St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

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7,870 Ratings

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Ratings: 7,870
Reviews: 2,546
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 495
Gots: 1,337 | FT: 34
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: 7,870 | Reviews: 2,546 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BedetheVenerable
4.15/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Snifter, poured on tap; thanks to Stanford at Sycamore for the sample on the house (and the first couple of glasses out of the keg)...much appreciated!!

Appearance: Dark hazy walnut beer with a nice light tan cap with good retention

Smell: Sweet cotton candy, dried cherries, and light candied fruit...some slight Belgian yeastiness in the background...overall, "sweet", "soft", and "fruity" are the three best adjectives for this beer's aroma.

Taste: Lots of spicy/fruity Belgian yeast, vibrant fruitiness, light candy sugar notes, and a touch of cinnamon round this out. This is sweet and mellow to the extreme; you have NO idea you're drinking a 10%+ beer. The flavors meld together to form more of a broad picture than jumping out at you individually. Also, the malt seems a bit more subdued than I remember it being in the bottled version. Bliss.

Mouthfeel: On the light side of medium-bodied; supremely drinkable, which is even more remarkable considering the abv

Drinkability: High

Conclusion: This is crazy soft, supple, fruity, and delicious. Glad I got to try it on tap!.

Photo of Axic10
4.68/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a Chimay goblet. This was a gusher when I opened it up.

Appearance: Poured with an inch of head, which may or may not be due to the bottle being a gusher as noted above. Color is a dark ruby, which looks amazing.

Smell: Hints of candied fruit and spices. Smells a little boozy, but not overly powerful.

Taste: AMAZING. The above mentioned fruit really comes through with this. I'm also picking up spices and malt. Very balanced.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth on my tongue.

Drinkability: I had high hopes going into tasting this beer and it did not disappoint. I will definitely be buying more to drink and some to age to see what other aromas and flavors come out of some age.

Photo of WeedKing4
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours a dark ruby brown with a decent amount of carbination. Smell and taste is of dark fruits, with a nice malt background in it too. The alc.% is so goddamn well hidden, its insane. This was very easy to drink, and I probably drank it too fast! I couldn't help myself. I really enjoyed this beer a lot. Another one on the top list I was glad to get my hands on.

Photo of scootny
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I unfortunately had the 60th anniversary before this one so I am tainted by what may be the best quad this side of a Westy 12. That being said this is one hellova beer. A ruddy brown fluid with garnet hues and bit in susupension. The light tan head leaves tons thick lace and never full goes away.

Smell is rich and fruity with a deep caramel malt and notes of chocolate and coffee. Dark fruits abound and each sniff reveals lovely layers of complex blending. A burgundy like undertone flows subtly through.

Taste is a continuation of the nose. Dark malty sweetness and mocha. Intense fruitiness. Belgian yeastiness brings an overripe banana into the fold. A tannic component shows up and flexes, especially in the finish. It leaves a leather like dryness on the palate. Burgundy and alcoholic heat gently fold in on the edges of your tongue. Feel is velvety with a lightly creamy carbonation. While the OG carries some weight the fluid is supple as it flows around the mouth.

Drinkability is quite good for the abv. A good all night sipper that goes down easier than it should.

Photo of beerwolf77
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my chimay goblet the beer is dark chocolate brown with a full inch of tan head. A slippery lace ring is left around the rim after some warming and settling.

The aroma is pure candied dark fruits, fresh bread dough, cocoa, spices and a slight boozy tone that makes my mouth water.

The flavor is a super smooth mix of malt, candied fruit, cinnamon toast, citrus, slight chocolate, and a kiss of hops. WOW!

The feel rich and smooth. Has some bite to it with above average carbonation.

Overall this a fantastic beer. I can see why it gets so much praise. Like liquid big boy candy.

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

Bought at 7-11 at Highland Park, Calif.

Poured a dark brown color with a nice head. The smell of raisins instantly hits my nose. Nice slight nutty flavor on the first taste. Can taste the alchohol in the mouthfeel but not overwhelming. Good drinkability all around. Definitely good on a cold winter night. Could drink another bottle.

Photo of slk22
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours cola brown with heavy turbidity and a large cream-colored head. Beautiful and very inviting. Aroma jumps right out of the glass. Huge complexity here, but I am clearly getting raisins, plum, cherry, amaretto, fresh-baked bread, and a hint of alcohol. Flavor is complex as well. Sweet and fruity up front with unripe cherry, amaretto, and caramel malt. Alcohol is definitely noticeable at the beginning and in the finish, but not offensive, and gives an immediate warming feeling that is quite pleasant. I'm not a big fan of alcohol flavor, but this is quite enjoyable. Carbonation is high tickling the tongue and body is medium. Overall, a delicious beer. I would have several if not for the high ABV.

