St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

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7,890 Ratings

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Ratings: 7,890
Reviews: 2,549
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 495
Gots: 1,348 | 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: 7,890 | Reviews: 2,549 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AltBock
4.03/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Corked and caged 750ml bottle with a blue and yellow shield that contains a smiliing monk toasting a goblet that's filled with his beer. You would be smiliing too if you too had a goblet that is filled with Abt 12. The back of the bottle has all the information you need know about this beer. Silk screened to the back of the bottle is a brief history of the brewery, their beer making process, ingredients, how long it will age, best serving temperature, best serving glass, and the ABV%. They do stamp a best before date on the bottle, but they stamp it on the bottom. Mine use to be best before 22/03/12.

Appearance: Served in a Corsendonk Christmas Ale goblet. This beer was murky like a swamp. It was so murky that it was hard to tell what color it was. If I had to say what color it is, I would have to say that it's a dark caramel brown. It had a 1 inch bubbly head of white foam with good retention that left behind a nice sized white film, white foamy rings along the edges, and quite a few streaks of sticky white lace in its tracks.

Smell: Not only was the appearance murky, so was the smell. It was so murky that I had a hard time picking out the different aromas by themselves. All the aromas combined to form one big mob aroma. This mob of an aroma consisted of toasted and roasted malts, dark fruits, candy sugar, citrus fruits, a dash of pepper and yeast, and then ended with some juicy hops.

Taste: The taste was heavy with toasted and roasted malts, caramel, sweet plums, yeast, more dark fruits, bitter citrus hops, and ended with a big bite of sweet alcohol. The alcohol acted as a coating for every taste. For example; when I got the malts, every single malt had an alcohol coating. The same thing went for every other flavor that made it's appearance in the taste. It made for a very interesting taste.

Mouthfeel: It was clearly a full flavored full bodied beer that had a nice sized aftertaste of roasted malts, dark fruits, and crispy citrus hops. After those tastes had their time in the sun, it comes the alcohol. There was more alcohol than flavors. After the taste, I was expecting that to happen. It didn't bother to mask the ABV%. It wanted me to know that it was there and it was staying.

Drinkability: It's about time that I finally decied to pop one open and try it. I was glad that I did. Since it's almost everywhere, I will more likely try this one again in the future. It's one Belgian beer that everyone should try for themselves!

Photo of theopholis
4.18/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Beautiful, mostly clear, reddish cola, with a HUGE off-white head that shrinks from 4 or 5 fingers to a constant 1 finger layer. Excellent lacing. Very inviting looking.

Smell- Lots of complex, malt sweetness. Some bittering hops but not much. Some dried fruit (especially dark and fig) , caramel, and a hint of alcohol.

Taste- Beautiful melange of malt sweetness, dried fruit, dark fruit, caramel. Quite complex.

Mouthfeel- A tad thin but also slightly syrupy. Definitely over-carbonated!!!! The head is freaking huge!!!!

Drinkability- Very good; especiallu for a Belgina!!!!

Photo of stephens101
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a raspberry brownish color with yeasties floating around. A huge fluffy tan head sticks around for a while, finally leaving a nice consistent lacing all around. Smell is complex with a panoply of dark fruits, big malts, grain, nectar, and sugary sweetness. Tastes a bit tart and not as complex as the aroma, but still quite tasty. Raisins, breads and slight hops finish things off. Alcohol is well-hidden. Mouth-feel is medium to full-bodied. Carbonation is excellent. Another great addition to the consistently great St. Bernardus lineup.

Photo of atrus138
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown, hazy to the point of opaqueness. Huge, fluffy off-white head that leaves lacing plastered all over my chalice. Most excellent. Nose consists of a delicious malt background of sweet bread and caramel. Ripe dark fruits are also present. Hugely complex and potent. Taste is incredibly sweet. It almost tastes like a wholesome candy. Bread, fruit, and spices are all present in just the right amounts. This feels great - very smooth. Medium bodied. A must-have for beer lovers!

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

Served on draft in a wide red wine style glass.

Color was dark brown and opaque with plenty of head.

Malty smell with small hints of fruit and yeast.

The mouthfeel was quite airy and silky.

Taste was out of this world with fruity / raisiny tones.

I probably would not drink much more than one of these at a time, but excellent nonetheless.

