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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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7,847 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,847
Reviews: 2,540
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 496
Gots: 1,301 | FT: 34
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: 7,847 | Reviews: 2,540 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of pwoods
3.93/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz. brown bottle, purchased at From the Vine in Columbus, poured into a Chalice. 18 10 12.

A: Nice mahogany pour with some visibility. The first pour was rough, though only slightly, and produces 3 massive fingers of lightly tinted frothy head that held nicely. Some patchy lacing.

S: A nice alcohol line just like Westvleteren 12. Not quite as profound but very enjoyable. Deeply sweet caramel and dense bread notes.

T/M: Pleasant alcohol but it's not as rich as I'd have liked. Very tasty nonetheless as it swims through all the flavors. Strong enough to leave a prickle on your tongue and a warmth in the belly. More of the rich caramel flavors as well as some of those tasty alcoholic dark fruits. There's a nice bitterness on the tip of the tongue for a bit in the beginning but falls out during the creamy malt wave, only to return to a drying alcoholic finish with some lasting bitterness. Body is full but not heavy and carbonation keeps things lively.

D: Tasty but this should be a rare treat that needs to be sipped and enjoyed. The alcohol is noticeable, as it should be in this style, and after the bottle I'm starting to get a light buzz.

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

Appearance: Nice roasty, brown color. It's opaque and has quite a bit of sediment swimming around. Head is about two fingers deep. Retention is top notch. It might even outlast the beer. Lacing is very solid.

Smell: Pepper and clove spices hit the nose first. Caramel and sugar malts smell sweet. Dark fruit aromas (plum and raisin mostly) blend well with the spice and malt scents. Light alcohol scent toward the end. This is a pretty complex and nice smelling brew. Quite enticing.

Taste: I've got to admit, I was not quite expecting this to be this tasty. The flavor is extremely full and robust. Dark fruit and spice flavors are an excellent combo and provide a complex kickoff. Caramel and sugar malts provide a very sweet follow up. Hops are more notable than in smell and provide just enough bitterness to balance it out really well. It's a bit bready on the tail and that remains on the palate. Alcohol warms you up just a tad at the very end.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: This is medium bodied. Carbonation is high, but far from offensive. It's very smooth and goes down a little too easy. That's especially true considering its 10.5% stature. But, I find myself wanting more. It's extremely drinkable. Perhaps it's a good thing I only have one.

Abt 12 is excellent beer. As far as Quads go, it's right up there at the top. Frankly, it's every bit as good as Westvleteren 12. And that's saying a lot. Westvleteren 12 may have a very slight edge. But, it is an extremely close call. Certainly a "must try" for every BA.

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

Pours out a deep dark brown color with a cream colored head. Watch how you pour it - the head is big but settles in and leaves a nice film on top with good lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smells and tastes sweet and bready and spicy. I sense cinnamon, dark fruits, cherries, caramel, and citrus. It's a balanced and complex beer. There's some alcohol warmth on the finish, but it's very silky and smooth and creamy. This is a good beer once in a while, but the ABV is too high to turn into a session beer.

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

Pours a hazy deep brown color with red highlights and a thick cream colored head that has good retention and lacing into my goblet. Smells of caramel, fresh baked rolls, spices, dark fruits, lemon, and just enough alcohol to remind you it's a big beer. Tastes of sugar and caramel sweetness up front followed by yeasty bread, some clove and other spices, and a finish of figs, raisins, and other dark fruits with just enough alcohol warmth and a slight citrus twist to it. Medium-full in body, smooth with nice effervescent carbonation. Alcohol presence is noticeable, but it is 10% alcohol and it has a very warming feel to it and accompanies the other flavors nicely, completing the balance. A great, very drinkable Quad with great flavor and balance, though just a bit too high in alcohol to be something I'd want to have very often.

