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St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
98
world-class
2,726 Reviews
St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Belgium | website

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:
2,726
Ratings:
9,194
Avg:
4.42
pDev:
17.42%
 
 
Wants:
737
Gots:
2,374
For Trade:
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Reviews: 2,726 | Ratings: 9,194
Photo of SupaCelt
4.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This has been in the box for at least an eon if not more. It is Independence Day. It is time for this one. The pour reveals a shade of amber that leans heavily toward purple, or garnet, or red. Quite a peach to look at really. A wonderfully appetizing head rolls up and holds as a slender slab of creamy froth. Most delicious. Fluffy whips of lace cling heavily and create a rolling topography around the outskirts of this event. A few drips of yeast have peppered a tight pattern in the midground of this head. It looks like a bit of nutmeg sprinkled atop a fine dessert. The nose is complex in dark fruit subtleties. It smells like a bit of fermented black cherry. A sort of sugar crusted candy sweetness booms within the honed confines of this brew as the malt structure is notably solid. I think the yeast has contributed heavily to the delight I derive from repeated and incessant sniffing. The smell is so much different. Wild and tart with an expressive gale of alcohol. The taste is darkly fruity, alcoholic and rootish. The black fruitiness and alcoholic characters lay on the back of a creamy mouthfeel. Unique and delicious. The drinkability is super good. The only problem is it ends up gone. The last few sips are a spectacle. This song has ended on a solid note. I can tell this one is from somewhere else. It is completely unlike...

 1,347 characters

Photo of trep
4.33/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a classy looking bottle. 11.2 ouces of goodness await me i'm quite sure of it.

Dark brown, tobacco colored body. Inpenetrable with light except at the edges. Vanilla head of EPIC proportions sits atop the raisin body. Tons of lacing.

Very smooth aroma. Hints of fruit, sour grapes, an acidic tartness, a little funk and some yeastiness. Pretty complex stuff we're talkin about here.

What a solid beer. Everything melds together perfectly. Begins with some funkiness, probably the yeast. Alot of over-ripe dark fruits. Raisins, prunes, and a very sweet aftertaste that is kind of like white-grapes or apples. Quality stuff. So smooth and it doesn't get boring.

Full body, not oily, but definitely something that coats your mouth and your throat as it goes down. Carbonation is perfect and this is super smooth and easy-drinking. The 10.5% is un-noticable. World class, and definitely lives up to the hype.

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Photo of jwc215
4.53/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yesterday, I had the pint corked bottle. Today I had the 11.2 oz. bottle.
Poured into chalice.
It poured brown with a thick, creamy two-finger off-white head that after a minute or so went to half the size and remained there - just as a great beer's head should do. Wonderful to look at!
This beer has been reviewed so many times - I just want to say what impressed me the most - the spices and fruitiness was very creamy - some of the wonderful tastes were almost lost in the creaminess. It was a wonderful sipping beer - The alcohol warmed the body at the end - This was a great beer - similar to the trappist ales - but creamier, and with a little bite at the end. I don't know - IMO - that it was an all "5" beer - but, very close - if 4.75's could be given - I would have given it that. It was truly a pleasure.

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Photo of Conrad
3.98/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

With 600 reviews of this beer, is this one redundant? Well I don't care. Here it is anyway. Had this one poured in a Trappist chalice.
Short and to the point:
A: Deep ruby brown, cloudy opaque. Light brown head that settles quickly. From first sip to the last the bubbles sparkled in the lacing as it trickled down the side of the glass. Beautiful.
S: Right up front, there is spice, bready yeast, fruit, cola, and a few others I couldn't put my finger on.
T: This one has big flavour. Strong caramel malt, all of the above flavours, and an overall earthiness. That is earthiness in a good sense, like when you take a deep sniff of a handful of top grade farm soil and can tell from the aroma that this is full of goodness.
M: Medium to full body. Although this beer was not really cold, it seemed to pass on the sense of coldness more than most beers could.
D: Refreshing and smooth. I would say yes to another, but at 10% abv, that would be enough.

If you can get these at a decent price, snap them up.

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

Drank from a 11.2 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Julio's Liquors, Westboro, MA

The first thing that impressed me about this beer was the interesting bottle graphics. Quite funny.

Poured a dense, murky black with only traces of dark brown noticeable on the fringes of the glass. One-finger, foamy, light cocoa head faded to a thick coating of lace with intermittent bubbles. Large, sporadic patches of lacing lasted long after the beer itself was finished.

Smell was incredibly aromatic and sweet. Super malty rich (caramel malts) and yeasty with fresh, ripe fruits and candied sugar. Notes of powdered cocoa and coffee also detectable.

