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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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8,197 Ratings

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Ratings: 8,197
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: 8,197 | Reviews: 2,608
Photo of JesteR14
4.06/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- I love this look. Very dark amber, with a light head. i know im in store for a lot in this beer... GREAT quad color.

S- malty and a smell of roasted nuts. Some sort of fruit making its entrance..

T- Strong and a first impact of boozyness. The sweetness of the fruit comes out in the aftertaste. I believe that tase is an apple/cider type of taste. A great sipping type of flavor i got out of this beer.

M- Highly carbonated. This makes it an exciting and enjoyable experience for your tongue. Its def a sipping beer, but an undeniable great craft beer.

D- Strong beer, but one that lasts as a quality beer. And to a person like me, these are the type of beers that we savor and enjoy with such a high ABV. Cant drink a 6 pack but it is a great brew to sit back and relax with.

Photo of LairdChisholm
4.87/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours an opaque chestnut brown color with a one finger tan head that has excellent retention and leaves some great lacing.

S - Smells like ripe apple cider. Very very nice and it stays like this throughout the whole drink. There are maybe some notes of sour grapes and slight caramel but this is really good.

T - Follows the nose almost completely. Sour apples and grapes create a great balance. There is some slight caramel notes mixed along with underlying yeast tones. Incredible.

M - Manages to be slight and bubbly at the beginning and sticky at the end so the taste lingers. Amazing.

D - At 10.5 ABV this is still real easy to drink. but something stops you because you want to savor it. Go out and buy this now.

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

330ml bottle

A- Dark brown, with reddish hints if seen through light. Not big but nicely persistent head. A lot of lacing is left on the glass

S- The aroma is mainly malt, with dark fruit and nut to back up. Not as strong as i expected

T- The beer is overall sweet, with the malts filling the mouth and giving some sort of a buttery feel. Behind the malts there's more sweetness from soft fruits, but a nut like flavour brings some balance and a more complex feel. Suprisingly, the aftertaste is drier with a hint of bitterness to make up for the otherwise excessive sweetness. Very good

M- A creamy and very good mouthfeel that really fills the palate, being smooth at the same time. I don't feel totally right about this though. When still a bit cold the carbonation is high and burns a bit on the palate, preventing flavours from spreading out fully; once warmed carbonation is no longer to be felt but the buttery feel gets too dominant and leaves the tongue covered with a pastry feel

D- Despite some small mouthfeel issues the drinkability is still very good. Alcohol is perfectly hidden and the beer goes down smooth despite its complexity

Photo of veinless
4.52/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky dark brown, with a reddish/maroon tint and a very cloudy body. Head is two fingers and moderately fine, with a nice assortment of bubble sizing. Thick cotton candy center of the head is awesome. Leaves not too much lacing and dissipates to leave a thin layer on top.

Smell is oh so complex, with lemon, cherry, bread, and red winy smell that is intoxicating. Nose is a bit funky in the middle and the yeast is palpable.

Taste hits you with a unique buttery start, which then moves into a medley of fruits and malts. Citrus zest takes a backseat to dark fruit (including some cherries and figs) and belgian yeast, which tastes of coriander. A bit of booze comes in near the end, and the warmth it provides is nothing but beneficial, with no unpleasant alcohol taste at all.

Mouthfeel is truly phenomenal. The texture is perfectly creamy and whipped, the body is as full as it gets, and the combination of the cooling start and warming finish makes this an easy five. Drinkability is great, regardless of the 10.5% abv (which makes this beer that much more admirable). Goes down easy, has every flavor you could ask for without any of them in excess or shortage. I can't get over the fantastic contrast between refreshing and warming in each individual sip. This beer is a work of art. Can get a bit strong on the back end of each sip, but that's just nitpicking. This beer is special.

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

A - Pours a rich burgandy/mahogany color with a very large head that leaves a ton of thick, creamy lacing.

S - Very nutty smell. Good sweet malt adds to the smell of the grains and yeast.

T - The taste reminds me of a good jar of preserves, some nice dark fruitiness. The malt adds a bit of rich caramel to the overall taste.

M - A light syrupiness to the mouthfeel, alcohol is hidden very, very well. No burn at all actually.

D - Incredibly drinkable. In fact, it may be the best quality of this beer. I really enjoy how easy this is to go down.