Photo of SLeffler27
4.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow ! Look at the size of that mocha head, as it lingers over clear dark chocolate, only to eventually deposit dense lacing on the walls of my St. Bernardus chalice. Now this is what communion chalice should look like.

Ummm vanilla and orange tripleseck followed by cherry and plumb notes singing in the nose.

This is one rich body of plumb pudding and fruity bread.

Thick lush velvet, would make George Costanza weak in the knees.

If only the alcohol was lower, I would sip this one all night with good company or a good book.

Photo of adamette
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap, expertly poured at Chef Paul's Bavarian House in Lisle, Illinois, my favorite place to drink beer in the world.

A Opaque, deep brown

S Mild, alcoholic smell but clearly complex, wide range of aromas

T Alcohol was apparent but what a great taste with spices, malty goodness washing over without any great hop tastes to make it bitter.

M Full, Good, Suprisingly smooth given the range of aromas.

D High ETOH content but this is an apertif, a great dessert beer.

Notes: I simply love this beer. It is my default beer at the Bier Markt in Cleveland, Ohio.

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

Pour this one carefully. This brew starts off with a thick head and a strong aroma. Smells salty and bitter at first but lightens up as it breathes. The color is a very murky brownish amber full of sediment. Tastes of cloves, yeast, cinnamon, raisin, and elusive fruit. The carbonation froths up as you sip making for an exceptional mouthfeel. It's a heavy slow-drinker that tastes better as it warms up.

Photo of dill
3.8/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured cold from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

A - deep brown in color with a thick, dense cream head.

S - very yeasty.

T - starting it cold there was a lot of caramel and yeast, and as i let it come to room temperature a lot more of the alcohol was present in the taste.

M - a surprising amount of carbonation, medium body.

D - a good, warming beer to to sip and enjoy.

Photo of ckeegan04
4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Nice dark brown with excellent head and lacing. Retention was very good as well.

S - Sweet malts with a little spice as well.

T - Sweetness up front with a little spice. Tasted a hint of alcohol but overall it is masked by the sweetness and a little spice at the end.

M/D - Very smooth and creamy. Good carbonation and an excellent drinkability.

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

On tap at Liberty St in Allentown. Served in a goblet.

A: Hazy dark brown color with a nice one finger off white head. Nice retention and some sticky lacing.
S: Very malty, ripe fruit, slight spice, some caramel and cloves and a light alcohol background.
T: Full side of medium bodied, very creamy and smooth with appropriate carbonation. For such a big beer, alcohol has a welcome presence, but is very well hidden, nice warming effect. Strong malty body and follows the nose with a ripe fruit taste and light spiciness. Pleasant sweetness in the finish. Overall, a very nice beer, easy (at least for me) to take this beer for granted and overlook how good it is.

Photo of csmiley
4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours dark brown in color. Head is massive with a retention that knows no end. Lacing was excellent.

S - Caramel makes up the majority of the aroma profile. Other backround notes are alcohol, yeast, and bitter fruit.

T - Caramel and sugar are at the forefront of the taste. Secondly, there are bread and yeast flavors that are also pretty strong. The bitter fruit does show itself but in a mild way and in a distant background. Alcohol is the one flavor that ties it all together.

M - Full bodied with some bite at first. They really almost went overboard on the carbonation.

D - This is a good beer. I would not have any problems having several. Recommended and worth a try.

Photo of cswhitehorse
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Abt 12 from St. Bernardus pours a dark hazy brown with a small foam head with very little retention.

The smell is spicy like cloves, sweet like brown sugar and caramel. It tastes of cloves initially and then you taste the sugars. You can taste the alcohol but it not overpowering for the high abv.

In the mouth it has an initial bitterness. Then it lingers on the tongue for a while. Overall this is a once a year beer for me but enjoyable none the less.

Photo of macster
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A hugely flavorful and richly complex Belgian Quad. Pours a cloudy reddish brown color beneath a thick, dense enduring off-white head.

Presents rich aromas of yeast rolls, figs, raisins, brown sugar and black licorice or anise.

