St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

2,770 Reviews
St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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

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Reviews: 2,770 | Ratings: 9,422
Photo of uberabr
4.62/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip. I would prefer to drink this type of beer from an oversized wine glass, but have had trouble distinguishing smells with the St. Bernardus brews in thick, wide glasses.

A: A unique, solid, milk-chocolate brown . A slight red hue but mostly the murky candy brown. Head is light and fluffy but recedes relatively fast. Settles with good, lasting lace.

S: Fruity banana with some citrus, a little bit of grapefruit. There's a very unique, sweet peanut-brittle effect. Very peppery, and a slight sourdough with lingering vanilla. A little bit of hop, and the malt comes through a tad too. Overall, not extremely powerful or unique but pleasant and refined.

T: Crisp and warming. A spicey, roasted caramel malt. A buttery, apricot, frosted lemon-cake taste. Sweet and a little sour with a definite roasted, peppery bite and a sugary, popcorn-jelly belly type sweetness. It has the distinct Belgian maltyness but all in all the 10% is masked very well; a classy take on what could be an offensive maltiness. Not a lot of bitterness either. Very well done but confident (It's easier to use anthropomorphisms with American ales, but oh well). I rarely rate taste higher than smell with beers of this quality, but this one does it.

M: Goes down real easy, a mouth-watering effect. Well carbonated, moderate body, and sugary aftertaste.

D: This is a very quaffable Belgian. Extremely smooth for such a stong beer. Sweet all the way down. Very nice.

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Photo of kirok1999
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bought a 22oz and 12oz at the same time. Cracked the 12oz first.

Pours a beautiful dark, dark honey with a nice head and decent lacing.

Smells like candy, dark fruits predominate, super sweet and juicy.

Tasts just the same, very sweet with massive fruit notes and juicy mouthfeel. Definitely a sipping brew. Alcohol warms quite a bit. Wish I had a fire going and some nice cheese.

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Photo of TechMyst
3.46/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

CONTAINER TYPE: Bottle (Conditioned)
FRESH: yes (cellar for up to 15 years) [L040309 H33]
PURCHASED @: Binny’s
COST: $8.99 / Bottle
HEAD: massive medium-brown; mostly lasting; eventually diminishing to 1/8"
LACE: Laced in bottle; left huge rings; eventually large cloud-like formations; then spotty dots
REFLECTED- dark brown
TRANSMITTED- murky deep brown
AROMA: fruit / sweet wine
MOUTHFEEL: medium; swirling fizzyness
PALATE: lightly slimy/sticky; eventually sticky/resinous
TASTE: caramel apples; plum-rasin; harsh bitter cranberry aftertaste
COMMENTS: It’s good; not great. It’s supposed to be the best beer in the world. Too much like wine. I’d like to try some aged...the dregs looked like melted chocolate. If I’m looking for alcohol content at a better price and taste I’ll take DFH90’. However the buzz from one of these was heavenly. I’d drink it again; not for the taste, but to check out the buzz again. And shouldn’t beer tasting be about the taste. If I want something in this style I’ll take the Chimay Rouge. I’ve mentioned before; I do not care for fruit beers; and this beer is as fruity as the monk on the front of the bottle...
SIPPING- maybe

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Photo of kmo1030
4.46/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

an exceptional looking quad deep dark, and nearly black with a thick tan head, that settles to a creamy half inch thick cap.
dark fruit and nuts mostly a sort of a green raw walnut, in the aroma. it's also got a substantial banana component along with spices and alcohol.
the taste is very fruity with raisin, grape, fig, some tart berries, and a soft creamy underlying banana. bready, clove, caramel, nutty vanilla, non diacetyl buttery qualities, and some wheat-like flavors make up the rest of the non fruit characteristics. gets a little boozy as it warms, especially at the back of the mouth.
creamy delicately carbonated and a smooth as silk in the mouth.
a damn good quad. if i were to change one thing it needs just a little more muscle, as in it might be just a touch too subtle.

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Photo of Onibubba
4.52/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first quad, my first St Bernardus. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip. Not totally sold on the appearance. Looks like cola. Tiny bubbles rising to the surface look nice though. Not much head to speak of, and what there is dissipates into a nice lacing fairly quickly.

