St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

BA SCORE
98
world-class
2,770 Reviews
St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12
BEER INFO

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

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001

BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,770
Ratings:
9,427
Avg:
4.42
pDev:
9.5%
 
 
Wants:
768
Gots:
2,538
For Trade:
49
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Reviews: 2,770 | Ratings: 9,427
Photo of ChestSplitter
4.57/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a widemouth glass.
A: A wonderful brown/orange with nice head.

S: The most striking thing about this beer. Bananas! I love taking huge whiffs of this brew.

T: Excellent Belgian quad. All the fruity goodness you'd expect from the smell.

M: Alcohol is well-hidden. Plenty carbonated.

O: This is the second-best quad I've had, and quads are my favorite style. Rochefort 10 is better than this, but not by leaps and bounds. St. Bernardus makes great beers; they are dong Trappiste beer better than most of the Trappiste brewerys right now, and this is their top-of-the-line to me.

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Photo of OutFox
4.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. 750ml corked and caged bottle.

A - Dark dark brown in color with a thick thick white head. Good retention, actually quite amazing retention and lacing. Abt 12 is unreal already.

S - Smells of fruit, spice, belgian yeast, theres a wood characteristic there.

T - Holy crap, it has the normal but wonderful raisin sort of taste to it. You can taste all the Belgian qualities of this beer. I mean its quite complex and so good. The malty sweetness is well balanced. Theres some caramel to it as well.

M - Thick, rich, elegant. Its a little over medium bodied. Really its pretty perfect.

O - Its just ludacris good. I mean its hard to make a better beer than this. Its so balanced and well done. God bless teh monks.

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Photo of fatmusic14
4.41/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Purchased bomber for $11.99

Pours a pleasant copper / amber / cocoa - tons of head, lots of carbonation, lacing insignificant.

Scent stings of citrus, hints of raisins and bread. Subtle tones of Mocha and mint.

Tastes so smooth, SO much going on here. cocoa, allspice, clove, earthy undertones. Slight hints of sour notes, alcohol well masked by flavor. When drinking, scent and tastes combine in your face for a really great drinking experience. Really, really well done.

Mouthfeel tremendous, great head and carbonation. Great aftertaste.

Really tasty, really well done. Highly recommend.

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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 fingolfin72
4.26/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Twisted Fork.

It looked like a Coke, but the head was fine-textured and enduring.

Not much nose, but I detected a whiff of sugar, cereal and alcohol.

The palate was huge with flavors of brown sugar, maple, coffee, toast, cola, vanilla and a bit of clove-like spiciness. The mouthfeel was creamy and luxurious, with fine-textured and subtle carbonation. The alcohol was apparent, but it was not overbearing. A balanced but firm backbone of mineral and hops ran through the whole flavor profile.

It was served to me a bit too cold, but it really opened up as it went up a few degrees.

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

Nice creamy white head on top of a burnt-sugar brown brew. Great carbonation and I even like the bottle. Smells like brown sugar, sour apples and sweet bread. Tastes like pure bliss, loads of malt and fruit hit first, balenced nicely with a great hop bitter ending with a hint of the wonderful belgian yeast flavor lingering on the tongue. Awesome. This is a wonderful beer, and a great representative of the quadrupel style. One of my favorites, for sure.

Cheers!

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

A: Murky deep brown with a really ludicrous, pillowy head that bubbles up quickly but dies down to a reasonable level, leaving behind lots of lacing. Head looks kind of clumpy.

S: Strong malty flavor with a big fruity smell: apples, apricots, dark fruits, maybe a hint of banana. Some woody undertones, as well. Alcohol can also be detected.

T: Wow, this is very intense, yet smooth. The more the beer warms, the more the individual flavors develop into a cohesive whole. Very dark fruity taste, with lots of malt character and lots of complexity. Some smoky, woody overtones help tie it all together. The alcohol percentage is amazingly masked by this flavor.

M: Very smooth and creamy, but the alcohol leaves a slight tingle in the throat as it goes down. Easy to drink.

D: The flavor is really intense, but this beer is incredibly easy to drink nonetheless. I really wish I had another, but alas, my backpack was only so big when I was in Belgium.

Highly enjoyable; an excellent treat to end the day with.

