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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.

7,363 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,363
Reviews: 2,498
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 420
Gots: 1,095 | 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: 7,363 | Reviews: 2,498 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Dunkle
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

A: Dark in color. Not quite black, but close. Beautiful.
S: Smells sweet and full of yeast and dark fruits.
T: This beer tastes fantastic. Almost perfect for the style. Tastes of dried dark fruits (raisins and plums maybe?) with a creamy aftertaste. It may have tasted even better as it approached room temperature!
M: Medium-full body. Just enough carbonation. Very smooth.
D: The 10.50% ABV is well-hidden. Although I prefer to sip on this beer as to enjoy it for longer, one could easily drink a few of these in a night.

This continues to be one of my favorite beers and I seem to enjoy it more each time. A job well done, Belgian monks!

Dunkle, Sep 06, 2010
Photo of makinbacon
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Drinking on tap. Hazey black/brown color. Nice head and lacing. Great carbonation. Not to bubbley, but masks the alcohol well. Tastes of dark stone fruits, plums, and cherries. A little rum like. A slight stickyness on the finish. I love this beer. Can't drink a ton of them, but a delicious sipping beer.

makinbacon, Sep 06, 2010
Photo of cetherid
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%


almost like root beer. a nice dark brown color with a thick foamy off-white head.


The first thing I get is a nice malt smell. a little raisins smell to it as well. not as good as Rochefort 10 smells.


Taste is of sweet malts. a very slight dark fruit taste. a slight bite of alcohol towards the end.


medium to full bodied beer. a good amount of carbonation. a nice little tingle on the tongue from the carbonation and alcohol


very good drinkability. could easily down a large bottle of this stuff, even with the high alcohol content. I think it would be even better aged. this beer is readily available by me which is great. a little pricey, but definitely worth it. one of the best beers I've had, but still below Rochefort 10.

cetherid, Sep 05, 2010
Photo of haazer
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%

Reviewing this from my notes on 8/25, poured into my tulip glass.

A- Very big, slightly offwhite head. Takes a long time to settle and leaves plenty of lacing all down the sides of the glass. Beer appears as a chestnut color, or a dark brewed iced tea.

S- Smells like lots of quads do, fruity, tingling alcohol in the nostrils, and hints of raisins.

T- A good bit of what it smells like, but more complex. The fruit aspect is there as I taste berries at first. Then it transitions to apple, raisins, and then the last taste is bananas. At the same time it has the bread and yeasty feel to it. The alcohol warms as the taste leaves when the beer goes down. It's almost as if this would be the equivalent to a beer fruit punch. Delicious.

M- Incredibly smooth, and very warming with the alcohol. As above in the taste description it has the bready feel, and also chewy. This beer invites you to swirl it around in your mouth to hit every taste bud. Deffinitely savour this one.

D- Maybe its just me but Quads like this one are too damn appealing. So much taste and flavor, such a good mouthfeel for such a high abv. I have to give it a 4.5 because if you drink two of these you'll get a buzz.

Notes: I've been dying to try this one, and held off till my birthday to open it. What a treat! I happened to try 5 diff beers in all that day, this one came in 2nd, a close 2nd though. I tried this with a piece of birthday cake and it went perfectly with that. IMO a dessert beer for sure.

haazer, Sep 04, 2010
Photo of prophetofdoom
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%

A nice addition to an otherwise boring day...

An aggressive pour leads to a nice tan head that subsides to around a quarter of an inch. Appearance is dark brown. Smells of roasted malt and you can pick up the higher ABV on the nose. Tastes great, huge and malty, with a minute alcohol burn.

Drinkability does not suffer at all with the big ABV.

I would recommend this to anyone.

prophetofdoom, Sep 01, 2010
Photo of oglmcdgl
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

A bottle late night split with sourbatchkid.

A- three big fingers of fluffy tan head from a hard pour that settles slowly to bunch of sticky lace and a floating raft of soapy suds on top. Deep chestnut brown in color with burnt orange glow at the edges when held to the light.

S- spiced fruit cake and yeasty dark bread. Sweet malts and brown sugar. Some booze and a lite must.

T- rich sweet malts with light brown sugar and some dark breads. Cloves and cinnamon with some orange peel and plums. There is some fusal alcohol that kicks the spice down a bit and brings out some more sweetness.

M- luscious mouthfeel with a fuller body and carb that work well with each other. Some significant heat and belly warming for this brew.

D- great quad, truly a stand out for the style. The fact that its so easy to find and cheap just makes me even happier. Doesn't make the beer any better but I get to drink it more often.

oglmcdgl, Aug 29, 2010
Photo of wolf323i
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%

Poured on draft with a good bit of off white head. Overall appearance is excellent. Served in a tulip a nice dark brown that you can get just the smallest amount of light through.

