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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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7,849 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,849
Reviews: 2,541
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 495
Gots: 1,302 | FT: 34
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: 7,849 | Reviews: 2,541 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of VelvetExtract
3.95/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a deep brown. Head retains wells and sticks to the glass.

S-Strong smell of sugars, spices. Quite intricate. Not familiar with the the style. Having trouble picking out specifics.

T-Thick rich malty goodness. Spices. Raison, and some other dried fruity tastes. Boozy as well, but not a bad booze taste, only adds depth.

M-On the full side. This is a big beer. Thick and creamy.

D-Couldn't drink too much of it at this point.

Developing a taste for these beers. I'm a fan of this one, can see why it is a gateway into the belgian spectrum of beers.

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

Poured from a 24oz bottle into a Chimay chalice. I specifically like the monk on the bottle--he looks so cheery and warm--his beer must be pretty good. I take this as an invitation to critique.

A- Moderate brown color, lacing is minimal but tight and tempting. Has a single finger head, that stays and barely diminishes as this delicious brew somehow disappears from my glass. Sticks to the sides. Very nice.

S- Dark fruits, brown sugar come through strongest. A small hint of maple and clove under all the esters.

T- Wow. the spice of alcohol is very faint but noticeable up front, and never comes back. Very strong hints of brown sugar right up front, cloves and fruit provide the backdrop to a truly delicious brew. Slight pepper hints toward the back.

M- Smooth as Johnny Cochran. 'Nuff said.

D- I could drink this all day, everyday. Amazing brew. I love belgian quadrupels almost as I love my girlfriend/Elisha Cuthbert, but this beer is special. Truly smooth from start to finish, with a barely noticeable alcohol content--up until you finish the 24oz and then start walking around. This beer should be the center of a new olympic game.

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

Not a huge head, but color looks great. It is rich brown and looks kind of like coke.

Smells like chocolate, cinnamon, cocoa powder, plum, toast, marshmallow, and figs. Very opening of the senses.

Taste is malty, rich and complex, warming, cola-like, slight chocolate, raisins, notes of tobacco, very vinuous.

Tiny bubbles give lifting power and hide the strength very very well. Incredibly smooth.

Exceptional drinkability.

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

A very good brew.
A: Murky brown and thick. Nearly opaque. Surprising. Pours a heafty two finger head that has remarkable retention. Reminded me of Duvel almost.
S: Candied fruits, raison, a fair hint of yeast, smells like a bakery around the holidays.
T: Raisin and assorted dried fruit. Yeast is here too. Butterscotch? Not crazy on the complexity, in fact less than expected, but certainly delicious.
M: A finely balanced brew. Excellent carbonation neither overwhelms nor underimpresses. Balanced perfectly with the richness. A viscous beer that is washed away by the smooth and fine bubbles.
D: Very good. Not something for all night, but I would happily have a couple. Unless I had nothing produvtive to do the next day. Then all night.

This is quite the beer for the money and will become a staple. It doesn't amaze me, but it's an elegant yet powerful brew that is characterful and refreshing. And delicious.

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

Abt 12... what does that mean? Well, Abt is the strongest beer that a monastery produces in order to honor or please their high priest, known as the Abbot. The number 12 is derived from the Belgian specific gravity reading, which is much like our Alcohol by Volume (ABV) reading of the beer. While Abt 12 is no longer 12% ABV, it still rings in at 10.5%, and remains the strongest beer produced by St. Bernardus. This beer has been produced since the late 19th century, it is a Belgian Quadrupel style ale from St. Bernardus in Watou, Belgium. It is their flagship ale and it doesn't get much better than this!

Abt 12 pours a muddy chestnut color with a big off-white head. The aroma is malty and reminiscent of dark fruit and toffee. It is smooth and creamy on the palate with a big rich flavor of figs, toasted bread, earthy tobacco, and caramel. This is all beautifully balanced by adequate carbonation and a bit of alcohol. Abt 12 truly deserves its reputation as one of the finest beers in the world. It delivers astonishing complexity that is coexistent with great drinkablity.

Not only does Abt 12 have all of the above going for it, but it is fantastic with food as well. On the savory side, try it with grilled sausages, Cassoulet, or Veal Parmigiana. It will go great with your favorite chocolate desserts too, or a fine cigar. On the other hand, this beer is so great on it's own that you may just want to enjoy it with something simple like fresh bread and Brie de Meaux.

Photo of redzone3120
3.95/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown in color that is very cloudy. Nice thick creamy brown head about 2 fingers thick that dissipates slowly.

