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St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

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8,009 Ratings

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Ratings: 8,009
Reviews: 2,569
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 522
Gots: 1,462 | 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: 8,009 | Reviews: 2,569 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Auracom
4.12/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Yay for drinking quads in a grocery store! On-tap at Whole Foods Lincoln Park in a New Belgium tulip glass on May 17th, 2011.

Been meaning to get to this one for a while.

ABT 12 has a very dark brown color and pours extremely murky. Lots of alcohol feet on the sides. Retention of the thin, off white head is ever-so-slight. Lacing looks rather ominous.

Lots of sweet malt characters in the nose. Candy-apple sweetness, some dark fruit, a little spice, caramel, and a little yeast funk. Taste backs this up strongly. It's far more sweet and not all that bready. Toffee, caramel, less dark fruit. Good balance on the tongue. Nice crispness overall.

Feel isn't hugely thick which matches the drink quite well. Medium body. Good carbonation as often reported. Slight ABV in the taste but none in the nose. Considering the gravity, it's drinkable. Probably quaffable. Okay, Belgians could drink this by the gallon. But I'm not Belgian, so I'll just stick with the single pour for tonight.

I enjoyed it, it was very much what I hoped for and I will revisit. Big props as well for absolute ease in finding this brew basically anywhere craft beer can be found.

Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ahhh, cracking open a St. Bernardus Abt. 12 while listening to Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival of the Animals;” never have I felt so refined. The snobbery only lasted a few moments, though, before I remembered that I was sitting in my tiny college apartment, just steps away from the place where I got sick on Busch Light less than a year ago. Ah well, a slight delusion of grandeur every once in a while never hurt anyone, right?

There’s nothing false about this beer, though. Its reputation describes it as sophisticated, well-crafted, and worthy of its international fame. Sounds good to me! Let’s see how it stacks up:

A: Whoa, did I do something wrong here? As soon as I popped off the bottlecap on this one, a rush of foam rose straight to the lip – almost like champagne. I can only assume that this is what was meant to happen, so I quickly grabbed my glass and poured away. Carbonation erupts from the body, churning the mixture as I pour. What I end up with is a reddish-brown brew with hints of orange. A large, beige head stays at about two fingers for quite a while, leaving an impressively thick lace as it recedes. Bits of sediment dance along the bottom; not surprising, as I noticed an oozy dark residue in the bottle after I poured it. This is one of the best looking beers I have come across thus far.

S: A robust statement here. A big malt character carries its way through fresh peaches and mandarins, to a syrupy citrus marmalade. Wheat is in top form, giving the fresh start a nice crisp following, and transitioning easily to some breads and booze toward the end. A noticeably full introduction to this offering.

T: Damn. This is a meal in a bottle. The alcohol is big and warming, and it’s the first to make its presence known on the palate. It couples with the gargantuan breadiness of the yeast to form a relaxed, warm-meat-and-potatoes-entrée feeling. Satisfying to so many degrees. The fresh citrus that was so prevalent in the nose is nowhere to be found; only the thick marmalade is evident. That’s really the only thing I would have liked to see more of, as the freshness would have added a wider, more complex palate. Everything else was executed perfectly, though, and it’s very, very tough to try to focus on any negatives when you’re drinking such a great beer. I would love to taste a bottle that’s been aged for a year or two longer.

M: The carbonation does more to mix the body, I feel, than excite the tongue. After such an explosively foamy start, the bubbliness bypassed my taste buds and I found incredible smoothness. As in, aged-in-bottle-for-months smoothness. Tremendous.

O: Well, if you’re having this beer with a homemade dinner, you’d better be a killer cook – this will likely outshine any of your culinary creations. This is on a completely different level when it comes to beer; I only wish we had more breweries like in the states. This was truly a landmark in my beer journey, and when I get a cellar, this will certainly be one of my first additions for aging purposes. If you haven’t had it, spend the extra money and get it TODAY – you won’t regret it!

