Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,614 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,614
Hads: 8,588
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 8.39%
Wants: 631
Gots: 1,921 | FT: 52
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.
View: Beers (12) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of St. Bernardus Abt 12 Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,614 | Hads: 8,588
Photo of dukeandduke
4.72/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

3/31/15 (Bottle) - Very dark brown pour, generous thick tan head. Aromas included malts, fruits, raisins and spices. Incredibly smooth to drink, light carbonation, beer went down easy despite the heavy ABV, though you did feel it later.Well balanced taste of malts, hops and flavor. Right amount of "wrong", sweet and firm. Overall an excellent beer, one of the best I ever had. (378 characters)

Photo of LyJK
4.46/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

First of my big three, definitely worth a try. It has light notes on the nose and goes down smooth winter or summer. Not quite as full bodied as the Rochefort, but still a complex taste for the feel. (199 characters)

Photo of RossiDaMan
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This was my first quad ever. Very smooth for a 10%'er. My biggest takeaway was from the mouthfeel. I loved the level of carbonation which is best described as a delicious ale infused alka seltzer. Great smooth flavors with little to no aftertaste. I'll recommend this one and will definitely quad again. (308 characters)

Photo of drmeto
4.89/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

-caramel,plums,raisins,dates,banana,spices,slightly bready
-Follows the nose
-alcohol well hidden
-high carbonation
-full body
World class Quad (156 characters)

Photo of Schiller-
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I took a nice vacation to Belgium and got to try a bunch of beers while I was there. I went to a small pub in Bruges and the bartender recommended this. I wasn't disappointed at all. Best beer I had the entire trip and contender for the best beer I've ever had. Amazing. (271 characters)

Photo of pagriley
4.44/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle

L - slightly murky rust brown with 1 inch off white head
S - Bubblegum yeast with hints of caramel and dried fruit
T - More dried fruit with dark caramel and a firmly bitter finish
F - light body with prickly carb

Overall the gold standard belgian quad for me. An extremely well made and consistent beer that is easily available whenever I feel like it. Every beer guy needs to have tried this more than once. (438 characters)

Photo of jellikit
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: dark brown. Light tan, thick head. Sticky lacing.
Smell: licorice. Cloves and spices from Belgian yeast. Light in ester.
Taste: medium malt. Dark cherry fruit leather. Light ester. Light cloves and spices.
Mouthfeel: light carbonation. Big body. Sweet.
Overall: balanced very well between malts, esters and booze. Dangerous in the fact that I can not tell this is a 10% beer. Will buy again. (430 characters)

Photo of Adrock123
4.63/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Understated Quad, especially given the 10% ABV. Very mellow on the palate, which says a lot for the complexity of this beer. Subtle raisin taste, perfect finish, not too sweet like most Quads. (194 characters)

Photo of Vogey77
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

My 250 rated beer, dont often write reviews but thought I would for the milestone.

Pours a chestnut brown white thick white head, roughly 3 fingers length. Fruity smell typical of many Belgians. Raisan and fruit notes again with the taste. Very smooth for the alcohol content. Cannot taste the alcohol at all. Very impressed and see why this beer has its high rating. Leaves me wanting to explore other Quad style Belgians. (424 characters)

Photo of leitmotif
3.47/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Just an overhyped beer that doesn't do the job. High alcohol feel and an overall dissapointment.
I drank it at the right temperature in the right glass and with the right mood.
I guess the yeast just didn't do the job well for me. (231 characters)

Photo of humuloner22
4.62/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I decided to do a quad night of the big three and see if I could tell if there was a difference. Hmm...

Appearance: Dark chestnut brown with some reddish notes in there but not completely opaque. The head is of light small white bubbles that linger throughout the pour.

Aroma: Ripe dark fruits, grapes, plums and other northern European fruits, possibly some blackberries notes in there as well or perhaps black raspberries.

Taste: Has some vinous notes with a slight tinge of yeast esters going on. I detect more of the clove and banana notes from the more readily available Belgian beers than in the Westy 12. The mouthfeel is also not quite as clean as in the Westy 12, which to me deducts some points.

