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St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

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6,345 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6345
Reviews: 2442
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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Ratings: 6,345 | Reviews: 2,442 | Show All Ratings:
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 Citadel82

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a wonderful sipper, like a very complex cabernet this brew has so much depth and complexity.

Pours a cloudy brown with a short lived thin head that leaves some lace on my apparently not to clean glass.

Aroma of brown sugar, cloves and a whiff of alcohol

Cloves and spices, malt, cake, dried fruit ,ripe fruit, sugar, alcohol, not neccessarily in that order and not the same from sip to sip. Warmer is better.

Wonderful on the tounge and cheeks, lots of fine carbonation waiting to be roused with a gentle swish of the toungue.

Very drinkable on a cool night when something special is called for.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2005 00:55:58 | More by Citadel82
Photo of Troyone


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

I did not think this was a trappist beer; it says "St. Bernardus - Belgium Trappistenwig, 23" on the bottom of the label. Difficult to find this beer, found a 4 pk at Whole Foods.
Pours a dark rich chocolate black and is not translucent with a three inch head that dissipated with lacing around the inside of the glass.
Very evident rich smell of a cookie roasted molasses malt with a perfume resin, slightly lemon, hop aroma.
The taste pronounces the smell with a moderate, slightly cookie, lightly bready, roasted molasses malt; moderate, slightly grapefruity, herb resin hops; a light horseblanket doughy yeast; and hints of the following: tawny port, slight toffee, brown sugar, licorice, and cola into the smooth finish.
Mouthfeel is one of the smoothess medium to full bodied beer I've ever had, the texture has a creamy dry feel, the carbonation is lively and soft, and the hops has a metallic piercing into the finish.
Drinkability is perfect for this type of style, look out for the ten percent.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2004 08:58:54 | More by Troyone
Photo of neonbrown82


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

I've had a craving for this beer for quite some time. As I drank this beer I consulted my review, and as it was one of the first beers I reviewed for this site, my palate lacked the sophistication necessary to explain the pure bliss of this beverage. The first time I reviewed this beer I gave it a 4.9, but I believe now that is well deserving of the extra tenth.

The beer poured into my St. Bernardus chalice to a very dark nutty brown color with a massive dimpled foam cap that sticks around throughout the entire glass. This beer necessitates an extra category: sound. Sounds like a bowl of rice krispees, but the carbonation does not produce a harsh mouthfeel.

The smell is very sweet due to a quadruple dose of caramelized malts and fermentable sugars (belgian dark candi sugar, caramel, molasses, honey?). The high alcohol content is also noticable through the smell.

The beer provides an initial taste of all kinds of specialty sugars and spices, and as the liquid is passed from the tip to the mid-section of your tongue, the caramelized malts begin to grab hold of your senses. Finally, the finish shows a tiny bite of low AA noble hops, but just enough to balance out the sweetness.

Seems to be slightly astringent. Some aging would probably do her well, but as I said, I have had a craving for this beer for far too long to wait for a cellared product. The astringency is not overbearing though, nor is the alcohol or the sweetness. The mouthfeel is full and a bit creamy, and the foam is a bit metallic tasting (maybe from the minerals in the well water?)

Very heavenly. I may be a heathen bastard, but I believe that there must be some divine force responsible for this fine beverage. When I drink this beer, I seem to transcend beyond the normal state of drunkenness or sobriety. I only wish I could drink nothing but beers of this quality or higher (I'll have to be the judge of whether Westy is better than this or not, but I really don't see how it can get any better) without taking a huge hit on my pocket book just to drink a beer or two from day to day. It goes without saying that this is very highly drinkable, even though the ABV is quite high. If you haven't ingested this holy nectar, you are a sinner and likely going to hell, regardless if you (like me) don't believe in any religion.

