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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.

7,605 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,605
Reviews: 2,519
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 457
Gots: 1,191 | FT: 34
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: 7,605 | Reviews: 2,519 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jasonjlewis
4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The head and retention on this beer are spectacular. The head will never die. The color is murky brown.

The smell is of raisin, tofee, caramel, slight chocolate and dried fruit.

The taste is wonderfully complex. Raisin comes out with tofee and caramel with a slight chocolate taste as the beer moves down the tong. Dried fruit notes and vanilla come out as well. Oh my god, this beer just becomes wonderfully cohesive as it warms. It's fucking amazing. Holy shit.

The mouthfeel is nicely carbonated and clings well. The beer turns to cream when it hits the palate. As the beer warms, the creaminess comes out more and it's a beergasm. Oh my god. This is one hell of a beer.

I could drink this all day. Man. I think they have this beer in the afterlife, because I couldn't imagine a heaven that didn't have this beer.

jasonjlewis, Oct 22, 2007
Photo of Atlas1
4.08/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My friend gave me this beer (and a few others) as reward for helping him pack up a moving van. Not a bad deal, if you ask me.

Poured into a belgian chalice glass, the Abt 12 is a beautiful dark beer, with hues of mahagony, ruby red, burnt orange, all shining through. It could almost pass for a port or a sherry, were it not for the thick mound of foam on top. A great head that does not fade away. A really pretty beer. The nose is sweet. Candied sugar, date, bananas, fig, malted goodness... it's all in there. The taste follow suit, with a lot of candied sweetness and dark fruit. But there's a nice hop balance here which keeps it from being too sweet. The mouthfeel is full and smooth, almost chewy. Very formidable.

This is a great beer. Sure, at 10.50% ABV, it's a big one, but you should what you're getting yourself into with a quad in the first place. Belgian beer fans will really enjoy this one, and beer beginners would do well to give this a try; it's not the best intro Belgian beer for those not familiar with the styles, but it's well worth trying.

Atlas1, Oct 21, 2007
Photo of jar2574
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours brown, with an off-white head. Well formed lacing and good head retention. The lacing slides off fairly quickly on the way down.

When you take a wiff, there's a strong scent of berries, bananas and malts.

The taste deserves the slogan, "heavenly nectar within reach." Complex, dark taste. Yeasty, with berries, bananas, malts, and a touch of black liquorice. Even with all those flavors, it's a fairly mellow beer.

Great mouthfeel, plenty to be excited about. You can sense the alcohol, but it's not overwhelming. Overally, I'm really impressed and will be buying this again. It's as good as some of the best trappist brews.

jar2574, Oct 20, 2007
Photo of belgbeerdrinker
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: hazy dark brown color with purple highlights, large tan & foamy head that slowly settles to 3 finger depth, heavy lacing
s: heavy yeasty, sweet biscuit aromas as well as dark cherry sweetness
t: matches all the smells, sweet, sweet dark cherries evident along with creamy malts, as-subtle-as-heavy-can-be alcohol and warmth at the end & cherry taste that lingers
m: creamy to heavy body that finishes crisply with plenty of carbonation, one nice ride from beginning to end
d: excellent beer which i've had previously, more memorable than the 60th anniversary version, & packs a punch i'm happy to take time & again. i do love quadrupels & this one sets the mark.

belgbeerdrinker, Oct 19, 2007
Photo of bunnyhustle
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Small little bottle, lots of kick. Poured into oversized wine glass. Pours a deep brown with mahogany highlights. Slightly off white, 1 finger head with excellent retention, leaves decent lace trails. The first smell that hits me is alcohol, then some grapes (almost wine-like) and tart cherries. Overall sour, tangy smell. Tastes of malt, tart fruit (some raisin), and a hint of toasted grain that seems to be present. Warming sensations as it slides down. Moderate to low carbonation leaves a thick, full mouthfeel which wasnt the most appealing. Overall a great beer, 1 is plenty so a 4 on drinkability but well worth experiencing.

bunnyhustle, Oct 18, 2007
Photo of Tolann
3.63/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is not my typical style of beer, but I was looking for something a lil different and after discussing a few options with the very knowledgeable wait staff at Falling Rock this was recommended.

