1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.
BA SCORE
99
world-class

7,854 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,854
Reviews: 2,541
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 495
Gots: 1,303 | FT: 35
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website
Belgium

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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of St. Bernardus Abt 12 Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,854 | Reviews: 2,541 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of PapaEugene
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Poured into my Rochefort glass. A great dark brown amber color, medium thick foamy head that went into a nice lacing.

S: Raisins, caramel, herbal and some alcohol.

T: Slightly bitter, pleasant alcohols, raisins plums, cinnamon, cloves, caramel and roasted malts.

M: Medium carbonation, creamy and a full body but a fine palette.

D: Bring it on... Too drinkable. Great beer. It's exceptional like rochefort 10 but unique in it's own way.

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

I've been waiting for sometime to try a trappist style beer and a friend brought this big guy up to ease me into it. Set it on the counter for about an hour to let it come up to temp.

A- Poured easy into a goblet glass and the head crept up on me, bigger bubbles than I expected though still thick like airy egg whites. Colour imitates the bottle to a t dark dark mahogany. Great carbonation to start but it slowed down on me a couple minutes in.

S- Had a cold for a while but this aroma busted through it anyway with some rich heavy scents that hung around, though it's difficult for me to identify them.

T- wonderful combination of bready malty flavours that hit you on the back of the tongue and linger pleasantly. Prunes come out the most for a beer this fruity, dried fruits not cooked in any way, very intense with a little bit of raisiny finish. Nutty, I work at a imported food shop and this beer reminds me of a tomme de savoie with its walnutty style taste all the way through. I'm aware that viscous isn't a taste but all the elements of this beer make me want to say that. Coffee flavours come in the end as well as an odd cocoa bit. I've been told vanilla is present but I'm still working on identifying flavours, I can't pick it up.

M- Sticky, creamy feel that just wont go away, very very nice finish that lasts a while. The only aspect that isn't quite attractive from this beer is the film that hangs around on the roof of your mouth, nowhere else though.

D- I could certainly enjoy this beer for a whole night, I'd rather sip this from a glass than any wine I've tasted. It's heavy and the long finish is great, sipping this beer could take the place of a meal no problem.

Def. happy to have had the opportunity of trying this out, and its a great way to wow someone new to the beer world, this guys got history and all the aspects to back it. All in all, I'm buying this again.

Photo of bonsreeb85
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - this beers pours a deep brown color(identical to the bottle) and sports a massive 3 finger rocky biege head. B E A uuutiful.

S - dark fruits, apple skin, spicy hops and brown shuga!

T - candy-like sweetness, wow. lots of fruit esters(much like the nose hints at). very malty with a spicy finish. this is one complex and tasty beverage! oh-so-sweet, i can feel the cavaties forming as a savor the flavor. i enjoy every sip, and it only gets better as it warms up(the sign of a good beer no doubt)

MF - lots of lively carbonation on this full bodied beast. very creamy feel, excellent.

D - alcohol is well hidden, this one goes down so easy its criminal. worth every penny!

Photo of ocelot2500
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark brown with a rocky, sticky off white head. Plenty of lacing.

Smells of roasted malts, dark fruits, and spice.

Tastes of big dark fruits up front with some roasted and bread type flavors on the backend. Alcohol is well hidden. Some diacetyl flavors are also evident to back the bread flavors.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy. Has a sweet finish, with the alcohol also warming.

Photo of gfreed
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The bottle says this is a dubbel, yet BA says quad. I'm inclined to agree with BA here: the alcohol is high and the effect is profound.

Thin, bubbly head disappears in a flash leaving behind minimal lacing. Color is cloudy iced-tea orange, and the aroma is a pleasant bready-citrusy cloud; if I could bottle it as perfume I'd make a mint at beer tastings. There's a pungent smack of alcohol that at first masks the fruity base of this beer, leaving bread and wheat at the forefront but the aftertaste reveals bananas, oranges, cherries and cloves and a sweetness that lingers for minutes after each swallow. A nicely dense body carries a super-fizzy tang that burns a bit. Drink this one slowly, and not just because of the ABV which sneaks up and hits hard: the flavors that develop long after you've swallowed develop into a wonderful bouquet. A nice treat for me and my wife at the end of our summer vacation.

