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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.

7,398 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,398
Reviews: 2,500
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 423
Gots: 1,111 | 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
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Ratings: 7,398 | Reviews: 2,500 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Metalmonk
4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thick 1.5 inch thick head that halved quickly. Great looking color, a sort of caramel brown, reminds me of the color of prune juice. Thick rings of lace.

Smells are caramel, rum, roasted malts and raisins.

This bottle had been aging while, so maybe that's why the alcohol bite was mellow compared to newer bottles I've had. In any case, I found the alcohol to be present but not overwhelming. The flavors were of dark fruits, roasted malts, toffee and chocolate. And I swear there's a ripe grape essence too. Nice creamy mouthfeel coats the mouth/tongue, keeping those flavors going long after the sip.

Pretty high ABV but an absolutely delicious experience. Reminded me of Trappistes Rochefort 10, and also Gulden Draak and Nostradamus. So it sits in exalted company, but we should expect that from the St. Bernardus brewery by now.

Metalmonk, Apr 03, 2006
Photo of Mitchel
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bernardus 12 pours a dark hazy brown with a pillowy off-white head. The head retention in this beer is fantastic. It smells of dark fruits, brown sugar, clove, grape, malty and above all, sweet.

Very sweet tasting, almost too sweet. There is a burst of clove and dark fruits in the mouth. There is an overwhelming presence of brown sugar and is very grapy. The alcohol is obvious in this one, but what do you expect? This beer tastes smooth and finishes even smoother. Exceedingly warm.

This beer is great! Is it one of the best in the world? Most certainly in my book. Absolutely worth the six dollars per glass at the Saucer (both times). Not a horribly complex beer, but great overall.

Mitchel, Apr 03, 2006
Photo of wingnutter
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep mahogany with a head of very tight bubbles that reduces to a thin layer.

Smells earthy, fruity, malty. touch of dark ripe fruits.

Tastes really good. Yeast, figs, dates....a nice brown sugary sweetness...Very smooth, with a winey quality in the middle. Finishes with almost a cherry-like tartness. This is good stuff.

Drinkability is quite high even with the high ABV. Expertly masked.

One of the best. Worthy.

wingnutter, Mar 29, 2006
Photo of Bierschenker
3.95/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

BB 10-10
Dark rusty copper colour, some carbonation running through. Gives only a small head, nice white and bubbly. Yeast on the bottem.
Smells very malty and sweet. Raisens, bitter, caramel.
Oxidizing at first, irony, caramel and chocolate malt, grapes, yeast.
Aftertaste is very soft. Strong malt = bitter-sweet, raisins and chocolate.
All in all not an easy taste to fragmentate, But a good beer.

Ut Vivat, Crescat, Floreat!

Bierschenker, Mar 28, 2006
Photo of ghostwalker
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle serving. Code on bottle FL280710.

Body is cloudy and dark reddish-brown, some free-floating yeast chunks. One solid finger of frothy white head.

Nose is sweet and malty. Reminds me of spice-cake, much like the Prior 8.

Rich, dark and sweet. Heavy malt presence up front. Plenty of sweet brown sugar flavor and some rich spiciness in the middle and finish. Dark fruit flavors, prunes, dates. This is one extremely complex brew.

Mouthfeel is rich, smooth and slightly chewy.

This is a wonderful sipper. The high ABV and intense flavors make one brew enough for me, but drinkability still has to be rated very high.

ghostwalker, Mar 28, 2006
Photo of shroompod
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml silk screened bottle. No date codes. Some bottles in the same batch had a best before date on the bottom of 2009.
Pours a dark reddish brown. Rocky head that lasts , good lacing.

Nice hoppy , yeasty smell. Some alcohol presence.

The taste hits upfront with the hops, a floral bite that intertwines with the high alcohol. I noticed more malt tones as it warmed. I can't imagine beer tasting much better.

Mouthfeel is somewhat thick , as it should be. High carbonation.

