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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.

6,361 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
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Ratings: 6,361 | Reviews: 2,442 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of LightnerLiquorKS


4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

St. Bernadus Abt 12

25.4Oz Caged Bottle poured into a Watou (official glass)

Look: Dark Brown, reminds me of a dark stout in appearance. There are more colors present when held to a bright light. A very small amount of head/foam arises when this amazing Ale is poured. Many Belgians have a large amount of head that dissipates slowly. This Quad gets right to business!

Smell: Dessert time! My goodness, I have drunk this beer many times, however reviewing it is another matter entirely! A very sweet aroma arises and the malt is very noticeable on the nose. I smell almost different things entirely each time I drink this beer. This time, it was cherries, caramel, dark...dark fruit, and brown sugar. The cinnamon in this specific pour overtook my senses and indeed, this beer can be enjoyed by itself or with dessert.

Taste: A yeast and fresh-baked bread taste is immediately noticed...then comes the dark fruit, such as hints of raisins, dark cherries, and aged grapes. The heat (10.00abv) is hidden so wonderfully that ALL you can taste is a very special Belgian beer. Put it this way: there is no "syrup" feel or taste to it. It tastes like beer!

Mouthfeel: Since this Ale is not heavily carbonated, it is heavy and bulky on the tounge. Most connoisseurs say "chewy" on how it feels in your mouth--and I am inclined to agree!

Overall: This Quadruple is not as hot as most of the others that you have been used to. It goes more along the lines of a triple or even a dubbel. It goes down easy, but still lets you know it is there- especially when you stand up from 25 ounces of the stuff! This is the tastiest Belgian Quad and very akin to Gulden Draak 9000 Quad- as it goes down easy but it is amazingly complex and the heat is masterfully masked. It goes down SO easy despite the heaviness and complexity: watch out! This is a serious beer and one of the World's best. Since I am a Belgian lover, there is nothing better than a Quad that masks itself down a little. This will always be one of my favorite beers and is endlessly drinkable.

Serving type: growler

10-22-2013 01:42:23 | More by LightnerLiquorKS
Photo of Scrapss


4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

poured from growler into Sam Adams Turbinator style glass.

A: Beautiful mahogany with a slight haze. Tight little bubbles but head rapidly cedes into very wispy disk with some legs on swirl.

S: Ripe currant, dark cherries, slight bitter orange smell. I am getting the phenolics as others have mentioned, dark roasted malts. A little hint of the booziness.

T: Roasted malt, cherries again. Currants, prune, very aromatic red grapes.

M: Not thick but slightly mouth-filling. Smooth, with the sllight heat coming on at ultimate finish. Not terribly drying. Slight creamy sensation on finish too. Cherry medicine-y breath on breathing out.

O: Yes. More please. I really like this Quad, because it is not necessarily over-reaching and trying to be incredibly complex., however it changes as it warms too. For the better! Try this for sure if you have had quads and like them, like Three Philosophers or Unibrowe quads you'll like this.

Serving type: growler

09-06-2013 22:19:26 | More by Scrapss
Photo of TheDinger

South Carolina

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

Solid pour from growler into new St. Bernardus chalice. Beautiful beer. Deep rich brown with a generous 2 finger beige head. Smell is of raisins, figs, bready malts and burnt wood. Taste follows the nose closely. I get a bit more of the fig and raisin on the front end with a nice hop finish. Very smooth brew for a 10% ABV quad. Difficult to set down as it is so balanced and solid. Feel is a nice thick, creamy/silk that sits well on the tongue with just enough carbonation. Overall- I have had this on draft and from the growler and both were outstanding. More fruit as it warms and it is so smooth and balanced. The best I have had in this style and I'm usually not a fan, so that is saying something. A must try

Serving type: growler

08-20-2012 01:47:00 | More by TheDinger
Photo of doopydoogle

Nova Scotia (Canada)

4.13/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Cloudy coffee brown with a light head that dissipates quickly.

S - Very metallic, some roasted barley notes, slightly cheesy, bready, dried apricots, toffee, caramel,

T - Sweet with milk chocolate, raisins, and butterscotch, giving way to a slight bitterness that is supported by toffee, caramel, and malts. Alcohol is noticeable throughout, but the brew is surprisingly mellow for such a high ABV. Plums, cherries, and spicy notes are also present.

M - Good carbonation with a wonderful coating and a slightly dry and bitter finish.

O - Not bad. Not my fave for the style, but surprisingly mellow and subdued for what can be a very aggressive style.

