1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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.
BA SCORE
99
world-class

7,560 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,560
Reviews: 2,516
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 451
Gots: 1,173 | FT: 35
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website
Belgium

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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of St. Bernardus Abt 12 Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,560 | Reviews: 2,516 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of xodin
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dense, deep oak brown, with some sediment floating around, plenty of head that dissipates readily. Aromas of grains and caramels flow from the carbonation like a thick brewing wort. Every drink assaults the taste buds with chewy caramel, molasses, and ripened fruits, while some spice becomes more evident in the swallow and finish. The carbonation dances off the tongue as it's going down, finishing you off with a warming, slightly dry finish. Exceptional flavor, with complex character that's not matched in many places outside of Belgium. Packs a pretty serious punch, probably best with some food in the stomach and enjoyed on a cold winter's eve--or you could do it like me and have it on an empty stomach when its 80 degrees out :) Still just as good.

xodin, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of Aiptasia
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A beautiful beer on my Belgium "to do" list, purchased from grassroots market in Jacksonville.

A: Pours a nice deep nutty brown shade in the glass. Good bready head on first pour with just a shade of off-white. Clingy sattelite lacing with a great halo of retention.

S: Smells of dark burnt caramel and sweet hay.

T: The cocoa flavors were first on my pallete, finished by a buttery sweetness of dried fruits. Mango, dried pineapple on the exhale. Sweet flavored with a medium-bold punch from the hops in the middle. Alcohol level is well masked. A good foray into Big Belgians for people that love stouts.

M: Smooth and creamy. Full bodied beer with a decent dry finish.

D: Sipper, not a chugger, simply from the alcohol. Oh yes, you'll want to chug... be warned. Very warming on a cool night. Would pair nicely with pumpernickel bread, hearty butter and a good cheese like stilton or roquefort.

Aiptasia, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of heysuz
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Intro: 11.2 oz. bottle served in a tulip glass

Appearance: Color is deep, rich, opaque, reddish brown that I would characterize as the color of nutmeg. The pour had a thick, dry head that was light tan in color, dissipated slightly, but stayed throughout with thick lacing that clung to the sides of the glass. Generally, I thought the pour looked very appealing and inviting.

Smell: The aroma is rich, layered, and complex, with a host of different ingredients. Initially, I detect dark fruits, caramel, brown sugar, malts, and spice. There's a lot going on with this one and the bouquet continues to develop and becomes even richer and more complex as the pour warms. All of this seems to hide the alcohol rather well.

Taste: Slightly earthy with a certain amount of sweetness that becomes a little stronger as the beer warms. There is a definite alcohol taste but also a fruit and nutmeg spice that adds to the richness of the full body in this beer.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and clean with moderately high carbonation without an aftertaste. Only a very slight oiliness is perceived. The alcohol is present but not overbearing.

Drink: Very smooth and leaves you wanting more. Went down pretty fast for being a rather high ABV. The alcohol is well hidden but the beer should still be a sipper. A dessert beer.

Conclusion: Again, there is a lot going on with this beer. One can tell it is the culmination of years of development. It is a rich, complex beer that needs a couple of sessions to really appreciate the nuances and complexity. I consider this to be in my all-round top 10 list and I always keep an ample supply to break out and enjoy with friends.

heysuz, Feb 22, 2011
Photo of Phelps
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at Tops poured into a snifter.

Pours a deep, mostly-clear maroon that obscures my fingers behind it with darkness. Rather nice clarity, actually. A tiny head of off-white fizzes away quickly, leaving a fat ring behind.

Smells deep. Maple syrup, strawberries, grape juice, cinnamon, raisins. Yum.

The flavor is similar: prunes, figs, grape juice, green tea, cinnamon, maple. Slight tinge of ethanol, maybe even a bit of chocolate. Sweet, complex, delectable.

Moderate and moderately painful carbonation amidst a velvety medium body with an alcohol that burns the tongue lightly. Very slight drying on finish, which increases drinkability tremendously.

Having now tried all three of the big quads, I'd rank St. Bernardus above Rochefort 10 but below Westvleteren 12.

