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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 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.

bump8628, Feb 27, 2010
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.

Beejay, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of FreshHawk
4.65/5  rDev +4%

A - Deep hazy brown with a red hue. Good sized creamy, and tan head. Good amount of lacing left over.

S - Sweet bready malt paired with dark sugar and molasses. Dark fruit (plum, raisin, date, cherry) and licorice. Also a good amount of spice, specifically clove.

T - Similar to smell, with a lot of dark bready malts and dark sugar along with the above mentioned fruit make up a large amount of the taste. Also the spices (clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, anise) are quite prevalent. Alcohol is quite hidden, although there is a hint of it.

M - Full to medium body with adequate carbonation. Really creamy and smooth.

D - Really nice to sip. Smooth creamy and full, and provides a warming, but not necessarily all from the alcohol. Sweet but not cloying, really complex and a new flavor every sip provides a new mix of flavors.

Notes: Really nice beer with lots of complex flavors. A lot of spice in this beer. Good example of the style and a good example of craft beer in general.

FreshHawk, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of PsychoJedi
4.85/5  rDev +8.5%

Really great beer. Very smooth and easy to drink. Nice dark color with a tint of red. Head stays the same in this draft beer. I could drink this beer all day if it didn't cost $10 a glass where I am drinking it at. Would recommend it to anyone. Alcohol is noticeable when drinking it. Try not to drink it too fast!

Verdict: Must drink this beer. Not just try it, but like it and drink more of it. If you do not like it, seek medical help.

PsychoJedi, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of cpmichael
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%

A. A dark/ inviting belgian

S: Sweet and Fruity. Coffee/ Caramel dominate the olfactory senses. Is it weird to say I enjoy smelling this beer as much as drinking it? I do.

T: An almost perfect balance between sweet/fruity and malts. Full bodied. This beer has a lot of character. It's a real treat.

M: Little carbonation. Very easy to drink. Smooth and soothing on the way down.

D: I could easily drink another bottle of this. Very easy to drink. Could be dangerous if one didn't know their ABV's.

This is one of my favorite quad's. Cheap, uber drinkable. An all around great deal. I can't imagine someone being dissatisfied with this beer.

cpmichael, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of Zaplt
4/5  rDev -10.5%

Appearance - very dark, orangish tones, head retention is not amazing.

Smell - sweet candy, sweetness is more apparent - spice is also pretty apparent and citrus...

Taste - a bit thin? Spiciest, there is a tartiness, grape, dark fruity sweetness. is slightly unpleasant for some reason, the thinness of other quads I am tasting.

Overall - not that impressive to be honest, I expected a lot better. Somewhat weak in taste - but well brewed. Essentially I think it should not be tasted next to the Rochefort in my opinion.

Zaplt, Feb 17, 2010
Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%

This is one of my favorite beers. Had it several times but never reviewed it fir some reason. I'm glad I can get this one fairly easily.

Poured into my St. Bernardus Glass, it pours a deep brown with a thin very light tan head that stays pretty much the whole time. No real lacing.

Smells of dark fruits and caramel sweetness

Tastes of dark fruits and dark caramel and burnt sugar. This one tasts newer because it has a little alcohol burn. But if you have ever had one with a little age on it it is amazing.

mouthfeel is typical for the style. Thin and higher carb.

Overall I will drink this many times in the future. It's pretty high ABV to drink several in a row but it is very tasty

PeprSprYoFace, Feb 17, 2010
Photo of bum732
4.38/5  rDev -2%

Pours a dark reddish brown, nice bubbly head with great retention. Smells of bready malt, clove like spices, caramel, dark fruits, cinnamon, brown sugar. Tastes of sweet spicy malt with a caramel candy backbone. Good spicy clove and cinnamon. Nice spicy bitterness. Finishes with some alcohol and spiciness, somewhat sweet like with brown sugar. Nice creamy mouthfeel, full bodied.

A really solid beer, lots of great layers and bold flavors working together in harmony. Best quad i've had so far, definitely a sipper and definitely for dessert.

bum732, Feb 16, 2010
Photo of joshstevens87
4.03/5  rDev -9.8%

served in a snifter
A-pours a blackish brown with an inch or so of a light tan head
S-really fruit nose a nice blend of light and dark fruit (apples, banana, pear, raisin, fig)a nice background scent of yeast with a bit of alcohol
T-a nice fruit with a lighter varieties mention above a bit more prevelant definately taste alot lighter colored than it appears theres also a good amount of yeast present with a nice warming alcohol finish which is not as well hidden as other quads
M-medium body and highly carbonated giving it a crisp and refrshing feel but just a bit overly carbonated
D-very drinkable a solid taste but with a high abv definately a beer you could have around three of but not really to enjoy all night unless total intoxication and dropping alot of change is your goal

joshstevens87, Feb 16, 2010
Photo of GLM0011
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%

The quad from St. Bernardus. Little bottles poured into a tulip glass.A sipper slowly enjoyed. Smooth,smooth beer.One of the smoothest out there. Alcohol hides very well. I enjoy this one as it gets warmer. Great beer to have with friends. I dont drink this alone.Sociable beer. High drinkability and always enjoyed with good music.Thanx St. Bernardus.

