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St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

6,360 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6360
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: 6,360 | Reviews: 2,442 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of itsscience


4.94/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Abt 12 is a beer that changed my life. Before I tried it, I was your typical college senior who had tasted a few strong craft brews, maybe enjoyed one or two, but for whom beer did not yet 'click'. When I was at the bar and saw this sitting in the cooler, I had a foggy recollection of a "greatest beers" list I had seen somewhere with this on it, and so I bought a bomber. At first taste, I knew this was everything I had always hoped beer would be, and that I had to keep seeking out stuff like this. That is the moment I fell in love with beer.

The pour that I'm reviewing now is from draft. It pours a muddy ruby color with a 2 1/2-finger pillow of moussy head. The nose brings clean and sweet bread malts, plum skin, cherry, wild earthy yeast, brown sugar, and caramel. It tastes rich and sweet in its malty goodness with dark fruit esters, especially plum and raisin, playing a huge role. There's also a toasted oat/nutty character to the beer, some coriander and other spices from the yeast, and big bread flavor on the finish. It has the perfect carbonation to pry open the taste buds without overdoing it, and a medium body that hides the alcohol well.

Serving type: on-tap

03-30-2014 06:27:41 | More by itsscience
Photo of Bouleboubier


4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: deep, raisin-y red... silky-cottony head - few shades off-white... nice-looking rings of lace... very inviting

S: elegant, flowery, soft yet supple booze, balanced by bold-ass plum/raisin/dark-sugar aromas... equal parts in yin and yum

T: bitterness at first hit... mellow, ghostly, complex-spicy alcohol immediately surges in next, snuffing the lite bite out... followed by a slow burst of wood-roasted grain and dark fruit - crimson plum flesh and its deep purple skin... pillow-soft booze flows throughout - amazing how obscured it is

M: the mousse-y foam lightens what might still be relatively-light curvy, voluptuous body.... high mash and lots of sugar to dry it out enough? - how do they do it? (well, I guess I could look it up - not at this hour though!)... sooo easy...

O: one of the darker and richer-tasting quads (if that what it be)... just an absolutely fantastic brew and certainly in my top 20... i feel like i've deliberately lowered some of these marks, imagining, envisioning something that takes this to another level - could be fooling myself

Serving type: on-tap

03-24-2014 07:56:21 | More by Bouleboubier
Photo of GoCanes


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

I think that this beer is really delicious. It is my favorite beer and could drink it at anytime.
The smell captivates your mind and the taste is out of this world.
I have had this beer at Yardhouse Miami and from my local Total Wine Store.
If they have this beer on tap or bottle I will have it without question.

Serving type: on-tap

03-02-2014 16:51:58 | More by GoCanes
Photo of LVituri


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

Com certeza um dos grandes rótulos não trapistas da Bélgica. Levo em consideração duas maneiras de degustá-la. Na garrafa ela possui um sabor mais forte e marcante. Na pressão ela é mais aromática e equilibrada, não há defeitos, não sinto que tenha o que criticar ou apontar como não cumprido. Um rótulo sensacional.

Serving type: on-tap

01-16-2014 13:42:32 | More by LVituri
Photo of Axnjxn

North Carolina

4.16/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

draft at beer study in chapel hill. into a snifter.

pours a dark brown with a nice inch thick head. the smell is big on dark fruits - grapes, plums etc. the taste holds true and at first is dominated by figs/plums and then the booziness hits you on the back end. its very solid for the style..though this isnt one of my favorite styles by any means. medium bodied with mild carbonation.

overall its better than westy 12, but still not one of my favorite beers. above average!

