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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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7,711 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,711
Reviews: 2,531
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 471
Gots: 1,235 | 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: 7,711 | Reviews: 2,531 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jera1350
4.08/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Muddled brown color with big tan head that is continuously active from the etching on the glass. Great head retention.

Bready and yeasty scents dominate the nose. Some banana and dark fruit as well.

Big yeasty and bready flavors. Complex with dark fruit like plums, raisin and date. Some noticable alcohol, but it works well. I felt it tasted at its prime around 65 degrees.

Creamy mouthfeel. The head and carbonation massage the pallate. A little more than medium bodied.

Very enjoyable. High quality with lots of character. Not the top of the style but close to it. A must try belgian.

jera1350, Sep 17, 2009
Photo of krunchie
3.68/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Chimay glass at 12C (54F)

A: Matte black with nice red-brown lacing. Lightly beige, fluffy head which disappears quite quickly.

S: Ale yeast, grapes, some alcohol. Quite estery. weak hint of grapefruit and apple. Slightly tart

T: Strong and full. VERY fruity, yeasty taste. Grape, apple and some banana. Hint of alcohol and low hop presence. A bit trappisty if I may say so :) A bit to estery and alcoholic after a couple of sips. I didn't find it well-balanced, it could've been better.

M/D: Thick and creamy. The head was really nice, but disappeared too quickly IMHO. It takes a while to drink, and it's meant to be. Pretty good.

krunchie, Sep 14, 2009
Photo of hargettf
4.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Just had this at a tasting with the head brewer. Really great guy. I did not realize that this beer is made with the original Westvletern yeast strain. It is an excpetional beer and the only way to get a beer made with this yeast strain, as westvleteren lost it unfortunately. It is a big beer, made for sipping.

hargettf, Sep 14, 2009
Photo of jdg204
4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was looking for a great brew to go with the big OSU-USC game on Saturday night. I looked through the beer fridge and decided that the time had come for my St. Bern Abt 12 from Abe's Cold Beer in Bethlehem.

A: Dark caramel brown hazy color with a creamy head and lots of lacing. Plenty of sediment at the bottom too.

S: Ripe dark fruits, bananas, earthy soil, and alcohol.

T: Starts out with a touch of sweetness and clove which is followed by the more predominant hoppy bitterness and alcoholic warmth. I was expeciting a few more undertone flavors, but solid overall.

M: Medium bodied but light and fizzy on the tongue. Decent aftertaste.

D: Nice autumn sipping beer and one I'm glad I finally got the chance to enjoy. After this and Rochefort 10, I'm pretty sure I'll never enjoy Quads as much as some, but I can still respect a beer with this level of quality. Not an extreme US brew by any means, but a very well rounded classic. Even if you're not a bit Quad fan like me, all beer lovers should try this brew!

jdg204, Sep 13, 2009
Photo of nickd717
3.98/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Whole Foods in Columbus Circle NYC in 2007 (transcribing from RB review).

A - Dark reddish-brown color with an off-white head. Lots of head - if you are a bad pourer then you could have a foam party with this one.

S - Great aroma of sweet malt, abbey ale yeast, candi sugar, and dark fruits.

T - Intense flavor of sweet caramel malt and candi sugar. Also fairly yeasty with a deep fruity quality - plums and raisins mostly - and some grassy hops.

M - Smooth mouthfeel with substantial carbonation that is fairly soft.

D - Decent, but not on the same level as something like Westy 12. This becomes a bit much after awhile.

nickd717, Sep 10, 2009
Photo of rvdoorn
4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this beer at the beerfestival in Brussels and many many many times before. The beer was poured into a original Sint Bernardus glass. It pours a nice hazy dark-brown color with a two finger thick head which gradually changed into a nice lacing.

Smell: Sweet caramel, roasted malts, dark fruits (raisin, plum), hints of red fruits and clove

Taste: Very similar to the smell. Clove, roasted malts, brown sugar, full of dark fruits, some alcohol, with a nicely bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: smooth, creamy and full bodied. medium-high carbonation.