Photo of flagmantho
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750mL bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: highly opaque dark tawny brown. Enormous four-finger head which, while very nice, will make this difficult to drink.

Smell: the first thing I notice is that it is quite grainy. There are some fruit aromas, notably plum, but mostly grain. As it warms, I get more of the nice fruit aromas than grain; it's good, but aroma is Abt 12's weak point for me.

Taste: malty, grainy and full of dark fruity flavors. I'm glad to say it is significantly better than the aroma, but, frankly, that wouldn't take much. Fruit concentration is plums and raisins. As the beer warms the fruit complexity gets much broader and deeper: I get some pear, some cherry; really, it's quite delicious.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a fantastic carbonation. It is supple and velvety; perfectly divine. I love it.

Drinkability: a nice flavor profile combined with an out-of-this-world texture make this a deceptively drinkable beer, despite its incredible ABV. I enjoy it quite a lot.

Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.95/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

330ml bottle served in a Westvleteren chalice.

A: Pours a dark amber almost brown color forming a creamy and very persistent beige head. A lot of lacings are formed and left in the glass

S: Sweet, fruity and very malty. Strong notes of dark fruits (plums and raisins), caramel malts, roasted malts, candy sugar, vanilla, brown bread and liquor. Very bready and earthy Belgian yeasts. A bit of alcohol can be felt too

T: Very complex. Again, sweet, malty and very fruity. Strong notes of dark fruits, candy sugar, caramel, caramel malts, roasted malts, brown bread, earthy Belgian yeasts. Finish is slightly bitter

M: Full creamy and molasses body. Good carbonation. Sweet and malty aftertaste

O: Excellent drinkability! A Belgian Quad masterpiece

Photo of wyattshotmaker
3.98/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured into a tulip,nice ruby brown with a nice persistent head.nice lacing. nose has medicinal phenols, dark fruit,clove,yeast spice, bit of alcohol.

dark fruit,molasses,peppery,medicinal phenolic taste,heat from the alcohol in the finish.overall pretty sweet.pretty interesting.

somewhat light bodied for how big this beer is.not sure if this is what i pictured the cousin of the best beer in the world as.

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

Deep brown with some reddish hues around the edges with a thin, but lasting, tan head.

The aroma is compact with raisin, alcohol, and a Belgian yeast breadiness.

Light caramel and raisin are recognizable. It's all a bit restrained really. It doesn't seem like there would be enough flavor to hide the alcohol as well as it does.

Malty and smooth with a firm bottle conditioned carbonation.

Sometimes less is more.

Photo of JVEyck309
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into chalice - velvet/suede looking rich brown with ruby hues in the light head falls quickly into patchy lacing- sweet malts dark fruits a tad vanilla and whatever else - tastes as good as always, a very special brew to indulge in, a classic quad. sweet delicious beer! Mouth has just the right amount of carbonation and alcohol is slowly warming, not too hot considering the abv. This is up there with the bests.. cheers

Photo of davod23
4.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into an oversized wine glass.

It's a deep, ruby-tinged brown color, quite murky. A big, billowing off-white head quickly forms. It sticks around a while as a thin cap, but by the end of the glass is gone, save for a few wisps of cirrus clouds on the surface. Only a bit of lacing remains.

I love the smell of this beer. This is actually the beer that really got me started on craft beer. Thus, it is very nostalgic for me. I will attempt to be as impartial as possible. The aroma is beautiful and complex, with raisins, prunes, figs, sweet malt, and a bit of alcohol shining through. It's very similar to Westy 12, but brighter and more explicitly fruity.

Taste followed the nose. Sweet dark fruits, rum-soaked raisins, some noticeable boozy heat (that does not detract).

The mouthfeel starts off just a little too carbonated for my liking, which reduces the score just a notch. But about halfway through the beer, it's perfect. Thick, chewy, full, it dances on your palate.

Drinkability is fantastic for the style. If I didn't have to work in the morning, I might go have one or two more. But this beer is quite strong, and I see that as being potentially dangerous.

Wonderful beer.

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

A - pours a solid brown with thick foam & lace

S - sweet caramel malt, some pepper & spice, hint of citrus

T - everything you'd expect from the smell, wrapped in a rich body. Alcohol is present but doesn't come close to getting in the way. Aftertaste remains sweet but not cloying.

M - full, velvety smooth (especially for a beer only moderately dark), with a very fine tingle

D - really should be a sipping beer, but I find no need to be reserved about quaffing it. I don't think it's as interesting / complex as some here, so it's not about to become an everyday thing, but definitely a solid Belgian.

