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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.

7,698 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,698
Reviews: 2,528
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 468
Gots: 1,231 | 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: 7,698 | Reviews: 2,528 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TMoney2591
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a St. Bernardus chalice.

Pours a very dark brown, with lighter walnut tinges along the edges. The finger-thick head half dies, leaving a lovely creamy remainder that laces very well. The aroma is sweet and tangy, with a nice, effervescent fruitiness dominating. The taste corroborates the nose, with those fruits coming back with a sweet vengeance (those lovely malts!), including a hint of molasses/maple syrup all the way in the back. The body is a heavy medium, but does not sit poorly; rather it stands at attention, saluting, declaring itself, but not overpowering.

TMoney2591, Feb 08, 2010
Photo of DenverLogan
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yeah...this could be a benchmark for Belgian strong dark - quad beers. Absolutely lovely fresh or aged up to 7 or more years. Beautifully balanced malt body of rich dark fruit, raisins, toffee, roasted malts, dark chocolate all blended together where none stands out overwhelmingly. Big alcohol but not hot. Great with soups. meat or rich vegie dishes, deserts. I've had this in Belgium, in various states, on tap, in small, big, and very big bottles. This is a great beer to serve fresh or after years of aging. I should add that while my rating across the board indicates 5.0, I can't add my own specific point rating, say, 4.6 for mouthfeel. There's a few beers I might want to rate higher, but this is definitely in the running for a dessert island beer. Exceptional!

DenverLogan, Feb 07, 2010
Photo of mdwalsh
4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked up at 750 mL of this beer in Chicago because I had heard it was a great stand in for Westy 12, the best beer in the world. If it is, I do not need to get a Westy, I was sorely disappointed. I even drank this on my one year anniversary for being a BA as my 250th review. What a let down.

A: Three finger tan head on top, medium-brown beer with decent active carbonation on bottom. Less lace than I would expect to see here. All in all, ok looking, but not amazingly beautiful.

S: Here I get a mild roast, and some mild Belgian yeast, but not much. Neither is there a lot of the Belgian Candi Sugar. It's pretty weak and really just needs to be stronger.

T: Similar to the smell, mild roast, mild yeast. There's a little bit of a sour taste, the good kind for a Belgian, though perhaps not a Quad. It's still just not full bodied enough.

M: Can't stress it enough, too light! But it is very very smooth and has perfect carbonation.

D: Can't argue with the drinkability here. It went down perfectly smooth, and I wouldn't have suspected 10.5% abv.

mdwalsh, Feb 02, 2010
Photo of jxhowell
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a garnet color with an off-white foamy 1 finger head

Initially aromas of bread and yeast fill the nose. As the head slowly fades you begin to smell ripe fruit, brown sugar and spiced rum

Initially clove and spice esters, rich ripe fruits such as plums and dates with a slight drying sour aftertaste

Effervescent with rich full body that lingers near the middle of the tongue and slowly covers you entire tongue with bubbles and ends with a slight dry finish.

Rich and enjoyable like a decadent dessert. Perfect for the style but definitely too rich to be a session beer.

This is my favorite Belgian Quadrupel and in my opinion even compares with more exotic and rare versions of the style only available in Belgium. It's even more enjoyable with age and at 10.5% ABV it can age for quite some time with no adverse effects.

jxhowell, Feb 01, 2010
Photo of Chrisco88
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours a murky deep brown (borderline black). An inch or so of off-white, foamy head lasts a good while, so long in fact that it was a bit annoying. The head is quite dense and frothy.

Aroma: Not very aromatic due to the massive, thick head. With some swirling and settling I caught a little bit of the dark fruit notes. Smells a bit like dry champagne to me, maybe a touch of alcohol.

Taste: What a complex beer we have here! First hit with dark fruit flavors, reminded me of red wine so I thought maybe grapes, currants, cherries or plums. I get a slight taste of some malts in there but the carbonation really brings out the fruit above all else. Not much bitterness if any. Aftertaste dominated by a dry alcoholic taste.

Palate: Good effervescence makes for a crisp, dry finish but overall the beer goes down smooth and is perfectly balanced in the mouth.