Serving type: on-tap

12-21-2013 01:53:23 | More by Axnjxn
Photo of greshdoghophead


3.78/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Tulip glass at House Wine bar
A- muddy tealike with minimal head

S-slight raisin, fig and fruit

T-underwhelmingly rich caramel and spicy

M-thinish with a nice buttery tone

O- it really does mask the ABV only mild heat on the backend, lacks robust complexity

First time tasting this highly rated example didnt blow me away
Other top rated brews often live up to their billing but high expectations were deflated

Serving type: on-tap

11-21-2013 04:52:22 | More by greshdoghophead
Photo of Doe_A_Beer


4.73/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had this both on tap and then, to confirm, from bottle. I can only say, Wow! The smell and taste was all banana & spice a'la banana bread. The mouthfeel was superb: smooth and velvety with possibly slightly more alcohol than I would have ordered. But, nonetheless, that doesn't detract from the overall experience which is fantastic.

I would drink this everyday, but,--like eating chocolate for dinner-- only refrain so as to retain its superiority by experiencing other lesser examples of the genre. I'm still looking for a better Belgian but I haven't found one yet.

Serving type: on-tap

10-06-2013 03:57:15 | More by Doe_A_Beer
Photo of mostpoetsdo

Rhode Island

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

A: Deep, murky, swampy reddish brown. Globs of lacing. Not pretty, but means business.

S: Sweet candied fruits, molasses, grainy, apple, fig.

T: All over the place with fruit: currants, dates, figs, cherries. A very sweet wine-characteristic with a touch of acidity. Out of this world with sweetness, yet incredibly balanced by malt and a slight hop touch to keep the full profile anchored in beerdom, without sailing off into total wine territory.

M: Big, chewy body. Full. Perfectly carbonated. No alcohol burn.

O/D: The kind of beer you can drink a lot of because of the superior taste, but shouldn't because of the ABV. All the Quad flavor with none of the Quad burn. What's better?

Serving type: on-tap

09-29-2013 17:41:29 | More by mostpoetsdo
Photo of RaulMondesi


4.61/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

08-16-2013 02:23:13 | More by RaulMondesi
Photo of Alextricity


4.39/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at One-Eyed Betty's in Ferndale, Michigan as part of a paddle.

Appearance: Basically perfect. The 10% ABV seems impossible given the nice little head this beer showed off, and the wall of lace that this left through my whole sample glass. Wow. Abt 12 has a deep brown/red color, and doesn't seem to have much (any?) haze. Marvelous to look at.

Smell: I've never had a quadrupel... that's my disclaimer here. I didn't know what to expect going in, other than that this is one of the very best beers in the world, according to a lot of people. I got a lot of doughy bread and dark fruits. The cracker aromas sort of came through in the initial whiff, and the fruits were in the "after smell". Very good smelling stuff.

Taste: 10%? Really? Initially I didn't think I really loved this beer all that much, but then I noticed that I was sipping it more often than the other beers I had in my sampler. There's just a lot going on with this beer. The cracker/dough flavors are there in a pretty big way, then the non-descript "dark fruits" come in a little bit, and then there's just an alcohol warmth and it's all gone. All the while, Abt 12 is never bitter and never really sweet (and therefore cloying) at all.

I got this beer for a few reasons. First, I've heard insanely good things about it. Second, I had never tasted a quad (to my knowledge) before. Third, and most college-boy esque of me, it had a pretty high ABV and I didn't think it would hurt to get a little buzz going on. Turns out, this may've been my favorite beer from the night. I don't tend to drink imported beer (local jobs, yadayadayada), but this is impressive. It's not cheap, by any means, but this is something worth treating yourself to, time-to-time. This really makes me want to try beers like Rochefort and Westvleteren now... my interest has officially been piqued.

Serving type: on-tap

07-13-2013 03:18:49 | More by Alextricity
Photo of nick_asian


4.74/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: Head is a nice cream color
Body is almond-ish

S: TONS of banana and lots of bready malt. Banana bread? A little residual sweetness. Some floral notes.

T: Nice full body and very round mouth feel. Super smoothe. Hardly any heat (if any.) A lot of banana still along with malts and a tiny bit of apricot. Really great.