Drinkability of this high ABV is great. It took about 30 minutes to finish off the bottle.This beer will become one of my cellar favorites.

shroompod, Mar 26, 2006
Photo of Avagadro
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up the 750mL corked bottle from "Beers of the World" and was excited the whole way home. Served just under room temp into a tulip glass. Upon pouring a large brown head appeared, and remained untill the glass was finished. this beer has the most beautiful color when held up to the light. A deep red that is alittle clouded by yeast. The smell is also incredible. Very floral aroma that in overwhelmingly enjoyable. The aroma of this beer definitely got you ready for the taste. The taste is amazing. Sweet, but not heavy, dry, but not too dry. This beer suprises you with every sip you take. I babied this bottle for almost an hour because I didn't want it to end. It is smooth and clean in the mouth, and I could drink this beer for the rest of my life if I could afford to. Definitely deserves to be in the top five in BA

Avagadro, Mar 25, 2006
Photo of hanco005
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle, dated 20 07 09, poured into my St. Bernardus glass that came with my variety 4 pack.

A—pours a thick dark brown, raison color with ½ inch tan thick foamy head, reduces slowly to a thin sheet, chucks of sediment float around throughout the beer, medium lacing remains as I drink it

S—sweet malts, mild ripe fruits, alcohol becomes stronger as it warms, caramel, plums

T—balanced very well, sweet caramel and ripe fruits harmonize, slight bitterness in the finish

M—full bodied, good carbonation, a little sharp and thick, mildly chewy (or maybe it is just my imagination due to the sediment

D—honestly, I tried this due to the high ranking and I agree. It is wonderful. One is plenty due to the 10% abv and bold flavors, but a great sipping beer. The perfect nightcap, imo.

hanco005, Mar 23, 2006
Photo of redelephantdane
3.9/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

a- dark and murky. explosive head that is very creamy and frothy. the head dies very slowly and leaves patched of lace down the side of the glass. the head is right now about an inch over the rim of the glass and not pouring out the sides.

s- the smell is of alcohol and malts. a little bit of something i didnt like almost vomitty flavored. very hidden but still there.

t- the taste is of alcohol, mildy vinious, but mostly alcohol. some malts and grains. almost the taste of diluded whiskey

m- heavy yet refreshing, goes down and sits in your stomach.

d- the alcohol in this makes it hard for me to drink more than a few of these.

redelephantdane, Mar 23, 2006
Photo of fingolfin72
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Twisted Fork.

It looked like a Coke, but the head was fine-textured and enduring.

Not much nose, but I detected a whiff of sugar, cereal and alcohol.

The palate was huge with flavors of brown sugar, maple, coffee, toast, cola, vanilla and a bit of clove-like spiciness. The mouthfeel was creamy and luxurious, with fine-textured and subtle carbonation. The alcohol was apparent, but it was not overbearing. A balanced but firm backbone of mineral and hops ran through the whole flavor profile.

It was served to me a bit too cold, but it really opened up as it went up a few degrees.

fingolfin72, Mar 19, 2006
Photo of badbeer
4.03/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL cork and caged bottle poured into a Westmalle chalice. No best by date printed.

Pours a very dark brown with an almost creamy off-white head leaving traces of lacing around the glass. At first the head dissipated leaving little islands on the beer and somehow gained strength and filled out the glass for a head all around. Pretty strong yeasty aroma, wow, plum, raison, cherries, and maybe even some grapes. Pretty strong, yet complex smell. Taste is full of the same dark fruit, just dancing on the tongue, be prepared. To dig deeper, it starts with a caramel and biscuit flavor then transforms seemlessly into a plum/raison flavor and finishes with a bit of dark cherry flavor. Slightly above average carbonation, with a medium to full body, pretty nicely paired together, maybe a little less carbonation would be better. Very wonderful to drink, but I can't imagine being able to stand after a few of these.

Side note: I definately feel this one is best when it warms. I opened it when it was still a little too cool and as it warmed in front of me it kept getting better.

badbeer, Mar 18, 2006
Photo of bhb
4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

St Bernardus Abt 12 is truly a beer deserving of "outstanding".

Pouring with a large frothy head, with a very dark brown almost black colour, it oozes all sorts of aromas. My nose is awash with winter-warming aromas of wine, dates, raisins, banana, oter dark sweet fruits and a hint of citrus for good measure. A very full body and a gentle fizz really gets it going in the mouth, and it goes down extremely well. It costs me 2 euros a bottle (less than $3) so it's a regular for me.

