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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.

7,543 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,543
Reviews: 2,514
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 446
Gots: 1,166 | FT: 35
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,543 | Reviews: 2,514 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dolemite77
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brownish red, like old red wine... light head that gives way to lacing. Initial taste was overcarbonated, so I let it warm a bit in the goblet. Much better when tasted at cellar temp... aroma is boozy and fruity. Flavors are dried fruits and alcohol. After the beer warmed a bit, the mouthfeel was much better, and the flavors and aromas popped out a bit more. Minimal yeasty flavors, with some earthy notes on the end. Sweetness is about spot on for a dubble/quad.

dolemite77, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of bonkers
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured from a 750 ml bottle into a tulip glass. It pours a deep mahogany with garnett high lights. The head is aboout 2 fingers, white and fluffy. On the nose it is all about dried fruit-dates and figs. There is a slight phenolic scent in there as well. The flavor of this beer is excellent. It has many layers-dried fruit is the main one. Very balanced there are also hints of alcohol and spices. The beer is full bodied and feels creamy in my mouth. The beer is a definite sipper, if you don't the 11% abv will catch you quite fast.

bonkers, Dec 09, 2008
Photo of hoplover82
4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow! THis is just outstanding. My friend told me this is one of the few beers he can find nothing wrong with, and now I know why. It was hard not giving this great beer a perfect score.

It pours a murky redish light brown with an off white thick but dissapating head that leaves a mighty fine lace.

The aroma is amazing. Bananas and prunes, and yet so much more that I can't put my finger on.

And the flavor...mmm...it's fruity and balanced well with hops. Yeah, theyr'e there. The reason that I gave a 4.5 for flavor is that the alcohol is quite detectable where I think it could be hidden a little more.

The palate has a nice dry, lasting bitterness. With an alcohol sting.

It's pretty drinkable. I could have one more.

hoplover82, Dec 08, 2008
Photo of Vendetta
3.45/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Original Rating Date:
August 9, 2008

Pours dark, deep red with a fizzy, active head. Smells like dark fruit. Tastes of plums, grapes, other dark fruits. Fizzy, malty mouthfeel with a biting alcoholic finish, below average to on my palate. Flavor gets better as it warms and it becomes easier to drink as you get used to the bite. Very complex beer.

Vendetta, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of kevd193213
4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 mL bottle with a dark walnut cloudy pour with a nice thick tan head. Aroma of caramel, apples and sugar. Taste of apples, Belgian yeast, spices and caramel malt and very little alcohol despite its almost 11% ABV. Nice lacing, and a great full finish.

kevd193213, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of Squelch
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Dark brown, Hazy. Huge off white head that lingers a while. Nice lacing

Smell: Not much getting throught that head. What I can smell is Alcohol. Candi Sugar. No hops. Very much to style.

Taste: Sweet, balanaced. Smokey or roasted flavors in here. Alcoholic Very tasty.

Mouthfeel: Light for the ABV. heat from alcohol in the back of the throat

Drinkability: One of the best sipping quadruples around.

Squelch, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of vikingloki
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet, I had bought a case last winter '07 and this is from that case, a year later.

Pours tawny brown with impressive carbonation leaving a two fingered bronze foamy head that lingers for a good minute and disappears to a 1/8 coating.

First sniff is almost winey, a little fruity and almost overpowering.

First sip tastes nothing like the smell, oh baby baby, it's so smooth and good I go back for a second sip immediatly. Very malty, no noticable hops, sweet and carmelly with depth, amazing mouthfeel, I want to drink it all now but will have some respect and linger. No alcohol up front, but has that nice warming quality that sneaks up on you.

This ale is even better this year, it's so much better than I remembered it. I thought I wouldn't like it this much because I've been enjoying hoppier beers, but WOW...this ale deserves every bit of praise that it gets.

Highly recommended, get a case and drink some and save some...worth every penny of the $$$$

vikingloki, Dec 06, 2008
Photo of TMB0424
4.03/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750 ML caged-cork bottle. 10% ABV. Poured into a tulip.

This brew pours a delicious looking deep amber brown, with a thick creamy head with excellent retention. Lacing as I drank, simply great looking.

Aroma of smooth malts, a hint of caramel, yeast, with delicate hints of peach and other fruits in the background. Nothing overpowering though.

Good stuff. Extremely smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Taste of peach, apple, hints of banana. Finish is very warming and has a slight spice to it, a perfect offset of the creaminess and fruitiness.

Alcohol content is extremely well hidden, although you know it's there. Quintessential sipping beer.

