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St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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BA SCORE
98
world-class
2,744 Reviews
St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Belgium
sintbernardus.be

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001

BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,744
Ratings:
9,300
Avg:
4.42
pDev:
17.42%
 
 
Wants:
747
Gots:
2,458
For Trade:
49
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Reviews: 2,744 | Ratings: 9,300
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My 1 year BA birthday beer!!!
12 oz bottle from the LCBO. Dates 07/09/15
Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Dark brown with one finger of bubbly off-white head.

S - Full or dark fruit - raising, figs, dates. Some sweet brown sugar and a slightly noticeable alcohol smell.

T -Sweet malts with brown sugar and caramel notes are dominant on the palate. Dark fruit and some yeast flavours are present as well. The alcohol is noticeable but not overwhelmingly so considering the 10% ABV.

M - Quite heavily carbonated, which somewhat covers up the nice medium body that the beer has.

D - Very drinkable for the ABV.

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Photo of SixpointJMH
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

i had been a bit turned off to this style after sampling a bottle of trappistes rochefort 10, but found the st. bernardus 12 to be a much more refreshing and enjoyable example of it and can't wait to try a few more. this one poured with a slightly frothy off-white head and had a cloudy ruby colour to it. the smell was quite good but not overly complex, with malt, hop, butter, and caramel being the most prominent that i can recall. the taste was equally good, with a tart caramel buttery feel to it along with a sour fruity (cherry) taste. this one has enhanced fruit flavouring as well as it warms. there's a nice little carbonation bite at the finish of an otherwise smooth drink. a solid brew.

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Photo of mdwalsh
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked up at 750 mL of this beer in Chicago because I had heard it was a great stand in for Westy 12, the best beer in the world. If it is, I do not need to get a Westy, I was sorely disappointed. I even drank this on my one year anniversary for being a BA as my 250th review. What a let down.

A: Three finger tan head on top, medium-brown beer with decent active carbonation on bottom. Less lace than I would expect to see here. All in all, ok looking, but not amazingly beautiful.

S: Here I get a mild roast, and some mild Belgian yeast, but not much. Neither is there a lot of the Belgian Candi Sugar. It's pretty weak and really just needs to be stronger.

T: Similar to the smell, mild roast, mild yeast. There's a little bit of a sour taste, the good kind for a Belgian, though perhaps not a Quad. It's still just not full bodied enough.

M: Can't stress it enough, too light! But it is very very smooth and has perfect carbonation.

D: Can't argue with the drinkability here. It went down perfectly smooth, and I wouldn't have suspected 10.5% abv.

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Photo of ilikebeer03
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into snifter.

A: Pours a nice, thick, (eggshell?) white head. Pretty solid retention. Eventually fades into a pretty nice ring around the glass with some residual hanging out around the middle. Not too much lacing.

S: smells of dark fruit, bubblegummy yeast.

T: delicious. I don't drink too many belgians so I'm not as familiar with the style as others. I get a lot of dark fruit, candy sugar, bubblegum-y from the yeast. caramel. A very complex beer. Maybe toffee? I can't quite place it. anyway, it's good.

M: pretty thin (as is typical for the style) / good carbonation

O: delicious. Would buy again (especially because I found it priced at $1.79!!)

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Photo of HosP
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle the other night. Poured 750ml bottle into Westy 12 glass.

A- Pours dark brown, muddy looking. Off white head sits on top for a small bit until receding down to almost nothing.

S- Very sweet smell. Get some spice to it along with a bit of hop aroma. A very small bit of dark fruit smell, which surprises me.

T- Much sweeter than expecting it to be. The sweet malts mixed with the spices, mostly cloves, give a good introduction. Dark fruits, seems to be plum give a great middle to the beer. Sweet malts really stay with it all the way through the end. A little citrus at the end too.

M- Medium body. Lots of carbonation.

O- Very good drink. Wish the sweetness wouldn't have been as strong along with the carbonation. However the flavors are very well done. Easy to drink for sure, wouldn't mind another glass or two!