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

Always a good value to buy this in a bottle, but reviewing the tap.

A: Have to love bars with individual glasses for an individual beer. Color is Dark Brown/slight amber hue in this lighting. The pour seemed delicate, less head than a remember.

S: Valorous sweetness, cocoa + dark fruits is what it was first described to me as and I pick up on that. Alcohol is there, small amounts of spice, other unrecognizable dark colored matter!

T: Taste much like the aroma...a good sweetness that cannot be described right away, I'll give it the cliche "it's complex" taste line. The alcohol isn't masked but works wonderfully as I am struggling to figure out what dominates the flavor of this beer. It's sweet, but not overly, glimpse of hops in the finish. Sweet, earthy, delicious.

M: Medium bodied, trace carbonation, warming.

D: ABV doesn't quite scare me away, especially when taking delightful little sips. This was the first Belgian Quad I tried, so there is a soft spot for it...a spot it deserves.

Photo of OneDropSoup
4.03/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on draft at 6 & Save in New Kensington, PA.

Poured into a tulip a deep brown with purple-ruby highlights, a finger-and-a-half of creamy tan head with a little lacing. Head falls halfway.

Smell is sweet & rich, dark fruit, caramel, a little vanilla, some booze as it warms.

Tastes of dark fruit (cherries, figs), malty flavor almost syrupy sweet, alcohol.

Full-bodied with some carbonated prickliness. Alcohol brings some heat, especially as the beer warms.

A big old beer, makes it a sipper. Exemplifies the style very well, but I can't say there's anything here to wow me about it. Granted, it's going to be pretty great, but I didn't find any je ne sais quois to push it over the top.

Photo of seand
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark opaque brown, with a thick foamy tan head. The head retains pretty well, leaving thick foam for quite a while, with very nice lacing.

S: Yeasty, spiced, sweet. Thick syrupy dried fruit-like sweetness, with a hint of brown sugar.

T: Full, complex, and sweet, nutty and earthy. The sweetness has a bitter edge, especially through the finish.

M: Medium to high smooth carbonation, full bodied. Long lasting aftertaste.

D: This is one to take slow and appreciate, both due to it's interesting flavors and high ABV. It's definitely not difficult to drink, however.

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

Easily one of my top 5 beers of all time, the St Bernardus Abt 12 is what put me on the map for Belgian beers. I drink it on special occasions usually, and its pretty cheap for the amazingness of the beer. And having the availability it has, its awesome. Well, today marks the special occasion of needing some yeast for a homebrew, and I decided to culture the bottled yeast from this awesomeness. This bottle also has been sitting in the cellar for a year or so getting yeasted up to hell. Also, why not drink it. This just happens to be the first time I'm drinking it while sitting in front of a computer and can log it into BA. Anyways, enough with the Stahlin and drink it already.

A: Huge loud pop sound goes the weasel, I mean cork. Steamy mist of Pandora blazes out the top. Pouring into my Corsendonk tulip glass reveals a large 3 finger semi dark head that is pretty thin and full of large bubbles that pop so fast, its down to 2 fingers in a mere 10 seconds! Then leaves an airy pot-marked frothy mess that would make Courtney Love blush!. The light dark colored head is down to a light covering in not time flat! The dark raisin colored brown lets just enough light through to reveal the secret of the Nymph, as well as the huge amounts of yeast and sediment dancing around inside as if they are at the dance, getting prepped to mate soon!

N: Yep, thats the aroma all right! Some dark malts, mostly Belgian style, some raisiny fruit flavors, perhaps some fig aromas as well. Some light nuttiness and perhaps cinnamon tickle the nose. However, a touch of alcohol and sweet dark Belgian candi sugars fill out the back bone of the nose. It's not overpowering either. A slight yeast tones down the final touches, but the delicious raisiny Belgian candi sugar and alcohol really just bring the aromas into so much awesomeness.

T: Tasting such an awesome beer is almost unworthy of.... glug glug glug... mmmppphhfff.... starts right off with more awesome raisiny Belgian candi sugar and some alcohol tastes right off the bat. Who woulda thunk? Delicious Belgian malts sit around the mouth in a nice thick mouth. A very slight Belgian yeast flavor adds some fruitiness as well, more than just the raisin. A slight spice, like cinnamon and some nuttiness cuts through the malt flavors like a raptor's claw through that guys stomach in that movie. I get some deeper fruits as well, perhaps plum or snozzberry. Some thick molasses and more candi sugar come back again towards the finish of the taste. Some alcohol burn and warmth adds a nice touch, which has really kicked into overdrive with the bottle aging

M: Pretty thick and heavy, sweet and syrupy, its almost so thick my tongue is weighing itself down and almost out of my mouth. It's filling up my taste buds so much they can't taste much else after. Then a slight alcohol burn reminds you how heavy the beer is when it comes to abv! Decent carbonation for the bigness of the beer, actually is really high!

