St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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

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2,600 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,600
Hads: 8,519
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 8.39%
Wants: 621
Gots: 1,861 | 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: 2,600 | Hads: 8,519
Photo of inebrius
4.5/5  rDev +2%
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? (420 characters)

Photo of nogoodreason
4.97/5  rDev +12.7%
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. (1,177 characters)

Photo of PatandDavid
3.53/5  rDev -20%
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. (826 characters)

Photo of carln26
4.03/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As with all Abby Ales, this poured with a big thick head. There was a distinct lace after a brief period that stayed with the glass throughout the entire tasting. The color was a deep chocolate brown. The aroma is of spice and candy; quite surprising actually. The taste has a hint of the candy present in the nose with some roasted grain up front. On the back you get a subtle impression of the alcohol, and a mild lingering bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium, not too heavy. The drinkability is good, I could have a few more of these, and will. I have 3 more in the fridge. (576 characters)

Photo of beefytee
3.43/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Very disapointed by this beer.

I had been looking forward to it all day. I went down to the "weird beer" store (as my wife calls it), and picked up the bottle. I had anticipations of Rochefort 10 or Westy 12, I was surprised to find it was not even in the same league. The head poured well enough, the alcohol warmed my nose with a slight hint of banannas, which made my mouth water for rochefort...
then the first taste. The alcohol hit prematurely, and the beer lay flat on my tongue like a bad kisser. The bananas in the nose did not ever hit the palate. The finish was almost foul, causing me to make a bit of an onion smelling face with each sip. Some may call blasphome (sp), but I failed to finish the beer. I may blow another $4.00 on this beer, but only on sheer curiosity, because the beers reputation was not met, and perhaps I had a bad bottle. I will be more than happy to post a better review if this beer makes a better showing (946 characters)

Photo of BobLuvBeer
4.62/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very nice roasted brown color. Light milk chocolate colored head, which stays with the full glass, and is creamy and thick. Alcohol jumps out at you and covers the palate. Nice blend of chocolate malt which quickly smoothes out the alcohol bite. The finish leaves a tingle on the tongue, which is a lasting reminder of a great drink. Powerful and great tasting beer. (366 characters)

Photo of meathookjones
4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This poured out a dark thick opaque brown color with a good sized beige head that has great retention. This also left a wonderful coating of lace around the glass as it was consumed. Big complex aroma here with dark sweet fruit malts standing out the most with notes of alcohol, some spice and yeast. There is more going on than that but I am unable to tell exactly what the wonderful scents are, I will defiantly need to get a few more of these to enjoy and analyze. Up front with the taste is sweet fruity malt flavors mingling with a bit of spice. The taste is very smooth and it defiantly warms you up a good deal. Mouthfeel is full and creamy with excellent carbonation and a dry finish, basically perfect. Drinkability is only hindered by ones tolerance for 10% beers besides that its so smooth and delicious I could try and drink this all day. Excellent beer that is recommended to everyone. (898 characters)

Photo of Naerhu
4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque brown body with tan thin head and vinous high alcohol looking legs.

Yeasty sweet aroma and thai ice coffee

Hugely yeasty and quite hopy. Surprisingly dry. Rum and yeast. Clovey. Complex and earthy, yet clean. I want more malt and hops in my brew, so although I enjoyed this, I aint coming back.

A candy texture and nutmeg on the palate. (353 characters)

Photo of aaronbeach69
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

mmm....750 ml into goblet

appearance: pours light brown but in glass dark brown-red, actually very beutiful, mysterious in such an exhilerting way... makes you envision monks making it hundreds of years ago in dark caves... a truly beautiful beer. The dark red is a product of the two-finger lightly-creme coloured head sticking all over the glass

smell: bannanas... but I always smell bannanas... so lemme try again... no I think its bannanas... very interesting :) fruity and carbonated smelling...

taste: grabs the tip of your tounge as it enters your mouth... bubbly.. yet subdued as it approaches the back of your mouth, where it becomes a complex combination of all the smells... fruity with a bite...

mouthfeel... becomes fuller as it moves through your mouth..

drinkabilty: for the 750ml it seems to follow a curve with the first few drinks having a very pleasent bite and the middle to lower half of the bottle suddenly becoming much more tame.. this may have to do with my tounge being more numbed

note: a very good beer at a good price... 6.49 at sams wine in chicago (1,097 characters)

Photo of blitheringidiot
3.94/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Scant antique white head coating in a tulip. Mahogany orange hued pour with a golden sunset brown glow. A few swirls evoke foam cover.

