1. Extreme Beer Fest tickets go on sale Sat, Sep 27 @ Noon EDT.
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.

7,400 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,400
Reviews: 2,500
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 423
Gots: 1,112 | FT: 35
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of St. Bernardus Abt 12 Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,400 | Reviews: 2,500 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of lou91
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow what a beautiful beer! It poured perfectly into a chalice with a thick silky head that looked like a cappuccino and once the sediment poured out it looked like cinnamon on top. The head glistened and had a subtle sound believe it or not. Dark brown color and a wonderful nose make all your senses go crazy. You must let this beer warm to fully appreciate its depth and range of flavors. Chocolate malt, honey and subtle spices in a silky seductive package. I paired it with a blue cheese and this beer cleaned my palate perfectly. It is like a bolder Rochefort 10, which does not mean better – just stronger flavors. Excellent.

lou91, Apr 10, 2005
Photo of AlexJ
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I appropriately end my St. Bernardus tasting with the mighty 12. It flows like music into my antique green glass goblet, a red-tinged chestnut color, wearing a veil of haze.

Succulant dark and sticky fruits and yeasty spice explode from the goblet. It is a symphony of luscious malty sweets and warming alcohol goodness. Very promising.

One sip and I'm addicted to this beer for life! There are layers of fruits to pull apart; plum, green melon, figs, banana, dark cherries, and more. It's delightfully yeasty, with raw dough and all the accompanying spice. There's a nibble of artfully added hops toward the end. It's sweet and fruity while maintaining it's dignity.

The mouthfeel is medium big, with a very creamy, full texture. It's ever so gently carbonated and really feels like velvet in my mouth. I lick my goblet clean when I am finished, it's that good!

Note: after trying the St. Bernardus 6, 8, tripel, and Abt 12, I am thouroughly impressed and enamored with this beer. Absolutely top notch in every respect, and impossible to pick a favorite. Thanks again Gabe for sharing.

AlexJ, Apr 05, 2005
Photo of maltedmilk
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I’m down to the last drop, so I better get this done.

This beer pours a cloudy dark brown in my chimay glass. There are uneven bubbles, decent carbonation. I would say a medium head wiith lots of lacing on the glass.

The smells are very sweet and fruity. There is a definite alcohol presence.

This beer is a pleasure, sweet with slight touch of bitterness and a butt kicking alcohol content.

Do I hear angels singing? Maybe.

As I’ve been warned, drink it at the appropriate temperature.

It makes a difference.

maltedmilk, Apr 02, 2005
Photo of Pingotas
4.95/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A consistent brew bottle-to-bottle, irrespective of size. Prefer this at about 55 degrees. Interestingly, the warmer samplings produced my most lasting impressions.

Turbid (In fact, nearly translucent) heady brown liquid poured hesitantly into the glass. The head rises ambitiously with a very fine, pleasant bubbliness.

The velvety taste is sensational. What makes this brew memorable is the yeasty flavor of freshly-baked dough. The blending of malty sweetness and distant hops allows the delicate flavors of plum pudding to persist long after the beer has been consumed.

A winner in my book, and perhaps my overall favorite ale.

Pingotas, Mar 28, 2005
Photo of Globetrotter
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased in Antwerp and hand-delivered to Moscow (thanks Marjut and Michael), this intriguing little 33cl brown bottle has a blue and gold label featuring a happy monk holding up a chalice full of the good stuff. No ingredient information. Best before 12/02/09 (after five years, I wonder how much worse it would be on December 3?), I opened it on 3/23/05.

Cloudy hue somewhere between copper and burgundy, under a one finger beige head that settles quickly at first, then lingers as very thick film across the top of the liquid for a very long time. I see a few strands of lace, but the head is not very sticky and lacks a bit in body. The nose is just right - not overpowering and not mild. Fruit is the main impression, with yeast and barley backing that up. The mouth is very well carbonated and slightly viscous - not heavy, but there is a coating sensation on the tongue. The taste is sublime, smooth bready malt, a touch of fruity twang, a hint of hoppy bitterness. The alcohol is well concealed, but not invisible. We've got great balance here in a beer that cannot be enjoyed in quantity on a given night, but can be enjoyed on many given nights.

Globetrotter, Mar 23, 2005
Photo of mschofield
3.83/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark plum red, topped with a two finger marshmallowy tan head, leaves a puffy sheet of lacing.
Dark malt, plum and raisin in the sweet taste.
Fruity and spicy taste, with toast, caramel, herbs, tea, and raisins. Lip tingling and sweet.
Fully bodied, drinkability was only on the average side.

mschofield, Mar 23, 2005
Photo of jmc44
4.93/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Simply put, this is an excellent beer.

