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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.

7,374 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,374
Reviews: 2,497
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 421
Gots: 1,099 | 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: 7,374 | Reviews: 2,497 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Klgkenny
4.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a fridge temp bomber into a room temp, oversized wine glass.

A medium density, one finger head rests atop a murky brown, translucent body. When held up to a light, ruby accents appear around the glass and accentuate all the floaties that comprise so many vital nutrients... The head is a creamy off-white and dissipates after a minute or two, producing a delicate, full lace skirt down the edge of the glass.

Smells of grapes and malt. Very complex aromas lie underneath; I smell wood and alcohol, peppers and peppermint.

Tastes like heaven. I'm pretty sure that this is what Jesus turns water into. Grapes and spices. Cloves, pepper, peppermint, and alcohol. So much more.

This is a medium-heavy beer, but the carbonation cuts through the biggest flavors and the heavy body making it an orgasm in the mouth, but much better than the one from your college experimentation.

Even though this beer has such a high abv, I can (and have) sessioned this beer. The only drawback is the price, but aside from that, this is an all day beer. I love it.

Klgkenny, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of davidw987
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've had this beer both on tap and in bottles. The bottled product is very good, but as you would expect, not as exceptional as the draught product. My review is based on the glass I had last night at The Trappist in Oakland.

Pours a dark brown with a moderate head, good retention through most of the glass.

Smell was sweet, raisen & carmel were distinct.

Taste was complex. (I gotta start taking notes in the bar.) Just trust me, it was delicious. You didn't notice the 10% ABV.

The beer was very smooth and went down easily.

davidw987, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of LOCAL
4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml into wine goblet

Appearance: Pours a very dark cloudy brown with a one finger tan head. Good retention, lacing like crazy.

Aroma: Sweet, ripe fruits, faint trace of alcohol.

Taste: Ripe fruits, brown sugar, biscuits, faint tobacco.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, light to medium on the pallet, good carbonation.

Overall: Very easy to drink, probably wouldn't have more than one though. Seems like a good brew for a cold night.

LOCAL, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of burnstar
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours an opaque dark brown with a tannish persistant head. Aroma is excellent and complex- notes chocolate, caramel, apples, cinnamon with a light sweetness. Taste is rich with similar notes as in in the nose. Chocolate and caramel notes balance with fruit and spiciness. Not too sweet, extemely balanced actually, not only between sweetness and bitterness but also between all the many flavors present. There's plenty going on here but no one flavor really stands out- everything works perfectly together to make this one of the best tasting beers I've had. Mouthfeel is velvety and smooth with a slightly dry finish. Easily the most drinkable beer I've had in this abv range. Just about perfect.

burnstar, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of sweetbrew82
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle; "best before" date 27 05 11 (05-27-11)

P: Pours a light leathery brown color from the bottle, and sits in the glass deep brown. Healthy head of light tan foam stood 1 1/2 inches tall. Good retention, and leaves nice webby lacing upon descent.

A: Port-like alcohol is quite pronounced, with some chocolate, dark fruit, belgian yeast, caramel and honey. Smells good!

T: Not too far from the nose. Hits the palate with sweet chocolate, caramel and honey. Dark fruits then work their way to the forefront to become much more pronounced. Tastes like chocolate-covered raisins with some plums and figs to boot. All of the flavors meld together so well, and provide great complexity to the brew. Finish is dry and full of port-like alcohol that is always present, but much more so in the back end. There is also a great belgian yeast flavor with some pepper that rounds out the finish and leaves a good aftertaste. Excellent!

M: Full-bodied, smoother than a baby's ass, creamy, and gently carbonated.

D: Let's just say that I was amazed at how fast my glass disappeared.

Notes: Extremely flavorful, great complexity, and a nice alcohol punch to make you notice it. This is one that every serious beer drinker should have at least once. I am very skeptical that the Westy 12 can be THAT much better than this. I can't wait to find out! Highly recommended

sweetbrew82, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of stockingcpl
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: This well known industry high standard brew poured a vary dark hazy amber color. Head was very thick with good volume. Head sustained a very long time...for the majority of the first pint.

Smell: The aroma was a sweet rasin and spice melange. Sweet malt also detected. Faint aromatic hops. Very pleasant.

