1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.

7,355 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,355
Reviews: 2,497
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 418
Gots: 1,092 | FT: 37
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of St. Bernardus Abt 12 Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,355 | Reviews: 2,497 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Buschyfor3
4.7/5  rDev +5.1%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into the appropriate St. Bernardus chalice.

A: Pours a murky, rusty brown body with a thin, creamy beige head; head is only about a cm thick and quickly dissipates to a ring of lacing. Body is nearly opaque to light as there are only faint, dark amber highlights that appear near the bottom of the chalice. A lot of sediment in the body. Good lacing throughout the glass.

S: Wow! First note reminds me a lot of brandy - sweet and with a nice, spicy alcohol punch. Plenty of dark fruits - prunes and raisins. A good dose of Belgian spiciness as well. Then there is the obvious alcohol note underneath the fruity sweetness and it carries a noticeable medicinal quality. Malts come in the back door and add layers of complexities to the sweet aroma of this quad - honey, a light, fresh biscuit aroma round out the nose.

T: Ridiculously complex and enjoyable. Where to start? Dark fruits up front with an initial wave of sweetness: raisins, prune juice, plums, very sugary up front. Caramel sweetness follows the fruit. The alcohol peaks here with a spicy, peppery and slightly medicinal/band-aid taste which quickly disappears beneath the encroaching malts. Mid sip the malts come into the dance as a fresh, doughy biscuit flavors melds with a hint of fresh clover honey. Then a slightly drier, grainy wheat flavor arises and carries a nutty, buttery taste well into the finish.

M: Medium carbonation provides enough of a refreshing tingle to lend a crisp edge to this quad; otherwise, the mouthfeel is smooth and velvety delivering its complexities to the palate in a slick, pleasing experience.

D: High ABV, but this beer's sweetness and complexities make it so enjoyable that another bottle is not out of the question. Decadent, sweet, delicious. Highly drinkable even if the booze hits you fairly strongly towards the end.

This is my first quad and it is a beauty. I don't have access to Westy 12, but I can get the Abt 12 easily and for a reasonable price, and this is a great Belgian ale for the price. Complex, delicious and it will give you a huge buzz. Definitely deserving of one of the best ratings on BA.

Buschyfor3, May 22, 2009
Photo of katan
3.68/5  rDev -17.7%

11.2 oz into a pint

A- Pours a dark hazy red to brown color. Very thick looking - lots of floaties. Head formation is very vigorous and mocha in color. Well retained - hanging around at 2cm

S- At earthy, yeasty, and sweet nose. Almost like bread. Some phenolic undertones in there as well.

T - Starts off with some sweetness, malt forward biting. Strong yeast notes build mid-stream - edgy. Finishes with a sour bite with a balancing sweetness. A bready aftertaste sits on the tongue.

M - Biting carbonation - certainly a quad. Very think from all the sugars and other unfermentables.

D - Moderate to low drinkability. Sweetness is palette wearing and the high carbonation is very filling. And watch out after drinking a few of these.

An okay beer - guess I've come to the conclusion that quads aren't my beer.

katan, May 22, 2009
Photo of ericduran
3.63/5  rDev -18.8%

I've had this beer several times before out of the bottle and loved it, but off the tap is a different story. Had it at Tapwerks in Oklahoma City.

A - Good. It looks the same as out of the bottle. I don't see the point in elaborating since if you're reading this you probably know what it looks like out of the bottle.

S - This was a huge, bad difference. Very strong phenolic smell that other reviewers are calling 'rasin cola' that I couldn't place. I gave it to my friend with quite a sensitive sniffer who hit it dead on - urinal cake. Blegggh. Yuck! Ptooey. Gross. Well that ruined it for me. Yeah, this beer really needs time to age. Why can't they let the kegs age too before shipping them out? Oh well, too bad for them...they are wasting all their hard work! I will only take this beer in the bottle from now on.

T - The actual taste was good. Tastes like it does out of the bottle. Maybe a bit *fresher* but for this kind of beer that's not better, just different. Depends on what you like.

M - Similar to out of the bottle but the carbination was a lot mellower. Meh. Has that same weird texture that manages to be both thin and syrupy at the same time as other heavy belgians.