In tradition of the holy bible, I hereby damn John's Grocery in Iowa City for tempting me with this forbidden fruit. Anything as good as a fine Belgian beer has got to be a sin.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2004 05:22:40 | More by neonbrown82
Photo of Hhawk06


4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at Redbones, the fine Somerville establishment, very reasonably priced I might add. The body was a dark, caramel brown with little head, perhaps it dissipated as it was filled to the brim. The nose is figgy and/or raisin? Nice. My first thought is wow, what a taste explosion. Then I immediately notice the syrupy, full mouthfeel. This is quite obviously a world class beer. I find there are a bunch of flavors vying for number one here; brandy/raisin/fig/and a candy sweetness. The finish is fantastic, wonderfully quenching with an incredible penetrating sweetness that forever lingers. Tremendous beer, I can see what all the fuss is about.

Serving type: on-tap

12-18-2004 21:42:06 | More by Hhawk06
Photo of moocey


3.65/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

I had one of these on tab at the Brick Store in Atlanta a few months ago at the beginning of my BeerAdvocacy. Since then, my beer experience has grown by leaps and bounds. So I had to buy a bottle and try it again.

Appearance - Pours a deep, dark brown with a head that refuses to leave. I haven't ever had a beer with such good head retention that I wished the head would calm down a bit.

Smell - Alcohol, lots and lots and lots of alcohol. Some malt comes through.... I don't find it pleasant.

Taste - Big blast of malt and alcohol. Subtle fruityness of either rasins, plums... something along those lines. I think it may be spicy, but I'm not sure. It's slightly sweet up front but dry at the end. The taste of this beer is completey foreign to me; like nothing else I've had. Don't taste any hops at all.

Mouthfeel - Like sipping on a can of liquid malt extract. Just what I want from this beer.

Drinkability - It is what it is.

Wow. This beer tastes good, but I wasn't in the mood for it at all. Come to think of it, I haven't been in the mood for Malty-and-Not-Hoppy beer in a while. In time, when I drift back over to the other end of the spectrum, I'll be enjoying the heck out of some St. Bernardus ABT12

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2004 15:56:11 | More by moocey
Photo of Crotor


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

Sweet Jesus, this is a fine beer.

Pours a deep, reddish brown, lifting a delightfully abundant off-white head. As the head settles (which takes ages...) it forms delightful dimples. I also notice specks of brown on it - I don't know if these are chunks of yeast or what, but they make me think of one thing - grated nutmeg on eggnog.

Smells of big malt and fruit. Sour apple, yeastiness, cinnamon. Is this beer *really* not spiced?

Tastes more glorious than anything else. Big, wintery, spicy fruit. Cinnamon and nutmeg and clove and apple - like apple pie in a glass. Frothy, estery caramel goodness. Chewy and malty to no end.

As for the mouthfeel, it's honestly quite like drinking heavy cream. Feels like frothy espresso. Caramely-apple-pie-flavored frothy espresso.

A damn good beer. Few beers would elicit a "perfect 5" from me, but this one pulled it off. Without a doubt, my current favorite beer.

*Note: Also, it's *damn* drinkable for a quadrupel.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2004 23:01:04 | More by Crotor
Photo of Billolick

New York

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

on tap, (gotta love the Blind Tiger!) This gem poured dark brown, and murky. minimal head, but leaves well developed lacing. Multiple layers of flavor going on here, fruity, malty, yeasty. complex and intriguing, warrming but not overpowering in strength, body or flavor. the genius here is that its so drinkable. seek out savor and enjoy.

Serving type: on-tap

12-17-2004 01:48:29 | More by Billolick
Photo of santoslhalper


4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearence: Pours a dark reddish brown with a nice, fizzy beige head. Head leaves great lacing.

Smell: The aroma is very much like a red wine, with fruity and caramel notes. The alcohol comes on a bit too strong.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The beginning of this taste journey is all about the malts. Sweet and juicy with a great caramel taste. The middle is completely balanced between malts and hops. And it ends with a great hop flavor with a still nicely balanced flavor. This is a phenomenal tasting beer, unique from all others I've ever had. The mouthfeel is superb, slick and creamy at the same time.

