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.

7,553 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,553
Reviews: 2,516
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 449
Gots: 1,172 | 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: 7,553 | Reviews: 2,516 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BlindPig
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Nice big tan head on a clear amber body with brown hues. Has pretty good head retention.
S- Alcohol, spices, clove, almost like a hint of mint, Belgian sugar, earthy grass hops, brown sugar as well, and dark esters all blend together very nicely.
T- Esters, hints of grass and earthy hops, cloves and a spicy yeast, quite a good helping of sugar, and alcohol warms nicely.
M- Medium/full body with low/medium carbonation.
D- I think this was a excellent beer. In my opinion it beats Westys 12 hands down.

BlindPig, Jul 11, 2007
Photo of joekfsu
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark amber, tan lasting head. Smells very sweet and a slight hint of alcohol. Fruity initial flavor rounded off by malt flavors. Short finish. Great drinkability, even the girlfriend enjoyed it. One of my first Belgians, which could come back to haunt me since I doubt I'll like many as much as this.

joekfsu, Jul 10, 2007
Photo of bigman147
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Reddish amber hues with creamy white head that lingers and laces it way down till it rests as a wispy foam that remains.

Aroma: Dark candied fruits with a mild alcohol burn. Complexity layered on complexity. Cherries, plums, figs. Sherry and port wine aromas.

Taste: Balance is the key. Malt adds backbone while hops add a nice sharp edge. Sweet and slightly syrupy but not cloying. Alcohol shows in the finish with a pleasant warming in the back of the throat.

Mouthfeel: High carbonation that could detract from this beer if not there to help control the alcohol. It adds a creaminess that defines conventional wisdom.

Drinkability: In a perfect world, I would have this beer on draft at my house. It is high in alcohol and definitely limits who much you would drink. However, price being no object 2-3 in an evening would be utter perfection.

Overall: Decided to open up a respected classic for #50. Well worth it.

bigman147, Jul 10, 2007
Photo of funkengruven
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this one at the Beerbistro yesterday, quite impressive.

This poured beautifuly into the provided Tulip with a tan head that subsided slowly to a heavy cloud over the brew. Smell is wonderful, dates, prunes, some other nice stuff I can't describe but seems particular to Belgian Abbey style ales. Flavor is very deep, bold, complex. The malt is quite unique in this one. The rich flavors leave you wanting more. It is however high on the ABV which is slightly noticeable, but does not completely disrupt the balance of this beer.

I just wish this was easier to get. Such a great beer.

funkengruven, Jul 10, 2007
Photo of BrewSomerville
3.35/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Aromas of cherry, rhubarb, plum, and some caramel.

Looks very dark hazy brown. Small off-white head. Some lace, but poor head retention.

Tastes like grapes, plums, raisins and dates. Ethanol can be tasted (10% ABV). Some spicy notes. Some citrus and some caramel too.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and chewy. Fine, prickly carbonation. I think this is bottle conditioned but it doesn't say on the bottle.

Overall, it's a very nice, very fruity Beer. Nice mouthfeel.

BrewSomerville, Jul 09, 2007
Photo of Cs1987
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Dark and reddish-brown, pretty much completely opaque. About 1 centimetre of head, which gradually faded.

Smell - Probably the strongest smelling beer I've ever had. Mainly a caramel character, but also fruity.

Taste - Very strong taste, which is unsurprising considering the 10% alcohol concentration. The taste is mainly like caramel, with a hint of banana. Fabulous!

Mouthfeel - Smooth and syruppy, with a fantastic aftertaste. Pretty much impossible to fault in this category.

Drinkability - Very drinkable despite the high alcohol content, simply because it tastes so great.

Overall - Probably the best beer I've ever had, and the best I have reviewed here. This is quite impressive, considering my love of Australian ales. This has far more character than most beers I've tasted, yet nothing about it is at all offputting.

Cs1987, Jul 08, 2007
Photo of Stephen63
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This bottle was bought from a UK company and has a best before of 31/08/11. It has 10% listed on the bottle not 10.5%

A - Impressive pour with strong head and dark born almost reddish appearance.

S - Very many competing aromas. Can pick out caremel and dark fruits, almost nutty.

T - Dominated by malty character with toffee/caramel. Alcohol is there but very much in the background. Slight bitterness. Pretty exceptional.

M - Wonderfully smooth with light carbonation, very pleasant.

