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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.

7,211 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,211
Reviews: 2,482
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 406
Gots: 1,032 | FT: 36
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: 7,211 | Reviews: 2,482 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of steelerguy

New York

4.47/5  rDev 0%

A - Pours a mahogany like liquid caramel. High tan head that is quite creamy, lasting, and leaves lace. Moderate carbonation helps keep the head around as you drink.

S - Complex malt aroma. Sweet caramel, raisins, bananas, with a Belgian spiciness.

T - The complex aroma continues on in the mouth. Starts sweet and spicy, then it is all ripe fruit, ends with some phenols and alcohol.

M - Tingles the tongue, warms the mouth, and although you get lots of sweet fruit and malt in the taste, it finishes nice and dry.

D - It is damn near magical that they have hidden a 10% ABV (according to my bottle, not 10.5%) in this beer. It is so flavorful and balanced, the alcohol warms and tingles but is not harsh in any way. A great beer that should be sipped or it will sneak up on you quick...and it is hard to sip!

04-02-2010 23:17:34 | More by steelerguy
Photo of Beerenauslese


4.8/5  rDev +7.4%

Pours a dark but translucent brown into my St. Bernardus glass with an initial ample head that quickly dissipates into a fine ring of foam.

Lovely nose with complex aromas of raisins and other fruit, chocolate, ginger and other spices. I am in the bakery here.

Taste is wonderful, sweet at first but finishes dry and crisp. This is one of the great Belgian beer taste sensations. Lots of complexity, with flavors of coffee, chocolate, ginger, cola, hops, pepper, and salty finish. Defies complete identification.

Mouthfeel is medium body, very creamy with good carbonation.

This is a beer I'll drink until it is clear I shuddah stopped. Addictive.

03-31-2010 03:17:43 | More by Beerenauslese
Photo of ekmoody


4.22/5  rDev -5.6%

Pours a deep beautiful brown with a fairly thick foamy head that dissipated somewhat quickly.

Aroma is quite fruity and sweet, maybe a hint of spice.

Taste is similar to the smell, this beer is very good. Nice and sweet with some nice malts and with a back note that is a bit spicy, but certainly not overpowering. I definitely wouldn't have guessed the 10.5% abv if someone had given this to me without telling me what it is.

Lightly carbonated, this is not as a heavy of a beer as the abv made me think it would be. Very enjoyable, one of the best Belgian beers I've tried.

03-27-2010 23:05:55 | More by ekmoody
Photo of bengtaaron


4.72/5  rDev +5.6%

My first review and my only quad yet -- and what a hell of a way to start...

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a sort of bordeaux glass (it was the best I could do).

A: Color is a turbid ruby with a bit of sediment throughout. The head crops up a beautiful one-finger beige and quickly dissipates with minimal lacing.

S: Dark fruit -- particularly raisin/fig, brown sugar, and clove. A swirl or two reveals sweet bread and candied apple.

T: Pleasantly warm alcohol mingles with dark fruit, malt, and clove before balancing out with a lusciously sweet (not overpowering) finish.

M: Medium and creamy with just the right amount of carbonation. Very pleasant.

D: This beer reminds me of my other spirited love: Absinthe. You can get blissfully lost in the complexities of smell and taste without realizing (or caring!) about the high ABV. Don't get me wrong -- this brew is delicious enough to drink all night; but the sweetness, the ABV, and most importantly, the complex depth, make this a beer that commands appreciation and respectful moderation. Excess would just feel decadent.

Overall, a true treat and a relatively accessible precedent for the world of beer.

03-27-2010 06:05:39 | More by bengtaaron
Photo of BeerGodz

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Look: Brown color, cloudy, massive tan head with uber good retention & lacing

Smell: Fruity, sweet malt, clove

Taste: Up Front: Clove, brown sugar. Finish: Sweet malt

Mouthfeel: Medium body and well carbonated, a little sticky

Drinkability: Creamy, smooth & decadent

Overall Impression: This is my new favorite Quad. Absolutely yumiliscious!!!

