St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

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BA SCORE
99
world-class

8,436 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,436
Reviews: 2,661
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 614
Gots: 1,816 | FT: 49
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website
Belgium

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,436 | Reviews: 2,661
Photo of Sammy
4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Carbonation stung my tongue yet I loved it. Beyond anything I have ever drunk of any refreshment. Like cold spring water on a hot day.
Beautiful dark unique color with some doughy pieces. Complex wonderful taste of nuts, sweet malt, spices, dark fruit, cream.

Had another bottle 21 months later, wonderful finish spicey finish. Nice head and lace. The taste depends on where you put it on the tongue. Satisfying.

6.5 years later and good complexity, still aggressive carbonation.
7.3 years later and just yeasty and sweetish.

Photo of t0rin0
4.42/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is a very close 2nd to the Val-Dieu Grand Cru as far as quadrupels that I've tried go. Its a treat every time I've had it.

The beer pours a dark brown, darker than most of the quadrupels that I've had. Hazy and there are noticeable chunks of yeast floating around in there. Thats the only negative on the appearace. The head is rather tall and fluffy and tan. Lots of carbonation.

The smell is of yeast and malt. Not real complex, actually very simple. That yeast and the dark malts are both very strong. This is a very aromatic beer. A bit sweeter and richer than the 60th anniversary version. There is a little alcohol smell at warmer temps but its not distracting in the least. Can't detect a lot of spices unless I'm confusing them with the yeast in the beer.

The taste is sweet with some bitterness. The yeast chunks floating around probably contribute to this. Some dark fruit flavors come out with a small hint of roasted malt (very small hint). Sugary for sure but can't tell if thats candi sugar or just a lot of malt.

Its too bad that these bottles are so small because this is something I'd like to drink by the pint.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy dark brown color with a big 3 inch light brown head that fades to a thin cap. Broken rings of lace mark the glass on the drink down. There is some sediment floating around in the beer. Smells of dark fruits, some malty bread, and spices. Taste is very much like the smell with the dark ripe fruits, bready malts, spices (clove/cinnamon), and some yeast flavors. There is a good level of carbonation in this one with a crisp and clean mouthfeel. This makes the beer very smooth and easy to drink. Overall, this is a very good quad with a very nice smell and taste. Definitely deserves its spot in the top 5 of the style.

Photo of kylehay2004
3.4/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: very thick and foamy head. Amber color.

S: grape and dark fruit. Sweet

T: sweet toffee and dark fruit taste. Chocolate and caramel notes.

M: moderate carbonation. Thick and oily.

O: too fruity for my taste but seems to be on par for a quad. Had to search for the beer taste in this one. Probably won't be going back to this one.

Photo of metter98
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is very dark mahogany in color and yeast particles are visible floating in suspension. It poured with a finger high white head and has a light amount of carbonation. It has good head retention properties and a thin layer of bubbles consistently covered the surface.
S: There are aromas of dark fruits, spices and yeast in the nose.
T: The taste is very complex and like the smell it has flavors of dark fruits, spices and yeast along with a slight amount of malty sweetness. There is a slight amount of bitterness from the hops in the finish.
M: It feels medium- to full bodied and very smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There are some warming sensations from the alcohol.
D: This is a beer that needs to be slowly sipped given its alcohol content. It tastes like it is strong, but the alcohol presence does not detract from the drinkability. For the most part, the alcohol is masked from the taste.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

G: Poured into a Chimay goblet.

A: Dark brown color with a slight haziness to it. Very nice lacing.

S: Plenty of yeast leaving behind spices and lots of dark fruit.

T: Lots of sweet malt backed up by undeniable Belgian yeast; some alcohol is present in the taste.

M: Very smooth and heavy-bodied. Fairly low carbonation.

D: Fairly drinkable; definitely a sipper. Not everything fits together perfectly, but a very good beer.