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

Had a bottle of this tonight at Pub Italia here in Ottawa.

Poured into a goblet with a nice thick head, gorgeous dark brown body. Smells like dark fruits with some spice. Tastes amazing; ripe dark fruits... picking up raisin/prune mostly, sweet caramel maltiness, and the classic Belgian yeast in the finish. The mouthfeel was nice and full, although the carbonation was a little high at first. Drinkability was surprising for such a strong beer. Really enjoyed drinking this, wish it was more readily available in Ontario.

Photo of capra12
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed solo on 8/21/09,

Appearance: Mohagundy and clear.

Smell: Fresh concord grapes.

Taste: Opens with that classic Belgian yeast. The transition to the middle brings sweet concord grapes and fresh green grapes which carries over into the finish. Just as this finishes there is a slight hoppiness and dry finish leaving a malty, yeast and slightly dry aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with moderate carbonation but has a slight coarseness in the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: This definitely a beer I would have again and of course to share with a female who is sure to enjoy it as well.

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

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

A- A deep burgundy/ brown color that look marvelous. Poured about a fingers worth of head that receded a little quicker that I would have thought. A little cloudy but hard to tell from how dark it is.
S- A hint of raisins, spice, maybe a little clove and a hint of candy. Kind of reminds me Dr. Pepper in a way.
T- I picked up dates, malt, a little bit of yeast and spice. This is a pretty complex beer and I thought there maybe even a little bit of grape in there.
M- I would say this is a medium to light-heavy bodied beer but doesn't detract from how it goes down. The right amount of carbonation really adds to the feel. You can feel the warmth from the alcohol just a bit.
D- What more can I say about this beer, it goes down great, super smooth and only gets better when it warms up a bit. This I could sip on all the time.

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

Had this on-tap at the Back Abbey in Claremont, CA. Poured into a Moinette Chalice and served around 50 degrees. It was 110 out for most of the day, and this beer disappeared rapidly.

Appearance: Dark brown with a nice tan-ish white head that laced very nicely as it went down. Carbonation is dense and tight, like a champagne by the looks of it, but the head dissaptes rapidly.

Smell: Dark fruits, like plum, raisin, and almost a bit of sweetness from an apricot like ester. Slight anise, not too licorice like, with hints of herbal, medicinal notes as well. Marty presence is balanced out by the Belgian yeast, which is sweet and fruity as always, and very sweet for a 10.5%.

Taste: Wow, very very refreshing and tasty. The dark fruits are up front, followed by the bite of the bitterness from the sharp carbonation and slightest rum-like booziness. The alcohol though is in no way harsh or off-putting, but rather just flavorful. Some beers over 10% just get too alcoholic, whereas this beer only had the delicious notes of a rum-raisin style. Medicinal scent from the nose translates slightly here as well, but in no way negative. Just smooth, tasty, and delicious. As it opened up, I could tell from some increasing sweetness that this beer could use a little time to age and take some of the sharper corners off, but what a great beer. Just fantastic.

Mouthfeel: Carbonated sharply, but it aids the taste and gives the heavy beer some much-needed body. Fruity aftertaste that has little burn and only slightly syrupy. Yum.

Drinkability: I could've drank cold cat-piss yesterday and have cooled off, but this beer was everything I could've asked for and more. Smooth, tasty, complex, and delicious. I'm definitely grabbing a few bottles to age, this beer deserves to be known as one of the best. And here's to hoping the Westy 12 I've got aging is even more fantastic!