03-26-2010 19:20:47 | More by BeerGodz
Photo of baseballrock


4.35/5  rDev -2.7%

a - Dark brown, mahoganey hue. the head is super thick with tons of retention.

s - sweet malts, with some spice notes. A sweet bread aroma.

t - sweet malty flavors. The thick heavy flavors dominate, the finish has a crisp bitterness. It has a definite warming alcohol continues to cheer the spirit as the brew warms to room temperature.

m - full and complex as hell.

d - easy to sip for a 10% beer.

03-25-2010 04:45:38 | More by baseballrock
Photo of hopsbreath


4.05/5  rDev -9.4%

Poured into a snifter glass at about 55 degrees. Little bits of yeast were poured in the glass as well as the liquid and maybe clouded up the otherwise clear brown coloring. The head was almost overflowing and tan with quickly dissipating bubbles. There was just a touch of lacing and looked good.

Smelled like burnt sugar, sugar cookies and maybe a little rum.

Taste was sweet and WHOAH...ALCOHOL! Lots of rich sugars and a little grape danced around with this one.

Mouthfeel was a little thin. Maybe this was a little watery for my preference but not bad at all.

Despite the big warming alcohol kick, this was very easy to drink. Probably the thin mouthfeel that did it but I could definitely go for another one!

03-24-2010 20:36:52 | More by hopsbreath
Photo of turnstile


4.63/5  rDev +3.6%

Cellared and then chilled to the recommended serving temperature on the bottle. Poured into a fold-rimmed St. Bernardus goblet - the only way to imbibe this brew.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy chocolate brown with a bubbly 1/2 inch beige head that lingers for a minute or two before it dissipates. Finishes with a film on the surface. Visible yeast sediment is suspended in the brew. Lacing was minimal.

Smell: Complex - ripe fruit and sweet malts. Predominantly aromas of green apple and grapes. No noticeable hop aromas and overall pretty clean.

Taste: Very sweet and earthy with slight souring. Green apple appears and adds tartness. The alcohol struggles against everything else going on here - surprising for such a high ABV.

Mouthfeel: Light carbonation. Rich with a smooth and full body.

Drinkability: One of the most inviting brews I've ever tasted. I approached the Abt 12 like a sipper, but it disappeared quicker than I anticipated, primarily because of a well-hidden ABV and smoothness on the palate.

03-23-2010 06:07:34 | More by turnstile
Photo of TommyW


4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

A- Dark body with amber highlights and a rocky off-white head.

S- Lots of sweet malt, dark fruits and a faint alcohol.

T- Big malt note up front with dark fruits and Belgian sugars. Malt is kept in check with a little funk from the Belgian yeast. A warming alcohol is there as well.

M- Full and smooth feel with a nice carbonation.

D- An amazing Quad to sip or pair with a funky cheese.

03-21-2010 23:46:44 | More by TommyW
Photo of tuckevalastin


4.33/5  rDev -3.1%

A: Dark reddish orange. Cloudy with a large foamy tan head.

S: Some sweet fruitiness as well as toasty malt. A very earthy feel.

T: Dark fruits are most noticable and work well with some spiciness. A bit of brown sugar/chocolate sweetness. The alcohol comes through but doesn't overpower.

M: Medium bodied with lots of cabonation. A bit spice and the alcohol is apparent.

D: Pretty drinkable for 10%

Overall this is a great belgian that is thankfully not too hard to find

03-21-2010 23:36:38 | More by tuckevalastin
Photo of Popkas


4.08/5  rDev -8.7%

Bottle from 2008 pulled out of the cellar.
Pour is a deep brown with hints of cherry (reminds me of my kitchen cabinets...) with a large frothy head that is well retained. Floaters abound. Smell is of candied sugar and prunes. There is a bite on the tongue followed by a sweetness with dark fruit. Can't put y finger on it, but the finish is the least enjoyable part of the beer so far. The body is medium to full and smooth with a creamy feel to it. Drinkability is decent but not great due to the finish that is not agreable to my taste.

03-20-2010 02:46:19 | More by Popkas
Photo of adam42381


4.55/5  rDev +1.8%

Poured from a 11.2 oz. bottle (dated 26 05 14) into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown with reddish tint. Has a 1-2 finger off-white foamy head which dissipates fairly quickly. Decent amount of sediment floating around. Minimal lacing.

