Abt 12 Oak Aged
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Abt 12 Oak AgedAbt 12 Oak Aged
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Belgian Quadrupel (Quad)
Ranked #11
Ranked #743
4.37 | pDev: 7.55%
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Abt 12 Oak AgedAbt 12 Oak Aged
Notes: St Bernardus Abt matured for 6 months in Oak Calvados barrels.
Reviews: 68 | Ratings: 240 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by RollDamnTide:
Photo of RollDamnTide
4.73/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

More User Reviews:
Photo of kojevergas
3.44/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm a huge fan of the original Abt 12, so I nabbed this as soon as I saw it. Bottle appears to be packaged for North America, and is the usual 750ml brown glass format with a gold hood-and-wire cage housing a branded cork. 2015 vintage. Best before: 29/01/19.

Served chilled into a goblet. Expectations are sky high.

Removal of the cork yields a healthy audible pop, but fortunately no beer foams up and out of the bottle.

HEAD: Occupies 90% of the glass. Thick, foamy, creamy, and yet soft, this bone-white cap is inviting but lacks the robustness and retention of superior quadrupels (like Westvleteren 12, or even Amatus 12.) Cobwebby lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes, but throughout the course of its recession (which takes an impressive ~10+ minutes), it remains airy and cushy without seeming thin or weak.

BODY: Golden-amber. Nontransparent. Semi-translucent. Its near opacity makes it difficult to see any yeast within.

It's not the liveliest appearance for a quadrupel, and it lacks the powerhouse head of Westvleteren, but it's absolutely to style. Oddly, the barrel aging seems to have rendered this lighter in colour (and generally less attractive) than the original Abt 12.

AROMA: Apply brandy couldn't be more at the fore without beating the drinker over the head. Rich and expressive, the brandy liqueur bursts out of the aromatics, accentuating notes of treacle, candi sugar, green apple confectionery, and raisin. It never seems boozy, and the apple brandy/Calvados does cover up the dark fruit notes I love in the original Abt 12. Still, plum and fig do peek out as it comes to temperature. The obvious Belgian yeast profile is lovely, playing with the green apple character via notes of faint phenols, clove, and intangible esters.

Aromatic intensity is mild - appropriately for the style.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Wonderful. The texture seizes my attention first, bringing all the comforting softness to the palate that the head promised. It's smooth, plump, and - dareisay - refreshing? Maybe refreshing isn't the right word, but it's approachable in spite of its medium to full body, and there's just a tease of a syrupy feel to accentuate the gooey fig and oozing plum notes that punctuate the core of this beer. This mouthfeel strikes the perfect push-pull between dry and wet over the course of its structure.

The Calvados does mute the plum and fig notes somewhat, but it brings a warm liqueur dimension to this beer that I'd never have thought would actually work - yet it does. Green apple confection is prominent in the build, backed by a liqueur warmth, marmalade, and sweet candi sugar. The apple brandy melts into the base beer nicely, but unfortunately there's no rich white oak presence or any oaky toastiness here...a missed opportunity.

Turning away from the barrel to the base, I find faint raisin, fig, reticent plum, and hints of dates and prunes. The barrel character is nice, but as abovementioned it comes at the expense of the dark fruit - which are in my opinion the highlight of a great quadrupel. Their shallowness is unexpected in a beer with the St. Bernardus name on the label.

Rum-soaked bread/sweetbread, weak caramel, pear. Some leather.

It's sweet - oddly so for a quad - but not imbalanced. Spicy yeast characteristics help tame the sweetness.

OVERALL: It's well built for a quadrupel, but I honestly prefer the original Abt 12. The intricacy/complexity, subtlety, and nuance showcased in that beer is quieted here. Still, this expression is well worth trying, and the Calvados is interesting. I'm content to drink this beer only once, and would happily recommend it to others - just not at U.S. import prices. That said, it'd be nice if the barrel aging character was more vivid and expressive without being overbearing.

High B- (3.44) / WORTHY

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Photo of craftbeersweden
4.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Hazy deep red-brown colored beer with a one finger high beige head.

