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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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7,861 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,861
Reviews: 2,542
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 496
Gots: 1,319 | 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: 7,861 | Reviews: 2,542 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Fernans
4.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What can I say.. I sampled this at Beervanafest in October '10. Outstanding. Dark amber color, full head. Silky smooth mouthfeel. Smells doughy like a top Belgian should. Taste is powerful, nuts and raisins, easy finish. One of the most memorable beers of the tasting.

Photo of jpro
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this one on Christmas... (review is from notes)

A: Poured into a Duvel tulip... a cloudy molasses reddish brown with a big almond head; exceptional retention of creamy foam that leaves a few patches of crystally lace.

S: Apricots, dark fruit, molasses, spices, sweet malts, and maybe some alcohol soaked pears.

T: Sweet bread, figs, candied fruit, light caramel... complex.

M: Medium-bodied and smooth; the yeast spice makes for a nice, crisp finish.

D: Very drinkable, letting it warm really let's the flavor evolve; a nice cold evening ale. Looking forward to trying the St. Bernardus Christmas Ale sometime!

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

appearance; cloudy red-brown with a tan head. Very slow dissipation, tight and sparce lacing.

smell; spicy fermenting cherries in a vat. Alcohol and yeast on the back end of the aroma.

taste; raisins and rum, dried dark fruits and light clover honey all add a sweetness that is kept in check by a bitter finish that is kept gentle by slick yeasty flavors that hold everything together in an amazing balance.

mouthfeel; rich and heavy, very tight and active carbonation, easy finish with a bit of burn.

drinkability; the alcohol lets itself be known and compromises drinkability a bit.

Photo of boss302
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

.33l bottle, chilled to 56F, date on label: 13 08 14.

History of St Bernardus. St Bernardus used to brew for St Sixtus (aka Westvleteren) from 1946 to 1992. According to "Brew like a Monk" by Stan Hieronymus, they claim to brew the same way they did for St Sixtus. I have a Westvleteren 12 from "Keith" from Cedar Grove, Fl. I have done a back to back tasting to compare the two and have updated this review below the original on 5/12/2010

05-12-2010 Original review

A dark color, but when held to the light it appears a deep deep red. Thick creamy head, but didn't last long as it settleed down to a nice even layer that was supported by a continuous flow of bubbles from the bottom of the glass. The glass ended with a shot of beer and the remainder of the head, quite nice.

S sweet raisiny smell, no hop odor was noticeable. Very clean.

T high carbonation bite, sweet fruity caramel flavor that sticks to the back corners of my mouth. Reminds me of dark dried fruit, very complex flavors, even, well balanced, no one flavor dominates. Quite nice.

M full body, very nice feel. There is a hint to the alcohol in the warm atertaste, but otherwise its undetectable.

D overall a nice beer. Might be hard to drink more than a few, it's high in alcohol and pretty heavy.

12-28-2010 Review after a Westy12

Abt12, 13 08 14. Tasting with Westvleteren12 and Rochefort 10. 350ml bottle.

A Dark chestnut, thick course head, a nice looking beer. Of the 3 beers Westvleteren12, Abt12 and Rochefort, the Abt12 and Westy are the closest in color. 4.5 same as original review.

S Plums, apricot, and licorice aroma. Fruit is up front, but not as prominent as it is in the Westy. 4.5 lower than original (5.0).

T Fruit is present in the taste as well, but not as much as the westy 12.  Not as clean and a bit rougher compared to the Westy. Overall a very good beer, but for me it comes in a 2nd place. 4.5 same as original review.

M As with the other Belgian big beers, the mouthfeel is thick and substantive. Carbonation is good, in fact better than the Westy. 4.5 same as original review.

D A good beer, but with the high alcohol, you won't be having too many. Good to have a few in the frig for sipping. 4.5 higher than original review (4.0).

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

on tap poured into St Bernardus chalice. Also had in bottle a few months prior and just never bothered to capture in a review.

pours with solid 1 inch deep ruby head with great lacing throughout. This is as complex a beer as I've had, really enjoy the multitude of aromas and tastes. Figs, raisins, malts and on and on and on. Reminiscent of fruitcake, the good kind. Alcohol is just present enough to warm you, but not overwhelm at all. Love this stuff.

