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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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7,012 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,012
Reviews: 2,469
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 383
Gots: 946 | 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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,012 | Reviews: 2,469 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of abfraser


4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours dark mahogany with a beautiful inch-sized brown/cream carbonated head.

S: Sugary prunes and dark fruit laced with booze. Serious spice. Belgian candi sugar; smells like cotton candy

T: Amazing. Deep dark syrupy fruit. Wonderful spice.

M: Good carbonated mouthfeel, full-bodied.

D: Not drinking too many of these things. Its aweomse, but intense. Couldn't drink more than a bottle of this

An exceptional beer. Amazingly complex and flavor-packed. One of the best I've had.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2008 05:35:03 | More by abfraser
Photo of 7ways


4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Ruddy Belgian brown with a full inch of cinnamon speckled head.

N- Yeasty. Fig/prune, buttery raisin toast. Sweet alcohol, maybe congac.

T- Like drinking a big spicy raisin. Nice. Also more dark fruit, clove, pepper; minimal candi sugar and fruit cookies on the finish. The alcohol was rather apparent, but warming. On par for the abv.

M- Classic Belgian mouthfeel.

D- Funny, as much as I appreciate what a great beer this is, I'm in no hurry to try it again.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2008 00:56:14 | More by 7ways
Photo of bbothen


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

Pours a dark mahagony color with a thick & fluffy light tan colored head.

Smells yeasty, bready, sweet caramel, dark fruitiness, raisin, plum, fig, Slightly spicy. Aromas abound!

Where to start on the taste. Sweet candylike flavors, spicy, clove, sugary, bready, caramel sweetness, toffee, raisin, & more. Complex indeed.

Rich, full, smooth, thick, moderate carbonation.

A wonderful Belgian Quad. A wonderful beer judged on any criteria. A must try & a classic.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2008 23:54:06 | More by bbothen
Photo of bonbini26

New Jersey

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

Appearance: The glass is rimming with lace, small head hazed brown color, very complex and deep

Smell: Ripe fruits, plum come to mind, with malty sweetness and clove

Taste: Clove is certain to be the first flavor you taste as it rides the wave of sweetness, big brown sugar with some cake like malty qualities. S Alcohol is a little evident, it hiding under the sweetness right behind the fruity notes that soon flare into esters and mild flabors. Finishes sweet and warming.

Mouthfeel: Exceedingly smooth with a creamy full body after the smoothness moves through.

Drinkability & Notes: I'd have no problem sipping this all night long. Probably my 2nd favorite quad to Roc. 10

Serving type: on-tap

10-03-2008 13:39:54 | More by bonbini26
Photo of wescj


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

Poured into a goblet.

A-Pours a thick, dark caramel. Light tan one-inch head which slowly dissipates, leaving a moderate lace.

S- Earthy, with the sweetness of ripe fruits and sugar. Slight presence of alcohol.

T- Citrus fruits first, then hints of spice. Also, a sort of candied sweetness.

M- Carbonated, but also very smooth. A large and fuzzy presence over the palate that is very pleasing.

D- Delicious and easygoing. I could have several of these, but the high ABV leaves me content after one.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2008 00:25:30 | More by wescj
Photo of kwakwhore

North Carolina

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

Pours reddish brown with an off white head which doesn't last too long.
Shot of phenols on the nose, followed by ripe dark fruits, some cake-like malt, and some alcohol. Chocolate sneaks in as I let the beer warm.
Sweetened fruit and chocolate up front, a medicinal element linked with a bit of alcohol. Chocolate notes in the deliciously long finish and just a touch of hop bitterness.
Exceptional mouthfeel, a lingering carbonation on the tongue lasts for an amazing amount of time. As the beer warms the carbonation is still present, but the overall mouthfeel becomes a lot softer on the tongue.
I'm noticing the alcohol as I drink this. The beer goes down easily, but I doubt I could have more than one of these at a time, because of the abv and the richness of the brew.
The more I drink this, the better it gets. A really great beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2008 03:43:45 | More by kwakwhore
Photo of jeffmonarch


4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle in a goblet.

A - Muddy brown color with a thin tan head.

S - Strong alcohol and sweet fruit smells.

T - Just as the smell, this is definitely strong. Burn through the finish and some sweetness. Maybe fig?

M - Medium/light bodied with good carbonation.

D - Good beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2008 06:06:05 | More by jeffmonarch
Photo of drpimento


4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an overcarbonated bottle with a big, thick, creamy, textured head that lasts and lasts. Very malty, estery, fragrant, and volatile nose. Mouth filling body with just the right amount of carbonation. Not too sweet with a very complex taste. Goes down satisfyingly. Finish is medium. Lots of lace on the glass. Dark brown, copper color. Not as complex as the SE, but stands as a classic on its own.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2008 03:21:09 | More by drpimento
Photo of gyllstromk


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

Thin, active, and quickly dissipating head over an opaque, dark burgundy body.