Smell: Strong smell of raisins and dried fruit. Very sweet malty aroma. Smells absolutely delicious.

Taste: Complex flavor which combines the sweetness of dried fruit and roasted malt with a nice bit of spice. Strong alcohol flavor is apparent throughout. Very nice warming finish with just a hint of bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with a high amount of carbonation and a distinct alcohol bite.

Drinkability: Excellent drinkability; however, you don't want to drink too many because the high ABV will catch up to you.

Overall: An excellent beer all around. For the price of $4.49 a bottle, I'll definitely be buying more. I would highly recommend seeking this one out. This is just a great beer.

03-17-2010 02:09:47 | More by adam42381
Photo of Flashsp2

New Mexico

4.4/5  rDev -1.6%

St Bernardus 12 33cl into an oversized pinot noir glass (dated 08 05 13).

Murky brown with red highlights and a giant light beige head that is super fluffy and luxurious looking. The pour was very gentle as to not disturb the sediment, but the head was still jumbo sized, with a good amount of stick, and left a nice pancake of head all the way through.

The aroma is overwhelming even while pouring, it just rolls out of the glass even from a foot away. Sweet malts, chewy vinous ripe fruits, tobacco leaf, and bready yeast. Some banana as it warms.

Taste is immense of dark dried fruits, raisins and ripe plums, clove, spicy and peppery alcohol warmth. Some dry yeast on the finish, and did I mention some alcohol as well. The hops give a little bitter kick at the end.

Mouthfeel is typical of something on this level, carbonation is high, body is moderate, and it all comes together in a gourmet-style and beautifully put together beer. Yummy stuff, could probably drink all day, and then some.

03-15-2010 22:18:51 | More by Flashsp2
Photo of ThoughtPolice

North Carolina

4.35/5  rDev -2.7%

Bought at Peabody's - Boone, NC. Cost me 5 bucks. This is a celebration beer cuz I got my first official investment in my nano-brewery from momma. Now to get the loot for my permits and such...

I had no expectations for this beer, because I was totally ignorant of it before buying the bottle.

Very nice. I gave a pour that ended up looking too vigorous, had a 3 finger head (my fault, lol) but ended up settling at a light covering throughout the serving. Nice ruby red color. I like it.

Raisins. Dried fruit in general (I would be more specific but I need to work on the palette understanding a bit). I'm not getting any hops, really, maybe a little floral. Smells like something sweet is coming, but no alcohol bite in the nose.
EDIT: Somehow forgot to mention the strong Belgian yeast FONKIness in there.

A little spicy, a little alcohol. I just don't have the right words for thisun I don't think. I do, however, like it a lot. Raisins, prunes, dried fruit thing is prominent in the flavor, for sure. Sour apple candy thing is going on, too.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability:
Mouthfeel is medium thick. Alcohol doesn't dominate whatsoever. The flavor sits around for quite a while, which I like. The flavor that dominates the aftertaste and MF is raisins.
Drinkability is pretty damn good, too. The price compensates for it, however.

I wish I didn't have to pay for cross-world transportation of this beer, because I'd like to drink it more often.
Maybe I should consider a job in the US congress, they seem do to well, what with all the revolving door and lobbying loot. Then again I'd feel like a douchebag. Maybe I'm being a little too political for a beer review.

Adios, and vote libertarian.

03-14-2010 02:42:41 | More by ThoughtPolice
Photo of fastsrt

New York

4.33/5  rDev -3.1%

11.2 ounce bottle in challice

A: brown with sediment floating around, nice bubbly head.

S: dark candi sugar, dark fruit, earth.

T: spicy, more earthy flavors, nuts and chocolate, warm, the booze plays in the beer, making it a part of the complexity of the flavor profile.

M: thiner than expected, high carbonation. that helps balance out the flavors carbonation plays a major role here.