Overall - I thought it was just a solid beer. I didn't find it to be spectacular, but I think it captures the essence of the style and is just a remarkably good and drinkable beer. One interesting thing, I found the first few drinks to be a lot better than the rest, it was if the palate "adjusted" to the overall complexities of this beer

Photo of dnolan36
4.67/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured 11.2oz bottle into chalice

Nice dark hazy brown color with a quick dissipating head with decent lacing.

Strong dark fruit aroma with a sweet malt scent.

Slight spicy taste with a hit of cocoa and more dark fruits. Maybe figs or plums. Also a nice hint of alcohol.

Very full mouthfeel with some chewyness.

Very drinkable for a 10.50% alcohol quad. This beer is definitely world class and would highly recommend it.

Photo of afinepilsner
4.23/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz brown bottle
10% abv

St. Bernardus Abt 12 was dark brown in color (hazy red brown when held to a light). It had a beige head with great retention and lots of lacing. The smell was dark fruit, dark malt, and yeast. The taste was dried fruit, yeast,some dark malt and alcohol. The finish was long, dry, a bit fruity, malty, and warming. The mouthfeel was good with a medium-full body and high carbonation. The drinkability was good. This is a good Belgian Ale and worth a try.

Photo of dizknee24
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I heard about this and finally had the chance to pick one or two up. Very hazy and a light head in my chalice. Tastes was exceptional as any good quad, it has very sweet aroma.
I would definitely buy this again next time i go to the store. I advise you to do the same.

Photo of eric5bellies
4.82/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from my St Bernardus chalice.

A - Pour a dark Mahogany colour with an Ivory head that outlast the beer and laces the glass.

S - Aromas of caramel and sweet malts.

T - Nice buttery flavours of dark fruits and a little hp present. Lots of dark stewed fruit and well balanced sweetness. It's divine really.

M - Medium to full body with perfect carbonation

D - It's not surprising Westvleteren saw fit to give St Bernardus the brewing rights to their beer because this is an absolute treasure that I rate on just blow the West 12 itself.

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

Appearance: a deep brown with a small dissipating head

Smell: sweet with bit of nuttiness essence

Taste: Sweet buttery belgium yeast flavoring

Mouthfeel: bubbly medium body like a little darker brown ale

Drinkability: very good, i had 2 that i bought but i push my self not to open another

Photo of OttoPeeWee
4.62/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I've drank quite a few of these over the years, so I decided to review this Belgian beauty. Fantastic beer, a real original. The smell is light sweet sherry or similar to a well aged scotch with yeast. The taste is sweet and has almost a grape jam quality, in the best way, up front and a dried apricot or raisin finish. Lite hops. Even though the alcohol is very well hidden and is warming, this is a sipping beer.

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

Pours a dense, deep oak brown, with some sediment floating around, plenty of head that dissipates readily. Aromas of grains and caramels flow from the carbonation like a thick brewing wort. Every drink assaults the taste buds with chewy caramel, molasses, and ripened fruits, while some spice becomes more evident in the swallow and finish. The carbonation dances off the tongue as it's going down, finishing you off with a warming, slightly dry finish. Exceptional flavor, with complex character that's not matched in many places outside of Belgium. Packs a pretty serious punch, probably best with some food in the stomach and enjoyed on a cold winter's eve--or you could do it like me and have it on an empty stomach when its 80 degrees out :) Still just as good.

Photo of Aiptasia
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A beautiful beer on my Belgium "to do" list, purchased from grassroots market in Jacksonville.

A: Pours a nice deep nutty brown shade in the glass. Good bready head on first pour with just a shade of off-white. Clingy sattelite lacing with a great halo of retention.

S: Smells of dark burnt caramel and sweet hay.

T: The cocoa flavors were first on my pallete, finished by a buttery sweetness of dried fruits. Mango, dried pineapple on the exhale. Sweet flavored with a medium-bold punch from the hops in the middle. Alcohol level is well masked. A good foray into Big Belgians for people that love stouts.

M: Smooth and creamy. Full bodied beer with a decent dry finish.

D: Sipper, not a chugger, simply from the alcohol. Oh yes, you'll want to chug... be warned. Very warming on a cool night. Would pair nicely with pumpernickel bread, hearty butter and a good cheese like stilton or roquefort.

