St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

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2,600 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,600
Hads: 8,519
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 8.39%
Wants: 622
Gots: 1,860 | FT: 50
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website

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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 2,600 | Hads: 8,519
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 Mikus
4.18/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep reddish brown pour at friendly tap room. Aromas of dark fruit, spicy yet refined Belgian yeast with banana and clove. Thus tasted the pure essence of balance. Dark fruits and raisins galore. Delicious! Clean dry finish with some residual sweetness and yeast notes. A lesson in balance. (290 characters)

Photo of M_J_Z
4.34/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

One of my all-time favorites! This beer never disappoints either on draft or from the bottle. It's exceptionally well-made and has great value and availability. If you're new to Belgian quadrupels, this is among the first you should try. It's excellent. There isn't much that I could say that hasn't been said in the countless glowing reviews here and elsewhere.

I just had this on draft last week and loved it as much as I ever have. It's timeless. (450 characters)

Photo of pat61
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L: Pours brilliant chestnut topped with a clingy 2” moussey tan tinted white foam cap.
S: Prune, dried fig, raisin, fruit cake, and anise
T: Prune then a hint of cocoa and caramel, a very moist dark molasses bown sugar spice cake type flavor with most of the sweetness fermented out. Long lingering spice and dark sugar tastes. Some alcohol warming and pepper on the finish
F: Creamy fine soft carbonation, medium body.
O: a true classic. (444 characters)

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

An exceptional quad and one of the best beers in the world....and it's sitting on your local craft beer store's shelf right now! Dark, sweet, with raisin notes and maybe some peach? Carbonation is a little high, but it works to tie the experience together. (262 characters)

Photo of Rothobinide
4.44/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Exceptional quad. I had this side-by-side with Westvleteren 12 for some context, as they are allegedly based upon the same recipe. The Westy bested this one, however, I still recognized it as a world-class example of its style. Rich and malty, with plenty of dark, stone fruit in the aroma and flavor. The carbonation levels were a tad bit high, this was a 2014 bottling. (371 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 Beersmuggler
3.54/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I am not the best person to give reviews on quadruples but this is average at best. It has a very distinct taste to it compared to other quadruples. I don't think i will seek it out anymore. (190 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 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 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 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 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 brother_rebus
4.04/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750ml. 12/12/13 Bottling date. Explosive uncorking, no gush. Crisp vanilla colored head. Opaque dark amber plum appearance. nose smells of fruited molasses. fig. belgian yeast. very foreword carbonation on the pallet. almost a tart fruit pinch right up front. like an unripened black cherry.
the hops are surprisingly somewhat distinct. despite it being so old. the prototypical belgian yeast taste coats the tastebuds after the tartness. as it warms, it starts to taste bready. as it gets even warmer, (and towards the bottom of the snifter) the collected sediments bring out way more tones of dark fruits; plum, fig, date, currant. as well as caramel, molass, and koff syrup in a good way. hitting some notes of clove, (nutmeg?) and other spices. washes a mellow smooth wash and a warm boozy after breath. (807 characters)

Photo of Gobearswalter34
4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A huge, foamy, off-white head. Pours a very hazy, thick, reddish-brown. Smell of funky fruit with a definite malty backing. Taste, Carmel malt, dark fruit of many kinds. As warms, notes of chocolate. A thinner mouthfeel than expected would allow for many drinks. A warm sensation down the palate and down the hatch in which alcohol shows up. I'm not huge on quads, but enjoyed. (383 characters)

Photo of neurobot01
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750ml c&c bottle best-by dated 7/10/18 into a Burgundy goblet at cellar temp. Bottle opens with a massive *pop*. Allowed to warm; consumed as part of the mass online tasting on this date.

Look: pours about the color of Coke, only about 100x more beautiful, like if Coke were made by monks. Luxurious offwhite head, decent lacing.

Smell: bread pudding, brandy, figs, caramel, wheat ale, candi sugar, nutmeg.

Taste: just fantastic. Sweet up front, but with a pronounced savory aspect, like chocolate-covered bacon. I get maple syrup, vanilla, brandy, figs, molasses... There's a hint of bitterness, but it really just tempers the sweetness, and isn't at all unpleasant. Starting from cellar temp (54F in this case), I'm not picking up any major changes as it warms, although the relative balance of the elements does change a bit.

Feel: a bit fizzy, light to medium, dryish finish. I think I'd actually like this better with about 10% less carbonation.

Overall: for all intents and purposes, this was my first time with this beer, and boy am I glad I finally had an opportunity to drink it. Beers like this are why the BA old-timers just laugh when all the new kids are killing themselves chasing the newest whale. (1,217 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 MUTINY
3.96/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle into a Belgian-style tulip.

A: Pours a surprisingly clear brown/amber with 1/2" white/khaki head that lingers. The retention on this brew is unreal, among the best I've ever seen. Lacing is nonexistent.

S: Nuttiness, slight booze, caramel. Roastiness. What I'd first taken as oat bread but now see clearly as pumpernickel. Some pitted fruit as well.

