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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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8,013 Ratings

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Ratings: 8,013
Reviews: 2,570
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 522
Gots: 1,465 | FT: 39
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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,013 | Reviews: 2,570 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of radioscooter
4.32/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally got to try this one after every store was out for the past few months. Thought I was going to get to try it on tap at the Sharp Edge last month but their online inventory lied. Then V.E. was out of them and I happened to find one at U-Pick Six in Erie and was excited to crack one for Thanksgiving. The scuttlebut is that the ABT 12 may be a viable and more easily acquired alternative for Westy 12. We'll see...

Poured from a 750 bottle, deploys as a dark, cloudy root-beer, iced tea color with a quickly dissipating foam made of tiny bubbles. Head lingers when poured right (takes me three times) and stays creamy.

Smell is very Earthy and Belgian-y. but, as with some of the similar Trappists, mild. I don't picture the monks really giving a crap about aromatic hops, but who knows.

Taste is excellent. As it warms, the fruits come through - dark plum, maybe some tropicals - the aftertaste is cocoa and molasses.

Doesn't have the majesty, complexity or mystery of Westy 12, and really - it's unfair and stupid to compare beers to other beers, unless that's what they brewer intended. But it is certainly a delicious Quad and I could have several in a night. I'm halfway through the 750 as I write this and it wasn't a chore.

Photo of keithmurray
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

beer pours a cloudy, dark, chestnut brown color, some sediment in this, nice fluffy tan head

smell - rum, raisin, plums, brown sugar, cocoa, red wine

taste - red wine, plums, raisins, molasses, cocoa, rum, nutmeg

mouthfeel - higher carbonation, medium to full body, some booze on the finish, but not overpowering, slightly sweet, but this is nice right here, really smooth and creamy

drinkability - the 10.5% abv is barely noticeable, this is a great quad that i'll definetly be drinking again

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

Been aging this one for over a year and ready to pull it out for Thanksgiving.

Pours a dark cola in the goblet with nice off-white frothy head. Lots of carbonation bubbles released throughout

Very malty notes on the nose: raisin, figs, & brown sugar. Grassy lemon and hops on the back end with a faint smell of alcohol mixed in.

Starts with candied sugar ( reminds me of sweet potato casserole I had today for Thanksgiving), dates, cloves,& bananas. As it warms, bitter hops and sour candy become more prevalent. Very light alcohol on the throat.

Medium body with ample carbonation.

I have never tasted a 10% beer this drinkable. Very well balance and smooth. one of my favorite quads. This beer is dangerous considering how well the abv is hidden.

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

A: Pours a murky, dark brown with almost a purple tinge. It's got a big off-white head that leaves streaks of lacing along the chalice.

S: Sweet toffee is the primary aroma, but with a lot of complexity laying beneath. There's some dark fruit, some spiciness I assume is from the yeast, and a little alcohol to round it out.

T: This is what Belgian beer is all about. Delicious enough for everyone to enjoy, but complex enough that you could go through dozens of bottles and still find something new. There's dark, caramel, sugary malt. There's some dark fruit. There's a good deal of spice. There's a bit of alcohol. I'm sure there's plenty that I can't discern. This is a big boy beer for sure.

M: Smooth, warming, low carbonation, pretty full mouthfeel.

D: I haven't yet tried Westy 12, but for now this is my favorite quad. Outstanding.

Photo of bbkd3b
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I had this once a long time ago... I've always wanted to revisit it like an old friend. Finally, my time has come. Poured into a goblet:

A - Pours with a cloudy, burnt sienna. Notice a nice, orange hue when there's light in the background. Also present is this great, 2-finger tan head with good retention. Results in a droopy, sticky lacing that doesn't go away. Good looking stuff.

S - Sweet maltiness with that Belgian yeast I love so much. Great mixture of dark fruits and a bit of spice. Nice fragrance... Not mind-blowing, but nice.

T - Okay, a little more mind-blowing. It's complex and subtle at the same time. Mixture of spice, hint of chocolate, and a great presence of dark fruits. Just fantastic, really.

M - This might sound weird, but it just dissolved when it hit my tongue. The carbonation combined with the body made it feel like something falling apart in my mouth. I've never gotten this from a beer before; however, I love it. There's a pleasant, warming hint of alcohol at the finish. My oh my.

D - Pricey, and alcoholic, but whatever bottle you do have will scream, "Drink me! Drink me!" until you pass out in a drunk stupor.

Overall/notes - Pretty much exactly how I remember it. Really great beer. Actually, not quite the monster I remember, as for a long time, I called it my favorite. Still, I'm no going to complain at all. This beer rocks my socks and that's all that matters.

