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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.

6,967 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,967
Reviews: 2,469
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 380
Gots: 918 | FT: 34
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: 6,967 | Reviews: 2,469 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of elgiacomo


4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Jul 25, 2009

12oz bottle for this review. Pours brown with a big frothy off-white head that lasts the duration of the glass and leaves lots of beautiful sticky lacing.

Sweet bready, yeasty aroma with some alcohol.

Flavor is rich and complex. Yeasty, bready, with some spice, fruity notes, and a bit of alcohol. Alcohol is relatively well hidden considering it's sitting at 10.5%, but it's still there.

Mouthfeel is amazing, rich, creamy and smooth, low carbonation with a flavorful finish.

An amazing, delicious brew that is one of my favorites. Wish I could afford to drink this regularly. Oh, and this monk packs a punch!

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2010 03:52:54 | More by elgiacomo
Photo of tjd112

New Jersey

4.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation - Tapped into goblet

Appearance - Very dark brown colour with extremely small head

Smell/Taste - A lot like cherry cake, very biscuity and malt forward

Mouthfeel - Heavy bodied with a somewhat dry finish

Drinkability - Must be nursed

Overall - A great intro to Quadrupels

Serving type: on-tap

01-09-2010 16:03:37 | More by tjd112
Photo of alpinebryant


3.95/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Chimay Goblet at Tapwerks in OKC

Poured a hazy brown/ tan color with a minor head of white lacing mostly.
Smelled of nice cakey yeast, fresh bread, biscuits

Tasted very similar to aroma, a great biscuit flavor, some caramel flavors, some alchohol, but I sipped this one slowly and let it warm a bit in my mouth before drinking and I don't think the booze was as noticeable as some others have said.

Overall not too much carbonation - but seemed on point for the style - a good quad and one that would recommend at that.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2010 04:51:21 | More by alpinebryant
Photo of Daktyls


4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one in the St. Bernardus winter sampler pack. Drank it out of the goblet-esque glass that was in the pack.

A: Very dark, lace froth left on the glass edges, poured with only a little bit of head.

S: Smelled a little bit like red velvet cake, faintly sweet, and almost cakey.

T: Fairly sweet, not very bitter, I detected some fruitiness, with cherries being the most predominant.

M: Light carbonation and creamy, somewhat velvety.

D: Would definitely have another, very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2010 01:57:44 | More by Daktyls
Photo of Bisho


4.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good quad but unfortunately not quite near the top of the class like The Rochefort 10 or Gouden Carolus Emperor Blue.

The flavor is good but the alcohol is overpowering and always present which is a little distracting.
I do prefer this one slightly chilled as there is a little too much alcohol burn which spoils the drinkability when it warms.

Note: Do not believe the hype that this is the same beer as Westvleteren 12. It may be of the same recipe but is not of the same class!

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2010 01:05:13 | More by Bisho
Photo of Daniellobo

District of Columbia

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

A very nice Belgium quad, top range for the style.

Presentation: 750 ml. corked bottle. Old fashion front label design with the image of a smiling monk holding a glass of the brew. Lengthy note on the back with historic touches covering the main characteristics of the beer, including some general serving indications. The label indicates to "see top" for freshness date but the top (cork, cover, neck...) is absent of any date. Shows only Alc. by Vol. (10%) Poured into a snifter.

A - Deep brown with ruby edges with a frothy head, with great retention and a rather nice lace on the glass.

S - Malt sweetness, Belgium yeast tones over dark fruits and a sugary sense.

T - Assertive malty sweet malty flavor with a fruity range and a tad of spices. Alcohol booziness only emerges as it warms up.

M - High carbonation for a medium body that works rather smoothly, with even a creamy feel under the tingly bubbly texture.

D - It is rather drinkable, a great sipper, although it does not feel like a tremendously complex or layered quad.

Notes: A very nice quad/dubbel, and somewhat underrated? Mmmm, lacks a minor kick to make it a total favorite but there is not a trace of displeasure in drinking this one.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2010 00:35:22 | More by Daniellobo
Photo of jdhilt

New Hampshire

4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours with a three-finger light tan head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Cloudy brown/amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Nose is raisin/caramel. Starts sweet has a raisin/caramel flavor, mellow finish; better as it warms, hints of alcohol. Part of a gift 4-pak that was $17.00 from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, ME. Best before date of Aug 13, 2014 - I couldn't wait!

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2010 23:18:59 | More by jdhilt
Photo of wknight167


4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Apearance - Pours a murky dark mohagany with a 2 finger light brown cloud like head, good lacing.

