1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

6,394 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6394
Reviews: 2444
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
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of St. Bernardus Abt 12 Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,394 | Reviews: 2,444 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of tipfortap

New York

4.69/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

5 words to describe it: Clove, Plum, Carob, Brown Bread, Boozy

Paired it with: Nothing. (Okay, like three dark chocolate covered peanuts.)

Should have paired it with: Super rich brie, smoked meat

Drink it if you like: Superlative beer. Shiraz, American Strong Ales, Bourbon

A few other thoughts: Instead of finishing with a lingering sweetness, this finishes with a little bit of the 10% ABV, and paired with a very prickly carbonation, it balances out into a pretty much perfect beer that works alone and would also pair brilliantly with food.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2013 17:58:18 | More by tipfortap
Photo of beefytee

New York

3.38/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Very disapointed by this beer.

I had been looking forward to it all day. I went down to the "weird beer" store (as my wife calls it), and picked up the bottle. I had anticipations of Rochefort 10 or Westy 12, I was surprised to find it was not even in the same league. The head poured well enough, the alcohol warmed my nose with a slight hint of banannas, which made my mouth water for rochefort...
then the first taste. The alcohol hit prematurely, and the beer lay flat on my tongue like a bad kisser. The bananas in the nose did not ever hit the palate. The finish was almost foul, causing me to make a bit of an onion smelling face with each sip. Some may call blasphome (sp), but I failed to finish the beer. I may blow another $4.00 on this beer, but only on sheer curiosity, because the beers reputation was not met, and perhaps I had a bad bottle. I will be more than happy to post a better review if this beer makes a better showing

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2004 04:03:22 | More by beefytee
Photo of Pingotas


4.95/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A consistent brew bottle-to-bottle, irrespective of size. Prefer this at about 55 degrees. Interestingly, the warmer samplings produced my most lasting impressions.

Turbid (In fact, nearly translucent) heady brown liquid poured hesitantly into the glass. The head rises ambitiously with a very fine, pleasant bubbliness.

The velvety taste is sensational. What makes this brew memorable is the yeasty flavor of freshly-baked dough. The blending of malty sweetness and distant hops allows the delicate flavors of plum pudding to persist long after the beer has been consumed.

A winner in my book, and perhaps my overall favorite ale.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2005 21:56:42 | More by Pingotas
Photo of isthisme2


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

one of the best i've ever had in this category.

appearance - hazy golden brown. thick head dissipates to a thin layer that lingers throughout.

smell - sweet, alcohol, cherries, really complex.

taste - really, almost a perfect balance between every ingredient. at 10% abv you would expect more alcohol, but again sweet, but not so much to overpower.

mouthfeel - warming and smooth.

drinkability - i can't imagine this beer ever getting old. another... please!!!

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2008 03:19:34 | More by isthisme2
Photo of ChuckMartel

South Carolina

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

This pours a huge frothy head. Surprisingly, it doesn't seem to have much carbonation after that. Go figure. Its color is an opaque beer bottle brown. It has a lot of fruit overtones w/ a similar fruit-like smell. It does have a copper-like taste but, for some reason, that's not so bad. The mouth-feel is like velvet. It would probably be better w/ a hearty meal than just by itself. I'll try it the next time I have steak au poivre and mashed potatoes.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2007 19:13:39 | More by ChuckMartel
Photo of BigFrank71


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

Poured from draft in the proper ST Bernardus glass. A rich tan foam great pour perfect head. The smell was fantastic a sweet carmel smell nice dark color like a belgian dubble. The taste was very nice nice carbonation taste hazel nuts carmel hints of spices great mouth feel all around smooth after taste. A very good beer to enjoy. I have since had many of these but no more then 3 at a sitting with the ABV at 10.5% it can bite you. but highly recommend this wonderful beer.

Serving type: on-tap

03-06-2009 21:43:06 | More by BigFrank71
Photo of genek


4.68/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've been waiting for sometime to try a trappist style beer and a friend brought this big guy up to ease me into it. Set it on the counter for about an hour to let it come up to temp.

A- Poured easy into a goblet glass and the head crept up on me, bigger bubbles than I expected though still thick like airy egg whites. Colour imitates the bottle to a t dark dark mahogany. Great carbonation to start but it slowed down on me a couple minutes in.

S- Had a cold for a while but this aroma busted through it anyway with some rich heavy scents that hung around, though it's difficult for me to identify them.

