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St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,622 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,622
Hads: 8,654
Avg: 4.42
pDev: 17.19%
Wants: 644
Gots: 1,988 | FT: 51
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website

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.
View: Beers (12) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of St. Bernardus Abt 12 Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,622 | Hads: 8,654
Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.35/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into a St Berny chalice. Dark cocoa colored beer with a one finger sized head that leaves pretty quickly and leaves generous lacing. Not much light penetrates this beer. Little bits of yeasties floating on top.

Smell is quite nice. Yeast, very bubble gummy. Lots of dark caramel. Nice.

Up front is a sweet taste with some big malty flavors. Alcohol is quite subdued but present.

Nice big body on this one and great drinkability. I think I could have about 3 of these and feel alright. Nice beer.

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Photo of Franchise
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this is my second time having this beer and it was just as I remembered so delicious so smooth. This quad pours a dark ruby brown and leaves a thin tan lace that sticks to the glass and stays with the brew. The aromas is fruity esters, alcohal soaked dark fruit, caramel, brown sugar, very complex and literally makes you salivate. The taste is so complex, it starts dry and tangy with a slight vinos presence but more actually to rum or brandy. It then sweetens on your palate with a carmal malt feeling that then again brings you to more of a dark plum feel on the palate. Fantastic brew I would pair this beer with a fresh fruit plate to compliment the fruit in the beer.

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Photo of aforbes10
3.39/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Drank this last night as one of our samplers from our inaugural South Bend Coalition of the Drinking meeting. Was really looking forward to it because of how highly it is rated on the site.

Good looking beer. pours like brandy almost but with some small head. looks sticky and reddish brown. Smells like alcohol at first, then kind of like corny malt liquorish. First couple of sips burn with the alcohol and you feel it diffuse into your tongue. then there was a fairly complex mishmash of flavors including prunes, malt, not-quite-ripe apples, and ethanol. I didnt actually think this lived up to its hype very well. too harsh and more than one would knock me on my ass. maybe it would be better cellared for a while but i'm not sure im going to give it that chance.

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Photo of babyhobbes
4.2/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

So, I just had this earlier this evening on-tap and thought I'd have a bottle tonight to compare. Why? Because I can. My bottle was generously given to me by my bro, he is the man! I so wish he had been here for the on-tap experience. Ah, there will be other times.

Appearance is wonderful. This beer is dark amber,a kind of ruby brown with a hugh light cream colored head in the St. Bernardus chalice. Maybe the head is a bit larger than normal...as I was excited and pouring a bit fast. Head is sticking around...and leaving loads of lacing along the glass. Every sip reminds me of the missing beer.

Taste is not nearly as good as the on-tap version. I taste alcohol. Bitter alcohol. If I hadn't just had this in the bar I definitely wouldn't be as put off by it. Other than that, there is a malty sweetness, with cherry and raisins obvious.

Smell is the best part of the bottled version. The fruity qualities are apparent from a mile away. There is a slight sweet odor of bananas, cherries and raisins. (I really get a raisin feeling from this beer.) There is a malt odor and a very, very slight tinge of alcohol. The smell is vital for this beer and I think the tap version suffers somewhat in retrospect.

Mouthfeel is creamy and thick. There is a buring sensation down the throught and the experience is reminiscent of a decent port.

Drinkability is okay. The buring alcohol is wearing me down as drink this but the smell is so fantastic I just want more. It looks so good in the glass, I want another sip. Yet, each sip brings the burning edge of alcohol. It's so sad and yet so wonderful.

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Photo of cubedbee
4.68/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle best by 8/8/08 poured into a St. Bernardus chalice. Pours a deep reddish brown with a mammoth off-white head, great retention, wonderful huge curtains of lace. Nose is full of yeast, a nice doughiness, citrus fruits, and a slight peppery spiciness. Taste is a wonderful fruity malt, orange, pear, banana, mango, red apple, raisins--with hints of chocolate, caramel, and almonds, a slight grassy hoppiness--this is a superbly flavorful and complex beer. Full bodied with a medium carbonation and a velvety smooth feel. This is an exceptional beer, one of the best I've ever tasted, rivalling anything produced by any of the Trappist. Well done St. Bernardus.

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Photo of Prufrock
4.12/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle into a Rochefort glass.

murky medium brown. got about a half-inch of off-white head that falls quickly (glass isn't so conducive to anything higher). even so, leaves nice sheets of lacing.

