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St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

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6,359 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6359
Reviews: 2442
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%

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)
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Ratings: 6,359 | Reviews: 2,442 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of redneckchugger


3.88/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured frowm a 12 oz bottle into my chimay chalice.
lucious brown color, inch of velvet soft head that doesn't leave, some lacing.
smells of yeast, figs,fresh bread, alcohol, but far less then i'd expect from a beer of this abv.
first sip is sublime, yeast, bread, figs, huge malt, a touch of hops in the back but i have to look for it, this beer is amazing. figs and bread come out as it warms.
mouth feel is equally good, not thick , not thin, perfect texture.
easily the best belgian i have ever had, better than westy 12 imo. i i'd give the drinkability a 5 but its 10% and this beer deserves to be savored s-l-o-w-l-y
Edit, i'm full of shit This beer is Not better than Westy 12 , its good but not better. This is why i hate to read my early reviews, i was just so green.Here my impression of it now.
Nice head in the duvel tulip, more lacing than I would expect.
Nice nose, big hit of plummy sweetness, and a darker breadiness in the back. I get a bit of yeast as well, and a cloying sweetness that bothers me.
The palate is an attack of candi sugar and Belgian yeast. A lot of fig, and plum and bread as well but that sweetness is not really my thing. Also i am getting a lot of bannana esque esters that clash with the other flavors.
All in all this is a decent beer, but i am really upset that i thought it beat out westy 12.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2007 21:35:49 | More by redneckchugger
Photo of chalsk

New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chocolate haze with some life, thin head. Has an aroma of grapefruit, with hints of caramel and banana. Has a creamy, doughy, bitter taste. A very yeasty feel. Has a medium body that thickens nicely as it warms. This is a very tasty brew.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2010 02:57:48 | More by chalsk
Photo of ZorPrime

Quebec (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer color is dark red or brown with reddish notes on the edges. Nice soapy head. Not a strong aroma here maybe the beer is too cold. Spices and Fruits, dark fruits. Cloves for the spices. More intense on the taste. Spices typical of belgians beers. Well balanced. Warms due to the alcohol. Complex beer which requires multiple visit to better know her.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2010 22:36:08 | More by ZorPrime
Photo of PeterIngemi


3.88/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip

A: as seems to be par for the course with all the st bernardus brews I get a massive three finger slightly browned head on this brew. Pleanty of lacing. The brew it self has a murky brown appearance with a very faint touch of ruby to it.

S: floral and bready yeast notes that can be found in all their beers, but it seems less
Pronounced here, over a nice malty base. I get pleanty of dark fruit and raisin and brown sugar in the nose as well.

T: much like the nose, the floraly and bready yeast notes mix with darkfruit aromas very nicely, brown sugar covered raisins, notes of caramel and toffee, apple/pear, nice complexity and balance.

M: very creamy and delicious. On the heavy side of medium with lush carbonation.

O: this is deffiantly my favorite at bernardus between this the triple and the prior 8. Nice complexity and balance and very nice mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2012 04:41:16 | More by PeterIngemi
Photo of cro250klr


3.85/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap a bit ago. This review, however, is a bottle. To be honest, I would much rather the tap. The bottle is nearly the same, with the exception of a bit more carbonation. The St. Bernie on tap had a softer mouthfeel. I also think that the smell suffers a bit in the bottle. However, this is still a very good beer. Dried fruits and vanilla are present in the nose and the taste. The head on the bottle version is a tad more than that on tap, but both lace the chalice tremendously, till the very end. The taste finishes on the dry side, and the acholol is present on each sip, but that doesn't shy me away from this one. As usual, the Belgian pride shows through. Absolutely worth the effort put forth in searching this one out.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2006 02:37:09 | More by cro250klr
Photo of bonbright7


3.85/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I found this yesterday at Whole Foods since I liked the St Bernadus Tripel very much. I found it poured well into a toasty oatmeal kind of head that needed my attention right away.

I noted the smell of apples as I practically dove into the hearty ale with the same enthusiaasm I have reserved for great al great ails

I liked the tangy sweet malt taste as well as the robust character of the ale and thought it would probably go well with roast beef heros.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2006 01:43:19 | More by bonbright7
Photo of Reinheitsgebot71

Ontario (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

had this one again at the beer bistro and had high hope for it due to all the praise it gets.