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

A - A powerful appearance for sure. Deep, deep amber. Hardly any light passes through. A large, off-white head that retains fairly well and settles to a nice foamy film. Not much lacing.

S - Yeast and fruit compose the complex aroma profile.

T&M - Complex caramel malty flavor with a hint of dark fruit. Alcohol present in the after-taste. A creamy mouthfeel that has just the right amount of carbonation.

D - The high abv takes a way a tad from the drink, but it's still a damn tasty belgian.

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Photo of djeffbee
4.6/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle - thanks to Red, White and Brew - Mount Holly, NJ.

A - Thick dark brown . A carmel head sits on top - with lacing that lasts throughout the whole experience. Masterful.

S - Caramel, figs, rasins, nuts, brown sugar, and slight hops are present.

T - This should not be imbibed without the proper glass to take in the whole experience. As you smell, sip and hold on the tounge the aroma marries the malty, fruity, bready taste.

M - Smooth, yet hearty

D - Great until you read the label - 10%ABV, you wont last too long. The alcohol is well masked in my opinion.. A 12 oz chalice or two is enough for me to fully enjoy this masterpiece end to end...

@7.99/750ml - this is a steal.

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Photo of ChiSox05
4.83/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml, shot the cork off the ceiling fan, into the Christmas tree.

Ruby red that turns plum colored in the wider parts of the glass. Myriad columns of carbonation rush upward adding to and holding up a never fading inch thick head of off-white foam, releasing a fruity boozy smell. Something to look at in an over-sized wine glass.
S-Familiar Belgian yeast smell mixed with a complex array of scents that could take some time to inventory. Caramel malt, raisins, no doubt about a dark, ripe fruit booze that had been living comfortably in its corked monk emblazoned bottle, now stretching out in the glass. Alcohol adds robustness to the brown sugar coated raisin, prune and plum and some spice too, black pepper or clove.
Taste had a well blended plum sweetness. There are raisins, a booziness that is most similar to a smooth, fruit infused darker rum. Where many beers provide a great aroma fronting for a taste that is just co-existing, the taste of Abt 12 defines its greatness. Sweet and malty the whole way through, but without any cloying syrup characters. The finish is drying and alcoholic, which combined with its effervescence cleared the palate well. Left behind is a cinnamony raisin bread taste and a warm throat and belly. Can't wait for another to add to this review, so much to smell and taste at once.
Another unique quality of this beer is that its high carbonation doesn't distract from the taste while still aiding in cleaning up the palate and complex flavors. Plus, it ensures a damn fine looking brew in the glass. For the definite high amount of sugar and malt within, it is nothing more than medium bodied. As far as the 10% goes, it will be noticed in the throat and stomach the entire trip. Texture is fizzy.
D-Taking notes on this was tough, as all I wanted to do was sip it holding the glass with both hands, pour more, and repeat. All who tried it on Xmas day agreed it was different, complex and out and out good. Will buy another 750 or two next time I am at the store, kickass warming sensation provided by the 10%. So sad to see the bottle empty ;) Tough to put into words how much I enjoyed this, superb is the first thing that comes to mind, top flight beer.

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Photo of LMO1190
4.44/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

NIce dark copper color on pour. About 1 finger of head that disappears fast.

Smells like what a quad should. Lot's of dark fruit, plums , bubble gum. very nice.

Taste= very carbonated, plums, very malty. not overly sweet. you can't really taste the booze for being 10 percent.

This beer is a classic for a reason. it is the host HAD QUAD in this site. I personally think I would prefer the Trois Pistoles from Unibroue. But is this is still a superior brew. Cheers!!!!!!

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Photo of moocey
3.58/5  rDev -19%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

I had one of these on tab at the Brick Store in Atlanta a few months ago at the beginning of my BeerAdvocacy. Since then, my beer experience has grown by leaps and bounds. So I had to buy a bottle and try it again.

Appearance - Pours a deep, dark brown with a head that refuses to leave. I haven't ever had a beer with such good head retention that I wished the head would calm down a bit.

Smell - Alcohol, lots and lots and lots of alcohol. Some malt comes through.... I don't find it pleasant.

Taste - Big blast of malt and alcohol. Subtle fruityness of either rasins, plums... something along those lines. I think it may be spicy, but I'm not sure. It's slightly sweet up front but dry at the end. The taste of this beer is completey foreign to me; like nothing else I've had. Don't taste any hops at all.

