1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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.

7,737 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,737
Reviews: 2,535
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 477
Gots: 1,244 | FT: 35
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of St. Bernardus Abt 12 Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,737 | Reviews: 2,535 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Pauly2X
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark nearly opaque ruby/chestnut hue. Frothy one finger head.

S- Incredibly smooth caramel malts with hints of dark fruit.

T- Profound maltyness. Rich caramel and tons of dark fruit flavors meld nicely together. Some hop spicyness couples very well with the yeast profile to provide a counterpoint to the sweetness. A warming alcohol note handles the finish.

M- Full/medium bodied, fizzy yet smooth.

D- I keep having to remind myself of the strength.

If Westy 12 is better, I'd like to see it.

Pauly2X, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of surfer4life
4.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my goblet from a 12oz bottle.

A - Dark brown, with a thin head that quickly recedes to a few bubbles on the top of the delicious looking beer.

S - Caramel malts, raisins and cloves assault the nose. Sweet smell is overwhelming and immediately starts my salivatory glands to gush.

T - Cloves and fruit dominate at first giving a wonderful sweetness. Shortly there after there is an almost sourness that comes with the bite of an apple or a plum not yet ripe. Complex malts and yeast make this a an exceptional beer.

M - Highly carbonated, leaves the palate slick and clean waiting for and wanting more.

D - Entirely to drinkable. I could drink this daily if it were the only one I'd drink but it wouldn't be, so I shall not. Exceptional beer here.

surfer4life, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of Jablonski
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured the Abt 12 into a Chimay glass. It looked beautiful. It pours an opaque black-mahogany color with yeast visible at the bottom and all around the sides (and in the head). The head is large a dark tan and the lacing is great. It smells like Belgium Yeast largely. I can pick up a few fruits, mostly dark fruits with a hint of sour grapefruit. The taste is great, only held back by the alcohol coming on a bit too strong. The flavor is powerfull overall though, as a mix of dark fruits and malts with an interesting bitter & sour finish. Even while cold, this beer is still great, and it is hard for me to wait for the Abt 12 to warm. It's a nice beer to have a couple of, but the price and high ABV may prevent you from going all out on this beer. Highly Recommended.

Jablonski, Feb 07, 2009
Photo of mikereaser
4.08/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours a murky dark brown with a 1/4 inch of off white foam

S - very complex brew. raisins and candied sugar, sweet malts, almost too much going on to be able to describe it

T - citrus & floral hops, sweet malts, cloves, grapes, cherries, very sugary tasting, again, there is so much going on that its hard to describe

M/D - very easy to drink, but maybe a bit too sugary for me, but this is definitely one to try.

mikereaser, Feb 06, 2009
Photo of thekanna
3.93/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Learning that this brew was made with hops from the same hop fields and water from the same well as the Westvleteren 12, I was very eager to try this. However, I believe my expectations were too high for this brew, since it was a bit of a letdown from the Westy. This is not to say, though, that this isn't an outstanding brew on its own.

A: Very strong pitch color that turns blood red in the light. Slight, almost unnoticeable thin head.

S: Sweet molasses, caramel, dates, cloves, and other spices. Alcohol is present but not overwhelming.

T: Very malty and bready. Possesses a strong, complex, earthy, and biscuity flavor. Caramels, coffee, chocolate, dark fruits, all there. Somehow, though, the flavors seem to be going to war with each other in your mouth instead of complementing each other.

M: Smooth and creamy; leaving an oily and slick feeling afterwards.

D: Drinkable, but definitely a sipper. Just the mere gassiness and heaviness of this ale makes it hard to finish the bottle.

thekanna, Feb 06, 2009
Photo of rhinos00
4.68/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one will always hold a special place in my beer cellar. I have had it many times, be it on-tap or in the bottle, but have not gotten around to reviewing it. I thought it was finally time to give this beer its due. Poured from a 25.7 oz bottle into a Rochefort chalice.

