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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.

7,363 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,363
Reviews: 2,498
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 420
Gots: 1,095 | FT: 36
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: 7,363 | Reviews: 2,498 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SSGPat
4.8/5  rDev +7.4%

A wonderful pour. A wonderful beer.

Lovely dark brown. Some of the bubbles in the head were large, most were small.

Aroma was really promising. Promising that there was a great beer getting ready to go down my gullet. Malty and fruity nose with hints of sweetness.

Tasted outstanding. Everything that you could want in a beer. Various flavors of different fruits, depending on the tempature of the beer. As it warms, the flavor changes.

Carbonation that is just right. Nice and creamy mouth. Big and bold. This ain't your daddy's beer.

The scariest part about this beer is how easy it goes down. You don't realize that it's a 10% beer... until you fall off your stool.

SSGPat, Nov 02, 2005
Photo of beveragecaptain
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%

750 ml bottle. This beer pours out a dark brown color with a huge head. Delicious aroma of bread, chocolate, dark fruit, vanilla, and spice. Sweet caramel malt flavor with cocoa, licorice, and pepper. Finishes spicy, with cloves and more pepper, and a little bitter. The flavor is big, yet somehow delicate. Very complex flavors. No sign of the alcohol. Mouthfeel is creamy. Incredible drinkability. This beer is all-around fantastic.

beveragecaptain, Oct 30, 2005
Photo of sacfly
4.47/5  rDev 0%

Code 270110 11.2oz

Pours a dark brown, reddish hue. Clear, but sediment in the bottom of the bottle. Huge tan/brown head with medium to large bubbles. Light sherry, alcohol in the nose.

Plumb, fig notes in flavor. Sweet with a slight (but very good) alcohol burn. Dry finish. Heavenly.

Let this one warm up a bit. Brings out more of the fruity notes and covers the alcohol. Wonderful sipping brew… closer to a desert or wine than your average beer.

sacfly, Oct 30, 2005
Photo of tom444
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%

Appearance: Pours out a rich deep brown, somewhat cloudy, with a thick light tan head that seems to last forever.

Aroma: Tons of malt, fruit, and enough alcohol that when I first started pouring it, I thought one of my roommates was drinking a Jack and Coke.

Taste: Rich and creamy, with plenty of malty goodness, and an added sweetness from the sugars. Some interesting fruity notes, black cherry, prune, grape, plenty of others - I'm tasting something new with every sip of this. Certainly warming, but the alcohol is masked very well by the other flavors. Almost tastes more like a fine wine than my usual dark beers.

Mouthfeel: Perfect. Full-bodied, creamy, with just the right amount of carbonation.

A truly incredible beer (just watch out when you stand up after finishing it). Words can't even begin to describe the experience of drinking it. Now, if only I can justify the cost of a 750mL bottle next time...

tom444, Oct 28, 2005
Photo of asabreed
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%

A 33 cl. bottle into my Corsendank tulip glass.

Appearance: The head and lacing are stupid, really. So huge, billowing like pillows or fluffy clouds. Insane sticking to the glass, the head refuses to go down. This is screaming, "Leave me alone, or else." Absolutely indomitable and unrelenting. A spectacle.

Smell: Vinous characteristics upfront and complex, with some raisens, sugary malts, bread-like yeast, brown sugar, maple, candi sugar, some woodiness and smoke. But the vinousness is showing through mostly, and fantastically.

Taste: Vinous characters again, raisens, slight nuttiness, maple, brown sugar. All the dark stuff is there initially. Some vanilla starts to show through. Some dark bread. Some wood, smoke, and oak, somehow? Some tropical candied fruit, dark berries, especially upon the aftertaste. Close to perfect...

Mouthfeel: Silk and velvet -- it shouldn't be allowed to be tasted in a beer, but here it is. Body, carbonaton, evenness -- everything is perfect in the mouth.

Drinkability: A brew that's more than fine, and should be treated as such. Find it, admire it, take it in, and enjoy it. One of the best of the Quads, an essential.

asabreed, Oct 27, 2005
Photo of bignick
4.9/5  rDev +9.6%

On tap at TPH many times.

