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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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8,199 Ratings

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Ratings: 8,199
Reviews: 2,608
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 559
Gots: 1,625 | FT: 48
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: 8,199 | Reviews: 2,608
Photo of zrab11
3.88/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark brown color with a 1 finger off white head.

S-Has strong aroma of dried fruits and toffee. Also smell some pine and maybe a hint of hops

T- Very malty up front followed by the dried fruit taste then finish's with a stong alchol taste

M-Medium bodied with ok carbonation

D-Overall id like to have this again. This was my 1st quad and it was alittle strong for me. Id like to try it in a few months and see if my taste buds enjoy it more then. Overall it was a good beer but alittle too bitter for me.

Photo of buffs9
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Have had on tap and from the bottle, both are outstanding.

Pours a deep brown some light foam that sticks around. Nose of dark fruit, fig and raisin bread. Tastes amazing; rich dark fruit, plum, raisin, toffee, some booze. Mouthfeel is nice, both creamy and crisp. Close to the perfect beer. A must try.

Photo of ghetto90007
4.82/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 11.2 oz. bottle into my Stone Old Guardian Barleywine modern-style goblet. I like this glass because it has elements of both the goblet and the tulip.

Dark brown, light tan head. After all of this talk about the "Flat Abbey" I crack this one open - made at a real abbey no less - and it fizzes over relentlessly. It was still in my fridge for hours, but almost blows up on me. Not surprisingly, the head lasts for quite some time and the lacing is on the low end of epic.

Good God, this beer smells good. I mean great. Malty sweetness, but also this floral aroma - like tulips, man. Just so pleasant and inviting. Phenomenal aroma, really.

A luxurious, warming, boozy, sweet concoction. Brown sugar and some dark fruits, but nothing extreme. This one maintains a buoyancy.

Incredibly smooth mouthfeel, despite the *overflowing* carbonation. Insanely drinkable.

This is a lovely brew. Delicate, powerful, rich, buoyant, elegant, and approachable. Just lovely.

Photo of WankelEngine
4.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle into a tulip glass

A: Pours very dark brown and completely opaque but not quite back. There is an off-white/light tan head with very good retention and decent lacing.

S: It smells of strong, dark fruits. There are notes of toffee, brown sugar, plums and other sweetness. The hops come through as a deep, earthy scent and pine which complements the sweet smell.

T: Sweet and malty upfront. There is a slightly smoky coffee flavor and many of the same fruit flavors from the smell. The flavor of alcohol is noticeable but enjoyable, especially in the aftertaste, and provides the bitter taste to counter this otherwise sweet beer.

M: Moderate in thickness, very little carbonation and a little bit syrupy.

O: An interesting beer. High in alcohol but very sweet and drinkable

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

Nice two finger head of light brownish red foam. Thick lace with moderate clinging power. Color is a 22 on the SRM beer color chart. Smell is sweet, with fragrances of raisins, currents, plums, brown sugar, toffee, roasted coffee, and molasses. Taste is quite sweet, with flavors of brown sugar, clove, raisins, plum, apricot, and roasted malt. Mouthfeel is full and creamy, but lacking a good deal of carbonation prickly sensation. Great beer overall, nice warming feeling from the goodly amount of alcohol. A little pricey, but worth another sample down the road.

Photo of 28Rock
4.46/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my very first review (nervous), so please bare with me...

Appearance: Poured it into a Trappistes Rochefort goblet, and got a dark brown, tannish color. Not much of a head (no more than a fingers worth) as I saw a youtube video saying to pour it straight down the middle.

Smell: This is where I was a bit disappointed; I was expecting a strong aroma, but it just wasn't there for me. I smelled dark fruits, but I really had to place my nose as close to the beer as possible before I got anything.

Taste: Exceptional. I was able to taste the dark fruits in the beer, which helped make my experience as good as it was. I'm not able to describe (yet) the fruits that I'm getting, but I know that because of them, the beer just tasted outstanding.

Mouthfeel: This is a heavily carbonated beer. Even as I poured it, I could here the beer fizz all the way through my pour. For having 10% ABV, this sure doesn't feel like it does- very crisp as it goes down the hatch.

Overall: This is an excellent beer, and I would definitely recommend everybody who hasn't tried it to get themselves a bottle. This is an "Abbey Ale" which is said to be the clone of the Westvletern 12, and if it really is, then I can only imagine how good the Westy 12 taste...

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

Appearance: Pours a nice full light tan head that lasts quite a bit with a creamy look and feel while peppered with bits of fruit or yeast. The beer has dark cherry red with a slight brownish tinge.

Smell: A crisp orange mixed with plums and brown sugar with a tine, nearly invisible hint of alcohol.