A -Very dark ruby red
S - sweet malty
T - Malty, a lil boozey, caramel. I'm not quite sure how to describe it as like I already mentioned, this is not something I regularly drink and I'm still new to reviewing.
M - Smooth body
D - I was really surprised by this beer. Certainly I was introduced to something good!

Tolann, Oct 18, 2007
Photo of jobyone
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark redish brown with nice beige head that sticks around. The smell is of over ripe banana. Flavor gets better with nice malt and fruit with definate alcohol. Mouthfeel has lots of body. Very good but not as drinkable as some strong Belgian beers.

jobyone, Oct 16, 2007
Photo of Beerbuddha
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Apperance- Poured a nice dark brown color with a thick tan head.

Smell- Great smells such as clove, banana, caramel and some mustiness which I find very nice.

Taste- Wonderful fruity taste to it. Nice hints of citrus and yeastiness. Alcohol wasn't overpowering. The malty sweetness is very nice.

Mouthfeel- Medium body with medium carbonation.

Overall- What can I say other than this beer is incredible. I wish this one was available in New Orleans.

Beerbuddha, Oct 15, 2007
Photo of Kendo
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Got it on tap at Lionheart in Albany, where they serve it in a pint glass (a bargain at $7 for happy hour or if you're in the dart league). . . . Body is murky brown with crimson hues around the edges. A fairly small tannish/ivory head settles on top. Plenty of sheets of lacing on the way down. . . .

S: Ripe apples, brown sugar, bubble gum, raisins, dark fruit and hint of alcohol heat at first. Alcohol becomes much more noticeable as it warms and I get towards the bottom of the glass -- reminds me of rum, actually.

T: Pretty similar to the nose -- dark berries, ripe fruit, dried fruit (esp. raisins) and bubble gum at first, then alcohol warmth at the end of the sip and down the gulley. There is a lingering dry bitterness on the back and sides of the tongue, however, which nicely offsets the malty sweet stuff. As it warms the alcohol becomes even hotter -- the taste reminds me of rum-soaked raisins or port wine.

M: Heavy in body, but with a good spritzy dry finish which, topped off with the alcohol heat, makes it seem a tad bit lighter in the mouth.

D: Very good for the ABV strength, but the alcohol pops up and reminds you to slow down a little.

Notes: I almost gave it a 5 in smell, but left it at 4.5 b/c of the alcohol as it warms. . . . Glad to find this on tap, and now I'm looking forward to the 60th Anniversary Edition I've had in the cellar since January. . . .

Kendo, Oct 15, 2007
Photo of DavidEddie
4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle with 27 07 11 printed on the back label.
Poured a murky brown into my new St. Bernardus chalice.
Smells of rum-like alcohol, bread/yellow cake, raisins and other dark fruits.
Tastes just like it smells with some caramel and dark cherries in there as well. Nice alcohol warming as it goes down.
Mouth feel has a creamy smooth texture, good carbonation. Very clean finish. Flavors seem to disappear quick, wanting me to take another sip. I like it!
This was my first Quad (and review) and I plan on seeking out more of this style. I found it very enjoyable on a cool autumn night. A 750 ml would be no problem in one sitting. Recommended!

DavidEddie, Oct 14, 2007
Photo of jmalex
4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my first experiences with Belgian beer and definitely my first Quadruppel. I've gone back several times since and get to again today on a beautiful NFL Sunday.

APPEARANCE: Poured slowly into my Trois Pistoles chalice being careful to leave as much sediment as I could. Despite the slow pour, the head is magnificently one finger high and just a few shades darker than white. It's very small bubbled and constantly being refreshed. The beer itself is a dark brown - almost purplish. As I drink, lacing is in sheets. Someone explain to me how this could be any better.

SMELL: The smell is much more fruity and estery than it is yeasty. Citrus, raisin, and dark fruits are quite prominent. As it warms, it becomes much more bready and some darker caramel and plum flavors come out more. Alcohol is well hidden though present.

TASTE: The flavor is bready, spicy, and fruity, though much less so on the fruit than was present in the aroma. The flavors meld so well and are just seamless that individual flavor components are difficult to isolate and describe. Alcohol presence is significant and adds but at the same time detracts from the flavor. A bit is ok, but there's a bit more than that. Overall, fantastic complexity, but a bit hot.