GLM0011, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of runningjoke
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%

Pours a mahogany color with a creamy white head that falls to a galactic looking cream web on brown. Like granma's doiley on the dining room table.
Smells of over ripe apples, Allspice, and booze soaked Roman Meal bread.
Taste follows the nose exactly but has that hot characteristic that I have come to enjoy.
Prickly carbonation moves this along, doesn't seem to want to linger but leaves you eagerly raising the glass for the next sip.
This beer could get away from you and give you one of those hangovers you deem well worth the headache.
One of my favorites.

runningjoke, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of mdfb79
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%

a - Pours a darker brown color with 2 fingers of an off white foam with decent retention and moderate carbonation.

s - Smells of yeast, some sweet fruits and malts, maybe a little alcohol.

t - Tastes of sweet malts, some apples/fruit, bread, yeast, and a tiny bit of alcohol which becomes more apparent in the aftertaste.

m - I would say a medium body that is smooth and not very carbonated.

d - Overall I thought this was a very good Belgian quad. It smelled and tasted great, and was a very nice, smooth balance between sweeter malts and bread/yeast. Would love to have this again, the only thing aganist it might be that the 10.5% ABV will limit the amount you'd have in one night.

mdfb79, Feb 12, 2010
Photo of tigg924
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%

Appearance: 1 inch head, cloudy, brownish/red in color, high carbonation

Smell: apple, fig, and brown sugar

Taste: candied apple, Belgian spices, fig, alcohol, and brown sugar

Mouthfeel: high carbonation, crisp, sweet with an alcohol burn, medium/light bodied.

Drinkability: An excellent and refreshing beer that I could have several of. My favorite from the brewery is still the six though. I do like the apple/brown sugar taste.

tigg924, Feb 11, 2010
Photo of TMoney2591
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%

Served in a St. Bernardus chalice.

Pours a very dark brown, with lighter walnut tinges along the edges. The finger-thick head half dies, leaving a lovely creamy remainder that laces very well. The aroma is sweet and tangy, with a nice, effervescent fruitiness dominating. The taste corroborates the nose, with those fruits coming back with a sweet vengeance (those lovely malts!), including a hint of molasses/maple syrup all the way in the back. The body is a heavy medium, but does not sit poorly; rather it stands at attention, saluting, declaring itself, but not overpowering.

TMoney2591, Feb 08, 2010
Photo of DenverLogan
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Yeah...this could be a benchmark for Belgian strong dark - quad beers. Absolutely lovely fresh or aged up to 7 or more years. Beautifully balanced malt body of rich dark fruit, raisins, toffee, roasted malts, dark chocolate all blended together where none stands out overwhelmingly. Big alcohol but not hot. Great with soups. meat or rich vegie dishes, deserts. I've had this in Belgium, in various states, on tap, in small, big, and very big bottles. This is a great beer to serve fresh or after years of aging. I should add that while my rating across the board indicates 5.0, I can't add my own specific point rating, say, 4.6 for mouthfeel. There's a few beers I might want to rate higher, but this is definitely in the running for a dessert island beer. Exceptional!

DenverLogan, Feb 07, 2010
Photo of mdwalsh
4.1/5  rDev -8.3%

I picked up at 750 mL of this beer in Chicago because I had heard it was a great stand in for Westy 12, the best beer in the world. If it is, I do not need to get a Westy, I was sorely disappointed. I even drank this on my one year anniversary for being a BA as my 250th review. What a let down.

A: Three finger tan head on top, medium-brown beer with decent active carbonation on bottom. Less lace than I would expect to see here. All in all, ok looking, but not amazingly beautiful.

S: Here I get a mild roast, and some mild Belgian yeast, but not much. Neither is there a lot of the Belgian Candi Sugar. It's pretty weak and really just needs to be stronger.

T: Similar to the smell, mild roast, mild yeast. There's a little bit of a sour taste, the good kind for a Belgian, though perhaps not a Quad. It's still just not full bodied enough.

M: Can't stress it enough, too light! But it is very very smooth and has perfect carbonation.