Serving type: growler

09-08-2011 03:14:11 | More by doopydoogle
Photo of thedoubler55

New Jersey

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

A- Pours a dark red almost brown, leaves a slight off white head and almost barely any lacing on mine.

S- Smell of sweet malts, caramel, dark fruits and brown sugar.

T- Taste fantastic, perfect blend, caramel and dark fruits up front with a slight booze taste on the tail end.

M- Smooth, perfectly balanced, good amount of carbonation.

O- This beer is fantastic, this is why I bought a 64oz of it!

Serving type: growler

07-01-2011 13:25:25 | More by thedoubler55
Photo of DUBinMIA


4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a sniffer chilled cold... fridge temp at first then warmed to about 50. flavor definitely became more abound as it warmed. Next time i will wait before serving straight out of the fridge.

Very dark brown color, but not black. Great foaming head!!!!

Smell was not bad but seemed overwhelmed by carbonation much like champagne or sparkling wine. Slight malty and banana fruit aromas.

Outstanding taste in my opinion. Perfect rich and creamy malt flavor initially with a slight hop tang to finish out. Very impressed!!!

Very full bodied and creamy mouth-feel. very good in my opinion

Overall - A this was probably one of the best beers i have had in while and worth the $10 for a pint

Serving type: growler

05-24-2011 00:26:24 | More by DUBinMIA
Photo of hillvt4me


3.63/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A- Pours amber brown with a yellow-brown colored head. Good lacing.

S - ripe fruit, perhaps banana, clove and sugar.

Taste - Sugar and etoh notes, clove and over-ripe banana

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied and velvety with moderate carbonation.

Overall - Good belgian; though not my style. Too much sugar and alcohol undertone to feel balanced.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2014 02:49:13 | More by hillvt4me
Photo of Macko


4.54/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Dark with ruby highlights. Creamy head with good lacing which lasted well.

Smell: Fruits, but somehow apples dominates for me.

Taste: Sweet to start. The more I drank, the more I thought of bananas.
Syrupy with hint of cherries. Working to a more caramel finish which can even be a little tart.
No hint of the strong alcohol in the taste.

Mouthfeel: Creamy but with good carbonation throughout. Takes a little while to feel a pleasant mild burning in the throat.

Overall: Compared to the Westy 12, it has a little more life to it. Sometimes I like to drink this with a few cherries and/or taste of brown chocolate between sips. When I look at the smiling monk on the bottle waving his finger at me, I'm generally smiling back at him.

A joy to drink. Reminds me how good it is to be alive.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2014 22:31:40 | More by Macko
Photo of MattNidiffer

South Carolina

4.81/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a flared, oversized Tulip with a full two-finger head. (As a footnote, I would recommend this beer to be enjoyed at a bit warmer than standard refrigerator temps; it tastes way better once it's settled and slightly chilled.)

Appearance - Very dark, almost ebony with deep ruby highlights. Not very much light. Creamy beige head is fluffy, foamy, and lingering. Lacing is consistently thick throughout.

Smell - Fruity and spicy esters are very prevalent up front. Very slight caramel and toasted nut aromas near the finish, with a sweet overtone.

Taste - Surprisingly sweet. Banana and clove esters right up front, with an almost syrupy aftertaste. If left in the mouth for a moment, and then swallowed, the banana flavour is far more prevalent. Minor toasty and caramelly hints throughout. Surprisingly low alcohol taste, considering its high ABV; almost as if it is masked by the fruity spiciness.

Mouthfeel - Almost seems to expand on the palate; perfect amount of carbonation. Very smooth drinking, and almost leaves the mouth with a mildly oily feeling after swallowing. Leaves the lips feeling almost syrupy.

Overall - This beer is one of the best beers I've had the pleasure of reviewing. From the full and fluffy head, all the way down to the last drop, the Abt 12 is astounding. This beer has more than earned it's place on BA's Top Beers on Planet Earth list, and it has definitely earned it's place on my shelves. Very highly recommended paired with food, friends, or even just to sip on.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2014 21:10:33 | More by MattNidiffer
Photo of thestoebz


4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Served at 53 degrees F in a Boulevard Tulip.

Appearance: Dark plum, almost black, half-finger foamy white head that dissipates fairly quickly and leaves no real lacing.

Smell: Inviting, cherries, faint ethanol, warm pumpernickel bread, figs, dark fruit.