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

review from notes on 11/19/10
served out of bottle into goblet.

a. what a nice color, red brown, looks deep. the head on this is impressive, its big, its not going anywhere anytime soon. it leaves a really nice lace on my glass.

s. smells like dark fruits, figs, a mellow sweetness. the smell really comes through nicely.

t. mmm the sweetness combines sublimely with a slight bitterness and a bit of heat from the abv. its sublimely balanced. the sweet dark fruit flavors are abundant and playfully present in the palate.

m. carbonation is nice. mouthfeel on the lighter side from the quads ive had, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing.

d. really drinkable and enjoyable.

Photo of micromaniac129
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Adeep velvety brown color beer with an extremely aggressive dense tan foamy head that fades to a lingering veil that explodes with any sudden movement. Good lacing.
Fine malt aroma with Beligum yeast faint aspects of cloves and fruit.
Taste is rich and complex malts. I taste also cloves candied sugar and sweet fruitiness of plums or raisons. Oh yeah, and a big alcohol bite.
It feels in the mouth to be a thin to medium bodied beer with a dry finish and alchol warming.
Pleasing to look at and pleasing to drink.

Photo of hooliganlife
3.9/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

best by 12/21/12

pours a chocolate brown with a light creamy head. it was a gusher when i popped it but settled down during the pour. tons of sediment floating around in this.

light sweet chocolate funk with a hint of booze. not much on the nose here.

dark fig, dark fruit, clove and or banana mixed with a light funk. bits of grape and blueberry. the alcohol really comes through.

very carbonated, full body. bit of a burn.

overall, this was ok. i had this on tap and i am sure it was much fresher and i would say i enjoyed this far more.

Photo of everfrost
4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured with a ridiculous head, that slowly dissipated, but remained somewhat intact during throughout the glass. Cherry brown color with creamy dirty tan head. Lacing was more intense at the beginning, but remained throughout the glass.

T: Wonderful example of Belgian Quad. Sweet masking of the high ABV by the Belgian candis. Dark figs and caramelized bananas dominate the flavor profile, with hints of many other dark fruits (perhaps raisins).

M: Nice body with great carbonation. Complex and creamy. Leaves the mouth with a slight dry feeling.

D: Extremely drinkable.

Photo of OlieIPA
3.93/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a Stone Vertical Epic glass at approximately 55 degrees F...

A: Poured extremely heady and fizzy, if that makes sense? The body appears to be lighter than some of it's counterparts (ex. Westy 12), but settles in nicely with a light brownish hue.

S: A lot of dark fig, blueberry and husk-like aromas coming off the first whiff! Additional investigations lead to some residual/brown sugar qualities that add a complex and delicate touch to the overall "smell" profile.

T: Quite unique to the style, but again...does a good job of staying within the guidelines (sounds like an oxymoron, I know). I guess what I'm trying to say is that unlike some other Quads I've had the pleasure of trying, Abt 12 comes off less robust...but has a complex quality that others sometimes lack. Tons of dark berry flavors, a touch of sweet sugar and a slight smack of hop bitterness.

M: I feel that this could have used a little more body and less carbonation, but overall...not bad.

D: Quite impressed! 10% ABV is hidden extremely well and the flavor profile makes it that much easier to drink!

Overall: A great example of a "very good" Quad! A try it beer! Cheers!

Photo of Thanby
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark cherrywood color with little head and no lacing.

Smells of a complex medium-dark citrusy malt, a little boozey.

Flavor is a nice blend of sweet Belgian caramel malt, some raisin and other hints of dark fruit, a bit of citrus, some mild spicing weaving through the whole thing.

Thick body, citrus "vapor" in the aftertaste, very smooth and rich, the ABV is very apparent and not for the feint-of-heart, but definitely a great example of a quad.

