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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.

7,554 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,554
Reviews: 2,516
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 450
Gots: 1,172 | 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
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Ratings: 7,554 | Reviews: 2,516 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of hubearth
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a rochefort glass. Similar to a Westvleteren 12 but not as complex wich, on the good side, makes it more accessible. It is a great beer though, one of the best.

It is well balanced, nothing is coming out too much as to mask the other tastes. The 10 degree of alcool is well soften by a sweet taste (but not as much as the Rochefort 10) and it's mouthfeel. The hop could have been stronger to give a little edge.

hubearth, Jun 03, 2010
Photo of Gobzilla
3.9/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: poured a poopy brown with light brown highlights and a half finger head that died quick and left good lacing.

S: sweet malts, pear, and booze hit me up front with hints of leather and brown sugar.

T: pears sweet malts and booze stirke first on the palate with brown sugar and belgian yeast characteristics.

M: medium to full body with light carbonation with a sweet boozy finish.

D: pretty good quad but its a little on the swwet side. It drinks decent but starts to taste like leather as it warms up.

Gobzilla, Jun 01, 2010
Photo of konadrinker
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel Tulip.

A- Deep brown/ ruby red with a rich tan head and nice lacing.

S- Complexity with molasses, caramel, orange. An earthy yeast, avg/hvy alcohol with figs.

T- Delicious! Malty sweetness with a touch of bitterness, great balance, depth and complexity. An exceptional beer.

M- Nicely carbonated, creamy and incredibly smooth.

D- Goes down smoothly and hides the high ABV wonderfully. I could easily drink this all night.

Excellent beer. Another must have on hand.

konadrinker, May 31, 2010
Photo of Naugros
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into the DFH tulip glass. Foam sprang from the bottle mouth upon opening.

Dark garnet with yeast sediment flaoting around in the ample carbonation. A light tan head with good retention, very slow to dissipate. Not much lace on the sides of the glass and it slides down quickly. This may have been a function of the heat and humidity on the day drank, since most others report nice lacing.

Dark or dried fruit dominate the nose with a hint of citrus and clove.

Figs come through as a dry sweetness on the tongue and there is some citrus bitterness at the back, but it doesn't linger. The alcohol is well-masked, but you can feel it tickle the top of your palate. Belgian yeast "funk" is present, but expected and minimal.

As mentioned above, the palate is tickled by a very mild alcohol burn and some clove astringency. Carbonation is also present.

A very drinkable quad, even at 10.5% ABV. Nicely done, but I still prefer Rochefort 10.

Naugros, May 30, 2010
Photo of bceagles39
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle at The Publick House (Brookline, MA) on May 28, 2010.

Pours a beautiful mahogany brown. A large fluffy off-white head, most of which went down quickly. What remained left a nice sticky lacing which held up until the last sip. Noticeable fizziness.

Smells sweet with dark fruits, chocolate, and caramel.

Taste is incredible - roasted malts, rich dark fruit flavors, and overripe grapes. There is a lot going on, almost a sweet/sour flavor. Just the right amount of hop backbone. Alcohol comes in on the finish which is long.

Love the mouthfeel, the carbonation cuts through the heavy syrupy goodness.

This is a supremely drinkable beer. Although I've been keen on trying as many brews as I can lately, I ordered a second because I could not get enough.

bceagles39, May 30, 2010
Photo of InspectorBob
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this into my SA glass. A dark brownish color with about two fingers of an off white head that laced my glass throughtout. Tasted to me of dark fruits,raisins/plums. Has nice carbonation with a smooth drinkability with some alcohol on the finish. Overall this is a very good beer. I must try this on draft next time I'm in Olde City....

InspectorBob, May 30, 2010
Photo of Chizoad
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Note: Do not drink this beer when eating salmon. Thankfully all of it was consumed after the meal...

Had three times now, consistent across the board.

Pours deep amber and honey-like; one finger creamy head that took a little while to settle.

Smells like heaven ought to. Strong aromas of honey, raisins, dates, and a smidgen of raspberry. Also a little whiff of the alcohol. Stupendous nose.

I found the taste to be not quite as amazing as the smell, but this is a really great and enjoyable quad. I found it a tad maltier, nearly no hops character, and flavors like the nose which mellow on the tongue.

Not too heavy, but with good carbonation. Perhaps a little too much for my taste, but still really good.