An absolutely terrific beer, my favorite. It was served in a oversized wine glass. It was a deep and rich black, with only a little light permeating. There was a rich but receding 1.5 finger head. The beer smelled of nuts, rich chocolate, and alcohol. I cannot overstate how overwhelmingly complex this beer is. Drinking it is a joy, because as I work my way through the glass, it is a struggle to try to figure out what flavors are coming through. There is certainly a good deal of chocolate, but there is also a mild fruitiness. I certainly get a good deal of prunes. This is a wonderful beer on the whole.

bignick, Oct 26, 2005
Photo of Derek
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%

Truly an exceptional beer.

A: Deep ruby-brown, nice head & lace.

S: Spicy with fruity and malty sweetness.

T: Christmas cake? Raisins, cherry, figs, tropical candied sweetness, caramel, treacle, warming finish. Truly incredible.

M: Moderate body, plenty of carbonation. Those Belgians now how to do it right!

D: Dangerously drinkable!

Thanks Kent (Austin)!

Derek, Oct 26, 2005
Photo of beerphilosopher
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%

Poured into a wide St. Bernardus chalice ...

Appearance - Gorgeous. Dark amber with reddish hues and a thick, tan head with very good retention. A very impressive-looking beer. By the look alone, you can tell this beer is one to be reckoned with.

Smell - Complex with hints of sweet mollases, currants, raisins, and a solid malty foundation. Not overly sweet, but very complex and rich.

Taste - Warm and rich with an incredible toffee and dare I say, coconut-like nutty flavor. This beer is tremendous. The mollasses character lingers on the tongue and finishes with a terrific alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel - substantial and warming, as expected. A great example of how subtle, yet assertive, a quadruple can be. To me, this is the standard by which the style ought to be measured. Not cloying, or overly sweet, this one is well balanced, smooth, and quite complex in every respect.

Drinkability - Being a quad, it's not something you wanna slam down ... definitely a beer to savor and appreciate for it's impressive complexity. Arguably one of the best beers I've tried in a number of years. No, one of the best beers I've tried. Period. A treat in itself ... drink this when you can sit and relax and enjoy every ounce of this world class elixir.

This is one of my "if you were stranded on a desert island, what beer would you take with you" brews ... exceptional.

beerphilosopher, Oct 24, 2005
Photo of Padron4KM
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%

330cl bottle, Best before 12/08/09. Pours murky brown with a lot of suspended particles.
Aroma is toasty, plummy, prune, yeast.
Flavor is caramel, port, toffee, plum,raisin.
10%? can’t tell, very well hidden. That is until you stand up after finishing the bottle

Padron4KM, Oct 23, 2005
Photo of TastyTaste
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Appearance: Absolutely gorgeous, murky brown color huge tan head, and I mean huge. This is exactly what the beer should look like.

Smell: A dark but sweet smell of raisins, brown sugar, yeast, alcohol, toffee, and hints of java.

Taste: Holy mackerel, this is good, taste is dark and complex, lots of mig flavors competing for attention. More sweetness up front, but turn into a drier beer finishing with a good shot of alcohol and hops, buttery toffee, rum, bourbon, plums. I could see aging this for years.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Perfect, this beer is a world class Quadrupel, one that should be tried and enjoyed by all.

TastyTaste, Oct 18, 2005
Photo of nortmand
4.8/5  rDev +7.4%

Pours reddish brown with a big, fluffy head.

Sweet, spicy smell, with a malty backbone and a hint of sourness.

Rich, velvety mouthfeel supports a wine like fruitiness with a warming alcohol and the merest hint of sour. So good.

Strong, with many subtle flavors competing with big flavors, even so, this beer is extraordinarily drinkable.

nortmand, Oct 17, 2005
Photo of Px2GrafX
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%

presentation: almost 12oz. bottle with a blue, yellow and white label and neck label. "st. bernardus abt 12" large across the top of the label with st. bernardus himself below holding a chalice of this brew. lots of belgian text on the back label. abv is displaryed at 10%. there is a stamped good by date on the back: 10.27.09. serve at 6-10 degrees celcius. "bottle fermented".

appearance: pours a nice milk chocolate brown with orange brown highlights in a chalice glass. nice 1 inch tight off-white head with a salmon tone. decent retention and lacing.