Taste: Upon first touching the tongue, the sweet malts surround the tongue. Highlighs of carbonation provide a great vehicle or flavor transfer. Very impressive. Caramel and a fruity/rasin flavor rolls across the palate. Excellent and impressive.

Mouthfeel: Wow. Wonderful flavor curve. Flavors mix well and tend to pleasantly suprise the palate. No lingering stale aftertaste.

Drinkability: Very easy to drink. The sweetness gives this brew a very nice light feel.

Conclusions: There is a reason that this brew is considered the best of the best. TRY THIS IS YOU HAVE THE CHANCE.


stockingcpl, Jan 02, 2009
Photo of caddybuyer
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2 oz bottle into a Chimey goblet.

A-Foamed up in the bottle upon opening, poured a murky deep mahogany with a tan head. Tried unsuccessfully to avoid getting sediment in the bottom of the glass.

S-Sweet malts and dark fruits

T-An explosion of dark fruity malts with some warming alcohol up front and yeasty midrange followed by citrus and a kiss of bitterness. There is a very wine-like overall impression one gets from the taste of this beer that does not let you forget its AVB.

M-Mouthfeel is very full and syrupy as one would expect from the type.

D-Very drinkable and enjoyable, but not something I want more than one of at one sitting.

caddybuyer, Jan 01, 2009
Photo of TheBishop
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow, is all I can say. This beer is ridiculously good, if it were a woman I would marry it. Best Quad hands down in my opinion. I have had the other celebrated trappist and trappist style quads but this is the king. The taste is complex and silky and incredibly drinkable for the high alcohol content. A magnificent quad.

TheBishop, Jan 01, 2009
Photo of thegodfather2701
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark brown with auburn hues. It is merky with a nice white head. It smells of fruits and a hint of chocolate. I can only describe the first sip as breathtaking. It tastes much like the nose, dark fruits and a hint of milk chocolate, but also with some spice. Once you swallow your mouth is thirsting for more, but you cannot rush this, it must be savored. You feel a slight warmth of alcohol as it goes down and you can taste just a hint of it. This beer is nothing short of amazing. It is highly drinkable, but it seems so delicate and so complex that it should not be drank often. It should only be consumed in small quantaties on special occasions.

thegodfather2701, Jan 01, 2009
Photo of Lukie
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have had a bottle of this laying around for about 8 months now, and thought what better way to bring in the new year then with the "second best beer in the world".

A deep rich mahogoney/black with a brown head which was small and subtle on the top of the liquid. It lingered for the majority of the brew, and left some strong lacing on the sides of the glass.

Where the begin on the aroma. The usual strong caramel and honey, but more intense with stone fruits thrown in the mix, which was interesting. Lot's of fig and tropical fruit. Insane.

A big sip brings in lots of raisin and dark fruits, with some sweeter tropical fruits aswell. It is similar to Rochefort 10, but with more tropical, sweeter fruits to it. Absolutely insane when trying to digest everything about this.

The alocohol is pretty much non-descript and it is insanely smooth. It honestly is like drinking Rochefet 10... times 10. Just an amazing beer with everything working so well and balanced so well.

Lukie, Dec 31, 2008
Photo of oakbluff
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Pours a dark chestnut brown with a three finger fluffy white head and beautiful lacing. Nose- sweet dark fruits (raisins, plums), spice, caramel. Taste- rich breads, molassed, nuts, soft spice. Wonderful body and depth witha creamy velvet smoothness to it. No alcohol heat at all and carbonation level is perfect.

oakbluff, Dec 30, 2008
Photo of nasty15108
3.98/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a St. Bernardus chalice. Be careful, the bottle I got was a gusher. Part of a gift set.

A - Poured a deep brown color. The pour produced a crown of creamy tan foam and exceptional lacing. A thing of beauty.

S - Malty with a nice mixture of spices and a hint of nuts. Definite hints of alcohol.

T - Malty with hints of spices and dark fruits. Bready up front and finishing off with the slightest bitterness.

