1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.

6,869 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,869
Reviews: 2,465
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 371
Gots: 886 | FT: 35
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)
View: Beers (12) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of St. Bernardus Abt 12 Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,869 | Reviews: 2,465 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of philipquarles


4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle. Pours orangey brown with a lot of sediment. Nice off-white head that sticks around and leaves some lacing. Smells incredibly sweet, with banana, brown sugar, spice, and a slight bit of alcohol warmth. Tastes of banana, brown sugar, and slightly toasty malt. Some bitterness and a good bit of alcohol burn. Feel is nice and velvety, without being syrupy. Slight warmth. Pretty nice overall. At least better than the oxidized Westvleteren I'm drinking it with.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2009 00:18:30 | More by philipquarles
Photo of cavedave

New York

4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The look of this less than a year old beauty (if I interpret the best by date correctly-put two others into the cellar for future comparison) is deep cloudy nearly opaque brown, with a dark beige shaving-cream-thick head that lasts, and fades slowly to an inch, leaving ample continents of lather-like lace.

Smell is an amazing blend of yeast, alcohol, spice (coriander? cardamom?), biscuit, toffee, raisin, cherry, peach brandy, and just a hint of herb and citrus. The complexity is astounding. Each sniff brings a differing wave of fragrance that sets my taste buds to alert.

The sip starts with yeast, caramel, and warm alcohol that seems to coddle my tongue as it introduces incredible amounts of brilliant flavor to the sip. The fruit and spice aromas of the nose now roll like a wave of delicious flavor across thankful taste buds. Peach, pear, raisin, currant, spice, a sweet backdrop, a bitter edge, an earthy undertone, all balanced into a sip that won't peak, a finish that doesn't end, like a wave that refuses to break. I'm mostly through the glass now. It has warmed near to room temp. and the alcohol has not become dominant, but all the other flavors have grown more pronounced, more delicious.

Mouthfeel is superb as well. It is like carbonated heaven upon the palate, cheeks, and tongue.

Drinkability ought to be judged within the style, and it is a solidly drinkable quad. I'd put it up against most dubbels and tripels I've tasted.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2009 21:21:21 | More by cavedave
Photo of dfolmste

New York

4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I had a bottle of this from Christmas and I was waiting for the right time to drink it. I would say graduation from college is it.

Appearance: The appearance of this is amazing. I had to pour quick as the foam was starting to gush out of the bottle. The head was so big it required two pours. A deep burgendy color. One of the best I've seen.

Smell: The smell was very strong even at fridge temps. As it warmed up, more smells became apparent. Plums, grapes, alcohol and candy.

Taste: Everything included in the smell. I was surprised by the sweetness and similarity to a dark wine of this brew. Normally I am not a huge fan of wine, but if it tasted like this I think I could learn. The alcohol bite, although well hidden, starts to be exposed as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel: Probably the best part about this beer. For all the complex flavors it has, the aftertaste is more of a lite coating with little residual flavor. The alcohol is minimal for a 10% beer. Perfectly smooth and rounded flavor.

Drinkability: This beer was great and I'll deffinately seek it out again, but one 750 mL bottle is more than enough. The alcohol kills your tastebuds towards the end, so I feel trying to drink more is just a waste.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2009 15:20:16 | More by dfolmste
Photo of LordAdmNelson


4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- About two inches of off-white head that retains pretty well. Nice dark apple-cider color with yeasty turbidity. Looks good.

S- Spicy, slightly vinous, slightly musty and a hint of alcohol.

T- Starts with a spicy, penolic/clove bite, slips into a malty sweetness, finishing with some alcohol. Well balanced and subtle. Finishes with a grapey, almost piney aftertaste. I like it. Slight yeast/must lingers in the background.

M- Medium bodied. Smooth and creamy. Slight prickle at the end.

D- Surprisingly drinkable. Delicious, I'm happy with this one after being slightly disappointed with the Tripel

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2009 18:05:12 | More by LordAdmNelson
Photo of ibbjamin


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

Paid $11.99 for a 750 ml corked and caged bottle from Perry's Liquor in Livermore, CA. Poured into a thick goblet and started to review at 52°F.

