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St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

7,191 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,191
Reviews: 2,480
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 405
Gots: 1,025 | FT: 36
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,191 | Reviews: 2,480 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Curloftheburl:
Photo of Curloftheburl


4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

03-05-2014 01:52:06 | More by Curloftheburl
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.45/5  rDev -0.4%

Pours a deep brown with some deep red hue with a big creamy head leaving nice sheets of lace behind,aromas of dark sweet cherries and some smoke along with a some spice very appetizing.Silky smooth mouthfeel, creamy and not to heavy goes down with ease,what can you say complex and great some spiced cherries and spice along with some raisin with a faint smokiness the alcolhol shows itself more as it warms.Just an awesome beer have sampled many times was great to aquire a bottle,worthy of its high marks awesome.

04-16-2005 23:14:14 | More by oberon
Photo of don1481


4.7/5  rDev +5.1%

750ml bottle poured into a glass. Merry Christmas to me! Cannot believe I found this near South Padre Island, TX at the local HEB.

Appearance: pours dark Brown with a little bit of foam that lingers and a fair amount of carbonation. Don't see any cloudiness or particles in this pour.

Smell: smells sweet. Like molasses mixed with toffee mixed with a dash of chocolate, vanilla, and heaven. Definitely a dash of heaven in the smell.

Taste: sweet, for sure. Get some of the molasses notes and some brown sugar and chocolate. Oh, and a hint of boozy. But its well hidden under the other flavors.

Mouthfeel: its like lots of little bubbles hitting your tongue. Not sticky at all. Pretty clean in my mouth.

Overall: super drinkable. This is so good, its dangerous. These big bottles can easily disappear. World class, hands down.

12-25-2013 01:20:54 | More by don1481
Photo of Popsinc

Ontario (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

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.

06-10-2004 14:10:59 | More by Popsinc
Photo of davemarc87


4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

05-05-2014 03:48:02 | More by davemarc87
Photo of RoyalT


4.9/5  rDev +9.6%

Appearance – Gorgeous, solid dark brown, carbonating body fed the head until I got tired of waiting for it to go down. I’m diving in.

Smell – The wonderful yeast and dark chocolate malt aroma fills the room once the ale has warmed. The fragrant raw brown sugar and ripe fruit come along as well. This was has a beautiful bouquet.

Taste – Lovely malted dough supports the remaining flavors. The malts are dark, as are the sugars. This really has the most remarkable sugar flavors that I’ve ever had. The sugar mixture and the present but very smooth alcohol create a new food group: Liquid alcohol sugar. As Lucille Ball would say, “It tastes just like candy.”

The yeast too deserves a second mention. This has got to be one of the smoothest doughy yeast flavors I’ve ever tasted. These are all complimented tremendously by very light spicing (hint of clove, cinnamon, etc) and fruity sugars such as the taste you’d find in ripe apricots, pears dipped in honey, and apple slices rolled in brown sugar and cinnamon.

Mouthfeel – Lightly carbonated and smooth, smooth, smooth. The ale is full-bodied for sure, filling the mouth with a chewy wad of malty sugary alcohol with every bite (I mean sip).

Drinkability – I’d run down my momma to get another bottle of this stuff. This is one of the most drinkable ales that I have ever tasted.

Comments – Super thanks to jreitman for laying this one on me.

Update – Had this again in ’04 just to revisit the beauty that is the St. B. Abt 12. It really is a remarkable beer and one of my favorite Belgians of all time.

Update – I had this again in 2011 and this really is one of the most complex, amazing ales ever made. I wrap into a different zone whenever I drink this beer and the consistency year over year is astounding. I would love to give this ale a perfect 5.0 but try as I may, using every method I can think of, I just can’t coax a perfect score out of the nose. Great is great though and this beer is spectacular.

10-23-2003 02:44:41 | More by RoyalT
Photo of aszatk01


4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

02-03-2012 02:04:23 | More by aszatk01
Photo of DaPeculierDane


4.68/5  rDev +4.7%

The one thing that struck me most about this splendid beer was its maximal smoothness and impressive drinkability. I did not find it to be particularly complicated or interesting and yet I didn’t mind this in the slightest. St. Bernie’s 12 just tastes so good that I don’t care if its not much more than boat loads of sweet rich malts. To me, this is just about a perfect beer. It is meant for consumption, it gives a great buzz, it is strong yet excessively drinkable. I love it and will make it a point to drink it en mass whenever I am given the opportunity.

