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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.

7,363 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,363
Reviews: 2,498
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 420
Gots: 1,095 | FT: 36
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: 7,363 | Reviews: 2,498 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of zachisspeaking
4.8/5  rDev +7.4%

I bought a bottle of this beer at the local beer shop, and had a glass after my stew lunch. The tase, exceptional. The smell---okay for a bottle.

But later that night I went over to Bob's Keg and Cork, and serendipity or providence had it that Bob had this beer on tap. It wasn't there last saturday.

The freshness is impossible to describe; a trappist beer on tap is heaven with a creamy head.

This is the quintessential Belgian Quad. No immitators, even New Belgium's Lips of Faith Series, can match this nearly.

At 10 percent alcohol, you can't feel it. It is such a well balanced brew. The malts are not too dominant; the bitter character is reminiscent of angustoro.

zachisspeaking, Apr 26, 2009
Photo of dogfishandi
4.15/5  rDev -7.2%

poured into oversized wine glass at cellar temp. 10% alcohol as listed on the bottle. pours a very dark brown, pretty much black. tons of chunks floating around, very cloudy. a bubbly off white head. amazing retention, all the way to the end of the glass. terrific sticky lacing. looks great.

a very sweet aroma, dark fruits, sweet malts, grape like sweetness. its all there, very complex.

grape like sweetness, gives way to some wonderful dark fruits. slight alcohol taste. sweet maltiness. has a dry dark fruity finish. only a touch of alcohol heat. leaves longing for more. very complex. it gets better the more you let it sit and open up.

medium to heavy mouthfeel. sour like champagne like carbonation that settles out towards the end. about as good drinkability as any 10% beer, but very enjoyable. i recommend to any belgian lover.

dogfishandi, Apr 26, 2009
Photo of aggiearcher13
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%

Had on tap at Monroe St. Bistro last night.

A: Poured into the proper glassware, a dark beer with a slight off-white head.

S: Kind of boozy and raisins, lots of raisins.

T: Raisin cola??? It's good, boozy and estery, a lot of flavors coming out as it warms. Dark fruit, maybe something kind of like pear also.

M: Low carbonation, great for the style, great body, just wonderful.

D: Well, at 10.5% it's hardly a session beer, but I'd have more than one if someone else was driving.

aggiearcher13, Apr 23, 2009
Photo of jwinship83
3.9/5  rDev -12.8%

11.2oz bottle with a best before march 26, 2013 on it poured into a tulip. bottle says 10%abv on it.

A- this one pours a very dark and murky brown with a small long lasting cream colored head that leaves alot of sticky lacing behind. small carbonation bubbles can be seen rising to the top of the glass.

S- the nose is dominated by belgian yeast as well as sweet bready and fruity malts. lots of dark fruit. raisins/tobacco, figs, plums, and cherries. very spicy as well with a small trace of alcohol.

T- very sweet and malty. the dark fruits i noticed in the nose are all there. plums, cherries, figs, and raisins/tobacco. very sugary.

M- light bodied and highly carbonated. what i expect from the style. slight warming form the alcohol, which is well hidden for being as high as it is.

D- easy enough to finish, but not my favorite of the style. something ill come back to, just not for a while.

jwinship83, Apr 23, 2009
Photo of stumac
4.95/5  rDev +10.7%

This particular bottle is around 2 years aged...

pours up a deep mahogany color with a grand tan crown. great lacing. the nose is deep malts, wood, earth, chocolate, dark fruits, caramel, Belgian candy sugar, slight tart strawberries. Superb! the taste is nice and complex. I get basically the same characters that were in the aroma and its oh so good! dark fruits, sweet malts, caramel apple, high fizzy carbo and medium to full bodied. Always a classic!

stumac, Apr 23, 2009
Photo of mobud
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%

Bottle into chalice @ cellar temp.

A- Dark and ruby with an oatmeal head. Small tight bubbles with a nice head that slow goes with the sample.

S- A pleasant boozy smell that is closer to a rich wine than a beer. Usually that turns me off, but this beer uses that to draw one in to its charms.

T- So much going on here, that words escape me. The malt base holds up a very fruity and fig rocking beer. There is an easy sweetness that changes as the beer warms.

M- Medium that goes down nice and easy. The active carbonation smooths out the alcohol that is very obivious.