Poured into a goblet, dark amber color with a slighty off-white head. Smells of fruits, spice, and hints of cocoa and vanilla.

Tastes... well, heavenly, with a hint of fruits followed by a bit of spice.

The high alcohol content does not hurt this beer; you will not even realize you are drinking alcohol. This is a very drinkable beer that everyone needs to try.

jmc44, Mar 22, 2005
Photo of NiceGuyMike
4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This may seem lame, but I say see Todd Alström's review. After reading Todd's review I had an idea in my as to what this would taste. I never thought it would come true. This is more than beer, it is an event, a meal and wondrous.

I cannot say it any better than Todd, but I'll try.

I poured slowly so no head speak of. At first it smelled like alcohol and a bit sweet but make no mistake, it is a beer. After the first sip I was attached with a spicy flavor. The spicy flavor mellows quickly but not before a sharp alcohol kick finishing with and a warm buttery candy like flavor. All the while bubbles remind you what you're drinking.

Never have I ever had such an aftertaste. This is a drink, a meal and a dessert all in one. Sitting here writing this review I am reminded of a bakery the smell is so inviting.

Points off for drinkability and mouthfeel only because of the excessive alcohol. Other than that, I cannot imagine anything more exceptional.

Correction on the head: the second pour produced a very nice head.

NiceGuyMike, Mar 22, 2005
Photo of isubsmith
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a St. Bernardus glass.

Appearance: Giant white foamy creamy head. Dark brown/orange body. Very hazy. Lots of lace.

Nose: Fruity, malty nose

Taste: Initially sweet/malty. Middle is very creamy and smooth. Sweet, alcohol finish. Very warming finish.

Drinkability: One of my favorite beers. I could drink this all night long... at least until the alcohol caught up with me. An awesome beer.

isubsmith, Mar 22, 2005
Photo of tatterdash
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark magohany with a large foamy tan head that looks amazing and laces very well. Aroma or cherries, banana, dark fruits, very good. Taste was a sweet roasted malt and fruits, with some alcohol (tastefully) in the finish, also some smokiness and hops in the finish, a very complex finish. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel, lots of carbonation and the alcohol gets a little strong as it warms. This is very drinkable, but it is gonna hit me.

tatterdash, Mar 20, 2005
Photo of waughbrew
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks very intriguing - a dirty dark brown with a large off-white head with good retention and lacing. Smells of musty yeast, cloves, dark fruits, and sweet choclates. The aroma is incredibly alive. Flavor is huge on the special B type raisiny burnt caramel molasses. Big cloves, some banana. Finishes surprisingly bitter with some hop leafiness. Alcohol is present in the perfect amount to complement the other flavors. The feel of the brew was the major bummer for me. I found it to be a biting, harsh carbonation that combined with the bitter finish of the brew to make it a bit less than stellar. Overall a complex and enjoyable beer.

Re-Rate 3/15/05: Head was a little soap-sudsy this time, pretty sure it wasn't my glass. Body has a lot of dark red in it with hints of deep purple. Smell hit me as oaky anise with blackberries and cotton candy. Flavor is a plum-wine with a spicy, semi-dry finish reminiscent of some red wines. Perhaps last time I did not allow it to warm sufficiently, because the feel is very smooth and marshmallowy with only that little spicy bite. Very drinkable. A balance between brightness and darkness. Fruity but deep. Light feel but substantial malt and sugar presence.

waughbrew, Mar 16, 2005
Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy medium brown, more of a tea-color hue with some off-red highlights. A thick, well defined white bubbly head gives way to well formed cloying bubbles that stick with great dedication to the sides of the chalice. Fresh fruit, malts, raisins, traces of alcohol, and some port/wine notes on the nose; very nice. An initial on-slaught of delightful flavorings – plums, raisins, licorise and sweet malts; full bodied and borderline chewy. Further warming evolves figs, grapes and pears; even further into the flavoring reveals a slight hop-based backbone, brown sugar, grapes and even some coffee beans. The ABV at 10% is spot-on, it’s noticeable, but in a good way. Rich and full flavored, a thing of beauty!

GeoffRizzo, Mar 10, 2005
Photo of Paddez
4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I know I wasn't impressed when I had this about a year ago. So I thought I'd give it another try yesterday and picked it up at my local supermarket. I must have gotten a bad bottle before, cause man is this stuff tasty!

Appearance: Poured into my rochefort glass. Pours a very dark caramelly, brown brew with a medium sized, tan head that produces some lacing but immediately begins to slowly fade away.
The brew itself is hazy and thick.

