St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

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7,880 Ratings

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Ratings: 7,880
Reviews: 2,547
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 494
Gots: 1,346 | FT: 34
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: 7,880 | Reviews: 2,547 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Seanstoppable
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best before date of Feb 9th, 2015.

Pours a very deep, dark red with plenty of thick white head. Head has long lasting staying power, and leaves plenty of lacing on the glass.

Nose is much lighter than I expected. Slightly sweet, with some caramel and maybe a hint of plum.

While the nose might have been light, the body certainly is not. Initial tastes are raisins and plums. Some mild caramel malts. Maybe a hint of alcohol, but I certainly would not guess this was 10%. A bit of spice, along the lines of black pepper, towards the end. All this gets better as it warms up.

One of the very few quads I have tried, but right now one of the best. I have a few bottles aging and I look forward to popping them open in a few years.

Photo of mikul93
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A Pours a dark brown, small head that dissipated quickly, but I didn't pour very hard. Typical looking quad.

S Sweet malt, spices, figs and caramel.

T Fantastic beer. So much going on. Plums, figs, slight banana and the sweet malt. Mmmmm so so good.

M Just great! A little dry, nice carbonation, clean aftertaste. Not to thick.

O This is one of my favorite beers that I have had. It's just a delicious, smooth and complex beer and it's available all year round.

Photo of SWMeyer4141
4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Snifter...

Best by 01/15

Appearance-Murky, muddy brown. Off white, almost a light brown 2 finger head with decent retention.

Smell-Lots of dark fruits, spice, and alcohol.

Taste-Raisons, Figs, and some cherry. Spices are of the likes of coriander, black pepper. Alcohol is lets you know it's there. Lots of yeast and lots of carbonation. Very nice flavors.

Mouthfeel-Prickly on the tongue, a shit ton of carbonation. Full bodied. Carbonation acts as a great palate cleanser, just a little too much for me. Would love to try one aged a couple years.

Overall-Much better now then it was a few years ago when I tried it last, didn't really understand this beer before. The only thing I wish is for the carbonation to not be so strong.

Photo of OPWN3NTSL4Y3R
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Duvel glass tulip

A- Dark murky deep reddish/brown color, off white 2 finger head that dissipates slowly leaving some beautiful lace

S- Dried fruits (raisins, figs, dates, prunes) lots of sweet malts, slight spicy undertones (cloves, anise, allspice) yeasty aromas

T- Incredibly complex waves of ripe dark fruits, caramel, Belgian yeast, ripe bananas, fruit cake

M- Full bodied, well balanced, good bottle conditioned carbonation, smooth creamy mouth feel with a hint of warming alcohol

O- This is a BIG beer, perfect example of a Belgian Quadrupel, a sipper meant to be enjoyed at 50-55 F, incredible aromas emanate throughout

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

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a goblet, some numbers on the back but not a discernible date.

Pours a hazy dark tea like color (or a dirty brown red), light brown head which quickly goes away. The smell is good mostly sweet dark fruity yeast esters, and rich malt. Feel is medium thickness lots of tingly carbonation. Taste is excellent a sweet malty / fruit blend on the tongue, but plenty of dryness on the way down and it finishes with a slight alcohol burn. Overall another excellent beer, I feel lucky that I bought a 4 pack and have 3 more of these babies left!

Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Westvleterren chalice. Split with the wife.

A- Very nice carbonation, one finger beige head, dissipates quickly, dark brown/orange color, big bubbly lacing.
S- Smell is delicious, dark fruits (plums, raisins, cherries) brown sugar, sweet caramel, malt.
T- Very complex beer, dark fruits, brown sugar almost candy like, caramel, plums, raisins, very sweet but not off putting, alcohol is present but not overpowering, really enjoyable.
M- Medium mouthfeel, well carbonated, smooth, clean finish.
O- What can I say that has not already been said, big complex world class beer, always a pleasure to drink and share with others.

Photo of pauljmccain
4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Nice frothy head with a bit of color. Very fine carbonation as expected. Good lacing. Average for style.

S- Outstanding! This is the strongest point for this one, in my opinion. Malty and sweet with many wonderful scents coming through, including yeast, which was unexpected. I wonder what strain this is, I would love to brew something with it.

T- A bit harsh compared to some other quads but still good. See other reviews for flavors etc.

M- Nice on the palate. Somewhat heavy carbonation keeps the sweetness from lingering too long.

O- A great example of the style, but nothing extraordinary. I need to compare it side-by-side to rochefort 10, which I may do right now... I'd have another though :)

Photo of kylehay2004
3.35/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: very thick and foamy head. Amber color.

S: grape and dark fruit. Sweet

T: sweet toffee and dark fruit taste. Chocolate and caramel notes.

M: moderate carbonation. Thick and oily.

O: too fruity for my taste but seems to be on par for a quad. Had to search for the beer taste in this one. Probably won't be going back to this one.

