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St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

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6,967 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,967
Reviews: 2,469
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 380
Gots: 918 | 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)
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Ratings: 6,967 | Reviews: 2,469 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AmishT


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

A - A powerful appearance for sure. Deep, deep amber. Hardly any light passes through. A large, off-white head that retains fairly well and settles to a nice foamy film. Not much lacing.

S - Yeast and fruit compose the complex aroma profile.

T&M - Complex caramel malty flavor with a hint of dark fruit. Alcohol present in the after-taste. A creamy mouthfeel that has just the right amount of carbonation.

D - The high abv takes a way a tad from the drink, but it's still a damn tasty belgian.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2008 01:26:39 | More by AmishT
Photo of Haybeerman


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

A: Cloudy, opaque brown color. Big coarse light tan head; a good two inches that slowly dissipated to a quarter inch thickening on the rim. Splotches of lacing that clung to the side all the way down.

S: Rich, dark fruits overlaid with spices.

T: Caramels, nuts, toffees, rich dark malts. Alcohol bite. Very complex. Pleasantly warming.

M: Full body, dry alcohol finish. Alcohol and carbonation gave it a lighter feel than it really was.

D- Easy to drink, goes down smooth. By the time I got to the bottom of the magnum, the ABV was showing its punch.

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2008 23:19:07 | More by Haybeerman
Photo of CrellMoset


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

Bottle from Market Street Wine, Downtown location, in Charlottesville, VA. Poured into a St. Bernardus chalice, appropriately enough.

Appearance: A ruby-brown beer with a bubble, effervescent tan head w/ average retention (in a head-killing glass). Runny lacing. Looks like what liquid bread - or a quadrupel, for that matter - should look like, all around. Good carbonation, good color, good everything.

Aroma: Faint - or maybe that's the glass - but there're plenty of good, light fruity notes, blueberries notably, brown sugar, a lot of sweet, simple candy sugar smells, and it's all wrapped up in a very wholesome, slightly nutty bready malt aroma.

Taste: Brown sugar, cherries, other berries, dark fruits - figs, raisins (which, in conjunction with the alcohol, lend that great quadrupel rum raisin note) - lots of Belgian spices (cloves) and the banana note (good ol' yeast one-two punch), sweet simple candy sugar, bready biscuity notes. Comes through like Fanta grape in places, which I'm assuming is the way the carbonation, fruity esters, and candy sugar meld - interesting. There's some earthy yeastiness, some grassy, herbal, balancing bitterness, and only the faintest feel of well-hidden alcohol in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Spritzy and bubbly, big-bubbled, with a good pillowy sublimation-esque mouthfeel. A little uneven at first, but this improves as things warm (strangely enough).

Drinkability: Very well-hidden alcohol, but it's up there, and you can feel it after a while. Plus, the grape fanta soda thing starts to freak you out after a while. All that being said, the sheer scatterbrain-like quality of my above review should indicate that this is a really complex and tasty beer, and comes highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2008 22:28:04 | More by CrellMoset


4.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

this is both a complexe and strong beer. At 10% it literally can make you sweat a little....But the monks know their stuff the balance is very good. Great flavors...the famous beligian yeast and faint fruits. then followed by a slight bite/burn senstion at the end reminding you that this is a mans beer. no bitches allowed! It is quite dry and winelike but smooth at the same time. It also has a fair amount of carbination. Once again...hats off to the monks.

P.S. much stronger tasting out of the bottle then on tap. (if my memory serves me right)

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2008 04:58:55 | More by GOGRANDE
Photo of changeup45


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

Pours a brownish body, slightly hazy and full of carbonation. A huge foamy head that leaves a lot of lacing. At first the beer tastes a bit winey and tart, with an alcohol rush and some malts and dark fruits mixed in. But it really does balance out quite well to make a very good beer. For a beer with this much alcohol in it (10%) I found it to be quite smooth and easy to drink. Also, slightly sweet but doesn't over do it and the finish is clean and relaxing.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2008 19:58:57 | More by changeup45
Photo of scottyshades


4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a delicious beer!
A: Pours a deep, rich brown/mahogany color that produces a nice, off-white head that retains well and leaves a nice consistent lacing along the glass.