Smell: Brown sugar, caramel & chocolate, sweet (slightly over-)ripe fruits (mainly banana but also: apples, plums, cherries, ?), vinous notes, malts. Sweet, delicious and incredibly complex.

Taste: Caramelly sweet and fruity with roasted malts and quite some "gluhwein-aspects" (clove, ginger?, ...). Bitter chocolate and hoppy flavours bring some dry notes to the brew. Drool.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, the beer is smooth and creamy. The carbonation is spot on for this kind of beer. The alcohol warms the throat and stomach, leaving you with a confortable and snuggy feeling.

Drinkabillity: The drinkabillity is great for the high alchol percentage but the complexness and richness of this beer demand a lot of your attention, I think having more than one of these could prove to be an exhausting experience, at least for me.

Final thoughts: This is without a doubt an exceptional beer. As with all quadrupels I've had so far though; the serving temperature is a very delicate thing and could have a great impact on the smell, taste and mouthfeel. Not having had the Westvleteren 12 yet, I'd say this beer is only outclassed by the Rochefort 10 in its style, wich is a little more full, round and bold still. Nevertheless though, this brew is close to perfection and great in its own ways. World Class!

Paddez, Mar 08, 2005
Photo of twelvsies
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I just wanted to say that I had this beer on tap and it doesn't quite stand up to the bottle version, which is unusual. Not quite as creamy and frothy, not the same velvety mouthfeel, not as rich and sweet in flavor and I can taste the alcohol a bit more. It's still a great beer, don't get me wrong. But the bottle conditioned verision of this masterpiece is on a different level.

twelvsies, Feb 27, 2005
Photo of Manos
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

If there is a beer to motivate anyone to write something nice,
this is it. My second sampling in as many days, I am noticing how I
value each sip more this second time around. If you notice the thumbs up/down on this one, not much more need be written. No matter; I'll look to
write something of value about the happy friar's buddy...
It did'nt matter that I drank this at the end of a wonderful meal at
Der Braumeister (http://www.beeradvocate.com/beerfly/user_reviews/6298/)
and stealing bites of apple strudel while drinking this, or as a sampling by
itself, this is a true treat. Warming (and yes smelling a bit) like a good coffee, with a touch of sweet
to make you crave more, the dark brown liquid in my cup is leaving me too quickly. Smooth , too smooth, I want to gulp, but NO! Savor...
If I could, I would buy a case; regardless, it always seems that I can't find many happy friars waiting around on the shelves. Do not hesitate
in buying if you can find.

Dammit. I'm preaching to the converted.


Manos, Feb 23, 2005
Photo of horndecker
4.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Small brown 33cl bottle. I poured it into a Westmalle chalice. I figured it wouldn't mind. I've had this a number of times before, but am only now reviewing it for the first time.

A huge fluffy capuccino colored head, reminds me of the pillows of yeast overflowing a fermenting cask....the finest of bubbles, clumpy lace clinging to the glass. A deep walnut hue, not too cloudy. Beautiful.

First whiff is cocoa, almonds, sweet malts, walnuts?, hints of lime, turkish taffy, barbecue sauce?, yowzah!, chocolate. HOLD IT! Need time to assimilate.

The taste is sweet fruits, roasted malts and lots of chocolate. Luscious creamy mouthfeel, full bodied, milky, hint of diacetyl. It warms the back of your throat. Alcohol is apparent but very well placed behind the toasty sweetness.

Absolutely wonderful. Dangerously drinkable. I always wait for the end of the evening to partake of one of these, since seconds might have unforseen consequences....like thirds.

horndecker, Feb 22, 2005
Photo of brentk56
4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark caramel brown hazy color with a creamy head and lots of lacing

Smell: Ripe dark fruits and bananas; brown sugar and alcohol

Taste: Starts out somewhat sweet and clove-like and is followed by a bit of hoppy bitterness and alcoholic warmth; some chocolate and cherry flavors, mid-palate; bitter rum raisin finish

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied but light and fizzy on the tongue

Drinkability: A wonderful sipper by the fire

brentk56, Feb 18, 2005
Photo of dauss
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: very beautiful belgian style silk screened 750ml. Lots of information like alcohol, storing temp, serving temp, story about the brewery, and the best before date stamped on the top.Says it can be stored for up to 15 years. Serve and store at 52F-56F.

Appearance: Dark and clear ruby amber. Large tan head that doesn't even fade. Tons of lacing.

Nose: Full of caramel and sugary sweetness. dark alcohol soaked fruits, also port like, and the alcohol burns the nose a little.

