Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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Abt 12Abt 12
9,893 Ratings
Abt 12Abt 12

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Style: Belgian 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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Ratings: 9,893 |  Reviews: 2,865
Photo of Naerhu
4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque brown body with tan thin head and vinous high alcohol looking legs.

Yeasty sweet aroma and thai ice coffee

Hugely yeasty and quite hopy. Surprisingly dry. Rum and yeast. Clovey. Complex and earthy, yet clean. I want more malt and hops in my brew, so although I enjoyed this, I aint coming back.

A candy texture and nutmeg on the palate.

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Photo of aaronbeach69
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

mmm....750 ml into goblet

appearance: pours light brown but in glass dark brown-red, actually very beutiful, mysterious in such an exhilerting way... makes you envision monks making it hundreds of years ago in dark caves... a truly beautiful beer. The dark red is a product of the two-finger lightly-creme coloured head sticking all over the glass

smell: bannanas... but I always smell bannanas... so lemme try again... no I think its bannanas... very interesting :) fruity and carbonated smelling...

taste: grabs the tip of your tounge as it enters your mouth... bubbly.. yet subdued as it approaches the back of your mouth, where it becomes a complex combination of all the smells... fruity with a bite...

mouthfeel... becomes fuller as it moves through your mouth..

drinkabilty: for the 750ml it seems to follow a curve with the first few drinks having a very pleasent bite and the middle to lower half of the bottle suddenly becoming much more tame.. this may have to do with my tounge being more numbed

note: a very good beer at a good price... 6.49 at sams wine in chicago

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.94/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Scant antique white head coating in a tulip. Mahogany orange hued pour with a golden sunset brown glow. A few swirls evoke foam cover.

Light cola tea aroma met with barnyard twinges. A bit of horse blanket and clean out doors meadow breezes.

Vinous as it warms with spicey notes.

Boomy malt flavored prescence. Syrupy sticky taste & feel. Cloying candy like lolipop sticky. Buiscuit strong malts.

Quite a full bodied drinker like liquid bread.

I'd pass on another unless you're buying.

Last swigs: Malty cinammon & nutmeg doughiness. Sippable.

***UPDATE ***
Enjoyed at Eulogy 12/11/04. A bit of Sam Adams 3B notes. DB upped from 3.5 to 4.5

Beer is good. Happy beering.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.46/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Blood red pour with a beautiful towering foamy head fed by an onrush of ultra fine bubbles that are like champagne. The head is immortal. The aroma is sweet cherries with the uniquely earthy Belgian yeast strain. The taste at first sip is an explosively spicy alcohol. After that initial attack, other flavors start to emerge. The most notable of these is a lingering hop bitterness that is much stronger than most other beers that fall under the broad umbrella of Belgian styles. The bitterness is not overpowering in any way, and allows the fruitiness of the malt to open up in the background. I imagine as this fresh beer settles down, the character would become more malty and complex, and thanks to the new Georgia law allowing this elixir to enter our fair state, I can find out how it will age without much problem. This beer packs a heck of a punch at 10% ABV. After the 330 ml bottle is downed, there is a fire in the belly that radiates out to the extremities. Very drinkable, even at this potency. I WILL be having more.

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Photo of irishmoss
4.7/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle that I've been cellaring since September 03...

When I removed the cage, the cork shot off, the bottle bounced off ceiling and hit me in the head!

The appearance is a dark ruby, rusty brown garnet color when poured into my large chalice...in other words, the color is hard to describe. It's somewhat murky and speckled with sediment, the creamy dense off-white head reminds me of a dense cappuccino head that is also speckled with the same cinnamon colored sediment as the body.

The aroma is estery with sweet banana bread qualities. There are also stabs of spice and dark fruits to my nose, yet there are also sweet malty qualities as well.

The taste is absolutely smooth, no doubt due to the aging. Somewhat sweet and somewhat spicy, but vinous qualities on the back of the tongue and throat. Warming qualities from the alcohol that I feel all the way down till it warms my stomach.