F: Finishes with a slight sweetness but seems to dry off pretty well considering all the age its had. A slight alcohol warmth and sting singes for a bit, then disappears enough to let you get more of the raisin, cinnamon, candi sugar, molasses, and delicious other flavors. Perhaps if anything, the aging has formed a little too much carbonation. I get some earthy flavors as well, on the finish mostly, I think a product of the yeast turning the Belgian candi sugar into the ginourmous alcohol.

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.6/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours copper with a large (very large) persistent head, leaving lots of lacing.
Aroma is a rich mix or red wine, doughy yeast, rose-like perfume and chocolate.
Flavours are similarly rich but overshadowed by noticeable alcohol. Lots of doughy yeast, caramel and chocolate though.
Rich body, high carbonation, a bit over the top.
No where near as complex as I expected, and that alcohol needs to be tamed.

Photo of mcann2pu
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

a- poured into my left hand brewing glass a dark brown color, some sediment was visible, lacing visible, head foamed up a bit when I opened the bottle so there is a good deal of carbonation in this one,

s- sweet malty smell from the glass, maybe a sweet fruity fresh raison smell,

t- a rich malt taste is prominent in this one,

m- amazing!, I think this was the real strong point of this beer for me, the carbonation really works well here in my opinion,

d- good, the rich malt taste and the delicious mouthfeel really make this one worth it, overall this was a great beer and I would diffidently recommend it to anyone looking for a great beer to try,

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

Bottle- At the Alex P. Keaton in London, Ontario. Poured a dark brown body, medium beige head. HUGE sediment visible....almost syrup looking. Nice lacing, and the head seems to form rings in the middle of the body, very distinct. Perfect. Aromas are black licorice, rasins and prunes, saltiness, and some floral spiceyness. Taste is floral, spicy, rasins and prunes , sweet an salty, licorice too. Nice! Finish is alcohol, bitter sour aftertaste too. Great example of the style! Watch out Westy!

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

Poured from a bottle into my Chimay chalice glass.

A: A dark mahogany color with a one finger off white head. Nice glass lacing that eventually recedes back into the glass.

S: Dark fruits and caramel sweetness just overcome the nose. A bit of yeasty spice too.

T: Fruit flavors jump out with large amounts of grape, some cherry, fig and plum that are overcome by the caramel sweetness with some hints of cinnamon and maybe vanilla. The yeasty spice clove flavor is subtle, but very nice and compliments the other flavors well. Finish is dry and tart with just a hint of hop bite. Nice long lasting finish. World class beer.

M: Full, coating with just a hint of alcohol warming at the end.

D: Wow, for that ABV? Incredibly high.

Overall a world class Quad. I tasted this back to back to a Rochefort 10 and I thought this beer was a much better offering as it provided a more balanced mouthfeel. Great, great beer.

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

Serving type - 11.2 oz bottle into glass

Appearance - This one pours a deep, rich mahogany color, with a huge foam head that lasts several minutes. After it subsides, it leaves a nice, thick lacing around the glass. This beer means business.

Smell - Brown sugar, Belgian Candi, Molasses, dark fruit (cherries, raisins).

Taste - Lots of dark fruit, with moderate spiciness. Sweet, rich malts with a flavor like that of the smell. Hidden alcohol, minimal hops. Complex, and absolutely delicious.

Mouthfeel - Rich, creamy, and full bodied (expected for a beer of this ABV). Makes you want to savor each sip.

Drinkability - Deceptively drinkable for it's ABV, but it's still a sipper.

Overall - A great example of this style, and one of my personal favorite beers. Highly recommended!

Photo of mirish72
4.18/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay goblet after a 10-15 minute warm up period on the counter.

Pours a mahogeny red with visible yeast throughout the beer. One finger head with nice lacing.

Has a sweet aroma, smells of fruit and spices. I could smell this one when I opened the beer and it was almost wine like. There was a good deal of carbonation to start with.

Tastes like it smells, and it got smoother as it settled. There is a dry finish and nice balance overall. Hides the 10.5% ABV well and was very drinkable.

Photo of Travlr
4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Muddy chestnut amber with sediment left in the bottle. Medium white head, very nice lacing. Aroma of dates, raisins and cinnamon with a hint of vanilla. Taste has multiple dried fruits in a subtle and complex combination. Improves with age. Tasted at the brewery in Watou.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,870 ratings.