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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.

6,392 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6392
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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,392 | Reviews: 2,444 | Show All Ratings:
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
Photo of craftbeersweden


4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle from Systembolaget, Sweden. Best before july 17 2018. ABV: 10.5 %

Dark brown, hazy, beer with a two finger high head that leaves lacing on the glass.

Nose: Dark fruit, raisin, plum, grapes, brown sugar, butter and caramel malt.

Taste: Rich and complex! Bread, caramel, syrup, banana, grapes, dark rum, raisin and dried fruit. Great carbonation and a creamy feeling. Sweet and warm finish.

Halleluja! I’m saved!

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2014 00:04:35 | More by craftbeersweden
Photo of swillmeister

Ontario (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation...poured from 750ml bottle into a glassware chalice.

Appearance...a fizzy head like you would find when pouring a cola ( you can actually hear it fizz). The meagre head quickly dissipates leaving no lacing on the glass. Dark, cloudy appearance with tons of suspended sediment (normal for a bottled fermented beer) reminiscent of unfiltered apple cider.

Smell...warm pumpernickel bread aromas with hints of apple and chocolate. Not as malty as I had expected from similar Belgian Trappists beers

Taste...yeasty bread with a hint of chocolate, pears and dried fruit (figs, dates).

Mouthfeel..extremely smooth and surprisingly light and quaffable for a strong beer (10% alcohol). Very light, natural carbonation.

Overall...a very decent Trappist beer, but not great. Any of the Chimay products would easily rate higher

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2014 23:24:14 | More by swillmeister
Photo of VoodooBear

Puerto Rico

4.19/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 330mL brown bottle, served in an oversized wine glass.

Appearance: It has a very dark brown color and develops a tan, two finger head. It has good retention, so it stays for a while and leaves some nice lacing.

Smell: The sweet malty smell is right up front with a strong alcohol note in the background.

Taste: Just as with the nose, there's a very dominant malt sweetness at the front, with some ripe fruit notes and a warming alcohol feel throughout that wraps things up very nicely.

Mouthfeel: It's full bodied, with average carbonation. Very smooth and creamy, it just feels balanced.

Overall: An incredible beer. This is a must-have.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2014 22:47:29 | More by VoodooBear
Photo of bball208

New Jersey

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

Each time I have this beer, I love it more and more. Kind of like the movie Friday.

Anyway, this pours a lovely and hazy brown. As you pour, you see a fade from dark to light, then slowly you can see a head forming, and this one was huge, 2-3 fingers worth, and slow to dissipate.

Aroma: burnt sugar, dark fruits... maybe charred raisins, those chewy dates, maybe even a slight bit of plum. This all accompanied by a beautiful classic aroma of belgian yeast and the kind of alcohol it makes. You do get a little bit of that alcohol in the nose, but for this one, it's very appropriate. Overall, you get a bit of tang, sweet, and booze in the nose.

Taste: Finally. The carbonation is the first thing I notice. Does great, because it starts off as dark-fruity and sliiightly bitter, but those bubbles on the tongue explode those flavors into malty sweet and bready. Sooo decadent. I definitely sense raisins and figs, and a communion bready yeast. If you've had communion bread, think about the exhale on that bread, that's what I'm getting. I am loving this beer.

Overall: As you begin having this beer at a colder temperature, allow as much as you'd like to have it at the temperature it should be had at, 60-65 degrees. Once it started climbing towards the warm side, the flavors became ridiculous. It becomes soft, velvety, rich, almost milky. I wonder if it gets any better than this one.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2014 03:19:58 | More by bball208
Photo of brutusmuktuk


4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle with a hazy brown color and a thick, foamy off-white head. Has a subtle fruit aroma, perhaps too subtle, but that’s the only fault I can find with the beer. Has a sweet dark fruit flavor and no hint of the 10.5% alcohol. Feels smooth and has a nice full body. St. Bernardus, I would say, is heavenly .

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2014 01:07:52 | More by brutusmuktuk
Photo of tkelley


4.73/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

First, the bottle fizzed up everywhere when I opened it. That super sucked. Then I spilled some on my rug. That won't suck until my wife finds out.

