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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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8,124 Ratings

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Ratings: 8,124
Reviews: 2,593
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 544
Gots: 1,568 | 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: 8,124 | Reviews: 2,593 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Anthony1
4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appears a murky dark brown with some glowing red highlights. A thick, soapy fluff of tan head floats on top of the beer. Scattered webs of lacing are left all over the glass.
Smell is of caramel, cocoa, raisins, doughy bread, nuts, brown sugar, nougat, vanilla, and anise.
Taste is even better than the aromas in a solid batch of Belgian goodness that will knock the socks off of any beer lover(or non-beer lover for that matter).
Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, sugary, and full of doughy yeast and rich malt.

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

25.4 oz, caged and corked for $10.99. Poured into a koeningshoeven trappist glass. Pours a dark brow with ruby-red hues. A one inch head billows and disappears. The aroma is of currants, figs, dates, lovely yeast, and a little bit of cherry. The tast consists of more dark fruit flavors, some banana, brown sugar, and a touch of fantastic. The finish is so wonderfully clean and flavorful.

Photo of kiddynamite920
4.32/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Corked and caged 750 ml bottle.

A: Huge head sprung up immediately after the pour, a bit off white. Resting underneath is a dark red/brown beer, which is nearly opaque. Some highlights of copper when held up to the light. The head on this beer is quite impressive and lasting.

S: Cork smells of raisins and figs. Hit right off the bat with Belgian yeast with some banana. There is also an initial booziness. Can't get over the yeast character here, not usually a fan of the banana/bubblegum aromas but this one is very well balanced against the other characters in the aroma. Some cherry, fig, wood and vanilla. Can see why this ages well.

T: Outstanding. Deep, dark fruits fill the palate while the Belgian characteristics are present throughout. Not even close to overly sweet like some Quads can get. Alcohol presence is subdued but still noted, as it is playing a great part in the flavor of this beer. There is some tartness that I believe is cutting what would be an overly sweet quad. Well crafted beer. Definitely what a quad should be.

M: Absolutely loving every aspect of this beer. Good carbonation that leaves the mouth tingling a bit, yet it stays thick and full bodied. Flavors linger for a good while.

D: Taking it slow with this one, each sip reveals something new. A slow drinker for sure, this beer represents the quad style phenomenally.

Photo of PorterLambic
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Man, can the monks make good beer!!!!
This amazing beverage pours a nice deep brown with red & orange highlights. The pour produces a big, fluffy, creamy tan head that has extremely great retention and pretty nice lacing. Noticed some of the "waterfall effect" in the initial pour, a la Guinness, et al.
Smell is sweet, fruit (raisin, cherry, grape and plum), malt, oak, spice (clove), fine Belgian dark chocolate and some alcohol. Amazing complexity and great balance.
Taste is every bit of what is promised to the nose without the noticeable, and expected, alcohol. For a brew this potent I am very surprised that the ABV is so well hidden. A whiskey note is there as well.
Mouthfeel is rich and smooth, warming the throat. A light effervescence all over the tongue, as well. Medium-full bodied. The only downside I found was a bit of roughness in the aftertaste, kind of a bitter cherry/oak flavor. That being said, this is an absolute "cream of the crop" beer. Few, if any better in the style. Few better in any style, in my not so humble opinion.

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

Thank god such a high-quality beer can be found so easily. Along with Rochefort, it is so refreshing to be able to find world-class Belgian beers at any decent beer store.

To me, this beer is almost right there with Westvleteren. The flavor profile is similar, with the delicious caramel, toffee, and raisin sweetness.

Sometimes, the carbonation in Belgian beers is a drawback for me, but I love the champagne-like bubbliness in this beer.

I can't wait to age some of these bad boys.

Photo of impending
4.41/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml into a tulip. Pours an unexceptional hazy dark reddish brown, same as so many quads. Superior lacing.

Quads smell great. How many brews have a more complex nose than this ? I could wear this as an aftershave as the spices are strong.

Taste is superb, I feel silly trying to describe it. Read the 1,000+ before me. This is a top shelf quad, if you like this style you'll love this, if you don't you won't !