Not completely overwhelmed by the nose hear. Hits all the notes though. Ie. spice, alcohol, and Belgian yeast.

Amazing flavor and not my favorite style. Smooth velvety feel with a decent bit of sweetness a good strong bit of alcohol on the nose and a clean finish.

A truly word class beer.

wolf323i, Aug 28, 2010
Photo of lifeboyq
5/5  rDev +11.9%

11.2 oz bottle poured into a St Bernardus chalice. Dark mahogany, not fined beer with deep chestnut tones. Monster cream head typical of the strong carbonation in Belgian offerings. Smell is of caramel malts, unrefined sugar and that all too familiar peculiarity of a belgian yeast phenols with bready overtones. The beer tastes like figs and dates and caramel and toffee, bready, sweet and again that all too hard to put your finger on delicious belgian pecularity. Incredibly complex, incredibly deep that improves as it warms. One of the top few beers of the world. Most closely resembles the Westy of any other offering. Absolutely amazing. In my eyes, as close to perfection in a beer as you can get. This is so good it hurts. Lip smacking good. One of the finest examples of the most complex tasting beer class, Belgian Quads.

lifeboyq, Aug 27, 2010
Photo of Agold
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%

This beer is a very dark garnet with about an inch of white fluffy head which recedes to about a quarter inch. It smells amazing, with notes of spice, figs, and sweetness. It tastes amazing as well, with a taste which mirrors the nose, adding a little bit of yeast bite and some caramel. These flavors mostly, if not completely mask the high abv. The higher carbonation gives it a deceivingly light mouthfeel, but as it warms and the carbonation dissipates, it becomes thicker. Most drinkble quad i have ever had. Amazing. It seems like it would hold up well with age, and I would love to see how it changes with a year on it.

Agold, Aug 23, 2010
Photo of domtronzero
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

A - Pours a slightly murky brown with a huge, billowing, rocky, long lasting tannish-white head, leaving lots of lacing on the sides of the glass.

S - Caramelly malts and banana esters. A lot of dark fruits reminiscent of prunes and raisins. No hop aromas detected. Alcohol is subtle and perfumy.

F/M - Deep malty goodness and esters mix into a fruitcake-like aroma of deep, dark stone fruits and dried dark fruits. Hop bitterness is light, but enough to allow a clean finish. Aftertaste of dark fruits and bready malts. Alcoholic warmth as it moves down into my tummy.

D - Excellent. This is the best-drinking BSD/Quad around. Basically a *better* version of Westvleteren 12.

domtronzero, Aug 19, 2010
Photo of foogerd
4.38/5  rDev -2%

A- pours a deep copper amber color with a tan head
S-Pure malt just hitting you right in the face with its sweetness cloves are definitely present some light spice notes perhaps even a touch of cinnamon
T- wow now this is one sweet malt attack! totally delicious the malts bring forth such a candy sweetness that makes me just want to swim in a pool of this with my mouth open.
M- Thick rich perfect amount of carbonation
D- im on my second pint of this its amazingly sessionable at 10 %

foogerd, Aug 17, 2010
Photo of n1ckels
4.2/5  rDev -6%

I had every intention of reviewing this beer yesterday afternoon, when I drank it, but then one thing led to another, and I was at a bar where I didn't know anybody, drinking screwdrivers, and watching preseason football. So yeah, this beer has forte.

A: pours frothy and dark like an italian cappuccino

S: Subtle Belgian perfume

T: A house DJ can't mix this smooth

M: Alcoholic, slippery

D: Did I use a straw? Cuz that was gone fast.

n1ckels, Aug 16, 2010
Photo of alkemy
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%

The pour is a caramel/amber color with a very slight head. Perhaps using caramel as a color descriptor is a product of the smell, which is rich in caramel and dried dark fruits. The figs and raisins really show themselves in the taste along with vanilla and again a touch of caramel. It's really malty and sweet. I was hoping for a hint of banana or some bubblegum, but it was not readily apparent. Felt really nice with some decent viscosity. I'd like to get another bottle to have sit around for a year or so to tame the booziness, but this is the only one I've got for now.

alkemy, Aug 15, 2010
Photo of donkeyrunner
4.9/5  rDev +9.6%

I originally bought this after qualifying for the Boston marathon. My plan was to drink it after I ran the race but ended up getting injured. C'est la vie. Drank while baking Coca-cola cupcakes.

Muddy diarhea colored light brown. Large, bubbly tan head exhausts itself down to a decent bubbly tophat and remains that way for the duration of the beer.

Aroma is, to quote Black Rob, "like whoa." Earthy dark fruit, pumpernickel bread crust, steely caramel, molasses. I can smell figs and grapes but it's also like a can smell the dirt they were grown in, the sun and the water that fed them.

