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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.

7,714 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,714
Reviews: 2,533
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 471
Gots: 1,235 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of St. Bernardus Abt 12 Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,714 | Reviews: 2,533 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beerwolf77
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my chimay goblet the beer is dark chocolate brown with a full inch of tan head. A slippery lace ring is left around the rim after some warming and settling.

The aroma is pure candied dark fruits, fresh bread dough, cocoa, spices and a slight boozy tone that makes my mouth water.

The flavor is a super smooth mix of malt, candied fruit, cinnamon toast, citrus, slight chocolate, and a kiss of hops. WOW!

The feel rich and smooth. Has some bite to it with above average carbonation.

Overall this a fantastic beer. I can see why it gets so much praise. Like liquid big boy candy.

beerwolf77, Nov 28, 2009
Photo of Westsidebuddha
4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought at 7-11 at Highland Park, Calif.

Poured a dark brown color with a nice head. The smell of raisins instantly hits my nose. Nice slight nutty flavor on the first taste. Can taste the alchohol in the mouthfeel but not overwhelming. Good drinkability all around. Definitely good on a cold winter night. Could drink another bottle.

Westsidebuddha, Nov 27, 2009
Photo of slk22
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours cola brown with heavy turbidity and a large cream-colored head. Beautiful and very inviting. Aroma jumps right out of the glass. Huge complexity here, but I am clearly getting raisins, plum, cherry, amaretto, fresh-baked bread, and a hint of alcohol. Flavor is complex as well. Sweet and fruity up front with unripe cherry, amaretto, and caramel malt. Alcohol is definitely noticeable at the beginning and in the finish, but not offensive, and gives an immediate warming feeling that is quite pleasant. I'm not a big fan of alcohol flavor, but this is quite enjoyable. Carbonation is high tickling the tongue and body is medium. Overall, a delicious beer. I would have several if not for the high ABV.

slk22, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of flagmantho
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750mL bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: highly opaque dark tawny brown. Enormous four-finger head which, while very nice, will make this difficult to drink.

Smell: the first thing I notice is that it is quite grainy. There are some fruit aromas, notably plum, but mostly grain. As it warms, I get more of the nice fruit aromas than grain; it's good, but aroma is Abt 12's weak point for me.

Taste: malty, grainy and full of dark fruity flavors. I'm glad to say it is significantly better than the aroma, but, frankly, that wouldn't take much. Fruit concentration is plums and raisins. As the beer warms the fruit complexity gets much broader and deeper: I get some pear, some cherry; really, it's quite delicious.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a fantastic carbonation. It is supple and velvety; perfectly divine. I love it.

Drinkability: a nice flavor profile combined with an out-of-this-world texture make this a deceptively drinkable beer, despite its incredible ABV. I enjoy it quite a lot.

flagmantho, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.95/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

330ml bottle served in a Westvleteren chalice.

A: Pours a dark amber almost brown color forming a creamy and very persistent beige head. A lot of lacings are formed and left in the glass

S: Sweet, fruity and very malty. Strong notes of dark fruits (plums and raisins), caramel malts, roasted malts, candy sugar, vanilla, brown bread and liquor. Very bready and earthy Belgian yeasts. A bit of alcohol can be felt too

T: Very complex. Again, sweet, malty and very fruity. Strong notes of dark fruits, candy sugar, caramel, caramel malts, roasted malts, brown bread, earthy Belgian yeasts. Finish is slightly bitter

M: Full creamy and molasses body. Good carbonation. Sweet and malty aftertaste

O: Excellent drinkability! A Belgian Quad masterpiece

eduardolinhalis, Nov 24, 2009
Photo of wyattshotmaker
3.98/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured into a tulip,nice ruby brown with a nice persistent head.nice lacing. nose has medicinal phenols, dark fruit,clove,yeast spice, bit of alcohol.

dark fruit,molasses,peppery,medicinal phenolic taste,heat from the alcohol in the finish.overall pretty sweet.pretty interesting.

somewhat light bodied for how big this beer is.not sure if this is what i pictured the cousin of the best beer in the world as.

wyattshotmaker, Nov 21, 2009
Photo of brownbeer
4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown with some reddish hues around the edges with a thin, but lasting, tan head.

The aroma is compact with raisin, alcohol, and a Belgian yeast breadiness.

Light caramel and raisin are recognizable. It's all a bit restrained really. It doesn't seem like there would be enough flavor to hide the alcohol as well as it does.