D- I can't add any more to the joys that have been written about this beer. The bottle I had was around 8 months old and I would have liked to have given it a bit longer, but things do not always work out that way.

mobud, Apr 20, 2009
Photo of WakeandBake
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%

11.2 FL OZ Bottle 10% ABV. Marked best before 08 05 13

A muddy reddish/brown color body,average sized frothy off-white head that diminished to a thin cap,lots of lacing,loads of tiny carbonation bubbles. Aroma is rich and malty,earthy,a bit of wood,baked bread,and hints of alcohol,rasins and tobacco. Flavor is very complex and everchanging, a bready yeasty malt with notes of grapes,cherries,clove,wood,some burbon like flavors at times, more dates and rasins as it warms. Full body,zesty clensing sort of mouthfeel from the carbonation, a nice little sweet warming finish.I would not call this sessionable,one seemed plenty for a sitting. A VERY good and well crafted,complex brew. Glad I had the chance to try it.

WakeandBake, Apr 19, 2009
Photo of drtth
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

Lightly chilled and poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically. The date code is blurred but this should be from a September of 08 bottling.

Appearance: Upon opening the bottle the beer foams up out of the bottle mouth and into the glass. The beer pours a dark brown with reddish undertones and a 1 ½" light tan head that quickly fades leaving a ring around the glass, lots of small speckled lacing and a thin layer of foam on the liquid. Sipping consistently leaves lacing.

Smell: The aroma contains bready notes, hints of yeast and sweet candi sugar. There is also a component of dark caramel malt or carmelized sugar with some dark fruits (plum, raisins). I don't tire of this aroma and it seems new and fresh every time.

Taste: The flavor contains sweetness and hints of bitterness with flavors of plum, malt and raisin. There is some vanilla in here and a slight hint of alcohol. But the impression is of a dynamic balance, with flavors bouncing back and forth over the back of the tongue but without any one flavor becoming dominant.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied with light creamy carbonation. The finish is medium long, lightly bitter and dry.

Drinkability: This complex beer is quite nice for sipping and the aroma and flavors almost seem to become even more complex with time. But one does not tire of them as is the case with some beers. At 10% ABV this is a one a night beer, but one I'll be revisiting in the future. This is one beer that illustrates why drinking beer can be a true pleasure.

drtth, Apr 19, 2009
Photo of wagenvolks
4.38/5  rDev -2%

750ml corked & caged bottle into an oversized wine glass.

Not quite sure how I went so long without reviewing St. Bernie's ABT 12; after all, I've only had it about 10 times! Nevertheless, this classic Quad pours a translucent, mahogany-tea color with a superbly retained tuft of khaki head that attaches itself as thick webbing to the inside of the glass. Fantastic aroma, with sweet caramelized raisins, toffee, fig, faint chocolate notes, and a dash of pungent, floral hops.

Mmmm...gotta love the Bernardus. First come rich, chewy notes of dark fruit such as raisin, fig, and apricot. Then unfolds complex layers of caramel and chocolate malts. Lastly, a dusting of spice and earthen hops leave a peppery bitterness along the back of the palate that mingles with a nice booziness. Body is a bit too over-carbonated for my liking, but finally mellows after ~20 minutes in the glass. Still, the medium-thickness is relatively slick and smooth on the whole. St. Bernardus ABT 12 is the greatest Belgian friend you'll ever have; always there in the clutch, and the company is never disappointing.

wagenvolks, Apr 18, 2009
Photo of Riccymon
3.65/5  rDev -18.3%

After uncorking the 750mL bottle, I have to pour quickly to avoid losing any beer, but it's not a terrible gusher. Still, the first pour into my goblet is 80% head. After two more pours, I finally have the glass filled with an impenetrable black beer and a finger and a half of frothy, off-white head. Even the foam is delicious--sweet and creamy like a root beer float. I've never seen so much lacing from a beer before.

Expecting a rich, full nose, I'm a little disappointed in the fairly bland smell I pick up. Some spicy clove, plum, and not too much more. In the taste, however, these flavors are tasty and magnified. The first couple of sips have an annoying metallic taste, but I think it was just a matter of getting used to the alcohol. There are also herbal, grassy notes in there that I don't pick up right away.

Mouthfeel is fairly creamy and medium-bodied with a small alcohol burn in the finish. Also, the spicy flavors leave my mouth feeling a little sticky. One glass into the bottle, I'm feeling its effects, but I imagine its drinkability is average for the style.

This is a big beer, but I'm glad I finally had the chance to try this one.

Riccymon, Apr 13, 2009
Photo of chiguy2420
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%

Review #3 Poured into St. Bernardus glass.

A: Beautiful Amber color with off white head and very little lacing.