11-21-2005 21:45:54 | More by DaPeculierDane
Photo of beerhunter13

Ontario (Canada)

5/5  rDev +11.9%

01-15-2012 15:39:37 | More by beerhunter13
Photo of DanGeo


3.75/5  rDev -16.1%

07-21-2014 02:08:37 | More by DanGeo
Photo of tectactoe


4.6/5  rDev +2.9%

Enjoyed this one side-by-side with an '11 Westvleteren XII - thanks to Mike for cracking his open. I've heard from many people that the Abt 12 is the closest (easiest) thing to get to a Westy XII, so I guess we'll see. The pour is certainly a very similar color - brown, copper and murky, maybe a little bit brighter. Unlike the Westy, the Abt 12 has quite a bit of tiny sediment particles. Another big difference is that the head on the Abt 12 is huge, frothy, and has excellent staying power - looks like the froth on top of a latte or something.

Whoof, I close my eyes and take a whiff, and honestly, I could have easily mistaken this for another pour of the Westy. VERY similar in the aroma. Huge complexity and just a never-ending array of components: grapes, figs, dates, candied plums, Belgian yeast and spices, brown sugar, molasses, sweet licorice, light bready malts.... Where does it end? It only gets more inviting and more perplexing as it warms up and introduced some new aromas; pecans, light herbal-ness, more earthy tones, fruity esters, mild booze aromas... So far, I don't think I could draw any "major" distinctions from the aromas between Abt 12 and Westy XII. And this was after having them directly back-to-back. Given only one, I probably couldn't accurately discern which was which from the nose alone.

At this point, I'm incredibly impressed, and I'm thinking about just copying and pasting my Westy XII review and using it as my Abt 12 review. Just kidding. The mouth feel is similar, though Abt 12 has a bit more of a sharpness from heavier carbonation, as evidenced by the superior head formation. They both share that delectable Belgian-esque creaminess and they are both full-bodied without being too heavy, sticky, or syrupy. I love the silky smoothness that most Belgian quads deliver, and these two beers are no exception.

I'm sitting here swishing Abt 12 around in my palate, and I'm almost as amazed as I was when I first tasted the Westy XII - just a huge romp around of seemingly millions of flavors. Candied and sugary fruits, grapes, plums - sweet and pleasing without being overly sugary or cloying. Licorice, toffee, light molasses, Belgian yeast, mild spice, and sweet breadiness from the malt. I can see why people compare this to Westy XII - it's the EXACT SAME THING. In all seriousness, the flavor profiles are eerily similar, but I did notice that the Abt 12 was a little "sharper" and "brighter" - sharper from the carbonation and brighter in the form of softer fruits - I picked up some more definitive apple skin and white grape notes. The Abt 12 also has a touch more of a hop profile, but maybe that's because the Westy XII was a year older? This gave the Abt 12 a bit more bitter leafiness with the bread, butter, and slightly boozy aftertaste.

Wow... Wow, wow, wow. People weren't lying. The Abt 12 really is ridiculously similar to the Westy 12. When all is said and done, I don't think I could tell the difference if I was blindfolded. You could hand me an Abt 12 in a blank glass, tell me it was Westy XII, and I wouldn't be able to argue. That being said, they are both fantastic beers - pinnacles in brewing, and quintessential beers for the style they both represent. At the end of the day, I must give a slight nudge to the Abt 12 though, given it's relatively low price point and incredible availability.

02-27-2013 17:57:57 | More by tectactoe
Photo of ricke


4.28/5  rDev -4.3%

A: Dark reddish brown with a medium-sized tanned head. Great head retention and lots of lacings.

S: The smell is full of fruit esters - blackberries, figs, plums and apples. Very impressive. Sweet dark malts and notes of fudge, grass and yeast.

T: The taste is very balanced and complex. Sweet dark malts and fruity flavors (figs, plums, apples) up front. Caramel, gentle spices, dry wood and a hint of yeast. A hint of chocolate. The finish has a nice bitter twist to it with plenty of malt aromas, lingering fruit esters and warming and well integrated alcohol. A very tasty brew.

M: Medium to full bodied, very smooth texture despite generous amounts of carbonation.

D: This is one of this Belgians that is unbelievably balanced and tasty. Although I've had lots of beers i like better, there's something about a beer like this that makes them come out almost as perfection in a bottle - everything is at its place and I wouldn't want to change a thing.

09-22-2009 18:27:42 | More by ricke
Photo of ExtraStout


4.74/5  rDev +6%

Had this from a 22oz. bottle at Madame Janette's in Aruba.

WOW! what a find. Succulent dark and sticky fruits and yeasty spice explode from the goblet. It is a symphony of luscious malty sweets and warming alcohol goodness. Very promising.

One sip and I'm addicted to this beer for life! There are layers of fruits to pull apart; plum, green melon, figs, banana, dark cherries, and more. It's delightfully yeasty, with raw dough and all the accompanying spice. There's a nibble of artfully added hops toward the end. It's sweet and fruity while maintaining it's dignity.