Phelps, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of puckjer
4.13/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

great all around belgian dark ale. this is one of my favorite styles and i enjoy trying many of them. this is definitely a sipper and one to sit back and enjoy the aroma and yummy goodness. nice mouthfeel and drinkability as well. appearance was a deep brown with a creamy head.

puckjer, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of mjhorn
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a beautiful dark reddish brown. Had a light fizzy head that reduced quickly but stuck around throughout. Lots going on in the nose, fruity and sweet, with a hint of alcohol as well. Flavor here is excellent, sweet and malty with fruit notes. Could pick out toffee and bready flavors, as well as apple and grape. Finishes nice and dry. Mouthfeel is very light and highly carbonated, which fits well with the dry finish. Drinkability here could be trouble at over 10% abv as the alcohol is well hidden and the overall balance makes it easy to drink. Can definitely sneak up on you after a couple glasses. Great example of the style, and one I can see picking up regularly.

mjhorn, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of chinchill
4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

served in proper St. Bernardus snifter :)

Appearance, aroma, taste and mouthfeel are all superb. Yeasty, but not too much. Some spiciness, but again not too much; more than a little fruity. Very complex flavor without a heavy body. My only significant criticism is that it seems a bit too sweet.

Savored slowly... Although the taste changed a bit with changing temperature, there was no overall sizable change in quality: great chilly, at near room temperature, and everywhere in between.

High ABV mostly hidden.

chinchill, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of mckeowbc
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Beautiful beer. Ruby colored, just slightly cloudy. Foamy, almost explosive head that leaves a bit of lacing. A really pretty beer in the glass.
S - Smell is complex, yeasty, malty with some detectable ester alcohol smell.
T - Taste is sweet, bready and a little sour in the finish.. Almost no hint of hop bitterness. There's a lot going on here, but it's hard to pin down any one flavor that sticks out.
M - Mouthfeel is full, almost bordering a being syrupy. It's heavy and slightly viscous in the mouth, but not sticky. It does hang onto you a bit after you've swallowed though.
D - It's a big beer. High alcohol content, and heavy. It's a beautiful, wonderful beer. But I can't put down more than one or two. The flavor kinda hangs with you, instead of finishing clean like other styles. That's good and bad. I love the flavor, but after a while I want something else.

mckeowbc, Feb 19, 2011
Photo of notchucknorris
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Hazy dark brown color with a pretty large foamy head that eventually settles to a nice tan cap.

S: The smell of this one keeps changing on me. As it warms, it develops more and more complexity. Malts are dominant and earthy smelling along with some cinnamon, brown sugar, bubblegum, marzipan and yeast.

T: Lots of sweet malts and spices. Bready aftertaste along with a pleasant warming sensation. Alcohol is hidden really well and I could drink this all day. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel is amazing. This is a fantastic beer.

notchucknorris, Feb 18, 2011
Photo of ehammond1
4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle

Holiday Wine Cellar
Escondido, CA

POP! goes the cork and out pours a stunning and murky burnt orange with massive carbonation. The head rises quickly to the rim of the glass and sits there unmoving. Cloudy and yeasty with warm orange edges as the light tries to shine its way through.

The aromas are many and changing as the beer warms. I smell warm baking bread, dark fruits, spicy cinnamon, and black pepper. Intoxicating.

World-class taste! As with the nose, the flavors change and grow as the beer warms. At first I noticed hops and sweet caramel malts and then the flavors of cherries, raisins, and figs begin to shine through more and more. The beer only gets better as it comes up to temperature.

Highly carbonated and medium mouthfeel. Light for the style and the ABV.

Available. Affordable. Amazing. A world-class beverage.
A beer I feel honored to drink.

If I could only drink one beer for the rest of my life, this could be the one!

ehammond1, Feb 17, 2011
Photo of comfortablynumb1
4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml corked and caged. Date on bottle reads 17/11/14...

A - Pours a deep mohogany with a three finger off white head on a pour that wasn't terribly agressive. Was expecting the head to dissipate at fairly quick pace, but it held strong until I finished the pint. Excellent head retention. Lace is a little runny, but definitely still present. Very nice...

S - Figs, plums, brown sugar, various spices, and a hint of citrus hops...

T - Sweet malts up front, followed by figs, brown sugar, raisins and plums. Ends on a very smooth fruity note. This one is super smooth. Abv is exceptionally hidden...

M - Nice and creamy with a moderate amount of carbonation. Really surprised by how smooth this one is. Could probably drink a few of these throughout the day. Won't go as far as calling it a session beer, but if your in the mood to get hammered while drinking world class brew, you can't go wrong here...

D - Definitely something that's going to be in my regular rotation. Will be making a stop at the liqour store down the street to pick a couple up for this weekend...

Cheers...

comfortablynumb1, Feb 15, 2011
Photo of krisandajt
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my DFH chalice...

Appearance: A deep, mahagony brown with a solid inch of off-white head. Retention is very good, the head takes its time fading away to a thin soapy layer. Lacing is very plentiful, lots of schtick all along the glass.

Smell: Sweet raisins, plums, figs...a general assortment of dark candied fruits. There is a slight boozy quality, but it gives the beer a nice warming quality that is a bit inviting.