Smell is not my best sense. hard to tell what I am picking up here: Dark fruits, a bit of roastiness, and alcohol for sure. I like what I smell though.

Taste. Not sure what the big deal about this beer is. Small sips...Not bad, but not super. Let it sit a while. Hmmm...Not sure what I was thinking. This is nice. Figs. I see what the problem was. I started too cold, out of the fridge. Definately needs time to warm up to bring the flavors out. Bigger sips. Still trying to wrap my head around all the tastes, and then, before I know it, it's gone.

Mouthfeel was a bit light/flat, but supported by a bit of carbonation. All in all, very quaffable. The alcohol is high, but well hidden in the taste. A 12 oz bottle is simply not enough. I'll be buying this in 750s from here out.

Remember that scene in "Young Frankenstein" where the monster is grasping for the notes of the violin? That's what I felt like as I was drinking this toward the end - Grasping for something beautiful that I could not comprehend. A lovely experience that I look forward to repeating.

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Photo of pmcadamis
4.97/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this at Crane Alley in Urbana IL, served in an orval chalice. This one pours a murky dirty brown with absolutely no trace of a head. Although I like the drunk monk on the bottle, this really isn't an appealing beer. One of the girls in my party even went so far as to say it looks like sewage water....but I think that's a little harsh. Maybe more like river water.

The smell is rife with ethanol, and I smell nice clean malts and a firm hop presence. A bit weedy, outdoorsy, and fresh smelling, but warmly malted also. I smell ripe dark fruits...maybe plum and sweet grapes.

There is something very grapey and vinous about this one. I love the rich warmth provided by the full malts and alcohol heat, and the nice dose of hops was unexpected but welcomed. This is really a slow sipper, and gets much more flavorfull as it warms. With time, malty caramel and brown sugar come out to play, and eventually become the dominant flavor (the hops are more evident at first when the brew was still cold. This came to me pretty damn chilly from behind the bar, but I would like to see this served at room temp.

Mouthfeel is excellent and the nice finish left me clucking my tongue to get avery last bit of flavor. This really is an excellent brew, and the big alcohol warmth is a pleasant drinking brandy from a snifter. One of my all time favorites so far.

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Photo of bjohnson
4.28/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Nick from Bauer for this one. $4.99 for a single--located in the cooler.

A: Pours a dark plum color with a pillow like frothy one finger cream colored head. Bubbly with nice retention. Wonderful frost-like lace.
S: Dark fruit malt and fig notes. Nice wheat and yeasty blend. Slighly spicy.
T/M: Dark fruit malt with a good infusion of grape and fig sweetness. Big, bold, and rich with a good malty profile. Nice background of yeastyness that lingers on the palate and turns sweet. Spicyness gets a bit caught up with the carbonation. Very smooth and extra silky on the palate--slides across on the way down. Very nice mouthfeel. A full bodied quad. Sweetness becomes subdued as it warms wit the spicyness and malt taking more of a dominant role.
D: One of the best quads I've had. I would definately buy this again when I see it--possibly to cellar a few. One tasty brew.

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Photo of dblinkhorn
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a St. Bernardus chalice.

Appearance - Pours with a creamy two-finger head that is slightly tan in color. It retains well, and leaves superb lacing all the way down the glass. The beer is very murky and is brownish copper in color.

Smell - Fruity and floral hops notes on the nose. Cherry, plum, fig, and host of other dark ripe fruits are evident. A strong peppery spice aroma also hits you right away. A rich bready malt character ties it all together nicely. There is an obvious alcohol presense on the nose, but we'll see how it holds up in the taste...

Taste - Peppery spiciness up front, with lots of the aforementioned fruit flavors and obvious floral/herbal flavors. A hugely rich malt flavor that is bready and doughy is present as a foundation. The finish has some sweetness to it and with pronounced alcohol character and spice. This transforms to the aftertaste which consists mainly of a very slight earthiness from the yeast and a rich flavor from the malt.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied and seductively smooth. The carbonation creates a very satisfying feeling in the mouth. There is no bite whatsoever, just a gentle massage from the carbonation.