A: Large 3 finger head very nice; thick dark caramel in colour, Dark opaque body looks very appetizing. Plenty of lace to go round as well.

B: Bananas, fresh toffee, cinnamon, and most prevalent of all the alcohol.

T: Strong alcoholic taste is what hit me off the bat followed by slightly burnt caramel, light maltiness with a surprisingly prevalent hoppy bitterness. The alcoholic taste mellows out as you drink on, phased out by more of the burnt caramel flavour with hints of allspice. Candied sugar with a bit of peppery spice finish this one off.

M: It is very smooth but the taste of the alcohol makes for a few rough patches here and there.

D: Overall it didn't quite live up to the hype for me but still quite a good beer, I'm willing to give it another go. But don't be put off it is definitely very tasty I just wish there wasn’t such a strong alcoholic presence.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2007 22:58:14 | More by Reinheitsgebot71
Photo of Portertime


3.85/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this one at a tasting at my ABC store in Gainesville. This was a mighty quad with a nice complex nature. Poured a hefty cabernet color with a head from here to next Tuesday. Initial aroma was candied raisins, honey roasted nuts, spices. Taste was thick and chewy with dark fruits, dried apricot, and almost an earthiness like a good bordeaux,and yes I am comparing this beer to a fine wine because it might as well be.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2008 21:42:57 | More by Portertime
Photo of Yoonisaykul

Quebec (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Damn! Excited to drink this. Been going through all th SAQs I could find trying to track this down. Almost dorve to Quebec city but finally found it 15minutes from my house at the Cavendish Mall.
Really nice looking bottle. Wish I had the right glasswae but I guess the Sam Adams perfect glass will have to do. My bottle says 10%

A- Cloudy auburn-brown. Light beige, pillowy, dense head.

S- Pretty light. I was expecting more. Kind of dusty. Usual quad dark fruit and spices but all very, very tame... maybe it's too cold.
Some molasses. Red licorice. Dark malt ( a bit stout like) in the end.

T- Tastes a bit like a maple beer. The dark fruit and spices is all quite subtle. Really getting some maple syrup in here even though it's probably just dark candi sugar. Really nice after-taste. Maybe my buds are off but this really tastes like maple syrup.

M- Kind of disappointed here. One of the top reasons I enjoy quads and great beers from Belgium is because of the mouthfeel. This is more prickly and thin than creamy and dense. Medium to high carbonation. A forgettable mouthfeel unlike my first Quad love: Chimay Grande Réserve and Rochefort 10.

O- Well this is very good. I do want more but am glad I didn't drive all the way to Quebec for it. Great beer but I still feel let down.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2011 03:47:47 | More by Yoonisaykul
Photo of mactrail


3.85/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber and well carbonated. Rich but only slightly sweet. Complex rhythm of flavors as you'd hope from a good Belgian ale. Honeyed taste with nutty flavors. Interesting bitter twang adds to the long aftertaste. Raising, caramel, bitter chocolate.

Great dessert beer. Rich and perks up the taste buds.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2011 04:09:02 | More by mactrail
Photo of TVolt1


3.85/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Finger width of creamy head. Good amber/red color to it with good clarity. Nice looking beer.

S: The small actually burns my eyes. The alcohol smell is very strong and makes it hard to smell anything else. I do smell a little bit of malts as well as.

T: Good mild, toasty, roasty beer. Has a slight taste similar to a stout but milder and with some hoppy tastes as the end.

M: Medium-thick mouthfeel which i think is appropriate for this type of beer. Low carbed.

O: Overall, this is a good beer. Nothing too exciting but I would have another if the opportunity presented itself, I would have it. Wouldn't go out of my way to buy it again though.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2011 01:28:25 | More by TVolt1
Photo of rgturtle


3.85/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Poured not so opaque; more brick-colored than brown, with a 1/4-inch head, little lacing.
S - Somewhat yeasty, with a bit of alcohol.
T - Not quite as yeasty as it was on the nose; somewhat sweet.
M - More syrupy than I expected given how it poured.
O - Good solid beer for a nearly-sub-zero New England night, but not as world-class as I'd expected it to be.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2014 01:25:00 | More by rgturtle
Photo of RyFikes

New York

3.84/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance- Dark ruby color. Nearly opaque, but some light gets through. Almost no head.