S - Has a good aroma, can't really put a finger on it, maybe some nuttiness.

T - Good strong taste with a hint of a bourbon flavor. Though I normally like strong brews, this one just doesn't seem very balanced. Again, I cannot place the main flavors of the beer, definitely some toasted malts.

M - Great creamy carbonation feel with a good aftertaste the finishes cleanly.

D - Drinkable beer, good taste and a nice finish.

Photo of JayS2629
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Deep, muddy mahogany with nice creamy eggshell colored head with nice retention and frothy lacing.

S- Roasted malts, cramel, spice, cloves, nutmeg, bananas and a hint of cocoa

T- Sweet roasted malts, yeast, cloves, nutmeg, slight rum flavor with vanilla notes and a hint of cocoa and bananas in the aftertaste. Very complex.

M- Medium bodied with a slight alcohol warming.

D- Very drinkable and delicious. Complex but a definite sipper.

Photo of endincolorado
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Dark, chestnut brown with a nice, foamy off-white head, good head retention and nice lace.

Smell- Nice, roasty malt-aromas with a caramelly sweetness and faint spiciness.

Taste- Flavor is also malt-heavy, with a nice roasty character and yeasty spice in back. Some faint alcoholic warmth

Mouthfeel is medium-heavy with good carbonation.

Very drinkable. Would pair well with a wide range of foods.

Photo of withliterature
3.95/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- dark purplish, little to no head dissappearing to a thin white lace; clear with no Belgian-like cloudiness

S- bananas, fruity sweetness, figs

T- fruity start, dry finish that disappears from the palate quickly; relatively high carbonation; yeasty taste, but the filtering seems to have removed all the sediment

M- thin, disappears quickly with carbonation; not sticky

D- very strong but very pleasant; carbonation adds sharpness bit fades the taste fast; one glass is enough, though

I wouldn't say this is the best example of a Belgian; very original and not all that characteristic of the style in general. Glad I tried it, but I have to say not as awesome as it's cracked up to be online.

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

330ml bottle. I was weirdly introduced to this offering by an ersatz English football hooligan colleague at an office Friday@4 beerfest a few years ago - who knew?

This beer pours a dark muddy brown colour, with some violently eddying sediment, a slight reddish tint, and two broad fingers of fine foamy pale beige head, which leaves some solid streaks of roaming lace around the glass as it duly recedes.

It smells of mildly sweet caramel malt, dark distinct fruit, a soft yeastiness, and alcohol-soaked demerara sugar. The taste is sweet, dark sugary caramel/toffee malt, a bit of raw cocoa, some ethereal spicing, and subtle, but well balancing earthy, leafy hops. Little to no booze warming, quelle surprise.

The carbonation is there, but quite sedate, the body medium-full in weight, smooth, and clean. It finishes off-dry, but only minimally so - the malt is present and accounted for, but well tempered by an unobtrusive dryness.

A beer with a whole lot going for it, lots to discuss, dissect, yet I find myself just wanting to sit back and sip it, sip it, and...oh shit, there it goes.

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

A: Pours a dark brown color with a nice foam head that is long lasting.

S: Ample amounts of malt character and alcohol. Dark fruits, mostly figs, prunes and raisins. There are also some hints of sweet vanilla and brown sugar.

T: This is a sweet beer, but not ovely sweet. The dark fruit is prominant up front and through out. Lots of figs and raisins. In the middle and the back end comes the vanilla, brown sugar and even some choclate. The booze is present, but not biting.

M: A nice medium to full bodied beer that leaves a thick creamy taste on the palate.

D: This beer has a high ABV. The booze is somewhat present. This is certainly a sipping beer for me and quite enjoyable.

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

Finally got to try this one after every store was out for the past few months. Thought I was going to get to try it on tap at the Sharp Edge last month but their online inventory lied. Then V.E. was out of them and I happened to find one at U-Pick Six in Erie and was excited to crack one for Thanksgiving. The scuttlebut is that the ABT 12 may be a viable and more easily acquired alternative for Westy 12. We'll see...

Poured from a 750 bottle, deploys as a dark, cloudy root-beer, iced tea color with a quickly dissipating foam made of tiny bubbles. Head lingers when poured right (takes me three times) and stays creamy.

Smell is very Earthy and Belgian-y. but, as with some of the similar Trappists, mild. I don't picture the monks really giving a crap about aromatic hops, but who knows.

