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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.

7,568 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,568
Reviews: 2,516
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 452
Gots: 1,178 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of St. Bernardus Abt 12 Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,568 | Reviews: 2,516 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of impending
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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 29, 2010
Photo of jampics2
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

33 cl bottel
Poured into my westvleteren glass

A: Deep ruby amber Brown colour With a fluffy cloud off white head on top. It 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 pick 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.
Just had it on tap at the 12 th Brussels beerfestival ,
Man o man, what à beer , much. Smoother and sweeter than the bottel version , awsome , one of the best trappistabbey Beers' in THE world

beerpirates, Jul 27, 2010
Photo of JamisonM
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: brown beer hazy with a tan head great lace/head retention

S: figs and plums dark fruit brown sugar dark bread

T: figs plums dark fruit brow sugar dark bread and some nice bourbon type of sweetness

M: med mouth med carbonation

d: very drinkable

overall: a great beer high the high ABV is masked very well and drinks very nice a sweet malty masterpeice

JamisonM, Jul 27, 2010
Photo of cosmicevan
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into Chimay chalice.

A - Opened with a pop and began explosively foaming from the bottle (had to run for a sink). Once the drama subsided, poured a dark ruby purple with a nice frothy creamy head with super sticky lacing.

S - Can smell it from across the room. Sweet plums and grapes. Smells awesome.

T - Fantastically balanced mix of grapes, figs, alcohol is really well hidden. A nice sweetness.

M - Smooth and creamy. Like a milkshake. Leaves my mouth feeling cool and tingly.

D - Super drinkable. I love me a good quad and this is a GREAT quad.

cosmicevan, Jul 27, 2010
Photo of jsanford
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Chimay chalice.

A - Pours a deep, dark brown with the slightest red tints. Has a HUGE creamy head that takes a while to subside, leaving beautifully intricate lacing.

S - Sweet and bready - almost liquid fruitcake. Figs, prunes, cherries with some molasses sweetness and the slightest hints of pepper.

T - Similar to the nose, lots of stone fruit and molasses with an unmistakable Belgian "yeastiness". So complex, yet balanced wonderfully.

M - Medium body, incredibly smooth and creamy. Only the slightest bit of alcohol heat.

D - At 10.5% ABV, this one will sneak up on you, keeping it from being too quaffable. However, this is one of the finest beers on the planet and a true benchmark for Quads!

jsanford, Jul 26, 2010
Photo of joekoolsnoopy
4.95/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It would be hard to imagine actually drinking a better beer. In all respects, it delivers what it promises. Especially is the taste - just beautiful. This is a clean and outstanding beer. The nose is a spicy, yeasty, malty combo with notes of dark fruits. Anyone who is looking to introduce someone to craft beer should consider this as a first beer.

joekoolsnoopy, Jul 25, 2010
Photo of bierguru
4.13/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - deep brown carmel color not much light comes through pours with a thick head which settles as a thin lace

S - very strong fruit flavor maybe fig slight carmel undertones with clove

T - definitely fig kind of sweet but not overly sweet slight alcohol taste no bitter taste to it but there is a spice would say from the clove

M - not much carbonation very smooth and light

D - one or two and done since this beer is pricey but without thinking about the price i would still say its about the same since the beer is fairly rich in flavor

bierguru, Jul 22, 2010
Photo of jbphoto88
4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep bottle brown colored beer poured from a corked and caged bottle, that by the way was extremely hard to open. There is a thick fluffy head that is the color of clean dry wood. It rises well above the brew and lasts for the duration of the beer.

Smell is sweet and bready with lovely hints of spiced caramel and vanilla. It's not the strongest of smells but all the characteristics of a good Quad are in there.

Taste is along the lines of the nose. Sweet malts with a bread yeast taste. Following that is a creamy caramel with a light spice and vanilla splash of alcohol. Quite nice.

The mouthfeel is soft and silky, peppered with fine carbonation. Bitterness is present but not a focal point. Very slick with a lingering doughy coating feel in the finish. Very tasty and easy to drink at 10.5% it's a nice sipper.

jbphoto88, Jul 18, 2010
Photo of SolomonGrundy
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow! Pours a slightly cloudy, dark rum color. Huge, creamy head that never actually dissipates. Loaded with carbonation also. Beautiful...Yeasty, Belgian-y goodness in the smell. Fresh apples, maybe some coriander. Excellent...ENormous, robust flavor. Crammed with stuff...some vanilla notes, some heavy Belgian yeast notes. So much going on it's almost ridiculous. Flavors evolve as it warms up. This is one of the World's fine ales, to be sure. Finish is not too long, but carries just a hint of bitterness along with some alcohol. Also a 10% ABV brew. $9.99 for a pint + 9.4 oz bottle. Awesome and a must find for all you folks out there.