Taste: Very carbonated, loads of sweet maltiness, dark fruits, strong phenolic taste in the end. Alcohol bitterness with a dry finish.

Notes: Its like liquid love, I need to stock up on this one.

dauss, Feb 16, 2005
Photo of Shultzerdugen
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz. bottle with best before date of 20-07-09 poured into my DT tulip.

Opaque mahogany with a massive, rocky, tan head. Head slowly goes down covering the glass with clingy bubbles.

Sweet and malty sniffer. Esters bringing out fruit smells like tart apple and cherry. Nutty bread. Oh, so sweet!

This beer gets amazing as it warms. Not to say it wasn't great when I started, but I'm starting to wish I had the whole beer at this temperature. Somewhere between 45 and 50 F when I started, this beer turns into bliss around 55 F. Those sneaky monks with their candied sugars made a bohemeth of a beer. Malt and hops both aggressive, then subtle vibes of unending complexity. Vanilla, cookie dough, alchohol, all sorts of spices; a monster of a beer.

I had this long ago when it was St. Sixtus, and I remember the St. Sixtus being better, but that doesn't seem possible. I've tried to be constructive, but this beer won me over. I feel spoiled drinking it. Hoo-wah!

Shultzerdugen, Feb 16, 2005
Photo of baiser
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful hazy brown body, with mahogany red highlights, and a creamy head, gorgeous lacing. Aromas of cloves, spices, fruit and malt. Taste was amazing. Cloves, rich sugar, dark fruits, tremendous malt backbone, and hops to balance. Alcohol is hidden behind the sweetness and phenols. Smooth and full bodied, creamy as anything I've ever had. Great beer to sip after dinner.

baiser, Feb 12, 2005
Photo of WesWes
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a deep dark brown/black color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a nice malty scent with a fruity Belgian yeast aroma. It boasts of pale and crystal malts; very complex. The taste is good. It has a very smooth and rich malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes warm and fruity. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very enjoyable brew with loads of flavor and aroma; a good drinker.

WesWes, Feb 11, 2005
Photo of blitz134
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dingy caramel in color with a very lumpy light tan head floating on top. Aroma is dominated mainly by sweet malts with hints of alcohol sweetness. Cherries and dark fruits come to mind as I inhale this brew for a little longer. Taste is again slightly sweet but a bit tart at the same time. I pick up mostly light cherries and a mixing of other fruits in the flavor. This beer is so complicated its hard to really pick out anything specific. There is a slight citrus nature as well, possibly from the hops. The alcohol is barely detectable in the flavor but is definately warming on the way down. Mouthfeel is absolutely delectible. It coats the mouth perfectly making this beer fufilling but refreshing at the same time.

This is an awesomely constructed beer, which is all about balance and perfection, which it nearly achieves.

blitz134, Feb 08, 2005
Photo of Boto
4.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

33cl. bottle: I finally got around to trying one of these. It pours a cloudy, brown color. There was some off-white head to it, which died down fairly rapidly. The aroma was not quite as strong as I would have expected. Very pleasant, but a hair lighter. The aroma is rich and complicated. There are many kinds of fruits in the mix, but the complexity is making it hard for determining individual notes. The taste is superb. A complicated sweetness, with a tart underlying flavor. Fruits, caramel, heaven. Superb.

Boto, Feb 03, 2005
Photo of connecticutpoet
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This was a deep reddish amber, not-quite-brown ale with a huge head... a full siz inches at first pour. It was amazing, just like the Prior 8.

The aroma was noticeable as soon as I popped the cork... a strong blast of malts and liquor, bourbon and rum. As it sat, I picked out a whopping complex of fruity esters and cloves.

Then came the taste... DAYUM!!! Rich malt, slightly musty, with hints of caramel, rum, oodles of spices, and a very light hoppiness with such a smooth creamy mouthfeel it just slid right down my throat. Barely a hint of alcohol, despite its high ABV. Well worth the $6.99 I laid down for it.

Easily the best Belgian I have had. Tremendous! One I will certainly go back to for special occasions.

connecticutpoet, Feb 02, 2005
Photo of ypsifly
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a rich mahogany with a thick beige head that stays around for a long time.

Smells of banannas, bread, clove like spices with a trace of alcohol in the end.

The tastes match the aroma with the clove being a bit more pronounced. It reminds me of Aventinus, but nowhere near as much clove. Just the right amount of carbonation and the mouthfeel coats the taste buds without feeling syrupy.

This is a very delicious and highly drinkable beer. At $8.99 for a 750ml bottle an excellent value. I plan to stock up on this one.

ypsifly, Feb 01, 2005
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,400 ratings.