Light cola tea aroma met with barnyard twinges. A bit of horse blanket and clean out doors meadow breezes.

Vinous as it warms with spicey notes.

Boomy malt flavored prescence. Syrupy sticky taste & feel. Cloying candy like lolipop sticky. Buiscuit strong malts.

Quite a full bodied drinker like liquid bread.

I'd pass on another unless you're buying.

Last swigs: Malty cinammon & nutmeg doughiness. Sippable.

***UPDATE ***
Enjoyed at Eulogy 12/11/04. A bit of Sam Adams 3B notes. DB upped from 3.5 to 4.5

Beer is good. Happy beering. (694 characters)

Photo of rajendra82
4.46/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Blood red pour with a beautiful towering foamy head fed by an onrush of ultra fine bubbles that are like champagne. The head is immortal. The aroma is sweet cherries with the uniquely earthy Belgian yeast strain. The taste at first sip is an explosively spicy alcohol. After that initial attack, other flavors start to emerge. The most notable of these is a lingering hop bitterness that is much stronger than most other beers that fall under the broad umbrella of Belgian styles. The bitterness is not overpowering in any way, and allows the fruitiness of the malt to open up in the background. I imagine as this fresh beer settles down, the character would become more malty and complex, and thanks to the new Georgia law allowing this elixir to enter our fair state, I can find out how it will age without much problem. This beer packs a heck of a punch at 10% ABV. After the 330 ml bottle is downed, there is a fire in the belly that radiates out to the extremities. Very drinkable, even at this potency. I WILL be having more. (1,031 characters)

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

750ml bottle that I've been cellaring since September 03...

When I removed the cage, the cork shot off, the bottle bounced off ceiling and hit me in the head!

The appearance is a dark ruby, rusty brown garnet color when poured into my large other words, the color is hard to describe. It's somewhat murky and speckled with sediment, the creamy dense off-white head reminds me of a dense cappuccino head that is also speckled with the same cinnamon colored sediment as the body.

The aroma is estery with sweet banana bread qualities. There are also stabs of spice and dark fruits to my nose, yet there are also sweet malty qualities as well.

The taste is absolutely smooth, no doubt due to the aging. Somewhat sweet and somewhat spicy, but vinous qualities on the back of the tongue and throat. Warming qualities from the alcohol that I feel all the way down till it warms my stomach.

The mouthfeel is great, nice carbonation and it ends with a dry quality that is very refreshing.

It's very drinkable because of how smooth and well blended it is, but the alcohol is there and will bitch slap you if you dare forget about it.

Overall this is very damn good, I'm glad I've aged it, but I would also like to try it a little fresher than this. I'd have to say that this bottle is damn near 2 years old, date worn off of the cage, but I recall it being 02. Very impressed, can't wait to have the opportunity to have this again (1,458 characters)

Photo of GuinnessSmurf
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is a nice copper/amber color with some sediment floating down. The beer starts with a big head but it quickly settles down to a thin layer that floats for the duration of the beer.

A nice compliment of smells here. There is pear, apple and a yeasty alcohol working together. Its a sharp, clean smell.

It is amazing how smooth this beer is. I had a very difficult time distinguishing any individual flavor in this beer and not because it was crafted blandly. It is profound how complex and well balanced the flavors are in this beer. I kept guessing at each sip. When the beer was gone, I still hadn't written anything substantial as to the elements of the flavor. Its just a perfect, smooth balanced taste. I had a hard time drinking it slowly. (761 characters)

Photo of egajdzis
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The cork shot off at about 50 mph when I removed the cage, good thing I didn't have my head over the bottle! It poured a reddish brown color with a medium sizd off white head and nice lacing. Aroma of banana, clove, grapes and raisins, while the taste is very strong in the dark fruit department. Alcohol is also slightly noticeable and it had a carbonated mouthfeel. Fruitier than the Westy 12, and I enjoy that one better. (424 characters)

Photo of DPMomutant
4.29/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Holy head Batman! I admit I'm not as familiar with Belgians as most and I haven't got used to the concept of pouring a bit slower on some of these, nor do I have the proper glass for this style. Very active pour. The body is ruby to dark brown and almost opaque. The head retains and laces profusely.