SolomonGrundy, Jul 17, 2010
Photo of scott451
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Warmed up and poured into a Duvel tulip. Clear brownish ruby red with a quarter inch bubbly tan head which soon diminished to a ring. No lacing. Smells of deep dark malts. Some alcohol smells warn of what is to come. Taste is smooth, well balanced. Malts up front with a boozy phenolic finish. Medium body, low carbonation. The smoothness makes you want more but the alcohol puts a stop to that.

scott451, Jul 17, 2010
Photo of unclejimbay
4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a warm copper maple syrup in color with surprising clarity. Served on tap from the tap in a delerium tremens snifter.
10oz pour for $5, at my new local brewpub Engine 15 here in Jax Beach, FL. Short head and light remnant of a cratered cap, could be the glass? Seems shorter than others have noted.

Smell is rich sweet dark malts, dark fruit, raisins, and Belgian yeast spice, mainly clove.

Tastes as it smells with mild boozyness and rich full flavor.

Medium/light body, semi slick, high carbonation.

World class beer for sure, notably for the well hidden 10.5% abv. Rich, dark, fruity, sneaky.

unclejimbay, Jul 15, 2010
Photo of Luk13
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle. Dark slightly muddy brown pour with loose white head. Complex belgian beer fruit aromas (ripe sugarey red fruits, cherry, raspberries, blackberries), alcohol, chocolate and a bit of yeastiness. Taste is quite boozy and fruity but very well balanced. Beautiful mouthfeel no wateriness here. Quite beautiful.

Luk13, Jul 15, 2010
Photo of appenzeller
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep mahogany with a thick vanilla lace. Aroma is sweet, malty. Taste is complex with breadiness, sweetness, spiciness of cinnamon and clove. This is a beautifully rich beer, moutfeel is silky smooth and drinkability is superb--for what it is. One of these is plenty!

appenzeller, Jul 14, 2010
Photo of Radome
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark brown and opaque beer. The head is off-white and made up of tiny, creamy bubbles. It is very thick and persistent.

S - Sweet malty aroma. Plum and raisin notes , maybe a little alcohol in the background. Delicious smell.

T - Malt is up front, with nutty and biscuity notes. I also get some raisins and dark fruits and a hint of smoke in the background. Overall this beer starts out sweet and finishes drier than I expected.

M - Body is fairly heavy. The carbonation adds some creaminess that lightens it. No alcohol burn.

D - Very nice. It is complex and delicious, yet not overly sweet and cloying.

Radome, Jul 14, 2010
Photo of racer2k
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured 33cL bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet glass

A - Pours a dark ruby red cherry color and creates a two finger off white head which is quite frothy and dense.

S - Dark fruit - prunes, raisins, apricots, plums and a pizza bread dough like aroma. There is a very balanced sweet malty flavor to the aroma with some noticeable alcohol tones which is not a surprise given the 10.50% abv

T - Dark fruity and chewy flavors with a balanced sweet malt profile and a subtle yeast accent to the taste. The complexity of this quad is amazing and the alcohol heat is hidden quite well which could be dangerous given the fantastic taste.

M - Some nice carbonation action going on in the glass but the beer is quite smooth and has a moderate body. The finish is crisp and dry.

D - Excellent Quadrupel brewed by one of the finest Trappist brewery's in the world. Highly recommended if you enjoy this style of beer. You will no doubt smile and grin like the jolly man on the label!

racer2k, Jul 13, 2010
Photo of andrenaline
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark, hazy, copper brown with a finger of head with good retention. Dissipates to a thin layer of fine bubbly head. Holds a thin bubbly film on the edges as well, but doesn't leave any real lacing.

S - Very fruity, with plum, raisins, banana, cloves and bit of orange citrus. The alcohol is noticeable, but seems to be less strong as it warms.

T - The fruity flavours come through in full force, led by plums, and raisins, followed by a rush of cloves and banana on the finish. I'm dumbfounded that the alcohol is not more noticeable.

M - Very light and bubbly, and to my surprise, goes down incredibly smooth. I would've though it would be much thicker and more syropy, but it's the perfect balance of carbonation.

D - Highly recommended to anyone looking for a bold and flavourful quad. Absolutely yummy. Could probably throw back a few of these as a time, but I would recommend only doing so with caution as the alcohol sneaks up on you! Enjoy!

andrenaline, Jul 09, 2010
Photo of rawthar
3.98/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- A hazy cherry wood brown, the murkiness of which obscures what must be some very active carbonation judging by the thick creamy brown head that starts big and bad but dissipates at a manageable pace to a strong film.