Drinkability and Overall: This is one of those beers that changed my life. First Storm King, then Westvleteren 12, now this. I'm still new to Trappist brews but I know I already love it. For me, the mouthfeel of this beer is the best part. I can't believe how great it feels - that is what makes me want to have another. This is a phenomenal beer. Seek and ye shall find the best of beers.

I'm am forevever in debt to a great man, GClarkage. Thank you my friend, I owe you for this one.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2004 00:03:19 | More by santoslhalper
Photo of stcules


3.65/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown monk color, clear, but with some floating yeast. Brown head, not too thick, but with beautiful laces.
Fruity smell (quince, plum), yeast and breadcrust (light). Vegetables and cooke bitter roots. Maybe some solvent?
The taste is warm and alcoholic (maybe too alcoholic); plums and cocoa, bitter roots, raisins and candy fruits.
Good body.
The aftertaste is on warm tones again; toffee, caramel, and sharp cocoa. Cinnamon hints. Alcohol less evident.
Tastes and smells are variables quickly during the tasting.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2004 19:25:38 | More by stcules
Photo of ZAP


4.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy, muddy mahogany...great nose...big cookie doughalso some sweet fruits....perhaps watermelon..also black cherries...plums..a hint of molasses as well..Body is rich and eloquent...spicy alcohol evident but it fits nicely with the rich flavors...carbonation is jacked up...that fits nicely too...flavors are sweet dark fruit maltiness acented wit ha candy sugar like sweetness...finishes creamy and smooth...as I drink this I realize this is the big dog...this is a true heavy hitter....I am in possession of a fantastic beverage...better than any of the Westy stuff I've had which is saying something and the best of the 3 I've had from this brewery....

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2004 06:19:10 | More by ZAP
Photo of skybluewater


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

Pours into a goblet a dark, murky apple cider color. Nice lace down the side of the glass. Smells of bread and dark fruits (the goblet really does help with smells especially). Taste is divine, with a malty, dark fruit thing going on that's just outstanding. (The guy who said this was like chocolate-cherry bread was right on.) Mouthfeel's delectable, quite creamy. Alcohol is barely noticeable, rendering this 10% abv brew very drinkable.

This is a gobsmackingly delicious brew, quite possibly the best I've ever had. If you get the chance to try it and don't, you'll regret it.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2004 05:20:23 | More by skybluewater
Photo of Ego

New Jersey

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

9.4 fl oz bottle (1 pint) for $8.99

deep brown with hints of amber in the right light. large white foaming head that dissapates very slowly, about an inch under the head you can see bubbles stream up to continusly feed it. impressive lace when rolling this one around a goblet.

hard to put into words but very apparent. maybe candied plums could be the right adjective ? or even candied mushrooms (if you can imagine such a thing) as there is definitely an "earthy" tone present.

the head provides a nice float and creaminess across the pallette. the alcohol is apparent on the back end (not harshly however). A grain prescense is left on the tongue along with a slight coffee flavor at the very end.

for a beer with the ABV of 10% this is extremely smooth. This may not be the greatest belgian I have tasted but it holds its own as a very solid beer in every single category when you go to tally up your scores. good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2004 03:37:31 | More by Ego
Photo of MrBen


4.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had a smiliar experience with a brew about eight years ago, called St. Sixtus. While I don't think it was exactly the same beer, the graphic on the bottle was identical.

Anyway, here's a real winner. I dig the tripels and quadrupels, and this one is no exception. This is a big beer, but it's quite balanced and well-presented in all of the right places. At 10%, it really hides the raw alcohol nose well.

