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St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

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8,006 Ratings

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Ratings: 8,006
Reviews: 2,568
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 522
Gots: 1,458 | FT: 39
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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,006 | Reviews: 2,568 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Gehrig
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Abt 12 pours a rich mahogany with light trim topped by three fat fingers of slightly tan soda foam; excellent duration and dense lacing seal the deal on the appearance. Sweet, spicy nose with vanilla, cherry, raisin, and pepper; very smooth.

The taste is so delicious that words can scarcely do it justice. Plenty of raisin, date, and plum with vanilla and cherry in a rich, complex fruit flavor, but with enough spice (clove and pepper) to maintain a strong balance. Bready malt is prevalent. There is a good, slightly bitter aftertaste to finish off a terrific second half, which is a bit spicier from the clove than the first, sweeter half.

The very high ABV (10.5%) doesn't interfere with a truly magnificent Quad, perhaps the best I've ever had and certainly one of the best beers in any style I've tried. Well worth the coin, and one worth cellaring. A masterpiece.

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

Pours a deep dark mahogany with a small beige head that lingers the whole way down.

Very yeasty/bready nose that also swings into some sweet fruit notes of plums and apples. Maybe even some dry fruit in there as well. And some spicy wood notes start to appear with warmth/air. So too figs, prunes, more plum and red currants. Wow. Grows and grows with time.

Spicy palate of cacao, vanilla, oak and clove. Dark fruits come into play as does the strong malt flavours. Happy sugar level, and some real aniseed warmth on the finish.

Body is smooth, creamy and very well balanced.

Must admit, on the first sniff and taste it seemed very very 1 dimensional - hard yeast on the nose, alcohol on the finish. As it warmed/aired it grew and grew, filling out the palate with creamy sweetness and a very complex nose to boot.

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

Dark hazy brown. Chocolate, brownies brown. Deep! With a LOT of yeast floating. A nice beige head is also persisting throughout the session, with wonderful lacing. Perfect appearance for a rich quadrupel.

A sugary odour of brownies, dark fruits and hints of caramel suggest that this beer will be heavy, real heavy.

No disapointment. This beer rocks! Layers of dark ripe fruits, generic sugary dessert (cookie or brownies again), with a touch of... magic? This is real good.

This is the best quadrupel i've tasted, by far.

Photo of MattChaos
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: The Abt. 12 is traditionally poured in a goblet or snifter-style glass. This allows its thick and rich head to make itself known, and not without good cause. The dark-to-light coloring of the pour is absolutely brilliant for a Belgian, and impressive to anyone familiar with the style.

Smell: Tough to get past the froth, but pleasant and suggestive. The smell is specific, and omits several key ingredients to the beer, leaving the aroma to be slightly misleading, but encouraging nevertheless.

Taste: A credit to its style. This 10% beer drinks almost like a 7%. Smooth, but pungent. A "sipper". Roasty and malty. Perfect trappist.

Mouthfeel: Sweet front-end, boasty back-end.

Drinkability: Be careful with this one! It's soothing taste and attractive appearance has been known to tempt one too many beer-geek into a quick intoxication. This is a quality beer, and should be enjoyed as such. It's a social beer, but one could easily spend an evening drinking nothing but the Abt. 12, and enjoying every last drop!

Photo of slayer3604
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a St Bernardus Watou glass (part of a 4 pack holiday set)

A- The appearance screams 'malt depth'. This baby created a churning abundance of off-white head if three fingers (I pour hard) that stuck to the glass the entire way down. The beer itself was ember brown and was laced with plumes of rising carbonation.

S- Brown sugar, fig, and green apple dipped in warm caramel

T- A very chewy mouth feel that erupts in a full bouquet of living breathing wreathes of dark malt, toffee and hints of caramel.

M- Like I said...chewy. Not the wookie, though.

D- Very drinkable, but be careful, 10% is no mother's son.

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

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: Two fingers of tan head over an opaque, dark brown body. Large head dissipated into a cap with lots of lacing.