A- Pours a dim, ruby color with hints of brown throughout. Produced a fingers width of off-white head that dissipated quickly.

S- Rather complex. Detected hints of raisins and plums mixed with sharp notes of candied sugars. The malt presence reveals a sharp, alcohol booze scent that pierces the nostrils. Just layer upon layer of things that I cannot even describe.

T- Cloves provide a subtle and distinct sweetness that first grabs the tongue. As this passes the various dark fruits make their presence felt, giving off wonderful flavors. Layered on top of this is a great combination of malt and burnt sugars. Finishing off each sip is a nice, alcohol burn that just warms you up.

M- If there was one fault I could find in this beer, this is it. With every sip that I took, the beer seemed to have a highly carbonated feel, giving off a bubbly, soda type imitation. I was hoping for something with a little more viscosity.

D- The unique part about this beer is that it doesn't try to hide the 10% abv. Instead, it embraces the alcohol and utilizes it as part of the experience.

Overall, this will always be one of my all-time favorites. It's one of the first beers from the craft world that I had, and it will be one that I will always come back to. Highly recommended!

rhinos00, Feb 06, 2009
Photo of bowersdm
4.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

33cL (11.2oz) bottle poured into a Westmalle chalice. some of the yeast did work its way into the pour.

A - dark throughout, ruby at the bottom. very cloudy with a noticeable amount of sediment floating around. the head was slightly more than a film.

S - sweet malt, alcohol, cloves. I don't know why, but I was barley able to detect anything in the nose. That's why the rating is so low.

T - wow! there's a lot going on here. very sweet malty flavor, caramel malt, coffee, cocoa, apples, grapes, and that St. Bernardus grassy, earthy quality. The ending did not seem dry at all as with other St. Bernardus beers.

M - perfect

D - a great quad. definitely worthy of its high Top beers on Planet Earth rating.

bowersdm, Feb 04, 2009
Photo of UDbeernut
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap at Bier Markt in Cleveland, poured into a snifter

a: hazy ruby red color with a small off white head with excellent retention

s: malt swettness mixed with spice and fruit

t: clove and fruit, the alcohol is present and warming

m&d: smooth and creamy mouthfeel, full bodied, very drinkable ale.


UDbeernut, Feb 01, 2009
Photo of br3wmeister
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Big soapy head, light tan in color with crazy good head retention holding to the last sip. Great lacing. Hazy dark brownish red in color with some orange hues in the light.

S- Cinnamon, brown sugar, and caramel are strongly present on the first whiff. Then I get hints of light roasted nuts and some earthy and herbal yeast notes. Later I notice vanilla and then can not smell anything but vanilla and caramel in this beer.

T- Caramel and dark fruit sweetness, lots of plum with a hint of raisin. A little bit of hops come through but are overpowered by sweet complex malt character. Some roasted almonds and hints of charcoal. Your mouth is left with a nice sweet almost fruity after taste that makes you want to keep drinking, also some alcohol warmth in the end.

M- Medium bodied with a little too much carbonation. Though it is very malty and pretty sweet it is still fairly well balanced.

Overall- A great beer that is easy to find and very enjoyable. I would recommend this beer to anyone who is into Belgians... and everyone else too.

br3wmeister, Feb 01, 2009
Photo of AdmiralDiaz
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a tulip glass.

A: Pours very dark grayish brown with hints of amber. two-finger off-white head with great retention eventually becoming very rocky leaving just a small amount of lacing.

S: Strong smell of nuts, Belgian yeast and various fruits.

T: Very complex and bold flavor of apples, pears, berries, and figs complemented by a nutty and yeast taste. Leaves a very strong taste in your mouth that's quite pleasing. It's very rare that a beer keeps a smile on my face for the entire drink, this was just amazing.

Overall: The feel was nothing out of the ordinary for the style but the drinkability was amazing for the alcohol content...It barely even came out. One of the most exceptional beers I've ever had...and I was lucky enough to get a 4-pack for only $4.99!!!