The mouthfeel is great, nice carbonation and it ends with a dry quality that is very refreshing.

It's very drinkable because of how smooth and well blended it is, but the alcohol is there and will bitch slap you if you dare forget about it.

Overall this is very damn good, I'm glad I've aged it, but I would also like to try it a little fresher than this. I'd have to say that this bottle is damn near 2 years old, date worn off of the cage, but I recall it being 02. Very impressed, can't wait to have the opportunity to have this again

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

This beer is a nice copper/amber color with some sediment floating down. The beer starts with a big head but it quickly settles down to a thin layer that floats for the duration of the beer.

A nice compliment of smells here. There is pear, apple and a yeasty alcohol working together. Its a sharp, clean smell.

It is amazing how smooth this beer is. I had a very difficult time distinguishing any individual flavor in this beer and not because it was crafted blandly. It is profound how complex and well balanced the flavors are in this beer. I kept guessing at each sip. When the beer was gone, I still hadn't written anything substantial as to the elements of the flavor. Its just a perfect, smooth balanced taste. I had a hard time drinking it slowly.

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Photo of egajdzis
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The cork shot off at about 50 mph when I removed the cage, good thing I didn't have my head over the bottle! It poured a reddish brown color with a medium sizd off white head and nice lacing. Aroma of banana, clove, grapes and raisins, while the taste is very strong in the dark fruit department. Alcohol is also slightly noticeable and it had a carbonated mouthfeel. Fruitier than the Westy 12, and I enjoy that one better.

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Photo of DPMomutant
4.29/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Holy head Batman! I admit I'm not as familiar with Belgians as most and I haven't got used to the concept of pouring a bit slower on some of these, nor do I have the proper glass for this style. Very active pour. The body is ruby to dark brown and almost opaque. The head retains and laces profusely.

The smell is a very pleasant fruity smell. Very sweet.

The taste starts sweet and progresses to a wine-like taste. The fruit is here too. As for the alcohol, you know it's there but it doesn't cover the rest of the taste. It's most detectable at the end.

The mouthfeel is smooth considering the beer's strength. The carbonation is much more balanced than in the pour. The finish is very dry and smooth, allowing the alcohol to warm you.

You certainly couldn't drink many of these. I'd probably only have one. However it is an enjoying sipper for that one. Was definitely worth trying, and I'm not huge on Belgians in general.

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

A lively brown pour with a medium head. The nose is semi-sweet with a touch of tartness and light spice. Medium bodied with hints of over-ripened fruit such as plum and raisin. There's a brown sugar sweetness and a dry finish accompanied by woody notes. Very nice mouthfeel, both lively and fresh and a little alcohol kick on the finish. A very, very good beer.

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Photo of far333
3.72/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Reddish brown colored, with orangey highlights and unappetizing dark chunks of "stuff" suspended and floating. Head rises up high and is a color of dark beige with tight bubbles that make noise as they pop and recede. A thin cap of lace is left on top with sheets of bubbly film rising up the edges of the glass. Aroma is sweet and fruity, of fig and raisin and currant. Some spice and orange peel as well, and a bit of clove. Also I detect some of the alcohol in the nose. Mouthfeel is full and creamy. Flavor is rich and sweet, not cloying, but close to it. There is caramel and toffee, sweet cinnamon and plum, and a bit of alcohol in the finish. No strong yeast flavors, but a little too rich to be very drinkable for me.

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Photo of Zorro
4.85/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a hazy deep walnut brown brew.

Smell is sweet and strongly fruity, with a distinct molasses and apple cider smell. Plenty of spice in the smell too.

Taste is sweet with lots of fruit and spice, and mild bitterness. Flavors of apples, peaches, plums, brown sugar, coriander, and nutmeg.

Mouthfeel is perfect and super creamy.

Super drinkable, at $5 a bottle it could get to be an expensive habit.