Taste is again earthy dark fruit. Chocolate covered black cherry, bread crust and burn toffee. Taste lingers warms and loves. My palette is not worthy. Snappy carbonation. I never would have thought something so complex with such a high abv would be at the same time so accessible and demand sip after sip.

My girlfriend has got me hooked on the show Trueblood and in it 2 people get high on vampire blood and dance around, feel one with nature, themselves, and the world. This beer is vampire blood.

donkeyrunner, Aug 14, 2010
Photo of Anthony1
4.05/5  rDev -9.4%

Appears a murky dark brown with some glowing red highlights. A thick, soapy fluff of tan head floats on top of the beer. Scattered webs of lacing are left all over the glass.
Smell is of caramel, cocoa, raisins, doughy bread, nuts, brown sugar, nougat, vanilla, and anise.
Taste is even better than the aromas in a solid batch of Belgian goodness that will knock the socks off of any beer lover(or non-beer lover for that matter).
Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, sugary, and full of doughy yeast and rich malt.

Anthony1, Aug 09, 2010
Photo of bucklemyshoe
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

25.4 oz, caged and corked for $10.99. Poured into a koeningshoeven trappist glass. Pours a dark brow with ruby-red hues. A one inch head billows and disappears. The aroma is of currants, figs, dates, lovely yeast, and a little bit of cherry. The tast consists of more dark fruit flavors, some banana, brown sugar, and a touch of fantastic. The finish is so wonderfully clean and flavorful.

bucklemyshoe, Aug 05, 2010
Photo of kiddynamite920
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%

Corked and caged 750 ml bottle.

A: Huge head sprung up immediately after the pour, a bit off white. Resting underneath is a dark red/brown beer, which is nearly opaque. Some highlights of copper when held up to the light. The head on this beer is quite impressive and lasting.

S: Cork smells of raisins and figs. Hit right off the bat with Belgian yeast with some banana. There is also an initial booziness. Can't get over the yeast character here, not usually a fan of the banana/bubblegum aromas but this one is very well balanced against the other characters in the aroma. Some cherry, fig, wood and vanilla. Can see why this ages well.

T: Outstanding. Deep, dark fruits fill the palate while the Belgian characteristics are present throughout. Not even close to overly sweet like some Quads can get. Alcohol presence is subdued but still noted, as it is playing a great part in the flavor of this beer. There is some tartness that I believe is cutting what would be an overly sweet quad. Well crafted beer. Definitely what a quad should be.

M: Absolutely loving every aspect of this beer. Good carbonation that leaves the mouth tingling a bit, yet it stays thick and full bodied. Flavors linger for a good while.

D: Taking it slow with this one, each sip reveals something new. A slow drinker for sure, this beer represents the quad style phenomenally.

kiddynamite920, Aug 04, 2010
Photo of PorterLambic
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%

Man, can the monks make good beer!!!!
This amazing beverage pours a nice deep brown with red & orange highlights. The pour produces a big, fluffy, creamy tan head that has extremely great retention and pretty nice lacing. Noticed some of the "waterfall effect" in the initial pour, a la Guinness, et al.
Smell is sweet, fruit (raisin, cherry, grape and plum), malt, oak, spice (clove), fine Belgian dark chocolate and some alcohol. Amazing complexity and great balance.
Taste is every bit of what is promised to the nose without the noticeable, and expected, alcohol. For a brew this potent I am very surprised that the ABV is so well hidden. A whiskey note is there as well.
Mouthfeel is rich and smooth, warming the throat. A light effervescence all over the tongue, as well. Medium-full bodied. The only downside I found was a bit of roughness in the aftertaste, kind of a bitter cherry/oak flavor. That being said, this is an absolute "cream of the crop" beer. Few, if any better in the style. Few better in any style, in my not so humble opinion.

PorterLambic, Aug 03, 2010
Photo of DeutschesBier
4.53/5  rDev +1.3%

Thank god such a high-quality beer can be found so easily. Along with Rochefort, it is so refreshing to be able to find world-class Belgian beers at any decent beer store.

To me, this beer is almost right there with Westvleteren. The flavor profile is similar, with the delicious caramel, toffee, and raisin sweetness.

Sometimes, the carbonation in Belgian beers is a drawback for me, but I love the champagne-like bubbliness in this beer.

I can't wait to age some of these bad boys.

DeutschesBier, Aug 03, 2010
Photo of impending
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%

330ml into a tulip. Pours an unexceptional hazy dark reddish brown, same as so many quads. Superior lacing.

Quads smell great. How many brews have a more complex nose than this ? I could wear this as an aftershave as the spices are strong.

Taste is superb, I feel silly trying to describe it. Read the 1,000+ before me. This is a top shelf quad, if you like this style you'll love this, if you don't you won't !