D - I finished the glass no problems, putting the thoughts of urinal cakes out of my mind. It's still a good beer, just give it time to grow up guys! It's a stinky child.

ericduran, May 21, 2009
Photo of jcpaulun
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%

Served into a Chimay chalice from a bottle

A: Dark in color with a sticky one and a half inch head. Poured carefully which kept most of the yeast in the bottle.

S: Lots of dark fruit and a bit of spice on the nose. It smells like raisins or maybe prunes.

T: The taste is a lot like the smell. I get a mainly dark fruit and spices. A bit of pepper too with a bit of warming alcohol. It is sweet, but not too sweet. A very delicious quad.

M: A full mouthfeel that I find somewhat lush. It has the right amount of carbination for the style; a little prickly but not overwhelming.

D: I really enjoy this beer and find it to be very drinkable. It is definately a sipper at nearly 11% abv, but I would not put it past me to have two in a sitting.

Notes: I recently had this on tap and found I preferred it from the bottle. From the tap the alcohol seemed to be more assertive. This is quickly becoming my go-to beer when I am in the mood for a big Belgian.

jcpaulun, May 19, 2009
Photo of Vengeance526
4.65/5  rDev +4%

Pours a deep brown color with a creamy brown head and a good bit of lacing.

Smells of rich dark fruit and cloves.

Taste starts off with strong notes of dark fruit and spices. Hints of vanilla and brown sugar make an appearance along with just a light touch of alcohol in the finish.

Full bodied, maybe a little more carbonation than I would like to see.

This is about as drinkable as it can get at 10.5%. A slight burn in the finish is the only indication I found of a high ABV, it is really masked quite nicely.

Vengeance526, May 18, 2009
Photo of atigerlife
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%

Poured from a 750ml into a St. Bernardus chalice.

Pours a dark brown with a light brown head that is very creamy. Good lacing and lasting power of the head.

Aroma of dark fruits, malts. Some dark wood aroma in there.

Taste is of dark fruits [raisins, plums], malt, vanilla, baked apples. Has a sweetness to it and quite complex.

Mouthfeel is medium+ bodied and quite cleansing.

Overall, just an amazing brew. Very complex and soothing. Hides the alcohol very well. Glad I've got some more in storage.

atigerlife, May 17, 2009
Photo of jwhawkins81
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

The back label of the 330 ml bottle says the beer is best by 26-08-13.

Aroma - Dark fruits like cherries and raisins.

Appearance - Poured a dark red and produced a nice light tan head.

Taste - A hint of spice near the beginning giving way to a malty sweet profile hiding just the smallest amount of discernible alcohol. Even as this beer warms the flavor profile stays pretty consistent.

Mouthfeel - A medium body carried by a ton of carbonation. A really good mouthfeel.

Drinkability - Amazingly drinkable for 10.5%. The spice really helps from being overwhelmed by the sweetness.

jwhawkins81, May 17, 2009
Photo of Maction
4.47/5  rDev 0%

A: In a St. Bernardus chalice, it shows a pale burgundy with brown undertones. A hearty 3" head collapses to a compact disk, leaving thick lace down the side of the glass.

S: A complex aroma, cherries, hard candy, traces of clove.

T: It just tastes so good, with flavors of brandy and candy, but it's not namby-pamby. There's a smoothness balanced by a slight alcohol tinge. Then there's the tart and acidic flavor that my wife identifies as grape Kool-Aid.

M: It feels dense, but not viscous, and the carbonation keeps things moving on your palate.

D: This beer is so delicious that it's hard to drink slowly. Even though I know it's 10% ABV, it's hard not to rush through one of these and order another.

Notes: My wife's favorite beer of all times. Her question: "how could you not love it?" I love the monk on the bottle. He seems to be simultaneously absolving you from your sins while leading you into temptation.

Maction, May 14, 2009
Photo of DavoleBomb
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%

11.2 oz bottle poured into a goblet.

4.0 A: Murky dark brown color. Two fingers of frothy off-white head with average retention and minimal lacing.

4.0 S: Dark fruits including plum and raisin. Slight graininess. Nuts, caramel, and some mild peppery spiciness.

5.0 T: I wasn't really too impressed with this beer until I tasted it. It is incredible. Flavors are much like the smell, just in overdrive. Plum, raisin, tobacco and a touch of over-ripe banana. Not as nutty, but lots of caramel and touches of pepper and clove.