Nose- Dark fruits, yeasty spiciness (predominately clove) and tons of caramel.

Palate- A raisiny sweetness is the first thing that hits. Cherries and figs are easily picked out of the stone fruits. The Belgian yeast twang cannot be missed and closely mimics the nose. Caramel is apparent along with the alcoholic warming.

Mouthfeel- Full bodied, high, creamy carbonation.

Drinkability- It would take me some time to finish a few of these, but time well spent

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2010 07:09:45 | More by wknight167
Photo of littlebibs

New Hampshire

4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this awesome Quad on tap at the new "Grill next door" in
Haverhill, Ma. next door to the Dalton family "One Stop" where
they've been known for years for carrying some of the best beer selections in the area. Having 36 beers on tap is like walking into
a candy store. St. Bernardus Abt 12 is on tap and sold in the store
but getting this on tap was more than a treat. This is silky, mysterious, dark
delicious brew that is hard to compare anything to as it is in a class all its own. At 10.50% you need to go easy on this but I could easily drink a growler of this beauty. Mixing a well balanced
carbonation with sweet dark spicey clove and slightly dry end to finish makes this one of my new favorites at the bar, thanks Matt Lonardo, co-owner for this find!

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2010 22:29:55 | More by littlebibs
Photo of Duhast500

Rhode Island

4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a pint glass.

The color is a dark black with about two fingers of brownish foamy head. some lacing of the glass.

The smell is sweet but a bit musky, gives me visions of trees or leaves falling. A hard core flavor apple and a little bit of clove.

The taste is malty with some dried fruits. There is some pear flavor mixed with a bit of a creamy/sugary flavor that gives out a great Belgian flavor.

The feel is a but medium bodies and goes down well.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2010 06:40:38 | More by Duhast500
Photo of bskrtz


4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle served in <official> St. Bernardus beer glass, at approx. 43 degrees

A) Muddy & murky. Lots of suspended, fine carbonation fighting its way to the top. Brown shoe in color with little light passing through

S) Like a fine cognac, you immediately note this is superior. Sweet, musty, baked bread, licorice, brown sugar & root beer

T) Wow. Creamy caramel & toffee, sweet malt, dried plums, figs with hint of sweet orange citrus. High alcohol contect is apparent but not over powering. A very complex & smooth dark brune.

M) Ample carbonation -- just perfect & actually feels mild, yet yields in excess of 10% ABV. This is strong stuff but so smooth. Warms but does not burn... a finely crafted Quad.

D) St. Bernardus consistently produces a quality product. ABT 12 is in a class of its own. This is a fine beer -- but beware it's strong. A wonderful selection; a real treat.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2010 00:47:00 | More by bskrtz
Photo of ThaCreep


4.18/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Fruity nose and rather complex mingling red fruit, grapes, plums and also a delicious smell of brown sugar. The entry in the mouth is a drought of toast, only then the flavors of fruit soaked in alcohol and coconut are emerging. Finish of roasted malt. The alcoholic strength is not quickly discernable, which makes this beer a compromise gentle enough for "style quadrupel"

Serving type: nitro-bottle

01-03-2010 16:16:10 | More by ThaCreep
Photo of cnally


4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a big bottle, to share of course.

the appearance is a cloudy dirty brown, slightly copperish. the head rises well, and remains as a ghostly dusting on the surface.

the aroma is about as good as you are gonna get. figs, currants, raisins, very yeasty but a wonderfully spicy type.

the flavor is highly malty, with fruity undercurrents of cherry, fig, and just a tint of nuttiness towards the finish. the finish is alcoholic, but tuned down and far from burning hot.

the mouthfeel is velvety, creamy, well balanced but a little sticky.

this is transcendant. delicious. I can't get enough. the world needs this beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2010 04:29:52 | More by cnally
Photo of cbarrett4


4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Deschutes tulip glass.

Gorgeous caramel color with a persistent tan tinged head that slowly evolves to a thick lace. The aromas are powerful and well delineated focused on spices, nuts, and dried fruits. The flavor follows up on the nose with some nutty notes added to the spice, dried fruit (like dried figs, prunes, currants). Great texture and lovely balance. Hints of sweetness. The only thing keeping it from a 5 on mouthfeel was that I hoped for a touch more astringency. Very smooth and drinkable. The alcohol is well masked by the powerful flavors.

Overall one of my favorite beers of all time.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2009 22:29:28 | More by cbarrett4
Photo of Minotaur


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

I've it on tap and in bottle; this is reviewed at the time drinking a bottle.

