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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.

7,019 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,019
Reviews: 2,470
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 383
Gots: 949 | 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)
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Ratings: 7,019 | Reviews: 2,470 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nicholasdes


3.78/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The head on this beer is creamy and huge. The beer is a chocolate brown and cloudy. It smells of fruit and lightly roasted malt, the smell brings back memories of apple juice. The first thing I noticed about the taste of this beer was balance. The light alcohol flavor is perfectly balanced with sweet fruit and malt with a bitter aftertaste. I have still not acquired a taste for this style yet but I see that this is a very complex, excellent beer. A little sweet for my tastes but I did enjoy the combinations of flavors.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2009 02:17:54 | More by nicholasdes
Photo of jrallen34


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

Drank from a bottle into a chalice in Brussels.

This beer pours drank brown with a tan head that stays around for awhile. Has good lacing as well.

It smells fruity with a tad of spice.

It tastes a bit like chocolate and coffee. Its a heavy beer that goes down smooth with the right amount of bitterness at the end.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2009 15:48:02 | More by jrallen34
Photo of rapidsequence


4.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle. Took it out of the fridge and poured it into an oversized wine glass, then let it sit for 30 minutes.

Appearance: Hazy light brown with some red-orange tints. Thick white-tan head still leaves some remnants after half an hour, with lacing stuck to the glass.

Smell: Well, truthfully, I smelled it for much of the warming time. Its almost worth buying just to smell. Sweet, sweet dark fruit and spice. Yeasty bread.

Taste: Up front, its all spice, then sweetness, then strong bready yeast flavors on the back. So much spicy, sweet fruitcake and yeasty bread. Its as much like food as it is drink. The alcohol is clearly present, but doesnt take anything away (cmon, alcohol is part of the reason you drink, right?). The finish is so nice.

Mouthfeel: This is a very full feel. Strong carbonation makes it feel creamy or foamy in your mouth. Its great.

Drinkability: Well, nothing makes me happier. This was actually the first Belgian that I ever tried at the suggestion of some random beer store guy about 7 years ago. It has been my favorite beer ever since and opened me up to Belgians in general (I've never had a Westy and I like it better that Rochefort). At six bucks for 11.2 oz of perfection, its a steal.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2009 02:59:07 | More by rapidsequence
Photo of StarlightSeraph

North Carolina

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my St. Bernardus goblet.

Appearance: Pours a deep, hazy reddish brown, with a finger and a half of white head that dissipated somewhat quickly. Good bit of lacing.

Smell: Tangy fruits (cherries), some raisins, some nice bready malt in the background.

Taste: A nice tart bite right away, with an incredibly long-lasting, smooth, bready finish. The flavors are subtle in this one, but the bready notes last a nice long time. The initial fruitiness is tangy, and a little bit cloying, but still very good.

Mouthfeel: At first I thought it was a little thin, but I think it's just about right for this kind of beer. Any thicker would have accentuated the sweetness and probably made it too sweet to drink. Good carbonation.

Drinkability: Surprisingly easy to drink, and no way this seems like 10 percent alcohol. The flavors are more subtle than full flavored, so it's a good sipping beer. I enjoyed this.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2009 01:43:59 | More by StarlightSeraph
Photo of DwnTwnBwn


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

A- Poured into a tulip glass with a tree finger head. It was a light brown in color. Laced very well all the way down the glass.

S- Has a very good aroma. It starts with a sweet beady malt, follows with raisins and plum. There is a bit of alcohol. Slight notes of spices.

T- It is a very well rounded Belgian quad. It has all the right notes Bread pudding, fruit of plums and raisins. Just a tuck of spicy hops towards the end and finishes with a sweet aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, Plenty of carbonation. Finishes slightly dry. A slight warming from the alcohol.

O: This is a very good got to Belgian quad. It is consistent and delicious.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2009 04:48:26 | More by DwnTwnBwn
Photo of Stavage


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

Looks good, a nice rich deep dark brown liquid with a bubbly off white head that reduces to a very good stick lacing.