AdmiralDiaz, Feb 01, 2009
Photo of olmatty
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Pours a one finger tan head with moderate retention and nice lacing, beer is a cloudy dark brown.

Smell- Aroma of a sour dried fruit and yeast

Taste- Nutty malts, strong wash of alcohol, yeasty, lots of dried fruit, raisins, figs and a finish like a dry fine brandy. Complex is an understatement.

Mouthfeel- Bubbly and mouthcoating. Alcohol enters the sinuses.

Drinkability- One might want to drink many of these, but one would be hard pressed to do so.

olmatty, Jan 29, 2009
Photo of Soneast
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Mmmmm. I love quads and this one is an old favorite!

Pours a cloudy dark brown color with burgundy highlights. The light brown colored head erupts to about 1 inch in size, then slowly recedes to a 1/4 inch layer of cream that leaves a delicious "beer mustache" with each sip.

Very complex aroma in this beer. I detect predominately dark fruits, raisins and such, with a lot of sweet malts and brown sugar-ish aromas and a pretty rich booziness.

Flavor is awash in sweet malts, dark fruits, brown sugar, toffee, booze, buttered bread. I generally cannot detect the flavors that some people describe in their beers but when it comes to Belgian Quads and Trappists in particular it's hard not to have all these various flavors run through your mind. They really are THAT complex! The only thing it doesn't have is hops and associated bitterness...which is A OK.

Heavy body with mild carbonation. Such a rich beer that improves decidedly as it warms like most quads. So flavorful yet quite strong. Easy to drink but a careful sipper. One of my favorites.

Soneast, Jan 28, 2009
Photo of Dulliwhig
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Billowing thick tannish head that retains well, wide-laced filmy stickiness. The perimeter of the glass allows some light to pass through showing a dark ambery reddish brown hue.

S - Smells like you just stepped into a bakery where there was a colossal food fight involving raisins and plums - who is winning is hard to tell.

T - Taste has good complexity - raisins, plumbs, smoky peppered breadiness followed by a noticeable, but not overpowering alcohol finish.

M - Medium to Heavy body with good carbonation levels

D - Awesome beer, went down easy - but I passed out in ½ hour!

Dulliwhig, Jan 25, 2009
Photo of ThirdLap
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

St. Bernardus Abt 12 has been a long-time favorite of mine, and is what I consider to be the best widely available Belgian beer. Let's see how it stands up after a long hiatus since my last tasting.

Pours a deep mahogany brown with a centimeter thick light-tan head into my St. Bernardus goblet. The head begins to dissipate slightly after a few minutes, leaving these honeycomb-shaped figures floating in the remaining creamy covering. Slight agitation causes a quick return of head. This is an awesome-looking beer.

Tons going on in the nose. I get banana, pears, green apples, raisins, and plums. Very sweet smelling, with little of the cough syrupyness that seems to affect many big Belgians. Perhaps a touch of soapiness. Minimal hops. It is most definitely reminiscent of a Westy 12.

The first sip spurs sensations in a Joycesque stream-of-consciousness from me. I find myself thinking faster than I can type: fantastic carbonation, caramel, sweet dark fruits, nougat, brown sugar, raisins, figs, spices, butter, and cherries. No other beer has thrown this many adjectives at me all at once.

Alcohol is perfectly balanced, providing just a slight warming sensation. It is well-masked for a 10.5% abv beer. A slight bitter finish prevails, but even this is balanced in well, almost as though it was put there to encourage you to sample another taste of the much sweeter elixir sitting before you.

One of the most wonderful things about this beer is how much better it gets as it sits and warms. If you can hold out long enough for it to do so, you are in for quite a treat. Everything you've perhaps only been 'catching notes of' before is magnified, with new flavors coming forth with every taste. I can't help but think what an excellent beer this is for a beginning reviewer, as there is so much going on, yet nearly all of it is easily discernible and describable.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 has one of the most perfect mouthfeels of any beer I've ever had, with the carbonation and thickness coating every inch of your mouth just right. Holding it in the mouth provides these little peppery explosions on your tastebuds, with all of the flavors coming together just right as you begin to swallow.

