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St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

6,859 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,859
Reviews: 2,465
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 369
Gots: 881 | FT: 35
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001)
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Ratings: 6,859 | Reviews: 2,465 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of magictacosinus


4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet from a 330ml bottle. Freshness date is listed as "22/02/16."

Pours a cloudy, extremely traditional looking color for what a quad should typically look like. A creamy looking head fills the glass with glee but slowly descends as time goes on. Looks pretty delicious, resembles liquid bread in one of the more striking ways.

Upon smelling it, instant notes of rum, raisins and sugar malts arrive. Caramel is really intense here. Oranges, prunes, cream - there's so many complex flavors to derive from. The dried hops really tingle the nose here. Smells like fresh dark bread, straight out of the over. This is a prime example of an ideal sniffing beer.

As for the taste, it's unbelievably malty - as expected! However, getting past that, there's a lot going in this beer. It contains a yeasty, fantastically lasting taste that remains on the tongue for a long time. The alcohol permeates a bit, and then warms up the throat generously. The dried fruity tastes are what really captivate me here. It's great mouthfeel makes it very redrinkable. It's an absolutely perfect quad in those terms, as it is creamy, slightly chewy and balances bitter and sweet flavors carefully.

Uses the original yeast strand of Westvleteren, eh? Including many other similar regional ingredients? Makes me more willing to merely stick with this for now! This bottle I bought (in France) was not nearly as tasty as the 750ml corked bottle I drank from (in the US) or as fresh as the 33cl bottle I had in Brussels! Still, while it's not my favorite quad, this is a massive beer. One of the greatest quads, and a recipe that deserves respect and acclaim. In my opinion, one of the best beers to convert safe beer drinkers to the "dark side" of good quality beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2011 23:54:15 | More by magictacosinus
Photo of Fatehunter


4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass. Brown with red hues, two fingers of dirty white head. Solid, it is not going anywhere after many drinks.
Smells like wet straw, ripe apricot, orange and molasses.
Tastes of more ripe fruit and alcohol; and more complex than I can describe.
Medium body with almost no carbonation.. borderline syrupy.
One of the best beers out there. Always enjoyable and tough to beat.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2011 20:00:12 | More by Fatehunter
Photo of vande


4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - deep, dark, active looking brown that invited a hand around the glass! thick, frothy, dirty khaki colored head a float...

s - plum, darker fruit, caramel, bready malt, some spices..

t - Well balanced beer with fruity yeasty malty goodness spread throughout. Very pleased!

m - medium to heavy bodied, somewhat creamy and smooth to drink.

o - buy it to drink now.. probably could cellar if you wanted too..

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2011 04:22:25 | More by vande
Photo of pvsob


4.15/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Deep, brown color with a huge two-finger head (off-white). Beautiful lacing and the carbonation holds up a good quarter inch head the whole time.

S- Plums, cherries, musty aroma (yeast), fermenting apples, brown sugar/molasses, malt, and alcohol.

T- Malt upfront followed by very ripe dark fruits. Finishes very dry with spicy alcohol flavor.

M- Medium to full texture with a high level of carbonation. Very dry.

O- A classic and easily accessible example of a Belgian Quad. I've been drinking this one for years and don't for-see a time when I'll ever get tired of this complex beer. Highly recommended. Cheers.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2011 01:45:11 | More by pvsob
Photo of Icepak


4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- A medium brown, tight white bubbles, incredibly carbonated.

S- Raisins, dates, prunes, dark fruits and a little brown sugar.

T- Good god, amazing, Big Raisins in the front, dark fruits, plums, dates, prunes, a touch of burnt or brown sugar, definitely follows the nose. carbonation is very tingly but does not overpower. Incredible

M- smooth, bubbly, a little thin but true to the style

O- A quintessential belgian quad, incredibly drinkable, i wish i could have cases and cases of this stuff, it is easily enjoyed at any time of the day and easily one of my top 5 favorite beers.

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2011 17:51:59 | More by Icepak
Photo of PolarBear3


4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank from my Chimay Chalice

A - Poured a dark brown colour with two fingered off white head that laced very nicely.

S - Bready sweet malts with fruity aromas and hint of toffee and caramel.

T - Sweet malts with dark fruits, caramel and vanilla with cloves and spice to finish.

