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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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7,217 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,217
Reviews: 2,482
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 406
Gots: 1,033 | 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: 7,217 | Reviews: 2,482 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of adamette


4.72/5  rDev +5.6%

On tap, expertly poured at Chef Paul's Bavarian House in Lisle, Illinois, my favorite place to drink beer in the world.

A Opaque, deep brown

S Mild, alcoholic smell but clearly complex, wide range of aromas

T Alcohol was apparent but what a great taste with spices, malty goodness washing over without any great hop tastes to make it bitter.

M Full, Good, Suprisingly smooth given the range of aromas.

D High ETOH content but this is an apertif, a great dessert beer.

Notes: I simply love this beer. It is my default beer at the Bier Markt in Cleveland, Ohio.

03-29-2008 16:20:32 | More by adamette
Photo of Scottasaurus


4.47/5  rDev 0%

Pour this one carefully. This brew starts off with a thick head and a strong aroma. Smells salty and bitter at first but lightens up as it breathes. The color is a very murky brownish amber full of sediment. Tastes of cloves, yeast, cinnamon, raisin, and elusive fruit. The carbonation froths up as you sip making for an exceptional mouthfeel. It's a heavy slow-drinker that tastes better as it warms up.

03-29-2008 03:30:09 | More by Scottasaurus
Photo of dill


3.8/5  rDev -15%

poured cold from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

A - deep brown in color with a thick, dense cream head.

S - very yeasty.

T - starting it cold there was a lot of caramel and yeast, and as i let it come to room temperature a lot more of the alcohol was present in the taste.

M - a surprising amount of carbonation, medium body.

D - a good, warming beer to to sip and enjoy.

03-28-2008 22:55:39 | More by dill
Photo of ckeegan04


4.2/5  rDev -6%

A - Nice dark brown with excellent head and lacing. Retention was very good as well.

S - Sweet malts with a little spice as well.

T - Sweetness up front with a little spice. Tasted a hint of alcohol but overall it is masked by the sweetness and a little spice at the end.

M/D - Very smooth and creamy. Good carbonation and an excellent drinkability.

03-26-2008 14:52:14 | More by ckeegan04
Photo of yourefragile

District of Columbia

4.4/5  rDev -1.6%

On tap at Liberty St in Allentown. Served in a goblet.

A: Hazy dark brown color with a nice one finger off white head. Nice retention and some sticky lacing.
S: Very malty, ripe fruit, slight spice, some caramel and cloves and a light alcohol background.
T: Full side of medium bodied, very creamy and smooth with appropriate carbonation. For such a big beer, alcohol has a welcome presence, but is very well hidden, nice warming effect. Strong malty body and follows the nose with a ripe fruit taste and light spiciness. Pleasant sweetness in the finish. Overall, a very nice beer, easy (at least for me) to take this beer for granted and overlook how good it is.

03-25-2008 02:50:02 | More by yourefragile
Photo of csmiley


4.2/5  rDev -6%

A - Pours dark brown in color. Head is massive with a retention that knows no end. Lacing was excellent.

S - Caramel makes up the majority of the aroma profile. Other backround notes are alcohol, yeast, and bitter fruit.

T - Caramel and sugar are at the forefront of the taste. Secondly, there are bread and yeast flavors that are also pretty strong. The bitter fruit does show itself but in a mild way and in a distant background. Alcohol is the one flavor that ties it all together.

M - Full bodied with some bite at first. They really almost went overboard on the carbonation.

D - This is a good beer. I would not have any problems having several. Recommended and worth a try.

03-24-2008 02:54:13 | More by csmiley
Photo of cswhitehorse


4.33/5  rDev -3.1%

The Abt 12 from St. Bernardus pours a dark hazy brown with a small foam head with very little retention.

The smell is spicy like cloves, sweet like brown sugar and caramel. It tastes of cloves initially and then you taste the sugars. You can taste the alcohol but it not overpowering for the high abv.

In the mouth it has an initial bitterness. Then it lingers on the tongue for a while. Overall this is a once a year beer for me but enjoyable none the less.

03-23-2008 06:12:04 | More by cswhitehorse
Photo of macster


4.33/5  rDev -3.1%

A hugely flavorful and richly complex Belgian Quad. Pours a cloudy reddish brown color beneath a thick, dense enduring off-white head.

Presents rich aromas of yeast rolls, figs, raisins, brown sugar and black licorice or anise.

The palate is full, smooth and quite chewy; especially as the ale warms.

The flavors are a myriad of dark fruitcake, toffee, caramel, malt and spices. This Quad's obvious sweetness is perfectly balanced by the 10% alcohol and just a hint of hops in the finish.