The smell is a very pleasant fruity smell. Very sweet.

The taste starts sweet and progresses to a wine-like taste. The fruit is here too. As for the alcohol, you know it's there but it doesn't cover the rest of the taste. It's most detectable at the end.

The mouthfeel is smooth considering the beer's strength. The carbonation is much more balanced than in the pour. The finish is very dry and smooth, allowing the alcohol to warm you.

You certainly couldn't drink many of these. I'd probably only have one. However it is an enjoying sipper for that one. Was definitely worth trying, and I'm not huge on Belgians in general. (938 characters)

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

A lively brown pour with a medium head. The nose is semi-sweet with a touch of tartness and light spice. Medium bodied with hints of over-ripened fruit such as plum and raisin. There's a brown sugar sweetness and a dry finish accompanied by woody notes. Very nice mouthfeel, both lively and fresh and a little alcohol kick on the finish. A very, very good beer. (361 characters)

Photo of far333
3.72/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Reddish brown colored, with orangey highlights and unappetizing dark chunks of "stuff" suspended and floating. Head rises up high and is a color of dark beige with tight bubbles that make noise as they pop and recede. A thin cap of lace is left on top with sheets of bubbly film rising up the edges of the glass. Aroma is sweet and fruity, of fig and raisin and currant. Some spice and orange peel as well, and a bit of clove. Also I detect some of the alcohol in the nose. Mouthfeel is full and creamy. Flavor is rich and sweet, not cloying, but close to it. There is caramel and toffee, sweet cinnamon and plum, and a bit of alcohol in the finish. No strong yeast flavors, but a little too rich to be very drinkable for me. (725 characters)

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

Pours a hazy deep walnut brown brew.

Smell is sweet and strongly fruity, with a distinct molasses and apple cider smell. Plenty of spice in the smell too.

Taste is sweet with lots of fruit and spice, and mild bitterness. Flavors of apples, peaches, plums, brown sugar, coriander, and nutmeg.

Mouthfeel is perfect and super creamy.

Super drinkable, at $5 a bottle it could get to be an expensive habit. (413 characters)

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

This is the first belgian beer I have ever tried, a few years ago. The pour is a hazy brown with a thick, frothy head that releases wonderful aromas. Like a baked apple. Spiced and smothered in caramel. This is a fantastic aroma that does bring back every man to his youth.
The taste is of an apple pie or apple cider. sweet with the bitterness of apples, the sweetness of caramel. The spiciness gives it the little bite. Raisins are also a strong flavor. This is one of the most perfect dessert beers ever. (508 characters)

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.69/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark, hazy brown with a huge, dense, tan head. Very lacy. Aroma is very fruity. Tart apples with a light alcohol smell. Some raisin and winey aromas as well.

Taste is very fruity. Spiced apples and white raisins. Some port flavors hanging around, dancing in and out of the alcohol. Caramel and molasses. Part of this flavor profile reminds me of mulled wine.
Mouth is sweet and sticky. Really smooth for 10% ABV. This is excellent but could be aged just a bit to blend the alcohol flavors better. Lived up to the hype for me... (539 characters)

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

Pours out an amber yellow and sits a murky brown with some orange-red showing near the narrow end of my glass. A good amount of head is achieved, off-white, with a gentle pour.

Smells of apples, pears, some grassy tones, sweet malts and dark fruit. Highly enticing aroma, with a light hoppy blend.

Tastes initially malty-sweet, dark fruits quickly move in (dates and raisins), followed by a strong punch of alcohol and sharp hop bitterness. It is a very quick flowing beer, the flavors are gone almost as soon as they appear. Big on the fruit esters, this is definately one delicious beer. Aftertaste is smooth and bitter; reminicent of the dominating qualities.