S: The nose is very unique to any other beer that I have encountered. It is very bready and yeasty with notes of fruits (both dark and light), caramel, and perhaps some vanilla, but very faint

T: Dark fruits, caramel, sweet malts, and a more dominant note of vanilla than the nose had indicated. Alcohol is present, but hidden pretty well.

MF: Medium, almost full in body. Very smooth and creamy, aftertaste is dry

D: Good for a beer of this ABV and style...Looking forward to the other St. Bernardus' I have left

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2008 00:54:51 | More by scottyshades
Photo of claytri


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

I was amazed to run across this on tap at the relatively new beer bar here in town.

It poured a beautiful dark brown with a fine tan head. The aroma was of sweet malt and berries. The taste was surprisingly moderate, but wonderfully put together. It was simply berries, malt, and a pleasant alcohol burn. The feel was light and dry. This was a great beer to experience and I look forward to finding it on tap again in the future.

Serving type: on-tap

08-25-2008 22:58:57 | More by claytri
Photo of ChainGangGuy


4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best Before: 12 07 12.

Appearance: Pours a near opaque, dark brown body with a full, cascading, and lasting, ivory-colored head. Sea foam lacing on the way down.

Smell: Aromatic blend of stewed, spiced fruit, liqueur, and chopped up chocolate cookies and candy bars.

Taste: First and foremost, it's fruity, tasting of golden raisins, plum juice, and candied figs. Then you get some maltiness, mainly dark chocolate and nutty caramel. Hit of dark candi sugar. Not really much in the way of hops here. Touch of clove and nutmeg. Sip of creme de cocoa. Maybe a bit of fresh, oily orange zest. Finishes malty, sweet, and rather warming.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Moderately carbonated.

Drinkability: Paired very well with some Pinback mp3's (particularly "Tripoli" and "Seville"). Full of flavor, rich complexities, and yet it's easily accessible and generally readily available from coast to coast. What's not the like? Although, I will say, I dug that 'Special Edition' a bit more. That's just me, though!

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2008 05:44:00 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of alovesupreme


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

A.Dark brown almost purple in color with particles floating in the glass. Two finger head excellent retention.
S.Plums, different fruits a hint of spice, and alcohol.
T.Assorted dark fruits, alcohol, and a sweet taste I cannot put my finger on.
M.Good carbination, full mouthfeel for a quad.
D.I could finish a corked bottle, but would be happy with a 12oz serving.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2008 23:37:02 | More by alovesupreme
Photo of 1fastz28


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

poured a very deep brown huge with a decent amount of carbonation. it looks beautiful, just a magnificent looking brew. smell is very diverse, has lots of apple and grape aromas, smells very sugary, a deeper breathe reveals hints of roasted malts. on the tongue it tingles, the carbonation wakes my tongue up the taste is just amazing, a textbook quad with an exquisite taste, the alcohol warmness goes all over, while the flavors dance on the tongue. mouthfeel is wonderful and thick, just an awesome beer. another one of those great beers that i some how have yet to try until now

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2008 03:44:18 | More by 1fastz28
Photo of PatronWizard


3.73/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

After some rather lackluster tastings, I decide to dip into one of my BA Top 100. This will be my first quad ever so cut me some slack willya?

Pours out like liquid caramel. The wife made such hilarious comments during this trial that I just have to include them (in quotes). "Looks like crap brown", "as ugly as the bottle", "look how ugly and boring the bottle is" Anyway, it frothed up a great head, light mocha/off white. Continuous bubbling on a tiny scale. Nice looking beer.

