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St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

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8,201 Ratings

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Ratings: 8,201
Reviews: 2,609
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 561
Gots: 1,628 | FT: 48
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (12) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,201 | Reviews: 2,609
Photo of wrb357
4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I finally tried one of these. I'm still getting a handle on Belgian ales, and this is a pretty hefty style to get into (quad) but I tried it from a 11.2oz bottle into a goblet.

A - Looks really dark, reddish, like cherry juice or something. Had a decent head to it.

S - Smelled like various fruit juices combined with wine, and some figs or something

T - Carbonation was very present. At first it reminded me of a port or sherry because of its bubbly nature and overall fruit flavor, but as time went on it subdued a bit and I could taste all of the flavors. Sort of like chocolate covered bing cherries, or prunes or really thick dark caramel. It was sweet but not overly. Really tasted like a dessert wine, if you ask me.

M - Felt good in the mouth, definitely a sipper (like I said, dessert wine) but I loved the bubbly nature of it after awhile.

D - Went down smoothly and easily, due to its sweetness and light nature, but fruity taste. Would be great to have a couple of these but not for the head - very alcoholic! Perfect thing to bust out for dessert when others are having port or something.

I'd get this again, but it would definitely have to be for a special occasion or something. A nice after-dinner drink to celebrate a promotion or something. I like session beers, but this is a nice treat.

Photo of Jmaths
3.83/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bought a 16.9 oz bottle at Wegman's.

Appearance: Cloudy, Reddish-Mahogany-Brown, pours medium thick pale head.

Smell: Not bad. Was expecting more, based on its rating. Very similar to taste.

Taste: Wheat, Fruit, Sugar, almost a candy-like taste. Slight yeast. Similar taste to Chimay Blue, but not as good in my opinion. Was expecting more. A good beer, just not extremely impressed with it. Rochefort 10 blows this out of the water.

Mouthfeel: Relatively carbonated, not very thick, alcohol is barely noticeable. Somewhat more thin than I was expecting.

Drinkability: Not amazing, but not horrible either. But let's be honest, who cares about drinkability anyway?

This just makes me want Rochefort 10 even more. I yearn for that mind-bending flavor, for that mouth-orgy.

Photo of mkorpal
4.94/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My local beer store opened up their cellar recently. Went in today to find a beer or two to celebrate the BCS National Title game. Found this beer, a 2004 cellared version. The beer is already great fresh, so i can't wait to taste it with some serious age on it.

Beer is opened with a lot of old CO2 escaping. That CO2 has been waiting for a long time. The bottle, which was in great shape, pours into my New Belgium globe glass pretty dark amber, which clears considerably on the edge. Lots of yeast grains floating in the beer. Small off white head with solid lacing.

Smell is strong, very strong. These esters just attack the nose. I love the bombardment of figs and raising and plums, with lots of buttered rum, some bourbon, and freshly baked whole grain bread.

Taste is much more bread, and even more rum and bourbon and sugar, along with a boatload of fruity esters. I'm surprised at the bourbon and rum notes. I know there is nothing in there like that, but I'm picking up quite a bit of oakyness, vanilla, and spicy like esters. Man, it's complex.

The beer feels almost perfect on the tongue. Not too chewy, but still has some weight to it. Nothing dry at all.

Fresh, this beer can have some boozyness to it. It has disappeared with the 6 years of aging. There isn't the slightest hint of alcohol.

Oh god, this is awesome. One of the best 8 bucks I have ever spent. Thank you Liquor Max for providing me this beer.

Photo of dubinsky
4.37/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle into a C&B Bruges snifter.

A - Pours hazy and cloudy with some precipitate that i can only assume to be that yeast that we all love so much. Wonderfully dark and brown in color. A one finger off white foamy head was a result of a the pour.

S - Deep aromas of dark fruits, mostly prunes, black cherries, and dates. Some sweet caramel, nuts, black pepper, vanilla and of course some alcohol present. As the beer warms up, it opens up like a fine wine.

T - This is an amazing beer. No wonder its rated in the top ten, and the third most awesome quad. Very sweet, but not cloying. Tons of dark fruits as the smell suggests, with a great warming effect from the 10+% ABV. Tastes a bit like cola, but for grownups.

M - Very carbonated, almost a bit over-carbonated. Very creamy and full bodied.

D - What can i say, its very drinkable to say the least. Its fairly up there in ABV, yet i don't feel like i need to go too slow with this one. What can i say about a beer that has already been beaten to death. Its all true. This is a great beer. I'm enjoying it as a desert beer after a great dinner.