MF&D - Well balanced and delicious. Creamy and very drinkable for 10.5% ABV. A classic.

nasty15108, Dec 30, 2008
Photo of BasementDweller
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I could not be happier with this beer. The flavor and aroma are sweet and balanced, fruity in some respects but mildly so. What gets me is the mouthfeel. Served chilled, this is like drinking a delicate champagne. An extremely well executed brew from a brewery that does not make a bad beer.

BasementDweller, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of DrDogbeer
4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Have had this beer a number of times, but broke out a bottle out of a St Bernardus mixed six pack I got for Christmas. Poured out of the 11 ooz bottle into a chalice. Pours a murky brownish red. Tons of sediment. Had a tough time leaving it in the bottle. Smells of sweet malts, some dark fruit. Taste is similar- some raisin, very sweet. Slick mouthfeel. Very drinkable as it hides the high abv very well. A classic beer- not as complex as a westy 12, and not as tasty as a Rochefort 10, but very good.

DrDogbeer, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of HalfFull
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Saw this at Point Loma Wine Steals and took the bait, been curious for too long. Poured slowly into a large wine glass this concoction pours a deep mahogany red with a very steady off white head. Some yeast inevitably found its way into the glass as I'm not sure how this had been stored. Drink by the 21st day of the 12th month of the 12th year. Hmmm! Lots of '12' going on here. Halfway through a surface film remained and continued to contribute to an artsy lacing.

Smell is sweet with raisin and fig and a touch of fresh dark cherry. Can one get intoxicated by smelling a beer?

Taste is rather complex and inviting. Dried fruits give way to a cherry flavor which then turns over to offer a bit of chocolate on a lingering finish, and only then reveals a bit of alcohol.

Feel is exquisite, with a carbonation that matches the flavor pretty precisely. This beer is strong and sweet, yet doesn't really come across to be either. A remarkable feat.

HalfFull, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of webmanspidey
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep cinnamon-esque brown with lots of tan head.

Very complex spicy grape smell and taste. There might be a mix of chocolate, dates, and raisins as well. A very sweet yeasty taste intermingles.

This is an extremely drinkable beer and a nice example of the style as some others have become overcome with strength as opposed to balance.

webmanspidey, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of AlcahueteJ
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a dark and deep brown color that is mostly opaque. Half-inch off-white head that leaves a creamy lace around the glass.

S - Spicy, fruity aroma, with a distinct and inviting sweet maltiness to it.

M - Mouthfeel is quite creamy and not harsh at all. Very nice mouthfeel, not too thick or thin.

T - Figs, plums, very spicy to match the smell. A tasty and malty, complex sweetness that isn't matched by many ales I've had. Alcohol is noticeable, but no more than the other, weaker St. Bernardus offerings.

Very tasty for a quad, definitely a sipper but it's been difficult to keep the glass down. I've had this beer in a 750, and on tap, but this is the first time I've had it from a regular bottle. This is also the first time I've been able to truly sit down and thoroughly enjoy this beer. Would love to compare this to Rochefort, because I usually always think the Rochefort is better, but I'm not so sure now. Both are truly world class, complex ales that should be sipped and enjoyed.

AlcahueteJ, Dec 25, 2008
Photo of glid02
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at the Brick Store in Atlanta.

Pours a cloudy dark gold color with a one-finger white head. The head sticks around for a while before settling into a patchy layer of bubbles on top and a thick ring around the glass. Lacing is very good.

Smells of dark fruits with a hint of sweet malt and an even slighter hint of spices.

Tastes great. Fruity - plums and figs - with a hint of caramel sweetness that lingers. Light spices enter in at the end. The alcohol is hardly noticeable, except for the nice warming sensation it lends out.

Mouthfeel is great. Good thickness with a subtler carbonation than most other quads. Exceptionally smooth.

Drinkability is of course great. This is too easy to drink for 10.5%, and I can't imagine anyone finding something they really didn't like about this beer.

Overall this is the beer I always recommend to people delving into Belgians for the first time, and so far I've never heard of anyone not happy with the suggestion.

glid02, Dec 22, 2008
Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Translucent ruddy brown body with a filmy head that leaves OK lacing

S- Smells sweet, yeasty and alcoholic

T- Tastes alot like it smells. A full range of malts make a distinct impression on the tongue of chocolate and dark fruits

M- Good medium mouthfeel.