smell: sweet and malty with dark fruits, grapes and a hint of alcohol. lightly spicy with some cloves. there is quite noticibly a bubble gum aroma after the beer warms a bit.

taste: sweet malty flavors with a clove and ginger spicyness. sweet bread almost like yellow cake or sugar cookie. alcohol is very noticible and warming. a touch vinous and estery with red grapes, prunes and other dark fruits. finishes mostly sweet with a lightly spicy yeasty aftertaste.

mouthfeel: nice creamy medium mouthfeel. good carbonation, but not as champagne-like as others. rolls smoothly and swallows just a smooth.

drinkability: the alcohol is there and it's noticible in flavor and in warming, but i drank this quite easily. very tasty, i just had the hardest time putting it down. if you're having more than one, you may want to slow this trend, though.

overall: very nice quadrupel as this is easily the best belgian i've had to date. being more of an advocate of big american styles, i'm sort of on a belgian kick right now and i have a lot to try, so this may not remain my highest rated. but at any rate, this is an excellent beer and well worthy of two thumbs. i have two more of these in the closet, so i'll be re-reviewing this over the next couple of years as well. btw, i've finished this beer way too quickly and i'm noticing a "buzz" after just one bottle. excellent, but drinkers beware!

Px2GrafX, Oct 15, 2005
Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.47/5  rDev 0%

Picked up a single at Riley's here in Madison. Something a little special for review #150.

Pours a dark, murky, reddish brown with lots of clumpy yeast sediment floating about, a finger of khaki head that looks like capuccino with cinnamon with dark yeast floating in the foam. Wasn't sure if this was right, but reading other reviews it seems standard. Smells strongly of dark fruits, sweet roasted malt, and alcoholic vapors. Taste starts off with raisins, vinuous overripe grapes, banana esters, loads of spicy, brown sugary malts, and a hearty warming alcohol flush. Mouthfeel is smooth but crisp. A nice, complex Belgian here. Reminds me more of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale than a Quad, but either way, a top notch brew worth seeking out.

Golden2wenty1, Oct 14, 2005
Photo of Sephiroth
4.95/5  rDev +10.7%

Poured into a tulip, this is one foamy beer. It is a beautiful deep ruby, with chunks of yeast, despite my careful pour. The label said to consume by the end of 2004.

The nose reminds me of 98 Harvest Ale from J.W. Lees. Raisins, cherries, and dried figs abound. Tobacco and slight anise, maybe some hops. The taste is rich. Everything I described in the nose is there in the taste. The fruits hit first, followed by dryness. The warming in my throat must be from the ABV. Liquid bread, this is.

The mouthfeel is silky and carbonated. It has that feel of an aged beer. Thick and heavy, but not coating. I could drink many of these as long as I didn't eat. Like I said, liquid bread.

Sephiroth, Oct 14, 2005
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.9/5  rDev +9.6%

(Served in a tulip glass)

A-This beer had a nice dark brown body with a creamy tan head. It had good lacing with each sip.

S- Notes of dark malt and raisins with some sweetness and caramel notes.

T- The taste of dark sweet malt was very complex. flavors of prune brown sugar, caramel and some nice faint alcohol warmth at the finish. As it warmed it gave more depth with some cidery and vinous notes also.

M- Medium-light mouthfeel with a medium alcohol warmth. No astringency or fizz.

D-Wow. This beer is bold and complex in flavor but nice and light in mouthfeel. The alcohol warmth is not overpowering and really balances the complexity of the malts. I will take another.

rhoadsrage, Oct 12, 2005
Photo of Melchizedek
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%


Pours a deep brown; it's clear, but kind of looks hazy because of the constantly streaming bubbles. Rocky head is massive and enduring, leaving rings and clumps all down the sides of the glass.

