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.
BA SCORE
99
world-class

7,191 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,191
Reviews: 2,480
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 405
Gots: 1,024 | FT: 36
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website
Belgium

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: 7,191 | Reviews: 2,480 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of antilogic
antilogic

California

3.9/5  rDev -12.8%

On tap @ Yardhouse in Irvine (super deal @ happy hour), and in bottle several times. Smooth, creamly almost with big assertive richness. The ABV hits hard but isn't overpowering in the taste.
Ebony in color, fruit and malts, carmel and brown sugar. Complex.

Good beer, no doubt, but I would have to disagree that it stands out as anything incredibly unique. It is the perfect example of its style and is worth drinking, but maybe not worth the hefty cost more than a few times.

11-10-2008 07:57:15 | More by antilogic
Photo of Bung
Bung

Michigan

3.93/5  rDev -12.1%

Foggy brown pour, cream head. Malt, raisin, fig, molasses aromas. A little sticky, would prefer more however. Nice that it is not overly carbonated. Tastes solid malts and molasses, similar to the nose. I would consider this rather drinkable for a strong Belgian. Good, but definetely prefer the Rochefort 10. Though I don't prefer many Belgians at all because too many end up being a "white" style Belgian, even when called otherwise.

11-10-2008 02:59:39 | More by Bung
Photo of Yesac
Yesac

Georgia

3.95/5  rDev -11.6%

A - Pours cloudy/dirty brown. Medium off-white head.

S - Typical Belguin, nothing to special. Caramel, brown sugar.

T - Brown sugar, caramel.. there is also a saltyness to it and the carbonation plays into it. Alcohol warming as well. I'm not very impressed with this taste, I'd rather have some other offerings in this category.

M - Heavy carbonation, bubbles have a strong effect on the tongue.

D - Smooth, the 10.5% ABV is well hidden.

11-10-2008 01:43:03 | More by Yesac
Photo of aubuc1
aubuc1

Florida

4.6/5  rDev +2.9%

Poured from a 750 ml bottle dated 04/10/12 (assuming that means best by) poured in to my st bernardus goblet.

Pours a cloudy dark brown with ruby highlights and a one finger tan head.

Smell yeast, grape, apple and plum.

Taste is complex. It starts with a shot of carbonation that shocks the mouth a bit, then a smooth fruity malt kicks in that leaves an almost perfect taste.

Huge mouthfeel from the carbonation tapers as the sip goes on.

10% abv is hardly noticable. Truly a great beer of the world.

11-08-2008 22:37:41 | More by aubuc1
Photo of brandoneast
brandoneast

Texas

4.85/5  rDev +8.5%

Color is dark pomegranate and brown hues with unbleached linen color foam that dissipates rather swiftly but leaves a wonderful ring. Caramel malt, apple, plum, and sugary molasses dance in the aroma. Sipping the brew brings a lace of candi (rock) sugar to the lips while pear, caramel, dark fruit, cinnamon, and a slight bitterness to the palate.

Some prefer to have Abt 12 after a meal or with a cigar but I think with such a developed and complex flavor profile and carbonation this would also be perfect for those hearty and savory dishes we have come to love this holiday season.

11-07-2008 14:59:54 | More by brandoneast
Photo of hopdog
hopdog

Pennsylvania

4.72/5  rDev +5.6%

Medium brown in color. Smells of chocolate, molasses and spices. Dark fruit tastes with spices. Alcohol content well hidden. Another long time favorite of mine (years ago I used to have a bottle of St. Sixtus as my night cap beer on the weekend).

Tasted best before 2005 on 4/2/2006. This aroma was awesome. Plums and raisins with breadiness. Tastes of the same. This was by far one of the best aged, if not best, beers in a long time. Increased #s.

