St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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BA SCORE
98
world-class
2,732 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:
2,732
Ratings:
9,218
Avg:
4.42
pDev:
17.42%
 
 
Wants:
740
Gots:
2,402
For Trade:
49
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Reviews: 2,732 | Ratings: 9,218
Photo of Delerium
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A beautiful dark dubbel, that tastes like a quad. I swear if this beer was aged, it would turn into Westy12. Nice, dark look with a sweet belge glaze. Smells nutty and musty. Taste is incredible, by far my favorite dubbel. Mothfeel is lively and effervescent. Drinkability: I could session this beer at 10% in alchol all day and have no worries. It's that damn good! Can't wait for the 60th anniversary!

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

Have tried them all...Quads, Trippels, Strong Darks, yadda-yadda-yadda. I will save you a lot of time & effort: If you EVER get the chance to order Abt 12 on Tap...Please don't pass up the opportunity.

>Beautiful, consistent ebony color.
>Aroma is a blast of malty, yeasty anticipation.
>Head is ample, creamy & butternut in color.
>Mouthfeel is soft, yet full & even.
>Flavor is a symphony of malt, fruit, spices. Hints of caramel, fig, over-ripened banana swirl & dance upon the palate. Hopps are present & well-mannered. Alcohol is lurking, somewhere, but never, ever obvious. "Complex" is an understatement.
>Overall, drinking this Belgian Quad is a completely preposterous experience. A privilege.

Abt 12 in the bottle is malty Belgian Perfection. Abt 12 on Tap is better. Yeah...That may sound implausible, but it's not. Hold it. Savor it. Understand that it's your lucky day.

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

11.2 oz. bottle with best before date of 20-07-09 poured into my DT tulip.

Opaque mahogany with a massive, rocky, tan head. Head slowly goes down covering the glass with clingy bubbles.

Sweet and malty sniffer. Esters bringing out fruit smells like tart apple and cherry. Nutty bread. Oh, so sweet!

This beer gets amazing as it warms. Not to say it wasn't great when I started, but I'm starting to wish I had the whole beer at this temperature. Somewhere between 45 and 50 F when I started, this beer turns into bliss around 55 F. Those sneaky monks with their candied sugars made a bohemeth of a beer. Malt and hops both aggressive, then subtle vibes of unending complexity. Vanilla, cookie dough, alchohol, all sorts of spices; a monster of a beer.

I had this long ago when it was St. Sixtus, and I remember the St. Sixtus being better, but that doesn't seem possible. I've tried to be constructive, but this beer won me over. I feel spoiled drinking it. Hoo-wah!

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

The Trappist, In Oakland On Draft.

This is a big bold wonderfull beer. 10.5% ABV so it is a good cold day beer.

This is one of the best beers I have ever had. The Trappist knows how to server beer, so the glass-ware was perfect, and the temp was good.

Appearance: Dark Amber, white head, about 1 inch of head in the Chalice. The head retains for quit a while, but almost no retention.

Nose: Ripe fruit, evedence of raisins, plumbs and figs. some type of spice is evedent but hard to distinguish. Very enjoyable nose, that is complex

Taste: Bold, complex like the nose, fruity but not sweet, or not too sweet. Lots of spice here, raisin and plumb with the sense of cloves.

After taste is slightly alcoholic (dude its 10%) and sweet. That lingers.

THis is an excellent beer with strong cheese or salami!

Overall: If you like big bold ass kickers, this is great.

This beer in in my top 5 of all time.

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Photo of OPWN3NTSL4Y3R
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Duvel glass tulip

A- Dark murky deep reddish/brown color, off white 2 finger head that dissipates slowly leaving some beautiful lace

S- Dried fruits (raisins, figs, dates, prunes) lots of sweet malts, slight spicy undertones (cloves, anise, allspice) yeasty aromas

T- Incredibly complex waves of ripe dark fruits, caramel, Belgian yeast, ripe bananas, fruit cake

M- Full bodied, well balanced, good bottle conditioned carbonation, smooth creamy mouth feel with a hint of warming alcohol

O- This is a BIG beer, perfect example of a Belgian Quadrupel, a sipper meant to be enjoyed at 50-55 F, incredible aromas emanate throughout