Smell is full on with ripe fruits, clove and other 'sweet' spices and sweet maltiness. It's a good full on smell, not as complex and subtle as a Rochefort 10 but much more present too.

Taste follows on from this really. The most evident spice note is clove, which compliments the sweetness quite well and this is a sweet beer. Ripe fruits and biscuity/cakey malts. A little bit too sweet for my tastes, but theres enough in the esters and spice to give it decent complexity. Alcohol is in there but pretty well hidden and gives a much needed bite to the proceedings. Overall quite full tasting. Like the smell, I find for example a Rochefort 10 more subtle and complex but this one makes up for it in fullness of flavour.

Smooth and full. Very good mouthfeel. Nothing much to say about it, it's up there with the other top ales in the calibre.

Very drinkable too. Almost a 5 but the sweetness just takes it down a notch for me.

I dont think this would be my choice to sip by itself at the end of the day. But with the fullness of flavour this is possibly my favourite quad (so far) to drink with a good meal (say a spicy red pasta dish).

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2009 01:05:45 | More by Stavage
Photo of cgraham5


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

A - Pours a deep mahogany color with an off-white head. Head retention is adequate to good, lacing isn't uniform but scattered. Carbonation is very apparent in the strings of bubbles that rise to the surface.

S - Smells rich of malt and and then very sweet fruity esters.

T - A very complex drink. It warms the back of your palette as you sip before almost ricocheting back to the front of the palette to reveal its fruity nature. I can't emphasize the warming nature enough at second sip...

M - The carbonation hits the tip of your tongue and accentuates the spiciness of the brew. For the thick nature of the brew, the carbonation couldn't be better.

D - Overall an excellent quad. Smooth to drink, easy to enjoy. At 10%ABV(although BA says 10.5%) it'll be knockin' you back all night instead of the other way around. I think you'll be satisfied but, you certainly won't be dissatisfied. At a price of $11 and change it may seem pricey, but what great beer isn't? (Don't answer that...)

Plus, this is my first review, thats gotta be worth something...

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2009 19:02:58 | More by cgraham5
Photo of SleepyMonk


4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Chilled 33cl dark brown glass bottle poured into a Chimay chalice glass.

Pours with a good solid 2 fingers worth of tan colored head that quickly dissolves into the body and leaves behind moderate lacing. Body is dark like a deep rich chocolate or macchiato.

A soft, almost sweet-like, clove aroma drives the smell in combination with malt and dark summer fruits.

Taste is a complex mixture of the aromatic features except with a tactile, sweet and sticky malt character thrown in.

The mouthfeel is extremely rewarding with a sweet, creamy smoothness. The finish has warm alcohol properties but isn't quite dry.

A very good representation of the quad style and much more sweeter than Rochefort 10

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2009 15:03:02 | More by SleepyMonk
Photo of theghost3


4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby, almost brown with plenty of carbonated bubbles and some floating sediment. The head is 3-fingers thick, frothy & tan. Lots of lacing.

It smells spicy with yeast, dark fruits and sweet malt. Taste is complex; first there's spicy cloves & phenols. Then there's sweet malts, bread & lastly, a fruit & wood flavor. Mouthfeel is carbonated but leaves smooth.

This is the best Quad I've ever had. Deliciously drinkable, which makes that ABV a little dangerous.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2009 19:40:58 | More by theghost3
Photo of CromDubh


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

First time I've sampled this one and best quad I've had.
Poured into a La Trappe chalice. Dark brown with a foaming head that takes time to settle. Deep fruity smell and tastes as good as it smells, excellent. About the right carbonation too and the beer just slides down. Could easily drink a few and then fall over - worth any loss of skin.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2009 10:16:55 | More by CromDubh
Photo of kahjdfh


5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this on tap at fine local drinking establishment, The Liberty Street Tavern.