Nose is cherries, cranberries, raisins, and other dark fruit; spices too: primarily cloves, with some nutmeg. Unmistakable sweet Belgian yeast. A very fresh and exceptional smell.

Tangy and tart taste! Starts with a honey sweetness and finishes with heavy spices: cloves, some nutmeg and maybe even a little cinnamon.

Heavily carbonated. A very nice mouthfeel.

The sweetness blends beautifully with the carbonation, creating a very crisp taste.

The alcohol is well hidden although the price is a practical factor in drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2008 23:08:19 | More by gyllstromk
Photo of erikm25


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

A: Pours a thick caramel brown with tints of fluorescent purple. Sits in the glass a rich dark ruby brown that actually glows. Poured aggressively to reveal a two fingered rich almond sugar head. The head appears so rich and delicious you could pass it off as dessert. A mural of lacing all around the glass. Frame it and put it in the Louvre.

S: The sweetness of dark fruits soaked in rum and plush candy licorice is immediate. Toasted ripe grapes mashed together with sweet apples, dipped in chocolate, and then scorched with peppered flames. Sugar malts with hints of plum and the slightest outline of alcohol to finish it off. I smelled this one repeatedly.

T: If you could candy coat the ripest fruits with the finest wine, cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate, peppermint, nutmeg, and endless spices then you would be just hitting the tip of the iceberg in describing this flavor. Smoked, candied, flowered, malted, roasted, and smooth. This swirls and bleeds all sorts of interesting tastes.

M: Chewy and full bodied. Like cemented molasses yet it goes down smoothly and delicately. To top it off a warm alcohol pulse at the end.

D: I am still very new to this genre of beer but to say the least I was impressed. You would hope your last MRE in late 2012 would taste this good. For now, throw on your favorite music and enjoy. This could easily become one of my favorite beers.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2008 04:45:21 | More by erikm25
Photo of Domingo


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

Sometimes the big Belgians can be a bit too much for me, but when they're done well they can be pretty amazing. This one is one of my favorites!
Pours a cloudy deep brown leather color with a moderately rocky head.
Smells like dried fruits, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa, and brandy.
Up front, this starts off sweet and chocolate laced. In the middle it rounds out and picks up a lot of dried fruit and yeasty peppery spice. Burnt sugar and rum come out a little, too. The finish actually has some European hop accents to keep it clean. There's a little bit of booze to it, but it actually holds everything together for the texture.
I typically split a bottle of this size and strength, but there's no reason someone couldn't finish this one alone. It's good enough where you'd certainly want to.
Not my absolutely favorite from the genre, but it's really good. Since the style is a little loosely defined - this of this as a really strong dubbel with many of the same flavors.

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2008 15:39:25 | More by Domingo
Photo of PerzentRizen


4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is a beer that will definately convert you to Belgian Ale. I cannot believe how juicy and malty this amazing beer is. This is the kind of beer that will definately expand your palate and your insatiable craving for better and better beers.

I poured this beer into a St Bernardus Watou trappist ale glass - wow was I lucky to get ahold of this glass in Cincinnatti - thank you Giri from Dorothy Lane in Springboro. The head rose quickly and stayed around a half inch throughout the session. I poured this one at around 48 degrees and decided to let it warm to keep the carbonation in a little - based on much appreciated reviews.

The aroma is of big vinous fruit and medicine - but in a good way. It has an almost indescribable frothy, malty, sour aroma that seems to change as you inhale.

The taste confirms the complexity. I am completely overwhelmed by the fruit flavor, the malty juiciness, and the alcohol is only observable by the fact that I am getting more and more giddy as I drink it. It has a very zen like quality that seems to very much calm me as I enjoy it.

The mouthfeel is huge. I cannot believe a beer with such vivacious carbonation could be so creamy and malty. It's like a lamic in carbonation and a scotch ale in maltiness with a Belgian big beer character that seems to say, "you are one lucky individual."

This beer looses a bit in drinkability - not because you don't want to drink six of these, but because 1) It has 10% ABV and 2)It's around 9 bucks per 11.2 ounce bottle (but oh so worth it). I think I will pick up around 20 of these next trip to Florida.

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2008 00:20:40 | More by PerzentRizen
Photo of tedsox31


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

Had this on-tap last night at the Chicago Alehouse for only $5.25. Not bad considering you'll pay 11 plus tax for a bottle of it. This poured a dark brown with a big white creamy head that stuck around and left lace trailing down the side of the goblet.

Smells of dark fruits, Belgian sugar, maybe some molasses and malts, and a hint of alcohol.

