Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,685 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,685
Hads: 8,928
Avg: 4.42
pDev: 17.42%
Wants: 693
Gots: 2,197 | FT: 51
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Belgium | 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 (11) | 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: 2,685 | Hads: 8,928
Photo of BadBadger
4.48/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow, this is a very nice experience. It pours from the bottle a cloudy dark color. There is plenty of head. The smell is malty, fainlty of citrus, and with only hints of the alcohol content within. The taste is a nice malty slap to the palate. The after taste is nice, with just a bit of stick residue on the glossal apparatus. This is a very, very, drinkable beverage, while the high ABV content may prevent over indulgence.

 425 characters

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

On tap at Monk's in the back bar. What a great looking beer. It pours a nice deep brown, almost black body with a thick off-white and creamy head. The aroma is a good balance of deep toasted notes and some dried fruit tones as well. The taste is a feast for the mouth. I get dried fruits, plums and berries. I also get an obvious toasted character to this bold and complex and full bodied beer. What a joy to consume.

 417 characters

Photo of bierman2000
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A strong dark Belgian, is it a Quad or just a abbey dubble with lots of power.. malty and worth the search from the bottle as sampled at Ommegang beer festival. The mouthfeel and aroma of sweet bread along put this beer over the top. Savor slowly as it does creep up on you with the potent alcohol content.

 306 characters

Photo of artusory
4.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown with a big, creamy off-white head, mostly lasting, nice lacing. Aroma is clove, plums, banana, and sweet malt. Flavor is caramel, toffee, plums, raisins, figs and spice. These all come together superbly. The mouthfeel of this is wonderful, very smooth, carbonation dances on the tongue. Long finish, slightly warming, but alcohol is amazingly hidden. Fantastic.

 378 characters

Photo of InandOutBeerGuys
4.03/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm going on memory of a few months ago...A delightful pair brought me two bottles back from their monastic tour in Belgium I dont recall the date-if there was one but I imagine it was fairly fresh. The first bottle poured wonderfully toffee brown with a semi-sweet very malty backbone. Black pepper dominated the spices. The other bottle has been cellared for a while now, I beleive I'll try it tonight with dinner & report very soon with notes.

 446 characters

Photo of GreenWBush
2.99/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Bottled 2004, aged roughly two years in my cellar.

Gorgeous appearance. At least something hasn't changed.

I was worried about this beer from the moment I cracked it. The nose was filled with slight suggestions of age and vinegar. This beer deteriorated from the most well-balanced and fully-integrated slice of dessert-rich heaven to a boozy, candied mess.

Perhaps I caught this beer at an unfortunate point of age. As it stands now, I will never age this one again and I promise to drink it by the chalice, fresh and unwithered.

 540 characters

Photo of cro250klr
3.83/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap a bit ago. This review, however, is a bottle. To be honest, I would much rather the tap. The bottle is nearly the same, with the exception of a bit more carbonation. The St. Bernie on tap had a softer mouthfeel. I also think that the smell suffers a bit in the bottle. However, this is still a very good beer. Dried fruits and vanilla are present in the nose and the taste. The head on the bottle version is a tad more than that on tap, but both lace the chalice tremendously, till the very end. The taste finishes on the dry side, and the acholol is present on each sip, but that doesn't shy me away from this one. As usual, the Belgian pride shows through. Absolutely worth the effort put forth in searching this one out.

 739 characters

Photo of TheBungyo
4.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One bad thing about living so close to Bottleworks is that I have access to some of the best beers this world has to offer. That's bad you ask? It is if you can't appreciate the beer. You see, when I first decided to explore the various tastes of beer I decided to try some of the best right off. Good idea in theory but bad idea if the palate is not ready for it. As I've come to see recently many beers I thought of as "ok" are now considered amazing by me now that my palate has grown enough to appreciate them. Take this beer for example. I thought it was good the first time I tried it. Now a year later I find it devine.
The pour gave way to an attractive brown elixir with floating carbonation. Head is mild, about an a half inch, with minor lacing.
Nose is something like an apple strudel. This is just incredible. Tartness, sweetness and a fresh sourness.
Taste is a riot of flavors. An almost buttery medley of apple, vanilla frosting and dash of white wine mingled with caramel. All the while the methodical carbonation is massaging your tongue.
This is a beer to buy and savor again and again. Thank god Bottleworks carries this regularly. I Will kill .... err BUY again!

