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St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

2,721 Reviews
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St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Belgium | website

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001

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Reviews: 2,721 | Ratings: 9,167
Photo of rypkr
4.42/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Heavy pour into a snifter erupted in foam. I'm fearful that this may be infected. Appearance is extremely dark brown with overwhelming froth.

S - jungle juice. Seriously. This smells like plums, and grain alcohol.

T - tons of dark fruit. Plums, figs, grapes, yeasty and malty too. Taste every bit of 10% if not more. No detectable hop presence.

M - very carbonated and filling. No complaints.

O - "Big" is how this is best described. Just a big, big malty quad and I find it delicious.

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Photo of mkh012
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle that's been sitting in my wine fridge for a couple months. Poured into a chalice. A dark, murky, port-like red. A decent finger and a half of tan head dissipates quickly. I get cherry, clove, raisins, brown sugar, maybe even a touch of orange on the nose. Complex and, again, somewhat port-like. Rich and bold flavor profile. Effervescent mouthfeel smooths out a bit as it warms. I get clove, medicinal cherry, a nice bready backbone. A little hot from the alcohol. This one will sneak up on you at 10% ABV.

Overall, a classic Quad - certainly one of the best I've had. As far as dark Belgians go, I'd probably reach for Gulden Draak and Rochefort 8 before this. This is just a touch more earthy, medicinal, and dank.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.11/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle $3.99, not a bad price at all. I am not the biggest fan of Trappist beers but I thought I needed to try this since it is so highly regarded. Dark brown color, short head. Aroma is brown sugar, raisins, pretty nice. Flavor is more of the same and the alcohol is very well hidden.

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Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4.42/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I've had this beer a hundred times, but for some reason it took me forever to review. Beautifully bronze color and cloudy with thick head. Aromas of grape, fig, malty sweetness. Tastes of fig, peppery bread, fill bodied, rich, creamy, slightly dry aftertaste. Always a favorite. Always delicious.

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Photo of princessbay710
4.69/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Dark dark brown body, beautiful, dense foam. One sip and my head is already feeling like "whoa". Taste is beyond clean, I was actually really scared try this one, thinking it would be a malty overload or something. Highly carbonated. It's hard for me to pin point what exactly I'm tasting, it kind of is lost in the carbonation. Overall something I would drink again.

As posted on the bottle, "Bringing heavenly nectar within reach" Cheers.

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Photo of HotDogBikeRide
4.31/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a large pint and 6 bottle, have no idea what 17.86.19 is, but it's a date haha. Pours a dark brown beer, really bubbly foamy huge head, lots of carbonation and mini bubbles rising, which settles into a slightly pillowy but very foamy finger in the glass. Lacing is very sporadic. Smell is phenol, astringent, clean, pale, Belgian yeast. Really nice clean but toned down smell, very sophisticated. Taste is a grainy, pale, malty, extremely refreshing gulp. The alcohol doesn't come through in the flavor, but soon enough you can feel it in your face like wine, quite warm and hardy of an ale. Cheersabrewski, it's cool to have one of the more renowned ales of the style as my introduction to Quads. As it warms it takes on an almost wine-like alcoholic taste. Very warm beer.

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Photo of edward_boumil
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: Dark brown, with ruby red coloring on the edges. Has a small mocha colored head, leaves a little lace in the glass. Relatively transparent for a dark beer. Lots of carbonation apparent.
S: Very sweet aroma, with a bit of heat from alcohol. More specifically, smells of dark malt, and the aroma is not overtly complex.
T: Malts really come in full force in flavor. Tastes of dark chocolate, though it is milder than a porter or stout. Slightly fruity, typical dark dried fruits of the style. There's fig and raisins. Despite a very robust flavor it is not at all overpowering. Really no alcohol present in the flavor either.
F: Body is full, plenty of carbonate adds some fizz to the mouthfeel. Drinks very smooth, goes back very easy.
O: Pleasantly surprised by this beer. I am a fan of this style but I didn't realize how much til I tried this one. Kicking myself for not trying it sooner.

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Photo of RobinLinde
4.31/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Dark copper colored body with a foamy light brown head. Not very good retention but lots of lacing.

Smell: Yeast, and dark fruits.

Taste: Prunes, raisins, roasted malt, brown sugar, dark chocolate and coffee.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and creamy, medium carbonation with no bite from the alcohol.

Overall: Smooth and nicely carbonated. A bit heavier than expected, much like a stout.