Photo of brentk56
4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark caramel brown hazy color with a creamy head and lots of lacing

Smell: Ripe dark fruits and bananas; brown sugar and alcohol

Taste: Starts out somewhat sweet and clove-like and is followed by a bit of hoppy bitterness and alcoholic warmth; some chocolate and cherry flavors, mid-palate; bitter rum raisin finish

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied but light and fizzy on the tongue

Drinkability: A wonderful sipper by the fire

Photo of BEERchitect
4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.32/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

an outstanding quad, but not perfect. poured into a goblet a nice redish amber color with one of these perfect heads only a belgian can provide. smells sugary, yeasty, fruity, and like something sticky... honey? caramel? molasses? flavor is fruity and malt driven up front, with some slight tart sensations happening in the background, a roasted sweet finish rounds this one off. unmatched in its complexity, this quad goes well with a wide array of food, i had it with a rabbit stew. mouthfeel is bright and bubbly, with a medium body. the 10% abv is well hidden. could drink this all night, but it isnt as good as the la trappe quad

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.41/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a slightly hazy brown colored beer with what can only be describe as huge foamy super resistant head (do I need to mention perfect carbonation). Aroma is quite complex with some great roastiness and some strange mix of spices. Great roasty taste with a side of spiced plums. I could not detect any alcohol, which is quite a wonder at 10%. Wow, I’m now glad I bought quite a few so that I can cellar some.

Photo of Knapp85
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I liked this beer quite a bit but in all honest I must say that the La Trappe and the Rochefort 10 still remain higher on my favorites list. This beer poured out as a medium color of brown, the head was a bit fizzy and doesn't leave behind on the glass. The smell of the beer has a bit of alcohol on the nose followed by the dark fruits and yeast. The taste of the beer is good but I find it less pleasing than the two Quad's I mentioned before. The mouthfeel is medium but remains kind of thin too. Decent amount of carbonation, overall I think this beer is worthy of trying. I would love to do a sampling party of Quad's to see how they hold up against each other.

Just had on tap the other night and it was sensational. Very enjoyable brew. It's right up there with La Trappe, Rochefort, and Achel.

Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I used a large wine glass for this, and it displayed the beer really well. Great head retention, dark amber in color. Strong, fruity, yeasty nose. Malts are prominent in the taste; slightly sweet and fruity with a dry red wine finish. Thick and chewy in the mouth, very effervescent. Rich and filling stuff. An impressive beer.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Glazed persimmon orange with a fine sprinkling of yeast drifting downward against the tide of uprushing carbonation. The wheat toast colored crown is a firmly creamy, rocky, sticky masterpiece of the sort that only Belgians seem able to create. What a fantastic way to start.

Does Brouwerij St. Bernardus (and do other Belgian breweries) recognize the quadrupel style, or do they consider Abt 12 to be a high-ABV dubbel? The silk-screened label on the 750 indicates that this ale is 'brewed in the classic Dubbel style'.

The aroma isn't as dark as some... or as dark as expected. There's more steely caramel, earth and toast than anything even remotely resembling chocolate or roasted malt. It's also more medium fruity than dark fruity. A wonderful clove-and-pepper yeast-derived spiciness pulls it all together in beautiful fashion.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 easily deserves its reputation as one of the world's finest beers. It delivers the same seamless quality, mind-boggling complexity and compulsive drinkability as the rest of their outstanding lineup. Along with Brouwerij Het Anker, these guys are my favorite Belgian brewery.

This flagship ale really does taste more like a BSDA or a big dubbel than most quadrupels. Specifics include well-toasted brown bread, steely caramel, unsweet figs, earthy tobacco, ground clove and black pepper. What was a solid 4.5 during the first few ounces is now a much-deserved 5.0 as the middle of the bottle is breached.

Warming brings greater flavor intensity, several more flavor facets, and a more complete melding of flavors. We're now talking 'gold standard' for the style. My tongue registers the ABV as 8.5% while my brain is beginning to feel the Full Monty. Time to start sipping rather than greedily gulping.

This big bottle must be fairly fresh (estimated age is barely more than one year) because a surprising amount of hop bitterness is still present. Sweeter would be fine, but I like it just the way it is. Aging this beauty for 15 years, as the label suggests is possible, doesn't seem like such a great idea.

The body/mouthfeel isn't far from perfection. It's lighter than most triple-digit ABV ales, but heavier probably wouldn't have worked as well. The smooth-edged creaminess can't be faulted. Nor can the ideal amount and well-integrated feel of the carbonation.

Abt 12 is a true classic that deserves mention whenever the topic turns to the best beers on the planet. Even though Tripel is the finest ale that St. Bernardus has to offer, this big brew isn't far behind. It's also better (and more widely available) than either Trappistes Rochefort 10 or Westveleteren 12.

