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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.

7,272 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,272
Reviews: 2,489
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 409
Gots: 1,056 | FT: 36
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,272 | Reviews: 2,489 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Washburne


4.33/5  rDev -3.1%

Pours a semi-opaque, dark brown with a good two or three fingers of foamy head that quickly recedes to a thin covering and leaves plenty of lacing. Apple and pear aromas almost, but not quite, mask the alcohol smell and also come through nicely on the flavour. Medium-bodied, and fairly powerful, but altogether very balanced - every nuance works well together rather than one screaming for attention like with certain big Belgian-style beers. Highly drinkable, despite the 10% alcohol - unless someone else had been taking sips from my bottle, I was very surprised when it was all gone!

03-31-2007 00:46:50 | More by Washburne
Photo of kpantz


4.38/5  rDev -2%

Executive Summary: Having this one to celebrate a new job offer. Mmmm....proh-moh-shun... Drinking this just makes me feel more important already. Fantastic nose, palate, mouthfeel. Exemplary Belgian ale. If you haven't had this, change that. Now. Thank me later.

Appearance: Pours a deep brown/molasses color into my tulip. Huge, fluffy coffee ice cream head. Lacing is FILTHY.

Smell: Belgian yeast is the predominant odor. Bananas and bubblegum, apples and alchohol. A bit of citrus in the nose as well. Some bready malt character, too.

Taste: Belgian abbey ale at its finest. Big yeasty notes surrounded by fruit - grapes and figs come to mind. Noble hops are apparent as well. Just a wonderful flavor experience.

Mouthfeel: Substantial thickness without being too viscous. Low and very smooth carbonation is just perfect for allowing all the flavors to come out here.

Drinkability: Dangerously drinkable for something over 10%. What's interesting is that the alcohol is very present in both the nose and the mouth, yet it doesn't hinder drinkability in the least.

03-28-2007 01:30:10 | More by kpantz
Photo of kajerm


4.55/5  rDev +1.8%

Corked 750 with a shitfaced-grinning monk holding a chalice of beer against a blue background.

Explodes out of the bottle with a furious off-white head that quickly recedes, leaving a half-finger ring with a shitton of lacing. The beer is dark brown to black and barely admits light.

The aroma is estery and phenolic, with mixed malts and lots of yeasty banana notes. It smells extremely, extremely Belgian.

Turbocharged, jet-fuel alcoholic flavor, but balanced in a way that only a Belgian quad can manage. The spicy notes, fruity esters, and malts just complement the alcoholic warmth perfectly. Strong Belgian yeast on the finish. Good shit.

The mouthfeel is heavy and creamy on the palate, with a lot more carbonation than I was expecting, but it's not bad. After a minute or two the carbonation settles down and the beer is silky smooth-- really stunning.. As for drinkability, it's smooth as hell for the maltiness and ABV, but seriously, I dare you to try shotgunning one of these.

On second though, no I don't. This beer is too good to waste.

03-24-2007 04:17:14 | More by kajerm
Photo of kelticblood


4.13/5  rDev -7.6%

Poured into a Brandy snifter. The head was soapy and off-white and didn't have a long life. The color is a dark brown. Spotty traces of lacing are present. Very complex aroma with all sorts of stuff going on there including, hints of raisins, very sweet malts, hops, figs,and prunes. Evenly carbonated fizzy mouthfeel thats balanced with hops,bitterness, and malt. Alcohol is not well-hidden and easily noticed. Very sweet with a dry lingering bitterness. Full-bodied with a creamy texture. I'm going to let the rest warm up to room temperature see if any new flavors show themselves. As it warms I notice a strong Alcohol aroma and more Phenolic notes appear. The warmer it gets the more of the ABV is noticed and is really strong on the taste. All carbonation is gone and gives it the look of basically Brandy. Overall really good. It is worth trying again, but is not very drinkable due to the high ABV. I think one of these will be just fine for any session. Thanks Mitch for the fine offering.

