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St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

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8,126 Ratings

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Ratings: 8,126
Reviews: 2,593
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 544
Gots: 1,573 | FT: 44
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: 8,126 | Reviews: 2,593 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of stumac
4.95/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This particular bottle is around 2 years aged...

pours up a deep mahogany color with a grand tan crown. great lacing. the nose is deep malts, wood, earth, chocolate, dark fruits, caramel, Belgian candy sugar, slight tart strawberries. Superb! the taste is nice and complex. I get basically the same characters that were in the aroma and its oh so good! dark fruits, sweet malts, caramel apple, high fizzy carbo and medium to full bodied. Always a classic!

Photo of mobud
4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into chalice @ cellar temp.

A- Dark and ruby with an oatmeal head. Small tight bubbles with a nice head that slow goes with the sample.

S- A pleasant boozy smell that is closer to a rich wine than a beer. Usually that turns me off, but this beer uses that to draw one in to its charms.

T- So much going on here, that words escape me. The malt base holds up a very fruity and fig rocking beer. There is an easy sweetness that changes as the beer warms.

M- Medium that goes down nice and easy. The active carbonation smooths out the alcohol that is very obivious.

D- I can't add any more to the joys that have been written about this beer. The bottle I had was around 8 months old and I would have liked to have given it a bit longer, but things do not always work out that way.

Photo of WakeandBake
4.32/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 FL OZ Bottle 10% ABV. Marked best before 08 05 13

A muddy reddish/brown color body,average sized frothy off-white head that diminished to a thin cap,lots of lacing,loads of tiny carbonation bubbles. Aroma is rich and malty,earthy,a bit of wood,baked bread,and hints of alcohol,rasins and tobacco. Flavor is very complex and everchanging, a bready yeasty malt with notes of grapes,cherries,clove,wood,some burbon like flavors at times, more dates and rasins as it warms. Full body,zesty clensing sort of mouthfeel from the carbonation, a nice little sweet warming finish.I would not call this sessionable,one seemed plenty for a sitting. A VERY good and well crafted,complex brew. Glad I had the chance to try it.

Photo of drtth
4.74/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lightly chilled and poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically. The date code is blurred but this should be from a September of 08 bottling.

Appearance: Upon opening the bottle the beer foams up out of the bottle mouth and into the glass. The beer pours a dark brown with reddish undertones and a 1 ½" light tan head that quickly fades leaving a ring around the glass, lots of small speckled lacing and a thin layer of foam on the liquid. Sipping consistently leaves lacing.

Smell: The aroma contains bready notes, hints of yeast and sweet candi sugar. There is also a component of dark caramel malt or carmelized sugar with some dark fruits (plum, raisins). I don't tire of this aroma and it seems new and fresh every time.

Taste: The flavor contains sweetness and hints of bitterness with flavors of plum, malt and raisin. There is some vanilla in here and a slight hint of alcohol. But the impression is of a dynamic balance, with flavors bouncing back and forth over the back of the tongue but without any one flavor becoming dominant.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied with light creamy carbonation. The finish is medium long, lightly bitter and dry.

Drinkability: This complex beer is quite nice for sipping and the aroma and flavors almost seem to become even more complex with time. But one does not tire of them as is the case with some beers. At 10% ABV this is a one a night beer, but one I'll be revisiting in the future. This is one beer that illustrates why drinking beer can be a true pleasure.

Photo of wagenvolks
4.37/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked & caged bottle into an oversized wine glass.

Not quite sure how I went so long without reviewing St. Bernie's ABT 12; after all, I've only had it about 10 times! Nevertheless, this classic Quad pours a translucent, mahogany-tea color with a superbly retained tuft of khaki head that attaches itself as thick webbing to the inside of the glass. Fantastic aroma, with sweet caramelized raisins, toffee, fig, faint chocolate notes, and a dash of pungent, floral hops.

Mmmm...gotta love the Bernardus. First come rich, chewy notes of dark fruit such as raisin, fig, and apricot. Then unfolds complex layers of caramel and chocolate malts. Lastly, a dusting of spice and earthen hops leave a peppery bitterness along the back of the palate that mingles with a nice booziness. Body is a bit too over-carbonated for my liking, but finally mellows after ~20 minutes in the glass. Still, the medium-thickness is relatively slick and smooth on the whole. St. Bernardus ABT 12 is the greatest Belgian friend you'll ever have; always there in the clutch, and the company is never disappointing.

