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St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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

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7,393 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,393
Reviews: 2,500
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 422
Gots: 1,109 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,393 | Reviews: 2,500 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of leakyfaucet12
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

a- The appearance on this one is great. Big giant head with redish tones to the body.

s- dark fruits and flowers. Amazing smell

t- boozy flavor but not mouthfeel. Dark Fruits, like raisins and figs. There is some caramel in there as well. very complex and very delicious

M-carbonation is big but not too big. and almost like a fine champagne. Might be my favorite thing about the beer.

This beer is one of the best quads I have ever had. I really enjoy this beer, and I can't believe I have never reviewed it before. One of my favorites

leakyfaucet12, Jan 06, 2011
Photo of MrMcGibblets
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: chestnut/dark dirty brown, cloudy w yeast from bottom of bottle. Great tan head and lacing is thick and persistent.
S: lots going on. Waves of dark dried fruit, clove, dessert spices, toffee, cocoa, a bit of rummy alcohol, fruitcake, ...
T: all of the above. Medium sweet fruitcakey malts are almost washed out by a hidden smooth light bitterness and co2, finishing just off-dry. Warming rum like alcohol on the end.
M: medium bodied. Effervescent, frothy, lively.
D: dangerously drinkable at this high abv...wondering how this is with age on it. Even better on-tap, but I didn't sit down and evaluate it those times.

MrMcGibblets, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of StaveHooks
4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a dark murky brown with a small tan head that dissipates quickly.

S - Soft Belgian yeast. Clove, brown sugary malt, dark fruits.

T - Dark cherries, plums, bananas, caramelized toffee and brown sugar. The malt is complex and comforting. The spices are soft and subtle. Has some ginger in the middle. Belgian yeast resides throughout.

M - Medium to full bodied. Low carbonation.

All the flavors melded together with perfect harmony. Soft but bold. A very easy drinker with the alcohol well hidden. The yeast has a subdued presence.

StaveHooks, Jan 03, 2011
Photo of SmokinSmyth
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark, absolutely impossible to see any light on the other side of the glass. Produces a large white head, which hangs around for a little while, and leaves some minimal lacing.

It smells very good, very malty, more like a traditional dark beer than many of the Belgian beers.

Taste is excellent, leaving a warmth as it makes it way down the throat. Fruity flavor.

Feels good in the mouth, and drinks easy for a 10% ABV, so beware!

SmokinSmyth, Jan 02, 2011
Photo of Satchboogie
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a St. Bernardus chalice

A: Pours dark brown and completely opaque, 1 finger bubbly off-white head that slowly dissipates. Leaves just a little lacing.

S: Strong dark fruits, fig, buttered biscuits, sweet bread, alcohol soaked fruit.

T: Very dark earthy robust flavors dominated by the dark fruits. Is pretty sweet in a sweet bread kind of way, a little musty/nutty. Alcohol gives a little bit of a kick behind the carbonation and mellows out until the finish, it actually works quite beautifully. Finish is dry, earthy, and sweet. Everything comes together so harmoniously to create robust, deep, complex flavors while maintaining a level of delicacy.

M: Fairly high carbonation, medium to full body, very smooth and creamy. The higher carbonation than most quads leads to a very creamy mouthfeel, though I would wish the body be a little thicker.

D: I'm torn drinking this. It's so good I can't put the glass down but at the same time this is something that is best savored slowly. I can't think of anything better to drink with red meat or aged cheese.

Satchboogie, Jan 02, 2011
Photo of BBri
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Drank this out of a goblet.

a. Beautiful Amber/Brown with a nice generous
head that laces the glass throughout the drink.

s. Fantastic smell. Spice/fruits/sweet ripe figs.

t. Out of this world. Sweet sublte spicey flavors all over the palate with bit of bitterness toward the end. Nothing is overpowering. Balanced and just delicious.

m. Light but smooth with a really good amount of carbonation.

d. Good lord.. Drinkable? Just an all around fantastic combonation of taste/smell/feel/appearence. A beer to savor.

