St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

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8,443 Ratings

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Ratings: 8,443
Reviews: 2,662
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 616
Gots: 1,823 | FT: 49
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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,443 | Reviews: 2,662
Photo of okono
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Hands down, the best beer I've ever had. It's the gold standard by which other beers should be measured...acknowledging, of course, that each beer needs to be appreciated and rated in the context of its style. St Bernardus 12 is the definitive 5.0 amongst Quads, with Rochefort 10 coming in a close second.

Photo of bonsreeb85
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - this beers pours a deep brown color(identical to the bottle) and sports a massive 3 finger rocky biege head. B E A uuutiful.

S - dark fruits, apple skin, spicy hops and brown shuga!

T - candy-like sweetness, wow. lots of fruit esters(much like the nose hints at). very malty with a spicy finish. this is one complex and tasty beverage! oh-so-sweet, i can feel the cavaties forming as a savor the flavor. i enjoy every sip, and it only gets better as it warms up(the sign of a good beer no doubt)

MF - lots of lively carbonation on this full bodied beast. very creamy feel, excellent.

D - alcohol is well hidden, this one goes down so easy its criminal. worth every penny!

Photo of LVituri
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Com certeza um dos grandes rótulos não trapistas da Bélgica. Levo em consideração duas maneiras de degustá-la. Na garrafa ela possui um sabor mais forte e marcante. Na pressão ela é mais aromática e equilibrada, não há defeitos, não sinto que tenha o que criticar ou apontar como não cumprido. Um rótulo sensacional.

Photo of DenverLogan
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yeah...this could be a benchmark for Belgian strong dark - quad beers. Absolutely lovely fresh or aged up to 7 or more years. Beautifully balanced malt body of rich dark fruit, raisins, toffee, roasted malts, dark chocolate all blended together where none stands out overwhelmingly. Big alcohol but not hot. Great with soups. meat or rich vegie dishes, deserts. I've had this in Belgium, in various states, on tap, in small, big, and very big bottles. This is a great beer to serve fresh or after years of aging. I should add that while my rating across the board indicates 5.0, I can't add my own specific point rating, say, 4.6 for mouthfeel. There's a few beers I might want to rate higher, but this is definitely in the running for a dessert island beer. Exceptional!

Photo of mg3
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Probably my most favorite beer if not the best beer I have ever had as of now. Didn't exactly fall in love with it the first time, but after a few times it just kinda grabbed a hold of me and never let go. Definitely one of the best Belgian's I've ever had.

Photo of lmaduells
5/5  rDev +11.9%


Photo of LeoEnergy
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into my St. Bernardus Chalice.

A-- Beautiful dark caramel with with deep ruby highlights and rich molasses. Smooth, wavy, and consistent lacing with tiny bubbles sticking to the sides.

S-- First the alcohol comes strong with the raisin, then the malts hit in the middle, and an after smell of sweet fruit, bread, caramel, and honey.

T-- The alcohol is very well hidden in this delightful beauty, it barely seeps through between the fig, apricot, plum, apple, maple, malt, bread and yeast as the finishing touch. Complex and keeps me guessing until I take another sip.

M-- First the distinct carbonation hits like high quality champagne; the tiny bubbles tickle the tongue and kiss the palate. Then it settles into a smooth, rich and soft flowy creaminess , almost too much-but wait, no it's just right.

O-- Amazing beer, worthy of being within the world class selection. Tradition prevails with this kind of quality history.
If I were wealthier I would have this readily available in my

Photo of StArnoldFan
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is better than Westy 12. Quads don't get any better than this.

Photo of Beercub
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Quite simply this has become my favorite beer. The appearance is caramel brown, the smell fruity and sweet malty, the taste is incredibly complex yet fuses together into a wonderful impression - raisins, caramel, toffee... The mouthfeel at first seems a little bit over-carbonated, but as it warms and settles, it is simply perfect.