This Belgian treat would be hard to beat. Worth every $!

03-23-2008 06:08:54 | More by macster
Photo of nicksawick


5/5  rDev +11.9%

I paid the 5 dollars for one bottle of this beer because of the high reviews it received. After chilling it and them letting it sit out to get it to the 53-56 degrees that is recommended, I opened it up. I then had to wait another 5 minutes for the head to dissipate after pouring it. The wait was well worth it. For an alcohol content of 10.2% you barely taste it. The best part of the beer is the after taste. It finishes very smooth and delicious. It was a good beer to try but I could never afford to drink it on a consistent basis. I recommend to try it at least once so you can get a feel for what a real beer tastes like.

03-18-2008 00:09:44 | More by nicksawick
Photo of rxdrewthejew


4.53/5  rDev +1.3%

I think I got this at Beverage Warehouse, but I can't really remember anymore.

A: Pours a dark brown with lots of tiny bubbles rising from the bottom. Head was a very thick tan but mostly dissapates, aside from what is supported by the carbonation rising to the top.

S: Very strong champagne/grape sweetness. Even the smell is dry, which makes me wonder about the feel. A bit of earthiness and spiciness to the smell.

T: Mild funky start quickly develops into a huge bready/sweet malt along with some white wine type grape flavor. Finish is sweet sticky alcohol.

MF: Quite thick and bubbly, dances in the mouth. I guess I didn't expect this level of carbonation from such a high ABV beer. Really really dry finish. Overall this is just an assault on the mouth from a feel standpoint, but in a good way.

D: Awesome beer. So hard to just sip it due to the wine-like dryness. The flavor is really nice but not too complex. Something good year round, simple and strong. Highly recommend.

03-16-2008 06:15:55 | More by rxdrewthejew
Photo of Murchmac


3.08/5  rDev -31.1%

Thus my treks into belgians continue.

I can get into it, but not that much. The champagne like fizziness holds me back from liking most belgians.

Pours with a thick head, lacing present.

Cant smell anything but sourness.

Taste bready, sweet, acid.

Aftertaste, short, curt.

I have no idea.

03-14-2008 06:14:07 | More by Murchmac
Photo of mwilbur


4.68/5  rDev +4.7%

Poured from 1 pint 9.4 oz bottle into snifter. (Bottom of bottle says best by 05/09/10.)
A: Pours a cloudy dark brown with shades of dark yellow. Fairly thick beer. Nice creamy tan head which doesn't dissipate.
S: Very bready...like mostly cooked, but still a little doughy raisin bread. Maybe hint of spice (cinnamon?).
T: Definite dried fruit and raisin notes. Spices and malt. Bready yeast, but a little less powerful than the smell reflected...which is a good thing.
M: Thick and creamy. Wonderful mouthfeel...coats the tongue and lasts.
D: Amazingly drinkable considering the ABV. A versatile beer that would do well on its own, with a decent meal (burgers and pizza wouldn't do this one justice), with dessert, etc. This one definitely ages well (have had this one for a few years). I will definitely be coming back to this one again!

1/28/12: Decided to push a bottle past the recommended best by date of 25/07/11...
Poured into snifter from 750 mL bottle.
A: Pours a dark caramel brown with a hint of clarity around the edges. Still has a beautiful 2 inch bubbly light tan head like it was fresh brewed the other day. Good retention. (4.5).
S: Bready yeast hits from a couple feet away. Belgian spice, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg. Intoxicating and still smells fresh. (5)
T: Ah ha...it has tailed off here. Bready yeast is a bit stale, caramel malt a bit flat, spices are there but a bit off. I agree...past prime. (3)
M: Smooth, medium body. Taste still lingers nicely on the palate. A bit off a fresh bottle though. (4)
D: Lesson learned. Heed the bottle's advice and drink before the date printed on the bottle. (3.5)

03-14-2008 01:04:23 | More by mwilbur
Photo of charlesw

New York

4/5  rDev -10.5%

Yeah, yeah, yeah, don't talk about the style it's under - that's subject to change. But it says it's a dubbel. You'd think the Belgians, if anyone, would know their styles, wouldn't you? But then... Maybe this is one of the original big beers - they call it a dubbel so that it will completely blow any other dubbel out of the water in terms of, well, everything. Color, head, opacity, aroma, flavor. To name a few. So, that's all I've got to write, I guess. Enjoyed it. Won't seek it out again, but, really, enjoyed it for the style.

