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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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8,012 Ratings

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Ratings: 8,012
Reviews: 2,570
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 522
Gots: 1,464 | FT: 39
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,012 | Reviews: 2,570 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of falloutsnow
3.89/5  rDev -13%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased from Binny's in Schaumburg, Illinois.
Originally part of their gift set from 2010.
Poured into a St. Bernardus chalice.

Pours a 1.5cm head, light tan in color, with dense foam and small bubbles. Amazing lacing along sides of glass to complement the persistent, residual 0.5cm head. Body is a dark brown color, opaque, no visible carbonation.

Aroma of stewed prunes or dried figs on top of a slightly fragrant malt sweetness.

Heavy malt sweetness mixed with ethanol complexity. A bit yeasty, with some tartness prevalent as well. Peppery. A bit of sour cherries when warmed. Doesn't hide it's alcohol as well as Rochefort 10 does, even though it's lower in ABV. A bit disappointing in that regard.

Body is slightly over-carbonated as the beer foams a bit too much on the palate. Medium bodied. Agree with others that the fizziness decreases as the beer warms. Finish is dry, slightly syrupy.

Overall, this was a tasty quad, but I found myself preferring Rochefort compared to this. Alcohol was too noticeable and carbonation a notch too high.

Photo of bobbypaulson
3.97/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

have tried both the larger corked and the smaller capped version. It pours a merky light brown color with an off white head that leaves a little layer of white bubbles at the top after it subsides. The smell is sweet an some what yeast. The taste is strong and boozy up front full but then evens out with a sweet dried fruit finish. Nicely balanced and an over all nice Quad.

Photo of cooler4life
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Half finger white head that slowly dissipates. Appears to be highly carbonated with a chorus of dense, fine bubbles as the head settles. Lacing is moderately evident as the beer swirls around the glass. Color resembles a sun ripened date. Almost two tone when held to the light.

S: Brown sugar first, followed by dark fruit. I hesitate to say this but...grape soda? This would indicate a complex smell that my mind can't comprehend. Malty, fruity fermented goodness.

T: Malty breadiness, followed by plums and raisins. Almost like a holiday date bread with some rum. Toward the end, I pick up on the alcoholic warming undertones and it finishes with a lingering nutty sweetness.

M: The mouthfeel is really fantastic. My tongue seems to hover in my mouth elevated by mini hot air balloons of carbonation. Magic carpet.

O: Mouthfeel and smell stand out to me as exceptional qualities. Overall, a world class experience.

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

Poured into a goblet from a 330ml bottle. Freshness date is listed as "22/02/16."

Pours a cloudy, extremely traditional looking color for what a quad should typically look like. A creamy looking head fills the glass with glee but slowly descends as time goes on. Looks pretty delicious, resembles liquid bread in one of the more striking ways.

Upon smelling it, instant notes of rum, raisins and sugar malts arrive. Caramel is really intense here. Oranges, prunes, cream - there's so many complex flavors to derive from. The dried hops really tingle the nose here. Smells like fresh dark bread, straight out of the over. This is a prime example of an ideal sniffing beer.

As for the taste, it's unbelievably malty - as expected! However, getting past that, there's a lot going in this beer. It contains a yeasty, fantastically lasting taste that remains on the tongue for a long time. The alcohol permeates a bit, and then warms up the throat generously. The dried fruity tastes are what really captivate me here. It's great mouthfeel makes it very redrinkable. It's an absolutely perfect quad in those terms, as it is creamy, slightly chewy and balances bitter and sweet flavors carefully.

Uses the original yeast strand of Westvleteren, eh? Including many other similar regional ingredients? Makes me more willing to merely stick with this for now! This bottle I bought (in France) was not nearly as tasty as the 750ml corked bottle I drank from (in the US) or as fresh as the 33cl bottle I had in Brussels! Still, while it's not my favorite quad, this is a massive beer. One of the greatest quads, and a recipe that deserves respect and acclaim. In my opinion, one of the best beers to convert safe beer drinkers to the "dark side" of good quality beer.