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy dark brown color with a big 3 inch light brown head that fades to a thin cap. Broken rings of lace mark the glass on the drink down. There is some sediment floating around in the beer. Smells of dark fruits, some malty bread, and spices. Taste is very much like the smell with the dark ripe fruits, bready malts, spices (clove/cinnamon), and some yeast flavors. There is a good level of carbonation in this one with a crisp and clean mouthfeel. This makes the beer very smooth and easy to drink. Overall, this is a very good quad with a very nice smell and taste. Definitely deserves its spot in the top 5 of the style.

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.21/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the map room in Chicago, 4/29/11.

A: An outstanding looking beer. Dark plum color with a pinch of tannish head and amazing coating lacing. Stunning.

S: A fine bouquet of dark fruit, muddy malt, trappist yeast, aromatic space and more. Wish it was a bit more aromatic but what there is is a classic quad.

T: Juicy dark fruit and musty malts mix with hefty flavors of molasses, dried fig, some dry hops, brown sugar, straw, and more. A nice warm wave of flavors.

M: Medium in feel not coating like I like in quads and plenty of carbonation.

Overall I do like this beer a lot, but I find that compared to the other "famous" qauds this one is probably my least favorite, though that doesn't mean much when you figure the other ones are Rochefort 10, Westy 12, etc. Great stuff.

Photo of RickS95
3.93/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark in the glass, a little brown around the edges. Thin head with no retention.

Has a malty, sweet cola-like smell. Not bad.

Dark fruits and alcohol bombard the tongue. Some spices are prevalent as well.

Mouthfeel is complex. There's sweet, heat from the alcohol, and spiciness on the palate with a hint of heat in the swallow.

Good stuff, would like another.

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

The St Bernardus was poured from a 750 ml bottle into a goblet at about 54 degrees. It poured a wonderful dark golden brown with a thick cream colored head.

The nose was of malt and fruit with a subtle alcohol note.

The taste is deliciously sweet with notes of fruity nites like apple and pear.

The mouthfeel is very nice and creamy which covers the palate nicely.

Overall a wonderful brew and one that I would highly reccomend. Enjoy!!!

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

On tap into goblet at Yard House

Pours a deep brown color with almost a full finger light tan head.

Roasted malty smell. Some yeasty. Sense of the dark fruits

Roasty sweet malt taste. Some dark fruit, toffee, caramel. Has complexities. The hops has enough presence that this isn't oversweet, which made the taste so much better. Alcohol was sensed but the level matched with the level of flavor.

Very smooth mouthfeel, good carbonation, but still slightly viscous.

Overall this was a very very good beer.

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

Brown color with a whitish head, nice fine carbonation. Aromas are bold, big roasty malt and dark fruit. Caramel and chocoalte faintly waft in and out. Flavor is intense and fullbodied. Huge malt front of syrup and waffles with a boozy caramel undertone. Very complex, roasted malt, Chocolate candies, plum, raisin, and booze. Mouthfeel is slightly hot, but the rich sweet malt matches up nicely and melds to a smooth finish that lingers for minutes. Killer brew.

Photo of rundocrun
4.74/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter glass from 11.2 fl. oz. bottle with a "best before" date of 08 04 15, meaning it was bottled Apr. 8th, 2010.

A - Pours a slightly hazy brown color with slight amber highlights when held to the light. A nice fluffy light tan head forms even after a gentle pour. Fades to a couple millimeters within a couple minutes. Small amount of lacing on the glass.

S - Sweet, figgy aroma hits first. Lots of fruity esters and a spicy booziness from the higher ABV and belgian yeast. Hints of cloves and rich dark fruits.

T - Sweet malt and a rich, biscuity toasted flavor up front. More cloves and orangey spiciness evident as well. Very complex and delicious!

M - Not thick like an imperial stout, but not too thin either. Nicely balanced with a dry, but sticky finish. When served at the proper recommended temperature (52-56 F) the alcohol is fairly noticeable as a warmth that runs from the back of the palate all the way to the chest.

Photo of HopHead84
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5


On tap at URGE.

A: Deep brown with a subtle red tinge and a big creamy beige head. Nice color. Retention and lacing are good.

S: Rich and complex bready malt profile with a subtle toast. Fruity esters are prominent, redolent of plum, grape, date, cherry, and raisin. Light sugar character and mildly spicy. Soft alcohol profile. Exceptional.

