Dismiss Notice

Site Performance Updates: We're aware of the nightly site outage, and working on resolving the issue.

Follow our progress ...

St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

2,721 Reviews
For Trade:
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

View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,721 | Ratings: 9,168
Photo of Danny_Brewstein
4.78/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Purchased from a local bottle shop.
Decent head retention and nice lacing down my glass.
Aroma of caramel, dried fruit, and a hint of malt. Slight hint of diacetyl, but I think it works with this beer.
Taste is sweet and matches the aroma.
Awesome beer< should have picked one of these up sooner.

 299 characters

Photo of vainosuomi
4.62/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown color, cloudy with lots of sediment, and a big, tan head. Smell is fruity, with clove, yeast, and sweet malts. Taste features sweet, toasty malts, along with plum (and banana?) fruitiness, caramel, yeast, a little bit of spicy hops, and mild alcohol. Smooth, medium to heavy bodied, warm from the alcohol, and decently carbonated. A great, very well balanced beer.

 376 characters

Photo of constantine_272
4.64/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big fluffy light tan head over a dark brown. Lots of yeast sediment at the bottom. Sweet earthy prune on both nose with a manure light herbal pine note. Taste a lot of dark rich composte and earth with a rich oakiness and a big meaty dark mushroom. The beer starts off sweet and thick like molasses but quickly is overpowered by the aforementioned worthiness mixed with a rich prune taste. The beer finishes exceptionally well balanced with a sharp tingly and tangy crisp finish. A honey and maple sweetness finishes ling and only slightly dry. This beer is exceptionally well balanced almost completely hiding the alcohol. Overall, this is an exceptional quad. Not quite sure how I've never had this before; there will surely be more.

 735 characters

Photo of theamericanpsycho79
4.67/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Once again, folks, I am gonna review this one as I am having it for the first time. I love belgian ales, they are my special occasion beer, hands down. My favorite currently is Rochefort 10. I heard good things about this one, I am giving it a try.

Look: Pours frothy and dark brown with minimal head into its own St. Bernardus Watou glass. Looks similar to Rochefort 10 minus the chunks of yeasties.

Smell: I sense the alcohol almost immediately. This smells similar to Rochefort, also. I am getting the dark fruit hints here and there. Not a lot of it, as the alcohol is dominant.

Taste: Heavy carbonation, tongue numbing but welcoming. Surprisingly smooth in flavor, tiny bitterness, followed by a little spiciness, tiny bit of dark fruits on the back of the palette that hits the back of the throat. Very nice quad presence.

Feel: heavy carbonation that surprisingly goes away fast, strong alcohol presence but surprisingly smooth with that being said.

Overall: A really good quad, but not my favorite. I still give it to Rochefort 10 for my favorite ale. Rochefort delivers so much complexity I love in a quad, all the hints of raisin, plums, alcohol presence and deliciousness. I won't say this is a bad ale at all, same ballpark as Rochefort 10 but I still say Rochefort 10 is a better ale for me.

 1,330 characters

Photo of KonigObHops
4.79/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This beer poured from the bottle a dark copper color with a beige head that was two finger widths thick. Very nice Belgian lacing.

The sweet aroma had the smell of some nice hops and some citrus (orange?).

The initial taste is sweet, but not overpowering. The middle is exceptionally well balanced. It continues to be sweet with some slight fruity taste. At the end you get some of the alcohol on the tongue, but not as much as you would expect from a beer with 10% abv. It finishes by warming on the tongue.

The mouthfeel is basically perfect. Good carbonation, light, but full bodied.

Overall, this is a near perfect Belgian Abbey. One of the best examples of one of my favorite styles.

 694 characters

Photo of amaginbeer
4.73/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The has been my go to Belgium beer. It is so complex but refreshing, that it makes you wants to go to the monastery brewery just to see what the process is that makes it so good.

 178 characters

Photo of 2Cents
4.87/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my favorite beer. to have during Christmas time. I know that the Rochefort 10 is considered superior by many beer geeks, and it's great, but the S.B 12 is over all more satisfying to me. It tastes like a liquid fruitcake, that's not a bad thing! It's not overly sweet or carbonated. The bottle got empty pretty fast, happy holidays!

 341 characters

Photo of JoLight
4.84/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Frothy, khaki head that retains very well. Lots of bubbles up the side. Copper colored in the light; straight on, the appearance is unfiltered and prune-colored.

Smells of toasted malt. Maybe like a plantain or hard, banana chips. The banana character is the most prominent part of the aroma. Kind of sickeningly sweet.

Taste: Roasted malt. Some kind of berry flavor? Banana chips
[sweetness] on the end. Very smooth.

Medium mouthfeel. Carbonated.

Medium finish.

 469 characters

Photo of Slack
4.31/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Amber brown in color with a small amount of creamy head and good lacing.

Smell is raisins, booze, sugar, spice, and malt.

