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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.
BA SCORE
99
world-class

7,604 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,604
Reviews: 2,519
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 455
Gots: 1,191 | FT: 34
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website
Belgium

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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of St. Bernardus Abt 12 Alström Bros
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Ratings: 7,604 | Reviews: 2,519 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

Sammy, Apr 18, 2004
Photo of t0rin0
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

t0rin0, Feb 29, 2008
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.

UCLABrewN84, May 16, 2011
Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +11.9%

spycow, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of djrn2
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

djrn2, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

zestar, Nov 04, 2013
Photo of Thorpe429
4.18/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

Thorpe429, Apr 29, 2009
Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -16.1%

acurtis, Apr 16, 2012
Photo of nmann08
5/5  rDev +11.9%

nmann08, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of metter98
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

metter98, Sep 11, 2010
Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Texasfan549, Nov 17, 2011
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

brentk56, Feb 18, 2005
Photo of kjkinsey
5/5  rDev +11.9%

kjkinsey, Dec 06, 2011
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 BuckeyeNation
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

BuckeyeNation, May 24, 2010
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

Phyl21ca, Aug 04, 2004
Photo of GRG1313
5/5  rDev +11.9%

GRG1313, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -21.7%

ygtbsm94, Jan 12, 2012
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!

mikesgroove, Dec 17, 2006
Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

jaydoc, Aug 18, 2013
Photo of womencantsail
4.38/5  rDev -2%
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.

womencantsail, Jan 14, 2010
Photo of kylehay2004
3.35/5  rDev -25.1%
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.

kylehay2004, Jul 05, 2011
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.

Knapp85, Sep 17, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
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!

ChainGangGuy, Aug 24, 2008
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

westcoastbeerlvr, Jan 11, 2013
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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,604 ratings.