Overall: one of the best beers out there. Nothing more, nothing less. Highly recommendable.

rvdoorn, Sep 09, 2009
Photo of mjaskula
4.03/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a large wine glass. Pours a dark amber-brown with a thin tan head that sticks around an leaves some lacing on the glass.

The aroma is sweet with raisin and malt and some alcohol. The taste is sweet dark fruits with some alcohol warmth. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and carbonation was moderate and appropriate. Finnish was fairly dry and clean. A great representation of the style.

mjaskula, Sep 09, 2009
Photo of Jwale73
4.13/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz. bottle served at 48 degrees in my new DFH chalice. 22 01 14 indicated on the back label. Poured a hazy plum color with a frothy, three inch, off-white head. Excellent retention - head eventually settles into a dense, half inch cap with thick, delicate strands of lacing revealed as the brew was consumed. The nucleation point in the glass did a great job keeping things moving. Nose was dark fruit (plums, figs, raisins) and slightly vinous on a big malty backbone; maybe a hint of brown sugar, candi sugar and chocolate malt in the mix. Taste consistent with nose; however, a little boozy and some heat at the finish - vinous quality really comes out and lingers at the end. Mouthfeel was medium-bodied, lightly, yet evenly carbonated, with some mild astringency at the finish. Probably one of the most drinkable quads out there. Some alcohol heat, but not overpowering considering the 10.5% abv.

Jwale73, Sep 07, 2009
Photo of PapaEugene
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Poured into my Rochefort glass. A great dark brown amber color, medium thick foamy head that went into a nice lacing.

S: Raisins, caramel, herbal and some alcohol.

T: Slightly bitter, pleasant alcohols, raisins plums, cinnamon, cloves, caramel and roasted malts.

M: Medium carbonation, creamy and a full body but a fine palette.

D: Bring it on... Too drinkable. Great beer. It's exceptional like rochefort 10 but unique in it's own way.

PapaEugene, Sep 07, 2009
Photo of genek
4.68/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've been waiting for sometime to try a trappist style beer and a friend brought this big guy up to ease me into it. Set it on the counter for about an hour to let it come up to temp.

A- Poured easy into a goblet glass and the head crept up on me, bigger bubbles than I expected though still thick like airy egg whites. Colour imitates the bottle to a t dark dark mahogany. Great carbonation to start but it slowed down on me a couple minutes in.

S- Had a cold for a while but this aroma busted through it anyway with some rich heavy scents that hung around, though it's difficult for me to identify them.

T- wonderful combination of bready malty flavours that hit you on the back of the tongue and linger pleasantly. Prunes come out the most for a beer this fruity, dried fruits not cooked in any way, very intense with a little bit of raisiny finish. Nutty, I work at a imported food shop and this beer reminds me of a tomme de savoie with its walnutty style taste all the way through. I'm aware that viscous isn't a taste but all the elements of this beer make me want to say that. Coffee flavours come in the end as well as an odd cocoa bit. I've been told vanilla is present but I'm still working on identifying flavours, I can't pick it up.

M- Sticky, creamy feel that just wont go away, very very nice finish that lasts a while. The only aspect that isn't quite attractive from this beer is the film that hangs around on the roof of your mouth, nowhere else though.

D- I could certainly enjoy this beer for a whole night, I'd rather sip this from a glass than any wine I've tasted. It's heavy and the long finish is great, sipping this beer could take the place of a meal no problem.

Def. happy to have had the opportunity of trying this out, and its a great way to wow someone new to the beer world, this guys got history and all the aspects to back it. All in all, I'm buying this again.

genek, Sep 07, 2009
Photo of bonsreeb85
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - this beers pours a deep brown color(identical to the bottle) and sports a massive 3 finger rocky biege head. B E A uuutiful.

S - dark fruits, apple skin, spicy hops and brown shuga!

