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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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7,994 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,994
Reviews: 2,566
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 516
Gots: 1,444 | FT: 38
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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,994 | Reviews: 2,566 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Stimack
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was able to pick this brew up in my last trip to the store. Had been looking for it for a while but just had not been carried. The brew pours to a deep murky brown color with a small to medium tan had that has a creamy consistence, good retention and has left a fair amount of lacing. The aroma of this brew is a nice mix of malts, dark fruit (Plums and cherries) , candy sugar and a yeast slurry. Really inviting aromas for this one. Has a excellent favor, malts come through here and make a great base, slight caramel flavor. Fruit seems to be there - raisons, plums and slight cherry flavors. Slight port like flavor that really goes well with everything, seems to linger a bit on the tongue - excellent. Some sweetness is there that is real nice, candy sugar, and is not over the top. Has a slight spice to it as well. This one drinks very well, goes down smooth, can't believe that it is 10+%. Overall this is a simply excellent brew, I really can not see a major flaw with anything.

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

11.2oz bottle into a St. Bernardus Tulip late at night. Review numero 550.

Bernie 12, rustic burnt wood brown and spots of faded orange around the sides. Parts of the liquid look darker than others while the upper half has a dirty tap water thing going for it, I like it. Floating particles of Belgium yeast among other things in suspension. Even with the aggressive pour the yield of dark ivory foam comes to 1/2 an inch. Old cobweb lacing that does not stick at all. I expected a bumpier head with mountain peaks.

Twelves' nose is muted in distance with a less than pungent effect but what's there is good, you just gotta sniff it out. Possibly the best nose out of all the Belgium Quad's IMO, Bernie spits forth sweet sugar out the ying yang with a candi like sweetness. Turbinado sugar, plums, slight caramel/toffee mix, toasted malt, more dark fruit, and more suga on top. Some melted chocolate in the finish.

12 is well rounded and while the sweet sugar is very prevalent in the nose, it does not make for a cloying mess, this melds almost perfectly. Candi sugar graciously sprinkled on top of a bed of plums with caramel covered apple slices. This is very light on the raisins and I'm grateful. Toasted malt and the huge amount of yeast and particles made for a bready/doughy. Did I mention that the 10.5% does not come into play at all, this drinks more like 6.8%.

The feel is smooth like baby skin with a sweet start, a fruity middle, and a yeasty ending, I might as well call it a 'happy ending' cause the alcohol presence is zilch. Not hot at all, it's actually amazing. I thought I was drinking iced tea in the summer. The feel is a strong medium with just enough carb to not linger, but enough to showcase the flavors.

Let's face it, everytime I have a small bottle of this, I always kick myself for not getting the 750ml version for two reasons, one being that I just have a craving for more and this is easy drinking. Two being that there is no way to not get the dregs/yeast of a small bottle into your glass, trust me, I've tried on several occasions. I would like to fill two snifters of 12, the 1st being a clean quad, with the 2nd being a dirty pour, I expect the differences to be slight but noticeable.

This is a beer that everybody needs to try once. I try to have at least two every year. This may be my favorite out of the St. Bernardus lineup but it's in a tight race with the Pator 8, that stuff is also excellent.

Photo of 220emaple
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The thing that I love about this beer is the almost hidden alcohol flavor. It's 10.5% but can pass as 7%.

The color is a very dark, murky brown. The head ends quickly and has very little lacing when poured into my tulip.

Very drinkable but unfortunately expensive--best for special occasions.

Photo of Longhorn22
4.68/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - This beer doesn't look very appealing. I gave it a 3.5 because after i poured it, the head lasted until I finished drinking it. The lacing was very thick, and there was a little "iceberg" of floating froth left for most of the drinking "experience". The drawback is that the beer is medium dark brown and murky looking.

S - The smell is not very powerful, but the actual scent is good. It just isn't especially strong. It smells sweet and subtle, which is an achievement with the high alcohol content.