Mouthfeel - Like sipping on a can of liquid malt extract. Just what I want from this beer.

Drinkability - It is what it is.


Wow. This beer tastes good, but I wasn't in the mood for it at all. Come to think of it, I haven't been in the mood for Malty-and-Not-Hoppy beer in a while. In time, when I drift back over to the other end of the spectrum, I'll be enjoying the heck out of some St. Bernardus ABT12

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Photo of fightingirishcmk
4.44/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a reddish brown color with a generous three finger head. The head retention was good, and there was considerable lacing left on the glass. The only downside was the amount of sediment in the glass/bottle. It was a bit too much and was impossible to decant.
S: Raisin, dates, banana, clove, and overall very malty and sweet smelling. An excellent aroma.
T: Provides a great balance of sweet, bitter, and a tiny bit of sourness. Smoky, spicy, with a very well hidden alcohol burn at the end.
M: A bit sticky, but very full bodied with a good amount of carbonation.
D: A real treat. I savored this 4 pack over a span of about 3 months. I didn't look forward to the day it would be gone, but I know I can always pick some up at the store. Excellent availability, excellent taste, and not too heavy body allow this beer to be consumed in almost any season. It is quite drinkable for a quad. I sometimes base the drinkability on whether or not I get cravings for it... I do for this beer.

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Photo of LOCAL
4/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml into wine goblet

Appearance: Pours a very dark cloudy brown with a one finger tan head. Good retention, lacing like crazy.

Aroma: Sweet, ripe fruits, faint trace of alcohol.

Taste: Ripe fruits, brown sugar, biscuits, faint tobacco.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, light to medium on the pallet, good carbonation.

Overall: Very easy to drink, probably wouldn't have more than one though. Seems like a good brew for a cold night.

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Photo of KCHopHead
4.15/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a few times but still hadn't reviewed. I have two people who claim this to be favorites, but I still don't see the attraction. This is a good quad though, but not the best I've had.

A - Dark chesnut color. Some floaties. Thin head.
S - Yeasty with some alcohol. Sweet smell.
T - Good malt sweetness taste with some alcohol. If you search for it you can find a cocoa taste.
M - Great mouth feel for a quad getting the carbonation and balance right.
D - I could down a 750 ml of this pretty easily.

I find this interesting how this is not a Trappist product, but how the knock-offs can taste quite a bit better than the real thing.

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Photo of Brianjames16
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Gorgeous dark brown with sediment suspended. Head is a two finger creamy white color with tightly packed bubbles.

S- Wonderful balanced aroma of dark fruits, bready malts, figg, raisins and a hint of alcohol in the backround.

T- I remember why this is my favorite every time I go back. Complex balanced taste of fine fruits, yeast, malts and a slight alcohol taste for warmth.

M- Good carbonation with a rich texture that is smooth, balanced and highly complex.

D- If this was all I had to drink for the rest of my life, That'd be fine.

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Photo of Arno
3.98/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

They say it's a near copy of Westvleteren 12. Reviewed by many as world's best beer.
I'm not sure how close this is to the W12, but this is not my favorite beer.

appearance: Copper brown with creme firm head. Nice lacing.

smell: Hard to pin point what i'm getting. It's sort of a acidic medicinal smell together with brown sugar.

taste: There is some medicinal flavors going on, green apple and spices with alcohol in the nose. Some clove and very faintly some cinnamon. Followed by a more bodied brown sugar kick. It's at this point the beer feels more defined and whole. But the finish is then again quite spicy and alcohol tasting. The flavors seem to be gone quite quick.

mouthfeel: Loads of carbonation. Actually quite a kick. Lacks a bit of creaminess to it. It's slighly milky maybe, but leaves a bit of a slimy effect on the pallet.

overall: Not the best beer i've had. Maybe it's because i had high expectations. But i've had 3 the last few months and i've had mixed experiences. Still have 3 in my fridge, so i might change my mind.

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Photo of tonton
4.42/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 33cl bottle into an oversized burgundy wine glass. Nice caramel color, average looking 1.5" khaki head with medium dissipation.

Nice smell. Dark rum with caramel and toasted malts.