Deep deep mahogany with a half inch head that endures. You could draw a monk face in it. Dense and almost opaque except at the very edge.

The aroma is fruity, prune, yeasty almost sour but with a constant candi-sugar malt aroma. The tang of the hops balances the massive malt.

Woodsy, bourbon, seep sugar flavor. But despite the darkness and depth the slight bit of sour bitterness hits th back of the tongue and balances. There is a hint of grape, apple and raisin. The bitterness increases down the chalice and as the beer warms. Bread and yeast come through with just the slightest hint of stray funkiness. Despite the heavy weight nature of the twelve there is little predominant alcohol aftertaste. But it is warming like a liquer. There is a hint of the bitterness taking over the malts towards the end of the glass but with this level of malt it could easily become syrup.

The mouthfeel is smooth but not thick. The carbonation seems to offset the overall smoothness a tiny bit. On draft I recall the flavors melding with a little less carbonation.

The head, nose and lacing remains strong through out the goblet. All the sensory impact of this beer lends it to be very drinkable. Dare I say, addictive.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2009 02:00:38 | More by Minotaur
Photo of Schmaltzy


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

Poured from 750ml bottle into Chimay Tulip.

A- Awesome dark brown leather that is murky, the head is off white/tan color that is there the entire time while I am drinking this beer just the best beer I have ever seen. Thick lacy foam that coats the glass to the last drop.... AWESOME

S- Great baking spices, cloves, the belgian yeast just jumps out at you, roasted chestnuts/walnuts, dark candied fruits, cherries. Too much, want to smell this all day.

T- Baking spices/cloves right away, belgian yeast is delicious, candied fruits, dates, cherries, and those roasted nuts followed by some nice light cocoa notes. Everything in the smell is followed in the taste, very good.

M- Still plenty of carbonation in this bad boy, almost too much, but it is a very nice fine carbonation that tingles your tounge showing its aging potential. You can't even tell that this has any alcohol in it, very well hidden.

D- Very nice, just starting to feel some of the effects of the alcohol that is lurking within this one.

I have one more 750ml bottle that I will keep for 10 years before I open, I really want to see how this ages.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2009 00:14:55 | More by Schmaltzy
Photo of hrking


4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is an awesome brew even better if you let one age a few years. Along this lines of a Westy and Chimay grand reserve..Great raisin dark fruit flavor. Slight alcohol presence but overall a Belgian classic. As this bad boy warms the flavors seem to get more interesting as well. Nice easy malt back bone with the classic Belgian yeast flavor! great brew for sure..

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2009 00:04:14 | More by hrking
Photo of MOB210SA


4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured fairly large bubbly light brown tan head. Receeds but maintains well. Nice lacing. Deep brown, like dark brown sugar. Medium darkness.

Sweet caramel with sweet dark fruits.

Smooth with a clean mouthfeel with clean finish. Bubbly and silky. Not alcoholic at all.

nothing spectacular about the drinkability that would make it the extra point. but really good..

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2009 23:18:44 | More by MOB210SA
Photo of cpetrone84


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

A-pours a big thin bubbly tan head that dissipates rather quicly and leaves a light lacing on the glass. the color is a deep red with a touch of brown and a light haze

S-the smell is very sweet with sour apple, clove, dark fruits of plum and fig with a touch of dark cherries

T-the clove comes in first followed by the sweet dark fruits, lots of cherry, plum and fig. very tasty

M-this is so smooth with a perfect medium body, the right amount of carbonation, and a slick mouthfeel. excellent!

D-this is so smooth and sweet with huge fruit flavor, an amazing mouthfeel and huge alcohol that is not present at all!

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2009 00:02:50 | More by cpetrone84
Photo of ruckus232


4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 Ounce brown bottle poured into a goblet

Appearance: Hazy brown in color with a tan head and tons of lacing left on the glass

Smell: Malty sweetness with a slight fruit/flowery smell to it.

Taste: Nice sweetness to it but very good in the amount with a slightly toasted taste. Even though the abv is really high there is very little taste of it.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2009 03:24:56 | More by ruckus232
Photo of BigMike


4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a bottle of this as a christmas present.

Poured into a tulip.

Deep, dark blood red in color with a huge almost 4 finger head that stays around a long time and leaves tremendous lacing.

Smell is spicey like cloves and pepper, belgian yeast nutty and dark fruits.

Taste is dark dried fruits. Dates, plums, nuts. Chocolate, spicey yeast, cloves.