T - The taste is great. This is truly a world class beer in terms of taste. It is remarkably sweet, and barely any taste of alcohol. It sort of has a lambic berry taste to it, but it isn't as strong as a lambic. It has some darker nutty/smoky flavor as well.

M - The beer has a good amount of carbonation, and it feels very considerable in your mouth, yet, it goes down very easily. It has a little over 10% alcohol, but I wouldn't have noticed had it not been clearly stated on the front.

D - This gets top marks for drinkability because it is so smooth while having such a high alcohol content. I have a harder time finishing a bud light than this beer.

Bottom line: This beer is sweet, strong, and smooth with a high alcohol content that you wouldn't expect with the amazing flavor. The flavor and drinkability are top notch, and the only draw back is the appearance.

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

My first go w/ Abt 12 this weekend... WOW!

A: Dark brown color with a foamy rich head that dissipated rather fast for me.

S: Lots going on here. Nice yeast with fruit notes. Somewhat roasted but not much. Tough to describe.

T: Whoa. It's great. Sweet with enough alcohol to let you know it's not for kids. Some fruit, but lots of sweet malts. Too much for a small review.

F/D: Yep it's a quad. Not for the faint of heart. Big on the mouth and a lot to swallow. I would drink this everyday if I could.

This is a huge sweet Belgian and yes it lives up to its name. Stop reading about it and drink it.

Photo of TheFightfan1
4.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a muddy brown color. Thick fluffy white heading that dissappears into nothing in just a few short seconds.No lacing to speak of.

Smell is awesome. Very malty and yeasty a bit of creaminess in the nose as well.A subtle spiciness as well.

Taste has a little bit of everything in a great Belgian beer. Smooth malty background with a heavy fruity yeastiness that kick's in. Finishes up very spicey on the tongue and peppery.

Mouth is full bodied with some good carbonation after you swoosh it around a bit. Smooth and peppery along with a fruit kick.

Drink is good for a 10.5 ABV this is easily enjoyable for any type of beer drinker.

Photo of pdoran10
4.18/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Have been meaning to write up this and many other reivews for a while. Drank this with my friend in a standard pint glass while watching the Vikings play the Packers in Lambeau on Monday night. Picked up a big beer haul for the game and this was part of it.

The beer pours a very dark amber brown and gives a very nice amount of head with amazing lacing. The smell is spiced and a bit funky with bananas coming to mind which I'm not a big fan of. The taste is much better than the smell. Exceptional flavor of spices, dark fruit and, yes a tiny bit of banana and vanilla. Mouthfeel is very normal for a Belgian, substantial with a bit of sediment. Drinkability is reasonable for a Belgian, I couldn't help feeling like my palate had just been assaulted though.

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

pours a hazy dark ruby color with a creamy 1-2 finger head with a beige ring and clinging lace on the glass best by 070514..the smell was great it was plum fig clove spice and other fruits mixed with some sweet malts..the taste was very good it was plum pears and apples with cinnamon and nutmeg some raisins and bananas some bready tastes with caramel and malts..it was sweet and bready and malty with a clove/ yeast finish very well balanced with a trace of alcohol burn it is well hidden.. my 330 ml bottle went down fast

Photo of jsh420
4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle dated 06/09/12

pours ruby carmel with tons of yeast - 1 finger head that left no lacing

smells of candy sugar and dark fruit

taste wow this beer has mellowed a ton in the past 2 years - no heat at all - very sweet dark fruity malts

mouthfeel - a medium body brew with just enough carbonation to give it some life - very smooth

drinkability - was good but i wish i would have reviewed a fresh bottle

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

a: poured from a 750ml bottle into a st. bernardus chalice. deep brown with ruby hues. forms a nice one finger that that settles into a thin lacing.

s: deep fruity aroma, consisting of dates and/or prunes. chocolate; nice spice undertone as well (cloves, possibly nutmeg). the malts on this brew are delicious and the yeast is incredible. great stuff.

t: great malt complexities. flavor mostly consists of dark dried fruit (raisins, prunes, dates), clove and banana sticks out thanks to the delicious yeast. the 10.5% is extremely well hidden.

m&d: smooth mouthfeel. drinkability is great. definitely one of my go-to belgians.

quite the quad! worth seeking out. pick up the 750ml bottle if you see it, because 11oz just isn't enough.