The taste is sweet and smooth. I can pick up all the flavors that I detected from the smell. There is not much of an alcoholic taste at all, and a load of flavors.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Not much carbonation at all, and it just goes down very easily.

A dangerously drinkable beer, given the high ABV. I had two of them and it was very delicious. Just make sure you space them out over the course of an evening!

Serving type: on-tap

09-14-2008 16:44:59 | More by tedsox31
Photo of chrisafari


4.03/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Yard-House in Irvine, california. Pours dark brown, deep reddish amber with small white head. Slight aroma of hops with powerful sense of spice and alcohol. Flavor of spice, pepper and sweet plums. Finishes with a slight ting of alcohol. Very enjoyable!

Serving type: on-tap

09-11-2008 00:06:41 | More by chrisafari
Photo of pershan


4.08/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at Frisco Grille in Columbia, MD.

The beer poured a cloudy copper-brown with very little head into a chalice. I detected a slightly sweet/candy/bubble gum aroma - definitely a Belgian brew. The sweet component also dominated over the malt in the initial swig, with licorice, fennel, Belgian candy sugar, and, of course, big-time alcoholic esters. A very complex and hefty brew - I enjoyed it immensely.

Serving type: on-tap

09-09-2008 19:29:03 | More by pershan
Photo of erratic


3.7/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured on tap at Stardust in Orlando. Impressed by its opaque clouded brown appearance. Only light that clearly gets through is at the edges where it shines rusty red. The smell is the best part. Roasted malts, yeast, chocolate, dark fruits. The taste wore a little on me. Too burnt. The taste also included some rum-like alcohol, dark fruit, and yeast, but the burnt malts were overwhelming. Mouthfell was medium/full bodied. Nice balance of carbonation and thickness. Drinkability suffers from excessive burnt flavors. I really expected more balance from such a lauded belgian. High alcohol really hit home, too. Not sure I'll try this one again, at least not at the price they ask!

Serving type: on-tap

09-06-2008 03:54:41 | More by erratic
Photo of cooncat


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

Decanted into my Stone crystal tulip chalice. Presentation counts!

The pour produces a deep mahogany colored brew. Almost no light passes through, except on the very sides. By using a flashlight, I could glimpse some reddish hues and some floaties, which I assume were from the yeast. The head is MOST prodigious in size .. 3 fingers on a chilled sample. It is long lasting but in the end reduces to a fine cap. Some lacing is noticeable on the sides.

The nose is a quite pleasant mixture of dark fruits (raisins, plums and perhaps dates. Also in there is the unmistakeable hint of spicy cinnamon .. like the kind you'd find in 'red hots'. Very enjoyable just to sit and inhale.

The taste pretty much follows the nose. Big dark fruit tastes, with that spicy cinnamon (red hot) taste in the background, providing a little warmth. The 10% abv is completely hidden, except for the warming of the stomach. Mouthfeel is medium-full, and smooth. I wouldn't say 'creamy', but smooth definitely covers it. Drinkability? Well, I think this should be quaffed slowly whilst enjoying some classical music and/or reading a good book. A fine after dinner drink, or even an aperitif.

Very enjoyable, and recommended, even if you aren't big on Belgians, you'll find something to enjoy in this big Quad.

Na Zdravje

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2008 22:38:17 | More by cooncat
Photo of bjoyce12


4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Public House in Brookline, MA. Wow. The Bernardus 12 is the standard by which all others are judged. Pours a big dark brown, white foam, and then the aroma hits you. Caramel, roasted malt, then burnt sugar. These are all present in undercurrents of the taste, as well as some molasses, dates, and currants. With a 10.5%ABV, the Bernardus 12 provides an SUV-size vehicle to carry all the flavors. The big ABV still doesn't have any of the burn.

Serving type: on-tap

09-04-2008 17:11:07 | More by bjoyce12
Photo of mtstatebeer

West Virginia

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

330ml bottle. Pours a nice deep brown color with a large frothy, light brown head which sticks around for a good while. Aroma is roasted malt, maybe a little bit of coffee/chocolate, and some fruits (pear?). Flavor is better than the smell fruity and sweet. It packs a decent punch, the finish reminds you that it's a relatively high alcohol content.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2008 23:31:53 | More by mtstatebeer
Photo of BamaBeerBuff

North Carolina

4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

At the Brick Store Pub on August 30th, 2008--about 3 hours before Alabama slaughtered Clemson in the Georgia Dome.

See my review for bottle:

The main difference between this beer on-tap and out of the bottle is an even creamier mouthfeel, which gives way to enhanced drinkability. Additionally, much more lace is present and the head retains at a 1/2 inch from start to finish. Flavor is slightly more vibrant on-tap, as well.

Serving type: on-tap

09-02-2008 01:33:21 | More by BamaBeerBuff
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
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,012 ratings.