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

Poured a deep brown with a huge head and laced up the whole bottle. Smell was very complex. Malty, berry, fruity smell. A tiny bit of alcohol, very strong smell. Taste was the smae, Very very complex, every sip gave a different flavor it seemed, simply wonderful. Very drinkable too. This was my first try of this wonderful brew and I must say it completly lived up to the hype. This was really really wonderful to drink, and really seemed to get better each time I sipped!

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

330ml bottle. I was weirdly introduced to this offering by an ersatz English football hooligan colleague at an office Friday@4 beerfest a few years ago - who knew?

This beer pours a dark muddy brown colour, with some violently eddying sediment, a slight reddish tint, and two broad fingers of fine foamy pale beige head, which leaves some solid streaks of roaming lace around the glass as it duly recedes.

It smells of mildly sweet caramel malt, dark distinct fruit, a soft yeastiness, and alcohol-soaked demerara sugar. The taste is sweet, dark sugary caramel/toffee malt, a bit of raw cocoa, some ethereal spicing, and subtle, but well balancing earthy, leafy hops. Little to no booze warming, quelle surprise.

The carbonation is there, but quite sedate, the body medium-full in weight, smooth, and clean. It finishes off-dry, but only minimally so - the malt is present and accounted for, but well tempered by an unobtrusive dryness.

A beer with a whole lot going for it, lots to discuss, dissect, yet I find myself just wanting to sit back and sip it, sip it, and...oh shit, there it goes.

Photo of emerge077
4.42/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Never reviewed this, huh... that's strange, had it quite a few times over the years. Must have been too busy enjoying it.

12oz. bottle, BBD: "02 02 17" printed on the back label.
Served in a small snifter glass.

Huge billowing head of tan foam forms after a slow pour, first leaving behind a thin collar, then delicate arcs of lace that slowly settle back into the beer. Swirling the glass quickly rekindles the head for a few moments, but it quickly dissipates again.

Fruity and spicy aromas of fig, plum, sultana, some clove.

Flavors are similar, distinct plum and clove notes, earthy hop with some caramel and raisin in the middle. Finishes dry and fairly smooth and creamy despite the high abv, though its certainly warming. Not overly sweet, moderate carbonation. A benchmark of the style, allowing the trappist yeast to be showcased, not hiding behind a ton of candi sugar and booze like so many other Quads.

Photo of oberon
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown with some deep red hue with a big creamy head leaving nice sheets of lace behind,aromas of dark sweet cherries and some smoke along with a some spice very appetizing.Silky smooth mouthfeel, creamy and not to heavy goes down with ease,what can you say complex and great some spiced cherries and spice along with some raisin with a faint smokiness the alcolhol shows itself more as it warms.Just an awesome beer have sampled many times was great to aquire a bottle,worthy of its high marks awesome.

Photo of womencantsail
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The pour is a cloudy dark mahogany color without much head to speak of.

S: Good but not great aromas of sweet malt, caramel, and yeast. There might be a touch of alcohol as well.

T: I was a bit let down by the aroma, but the flavor does quite well to redeem itself. A slight warming feel of alcohol goes well with some dark fruits and sweet, caramel malt. The yeast is not as quite prominent as many other Belgian beers.

M: Even with the high level of carbonation, the body is still quite full.

D: The alcohol makes itself known more in terms of the subtle warmth it provides the beer but isn't aggressive by any means. The flavors are sweet but balanced and are helped out by the carbonation.

Photo of zeff80
4.52/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pours out a brownish/burgandy color with a two-finger head. Left very nice belgian lacing.

S - Smelled of malt, fruit and cloves.

T - It was malty with a dried fruit taste and some spicy bitterness.

M - It is crisp/sharp and medium-bodied.

D - A very good quad. The flavors are amazing.

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

Best Before: 12 07 12.

Appearance: Pours a near opaque, dark brown body with a full, cascading, and lasting, ivory-colored head. Sea foam lacing on the way down.

Smell: Aromatic blend of stewed, spiced fruit, liqueur, and chopped up chocolate cookies and candy bars.

Taste: First and foremost, it's fruity, tasting of golden raisins, plum juice, and candied figs. Then you get some maltiness, mainly dark chocolate and nutty caramel. Hit of dark candi sugar. Not really much in the way of hops here. Touch of clove and nutmeg. Sip of creme de cocoa. Maybe a bit of fresh, oily orange zest. Finishes malty, sweet, and rather warming.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Moderately carbonated.