Overall: Definitely a new favorite, excellent Belgian ale in every way. The interesting esters and hints of malt combined with the ability to hide an ABV of 10% make this a deceptively drinkable brew. By all means grab a bottle and find out for yourself, a glass or two later and you'll be damn satisfied- and DRUNK!

Chrisco88, Feb 01, 2010
Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Chimay goblet from a 11.2oz bottle.

A - Pours a nice medium to light brown with a nice off white head that recedes to a thin film with a ring around the glass.

S - Sweet malt aroma, with dark caramel hints and some perceived alcoholic esters that are very attractive. Some mild yeast character as well as some phenols can be perceived. Very attractive smell.

T - Very attractive malty sweetness with some grain finish. Sourdough bread comes to mind. The alcohol warmth is felt rapidly and is very attractive. There is some very mild perceived bitterness at the back end. The phenols in the nose aren't as present in the tongue. There is some yeasty flavors as well.

M - Nice smooth and creamy mouthfeel with some nice CO2 character like most Belgian beers. Very nice and warming. Nice for the winter months.

D - Very high except for the higher ABV. A 750 ml bottle would be enough.

JoEBoBpr, Jan 31, 2010
Photo of Stimack
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was able to pick this brew up in my last trip to the store. Had been looking for it for a while but just had not been carried. The brew pours to a deep murky brown color with a small to medium tan had that has a creamy consistence, good retention and has left a fair amount of lacing. The aroma of this brew is a nice mix of malts, dark fruit (Plums and cherries) , candy sugar and a yeast slurry. Really inviting aromas for this one. Has a excellent favor, malts come through here and make a great base, slight caramel flavor. Fruit seems to be there - raisons, plums and slight cherry flavors. Slight port like flavor that really goes well with everything, seems to linger a bit on the tongue - excellent. Some sweetness is there that is real nice, candy sugar, and is not over the top. Has a slight spice to it as well. This one drinks very well, goes down smooth, can't believe that it is 10+%. Overall this is a simply excellent brew, I really can not see a major flaw with anything.

Stimack, Jan 28, 2010
Photo of BARFLYB
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle into a St. Bernardus Tulip late at night. Review numero 550.

Bernie 12, rustic burnt wood brown and spots of faded orange around the sides. Parts of the liquid look darker than others while the upper half has a dirty tap water thing going for it, I like it. Floating particles of Belgium yeast among other things in suspension. Even with the aggressive pour the yield of dark ivory foam comes to 1/2 an inch. Old cobweb lacing that does not stick at all. I expected a bumpier head with mountain peaks.

Twelves' nose is muted in distance with a less than pungent effect but what's there is good, you just gotta sniff it out. Possibly the best nose out of all the Belgium Quad's IMO, Bernie spits forth sweet sugar out the ying yang with a candi like sweetness. Turbinado sugar, plums, slight caramel/toffee mix, toasted malt, more dark fruit, and more suga on top. Some melted chocolate in the finish.

12 is well rounded and while the sweet sugar is very prevalent in the nose, it does not make for a cloying mess, this melds almost perfectly. Candi sugar graciously sprinkled on top of a bed of plums with caramel covered apple slices. This is very light on the raisins and I'm grateful. Toasted malt and the huge amount of yeast and particles made for a bready/doughy. Did I mention that the 10.5% does not come into play at all, this drinks more like 6.8%.

The feel is smooth like baby skin with a sweet start, a fruity middle, and a yeasty ending, I might as well call it a 'happy ending' cause the alcohol presence is zilch. Not hot at all, it's actually amazing. I thought I was drinking iced tea in the summer. The feel is a strong medium with just enough carb to not linger, but enough to showcase the flavors.

Let's face it, everytime I have a small bottle of this, I always kick myself for not getting the 750ml version for two reasons, one being that I just have a craving for more and this is easy drinking. Two being that there is no way to not get the dregs/yeast of a small bottle into your glass, trust me, I've tried on several occasions. I would like to fill two snifters of 12, the 1st being a clean quad, with the 2nd being a dirty pour, I expect the differences to be slight but noticeable.

This is a beer that everybody needs to try once. I try to have at least two every year. This may be my favorite out of the St. Bernardus lineup but it's in a tight race with the Pator 8, that stuff is also excellent.