I can smell the alcohol. Maybe some grapes. Missus says "oh boy", "smells good", and "I'm digging the smell". Alcohol is a little much in the nose. So I'm sniffing away as the wife looks up some of the other reviews. As I take a whiff, she reads "dates and molasses malts" and damned if I don't get a big whiff of dates and molasses malts. Cool experience. The next sniff is something different.

Not sure I'm in love with the flavor. Wife says "yuck". Maybe just not my style of beer.

I think I just truly discovered the meaning of smooth and dry. Took a sip and this puppy ran all the way to my belly! Very nice feel.

Because it's so silky smooth, it drinks like there's no tomorrow, but the alcohol becomes more apparent as the bottle dwindles.

Overall: Very glad I tried it, but as an IPA lover, I probably won't stock up on this.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2008 20:09:37 | More by PatronWizard
Photo of Gehrig


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

Abt 12 pours a rich mahogany with light trim topped by three fat fingers of slightly tan soda foam; excellent duration and dense lacing seal the deal on the appearance. Sweet, spicy nose with vanilla, cherry, raisin, and pepper; very smooth.

The taste is so delicious that words can scarcely do it justice. Plenty of raisin, date, and plum with vanilla and cherry in a rich, complex fruit flavor, but with enough spice (clove and pepper) to maintain a strong balance. Bready malt is prevalent. There is a good, slightly bitter aftertaste to finish off a terrific second half, which is a bit spicier from the clove than the first, sweeter half.

The very high ABV (10.5%) doesn't interfere with a truly magnificent Quad, perhaps the best I've ever had and certainly one of the best beers in any style I've tried. Well worth the coin, and one worth cellaring. A masterpiece.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2008 20:06:59 | More by Gehrig
Photo of koolk


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

Pours a deep dark mahogany with a small beige head that lingers the whole way down.

Very yeasty/bready nose that also swings into some sweet fruit notes of plums and apples. Maybe even some dry fruit in there as well. And some spicy wood notes start to appear with warmth/air. So too figs, prunes, more plum and red currants. Wow. Grows and grows with time.

Spicy palate of cacao, vanilla, oak and clove. Dark fruits come into play as does the strong malt flavours. Happy sugar level, and some real aniseed warmth on the finish.

Body is smooth, creamy and very well balanced.

Must admit, on the first sniff and taste it seemed very very 1 dimensional - hard yeast on the nose, alcohol on the finish. As it warmed/aired it grew and grew, filling out the palate with creamy sweetness and a very complex nose to boot.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2008 09:55:37 | More by koolk
Photo of AlexF

Quebec (Canada)

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

Dark hazy brown. Chocolate, brownies brown. Deep! With a LOT of yeast floating. A nice beige head is also persisting throughout the session, with wonderful lacing. Perfect appearance for a rich quadrupel.

A sugary odour of brownies, dark fruits and hints of caramel suggest that this beer will be heavy, real heavy.

No disapointment. This beer rocks! Layers of dark ripe fruits, generic sugary dessert (cookie or brownies again), with a touch of... magic? This is real good.

This is the best quadrupel i've tasted, by far.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2008 02:19:51 | More by AlexF
Photo of MattChaos

North Carolina

4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: The Abt. 12 is traditionally poured in a goblet or snifter-style glass. This allows its thick and rich head to make itself known, and not without good cause. The dark-to-light coloring of the pour is absolutely brilliant for a Belgian, and impressive to anyone familiar with the style.

Smell: Tough to get past the froth, but pleasant and suggestive. The smell is specific, and omits several key ingredients to the beer, leaving the aroma to be slightly misleading, but encouraging nevertheless.

Taste: A credit to its style. This 10% beer drinks almost like a 7%. Smooth, but pungent. A "sipper". Roasty and malty. Perfect trappist.

Mouthfeel: Sweet front-end, boasty back-end.