T: Amazing malt character, toasted bread with a moderate sweetness. Complex ester profile includes plum, date, raisin, prune, and a little apple. Evident spiciness, though not overwhelming or detracting from the complex malt and fruit notes. Alcohol is warming, adding balance to the malt and just a dash of flavor, though it’s all but hidden beneath the complexities. Bitterness is low.

M: Upper medium in body with a high level of carbonation. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with substantial alcohol warming.

Overall: One of the best of the Belgian Dark Strong/Quad category. Amazing stuff.

Photo of zrab11
3.88/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark brown color with a 1 finger off white head.

S-Has strong aroma of dried fruits and toffee. Also smell some pine and maybe a hint of hops

T- Very malty up front followed by the dried fruit taste then finish's with a stong alchol taste

M-Medium bodied with ok carbonation

D-Overall id like to have this again. This was my 1st quad and it was alittle strong for me. Id like to try it in a few months and see if my taste buds enjoy it more then. Overall it was a good beer but alittle too bitter for me.

Photo of buffs9
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Have had on tap and from the bottle, both are outstanding.

Pours a deep brown some light foam that sticks around. Nose of dark fruit, fig and raisin bread. Tastes amazing; rich dark fruit, plum, raisin, toffee, some booze. Mouthfeel is nice, both creamy and crisp. Close to the perfect beer. A must try.

Photo of ghetto90007
4.82/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 11.2 oz. bottle into my Stone Old Guardian Barleywine modern-style goblet. I like this glass because it has elements of both the goblet and the tulip.

Dark brown, light tan head. After all of this talk about the "Flat Abbey" I crack this one open - made at a real abbey no less - and it fizzes over relentlessly. It was still in my fridge for hours, but almost blows up on me. Not surprisingly, the head lasts for quite some time and the lacing is on the low end of epic.

Good God, this beer smells good. I mean great. Malty sweetness, but also this floral aroma - like tulips, man. Just so pleasant and inviting. Phenomenal aroma, really.

A luxurious, warming, boozy, sweet concoction. Brown sugar and some dark fruits, but nothing extreme. This one maintains a buoyancy.

Incredibly smooth mouthfeel, despite the *overflowing* carbonation. Insanely drinkable.

This is a lovely brew. Delicate, powerful, rich, buoyant, elegant, and approachable. Just lovely.

Photo of WankelEngine
4.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle into a tulip glass

A: Pours very dark brown and completely opaque but not quite back. There is an off-white/light tan head with very good retention and decent lacing.

S: It smells of strong, dark fruits. There are notes of toffee, brown sugar, plums and other sweetness. The hops come through as a deep, earthy scent and pine which complements the sweet smell.

T: Sweet and malty upfront. There is a slightly smoky coffee flavor and many of the same fruit flavors from the smell. The flavor of alcohol is noticeable but enjoyable, especially in the aftertaste, and provides the bitter taste to counter this otherwise sweet beer.

M: Moderate in thickness, very little carbonation and a little bit syrupy.

O: An interesting beer. High in alcohol but very sweet and drinkable

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

Nice two finger head of light brownish red foam. Thick lace with moderate clinging power. Color is a 22 on the SRM beer color chart. Smell is sweet, with fragrances of raisins, currents, plums, brown sugar, toffee, roasted coffee, and molasses. Taste is quite sweet, with flavors of brown sugar, clove, raisins, plum, apricot, and roasted malt. Mouthfeel is full and creamy, but lacking a good deal of carbonation prickly sensation. Great beer overall, nice warming feeling from the goodly amount of alcohol. A little pricey, but worth another sample down the road.

Photo of 28Rock
4.46/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my very first review (nervous), so please bare with me...

Appearance: Poured it into a Trappistes Rochefort goblet, and got a dark brown, tannish color. Not much of a head (no more than a fingers worth) as I saw a youtube video saying to pour it straight down the middle.

Smell: This is where I was a bit disappointed; I was expecting a strong aroma, but it just wasn't there for me. I smelled dark fruits, but I really had to place my nose as close to the beer as possible before I got anything.