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

Intro: 11.2 oz. bottle served in a tulip glass

Appearance: Color is deep, rich, opaque, reddish brown that I would characterize as the color of nutmeg. The pour had a thick, dry head that was light tan in color, dissipated slightly, but stayed throughout with thick lacing that clung to the sides of the glass. Generally, I thought the pour looked very appealing and inviting.

Smell: The aroma is rich, layered, and complex, with a host of different ingredients. Initially, I detect dark fruits, caramel, brown sugar, malts, and spice. There's a lot going on with this one and the bouquet continues to develop and becomes even richer and more complex as the pour warms. All of this seems to hide the alcohol rather well.

Taste: Slightly earthy with a certain amount of sweetness that becomes a little stronger as the beer warms. There is a definite alcohol taste but also a fruit and nutmeg spice that adds to the richness of the full body in this beer.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and clean with moderately high carbonation without an aftertaste. Only a very slight oiliness is perceived. The alcohol is present but not overbearing.

Drink: Very smooth and leaves you wanting more. Went down pretty fast for being a rather high ABV. The alcohol is well hidden but the beer should still be a sipper. A dessert beer.

Conclusion: Again, there is a lot going on with this beer. One can tell it is the culmination of years of development. It is a rich, complex beer that needs a couple of sessions to really appreciate the nuances and complexity. I consider this to be in my all-round top 10 list and I always keep an ample supply to break out and enjoy with friends.

Photo of Phelps
4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at Tops poured into a snifter.

Pours a deep, mostly-clear maroon that obscures my fingers behind it with darkness. Rather nice clarity, actually. A tiny head of off-white fizzes away quickly, leaving a fat ring behind.

Smells deep. Maple syrup, strawberries, grape juice, cinnamon, raisins. Yum.

The flavor is similar: prunes, figs, grape juice, green tea, cinnamon, maple. Slight tinge of ethanol, maybe even a bit of chocolate. Sweet, complex, delectable.

Moderate and moderately painful carbonation amidst a velvety medium body with an alcohol that burns the tongue lightly. Very slight drying on finish, which increases drinkability tremendously.

Having now tried all three of the big quads, I'd rank St. Bernardus above Rochefort 10 but below Westvleteren 12.

Photo of puckjer
4.15/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

great all around belgian dark ale. this is one of my favorite styles and i enjoy trying many of them. this is definitely a sipper and one to sit back and enjoy the aroma and yummy goodness. nice mouthfeel and drinkability as well. appearance was a deep brown with a creamy head.

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

Poured a beautiful dark reddish brown. Had a light fizzy head that reduced quickly but stuck around throughout. Lots going on in the nose, fruity and sweet, with a hint of alcohol as well. Flavor here is excellent, sweet and malty with fruit notes. Could pick out toffee and bready flavors, as well as apple and grape. Finishes nice and dry. Mouthfeel is very light and highly carbonated, which fits well with the dry finish. Drinkability here could be trouble at over 10% abv as the alcohol is well hidden and the overall balance makes it easy to drink. Can definitely sneak up on you after a couple glasses. Great example of the style, and one I can see picking up regularly.

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

served in proper St. Bernardus snifter :)

Appearance, aroma, taste and mouthfeel are all superb. Yeasty, but not too much. Some spiciness, but again not too much; more than a little fruity. Very complex flavor without a heavy body. My only significant criticism is that it seems a bit too sweet.

Savored slowly... Although the taste changed a bit with changing temperature, there was no overall sizable change in quality: great chilly, at near room temperature, and everywhere in between.

High ABV mostly hidden.

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

A - Beautiful beer. Ruby colored, just slightly cloudy. Foamy, almost explosive head that leaves a bit of lacing. A really pretty beer in the glass.
S - Smell is complex, yeasty, malty with some detectable ester alcohol smell.
T - Taste is sweet, bready and a little sour in the finish.. Almost no hint of hop bitterness. There's a lot going on here, but it's hard to pin down any one flavor that sticks out.
M - Mouthfeel is full, almost bordering a being syrupy. It's heavy and slightly viscous in the mouth, but not sticky. It does hang onto you a bit after you've swallowed though.
D - It's a big beer. High alcohol content, and heavy. It's a beautiful, wonderful beer. But I can't put down more than one or two. The flavor kinda hangs with you, instead of finishing clean like other styles. That's good and bad. I love the flavor, but after a while I want something else.

