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St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

Educational use only; do not reuse.

8,120 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,120
Reviews: 2,591
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 539
Gots: 1,567 | FT: 45
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: 8,120 | Reviews: 2,591 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brewcrew76
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Chestnut, raisin brown with a thin tan head that leaves a streak or two of lace behind.

S - Sweet candied dark fruits, malty, lightly spicy with some yeasty notes.

T - Sweet malt and candied fruits, raisins, figs, prunes, etc. Little more clove spice than in aroma. Lingering herbal tea flavor on the finish. Alcohol noticeable as it warms.

M - Medium to full body but feels smooth and silky. Very nice combo of fullness but soft and creamy at same time.

D - Have had this many times and does not seem as complex as I remember. Very drinkable.

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

serving type: 12oz bottle
poured into snifter glass. deep amber to dark carmel in color. could not see through the brew held up to a bright light. three fingers off white head, tiny bubbles with good retention and minimal lacing.
smell is complex. hints of vanilla, chocolate, molasses, yeast, sugar and spice, cranberry, a almost earthy tobacco and touch of citrus and almond.
taste is inviting and further developes the smell. cranberry seems to be dominate. medium bodied, not as smooth as i would have liked due to a effervessance. average 10% ABV is well hidden but there is a slight alocohol warmth on the finish after a few sips.
mouthfeel is very round and slightly sweet. drinkability is good and each sip left me wanting one more sip. This beer is one that can be paired very well with many different types of food and cheeses, that would complete the perfect drinking experience.


Photo of Pballa4lyfe
3.81/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- dark, brownish/purple with thick white head

S- sugary, somewhat cranberrish

T- very syrupy and sugar, definitely yeasty as well

M- carbonated, but ironically is very smooth

D- very drinkable, hides the alcohol well

i'm not a huge belgian fan, but this is definitely a unique beer...its good and worth a try

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

On tap at Al's served in a snifter. Pours a murky color of dark puddle water brown. The head appears as a tan film across the top that doesn't last long. Spots of lace cling to the glass. Once the beer warms, it it gains some retention power when the glass is swirled.

The aroma is a mixture of dark sugary sweetness mixed with belgian yeast character like clove. The sugary sweetness of the aroma seems slightly fruity suggesting plums and a touch of chocolate malt before returning to the spiciness of the belgian yeast character. As it warms, it really picks up a young "green" yeast quality that is acceptable but not really all that appealing.

The taste includes the belgian yeast characteristics upfront tasting spicy and quite a bit clove-like. A solid layering of seemingly numbing alcohol is present with both a solvent flavor and warming factor. There is a mild amount of fruity flavor tasting like pear skins that never gets too sweet as it is kept in check by both the alcohol and a bit of hop bitterness that is quite earthy. The major player throughout this experience is the spice of the yeast and it finishes quite dry for how fruity sweet you might think this is based off of the nose.

This is a full bodied offering that is lightly carbonated. Easy drinking for how big the abv is but my guess is this particular offering is quite young considering the young yeasty quality that is quite bold in this brew. For all the praise and glory this beer gets I was not that big of a fan and prefer Rochefort 10 by a wide margin compared to this. I will re-evaluate the previous statement once I get a chance to sit down an enjoy a bottle of Abt 12 that is several years old.

Photo of biggjohnstudd68
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A great and noble head with the right pour... Rich, deep hues of browns and deep reds cascade the glass upon a good light... A funnel cloud of sediment swirls as you hold it up, as a doting father to his newborn baby...

Smell: One whiff of this brew, post pour, will take you into an ancient artisan bakery... Leaving the craving of a hot, sour, crusty, oven-baked bread to gnosh on as you enjoy the mealy aroma of this yeasty brew...

Taste: A smooth, bitter, yet "biscuity" feel and taste to this beer makes it not only a great compliment to a feast-type meal, but almost a meal in itself. The smooth richness of St. Bernardus will leave you smiley and satisfied...

Mouth: Swishing through the palette like a fine wine, The Saint will leave a heavy, bready, yet very complex, clean, and smooth feel after it passes the tongue... Heavy, yet addicting in texture... If you aren't craving a second, there is simply something wrong with you...