T - candy-like sweetness, wow. lots of fruit esters(much like the nose hints at). very malty with a spicy finish. this is one complex and tasty beverage! oh-so-sweet, i can feel the cavaties forming as a savor the flavor. i enjoy every sip, and it only gets better as it warms up(the sign of a good beer no doubt)

MF - lots of lively carbonation on this full bodied beast. very creamy feel, excellent.

D - alcohol is well hidden, this one goes down so easy its criminal. worth every penny!

bonsreeb85, Sep 06, 2009
Photo of ocelot2500
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark brown with a rocky, sticky off white head. Plenty of lacing.

Smells of roasted malts, dark fruits, and spice.

Tastes of big dark fruits up front with some roasted and bread type flavors on the backend. Alcohol is well hidden. Some diacetyl flavors are also evident to back the bread flavors.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy. Has a sweet finish, with the alcohol also warming.

ocelot2500, Sep 05, 2009
Photo of gfreed
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The bottle says this is a dubbel, yet BA says quad. I'm inclined to agree with BA here: the alcohol is high and the effect is profound.

Thin, bubbly head disappears in a flash leaving behind minimal lacing. Color is cloudy iced-tea orange, and the aroma is a pleasant bready-citrusy cloud; if I could bottle it as perfume I'd make a mint at beer tastings. There's a pungent smack of alcohol that at first masks the fruity base of this beer, leaving bread and wheat at the forefront but the aftertaste reveals bananas, oranges, cherries and cloves and a sweetness that lingers for minutes after each swallow. A nicely dense body carries a super-fizzy tang that burns a bit. Drink this one slowly, and not just because of the ABV which sneaks up and hits hard: the flavors that develop long after you've swallowed develop into a wonderful bouquet. A nice treat for me and my wife at the end of our summer vacation.

gfreed, Sep 03, 2009
Photo of notdan
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a bottle of this tonight at Pub Italia here in Ottawa.

Poured into a goblet with a nice thick head, gorgeous dark brown body. Smells like dark fruits with some spice. Tastes amazing; ripe dark fruits... picking up raisin/prune mostly, sweet caramel maltiness, and the classic Belgian yeast in the finish. The mouthfeel was nice and full, although the carbonation was a little high at first. Drinkability was surprising for such a strong beer. Really enjoyed drinking this, wish it was more readily available in Ontario.

notdan, Sep 02, 2009
Photo of capra12
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed solo on 8/21/09,

Appearance: Mohagundy and clear.

Smell: Fresh concord grapes.

Taste: Opens with that classic Belgian yeast. The transition to the middle brings sweet concord grapes and fresh green grapes which carries over into the finish. Just as this finishes there is a slight hoppiness and dry finish leaving a malty, yeast and slightly dry aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with moderate carbonation but has a slight coarseness in the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: This definitely a beer I would have again and of course to share with a female who is sure to enjoy it as well.

capra12, Sep 02, 2009
Photo of Wisconsinality
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

A- A deep burgundy/ brown color that look marvelous. Poured about a fingers worth of head that receded a little quicker that I would have thought. A little cloudy but hard to tell from how dark it is.
S- A hint of raisins, spice, maybe a little clove and a hint of candy. Kind of reminds me Dr. Pepper in a way.
T- I picked up dates, malt, a little bit of yeast and spice. This is a pretty complex beer and I thought there maybe even a little bit of grape in there.
M- I would say this is a medium to light-heavy bodied beer but doesn't detract from how it goes down. The right amount of carbonation really adds to the feel. You can feel the warmth from the alcohol just a bit.
D- What more can I say about this beer, it goes down great, super smooth and only gets better when it warms up a bit. This I could sip on all the time.

Wisconsinality, Sep 01, 2009
Photo of nomomentwasted
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at the Back Abbey in Claremont, CA. Poured into a Moinette Chalice and served around 50 degrees. It was 110 out for most of the day, and this beer disappeared rapidly.

Appearance: Dark brown with a nice tan-ish white head that laced very nicely as it went down. Carbonation is dense and tight, like a champagne by the looks of it, but the head dissaptes rapidly.