I could down these for a while... at least until I passed out drunk.

Chizoad, May 29, 2010
Photo of Mora2000
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a hazy medium brown color with a tan head. The head appears very fluffy and soft. The aroma is alcohol, dark fruit, brown sugar, yeast and candi-sugar. The beer smells great. The flavor is a lot of dark fruit (plums and raisins) with some brown sugar, candi-sugar, yeast and alcohol. Medium-thick, very creamy mouthfeel and soft carbonation. This is what a quadrupel is supposed to taste like.

Mora2000, May 27, 2010
Photo of ralree
4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very dark brownish red, whitish head with very small bubbles, easily 2 fingers. Great retention and lacing!

S: Fruity but clean, with a nice dose of alcohol. Hops come out a bit to finish up the smell.

T: Nice alcoholic fruity flavor, with a good hoppy bite to it. Has a slight metallic taste to it that doesn't interrupt the other flavors. Rich flavor makes this a beer for serious Belgian lovers only. It's a bit sugary, but not cloying, which is rare for this style in my opinion.

M: Very syrupy, thick, good carbonation. Non-astringent. Medium-heavy body.

D: Goes down very well for the style.

ralree, May 27, 2010
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Glazed persimmon orange with a fine sprinkling of yeast drifting downward against the tide of uprushing carbonation. The wheat toast colored crown is a firmly creamy, rocky, sticky masterpiece of the sort that only Belgians seem able to create. What a fantastic way to start.

Does Brouwerij St. Bernardus (and do other Belgian breweries) recognize the quadrupel style, or do they consider Abt 12 to be a high-ABV dubbel? The silk-screened label on the 750 indicates that this ale is 'brewed in the classic Dubbel style'.

The aroma isn't as dark as some... or as dark as expected. There's more steely caramel, earth and toast than anything even remotely resembling chocolate or roasted malt. It's also more medium fruity than dark fruity. A wonderful clove-and-pepper yeast-derived spiciness pulls it all together in beautiful fashion.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 easily deserves its reputation as one of the world's finest beers. It delivers the same seamless quality, mind-boggling complexity and compulsive drinkability as the rest of their outstanding lineup. Along with Brouwerij Het Anker, these guys are my favorite Belgian brewery.

This flagship ale really does taste more like a BSDA or a big dubbel than most quadrupels. Specifics include well-toasted brown bread, steely caramel, unsweet figs, earthy tobacco, ground clove and black pepper. What was a solid 4.5 during the first few ounces is now a much-deserved 5.0 as the middle of the bottle is breached.

Warming brings greater flavor intensity, several more flavor facets, and a more complete melding of flavors. We're now talking 'gold standard' for the style. My tongue registers the ABV as 8.5% while my brain is beginning to feel the Full Monty. Time to start sipping rather than greedily gulping.

This big bottle must be fairly fresh (estimated age is barely more than one year) because a surprising amount of hop bitterness is still present. Sweeter would be fine, but I like it just the way it is. Aging this beauty for 15 years, as the label suggests is possible, doesn't seem like such a great idea.

The body/mouthfeel isn't far from perfection. It's lighter than most triple-digit ABV ales, but heavier probably wouldn't have worked as well. The smooth-edged creaminess can't be faulted. Nor can the ideal amount and well-integrated feel of the carbonation.

Abt 12 is a true classic that deserves mention whenever the topic turns to the best beers on the planet. Even though Tripel is the finest ale that St. Bernardus has to offer, this big brew isn't far behind. It's also better (and more widely available) than either Trappistes Rochefort 10 or Westveleteren 12.

BuckeyeNation, May 24, 2010
Photo of scottyb88
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 brown color with one finger head that remained throughout as a thin film; opaque

S-brown sugar, candied orange peel dipped in dark rum

T-very faint citrus up front with a noticeable candy sugar and caramel malt in the finish

M-very smooth, not as smooth as Rochefort 10, but really nice; leaves a nice dryness in your mouth with hints of alcohol

D-so good; dark malty deliciousness; the alcohol is really well hidden for 10.5%; such a great beer

scottyb88, May 23, 2010
Photo of ksimons
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-poured into a snifter appears a dark brown with a thin layer of head that leaves some sticky residue on the glass

S-a boozy, malty, fruity scent

T-a sweet, rich malty taste with a boozy finish. The carbonation gives it a spicy kick to finish it out

M-medium carbonation, medium body, and a lot of alcohol warming

D-even though the alcohol is present, you could drink it all day, excellent

ksimons, May 16, 2010
Photo of yeahnatenelson
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance -- Pours a deep, opaque mahogany with creamy beige head that - surprisingly - sticks around.