M - Medium body and medium carbonation but surprisingly smooth and creamy.

O - Magnificient and without a doubt one of my favourite quads. A complex beer with terrific well balanced flavours that leaves your taste buds begging for more.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2011 12:26:44 | More by PolarBear3
Photo of smxr88


4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

.33L bottled served in a St. Bernardus goblet.

A - Poured dark brown with a large off-white head which lingered for awhile.

S - Smelled sweet and hoppy, very pleasing

T - Malty and yeasty, but delicious.

M - Very mild carbonation

O - Very enjoyable beer. I would definitely love to get a bottle to keep around for when I'm in the mood for it again.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2011 00:02:45 | More by smxr88
Photo of fatmcb1


4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into a lost abbey snifter

Pours a hazy, darkish brown with an off-white head that completely dissipates.

Smell is dominated by rich, bready malts and dark fruit. Spices (nutmeg, clove) add a layer of depth.

This is a pretty big malt bomb. Brown sugar and caramel join the bready malts, reminiscent of a spicy cake. The dark fruit melds perfectly.

Mouthfeel is rich and smooth. Alcohol provides a warming effect at the end.

Overall, I enjoyed this beer, and it has been a go to when I am in the mood for a Quad for some time. Not sure why it took me so long to review it.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2011 23:19:37 | More by fatmcb1
Photo of agomega


4.03/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle served in a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a rich brown color with a huge frothy white head that lingers.

Smell: The primary aroma is spicy European hops. There are also hints of bready malt and a hint of fruity ester aromas.

Taste: Very well balanced flavor with the bready malt and fruity yeast flavors are neutralized by the spicy (clove) hop flavors.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and easy to drink.

Overall: An exceptional and complicated beer. I was surprised to find so much clove in the flavor and aroma, but it is pleasant and works well. An amazing beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2011 23:31:34 | More by agomega
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brownish amber with 1" of off white head that has great retention. The nose has notes of bread, caramel, clove, and yeast. The taste is rich caramel, slightly bitter, spicy, and slightly boozy. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, warm, and well carbonated.

The alcohol is present and adds a great amount of warmth making this one a sipper. The flavor is solid and the subtleties are there. It's probably one of my favorite St. Bernardus brews.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2011 20:45:55 | More by tdm168
Photo of tony223366


4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: explosion! Beer tragedy as this beer frothed over. I saved most of it luckily. Afterwards dark brown with a tan head. One finger leftover. Someone else said it looks like coke and the resemblance is uncanny.

S: major cloves. Rich maltiness and dark fruit

T: cloves and brown sugar follows by big malty sweetness. Big caramel flavor. Alcohol comes in nicely but not overbearing. Sweet throughout.

M: extremely smooth and creamy. Great carbonation carries this beer. Surprisingly my favorite part.

O: great beer. Perfect for desert. Couldn't do more than one a night I think. I'd love to pair it with food.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2011 05:22:02 | More by tony223366
Photo of samie85


4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best by date is 26.05.14... so this should be around 2.5 years old.

A-Pours a dark cola color with a half finger of off-white head that has some yeasties suspended in it.

S-Plums and some almost spicy and vinous notes with loads of rich caramel, bready malt and some vanilla.

T-Chocolate and dark stone fruit with some plum and vanilla with a bit of clove on the finish.

M-A little thin at first in the mouth but becomes a little richer as it moves to the back of your mouth. Medium-high carbonation helps thin it out at the beginning and give it a very prickly feel at first.

D-This one is pretty delicious, very complex, and no hint that this one hits 10% on the ABV scale. I'm not sure why it took me this long to try this beer, but this will definitely be a beer I frequent in the future.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2011 02:55:26 | More by samie85
Photo of Doshkin


3.98/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - solid, dirty brown. lots of frothy head

s - delicious. mild floral hops, malty sweetness, and a little bready

t - heavy barley and malt flavors and yeasty bread flavor

m - frothy. medium body and medium carbonation

o - very drinkable and tasty. i would drink this again, but it was a little pricy for a 12oz bottle. i think $4.50 or so... probably won't spend that much on it. don't get me wrong, i thoroughly enjoyed the beer, but it didn't stand out as spectacular to me

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2011 01:27:41 | More by Doshkin
Photo of skypup


4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One each 8, 12 and a Triple bottles purchased in Brugge, Belgium.