Photo of boston2bburg
4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Green apple aromas on the pour make me suspicious this bottle wasn't treated all that well, but here goes (Best before 4/21/14).

Cloudy medium brown with ruby traces, and a fizzy beige head that retains a trace creamy layer, decent retention for such a big beer.

The green apple disappears and is replaced with booze, caramel, some clove esters and oxidized alcohols, a bit of banana as well. Musty wooden crates.

Creamy smooth mouthfeel until the clove and alcohol spice sets in on the finish. Soft booze presence on the palate, but an ecstatically pleasant booze buzz after even the first swallow. Chewy, then spicy, fizzy and dry.

Fig, some prune, less plum, tobacco, clove, butterscotch and caramel; this beer runs the gamut. Very easy to quaff.

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

A: A hazy dark brown with an off-white/tan colored head. The head stands up for quite a while and laces the glass.

S: there are some bready yeast, alcohol, clove, and molasses aromas

T: A very unique flavor that is really held up by the alcohol flavor and feel. There are some clove spice flavors and some raisins and dark cherry, and some yeast. The finish is not too bitter, but rather sweet and I'm getting some tropical fruit, coconut flavors on my tongue in the aftertaste for some odd reason.

M: Seems to be highly carbonated. This adds a real spice to the beer that accentuates the alcohol spice on the tongue.

D: One of my favorites. It's a very comfortable beer to go back to again and again.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2oz bottle served in a St. Bernardus chalice.

Murky brown color with a creamy beige head that remained as a layer and left a bit of lacing.
The aroma is dates, raisins and a touch of yeast.
The taste is pretty darn good, dark fruit sweetness with some yeastiness and a dry finish.
Medium/Full bodied with very good carbonation.
Oh, it's just so good!

Photo of punkrkr27
4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogony with a fair bit of sediment and a giant frothy off white head. Smells of bubblegum, bananna, and a slight sweet mustiness. Flavor is nutty, sweet, a bit astringent, finishing with a bananna clove flavor. Very alcoholic on the finish. Mouthfeel is a little thin and quite carbonated. A really tasty beer but I still much prefer Rochefort or even La Trappe.

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

A- Poured from the tap with a thick off-white head, which was well-retained and exhibited some fabulous lacing. The body was a slightly cloudy ruby-tinged aged copper color. No carbonation was visible from the sides of the glass.

S- Smells like a beef and gravy Milkbone!! Thick bready malts and Belgian yeast aromatics dominate the nose with lesser aromas of burnt candy sugar, dried dark druit and the *faintest* traces of stale low-alpha hops.

T- A wonderful replicate of the nose, with a fantastic lingering finish that echoes all the little nuances found throughout the drink. The bready artisanal malts and Belgian yeast flavors are dominant, but there is a ton of nuance here ranging from candy sugar to cocoa to dried dark fruit to some faint stale hops. Incredibly delicious and incredibly complex.

M- A nice firm, creamy body with a metaphoric "velvet blanket" of soft carbonation.

D- Goes down so smooth, and the alcohol never makes its presence known. The mere fact that it exceeds 10% ABV is the only reason it doesn't score a perfect '5' in the Drinkability department!

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

I've never been the worlds biggest fan of Dubbels or Quads for some reason. I bought a bottle of this nearly a year ago and haven't thought about opening it until the other night, when I did just that. Caged and corked 750 ml bottle split with some reluctant friends.

Pours a dark, coca-cola color with a huge tan three finger cap. Retention of the head is decent, and it leaves some nice lacing. Surprised by the intensity of the carbonation.

The nose is really fruity, more so than I ever imagined. I get a weird strawberry like aroma, and it looks like other reviewers are picking up the same. Sweet and bready malts up front, with a spicey character, and a light hop aroma.