 1,203 characters

Photo of jamesdergen
4.05/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a translucent cocoa brown with a one-finger frothy tan head. Plenty of particles floating around.

Smell: This is one of those brews that your friend smells from across the room when you open the bottle. Dried fruits, alcohol and some grainy malts.

Taste: Very sweet, tart dried fruits up front with a big alcohol backing. Sweet bready notes in the background complemented by some caramel.

Mouthfeel: A lot more aggressive on the palate than I remember. Medium-bodied and more carbonated than I expect from a Quad.

Drinkability: Well, this is only a 330cl, but I'm splitting it with a friend. I would not be able to take down more than one of these smaller bottles.

 695 characters

Photo of Bierguy5
4.15/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle with the numbers 260710 on the label. Cloudy, muddy light brown color. Thick off-white head, which disappeared quickly, leaving a thin ring around the edges of the goblet. Aroma of plums, raisins, figs, dark bread and alcohol. Quite a pleasant combination for the old sniffer! Warming with alcohol, lots of carbonation.Dark fruity, and bread-like with some spices and yeasty flavor. Heavy in aroma and flavor, but doesn't overwhelm the palate due to the carbonation. Very well done.

 498 characters

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

Pours a deep dark brown with tan head - beautiful lacing.

High carbonation. Brown bread nose with raisin hints. ALcohol present in nose.

Flavors back the nose - brown bread, raisin, plums. Candy. A hint of spices and maple. Yeast present and adds a nice character.

A delight - warming and full of flavor. While it provides warmth, the drying carbonation prevents cloying and makes this an easy drinking high alcohol beer.

 430 characters

Photo of Graham21
4.26/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is a very dark amber carmel red color which is cloudy. The head is very pretty, its a light nutty color;very light tan. head was one finger high then reduced to a beautiful lacing. the foam stuck to the glass.
The nose is very fruity and malty, a little dissapointing. As far as the flavor went i picked up on malts, fruits/citrus, nuts, alchol, and hot cinnamon flaovr, the beer is full bodied and leaves your mouth with a buttery lard feeling after drinking. The alchol is present to say the least and it warms your whole body up. I enjoyed this beer alot. "Two Thumbs Way Up"

 591 characters

Photo of Metalmonk
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thick 1.5 inch thick head that halved quickly. Great looking color, a sort of caramel brown, reminds me of the color of prune juice. Thick rings of lace.

Smells are caramel, rum, roasted malts and raisins.

This bottle had been aging while, so maybe that's why the alcohol bite was mellow compared to newer bottles I've had. In any case, I found the alcohol to be present but not overwhelming. The flavors were of dark fruits, roasted malts, toffee and chocolate. And I swear there's a ripe grape essence too. Nice creamy mouthfeel coats the mouth/tongue, keeping those flavors going long after the sip.

Pretty high ABV but an absolutely delicious experience. Reminded me of Trappistes Rochefort 10, and also Gulden Draak and Nostradamus. So it sits in exalted company, but we should expect that from the St. Bernardus brewery by now.

 850 characters

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

Bernardus 12 pours a dark hazy brown with a pillowy off-white head. The head retention in this beer is fantastic. It smells of dark fruits, brown sugar, clove, grape, malty and above all, sweet.

Very sweet tasting, almost too sweet. There is a burst of clove and dark fruits in the mouth. There is an overwhelming presence of brown sugar and is very grapy. The alcohol is obvious in this one, but what do you expect? This beer tastes smooth and finishes even smoother. Exceedingly warm.

This beer is great! Is it one of the best in the world? Most certainly in my book. Absolutely worth the six dollars per glass at the Saucer (both times). Not a horribly complex beer, but great overall.