Photo of cbutova
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay chalice, this beer pours a dark brown but still pretty clear color, sediment is spread throughout like pepper flakes and a nice white sheet is on top of the beer during the whole drinking process. Head is small and creamy but still dissipates fairly quickly, minimal lacing is left on my glass. I remember my previous Abt. 12 leaving good lacing though. Smells like a good Belgian beer, raisins, yeast, bready scents and some malts, maybe a small bit of alcohol. Tastes like all of the above things mentioned with some good spice to it, probably my favorite tasting Belgian that I have had yet. Mouthfeel is good, medium with some creamyness and alcohol warming, a perfect amount of it, a raisiney aftertaste coats the entire mouth. Drinkability is good here because of the exceptional taste, however the raisin and alcohol will bring it down after a bottle or so, can't wait to age some of these.

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

Pours a cloudy dark brown with a small fluffy head that scurries away with no lacing left behind, but leaves a tasty looking blanket swirling around on top. There is a fair amount of sediment floating around in there and a very faint but detectable flow of bubbles. The smell is yeasty with some dark fruits (raisins, plums, figs), and baked goods, with a splice of alcohol in there. Taste is all the flavors with a bit of extra spice thrown in there. Sweet flavors dominate. The mouth feel is beautiful. Covers every square inch with a silky sheet and balances it out with a good dose of carbonation. Finish is subtly dry. This one warms up your innards. Good drinkability considering the complexity and abv of this one.

Photo of biggred1
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark russet brown with a big stiff airy tan head that leaves nice spiderweb lace on the glass as it slowly settles. Aromas of dark fruit, fresh bread dough and belgian spice make for a really good nose. Dark fruit, rum, apples, cinnamon and fresh baked bread come to mind, complexity grows with each sip, alcohol is fairly well hidden. Very high carbonation adds to the drinkability on this one. A truly world class beer.

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

750ml corked and caged into a Duvel tulip. No "best by" date, but it says it could age for 15 years, so who cares? I did buy it recently, though, so I suspect it's fresh.

A: Pours a dark brown, cloudy body with scarlet highlights topped with a large, persistent beige head. The first pour leaves surprisingly little lace, while the second fully refreshes the head and leaves lots of sticky lace - interesting.

S: Very sweet, with dark fruits (plums and figs) predominating. Some spice as well. Very inviting.

T: Carries through all the flavors adumbrated in the smell, plus a deeper level of Belgian candi sugar and just a touch of drying hoppiness on the finish. Delicious.

M: In a word, perfect. Medium-to-full bodied with rich, velvety carbonation. Simply beautiful.

D: The alcohol isn't completely hidden, but neither does it make me keep from wishing for another 750 right now. Pretty good.

Notes: Perhaps not quite as complex as I had been hoping, but still a truly stellar beer and a great example of the quad style. Awesome.

Cheers!

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

Poured in a Russian River stemmed glass and as a celebration for starting my second year of law school today.

Appearance - Pours out a very nice dark oak looking color with a redish tint. Poured slowly then a bit faster right at the end which produced about a finger and a half of beige head that is...yep...still almost all there after pouring this ten minutes ago. There is the beginning of some very thick lacing being left on the glass. Looks absolutely inviting.

Smell - The first thing I get a waft of is figs/prunes. I smell spices, fruits (dark fruits) and a bit of chocolate. The aromas are being carried around my outside porch as I eagerly await to try this beer.

Taste - I can taste the sweetness initially and with the bubbles of carbonation hitting my tongue instantly. The spices become prevalent with the malt sweetness continuing throughout and also toffee. It finishes with a warming touch (Edit - Wow...I can definitely feel this warming all the way down - I've only taken a few sips and each sip I get an uncanny "warm" feeling).

Mouthfeel - Moderate in body and decently carbonated - you can feel the prickling of the bubbles on your tongue and honestly it feels pretty good. Creamy goodness.