Warms well. I could sip this for hours as the tiniest sip is chock full of flavor!

impending, Aug 02, 2010
Photo of misinformed
3.33/5  rDev -25.5%

Using my trusty Chimay chalice tonight.
A- Poured with about 2 fingers of light brown head that dissipated fairly quickly to a tiny island of bubbles. The beer itself is an opaque, dark brown.

S- Alcohol at first. Later some sweetness and fruit. Not the fragrant monster some reviews described.

T- I'm not really sure how to describe this one. Very faint caramel sweetness, a tiny amount of hops, with a bready/yeast finish. Underwhelming, but incredibly well balanced. Some faint alcohol occasionally, but very well hidden all around.

M- Light and smooth. Nice active carbonation at first that died back as it warmed.

D- I was disappointed by this to be honest. It was incredibly well balanced and nice to drink, but it was underwhelming. The flavors were weak and I missed out on the strong smells others described. I had an amazing dubbel last night that blows this beer out of the water. I hardly detected any malts in the at all. I did enjoy drinking it though, and I want to try it again sometime soon to see if I still feel the same way about it.

misinformed, Aug 02, 2010
Photo of DIM
4.93/5  rDev +10.3%

a: This was a clear, orange tinted, shiny brown color. It poured with a massively fizzy head.

s: Soft and enticing, I don't have the edjectives so I'm not going to try very hard. Lightly sweet, bready and fruity overall. Perfect.

t: Beautifully balanced and beyond my ability to describe. The alcohol is incredibly well hidden behind the soft ripe fruit and warm, sugary sweetness.

m: Big bodied with long lasting fizzy carbonation.

d: Just a perfect beer in every way that matters. One of may all time favorite go-to beers.

DIM, Jul 30, 2010
Photo of buschbeer
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%

I poured into my glass to a couple fingers of tan head. It is a dark, dark amber in color. I did manage to get some chunks of yeast in there, too. The smell is fruity with cherry and dark berries being the most prominent. I also get plenty of spices along with some caramel malt. The taste is sweet and spicy. I'm usually not a big Belgian fan but this beer is pretty put together. I get just the slightest hops taste on the finish. This beer is going down mighty easily for a high ABV!

buschbeer, Jul 28, 2010
Photo of jampics2
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%

On tap @ the Beer Engine. I, for one, love this stuff and it was a perfect call for a Kegs & Eggs breakfast. So happy to have finally gotten around to rating this!

Looks amazing when brought to the table in a cute little snifter/globe. Brownish with plum highlights. Nice head at first, but it recedes faster than my ideal quad. A touch more lace would be good as well, but this is still superior to many, many beers.

Smell is soooo good! Raisins, figs, fresh plums, dried prunes, grapes - if it's purple or brown and wrinkled, it's in there. Unique for sure, this has more sweetness than just about any quad I've had. Westy 12 is just a touch more spicy, while Rochfort 10 is more raisin straight-up. The muscat sweetness sets this apart and makes it very appealing.

Taste is exceptional. AKA the bomb. The flavors from the malt match the raisin, grape, and fig smells. There's a caramel bread thing that I love as well. The yeast adds complexity by way of some clove and perhaps even vanilla. Alcohol is well hidden but perceptable. Phenols are slightly spicy but very moderate. A perfect tasting beer, at 10.5% this is just so well crafted, nothing needs changed, an instant hall of famer for taste.

Nice creamy, full mouthfeel. Perfect carb. Comes across as heaven in a glass.

I'm so thrilled to finally document my feelings about this beer. This is one of those beers that really raised my awareness and fondness of Belgians years ago. I'm so happy to have had this chance to write down how I really feel - this is my love letter to you, St. Bernardus Abt 12. Thanks for the good times and great drinks!

jampics2, Jul 28, 2010
Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%

750ml bottle from Knightly Spirits in Orlando.

Poured into a small wine glass (best approximation of a chalice I had available). A splendid murky chestnut brew, with a sturdy 1/2 inch head that would not quit, made more appealing as the brew warmed up. Superb lacing and retention. Looks brilliant.

Nose is cherry, plums, figs, white wine, yeast, spices, overlain with a foundation of classic Belgian ale malts. Inviting.

Tasting notes are similar to the nose, which work brilliantly together. A nice toasted brown sugar and caramel flavor as well. A wonderfully balanced brew, hard to believe it's a quad, considering the absolute lack of an alcohol taste. Finishes slightly dry and crisp. The brew only gets better as it warms, which opens up all the richness within. Superb stuff.

Carbonation was initially high, but became less of an impediment as it warmed, making it easy to quaff. Definitely a brew to be served after being given a chance to breathe.

A real joy to drink, a first-rate Belgian strong ale. A high ABV means less drinkability, but I'd gladly spend an evening with a tall bottle of this. Brilliant.

JohnnyBarman, Jul 27, 2010
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,363 ratings.