Taste is sweet malt, banana, cherry, raisin, yeast, hops, and some tinniness

Mouthful is medium and creamy. Carbonation is medium and the finish is semi dry.

Overall a very enjoyable beer that is well balanced between malt, hop, and yeast. Easily drinkable, fruity, and smooth.

 405 characters

Photo of joeseppy
4.22/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Cloudy caramel pour with scant wispy tannish foam. Aroma is muted for me and I don't have a cold. Perhaps too delicate. Subtle hints of brown sugar and spice. Raisins. Flavour hits the other side of the spectrum vs aroma. Spice drop candy, malt, black fig, dates, raisins, mapley malt o meal, etc...Plenty-O-Carbonation to go around. Residual sugars are bubbled right off the tongue. Medium body. Drinking this while cooking homemade clam chowder and what a companion with the meal. Will buy again. Slainte.

 517 characters

Photo of puck1225
4.59/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a chalice. Deep rich reddish brown, cloudy with a nice creamy head and good lacing. The smell is very pleasant, rich, sweet and fruity. The taste come out as it warms. Dark fruit tastes of raisins, prunes, and some sweet pear. A truly great beer!

 273 characters

Photo of Ricelikesbeer
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A classic strong dark- complex, clean and ages beautifully over time. I recently was able to taste a 2010 version which was downright amazing. This review is based on a 2015 bottle, however.

L: dark brown with good clarity, lots of whispy, foamy head. Quite carbonated.

S: Brown sugar, spice, and some bubblegum and feint banana. I pick up some dark malts/ sweetness as well.

T: wonderfully complex and lingering- dark fruit, caramelized sugar, and a really pleasant and unique bubblegum flavor I've always enjoyed. Gotta love that Westy yeast! some boozy alcohol notes as well but nothing hot or cloying.

F: crisp and clean for such a big beer- very drinkable. light/medium body w/ lots of carbonation

O: One of my favorite strong darks and always fun to revisit this one. This beer is up there with any Trappist Strong dark or any trappist beer out there. Highly recommend aging this and doing vertical tastings.

 922 characters

Photo of curasowa
4.6/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Cloudy, dark copper color with lots of carbonation and a huge head that fades with spotty lacing.

Aroma: Molasses, dates, raisins, some yeast funk.

Taste: Smooth and creamy, sweet malt, then lots of ripe tree fruit, raisins, then some nice yeast funk on the back end with a lingering, floral finish.

The Rest: Top-notch, world class brew.

 358 characters

Photo of aleigator
3.71/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an ember-brown color, with a fluffy, big head, collapsing to a spider web lacing.

Smells of warmed walnut shell among molasses and bakers chocolate. The aromas reveal a hot peak within a profound rock sugar coating, getting wrapped up by moldy earth and mellowed toffee. Its nutty qualities are distinguishable in the most pleasant way, featuring a spicy cardamon note, together with freshly cracked walnuts and heated chestnut, blending perfectly into earthy malts.

Has a lower carbonation, while the mouthfeel is surprisingly thin till the finish, in which its rich maltiness unfolds its true potential.

Begins with rock sugar from the very beginning, balanced by dusty earth and walnut. A watery quality evolves, going along with the malts, while the flavors do not change at all until after the swallow. A warming spice punch becomes detectable out of nowhere, while the initial rock sugar quality returns in an alcohol soaked fashion, balanced by bakers chocolate and licorice. Dried orange peel, spruce and clove add depth to rock sugar and molasses, while the beer finishes clean, with a gentle bitterness of matured hops and dough bread.

This one I kept in the cellar for about a year, in hopes of this might be smoothing out a bit. While its maltiness doubtlessly is well accentuated, there is not much going on, apart from an overly pungent, boozy sugar quality. For being recognizably full-bodied, its mouthfeel is a bit too thin for me, especially when compared to a stout in the same abv region. Its finish is highly recommendable though, exhibiting lots of different flavors, mostly evolving from the onnipresent malts or complimenting them, creating a nice, warming depth.

 1,698 characters

Photo of Gtwreck45
4.37/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle poured into red wine glass.
L: purple-brown dark body with fluffy lingering 3" off-white head. Looking good so far.
S: raisins and cherries, and of course the Belgian yeast. Not overpowering.
T: some vanilla and toffee flavor from the maltiness balances out the dark fruits that are also present. Quite a balanced quad. I'm a believer.
F: full feeling, maybe a touch syrupy.
O: I can see why this is one of the top quads out there. I was impressed by its balance where I expected to be barraged by dark fruit flavors.

 535 characters

Photo of DJ-Hophead
4.49/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle Beergium - Pours dark brown with a large lightly tanned foamy head. Medium carbonation. Lovely lacing. Smell - Powerful yeasty, dark fruits Taste - Sweet malty foretaste moving seamlessly into a crisp bitter finish with a small alcoholic aftertaste. Lovely shifting, easy drinking strong ale.