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

Poured into a tulip glass. Brown with red hues, two fingers of dirty white head. Solid, it is not going anywhere after many drinks.
Smells like wet straw, ripe apricot, orange and molasses.
Tastes of more ripe fruit and alcohol; and more complex than I can describe.
Medium body with almost no carbonation.. borderline syrupy.
One of the best beers out there. Always enjoyable and tough to beat.

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

a - deep, dark, active looking brown that invited a hand around the glass! thick, frothy, dirty khaki colored head a float...

s - plum, darker fruit, caramel, bready malt, some spices..

t - Well balanced beer with fruity yeasty malty goodness spread throughout. Very pleased!

m - medium to heavy bodied, somewhat creamy and smooth to drink.

o - buy it to drink now.. probably could cellar if you wanted too..

Photo of pvsob
4.17/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Deep, brown color with a huge two-finger head (off-white). Beautiful lacing and the carbonation holds up a good quarter inch head the whole time.

S- Plums, cherries, musty aroma (yeast), fermenting apples, brown sugar/molasses, malt, and alcohol.

T- Malt upfront followed by very ripe dark fruits. Finishes very dry with spicy alcohol flavor.

M- Medium to full texture with a high level of carbonation. Very dry.

O- A classic and easily accessible example of a Belgian Quad. I've been drinking this one for years and don't for-see a time when I'll ever get tired of this complex beer. Highly recommended. Cheers.

Photo of Icepak
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- A medium brown, tight white bubbles, incredibly carbonated.

S- Raisins, dates, prunes, dark fruits and a little brown sugar.

T- Good god, amazing, Big Raisins in the front, dark fruits, plums, dates, prunes, a touch of burnt or brown sugar, definitely follows the nose. carbonation is very tingly but does not overpower. Incredible

M- smooth, bubbly, a little thin but true to the style

O- A quintessential belgian quad, incredibly drinkable, i wish i could have cases and cases of this stuff, it is easily enjoyed at any time of the day and easily one of my top 5 favorite beers.

Serving type: bottle

Photo of PolarBear3
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank from my Chimay Chalice

A - Poured a dark brown colour with two fingered off white head that laced very nicely.

S - Bready sweet malts with fruity aromas and hint of toffee and caramel.

T - Sweet malts with dark fruits, caramel and vanilla with cloves and spice to finish.

M - Medium body and medium carbonation but surprisingly smooth and creamy.

O - Magnificient and without a doubt one of my favourite quads. A complex beer with terrific well balanced flavours that leaves your taste buds begging for more.

Photo of smxr88
4.32/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

.33L bottled served in a St. Bernardus goblet.

A - Poured dark brown with a large off-white head which lingered for awhile.

S - Smelled sweet and hoppy, very pleasing

T - Malty and yeasty, but delicious.

M - Very mild carbonation

O - Very enjoyable beer. I would definitely love to get a bottle to keep around for when I'm in the mood for it again.

Photo of fatmcb1
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into a lost abbey snifter

Pours a hazy, darkish brown with an off-white head that completely dissipates.

Smell is dominated by rich, bready malts and dark fruit. Spices (nutmeg, clove) add a layer of depth.

This is a pretty big malt bomb. Brown sugar and caramel join the bready malts, reminiscent of a spicy cake. The dark fruit melds perfectly.

Mouthfeel is rich and smooth. Alcohol provides a warming effect at the end.

Overall, I enjoyed this beer, and it has been a go to when I am in the mood for a Quad for some time. Not sure why it took me so long to review it.

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

Bottle served in a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a rich brown color with a huge frothy white head that lingers.

Smell: The primary aroma is spicy European hops. There are also hints of bready malt and a hint of fruity ester aromas.

Taste: Very well balanced flavor with the bready malt and fruity yeast flavors are neutralized by the spicy (clove) hop flavors.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and easy to drink.

Overall: An exceptional and complicated beer. I was surprised to find so much clove in the flavor and aroma, but it is pleasant and works well. An amazing beer.

Photo of tdm168
4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brownish amber with 1" of off white head that has great retention. The nose has notes of bread, caramel, clove, and yeast. The taste is rich caramel, slightly bitter, spicy, and slightly boozy. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, warm, and well carbonated.