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

Poured out of a 1 Pint 9.4 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip glass.

A - Deep brown pour with a massive creamy off white head. Tons of sticky lacing.

S - Big robust malt smell. Has some light fruit smell perhaps figs.

T - Just like the smell you immediately get a nice malty taste. I get a nice earthy taste here with definite fruits. Figs and cloves and a hint of chocolate. This is a high ABV beer but not overwhelming at all.

M - Smooth baby. Very nice. She is a full bodied beer for sure. This makes you feel all warm inside.

D - Oh hell yes. Mind you this is not the beer to pour down one after another. This is a nice slow sipping beer that you can enjoy. Go get some. Now.

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

I have heard so many good things about this beer, and I finally decided to open one up tonight for my 28th birthday.

The beer is a murky red/brown with one finger tan head that sticks around. The nose is full of dark ripe fruit, toasted caramel and a brilliant sweetness. Something about it screams dry red wine to me (maybe it's the fruit). The flavor is fantastic! Cloves hit your right up front and then there are dark cherries, red grapes, and a moderate alcohol presence. The body is moderate with solid carbonation.

This is definitely a world class beer. Rich fruits mixed with spices, slight alcohol burn and then a sharp dry finish. I love this beer! Probably the best Quad that I have had to date. I sure hope that I can get my hands on a Westy 12 one of these days to compare.

Photo of puboflyons
3.91/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 25 fl. oz. corked bottle. Sampled on November 20, 2010. It pours a decent looking dark amber color with about three inches of puffy, light foamy head. Typical of Belgian ales this does eminate a bit of wheat in the aroma at first but the overall sensation is mellow malts. The advertised spices seem to be far away. The flavor tends to be bitter up front with a strong ale feel at the end along with some hops. A pretty good beer.

Photo of bboelens
4.73/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at World of Beer, poured into a snifter

A- Pours a rich, dark brown, limited clarity, with a beautiful head that lasts the majority of the experience.

S- An odd but fantastic, not too sweet, definitely fruit based smell, limited alcohol smell, maybe some caramel hints

T- Breathtaking, full flavored from beginning sweetness to light alcohol finish, definite fruit hints involved along with slight spices.

M- Rich and creamy, not too carbonated, just enough to remind you that its a beer.

D- One of, if not, the best Quads i've had, perfect for every occasion, although definitely be careful of the 10.5% ABV as it will sneak up on you rather quickly, definitely a sipping beer.

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

A: Pours dark amber/brown into my DFH snifter with a thick foamy, off-white colored head that slowly dissipates leaving nice lacing down the side of the glass.

S: Has a strong dark smell to it (if that makes sense at all), maybe that of the malts and some dark fruits. A bit of a yeast in the nose as well.

T: The taste has a bit of spice to it with some chocolate hints as well. The malts and yeast comes out as well and maybe the aforementioned dark fruits are present for a bit of flavor.

M: Medium bodied with average carbonation. Very smooth.

D: Overall this is a very tasteful beer, definitely lives up to its hype as being one of the worlds best. Although 10.5% ABV, it is very smooth and has almost no hint of alcohol in the taste.

Photo of Tilley4
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally getting a shot to try this much adored brew..

Pours into my Orval goblet a murky reddish brown with a nice thick persistent head... Swirling laces the glass in sheets..

Lovely aromas of Belgian sugars, yeast, bananas, cinnamon, perhaps a touch of hops.. Very complex...its something different with every inhalation... Whatever it is, it works... Smelling this makes me wish I lived in Belgium...

Lush velvety palate of sweet candied toffee maltiness blended perfectly with a raisin/fig aspect along with some banana and cinnamon as well as just a touch of booze but not enough to really tell... Very nicely brewed and put together... Its like a Christmas pudding but in a goblet.

I loved this brew and won't ever pass it up again. We don't get this one in TN anymore but my ventures to places that do will always find me picking this up. Its a masterpiece...

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

Drank from a chalice. Poured an ominous dark amber, with a significant off-white 3 finger head that lingered around a good long time. As the head receded it left thick foamy residue (not quite dainty enough to call it lace). Strong, rich malty/yeasty aroma, with elements of dark fruit, toffee, and clove.

Flavor matched the aroma well. The spicy, clove-infused yeast taste was the first element to jump out at me. The flavor is very complex; it's hard to distill all the elements; there's a certain bready maltiness to it; sweet sugar, a pleasantly warming alcohol component.

It was smooth, medium bodied with good amount of carbonation and finished dry. I really enjoyed this beer.

Photo of vette2006c5r
4.44/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a dark amber color with adbundent head that last through out. Smells of a typica quad, a bit spicey and harsh. The taste is strong, smooth, but full of spices. Full flavored beers like these arent for the macro lover. Overall what else can be said, its a great beer.