Malty and smooth with a firm bottle conditioned carbonation.

Sometimes less is more.

brownbeer, Nov 21, 2009
Photo of JVEyck309
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into chalice - velvet/suede looking rich brown with ruby hues in the light head falls quickly into patchy lacing- sweet malts dark fruits a tad vanilla and whatever else - tastes as good as always, a very special brew to indulge in, a classic quad. sweet delicious beer! Mouth has just the right amount of carbonation and alcohol is slowly warming, not too hot considering the abv. This is up there with the bests.. cheers

JVEyck309, Nov 19, 2009
Photo of davod23
4.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into an oversized wine glass.

It's a deep, ruby-tinged brown color, quite murky. A big, billowing off-white head quickly forms. It sticks around a while as a thin cap, but by the end of the glass is gone, save for a few wisps of cirrus clouds on the surface. Only a bit of lacing remains.

I love the smell of this beer. This is actually the beer that really got me started on craft beer. Thus, it is very nostalgic for me. I will attempt to be as impartial as possible. The aroma is beautiful and complex, with raisins, prunes, figs, sweet malt, and a bit of alcohol shining through. It's very similar to Westy 12, but brighter and more explicitly fruity.

Taste followed the nose. Sweet dark fruits, rum-soaked raisins, some noticeable boozy heat (that does not detract).

The mouthfeel starts off just a little too carbonated for my liking, which reduces the score just a notch. But about halfway through the beer, it's perfect. Thick, chewy, full, it dances on your palate.

Drinkability is fantastic for the style. If I didn't have to work in the morning, I might go have one or two more. But this beer is quite strong, and I see that as being potentially dangerous.

Wonderful beer.

davod23, Nov 18, 2009
Photo of Richardberg
4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - pours a solid brown with thick foam & lace

S - sweet caramel malt, some pepper & spice, hint of citrus

T - everything you'd expect from the smell, wrapped in a rich body. Alcohol is present but doesn't come close to getting in the way. Aftertaste remains sweet but not cloying.

M - full, velvety smooth (especially for a beer only moderately dark), with a very fine tingle

D - really should be a sipping beer, but I find no need to be reserved about quaffing it. I don't think it's as interesting / complex as some here, so it's not about to become an everyday thing, but definitely a solid Belgian.

Richardberg, Nov 17, 2009
Photo of MPLS
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Always a good value to buy this in a bottle, but reviewing the tap.

A: Have to love bars with individual glasses for an individual beer. Color is Dark Brown/slight amber hue in this lighting. The pour seemed delicate, less head than a remember.

S: Valorous sweetness, cocoa + dark fruits is what it was first described to me as and I pick up on that. Alcohol is there, small amounts of spice, other unrecognizable dark colored matter!

T: Taste much like the aroma...a good sweetness that cannot be described right away, I'll give it the cliche "it's complex" taste line. The alcohol isn't masked but works wonderfully as I am struggling to figure out what dominates the flavor of this beer. It's sweet, but not overly, glimpse of hops in the finish. Sweet, earthy, delicious.

M: Medium bodied, trace carbonation, warming.

D: ABV doesn't quite scare me away, especially when taking delightful little sips. This was the first Belgian Quad I tried, so there is a soft spot for it...a spot it deserves.

MPLS, Nov 13, 2009
Photo of OneDropSoup
4.03/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on draft at 6 & Save in New Kensington, PA.

Poured into a tulip a deep brown with purple-ruby highlights, a finger-and-a-half of creamy tan head with a little lacing. Head falls halfway.

Smell is sweet & rich, dark fruit, caramel, a little vanilla, some booze as it warms.

Tastes of dark fruit (cherries, figs), malty flavor almost syrupy sweet, alcohol.

Full-bodied with some carbonated prickliness. Alcohol brings some heat, especially as the beer warms.

A big old beer, makes it a sipper. Exemplifies the style very well, but I can't say there's anything here to wow me about it. Granted, it's going to be pretty great, but I didn't find any je ne sais quois to push it over the top.

OneDropSoup, Nov 12, 2009
Photo of seand
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark opaque brown, with a thick foamy tan head. The head retains pretty well, leaving thick foam for quite a while, with very nice lacing.

S: Yeasty, spiced, sweet. Thick syrupy dried fruit-like sweetness, with a hint of brown sugar.