BARFLYB, Jan 27, 2010
Photo of 220emaple
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The thing that I love about this beer is the almost hidden alcohol flavor. It's 10.5% but can pass as 7%.

The color is a very dark, murky brown. The head ends quickly and has very little lacing when poured into my tulip.

Very drinkable but unfortunately expensive--best for special occasions.

220emaple, Jan 27, 2010
Photo of Longhorn22
4.68/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - This beer doesn't look very appealing. I gave it a 3.5 because after i poured it, the head lasted until I finished drinking it. The lacing was very thick, and there was a little "iceberg" of floating froth left for most of the drinking "experience". The drawback is that the beer is medium dark brown and murky looking.

S - The smell is not very powerful, but the actual scent is good. It just isn't especially strong. It smells sweet and subtle, which is an achievement with the high alcohol content.

T - The taste is great. This is truly a world class beer in terms of taste. It is remarkably sweet, and barely any taste of alcohol. It sort of has a lambic berry taste to it, but it isn't as strong as a lambic. It has some darker nutty/smoky flavor as well.

M - The beer has a good amount of carbonation, and it feels very considerable in your mouth, yet, it goes down very easily. It has a little over 10% alcohol, but I wouldn't have noticed had it not been clearly stated on the front.

D - This gets top marks for drinkability because it is so smooth while having such a high alcohol content. I have a harder time finishing a bud light than this beer.

Bottom line: This beer is sweet, strong, and smooth with a high alcohol content that you wouldn't expect with the amazing flavor. The flavor and drinkability are top notch, and the only draw back is the appearance.

Longhorn22, Jan 26, 2010
Photo of Maltoftheearth
4.68/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first go w/ Abt 12 this weekend... WOW!

A: Dark brown color with a foamy rich head that dissipated rather fast for me.

S: Lots going on here. Nice yeast with fruit notes. Somewhat roasted but not much. Tough to describe.

T: Whoa. It's great. Sweet with enough alcohol to let you know it's not for kids. Some fruit, but lots of sweet malts. Too much for a small review.

F/D: Yep it's a quad. Not for the faint of heart. Big on the mouth and a lot to swallow. I would drink this everyday if I could.

This is a huge sweet Belgian and yes it lives up to its name. Stop reading about it and drink it.

Maltoftheearth, Jan 24, 2010
Photo of TheFightfan1
4.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a muddy brown color. Thick fluffy white heading that dissappears into nothing in just a few short seconds.No lacing to speak of.

Smell is awesome. Very malty and yeasty a bit of creaminess in the nose as well.A subtle spiciness as well.

Taste has a little bit of everything in a great Belgian beer. Smooth malty background with a heavy fruity yeastiness that kick's in. Finishes up very spicey on the tongue and peppery.

Mouth is full bodied with some good carbonation after you swoosh it around a bit. Smooth and peppery along with a fruit kick.

Drink is good for a 10.5 ABV this is easily enjoyable for any type of beer drinker.

TheFightfan1, Jan 24, 2010
Photo of pdoran10
4.18/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Have been meaning to write up this and many other reivews for a while. Drank this with my friend in a standard pint glass while watching the Vikings play the Packers in Lambeau on Monday night. Picked up a big beer haul for the game and this was part of it.

The beer pours a very dark amber brown and gives a very nice amount of head with amazing lacing. The smell is spiced and a bit funky with bananas coming to mind which I'm not a big fan of. The taste is much better than the smell. Exceptional flavor of spices, dark fruit and, yes a tiny bit of banana and vanilla. Mouthfeel is very normal for a Belgian, substantial with a bit of sediment. Drinkability is reasonable for a Belgian, I couldn't help feeling like my palate had just been assaulted though.