Warms well. I could sip this for hours as the tiniest sip is chock full of flavor!

Photo of misinformed
3.33/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Using my trusty Chimay chalice tonight.
A- Poured with about 2 fingers of light brown head that dissipated fairly quickly to a tiny island of bubbles. The beer itself is an opaque, dark brown.

S- Alcohol at first. Later some sweetness and fruit. Not the fragrant monster some reviews described.

T- I'm not really sure how to describe this one. Very faint caramel sweetness, a tiny amount of hops, with a bready/yeast finish. Underwhelming, but incredibly well balanced. Some faint alcohol occasionally, but very well hidden all around.

M- Light and smooth. Nice active carbonation at first that died back as it warmed.

D- I was disappointed by this to be honest. It was incredibly well balanced and nice to drink, but it was underwhelming. The flavors were weak and I missed out on the strong smells others described. I had an amazing dubbel last night that blows this beer out of the water. I hardly detected any malts in the at all. I did enjoy drinking it though, and I want to try it again sometime soon to see if I still feel the same way about it.

Photo of DIM
4.92/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

a: This was a clear, orange tinted, shiny brown color. It poured with a massively fizzy head.

s: Soft and enticing, I don't have the edjectives so I'm not going to try very hard. Lightly sweet, bready and fruity overall. Perfect.

t: Beautifully balanced and beyond my ability to describe. The alcohol is incredibly well hidden behind the soft ripe fruit and warm, sugary sweetness.

m: Big bodied with long lasting fizzy carbonation.

d: Just a perfect beer in every way that matters. One of may all time favorite go-to beers.

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

I poured into my glass to a couple fingers of tan head. It is a dark, dark amber in color. I did manage to get some chunks of yeast in there, too. The smell is fruity with cherry and dark berries being the most prominent. I also get plenty of spices along with some caramel malt. The taste is sweet and spicy. I'm usually not a big Belgian fan but this beer is pretty put together. I get just the slightest hops taste on the finish. This beer is going down mighty easily for a high ABV!

Photo of jampics2
4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ the Beer Engine. I, for one, love this stuff and it was a perfect call for a Kegs & Eggs breakfast. So happy to have finally gotten around to rating this!

Looks amazing when brought to the table in a cute little snifter/globe. Brownish with plum highlights. Nice head at first, but it recedes faster than my ideal quad. A touch more lace would be good as well, but this is still superior to many, many beers.

Smell is soooo good! Raisins, figs, fresh plums, dried prunes, grapes - if it's purple or brown and wrinkled, it's in there. Unique for sure, this has more sweetness than just about any quad I've had. Westy 12 is just a touch more spicy, while Rochfort 10 is more raisin straight-up. The muscat sweetness sets this apart and makes it very appealing.

Taste is exceptional. AKA the bomb. The flavors from the malt match the raisin, grape, and fig smells. There's a caramel bread thing that I love as well. The yeast adds complexity by way of some clove and perhaps even vanilla. Alcohol is well hidden but perceptable. Phenols are slightly spicy but very moderate. A perfect tasting beer, at 10.5% this is just so well crafted, nothing needs changed, an instant hall of famer for taste.

Nice creamy, full mouthfeel. Perfect carb. Comes across as heaven in a glass.

I'm so thrilled to finally document my feelings about this beer. This is one of those beers that really raised my awareness and fondness of Belgians years ago. I'm so happy to have had this chance to write down how I really feel - this is my love letter to you, St. Bernardus Abt 12. Thanks for the good times and great drinks!

Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.77/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle from Knightly Spirits in Orlando.

Poured into a small wine glass (best approximation of a chalice I had available). A splendid murky chestnut brew, with a sturdy 1/2 inch head that would not quit, made more appealing as the brew warmed up. Superb lacing and retention. Looks brilliant.

Nose is cherry, plums, figs, white wine, yeast, spices, overlain with a foundation of classic Belgian ale malts. Inviting.

Tasting notes are similar to the nose, which work brilliantly together. A nice toasted brown sugar and caramel flavor as well. A wonderfully balanced brew, hard to believe it's a quad, considering the absolute lack of an alcohol taste. Finishes slightly dry and crisp. The brew only gets better as it warms, which opens up all the richness within. Superb stuff.