Nose: Nuts, dark syrup, chocolate, coffee, brown sugar, banana and whipped cream.
Taste: Sweet malt, brown sugar, dried fruit, yeast, oak, caramel, cherry and cognac.
Body: Full body with a great, crisp, carbonation. So beatiful, complex body. A light bitterness and sweetness works together.

I can't wait to try this each year a few years from now :)

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Photo of MasterSki
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Whole Foods. Served in a Cantillon Zwanze 2013 tulip.

A - A voluminous tan foam settles to a collar and cap, leaving behind a few specks of lace. Hazy, semi-transparent amber-brown body.

S - Smells like a mix of quad and apply brandy; not a surprise I guess. The spirit and oak is more subtle than I was expecting, perhaps because of how well it integrates with the raisins, plums, and spices of of the base beer. Yeast is predictably expressive but not overwhelming.

T - The taste is similar in balance and construction, although the oak ramps up in the finish giving a tangy bite. Dark fruits, rummy dark breads, spicy yeast, and a definite apply brandy note that complements the fruitiness of the base. Not particularly boozy for 11%.

M - Carbonation is of the typical zesty Belgian variety; I find it a bit much but it's to style I suppose. Medium-full body, but perhaps a tad thinner than expected. Chewy texture with a bit of stickiness to the finish, and some gritty tannins lingering.

D - The base beer is great, and this variant does nothing to diminish that. However, the barrel-aging is on the subtler side and I'm not sure if justifies the massive price increase. However, since these reviews are supposed to be price-neutral I'm not going to take that into consideration. If you like dark Belgian ales this is a must-try.

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Photo of Casey3236
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My 900th beer.
First impression: bottle looks cool. This was aged in apple brandy barrels? Will be looking for that flavor.
Look: Poured into Chimay chalice. Deep reddish brown with small off white head
Aroma: Like I remember regular SB12, Belgian yeast and sweet spice. Not picking up much oak or brandy in the nose. Maybe smells a little boozier?
Taste: Sweet sugar, less spice than regular version IMO. Very smooth. Belgian yeast. Not overly boozy, but not picking up any apple brandy.
Feel: Smooth, kinda creamy. Very little carbonation.
Overall: Loved it! Sweeter and less spiced than regular. Wanted more apple brandy (i.e. Captain Lawrence Golden Delicious ) but still a great beer.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.03/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle received in a recent trade, thanks spinaltapped.

This one pours a dark russet brown, slightly murky, with a one inch head, and a good level of lacing.

This smells like spicy clovey Belgian yeast, rum soaked dark fruit, molasses, oak, and vanilla.

The barrel here is super, super light. I get the faintest amount of apple brandy, with a sort of banana rum-like flavor, spicy Belgian yeast, candied sugar, raisins, toasted sweet bread, and oak, with a slight hint of vanilla. It tastes quite similar to regular St. Bernardus. As such, it tastes great, but I wish the base beer was a little more transformed here.

This has a highly carbonated and prickly mouthfeel, I wish it was a bit lower, but I guess it's to the Belgian style to have high carb. I just feel that if the carbonation level was lower, some of the more subtle flavors imparted by the barrel-aging might be more noticeable.

Of course this tasted good- the base beer is St. Bernardus. It's really difficult to rate this one, as it tasted great, but I just feel the barrel-aging imparted very little. It tasted very close to the original, and it was a little too highly carbonated. I expect barrel-aged stuff to have a lower level of carbonation. I guess overall it was really great, but disappointing still, which sounds crazy.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.73/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The incredible complexity, power and grace of the St. Bernardus brewery manifests in a special apple brandy barrel aged version of their legendary Abt. 12.

This Oak Aged version pours with the same russet brown and burgundy hues of the original, well capped with a mousey, rocky meringue of froth. Its candy-sweet scent is led with dark, dried fruit, vinous spice, peppercorn; yet those big apple jolly rancher nuances can't be missed. With the confectioner's sweetness layering on the tongue, those candied fruit flavors spring to life and delight the senses.