S: Yeasty, dark fruits, and alcohol. Very pleasant!

T: Yeasty initially, dark fruits in the middle, with a mildly bitter finish. A very complex and delicious beer! Only missing that certain "wow!" response for a perfect 5.

MF: Thick and full bodied, with ample carbonation. Perfect!

D: A perfect beer for slowly sipping, but keeps me coming back for more. I'd have no problem drinking this constantly despite the high alcohol.

An exceptional beer that I will be enjoying again and again! Next time, it will be a side-by-side with a Westveleteren 12, Rochefort 10, and Pannepot.

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

A - dark, murky coffee color with a gigantic fluffy head that is in no hurry to disappear.

S - raisins, figs, brown sugar and maybe a touch of coffee.

T/M/D - heavenly, very smooth, slightly sweet and somewhat heavy. The fruit taste is there but hangs out in the bacjground and lets your taste buds look for it a bit. This beer pulls together extremely well. One of my all-time favorites!

Photo of treyrab
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 into a chalice

A: Pours a dark raisin color color with a huge frothy off-white head

S: Tons of dark fruits such as raisins, dates, figs, along with candi sugar and yeast funk

T: Very much like the smell with a hint of alcohol thrown in as well. The taste is very complex but the alcohol is noticeable in this one

Overall a great brew! Taste is very similar to Westy, wonder why that is :)

Photo of grandq
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My current quad kick is now in full swing, revisiting an old favorite. Pours a deep ruby into my Pabst goblet with a bubble khaki head, evincing plenty of carbonation - as it should be. Smells lovely and quite strong - cherries, raisins, prune, bourbon soaked oak and candi sugar. The last note comes first to the taste buds, followed by an explosion of dark fruits, with cherries at the epicenter of the blast. Candi again, then some pepper and alcoholic burn in perfect harmony. Taking more sips, a few other favors show up - cocoa becomes more apparent, something close to tobbacco crops up briefly, a very slight touch of caramel. A little hotter than I recall, a tad spicier.

Mouthfeel is near perfect, thick and coating but with the carbonated "lift" i like, vaporizing the liquid rolling down the tongue. There's something to the Belgian water. I can't think of a single American quad that nails the mouthfeel. Obviously not going to session this, but there's nothing off to the brew, very drinkable for the style. This is still definitely up there - may need to side by side it with the Pannepots.

Photo of jordoo
4.92/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle poored into a Chimay glass.

This one is an original color for sure, the best way I can describe it is as a dark ruby red thats really brown. It is super carbinated with a large creamy tan head that holds well and left decent lacing. While it certainly has the look of something special the nose is even better. I get a wide range of carmel/sweet malts as well as earthy yeast, plumb, slight raisin, slight alcohol and grassy/floral hops, wonderfully complex. The taste is again just out of this world just so much going on and yet at the same time its majically refreshing. Plum, raisins, sweet carmel malts, spice, candied fruit sugars, nuts and alcohol all make a home on your palet. I can't remember a beer with more carbination than this one and yet it seems to fit it well, providing a nice airyness to the overall medium feel without making it seem thin. My one serious gripe is that I only picked up one bottle of this, because I simply need to have more I wonder if the abbey is accepting new recruits. LOL. On my relatively short beer journey this has been the best stop.

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

Pour a dark ruby brown in color with a nice two inches of head. Smell is belgian candy sugars, some plum and some light yeast. Taste is more of the plums and dark fruits. Incredibly creamy and big on the mouthfeel. A hint of spice in the taste at the end of each sip. Very good beer. Luxurious in the mouthfeel. Great beer, but not as complex as the Rochefort 10, which is still my fav.

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

This was a beer that totally caught me by surprise. I had never heard of it, but I always try those I've never had when they are available. It poured thin, but with lots of head retention. Pour slowly unless you want a glass full of foam. Semi-dark, with a sweet, apple cider aroma. The flavor begins with the dryness of an aged cabernet, then explodes with notes of alcohol, overripe figs and balanced with a mandarian orange acidity and sweetness. This is one of the best beers of the year for me. Strong but refreshing. A definite sipper. I prefer a Hommel glass for this beer to enjoy the aroma with the flavor.