 694 characters

Photo of wingnutter
4.42/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep mahogany with a head of very tight bubbles that reduces to a thin layer.

Smells earthy, fruity, malty. touch of dark ripe fruits.

Tastes really good. Yeast, figs, dates....a nice brown sugary sweetness...Very smooth, with a winey quality in the middle. Finishes with almost a cherry-like tartness. This is good stuff.

Drinkability is quite high even with the high ABV. Expertly masked.

One of the best. Worthy.

 428 characters

Photo of Bierschenker
3.95/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

BB 10-10
Dark rusty copper colour, some carbonation running through. Gives only a small head, nice white and bubbly. Yeast on the bottem.
Smells very malty and sweet. Raisens, bitter, caramel.
Oxidizing at first, irony, caramel and chocolate malt, grapes, yeast.
Aftertaste is very soft. Strong malt = bitter-sweet, raisins and chocolate.
All in all not an easy taste to fragmentate, But a good beer.

Ut Vivat, Crescat, Floreat!

 436 characters

Photo of ghostwalker
4.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle serving. Code on bottle FL280710.

Body is cloudy and dark reddish-brown, some free-floating yeast chunks. One solid finger of frothy white head.

Nose is sweet and malty. Reminds me of spice-cake, much like the Prior 8.

Rich, dark and sweet. Heavy malt presence up front. Plenty of sweet brown sugar flavor and some rich spiciness in the middle and finish. Dark fruit flavors, prunes, dates. This is one extremely complex brew.

Mouthfeel is rich, smooth and slightly chewy.

This is a wonderful sipper. The high ABV and intense flavors make one brew enough for me, but drinkability still has to be rated very high.

 643 characters

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

750 ml silk screened bottle. No date codes. Some bottles in the same batch had a best before date on the bottom of 2009.
Pours a dark reddish brown. Rocky head that lasts , good lacing.

Nice hoppy , yeasty smell. Some alcohol presence.

The taste hits upfront with the hops, a floral bite that intertwines with the high alcohol. I noticed more malt tones as it warmed. I can't imagine beer tasting much better.

Mouthfeel is somewhat thick , as it should be. High carbonation.

Drinkability of this high ABV is great. It took about 30 minutes to finish off the bottle.This beer will become one of my cellar favorites.

 627 characters

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

Picked up the 750mL corked bottle from "Beers of the World" and was excited the whole way home. Served just under room temp into a tulip glass. Upon pouring a large brown head appeared, and remained untill the glass was finished. this beer has the most beautiful color when held up to the light. A deep red that is alittle clouded by yeast. The smell is also incredible. Very floral aroma that in overwhelmingly enjoyable. The aroma of this beer definitely got you ready for the taste. The taste is amazing. Sweet, but not heavy, dry, but not too dry. This beer suprises you with every sip you take. I babied this bottle for almost an hour because I didn't want it to end. It is smooth and clean in the mouth, and I could drink this beer for the rest of my life if I could afford to. Definitely deserves to be in the top five in BA

 831 characters

Photo of hanco005
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle, dated 20 07 09, poured into my St. Bernardus glass that came with my variety 4 pack.

A—pours a thick dark brown, raison color with ½ inch tan thick foamy head, reduces slowly to a thin sheet, chucks of sediment float around throughout the beer, medium lacing remains as I drink it

S—sweet malts, mild ripe fruits, alcohol becomes stronger as it warms, caramel, plums

T—balanced very well, sweet caramel and ripe fruits harmonize, slight bitterness in the finish

M—full bodied, good carbonation, a little sharp and thick, mildly chewy (or maybe it is just my imagination due to the sediment

D—honestly, I tried this due to the high ranking and I agree. It is wonderful. One is plenty due to the 10% abv and bold flavors, but a great sipping beer. The perfect nightcap, imo.