Pours very nicely, and the head hangs on. It's lacey and bubbly -- not chunky or rocky. Smell and color are super and the taste is out of this world. You get the dark roasted coffee, the nutty and buttery notes, the dark chocolate ... the works. This is beer that has depth *and* complexity. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2004 02:45:36 | More by MrBen
Photo of tomthumbsblues


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

This gem of a beer pours a dark cloudy brown, so dark and thick you can't see light through it, and produces a huge foamy head which goes down slowly leaving some lacing. Its aroma contains hints of spice, cherries and a red wine character which I liken to a fine Merlot. The taste was the best part of this beer by far. At first you are introduced to a rich coffee and chocolate flavor which later yields to fruitiness. There are also hints of light spicing and roasted malt which comes towards the end. In the mouth this beer had the texture and richness of good coffee. At the same time it was creamy and smooth. The aftertaste left a nice thick coating on the mouth. The only thing I didn't like about this beer was a sense of grittiness in the front of the mouth in the aftertaste, otherwise, this offering was probably the best I've sampled so far. I'd definitely have another!

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2004 16:27:47 | More by tomthumbsblues
Photo of BeerManDan


4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The color of this Belgium Trappist was, medium dark brown, with a fair amount of light tan foam and no lace. The smell of fruit and malts, with a hint of yeast filled the nose. The taste had a soft fruitiness with just a touch of a sweet/sourness to balance out this Belgium Abbey Ale. The balance of malts, hops and yeast has made this brown ale a very pleasant trappist.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2004 21:21:01 | More by BeerManDan
Photo of OldFrothingSlosh


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




This amazing offering was available on-friggin'-tap at one of the true meccas of beer: Anam Cara.

This beer is everything that I remembered and more. Colors are dark, cloudy. Immense and impressive lace nearly overtakes the goblet. Aromas are still a lovely mix of dark fruits, Captain Morgan's spiced rum, and chocolate. Flavor? Yep. Still kick ass. All sorts of dark fruit soaked in rum, yeasty sweetness, and some more chocolate. An avalanche of creamy smoothness implants itself onto your palate. The 10% ABV hides behind the smokescreen of flavor and mouthfeel. Numerous pints of this completely amazing beer could be enjoyed.

I am indebted to SpileDriver for having this gem available on-tap. Simply stellar.

Serving type: on-tap

11-16-2004 01:51:25 | More by OldFrothingSlosh
Photo of BeerBuilder


4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Murky brown in color with a foamy tan head. The aroma is malty and bready, with a dark fruit smell. The flavor is bready, malt, and alcoholic. It has a fruity, boozy flavor in the finish. It has a nice sweetness throughout, not overpowering, but just right. It is a bit wine-like in the flavor as well. It is full-bodied and warming. You know this one is strong from the get go. I very nice Belgian, and I am sure I will visit her over and over again. A definite must try.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2004 01:38:57 | More by BeerBuilder
Photo of dgallina


4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served on draft in a St. Bernardus chalice. A lovely deep mahogany body with a rocky cream head which stayed throughout the entire (long) drink and left persistent lacing on the glass. Hypnotic dark fruit and spicy alcohol aromas which were nearly intoxicating by themselves. Fantastically complex dark fruit and spice flavors. The alcohol comes through quite clearly, but is carefully blended with the fruits and spices so that a dark, mellow, and delicious vinous quality ensues. Very rounded and creamy body (more creamy and smooth than the bottled version). Very strong, but surprisingly easy-drinking on draft, perhaps because it's smoother than the the bottled variant.

Serving type: on-tap

10-31-2004 07:18:02 | More by dgallina
Photo of GCBrewingCo

North Carolina

4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the chalice deep amber brown with a tan head that rose tall but retreated very quickly to the edges of the surface but lasted to lace the glass.

The aroma was extremely deep caramel and raisins. Also a slight overripe cantalope rind aroma was in the background. Some higher alcohols were presnt and some belgian yeast spice.

