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St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

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7,857 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,857
Reviews: 2,541
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 495
Gots: 1,306 | FT: 35
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: 7,857 | Reviews: 2,541 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jbphoto88
4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep bottle brown colored beer poured from a corked and caged bottle, that by the way was extremely hard to open. There is a thick fluffy head that is the color of clean dry wood. It rises well above the brew and lasts for the duration of the beer.

Smell is sweet and bready with lovely hints of spiced caramel and vanilla. It's not the strongest of smells but all the characteristics of a good Quad are in there.

Taste is along the lines of the nose. Sweet malts with a bread yeast taste. Following that is a creamy caramel with a light spice and vanilla splash of alcohol. Quite nice.

The mouthfeel is soft and silky, peppered with fine carbonation. Bitterness is present but not a focal point. Very slick with a lingering doughy coating feel in the finish. Very tasty and easy to drink at 10.5% it's a nice sipper.

Photo of SolomonGrundy
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow! Pours a slightly cloudy, dark rum color. Huge, creamy head that never actually dissipates. Loaded with carbonation also. Beautiful...Yeasty, Belgian-y goodness in the smell. Fresh apples, maybe some coriander. Excellent...ENormous, robust flavor. Crammed with stuff...some vanilla notes, some heavy Belgian yeast notes. So much going on it's almost ridiculous. Flavors evolve as it warms up. This is one of the World's fine ales, to be sure. Finish is not too long, but carries just a hint of bitterness along with some alcohol. Also a 10% ABV brew. $9.99 for a pint + 9.4 oz bottle. Awesome and a must find for all you folks out there.

Photo of scott451
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Warmed up and poured into a Duvel tulip. Clear brownish ruby red with a quarter inch bubbly tan head which soon diminished to a ring. No lacing. Smells of deep dark malts. Some alcohol smells warn of what is to come. Taste is smooth, well balanced. Malts up front with a boozy phenolic finish. Medium body, low carbonation. The smoothness makes you want more but the alcohol puts a stop to that.

Photo of unclejimbay
4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a warm copper maple syrup in color with surprising clarity. Served on tap from the tap in a delerium tremens snifter.
10oz pour for $5, at my new local brewpub Engine 15 here in Jax Beach, FL. Short head and light remnant of a cratered cap, could be the glass? Seems shorter than others have noted.

Smell is rich sweet dark malts, dark fruit, raisins, and Belgian yeast spice, mainly clove.

Tastes as it smells with mild boozyness and rich full flavor.

Medium/light body, semi slick, high carbonation.

World class beer for sure, notably for the well hidden 10.5% abv. Rich, dark, fruity, sneaky.

Photo of Luk13
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle. Dark slightly muddy brown pour with loose white head. Complex belgian beer fruit aromas (ripe sugarey red fruits, cherry, raspberries, blackberries), alcohol, chocolate and a bit of yeastiness. Taste is quite boozy and fruity but very well balanced. Beautiful mouthfeel no wateriness here. Quite beautiful.

Photo of appenzeller
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep mahogany with a thick vanilla lace. Aroma is sweet, malty. Taste is complex with breadiness, sweetness, spiciness of cinnamon and clove. This is a beautifully rich beer, moutfeel is silky smooth and drinkability is superb--for what it is. One of these is plenty!

Photo of Radome
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark brown and opaque beer. The head is off-white and made up of tiny, creamy bubbles. It is very thick and persistent.

S - Sweet malty aroma. Plum and raisin notes , maybe a little alcohol in the background. Delicious smell.

T - Malt is up front, with nutty and biscuity notes. I also get some raisins and dark fruits and a hint of smoke in the background. Overall this beer starts out sweet and finishes drier than I expected.

M - Body is fairly heavy. The carbonation adds some creaminess that lightens it. No alcohol burn.

D - Very nice. It is complex and delicious, yet not overly sweet and cloying.

Photo of racer2k
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured 33cL bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet glass

A - Pours a dark ruby red cherry color and creates a two finger off white head which is quite frothy and dense.

S - Dark fruit - prunes, raisins, apricots, plums and a pizza bread dough like aroma. There is a very balanced sweet malty flavor to the aroma with some noticeable alcohol tones which is not a surprise given the 10.50% abv

T - Dark fruity and chewy flavors with a balanced sweet malt profile and a subtle yeast accent to the taste. The complexity of this quad is amazing and the alcohol heat is hidden quite well which could be dangerous given the fantastic taste.

M - Some nice carbonation action going on in the glass but the beer is quite smooth and has a moderate body. The finish is crisp and dry.

D - Excellent Quadrupel brewed by one of the finest Trappist brewery's in the world. Highly recommended if you enjoy this style of beer. You will no doubt smile and grin like the jolly man on the label!

