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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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8,102 Ratings

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Ratings: 8,102
Reviews: 2,588
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 535
Gots: 1,549 | FT: 43
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: 8,102 | Reviews: 2,588 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ThatWineGuy
4.03/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got the second pour from a well-aged bottle, it appeared chestnut brown to me with suspended yeast particles. Mocha head was one finger in my Chimay goblet with low carbonation and a stagnant centre of large bubbles just hanging out. The diminishing head could be reproduced with a swirl that would just cover the surface area, carbonation on the low side.

The aroma was distinct but hard to describe: patent leather, brussel sprouts, mild tobacco.
The taste was semi-sweet, semi-bitter, pine, sour dark fruit, caramel malt. The finish was long and distinctive, a bit tart with sour fruit and dry. The problem with evaluating a beer like this is that we're so seldom able to fidn them in these parts, it's hard to know what to compare it to. Having enjoyed the St. Bernardus 8 the other night, I have to confess that I enjoyed that much more than this. The mouthfeel here was, for lack of kinder words, somewhat lacquer-like and cleansing and that took away from a more impressive rating overall. Mind you, I'm well aware of the reputation of this brew and I'd love to try it again ... but if I said it knocked my socks off, I'd be stretching the truth quite a bit - good plus some, but not outstanding on this night, at least not for me.

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

Dry plum that turns a vivid, lustrous black cherry when held up to the light - you wouldn't expect such dazzle from a beer that otherwise appears so conservative. The beer really changes its place on the light spectrum when back lit, it jumps at least a full octave brighter. Its surface is mildewed with a firm but feathery hat of off-white ostrich fur. Curiously, it opts not to leave any markings down the side of the glass. Still, the beer looks luscious.

Give me a couple minutes to collect my thoughts about this aroma... and exhale. At its base it's bready and yeasty but it's coated with layers of dimension. Listed least to most prominent: herbal cooking spices, mostly clove but hints of black pepper, cinnamon and ginger as well; secondly, dried fruits (prunes, raisins) doused in brown sugar and caramelized under a scorching hot flame; lastly, the most rich and soothing note of pure bourbon vanilla.

The taste of whole grain bread, toasted and smeared with some sort of prune, raisin or currant jam is hearty and delicious. This taste resembles an Hors d'age Armagnac - it exhibits flavours of ripe, dried and preserved fruits (orange, prune, apricot, apple, pear), spices (vanilla, cocoa, cinnamon, mint, pepper), nuts (almond, hazelnut, brasil nut) as well as dried flowers, watery honey, tobacco, leather and oak. It is layered with flavour.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 drinks like it's been slowly matured in oak casks for years. It drinks velvety smooth but with a tremendously rich texture. It shows no indication of its strength. The flavours have mellowed and blended together so intricately that pin-pointing precisely what you're drinking can be difficult. It has a dimension not often achieved unless allowed to evolve in a barrel. Perhaps this is merely the work of a pure and ancient yeast strain?

In my mind, there is no doubt this is the Armagnac of Belgium: its colour is striking, its bouquet intensely aromatic, its flavours endless and personally subjective, its disposition elegant, smooth, and refined and its story is one rooted in the geography, culture, and history of where it's made. I'm no expert on French brandies or spirits, but I know my beer, and there are few that I'd put ahead of this for meal pairings or after-dinner digestifs.

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

Memorable Qualities: I prefer this in the bottle than on tap, where it seems to lose some of the intensity of the nose. I feel like I can always count on St. B to deliver the dark fruit alcoholic yeasty stew that makes me wish I lived in the Belgian countryside with monks stirring open wooden vats. I want to swim in this. Best quad/abt I've ever had. Perfect.

Photo of JeffV
4.54/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

You could build a sky scraper out of the foam on this beer.

Eh. Not amazing (compared to the rest of this beer). I get a little mollasses.

Good God this taste amazing. Westvlet...suck it.

Great mouthfeel.

Exceedingly drinkable...for the style. The 10% alcohol is there though.

Photo of superdedooperboy
4.23/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Popping the cap causes an eruption of foam to issue forth from the mouth. Poured into a goblet, the brew shows dark chestnut with a massive tan head, which slowly settles to a thick half-finger layer of foam that remains for the rest of the draught, leaving behind curtains of lace on the glass. Bits of yeast dance around in suspension when the brew is held to the light.

The nose is rather spicy, with cinnamon and nutmeg, perhaps a passing hint of clove, along with plums and a whiff of figs.