Photo of isthisme2
4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

one of the best i've ever had in this category.

appearance - hazy golden brown. thick head dissipates to a thin layer that lingers throughout.

smell - sweet, alcohol, cherries, really complex.

taste - really, almost a perfect balance between every ingredient. at 10% abv you would expect more alcohol, but again sweet, but not so much to overpower.

mouthfeel - warming and smooth.

drinkability - i can't imagine this beer ever getting old. another... please!!!

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

Took me long enough to make it to this top 25 beer (currently at #20).
Pours with enormous tan head made up of many size bubbles with largest ones forming in time. Really attractive red color when held in proper light. Very clear (at least from the top of the bottle).
Funky aroma made up of assorted phenols with malt, sweet fruit, and mild alcohol (something about a diaper comes to my mind as I experience this).
Remarkably clean drink, especially considering all that's going on here. Malts dominate, spiciness from the yeast, strong alcohol warmth and only somewhat less flavor. More dryness than I expected but it leaves fairly quickly and quietly, leaving a very mild bitterness and a touch of astringency. It's seems like two different drinks. It begins soft and relatively smooth with subtle flavors from the malt, then suddenly sharp and forthright flavors make their presence dominated by the yeast and alcohol Surprisingly the fruit appears in the latter half. Boy there is a lot going on. Much beyond my verbal/written ability to express.
Fully carbonated and includes an addition to the sharpness as it pricks the tongue. They soften in time releasing a smoother ale than initially revealed. Rich, rich, rich. Makes me want to find something to eat cut the intensity. (hmmm, what to have - I think I don't have nuts, maybe some cheese).
Largely due to the style this wont' make my list of best beers. Too rich and biting. Nonetheless a fine, fine beer, but I could have done just as well with a smaller bottle.
Ah, that's better. A little cheese help cut the intensity and it becomes a much more enjoyable beer.
Congrats Michael Phelps (400 IM). You rock.

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

On tap @ Ebenezer's in Lovell, ME.

Pours a dark brown with almost no head, but a sticky ring. Lots of bubbles clinging to the sides of the chalice. No lacing.

Smell is very powerful, with raisins, prunes, green apples, toffee, and caramel.

Taste starts with some sweet caramel and raisins, before some tart green apple and toasted bread. Finishes semi-sweet with a touch of hop bitterness and some warming alcohol.

Medium-bodied mouthfeel. Well-carbonated, but smooth.

Very easy to drink. This was one of the first Belgian beers I ever tried years ago, and is still one of my favorites today.

Photo of LeftonJackman
4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

OMG STFU! Where have I been that I have not had this beer yet?

On draft at Bier Markt in Ohio City this was a recommendation by the bartender there. He got a 100% tip for this one.

A - (Poor lighting in Bier Markt, so this might be off) Dark ivory with a dusty head served in wide goblet.
S - Sweet, rich malt. Dark fruit. Fertile earth. Smooth and airy, almost breeze-like.
T - Oh dear nectar of God!!! Sweet, ripe black fruit and stone fruit. Caramel with a vanilla bean chaser.
M - Not overly carbonated. Just right. Not heavy in the mouth.
D - I would have no clue this was 10% ABV. Very smooth and very drinakble.

Photo of opwog
4.29/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Watching: Colbert Report

I kind of lucked out to find this on tap (I think).

A: Brown and creamy with a slowly depleating head.

S: Brown sugar and yeast.

T: Sweet carmel or maybe even chocolate combined with a fuity/citrus.

M: strong carbonation. I wish that the body had been a bit firmer. Almost felt like a watered down beer.

D: Easy to drink one, but it is rich.