Taste was decadent. Strong malt presence up front (caramel malts) along with sweet, luscious fruits and brown sugar. So pleasant and enjoyable. Spices, dark, dried fruits (raisins, prunes) and dark chocolate became apparent mid-palate. On the back end, sugars and alcohol dominated and became more prevalent as the beer warmed. Noticeable alcohol warming in the back of the mouth and the throat. At 10% ABV, the alcohol was still not overwhelming. Sugary, sweet, resonating aftertaste.

Rich, creamy, smooth mouthfeel.

This is an amazingly complex beer. With each sip I tasted an array of new flavors. An outstanding quad rivaled by few.

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Photo of Dubbercody
4.22/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Concordia Ale House in Portland, OR.

Poured into a Bernadus Chalice. Two fingered fluffy head that disapated into a nice layer of light fluff along top of beer. Thick lacing remained on side of glass. Beer looks very dark amber to brown.

Smells spicy and malty. Taste follows nose beautifully. Great carbonation that leads to a spicy aftertaste that tickles the roof of mouth. Taste is smoother on draught than from bottle.

It's a bit heavy, more of a fall/winter beer in my eyes. Would be perfect with a sweater. Overall fantastic beer will have again especially when I can find it on tap.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
2.78/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a nice finger width head that falls thin, but doesn't dissapear and leaves a beautiful lacing behind. Color is amber to black.

Heavy roasted malts with slight burnt sugar and a slight fowery hops that do a good job of bringing out the fruit flavors.

Light, hard to taste and watery. Spicy sweet with a slight peppermint and burnt sugar flavors. This was a little dissaponting, I should've rated the one bottle I've ever had.

Mouthfeel is smooth and nice.

I wouldn't have this on tap ever again unless I saw them tap the keg myself.

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Photo of OStrungT
4.43/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a cloudy dark rusty brown color with a thick tan head. The head fades very slowly, leaving many thick laces.

This beer has a spicy aroma. Coriander and cloves. It smells fruity also. I smell figs and dates. The alcohol is very well hidden in the aroma. It has an earthy yeast aroma also. It also has a nice sweet molasses aroma.

This beer tastes exactly like it smells. The spict flavor is great. It has a pleasent fruity flavor too. It has a spicy hop flavor. As with the aroma, the alcohol is very well hidden in the flavor.

This beer is full bodied, but it goes down smooth. It leaves a very spicy aftertaste. This beer is highly carbonated, going well for the style.

I dont know if this beer would be my first choice as a session beer. Although it dosent taste like it, the alcohol content is up there. Also, the aggressive flavor might become a bit much after too many.

Thank you very much babydoc for this great surprise. I am in you debt.

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Photo of medic25
4.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in a Saint Bernardus chalice; pours a rich ruby brown with a lacy tan head. Aroma is terrific; bread and raisins, very appealing. Taste is world class; very little hint of alcohol, with a great blend of yeast, fruit, and malt balanced perfectly. Very smooth drinking, this beer is a fantastic example of the quadrupel. Sitting sipping an Abt 12, watching Game 7 of the Stanley Cup.... what else do you need in life...

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Photo of doppelmeup
3.73/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured a dark cola color into a tulip glass, with a several inch thick frothy head. Giant bubbles slowly dissipated, leaving a healty covering of foam on top of the beer. Lacing was not as good as I was expecting.

Aroma was typical of a Belgian Ale. Strong yeast, fruit, bananas.

Taste was good, but I was really expecting something that would grab me and scream out about how good it was, and this beer didn't do it for me. Slight alcoholicy, sweet, a bit of an overripe banana aftertaste. As beer warmed, alcohol taste came to the forefront. I've had many other beers that I've liked better than this. Very disappointed.

Mouthfeel was good. Very creamy and smooth. Alcohol was waming and bitter as beer warmed. It is very strong, and I could not drink more than one or two at a sitting.

Overall, I don't think this beer is worth the price it commands. It's not a bad beer by any means, but it just didn't do much for me. I'll not spend my money on it again.

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Photo of Backer2004
4.41/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this one up for maybe $9 at a local Organic Marketplace. Well deserved to drink it after a very big week at work. Absolutely a beaut -- lots of carbonation, lacing, and a fair amount of head retention. Smells of light caramel, fruits . . . a bit "fresh."

A perfect 58 degree temperature makes all the flavors and complexity come out right away. Chewy malt goodness and a taste that is damn near perfect. Would age very well after a few years but I just could not keep it in the cabinet any longer.

Very excited that I can have this practically any time at home for less than $10.

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Photo of DuqTroops
3.98/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - dark reddish body, with a tannish head atop.

Smell - lots of yeast. scents of caramel, and malts.

Taste - lots of flavors are present here, quite different from the usual beers I drink.

Mouthfeel - easy to drink, lots of flavors, abv, and goes great.

Drinkability - will look to have again.