I would recommend this to people, like me, who do not really care for Belgian Blondes because this is quite different. A real surprise.

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

The classic! Like the DFH 60 Minute I reviewed earlier this evening, Abt 12 is one of those beers I used to drink weekly and have taken a break from recently. Getting back into things this evening! Poured into my Chimay chalice.

A - lovely dark brown color with hints of red when held up to light, nice off-white head

S - dark fruit, caramel, spiciness

T - raisons, figs, spicy alcohol taste, a bit of caramel

M - medium bodied, great carbonation

D - well of course this is great! It's Abt 12! I can easily polish off a 750 mL of this provided I'm not too full when I begin. Of course I'll be drinking this again. If you haven't had it yet (and I assume your excuse would be that it's not sold in your area) get on it!

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

hazy reddish brown with a just barely off white head. retention and lace are good as well. nose is of fruit, plum, raisin, malt and faint hop. georgeous. taste is complex and well balanced mix of nose and more. great medium full body that is not nearly as prickly as most of its competitors. i've had this one on tap and in 330ml and 750ml bottles. it never ceases to amaze me. this brewery is one of my favorites, and definitely holds its own against the top dogs. i'll have another!!

Photo of ROMER79
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well if you live anywhere near Philadelphia there is a great little spot in Center City called Jose Pistolas. They have this on tap and it may be a permanent beer there.

It poured a very earthy brown with hints of red swirling throughout. A nice tan/red head that disappears in after a few sips. I have had this in a bottle as well and I feel that if you can get it on tap, especially at a place that has it at the right temp. you can smell the aromas of fruit, caramel, and clove right away as well as the alcohol. In the taste you can pick up raisins, caramel, lemon/citrus, clove, and possibly berries. It is very delicious and refreshing on the way down. When it strikes your palate you can really appreciate the flavors in this beer. It is a tremendous balance of everything. An easy beer to drink not heavy in carbonation and no very filling, just high in alcohol content.

Photo of SurlyDuff
4.68/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Caged and corked bomber. Pours a rich earthy/mahogany brown into my chalice. Light tan head that receded fairly quickly.

Raisins and burnt caramel hit the nose first. Possibly some ripe melon in there too.

Didn't let this one sit out long enough. At (or close to) fridge temperature the flavors and armoa was a good deal muted.

A swirl of my chalice broght things to life, as did the gradual warming up of temperature.

Favors of raisins, caramel, tea leaves, lemon at first. Spicy clove hits towards the finish. There is also some dough there...cake, cookies?

Carbonation is vigorous, which surprised me dispite the quickly dissapating head. Tingly bubbles around the mouth.

Very good one to sit back and sip for the night. There's a reason why this is one of the most popular Belgian Quads.

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

pours a hazy mahogany (must have unsettled the yeas in transport, darn) with a tan head that is about an inch thick and slowly falls into a firm sheet covering the top of the beer.
the aroma is very rich and fruity, raisins, hint of clove, bananas and alcohol.
the flavor is light on the palate, fruity, some caramelization, firm bitterness for a belgian, some spiciness, lingering maltiness a graininess like in pilsners.
this is an awesome beer easy drinking and high octane which can be a scary combo.

Photo of jwolfie70
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had via bottle, poured into an oversized wine glass. Pours a dark brown. Smells of fig, sweet molasses, and roasted malt. Taste is sweet, but not cloying. The Belgium gumball tasting yeast is present, but is accompanied by the complex darker sweetness of the roasted malt. A great beer, and a good example of the quad style.

Photo of IBUnit63
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours like a loaf of hearty whole-grain or pumpernickel from a 750 into an Ommegang goblet - head has a meringue-like consistency. Nice, light/moderate carbonation. Essence of pine, nutmeg and sweeter spice flavors with moderate hop presence. This tastes like a quintessential Belgian. Deep, soulful yeast/malt presence with well-balanced sweetness, hop and alcohol presence. As time passes it provides the warming feeling of Thanksgiving dinner with even a hint of sweet potatoes and roasted carrots (I know, now I'm really full of $#!+ - maybe it's the power of suggestion). The carbonation is moderate, inoffensive and pleasant. This is all-encompassing, powerful wonderful stuff. Coats the mouth like a warm, almost-savory dessert and has the warming power of spiked hot chocolate in a ski lodge. For all its power it drinks very easily. Splendid effort.

