1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  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.

7,553 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,553
Reviews: 2,516
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 449
Gots: 1,171 | 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: 7,553 | Reviews: 2,516 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Blakaeris
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep brown with reddish highlights. Head is thick and creamy leaving plenty of lacing.

Smell is very yeasty with strong notes of dark fruit, sweet maltiness, caramel, and chocolate.

Taste has very strong cherry and chocolate notes, with dark fruits and brown sugar. Alcohol imparts a warming feeling but is well hidden. Flavors are well balanced. Finish is a little dry with lingering vanilla and nut flavors.

Mouthfeel is subtle and smooth.

This is an amazing brew.

Blakaeris, Dec 29, 2005
Photo of descartes
4.18/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 33 cl bottle.

Appearance: Chestnut brown with a thin yellowish head.
Smell: Very malty with a hint of chestnut.
Taste: Very smooth and creamy. Some fleeting fruity moments, taste the alcohol. This beer will burn your throat and give you warm feelings.
Mouthfeel: Very thick and consistant.

Overall: A very strong beer, too strong to contemplate having several in a row, could probably use a year or two in the cellar. Look forward to having a mellower version.

descartes, Dec 27, 2005
Photo of budsboy
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've grown quite familiar with this beer before reviewing it. Now, I'm so fond of it, the picture of the happy monk on the label is enough to brighten my day. (Oddly, he somewhat resembles my dearly departed father, "Bud").

Dark and muddy brown, voluminous head, leathery, tanned.

Thick, moist bready aroma with hints of exotic spice and alcohol. A distinctive smell. Musty, fruity, wet and beautiful.

Big malt backbone, banana and juicy dark fruit, a slow-growing fire in the gut builds to a fully engulfed blaze, then fades just as slowly as it came. A sharp pear-like fruitiness zaps the tounge before it fades to a gentle bitter aftertaste.

Full and smooth, meaty, chewy. A meal.

An adult beer. Not for guzzlers, amateurs, hipsters, liars, slackjaws, hippies, rednecks, punks, grabasses, politicians or cry-babies. Grabs you by the shirt and demands respect. The world's finest craftsmanship. It's not often you can appreciate the sweat and the beauty of such a thing at the same time. If I find a better beer, I fear I shall be dead. This is the pinnacle, the absolute tip of the spire. Amen.

budsboy, Dec 27, 2005
Photo of ChiSox05
4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml, shot the cork off the ceiling fan, into the Christmas tree.

Ruby red that turns plum colored in the wider parts of the glass. Myriad columns of carbonation rush upward adding to and holding up a never fading inch thick head of off-white foam, releasing a fruity boozy smell. Something to look at in an over-sized wine glass.
S-Familiar Belgian yeast smell mixed with a complex array of scents that could take some time to inventory. Caramel malt, raisins, no doubt about a dark, ripe fruit booze that had been living comfortably in its corked monk emblazoned bottle, now stretching out in the glass. Alcohol adds robustness to the brown sugar coated raisin, prune and plum and some spice too, black pepper or clove.
Taste had a well blended plum sweetness. There are raisins, a booziness that is most similar to a smooth, fruit infused darker rum. Where many beers provide a great aroma fronting for a taste that is just co-existing, the taste of Abt 12 defines its greatness. Sweet and malty the whole way through, but without any cloying syrup characters. The finish is drying and alcoholic, which combined with its effervescence cleared the palate well. Left behind is a cinnamony raisin bread taste and a warm throat and belly. Can't wait for another to add to this review, so much to smell and taste at once.
Another unique quality of this beer is that its high carbonation doesn't distract from the taste while still aiding in cleaning up the palate and complex flavors. Plus, it ensures a damn fine looking brew in the glass. For the definite high amount of sugar and malt within, it is nothing more than medium bodied. As far as the 10% goes, it will be noticed in the throat and stomach the entire trip. Texture is fizzy.
D-Taking notes on this was tough, as all I wanted to do was sip it holding the glass with both hands, pour more, and repeat. All who tried it on Xmas day agreed it was different, complex and out and out good. Will buy another 750 or two next time I am at the store, kickass warming sensation provided by the 10%. So sad to see the bottle empty ;) Tough to put into words how much I enjoyed this, superb is the first thing that comes to mind, top flight beer.