Poured the bottle into my WestyXII chalice.

A -- Amber brown. Cloudy as all get out. Very thin, continuous head with a tan tinge. Lots of tiny, tiny bubbles.

N -- Yeasts... delicious, delicious yeasts. Dried fruits and such. Sweet.

T -- Oh so good. Cellar temperature. Nice and sweet. Eminently drinkable. Again with the dried fruits... raisins, apricots, dates... whatever you like. So good.

M -- Smooth and drinkable. Strong. Beautiful.

O -- I would drink this all day (for about an hour until I was passed out). I really like it.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2014 02:18:06 | More by tkelley
Photo of Copernicus


4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured a 330 ml bottle into a tulip glass.

A: This slips into the glass in a nutty brown with a cloudy haze, like chestnuts. It forms an aggressive head of creamy, off-white foam at two fingers. It leaves a tightly woven lace.

S: Right up front there are dark dried fruits: figs, dates, prunes, and raisins. There are some light phenols suggesting cooling winter spices like nutmeg and cardamom. In the background is a sturdy malt presence with light roastiness and a hint of caramel. The hops are spicy but mild.

T: Spicy. Pow! Lots of toasty roasty malt here, followed by spicy, earthy yeast. It hints at dark bread, milk chocolate, toffee, and light or blonde roast coffee. There is absolutely no sourness of tartness here. The alcohol is definitely present, but it contributes a welcome, fiery snap. Everything is then rounded off by a deep and rich earthy molasses sweetness and then finishes with a pleasant bitterness.

M: There is potent alcohol here (no hiding that!), but it's accentuated by flirtatious carbonation and then alleviated by the medium body and the slick, oily finish.

O: The is a damned fine beer for a rainy Bay day. The Apt 12 is more "Christmasy" than most holiday ales. But that's the way these things seem to go. Alas, a fine fine ale.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2014 19:40:33 | More by Copernicus
Photo of RoboNix


4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - dark brown with reddish highlights. Hazy, as expected from a bottle conditioned beer and within style guidelines. Significant perlage. Abundant, foamy, moderately persistent off-white head. Perfect.

Aroma - esters, caramel, cherry, prune. Slight hot alcohol. Maybe a whiff of spice. No hops.

Taste - complex, but overall harmonious. Dark fruits: raisin, cherry, prune, fig. Belgian caramel. Very slight umami. Pleasantly dry throughout. Surprising amount of bittering evident in late mid-palate to finish. Not as long a finisher as expected based on complexity and depth of flavors.

Mouthfeel - borderline harsh carbonation. Medium-heavy body.

Overall - world class beer and excellent example of style. Only non-quibbling fault is the carbonation making the mouthfeel a bit uncomfortable. Dry for an Abbey quad.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2014 09:12:26 | More by RoboNix
Photo of MartzMimic


4.48/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark reddish brown with a bubbly milk chocolate head that dissipates quickly. Very little lacing. Smells of dark fruits, tobacco, bread and malt. Plum, raisin, malt and caramel taste. Alcohol is very pronounced. Medium mouth with a fair amount of carbonation. I prefer the Rochefort 10 by a slight margin, but this is an excellent quad.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2014 03:18:10 | More by MartzMimic
Photo of cxr1037


4.95/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I had this lovely quad a few nights back and took some notes:

APPEARANCE: Dark, almost black body that demonstrates a reddish hue when held up to light. Strong, thick head. Sediment floating around inside the bottle.

AROMA: The aroma is fantastic on this beer. There's dark fruits, like plum, raisin, fig. Sweet, caramel malts. I also detected brown sugar and a little bit of cinnamon. There's also a whiff of alcohol in there - at 10% it was expected.

TASTE: What a great, complex taste, with just about all elements of the nose showing strong. The malts offer a sweet caramel breadiness that's well complemented by the plum, raisin, and fig, as well as a little bit of banana. Brown sugar is also noticeable, with a trace amount of chocolate mixed in as well.

MOUTHFEEL: No surprises. Thick and heavy, with alcoholic warming. Also somewhat creamy. Where I think this beer shines is that despite the sweetness, it's never syrupy or sickly.