11-06-2008 21:26:09 | More by hopdog
Photo of benclimbs
benclimbs

California

3.9/5  rDev -12.8%

This is definitely a good beer, it is a solid belgian ale. Complex yeasty, malty nose with a big mouthfeel and a geared finish...yadayada. and if it was done in America i might rate it better. Honestly though, for the style, I feel like westvleteren and rochefort do it so much better that i can't say this beer is fantastic - bottom line in my opinion, is it's worth trying and drinking but don't run out and pay 8 bucks for a bottle of it at your local beer shop if you can get rochefort or even westmalle instead.

11-06-2008 02:12:59 | More by benclimbs
Photo of LordofTime25
LordofTime25

Iowa

3.98/5  rDev -11%

Poured a murky dark brown with sedaments floating. Had a thin tan head that left a little lacing on glass.

Smells kinda bready with a sweet drak fruit aroma like prunes, dates, raisins.

Tastes very well balanced with a little sweetness from a the dark fruits. Very Complex with a little tangy taste.

Has a medium to thick body that has a clean dry finish with a little to much carbonation for me.

A good beer, but not something I would go out of my way to drink. Not worth the hype in my opinon.

11-05-2008 03:58:19 | More by LordofTime25
Photo of number1bum
number1bum

Pennsylvania

4.08/5  rDev -8.7%

Pours a mahogany color, quite cloudy and somewhat dense looking, with a fizzy finger and a half of beige head. Although the head is fizzy it's also pretty creamy and retention is exceptional, keeping a full lace and leaving a nice amount of webbing.

Smell is a nice bouquet of sweet malts, fruit and earthy yeast. There is some caramelized malt and candi sugar, lots of dark fruit like plums and figs and dates and raisins. Yeast is earthy and somewhat woodsy, with a bit of anise and clove in there, too.

Taste has all the aforementioned qualities that the smell had. Very earthy and woodsy, with some peat flavor to go with the sweet malts and candi sugar. Also some clove, and lots of dark fruit like the smell. The smell hid the alcohol well but it comes through a bit more in the taste. A bit astringent, too.

Mouthfeel doesn't seem as full as I expected. It's medium bodied, or maybe on the plus side of a medium body, but it's a bit too fizzy and not all that creamy.

This is a very good beer, but I'm a victim of expectations because I'm a touch disappointed. It's not the absolute homerun I expected, but still a very tasty brew that I would certainly have again.

11-04-2008 23:06:52 | More by number1bum
Photo of Pencible
Pencible

Virginia

4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

This poured a murky dark brown with chunky sediment and tons of tan head. It smelled like lots of earthy caramel malt and sweet yeast, with grassy hops and milk chocolate malt. It tasted like earthy caramel and milk chocolate malts, with sweet yeast, citrus hops and mulled spice. It was fairly thick with some carbonation (although surprisingly little considering how much head was on the pour), and a bittersweet aftertaste with alcohol warming. Overall this was absolutely fantastic. It had great, complex, subtle, and generally delicious flavor. It had an extremely smooth body and hid the alcohol fairly well, making this quite easy to drink and enjoy. I love this beer, and just want more, and can't wait to try some aged for a decade or so.

11-02-2008 22:52:44 | More by Pencible
Photo of pokesbeerdude
pokesbeerdude

Colorado

4.38/5  rDev -2%

A: poured a deep reddish brown, with an off white head about an inch thick. head is not very dense and recedes slowly.

S: apples, spicy smelling, alcohol is well hidden, its hard to pick out a lot of things but all together it smells like a quad all around. very nice.

T: the apple taste follows from the smell, but the booze is a lot more pronounced, interesting sweet tastes, nice almost chocolate, but not quite, spicy yeast notes really start to pop out. alcohol is smooth but very present.

M: warm from the alcohol, this goes down like a fine bourbon, interesting. very little carbonation, but what is there is very balanced and doesn't detract from the feel.

D: one of these is enough for anyone, lots of booze, lots of beer. this is a balanced well crafted beer, but its not a session beer at all. this is a monster of a beer, and it is delicious, but, in small doses.

