St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

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7,876 Ratings

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Ratings: 7,876
Reviews: 2,546
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 494
Gots: 1,343 | 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: 7,876 | Reviews: 2,546 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of edchicma
4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark cherry, but with a minimal head, Smell is great, a combination of cherry, molasses and hops. Taste is not as great, but still way above average...cherreis, molasses and a wine-like quality are present. Mouthfeel is smooth, yet with a dry finish. Drinkabilty is likewise smooth, with a medium body.

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

Used a snifter glass for this one. Poured a smokey looking amber with an overall rust tinge. Big head, rocky, foams up past the rim but doesn't drop over. Very nice looking.
Smell of soft fruit; over ripe banana, raisin, plum and touch of passion fruit. The malts give a sweetness to the nose, a bit sticky. I love it.
Taste; mostly earthy flavors. Dark plum, soft wood and leather. As strange as that sounds, it is wonderful. The alcohol is nicely hidden.
Very good feel to it, makes drinking it very easy. Perhaps a bit rich to power down two of these (bombers), but one is a treat.

Photo of roblowther
4.68/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ml corked bottle. Pours dark, coffee brown with a lively, rocky tan head. Smell was a bit odd, maybe just this bottle b/c I got a whiff of vinegar at first. Dissipated quickly though, and the aroma was then black cherries and chocolate. Taste is chocolate, caramel, plums at first, then that sour black cherry at the back of the tongue. Finishes crisply with a toffee-like aftertaste. Mouthfeel is highly carbonated, silky and downright wonderful. The drinkability is up in the dangerous range, as the 10% abv is hidden well. The silky mouthfeel and the crisp finish combine for a beer you could definitely drink a LOT of. This is just one fantastic beer. Hands down. Wow.

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

This is my #700 review. 7 is thought to be a sacred saintly blessed or lucky number. This beer deserves an 00 hundred behind that 7 as it is divine!

Allowed to warm significantly and served this time in my Tulip Glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark opaque mahogany color with a huge tan head that simply refuses to recede and plastering lace that coats the entire glass.

Smell: Very vinous. Dark purple grape, port, fig smoky caramel, a touch of something pleasantly medicinal like a lozenge with the yeast character, bread, cocoa, plum and booze. OH HELL YEAH! this beer is a sniffer for sure.

Taste: This is certainly a display of character depth in beer wow. Chocolaty, bready malt with licorice vanilla rum, then grapes and a buttery phenol flavor as well. Suggestions of nuts and toasted brown sugar fish off followed by a boozy vanilla aftertaste that sticks with me long after the beer gone from my mouth.

Mouthfeel: Exceptionally smooth and just barely chewy with a creamy full body that is well … magnificent in the mouth.

Drinkability: Though it goes down with remarkable ease the last thing I want to do is drink this all night. I think I'd like to go to bed now my day cannot get better =)

Hope this is helpful.

Photo of PhillyMonk
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is simply outstanding, and I've found better in the bottle than on-tap.

Pours a slightly hazy, dark brown with a thick creamy head. Has a big toasted, slightly yeasty clove smell. Definitely full-bodied, has a sweet, malty taste up front with mild carbonation that finishes with a long, sweet, alcoholic taste that seems to linger forever. You can really savor this beer, which is what you expect from such a great brewery and such a complex beer.

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

Pours a deep reddish brown with a decent head that dissipates slowly.

Sweet fruit and malt greet the nose.

Great complex taste. Malt, fruit, and hops burst upon the mouth in an everchanging meld of flavors.

Mouthfeel is quite clean and refreshingly light for a brew of this type.

Drinkability suffers only because of the high alcohol content.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in a St. Bernardus chalice, the beer pours dark brown with some tints of red and it has about an inch off-white head. Lacing is good. It smells mainly like dark fruit, with some sweet malt and a bit of spicyness. The taste is very sweet, just like it smells but with some brown sugar along with the malt and dark fruit. Very tasty. Mouthfeel is nice and full and creamy with a good amount of carbonation. It's nice and smooth, and very drinkable. The alcohol isn't as noticable as I thought it would be. Easily one of the best beers I've ever had.

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

There is a party in my mouth. This one has an expiration date 15 09 09, thus meaning she is a little more than 2 years old. Dark brown with a good creamy foam on top, the smell is so richfull, something toasted inside, I can't be more precise at the moment. Taste is even better, with gouda and "salalme di milano" as special guests at this party, where St Bernardus is the ceremony master and I am the main invitee. I don't want, I can't say nothing more at the moment, except this is one of the best beer experience I've ever been into in my whole life..

Photo of BRoberts914
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had the pleasure of trying this beer and draft and I must say, if you find it on tap anywhere, don't hesitate to order it. It's just not the same when you try it in the bottle. Still good, but not the same.

