St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

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2,601 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,601
Hads: 8,524
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 8.39%
Wants: 620
Gots: 1,866 | FT: 50
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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 2,601 | Hads: 8,524
Photo of EmoBeerGuy
4.68/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What can I say about this one? Thank god its on tap at the Publick House. This is my old stand by there and you really can't go wrong with it. An amazing, sweet Belgian bruin. A reminder of what good beer is all about. I will be seeing this beer again soon. (257 characters)

Photo of KarlHungus
4.04/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a dark brown color with a medium size white creamy head. The lacing is outstaning. The aroma is of spices and caramel, but is rather faint. The taste is nice and spicy with a solid malt backbone. The mouthfeel is meium-full bodied with nice carbonation. Overall, this is a good brew, worth havin again. (318 characters)

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

My expectations on St Bernardus Abt 12 were high, to say the least. I overherad some guys at the bar saying it was number three on best of BA. Respect. The happy monk label on the bottle is pretty low budget but the beer itself is straight from beer-shambala. It poured with a nice dark blue-red color with brownish head that settled down to a finger. The complex flowery smell reminded me of cheap, artificially flavoured soft candy. The taste is actually a lot like traditional Swedish Christmas must but with a lot more alcohol. Some dry hops emerging in the aftertaste, biting the cheeks. Don't try to drink another brand during the same session! (650 characters)

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

Poured from 11.2 ounce bottle into St Bernardus chalice.

Pours a beautiful deep, dark brown with a gorgeous billowy head that leaves sticky lacing on the glass. Maintains a half inch head through out drinking.

Smell is plum with a hint of brown sugar. Hard to take your nose from the glass.

Taste is immensly complex and satisfying. Malt, yeast, old world hops, brown sugar all combine with faint fruity undertones, certainly some bannana in there. Alcohol is definetely here but not overpowering and warms up the beer nicely. Wow, there is too much here to grasp with just one 11.2 ounce bottle. I'll have to review this one again to get a better grip.

This beer is fantastic, certainly deserving of the praise sung by other BA's. I still think Rochefort 10 is my favorite, but this one makes the short list of best in the world. I plan to come back to it shortly. (877 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
4.23/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a beautiful gold-brown with a rich head that settled down after a few minutes but remained throughout as a fine layer.

The smell was fruity with plum notes taking center stage but it was more of a subtle aroma than I expected.

The taste is a mix of fruit, more of the plum and some banana with a faint clove presence. Yum. This is wonderfully balanced brew that does a nice job of warming *and* doesn't let the alcohol interfere with the flavours' symphonic melody. Tis a fine example of a Belgian Quadrupel. (521 characters)

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ive been wanting to trying this beer for a long time, especially since learning that many BAs prefer it to the godly nectar that is Westy 12.

It pours a murky deep brown with hints of red. The head is creamy and tan, incredibly dense like all st Bernardus beers tend to be. Lacing is numerous patches and crags. The aroma is bready malts with spices, licorice and a bit of complimentary spicey alcohol. The taste is a complex melieu of thick doughy malts, spices, licorice, plums and peppery alcohol. The mouthfeel is super thick and slightly numbing from the alcohol. The finish is very long and full of malts, alcohol and even a bit of hops.

This is a great beer, full of complex flavors and deceptively smooth for 10 percent. Its worth a try. world class but still no Westy 12. (786 characters)

Photo of Hibernator
4.78/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

St. Bernardus Abt 12
11.2 oz brown bottle
Black # on the back that reads 27 1009
Served in a St Feuillen goblet

Pours a hazy amber brown color with light tan trails of sticky lacings all over the glass.

Beautiful nose of plums, vanilla and ripe fruit.

Sweet brown sugar flavors blend with a thick malty backbone. Clovey and spicy with it's own unique identity. Dark fruits and syrupy liquid sugars please my palate. I can't think of to many other beers that have such a creamy and complex mouthfeel. Pure quality and brewed to perfection.

The drinkability level is beyond good, not to mention it's 10.0% ABV. Each gentle sip is more enjoyable than the next. A world class beer and clearly recommended. I have had this on tap at The Publick House in Brookline, MA a couple of times and this beer is even more phenomenal on draft. One the best beers I've had. (873 characters)

Photo of hero27
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap @ the Lava Lounge in Waterloo, Iowa..

To fully appreciate this beer, I think one must really have it on-tap, or, at the very least, in a 750ml bottle. I have previously only had this in the small 11.2oz bottles, and, while it was very good, it was more flavorful on-tap...I have not ruled out that the bottles I had were possibly a bit tainted due to handling/shipping/exposure, etc..