Photo of Riccymon
3.62/5  rDev -19%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

After uncorking the 750mL bottle, I have to pour quickly to avoid losing any beer, but it's not a terrible gusher. Still, the first pour into my goblet is 80% head. After two more pours, I finally have the glass filled with an impenetrable black beer and a finger and a half of frothy, off-white head. Even the foam is delicious--sweet and creamy like a root beer float. I've never seen so much lacing from a beer before.

Expecting a rich, full nose, I'm a little disappointed in the fairly bland smell I pick up. Some spicy clove, plum, and not too much more. In the taste, however, these flavors are tasty and magnified. The first couple of sips have an annoying metallic taste, but I think it was just a matter of getting used to the alcohol. There are also herbal, grassy notes in there that I don't pick up right away.

Mouthfeel is fairly creamy and medium-bodied with a small alcohol burn in the finish. Also, the spicy flavors leave my mouth feeling a little sticky. One glass into the bottle, I'm feeling its effects, but I imagine its drinkability is average for the style.

This is a big beer, but I'm glad I finally had the chance to try this one.

Photo of chiguy2420
4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review #3 Poured into St. Bernardus glass.

A: Beautiful Amber color with off white head and very little lacing.

S: Smell of raisins and licorice is undeniable. Almost the perfect smell. No hint of the 10.5% alcohol by volume

T: Ridiculous.... This is my favorite Quad to date. And that says alot when compared to the two higher ranked ones. Nice spicy taste with a great dried fruit kick. No major alcohol taste. Perfect beer in my honest opinion.

M: Right on here. No major burn, just a very complex yet perfect mouthfeel.

D: I almost drank this too fast. It really is perfect. I could drink this all day and all night. I am sure that would not please my wife but I can't stop.

This is my favorite beer I have had to date. The taste, mouthfeel and drinkability are perfect. Thats why we keep trying these beers.

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

Upon opening the bottle, it started to overflow almost immediately with carbonation. I'm not sure if this is a sign of a ruined beer or not, and I have nothing to compare it to as this is the first time I've had St. Bernardus 12.

In any case, it, for the most part, fits the description of the majority of the reviews here; I'm no longer concerned as much about this bottle being "ruined."

Poured into my Westmalle chalice, it's a deep brown with a small tan head. Good lacing. I'm getting all the fruity, sweet smells, and there's a good balance sweetness and spice in the taste. The alcohol is well-hidden, and despite the incredibly complex taste profile, it's so balanced that it's very easy to drink.

Photo of rwdkosak
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great beer and I'm pretty sure that to date this will be the highest rating I've given.

Poured at cellar temp into Westmalle chalice finding a nice 1.5cm frothy and light head over dark brew that smelled of sweet malts, floral, almost raisen and carmel-like nose to me. The head melts throughout the session but doesn't fully dissipate which is nice. Taste is again full of raisen/currant sweetness, malt, carmel later..floral notes and alcohol at the finish that more than hints at the higher %ABV. Mouthfeel is quite good, in my opinion very drinkable though obviously one to sip and savor.

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

A: Poured into a cheap chalice - nice rich mahogany color, not a substantial head, but a nice coating over the top that sustained itself throughout. Serious floaties that are visible through the glass. I tried to decant it, but if I stopped when some sediment started to come through, I would have left half the bottle. So, I went for nearly all of it.

S: Very rich aromas of dark fruit, like grape juice, mixed with dark grain, licorice, and clove (?). Very interesting and compelling.

T: Incredibly potent - I can't get away from the adjective "rich" - so flavorful, of ripened fruit, grape juice (again), spices, and plenty of malty. Not much bitterness, but a pleasant finish. Noticeable alcohol, but in balance with everything else.

M: Right like it should be.

D: Again, compelling and a great drink, but I couldn't do more than one at a time.