Taste is excellent. As it warms, the fruits come through - dark plum, maybe some tropicals - the aftertaste is cocoa and molasses.

Doesn't have the majesty, complexity or mystery of Westy 12, and really - it's unfair and stupid to compare beers to other beers, unless that's what they brewer intended. But it is certainly a delicious Quad and I could have several in a night. I'm halfway through the 750 as I write this and it wasn't a chore.

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

beer pours a cloudy, dark, chestnut brown color, some sediment in this, nice fluffy tan head

smell - rum, raisin, plums, brown sugar, cocoa, red wine

taste - red wine, plums, raisins, molasses, cocoa, rum, nutmeg

mouthfeel - higher carbonation, medium to full body, some booze on the finish, but not overpowering, slightly sweet, but this is nice right here, really smooth and creamy

drinkability - the 10.5% abv is barely noticeable, this is a great quad that i'll definetly be drinking again

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

Been aging this one for over a year and ready to pull it out for Thanksgiving.

Pours a dark cola in the goblet with nice off-white frothy head. Lots of carbonation bubbles released throughout

Very malty notes on the nose: raisin, figs, & brown sugar. Grassy lemon and hops on the back end with a faint smell of alcohol mixed in.

Starts with candied sugar ( reminds me of sweet potato casserole I had today for Thanksgiving), dates, cloves,& bananas. As it warms, bitter hops and sour candy become more prevalent. Very light alcohol on the throat.

Medium body with ample carbonation.

I have never tasted a 10% beer this drinkable. Very well balance and smooth. one of my favorite quads. This beer is dangerous considering how well the abv is hidden.

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

A: Pours a murky, dark brown with almost a purple tinge. It's got a big off-white head that leaves streaks of lacing along the chalice.

S: Sweet toffee is the primary aroma, but with a lot of complexity laying beneath. There's some dark fruit, some spiciness I assume is from the yeast, and a little alcohol to round it out.

T: This is what Belgian beer is all about. Delicious enough for everyone to enjoy, but complex enough that you could go through dozens of bottles and still find something new. There's dark, caramel, sugary malt. There's some dark fruit. There's a good deal of spice. There's a bit of alcohol. I'm sure there's plenty that I can't discern. This is a big boy beer for sure.

M: Smooth, warming, low carbonation, pretty full mouthfeel.

D: I haven't yet tried Westy 12, but for now this is my favorite quad. Outstanding.

Photo of bbkd3b
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I had this once a long time ago... I've always wanted to revisit it like an old friend. Finally, my time has come. Poured into a goblet:

A - Pours with a cloudy, burnt sienna. Notice a nice, orange hue when there's light in the background. Also present is this great, 2-finger tan head with good retention. Results in a droopy, sticky lacing that doesn't go away. Good looking stuff.

S - Sweet maltiness with that Belgian yeast I love so much. Great mixture of dark fruits and a bit of spice. Nice fragrance... Not mind-blowing, but nice.

T - Okay, a little more mind-blowing. It's complex and subtle at the same time. Mixture of spice, hint of chocolate, and a great presence of dark fruits. Just fantastic, really.

M - This might sound weird, but it just dissolved when it hit my tongue. The carbonation combined with the body made it feel like something falling apart in my mouth. I've never gotten this from a beer before; however, I love it. There's a pleasant, warming hint of alcohol at the finish. My oh my.

D - Pricey, and alcoholic, but whatever bottle you do have will scream, "Drink me! Drink me!" until you pass out in a drunk stupor.

Overall/notes - Pretty much exactly how I remember it. Really great beer. Actually, not quite the monster I remember, as for a long time, I called it my favorite. Still, I'm no going to complain at all. This beer rocks my socks and that's all that matters.

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

Poured out of a 1 Pint 9.4 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip glass.

A - Deep brown pour with a massive creamy off white head. Tons of sticky lacing.

S - Big robust malt smell. Has some light fruit smell perhaps figs.

T - Just like the smell you immediately get a nice malty taste. I get a nice earthy taste here with definite fruits. Figs and cloves and a hint of chocolate. This is a high ABV beer but not overwhelming at all.

M - Smooth baby. Very nice. She is a full bodied beer for sure. This makes you feel all warm inside.

D - Oh hell yes. Mind you this is not the beer to pour down one after another. This is a nice slow sipping beer that you can enjoy. Go get some. Now.

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

I have heard so many good things about this beer, and I finally decided to open one up tonight for my 28th birthday.