Taste: The candied fruit quality reminds me of fruit soaked in booze. The alcohol does stand out, but it is matched with sweet raisins and plums and a classic Belgian quad flavor.

Mouthfeel: Nice medium to full body, but a little too effervescent. I probably could have let this sit longer to let the fizz settle.

Drinkability: This is a great, great quad, definitely one of my favorites. I usually have at least a bottle or two of these in my cellar at all times, it's one of my few staple beers I keep around. Highly recommend.

krisandajt, Feb 15, 2011
Photo of OakedCanuck
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml poured into snifter

A - pours a murky brown, with an almost purple hue to it. Off white head and nice lacing

S - Dark fruits, belgian yeast, some pepper and spice

T - Amazing fruits, currants, plum, raisin, minor cherry. There is a spiciness to it with the pepper

M - Smooth, medium to light heavy, effervescent

D - It just gets better as it warms, a sipper, but an amazingly delicious and balanced brew

OakedCanuck, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of JMad
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured a 12 oz bottle into a glass mug...

The beer pours a brown, murky color, there was lots of yeast sediment and a bubbly tan colored head.

Smells of grape, raisin, fig and toffee, it's mostly sweet with a bit of a tart side as well.

First I taste a tarte plum or grape taste, you get a hint of alcohol, clove, toasted caramel malt and there was a smokey woody aftertaste.

It's light and prickly on the tongue then there's a rush of warmth from the alcohol and a dry finish.

For the high ABV this is a very drinkable beer, I probably won't be drinking it again due to the price.

JMad, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of taigor
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a small glass.

A - Poured murky dark brown color with minimal head that quickly dissipated leaving slight lacing around the glass.

S - Dark fruits, brown sugar and bready yeast.

T - Just like smell the taste is sweet, dark fruits to start followed by yeast and malty dry finish.

M - Medium bodied with low carbonation.

D - Excellent quad with substantial ABV kick. I highly recommend it.

taigor, Feb 10, 2011
Photo of Prospero
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a medium dark brown, some amber when held up to the light, with a two-three finger light tan head which has excellent retention and lacing. Appears unfiltered. The nose is full of fruit with a light floral scent along with the belgian caramely malts. Flavors include some raisin, toffee and darker fruits. Sweet malts with brown sugar and caramel notes are dominant on the palate. Slight yeast presence along with a slight alcohol finish but not overwhelming, particularly since this is 10% ABV. Fairly high carbonation, perfect for the style, yet strangely full-bodied due to the malts, an excellent mouthfeel. In terms of drinkability, this beer is top notch for a belgian. I'm not one to down a couple belgian ales, but with this beer, I might consider it. Great complexity yet smooth, this is one of the highest quality ales I've had in a long time.

Prospero, Feb 10, 2011
Photo of dgilks
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark hazy brown with ruby highlights. A medium sized light tan head dissipates after a short time.

Rich, nutty notes combine with raisins, clove and spice. Nice.

Rich, bready, toasty malts play with a nice understated phenol profile. There are some mild stonefruit and apple notes as well. Alcohol is well hidden.

Medium body with moderate carbonation.

A lovely beer. Loaded with a delicate balance of flavours. Very nice.

dgilks, Feb 10, 2011
Photo of bnes09
3.48/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Hazy clay brown with huge off-white head. Good retention and some lace streaks.

Smell of bread grains and some dark fruits. Hint of skunk.

Taste is grain-like overall. Some fruit flavors show up mid-drink, dates and raisins. Just a touch of herbal hop flavor. Some definite yeast but not as pronounced or complex as expected. It tastes fine but I feel lacks the depth I was expecting. Not much alcohol flavor (which can be good or bad.)

Surprisingly thin, I was expecting a thick, full body. I would call it medium-bodied. Descent level of carbonation.

Overall, it's not a bad beer by any means. Never having tried a quad before, my opinion may not be completely sound but I think this beer is quite overrated. To me, it just tastes alot like a stronger alcohol European ale with slightly more depth than a standard lager.

bnes09, Feb 08, 2011
Photo of mdunman
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A: Thick hazy brown pours a huge head that lingers

S: Roasted malt, butter, light hops and lemon

T: Starts off with the roasted malt and sizzles across with spices and zest then finishes slightly dry like a thick champagne

M: Medium-full body, feels like a champagne with it's carbonated sizzle.

This was an excellent beer to be enjoyed by anyone. I won't be making it a personal favorite any time soon, but I will always appreciate how good it is.

mdunman, Feb 07, 2011
Photo of 650gs
4.95/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Third time I've had it.

A - Dark, not able to see through in light

S - So much going on, tasting will be more informative

T - There is no way this is 10.5 abv. Alot going on. Dark fruits, etic. Truly phenomenal.