Very light, fizzy and highly carbonated off white head of about an inch. The bubble size in the head is very large. Opaque and seemingly cloudy. The color of dark caramel raisin. The head retains quite well at about a quarter of an inch. Minimal lacing.

Initial fruity esters of banana and fig, caramel and sweet malts. Moderate amounts of belgian spice and yeast add complexity.

Taste is similar to smell, but just one step even better.

The mouthfeel is exactly what a great belgian is. Thick, velvety smooth and highly drinkable. Moderately chewy, medium bodied.

This one is going to be a staple for me. Not as expensive as the Westy 12 or Rochefort 10 and I think it competes with either of them.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2009 02:04:08 | More by ibbjamin
Photo of smanders


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

Appearance - Cocoa brown color with a pillow-like head. The lacing is as intricate as a spider web.

Smell - raisins, clove, and charred wood.

Taste - Sweet malt with the lingering warmness of alcohol. Savor the flavor because you shouldn't be chugging this one.

Mouthfeel - motor oil, but in a good way.

Drinkability - If you can't/don't enjoy a good Belgian brew every now and then there's something misfiring in your wiring. A wonderful example of a "Quad."

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2009 19:05:37 | More by smanders
Photo of merryjoulton


4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown color with an impeccable off white head that sticks around the whole brew. Smells like spices, berries, malt, bread, tree fruits, even a hint of ocean breeze. Taste is even more impressive than the smell, very sweet and spicy--always a match made in heaven. Mouthfeel is smooth as silk, not a hint of the high ABV. I could easily throw back a few of these.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2009 03:19:32 | More by merryjoulton
Photo of cheapxceptbeer


4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

While I dont have time to do a full review, I dont know the next time I will have the pleasure of drinking this, sorry if this is completely useless.

Look is dark and murky, a very dark amber/brown. Great head to start, mediocre retention and lacing.
Smell is of dark fruit and brown sugar, very enticing.
Taste is dark fruit including plum, black cherry, and overripe berries. It also has a deep brown sugar flavor to it, no molasses like other dark beers of these variety. Booze has low presence due to sweet flavor, but is definitely there.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, this beer drinks like a meal, this will allow me to skip a meal, or at least delay during finals studying.
Drinkability- while I have savored this beer over 2 days due to its high alcohol content, this is a beer that I would happily imbibe (22 oz) if it were not for finals. Anything more than a 750 ml bottle is not only irresponsible, but I would also not drink that much of such a delicious beer and I am also not a millionaire. If I had no respect for good beer, I was a drunk, and I had expendable income I would bathe in this stuff, first class all the way.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2009 19:07:01 | More by cheapxceptbeer
Photo of siradmiralnelson


4.93/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 750 ml bottle into globe glass.

A. 2 finger head. Leaves nice lacing all along the glass. Dark brown with a reddish tint.

S. Dark fruit, raisins, plums. Sweetness, Spices, Caramel and alcohol.

T. Sweet, malt, hops , spice, all meshed into one unbelievable flavor. The eptiome of balance. Nice warming sensation the more you drink.

M. Very smooth full bodied. Perfect carbonation.

D. Exceptionally drinkable beer. This is one of if not my most favorite beers. What makes this beer so great is a complexity that is perfectly balanced into one of the better beers in the world.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2009 15:58:43 | More by siradmiralnelson
Photo of laituegonflable


3.3/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark, brown-tinged colour with ochre head, generous when first poured, now dissipating, leaving a thin film. Shit-hot thick lacing, looks great.

Very spicy and phenolic nose, kind of cherry-esque and almost musty. Quite interesting and I daresay very Belgian in character, with that spicey yeast. Very nice.

Quite malty on the palate with again, quite a sour flavour coming through, also very spicy with a peppery, Shiraz kind of character. A bit of a flat palate profile though, with only one note sounding. That one note is very complex and unique though, with hints of licorice, a lot of pepper and methinks a a fair hit of alcohol which gives it quite a burning mouthfeel, like a good slug of scotch. It if full though, and very interesting. Can't say I love it, but it's interesting and quite palatable.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2009 04:13:10 | More by laituegonflable
Photo of Thorpe429


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

G: Poured into a Chimay goblet.