Photo of Birdiebeagle
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Pours a beautiful deep brown-black with a generous off white head. The head last nicely. Has a great sweet aroma of fruits. I get plums, cherries, and grapes. Wow the flavor is awesome. Great carbination. A wonderful mouthfeel. Taste is not too sweet. The alcohol is hidden very well. This is blended great. Has a good robust finish. This is just an awesome beer.

Photo of Throckmorton
4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Oh my gosh - a spiritual revelation.

A - dark, with ruby tones

S - wonderful transcendent malty fruity with cherries

T - deep and complex. ranges from fruit hints, through warm malt.

M - Given the high EtOH, there is less alcohol warming than you'd expect.

D - a thoroughly dangerous beer. ruins you for others.

Photo of greg202stewart
4.77/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is one of my favorites. I had revisited this beer last night. As soon as I open a bottle I can see the beer is very lively. The head of the beer if nice light brown and has an aroma of spices. The taste is out of this world, very crisp and clean, with a hint of brown sugar. This is my favorite beer to sip on out of my St. Bernardus tulip. This beer leaves me feeling like I can walk on water.

Photo of Sean9689
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into my Duvel tulip. Color is dark brown with a cream-colored head. Awesome smell of sweet fruits and molasses that beg you to drink it! Taste is great, fruity with dark chocolate and a small amount of spice with a very small hint of alcohol. I'm surprised I cannot taste more of the alcohol since it's a 10.5%er. Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Very smooth and has a nice clean finish. I could drink this beer over and over again but then I'd probably be asleep by 6pm every night from drinking too much of it!

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

Poured to a nice dark brown color with a small head. Nice aroma, very fruity with a hint of nuttiness. Smell reminded me of pineapple. Nice fruity taste, very smooth and clean, went down easily, no hint of alcohol. Enjoyed this beer and would drink again.

Photo of jacobseyb
3.93/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A=Very dark brown and murky in appearance, pours 1/2" head that dissipates quickly to 1/8"-1/4". Medium size bubbles, no apparent lacing.

S=Balanced smells, with just a hint of sweetness (berries?)

T=noticable sweetness, hints of blackberries and chocolate? Alcohol not as noticable as expected given the ABV.

M=Very carbonated, some thickness

D=Drinkable but would probably be tough to drink more than the bottle.

Photo of berkey
4.37/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours dark brown, cloudy, a fair amount of particulate matter when held to light. Medium head with a slightly brown hue that lingers for awhile. Moderate lacing.

Smell: Slightly nutty with dried fruit, yeast, cane sugar, you can start to pick up some alcohol notes in there as well. Reminiscent of Brandy aromas.

Taste/Mouthfeel: More fruit. Figs come to the forefront, also sweet dates, something almost berry-like in there I can't put my finger on. Brandy-esque alcohol notes even more present here along with oily nuts and some spice. A pleasant, difficult to define, earthy quality that brings to mind Trappist Quads like Rochefort 10 and Westvleteren 12. Great light mouthfeel avoids the syrupy feel some other beers of this ABV have.

Drinkability: Very drinkable for the style, although for obvious reasons Belgian Quads are not by any means session beers. Two of these is enough.

Photo of scifan
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown color with a small head. Ruby notes when held up to the light.
smells nice. dark fruit, fig, plum, very sweet.
Taste nice. dark fruit, a little sweet, can hardly detect any alcohol at all. nice complex yeast flavors. a classic that's hard to beat. Good mouthfeel, nice carbonation, and kind of creamy.
This stuff goes down nice not a hint of the 10.5 percent alcohol.

Photo of crazeguy
4.32/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served out of bottle. Nice pop of cork.

A-Dark opaque brown. Thick head that took awhile to fade.

S- Dried fruits and slight hint of alcohol.

T- Dried fruits again, wood like flavor. For the high ABV the actual taste of alcohol is less than expected.

M- Thick and creamy. Leaves a slight coating momentarily on the tounge.

D- Despite the dark color and nature of this beer, it still leaves a light and up lifting flavor. Despite the high ABV it is a smooth sip from start to end. Overall its a great beer but I can only imagine it for special occasions or rarely. Not a session beer by any means. I imagine it'll be a nice treat occasionally.

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

22oz bomber poured into a flower pot.

Pours a dark muddy brown.