Carbonation was initially high, but became less of an impediment as it warmed, making it easy to quaff. Definitely a brew to be served after being given a chance to breathe.

A real joy to drink, a first-rate Belgian strong ale. A high ABV means less drinkability, but I'd gladly spend an evening with a tall bottle of this. Brilliant.

Photo of beerpirates
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33 cl bottel
Poured into my westvleteren glass

A: Deep ruby amber Brown colour With a fluffy cloud off white head on top. It really maintains it's structure. This is one fine looking beer.

S: Yeasty, with a little kick from the alcohol. Raisons and strawberries. Bananas and clove.

T: That is a fruit explosion. Sweet, malty, and delicious. Raisons, figs, and maybe a little licorice. As it warms I pick up banana and clove. And not a bit of the alcohol comes through in the taste. Just lovely.

M: Creamy and smooth. Still with quite a bit of carbonation.
Just had it on tap at the 12 th Brussels beerfestival ,
Man o man, what à beer , much. Smoother and sweeter than the bottel version , awsome , one of the best trappistabbey Beers' in THE world

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

A: brown beer hazy with a tan head great lace/head retention

S: figs and plums dark fruit brown sugar dark bread

T: figs plums dark fruit brow sugar dark bread and some nice bourbon type of sweetness

M: med mouth med carbonation

d: very drinkable

overall: a great beer high the high ABV is masked very well and drinks very nice a sweet malty masterpeice

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

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into Chimay chalice.

A - Opened with a pop and began explosively foaming from the bottle (had to run for a sink). Once the drama subsided, poured a dark ruby purple with a nice frothy creamy head with super sticky lacing.

S - Can smell it from across the room. Sweet plums and grapes. Smells awesome.

T - Fantastically balanced mix of grapes, figs, alcohol is really well hidden. A nice sweetness.

M - Smooth and creamy. Like a milkshake. Leaves my mouth feeling cool and tingly.

D - Super drinkable. I love me a good quad and this is a GREAT quad.

Photo of jsanford
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Chimay chalice.

A - Pours a deep, dark brown with the slightest red tints. Has a HUGE creamy head that takes a while to subside, leaving beautifully intricate lacing.

S - Sweet and bready - almost liquid fruitcake. Figs, prunes, cherries with some molasses sweetness and the slightest hints of pepper.

T - Similar to the nose, lots of stone fruit and molasses with an unmistakable Belgian "yeastiness". So complex, yet balanced wonderfully.

M - Medium body, incredibly smooth and creamy. Only the slightest bit of alcohol heat.

D - At 10.5% ABV, this one will sneak up on you, keeping it from being too quaffable. However, this is one of the finest beers on the planet and a true benchmark for Quads!

Photo of joekoolsnoopy
4.95/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It would be hard to imagine actually drinking a better beer. In all respects, it delivers what it promises. Especially is the taste - just beautiful. This is a clean and outstanding beer. The nose is a spicy, yeasty, malty combo with notes of dark fruits. Anyone who is looking to introduce someone to craft beer should consider this as a first beer.

Photo of bierguru
4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - deep brown carmel color not much light comes through pours with a thick head which settles as a thin lace

S - very strong fruit flavor maybe fig slight carmel undertones with clove

T - definitely fig kind of sweet but not overly sweet slight alcohol taste no bitter taste to it but there is a spice would say from the clove

M - not much carbonation very smooth and light

D - one or two and done since this beer is pricey but without thinking about the price i would still say its about the same since the beer is fairly rich in flavor

Photo of jbphoto88
4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep bottle brown colored beer poured from a corked and caged bottle, that by the way was extremely hard to open. There is a thick fluffy head that is the color of clean dry wood. It rises well above the brew and lasts for the duration of the beer.

Smell is sweet and bready with lovely hints of spiced caramel and vanilla. It's not the strongest of smells but all the characteristics of a good Quad are in there.

Taste is along the lines of the nose. Sweet malts with a bread yeast taste. Following that is a creamy caramel with a light spice and vanilla splash of alcohol. Quite nice.