The Abt 12 exhibited the expected brownish-red hue and was one of the most carbonated beers I've ever encountered, even for a Belgian Quad. Appearance is perfect to style. The smell is inviting with sweet, roasted malts and dark fruits. The taste follows suit, but woa, there was a flavor explosion here I wasn't expecting. The dark fruits hinted at in the nose came to life, now accompanied by dark candi sugar. The complexity here is astounding; it's like a feast of sweet malt, fruit, and candy. Some might describe it as overly sweet. Mouthfeel is of course quite bubbly, but with a nice texture that prevents you from confusing this with a Coca-cola. As several other reviewers have pointed out, the alcohol is VERY well masked here, truly the touch of a master brewer. I could drink this all night on draft. One of the best beers in the world hands down.

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

Dated 19 01 11

Poured into a Unibroue Chalice, a clear dark golden/amber color, nice carbonation, nice 1.5 finger creamy tan head which hangs around for quite sometime, tons of sticky lacing around with some foamy puddles. The nose is sweet malty, with nice scents of grapes, raisins, figs, and prunes. The taste is pretty carbonated, sweet/malty, slightly tart/tangy, nice dry finish. The alcohol is hidden very well. Medium body, a nice complex brew. Very drinkable, a truly awesome beer. Glad it is more readily available, than say a Westy 12.

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

Pours a murky brownish red with a rocky tan head. Smell of dark fruits - plums? Taste of exotic spice and candy sugar. I thought it was a tad on the sweet side, but it was still tasty. The alcohol is well hidden in this brew. Overall a pretty good brew but not extraordinary as I was expecting.

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

Pours a deep brown into the goblet, with a luxurious off white/tan head that slowly reduces to lacing.

Smells of cherries, slight smell of hay.

Taste of cherries with perfect carbonation and just a bit of bitterness in the finish.

I wish I could describe this beer better, I can't really identify all the different tastes and smells here, everything blends into the best beer I've had so far. Perfection of my favorite style.

Photo of goochpunch
3.23/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my Pabst goblet. Body is a hazy purplish ruby when held to the light. A thick, tanned head comes out from the pour and maintains a good 1/4". Leaves thick and raised lacing. Smell is candy-sweet, fruity, spicy, and a bit alcoholic. Aromas are a bit too faint for a beer of this size, and the booze is too prominent. Flavor is very much like grape soda with some roasted malt. There is a slight estery and phenolic hit, but the sweetness runs this. Gets way too sweet as it warms. Mouthfeel is actually kind of thin and starts off rather prickly, but then subsides to a smoother carbonation. This is drinkable enough, but doesn't really do it for me. I think I just don't get what's so great about quadrupels.

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

Appearance poured dark amber with a good head. A good amount of lace throughout the drink. A lite head is apparent throughout the entirety of the drink.

Smell is fruity and malty, the smell is semisweet.

Taste is complex. Malty and sweet, notes of brown sugar. A hint of spice. Very nice finish.

Mouthfeel is wonderful for being a 10% Abv, the alcohol is noticable but not overpowering

Drinkability, yes I could have one of these everyday.

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

Poured a deep brown with a huge head and laced up the whole bottle. Smell was very complex. Malty, berry, fruity smell. A tiny bit of alcohol, very strong smell. Taste was the smae, Very very complex, every sip gave a different flavor it seemed, simply wonderful. Very drinkable too. This was my first try of this wonderful brew and I must say it completly lived up to the hype. This was really really wonderful to drink, and really seemed to get better each time I sipped!

Photo of grub
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

TheBeerFruit shared this bottle, which had been aging in his cellar for the last year. thanks tim!

DrJay also contributed a bottle of the 60th anniversary special addition, which was reviewed along side this one. i'll compare them in that review. thanks jay!

pours a slightly hazy brown with a big fine off-white head. very little lace.

aroma is great. rich malt. toffee. bittersweet chocolate. bit of sweetness. bit of alcohol.

taste is great. rich malt. toffee and caramel. bittersweet chocolate. bit of alcohol. light bitterness.

good mouthfeel. nice carbonation and good body.

drinkability is great. well balanced and very tasty.

this beer reminds me alot of it's big brother, westy 12, which i was fortunate enough to try recently. that bottle was about 4 years old, and this is only 1. some of the complexity of the westy is missing here, but i can see it developing with time. really great beer, and i'm wishihg i'd picked some of this up last year.

Photo of eberkman
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep, dark, cloudy brown with a tan head. Aroma was largely malty, fruity, spicy sweetness. Could detect dark fruit and dark berries. The taste was similar. Quite sweet, but not cloyingly so. A very complex potpourri of tastes coming through to the palate -- brown sugar, cloves, candied sugar, cherries, dark plums.... with a warming, pleasant and not overly harsh flavor of alcohol. Felt velvety smooth in the mouth and would be great to spend an evening sipping a couple of these.

One of the best I've ever had. In fact, I really can't think of a beer that I've enjoyed more. Just the epitome of what I think of when I rave about Belgian ales. Top of the line.

Photo of tcfishler
3.98/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark, dull brown with a large tan head, which is notable for its very fine texture. However, the head is not very sticky.

Sweet but fresh nose of fruit (including banana) and spice.