03-23-2007 16:57:29 | More by kelticblood
Photo of wcudwight

North Carolina

3.95/5  rDev -11.6%

Dark pour with some yeast floating around. Huge tan head that stays for hours. Lace covers the entire glass. Atractive.
Smell is full of candy like sweetness and dark fruits. Think candied grapes. It's a very powerful and pleasent aroma.
Lot's of sweet malts in the flavor with a nice herby mixture with some dark fruits. Plums, prunes, raisins, and grapes. Lot's of depth and lot's of balance. This beer makes no attempt to hide the alcohol.
Full, thick, creamy, smooth mouthfeel. With some significant alcohol warming.
This beer is best if you have several hours to devote to it. Attractive, exquisit, with unmatched depth willing to bring you lot's of pleasure; but also high maintenance.

03-22-2007 18:20:39 | More by wcudwight
Photo of stig


4.7/5  rDev +5.1%

poured a thin but creamy head with nice lacing. Dark brown with tan head. smell is exceptional,sweet dark ripe fruits with some alcohol. First taste was everything I love about Belgians, Full, fruity, raisins and plums, slight alcohol burn. Delicious! One of the best I've Quads I've tried.

03-20-2007 21:08:10 | More by stig
Photo of brdc


4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Small capped bottle.
Beautiful, dark brown with red overtones and big chunks of yeast, I probably dropped a bit too much on the goblet. Tan head that is relatively small but lasts a long time, more than most beers of the style, and does leave a nice lacing when it eventually goes.
Smell starts with toffe and caramels, evolving into a yeasty smell, with alcohol hints and then back to malts, suagr, molasses and yeast again.
Full-bodied and very satisfying in a single small bottle, the taste is as expected from the smell: sweetish and malty, with warming alcohol and mutiple bittery yeasts.
I have to compare later to a large, corked bottle, and with less yeasts, but this is a very, very nice beer that deserves multiple repeats, although one at a time.

03-15-2007 02:33:28 | More by brdc
Photo of colebenoit

British Columbia (Canada)

4.3/5  rDev -3.8%

One of my favorites but I haven't gotten around to reviewing it till now. Here we go:

Poured out of a standard sized bottle into a St. Bernardus chalice, it pours with a fairly decent tan colored head. The head has a medium level of retention and mild lacing.

Look: A dark toffeish color, with a darkened center and gleams of ruby. This beer is cloudy and full of yeast chunks, which is to be expected. The head leaves interesting lacing patterns when tipped.

Aroma: Wow! Huge aroma on this beer, it smells of bread, yeast, sweet grapes, chocolate, and a touch of alcohol. Has a similar smell to the Rochefort 12 and a huge amount of depth.

Taste: Here's where this beer really excels. A big buttery, burnt toffee flavor mixed with sweet malts on the nose followed by hints of figs, plums, and grapes. The finish is layered with chocolate and licorice and a warming hit of alcohol. Wonderful.

Mouthfeel: This beer is smooth. syrupy. and slightly coating, but not too thick or heavy. The carbonation is mild and it has a pleasant overall mouthfeel.

A wonderful beer that remains in my top ten and an excellent example of what those Belgian monks are capable of.

03-12-2007 01:13:45 | More by colebenoit
Photo of Kudashov


4.1/5  rDev -8.3%

25 .oz bomber poured into my Rapscallion snifter with Public Image LTD on the Hi-Fi . Beautiful silk screened bottle with Capt. Stubing in a monk outfit on the label . Healthy pop as I open the brew . Followed by gunsmoke leaving the bottle as i poured the fluid in a glass . 2 finger head with a bready , scone like smell . Head has large bubles and is off white in color . Body of brew is black as a hockey puck . When held up to the light there is some red hues through the bottom of the snifter . Bready , malty flavor . Worth waiting . After a few gulps nice lacing on glass . One of me favs ...

03-10-2007 05:38:53 | More by Kudashov
Photo of yelterdow

New Jersey

3.3/5  rDev -26.2%

750ml bottle corked and caged, with a code that reads L04 08 09 on the gold metal cap. Served in a Chimay chalice at cellar temperature. Paired with a chunk of English Stilton, brought to a few degrees of room temperature.

Appearance- Upon unravelling the wire cage, I grasp the cork to encounter a very willing release... a loud *pop* that releases some pressure and causes the beer to begin bubbling inside the bottle. Now, the pour...

It flows a light brown, with the beautiful audible *glug* from the depths of the bottle. As it slowly fills the glass, the creamy bone white head grows to just over two fingers... and stays there for a while as the lacing begins its sticking power. While the center of the beer is being replenished by the etched emblem inside the glass, the remaining head is patchy and broken up. A lovely quad indeed.