Despite some less-than-perfect qualities, still strangely addictive and fun to drink. I think I prefer it out of the bottle where the carbonation seems to remain fairly intact to lighten it up and hide some of the boozey notes.

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

Pours a deep murky dark brown almost black color with a thick milk colored head and some small lacing. Smells of sweet malts, caramel, prunes, raisins, and possibly honey. Tastes very complex -- caramel, raisin, fig, cherry, prune, plum, and toffee all ravage the senses. Mouthfeel is perfect with just the right carbonation. Drinkability is fairly high.

Photo of StlHopHead77
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a deep,murky reddish-brown with a seriously sturdy,lumpy,three finger crown of tannish/white that showed ridiculous retention and left sheets of lacing that coated the inside of the glass for the duration.

S-Big yeast profile.Caramelized banana,clove,baked apple,cardamom,dark cherry,pipe tobacco,raisin and brown bread.

T-Clove,dried cherry,plum,black tea and baked apple.Some sweet alcohol notes but by no means hot.

M-Great mouthfeel fed by perfect carbonation.Full and creamy with every complexity showcased.

D-This beer was truly remarkable in it's ability to hide that 10.5% ABV.Way too easy drinking.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a goblet:

A: Poured a murky, dark brown with a foamy, cream colored head. The head quickly retreated after pouring leaving little more than a small ring around the edges. Slight sticking to the side of the glass.

S: Delicious aroma. Rich sweet malts with touches of caramel, raisins, and dark candied fruits (possibly candied prunes).

T: A spicy, alcoholic sensation was readily noticeable upfront which quickly subsided and blossomed into a beautiful bouquet of flavors. Big notes of sweet toasted bread followed by the taste of dark, candied fruits predominated by raisin and slightly by fig. The finish transitions into a nice tapering off with notes of caramel, brown sugar, and the retreating spicy alcohol sensation also found upfront. A slight char taste seemed to linger in the back of my throat from time to time but it was subtle enough to be non-offending. Overall, a very complex albeit agreeable flavor profile.

M: Medium body with a good amount of prickly carbonation on the tongue that really helps awaken the taste buds. Very warming in the the back of the throat. Not very coating or particularly smooth but a well executed mouthfeel for the style.

D: A fantastic, well executed Belgian quad plain and simple. Great warming winter sipper for colder weather that hides the 10.5% abv very well. One or two might be enough over the span of an hour or two but you will find yourself enjoying and savoring every sip.

Photo of goalie33
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into 13oz tulip glass.
A: Hazy brown in color with a thin layer of off-white head covering the top. Very fine bubble can be seen streaming to the surface. Leaves visible legs and lacing on the sides of the glass.
S: Dark fruits with a strong alcohol presence. Has somewhat of a wine character to the smell.
T: Dark fruits with a slight sourness. Yeast and malt towards the finish.
M: Smooth mouthfeel with a fizzy popping of carbonation on the finish.

Very good beer. A great example of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. The alcohol is masked very well for such a strong beer.

Photo of bamadog
4.13/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This offering is readily available to us in this area, and I've eyed it up many-a-time and just never committed to picking it up. Finally did so to celebrate the end of another semester's worth of work. Review is from notes taken on 12/19/2010 and poured from the bottle to a tulip.

Appearance: Pour is a dark coppery/ruby color and it starts with the standard big 2+ finger light tan/off-white head that is fluffy and has pretty good retention; head never really seems to fade entirely and lingers down to a full and thick, frothy cap and leaves patches and swaths of lacing, but a lot of slides back into the drink; body is fairly dark, but not opaque and it is a little hazy and murky, and shows a lot of floaties bouncing around throughout the strong carbonation that bubbles up;

Smell: Really what I would look for in a big quad of this caliber -- lots of the big sweet caramel malts with big whiffs of Belgian yeast that brings about some artificial banana-like scents; some dark fruitiness (fig, raisin?) and some acidic apple-like scents as well; bit of a spiced finish -- coriander, cardamom.