pdoran10, Jan 24, 2010
Photo of gatornation
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a hazy dark ruby color with a creamy 1-2 finger head with a beige ring and clinging lace on the glass best by 070514..the smell was great it was plum fig clove spice and other fruits mixed with some sweet malts..the taste was very good it was plum pears and apples with cinnamon and nutmeg some raisins and bananas some bready tastes with caramel and malts..it was sweet and bready and malty with a clove/ yeast finish very well balanced with a trace of alcohol burn it is well hidden.. my 330 ml bottle went down fast

gatornation, Jan 23, 2010
Photo of jsh420
4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle dated 06/09/12

pours ruby carmel with tons of yeast - 1 finger head that left no lacing

smells of candy sugar and dark fruit

taste wow this beer has mellowed a ton in the past 2 years - no heat at all - very sweet dark fruity malts

mouthfeel - a medium body brew with just enough carbonation to give it some life - very smooth

drinkability - was good but i wish i would have reviewed a fresh bottle

jsh420, Jan 23, 2010
Photo of tzieser
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: poured from a 750ml bottle into a st. bernardus chalice. deep brown with ruby hues. forms a nice one finger that that settles into a thin lacing.

s: deep fruity aroma, consisting of dates and/or prunes. chocolate; nice spice undertone as well (cloves, possibly nutmeg). the malts on this brew are delicious and the yeast is incredible. great stuff.

t: great malt complexities. flavor mostly consists of dark dried fruit (raisins, prunes, dates), clove and banana sticks out thanks to the delicious yeast. the 10.5% is extremely well hidden.

m&d: smooth mouthfeel. drinkability is great. definitely one of my go-to belgians.

quite the quad! worth seeking out. pick up the 750ml bottle if you see it, because 11oz just isn't enough.

tzieser, Jan 21, 2010
Photo of boston2bburg
4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Green apple aromas on the pour make me suspicious this bottle wasn't treated all that well, but here goes (Best before 4/21/14).

Cloudy medium brown with ruby traces, and a fizzy beige head that retains a trace creamy layer, decent retention for such a big beer.

The green apple disappears and is replaced with booze, caramel, some clove esters and oxidized alcohols, a bit of banana as well. Musty wooden crates.

Creamy smooth mouthfeel until the clove and alcohol spice sets in on the finish. Soft booze presence on the palate, but an ecstatically pleasant booze buzz after even the first swallow. Chewy, then spicy, fizzy and dry.

Fig, some prune, less plum, tobacco, clove, butterscotch and caramel; this beer runs the gamut. Very easy to quaff.

boston2bburg, Jan 21, 2010
Photo of Kromes
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A hazy dark brown with an off-white/tan colored head. The head stands up for quite a while and laces the glass.

S: there are some bready yeast, alcohol, clove, and molasses aromas

T: A very unique flavor that is really held up by the alcohol flavor and feel. There are some clove spice flavors and some raisins and dark cherry, and some yeast. The finish is not too bitter, but rather sweet and I'm getting some tropical fruit, coconut flavors on my tongue in the aftertaste for some odd reason.

M: Seems to be highly carbonated. This adds a real spice to the beer that accentuates the alcohol spice on the tongue.

D: One of my favorites. It's a very comfortable beer to go back to again and again.

Kromes, Jan 21, 2010
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2oz bottle served in a St. Bernardus chalice.

Murky brown color with a creamy beige head that remained as a layer and left a bit of lacing.
The aroma is dates, raisins and a touch of yeast.
The taste is pretty darn good, dark fruit sweetness with some yeastiness and a dry finish.
Medium/Full bodied with very good carbonation.
Oh, it's just so good!

JoeyBeerBelly, Jan 21, 2010
Photo of punkrkr27
4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogony with a fair bit of sediment and a giant frothy off white head. Smells of bubblegum, bananna, and a slight sweet mustiness. Flavor is nutty, sweet, a bit astringent, finishing with a bananna clove flavor. Very alcoholic on the finish. Mouthfeel is a little thin and quite carbonated. A really tasty beer but I still much prefer Rochefort or even La Trappe.

punkrkr27, Jan 20, 2010
Photo of jgasparine
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured from the tap with a thick off-white head, which was well-retained and exhibited some fabulous lacing. The body was a slightly cloudy ruby-tinged aged copper color. No carbonation was visible from the sides of the glass.

S- Smells like a beef and gravy Milkbone!! Thick bready malts and Belgian yeast aromatics dominate the nose with lesser aromas of burnt candy sugar, dried dark druit and the *faintest* traces of stale low-alpha hops.