Smell- Sweet, sugar coated dates and figs with a spicy, boozy nose. I also get a yeasty aroma that offsets the malts just a bit... the resulting smell is a huge and complex display with an old world Belgian character.

Taste- A surprising, sharp beginning that carries with it loud effervescence... in the mouth, the sound is amped and is quite distracting. The fruity, malty, spicy palate is busy to say the least...

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- I am shocked at the unruly and disappointing mouthfeel of this beer... all judgement aside, this is not at all impressive. Much like Pop-Rocks candy, the beer crackles and bangs in the front of the mouth right from the start... removing all attention from the taste. With a gentle swish, the carbonation goes wild and subsequently flattens the texture to nothing in seconds. Worse, the air left in the mouth is gassy and cumbersome... making the swallow awkward and difficult. As with any high alcohol beer, there must be some balance with the ingredients to compensate for its strength. My ass is being kicked right about now with nothing positive to show for it.

A revisit is pending for this one... knowing full well that this has been a favorite of mine for years.

03-10-2007 04:25:58 | More by yelterdow
Photo of aaronh


4.28/5  rDev -4.3%

Slightly chunky yeast makes the chestnut body opaque. Head is fairly dense layer of fine bubbled foam atop a layer of coarser bubbles which gradually bleed through. Aroma is dominated by nice fruity esters like cherry and plums. Slightly herbal note as well that's accented by a hint of alcohol sweetness. Flavor is a bit warm with alcohol, then allows some great malt sweetness to come through. Loads of chewy fruit flavors appear, and then a solid bitterness that seems to come from alcohol as much as it does hops. Slightly astringent as well. Mouthfeel has a nice moderate body with nice, lively carbonation. Sweetness builds as I continue to enjoy this beer. Drinkability is nice for this strength of a beer.

03-07-2007 23:34:23 | More by aaronh
Photo of BeerBelcher


3.35/5  rDev -25.1%

This is an extremely substantial beer, and a rather unique one, but satisfied me as a wine would rather than as a beer due to its grape and fruit character.

This beer is a cloudy red-brown (more red than brown) with very solid head formation. Aroma is very fruity with a lot of plum and raisin aroma. Flavor is very grape-y, with a big puckery finish like a cabernet wine would have. It is extremely dry, and a bit fruitier than I would have preferred. Mouthfeel is very dry and astringent, but pretty good.

I had this on-tap at Landmark 1850 in Milwaukee, served in a tulip glass several degrees too cold.

03-07-2007 16:33:22 | More by BeerBelcher
Photo of russpowell


4.6/5  rDev +2.9%

Date of 26 08 10. Pours burgundy/chestnut (a hazy red when held to the light) with 2+ fingers of pillowy tan colored head. Great lacing & head retention

S: Fruitty & bready with hints of chocolate

T: Fruitty, cakey with hints of plum liquor up front. Raisins & chocolate follow. Oaky dryness, leather and a hint of fruitcake settle in as this warms. Earthy grainyness and hops are there as well. Cinamon, apple pie, warming boozeyness. a tinge of tobacco, figs, dates, bitterness & dryness all show up in the finish. Super complex & satisfying

MF: Medium/heavy bodied, vinous & slightly carbonated

Drinks too easy. I believe this would shine with beef or Christmas pudding. At $3 for a 300ml bottle, a steal!

03-06-2007 05:13:22 | More by russpowell
Photo of isaac


4.53/5  rDev +1.3%

750 ml bottle to chalice (finally, some st. bernardus in my st. bernardus glass!)

i really liked the special edition of this brew, so i was very excited to pop this corked wonder, the original version. poured a dark mahogany with a huge tan head that sinks into a big-bubbled cake of clumpiness. as soon as my nose neared the rim of the glass, i immediately picked up a stong, nutty breadiness, mixed with carmalized bananas, prunes, port, and i'd almost want to say a certain clove-like spice quality. the taste is on par with the smell, if not a bit sweeter - starts quite fruity and fades into a gigantic and complex malt profile. finish is a sort of cascade (not the hop!) from savory malts to a nice, drying bitterness from the classic belgian hops. wonderful, medium to full body coats the mouth during the sip and accentuates the swallow as the mouth is given a kind of slow-draining feel. the carbonation, quite high and small-bubbled, hightens this draining/drying character, perhaps a bit too well, slightly burning the tongue and cheeks. overall, very very nice, much more rounded than its special edition brethren, however, as i look back, i may have liked the latter more, even though my reviews speak otherwise. there was something about it... maybe because it was my first real belgian quad... who knows.

