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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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8,199 Ratings

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Ratings: 8,199
Reviews: 2,608
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 559
Gots: 1,625 | FT: 48
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: 8,199 | Reviews: 2,608
Photo of ikantspel
4.18/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first quad.

Pours a midnight brown. More carbonated than I expected.

Smell is interesting. Yeasty with slight alcohol and dark fruits.

Taste not too different from the smell except for a caramel/coffe aftertaste. Would love to cellar this and taste the different complexities. Overall not a bad start

Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 vintage in an 11.2 oz. bottle

A. Pours a hazy brown with tons of large yeast clumps in suspension with a two and a half finger fairly large bubble head that leaves only a few clumps of residual lacing as it receeds.

S. Caramel malt with lots of dark fruit character - figs and raisins largely. Some sweet breadiness and butter there as well. Some fruity banana ester sweetness in there as well.

T. Dark fruits with notes of caramel, dark roasted notes, and a touch of the banana that comes through in the smell.

M. Fills the mouth with lots of large bubbles - more carbonated than I'd like.

D. Pleasant and complex. As it warms the carbonation dies down a bit and complexities come out on the nose and on the tongue. Quite good.

Photo of derekmorris7
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A > Great beer..I really mean a great one. Dark mahogany but a little light can get through. Not as deep dark as Guiness but so rich looking. Mahogany on the dark side would best describe.

S > Nice notes of malt and caramel very sutle alcohol sent too

T > Taste wins it all in my mind. This 12 is a winner all the way. Too good to describe and its not hard to drink at all despite the high ABV

M > Smooth finish and great cling

O > I have to say this and the Rochefort's 10 and 8 are my Kings of the Suds!!!

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

Into a St. Bernardus goblet from a 750ml bottle this is a deep mahogany brew. I half inch head rises and quickly dissipates to a small island leaving no lacing on the glass.

The nose is of figs, cellar dust, and molasses laden sugars. These odors continue onto the palette while adding notes of spice and clove. Mouthfeel is a full robust body with enough attenuation to keep it from being cloying. Overall this is an outstanding beer that warrants plenty of time to contemplate. Unless your liver is well trained don't open the 750 alone.

Photo of Knapp85
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I liked this beer quite a bit but in all honest I must say that the La Trappe and the Rochefort 10 still remain higher on my favorites list. This beer poured out as a medium color of brown, the head was a bit fizzy and doesn't leave behind on the glass. The smell of the beer has a bit of alcohol on the nose followed by the dark fruits and yeast. The taste of the beer is good but I find it less pleasing than the two Quad's I mentioned before. The mouthfeel is medium but remains kind of thin too. Decent amount of carbonation, overall I think this beer is worthy of trying. I would love to do a sampling party of Quad's to see how they hold up against each other.

Just had on tap the other night and it was sensational. Very enjoyable brew. It's right up there with La Trappe, Rochefort, and Achel.

Photo of jeff1973
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a Gouden Carolus chalis. Best by date of 3/15/16, so bottled on 3/15/11.

A - Dark brown with hints of ruby red. Light tan head leaves some decent lacing.

S - Raisins, figs, good dark rum, a little bubble gum.

T - Rum cake? Very good rum cake. Booze is just enough to bring all the flavors out. Buuble gum again on the end. Not to sweet, also dries out nicely.

M - Medium low carbonation. Body is on the lighter side of medium. Allows the flavors to get to every part of your mouth.

D - Medium. It is going down smooth. The rum/alcohol bite reminds you to take it slow.

Great beer! Extremely flavorful and complex. Even better as it warms.

Photo of output01x
4.02/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330 mL. capped bottle (Best Before 07/15/15) into a chalice.

A strong pour yields a 1-finger tan-colored head that quickly recedes to a thin, clumpy dusting and thin foam ring. The body is a mahagony brown that nears black. Some decent lacing can be seen throughout consumption, but is not strong enough to stick around.

Sweet dark fruits comprise the majority of the nose. Notes of plum and raisin are joined by banana, candi sugar, and licorice.

Sweet and earthy at first, this beer's taste is as complex as it is delicious. Like the nose, it carries notes of dark fruits including plum and raisin. It also has flavors of brown sugar, molasses, burnt caramel, and spices. Some light alcohol warmth is also noticeable, but just barely.

Medium to full bodied with good carbonation, this beer is as sippable as it is gulpable. The body is nice and light considering the flavors, giving this beer a very refreshing quality. The carbonation is only slightly fizzy and does not get in the way of the flavors at all.

