1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

6,361 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6361
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)
View: Beers (12) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 6,361 | Reviews: 2,442 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of MadTown1000


4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had on-tap at Monk's Beer Emporium in Philly, served in a tulip glass. Didn't get to see the pour, but it came black with a dark creamy head. Flavor was dark malt, with the promised notes of chocolate and coffee, and... is that BLUEBERRY? Yes, that was distinctly a blueberry note in the finish. The complexity in this beer was really a marvel. While I can't give as detailed a description as I'd like without having taken notes, this was absolutely spectacular. Might knock Gulden Draak off its throne as my favorite Belgian.

Serving type: on-tap

06-15-2010 02:07:03 | More by MadTown1000
Photo of urwithdave


4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at World of Beer.

A- pours a light caramel color. Not as dark as I was expecting. One finger off white head that sticks around for a bit before leaving some decent lacing.

A- bready malts and spices. There is a sweet brown sugar smell and some dark fruits highlighted as well.

T- the bready malts and the spices really start things off. The spices are clove and nutmeg if I'm not mistaken. The plum flavors start to come through as the temperature of the beer warms. There is a candied fig taste. The sweetness is nice and isn't overwhelming. There is a yeasty presence also. Only a slight hint of the abv.

M- medium body. With spot on carbonation. Has some what of a creamy feel to it. The spices are present in the finish.

D- I really enjoyed this and I believe I will pick up a couple bottles to see what a little time will do for it.

Serving type: on-tap

06-09-2010 16:42:12 | More by urwithdave
Photo of WOTO97


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

A: big fluffy caramel cream head with slight lacing over deep burnt sugar/dark caramel body

S: loads of malt, licorice and chicory character with milk caramel, faint orange blossom honey, faint lactose quality

T: slightly hot on the finish, nice milk caramel/dulce de leche on the back of the palate that lingers nicely, some faint fennel on mid-palate with some slight cinnamon notes

M: very round, slightly chewy and some residual stickiness, nice warming feel

D: a sipper for sure, slightly hot on the finish but it does a pretty phenomenal job hiding the alcohol, incredible malt character

Serving type: on-tap

05-13-2010 20:48:10 | More by WOTO97
Photo of AmberMan22


4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Figured earning my 'Empty Mug' Karma status deserved a proper beer in celebration.
This is the first Quadrupel I've had, which gives me reservations about making a review -- but I have had plenty of good dubbels, tripels, BSDA and BSPA before, so that helps.

Had this on tap, served into a St. Bernardus Chalice.

And wow, does it look good. Color is a deep, hazy cherry mahogany mixed lightly with plum, with a lightly toasted colored cap on top. The only demerit this faces is that I expected better head retention and lacing.

Smell doesn't disappoint in the least. Candied plums, raisins, a hint of blackberry(?), all mixed beautifully with the heavenly malt smell.

I'm just going to clump the rest of the categories into one grand paragraph.

Tastes literally like sugar-plum fairies (thank you Tchaikovsky) are dancing on my tongue. Carbonation is of superfine bubbles which tingle and only enhance the experience. Alcohol is certainly present, but remains tucked behind the rest of the symphony. The fruit-laced malt flavors are out of this world. A dash of bitterness sneaks in towards the end, and dissipates before the sweet and malty finish.

[Taste is wonderful, but I won't give this a 5 until I've had Westvleteren 12.]


Serving type: on-tap

04-16-2010 18:31:22 | More by AmberMan22
Photo of SDHoffers


4.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This has to be one of the most balanced quads I've ever had. There is nothing offensive about this beer. The look is coppery but not thick. The nose is small with hints of sweetness like dried fruits but doesn't play the starring role. I actually think the drinkability is the real winner on this one. Since nothing is standing out as the main influence here it's hard to pick it apart. The high alcohol would be the only catalyst here because I'd be expecting it to go down a little hot but it doesn't. I had this on tap one time at our place and it lasted 12 hours. Definitely one I will get again when it becomes available.

Serving type: on-tap

04-13-2010 14:12:59 | More by SDHoffers
Photo of ToasterChef


4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from my notes. Abt 12 has a deep plum color. A thin grey head settled to a skim of bubbles. There is lots of bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass. It has a spicy aroma with some lightly sweet malts and a little bit of musty Belgian yeast. There is a purple fruit in there as well, red grapes or plums. It has a good, crisp, complex flavor. I can pick out a graham cracker-like grain quality to it. I can also taste red and white grapes, especially in the finish. There is a small bite of alcohol and floral hops in the aftertaste. Overall, it's a hearty, big flavor. It feels very crisp with lots of carbonation. The coating feels very good; it leaves a lot of malty flavor behind. It's very drinkable. It gets better as it warms up; this is one worth drinking slowly and ordered repeatedly.