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

Picked up the 750mL corked bottle from "Beers of the World" and was excited the whole way home. Served just under room temp into a tulip glass. Upon pouring a large brown head appeared, and remained untill the glass was finished. this beer has the most beautiful color when held up to the light. A deep red that is alittle clouded by yeast. The smell is also incredible. Very floral aroma that in overwhelmingly enjoyable. The aroma of this beer definitely got you ready for the taste. The taste is amazing. Sweet, but not heavy, dry, but not too dry. This beer suprises you with every sip you take. I babied this bottle for almost an hour because I didn't want it to end. It is smooth and clean in the mouth, and I could drink this beer for the rest of my life if I could afford to. Definitely deserves to be in the top five in BA

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

I have just found pure heaven in this beer. This beer must have been brewed by the great lord himself. Becuase i have found my heaven in this bottle. It pours a very dark mahogony brown. with a very thick 3 finger cream head. The smell isn't very overpowering, mostly of light malt. But the taste, oh my the taste It is so complex to me I can't fully comprehend it. It's kind of a nutty flavor with the alcohol coming through as the beer warms up. I don't really know how to describe this beer. It was just an amazing experience drinking it. This is by far the best beer I have ever had.

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Photo of BigFrank71
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from draft in the proper ST Bernardus glass. A rich tan foam great pour perfect head. The smell was fantastic a sweet carmel smell nice dark color like a belgian dubble. The taste was very nice nice carbonation taste hazel nuts carmel hints of spices great mouth feel all around smooth after taste. A very good beer to enjoy. I have since had many of these but no more then 3 at a sitting with the ABV at 10.5% it can bite you. but highly recommend this wonderful beer.

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

Memorable Qualities: I prefer this in the bottle than on tap, where it seems to lose some of the intensity of the nose. I feel like I can always count on St. B to deliver the dark fruit alcoholic yeasty stew that makes me wish I lived in the Belgian countryside with monks stirring open wooden vats. I want to swim in this. Best quad/abt I've ever had. Perfect.

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

I think I am pretty sure this was the first quardupel ale I had ever had. Still a favorite and often what I compare to other quads as it is just so straightforward and so good for the style.

Pours a very deep rust/ deep deep brown. There is a very beautiful ruby hew when held to the light. Has a vigorous khaki head.

There is a lot going on in the smell. Almost a woody scent, cherries, Belgian candi sugar, brown sugar, plums, dates, vanilla, , spice, a bit yeasty. Very earthy tone going on. A mellow smell, but awfully complex.

Tastes wonderful. Again, a whole lot going on. There is almost a cinnamon dryness to it. There is spice and cherries, a bit of yeast. Dates, brown and Belgian candi sugar, burnt caramel, a tad plumy. There is a hint of vanilla... just awesome. everything is in the right place and well balanced. There is a bit of an herbal/woody hop bitterness to finish it all off.

Mouthfeel is really great too. I like to pour mine a bit vigorously but the carbonation still clings on nicely. Surprisingly drinkable. A bit sticky on the back of the mouth but it matches with the sweet taste of this beer. It's what's expected. For being a medium to heavy body, I am always surprised at how drinkable this is.

Overall, excellent. As mentioned, this is one of the quads I base opinion of others off of just because it is so solid. The others I hold at top notch right now would have to be La Trappe and Straffe Hendrik.

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

God has a Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God the Son, the Son of God, and is fully God himself. He is God manifest in the flesh. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...there was a man, John, who came to preach the Word.

Now, the Beergod has a son, St Bernardus (Abt 12). St Bernardus is the Son of the Beergod, and in him the fullness of the Beergodhead dwells bodily. He is Beergod manifest in the glass. God created the Beergod, and St Bernardus was in the beginning with the Beergod, and St Bernardus is the Beergod...there is a man, by the name of Chrysostom, who came to preach the Word.

"When the Beergod became flesh, after dinner, he likewise took a bottle of St Bernardus and poured it, saying, This is my blood of the Brew Covenant, which is poured out for many for the inebriation of souls."

St Bernardus is the best beer in the world. Chimay is magnificently superb: it is a signal beer. Other beers: excellent. But St Bernardus Abbot 12 is the Beergod incarnate, made in to a liquid in a glass by some not-monk-monks, to dwell amongst and be drunk by men.

