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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.

7,711 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of St. Bernardus Abt 12 Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,711 | Reviews: 2,531 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rustrose
4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

St. Bernardus 12 bottled 9-16-08 (counting back from the expiration date on bottle)
Tasted 7-30-09

Opened with a big pfft and foam started climbing the neck. Poured into Unibroue tulip. Carbonated enough that opening stirs up some yeast. Dark brown body, slightly cloudy, with a beige head, two fingers and growing of dense, sticky foam. Ruby highlights taper to a deep orange. Head swelled to 3 fingers with a little swirling.

Nose struck me initially as big ripe plum and candy--sweet tart? Fun dip? Pear. Honey. Flowers. A little bit of runts banana. A tiny bit of toast or cookie. Some fresh-cracked pepper.

Very candy-like flavor. Tangy and zesty. Malt-forward, rich, sweet without any lingering cloy. Warming in throat and chest. A little spicy--peppery. More phenols as it warms--fresh pepper and a touch of clove. Overwhelmingly delicious, complex flavor. A gentle push of bitterness to clean up and dry the swallow. Booze noticeable but not distracting. A brightness from phenols. Slight roasted aftertaste--reminiscent of horehound candy?

Soft, full mouthfeel. Creamy and firm, with dancing prickles from strong carbonation and alcohol. Leaves a slightly numb tingle--perhaps a touch astringent? I can feel the sides of my tongue.

This is alarmingly good. I drank that bottle FAST. I remember not liking this one a ton the first time I tried it because of phenolic brightness, but that isn't striking me this time. The predominant flavor is a candy tangy malt with cracked pepper. Awesome. World class. I'd like to taste one with some age.

rustrose, Aug 01, 2009
Photo of bfields4
4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown amber gives off a bit of a purplish hue. Large lacy head.

Dark fruits first. Strong plumbs backed by a nice clove. a faint hint of yeast.

Very rich flavors. The cloves provide a nice precursor to deep rich dark fruit. A wave of sweet cocoa qualities sweep through. The alcohol provides a nice bite to finish off this beauty of a beer.

Rich and creamy very smooth. higher on the carbonation side. This beer really just brings out the most in its beautiful flavors.

bfields4, Jul 31, 2009
Photo of mothman
4.03/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Tripel Carnielit(sp) Tulip.

Poured a 1/2 finger tan head. Good retention. Really good lace walls. Color is a dark caramel brown.

Aroma: Big grape juice aroma, raisins, grapes, plums, dried cherries. A very intriguing aroma.

Taste: Raisins, cherries, plums, booze. Big malt flavor. A very typical quad, but well done.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, smooth, and just a tad boozy. Leaves a grape juice aftertaste. Full bodied with a high level of carbonation.

Overall, this is a sipper, but I do like it a lot. Not something I would buy a lot of, but every once in a while it would be a nice treat.

mothman, Jul 30, 2009
Photo of pants678
4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From the bottle it's poured into a brandy glass. The first thing I notice is that it is much darker than I remember. The color is quite similar to Gulden Draak. There's a two finger head and it's a mix of amber and a deep tan. The 12 is cloudy, unlike Gulden Draak, and looks to be in motion, sort of like Guinness.

Smells of apricots and brown sugar; this I do remember.

The taste is complex, but very Belgian, if that means anything. It's sharp on parts of my tongue but almost creamy, specifically on the end. The brown sugar stands out, perhaps more than tinges of citrus. I do taste raisins that are complimented with a bread or yeast.

The texture is as close to perfect as I've had. This base mixes the cast of flavors just right. It's a very tight, small carbonation that is complimentary. Easy to drink without toning down the beer.

pants678, Jul 28, 2009
Photo of JimsArcade
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a St. Bernardus chalice.

Pours a dark reddish-brown with no head to speak of.

Smells of strong alcohol, yeast and dried fruit with a considerable ester profile.

Tastes of raisins, chocolate and toffee. There is a hint of yeast, but the alcohol is pretty strong strong and mutes it. There are many other layers I simply can't pick out: a very complex beer.