11-02-2008 01:40:07 | More by pokesbeerdude
Photo of SykDoc
SykDoc

Wisconsin

4.43/5  rDev -0.9%

Poured this from a bottle into a snifter. It pours a deep brown and is opaque when held to the light. A off-white head quickly forms reaching almost 2 inches but dissipates reasonably quickly to a thin lace.
The scent that initially caught me was bananas mixed with spices and turns to a mixture of sweetness. It is quite pleasant. You can definitely tell there is alcohol in the aroma.
The first drink gives heavy alcohol notes which quickly turn sweet. It is hard to put my finger on the exact taste because it blends so smoothly. Medium/high carbonation makes the flavors blend quickly and go down nicely.
The carbonation is something that caught me a little when it comes to feel. The flavors blend nicely but the carbonation is a little more than I'm used to. However, it is also what makes this flavor blend so well and makes the drinkability high. I will definitely drink this beer again.

11-01-2008 00:33:15 | More by SykDoc
Photo of ECioffoletti
ECioffoletti

Florida

4.33/5  rDev -3.1%

Appearance was medium to dark brown and opaque. When I went to pour, I was overwhelmed by the carbonation. The head rose to the top of the glass like a bullet out of a gun and I was lucky it didn't spill over the top of my glass. Then, the foam sort of sat there, immovable and simmering away at a painfully slow speed. It was frustrating but a very good sign of freshness and quality at the same time. Healthy amount of lacing remained along the side of the beer glass long after drinking as well.

I could actually smell the alcohol in this one. It reminded my nose of something earthy and underground; dried fruits. As the beer mellowed and warmed to room temperature with time, it seemed to me to start smelling sweeter and reminded me increasingly of a dark chocolate perfumed with malts. Also, the light smell of alcohol subsided after a while which I really liked.

The alcohol hit me hard at first. It's well masked and never overwhelms but it was pretty clear to me without any prior knowledge that this brew was going to pack a punch. Tremendous amounts of yeast and brown sugar permeate the taste of this one. I pick up on raisins. It's light on hop bitterness but the taste of the alcohol and the complexity of the aftertaste were enough to satisfy my IBU craving. The aftertaste is something of wonder. Two minutes after a sip I still tasted this brew. The strong alcoholic front kind of disappeared in those long moments and I was left to marvel at other fragments of flavoring that hide under the surface: caramel, pine, molasses, brown sugar.

The alcohol hit me right away but the taste when combined with the heavy mouthfeel gave the entire experience a warming quality. This would be a great beer to have to warm up to on a cold day.

Certainly not a session brew. At $3.50 a bottle where it was purchased, this is something of a rare treat. If sipped slowly and treated with respect much like some fine sparkling wine (or perhaps a cobra), the drinkability is rather high I think. Once I became familiar with this style and knew what to expect, the alcoholic taste didn't bother me. It's something I needed to sort of grow into.

Final Thoughts:
Certain beers I know aren't going to let me down even though I've never had them before. St. Bernardus has earned that reputation for me. I've tried several of their other offerings before and been blown away each time. There may be better Belgian Quads out there but I personally am yet to encounter one better than this. It's exciting that this is one of few Belgian brews that is available near me.

Although, as alcoholic and strong as it is, I'm not entirely certain if I could stomach it every day. Or every week for that matter. Sometimes, I'm simply in the mood for something more accessible and easier to relax to. The lingering aftertaste combined with the power and complexity of this brew make it something very special though. It lived up to its high rating and hype in my humble opinion.

Also, I drank mine in just under twenty minutes. Maybe I'm a lightweight but I felt tipsy and had a little bit of headache after. Note to self: remember to sip the deliciousness next time.

10-29-2008 18:01:13 | More by ECioffoletti
Photo of ColForbinBC
ColForbinBC

New Jersey

4.58/5  rDev +2.5%

On-tap at Monk's, served in a tulip

Pours a murky, chestnut brown with an off-white, cap that plunges towards the rim of the glass. Really does look beautiful in a tulip.

Lots of aromas here, very broad. Raisins, figs, apples, cherries, brown sugar, honey, toffee and caramel. They all kind of blend together for a sweet, yet mysterious smell.

