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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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8,102 Ratings

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Ratings: 8,102
Reviews: 2,588
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 535
Gots: 1,549 | FT: 43
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: 8,102 | Reviews: 2,588 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of strangemusic
4.57/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had lots of interpretations on the dark Belgian styles, but never a genre heavyweight like St. Bernardus... and it was a pleasure!

The beer pours winelike in colour, dark ruby and brown, with little galaxies of spotty lacing.

The smell is warm and inviting, rounded and spicy with red apple, strawberry, clove, brown sugar, some aged musty aromas, and hints of root beer.

If the smell invites you in, the taste throws you a party. It's a wallop! And yet a voluptuous and many-layered wallop. Cloves, caramel, red apple, some medicinal notes, very complex malt flavours that range from bright and sugary to almost smoky.

The beer is well-carbonated and light on the palate, effervescent and then turning creamy with a long, slow alcohol creep. ABV is actually well concealed in the creamy mouthfeel, and this one is definitely a slow sipper.

A real treat, and one I was glad to grab the last couple bottles of from the local LCBO.

Photo of peensteen
4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque brown 3/4" white head sits on top that eventually settles an coats the top of the beer until the end. Brussels lace appears right away. Nose is of sweet yeast, dark fruit, fig and almost a fresh bread presence. Taste of rich dark fruit, plum, raisin, toffee, an almost nutty taste is there, slight alcohol. Good mouthfeel not offensive in any way. Drinks like a dream, very close to perfect.

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

330ml Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a hazy brown colour with a very large frothy light brown coloured head. I can't see much carbonation due the darkness of the beer and there is some very nice lacing running in stages down the sides of the glass. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it began to dissipate.

Smell - malts, cloves, raisins, cherries

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a lot of carbonation and it feels very light and lively yet creamy on the tongue. I can taste cloves and malts mixed with notes of dark fruits such as raisins and cherries. The alcohol is extremely well hidden and it has a great full bodied flavour. It finishes with a sweet dark fruit aftertaste.

Drink - Surely one of the better beers I have ever had. Definitely worth seeking out.

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

Although I've yet to engage in a true Trappist/Abbey style horizontal, there's something about St. B. that to me seems more substantive than the rest.

As soon as you pop the cap, and those early wafting moments wrap around your brain as if a wax-dip of aroma, and the final drips of yeasty dreg-discoloration land gracefully on the spore-like blanket of one's mind... you know you're about to lose your head. (But you don't.)

I could obviously smell on this all night- if I had the self-restraint. Layer after layer of delights wait in this glass, and if I had the nose to peel them apart for you I would, but I hesitate to use the obvious descriptors here (dark fruit, medicinals, merlot), because what stands out most are not the flavors of this beer but THE flavor, the majestic accomplishment that is the balance of Abt. 12.

I'm afraid this beer will leave me for a richer, more exciting man. But I console myself: He will never love her like I loved her!

The end.

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

Pours a deep golden brown color with a creamy head that sticks around for a bit.

Quite malty on the nose, with a slight bit of fruit, but mostly malt.

Clove, brown sugar, and malt abound in the taste. Really opens up as it gets into the suggested serving temperature (52-56F).

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My 1 year BA birthday beer!!!
12 oz bottle from the LCBO. Dates 07/09/15
Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Dark brown with one finger of bubbly off-white head.

S - Full or dark fruit - raising, figs, dates. Some sweet brown sugar and a slightly noticeable alcohol smell.

T -Sweet malts with brown sugar and caramel notes are dominant on the palate. Dark fruit and some yeast flavours are present as well. The alcohol is noticeable but not overwhelmingly so considering the 10% ABV.

M - Quite heavily carbonated, which somewhat covers up the nice medium body that the beer has.

D - Very drinkable for the ABV.

Photo of dcook11
4.12/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark brown with ample carbonation and sea foam two finger head. The lacing is very nice as well. The nose is a little weak but detectable are belgian yeast, malt and candied sweetness. The taste is the same as the nose with the abv masked nicely. The mouthfeel is a velvety light to medium body and the drinkability is high.