This was a glorious beer. It was served in a goblet. It was at the right temperature. The color was a nice deep brown. There was a pleasant sweetness with a hint of bitterness. This is one of the best beers I have tasted.

Serving type: on-tap

07-02-2009 02:30:03 | More by kahjdfh
Photo of DannyS

New York

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

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle (i think) into my duvel tulip.

A - A dark, rusty opaque burgundy with an airy, off-white pillow of head that leaves broad swaths of loose lacing. The carbonation looks suspended in the beer. Awesome. Only slightly disappointed that the head retention isn't perfect. Scratch that; the head triumphantly returns with a little swirl from the glass.

S - Lots of full bodied dried fruit and dark belgian sugar with a twinge of boozy character and caramel sweetness. Like smelling homemade candy. Also slightly bourbon-esque.

T - The delicate yet dark, full sweetness gives good balance to the robust malt, with raisins and prunes complimenting the lovely palate experience.

M - The carbonation is more lively than I thought it would be, but I liked how it contrasted the thickness of the brew, the head adding a dimension of creaminess as I sipped.

D - The alcohol is tempered well, but at 10.5%, this is definitely a sipper, which is the only way to do justice to this excellent brew.

Overall - This is at least one of the gold standards for big beers; the kind you relax with at the end of the day, sipping away and enjoying every flavorful nuance while sitting in an easy chair with a velvet robe, acting snooty. Or you could do what I just did and say 'This beer rocks!' before belching loudly. Heavenly nectar, indeed.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2009 00:26:40 | More by DannyS
Photo of masterallen

Alberta (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Cherry brown with little head

S - Remember when you were little... grape bubble tape. Wicked.

T - Really neat taste. At first I couldn't put my finger on it and then it just came to me, it kind of reminded me of the meal replacement that we used to drink before swim practice, Boost Chocolate. Don't let that be a turn off though, it was an interesting on to hit. There was a noticeable 'chalkiness' as well.

M - Weighty but turns has a significant velvety feel.

D - Great beer, I would have a few more, but wouldn't be sitting down to throw back a bunch of these, especially not at the price they're fetching for it.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2009 18:14:11 | More by masterallen
Photo of PirateUlf73


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

750 ml bottle, poured into a chalice.

A: Hazy dark-brown color with a decent off-white head, which had amazing staying power.

S: Wonderfully complex nose of sweet caramel, dark fruits (plums, dates and figs), spices (clove, coriander and nutmeg), and some yeasty goodness. So much going on.

T: All the olfactory components merge into the flavors, and then some. It's almost like drinking a fine red wine. Everything comes together so perfectly. My favorite part is the strong malty backbone which ties everything together. Absolutely magnificent!

M: The feel is very smooth and creamy. My only knock against this beer is that there is perhaps just a bit too much carbonation for my liking. However, it bothered me less as I made my way through the bottle.

D: This one should be enjoyed slowly, so as to expose and contemplate all the flavors.

This beer is damn near perfect... period. At the time of this writing, it is my favorite Belgian, and while I do enjoy others, they pale in comparison, at least in terms of sheer complexity and grace. Mandatory drinking. You MUST try this at least once.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2009 06:40:10 | More by PirateUlf73
Photo of JohnQVegas


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

Bottle poured into Old Engine Oil chalice; poured at about 50 degrees and reviewed a bit warmer than that to room temp.

Pours a deep, murky dark brown, with a solid two-finger dense head that settled to about a half an inch and (eventually) an 1/8" cap; never less. Doesn't want to let go of the glass, but eventually does on its way down.

Nose is teeming with rich dark fruit notes - raisins and ripe plums, prunes and even hints of red grapes. Brown sugar sits alongside of that, with sharp clove spiciness holding all that fantastic richness in check.

Taste is everything expected of it. Rich brown sugar malt sweetness surrounding notes of ripe plums, raisins, and red grapes, complemented by a big clove character; just a bit vinous towards the finish, and a light, earthy, over-ripe bitterness that pokes it's head out right before the finish. The rich sweetness of this one never quits - fantastic from start to finish - but what's really remarkable is the lightness, that makes this one almost ethereal. Fantastic beer.