Photo of andrenaline
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark, hazy, copper brown with a finger of head with good retention. Dissipates to a thin layer of fine bubbly head. Holds a thin bubbly film on the edges as well, but doesn't leave any real lacing.

S - Very fruity, with plum, raisins, banana, cloves and bit of orange citrus. The alcohol is noticeable, but seems to be less strong as it warms.

T - The fruity flavours come through in full force, led by plums, and raisins, followed by a rush of cloves and banana on the finish. I'm dumbfounded that the alcohol is not more noticeable.

M - Very light and bubbly, and to my surprise, goes down incredibly smooth. I would've though it would be much thicker and more syropy, but it's the perfect balance of carbonation.

D - Highly recommended to anyone looking for a bold and flavourful quad. Absolutely yummy. Could probably throw back a few of these as a time, but I would recommend only doing so with caution as the alcohol sneaks up on you! Enjoy!

Photo of rawthar
3.98/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- A hazy cherry wood brown, the murkiness of which obscures what must be some very active carbonation judging by the thick creamy brown head that starts big and bad but dissipates at a manageable pace to a strong film.

S- Lots of farmhouse funky yeast up front and high in the nose, carrying a malty sweetness that opens up into raisin bread, overly ripe apples, and prune preserves, followed by an almost undetectable hint of heat.

T- First wave to the tongue is surprisingly subdued, but upon swallowing, a very intense flavor of the dark fruits from the nose expands from the back of the palette to fill the entire mouth. After the fruits wash away, a more crystally brown sugar flavor lingers for a moment, then subsides back to an aftertaste of fruity, bready tones, and a slight bit of alcohol, though much less than 10% abv would seem to produce.

M- An initial surge of carbonation to the tip of the tongue accounts for the initially mellow flavor, after which the beer turns to foam, and heats up a bit on the way down.

D- Tasty enough to enjoy en masse, though strong enough to merit caution, a good beer with a lot of complexities, best appreciated by the sip.

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

Poured from a 33cL bottle into a Rochefort glass.

A: Pours a murky red-brown with light head that disappears quickly. Moderate lacing. Dense and foreboding.

S: Not as strong or as fruity as I had hoped. Instead I'm getting alcohol and a spicy, bitingly pleasant scent.

T: Excellent, but not exceedingly so. An initial alcoholic burst mixes with tingling carbonation, fading into a nice, lightly fruity body tempered by spices. Never cloying or overbearing. The aftertaste is a long, light throwback to the very first sip. Overall, I am pleased.

M: The bite provided by the carbonated spiciness is a truly lovely feeling for the tongue. I anticipate each sip with delight. Never does this beer stick to the mouth or cause any discomfort. Mouthfeel is great.

D: A hefty 10% is definitely present, but I feel this adds to, rather than detracts from, the beer. A sippable brew to be enjoyed slowly and sparingly. Not my everyday fare.

EDIT: the following review is of a bottle aged 14 months. Poured from a 33cL bottle into a Rochefort chalice. Stamped "04 02 15."

4.25A: Generous, frothy head. Decent retention. Heavy initial lace. Opaque, mahogany brown.

4S: Complex, winey, and fruity. Fermented grapes. Faint sugars. Somewhat faint.

4T: Hrm. Not sure how this one aged. It's a tad...muted? The sense of alcoholic grape juice is here, with an obtrusive spiciness. Almost puckery-tart, but the aftertaste is not entirely pleasant -- lots of yeast that reminds me of an old ale, but feels out of place in a quad. Touch of sugars.

4.5M: Still carbonated and surprisingly light. Really refreshing and pretty good. Smack worthy.

3.5O: I prefer this beer fresh. While an interesting evolution of flavor, it's a bit sharp and sour for my taste. Won't cellar again.

Photo of GarrettMD
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle has best by date of "26 03 13" so drinking this beer aged for roughly 2 years, 3 months.

A - Pours a dark brown with 1 finger of fleeting head. Amazing lacing. Lots of sediment in the beer.

S - Very bready, yet sweet. caramel and fruits dominate the smell. This is a very complex aroma and I don't know if I am experienced enough at reviews to actually place most of the things that are going on.

T - Very sweet taste, malts dominate the beginning of the taste. Fruits take over very quickly. Once again, very complex and I can't really pick out individual things.

M - Very smooth, I was worried when I saw how much yeast was floating in the glass. Slight drying finish, might be a bit much, but it's not too detrimental. Has quite a bit of carbonation which gives a nice tingle complimenting the sweetness of the beer.

D - Extremely good drinkability given the ABV. If I didn't already know, I would have guessed 6-7% max.

I will need to get this one again sometime I am more experienced at discerning tastes. Very complex, very good beer. I haven't had many quadrupels but this is definitely the best I have gotten around to.