D: Can't argue with the drinkability here. It went down perfectly smooth, and I wouldn't have suspected 10.5% abv.

mdwalsh, Feb 02, 2010
Photo of jxhowell
4.47/5  rDev 0%

Poured a garnet color with an off-white foamy 1 finger head

Initially aromas of bread and yeast fill the nose. As the head slowly fades you begin to smell ripe fruit, brown sugar and spiced rum

Initially clove and spice esters, rich ripe fruits such as plums and dates with a slight drying sour aftertaste

Effervescent with rich full body that lingers near the middle of the tongue and slowly covers you entire tongue with bubbles and ends with a slight dry finish.

Rich and enjoyable like a decadent dessert. Perfect for the style but definitely too rich to be a session beer.

This is my favorite Belgian Quadrupel and in my opinion even compares with more exotic and rare versions of the style only available in Belgium. It's even more enjoyable with age and at 10.5% ABV it can age for quite some time with no adverse effects.

jxhowell, Feb 01, 2010
Photo of Chrisco88
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

Appearance: Pours a murky deep brown (borderline black). An inch or so of off-white, foamy head lasts a good while, so long in fact that it was a bit annoying. The head is quite dense and frothy.

Aroma: Not very aromatic due to the massive, thick head. With some swirling and settling I caught a little bit of the dark fruit notes. Smells a bit like dry champagne to me, maybe a touch of alcohol.

Taste: What a complex beer we have here! First hit with dark fruit flavors, reminded me of red wine so I thought maybe grapes, currants, cherries or plums. I get a slight taste of some malts in there but the carbonation really brings out the fruit above all else. Not much bitterness if any. Aftertaste dominated by a dry alcoholic taste.

Palate: Good effervescence makes for a crisp, dry finish but overall the beer goes down smooth and is perfectly balanced in the mouth.

Overall: Definitely a new favorite, excellent Belgian ale in every way. The interesting esters and hints of malt combined with the ability to hide an ABV of 10% make this a deceptively drinkable brew. By all means grab a bottle and find out for yourself, a glass or two later and you'll be damn satisfied- and DRUNK!

Chrisco88, Feb 01, 2010
Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.7/5  rDev +5.1%

Poured into a Chimay goblet from a 11.2oz bottle.

A - Pours a nice medium to light brown with a nice off white head that recedes to a thin film with a ring around the glass.

S - Sweet malt aroma, with dark caramel hints and some perceived alcoholic esters that are very attractive. Some mild yeast character as well as some phenols can be perceived. Very attractive smell.

T - Very attractive malty sweetness with some grain finish. Sourdough bread comes to mind. The alcohol warmth is felt rapidly and is very attractive. There is some very mild perceived bitterness at the back end. The phenols in the nose aren't as present in the tongue. There is some yeasty flavors as well.

M - Nice smooth and creamy mouthfeel with some nice CO2 character like most Belgian beers. Very nice and warming. Nice for the winter months.

D - Very high except for the higher ABV. A 750 ml bottle would be enough.

JoEBoBpr, Jan 31, 2010
Photo of Stimack
4.47/5  rDev 0%

Was able to pick this brew up in my last trip to the store. Had been looking for it for a while but just had not been carried. The brew pours to a deep murky brown color with a small to medium tan had that has a creamy consistence, good retention and has left a fair amount of lacing. The aroma of this brew is a nice mix of malts, dark fruit (Plums and cherries) , candy sugar and a yeast slurry. Really inviting aromas for this one. Has a excellent favor, malts come through here and make a great base, slight caramel flavor. Fruit seems to be there - raisons, plums and slight cherry flavors. Slight port like flavor that really goes well with everything, seems to linger a bit on the tongue - excellent. Some sweetness is there that is real nice, candy sugar, and is not over the top. Has a slight spice to it as well. This one drinks very well, goes down smooth, can't believe that it is 10+%. Overall this is a simply excellent brew, I really can not see a major flaw with anything.

Stimack, Jan 28, 2010
Photo of BARFLYB
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%

11.2oz bottle into a St. Bernardus Tulip late at night. Review numero 550.

Bernie 12, rustic burnt wood brown and spots of faded orange around the sides. Parts of the liquid look darker than others while the upper half has a dirty tap water thing going for it, I like it. Floating particles of Belgium yeast among other things in suspension. Even with the aggressive pour the yield of dark ivory foam comes to 1/2 an inch. Old cobweb lacing that does not stick at all. I expected a bumpier head with mountain peaks.

