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St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

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8,201 Ratings

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Ratings: 8,201
Reviews: 2,609
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 561
Gots: 1,628 | FT: 48
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (12) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,201 | Reviews: 2,609
Photo of Lerxst
3.43/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-pours a faded copper color with a tremendous head and some nice sticky lacing that watches you all the way down.

S-Fruity and spicy with yeast evident. The nose is prominent, just not overly pleasant.

T-Sweet fruit and bit spicy with the alcohol being a bit hot. Its not living up to the hype for me. Other quads are better.

M-Harsh carbonation is a bit unpleasant. Leaning toward full bodied, but not quite there. The carb bite and hotness of the alcohol detracted quite a bit.

D-I won't be drinking more than one due to the harsh carbonation.

I'm a bit disappointed in this beer. I had big hopes for it. I like quads (Rochefort 10 is excellent), but this one is just not for me.

Photo of alcstradamus
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brown color with cola-like appearance. Sweet dark fruits, a bit of prune juice and molasses on the palate. World class beer for sure, possibly surpassed among quads only by Westy 12. A tad more body and a little less alcohol in the flavor would surely put it a notch higher

Photo of BigJim5021
4.59/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I poured the 11.2 ozer into an oversized wine glass, and boy did this fucker have a head on it. There was no keeping the dregs out, as they speckled the rocky tan head with tiny, brown bits. The beer itself was a cloudy cola brown.

The aroma is big-time dark fruits soaked in booze. Spicy grapes to boot.

The flavor is terrifyingly complex. The upfront is all dark fruits and spice. Then come the grapes. Then the malts and booze and more spice. This is a head-scratcher. Quite possibly the most varied beer I've ever had from first sip to the lingering aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is so creamy and the carbonation is spot-on. Alchohol is evident, but never bites. Dry too. Really dry.

Drinkability is where this gets tricky. Would I drink this all night if I could? Hell yes. But the alcohol is really high and the price is even higher. This stuff is going to become a once-a-month treat. Crazy, crazy shit.

Photo of pepsican
3.73/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Blend in Cedar Rapids. Dark brown with a huge white head. Aroma of sweet fruits and alcohol. Sweet with more fruits in the flavor, mostly green apples and pears. A nice hint of bitter thrown in with the sweetness. Finishes with a strong alcohol bite, very warming.

Photo of Wiles
4.67/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Distinct label helps with findability on the shelves. The monk is warning you how much beer you'll lose if you're not careful popping the cap. Printed best before 18 11 13. Tasted without cellaring. Purchased a 4 pack for $17.

Look: High carbonation makes a mess upon opening the bottle. Even with a cautious pour, it is very active in the glass with quite a bit of sediment swirling, rising with the bubbles, and dropping.
Color: Very dark mahogany with many beige flakes floating throughout. Like a snow globe gone bad.
Head: Large bubbles in the head keep it from being creamy -- for a tall but loose head disappearing quickly and leaving little lace and a lively effervescence. Pours almost like Coca-Cola.

Smell: dried fruit, a touch of parsley, and Mrs. Buttersworth

Flavor: pumpernickel and dried apricot turning to brown sugar. as it warms, some apricot is replaced by black cherry notes. very well balanced.
Finish: short rye finish with longer alcohol linger

Body: Medium. Bubbles keep it from feeling as thick as it really is.
Carbonation: Crisp. Keeps quite a bit of carbonation to the not-so-bitter end.

Drinkability: Would be surprisingly refreshing on a hot day for such a dark beer. Yes I would definitely have another.

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

From a 330ml bottle.

Pours into my tulip with a large fluffy head, fades at a slow rate and leaves a good deal of lacking along the glass, the color is an incredibly dark reddish/brown, I can barely get any light to shine through, some sediment floating around.

Smell has a light funk aroma, good spicy yeasty kick to it, some fruitiness melded with some malt, a really well-rounded.

Taste is rather spritzy, assertive carbonation yet doesn't interrupt the creaminess of this quad, the banana and clove shine through more in the taste, slight alcohol presence in the aftertaste.

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

Poured from 750ml bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: Very dark brown and sort of amber towards the outskirts of the glass. 3/4 inch head that diminishes fairly quickly into about a 2cm head that never disappears and leaves impressive sticky lacing down the side of the glass.

S: Smells of caramel, toffee, chocolate, brown sugar, and roasted malts. Not real hop scent to speak of.

