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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.

7,897 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,897
Reviews: 2,549
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 495
Gots: 1,356 | 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: 7,897 | Reviews: 2,549 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mortarit
4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Learning more about Beligum beers.
I just had the quad and dubbel.
I like the dubbel but after this session I think the quad is definitely more complexs. Actually a smoother drink.

Less carbonation

I need a little more time to experince these beers to their fullness.

Photo of Lothore
4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Huge chunky oatmeal colored head that leaves a massive amount of lacing. Very dark brown in color, hard to see through.

S- Sweet apricot aromas folowed by orange mixed with a slight coffee and alcohol tinge in the nose.

T- Taste is very complex; coffee, sweet dark fruits, roasted malts.

M- Mouthfeel is fairly viscous but not very carbonated.

D- This is definitely a sipper. I can't see anyone saying it's very drinkable but the flavor makes me want to come back to it every once in a while.

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

Had this on tap at the Brick Store in Decatur, GA..and they know how to pour a beer..

Poured into a goblet with a nice thick head giving way to luxurious lacing. The smell promises a hint of the alcohol and a smell of light malted smell with raisins and figs and dates maybe...it was good..had this with some blue cheese

The taste was out of this world..slight alcohol taste but it was overpowered by the fruity tastes with a just a hint of smoky wood taste or something in the back..(I'm still learning how to describe tastes)

This was a great beer and I'm so glad I stepped out and ordered it, with the nudging of a great waiter at the Brick Store. This was a wonderful brew

Photo of jfrank85
4.03/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a goblet deep amber color. Thick lacy off white head that stuck around for a while. Good lacing around the glass and nice retention. Smell was of alcohol mixed with nice touches of toffee and nuts. The 10% is very apparent. Easy to drink even though its high alcohol content. Not too carbonated but not chewy. Great beer, worth the $8.99 spent on a 22oz.

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

An unexpectedly nice pour by an unexpectedly knowledgable bartender results in a nice opaque brown beer topped by an inch of tan foam. The lacing is outrageous and the retention is exceptional.

Aromas of raisin and brandy hit my nose first. Then comes yeast and spice, and ripe dark fruit.

The dark fruits explode in the flavor, coating the tongue with raisin, fig, and plum. The taste elucidates the spicy aroma, uncovering a distinct clove note. Candi sugar and rich caramel. Delicious!

The mouthfeel is so rich and chewy it almost feels like it's not a liquid. Absolutely luxurious. Amazingly smooth and creamy, great carbonation.

The Belgians clearly have the quadrupel down pat. Westy 12, Rochy 10 and now Berny 12 (yeah I have pet names for them, so what) have really highlighted the craftsmanship of Belgian ales to me. All unique within the same style, and all basically unparalleled. This is a first rate beer.

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

Deep brown/mahogany... shows glimmers of a faint red through a pretty murky glass... 1/4" off-white head... leaves a great swirl and nice cap... great legs, as well.

Yeasty/bready aroma... molasses and spice... some cinnamon, raisin, dried fig, big and nice... quite toasty with a touch of maple.

Mouthfeel is very good... creamy feel and tickles of carbonation...

Some big sweet notes... fig and turkish apricot... ripe plum and lots of raisiny goodness... very yeasty... awesome malt flavor.

This one is the standard to compare the rest, in my opinion.

Photo of udubdawg
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

33 cl bottle

I love this beer. It never disappoints, and even as my tastes have changed it remains in my personal top 10. I'm happy to say I've turned some friends onto this beer, but now I've got to protect my stash whenever they're over.

It pours a deep murky brown, though some of the yeast would settle out. The dark tan head is almost an inch and begins to fade immediately, but leaves some pretty lacing over the first half of the glass.

Nose is chock full of malty caramel sweetness, plenty of ripened fruit, clove, and some chocolate and brown sugar along for the ride. Boozy too. Rich, complex, mouth-watering, and I'm considering giving this a "5", but the strength isn't quite there to do so...

...with the taste, however, there is little question to me this is a "5"
Delicious raisin, plum, vanilla, clove, and cookie dough glides across the palate, with a little unexpected but welcome citrus. It's even a little nutty, and there's even a little more alcohol in the flavor than I noted in the aroma. (I'm not complaining!)
A beer to savor...theoretically at least...I myself haven't been too successful at sipping this very slowly.

