1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

8,193 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,193
Reviews: 2,607
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 558
Gots: 1,622 | FT: 49
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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 8,193 | Reviews: 2,607
Photo of ChadQuest
4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a St Berardus goblet, rather appropiate. :)

Dark brownish and course looking, nearlry permanent cap over the top. Aroma is of peppered malt and spices, along with crispy toasted breads that carry over into the flavors. There is a plethora of dense spice character all over this, so good. there is a strong dark yeast note and toasted/burnt marshmallow. creamy and course at the same time the carbination levels are faint but tightly woven.

Photo of DovaliHops
4.12/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish brown color that is almost transparent. Medium off-white head that diminishes rather slowly. Scent is a lot of sweet malts with dark fruits and somewhat of a strong alcohol smell. Very sweet-smelling. This is what is expected from a Belgian quad, and it's quite delightful. Taste is dark fruits with a slight licorice taste. Great Belgian yeast flavors and nice malt flavors. Mouthfeel is a bit more bubbly than I remembered, but feels very nice. Not syrupy at all. Drinkability is fairly high.

Photo of tewaris
3.84/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Described on the label as a Dubbel.

750 ml bottle poured into a big snifter, in stages of course, at little below room temperature. The beer was allowed to warm up in the bottle and in the glass over the course of the review.

Appearance 5/5
Deep garnet colored, moderately clear, with a big murky brown head; excellent head retention and fantastic lacing.

Aroma 3.5/5
Yeasty to the extent that other aromatics get pushed to the background. There is a good amount of toasty-bready malt character, fruit and esters, and malty and alcoholic sweetness but all of these are unfortunately dominated by the strong yeasty smell.

Taste 3.5/5
Aromatic sweet, with all the character from the smell coming in, and some hop bitterness and the tiniest bit of tannins towards the end. The taste is not bad and certainly above average, but it dominated by what I assume was strong yeastiness.

Mouthfeel 5/5
Medium body and medium carbonation: feels right.

Drinkability & Other 4/5
A good beer for sure but the strong presence of a character that's not to my liking surely affects my ratings. Stylistically I don't see the need for this strong yeast flavor. It's hard for me to appreciate why this beer commands the respect it commands or how is it, what some people say, "practically same" as Westvleteren 12. I have had the top rated Quadrupels/BSDAs side by side in a tasting that included this beer and I failed to see its charm then, and I fail to see it now. In my opinion it's not close to Westvletern 12 in character and nowhere close to Westvleteren 12 or Rochefort 10 in merit.

Photo of Gosox8787
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 8 oz. pour in tap poured into a tulip glass. Served chilled, very cold. I waited about half an hour for this to get a lot closer to room temperature.

Appearance: Dark brown and cloudy. By the time this reached my table, not much head at all. A thin lacing of beige head on the top.

Aroma: Caramel, figs, clove, and a nice dark fruitiness. Very malty and sweet all around. The ABV is hidden very well here.

Taste: Follows the aroma with caramel, figs, and dark fruit throughout. Some spiced rum and clove notes in here too. Some bready notes in here too. Balanced with a clean, warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied and really creamy. Great to sip on.

Drinkability: The ABV is very well hidden and the flavors are balanced and integrated. Definitely something I could sip and savor all night.

Overall, a really nice quad. Perhaps one of the best I have ever had. The flavors are both complex and well integrated and there is a ton of balance here. Definitely worth the money.

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

Purchased in an imperial pint bottle and poured into a goblet style glass.
Pours a very dark chocolate color with light caramel hue when seen through light. additionally it pours a thick, creamy, rapidly expanding head that didn't seem to dissipate for the entire experience.
I was enjoying my St. Bernardus it in kitchen while my girlfriend cooked mexican food, so I had a hard time isolating and differentiating the smells.
The Flavor was creamy with hints hopps and of roasted malt.
The mouthfeel is very creamy, moderately thick.
as far as drinkability goes, i feel like one pint would be all i could manage to down in one sitting with out getting too full, but with 10.5%abv one bottle may be enough.