T: Fairly sweet. Tastes follows smell. Tastes of caramel, toffee and brown sugar. It also tastes quite creamy, and a bit spicy/high acidity. Hardly bitter at all, hops are pretty subdued. Delicious.

M: Medium bodied, not as heavy as one might presume based on appearance. Well carbonated, bubbles are prickly, but the carbonation is not over done.

D: What? This was a 10.5% abv beer? I didn't notice 'til I finished the bottle and stood up. Amazingly drinkable for a 10.5% abv beer.

Photo of nicholasdes
3.75/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The head on this beer is creamy and huge. The beer is a chocolate brown and cloudy. It smells of fruit and lightly roasted malt, the smell brings back memories of apple juice. The first thing I noticed about the taste of this beer was balance. The light alcohol flavor is perfectly balanced with sweet fruit and malt with a bitter aftertaste. I have still not acquired a taste for this style yet but I see that this is a very complex, excellent beer. A little sweet for my tastes but I did enjoy the combinations of flavors.

Photo of jrallen34
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a bottle into a chalice in Brussels.

This beer pours drank brown with a tan head that stays around for awhile. Has good lacing as well.

It smells fruity with a tad of spice.

It tastes a bit like chocolate and coffee. Its a heavy beer that goes down smooth with the right amount of bitterness at the end.

Photo of rapidsequence
4.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle. Took it out of the fridge and poured it into an oversized wine glass, then let it sit for 30 minutes.

Appearance: Hazy light brown with some red-orange tints. Thick white-tan head still leaves some remnants after half an hour, with lacing stuck to the glass.

Smell: Well, truthfully, I smelled it for much of the warming time. Its almost worth buying just to smell. Sweet, sweet dark fruit and spice. Yeasty bread.

Taste: Up front, its all spice, then sweetness, then strong bready yeast flavors on the back. So much spicy, sweet fruitcake and yeasty bread. Its as much like food as it is drink. The alcohol is clearly present, but doesnt take anything away (cmon, alcohol is part of the reason you drink, right?). The finish is so nice.

Mouthfeel: This is a very full feel. Strong carbonation makes it feel creamy or foamy in your mouth. Its great.

Drinkability: Well, nothing makes me happier. This was actually the first Belgian that I ever tried at the suggestion of some random beer store guy about 7 years ago. It has been my favorite beer ever since and opened me up to Belgians in general (I've never had a Westy and I like it better that Rochefort). At six bucks for 11.2 oz of perfection, its a steal.

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my St. Bernardus goblet.

Appearance: Pours a deep, hazy reddish brown, with a finger and a half of white head that dissipated somewhat quickly. Good bit of lacing.

Smell: Tangy fruits (cherries), some raisins, some nice bready malt in the background.

Taste: A nice tart bite right away, with an incredibly long-lasting, smooth, bready finish. The flavors are subtle in this one, but the bready notes last a nice long time. The initial fruitiness is tangy, and a little bit cloying, but still very good.

Mouthfeel: At first I thought it was a little thin, but I think it's just about right for this kind of beer. Any thicker would have accentuated the sweetness and probably made it too sweet to drink. Good carbonation.

Drinkability: Surprisingly easy to drink, and no way this seems like 10 percent alcohol. The flavors are more subtle than full flavored, so it's a good sipping beer. I enjoyed this.

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

A- Poured into a tulip glass with a tree finger head. It was a light brown in color. Laced very well all the way down the glass.

S- Has a very good aroma. It starts with a sweet beady malt, follows with raisins and plum. There is a bit of alcohol. Slight notes of spices.

T- It is a very well rounded Belgian quad. It has all the right notes Bread pudding, fruit of plums and raisins. Just a tuck of spicy hops towards the end and finishes with a sweet aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, Plenty of carbonation. Finishes slightly dry. A slight warming from the alcohol.

O: This is a very good got to Belgian quad. It is consistent and delicious.

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

Looks good, a nice rich deep dark brown liquid with a bubbly off white head that reduces to a very good stick lacing.

Smell is full on with ripe fruits, clove and other 'sweet' spices and sweet maltiness. It's a good full on smell, not as complex and subtle as a Rochefort 10 but much more present too.