The aroma is comparable to the one or two better red wines I've gotten to try, only better. Alcohol is a presence, carrying with it some buttery caramel, nut, and mellow fruit aromas--I'm reminded of oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar, and maybe some other spices I can't quite identify. The mouthfeel is surprisingly light, given the character of the flavor, but just right. The carbonation helps with this, giving a foamy texture on the tongue. The alcohol is obvious but not overpowering, even compared to smaller brews; "rich and smooth" doesn't begin to describe the flavor, which delivers the promised buttery notes and strong, slightly roasted/smoky malts. There's enough bitterness to keep it from being too saccharine, although hops were hard to distinguish apart from some mineral/earthy flavors and maybe a bit of pine sap toawards the finish. I think there's a bit of anise to it too, although I'd want to sniff a bit to compare; the alcohol carries with it a lot of spiciness.

I don't think I'm quite worthy to catalogue all the complexity of this stuff. I couldn't resist pouring another glass, even though it was a school night; that should say enough. Delicious.

Melchizedek, Oct 03, 2005
Photo of silver0rlead
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%

Pours into my chimay chalice a murky dark brown with a ruby tint and a thick off-white head that retains well and coats the sides of the glass. The aroma is intense and complex, notes of cherry, candied sugar, plum, fig, date, barnyard, toasted bread, light spices, grassy hops, slight vinegar sourness and some light phenols and alcohol. Flavor begins with some lightly tart fruit (real cherries, fig, date, plum and raisins), then some candied sugar sweetness, spices (clove, corriander, anise), malty toasted bread, some light phenols, vinous alcohol character and some light grassy and floral hops. The body on this beer is huge, with light carbonation and a creamy but thick texture with some moderate alcohol tones coming through. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and it was fairly easy to drink despite its high abv. This beer is definately an experience in a bottle, delicious and heavy it meets my high expectations.

silver0rlead, Oct 03, 2005
Photo of Noxious26
3.9/5  rDev -12.8%

330ml bottle poured in a tulip glass. Best Before date 27 04 10. I sure hope that means 27 April 2010.

Dark, murky, red-brown amber colour. 3/4 inch dark beige head has some sediment sitting on top of it. Head is very dense with small bubbles. Head stays solid to the end of the glass. Lots of carbonation bubbles streaming up. Also lots of suspended particles and sediment on the bottom. Big clumps of lacing hang on the sides of the glass.

The most prominent attribute of the aroma is a strong winey alcohol character. Background aspects of various sweetness (dried fruits and malts).

The taste is dominated by an obvious alcohol presence. Very much reminds me of drinking a dry wine. Ripe fruit, dried fruit and rich malt flavours comprise the sweet background that slowly takes the forefront as the alcohol fades. A dry finish causes the back of the throat to feel tight. Aftertaste is likewise dry.

Medium bodied with mild carbonation. A thick buttery feeling is left in the mouth after the swallow.

This is a good beer, but not a great one in my opinion. The strong alcohol detracts from the rest of the flavours and the dryness left in the mouth really isn't satisfying and is annoying after awhile. Really left me thinking that I was drinking a dry wine instead of a beer.

Noxious26, Sep 26, 2005
4.38/5  rDev -2%

Abt 12 pours a dark brown with ruby highlights. 1" beige head with uneven beads of carbonation falls eventually to 1/4" and has great retention. Nice lacing.

Rich aroma. Spice cake. Big toffee. Dark fruit (plums). Even citrus mingles around in this outstanding mixture of aromas.

Yeast, spice, fruit, caramel & toffee. Alcohol, brown sugar and some orange peel deep down in there. Everything intensifies as this beer warms a little. Very impressive.

Full-bodied and very rich. The long-lasting head adds to the creamy mouthfeel. Silky smooth. Good carbonation. Nice warming effect. Slight sweetness in the finish. Great sipping night cap.

Photo of Sayson
4.28/5  rDev -4.3%

Served in a 11.2 oz bottle. Poured into a wine glass. Served at 59 F.

A: Rich brown color with hints of garnet. Nice head with plenty of lacing.
S: Hints of carmel. Phenols. Smells Belgian.
T: Full, rich taste. Some fruity. I don't get much malt. Pleasant alcohol burn in the finish.
M: Again, full. Coats the tongue. Finishes dry.
D: Suprisingly drinkable given the alcohol content.

It certainly seems to hit all the style guidelines.

Sayson, Sep 14, 2005
Photo of waldowin
4.28/5  rDev -4.3%

This beer was definitely a tasty treat.