Goes down very easy. Amazing for a 10%. Could absolutely chugalug all nightif that's what you wanted to do. Also great to sip and savor.

My new favorite Belgian.

Awesome beer. Or maybe I was just in a good mood.

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Photo of EmoBeerGuy
4.68/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What can I say about this one? Thank god its on tap at the Publick House. This is my old stand by there and you really can't go wrong with it. An amazing, sweet Belgian bruin. A reminder of what good beer is all about. I will be seeing this beer again soon.

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Photo of jenbys2001
4.26/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was my first high alcohol content beer on tap. Beautiful in a glass, with a thick frothy head. I found it very creamy and delightful to sip. It has more of an alcohol taste but it's very drinkable. I found it a much easier sipping beer than Delirium Tremens (my first high alcohol content beer, period). After two glasses I was glad I drank it at Mr. Dunderbak's so I could wander the mall and sober up a bit.

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Photo of gangstafaceclay
4.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A- dark brown, Carmel color with nice white head.

S- got some spices, fruit, nut malts.

T- so good, like the nose got some spices, raisins, plum, blueberry, buttery Carmel, nuts, vanilla, some nice sweetness and bitterness to balance it out.

M- good creamy full-bodied, with high carbonation

O- this brew got better and better each time I took a sip, let it warm up some and it is one damn tasty beer. I'll definitely be drinking more of this.

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Photo of heidelbeerg
4.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was probably the most enjoyed beer I have experienced yet. Poured an unusual dark brown with a purple wine-like hue. Noticeable yeast floaties. The smell immediately reminded me of alter wine. The taste was wonderful. Rich dark fruits. Raisin, Plums and sweet grape. Slight alcohol warmth and breadlike yeast flavor. Very rich, smooth feel in the mouth. I drank this in 10 minutes and felt like I was taking my time with it. I just could not help but to keep sipping away almost continuously. I only had one. I will need to track more down!!

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

A - Pours a dark brown with a huge tan head which lingers nicely.

S - Dark sweet fruit and rich malt. Excellent.

T - Very complex! A bit vinous with earth malts. Plums/ raisins come through as well as a good bit of warming alcohol. Definitely well balanced, not overly bitter nor sweet.

M - Very carbonated, a full-bodied ale.

D - A bit rich, but still very enjoyable. The 10.5% alcohol is not too obvious.

A beer I've saved for a while, and it was well worth it! Worth a try for anyone that even remotely likes Belgian ales! Don't drink this one cold, the flavors come out a warmer temperature.

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Photo of brushpig
3.75/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

As soon as you pour this baby into your glass you can tell its going to be a interesting beer with it's rich dark chocolate brown coloring and it full thick head.
Cherry, yeasty, alcohol, Cloves, and Coco fill the nose.
Nice moderate carbination with a rich and creamy feel. The alcohol
does take a little bite. So I took small sips.
Taste of carmel, dryed fruits,and alittle strong in the alcohol, but it still tasted dessert like. It is a nice beer to end the evening with.
Recommended for sure.

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Photo of BeerHonky
4.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

What a wonderful treat to enjoy on a damp evening in NYC. Found this on tap at Essex Ale House in the lower east side. Oh boy!

Poured into a traditionally wide brimmed chalice with St. Bernardus branding on it. Thick, fluffy off white head sits upon a beautiful dark purple-ish red brew. Looks like frothy, carbonated prune juice. A few highlights are peeking through on the edges of the glass.

The aroma is full of herbal, spicy, fruity yeast on top of a strong malty sweetness. Dark fruits come to mind...such as prunes, figs and raisins. Alcohol is present throughout which gives it a sort of an elixir character. This could possibly cure some of your ailments!

What I noticed first was the body and mouthfeel. Oh so very smooth and creamy with an acute, prickly carbonation. A full, sweet, but non-overwhelming caramel malt flavor glides across the palate in a wonderful, almost what seems choreographed, manner. Strong clove presence mixed again with dark fruits, but also what I might describe as a Belgian candied apple (read candi sugar). The elixir character is enhanced with faint appearances of spice flavors that remind me of nutmeg and allspice. Slight alcohol presence, but deceptively hidden.

No question that this is one of a kind and an exemplary specimen of its style. No beer geek should die before having one of these.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.42 out of 5 based on 9,427 ratings.
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