St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

2,709 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: 2,709 | Ratings: 9,109
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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of do_ob
3.97/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into a Duvel glass. Medium brown on the pour and settles a hazy ruby red in the glass. Outstanding carbonation which produced a 4 finger head of foam. Toasted malt, figs, raisins, leather, and dark fruit on the nose. A little funky, and not in a good way. The taste follows only with a fairly intense sweetness added. Has a bit of a red wine character up front. Nice mouthfeel. Not as good as Rochefort 10 in my opinion, but still a solid quad.

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

Appearance: Large, moderately coarse tan head crowns a mahogany brown body. The head retention is excellent, the lacing thick and glass wail coating.

Aroma: Rich dark bread notes and sweet, spicy alcohol dominate the aroma, there are slight dark dark fruit notes, but the malts and alcohol dominate.

Taste: Opens with an abundance of toasted malts, dark fruit, and slight sweet alcohol. As the taste progresses, earthy yeast flavors present, and there is a moderate caramel sweetness, although throughout, there is a toasted dark bread presence. The alcohol is extremely well concealed, presenting only subtly. Finishes with a lingering presence of toasted malts and caramel.

Mouth feel: Smooth,rich and full, with soft carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: Simply excellent, no wonder its one of the highest rated beers on BeerAdvocate.

Presentation: Packaged in an eleven-point-two ounce Euro-style brown glass bottle sealed with a pry-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

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Photo of Wiffler27
4.42/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

pours dark deep red to point of being close to brown. thick creamy head as well.

smell is similar to most Belgians due to the candy yeast. smells sweet.

tastes sweet and roasted. pleasing taste; nothing over-the-top flavor wise but good. would not expect this to be 10%.

goes down smooth, very easy drinking (which is a deadly combination with 10% alcohol)

overall this is pretty damn good. it's my first quad so i'm very new to the style but this is good. sweeter than brown ales and still has the signature Belgian smell/taste.

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Photo of ntalexan
2.46/5  rDev -44.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

-Color: Medium Brown. Not quite as dark as a porter or stout. A very slight red tint, almost makes it a maroon color. Has a fizzy head that persists throughout the entire session.

-Nose: Definitely get the sweeter Belgian yeast notes on the aroma. Bananas and milk chocolate.

-Flavor: Immediately you get the malt and yeast backbone of this beer. You get the bananas as the nose suggested you would, and what I surmised would be the case given my past experience with Belgians. Also get some nuttyness from the malt, hazelnuts which kinda lends it to the chocolate I got on the bouquet. Toasty bread and Allspice notes in there as well. Finishing with a slight bitterness from the hops. My favorite part of this brew is its super smooth mouth-feel.

-Rating: 2.5/5: Not as boozy as I expected from a beer with a 10% ABV. Especially with my past experience with high ABV Belgians. Still has the fruitiness that I’m pretty sure comes with the Belgian yeast and I’m still not a fan. All in all it’s a pretty balanced beer. A quality that I value above almost anything and I wouldn’t steer anyone away from it.


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Photo of Andrewharemza
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From bottle, Dark brown, medium beige head. Friuty, spicy and yeasty aroma. Fruitiness in taste. Raisins, sour cherries, very balanced and drinkable. No trace of alcohol. Medium bodied, crisp, fruity aftertaste. Very easy drinking.

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Photo of Ninjakillzu
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L: Poured into a Chimay chalice. Dark brown body and a finger width tan head.

S: Dark fruits, malt, caramel, toasty bread. Also present are some undertones of Belgian yeast.

T: Dark fruits such as cherry and plum are very apparent. Caramelized malts and bread follow suit, with a bit of sticky booziness.

F: Creamy and full bodied.

O: Another amazing Quad.

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Photo of Biggiekrock627
4.49/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a Belgian style chalice. Dark brown with a thick fluffy off white and brown head that lasts and leaves a thick lacing on the glass. High abv can definitely sneak up on you as this tasty Belgian goes down so smoothly. The malt and cocco undertones are key to masking the alcohol and the carbonation helps dance on your palette

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Photo of Wer34truh
3.28/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Light brown color with a sizeable head featuring a lot of small lively bubbles.

Taste is of sweet malts and white grapes. The grape-like flavor added a sour element which was quite unappealing to me. Carbonation is surprisingly high, and the mouthfeel dry. There is definitely substance to this, but the high carbonation really turned me off this beer. I was very disappointed by this.

With that said, I'm not sure if its because the 10% alcohol content, but Abt 12 definitely grew on me the further into it I got, and as the temperature increased. I don't want to deter anyone from trying this (or any other) beer, but I'll probably not return to it in the foreseeable future.

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Photo of Trevor11
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Better version of Rochefort 8. Definitely overpriced, but the beer is from Europe as well so it is somewhat justified. Decent with a lot of sediment unfortunately. Not sure if I would purchase again.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
98 out of 100 based on 2,709 ratings.