Taste: Fruity and sweet. I can really taste the brown sugar mixed with what I think are plums, cherries and raisins. I also get a little bit of the alcohol, which is barely noticeable.

Mouthfeel: Prickly but refreshing carbonation. A smooth feel to the beer.

Overall: Worth it. The only downside is how much this beer costs.

Photo of crnipeter
3.51/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer with obvious good aging potential has been sitting in my cellar for nearly a year and a half but still seems to need additional time for maturation, so a re-review is pending for this one. A gusher pours airy beige head with poor retention that quickly dissipates. The coppery brown body initially exhibits good clarity but gets hazed and flooded with yeasty floaties with the consecutive pourings. Aroma is an interplay of malty sweetness, fruity esters, alcohol and spiciness. The rich malt with caramel and bread crust qualities embeds strong fruity esters of grape, perfumy, spicy alcohol that flares out and peppery spiciness from yeast-derived phenols. The flavor is non-excessive malty sweetness counterbalanced by alcohol, then comes the bread crust, grape-like fruitiness and prominent peppery spiciness. Finish is medium-dry with light bitterness and alcohol warmth. Medium-light bodied with fine, effervescent carbonation that quickly dissipates leaving flat texture behind. Not as good as I remember it to be and far from my conception of the secular-version of Westvelteren 12. Too thin, with poorly masked alcohol and fruitiness limited to grapes, lacking heavenly orchard of all kind of ripe dark fruits and almond character that once possessed - or I'm just getting more demanding? (330 ml, BB date reads 17. December 2014, into the St. Bernardus goblet.)

Photo of BeerLover99
4.57/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: dark brown, cardinal red shimmer, 1 finger head, delightful lacing

S: deep fig, plum, spices, malt

T: sweet malt, spices, ripe fruit, smooth finish

M: Med/heavy body, solid carbonation

O: What a legendary brew! One of THE best beers I have EVER drank. This is always near the top of my favorite beer lists. The scary thing is this QUAD should be sipped, but you will find yourself gulping it.


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

750mL with best before date of 01.07.15 poured into a Chimay chalice. Hazy brown color with a soft tan head. The aroma has raisins and other dark fruit, molasses, yeast and spices. Huge dark fruity flavor, this is very sweet but well balanced. Really, really nice. Medium bodied, creamy mouthfeel and well carbonated. Just a great beer all around. Thanks wordemupg for this one.

Photo of jayhawk73
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Poured into my St. Bernardus Chalice. Pours a wonderful dark brown color with a perfect two finger caramel head. Lacing is one of the best I've ever seen. This looks like (and is) a world class beer. It's got that Dirty Harry vibe- "Go ahead and dare to drink me".

S- Smell is fantastic. Lots of fruit, plum, spice, malt. Not quite as strong smelling as I'd like, but that's nitpicking. Great smelling beer.

T- One of the best beers I've ever had. Period. I can count on maybe two to three fingers the beers I've had that are better, and I've been drinking craft beer for 12 years. Definitely get plum, spices, malt, and a tiny bit of alcohol. Everything works in perfect harmony, and I wouldn't change a thing. Thus, the rare 5 on taste. If any beer deserves it, St. Bernardus Abt. 12 does.

M- This beer is super smooth, silky, and feels like butter in your mouth. Can't imagine a beer having a better feel than this one. It melts in your mouth- just perfect.

O- This is a world class beer. Period. I think I reviewed an exceptional bottle, as I've had this beer many times before. This is a good bottle of it for sure. If you haven't had this beer, you owe it to yourself to try it. And if you don't 'get' this beer or the glowing reviews... well, that's more for me! It really doesn't get much better than this. Cheers.

Photo of flannelman808
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Expiration on this one is 02 03 15

Figured I was due on a review on this.

A: Muddy murky medium brown-dark brown with fine bits of sediment. Lightens up just a tad around the edges. This guy is highly carbonated, It literally looks alive as the foam bubble line (constant medium-small size) moves and does not keep flat. Good retention elsewhere ... off white fluffy head forms and keeps rather well and clings to the glass as it fades.

S: Fruity aromas jump out on top though subtle overall on the nose. Flavors of Bing cherry; Raisin, peach and cooked brown sugar come to mind.

T: So much good ... this beer is in fact a powerhouse of the style and a standard which few other Quads meet. Milky-burnt caramels, dried stone fruit flavors, and a distinct and balancing yeasty spice meet together to make this one of the most complex of its kind. Truly a kick ass brew and a steal for a $$.

M: Oprah

O: Killer

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

11.2oz bottle with best by date 11/23/15 printed on label, poured into Trois Pistoles goblet. Reviewed on 4/16/11

A: Pours a dark brown with reddish-purple hues and a beige head leaving little lacing around glass.