Some say this is like Westvleteren, and some don't. The brewery was at one stage brewing for Westvleteren, so no doubt there are influences in there. But if you're confused as to whether it's the same or not, I've got news for you. I've drunk several of these in my time, as well as westy 12, and most were quite different from Westy (hence my comments in my westy 12 review). Excellent, but different. But tonight I popped open an Abt 12 and, well, it was VERY Westy-like. Perhaps it depends on the brewing season, but this one is very much like Westy. It's got that alcohol/port aroma that's not in the other Abt 12s I had, and it's very very similar to Westy 12, though it is a little less punchy. Best before date of this one is 20-09-10, so if you've got one of those, and it's got port-ish aromas, you're lucky to have an almost-westy batch. Otherwise, it's pot luck and you might just get a fantastic beer rather than a stunning beer.

Overall, this is a brilliant brew, especially as a winter warmer, and will not disappoint.

bhb, Mar 15, 2006
Photo of Hautacam
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is fantastic !
Very cloudy, orange-brown..lively head..laces , falls to a film and stays.
Smells of fresh bread dough..dried fruit..hint of port and some alcohol.
Taste is amazingly complex! Yeasty, sweet..tons of fruit ( apple,pear,bananas, cherries ), licorice, caramel candy..hint of bubblegum...spices are subtle....Perfect !! Some port wine toward the end.
As it warms it gets better...this really is living up to the reviews...it's just a great, great brew.
Velvety mouthfeel...perfect, lively micro carbonation.
Very drinkable for such an overwhelmngly complex, intense ale.
I will be back for more.

Hautacam, Mar 13, 2006
Photo of mcowgill
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I usually drink this beer whenever I go to the Publick House but this one is a 1 pint, 9.4 ounce bottle from Julios. It poured a cloudy hazy brown with a creamy head that lasts forever. The lacing is great. The aroma is of fruits, raisins, malts, and alcohol. This beer has such a complex taste. It is wonderful and delicious. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. This is definitely not a chugging beer. It is great to sip and sip I will all night until the very last drop of this beauty.

mcowgill, Mar 12, 2006
Photo of acoatley
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearence: Bueatiful amber wispers of red with a thick silky head..the lace takes a full thirty seconds to roll down the glass.

Aroma: Slight alcohol followed by a mixture of plum and cherry estes pleasant malty sweetness.

Taste: Caramel malty sweet, moderate alcohol lingers pleasently on the palate, pear and plum esters

Mouthfeel: Smothe silkey but finishes crisp

acoatley, Mar 11, 2006
Photo of Scheity
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Look at the bottle. There's a reason why the monk so happy with himself. Aside from the inner peace and total life devotion, he's drinking a beer that's packed with more alcohol than the Bush twins -- a little classier, though.

The alcohol barely comes through, though it seeps through the nose at the end of the sip, sneaking up on you. It's crushed under the sheer weight of the beer, an assortment of tons of barley malt and dark, bitter cherries and every fruit darker than that. Could stand to have a little more bitterness, as a finisher, but then again, it's pretty fantastic.

This is a beer to sip by a fire and in the company of good friends, a beer to harmonize with a situation of rich beauty and languor.

Scheity, Mar 09, 2006
Photo of Optimat0r
4.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

appearance - so dark amber its brown...a deep brown almost completely impenetrable by light. minimal foaming.

taste - heavy malts, ended with a perfect fruityness, a hint of cinnemon...extremely complex but not so rich that its overboard. one of the best tasting beers you will ever come across, goes amazing with food. i didnt give it a 5 because of the inevitable occasional hint of alcohol taste that comes through every now and then.

drinkability - unbelieveable, incredible especially considering its 10% alcohol. mouthfeel is the best ive had. tastes amazing through a range of temperatures, great alone or with food, i intend to keep some of this around whenever i can, is perfect in nice 5 oz servings, taste never falters, could sip it all day despite its abv.

Optimat0r, Mar 07, 2006
Photo of EvilTwin
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Nice Amber color, thick living head. Lots of carbonation making nice sounds as I sat in the quiet watching it.

Smell: Fruity. Prunes, cherries... faint alcohol scent and the barest touch of cinnimon.

Taste: Follow thru on the fruit smell. Sweet and smooth with a touch of hops on the tail.

Mouthfeel: Smooth yet almost shockingly carbonated. The tastes and carbonation combine to tickle and prickle the palate.

Drinkability: Smooth sipping beer with a deceptive ABV. I could frink 2-3 of these at a sitting, but the higher ABV makes that a questionable pursute. This is one that will sneak up on you.


EvilTwin, Mar 07, 2006
Photo of jabocu
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Large bottle poured into glass.