The palate is full, smooth and quite chewy; especially as the ale warms.

The flavors are a myriad of dark fruitcake, toffee, caramel, malt and spices. This Quad's obvious sweetness is perfectly balanced by the 10% alcohol and just a hint of hops in the finish.

This Belgian treat would be hard to beat. Worth every $!

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

I paid the 5 dollars for one bottle of this beer because of the high reviews it received. After chilling it and them letting it sit out to get it to the 53-56 degrees that is recommended, I opened it up. I then had to wait another 5 minutes for the head to dissipate after pouring it. The wait was well worth it. For an alcohol content of 10.2% you barely taste it. The best part of the beer is the after taste. It finishes very smooth and delicious. It was a good beer to try but I could never afford to drink it on a consistent basis. I recommend to try it at least once so you can get a feel for what a real beer tastes like.

Photo of rxdrewthejew
4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I think I got this at Beverage Warehouse, but I can't really remember anymore.

A: Pours a dark brown with lots of tiny bubbles rising from the bottom. Head was a very thick tan but mostly dissapates, aside from what is supported by the carbonation rising to the top.

S: Very strong champagne/grape sweetness. Even the smell is dry, which makes me wonder about the feel. A bit of earthiness and spiciness to the smell.

T: Mild funky start quickly develops into a huge bready/sweet malt along with some white wine type grape flavor. Finish is sweet sticky alcohol.

MF: Quite thick and bubbly, dances in the mouth. I guess I didn't expect this level of carbonation from such a high ABV beer. Really really dry finish. Overall this is just an assault on the mouth from a feel standpoint, but in a good way.

D: Awesome beer. So hard to just sip it due to the wine-like dryness. The flavor is really nice but not too complex. Something good year round, simple and strong. Highly recommend.

Photo of Murchmac
3.08/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thus my treks into belgians continue.

I can get into it, but not that much. The champagne like fizziness holds me back from liking most belgians.

Pours with a thick head, lacing present.

Cant smell anything but sourness.

Taste bready, sweet, acid.

Aftertaste, short, curt.

I have no idea.

Photo of mwilbur
4.68/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from 1 pint 9.4 oz bottle into snifter. (Bottom of bottle says best by 05/09/10.)
A: Pours a cloudy dark brown with shades of dark yellow. Fairly thick beer. Nice creamy tan head which doesn't dissipate.
S: Very bready...like mostly cooked, but still a little doughy raisin bread. Maybe hint of spice (cinnamon?).
T: Definite dried fruit and raisin notes. Spices and malt. Bready yeast, but a little less powerful than the smell reflected...which is a good thing.
M: Thick and creamy. Wonderful mouthfeel...coats the tongue and lasts.
D: Amazingly drinkable considering the ABV. A versatile beer that would do well on its own, with a decent meal (burgers and pizza wouldn't do this one justice), with dessert, etc. This one definitely ages well (have had this one for a few years). I will definitely be coming back to this one again!

1/28/12: Decided to push a bottle past the recommended best by date of 25/07/11...
Poured into snifter from 750 mL bottle.
A: Pours a dark caramel brown with a hint of clarity around the edges. Still has a beautiful 2 inch bubbly light tan head like it was fresh brewed the other day. Good retention. (4.5).
S: Bready yeast hits from a couple feet away. Belgian spice, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg. Intoxicating and still smells fresh. (5)
T: Ah ha...it has tailed off here. Bready yeast is a bit stale, caramel malt a bit flat, spices are there but a bit off. I agree...past prime. (3)
M: Smooth, medium body. Taste still lingers nicely on the palate. A bit off a fresh bottle though. (4)
D: Lesson learned. Heed the bottle's advice and drink before the date printed on the bottle. (3.5)

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

Yeah, yeah, yeah, don't talk about the style it's under - that's subject to change. But it says it's a dubbel. You'd think the Belgians, if anyone, would know their styles, wouldn't you? But then... Maybe this is one of the original big beers - they call it a dubbel so that it will completely blow any other dubbel out of the water in terms of, well, everything. Color, head, opacity, aroma, flavor. To name a few. So, that's all I've got to write, I guess. Enjoyed it. Won't seek it out again, but, really, enjoyed it for the style.