Dark fruits dominate the taste, and that odd strawberry aroma isn't in the taste. Sour raisins, dates and prunes, sweet and doughy malts and a lingering spiceyness. Very Belgian and very malty.

Medium to heavy bodied, with a smooth and crisp texture. Carbonation is a bit high, but I don't think it takes away from the taste at all. Alcohol is totally hidden, making drinkability great.

A world class Quad for sure, there is no doubt about that. The only question is, would I like this or Westy 12 better. Only time will tell. Gotta get me a bottle of that first though...

Photo of eljefe21
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Soft tan head bubbles off of a dark brown cola colored brew. Carbonation grips to the glass in the body of the beer as well as in the thick, impressive, coating lacing.

S: Rock candy sweetness mixed with a bit of sour yeast. Not the most aromatic beer, but what is there hints to something good.

T: An amazing rock candy, plum and raisiny sweetness. What this beer lacks in the nose is made up on the tongue. The taste melts in the middle of the mouth and lingers to perfection.

M: Nice carbonation lifts some of the flavor off the tongue and keeps this from felling too heavy. Body is fairly heavy, but lightened by the carbonation.

D: This is the second time I've had this and am way more impressed this time. Maybe it's because the winter suits this better than the summer. I would think this would be okay in warm weather, but it's an awesome middle of a blizzard brew.

Served: in a tulip glass.

Review from notes taken on: 12/19/09.

Photo of Long813
4.15/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dated: 12-07-11
Purchased at Pub Italia

G: Chalice

A: Dark and hazy reddish-brown body with one finger of white head with moderate retention. Left great lacing.

S: Strong citrus fruity aromas, some strawberry, sweet malts and yeast-bready notes. There is also some spiciness that crawls behind which is hard to pick out individual spices.

T: Caramel, cloves, combination of citrus fruits. Very multi-dimensional in flavour. Mixed well together and ends off with some breadiness.

M: Medium bodied with medium-high carbonation. Very smooth and creamy in the mouth and leaves a sweet fruity finish. I didn't notice any alcohol notes during the drink which is good.

D: What a great beer. I hope to purchase this again and enjoy it outside of a bar to get the full effect. This lived up to the hype.

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

Serving type- 11.6 ounce bottle poured into a St. Bernardus chalice.

A- Pours a deep amber color with no visible carbonation activity after the pour. A nice two finger white lace that sticks around pretty much throughout. A nice cling to the glass after the pour as well.

S- Sweet malty smell.

T- The sweet malty flavor comes out again in the taste. The malty flavor hides the strength of this beer, the only hints you get that this has a double digit ABV is the subtle alcohol taste you get at the very end of the. That combination could be a problem if someone where to drink too many of these. Overall a very easy drinking beer.

This is my final beer that I bought in a St. Bernardus gift pack. I am not a huge fan of the malt bomb beers but this is not that bad. Something that I would have again as a change up from the hoppy IPA's that I usually favor.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into a tulip. 10% ABV, 52-56 F, Best before end 26 03 13.

A - Like with the 6 and 8, the 12 pours an unattractive muddy brown amber color. The head is effervescent and pops up right away to diminish to a thin ring. It left bits of lace around the glass though. More legs than anything.

S - The boozy nose has a lot of fruity phenols to it. Almost like fake strawberry (syrup) with real, juicy mango. Toasted malts linger behind with an almost rye bread characteristic. Hints of coffee and raisins can be found also. The aroma is deep.

T - While the flavor is as boozy as the nose lets on, it's got a lot more malt presence. A big malt base has a lot of breadiness to it with notes of raisin, chocolate, and coffee while the alcohol slowly creeps in with it's fruity flavors in tow. Mango and strawberries again. No hops found in this beer.

M - A bit overcarbonated, it leaves the 12 somewhat crisp with a minute sting to the throat as it goes down. Full-bodied, it's a rich brew with a moderately thick presence, not syrupy though. Overall, it's sweet with a light dry finish and a warm boozy end to boot.