10% abv definitely comes through in the aromas. lots of sweet brown sugar and bready malts as well. fruit aromas in the background, like over-ripe bananas (but in a good way).

alcohol is very well-hidden in the taste; don't really notice until i start feeling it about halfway through the bottle. sugary, doughy malts, fruity esters. buttery, rich mouthfeel with heavy carbonation. incredibly drinkable, great aroma, great taste...mouthfeel is the only weakness for me; a few too many bubbles. fantastic brew from the friendly monk.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.32/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep brownish-red color with much floating sediment. Chunky, foamy, tannish head that left nice lacing on the side of the glass. Smell is enjoyable, being a nice mixture of fruitiness, yeast, and dough-like notes. Taste presents itself with a pleasant fruitiness, that caresses the tiongue in an extraordinary manner. Finish is very smooth for a 10% alcohol beer. Drinkabilty is scary, because this beer is so easy going down. A great beer!

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Photo of beermanbrian
4.97/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours with a huge tan head that leaves tons of lacing as it drops to a foamy cap. Red, brown in color with plenty floaties in the bottle swirling around to give it some character.

Smell is right on. Molasses, dark fruits (cherries, plums, raisins) with just a hint of alcohol to let you know it's in there. Taste is solid think molasses sweetness but is balanced out by the alcohol. Also some yeastiness that gives it some bread like flavors. Just a touch of nuttiness and spicyness.

Supper smooth going down. For a 10% beer it is incredible drinkable. This is damn near perfect. Slight knock on appearance for head retention time. I'm still searching for that perfect beer but this is as close as I've come.

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Photo of Jredner
4.05/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aroma is quite fruity with notes of sfruit piced cake and spices. Dark brown, but very slightly reddish color. Head is two and half fingers, lasting and mostly creamy though there are some bubbles. Fore is again quite fruity with pear, apple, cherry and plum coming out. There is a very bready malt feel to it and some candy sugar sweetness. Almost tastes like a spiced apple liqour. It does lack in some areas. The flavor intensity isn’t quit as strong as I’d like. You can pick out quite a bit, but it doesn’t dazzle the palate as much as some others.

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Photo of ohitsbrad
4.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

13 January 2006, Best Before June 2010

Appears very dark brown in colour with a stable medium sized light brown head. Aroma of sweet, chocolatey malts; brown sugar and hints of spices and fruits (oranges). Rich chocolatey nutty malt flavour. Some brown sugar, dried fruit (raisins) and spices are suggested too. Some warming alcohol in the finish but no burn. Mouthfeel is full and coarse. Tasty, satisfying and a little easier to drink than Rochefort 10, although possibly not as complex. All in all, outstanding.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.53/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle from pentathlete as part of the OneBox BIF. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 1 3/4" light tan head above the clear reddish burgundy brew. Pillowy head lasts and lasts, with heavy airy lacing. Aroma is sweet dark fruit and spices coupling with the malty sweetness. Taste is really exactly as the nose indicated, with a warming alcohol close. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is nice, although the sweetness and alcohol starts to limit sessions. very nice brew, for sure.

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Photo of BeerNutta
4.83/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

St Bernardus Abt 12.

A = Pours a dark brown with a thick foam head that lingers for ages.

S = Smells of dark fruits like plums and figs. There is also a hint of bananas and a yeasty bread infusion.

T = Taste is sweet and creamy. Immediate taste of prunes and bananas. There is a sweet malt bread middle and a mellow caramel finish. Tasty.

M = Smooth and creamy. Excellent. Tastes like velvet on your tongue.

D = Going to keep a few of these in my cellar. Definitely one of my new favourites.

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Photo of Toddv29424
4.47/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I always equate this beer with the westvleterin 12, mostly because not a lot of Belgian companies make the quadrupel style. This is a terrific beer, but it just doesnt have the same complexities that are found in the westy... a very similar candied fruit taste dominates the front and end of the beer, while an overwhelming popuri fills the middle. Definitly not a beer that can be drank fast, with a content of 10%, but I still think the ultimate is Westy.

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Photo of BillyB
4.23/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark purple to ruby color. Thick head.

Aroma: Dark, fruits such as plum, raisins, cherries, figs, cloves.