D - A 10% beer should not be this drinkable. The alcohol ,eams it should be limited and savoured. The 24 bottle case should last for a while but it will be hard to avoid hitting it regularly.

One of the truly great beers of the world and well worth getting your hand on this. It works out at £2.50 a bottle which in my opinion is a bargain!

Stephen63, Jul 07, 2007
3.1/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Looks interesting in the glass ... like dirty pond water with that gross foam on top that's like dead skin cells and algae. Dark brown that is too cloudy to see through. Hints of light round the edges and the top is coated with a layer just thicker than lace. Head faded quickly from two good fingers to the thick edged lace.

Smell is good and very aromatic. It's sitting next to my monitor .. about three feet from me and notes keep sliding up my nostrils. On closer examination ... real fruit, apricot, cherry, dried peaches, some mellow spices round out this portfolio.

Strong alcohol slams the tongue and I don't know if it recovers. Fruits for sure, again the apricot and cherry but with little or no sweetness like the smell. Caramel, licorice, spices (like cumin or something on those lines) interesting culmination.

Heavy with lots of pop on the tongue. I couldn't quite grasp this beer.

Photo of markaberrant
3.8/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Very dark red, only a little light shines through. Small head by belgian standards, but respectable. Good lacing.

S - light smooth chocolate, fair bit of alcohol and some dark malt. Ok.

T - starts out spicy, a bit of dark malt in the middle, and then a fruity finish with a mild chocolate aftertaste (gets overpowered by the alcohol). Sweetness becomes more apparent as it warms.

M - creamy smooth, spice and alcohol combine for plenty of warmth. Lots of carbonation, a little much at the start for my taste.

D - I find the alcohol character a little too strong.

Like most Belgians I've been drinking lately, I find the carbonation rush at the start bring out the harsh alcohol tones. The true beauty of this beer reveals itself only after it has settled down. However, I still find this one pales in comparison to Rochefort 10.

markaberrant, Jul 05, 2007
Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1pint 9.4oz bottle split and poured into oversized wine glasses after the cork blew off as soon as I loosened the cap. Needless to say a very very carbonated beer.

A: Pours a beautiful dark ruby with a tan bubbly head the has great retention but little lacing but I assume that is because of the shape of the glass. Nice ropes of carbonation bubbling throughout the glass.

S: The smell is nice and complex as I would expect with most of the smell being dominated by a sweet malt presence with a fruity yeast backbone, pears and cloves for starters.

T/MF: Big hit of carbonation with touches of pear and clove spice but overly dominated by the carbonation so I let it sit for a while. After a bit of time left to warm the beer takes on its true form. The malts begin to take over and a extra creamy and sweet but there are also nice hints of spice like cloves and lemon zest the begin to appear as the beer warms further in the mouth. Finishes pretty clean with a warm alcohol finish. A deceptivly heavy brew.

D: Shared this with some friends on a cool summer evening and was a bit hit. Would probably try some other styles from this brewer before picking this up again, but a solid offering here.

bluemoonswoon, Jul 03, 2007
Photo of diego
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It is a little over carbonated right out of the bottle. This is a deep dark brown beer needs a minute to settle and develop a frothy, wheat colored head. It has a smell and taste dominated by malt. The yeast is noticeable is the best way. It goes down creamy. This is wonderfully strong ale that surprised me in more ways than one.

diego, Jul 03, 2007
Photo of bluegrassbrew
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750ml corked and caged into a goblet.

Pours a creamy looking reddish brown with a frothy tan head that leaves wonderful sheets of lace.

Smell is of sweet malts with a hint of nuttiness. Alcohol is present and serves as a good backbone on the nose.

Taste is of sweet candi sugar and bready malt. A touch of alcohol in the finish along with some fruit, grapes and dates maybe?

Mouthfeel is perfect! Smooth and creamy, fantastic. Slides right down the back of the throat.

Drinkability is very good for the abv. Be careful! It is easy to forget about the 10.5%.

Overall, a wonderful beer! Delicious and a must have in your fridge.

bluegrassbrew, Jun 29, 2007
Photo of Cascadia
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice creamy white head on top of a burnt-sugar brown brew. Great carbonation and I even like the bottle. Smells like brown sugar, sour apples and sweet bread. Tastes like pure bliss, loads of malt and fruit hit first, balenced nicely with a great hop bitter ending with a hint of the wonderful belgian yeast flavor lingering on the tongue. Awesome. This is a wonderful beer, and a great representative of the quadrupel style. One of my favorites, for sure.