BBri, Dec 31, 2010
Photo of cbak999
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark brown with a huge white head. Great lacing on the glass...and lots of carbonation in the Belgian. It's pretty sweet, with a bit of spice. The Belgian candy sugar is evident. Other flavors are brown sugar and dark malty sweetness; with a bit of fruit taste. For a 10% beer, it's very drinkable.

cbak999, Dec 31, 2010
Photo of depechemode1983
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours a murky dark brown. Has a rocky light brown head with moderate retention. Has moderate lacing as well.

S- the nose is sweet and malty with hints of grain and earth. there are raisins in the middle along with an alcohol presence. the raisins and grain characters linger a bit after the ending of the nose.

T- taste is malty and sweet. Dark fruits and alcohol are very noticeable. the finish is warm and alcoholic with raisins and bread.

M- Medium in body and very smooth. Carbonation is moderate. Feels proper.

D- Not bad. I like the alcohol warmth on this one. Plays a good part in the beer. St Bernardus hasn't let me down yet. Excellent beverage here.

depechemode1983, Dec 29, 2010
Photo of Fernans
4.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What can I say.. I sampled this at Beervanafest in October '10. Outstanding. Dark amber color, full head. Silky smooth mouthfeel. Smells doughy like a top Belgian should. Taste is powerful, nuts and raisins, easy finish. One of the most memorable beers of the tasting.

Fernans, Dec 29, 2010
Photo of jpro
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this one on Christmas... (review is from notes)

A: Poured into a Duvel tulip... a cloudy molasses reddish brown with a big almond head; exceptional retention of creamy foam that leaves a few patches of crystally lace.

S: Apricots, dark fruit, molasses, spices, sweet malts, and maybe some alcohol soaked pears.

T: Sweet bread, figs, candied fruit, light caramel... complex.

M: Medium-bodied and smooth; the yeast spice makes for a nice, crisp finish.

D: Very drinkable, letting it warm really let's the flavor evolve; a nice cold evening ale. Looking forward to trying the St. Bernardus Christmas Ale sometime!

jpro, Dec 29, 2010
Photo of Sachsenfreude
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

appearance; cloudy red-brown with a tan head. Very slow dissipation, tight and sparce lacing.

smell; spicy fermenting cherries in a vat. Alcohol and yeast on the back end of the aroma.

taste; raisins and rum, dried dark fruits and light clover honey all add a sweetness that is kept in check by a bitter finish that is kept gentle by slick yeasty flavors that hold everything together in an amazing balance.

mouthfeel; rich and heavy, very tight and active carbonation, easy finish with a bit of burn.

drinkability; the alcohol lets itself be known and compromises drinkability a bit.

Sachsenfreude, Dec 29, 2010
Photo of boss302
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

.33l bottle, chilled to 56F, date on label: 13 08 14.

History of St Bernardus. St Bernardus used to brew for St Sixtus (aka Westvleteren) from 1946 to 1992. According to "Brew like a Monk" by Stan Hieronymus, they claim to brew the same way they did for St Sixtus. I have a Westvleteren 12 from "Keith" from Cedar Grove, Fl. I have done a back to back tasting to compare the two and have updated this review below the original on 5/12/2010

05-12-2010 Original review

A dark color, but when held to the light it appears a deep deep red. Thick creamy head, but didn't last long as it settleed down to a nice even layer that was supported by a continuous flow of bubbles from the bottom of the glass. The glass ended with a shot of beer and the remainder of the head, quite nice.

S sweet raisiny smell, no hop odor was noticeable. Very clean.

T high carbonation bite, sweet fruity caramel flavor that sticks to the back corners of my mouth. Reminds me of dark dried fruit, very complex flavors, even, well balanced, no one flavor dominates. Quite nice.

M full body, very nice feel. There is a hint to the alcohol in the warm atertaste, but otherwise its undetectable.

