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St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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

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2,612 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,612
Hads: 8,577
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 4.54%
Wants: 629
Gots: 1,916 | 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: 2,612 | Hads: 8,577
Photo of PatYoda
4.16/5  rDev -5.7%
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. (1,037 characters)

Photo of MSchae1017
4.68/5  rDev +6.1%
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. (604 characters)

Photo of Iguana
3.58/5  rDev -18.8%
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. (512 characters)

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.03/5  rDev -31.3%
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! (312 characters)

Photo of Blakaeris
4.7/5  rDev +6.6%
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. (485 characters)

Photo of descartes
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
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. (485 characters)

Photo of budsboy
5/5  rDev +13.4%
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. (1,113 characters)

Photo of ChiSox05
4.83/5  rDev +9.5%
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. (2,203 characters)

Photo of DogFood11
4.77/5  rDev +8.2%
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. (332 characters)

Photo of BigBry
4.5/5  rDev +2%
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. (894 characters)

Photo of WanderingFool
4.45/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

St. Bernardus Abt 12 poured a hazy dark mahogeny color with a big tan frothy head on top. The foam dissolved slowly to a thick sheet on the surface leaving behind a lot of lace on the side of the glass. An aroma of apple, grape, yeast and clove greets you before each sip.

This full bodied beer is packed with flavor. It begins with some sweet malt before fruity tastes of apple and raisin move in. Hints of spices (clove and pepper) blend in at the middle. Towards the end of each sip some alcohol and yeast greet the palate. It finishes somewhat tart leaving behind a rather fruity flavor.

This is a well balanced flavorful beer. It hides the 10% alcohol very well. It's best when each sip is savored as the flavor comes alive when the beer warms in the glass. (768 characters)

Photo of thetachibro
4.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

i can honestly say this is one of the first quadrupels that i've actually sat down and enjoyed. it looked beautiful being poured into my snifter with a monsterous 2 in. foaming light tan head. It has a light brown color to it. A slightly fruity smell with a little hint of vanilla. This is probably one of the best balanced beers that i've tasted. I was expecting a big alcohol kick with the 10% but it was just right mixed with the malts. Pretty much perfect. i can sit down and drink a few of these. I might not feel too good in the morning but i wouldn't mind drinking it (574 characters)

Photo of numenor1
4.8/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750, back home for the holidays am i'm splitting it with my mom (i'm damn well getting the bigger half)

One of my favorites, and I've not yet reviewed it. Tremendous beer, and westy 12 has little, maybe nothing on it.

Pours a garnet hued dull brown with a billowing beige head. Rocky all over, diminishing and lacing my glass to death. Aroma is intoxicating, nutty almond, brown sugar, soft plum, faint mint, clove, even slight banana. Taste is immediately almond and brown sugar then there's a flood of esters and burly molasses, drying through the finish leaving my palate aching in its wake. It's the aroma magnified by 10, and my mouth waters. Spicy alcohol and yeastiness integrated throughout. A meaty body with medium carbonation, a tad abrasive and utter perfection. I need more. (793 characters)

Photo of doubleipa
4.64/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is right on style. Aroma is light bread, with a moderately yeasty smell. There is also a hint of cherry. I think the draft verion, which I had two night ago has more cherry. There was a rocky head, but definitely not as much as on draft. Not a whole lot of head, but it doesn't fully diminish. Initial flavor is moderately sweet that lessens somewhat. More cherry and bread than the aroma indicated. The finish is long. This was lively on th etongue, more so than the draft version. There is a moderate alcohol feel. While this is one of my favorite quads, I think it's even better with a year on it. When I think of what a quad should be like, I think of ABT 12. (668 characters)

Photo of walleye
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

from the bottle. pored brown with light tan head some real nice lacing. aroma, citrus, yeast, malts, chocolte, molasses, dark cherries, and other dark fruits and alcohol. flavor, wow the balance of chocolate, cherries, grape, and malts were right on the the way the alcohol came out was nice. and had a nice dry finish. (319 characters)

Photo of pbr85
4.31/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this beauty from a 12 ounce bottle into a chalis.