O: Really fantastic beer. So glad to have it on tap and enjoy the full fruity esters.

Serving type: on-tap

06-22-2013 06:40:59 | More by nick_asian
Photo of smooth_aleing

New York

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

Well-awaited, and worth the wait. Poured from tap into a snifter at Isaac's in Newtown, PA.

A= Murky, muddy brown with a thick, frothy head. Settles down to good lacing.

S= Strong notes of raisin, black bread, caramel, roasted malt. Very sweet and pronounced smell.

T= Wonderful. Sweet at first, then settles down to a rich, yeasty flavor. Strong notes of raisin, brandy, black bread, with lighter fruits in background, esp. plum and cherry.

M= Great carbonation, no bitterness.

0= Just a superb beer, one of the best I've had.

Serving type: on-tap

04-23-2013 20:09:39 | More by smooth_aleing
Photo of Alieniloquium


4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the House of Brews. Served in a Chimay goblet.

Appearance - A little on the murky side. Brownish red with a nice khaki head on arrival. Retains well and even leaves some lacing.

Smell - Caramel dominates with some dark fruits. An earthy nuttiness separates this from other quads.

Taste - Sweet at first and briefly seems like it won't go anywhere interesting. Nice dark fruit flavor comes through keeping it interesting. That nuttiness comes back in the end.

Mouthfeel - Almost boozy. Not quite as dry as I'd like for a quad. Threatens to be oversweet but never is.

Overall - A great standard to have readily available. It's a shame how often I overlook this in exchange for an inferior beer I've never had.

Serving type: on-tap

04-19-2013 20:32:58 | More by Alieniloquium
Photo of facundoCNB

New Jersey

4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Holy fuck, served in a goblet and filled to the brim for $5?? Thanks!!! A deep brown pour with Slight amount of head. Smells like port wine, caramel, grapes.. Holy crap a big difference from the bottle. Flavor is excellent of course like a port wine slightly carbonated, grapes, caramel, honey, dates, raisins. Full body, low carbonation. Still like a carbonated wine though.

I don't even know. This is a fantastic beer and just a great fucking bargain

Edit fir bottle review:
A4 murky burgundy/brown, finger of head.
S4.5 vinous notes.. Muscat Grapes, Greek olives, oak, caramel..
T4.5 boozy, sweet richness with a lot of port wine qualities.
M4 a bit more carbonated than on tap and a but thinner as well.
O4.5 I had this in the cellar for two years and am planning on buying another couple to open up when my kids turn 21. This is an excellent beer and I'm sure will develop ridiculously over time

Serving type: on-tap

04-02-2013 23:57:40 | More by facundoCNB
Photo of nefelim


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

I don't typically write full reviews as I find that I have trouble describing exactly the different characteristics and nuances of the beers that I drink. I just like them or I don't. So what has prompted me to write this review you may ask? In my many years of trying different brews in many different places, I have never had a better beer than st bernardus abt 12. It is simply the best beer that I have had in the world.

On a recent trip to Philly, the wife and I popped in to Monks as I heard they had Pliny the Elder on tap and I was very eager to try one of the highest rated IPAs on this site. I ordered the Pliny while my wife got the St Bernardus. The Pliny was unbelievable but the St Bernardus was just on a different level. I tasted burnt banana, caramel, delicious Belgian yeast, cloves, figs - basically everything you want in a quad.

Before our trip was over, I had bought thirteen 750ml bottles from the local liquor store to take home. This beer is without equal.

Serving type: on-tap

03-23-2013 19:42:18 | More by nefelim
Photo of SheHatesMe


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

Have tried them all...Quads, Trippels, Strong Darks, yadda-yadda-yadda. I will save you a lot of time & effort: If you EVER get the chance to order Abt 12 on Tap...Please don't pass up the opportunity.