Surprisingly light on the palate, with a medium body that beguiles the beer's maltiness. Sweet caramel malt flavors mingle on the tongue with raisins, figs, and spice, with a sharp dryness that carries into the semi-sweet finish.

The wonderful balance of sweet, spice, and dryness combine to make this an incredibly easy-drinking beer that hides its strength well, which is sneaky and goes straight from the glass to the head, skipping the palate altogether, albeit with perhaps a slight warming on the way down. Certainly worth of world-class status.

Photo of TheChauffeur1
4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5


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

Pours deep copper brown/almost black with large tan head and dense patchy downsliding lacing. Aroma is light sweetish roasted bready malty, with hints of caramel and light alcohol in finish. Taste is similar, lots of dried fruit in addition, but in the the finish low bitterness sets in and some very light alcohol can felt. Mouthfeel is full and creamy with more than average carbonation.

Overall - amazing, no comments, I could sip this one all day.

Photo of Bubba83
4.67/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a snifter at 50 degrees. Cola colored body with ruby accents topped with an offwhite, slightly tan head. Lots of head on the pour, maybe 4 fingers wide, settled down after a few minutes into a really creamy head that sort of floats onto the sides of the glass. 1/2 finger width ring of head remains until the last drop.

I pick up some awesome yeasty qualities in the aroma. There's an earthiness there with a nice vibrant red fruity tone. Figs, raisins, strawberries, and raspberries fresh from the vine.

Taste is sublime. The reason I like this so much more than others is because the yeast does not take over the overall flavor profile. The malt backbone is exquisite, starts slightly bready with some caramel and then quickly migrates towards beautiful ripe dark fruits. Raspberries, blackberries, stawberries, figs, plums, raisins and cherries all come to mind. Finishes up with a little bit of vanilla and some earthy pepper from the yeast and hops.

The bubbles are very small which creates a nice mouthfeel that is right on the money. It's smooth yet lively, and dances softly on the tongue. The body is just the right density as well, slick yet not too heavy, velvety.

Extremely hard to find the alcohol content anywhere in the flavor profile. Mellow on the swallow as well, don't feel the warming effect. So complex and interesting though that I enjoyed this slowly over the course of an hour. An exceptionally constructed Quadrupel that never ceases to amaze me.

Photo of MunchkinDrinker
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a dark hazy mahogany color with a large tan fluffy head. Pretty.

S - Smells very bready, malty and fruity. Every now and then you catch a whiff of something spicy in there. Very very inviting.

T/M - I'm not sure what to make of this beer. Very thick and chewy, but the tastes don't initially hit you that way. In your mouth you only get a small taste of the rich malty sweetness until you swallow. THEN the full flavor hits you. It finishes very very strongly with a strong (but slightly chalky) malty sweet flavor. Alot of flavors in here. Slight smokiness, sweet fruity flavors, like rasins and dates, very very strong malts. As it warms the alcohol is very noticible, but very warming.

(on edit: some tastes added in there)

D - I wouldn't call this very drinkable, as the alcohol is very high and the chewyness somewhat gets in the way. Something I'd love to start off the night with, but not something I'd drink all night.

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

Appearance: Mahogany brown with a light tan head.

Smell: Has a very light nose to it. Banana, pear, raisins, and plums.

Taste: All of the sweet dark fruits, brown sugar, raisins, figs, spices, and cherries. It has a slight bitter finish with a wonderful alcohol taste.

Drinkability/mouthfeel: This is an amazing beer. Very light carbonation and a slick feel make this a must try for everyone.

Photo of jcdiflorio
4.18/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle served into a chalice.
Cloudy med. mahogany,cider like hues,bone white froathy head settles a bit quick to a constaint coating.Constant surging of tiny bubbles with a snow globe look from all the particles of suspended yeast.Leaves scattered sheets and webs of lace down the glass
Dark fruit,rasiny.apple peels with deep doughy yeastyness.
Creamy textures led to a dry dark fruitiness,dates,raisins,very astrigent,port-like has a sweet sticky booziness midway through the finish,not overpowering yet very present.Nice. Suprizingly drinkable leaves your mouth watering for more.

Photo of webbcreative
4.21/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

dark brown pour with nice head. smells malty and sweet. this is a big brew, rich flavor. sorta caramelized sugar taste, this is a pretty sweet beer, but has just enough hops to save it from going overboard, definitely a cold weather drink, i could taste the alcohol a bit, but definitely didn't feel like 10%. overall I say this is for sure one of the best brew's i have tasted. and would treat this as a special occasion beer, as even if cheaper, dont think i could drink all the time.