Photo of billab914
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my Westvleteren chalice. Gushed a little as I opened it but was able to get it into the glass in time. Poured brown in color with a frothy and bubbly off-white head. Excellent head retention and moderate lacing.

The aroma has a sweet, malty, caramel, chocolate, dark fruit aroma to it. Very nice and complex, not too dark for the style either. A little yeast flavors round out the nose.

The taste is full dark fruit and malty sweet goodness. It has some notes of caramel, brown sugar, chocolate, figs, plums and bread. Very nice and complex tasting, probably the best of the style I've had so far.

The mouthfeel is on the thicker side and carbonation is moderate to below average. Drinkability is good, it's a great tasting beer for the style and abv. Overall an excellent beer and one worth all of it's praise.

Photo of donniecuffs
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

At the Eulogy Tavern in Philadelphia. Into a chalice, poured a mahogany/reddish color with slightly less than a finger of off-white, which collapsed quickly, but I suspect that it may have had something to do with the way the glass was washed. Smelled of plum, raisin, sour cherry, and nutmeg. The flavor was off the charts; molasses, nutmeg, plum, and raisins, which dissolved to a sour, black cherry finish, which zero hint of the high alcohol content. Nicely full-bodied, but very smooth with nearly no carbonation. Despite the fact that this is a strong beer, I'd make an attempt at sessioning it, as it was super smooth and satisfying. Needless to say I ordered another after the initial sample.

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

Pours a dark brown colour with thin head. Was expecting the head to be a bit bigger. Tons of raisin and plum in the nose. Had a lot of sweetness, almost like brown sugar toffee. Flavour was impressively huge with dark bready malt, raisin, plum, brown sugar, caramel and I think I got a bit of chocolate. A very creamy mouthfeel. Awesome beer!

Photo of SFLpunk
4.03/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Did a tasting called "My Four Quads" - Westvleteren 12, St. Bernardus Abt 12, Rochefort 10 & Koningshoeven Quadrupel.

Label dated: 07 05 14
Pours a hazy brown with tan head that grips the glass.

Nose: Similar nose to the Westy 12 but brighter, a little hop quality creeps through all those raisin, fig, date aromas. Something like model glue is there too. Carl had an awesome observation: uncooked white bread dough.

Palate: Rich but not as creamy as the Westy 12 with warming alcohol. Bright yet wooly. Nice rough texture with flavors of fresh figs, bittersweet chocolate, and old leather. That pizza dough note is present on the palate, too. Finish is brighter than the Westy 12 with less astringency but some citrus notes.

My 3rd favorite of the 4.

Photo of Machinehead
3.6/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Was a little disappointed with this one. Similar in style to the Westmalle. Good overall taste, but not too complex in flavor. Overall fairly sweet, but nothing to write home about. Aroma is pleasant and sweet but I don't really see what all the hubub is about.

Photo of chalsk
3.88/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chocolate haze with some life, thin head. Has an aroma of grapefruit, with hints of caramel and banana. Has a creamy, doughy, bitter taste. A very yeasty feel. Has a medium body that thickens nicely as it warms. This is a very tasty brew.

Photo of MadTown1000
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had on-tap at Monk's Beer Emporium in Philly, served in a tulip glass. Didn't get to see the pour, but it came black with a dark creamy head. Flavor was dark malt, with the promised notes of chocolate and coffee, and... is that BLUEBERRY? Yes, that was distinctly a blueberry note in the finish. The complexity in this beer was really a marvel. While I can't give as detailed a description as I'd like without having taken notes, this was absolutely spectacular. Might knock Gulden Draak off its throne as my favorite Belgian.

Photo of hustlesworth
2.48/5  rDev -44.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A- pours a deep dark chestnut brown with some orange-ish gold highlights. many many chunks of yeast floating around in this one. bottle says best before 18 11 13. there are some specks of yeast in the floamy beige head as well, densely structured bubbles redece down to about 1/4in and hold firm. some nice waves of lace adhere to the glass. active carbonation doesn't allow those chunks of yeast to settle.

S- dark fruity and sweetly tart, prune, black plum, raisin, fig, date, clove, nutmeg, apple cider, milk chocolate, brown sugar, damp wood, pinneapple alcohol scent, cedar, and orange. spicy and acidic. alcohol vapors give this strong quad an intense bouquet and i'm feeling more at ease with the relatively off-putting appearance.

T- sweet, chocolatey, fruity, nutty... malty. some grassy hop flavor but this one tastes well, flat. as far as i know this bottle had been handled properly but i expected far more from the saint. i can't appreciate the richness of flavor i get from other quads so near to my heart. this one seems 2-dimensional. chocolate, brown sugar, some prune, date, and fig, a little black pepper and an earthy woody nutty flavor and a touch of smokiness. finishes a bit metallic and on the water side but with some floral alcohol taste. finishes neither dry nor cloying with an odd bitterness.

