St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

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2,600 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,600
Hads: 8,519
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 8.39%
Wants: 621
Gots: 1,861 | FT: 50
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
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Reviews: 2,600 | Hads: 8,519
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)

Photo of ajm5108
4.93/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the quintessential Belgian beers...perfect balanced feel, you get some of that nice bread weight but enough carbonation to kerp it from feeling heavy...smooth dark fruit notes, mostly fig and dark apricot to me, with a little punch from the earthy Belgian yeast to give it that earthy good of a beer as you will find in the style (348 characters)

Photo of kevinlater
4.8/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

330ml bottle into small snifter glass. best before "A 19 06 18", cracked open january 19, 2015

a: an opaque mahogany that glows bright ruby with some intense fluorescent light shining through it. just over a finger of fizzy, light tan head that disappeared quite quickly. becomes very murky once all the yeast sediment is poured in

s: dates, figs, and raisins to begin with, followed by rich brown sugar and freshly-baked bread. spices come afterwards, but are subtle. there are also slight notes of cooked apple, bubblegum, and banana. alcohol is hidden for the most part

t: more spicy than in the nose, but the fruit flavours still dominate. spiced cooked apples, raisins, dates, plums, black cherries. brown sugar, toasted nuts, and slightly toasted bread follow. then there is a strong bitterness that keeps everything in check. fantastic

m: medium mouthfeel wild mild carbonation, silghtly creamy. drying finish

o: a smooth, tasty, excellent quad. very fruity, yeasty, and malty sweet, but has a superb drying quality (1,038 characters)

Photo of Grayson
4.8/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Didn't know before I bought: "Abt" means "The Highest Rank", and it's fitting for this beer.

A: From a corked bottle to a Weizen glass - all I had on me. Pours a dark brown almost opaque, with a thick two fingers of nice head - hazel brown.
S: First, malt. Secondly, fruit. Third, a little sugar. Seems sweet, but nothing is too strong, nothing peaks this out.
T: As "The Bros" said, brown sugar with a "little cake-like malty quality" sum this up quite well. Small clove notes that are covered in sweet, bready fruit. This is a hell of a taste.
MF: Doesn't linger too long, isn't at all syrupy and isn't at all crisp - a great mix of both. Very smooth on the tongue. Can't tell the alcoholic notes as much as others are saying.
O: A definite favorite. Very glad I picked this up, and I'll continue to do so. (809 characters)

Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.52/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a St. Bernardus glass.

Look: Burnt cinnamon colored body under a frothy, foamy cream colored head. Great retention. Lovely foamy bands of lacing.

Aroma: Bready malts, dried fruits, apple, cinnamon.

Taste: Much like the aroma -- so spicy, fruity, and bready. Lovely malt bill. Dried fruits. Boozy, dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Dry, not as heavy as ABV would suggest.

Overall: Excellent. Great taste profile, looks great, smells great. Becoming one of my favorite styles. (480 characters)

Photo of Beer-Revelry
3.69/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

A - One of the best looking Belgians I've ever seen. Dark dark brown unfiltered color, can't see through if. Nice finger of super rich, creamy and thick tan head that lasts till the very last sip. Nice soapy lacing.
S - Lots of warm sweet alcohol, light touches of black cherry and wine.
T - LET IT WARM UP! Once at the proper temperature range (52 to 52 degrees Fahrenheit) a rich plethora of dark cooked fruits opens. Figs, plums, raisins, dates and prunes, warm wine alcohol and lots of fantastic malt. Damned good brew.
O - An excellent example of what I would call a traditional, "non-Americanized" Belgian quad. Fantastic ale and a must try for any fans of the style.
V - Single corked bomber bottle. Medium value. (724 characters)

Photo of danh53
4.21/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Nice looking reddish copper color. Nose is nothing fantastic for such a highly rated beer, but I pick out lots of cherry with raisons, figs, and dark fruits. Taste is more fruit balanced nicely by toasted malt and some caramel. Alchohol presence is just right, and the smooth mouth feel makes it really enjoyable to drink. (322 characters)

Photo of BGDrock
4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: murky, dull brown, touch of copper; the almond head fizzes into good form on the pour, but quickly sizzles into a ring

Aroma: toffee, banana, heat of alcohol; sharp dark fruit - cassis, butter

Taste & Mouthfeel: big, intense caramel/toffee and rich, dark dried fruit (prune, cassis) assault the senses, but toned down with a silken, buttery feel that encourages repeat tastings; a pleasant alcohol burn is present throughout and lingers with it's warming touch

Overall: three distinct, strong elements combine for an amazing experience - rich, sweet malt and fruit flavour, sensuous mouthfeel, and invigorating burn; have this by the fire with dessert (666 characters)

Photo of majorbase2
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown color with a good size off white head. Recedes a bit but leaves a thin but consistent, milky white head. Some pretty good lacing going on.

Aroma is very strong dark fruits. Possibly some toasted malts. A bit of alcohol.

Very smooth. The dark fruits return. Figs, cherry, raisins. Very complex. Hard to pinpoint all the flavors. The flavors really come out stronger as it warms. Cherry especially starts to take over. Really sugary. Some very light caramel malts. A little bit of bitterness on the finish.

Medium/heavy bodied. Smooth, milky and creamy. Pretty easy to down. Not too much carbonation.

Overall, a sensational beer! Don't drink it cold, though! (680 characters)

Photo of DocCajun
4.98/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

BEST BEER EVER! The complexity in the flavors is unreal - you can literally taste dozens of flavors in one draught of this beer.

Drink at about 54ish degrees or higher. If too cold, you miss out on so much flavor (214 characters)

Photo of Swettenham_Shire
4.45/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle pours brown with significant tan head. Probably the smoothest Quad I've ever tasted; will be buying more and excited to see how age plays a factor. (159 characters)

Photo of Burntknuckles
3.57/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Had this side by side in a blind taste test with 5 other high end quads. As in any blind test scores were given before beer was revealed. I was very surprised I scored this so low, but it was the worst one I had that night. Another taste may be required. (254 characters)

Photo of babaracas
4.1/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red-brown with two fingers thick of fluffy yet fizzy light brown head, settles slowly to a thin cap, ring of lace trailing the liquid but not much sticking. Smell: raisin, dates, toasted brown bread, cola note, caramel, lightly floral and spicy. Taste: caramel, cherry cola, fig, spicy and slightly boozy, finishing with notes of clove, pepper and toasted grain. Carbonation is a bit high, but based on the sugariness it's probably the right amount for this beer. This is delicious and available everywhere, which is impressive, but it's a rung down from the best Belgian quads (it's not Pannepot, but who is!) (623 characters)

Photo of mr-jj
4.65/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a chalice from a 12 oz bottle.

Color is a deep brown with a huge airy head that fades slowly leaving a lot of large bubbles. A syrupy lace follows the liquid wherever it goes. Nose is classic Belgian - I can smell the rich malts and yeast esters as soon as it is opened. There is dark fruit and spices along with a definite alcohol presence. Flavor is really complex - lots of sweet dark fruit, clove and cinnamon spices and a bite of alcohol and carbonation. Finish is pleasant and clean. This is a very nice quad - lots of big flavors. Body is medium/full with a lot of chewy malts. A friend of mine describes beers as chewy - this one would fit that description - it's almost like food!

Overall, this is a fantastic beer and worthy of the hype. (771 characters)

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
98 out of 100 based on 2,600 ratings.