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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.

7,269 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,269
Reviews: 2,488
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 409
Gots: 1,054 | 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: 7,269 | Reviews: 2,488 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of biggred1


4.47/5  rDev 0%

Dark russet brown with a big stiff airy tan head that leaves nice spiderweb lace on the glass as it slowly settles. Aromas of dark fruit, fresh bread dough and belgian spice make for a really good nose. Dark fruit, rum, apples, cinnamon and fresh baked bread come to mind, complexity grows with each sip, alcohol is fairly well hidden. Very high carbonation adds to the drinkability on this one. A truly world class beer.

08-28-2009 23:57:56 | More by biggred1
Photo of woosterbill


4.33/5  rDev -3.1%

750ml corked and caged into a Duvel tulip. No "best by" date, but it says it could age for 15 years, so who cares? I did buy it recently, though, so I suspect it's fresh.

A: Pours a dark brown, cloudy body with scarlet highlights topped with a large, persistent beige head. The first pour leaves surprisingly little lace, while the second fully refreshes the head and leaves lots of sticky lace - interesting.

S: Very sweet, with dark fruits (plums and figs) predominating. Some spice as well. Very inviting.

T: Carries through all the flavors adumbrated in the smell, plus a deeper level of Belgian candi sugar and just a touch of drying hoppiness on the finish. Delicious.

M: In a word, perfect. Medium-to-full bodied with rich, velvety carbonation. Simply beautiful.

D: The alcohol isn't completely hidden, but neither does it make me keep from wishing for another 750 right now. Pretty good.

Notes: Perhaps not quite as complex as I had been hoping, but still a truly stellar beer and a great example of the quad style. Awesome.


08-27-2009 02:44:14 | More by woosterbill
Photo of SpdKilz


4.35/5  rDev -2.7%

Poured in a Russian River stemmed glass and as a celebration for starting my second year of law school today.

Appearance - Pours out a very nice dark oak looking color with a redish tint. Poured slowly then a bit faster right at the end which produced about a finger and a half of beige head that is...yep...still almost all there after pouring this ten minutes ago. There is the beginning of some very thick lacing being left on the glass. Looks absolutely inviting.

Smell - The first thing I get a waft of is figs/prunes. I smell spices, fruits (dark fruits) and a bit of chocolate. The aromas are being carried around my outside porch as I eagerly await to try this beer.

Taste - I can taste the sweetness initially and with the bubbles of carbonation hitting my tongue instantly. The spices become prevalent with the malt sweetness continuing throughout and also toffee. It finishes with a warming touch (Edit - Wow...I can definitely feel this warming all the way down - I've only taken a few sips and each sip I get an uncanny "warm" feeling).

Mouthfeel - Moderate in body and decently carbonated - you can feel the prickling of the bubbles on your tongue and honestly it feels pretty good. Creamy goodness.

Drinkability - I would say relatively drinkable for a beer of this caliber and ABV, though quite honestly I feel it does not hide the alcohol as well as I thought it might be able to (in comparison to other higher ABV beers). However, this is not a problem for me because I am thoroughly enjoying it on my porch with the coolness around me. It makes me feel nice and warm inside.

08-25-2009 04:59:04 | More by SpdKilz
Photo of Aenema


4.33/5  rDev -3.1%

Bottle code: 08-05-13
Appearance - Deep, dark brown with an off-white, soapy head. Murky. This was a gusher.
Smell - Nose is mostly fig and raisin.
Taste - Dark fruit, fig, raisin. Quite complex, lots to this. Slightly overly sweet.
Mouthfeel - Creamy, full-bodied. Although it has a coating, luscious feel, it is not thick or syrupy. Moderate carbonation.
Drinkability - Very drinkable for such a flavorful, intense beer.

08-24-2009 02:54:55 | More by Aenema
Photo of saztheorybook


3.95/5  rDev -11.6%

Poured into an oversized wine glass.
A- A dark purple like that of a dark, dark plum with a head that wasn't so stable at first but soon calmed down and left terrific lacing.
S- Yeasty with a very fruity touch. Almost an artificial grape character.
T- Caramelly sweet up front with warm esters in back. Cocoa-y notes in the middle. Goes down with some severe heat. Oaky finish.
M- Excessive carbonation seems to be the St. Bernardus MO, which I loved in the tripel but dug a little less in this one. Toward the end of the beer it mellowed out and became quite nice.
D-There was honestly a bit too much heat in this bottle for my taste. It warmed me more than I expect from any beer. I'll have it again some time, but I will not be rushing out to buy another bottle any time soon.