D: this is one that I can drink all night long but at an extremely slow pace. this is a world class beer I can tell its a bit rough and need some time to mellow out the date on the bottle is 11/18/2013 so I think this one is young depending on how the brewery date its beers. I am going to age one for some time and see what happens it is lacking a bit of balance, I don't think its as rich as rochefort 10.

03-12-2010 03:40:02 | More by fastsrt
Photo of ToasterChef


4.43/5  rDev -0.9%

Reviewed from my notes. Abt 12 has a deep plum color. A thin grey head settled to a skim of bubbles. There is lots of bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass. It has a spicy aroma with some lightly sweet malts and a little bit of musty Belgian yeast. There is a purple fruit in there as well, red grapes or plums. It has a good, crisp, complex flavor. I can pick out a graham cracker-like grain quality to it. I can also taste red and white grapes, especially in the finish. There is a small bite of alcohol and floral hops in the aftertaste. Overall, it's a hearty, big flavor. It feels very crisp with lots of carbonation. The coating feels very good; it leaves a lot of malty flavor behind. It's very drinkable. It gets better as it warms up; this is one worth drinking slowly and ordered repeatedly.

03-11-2010 18:01:01 | More by ToasterChef
Photo of fropones


3.35/5  rDev -25.1%

After openning, the bottle immediately started foaming up and the yeast started spreading all over the bottle. In order to avoid getting it all in my glass I let it sit for a while.

A - Pours a murky brown with a ton of sedimented yeast suspended in the glass.

S - Smells of Belgian yeast, figs, cloves, dark rye bread.

T - Rich, dark malts, plums, figs, the taste of yeast.

M - A little on the light side. Creamy, decent carbonation.

D - This will probably end up a drainpour simply because of how much sediment is in the glass. I can't take a sip without getting a mouthful. Everything I've had in the gift pack from them has had the same problem. I wish they didn't. Perhaps I'll try another one sometime, but probably not soon.

03-04-2010 01:13:32 | More by fropones
Photo of randawakes


4.85/5  rDev +8.5%

Was at one point my favorite beer of all time, but make no mistake, its still way up there. Had on tap at Zenos and in bottle several times poured into wine glass.

So many flavors, every sip is different. The beer is complex, pours dark amber brown and a head the height of the liquid. Rum-raisin-plum, citrus, malts, yeasty, tasteful alcohol, herbal, carbonated well. Rich and sugary, excellent warming of the throat.

03-03-2010 01:24:46 | More by randawakes
Photo of ktrillionaire


4.58/5  rDev +2.5%

On-tap at Peg's Cantina.

A - It pours a rustic cloudy chestnut-brown, with great lacing. Same as the bottle.

S - The aroma is of dark fruit and sweet things. Figs, dates, brown sugar, chicory and prunes, plus cola are the base of the olfactory, coupled with yeasty-estery alcohol.

T - The flavor follows up on the olfactory; impressions of dark and dried fruits, brown sugar, etc. reassert themselves, this time paired with a peppermint, nutmeg and cinnamon spicy essence.

M - Feels pleasantly sharp and sweetly hot, nice.

D - This is as good on tap as in the bottle, albeit slightly different.

03-02-2010 00:43:25 | More by ktrillionaire
Photo of Tone


4.22/5  rDev -5.6%

Pours a cloudy, amber color. 1/5 inch head of a white color. Decent retention and decent lacing. Smells of yeast, sweet malt, alcohol, tart malt, and citrus (raspberry?). Fits the style of a Quadruple. Mouth feel is slightly smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of tart malt, sweet malt, yeast, dark citrus, and slight alcohol. Overall, a good aroma, mouth feel, and body.

03-01-2010 23:38:49 | More by Tone
Photo of alli4051


4.22/5  rDev -5.6%

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a pint.

A: A dark, hazy, ruby with about two fingers worth of slightly tanned head. Head recedes slowly and leaves some pretty decent lacing.

S: Very robust. Musty and malty with a strong presence of dark fruit.

T: Again, a lot going on. Dark fruits, especially raisins really come out. Malt flavor is faint as is the alcohol, which is surprising considering the 10.5% abv. Black licorice in the finish.