Mouth feel is what I would consider to be the lowest ranking part of the beer. It is NOT bad, but doesn't match up to the rest of the beer. Good carbonation that glides around the mouth, but the beer is just the slightest bit punishing on the tounge. The alcohol digs in quite a bit. Regardless, this beer is exceptionally delicious and makes a good night on it's own. (1,040 characters)

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

I bought two bottles a couple days ago. The first was totally skunked and flat, but this one had a big head on it and was well carbonated, so I assume it was OK. I'll try it a third time just to be sure, because this beer did not live up to the hype.

Appearance: Big, thick, three-finger, tan head with specs of brown goodness that stayed for a long time. The beer was a murky dark brown.
Smell: Very malty and banana like with a hint of wine-like acidity. Hints of figs as well.
Taste: This is a super complex, full-flavored brew. The alcohol was well hidden considering the high ABV. It starts with bananas and chocolate and ends with an acidic, wine-like, dry finish. Nuts, bananas, figs, dark chocolate are all highlighted in its body. Excellent candy sweetness as well. A perfect dessert beer.
Mouthfeel: Very creamy in the mounth and sticky on the lips. Low carbonation. A luxurious feel.
Drinkability: A heavyweight for sure, this is a special occasion beer, but perfect for those occasions.

Update: Just tried a third bottle. Review updated accordingly.

Update two: I've had a number of these now, and they've ranged from amazing to flat and stale. This beer is hit or miss. If you get a good, you've got one of the best beers on Earth. (1,257 characters)

Photo of Mitchster
4.4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out to a semi-cloudy dark-amber with ruby highlights, forming a modest tan head with good retention and solid sheets of lacing. Adding the murky brown yeast makes it look like turkish coffee. Carbonation is moderately strong. The aroma is wonderful...spicy phenolics, brown bananas, sourdough bread, cologne, tart rotting apple skins, week-old apple cider, raisins, black cherries, and port. Mouthfeel is light and explodes upon the tongue, with an airy texture down the pipe and a syrupy coating in the back of the throat. Medium-dense body. Taste begins with brown bananas and rotting apples of amber malts, then leads into a bright clove spiciness, followed by a semi-oxidized bready middle with a peppery bite of alcohol and some vinous alcoholic esters.

Adding the yeast and letting it breathe allows the brew to develop and makes it much more enjoyable...smoothing out the carbonation, and letting some of the higher alcohols evaporate. The malts take on a cookie-like, raisiny sweetness. The mouthfeel improves considerably. Mmmm, that's much better. (Rated warm)

I enjoyed this brew, but I've had better from the same style (Grimbergen immediately comes to mind). The subtle fusels and oxidized, ruddy middle hurt it's drinkability. As it warms, it becomes a much better beer. (1,297 characters)

Photo of Sammy
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Carbonation stung my tongue yet I loved it. Beyond anything I have ever drunk of any refreshment. Like cold spring water on a hot day.
Beautiful dark unique color with some doughy pieces. Complex wonderful taste of nuts, sweet malt, spices, dark fruit, cream.

Had another bottle 21 months later, wonderful finish spicey finish. Nice head and lace. The taste depends on where you put it on the tongue. Satisfying.

6.5 years later and good complexity, still aggressive carbonation.
7.3 years later and just yeasty and sweetish. (527 characters)

Photo of Stubbie1
4.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

WOW what a brew!
Pours dark brown with a very light hint of red.
Thick long lasting white head that goes to an never ending lace.
Aroma is of dark fruit, raisins, plumbs, and an ever slight hint of alcohol.
Taste is smooth and creamy in the mouth. The dark fruit is present all the way through. Slightly sweet and fruity sums it up. Very nice and interesting too boot! The alcohol shows its head ever so slightly near the end of the drink.
Drinkability?!? Man, I need to slow down and enjoy this work of brewery art. It is a fantastic Abbey ale and a must for all to try! (577 characters)

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
98 out of 100 based on 2,600 ratings.