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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.

7,568 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,568
Reviews: 2,516
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 452
Gots: 1,178 | 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: 7,568 | Reviews: 2,516 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BRoberts914
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had the pleasure of trying this beer and draft and I must say, if you find it on tap anywhere, don't hesitate to order it. It's just not the same when you try it in the bottle. Still good, but not the same.

The Abt 12 exhibited the expected brownish-red hue and was one of the most carbonated beers I've ever encountered, even for a Belgian Quad. Appearance is perfect to style. The smell is inviting with sweet, roasted malts and dark fruits. The taste follows suit, but woa, there was a flavor explosion here I wasn't expecting. The dark fruits hinted at in the nose came to life, now accompanied by dark candi sugar. The complexity here is astounding; it's like a feast of sweet malt, fruit, and candy. Some might describe it as overly sweet. Mouthfeel is of course quite bubbly, but with a nice texture that prevents you from confusing this with a Coca-cola. As several other reviewers have pointed out, the alcohol is VERY well masked here, truly the touch of a master brewer. I could drink this all night on draft. One of the best beers in the world hands down.

BRoberts914, Dec 28, 2006
Photo of Wasatch
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dated 19 01 11

Poured into a Unibroue Chalice, a clear dark golden/amber color, nice carbonation, nice 1.5 finger creamy tan head which hangs around for quite sometime, tons of sticky lacing around with some foamy puddles. The nose is sweet malty, with nice scents of grapes, raisins, figs, and prunes. The taste is pretty carbonated, sweet/malty, slightly tart/tangy, nice dry finish. The alcohol is hidden very well. Medium body, a nice complex brew. Very drinkable, a truly awesome beer. Glad it is more readily available, than say a Westy 12.

Wasatch, Dec 25, 2006
Photo of LarryV
3.9/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky brownish red with a rocky tan head. Smell of dark fruits - plums? Taste of exotic spice and candy sugar. I thought it was a tad on the sweet side, but it was still tasty. The alcohol is well hidden in this brew. Overall a pretty good brew but not extraordinary as I was expecting.

LarryV, Dec 25, 2006
Photo of srrn
4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown into the goblet, with a luxurious off white/tan head that slowly reduces to lacing.

Smells of cherries, slight smell of hay.

Taste of cherries with perfect carbonation and just a bit of bitterness in the finish.

I wish I could describe this beer better, I can't really identify all the different tastes and smells here, everything blends into the best beer I've had so far. Perfection of my favorite style.

srrn, Dec 24, 2006
Photo of goochpunch
3.23/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my Pabst goblet. Body is a hazy purplish ruby when held to the light. A thick, tanned head comes out from the pour and maintains a good 1/4". Leaves thick and raised lacing. Smell is candy-sweet, fruity, spicy, and a bit alcoholic. Aromas are a bit too faint for a beer of this size, and the booze is too prominent. Flavor is very much like grape soda with some roasted malt. There is a slight estery and phenolic hit, but the sweetness runs this. Gets way too sweet as it warms. Mouthfeel is actually kind of thin and starts off rather prickly, but then subsides to a smoother carbonation. This is drinkable enough, but doesn't really do it for me. I think I just don't get what's so great about quadrupels.

goochpunch, Dec 20, 2006
Photo of BeerMang
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance poured dark amber with a good head. A good amount of lace throughout the drink. A lite head is apparent throughout the entirety of the drink.

Smell is fruity and malty, the smell is semisweet.

Taste is complex. Malty and sweet, notes of brown sugar. A hint of spice. Very nice finish.

Mouthfeel is wonderful for being a 10% Abv, the alcohol is noticable but not overpowering

Drinkability, yes I could have one of these everyday.

BeerMang, Dec 19, 2006
Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep brown with a huge head and laced up the whole bottle. Smell was very complex. Malty, berry, fruity smell. A tiny bit of alcohol, very strong smell. Taste was the smae, Very very complex, every sip gave a different flavor it seemed, simply wonderful. Very drinkable too. This was my first try of this wonderful brew and I must say it completly lived up to the hype. This was really really wonderful to drink, and really seemed to get better each time I sipped!

mikesgroove, Dec 17, 2006
Photo of grub
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

TheBeerFruit shared this bottle, which had been aging in his cellar for the last year. thanks tim!

