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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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8,122 Ratings

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Ratings: 8,122
Reviews: 2,591
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 542
Gots: 1,567 | FT: 44
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: 8,122 | Reviews: 2,591 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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

Aroma here is definitely malty with dark fruit and sweet, but I find there's a distinct liquorice smell in there as well. Also some alcohol.

Pours a medium shade of brown in the glass with a rather large head.

Definitely some molasses, caramel and dark fruit from the onset of the beer. There's also a slight spiciness sitting in the background. Some yeast is perceptible as well, but it's fleeting and not very "center stage". In fact, not all sips even projected a yeastiness to me. Carbonation is surprisingly high for style. There's some brown sugar on the back end of the beer, but what strikes me about this beer is just how smooth it is. Many times, the sweetness and/or roasted qualities of a beer this thick and high in ABV can be astringent on the back and cause some grimacing. Here, it's a bit thinner and comes across as more of a caramelized sugary sweetness that finishes the beer out. The alcohol isn't even noticeable to me. This makes the drinkability higher to me, and makes it even more dangerous.

This is another winner from Saint Bernardus....I can see why this beer is routinely mentioned among the best there is. Scarily drinkable.

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

Pours a cloudy reddish brown. Three finger head.

Clove aroma. You can smell the alcohol.

Cloves, butter, fruits alcohol. That's the best way I can describe it. I understand this is a quad so of course the alcohol is strong. You can taste it but it seems to be masked in sugars. Smooth with an easy carbonation. It's like Rochefort 10 but more aggressive.

Drinkable but I would have only one, maybe two glasses of this, not because it's a ABV of 10.50% but because it's so present in the taste. Due to personal taste I wouldn't say I'm in love with this beer, however, I respect it because I know that anyone who loves quads is going to want to marry it.

Photo of BBP
4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a thick faded chestnut brown with a formidable head, and a barrage of tiny bubbles from the massive amount of carbonation. Little bits of yeast float through the brew.

S- Incredibly elaborate, but very hard to break down. Sweetness from the beginning. Definite malts, and a bit like tea. Hard to discern what fruits are in it.

T- Quite sweet from the beginning with only a small amount of bitterness from hops and yeast. Tons of fruitiness. Raisins, pears, prunes, figs, and I'm sure I missed a few. This is bliss.

M- Pretty full bodied, and very creamy. Carbonation is superb. Feels light and heavy at the same time.

D- Scary how drinkable this one is for 10%. I'd be drinking it faster for sure if not for the price, how hard it is for me to acquire, and how I'd be on the floor in no time.

I'd if these were inexpensive and I could give them to my friends. They'd go down in no time.

Photo of auro0006
4.32/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this at the end of a tasting along with the other St. Bernardus beers. This is a great beer to have at the finish.

It pours a dark, deep brown color with a dark tan colored head. The aromas from the nose are dominantly malty and sweet. Dark, dried fruits mix with roasted malts to create a complex and enticing aroma.

Sweet malt flavors are most apparent on the palate. Same roasted malts from the nose are detected on the tongue. Fruits such as raisins, prunes and plums are present in the center.

The body is smooth, creamy, and rich. Really quite delicious and one to enjoy. This would be great alongside braised meats or a savory steak.

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

A: Dark brown color with a big light tan head good retention.

S: Alcohol, aromatic dark fruits.

T: Malty sweetness very complex with variety of dark fruits.

M: Excellent smooth creaminess!!!!

D: Drinks great like a great beer not a wine!

Poured a 750 ml bottle in tulip glass

Photo of IPAescotch
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Root beer brown, fantasticly bubbly. Was unaware this would explode when i opened it, last time i try that with a broken bottle opener. Poured a remarkable amount of head which dissipated quickly, constantly peppered by tiny bubbles.

S: After one sip this smell makes my mouth water. Alcohol fumes are absurdly heavy.

