12 Drummers Drumming
The Bruery

12 Drummers Drumming12 Drummers Drumming
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Quadrupel (Quad)
4.18 | pDev: 6.7%
The Bruery
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
12 Drummers Drumming12 Drummers Drumming
Notes: This big brew combines a dense, Belgian-style quadrupel base with a smaller portion of The Bruery's bourbon-barrel-aged anniversary ale, at a ratio of 4-to-1.

Generous layers of dense, dark plum, raisin and fig-like fruitiness, toffee, and peppery yeast from the quad are met by the abundantly caramelized and Sherry-like depth of the old ale. Mouthfeel is robust, viscous, and generous, with modest oaky tannins and a lean current of warming, vinous alcohol providing plenty of lift to the texture. There are particularly bold notes of toffee and fig throughout, leading up to a well-rounded finish of caramel and toastiness from the bourbon barrels.
Reviews: 22 | Ratings: 61 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by travolta:
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travolta from California

4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dec 08, 2019
More User Reviews:
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ThickNStout from Georgia

4.19/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750mL bottle from Total Wine (Kennesaw, GA). 11.99. Bottled 10/2/19. Served in a Bruery teku. Enjoyed 12/12/19.

Pours a dirty, ruby hued mud brown, fully opaque with a tall khaki head. A few steady streams of bubbles continue to rise up the sides of the glass as the foam settles. There’s a goog deal of nice retention, from the persistent island to a frothy collar to some wide bands and sheets of lacing.

The aroma lines up pretty well with what I’ve come to expect from a quad. Loads of sweet dark fruit-laden bread pudding, caramel and toast are joined by some wet oak, gentle vanilla and toffee.

This tastes quite good. Dark fruit, raisin bread, vinous Belgian yeast, toffee, subtle chocolate, old wet wood, caramel, earth and the gentle, boozy nudge of bourbon vanilla cream.

Smooth, full feel with some unassuming carbonation that keeps it from falling flat. Lingering, doughy finish with flavors of raisin bread pudding, bourbon-kissed caramels and some earthy Belgian yeast.

The Bruery has finally reached the final verse of their over-a-decade long journey through holiday releases. Presenting as a particularly complex quad, 12 Drummers Drumming is one of my favorites from the series. The anniversary ale blends quite well, augmenting the dark fruit, yeast, bread and caramel while adding notes of vanilla, wet wood and toffee. So what our Brue love give us on the 13th day of Christmas?

Dec 13, 2019
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Sludgeman from District of Columbia

4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nov 27, 2019
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Stengelfoot from California

4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jan 06, 2021
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Hellpop65 from Kansas

4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Feb 09, 2020
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JamesBondGA from Georgia

4.34/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nov 17, 2019
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nmann08 from Virginia

3.94/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Feb 01, 2020
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BeerMeCJS from California

4.19/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jan 18, 2020
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SoCAlifer from California

5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this one sitting in the fridge for months. I'm not typically a fan of Belgium's and I kept holding this bomber thinking I'd share it some time. Stuck at home avoiding Covid, I decided to check it out. Delicious! What a treat. The Brewery once again prooves their prowess. That's bottles are still out there. Grab it if you can

Mar 21, 2020
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brycemc from California

4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Last of my Christmas box.

Look is a opaque dark brown but with some milky haziness to it. Really neat look.

Smell is redolent of malts and deep chocolate.

Taste is right as on the bottle really, a great quad but with notes of the old aged ale with some barrel notes and oakiness. Finish is dry and kind of woody, with a nice dark almost cognac like note that lingers.

Feel is medium body, dry finish, a bit lighter than a typical quad (due to the old ale likely), easy sipper and not too sweet or thick.

Overall a great way to wrap up the Christmas package. This seems like it would age very nicely.

Feb 17, 2020
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sjrider from California

4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle - murky dark dirty brown with thick khaki head leaving bubbly lacing. Nose is sweet with dark fruits. Taste follows with malt ,barrel wood ,candy and fig. Finish is smooth and on the dry side.

Dec 25, 2019
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Musineer from Texas

4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nov 28, 2019
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REVZEB from Illinois

4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown mostly opaque body with a tan head that quickly fades. Toffee, raisin, date, candi sugar, belgian yeast, malts, bourbon, and wood in the nose, very cohesive. Taste is very similar, more sweetness to the fruit and toffee/caramel with an injection of vanilla, and black pepper, bourbon, wood, and yeast all crash down upon the sweetness in a smooth and rewarding way. Full bodied, slightly boozy, warm, yet has nice contrasting sweetness and earthy tones in the feel. I think a year of age on this would make it even more rich, still was a treat on Christmas now. The wife loved it

Dec 26, 2019
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jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Jan 25, 2020
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Sparky44 from Illinois

4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jan 12, 2020
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archero from Texas

4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jan 17, 2020
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jngrizzaffi from Texas

4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a very cloudy reddish brown color with a thin foamy head. Small pour. Retention is minimal and lacing is very good. Malty aroma with dark fruits and mild spices. Smooth taste with Christmas spices. Some dark fruits. Sweet. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Nov 30, 2019
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TooManyGlasses from Canada (AB)

4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

New Years dinner. 750 ml split 4 ways.
Pours a dark caramel brown with half finger creamy khaki head.
Aroma is sweet caramel malt, Belgian yeast - toffee, plum, raisin, brown sugar.
Taste follows the nose - toffee, dark fruit, raisin, hints of molasses, spice, and a bit of booziness.
Medium mouthfeel - a bit thinner than expected - carbonation initially seemed adequate but faded as sat. A bit of alcohol warming.

Jan 02, 2020
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BeerLover99 from Illinois

3.96/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dec 03, 2019
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oberon from North Carolina

4.19/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Nov 11, 2019
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Rochefort10nh from New Hampshire

4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Jan 13, 2020
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RochefortChris from North Carolina

4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Nov 26, 2019
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From the 750ml bottle in a snifter. This wonderful quad
pours a deep muddled dark brown with a very nice head of
off white foam that subsides to a thick ring, thin clumping pool,
and displays some very attractive lacing. Nose of dark candy sugar,
figs, cherries, sherry, toffee, and rich herbal notes from the yeast.
Flavors follow the nose nicely with fig and dates, sherry, cherry,
toffee, dark candy sugar, subtle white pepper, and touches
of dark wine like a Merlot and sweet tempting bourbon.
Very nice mouth feel; medium body, smooth, medium light
carbonation that is effervescent and provides lift, and a subtly
dry and lightly sticky finish that is well balanced between
sweetness and herbal touches.

Overall---a wondrous brew to lay down for a few years.


Jan 29, 2020
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brocktune from Virginia

4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dec 27, 2020
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Beginner2 from Illinois

3.97/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

I didn't find this series until its 9th year. I feel deprived. I want The Bruery to start it up again. Please.

Looks are average for the style. Smells are mostly dried dark fruit, but the 4 to 1 ratio to the anniversary barrel-aged ale seems more than plausible. And Tastes largely confirm the barrel and the old ale are present, but not dominant. This sits in my mouth largely the same: dark fruit restrained by an older ale; but it does not give me the warmth of a more syrupy quad. Creative. Interesting. And I would like to taste an improved version in another 12 years. My key suggestion is less stale in the old ale.

Despite rating 12 Drummers well below the average, I give The Bruery very Big OA Hugs. Their 514+ beers on BA is testament enough to their creativity. But by re-order that list by ratings, I also just discovered that they have far fewer Belgians than I thought (mostly because I gravitate to them.)

Jan 07, 2020
12 Drummers Drumming from The Bruery
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 61 ratings