Appearance: Nut brown color with a nice off white head. The lacing is pretty good. The head stays at about a quarter inch throughout, giving it a beautiful look.

Smell: Fruits and a champagny scent dominate

Taste: Alcohol hits first, followed by sweet fruity malts everywhere. This beer is very complex; fruity flavors and slight hints of grapefruit.

Mouthfeel: Wow, so smooth. Mouthfeel was my favorite part of the beer, its like the equivalent to a tongue massage. Carbonation is perfect.

Drinkability: Though the alcohol content (and the price) would limit me to 2 or 3 in a night, I would probably never drink more than one of these for fear that I might not appreciate the second or third or tenth.

Notes: If you like sweeter beers, try this, you will love it more than your wife. (861 characters)

Photo of bitterdestroyer
3.4/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

man, i'm a lil bummed. i really didn't feel like this one lived up to the accolades. now don't get me wrong, i'm not saying this beer was bad, far from it. i guess i was just expecting something more.

appearance: nice deep brown. pefect head reminiscent to a guiness. not as much lacing as i woulda figured.

smell: nice nutty, chocolatey, slight spice. par for the course for a quad.

taste: fruity, and full. hint of plums, raisins, hops, chocolate, hint of alcohol. again... par for the course. not bad by any means, but no surprises here.

mouthfeel: silky smooth. alcohol seems more apparent as it warms. just the right amount of carbonation. crisp snap at the end.

drinkability: surprisingly i could do more than one 750 of this in a nite, although the abv is pretty high.

overall: like i said i didn't cream my slacks over it, but wouldn'r exactly turn one away either. (891 characters)

Photo of andjusticeforale
4.45/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Out of a 750ml, split with a friend; it poured nice dark brown with a golden tinge , just like every big belgian should be. There was a a nice tan head that looked stoutish down into the Duvel tulip. It was lighter in color and more filtered than I expected.

The taste was intriguing but not as complex as the hype would have you believe; to me this is infinitely smooth and perfect at masking the taste of alcohol and also, nice and dried fruit/plum astringent in the finish;There was remarkable balance as well, with the taste remaining controlled and tight but stilll verging on port wine at times, bittersweet at other times.

So, it gets great marks for taste and drinkability, but the overall depth makes it miss the perfect mark, I must be a sucker for a less polished package when it comes to the filtering and flavor profile; I wouldn't possbly turn one down however... (883 characters)

Photo of kingjames1
4.88/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark ruby, with a thick cocoa-tinged head that eventually dissipates leaving a consistent lacing. Smells wonderful, bready yeasts, chocolaty malts, and spice --- mmmm. Taste: does it get any better than this? Rum-drenched raisins, and good, dense (European) bread, brandy and sweet cherries, strong port and dark chocolate. Fantastic! Great carbonation, making it very drinkable for the abv, though one is enough, thank you. Overall, you can't beat this one with a stick. Those crazy Trappist monks know what they're doing! (531 characters)

Photo of jslot38
4.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a beautiful deep rich mahogany. Elegant and frothy head, off white with hints of tan. Lacing held nicely throughout the sitting.

Smell: Notes of deep dried fruit. Hints of toasted bread... with a dab of honey on the top. Alcohol wafts through the complexities of this appealing smell. However, what truly lures me to the smell is the dried raisins and toffee combination. Mild phenols are noticable.

Taste: Bliss. The complexities from the smell carry right over to the taste. With a mild sense of alcohol. Up front there is a slight hint of roasted malts with a very small note of walnut and other deep and dark roasted nuts. Next comes the sweetness of dried fruits with paltry lingerings of mustic toffee covered raisins.

Mouthfeel: Slick and while comlex nothing overwhelms the palate. Your tongue will beg for more, as your mouth will not at be turned off by this beer. Perfect amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: At 10% this noble brew tests your drinking stamina. I love this test. Don't mind the fact that I'd be tipsy after a few, its well worth it, as its just a sign of the pure bliss your body will be feeling.