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

This is the first belgian beer I have ever tried, a few years ago. The pour is a hazy brown with a thick, frothy head that releases wonderful aromas. Like a baked apple. Spiced and smothered in caramel. This is a fantastic aroma that does bring back every man to his youth.
The taste is of an apple pie or apple cider. sweet with the bitterness of apples, the sweetness of caramel. The spiciness gives it the little bite. Raisins are also a strong flavor. This is one of the most perfect dessert beers ever.

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.69/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark, hazy brown with a huge, dense, tan head. Very lacy. Aroma is very fruity. Tart apples with a light alcohol smell. Some raisin and winey aromas as well.

Taste is very fruity. Spiced apples and white raisins. Some port flavors hanging around, dancing in and out of the alcohol. Caramel and molasses. Part of this flavor profile reminds me of mulled wine.
Mouth is sweet and sticky. Really smooth for 10% ABV. This is excellent but could be aged just a bit to blend the alcohol flavors better. Lived up to the hype for me...

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Photo of Skidz
4.77/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out an amber yellow and sits a murky brown with some orange-red showing near the narrow end of my glass. A good amount of head is achieved, off-white, with a gentle pour.

Smells of apples, pears, some grassy tones, sweet malts and dark fruit. Highly enticing aroma, with a light hoppy blend.

Tastes initially malty-sweet, dark fruits quickly move in (dates and raisins), followed by a strong punch of alcohol and sharp hop bitterness. It is a very quick flowing beer, the flavors are gone almost as soon as they appear. Big on the fruit esters, this is definately one delicious beer. Aftertaste is smooth and bitter; reminicent of the dominating qualities.

Mouth feel is what I would consider to be the lowest ranking part of the beer. It is NOT bad, but doesn't match up to the rest of the beer. Good carbonation that glides around the mouth, but the beer is just the slightest bit punishing on the tounge. The alcohol digs in quite a bit. Regardless, this beer is exceptionally delicious and makes a good night on it's own.

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Photo of jvajda
4.9/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I bought two bottles a couple days ago. The first was totally skunked and flat, but this one had a big head on it and was well carbonated, so I assume it was OK. I'll try it a third time just to be sure, because this beer did not live up to the hype.

Appearance: Big, thick, three-finger, tan head with specs of brown goodness that stayed for a long time. The beer was a murky dark brown.
Smell: Very malty and banana like with a hint of wine-like acidity. Hints of figs as well.
Taste: This is a super complex, full-flavored brew. The alcohol was well hidden considering the high ABV. It starts with bananas and chocolate and ends with an acidic, wine-like, dry finish. Nuts, bananas, figs, dark chocolate are all highlighted in its body. Excellent candy sweetness as well. A perfect dessert beer.
Mouthfeel: Very creamy in the mounth and sticky on the lips. Low carbonation. A luxurious feel.
Drinkability: A heavyweight for sure, this is a special occasion beer, but perfect for those occasions.

Update: Just tried a third bottle. Review updated accordingly.

Update two: I've had a number of these now, and they've ranged from amazing to flat and stale. This beer is hit or miss. If you get a good, you've got one of the best beers on Earth.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.4/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out to a semi-cloudy dark-amber with ruby highlights, forming a modest tan head with good retention and solid sheets of lacing. Adding the murky brown yeast makes it look like turkish coffee. Carbonation is moderately strong. The aroma is wonderful...spicy phenolics, brown bananas, sourdough bread, cologne, tart rotting apple skins, week-old apple cider, raisins, black cherries, and port. Mouthfeel is light and explodes upon the tongue, with an airy texture down the pipe and a syrupy coating in the back of the throat. Medium-dense body. Taste begins with brown bananas and rotting apples of amber malts, then leads into a bright clove spiciness, followed by a semi-oxidized bready middle with a peppery bite of alcohol and some vinous alcoholic esters.