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Photo of Kudashov
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

25 .oz bomber poured into my Rapscallion snifter with Public Image LTD on the Hi-Fi . Beautiful silk screened bottle with Capt. Stubing in a monk outfit on the label . Healthy pop as I open the brew . Followed by gunsmoke leaving the bottle as i poured the fluid in a glass . 2 finger head with a bready , scone like smell . Head has large bubles and is off white in color . Body of brew is black as a hockey puck . When held up to the light there is some red hues through the bottom of the snifter . Bready , malty flavor . Worth waiting . After a few gulps nice lacing on glass . One of me favs ...

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Photo of 57md
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%

Brownish color with copper edges. The nose is mildly funky. The body is relatively hearty and this offering has a nice bready flavor. This beer drinks smooth – the alcohol is well hidden and the funky flavor so indicative of this style is present but not harsh or tart.

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Photo of Popkas
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from 2008 pulled out of the cellar.
Pour is a deep brown with hints of cherry (reminds me of my kitchen cabinets...) with a large frothy head that is well retained. Floaters abound. Smell is of candied sugar and prunes. There is a bite on the tongue followed by a sweetness with dark fruit. Can't put y finger on it, but the finish is the least enjoyable part of the beer so far. The body is medium to full and smooth with a creamy feel to it. Drinkability is decent but not great due to the finish that is not agreable to my taste.

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Photo of oregone
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A very good brew.
A: Murky brown and thick. Nearly opaque. Surprising. Pours a heafty two finger head that has remarkable retention. Reminded me of Duvel almost.
S: Candied fruits, raison, a fair hint of yeast, smells like a bakery around the holidays.
T: Raisin and assorted dried fruit. Yeast is here too. Butterscotch? Not crazy on the complexity, in fact less than expected, but certainly delicious.
M: A finely balanced brew. Excellent carbonation neither overwhelms nor underimpresses. Balanced perfectly with the richness. A viscous beer that is washed away by the smooth and fine bubbles.
D: Very good. Not something for all night, but I would happily have a couple. Unless I had nothing produvtive to do the next day. Then all night.

This is quite the beer for the money and will become a staple. It doesn't amaze me, but it's an elegant yet powerful brew that is characterful and refreshing. And delicious.

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Photo of highvoltage61
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Was lucky enough to have this on tap at pitcher's pub in cumberland, ri.

served in appropriate st. matou glass

appearance-dark amber color and good head retention.

smell-strong smell of malts, and caramel.

taste-balanced flavor of sweetness and bitter. good hop finish.

drinkability- strong alcohol flavor makes drinking a lot of these difficult. although with the strength of the malts it all balances well.

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Photo of DrDogbeer
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Have had this beer a number of times, but broke out a bottle out of a St Bernardus mixed six pack I got for Christmas. Poured out of the 11 ooz bottle into a chalice. Pours a murky brownish red. Tons of sediment. Had a tough time leaving it in the bottle. Smells of sweet malts, some dark fruit. Taste is similar- some raisin, very sweet. Slick mouthfeel. Very drinkable as it hides the high abv very well. A classic beer- not as complex as a westy 12, and not as tasty as a Rochefort 10, but very good.

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Photo of bamadog
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This offering is readily available to us in this area, and I've eyed it up many-a-time and just never committed to picking it up. Finally did so to celebrate the end of another semester's worth of work. Review is from notes taken on 12/19/2010 and poured from the bottle to a tulip.

Appearance: Pour is a dark coppery/ruby color and it starts with the standard big 2+ finger light tan/off-white head that is fluffy and has pretty good retention; head never really seems to fade entirely and lingers down to a full and thick, frothy cap and leaves patches and swaths of lacing, but a lot of slides back into the drink; body is fairly dark, but not opaque and it is a little hazy and murky, and shows a lot of floaties bouncing around throughout the strong carbonation that bubbles up;

Smell: Really what I would look for in a big quad of this caliber -- lots of the big sweet caramel malts with big whiffs of Belgian yeast that brings about some artificial banana-like scents; some dark fruitiness (fig, raisin?) and some acidic apple-like scents as well; bit of a spiced finish -- coriander, cardamom.

Taste: Oh this is nice -- lots of sweet Belgian candi sugar, caramel, but perhaps more like toffee malts and a very sweet and dark fruitiness with a nice blend of the acidic, green apple-like flavors; big Belgian yeast like in the smell; spiciness is played down a little bit, and it seems to compete with some definite warming alcohol

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel is just lighter than medium, and the carbonation is very full and lively -- not sharp or anything, but very "frothy" in the mouth and it definitely leaves the gums tingly (likely aided by the near 11% ABV, though); body is actually a little slick on the way down and it manages to leave a moderately thick and semi-dry sticky coating on the roof of the mouth; the belly is left quite warm from the higher ABV and potent carbonation.

