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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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8,120 Ratings

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Ratings: 8,120
Reviews: 2,591
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 539
Gots: 1,567 | FT: 45
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.
View: Beers (12) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,120 | Reviews: 2,591 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of gford217
4.77/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours dark, dark brown with hints of cola coloring around the edges. The head is massive, off-white and lasts quite a while leaving good lacing. All kinds of doughy stuff floating around in this one as well.

S: Big sweet and massively complex aromas. There's belgian yeast, sugar, plums, bubble gum, nuts...extremely pleasing to the nose.

T: Taste is just as complex as the nose with sweet malts, yeast, dark fruits and even a little chocolate. The layers of flavors just keep coming and leave a wonderfully sweet aftertaste that lingers pleasantly on the tongue.

M: Mouthfeel is truly exceptional. Perfect medium to full body with high carbonation that tickles the tongue with the myriad of flavors. Creamy and delightful.

D: This is the beer that got me started on craft beers and so I'm always going to have a couple of these on hand. One of my absolute favorites.

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

12 ounce bottle poured into a chalice. Started foaming over the minute the bottle was opened.

A - Pours brown, with reddish hints. Huge light tan head that quickly subsided to a ring around. Minimal lacing. Plenty of beastie yeasties in it.

S - Fruity.

T - Fruity and slightly sweet. Slight warmth from alcohol in finish.

M - Highly carbonated. Creamy. Smooth.

D - Very drinkable.

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

a: deep brown body with hints of amber. HUGE fluffy head. Spiderweb lacing.

s: Sweet floral malt with notes of cherry and apricot.

t: Highly floral malt displays notes of coca-cola, dark fruit, and vanilla. Full flavored and very complex.

m: Very smooth. Creamy.

d: Damn, I could drink that all day every day. Lives up to its rep. An outstanding brew.

Photo of mcmidc
4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This Belgian brew poured a very dark brown caramel color, with a nice milky head that lingers on top. My nose at time of tasting was a bit stuffy but I did distinguish some earthy tones there. My tongue was not stuffy though and wow am I glad for that. The taste was exceptional. There was caramel, fig, dark malts, with some slight alcohol in the background. Medium body, with carbonation up front with an oh so so smooth finish. Absolutely loved it. Instantly one of my favorites.

Photo of chefnash51
4.61/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first experience of this beer was actually on tap. Blew me away. Made me a life time fan.

A - I love this bottle, it just says.. hey I am a delicious Belgian Quad. You won't be disappointed with me.
The beer itself is a dark drown color, sporting a gorgeous thick, lustrous head. I usually pour this into my St. bernardus chalice and admire it for a minute as I let it warm a bit. Beautiful.

S - I can smell the Belgian yeast, figs, plums, caramel..sweet heavenly nectar goodness.

T - So complex. So rich, So good. the alcohol is present, but it adds a nice warming effect. Rich ripe fruits swim threw my mouth.

M - Alive! the bubbles dance on my tongue. This beer has always had a bread like feel to it, full body indeed. I could have this for a meal.

D - To me, the drink ability is high. This beer has always been the beer that whenever I don't know if I feel like a beer.. or I don't know what kind of beer I feel like.. and I have this beer.. I am never let down. the higher alcohol content is the only thing slowing me down.

I have had this beer fresh and with some age on it. The older the better. If you like this one.. Pick up a bunch.. and lay them down. I say at one year, they really start to shine. But now that I have over a case in the cellar.. I should be able to make it past 2 years.

Photo of tronester
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, cloudy brown, with a big, rocky, off-white head. Smells strongly of alcohol and super ripe bananas. Taste is strongly malt based, oak like flavors, as well as a hint of cider. Just a hint of bitterness and flavor from the hops. Highly carbonated. The yeast flavors imparted by this beer are more neutral than I would have expected for a Belgian Ale, but this does not affect authenticity. Mouthfeel is rich, carbonation levels are high due to bottle conditioning. Drinkability is great, very smooth beer, that while smells greatly of alcohol, hides its 10.5% ABV quite well. Quite an expensive beer, but is a great treat every now and then.

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

Pours a medium brown cloudy color, with lots of light brown fluffy foam. Smells and tastes of figs, dried fruit, cinnamon, pear, grape, and some other fruits I can't place, but there's lots of them in there. A great blend of aroma and flavor. Nothing overpowers, and the flavors are intriguing enough that I keep drinking more. A helluva beer.

Photo of Goliath
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown in color with two fingers of tan head sittong on top.

Dark fruits and banana lead the aroma with a bit of sweet caramel as well. There's also just a nice presence of dark roasted grain and that familiar belgian yeast.

The taste shows an array of dark ripe fruits, banana, yeast, and a lingering alcohol warmth. It's lightly medicinal as well.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and perfectly carbonated.

Drinkability is moderate. Great flavors make for easy consumption, alcohol may limit this beer slightly.

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

A: Dark deep chestnut with a thick, creamy and resilient head that remains with lacing.

S: Rich dark fruits and a touch of clove-like spiciness.

T & M: Beautiful, yeasty, fruity creaminess flocks to my palette like the salmon of Capistrano. The medium carbonation carries the spice and complex fruit, and the alcohol warms all the way down.

D: It's a sipping brew, no doubt. Its ridiculous balancing act of flavor and texture make it unmistakably one of the best beers I've ever had.

Photo of charlzm
4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed at Verdugo Bar, 07/05/08.

Dark brown pour into a goblet with deep garnet highlights. A one finger tan head lasts a while and provides impressive lacing.

Soft spicy aroma of cinnamon and fruit.

The palate: the thick bodied beer was served a bit too cold, I think. Dark, sweet malt (almost molasses but not quite that sweet and thick) and an odd metallic tang that disappears as the beer warms. Subtleties emerge as the temperature goes up: spicy yeast, pitted fruit.

A small glass is appropriate for this big beer, which is sippable but fairly heavy.

Photo of Getinthevan
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bomber of this for the first time up and yeah this stuff is definitely top notch Belgian Ale.

Appearance is a dark brown, almost black at the top with a Tootsie Roll colored brown touching down at the bottom of the glass with a nice frothy head. Bubbles crumbled quickly leaving a nice lacing around the edges of the glass. Definitely a very thick brew going on here.

Smell was very pleasing. The fine aroma of apples and sweet citrus fruits layered around the rims of the glass along with a nice ale smell. This is a beer to behold.

Taste was beyond awesome. From the moment it hits your lips, the alcohol makes itself aware and leaves a nice, stinging feeling. The flavor itself is a mixture is nice malts and citrus and it goes down very smoothly. Very exceptional.

Mouthfeel was very satisfying. This stuff really is thick, frothy and retains the flavor shortly before swallow. Definitely a great brew.

Drinkability was very top notch. For a bomber, this still will do you in quickly and in a pleasant, happy way. Definitely go grab a bomber of this, your tastebuds will be happy!

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 8,120 ratings.