Definitely highly recommended. It's a beautiful looking brew and the creaminess is simply fantastic.

TMB0424, Dec 05, 2008
Photo of bigkahunas4
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tulip, this guy had a huuuge tan head, around 4 fingers, and the retention on this head is amazing. Body is cola colored. Brew completely coats the sides with a syrupy suddiness. Nose has a ton of dark fruits, with sweet apple and candied sugar.

Flavor was again brought in some of those dark fruit. Also picked up some brown sugar and some wood notes as well. Finish was slightly bitter for a great complimentary balance. Mouthfeel was medium heavy, and quite silky.

Overall a very delicious quad - certainly one of my favorites in the style.

bigkahunas4, Dec 05, 2008
Photo of hoppheadIPA
4.13/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Chimay Chalice looks opaque red brown with a foamy white head that leaves little lacing as I drink.

Smells of belgium malts and dark pressed fruit. A very complex smell

Sweet to start, with the taste of plums and other dark fruits. Alcohol tasted but not overpowering. An extremely complex tasting beer. Many unidentified flavors, but an out stanting flavor none the less.

Mouth feel is thick and creamy. Very nice and kind of chewy.

A very drinkable beer considering the style and abv.

hoppheadIPA, Dec 03, 2008
Photo of jujubeast6000
3.38/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 1/18/2006 (25.4oz bottle from Spec's Houston DT):

Pours a huge off-white head, with good lacing. Has a body that is brown-reddish in color. A sweet hoppy aroma, some perfume, and coffee? A light taste, hops, perfume, raisin, coffee, bitter aftertaste.

jujubeast6000, Dec 03, 2008
Photo of corby112
4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown color with a nice sized off-white foam head. Hints of chocolate, dark fruit and alcohol in the aroma. Hints of raisin, spices, dark chocolate and alcohol warmth. Surprisingly fruity for a beer this dark. Very well balanced and extremely quaffable.

corby112, Dec 02, 2008
Photo of echdk3
4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11,2oz bottle into a snifter

A_Extremely dark brown-black opaque color, thick tan head made completely of frothy bubbles

S_Burnt malts and fresh baked homemade biscuits, slight hoppy-dank aroma

T_Not balanced at all but in a great way. Spicy caramel and charcoal taste. Absolutely wonderful and rewarding spicy caramel aftertaste that appears after the beer has gone and is just as strong as it was when the beer was still on the pallet. The alcohol is there for sure

M_Somewhat heavy bodied and lightly carbonated. I expected it to be even heavier and chewier

D_Pleasing but not overwhelming flavors and aromas make this beer unoffensive and easy to enjoy, but the 10,5ABV might be a bit prohibitive. I can definitely feel the alcohol's kick but the beer is nonetheless overall easy to down

echdk3, Nov 30, 2008
Photo of jkendrick
3.83/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy brown color with thick billowy off-white head. Carbonation bubbles streaming up from the bottom of the glass. There is great retention and lacing. The re-pour produced a HUGE head, but it settled more quickly.

Aroma: Malty, bready and fruity with hints of clove.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with nice, light carbonation.

Taste: Sweet and malty with clove flavor predominating. I also taste plum fruitiness and a bit of tobacco. The alcohol is there and warms the belly. It is very dry with just a touch of bitterness in the finish.

Overall impression: This is a very nice sipping beer. I had trouble identifying the aroma and taste that seemed most prevalent, but after reading some reviews that mention cloves, I broke out a bottle of cloves from our spice cabinet and sure enough, that's what it is. I enjoyed it, but I enjoy other quads more.

jkendrick, Nov 29, 2008
Photo of Halcyondays
4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330 mL bottle,

A: Pours a dark red brown with a full off-white head, quite a gusher at first. Good head retention, limited lacing.

S: A lot of dark fruit and sugar.

T: Sweet malt and candi sugar notes start out. Fig juice, green seedless grapes, and a fair amount of ethanol are in there too. Light coffee note at the end.

M: Sweet start with a dry finish. Very smooth, low carbonation actually in the finished product for the gusher it is.

D: Very drinkable for it's strength; this is a good beer. Is it top 25 for me? No, but it's a brew I'd drink any time.

Halcyondays, Nov 27, 2008
Photo of seangroves
3.2/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a dark brown with a thick light-brown white head that is about 2 fingers. Appears cloudy with some particles floating around.

Smell is a mix of malt with a citrusy hoppiness to it with a tail end of yeast. Smells very balanced.