The only thing I have a question on is "appearance"... It's hard to pour, and if poured poorly, will get a bunch of the black yeast-floaties in it, which are unappetizing. If poured poorly, it's a 4.75 on appearance. If poured correctly, it's a 7 out of 5.

Presentation: 750mL, corked and caged. Absolutely awesome label of a jolly, tipsy monk (they changed the colours of his robes when St Bernardus became "not Trappist" about 20 years ago, so he's not a member of any identifiable order now... he used to be in Trappist habit) with ruddy cheeks, making the Priest's sign of benediction with one hand, and toasting your health with an overflowing goblet of St Bernardus in the other. Is there any better way to do so?

A: Poured in to Chimay chalice. A cloudy dark brown, like clean mud made from good earth, which appears black from many angles. Light will show through edges when held directly to a source of light, but the heart is impenetrably opaque, much as the complexity of this beer itself is. On a proper, smooth pour, one finger of thick, creamy, pillowy head, overflowing the rim, is left, which recedes slowly to a thin layer on the face of the beer. It laces the glass in an almost-solid sheet of foam. Don't judge a book by its cover? You can judge this beer by the label, and the pour.

"It looks like what a quad should look like."

S: Surprisingly subdued for such a big beer. There are strong notes of brown malt (think Samuel Smith's Nut Brown) and Belgian yeast, with a mild alcohol character. However, the malt smells -thick-: there is no other way that comes to mind to describe it. There are hints of molasses, brown sugar, grape, prune, date, fig, and other dark fruit, as is par for the course, although the fruit character is much more mild when compared to such a beer as Westmalle Dubbel. The smell becomes more pronounced as it warms. I'm surprised I can smell so little - I'm more-than-likely halfway-ill, so that's probably dulling my olfaction.

"It smells like what a quad should smell like."

T: Much as the smell, but bigger, bolder, and not subdued. Incredibly complex interplay of malt, a dominant grape-like flavour, sugar, the slightest spiciness, and Arabian dried dates. There is no perceptible alcohol character in the flavor. There is a mild sweetness without cloyingness as it hits the tongue. There is a carbonic astringency on the finish, whether from the subdued hops or carbonation, I don't know. It finishes surprisingly cleanly for such a thick, full, malty libation.

"It tastes like what beer should taste like."

M: Highly-carbonated, but blends well with everything else. Causes the flavours to explode on the palate, and contributes to a dry and lingering clean finish. There is a tingle that is left for a moment after the beer has gone, probably due to carbonation. Does not coat the mouth like many malt-bombs that are more familiar, such as double IPAs. Absolutely perfect.

D: Extremely high. A clean beer with complexities begging for another sip, and a completely-hidden, occulted 10% ABV. I could drink 4 or 5 fifths of this, but the drunkenness would have affected my tastebuds to the point that it would be a waste of money; anything more than 2 fifths of this, and you're not getting the full taste - switch to something else.

I gave the smell of this, and appearance, a 4.75 to start, for what reason I don't know, maybe comparison to the Platonic Form of "beer" existing in the Third Realm. However, on this earth, I think it unlikely this beer can be surpassed, and know that it has not yet been surpassed.

It was $11.99 for a fifth, but, like Macallan 25 (which is generally in the ~$750 for a fifth), if this was $50+ a fifth, it would still be worth it to taste, even if too expensive to drink regularly.

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

I've grown quite familiar with this beer before reviewing it. Now, I'm so fond of it, the picture of the happy monk on the label is enough to brighten my day. (Oddly, he somewhat resembles my dearly departed father, "Bud").

Dark and muddy brown, voluminous head, leathery, tanned.

Thick, moist bready aroma with hints of exotic spice and alcohol. A distinctive smell. Musty, fruity, wet and beautiful.

Big malt backbone, banana and juicy dark fruit, a slow-growing fire in the gut builds to a fully engulfed blaze, then fades just as slowly as it came. A sharp pear-like fruitiness zaps the tounge before it fades to a gentle bitter aftertaste.

Full and smooth, meaty, chewy. A meal.

An adult beer. Not for guzzlers, amateurs, hipsters, liars, slackjaws, hippies, rednecks, punks, grabasses, politicians or cry-babies. Grabs you by the shirt and demands respect. The world's finest craftsmanship. It's not often you can appreciate the sweat and the beauty of such a thing at the same time. If I find a better beer, I fear I shall be dead. This is the pinnacle, the absolute tip of the spire. Amen.