Photo of vickersspitfire
4.42/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet, it has a dark brown, very earthy color to it, it was very hazy and covered with an off white head that was bubbly and was about two fingers thick and quickly faded into thin layer of bubbles. It has some vey active carbonation and some good lacing; it gives off a mixture of citrus and flowers, some spices and a faint aroma of roasted malts. Its got a crisp feel and flavor up front, faint bitterness and some good spiciness to it. The alcohol is evident but not overwhelming, and is certainly present in its aftertaste, which leaves your mouth warm and is semi-dry.

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

A- Nice cloudy brown color, with a great white foamy head. When the head departed the glass it left a good lace on the St. Bernardus chalice.

S- The smells were dark fruits and a touch of honey clove.

T- To me the taste was a Chocolate fudge brownie bread with honey nut cheerios added in.

M- I thought this beer was a bit thick and heavy for something I thought would have been a little on the lighter side of things.

D- Easy to drink, goes down smooth.

Photo of Antilochus
3.94/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Lipton Iced Tea tulip at Quinn's Pub in Camden Town. Out of their Belgian fridge. 10.00% abv, 33cl bottle. Best before 17/4/2013.

Opaque brown body. I mean really brown, like muddy water brown, not tea-brown. Big off-white head that fills the whole tulip.

Aromas of raisin, sourdough, spices. Fairly simple.

Sweet dark fruity palate. Exceptionally creamy mouthfeel, a bit airy though. Belgian yeast, bit of heat on the palate from the abv but overall it is well-masked. Brown sugar, dairyish funk. Port wine. Similar flavours to a 06 JW Lees I had a while back. Date squares.

I haven't had a quad in a while and this didn't disappoint.

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

Poured from a 750ml bottle.

A-Very deep apple cider appearance. Thin spritzy head with mild lacing. A volcano of bubbles remains in the center of my chalice through the entire bottle.

S-All kinds of aromas present, loads of fruit light and dark alike. Raisins and dates maybe also.

T-Tastes like an alcoholic fruit/beer wine. Each drink has a significant hint of alcohol, nothing overpowering though.

M-Spritzy mouth feel, relatively high carbonation and tingles the palette on descent.

D-Absolutely delicious. Personally would only rate just a smidge behind the Chimay blue as far as trappists go. Could defiantly see popping the cork on this every Friday night.

Photo of soupyman10
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one on tap FINALLY...needed to check it out in some of its different formulations. Appearance is excellent, a deep dark brown color with a huge frothy head on top. Solid lacing as the beer drains. Nose is amazing: huge cookies, chocolate, dried fruit all over the place. Absolutely delicious, and incredibly inviting. Flavor is similar. A little smoother and subtler than the nose would suggest, with a strong alcohol presence in there as well. A little unexpected (although maybe it shouldn't be, given the ABV), as I don't remember this in the bottle form. Again, tons of cookies, roasted chocolate malt, and a ton of raisins, prunes, etc. floating around. Body is huge and creamy, perfect for the flavor and aromas. Overall, a delicious beer, and still one of my favorites, although I actually prefer the bottle because of the subtler alcohol presence.

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

wow, 1073 reviews as of this writing. funny as it it is I had the 60th anniversary before I had this one. I decided to go for it and picked up one of these yesterday. very very tasty and I liked it without all the hops of the 60th better. A solid pick indeed!

Photo of gonzo46and2
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with a light tan head. Big aromas of dark fruits, brown sugar, and spices like clove and cinnamon. Almost chewy heaviness in the mouthfeel. Not as dry of mouth feel as the ABV would have you believe. Good balance of sweetness and bitterness. Artisan bread in a bottle.

Photo of slitherySOB
4.39/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a brown, almost muddy red colour with a small amount of head. Plenty of lace coating the chalice. Big, bold smell. Lots of yeast, bread, malts, nuts, plums, cherries and brown sugar. Taste contains plenty of dark malts, dark fruits, raw brown sugar and some nuts. Even has a slight, coffee flavour as well. Very creamy, highly carbonated mouthfeel. A near perfect beer.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 8,006 ratings.