Photo of DCon
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had beer on-tap @ the iTap House (Soulard location) and was poured into a Tulip glass.

Appearance - Dark Brown with plenty of head (inch or more), with designs in the head as well

Smell - Tons of spice with a fruity type of background. Not sure where this came from. Smells of a sweet drink

Taste - Too many flavors to describe! For a minute, a hint of brown-sugar or a maple taste, followed by chocolate. Can also taste the hops but they are a small percentage of taste.

Mouthfeel - Great smooth, medium-bodied beer with every taste and smell on the spectrum. Amazing in how they do this!

Drinkabilty - Wondering why this was the top beer of the month on-tap, I chose it and am glad! I'm sure I could have many more but with a $7 glass of this beer, I'm going to come back another day to taste more of this top 20 favorite now!

Photo of SteveoNY
2.59/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Presentation: 25.4 oz bottle, very nice label and cork.

Appearance: thick frothy tan head, cloudy brown amber color with alot of sediment particles lingering aroud. glass full of lace.

Smell: fruity malt sweetness.

Taste: the "bros say it the best" Clove is certain to be the first flavour you taste as it rides the wave of sweetness, big brown sugar flavour with some cake like malty qualities. Some buttery and phenolic flavours shoot to the palate in the middle to make it a bit juicy. Some earth and carob flavours in the mix. Alcohol is a little evident, it hiding under the sweetness right behind the fruity flavour that soon flare into esters and mild solvent flavours. Finishes sweet and warming.
(I say smokey orange peel sour yeasty alcohol flavor)

Mouthfeel: smooth slightly creamy good carbonation.

Drinkability: I could sip it all night but would probably throw up. the curiosity of the flavor leaves you wanting more, but the 10.5 % says hold up..think about what your doing hours from now.

Notes: I wouldnt recommend this to a belgian rookie. not really worth the price in my opinion.

Photo of jabel9
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

St. Bernardus Abt 12 is a world class beer. That is a fact. This brew has a dark cloudy appearance that invites the drinker into the world of Belgian brews. This brew excels in its taste and mouthfeel. Very malty and fruity, St. Bernardus does a great job of retaining the generations old recipie. A velvety mouth feel only accents how good this brew is. At 10.5%, the alcohol is well hidden and very smooth, so be careful and enjoy responsibly! Cheers and enjoy a world class beer on me!

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

Served on tap at the Maproom in Chicago.
Poured into a St. Bernardus chalice.

Murky and muddy reddish brown... Nice creamy, nearly white head. HUGE sheets and curtains and carpets of lacing. Really quite impressive looking.

Smells of prunes, black cherries, and assorted overripe dark fruit. A yeasty note is present, very noticeable, and well-incorporated into the overall profile.

Taste follows nose... A sweetness Stetson it off with the fruitness before the yeast comes in and dries it out... Very solid.

Good full feel. Nice carbonation... Easy drinking beer... Even better on tap than inthe bottle.

Photo of mariposafan
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally getting around to reviewing the beer that brung me here.

Pours into my Duvel tulip with a huge tan head that settles back to a nice cap of foam that persists. Slightly murky dark brown body.

The aroma is of yeast and fruits. More yeast in the nose here than any beer I can remember - almost like bread dough proofing. Some sweetness and a little maltiness as well.

The taste is super rich and yeasty as well but with lots of malt, port and raisins. Some spiciness comes across as well as a little molasses like sweetness. Some alcohol there but not much.

Slightly viscous, bubbly carbonation and a drying finish - it feels wonderful.

Easy enough to drink but there's enough alcohol in the flavor to remind me that it's over 10%. For the amount of alcohol it's supremely drinkable, though. Every single sip leaves me wanting the next.

[Edit 9/18] The last category was originally Drinkability - at 10+% not this beers strong suit. Now it's given as overall - as this is my favorite beer that *is* a strong suit. So a 4 for drinkability becomes a 5 for overall.