A: Dark brown color with a slight haziness to it. Very nice lacing.

S: Plenty of yeast leaving behind spices and lots of dark fruit.

T: Lots of sweet malt backed up by undeniable Belgian yeast; some alcohol is present in the taste.

M: Very smooth and heavy-bodied. Fairly low carbonation.

D: Fairly drinkable; definitely a sipper. Not everything fits together perfectly, but a very good beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2009 00:07:47 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of RuudJH


4.13/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The tough Abt 12 has a quite a reputation. Naturally a must try.

Had this several times before. Sometimes the bottle is a real gusher.

Nice chestnut-colour, with beige head, thin but persistant.
Very fresh smell of herbs, also fruits like apricots or grapes, a bit of caramel and coffee.
I would say the taste is a balance between sour and sweet and spicy, and it also has robust flavours of malt, black coffee, even tobacco. the alcohol is present.
I'm uncertain to call this beer worldclass, but it's certainly a very good one. Good one for Christmas time.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2009 18:58:12 | More by RuudJH
Photo of EatsTacos

Yukon (Canada)

4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a murky chustnut brown with a clumpy head. A lot of carbonation.

Aroma: Toasted brown sugar with a earthy hop profile. Dark dried fruits with a good dose of alcohol.

Taste: Musky and earthy from start to finish. Dark toasted/burnt brown sugar and a toasty, chewy malt backbone which is largely caramel and toffee. The hop character is spicey but distinct from the flavours of the belgian yeast. Alcohol is warming and isn't completely hidden.

Mouthfeel: More full bodied than any tripel or dubbel, with a lot of sharp carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2009 14:15:26 | More by EatsTacos
Photo of grayburn

South Carolina

4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

She pours a murky marroon with a huge tan head. The lacing is beautiful and the retention is perfect. Beautiful beer.

The smell is dominated by some clove and apricot notes. There is some alcohol hiding around that peeks out a bit as the beer warms up. Every 2-3 degrees of warming (from 50 degrees) the beer changes a note. There almost seems a bit of a funky sour note, which really blends nicely.

The taste again shows just a touch of a sour note, followed nicely by some caramel and toffee notes. There is a huge fruit presence in the background that leaves your tongue curious for a while. Very impressive.

The mouthfeel starts with a firework show of carbonation, which carries the alcohol in this brew like nobody's business. The finish is longer than most romantic comedies. Such a complex and amazing brew.

I could drink a good bit of this if I were to throw caution to the wind. An excellent beer and worth buying by the case. Trust the happy monk.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2009 05:48:05 | More by grayburn
Photo of zachisspeaking


4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I bought a bottle of this beer at the local beer shop, and had a glass after my stew lunch. The tase, exceptional. The smell---okay for a bottle.

But later that night I went over to Bob's Keg and Cork, and serendipity or providence had it that Bob had this beer on tap. It wasn't there last saturday.

The freshness is impossible to describe; a trappist beer on tap is heaven with a creamy head.

This is the quintessential Belgian Quad. No immitators, even New Belgium's Lips of Faith Series, can match this nearly.

At 10 percent alcohol, you can't feel it. It is such a well balanced brew. The malts are not too dominant; the bitter character is reminiscent of angustoro.

Serving type: on-tap

04-26-2009 11:06:32 | More by zachisspeaking
Photo of dogfishandi

New York

4.15/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into oversized wine glass at cellar temp. 10% alcohol as listed on the bottle. pours a very dark brown, pretty much black. tons of chunks floating around, very cloudy. a bubbly off white head. amazing retention, all the way to the end of the glass. terrific sticky lacing. looks great.

a very sweet aroma, dark fruits, sweet malts, grape like sweetness. its all there, very complex.

grape like sweetness, gives way to some wonderful dark fruits. slight alcohol taste. sweet maltiness. has a dry dark fruity finish. only a touch of alcohol heat. leaves longing for more. very complex. it gets better the more you let it sit and open up.

medium to heavy mouthfeel. sour like champagne like carbonation that settles out towards the end. about as good drinkability as any 10% beer, but very enjoyable. i recommend to any belgian lover.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2009 02:15:49 | More by dogfishandi
Photo of aggiearcher13


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

Had on tap at Monroe St. Bistro last night.