T: Quite boozy. Pitted fruits, what I'd call roasted caramel & then more booze through the mid-palate. The finish is off-sweet with candied fruit balanced out with yet more booze.

M: Carb is higher than expected. The body has a rich, yet light & delicate feel. Much like a fine Italian red wine.

O: This is a truly deep, moving experience to consume. Glad that I did. (751 characters)

Photo of Buck89
4.53/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful reddish brown hue poured into a snifter. This one is a 2013 brew. Thick light tan head that stays with you for awhile. Light to moderate lacing. Aroma full of red and black cherries and some earthy tones. The taste is complex as expected: cherries and plum followed by sweet malt/caramel followed by tobacco and earthy estery notes. I felt a great warming at the end of the dry finish, gently reminding me that this is a big beer. The feel and carbonation is light to medium and a perfect vehicle for the experience. Just beautiful (541 characters)

Photo of Apellonious
4.08/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 bottle best by Jan 16 2019 poured into a tulip glass.

A - Murky, dark brown with ruby highlights. Two finger clear white head that moves to a half finger lace. Active carbonation on the pour, and visible sediment in the glass.

S - Grape, fig, booze, clove/spice

T - I must have a palate problem. Having a hard time picking things out at first. Clove, banana and grape qualities, toasted malt. Opens up more as it gets warm (I let it sit at 20m at room temp, maybe it should have been longer)

M - Almost has a champagne/white wine feel to it. Carbonation is high, sits medium light in the mouth, and finished dry.

O - Admittedly, I have not drank many quads to compare, and will probably come back to this one, but I was a touch underwhelmed based on the hype. Still a very tasty beer (maybe too young at 18 months?), and there is always a question of how/where it has been stored up until this point, but it's worth a go, just prepare for pricey. (965 characters)

Photo of gcrfire3
4.91/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is the best tasting beer I've had. I saw this on the shelf (4pk) and although it was relatively expensive ($20.99/4pk). The beer I had was bottled in 2013, so it had a couple years on it already. I had to see if the taste lived up to the hype. I was not disappointed at all! Highly recommend you go for it if you're on the fence about trying/buying this. The three I have left will be saved for sharing with friends! If Westy 12 is better than this (their supposedly the same recipe...right?) than I can't wait to try that as well. (543 characters)

Photo of _cr1992_
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is the best!!!!! Loved everything about it. From the way it was presented to me down to swallowing this beer. It is very delicious and would highly recommend it to everyone. Glad my awesome bartender showed me it. (225 characters)

Photo of Brutaltruth
4.51/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed from a growler from Eight Ball Brewing company via The Party Source.
This true treat on tap pours a lightly cloudy brownish red with a modest off white head of foam that fades to a thin ring and nice light lacing. The nose is of figs, raisins, heavy Belgian candy sugars, leather, tobacco, and moderately strong alcohol. Flavors surpass the nose with sweet candy sugars and caramel notes that fade to a raisin and fig flavor profile that is warming on the back, yet well hidden considering the ABV. Mouth feel is lively with carbonation, slick, and ends with a Belgian candy sugar note like a light molasses. Exceptional. Begs for a warm fire in exceptionally well in the air conditioning away from the heat of summer.

At 20 dollars a growler I feel privileged to enjoy such a wondrous treat considering the cost of a bottle.

A favorite to be certain, worthy of the praise that is heaped upon it.

Cheers (938 characters)

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

12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, deep, dark, mahogany color, with two full fingers of white-colored head that slowly dissolved away into a lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very aromatic, with lots of complex, rich, earthy, aromas of bready, toasted malt, which imparts aromas of freshly baked French baguettes. There are also notes of candied sugar, toffee, dark molasses, lots of dried stone fruit, such as raisins, prunes and dates. I also get notes of funky, spicy, Belgian yeast, which imparts notes of saddle leather, clove, and interestingly, a touch of dark chocolate. Smells awesome!

Taste: Wow! Just…wow! Delicious! Earthy, rich, amazing. Lots of bready, toasted malt up front, followed by some nuttiness and candied sugar, toffee and dark molasses-like sweetness. There are lots of deep, fruity flavors of dried stone fruit, such as raisins, prunes and dates. I also get notes of funky, spicy, Belgian yeast, which imparts notes of clove, and as stated earlier, a touch of dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Slightly chewy and smooth as there is very little carbonation. With an ABV of 10%, there is practically no alcohol on the palate. It’s amazing how well masked the alcohol is. This beer could be…no, check that, it is a dangerous beer in that its incredibly easy to drink, like three or four of them, and not taste or feel the alcohol…that is until you try to stand up and fall on your ass!

Overall: This is an outstanding beer! Malty, fruity, spicy, earthy, rich, complex and utterly amazing. As with all of the other beers from St. Bernardus, this is very, highly recommended! (1,706 characters)

Photo of -Rick
3.53/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I try and enjoy Quads, but they just do not do it for me. For what it's worth (not much since I am not a quad fan) this was one of the better ones I have tried. (160 characters)

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
98 out of 100 based on 2,600 ratings.