Drinkability: A very nice beer, and I kind of regret not trying it sooner. Looks great, smells and tastes even better -- the ABV is definitely a little big in presence as well as in the flavor set, which lowers the drinkability by a little bit, and I have to wonder if aging a few of these for a few years would be beneficial to it (the bottle claims you can age it up to 15 years, not sure if I could try my patience that far though);

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Photo of number1bum
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a mahogany color, quite cloudy and somewhat dense looking, with a fizzy finger and a half of beige head. Although the head is fizzy it's also pretty creamy and retention is exceptional, keeping a full lace and leaving a nice amount of webbing.

Smell is a nice bouquet of sweet malts, fruit and earthy yeast. There is some caramelized malt and candi sugar, lots of dark fruit like plums and figs and dates and raisins. Yeast is earthy and somewhat woodsy, with a bit of anise and clove in there, too.

Taste has all the aforementioned qualities that the smell had. Very earthy and woodsy, with some peat flavor to go with the sweet malts and candi sugar. Also some clove, and lots of dark fruit like the smell. The smell hid the alcohol well but it comes through a bit more in the taste. A bit astringent, too.

Mouthfeel doesn't seem as full as I expected. It's medium bodied, or maybe on the plus side of a medium body, but it's a bit too fizzy and not all that creamy.

This is a very good beer, but I'm a victim of expectations because I'm a touch disappointed. It's not the absolute homerun I expected, but still a very tasty brew that I would certainly have again.

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Photo of Cwrw
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one is hard to approach without high expectations. St Bernardus, the jolly monk(and why not??) holding a chalice glass of the stuff on the label seems to exude glee, and the beer seems to as well. Abt 12, or the blue cap bottle, states simply in English on the back "Bottle fermented beer." This bottle poured with a medium head, making it able to pour the full bottle without having to wait for the foam to settle. I was expecting a denser head however, because it did not pour very creamily: more large bubbles than small. The head is a very lightish brown colour, and seemed comfortable and stable as a thin but full topping to the beer. The beer itself is an almost impenetrable ruby-dark brown, appearing near ebony from most angles. Lacing is excellent, leaving thin sheets around the glass that dissipate into islands. The aroma is not very assertive, but when coaxed it is quite delectable. Very sublte dark malting along with black currants and prunes. The sweetness is readily evident in the form of raisins and green apple peel like St Bernardus Tripel. Red wine and red grapes; blueberry; licorice and leather; pears and green apples; and spicy, rummy pepper that tickles the nose. This could almost pass at times for merlot or cabernet wine. A distinct creaminess asserts itself through the whole drink. The aroma is delicious, but not unlike anything I have had before; certainly nothing to make it exceptional for me personally. The taste is full of big flavours: spicy alcohol, rich malts, dark fruits and wine. The front of the tongue senses the red wine taste, tannic and dry. The middle draws out some of the toasted malts, and the finish leaves a balanced nuttiness, equal parts dry and sweet. The carbonation was a little high, and the bottle started to overflow when I popped the cap; not sure why. They have been sitting in my cellar for 2 weeks upright. Far too foamy in the mouth, this bottle. The mouthfeel is still quite thick and lingering however. Drinkability, with the balanced sweetness and small amount of alcohol in the taste, is extremely hight for a gravity such as this. I paired it with brie and 3-year aged cheddar. The brie is mostly overpowered by the beer, but the sharp taste of the aged cheddar could compete and added to the enjoyment and complexity of the beer. I fear these bottles may be a tad defective somehow; not totally, but I think the beer is not at its peak quality-wise. If it IS, though, I have tasted this beer's equal and find it good but not sensational or unique.

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Photo of tony223366
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: explosion! Beer tragedy as this beer frothed over. I saved most of it luckily. Afterwards dark brown with a tan head. One finger leftover. Someone else said it looks like coke and the resemblance is uncanny.

S: major cloves. Rich maltiness and dark fruit

T: cloves and brown sugar follows by big malty sweetness. Big caramel flavor. Alcohol comes in nicely but not overbearing. Sweet throughout.