The mouthfeel is medium big, with a very creamy, full texture. It's ever so gently carbonated and really feels like velvet in my mouth. I lick my goblet clean when I am finished, it's that good!

07-20-2014 23:40:58 | More by ExtraStout
Photo of DavyJones


5/5  rDev +11.9%

04-10-2012 17:19:48 | More by DavyJones
Photo of punkindrublic50

New York

4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Originally set up by the monks from the fabled Westvleteren, St. Bernardus does not disappoint in the least. The Abt 12 follows the same basic recipe as the Westy 12 (with different water and yeast of course), and results in a similar complex mixture of raisins, other fruits, nuts and spices. Almost as good as Westvleteren at a fraction of the price and inconvenience, its biggest problem is that its just good enough to make you really long and wish for the good stuff. If at all possible sample it on tap, which is a head and shoulders above the bottled brew.

06-18-2008 22:05:56 | More by punkindrublic50
Photo of boston2bburg


4.05/5  rDev -9.4%

Green apple aromas on the pour make me suspicious this bottle wasn't treated all that well, but here goes (Best before 4/21/14).

Cloudy medium brown with ruby traces, and a fizzy beige head that retains a trace creamy layer, decent retention for such a big beer.

The green apple disappears and is replaced with booze, caramel, some clove esters and oxidized alcohols, a bit of banana as well. Musty wooden crates.

Creamy smooth mouthfeel until the clove and alcohol spice sets in on the finish. Soft booze presence on the palate, but an ecstatically pleasant booze buzz after even the first swallow. Chewy, then spicy, fizzy and dry.

Fig, some prune, less plum, tobacco, clove, butterscotch and caramel; this beer runs the gamut. Very easy to quaff.

01-21-2010 02:53:19 | More by boston2bburg
Photo of OhioBobcat


4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

11-16-2013 03:40:27 | More by OhioBobcat
Photo of Zakk


4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

08-13-2013 20:14:06 | More by Zakk
Photo of brownbeer


4.2/5  rDev -6%

Deep brown with some reddish hues around the edges with a thin, but lasting, tan head.

The aroma is compact with raisin, alcohol, and a Belgian yeast breadiness.

Light caramel and raisin are recognizable. It's all a bit restrained really. It doesn't seem like there would be enough flavor to hide the alcohol as well as it does.

Malty and smooth with a firm bottle conditioned carbonation.

Sometimes less is more.

11-21-2009 03:26:11 | More by brownbeer
Photo of Mac19872


5/5  rDev +11.9%

11-17-2011 02:35:45 | More by Mac19872
Photo of withliterature


3.95/5  rDev -11.6%

A- dark purplish, little to no head dissappearing to a thin white lace; clear with no Belgian-like cloudiness

S- bananas, fruity sweetness, figs

T- fruity start, dry finish that disappears from the palate quickly; relatively high carbonation; yeasty taste, but the filtering seems to have removed all the sediment

M- thin, disappears quickly with carbonation; not sticky

D- very strong but very pleasant; carbonation adds sharpness bit fades the taste fast; one glass is enough, though

I wouldn't say this is the best example of a Belgian; very original and not all that characteristic of the style in general. Glad I tried it, but I have to say not as awesome as it's cracked up to be online.

11-28-2010 07:49:38 | More by withliterature
Photo of hbensinger


4.54/5  rDev +1.6%

Serving type: bottle, poured into pub glass.
A- dark brown, Carmel color with nice white head.

S- spices, fruit, nut malts.

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

M- good, creamy and full-bodied

O- This is a great beer to have and remarkably easy to find. Definitely a good go-to beer for special occasions and just sitting back and relaxing.

04-22-2014 01:37:54 | More by hbensinger
Photo of hopsleeroy

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Poured slightly golden hazy from a 11.2 oz bottle. Nice off white head on top with good lacing. Smells are spicy dominated with clove. Tasted so smooth with the spice flavors lingering. I wonder if there is some wheat in this-reminded me of a very mild hefe or wit with a better sweet malt base. Hops are there and give a little citrus but are light. Very enjoyable-very balanced. The alcohol is well hidden-a dangerous tripel as I could sip this all night. Overall, a very subtle beer with a lot of flavors blended together. I'll buy another one and keep it on the shelf for a bit-if I can resist it.

11-28-2007 22:38:09 | More by hopsleeroy
Photo of Spaten454


4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

06-14-2014 16:51:08 | More by Spaten454
Photo of tbryan5


4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

12-31-2012 00:32:13 | More by tbryan5
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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,191 ratings.