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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.

6,999 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,999
Reviews: 2,469
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 380
Gots: 934 | 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)
View: Beers (12) |  Events
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Ratings: 6,999 | Reviews: 2,469 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jwhawkins81


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

The back label of the 330 ml bottle says the beer is best by 26-08-13.

Aroma - Dark fruits like cherries and raisins.

Appearance - Poured a dark red and produced a nice light tan head.

Taste - A hint of spice near the beginning giving way to a malty sweet profile hiding just the smallest amount of discernible alcohol. Even as this beer warms the flavor profile stays pretty consistent.

Mouthfeel - A medium body carried by a ton of carbonation. A really good mouthfeel.

Drinkability - Amazingly drinkable for 10.5%. The spice really helps from being overwhelmed by the sweetness.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2009 15:54:20 | More by jwhawkins81
Photo of Maction


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

A: In a St. Bernardus chalice, it shows a pale burgundy with brown undertones. A hearty 3" head collapses to a compact disk, leaving thick lace down the side of the glass.

S: A complex aroma, cherries, hard candy, traces of clove.

T: It just tastes so good, with flavors of brandy and candy, but it's not namby-pamby. There's a smoothness balanced by a slight alcohol tinge. Then there's the tart and acidic flavor that my wife identifies as grape Kool-Aid.

M: It feels dense, but not viscous, and the carbonation keeps things moving on your palate.

D: This beer is so delicious that it's hard to drink slowly. Even though I know it's 10% ABV, it's hard not to rush through one of these and order another.

Notes: My wife's favorite beer of all times. Her question: "how could you not love it?" I love the monk on the bottle. He seems to be simultaneously absolving you from your sins while leading you into temptation.

Serving type: on-tap

05-14-2009 15:44:55 | More by Maction
Photo of DavoleBomb


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

11.2 oz bottle poured into a goblet.

4.0 A: Murky dark brown color. Two fingers of frothy off-white head with average retention and minimal lacing.

4.0 S: Dark fruits including plum and raisin. Slight graininess. Nuts, caramel, and some mild peppery spiciness.

5.0 T: I wasn't really too impressed with this beer until I tasted it. It is incredible. Flavors are much like the smell, just in overdrive. Plum, raisin, tobacco and a touch of over-ripe banana. Not as nutty, but lots of caramel and touches of pepper and clove.

4.5 M: Medium-heavy body. Bubbly carbonation and perhaps a tad too bubbly. Smooth finish with the alcohol hidden really well.

4.5 D: This is one hell of a tasty beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2009 02:22:30 | More by DavoleBomb
Photo of Hoagie1973

New York

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

Pours hazy deep chestnut brown with a monster latte-colored head. As I finished the pour, gobs of thick foam were still coming out of the bottle. Head retention is stellar, renewing itself with tiny rising bubbles after every sip. Maintains a half inch of rocky foam all the way to the last sip with thick, sticky lacing.
Has an aroma of spiced fruit (black cherries), nuts, bread, and alcohol.
Flavor is a perfect blend of all of the above. Alcohol is very noticeable, but warming and welcome. Finishes sweet and fruity, also has a mild earthy, herbal quality.
Mouthfeel is thick and full; smooth and creamy.
This isn't something to drink hastily. Give yourself plenty of time to relax and enjoy the complexities.
I would love to cellar some of this to see how it changes.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2009 22:05:52 | More by Hoagie1973
Photo of bulletrain76


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

33cl bottle at De Wildeman, Amsterdam. Dark, murky brown with a big tan head that lasts a good bit. Aroma is really malty with ripe fruit, brown sugar sweetness and some alcohol. The flavor is very sweet - the sweetest of the quads that I've had. It's a nice sweetness though; not cloying. Very good as a dessert drink. I think that the sweetness does suppress other flavor qualities though. Thick with smooth carbonation and a slightly sticky finish. Very nice, but not as elegant as Rochefort, or a drinkable as Westy. Had it a just below room temp at De Wildeman, and tried it the next day on draught at Gollem, which served it much colder, and I have to say that it was much better warmer.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2009 19:08:57 | More by bulletrain76
Photo of philipquarles


4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle. Pours orangey brown with a lot of sediment. Nice off-white head that sticks around and leaves some lacing. Smells incredibly sweet, with banana, brown sugar, spice, and a slight bit of alcohol warmth. Tastes of banana, brown sugar, and slightly toasty malt. Some bitterness and a good bit of alcohol burn. Feel is nice and velvety, without being syrupy. Slight warmth. Pretty nice overall. At least better than the oxidized Westvleteren I'm drinking it with.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2009 00:18:30 | More by philipquarles
Photo of cavedave

New York

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

The look of this less than a year old beauty (if I interpret the best by date correctly-put two others into the cellar for future comparison) is deep cloudy nearly opaque brown, with a dark beige shaving-cream-thick head that lasts, and fades slowly to an inch, leaving ample continents of lather-like lace.