Serving type: on-tap

03-11-2010 18:01:01 | More by ToasterChef
Photo of randawakes


4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Was at one point my favorite beer of all time, but make no mistake, its still way up there. Had on tap at Zenos and in bottle several times poured into wine glass.

So many flavors, every sip is different. The beer is complex, pours dark amber brown and a head the height of the liquid. Rum-raisin-plum, citrus, malts, yeasty, tasteful alcohol, herbal, carbonated well. Rich and sugary, excellent warming of the throat.

Serving type: on-tap

03-03-2010 01:24:46 | More by randawakes
Photo of ktrillionaire


4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Peg's Cantina.

A - It pours a rustic cloudy chestnut-brown, with great lacing. Same as the bottle.

S - The aroma is of dark fruit and sweet things. Figs, dates, brown sugar, chicory and prunes, plus cola are the base of the olfactory, coupled with yeasty-estery alcohol.

T - The flavor follows up on the olfactory; impressions of dark and dried fruits, brown sugar, etc. reassert themselves, this time paired with a peppermint, nutmeg and cinnamon spicy essence.

M - Feels pleasantly sharp and sweetly hot, nice.

D - This is as good on tap as in the bottle, albeit slightly different.

Serving type: on-tap

03-02-2010 00:43:25 | More by ktrillionaire
Photo of Tone


4.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy, amber color. 1/5 inch head of a white color. Decent retention and decent lacing. Smells of yeast, sweet malt, alcohol, tart malt, and citrus (raspberry?). Fits the style of a Quadruple. Mouth feel is slightly smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of tart malt, sweet malt, yeast, dark citrus, and slight alcohol. Overall, a good aroma, mouth feel, and body.

Serving type: on-tap

03-01-2010 23:38:49 | More by Tone
Photo of PsychoJedi


4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Really great beer. Very smooth and easy to drink. Nice dark color with a tint of red. Head stays the same in this draft beer. I could drink this beer all day if it didn't cost $10 a glass where I am drinking it at. Would recommend it to anyone. Alcohol is noticeable when drinking it. Try not to drink it too fast!

Verdict: Must drink this beer. Not just try it, but like it and drink more of it. If you do not like it, seek medical help.

Serving type: on-tap

02-21-2010 02:25:42 | More by PsychoJedi
Photo of DenverLogan


5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yeah...this could be a benchmark for Belgian strong dark - quad beers. Absolutely lovely fresh or aged up to 7 or more years. Beautifully balanced malt body of rich dark fruit, raisins, toffee, roasted malts, dark chocolate all blended together where none stands out overwhelmingly. Big alcohol but not hot. Great with soups. meat or rich vegie dishes, deserts. I've had this in Belgium, in various states, on tap, in small, big, and very big bottles. This is a great beer to serve fresh or after years of aging. I should add that while my rating across the board indicates 5.0, I can't add my own specific point rating, say, 4.6 for mouthfeel. There's a few beers I might want to rate higher, but this is definitely in the running for a dessert island beer. Exceptional!

Serving type: on-tap

02-07-2010 03:48:57 | More by DenverLogan
Photo of jgasparine


4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured from the tap with a thick off-white head, which was well-retained and exhibited some fabulous lacing. The body was a slightly cloudy ruby-tinged aged copper color. No carbonation was visible from the sides of the glass.

S- Smells like a beef and gravy Milkbone!! Thick bready malts and Belgian yeast aromatics dominate the nose with lesser aromas of burnt candy sugar, dried dark druit and the *faintest* traces of stale low-alpha hops.

T- A wonderful replicate of the nose, with a fantastic lingering finish that echoes all the little nuances found throughout the drink. The bready artisanal malts and Belgian yeast flavors are dominant, but there is a ton of nuance here ranging from candy sugar to cocoa to dried dark fruit to some faint stale hops. Incredibly delicious and incredibly complex.

M- A nice firm, creamy body with a metaphoric "velvet blanket" of soft carbonation.