T- wonderful combination of bready malty flavours that hit you on the back of the tongue and linger pleasantly. Prunes come out the most for a beer this fruity, dried fruits not cooked in any way, very intense with a little bit of raisiny finish. Nutty, I work at a imported food shop and this beer reminds me of a tomme de savoie with its walnutty style taste all the way through. I'm aware that viscous isn't a taste but all the elements of this beer make me want to say that. Coffee flavours come in the end as well as an odd cocoa bit. I've been told vanilla is present but I'm still working on identifying flavours, I can't pick it up.

M- Sticky, creamy feel that just wont go away, very very nice finish that lasts a while. The only aspect that isn't quite attractive from this beer is the film that hangs around on the roof of your mouth, nowhere else though.

D- I could certainly enjoy this beer for a whole night, I'd rather sip this from a glass than any wine I've tasted. It's heavy and the long finish is great, sipping this beer could take the place of a meal no problem.

Def. happy to have had the opportunity of trying this out, and its a great way to wow someone new to the beer world, this guys got history and all the aspects to back it. All in all, I'm buying this again.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2009 23:50:03 | More by genek
Photo of Chrisco88


4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours a murky deep brown (borderline black). An inch or so of off-white, foamy head lasts a good while, so long in fact that it was a bit annoying. The head is quite dense and frothy.

Aroma: Not very aromatic due to the massive, thick head. With some swirling and settling I caught a little bit of the dark fruit notes. Smells a bit like dry champagne to me, maybe a touch of alcohol.

Taste: What a complex beer we have here! First hit with dark fruit flavors, reminded me of red wine so I thought maybe grapes, currants, cherries or plums. I get a slight taste of some malts in there but the carbonation really brings out the fruit above all else. Not much bitterness if any. Aftertaste dominated by a dry alcoholic taste.

Palate: Good effervescence makes for a crisp, dry finish but overall the beer goes down smooth and is perfectly balanced in the mouth.

Overall: Definitely a new favorite, excellent Belgian ale in every way. The interesting esters and hints of malt combined with the ability to hide an ABV of 10% make this a deceptively drinkable brew. By all means grab a bottle and find out for yourself, a glass or two later and you'll be damn satisfied- and DRUNK!

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2010 02:16:31 | More by Chrisco88
Photo of GLM0011


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

The quad from St. Bernardus. Little bottles poured into a tulip glass.A sipper slowly enjoyed. Smooth,smooth beer.One of the smoothest out there. Alcohol hides very well. I enjoy this one as it gets warmer. Great beer to have with friends. I dont drink this alone.Sociable beer. High drinkability and always enjoyed with good music.Thanx St. Bernardus.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2010 14:44:14 | More by GLM0011
Photo of ronzorelli


4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

It flows out of the bottle into my favorite pub glass and I'm picking up all the dried fruit aromas. Figs, raisins, prunes... plus some molasses.

The head that forms is fluffy and tinted ivory. The pinhead sized bubbles dance in the glass and give it a creamy appearance. It's thick and substantial.

The taste is somewhat sweet and very satisfying. A little heavy, but in a good way. You definitely know it's got a kick of high gravity. It's reminiscent of a fine barleywine.

Definitely going on my rotation, but it's a little pricey... you get what you pay for, though.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2012 00:08:45 | More by ronzorelli
Photo of LeoEnergy


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

Poured into my St. Bernardus Chalice.

A-- Beautiful dark caramel with with deep ruby highlights and rich molasses. Smooth, wavy, and consistent lacing with tiny bubbles sticking to the sides.

S-- First the alcohol comes strong with the raisin, then the malts hit in the middle, and an after smell of sweet fruit, bread, caramel, and honey.

T-- The alcohol is very well hidden in this delightful beauty, it barely seeps through between the fig, apricot, plum, apple, maple, malt, bread and yeast as the finishing touch. Complex and keeps me guessing until I take another sip.

M-- First the distinct carbonation hits like high quality champagne; the tiny bubbles tickle the tongue and kiss the palate. Then it settles into a smooth, rich and soft flowy creaminess , almost too much-but wait, no it's just right.

O-- Amazing beer, worthy of being within the world class selection. Tradition prevails with this kind of quality history.
If I were wealthier I would have this readily available in my

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2012 07:05:49 | More by LeoEnergy
Photo of scninmer08

New York

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

750ml bottle poured into tulip.

