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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.

7,847 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,847
Reviews: 2,540
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 496
Gots: 1,301 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,847 | Reviews: 2,540 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BigMike
4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a bottle of this as a christmas present.

Poured into a tulip.

Deep, dark blood red in color with a huge almost 4 finger head that stays around a long time and leaves tremendous lacing.

Smell is spicey like cloves and pepper, belgian yeast nutty and dark fruits.

Taste is dark dried fruits. Dates, plums, nuts. Chocolate, spicey yeast, cloves.

Mouthfeel is very lively. Tingles the tongue with lots of carbonation. The bottle says you can age up to 15 years and i'm sure it could do nothing but improve this one.

Drinkability, this one is a sipper for sure. The 10%abv snuck up on me halfway through the 25.4 oz. bottle.

Merry Christmas!

Photo of Pahn
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

1 pt 9.4 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Careful pour yields a fizzy 1 inch head that dissipates slowly. Color is a deep reddish brown. Bits of yeast sediment present. Spotty lacing.

Smell: Full-bodied smell of Belgian yeast, clove, grass, leather, raisin, some phenol. More going on than I can get in one whiff, and stays strong throughout. The smell says: you're about to taste a strong Belgian ale.

Taste: Even bigger than the smell. Starts smooth and creamy with mild esters and grassiness, then explodes into a spicy, hoppy assault of flavor. All the elements present in the aroma and more (banana, caramel, various other spices and fruits) make themselves known as the flavor intensifies then transitions into a long, alcohol warm finish that lasts a good 60 seconds or more. This beer is clearly meant to be sipped and savored. Despite the spice and complexity, the beer retains a pleasant sweetness from start to finish. The flavor doesn't stop; this is a perfected quad.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy with prickly carbonation and drawn out alcohol warmth.

Drinkability: This isn't a beer to pound, obviously, but I could sip it indefinitely.


Why did I wait so long to try this renowned quad? Everything about this beer is beautiful. I like Trappistes Rochefort 10 a bit better... mainly due to some differences in the taste and mouthfeel, but really both are perfection. There is nothing about this beer that disappoints. It's the kind of beer where, if you don't like it, you need to ask yourself what you were doing drinking a quadrupel in the first place. It is an exemplary quad.

Final note: not that I need to say this (as it's written on the bottle), but this beer is *begging* to be aged. Huge complexity right off the shelf plus strong carbonation plus high ABV plus a bigger hoppiness than most Belgian strong ales equals this beer couldn't be anything but amazing with a few years of age on it.

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

On tap @ Monk's, Philadelphia PA. Served in a tulip.

Dark brown with hints of mahogany showing through. Two fingers of medium tan head with staying power and dots of lacing. Medium bodied with a silky mouthfeel. Nose of malt, yeast, and dare I say banana nut bread... Initial taste of brown sugar, yeast, allspice, mid-palate alcohol with finish of hops and dark chocolate. Malt flavor throughout. Nothing about this beer is offensive. Very nicely balanced and looks great in the glass. Drinkability is def. better than average for this ABV but not for sessioning. High marks!

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

pours dark brown with a bubbly off white head, good lacing.

smells of cherries and yeast, a little fig and lots of candy sugar. a little boozey.

taste is more yeasty, much less sweet, but malty. very much boozey.

mouthfeel is very prickly, and brisk.

a lil heavy, but good.

i remember this being a lil better the first time i had it, maybe i'm not remembering correctly.

Photo of Dawkfan
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Everytime I look at this beer and see the smiling monk staring at me with that delicious looking beer in his hand, I can't help but get excited. This is my favorite looking label to date, and I know what's inside is even better.

A- A 330ml bottle poured into my Trappistes Rochefort chalice reveals a dark brown body with some reddish-orange hues when held up to a light, some suspended floaties as well. 2 fingers of creamy tan head that slowly fades to leave a fairly thick layer on top. The chalice is coated with lots of lushy lace.

S- I absolutely love the smell of this, so complex and warming. Rum soaked raisins, plum, fig, lots of dark fruit. There's some spice in here as well, most noticeable is the clove. A little bready & yeasty. Candied sugar, bubblegum and a touch of the alcohol round this one out.

T- Again, loads of dark fruit, sweet malt, belgian spice, and candied sugar. This does finish fairly warm from the booze. Really complex, I can't do it justice.

M- A rich creamy and smooth full bodied abbey ale. It sticks to the mouth long after it's gone.

D- You sip this not because you have to but rather you do because you want to savor every last drop of this heavenly goodness. This is the beer that made the lightbulb turn on when I started trying different styles at the beginning of my craft beer journey. I still think it's the best of all the quads I've tried, but I haven't yet had a Westy 12.