Smell- Plums and cherries

Taste- Dark fruits, tartness, smokey, slight limey sourness. bourbon oaky after taste.

Mouthfeel- Low carbonation. Heavy on the palate but no stand-out flavor to speak of. The after taste is dominated by alcohol; as if you had just taken a shot of smooth bourbon.

Overall- There just wasn't enough flavor. It smelled a lot sweeter than it tasted and I think it could have used a bit more sweetness to balance the alcohol burn. Still a great beer, true to the style.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2013 21:28:54 | More by RyFikes
Photo of Moheban


3.84/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Chimay chalice on 12/30/13

A: beatuiful tan head that lasted throughout the tasting. Nice dark ruby color.

S: dissapointed with the smell because the yeast odor really predominated from the moment I opened the bottle. I get nothing but bready yeast on the nose.

T: taste doesn't match the nose thankfully. The taste is complex, dark fruits, Booze is well masked.

M: rich and creamy

O: point for rochfort 10... Sorry bernie

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2013 05:08:40 | More by Moheban
Photo of mschofield


3.83/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark plum red, topped with a two finger marshmallowy tan head, leaves a puffy sheet of lacing.
Dark malt, plum and raisin in the sweet taste.
Fruity and spicy taste, with toast, caramel, herbs, tea, and raisins. Lip tingling and sweet.
Fully bodied, drinkability was only on the average side.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2005 01:08:53 | More by mschofield
Photo of westweasel


3.83/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle from Schneid - Thanks!

The appearance was a hazy dark amber with a gigantic three-inch off-white head. This was poured into a large wineglass (closest thing we had to a goblet).

The aroma was caramel, alcohol, and lemons. The taste was similar, with mostly a caramel and a lemon flavor.

The mouthfeel was excellent - nice and full with a smooth finish.

The drinkability was very good. It would not be hard to keep drinking this. I'm guessing this beer would taste even better with age. I would bet that the lemon character would get smoother and rounder over time.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2007 02:30:11 | More by westweasel
Photo of MTNboy


3.83/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- A dark red/brown body that formed just under a finger of head in my glass. As I drank the wonderful lace followed all the way to the bottom of the glass.

Smell- Sort of rich and complex but very alcohol filled.

Taste- The taste was not as strong on the alcohol as one would have expected but there is a little alcohol bite. It has some dry fruit and sugar tones that are dominant in the taste. Some mild hops finish this beer's flavor off nicely.

Mouthfeel- Medium body and smooth.

Drinkability- Easy to drink, sip and unwind to.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2008 14:31:34 | More by MTNboy
Photo of kurtissellen


3.83/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From an aggressive pour into an oversize wine glass produced a massive +3 fingers worth of head and almost when over the top of the glass. Good amount of lacing with head receding but never completely going away leaving a sort of foam island in the center of the glass. Dark black chocolate color and smelled of doughy yeast. Tasted dark roasted malts, cinnamon, cloves, and a little amount of sweetness. Alcohol was present but never overwhelming. Very attractive looking beer when first poured.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2008 19:36:51 | More by kurtissellen
Photo of

3.83/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle

Rich, caramel colored liquid. Lots of orange tones in there as well. Clarity hard to determine, pretty sure it is. Modest, light tan, creamy head.

Scent was full of fruit, raisins and figs. Some toffee. Touch of funk. Herbal notes. Milder than expected.

Taste was sweet, caramel and fruits. Herbal bittering, spicy notes - phenols and cloves. Alcohol, and pretty hot. Candi sugar.

Medium to full body. Creamy. Carbonation seems high compared to initial pour. Sweet, but drying at the finish.

Overall, not something I would want more than one of at a time. Great flavors and very complex.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2008 18:02:55 | More by
Photo of jkendrick


3.83/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy brown color with thick billowy off-white head. Carbonation bubbles streaming up from the bottom of the glass. There is great retention and lacing. The re-pour produced a HUGE head, but it settled more quickly.

Aroma: Malty, bready and fruity with hints of clove.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with nice, light carbonation.