Drinkability - I would say relatively drinkable for a beer of this caliber and ABV, though quite honestly I feel it does not hide the alcohol as well as I thought it might be able to (in comparison to other higher ABV beers). However, this is not a problem for me because I am thoroughly enjoying it on my porch with the coolness around me. It makes me feel nice and warm inside.

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

Bottle code: 08-05-13
Appearance - Deep, dark brown with an off-white, soapy head. Murky. This was a gusher.
Smell - Nose is mostly fig and raisin.
Taste - Dark fruit, fig, raisin. Quite complex, lots to this. Slightly overly sweet.
Mouthfeel - Creamy, full-bodied. Although it has a coating, luscious feel, it is not thick or syrupy. Moderate carbonation.
Drinkability - Very drinkable for such a flavorful, intense beer.

Photo of saztheorybook
3.95/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into an oversized wine glass.
A- A dark purple like that of a dark, dark plum with a head that wasn't so stable at first but soon calmed down and left terrific lacing.
S- Yeasty with a very fruity touch. Almost an artificial grape character.
T- Caramelly sweet up front with warm esters in back. Cocoa-y notes in the middle. Goes down with some severe heat. Oaky finish.
M- Excessive carbonation seems to be the St. Bernardus MO, which I loved in the tripel but dug a little less in this one. Toward the end of the beer it mellowed out and became quite nice.
D-There was honestly a bit too much heat in this bottle for my taste. It warmed me more than I expect from any beer. I'll have it again some time, but I will not be rushing out to buy another bottle any time soon.

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

330ml bottle poured into corsendonk chalice aug22 2009
thank you paul for my late birthday present this was worth the wait(how did you know a bernardus triple and quad?)

A open near a sink this one explodes. deep dark brown, a fair bit of sediment, thick tan head that has very good retention and leaves lots of lace

S also quite nice, banana, lots of spice, dark fruits and booze.
this is very complex, this beer has a lot going on

T a little sweeter than it smells and a bit more yeast, but other than that it tastes as it smells and that is a good thing

M creamy but not overly thick, good carbonation, nothing too complain about here

D its a good thing i only have one of these cause its way too easy too drink. for a 10% beer this should not be this smooth, i would not ask for anything more when it comes too easy drinking. i dont like too give out 5's but i did not have a choice with this one

a wonderful beer! i would love too drink one thats been in a cellar for a few years. buy it drink it any questions?

Photo of kegger22
4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours brown with a generous head that stays there throughout the sampling. The aroma was sweet, malty and syrupy. The taste didn't match the syrupy sweetness that the aroma implied, but still sweet, nutty and bubbly. The feel was medium bodied but rolled onto the tongue on a wave of carbonated ball bearings. Drinkability: I was able to knock down a bomber with no difficulties, but a second one would have been a stretch. All in all, not my favorite quad (Rochefort 10), but a damn fine beer.

Photo of fiver29
4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle pours a very dark brown color. Head is a tan color and retention is very long. Smells like yeast and alcohol. Tastes like alcohol with some mild fruit flavors. The dark fruits meld together to form a nice complex drink. Very smooth on the palate which makes it easy to drink.

Photo of KCHopHead
4.15/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a few times but still hadn't reviewed. I have two people who claim this to be favorites, but I still don't see the attraction. This is a good quad though, but not the best I've had.

A - Dark chesnut color. Some floaties. Thin head.
S - Yeasty with some alcohol. Sweet smell.
T - Good malt sweetness taste with some alcohol. If you search for it you can find a cocoa taste.
M - Great mouth feel for a quad getting the carbonation and balance right.
D - I could down a 750 ml of this pretty easily.

I find this interesting how this is not a Trappist product, but how the knock-offs can taste quite a bit better than the real thing.

Photo of crossovert
4.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz yellow/baby blue labeled bottle. The hype on this beer is really high, I will try not to think of it in this review.