ChiSox05, Dec 26, 2005
Photo of DogFood11
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

whoaaa this beer forms a khaki humongous head that maintains and leaves frothy sticky lacing.

caramel combined with a light pear type fruitiness. This head is still dominating. rolling alcohol that is never in charge but always evident. some deep dark fruits come through.

This is an exceptional brew that deserves its praise.

DogFood11, Dec 26, 2005
Photo of BigBry
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a four pack of 330 ml bottles with the smiling monk label. Best before stamp of 27/04/10. This bottle has been waiting patiently in the cellar to emerge for Christmas Dinner. Pouring slowly into my snifter produced a large sticky head, light brown in color. Foam stayed around for the whole glass, and left thin lacing. The body is almost black, held to the light it is a deep mahogany color. First smell is of dried fruits, dates or currants or plums. The aroma also has toffee and brown sugar or molasses. Even though it is 10% alcohol, there is no strong alcohol smell.
Taste is full of more fruity raisins or prunes, with the alcohol warmth now coming through. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy and quite enjoyable, leaves a thin coating of flavors on the tongue.
A fine after dinner drink, to enjoy slowly, and savor all the complexities this brew has to offer. Rich and delicious.

BigBry, Dec 26, 2005
Photo of WanderingFool
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

St. Bernardus Abt 12 poured a hazy dark mahogeny color with a big tan frothy head on top. The foam dissolved slowly to a thick sheet on the surface leaving behind a lot of lace on the side of the glass. An aroma of apple, grape, yeast and clove greets you before each sip.

This full bodied beer is packed with flavor. It begins with some sweet malt before fruity tastes of apple and raisin move in. Hints of spices (clove and pepper) blend in at the middle. Towards the end of each sip some alcohol and yeast greet the palate. It finishes somewhat tart leaving behind a rather fruity flavor.

This is a well balanced flavorful beer. It hides the 10% alcohol very well. It's best when each sip is savored as the flavor comes alive when the beer warms in the glass.

WanderingFool, Dec 25, 2005
Photo of thetachibro
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

i can honestly say this is one of the first quadrupels that i've actually sat down and enjoyed. it looked beautiful being poured into my snifter with a monsterous 2 in. foaming light tan head. It has a light brown color to it. A slightly fruity smell with a little hint of vanilla. This is probably one of the best balanced beers that i've tasted. I was expecting a big alcohol kick with the 10% but it was just right mixed with the malts. Pretty much perfect. i can sit down and drink a few of these. I might not feel too good in the morning but i wouldn't mind drinking it

thetachibro, Dec 22, 2005
Photo of numenor1
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750, back home for the holidays am i'm splitting it with my mom (i'm damn well getting the bigger half)

One of my favorites, and I've not yet reviewed it. Tremendous beer, and westy 12 has little, maybe nothing on it.

Pours a garnet hued dull brown with a billowing beige head. Rocky all over, diminishing and lacing my glass to death. Aroma is intoxicating, nutty almond, brown sugar, soft plum, faint mint, clove, even slight banana. Taste is immediately almond and brown sugar then there's a flood of esters and burly molasses, drying through the finish leaving my palate aching in its wake. It's the aroma magnified by 10, and my mouth waters. Spicy alcohol and yeastiness integrated throughout. A meaty body with medium carbonation, a tad abrasive and utter perfection. I need more.