Taste: Sweet and malty with clove flavor predominating. I also taste plum fruitiness and a bit of tobacco. The alcohol is there and warms the belly. It is very dry with just a touch of bitterness in the finish.

Overall impression: This is a very nice sipping beer. I had trouble identifying the aroma and taste that seemed most prevalent, but after reading some reviews that mention cloves, I broke out a bottle of cloves from our spice cabinet and sure enough, that's what it is. I enjoyed it, but I enjoy other quads more.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2008 23:41:08 | More by jkendrick
Photo of paytoplay


3.83/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very complex brew, could see this aging for years and years. Sweetness for me is always too much. Though herb complexity, anis, winter warmer spice is lingering. Super long finish I figure is from the sweetness. Yes very complex. With years if the sugars come down I could see this being a perfect beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2009 22:48:08 | More by paytoplay
Photo of tewaris


3.83/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Described on the label as a Dubbel.

750 ml bottle poured into a big snifter, in stages of course, at little below room temperature. The beer was allowed to warm up in the bottle and in the glass over the course of the review.

Appearance 5/5
Deep garnet colored, moderately clear, with a big murky brown head; excellent head retention and fantastic lacing.

Aroma 3.5/5
Yeasty to the extent that other aromatics get pushed to the background. There is a good amount of toasty-bready malt character, fruit and esters, and malty and alcoholic sweetness but all of these are unfortunately dominated by the strong yeasty smell.

Taste 3.5/5
Aromatic sweet, with all the character from the smell coming in, and some hop bitterness and the tiniest bit of tannins towards the end. The taste is not bad and certainly above average, but it dominated by what I assume was strong yeastiness.

Mouthfeel 5/5
Medium body and medium carbonation: feels right.

Drinkability & Other 4/5
A good beer for sure but the strong presence of a character that's not to my liking surely affects my ratings. Stylistically I don't see the need for this strong yeast flavor. It's hard for me to appreciate why this beer commands the respect it commands or how is it, what some people say, "practically same" as Westvleteren 12. I have had the top rated Quadrupels/BSDAs side by side in a tasting that included this beer and I failed to see its charm then, and I fail to see it now. In my opinion it's not close to Westvletern 12 in character and nowhere close to Westvleteren 12 or Rochefort 10 in merit.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2010 09:48:46 | More by tewaris
Photo of Jmaths


3.83/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bought a 16.9 oz bottle at Wegman's.

Appearance: Cloudy, Reddish-Mahogany-Brown, pours medium thick pale head.

Smell: Not bad. Was expecting more, based on its rating. Very similar to taste.

Taste: Wheat, Fruit, Sugar, almost a candy-like taste. Slight yeast. Similar taste to Chimay Blue, but not as good in my opinion. Was expecting more. A good beer, just not extremely impressed with it. Rochefort 10 blows this out of the water.

Mouthfeel: Relatively carbonated, not very thick, alcohol is barely noticeable. Somewhat more thin than I was expecting.

Drinkability: Not amazing, but not horrible either. But let's be honest, who cares about drinkability anyway?

This just makes me want Rochefort 10 even more. I yearn for that mind-bending flavor, for that mouth-orgy.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2011 03:24:48 | More by Jmaths
Photo of THECPJ


3.83/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes 3/3/2011

Appearance: brown with a reddish-orange hue, 2 finger off-white head that fades to a faint partial layer of bubbles, leaves nice lacing down the glass

Smell: dark fruits, caramel, brown sugar, malts, none of which are overpowering

Taste: brown sugar, dark fruits, slight maltiness/breadiness, very sweet, hints of caramel

Mouthfeel: pretty mild carbonation, medium body, smooth

Drinkability: not my personal favorite style of beer, but the 10.5% ABV is hidden well.


Serving type: bottle

03-04-2011 02:22:04 | More by THECPJ
Photo of vobr0002


3.83/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- brownish red color with 2 finger head that last for a long time.

S- malty with a hint of fruit in their too.

T- malty, nutty, fruity kind of cherry maybe? Lots of flavor going on. A mild alcohol burn too but not bad for 10%

M- high carbonation and thicker mouth feel.

O- good beer. Not quite as good as I thought it would be from all the hype, but still alright.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2011 02:03:57 | More by vobr0002
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 6,359 ratings.