Photo of mdvatab
2.85/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 350ml bottle into Chimay chalice
Best before: 231115

Aroma: Spicy yeast, black licorice, and some phenols. Aroma was not as prominent or complex as I'd anticipated...

Appearance: Very foamy, persistent, light tan head. Hazy, translucent, amber-brown body.

Flavor: A noticeable metallic twang appears at first. Dry malty sweetness w/ an almost minty quality. Light apple cider. Interesting flavor profile, but not exactly what I was expecting for the style.

Mouthfeel: Medium body w/ high CO2. Peppery alcohol warmth thru the finish in the mouth and throat. Alcohol creates a bit of a sharp, drying feeling on the tongue.

Overall: I tried this one next to a Trappistes Rochefort 10 to compare the two, and this one definitely lost out. I was expecting slightly different, yet excellent, interpretations of the same style, but this one let me down a bit. I'm suspecting possible issues as a result of poor storage during & after transportation, so I'll give this one another try sometime, and will report back.

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

Notes from 2011-Jan-14:
Serving: 12 oz bottle poured into a Chimay chalice

Appearance - mahogany allowing some light to penetrate, bubbly tan-ish head erupted from the chalice, lacing present but minimal.

Smell - immediate and up front a bouquet of plumbs/figs with undertones of malty sweetness, and a hint of caramelized sugar on the nose.

Taste - exactly how it smells, plumbs/figs/prunes, malts present balanced, alcohol is well hidden.

Mouthfeel - bubbly all over... good amount of carbonation; perfect amount for this style, a well balanced delivery of flavours and alcohol.

Overall - This is one of my favourite quads, never disappoints, a worthy beverage on a cold winter's night.

Photo of thedoubler55
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a dark red almost brown, leaves a slight off white head and almost barely any lacing on mine.

S- Smell of sweet malts, caramel, dark fruits and brown sugar.

T- Taste fantastic, perfect blend, caramel and dark fruits up front with a slight booze taste on the tail end.

M- Smooth, perfectly balanced, good amount of carbonation.

O- This beer is fantastic, this is why I bought a 64oz of it!

Photo of lakersfan16
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours brown with a light tan head. Many aromas including fruits, spices and brown sugar. Many fruity flavors in the taste including plums and apples, as well as caramel and cloves. Almost creamy and silky. An excellent overall beer, one of the finest examples of the style.

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

A - pours a beautiful dark brown with an excellent rocky off-white head. Lacing on glass is impressive.

S - stone fruits, plums, malt.

T - Follows the nose quite well and then extends well beyond that. Plums, figs, brown sugar, a touch of coffee, and dark bread are all married together in one voice. Everything seems to be in its rightful place. Sweetness is well balanced. Finish is a bit of alcohol - not as many hops as most Belgians.

M - prickly carbonation helps balance the sweet malt. Clean finish.

Overall - a classic Belgian and a wonderful beer, especially as it warms up a bit. St. Bernardus knows their stuff.

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

Served in a tulip.

Appearance - Mohogany brown. Small cream head. Smooth silky lace.

Smell - Dark fruit. Plum. Banana. Sweet.

Taste - Smooth as balls. Strong alcoholic front end. Slightly sweet body. Mild, astringent finish.

Mouthfeel - Smooth. Little to no carbonation. Medium body. Especially frothy when agitated in the mouth.

Overall Drinkability - Sort of like a cross between a quad and a tripel. Body and flavor of a 12. But ABV taste of a tripel. Very good, but still underwelming considering this is compared to Westy 12 sometimes.

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

This beer pours a nice brown color with light barely making its way through, there is also a nice fluffy tannish colored head that sticks around for a while. The smell is a a little bit sweeter and less yeasty spiciness than the rochefort 10 i sampled it with. the flavor is a bit sweeter and the dark fruity raisin flavor comes through a bit more, the mouthfeel is slightly fuller than the rochefort, and all around I think this beer is slightly more balanced between alcohol presence, yeast spiciness and sweetness from candied sugars.

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

Appearance: served appropriately in a chalice, this Belgian quad boasts a distinct dark mahogany color and a frothy, off-white head.

Smell: dark fruits, rich malty aromas.

Taste: the flavors from the malt lend a full, almost bread-like quality to this quad. Pleasantly sweet. Rich, dark fruits and brown sugar.

Mouthfeel: remarkably smooth. None of the harshness that is often associated with beers featuring a double digit ABV.

Overall: An excellent Belgian and one that has inspired me to seek more beers of this style. I truly look forward to drinking this one again.

Photo of Rifugium
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First had: on tap at Eulogy, Philly, PA

Most enthusiasts know and love this beer, as do I. Many said enthusiasts also prefer this beer to such heavy hitters as Rochefort 10 and Westvleteren 12. Well, it's certainly more obtainable than the latter, and cheaper than the former, but as far as being better, I supposed that's a matter of personal taste.

