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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: 8,647
Avg: 4.42
pDev: 17.19%
Wants: 642
Gots: 1,978 | 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: 8,647
Photo of rousee
4.4/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of ken3c
4.83/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

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Photo of gbontrag
4.38/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

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Photo of gentlebubbles
4.21/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

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Photo of Suds
4.55/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I decided to pop open my lone bottle of this revered brew and it pours from the bottle a deep opaque brown with a big fluffly off white head. Damn...it looks good in the glass that's for sure. The smell is of dark candied fruit, cloves, figs, prunes, raisins....subtle yet at the same time complex. Alcohol floats in and out as well.

The first sip is a very nice mix of earthy flavors, a malty delight. Notes of candied fruit, raisins, some nutty tones as well. This is just a downright tasty brew...each sip begs you to take another...and so on. Alcohol is almost non-existant in the taste.

Mouthfeel is good as well, this has a good body to it...but just a tad too much carbonation for my taste. The drinkability is excellent as each sip seems different from the last and it keeps you wanting to come back for more. A very good brew that I hope to try on tap sometime as well...seek this one out.

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Photo of goindownsouth
4.08/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A classic Quadrupel, for sure, this brew poured from the rather large bottle a deep and rich almost caramel color. Aromas of sweetness, somewhat spiciness and whole grains entered my mind. A smooth brew on the palate, this one is a keeper. Borders on a MUST TRY for all BAs.


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Photo of Dubblebock
4.61/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

St. Bernardus ABT 12 is one truly massive beer in every sense of the word. From the first pour to the last drop, it's a monster. No wonder the monk on the painted label is smiling.

Truly wonderful in appearance. It pours with a generous head of tight, concise bubbles that sticks around a while. Deep, rich caramel color. There isn't any light sneaking through when held up to the bulb.

The nose is all malty goodness with a slight alcohol bite.

The taste is tremendous, all sweet, bready malts and a spreading but not overwhelming alcohol warmth. A light fruitiness swims around in the background, but the malts are the true story with this beer.

Excellent mouthfeel, not thick or cloying an any way. Well carbonated.

Very, very drinkable for such a big beer. You know the ABV is there, it's just hidden behind a slight tingle on the tip of the tongue.

A sheer monster, this is a beer you should not pass up.

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Photo of crookedhalo
4.35/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33 cl bottle. Pours a deep, hazed chestnutty brown color with a fluffy, light tan head in the St. Bernardus chalice. Earthy (bark and peat) and malty aromas, healthy yeasty nose, and some faint fruitiness (fig, prune, dates) and spices (cinnamon, ginger and anise). Luxurious in the tongue, heavy malt and fine carbonation give a creamy mouthfeel. Slightly malty sweet, but subtle fruity qualities and a fine yeastiness compact the overall impression of the taste into a fever pitch. This beer is about as close as you might get to a trappist without it being labeled as such. It's impression lasts throughout the duration of the drinking experience. ABV seems hidden well amongst it's complexity.

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

I cetainly give this beer high marks for drinkablity, which is both complimentary and hypothetical, as the 10% abv demands that this beer be consumed in moderation, or suffer the consequences. Poured a murky, rootbeer brown. Creamy, rocky head and spicy aroma, both yeast and alcohol. Spicy on the tongue, with an unusual dark flavor lurking in the background - not soy sauce, but something akin to that in the manner of a dark, fermented flavor, but more tannic, like flavors leached from a wooden ageing cask. Obviously couldn't put my finger on it, but it was both interesting and pleasant. Other dark flavors from overripe orchard fruit, and a touch of prune. One of the best of the style, in my humble opinon.

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Photo of fdrich29
4.23/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 Fl. Oz. bottle. Drink before the end of 2004.

Appearance: Chestnut amber with a creamy white, bubbly head. Lots of carbination shooting it's way to the top of the beer.

Smell: Fruit like plums or raisons and alcohol. Nice mix of sweetness and the alcohol on the nose.

Taste: Alcohol on the first sip, followed by the plummy taste, with hints of chocolate at the end. Very nice.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth.

Drinkability: Not your everyday beer. Royal beer that fits well with special occasions.

What's not to love about St. Bernardus? This is the gemstone of their line in my opinion.

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Photo of beerceller99
4.2/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

75 cl. bottle. Pours an opaque dark brown with a decent two finger head. Pretty strong sweet alcohol smell of plum jam, black cherries. Taste is dark fruit; plums, raisions, dates with a slightly yeasty sweet bread flavor. Rich, full bodied with a smooth mouthfeel. Finishes faintly bitter with a warming alcohol on the breath.

This is a great brew that lives up to its reputation.