A- Murky brown, deep ruby in the light. Off-white head that just kept growing; incredible retention.

S- Very sweet! Sugar and toffee with some fruity notes, maybe plum.

T- More balanced than the nose. Very malty with the fruit coming through... alcohol masked very well.

M- Nothing too special here, medium body and carbonation.

O- I'm new to this style, having only had Three Philosophers before this. Looking forward to delving into this style more; obviously this is a classic!

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2012 04:04:08 | More by scninmer08
Photo of hbensinger


4.54/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Serving type: bottle, poured into pub glass.
A- dark brown, Carmel color with nice white head.

S- spices, fruit, nut malts.

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

M- good, creamy and full-bodied

O- This is a great beer to have and remarkably easy to find. Definitely a good go-to beer for special occasions and just sitting back and relaxing.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2014 01:37:54 | More by hbensinger
Photo of TWebb

South Carolina

3.35/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Whoa! What is this? I don't hate it, but I was looking to drink beer. This seems to be wine.
Really, it smells like red wine. It has a dark red/brown color like a red wine. It has a little bit of fine dark particulate matter in it like you might find in a wine bottle. I drink it and it tastes more or less like a dry red wine. No hop character and no malt character. All its flavor is yeast derived. Carbonation is not very strong. Alcohol is WAY strong. Pretty good wine overall.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2013 19:15:51 | More by TWebb
Photo of Sidabeef7


4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The joyous monk on the label says it all. This is another great from the Belgians. It pours with an opaque, amber appearance that is accompanied by smell of fruit and malt. The Abt 12 goes down very smoothly with tastes of ripe fruit and bread. Let me not forget the alcohol which is apparent on the finish and lets itself be known on the way down. Overall, this is a tasty and complex abbey beer that is much easier to come-by (and cheaper) than Westvleteren or Rochefort.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2003 10:50:22 | More by Sidabeef7
Photo of mkopera24


4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a pretty strong Belgian Ale. The lacing on this is excellent. A very dark brown. When held up to the light, it barely passes through. Very dark. The smell has hints of green apple. Very sweet smelling. The taste contained a variety of flavors. At first a malty nutty taste. The aftertaste contained hints of bannanas. Very foamy feeling in your mouth. Quite filling. Very good try for anyone interested in trying some of the best of the best. Would highly recommend.

Serving type: on-tap

01-07-2005 20:58:56 | More by mkopera24
Photo of Erniek


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

I had this ale on tap at The Map Room in Chicago recently. What I anticipated before hand was enhanced two fold after tasting this brew. It was served in the proper brewery glass and had such a nice head on it that I had to look at it for a while before finally lifting the glass for a sip. Presentation is really important to fulfilling desire and I think that this was one of the best looking beers I have had served to me ever. When I took that first sip I knew that this was something to be savored for a while. Nice rounded malt sweetness and smooth strength. Creamy sweet soft and chewy. Nice lingering aftertaste, like sucking on a piece of candy. WOW.

Serving type: on-tap

01-19-2005 01:56:22 | More by Erniek
Photo of BRoberts914


4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had the pleasure of trying this beer and draft and I must say, if you find it on tap anywhere, don't hesitate to order it. It's just not the same when you try it in the bottle. Still good, but not the same.

The Abt 12 exhibited the expected brownish-red hue and was one of the most carbonated beers I've ever encountered, even for a Belgian Quad. Appearance is perfect to style. The smell is inviting with sweet, roasted malts and dark fruits. The taste follows suit, but woa, there was a flavor explosion here I wasn't expecting. The dark fruits hinted at in the nose came to life, now accompanied by dark candi sugar. The complexity here is astounding; it's like a feast of sweet malt, fruit, and candy. Some might describe it as overly sweet. Mouthfeel is of course quite bubbly, but with a nice texture that prevents you from confusing this with a Coca-cola. As several other reviewers have pointed out, the alcohol is VERY well masked here, truly the touch of a master brewer. I could drink this all night on draft. One of the best beers in the world hands down.