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.32/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

St.Bernardus, ABT 12, a beer intended for the Holy Abbot. And me...

Appearance: A hazed/murky brown with an off white khaki colored head. Looks like a nice malty beer.

Smell: Once again, malty, alittle bready. I can sense I am in store for some Belgian goodness.

Taste: Cake like malt profile, brown sugar, fig, dates, prune. All kinds of dark fruit dance upon the palate. What a wonderful beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied, the malt lingers on the palate for a few seconds after the sip.

Drinkability: This is certainly my favorite Quad, and Ive had a Westvlteren 12. A terrific night cap.

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

A - a beautiful amber color, with a GLORIOUS head that sticks around, lacing is present as well.

S - Malts, Nuts, Fruits, Booze

M - Beer sticks to your mouth, great coating, pleasant after taste.

T- dark fruits, malty, spice, nutty, alcohol, dark sugar all present in taste. very pleasant on the taste buds.

D- Love the carbonation and the sticky feel of the beer. Could drink this on all the time.

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

UPDATE: Adding a review from a bottle sampled 12/9/11 from 2006 with a best by 12/7/11, missed it by 2 days, darn... courtesy of guezer.
Aromas quite similar to what I remember with lots of yeast aromas, clove, spice; dark fruits emerge as it warms.
Tastes like the fresher bottle only more integrated and less in your face if that makes sense. The slight alcohol heat that was present in the fresh bottle is completely absent in this aged version.
Same dry, raisiny finish as the original. Def a winner and the epitome of excellence for Belgian beers and Quads in general.

Aromas are sweet caramels, dark fruits (raisin, grape and plum), Belgian spiciness, clove, fine Belgian dark "chocolate" smells probably from some dark candy sugar additions and some slight alcohol. Amazingly complex and balanced.
The taste is moderately sweet up front; the sweetness of a rum-drenched dark banana bread loaf. It is a little spicy, though perhaps not as clove-heavy as some of the other Belgians. Alcohol, while by no means overbearing, isn't afraid to poke its nose in at mid-palate and let you know it's there. Dry-ish finish with a raisiny aftertaste. The mouthfeel is rich and smooth, warming the throat. A light effervescence all over the tongue, as well. Medium-full bodied.
Overall this is an absolute winner and by far one of the 5 best Belgian beers on the planet. Few, if any better in the style.

Photo of grittybrews
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 bottle, opened 11/2010. Poured a dark toffee brown into a tulip with two fingers of light khaki head (good retention). Strong, malty aroma of brown sugar, fig, yeasty spice, and just a hint of alcohol.

Moderate to slightly high carbonation and full, creamy, effervescent mouthfeel. A rush of toffee sweetness, biscuit, and dark fruit followed by vanilla, spice, and raisin.

Full-flavored, balanced, and completely easy-drinking. Very nice interplay between the fruity, malty, and spicy notes. Alcohol is almost completely masked, leaving a nothing but a pleasant warmth on the finish.

Photo of mbrown26
3.91/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A beautiful brown color. No clarity. Three finger browning head that lasted most of the glass.

S: Complex with fruit and chocolate smell.

T: The alcohol was a little bit too much for me. I'm not a high ABV guy, even when it is hidden well. Very complex beer, though. I can see why this rates so high.

M: Good carbonation and pleasant on the palate.

D: If you like the flavors and the high ABV, this beer will be right up your alley.

Photo of brewcrew76
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Chestnut, raisin brown with a thin tan head that leaves a streak or two of lace behind.

S - Sweet candied dark fruits, malty, lightly spicy with some yeasty notes.

T - Sweet malt and candied fruits, raisins, figs, prunes, etc. Little more clove spice than in aroma. Lingering herbal tea flavor on the finish. Alcohol noticeable as it warms.

M - Medium to full body but feels smooth and silky. Very nice combo of fullness but soft and creamy at same time.

D - Have had this many times and does not seem as complex as I remember. Very drinkable.

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

serving type: 12oz bottle
poured into snifter glass. deep amber to dark carmel in color. could not see through the brew held up to a bright light. three fingers off white head, tiny bubbles with good retention and minimal lacing.
smell is complex. hints of vanilla, chocolate, molasses, yeast, sugar and spice, cranberry, a almost earthy tobacco and touch of citrus and almond.
taste is inviting and further developes the smell. cranberry seems to be dominate. medium bodied, not as smooth as i would have liked due to a effervessance. average 10% ABV is well hidden but there is a slight alocohol warmth on the finish after a few sips.
mouthfeel is very round and slightly sweet. drinkability is good and each sip left me wanting one more sip. This beer is one that can be paired very well with many different types of food and cheeses, that would complete the perfect drinking experience.