It poured a reddish amber, not terribly dark, with a massive head that just stuck around for days. Smelled a bit like fruit, and very strongly of oak.

Tasted very good. Tons of malt up front, hops are almost non-existant. I should have let the whole thing warm up more before drinking it, as it approached room temperature the flavors really came out. It ended up being a very fruity taste, with bananas, raisins, and dates very heavy. Very tasty beer.

It felt like a very thick beer when consuming, however, and that made it a bit hard to drink much of. You really feel like you're taking a swallow of beer and two swallows of a very rich dessert.

I had to dock the drinkability because it's just so hard to drink this beer in any real quantity. I split a 25oz bottle with a friend, and it still took us about an hour to finish our beers at a comfortable pace. It's just a very rich beer. Definitely tasty thought.
The alcohol really hides itself in this beer well. There's no "bite" to it at all, extremely smooth.

This beer would be good as a dessert beer, but not a session drink, just way too thick to drink much of. Very tasty brew, much thanks to Lrrr for hooking me up.

waldowin, Sep 11, 2005
Photo of Bumpon10s
3.98/5  rDev -11%

A - Pours a slightly thick, nuttly brown a little bit of thick head that never quits and clustering retention.

S - Slight fruit and spice, good amount of alcohol. The aroma isn't nearly as strong as I thought it was going to be.

T - Fruits, nuts, a little spice. Doesn't taste like 10% ABV, but you can tell it's there.

M - It pops on the tongue with it's continuing carbonation, the bubbles just kept coming on this one.

D - It might gain lower marks from high carbonation and high alcohol. At the very least, it is a low price for a good Quadrupel.

I've had it on tap, and I am writing this review from a bottle. The bottle seems a bit more tame then when I tried it on tap. I was expecting a little more power, and it wasn't really delivering, could have mistaked it for a dubbel, but maybe I had an off bottle.

Bumpon10s, Sep 11, 2005
Photo of brewQ
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%

I can be slow to jump on board ...
this is the first Quad I am reviewing.

Pours brown and looks near black in a proper glass with a 1/2" collar of foam. Perfect lacing as I went along. Aroma took a while to coax out as I belieive they had the keg on cold in the interest of preservation. Sweet and fruity, plum aromas ... nothing over the top.

This brew really shines in the mouth. Silky yet well rounded, I couldn't pick up the strong alcochol. That could be the downside for me!

Drinkable as much as my budget permits.

I will be seeking out other Quads to get some reference points.

brewQ, Sep 10, 2005
Photo of EPseja
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%

Finally got to try this from the tap! Had it at the Hop Devil Grille in NYC just before seeing Jerry Gaskill perform at Arlene's Grocery. Fantastic!

My tasting notes are the same as my bottle review (http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/259/1708/?ba=EPseja) but with these exceptions:

S - The smell on the tap version seemed just a touch muted compared to the bottle version. I thought It might be because it was too cold, but even as it warmed, it didn't expand much.

T - Everything about the taste is as mentioned in my bottle review, but all of the fruity notes had a freshness, ripeness, and juiciness that was out of this world. Also, a fantastic fresh-baked date-nut bread character was evident. Lastly, the very few alcohol notes that did show (especially when I was concentrating on them) possessed a sweet Maneschewitz wine quality that blended in very well with the rest of the drink.

D - To steal a quote from the great Michael Jackson, this beer is "dangerously drinkable". It's got everything a quad needs to have the drinker going "mmm" after each sip. Savor this one!

EPseja, Sep 09, 2005
Photo of Frozensoul327
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%

This is an awesome brew. Truely amazing beer in every aspect. Poured out to a dark cider color, but is more auburn when held to the light. Nice, cream colored head, about 1/2 an inch and consistant to the bottom of the glass. Medium low carbonation. Aromas of yeast, malt, and some sweetness. All around very rich and full. Taste is delectible... flavors of dark fruits, malt, some earthy notes. Smooth and slightly sweet and bitter towards the finish. Some alcohol is noted, but it doesn't indicate the 10%ABV this brew has. Medium body mouthfeel is smooth like velvet, and slightly creamy. Very good drinkability. I could have this morning noon and night. Highly recommended.

Frozensoul327, Sep 08, 2005
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,363 ratings.