DrJay also contributed a bottle of the 60th anniversary special addition, which was reviewed along side this one. i'll compare them in that review. thanks jay!

pours a slightly hazy brown with a big fine off-white head. very little lace.

aroma is great. rich malt. toffee. bittersweet chocolate. bit of sweetness. bit of alcohol.

taste is great. rich malt. toffee and caramel. bittersweet chocolate. bit of alcohol. light bitterness.

good mouthfeel. nice carbonation and good body.

drinkability is great. well balanced and very tasty.

this beer reminds me alot of it's big brother, westy 12, which i was fortunate enough to try recently. that bottle was about 4 years old, and this is only 1. some of the complexity of the westy is missing here, but i can see it developing with time. really great beer, and i'm wishihg i'd picked some of this up last year.

grub, Dec 17, 2006
Photo of eberkman
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep, dark, cloudy brown with a tan head. Aroma was largely malty, fruity, spicy sweetness. Could detect dark fruit and dark berries. The taste was similar. Quite sweet, but not cloyingly so. A very complex potpourri of tastes coming through to the palate -- brown sugar, cloves, candied sugar, cherries, dark plums.... with a warming, pleasant and not overly harsh flavor of alcohol. Felt velvety smooth in the mouth and would be great to spend an evening sipping a couple of these.

One of the best I've ever had. In fact, I really can't think of a beer that I've enjoyed more. Just the epitome of what I think of when I rave about Belgian ales. Top of the line.

eberkman, Dec 17, 2006
Photo of tcfishler
3.98/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark, dull brown with a large tan head, which is notable for its very fine texture. However, the head is not very sticky.

Sweet but fresh nose of fruit (including banana) and spice.

Heavy carbonation enlivens the moderately heavy, round mouthfeel. Clove is more apparent on the palate than the nose. Alcohol is there to be sensed but not sharp by any means.

Rich but not astoundingly complex.

tcfishler, Dec 16, 2006
Photo of thesilverhand
4.68/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Deep, cloudy ruddy brown, nearly opaque. Lots of suspended yeast, and topped with a frothy crema.

Richly spicy. Reminds me of Christmas pudding, with dark yeastiness and dried fruits. Fantastic.

More subtle than I expected. Nicely layered malt and spice, with hints of dried fruits and caramel sweetness leading into a dry bitter finish. Alcohol is apparent, but not aggressive.

Very lively on the palate, which keeps it light despite its richness. Very dry.


thesilverhand, Dec 14, 2006
Photo of GregBrewski
3.88/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A nice presentation, with a deep dark brown color and a thick tan fluffy head, which left little lacing. A nose of sweet malt, mainly fruity and alcohol notes, some hints of caramel and roasted barley. Its a sweet, malty pronounced brew with the alcohol leading in heavily when displaced onto the palate. It has a medium to light feel, with crispiness in the front. The qualities of this brew improve greatly as it warms up. I wasn’t very impressed when it was cold, but is slowly became more enjoyable.

GregBrewski, Dec 14, 2006
Photo of MVassar
3.93/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first experience with this beer was dreadful: three spoiled bottles in a row. All had been refrigerated at the same reputable store, but clearly something was wrong with them.

This tasting of a bottle from a different store was more successful.

Somewhat dirty, cloudy brown with an ample yet short-lived head. Tiny bubbles, minimal lacing.

Plenty of brown bread in the nose, with some sweet malt, a touch of raw sugar, even a hint of banana bread.

Tastes of Christmas spices, malt, and a touch of dark fruit. Not as much depth as I would have hoped, but tasty stuff nonetheless.

Medium to full bodied, creamy texture, with too much carbonation.

Nicely balanced beer. Nothing extraordinary, but certainly quite drinkable.

MVassar, Dec 08, 2006
Photo of warmstorage
3.55/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle, states 10% ABV. Bottle has date of 22/03/11, which I take to be a "best before" date. Cellar temp, Chimay goblet.

Pours a vigorous head, dense white-cream colored, which goes away rapidly, leaves minimal lacing. For a Belgian beer, the inability to hold a decent head, even in a high gravity beer, is a little disappointing.

Aroma is deeply yeasty, slightly spicy, with hints of fruit. A very slight metallic note comes out, especially as it warms to room temperature.