Photo of Delerium
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A beautiful dark dubbel, that tastes like a quad. I swear if this beer was aged, it would turn into Westy12. Nice, dark look with a sweet belge glaze. Smells nutty and musty. Taste is incredible, by far my favorite dubbel. Mothfeel is lively and effervescent. Drinkability: I could session this beer at 10% in alchol all day and have no worries. It's that damn good! Can't wait for the 60th anniversary!

Photo of SheHatesMe
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Have tried them all...Quads, Trippels, Strong Darks, yadda-yadda-yadda. I will save you a lot of time & effort: If you EVER get the chance to order Abt 12 on Tap...Please don't pass up the opportunity.

>Beautiful, consistent ebony color.
>Aroma is a blast of malty, yeasty anticipation.
>Head is ample, creamy & butternut in color.
>Mouthfeel is soft, yet full & even.
>Flavor is a symphony of malt, fruit, spices. Hints of caramel, fig, over-ripened banana swirl & dance upon the palate. Hopps are present & well-mannered. Alcohol is lurking, somewhere, but never, ever obvious. "Complex" is an understatement.
>Overall, drinking this Belgian Quad is a completely preposterous experience. A privilege.

Abt 12 in the bottle is malty Belgian Perfection. Abt 12 on Tap is better. Yeah...That may sound implausible, but it's not. Hold it. Savor it. Understand that it's your lucky day.

Photo of josanguapo
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From The only bad thing about this beer is that you cant drink a lot of them in a row because of its high ABV

Photo of Racinjoe
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

awesome beer. The standard for Belgian Strong ales.

Photo of Shultzerdugen
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz. bottle with best before date of 20-07-09 poured into my DT tulip.

Opaque mahogany with a massive, rocky, tan head. Head slowly goes down covering the glass with clingy bubbles.

Sweet and malty sniffer. Esters bringing out fruit smells like tart apple and cherry. Nutty bread. Oh, so sweet!

This beer gets amazing as it warms. Not to say it wasn't great when I started, but I'm starting to wish I had the whole beer at this temperature. Somewhere between 45 and 50 F when I started, this beer turns into bliss around 55 F. Those sneaky monks with their candied sugars made a bohemeth of a beer. Malt and hops both aggressive, then subtle vibes of unending complexity. Vanilla, cookie dough, alchohol, all sorts of spices; a monster of a beer.

I had this long ago when it was St. Sixtus, and I remember the St. Sixtus being better, but that doesn't seem possible. I've tried to be constructive, but this beer won me over. I feel spoiled drinking it. Hoo-wah!

Photo of xmorgan
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The Trappist, In Oakland On Draft.

This is a big bold wonderfull beer. 10.5% ABV so it is a good cold day beer.

This is one of the best beers I have ever had. The Trappist knows how to server beer, so the glass-ware was perfect, and the temp was good.

Appearance: Dark Amber, white head, about 1 inch of head in the Chalice. The head retains for quit a while, but almost no retention.

Nose: Ripe fruit, evedence of raisins, plumbs and figs. some type of spice is evedent but hard to distinguish. Very enjoyable nose, that is complex

Taste: Bold, complex like the nose, fruity but not sweet, or not too sweet. Lots of spice here, raisin and plumb with the sense of cloves.

After taste is slightly alcoholic (dude its 10%) and sweet. That lingers.

THis is an excellent beer with strong cheese or salami!

Overall: If you like big bold ass kickers, this is great.

This beer in in my top 5 of all time.

Photo of Beolach
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The standard for a Quad. Begin here!