D overall a nice beer. Might be hard to drink more than a few, it's high in alcohol and pretty heavy.

12-28-2010 Review after a Westy12

Abt12, 13 08 14. Tasting with Westvleteren12 and Rochefort 10. 350ml bottle.

A Dark chestnut, thick course head, a nice looking beer. Of the 3 beers Westvleteren12, Abt12 and Rochefort, the Abt12 and Westy are the closest in color. 4.5 same as original review.

S Plums, apricot, and licorice aroma. Fruit is up front, but not as prominent as it is in the Westy. 4.5 lower than original (5.0).

T Fruit is present in the taste as well, but not as much as the westy 12.  Not as clean and a bit rougher compared to the Westy. Overall a very good beer, but for me it comes in a 2nd place. 4.5 same as original review.

M As with the other Belgian big beers, the mouthfeel is thick and substantive. Carbonation is good, in fact better than the Westy. 4.5 same as original review.

D A good beer, but with the high alcohol, you won't be having too many. Good to have a few in the frig for sipping. 4.5 higher than original review (4.0).

boss302, Dec 29, 2010
Photo of DAllspaw
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on tap poured into St Bernardus chalice. Also had in bottle a few months prior and just never bothered to capture in a review.

pours with solid 1 inch deep ruby head with great lacing throughout. This is as complex a beer as I've had, really enjoy the multitude of aromas and tastes. Figs, raisins, malts and on and on and on. Reminiscent of fruitcake, the good kind. Alcohol is just present enough to warm you, but not overwhelm at all. Love this stuff.

DAllspaw, Dec 28, 2010
Photo of brendanbeer
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

review from notes on 11/19/10
served out of bottle into goblet.

a. what a nice color, red brown, looks deep. the head on this is impressive, its big, its not going anywhere anytime soon. it leaves a really nice lace on my glass.

s. smells like dark fruits, figs, a mellow sweetness. the smell really comes through nicely.

t. mmm the sweetness combines sublimely with a slight bitterness and a bit of heat from the abv. its sublimely balanced. the sweet dark fruit flavors are abundant and playfully present in the palate.

m. carbonation is nice. mouthfeel on the lighter side from the quads ive had, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing.

d. really drinkable and enjoyable.

brendanbeer, Dec 26, 2010
Photo of micromaniac129
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Adeep velvety brown color beer with an extremely aggressive dense tan foamy head that fades to a lingering veil that explodes with any sudden movement. Good lacing.
Fine malt aroma with Beligum yeast faint aspects of cloves and fruit.
Taste is rich and complex malts. I taste also cloves candied sugar and sweet fruitiness of plums or raisons. Oh yeah, and a big alcohol bite.
It feels in the mouth to be a thin to medium bodied beer with a dry finish and alchol warming.
Pleasing to look at and pleasing to drink.

micromaniac129, Dec 26, 2010
Photo of hooliganlife
3.9/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

best by 12/21/12

pours a chocolate brown with a light creamy head. it was a gusher when i popped it but settled down during the pour. tons of sediment floating around in this.

light sweet chocolate funk with a hint of booze. not much on the nose here.

dark fig, dark fruit, clove and or banana mixed with a light funk. bits of grape and blueberry. the alcohol really comes through.

very carbonated, full body. bit of a burn.

overall, this was ok. i had this on tap and i am sure it was much fresher and i would say i enjoyed this far more.

hooliganlife, Dec 26, 2010
Photo of everfrost
4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured with a ridiculous head, that slowly dissipated, but remained somewhat intact during throughout the glass. Cherry brown color with creamy dirty tan head. Lacing was more intense at the beginning, but remained throughout the glass.

T: Wonderful example of Belgian Quad. Sweet masking of the high ABV by the Belgian candis. Dark figs and caramelized bananas dominate the flavor profile, with hints of many other dark fruits (perhaps raisins).