03-04-2007 05:57:46 | More by isaac
Photo of BeerHonky

New York

4.43/5  rDev -0.9%

What a wonderful treat to enjoy on a damp evening in NYC. Found this on tap at Essex Ale House in the lower east side. Oh boy!

Poured into a traditionally wide brimmed chalice with St. Bernardus branding on it. Thick, fluffy off white head sits upon a beautiful dark purple-ish red brew. Looks like frothy, carbonated prune juice. A few highlights are peeking through on the edges of the glass.

The aroma is full of herbal, spicy, fruity yeast on top of a strong malty sweetness. Dark fruits come to mind...such as prunes, figs and raisins. Alcohol is present throughout which gives it a sort of an elixir character. This could possibly cure some of your ailments!

What I noticed first was the body and mouthfeel. Oh so very smooth and creamy with an acute, prickly carbonation. A full, sweet, but non-overwhelming caramel malt flavor glides across the palate in a wonderful, almost what seems choreographed, manner. Strong clove presence mixed again with dark fruits, but also what I might describe as a Belgian candied apple (read candi sugar). The elixir character is enhanced with faint appearances of spice flavors that remind me of nutmeg and allspice. Slight alcohol presence, but deceptively hidden.

No question that this is one of a kind and an exemplary specimen of its style. No beer geek should die before having one of these.

03-03-2007 19:34:12 | More by BeerHonky
Photo of Contra

New York

4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

I just finished trying the Prior 8, and now it's on to Abt 12. Again, the flavor is quite strong, but it goes with the style. I'm struck by how Abt 12 is not as sweet as other Quads I've tried. Since the sweetness is well balanced with a date-cloves flavor, there is enough to taste something different with each sip. Fantastic appearance, with a solid brown color throughout. Sediment seems to be suspended in the somewhat viscous liquid.

Overall, Abt 12 lived up to my expectations. All that really matter is that it is good. Very good.

03-03-2007 03:38:03 | More by Contra
Photo of GPHarris


4.13/5  rDev -7.6%

i have been cellaring this beer since april 2006.

a - poured a one finger thick off-white and bubbly head into my new free the hops tulip glass (get 'em while they're hot!). body was murky and dark brown with red hints, almost gives it a deep purple hue. it leaves a nice ring of lace throughout.
s - dominant aromas are grapes and dark fruits. in a lot of ways this smells like a dark red wine, unlike any brew i've ever had.
t - begins with sharp dark fruit flavors, grapes and raisins then morphs into a more sweet and malty finish.
m - bubbly and medium mouthfeel. slightly oily and slick.
d - gives off a very warming and pleasant sensation. the alcohol is evident but i am a fan of that in a lot of ways. this is a nice slow sipper, one you can enjoy over an hour or so.

03-01-2007 15:31:29 | More by GPHarris
Photo of JustinOSU99


4.68/5  rDev +4.7%

A: Dark amber, poured witth a nice 2 inch head that was brownish in color.
S: Had so many different smells that hit the nose nicely. Hints of orange, coffee, caramel, malts,raisins and toffee.
T: One of the best beers I've ever tasted. A nice spicy flavor with hints of maple, chocolate, and toffee. You can taste the alcohol content, but only briefly before it disappears into a wonderful aftertaste of caramel.
M: Feels so silky smooth on the palate. You feel as though you are getting so much flavor and taste in a beer that sits so light in your mouth.
D: Definitely not a session beer. A beer to savor and enjoy once in awhile to remind you why beer is made!

02-28-2007 02:17:52 | More by JustinOSU99
Photo of mjc410


4.22/5  rDev -5.6%

75 cL bottle

The first pour into my 25 cL Chimay goblet raises a thin but fairly solid head, the color of heavily creamed coffee. The body color is a deep brown, tinged with garnet. The lacing is sticky enough to fall slowly in one thick curtain before leaving a line of bubbles on the glass. The aroma is quite typical for a dark, hefty Belgian ale: sweet, with dark fruits, but also hints of cocoa, and to a lesser extent, pipe tobacco. The taste is rich in maltiness and cocoa, but not as sweet as the nose might have indicated. The cocoa bits remind me of just the hints one can pick up in mole, but somewhat more intense. I love chocolate, and love finding it when I've given it up for Lent. There's a nice, strong cherry flavor that really comes through as it warms. Still, the flavor does not seem to be complex, just satisfying. It is clever for hiding its alcohol, though. The mouth is quite heavy, with just enough subtle carbonation to lift the beer partially from the palette. I'm glad I finally sat down and reviewed this after a few previous tries, since I appreciate it even more now.

