicely.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.87/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got a bunch of these bottles a couple years ago. Been drinking one every once in a while. It's 4 years old now and drinking amazing.

Pours a dark hazel brown with a decent head that dissapated to a nice thin layer. Decent lacing.

Aroma of Belgian candy sugar and Belgian yeast. Figs and rasins and brown sugar are also aromas.

Tastes exactly as it smells. It's drinking so smooth right now. Lots of brown sugar and dark fruits.

Mouthfeel is awesome. Perfect carb and soo smooth.

Overall this is drinking amazing right now so if you have one pop it open. I have a couple more left so I can open them a little later. I'll report back here.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.94/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - This is a deep, inviting dark brown in color with an easy head that left some really nice lacing on the inside of my St B chalice.

Smell - This nose is amazingly complex. I'm sure I won't do it justice but I'll give it a go anyway.

The fruits jumped out first so I'll start there. The aroma of fresh dates is so exact that I can almost taste them in my mouth. If you've only had those dates you get at the grocery store in the sealed plastic bags then you don't know what I'm talking about, but fresh dates are loaded with sugar so much so that I use them to make ice cream sauce. This is that smell exactly.

I also get some nice figs, raisins, and mild chewing tobacco. On top of this I sense some wonderful cane sugar and the smallest sense of anise. The spicing is certainly clove with maybe a dash of cinnamon.

The malts have been weathered by the cellaring but they are lightly-toasted and rich with caramel. There are some huge bready notes as well that remind me of a Dunkel Weizen.

Taste - The sugars from the nose explode at the taste and the malt comes through nicely which tells me I didn't over-age this bad boy. They are definitely on the downswing though.

The toastiness is still present and the sugars still carry a good amount of structure. The dark fruits in particular show no signs of waning. There's a candied sweetness that I missed at the nose that lingers forever in the mouth like a long, passionate kiss. I will remember this like my first love.

Mouthfeel - This is full-bodied for sure with some wonderful carbonation that provides an excellent texture to this fine Belgian Ale. The structured sweetness of this ale just makes the salivary glands go crazy. I find myself literally drooling with each sip.

Drinkability - I don't know how this tasted fresh but here after four years in the cellar this is perfect in just about every way. The sugars and fruits just do not quit and the feel in the cheeks is like magic. I would almost swear on a stack of Bibles that this beer isn't 10% ABV. It doesn'feel like it has a drop of alcohol in it. This is an absolute masterpiece.

Note: I bought this in 2006 and cellared it for four years. This seems to be the sweet spot for this ale. Although it will probably cellar well for another two years I would advise drinking now or within the next six months.

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Photo of Kendo
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Consumed on 9/25/10, after about 3 years in the cellar, I'm guessing.

A: Caged and corked -- took some work to get that cork off. Poured into a Chimay chalice. Body is clear, dark amber with mahogany highlights when backlit. One-finger light tan head settles on top. Plenty of visible carbonation. Some lace.

S: First impression: fruity. Berries and black cherries come to mind, as well as some dark fruits (figs, I think). Waft of alcohol at the finish.

T: Follows the nose - strong on black cherries, with some dark fruit and dark bread underneath it (think brown bread with some sort of dark-fruity jam). At the finish I get a slight bit of oxidation -- not an overwhelming amount that ruins the beer, but I do get a slightly "stale" sense at the finish (after a few sips it's not so noticeable, however). Finishes with a waft of drying alcohol, and heat from the ABV is felt in the belly. Not really noticed on the palate, however.

M: Classic Belgian in feel - fizzy, fine carbonation that creates a good feel of creaminess. Nice carbonation keeps coming throughout. Heft is about medium - a tad bit lighter than I think I want in a Quad, which is why I bumped the score here back down to a 4.5 (at first I gave it a 5).

D: Good. At 11% you need to go slow, but given the taste and feel, you want to go faster.

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Photo of andrewm190
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Stellar Belgian. What struck me right off was the aroma from the bottle. Straight to the nostrils. Poured the brew into a wide mouth glass and watched the thick head climb, then subside at a moderate pace. The taste was very much fruity, plum(ish), maybe a touch of ginger. Cool and crisp, it tingles the palette. The alcohol is a bit surreptitious, you hardly notice it till later. Finishes with a bit of a lingering aftertaste, A touch just to hang around for a while. Well done.

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Photo of emerge077
4.21/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best by 10/xx/11 on the bottom of the bottle... figured it's still good right? At 11% this is hangin tough i'm sure.

A healthy blast from the cork, some mild oxidized malt aroma creeps out along with the gunsmoke trails. Lovely russet almond shade, constant tan foam across the surface. Wispy lace and sheets form on the glass as it's sipped. Quintessential quad.

Ginger snaps, plum, sweet caramel.

Flavor is dry and sweet, fruity and caramelly. Light and easy drinking almost, deceptive for being 11%. Apple butter, toffee, mild bitterness in the back. Multigrain bread notes in the aftertaste. Pleasant and smooth, it melds together well. This is still drinking nicely, I wouldn't cellar it too much longer though.

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Photo of dauss
4.84/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 750ml caged and corked. From the bottle, it looks like the regular ABT 12 with the exception of the "Special Edition" designation.

Appearance: Dark ruby color with hints of amber. Some yeast floaties, but this bottle is well over 2 years old. A large off tan head forms with excellent retention. Very effervescent with a large amount of bubbles streaming from the glass.

Nose: Beautifully balanced Belgian phenols with notes of raisins, figs, dates, and a nice alcoholic warmth in the end.

Taste: Delicately light sweet malt body with light clove and medicinal phenols, with more raisins and plums. Hop bitterness is nearly gone, but doesn't imbalance the malt sweetness. Dry bready finish with some hint of the high ABV that lurks within.

Mouthfeel: This beer is light and delicate, yet very complex. The sweetness is light, and isn't cloying. The carbonation is high, but it just lends to good degree of creaminess when it hits the palate.

Notes: This beer is excellent. I wish I had some while it was fresh for a comparison, but this beer has aged beautifully. Even at 11%, it is dangerously drinkable.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 (60th Anniversary "Special Edition") from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
97 out of 100 based on 236 ratings.