Heavy carbonation enlivens the moderately heavy, round mouthfeel. Clove is more apparent on the palate than the nose. Alcohol is there to be sensed but not sharp by any means.

Rich but not astoundingly complex.

Photo of thesilverhand
4.68/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Deep, cloudy ruddy brown, nearly opaque. Lots of suspended yeast, and topped with a frothy crema.

Richly spicy. Reminds me of Christmas pudding, with dark yeastiness and dried fruits. Fantastic.

More subtle than I expected. Nicely layered malt and spice, with hints of dried fruits and caramel sweetness leading into a dry bitter finish. Alcohol is apparent, but not aggressive.

Very lively on the palate, which keeps it light despite its richness. Very dry.


Photo of GregBrewski
3.88/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A nice presentation, with a deep dark brown color and a thick tan fluffy head, which left little lacing. A nose of sweet malt, mainly fruity and alcohol notes, some hints of caramel and roasted barley. Its a sweet, malty pronounced brew with the alcohol leading in heavily when displaced onto the palate. It has a medium to light feel, with crispiness in the front. The qualities of this brew improve greatly as it warms up. I wasn’t very impressed when it was cold, but is slowly became more enjoyable.

Photo of MVassar
3.93/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first experience with this beer was dreadful: three spoiled bottles in a row. All had been refrigerated at the same reputable store, but clearly something was wrong with them.

This tasting of a bottle from a different store was more successful.

Somewhat dirty, cloudy brown with an ample yet short-lived head. Tiny bubbles, minimal lacing.

Plenty of brown bread in the nose, with some sweet malt, a touch of raw sugar, even a hint of banana bread.

Tastes of Christmas spices, malt, and a touch of dark fruit. Not as much depth as I would have hoped, but tasty stuff nonetheless.

Medium to full bodied, creamy texture, with too much carbonation.

Nicely balanced beer. Nothing extraordinary, but certainly quite drinkable.

Photo of warmstorage
3.55/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle, states 10% ABV. Bottle has date of 22/03/11, which I take to be a "best before" date. Cellar temp, Chimay goblet.

Pours a vigorous head, dense white-cream colored, which goes away rapidly, leaves minimal lacing. For a Belgian beer, the inability to hold a decent head, even in a high gravity beer, is a little disappointing.

Aroma is deeply yeasty, slightly spicy, with hints of fruit. A very slight metallic note comes out, especially as it warms to room temperature.

Taste is also very yeasty, with burnt sugar, figs, and a very slight hint of spiciness. Alcohol is barely noticeable, especially for a 10% beer.

Mouth is tingly carbonation, with a little alcohol warmth.

Nice, pleasant, warming, and good Belgian yeast characteristics: an excellent beer, and one I'll continue to drink regularly (as regularly as I can get my hands on it, that is.) But BA's highest rated quad, and the 14th overall beer on the site? I don't really see it.

Photo of tjthresh
3.65/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours with a huge off white, frothy, head. Clings the the sides. Very murky, muddy brown color. Completely opaque. Very strong alcoholic nose. Notes of oatmeal raisin cookies. Sweet. Alcohol is upfont in the flavor profile. Some sweetness, and a mash of toffee and fruit. Very easy drinking palate. Soft texture all the way through. Velvet. This particualr bottle is very young. I beleive the date is 030310. I’m sure it ages very well, but as rated today, not one of my faves.

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

You know you have a good beer when the cork unexpetedly pops off about a minute after you remove the twisted wires holding it on, beer and head rolling down the side. This one wanted to get drank, and I felt compelled to comply.

Dark in color, a lot of plum colored violet and red highlights at the bottom and edges, large foamy off white head. Deep fruity aroma, plums, raisins, grapes. Of course some bready Belgian yeast, a bit of molasses, and some fairly detectable alcohol but not over whelming. Alcohol is pretty apparent in the taste as well, but it's smooth and warming, not sharp. Sweet and fruity flavors glore, plums and raspberries. Maybe some hops, citric and resinous, but overshadowed by the malt. Full bodied malty beer.

Verdict: awesome. I noticed the alcohol a bit more than in some, but the flavors were great and right on par. A staple quadrupel to be revisited, but I don't think I will be filling my fridge up with them anytime soon.

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

On tap in a small St. Benardus goblet.

A - light golden brown, little bit of haze. Head is bright white, thick and pillowy. Lacing and retention are good.

S - great Belgian yeast aroma of candy sugar, bubble gum, clove, pineapple, pepper. Little hop aroma of noble spice, along with tangy wheat malt aroma. Significant alcohol presence.

T - tangy, slightly sweet malt followed by great Belgian flavors of spice, sweet exotic fruits, candy sugar. Lots of complex flavors bouncing around. Fruits, spices, mixed with slight noble hop metallic flavor and sweet wheat malt and grainy pilsner.

M - carbonation slightly above average, light, fresh mouthfeel. Warming alcohol.

D - great tasting beer with lots of classic Belgian flavors.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,876 ratings.