Taste is also very yeasty, with burnt sugar, figs, and a very slight hint of spiciness. Alcohol is barely noticeable, especially for a 10% beer.

Mouth is tingly carbonation, with a little alcohol warmth.

Nice, pleasant, warming, and good Belgian yeast characteristics: an excellent beer, and one I'll continue to drink regularly (as regularly as I can get my hands on it, that is.) But BA's highest rated quad, and the 14th overall beer on the site? I don't really see it.

warmstorage, Dec 03, 2006
Photo of tjthresh
3.65/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours with a huge off white, frothy, head. Clings the the sides. Very murky, muddy brown color. Completely opaque. Very strong alcoholic nose. Notes of oatmeal raisin cookies. Sweet. Alcohol is upfont in the flavor profile. Some sweetness, and a mash of toffee and fruit. Very easy drinking palate. Soft texture all the way through. Velvet. This particualr bottle is very young. I beleive the date is 030310. I’m sure it ages very well, but as rated today, not one of my faves.

tjthresh, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of dfried
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

You know you have a good beer when the cork unexpetedly pops off about a minute after you remove the twisted wires holding it on, beer and head rolling down the side. This one wanted to get drank, and I felt compelled to comply.

Dark in color, a lot of plum colored violet and red highlights at the bottom and edges, large foamy off white head. Deep fruity aroma, plums, raisins, grapes. Of course some bready Belgian yeast, a bit of molasses, and some fairly detectable alcohol but not over whelming. Alcohol is pretty apparent in the taste as well, but it's smooth and warming, not sharp. Sweet and fruity flavors glore, plums and raspberries. Maybe some hops, citric and resinous, but overshadowed by the malt. Full bodied malty beer.

Verdict: awesome. I noticed the alcohol a bit more than in some, but the flavors were great and right on par. A staple quadrupel to be revisited, but I don't think I will be filling my fridge up with them anytime soon.

dfried, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of gbarron
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap in a small St. Benardus goblet.

A - light golden brown, little bit of haze. Head is bright white, thick and pillowy. Lacing and retention are good.

S - great Belgian yeast aroma of candy sugar, bubble gum, clove, pineapple, pepper. Little hop aroma of noble spice, along with tangy wheat malt aroma. Significant alcohol presence.

T - tangy, slightly sweet malt followed by great Belgian flavors of spice, sweet exotic fruits, candy sugar. Lots of complex flavors bouncing around. Fruits, spices, mixed with slight noble hop metallic flavor and sweet wheat malt and grainy pilsner.

M - carbonation slightly above average, light, fresh mouthfeel. Warming alcohol.

D - great tasting beer with lots of classic Belgian flavors.

gbarron, Dec 01, 2006
Photo of MrHungryMonkey
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Let me start with this: I’m afraid the high price and hype have positively swayed my judgment. I’ll keep this in mind and try to not over-rate. A pop-cork top… what fun!

Tremendously large head, fluffy and light yellow. Moderate retention. Nice lace. Dark reddish brown, completely opaque.

Dark fruity malt aroma dominates. Almost smells like very ripe grapes or lightly like apples. Sweet and thick/sticky. Butterscotch notes to the sweetness.

Thick and rich malt flavors. Flowery bouquet. Alcohol present.
Nice ripe fruity flavors, soft and juicy like grape (mildly apple) – not so much raisin-like. Alcohol pokes out in the post-swallow.

Very nice oral foamation, thick and creamy in the mouth. Mild carbonation on the tongue. Smooth and thick, rich and chewy. I’ve swallowed a good amount of carbonation.

Very low bitterness, hop contribution minimal. Nectar sweet chewy malt backbone with floral hoppage and heightened alcohol. Nicely balanced. The more I have the more I like. This really is a simple (and good) beer. I like it, I’ll try it again. Definitely not a waste of a try, despite the price.

Final Notes: I can feel Abt 12 work its alcoholic magic on me. So rich, so thick. My stomach hurts with joy. I wonder if the anniversary brew is worth trying?

MrHungryMonkey, Dec 01, 2006
Photo of rayjay
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

BB 22 03 11

Pours brown with reddish-purple highlights. The head is stained red like a Kriek beer.

The nose reminds me of Smarties candies.