For a quad, this is actually pretty dry. This is a sipper because you want to focus on all the flavors that are hidden in there.

This is a winter beer, that's for sure. With the Pater 6 and Prior 8 more suited for other seasons, the Abt 12 rounds it out so that at any point in the year, there is a St. Bernardus beer that I can go to and thoroughly enjoy.

JimsArcade, Jul 27, 2009
Photo of benfons
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Almost every time i open one the beer starts to pour out, just like this time.

A: Orangy brown with a nice head that dissappeares to fast. Almost no lacing left.

S: Apricot, rock candy, caramel, and varied fruits. Nice complex but balanced smell.

T: Very complex. Spices up front; then fruits and caramel comes through, and a mildly bitter finish.

M/D: Lots of thin carbonation, almost creamy, alcohol doesn't really come through.

Overall a very good, complex beer.

benfons, Jul 26, 2009
Photo of BobZ
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorites but wanted to wait for the proper context (i.e.: other beers in the session) before my review.

Appearance: Dark brown with a nice head, building as it flows into my Chimay chalice. Decent lacing as head evaporates. The ubiquitous sediment that is to be expected.

Smell: Nice on the nose, good sense of malt but slightly milder and very different from a Rochefort 8 or 10.

Taste: Hints of chocolate with a nice spice, a bit of bitterness up front that eases as the beer finishes. High ABV is well masked.

Mouth: Nice on the palate, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Very good, extremely smooth & creamy. Simply put a world class beer.

BobZ, Jul 25, 2009
Photo of jlb307
3.63/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a chalice.

A: Dark brown, caramel colored like a soda. Developed a fluffy and thick tan head which dissipated quickly. Very thin lacing left in spots on the glass, and the surface had random gobs of foam.

S: Spicy and floral with hints of overripe fruit. Caramelized malt and brown sugar mixed with yeast.

T: Burnt sugar and almost raisiny. Some spice and alcohol too.

M: Good balance with the carbonation. A little bit of a thin feel.

D: Not bad, but not sure if it's worth the hype. I know it's a quad, but the alcohol taste was a bit more than I was hoping for.

jlb307, Jul 25, 2009
Photo of Genghis22
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a rootbeer brown, slightly reddish hue. Hazy, but not overly cloudy. Creamy white head with great lacing all the way through.

S - Yeasty, malty fruit bomb. Raisins, apricots, plums and sweet malts. Lots and lots of fruit in the nose.

T - Lots of fruity malts. Just like the aroma, there is a large number of different fruit tastes present. Followed up by a taste of alcohol. The alcohol is not overly harsh, but definitely present. Hops come next to provide a bit of balance, drying the mouth just a bit. Aftertaste is all fruit.

M - Thick, syrupy and full bodied. Moderate carbonation. Just right.

D - Tncredibly smooth. The alcohol is present and I suspect would mellow out with some age. In the present state though it is incredibly drinkable and I wish I had purchased the 750ml bottled.

Genghis22, Jul 22, 2009
Photo of jminsc76
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Into a tulip, pours a foamy head, tan-ish in color atop an impenetrable body of dark brown with an almost dishwater tinge. The head dies quickly but reemerges thick and juicy upon agitation. Thick legs as I tilt the glass.

Aromas of fruit, candy, melon, figs, and other refreshing wonderfulness. While the bouquet isn't highly intense, the spectrum is, and quite varied.

Flavors of candy, figs, kiwis, hops, and a certain level of bread-iness, possibly the pumpernickel another reviewer mentioned. The alcohol level is present but no burn, not too sweet, but sweet enough and refined as all hell. Every sip yields something different, and every quaff yields a "wow" of flavors.

Mouthfeel is thick, with plenty of tingliness on the palate up front with more spice and hops on the back.