Taste: Slightly sour citric acid at the very start that quickly fades into bing cherry, raisins, caramel, brown sugar and a bit of alcohol. Very delicious, intense, complex, balanced and the finish lasts a good long pleasant while.

Mouthfeel: Slightly oily, medium to thicker bodied, nice amount of carbonation that prickles throughout.

Overall: Perfect Quad! Great balance, complex flavors and smell. Legendary brew, a must try in my opinion!

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2014 15:32:20 | More by thestoebz
Photo of TheSixthRing


4.06/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a dark rusty brown with a big, pillowy 3-finger khaki colored head. Excellent retention, leaving behind a thick cover of suds across the surface and a thick lace pattern across the glass.

Smell - Toffee, ripened banana and sharp clove spice hit the nose first. Raisin notes creeps in as the brew warms.

Taste - Sugary notes upfront; Toffee and sugar-coated raisin sweetness. Banana. Clove spice everywhere, especially by mid-taste. warming alcohol qualities. finishes

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied and creamy with lively, tingly carbonation, giving it a much lighter feel. Goes down smooth and easy, with a drying alcohol finish. Leaves a syrupy feel on the lips.

Overall - Maybe the best Belgian Dub/Trip/Quad I've had, but I'm still not sold on the style. Too much sugary sweetness and alcohol undertone for my liking. Probably a can't miss for quad fans. Me, I'll try to stick to Goldens and Strong Pales when it comes to enjoying Belgian style brews.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2014 00:33:52 | More by TheSixthRing
Photo of Chris_Carraher


4.66/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A- poured from a bottle into a snifter. Pours a generous frothy head.

S- aroma is so powerful. Grows stronger as the beer warms. Sweet, strong malt.

T- great flavor, strong malts with a slightly sweet delivery. Almost get start in the aftertaste- very unique.

M- very creamy mouth feel with incredible effervescence pop that prolongs the flavor

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2014 02:17:28 | More by Chris_Carraher
Photo of SHODriver


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

This bottle has a little over a year on it

A: poured into a snifter to a deep brown with a three finger dense off white head that fades to be about 1/4 of an inch tall and some lacing
S: smells of intense sweetness with notes of dark fruits, alcohol soaked cherries and candi sugar
T: Taste brings flavors of plums, alcohol soaked cherries, some spiciness, more dark fruits and candi sugar sweetness. swallow is more dark fruits and alcohol soaked cherries with a bit more spiciness
M: this beer is full in the mouth with soft but active carbonation and a slightly drying finish
O: This beer is incredible. Great flavors, fantastic smoothness, and just truly outstanding.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2014 05:38:22 | More by SHODriver
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 msquared36


4.61/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Murky brown, but a deep cherry hue when held to the light. Off white foam that quickly dissipates into a thin film.

Aroma of strawberry and toffee.

Taste of ripe fruit upfront, plum and banana. Finishes with a lemony spiciness. Carmel aftertaste with a slight alcohol burn, especially as it warms.

Heavy carbonation. Seems to expand in the mouth.

Complex yet smooth. Deserving of the acclaim.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2014 21:25:07 | More by msquared36
Photo of ricknelson


3.89/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured 11.2 oz bottle labeled as best by Feb 22 2018 into Hill Farmstead glass.

A- Cloudy reddish brown with a foamy off white one finger head with lots of lacing.
A continuous head with lots of tiny bubbles.

S-Aroma is dark fruits, and roasted malt and a little spice.

T-Not the greatest tasting brew, but it did get a little better as it warmed.

M-Mouthfeel was OK, but not as good as Rochefort 10 or Westy 12.

O-Abbey Ale Quad is not my favorite style so I can not rate this very high

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2014 01:15:23 | More by ricknelson
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 RobertHolley


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

Bernie's #12 is one of my "desert island" beers. Love it! Smell has hints of figs and raisins. Pours dark and rich with a thick head. Taste is amazing with an after taste that lasts all day long. This is a strong beer and is so good if you are not careful you can get wacked on the side of the head.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2014 15:11:55 | More by RobertHolley
Photo of thehyperduck

Ontario (Canada)

4.44/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 mL bottle from the LCBO, served at cellar temperature. I shared a bottle of this a few months ago and really enjoyed it, so I went out of my way to pick up a second bottle for reviewing purposes.

Pours a murky copper-brown colour, topped at first with a lofty three fingers of frothy, pillowy off-white head. The foam recedes slowly over a period of five minutes or so, leaving behind a nice swath of sticky lacing as it shrinks down to a modest cap. I absolutely love the aroma on this one - it's quite fruity and yeasty as one might hope, with elements of raisin, fig, toffee and molasses, as well as some spicy clove notes. Quite yeasty, and a little boozy, but at 10% I'd be shocked if it weren't.