Smell is an amazing blend of yeast, alcohol, spice (coriander? cardamom?), biscuit, toffee, raisin, cherry, peach brandy, and just a hint of herb and citrus. The complexity is astounding. Each sniff brings a differing wave of fragrance that sets my taste buds to alert.

The sip starts with yeast, caramel, and warm alcohol that seems to coddle my tongue as it introduces incredible amounts of brilliant flavor to the sip. The fruit and spice aromas of the nose now roll like a wave of delicious flavor across thankful taste buds. Peach, pear, raisin, currant, spice, a sweet backdrop, a bitter edge, an earthy undertone, all balanced into a sip that won't peak, a finish that doesn't end, like a wave that refuses to break. I'm mostly through the glass now. It has warmed near to room temp. and the alcohol has not become dominant, but all the other flavors have grown more pronounced, more delicious.

Mouthfeel is superb as well. It is like carbonated heaven upon the palate, cheeks, and tongue.

Drinkability ought to be judged within the style, and it is a solidly drinkable quad. I'd put it up against most dubbels and tripels I've tasted.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2009 21:21:21 | More by cavedave
Photo of dfolmste

New York

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

I had a bottle of this from Christmas and I was waiting for the right time to drink it. I would say graduation from college is it.

Appearance: The appearance of this is amazing. I had to pour quick as the foam was starting to gush out of the bottle. The head was so big it required two pours. A deep burgendy color. One of the best I've seen.

Smell: The smell was very strong even at fridge temps. As it warmed up, more smells became apparent. Plums, grapes, alcohol and candy.

Taste: Everything included in the smell. I was surprised by the sweetness and similarity to a dark wine of this brew. Normally I am not a huge fan of wine, but if it tasted like this I think I could learn. The alcohol bite, although well hidden, starts to be exposed as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel: Probably the best part about this beer. For all the complex flavors it has, the aftertaste is more of a lite coating with little residual flavor. The alcohol is minimal for a 10% beer. Perfectly smooth and rounded flavor.

Drinkability: This beer was great and I'll deffinately seek it out again, but one 750 mL bottle is more than enough. The alcohol kills your tastebuds towards the end, so I feel trying to drink more is just a waste.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2009 15:20:16 | More by dfolmste
Photo of LordAdmNelson


4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- About two inches of off-white head that retains pretty well. Nice dark apple-cider color with yeasty turbidity. Looks good.

S- Spicy, slightly vinous, slightly musty and a hint of alcohol.

T- Starts with a spicy, penolic/clove bite, slips into a malty sweetness, finishing with some alcohol. Well balanced and subtle. Finishes with a grapey, almost piney aftertaste. I like it. Slight yeast/must lingers in the background.

M- Medium bodied. Smooth and creamy. Slight prickle at the end.

D- Surprisingly drinkable. Delicious, I'm happy with this one after being slightly disappointed with the Tripel

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2009 18:05:12 | More by LordAdmNelson
Photo of ibbjamin


4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Paid $11.99 for a 750 ml corked and caged bottle from Perry's Liquor in Livermore, CA. Poured into a thick goblet and started to review at 52°F.

Very light, fizzy and highly carbonated off white head of about an inch. The bubble size in the head is very large. Opaque and seemingly cloudy. The color of dark caramel raisin. The head retains quite well at about a quarter of an inch. Minimal lacing.

Initial fruity esters of banana and fig, caramel and sweet malts. Moderate amounts of belgian spice and yeast add complexity.

Taste is similar to smell, but just one step even better.

The mouthfeel is exactly what a great belgian is. Thick, velvety smooth and highly drinkable. Moderately chewy, medium bodied.

This one is going to be a staple for me. Not as expensive as the Westy 12 or Rochefort 10 and I think it competes with either of them.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2009 02:04:08 | More by ibbjamin
Photo of smanders


4.03/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Cocoa brown color with a pillow-like head. The lacing is as intricate as a spider web.

Smell - raisins, clove, and charred wood.

Taste - Sweet malt with the lingering warmness of alcohol. Savor the flavor because you shouldn't be chugging this one.

Mouthfeel - motor oil, but in a good way.

Drinkability - If you can't/don't enjoy a good Belgian brew every now and then there's something misfiring in your wiring. A wonderful example of a "Quad."

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2009 19:05:37 | More by smanders
Photo of merryjoulton


4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown color with an impeccable off white head that sticks around the whole brew. Smells like spices, berries, malt, bread, tree fruits, even a hint of ocean breeze. Taste is even more impressive than the smell, very sweet and spicy--always a match made in heaven. Mouthfeel is smooth as silk, not a hint of the high ABV. I could easily throw back a few of these.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2009 03:19:32 | More by merryjoulton
Photo of cheapxceptbeer


4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

While I dont have time to do a full review, I dont know the next time I will have the pleasure of drinking this, sorry if this is completely useless.