Taste follows on from this really. The most evident spice note is clove, which compliments the sweetness quite well and this is a sweet beer. Ripe fruits and biscuity/cakey malts. A little bit too sweet for my tastes, but theres enough in the esters and spice to give it decent complexity. Alcohol is in there but pretty well hidden and gives a much needed bite to the proceedings. Overall quite full tasting. Like the smell, I find for example a Rochefort 10 more subtle and complex but this one makes up for it in fullness of flavour.

Smooth and full. Very good mouthfeel. Nothing much to say about it, it's up there with the other top ales in the calibre.

Very drinkable too. Almost a 5 but the sweetness just takes it down a notch for me.

I dont think this would be my choice to sip by itself at the end of the day. But with the fullness of flavour this is possibly my favourite quad (so far) to drink with a good meal (say a spicy red pasta dish).

Photo of cgraham5
4.62/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a deep mahogany color with an off-white head. Head retention is adequate to good, lacing isn't uniform but scattered. Carbonation is very apparent in the strings of bubbles that rise to the surface.

S - Smells rich of malt and and then very sweet fruity esters.

T - A very complex drink. It warms the back of your palette as you sip before almost ricocheting back to the front of the palette to reveal its fruity nature. I can't emphasize the warming nature enough at second sip...

M - The carbonation hits the tip of your tongue and accentuates the spiciness of the brew. For the thick nature of the brew, the carbonation couldn't be better.

D - Overall an excellent quad. Smooth to drink, easy to enjoy. At 10%ABV(although BA says 10.5%) it'll be knockin' you back all night instead of the other way around. I think you'll be satisfied but, you certainly won't be dissatisfied. At a price of $11 and change it may seem pricey, but what great beer isn't? (Don't answer that...)

Plus, this is my first review, thats gotta be worth something...

Photo of SleepyMonk
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Chilled 33cl dark brown glass bottle poured into a Chimay chalice glass.

Pours with a good solid 2 fingers worth of tan colored head that quickly dissolves into the body and leaves behind moderate lacing. Body is dark like a deep rich chocolate or macchiato.

A soft, almost sweet-like, clove aroma drives the smell in combination with malt and dark summer fruits.

Taste is a complex mixture of the aromatic features except with a tactile, sweet and sticky malt character thrown in.

The mouthfeel is extremely rewarding with a sweet, creamy smoothness. The finish has warm alcohol properties but isn't quite dry.

A very good representation of the quad style and much more sweeter than Rochefort 10

Photo of theghost3
4.57/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby, almost brown with plenty of carbonated bubbles and some floating sediment. The head is 3-fingers thick, frothy & tan. Lots of lacing.

It smells spicy with yeast, dark fruits and sweet malt. Taste is complex; first there's spicy cloves & phenols. Then there's sweet malts, bread & lastly, a fruit & wood flavor. Mouthfeel is carbonated but leaves smooth.

This is the best Quad I've ever had. Deliciously drinkable, which makes that ABV a little dangerous.

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

First time I've sampled this one and best quad I've had.
Poured into a La Trappe chalice. Dark brown with a foaming head that takes time to settle. Deep fruity smell and tastes as good as it smells, excellent. About the right carbonation too and the beer just slides down. Could easily drink a few and then fall over - worth any loss of skin.

Photo of kahjdfh
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this on tap at fine local drinking establishment, The Liberty Street Tavern.

This was a glorious beer. It was served in a goblet. It was at the right temperature. The color was a nice deep brown. There was a pleasant sweetness with a hint of bitterness. This is one of the best beers I have tasted.

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

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle (i think) into my duvel tulip.

A - A dark, rusty opaque burgundy with an airy, off-white pillow of head that leaves broad swaths of loose lacing. The carbonation looks suspended in the beer. Awesome. Only slightly disappointed that the head retention isn't perfect. Scratch that; the head triumphantly returns with a little swirl from the glass.

S - Lots of full bodied dried fruit and dark belgian sugar with a twinge of boozy character and caramel sweetness. Like smelling homemade candy. Also slightly bourbon-esque.

T - The delicate yet dark, full sweetness gives good balance to the robust malt, with raisins and prunes complimenting the lovely palate experience.

M - The carbonation is more lively than I thought it would be, but I liked how it contrasted the thickness of the brew, the head adding a dimension of creaminess as I sipped.

D - The alcohol is tempered well, but at 10.5%, this is definitely a sipper, which is the only way to do justice to this excellent brew.