Caramel with raisins and figs make up the majority of the body. The cherries and apples rush in early and the toffee and brown sugar take over late.

Medium bodied and perfectly stealth carbonation. Very smooth and easy going.

A definite sipper at 10% but it drinks like a 7%. One of the best examples of the style.

10-28-2008 21:34:34 | More by ColForbinBC
Photo of waltonc
waltonc

Colorado

4.47/5  rDev 0%

On tap at the Trappist in Oakland.

A: Well, the Trappist's manner of beer presentation makes any beer look good. This was poured in a wide St. Bernardus glass, and looked great. Dark brown/amber with a fair amount of lacing.

S: Smells sweet, with lots of dark fruit and spice.

T: More of the same. Very well balanced, with lots of depth. Fantastic.

Mouthfeel: medium to thick, with good carbonation.

D: Notwithstanding the ABV, this can easily be consumed in large quantities. An awesome quad that will cause me to re-evaluate how good I think other quads are in the future.

10-26-2008 22:55:01 | More by waltonc
Photo of popery
popery

California

4.9/5  rDev +9.6%

A great beer with a wonderful Belgian flavor.

OK. The appearance took a hit here for reasons unrelated to a normal tasting of this beer. The bottle exploded when I uncapped it, and I lost about half of it. The head looked oddly uneven after I frantically poured the bubbling brew into my tulip and dissipated undoubtedly more quickly than it normally would have, or so I assume.

It's spicy and bready and incredible. There's a lot of aroma, sweet caramel and spiced nuts. The flavors adds in raisins and smoke. There's a lot of carbonation sizzling the flavors throughout the mouth. I could drink this beer for a long period of time, like a fortnight or so.

10-26-2008 05:20:34 | More by popery
Photo of BeerSox
BeerSox

Virginia

4.3/5  rDev -3.8%

750ml corked/caged bottle into snifter.

Deep mahogany hue that glows when held up to the light. A thick light tan one finger head that lasts forever, leaving a thick pillowy cap and a thick wall along the glass. Lacing coats the entire glass when it's empty.

Very strong fruit aromas with a little bit of earthy yeast. Some phenols come through.

Creamy fruit flavors mix with some spicy phenols. Very smooth throughout. Full bodied with spritzy carbonation. The light fruit flavors linger for a while.

A pretty good quad, some say it's better than Westvleteren 12, the so called Holy Grail of beers. Complex flavors, including fruit with a little bit of spice, along with a smooth creaminess. Recommended.

10-26-2008 02:18:16 | More by BeerSox
Photo of itcomesnpints
itcomesnpints

New York

4.78/5  rDev +6.9%

Dark brown with a ruby tinge. Huge tan foamy head. Lacing.

Smell right out of the fridge is about a 3. But after you wait about a half hour it gets tremendously better. Dark fruits, warm whiskey.

Taste becomes exceptional. Chianti, brown sugar, molasses, cognac, plum.

The alcohol makes a very smooth presence. Not much on the tongue, but lots in the stomach. Medium-full body gives it a wonderfully smooth and creamy mouthfeel.

One hell of a beer. Easily ranks in my top 5 Belgians.

10-24-2008 15:10:37 | More by itcomesnpints
Photo of marcpal
marcpal

New Jersey

4.53/5  rDev +1.3%

12oz bottle poured into a goblet.

Followed a couple IPAs so took some getting used to but a flavorful complex quad.

A: Fine appearance. Bulky, frothy creamy head on top of a deep brown body.

S: Sweet burnt fruit and spices. Belgian flavor right up front and the hops come out more in the aroma than appears in the up front taste.

T: Malts, roasted nuts, and rum soaked raisins. Ultra complex- spicy and chocolate sweet with a pinpoint balance. Bit of any oxymoron but it tastes strong without having the feel of the alcohol.

M: Thick and malty. Light carbonation adds to the alcohol burn some but it is warming in a very good way right down the throat. This is the perfect feel for a quad.

D: This is a legit quad. Has everything that a beer on this level should have and you would ask for. A sipper to sit back and enjoy, on par with the best of em.