 306 characters

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

Poured from a 750 into a bolleke goblet.

L- Dark brown, and clear with a big, fluffy, off-white head. Pretty good lacing.

S- Very aromatic, thanks to the head. Prunes and raisins, with alcohol evident. Fruity alcohol aromas are here, not just esters. There's also a brown rumminess, probably from the Candi sugar.

T- As the smell, with fruit and maillard (is this kettle caramelized?) up front. There's an acidity here that keeps good balance, and it finishes dry, just like it should. There's more of the rummy, brown sugar flavor in the end at the same time.

F- it's weird when a beer is both effervescent and creamy, but I wouldn't sacrifice either. The fizziness and heat keep everything in check.

O- Superb, and a good study in how conditioning technique impacts a beer. In my opinion, a better execution of style than WestyXII, and at nine bucks a bomber (thanks, LCBO), a steal.

 891 characters

Photo of vinicole
4.05/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Deep auburn colour. Thick, frothy and long lasting off white head.
Caramel and dried fruit aroma.
Rich fruit cake taste. The malt and hop is nicely balanced.
Highly carbonated, rather chewy and somewhat boozy.

 210 characters

Photo of Curt3
4.94/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow, I can see why it is rated as World-class! My current number one.
L = Dark brown, golden hue.
S = Pleasant, slightly sweet.
T = Outstanding full bodied flavor.
F = Super smooth from start to finish, especially considering the alcohol content.

 247 characters

Photo of scottbrew4u
4.33/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle to chalice, a clear, mahogany with garnet highlights and a bubbly whitish head. This settle quickly and as you drink mild lacing is left on the glass. Aroma of dried plums, dark fruit, tobacco, toffee, and figs with a spicy yeast that has a load of fruit esters. The aroma is my favorite part of this beer. Taste is sweet and complex with layers of dark fruit esters, toffee and light tobacco and a brown bready base. Yeast imparts a mild spicy kick as well as the hops. Mouthfeel is medium to full body with crisp bubbly carbonation and a burn of alcohol in the finish. This beer is a very good Belgian classic quad that should be consumed cool not cold.

 674 characters

Photo of damndirtyape
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle served in a tulip glass. Best before 16 01 19. Slow pour to keep the sediment in.

Appearance: Cloudy coppery brown. Thin off white head. Fine strands of lacing.

Smell: Dark fruit, hint of phenol, bready, candi sugar, caramel. Very nice.

Taste: Quite sweet with lots of malt and candi sugar flavors. Caramel, hints of phenol, hints of cherries, some dark fruits, and a noble hop mild bitter finish that perfectly accents all the sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Prickly carbonation that is quite plentiful and scrubs the palate. A tiny bit warming. Sticky on the teeth and once the carbonation subsides, the beer comes across as nicely thick and a little bit chewy.

Overall / Drinkability: A fine sipping beer, and I think it would go well with a wide range of foods. I had it with mushroom meatballs over rice and it complimented it well - the sweet countering the savory from the dish. Dangerously drinkable and the alcohol is well hidden. I will have to pick up a 750mL bottle next time I have an evening I can stay in and not go anywhere the next morning as this is a potent savoring beer to have over the course of an evening.

 1,164 characters

Photo of jeffm13
4.84/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Absolutely my favorite beer. Of any type. It doesn't have a strong taste, just enough malt and a flavor almost like roasted nuts. Exceptionally smooth. Low bitterness, not sour. Relatively high alcohol content, but it doesn't affect the flavor. Just an outstanding beer.

 273 characters

Photo of hman43
4.44/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It is dark amber in color with ruby highlights. The head is an off white, almost tan. There is plenty of lacing as the head disappears.

The initials aromas of malt and dark fruits. There are also aromas of grass and some yeast.

It has a vinous flavor with dark fruits, grass, floral elements, yeast, and bready malts,

It is moderate as a body, with a dry finish and pleasant alcohol warming. It has a finish that is sweet, but also complimented by the bitterness as well. It is moderate high in carbonation.

 513 characters

Photo of wisebier
4.84/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I really enjoyed this beer it is certainly world class

L: nice dark color with ruby tints in the light, long lasting creamy sticky head

S: malty caramel and toasty with little hop.

T: Full bodied with a rich malty palate. Sweet with a low bitterness yet a well perceived alcohol. Does not taste like a 10%. nice caramel , malty, complex flavors from yeast. extremely smooth and well balanced. Nothing funky at all going on. just great flavor.

 447 characters

Photo of Sercoli
4.71/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Awesome! Creamy dark, rich full foaming head. Sweet, nutty, bread taste. Very smooth on the buds considering it has 10% alcohol content. Doesn't taste strong at all. Now consider one of my top 3 three beers of all time. Recommend to all.

 243 characters

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