T: Full, complex, and sweet, nutty and earthy. The sweetness has a bitter edge, especially through the finish.

M: Medium to high smooth carbonation, full bodied. Long lasting aftertaste.

D: This is one to take slow and appreciate, both due to it's interesting flavors and high ABV. It's definitely not difficult to drink, however.

seand, Nov 11, 2009
Photo of CrazyDavros
3.6/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours copper with a large (very large) persistent head, leaving lots of lacing.
Aroma is a rich mix or red wine, doughy yeast, rose-like perfume and chocolate.
Flavours are similarly rich but overshadowed by noticeable alcohol. Lots of doughy yeast, caramel and chocolate though.
Rich body, high carbonation, a bit over the top.
No where near as complex as I expected, and that alcohol needs to be tamed.

CrazyDavros, Nov 09, 2009
Photo of mcann2pu
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

a- poured into my left hand brewing glass a dark brown color, some sediment was visible, lacing visible, head foamed up a bit when I opened the bottle so there is a good deal of carbonation in this one,

s- sweet malty smell from the glass, maybe a sweet fruity fresh raison smell,

t- a rich malt taste is prominent in this one,

m- amazing!, I think this was the real strong point of this beer for me, the carbonation really works well here in my opinion,

d- good, the rich malt taste and the delicious mouthfeel really make this one worth it, overall this was a great beer and I would diffidently recommend it to anyone looking for a great beer to try,

mcann2pu, Nov 04, 2009
Photo of mrmanning
4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle- At the Alex P. Keaton in London, Ontario. Poured a dark brown body, medium beige head. HUGE sediment visible....almost syrup looking. Nice lacing, and the head seems to form rings in the middle of the body, very distinct. Perfect. Aromas are black licorice, rasins and prunes, saltiness, and some floral spiceyness. Taste is floral, spicy, rasins and prunes , sweet an salty, licorice too. Nice! Finish is alcohol, bitter sour aftertaste too. Great example of the style! Watch out Westy!

mrmanning, Nov 03, 2009
Photo of Kadonny
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into my Chimay chalice glass.

A: A dark mahogany color with a one finger off white head. Nice glass lacing that eventually recedes back into the glass.

S: Dark fruits and caramel sweetness just overcome the nose. A bit of yeasty spice too.

T: Fruit flavors jump out with large amounts of grape, some cherry, fig and plum that are overcome by the caramel sweetness with some hints of cinnamon and maybe vanilla. The yeasty spice clove flavor is subtle, but very nice and compliments the other flavors well. Finish is dry and tart with just a hint of hop bite. Nice long lasting finish. World class beer.

M: Full, coating with just a hint of alcohol warming at the end.

D: Wow, for that ABV? Incredibly high.

Overall a world class Quad. I tasted this back to back to a Rochefort 10 and I thought this beer was a much better offering as it provided a more balanced mouthfeel. Great, great beer.

Kadonny, Nov 02, 2009
Photo of Flightoficarus
4.68/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Serving type - 11.2 oz bottle into glass

Appearance - This one pours a deep, rich mahogany color, with a huge foam head that lasts several minutes. After it subsides, it leaves a nice, thick lacing around the glass. This beer means business.

Smell - Brown sugar, Belgian Candi, Molasses, dark fruit (cherries, raisins).

Taste - Lots of dark fruit, with moderate spiciness. Sweet, rich malts with a flavor like that of the smell. Hidden alcohol, minimal hops. Complex, and absolutely delicious.

Mouthfeel - Rich, creamy, and full bodied (expected for a beer of this ABV). Makes you want to savor each sip.

Drinkability - Deceptively drinkable for it's ABV, but it's still a sipper.

Overall - A great example of this style, and one of my personal favorite beers. Highly recommended!

Flightoficarus, Nov 02, 2009
Photo of mirish72
4.18/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay goblet after a 10-15 minute warm up period on the counter.

Pours a mahogeny red with visible yeast throughout the beer. One finger head with nice lacing.

Has a sweet aroma, smells of fruit and spices. I could smell this one when I opened the beer and it was almost wine like. There was a good deal of carbonation to start with.

Tastes like it smells, and it got smoother as it settled. There is a dry finish and nice balance overall. Hides the 10.5% ABV well and was very drinkable.

mirish72, Nov 02, 2009
Photo of Travlr
4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Muddy chestnut amber with sediment left in the bottle. Medium white head, very nice lacing. Aroma of dates, raisins and cinnamon with a hint of vanilla. Taste has multiple dried fruits in a subtle and complex combination. Improves with age. Tasted at the brewery in Watou.