Photo of OPWN3NTSL4Y3R
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Duvel glass tulip

A- Dark murky deep reddish/brown color, off white 2 finger head that dissipates slowly leaving some beautiful lace

S- Dried fruits (raisins, figs, dates, prunes) lots of sweet malts, slight spicy undertones (cloves, anise, allspice) yeasty aromas

T- Incredibly complex waves of ripe dark fruits, caramel, Belgian yeast, ripe bananas, fruit cake

M- Full bodied, well balanced, good bottle conditioned carbonation, smooth creamy mouth feel with a hint of warming alcohol

O- This is a BIG beer, perfect example of a Belgian Quadrupel, a sipper meant to be enjoyed at 50-55 F, incredible aromas emanate throughout

Photo of Avagadro
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up the 750mL corked bottle from "Beers of the World" and was excited the whole way home. Served just under room temp into a tulip glass. Upon pouring a large brown head appeared, and remained untill the glass was finished. this beer has the most beautiful color when held up to the light. A deep red that is alittle clouded by yeast. The smell is also incredible. Very floral aroma that in overwhelmingly enjoyable. The aroma of this beer definitely got you ready for the taste. The taste is amazing. Sweet, but not heavy, dry, but not too dry. This beer suprises you with every sip you take. I babied this bottle for almost an hour because I didn't want it to end. It is smooth and clean in the mouth, and I could drink this beer for the rest of my life if I could afford to. Definitely deserves to be in the top five in BA

Photo of KodyBrannon
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have just found pure heaven in this beer. This beer must have been brewed by the great lord himself. Becuase i have found my heaven in this bottle. It pours a very dark mahogony brown. with a very thick 3 finger cream head. The smell isn't very overpowering, mostly of light malt. But the taste, oh my the taste It is so complex to me I can't fully comprehend it. It's kind of a nutty flavor with the alcohol coming through as the beer warms up. I don't really know how to describe this beer. It was just an amazing experience drinking it. This is by far the best beer I have ever had.

Photo of BigFrank71
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from draft in the proper ST Bernardus glass. A rich tan foam great pour perfect head. The smell was fantastic a sweet carmel smell nice dark color like a belgian dubble. The taste was very nice nice carbonation taste hazel nuts carmel hints of spices great mouth feel all around smooth after taste. A very good beer to enjoy. I have since had many of these but no more then 3 at a sitting with the ABV at 10.5% it can bite you. but highly recommend this wonderful beer.

Photo of squaremile
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Memorable Qualities: I prefer this in the bottle than on tap, where it seems to lose some of the intensity of the nose. I feel like I can always count on St. B to deliver the dark fruit alcoholic yeasty stew that makes me wish I lived in the Belgian countryside with monks stirring open wooden vats. I want to swim in this. Best quad/abt I've ever had. Perfect.

Photo of Misanthropy_Sipping
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I think I am pretty sure this was the first quardupel ale I had ever had. Still a favorite and often what I compare to other quads as it is just so straightforward and so good for the style.

Pours a very deep rust/ deep deep brown. There is a very beautiful ruby hew when held to the light. Has a vigorous khaki head.

There is a lot going on in the smell. Almost a woody scent, cherries, Belgian candi sugar, brown sugar, plums, dates, vanilla, , spice, a bit yeasty. Very earthy tone going on. A mellow smell, but awfully complex.

Tastes wonderful. Again, a whole lot going on. There is almost a cinnamon dryness to it. There is spice and cherries, a bit of yeast. Dates, brown and Belgian candi sugar, burnt caramel, a tad plumy. There is a hint of vanilla... just awesome. everything is in the right place and well balanced. There is a bit of an herbal/woody hop bitterness to finish it all off.

Mouthfeel is really great too. I like to pour mine a bit vigorously but the carbonation still clings on nicely. Surprisingly drinkable. A bit sticky on the back of the mouth but it matches with the sweet taste of this beer. It's what's expected. For being a medium to heavy body, I am always surprised at how drinkable this is.

Overall, excellent. As mentioned, this is one of the quads I base opinion of others off of just because it is so solid. The others I hold at top notch right now would have to be La Trappe and Straffe Hendrik.

Photo of Chrysostom
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

God has a Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God the Son, the Son of God, and is fully God himself. He is God manifest in the flesh. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...there was a man, John, who came to preach the Word.