Photo of aval89
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a nice reddish brown.. fingers worth of tight bubbly head.. off white head..

S: dark fruits!! Prunes, raisins, sour plums.. also has that yeasty aroma.. touch of clove..

T: upfront is a bit boozy with some spice notes.. as it rolls back you get more of those dark fruits.. the overripe plum flavor stands out. Finish has some clove flavors with phenolic characters.

Mf: prickly carbonation.. thick, full body.. has a bit of a warming effect..

O: overall a nice brew.. as it warms the flavors open up more & make it very drinkable..

Photo of oline73
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a mildly cloudy reddish amber with a finger of fluffy off white head. Great retention and nice lacing.

Smell: Sweet with Begian spice. Some dark fruit and mild brown sugar. Some warm alcohol.

Taste: Super smooth and complex. Belgian spice is dominant, but not too overpowering. A mild sweetness with some dark fruit. The finish has the spice notes along with some warm alcohol and a mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with very smooth carbonation and a slick finish.

Overall: Really great beer. Unbelievably smooth in the smell and the taste. Not anything comes to mind that I would want to change.

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


Poured into a chalice. 

The color is a hazy Coca-Cola brown. It's a deep reddish brown and is very murky. The head is super foamy with teeny-tiny bubbles. It was about a pinky's worth and stuck around throughout the whole bottle. B-e-a-utiful lacing to the bottom of the glass. 


The aroma has that slicy Belgian smell. The smell is fairly subtle, but there is a lot of dark fruits and sweetness. There's also a good amount of alcohol in the nose which mixes well with the other smells. 


Lots of dark fruits in the taste - raisin, prunes, and over-ripe plums. Even though the beer is dry, there's a lot of perceived sweetness. It has that Belgian yeasty character, but isn't quite as spicy as other Belgian beers I have had. This beer is wonderfully balanced. It's almost a paradox - it is sweet yet dry, and simple yet complex. Almost NO alcohol is in the taste.


This beer is extremely drinkable. The beer is nice and sweet up front, but finishes dry. Carbonation is minimal, but the bottle-conditioning creates tiny bubbles that add to the perceived body (much like Nitro-tapped draft beers). The beer is very smooth and goes down ridiculously easy for a 10% ABV beer! 


This beer is awesome! It's pretty easy to find in the States, and it has everything going for it. This is the type of beer that can be aged and brought out for special occasions, or just as a nice way to end the night. There's a reason Belgians are so well respected when it comes to beer - this beer is one of those reasons. 

Photo of Mako82
4.37/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into a snifter glass

A - The beer is a dark caramel in color, can't really tell if its cloudy or not since its fairly dark. Head on the beer was an off-white that was fairly fizzy and didn't last long. Left a nice lacing around the beer
S - Fairly complex smell. Picking up a floral type smell, spice, and yeast upon initial smell. Upon additional review, picking up dark fruit smell and subtle alcohol esters
T - Complex tasting beer, which is a good thing. Taste yeast, malts, kind of bready. The aftertaste brings out the sweetness of the beer, which continues where the nose left off with dark fruits and floral smell. Really enjoyed the long aftertaste. For such a ABV the alcohol is hidden very well.
M - Very carbonated, tingles on the tongue, brings a fizzy, light feel to the mouth
O - Really enjoyed this beer, thought it had many qualities of a great beer...and it tastes very good

Photo of martja
3.8/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this out of a chilled bottle into a goblet. The appearance was very dark with visible sediment on the bottom of the glass. A thick off-white head was present and lingered. I could detect a bit of fruit mixed in with the alcohol on the nose. Taste was quite sweet with fruit, carmel, and yeast taking the palate. On the mouth, it was not too heavy and had a good finish that was not too hoppy.
Overall, I think this is a solid quad and not too strong as one might expect from this type.

Photo of MEsoJD
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark ruby/amber body, with medium head dissipation and nice lacing.

S: Smells yeasty, of dark fruits, brown sugar, sweet malt, slight boozy alcohol, and caramel.

T: Bold taste of fig, plum and raisin, yeast/bread and sweet malt. The alcohol presence compliments the rest of the flavors.

M: Alcohol is present, yet satisfying. Medium bodied, mild/high carbonation, and smooth finish.

O: Fantastic beer!!! A very satisfying quad, that I would defiantly buy and recommend.