The beer is a murky red/brown with one finger tan head that sticks around. The nose is full of dark ripe fruit, toasted caramel and a brilliant sweetness. Something about it screams dry red wine to me (maybe it's the fruit). The flavor is fantastic! Cloves hit your right up front and then there are dark cherries, red grapes, and a moderate alcohol presence. The body is moderate with solid carbonation.

This is definitely a world class beer. Rich fruits mixed with spices, slight alcohol burn and then a sharp dry finish. I love this beer! Probably the best Quad that I have had to date. I sure hope that I can get my hands on a Westy 12 one of these days to compare.

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

From the 25 fl. oz. corked bottle. Sampled on November 20, 2010. It pours a decent looking dark amber color with about three inches of puffy, light foamy head. Typical of Belgian ales this does eminate a bit of wheat in the aroma at first but the overall sensation is mellow malts. The advertised spices seem to be far away. The flavor tends to be bitter up front with a strong ale feel at the end along with some hops. A pretty good beer.

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

Had this on tap at World of Beer, poured into a snifter

A- Pours a rich, dark brown, limited clarity, with a beautiful head that lasts the majority of the experience.

S- An odd but fantastic, not too sweet, definitely fruit based smell, limited alcohol smell, maybe some caramel hints

T- Breathtaking, full flavored from beginning sweetness to light alcohol finish, definite fruit hints involved along with slight spices.

M- Rich and creamy, not too carbonated, just enough to remind you that its a beer.

D- One of, if not, the best Quads i've had, perfect for every occasion, although definitely be careful of the 10.5% ABV as it will sneak up on you rather quickly, definitely a sipping beer.

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

A: Pours dark amber/brown into my DFH snifter with a thick foamy, off-white colored head that slowly dissipates leaving nice lacing down the side of the glass.

S: Has a strong dark smell to it (if that makes sense at all), maybe that of the malts and some dark fruits. A bit of a yeast in the nose as well.

T: The taste has a bit of spice to it with some chocolate hints as well. The malts and yeast comes out as well and maybe the aforementioned dark fruits are present for a bit of flavor.

M: Medium bodied with average carbonation. Very smooth.

D: Overall this is a very tasteful beer, definitely lives up to its hype as being one of the worlds best. Although 10.5% ABV, it is very smooth and has almost no hint of alcohol in the taste.

Photo of Tilley4
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally getting a shot to try this much adored brew..

Pours into my Orval goblet a murky reddish brown with a nice thick persistent head... Swirling laces the glass in sheets..

Lovely aromas of Belgian sugars, yeast, bananas, cinnamon, perhaps a touch of hops.. Very complex...its something different with every inhalation... Whatever it is, it works... Smelling this makes me wish I lived in Belgium...

Lush velvety palate of sweet candied toffee maltiness blended perfectly with a raisin/fig aspect along with some banana and cinnamon as well as just a touch of booze but not enough to really tell... Very nicely brewed and put together... Its like a Christmas pudding but in a goblet.

I loved this brew and won't ever pass it up again. We don't get this one in TN anymore but my ventures to places that do will always find me picking this up. Its a masterpiece...

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

Drank from a chalice. Poured an ominous dark amber, with a significant off-white 3 finger head that lingered around a good long time. As the head receded it left thick foamy residue (not quite dainty enough to call it lace). Strong, rich malty/yeasty aroma, with elements of dark fruit, toffee, and clove.

Flavor matched the aroma well. The spicy, clove-infused yeast taste was the first element to jump out at me. The flavor is very complex; it's hard to distill all the elements; there's a certain bready maltiness to it; sweet sugar, a pleasantly warming alcohol component.

It was smooth, medium bodied with good amount of carbonation and finished dry. I really enjoyed this beer.

Photo of vette2006c5r
4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a dark amber color with adbundent head that last through out. Smells of a typica quad, a bit spicey and harsh. The taste is strong, smooth, but full of spices. Full flavored beers like these arent for the macro lover. Overall what else can be said, its a great beer.

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

St.Bernardus, ABT 12, a beer intended for the Holy Abbot. And me...

Appearance: A hazed/murky brown with an off white khaki colored head. Looks like a nice malty beer.

Smell: Once again, malty, alittle bready. I can sense I am in store for some Belgian goodness.

Taste: Cake like malt profile, brown sugar, fig, dates, prune. All kinds of dark fruit dance upon the palate. What a wonderful beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied, the malt lingers on the palate for a few seconds after the sip.

Drinkability: This is certainly my favorite Quad, and Ive had a Westvlteren 12. A terrific night cap.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,849 ratings.