Lots of brown sugar, dark fruits, vanilla, burbon. Similar to a Rochefort 10, but I'm not sure which one I like better. I see them both as top notch. I think i'm getting less sweetness in this brew then I remember in the Rochefort 10, but that could just be the signs of a failing memory.

Overall a spot on beer, will be drinking again.

Photo of sonicdescent
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown, almost like unsweetened tea. Head was robust at first but died down to a surprisingly small crown with little of that characteristic beligan lacing.

Smell is of dark bready malts, some fruits. Not as champagne like as the Westy 12, more dark fruits involved.

Taste is similar to smell, a darker tasting Westy 12. Bread/Belgian yeast is present, alcohol is surprisingly not. I actually prefer this to what I felt was an overly boozy Westy.

Mouth is relatively thin and bubby, exactly like it needs to be.

I hate to keep comparing this to the Westvleteren 12 but it's impossible not to. With that said, I feel that Berny is the superior beer.

Photo of tr4nc3d
3.75/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to "mikereaser" for this one. Acquired in a trade.

Well I have been wanting to try this beer for months now but its not available in my area so Im glad I get to finally try this brew. Its been said its a lot similar to Westveleteren 12 so here goes.

Poured this into my St.Bernardus glass which I have been waiting to use. This pours a light brown color mixed with some hints of orange in there when held to the light. Two finger off-white head that leaves a top layer of bubbles throughout the beer. Some lacing clings to the glass as you keep gobbling down the beer.

Smell is very much like a westy 12. I get yeast, spices, dried fruits, and a faint alcohol smell.

You can definately taste the yeast upfront with a little bitterness which mellows out to a sweet malty taste and finishes again with a spicy bitterness. The booz in this one can be tasted. Once again this reminds me like a Westy 12 which I had a couple times.

Mouthfeel is creamy and high on carbonation. Spicy alcohol taste is there again.

Well overall this definately is a cheaper version of the Westy 12. Drinkability is not high for me and I could not see myself drinking more then one. I dont think I will seek this one out as it did not WOW me.

Photo of whitehouse50
4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Andy's in a chalice. Pours with a minimal head and is dark color, not brown, but something close to it.

Aromas of sweet fruits and alcohol are present.

Taste is also sweet with a slight tartness to it. One can notice the sweetness probably from the sugar that is added. Alcohol is noticeable. The aftertaste lingers for while.

M & D is overall good. This a full bodied quad that is a sipper. I would only want to have one glass of this in a sitting as this is a big one.

I wonder what some age would do to this one.

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

Apperarance: pours with a nice tan rocky head. deep red/brown color.

Smell: My first impression was the grainy-ness that reminded me of a crisp lager. Dried fruit noted prevail: raisin, prune and a slight caramel that is deep enough to be toffee. banana too.Very nice.

Taste: Dried plum, a hint of green apple, and dark caramel/brown sugar. Aftertaste is caramel turning into toffee, All the while I get a slight hop bitterness that helps balance out all the malty sweetness. This drys out fairly quickly, but following this there is an alcohol warmth that lingers on. I do find the carbonation to be a bit biting, and find myself swirling the beer to try to get some fizz out.

Mouthfeel: full yet not overbearing. Right on for the style.

Overall: My first time trying this beer, and I am indeed impressed. Wonderful beer. It's got awesome malty and sugary tones and the only thing I wish for is a bit less carbonation.

Photo of fightingirishcmk
4.44/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a reddish brown color with a generous three finger head. The head retention was good, and there was considerable lacing left on the glass. The only downside was the amount of sediment in the glass/bottle. It was a bit too much and was impossible to decant.
S: Raisin, dates, banana, clove, and overall very malty and sweet smelling. An excellent aroma.
T: Provides a great balance of sweet, bitter, and a tiny bit of sourness. Smoky, spicy, with a very well hidden alcohol burn at the end.
M: A bit sticky, but very full bodied with a good amount of carbonation.
D: A real treat. I savored this 4 pack over a span of about 3 months. I didn't look forward to the day it would be gone, but I know I can always pick some up at the store. Excellent availability, excellent taste, and not too heavy body allow this beer to be consumed in almost any season. It is quite drinkable for a quad. I sometimes base the drinkability on whether or not I get cravings for it... I do for this beer.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 8,126 ratings.