Anyways..that's not important...on to the good stuff. This beer is nothing short of majestic. Always touted as one of the best beers in the world, and now I believe it. Served in a tulip-style glass. Dark brown, rich ruby color with a very large, frothy, immovable head. Yeasty sediment is suspended in the glass and the lacing forms in sheets. Aroma & taste are huge and complex..big brown sugar flavors & rich malts blend perfectly with the subtle and amazing array of spices. Full mouthfeel..little carbonation. The 10% alcohol is hardly even a thought as you're drinking it. Just an outstanding beer, and one every beer lover should enjoy. (1,042 characters)

Photo of EStreet20
4.58/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been looking forward tot his one for a while. My St Bernardus chalice came in the mail today so I figured I should break it out tonight.

750 ml glass bottle poured into my brand new St Bernardus chalice.

Holy Carbonation!!!!. Just had my first "self opening" bottle. As soon as I removed the cage I placed the bottle down on my desk. I then saw the cork begin to slide upward. Luckily I was able to make a pretty sweet grab and cath the cork an inch or two from the bottle as it popped off, thus eliminating any risk to my ceiling light.

A - Poured out a dark brown with a huge (Slightly bigger than two fingers) fluffy off white head. A nice looking beer. The head is extremely foamy and leaves rings of lace on the glass.

S - A big fruity aroma, heavy on the malt. Definitely what you expect froma high quality Quad. A tiny bit of spiciness in there too, I don't want to say peppery but a little kick in the nose on the spicy side.

T - Wow, bottoms up. A nice malty taste that is balanced nicely by some flavors of dark bread. Some nice fruits in there too, a touch of grapes, some plums (I swear that's what I'm tasting) and perhaps a tiny hint of banana. A nice alchohol kick peaks out just enough to compliment all of the other flavors but is in no way offensive. Finally, A tiny bit of a peppery spiciness on the back of the tongue. Excellent.

M - Feels extremely smooth. Runs all over the mouth with an almost creamy texture. Definitely one to savor.

D - Each sip leaves you wanting more. By far the most drinkable quad I've ever had, and overall one of the best beers I've ever tasted.

Notes: Glad that glass came today, because I wasn't going to drink tonight. However now I'm just going to pop a movie in and sip on this one for a while. (1,772 characters)

Photo of macpapi
4.77/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A nice 750 of this classic beer was the best birthday gift I received this year. After taking my time sampling and digesting this heavenly brew, I was fully able to appreciate its complexity and balance. Did not disappoint in any way at all.

Abt 12 pours a murky brownish red color with a full and puffy tannish head. Very impressive lacing is left behind on the sides of the glass.

Smells very sweet. Along with the regular malt and yeast one would expect of the quad style, there seems to be a medley of strong, deep and dark fruits. Plums, raisins, apples are all there. Very well balanced. Tremendously impressive on the nose!!

As far as taste goes, I must say the dark side has beckoned. This beer packs an absolutely incredible flavor. Fullness and great body are at its core. All that is in the smell is present in the swallow. But the complexity that is required to balance such a mix of flavors has taken me aback. The ten percent abv is noted with a sharp burn, which makes this a sipper. This sensation takes absolutely nothing away from an incredible taste.

In the mouth, St. B. 12 is full and burning. Every part of the palate is fully engaged with this brew.

Overall this is by far one of the best beers I've ever had in my life. The balance and complexity in the mouth is rave worthy. I've been looking forward to trying this well promoted Belgian for some time now, and am looking extremely forward to drinking it again. This is an excellent special occasion drink. (1,496 characters)

Photo of maggotbrain
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The beer is reddish brown with moderately sized, light tan head. The head has died down to a consistent layer across the top of the beer. A fine bit of lacing is forming on the sides of my St Bernardus chalice as I drink.

The aroma is very rich, earthy, and a bit wine-like.

The flavor is absolutely wonderful. So complex, it’s hard for me to pin down the specific flavor components. The best I can describe it: a lightly nutty, dark fruit-oriented flavor. This is some good stuff. Very rich.

The mouthfeel is perfect: light carbonation and a creamy body.

The drinkability of this beer is very good. The alcohol is pretty much nonexistent is a sea of flavor. I'd love to have another, but I only have one 330 ml bottle. Oh well, makes it more of a treat. (768 characters)

Photo of Matthew
4.87/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pristine, subtle, and overwhelming worthy of respect. Hype that surrounds certain beers usually turn me off a bit but I cant be turned away by such desrving fervidity.