Photo of doopydoogle
4.08/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Cloudy coffee brown with a light head that dissipates quickly.

S - Very metallic, some roasted barley notes, slightly cheesy, bready, dried apricots, toffee, caramel,

T - Sweet with milk chocolate, raisins, and butterscotch, giving way to a slight bitterness that is supported by toffee, caramel, and malts. Alcohol is noticeable throughout, but the brew is surprisingly mellow for such a high ABV. Plums, cherries, and spicy notes are also present.

M - Good carbonation with a wonderful coating and a slightly dry and bitter finish.

O - Not bad. Not my fave for the style, but surprisingly mellow and subdued for what can be a very aggressive style.

Photo of Filosoof
4.74/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm saying it again. I usually don't like strong dark ales and quads. And again...there are exceptions on the rule!

L: very dark, between brown and Guiness. Top lasts less long thans I wanted.
S: what can I say? Superb. Roasted toast, biscuit, touch of strawberry, clove.
T: what can I say? The taste is evenmore superb! Not too sweet. Nice hops. Nicely balanced alcohol.
M: good, but could be a little more carbonated.
O: top of the bill in this style.

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

Poured from a bottle into a St.Bernardus goblet.

A: Looks a dark cloudy reddish brown with a 1cm. head with great lacing.

S: VERY Bready and yeasty. The raw materials of bread and some dark fruits are present. It has a distict smell that lets you know it's Belgian. Great!

T: It begins with that yeasty taste and then the fun starts. You get a VERY balanced combination of bread, dark fruits and alcohol. It also has a light note of marzipan which makes it so much nicer. It finishes with some hop bitterness and it finishes very dry. That makes it even easier to drink.

M: Just one word. Medium. Nothing overbearing. I'll say probably a notch up of Rochefort 8.

O: Everything is just right in the center it's so great to drink. It's never overbearing so I recommend it to those who are thinking about starting to drink quads. The dry finish is probably what makes it so easy to drink despite the 10% abv. A greatly balanced Quad indeed.

Photo of SeattleBeerBlog
4.16/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- Great Lacing and a fantastic rocky head, nice hazy dark brown.

S- Bready, Yeasty, Alcohol, Belgian Candi Sugar, and Dark Fruits. not quite as bold as I would like but still great.

T- Starts off with a bit of warming alcohol that then dissipates quickly to fig, belgian candi sugar, biscuit, and a tad bit of bitterness.

M- Nice medium Heavy body with great carbonation and a nice creaminess. perfect here.

O- A great beer for sure, very complex with a fantastic appearance and mouthfeel, only thing that could really be improved is the addition of more dark fruit flavors. Great though!

Photo of BigPlay1824
4.67/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served in a Tulip glass

A: has a ton of head, in fact it oozed a bit when I opened it even though it had just been sitting in my fridge, pours with two fingers of light tan head that is a bit frothy, pours a deep mahogany that is entirely opaque, head lingers nicely and leaves a nice amount of lacing
S: sweet, caramelized sugar, syrup, molasses but light, brown sugar
T: sweetness but with depth, molasses and also a hint of red grapes
M: strong carbonaion tingle, intense but finishes smooth and leaves no trace
O: A phenomenal brew, so complex yet so smooth and simple, lives up to the hype and so much more, truly defines the style. Incredible!

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

I've had this one a bunch, but never tried it in an oversized wine glass. So, this goes into the wine glass. Usually, it's a Chimay chalice...

750ml corked bottle, best before date of 15.03.16. Poured into a DaVini wine glass. As soon as the corked was popped, foam started spilling from the bottle, thus, I had to act quickly. I think this was a result from letting it sit on the counter top to warm up a little.

A: This Quad pours a rusty, cloudy, brown. A slight bronze hue when held up to the light. Up comes a massive, khaki colored 3 finger head, but it quickly dissipates to a 1/4 inch creamy layer. Lacing was spotty at best, and after the first few sips, it's all but gone.

S: Dark fruits come through strong, as does the yeast. It smells a little sweet too, which is pleasant. Alcohol is present, but doesn't hint that it's 10% abv.

T: I taste a lot of dark fruit. Malts also play a big role, and the alcohol just mixes wonderfully with everything. There is a lot going on with this one. It reminds me of brown sugar on the finish, with a nice sweetness that mixes again with the alcohol, and lingers for a little while. It invites another sip, and another...