Taste: Exceptional. I was able to taste the dark fruits in the beer, which helped make my experience as good as it was. I'm not able to describe (yet) the fruits that I'm getting, but I know that because of them, the beer just tasted outstanding.

Mouthfeel: This is a heavily carbonated beer. Even as I poured it, I could here the beer fizz all the way through my pour. For having 10% ABV, this sure doesn't feel like it does- very crisp as it goes down the hatch.

Overall: This is an excellent beer, and I would definitely recommend everybody who hasn't tried it to get themselves a bottle. This is an "Abbey Ale" which is said to be the clone of the Westvletern 12, and if it really is, then I can only imagine how good the Westy 12 taste...

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

Appearance: Pours a nice full light tan head that lasts quite a bit with a creamy look and feel while peppered with bits of fruit or yeast. The beer has dark cherry red with a slight brownish tinge.

Smell: A crisp orange mixed with plums and brown sugar with a tine, nearly invisible hint of alcohol.

Taste: Fruity and sweet. I can really taste the brown sugar mixed with what I think are plums, cherries and raisins. I also get a little bit of the alcohol, which is barely noticeable.

Mouthfeel: Prickly but refreshing carbonation. A smooth feel to the beer.

Overall: Worth it. The only downside is how much this beer costs.

Photo of crnipeter
3.51/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer with obvious good aging potential has been sitting in my cellar for nearly a year and a half but still seems to need additional time for maturation, so a re-review is pending for this one. A gusher pours airy beige head with poor retention that quickly dissipates. The coppery brown body initially exhibits good clarity but gets hazed and flooded with yeasty floaties with the consecutive pourings. Aroma is an interplay of malty sweetness, fruity esters, alcohol and spiciness. The rich malt with caramel and bread crust qualities embeds strong fruity esters of grape, perfumy, spicy alcohol that flares out and peppery spiciness from yeast-derived phenols. The flavor is non-excessive malty sweetness counterbalanced by alcohol, then comes the bread crust, grape-like fruitiness and prominent peppery spiciness. Finish is medium-dry with light bitterness and alcohol warmth. Medium-light bodied with fine, effervescent carbonation that quickly dissipates leaving flat texture behind. Not as good as I remember it to be and far from my conception of the secular-version of Westvelteren 12. Too thin, with poorly masked alcohol and fruitiness limited to grapes, lacking heavenly orchard of all kind of ripe dark fruits and almond character that once possessed - or I'm just getting more demanding? (330 ml, BB date reads 17. December 2014, into the St. Bernardus goblet.)

Photo of BeerLover99
4.57/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: dark brown, cardinal red shimmer, 1 finger head, delightful lacing

S: deep fig, plum, spices, malt

T: sweet malt, spices, ripe fruit, smooth finish

M: Med/heavy body, solid carbonation

O: What a legendary brew! One of THE best beers I have EVER drank. This is always near the top of my favorite beer lists. The scary thing is this QUAD should be sipped, but you will find yourself gulping it.


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

750mL with best before date of 01.07.15 poured into a Chimay chalice. Hazy brown color with a soft tan head. The aroma has raisins and other dark fruit, molasses, yeast and spices. Huge dark fruity flavor, this is very sweet but well balanced. Really, really nice. Medium bodied, creamy mouthfeel and well carbonated. Just a great beer all around. Thanks wordemupg for this one.

Photo of jayhawk73
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Poured into my St. Bernardus Chalice. Pours a wonderful dark brown color with a perfect two finger caramel head. Lacing is one of the best I've ever seen. This looks like (and is) a world class beer. It's got that Dirty Harry vibe- "Go ahead and dare to drink me".

S- Smell is fantastic. Lots of fruit, plum, spice, malt. Not quite as strong smelling as I'd like, but that's nitpicking. Great smelling beer.

T- One of the best beers I've ever had. Period. I can count on maybe two to three fingers the beers I've had that are better, and I've been drinking craft beer for 12 years. Definitely get plum, spices, malt, and a tiny bit of alcohol. Everything works in perfect harmony, and I wouldn't change a thing. Thus, the rare 5 on taste. If any beer deserves it, St. Bernardus Abt. 12 does.