 810 characters

Photo of redelephantdane
3.86/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

a- dark and murky. explosive head that is very creamy and frothy. the head dies very slowly and leaves patched of lace down the side of the glass. the head is right now about an inch over the rim of the glass and not pouring out the sides.

s- the smell is of alcohol and malts. a little bit of something i didnt like almost vomitty flavored. very hidden but still there.

t- the taste is of alcohol, mildy vinious, but mostly alcohol. some malts and grains. almost the taste of diluded whiskey

m- heavy yet refreshing, goes down and sits in your stomach.

d- the alcohol in this makes it hard for me to drink more than a few of these.

 644 characters

Photo of fingolfin72
4.26/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Twisted Fork.

It looked like a Coke, but the head was fine-textured and enduring.

Not much nose, but I detected a whiff of sugar, cereal and alcohol.

The palate was huge with flavors of brown sugar, maple, coffee, toast, cola, vanilla and a bit of clove-like spiciness. The mouthfeel was creamy and luxurious, with fine-textured and subtle carbonation. The alcohol was apparent, but it was not overbearing. A balanced but firm backbone of mineral and hops ran through the whole flavor profile.

It was served to me a bit too cold, but it really opened up as it went up a few degrees.

 608 characters

Photo of badbeer
4.03/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL cork and caged bottle poured into a Westmalle chalice. No best by date printed.

Pours a very dark brown with an almost creamy off-white head leaving traces of lacing around the glass. At first the head dissipated leaving little islands on the beer and somehow gained strength and filled out the glass for a head all around. Pretty strong yeasty aroma, wow, plum, raison, cherries, and maybe even some grapes. Pretty strong, yet complex smell. Taste is full of the same dark fruit, just dancing on the tongue, be prepared. To dig deeper, it starts with a caramel and biscuit flavor then transforms seemlessly into a plum/raison flavor and finishes with a bit of dark cherry flavor. Slightly above average carbonation, with a medium to full body, pretty nicely paired together, maybe a little less carbonation would be better. Very wonderful to drink, but I can't imagine being able to stand after a few of these.

Side note: I definately feel this one is best when it warms. I opened it when it was still a little too cool and as it warmed in front of me it kept getting better.

 1,088 characters

Photo of bhb
4.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

St Bernardus Abt 12 is truly a beer deserving of "outstanding".

Pouring with a large frothy head, with a very dark brown almost black colour, it oozes all sorts of aromas. My nose is awash with winter-warming aromas of wine, dates, raisins, banana, oter dark sweet fruits and a hint of citrus for good measure. A very full body and a gentle fizz really gets it going in the mouth, and it goes down extremely well. It costs me 2 euros a bottle (less than $3) so it's a regular for me.

Some say this is like Westvleteren, and some don't. The brewery was at one stage brewing for Westvleteren, so no doubt there are influences in there. But if you're confused as to whether it's the same or not, I've got news for you. I've drunk several of these in my time, as well as westy 12, and most were quite different from Westy (hence my comments in my westy 12 review). Excellent, but different. But tonight I popped open an Abt 12 and, well, it was VERY Westy-like. Perhaps it depends on the brewing season, but this one is very much like Westy. It's got that alcohol/port aroma that's not in the other Abt 12s I had, and it's very very similar to Westy 12, though it is a little less punchy. Best before date of this one is 20-09-10, so if you've got one of those, and it's got port-ish aromas, you're lucky to have an almost-westy batch. Otherwise, it's pot luck and you might just get a fantastic beer rather than a stunning beer.

Overall, this is a brilliant brew, especially as a winter warmer, and will not disappoint.

 1,525 characters

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

This is fantastic !
Very cloudy, orange-brown..lively head..laces , falls to a film and stays.
Smells of fresh bread dough..dried fruit..hint of port and some alcohol.
Taste is amazingly complex! Yeasty, sweet..tons of fruit ( apple,pear,bananas, cherries ), licorice, caramel candy..hint of bubblegum...spices are subtle....Perfect !! Some port wine toward the end.
As it warms it gets better...this really is living up to the reviews...it's just a great, great brew.
Velvety mouthfeel...perfect, lively micro carbonation.
Very drinkable for such an overwhelmngly complex, intense ale.
I will be back for more.

 618 characters

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
98 out of 100 based on 2,685 ratings.