MF- again somewhat boring. carbonation is present but dissipates quickly. texture is nothing to rejoice over. i can feel chunks of yeast when i sip and they stick in my throat when i swallow making for an unpleasant experience. a bit sticky on the lips.

D- i'm convinced that this bottle has seen better days as the retialer that i purchased it from has a questionable reputation. i assumed that i couldn't go wrong with such a high abv brew but i guess i was mistaken. sadly i have to dump this one due to the yeast chunkys. i will be in pittsburgh next month and i WILL stop by the sharp edge, the best belgian beer bar i've ever heard of, and a reputable source, and try this one again hopefully on tap, and certainly re-review. sadness from watou to alliance. sincerely, james.

Photo of NewGeneric
4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to dansteino for the excellent selection.
Poured into my Delirium tremens tulip.

A: Pours a fairly opaque mahogany color with 2 fingers of dark beige head that fades quickly. Sunburst orange hues float around the edges. Thin wisps of lacing coat the sides of the glass too.

S: Smells of bread, raisins, yeast. Hints of sour/funk/tartness abound as well.

T: Tastes the same, though the fruits overpower the yeasty breadiness. A little bit of nutty malt shines through as well. Mild funk notes are present all the way.

M: Lightly bitter. Good carbonation. Slight heat from alcohol. Decent.

D: A good Belgian quad. One of the best.

Photo of Snamnoum
4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - rich dark brown color with some garnet notes. Produced a thick head of about two fingers.

Smell - Alcohol is overpowering but small notes of malt and hops come through

Taste - strong alcohol and malt maybe a tiny bit if hoppiness I don't know its hard to get past the alcohol. As is indicative of the style

Mouthfeel - the mouthfeel on this brew is excellent full and very creamy it sticks to your mouth and lingers there.

Drinkability - one is plenty but I will absolutely be buying this again. Best quad I've ever had.

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

On draft at World of Beer.

A- pours a light caramel color. Not as dark as I was expecting. One finger off white head that sticks around for a bit before leaving some decent lacing.

A- bready malts and spices. There is a sweet brown sugar smell and some dark fruits highlighted as well.

T- the bready malts and the spices really start things off. The spices are clove and nutmeg if I'm not mistaken. The plum flavors start to come through as the temperature of the beer warms. There is a candied fig taste. The sweetness is nice and isn't overwhelming. There is a yeasty presence also. Only a slight hint of the abv.

M- medium body. With spot on carbonation. Has some what of a creamy feel to it. The spices are present in the finish.

D- I really enjoyed this and I believe I will pick up a couple bottles to see what a little time will do for it.

Photo of flipper2gv
4.93/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Redone, complete new review with full bottle instead of just the sample I had during Mondial de la bière.

A: Brown opaque. Really ugly ass color. But I was expecting this... Anyway, light beige head head with a good level and good retention with good lacing.

S: It was sooo complex. Very fruity: mango, dried orange, banana, plum, grape and green apple. Very spicy: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, saffron. Sweet: honey, brown sugar, maple syrup. Other: nuts, brown bread other yeast stuff.

T: What has been said for the smell. Also, it has more nut taste than the smell would have let me know, and a light milk chocolate taste too. No alcohol present.

M: Mid to heavy feel with mid to low carbonation. Super creamy too. Perfect feel for a QUAAAD!! (sorry for MW2 reference).


Well, I must say, I didn't have to change much from the original review. Guess I got good memory :D.

Superb brew all around, one of my all time favorites.

Photo of BricksandPorter
3.15/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Got this bottle from Wegman's great selection. After a month of aging, I set in the fridge over night and poured into a tulip snifter. I just cant have nice things...

Pour - beautiful maroon brown color. Hues of brown, red, orange, purple, plum and lavender - really nice looking. Has a great pour too - good creamy one/two finger head that smooths out but lingers in reduced form. Lacing is minimal, it sticks to the beer column rather than the glass. Seems a little dark for the triple style I'm used to.

Nose - Carmel and fruit. Sweet on the nose with a definite sour alcohol undertone. Simple and straight forward.

Taste - begins with a bombardment of fruit sweetness. Esters bring about notes of banana, sour cherries, fresh strawberries and even citrus. Full malt sweetness isn't apparent until about midway through the finish, making it even sweeter. Alcohol not hidden at all. This is actually not very appealing - too much going on at once.

Mouthfeel - great carbonation and a medium-full body with lots of character, but balance is not present. All sweet, nothing else. Rather chunky on the way down, and the burp is marshmallowy. Kind of weird, especially for a trappist.

Drinkability - nope, not a session beer. Too much booze, too much sweet, not enough balance. I usually like St. Bernadus alot - the Prior 8 is phenomenal. They missed on this one.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,857 ratings.