Smell: Dark fruits, like plum, raisin, and almost a bit of sweetness from an apricot like ester. Slight anise, not too licorice like, with hints of herbal, medicinal notes as well. Marty presence is balanced out by the Belgian yeast, which is sweet and fruity as always, and very sweet for a 10.5%.

Taste: Wow, very very refreshing and tasty. The dark fruits are up front, followed by the bite of the bitterness from the sharp carbonation and slightest rum-like booziness. The alcohol though is in no way harsh or off-putting, but rather just flavorful. Some beers over 10% just get too alcoholic, whereas this beer only had the delicious notes of a rum-raisin style. Medicinal scent from the nose translates slightly here as well, but in no way negative. Just smooth, tasty, and delicious. As it opened up, I could tell from some increasing sweetness that this beer could use a little time to age and take some of the sharper corners off, but what a great beer. Just fantastic.

Mouthfeel: Carbonated sharply, but it aids the taste and gives the heavy beer some much-needed body. Fruity aftertaste that has little burn and only slightly syrupy. Yum.

Drinkability: I could've drank cold cat-piss yesterday and have cooled off, but this beer was everything I could've asked for and more. Smooth, tasty, complex, and delicious. I'm definitely grabbing a few bottles to age, this beer deserves to be known as one of the best. And here's to hoping the Westy 12 I've got aging is even more fantastic!

nomomentwasted, Aug 30, 2009
Photo of cbutova
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay chalice, this beer pours a dark brown but still pretty clear color, sediment is spread throughout like pepper flakes and a nice white sheet is on top of the beer during the whole drinking process. Head is small and creamy but still dissipates fairly quickly, minimal lacing is left on my glass. I remember my previous Abt. 12 leaving good lacing though. Smells like a good Belgian beer, raisins, yeast, bready scents and some malts, maybe a small bit of alcohol. Tastes like all of the above things mentioned with some good spice to it, probably my favorite tasting Belgian that I have had yet. Mouthfeel is good, medium with some creamyness and alcohol warming, a perfect amount of it, a raisiney aftertaste coats the entire mouth. Drinkability is good here because of the exceptional taste, however the raisin and alcohol will bring it down after a bottle or so, can't wait to age some of these.

cbutova, Aug 30, 2009
Photo of atremains
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy dark brown with a small fluffy head that scurries away with no lacing left behind, but leaves a tasty looking blanket swirling around on top. There is a fair amount of sediment floating around in there and a very faint but detectable flow of bubbles. The smell is yeasty with some dark fruits (raisins, plums, figs), and baked goods, with a splice of alcohol in there. Taste is all the flavors with a bit of extra spice thrown in there. Sweet flavors dominate. The mouth feel is beautiful. Covers every square inch with a silky sheet and balances it out with a good dose of carbonation. Finish is subtly dry. This one warms up your innards. Good drinkability considering the complexity and abv of this one.

atremains, Aug 30, 2009
Photo of biggred1
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark russet brown with a big stiff airy tan head that leaves nice spiderweb lace on the glass as it slowly settles. Aromas of dark fruit, fresh bread dough and belgian spice make for a really good nose. Dark fruit, rum, apples, cinnamon and fresh baked bread come to mind, complexity grows with each sip, alcohol is fairly well hidden. Very high carbonation adds to the drinkability on this one. A truly world class beer.

biggred1, Aug 29, 2009
Photo of woosterbill
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750ml corked and caged into a Duvel tulip. No "best by" date, but it says it could age for 15 years, so who cares? I did buy it recently, though, so I suspect it's fresh.

A: Pours a dark brown, cloudy body with scarlet highlights topped with a large, persistent beige head. The first pour leaves surprisingly little lace, while the second fully refreshes the head and leaves lots of sticky lace - interesting.

S: Very sweet, with dark fruits (plums and figs) predominating. Some spice as well. Very inviting.

T: Carries through all the flavors adumbrated in the smell, plus a deeper level of Belgian candi sugar and just a touch of drying hoppiness on the finish. Delicious.

M: In a word, perfect. Medium-to-full bodied with rich, velvety carbonation. Simply beautiful.