Pours a dark brown translucent color. Has a thick off white head that fell to a 1/4 inch cap with lacings along the side. Aroma was grainy and sweet malts. Fruity like figs or raisins, with earthy and spicy undertones. Taste was just as expected with fruity raisins and figs. Had a very refreshing fruitiness but with just the right amount of hops to smooth down the sweetness and finish with mellow cloves and spices. Has a earthy oaken undertone. Carbonation is medium with medium body. It has a lot of flavor that lasts for a while but with a refreshing mouthfeel. Alcohol is mostly hidden but still has a good warming effect. Wonderful beer that will be around for evenings to sit and chat.

jabocu, Mar 06, 2006
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A fine candidate for #500...

Aged for 2 years+, I've just been waiting for the right time...uncaps with an assuring rush of air

Appearance - pours with a quick head-forming froth of bubbles. Viewed straight on, it's got a dull garnet color with a solid foamy cover, the bottom sediment looking like sprinkled cinnamon on top. Held up to a good backlight, there is a whole universe of stuff floating around in that glass. Chunks, flakes, fine granules of stuff.

Aroma - initially a blend of chocolate and alcohol. It settles, the chocolate fades a little but not entirely, and some banana and yeast aromas make it through. After the beer settles, the aroma doesn't. It stays steady, full, and enticing. A sustained head is likely responsible for much of that.

Taste - begins with a dark, malty sweet flavor. Velvety chocolate and a boozy warmth arrive together. Some mild hop balancing on the swallow as the abv provides a warm, fuzzy finish. Not harsh at all, the end is warm chocolate and a smile.

Mouthfeel - perfect. Soooo smooth. Active carbonation balances out the quad heaviness. Really goes hand in hand with the flavor.

Drinkability - this does not comes across like 10%, what a great beer. I'll have to grab more at my next opportunity.

brewdlyhooked13, Mar 06, 2006
Photo of Lnedrive14
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at Sunset.

I think I actually prefer this beast in the bottle. That might be, however, because when in the bottle I allow it to warm up a bit rather than drinking it cold, which is where this beer shines. In any case, undoubtedly one of the best beers in the world. Big on malts, spices, and dark fruits. Finishes smooth, full bodied, no alcohol presence.

Wish I could drink it every day.

Lnedrive14, Mar 04, 2006
Photo of rodrot
4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew poured a very dark brown color with a dense head that stuck to the side of the glass. The beer was so dark in fact, that I could not shine a light through it. The nose was spicy, malty and chocolatey. The taste was impressive, with notes of dark fruit, chocolate, port wine and molasses in the palate. This beer was very rich and luscious. Alcohol was noticable but hidden quite well. St. Bernardus 12 deserves it high rating on the "Best of BA". Excellent beer.

rodrot, Mar 01, 2006
Photo of MuddyFeet
3.6/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dark red-brown in color with a scuzzy white head that was resilient and never went away. Lace curtained the interior of the goblet in sticky sheets. Nose is sweet malty with a slight hint of spice.

this beer is hyped as being superior to Westy 12. Ummm... not sure I see why that claim holds so well. All the flavors just seem a bit more subdued than Westy 12. Malts are candy sweet with some tired Belgian sugars. Spice flavors were present but they seemed like they were out of date too. Phenols were a bit strong, especially as the beer warmed more. Little bits of cherry too. Full body and flavor. All-in-all it is a drinkable Belgian but not sure it is what everyone pumps it up to be.

MuddyFeet, Feb 28, 2006
Photo of SethB2
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Excellent, world class brew here.

Poured out of a bottle into a tulip glass. Nice dark color with medium head that sticks to everything it touches. Nice lacing all around. Smells fantastic. Lots a malted bitter fruits with a hint of alcohol. Taste is great as well. Fruits and sweet malts dominate, like a Belgian beer should. Mouth is full bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Very good. Drinkability is hurt a little by the abv, but I would happily down these until I couldn't stand.

SethB2, Feb 27, 2006
Photo of quasimoto
3.58/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Its a dark copper with a nice large frothy head. It looks great.

S - Aromas of strong spices and dark malts are the first to grab my nose. After that it turns to licorice, and some cinnamon.

T - Dark strong spicy malts. Its not hops but its very close to it. A lot of things are going on in there.

M - Sharp on the palette at first, the middle is smooth and creamy and finishes dry. Lot of sensations there.

D - Storng ABV makes this one a beer to cherish. Nice to sip and enjoy.

quasimoto, Feb 26, 2006
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,398 ratings.