Adding the yeast and letting it breathe allows the brew to develop and makes it much more enjoyable...smoothing out the carbonation, and letting some of the higher alcohols evaporate. The malts take on a cookie-like, raisiny sweetness. The mouthfeel improves considerably. Mmmm, that's much better. (Rated warm)

I enjoyed this brew, but I've had better from the same style (Grimbergen immediately comes to mind). The subtle fusels and oxidized, ruddy middle hurt it's drinkability. As it warms, it becomes a much better beer.

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Photo of Sammy
4.2/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Carbonation stung my tongue yet I loved it. Beyond anything I have ever drunk of any refreshment. Like cold spring water on a hot day.
Beautiful dark unique color with some doughy pieces. Complex wonderful taste of nuts, sweet malt, spices, dark fruit, cream.

Had another bottle 21 months later, wonderful finish spicey finish. Nice head and lace. The taste depends on where you put it on the tongue. Satisfying.

6.5 years later and good complexity, still aggressive carbonation.
7.3 years later and just yeasty and sweetish.

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Photo of Stubbie1
4.85/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

WOW what a brew!
Pours dark brown with a very light hint of red.
Thick long lasting white head that goes to an never ending lace.
Aroma is of dark fruit, raisins, plumbs, and an ever slight hint of alcohol.
Taste is smooth and creamy in the mouth. The dark fruit is present all the way through. Slightly sweet and fruity sums it up. Very nice and interesting too boot! The alcohol shows its head ever so slightly near the end of the drink.
Drinkability?!? Man, I need to slow down and enjoy this work of brewery art. It is a fantastic Abbey ale and a must for all to try!

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Photo of watermelonman
4.37/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured to a dark and solid-looking brown color with a huge head. It faded but lasted throughout the glass in its smaller form. The lacing is thin but practically solid around the glass.

The alcoholic content is evident in the taste, but ther beer remains fairly well-balanced. The flavor has hints of fruits on top of its strong nature.

It's a great beer, there's not much question about that.

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Photo of RedDiamond
4.45/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Starts with an energized leap from the bottle and a sizable head of feathery beige suds. This brew is a dark rusty brown, the precise color of a monk’s robe I’m sure. It smells wine-like at first, with a base of caramel and spice. The taste is mature, complex, and spicy, with a well-endowed malt profile and a notable though tempered presence of alcohol.

This is a beer of great artistry and poise with a judicious balance of lush malty sweetness and muscular verve. I’m beginning to think these monks are really onto something. I wonder if I might look good in a brown robe?

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Photo of AbePhroman
4.53/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally got myself a bottle of this. This beer is amazing. As soon as the brew hit my crystal goblet all I said was, "Oh damn!" as a frothy tan head rose to the top. Excellent lacing on the glasss. What a great smell. Complex malts with fruity hints. The taste is so sweet and smooth. Very drinkable IMO. The 10%abv is very suddle. This may be one of the best beers I've ever tried.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.76/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Gorgeous thick color of reddish, dark crusty earth brown with a substantially tall, softly creamy, yet densely whipped, dark ivory crown that remains for a good while before slowly creeping down to an ever present thick murky skim. Lacing starts as styrofoam sheets but dissolves and sticks in big spots and some globules.

Aroma is soft and subtle, not all that strong but comes across complex enough with dark citrusy fruits of fig, raisin, starfruit, and touches of lemon and banana. Some cocoa sits within and a bit of crispy vanilla and cookie dough sweetness. But as it warms some major yeasty tones take over lending phenolic notes and spicy alcoholic burn.

Yum! Taste is super nice; very soft and subtle, full and scrumptious, nice dulled-like dark citrusy fruit notes dancing upon chewy cookie dough sweetness where pleasing sugars, vanilla, and lingering cocoa wait in the wings to finish it off. Quite a bit of things going on; like a waffer lemon tea cookies meets chewy sweet oatmeal raisin cookie dough with a splash of cocoa. Heavy milk-like thickness upfront, some light chewy malts and cookie sugars dominate the middle where it mingles with a solid carbonation and some wonderfully placed yeasty spices of clove and earthy dryness towards the finish. But this really never gets all that dry at all, it remains full and wet with amazing sugary cookie things. Its fades ever so gently off the palate where a dry spice coats under a sweet malt laden heaven. Mmmm...Liquid bakery flavors of oatmeal cookies, caramel chewy raisin bars, and moist chocolate/cocoa cake with a spritz of darkened citrus in the frosting. Amazing! The yeast sits just right for me, mild yet present with just the right amount of give and take around the middle and into the finish with its clove-like and phenolic spice and alcohol.