08-23-2009 23:38:53 | More by saztheorybook
Photo of wordemupg

Alberta (Canada)

4.6/5  rDev +2.9%

330ml bottle poured into corsendonk chalice aug22 2009
thank you paul for my late birthday present this was worth the wait(how did you know a bernardus triple and quad?)

A open near a sink this one explodes. deep dark brown, a fair bit of sediment, thick tan head that has very good retention and leaves lots of lace

S also quite nice, banana, lots of spice, dark fruits and booze.
this is very complex, this beer has a lot going on

T a little sweeter than it smells and a bit more yeast, but other than that it tastes as it smells and that is a good thing

M creamy but not overly thick, good carbonation, nothing too complain about here

D its a good thing i only have one of these cause its way too easy too drink. for a 10% beer this should not be this smooth, i would not ask for anything more when it comes too easy drinking. i dont like too give out 5's but i did not have a choice with this one

a wonderful beer! i would love too drink one thats been in a cellar for a few years. buy it drink it any questions?

08-22-2009 22:07:18 | More by wordemupg
Photo of kegger22


4.28/5  rDev -4.3%

Pours brown with a generous head that stays there throughout the sampling. The aroma was sweet, malty and syrupy. The taste didn't match the syrupy sweetness that the aroma implied, but still sweet, nutty and bubbly. The feel was medium bodied but rolled onto the tongue on a wave of carbonated ball bearings. Drinkability: I was able to knock down a bomber with no difficulties, but a second one would have been a stretch. All in all, not my favorite quad (Rochefort 10), but a damn fine beer.

08-22-2009 19:07:07 | More by kegger22
Photo of fiver29


4.28/5  rDev -4.3%

Bottle pours a very dark brown color. Head is a tan color and retention is very long. Smells like yeast and alcohol. Tastes like alcohol with some mild fruit flavors. The dark fruits meld together to form a nice complex drink. Very smooth on the palate which makes it easy to drink.

08-21-2009 19:52:45 | More by fiver29
Photo of KCHopHead


4.15/5  rDev -7.2%

Had a few times but still hadn't reviewed. I have two people who claim this to be favorites, but I still don't see the attraction. This is a good quad though, but not the best I've had.

A - Dark chesnut color. Some floaties. Thin head.
S - Yeasty with some alcohol. Sweet smell.
T - Good malt sweetness taste with some alcohol. If you search for it you can find a cocoa taste.
M - Great mouth feel for a quad getting the carbonation and balance right.
D - I could down a 750 ml of this pretty easily.

I find this interesting how this is not a Trappist product, but how the knock-offs can taste quite a bit better than the real thing.

08-19-2009 13:40:39 | More by KCHopHead
Photo of crossovert


4.65/5  rDev +4%

11.2 oz yellow/baby blue labeled bottle. The hype on this beer is really high, I will try not to think of it in this review.

Gushes slightly when it is uncapped, but I sniffed the initial whiff (tropical fruit blast) and poured it before it over flowed, it was just a very slow gush. Pours with a nice 3 finger off white head into my Duvel glass. Head stays for a little while before receding. A blanket of foam still covers the liquid. The thick, creamy lacing/head has little specs in it.

The beer is a very dark, murky brown. There is a hint of red. Tons of little things, yeast and more, are floating around in there.

After letting the oxygen mingle with it for a while I give it a smell. It smells very rich, almost creamy. Has a ripe banana/plum/peach/dried apple scent, along with some bubble gum twang. Theres also some spices in there including clove and pepper. I can also smell a faint bit of chocolaty roasted malt and a kiss of hops. You can pick up on the alcohol a little bit, it prickles your nostrils ever so slightly and warms them.

The carbonation is really biting and I like it. Mouthfeel is utterly superb, some what thin at first but with a thicker, stickier smooth finish. This aids in the taste of a million flavors. Nice sweetness, though not too cloying, and the alcohol shows up just a bit, warming as it does down. Some nice roasted bitterness in the aftertaste. A massive flavor.

Overall, this is a great Trappist style ale, and for a quad it isn't too sweet. This is one you sit back, sip, and appreciate what the brewers have done.

08-19-2009 00:36:09 | More by crossovert
Photo of sisuspeed

New Hampshire

4.72/5  rDev +5.6%

Poured the bottle into a tulip shaped glass. The color has a reddish-brown rose-like hue to it with a nice big foamy white head. The smell is wonderful. Candied fruits, malts, and some spice.