M: Full bodied with some light carbonation and sweet finish. Lingers for a bit, but not too long.

D: The well hidden alcohol leaves the drinkability high. Be careful though, this one could definitely catch up to you fast.

03-01-2010 00:02:13 | More by alli4051
Photo of JohnL9013


4.55/5  rDev +1.8%

A: Oh man, what have I gotten myself into here? Dark hazy brown with a huge head, tons of lacing. Very impressive appearance.

S: Strong smell with malty and caramel elements...my roommate complimented me from across the table and said, "I can smell that from here."

T: This is a BIG beer and yet still very refined, with a complexity and fine balance only the Belgians have! This beer does have a strong bias towards malt (expected) and has a high alcohol content, but there are plenty of other fantastic subtle flavors and my gosh, this beer is just soooo smooth and pleasant. Frankly, you're not going to get any better in this pricerange. It's hard to describe what's going on because as with all good Belgian beers, every sip tastes different. Just a note, if you get any "booziness" at all, you are drinking an example that is too young. Usually with this beer I let them sit on the shelf 6 months or a year or so before drinking just to be safe.

M: Medium-high carbonation (lower than typical Belgians), high alcohol, but still very smooth on the palate. I was very surprised at this particular aspect of the beer.

D: Very drinkable stuff in terms of how easily it goes down, but be prepared to take a break afterwards due to the high ABV.

Exceptional brew from (at the time of this review, my opinion), an underrated brewery. If you like Belgian beer, you are in for a treat.

02-28-2010 06:21:18 | More by JohnL9013
Photo of goldbot

District of Columbia

4.58/5  rDev +2.5%

330 mL bottle.

Gusher. Seems every 330 mL bottle I've bought of the Abt 12 has had this happen. I bought a 4-pack this time so it makes me worry about the other three I stowed away for later. Still it was a slow gush and I was able to save pretty much all of it.

Pours a solid brown, slightly reddish color. Thick (obviously) brown head and tons of active carbonation. Mostly clear.

Sweet malt aromas with plenty of caramel and a bit of chocolate present. Lots of spice notes from the Belgian yeast - clove and coriander and a bit of peppercorn. Lighter raisin fruit notes as well, with a very slight alcohol aroma at the end.

Tastes of strong Belgian yeast up front - the clove is very prominent. Moves to a solid caramel and malt flavor midway through. Mostly on the sweet side with a hint of candied sugar towards the end, along with a very biscuit-like malt flavor. A very faint solvent alcohol taste is noticeable in the finish but it is relatively minor.

Nice medium body and a warming, creamy mouthfeel. Not too crisp for all of the active carbonation present.

A great all around beer. Very drinkable, it hides all of the alcohol really well. Plenty of balance and depth that is expected for the style.

02-28-2010 04:54:46 | More by goldbot
Photo of bump8628


4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Dark brown with ruby highlights and a huge matrix of bone-colored bubbles that recede to a tight cream and leave behind lots of stick lacing.

Aroma has soft fruit from the yeast, overtones of heavily caramelized sugars and faint alcohol.

The palate is dominated by rum-soaked raisins. It's supported by subtle fruit and spice from the yeast, caramelized sugar, and a warming alcohol that becomes quite apparent as it warms. It becomes a bit one-dimensional at times in favor of the boozy raisins.

All in all, a really nice Abbey Ale. There are others out there that I prefer more, but not many.

02-27-2010 20:28:40 | More by bump8628
Photo of Beejay


4.68/5  rDev +4.7%

A: Deep ruby amber. With a fluffy cloud of off white head on top, that really maintains it's structure. This is one fine looking beer.

S: Yeasty, with a little kick from the alcohol. Raisons and strawberries. Bananas and clove.

T: That is a fruit explosion. Sweet, malty, and delicious. Raisons, figs, and maybe a little licorice. As it warms I pig up banana and clove. And not a bit of the alcohol comes through in the taste. Just lovely.

M: Creamy and smooth. Still with quite a bit of carbonation. Luscious.

D: Like the tune from Lionel Richie, All Night Long.

02-23-2010 01:40:31 | More by Beejay
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,211 ratings.