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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.
BA SCORE
99
world-class

7,361 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,361
Reviews: 2,498
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 419
Gots: 1,095 | FT: 37
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website
Belgium

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: 7,361 | Reviews: 2,498 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ngandhi
4.85/5  rDev +8.5%

On-tap at The Map Room, Chicago, Illinois.
Served in a St. Bernardus goblet.

I get it now. Beer. Life. I think I'm at least starting to understanding the point of each. I will never forget my first taste of St. Bernardus Abt 12.

Nobly inspired by the flavors of Westy 12, this declassified St. Sixtus brew is more balanced, drinkable, and enticing than its trappiste counterpart.

Dominant notes of a grapey yeast and dry, dusty chocolate, St. Bernardus is layered with an extensive finish that reveals to me everything Belgium could ever have to offer the world of beer.

Rich and creamy yet also thinning on the finish. Drinkable with absolutely no detectable alcohol or cloying residual sweetness.

Measured and precise.

But really, St. Bernardus is not to be described in terms of its flavor -- which is, indeed, perfect. With beer this good, with anything this good, the body is wholly consumed.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 is a physiological event that cripples every muscle save the tongue and save the heart.

Relax, relax.
ng

ngandhi, Sep 07, 2004
Photo of canucklehead
4.68/5  rDev +4.7%

Thanks to Malto for this sample.
This beer poured dark and lovely with a tan head with wierd brown flecks. The nose is dank abbeys and dried fruit. The taste is pure heaven, as all those subtle esters that make up Belgian strong ales are blended in such a way that the whole is greater than the parts. LIke Westy 12 and Rochefort 10 this is a beer to contemplate and sip. Have a slice of strong cheese and enjoy.

canucklehead, Sep 06, 2004
Photo of shapudding
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%

Dark ruby and amber clear. Head was a nice khaki pile that quickly left, just leaving a slight dusting in the center with a bit of a ring at the edge. Slightly vineous scent. Blackberries and raspbery in the background. Perfect amount of carbination. The first sip gives you a nice little bite. Tastes of alcohol, I love that. Tiny bit of coffee with cream. Little hopp. Lightly bitter. Very dry taste, but yet wet mouthfeel. Whiskey like flavors. Flavors are so good with this offering!
Buddy at the table who tends to try everything I get said he noticed saki tastes. I don't know that I have ever had saki, so I will just have to take his word on that one. He did enjoy it enough to grab a glass for himself though!

shapudding, Sep 04, 2004
Photo of Denali
3.95/5  rDev -11.6%

Package: 12 oz. bottle

Presentation: Had a bottle of this at Anam Cara in Brookline, MA.

Appearance: Dark brown opaque color with moderate tan head that dissipated but laced rather nicely the entire time.

Smell: Enjoyable aroma of figs, malt, and alcohol.

Taste: Flavor was a mixture of figs and raisins, a little peppery with sweet malt, and also a strong alcohol presence. Very well blended flavors.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy.

Drinkability: I think that the alcohol warming would get to me if I had a few of these in row, but the one I had was enjoyable.

Comments: This reminded me quite a bit of the Westy 12. While its flavors are very good and extremely well blended, for me there was not as much interaction between the flavors as compared to, for example, the Malheur 12 or the Rochefort 10. Perhaps this really isn’t the case for other people and its just how my taste buds respond to these different quadrupels, but I prefer the various flavors to come through over time as opposed to all at once. Therefore, as of this moment, I prefer the Malheur 12 and Rochefort 10 over the St. Bernardus Abt 12 and the Westy 12. However, it is an enjoyable beer nevertheless.

Denali, Aug 30, 2004
Photo of Rio
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

From a 12 oz. bottle, found across the state line in Missouri (not available here in Kansas from what I know). Poured into a chalice as a deep, hazy brown color, with a tower off-white head. Had to let it set to let the head settle before I could pour the second half of the bottle into the glass. The head clinged to the edges of the chalice the whole time.