Smell -- Sweet and malty; raisins, prunes, a little bit of licorice, a little bit of milk chocolate. I might be the only one to make reference to Rainsinettes, but that's what I'm getting. Faint alcohol presence, but is to be expected.

Tatse -- Dried dark fruits, some carob, buttered rye bread. Sweet, earthy, smooth, and buttery.

Mouthfeel -- Full-bodied, mild 'prickly' carbonation. Much smoother than 6 and 8. Warming in the finish.

Drinkability -- Definitely my favorite of the St. Bernardus lineup. Smooth, complex, buttery, earthy. There's something very comforting about this beer. Absolutely lived up to its reputation.

yeahnatenelson, May 16, 2010
Photo of homebrew311
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

We've got yet another gusher... that's 4 for 4 in the gift set I got for Christmas. Fortunately these beers seem to be victims of overcarbonation rather than infection. once I poured it in my St. Bernardus chalice, it settled down just fine.

A: pours a deep purplish red with a fingers of slightly tan head, dissipates to a very thin layer which sticks around. Lots of lacing. Somewhat cloudy in appearance (possibly because of the gushing)

S: smells of candied grapes, very sweet on the front with lots of fruitiness, this smell seems to fade into alcohol presence, but nothing unexpected for a 10.5% beer.

T: delicious sweetness on the front, reminiscent of grape jolly ranchers, nothing overly sweet, the palate dries out as it finishes and leaves a slight hint of residual sweetness on the palate. Excellent balance for a big beer, this beer accentuates everything that I love about Belgian beers

MF: thick body with an almost syrupy presence, not as high carbonation as the gushing would suggest, goes down smoothly

D: well this is the beer that really showed me what Belgian beers are all about early in my craft beer drinking time. It is still just as good as I remember, however I pick up much more delicate flavors as my palate has developed. I would highly recommend this for anyone interested in Belgian brews!

homebrew311, May 14, 2010
Photo of WOTO97
4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: big fluffy caramel cream head with slight lacing over deep burnt sugar/dark caramel body

S: loads of malt, licorice and chicory character with milk caramel, faint orange blossom honey, faint lactose quality

T: slightly hot on the finish, nice milk caramel/dulce de leche on the back of the palate that lingers nicely, some faint fennel on mid-palate with some slight cinnamon notes

M: very round, slightly chewy and some residual stickiness, nice warming feel

D: a sipper for sure, slightly hot on the finish but it does a pretty phenomenal job hiding the alcohol, incredible malt character

WOTO97, May 13, 2010
Photo of ahatch551
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a tulip glass. Aroma is a little flat but pleasant. Flavor is exceptional, very subtle and complex on the palate full body excellent complement to the flavor.

I recommend a slightly warmer temperature for serving ~50F really opens it up.

ahatch551, May 09, 2010
Photo of cakirkl
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a dark brown, copper when put up to the light. Head is about 2 fingers, but doesn't stick around long.

S - Smells of sweet fruit, plums, apples, pears. A little bit of brown sugar almost as a background to the plethora of fruity smells emanating from this beer.

T - What can I say? It's as fantastic as everyone says it is. This is the second time I've had it, didn't review it last time. Just sweet plums, apples, almost all of bits of the smell. The back-end has some dark toffee notes. A very smooth boozy finishes it off. Usually I'm not big on beers being hot, but this one I think just adds to it.

M - Feels great, I'm usually quite picky on carbonation levels, but I think this is perfect. To nitpick: just a hair thicker than I like, but really that's just me looking for something.

D - So drinkable it's absurd, even with the boozy back-end. I could probably beer bong this if I wanted to. Well, maybe not, but still, it's so drinkable for a 10% beer.

Fantastic brew. I think I like it even a bit better than the Rochefort 10 (which is hard for me, I love that beer). In my top 10 all time.

cakirkl, May 03, 2010
Photo of kaseydad
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at a local deli. A local deli! Nothing like a corned beef sandy and a Quad.

