St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

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7,880 Ratings

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Ratings: 7,880
Reviews: 2,547
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 494
Gots: 1,346 | 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: 7,880 | Reviews: 2,547 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ericj551
4.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

St. Bernardus is one of my favorites, an amazing beer, and a steal at under $9. It pours a hazy deep red with a huge foamy head that gradually dissipates down to a half inch that lingers, leaving a nice lacing. Aroma is sweet malts, dark fruits and some dry yeast. The taste is rich and complex, nice fruity dark malts, with just a hint of hop flavor and bitterness. There is delicious spicy yeast character and the beer is perfectly balanced. It still amazes me that this beer is 10.5%, its so smooth and not overly sweet, it could easily pass for much less. The alcohol is barely perceptable, even as the beer warms.

Photo of jp62099
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My experience with Belgians is somewhat limited, but of the few I have had this one is well above the rest. Served from a big 1pint 9oz. corked and caged bottle. I'm thankful for the reviews noting the corks readiness to eject as soon as the cage is twisted. Hazy brown color, typical Belgian head, half of the glass. Nice biscuity malt smell. Tastes are similar, very creamy, big malt sweetness, very slight alc. is apparent. This is a great beer, I'm hoping that as I explore more Belgians in the future they will measure up.

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

This pours a huge frothy head. Surprisingly, it doesn't seem to have much carbonation after that. Go figure. Its color is an opaque beer bottle brown. It has a lot of fruit overtones w/ a similar fruit-like smell. It does have a copper-like taste but, for some reason, that's not so bad. The mouth-feel is like velvet. It would probably be better w/ a hearty meal than just by itself. I'll try it the next time I have steak au poivre and mashed potatoes.

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

Pours a cloudy brown murky looking color, sounds bad I know but it's beautiful. Light tan very large head that sticks around. Leaves a lace on the glass throughout.

Smells sweet and fruity. There is so much happening in the nose I can't tell what's going on except it smells wonderful.

What do you know, it tastes wonderful too! Nice bold flavor with a wonderful warm alcohol finish.

Warm and smooth in the mouth with a decent amount of carbonation and that nice alcohol burn.

What a wonderful beer. This ale is so very drinkable and refreshing which is scary with the 10% ABV. I simply love this beer. More please.

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

330ml bottle, 2005. Served slightly chilled in a Grimbergen challice

Pours with a deep maroon body with reddy ruby hints throughout. Thick bubbly light tan head with good retention, some patchy lacing

Smell, rich alcoholic vinous aromas, sticky toffee and dried fruit. Estery fruit along with a whack of spice and clove. Some rich dark malt and candied sugar, slight hint of acetone also

Taste, dry yeast and alcohol laden rich biscuity malt. Thick molasses and sultanas soaking in brandy and golden syrup. Some rich Burgandy red wine notes, deep rich spicy finish with a hint of ester tinged alcohol. Crisp mouthfeel, biscuity with a touch of slightly dry lingering wine like tannins

A phenomenal beer. Seems to have benefitted from a little bit of age, the flavours have moulded together much better.

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

I'm with Todd and BlackHaddock. St Bernardus on tap is just amazing, even to an old homebrewer/beer-lover who prefers to have quite a bit more hops in most of her beer. And Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia is to be commended repeatedly for its efforts to serve exceptional beer and great food.

Photo of SaltyLime
3.15/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Nice dark murky born in color with an off white head thick as hell, nice lacing to the end.

Smell - nice and clean smell, fresh hops

Taste - a little more shallow than I expected, caramel had a definite presence, and the flavors just didn't seem to subdue the alcohol, metallic

Mouthfeel - smooth but prickly

Drinkability - barely able to finish and that was splitting a bottle 3 ways!
I was trying to introduce a friend to a nice Belgian and pulled this bottle out of the cooler. Frankly, we were all disappointed. Luckily a few strong stouts were available to save the day. Seems very over-rated with its' position on the Best of BA.

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

My first time trying this renown brew. Bottle cork pops on it own, that's pretty cool. This is one carbonated beer. Pours an opaque brown, very dark for the Belgian ales I've had before. Aromas are strong mollasses, plums, prunes, grapes with an underlying esther of alcohol thrown in. Very warming at 10.5 percent. Sweeter than a lot of Belgian ales and very drinkable.

The rumors are true, this is a very good beer.

Photo of Tyrawlings
4.08/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

9.4 oz. Bottle poured into a snifter glass.

A: Slightly hazed dark brown in color. Fluffy off white head pours three fingers thick. Excellent retention. Sheets of sticky lacing climb all over the glass.

S: Sweet malts. Dark fruit. Clove. Biscut. Raw earth. Alcohol.

T: Big sweet malt wave is taken over by herbal clove. Soft and sweet dark fruits are followed by a phenol bite. Tastes of raw earth and more layered sweet malt are met with by a warming alcohol finish.

M: Rich and creamy smooth. Moderate carbonation. Warm and dry.

