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St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

7,729 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,729
Reviews: 2,534
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 475
Gots: 1,242 | FT: 35
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,729 | Reviews: 2,534 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jlindros
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

jlindros, Nov 09, 2009
Photo of doktorhops
4.9/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

doktorhops, Oct 16, 2014
Photo of BEERchitect
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

BEERchitect, Oct 07, 2005
Photo of JLSIV
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

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.

JLSIV, Nov 17, 2014
Photo of rodzm14
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

rodzm14, Today at 07:06 PM
Photo of ArkyVaughan
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%

ArkyVaughan, Today at 03:05 PM
Photo of heeollaug
4.49/5  rDev +0.4%

heeollaug, Today at 11:03 AM
Photo of kcarter71
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

kcarter71, Today at 03:40 AM
Photo of wilfmaster
5/5  rDev +11.9%

wilfmaster, Today at 01:31 AM
Photo of Studs1991
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

Studs1991, Today at 12:51 AM
Photo of wgrussel1028
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

wgrussel1028, Yesterday at 10:51 PM
Photo of alucard
4.44/5  rDev -0.7%

alucard, Yesterday at 09:27 PM
Photo of fosters9
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

fosters9, Yesterday at 08:50 PM
Photo of okono
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Hands down, the best beer I've ever had. It's the gold standard by which other beers should be measured...acknowledging, of course, that each beer needs to be appreciated and rated in the context of its style. St Bernardus 12 is the definitive 5.0 amongst Quads, with Rochefort 10 coming in a close second.

okono, Yesterday at 06:41 PM
Photo of AdamTebbs
4.52/5  rDev +1.1%

AdamTebbs, Yesterday at 04:37 PM
Photo of Jrockerboi
3.75/5  rDev -16.1%

Jrockerboi, Yesterday at 01:43 AM
Photo of jwilfer
5/5  rDev +11.9%

jwilfer, Yesterday at 01:06 AM
Photo of B-J-B
5/5  rDev +11.9%

B-J-B, Monday at 11:57 PM
Photo of jdimento
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

jdimento, Monday at 11:32 PM
Photo of MrWilliams
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into a snifter. Best by date of 19 04 18, so brewed April of 2013 if I am correct.

L 4.75: Color is a deep murky brown that shows little light unless held right up to the lamp, then the edges show a tarnished golden hue. Initial head about 1/2 in fairly head that dissipates quickly leaving a sickly tan film along the top. Despite word like murky and sickly it really is an appealing looking brew.

S 4: Initially overly sweet dark fruits, fig and raisin with a bit of toffee. As it warms bread, slightly toasted, and bananas push their way to the fore. Fruit smells still come into play but not as strongly or as sweet.

T 4.5: Burnt sugar is the first flavor that I notice and it holds throughout the sip leaving a slight bitterness that lingers on the tongue. Flavor isn't as sweet or fruity as the smell would indicate. Hints of raisins and something else in there that I can't quite put my finger on. Also a bit of a mustiness, possibly horse blanket or mildewed hay, not entirely familiar with either of those flavors.

F 3.75: Has a medium mouthfeel to it but the extensive carbonation makes it feel even lighter. Carbonation seems to sit on the tongue after the sip leaving little bubbles of pleasure. I'm not the hugest fan of overly carbonated beer and this one just pushes the boundaries of what I would consider acceptable. Also very dry, enough so that it leaves the mouth wanting another sip, and another just to keep the juices flowing.

O 4.25: As one of the mainstays for the style I expected a lot from this beer and for the most part it delivered. This bottle has about a year and a half on it from what I can tell and I am interested to see how it will hold up after some more time, and would love to try it fresh as well though I know that this may be a pipe dream. I think the only thing that holds this beer back is the lingering burnt sugar flavor. Not that it is unpleasant but a touch of sweetness would in my opinion add another wonderful dimension.

MrWilliams, Monday at 04:42 AM
Photo of Thads324
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Thads324, Monday at 03:51 AM
Photo of BradBuchanan
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

BradBuchanan, Monday at 03:41 AM
Photo of timontheroad
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this beer several times in the past, rated it, finally getting around to reviewing it. Popped the cork and wasn't paying close attention, next thing I knew, great smelling beer was all over my counter. Shared with my wife and son, poured into a Belgian style glass. The color was a deep mahogany, with just a bit of opacity. Kicked up a nice head that faded pretty quickly into a thin film. Very little lacing down the glass. The smell was nice, with some dark fruit smells, lots of sweet malty aromas and just a touch of sweet caramel and cherry notes. The taste is absolutely phenomenal, with huge dark fruit and candy sugar flavors up front. Lots of different flavors on the back end, with a bit of toffee, caramel, fresh baked bread, pepper and raisins. The mouthfeel is luxurious, rolling so smoothly over the tongue, no alcohol bite, and just the right amount of carbonation bite. Overall, this is one of my favorite beers of all time, when one considers the price and availability, it's gotta be pretty high on everyone's list of the greatest beers out there!

timontheroad, Monday at 03:21 AM
Photo of PedroNasser
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

PedroNasser, Sunday at 04:32 PM
Photo of Mlkluther
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Perfectly representing the Belgian style. Refreshing beer but has so much depth it takes a while to enjoy. World class.

Mlkluther, Sunday at 03:25 AM
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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,729 ratings.