D- Goes down so smooth, and the alcohol never makes its presence known. The mere fact that it exceeds 10% ABV is the only reason it doesn't score a perfect '5' in the Drinkability department!

Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2010 16:21:16 | More by jgasparine
Photo of bernardus1212


5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

WOW WOW WOW WOW. This is always my favorite beer. Poured from tap into a proper bernardus glass. Medium brown body with off white head. THe flavors and textures are immaculate. it makes you go back in for another sip right away. I only hope one day I can go visit the monstary.

Serving type: on-tap

01-14-2010 03:34:45 | More by bernardus1212
Photo of tjd112

New Jersey

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

Presentation - Tapped into goblet

Appearance - Very dark brown colour with extremely small head

Smell/Taste - A lot like cherry cake, very biscuity and malt forward

Mouthfeel - Heavy bodied with a somewhat dry finish

Drinkability - Must be nursed

Overall - A great intro to Quadrupels

Serving type: on-tap

01-09-2010 16:03:37 | More by tjd112
Photo of littlebibs

New Hampshire

4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this awesome Quad on tap at the new "Grill next door" in
Haverhill, Ma. next door to the Dalton family "One Stop" where
they've been known for years for carrying some of the best beer selections in the area. Having 36 beers on tap is like walking into
a candy store. St. Bernardus Abt 12 is on tap and sold in the store
but getting this on tap was more than a treat. This is silky, mysterious, dark
delicious brew that is hard to compare anything to as it is in a class all its own. At 10.50% you need to go easy on this but I could easily drink a growler of this beauty. Mixing a well balanced
carbonation with sweet dark spicey clove and slightly dry end to finish makes this one of my new favorites at the bar, thanks Matt Lonardo, co-owner for this find!

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2010 22:29:55 | More by littlebibs
Photo of ThaCreep


4.18/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Fruity nose and rather complex mingling red fruit, grapes, plums and also a delicious smell of brown sugar. The entry in the mouth is a drought of toast, only then the flavors of fruit soaked in alcohol and coconut are emerging. Finish of roasted malt. The alcoholic strength is not quickly discernable, which makes this beer a compromise gentle enough for "style quadrupel"

Serving type: nitro-bottle

01-03-2010 16:16:10 | More by ThaCreep
Photo of rhenning

New York

4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ Monk's, Philadelphia PA. Served in a tulip.

Dark brown with hints of mahogany showing through. Two fingers of medium tan head with staying power and dots of lacing. Medium bodied with a silky mouthfeel. Nose of malt, yeast, and dare I say banana nut bread... Initial taste of brown sugar, yeast, allspice, mid-palate alcohol with finish of hops and dark chocolate. Malt flavor throughout. Nothing about this beer is offensive. Very nicely balanced and looks great in the glass. Drinkability is def. better than average for this ABV but not for sessioning. High marks!

Serving type: on-tap

12-22-2009 02:07:21 | More by rhenning
Photo of woodychandler


4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A half finger's worth of light-tan head with decent retention. Color was a deep brown with ruby highlights. Nose was dried dark fruits (prunes, raisins, blackberries). Mouthfeel was full with some heat and a fruity sweetness. Finish was juicy, sweet, raisiny. Why did I let The Chauffeur talk me into this? Too good to be true.

Serving type: on-tap

12-15-2009 23:21:16 | More by woodychandler
Photo of bismarksays


4.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It was served to me with a nice finger of head which lingered above the beer which had a dark brown almost chocolate like color. The nose was spicy (clove?) with hints of sweet fruit (raisin and plum perhaps). The taste is both biscuity, spicy, and sweet all at once. Although there is an alcohol presence, it is not over the top, but rather soothing and warming. This is a thick, strong, sweet beer that if you are not careful, could turn into a session beer and lead to questions of what went on the night before. One thing you will not have to question, however, is whether or not this beer is worth its price.

Serving type: on-tap

12-08-2009 18:19:14 | More by bismarksays
Photo of BedetheVenerable


4.15/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Snifter, poured on tap; thanks to Stanford at Sycamore for the sample on the house (and the first couple of glasses out of the keg)...much appreciated!!

Appearance: Dark hazy walnut beer with a nice light tan cap with good retention

Smell: Sweet cotton candy, dried cherries, and light candied fruit...some slight Belgian yeastiness in the background...overall, "sweet", "soft", and "fruity" are the three best adjectives for this beer's aroma.