.33L bottle served in a Chimay Chalice.

A- A cloudy, deep brown with two finger head with course bubbles and medium retention. Superb lacing.

S- Hints of yeast, sweet malts, christmas spices, and dried fruits.

T- Sweet malts and raison/figs dominate with a following yeastiness. Has a sweetness that mellows to a neutral bitterness.

M- Full bodied, suprisingly mildly carbonated.

D- Superb drinkability. I was told this beer is the imitation and the closest thing available to the St. Sixtus Abbey's Westvlerteren 12. Excellent beer, and wishing to find more closer to home.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2011 07:23:23 | More by skypup
Photo of olimpia84


4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap, served on a Tulip.

A: dark brown body with red glowing tones and a outer rim coffee colored head. Some lacing present.

S: complex aromas that are hard to describe and include sweet floral tones, malts, caramel, spicy tones, and peaches.

T: also complex; starts with a watery feel that moves into a floral and sweet malts presence on the palate combined with yeast, mild coffee and dark cherries. Ends with a hoppy note.

M: medium body, low carbonation. ABV is well disguised.

O: this a complex but good tasty sipper beer, so make sure you enjoy it slowly.

Serving type: on-tap

10-20-2011 20:49:38 | More by olimpia84
Photo of Bigbadbudman


4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I hate the phrase complex for beer BUT, this beer is that. But a very smooth finish I love this beer. I wish to I could find this beer in a bottle. I live in central FL and other than the WOB that just opened we're very limited on great beer variety.

Serving type: on-tap

10-20-2011 02:54:54 | More by Bigbadbudman
Photo of OutFox

New York

4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. 750ml corked and caged bottle.

A - Dark dark brown in color with a thick thick white head. Good retention, actually quite amazing retention and lacing. Abt 12 is unreal already.

S - Smells of fruit, spice, belgian yeast, theres a wood characteristic there.

T - Holy crap, it has the normal but wonderful raisin sort of taste to it. You can taste all the Belgian qualities of this beer. I mean its quite complex and so good. The malty sweetness is well balanced. Theres some caramel to it as well.

M - Thick, rich, elegant. Its a little over medium bodied. Really its pretty perfect.

O - Its just ludacris good. I mean its hard to make a better beer than this. Its so balanced and well done. God bless teh monks.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2011 04:14:03 | More by OutFox
Photo of bramsdell


4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into imp pint glass. Yeah, it isn't optimal, but I don't have a chalice (yet).

A: Dark brown body that reveals a beautiful dark ruby when held up to light. The head is very large for a beer of this color and, while it does recede, remains at least 1.5cm throughout.

S: Fruity and spicy. I would say that the predominant aroma is the spiciness, but there are very full notes of both raisins and malt. This ups the sweetness of the aroma, overall, making for a great balance for the spicy smell. Finally, there is a bit of boozy bite in the smell, which balances the spice and sweet very well.

T: The order of notes changes. First is the raisin flavors, followed by the malt sweetness. This is a quad, of course it will be sweet, but this is a thick, full sweetness that is fruity and malty in nearly equal parts. The spices are noticed as the sweet flavors begin to reside, providing a bit of a biting contrast to such sweetness. Combine this spiciness with the bit of alcohol at the very back end, and you have a wonderfully balanced beer without any remarkable hop notes.

M: Thick, fully, sweet. It's awesome. It feels like a very light, slightly bubbly, syrup, but in the best of ways. Truly a beer to be sipped and enjoyed.

O: Awesome. Not quite Rochefort 10, but one of the best and most flavorful beers I have encountered.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2011 00:57:54 | More by bramsdell
Photo of eat

Quebec (Canada)

4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Chimay chalice, my closest glassware to the St. Bernardus chalice. Hazy oak-brown body with a good cover of cream-white head. The etching at the bottom of the glass is forming a slowly-bubbling island of head in the middle. Nice to see the etching actually doing its job, great retention.

Lots of yeast on the nose along with bread, light spices (coriander, nutmeg), astringent minerals, tons of fruit (fig, raisin, pear) and a hint of alcohol.