S- Lots of farmhouse funky yeast up front and high in the nose, carrying a malty sweetness that opens up into raisin bread, overly ripe apples, and prune preserves, followed by an almost undetectable hint of heat.

T- First wave to the tongue is surprisingly subdued, but upon swallowing, a very intense flavor of the dark fruits from the nose expands from the back of the palette to fill the entire mouth. After the fruits wash away, a more crystally brown sugar flavor lingers for a moment, then subsides back to an aftertaste of fruity, bready tones, and a slight bit of alcohol, though much less than 10% abv would seem to produce.

M- An initial surge of carbonation to the tip of the tongue accounts for the initially mellow flavor, after which the beer turns to foam, and heats up a bit on the way down.

D- Tasty enough to enjoy en masse, though strong enough to merit caution, a good beer with a lot of complexities, best appreciated by the sip.

rawthar, Jul 09, 2010
Photo of AgentMunky
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 33cL bottle into a Rochefort glass.

A: Pours a murky red-brown with light head that disappears quickly. Moderate lacing. Dense and foreboding.

S: Not as strong or as fruity as I had hoped. Instead I'm getting alcohol and a spicy, bitingly pleasant scent.

T: Excellent, but not exceedingly so. An initial alcoholic burst mixes with tingling carbonation, fading into a nice, lightly fruity body tempered by spices. Never cloying or overbearing. The aftertaste is a long, light throwback to the very first sip. Overall, I am pleased.

M: The bite provided by the carbonated spiciness is a truly lovely feeling for the tongue. I anticipate each sip with delight. Never does this beer stick to the mouth or cause any discomfort. Mouthfeel is great.

D: A hefty 10% is definitely present, but I feel this adds to, rather than detracts from, the beer. A sippable brew to be enjoyed slowly and sparingly. Not my everyday fare.

EDIT: the following review is of a bottle aged 14 months. Poured from a 33cL bottle into a Rochefort chalice. Stamped "04 02 15."

4.25A: Generous, frothy head. Decent retention. Heavy initial lace. Opaque, mahogany brown.

4S: Complex, winey, and fruity. Fermented grapes. Faint sugars. Somewhat faint.

4T: Hrm. Not sure how this one aged. It's a tad...muted? The sense of alcoholic grape juice is here, with an obtrusive spiciness. Almost puckery-tart, but the aftertaste is not entirely pleasant -- lots of yeast that reminds me of an old ale, but feels out of place in a quad. Touch of sugars.

4.5M: Still carbonated and surprisingly light. Really refreshing and pretty good. Smack worthy.

3.5O: I prefer this beer fresh. While an interesting evolution of flavor, it's a bit sharp and sour for my taste. Won't cellar again.

AgentMunky, Jul 09, 2010
Photo of GarrettMD
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle has best by date of "26 03 13" so drinking this beer aged for roughly 2 years, 3 months.

A - Pours a dark brown with 1 finger of fleeting head. Amazing lacing. Lots of sediment in the beer.

S - Very bready, yet sweet. caramel and fruits dominate the smell. This is a very complex aroma and I don't know if I am experienced enough at reviews to actually place most of the things that are going on.

T - Very sweet taste, malts dominate the beginning of the taste. Fruits take over very quickly. Once again, very complex and I can't really pick out individual things.

M - Very smooth, I was worried when I saw how much yeast was floating in the glass. Slight drying finish, might be a bit much, but it's not too detrimental. Has quite a bit of carbonation which gives a nice tingle complimenting the sweetness of the beer.

D - Extremely good drinkability given the ABV. If I didn't already know, I would have guessed 6-7% max.

I will need to get this one again sometime I am more experienced at discerning tastes. Very complex, very good beer. I haven't had many quadrupels but this is definitely the best I have gotten around to.

GarrettMD, Jul 08, 2010
Photo of billab914
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my Westvleteren chalice. Gushed a little as I opened it but was able to get it into the glass in time. Poured brown in color with a frothy and bubbly off-white head. Excellent head retention and moderate lacing.

The aroma has a sweet, malty, caramel, chocolate, dark fruit aroma to it. Very nice and complex, not too dark for the style either. A little yeast flavors round out the nose.

The taste is full dark fruit and malty sweet goodness. It has some notes of caramel, brown sugar, chocolate, figs, plums and bread. Very nice and complex tasting, probably the best of the style I've had so far.

The mouthfeel is on the thicker side and carbonation is moderate to below average. Drinkability is good, it's a great tasting beer for the style and abv. Overall an excellent beer and one worth all of it's praise.

billab914, Jul 04, 2010
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,568 ratings.