4.5 M: Medium-heavy body. Bubbly carbonation and perhaps a tad too bubbly. Smooth finish with the alcohol hidden really well.

4.5 D: This is one hell of a tasty beer.

DavoleBomb, May 14, 2009
Photo of Hoagie1973
4.47/5  rDev 0%

Pours hazy deep chestnut brown with a monster latte-colored head. As I finished the pour, gobs of thick foam were still coming out of the bottle. Head retention is stellar, renewing itself with tiny rising bubbles after every sip. Maintains a half inch of rocky foam all the way to the last sip with thick, sticky lacing.
Has an aroma of spiced fruit (black cherries), nuts, bread, and alcohol.
Flavor is a perfect blend of all of the above. Alcohol is very noticeable, but warming and welcome. Finishes sweet and fruity, also has a mild earthy, herbal quality.
Mouthfeel is thick and full; smooth and creamy.
This isn't something to drink hastily. Give yourself plenty of time to relax and enjoy the complexities.
I would love to cellar some of this to see how it changes.

Hoagie1973, May 12, 2009
Photo of bulletrain76
4/5  rDev -10.5%

33cl bottle at De Wildeman, Amsterdam. Dark, murky brown with a big tan head that lasts a good bit. Aroma is really malty with ripe fruit, brown sugar sweetness and some alcohol. The flavor is very sweet - the sweetest of the quads that I've had. It's a nice sweetness though; not cloying. Very good as a dessert drink. I think that the sweetness does suppress other flavor qualities though. Thick with smooth carbonation and a slightly sticky finish. Very nice, but not as elegant as Rochefort, or a drinkable as Westy. Had it a just below room temp at De Wildeman, and tried it the next day on draught at Gollem, which served it much colder, and I have to say that it was much better warmer.

bulletrain76, May 11, 2009
Photo of philipquarles
4.05/5  rDev -9.4%

11.2oz bottle. Pours orangey brown with a lot of sediment. Nice off-white head that sticks around and leaves some lacing. Smells incredibly sweet, with banana, brown sugar, spice, and a slight bit of alcohol warmth. Tastes of banana, brown sugar, and slightly toasty malt. Some bitterness and a good bit of alcohol burn. Feel is nice and velvety, without being syrupy. Slight warmth. Pretty nice overall. At least better than the oxidized Westvleteren I'm drinking it with.

philipquarles, May 10, 2009
Photo of cavedave
4.38/5  rDev -2%

The look of this less than a year old beauty (if I interpret the best by date correctly-put two others into the cellar for future comparison) is deep cloudy nearly opaque brown, with a dark beige shaving-cream-thick head that lasts, and fades slowly to an inch, leaving ample continents of lather-like lace.

Smell is an amazing blend of yeast, alcohol, spice (coriander? cardamom?), biscuit, toffee, raisin, cherry, peach brandy, and just a hint of herb and citrus. The complexity is astounding. Each sniff brings a differing wave of fragrance that sets my taste buds to alert.

The sip starts with yeast, caramel, and warm alcohol that seems to coddle my tongue as it introduces incredible amounts of brilliant flavor to the sip. The fruit and spice aromas of the nose now roll like a wave of delicious flavor across thankful taste buds. Peach, pear, raisin, currant, spice, a sweet backdrop, a bitter edge, an earthy undertone, all balanced into a sip that won't peak, a finish that doesn't end, like a wave that refuses to break. I'm mostly through the glass now. It has warmed near to room temp. and the alcohol has not become dominant, but all the other flavors have grown more pronounced, more delicious.

Mouthfeel is superb as well. It is like carbonated heaven upon the palate, cheeks, and tongue.

Drinkability ought to be judged within the style, and it is a solidly drinkable quad. I'd put it up against most dubbels and tripels I've tasted.

cavedave, May 09, 2009
Photo of dfolmste
4.38/5  rDev -2%

I had a bottle of this from Christmas and I was waiting for the right time to drink it. I would say graduation from college is it.

Appearance: The appearance of this is amazing. I had to pour quick as the foam was starting to gush out of the bottle. The head was so big it required two pours. A deep burgendy color. One of the best I've seen.

Smell: The smell was very strong even at fridge temps. As it warmed up, more smells became apparent. Plums, grapes, alcohol and candy.