Very malty but perfectly balanced with earthy hops. Lots of dark fruit and caramel up front, figs and raisins; lightly-roasted malt, yeast and an alcohol bite in the middle; cocoa and dry spices (coriander, cinnamon and nutmeg) toward the finish. As complex and packed with flavour as it is well-balanced. I'm sure I would be rating this a perfect 5 with the right amount of age on it.

This one fits right in with other trappist-style ales with its near-perfect mouthfeel. Full, creamy medium body with moderate carbonation.

It's easy to see why this one is regarded as being among the top few Belgian quadrupels; I would need to try it alongside Rochefort 10 to remember which I prefer. Extremely drinkable for its strength, I could happily finish this whole bottle to myself. This stuff must age incredibly well.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2011 03:11:08 | More by eat
Photo of Kbogac


4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Chimay chalice. Dark brown with a thick inch of foam that seems to last forever. When I first put the glass to my nose all I could smell was green apple, wonderful. The taste is just amazing. Carmel, dark fruit some green apple. Had to describe. Mouthfeel is medium with lots of carbonation. Halfway through the glass and there's still a quarter inch of foam. This may be one of the best beers I've ever had. Simply amazing.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2011 02:11:37 | More by Kbogac
Photo of IPA35


4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown with a small off-white head. The head disappears quick and when it does there will be something like a carbonation fountain/vulcano at the centre of the beer. Which is really wierd as I have never seen it before. (Kasteel glass.)

The first thing I notice in the smell is the alcohol. It is quite appearant. dark fruit, caramel, banana and dark malts.

Taste starts out a little sour then the malts kick in and give it a bit of a bready flavour. The sweetness and tartness stay. Dark fruits, some hops not much. Very complex and I find it hard to describe the flavours of this one. Tasty though. Spicey and slightly alcoholic.

Mouthfeel is medium and plenty of carbonation.

Nice drink overall but I have had better.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2011 19:25:28 | More by IPA35
Photo of Hoptometrist


3.45/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap into a snifter at Bier Markt

A- Poured a dark brown and red color with a ring of lace that left no head

S- Smelled like grape soda

T- Prominent grape soda flavor, cherry, some raisin, and some alcohol coming through

M- Sticky, full-bodied beer, low carbonation as expected

O- A sipper for sure. The grape soda flavor and aroma was pretty surprising for me and not quite what I expected.

Serving type: on-tap

10-16-2011 02:26:40 | More by Hoptometrist
Photo of Vixie


4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour this one slowly, it forms a large tan head. Looks a bit brown at first, but when held to the light is a really nice deep ruby red. I can see a lot of bubble coming up from the D in the bottom of my Duvel glass.

Heavy malt smell at first. but then I can detect fruit, kind of a raisin or dried fruit smell.

Nicely complex flavor here. I kind taste a lot of different things here. There's fruit, a bit of toffee, Be;gian candy sugar. pepper, and coriander. Finishes with a nice spicy warmth. Really nice blend here.

Goes down silky smooth, and has a nice fullness to it. Very solid as well, there is no doubt this is a serious beer.

Simply put, this is a great beer. Very flavorful, and goes down easy. I may have a new top 5 favorite, this is a wonderful beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2011 01:42:16 | More by Vixie
Photo of gaugebozo

New York

4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Huge foam dying down to suds. Doesn't cling much to the glass.

S - Bread, bannanas and caramel, with some dark fruits.

T - Similar to the smell. Plenty of alcohol, but not the major taste. Medium yeast character.

M - Light carb. Thick body.

O - Good "Dubbel" as described on the bottle with plenty of flavor, I don't think (despite the alcohol content) that this is a quad.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2011 00:58:18 | More by gaugebozo
Photo of codysjb


4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft, served in a St. Bernardus Chalice. A dark non-transparent color, not black more of a dark brown and doesn’t have the consistency that the other quads I’ve tried have had. Much less viscous than the other quads I’ve had which really surprised me as I expected this to be very heavy and it turned out much lighter. Tastes like a dark Belgium, with smells of fruit (figs) and some dark malt. Mouthful was pleasant and warm; alcohol taste isn’t overpowering but adds a complexity. Overall a good beer, not as tasty as Rochefort 10 or the other quads I’ve had but a solid Belgian none the less.

Serving type: on-tap

10-14-2011 16:40:13 | More by codysjb
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 6,859 ratings.