Gushes slightly when it is uncapped, but I sniffed the initial whiff (tropical fruit blast) and poured it before it over flowed, it was just a very slow gush. Pours with a nice 3 finger off white head into my Duvel glass. Head stays for a little while before receding. A blanket of foam still covers the liquid. The thick, creamy lacing/head has little specs in it.

The beer is a very dark, murky brown. There is a hint of red. Tons of little things, yeast and more, are floating around in there.

After letting the oxygen mingle with it for a while I give it a smell. It smells very rich, almost creamy. Has a ripe banana/plum/peach/dried apple scent, along with some bubble gum twang. Theres also some spices in there including clove and pepper. I can also smell a faint bit of chocolaty roasted malt and a kiss of hops. You can pick up on the alcohol a little bit, it prickles your nostrils ever so slightly and warms them.

The carbonation is really biting and I like it. Mouthfeel is utterly superb, some what thin at first but with a thicker, stickier smooth finish. This aids in the taste of a million flavors. Nice sweetness, though not too cloying, and the alcohol shows up just a bit, warming as it does down. Some nice roasted bitterness in the aftertaste. A massive flavor.

Overall, this is a great Trappist style ale, and for a quad it isn't too sweet. This is one you sit back, sip, and appreciate what the brewers have done.

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

Poured the bottle into a tulip shaped glass. The color has a reddish-brown rose-like hue to it with a nice big foamy white head. The smell is wonderful. Candied fruits, malts, and some spice.

The flavor of this beer is exceptional. Smooth maltiness, mixing with a creamy head. Fruit notes on the tongue and candy. Delicious.

The mouthfeel is very smooth, aside from some warming of the alcohol. Even with that being said, I find this beer highly drinkable. I could easily have more than one of these in a sitting. However, tonight is special since I'm cracking open my first Westy 12 after this to do a head to head comparison. Can't wait.

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

Phew! Cracked the cap and the foam rises to the top of the bottle in an eager head. This beer's been sitting in the fridge for a few days, too, with nothing to disturb it! Poured into a tulip glass.

Cloudy plum red color with tasty-looking bubbles nucleating from points on the inner glass surface. Smells alcoholic, fruity, a little spicy and a little sour. The fruity flavor reminds me of fig and alcohol-soaked fruitcake (the good kind that they age for awhile where all the fruit is stewed in alcohol first), followed by a hint of malt. Spilled some on the table while attempting to swat the team of fruit flies that have flocked towards the aroma.

Tastes sweet and sharp with alcohol. The carbonation is light and permeating, letting the hop bitterness through after a few sips. Very warming. Candied fruit comes to mind, but the kind that's so candied you can't tell the original fruit anymore. Slightly spicy, but quite smooth on the tongue and medium-bodied.

For a quad, I find it pretty well done. The strength and sweetness of the beer is tempered by its complexity and tastiness. It's still a sipper, to be sure, but not like other quads where a few sips will do you.

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

This was quite a good beer and I made the following observations

Pours a darker than expected chestnut colour

Smell citurssy with caramel and dark fruit slightly vinegarry

Taste is much the same but the alcohol is more overpowering than in stronger beers I ve had and spoils the fun omewhat

Mouthfeel is very sparkly with a light body and surprisingly creamy

Really quite good but only one at a time please

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

(From Notes)

This beer is exceptional. The flavors meld together so incredibly well. The consistency, finish, and yeastiness are all reminiscent of many favorite characteristics of other beers of various styles.

750 ml bottle poured into Chimay goblet.

Great light brown, hazy color with rich, full body and super creamy head. Roasted malt smell with an abundance of sweetness and sourness from dark fruits. Hop and yeast flavors combine simultaneously to round out the tartness and sweetness and greatly enhance the taste. Fig, banana, toffee, plum, nutmeg, and milk chocolate.

Carbonation is perfect, allowing the soft and supple tastes to flow through to the end. Wet and grainy on the back end, but very creamy and very smooth.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,854 ratings.