The mouthfeel is soft and silky, peppered with fine carbonation. Bitterness is present but not a focal point. Very slick with a lingering doughy coating feel in the finish. Very tasty and easy to drink at 10.5% it's a nice sipper.

Photo of SolomonGrundy
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow! Pours a slightly cloudy, dark rum color. Huge, creamy head that never actually dissipates. Loaded with carbonation also. Beautiful...Yeasty, Belgian-y goodness in the smell. Fresh apples, maybe some coriander. Excellent...ENormous, robust flavor. Crammed with stuff...some vanilla notes, some heavy Belgian yeast notes. So much going on it's almost ridiculous. Flavors evolve as it warms up. This is one of the World's fine ales, to be sure. Finish is not too long, but carries just a hint of bitterness along with some alcohol. Also a 10% ABV brew. $9.99 for a pint + 9.4 oz bottle. Awesome and a must find for all you folks out there.

Photo of scott451
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Warmed up and poured into a Duvel tulip. Clear brownish ruby red with a quarter inch bubbly tan head which soon diminished to a ring. No lacing. Smells of deep dark malts. Some alcohol smells warn of what is to come. Taste is smooth, well balanced. Malts up front with a boozy phenolic finish. Medium body, low carbonation. The smoothness makes you want more but the alcohol puts a stop to that.

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

Appearance is a warm copper maple syrup in color with surprising clarity. Served on tap from the tap in a delerium tremens snifter.
10oz pour for $5, at my new local brewpub Engine 15 here in Jax Beach, FL. Short head and light remnant of a cratered cap, could be the glass? Seems shorter than others have noted.

Smell is rich sweet dark malts, dark fruit, raisins, and Belgian yeast spice, mainly clove.

Tastes as it smells with mild boozyness and rich full flavor.

Medium/light body, semi slick, high carbonation.

World class beer for sure, notably for the well hidden 10.5% abv. Rich, dark, fruity, sneaky.

Photo of Luk13
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle. Dark slightly muddy brown pour with loose white head. Complex belgian beer fruit aromas (ripe sugarey red fruits, cherry, raspberries, blackberries), alcohol, chocolate and a bit of yeastiness. Taste is quite boozy and fruity but very well balanced. Beautiful mouthfeel no wateriness here. Quite beautiful.

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

Pours a deep mahogany with a thick vanilla lace. Aroma is sweet, malty. Taste is complex with breadiness, sweetness, spiciness of cinnamon and clove. This is a beautifully rich beer, moutfeel is silky smooth and drinkability is superb--for what it is. One of these is plenty!

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

A - Dark brown and opaque beer. The head is off-white and made up of tiny, creamy bubbles. It is very thick and persistent.

S - Sweet malty aroma. Plum and raisin notes , maybe a little alcohol in the background. Delicious smell.

T - Malt is up front, with nutty and biscuity notes. I also get some raisins and dark fruits and a hint of smoke in the background. Overall this beer starts out sweet and finishes drier than I expected.

M - Body is fairly heavy. The carbonation adds some creaminess that lightens it. No alcohol burn.

D - Very nice. It is complex and delicious, yet not overly sweet and cloying.

Photo of racer2k
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured 33cL bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet glass

A - Pours a dark ruby red cherry color and creates a two finger off white head which is quite frothy and dense.

S - Dark fruit - prunes, raisins, apricots, plums and a pizza bread dough like aroma. There is a very balanced sweet malty flavor to the aroma with some noticeable alcohol tones which is not a surprise given the 10.50% abv

T - Dark fruity and chewy flavors with a balanced sweet malt profile and a subtle yeast accent to the taste. The complexity of this quad is amazing and the alcohol heat is hidden quite well which could be dangerous given the fantastic taste.

M - Some nice carbonation action going on in the glass but the beer is quite smooth and has a moderate body. The finish is crisp and dry.

D - Excellent Quadrupel brewed by one of the finest Trappist brewery's in the world. Highly recommended if you enjoy this style of beer. You will no doubt smile and grin like the jolly man on the label!

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 8,124 ratings.