Taste: Everything included in the smell. I was surprised by the sweetness and similarity to a dark wine of this brew. Normally I am not a huge fan of wine, but if it tasted like this I think I could learn. The alcohol bite, although well hidden, starts to be exposed as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel: Probably the best part about this beer. For all the complex flavors it has, the aftertaste is more of a lite coating with little residual flavor. The alcohol is minimal for a 10% beer. Perfectly smooth and rounded flavor.

Drinkability: This beer was great and I'll deffinately seek it out again, but one 750 mL bottle is more than enough. The alcohol kills your tastebuds towards the end, so I feel trying to drink more is just a waste.

dfolmste, May 08, 2009
Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%

A- About two inches of off-white head that retains pretty well. Nice dark apple-cider color with yeasty turbidity. Looks good.

S- Spicy, slightly vinous, slightly musty and a hint of alcohol.

T- Starts with a spicy, penolic/clove bite, slips into a malty sweetness, finishing with some alcohol. Well balanced and subtle. Finishes with a grapey, almost piney aftertaste. I like it. Slight yeast/must lingers in the background.

M- Medium bodied. Smooth and creamy. Slight prickle at the end.

D- Surprisingly drinkable. Delicious, I'm happy with this one after being slightly disappointed with the Tripel

LordAdmNelson, May 06, 2009
Photo of ibbjamin
4.53/5  rDev +1.3%

Paid $11.99 for a 750 ml corked and caged bottle from Perry's Liquor in Livermore, CA. Poured into a thick goblet and started to review at 52°F.

Very light, fizzy and highly carbonated off white head of about an inch. The bubble size in the head is very large. Opaque and seemingly cloudy. The color of dark caramel raisin. The head retains quite well at about a quarter of an inch. Minimal lacing.

Initial fruity esters of banana and fig, caramel and sweet malts. Moderate amounts of belgian spice and yeast add complexity.

Taste is similar to smell, but just one step even better.

The mouthfeel is exactly what a great belgian is. Thick, velvety smooth and highly drinkable. Moderately chewy, medium bodied.

This one is going to be a staple for me. Not as expensive as the Westy 12 or Rochefort 10 and I think it competes with either of them.

ibbjamin, May 06, 2009
Photo of smanders
4.03/5  rDev -9.8%

Appearance - Cocoa brown color with a pillow-like head. The lacing is as intricate as a spider web.

Smell - raisins, clove, and charred wood.

Taste - Sweet malt with the lingering warmness of alcohol. Savor the flavor because you shouldn't be chugging this one.

Mouthfeel - motor oil, but in a good way.

Drinkability - If you can't/don't enjoy a good Belgian brew every now and then there's something misfiring in your wiring. A wonderful example of a "Quad."

smanders, May 04, 2009
Photo of merryjoulton
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%

Pours a deep brown color with an impeccable off white head that sticks around the whole brew. Smells like spices, berries, malt, bread, tree fruits, even a hint of ocean breeze. Taste is even more impressive than the smell, very sweet and spicy--always a match made in heaven. Mouthfeel is smooth as silk, not a hint of the high ABV. I could easily throw back a few of these.

merryjoulton, May 04, 2009
Photo of cheapxceptbeer
4.85/5  rDev +8.5%

While I dont have time to do a full review, I dont know the next time I will have the pleasure of drinking this, sorry if this is completely useless.

Look is dark and murky, a very dark amber/brown. Great head to start, mediocre retention and lacing.
Smell is of dark fruit and brown sugar, very enticing.
Taste is dark fruit including plum, black cherry, and overripe berries. It also has a deep brown sugar flavor to it, no molasses like other dark beers of these variety. Booze has low presence due to sweet flavor, but is definitely there.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, this beer drinks like a meal, this will allow me to skip a meal, or at least delay during finals studying.
Drinkability- while I have savored this beer over 2 days due to its high alcohol content, this is a beer that I would happily imbibe (22 oz) if it were not for finals. Anything more than a 750 ml bottle is not only irresponsible, but I would also not drink that much of such a delicious beer and I am also not a millionaire. If I had no respect for good beer, I was a drunk, and I had expendable income I would bathe in this stuff, first class all the way.

cheapxceptbeer, May 03, 2009
Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.93/5  rDev +10.3%

Poured from 750 ml bottle into globe glass.