03-13-2008 23:45:07 | More by charlesw
Photo of iconoklaztor


2.93/5  rDev -34.5%

Pours a massive head that never seems to want to go away. Sadly after 15 min it still remains. I want to drink this damn beer. The smell was pretty much alcohol. I wasnt to impressed with this brew. I was expecting more but I just didnt find it.

Overall, I wouldn't get this again unless it was on sale.

03-12-2008 04:58:33 | More by iconoklaztor
Photo of jtneal111


4.88/5  rDev +9.2%

A-Pours cloudy dark brown with a thick, persistent off white head (2-3 fingers)

S-Smells of raisins, unknown spices, bread

T-Raisin bread, rum, spices (gingerbread?), with noticeable yet well balanced alcohol. Very complex.

M-Nice medium body, Aftertaste is sweet and warm.

D-I wouldn't drink more than a couple of these in a sitting, but to do so would decrease my appreciation for this most excellent beer.

03-11-2008 01:41:17 | More by jtneal111
Photo of HotHabanero


4.83/5  rDev +8.1%

Beige medium size and medium lasting head. Brown colour. Fruity aroma with some sweet caramel in it. Very tasty flavour: sweet caramel, dried fruit with notes of. Rich palate. Big balanced body and a round finish.
Compareable to Westvleteren and Rochefort 10.

03-09-2008 18:25:24 | More by HotHabanero
Photo of BoitSansSoif


4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

A-Nice pop when uncapping. Poured a dark, cloudy amber w/thick persistent head. Nice lacing.

S-Yeast and fine bread w/tones of raisins and dates, spice.

T-Bread w/dry dark fruits. Slightly sweet w/trace of salt and plenty of spice. Aftertaste is very agreeable sweet malts w/possible touch of hops and warming alcohol.

M-Excellent body w/out being cloying. Goes down very smoothly.

D-A very nice specimen worth the coin.

03-06-2008 07:32:38 | More by BoitSansSoif
Photo of Kraken


4.08/5  rDev -8.7%

Poured from Corked and Caged 750ml bottle.
Massive head, starts oozing from the bottle upon removing the cork. Pours a cherry brown. Smells of yeast and raisins, vine fruits, and alcohol. Head diminishes over time to thin minute bubbles, leaves nice lacing on glass. Taste of raisins, and yeast, very nice malty, slight sweetness. Thin mouthfeel, not clinging like some other quads. Sweet somewhat dry finish. Very drinkable, high alcohol content drinker beware.

03-05-2008 01:08:54 | More by Kraken
Photo of Cresant


4.4/5  rDev -1.6%

Poured this 11.2 oz brown bottle into a Westmalle goblet. Best by: 07-11-11. The body was rather clear (gentle/moderate pour). Dark cola with ruby highlights. A pithy finger of head settled to a constant film of foam. The body held some suspended flecks of yeast, otherwise it was clear. Served at/slightly warmer than suggested temperature.

Smell was of dried fruit. Figs & dates. Overripe cherries. The head audibly sizzled.

Taste was tangy and sweet. Fruity and rich. Juicy raisins. Spicy date nut bread. Very well hidden alcohol. A dessert-type of beer in my opinion. Sweet enough that I would not drink more than one in an evening.

Mouthfeel was rich but zippy. Medium to full in body.

03-04-2008 22:24:18 | More by Cresant
Photo of IgotsHops


4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Served at about 55* into a chalice

Deep deep copper brown/red that looked black straight on.
Poured with a nonoffensive off white to tan head that stayed pretty much the whole time.

Smelled of clove, dark/tart fruit, tofee, bubble gum, light banana, and a little cocoa in the back

Tasted of strong, syrupy malt with dark fruit like plum and raisin. Nice banana bread in the middle with a little homemade cough syrup with some warming alcohol that was a good kicker for the array of dark flavors

It coated my mouth like syrup, very rich but smooth. Nice crisp carbonation that made it fun to sip. Sweet medicine and dark cherry linger on the tongue.

I was only able to get through 6oz of this before I had to stop. So intense, and so thick that I couldn't go on. It was definitely an experience and one that I am glad I had. I might have this again with some food so that I don't get so buzzed off of just a few sips!

03-03-2008 16:27:02 | More by IgotsHops
Photo of larsee01


3.9/5  rDev -12.8%

11.2 oz glass brown bottle poured into glass goblet

A--Very dark brown pour with next to no light passing thru goblet. Modest head of a light-sandy color with great staying power.

S--Mild apple and sweet malt. Tiny bit of yeasty sourness.

