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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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8,120 Ratings

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Ratings: 8,120
Reviews: 2,591
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 539
Gots: 1,568 | FT: 45
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.
View: Beers (12) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,120 | Reviews: 2,591 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mactrail
3.83/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber and well carbonated. Rich but only slightly sweet. Complex rhythm of flavors as you'd hope from a good Belgian ale. Honeyed taste with nutty flavors. Interesting bitter twang adds to the long aftertaste. Raising, caramel, bitter chocolate.

Great dessert beer. Rich and perks up the taste buds.

Photo of GoldenChild
4.13/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle into a Glass
A=– Gorgeous, solid dark brown, carbonating body fed the head until I got tired of waiting for it to go down. I’m diving in.

S- The wonderful yeast and dark chocolate malt aroma fills the room once the ale has warmed. The fragrant raw brown sugar and ripe fruit come along as well. This was has a beautiful bouquet.

T- – Lovely malted dough supports the remaining flavors. The malts are dark, as are the sugars. This really has the most remarkable sugar flavors that I’ve ever had. The sugar mixture and the present but very smooth alcohol create a new food group: Liquid alcohol sugar. As Lucille Ball would say, “It tastes just like candy.”

The yeast too deserves a second mention. This has got to be one of the smoothest doughy yeast flavors I’ve ever tasted. These are all complimented tremendously by very light spicing (hint of clove, cinnamon, etc) and fruity sugars such as the taste you’d find in ripe apricots, pears dipped in honey, and apple slices rolled in brown sugar and cinnamon.

M-– Lightly carbonated and smooth, smooth, smooth. The ale is full-bodied for sure, filling the mouth with a chewy wad of malty sugary alcohol with every bite (I mean sip).

D- This was a yummy beer My wife and I both loved it. For the price i would buy Trappistes Rochefort 10.

Photo of jkcurran99
4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

St. Bernardus Abt 12 is the beer that got me hooked on quad Belgiums. A big thanks to my boss Kent for introducing me to this wonderful brew.

The color is a deep brown, accompanied with an offwhite head which dissipates rather quickly.

This is a very strong beer, with a 10.5% alcohol content. While some say they taste the alcohol in the beer, I do not notice it as much as in other high alcohol content beers. The taste is very bold with sweet, fruity undertones. It is very smooth, and shows no signs of bitterness. The beer is heavy, but well carbonated.

While the label shows a picture of a monk, St. Bernardus beers are not true trappist beers (made by trappist monks).

If you ever get to try Abt 12 on a nitros tap, I would highly recommend it. The nitros changes the head on the beer significantly, creating a creamier, longer lasting head.

From all aspects, Abt. 12 has become increasing popular. My local beer merchant is not a big fan of the beer due to this fact. He prides himself on helping people discover new beers, and it is difficult for him to see people get stuck on one beer, like many have with this quad. However, overall this is a great example of a dark, rich quad Belgium.

Photo of s1ckboy
3.88/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I’m generally not a fan of belgian beers but had to give this one a try because of its rep. Had it on tap and it was very good. Smooth, malty, fruity and noticable alcohol. Tried it in the bottle a couple days later and it was a bit too carbonated for me. Great beer overall though.

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

11.2oz bottle into St. Bernardus Watou snifter.
A: A deep ruby brown body holds a two finger pour of fluffy white head and it hold thought the entire glass. Lacing is thick and very heavy.

S: Aromas of dark candy sugar, and dark fruits. The aroma is quite strong and gains intensity as it warms. A sweet aroma and very complex with a juicy malt influence.

T/M: The front is a smooth and creamy mouthfeel, with plum and dark currants. The body is thick, while still not too heavy, but full of dark candy flavor. Lingering taste is high, with a nice backbone of malts. Not to hoppy, but the bitterness runs a nice thread down the middle.

Overall: This is a very nice Quad, and one that is well suited for the price. A classic example for the style and staple in the Bernardus family. This beer has been enjoyed on many occasions, but really shines when given a detailed analysis.

Photo of Mosley1212
4.67/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally getting around to reviewing this bad boy. Poured from the bottle into my DFH Snifter.

A--Poures a murky brown. Like liquid raisin, plums, and dates. It had an off-white head that dissipated quickly. Very little retention throughout the drink.

S--You can smell a faint hint of alcohol. There is also an overwhelmingly warm smell. Like warm banana nut bread. Raisins, dates, plums, and other dark fruits.

T--Wonderful. You get a little bit of an alcohol hit, but mostly it's the sweetness of the quad coming through. A lot of the dark fruits play on the tongue, and there's a hint of brown sugar on the back of the tongue.

M--Tiny bit of carbonation. Medium bodied mouthfeel overall.

O--This is one of my favorite beers. Quads are a wonderful style, and this is an excellent example of the style.

Photo of ChrisPro
3.68/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Have tasted numerous times and finally getting around to reviewing.

Pours medium-dark brown with a little cream head. Some decent lacing.

Nose is mostly vanilla and caramel with some treacle and cherry thrown in for good measure.

Tastes like a big fruit flavored caramel followed by a slightly dry oaky finish.

Thick mouthfeel and a bit of booze, but good carbonation.

Overall, a very solid example of the style, and incredibly accessible. 4/4.5/3.5/4/4

Tasted blind as part of top 10 quad tasting with callmemickey and sideshowe.

A - Dark amber with creamy head and little lacing

S - lots of fusel alcohols along with some brown sugar and spices (nutmeg, allspice or clove?)

T - A little sweet with a slightly tannic bitterness that tasted like licking cinnamon bark

M - lots of heat and boozy. Very sharp carbonation.

O - solid beer, but difficult to drink. Ranked #8 of 10. Disappointing because I generally love this beer. 4.5/4/3.5/3.5/3.5

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

11.2 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
Bottle code 23.11.15

A - Cola brown with a huge tan head with big bubbles.

S - Fruit, Spices, raisins.

T - Carmel, Anise, fruit.

D - Lively carbonation. A small bite at the end.

O - wow, very unique. I would definetly have this again.

Photo of djsmith1174
4.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Absolutely beautiful shade of brown with head to match

S - Oh my, I could sniff this for hours! Strong smell of dates, caramel, yeast and spices that just bellows from the glass.

T - All the complexity of smell comes through in the taste with just the right intensity. Transitions very nicely from start to finish and beckons for another sip to take you on the flavor roller coaster again.

M - Nice and thick with excellent carbonation to aid in the flavor ride.

O - Really love this quad. Will be one of my measuring sticks for the style.

Photo of DUBinMIA
4.39/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a sniffer chilled cold... fridge temp at first then warmed to about 50. flavor definitely became more abound as it warmed. Next time i will wait before serving straight out of the fridge.

Very dark brown color, but not black. Great foaming head!!!!

Smell was not bad but seemed overwhelmed by carbonation much like champagne or sparkling wine. Slight malty and banana fruit aromas.

Outstanding taste in my opinion. Perfect rich and creamy malt flavor initially with a slight hop tang to finish out. Very impressed!!!

Very full bodied and creamy mouth-feel. very good in my opinion

Overall - A this was probably one of the best beers i have had in while and worth the $10 for a pint

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

I poured this from a 16 oz. bottle into a chalice with an aggressive pour. I did it to get the greatest amount of aroma release.

I smelled a lot of malts and yeastiness coming off the head. I love the way this smells. It is the epitome of a Quad scent.

There is a nice, thick body to this beer. I like the way it flows across my tongue.

This tastes just like the aroma, but stronger.

I am adding this to my next pickup list.

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

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 8,120 ratings.