T- A wonderful replicate of the nose, with a fantastic lingering finish that echoes all the little nuances found throughout the drink. The bready artisanal malts and Belgian yeast flavors are dominant, but there is a ton of nuance here ranging from candy sugar to cocoa to dried dark fruit to some faint stale hops. Incredibly delicious and incredibly complex.

M- A nice firm, creamy body with a metaphoric "velvet blanket" of soft carbonation.

D- Goes down so smooth, and the alcohol never makes its presence known. The mere fact that it exceeds 10% ABV is the only reason it doesn't score a perfect '5' in the Drinkability department!

jgasparine, Jan 20, 2010
Photo of Mistofminn
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've never been the worlds biggest fan of Dubbels or Quads for some reason. I bought a bottle of this nearly a year ago and haven't thought about opening it until the other night, when I did just that. Caged and corked 750 ml bottle split with some reluctant friends.

Pours a dark, coca-cola color with a huge tan three finger cap. Retention of the head is decent, and it leaves some nice lacing. Surprised by the intensity of the carbonation.

The nose is really fruity, more so than I ever imagined. I get a weird strawberry like aroma, and it looks like other reviewers are picking up the same. Sweet and bready malts up front, with a spicey character, and a light hop aroma.

Dark fruits dominate the taste, and that odd strawberry aroma isn't in the taste. Sour raisins, dates and prunes, sweet and doughy malts and a lingering spiceyness. Very Belgian and very malty.

Medium to heavy bodied, with a smooth and crisp texture. Carbonation is a bit high, but I don't think it takes away from the taste at all. Alcohol is totally hidden, making drinkability great.

A world class Quad for sure, there is no doubt about that. The only question is, would I like this or Westy 12 better. Only time will tell. Gotta get me a bottle of that first though...

Mistofminn, Jan 20, 2010
Photo of eljefe21
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Soft tan head bubbles off of a dark brown cola colored brew. Carbonation grips to the glass in the body of the beer as well as in the thick, impressive, coating lacing.

S: Rock candy sweetness mixed with a bit of sour yeast. Not the most aromatic beer, but what is there hints to something good.

T: An amazing rock candy, plum and raisiny sweetness. What this beer lacks in the nose is made up on the tongue. The taste melts in the middle of the mouth and lingers to perfection.

M: Nice carbonation lifts some of the flavor off the tongue and keeps this from felling too heavy. Body is fairly heavy, but lightened by the carbonation.

D: This is the second time I've had this and am way more impressed this time. Maybe it's because the winter suits this better than the summer. I would think this would be okay in warm weather, but it's an awesome middle of a blizzard brew.

Served: in a tulip glass.

Review from notes taken on: 12/19/09.

eljefe21, Jan 18, 2010
Photo of Long813
4.15/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dated: 12-07-11
Purchased at Pub Italia

G: Chalice

A: Dark and hazy reddish-brown body with one finger of white head with moderate retention. Left great lacing.

S: Strong citrus fruity aromas, some strawberry, sweet malts and yeast-bready notes. There is also some spiciness that crawls behind which is hard to pick out individual spices.

T: Caramel, cloves, combination of citrus fruits. Very multi-dimensional in flavour. Mixed well together and ends off with some breadiness.

M: Medium bodied with medium-high carbonation. Very smooth and creamy in the mouth and leaves a sweet fruity finish. I didn't notice any alcohol notes during the drink which is good.

D: What a great beer. I hope to purchase this again and enjoy it outside of a bar to get the full effect. This lived up to the hype.

Long813, Jan 18, 2010
Photo of cbros
4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving type- 11.6 ounce bottle poured into a St. Bernardus chalice.

A- Pours a deep amber color with no visible carbonation activity after the pour. A nice two finger white lace that sticks around pretty much throughout. A nice cling to the glass after the pour as well.

S- Sweet malty smell.

T- The sweet malty flavor comes out again in the taste. The malty flavor hides the strength of this beer, the only hints you get that this has a double digit ABV is the subtle alcohol taste you get at the very end of the. That combination could be a problem if someone where to drink too many of these. Overall a very easy drinking beer.

This is my final beer that I bought in a St. Bernardus gift pack. I am not a huge fan of the malt bomb beers but this is not that bad. Something that I would have again as a change up from the hoppy IPA's that I usually favor.

cbros, Jan 18, 2010
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,698 ratings.