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Photo of JNPIII127
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark brown to amber color with excellent head. The beer leaves great lacing in the glass and goes down very smoothly. Hides the high alcohol content very well. Overall a great beer.

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

Well-awaited, and worth the wait. Poured from tap into a snifter at Isaac's in Newtown, PA.

A= Murky, muddy brown with a thick, frothy head. Settles down to good lacing.

S= Strong notes of raisin, black bread, caramel, roasted malt. Very sweet and pronounced smell.

T= Wonderful. Sweet at first, then settles down to a rich, yeasty flavor. Strong notes of raisin, brandy, black bread, with lighter fruits in background, esp. plum and cherry.

M= Great carbonation, no bitterness.

0= Just a superb beer, one of the best I've had.

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Photo of dizknee24
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I heard about this and finally had the chance to pick one or two up. Very hazy and a light head in my chalice. Tastes was exceptional as any good quad, it has very sweet aroma.
I would definitely buy this again next time i go to the store. I advise you to do the same.

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

I've sampled most of the labels listed, including those not available here in the US (e.g. Westvlereten 12) and Abt 12 blows most of them out of the water. The rich, yeasty flavors that linger long after the crisp finish imparts one hell of a taste experience to this fullest bodied ale. The pour explodes into a foamy head instantly, and the initial effervescence within seconds transforms into a robust fizz that carries the bread-like base into at least 10 different flavors (you can actually discern intermediate overtones of vine fruits, assorted spices, etc.). I wonder how many of your raters have actually tried this angelic brew, 'cause if they did the scoring would be quite a bit different!

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

Dark hazy brown. Chocolate, brownies brown. Deep! With a LOT of yeast floating. A nice beige head is also persisting throughout the session, with wonderful lacing. Perfect appearance for a rich quadrupel.

A sugary odour of brownies, dark fruits and hints of caramel suggest that this beer will be heavy, real heavy.

No disapointment. This beer rocks! Layers of dark ripe fruits, generic sugary dessert (cookie or brownies again), with a touch of... magic? This is real good.

This is the best quadrupel i've tasted, by far.

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

Appearance: Classic dark look of a Dubbel.
Smell: Great great smell.
Taste: There are not enough of "o's in smooooth to describe this taste.
Mouthfeel: I would say medium, the beer has a champagne like taste to me.

Overall: Simply said I can't find anything to criticize about this beer. I cannot criticize monks that give their life to God and in the process make mankind very happy. Superb.

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Photo of WildMaverick1200
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I got this for my friend's birthday and he was kind enough to share it with me. Although I've never tried it before, I knew it was a great beer. Just not THIS good.

It looks incredible. A thick, cloudy brown with just the right amount of head on top. Classy beyond measure.

The smell is complex from the very moment you open it. A mixture of fruit aromas and yeast.

Even after trying out a variety of great beers in the US Northeast, I never thought I would stumble upon something so delicious. The taste is rich in dark fruits like plum and even a bit of grape in it, yet is balanced to absolute perfection. There is almost no hint of the high alcohol content; quite a feat for a beer with this much alcohol. None of the flavor are overpowering, and the aftertaste is extremely pleasant, sort of syrupy.

It sort of feels like a wine/champagne/beer combination crafted carefully. It's just right. Not too thick, not too thin, and a very pleasant, elegant carbonation. It's worth mentioning that it absolutely no effort to drink as well. The only sad thing will be realizing that you actually emptied your glass so fast.

It's absolutely fantastic, and I knew it from the very first sip. Definitely check it out.

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

Presentation: Drank from an 11.2 oz bottle, poured into Watou brewery chalice. Bottle has a drawing of a balding monk with a very good beer in his hand.

Appearance: In my limited experience, this sets the standard for strong dark ales. A deep orange-brown color, almost completely opaque. The head never really disappears from the top of the beer.

Smell: This beer smells better than the smell of any other beer which my nose has smelled. Smells like fresh bread, with strong malty tones.