Drink: Entering the stomach, it almost reminds you of a very upscale comfort food... Rich in flavor, aroma, body, texture, and overall taste... 10% alcohol is BARELY noticed behind the richness and complexity of this AWESOME Belgian brew... Do not even WORRY about being disappointed...

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

33rd review on BA
Bottle to Chimay goblet

First I would like to say the damn thing exploded as soon as I popped the cap so my head and appearance is probably off.

App- Poured a myriad of browns into the glass, it was a kalediscope of browns in there. I got at least for different shades. Almost no head on it but great lacing and a wonderful swirl pattern.

Smell- It smelled strong and I don't normally say that about beer. It was earthy and robust, malty with some fruit.

Taste- The taste of the beer is rich and complex like that of a mild red wine. It had a strong alcohol taste but the grape like tannic qualities would mix with a bready quality to a candied sugar taste. Very complex indeed.

Mouth- Slight dry that keeps the palate engaged for the next sip. It was clean, not muddled. Flavors know where they want to go and where you should follow. Has the right amount of flavor in the drink. Doesn't overpower you though for 10%.

Drink- It's a bit heavy for a session beer, but I liked it. I can see why for this Quad to be as highly rated as it was. For me it was the younger brother to a SA Utopias. It had the same qualities.

Photo of HURTemHIZZY
3.96/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby brown with a huge frothy, dense light tan head that has great retention and leaves great lacing behind. Smell is of dark fruits and spice, bit of an alcohol touch, and with a swirl all gives off the hint of grape/cherry cough syrup. Good, but the cough syrup thing (although I didn't get that much of it) was a bit off putting.

Taste is very nice. Dark fruits (figs and plums) and spice primarily, with a warming alcohol heat that is very nice going down. Nice creamy mouthfeel, with a low to medium levelof carbonation.

Photo of Frosty80
4.13/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Color: sits burnished gold to dark copper with a little bit of floating sediment

Smell: slight rich malt aroma with notes of raisins and caramel and maybe a little bit of dark fruit. slightly spicy

Taste: good maltiness with notes of raisins and dark fruit. spicy phenols and warming alcohol present. finish is slightly sweet with a little alcohol and spiciness

Mouthfeel: light-medium body with medium carbonation

Notes: a little drier and more balanced than some of the BSDA/quads ive had. good but not my favorite

Photo of nhindian
4.02/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a Delirium Tremens tulip.

A - When I first opened this, it was a bit of a gusher. Lost a little bit but I was able to salvage it for the most part. Poured into a Delirium Tremens tulip and built a nice, creamy 3 fingered head that stuck around for the majority of the beer. Pours a very dark brown with copper edges, muddy with some sediment and completely opaque. Not very much lacing which I was a bit surprised about.

S - Smell is definitely boozy at first. Behind the alcohol you get some really nice, sweet, dark fruits, figs, some sweet malts, and grapes. A nice mix between the alcohol and fruit.

T - Taste follows the nose for the most part. Get some hot alcohol at first and then tannic grape. Reminds me of a complex wine. Can really taste the Belgian sugar and candied fruits. Keep getting a range of different flavors from the malty breadiness to the dark fruit back to alcohol. A relatively dry finish that really helps keep the palate refreshed.

M - Mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied and has a good amount of carbonation to keep things interesting.

D - Drinkability is pretty moderate. The flavors are quite complex and enjoyable, but the hotness and tannins detract a bit. Drank over about a span of 40 minutes and it was interesting to see how the complexion changed as it warmed up. Got more of the fruits as a result but it became a bit more boozy and dry as well.

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

On-tap at Flying Saucer served in a tulip glass a deep murky brown with a thin diminishing head. Aroma is a nice amount of dried fruit and dark malts. The taste is dried fruit and burnt caramel. The beer is medium bodied with well hidden alcohol. This is a great quad, even on-tap.