Photo of aasher
4.56/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This bottle is roughly a year old and was poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a snifter. This beer poured a dark and murky, raisin brown with a three finger, beautiful beige foamy head that just sat atop the brew for about five minutes. It looks like a Root Beer float. The smell is very soft and exceptionally smooth. It is pure yeast and sooo bready with very light and subtle sweet malt. The flavor is kind of hard to describe. Let me begin by saying that it is amazing. It's kind of funky and has light spicyness to it. It's very yeasty and full of bready malt. There is a light presence of alcohol but it's every so slight. Wow. This is one of the smoothest beers I've ever had. It tingles the palate initially before melting in your mouth. It's perfect as far as mouthfeel goes. It's also very, very drinkable. The alcohol is well hidden and all aspects of the Abt 12 are well rounded and complex. This is definitely world class. I'm glad I could try this before my Westy 12, which I'm saving. I've been told that their recipes are near identical and this one didn't let me down at all. Excellent, excellent brew.

Photo of aepb1
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Part of a Christmas gift from my parents!

A- Deep brown body with a light brown head that stays well and lots of lacing

S- Malty, a bit of some sweet floral notes

T- Dark fruits and some bitter grapes in there too too. Malty sweetness finishing with some alcohol warming

M- Full-bodied, smooth and the high level ABV is appropriate for style

D- Solid line of beers, great gift package

Photo of MattyV
4.59/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brownish-mahogany in colour with a dense and bubbly beige head, good retention and lacing.
Nose is very fruity, with hints of spice and yeast, smells fantastic.
The effervescent carbonation carries with it caramel, dark fruits, a bit of toasted malt, light booziness and an earthy flavour I can't place. Wonderfully complex, all of the flavours I look for in a Belgian without the cloying sweetness. As it warms, plum/raisin flavours start to come out more, and the alcohol becomes slightly more perceptible, but not overly. Rich, medium to thick body that is nicely offset by the carbonation.

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

Poured from a 11.2 ounce bottle into a snifter.

A: The beer pours a medium dark brown in color with some faint hints of amber and has a three finger light tan head. There's lots of floaties in this clearly unfiltered beer. The head has excellent retention and lacing

S: Smells like a trappist beer. There's great light fruit smells mixed with earthy yeasts. Also some floral notes as well.

T: The main flavors I get are raisins, toffee, and a little bit of earthy funk. There's a lot of balance in the flavor, and even a little hop bitterness mixed with a bit of alcohol burn at the finish. This beer is perfect for winter.

M: Although this has an appropriately high level of carbonation, it still has a full-bodied mouthfeel, which I enjoy.

D: Pretty high drinkability here, as these beer has complex, pleasant flavors. A tad on the sweet side though.

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

A: Murky red-brown. Rich and warm. A little rapidly disappearing head.

S: Fruit, alcohol, spice, molasses.

T: Fruity and spicy again. Alcoholic, malty, sugary sweetness. Very good.

M: Carbonation adds to the rich, full flavor. Smooth and clean, despite its sweetness.

D: Delightful. The taste and mouthfeel continue to be pleasant at every sip.

Photo of prdstmnky
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best by date: 7/15/15 (i think)

11.2 oz bottle a bit cooler than room temp. Pours a cloudy dark brown color, with some mahogany tones when held up in the light. I got a good 2 inches of light tan head in my tulip, that settled to a thin creamy cap leaving some lattice like lacing.

Sweet bready malts and yeast are the first thing that hit my nose. Caramel, Belgian yeast, dark fruit flavors pop on the tongue. Also tasting a bit of the alcohol in back, a nice warming feeling during consumption. Both complex and well balanced - just a wonderful tasting beer! Medium bodied, with a nice creamy texture - lighter carbonation helps the mouthfeel.

What a great beer - I prefer this to the Rochefert 10 i had the night before, seems more balanced and I find it more drinkable. Cant wait to try the other bottle I have in the near future!

Photo of heebes
4.13/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle
Recently brought into the lcbo as a winter warmer.
(Review 99!)

Pours a deep dark brown with hide off white foamy head that recedes quickly. Nose is dark fruits, bready malts, sugar. Taste is similiar to the nose; sweet candied dark fruit and some alcohol flavour. Medium to heavy mouthfeel, good carbonation and still a half finger of head constantly sticking around. A very enjoyable sipper, one I think I would prefer in the smaller format I've obtained than the bomber I usually see. Got 3 more bottles to age, a great highpoint for the style.