10-23-2008 23:40:50 | More by marcpal
Photo of notown
notown

Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev -7.6%

Beer poured a nice deep brown with a big off-white head. Huge yeasty, bready aroma with a slight fruity.

Beer is smooth which supprised me a bit because if its high alchohol content. It started with a fruity note, which lingered and I detected subtle clove flavors giving way to a nice malty flavor. It finished with a slight alchohol warmth and sharpness in the finish.

10-23-2008 23:25:11 | More by notown
Photo of ncvbc
ncvbc

North Carolina

4.6/5  rDev +2.9%

Deep copper amber with a nice creamy head that falls very slowly to a ring. It leaves some lacing down the glass. Great, seductive smell. Grape and bubble gum, candy sugar. Nice bready yeast, lightly toasted scents. Good spice. Taste is also great. Again, some bubble gum and still grape, not as present as the smell. Nice spicy flavors with clove seeming apparent. Mouthfeel is very nice. Creamy, silky, almost perfect aside from a little much of a tingle on the tongue at times. Only a hint of heat at times. Very drinkable beer. In the top ranks for style, with ease.

10-23-2008 04:54:54 | More by ncvbc
Photo of Shumista
Shumista

Ohio

4.38/5  rDev -2%

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into my snifter. I'm not sure why this is listed on here as a quad, it says right on the back of the bottle that Abt 12 is brewed in the Dubbel style...I'm a little bit confused but oh well, I'm not much of a stickler for styles anyways.

A- Abt 12 pours a medium dark brown with a huge 2-3 finger fizzy head. Appears to be highly carbonated.
S- Dark fruit, sweet caramel malts, some spices I can't identify exactly, a little bit of alcohol and maybe even some chocolate if I really think about it.
T- Smooth and mellow, yet big and flavorful. I think that's part of what makes this beer so great. The taste is sweet malts, ripe dark fruits, and some spices.
M- Thick and creamy, highly carbonated. Very little noticeable alcohol presence, even as the beer warms.
D- Goes down smooth and easy.

10-21-2008 05:46:23 | More by Shumista
Photo of theboozecruise
theboozecruise

Louisiana

4.7/5  rDev +5.1%

Had this one from an 11.2 oz. bottle poured into a Chimay goblet.

The beer pours a tootsie-roll brown, with a one-finger creamy head. It took a while to dissipate and left a little lacing. Some creamy residue on the surface of the beer as well. The aroma is malty, a little sweet, hints of spice, and VERY inviting. I can't wait to dive in. The taste is more of the same, very well balanced with a smack of clove and other spice at the beginning and then a malty sweet taste as the beer goes down. Delicious.

This is the best St. Bernardus offering I've had yet... phenomenal.

10-21-2008 02:24:27 | More by theboozecruise
Photo of MBABJJ
MBABJJ

Minnesota

4.93/5  rDev +10.3%

A - The frothy head just bursts open right upon pouring. Beautiful brown body. Head hangs out for an impressive duration.

S - Smells mellow and malty. Fruity but more of a jam scent of some sort for all you jelly sniffers out there. Maybe a hint of pine.

T - Holy crap. This is my highest ranked brew so far. Now I know what to expect from the creme de la creme of beer. This is amazingly mellow yet strong. Nutty and caramel and fruit. Just layers of flavor with nothing overwhelming.

M - Hits the outer portion of the tongue with plenty hoppiness all perfectly balanced with the sweet malts.

D - Simply best beer I've had. Makes me want more at end of glass which is what any good beer should leave one yearning for.

10-19-2008 00:00:53 | More by MBABJJ
Photo of Casey10
Casey10

Maine

4.93/5  rDev +10.3%

This is a fantastic ale. The St. Bernardus ABT 12 had a 2 finger head when poured into a chalice.

Smell is amazing great hues of oak and raison.

Pours fantastic, looks great, taste is amazing!

This is a great beer.

You can not go wrong with this beer !!!

10-11-2008 03:48:30 | More by Casey10
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,191 ratings.