This beer is consistently rated among the top 100 among beer sites and for good reason. Everything checks out, coming together excellently. Its drinkability, while 10% ABV, affords enough for two to three per session. It's that good. And, it's even better on tap (which is why I give it an A+ rating).

jminsc76, Jul 20, 2009
Photo of steveshields
4.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm just going to review this beer briefly if I can.

I usually drink this on tap, but right now I'm having a 22oz bottle. I can immediately say that this beer tastes MUCH more amazing on tap, but I recently found these at the store across the street from my place, so it's a cheap alternative on a Sunday evening.

This beer pours a dark honey-brown. I feel like the mouthfeel tastes thicker on draft and the head lasts longer. This one is super fizzy and I kind of like that. I like good carbonation and this has it. It is super crisp, effervescent. Smells sorta like a bakery- very fresh. *update*- got another one. Getting a HEAVY cherry taste off of this bottle. Not sure why, but it's not bad.

This is an AMAZING Belgian beer. Overall very smooth and tasty. If you can find it, grab one, but at 10.5% ABV, take them SLOW!

steveshields, Jul 20, 2009
Photo of Lerxst
3.43/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-pours a faded copper color with a tremendous head and some nice sticky lacing that watches you all the way down.

S-Fruity and spicy with yeast evident. The nose is prominent, just not overly pleasant.

T-Sweet fruit and bit spicy with the alcohol being a bit hot. Its not living up to the hype for me. Other quads are better.

M-Harsh carbonation is a bit unpleasant. Leaning toward full bodied, but not quite there. The carb bite and hotness of the alcohol detracted quite a bit.

D-I won't be drinking more than one due to the harsh carbonation.

I'm a bit disappointed in this beer. I had big hopes for it. I like quads (Rochefort 10 is excellent), but this one is just not for me.

Lerxst, Jul 19, 2009
Photo of alcstradamus
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brown color with cola-like appearance. Sweet dark fruits, a bit of prune juice and molasses on the palate. World class beer for sure, possibly surpassed among quads only by Westy 12. A tad more body and a little less alcohol in the flavor would surely put it a notch higher

alcstradamus, Jul 19, 2009
Photo of BigJim5021
4.56/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I poured the 11.2 ozer into an oversized wine glass, and boy did this fucker have a head on it. There was no keeping the dregs out, as they speckled the rocky tan head with tiny, brown bits. The beer itself was a cloudy cola brown.

The aroma is big-time dark fruits soaked in booze. Spicy grapes to boot.

The flavor is terrifyingly complex. The upfront is all dark fruits and spice. Then come the grapes. Then the malts and booze and more spice. This is a head-scratcher. Quite possibly the most varied beer I've ever had from first sip to the lingering aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is so creamy and the carbonation is spot-on. Alchohol is evident, but never bites. Dry too. Really dry.

Drinkability is where this gets tricky. Would I drink this all night if I could? Hell yes. But the alcohol is really high and the price is even higher. This stuff is going to become a once-a-month treat. Crazy, crazy shit.

BigJim5021, Jul 18, 2009
Photo of pepsican
3.7/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Blend in Cedar Rapids. Dark brown with a huge white head. Aroma of sweet fruits and alcohol. Sweet with more fruits in the flavor, mostly green apples and pears. A nice hint of bitter thrown in with the sweetness. Finishes with a strong alcohol bite, very warming.

pepsican, Jul 17, 2009
Photo of Wiles
4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Distinct label helps with findability on the shelves. The monk is warning you how much beer you'll lose if you're not careful popping the cap. Printed best before 18 11 13. Tasted without cellaring. Purchased a 4 pack for $17.

Look: High carbonation makes a mess upon opening the bottle. Even with a cautious pour, it is very active in the glass with quite a bit of sediment swirling, rising with the bubbles, and dropping.
Color: Very dark mahogany with many beige flakes floating throughout. Like a snow globe gone bad.
Head: Large bubbles in the head keep it from being creamy -- for a tall but loose head disappearing quickly and leaving little lace and a lively effervescence. Pours almost like Coca-Cola.