S: Brown sugar and spices, sweet malts with a touch of fruit and alcohol.

T: Similar to what is picked up in the nose. Lots of brown sugar and spices, plums and raisins with some alcohol all packed into sweet bready malt. Very nice combination of flavors, delicious, surprisingly refreshing and drinkable for a 10.5% ABV ale.

M: Plenty of carbonation and a medium-full body smooth from bubbly start to sweet finish.

O: Great all around trappist ale, one of my favorites. Sweet, complex and highly drinkable. One of the top Belgian beers that I can get on a regular basis.

Photo of MattyG85
4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 11.2 oz. bottle into Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Very dark brown that shows a little color when put up to light. Decent sized tan head that fades into a film coating.

Smell: A sweet aroma of dark fruits including cherries, and raisins. Hints of spice, caramel, and hops.

Taste: Strong taste of the dark fruits, caramel malt, yeasty sweetness, and spice. A lot more hop bitterness than came from the smell. A hint of chocolate in the finish. Very good balance.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a medium to high carbonation. Creamy and smooth.

Overall: A tasty sweet and well balanced Belgian Quad.

Photo of Yoonisaykul
3.85/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Damn! Excited to drink this. Been going through all th SAQs I could find trying to track this down. Almost dorve to Quebec city but finally found it 15minutes from my house at the Cavendish Mall.
Really nice looking bottle. Wish I had the right glasswae but I guess the Sam Adams perfect glass will have to do. My bottle says 10%

A- Cloudy auburn-brown. Light beige, pillowy, dense head.

S- Pretty light. I was expecting more. Kind of dusty. Usual quad dark fruit and spices but all very, very tame... maybe it's too cold.
Some molasses. Red licorice. Dark malt ( a bit stout like) in the end.

T- Tastes a bit like a maple beer. The dark fruit and spices is all quite subtle. Really getting some maple syrup in here even though it's probably just dark candi sugar. Really nice after-taste. Maybe my buds are off but this really tastes like maple syrup.

M- Kind of disappointed here. One of the top reasons I enjoy quads and great beers from Belgium is because of the mouthfeel. This is more prickly and thin than creamy and dense. Medium to high carbonation. A forgettable mouthfeel unlike my first Quad love: Chimay Grande Réserve and Rochefort 10.

O- Well this is very good. I do want more but am glad I didn't drive all the way to Quebec for it. Great beer but I still feel let down.

Photo of Mario61Aler
4.94/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

25 oz bottle
Yummy and wow.
S- is slightly hops, little malts with notes of citrus Opens with a slight pop,
A- pours very dark brown w/red highlites into a tulip glass develops a nice froth that leaves a small lace at the rim.
T- is slightly hops, light malts and citrus with a little alcohol
M- feel is smooth, starts medium to a slightly dry feel, no creaminess but finishes wonderfully with a staying taste of a GREAT beer.
O- overall my wife and I really enjoyed this one and will revisit it often, This one is great and you'd never go wrong bringing this to a dinner party or as a gift to special friends. An excellent example of the style

Photo of JRed
4.11/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown body with a reddish edge towards the bottom of the glass. An off white head sticks around for a while and leaves some pretty lacing. Subtle aroma of plums, dark fruit, candy sugar and some booze. Great flavors with some ebb and flow: grapes, slight dark fruit, medicinal notes, slight spice, warming booze, slight caramel towards the finish with some dryness. Zapping carbonation with a medium body. A hell of a Belgian potion.

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

Pours a dark murky brown. Nice dense thin tan head. Aroma is quite nice. Delicate, but nice. Aroma of yeast... fruit and spice. Hints of chocolate too.

Tastes great as well. Everything present in the aroma is here too. Yeast, fruit, and chocolate. Sort of sweet up front. But the sweetness is cut short with a slightly bitter finish. It almost tastes like the bitterness is from some dark roasted malts rather than hops. A slight warming from the alcohol, but surprisingly, the alcohol is hidden quite well.

Anyway, another nice beer these folks. Well worth a try. Highly drinkable for a 10.5% beer.

Photo of smakawhat
3.52/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a chalice/goblet.

Big feeling pop off the cork, releasing a good blast of yeast smell. Very large head that is light tan off the pour, takes much time to recede, with some tightness and retention. Gorgeous clear indian red body. Leaves a good small puck and collar while drinking also.

Smell is kind of small. Sensing some yeast , not much really going on here, a small hint of gaseous carbonation. Kind of disappointing. This isn't very open it seems. Kind of powdery too.

Taste is much improved. Small malty tones but also a spicey almost phenolic tasting hop. This is different, a feel of gaseous carbonation and malt backbone. This is not fruity tasting or sweet at all, it's kind of neat like that very unexpected. Has a nice warming pit stomach feeling too, but feels a little wet also and slight hint of tonic water taste and prickliness.