M- This beer is super smooth, silky, and feels like butter in your mouth. Can't imagine a beer having a better feel than this one. It melts in your mouth- just perfect.

O- This is a world class beer. Period. I think I reviewed an exceptional bottle, as I've had this beer many times before. This is a good bottle of it for sure. If you haven't had this beer, you owe it to yourself to try it. And if you don't 'get' this beer or the glowing reviews... well, that's more for me! It really doesn't get much better than this. Cheers.

Photo of flannelman808
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Expiration on this one is 02 03 15

Figured I was due on a review on this.

A: Muddy murky medium brown-dark brown with fine bits of sediment. Lightens up just a tad around the edges. This guy is highly carbonated, It literally looks alive as the foam bubble line (constant medium-small size) moves and does not keep flat. Good retention elsewhere ... off white fluffy head forms and keeps rather well and clings to the glass as it fades.

S: Fruity aromas jump out on top though subtle overall on the nose. Flavors of Bing cherry; Raisin, peach and cooked brown sugar come to mind.

T: So much good ... this beer is in fact a powerhouse of the style and a standard which few other Quads meet. Milky-burnt caramels, dried stone fruit flavors, and a distinct and balancing yeasty spice meet together to make this one of the most complex of its kind. Truly a kick ass brew and a steal for a $$.

M: Oprah

O: Killer

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

11.2oz bottle with best by date 11/23/15 printed on label, poured into Trois Pistoles goblet. Reviewed on 4/16/11

A: Pours a dark brown with reddish-purple hues and a beige head leaving little lacing around glass.

S: Brown sugar and spices, sweet malts with a touch of fruit and alcohol.

T: Similar to what is picked up in the nose. Lots of brown sugar and spices, plums and raisins with some alcohol all packed into sweet bready malt. Very nice combination of flavors, delicious, surprisingly refreshing and drinkable for a 10.5% ABV ale.

M: Plenty of carbonation and a medium-full body smooth from bubbly start to sweet finish.

O: Great all around trappist ale, one of my favorites. Sweet, complex and highly drinkable. One of the top Belgian beers that I can get on a regular basis.

Photo of MattyG85
4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 11.2 oz. bottle into Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Very dark brown that shows a little color when put up to light. Decent sized tan head that fades into a film coating.

Smell: A sweet aroma of dark fruits including cherries, and raisins. Hints of spice, caramel, and hops.

Taste: Strong taste of the dark fruits, caramel malt, yeasty sweetness, and spice. A lot more hop bitterness than came from the smell. A hint of chocolate in the finish. Very good balance.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a medium to high carbonation. Creamy and smooth.

Overall: A tasty sweet and well balanced Belgian Quad.

Photo of Yoonisaykul
3.85/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Damn! Excited to drink this. Been going through all th SAQs I could find trying to track this down. Almost dorve to Quebec city but finally found it 15minutes from my house at the Cavendish Mall.
Really nice looking bottle. Wish I had the right glasswae but I guess the Sam Adams perfect glass will have to do. My bottle says 10%

A- Cloudy auburn-brown. Light beige, pillowy, dense head.

S- Pretty light. I was expecting more. Kind of dusty. Usual quad dark fruit and spices but all very, very tame... maybe it's too cold.
Some molasses. Red licorice. Dark malt ( a bit stout like) in the end.

T- Tastes a bit like a maple beer. The dark fruit and spices is all quite subtle. Really getting some maple syrup in here even though it's probably just dark candi sugar. Really nice after-taste. Maybe my buds are off but this really tastes like maple syrup.

M- Kind of disappointed here. One of the top reasons I enjoy quads and great beers from Belgium is because of the mouthfeel. This is more prickly and thin than creamy and dense. Medium to high carbonation. A forgettable mouthfeel unlike my first Quad love: Chimay Grande Réserve and Rochefort 10.

O- Well this is very good. I do want more but am glad I didn't drive all the way to Quebec for it. Great beer but I still feel let down.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 8,009 ratings.