Taste: Lots of spicy/fruity Belgian yeast, vibrant fruitiness, light candy sugar notes, and a touch of cinnamon round this out. This is sweet and mellow to the extreme; you have NO idea you're drinking a 10%+ beer. The flavors meld together to form more of a broad picture than jumping out at you individually. Also, the malt seems a bit more subdued than I remember it being in the bottled version. Bliss.

Mouthfeel: On the light side of medium-bodied; supremely drinkable, which is even more remarkable considering the abv

Drinkability: High

Conclusion: This is crazy soft, supple, fruity, and delicious. Glad I got to try it on tap!.

Serving type: on-tap

11-29-2009 03:50:19 | More by BedetheVenerable
Photo of MPLS


4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Always a good value to buy this in a bottle, but reviewing the tap.

A: Have to love bars with individual glasses for an individual beer. Color is Dark Brown/slight amber hue in this lighting. The pour seemed delicate, less head than a remember.

S: Valorous sweetness, cocoa + dark fruits is what it was first described to me as and I pick up on that. Alcohol is there, small amounts of spice, other unrecognizable dark colored matter!

T: Taste much like the aroma...a good sweetness that cannot be described right away, I'll give it the cliche "it's complex" taste line. The alcohol isn't masked but works wonderfully as I am struggling to figure out what dominates the flavor of this beer. It's sweet, but not overly, glimpse of hops in the finish. Sweet, earthy, delicious.

M: Medium bodied, trace carbonation, warming.

D: ABV doesn't quite scare me away, especially when taking delightful little sips. This was the first Belgian Quad I tried, so there is a soft spot for it...a spot it deserves.

Serving type: on-tap

11-13-2009 22:31:13 | More by MPLS
Photo of OneDropSoup


4.03/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on draft at 6 & Save in New Kensington, PA.

Poured into a tulip a deep brown with purple-ruby highlights, a finger-and-a-half of creamy tan head with a little lacing. Head falls halfway.

Smell is sweet & rich, dark fruit, caramel, a little vanilla, some booze as it warms.

Tastes of dark fruit (cherries, figs), malty flavor almost syrupy sweet, alcohol.

Full-bodied with some carbonated prickliness. Alcohol brings some heat, especially as the beer warms.

A big old beer, makes it a sipper. Exemplifies the style very well, but I can't say there's anything here to wow me about it. Granted, it's going to be pretty great, but I didn't find any je ne sais quois to push it over the top.

Serving type: on-tap

11-12-2009 22:57:54 | More by OneDropSoup
Photo of BillyBoysPie


4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at the Nachbar, Louisville, KY - poured in a St. Bernardus Chalice.

Dark ruby/garnet color, beautiful pale/light tan head about half an inch thick. The head retention was slim, typical for a high alcohol beer. Lacing covered the entire glass when I had finished. Quite beautiful.

Smell of spices and dried figs. Some malt presence, but not overpowering the complexity (and main interest) of the dried fruit/spice character. No heavy notes of alcohol, but it is present on the palate.

Taste is quite what one would expect from the smell - rich dried fruits and spice dominate the flavor with malts and a touch of bitter to finish the flavor. I don't really feel the alcohol at all, and drinking this over the course of 30 minutes didn't have any effect.

Well balanced mouthfeel - the carbonation offsets what could have been a boring texture. Nothing overdone in this beer.

I'll be having this again. A delicious Quad that is a great introduction to this style of beer.

Serving type: on-tap

10-31-2009 17:08:11 | More by BillyBoysPie
Photo of david18

New York

3.68/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I wanted like this beer more than I did but I have to say i was a little mixed on it. Good color and good dark fruit flavor and aroma but in general it wasn't a stand out quad that I wanted it to be. A very dark brown, decent carbonation but not as good as I wanted it to be.

Serving type: on-tap

10-26-2009 22:26:48 | More by david18
Photo of Deuane


4.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Deep, dark copper with a thin, off-white head that reduced to a spotty veil and left little lace.

S-Dryness, dark fruit and overall rather light,

T-Mmmm...dark cherry, raisin and deep, dark lighted sweet biscuit malt. Spicy zip in the finish. Really nice.

M-Medium bodied good lasting spiciness with a crisp, dry finish.

D-Excellent! True to style example. Juicy, dark fruit and a building dryness leads to deliciousness! 10%+ ABV barely noticed!

Serving type: on-tap

10-23-2009 12:30:54 | More by Deuane
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 6,361 ratings.