The flavor was dark deep caramel and raisins. Also part of the fruit complexity was prunes and plums. A pleasant belgian yeast spice of cloves contributed to the complexity of the flavor.

The finish was dry with a lasting caramel and fruity flavor with a complex lasting spiciness. The body was medium full but seemed less due to the carbonation.

50 cl bottle. A large alcohol presence follows in the warming contributed from this beer. It doesn't sneak up on you, it smacks you in the face and dares you to drink more...

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2004 01:27:04 | More by GCBrewingCo
Photo of rousee


4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Wow!! I can't wait to try this on-tap at the BBF pre-party next friday. Beautiful deep brown leather-like color. It is an almond/dark caramel/murky apple cider color and it forms a 2 finger cap down to wispy 1/2 mm "whipped-cream like topping" right after-then it leaves nice complex rings on sides of glass.

It is strong rich and very strong-ale type taste yet the complexity brings you back for more. When I breathe this one in, I get a somewhat almond-wine type whiff and the taste is along those lines also.

This is probably the closest beer to barleywine that I would consider drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2004 01:29:11 | More by rousee
Photo of ken3c


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

Huge, incredibly long lasting, tan lumpy head with darker brown spots. Dark brown with many floaters. I can't wait but I must wait to pour the last bit because the beer and the head can't fit in the same glass.

Fruity and Malty aroma. I love the head but it's muting the smell and I can't wait anymore for it to go down.

Taste is berries, vanilla, clove, and a nutty finish. Some bitternes comes through in the long aftertaste. Wonderfull. I should have waited longer for a better smell.

Foamy but not all that carbonated. It's mostly smooth and warming.

This was just superb. I'll be meeting more of these.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2004 05:49:41 | More by ken3c
Photo of gbontrag


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

It's got a large bubble head, tan. The bubbles are standing one on top of another like a cheerleader's half-time routine. And it's holding, holding, holding....Damnit! I couldn't wait. I took a snoot and got foam on my nose. HaHA!

Nose: Caught wind of a baker's spice rack. Vanilla extract. Sea side smells.

Taste: Spicy with an alcohol bite. Sour cherries cloaked in brandy. Tastes like a ripe yellow fruitcake with dried sour cherries and almonds, and almond extract, and candied citrus peels. Nice chewy semolina cake flavors, soaked in lite-brown sugar simple syrup, and a touch of brandy. I shouldn't be allowed to drink this bottle this fast.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2004 05:20:03 | More by gbontrag
Photo of gentlebubbles


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

on tap at Anam Cara

A bigger beer than I normally would have gone for, but I couldn't resist the St. Bernardus glass: a friendly round chalice that invites you to cup your hands around it. It arrived brimming to the top with a huge, thick, creamy off-white head over bittersweet chocolate colored beer.

The initially piercing sweet scent took on more caramel tones as the head slowly subsided. The foam itself had a nice bite that put me in mind of unsweeted baker's chocolate.

The flavor was all about malt, caramel and vinous though it hid the alcohol well. Though full bodied in the mouth and dangerously drinkable, nothing really special emerged until the end. As it warmed up I really liked the butterscotch tones with shades of Almond Roca that developed in the bottom. Should have kept my hands around the glass longer.

Serving type: on-tap

10-17-2004 00:38:12 | More by gentlebubbles
Photo of Suds


4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of those beers that, as soon as you open the bottle, all of your senses go…”mmmm, this is the good stuff.”
A thick, creamy-white head sits atop a murky brown liquid. The head is stable and constant…seemingly able to float on top forever. Thick rocks of lace dot the glass. If you’re anywhere near the glass, the aroma of spice, yeast, fruit, and alcohol are sure to hit you. It makes me think of blackberries and cherries, soaked in alcohol. Intense alcohol warming. The taste is spice and candy. Smooth, substantial, and relaxing are words to describe this beer. The essence of a contemplative brew.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2004 01:30:33 | More by Suds
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 6,345 ratings.