>Beautiful, consistent ebony color.
>Aroma is a blast of malty, yeasty anticipation.
>Head is ample, creamy & butternut in color.
>Mouthfeel is soft, yet full & even.
>Flavor is a symphony of malt, fruit, spices. Hints of caramel, fig, over-ripened banana swirl & dance upon the palate. Hopps are present & well-mannered. Alcohol is lurking, somewhere, but never, ever obvious. "Complex" is an understatement.
>Overall, drinking this Belgian Quad is a completely preposterous experience. A privilege.

Abt 12 in the bottle is malty Belgian Perfection. Abt 12 on Tap is better. Yeah...That may sound implausible, but it's not. Hold it. Savor it. Understand that it's your lucky day.

Serving type: on-tap

03-07-2013 21:22:29 | More by SheHatesMe
Photo of Retta123


4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

serving: on tap

appearance: dark golden brown, no head

mouthfeel: low carbonation, smooth

taste: plum, prune, rasin, sweet, no bitterness

overall: very tasty beer. not overly sweet, and nice and smooth. Nice after dinner dessert beer. High alcohol content...

Serving type: on-tap

01-06-2013 04:40:19 | More by Retta123
Photo of NiceTaps

New Jersey

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

On tap at Monk's in Philly.

A- dark brown, thick and rich. A mocha colored 1+ finger head that leaves a bunch of lacing.

S- Bready malts and ripe dark fruits. I pick up some licorice as well.

T- Rich malt sweetness teamed with those dark fruit flavors. A bit of licorice as it warms.

M- Smooth as silk, full body, just like it looks. There's no denying that it's 10 % abv, but it does not overpower.

O- A real deal Quad, flavor , body, and balance. So well rounded.

Serving type: on-tap

11-01-2012 19:03:38 | More by NiceTaps
Photo of Jayli


3.98/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes 6/21
Served in a chalice at The Bier Garden in VA

A: Beer pours a murky, ruddy brown with a 2 finger of khaki bubbly head. Head recedes somewhat quickly, rather lack luster though leaves sheets of lacing.

S: Nose is coriander, yeast, and caramel malt.

T: Taste starts with a yeast, hay and coriander mixture. Caramel malts come in to fill out the middle. Some lemon zest, orange rind and a hint of banana apple in the finish.

M: Medium carbonation, light body, dry finish.

O: Goes down somewhat easily, nice taste, not too filling, was a rather lovely beer on a steamy VA summer night.

Serving type: on-tap

11-01-2012 00:34:54 | More by Jayli
Photo of michael69

4.98/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beer was medium bodied with a sweet, slightly fruity smell. It had a nice creamy head, about 1-1 1/2" thick, and for the % of alcohol, it was well balanced. Bought some in the bottle and noticed that it taste better at around 50 degrees rather at 40. I must say though that it is one of the best beers I have tasted.

Serving type: on-tap

10-31-2012 20:00:04 | More by michael69
Photo of thagr81us

South Carolina

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

Served from tap into a chalice. Poured brown with a very light tan two finger head that subsided to one finger slowly. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, dark fruit, fig, bread, fruit, and sweet alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, dark fruit, bread, sweet alcohol, and fruit. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a great brew. I saw this one on tap and had to jump on it as it is the first time I've seen it on since I started reviewing. I was definitely not disappointed at all. All the right flavors and aromas for a great Quad were definitely present and made themselves known right out of the gate. This brew does this while still remained very well balanced and drinkable. Really glad I got the chance to have this one again and will be doing so again in the future. Maybe in the form of the 60th Anniversary I have sitting in my cellar...

Serving type: on-tap

08-07-2012 16:49:03 | More by thagr81us
Photo of kevanb


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

Served on tap at Lucky Baldwins into a chimay chalice, review from notes.