Taste: Oh this is nice -- lots of sweet Belgian candi sugar, caramel, but perhaps more like toffee malts and a very sweet and dark fruitiness with a nice blend of the acidic, green apple-like flavors; big Belgian yeast like in the smell; spiciness is played down a little bit, and it seems to compete with some definite warming alcohol

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel is just lighter than medium, and the carbonation is very full and lively -- not sharp or anything, but very "frothy" in the mouth and it definitely leaves the gums tingly (likely aided by the near 11% ABV, though); body is actually a little slick on the way down and it manages to leave a moderately thick and semi-dry sticky coating on the roof of the mouth; the belly is left quite warm from the higher ABV and potent carbonation.

Drinkability: A very nice beer, and I kind of regret not trying it sooner. Looks great, smells and tastes even better -- the ABV is definitely a little big in presence as well as in the flavor set, which lowers the drinkability by a little bit, and I have to wonder if aging a few of these for a few years would be beneficial to it (the bottle claims you can age it up to 15 years, not sure if I could try my patience that far though);

Photo of BennyL1
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle into St. Bernardus chalice

A - Pours a wonderful deep brown color. A fingers worth of creamy head forms at the top of the glass inviting you to dive into this beer.

S - Wow, just so much going on here. Deep aromas of dark fruits, yeast, caramel, alcohol, nuts, and even hints of vanilla. It seems like when I stick my nose farther into the glass I get more and more from it.

T - There is a reason why this is considered among one of the top beers in the world. Defintetly getting alot of the fruits here with a nice warming aspect coming from the alcohol. Hints of caramel and the yeast in there too.

M - Full bodied and very creamy. Great amount of carbonation.

D - I will be picking this up in the future for sure. Everything has been said already about this beer and it is all true. Its beers like this that make me want to try as much as I can. Truly one of the best out there

Photo of AlCaponeJunior
4.03/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another of my great box from CaptinRedBeard~!

A deep brown, hazy brew with a great head that lasted and excellent lacing.

You could really smell the fruits, plums and raisins seemed to stand out most. A spicy malt backbone, yeast and alcohol rounded out what is a really nice smelling brew.

Tasted of spices, notably cloves and pepper, a pinch of anise, plenty of sweet molasses and brown sugar, dark fruits, and yeast. The alcohol was not as well masked as some quads and was evident in the flavor.

Mouthfeel was rich, full bodied, slick, with fairly tangy carbonation for a quad and a powerful alcohol warming.

Drinks well but a bit overpowering. A once in a while selection for me.

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

Poured into a St Berardus goblet, rather appropiate. :)

Dark brownish and course looking, nearlry permanent cap over the top. Aroma is of peppered malt and spices, along with crispy toasted breads that carry over into the flavors. There is a plethora of dense spice character all over this, so good. there is a strong dark yeast note and toasted/burnt marshmallow. creamy and course at the same time the carbination levels are faint but tightly woven.

Photo of DovaliHops
4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish brown color that is almost transparent. Medium off-white head that diminishes rather slowly. Scent is a lot of sweet malts with dark fruits and somewhat of a strong alcohol smell. Very sweet-smelling. This is what is expected from a Belgian quad, and it's quite delightful. Taste is dark fruits with a slight licorice taste. Great Belgian yeast flavors and nice malt flavors. Mouthfeel is a bit more bubbly than I remembered, but feels very nice. Not syrupy at all. Drinkability is fairly high.

Photo of tewaris
3.83/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Described on the label as a Dubbel.

750 ml bottle poured into a big snifter, in stages of course, at little below room temperature. The beer was allowed to warm up in the bottle and in the glass over the course of the review.

Appearance 5/5
Deep garnet colored, moderately clear, with a big murky brown head; excellent head retention and fantastic lacing.

Aroma 3.5/5
Yeasty to the extent that other aromatics get pushed to the background. There is a good amount of toasty-bready malt character, fruit and esters, and malty and alcoholic sweetness but all of these are unfortunately dominated by the strong yeasty smell.

Taste 3.5/5
Aromatic sweet, with all the character from the smell coming in, and some hop bitterness and the tiniest bit of tannins towards the end. The taste is not bad and certainly above average, but it dominated by what I assume was strong yeastiness.

