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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.

6,965 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,965
Reviews: 2,469
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 380
Gots: 917 | FT: 34
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)
View: Beers (12) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,965 | Reviews: 2,469 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Umbra


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

Enjoyed via the bottle during yesterday's successful tailgate.
Poors a woodsy brown with reddish highlights. Tan light head with nice lacing and incredible retention.
Fruity bready nose comes through in the flavor as well. May have been some choco bits in there. Tingly carbonation, but smooth and creamy on the mouth. Slight warmth comes through and the ETOH becomes more pronounced as it warms. Way too drinkable for a quad.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2006 18:37:49 | More by Umbra
Photo of zeff80


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

A - Pours out a brownish/burgandy color with a two-finger head. Left very nice belgian lacing.

S - Smelled of malt, fruit and cloves.

T - It was malty with a dried fruit taste and some spicy bitterness.

M - It is crisp/sharp and medium-bodied.

D - A very good quad. The flavors are amazing.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2006 05:03:24 | More by zeff80
Photo of mntlover


4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown with chestnut hints nice and murky. Sports a small one finger tanish head that falls to a ring very sparse lace.

Aroma is nice malty and fruity nice brown sugar aromas covering figs and apples. Good relaxed inviting smells going on very enjoyable.

Taste is malty dark fruits raisins, plums, figs mixed with nice sweet brown sugars. Mellow spice vanilla hints mixed with cloves that linger. Some hints of alcohol but they blend well into the flavor. Taste is good maybe better the 4.0 but mouthfeel cuts into the taste score.

Mouthfeel is not as smooth and creamy as the Westy 12, little too much fizz on this one for my tastes but it does mellow some as it sits. Of course thats my biggest complaint about most quads.

Drinkability is good, enjoyable flavors but not a sub for Westy 12 as some claim. Might have rated this one higher but hard to do after having the best. Maybe the 60th Anniv will be better.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2006 02:27:00 | More by mntlover
Photo of wedge

North Carolina

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

Deep reddish brown hue with a beautiful tight, frothy tan head that sticks to the glass in small patches. Aromas are deep and richly fruity - very dark and soft - sweet and lightly bready with a bit of spice. Taste is equally as soft but very layered...malty, rich, and smooth with a dark, raisin-like fruitiness. A woody hint here and there. Dry, fruity, near-musty yeast quality. Creamy mouthfeel floats around easily in the mouth.

A very soft, complex, delicious ale. Let it warm up to get the best experience. I feel like I need another glass to fully grasp this beer, but unfortunately, I'm fresh out. Perhaps a side-by-side with the 60th anniversary soon? Very soon I think.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2006 00:38:33 | More by wedge
Photo of tastybeer

North Carolina

4.68/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Color is a very pleasing mahogany with ruby highlights where light passes through. Head is a slight pinkish tan color, of tight foam and a good size. Retention is awesome. Nose is extensive in complexity and depth. Dark smooth fruits, chocolate, cloves, bread, yeast, and a friendly alcohol amount compliments the sweetness. Taste is wonderful. So thorough; layered but blended with a large range of flavors. No off flavors to distract, a perfect moderate but champagne like carbonation, and a warming alcohol touch. Mouthfeel is very soft and smooth with a nice amount of weight to it. Coats the mouth very nicely. Drinkability is great for a quadrupel!

Delightfully a delicious, non confrontational/friendly beer. I want another.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2006 00:26:51 | More by tastybeer
Photo of geetlord


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

This beer poured very dark amber nearly opaque, with a thick head.
Just after pouring I smelled malts nuts whisps of smoke, and very ripe fruits.
The flavor was expectedly malty a little spicy, it had dark ripe fruits, plums, cherries, some tart apple, The finish was smooth and hinted of coffee, and some warming alcohol. the mouthfeel was well ballanced with carbonation and I really liked the thickness of the beer in my mouth.
Overall I think this is my secnd or third favorite quad to date, and more readily available than some of teh others that i like.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2006 03:11:47 | More by geetlord
Photo of Beertroop

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

App- This beer pours a dark chocolate color. A delicious look to it with a nice smooth fluffy head that lasts a while.

