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St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

2,612 Reviews
THE BROS
99
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,612
Hads: 8,580
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 8.39%
Wants: 629
Gots: 1,916 | FT: 51
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (12) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 2,612 | Hads: 8,580
Reviews by jbhollis1180:
Photo of jbhollis1180
4.5/5  rDev +2%

More User Reviews:
Photo of jlindros
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%
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. (3,469 characters)

Photo of tectactoe
4.59/5  rDev +4.1%
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. (3,372 characters)

Photo of ludachris
4.56/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Garnet red with plenty of haze. A thick puck of light tan head shows great retention. Wide and sticky legs of lace rim the sides of the glass. It's a hardy, deep looking beer.

The nose really takes its time opening up as it warms. There's a rich vinous quality to it. Sour cherries and sweet booze drenched raisins. Ripe plums and dusty chocolate. There's a surprisingly lively ripe berry character that's really amplified by its alcohol level. Its very intriguing and complex as it slowly unravels.

There's a sweet phenolic tinge to its alcohol character that paints the entire palate. On top there's the same ripe berry and raisins. Sticky toffee sits in the center. There's a lot more caramel and bread. The richness from the nose carries over into the taste and it lingers.

Full bodied, slick and residual. Its drinkability is worth noting at 10% ABV. An excellent, unobtrusive level of carbonation.

This reminded me of how complex a beer can be. I loved how it gradually transformed as it got warmer. There's plenty of flavors that kept my interest until I finished the bottle. I'm still learning to love the style but this is fantastic stuff. (1,153 characters)

Photo of Burntknuckles
3.57/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Had this side by side in a blind taste test with 5 other high end quads. As in any blind test scores were given before beer was revealed. I was very surprised I scored this so low, but it was the worst one I had that night. Another taste may be required. (254 characters)

Photo of creepinjeeper
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An 11.2 oz bottle poured into a St. Bernardus Watou goblet. (Bottle and glass were part of a gift set. Bottle dated 3/07/17.)
Look - Beer foamed slightly upon opening. Poured into snifter. Slight head that lingered for a minute or two before settling in to lacing. Beer was reddish brown leather in hue. Almost looked like fruit was soaking in it and then removed.
Smell - Mmmm. Lots of raisins, dates, a little stone fruit and some booze. You could anticipate what was coming next. My mouth actually watered for this.
Taste - Again, mmmmm. Raisins, dates, bready malt, slight hint of booze.
Mouthfeel - Nice. Creamy. Carbonation light and does not get in the way. Each sip lingers on the palate.
Overall - This beer blew me away. Absolutely beautiful beer. Can't wait to go deeper into this style. (799 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.8/5  rDev +8.8%
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. (2,019 characters)

Photo of doktorhops
4.88/5  rDev +10.7%
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. (2,453 characters)

Photo of TheIPAHunter
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance is mahogany brown crowned by 2" of creamy tan head. Retention and lacing are excellent. Smells of fresh kimi dipped in cherry sauce; banana bread wrapped in terry cloth; cloves; and organic cacao powder. Taste follows with a candy-like sweetness that finishes just a tad dry. Pretty drinkable despite the abv, but I could feel the alcohol warming presence almost immediately. A stalwart for the style, and one worthy of seeking. Enjoy. (446 characters)

Photo of RaulMondesi
4.63/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Wurstküche in Downtown Los Angeles, CA.

Wowie zowie. Raul feels like one of that fools that went west for gold and struck it rich. I mean, hot diggity dawg! This thang is glistening, sparkling, and shining like Megan Fox's lips after her latest collegian injection! Dark fruits, perfect amount of sweetness, and all out ecstasy.

Waking up next to St Bernardus 12 or Megan Fox? That's a tough one. (409 characters)

Photo of dcotom
4.68/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 11.2-oz bottle into a tulip glass. Beautiful dark caramel color with a luxurious light tan head. Aroma of roasted malts and an array of spices. Perfectly balanced flavor with just a touch of hop bitterness on the finish, not "boozy" at all despite the high ABV. The bitterness became more pronounced as the beer warmed up in the glass. Probably did a disservice to this by drinking it at slightly above fridge temperature, as it really opened up as it warmed. In summary, two words: simply incredible. (513 characters)

Photo of Clintbeerwood
4.84/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Exceptional crisp taste complimenting the cloudy hazy pour with an amazing smell. Nice light refreshing strong taste hints of spices are on point. Love this quad. (163 characters)

Photo of MyThoughtsExactly
4.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a chalice from a bottle less than a year old. Aroma is sweet with notes of fig, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Taste is initially sweet and a little bitter, this is followed by dried fruit (figs, raisins). The finish is creamy with a some alcohol warmth. Afterwards there is a lingering taste of dried fruit and carmel. The mouth feel is fantastic; bold, rich, yet creamy and smooth. You can tell it has some alcohol but there isn't ever an alcohol "bite". This is a rich complex beer worth trying. I would image it only gets better with a little age. (554 characters)

Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.52/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a St. Bernardus glass.

Look: Burnt cinnamon colored body under a frothy, foamy cream colored head. Great retention. Lovely foamy bands of lacing.

Aroma: Bready malts, dried fruits, apple, cinnamon.

Taste: Much like the aroma -- so spicy, fruity, and bready. Lovely malt bill. Dried fruits. Boozy, dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Dry, not as heavy as ABV would suggest.

Overall: Excellent. Great taste profile, looks great, smells great. Becoming one of my favorite styles. (480 characters)

Photo of Usma689
4.86/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I have been drinking around St Bernardus and other tops rated beers.... and finally went and got one.

Wow.