This is a rich-tasting, fulfilling Belgian-style dark ale that is a pleasure to sip. Dark cherry, plum, raisin and fig fruitiness come through initially, with sweeter notes of brown sugar and treacle following after. It becomes yeastier and increasingly spicy toward the finish, offering a bit of an almond-nut vibe that is soon overtaken by clove and a faint touch of licorice/anise. The aftertaste includes a pleasant mixture of candi sugar, spice and just the right amount of ethanol warmth. On the heftier side of medium-bodied, with surprisingly restrained carbonation (for a trappist-style ale), giving this brew an exceptionally smooth mouthfeel.

Final Grade: 4.44, a superb A grade. St. Bernardus Abt 12 is a true classic - a full-flavoured, satisfying quadrupel with no serious flaws for me to gripe about. I haven't had nearly enough quads to suggest where this one might rank on a relative scale, but I can't deny that this is one of the best Belgian-style dark ales I've ever had the opportunity to try. A great deal at its ON price-point - I'm hoping that this one will become a regular listing, but just in case it doesn't I'll probably snag another bottle for the cellar. A must-try.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2014 04:20:53 | More by thehyperduck
Photo of gangstafaceclay


4.86/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A- dark brown, Carmel color with nice white head.

S- got some spices, fruit, nut malts.

T- so good, like the nose got some spices, raisins, plum, blueberry, buttery Carmel, nuts, vanilla, some nice sweetness and bitterness to balance it out.

M- good creamy full-bodied, with high carbonation

O- this brew got better and better each time I took a sip, let it warm up some and it is one damn tasty beer. I'll definitely be drinking more of this.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2014 14:12:54 | More by gangstafaceclay
Photo of BoulderBarrovecchio


4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Cork poured into my Schneider Weisse weizen glass.

A: HUGE head, dark brown opaque caramel color, medium carbonation slanted towards the bottom, THICK lacing throughout.

S: Dominant scent is salty pretzels, malty and bready with some spice.

T: Bready, biscuity, malty with spice, caramel at times.

M: Medium-full body, very creamy, high carbonation, alcohol is very well hidden.

O: Great mouthfeel with bready taste. Reminds me of Sam Adams Double Bock, but slightly less desirable taste and less visible carbonation.
Very good.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2014 22:14:52 | More by BoulderBarrovecchio
Photo of Act25

New Jersey

4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Along with duvet and chimay blue / white these beers are so top of their game that I really rate them all the same 4.75.
A: Perfect pour. Deserves a chalice or a tulip. Great head and retention. Inviting.
Mineral Fruit Ripe Wood Church Incense
S: Pear prune dates with wine -like tartness and liquor like aromas.
And there's more to smell and taste: Mineral Fruit Ripe Wood Church Incense.

T: Follows the smell, with more intensity, sugar, citrus peel, chocolate, cherry, spice, flowers, pepper, smoke. Champagne like.
MF: Creamy, with a wine-like body and finish. Leaving you happy with sweet but balanced fruit.
Rich and succulent, must try:
In top tier with Duvel, Chimay. Perhaps this edges them all even St B Tripel.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2014 17:21:00 | More by Act25
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 reebtaerG


4.99/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured 11.2 oz bottle best by July 4 2018 into St Bernardus glass

A-Pours hazy redish brown with a fluffy off white one finger head. some lacing.

S-Aroma is toffee, caramel, darker fruits, and a little bit of roasted malt. Some spicy character as well.

T-Great tastes that is sweet at first with strong malt character. Caramel and roasted grains give way to prunes and cherries, with a nice spicy finish.

M-Great mouthfeel, tingles the tongue and leaves behind lingering flavors.

O-This quad is awesome so glad I finally got to try it!

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2014 13:23:16 | More by reebtaerG
Photo of cutthetail


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

I was excited for this beer. After popping the cork I smelled a rich smell of bread and malt. I could tell this was going to be a big beer. Like a meal in a bottle. I wasn't disappointed. Just like the others who reviewed this beer I was treated to a nice lacy head. I enjoyed this in a 1 liter glass beer stein so I could enjoy the opaque tea like color. The beer showed lots of suspended yeast. It was everything I expected and just made me wish I could plan a trip to Belgium.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2014 03:25:04 | More by cutthetail
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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 6,361 ratings.