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

A: Poured a dark burgundy red with a huge foamy, dirty white head that was mostly lasting leaving a sticky lacing.

S: On the nose was some fresh dark fruit (raisins, plums) and some spicy alcohol hints.

T: Big bready palate with a nice sweet roastedness. There is some fresh bananas and very rich chocolate notes rounding out the flavor along with some molasses and alcohol warming. Very fruity with some raisinbread, dark molassess and light chocolate notes.

M: The mouthful is surprising light, and smooth with deep rich chocolate notes lingering on the tongue.

D: Incredible drinkability especially for its abv. Definitly a rich experience and recommend.

Photo of wingman14
3.98/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark misty brown with a big bubbly tan head that sticks around all the way till the last sip. The smell is sweet and yeasty with spices, maybe cinnamon, very complex and interesting. The taste follows suit, complex, big, and good. Starts sweet with the kick of spices followed. Finishes dry with the high ABV being very noticable, but not taking away the flavor. This one has medium body with a good deal of carbonation, but still a smooth body. This is definitely a sipping beer considering the big flavor and high ABV. A beer definitely worth checking out.

Photo of BMan1113VR
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful. Pours dark brownish with a red tinge with a large, creamy, kahki head that stays for the duration. Excellent lacing. Smell is extremely strong, good, but very complex. Aroma has heavy yeast notes, with undertones of pine, chocolate malts, and apple, cinnamon and ginger and many fruits that I cannot put my finger on. Alcohol is appereant in the aroma. Flavor is great and continues on for a long long time. The aftertaste has a hint of sweetened Marmite, which shows the yeast in this beer. Creamy body with lively carbonation and an alcoholic aftertaste, this beverage was a pleasure to drink, and I cannot wait to taste the bottle of Abt 12 SE that I was able to get a hold of!

Photo of iasanlee
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a hazy dark amber brown with 1 finger of quick to disappear head. Very little lacing, but not non-existent.

S- Slightly medicinal. Floral and sweetness of dark sugars. Alcohol is noticable.

T- Sweet nutty malt is first. Cantaloupe is here, and caramelized brown sugar. Rum soaked raisins.

M- Medium to thick in body, with maybe a touch more carbonation than I like.

D- Boozy, but good. I would drink a few if I had no where to drive in the next 12 hours.

Photo of rye726
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Brown color with redwood hues. Creamy tan head with good retention and lace.

Dark complex fruits, nuts, bready malts, Belgian yeast and floral earthy hops.

A hugely complex malt presence is balanced by bitter musky hops. Also caramel, butter cocoa, carmelized browns sugar, dark fruits, and nutty bread.

Silky and satisfying body with crisp carbonation.

One of my favorite examples of a true monk ale. Pairs well with most anyhing and can be enjoyed any time of year.

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

Poured a cloudy dark brown color with a light tan head what had uneven bubbles. The head was about two fingers thick and had good retention as well as it lefe lace after every sip.
The aroma was very delicious with a rich dark spicyness that reminded me of a holiday plumb sauce i had once made.
The flavor begins with a rich malt sweetness that is hiding a spicy almost fruity flavor that finishes very dry and clean. This ale is way too drinkable for the alcohol content. Overall an excellent example of the style.

Photo of cartdan
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one pours a deep rusty brown, slightly murky, with a thick light tan color head that stays forever. The aroma is very sweet, with a little fruit in the background, but not much noticeable spice. No noticeable hop aroma. The taste is once again very sweet, maybe overly sweet - at least more than I expected. Very earthy with a lot of subtle spices - so subtle that I can't pick out any in particular, but I can definitely tell they are there (strange). It is a full bodied beer, a bit creamy, with a good amount of alcohol warmth coming through as I drink it. Lacing still hanging on the glass long after the beer is gone...

Overall, it was very nice experience. Definitely worth trying.

Photo of younger35
4.15/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up this 11.2 ounce bottle up at Bottleworks in Seattle. This is my first St. Bernardus brew and I'm excited to try it. Drank from my new Stone India Pale Ale specialty flute. Bottle dated 09 08 12 (assuming best before date).