Nice malty aroma to it, with a bit of an earthy smell, perhaps? Maybe cloves. A bit of sweetness to the smell, as well. Not overpoweringly strong aroma, just a nice, smooth smell to contribute to the overall experience of this brew.

Earthy flavors up front here, with a dark, sweet flavor in there. Perhaps like a brown sugar taste there. There is a nice grape flavor towards the end, but it's nice and smooth, not as bitter as I've noticed in some other Belgians. I can't taste the alcohol much in this one, but I can definitelly feel it at the end, nice and warm. Very nice and smooth, and the head adds a nice, creamy feel to it. Goes down very easily.

Very nice beer here. At three and a half bucks a bottle, not something I'm gonna stock my fridge with, but probably something I'll keep around. For the flavor and feel itself, I think this one is a very drinkable beer, but not something you'd probably want to drink one after another of.

Rio, Aug 29, 2004
Photo of Quaffer
4.1/5  rDev -8.3%

25.4 oz bottle, caged and corked. Picked this up in Dallas. Not available here in Wichita.

Appearance: A very deep amber-brown. Quite a bit darker than I was expecting. A heavy bead could be seen when enough light was put behind the glass to actually see through it. Absolutely wonderful, dense, thick head. It stuck to the side of the glass like glue and seemed to not dissipate at all, probably due to the large amount of bubbles feeding it from below. Aesthetically speaking, this beer was perfection in a glass.

Smell: The aroma was comprised of a rich maltiness that was pierced by sharp fruit and spicy yeast. Alcohol spice and some dark fruit lay underneath. Quite a bit of depth, but not heavy smelling at all.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth upfront and gained more of a velvety texture as it moved back in the mouth. Medium-bodied.

Taste: A nice, dark maltiness was prominent upfront, having a lightly caramel, but more cocoa-like, character to it. The yeast rose up strong in the middle. On the finish, the yeast was joined by spicy alcohol and a sharp fruitiness. This beer became almost sour on the finish. The aftertaste provided a reprise of the chocolate-like malt that was present at the start.

This was a good, solid beer. Not a mind-blowing experience, but very enjoyable.

Quaffer, Aug 15, 2004
Photo of cncbofh
4.28/5  rDev -4.3%

Like the Prior 8, but the bubbly was fuller and held onto the sides of the glass, never falling down into the brew.

It was a deeper mahogany than the Prior. The smell was strong of cloves, peppermints, pepper. It bites your nose a bit with the strong alcohol.

The alcohol is warming, but a bit strong. The taste is a glorified quad, with everything you'd expect but so much better. The taste is malty and chewy with cloves, sugar cane, an (licorice?)... Very good brew.

cncbofh, Aug 15, 2004
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%

Bottle: Poured a slightly hazy brown colored beer with what can only be describe as huge foamy super resistant head (do I need to mention perfect carbonation). Aroma is quite complex with some great roastiness and some strange mix of spices. Great roasty taste with a side of spiced plums. I could not detect any alcohol, which is quite a wonder at 10%. Wow, I’m now glad I bought quite a few so that I can cellar some.

Phyl21ca, Aug 04, 2004
Photo of TagoMago
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle, poured into trappist glass.

Appearance: Hazy, almost opaque brown. Pours with a beautiful, milk chocolate colored head. Lacing is superb.

Smell: Grainy malts with hints of chocolate and various spices. Alcohol is also pretty noticeable.

Taste: Rich, dark carmel malts. Some fruitiness combined with spice. Incredibly smooth and mouth-warming from the alcohol. Carbonation is nearly perfect. A lingering bitterness lies in the finish.

Overall: A world-class, dark Belgian ale. I could drink this all the time and never tire of it. Simply a magnificent beer for Belgian lovers.

TagoMago, Jul 31, 2004
Photo of inebrius
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

If life were easy there'd be no point living it. I love this beer and I hate it.

Nutty, rotten-fruit complexity layered above tobacco and raisins. It's boozy, and light. I want to spit it out and savor it. I want my cat to lick it off the table with nods of agreement.