M: A swirl in the glass suggests that it is medium to full bodied, but on the tongue, I get a nice medium body. Carbonation is just right, not too much, but enough to entice the senses. It lingers for a little while, as if to ask "would you like another?"

O: A spectacular beer. To be honest, I enjoyed it better in the wine glass than the Chalice. Satisfying, good alcohol warmth throughout, wonderful tastes and smells, and easy to drink, though, for me, it's a sipper.

Photo of ADZA
4.23/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours the darkest mahogany hue which leaves a creamy two finger head that stays and leaves clingy lacing here and there,the smell is baked bread,fruit cake,honey and raisins,it has a creamy mouthfeel and feels just like liquid bread with tastes of baked bread,belgian yeast,raisins soaked in honey,apricot jam and finished with a candied fig sweetness and overall its definately a tasty drop and true to style would drink again.

Photo of RollTide05
4.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hands down, the baddest beer that I have had to date and I have had many. I still haven't tried a Westy 12 but I have had alot of Trappists and this beer is way up there in the league with those.

I noted alot of candied sugar on the finish which just lasted forever. A very sweet finish and a very complex beer. I drank it out of my Westmalle chalice at around cellar temperature. The first time I had this beer was at a pub and it was on draft. A shame b/c it was served very cold like the other draft beers and many of the flavors weren't noted.

I absolutely love this beer and would drink it anytime, anywhere. Highly, highly recommended.

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

Bomber of this classic poured into a big wine glass. Cant believe it took me this long to give this beer a try.

Deep & dark thick amber brown - like a raisin. Huge light khaki head with fine little mini carb bubbles.

Smells very boozy & alot of dark fruits and malts. The only thing I can relate it to is soaking raisins and plums in liquor & mashing it with brown sugar. Smells really good.

Wow! With each sip my tongue plays host to an orgy of intense flavors. Up front, along with a prickly carbonation that awakens the palate, are the dark fruits - raisins, plum, grape. The brown sugar candy & nutty like sweetness remains throughout. Booze takes a strong stance starting midway back, especially on the aftertaste - a nice warming alcohol burn.

This quad weighs in pretty nicely on the body (7/10) matched equally by the carbonation. It is nearly champagne-like in that sense.

I can see why this is a classic & at $8.99 - $1.00 (coupon) = $7.99 from Total Wine & More, I highly recommend it. Hall of Fame Beer in my opinion.

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

On tap at the Tap Room in the Coddingtown Whole Foods in Santa Rosa.

A: Dark brown with a slight red hue. Decent head about an inch thick but it fades quickly. Little lacing.

S: Fruit. No hop character. Nice yeast scent that adds just a but of funk. Biscuity. Different from what I expected.

T: Fruit again. This time I get a sweet fig taste. Really good malt bill. Perfectly balanced. Definitely get a bit of alcohol.

M: Medium bodied. Good carbonation. A bit of an alcohol burn, but in a pleasant way.

O: I have only tried two Quads so perhaps it is too soon for me to say that Iove this style, but I love this style. Great flavors. Something I would order again without a second thought.

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

750ml bottle served in a st bernardus oversized wineglass.

pours a murky russet brown/mahogany tone with yeilding a big foamy 2 finger head. very nice retention and lacing. pretty much exactly what i'd expect from a good quad.

nice, aromatic nose is lead by big dark fruit notes with elements of yeast, caramel, and spice in there too.

flavor follows, probably exceeds the flavor. raisin, fig, plum, with a big malty presence. secondary notes of the spice, carmel/toffee, and belgian yeast. medium-full in the mouth with adequate carbonation.

in the final analysis the abt 12 is not only one of my favorite quads, it's probably a top-ten (ok, maybe 20) candidate for favorite beer. still think it falls short of the likes of rochefort 10, and probably pannepot old fisherman's.

Photo of tlazaroff
4.09/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Took this out of the fridge 20 minutes before drinking.

A: Pours out a somewhat opaque brown with a thin off-white head that fades fast.

S: I get loads of dark fruit such as plum, raisin, and fig. I can smell caramel, toffee, and it is quite yeasty too.

T: All those wonderful scents are present in the taste too. This beer actually tastes exactly as you think it would based on the smell. Alcohol hides moderately well, it's defiantly there, I like it a lot.

M: Surprisingly its a bit on the thinner side of a medium body. Loads of carbonation though, if you swish it in your mouth you get all foam.

D: Oh, quite low. This is 10% after all.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 8,199 ratings.