M - Very slight carbonation

D - At being 10.5 abv, this is the most drinkable beer there is.

All in all, exceptional is the only word to describe it.

650gs, Feb 06, 2011
Photo of Brunite
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 11.2 ounce bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

A: The beer pours a very dark brown with some traces of ruby along the edges. The head is off-white and about 2-3 fingers. Very nice. Stout-like but brown in appearance. Thick and creamy looking as it pours.

S: Excellent. Very complex array of aromas. Raisin, prune, sweet malt, some unique florals from the yeast. Some faint over-ripe banana.

T: Delicious! Raisin, prune, fig, dark cherry fruit notes are the highlight....but in a balanced way...not overpowering as in some of the Trappists. Also less obvious are some banana and clove notes. Also lots of brown sugar/molasses and breadiness from the malt. Nice balance. Just a hint of alcohol on the finish.

M: Perfect carbonation. Creamy and chewy. Very full bodied.

D: Very high drinkability here. The flavors are perfectly balanced and the alcohol very well hidden at 10% ABV. I finished this one very quickly....much quicker than I should have. Such an easy drinker but you feel the alcohol afterward. Drinking a few of these in tandem could get you in trouble if you don't take your time.

O: Highly recommended. If this is really as close as you can get to a "Westy 12", short of the real thing...I get the hype! This is a great tasting, perfectly balanced beer. Not something you might drink on a daily basis....but a great beer to sit down and share or reward yourself with. In my top 10 and my favorite Quad/Trappist/Abbey Ale to date.

Update: This one is truly one of the greats. I picked up a 4-pack of this puppy for $ 19.99 because I can't overstate how much I enjoy it. Only 1 of 2 beers to get my "Perfect 5" rating. Truly epic stuff. I could drink this all day long if not for the ABV and the price. One of very few beers that has you smiling and saying "ahhh!!!" upon the very first sip. Truly under-appreciated vs some of the more well know Belgians that don't come close to this IMHO. If the First Miracle involved beer instead of wine....it likely would have tasted like this!!

Brunite, Feb 06, 2011
Photo of Thickfreakness
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Tulip glass!

A- Beautiful tan three finger head that leaves a nice caramel lacing! disapates rather quickly but sits atop this liquid raisin colored brew! Beautiful red highlights when held to the light!

S- Dried figs, raisins, caramel and subtle hints of chocolate and smoke. Damn! I can't get my nose out of the glass!!! Probably the best beer I've EVER smelled! So intriguing!!! Picking up vanilla... sweet and malty! I'n in love!

T- Sweet and chewy! Tons of dried fruits! Subtle hints of cocoa, vanilla, and just a touch of citrus. I love the bready malt flavors! There is so much going on here! Why haven't I ever tried this before!!!

M- Sweet, fruity and alive with carbonation on the tongue. Just a wisk of bitter before the fruit takes over again! Like eating the best pumpernickel/Raisin bread from a NY Jewish Deli! Really sticky... I'm digging this after being on an IPA kick for the last few weeks!

D- I gotta get some more of this!!! Not an everyday drinker... but not a special occasion drinker either! A perfect beer with a piece of devils food cake, or pastrami on pumpernickel with swiss and mustard!!! DAMN!!!

Thickfreakness, Feb 06, 2011
Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Date: 5 February 2011
Glass: Sierra Nevada XXX snifter
Type: 750ml bottle, corked and caged

Poured gently for a wild 3-finger head, quickly reduces to patches of frothy bubbles, runny lacing, color is clear brown stricken with crimson. There is probably some yeast in the bottle so I should review this in full when the bottle is finished.

Aroma of fig, souring grapes, clove, some dark fruit. Taste is phenomenally balanced and delicious, leaving loads of spice on the palate. More taste of very sweet malts, lots of honey, raisins, Belgian yeast....the rest is a mystery. Gets spicier when getting to the bottom of the bottle. This is an instant classic.

ToAzwethinkweizm, Feb 06, 2011
Photo of Eschulz91
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Found on tap at the trappist in downtown oakland. Grreat beer. Smooth taste, not overly floral. Decieving how well the flavors and brewmanship covers the massive abv(10.5). If you ever come accross this top ten beeradvocate rated belgian, order it! I know I will.

Eschulz91, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of donteatpoop
3.98/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Rich cloudless brown color with a beautiful cap of tan head that retains very well.

Smells of wild yeast, bread, raisins, and earth.

The taste is of dark fruits mostly, some wild yeast and spices and hit the tongue as well.

Nice medium body, goes down smoothly.

These things can age up to about 15 years, may want to grab another bottle or two and let them age some.

donteatpoop, Feb 03, 2011
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,560 ratings.