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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.
BA SCORE
99
world-class

7,847 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,847
Reviews: 2,540
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 496
Gots: 1,301 | FT: 34
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website
Belgium

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: 7,847 | Reviews: 2,540 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by HoneyLamb:
Photo of HoneyLamb
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

More User Reviews:
Photo of jlindros
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Easily one of my top 5 beers of all time, the St Bernardus Abt 12 is what put me on the map for Belgian beers. I drink it on special occasions usually, and its pretty cheap for the amazingness of the beer. And having the availability it has, its awesome. Well, today marks the special occasion of needing some yeast for a homebrew, and I decided to culture the bottled yeast from this awesomeness. This bottle also has been sitting in the cellar for a year or so getting yeasted up to hell. Also, why not drink it. This just happens to be the first time I'm drinking it while sitting in front of a computer and can log it into BA. Anyways, enough with the Stahlin and drink it already.

A: Huge loud pop sound goes the weasel, I mean cork. Steamy mist of Pandora blazes out the top. Pouring into my Corsendonk tulip glass reveals a large 3 finger semi dark head that is pretty thin and full of large bubbles that pop so fast, its down to 2 fingers in a mere 10 seconds! Then leaves an airy pot-marked frothy mess that would make Courtney Love blush!. The light dark colored head is down to a light covering in not time flat! The dark raisin colored brown lets just enough light through to reveal the secret of the Nymph, as well as the huge amounts of yeast and sediment dancing around inside as if they are at the dance, getting prepped to mate soon!

N: Yep, thats the aroma all right! Some dark malts, mostly Belgian style, some raisiny fruit flavors, perhaps some fig aromas as well. Some light nuttiness and perhaps cinnamon tickle the nose. However, a touch of alcohol and sweet dark Belgian candi sugars fill out the back bone of the nose. It's not overpowering either. A slight yeast tones down the final touches, but the delicious raisiny Belgian candi sugar and alcohol really just bring the aromas into so much awesomeness.

T: Tasting such an awesome beer is almost unworthy of.... glug glug glug... mmmppphhfff.... starts right off with more awesome raisiny Belgian candi sugar and some alcohol tastes right off the bat. Who woulda thunk? Delicious Belgian malts sit around the mouth in a nice thick mouth. A very slight Belgian yeast flavor adds some fruitiness as well, more than just the raisin. A slight spice, like cinnamon and some nuttiness cuts through the malt flavors like a raptor's claw through that guys stomach in that movie. I get some deeper fruits as well, perhaps plum or snozzberry. Some thick molasses and more candi sugar come back again towards the finish of the taste. Some alcohol burn and warmth adds a nice touch, which has really kicked into overdrive with the bottle aging

M: Pretty thick and heavy, sweet and syrupy, its almost so thick my tongue is weighing itself down and almost out of my mouth. It's filling up my taste buds so much they can't taste much else after. Then a slight alcohol burn reminds you how heavy the beer is when it comes to abv! Decent carbonation for the bigness of the beer, actually is really high!

F: Finishes with a slight sweetness but seems to dry off pretty well considering all the age its had. A slight alcohol warmth and sting singes for a bit, then disappears enough to let you get more of the raisin, cinnamon, candi sugar, molasses, and delicious other flavors. Perhaps if anything, the aging has formed a little too much carbonation. I get some earthy flavors as well, on the finish mostly, I think a product of the yeast turning the Belgian candi sugar into the ginourmous alcohol.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

With ultimate succulent sweetness, robust wine-like tartness, and a gauntlet of flavors that reach the taste buds from multiple angles and with an array of characteristics, this is an epic beer for the ages!

Delivered in a wide lipped, oversized bulb of a wine glass, adorned with the brewery's logo, this is the glass that deserves the beverage. The russet brown beer with burgundy hues carries a mild haze with a deep sheen. Tightly knit head character gives early impressions of thick blanket, yet late impressions are of a rich espresso-like creme. Fantastic retention and a generous allocation of sticky lace leaves intricate lacing patterns on the glass. A most inviting beer.

Rich berry-like aromas are tart, savory, and vibrant. Backed by the succulent sweet notion of cotton candy, caramelized sugars, vinous wine-like character, orange peel, corriander, and grape, this classy ale courts the nose with pin-point seductive response.