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

Dark maple syrup body with lots of carbonation. Fairly big clumps of material floating around. Undulating creamy light tan head. Good retention and lace.
Pleasantly sweet honey scent mixed with raisens and a little hint at the alcohol.
Taste is an incredibly intense rush of sweet in all it's forms; molasses, brown sugar, caramel etc. The alcohol is detectable but it does not reveal the potency of this brew. Aftertaste is a mild malt base with some faint spiced hops.
Full dense body, creamy and smooth. Burning sweet sensation and some coating.
Highly drinkable brew as a sipper.

-Oelergud

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Photo of twelvinlucifer
4.34/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

standard brown color.

nice carbonation. nice thick head settles into a nice aroma capturing thin cap.

smell is exceptional! carmal malt and fig jump out! a slight bit of citrus high note.

mouthfeel is pure carbonation. bubbles jumping around like crazy. a little over the top for me.

taste is awesome but IMHO way too young this probably needs to sit a couple of years to really fully develop. only thing that jumps out in the taste right now is carmel, dates, and alcohol.

I want to review this again after i've let one sit for at least a year! I'm not sure it's fair to review such a young ale that needs alot more time to mature!

I could drink this all night if not for the high potency!!!

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.65/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a deep amber tea color with a half finger head that melted to thin lacing which never ended.
Aroma Alcohol, dried fruits, raisins, plums, grapes, brandy.
Taste is sweet dried fruits,gentle spices and again, brandy.
Aftertaste is warm, sweet, slightly cloying.
Mouthfeel is incredible.
This is a very difficult beer to describe when one word says it all....
Exceptional.

Worst part is, you never, ever notice the alcohol.
I'm afraid this one could definitely get the better of me...it is too easy to drink and too desirable.

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

11.2 oz bottle stored and served at 60 degrees.

Pours a rich opaque brown color with a nice foamy cream colored head that slowly drops to leave a thin layer of bubbles. Aroma is complexity of dark fruit, spices, pepper, clove with some maltyness include some dark roasted malt. First taste goes down very smooth with good touch of warming. Medium body with a fair amount of carbonation. Sweet malt up front but most of the flavor kicks in toward the middle and end with strong notes of pepper, malt, and clove.

Concidering the deep complexity of this beer it is amazing how smooth it actually is. Also concidering it costs about half of a Westy or Rochefort it seems like a great deal.

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Photo of NatureSon
4.88/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The only reason this beer didn't get a perfect 5 on all fronts is because I got a little weak in the knees after smelling it.
Probably the best beer I've ever had the priviledge of tasting. I got to drink this serious beverage out of its 750 ml bottle, and enjoyed every small sip of it. From the three-finger head to the last breath of quality, few beers can compare to the quality and flavor that the Abt. 12 brings to the table.
It is so hard to describe something so beautiful; so I feel almost at a loss to even try.
In all reality...epic is the only word that exists in the same realm as this ale; so I will leave it at that.

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Photo of HellsBELLS24
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the best.

Malt flavor and dark color. Beautiful aroma. The best belgian quad that I have ever had. tastes a little better in the 750ml cork bottle over the 11.2oz bottle. A nice winter warmer. I prefer Abt 12 over Rochfort 10 any day. I like to pair this brew with some strongly aged abby cheese. Can drink this at any time of year also.

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Photo of instrumentality
4.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark, rich, translucent brown with mild carbonation and a fluffy, creamy head that refused to subside significantly. I watched a bit of sediment settle to the bottom--was I supposed to leave that in the bottle? Oh well.

Smelled like chocolate malt mixed with champagne. Very appealing.

Tasting this beer for the first time was a memorable experience. The odors translated well to the palate, the malty chocolate flavor with the bittersweetness of champagne, along with the tartness of cherries and a dash of caramel. The champagne and malt prevailed in the aftertaste.

I tend to be heavily critical on mouthfeel - if it burns my tongue, is too heavily carbonated, or leaves a skunky aftertaste, I lay into it. But this one is very easy on the palate. Although I can definitely feel it, I can barely taste the alcohol. It doesn't burn, it doesn't fizz, and the aftertaste is a gentle malty caramel, almost like a classy version of Milk Duds.

I'm still fairly new to the Belgian beer scene, but based on what I've tried, this one reminds me of a Tripel in its champagne-like bittersweetness (I base this interpretation mainly on Westmalle's Tripel) with the added layers of malt and chocolate.

This is an unusual beer, and not one I'd drink on a daily basis, but it is definitely enjoyable and I deeply respect its balance and complexity. It's unusual for a beer with this many flavors to go down so smoothly with no one layer dominating the others.

I picked this bottle up for $4.49 for an 11.2 oz bottle, and I'd consider that a steal. I already had several of these shipped directly from Belgium without ever having tried them, and although I'm kicking myself for not realizing it was available for sale just 5 miles from my apartment, I am definitely looking forward to trying several more.