Photo of BEERMILER12
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark red with a nice fluffy head

S: Fruity and malty. Very little alcohol noticeable

T: Amazing! just like the smell, only ramped up a bit. The 10.5% is barely noticeable

M: Almost perfect

D: If it wasn't so strong, I'd love to have a few pints

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

Pours opaque dark brown in color with a huge 3 finger foamy/bubbly tan head that lasted a long time and had a lot of sediment and what looked like spices in the actual head; decent lacing that slid down the glass fast.

Smells of sweet malt, raisin and other dark fruit, caramel, yeast, toasted grains, toffee, syrup or molasses, spices and some light alcohol. The nose is more complex then just those odors, but the rich malty sweetness dominates and smells great.

Tastes sweet and malty, with caramel, nut, yeast, grass, toast, dark fruit like plum or date, raisin, toffee, toasted grains, toffee, syrup and/or molasses, cinnamon, pepper, allspice, herbs and then the sweet malt kicks in again at the end with a roasted taste as the alcohol comes through as warms up the sensation. A really enjoyable brew that's complex and enjoyable with each sip.

Mouthfeel was creamy on the tongue with little to no carbonation, a light watery feel, a medium to heavy body a smooth semi-dry finish.

Extremely tasty beer, which was rich and dark and didn't have the spice or fruit bite to it; the 10% alcohol is very well hidden, but still makes it's presence felt. High drinkability and high recommendation on this classic that never disappoints.

Photo of obywan59
4.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle. 2nd of the St. Bernardus gift pack. Poured into the St. Bernadus oversized wine glass.

Dark mahogany away from the light. Much thicker than the Pater 6 I just finished. Held to the light it yields a lighter mahogany and the aforementioned orange starry sky is apparent only around the edges, Held up to my brightest light it shows a lovely, but deeper red color than the Pater. The lettering on the glass is not visible. Call it translucent.

Smell of clove and Belgian yeast. More citrusy than the Pater. Ripe citrus. Plenty of sweet caramelly malt as well.

Wow! I was ready for a letdown after the Pater 6, butI think this tastes even better. Spiciness up front, (mainly clove), sometimes almost vinuous in the middle, and somewhat bitter in the end. Much more so than the Pater 6. Ssome caramel as well.

Medium thick mouthfeel. Definately thicker than the Pater. Slightly less prickly carbonation.

An excellent beer, but the 10.5% ABV and the thicker body slowed me down a bit.

Photo of ryantaussig
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep mahogany brown with a huge off white lace. Head has very good retention despite having many large bubbles. Lots of lace.

S: Smells of alcohol esters with many fruity notes. Plenty of malt comes through with a hint of spice--either clove or allspice, hard to tell.

T: The malt character is absolutely extreme. Lots of brown sugar and some notes of chocolate. Buttery and bread-like notes as well. Fruitiness is there, but not overly so. Alcohol comes at the end adding a medicinal note just as it finishes. Absolutely excellent.

M: Full-bodied with a medium to wet finish despite the alcohol content. Exceptionally smooth from start to finish.

D: I could sip this brew all night. High ABV, full body, and price makes it a little difficult to do so though.

Photo of zoso1967
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brown with a bit of a woody red hue to it. The head is a very light tan and is frothy and attractive. It has great retention and leaves some nice frothy lace.

The aroma seems fairly subdued with an inviting malty fruity character to it. Cherry, raisin, caramel and some alcoholic heat emanate from the nose. There is a slight tartness in the aroma, some iron like notes and a hint of spice as well.

The flavor is also very fruity, but perhaps a bit more nuances. It has a definite cherry vibe to it, as well as that of raisin and perhaps prune, but cherry is the main fruit character that I get. The spice of the yeast is much more present and is a bit peppery and clovey. There is a nice sort of earthy quality to the caramel flavors that works really well. Surprisingly I am getting no chocolate or roasted malt character; this is pretty much all fruit and caramel goodness. This beer has a pretty good amount of bitterness, and far off in the finish there is a bit of herbal hop character that builds on the tongue. I also detect some alcohol, but far less than I would have expected.