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Photo of tjd25
4.28/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

When poured, the beer looked a bit messed up, but it became greatly silky after letting it on its own for a few seconds. I can see me in the body, which mades me think it is opaque. The head doesn't disappear until the beer is drunk. Nice. The smell is partly reminiscent of the prior 8. Light hints of red fruits, some peanut butter, and a grassy grapefruit and chocolate aspect. The taste is a bit nutty and shows interesting notes of almost burnt caramel and chocolate with deep wooden notes.Lightly fruity, with some sweetness. Mouthfeel is amazing, an incredible smoothness and creaminess. Very full and round in the mouth. Almost as drinkable as a 10% beer can be. The real experience is the mouthfeel.

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

On-tap at The Map Room, Chicago, Illinois.
Served in a St. Bernardus goblet.

I get it now. Beer. Life. I think I'm at least starting to understanding the point of each. I will never forget my first taste of St. Bernardus Abt 12.

Nobly inspired by the flavors of Westy 12, this declassified St. Sixtus brew is more balanced, drinkable, and enticing than its trappiste counterpart.

Dominant notes of a grapey yeast and dry, dusty chocolate, St. Bernardus is layered with an extensive finish that reveals to me everything Belgium could ever have to offer the world of beer.

Rich and creamy yet also thinning on the finish. Drinkable with absolutely no detectable alcohol or cloying residual sweetness.

Measured and precise.

But really, St. Bernardus is not to be described in terms of its flavor -- which is, indeed, perfect. With beer this good, with anything this good, the body is wholly consumed.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 is a physiological event that cripples every muscle save the tongue and save the heart.

Relax, relax.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.65/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Malto for this sample.
This beer poured dark and lovely with a tan head with wierd brown flecks. The nose is dank abbeys and dried fruit. The taste is pure heaven, as all those subtle esters that make up Belgian strong ales are blended in such a way that the whole is greater than the parts. LIke Westy 12 and Rochefort 10 this is a beer to contemplate and sip. Have a slice of strong cheese and enjoy.

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

Dark ruby and amber clear. Head was a nice khaki pile that quickly left, just leaving a slight dusting in the center with a bit of a ring at the edge. Slightly vineous scent. Blackberries and raspbery in the background. Perfect amount of carbination. The first sip gives you a nice little bite. Tastes of alcohol, I love that. Tiny bit of coffee with cream. Little hopp. Lightly bitter. Very dry taste, but yet wet mouthfeel. Whiskey like flavors. Flavors are so good with this offering!
Buddy at the table who tends to try everything I get said he noticed saki tastes. I don't know that I have ever had saki, so I will just have to take his word on that one. He did enjoy it enough to grab a glass for himself though!

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

Package: 12 oz. bottle

Presentation: Had a bottle of this at Anam Cara in Brookline, MA.

Appearance: Dark brown opaque color with moderate tan head that dissipated but laced rather nicely the entire time.

Smell: Enjoyable aroma of figs, malt, and alcohol.

Taste: Flavor was a mixture of figs and raisins, a little peppery with sweet malt, and also a strong alcohol presence. Very well blended flavors.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy.

Drinkability: I think that the alcohol warming would get to me if I had a few of these in row, but the one I had was enjoyable.

Comments: This reminded me quite a bit of the Westy 12. While its flavors are very good and extremely well blended, for me there was not as much interaction between the flavors as compared to, for example, the Malheur 12 or the Rochefort 10. Perhaps this really isn’t the case for other people and its just how my taste buds respond to these different quadrupels, but I prefer the various flavors to come through over time as opposed to all at once. Therefore, as of this moment, I prefer the Malheur 12 and Rochefort 10 over the St. Bernardus Abt 12 and the Westy 12. However, it is an enjoyable beer nevertheless.

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

From a 12 oz. bottle, found across the state line in Missouri (not available here in Kansas from what I know). Poured into a chalice as a deep, hazy brown color, with a tower off-white head. Had to let it set to let the head settle before I could pour the second half of the bottle into the glass. The head clinged to the edges of the chalice the whole time.

Nice malty aroma to it, with a bit of an earthy smell, perhaps? Maybe cloves. A bit of sweetness to the smell, as well. Not overpoweringly strong aroma, just a nice, smooth smell to contribute to the overall experience of this brew.

Earthy flavors up front here, with a dark, sweet flavor in there. Perhaps like a brown sugar taste there. There is a nice grape flavor towards the end, but it's nice and smooth, not as bitter as I've noticed in some other Belgians. I can't taste the alcohol much in this one, but I can definitelly feel it at the end, nice and warm. Very nice and smooth, and the head adds a nice, creamy feel to it. Goes down very easily.

Very nice beer here. At three and a half bucks a bottle, not something I'm gonna stock my fridge with, but probably something I'll keep around. For the flavor and feel itself, I think this one is a very drinkable beer, but not something you'd probably want to drink one after another of.

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Photo of Quaffer
4.11/5  rDev -7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

25.4 oz bottle, caged and corked. Picked this up in Dallas. Not available here in Wichita.