Drinkability: Be careful with this one! It's soothing taste and attractive appearance has been known to tempt one too many beer-geek into a quick intoxication. This is a quality beer, and should be enjoyed as such. It's a social beer, but one could easily spend an evening drinking nothing but the Abt. 12, and enjoying every last drop!

Serving type: on-tap

08-18-2008 08:00:00 | More by MattChaos
Photo of slayer3604


4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a St Bernardus Watou glass (part of a 4 pack holiday set)

A- The appearance screams 'malt depth'. This baby created a churning abundance of off-white head if three fingers (I pour hard) that stuck to the glass the entire way down. The beer itself was ember brown and was laced with plumes of rising carbonation.

S- Brown sugar, fig, and green apple dipped in warm caramel

T- A very chewy mouth feel that erupts in a full bouquet of living breathing wreathes of dark malt, toffee and hints of caramel.

M- Like I said...chewy. Not the wookie, though.

D- Very drinkable, but be careful, 10% is no mother's son.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2008 06:21:42 | More by slayer3604
Photo of srroos


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

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: Two fingers of tan head over an opaque, dark brown body. Large head dissipated into a cap with lots of lacing.

S: Yeasty, dark fruits, and alcohol. Very pleasant!

T: Yeasty initially, dark fruits in the middle, with a mildly bitter finish. A very complex and delicious beer! Only missing that certain "wow!" response for a perfect 5.

MF: Thick and full bodied, with ample carbonation. Perfect!

D: A perfect beer for slowly sipping, but keeps me coming back for more. I'd have no problem drinking this constantly despite the high alcohol.

An exceptional beer that I will be enjoying again and again! Next time, it will be a side-by-side with a Westveleteren 12, Rochefort 10, and Pannepot.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2008 03:58:18 | More by srroos
Photo of Jerico

New York

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

A - dark, murky coffee color with a gigantic fluffy head that is in no hurry to disappear.

S - raisins, figs, brown sugar and maybe a touch of coffee.

T/M/D - heavenly, very smooth, slightly sweet and somewhat heavy. The fruit taste is there but hangs out in the bacjground and lets your taste buds look for it a bit. This beer pulls together extremely well. One of my all-time favorites!

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2008 02:21:52 | More by Jerico
Photo of treyrab


4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 into a chalice

A: Pours a dark raisin color color with a huge frothy off-white head

S: Tons of dark fruits such as raisins, dates, figs, along with candi sugar and yeast funk

T: Very much like the smell with a hint of alcohol thrown in as well. The taste is very complex but the alcohol is noticeable in this one

Overall a great brew! Taste is very similar to Westy, wonder why that is :)

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2008 03:19:20 | More by treyrab
Photo of grandq

New York

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

My current quad kick is now in full swing, revisiting an old favorite. Pours a deep ruby into my Pabst goblet with a bubble khaki head, evincing plenty of carbonation - as it should be. Smells lovely and quite strong - cherries, raisins, prune, bourbon soaked oak and candi sugar. The last note comes first to the taste buds, followed by an explosion of dark fruits, with cherries at the epicenter of the blast. Candi again, then some pepper and alcoholic burn in perfect harmony. Taking more sips, a few other favors show up - cocoa becomes more apparent, something close to tobbacco crops up briefly, a very slight touch of caramel. A little hotter than I recall, a tad spicier.

Mouthfeel is near perfect, thick and coating but with the carbonated "lift" i like, vaporizing the liquid rolling down the tongue. There's something to the Belgian water. I can't think of a single American quad that nails the mouthfeel. Obviously not going to session this, but there's nothing off to the brew, very drinkable for the style. This is still definitely up there - may need to side by side it with the Pannepots.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2008 00:05:09 | More by grandq
Photo of jordoo


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

750ml bottle poored into a Chimay glass.