Pineapple and lime fruit abound in fashion with the St. Bernardus tripel. Alcoholic donuts soaked in tea and carrot cake finish it all off. What?

inebrius, Jul 31, 2004
Photo of nogoodreason
4.97/5  rDev +11.2%

Appearance: Deep brown with a red hue. If you look closely, you'll note small yeast flakes hiding in the depths of this beer. A nice tan head forms, about two fingers thick. It dissipates down to about a centimeter and stays there.

Smell: Fresh baked, whole grain bread. Cocoa. Leather. Sweet Dough. Molasses. Honey. Smells better than most anything else in the world.

Taste: Where to begin? Rich, and with a nice malt sweetness. Not over the top sweet. Some more bready flavors, Pumpernickel? Cream. Some dark fruits and a nicely balanced tang. Yeasty and with a little alcohol character. The finish is huge and the wonderful bready spicy malty character sticks around.

Mouthfeel: Perfection. Honestly. Nicely carbonated, but comfortably viscous and thick. It almost feels as good to my tongue as it tastes. Hate to swallow.

Drinkability: A savory, slow drinking delight and 10% ABV means that one is probably enough.


Notes: This beer should be taken out of the fridge for a while before consuming. It's so much better just a few degrees below room temp. A magnificent creation and as close to the perfect beer as I've ever tasted. Drink it. Know it. Love it.

nogoodreason, Jul 29, 2004
Photo of PatandDavid
3.53/5  rDev -21%

This has been in the fridge a bit, and I thought tonite: I need to do some cleaning, so here goes. Upon the initial pour, I got some aromas I thought were a bit off,, but as the glass warms it smooths out a bit. Initial impresiion is of dark, dark toffee color topped with a latte colored head. The aroma...I am still picking up an earthy, almost cocoa powder note. There's some alcohol hanging out alongside. The taste helps out quite a bit however...cocoa powder, dark fruit, some spiceyness in the finish. Light but still medium mouthfeel. A nice treat, but not one I will go for that often. While very good, perhaps this one would benefit from some aging. Looks like the bottle is telling me that it would be good till 2005, maybe I should have saved it till then. I am looking for a bit more blend and meld in the flavor.

PatandDavid, Jul 29, 2004
Photo of carln26
4.03/5  rDev -9.8%

As with all Abby Ales, this poured with a big thick head. There was a distinct lace after a brief period that stayed with the glass throughout the entire tasting. The color was a deep chocolate brown. The aroma is of spice and candy; quite surprising actually. The taste has a hint of the candy present in the nose with some roasted grain up front. On the back you get a subtle impression of the alcohol, and a mild lingering bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium, not too heavy. The drinkability is good, I could have a few more of these, and will. I have 3 more in the fridge.

carln26, Jul 23, 2004
Photo of beefytee
3.38/5  rDev -24.4%

Very disapointed by this beer.

I had been looking forward to it all day. I went down to the "weird beer" store (as my wife calls it), and picked up the bottle. I had anticipations of Rochefort 10 or Westy 12, I was surprised to find it was not even in the same league. The head poured well enough, the alcohol warmed my nose with a slight hint of banannas, which made my mouth water for rochefort...
then the first taste. The alcohol hit prematurely, and the beer lay flat on my tongue like a bad kisser. The bananas in the nose did not ever hit the palate. The finish was almost foul, causing me to make a bit of an onion smelling face with each sip. Some may call blasphome (sp), but I failed to finish the beer. I may blow another $4.00 on this beer, but only on sheer curiosity, because the beers reputation was not met, and perhaps I had a bad bottle. I will be more than happy to post a better review if this beer makes a better showing

beefytee, Jul 20, 2004
Photo of BobLuvBeer
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%

Very nice roasted brown color. Light milk chocolate colored head, which stays with the full glass, and is creamy and thick. Alcohol jumps out at you and covers the palate. Nice blend of chocolate malt which quickly smoothes out the alcohol bite. The finish leaves a tingle on the tongue, which is a lasting reminder of a great drink. Powerful and great tasting beer.