MOUTHFEEL: The body is medium full and very smooth. Carbonation is actually subdued but very fine.

DRINKABILITY: Despite the heat from the alcohol, this goes down way easier than it should. It could have been harsh, but instead it's velvety smooth even though you know you're drinking a heavy hitter. For style, it's nearly perfect.

I'll keep coming back to St. B especially since it's so easily available. This is a quad that stands up to and surpasses some of the finest Trappist ales.

jmalex, Oct 07, 2007
Photo of redneckchugger
3.88/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured frowm a 12 oz bottle into my chimay chalice.
lucious brown color, inch of velvet soft head that doesn't leave, some lacing.
smells of yeast, figs,fresh bread, alcohol, but far less then i'd expect from a beer of this abv.
first sip is sublime, yeast, bread, figs, huge malt, a touch of hops in the back but i have to look for it, this beer is amazing. figs and bread come out as it warms.
mouth feel is equally good, not thick , not thin, perfect texture.
easily the best belgian i have ever had, better than westy 12 imo. i i'd give the drinkability a 5 but its 10% and this beer deserves to be savored s-l-o-w-l-y
Edit, i'm full of shit This beer is Not better than Westy 12 , its good but not better. This is why i hate to read my early reviews, i was just so green.Here my impression of it now.
Nice head in the duvel tulip, more lacing than I would expect.
Nice nose, big hit of plummy sweetness, and a darker breadiness in the back. I get a bit of yeast as well, and a cloying sweetness that bothers me.
The palate is an attack of candi sugar and Belgian yeast. A lot of fig, and plum and bread as well but that sweetness is not really my thing. Also i am getting a lot of bannana esque esters that clash with the other flavors.
All in all this is a decent beer, but i am really upset that i thought it beat out westy 12.

redneckchugger, Oct 06, 2007
Photo of northernbrews
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had a mini quad tasting with HellsBells24 in April 07. Had this one first.

Picked up this 12 oz bottle at Champanes in Warren MI.

Appearance: Pours a nice and clear brown color with a 1 finger tan head. There is a little bit of lacing on my snifter.

Aroma: Starts with some nice malts and a slight alcohol burn. This is followed by dark fruits, figs, roasted malts, and slight cherry. The aroma on this was a little more pronounced than the Westy12 and less than the Rochefort 10. Very nice and inviting.

Taste: The tastes are similar to the aroma, but not a noticable. Cherry and dark fruits from the start followed by warming alcohol and some spicy hops.

Mouthfeel: The dark fruit and malt flavors hang for a bit. This is pretty creamy.

Drinkability: This goes down too smooth for 10%. A 4 pack of this would be no problem, but splitting this bottle is nice.

Overall. This finished behind the Rochefort 10 and Westy 12 in this tasting and slightly above the Chimay Blue. I aged a 750ml of this for a few years and it was incredible. It was probably all 5's or damn close if I rated it. The 750s are quite a bit better than the 12 oz bottles IMO. In other tastings, this finished ahead of the Rochefort 10, but not this time. Truely a world-class beer (as were the others). Definitely pick some up....and age a few.

northernbrews, Oct 05, 2007
Photo of twi1609372
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

WOW This was reccomended to me by the bartender at yard hose, and i;n glad i accepted. this was a great beer. full flavor and body, but not overpowering or overlingering on the palete. this is a drinking beer, this is not mich ultra or coors ligh where downing a pitcher in under 5 mins is condsidered enjoyment, ie to get a ton of alcohol in your system. this beer though is unique with it's 10.5% alcohol, you dont need to down massive quantities to feel relaxed, this isnt a football party beer, it's a beer to grab after a long days work and let yourself unwind and relax.

twi1609372, Oct 05, 2007
Photo of HoustonTX
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer has some of the craziest carbonation/head swelling I've ever seen. A sickly untamed head off-white in color with crystal infused flakes. It grew quickly from about a half inch, to well over two. The carbonation pressing upwards maintained and multiplied the head at the same time. Definitely the most out of control head I've seen, especially since I poured it way under the suggested temperature limit. Anyways onto the body. Dark ruby in color with about a 35% visibility rate.

Aromas of figs, prunes, raisins, a hint of menthol, alcohol, and a sweet succulent herbal note. All pressed against an extremely potent malt influx.