Mouthfeel is creamy and light, but full and lush at the same time. The never-ending head adds a fullness to it that's superb.

Drinkability is exceptional. Alcohol is apparent in warmth but not in the mouth, and it's never boozy by any stretch of the imagination. World Class.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2009 20:56:04 | More by JohnQVegas
Photo of kevinglin


4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle dated 18.12.12 into a wide-mouth goblet. Brown with amber hints when held to light. Quite a bit of yeast floating in the glass. Creamy foam tan head that fell to about half-a-finger and stuck around.

Smells like a red wine, dark fruit (raisins), sweet melons, caramel and toffee. A bit of phenolics from the yeast.

Taste - vinous quality comes through. Port like, with some spice. Definitely a big malt backbone. No hop bitterness - spice seems to come from yeast.

Full body, lively bubbles followed by a slick mouthfeel and a definite alcohol warmth as it goes down.

Overall, was somewhat put off by the appearance, but flavor makes up for it. Wonderful complex mix of scents and taste. Recommend.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2009 19:41:07 | More by kevinglin
Photo of allboutbierge


4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I finally got around to drinking this and I am happy that I did. The alcohol is not noticeable in the least...not in aroma or in flavor. Lots of dried fruit...mostly plums, raisins, and a little bit of pear. Not sweet at all. Smoothed and mellow. Very easy but yet entertaining to drink. Thirst quenching actually and very well rounded.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2009 09:35:36 | More by allboutbierge
Photo of mhatters


4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at Ron's in Exton in a Chimay chalice

Pours a deep mahogany brown, with a thick, white head.

Lots in the nose, dark fruits, spices, yeast, malt, and sweetness.

A big flavor with a lot to savor, apple and pear, alcoholic and malty sweetness, and a good mix of spices. Very comfortable and rich to drink.

Not too sweet, not to hot, not too alcoholic, a classic beer.

Serving type: on-tap

06-24-2009 01:25:19 | More by mhatters
Photo of BirdFlu

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in snifter out of bottle at the Cloverleaf in Caldwell.. Certainly lived up to its status.. I don't always get so into darker Belgian stuff, but this is certainly awesome.. pours quite dark with a very foamy off-white head. Smells of dark fruits and candy sugar, very sweet. Flavor follows the aroma, fruity, sugary and only the slightest bit of spice, something which I think some Belgian style beers over-due. Very smooth. The mouth is full-bodied with crisp carbonation. Overall its quite delicious and surprisingly smooth for its high abv.. all aroung great.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2009 05:07:21 | More by BirdFlu
Photo of photomike


4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a uniformly cloudy brown with a nice, 1+ finger head. Nice retention. Exactly how a quad should look.

The scent is intense, inviting and complex. I actually got a lot of peach, which I was surprised by, as well as the expected dark fruit and berries (blackberries/raspberries in particular). A big hit of spice and a lot of sweetness. Also perfect.

Boy, the flavor is wild. Very spicy and fruity with brown sugar, raisins, and a huge alcohol wallop. Bitter finish.

The mouthfeel is hot and heavily carbonated with a nicely dry finish.

Drinkability is quite low. Very sweet and really boozy, this beer is a big time sipper. Not surprising from a quad.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2009 01:55:37 | More by photomike
Photo of GilGarp


4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Choice City in Fort Collins.

Served cold in the proper glassware from St. Bernardus. It's very dark brown with redish highlights around the edges. Very little head on top but nice lacing is left behind on the glass.

Aroma is complex and sweet with really nice fruity esters and belgian yeast.

Flavor is excellent as it was from the bottle. Complexities from the yeast and the sweet caramel and figs from the malts. Very mild hopping but extremely well balanced.

Mouthfeel is much different and, for my tastes, much better on tap. The carbonation is subtle and the body is full and smooth. Easier drinking than the bottled version which had considerably more effervescence.