Photo of notchucknorris
4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Hazy dark brown color with a pretty large foamy head that eventually settles to a nice tan cap.

S: The smell of this one keeps changing on me. As it warms, it develops more and more complexity. Malts are dominant and earthy smelling along with some cinnamon, brown sugar, bubblegum, marzipan and yeast.

T: Lots of sweet malts and spices. Bready aftertaste along with a pleasant warming sensation. Alcohol is hidden really well and I could drink this all day. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel is amazing. This is a fantastic beer.

Photo of ehammond1
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5


Holiday Wine Cellar
Escondido, CA

POP! goes the cork and out pours a stunning and murky burnt orange with massive carbonation. The head rises quickly to the rim of the glass and sits there unmoving. Cloudy and yeasty with warm orange edges as the light tries to shine its way through.

The aromas are many and changing as the beer warms. I smell warm baking bread, dark fruits, spicy cinnamon, and black pepper. Intoxicating.

World-class taste! As with the nose, the flavors change and grow as the beer warms. At first I noticed hops and sweet caramel malts and then the flavors of cherries, raisins, and figs begin to shine through more and more. The beer only gets better as it comes up to temperature.

Highly carbonated and medium mouthfeel. Light for the style and the ABV.

Available. Affordable. Amazing. A world-class beverage.
A beer I feel honored to drink.

If I could only drink one beer for the rest of my life, this could be the one!

Photo of comfortablynumb1
4.16/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml corked and caged. Date on bottle reads 17/11/14...

A - Pours a deep mohogany with a three finger off white head on a pour that wasn't terribly agressive. Was expecting the head to dissipate at fairly quick pace, but it held strong until I finished the pint. Excellent head retention. Lace is a little runny, but definitely still present. Very nice...

S - Figs, plums, brown sugar, various spices, and a hint of citrus hops...

T - Sweet malts up front, followed by figs, brown sugar, raisins and plums. Ends on a very smooth fruity note. This one is super smooth. Abv is exceptionally hidden...

M - Nice and creamy with a moderate amount of carbonation. Really surprised by how smooth this one is. Could probably drink a few of these throughout the day. Won't go as far as calling it a session beer, but if your in the mood to get hammered while drinking world class brew, you can't go wrong here...

D - Definitely something that's going to be in my regular rotation. Will be making a stop at the liqour store down the street to pick a couple up for this weekend...


Photo of krisandajt
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my DFH chalice...

Appearance: A deep, mahagony brown with a solid inch of off-white head. Retention is very good, the head takes its time fading away to a thin soapy layer. Lacing is very plentiful, lots of schtick all along the glass.

Smell: Sweet raisins, plums, figs...a general assortment of dark candied fruits. There is a slight boozy quality, but it gives the beer a nice warming quality that is a bit inviting.

Taste: The candied fruit quality reminds me of fruit soaked in booze. The alcohol does stand out, but it is matched with sweet raisins and plums and a classic Belgian quad flavor.

Mouthfeel: Nice medium to full body, but a little too effervescent. I probably could have let this sit longer to let the fizz settle.

Drinkability: This is a great, great quad, definitely one of my favorites. I usually have at least a bottle or two of these in my cellar at all times, it's one of my few staple beers I keep around. Highly recommend.

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

750ml poured into snifter

A - pours a murky brown, with an almost purple hue to it. Off white head and nice lacing

S - Dark fruits, belgian yeast, some pepper and spice

T - Amazing fruits, currants, plum, raisin, minor cherry. There is a spiciness to it with the pepper

M - Smooth, medium to light heavy, effervescent

D - It just gets better as it warms, a sipper, but an amazingly delicious and balanced brew

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

I poured a 12 oz bottle into a glass mug...

The beer pours a brown, murky color, there was lots of yeast sediment and a bubbly tan colored head.

Smells of grape, raisin, fig and toffee, it's mostly sweet with a bit of a tart side as well.

First I taste a tarte plum or grape taste, you get a hint of alcohol, clove, toasted caramel malt and there was a smokey woody aftertaste.

It's light and prickly on the tongue then there's a rush of warmth from the alcohol and a dry finish.

For the high ABV this is a very drinkable beer, I probably won't be drinking it again due to the price.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 8,197 ratings.