Photo of pdxwhisky
4.12/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very Very Nice.

Perfect for style. Wonderful candi sugar notes. Excellent lacing and carbonation.

If only my drinking companions were as able to enjoy it (too complex for them, 2 of 3 left their glasses 1/2 full, oh well).

This might be the Belgian Quad that I use to rate others by.

Photo of cpn920
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one smooth puppy. Poured a dark and murky brown with a tannish head that faded to thin layer. Smelled yeast, malt, and perhaps some brown sugar. Taste was very good with a predominant malt flavor but perfectly balanced. The beer had a great warming feel to it as the alcohol hit my stomach. Nice carbonation on this full bodied brew. Drinkability is high...I wish I had more than this 750 ml bottle. Excellent beer!

Photo of Pauly2X
4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark nearly opaque ruby/chestnut hue. Frothy one finger head.

S- Incredibly smooth caramel malts with hints of dark fruit.

T- Profound maltyness. Rich caramel and tons of dark fruit flavors meld nicely together. Some hop spicyness couples very well with the yeast profile to provide a counterpoint to the sweetness. A warming alcohol note handles the finish.

M- Full/medium bodied, fizzy yet smooth.

D- I keep having to remind myself of the strength.

If Westy 12 is better, I'd like to see it.

Photo of surfer4life
4.62/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my goblet from a 12oz bottle.

A - Dark brown, with a thin head that quickly recedes to a few bubbles on the top of the delicious looking beer.

S - Caramel malts, raisins and cloves assault the nose. Sweet smell is overwhelming and immediately starts my salivatory glands to gush.

T - Cloves and fruit dominate at first giving a wonderful sweetness. Shortly there after there is an almost sourness that comes with the bite of an apple or a plum not yet ripe. Complex malts and yeast make this a an exceptional beer.

M - Highly carbonated, leaves the palate slick and clean waiting for and wanting more.

D - Entirely to drinkable. I could drink this daily if it were the only one I'd drink but it wouldn't be, so I shall not. Exceptional beer here.

Photo of Jablonski
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured the Abt 12 into a Chimay glass. It looked beautiful. It pours an opaque black-mahogany color with yeast visible at the bottom and all around the sides (and in the head). The head is large a dark tan and the lacing is great. It smells like Belgium Yeast largely. I can pick up a few fruits, mostly dark fruits with a hint of sour grapefruit. The taste is great, only held back by the alcohol coming on a bit too strong. The flavor is powerfull overall though, as a mix of dark fruits and malts with an interesting bitter & sour finish. Even while cold, this beer is still great, and it is hard for me to wait for the Abt 12 to warm. It's a nice beer to have a couple of, but the price and high ABV may prevent you from going all out on this beer. Highly Recommended.

Photo of mikereaser
4.02/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours a murky dark brown with a 1/4 inch of off white foam

S - very complex brew. raisins and candied sugar, sweet malts, almost too much going on to be able to describe it

T - citrus & floral hops, sweet malts, cloves, grapes, cherries, very sugary tasting, again, there is so much going on that its hard to describe

M/D - very easy to drink, but maybe a bit too sugary for me, but this is definitely one to try.

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

Learning that this brew was made with hops from the same hop fields and water from the same well as the Westvleteren 12, I was very eager to try this. However, I believe my expectations were too high for this brew, since it was a bit of a letdown from the Westy. This is not to say, though, that this isn't an outstanding brew on its own.

A: Very strong pitch color that turns blood red in the light. Slight, almost unnoticeable thin head.

S: Sweet molasses, caramel, dates, cloves, and other spices. Alcohol is present but not overwhelming.

T: Very malty and bready. Possesses a strong, complex, earthy, and biscuity flavor. Caramels, coffee, chocolate, dark fruits, all there. Somehow, though, the flavors seem to be going to war with each other in your mouth instead of complementing each other.

M: Smooth and creamy; leaving an oily and slick feeling afterwards.

D: Drinkable, but definitely a sipper. Just the mere gassiness and heaviness of this ale makes it hard to finish the bottle.

Photo of rhinos00
4.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one will always hold a special place in my beer cellar. I have had it many times, be it on-tap or in the bottle, but have not gotten around to reviewing it. I thought it was finally time to give this beer its due. Poured from a 25.7 oz bottle into a Rochefort chalice.