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

750ml bottle into Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a hazy dark mahogany with a billowing light tan head that slowly receded into a thick foamy film that left spots of bubbly lace down the glass.
S: Wonderful notes of sweet dark fruits, tingling Belgian spices and bready yeast. Not especially potent smelling. Very subtle, even at room temperature. Slight alcohol vapor.
T: Sweeter than expected dark fruits with a finish full of peppery spices. Creamy doughiness throughout. Hints of cherries and figs, clove and pepper. Maybe some dried orange rind. Sweeter than other quads, but oh so very balance and delicious!
M: Very bubbly and creamy mouthfeel over a full body. The carb froths up a bit in your mouth with every sip. Slight alcohol warmth in the finish.
D: Amazing amazing brew. I could sip this forever. I'd rather be sipping a Westy, but this comes pretty darn close. Definitely pretty much on par with Rochefort. Well worth the price. I will buy this one again.

Photo of trevorjn06
4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Upon opening the bottle it gushed over for a minute! I got it to settle without loosing more than a sip or two... it pours a dark brown/mahogany color that is opaque with one finger of head that recedes quickly and leaves minimal lacing on the glass.

Aroma is rich, lots of dark fruit (raisins, figs) sweet caramel, malt, a bit of tangy/bright yeast character and a hint of alcohol.

Taste if smooth and rich. Overall it goes down much smoother than anticipated, there are dark fruits inter-mingling with bready malts and caramel. The finish is mildly tart, which helps to cut through the sweetness and and leaves a mild fruity/yeasty flavor on the tongue. After re-reading this description it sounds a bit to plain, this beer is much more complex but the subtleties are hard to place.

Mouthfeel is thick, but not as much as I'd expected, it's quite pleasant and the flavors coat the mouth well. Below average carbonation.

Overall this beer is as I said, smooth, rich and malty. It is very easy to drink and hides it's strength well. I will be drinking this again.

Photo of mrunseen
4.42/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a darker brown color, but not completely opaque. Held to the light, some light does get through. The beer presents ample head, but I was able to limit it to two fingers with a careful pour.

Nose: Sweet. Dark Fruits. Has the typical smell for this style of beer. Very appealing nose.

Taste: Rich. Sweet. Brown / candied sugars mixed in with a variety of subtle dark fruits. Overall, a delicious beer.

Mouth: The mouth for this beer is just right. Full bodied, but not too heavy.

Drinkability: Great. This is one of my favorite go to beers. Although higher in alcohol, this is a very easy beer to drink.

I highly recommend this brew.

Photo of vkv822
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle into tulip.

My first bad gusher!
I've had a very slow gusher before but this was the first to take me by surprise and have to be ran to the sink. . . yay!

The beer pours a deep, garnet hued brown with quite a bit of yeast suspended throughout. The head is a very nice tan with tiny dark speckles.

The aroma is of sweet bready malts upfront. There are also notes of spice, dark fruits and a faint booziness to the finish. There are very faint bubblegum notes as well.
The taste is of fruits, mixed with sweet malts. Though the alcohol does come through a bit much in the finish.

The mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied with very light carbonation.

I found this be quite a well crafted and enjoyable beer. This definitely leaves me looking forward to trying more quads in the future.

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

A - A beautiful beer the color of night, with a half inch sandlewood head that sticks around like sticky lace on my glass.

S - Wow. Sweet grains. Very malty smell with late autumn fruits. The yeast is very noticeable. Some spices like nutmeg. A little nutty. Maybe like almonds or pecans.

M - This a sticky, full beer. Maybe not as thick as expected, but nice. Nice carbonation, and slightly warm.

T - Amazing. The malted grain is most noticeable taste, but there's a lot too it. Slight fruitiness like raisins. Quite sweet like dark sugars. Not incredibly heavy on the alcohol.

D - I wish I could drink this all the time, but at 10, I'm afraid more than two would put me out.

Photo of dragonWhale
4.01/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

small bottle, fresh, best before 1.13.15 (I think I've deciphered this correctly).
Dark amber, a bit cloudy, nice ring of tan foam encircling with a bit of lacing draped on the glass.
Candy, sweet raisins, a bit of bubblegum, apples to alcohol, of course!
Very sweet raisins and dates in the flavor, alcohol on the backburner, much smoother than I thought it would end up being. The sweetness is sexy, inviting. Come play here, plenty of room for you too. Nice balance from a soft, pining bitterness.
The booze kicks in towards the end, yeah...
Want this one again with some age upon its sweet physique.