T: wow, nutty and fruity. Hazel nuts with pomegranite and lemon. Somewhat earthy and soapy. Not dissing it on the soapy, thats just the best way i can describe it. Sweet with little hop flavor, but the alcohol gives it a whisky feel.

M: Creammy but sharp like a swiss cheese.

D: Its strong but its dank, obviously not a pound it beer.

Photo of ZacharyJ
4.23/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep maroon/brown. Great head, especially when poured into a chalice.

S- Strong fruity notes. Grape jumps out to me in particular.

T- Definitely a fruity taste. Though not sugary or too overpoweringly sweet.

M- Exceptionally smooth. The alcohol lingers in the after taste.

D- Goes down very easy. I could see myself sipping on this beer all evening. In fact I may do just that.

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

Appearance: Mahogany brown with a huge off-white head that leaves thick lacing.

Smell: Spicy cloves, bananas, dried dark fruits - raisins, backed up by malt, alcohol.

Taste: Clove spice right up front followed by sweetness, banana, biscuits, dried dark fruits - plums, dates and raisins. Layers of flavor. Malt and alcohol really tie the whole experience together.

Mouthfeel: I found the clove spiciness lent a psuedo pop-rocks character to the medium-high carbonation but overall this was smoothed by the silky body.

Drinkability: No problem. I could definitely drink this all night...sippingly.

Photo of djmichaelk
4.31/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

750ml bottle into a perfect pint.

A - Pours a deep mahogany brown, lighter around the edges. Big fluffy tan head that has excellent retention and leaves plenty of lacey rings around the glass. Great looking beer.

S - The requisite notes for a quad -- raisins, figs, dates, all the dark fruits. The yeast provides a biscuity aroma, and a little alcohol backs everything up, maybe a little more than I'd like.

T - Well, I haven't had Westy 12 yet, but if I had to hold up one beer as a standard-bearer for the style, this would be it. Dark fruit, caramelized sugar, and that biscuity yeast. The alcohol just lurks in the background and fills in all the gaps. There are so many layers to the flavor -- sometimes you get Belgian sugar, sometimes a pancake-like biscuit, sometimes the fruit. Vanilla is in there somewhere, almost like is sat in some barrels at some point. Just fantastic.

M - This is where is differs significantly from beers like the Rocheforts -- where they can be a bit harsh, this is very smooth, almost silky. Carbonation is soft and inviting.

D - The flavor makes me want more more more, but the abv makes me say wow, I'll be asleep if I have one more.

O - For me, this is the benchmark for the style. It was my introduction to belgian beers in general many years ago, and it has since continued to be among the one or two best beers of its type that I've ever had.

Photo of DaveBlack
3.9/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Much darker than expected, a deep brown with a thin layer of head that disappears pretty quickly. Cloudy, opaque with a slight reddish tint.

S: Very bready, yeasty aroma dominates, but underneath there is a sweet malt smell with some deep fruits (maybe dates?), also alcohol. A really strong, pleasant aroma.

T: Spices, yeast, malts and alcohol. I'm not surprised to see that it's 10% alcohol because it comes through. The flavor's really strong but really well balanced. I don't know that any flavor dominates, but the alcohol cuts through all of it, which is a nice addition.

M: A little bit syrup-py, not great. Makes it really heavy to drink, and I think that the pint bottle might be a bit much for one person.

D: Definitely drinkable, though the mouthfeel is, for me, really heavy and thick. The aroma and flavor are both great, but Definitely share a pint with a friend.

Photo of megahurts4
4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

St. Bernardus Abt 12

Appearance: Dark caramel with a larger head and great lacing.

Smell: Toasted caramel, yeast, and spices.

Taste: Mildy sweet malts, spices, caramel, a hint of yeast, dark fruits, and a smidgen of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium.

Bottom line:
This is a great beer. There are many flavors and they merge into almost one flavor. You have to really dig to get all of the flavors. It is slightly creamy, but most of all inviting. St. Bernardus brew some of my favorites.