Pours a nice dark opaque burgundy color, big lively caramel/bone colored head, lots of fizzy bubbles, leaves behind a touch of lacing, not much, no real head retention, pretty standard for the style. The aroma is pleasant, lots of yeast up front, dark fruits, a bit of alcohol sweetness and some dark grain. The flavors are wonderful, lots of yeast, cherry, fig, plum, grain, sweetness from the alcohol, which is less detectable, but the yeast provides so much flavor here and it's balanced very well. The body is a bit thinner and crisper than I'd like, not as thick and syrupy as some of the other famous quads.

Verdict: This is definitely one of the best beers that's as available as it is. Not sure it quite ranks up there with Rochefort 10 and Westy 12 but it's damn good and so easy to get.

Serving type: on-tap

07-25-2012 23:04:24 | More by kevanb
Photo of Darkmagus82


4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – The beer was served a brownish-red color with only a tiny white head. The head faded very fast to give only a light amount of lacing.

Smell – The aroma was a nice mix of fruit, bread and yeast. There were stronger notes of dark fruit, such as prunes and plum, as well as a good yeast cake aroma. These were all balanced by a semi-sweet brown bread and biscuit aroma. Overall it was quite nice.

Taste – The taste starts out with a good shot of fruit and malt. A sweet dark cherry flavor mixed with a biscuit base great the tongue. As the taste moves on other dark frit flavors enter the tongue and are mixed with notes of a yeasty flavor as well as some candied/sugary flavors. All the while a prune flavor accompanied by an alcohol flavor creep into the taste. At the end a somewhat alcohol flavored, dark fruit sweet and lightly bready flavor are left on the tongue. Delicious.

Mouthfeel- the body of the ber was about right for its abv., being on the creamier and thicker side, with a carbonation level that was on the lower side. Both the body and the carbonation accentuated all the dark fruit and malty flavors as well as complemented te warming feel of the alcol quite nicely.

Overall - Rated high for a reason. It has a wonderful taste, aroma, and feel . Delicious.

Serving type: on-tap

07-18-2012 00:43:22 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of DmanGTR

New York

4.98/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've had this beer from both bottle and from tap. The 2 styles are identical in all respects in my opinion, except of course, the carbonation can be adjusted accordingly when on tap. Thus, my review for the draught version is identical to that of it from the bottle, except for the mouthfeel category. I will add, too, that I had a slightly overcarbonated pour from tap at a bar once. I talked to the bartender and they dialed the carbonation down a little bit. I tried it again the next day and it was much better and thus, the review came from the better of the two experiences:

Deep plum brown with a nicely retained beige head in a St. Bernardus goblet. Garnet hues barely shine through in the light. Nicely sweet, predominantly caramel, plum, raisins, and a light toffee hint. Perhaps even a touch of burnt sugar in the very farthest reaches of the crevices of your palate. This beer commands respect to all those savoring its greatness. Very, very light hint of hops keeps it from being cloying, yet remaining undetectable by conventional means. It's almost as if the hops are simple leaving a shadow to dance with the malts and fruity flavors. Carbonation is spot on. Sweet and almost chewy body, but still incredibly smooth.

Serving type: on-tap

06-28-2012 03:29:12 | More by DmanGTR
Photo of BostonHops


4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

have had bottled and on-tap, this review is from the draft. (@ deep ellum, allston, MA)

served in a st. bernardus draft chalice.

pours a murky amber/russet brown tone with two solid fingers of creamy, slightly tan/off-white head... dark, though not as dark as some quads i've experienced. great retention; moderate lacing. the nose is a potpourri of belgian yeast, caramel malts, and spices, with strong dark fruit characteristics.

taste exceeds the smell, with the dark fruits having expanded; yeast, sweet malts and spices, a hop presence, brown sugar and a not unpleasant warming alcohol which follows. complex and delicious.

heavy, full-bodied mouthfeel with medium to light carbonation. drinkability is high. dangerous so. in the final analysis i'd put this a step below rochefort 10, but still a truly great beer.

Serving type: on-tap

06-20-2012 00:51:44 | More by BostonHops
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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 6,360 ratings.