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

appearance: poured into goblet. medium-dark brown. burnt sienna. head was massive and foam-like. lasted for what seemed like the entire drink. lots of hanging foam.

smell : cherries, plums.

taste : cherries, almonds, maybe vanilla.

mouthfeel : pretty nice. bites slightly at sides of tongue. alcohol masked beautifully.

drinkability : buy 4 bottles. cellar two and share two immediately with friends. this is pretty special.

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

This beer was stored for roughly two years.

A: This, when poured into a pint glass, produced some nice head, roughly 1-1 1/2 inch head, with steady head through out the drink which lead to outstanding lacing. The beer color itself was a nice muddy brown, with a fair bit of bottle yeast.

S: The smell of the beer was very aromatic to say the least. The smell of fruits was very present, but there was an overwhelming, a good overwhelming smell of hops.

T: This beer was outstanding. I didn't want my drink to end, but wanted to drink more and more of it. The taste itself was warming to my tongue, with a sort of citrus aftertaste that softened to a nice relaxed, almost vanilla flavor.

M: The mouthfeel was fullbodied and perfect for consumption.

D: If this beer wasn't so expensive per bottle (5.00 for a 11.2 FL OZ), I'd be all over this like white on rice. However, because of the price, I'd have to rate it slightly below exceptional, however since this is one of the lowest parts of the scale, I felt that it was more than alright to do so.

Overall, this beer is outstanding, with out a doubt. I found myself taking smaller drinks each time to try and savor the flavor and to push myself to find new flavor notes. I'd highly suggest this beer to anyone. Cheers.

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

Presentation: Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a Duvel chalice. Label depicts a very merry monk holding up a glass of beer. Drink by end of 2005. Pulled from by cellar and served at cellar temp (60).

Appearance: Pours with 1 finger of light tan head. This settles ever so slightly, eventually collapsing to half its original height. Tremendous staying power. Almost complete lacing coverage as you tip the glass, very nice. The beer itself is an extremely dark, muddy brown; almost black. Fair amount of sediment in the bottle.

Smell: Strong notes of cherries with undertones of yeast.

Taste: Dark cherry upfront blends into sweet candy sugar. Hints of cinnamon in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Lower than average carbonation level. Body is thick with an amazingly creamy feel.

Drinkability: Wow, no wonder this is one of the top beers. Amazing flavors, well blended, and backed by great b

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

A: This beer pours dark brown with a red tone in the bottom of the glass. A long-lasting light brown rich head that leaves lacings when it dissipates.

S: A little light in the smell for a quad, but lots of sweet malt. A nice mix of bitter and floral hops - lots of dark fruits. Complex.

T: Malty, very malty - sweet, but not to sweet. Some yeast and faint alcohol with spices. A very complex and well balanced beer. Again both floral and bitter hops.

M: A really long after-taste with a creamy sence and both bitter and sweet. Full bodied and medium carbonation.

D: Well, you almost never can't go wrong with a quad - and this beer is no exception. A really nice and complex beer.

Photo of woodychandler
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A half finger's worth of light-tan head with decent retention. Color was a deep brown with ruby highlights. Nose was dried dark fruits (prunes, raisins, blackberries). Mouthfeel was full with some heat and a fruity sweetness. Finish was juicy, sweet, raisiny. Why did I let The Chauffeur talk me into this? Too good to be true.

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

Poured into a Chimay chalice at Ginger Man in Norwalk, CT.

A: Very dark brown, nearly black, in color. Almost similar to a guiness stout.

S: Strong smell of fruit and subtle chocolate. Malty.

T: Deep taste of raisins with chocolate, hint of alcohol and very smooth, nearly warming finish. For some reason the word "delicious" comes to mind - this isnt like a beer, its a different sort of experience.

D: Very easy to drink the first, the second is a little tougher

Overall - This is a great beer, and a truly unique belgian in my mind. Flavors are incredibly profound.

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

A beer haiku for you:

Bernardus the king
The taste and smell is sublime
Assured Happiness!

No sense wasting valuable verbiage reviewing this beer: without doubt, one of the world's finest beers and worthy of attention. As I write this missive, two St. Bernardus have been consumed and another is awaiting the pour. Expensive? Oui! Worth it? But, of course--there are few to compare with this delicacy.


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

Appearance: Beautiful mahogany brown in the light.

Aroma: Complex as hell, as expected with a quad, I won't sit here and attempt to pick it all out but right off the bat I'm getting a very bready/yeasty smell followed by a sweet dark fruitiness and a touch of spice.