Slightly malty with a very strong taste coming from the yeast and hops of slight bitterness but mostly fruity, close to a banana-like taste.

Feel is medium body with a bit of a higher degree of carbonation yet very smooth for the most part.

Overall this is a beer that is quite smooth and has an interesting taste derived from the yeasts used. I'm unsure if I'd drink another.

seangroves, Nov 27, 2008
Photo of chrism86
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Upon opening this was a gusher! Had to leave for a good 10 mins before i was able to get a decent pour. No matter, i was more than happy to wait!

Eventually poured a murky brown with mahogany highlights and a substantial tan coloured head. Aromas of caramel, chocolate, coffee and dark fruits. There was also some hints of nuts and woodiness. The palate was excellently balanced and smooth, despite drinking at room temp. Chocolate and coffee notes were most prevalent. The mid palate brought some sweetness with honey, caramel and dark fruits. The finish displays some earthy hop spice and yeasty dryness. The rather high ABV never crossed my mind, impeccable balance!

chrism86, Nov 25, 2008
Photo of rjlemos
4.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sipped from a 330ml bottle, just a few moments ago. Dark brown with a huge rocky head.
Smell of sweet bread, dark fruits, yeast. No hops or toasted malts.
Complex flavor. Sweet, sour, toasted malts, bitter, fruity, alcoholic. Balanced. Flavor of raisins, plums and dates. Balanced but very warming alcohol. Strong taste of toasted malts.
Very nice beer, very smooth and easy-sipping quad, the best from St Bernardus, but not the 4th best beer of Belgium.

rjlemos, Nov 24, 2008
Photo of CHADMC3
4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A frothy and intensely carbonated ivory head erupts from even a slow pour of this chestnut brown quad, giving way to a thick sticky lacing existing throughout the beer.

Aromas of dark fruit such as fig and cherries joins the yeast, sugar, and phenol alcohol follow up. The figs, cherries, and raisins become more pronounced as the temperature increases in the glass.

Again sweet dark fruits and spice dominate the flavor with a slight phenol aftertaste to accompany the roasted malt.

Great drinkability exists in the medium body with generous carbonation and dryness of the beer.

This just keeps getting better as it warms with more character coming through leaving you craving another sip.

CHADMC3, Nov 23, 2008
Photo of sprucetip
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 750ml bottle into Midnight Sun goblet.

Thick tan head with good retention and some lacing. Medium amber, but with ruby highlights when held to light. Also very clear but with some yeast chunks (no fault in my opinion) even from the first pour.

A rich, malty, sweet aroma with a touch of alcohol hits the nose first. A faint hint of something spicy appears, and a gentle but penetrating sweetness persists. Pleasant but not overwhelming.

Complex flavors are very nicely balanced. Sweetness on the tip of the tongue comes first, but it is gentle even as it lingers and blends with the yeasty and dark fruit flavors. A slightly bitter dryness at the finish points to some modest hopping and fermented candy sugar. Some mild spices are present too. The sweetness balances throughout.

Very well carbonated, modest warming. Feels slightly viscous at first, briefly, then finishes dry.

To me, this is a dangerously drinkable ale for such a big (10%) and precious ale. It is definitely full bodied, but goes down rather easily.

This sample reminded me of how I recalled it in my fonder memories, where it is one of the world's greats. Not all samples have left me feeling that way, and this satisfied. Not sure if it is me, or the beer, that causes this dissonance. It happens with other beers as well.

sprucetip, Nov 19, 2008
Photo of DefenCorps
4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle decanted into my St. Bernardus chalice at near-cellar temp. I've had this beer a good number of times on tap but this is probably the first time out of the bottle, this beer's a year and a month old at this point.

A: Pours a crystal clear crimson with a solid 1" light tan head. Head retention is outstanding and is dense and dimpled. Incredible amounts of carbonation is visible when held against the light. Excellent.

S: Incredibly rich with a ton of dark fruit - figs, plums, over-ripe apricots - as well as a rich rum-like aroma. Dark brown sugar, floral honey notes (minus the sweetness). As I let this sit a bit, I almost get a hint of a nut-like aroma. Pouring the yeast and dregs adds another layer of complexity to this beer.Wonderful stuff

T: On the palate, this beer has a lot of rich malt complexity with a lot of dark fruit character. It opens up with a dark, unrefined sugar flavor with figs and plums as well as a sweet rum taste. Pretty darned light in body, this beer dries up on the finish, leaving a fruity sweetness. This beer is rather boozy, though, with the alcohol apparent towards the finish