Drinkability - Having the Three Philosophers last night, this stuff actually seems to have a bit less powerful flavors, but I think superior in their character and the pleasant mixture of the different flavors. Still, this is a powerful brew, and expect very strong flavors from it.

This is an extremely high quality brew from St. Bernardus. Definitely my favorite of their year-round brews. The flavors are fantastically pronounced and work to complement eachother. This is a MUST have beer.

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

Poured into my chimay goblet. A robust, musty, chocolately, dark brown color. Great pillowy off white head with good carbonation and great retention, thats already leaving lacing. Smells of malt, some fruit (cherries, apples), toffee, even wine like aromas. Taste is robust and complex. Begins with some hops and malt onto a slight bitterness, finishes with notes of apples and a welcome alcohol warmth. This is a delicious beer, I could drink these endlessly if one didn't already make me feel it's strength. This is an amazing beer I will definitely buy more. Really I can't say enough about this beer. Thank you st. Bernardus...

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Photo of Reidrover
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a chalice from a 11.2 oz bottle (28/02/11). Says 10.0% alcohol. Dark brown ale and quite murky, large tan, tight bubbly head. Good carbonation, livelly. Very dark fruity/malty aromas, very toffeeish, hints of black cherry and candied apples. Mmm dark malty taste, raw demerara sugar, trecle and toffee,semi bitter plum/ sultanas and spiced undertones, slight hint of sherry like alcohol. Very nice and smooth on the palate with a lingering pleasant bitterness and some tummy warming alcohol to finish. Overall a very nice beer, well worth its place.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.47/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a nice beer! I need more of these, and others by this brewery. Nice brown color with a thick tan head that quickly dissipates. It had a yeasty aroma, with plenty of dark fruits. A complex taste. It had a strong malt presence, but the dark fruit came through, as well as a nice caramel flavor. It was pleasantly carbonated. It had a nice mouthfeel, and was quite drinkable. This is a beer to sip and savor.

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Photo of soulgrowl
4.39/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Thick, opaque, earthy brown. Held up to the light, dark flecks of sediment are visible against a Bengal glow, floating peacefully in perfect equilibrium. Head is unexpectedly modest, the color of a cafe latte with below average retention.

Smell: Fresh hazelnuts, almonds, Brazils, and chestnuts are the first thing I notice. Soon, these are upstaged by tart red wine and dark fruit notes such as raisins, prunes, and dates with an interesting cola-like undertone. On top of all this is a current of sweet caramel, chocolate, and ripe bananas. An extremely harmonious nose; everything is in its place, and every individual aroma compliments the others perfectly.

Taste: Mind-bendingly subtle and complex. Quite vinous, with a red wine-like dry-yet-fruity robustness. Nutty, doughy and yeasty, reminiscent of German dark wheat bread. Spicy and a bit tangy from the yeast and alcohol, which counteract the devastating malts nicely. Caramel is quite prominent. Very tasty and very potent.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and full-bodied, but it can become quite heavy and cloying.

Drinkability: Definitely something to savor slowly and respect. Very drinkable; not at all chuggable. I can't say for sure, but this would probably be a very versatile beer for food pairing; I can imagine it working well with both cheesecake and beef tenderloin.

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

Dark brow with ruby-red highlights body and a light tan head. Smells great - malty and somewhat earthy. Head is a few inches thick, and one has to wait for it to dissipate before filling the glass more or drinking. Tastes sweet, somewhat dark fruity. Good level of carbonation but not overly so like some Belgian style ales. Very very very well balanced. You can hardly tell that this is 10.5% alcohol. What’s more, this is one of the most drinkable abbey ales I’ve ever had. I’m very very impressed. By far one of the best beers I've ever had.

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Photo of Rudgers73
3.7/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served from a 750 mL bottle. Corked, caged. Room temp.
As soon as I got the cage off--BANG-- the cork shot out. haha

A- Dark burgandy, lots of head--wow, half the glass. It takes forever to settle down too. Very cool.

S- Sticky sweet, caramel, floral, fruity.

T- Starts out a little bitter, fruity, warms up to a nutty malty taste and finishes with a kick of alcohol. Little bitter twinge left on the tongue, but an overall sweet taste in the mouth. Alcohol really apparent.