Photo of OtherShoe2
4.08/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown with a huge billowy tan head. Nice lacing and gradual reduction of head.

Dark fruit, toasted malt, some booze soaked prune, fig, dark sugar aromas.

Dark fruit, dark brown sweet bread, prune and plum and dried fig, some candied/brown sugar elements, a little yeast. Some light bitterness. Delicious. Alcohol, while present, is hidden well.

Too damn carbonated. Clears the palate, but misses the boat. Does help this to clear the palate and appear lighter than it is, but this is a problem.

Very drinkable -- sneaks up on you. Flavor and balance are near perfect. Great brew.

Photo of Reaper16
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

served on-tap @ The Alcove, Tuscaloosa, AL into a St. Bernardus goblet

Pours a tawny sort of Roufos color. Buttermilk colored head sits about about 1.5 fingers before wisping away after two minutes to almost nothing. The only lacing left was at the top rim of the glass; haven't seen that before. Nice looking Quad all-in-all, with points credited because this is on-tap.

Abt. 12 smells like a typical good Quad smells. Nothing surprising, just marvelously executed dark fruits and sweet pastry malts and some brewing spices and a dash of herbaceousness. The plums and brown sugar are stronger here than in the bottled versions I've had. The aroma is... smoother, I guess you could say.

Plum, fig, date, pear, appleskin, preserved orange - all drizzled with port and rum. Breadcrusts and sugar. A bit of umami that sort of tastes like mushrooms meets old coffee grounds. Clove. The malt takes on new depth. Cinammon rolls and walnut logs and fruitcake. Again, the nutty malt and the plum are stronger here than in the bottled version. This is less vinous and decidedly smoother, earthier, than the in the bottle. It works though. Still good, but perhaps less special.

A nice, hefty body on this beer; more viscous than in the bottle (less dry too, not that the original was lacking in sweetness). It feels luxurious though, never too heavy. Carbonation provides an initial prickle but it quickly yields to a sense of smoothness. Nice coating effect. The drinkability is kind of insane. I drank the whole glass without feeling anything, and the added creaminess to the body and smoothness to the flavor makes for one of the most drinkable Quad experiences I've ever had.

The Alcove charged an arm and a leg for a glass of Abt. 12 on-tap, and I suppose that it was mostly worth it. Excellent Quadrupel with enough differences from the bottled version to warrant a purchase. I'm glad to have this in Tuscaloosa, that's for sure.

Photo of CampusCrew
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: deep dark reddish brown with a loaded head and good retention. lots of lacing

smell: an array of fruits, mostly raisins, plums, and figs... some spicy aromas such as clove

taste: spicy, herbal and fruit. well balanced with a great malt backbone of caramel and roaatsed flavors and simple sweetenss. the finiah on this beer is amazing. You can taste it in your mouth minutes after drinking.

mouthfeel: medium to full bodied and nicely carbonated

drinkability: Ok, it's good. probably one of the best in it's category.

Photo of Patrick999
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Have had on several occasions, but inexplicably, never reviewed. I don't know why, so I'm now going to give it proper live review treatment. Poured from one of the small bottles into a St. Bernardus goblet that looks like an oversized wine glass. Muddy brown dubbel/quad appearance with excellent foam retention. I'll give it a little time to warm up - on this 88 degree October day, it shouldn't take too long.

It smells like an enormous malt bomb, massive aromatic slabs of deep caramel, overripe plantain and rum raisin. Malt for miles and miles.

While it smells very sweet, the taste has more going on than just pure sweet malt. It is moderately sweet up front, which is entirely appropriate, the sweetness of a rum-drenched dark banana bread. It is a little spicy, though perhaps not as clove-heavy as some of the other Belgians. Alcohol, while by no means overbearing, isn't afraid to poke its nose in at mid-palate and let you know it's there. Dry-ish finish with a raisin aftertaste.

While this is a full-bodied beer to say the least, it achieves the heavenly cloud-like Belgian mouthfeel like few others of this strength not named Rochefort 10 or Westy 12.