BobLuvBeer, Jul 20, 2004
Photo of meathookjones
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%

This poured out a dark thick opaque brown color with a good sized beige head that has great retention. This also left a wonderful coating of lace around the glass as it was consumed. Big complex aroma here with dark sweet fruit malts standing out the most with notes of alcohol, some spice and yeast. There is more going on than that but I am unable to tell exactly what the wonderful scents are, I will defiantly need to get a few more of these to enjoy and analyze. Up front with the taste is sweet fruity malt flavors mingling with a bit of spice. The taste is very smooth and it defiantly warms you up a good deal. Mouthfeel is full and creamy with excellent carbonation and a dry finish, basically perfect. Drinkability is only hindered by ones tolerance for 10% beers besides that its so smooth and delicious I could try and drink this all day. Excellent beer that is recommended to everyone.

meathookjones, Jul 15, 2004
Photo of Naerhu
4/5  rDev -10.5%

Opaque brown body with tan thin head and vinous high alcohol looking legs.

Yeasty sweet aroma and thai ice coffee

Hugely yeasty and quite hopy. Surprisingly dry. Rum and yeast. Clovey. Complex and earthy, yet clean. I want more malt and hops in my brew, so although I enjoyed this, I aint coming back.

A candy texture and nutmeg on the palate.

Naerhu, Jul 13, 2004
Photo of aaronbeach69
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%

mmm....750 ml into goblet

appearance: pours light brown but in glass dark brown-red, actually very beutiful, mysterious in such an exhilerting way... makes you envision monks making it hundreds of years ago in dark caves... a truly beautiful beer. The dark red is a product of the two-finger lightly-creme coloured head sticking all over the glass

smell: bannanas... but I always smell bannanas... so lemme try again... no I think its bannanas... very interesting :) fruity and carbonated smelling...

taste: grabs the tip of your tounge as it enters your mouth... bubbly.. yet subdued as it approaches the back of your mouth, where it becomes a complex combination of all the smells... fruity with a bite...

mouthfeel... becomes fuller as it moves through your mouth..

drinkabilty: for the 750ml it seems to follow a curve with the first few drinks having a very pleasent bite and the middle to lower half of the bottle suddenly becoming much more tame.. this may have to do with my tounge being more numbed

note: a very good beer at a good price... 6.49 at sams wine in chicago

aaronbeach69, Jul 11, 2004
Photo of blitheringidiot
3.98/5  rDev -11%

Scant antique white head coating in a tulip. Mahogany orange hued pour with a golden sunset brown glow. A few swirls evoke foam cover.

Light cola tea aroma met with barnyard twinges. A bit of horse blanket and clean out doors meadow breezes.

Vinous as it warms with spicey notes.

Boomy malt flavored prescence. Syrupy sticky taste & feel. Cloying candy like lolipop sticky. Buiscuit strong malts.

Quite a full bodied drinker like liquid bread.

I'd pass on another unless you're buying.

Last swigs: Malty cinammon & nutmeg doughiness. Sippable.

***UPDATE ***
Enjoyed at Eulogy 12/11/04. A bit of Sam Adams 3B notes. DB upped from 3.5 to 4.5

Beer is good. Happy beering.

blitheringidiot, Jul 07, 2004
Photo of rajendra82
4.47/5  rDev 0%

Blood red pour with a beautiful towering foamy head fed by an onrush of ultra fine bubbles that are like champagne. The head is immortal. The aroma is sweet cherries with the uniquely earthy Belgian yeast strain. The taste at first sip is an explosively spicy alcohol. After that initial attack, other flavors start to emerge. The most notable of these is a lingering hop bitterness that is much stronger than most other beers that fall under the broad umbrella of Belgian styles. The bitterness is not overpowering in any way, and allows the fruitiness of the malt to open up in the background. I imagine as this fresh beer settles down, the character would become more malty and complex, and thanks to the new Georgia law allowing this elixir to enter our fair state, I can find out how it will age without much problem. This beer packs a heck of a punch at 10% ABV. After the 330 ml bottle is downed, there is a fire in the belly that radiates out to the extremities. Very drinkable, even at this potency. I WILL be having more.

rajendra82, Jul 02, 2004
Photo of irishmoss
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%

750ml bottle that I've been cellaring since September 03...