As the apple retreats into the eatery display, layers of fig, date, raison, grape, plum and prune layer upon the cakey-sweet middle palate and await the spice of peppercorn, cinnamon and dried citrus to rise and eventually create and even-keel balance of fruit to spice. Strong effervescence lifts the sweetness and enlivens the fruit as it also allows the booze and spice to intensify.

Peppery and very warm in finish, the medium-full beer finishes exceptionally dry and palatable. Soft residual sweetness, burgundy wine and brandy round out the finish with an undertow of fruit and peppercorn resonating in aftertaste.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a brownish copper body with one-finger head that left this tiny lace ring around glass whole time. Wonderful aroma of apples, vinous grapes, oak, booze, figs, prunes, raisins, yeast, bread & candi sugar. Smooth, fuller body with a woody aspect that helps smooth it out and there's a boozy, vinous & grape aspect on top of dark fruits and slight candi sugar/yeast notes. Prefer the original a tad more as the calvados barrels and extra abv seem to slightly obscure the sweetness of dark fruits and give the beer a slightly heated rather than clean finish but still a must try.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.46/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From the corked, caged 750 ml. bottle. Sampled on July 6, 2015. Serving at about 55 degrees as recommended.

Lovely chestnut pour with maroon or red hues throughout. Underneath a long lasting, delicate, soft cream colored head.

The aroma has a muted malt sweetness that is usurped by the cellar mustiness of the oak barrel aging I expect. Mild dark fruit characters as well. Compared to the original ABT 12 the aroma is more mellow.

The body is smooth, soft, and in the heavy range. Just dances pleasantly on my tongue.

The taste is more like the ABT 12 I have had countless times. A definite malt sweetness to start with a cleansing sort of fruity and warming bitterness to complete it. The oak barrel effect is not as noticeable in the flavor. Ah, to drink this in January!

While I liked this beer a lot I am not sure if it was worth spending $30 for the bottle. I have often wondered if by buying Abbey beer I could write it off as a non-profit donation on my annual taxes.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer look is almost nothing but still pretty good. The beer pours as nice foamy tan head that dissipates almost immediately but still leaves some around the inside of the glass and on top of the beer. The beer itself is an opaque and hazy beer with bits of yeast in it if you look close enough. However, the general presentation is pretty nice with a beautiful ruby brown hue.

The beer smell has the notes from the regular 12; Belgian sugar, dark fruits such as raisin, slight bitter hop notes, and a touch of alcohol. However, the dark fruits seem unusually light while the hops are stronger. The oak notes seem to be really subtle. Also, there seems to be a slightly tart apple note. However, the beer really shines when it warms to serving temp. When it does, you get a bit of apple brandy that is a tad sweet but not too sweet. It really is pretty good.

The beer taste has some of the same notes as the regular but seems to have different notes as well. The beer has the usual Belgian sugar and dark fruits (albeit weaker) along with a slight hop note. This variation seems to have a stronger alcohol note and slightly almost unnoticeable more tart in the aftertaste and sweet as well. While there is an oak note, it's pretty weak such that it gets overwhelmed. Furthermore, like the smell, a really nice sweet apple note comes up in the taste when it reaches serving temp. The taste is definitely different from the regular one and definitely a plus.

The mouthfeel is pretty good but a little bit different from regular 12. The beer still has a heavy body with biting carbonation to give it a bit of texture to and lighten the body a bit. The difference is that the body seems to be a bit thinner than usual.

Overall, this version of the 12 is pretty and fairly unique because of the barrels it's been aged in. While other beers are matured in bourbon/whiskey/rum/tequila barrels, this beer has been aged in Calvados (apple brandy) barrels, which I don't think many people know what it is. That being said, I think the unique flavor and body caused by aging it in these kinds of barrels almost make it worth the price. That being said, I highly recommend picking up a bottle if you see one.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.68/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 750 ml corked bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet glass.

Appearance: Pours a hazy brownish amber with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of off white head that settles into a thin creamy layer.