M- Smooth, peppery, and balanced. Nice, not too thin despite the ton of alcohol.

D- This is a great beer, only thing that could have made it better would be to take the alcohol edge off a bit. One bottle is enough for 1 sitting, that's for sure.

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Photo of ThirdCoast
4.92/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Serving Type: 1 Pint 9.4 floz corked bottle

A: Dark Brown, with a nice head, bubbles bubbles bubbles!!!

S: Sweet, ripeness, malty, very nice.

T: ...WOW. Creamy, sweet, warming.

M: Creamy, stings a bit, but goes down warm and smooth.

D: I could drink this again, easy on the mouth and bliss to taste....

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Photo of Phocion
4.97/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours into a Westvleteren goblet a thick, dark brown, with a hint of amber if held up to the light. Fairly resilient short but creamy beige head.

Nose is rich and complex. First hint is almost like a brandy. Dried figs, cinnamon, yeasty dough, and alcohol are all evident. If I could rate the smell above a 5, I would. Amazing.

Very warm alcohol bite with thick, sweet, toffee and molasses malt, followed by subtle fruits and nuts, and finishes with spice and chocolate.

Very warm and thick, and smooth as silk. 10.5% ABV, but I don't care, the bottle's already almost half-gone by the end of this review.. This thing is delicious. Two thumbs up, would recommend to anyone, etc. Try this beer.

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Photo of Dewey0603
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was looking forward to opening this one. This beer pours a very dark mahogony with a giant foamy head. The color is so dark I had to hold it up to a light and saw alot of debris floating around,so pour carefully people. The smell is extremely pungent, as soon as the cap was off the aroma filled the room. Dark fruit, brown sugar, nuts, and alittle chocolate. The taste is much like the smell. Full of dark fruit, raisins, prunes, alcohol, a nutty chewiness, and a rich "bisquity" flavor. The m/f is medium with a rich creaminess that hides the alcohol and mellows the dark fruit. An absolute classic that everyone should try. Cheers.

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

Dark brown, thick beige head that really persists and paints the glass with solid sheets of lacing.

Smell is deep and complex. Nuts (slightly sherryish), spice, fudge, earth, dates, raisins, grass/herbs/green tea. Elements that I can't describe, and continuously changing in the glass.

Taste matches smell, complex and delicious. Malty, some sweetness but not cloying. A little alcohol in the finish, but really little for 10.5%.

Mouthfeel is great. These are probably the tiniest bubbles I've ever had. Full and creamy, with slight astringency.

So smooth and pleasurable, this is very drinkable.

This beer is amazing.

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Photo of hunteraw
4.41/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark, ruddy brown. It had been sitting in my fridge long enough that it was fairly clear. Big head that lasted forever, with beautiful lacing. Exceptional.

Smell: Bubble gum, dark fruit, earthy grassiness, and alcohol.

Taste: Dark fruit, bubble gum. Alcohol better covered in the taste than it is in the aroma. Doesn't finish too sweet. Very good.

Mouthfeel: Silky mouthfeel, good carbonation.

Drinkability: High! I wish I hadn't split this 750 ml bottle four-ways, and saved it all for me instead. Goes down very easy for 10% abv. Drank this while brewing - next time I'll try it when I'm not so busy and enjoy it a bit more.

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Photo of Doomcifer
4.26/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 12oz bottle:

Poured an extremely ruddy, dark brown, ebony-like color with a caramel hue to it. HUGE beige, frothy, rocky, cloud-like head that sticks around for the long haul, with lacing galore! Simply gorgeoud looking beer. Smells of ripe fruit, yeast, a little chocolate, maybe some alcohol. Tastes of ripe dark fruits, figs, raisins, some chocolate, spiciness, kind of nutty, anise, and alcohol warming that is decently masked for such a big beer. The taste is VERY complex and delicious. Mouthfeel is very bubbly, champagne-like carbonation, very creamy and full-bodied. I could drink these puppies all day long if it wasn't for the 10.5% ABV. Absolutely delicious and a work of art.