Taste: Strong Spiced Rum, candy sugar taste, winey, vinous. Strong alcohol. Yeasty, nutty,cherry(black cherry?). Strong dark fruit taste.

Mouthfeel: Thick syrupy coating on the inside of your mouth(and glass). Strong Alcohol taste and carbonic bight on the tongue.
I could enjoy another. More than two would be a lot.

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Photo of cooter
4.48/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Absolutely phenomenal. A singularly perfect head of medium thickness with vertical globs of foam crowns a pure brown, nearly opaque body, and imparts superhuman (superbeery?) lacing to the glass--it lingers on the glass like a heroin addict walks down the street. When swirled it makes freckles in the head.

Tastes came as a gestalt, but some individuation can be made: sugary, yeasty, malty, some alcohol, cherry, nutty, esthers present, general fruitiness but perhaps clementine, spicy, perhaps cayenne pepper...but whatever the specific tastes, the general gist is sublime.

Smoother than silk, peppy on the tongue, never cloying, never heavy, never lightbodied, and only overpowering in the same way horniness is overpowering, ya dig? A stupendous beer. Props to JulieRFoster for the great gift (came with 3 other St Bernardii, and a glass!)!

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Photo of PatYoda
4.16/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice murky brown with lots of yeast. Ridiculously long lasting head coats your entire glass before you're done. Appearance is perfect for a quad. A bit too much alcohol in the smell, but nice otherwise. There's a lot of clove in there and definitely some spiced rum. The taste is much more complex, however. I sense clove (strongly - it could be a bit less spicy, but this, and the too strong alcohol flavor are my only complaints), doughty yeastiness, alcohol, cherry, and vinous flavors. Some cookie dough is also there. It's not as much of a malt bomb as Westvleteren 12. Note that despite other reviewers saying so, this is definitely not the same recipe as that beer. At one time it was after the brewery stopped contract brewing for St. Sixtus (1992) but since then the recipes have diverged greatly.

The winey aftertaste lingers for a few seconds then is gone. Mouthfeel is nothing special - medium bodied for the style, very carbonated, dry. Very drinkable. A bit overrated in my opinion, but a good beer nonetheless.

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Photo of MSchae1017
4.68/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was tasted in a goblet from a 750mL corked bottle.

The beer pours a dark amber brown with a huge head that holds fantastically and laces great. It smells of some fruit that I cannot put my finger on. It definitely does not smell of citrus as experienced with most beers. There might also be a faint liquorice smell about it. The taste is quite similar to the smell. The fruit may be cherry. The mouthfeel is thick and the carbonation is even. It feels fantastic. Overall I absolutely love this beer and would drink it again and again. I look forward to getting chance to cellar some of this.

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Photo of Iguana
3.58/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Poured a dark brown, with a creamy 1 inch head that settled a bit but stayed for the whole drink.

Smell - Smells of alcohol and brown sugar, dont know how else to put it.

Taste - Tastes just like it smells, of brown sugar, and alcohol, perhaps a hint of raisin in there.

Mouthfeel - Quite smooth, with a nice hint of carbonation. Really pleasent.

Drinkability - This isnt really my favorite style so I wouldnt drink more then 1 in a sitting, but its a nice change from the regular stuff.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.03/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

St. Bernardus Abt 12

Appearance- dark brown with no head and alot of carbonation.
Smell- fruit. Raisins, prunes, figs, cherries.
Taste- alcohol and fruit with a drowned out flavor of hops.
Mouthfeel- burns from the alcohol. Medicinal.

Overall- not a good one here! Too much alcohol ruins it. Too sweet as well!

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Photo of Blakaeris
4.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep brown with reddish highlights. Head is thick and creamy leaving plenty of lacing.

Smell is very yeasty with strong notes of dark fruit, sweet maltiness, caramel, and chocolate.

Taste has very strong cherry and chocolate notes, with dark fruits and brown sugar. Alcohol imparts a warming feeling but is well hidden. Flavors are well balanced. Finish is a little dry with lingering vanilla and nut flavors.

Mouthfeel is subtle and smooth.

This is an amazing brew.

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

Poured out of a 33 cl bottle.

Appearance: Chestnut brown with a thin yellowish head.
Smell: Very malty with a hint of chestnut.
Taste: Very smooth and creamy. Some fleeting fruity moments, taste the alcohol. This beer will burn your throat and give you warm feelings.
Mouthfeel: Very thick and consistant.