In fact, I think this can stand with the above as one of the finest quads available. Personally, I am not in the mood for quads very often, but when I am this is easily a go-to.

This is one of those beers that is "Required Reading" for any BA. Here's a prime example of one of the world's great beers just sitting on your liquor store's shelf at an affordable-luxury price. Go pick one up today. Better yet, pick up the St. Bernies gift pack with bottles of the 6, 8, 12 and Tripel *and* this sweet balloon goblet - really a kick-ass glass. Money well spent.

Photo of ramseye4
4.67/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Earlier this year, I had originally ordered a St. Andrew's by Belhaven at Capital Ale house and out they brought St. Bernardus on accident. I said screw it and tried it out. I had been sort of tinkering with craft beer, Sierra Nevada Pale ale had started by cracking the door for me. And St. Bernardus ABT 12 strapped a demo charge to it and blew the door wide open. Several months later, I finally am getting around to doing a proper review.

Poured into a Red Hook tulip, it displays a massive head that retains all the way through the tasting. It is a beautiful looking beer, a reddish brown color that looks just wonderful, especially with the head. The smell is incredibly complex, and a tad hard to describe. I would say it has dark fruits, figs, and a bit of berries, with some alcohol and clove. The taste is sublime, with raisins, grapes, roasted darkish malts and a pleasing alcoholic sensation washing around in the mouth and continuing all the way to the stomach. Man is this good. The mouthfeel is sticky, and definitely full bodied, with a good amount of carbonation.
This beer is a flat out awesome. Surprisingly it is relatively easy to find where I live, and is even on tap at Cap Ale. I definitely recommend this.

Photo of BillHilly
4.82/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours a dark chocolate hue, nice lacing, very enticing.

Smell: The malt smell leads, with a nice sweet fruity finishing note.

Taste: Light molasses in the front with a sweet malty finish and caramel highlights. Simply fantastic.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy with a balanced carbonation. Seems subtle yet pronounced at the same time - very complex.

Drinkability: Amazingly complex, yet so easily consumed for a 10.5% ABV. A marvelous Quad and well worth the price.

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

L: I somehow find it more difficult to pour this one than a westy 12 or a rochefort 10. Never seem to get a good head on this one.

S: dark fruits, spices, alcohol, nice! Love these quads...

T: dark fruits, bubblegum, medium sweet, more white then brown sugar

O: this is a very good change of pace when you love the westy 12 or the roch 10 (I can't help to compare). However, the latter 2 have my preference. Not as complex as the westy and not that caramel, dark brown sugar & port-like finish taste I love about the roch. But all in all a very enjoyable quad

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

Pours a medium brown, inch of head, looks good and very tempting.

Dark fruits, ripe fruit, some spices, cloves, mostly fruit though.

Spices, Fruit, Alcohol

High carbonation, slightly course feeling, maybe spices and yeast floating.

Very drinkable, the 10.5 percent seems more like 7, very tasty. A very good quad, very very good for the style.

Photo of r0nyn
4.08/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into my DFH snifter.

Pours a chocolate brown hue that fills the glass with big, dark opacity. Tan head settles into a quarter-inch cap and leaves some serious sticky lacing. Really very enticing. Smell is full of dark fruits and esters, along with a ton of maltiness. As it warms, the alcohol is just slightly detectable at the end.

Taste has that bready malt kick to start things on a good note and gradually gives way to the sweet dark fruits and a bit of clove and spice. There's a roastedness that permeates the flavors, giving it an interesting balance and something of an earthy, woody feel. Towards the end is the mildest of hop bittering that lingers on the back of the tongue somewhat. The booziness shows up at the end as well, especially as the brew warms. Expected, and it manages to blend with the other complex tastes well enough to be pleasant. Mouthfeel is nice and creamy, with a minimal amount of carbonation. Slight chewiness as well.

Drinkability is quite good, even though you'll definitely need to sip this over time to really get the full experience. This is a full-bodied Belgian brew with a complex taste and should be savored as befitting one of the best beers on the planet. I would actually place this just below the Rochefort 10, but that is by no means a negative mark on this exceptional beer. I'll definitely have to have this again with a bit of age on it.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 8,120 ratings.