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Photo of kalosjakar
4.43/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Burgundy with a very small head.

Aroma: banana, clove, sugars, bready yeast.

Flavor: wow, sweet, brown sugar, bubble gum, incredible. Not overpoweringly sweet. Cant taste the alcohol at all.

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Photo of LAp
4.46/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle poured into two table glasses. Pours a ruby-russet, sufficiently dark with suspended yeast to make the beer translucent only at the edges. A two-finger tan head quickly rises but recedes glacially, with excellent retention and beautiful lacing. Nose is bready yeast, with a strong phenolic component. The palate opens with bread, booze (without the warmth found in, say, a barleywine), and distinct Belgian yeast - congruent with the nose. Deeper flavors are dates and fig. Mouthfeel is heavy and chewy - this beer is a meal in itself. Overall, tremendous. This falls for me, somewhere above the excellent Belgian Quads of the Americas, and below the Westys and Rocheforts of Belgium.

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Photo of commish374
4.94/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tasted at Bierpunt in Hasselt, BE.

LOOK: Pours with two fingers worth of biscuit-colored foam that dissipates into a quarter fingers worth shortly thereafter. Brown in color with an extreme amount of cloudiness. Lacing is thin and moderate.

SMELL: Strong scent of figs and brown sugar deliciously combine with hints of hop and spice.

TASTE: Sweet, followed by spice. The hop and spice saves this beer from being too sweet. Makes me immediately ready to take another sip. More hop and spice in the tastethan in the nose.

FEEL: Smooth, refreshing with just the right amount of alcohol warming.

One of the best Quads I have ever tasted. Thanks to Bram and Maarten for suggestion!!

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Photo of Cthulhusquid
4.93/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look : Dark brown, almost opaque body, three finger brown-white head.

Smell : Dark fruits, banana, spices, a note of bubblegum, and wheat.

Taste : Same as the above, but more spicy and with a notes of chocolate aND caramel.

Feel : High carbonation, medium-full body, slight alcohol burn.

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Photo of CowsandBeer
4.16/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into an Oerbier glass. Dated “A 30 10 18.” Sipped on while playing Anticon Presents in the background.

Appearance: Pours a finger of thin, khaki head atop a murky brown body. Leaves a nice sheet of lacing with a persistent cap.

Aroma: Up front perfumey alcohol, peppery yeast, light bubblegum and sweet dried fruits (cherry essence prunes), candi sugar, brown sugar, nice Munich malt finish as a base. Sweet, syrupy and malty.

Taste: Starts with the fruity/candi sugar sweetness and leads into that almost peppery/spicy Trappist yeast character, spicey/perfumey alcohol, finishes on a malty brown sugar finish. Light bitterness.

Mf: Medium warmth (though not boozy) with a prickly carbonation. Body is medium/heavy. For the strength, it drinks too easy.

Overall: Obviously a paragon of the style. Peppery phenolic yeast and rosey alcohol (which I love) supported by a dried fruit sweetness and a sweet, malty backbone. While the St. Bernardus beers are usually sweeter than I like, a great example of the style, complex with a high drinkability.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.71/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Looks brown, almost listless lack of head on the pour. Aroma had lots of dark fruit, tree berries and twigs.

Belgian dark sugar, alcohol heat, plum, raisin, not a massive phenolic yeast bomb thankfully. Carbonation kept it relatively light on its feet. A good sipper. Nutty at times.

One of the better quads I've had, I get this one, its not all dark fruit bitterness.

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Photo of MacMalt
4.35/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from cork and cage bottle into tulip glass. It pours a deep, ruby red-amber with a thick, foamy light tan head and lacing that dissipated rather quickly. It smells of prune, raisin, yeast, bready malt, and lots of spice. This is a complex, delicious quad with flavors of cola, raisin, chocolate, molasses, and roasted malt. The is a slight bitterness at the finish. The different tastes blend beautifully. This ale is medium-bodied and well carbonated. You can taste the 10% ABV but there really isn't a strong burn, which makes the ale quite drinkable, either on its own or pared with a fine meal. Overall, this is a fantastic quad; one of the best I've ever tasted. It deserves its excellent rating.

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.59/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

All-around fantastic stuff. Pours a clear garnet with lasting, clingy finger of foam - it's purty. Aromas of yeast, bread, candi sugar, dark fruits abound. Flavor is similar with raisins and prunes in the foreground and mild spice and yeasty esters behind. While slightly sweet, it's never cloying. Very balanced brew and finishes quite clean.