numenor1, Dec 22, 2005
Photo of doubleipa
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is right on style. Aroma is light bread, with a moderately yeasty smell. There is also a hint of cherry. I think the draft verion, which I had two night ago has more cherry. There was a rocky head, but definitely not as much as on draft. Not a whole lot of head, but it doesn't fully diminish. Initial flavor is moderately sweet that lessens somewhat. More cherry and bread than the aroma indicated. The finish is long. This was lively on th etongue, more so than the draft version. There is a moderate alcohol feel. While this is one of my favorite quads, I think it's even better with a year on it. When I think of what a quad should be like, I think of ABT 12.

doubleipa, Dec 20, 2005
Photo of walleye
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

from the bottle. pored brown with light tan head some real nice lacing. aroma, citrus, yeast, malts, chocolte, molasses, dark cherries, and other dark fruits and alcohol. flavor, wow the balance of chocolate, cherries, grape, and malts were right on the the way the alcohol came out was nice. and had a nice dry finish.

walleye, Dec 17, 2005
Photo of pbr85
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this beauty from a 12 ounce bottle into a chalis.

Appearance: Nut brown color with a nice off white head. The lacing is pretty good. The head stays at about a quarter inch throughout, giving it a beautiful look.

Smell: Fruits and a champagny scent dominate

Taste: Alcohol hits first, followed by sweet fruity malts everywhere. This beer is very complex; fruity flavors and slight hints of grapefruit.

Mouthfeel: Wow, so smooth. Mouthfeel was my favorite part of the beer, its like the equivalent to a tongue massage. Carbonation is perfect.

Drinkability: Though the alcohol content (and the price) would limit me to 2 or 3 in a night, I would probably never drink more than one of these for fear that I might not appreciate the second or third or tenth.

Notes: If you like sweeter beers, try this, you will love it more than your wife.

pbr85, Dec 16, 2005
Photo of bitterdestroyer
3.38/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

man, i'm a lil bummed. i really didn't feel like this one lived up to the accolades. now don't get me wrong, i'm not saying this beer was bad, far from it. i guess i was just expecting something more.

appearance: nice deep brown. pefect head reminiscent to a guiness. not as much lacing as i woulda figured.

smell: nice nutty, chocolatey, slight spice. par for the course for a quad.

taste: fruity, and full. hint of plums, raisins, hops, chocolate, hint of alcohol. again... par for the course. not bad by any means, but no surprises here.

mouthfeel: silky smooth. alcohol seems more apparent as it warms. just the right amount of carbonation. crisp snap at the end.

drinkability: surprisingly i could do more than one 750 of this in a nite, although the abv is pretty high.

overall: like i said i didn't cream my slacks over it, but wouldn'r exactly turn one away either.

bitterdestroyer, Dec 14, 2005
Photo of andjusticeforale
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Out of a 750ml, split with a friend; it poured nice dark brown with a golden tinge , just like every big belgian should be. There was a a nice tan head that looked stoutish down into the Duvel tulip. It was lighter in color and more filtered than I expected.

The taste was intriguing but not as complex as the hype would have you believe; to me this is infinitely smooth and perfect at masking the taste of alcohol and also, nice and dried fruit/plum astringent in the finish;There was remarkable balance as well, with the taste remaining controlled and tight but stilll verging on port wine at times, bittersweet at other times.

So, it gets great marks for taste and drinkability, but the overall depth makes it miss the perfect mark, I must be a sucker for a less polished package when it comes to the filtering and flavor profile; I wouldn't possbly turn one down however...

andjusticeforale, Dec 14, 2005
Photo of kingjames1
4.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark ruby, with a thick cocoa-tinged head that eventually dissipates leaving a consistent lacing. Smells wonderful, bready yeasts, chocolaty malts, and spice --- mmmm. Taste: does it get any better than this? Rum-drenched raisins, and good, dense (European) bread, brandy and sweet cherries, strong port and dark chocolate. Fantastic! Great carbonation, making it very drinkable for the abv, though one is enough, thank you. Overall, you can't beat this one with a stick. Those crazy Trappist monks know what they're doing!

kingjames1, Dec 12, 2005
Photo of jslot38
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a beautiful deep rich mahogany. Elegant and frothy head, off white with hints of tan. Lacing held nicely throughout the sitting.