D: Quite possibly the best Belgian that I have sampled. Amazingly complex and full bodied. I will revisit this gem again! Recommended.

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

Pours a gorgeous cloudy dark brown with a thick (~2") head that is light tan and foamy with dark speckles from yeast at the bottom of the bottle. The head leaves an attractive continuous lace as you drink. Very active bubbling in the beer. It smells malty with nutty overtones and a hint of spice - maybe nutmeg and slightly oaky. The initial flavor is moderately sweet and malty with light bitterness and a clean, long-lasting finish with roasted nuts and alcohol. It is medium to full bodied with slightly creamy texture and a dry, alcholic finish. This is an excellent beer with great complex flavor. I have to say I am increasingly enamored by strong belgian ales.

Photo of khiasmus
4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- As much head as you could possibly want. If you hard pour it, it pours solid head. A soft pour leaves a couple of fingers that linger and lace beautifully... it looks like whipped cream.

S- Yeast, raisins, strong malt, some slight anise, caramel, honey, alcohol, pepper... one of the most complex noses I can remember. It's wonderful.

T- Initial malts, some yeast, bread and biscuity notes, and strong warming alcohol. Hops in the back come in to balance beautifully. A wonderful taste, but dissappointing after the outrageously good nose.

M- Thick and chewy, low carbonation, a lingering alcohol warmth and slight dryness after the smooth finish.

D- The alcohol especially, and the bready flavor, make for slightly lower drinkability... we split this bottle four ways, and we all had plenty.

Photo of JayQue
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Split a 750 ml bottle with my future son-in-law while watching NASCAR after a huge barbeque dinner and two more reasonable beers. Maybe not a great setting for a quad, but we served it in large wine glasses and sipped it slowly enough to get the temperature up and appreciate the many flavors. Obviously this is a big beer. Huge white head, dark color and strong aroma. Maltiness, sweetness, bitterness, astringency. It is all there.Some alcohol detected in the taste. Tasted some dark fruits as well. Mouthfeel is incredibly rich although a sweet, syrupy aftertaste was enough for me to knock down the drinkability (also figuring the 10% abv).

Definitely worth the experience.

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

Not too different from my review from the bottle.

Had on tap at the Publick House in Brookline, MA

Served in a St. Bernardus over-sized wine glass, at a appropriate cool temperature.

Dark brown color with tan, one finger head.

Sweet malty smell with phenol alcohol stinging the nostrils.

The taste was rich and malty, and very smooth. Less of an alcohol burn than from the bottle. smoother and bit creamier in texture.

Went extremely well with my Belgian Stoemp Sauccise.

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

This is the most flavorful beer that I had the pleasure to drink, so far.

Using a Goblet, it pours a nice dark brown, with reddish highlights in the light. It produces a huge foamy head after poured, that settles down to leave behind some great lacing. What a great looking Beer!!!

Smell is just off the wall, hints of sweet fruit and a touch of alcohol.

The taste is really complicated to pin down, there is just too much going on in a good way. It's like drinking a sweet flower of some kind, with that extra little kick of warmness the high alcohol content provides.

It has the perfect amount of carbonation going on, and the high alcohol content really warms up the mouth. It's still a really smooth beer for it's high alcohol content.

Drinkability depends on what your after. No, you can't just chug these beers, just two of them should get you pretty warmed up. I rated it's drinkability high just based on taste. If you have the patience to sip this beer all the way through, then you will have an enjoyable time with this beer.

This is my first Reviewer's Choice Award beer.

Photo of DoubleJ
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Serve at 52-56 degrees F, says the label of the bottle. If it's a Quadrupel that's brewed in Belgium by monks, do what the label says! But now I must wait after pulling it from the fridge to warm it up. Well, time to pop the cap and give it a ride:

Poured into a chalice, it looks like a darker shade of liquid caramel. Has a nice soapy head that eventually dies and morphs into a creamy head (a la nitro stout). Smell is alcoholic, chocolatey, a touch of caramel, peppery fruit juice, and syrupy. Taste is more of the same, but the spice isn't as rough. Some date flavors poke through, but just as the flavors start to get at you, the alcohol pushes it back down. It has a creamy feel that finishes dry with bready flavors, but the latter is incredibly uplifting, pleasuring you palate and brain by making it so easy to take more and more sips.

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

Poured from a 33cl bottle into a goblet. Vigourous pour produces big head, 3+ fingers, of creamy foam. Color is a dark garnet. Head slowly dissapates to a thin film with good lacing.

Smell is ripe dark fruit, malty, clove, bready, with an overall alcohol charachter.

Taste is big clove and sweet malt. Definate alcohol presence. There is also some yeast and dark fruit there too. Medium body with decent mothfeel.

Drinkability is good. The big alcohol is balanced by the clove and malt.

Overall a great Quad, worthy of many repeated tries.