When I removed the cage, the cork shot off, the bottle bounced off ceiling and hit me in the head!

The appearance is a dark ruby, rusty brown garnet color when poured into my large chalice...in other words, the color is hard to describe. It's somewhat murky and speckled with sediment, the creamy dense off-white head reminds me of a dense cappuccino head that is also speckled with the same cinnamon colored sediment as the body.

The aroma is estery with sweet banana bread qualities. There are also stabs of spice and dark fruits to my nose, yet there are also sweet malty qualities as well.

The taste is absolutely smooth, no doubt due to the aging. Somewhat sweet and somewhat spicy, but vinous qualities on the back of the tongue and throat. Warming qualities from the alcohol that I feel all the way down till it warms my stomach.

The mouthfeel is great, nice carbonation and it ends with a dry quality that is very refreshing.

It's very drinkable because of how smooth and well blended it is, but the alcohol is there and will bitch slap you if you dare forget about it.

Overall this is very damn good, I'm glad I've aged it, but I would also like to try it a little fresher than this. I'd have to say that this bottle is damn near 2 years old, date worn off of the cage, but I recall it being 02. Very impressed, can't wait to have the opportunity to have this again

irishmoss, Jun 23, 2004
Photo of GuinnessSmurf
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%

This beer is a nice copper/amber color with some sediment floating down. The beer starts with a big head but it quickly settles down to a thin layer that floats for the duration of the beer.

A nice compliment of smells here. There is pear, apple and a yeasty alcohol working together. Its a sharp, clean smell.

It is amazing how smooth this beer is. I had a very difficult time distinguishing any individual flavor in this beer and not because it was crafted blandly. It is profound how complex and well balanced the flavors are in this beer. I kept guessing at each sip. When the beer was gone, I still hadn't written anything substantial as to the elements of the flavor. Its just a perfect, smooth balanced taste. I had a hard time drinking it slowly.

GuinnessSmurf, Jun 19, 2004
Photo of egajdzis
4.22/5  rDev -5.6%

The cork shot off at about 50 mph when I removed the cage, good thing I didn't have my head over the bottle! It poured a reddish brown color with a medium sizd off white head and nice lacing. Aroma of banana, clove, grapes and raisins, while the taste is very strong in the dark fruit department. Alcohol is also slightly noticeable and it had a carbonated mouthfeel. Fruitier than the Westy 12, and I enjoy that one better.

egajdzis, Jun 13, 2004
Photo of DPMomutant
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%

Holy head Batman! I admit I'm not as familiar with Belgians as most and I haven't got used to the concept of pouring a bit slower on some of these, nor do I have the proper glass for this style. Very active pour. The body is ruby to dark brown and almost opaque. The head retains and laces profusely.

The smell is a very pleasant fruity smell. Very sweet.

The taste starts sweet and progresses to a wine-like taste. The fruit is here too. As for the alcohol, you know it's there but it doesn't cover the rest of the taste. It's most detectable at the end.

The mouthfeel is smooth considering the beer's strength. The carbonation is much more balanced than in the pour. The finish is very dry and smooth, allowing the alcohol to warm you.

You certainly couldn't drink many of these. I'd probably only have one. However it is an enjoying sipper for that one. Was definitely worth trying, and I'm not huge on Belgians in general.

DPMomutant, Jun 11, 2004
Photo of Popsinc
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

A lively brown pour with a medium head. The nose is semi-sweet with a touch of tartness and light spice. Medium bodied with hints of over-ripened fruit such as plum and raisin. There's a brown sugar sweetness and a dry finish accompanied by woody notes. Very nice mouthfeel, both lively and fresh and a little alcohol kick on the finish. A very, very good beer.

Popsinc, Jun 10, 2004
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,361 ratings.