Smell: dried fruit, a touch of parsley, and Mrs. Buttersworth

Flavor: pumpernickel and dried apricot turning to brown sugar. as it warms, some apricot is replaced by black cherry notes. very well balanced.
Finish: short rye finish with longer alcohol linger

Body: Medium. Bubbles keep it from feeling as thick as it really is.
Carbonation: Crisp. Keeps quite a bit of carbonation to the not-so-bitter end.

Drinkability: Would be surprisingly refreshing on a hot day for such a dark beer. Yes I would definitely have another.

Wiles, Jul 17, 2009
Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a 330ml bottle.

Pours into my tulip with a large fluffy head, fades at a slow rate and leaves a good deal of lacking along the glass, the color is an incredibly dark reddish/brown, I can barely get any light to shine through, some sediment floating around.

Smell has a light funk aroma, good spicy yeasty kick to it, some fruitiness melded with some malt, a really well-rounded.

Taste is rather spritzy, assertive carbonation yet doesn't interrupt the creaminess of this quad, the banana and clove shine through more in the taste, slight alcohol presence in the aftertaste.

deltatauhobbit, Jul 14, 2009
Photo of billshmeinke
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750ml bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: Very dark brown and sort of amber towards the outskirts of the glass. 3/4 inch head that diminishes fairly quickly into about a 2cm head that never disappears and leaves impressive sticky lacing down the side of the glass.

S: Smells of caramel, toffee, chocolate, brown sugar, and roasted malts. Not real hop scent to speak of.

T: Fairly sweet. Tastes follows smell. Tastes of caramel, toffee and brown sugar. It also tastes quite creamy, and a bit spicy/high acidity. Hardly bitter at all, hops are pretty subdued. Delicious.

M: Medium bodied, not as heavy as one might presume based on appearance. Well carbonated, bubbles are prickly, but the carbonation is not over done.

D: What? This was a 10.5% abv beer? I didn't notice 'til I finished the bottle and stood up. Amazingly drinkable for a 10.5% abv beer.

billshmeinke, Jul 13, 2009
Photo of nicholasdes
3.78/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The head on this beer is creamy and huge. The beer is a chocolate brown and cloudy. It smells of fruit and lightly roasted malt, the smell brings back memories of apple juice. The first thing I noticed about the taste of this beer was balance. The light alcohol flavor is perfectly balanced with sweet fruit and malt with a bitter aftertaste. I have still not acquired a taste for this style yet but I see that this is a very complex, excellent beer. A little sweet for my tastes but I did enjoy the combinations of flavors.

nicholasdes, Jul 13, 2009
Photo of jrallen34
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a bottle into a chalice in Brussels.

This beer pours drank brown with a tan head that stays around for awhile. Has good lacing as well.

It smells fruity with a tad of spice.

It tastes a bit like chocolate and coffee. Its a heavy beer that goes down smooth with the right amount of bitterness at the end.

jrallen34, Jul 11, 2009
Photo of rapidsequence
4.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle. Took it out of the fridge and poured it into an oversized wine glass, then let it sit for 30 minutes.

Appearance: Hazy light brown with some red-orange tints. Thick white-tan head still leaves some remnants after half an hour, with lacing stuck to the glass.

Smell: Well, truthfully, I smelled it for much of the warming time. Its almost worth buying just to smell. Sweet, sweet dark fruit and spice. Yeasty bread.

Taste: Up front, its all spice, then sweetness, then strong bready yeast flavors on the back. So much spicy, sweet fruitcake and yeasty bread. Its as much like food as it is drink. The alcohol is clearly present, but doesnt take anything away (cmon, alcohol is part of the reason you drink, right?). The finish is so nice.

Mouthfeel: This is a very full feel. Strong carbonation makes it feel creamy or foamy in your mouth. Its great.