M: extremely smooth and creamy. Great carbonation carries this beer. Surprisingly my favorite part.

O: great beer. Perfect for desert. Couldn't do more than one a night I think. I'd love to pair it with food.

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Photo of khiasmus
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- As much head as you could possibly want. If you hard pour it, it pours solid head. A soft pour leaves a couple of fingers that linger and lace beautifully... it looks like whipped cream.

S- Yeast, raisins, strong malt, some slight anise, caramel, honey, alcohol, pepper... one of the most complex noses I can remember. It's wonderful.

T- Initial malts, some yeast, bread and biscuity notes, and strong warming alcohol. Hops in the back come in to balance beautifully. A wonderful taste, but dissappointing after the outrageously good nose.

M- Thick and chewy, low carbonation, a lingering alcohol warmth and slight dryness after the smooth finish.

D- The alcohol especially, and the bready flavor, make for slightly lower drinkability... we split this bottle four ways, and we all had plenty.

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Photo of KajII
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

[Best served in a Trappist glass]

The pour was a murky medium chestnut brown with an average sized (1-2 finger) light brown frothy head that reduced to a large cap, which lasted throughout and allowed for some excellent sheets of lace.

The aroma was a dark bread malt and a sweaty yeast with notes of caramel, a host of dark fruit (black cherries, plums, figs and raisins) and a large hint of alcohol.

The taste was moderately sweet and a bit acidic with a nice caramel flavor in the beginning, and finished sweetly acetic with a big dose of dark fruit and a heavy alcohol funk at the end. The flavor lasted for quite a while with a fruity alcohol warming sensation left behind for one to enjoy.

Mouthfeel was medium in body with a creamy, dry, syrupy texture and a nice lively carbonation.

Overall this is an intensely satisfying and tasty beer, with a ton of unique flavors that are blended together extremely well. This is most definitely a brew to be savored again and again…

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Photo of TheRealBigC
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a medium brown with decent head. Smell is of very ripe fruits of the apple & pear variety as well as figs, plums, etc. Taste follws with an extra bump of brown sugar and alcohol. It's really sweet, which I think limits its drinkability, but the flavor is good and the alcohol is very warming - so it calls for a slow sip approach anyhow. I would definitely rank this among the best abbey ales I've had. Really good, even if they are not among my favorite styles.

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Photo of Teleweizen2
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - an opaque, murky caramel brown. a vigorous pour yields 3 fingers worth of off white tightly packed bubbly head. it dissipates slowly to a thin film. thick gobs of lacing on the glass.

S - nose is subtle and dark. dark spices of licorice, brown sugar, ground black pepper and cardamom meld with dark fruit notes of plums and cherries. there is also a faint leafy green note

T - a gentle malt sweetness on the front of the tongue with peppery spice notes rising quickly there after. as it warms mid palate fruit esters mix with the malt sweetness to create candied fruit such as sugar coated dates. finish is long and spicy with quite a bit of pleasant alcohol warmth.

M - the body is on the lighter side of medium with an almost crisp texture. medium carbonation.

O - a great example of a Quad/BSDA.

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Photo of babaracas
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red-brown with two fingers thick of fluffy yet fizzy light brown head, settles slowly to a thin cap, ring of lace trailing the liquid but not much sticking. Smell: raisin, dates, toasted brown bread, cola note, caramel, lightly floral and spicy. Taste: caramel, cherry cola, fig, spicy and slightly boozy, finishing with notes of clove, pepper and toasted grain. Carbonation is a bit high, but based on the sugariness it's probably the right amount for this beer. This is delicious and available everywhere, which is impressive, but it's a rung down from the best Belgian quads (it's not Pannepot, but who is!)

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Photo of jancona
4.09/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a beautiful mahogany with khaki foam and nice lacing.
Smells a bit of mineral water and cola
Taste has a subtle cola flavor with brown sugar, dates, and a hint of molasses. Hides the high abv perfectly
I love the carbonated feel, smooth and creamy, no syrupy feel at all
A legendary quad.

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Photo of Andrew041180
4.09/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

A - The beer poured a bright brown, if such a color exists. Under certain light conditions I thought I detected a bit of ruby in there. Very light head of lightish-consistency bubbles that remained thin throughout. Little to no lacing on the glass. Nothing about the appearance wowed me.