Loads of complexity from the initial sip. Sweet and yeasty upfront with a Belgian candied sugar edge. Sweet notes include, cherries, green grapes, peeled raisins, candied sugar, and hollowed out honey combs. Malt balances presents itself midway through the sip. Combined with the yeast complexity, the malt provides a dry earthy tantalizing flavor that rounds out, and invites you to take another sip. Sweet, juicy, succulent, and complex.

Surprisingly perfect mouthfeel for this style. Although it may just be a bit too thin. Still feels right though, and definitely helps the drinkability.

A masterfully crafted Quad, and one of the more complex beers I've tasted to date. A solid testament of why Belgians have the best beers in the world.


HoustonTX, Oct 05, 2007
Photo of sfoley333
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from11.2fl oz bottle into orval goblet.
Poured a ruby dark brown color with a lacy thick head. The aroma is filled with esters of prune and raisin with a little carmalized sugars in the backgrounds. Taste is prune, toffee, and raisins with a big malt body that is chewy but creamy. The alcohol is present but still well masked for being 10%. Perfect beer for afterdinner or with a nice cheese.

sfoley333, Oct 04, 2007
Photo of Homerbag
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big foamy head, dark brown ale color, and floating unfermentables greet you to this quad. Has a sweet smell of raisins, plums,figs and cinnamon. Taste is excellent, good balance of all taste involved. Alcohol is there, but covered by the sweetness of the fruit. A nice delicacy for any night. A word of warning though, I took mine out of the fidge and let it come to temp for about 15-20 minutes. I twisted the metal wire off and took the cap of and about 10 seconds later the cork blew off without being touched. I did not get big effect of beer flying everywhere, so I know I did not shake it, but make sure this is not pointed at anything valuable. I'll still drink this again, projectiles be damned.

Homerbag, Oct 03, 2007
Photo of Mdog
4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark brown, big foamy head.

Smell: Very complex, it smelled like a bakery to me, bready sweets, donuts, cinnamon rolls, and a little bit of candied fruit.

Taste: Sweetness, brown sugar, some raisin notes, a little alcohol is noticeable.

Mouthfeel: Not too heavy for a malt bomb.

Drinkability: A special occasion beer, a little expensive to drink regularly.

I dug this out of the "cellar" to see how it was after a year or so. It's a fine beer, but my cellaring methods may have eliminated some of the taste complexity of this beer. It smelled great but didn't follow it up with unbelievable taste. Still a very good beer though.

Mdog, Sep 30, 2007
Photo of Slatetank
4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this bottle up at Capone's, decanted the corked and caged brown 750ml into a goblet.
A - A deep caramel brown with a medium tan head that has good retention.

S - Malty w/ a sweet dry scent and supple soft fruit odors.

M - A snap of carbonation w/ a spicy yeast note and slightly dry nutty textures.

T - A great smooth caramel and toasted malt taste combines w/ a candy-like nutty taste. A dry effortless nuance of dates and vanilla flavor that hints at candy sugar. The abv is well masked and the subtle sweetness makes you want to sip at it. The smooth dry malt combines w/ a subtle fusel alcohol tinge as it warms with a fig-like sweetness. The flavor is very subdued, yet well balanced and interesting.

D - An fantastic quad, that is highly drinkable for the 10% that it is. Soft, smooth and light in body, never cloying. Wonderful in every sense, a true taste delight.

Slatetank, Sep 27, 2007
Photo of umustdrink
4.68/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml. Bottle purchased in March(?)

Served in a giant goblet/margarita glass that I "found" at a Mexican restaurant.

A - Dark brownish color, a deep red when held to light. Small specks of yeast are seen floating about. The head is a fluffy, sort of rocky, light brown with little dark bits in it. Lots of lacing, but not the most I've seen.

S - Smooth bready maltiness with a lighter fruitiness, almost sour. Cherries make up a lot of the fruitiness. Some bittering hops are present, making the beer smell more like a typical American ale rather than a typical Belgian dark. Theres also a very fine hint of alcohol presence.