The flavor of this beer is exceptional. Smooth maltiness, mixing with a creamy head. Fruit notes on the tongue and candy. Delicious.

The mouthfeel is very smooth, aside from some warming of the alcohol. Even with that being said, I find this beer highly drinkable. I could easily have more than one of these in a sitting. However, tonight is special since I'm cracking open my first Westy 12 after this to do a head to head comparison. Can't wait.

08-16-2009 00:50:39 | More by sisuspeed
Photo of abuliarose

New Hampshire

4.38/5  rDev -2%

Phew! Cracked the cap and the foam rises to the top of the bottle in an eager head. This beer's been sitting in the fridge for a few days, too, with nothing to disturb it! Poured into a tulip glass.

Cloudy plum red color with tasty-looking bubbles nucleating from points on the inner glass surface. Smells alcoholic, fruity, a little spicy and a little sour. The fruity flavor reminds me of fig and alcohol-soaked fruitcake (the good kind that they age for awhile where all the fruit is stewed in alcohol first), followed by a hint of malt. Spilled some on the table while attempting to swat the team of fruit flies that have flocked towards the aroma.

Tastes sweet and sharp with alcohol. The carbonation is light and permeating, letting the hop bitterness through after a few sips. Very warming. Candied fruit comes to mind, but the kind that's so candied you can't tell the original fruit anymore. Slightly spicy, but quite smooth on the tongue and medium-bodied.

For a quad, I find it pretty well done. The strength and sweetness of the beer is tempered by its complexity and tastiness. It's still a sipper, to be sure, but not like other quads where a few sips will do you.

08-16-2009 00:48:27 | More by abuliarose
Photo of DerBayer


4/5  rDev -10.5%

This was quite a good beer and I made the following observations

Pours a darker than expected chestnut colour

Smell citurssy with caramel and dark fruit slightly vinegarry

Taste is much the same but the alcohol is more overpowering than in stronger beers I ve had and spoils the fun omewhat

Mouthfeel is very sparkly with a light body and surprisingly creamy

Really quite good but only one at a time please

08-12-2009 15:55:11 | More by DerBayer
Photo of TLove

District of Columbia

4.68/5  rDev +4.7%

(From Notes)

This beer is exceptional. The flavors meld together so incredibly well. The consistency, finish, and yeastiness are all reminiscent of many favorite characteristics of other beers of various styles.

750 ml bottle poured into Chimay goblet.

Great light brown, hazy color with rich, full body and super creamy head. Roasted malt smell with an abundance of sweetness and sourness from dark fruits. Hop and yeast flavors combine simultaneously to round out the tartness and sweetness and greatly enhance the taste. Fig, banana, toffee, plum, nutmeg, and milk chocolate.

Carbonation is perfect, allowing the soft and supple tastes to flow through to the end. Wet and grainy on the back end, but very creamy and very smooth.

08-11-2009 21:56:47 | More by TLove
Photo of projectflam86


4.4/5  rDev -1.6%

A- Pours a deep dark brown color with a thin off white head that leaves some scattered lace.

S- Roasted malt and biscuit aromas. Some spice, clove, and dark fruits round out the nose.

T- Rich roasted malt flavor with lots of sweetness. A bit of a sour tart flavor initially which gives way to sweet plum, dates, fig, apples, clove, tobacco, and pear tastes that finish sweet. The signature 'Belgian yeast' flavor is all over this one. A touch of caramel and brown sugar with a nice biscuit/bread/grain taste that acts as a solid backbone to the layers of fruits and sweetness.

M- Medium/full body with lots carbonation. Alcohol is apparent but not overboard.

D- There is a reason that this is so highly rated. Great Belgian flavor with loads of complexity. Nice sipping brew.

08-10-2009 04:36:58 | More by projectflam86
Photo of bsp77


4.38/5  rDev -2%

So I was at a liquor store simply for a tasting and was NOT going to buy anything. I had my two and a half year old with me. Right before I left, she was being very squirmy and I set her down. She ran over and grabbed a bottle of Abt 12 and said "Here daddy, beer for you!". Now once again, I was not going to buy anything, but when even a two and a half year old knows about Abt 12...

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into my large Goblet.

Appearance: Very dark reddish-brown with lots of floaties (I poured everything in as I like the yeast). Very foamy, sticky head that mostly subsides.

Smell: Plums, raisins, cloves and a definite musty smell.

Taste: I get a predominate taste of musty dark fruit - that sounds bad but it's not. Strong notes of clove, molasses, butter and alcohol are also evident.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, very chewy but relatively light all things considering. Very warming from the alcohol.