The alcohol is present and adds a great amount of warmth making this one a sipper. The flavor is solid and the subtleties are there. It's probably one of my favorite St. Bernardus brews.

Photo of tony223366
4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: explosion! Beer tragedy as this beer frothed over. I saved most of it luckily. Afterwards dark brown with a tan head. One finger leftover. Someone else said it looks like coke and the resemblance is uncanny.

S: major cloves. Rich maltiness and dark fruit

T: cloves and brown sugar follows by big malty sweetness. Big caramel flavor. Alcohol comes in nicely but not overbearing. Sweet throughout.

M: extremely smooth and creamy. Great carbonation carries this beer. Surprisingly my favorite part.

O: great beer. Perfect for desert. Couldn't do more than one a night I think. I'd love to pair it with food.

Photo of samie85
4.42/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best by date is 26.05.14... so this should be around 2.5 years old.

A-Pours a dark cola color with a half finger of off-white head that has some yeasties suspended in it.

S-Plums and some almost spicy and vinous notes with loads of rich caramel, bready malt and some vanilla.

T-Chocolate and dark stone fruit with some plum and vanilla with a bit of clove on the finish.

M-A little thin at first in the mouth but becomes a little richer as it moves to the back of your mouth. Medium-high carbonation helps thin it out at the beginning and give it a very prickly feel at first.

D-This one is pretty delicious, very complex, and no hint that this one hits 10% on the ABV scale. I'm not sure why it took me this long to try this beer, but this will definitely be a beer I frequent in the future.

Photo of Doshkin
3.97/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - solid, dirty brown. lots of frothy head

s - delicious. mild floral hops, malty sweetness, and a little bready

t - heavy barley and malt flavors and yeasty bread flavor

m - frothy. medium body and medium carbonation

o - very drinkable and tasty. i would drink this again, but it was a little pricy for a 12oz bottle. i think $4.50 or so... probably won't spend that much on it. don't get me wrong, i thoroughly enjoyed the beer, but it didn't stand out as spectacular to me

Photo of skypup
4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One each 8, 12 and a Triple bottles purchased in Brugge, Belgium.

.33L bottle served in a Chimay Chalice.

A- A cloudy, deep brown with two finger head with course bubbles and medium retention. Superb lacing.

S- Hints of yeast, sweet malts, christmas spices, and dried fruits.

T- Sweet malts and raison/figs dominate with a following yeastiness. Has a sweetness that mellows to a neutral bitterness.

M- Full bodied, suprisingly mildly carbonated.

D- Superb drinkability. I was told this beer is the imitation and the closest thing available to the St. Sixtus Abbey's Westvlerteren 12. Excellent beer, and wishing to find more closer to home.

Photo of olimpia84
4.07/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap, served on a Tulip.

A: dark brown body with red glowing tones and a outer rim coffee colored head. Some lacing present.

S: complex aromas that are hard to describe and include sweet floral tones, malts, caramel, spicy tones, and peaches.

T: also complex; starts with a watery feel that moves into a floral and sweet malts presence on the palate combined with yeast, mild coffee and dark cherries. Ends with a hoppy note.

M: medium body, low carbonation. ABV is well disguised.

O: this a complex but good tasty sipper beer, so make sure you enjoy it slowly.

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

I hate the phrase complex for beer BUT, this beer is that. But a very smooth finish I love this beer. I wish to I could find this beer in a bottle. I live in central FL and other than the WOB that just opened we're very limited on great beer variety.

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

Reviewed from notes. 750ml corked and caged bottle.

A - Dark dark brown in color with a thick thick white head. Good retention, actually quite amazing retention and lacing. Abt 12 is unreal already.

S - Smells of fruit, spice, belgian yeast, theres a wood characteristic there.

T - Holy crap, it has the normal but wonderful raisin sort of taste to it. You can taste all the Belgian qualities of this beer. I mean its quite complex and so good. The malty sweetness is well balanced. Theres some caramel to it as well.

M - Thick, rich, elegant. Its a little over medium bodied. Really its pretty perfect.