Smell: Notes of deep dried fruit. Hints of toasted bread... with a dab of honey on the top. Alcohol wafts through the complexities of this appealing smell. However, what truly lures me to the smell is the dried raisins and toffee combination. Mild phenols are noticable.

Taste: Bliss. The complexities from the smell carry right over to the taste. With a mild sense of alcohol. Up front there is a slight hint of roasted malts with a very small note of walnut and other deep and dark roasted nuts. Next comes the sweetness of dried fruits with paltry lingerings of mustic toffee covered raisins.

Mouthfeel: Slick and while comlex nothing overwhelms the palate. Your tongue will beg for more, as your mouth will not at be turned off by this beer. Perfect amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: At 10% this noble brew tests your drinking stamina. I love this test. Don't mind the fact that I'd be tipsy after a few, its well worth it, as its just a sign of the pure bliss your body will be feeling.

Notes: Honestly, this beer is worth the $13.50 for 4 12oz bottles. Would make the purchase again in a hearbeat. Feeling that the only way this beer could improve would be to enjoy it in its home country. Also, with a shelf life of years, I would absolutly love to let one of these age. Would suggest following serving instructions and serving this beer at a warmer temperature, agitation also brings out hidden complexities that may not be at first noticed.

jslot38, Dec 11, 2005
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer came in a tulip glass with a meringue head that fell to a ring around the edge. The color was dark black with a ruby red glow.

Smelled of prunes, brown sugar, bread dough and smooth alcohol.

Tasted like red grapes, red wine with a smooth alcohol and spicy yeast flavor that finished smooth and sweet like molasses and caramel. Very nice.

The mouth feel was thin with little carbonation that worked well with the flavors.

I was really stunned by the alcohol in this beer. It was prominent, but not at all overpowering. It added a flavor all of its own that blended in well with the rest of the flavors. This is a well done beer.

DarkerTheBetter, Dec 11, 2005
Photo of clabaugh
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy cherrywood color with an abundant, luxurious head of off-white intermixed with tan. Head retention is excellent, and lacing is thick and durable.

Smell: Sweet caramel and honey malts emerge instantly. Citrusy hops reveal scents of fruit, perhaps mango. The alcohol is discernable in the aroma, with all components coming together to produce an inviting scent.

Taste: A backbone of sweet malts and fruit predominate. Again I'm reminded of mango, a sweet, succulent fruit flavor giving way to a mildly hoppy, but not bitter, finish. Intensely pleasing. A lot of complex sweetness; there are some hints of brown sugar. Delicious.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, aptly carbonated, and slightly numbing due to the 10% abv. Wonderful sensations.

Drinkability: The flavor is addicting. The only thing that prevents one from downing beer after beer is the alcohol content. Absolutely bliss when you're drinking it. What a beer should be.

Notes: This beer experience was unique. St. Bernardus Abt 12 has the power to relax you body and mind after only about half a beer. It is an absolute pleasure to partake of this masterpiece.

clabaugh, Dec 10, 2005
Photo of counselor
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a truly great beer that defines the style. Pours a dark brown with a nice head. There are smells of dark sugary fruit, bread, nuts & leather. The mouthfeel is full and coats the tongue with fine bubbles and deep malt texture. The flavors from the malts and yeast dominate bring out flavors of nuts, plums, figs, cherry and fresh baked bread. Broad yeast profile imparting flavors of spice, nutmeg & vanilla. There is almost no hint of the alcohol in this beer. I had some biting Pecorino Romano cheese that really set off the flavors of this beer and made them new with each sip. Buy and enjoy this beer

counselor, Dec 09, 2005
Photo of ggroller
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been wanting to try this beer for a long, long time. Finally, the moment has arrived.

Deep, dark walnut, almost balck in color. Very carbonated. A very loosely bubbled head at first retreats to a silky smooth membrane atop the beer.

Super complex nose. Apples, pears, cinammon, sherry, bubblegum, candy.