Drinkability: Sip, sip, sip. No matter how good this beer is, I would have a hard time really wanting a second one. Of course, it is still fantastic.

Despite everything great I have heard, I still prefer some other Quads/Strong Darks, such as Scaldis Noel and Delirium Nocturnum.

08-08-2009 02:50:03 | More by bsp77
Photo of Stunner97

New Jersey

4.88/5  rDev +9.2%

Appearance- beautiful bottle but now on to the appearance of the beer---, dark cloudy brown, but still slightly transparent, murky alot going on, nice white head starts thick and stays there slightly, nice look

Smell- wow delicious smell first smell is absolutely milk chocolate yummy, then slight malts and spices, but domination of the smell of cocoa and chocolate to me just so delicious in smell

Taste- very nice long lasting finish, beautiful spice and yeast tingle your tongue, still a definite chocolate and sweet malt flavor that I find to be just so delicious, has that nice belgian style yeast and spice finish, very lovely and balanced beer displaying sweetness but not cloying or overly so, delicate complex and unique,

Drinkabality- this beer is so so drinkable its dangerous never once did i ever feel as if it was a 10 percent beer, with the hype around this beer I was nervous if it would live up to it, I feel it definitely did as it is by far to me the best abbey quad i have had to date, a real treat and worth the price, complex enjoyable and something surely to be visited again, OH HEAVENLY NECTAR

08-08-2009 00:24:47 | More by Stunner97
Photo of illinijer


4.93/5  rDev +10.3%

Had this on draft at Jaks Tap in Chicago. Came in a distinctive St. Bernardus goblet (not sure what the correct name is).

A: It was a deep brown, almost black. Very lightly carbonated. Small 1/2 inch head. In appearance alone, it reminds me of a RIS.

S: This is probably the best smelling beer I've had the pleasure of smelling. Smells of plums and brown sugar, with just a hint of spice.

T: Tastes like heaven in a goblet. Full of malty sweetness. Very subtle hop profile. It's all about the malt. The plum smell comes through on the taste as well. The alcohol hits in the middle, but soon goes away as the sweetness wins the day.

M: Thinner than it looks. Was expecting a thicker brew. That being said, the mouthfeel was still good. I would describe it as "smooth".

D: Extremely drinkable. Quickly working its way to the top of my favorites list. I could enjoy a few of these without a problem...in fact, after one it makes me want to have another! The alcohol is well hidden and doesn't detract from the experience at all. Overall a great example of the style, and one of the best brews out there today.

08-06-2009 18:53:04 | More by illinijer
Photo of AgentZero


4.03/5  rDev -9.8%

A - Very dark reddish brown, night quite consistent color all the way through, tinges of yellow flash where the light manages to sneak through. Huge head, guess I had a bad pour because my beer exploded all over the place. Slowly dissipated with minimal lacing.

S - Sugary and fruity, get some carmel, maybe some chocolaty-coffee tones. A little pungent.

T - Sweet, sugary taste followed by decently strong alcohol taste. Not a lot of carbination, but enough to give it a little bite on the end. Lingering finish a little sour.

M - Not really that heavy, expecting more substance from a beer like this. Pretty smooth.

D - Easy to drink. For a quad, I could put away a couple of these because of how relatively light it is. Would do this one again.

08-06-2009 04:57:05 | More by AgentZero
Photo of SpencerSauce


4.55/5  rDev +1.8%

Me and a friend bought a 750ml of this sweet, dark, strong beer, to review for beeradvocate and youtube. My buddy really wanted to pop the cork, so he argued " I called it". HAHA grow up tom.

Well when my buddy did pop it i was glad he did. He got sticky fingers and hands. Though we were ooutdoors so it didnt make any difference. Except maybe losing a large mouthfull (which arent usually taken with this beer).

A- Very large head, should have poured it slower, my friend saw mine and made his pour extremely slow almost getting no head. Which is strange for a beer like this. In all i would say my pour was better. Darkish red beer and very bubbly. Beige head that will not quit.

I left the foam lacing after drinking this in the glass and forgot about the glass in the pool fridge area. A week or two later, the foam was still there dried in the exact position it was


S- very sweet and fruity. Caramel notes maybe because of the amazing sugariness probably giving it its high abv. But very fruity.'

T- sweetness accompanied by figs and other dark fruits. Slight belgian yeast taste but is masked mostly by sweet fruits.

M- Very thick and sweet. Coats the mouth well and leaves a lingering delicious taste.