Drinkability: Paired very well with some Pinback mp3's (particularly "Tripoli" and "Seville"). Full of flavor, rich complexities, and yet it's easily accessible and generally readily available from coast to coast. What's not the like? Although, I will say, I dug that 'Special Edition' a bit more. That's just me, though!

Photo of TMoney2591
4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a St. Bernardus chalice.

Pours a very dark brown, with lighter walnut tinges along the edges. The finger-thick head half dies, leaving a lovely creamy remainder that laces very well. The aroma is sweet and tangy, with a nice, effervescent fruitiness dominating. The taste corroborates the nose, with those fruits coming back with a sweet vengeance (those lovely malts!), including a hint of molasses/maple syrup all the way in the back. The body is a heavy medium, but does not sit poorly; rather it stands at attention, saluting, declaring itself, but not overpowering.

Photo of nickfl
4.59/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A loud pop upon removing the cork signals a slow gusher that gives me just enough time to begin pouring before the foam escapes the lip of the bottle. It pours with a two finger head of off-white bubbles on top of a clear, reddish brown body. The head settles pretty quickly and leaves thin traces of lace on the glass.

S - A rich aroma of sweet caramel and fruity yeast. Black cherries, figs, sweet chocolate, cloves, and coriander. The fruit notes are full and juicy and work well with the malt.

T - Sugary dark fruit and caramel malt up front. Notes of black cherry, caramel, and toffee. Some spicy notes of clove and cinnamon come out in the middle with milk chocolate malt flavors. Finishes sweet and malty with an emphasis on caramel and dark cherry/plum yeast character. There is just a hint of herbal hop flavor in the finish along with mild bitterness that just barely balances the thick malt. Some darkening of the malt character in the aftertaste with light chocolate and smoke notes.

M - Smooth, moderately thick body, high carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - This is a true classic and while there are a great deal of varied flavor elements at work here, the yeast is the real star of the show. The malt provides a background of caramel sweetness on which the yeast displays a profound level of juicy, deep fruit character, balanced by lightly spicy notes. The hops make themselves known but only play a supporting role, though they posses a classic spicy, noble character. This beer is extraordinarily well balanced and despite a high alcohol content, it goes down smooth and shows no boozy harshness. If Rochefort is about malty complexity, then this is about yeasty fruit and sublime balance. It is a wonderful, and rare, experience to have a beer that lives up to its hype and as I sip this I realize that I had gone far too long without popping the cork on an ABT 12.

Photo of oline73
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a mildly cloudy reddish amber with a finger of fluffy off white head. Great retention and nice lacing.

Smell: Sweet with Begian spice. Some dark fruit and mild brown sugar. Some warm alcohol.

Taste: Super smooth and complex. Belgian spice is dominant, but not too overpowering. A mild sweetness with some dark fruit. The finish has the spice notes along with some warm alcohol and a mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with very smooth carbonation and a slick finish.

Overall: Really great beer. Unbelievably smooth in the smell and the taste. Not anything comes to mind that I would want to change.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The Abt 12 pours a dark mahogany body with a reddish cast beneath a creamy head of tan foam that holds exceptionally well and leaves very nice lace about the glass.

The nose is bready and yeasty with a notes of caramel, sweet vanilla, and delicate dark, dried fruit in the background.

The body is medium-full and it's creamy and a touch zesty in the mouth due to its very fine bubbled, somewhat effervescent carbonation.

The flavor is rich and full with sweet, soft dark fruits (plum, raisin); sweet, caramelish malt; and a touch of vanilla. The bitterness is restrained, but it remains balanced, helped in part by a splash of alcohol. It finishes dry with some lingering vanilla, caramel, and almond.

Quite nice!

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.48/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap 1/7/07 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a goblet.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a short beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of yeast, roasted malt, chocolate and a touch of dark fruits.

T: Taste is very-well balanced with flavors of yeast, chocolate, caramelized malt and dark fruits. No one flavor takes dominance. There is a slight hops bitterness in the background. The high ABV is extremely well-hidden.

M: Very smooth, medium body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Very tasty, goes down ridiculously easy which will make the ABV catch up to you in a hurry. This is a very good beer. At the time that I am writing this review, the beer is #15 on the Best of BA. Believe the hype.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 8,436 ratings.