Travlr, Oct 31, 2009
Photo of BillyBoysPie
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at the Nachbar, Louisville, KY - poured in a St. Bernardus Chalice.

Dark ruby/garnet color, beautiful pale/light tan head about half an inch thick. The head retention was slim, typical for a high alcohol beer. Lacing covered the entire glass when I had finished. Quite beautiful.

Smell of spices and dried figs. Some malt presence, but not overpowering the complexity (and main interest) of the dried fruit/spice character. No heavy notes of alcohol, but it is present on the palate.

Taste is quite what one would expect from the smell - rich dried fruits and spice dominate the flavor with malts and a touch of bitter to finish the flavor. I don't really feel the alcohol at all, and drinking this over the course of 30 minutes didn't have any effect.

Well balanced mouthfeel - the carbonation offsets what could have been a boring texture. Nothing overdone in this beer.

I'll be having this again. A delicious Quad that is a great introduction to this style of beer.

BillyBoysPie, Oct 31, 2009
Photo of cdkrenz
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this brew cellared since the summer of 2007. I've done my best to keep the temperature between 55 and 65 degrees while making sure my cellar is free from sunlight. Let's give it a try.

A - This beer just came alive again. It has a ton of action and the head is a perfect light tan color and is as frothy as can be. There is allot of suspended yeast here.

S - Sweet cherry aroma with a malt background.

T - The flavors of sweet brown sugar, malt and hint of alcohol.

M - The feel is a bit fizzy. It has allot of action going on which is evident in the texture.

~ This is a very good brew. It's a beauty and smells just as good as it looks. It seems very complex in the flavors and feel, but I think overall, I will certainly partake in this abby again.

cdkrenz, Oct 31, 2009
Photo of drabmuh
4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked bottle without a freshness date into a St. Bernadus goblet. Beer is brown, high haze, white head made up of smallish bubbles, lacing on glass, carbonation mild.

Aroma is very weak and subtle. Some sweetness a little alcohol, no hops or roast.

Beer is full bodied and smooth. Yeasty flavor, tons of malt, some sweetness from the malt / alcohol. This is a really good beer. It is not as good as I remember though. I feel like I've had better quads to date. I will try it again and review it again in the future, even though I'm giving it a good review now, it didn't live up to my memory.

drabmuh, Oct 29, 2009
Photo of infi
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL - best before 24/01/13; bottled on 24/01/08.

Poured into a snifter.

Gentle pour reveals a frothy off-white head about two fingers in width with soapy sheets of fine bubbled lacing on the glass. Great retention time and size. A translucent and reddish mahogany color fills the glass along mini streams of bubbling action. A conglomerate of sediment can be found floating throughout the liquid when held to the glass. There's actually a considerable amount, I don't know whether to be intimidated or amazed. As per the Belgian template, Belgian yeast, candied sugar and caramel are immediately noticeable along with the dark fruity qualities of figs, dark cherries and raisins. There's also the great bready presence of the malt, clove spiciness and slight heat of the booze.

Great intermingling of flavors as you take a sip. Right off the bat is the malt breadiness alongside the dark fruits mixed in quite well. Caramel sweetness smooths out the transition to the end of a mild hop bitterness and clove spiciness. As it warms up, hints of vanilla appear and add to its already pronounced appeal. The alcohol is actually no where to be found in the taste. This exudes great complexity and refinement.

The mouthfeel is light- to medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. Just enough on the tongue with no aggressive feel. The 10.5% ABV is very well hidden - it's not as predominant as the Rochefort 10. Therefore, it's a bit higher on the drinkablity scale. Still a sipper, but not one you would want to intentionally let sit. This is very much enjoyable and flavorful. I can't imagine how much better this could get with a few years on it, let alone it being the next best quad only to Westy 12.

*Originally reviewed on October 24, 2009.

infi, Oct 27, 2009
Photo of david18
3.68/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I wanted like this beer more than I did but I have to say i was a little mixed on it. Good color and good dark fruit flavor and aroma but in general it wasn't a stand out quad that I wanted it to be. A very dark brown, decent carbonation but not as good as I wanted it to be.

david18, Oct 26, 2009
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,714 ratings.