Smell- Ounce poured it had a rich aroma, a hint of maple syrup to it. This sweetness gives it the disguise that you can’t tell really
the strength of this brew.

Taste- The foamy lace its what first touches your tongue, then comes the sweet tastes like the maple smell. The alcohol becomes more apparent as you drink this brew. Definitely no words to describe how nice it was to drink this excellent brew with my father and brother over the football game.

Mouthfeel- Definitely a full-bodied beer with a good character depth. Easy to taste and definitely satisfied a thirsty palate.

Drinkability- Pure taste that didn't let me down. Great Brew overall.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2006 03:47:43 | More by Beertroop
Photo of rarevos

New York

4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into goblet.

A: Pours an opaque chocolate brown with thick, fluffy head. Head has wonderful staying power, almost a permanence. Light tan, creamy looking, and composed of tiny bubbles.

S: Bready up front, with some dried fruit (cherries, figs, tangy cranberries) and some spice (clove, cinnamon). This has a lot going on.

T/M: Malty up front in the form of a nice, warm breadiness (fresh-baked bread) and some sweet, fruity malt. Bit of a vinousness in the middle, with some dates and figs. Finish has a hint of alcohol (I can only assume this mellows as it ages; this is a pretty fresh bottle, ~6 months old), some chocolate, toffee, and a rumminess. Very warming. Mouthfeel is full-bodied, creamy, and big.

D: As Richard Hugo may have written, "believe you and I drink tiny and wise, and would if we could drink this and go on."

This is a beer, friends. Cheers.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2006 01:19:36 | More by rarevos
Photo of scott


3.7/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The aroma when I first opened it led me to no higher expectation than what I was smelling. Poured nicely into a challis it was packed with. Dark copper body with faint head, much like a homemade sun tea without the foam.
In all honesty, this beer is very reminiscent of a Long Island, with cider-esque notes. Thick and somewhat chewy, this would go well with a hearty meal, with the striking ability to clean the palate with carbonation. Right now, I'm not eating, so it's only very good.
Raisins, figs and other assorted sun fruits noticeable. I like this.
Don't love it, though.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2006 23:52:36 | More by scott
Photo of supercolter


4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this is a big beer... It outmanned me I have to be honest...

Appearance- very, very good. Lots of tan head, that slowly creeps back down. Lacing is quite oily as well.
Smell- very good, smells like dates or raisins, and lots of dry malt smell
Taste- is very similar to the smell, except there is a hint of chocolate and alcohol
Mouthfeel- medium to heavy with a decent amount of life
Drinkablity is good for the style.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2006 04:14:08 | More by supercolter
Photo of terrabyte


3.88/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a black glass with a medium to thick tan head that didn't last long. When held to the light, it is a dark cloudy ruby color.

Smell is quite syrupy, high sweet malt liquor aroma.

Wow, this is sweet. Reminds me of a brandy or port flavor, along with thickness. Fruits involved must be dark like raisin, prunes, dates. A heavy aftertaste that burns your nose as you breath out. There is also a mellow caramel smoothness that is enjoyable.

This can be a tough beer to be drinkable. It's very strong in liquor and sweetness. For its strength I consider it quite drinkable. There are no negative flavors, bitterness, or harshness. It should also be mentioned that the more you drink of it, the better it gets.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2006 00:39:57 | More by terrabyte
Photo of jhu1995


2.75/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Overall, I thought this beer was a bit underwhelming and not worthy of its high regard. I know I am in the minority but this beer just did not agree with me.

It started out great, with a dark brown color and fluffy tan head. Smelled great, with lots of dried fruit aromas, mostly raisin and prunes.

The taste was disappointing. Thought the caramel malt flavor dominated too much and did not notice any fruitiness or sweetness to the flavor. Stronger alcohol presence but that was somewhat expected, given the ABV.