Notes: Honestly, this beer is worth the $13.50 for 4 12oz bottles. Would make the purchase again in a hearbeat. Feeling that the only way this beer could improve would be to enjoy it in its home country. Also, with a shelf life of years, I would absolutly love to let one of these age. Would suggest following serving instructions and serving this beer at a warmer temperature, agitation also brings out hidden complexities that may not be at first noticed. (1,616 characters)

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer came in a tulip glass with a meringue head that fell to a ring around the edge. The color was dark black with a ruby red glow.

Smelled of prunes, brown sugar, bread dough and smooth alcohol.

Tasted like red grapes, red wine with a smooth alcohol and spicy yeast flavor that finished smooth and sweet like molasses and caramel. Very nice.

The mouth feel was thin with little carbonation that worked well with the flavors.

I was really stunned by the alcohol in this beer. It was prominent, but not at all overpowering. It added a flavor all of its own that blended in well with the rest of the flavors. This is a well done beer. (652 characters)

Photo of clabaugh
4.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy cherrywood color with an abundant, luxurious head of off-white intermixed with tan. Head retention is excellent, and lacing is thick and durable.

Smell: Sweet caramel and honey malts emerge instantly. Citrusy hops reveal scents of fruit, perhaps mango. The alcohol is discernable in the aroma, with all components coming together to produce an inviting scent.

Taste: A backbone of sweet malts and fruit predominate. Again I'm reminded of mango, a sweet, succulent fruit flavor giving way to a mildly hoppy, but not bitter, finish. Intensely pleasing. A lot of complex sweetness; there are some hints of brown sugar. Delicious.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, aptly carbonated, and slightly numbing due to the 10% abv. Wonderful sensations.

Drinkability: The flavor is addicting. The only thing that prevents one from downing beer after beer is the alcohol content. Absolutely bliss when you're drinking it. What a beer should be.

Notes: This beer experience was unique. St. Bernardus Abt 12 has the power to relax you body and mind after only about half a beer. It is an absolute pleasure to partake of this masterpiece. (1,156 characters)

Photo of counselor
4.8/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a truly great beer that defines the style. Pours a dark brown with a nice head. There are smells of dark sugary fruit, bread, nuts & leather. The mouthfeel is full and coats the tongue with fine bubbles and deep malt texture. The flavors from the malts and yeast dominate bring out flavors of nuts, plums, figs, cherry and fresh baked bread. Broad yeast profile imparting flavors of spice, nutmeg & vanilla. There is almost no hint of the alcohol in this beer. I had some biting Pecorino Romano cheese that really set off the flavors of this beer and made them new with each sip. Buy and enjoy this beer (611 characters)

Photo of ggroller
4.57/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been wanting to try this beer for a long, long time. Finally, the moment has arrived.

Deep, dark walnut, almost balck in color. Very carbonated. A very loosely bubbled head at first retreats to a silky smooth membrane atop the beer.

Super complex nose. Apples, pears, cinammon, sherry, bubblegum, candy.

Tastes like port wine, brown sugar, cinammon. The alchohol shows a bit but it's not over powering.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin, alchoholic, carbonated.

A big daddy, a fireside sipper. (503 characters)

Photo of trumick
4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark brown with a huge frothy tan head and lots of lacing all the way around the glass until the glass was empty.

Scent is of sweet malts dark fruits, but the alcohol is king here.

Taste is huge malt character, dark fruits, molasses and alcohol. I can only pick up the hops in the finish which is dry and quite bitter. The bitterness lasts for a while after each sip. The taste is almost wine-like; fruitier than I would expect, but very solid.

Mouthfeel is definately full bodied, and smooth with lots of carbination of the small bubble variety, very nice.

Drinkability is above average for this huge beer. I could sip (and I do mean sip slowly) all night long.. (680 characters)

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
98 out of 100 based on 2,612 ratings.