Drinkability: Well, nothing makes me happier. This was actually the first Belgian that I ever tried at the suggestion of some random beer store guy about 7 years ago. It has been my favorite beer ever since and opened me up to Belgians in general (I've never had a Westy and I like it better that Rochefort). At six bucks for 11.2 oz of perfection, its a steal.

rapidsequence, Jul 11, 2009
Photo of StarlightSeraph
4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my St. Bernardus goblet.

Appearance: Pours a deep, hazy reddish brown, with a finger and a half of white head that dissipated somewhat quickly. Good bit of lacing.

Smell: Tangy fruits (cherries), some raisins, some nice bready malt in the background.

Taste: A nice tart bite right away, with an incredibly long-lasting, smooth, bready finish. The flavors are subtle in this one, but the bready notes last a nice long time. The initial fruitiness is tangy, and a little bit cloying, but still very good.

Mouthfeel: At first I thought it was a little thin, but I think it's just about right for this kind of beer. Any thicker would have accentuated the sweetness and probably made it too sweet to drink. Good carbonation.

Drinkability: Surprisingly easy to drink, and no way this seems like 10 percent alcohol. The flavors are more subtle than full flavored, so it's a good sipping beer. I enjoyed this.

StarlightSeraph, Jul 11, 2009
Photo of DwnTwnBwn
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured into a tulip glass with a tree finger head. It was a light brown in color. Laced very well all the way down the glass.

S- Has a very good aroma. It starts with a sweet beady malt, follows with raisins and plum. There is a bit of alcohol. Slight notes of spices.

T- It is a very well rounded Belgian quad. It has all the right notes Bread pudding, fruit of plums and raisins. Just a tuck of spicy hops towards the end and finishes with a sweet aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, Plenty of carbonation. Finishes slightly dry. A slight warming from the alcohol.

O: This is a very good got to Belgian quad. It is consistent and delicious.

DwnTwnBwn, Jul 07, 2009
Photo of Stavage
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks good, a nice rich deep dark brown liquid with a bubbly off white head that reduces to a very good stick lacing.

Smell is full on with ripe fruits, clove and other 'sweet' spices and sweet maltiness. It's a good full on smell, not as complex and subtle as a Rochefort 10 but much more present too.

Taste follows on from this really. The most evident spice note is clove, which compliments the sweetness quite well and this is a sweet beer. Ripe fruits and biscuity/cakey malts. A little bit too sweet for my tastes, but theres enough in the esters and spice to give it decent complexity. Alcohol is in there but pretty well hidden and gives a much needed bite to the proceedings. Overall quite full tasting. Like the smell, I find for example a Rochefort 10 more subtle and complex but this one makes up for it in fullness of flavour.

Smooth and full. Very good mouthfeel. Nothing much to say about it, it's up there with the other top ales in the calibre.

Very drinkable too. Almost a 5 but the sweetness just takes it down a notch for me.

I dont think this would be my choice to sip by itself at the end of the day. But with the fullness of flavour this is possibly my favourite quad (so far) to drink with a good meal (say a spicy red pasta dish).

Stavage, Jul 07, 2009
Photo of cgraham5
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a deep mahogany color with an off-white head. Head retention is adequate to good, lacing isn't uniform but scattered. Carbonation is very apparent in the strings of bubbles that rise to the surface.

S - Smells rich of malt and and then very sweet fruity esters.

T - A very complex drink. It warms the back of your palette as you sip before almost ricocheting back to the front of the palette to reveal its fruity nature. I can't emphasize the warming nature enough at second sip...

M - The carbonation hits the tip of your tongue and accentuates the spiciness of the brew. For the thick nature of the brew, the carbonation couldn't be better.

D - Overall an excellent quad. Smooth to drink, easy to enjoy. At 10%ABV(although BA says 10.5%) it'll be knockin' you back all night instead of the other way around. I think you'll be satisfied but, you certainly won't be dissatisfied. At a price of $11 and change it may seem pricey, but what great beer isn't? (Don't answer that...)

Plus, this is my first review, thats gotta be worth something...

cgraham5, Jul 05, 2009
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,711 ratings.