This one is an original color for sure, the best way I can describe it is as a dark ruby red thats really brown. It is super carbinated with a large creamy tan head that holds well and left decent lacing. While it certainly has the look of something special the nose is even better. I get a wide range of carmel/sweet malts as well as earthy yeast, plumb, slight raisin, slight alcohol and grassy/floral hops, wonderfully complex. The taste is again just out of this world just so much going on and yet at the same time its majically refreshing. Plum, raisins, sweet carmel malts, spice, candied fruit sugars, nuts and alcohol all make a home on your palet. I can't remember a beer with more carbination than this one and yet it seems to fit it well, providing a nice airyness to the overall medium feel without making it seem thin. My one serious gripe is that I only picked up one bottle of this, because I simply need to have more I wonder if the abbey is accepting new recruits. LOL. On my relatively short beer journey this has been the best stop.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2008 15:08:39 | More by jordoo
Photo of FtownThrowDown


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

Pour a dark ruby brown in color with a nice two inches of head. Smell is belgian candy sugars, some plum and some light yeast. Taste is more of the plums and dark fruits. Incredibly creamy and big on the mouthfeel. A hint of spice in the taste at the end of each sip. Very good beer. Luxurious in the mouthfeel. Great beer, but not as complex as the Rochefort 10, which is still my fav.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2008 02:34:43 | More by FtownThrowDown
Photo of Homeroaster


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

This was a beer that totally caught me by surprise. I had never heard of it, but I always try those I've never had when they are available. It poured thin, but with lots of head retention. Pour slowly unless you want a glass full of foam. Semi-dark, with a sweet, apple cider aroma. The flavor begins with the dryness of an aged cabernet, then explodes with notes of alcohol, overripe figs and balanced with a mandarian orange acidity and sweetness. This is one of the best beers of the year for me. Strong but refreshing. A definite sipper. I prefer a Hommel glass for this beer to enjoy the aroma with the flavor.

Serving type: on-tap

08-11-2008 00:42:01 | More by Homeroaster
Photo of isthisme2


4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

one of the best i've ever had in this category.

appearance - hazy golden brown. thick head dissipates to a thin layer that lingers throughout.

smell - sweet, alcohol, cherries, really complex.

taste - really, almost a perfect balance between every ingredient. at 10% abv you would expect more alcohol, but again sweet, but not so much to overpower.

mouthfeel - warming and smooth.

drinkability - i can't imagine this beer ever getting old. another... please!!!

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2008 03:19:34 | More by isthisme2
Photo of garymuchow


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

Took me long enough to make it to this top 25 beer (currently at #20).
Pours with enormous tan head made up of many size bubbles with largest ones forming in time. Really attractive red color when held in proper light. Very clear (at least from the top of the bottle).
Funky aroma made up of assorted phenols with malt, sweet fruit, and mild alcohol (something about a diaper comes to my mind as I experience this).
Remarkably clean drink, especially considering all that's going on here. Malts dominate, spiciness from the yeast, strong alcohol warmth and only somewhat less flavor. More dryness than I expected but it leaves fairly quickly and quietly, leaving a very mild bitterness and a touch of astringency. It's seems like two different drinks. It begins soft and relatively smooth with subtle flavors from the malt, then suddenly sharp and forthright flavors make their presence dominated by the yeast and alcohol Surprisingly the fruit appears in the latter half. Boy there is a lot going on. Much beyond my verbal/written ability to express.
Fully carbonated and includes an addition to the sharpness as it pricks the tongue. They soften in time releasing a smoother ale than initially revealed. Rich, rich, rich. Makes me want to find something to eat cut the intensity. (hmmm, what to have - I think I don't have nuts, maybe some cheese).
Largely due to the style this wont' make my list of best beers. Too rich and biting. Nonetheless a fine, fine beer, but I could have done just as well with a smaller bottle.
Ah, that's better. A little cheese help cut the intensity and it becomes a much more enjoyable beer.
Congrats Michael Phelps (400 IM). You rock.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2008 03:16:50 | More by garymuchow
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 6,967 ratings.