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

Poured a golden brown with a nice bright white head very good retention and nice lacing.

Aroma of sweet fruits and sweet malt.

Taste began very sweet with pear, white grapes and brown sugar then finished with some spice and yeast along with a slight alcohol presence.

medium body, very smooth with light carbonation and a bit of warming from the alcohol.

This is a very nice drinkable Belgian Quad, very smooth and surprisingly the alcohol does not dominate at 10.5%.

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

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a clear pint glass. Shared with my son. Paid $8.99 at Cost Plus World Market.

A-Pours a hazy mahogany-amber hue with a three finger, beige head with good retention and ample lacing.

S-Fruity, malty, sweet, and sour (in a pleasant way - from the yeast I suspect). Nice aroma is dominated by dark dried fruits like raisins, figs, date, and caramel malts. Fruitier than sweet.

T-Prominent flavors include brown sugar, black cherries, rum-soaked raisins, and toasted toffee malts. Best enjoyed by sipping and rolling this around the tongue and mouth before swallowing. All of this leads to a long-lived spicy, cloves finish. Taste is also fruitier than sweet. This is very good. Taste improves as it warms.

M-Very smooth for 10% ABV. Carbonation level is spot on.

D-Drinkability is awesome for a beer this big. I am beginning to appreciate Belgians. Maybe it's the authentic ones as opposed to American knockoffs that I like best.

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

A: Poured into a goblet from an 11 oz bottle. It is dark mahogany brown in color with a nice tan two finger head that lasts for a spell but recedes revealing some nice sticky lacing on the side of the glass.

S: The aroma is chock-full o' sticky sweet malts and juicy ripe mouth staining fruit with a wonderful golden raisin note.

T: Initially a rush of brown sugar, melted butter and slightly tart dark cherry hits the palate. It evens out into the sweet malts and dark fruitiness that one comes to expect in a quad. At 10.50% the alcohol is definitely apparent but in a pleasant warming way that bolsters the flavor of the ale. Finishes with, do I dare say it again, a sweet dry complexion with whispers of clove and raisin making you craving more and more.

M: The mouthfeel is smooth as velvet and straight up buttery beyond belief. This chunkier bodied beer slides down the throat with the greatest of ease.

D: Please sir, I'd like some more!

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

Into an Orval chalice. Puffy off white head, speckly lacing all around. Dark mahogony brown with ruby highlights. Aroma is pure dryed fruits, raisins, prunes, dried cranberry, a little graphey and slightly alcoholic. Flavor is pretty intense. Fruity, juicy, complex rich maltyness, special B pops up, estery goodness. I taste dried fruits, and candy sugar, there is a slight smokyness to this beer. Truly intense. Lots going on. Clean dry finish on the back end. Not cloying at all for such a serious beer. Truly top notch.

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

Poured between three compadres, all in snifters. Nice effervescent head, 2-3 fingers worth, that slowly dissipates into a solid film. Good lacing.

Yellowish-brown is the closest thing I can think of to describe the color. You can almost peek a sneak through. Topped with a crisp white head.

Bananas? I must be crazy, though is the way the malts come off to me. Sweet, malty goodness. Overripe bananas, clove, slight tinge of alcohol, deeply inviting. You can smell it across the room as it invites you a tango meant for two. You devilish beast you...

Again with the bananas! Anyways, smooth malty flavors, banana's, candied walnuts, figs, allspice and nutmeg. Intriguing, as the complexity only increases as it warms. alcohol is definitely present, but that is permissible as the spicy notes are melded into the alcohol notes. All in all an incredibly drinkalbe brew.

As widely available as this beer is, it is hard to believe it is still this dang good. A strong carbonation, smooth on the tongue, and a fun to drink. To help break someone into craft beer, this might be a good candidate.

Photo of Spica66
2.78/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 into tulip with Fr. Ian.