A- Pours a dim, ruby color with hints of brown throughout. Produced a fingers width of off-white head that dissipated quickly.

S- Rather complex. Detected hints of raisins and plums mixed with sharp notes of candied sugars. The malt presence reveals a sharp, alcohol booze scent that pierces the nostrils. Just layer upon layer of things that I cannot even describe.

T- Cloves provide a subtle and distinct sweetness that first grabs the tongue. As this passes the various dark fruits make their presence felt, giving off wonderful flavors. Layered on top of this is a great combination of malt and burnt sugars. Finishing off each sip is a nice, alcohol burn that just warms you up.

M- If there was one fault I could find in this beer, this is it. With every sip that I took, the beer seemed to have a highly carbonated feel, giving off a bubbly, soda type imitation. I was hoping for something with a little more viscosity.

D- The unique part about this beer is that it doesn't try to hide the 10% abv. Instead, it embraces the alcohol and utilizes it as part of the experience.

Overall, this will always be one of my all-time favorites. It's one of the first beers from the craft world that I had, and it will be one that I will always come back to. Highly recommended!

Photo of bowersdm
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

33cL (11.2oz) bottle poured into a Westmalle chalice. some of the yeast did work its way into the pour.

A - dark throughout, ruby at the bottom. very cloudy with a noticeable amount of sediment floating around. the head was slightly more than a film.

S - sweet malt, alcohol, cloves. I don't know why, but I was barley able to detect anything in the nose. That's why the rating is so low.

T - wow! there's a lot going on here. very sweet malty flavor, caramel malt, coffee, cocoa, apples, grapes, and that St. Bernardus grassy, earthy quality. The ending did not seem dry at all as with other St. Bernardus beers.

M - perfect

D - a great quad. definitely worthy of its high Top beers on Planet Earth rating.

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

on tap at Bier Markt in Cleveland, poured into a snifter

a: hazy ruby red color with a small off white head with excellent retention

s: malt swettness mixed with spice and fruit

t: clove and fruit, the alcohol is present and warming

m&d: smooth and creamy mouthfeel, full bodied, very drinkable ale.


Photo of br3wmeister
4.48/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Big soapy head, light tan in color with crazy good head retention holding to the last sip. Great lacing. Hazy dark brownish red in color with some orange hues in the light.

S- Cinnamon, brown sugar, and caramel are strongly present on the first whiff. Then I get hints of light roasted nuts and some earthy and herbal yeast notes. Later I notice vanilla and then can not smell anything but vanilla and caramel in this beer.

T- Caramel and dark fruit sweetness, lots of plum with a hint of raisin. A little bit of hops come through but are overpowered by sweet complex malt character. Some roasted almonds and hints of charcoal. Your mouth is left with a nice sweet almost fruity after taste that makes you want to keep drinking, also some alcohol warmth in the end.

M- Medium bodied with a little too much carbonation. Though it is very malty and pretty sweet it is still fairly well balanced.

Overall- A great beer that is easy to find and very enjoyable. I would recommend this beer to anyone who is into Belgians... and everyone else too.

Photo of AdmiralDiaz
4.48/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a tulip glass.

A: Pours very dark grayish brown with hints of amber. two-finger off-white head with great retention eventually becoming very rocky leaving just a small amount of lacing.

S: Strong smell of nuts, Belgian yeast and various fruits.

T: Very complex and bold flavor of apples, pears, berries, and figs complemented by a nutty and yeast taste. Leaves a very strong taste in your mouth that's quite pleasing. It's very rare that a beer keeps a smile on my face for the entire drink, this was just amazing.

Overall: The feel was nothing out of the ordinary for the style but the drinkability was amazing for the alcohol content...It barely even came out. One of the most exceptional beers I've ever had...and I was lucky enough to get a 4-pack for only $4.99!!!

Photo of olmatty
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Pours a one finger tan head with moderate retention and nice lacing, beer is a cloudy dark brown.

Smell- Aroma of a sour dried fruit and yeast

Taste- Nutty malts, strong wash of alcohol, yeasty, lots of dried fruit, raisins, figs and a finish like a dry fine brandy. Complex is an understatement.

Mouthfeel- Bubbly and mouthcoating. Alcohol enters the sinuses.

Drinkability- One might want to drink many of these, but one would be hard pressed to do so.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 8,102 ratings.