02-27-2007 00:23:47 | More by mjc410
Photo of meadhead


3.93/5  rDev -12.1%

Rich semi-sweet Raisin
Fig Caramel
Smooth Malt warming
Dark Fruit yeast ester
with an astringent alcohol bite

Pours a hazy dark brown
with a nice sustaining
light tan head

Smell is dark fruity yeast-
slight alchohol

Taste is warm and rich
nuanced dark fruit and caramel malt

is lively and zinging with a mellow
melting finish

Drinks like a sipping brandy
with the quadrupel-
strong ABV

Quality stuff.

02-26-2007 02:49:47 | More by meadhead
Photo of jeffaz02t


4.7/5  rDev +5.1%

A: Dark brown with lace that will NOT quit!

S: It has a sweet smell, but also has an alcohol bite. Hints of clove and LOTS of malt.

T: Cloves and malt. The finish is yeasty and sweet, then goes slightly dry. Alcohol is def. there, but does not take away from the taste of the beer.

M: Creamy, full bodied.

D: This is not a session beer. This is a beer I have once in a while to appreciate its goodness. I love this beer.

02-18-2007 20:53:57 | More by jeffaz02t
Photo of BigJTrucker


4.15/5  rDev -7.2%

Purchased a 1pt 9.4oz cork sealed bottle. Pours into my globe glass nice cloudy brown color with a thick creamy head. Smells faintly sour, but tastes wonderful. The alchohol is not noticeable. The first beer i've had of this style, if this is any indication, it definitely wont be the last. Highly recommended.

02-14-2007 10:11:45 | More by BigJTrucker
Photo of MuenchenerKindl


4.13/5  rDev -7.6%

poured from a bottle to a large snifter. The liquid is a Carmel light brown with excellent carbonation. The head is a big 3 finger white and billows cloud like, it leave little lace.

The smell is a yeasty caramel washed in alcohol.

the taste follows, add a nice Carmel malt. this beer is quite elegant. I like is very much and I'm not a big Belgian beer drinker.

The mouthfeel is nice, good body and an all around great feel.

The drinkability is high, the beer is very good indeed. Prosit, MK

02-14-2007 05:29:41 | More by MuenchenerKindl
Photo of mmmbeer


4.53/5  rDev +1.3%

Slender 33 cL bottle, best by 8/26/2010 - served in a tulip. It pours a dark, sedimented rusty brown with some floaties and medium carbonation leading up to a three finger, fluffy, light tan head. Initially I smell red wine, but it quickly evolves, with notes of apples, pear, coffeecake, and spiced rum, with doughy and almost oaky notes; very nice, but it is not quite as aromatic as I'd like. It is insanely complex on the palate, with cherry, red wine, rum, chocolate, molasses?, carob, caramel, apple, pear, melon rind?, banana?, orange?, currant, blackberry, anise (and maybe other spices). In addition, there are green/leafy, almost piney hops, a mild to medium bitterness, yeast, and an alcohol kick. The medium body is quite carbonated, lightly numbing and drying, with a medium to long finish. Overall a very complex and warming ale with a bit too much yeast due to insufficient decanting, but one well worth sampling again and again

02-13-2007 00:55:02 | More by mmmbeer


4.22/5  rDev -5.6%

With just a decent pour I got an amazing half beer, half head effect. Body is deep brownish black with only hints of light around the edges. Head is a nice staying tan, leaving slight lace as it fades. Nose is a vibrant sense awakening, fruity and floral while being strong and spicey bold. Amazingly silky as it first hits the tongue. Vanilla honey like smooth up front on the tongue with developing spicey wheat notes as the palate lengthens. The finish is a little darker and less balanced then the body pre-emps to. Alchol is well hidden but does warm the belly well. Avery classic brew.

02-11-2007 17:23:15 | More by SPLITGRIN
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,272 ratings.