Taste: Again very complex, probably too complex for this hophead to really appreciate but I like it. Hops are there, malt is there, yes its beer but man is it out of this world with other flavors. As it warms the other flavors become much more apparent. Its delicious even though I do it no justice in words.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Crispness is there but subtle, a light champagne fizz.

Drinkability: Huge beer here so don't get carried away but for its abv, its incredibly drinkable.

Photo of colts9016
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yet another beer that I got over the turkey day holiday. I poured it into my tulip glass at 47 degrees. I know that quite a few people have tried this beer, but I am doing this for personal reasons. Damn beer blew up on me, I hope it don't compromise the quality.

Appearance: A two finger head that has some retention, the head is creamy foamy and light tan in color. The color of the beer is a rich dark brown color with rusty hues. The clarity of beer is mostly opaque with yeast floating around. There is some carbonation coming from the bottom of the glass. The head left lacing on the glass.

Nose: A very rich complex bread, yeast, and toasted malt aroma. A light spice profile with aromas of cloves, oak, bananas, a mild solvent, phenols, floral, and orange.

Taste: A very rich malt flavors that encompass yeast and toasted bread. The flavors are white pepper, cloves, bananas, oak, phenol, solvent, oranges, grapefruit, and floral bouquet.

Overall: The mouth feel is strong alcohol warming, carbonation, and slightly astringent. The body of the beer is medium with a full finish. This beer is on steroids the flavors just blow up in your mouth and yet it is pleasant to drink. I have only review a few quads and this is one of the better ones that I have tried. I was in fear that since the bottle erupted on me that it was going to compromise the beer's flavor, nonetheless, I feel that it has, but it still it very good.

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

I'm actually reviewing this one for a second time. The first was when I was a newbie and basically a complete moron. This time I'm just kind of a moron.

Appearance - Very deep amber/but brown as it pours into my awesome new Westy chalice. A nice thin cap of foam head settles in, possibly for the duration.

Smell - Rich and hearty malt. Rum soaked raisins. A hint of funky yeast. Definitely some vanilla. Also some dark fruits, plum especially. Quite nice.

Taste - Follows the smell wonderfully. Wow, I can't believe I didn't appreciate this the first time around. Definitely those dark fruit, but less raisin and more plum. Possibly chocolate covered. It's pleasantly sweet. The malt is balanced out by the booze, and the yeast. Black bread and maybe a little nuttiness.

Mouthfeel - Maybe the best part of this beer. Rich and creamy, with very nice carbonation. A pleasure.

Drinkability- Quite good. It is a little heavy, so a 750 would be a bit much. But it's a great sipper.

Wow, re-reviewing this beer makes me realize how far I have come. I can't believe I couldn't appreciate how excellent it was the first time around (I gave it a B). A real pleasure.

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

It was served to me with a nice finger of head which lingered above the beer which had a dark brown almost chocolate like color. The nose was spicy (clove?) with hints of sweet fruit (raisin and plum perhaps). The taste is both biscuity, spicy, and sweet all at once. Although there is an alcohol presence, it is not over the top, but rather soothing and warming. This is a thick, strong, sweet beer that if you are not careful, could turn into a session beer and lead to questions of what went on the night before. One thing you will not have to question, however, is whether or not this beer is worth its price.

Photo of timrosenblatt
4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Looks awesome. I can't see anything on the other side of my glass. I bet I could safely look at a solar eclipse through this.

It smells sweet. I don't know what it smells like, but I wish I could buy a Glade scent packet with St Bernardus for my living room.

It's nice and tasty. The sweet is there, with some kind of spicy something that comes in halfway through the drink, and stays in my mouth. Someone else said cloves...yeah.

It's too thick to drink on a hot Florida summer day, but right now it is December, and it's down to at least 60 at night.

I gave it a 4 on drinkability, just because I don't think this could be drunk over the course of a whole evening. Then again, I only really need one or two.

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

1 PT bottle poured into a snifter glass

Pretty dark, opaque even. Nice creamy head that still clung to the rim after the glass was empty.

Smelled the yeast and was a bit sweet. Smell was not overwhelming, but still strong.

I taste a lot of cloves and alcohol. Very strong. Kind of a light fruity licorice aftertaste.

Lots of carbonation and a bit tart. Left me smacking my tongue to the roof of my mouth.

I started drinking this after dinner and then went to play Wii, but found that the beer took more of a break because it needed my full attention to drink. There was no way I could gulp this down quickly.

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

Drinking this at slightly below room temperature. Poured into a big thick chalice.