The mouthfeel is medium and very smooth. This beer is well carbonated, but the bubbles have an interesting feel to them, as if they are smaller than usual. I am not sure if this is possible, but that is what my tongue is telling me it feels like. This beer finishes amazingly clean with almost no sweetness and just a touch of bitterness lingering after I swallow.

This is a very drinkable beer and though it shows some of the ABV, it goes down incredibly easily. I gave a sip to me wife, who does not drink beer regularly, and even she thought it was something she could drink. When I told her it was over 10% she was quite surprised. This beer is definitely deserving of its world class stature.

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

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark brown/tan. Very carbinated. Nice 2 inch head that died fast.

Smell - Floral yeast, spices, brown sugar. malts, fruits, carmael, hops and alcohol

Taste - As expected, huge flavors, carmael and brown sugar really stands out. Fruits and yeast mized in there also. Plenty of malts and alcohol also. Some hops are present to. A big flavored drink for sure

Mouthfeel - You get a real workout. Tickles and warms mouth, sweetens palette, and leaves a thick bittersweeth after taste.

Drinkabilty - Alcohol is above 10%, and with this kind of flavor, this is to be enjoyed weekly, or even monthly, not daily. Would spoil you if consumed regularly. Fantastic, one of the best, doesnt dethrone rochefort 10, but is a fine drink.

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

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into 330mL St. Bernardus chalice.

Appearance: Very dark reddish-brown color that is very close to black. Medium tanned head dissipates slowly and leaves behind a few spots of lace.

Smell: Very similar to the dubbel, though with less of a wine aroma. Dark fruit aromas dominate with a slight yeast backing and some alcohol notes.

Taste: Begins with a plum flavor and a slight spice on the tongue, finishing with apple and grape flavor and slight yeast hints.

Mouthfeel: Fairly heavy body with lively, natural carbonation and a bit of an alcohol sting on the tongue. Finishes warmly and a bit watery.

Drinkability: An excellent sipping beer and a superb example of its style. A must-have beer.

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

St. Bernardus Abt 12 has a dark red/amber colour and big head that lasts. The smell is of roasty, dark malt along with some fruitiness. This beer tastes great and strikes lovely balance between the roasted malt flavour and the fruitiness. The aftertaste is just a smooth continuation of the rest of the taste without any extra bitterness. It is thick and foamy in the mouth. This beer goes down fast and easy, especially given its high ABV.

Photo of DelMontiac
4.12/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very cloudy, red/brown, nice looking 4 finger tan head with bubbles of varied size, some very large. Head retention is good for about half the glass, but never makes a full exit.

S: Sweet maltiness, tart cherries simmering in brandy, sweet pipe tobacco, and ETOH. Like it quite a bit.

T: More of the same maltiness, brandied cherries, sweet mild pipe tobacco, and sometimes flashes of black liqorice. Warming alcohol is balanced with the other flavors - I feel this best attribute, flavorwise. Like how the various flavors hit in stages. Well defined.

M: Quite nice. Carbonation is about right with this one. The ETOH warmth is unobtrusive and pleasant.

D: One small bottle is nice, a 750ml may be better shared - shared 60/40 that is.

Overall: Can always count on Abt 12 to lift your spirit. One of the most enjoyable brews in my area that's easy to find. Cellaring is not necessary, but encouraged.

Photo of VelvetExtract
3.95/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a deep brown. Head retains wells and sticks to the glass.

S-Strong smell of sugars, spices. Quite intricate. Not familiar with the the style. Having trouble picking out specifics.

T-Thick rich malty goodness. Spices. Raison, and some other dried fruity tastes. Boozy as well, but not a bad booze taste, only adds depth.

M-On the full side. This is a big beer. Thick and creamy.

D-Couldn't drink too much of it at this point.

Developing a taste for these beers. I'm a fan of this one, can see why it is a gateway into the belgian spectrum of beers.

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

Poured from a 24oz bottle into a Chimay chalice. I specifically like the monk on the bottle--he looks so cheery and warm--his beer must be pretty good. I take this as an invitation to critique.