Overall - This is at least one of the gold standards for big beers; the kind you relax with at the end of the day, sipping away and enjoying every flavorful nuance while sitting in an easy chair with a velvet robe, acting snooty. Or you could do what I just did and say 'This beer rocks!' before belching loudly. Heavenly nectar, indeed.

Photo of masterallen
3.95/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Cherry brown with little head

S - Remember when you were little... grape bubble tape. Wicked.

T - Really neat taste. At first I couldn't put my finger on it and then it just came to me, it kind of reminded me of the meal replacement that we used to drink before swim practice, Boost Chocolate. Don't let that be a turn off though, it was an interesting on to hit. There was a noticeable 'chalkiness' as well.

M - Weighty but turns has a significant velvety feel.

D - Great beer, I would have a few more, but wouldn't be sitting down to throw back a bunch of these, especially not at the price they're fetching for it.

Photo of PirateUlf73
4.95/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle, poured into a chalice.

A: Hazy dark-brown color with a decent off-white head, which had amazing staying power.

S: Wonderfully complex nose of sweet caramel, dark fruits (plums, dates and figs), spices (clove, coriander and nutmeg), and some yeasty goodness. So much going on.

T: All the olfactory components merge into the flavors, and then some. It's almost like drinking a fine red wine. Everything comes together so perfectly. My favorite part is the strong malty backbone which ties everything together. Absolutely magnificent!

M: The feel is very smooth and creamy. My only knock against this beer is that there is perhaps just a bit too much carbonation for my liking. However, it bothered me less as I made my way through the bottle.

D: This one should be enjoyed slowly, so as to expose and contemplate all the flavors.

This beer is damn near perfect... period. At the time of this writing, it is my favorite Belgian, and while I do enjoy others, they pale in comparison, at least in terms of sheer complexity and grace. Mandatory drinking. You MUST try this at least once.

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into Old Engine Oil chalice; poured at about 50 degrees and reviewed a bit warmer than that to room temp.

Pours a deep, murky dark brown, with a solid two-finger dense head that settled to about a half an inch and (eventually) an 1/8" cap; never less. Doesn't want to let go of the glass, but eventually does on its way down.

Nose is teeming with rich dark fruit notes - raisins and ripe plums, prunes and even hints of red grapes. Brown sugar sits alongside of that, with sharp clove spiciness holding all that fantastic richness in check.

Taste is everything expected of it. Rich brown sugar malt sweetness surrounding notes of ripe plums, raisins, and red grapes, complemented by a big clove character; just a bit vinous towards the finish, and a light, earthy, over-ripe bitterness that pokes it's head out right before the finish. The rich sweetness of this one never quits - fantastic from start to finish - but what's really remarkable is the lightness, that makes this one almost ethereal. Fantastic beer.

Mouthfeel is creamy and light, but full and lush at the same time. The never-ending head adds a fullness to it that's superb.

Drinkability is exceptional. Alcohol is apparent in warmth but not in the mouth, and it's never boozy by any stretch of the imagination. World Class.

Photo of kevinglin
4.17/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle dated 18.12.12 into a wide-mouth goblet. Brown with amber hints when held to light. Quite a bit of yeast floating in the glass. Creamy foam tan head that fell to about half-a-finger and stuck around.

Smells like a red wine, dark fruit (raisins), sweet melons, caramel and toffee. A bit of phenolics from the yeast.

Taste - vinous quality comes through. Port like, with some spice. Definitely a big malt backbone. No hop bitterness - spice seems to come from yeast.

Full body, lively bubbles followed by a slick mouthfeel and a definite alcohol warmth as it goes down.

Overall, was somewhat put off by the appearance, but flavor makes up for it. Wonderful complex mix of scents and taste. Recommend.

Photo of allboutbierge
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I finally got around to drinking this and I am happy that I did. The alcohol is not noticeable in the least...not in aroma or in flavor. Lots of dried fruit...mostly plums, raisins, and a little bit of pear. Not sweet at all. Smoothed and mellow. Very easy but yet entertaining to drink. Thirst quenching actually and very well rounded.

Photo of mhatters
4.42/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at Ron's in Exton in a Chimay chalice

Pours a deep mahogany brown, with a thick, white head.

Lots in the nose, dark fruits, spices, yeast, malt, and sweetness.

A big flavor with a lot to savor, apple and pear, alcoholic and malty sweetness, and a good mix of spices. Very comfortable and rich to drink.

Not too sweet, not to hot, not too alcoholic, a classic beer.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 8,201 ratings.