Photo of Pballa4lyfe
3.81/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- dark, brownish/purple with thick white head

S- sugary, somewhat cranberrish

T- very syrupy and sugar, definitely yeasty as well

M- carbonated, but ironically is very smooth

D- very drinkable, hides the alcohol well

i'm not a huge belgian fan, but this is definitely a unique beer...its good and worth a try

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

On tap at Al's served in a snifter. Pours a murky color of dark puddle water brown. The head appears as a tan film across the top that doesn't last long. Spots of lace cling to the glass. Once the beer warms, it it gains some retention power when the glass is swirled.

The aroma is a mixture of dark sugary sweetness mixed with belgian yeast character like clove. The sugary sweetness of the aroma seems slightly fruity suggesting plums and a touch of chocolate malt before returning to the spiciness of the belgian yeast character. As it warms, it really picks up a young "green" yeast quality that is acceptable but not really all that appealing.

The taste includes the belgian yeast characteristics upfront tasting spicy and quite a bit clove-like. A solid layering of seemingly numbing alcohol is present with both a solvent flavor and warming factor. There is a mild amount of fruity flavor tasting like pear skins that never gets too sweet as it is kept in check by both the alcohol and a bit of hop bitterness that is quite earthy. The major player throughout this experience is the spice of the yeast and it finishes quite dry for how fruity sweet you might think this is based off of the nose.

This is a full bodied offering that is lightly carbonated. Easy drinking for how big the abv is but my guess is this particular offering is quite young considering the young yeasty quality that is quite bold in this brew. For all the praise and glory this beer gets I was not that big of a fan and prefer Rochefort 10 by a wide margin compared to this. I will re-evaluate the previous statement once I get a chance to sit down an enjoy a bottle of Abt 12 that is several years old.

Photo of biggjohnstudd68
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A great and noble head with the right pour... Rich, deep hues of browns and deep reds cascade the glass upon a good light... A funnel cloud of sediment swirls as you hold it up, as a doting father to his newborn baby...

Smell: One whiff of this brew, post pour, will take you into an ancient artisan bakery... Leaving the craving of a hot, sour, crusty, oven-baked bread to gnosh on as you enjoy the mealy aroma of this yeasty brew...

Taste: A smooth, bitter, yet "biscuity" feel and taste to this beer makes it not only a great compliment to a feast-type meal, but almost a meal in itself. The smooth richness of St. Bernardus will leave you smiley and satisfied...

Mouth: Swishing through the palette like a fine wine, The Saint will leave a heavy, bready, yet very complex, clean, and smooth feel after it passes the tongue... Heavy, yet addicting in texture... If you aren't craving a second, there is simply something wrong with you...

Drink: Entering the stomach, it almost reminds you of a very upscale comfort food... Rich in flavor, aroma, body, texture, and overall taste... 10% alcohol is BARELY noticed behind the richness and complexity of this AWESOME Belgian brew... Do not even WORRY about being disappointed...

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

33rd review on BA
Bottle to Chimay goblet

First I would like to say the damn thing exploded as soon as I popped the cap so my head and appearance is probably off.

App- Poured a myriad of browns into the glass, it was a kalediscope of browns in there. I got at least for different shades. Almost no head on it but great lacing and a wonderful swirl pattern.

Smell- It smelled strong and I don't normally say that about beer. It was earthy and robust, malty with some fruit.

Taste- The taste of the beer is rich and complex like that of a mild red wine. It had a strong alcohol taste but the grape like tannic qualities would mix with a bready quality to a candied sugar taste. Very complex indeed.

Mouth- Slight dry that keeps the palate engaged for the next sip. It was clean, not muddled. Flavors know where they want to go and where you should follow. Has the right amount of flavor in the drink. Doesn't overpower you though for 10%.

Drink- It's a bit heavy for a session beer, but I liked it. I can see why for this Quad to be as highly rated as it was. For me it was the younger brother to a SA Utopias. It had the same qualities.

Photo of HURTemHIZZY
3.96/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby brown with a huge frothy, dense light tan head that has great retention and leaves great lacing behind. Smell is of dark fruits and spice, bit of an alcohol touch, and with a swirl all gives off the hint of grape/cherry cough syrup. Good, but the cough syrup thing (although I didn't get that much of it) was a bit off putting.

Taste is very nice. Dark fruits (figs and plums) and spice primarily, with a warming alcohol heat that is very nice going down. Nice creamy mouthfeel, with a low to medium levelof carbonation.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 8,013 ratings.