Drinkability? Jesus, I could live on this stuff.

One of the top five beers I've ever had, and every bit as good as Westy.

ThirdLap, Jan 25, 2009
Photo of aletales
4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

To be able to pack this kind of punch in ABV and keep the drinkablility this high is a credit to the brewer's art. My hopes were high when I first poured the beer into the glass. The dark color complemented the creamy white head, and the sweet malt aroma kept me from being distracted by the alcohol. It was there, but not overwhelming. It was pleasantly thick and velvety on my tongue, and it soon had me smiling.

aletales, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a deep, chocolaty brown with a fluffy beige head. Sturdy aroma is malty and somewhat spicy - mainly cloves. Rich, malty flavor has a chocolaty undertone, as well as nutty and toffee hints. Texture is fairly smooth and jazzy, and malty finish is pleasing.

Cyberkedi, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of raoulduke37
4.68/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

About to drink the last sip on this sucker, hold on a sec...Wow. God damn good. Appearance is a beautiful spiced apple flavor. It looks like that crazy organic unrefined apple juice you buy at hippy stores, not that light colored Mott's crap. The taste and mouthfeel here are certainly the highlights. It tastes different depending on where you let it travel in your mouth - but definitely a deep malty, caramel/honey flavor that overwhelms everything in there. Enjoy this one like you would a good scotch.

raoulduke37, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of bosco1
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

appearance: Pours a dark reddish/brown mahogany with a thick creamy tan head that fades to a nice 1/4 inch head of lace that sticks around for quite some time.

nose: nutty, spicey, with a dark fruit scent(raisins, dates etc)

taste: very complex, malty, sweet, dark fruity taste that lingers on the tongue .

mouth : perfectly carbonated with a medium smooth mouthfeel,

Drinkability : very drinkable, i dont want to stop sipping this beer .

Another great beer from Brouwerij St.Bernardus. One of my favorite breweries.

bosco1, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of KeefD
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very lovely, hazy dark amber color with a one finger off-white head that fell slowly to a nice lasting cap and left very little lacing. Very yeasty aroma, dark fruit, raisins in particular, grainy, grassy, earthy. Taste is very complex, lots of great things going on here. Raisin flavor is predominant, followed by some grape flavor that was also present in the Prior 8, apples, light chocolate, a peppery spiciness in the middle, rum booziness, grassy hops, light bitterness, and a long dry yeasty finish. There is so much going on in this beer it's hard to determine all the flavors. Very complex to say the least. As with all the other St. Bernardus offerings, carbonation is aggressive at first but mellows considerably as it warms up a bit in the glass. As the carbonation subsides it becomes creamy and the flavors really start to develop. This is easily the best of the St Bernardus mixed 4 pack that I got for my birthday from a very awesome GM. Glad I got to try these beers. As far as the 6, 8, and 12 go, they get better as the number gets higher.

KeefD, Jan 22, 2009
Photo of BigIrishman
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter

Appearance: Dark amber with plenty of head, a good 3 fingers that stays. Leaves little lace as its drank.

Smell: Raisins and plums with a nice touch of hops in the background, very pleasant smell.

Taste: More raisins with a bit of hops. Has a smokey quality to it.

Mouthfeel: Heavy mouthfeel but very smooth.

Drinkability: Very high drinkability for a quad, not gonna be able to pound down 3 of these but easy to drink a glass or two.

Notes: One of the best quads I have ever had and sets the bar for readily available belgians. If you've never tried it, you're missing out big time

BigIrishman, Jan 20, 2009
Photo of ncstateplaya
3.95/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a great murky brown, very cloudy aalthough I only see the slightest bit of suspended yeast. Produced a nice off-white head that receeded to form a thin sheen over the surface. Decent lacing on the glass.