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Photo of Zet
4.18/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Full mohagony colour with a thin but steady head of foam. Smell of raisins, berries, white wine and yeast, though the smell takes some warming up to really show itself. Full taste of dark fruits, sherry and rum. Nicely balanced. Smooth and warming, a very nice and complex beer.

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Photo of ljdrinksbeer
4.46/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

best by 14 11 18.

into snifter at about 54 degrees

Foamy head goes away quickly, deep brown/ amber color

Smells sweet but not cloying, nice fruit and malt balance.

Taste is incredible, complex , slightly spicy, rich

feel is surprisingly light but it's not really a bad thing just didn't see it coming

Love this beer. 2nd time having it and its better than I remembered.

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Photo of janubio
4.72/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Dark brown colour, with a two fingers off white head that fades leaving a ring and a great lace. Smell of dark fruits, raisins, prunes, spices. Medium to full body,, good carbonartion, thick palate. Taste of prunes, figs, raisins, spices, cinnamon, chocolate. Supposedly, they use the original Westvleteren yeast.and they have the recipe, since Westvletern was made at this abbey long ago. Just as good or almost as Westvleteren, and cheaper.

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Photo of captaincoffee
4.31/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Deep opaque brown with a nice head...small bubbles and medium lacing. Nose has burnt sugars, slightly roasty malts, and some earthy musty character. Flavor is date syrup, cola, and some roasty notes. Mouthfeel is a bit too fizzy for the style. Overall, a great beer.

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Photo of Benjo87
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look - dark brown in a glass with a 2 finger dissipating head.

Smell - dark fruits, yeasty breadiness, slight alcohol.

Taste - my favourite abbaye/ Trappist beer. It's so incredibly well balanced. I have a hard time describing Belgian beers, but in my opinion, it's heads above Rochefort 10, and on par with Westvleteren 12. Alcohol is so well have hidden. Every sip leaves me commenting on how damn good it is.

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Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.59/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great beer, not quite sure its as good as the Rochefort but its still an excellent beer, i actually preferred the christmas version and the oak aged bernadus was superb, but this is still a great quad.

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Photo of DevWand
4.03/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

99+ score... Really? I mean it's good, and I could see the score being justified (back in 2000/2001), but with all of the stellar beer currently on the market; personally, I think this one's a tad bit over- hyped.

I''d describe the beer as a (complex) fruity Belgium style beer. And by complex I mean there's an abundance of competing flavors which overlap one another (personally I enjoy a beer where a few flavors make their presence known, and a certain flavor has a chance to stand out amongst the others).

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Photo of Biggtriksta
4.29/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Solid Belgian Quad here. In comparison to some of the Rochefort beers (especially 10), I don't think it holds up quite as well, but it is rightfully within that discussion of which Quad is the best in the world. Notes of fig, plum, molasses, and vanilla. Classic within the style and highly recommended. It helps that is pretty readily available.

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Photo of Myotus
4.37/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured at 52°F from an 11.2oz bottle (best by 10Oct18) into a chalice. Consumed on 09Jan16.
LOOK: Pours with a fingers worth of khaki foam that dissipates into a quarter fingers worth after 1 minute and 45 seconds. Brown in color with an extreme amount of cloudiness. There is a plethora of small, yeast particles that are floating through the beer. I should have poured gently. Oops. A moderate amount of medium-sized rising bubbles remain once the foam head settles. Lacing is thin and moderate.
SMELL: Strong aromas of figs, plums, and brown sugar deliciously combine with mild aromas of toast and bananas and subtle clove and earthy hop aromas. The 10% alcohol can barely be detected.
TASTE: The first flavors to strike the palate are of strong brown sugar quickly followed by strong fig and plum flavors. Strong clove flavors enter next along with subtle flavors of toast. Subtle flavors of banana, earthy hops, and hints of alcohol debut lastly as all previous flavors persist, except for toast, which grow slightly stronger.
FEEL: Full-bodied and highly carbonated carbonated. Goes down somewhat rough. Finishes with a strong dryness. A mild and welcoming alcohol warmth can be felt as it goes down the throat.
NOTE: An exceptional beer, to say the least. The clove flavors were more perceived in taste than their aromas, which did somewhat bother me. The aroma was extremely sweet and nearly unbalanced, which I loved.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
98 out of 100 based on 2,721 ratings.