Look is dark and murky, a very dark amber/brown. Great head to start, mediocre retention and lacing.
Smell is of dark fruit and brown sugar, very enticing.
Taste is dark fruit including plum, black cherry, and overripe berries. It also has a deep brown sugar flavor to it, no molasses like other dark beers of these variety. Booze has low presence due to sweet flavor, but is definitely there.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, this beer drinks like a meal, this will allow me to skip a meal, or at least delay during finals studying.
Drinkability- while I have savored this beer over 2 days due to its high alcohol content, this is a beer that I would happily imbibe (22 oz) if it were not for finals. Anything more than a 750 ml bottle is not only irresponsible, but I would also not drink that much of such a delicious beer and I am also not a millionaire. If I had no respect for good beer, I was a drunk, and I had expendable income I would bathe in this stuff, first class all the way.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2009 19:07:01 | More by cheapxceptbeer
Photo of siradmiralnelson


4.93/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 750 ml bottle into globe glass.

A. 2 finger head. Leaves nice lacing all along the glass. Dark brown with a reddish tint.

S. Dark fruit, raisins, plums. Sweetness, Spices, Caramel and alcohol.

T. Sweet, malt, hops , spice, all meshed into one unbelievable flavor. The eptiome of balance. Nice warming sensation the more you drink.

M. Very smooth full bodied. Perfect carbonation.

D. Exceptionally drinkable beer. This is one of if not my most favorite beers. What makes this beer so great is a complexity that is perfectly balanced into one of the better beers in the world.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2009 15:58:43 | More by siradmiralnelson
Photo of laituegonflable


3.3/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark, brown-tinged colour with ochre head, generous when first poured, now dissipating, leaving a thin film. Shit-hot thick lacing, looks great.

Very spicy and phenolic nose, kind of cherry-esque and almost musty. Quite interesting and I daresay very Belgian in character, with that spicey yeast. Very nice.

Quite malty on the palate with again, quite a sour flavour coming through, also very spicy with a peppery, Shiraz kind of character. A bit of a flat palate profile though, with only one note sounding. That one note is very complex and unique though, with hints of licorice, a lot of pepper and methinks a a fair hit of alcohol which gives it quite a burning mouthfeel, like a good slug of scotch. It if full though, and very interesting. Can't say I love it, but it's interesting and quite palatable.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2009 04:13:10 | More by laituegonflable
Photo of Thorpe429


4.18/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

G: Poured into a Chimay goblet.

A: Dark brown color with a slight haziness to it. Very nice lacing.

S: Plenty of yeast leaving behind spices and lots of dark fruit.

T: Lots of sweet malt backed up by undeniable Belgian yeast; some alcohol is present in the taste.

M: Very smooth and heavy-bodied. Fairly low carbonation.

D: Fairly drinkable; definitely a sipper. Not everything fits together perfectly, but a very good beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2009 00:07:47 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of RuudJH


4.13/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The tough Abt 12 has a quite a reputation. Naturally a must try.

Had this several times before. Sometimes the bottle is a real gusher.

Nice chestnut-colour, with beige head, thin but persistant.
Very fresh smell of herbs, also fruits like apricots or grapes, a bit of caramel and coffee.
I would say the taste is a balance between sour and sweet and spicy, and it also has robust flavours of malt, black coffee, even tobacco. the alcohol is present.
I'm uncertain to call this beer worldclass, but it's certainly a very good one. Good one for Christmas time.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2009 18:58:12 | More by RuudJH
Photo of EatsTacos

Yukon (Canada)

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

Pours a murky chustnut brown with a clumpy head. A lot of carbonation.

Aroma: Toasted brown sugar with a earthy hop profile. Dark dried fruits with a good dose of alcohol.

Taste: Musky and earthy from start to finish. Dark toasted/burnt brown sugar and a toasty, chewy malt backbone which is largely caramel and toffee. The hop character is spicey but distinct from the flavours of the belgian yeast. Alcohol is warming and isn't completely hidden.

Mouthfeel: More full bodied than any tripel or dubbel, with a lot of sharp carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2009 14:15:26 | More by EatsTacos
Photo of grayburn

South Carolina

4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

She pours a murky marroon with a huge tan head. The lacing is beautiful and the retention is perfect. Beautiful beer.

The smell is dominated by some clove and apricot notes. There is some alcohol hiding around that peeks out a bit as the beer warms up. Every 2-3 degrees of warming (from 50 degrees) the beer changes a note. There almost seems a bit of a funky sour note, which really blends nicely.