A- Moderate brown color, lacing is minimal but tight and tempting. Has a single finger head, that stays and barely diminishes as this delicious brew somehow disappears from my glass. Sticks to the sides. Very nice.

S- Dark fruits, brown sugar come through strongest. A small hint of maple and clove under all the esters.

T- Wow. the spice of alcohol is very faint but noticeable up front, and never comes back. Very strong hints of brown sugar right up front, cloves and fruit provide the backdrop to a truly delicious brew. Slight pepper hints toward the back.

M- Smooth as Johnny Cochran. 'Nuff said.

D- I could drink this all day, everyday. Amazing brew. I love belgian quadrupels almost as I love my girlfriend/Elisha Cuthbert, but this beer is special. Truly smooth from start to finish, with a barely noticeable alcohol content--up until you finish the 24oz and then start walking around. This beer should be the center of a new olympic game.

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

Not a huge head, but color looks great. It is rich brown and looks kind of like coke.

Smells like chocolate, cinnamon, cocoa powder, plum, toast, marshmallow, and figs. Very opening of the senses.

Taste is malty, rich and complex, warming, cola-like, slight chocolate, raisins, notes of tobacco, very vinuous.

Tiny bubbles give lifting power and hide the strength very very well. Incredibly smooth.

Exceptional drinkability.

Photo of oregone
4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A very good brew.
A: Murky brown and thick. Nearly opaque. Surprising. Pours a heafty two finger head that has remarkable retention. Reminded me of Duvel almost.
S: Candied fruits, raison, a fair hint of yeast, smells like a bakery around the holidays.
T: Raisin and assorted dried fruit. Yeast is here too. Butterscotch? Not crazy on the complexity, in fact less than expected, but certainly delicious.
M: A finely balanced brew. Excellent carbonation neither overwhelms nor underimpresses. Balanced perfectly with the richness. A viscous beer that is washed away by the smooth and fine bubbles.
D: Very good. Not something for all night, but I would happily have a couple. Unless I had nothing produvtive to do the next day. Then all night.

This is quite the beer for the money and will become a staple. It doesn't amaze me, but it's an elegant yet powerful brew that is characterful and refreshing. And delicious.

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

Abt 12... what does that mean? Well, Abt is the strongest beer that a monastery produces in order to honor or please their high priest, known as the Abbot. The number 12 is derived from the Belgian specific gravity reading, which is much like our Alcohol by Volume (ABV) reading of the beer. While Abt 12 is no longer 12% ABV, it still rings in at 10.5%, and remains the strongest beer produced by St. Bernardus. This beer has been produced since the late 19th century, it is a Belgian Quadrupel style ale from St. Bernardus in Watou, Belgium. It is their flagship ale and it doesn't get much better than this!

Abt 12 pours a muddy chestnut color with a big off-white head. The aroma is malty and reminiscent of dark fruit and toffee. It is smooth and creamy on the palate with a big rich flavor of figs, toasted bread, earthy tobacco, and caramel. This is all beautifully balanced by adequate carbonation and a bit of alcohol. Abt 12 truly deserves its reputation as one of the finest beers in the world. It delivers astonishing complexity that is coexistent with great drinkablity.

Not only does Abt 12 have all of the above going for it, but it is fantastic with food as well. On the savory side, try it with grilled sausages, Cassoulet, or Veal Parmigiana. It will go great with your favorite chocolate desserts too, or a fine cigar. On the other hand, this beer is so great on it's own that you may just want to enjoy it with something simple like fresh bread and Brie de Meaux.

Photo of redzone3120
4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown in color that is very cloudy. Nice thick creamy brown head about 2 fingers thick that dissipates slowly.

S - Has a good aroma, can't really put a finger on it, maybe some nuttiness.

T - Good strong taste with a hint of a bourbon flavor. Though I normally like strong brews, this one just doesn't seem very balanced. Again, I cannot place the main flavors of the beer, definitely some toasted malts.

M - Great creamy carbonation feel with a good aftertaste the finishes cleanly.

D - Drinkable beer, good taste and a nice finish.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 8,193 ratings.