A. 2 finger head. Leaves nice lacing all along the glass. Dark brown with a reddish tint.

S. Dark fruit, raisins, plums. Sweetness, Spices, Caramel and alcohol.

T. Sweet, malt, hops , spice, all meshed into one unbelievable flavor. The eptiome of balance. Nice warming sensation the more you drink.

M. Very smooth full bodied. Perfect carbonation.

D. Exceptionally drinkable beer. This is one of if not my most favorite beers. What makes this beer so great is a complexity that is perfectly balanced into one of the better beers in the world.

siradmiralnelson, May 03, 2009
Photo of laituegonflable
3.3/5  rDev -26.2%

Pours a very dark, brown-tinged colour with ochre head, generous when first poured, now dissipating, leaving a thin film. Shit-hot thick lacing, looks great.

Very spicy and phenolic nose, kind of cherry-esque and almost musty. Quite interesting and I daresay very Belgian in character, with that spicey yeast. Very nice.

Quite malty on the palate with again, quite a sour flavour coming through, also very spicy with a peppery, Shiraz kind of character. A bit of a flat palate profile though, with only one note sounding. That one note is very complex and unique though, with hints of licorice, a lot of pepper and methinks a a fair hit of alcohol which gives it quite a burning mouthfeel, like a good slug of scotch. It if full though, and very interesting. Can't say I love it, but it's interesting and quite palatable.

laituegonflable, Apr 29, 2009
Photo of Thorpe429
4.18/5  rDev -6.5%

G: Poured into a Chimay goblet.

A: Dark brown color with a slight haziness to it. Very nice lacing.

S: Plenty of yeast leaving behind spices and lots of dark fruit.

T: Lots of sweet malt backed up by undeniable Belgian yeast; some alcohol is present in the taste.

M: Very smooth and heavy-bodied. Fairly low carbonation.

D: Fairly drinkable; definitely a sipper. Not everything fits together perfectly, but a very good beer.

Thorpe429, Apr 29, 2009
Photo of RuudJH
4.13/5  rDev -7.6%

The tough Abt 12 has a quite a reputation. Naturally a must try.

Had this several times before. Sometimes the bottle is a real gusher.

Nice chestnut-colour, with beige head, thin but persistant.
Very fresh smell of herbs, also fruits like apricots or grapes, a bit of caramel and coffee.
I would say the taste is a balance between sour and sweet and spicy, and it also has robust flavours of malt, black coffee, even tobacco. the alcohol is present.
I'm uncertain to call this beer worldclass, but it's certainly a very good one. Good one for Christmas time.

RuudJH, Apr 28, 2009
Photo of EatsTacos
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%

Pours a murky chustnut brown with a clumpy head. A lot of carbonation.

Aroma: Toasted brown sugar with a earthy hop profile. Dark dried fruits with a good dose of alcohol.

Taste: Musky and earthy from start to finish. Dark toasted/burnt brown sugar and a toasty, chewy malt backbone which is largely caramel and toffee. The hop character is spicey but distinct from the flavours of the belgian yeast. Alcohol is warming and isn't completely hidden.

Mouthfeel: More full bodied than any tripel or dubbel, with a lot of sharp carbonation.

EatsTacos, Apr 27, 2009
Photo of grayburn
4.8/5  rDev +7.4%

She pours a murky marroon with a huge tan head. The lacing is beautiful and the retention is perfect. Beautiful beer.

The smell is dominated by some clove and apricot notes. There is some alcohol hiding around that peeks out a bit as the beer warms up. Every 2-3 degrees of warming (from 50 degrees) the beer changes a note. There almost seems a bit of a funky sour note, which really blends nicely.

The taste again shows just a touch of a sour note, followed nicely by some caramel and toffee notes. There is a huge fruit presence in the background that leaves your tongue curious for a while. Very impressive.

The mouthfeel starts with a firework show of carbonation, which carries the alcohol in this brew like nobody's business. The finish is longer than most romantic comedies. Such a complex and amazing brew.

I could drink a good bit of this if I were to throw caution to the wind. An excellent beer and worth buying by the case. Trust the happy monk.

grayburn, Apr 27, 2009
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,355 ratings.