Photo of mrnobody
4.13/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a murky reddish brown with 3 fingers of frothy off-white head. Crazy retention and loads of sticky lacing.

S: Smells yeasty, sour and vinous. As it warms, dark fruit emerges (cherry, plum).

T: Very complex and tasty, hard to pinpoint the individual components but the alcohol is well hidden and only manifests as a little warmth. As the beer warms, fruit flavours emerge.

M: This is medium bodied with crisp carbonation.

D: The drinkability is pretty scary for the ABV.

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

Simply the best beer I have ever had in my life. The first time I had this beer I didn't know what to expect. It didn't smell like anything that I was used to and OMG it was amazing. 10.50% ABV!!!! Re-dic, but it doesn't taste like it does at all. I am 33 about 195lbs and I drink probably 2-3 times a week. After 2 of these babies I feel pretty good.

If you love beer and you want to try this along with other amazing beers you have to go to The Blue Monk in Buffalo NY.
Food is excellent but the beers are off the hook.

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

A - the initial pour gave a 2 finger frothy light brown head that dissipated slowly and laced a good amount in the process; carbonation is soft and the body color was an opaque brown.

S - initial aromas were numerous in sheer quantity: roasted malts, nutty, light floral, light alcohol, brown sugar, cola, sherry, smoke, spices and dark fruits galore - dates, plums, prunes and raisins; the dark fruits really jump out in the aroma

T - true to the smell, something I've come to appreciate in a beer; it echoes a lot of the aromas - brown sugar, prominent alcohol, cola, spices, soy sauce, sherry and once again dark fruits galore - dates, plums, prunes, raisins and now some dark cherry;

M - it's got a terrific, creamy mouthfeel and the body laces a good amount in the glass as the beer level disappears. The spices in the taste are quite nice and bring some pepperiness to the equation. The alcohol isn't too bold in the smell but is quite noticeable in the taste. The initial flavor notes strike with a moderate sweet, moderate bitter and light saltiness. The finish is long in duration and the finish notes hit with a moderate sweet, heavy bitter, light sour and moderate saltiness

D - though it's a bit too strong to be repeatable it's very drinkable, has a good balance and harmony to it, is memorable and even has a wow factor to it

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

Very nice beer in the belgian style Pours a very cloudy amber brown colour.

Very sweet, dark fruits malts and alcohol all make up the smell in the initial whiff.

Sweet, malty the dark fruits are somewhat subdued but blends nicely together. Alcohol takes a nice back seat to the other flavours.et
Mouthfeel was a very thick and chewy. Perfect for abv

Surprisingly drinkable for a sweet belgian with high alc.

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

10.50% ABV. Poured into tulip from 750ml bottle. Deep reddy brown, creamy beige head. Marzipan is the dominant component in the aroma and perhaps some almond or walnut on top of a really sweet smell. Soft carbonation, very velvetty palate. Maybe some alcohol showing. In the mouth, there is loads of almonds rising up retronasally, but less come through in the taste. Simple roasty graininess. With yeast, there is more roastiness, and without yeast there is more fruitiness and esters, which are beautifully heady. One of my favorite traditional quads!

Photo of KAP1356
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle dated 08/04/15 into my Duvel tulip. Been waiting a while to have this one and finally can...

A - Pours a deep, rich, brown, auburn color. A nice eggshell white head, about 1.5 fingers thick forms. Excellent head retention.

S - Earthy, caramel, bready, and some dark fruits (cherries, dates, figs) mix nicely with the spicy, pepperiness from the yeast. Some vanilla sweetness also seems to be present.

T - Dark fruits, although not as deep and dark as I would have thought. More cherry than anything else, although there is some raisin in there. Some slight banana flavor as well; interesting. More caramel and some more dark fruit flavors come out as it warms. Really nice overall flavor profile.

M - Medium bodied with a large amount of carbonation; a little more than I would have liked and more than I expected for this style. Creamy feel to it as well.

D - Absolutely great drinkability. World class beer that is very easy to drink even with the ABV. Glad I finally got to have this one.