Pours--preferably into a chalice, and more preferably into a signature chalice--a deep carameled mahogany color with a firm, creamy half inch of ivory head that retains through the session, and leaves beautiful lacing. When you see a beer presented like this, it's just...this is what beer is supposed to look like. This is craftmanship. Aroma is rich with dark sugars, dark fruits, and spicy Belgian yeast. Taste of toasted bread, with lots of brown sugar up front, along with dark dried fruits--raisins, figs, plums--caramel, tobacco, almond, subtle hop spiciness, and an ubiquitous alcohol bite. Not heavy, but full-bodied, and highly drinkable.

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

Pours a murky brown with a small pale head that fades quickly.

Smells of fig, plum, slight banana, sweet malt, raisin, tiny hints of sherry.

Tastes like it smells with some up-front alcohol warmness. Complex, with a sweet, almost honey finish that shifts as it warms. Insanely complex and hard to pin down in the best way.

Mouthfeel is perfect, dry and medium bodied...far too easy to down.

In my mind, this is near perfection for the style and for beer in general.

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

Appearance: Gorgeous in appearance. Dark brown with a slight reddish hue. Poured somewhat softly but still got a finger and a half finger white/tan head. Alcohol leaves nice leggings.

Smell: Sweet malts, spicy yeastiness, some definite fruitiness, bread/toast. Very complex and the aromas meld together in perfection.

Taste: Absolutely delicious in every imaginable aspect. My palate almost can't pick out individual flavors it's so well put together. What I'm getting is definite fig, cream/milk, toast and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Though medium bodied, it's very creamy and smooth. Dangerously drinkable for a beer of it's abv.

Photo of claytong
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

so rereviewing since something was wrong with the last bottle. not sure what but it tasted way too tobacco like.

this one is one years old but has been ageing in a cellar above 60 degrees.

appearance - caramel in color leaning towards a brown. lots of carbonation on a controlled pour. fluffy sea foam. looks better than the last time thats for sure.

smell - caramel, candi sugar, rum soaked figs, i like where this is going

taste - follows the smell with some toffee and maple syrup

mouthfeel - creamy and smooth, very drinkable. glad i was sharing. i see the rave now.

Photo of CS1Will
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - poured a cherry brown color that left a nice 1/2 inch foam head for most of the drink.

Smell - strong alcohol smell at first that gives way to an almost sweet oak scent.

Taste - Very bready to start but then get hints of sweet fruit, I pick up cherry more than anything else. No real alcohol taste for such a high ABV%.

Mouthfeel - Perfect carbonation level, great overall mouthfeel, just perfect.

Overall - Very happy with this beer, I've had other Quads that left something to be desired but this one really hits it out of the park.

Photo of AdamBear
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A-nice cloudy dark chestnut with a good light tan head

S-smells mostly malty with a hint of caramel and dark belgian sugars. as the beer warms, i start to smell some sort of apple.

T-it comes in with a good bit of heat. it comes in with some dark belgian sugars and an apple like bitterness that stings the tongue. the booziness is still keeping. a taste of caramel in this flavor lasts in to a long lasting after-taste.

M-medium to high carbonation with a dry finish

O-I've had this many times before I stopped and thought, "wow this is a great beer!" It's has such a good and warming complex flavor. It's a great quad that is difficult to match. I'll always come back to this.

Photo of broompa
3.98/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Looks a great murky brown. Like a dark Belgian should...

S - smell is quite light, not very strong surprisingly. Intriguing yeasty smell follow.

T - Tastes really good. Dark fruits and nice bready tones throughout. Not quite my style though, this is my very first Quad!

M - This was my favorite part about the beer. It went down relatively smooth and hot mostly because of the high alcohol content. I should have waited longer after I pulled it out of the fridge because it got way better as it warmed.

O - This was a good beer. I love Belgian style beer and this was my first venture into Quads. I feel like it probably does the style good justice but I still want to try the Rochefort variety and maybe someday the Westy. I don't think I''l be heading for too many more quads in the beer cooler; they're expensive(!) and I figure I'm more of a Tripel kind of guy anyways.

Photo of match1112
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: poured out the color of melted caramel. no head with a ring on top that lasts.

S: bread, dark fruits and apples.

T: starts out with a bread taste, than figs and finishes tasting kinda like a caramel apple.

M: the only thing disappointing about this is the thin mouthfeel, almost like drinking apple juice.

O: a good beer. will recommend to friends.

Photo of JHamm
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: deep rich amber with a hefty amount of carbonation bubbling up through the glass. slight amount of head remains after pour with excellent lacing around the glass.

Smell: slightly spicy. smells of an old book. bits of raisins come through slightly. also pick up bits of cherry. really complex smell that blends together perfectly.

Taste: slight oak, somewhat fruity and spicy at the same time. The high ABV is completely masked. It's hard to pick out any one flavor as they all blend together so well.

Mouthfeel: completely coats the tongue and mouth and leaves a slight hint of flavor from the first taste. not too thick at all and has perfect viscosity.

Overall: I'm not a big fan of quads but this is an exemplary example of the style. nothing in this beer attempts to steal the show but all aspects work together perfectly. This review actually doesn't do this beer justice.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,880 ratings.