T--Sweet fruity malt. Moderate booziness. Barely detectable metallic phenols peek out. 10.5 (!!) ABV isn't making a brash appearance. Mild and balanced with minimal bitterness. Mild pepperiness tickling sides of tounge near bready finish. Mayyybe a hint of balancing hop in finish.

M--Modest and velvety not underwhelming, but not overwhelming. Just enough tickly, tingling carbonation.

D--For a 10.5?? Hell yeah. If you are looking for a challenging strong trappist ale, this isn't challenging. Just enjoyable.

03-02-2008 03:25:05 | More by larsee01
Photo of JDV


2.38/5  rDev -46.8%

Very underwhelmed by this. Smell was decent yet somewhat faint. Smells of light chocolately roastiness, a touch of belgium yeast and metal, and mostly of raisins. The second this hits my tongue the ridiculously high carbonation basically turns the beer into foam. Feels like champagne in the mouth. Taste is a touch dark fruit, roasty, raisiny, light but standard belgium yeast character and caramel. Honestly, the mouthfeel was the worst part of it. Fizziest beer I've had in nearly 500 beers. Alcohol is hidden well, but I'd be happy to never drink this again.

03-01-2008 22:21:08 | More by JDV
Photo of goschool


4.53/5  rDev +1.3%

Appearance: The pour is amber-brown with a quickly fading tan head.

Smell: The nose has a lovely mixture of toasted malts, toffee, esters, cherry, plum, and Belgian yeast.

Taste: The flavor profile screams Winter to me. It's full of rich sweet toasted malty deliciousness. Brown sugar, caramel, and toffee are complimented by plumb, black cherry, esters, phenols, and Belgian yeast with soft hop bitterness and a kiss of warming alcohol at the finish.

Mouthfeel: It's medium-bodied and lush with plenty of carbonation.

Drinkability: There's something about this beer that makes my imagine sitting by the fire on a snowy night. I suppose it's vaguely similar in look and flavor to a spiced winter cocktail. Either way, the alcohol, while fairly high, adds a faint sweet warming note, yet it doesn't overwhelm my palate.

02-29-2008 22:25:17 | More by goschool
Photo of t0rin0


4.43/5  rDev -0.9%

This beer is a very close 2nd to the Val-Dieu Grand Cru as far as quadrupels that I've tried go. Its a treat every time I've had it.

The beer pours a dark brown, darker than most of the quadrupels that I've had. Hazy and there are noticeable chunks of yeast floating around in there. Thats the only negative on the appearace. The head is rather tall and fluffy and tan. Lots of carbonation.

The smell is of yeast and malt. Not real complex, actually very simple. That yeast and the dark malts are both very strong. This is a very aromatic beer. A bit sweeter and richer than the 60th anniversary version. There is a little alcohol smell at warmer temps but its not distracting in the least. Can't detect a lot of spices unless I'm confusing them with the yeast in the beer.

The taste is sweet with some bitterness. The yeast chunks floating around probably contribute to this. Some dark fruit flavors come out with a small hint of roasted malt (very small hint). Sugary for sure but can't tell if thats candi sugar or just a lot of malt.

Its too bad that these bottles are so small because this is something I'd like to drink by the pint.

02-29-2008 21:49:39 | More by t0rin0
Photo of blakesell


4.15/5  rDev -7.2%

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into a Belgian chalice style glass. Best before 5-24-12, relatively fresh.

Appearance- Beer pours cloudy and dark brown with a huge pillow of foam that comes to a foamy rocky head of tan and cream bubbles that rise to the alarming edges of the glass, but not to worry, this is the correct glassware. Head subsides and lingers, clinging softly to the glass. Not much visibility, but one can see various floaties running around in the glass.

Smell- Yeasty and creamy with the very unmistakable St. Bernardus yeast. Thick fumes of cream, almond, raisins, plums, and of course belgian yeast. Not a lot in the smell in the way of spices. No real hop nose. Malty and thick with just enough wheat.

Taste- Wow, just like I remembered every time. Heaven in a bottle. Thick with the yeast once more that I love so much. Figs, hazelnuts, raisin, plum, a decent level of wheat malt and rich Belgian pale malts. A bit warming with alcohol which strikes me as a bit off.. I guess time on every other bottle I have had has done the beer a bit more good. Still amazing all around. A bit spicey but only due to the yeast. No outside spices on the tongue. Light caramel flavours.

Mouthfeel- A bit heavy on the alcohol, creamy, high carbonation, thick and rich. Somewhat warming.

Drinkability- Great for an occasional faux trappist treat. Good for a session? Not quite, but I would enjoy a day of Bernardus just for grins.

02-26-2008 02:08:02 | More by blakesell
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,217 ratings.