Carbonation is briefly a bit high, but within a couple minutes this is smooth as silk, with a great full body and warming finish. Overall drinkability is absurd. This isn't sold in Wichita, but it is at the very top of my shopping list whenever I'm in, say, KC.

Photo of OKCNittany
3.63/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Hazy deep brown with a gigantic frothy head that held a while & left big chunks of lacing.

S: Good aroma of fruit, malt, spices, yeast, & plenty I'm not sophisticated enough to identify. Very complex.

T: Spicy - unfortunately including something I don't like - clove maybe? With the fruit & malt flavors, it's not a bad overall taste, but the odd spice kind of ruins it for me.

M: Full body - high carbonation - slight alcohol burn.

D: The alcohol is not hidden as well as I'd like, so it's a sipper for sure. I'm disappointed considering this beer's reputation - it's not bad, but I certainly didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I thought I would. Why do I feel like I need to apologize for not loving this beer?

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

Dark Ruby appearance with a thick, brownish head that lasted until the last drop.
Very aromatic with spice and fruit jumping all over your "nosebuds"
Felt smooth and slick on the tongue and pallet despite its high alcohol content, which made for a very drinkable libation.
Tasted of apricot, peach, and cloves throughout and finished with a hint of vanilla.
Warmed my insides and mellowed my spirit. . . Definitely one of the best beers I've had in a long time.

Photo of msubulldog25
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was poured from an 11.2 oz/330cl bottle ($6 at Stumptown in Portland, OR). Poured from bottle to goblet - dated 14 12 11.

A: 2-fingers of tight, bubbly ivory-colored head, atop a hazy auburn/brown. As head diminishes, it becomes creamier and thicker, never dropping below a half-finger. Moderate amount of rising, lightly-colored carbonation, rising against a dark background.

S: Sweet fruit rises from this , full of sugars, toffee & yeast.

T: Huge fruit rises, full of molasses and caramel. heavily bittered, sugary finish with loads of spice. Raisins, plums and candy sugar are the prevailing flavors, all delectable and sweet.

M: Fizzy, with fuller carbonation and a heavily spiced chewiness. Seems thick on the tongue, but only due to a long-lasting sweet/spicy full-flavor.

D: Quite a treat - full, rich & enticing. Smooth mouthfeel witha complex sweet/spicy body. A sipper for certain, but one I'd be glad to have often.

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

On-tap at The Map Room in Chicago, this big quad pours a deep ruby black with a frothy rich white head that holds fairly well and leaves thick walls of lace. One of the best looking Belgian Ales I've seen.

The aroma has a strong yeasty quality with some dark and red fruits. Malty and fruity. Very prominent.

Very flavorfully complex. Again malt and fruit: citrus, apple, black cherry, date, fig. Some light buttered toast. A bit of starchy hops and some booze. Awesomely complex. Highly comparable to the Westy 12.

Smooth and velvety on the tongue. Moderate carbonation and a clean very warm finish. The booze peaks in at the end. Probably the second best quad in the world.

Photo of maltysfalcon
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What can you say about this beer except "Terrific". It pours medium brown with moderate head. Floral and nutty on the nose, it has aromas of fruitcake and dates. Full bodied, balanced alcohol reveal a complex-tasting beer that is well refined and drinks easy. Vinous in texture and flavor, this beer delivers excellent flavor and mouthfeel. One of my favorites.

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

Poured into a tulip glass. Dark brown with auburn hues, nice tan head with great retention and lacing.

Aroma of holiday fruitcake, dark rum and spice. Very nice. Tastes of ripe dark fruits, roasted dark malts and alcohol. Complex and magnificent.

Big bodied and very smooth in the mouth. Probably the first quad I've tried and I'm very impressed with it. I will work on this one for a while savoring every sip.