I reviewed this beer a few months back from a bomber and this one from the 12oz. bottle seems much better. Perhaps it may be aged a bit, I dont know, nor do I care. This is near perfection.

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Photo of cabsandking
4.73/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured in an appropriate chalice a dark brown color. The nose is a nice coffee aroma and slight sweet floral notes. The first sip offers a mouthful of flavors. Raisons, coffee, molasses, oranges, oak soaked aging. You immediately know this is a great beer. A one finger head reduces to a thin layer of fine, white bubbles. Medium body with a fantastic creamy mouth feel. Very mellow and smooth drinking, perfectly balanced and excellent melding of all characteristics. Hints of bananas towards the end. Finishes very well and I just couldn’t resist finishing a couple more!

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Photo of vancurly
4.12/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Leffe chalice.
Dark reddy brown, with orange edges. Clear, with good bubble beads. Frothy beige head. Clouds up when I swirl the remnants into the glass.
Rich aroma... oaky, malty, estery, doughy/fresh bread. Hint of caramel.
In the mouth, noticable alcohol, big malt, hint of molasses or licorice. Very spicy, nutty.
Very bubbly, explodes in the mouth. Hot with alcohol, and firm with bitterness. All up a bit harsh on the mouth, although it seems to improve when the bottle-bottom yeast is swirled and poured, giving a more creamy expression.
The finish is long, and it's a couple of minutes before I really pick up some delicate hop flavours.

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

A - An opaque juggernaut crowned by a thick head that refuses to leave - this is one daunting brew!

S - Notes of coffee and toffee well-backed by strong malty goodness. Smells like a real hearty beer.

T - First, a distinct concord grape/toffee well-lit flavour strike the palate. To flollow, a champagne-like feeling enters the nose and rushes to the belly. Faint notes of cinnamon in the background. A bitterness unique to only the far reaches of the tongue allow for these flavours to melt slowly from one stage to the next, increasing my confusion and desire to keep drinking and exploring this one.

M - Bold and delicate. The alcohol here does not control this one- it rests quite smoothly on your tongue, gently wooing you.

D - yes yes yes. give me more! Everything about this one is a winner.

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Photo of rsyberg01
4.84/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

S - 11.2 oz bottle with St. Bernardus on the front. He looks like a happy guy, with this beer on hand whenever you want I think I would be a happy guy too.

A - Dark brown, with some sediment freckling the liquid. Head is very pretty and takes quite some time to dissipate. When it does, it covers the beer with about a half finger of fine foam.

S - Dark fruits, caramel, sweet maltiness. Wow, shivers are going down my spine in anticipation to try this sweet treat of the gods.

T - Velvet. Fruity, sweet, caramely, creamy, delicious. Little hop character but so much flavor. My dear lord this is an epic beer. Dark fruits such as raisins, plums, a bit of a fig. Touches of chocolate, along with the sweetness of the malt and the touch of delicious caramel. Also the warming of the alcohol makes me want to lick my lips and take a nap. I did not know what I was in for with this, give me a cover and a pillow next to a warm winter fire.

M - Like I said, velvety smooth. Just jumps right in and shows you what love is. A beer for the ages.

D - This little treat does not get old for a second, I could drink 2 750's of this bad mama in a night no problem.

Notes: A classic, no doubt about it.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz, $3.29 at Steve's - University, 1st time trying

appearance: pours into a La Chouffe tulip...mahogany/dark garnet body with a huge frothy beige head. The head is fluffy and ginormous and doesnt go anywhere either. Once it all settles down, it truly is a glorious looking beer

smell: big yeasty aroma in the forefront, nice and bready, lots of dried dark fruit, a little booze, earthy tones, brown sugar, lots of sweetness, nice potent aromas draw me in from the get-go

taste: Truly wonderful served slightly above cellar temperature...big sweet malt body, clove, strong notes of brown sugar, dried dark fruit - particularly plum, big belgian yeast flavours, bready traits, sugary sweet, a touch boozy, faint chocolate notes, banana noticeable...great quad and found at a pretty decent price

mouthfeel: surprisingly very creamy, alcohol not abrasive at all, smooth medium-full body

drinkability: very good

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.42 out of 5 based on 9,422 ratings.
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