Photo of MeisterBurger
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

330 ml bottle served in a La Trappe chalice.

Pours a murky, bubbly brown topped by a nice beige head. Retains spectacularly. Laces okay.

The aroma is bready malt and fruit--figs, with a tinge of spice. Somewhat vinous.

After a twenty minute warm-up the taste is like overripe damson plums with a hint of sherry and a dry finish reminiscent of cloves and cinnamon. Lots of fruit in the taste--black cherries and dried fruits and figs again with some black mashed banana. As with most Belgian beers, the warmer it gets the better it gets as the alcohol and caramel slowly creep into the picture. I'd leave this out to warm up twice as long the next time.

Mouthfeel is, well, it's not lacking in carbonation, I can tell you that. Medium bodied. Very nice.

A quintessential example of the style. Imminently drinkable.

Photo of Vdubb86
3.96/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter

Somehow I would have thought that a 12 would have been 12%ABV...but I digress.

This beer pours a beautiful semi clear deep walnut color with an ecru foam that stays on the surface. The smell is rather faint some sourish orange notes in the aroma, not really super pleasant. The malty slight sour, spicy notes tend to work well with the beer. The mouthfeel is really nice and smooth, there is only a bit of acidity to it. It's a pretty good drinking beer, but I don't know if I would rate it as high as many are suggesting.

Photo of mttaylor1066
4.52/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Let's face it, almost all strong Belgian ales appear cloudy, murky or muddy. Abt follows this rule. After awhile, this less-than-appetizing look will clue you in that you are about to enjoy a good-to-great ale. The head is coffee with milk brown and dissipates in less than three minutes. Small bubbles after that.

The goofy monk on the label prevented me from taking this beer seriously for many years. What a shame!

S - Malt. It takes a lot of sniffing to detect any hops in Abt, at least for me.

T - Here's where the rubber meets the road, and what a long, wonderful trip it is! Strong raisin, dark, DARK! fruit and a hint of cacao bean. Absolutely the most enjoyable Belgian I have had. Each sip entices you to take another.

M - Not as heavy as the appearance would suggest, but it is substantial

D - At 10.5% ABV you won't be having too many in an evening. This is one to sit by a fire with a friend and solve the world's problems.

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

Poured from a corked 750ml bottle into a tulip glass. The bottle lists the abv as 10% and the style as a dubbel.

Appearance: Big light tan foamy head takes up most of the glass. Dark reddish brown body. Good lacing and head retention.

Smell: Dark and fruity. Mostly of figs.

Taste: Caramel malts and dry hopping are most noticeable to me. Dark fruits are more subdued than I expected.

Photo of SkunkWorks
4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Review is from notes.

On tap at the Orlando World of Beer. Served in a St Bernardus signature glass. I've never had a quad on tap before so this should be an interesting experience.

Look: dark, musty, and bordering on a grayish purple, with a thin, one finger head that is slightly red, slightly beige. There's a bit of lacing but not a whole lot.

Smell: caramel, earthiness, some mild dark fruit, but overall this smells a bit on the light side for a quad. It has all the complexities of a quad without the "punch you in the face with flavor" qualities that is signature of other quads... at least for the aroma. Smells quite nice.

Taste: follows the nose. Some bread, caramel, and dark fruit notes stand out. The alcohol is sublimely hidden. Hints of esters from the Belgian yeast pop out also. Its not as densely flavored as other quads are, but its still quite good and quite complex.

Feel: medium tending towards thin, which is quite nice. Lively carbonation lends a crisp character that lightens up as I let it warm. The alcohol is incredibly well hidden. Very nice body.

Drink: this is the most drinkable quad I have yet to drink and so I give this the 5 rating for drinkability. It could be drank in a manner that many drink BMC if you wanted to. I had to be on guard for drinking it too fast so I could savor the flavor, but still found myself drinking this a bit quicker than I should've.

Overall, a marvelous beer. This might be my favorite quad I've had to date, even if it strikes me more as a dubbel with a quad's alcohol content. I am amazed that it was this good on tap and I am surprised I even saw it on tap. It was absolutely delicious and I am going to be getting a bottle of all of St Bernardus's offerings the next chance I get. Cheers!

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 8,102 ratings.