Cascadia, Jun 29, 2007
Photo of beeragent
3.95/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter glass from a bottle. The beer pours a very deep brown, forming a thin 1/8 inch head. Light spots of lace. The aroma, like most Belgians is very delicious. Fruit notes dominate, along with a slight alcohol presence. The taste is a complex mix of dark fruits, malts, spice, and alcohol. Again the fruit taste dominates the palate, but there are noticeable contributions from the malts and a hint of spice, followed by a slight warming by the alcohol. Smooth thick mouthfeel. Very drinkable quadrupel. Overall, my favorite quadrupel to date. Full flavor and thick taste make for a great Belgian to pass the evening with.

beeragent, Jun 27, 2007
Photo of BucBasil
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: An amazing looking beer that really tempts you to come and drink it. I poured this monster of a beer into a tulip glass (I tried a wine goblet, but it was too small to contain the head!). The beer looks a deep ruby color when held to the light and contains a 3 to 4 finger head that accumulates very rapidly.

Smell: This is, in my opinion, the best feature of this beer. Initial wafts reveal a raisin-like aroma that changes into something a bit richer and and exotic. Bananas maybe, but not quite - maybe closer to fresh banana bread, but weaker than that. Very hard to describe, but very inviting nonetheless.

Taste: The first sip knocked my socks clean off. I was actually taken back at how strong this thing was. After I got used to it a bit (smaller sips) I could finally start discerning the different tastes in this highly complex brew. Fruits included raisins, hints of pear and rum-soaked bananas. The rum note strengthened as I held it in my mouth longer, forcing me to swallow, but the taste lingered in the finish. Amazing complexity, but not what I was expecting at all...

Mouthfeel: This is the weak side of this beer, though it still ranks pretty highly. Has the slightest amount of carbonation that dies off after a second, leaving a sort of watery feel in the mouth.

Drinkability: High alcohol content makes this a dangerous one, but I'm tempted to go pour another glass almost immediately. This is a great beer and crazy drinkable for its strength...

BucBasil, Jun 24, 2007
Photo of botham
3.5/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

pours an unfiltered dark brown, which is suprizingly close to opaque, or very dense. three to four fingers of off-white frothy head on the brew, making it a beautiful one to pour. lacings aplenty.

smell is sweet with alcohol right up front. hops are close behind, along with a fruity base that is overwhelmed by the alcohol.

taste is sweet and fruity, with plenty of alcohol present, maybe too much. this one packs a kick at 10% APV.alcohol put aside, this one is somewhat dry, with notes of several fruits that come together to create a solid taste. if only the alcohol was toned down a bit, this one would be much more enjoyable..

mouthfeel is not the strong point here, with the alcohol giving the brew a sharpness that reduces the ability to enjoy the flavors.

drinkability is not very good. lots of alcohol that overpowers some great flavors.

botham, Jun 24, 2007
Photo of John_M
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

For some reason my neighborhood beer bar back in Portland used to carry the draft version of this beer pretty often. However, I have not run into it nearly as often on draft here in Baltimore, so was very pleased to see it on draft at Max's the other day.

The beer pours an impressive brown, rootbeer color, with outstanding head retention and lacing. The head retention and lacing is about as good as I've ever seen. On the nose one gets cherry and vanilla, but it doesn't smell as sweet as I remember. On the palate I'm equally surprised, as again the beer is not nearly as sweet as I seem to recall. On the palate I get more vanilla, along with sort of a creamy, dry rootbeer flavor. The flavors are complex and quite impressive, and the mouthfeel is amazing. The beer is soft and plush, with a mouthfilling presence. This beer is very smooth and long, with the flavors just lasting on and on. The 10.5% abv. is certainly noticeable, but for all that this beer is remarkably drinkable.

Excellent beer. Can't wait to order another glass tomorrow...

John_M, Jun 19, 2007
Photo of bosco7
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 33cl bottle into a snifter.

Deep deep dark brown with rocky big ass head. Lacing is sticky, abundant, and amazing.

WOW. Amazing aroma; figs, caramel, toffee, earthy yeast, banana, a touch of alcohol, cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg. Enough said.

Beer starts off with caramel, toffee, and a hint of biscuit flavors. This leads into the fruitier flavors such as banana, prune, fig, and a touch of pear. The finish is very spicey cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, and black pepper notes. Smooth mouthfeel with a bone dry finish leaving your palate fresh and ready for another sip. WOW.