S: Smell of raisins and licorice is undeniable. Almost the perfect smell. No hint of the 10.5% alcohol by volume

T: Ridiculous.... This is my favorite Quad to date. And that says alot when compared to the two higher ranked ones. Nice spicy taste with a great dried fruit kick. No major alcohol taste. Perfect beer in my honest opinion.

M: Right on here. No major burn, just a very complex yet perfect mouthfeel.

D: I almost drank this too fast. It really is perfect. I could drink this all day and all night. I am sure that would not please my wife but I can't stop.

This is my favorite beer I have had to date. The taste, mouthfeel and drinkability are perfect. Thats why we keep trying these beers.

chiguy2420, Apr 11, 2009
Photo of mjthor
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Upon opening the bottle, it started to overflow almost immediately with carbonation. I'm not sure if this is a sign of a ruined beer or not, and I have nothing to compare it to as this is the first time I've had St. Bernardus 12.

In any case, it, for the most part, fits the description of the majority of the reviews here; I'm no longer concerned as much about this bottle being "ruined."

Poured into my Westmalle chalice, it's a deep brown with a small tan head. Good lacing. I'm getting all the fruity, sweet smells, and there's a good balance sweetness and spice in the taste. The alcohol is well-hidden, and despite the incredibly complex taste profile, it's so balanced that it's very easy to drink.

mjthor, Apr 11, 2009
Photo of rwdkosak
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%

This is a great beer and I'm pretty sure that to date this will be the highest rating I've given.

Poured at cellar temp into Westmalle chalice finding a nice 1.5cm frothy and light head over dark brew that smelled of sweet malts, floral, almost raisen and carmel-like nose to me. The head melts throughout the session but doesn't fully dissipate which is nice. Taste is again full of raisen/currant sweetness, malt, carmel later..floral notes and alcohol at the finish that more than hints at the higher %ABV. Mouthfeel is quite good, in my opinion very drinkable though obviously one to sip and savor.

rwdkosak, Apr 10, 2009
Photo of MDekker
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%

A: Poured into a cheap chalice - nice rich mahogany color, not a substantial head, but a nice coating over the top that sustained itself throughout. Serious floaties that are visible through the glass. I tried to decant it, but if I stopped when some sediment started to come through, I would have left half the bottle. So, I went for nearly all of it.

S: Very rich aromas of dark fruit, like grape juice, mixed with dark grain, licorice, and clove (?). Very interesting and compelling.

T: Incredibly potent - I can't get away from the adjective "rich" - so flavorful, of ripened fruit, grape juice (again), spices, and plenty of malty. Not much bitterness, but a pleasant finish. Noticeable alcohol, but in balance with everything else.

M: Right like it should be.

D: Again, compelling and a great drink, but I couldn't do more than one at a time.

MDekker, Apr 09, 2009
Photo of Birdiebeagle
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%

Bottle Pours a beautiful deep brown-black with a generous off white head. The head last nicely. Has a great sweet aroma of fruits. I get plums, cherries, and grapes. Wow the flavor is awesome. Great carbination. A wonderful mouthfeel. Taste is not too sweet. The alcohol is hidden very well. This is blended great. Has a good robust finish. This is just an awesome beer.

Birdiebeagle, Apr 08, 2009
Photo of Throckmorton
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

Oh my gosh - a spiritual revelation.

A - dark, with ruby tones

S - wonderful transcendent malty fruity with cherries

T - deep and complex. ranges from fruit hints, through warm malt.

M - Given the high EtOH, there is less alcohol warming than you'd expect.

D - a thoroughly dangerous beer. ruins you for others.

Throckmorton, Apr 08, 2009
Photo of greg202stewart
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

This beer is one of my favorites. I had revisited this beer last night. As soon as I open a bottle I can see the beer is very lively. The head of the beer if nice light brown and has an aroma of spices. The taste is out of this world, very crisp and clean, with a hint of brown sugar. This is my favorite beer to sip on out of my St. Bernardus tulip. This beer leaves me feeling like I can walk on water.

greg202stewart, Apr 08, 2009
Photo of Sean9689
4.2/5  rDev -6%

Poured from a bottle into my Duvel tulip. Color is dark brown with a cream-colored head. Awesome smell of sweet fruits and molasses that beg you to drink it! Taste is great, fruity with dark chocolate and a small amount of spice with a very small hint of alcohol. I'm surprised I cannot taste more of the alcohol since it's a 10.5%er. Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Very smooth and has a nice clean finish. I could drink this beer over and over again but then I'd probably be asleep by 6pm every night from drinking too much of it!

Sean9689, Apr 07, 2009
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,363 ratings.