Thought it was full-bodied and somewhat silky on the tongue, but the drinkability was awful. I could not finish it. I enjoyed Rochefort 10 much more than this beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2006 01:15:04 | More by jhu1995
Photo of Morris729


4.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep brown mahogany color with a tall pillowy tan head that dissipates in chunks leaving a rocky lace behind. A yeasty mustiness is present in the nose along with a bit of banana and clove and a hint of vanilla. Taste begins with a brown sugar sweetness and toffee-like malt along with mildly spicy clove followed by some notes of juicy dark plums and cherries. Finish is like chocolate covered rum-soaked raisins. Simply delicious—a marvelous beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2006 04:56:42 | More by Morris729
Photo of BigRedN


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

From Notes. Final beer consumed on trip to Fort Worth, TX. I had contemplated whether or not to purchase this as I didn't really have the proper glassware for it but thought, When am I ever going to have another chance again?

Appearance: Poured from a corked and cages 750 into a red wine glass. The beer is a dark amber, becoming a dark ruby red when held to the light. A nice 1/2 inch head forms, leaves good lacing.

Smell: A bit bready malt at first whiff, becoming a little yeasty as it warms. Some caramel malt heare, dark fruits (plum, fig, prune) as well. A touch earthy (musty?). Almost wine or brandy like, very complex. Aromas typically associated with hops aren't overtly present.

Taste: Much like the smell, this is a nicely complex beer, truely one to share with a big wine buff. If taste is tied to smell, this beer helps to prove it for me. I am assaulted by a chewy biscuity taste followed by the dark fruits and slightly rasted caramels. Bitterness is kept to the back, just a touch bitter on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Lightly carbonated, a little heavy. I would call this full in body, robust. A bit chewy, warms my throat and chest (the alcohol I would guess) as it slides down.

Drinkability: A nice warming beer, as close to wine as any beer I have had. Stands up well to the hype. I doubt that this is a beer I would have often, but if it was available to me it would be nice to have once in a while, just to truely enjoy a good beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2006 04:36:57 | More by BigRedN
Photo of DaveFL1976


4.18/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Westvleteren glass (don't tell St. Bernardus!).
The body is a cross between ruby red and mahogany brown. Extremely pretty. The head is long-lasting, light tan, and sticks to the side of the glass like super glue.
The smell -- oh yum. Beers like these take beer to a whole new level. Spicy, sweet, a bit of malty roastyness. Alcohol is quite obvious, too
However, in the taste, the alcohol is barely noticable. Tons of sweet (but not too sweet maltmake up the start of the taste, followed by the dark fruit taste that you hope for in a good Belgian. Then the alcohol comes through as a bit of tartness at the end. Nice and complex. Some people say this is better than Westvleteren. I don't agree. It's damn good in its own right, but they're totally different beers. Mouthfeel is charged with CO2, not as creamy as some Belgians. Drinkability suffers a tad bit because of the intense carbonation, but is still well above average.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2006 00:17:39 | More by DaveFL1976
Photo of loving44


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

Poured a deep brown with ruby highlights into a St. Bernardus goblet. Tight bubbly off-white head that clings to the glass and fades to 1/2". Looks special :D

Smells of rum soaked raisins, tart plum, chocolate, caramel, and alcohol. It smells thick if that makes any sense!

The first sip filled my mouth with rich malt, lots of dark fruits as the nose hinted: dark cherry, plum, raisin, lots of buttery essences, very sweet with a slight bitter hop aftertaste. This is followed by slight alcohol bitterness.

Mouthfeel is velvety smooth. The beer glides on a tight layer of bubbles and fills the mouth easily. Dangerously drinkable as well.

In the past the samples of this that I have had from the bottle have been dominated a little too much by the alcohol, while on tap versions have been a little on the sweet side. This is the best I have had of this variety to date, and I think the beer's temperature played a big part. do not serve this too cold!