Full, fluffy carbonation, semi-chewy, very well rounded and just spicy enough, just the right amount of sweetness and sugarsall combine, and whammo, you've got an amazingly easy smooth, soothingly thick glass of necture here. Beyond drinkable; its fan-tabulous! Slides right down with wonderment! How in the hell do those 'smiling' monks do it?
Thanks to Prostman for the samples!

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Photo of 99bottles
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

33 cL bottle. Drink before the end of April 2004 the label reads in German and Spanish. I guess I gotta.

Appearance: This beer poured into a goblet is a beautiful reddish brown body with a sloshy white head. Retention is somewhat on the low side, but seems perfect for this beer.

Smell: Is of rich malts with a fruity and slightly alcholic nature. Figs, dates, plums, raisins all seem to be wrapped delicately in the warm phenols.

Taste: Incredible. There is so much complexity that it sort of figures itself out and leaves you with jaw agape saying wow. The sweet malts are ever so light and fruity. Interesting notes of spice slip through the smooth fruit. I'd say clove or nutmeg, but subdued in such a way that they never steal the show. Those monks have stumbled across something here. Very earthen, also very sweet, alcoholic and easy going. This is really a piece of art.

Mouthfeel: Absolutely perfect. It feels so light, so fluid and yet has a deceiving amount of body. Good bright carbonation plays with the smooth and slick malt. No cloying whatsoever in the aftertaste.

Drinkability: Who cares if this is 10% ? If I could, I'd bring them one after another all evening. Really one of the most profound beers I've had the pleasure of tasting. I wish they were less expensive here in the U.S. Awesome.

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Photo of ColoradoBobs
4.77/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

25.4 ounce bottle with cork and basket stopper purchased from Wilbur's Wine and Spirits in Ft. Collins, CO, for $8.99. Happy birthday to me.

Oh my gosh! What a beer! Really very unique. The appearance is exceptional -- kind of cloudy like you would expect a BCA to be, but a rich thick head and lots of lacing!

Incredible aroma! Mix chocolate, raisins and rye bread rising just before it goes in the oven. Wow!

Amazing taste. Very unexpected! Not the flavor I had expected from the color. Raisin, plum, yeast, a ripe banana note, high note of pineapple, but not overly sweet. My friend, who shared part of this bottle (25.4 oz is too much for one person!) said, "Like baked raisins with all the sugar turned into alcohol." Not much of the toasted malt or chocolate tastes I had been expecting -- just a total and wonderful surprise!

What a rich, round feel! The bottle said to serve this at 52 to 56 degrees F., and that was right! Smooth without being syrupy -- I hardly wanted to swallow this, it was so nice in the mouth.

The drinkability is fine for the first 8 oz. or so, but this is too strong to have very much.

Can't believe they sell this at the brewery for about 1 Euro a bottle!

This beer is for special occasions, and worth it. Enjoy!

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Photo of yankeeheel
4.83/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a drtop dead dusky brown with a huge, billowy, eggshell colred layer of foam that rises up the sides of the tulip glass. Perfection.

Smells very fruity and estery. Extremely plum like. Seems like I've had a lot of beers like this lately.

Tastes so sublime in it's greatness. A perfect melding of fruity malts with a very understated yeast background. Lots of little funky critters bring out flavors that don't really have a name. Definitely plum and fig dominated. Finishes sweet and fruity with a bit of a warming glow.

Perfectly balanced between it's hugeness and it's delicate side.

It's a keeper.

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Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Beer rating: 4.46 out of 5 with 9,893 ratings