Tastes like port wine, brown sugar, cinammon. The alchohol shows a bit but it's not over powering.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin, alchoholic, carbonated.

A big daddy, a fireside sipper.

ggroller, Dec 04, 2005
Photo of trumick
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark brown with a huge frothy tan head and lots of lacing all the way around the glass until the glass was empty.

Scent is of sweet malts dark fruits, but the alcohol is king here.

Taste is huge malt character, dark fruits, molasses and alcohol. I can only pick up the hops in the finish which is dry and quite bitter. The bitterness lasts for a while after each sip. The taste is almost wine-like; fruitier than I would expect, but very solid.

Mouthfeel is definately full bodied, and smooth with lots of carbination of the small bubble variety, very nice.

Drinkability is above average for this huge beer. I could sip (and I do mean sip slowly) all night long..

trumick, Dec 02, 2005
Photo of Realale
4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep brownish with some burgundy highlights. Lovely light cocoa head hangs tight throughout leaving nice, if chunky lacing.

Nose is quite fruity initially, with a hearty dose of dried cherry, prune and raisin notes, more than ably supported by rich, yeasty fresh-baked dark bread. Some initial spicy hopiness seems to dissipate as the chalice warms. Malt continues to increase, though the dried fruits always provide the top notes.

Thinner than expected, but hides the alcohol better than the examples of Westy 12 I've had. Good intensity on the palate with both the dark, dried fruit notes and the dark bready malt taking their expected places at the front of the line. There's some good yeastiness as well, but it's subdued. Quite well-balanced and restrained, though a touch sweet. Definitely more my style than Westy 12.

Length is rather remarkable, with the intensity of flavor continuing throughout. Mouthfeel is nice, with a relatively low carbonation letting the weight of the malt give a really rounded, velvety impression. Sweetness rounds it out nicely. Perilously drinkable for what it is, and a favorite of the style for me.

Realale, Dec 01, 2005
Photo of Applesauce1
3.65/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought my first quadrupel ever at the From the Vine Beer Store in Lewis Center, Ohio.
Poured into my buddy's stein and got almost a 2 inch head (probably from sitting on its side while I was driving).
Color: dark copper
Smell: grape juice with maybe some bitter apple cider
Taste: good, but nothing outstanding (a little too strong for my liking); it wasn't as strong as a barleywine though; also i noticed a wine type flavor

Overall, this is a good beer, as some of buddy's took sips and enjoyed it. It might take a little while for me to get used to this style, so I'll try some more quadrupels in the future.

Applesauce1, Nov 30, 2005
Photo of akorsak
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am drinking from a 750mL bottle in a Watou chalice.

Appearance: This is a dark ale, very hazy and ruby in color (when held up to light). There is also a nice smattering of yeast particles, as I did not filter the last few ounces.

Smell: A very heady smell, I can detect the high alcohol content. I also can clearly smell the malts used in the brew, imparting a wonderful scent that I just can't place.

Taste: Wow! The taste is incredible. I think that I detect some raisiny tastes that mix well with the malts and alcohol. A truly divine brew.

Mouthfeel: The high alcohol sterilizes the mouth a bit. There is a nice mixture of flavors that sit nicely on the palate.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. It fits nicely into the quad family, not too malty but not too high in alcohol taste.

I highly recommend this beer, especially from the 750mL corked and caged bottles (nice screen printing on the bottles too) and it sits firmly in my top five beers list.

akorsak, Nov 29, 2005
Photo of fisherman34
4.08/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown in colour with fairly strong carbonation. Aromatic notes of red berries, caramel malt, raisin, and nutmeg. The sweet caramel elements become more eveident in the flavor, along with additional notes of very mild toasted oak, vanilla, plums, and other dark fruit. Not a great deal of alcohol presence. Complex, yet easy drinking. I was expecting to get blown away by this beer, and was a little disappointed that I wasn’t, but this was still a pretty darn good.

fisherman34, Nov 24, 2005
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,553 ratings.