Appearance: A very deep amber-brown. Quite a bit darker than I was expecting. A heavy bead could be seen when enough light was put behind the glass to actually see through it. Absolutely wonderful, dense, thick head. It stuck to the side of the glass like glue and seemed to not dissipate at all, probably due to the large amount of bubbles feeding it from below. Aesthetically speaking, this beer was perfection in a glass.

Smell: The aroma was comprised of a rich maltiness that was pierced by sharp fruit and spicy yeast. Alcohol spice and some dark fruit lay underneath. Quite a bit of depth, but not heavy smelling at all.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth upfront and gained more of a velvety texture as it moved back in the mouth. Medium-bodied.

Taste: A nice, dark maltiness was prominent upfront, having a lightly caramel, but more cocoa-like, character to it. The yeast rose up strong in the middle. On the finish, the yeast was joined by spicy alcohol and a sharp fruitiness. This beer became almost sour on the finish. The aftertaste provided a reprise of the chocolate-like malt that was present at the start.

This was a good, solid beer. Not a mind-blowing experience, but very enjoyable.

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Photo of cncbofh
4.23/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Like the Prior 8, but the bubbly was fuller and held onto the sides of the glass, never falling down into the brew.

It was a deeper mahogany than the Prior. The smell was strong of cloves, peppermints, pepper. It bites your nose a bit with the strong alcohol.

The alcohol is warming, but a bit strong. The taste is a glorified quad, with everything you'd expect but so much better. The taste is malty and chewy with cloves, sugar cane, an (licorice?)... Very good brew.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.41/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a slightly hazy brown colored beer with what can only be describe as huge foamy super resistant head (do I need to mention perfect carbonation). Aroma is quite complex with some great roastiness and some strange mix of spices. Great roasty taste with a side of spiced plums. I could not detect any alcohol, which is quite a wonder at 10%. Wow, I’m now glad I bought quite a few so that I can cellar some.

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Photo of TagoMago
4.82/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle, poured into trappist glass.

Appearance: Hazy, almost opaque brown. Pours with a beautiful, milk chocolate colored head. Lacing is superb.

Smell: Grainy malts with hints of chocolate and various spices. Alcohol is also pretty noticeable.

Taste: Rich, dark carmel malts. Some fruitiness combined with spice. Incredibly smooth and mouth-warming from the alcohol. Carbonation is nearly perfect. A lingering bitterness lies in the finish.

Overall: A world-class, dark Belgian ale. I could drink this all the time and never tire of it. Simply a magnificent beer for Belgian lovers.

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

If life were easy there'd be no point living it. I love this beer and I hate it.

Nutty, rotten-fruit complexity layered above tobacco and raisins. It's boozy, and light. I want to spit it out and savor it. I want my cat to lick it off the table with nods of agreement.

Pineapple and lime fruit abound in fashion with the St. Bernardus tripel. Alcoholic donuts soaked in tea and carrot cake finish it all off. What?

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

Appearance: Deep brown with a red hue. If you look closely, you'll note small yeast flakes hiding in the depths of this beer. A nice tan head forms, about two fingers thick. It dissipates down to about a centimeter and stays there.

Smell: Fresh baked, whole grain bread. Cocoa. Leather. Sweet Dough. Molasses. Honey. Smells better than most anything else in the world.

Taste: Where to begin? Rich, and with a nice malt sweetness. Not over the top sweet. Some more bready flavors, Pumpernickel? Cream. Some dark fruits and a nicely balanced tang. Yeasty and with a little alcohol character. The finish is huge and the wonderful bready spicy malty character sticks around.

Mouthfeel: Perfection. Honestly. Nicely carbonated, but comfortably viscous and thick. It almost feels as good to my tongue as it tastes. Hate to swallow.

Drinkability: A savory, slow drinking delight and 10% ABV means that one is probably enough.

Notes: This beer should be taken out of the fridge for a while before consuming. It's so much better just a few degrees below room temp. A magnificent creation and as close to the perfect beer as I've ever tasted. Drink it. Know it. Love it.

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Photo of PatandDavid
3.53/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This has been in the fridge a bit, and I thought tonite: I need to do some cleaning, so here goes. Upon the initial pour, I got some aromas I thought were a bit off,, but as the glass warms it smooths out a bit. Initial impresiion is of dark, dark toffee color topped with a latte colored head. The aroma...I am still picking up an earthy, almost cocoa powder note. There's some alcohol hanging out alongside. The taste helps out quite a bit however...cocoa powder, dark fruit, some spiceyness in the finish. Light but still medium mouthfeel. A nice treat, but not one I will go for that often. While very good, perhaps this one would benefit from some aging. Looks like the bottle is telling me that it would be good till 2005, maybe I should have saved it till then. I am looking for a bit more blend and meld in the flavor.

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