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

Aroma - First I recognize malt with a light fig note. Also a slight caramel aroma as well as something I cannot smell, but not quite identify. There are no hops evident in the aroma
The beer pours well and has a nice rich head, but the bubbles are large and loose. The collapse to a very nice layer on the surface of the beer that stays with it the entire glass
Very noticeable alcohol flavor. Also taste the malt and figs evident in the aroma. Very little bitterness. Slight notes of both caramel and prunes. Also notice some phenolic character. After taste is very pleasant and leaves a nice sweetness on the palate.
Very smooth for the high carbonation. The alcohol warmth is quite nice.
Overall this is the best Belgian beer I've had to date, of any style. Very drinkable even with the alcohol strength. Wouldn't want to have more than one or two, I'd be wasted. The aftertaste is reminiscent of fig newton filling. Combined with the malt sweetness, it just tastes nice.

Photo of NEhophead
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 fl oz brown bottle; served in a goblet.
Best before end: 26.04.12.

Thickly-tinted oak with a two-tone of maple. Creamy, finger's-length off-white foam with tremendous retention. Walls of intricate lacing with admirable strength.

Rich, caramel, milk chocolate, and toffee. VInous, aged fruit: grape, plum, cherry. A balance of sweet, richness and a delicate tartness melded by a cutting, warm alcohol whaff.

Rich and sweet toffee and caramel with a distinct toasted breadiness; notes of warm diacetyl. Reserved notes of fig, date, and plum with just a bit of lemon. Balanced spice of clove; even corriander. The alcohol presence is bold in the finish, like a cognac.

Medium to full in body; creamy, almost airy on the palate. Smooth for such bold flavors.

A bold flavored, well balanced Quadrupel. Understandably a classic, but go easy as this monk packs a punch.

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

I have to say that I am in love with this beer. I had a 25 oz bottle of it at the Blind Tiger in Greenwich Village this past weekend for the shockingly reasonable price of eleven bucks! From there, I was able to get a four pack of it in 11 oz bottles for $14 in Brooklyn. I wish I would have got a case since I am now home:(

A--I poured into my Corsendonk glass and it has dark brown hue with a full creamy head..beautiful..what a sight to behold.

S--The aroma says, "I am a delightful Belgian Quad of the highest quality...drink me" You can smell tones of caramel, chocolate, figs and cherries in the aroma.

Taste--Oh man. I have never had the pleasure of the Westvytaren experience but if it is better than the St. Bernardus Abt, I need to get me some of that. This beer is pure ectasy, smooth and the type of flavor that makes it very hard for me to drink even the best of the rest, seriously. Some of my favorites of the past just simply are not worthy now. This beer has done real damage to my beer psyche.

Mouthfeel--Silky. Just like silk in the mouth. Did I mention how much I love this beer?

Drinkability--I feel selfish and gluttenous to say that I have had several of these in recent days. I seem to be growing an addiction to the beer. Not an alcoholic type of addiction, more like a love affair that is newly blossomed. This is not for the light of heart mind you, this will put a major wallop on you if you are not careful. It is hard to be careful.

I did not give it a 5 because I want to be careful not to do that until I am certain I find the perfect beer. However, this is pretty damn close to being the one.

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

From the bottle into a proper oversized goblet. Fantasticly intoxicating in it's glorious appearance! With it's big creamy head that sits softly upon it's dark browney color. Hurling out aromas of fine malts, spices and sweetness right up your nostrils, sending you into an epical state of euphoria. ...and you havent even taken a sip yet!!!
Once you finally let your lips and tounge indulge in this masterpiece; You become awakened by this phenomenal array of malts, hops, yeast, and spice. All I can think is that this beer is a perfection of wonders!
Them monks sure know what their doing!!!

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

I tried this beer on July 11, 2007 at Cafe Volo in Toronto (only because they were temporarily out of Rochefort Trappistes 10). I was very nervous about trying this....high alcohol content, dark brown, yada yada yaada. Well, try it I did. It poured a dark brown into the glass with a small head that lasted throughout the entire beer. The aroma was thick with bread and hops, and some fruit. It was silky smooth on the tongue with a full-bodied feel. The taste...unlike any beer I've tasted before. There was bread, and malt...and hops. The alcohol was not noticeable on the tongue...but I felt it going down....and this is one damn fine beer!

Photo of mithrascruor
3.9/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a dark hazy brown, with some reddish tints. Thick, foamy light tan head becomes a creamy & dense film and lace.