The taste again shows just a touch of a sour note, followed nicely by some caramel and toffee notes. There is a huge fruit presence in the background that leaves your tongue curious for a while. Very impressive.

The mouthfeel starts with a firework show of carbonation, which carries the alcohol in this brew like nobody's business. The finish is longer than most romantic comedies. Such a complex and amazing brew.

I could drink a good bit of this if I were to throw caution to the wind. An excellent beer and worth buying by the case. Trust the happy monk.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2009 05:48:05 | More by grayburn
Photo of zachisspeaking


4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I bought a bottle of this beer at the local beer shop, and had a glass after my stew lunch. The tase, exceptional. The smell---okay for a bottle.

But later that night I went over to Bob's Keg and Cork, and serendipity or providence had it that Bob had this beer on tap. It wasn't there last saturday.

The freshness is impossible to describe; a trappist beer on tap is heaven with a creamy head.

This is the quintessential Belgian Quad. No immitators, even New Belgium's Lips of Faith Series, can match this nearly.

At 10 percent alcohol, you can't feel it. It is such a well balanced brew. The malts are not too dominant; the bitter character is reminiscent of angustoro.

Serving type: on-tap

04-26-2009 11:06:32 | More by zachisspeaking
Photo of dogfishandi

New York

4.15/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into oversized wine glass at cellar temp. 10% alcohol as listed on the bottle. pours a very dark brown, pretty much black. tons of chunks floating around, very cloudy. a bubbly off white head. amazing retention, all the way to the end of the glass. terrific sticky lacing. looks great.

a very sweet aroma, dark fruits, sweet malts, grape like sweetness. its all there, very complex.

grape like sweetness, gives way to some wonderful dark fruits. slight alcohol taste. sweet maltiness. has a dry dark fruity finish. only a touch of alcohol heat. leaves longing for more. very complex. it gets better the more you let it sit and open up.

medium to heavy mouthfeel. sour like champagne like carbonation that settles out towards the end. about as good drinkability as any 10% beer, but very enjoyable. i recommend to any belgian lover.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2009 02:15:49 | More by dogfishandi
Photo of aggiearcher13


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

Had on tap at Monroe St. Bistro last night.

A: Poured into the proper glassware, a dark beer with a slight off-white head.

S: Kind of boozy and raisins, lots of raisins.

T: Raisin cola??? It's good, boozy and estery, a lot of flavors coming out as it warms. Dark fruit, maybe something kind of like pear also.

M: Low carbonation, great for the style, great body, just wonderful.

D: Well, at 10.5% it's hardly a session beer, but I'd have more than one if someone else was driving.

Serving type: on-tap

04-23-2009 20:36:45 | More by aggiearcher13
Photo of jwinship83


3.9/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle with a best before march 26, 2013 on it poured into a tulip. bottle says 10%abv on it.

A- this one pours a very dark and murky brown with a small long lasting cream colored head that leaves alot of sticky lacing behind. small carbonation bubbles can be seen rising to the top of the glass.

S- the nose is dominated by belgian yeast as well as sweet bready and fruity malts. lots of dark fruit. raisins/tobacco, figs, plums, and cherries. very spicy as well with a small trace of alcohol.

T- very sweet and malty. the dark fruits i noticed in the nose are all there. plums, cherries, figs, and raisins/tobacco. very sugary.

M- light bodied and highly carbonated. what i expect from the style. slight warming form the alcohol, which is well hidden for being as high as it is.

D- easy enough to finish, but not my favorite of the style. something ill come back to, just not for a while.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2009 03:05:44 | More by jwinship83
Photo of stumac


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

This particular bottle is around 2 years aged...

pours up a deep mahogany color with a grand tan crown. great lacing. the nose is deep malts, wood, earth, chocolate, dark fruits, caramel, Belgian candy sugar, slight tart strawberries. Superb! the taste is nice and complex. I get basically the same characters that were in the aroma and its oh so good! dark fruits, sweet malts, caramel apple, high fizzy carbo and medium to full bodied. Always a classic!

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2009 02:38:15 | More by stumac
Photo of mobud


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

Bottle into chalice @ cellar temp.

A- Dark and ruby with an oatmeal head. Small tight bubbles with a nice head that slow goes with the sample.

S- A pleasant boozy smell that is closer to a rich wine than a beer. Usually that turns me off, but this beer uses that to draw one in to its charms.

T- So much going on here, that words escape me. The malt base holds up a very fruity and fig rocking beer. There is an easy sweetness that changes as the beer warms.

M- Medium that goes down nice and easy. The active carbonation smooths out the alcohol that is very obivious.

D- I can't add any more to the joys that have been written about this beer. The bottle I had was around 8 months old and I would have liked to have given it a bit longer, but things do not always work out that way.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2009 18:44:57 | More by mobud
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 6,999 ratings.