Twelves' nose is muted in distance with a less than pungent effect but what's there is good, you just gotta sniff it out. Possibly the best nose out of all the Belgium Quad's IMO, Bernie spits forth sweet sugar out the ying yang with a candi like sweetness. Turbinado sugar, plums, slight caramel/toffee mix, toasted malt, more dark fruit, and more suga on top. Some melted chocolate in the finish.

12 is well rounded and while the sweet sugar is very prevalent in the nose, it does not make for a cloying mess, this melds almost perfectly. Candi sugar graciously sprinkled on top of a bed of plums with caramel covered apple slices. This is very light on the raisins and I'm grateful. Toasted malt and the huge amount of yeast and particles made for a bready/doughy. Did I mention that the 10.5% does not come into play at all, this drinks more like 6.8%.

The feel is smooth like baby skin with a sweet start, a fruity middle, and a yeasty ending, I might as well call it a 'happy ending' cause the alcohol presence is zilch. Not hot at all, it's actually amazing. I thought I was drinking iced tea in the summer. The feel is a strong medium with just enough carb to not linger, but enough to showcase the flavors.

Let's face it, everytime I have a small bottle of this, I always kick myself for not getting the 750ml version for two reasons, one being that I just have a craving for more and this is easy drinking. Two being that there is no way to not get the dregs/yeast of a small bottle into your glass, trust me, I've tried on several occasions. I would like to fill two snifters of 12, the 1st being a clean quad, with the 2nd being a dirty pour, I expect the differences to be slight but noticeable.

This is a beer that everybody needs to try once. I try to have at least two every year. This may be my favorite out of the St. Bernardus lineup but it's in a tight race with the Pator 8, that stuff is also excellent.

BARFLYB, Jan 27, 2010
Photo of 220emaple
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%

The thing that I love about this beer is the almost hidden alcohol flavor. It's 10.5% but can pass as 7%.

The color is a very dark, murky brown. The head ends quickly and has very little lacing when poured into my tulip.

Very drinkable but unfortunately expensive--best for special occasions.

220emaple, Jan 27, 2010
Photo of Longhorn22
4.68/5  rDev +4.7%

A - This beer doesn't look very appealing. I gave it a 3.5 because after i poured it, the head lasted until I finished drinking it. The lacing was very thick, and there was a little "iceberg" of floating froth left for most of the drinking "experience". The drawback is that the beer is medium dark brown and murky looking.

S - The smell is not very powerful, but the actual scent is good. It just isn't especially strong. It smells sweet and subtle, which is an achievement with the high alcohol content.

T - The taste is great. This is truly a world class beer in terms of taste. It is remarkably sweet, and barely any taste of alcohol. It sort of has a lambic berry taste to it, but it isn't as strong as a lambic. It has some darker nutty/smoky flavor as well.

M - The beer has a good amount of carbonation, and it feels very considerable in your mouth, yet, it goes down very easily. It has a little over 10% alcohol, but I wouldn't have noticed had it not been clearly stated on the front.

D - This gets top marks for drinkability because it is so smooth while having such a high alcohol content. I have a harder time finishing a bud light than this beer.

Bottom line: This beer is sweet, strong, and smooth with a high alcohol content that you wouldn't expect with the amazing flavor. The flavor and drinkability are top notch, and the only draw back is the appearance.

Longhorn22, Jan 26, 2010
Photo of Maltoftheearth
4.68/5  rDev +4.7%

My first go w/ Abt 12 this weekend... WOW!

A: Dark brown color with a foamy rich head that dissipated rather fast for me.

S: Lots going on here. Nice yeast with fruit notes. Somewhat roasted but not much. Tough to describe.

T: Whoa. It's great. Sweet with enough alcohol to let you know it's not for kids. Some fruit, but lots of sweet malts. Too much for a small review.

F/D: Yep it's a quad. Not for the faint of heart. Big on the mouth and a lot to swallow. I would drink this everyday if I could.

This is a huge sweet Belgian and yes it lives up to its name. Stop reading about it and drink it.

Maltoftheearth, Jan 24, 2010
Photo of TheFightfan1
4.65/5  rDev +4%

pours a muddy brown color. Thick fluffy white heading that dissappears into nothing in just a few short seconds.No lacing to speak of.

Smell is awesome. Very malty and yeasty a bit of creaminess in the nose as well.A subtle spiciness as well.

Taste has a little bit of everything in a great Belgian beer. Smooth malty background with a heavy fruity yeastiness that kick's in. Finishes up very spicey on the tongue and peppery.

Mouth is full bodied with some good carbonation after you swoosh it around a bit. Smooth and peppery along with a fruit kick.

Drink is good for a 10.5 ABV this is easily enjoyable for any type of beer drinker.

TheFightfan1, Jan 24, 2010
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,363 ratings.