S - Again, nothing special here. I continued to sniff the beer as it warmed to the proper temperature, and still never really smelled anything that knocked my socks off. Typical darker malt scents including brown sugar and toffee. Not much in the way of hops.

T - Do as the bottle says and drink it in the 50 degree range. The flavors changed significantly as the beer warmed and I feel that I missed out a bit. In the last portion of the last glass that I had I detected far more interesting flavors. Alcohol is definitely present at 10%, but it adds to the malty and dark fruit flavors, rather than detracting from them.

M - Take what I said about temperature in the Taste section and double down on it. As the beer warmed the mouthfeel became increasingly lively. The carbonation, which is barely visible in the appearance, is quite obvious in the feel. Truly an exceptional feeling.

O - This beer improves significantly as it warms. I took it out of the fridge maybe 20 minutes before drinking, and it should have been longer, although I was fortunate to see how the flavors changed. The other thing is the alcohol. I had about 2/3 of a bottle and I really feel it. This is a really nice beer to split, probably after dinner. Didn't go great with our grilled salmon.

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Photo of Converge
4.09/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle poured into a 16oz goblet. The bottle foamed madly as I tried to open it.

A - Little over a finger of head; bubbly, frothy, and tan. Murky garnet-brown hue. The head thins out and leaves bits of lacing around the glass.

S - Aroma is ripe and sweet upfront. Nice, ripe plums, bananas, green apples. Not as much dark fruit as expected. Obligatory Belgian candi sugar creates a strong sweetness in the scent as well. A little fig with fresh bread and yeast in the finish.

T - The fruit flavors are quite subdued initially. Sort of a medicinal mixture of candi sugar and alcohol. The yeast is done fairly well, not too much and not too little. I'm sitting here sort of perplexed at the lack of complexity in beer. The typical flavors are all present for the most part, but I guess it hasn't really delivered the punch I expected from such a renowned beer. The flavor never really culminates to form anything too impressive, allowing the alcohol to take center stage in the flavor profile. Spices in the finish don't do anything to subdue the warm alcohol flavor already present.

M - Smooth, bubbly carbonation. Medium bodied feel with a pretty sticky feel on my lips. Sort of slick/oily.

D - Still a solid quad, but at 10% ABV this beer just doesn't offer enough in the flavor department. Despite all these complaints, this beer was still very good and in fact really easy to drink. This one is certainly going down as something to re-review down the road.

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Photo of tlazaroff
4.09/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Took this out of the fridge 20 minutes before drinking.

A: Pours out a somewhat opaque brown with a thin off-white head that fades fast.

S: I get loads of dark fruit such as plum, raisin, and fig. I can smell caramel, toffee, and it is quite yeasty too.

T: All those wonderful scents are present in the taste too. This beer actually tastes exactly as you think it would based on the smell. Alcohol hides moderately well, it's defiantly there, I like it a lot.

M: Surprisingly its a bit on the thinner side of a medium body. Loads of carbonation though, if you swish it in your mouth you get all foam.

D: Oh, quite low. This is 10% after all.

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Photo of r0nyn
4.08/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into my DFH snifter.

Pours a chocolate brown hue that fills the glass with big, dark opacity. Tan head settles into a quarter-inch cap and leaves some serious sticky lacing. Really very enticing. Smell is full of dark fruits and esters, along with a ton of maltiness. As it warms, the alcohol is just slightly detectable at the end.

Taste has that bready malt kick to start things on a good note and gradually gives way to the sweet dark fruits and a bit of clove and spice. There's a roastedness that permeates the flavors, giving it an interesting balance and something of an earthy, woody feel. Towards the end is the mildest of hop bittering that lingers on the back of the tongue somewhat. The booziness shows up at the end as well, especially as the brew warms. Expected, and it manages to blend with the other complex tastes well enough to be pleasant. Mouthfeel is nice and creamy, with a minimal amount of carbonation. Slight chewiness as well.

Drinkability is quite good, even though you'll definitely need to sip this over time to really get the full experience. This is a full-bodied Belgian brew with a complex taste and should be savored as befitting one of the best beers on the planet. I would actually place this just below the Rochefort 10, but that is by no means a negative mark on this exceptional beer. I'll definitely have to have this again with a bit of age on it.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.42 out of 5 based on 9,300 ratings.
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