Overall: A very strong beer, too strong to contemplate having several in a row, could probably use a year or two in the cellar. Look forward to having a mellower version.

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Photo of budsboy
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've grown quite familiar with this beer before reviewing it. Now, I'm so fond of it, the picture of the happy monk on the label is enough to brighten my day. (Oddly, he somewhat resembles my dearly departed father, "Bud").

Dark and muddy brown, voluminous head, leathery, tanned.

Thick, moist bready aroma with hints of exotic spice and alcohol. A distinctive smell. Musty, fruity, wet and beautiful.

Big malt backbone, banana and juicy dark fruit, a slow-growing fire in the gut builds to a fully engulfed blaze, then fades just as slowly as it came. A sharp pear-like fruitiness zaps the tounge before it fades to a gentle bitter aftertaste.

Full and smooth, meaty, chewy. A meal.

An adult beer. Not for guzzlers, amateurs, hipsters, liars, slackjaws, hippies, rednecks, punks, grabasses, politicians or cry-babies. Grabs you by the shirt and demands respect. The world's finest craftsmanship. It's not often you can appreciate the sweat and the beauty of such a thing at the same time. If I find a better beer, I fear I shall be dead. This is the pinnacle, the absolute tip of the spire. Amen.

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Photo of ChiSox05
4.83/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml, shot the cork off the ceiling fan, into the Christmas tree.

Ruby red that turns plum colored in the wider parts of the glass. Myriad columns of carbonation rush upward adding to and holding up a never fading inch thick head of off-white foam, releasing a fruity boozy smell. Something to look at in an over-sized wine glass.
S-Familiar Belgian yeast smell mixed with a complex array of scents that could take some time to inventory. Caramel malt, raisins, no doubt about a dark, ripe fruit booze that had been living comfortably in its corked monk emblazoned bottle, now stretching out in the glass. Alcohol adds robustness to the brown sugar coated raisin, prune and plum and some spice too, black pepper or clove.
Taste had a well blended plum sweetness. There are raisins, a booziness that is most similar to a smooth, fruit infused darker rum. Where many beers provide a great aroma fronting for a taste that is just co-existing, the taste of Abt 12 defines its greatness. Sweet and malty the whole way through, but without any cloying syrup characters. The finish is drying and alcoholic, which combined with its effervescence cleared the palate well. Left behind is a cinnamony raisin bread taste and a warm throat and belly. Can't wait for another to add to this review, so much to smell and taste at once.
Another unique quality of this beer is that its high carbonation doesn't distract from the taste while still aiding in cleaning up the palate and complex flavors. Plus, it ensures a damn fine looking brew in the glass. For the definite high amount of sugar and malt within, it is nothing more than medium bodied. As far as the 10% goes, it will be noticed in the throat and stomach the entire trip. Texture is fizzy.
D-Taking notes on this was tough, as all I wanted to do was sip it holding the glass with both hands, pour more, and repeat. All who tried it on Xmas day agreed it was different, complex and out and out good. Will buy another 750 or two next time I am at the store, kickass warming sensation provided by the 10%. So sad to see the bottle empty ;) Tough to put into words how much I enjoyed this, superb is the first thing that comes to mind, top flight beer.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

whoaaa this beer forms a khaki humongous head that maintains and leaves frothy sticky lacing.

caramel combined with a light pear type fruitiness. This head is still dominating. rolling alcohol that is never in charge but always evident. some deep dark fruits come through.

This is an exceptional brew that deserves its praise.

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Photo of BigBry
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a four pack of 330 ml bottles with the smiling monk label. Best before stamp of 27/04/10. This bottle has been waiting patiently in the cellar to emerge for Christmas Dinner. Pouring slowly into my snifter produced a large sticky head, light brown in color. Foam stayed around for the whole glass, and left thin lacing. The body is almost black, held to the light it is a deep mahogany color. First smell is of dried fruits, dates or currants or plums. The aroma also has toffee and brown sugar or molasses. Even though it is 10% alcohol, there is no strong alcohol smell.
Taste is full of more fruity raisins or prunes, with the alcohol warmth now coming through. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy and quite enjoyable, leaves a thin coating of flavors on the tongue.
A fine after dinner drink, to enjoy slowly, and savor all the complexities this brew has to offer. Rich and delicious.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
98 out of 100 based on 2,622 ratings.