Smell: Sweet and malty. There are caramel and toffee aromas abound in the nose. Dark fruit like raisins offer a nice characteristic. Not getting any hop profile, at least I can't make it out.

Taste: The presence on the palate is much like that of the nose, malty with loads of sweet characteristics. In addition, I thought it to seem somewhat biscuity and yeasty. Plus there was a little spicyness of the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and highly carbonated. I found it to be crisp and very tasty. Seems to linger after the swallow causing the mouth to water for more.

Drinkability: The price of this abbey far outweighs my ability to contiuously enjoy this beer. You would never know the ABV, very drinkable for such a high alcohol content. Proved to be a little gaseous for my liking.

ncstateplaya, Jan 20, 2009
Photo of smcolw
3.53/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy with LOTS of suspended yeast clumps. Some light shines through. Nice head with good lace after each sip.

Earthy and slightly sweet aroma. Low level of Belgian yeast and hop.

Rich and creamy, the alcohol is ever-present. A little oily in the body. The aftertaste reminds me of a swallow of brandy. The flavor has some hard-stone fruit tones, such as plum and cherry.

The story of this beer is the alcohol, which I find distracting. IMHO, the dilemma with Quads is that they are made extreme without placing stronger flavors in the brew (like darker malts or more hops). So, I find these to be a little too one-dimensional.

smcolw, Jan 18, 2009
Photo of Brewsmith
4.68/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Yard House in Long Beach, CA. Served in a goblet glass. Aroma is faint of malt, with some sweetness and fruit. Color is a deep red amber with a big beige head that has some staying power. Flavor is full and rich. Cherry fruit dominates the malt. Full, rich and smooth. Extremely drinkable for the gravity. This is a fantastic beer. Complex, rich and decadent.

Brewsmith, Jan 17, 2009
Photo of HappyBivouac
4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

best-before date of 29-07-13. poured into the ommegang chalice.

a- wow! a beautiful dark red hue with a bit of orange. Glows absolutely beautifully bright red-orange around the edges of the glass. I can't see through this at all in the middle. As I usually like to do, all the sediment was poured and it is THICK. The head is just thick enough to cover the surface and is a dense, creamy beige like fluffy clouds. Lacing is thick down the glass.

s- smells very sweet right away, along with a strong medicinal character. super-tart cherries, plums and cookies from the oven, or maybe a subtly buttery pie crust. Mmmmm. Smells amazing, at any rate.

t- tartness of dark fruits of all sorts, sweet brown sugar, even a slight buttery character? Strong belgian yeast but weaves in and out on the palatte with the bakery-like sweet flavors. Detecting pear, plum, tart cherries throughout. Thich, wonderful bread dough. A very, very dry finish with a moderate burn. I'll be perfectly honest, this is one time where I feel like I can't fully do justice to the complexities of the taste. Phenomenal flavor here. This is amazing.

m- a medium-bodied beer, and with carbonation stronger than I was expecting. it all balances in perfectly though, and the carbonation here is just another thing that makes this stand out. the feel is always where I end up disappointed most often, and this brew gives me exactly what I want from it. awesome.

d- this is just so dang delicious, I can't see ever not being in the mood for one. The flavors are strong and the alcohol is definitely present. Sip on this one for sure. I picked up the bottle based on the hype around it, and it was beyond what I was expecting. I'm declaring this, here and now, the best Belgian I've had to date.

HappyBivouac, Jan 17, 2009
Photo of schroederm
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

In a chalice, 50F:

Pours dark amber, one finger of head and great lacing. Hints of raisin and berry. Wonderful sweetness and a refreshing finish. Mouthfeel is a little less full bodied than I was hoping for, but still not bad with an excellent amount of fine-bubbled carbonation.

schroederm, Jan 16, 2009
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,737 ratings.