Photo of nkersten
3.55/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into Goose Island tulip, expiration date is 2015. Pours an extremely hazy brown with burnt orange hues and a tan one finger head that fades to a cap with good retention and lacing. Smell is dominated by Belgian yeast, fruity banana and citrus esters, some vanilla, caramel malt sweetness. Taste follows, caramel malts, slightly bready, lots of yeast and a touch of aclohol in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium to light bodied with a heavy active carbonation. There is a strange off flavor/aftertaste that I am not crazy about and the body is kind of thin. There are much better readily available quads out there that I will avoid this one in the future.

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

A: Dark Reddish Brown, Opaque/Cloudy, Attractive tan head

S: Sweet, yet appealing aroma, hints of candy and baked bread

T: Very complex, multifaceted flavor profile. Starts with a spicy and sweet combination of dark fruits (raisin) and candy. Transitions to a warming alcohol with hints of brandy. One of the more interesting beers I've had, period.

M: Thick, buttery mouthfeel. Coats your palate and helps to contribute to the longevity of this beer's flavors.

Notes: This has been one of my favorite beers for years and it never seems to disappoint. This particular bottle had been aging for the last two years which seems to have cut a bit of the carbonation - but this didn't take away much from my enjoyment of the beer. Not sure that I'd wait as long in the future before cracking my bottle open though.

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

A: dark brown, lots of carbonation

S: Complex; smells of ripe fruit, a bit sweet tinged with cloves

T: One of the best I've tasted. Lots of things going on in the background; the carbonation is noticeable, the alcohol not so much. Overall, a spicy/nutty taste that leaves you wanting more.

M: Very smooth. The fizziness tends to linger, its a bit creamy towards the end.

D: As other reviewers have noted, it is *very* difficult to put the glass down, but somehow you get the impression this is a beer thats meant to be savored first. The alcohol is subtle, but it's effects are definitely noticeable after a glass or two. Outstanding beer.

Photo of leakyfaucet12
4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

a- The appearance on this one is great. Big giant head with redish tones to the body.

s- dark fruits and flowers. Amazing smell

t- boozy flavor but not mouthfeel. Dark Fruits, like raisins and figs. There is some caramel in there as well. very complex and very delicious

M-carbonation is big but not too big. and almost like a fine champagne. Might be my favorite thing about the beer.

This beer is one of the best quads I have ever had. I really enjoy this beer, and I can't believe I have never reviewed it before. One of my favorites

Photo of MrMcGibblets
4.37/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: chestnut/dark dirty brown, cloudy w yeast from bottom of bottle. Great tan head and lacing is thick and persistent.
S: lots going on. Waves of dark dried fruit, clove, dessert spices, toffee, cocoa, a bit of rummy alcohol, fruitcake, ...
T: all of the above. Medium sweet fruitcakey malts are almost washed out by a hidden smooth light bitterness and co2, finishing just off-dry. Warming rum like alcohol on the end.
M: medium bodied. Effervescent, frothy, lively.
D: dangerously drinkable at this high abv...wondering how this is with age on it. Even better on-tap, but I didn't sit down and evaluate it those times.

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

A - Pours a dark murky brown with a small tan head that dissipates quickly.

S - Soft Belgian yeast. Clove, brown sugary malt, dark fruits.

T - Dark cherries, plums, bananas, caramelized toffee and brown sugar. The malt is complex and comforting. The spices are soft and subtle. Has some ginger in the middle. Belgian yeast resides throughout.

M - Medium to full bodied. Low carbonation.

All the flavors melded together with perfect harmony. Soft but bold. A very easy drinker with the alcohol well hidden. The yeast has a subdued presence.

Photo of SmokinSmyth
4.32/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark, absolutely impossible to see any light on the other side of the glass. Produces a large white head, which hangs around for a little while, and leaves some minimal lacing.

It smells very good, very malty, more like a traditional dark beer than many of the Belgian beers.

Taste is excellent, leaving a warmth as it makes it way down the throat. Fruity flavor.

Feels good in the mouth, and drinks easy for a 10% ABV, so beware!

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

11.2oz bottle poured into a St. Bernardus chalice

A: Pours dark brown and completely opaque, 1 finger bubbly off-white head that slowly dissipates. Leaves just a little lacing.

S: Strong dark fruits, fig, buttered biscuits, sweet bread, alcohol soaked fruit.

T: Very dark earthy robust flavors dominated by the dark fruits. Is pretty sweet in a sweet bread kind of way, a little musty/nutty. Alcohol gives a little bit of a kick behind the carbonation and mellows out until the finish, it actually works quite beautifully. Finish is dry, earthy, and sweet. Everything comes together so harmoniously to create robust, deep, complex flavors while maintaining a level of delicacy.