Taste: This is possibly the best-tasting beer I've tried to date. If I go fat and bald from drinking this beer, it's worth the price. God bless the monks from Westvleteren, who apparently created the recipe for this beer. God bless also the brewers at Watou who make this intense stuff. The beer is full-bodied, and leaves a coating in your mouth (a good thing). I'm not that good at picking out individual flavors, but I can taste sweet fruity flavors (plums, grapes, and bananas) with malt (chocolate and bread). I poured this below the temperature recommended on the bottle (52-56°F), and I think the taste becomes more intense as the liquid warms.

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

Although I've yet to engage in a true Trappist/Abbey style horizontal, there's something about St. B. that to me seems more substantive than the rest.

As soon as you pop the cap, and those early wafting moments wrap around your brain as if a wax-dip of aroma, and the final drips of yeasty dreg-discoloration land gracefully on the spore-like blanket of one's mind... you know you're about to lose your head. (But you don't.)

I could obviously smell on this all night- if I had the self-restraint. Layer after layer of delights wait in this glass, and if I had the nose to peel them apart for you I would, but I hesitate to use the obvious descriptors here (dark fruit, medicinals, merlot), because what stands out most are not the flavors of this beer but THE flavor, the majestic accomplishment that is the balance of Abt. 12.

I'm afraid this beer will leave me for a richer, more exciting man. But I console myself: He will never love her like I loved her!

The end.

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

Simply the best beer I have ever had in my life. The first time I had this beer I didn't know what to expect. It didn't smell like anything that I was used to and OMG it was amazing. 10.50% ABV!!!! Re-dic, but it doesn't taste like it does at all. I am 33 about 195lbs and I drink probably 2-3 times a week. After 2 of these babies I feel pretty good.

If you love beer and you want to try this along with other amazing beers you have to go to The Blue Monk in Buffalo NY.
Food is excellent but the beers are off the hook.

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

This one need an introduction. Today I decided to stop by my favorite spot (The Collins Bar in New York) after work. I was looking for a pint or two of something with a lot of character, something to savor. A good stout perhaps. When I got to the place and reviewed current offerings, a line jumped out: "Belgian: St. Bernardus 12". Sounds good, I thought. And I'll tell you, I was not prepared for this ale. It was pure perfection in a glass!!! I couldn't stay for long, so from the bar straight to the nearest beer store I went. Picked up a couple of bottles which I am savoring right this minute.

Appearance: Dark brown color. Wonderful off-white head of significant size that leaves behind nice lacing.

Aroma: Maybe it's the picture of a monk on the bottle, but "heavenly" comes to mind. Sweet smells mix with hints of sour fruits. The aroma seems familiar, yet it is a challenge to identify all the components of this wonderful bouquet.

Taste: Maltiness and yeast, fruits and caramel, it's all there. Alcohol is there too, but it works with, not against, the richness of this ale. I think this is the first ale were alcohol taste was complimenting the rest. Makes me feel bad that I do not have enough experience describing all the intricacies of abbey ales. Well, this is not the last time I am drinking this ale, so I'll come back to it.

A noble drink. I think I am in love!!!

This abbey ale is presented in 11.2 oz brown bottle that lists both "best before" date and suggested serving temperature. Cheers to that!

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Photo of Drmetal8
5/5  rDev +13.1%

Been wanting to try this one for a while based on its reputation. A dark ale brewed in the Trappist monk style in Belgium. Malty and sweet, but not too bitter. Very large head. Quite simply one of the best beers I've ever had

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

My all-time favorite Quad!! This was a 2012 bottle.

Pours out a dark mahogany, with deep amber highlights and a big, slight khaki head.

The aroma is full of dark fruit, some banana and clove, caramel, toffee and molasses, followed by some bready malt notes. The spice this has when fresh has definitely faded a bit.

The taste has tons of dark fruit; plums, figs, raisins, dates and there are notes of banana and clove, some caramel, toffee and molasses all finished by a nice yeasty/bready finish. It's pretty dry and there is some bitterness to balance it all out.

The 10% isn't noticeable on the taste or aroma, but you can feel it slightly. The body is full and the mouthfeel is slightly creamy with a crisp, kinda dry finish.

This beer is awesome fresh or with a year on it! I don't believe this is the perfect or best beer in the world (or that there is such one), but it embodies the Quad style perfectly! It's very easy to drink, complex and balance and I don't think there is anything that could improve this.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
98 out of 100 based on 2,732 ratings.
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