I love Belgiaum style. Lived in Germany ( Uk, ... ) Drank a lot of beer. Gravitated toward Belgium style.

Drink Ommegang .... almost daily.... should I post that?!?! Started with Chimay... detour with and frequent returns to Unibroue .... But Live with Ommegang.

This St B was far beyond what I expected. I will have to find the Westy now.... I would have rated it a 5... but it was so much better than what I thought was great.... Now I'm not sure what lies out there! (598 characters)

Photo of John44
4.9/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

How have I never had this beer before? Just amazing ! (53 characters)

Photo of JLSIV
4.5/5  rDev +2%

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. (295 characters)

Photo of DeFaz
4.57/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I don't drink a lot of quads, but it's not hard to tell that this one is special. Raisins and anise and other fruit in the wonderful smell and taste. Mouthfeel is smooth and moderately carbonated, and the alcohol is concealed well. Simply a beautiful sipper beer that would go well with dessert. Worth the price. (313 characters)

Photo of morris786
4.71/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours very dark amber brownish with a huge foamy head and lots of lacing. The smell is very complex but I smell brandy, dates, and carmel malts. Incredibly appealing smell. The taste is nothing short of incredible. Probably the most complex beer I've had that wasnt also hoppy. Taste is slightly sweet carmel malts, brandy, some maple, dates with just the right detection of alcohol. I really enjoyed the hell out of this beer. (428 characters)

Photo of RockAZ
4.96/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Brilliant! had four different versions today, but this brief review is of the one listed that I have had many many times but never seemed to get around to reviewing. I do get alcohol woof from this, sorry, I know many of the other reviewers do not,... Dates, stone fruits in general blended deeply with a brisk carbonation. Great with steak, smoked salmon, pungent cheeses and crackers that fight back. Lovely Quad, one of the very best in the style. (450 characters)

Photo of humuloner22
4.62/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I decided to do a quad night of the big three and see if I could tell if there was a difference. Hmm...

Appearance: Dark chestnut brown with some reddish notes in there but not completely opaque. The head is of light small white bubbles that linger throughout the pour.

Aroma: Ripe dark fruits, grapes, plums and other northern European fruits, possibly some blackberries notes in there as well or perhaps black raspberries.

Taste: Has some vinous notes with a slight tinge of yeast esters going on. I detect more of the clove and banana notes from the more readily available Belgian beers than in the Westy 12. The mouthfeel is also not quite as clean as in the Westy 12, which to me deducts some points.

Overall: Amazing beer, and considering you can get this one at most bottle shops pretty easily and not all that pricey and the fact that Westy 12 is so hard to come by (I am totally happy I had the opportunity to try it and if I ever find myself in Belgium, I will be heading there for sure!) this one is a dead heat in my opinion. I will say that I did enjoy the Westy a little bit more due to the clean flavor and finish and to me that is becoming a majorly important component of a quality beer. But, this is a very well made beer and do not discount it because its more available, there is only a minor difference in quality that I can detect, but it is worthy of note. (1,385 characters)

Photo of Tele
4.53/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type: Bottle
Consumed: 7.21.15

A: 4.5 Pretty standard looking quad. Fairly hazy, reddish brown with a lacy, light tan head.

S: 4.5 Textbook quad right off the bat with lost esters, mostly bringing roasted banana and clove. Some salted caramel works its way in as well followed by toffee and dried cherries.

T: 4.5 While the nose is a touch muted and pretty standard for a quad, the flavor is where things really open up. It has the same qualities as the nose (as do most good quads), but there’s also a darker, earthy component that really compliments the sweeter, caramelized flavors. It’s endlessly complex making it a joy to drink. The only flaw is that it’s a touch boozy on the finish.

M: 4.75 Great body and perfect carbonation with a slightly tannic finish.

O: 4.5 One of my favorite quads, right up there with Chimay and Rochefort and maybe even a bit better. Perhaps my favorite quality of this beer is how much it develops as it warms, much like a great stout; excellent right out of the fridge, but gets better every minute. (1,056 characters)

Photo of bilbobrewer
3.77/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

33cl btl purchased at grocery store in Brussels.
BB 04/29/2019
Served chilled in tulip.

Pours opaque brown. Like a (well filtered) homebrew, there's just a few 'meatier' brown drops at the end of the pour.
Head is short-lived.....virtually all gone in a few seconds.
Taste is thick, syrupy sweet malt. Resiny on the tongue, dry on the throat.
As only the second quad I've had (Trappist 10 being the other) I'm apparently just not a fan of something THIS sweet. Diabetes in a bottle.
Maybe call this one a "dessert beer".....but I don't drink beer with dessert.

I'm afraid this is a "quadrupel bypass" for me....Forgive me Father, for such a terrible pun. (673 characters)

Photo of DesMoinesMike
4.84/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Served at Bistro Montage in a chalice on our super expensive dinner for the year.

A cloudy haze the color of wheat bread. Aroma was full of grapefruit and plum. Taste had grapefruit, date, maybe some lemon. Very strong body and had to be taken in fairly small swallows. This beer is just amazing! It has a prominent presence and intensity, not one to be trifled with.

If you want some fun with this beer, have a person who has been drinking wine all night try it and watch the expression ton their face. (505 characters)

Photo of RossiDaMan
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This was my first quad ever. Very smooth for a 10%'er. My biggest takeaway was from the mouthfeel. I loved the level of carbonation which is best described as a delicious ale infused alka seltzer. Great smooth flavors with little to no aftertaste. I'll recommend this one and will definitely quad again. (308 characters)

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
98 out of 100 based on 2,612 ratings.