A: Poured into the proper glassware, a dark beer with a slight off-white head.

S: Kind of boozy and raisins, lots of raisins.

T: Raisin cola??? It's good, boozy and estery, a lot of flavors coming out as it warms. Dark fruit, maybe something kind of like pear also.

M: Low carbonation, great for the style, great body, just wonderful.

D: Well, at 10.5% it's hardly a session beer, but I'd have more than one if someone else was driving.

Serving type: on-tap

04-23-2009 20:36:45 | More by aggiearcher13
Photo of jwinship83


3.9/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle with a best before march 26, 2013 on it poured into a tulip. bottle says 10%abv on it.

A- this one pours a very dark and murky brown with a small long lasting cream colored head that leaves alot of sticky lacing behind. small carbonation bubbles can be seen rising to the top of the glass.

S- the nose is dominated by belgian yeast as well as sweet bready and fruity malts. lots of dark fruit. raisins/tobacco, figs, plums, and cherries. very spicy as well with a small trace of alcohol.

T- very sweet and malty. the dark fruits i noticed in the nose are all there. plums, cherries, figs, and raisins/tobacco. very sugary.

M- light bodied and highly carbonated. what i expect from the style. slight warming form the alcohol, which is well hidden for being as high as it is.

D- easy enough to finish, but not my favorite of the style. something ill come back to, just not for a while.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2009 03:05:44 | More by jwinship83
Photo of stumac


4.95/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This particular bottle is around 2 years aged...

pours up a deep mahogany color with a grand tan crown. great lacing. the nose is deep malts, wood, earth, chocolate, dark fruits, caramel, Belgian candy sugar, slight tart strawberries. Superb! the taste is nice and complex. I get basically the same characters that were in the aroma and its oh so good! dark fruits, sweet malts, caramel apple, high fizzy carbo and medium to full bodied. Always a classic!

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2009 02:38:15 | More by stumac
Photo of mobud


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

Bottle into chalice @ cellar temp.

A- Dark and ruby with an oatmeal head. Small tight bubbles with a nice head that slow goes with the sample.

S- A pleasant boozy smell that is closer to a rich wine than a beer. Usually that turns me off, but this beer uses that to draw one in to its charms.

T- So much going on here, that words escape me. The malt base holds up a very fruity and fig rocking beer. There is an easy sweetness that changes as the beer warms.

M- Medium that goes down nice and easy. The active carbonation smooths out the alcohol that is very obivious.

D- I can't add any more to the joys that have been written about this beer. The bottle I had was around 8 months old and I would have liked to have given it a bit longer, but things do not always work out that way.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2009 18:44:57 | More by mobud
Photo of WakeandBake


4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 FL OZ Bottle 10% ABV. Marked best before 08 05 13

A muddy reddish/brown color body,average sized frothy off-white head that diminished to a thin cap,lots of lacing,loads of tiny carbonation bubbles. Aroma is rich and malty,earthy,a bit of wood,baked bread,and hints of alcohol,rasins and tobacco. Flavor is very complex and everchanging, a bready yeasty malt with notes of grapes,cherries,clove,wood,some burbon like flavors at times, more dates and rasins as it warms. Full body,zesty clensing sort of mouthfeel from the carbonation, a nice little sweet warming finish.I would not call this sessionable,one seemed plenty for a sitting. A VERY good and well crafted,complex brew. Glad I had the chance to try it.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2009 17:19:53 | More by WakeandBake
Photo of drtth


4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lightly chilled and poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically. The date code is blurred but this should be from a September of 08 bottling.

Appearance: Upon opening the bottle the beer foams up out of the bottle mouth and into the glass. The beer pours a dark brown with reddish undertones and a 1 ½" light tan head that quickly fades leaving a ring around the glass, lots of small speckled lacing and a thin layer of foam on the liquid. Sipping consistently leaves lacing.