Overall: Amazing beer, and considering you can get this one at most bottle shops pretty easily and not all that pricey and the fact that Westy 12 is so hard to come by (I am totally happy I had the opportunity to try it and if I ever find myself in Belgium, I will be heading there for sure!) this one is a dead heat in my opinion. I will say that I did enjoy the Westy a little bit more due to the clean flavor and finish and to me that is becoming a majorly important component of a quality beer. But, this is a very well made beer and do not discount it because its more available, there is only a minor difference in quality that I can detect, but it is worthy of note. (1,385 characters)

Photo of JTValentine
4.77/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is a fabulous beer. Very malty front. More sweet and a bit heavy for everyday drinking. But oh my if you have time to enjoy it you can do no wrong! (152 characters)

Photo of oregonduck
3.74/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tried a fresh bottle vs. a bottle aged over 1 year. The difference was very noticeable. The bouquet on the aged bottle was much nicer, very complex and rich and you could smell vanilla and brown sugar. The taste of the aged bottle wasn't quite as nice as the smell or as good I would have hoped for. Still has a bit of harshness to it but has more caramel like flavors and is more refined than the fresh bottle. The fresh bottle doesn't have the complex vanilla bouquet, but more the typical Belgian banana smell. The taste of the fresh bottle is more tart. Overall I wasn't nearly as impressed by this one as I thought I would be. The aged bottle was noticeably better, but still didn't blow me away or live up to the hype of the high scores. WNBA. (756 characters)

Photo of Industryconsultantchicago
4.84/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I would review this but it's the staple of the style really. It's the have to have to say you know the style. If you drink old world beer, you've had this. Nuff said. (166 characters)

Photo of JaimeLondon
4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Quad of a reddish brown color and a light foam.
Smell is condimented, taste has nice tones with a neutral ending.
In the head: yeasty tones, candy and condiments. Taste is deliciously sweet, with tones of yeast, candy and red fruits.
Nice feel, almost impossible to taste the alcohol even as a 10%!

P.S.: This beer is WAY better when it warms a bit. (350 characters)

Photo of Antnego
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am simply overwhelmed with quality of this true Belgian classic. Thick persistent foam, beautiful color and thick smooth mouthfeel with little carbonation. The flavor/nose profile - WOW! Raisins, dried fruit, banana, clove, sourdough bread, grass and even soy sauce!! The flavors are developed- clear, bold assertive. I'm going to dream about this one. (354 characters)

Photo of ludachris
4.56/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Garnet red with plenty of haze. A thick puck of light tan head shows great retention. Wide and sticky legs of lace rim the sides of the glass. It's a hardy, deep looking beer.

The nose really takes its time opening up as it warms. There's a rich vinous quality to it. Sour cherries and sweet booze drenched raisins. Ripe plums and dusty chocolate. There's a surprisingly lively ripe berry character that's really amplified by its alcohol level. Its very intriguing and complex as it slowly unravels.

There's a sweet phenolic tinge to its alcohol character that paints the entire palate. On top there's the same ripe berry and raisins. Sticky toffee sits in the center. There's a lot more caramel and bread. The richness from the nose carries over into the taste and it lingers.

Full bodied, slick and residual. Its drinkability is worth noting at 10% ABV. An excellent, unobtrusive level of carbonation.

This reminded me of how complex a beer can be. I loved how it gradually transformed as it got warmer. There's plenty of flavors that kept my interest until I finished the bottle. I'm still learning to love the style but this is fantastic stuff. (1,153 characters)

Photo of PostRockandCats
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful, cloudy dark amber with a fuffy, tan head. The lacing is spotty, but thick. There is a fair bit of carbonation still visible even after being poured for a while.

Smells almost bourbony up front with toffee malts, dried fruits all over and dry hops at the very end. Very balanced in the nose and not too boozy smelling despite the ABV.

Tastes surprisingly grapy at the start, with banana esters and spices. Brown bread and brown sugar at the end with a slight dryness punctuating the experience. Tastes like it should be boozy, but it doesn't taste as such.

Mouthfeel is unctuous and smooth; your mouth is coated. We are not in Pilsner country, here!

Overall, it's earned every word of it's reputation as one of the best Quads out there. It's balanced, smooth and drinkable while still allowing for complexity and depth. I think part of it's charm is the heavier carbonation; it lightens everything up. It's, without a doubt, one of the best beers I've had. (979 characters)

Photo of Ian_B
4.61/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Slightly translucent brown with hues of reddish-orange; the color of dried dates, which is fitting.

Esters of figs and dates, with very subtle phenolic hints of nutmeg/clove. Slight warming alcohol present, and maybe just the slightest note of banana. Smooth, brown malt sweetness provides an excellent base an balance for these awesome yeast characteristics.

Taste closely follows, with more emphasis on the savory malt sweetness; very smooth and somewhat creamy -- perhaps from a low and very well-balanced amount of diacetyl. Still plenty notes of fig and date. Subtle alcohol warming; would not guess this sits at 10%.

Mouthfeel is also superb. Extremely smooth, with a slight dryness. Medium-thick mouth feel that actually seems to fluctuate to the lighter side on the finish, again highlighting the excellent yeast character. (834 characters)

Photo of Meganomiidae
4.84/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 750 mL bottle into a Tin Roof Brewing Co. snifter.