M: Nice body with great carbonation. Complex and creamy. Leaves the mouth with a slight dry feeling.

D: Extremely drinkable.

everfrost, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of OlieIPA
3.93/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a Stone Vertical Epic glass at approximately 55 degrees F...

A: Poured extremely heady and fizzy, if that makes sense? The body appears to be lighter than some of it's counterparts (ex. Westy 12), but settles in nicely with a light brownish hue.

S: A lot of dark fig, blueberry and husk-like aromas coming off the first whiff! Additional investigations lead to some residual/brown sugar qualities that add a complex and delicate touch to the overall "smell" profile.

T: Quite unique to the style, but again...does a good job of staying within the guidelines (sounds like an oxymoron, I know). I guess what I'm trying to say is that unlike some other Quads I've had the pleasure of trying, Abt 12 comes off less robust...but has a complex quality that others sometimes lack. Tons of dark berry flavors, a touch of sweet sugar and a slight smack of hop bitterness.

M: I feel that this could have used a little more body and less carbonation, but overall...not bad.

D: Quite impressed! 10% ABV is hidden extremely well and the flavor profile makes it that much easier to drink!

Overall: A great example of a "very good" Quad! A try it beer! Cheers!

OlieIPA, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of Thanby
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark cherrywood color with little head and no lacing.

Smells of a complex medium-dark citrusy malt, a little boozey.

Flavor is a nice blend of sweet Belgian caramel malt, some raisin and other hints of dark fruit, a bit of citrus, some mild spicing weaving through the whole thing.

Thick body, citrus "vapor" in the aftertaste, very smooth and rich, the ABV is very apparent and not for the feint-of-heart, but definitely a great example of a quad.

Despite some less-than-perfect qualities, still strangely addictive and fun to drink. I think I prefer it out of the bottle where the carbonation seems to remain fairly intact to lighten it up and hide some of the boozey notes.

Thanby, Dec 22, 2010
Photo of TheKingofWichita
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep murky dark brown almost black color with a thick milk colored head and some small lacing. Smells of sweet malts, caramel, prunes, raisins, and possibly honey. Tastes very complex -- caramel, raisin, fig, cherry, prune, plum, and toffee all ravage the senses. Mouthfeel is perfect with just the right carbonation. Drinkability is fairly high.

TheKingofWichita, Dec 21, 2010
Photo of StlHopHead77
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a deep,murky reddish-brown with a seriously sturdy,lumpy,three finger crown of tannish/white that showed ridiculous retention and left sheets of lacing that coated the inside of the glass for the duration.

S-Big yeast profile.Caramelized banana,clove,baked apple,cardamom,dark cherry,pipe tobacco,raisin and brown bread.

T-Clove,dried cherry,plum,black tea and baked apple.Some sweet alcohol notes but by no means hot.

M-Great mouthfeel fed by perfect carbonation.Full and creamy with every complexity showcased.

D-This beer was truly remarkable in it's ability to hide that 10.5% ABV.Way too easy drinking.

StlHopHead77, Dec 21, 2010
Photo of RossCain
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a goblet:

A: Poured a murky, dark brown with a foamy, cream colored head. The head quickly retreated after pouring leaving little more than a small ring around the edges. Slight sticking to the side of the glass.

S: Delicious aroma. Rich sweet malts with touches of caramel, raisins, and dark candied fruits (possibly candied prunes).

T: A spicy, alcoholic sensation was readily noticeable upfront which quickly subsided and blossomed into a beautiful bouquet of flavors. Big notes of sweet toasted bread followed by the taste of dark, candied fruits predominated by raisin and slightly by fig. The finish transitions into a nice tapering off with notes of caramel, brown sugar, and the retreating spicy alcohol sensation also found upfront. A slight char taste seemed to linger in the back of my throat from time to time but it was subtle enough to be non-offending. Overall, a very complex albeit agreeable flavor profile.