Overall excellent but I wish I had been more patient waiting for it to warm. That's when the flavors really come out.

Serving type: on-tap

06-11-2009 17:13:39 | More by GilGarp
Photo of jballeng


4.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a dark woody haze with a medium creamy smooth head. Lots of sediment in the pour. Sort of ugly, but doesn't smell it or taste it. Aromas of dark fruits, malts, hops, sugar cane, molasses, raisins, and all kinds of delicious goodness. Flavors of fruits and dark sugars and malts. Perfectly smooth with little bitterness and not overly sweet. Accents unfold beautifully with the sort of complexity hitherto untasted by me. Dark, woody overtones with some subtle cedar and cherries. Mouthfeel was thick but not in a bad way - it complimented this brew perfectly.

Definitely my favorite beer, and in my opinion just short of perfect.

Compliments good bread and a nice Danish blue cheese wonderfully.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2009 16:13:34 | More by jballeng
Photo of originalsin


4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm staring at a half empty bomber of the stuff and felt like I absolutely had to log on and review this brew.

The cork was a lot easier to jimmy out than some other beers I've struggled with lately. That's certainly a plus. And this god damn crazy monk is giving me the eye and laughing at me for not having a Bernadus chalice like the one he's holding on to. 'It's in the mail, I swear I swear...'

The pour on this one was quite nice. The off white head was one of the most beautiful billowing pieces of art to ever appear atop a beer. Really a spectacular sight. Unfortunately, head retention wasn't that great (and certainly sub-par for a quad, from my humble experience). Lacing, to say the least, was not sub par. My glass now has a ring of head around the beer and some odd shaped continent of head looming in the middle, daring me to drink.

There's a ton of sweet malt on the nose. A little raisin but more grape and most certainly all kinds of apples: Smelling this reminds me of apple picking as a kid with my father and brothers, seeing apples rotting underneath the trees and getting yelled at for picking them up.

This beer tastes great. What else can I say. The sweet malt is ever-present. Raisins, figs, and plums all lay themselves out on the table quite clearly while some spices and coriander try to hide but inevitably come through. There's a bit of an alcohol kick to this one but it doesn't detract from the deliciousness at all.

St. Bernadus abt 12 is a bold beer--medium bodied and intensely sweet at times, the drinkability is really good in spite of the fact that's it's most certainly a sipper. I just don't know if I'll be able to finish the bottle.

Well, cheers--

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2009 01:38:15 | More by originalsin
Photo of Reagan1984


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

Hats of to csg01752. Craig gave me this beer from a broken pack they had at his store. Tribute to Craig. R.I.P.

I've enjoyed this several times, but never reviewed. Tonight is the time I dedicate to the review of this Belgian classic

Upon opening the bottle, slowly some foam started rising out of the bottle. Poured into my snifter glass and a deep off white head formed and remained for quite some time. When it began to fade lacing was left clinging everywhere. No surprise that the beer is a purple/brown color that is almost opague.

Interesting aroma, I always get dark sweet grapes... Almost like grape jelly. Also some yeast and obviously some sweet malts.

Well, the flavor is as complex as always. Some alcohol, some phenolic flavors and lots of deep dark fruit. I taste the same grape that I smelled. Layers of malt flavors that just keep coming. Some bitterness mixed with the alcohol. The yeast provides some strong flavors and subtle spice as well. Lots going on her.

Thick and creamy mouth feel. A little sharp due to the alcohol, but still smooth in the end.

Quite an enjoyable beer and quite drinkable. But you won't get through many of these in one sitting

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2009 01:26:55 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of quinlin


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

A - dark amber reddish color, light tan head that was thin and long lasting

S - fruity, floral, sweet malt, dried fruits, banana

T - again, floral, dried fruits(raisins,dried cherries), complex, strong malts

M - med/high carbonation, med body and smooth going down.

D - allround nice, easy drinking quad

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2009 21:30:31 | More by quinlin
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,019 ratings.