In case you wondered ( and you probably didn't) This beer came from a St. Bernardus gift box which included four beers and a glass. Label code/date: 280710

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2006 05:45:46 | More by loving44
Photo of dbalsock


4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Theme of this beer review: Brown sugar

Appearance: The color was a nice brown sugar, with light carbonation and a thin vanilla head (with wonderful retention). It was colored lighter than I expected, but was very beautiful.

Smell: Not as pronounced as other quads, I picked up some fruityness (apples and raisons) and some brown sugar.

Taste: Again the apple and the brown sugar dominate, with a possibility of cinnamon. There was a slight breadiness to the brew too, but only after warming for awhile.

Mouthfeel: Thin to medium bodied... it was actually thinner than I was hoping for. It coated the palate nicely.

Drinkability: There are more drinkable quads out there, and I probably won't have this one again. But given a choice between this and 99% of other beers in the world... I'll take this.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2006 00:34:22 | More by dbalsock
Photo of ryantupy


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

A 750ml bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A - A creamy chocolate brown with a hazle nut hue and light fluffy head that eventually dissolves and leaves a nice lace.

S - Sweet malty notes with tons of fruit flavor and even burnt toffee notes in there. A small amount of hops sneak through as well.

T - Roasted malts with hints of burnt toffee, caramel, buttery sweetness, huge fruit character. Sweet at first with a small bite in the finish.

M - Smooth and easy to drink. The alcohol warms towards the end but still remains easily drinkable.

D - Smooth and a great beer that is easily drank and enjoyed

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2006 20:05:28 | More by ryantupy
Photo of Alanthebeerguy


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

Wow, This is an awesome beer. I tried it on recomendation of a bartender and she brought me this, it is so tasty. Reminded me a little of Newcastle in apperance and mouthfeel. It was a very heavy beer so after two I felt like I had just had a large meal. But without a doubt St. Bernardus is for sure on my top five list

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2006 06:31:35 | More by Alanthebeerguy
Photo of cyden


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

I picked this one up on a beer run to ATL to Green's in Midtown, A friend and I browsed in the celler and he picked this one up.

Very nice color from the bottle rich and inviting as soon as it hits the glass. The aroma hit instantly as well, sweet and delicious like a fruit spread but not syrupy sweet aroma.

Carbonation was light and the mouthfeel was not to bold. I enjoyed the feel of this beer in my mouth very drinkable but not in bold drinks, savor this one like a wine. Take a nice drink and hold it in your mouth to truely appreciate the sweetness of the fruit tones in this one. Not quite as good a finish maybe if cellered longer the carbonation would be higher and finsh it off a little better but I still give it a 5 just for the complexity of it all.

very nice and a good beer to give as a gift instead of wine for the holidays this year.

Everyone enjoy!

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2006 20:40:41 | More by cyden
Photo of uberabr


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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip. I would prefer to drink this type of beer from an oversized wine glass, but have had trouble distinguishing smells with the St. Bernardus brews in thick, wide glasses.

A: A unique, solid, milk-chocolate brown . A slight red hue but mostly the murky candy brown. Head is light and fluffy but recedes relatively fast. Settles with good, lasting lace.

S: Fruity banana with some citrus, a little bit of grapefruit. There's a very unique, sweet peanut-brittle effect. Very peppery, and a slight sourdough with lingering vanilla. A little bit of hop, and the malt comes through a tad too. Overall, not extremely powerful or unique but pleasant and refined.

T: Crisp and warming. A spicey, roasted caramel malt. A buttery, apricot, frosted lemon-cake taste. Sweet and a little sour with a definite roasted, peppery bite and a sugary, popcorn-jelly belly type sweetness. It has the distinct Belgian maltyness but all in all the 10% is masked very well; a classy take on what could be an offensive maltiness. Not a lot of bitterness either. Very well done but confident (It's easier to use anthropomorphisms with American ales, but oh well). I rarely rate taste higher than smell with beers of this quality, but this one does it.

M: Goes down real easy, a mouth-watering effect. Well carbonated, moderate body, and sugary aftertaste.