Pour: Murky, foreboding maroon-brown; the kinda color that tells you you're in for a treat. Light brown head which dissipates rather slowly.

Smell: Dark honey (think buckwheat) and raisins very prevalent. Finishes with a twang of cinnamon and burnt caramel.

Taste: Dark fruits, specifically plums and chocolate cake, with that classic belgian ester and a twang of slight bittersweetness on the finish. Delicious.

Mouthfeel: Slightly heavy on the carbonation directly out of the bottle; when allowed to sit for 5 minutes, becomes more approachable. Results in a good carbonation level with a smooth-as-silk yet full mouthfeel.

My first quad, though I'm no newcomer when it comes to Belgian beers. This brew far surpasses any I've had, and may have just leaped into first place in my book. If you're deciding between this and a cheap bottle of wine as I was, do yourself a favor and make the Belgian choice. (977 characters)

Photo of mancuso422
4.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm mostly an IPA guy but recently my palate has started to crave other things. I've had Belgian quads in the past but few and far between. I picked this up as a change of pace and I'm very glad I did. Easy to drink and tasty. Gets better as it sits room temperature. I went for a high rated beer right off the bat and it didn't disappoint. As someone like myself who is not seasoned in this type beer, I'm glad i choose this one. Will surely by again anytime im in the mood! (477 characters)

Photo of sjccmd
4.66/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown with nice ruby highlights. Very clear. Light tan head that recedes slowly. Not too much lacing.

Smell is spiced rum cake. Cinnamon. Tons of dark fruit. Dates and figs. Spicy and sweet. Graham cracker pie crust with plums and raisins. Nutmeg and some clove. Nothing over powering, yet not subtle.

Taste follows the nose with lots of dark fruit. Raisiny and more of that graham cracker pie crust. Very sweet and full upfront but finishes dry enough to avoid being cloying.

Medium carbonation with full but not thick mouthfeel. Not exactly a dry finish, but less sweet than the aroma and taste suggest.

A classic quad/strong dark. Definitely rivals Rochefort and perhaps Westvleteren. Sweeter and fruiter than both of those and perhaps just a tad thinner. (773 characters)

Photo of delta490
4.44/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown with a long lasting creamy tan head leaving soapy lacing. The aroma is rich with dark fruit and I noted specifically cherries and plums. The taste adds some caramelized sugar and alcohol esters to round out the effect. There is also a nice weight and feel to the beer. (279 characters)

Photo of SensorySupernova
4.76/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Dark brown with lighter brown lacing.

Smell: Belgian yeast, sweet spices and fruit.

Taste: Belgian yeast throughout, carmel and raisin-like sweet malt, a little bitterness towards the end, and finally ends with slight alcohol and a strong banana-like yeast aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy thickness, low carbonation.

Overall: Full of flavor. Everything fits together perfectly. If you like Belgian beer, you should have tried this by now! (458 characters)

Photo of TheItalianStallion
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 750ml. bottle into a tulip

A: Pours a russet brown color with ruby edges when held up to the light. There is a luscious, sticky cap of beige foam that remains for the entire drink. Excellent head retention. A few random spots of lacing dot the glass.

S: Right off the bat you get hit with rich aromas of sweet, candied dark fruits. Raisins, figs, plums, and some dark cherry all seamlessly meld together in a perfect mix of fruity sweetness. This beer has just the right amount of sweetness and is only slightly tart. Absolutely perfect! Aromas of lightly roasted malts and a caramel/brown sugar sweetness quickly follow. Some faint Belgian yeast notes of clove and banana.

T: WOW! The flavor starts with ripe dark fruits and brown sugar sweetness; almost a candy like sweetness. So much is going on its hard to put my finger on everything, it just perfectly blends together. The dark fruits I detect are raisins, figs, plums, black currants, and a bit of dark cherries also in the mix. The yeast profile is phenomenal as well. I'm getting yeast esters of clove and banana, with a hint of apple occasionally coming out. The use of caramel malts blends perfectly with the dark fruit flavors and compliments them well.

M: This beer is full bodied with medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is rich, creamy, and smooth with no hint of the 10% ABV. Perfect!

O: I have never given a perfect rating before, but in my personal opinion I feel St. Bernardus ABT 12 deserves it. This is the definition of complexity, and every time I drink it it manages to blow my mind time and time again. The sweet, dark fruit flavors along with the caramel maltiness and the yeast profile truly make this a delight. This beer almost has a wine like quality to it, it really is something special. The only negative is that it is expensive, but then again you usually have to pay for quality. However it is well worth the price tag, and it is without a doubt one of the greatest beers in the world. (1,988 characters)

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
98 out of 100 based on 2,614 ratings.