D- easy drinking but dont chug it or ill find you

bernie is the man

08-05-2009 17:43:36 | More by SpencerSauce
Photo of mulder1010


4/5  rDev -10.5%

750 served in a Belle-Vue kriek glass.

A--a dark reddish brown with 2 fingers of head that died quick. Served this at about 60 F. Expected very little head. attractive beer even with little head and no lacing. Good amount of carbonation.

S--slightly spicy. some figs, not as much sugar smell as I expected. Cherries, chocolate, carmel as well I think.

T-- Got the sugar off the bat, still being warm and all. Still quite well carbonated. Got some of the spices and sugar but more toned down.

M-- Well carbonated. Not as heavy as I had kind of feared. Not as heavy as others in this type, possibly needs a little more chill to it. Solid beer though. Not as much candied sugar to it. Much more aggreable to me.

D-- one 750 is enough. Could do 2 smaller ones. not nearly as big as others in this class but still solid. I love the Christmas Ale and like this but I prefer the Christmas just a bit more. Will note that this a review of a warmer beer as it was in a cellar. Very drinkable as the sugars are not as overpowering. Malt is almost at the right touch. the 10% lets you know it is there but nothing that just beats you down. Take your time and enjoy this puppy.

08-05-2009 12:16:12 | More by mulder1010
Photo of StJamesGate

New York

4.18/5  rDev -6.5%

On tap at the Porterhouse Belgian fest.

Pours murky brown with a creamy off white head that leaves dense lace. Chocolate and bark on the nose. Cranberry and rye bread malt hit, followed by some leaf, cocoa and nutmeg. No burn, and light bodied for the strength.

Not clingy at all, very quaffable for a quad. Curious to try the bottle now.

08-05-2009 10:59:18 | More by StJamesGate
Photo of cdizinno

South Carolina

4.33/5  rDev -3.1%

Presentation: Poured into a tulip glass from a brown bottle with best by date of 22 01 14 (maybe I'm drinking this too soon?). Says 10%, not 10.5% as stated on the site's description, but don't let it fool you as I'd say it's more than enough where you only need a couple of these at any one sitting.

A: Hazy brown color with tan head and medium lacing.

S: Spices and malt sweetness are heavy with alcohol phenols.

T&M: Clove and brown sugar sweetness is the first flavor you taste. Some cake like malty qualities. and some buttery and phenolic flavors are present. Alcohol is there a little bit. Finishes sweet and warming with heavy carbonated mouthfeel.

This is probably the best dark abbey I've tasted. I prefer tripels but this is nice.

08-04-2009 23:36:54 | More by cdizinno
Photo of NWC


4.8/5  rDev +7.4%

Saw this in the supermarket today, had never seen it before, and it was only 1.30euros, so I decided to give it a shot. I'm sipping as I type this :)

a - my beer glasses are all at my girlfriend's house, so I just went with a regular glass. Little to no head. Dark, caramel-y appearance, a little cloudy.

s - Everytime I open a bottle, I smell before pouring, and this one told me immediately that it was going to be very good. It's allergy season, so I can't smell perfectly, but it told me enough with what I could smell. Sweetish, but not too much.

t - awww yeah. All sorts of flavors, malt, subtle fruit flavors, things I can't put my finger on but I like. It's a little bitter, you can taste the alcohol, but it's not overwhelming. I like bitter though, so that should be taken into account. Suffice to say it's delicious.

m - light carbonation. Just enough to feel refreshing, not enough to make me burp with every sip. I like it.

d - I could easily go through 4 in a night(and, subsequently, be trashed). You can taste the alcohol, but it's not overwhelming. It has a high ABV, though, so it's best to go slow. I would take this as a conversational beer, one to sip while discussing music or philosophy.

Overall: I'm going to stock up before it goes away. I'd never seen it before in the supermarket, and I don't want to not see it ever again. Excellent beer. I love strong dark beers, and this one balances bitter and sweet perfectly.

08-04-2009 17:02:24 | More by NWC
Photo of fff


4.6/5  rDev +2.9%

Poured into a wine glass. Shop in town had no goblets.

A- Dark brown pour with little head. Lacing was good.

S- Sweet, alcoholic. Hints of malt.

T- A little bit of everything here; Malts, yeast, and alcohol. Some toffee, sugars. Little to no hop taste. Rereshing aftertaste.

M- Substantial and thick. Not too sticky, but not too watery.

D- Very sessionable beer. Not too terribly overwhelming, but still forceful enough to mke you consider flavors and undertones.

08-04-2009 00:31:57 | More by fff
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,269 ratings.