OVERALL: People who've had both tell me that Westvleteren XII is marginally better than Abt 12. I haven't had Westy, so for now, Abt 12 is my favorite quad. I feel like I should have more quads before giving this a 100, but I think it's the perfect example of the style.


Serving type: bottle

02-05-2014 01:36:40 | More by cxr1037
Photo of DrinkMoreBigBeers


4.31/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served out of a bottle with the date of 04-04-18 on it.

A - Pours a hazy brown with a two finger of white khaki head with great lacing.

S - Smooth maltiness comes to mind on first smell. With the characteristics of caramel, fig, grapes, raisins and an overall sweetness. Very smooth and pleasant.

T - Follows the nose really well. Caramel malt, figs, grapes, sweetness, alcohol (rum) shows as it warms. An overall well blended beer.

M - This is thick, fluffy soft and it has a high carbonation bite with a slight alcohol burn on the back end.

O - An overall great quad. Not my favorite style of beer in yet I really enjoy this one. Its mouth feel is unique and very appealing. My wife liked this one surprisingly since this is the first Quad she ever liked. A must have for any beer connoisseur, cheers!

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2014 23:57:24 | More by DrinkMoreBigBeers
Photo of flyingpig

United Kingdom (Scotland)

4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle from Beers of Europe website (£3.19):
Murky to caramel brown with a thumb sized, bubbly head that holds well. Lots of visible carbonation too.

Rich and complex with good balance between a whole host of dark fruits, sugar, sweet malts and spices plus some grapes, figs, yeast and even some banana. Some light alcohol rounds things off.

Very sweet and filled with sugar upfront, the beer is loaded with sweet fruits that includes some banana and figs along with a touch of apple and grape. There is some Belgian yeast in there too and a touch more alcohol than the nose had suggested but it is still lighter than you would expect going in. The beer is rounded off with some further fruit flavours and an intensely sweet taste.

Smooth and crisp on the tongue with medium body and a well carbonated feel to it. There is a huge amount of sweetness from start to finish with only faint hints of alcohol in places. Great balance & it goes down well.

Very sweet and highly drinkable with a great combination of fruits all balancing with each other very well indeed and combining to give a solid, highly drinkable beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2014 01:23:48 | More by flyingpig
Photo of LVituri


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

Com certeza um dos grandes rótulos não trapistas da Bélgica. Levo em consideração duas maneiras de degustá-la. Na garrafa ela possui um sabor mais forte e marcante. Na pressão ela é mais aromática e equilibrada, não há defeitos, não sinto que tenha o que criticar ou apontar como não cumprido. Um rótulo sensacional.

Serving type: on-tap

01-16-2014 13:42:32 | More by LVituri
Photo of utopiajane

New York

4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy honey brown with sediment you can see. It has a crimson bush deep int he beer and while it's hazed it lets light shine through. Off, off white, almost tan head of foam that looks like it will last but doesn't. Leaves sheets of soapy lace to look at as they fall back into the glass.

Nose has a bit of alcohol on it. I bring it up first because it's a bit sharp . medicinal. Nose is clove, ripe fruit. Plum and fig. fresh and alive. Waves of sweetness from malt and a light brown sugar. Cake like malt. Buttery, juicy earthy too. The yeast is powdery and dry and promises some lightness. Nothing burnt, nothing roasted just as it should be. It's comforting.

Taste is complex and rich. It unfolds and becomes so many things. It starts with fresh plum and fig, then becomes dried prune and raisin. then there is a touch of tart cherry. The yeast stays soft and dry and keeps things light and uplifted. The carbonation is effervescent and while that's true this beer is creamy. CREAMY. The fruits are sweet and resilent and the alcohol has a touch of dryness, a touch of spice and a bit of pepper and bitter to impart to the finish.

The finish is sweet and warming and by the time you finish this glass the alcohol is sweet not sharp. It has won you over with flavors that surrounded it. The fruit danced on the palate, the malt richness was cake like and light. The spice intriguing. I will have another even though I said I wouldn't at first.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2014 00:07:55 | More by utopiajane
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 6,392 ratings.