Mouthfeel 5/5
Medium body and medium carbonation: feels right.

Drinkability & Other 4/5
A good beer for sure but the strong presence of a character that's not to my liking surely affects my ratings. Stylistically I don't see the need for this strong yeast flavor. It's hard for me to appreciate why this beer commands the respect it commands or how is it, what some people say, "practically same" as Westvleteren 12. I have had the top rated Quadrupels/BSDAs side by side in a tasting that included this beer and I failed to see its charm then, and I fail to see it now. In my opinion it's not close to Westvletern 12 in character and nowhere close to Westvleteren 12 or Rochefort 10 in merit.

Photo of Gosox8787
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 8 oz. pour in tap poured into a tulip glass. Served chilled, very cold. I waited about half an hour for this to get a lot closer to room temperature.

Appearance: Dark brown and cloudy. By the time this reached my table, not much head at all. A thin lacing of beige head on the top.

Aroma: Caramel, figs, clove, and a nice dark fruitiness. Very malty and sweet all around. The ABV is hidden very well here.

Taste: Follows the aroma with caramel, figs, and dark fruit throughout. Some spiced rum and clove notes in here too. Some bready notes in here too. Balanced with a clean, warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied and really creamy. Great to sip on.

Drinkability: The ABV is very well hidden and the flavors are balanced and integrated. Definitely something I could sip and savor all night.

Overall, a really nice quad. Perhaps one of the best I have ever had. The flavors are both complex and well integrated and there is a ton of balance here. Definitely worth the money.

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

Purchased in an imperial pint bottle and poured into a goblet style glass.
Pours a very dark chocolate color with light caramel hue when seen through light. additionally it pours a thick, creamy, rapidly expanding head that didn't seem to dissipate for the entire experience.
I was enjoying my St. Bernardus it in kitchen while my girlfriend cooked mexican food, so I had a hard time isolating and differentiating the smells.
The Flavor was creamy with hints hopps and of roasted malt.
The mouthfeel is very creamy, moderately thick.
as far as drinkability goes, i feel like one pint would be all i could manage to down in one sitting with out getting too full, but with 10.5%abv one bottle may be enough.

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

Had beer on-tap @ the iTap House (Soulard location) and was poured into a Tulip glass.

Appearance - Dark Brown with plenty of head (inch or more), with designs in the head as well

Smell - Tons of spice with a fruity type of background. Not sure where this came from. Smells of a sweet drink

Taste - Too many flavors to describe! For a minute, a hint of brown-sugar or a maple taste, followed by chocolate. Can also taste the hops but they are a small percentage of taste.

Mouthfeel - Great smooth, medium-bodied beer with every taste and smell on the spectrum. Amazing in how they do this!

Drinkabilty - Wondering why this was the top beer of the month on-tap, I chose it and am glad! I'm sure I could have many more but with a $7 glass of this beer, I'm going to come back another day to taste more of this top 20 favorite now!

Photo of SteveoNY
2.53/5  rDev -43.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Presentation: 25.4 oz bottle, very nice label and cork.

Appearance: thick frothy tan head, cloudy brown amber color with alot of sediment particles lingering aroud. glass full of lace.

Smell: fruity malt sweetness.

Taste: the "bros say it the best" Clove is certain to be the first flavour you taste as it rides the wave of sweetness, big brown sugar flavour with some cake like malty qualities. Some buttery and phenolic flavours shoot to the palate in the middle to make it a bit juicy. Some earth and carob flavours in the mix. Alcohol is a little evident, it hiding under the sweetness right behind the fruity flavour that soon flare into esters and mild solvent flavours. Finishes sweet and warming.
(I say smokey orange peel sour yeasty alcohol flavor)

Mouthfeel: smooth slightly creamy good carbonation.

Drinkability: I could sip it all night but would probably throw up. the curiosity of the flavor leaves you wanting more, but the 10.5 % says hold up..think about what your doing hours from now.

Notes: I wouldnt recommend this to a belgian rookie. not really worth the price in my opinion.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,861 ratings.