D - A great quad with awesome complexities. Just a question though. If the 6 and 8 had 6 and 8% ABV respectively, why is 12 named 12 despite the fact it only has 10% ABV? Anyway, its a really enjoyable quad that I could sip for a while.

Photo of Brabander
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After i had the Westy 12 and the Rochefort 10 i had this one again. Many years ago i had this one once but i can't remember much about it.

Poured the abt in a Westvleteren chalice. When i compare it with the Westy 12 i notice that the head is not as firm as the head from the Westy. The colour is also a bit lighter.

The first sip was ok but not as good as the Westy. After that first sip my taste became better and i drank the abt with a lot of pleasure.

The alcohol is strong in this one. After i had finished the bottle i felt the alcohol in my body (and head).

This is a VERY good quadrupel but i can't match the Westy 12 and the Rochefort 10. I have a second bottle which i will drink in a few weeks to see if my comment is still the same.

Photo of jbowers56
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A husky kind of redish brown colour. Obviously very murky. The head was suprisingly large - nearly 3 fingers of beige head. Looks enticing.

Deeply complex nose. Lots of fruitiness, some clove, huge malty sweetness but not as sweet smelling as other quads I have had (a good thing in this case). The sweetness is more caramel than dark toffee or rich pudding. Stuff sniffing around, imma dive in to this bad boy!!

Impressive flavour. Again, heaps of the fruitiness and clove. Definite caramel and light toffee flavours. Get that belgian yeast taste near the end followed by a boozy finish. Fine for the alcohol level and style though. On a side note, the sweet boozy alcohol warmth lasts for ages. I'd love to curl up next to a fire on a cold night with one of these :)

Mouthfeel is great. I'm going to go out there and say, for the style the mouthfeel is perfect. So full, but never cloying or syrupy. Carbonation is spot on.

Drinkability is thankfully not outrageously high, or I would be on the floor. That being said, you are left wanting more.

Photo of irishking1977
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Ruby brown and amber hues along with a resilient tan/white head. Yeast floaties also present due to the fact that, regardless of beer etiquette, I wanted to pour the entire bottle into the glass.

S: A combination of so many things. Malt and yeast funk with some caramel sweetness.

T: This is one of those great beers that's hard to explain. Sweet with a combination of malt, yeast funk, and some dark fruit such as raisins and black cherry.

M: Smooth. Rich. Creamy. Perfect balance.

D: This one is not meant to quaff in large amounts. Of course, the price of it alone probably won't allow it anyway, unless you're Donald Trump. Good stuff to sip and enjoy with dark chocolate or sharp cheese.

Photo of JordonHoltzman
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I opened this bottle, and immediately foam started coming out the top, non stop, so i had to pour it into the glass pretty quickly.
poured a dark brown with a sticky off-white head.
smell is malty and of dried fruits.
tastes of clove and malts, basically no alcohol taste but the alcohol warms me as it goes down.
the mouthfeel is top-notch. smooth and a little creamy with an perfect amount of carbonation.
this is a beer i can enjoy all night.

Photo of WorldWideStout
4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle (only 10% abv) poured into a snifter.

A: Dark, murky brown that lightens near the top. Has a lovely two-finger head that lasts for a minute or two. Excellent lacing.

S: Lots of cherries, but in a sweeter way than 3 Philosophers. I get an almost maraschino cherry scent right away, and then some dark cherries come in behind. Perhaps some red currants as well. A delight for the olfactory system.

T: Cherries again, but mostly of the dark variety. Taste doesn't change that much for me through the sip, stays pretty consistent and fades a bit. Doesn't have the somewhat bitter aftertaste of the 3 Philosopher's which is nice.

M: A bit lighter than what I was expecting, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Carbonation is right where it should be.

D: Quite high. I could easily polish off another.

The smell was the highlight of this brew for me. Would have liked to give it a 4.75 and the taste a 4.25, so I compromised on my scores. Taste was real good, though not quite as complex as I thought it would be. I'm sure it will be even more delightful with a few years of age in it.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,994 ratings.