M: Fairly high carbonation, medium to full body, very smooth and creamy. The higher carbonation than most quads leads to a very creamy mouthfeel, though I would wish the body be a little thicker.

D: I'm torn drinking this. It's so good I can't put the glass down but at the same time this is something that is best savored slowly. I can't think of anything better to drink with red meat or aged cheese.

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

Drank this out of a goblet.

a. Beautiful Amber/Brown with a nice generous
head that laces the glass throughout the drink.

s. Fantastic smell. Spice/fruits/sweet ripe figs.

t. Out of this world. Sweet sublte spicey flavors all over the palate with bit of bitterness toward the end. Nothing is overpowering. Balanced and just delicious.

m. Light but smooth with a really good amount of carbonation.

d. Good lord.. Drinkable? Just an all around fantastic combonation of taste/smell/feel/appearence. A beer to savor.

Photo of cbak999
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark brown with a huge white head. Great lacing on the glass...and lots of carbonation in the Belgian. It's pretty sweet, with a bit of spice. The Belgian candy sugar is evident. Other flavors are brown sugar and dark malty sweetness; with a bit of fruit taste. For a 10% beer, it's very drinkable.

Photo of depechemode1983
4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours a murky dark brown. Has a rocky light brown head with moderate retention. Has moderate lacing as well.

S- the nose is sweet and malty with hints of grain and earth. there are raisins in the middle along with an alcohol presence. the raisins and grain characters linger a bit after the ending of the nose.

T- taste is malty and sweet. Dark fruits and alcohol are very noticeable. the finish is warm and alcoholic with raisins and bread.

M- Medium in body and very smooth. Carbonation is moderate. Feels proper.

D- Not bad. I like the alcohol warmth on this one. Plays a good part in the beer. St Bernardus hasn't let me down yet. Excellent beverage here.

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

What can I say.. I sampled this at Beervanafest in October '10. Outstanding. Dark amber color, full head. Silky smooth mouthfeel. Smells doughy like a top Belgian should. Taste is powerful, nuts and raisins, easy finish. One of the most memorable beers of the tasting.

Photo of jpro
4.48/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this one on Christmas... (review is from notes)

A: Poured into a Duvel tulip... a cloudy molasses reddish brown with a big almond head; exceptional retention of creamy foam that leaves a few patches of crystally lace.

S: Apricots, dark fruit, molasses, spices, sweet malts, and maybe some alcohol soaked pears.

T: Sweet bread, figs, candied fruit, light caramel... complex.

M: Medium-bodied and smooth; the yeast spice makes for a nice, crisp finish.

D: Very drinkable, letting it warm really let's the flavor evolve; a nice cold evening ale. Looking forward to trying the St. Bernardus Christmas Ale sometime!

Photo of Sachsenfreude
4.57/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

appearance; cloudy red-brown with a tan head. Very slow dissipation, tight and sparce lacing.

smell; spicy fermenting cherries in a vat. Alcohol and yeast on the back end of the aroma.

taste; raisins and rum, dried dark fruits and light clover honey all add a sweetness that is kept in check by a bitter finish that is kept gentle by slick yeasty flavors that hold everything together in an amazing balance.

mouthfeel; rich and heavy, very tight and active carbonation, easy finish with a bit of burn.

drinkability; the alcohol lets itself be known and compromises drinkability a bit.

Photo of boss302
4.52/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

.33l bottle, chilled to 56F, date on label: 13 08 14.

History of St Bernardus. St Bernardus used to brew for St Sixtus (aka Westvleteren) from 1946 to 1992. According to "Brew like a Monk" by Stan Hieronymus, they claim to brew the same way they did for St Sixtus. I have a Westvleteren 12 from "Keith" from Cedar Grove, Fl. I have done a back to back tasting to compare the two and have updated this review below the original on 5/12/2010

05-12-2010 Original review

A dark color, but when held to the light it appears a deep deep red. Thick creamy head, but didn't last long as it settleed down to a nice even layer that was supported by a continuous flow of bubbles from the bottom of the glass. The glass ended with a shot of beer and the remainder of the head, quite nice.

S sweet raisiny smell, no hop odor was noticeable. Very clean.

T high carbonation bite, sweet fruity caramel flavor that sticks to the back corners of my mouth. Reminds me of dark dried fruit, very complex flavors, even, well balanced, no one flavor dominates. Quite nice.

M full body, very nice feel. There is a hint to the alcohol in the warm atertaste, but otherwise its undetectable.

D overall a nice beer. Might be hard to drink more than a few, it's high in alcohol and pretty heavy.

12-28-2010 Review after a Westy12

Abt12, 13 08 14. Tasting with Westvleteren12 and Rochefort 10. 350ml bottle.