Photo of iconoklaztor
2.93/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a massive head that never seems to want to go away. Sadly after 15 min it still remains. I want to drink this damn beer. The smell was pretty much alcohol. I wasnt to impressed with this brew. I was expecting more but I just didnt find it.

Overall, I wouldn't get this again unless it was on sale.

Photo of jtneal111
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-Pours cloudy dark brown with a thick, persistent off white head (2-3 fingers)

S-Smells of raisins, unknown spices, bread

T-Raisin bread, rum, spices (gingerbread?), with noticeable yet well balanced alcohol. Very complex.

M-Nice medium body, Aftertaste is sweet and warm.

D-I wouldn't drink more than a couple of these in a sitting, but to do so would decrease my appreciation for this most excellent beer.

Photo of HotHabanero
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beige medium size and medium lasting head. Brown colour. Fruity aroma with some sweet caramel in it. Very tasty flavour: sweet caramel, dried fruit with notes of. Rich palate. Big balanced body and a round finish.
Compareable to Westvleteren and Rochefort 10.

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

A-Nice pop when uncapping. Poured a dark, cloudy amber w/thick persistent head. Nice lacing.

S-Yeast and fine bread w/tones of raisins and dates, spice.

T-Bread w/dry dark fruits. Slightly sweet w/trace of salt and plenty of spice. Aftertaste is very agreeable sweet malts w/possible touch of hops and warming alcohol.

M-Excellent body w/out being cloying. Goes down very smoothly.

D-A very nice specimen worth the coin.

Photo of Kraken
4.08/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from Corked and Caged 750ml bottle.
Massive head, starts oozing from the bottle upon removing the cork. Pours a cherry brown. Smells of yeast and raisins, vine fruits, and alcohol. Head diminishes over time to thin minute bubbles, leaves nice lacing on glass. Taste of raisins, and yeast, very nice malty, slight sweetness. Thin mouthfeel, not clinging like some other quads. Sweet somewhat dry finish. Very drinkable, high alcohol content drinker beware.

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

Poured this 11.2 oz brown bottle into a Westmalle goblet. Best by: 07-11-11. The body was rather clear (gentle/moderate pour). Dark cola with ruby highlights. A pithy finger of head settled to a constant film of foam. The body held some suspended flecks of yeast, otherwise it was clear. Served at/slightly warmer than suggested temperature.

Smell was of dried fruit. Figs & dates. Overripe cherries. The head audibly sizzled.

Taste was tangy and sweet. Fruity and rich. Juicy raisins. Spicy date nut bread. Very well hidden alcohol. A dessert-type of beer in my opinion. Sweet enough that I would not drink more than one in an evening.

Mouthfeel was rich but zippy. Medium to full in body.

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

Served at about 55* into a chalice

Deep deep copper brown/red that looked black straight on.
Poured with a nonoffensive off white to tan head that stayed pretty much the whole time.

Smelled of clove, dark/tart fruit, tofee, bubble gum, light banana, and a little cocoa in the back

Tasted of strong, syrupy malt with dark fruit like plum and raisin. Nice banana bread in the middle with a little homemade cough syrup with some warming alcohol that was a good kicker for the array of dark flavors

It coated my mouth like syrup, very rich but smooth. Nice crisp carbonation that made it fun to sip. Sweet medicine and dark cherry linger on the tongue.

I was only able to get through 6oz of this before I had to stop. So intense, and so thick that I couldn't go on. It was definitely an experience and one that I am glad I had. I might have this again with some food so that I don't get so buzzed off of just a few sips!

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,847 ratings.