M: Medium body with a good amount of prickly carbonation on the tongue that really helps awaken the taste buds. Very warming in the the back of the throat. Not very coating or particularly smooth but a well executed mouthfeel for the style.

D: A fantastic, well executed Belgian quad plain and simple. Great warming winter sipper for colder weather that hides the 10.5% abv very well. One or two might be enough over the span of an hour or two but you will find yourself enjoying and savoring every sip.

RossCain, Dec 21, 2010
Photo of goalie33
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into 13oz tulip glass.
A: Hazy brown in color with a thin layer of off-white head covering the top. Very fine bubble can be seen streaming to the surface. Leaves visible legs and lacing on the sides of the glass.
S: Dark fruits with a strong alcohol presence. Has somewhat of a wine character to the smell.
T: Dark fruits with a slight sourness. Yeast and malt towards the finish.
M: Smooth mouthfeel with a fizzy popping of carbonation on the finish.

Very good beer. A great example of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. The alcohol is masked very well for such a strong beer.

goalie33, Dec 21, 2010
Photo of bamadog
4.13/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This offering is readily available to us in this area, and I've eyed it up many-a-time and just never committed to picking it up. Finally did so to celebrate the end of another semester's worth of work. Review is from notes taken on 12/19/2010 and poured from the bottle to a tulip.

Appearance: Pour is a dark coppery/ruby color and it starts with the standard big 2+ finger light tan/off-white head that is fluffy and has pretty good retention; head never really seems to fade entirely and lingers down to a full and thick, frothy cap and leaves patches and swaths of lacing, but a lot of slides back into the drink; body is fairly dark, but not opaque and it is a little hazy and murky, and shows a lot of floaties bouncing around throughout the strong carbonation that bubbles up;

Smell: Really what I would look for in a big quad of this caliber -- lots of the big sweet caramel malts with big whiffs of Belgian yeast that brings about some artificial banana-like scents; some dark fruitiness (fig, raisin?) and some acidic apple-like scents as well; bit of a spiced finish -- coriander, cardamom.

Taste: Oh this is nice -- lots of sweet Belgian candi sugar, caramel, but perhaps more like toffee malts and a very sweet and dark fruitiness with a nice blend of the acidic, green apple-like flavors; big Belgian yeast like in the smell; spiciness is played down a little bit, and it seems to compete with some definite warming alcohol

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel is just lighter than medium, and the carbonation is very full and lively -- not sharp or anything, but very "frothy" in the mouth and it definitely leaves the gums tingly (likely aided by the near 11% ABV, though); body is actually a little slick on the way down and it manages to leave a moderately thick and semi-dry sticky coating on the roof of the mouth; the belly is left quite warm from the higher ABV and potent carbonation.

Drinkability: A very nice beer, and I kind of regret not trying it sooner. Looks great, smells and tastes even better -- the ABV is definitely a little big in presence as well as in the flavor set, which lowers the drinkability by a little bit, and I have to wonder if aging a few of these for a few years would be beneficial to it (the bottle claims you can age it up to 15 years, not sure if I could try my patience that far though);

bamadog, Dec 20, 2010
Photo of BennyL1
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle into St. Bernardus chalice

A - Pours a wonderful deep brown color. A fingers worth of creamy head forms at the top of the glass inviting you to dive into this beer.

S - Wow, just so much going on here. Deep aromas of dark fruits, yeast, caramel, alcohol, nuts, and even hints of vanilla. It seems like when I stick my nose farther into the glass I get more and more from it.

T - There is a reason why this is considered among one of the top beers in the world. Defintetly getting alot of the fruits here with a nice warming aspect coming from the alcohol. Hints of caramel and the yeast in there too.

M - Full bodied and very creamy. Great amount of carbonation.

D - I will be picking this up in the future for sure. Everything has been said already about this beer and it is all true. Its beers like this that make me want to try as much as I can. Truly one of the best out there

BennyL1, Dec 19, 2010
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,393 ratings.