D: The alcohol isn't completely hidden, but neither does it make me keep from wishing for another 750 right now. Pretty good.

Notes: Perhaps not quite as complex as I had been hoping, but still a truly stellar beer and a great example of the quad style. Awesome.


woosterbill, Aug 27, 2009
Photo of SpdKilz
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in a Russian River stemmed glass and as a celebration for starting my second year of law school today.

Appearance - Pours out a very nice dark oak looking color with a redish tint. Poured slowly then a bit faster right at the end which produced about a finger and a half of beige head that is...yep...still almost all there after pouring this ten minutes ago. There is the beginning of some very thick lacing being left on the glass. Looks absolutely inviting.

Smell - The first thing I get a waft of is figs/prunes. I smell spices, fruits (dark fruits) and a bit of chocolate. The aromas are being carried around my outside porch as I eagerly await to try this beer.

Taste - I can taste the sweetness initially and with the bubbles of carbonation hitting my tongue instantly. The spices become prevalent with the malt sweetness continuing throughout and also toffee. It finishes with a warming touch (Edit - Wow...I can definitely feel this warming all the way down - I've only taken a few sips and each sip I get an uncanny "warm" feeling).

Mouthfeel - Moderate in body and decently carbonated - you can feel the prickling of the bubbles on your tongue and honestly it feels pretty good. Creamy goodness.

Drinkability - I would say relatively drinkable for a beer of this caliber and ABV, though quite honestly I feel it does not hide the alcohol as well as I thought it might be able to (in comparison to other higher ABV beers). However, this is not a problem for me because I am thoroughly enjoying it on my porch with the coolness around me. It makes me feel nice and warm inside.

SpdKilz, Aug 25, 2009
Photo of Aenema
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle code: 08-05-13
Appearance - Deep, dark brown with an off-white, soapy head. Murky. This was a gusher.
Smell - Nose is mostly fig and raisin.
Taste - Dark fruit, fig, raisin. Quite complex, lots to this. Slightly overly sweet.
Mouthfeel - Creamy, full-bodied. Although it has a coating, luscious feel, it is not thick or syrupy. Moderate carbonation.
Drinkability - Very drinkable for such a flavorful, intense beer.

Aenema, Aug 24, 2009
Photo of saztheorybook
3.95/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into an oversized wine glass.
A- A dark purple like that of a dark, dark plum with a head that wasn't so stable at first but soon calmed down and left terrific lacing.
S- Yeasty with a very fruity touch. Almost an artificial grape character.
T- Caramelly sweet up front with warm esters in back. Cocoa-y notes in the middle. Goes down with some severe heat. Oaky finish.
M- Excessive carbonation seems to be the St. Bernardus MO, which I loved in the tripel but dug a little less in this one. Toward the end of the beer it mellowed out and became quite nice.
D-There was honestly a bit too much heat in this bottle for my taste. It warmed me more than I expect from any beer. I'll have it again some time, but I will not be rushing out to buy another bottle any time soon.

saztheorybook, Aug 24, 2009
Photo of wordemupg
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

330ml bottle poured into corsendonk chalice aug22 2009
thank you paul for my late birthday present this was worth the wait(how did you know a bernardus triple and quad?)

A open near a sink this one explodes. deep dark brown, a fair bit of sediment, thick tan head that has very good retention and leaves lots of lace

S also quite nice, banana, lots of spice, dark fruits and booze.
this is very complex, this beer has a lot going on

T a little sweeter than it smells and a bit more yeast, but other than that it tastes as it smells and that is a good thing

M creamy but not overly thick, good carbonation, nothing too complain about here

D its a good thing i only have one of these cause its way too easy too drink. for a 10% beer this should not be this smooth, i would not ask for anything more when it comes too easy drinking. i dont like too give out 5's but i did not have a choice with this one

a wonderful beer! i would love too drink one thats been in a cellar for a few years. buy it drink it any questions?

wordemupg, Aug 22, 2009
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,711 ratings.