D: This is a very quaffable Belgian. Extremely smooth for such a stong beer. Sweet all the way down. Very nice.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2006 08:30:44 | More by uberabr
Photo of kirok1999


4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bought a 22oz and 12oz at the same time. Cracked the 12oz first.

Pours a beautiful dark, dark honey with a nice head and decent lacing.

Smells like candy, dark fruits predominate, super sweet and juicy.

Tasts just the same, very sweet with massive fruit notes and juicy mouthfeel. Definitely a sipping brew. Alcohol warms quite a bit. Wish I had a fire going and some nice cheese.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2006 22:14:46 | More by kirok1999
Photo of TechMyst


3.48/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

CONTAINER TYPE: Bottle (Conditioned)
FRESH: yes (cellar for up to 15 years) [L040309 H33]
PURCHASED @: Binny’s
COST: $8.99 / Bottle
HEAD: massive medium-brown; mostly lasting; eventually diminishing to 1/8"
LACE: Laced in bottle; left huge rings; eventually large cloud-like formations; then spotty dots
REFLECTED- dark brown
TRANSMITTED- murky deep brown
AROMA: fruit / sweet wine
MOUTHFEEL: medium; swirling fizzyness
PALATE: lightly slimy/sticky; eventually sticky/resinous
TASTE: caramel apples; plum-rasin; harsh bitter cranberry aftertaste
COMMENTS: It’s good; not great. It’s supposed to be the best beer in the world. Too much like wine. I’d like to try some aged...the dregs looked like melted chocolate. If I’m looking for alcohol content at a better price and taste I’ll take DFH90’. However the buzz from one of these was heavenly. I’d drink it again; not for the taste, but to check out the buzz again. And shouldn’t beer tasting be about the taste. If I want something in this style I’ll take the Chimay Rouge. I’ve mentioned before; I do not care for fruit beers; and this beer is as fruity as the monk on the front of the bottle...
SIPPING- maybe

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2006 03:38:34 | More by TechMyst
Photo of kmo1030


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

an exceptional looking quad deep dark, and nearly black with a thick tan head, that settles to a creamy half inch thick cap.
dark fruit and nuts mostly a sort of a green raw walnut, in the aroma. it's also got a substantial banana component along with spices and alcohol.
the taste is very fruity with raisin, grape, fig, some tart berries, and a soft creamy underlying banana. bready, clove, caramel, nutty vanilla, non diacetyl buttery qualities, and some wheat-like flavors make up the rest of the non fruit characteristics. gets a little boozy as it warms, especially at the back of the mouth.
creamy delicately carbonated and a smooth as silk in the mouth.
a damn good quad. if i were to change one thing it needs just a little more muscle, as in it might be just a touch too subtle.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2006 01:25:11 | More by kmo1030
Photo of Onibubba


4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first quad, my first St Bernardus. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip. Not totally sold on the appearance. Looks like cola. Tiny bubbles rising to the surface look nice though. Not much head to speak of, and what there is dissipates into a nice lacing fairly quickly.

Smell is not my best sense. hard to tell what I am picking up here: Dark fruits, a bit of roastiness, and alcohol for sure. I like what I smell though.

Taste. Not sure what the big deal about this beer is. Small sips...Not bad, but not super. Let it sit a while. Hmmm...Not sure what I was thinking. This is nice. Figs. I see what the problem was. I started too cold, out of the fridge. Definately needs time to warm up to bring the flavors out. Bigger sips. Still trying to wrap my head around all the tastes, and then, before I know it, it's gone.

Mouthfeel was a bit light/flat, but supported by a bit of carbonation. All in all, very quaffable. The alcohol is high, but well hidden in the taste. A 12 oz bottle is simply not enough. I'll be buying this in 750s from here out.

Remember that scene in "Young Frankenstein" where the monster is grasping for the notes of the violin? That's what I felt like as I was drinking this toward the end - Grasping for something beautiful that I could not comprehend. A lovely experience that I look forward to repeating.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2006 15:31:45 | More by Onibubba
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 6,965 ratings.