A: Light, root beer-brown with lots of yeast particles. Excellent head formation. The head dissipates to ring of carbonation around the edge of the beer that never goes away through the whole glass. Very tiny bubbles. This beer is a lot lighter in color than the other two Quads we have had.

S: Not really much going on even as it warmed. If anything, I thought it smelled slightly of some sort of chemical, but I could not place it. I expected much more yeast aroma, but it never showed.

T: Bland. Not really anything to report. It was not bad, it just was a very bland tasting beer with a slight sharpness to it.

M: Wonderful balance of body and carbonation the whole glass. I suspect that most people might expect a slightly thicker body on a Quad, but I am not an expert, so I will say that for me it felt fine.

D: With nothing of any strong note to offend and INCREDIBLY WELL HIDDEN 10.5%, drinkability is good.

After having had Westy 12, Rochefort 10 and this beer, my days of buying/trading for Quads is over.

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

Near opaque deep red plum with nectarine highlights. Big mountainous foamy beige head with good retention. Pleanty of organic algae like lacing.

Ripe dark fruits, apples, plum, grapes. Spicy herbal, some candi sugar, some caramel. Fruity yeast esters, apple and pear predominantly.

Tart and fruity. Dark fruits, plums, grapes, apples and pears. Spicy, herbal and balanced. estery, pear and apple. Nice easy bitterness that balanced the abv.

med body with substance, slightly creamy, but not chewy. Great mouthfeel. calmed carbonation.

So drinkable. Complex and tasty. Very well balanced and very well done. A top rated beer for good reason.

Photo of ZorPrime
3.85/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer color is dark red or brown with reddish notes on the edges. Nice soapy head. Not a strong aroma here maybe the beer is too cold. Spices and Fruits, dark fruits. Cloves for the spices. More intense on the taste. Spices typical of belgians beers. Well balanced. Warms due to the alcohol. Complex beer which requires multiple visit to better know her.

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

Poured into Chimay goblet.

A: Dark amber pour, with large head, some minor lacing.

S: Nice aroma of dark, sweet fruit. Very little alcohol.

T: Very smooth in taste. Again dark fruit flavors with some malt backbone and a fruity yeast aftertaste. Very complex, more so than most other Belgians I've tasted.

M: For a high ABV, the alcohol is very well masked; not too much carbonation. This brew is very easy to enjoy.

D: Very drinkable. One of the best belgians I've had. So easy to drink. Highly recommend!

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.48/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep copper to brown-ish color with an off white head. In the aroma, faint dark fruit, figs and plums. In the taste, dark fruit, fig and raisin, and quite malty. A small alcohol like bite and medium to big bodied mouthfeel, with a small, dry alcohol and small fruitiness in the aftertaste. Light in the nose, nice flavor and hide the alcohol.

Photo of BDJake
4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured into my Duvel tulip:

A- pours a dark mocha shade with with chunks of sediment floating around and a crown of fluffy off-white head that fades gracefully and leaves wonderful lace behind

S- smells of cherries, plum, apples, raisins, fig, banana bread, and sweet malts

T- an assault of clove, fig, raisin, herbal spices, apples, and other dark fruits with a bready maltiness

M- silky smooth, with just enough carbonation, and a sweet finish that all work together to hide the high abv

D- pretty good, even though it could creep up on you if you're not careful

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

Bottle, 75 cl.
I prefer corks than crown caps.
Poured in two different glasses ( kwak stagecoach and classical trappiste rochefort)

A.:Color: SRM 20 to 24.
Light brown foamy cream on top dispelling slowly.

S.: intriguing. Caramel, spices and fruit.

T.: caramel and carob "über alles".

M.: this is the horsebattle of SantBernie. The persistence of the fragrances long lasts.

D.: served with lamb ribs stewed in a condensed Lagavullin sauce, genepy and lemon skin.
Not more than 25 - 33 cl. and the joy to feel in heaven.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 8,122 ratings.