Overall it's interesting but I was expecting a bigger nose on this. It does feel very much like a sipper that's for sure. Checking my notes and re-examining the bottle says "dubbel" and this feels more like one, but probably not a fav.

Photo of deebo
4.95/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Tan thin head that lasts for about half a glass. Rich brown, chestnut mahogany color.

S-A very complex blend of yeast, malts, and hops. Aromas of Belgian yeast, toasted chocolate, sweet fruits (raisin), and rum all come out.

T-Completely balanced. Upfront I taste the sweet malts (caramel)and spicy sweet yeast. While drinking, slight banana notes and brown sugar are also detected. The hops are noticeable and tie together this great beer. Each drink has a new taste and complexity to enjoy. The high alcohol content is well hidden.

M-Thinner than some Quads but creamy, smooth and keeps you wanting another drink.

D-Unbelievable for the style-could drink this one all day-although I'm guessing the alcohol would catch up with you before you got sick of drinking this one.

Overall-this is the best Quad I've ever had-yes this includes Westvleteren 12. Excellent-if you like Quads and haven't tried this one-this is one you have to try a bottle of. This is one beer I'll be craving. Glad that it is fairly accessible.

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

A - has a reddish brown pour with a cream head and lots of lacing in the bottle , dark swirls .

S - smells of fruit and malty caramelly with hints of chocolate overall aroma is a mix of some dark fruity spicy sweetness

T - tastes heavy with caramel maltiness with hints of vanilla and spice and dried apple cherry n grape .

M - smooth and yet crisp mouthfeel with lots of carbonation and lively bold spiciness
D - excellent drinkability and delicious beer in a smooth sophisticated way , where every sip is to be enjoyed

Photo of ngeunit1
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours an opaque ruby-brownish color with a thick two fingers of frothy off-white head. The retention on the head is very good and leaves behind lots of lace on the glass.

S - Aroma is a mix of some dark fruit sweetness and also some more sugar sweetness. Some malt and spices make up a backbone to the nose. Touch of yeast and some lighter fruits.

T - Starts off with some building dark fruit flavors and some deep caramel malts. Little bit of spice in the background. Through the middle some sweeter grape flavor comes through alongside some cherry flavor. The finish has a blend of dark fruit, some roasted malt, and a touch of apple/cherry flavor that lingers nicely.

M - Medium bodied with moderate lively carbonation. Feels really smooth and crisp, even with a lot of flavor hitting the palate. Finish is just a touch dry and very nice.

D - Very drinkable. Lots of flavors that stay really well balanced, and also don't make the beer feel too heavy. The 10.5 abv here really stays in the background and makes it almost a bit dangerous.

Photo of dfclav
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a chimay goblet

A - pours a very dark caramel colored brown with a nice pillow-like 2 finger head. Active carbonation allows the head to bubble and rise, like a murky swamp, staying for several minutes.

S - a very sweet candi sugar mixed with fresh mixed berries at first whiff. Next smell reveals layers of dark fruits and Belgian yeast and bread. Very intense.

T - very sweet but not cloying first sip has flavors of ripe dark fruits and a slight mix of fresh ripe berries. Mid-palate liquor soaked more complex dark fruits followed by yeast and sweet bread. A touch of alcohol is noted but it's so well disguised it's almost like you're tasting one of those candied impersonations of a liquor. Banana and clove are more noted as the beer reaches room temp.

M - where the beer shines the most, I think. Pretty much perfect in every way. Creamy, full bodied, excellent finish, nice hop and carbonation bite for the style. Malts can hold up in the mouth for hours probably....excellent!

O - my go to quad in terms of availability and overall, this beer is a classic. A must have!

Photo of brewmudgeon
3.65/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bernardus 12

a 4 saddle brown; cloudy if the yeast is released. large foamy head diminishes quickly. persistent ring and some foamy lace.

s 3.5-4 pungently phenolic, yeasty. some band aid, clove, touch of banana.

t 3.5-4 cola nut, moderately sweet, hotly alcoholic. cloves, overripe banana skin.

m 3.5 highly carbonated, as expected. lightish medium body.

o 3.5 great anticipation. modest experience.

Photo of WeezyBoPeep
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

A: Dark brown with a reddish hue and a gorgeous tan foam head. Can't see through it.

S: Super dark fruits, cherries, raspberries and the like. Also root beer and a significant malt note. Big time ripe bananas. Amazing smell.

T: Follows the smell to a T with a really nice smooth mouthfeel. Finish that has hints of vanilla beans and a ripe fruit trace.

D: I can't see how anyone could classify this one as not drinkable.

Value: An incredible beer worth pretty much any price.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 8,199 ratings.