O - Its just ludacris good. I mean its hard to make a better beer than this. Its so balanced and well done. God bless teh monks.

Photo of bramsdell
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into imp pint glass. Yeah, it isn't optimal, but I don't have a chalice (yet).

A: Dark brown body that reveals a beautiful dark ruby when held up to light. The head is very large for a beer of this color and, while it does recede, remains at least 1.5cm throughout.

S: Fruity and spicy. I would say that the predominant aroma is the spiciness, but there are very full notes of both raisins and malt. This ups the sweetness of the aroma, overall, making for a great balance for the spicy smell. Finally, there is a bit of boozy bite in the smell, which balances the spice and sweet very well.

T: The order of notes changes. First is the raisin flavors, followed by the malt sweetness. This is a quad, of course it will be sweet, but this is a thick, full sweetness that is fruity and malty in nearly equal parts. The spices are noticed as the sweet flavors begin to reside, providing a bit of a biting contrast to such sweetness. Combine this spiciness with the bit of alcohol at the very back end, and you have a wonderfully balanced beer without any remarkable hop notes.

M: Thick, fully, sweet. It's awesome. It feels like a very light, slightly bubbly, syrup, but in the best of ways. Truly a beer to be sipped and enjoyed.

O: Awesome. Not quite Rochefort 10, but one of the best and most flavorful beers I have encountered.

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

Poured into a Chimay chalice, my closest glassware to the St. Bernardus chalice. Hazy oak-brown body with a good cover of cream-white head. The etching at the bottom of the glass is forming a slowly-bubbling island of head in the middle. Nice to see the etching actually doing its job, great retention.

Lots of yeast on the nose along with bread, light spices (coriander, nutmeg), astringent minerals, tons of fruit (fig, raisin, pear) and a hint of alcohol.

Very malty but perfectly balanced with earthy hops. Lots of dark fruit and caramel up front, figs and raisins; lightly-roasted malt, yeast and an alcohol bite in the middle; cocoa and dry spices (coriander, cinnamon and nutmeg) toward the finish. As complex and packed with flavour as it is well-balanced. I'm sure I would be rating this a perfect 5 with the right amount of age on it.

This one fits right in with other trappist-style ales with its near-perfect mouthfeel. Full, creamy medium body with moderate carbonation.

It's easy to see why this one is regarded as being among the top few Belgian quadrupels; I would need to try it alongside Rochefort 10 to remember which I prefer. Extremely drinkable for its strength, I could happily finish this whole bottle to myself. This stuff must age incredibly well.

Photo of Kbogac
4.42/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Chimay chalice. Dark brown with a thick inch of foam that seems to last forever. When I first put the glass to my nose all I could smell was green apple, wonderful. The taste is just amazing. Carmel, dark fruit some green apple. Had to describe. Mouthfeel is medium with lots of carbonation. Halfway through the glass and there's still a quarter inch of foam. This may be one of the best beers I've ever had. Simply amazing.

Photo of IPA35
4.32/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown with a small off-white head. The head disappears quick and when it does there will be something like a carbonation fountain/vulcano at the centre of the beer. Which is really wierd as I have never seen it before. (Kasteel glass.)

The first thing I notice in the smell is the alcohol. It is quite appearant. dark fruit, caramel, banana and dark malts.

Taste starts out a little sour then the malts kick in and give it a bit of a bready flavour. The sweetness and tartness stay. Dark fruits, some hops not much. Very complex and I find it hard to describe the flavours of this one. Tasty though. Spicey and slightly alcoholic.

Mouthfeel is medium and plenty of carbonation.

Nice drink overall but I have had better.

Photo of Hoptometrist
3.43/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap into a snifter at Bier Markt

A- Poured a dark brown and red color with a ring of lace that left no head

S- Smelled like grape soda

T- Prominent grape soda flavor, cherry, some raisin, and some alcohol coming through

M- Sticky, full-bodied beer, low carbonation as expected

O- A sipper for sure. The grape soda flavor and aroma was pretty surprising for me and not quite what I expected.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 8,012 ratings.