Appearance- Pours a dark brown amber with a huge 3 finger, super rich and creamy light tan head. Recedes fairly slowly leaving a decent cap and collar that eventually fades away to nothing. A bit of lacing is left at the start but after that, none.
Smell- Loads of dirty spicy yeast that give that familiar Belgium nose. Notes of vanilla and light oak are definitely present. Caramel is lightly sweet in the background along with plenty of alcohol.
Taste- The alcohol is a bit more present than I'm used to in these Trappist brews (not necessarily a bad thing, it's just the first thing I noticed). Plenty of toffee to start and a light vanilla oak add a bit more sweetness. Plums, raisins and figs add a bit of dark fruit. Light bitterness is just enough to cut into some of the sweetness to leave this thing super balanced (what kind of hops do these monks use anyway?). Finishes semi nutty with a light lingering vanilla.
Mouthfeel- Rich and creamy with a very nice full body and really aggressive sharp carbonation.
Drinkability- Pretty damn good brew. For the most part the alcohol is hidden well and it's extremely well balanced. I haven't gotten to try all the Trappist brews yet but this one is on par with the ones I have had. These monks know what they're doing!

Photo of trkerrigan
4.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one the best beers I have ever sampled.

Over 10% abv with absolutely no hint of alcohol, mouthfeel is exceptionally smooth. The taste is nothing short of amazing. My palate is way too dumb to even grasp the complexity. For all the adjectives that I could try and conjure up to explain this brew; I know they would just fall short to describe how great this beer really is. The St. Bernardus Abt 12 is a must try period.

Photo of dsa7783
4.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is without a doubt the finest St. Bernardus beer that I have yet sampled, and probably one of the best beers in the world, in my opinion... Copped a single, 12 oz bottle from Gary's in Madison... Absolutely incredible pour and appearance with a gigantic foamy, frothy, five-finger head that had incredible staying power and floated aloft a dark-brown, nutty hue... Smell was fresh and intense, with deep caramel and toffee notes... Smell was beyond terfiffic... rich, deep, intense, satisfying, and creamy... replete with candied brown sugars, malts, slight vanilla, and other flavors that are intricate and difficult to describe... a wonderful conglomeration of pure malty goodness that stuck to the mouth long after the first sip... one of the top Belgian beers, for sure... Great creamy and rich mouthfeel... drinkabliity only took a hit because of the hefty 10.5% ABV, which, by the way, is nearly impossible to detect - masked by a interwoven cornucopia of toffee, malts, and fig flavors that pack a punch... Outstanding beer... Definintely recommended...

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

The first thing I noticed when I opened this 750ml bottle was the wonderfully complex smell that wafted up. With a mellow fruity apple scent that is almost indescribable, I could hardly wait to pour this. When I did pour it, an amazingly thick full head was realized. If anyone has ever baked before, it looks exactly like a yeast that is proofed. It is just that thick. It takes awhile before the head settles with broken spotty lacing that runs all the way down the side of the Lindemans Cuvee Rene glass I used. It's best to let this warm up a little if refrigerated. You really don't want to lose any of the flavor I'll be describing.

The liquid itself is an opaque, nearly light proof purplish brown color. It reminds me of an old apple cider I used to drink years ago.

Tastewise, this is as good as it gets for a Belgian ale. Very complex, not overly carbonated, with a light apple flavor that is the perfect balance between sweet and sour. At 11% ABV this will definitely warm you up and take the chill out of your bones on a cold winter's night, yet the alcohol isn't overpowering and barely noticeable. Just how on earth they do that is beyond me.

The mouthfeel is slightly bitter with just a hint of a bite to it.on the tip of your tongue
I can't say enough about this 60th anniversary edition. The Belgian ales are certainly the best in the world and this would rank among the top of those.

Serving type: bottle

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

On tap at District on Townsend in SoMa in San Francisco.

Served in a tulip glass by the waiter. Decent foam head, glass too sort to tell about lacing, aroma of spicy rasisins and wheat, and smooth finish.

I've had this from bottle bfore and, while good, it wasn't nearly this great. Get it on tap if you can!

Photo of AMo
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

St. Bernardus Abt 12 pours a deep dark brown with a large one inch head. The smell is mild, but very pleasant of fruit like aromas. Fruit and malts are most evident in the taste, but the big wow for this beer is its exceptionally silky and airy smooth mouthfeel. This is just simply a great and fun beer to drink. Part of what makes the drinkability so enjoyable is the pleasant little chest tingle accompanied after every sip.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,890 ratings.