This is one of the most pleasing beers I've ever had. I'd like to face this one off against the Trappistes Rochefort 10 and see which one I truly prefer. Both are fantastic.

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Photo of DaggerEyes
4.61/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a chalice

Poured absolutly picture perfect. looked pretty much exactly as the one in the hand of the monk drawn on the label does

a rich dark garnet, mahogany with hintgs of gold, pretty damn rich and opaque looking and topped off with a pillow creamy cloud of a head, which at first exceeded the rim of the glass, at a roughly 2 finger height but settled nicely to a thick one finger head.

Scents of dark fruit, perhaps cherry, bready malts, some nutty hints. Wine like alchohol is present in the nose

Nutty brown sugary malt flavors mix with those of cooked fruit bombard your mouth first. Finishes with some complex grain flavors and an almond aftertaste.

Starts off very bubbly then get some what chewy and doughy finishes with a small burst of cabonation very clean and dry finish

The only thing that keeps this from being a 5.0 on the drinkability scale is it's deceptivly high ABV

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Photo of Beaver13
3.38/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle, best before 7/23/10. Pours a reddish brown with a big fizzy head that quickly dissipates.

The aroma is sweet dark fruits, fusel alcohol and some bitterness. It becomes a bit more pleasant as it warms.

The flavor is some sweet and sugary dark fruit with a lot of belly-warming strong alcohol. As it warms, more fruitiness and a slightly bitter, bready yeastiness comes out to balance the alcohol. The mouthfeel is medium with some harsh carbonation.

Overall, a bit of a disappointment. I let this sit for about 15-20 minutes before starting, but it was still a bit harsh at the beginning. As it warmed, it became much better. You can definitely tell all of this breweries' beers are related. Decent stuff, but not all that in my book.

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

Sampled: 3.23.06

Appearance is a cloudy dark brown under a half inch head that fades to a lace in under a minute.

Smell is licorice, wood and raisins. I pick out tangy cider in the mostly malt ridden aroma as a whole. Complex, but mingling nicely.

The flavor is malted barley up front, deeper inspection finds dark fruits and more cider from the nose. A delicious beer. Slight alcohol adds spice to the mix, but never overpowers. The brew is of medium carbonation and sits in the mouth well.

This beer is made to savor, with its ABV and its price-to-quantity ratio considered, but can be drunken at a steady pace if you really wanted to. My advice is enjoy it slowly.

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Photo of haz77
4.18/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours dark brown with a light-tan head which leaves plenty of lacing behind as it drops to a finger thick. A thin layer of head retains well throughout the drink.

S - Chocolate, juicy dark fruits, spicy alcohol, caramel.

T - The dark fruits and chocolate are upfront with some caramel and brown sugar in the middle. Spicy alcohol is ever present but really comes forward towards the end and into the aftertaste, but is never over the top.

M - Initially sharp before becoming creamy and then dry into the aftertaste. Low to medium carbonation.

D - Given the ABV this is very drinkable. An excellent beer.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of the corked and caged 750ml bottle into a tulip. Poured a dark brown with a nice thick head. Wonderful head retention and lacing throughout the duration of the beer. The smell is more complex than my brain can process. I pick up many fruits (plum, cherries, banana and even apples) along with a nice malt and yeast aroma. The high ABV sneaks into the nose as well but is not overpowering. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with just the right amount of carbonation. Taste is extremely complex. Some sips I will get a delicate combination of fruit while others I will get a darker malt/chocolate taste. These tastes are followed up by a large alcohol kick. This brew gets better and better as it warms up and even more of the flavors come out. Overall, this is hands down one of the finest brews in the world.

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

Note: Originally listed as Westy 12 on tap. Uhh, no. Call me a drunken dope. Now under its rightful brew...

I used to be an agnostic.

Pours a dark cloudy brown, with a thinnish cream colored head that has good staying power. The aroma is dark fruitiness, sweet maly, chocolate, and alcohol - huge.

One of those beers that, after you take a sip, you put it down, take a step back, and stare at the glass. Starts off with dark fruity maltiness (sugar plums, apricots and figs) with caramel, toffee, and toast joining in, followed by a bitter-chocolatey sweetness/bitterness in perfect balance. Then the alcohol joins in. This may be the best tasting beer I've ever tried. Simply stunning. The finish is merely a continuance of the taste. The mouthfeel is like liquid velvet. You'd never guess the strength from drinking it until you've had two and realize that walking is now a bit more problematic.

I had this in bottle many years ago,and enjoyed it. On tap it is near perfection. My guess is that the monks don't care about being celibate after a few of these.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
98 out of 100 based on 2,726 ratings.
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