Snifter pour and I am met with a murky dark brown ale with a big fluffy head of foam with staying power. The aroma consists of raspberries, tart apple, pear and other darker fruits. Well done. Bubbly taste with a fruity flavor and some mild malt on the swallow and a slight peppery taste. A nice looong aftertaste is present with a lot going on well after the sip is down. A slight numbing effect on the gums. Foam with every sip is a nice touch. Drinkability is way high as the going down is very easy. Dealing with the after-effects? Not so much. A world class beer to be enjoyed by all.

kaseydad, May 02, 2010
Photo of mmahut
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark bronze with little carbonation and lazy head. Beautiful ring tears.

S: Wine-styled with sweet malt, dark fruits.

T: Well brewed. Sweet and spicy followed by an explosion of flavours. Malt, forest fruits and caramel.

M: Medium soft body with little of carbonation, making people happy (tm).

D: One of the best friend of beer lovers. Dangerously drinkable.

mmahut, May 01, 2010
Photo of thetomG
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had this one before but just getting around to reviewing it now...

Pours a nice deep cloudy dark brown with a beautiful foamy tan head. Very little lacing. Aroma is amazing and the flavors match - malty yeasty goodness.

I've had better Quads, but this one is up there towards the top. Would drink again.

thetomG, May 01, 2010
Photo of ebin6
4.13/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally getting around to reviewing this one...

A - Light brown color with a medium head which stuck around, thinly, the entire time

S - Very malty smell, not a whole lot else present to be honest

T - Nutty, malty; great arch to the taste in that it starts small, hits a peak of flavor, then crescendos into malty goodness

M - Great quad heaviness which archs similarly to the taste

D - Tastes heavier and heavier as the bottle progresses, but is not overwhelming

ebin6, Apr 30, 2010
Photo of richmof
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a creamy off-white head and some sediment.

You get the dark fruit and malt on the nose, which follows through and opens up on the palate. Nice nutty chocolate undertones without being too sweet. It is smooth and well balanced with the high ABV in no way dominating, instead counter-balancing the sweetness perfectly.

This is a classic Belgian ale and a rival for any pretender. Its been known to win blind tastings with Westvleteren to boot.

richmof, Apr 29, 2010
Photo of ufotofuturo
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thick, earthy, fruity flavor masks a surprisingly high, take-you-off-guard kind of ABV. Awesome-looking bottle, which might inspire friends to suggest that you have some kind of magic elixir in your closet. The grinning abbeyfellow is occasionally described as "creepy" by my less beer-snobbish friends. Not quite as creamy as I'd expected, but the thick, luxurious head makes up for it. For an instant, you are not a man, but a monk-- a purveyor of divine secrets and holy inspiration. My only gripe is the slightly prohibitive cost- this beer is absolutely worth trying, but save 'em for special occasions.

ufotofuturo, Apr 25, 2010
Photo of BlackBearForge
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky caramel brown with a generous frothy white head with oily lacing.

The malty aroma is full of dark caramelized orchard fruit and bready yeast.

A dark caramel malt base leads of with supporting rolls from the dark orchard fruits noted in the aroma, ripe pear, dark plums, raisins and figs. Bready yeasts back up the flavors as well while the considerable alcohol being perfectly invisible with just a gentle warmth on the palate.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy and well carbonated.

Drinkability? Like most quality Belgians this beer is too drinkable for the alcohol level, you can easily sit and drink a bottle of this brew. Earns an easy recommendation from me!

BlackBearForge, Apr 24, 2010
Photo of bwiechmann
4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a snifter

Pours a beautifully dark russet brown/mahogany. Massive head which is absolutely gorgeous. A very pretty beer

Smells of malt and fruity Belgian yeast. Spiced and dark fruit most noticeable. Some caramel and brown sugar are also noted. Every inhale I feel as if I notice something else- amazingly complex brew.

The primary taste is of sweet, dark fruits- raisins and plums especially. Then comes the sweet caramel malt notes and the bready yeast flavors. Some alcohol warmth is present but not off-putting in the least. Ends with tantalizing vanilla and caramel tease.

The mouthfeel is excellent, more carbonation than expected but it certainly suits the beer perfectly. Creamy. Abt 12 is excessively drinkable for the ABV and every sip is a delight.

Notes- More Please!

bwiechmann, Apr 24, 2010
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,554 ratings.