Smell: The aroma contains bready notes, hints of yeast and sweet candi sugar. There is also a component of dark caramel malt or carmelized sugar with some dark fruits (plum, raisins). I don't tire of this aroma and it seems new and fresh every time.

Taste: The flavor contains sweetness and hints of bitterness with flavors of plum, malt and raisin. There is some vanilla in here and a slight hint of alcohol. But the impression is of a dynamic balance, with flavors bouncing back and forth over the back of the tongue but without any one flavor becoming dominant.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied with light creamy carbonation. The finish is medium long, lightly bitter and dry.

Drinkability: This complex beer is quite nice for sipping and the aroma and flavors almost seem to become even more complex with time. But one does not tire of them as is the case with some beers. At 10% ABV this is a one a night beer, but one I'll be revisiting in the future. This is one beer that illustrates why drinking beer can be a true pleasure.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2009 01:48:46 | More by drtth
Photo of wagenvolks


4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked & caged bottle into an oversized wine glass.

Not quite sure how I went so long without reviewing St. Bernie's ABT 12; after all, I've only had it about 10 times! Nevertheless, this classic Quad pours a translucent, mahogany-tea color with a superbly retained tuft of khaki head that attaches itself as thick webbing to the inside of the glass. Fantastic aroma, with sweet caramelized raisins, toffee, fig, faint chocolate notes, and a dash of pungent, floral hops.

Mmmm...gotta love the Bernardus. First come rich, chewy notes of dark fruit such as raisin, fig, and apricot. Then unfolds complex layers of caramel and chocolate malts. Lastly, a dusting of spice and earthen hops leave a peppery bitterness along the back of the palate that mingles with a nice booziness. Body is a bit too over-carbonated for my liking, but finally mellows after ~20 minutes in the glass. Still, the medium-thickness is relatively slick and smooth on the whole. St. Bernardus ABT 12 is the greatest Belgian friend you'll ever have; always there in the clutch, and the company is never disappointing.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2009 07:49:41 | More by wagenvolks
Photo of Riccymon


3.65/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

After uncorking the 750mL bottle, I have to pour quickly to avoid losing any beer, but it's not a terrible gusher. Still, the first pour into my goblet is 80% head. After two more pours, I finally have the glass filled with an impenetrable black beer and a finger and a half of frothy, off-white head. Even the foam is delicious--sweet and creamy like a root beer float. I've never seen so much lacing from a beer before.

Expecting a rich, full nose, I'm a little disappointed in the fairly bland smell I pick up. Some spicy clove, plum, and not too much more. In the taste, however, these flavors are tasty and magnified. The first couple of sips have an annoying metallic taste, but I think it was just a matter of getting used to the alcohol. There are also herbal, grassy notes in there that I don't pick up right away.

Mouthfeel is fairly creamy and medium-bodied with a small alcohol burn in the finish. Also, the spicy flavors leave my mouth feeling a little sticky. One glass into the bottle, I'm feeling its effects, but I imagine its drinkability is average for the style.

This is a big beer, but I'm glad I finally had the chance to try this one.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2009 02:19:39 | More by Riccymon
Photo of chiguy2420


4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review #3 Poured into St. Bernardus glass.

A: Beautiful Amber color with off white head and very little lacing.

S: Smell of raisins and licorice is undeniable. Almost the perfect smell. No hint of the 10.5% alcohol by volume

T: Ridiculous.... This is my favorite Quad to date. And that says alot when compared to the two higher ranked ones. Nice spicy taste with a great dried fruit kick. No major alcohol taste. Perfect beer in my honest opinion.

M: Right on here. No major burn, just a very complex yet perfect mouthfeel.

D: I almost drank this too fast. It really is perfect. I could drink this all day and all night. I am sure that would not please my wife but I can't stop.

This is my favorite beer I have had to date. The taste, mouthfeel and drinkability are perfect. Thats why we keep trying these beers.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2009 20:36:27 | More by chiguy2420
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 6,869 ratings.