A Dark chestnut, thick course head, a nice looking beer. Of the 3 beers Westvleteren12, Abt12 and Rochefort, the Abt12 and Westy are the closest in color. 4.5 same as original review.

S Plums, apricot, and licorice aroma. Fruit is up front, but not as prominent as it is in the Westy. 4.5 lower than original (5.0).

T Fruit is present in the taste as well, but not as much as the westy 12.  Not as clean and a bit rougher compared to the Westy. Overall a very good beer, but for me it comes in a 2nd place. 4.5 same as original review.

M As with the other Belgian big beers, the mouthfeel is thick and substantive. Carbonation is good, in fact better than the Westy. 4.5 same as original review.

D A good beer, but with the high alcohol, you won't be having too many. Good to have a few in the frig for sipping. 4.5 higher than original review (4.0).

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

on tap poured into St Bernardus chalice. Also had in bottle a few months prior and just never bothered to capture in a review.

pours with solid 1 inch deep ruby head with great lacing throughout. This is as complex a beer as I've had, really enjoy the multitude of aromas and tastes. Figs, raisins, malts and on and on and on. Reminiscent of fruitcake, the good kind. Alcohol is just present enough to warm you, but not overwhelm at all. Love this stuff.

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

review from notes on 11/19/10
served out of bottle into goblet.

a. what a nice color, red brown, looks deep. the head on this is impressive, its big, its not going anywhere anytime soon. it leaves a really nice lace on my glass.

s. smells like dark fruits, figs, a mellow sweetness. the smell really comes through nicely.

t. mmm the sweetness combines sublimely with a slight bitterness and a bit of heat from the abv. its sublimely balanced. the sweet dark fruit flavors are abundant and playfully present in the palate.

m. carbonation is nice. mouthfeel on the lighter side from the quads ive had, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing.

d. really drinkable and enjoyable.

Photo of micromaniac129
4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Adeep velvety brown color beer with an extremely aggressive dense tan foamy head that fades to a lingering veil that explodes with any sudden movement. Good lacing.
Fine malt aroma with Beligum yeast faint aspects of cloves and fruit.
Taste is rich and complex malts. I taste also cloves candied sugar and sweet fruitiness of plums or raisons. Oh yeah, and a big alcohol bite.
It feels in the mouth to be a thin to medium bodied beer with a dry finish and alchol warming.
Pleasing to look at and pleasing to drink.

Photo of hooliganlife
3.88/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

best by 12/21/12

pours a chocolate brown with a light creamy head. it was a gusher when i popped it but settled down during the pour. tons of sediment floating around in this.

light sweet chocolate funk with a hint of booze. not much on the nose here.

dark fig, dark fruit, clove and or banana mixed with a light funk. bits of grape and blueberry. the alcohol really comes through.

very carbonated, full body. bit of a burn.

overall, this was ok. i had this on tap and i am sure it was much fresher and i would say i enjoyed this far more.

Photo of everfrost
4.54/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured with a ridiculous head, that slowly dissipated, but remained somewhat intact during throughout the glass. Cherry brown color with creamy dirty tan head. Lacing was more intense at the beginning, but remained throughout the glass.

T: Wonderful example of Belgian Quad. Sweet masking of the high ABV by the Belgian candis. Dark figs and caramelized bananas dominate the flavor profile, with hints of many other dark fruits (perhaps raisins).

M: Nice body with great carbonation. Complex and creamy. Leaves the mouth with a slight dry feeling.

D: Extremely drinkable.

Photo of OlieIPA
3.93/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a Stone Vertical Epic glass at approximately 55 degrees F...

A: Poured extremely heady and fizzy, if that makes sense? The body appears to be lighter than some of it's counterparts (ex. Westy 12), but settles in nicely with a light brownish hue.

S: A lot of dark fig, blueberry and husk-like aromas coming off the first whiff! Additional investigations lead to some residual/brown sugar qualities that add a complex and delicate touch to the overall "smell" profile.

T: Quite unique to the style, but again...does a good job of staying within the guidelines (sounds like an oxymoron, I know). I guess what I'm trying to say is that unlike some other Quads I've had the pleasure of trying, Abt 12 comes off less robust...but has a complex quality that others sometimes lack. Tons of dark berry flavors, a touch of sweet sugar and a slight smack of hop bitterness.

M: I feel that this could have used a little more body and less carbonation, but overall...not bad.

D: Quite impressed! 10% ABV is hidden extremely well and the flavor profile makes it that much easier to drink!

Overall: A great example of a "very good" Quad! A try it beer! Cheers!

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 8,201 ratings.