Serving type: on-tap

12-28-2006 21:32:50 | More by BRoberts914
Photo of Alanthebeerguy


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

Wow, This is an awesome beer. I tried it on recomendation of a bartender and she brought me this, it is so tasty. Reminded me a little of Newcastle in apperance and mouthfeel. It was a very heavy beer so after two I felt like I had just had a large meal. But without a doubt St. Bernardus is for sure on my top five list

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2006 06:31:35 | More by Alanthebeerguy
Photo of 77suburban


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

Appearance: Golden brown, slightly reddish. Pours easily into a snifter glass with a perfect two-fingers of lacing which is fairly thick, but not as much so as some.

Smell: I had a hard time pinpointing the aroma. Others have called it clove, and I do detect that. I can also pick up an orange and ginger aroma.

Taste: Slightly syrupy, the clove is there again, sweet - but not overpowering - and malty. This is not the most technical terminology, but I'm reminded of a high quality root beer in that it is sweet and creamy but not overly sweet as to dominate the other flavor subtleties.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, heavier up front but much lighter on the finish.

A good beer to sip throughout the evening. It would go well with a nice piece of quality cheese. A good beer for the wine aficionados to cross over to the world of quality brews.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2007 02:27:24 | More by 77suburban
Photo of treznor


4.08/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep golden brown color with a creamy head that sticks around for a bit.

Quite malty on the nose, with a slight bit of fruit, but mostly malt.

Clove, brown sugar, and malt abound in the taste. Really opens up as it gets into the suggested serving temperature (52-56F).

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2011 02:31:28 | More by treznor
Photo of maltysfalcon


4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What can you say about this beer except "Terrific". It pours medium brown with moderate head. Floral and nutty on the nose, it has aromas of fruitcake and dates. Full bodied, balanced alcohol reveal a complex-tasting beer that is well refined and drinks easy. Vinous in texture and flavor, this beer delivers excellent flavor and mouthfeel. One of my favorites.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2007 00:14:27 | More by maltysfalcon
Photo of Scottasaurus


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

Pour this one carefully. This brew starts off with a thick head and a strong aroma. Smells salty and bitter at first but lightens up as it breathes. The color is a very murky brownish amber full of sediment. Tastes of cloves, yeast, cinnamon, raisin, and elusive fruit. The carbonation froths up as you sip making for an exceptional mouthfeel. It's a heavy slow-drinker that tastes better as it warms up.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2008 03:30:09 | More by Scottasaurus
Photo of eyeamthewind


4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, not opaque, has a deep mahogany tint. Full off-white head at first with large bubbles that dissipate to a nice sticky quarter-finger lace.

Smells quintessentially belgian with a dark roasted fruit medley that excites the taste buds and challenges the part of the mind that has to name scents. Figs, red apples, powerful yeast, and maybe toasted marshmallows.

Tastes, at first, just sweet and fizzy, but this changes constantly as it warms. Sit with a glass for a whole hour taking a small sip every couple minutes, you find innumerable fruits from prunes to peaches to figs to apples and apricots, all blended into a very palatable roasted caramel backbone.

The way this beer leaves your mouth when its warm is a must-have experience. It is so warming and satisfying when the bubbles melt on your tongue and the alcohol spreads out those fruit esters with a potent burn. Swallowing a sip of warmed up abt 12 is comparable to brandy. The mouthfeel when cold is quite fizzy and rich but with suppressed flavor, wait for this one to warm up if you aren't extremely impressed at first.

Very drinkable with some smoked cheese or tender meat, maybe dark rye bread. My favorite belgian and one of the best beers out there.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2009 15:56:09 | More by eyeamthewind
Photo of sullenbee


4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter - healthy head, lots of lacing. Dissipated to a small spotty layer. Cloudy, mahogany.

Fruity aroma, and yeasty. Getting a strong apple scent, swirling it brought back the head that had previously dissipated. Nice. Bit of raisin bread pudding, sweet and warm, with some spiciness.

Taste is sweet, but with a slight fruity tartness. A smidge of vanilla. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel is slightly carbonated, but not to excess. A delight to my senses. I want more.

I expected far more of an alcohol burn for the ABV. This is an incredibly drinkable, tasty beer. Obviously world class. Beer really exploded with more flavors as it warmed. I wish I had the vocab to really give it justice.

On the bottle - "Bringing Heavenly Nectar Within Reach." Indeed. This one rates on my personal beer scale as nectar of the gods. There is something about the Belgians that really get to my heart. (Future husband, if you are out there, take note. I've just given a hint to one of the keys to my heart, and it isn't flowers)

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2010 03:39:44 | More by sullenbee
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 6,394 ratings.