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

Poured from a 750ml bottle with a best by date of July 2011 on the bottom of the bottle. Poured into my Delirium Tremens glass and it has a deep mahogany color. It was nearly opaque but could see bits of yeast floating around the edges. It had earth, malty smell with good sweetness and a good hint of the ABV underneath. The taste was really good with a sweet finish. I really like Tripels but am finding that Quads are good for a few drinks then I'm ready to move on. They have great tastes but the alcohol and sweetness get to me before I can finish the glass. I can see why this is highly regarded but, for now at least, it's not one that I want to have again for awhile. Be interesting to try again in a few years and see where my tastes go. A year ago, I could stand IPA's and now I drink several a week. Highly recommend trying but share a friends bottle unless you really like the strong quads. (3.5, RB, ML, O)

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

Pours deep mahogany with some lacing, slight creamy head. Smell is heavier in the alcohol dept than I would have expected, along with some yeasts, heavy malts, and slight sweetness. Taste is a good balance, especially given its complexities. Caramel malts up front, some yeasts, and then dark fermented fruit flavors along with the alcohols in the background (but not overwhelming). Considering the ABV and the style, it is very smooth and rather easy to drink, albeit filling.

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

Now this is what we’re talking about!! Pours to a dark orange brown color with a nice off-white head that lingers for the entire glass, and leaves very good lacing. Aroama is a bold mixture of dark fruit (plums, grapes, raisins) and malt, with the scent of alcohol creeping in as it warms. Flavor is predominantly these fruits, with a touch of malty sweetness, offset nicely by just enough alcohol. All of this leads to a long, smooth warm finish.

I purposely took about 45 minutes to drink beer, and must say that this beer was as good, if not better, as it warmed to room temperature as it was early on.

A most excellent beer!!!

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

Poured from a 330ml bottle into my St. Bernardus goblet. Bottle marked drink by 3/22/2011.

A: A dark brown with a thick off-white head. Excellent lacing remains throughout.

S: Sweet dark malts along with ripe dark fruits as well as the faint hint of spices. The alcohol is also apparent. An excellent beer to smell and soak in the complex aromas.

T: An incredibly complex and smooth beer. Simply delicious. It starts with the sweet dark malts and brown sugar and moves onto the dark ripe fruits. The alcohol is warming in the aftertaste. However, it's not as much as one would expect with the 10.5% ABV.

M: Full bodied, creamy and very smooth.

D: This is definitely a sipper but it's much more drinkable than I thought it would be with the 10.5%. It's smooth with sweet and delicious complex tastes. An incredibly enjoyable drinking experience. I could have drank more, I was disappointed when my glass was empty.

Photo of jim102864
4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Corked and caged 750 which suprisingly was a good representation of a quality quad, but I've had better. Poured this St. Bernardus effort into my deep Duvel Tulip glass. Nice, aggressive, and quite foamy head with loads of lace webbing throughout the session. The aroma was boozy, malty and offered up an average nose of candied sugar. I'd like a heartier aroma than this, but still not bad. A certain booziness in the taste with burnt coffee and some candied sugar, otherwise, slightly understated. Mouthfeel becomes more viscous as the liquid warms. Yes, it's a drinkable brew. I'm a fan of St. Bernardus, but I don't think I got a bottle of stuff that was aged enough. A good but not excellent effort.

Photo of mandarin
4.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What a treat this beer was. First quad I've had the opportunity to try. There was a lot going on as far as taste goes. Carmel, berries, sweet, rich, and a little bit of alcohol. Mouthfeel was smooth and top notch. Outstanding brew! I look forward to trying more of this style.

Photo of westweasel
3.83/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle from Schneid - Thanks!

The appearance was a hazy dark amber with a gigantic three-inch off-white head. This was poured into a large wineglass (closest thing we had to a goblet).

The aroma was caramel, alcohol, and lemons. The taste was similar, with mostly a caramel and a lemon flavor.

The mouthfeel was excellent - nice and full with a smooth finish.

The drinkability was very good. It would not be hard to keep drinking this. I'm guessing this beer would taste even better with age. I would bet that the lemon character would get smoother and rounder over time.

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

Appearance: Nice dark caramel with a large 3 finger head. Nice and lacey.

Smell: Notes of bananas, fresh toffee, cinnamon, and of course the alcohol.

Taste: Caramelized sugar is the backbone here. The alcohol adds a nice warmth. Mid sip the bananas and toffee come through. It finishes with some spice and cinnamon.

Mouthfeel: It is very smooth but the taste of the alcohol makes for a few rough patches here and there.

Drinkability: The alcohol content will keep this from being a beer I can drink a ton of, but damn this is tasty. Very pleased.

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

A: Dark brown, redish? Foamy, billowing head that remained through tasting after pour from a 22 oz bottle.
S: No beer smell. Fruity, complex, deep. No malt or yeast odors, you could smell it 10 times and pick out 10 new compounds.
T: Fantastic, bready, sugars (brown) and fruits.
M: Smooth, creamy, chewy. Carbonation gives it some air and makes it appear light and east to swallow.
D: excellent. great quadruple, great experience.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,880 ratings.