Pours a merkey brownish red and retains a fluffy bubbley slightly off white head. There is some yeast sediment in the bottle but not as much as I have gotten in some other bottles of abt 12. The aromas coming from my glass are heavenly. With the addition of typical belgian trappist ale aromas (plum, sweet figs, other dried fruit, I can pick up hints of apple, pear, and the aroma is rather smooth than others i have sampled with less of a present alchol character in its smell. The taste, oh! and the taste, again contains characteristics true to most quadrupels but is set apart with how incredibley smooth and well balanced the flavors flow together. Each characteristic seems to blend into each other and leave you with this aftertaste of a wonderful mix of fruits, mollasses and a ever so slight alcohol warming. The mouthfeel is silkier than expected, but each flavor sticks to your taste buds. This is a beer that needs exploring to really get and I plan to explore. This deserves its recognition. (1,177 characters)

Photo of Oxymoron
4.82/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Saint B to the 12th degree. Pours a ruby red to darker chestnut brown color. A fantastic head retention of a lighter shade of brown. Excellent lacing. I did pour some sediment in as well.

The smell is very rich and so complex. Notable malt with a plum aroma. A strictly Belgium smell with limited phenol accents. Very nice.

The taste is malt first. Complex malt taste with sweeter bread type qualities. Some cinnamon and fig tastes. Very rich and smooth to boot. Really this reminds me of a liquid cinnamon roll. The Belgium taste is noticeable as well. The plum flavor and banana twinge mixes well with the malt. It becomes more noticeable, as does the spice flavor, as it warms.

The beer is just smooth. A complex and full body. Very complex and a real treat. Believe the hype. (783 characters)

Photo of jaluria
4.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful burgundy-brown in my goblet. A thick, lingering off-white colored foam develops and seems to stay intact for hours. The beer seems somewhat viscous but not overdone. I can detect dark fruits, alcohol, bread, figs, and some plum aromas. Very interesting and unique even for this style. The taste is just incredible; playful bitterness upfront with a strong, sweet malt finish that is dry and rich. A bit of warming alcohol sensation as well. Takes more like a Dubbel than a Quadrupel in terms of being an 'acquired' taste. As the beer warms, more complex and rich flavors become apparent; some spices seem to appear and linger in the aftertaste. Some roasted characteristics seem to prevail as well as the beer warms. The most incredible thing about this beer is that it is very very drinkable; the alcohol doesn't make itself known until after a glass or two. Just an incredible brew; one of my favorites, without a doubt. Well worth the $9 I paid for this bottle. (982 characters)

Photo of SSGPat
4.78/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A wonderful pour. A wonderful beer.

Lovely dark brown. Some of the bubbles in the head were large, most were small.

Aroma was really promising. Promising that there was a great beer getting ready to go down my gullet. Malty and fruity nose with hints of sweetness.

Tasted outstanding. Everything that you could want in a beer. Various flavors of different fruits, depending on the tempature of the beer. As it warms, the flavor changes.

Carbonation that is just right. Nice and creamy mouth. Big and bold. This ain't your daddy's beer.

The scariest part about this beer is how easy it goes down. You don't realize that it's a 10% beer... until you fall off your stool. (683 characters)

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

750 ml bottle. This beer pours out a dark brown color with a huge head. Delicious aroma of bread, chocolate, dark fruit, vanilla, and spice. Sweet caramel malt flavor with cocoa, licorice, and pepper. Finishes spicy, with cloves and more pepper, and a little bitter. The flavor is big, yet somehow delicate. Very complex flavors. No sign of the alcohol. Mouthfeel is creamy. Incredible drinkability. This beer is all-around fantastic. (434 characters)

Photo of sacfly
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Code 270110 11.2oz

Pours a dark brown, reddish hue. Clear, but sediment in the bottom of the bottle. Huge tan/brown head with medium to large bubbles. Light sherry, alcohol in the nose.

Plumb, fig notes in flavor. Sweet with a slight (but very good) alcohol burn. Dry finish. Heavenly.

Let this one warm up a bit. Brings out more of the fruity notes and covers the alcohol. Wonderful sipping brew… closer to a desert or wine than your average beer. (461 characters)

Photo of tom444
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours out a rich deep brown, somewhat cloudy, with a thick light tan head that seems to last forever.

Aroma: Tons of malt, fruit, and enough alcohol that when I first started pouring it, I thought one of my roommates was drinking a Jack and Coke.

Taste: Rich and creamy, with plenty of malty goodness, and an added sweetness from the sugars. Some interesting fruity notes, black cherry, prune, grape, plenty of others - I'm tasting something new with every sip of this. Certainly warming, but the alcohol is masked very well by the other flavors. Almost tastes more like a fine wine than my usual dark beers.

Mouthfeel: Perfect. Full-bodied, creamy, with just the right amount of carbonation.

A truly incredible beer (just watch out when you stand up after finishing it). Words can't even begin to describe the experience of drinking it. Now, if only I can justify the cost of a 750mL bottle next time... (928 characters)

Photo of asabreed
4.58/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A 33 cl. bottle into my Corsendank tulip glass.