Flavors are much more concentrated than the somewhat tame nose suggests. Richly underplayed malts give a nondescript sweetness to the beer that when combined with alcohol delivers a deceptively light powdered sugar sweetness, slight chocolate, brown sugar, and elegant strength. Yeasty esters of grape, plumb, cherry, dates, figs, licorice, and apples all feed into the fruity complexities. Spicy notes replace hop bitterness with mellow white and black peppercorns, light smoke, and alspice with alcohol. Vibrant and bright, but not without the needed aged notes to suggest maturity, this fresh version satisfies just fine.

Rich and succulent, the first sips give a medium creamy notion but a dense weight to the tengemental senses before making a procession across mid palate and marching toward sweet warmth, semi-sweet finish, and a sultry aftertaste of fruit, alcohol, and whimsy sweetness.

This is a masterfully crafted ale that seduces the seneses with each and every sip. Keeping stride with the Westvleterens and Rocheforts, this beer plays no such second fiddel.

Photo of doktorhops
4.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Holy Mother of St. Bernardus! I’ve finally got my hands on a bottle of St. Bernardus Abt 12. This one comes from the greatest bottleshop in Australia, aka Plonk (in Canberra folks), I asked for it and they got it in (I love those guys!). Well this has been one at the top of my list for ages, isn’t it great when you finally get to topple giants? Anyway without further ado (I hate ado’s) let’s crack open some Abt 12.

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a St. Feuillien chalice as it is the glass that compares most to the one on label, plus how happy does that monk look? I want to look that happy.

A: Cloudy, with yeast particles everywhere, deep ruby ( and I mean really really really deep ruby) body with a 1cm fawn head that stays like a champ. 10/10.

S: First whiff is a combination of dark fruit (plum, fig, date) esters and white wine spirit. Further notes of heavy bread yeast, brown sugar and a hint of peppercorn is revealed afterwards. That touch of wine spirit is the only disturbance to a perfect score. 9/10.

T: One massive dark fruit experience! With added bold characters of brown sugar, rye bread and alcohol warmth at the back. There is a light medicinal hop note providing a hint of bitterness to cut through the sugar, and a slight peppercorn spice plays in to the flavour as well. What’s amazing about this brew is how flavoursome it is at 10% ABV. A buttery diacetyl opens up as the glass warms. Damn these monks in their fancy cassocks can brew! 10/10.

M: Medium bodied with velvety smooth carbonation, it paints a rich tongue-coating tapestry throughout the mouth, mmmm. 10/10.

D: Well the points are flying left right and centre for Abt 12, and so they should be - this is one brilliant Quad. Better than Trappistes Rochefort 10? Yes, this one has a touch more character in the flavour. As Doc (i.e. me, I’m doing a Caesar referring to himself in the third person thing now) always says: “The T in my reviews is king”. Indeed it is with the Abt 12. Let’s talk about the cons of this fine Ale: None. No wait, if you’re the designated driver going to a party and they’re serving bottles of this you might end up driving home drunk, getting caught and having your licence suspended... that is however a very specific and unlikely scenario (err, someone serving Abt 12 at a party that is, not the drink/driving part). 10/10.

Food match: Some Trappist cheeses would go down a treat along with crusty bread.

Photo of JLSIV
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Ordered this on tap at a very good Belgian Beer Pub in Atlanta. Very true to the Quad style. Just a superb beer....if you haven't had this yet, make it happen.

The flavors, warmth and mouthfeel really are what makes this beer. Do not underestimate it's power. This is a naptime inducer.

Photo of oberon
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 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.

Photo of don1481
4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

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.

Photo of Popsinc
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

Photo of davemarc87
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of RoyalT
4.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of aszatk01
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.68/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of beerhunter13
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of DanGeo
3.75/5  rDev -16.1%

Photo of tectactoe
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of ricke
4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of ExtraStout
4.74/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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!

Photo of DavyJones
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of punkindrublic50
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of t2grogan
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of boston2bburg
4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of OhioBobcat
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of Zakk
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of brownbeer
4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Mac19872
5/5  rDev +11.9%

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,847 ratings.