T/M - The taste starts out with a medium body and some light, simple, malts. Malts are very faintly spiced and very bready. A light carbonation tickles the palate (it feels really fizzy, but nothing like a heavy carbonation fizz). The simple malty taste seems to linger for a while, the first hints of bitterness come in and a sweet fruity flavor quickly follows. The taste really gets going right after swallowing, the fruits become much more defined, amplified: dried cherries, grapes, maybe some berries. Not a very dark fruity taste, but more light and sweet. The (after)taste finally sweetens out a little bit more and a warming alcohol sensation finishes out.

D - Overall it looks good, smells good and tastes amazing. Exceptionally complex taste-wise and moderately complex smell-wise. I will drink more, and so should you.

umustdrink, Sep 26, 2007
Photo of basica
4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was kinda disappointed with this one as I would put it high up; almost there with the Westy's not sure if mine's a bad bottle... I have one more bottle and getting one more from my dutch friend but let's take a look at this one first. It pours out with a huge bubbly head that retains pretty well; color was the typical dark brown as like many dark belgian ales. The smell was yeasty, and alcoholic fruity; somewhat vinous but not as pleasing as I would have liked it to be. I had a sip and it was alcoholic plums or raisins leaving a lot of alcoholic fruitiness on the nose. It was sweet and the yeasty taste was also clear on this one. For some reason this taste reminds me of the Gouden Carolus although I forgot to review it when I tasted it. The after taste was plums, raisins, grapes and was pretty strong and pleasant. This Quad is closed to full body and was clearly rich and almost syrupy. Carbonation was surprisingly high but it was still pretty smooth but drinkability would have dropped due to its high and evident alcohol content. I am pretty disappointed as I put this up close with the Westvleterens but seems like it does not even qualify in my top 10 beers list which I expected it to be in anytime. It is a good beer but unfortunately not great; I would give this review a light pass since I have potentially 2 more bottles to go; let's hope that I am not missing a good bottle here.

basica, Sep 23, 2007
Photo of jeffjfindley
3.95/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Slightly ruddy brown, very murky. Extraordinary carbonation is visible as it appears to be raining upwards around the perimeter of the glass. The head is antique white, and with the delicious appearance of ice cream. Aroma is flowery, powdered sugar and tart berries. Taste starts out very subtle and enticing, slight dark chocolate and fresh fruit note take a turn to sour turn after a couple of seconds. The sourness lingers on the aftertaste. Mouthfeel follows about the same trajectory, beginning supernaturally smooth, ending a little dry and frankly somewhat acidic. This is damn good, I just expected more.

jeffjfindley, Sep 20, 2007
Photo of franksnbeans
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with a ruby hue. Huge cream colored head that dies quick and laces sheets. Smells of brown sugar, dried banana chips, fig and plum. Taste is sweet malt. Plum, spice, again the banana chips, fig and a little caramel. Full in the mouth with a nice tickle on the tongue from carbonation. Sip with pleasure.

franksnbeans, Sep 17, 2007
Photo of ski271
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very dark ruby-brown with a small, light tan, tight head. Good retention. Excellent lacing.
S: Mild and fruity. Some caramel malt sweetness.
T: Funny, first time I had this was right after a Lion Stout without sufficient cleansing my palate between. The result, this beer tasted like grape juice! Bizzare. Having to revisit the beer in disbelief, I found that yes I do get some grape in the flavor, but not like before. Prune, raisin, brown sugar, alcohol. Warming vinous finish.
M: Wonderful! The kind that makes you hold it in your mouth, swirling it around, not wanting to let it go. ‘Luxurious’ I guess is the right word.
D: At first I didn’t think this beer was going to live up to its hype, but the taste and mouthfeel did it for me. I can see why it's considered a world-class beer.

ski271, Sep 16, 2007
Photo of BMoney575
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on 9-12-07
Best before 12-14-11

Pours with an insane, glass-filling off-white head that yields a deep, red/brown liquid. The foam piles like whipped cream on the top.

Smell is very sweet with lots of dark fruits, lightly boozy with a definite roasted character.

Taste is surprisingly malty, roasted, very doppelbock. Tons of dark fruitiness, with a big-time alcohol bite.

Mouthfeel is great, not too thick but super smooth.

Drinkability is good, but the alcohol is intense.

Overall, the standard in quads. Huge flavors and huge alcohol. A unique experience and highly recommended.

BMoney575, Sep 13, 2007
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
97 out of 100 based on 7,605 ratings.