Appearance: The head and lacing are stupid, really. So huge, billowing like pillows or fluffy clouds. Insane sticking to the glass, the head refuses to go down. This is screaming, "Leave me alone, or else." Absolutely indomitable and unrelenting. A spectacle.

Smell: Vinous characteristics upfront and complex, with some raisens, sugary malts, bread-like yeast, brown sugar, maple, candi sugar, some woodiness and smoke. But the vinousness is showing through mostly, and fantastically.

Taste: Vinous characters again, raisens, slight nuttiness, maple, brown sugar. All the dark stuff is there initially. Some vanilla starts to show through. Some dark bread. Some wood, smoke, and oak, somehow? Some tropical candied fruit, dark berries, especially upon the aftertaste. Close to perfect...

Mouthfeel: Silk and velvet -- it shouldn't be allowed to be tasted in a beer, but here it is. Body, carbonaton, evenness -- everything is perfect in the mouth.

Drinkability: A brew that's more than fine, and should be treated as such. Find it, admire it, take it in, and enjoy it. One of the best of the Quads, an essential. (1,178 characters)

Photo of bignick
4.9/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at TPH many times.

An absolutely terrific beer, my favorite. It was served in a oversized wine glass. It was a deep and rich black, with only a little light permeating. There was a rich but receding 1.5 finger head. The beer smelled of nuts, rich chocolate, and alcohol. I cannot overstate how overwhelmingly complex this beer is. Drinking it is a joy, because as I work my way through the glass, it is a struggle to try to figure out what flavors are coming through. There is certainly a good deal of chocolate, but there is also a mild fruitiness. I certainly get a good deal of prunes. This is a wonderful beer on the whole. (637 characters)

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

Truly an exceptional beer.

A: Deep ruby-brown, nice head & lace.

S: Spicy with fruity and malty sweetness.

T: Christmas cake? Raisins, cherry, figs, tropical candied sweetness, caramel, treacle, warming finish. Truly incredible.

M: Moderate body, plenty of carbonation. Those Belgians now how to do it right!

D: Dangerously drinkable!

Thanks Kent (Austin)! (374 characters)

Photo of beerphilosopher
4.87/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a wide St. Bernardus chalice ...

Appearance - Gorgeous. Dark amber with reddish hues and a thick, tan head with very good retention. A very impressive-looking beer. By the look alone, you can tell this beer is one to be reckoned with.

Smell - Complex with hints of sweet mollases, currants, raisins, and a solid malty foundation. Not overly sweet, but very complex and rich.

Taste - Warm and rich with an incredible toffee and dare I say, coconut-like nutty flavor. This beer is tremendous. The mollasses character lingers on the tongue and finishes with a terrific alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel - substantial and warming, as expected. A great example of how subtle, yet assertive, a quadruple can be. To me, this is the standard by which the style ought to be measured. Not cloying, or overly sweet, this one is well balanced, smooth, and quite complex in every respect.

Drinkability - Being a quad, it's not something you wanna slam down ... definitely a beer to savor and appreciate for it's impressive complexity. Arguably one of the best beers I've tried in a number of years. No, one of the best beers I've tried. Period. A treat in itself ... drink this when you can sit and relax and enjoy every ounce of this world class elixir.

This is one of my "if you were stranded on a desert island, what beer would you take with you" brews ... exceptional. (1,385 characters)

Photo of Padron4KM
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330cl bottle, Best before 12/08/09. Pours murky brown with a lot of suspended particles.
Aroma is toasty, plummy, prune, yeast.
Flavor is caramel, port, toffee, plum,raisin.
10%? can’t tell, very well hidden. That is until you stand up after finishing the bottle (267 characters)

Photo of TastyTaste
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Absolutely gorgeous, murky brown color huge tan head, and I mean huge. This is exactly what the beer should look like.

Smell: A dark but sweet smell of raisins, brown sugar, yeast, alcohol, toffee, and hints of java.

Taste: Holy mackerel, this is good, taste is dark and complex, lots of mig flavors competing for attention. More sweetness up front, but turn into a drier beer finishing with a good shot of alcohol and hops, buttery toffee, rum, bourbon, plums. I could see aging this for years.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Perfect, this beer is a world class Quadrupel, one that should be tried and enjoyed by all. (632 characters)

Photo of nortmand
4.78/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours reddish brown with a big, fluffy head.

Sweet, spicy smell, with a malty backbone and a hint of sourness.

Rich, velvety mouthfeel supports a wine like fruitiness with a warming alcohol and the merest hint of sour. So good.

Strong, with many subtle flavors competing with big flavors, even so, this beer is extraordinarily drinkable. (346 characters)

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
98 out of 100 based on 2,601 ratings.