Smell: Great roma of figs, plums, and spices. Malty sweetness abounds, and there's a slight bit of alcohol towards the back.

Taste: Very little fruit flavor -- it's quite earthy with malts and spiced alcohol. A bit of the figs come out in the finish. Spiced alcohol aftertaste that seems to coat the mouth.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, creamy feel. Medium-bodied with light, tingly carbonation. Alcohol sensation is noticable on the tongue.

Drinkability: Strong alcohol and the taste is rather noticable. The aftertaste gets rather boring.

Though it has many fine aspects to it (especially the aroma), I'm not that impressed with this beer overall. The taste and noticable presence of alcohol is the main issue -- I want more flavor in the taste!

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

A- Nice big tan head on a clear amber body with brown hues. Has pretty good head retention.
S- Alcohol, spices, clove, almost like a hint of mint, Belgian sugar, earthy grass hops, brown sugar as well, and dark esters all blend together very nicely.
T- Esters, hints of grass and earthy hops, cloves and a spicy yeast, quite a good helping of sugar, and alcohol warms nicely.
M- Medium/full body with low/medium carbonation.
D- I think this was a excellent beer. In my opinion it beats Westys 12 hands down.

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

Pours dark amber, tan lasting head. Smells very sweet and a slight hint of alcohol. Fruity initial flavor rounded off by malt flavors. Short finish. Great drinkability, even the girlfriend enjoyed it. One of my first Belgians, which could come back to haunt me since I doubt I'll like many as much as this.

Photo of bigman147
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Reddish amber hues with creamy white head that lingers and laces it way down till it rests as a wispy foam that remains.

Aroma: Dark candied fruits with a mild alcohol burn. Complexity layered on complexity. Cherries, plums, figs. Sherry and port wine aromas.

Taste: Balance is the key. Malt adds backbone while hops add a nice sharp edge. Sweet and slightly syrupy but not cloying. Alcohol shows in the finish with a pleasant warming in the back of the throat.

Mouthfeel: High carbonation that could detract from this beer if not there to help control the alcohol. It adds a creaminess that defines conventional wisdom.

Drinkability: In a perfect world, I would have this beer on draft at my house. It is high in alcohol and definitely limits who much you would drink. However, price being no object 2-3 in an evening would be utter perfection.

Overall: Decided to open up a respected classic for #50. Well worth it.

Photo of funkengruven
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this one at the Beerbistro yesterday, quite impressive.

This poured beautifuly into the provided Tulip with a tan head that subsided slowly to a heavy cloud over the brew. Smell is wonderful, dates, prunes, some other nice stuff I can't describe but seems particular to Belgian Abbey style ales. Flavor is very deep, bold, complex. The malt is quite unique in this one. The rich flavors leave you wanting more. It is however high on the ABV which is slightly noticeable, but does not completely disrupt the balance of this beer.

I just wish this was easier to get. Such a great beer.

Photo of BrewSomerville
3.35/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Aromas of cherry, rhubarb, plum, and some caramel.

Looks very dark hazy brown. Small off-white head. Some lace, but poor head retention.

Tastes like grapes, plums, raisins and dates. Ethanol can be tasted (10% ABV). Some spicy notes. Some citrus and some caramel too.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and chewy. Fine, prickly carbonation. I think this is bottle conditioned but it doesn't say on the bottle.

Overall, it's a very nice, very fruity Beer. Nice mouthfeel.

Photo of Cs1987
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Dark and reddish-brown, pretty much completely opaque. About 1 centimetre of head, which gradually faded.

Smell - Probably the strongest smelling beer I've ever had. Mainly a caramel character, but also fruity.

Taste - Very strong taste, which is unsurprising considering the 10% alcohol concentration. The taste is mainly like caramel, with a hint of banana. Fabulous!

Mouthfeel - Smooth and syruppy, with a fantastic aftertaste. Pretty much impossible to fault in this category.

Drinkability - Very drinkable despite the high alcohol content, simply because it tastes so great.

Overall - Probably the best beer I've ever had, and the best I have reviewed here. This is quite impressive, considering my love of Australian ales. This has far more character than most beers I've tasted, yet nothing about it is at all offputting.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,897 ratings.