Smell: A fruity, sweet, and spicy Belgian Quad aroma with a big scent of dark fruit and caramel malt. Belgian yeast with hints of funk, pepper, clove, and slight cinnamon. Subtle hints of the oak come through. Big dark fruit scent of raisin, dark cherries, fig, prune, plum, and dates. Also some fruit hints of apple, banana, and pear. Sweet hints of Belgian candied sugar. Toasted malt with hints of caramel, biscuit, and straw. Also some hints of leather and tobacco. A really good aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a nicely fruity, spicy, and sweet Belgian Quad taste with big notes of dark fruit and caramel malt. Belgian yeast with some funk and upfront spice notes of pepper, clove, and cinnamon. Big dark fruit presence with notes of raisin, fig, cherries, plum, prune, and dates along with some apple, pear, and banana. Sweet taste of candied Belgian sugar. Toasted malt notes of caramel, straw, and biscuit. Notes of leather and tobacco come through. Hops are pretty light. A really great taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a fairly high level of carbonation. Creamy, juicy, and drying on the finish. Fairly boozy as expected but it’s nothing too sharp.

Overall: Another really great Quad from St. Bernardus. The oak is fairly subtle but the fruit and spice flavors are great as usual.

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Photo of NickyDee21
4.27/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of olafphysics
4.65/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of BuccoFan
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I love the standard ABT 12, bought this in 2015 and let it age, but probably should have had it sooner. A year of aging substantially diminishes the oak, which is still present a year later, but very feint. Again, I love the standard, but if I get another bottle of the oak aged, I'll drink it far more quickly.

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Photo of jakea
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BMMillsy
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of chippo33
4.46/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Prost76
4.07/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of donzilake
4.43/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of safaricook
4.01/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

In my opinion the calvados barrel didn't work well with the 12 that I hold in very high regards. The complex aromas and flavors were killed by quite simple cidery aspects. My compliments to the refermentation in the bottle that created the typical evervescence and fluffy head even in a barrel aged beer.

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Photo of Dactrius
4.21/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of VeganUndead
4.4/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of FBGordon
4.71/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a chilled bottle into a room temp tulip.

A: Pours a hazy medium brown with a beautiful khaki head with good retention.

S: Yeasty, with pleasant notes of orange, raisin and spice. Sometimes a touch of alcohol comes through, but not often.

T: A perfectly-balanced Belgian Abbey, in my opinion. A touch sweet with raisins, plums and spices without being cloying, the oak aging balances the finish out with a medium boozy finish and a slight oak aftertaste.

M: Beautifully carbonated, this beer smooths out nicely into the finish and completely covers the palate with a myriad of flavors. For an 11% ale, it's wonderfully drinkable.

O: This is what Belgian ales are all about. It's a must-have. The standard Abt 12 is already a great beer; the oak aging makes this ale the kind of drink that will turn any occasion into a special one.

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Photo of BeerOps
4.04/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.16/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL poured into a goblet.

Vanilla milkshake froth for a head and it just never goes away. Cloudy brown and amber body. Lace drags down the sides of the glass in the slightest of ways, but it's hard for it to develop when the head won't go away. 5

Oatmeal and raisins. plums, dates and vanilla. Hints of booze and dry tannins, but nothing oaken. It's a great aroma, but I feel short-changed by the lack of any barrel qualities. 4

Oak is probably the first thing I notice with the flavor though. It's light and quickly gives way to a mild booze flavor and raisins and plums. Actually, some sips bring a lot of booze flavor. Vanilla and brown sugar sneak in variably as well, but it seems the trick is to let each sip work its way all along the tongue for maximum flavor. Warmth evolves this beer well, offering up caramel and very gentle floral notes. 4.25

This beer is two different beasts with temperature--- colder it's hot and thinner-bodied and one-noted, while warmth brings thickness, buries the booze and brings out smooth, mellow sweetness. Moral of the story is drink this warm and reap the benefits. 4

Warmth does wonders here, but there are still rough edges to this beer. The roughness can be overlooked for sure, but I have to consider the hefty price tag for this beer and the expectation that the price would bring with it something exceptional, and this bee is slightly below expectations.

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Abt 12 Oak Aged from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 240 ratings