How do they cram all that flavor into a beer and still have it come off so subtle? Unbelievable. There are malts galore, bringing along visions of figs, plums, persimmons, cherry candy, there's that ultra-fresh dopplebock vibe, and a porter-like fallout. All flavors melt together perfectly.

The mouthfeel is very refreshing and soft as water. No chalkiness or tongue-coating here. Subtle carbonation. Drinkability is dangerously high; gentle heat is the only hint of alcohol (my previous beer was 7% and felt hotter!) This is a genuine piece of fine art. If you're bummed that you can't get (or afford) Westvleteren 12, look no further.


rayjay, Nov 30, 2006
Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I used a large wine glass for this, and it displayed the beer really well. Great head retention, dark amber in color. Strong, fruity, yeasty nose. Malts are prominent in the taste; slightly sweet and fruity with a dry red wine finish. Thick and chewy in the mouth, very effervescent. Rich and filling stuff. An impressive beer.

largadeer, Nov 30, 2006
Photo of SacoDeToro
3.98/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled side-by-side with Rochefort 10 and Westvleteren 12.

The beer poured a rich and slightly hazy brown with a small tan head that quickly turned to lace.

The aroma of the beer was that of dark sugars, raisins, and figs, all carried up to your nose by the volatile 10.5% alcohol. The aroma had nice fruity and phenolic sters.

The flavor of the beer had a rich sweet maltiness with many accents of dried fruits, such the aforementioned raisins and figs. The hops were there enough to balance things out. The beer was also very creamy and smooth. It was however, just a tad sweet.

The mouthfeel of the beer was medium and not too heavy. The carbonation was high and tight

Overall, a very impressive beer from a modest monastery.

Having sampled it along side the Rochefort 10, and Westy 12, I actually liked the Rochefort best. To me, the Rochefort seemed to have a little more depth and richness than the Westy and St. Bernardus.

SacoDeToro, Nov 20, 2006
Photo of Byeast
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: poured a very dark and opaque brown , slightly maroon , with a medium sized creamy offwhite head.

Smell: dark fruit aromas , grape , some yeast , hint of alcohol.

Taste: a rich maltiness blends with dark fruit flavors , grape , some powdery and slightly twangy yeast , clove , and some warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel: creamy and smooth.

Drinkability: This Quad is super drinkable. Exellent flavors and strength.

Byeast, Nov 20, 2006
Photo of bort11
4.68/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip glass. Color is a dark and murky mahogany brown. Very little light escapes around the edges when held to the light. Head starts about a finger's width and maintains a tight lace. A half-dollar sized cap of foam floats in the center. Smell is slightly spicy, with some toffee notes. Taste is fantastic. Warm toffee flavor that finishes with a coffee bitterness. Slight dried fruit notes. Mouthfeel is lighter than what I expected, though completely satisfying. Mild alcohol warmth. An absolutely wonderful beer. One is enough for the night.

bort11, Nov 18, 2006
Photo of SetarconeX
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Near as I can tell, this is something of the flagship of the St. Bernardus brand, and for good reason. This is the fourth of their beers I've tried, and it is clearly the best, which is saying something because the others were pretty near to perfect.

Very deep reddish brown color, with a hefty froth up top. Tastes exactly the same way it smells, only even more so. Aroma and taste of malt, raisins, chocolate, nutmeg, cane sugar....in short, a lot of different flavors.

If, as Ben Franklin claimed, beer was proof that God loves us and wants to be happy, than this is him showing us how good beer can be. Here's to hoping for a long happy life of preaching to the monk on the label!

SetarconeX, Nov 17, 2006
Photo of nriech
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours with a very creamy light-tan head that is two fingers thick. There is moderate carbonation activity from within the beer visible at the outer edges of the glass.

Smell: Super rich toasted malt up front with some cinnamon & clove. Slightly sweet, brown sugar, caramel, very floral, and somewhat herbal hops on the nose as well. Actually a little more sweet than the regular on tap I had just the night before.

Taste: The taste is of sweet, complex maltiness. Hop bitterness is low, but enough to keep the sweetness from being cloying. Little bit of alcohol on the tip of the tounge. Very full bodied and herbal.

Drinkability: Very easy to drink, excellent lingering of flavors in the mouth. A pleasant warming develops on subsequent pours into the goblet. Insanely drinkable.

nriech, Nov 14, 2006
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,568 ratings.