A- Loud fizzy off white head grows and fades quickly. My roommate said "It looks like murky creek water" Shes actually kinda right. Its a muddy garnet colored beer. Despite the cloudiness there are lots of floaty pieces yeast visible in suspension. No head left so that means no lacing either.

S- Big malty aroma. Sourdough, raisins, bread pudding. This is a really great smelling beer.

T- Clove and an almost wine like presence of grape and raisin. Some alcohol astringency on the back end right after a sourdoughy biscuit malt bill.

M- Bubbly and prickly carbonation, full body, finishes dry.

D- The alcohol is there slightly, this is a pretty warming beer.

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

Poured into Chimay goblet
A: finger solid head, very dark cloudy amber :
S: grapes/raisins take forefront similar to a wine even; biscuity malts become apparent as it warms
T: Some darker fruits (figs, prunes) come into play with the grapes/raisins. Solid bready malt backbone that mixes well with the medicinal characteristics.
M: Fantastic creaminess to it.
D: Stop to savor.

I'm not sure why it took me so long to find this. Up there with the legit Trappists.

Photo of californiakulak
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured a bottle of this beer into my New Begium glass.

A. Poured a dark brown. Lots of bubbles form the carbonation. Good head that stayed intact for several minutes.

S. Rich fruity smell. Liked dryed dark fruits. Some spices were present as well.

T. This one is good. Somewhat sweet and fruity. Rasins, plums and maybe, just maybe a little apple. I also tasted some molasses.

M. Very carbonated and full bodied. A slightly dry finish. A lovely alcohol warming finish.

D. Like most quadtruples it hides the alcohol well. I could drink several of these without much trouble. The cost is high though so one at a time will have to do.

Photo of portia99
3.93/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a Bruery tulip glass.

A - Pours a dark, hazy/yeasty brown, pretty much opaque even when held to a light. Three fingers of creamy tan head forms, loses a couple of fingers quickly with one clinging on for a good long time. Some sparse but stubborn lacing is left on the glass.

S - Very yeasty smelling, a bit of spice, maybe cloves, some sweet fruity smells, and some spicy hops in the aroma. Not as "Belgian" as I expected to get in the aroma. Still smells good, just a bit lower in strength than I expected to get.

T - Where the aroma is a bit subdued - the taste does not follow suit. Flavors jump out of this beer. Lots of bubble gum, cloves, yeast and alcohol, maybe some anise in there too. Alcohol is a bit hot, but I find that to be the case frequently in quads. Very good flavors overall.

M - Full bodied and loaded with carbonation. Carbonation gives a very prickly and almost foamy feel in the mouth. Something other than carbonation is leaving a tingly feeling on my tongue well after the swallow - some kinda spice? Interesting...also this beer leaves my mouth literally watering...something just causes the saliva to flow - almost the same effect as hot peppers...unusual - can't recall another beer with this effect.

D - Quads in general are tough for me in the drinkability category. Lots of alcohol that tends to be on the hot side...not at all subtle. This is no exception. Definitely a sipper. Has good flavor and aroma and is a really pretty beer, but one is definitely enough in a sitting. Very good, but tough to drink a lot of.

Photo of Liverpool08
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep muddy ruby brown, with a nice tan/off white head. Aroma of dried fruits, rasins, oranges, and cherries. Also a nice malty aroma. Taste is just what you would expect. A malty smoothness followed by dark cherries and fig sweetness. Although it has a high ABV its very well hidden and makes this a real nice multi-sipper if you take your time. Make sure to let it warm a little as this will really bring out the great flavors of this beer!!

Photo of MetalHopHead6
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

St. Bernardus Abt 12 poured muddy brown with very little head. It left nice rings of sticky lace.

The smell and taste were fruity, sweet, and full of alcohol, like cherries and orange slices soaked in booze. The feel was smooth with a touch of bitterness. The high ABV provides a nice warmth. This ale is a sweet and warming sipper.

Photo of WoogityBoogity
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown color, hazy body. Off-white tan head with high retention.

S - Complex malt and dark fruit esters. Phenolic characters uncharacteristic compared to other Quads. Faint hop aroma.

T - Malt complexity soon overwhelmed by fig and dark fruit palate overload. Phenolic profile of various herbs and spices unique to Abt 12's nostalgia. Well balanced with a dry finish of intense flavors and palate overload.

M - Creamy body with high carbonation. Warming from ABV is subdued by matured palate.

D - What many consider one of the quintessential beers, and quite possibly the closest thing to Westveterlan 12.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,847 ratings.