M: Like every other St. B beer I've had, this beer is simply spectacular on the palate - flavorful yet light, wonderfully carbonated and an excellent finish. The alcohol heat does take a bit away from this beer, though

D: You really can't go wrong with this beer, it's quite wonderful and easy to drink

**Edit 27 Jan 2013**
This 11.2oz bottle has a best-by date of 18 Oct 2012. That puts this at just over 63 months of age.

The nose is fresh, bready and vibrant, lacking in the alcoholic brashness that fresh bottles have. Mildly spicy with clove and nutmeg, toffee, a little bit of brown sugar, cotton candy, a touch of yeast... so complex. The palate shows a little bit of oxidation (the good kind) with mildly jammy cherries, raisins and plums, along with toasted bread, bread yeast, a little bit of burnt sugar/toffee/ candi sugar. The mid-palate carries some of the spice character, with the nutmeg working quite nicely with the fruit. Drying on the finish with just a little sweetness, this beer is medium-light in body, has a marvelous creamy carbonation and is a joy on the palate. The blend of alcohol and toffee/ candi sugar on the finish brings to mind almonds. Masterfully integrated, this beer is ridiculously good.

DefenCorps, Nov 17, 2008
Photo of hwwty4
4.15/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured an 11.2oz bottle into my Chimay chalice. This beer pours a raisin brown with a 2 inch head that leaves just minimal lacing. The aroma is dark fruit with prunes, raisins, and brown sugar. The flavor follows suits with raisin and dates in the forefront with brown sugar, barley, and just a bit of cherry. Also there is just a hint of spiciness to it, probably from the Belgian yeast strains. The 10.5% alcohol really comes through, especially as it warms. The mouthfeel is full and leaves a nice boozy sensation on the palate. The colder this beer is, the less drinkable it is. As it warms, it really shows its true colors. It becomes a very drinkable quad, but it's still a bit on the boozy side for me.

hwwty4, Nov 15, 2008
Photo of reezun
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on a snifter from an 11.2 oz. brown bottle.

Appearance: Beautiful, rich, cloudy, dark brown with a slightly creamy light brown head. Very little lacing left behind on a snifter.

Smell: Sweet, fruity aroma from the esters with a smoky quality from the malts. Floral and citrus notes.

Taste: A balanced combination of ever slight bitterness and sweetness from fermentation, sort of like molasses. The fruit comes in in the end, along with a warmth from the high alcohol content.

Mouthfeel: So light and smooth on the palate. The carbonation feels just perfect.

Drinkability: This beer is unbelievable. I can't get enough.

reezun, Nov 15, 2008
Photo of danielharper
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark brown, almost black opaque body with a thin white head. Head leaves foam but little lacing along the outside of the glass.

Smell: Sweet Belgian yeast aroma, hints of dark fruits, maybe a touch of citrus. Very complex, very inviting.

Taste: Sweet up-front, mostly from the yeast. Very yeasty overall, very malty. It's a very mellow beer considering the alcohol -- while it has a very complex and distinct flavor, it's difficult to talk about because the flavors are so elusive and unidentifiable. It's a wonderful flavor nonetheless.

Mouthfeel: Thick, chewy, lots of yeast in the glass. Leaves a nice coating to the palate.

Drinkability: You can't even taste the alcohol here. I haven't done a parallel tasting of quads, but this might be my favorite of one of my favorite styles.

danielharper, Nov 13, 2008
Photo of joeysmokedporter
4.68/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a 750 ml bottle in a glass.

A: pours a medium brown color with light highlights, some transparency but mostly hazy; very light tan head with rocky consistency, tight beads, and good lacing.

S: starts with noble hop--floral-spicy aroma; quickly followed by malt and molasses. A bit of candy.

T: wow. grapes, caramel, toffee, bread, figs, and all perfectly balanced with a spicy hop flavor, and finally finishes with dry alcohol. Does not leave a cloying sweet flavor in the
aftertaste that some others in the style do. The complexity is interesting but the best part of the taste of this beer is the balance between the sweet flavors and the hops.

M: feels somewhat fluffy on the tongue; effervescent and well carbonated, which probably lightens the body. The alcohol finish at the end is somewhat puckering but helps to balance the sweet flavors, making them more enjoyable.

D: This has to rank w/ WV 12 for me. I am astounded by the balance of this beer, but moreover how the balance helps me to enjoy the distinctive flavors more, as none are overwhelming. I will definitely pick this up to have around in the future.

joeysmokedporter, Nov 11, 2008
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,543 ratings.