This is such a great beer: hugely aromatic, complexly flavorful, balanced, and so drinkable (at 10.5 ABV to boot). Paired with semi-hard aged goat cheese. One of my all time favorites.

bosco7, Jun 18, 2007
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looking at this lovely brew you can see it is dark amber brown in color and has plenty of head when poured from the tap but dissapates quickly almost like sea foam, but tasty sea foam. It smells of dark fruit and warm malts, raisins, brown sugar, and even figs w/ some slight hints of banana. The taste is a little piece of heaven, sweet and warm with dark fruits that you can almost chew nice mouthfeel. Overall this is one of my favorites by far.

KALIKGOLD, Jun 18, 2007
Photo of Mickelswit
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle with freshness date 07 11 11.

Pours a murky amber brown with an ambitious, rocky head. Only after the beer warms does the head give way to insistent lacing. Smell is yeasty, clovey, bready, with a bit of ripe fruit.

Taste is Belgian yeast, a bit of malt, chocolate, and increasing alcohol as the beer warms. The flavor coats the tongue and lingers long after the swallow.

Mouthfeel is thick, with prickly carbonation. It is perfect as an after-dinner sipping beverage. I'd like to see how this one develops with aging.

Mickelswit, Jun 17, 2007
Photo of thebreadguy
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a beautiful beer. Aromas of raisin and dark bread. Taste of raisin and cherry up front with a complex and subtly changing finish full of flavors I don't have the words for yet. Alcohol is pleasantly present, but very much in balance with everything else that's going on. St. Bernardus offers a great deal of bang for your buck... and is a perfect example of why I have fallen in love with Belgian beers. I enjoyed it with a rib eye steak for Father's Day. In my perfect world, this would be my everyday beer.

thebreadguy, Jun 17, 2007
Photo of leftmindedrighty
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at my house, bought a sixtel from The Beer Yard, was a bit of a hefty price tag, but with Belgians, what isn't.

Poured into it's own St. Bernardus Watou chalice

Smell, Big fruit flavors up front, raisins, plums, apples, pretty sweet nose, little bitterness or alcohol

Taste, follows right along. Big hits of dark fruits, mild twang from the alcohol, but not what typically shows itself in a Quad, if I didn't have this beer thousands of times, I would think it was some sort of off flavor. Mild bitterness does counter the sweetness, but lack of strength of the alcohol really lets the malts and sugars do whatever they please.

Overall, A great find at The Beer Yard. While this one certainly doesn't get drank every day, it is beers like this that makes us wish we didn't have a job so we could. Great in the bottle, but so much smoother on tap. I would love to know how old the keg was, this one drinks like a two year old bottle.

leftmindedrighty, Jun 16, 2007
Photo of dickieb
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poors a deap amber, with a little bit of haze and a whole lot of head. Smells fruity with some rasin and alcohol undertones, and allot of other stuff i cant pick out. Taste is more complex then the smell and the only alcohol apprent is warming and appreciated. All the complexety covers up the 10.5% allowing just enough through, a truly amazing beer.

dickieb, Jun 14, 2007
Photo of ericj551
4.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

St. Bernardus is one of my favorites, an amazing beer, and a steal at under $9. It pours a hazy deep red with a huge foamy head that gradually dissipates down to a half inch that lingers, leaving a nice lacing. Aroma is sweet malts, dark fruits and some dry yeast. The taste is rich and complex, nice fruity dark malts, with just a hint of hop flavor and bitterness. There is delicious spicy yeast character and the beer is perfectly balanced. It still amazes me that this beer is 10.5%, its so smooth and not overly sweet, it could easily pass for much less. The alcohol is barely perceptable, even as the beer warms.

ericj551, Jun 13, 2007
Photo of jp62099
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My experience with Belgians is somewhat limited, but of the few I have had this one is well above the rest. Served from a big 1pint 9oz. corked and caged bottle. I'm thankful for the reviews noting the corks readiness to eject as soon as the cage is twisted. Hazy brown color, typical Belgian head, half of the glass. Nice biscuity malt smell. Tastes are similar, very creamy, big malt sweetness, very slight alc. is apparent. This is a great beer, I'm hoping that as I explore more Belgians in the future they will measure up.

jp62099, Jun 13, 2007
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,553 ratings.