Mouthfeel is very lively. Tingles the tongue with lots of carbonation. The bottle says you can age up to 15 years and i'm sure it could do nothing but improve this one.

Drinkability, this one is a sipper for sure. The 10%abv snuck up on me halfway through the 25.4 oz. bottle.

Merry Christmas!

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2009 17:44:41 | More by BigMike
Photo of Pahn

New York

4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

1 pt 9.4 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Careful pour yields a fizzy 1 inch head that dissipates slowly. Color is a deep reddish brown. Bits of yeast sediment present. Spotty lacing.

Smell: Full-bodied smell of Belgian yeast, clove, grass, leather, raisin, some phenol. More going on than I can get in one whiff, and stays strong throughout. The smell says: you're about to taste a strong Belgian ale.

Taste: Even bigger than the smell. Starts smooth and creamy with mild esters and grassiness, then explodes into a spicy, hoppy assault of flavor. All the elements present in the aroma and more (banana, caramel, various other spices and fruits) make themselves known as the flavor intensifies then transitions into a long, alcohol warm finish that lasts a good 60 seconds or more. This beer is clearly meant to be sipped and savored. Despite the spice and complexity, the beer retains a pleasant sweetness from start to finish. The flavor doesn't stop; this is a perfected quad.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy with prickly carbonation and drawn out alcohol warmth.

Drinkability: This isn't a beer to pound, obviously, but I could sip it indefinitely.


Why did I wait so long to try this renowned quad? Everything about this beer is beautiful. I like Trappistes Rochefort 10 a bit better... mainly due to some differences in the taste and mouthfeel, but really both are perfection. There is nothing about this beer that disappoints. It's the kind of beer where, if you don't like it, you need to ask yourself what you were doing drinking a quadrupel in the first place. It is an exemplary quad.

Final note: not that I need to say this (as it's written on the bottle), but this beer is *begging* to be aged. Huge complexity right off the shelf plus strong carbonation plus high ABV plus a bigger hoppiness than most Belgian strong ales equals this beer couldn't be anything but amazing with a few years of age on it.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2009 05:48:15 | More by Pahn
Photo of rhenning

New York

4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ Monk's, Philadelphia PA. Served in a tulip.

Dark brown with hints of mahogany showing through. Two fingers of medium tan head with staying power and dots of lacing. Medium bodied with a silky mouthfeel. Nose of malt, yeast, and dare I say banana nut bread... Initial taste of brown sugar, yeast, allspice, mid-palate alcohol with finish of hops and dark chocolate. Malt flavor throughout. Nothing about this beer is offensive. Very nicely balanced and looks great in the glass. Drinkability is def. better than average for this ABV but not for sessioning. High marks!

Serving type: on-tap

12-22-2009 02:07:21 | More by rhenning
Photo of ryanonline


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

pours dark brown with a bubbly off white head, good lacing.

smells of cherries and yeast, a little fig and lots of candy sugar. a little boozey.

taste is more yeasty, much less sweet, but malty. very much boozey.

mouthfeel is very prickly, and brisk.

a lil heavy, but good.

i remember this being a lil better the first time i had it, maybe i'm not remembering correctly.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2009 02:59:34 | More by ryanonline
Photo of Dawkfan

Alberta (Canada)

4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Everytime I look at this beer and see the smiling monk staring at me with that delicious looking beer in his hand, I can't help but get excited. This is my favorite looking label to date, and I know what's inside is even better.

A- A 330ml bottle poured into my Trappistes Rochefort chalice reveals a dark brown body with some reddish-orange hues when held up to a light, some suspended floaties as well. 2 fingers of creamy tan head that slowly fades to leave a fairly thick layer on top. The chalice is coated with lots of lushy lace.

S- I absolutely love the smell of this, so complex and warming. Rum soaked raisins, plum, fig, lots of dark fruit. There's some spice in here as well, most noticeable is the clove. A little bready & yeasty. Candied sugar, bubblegum and a touch of the alcohol round this one out.

T- Again, loads of dark fruit, sweet malt, belgian spice, and candied sugar. This does finish fairly warm from the booze. Really complex, I can't do it justice.

M- A rich creamy and smooth full bodied abbey ale. It sticks to the mouth long after it's gone.

D- You sip this not because you have to but rather you do because you want to savor every last drop of this heavenly goodness. This is the beer that made the lightbulb turn on when I started trying different styles at the beginning of my craft beer journey. I still think it's the best of all the quads I've tried, but I haven't yet had a Westy 12.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2009 23:09:43 | More by Dawkfan
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 6,967 ratings.