D- The high aloholic content is well balanced and covered by malt aspects and yeast flavors

EnojysAnyBeer, Dec 22, 2008
Photo of coalcracker
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Fairly dark pour with a decent amount of foamy head that easily laces throughout the tasting.
Smell: Delightful fruity aroma; reminiscent of sweet fruits, some tartness- cherry perhaps? I can tell this is an abbey style ale by the smell alone.
Taste: Fruity and a bit sweet, wonderful complexities here- though no one flavor tends to dominate. Hints of cherry, fig, black licorice. These qualities tend to be more pronounced as the beer warmed.
Mouthfeel: Warming alcohol presence noted, medium-bodied feel- appropriate for the abbey profile.
Drinkability: Based on the taste, I can certainly have more than one; the ABV will certainly limit any ideas of a session though.

Awesome Quad abbey ale! This is a beer that can be appreciated by both beeradvocates and newbies.

coalcracker, Dec 21, 2008
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed on 6/11/08. Bottle. Pours a murky brown with a super thick tan head. Ah, gorgeous. Aroma of grapes, champagne, raisins, dark fruit. Flavor of sweet dark fruits, Belgian yeast. A well-crafted beer, extremely well-balanced. The palate is superb - creamy, thick mouthfeel, almost as if you were drinking a milkshake. This quad is hard to beat.
9/5/9/5/18 (4.6/5)

LilBeerDoctor, Dec 20, 2008
Photo of yesyouam
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

St. Bernardus Abt 12 is a cloudy, bubbly, tawny brown ale with many particles in it. It has a huge, fluffy, long-lasting beige head that has particles in it as well. It has an aroma of leather, spice, prune, sherry, hay, barnyard and teriyaki. It has a medium-full, smooth, slick body with a dry, crisp finish. It has a full, complex flavor that's perfectly balanced. It's a little sweet, a little sour and a little bitter. The taste has all of the elements of the aroma plus apples, orange peel, coriander, peach and pear. This is spot on-- love it!
(rated Sep 23, 2008)

yesyouam, Dec 20, 2008
Photo of argock
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 11oz brown bottle into a clear oversized wine glass.

A: Murky brown with soft tan head that is thick, staying, and impressive for 10% ABV leaving spittles of lace

S: Brown sugar, raisins, yeast, and vanilla combine to yield a very earthy aroma of dark bread

T: Flavors of raisin, plum, cinnamon, cherry, and caramel burst with a bit of phenolic alcohol and brown sugar candy sweetness paired with some crisp herbal hops in the finish.

M: Body is surprising light-to-medium with a slightly astringent, dry feel in the finish. Aftertaste is of dark fruit and raisin.

D: An excellent beer with tons to offer including dense dark fruit, brown sugar, and spiced flavors, a nimble feel, and earthy character.

argock, Dec 20, 2008
Photo of eRoc
3.9/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark coffee like

S: strong alcohol, light nutty

T: mild amber, light nutty

M: thin lacing, thin texture

D: Definitely smooth, could have a few but wouldn't break the bank on it... I'm glad we just got in on tap though. I think maybe one other bar in this city has it... Louisville that is...

eRoc, Dec 19, 2008
Photo of SaucyA
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Sniftered. Pours a deep, deep amber/brown with a nice, consistent 1/2 finger head. Lacing.

S - Belgian sugar, yeast, fruitiness, booze. Quite aromatic. Melted caramel. The bottle describes it as a "delicate bouquet", and I'd be inclined to agree. It's nothing earth-shattering or super complex, but conversely, it smells like a quad is supposed to smell, and has an air of refinement to it that most faux-Belgians just can't mess with.

T - Big time prune and maltiness up front. Lots of boozey notes in the mouth, but surprisngly not as warming as expected. Finishes almost sweet, but a nice dryness comes in at the end to wrap it up. It's just a well-made quad, nothing more, nothing less.

M - Sparkly, but it works with the bigness of everything else. It's rather crisp for everything that's going on.

D - Not supremely drinkable, and still falls behind Westy 12 in my book... but for being available here and at a fairly reasonable price, it's hard to not want to drink it up.

Notes: It's a very good quad. Period.

SaucyA, Dec 17, 2008
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,374 ratings.