Now, the Beergod has a son, St Bernardus (Abt 12). St Bernardus is the Son of the Beergod, and in him the fullness of the Beergodhead dwells bodily. He is Beergod manifest in the glass. God created the Beergod, and St Bernardus was in the beginning with the Beergod, and St Bernardus is the Beergod...there is a man, by the name of Chrysostom, who came to preach the Word.

"When the Beergod became flesh, after dinner, he likewise took a bottle of St Bernardus and poured it, saying, This is my blood of the Brew Covenant, which is poured out for many for the inebriation of souls."

St Bernardus is the best beer in the world. Chimay is magnificently superb: it is a signal beer. Other beers: excellent. But St Bernardus Abbot 12 is the Beergod incarnate, made in to a liquid in a glass by some not-monk-monks, to dwell amongst and be drunk by men.

The only thing I have a question on is "appearance"... It's hard to pour, and if poured poorly, will get a bunch of the black yeast-floaties in it, which are unappetizing. If poured poorly, it's a 4.75 on appearance. If poured correctly, it's a 7 out of 5.

Presentation: 750mL, corked and caged. Absolutely awesome label of a jolly, tipsy monk (they changed the colours of his robes when St Bernardus became "not Trappist" about 20 years ago, so he's not a member of any identifiable order now... he used to be in Trappist habit) with ruddy cheeks, making the Priest's sign of benediction with one hand, and toasting your health with an overflowing goblet of St Bernardus in the other. Is there any better way to do so?

A: Poured in to Chimay chalice. A cloudy dark brown, like clean mud made from good earth, which appears black from many angles. Light will show through edges when held directly to a source of light, but the heart is impenetrably opaque, much as the complexity of this beer itself is. On a proper, smooth pour, one finger of thick, creamy, pillowy head, overflowing the rim, is left, which recedes slowly to a thin layer on the face of the beer. It laces the glass in an almost-solid sheet of foam. Don't judge a book by its cover? You can judge this beer by the label, and the pour.

"It looks like what a quad should look like."

S: Surprisingly subdued for such a big beer. There are strong notes of brown malt (think Samuel Smith's Nut Brown) and Belgian yeast, with a mild alcohol character. However, the malt smells -thick-: there is no other way that comes to mind to describe it. There are hints of molasses, brown sugar, grape, prune, date, fig, and other dark fruit, as is par for the course, although the fruit character is much more mild when compared to such a beer as Westmalle Dubbel. The smell becomes more pronounced as it warms. I'm surprised I can smell so little - I'm more-than-likely halfway-ill, so that's probably dulling my olfaction.

"It smells like what a quad should smell like."

T: Much as the smell, but bigger, bolder, and not subdued. Incredibly complex interplay of malt, a dominant grape-like flavour, sugar, the slightest spiciness, and Arabian dried dates. There is no perceptible alcohol character in the flavor. There is a mild sweetness without cloyingness as it hits the tongue. There is a carbonic astringency on the finish, whether from the subdued hops or carbonation, I don't know. It finishes surprisingly cleanly for such a thick, full, malty libation.

"It tastes like what beer should taste like."

M: Highly-carbonated, but blends well with everything else. Causes the flavours to explode on the palate, and contributes to a dry and lingering clean finish. There is a tingle that is left for a moment after the beer has gone, probably due to carbonation. Does not coat the mouth like many malt-bombs that are more familiar, such as double IPAs. Absolutely perfect.

D: Extremely high. A clean beer with complexities begging for another sip, and a completely-hidden, occulted 10% ABV. I could drink 4 or 5 fifths of this, but the drunkenness would have affected my tastebuds to the point that it would be a waste of money; anything more than 2 fifths of this, and you're not getting the full taste - switch to something else.

I gave the smell of this, and appearance, a 4.75 to start, for what reason I don't know, maybe comparison to the Platonic Form of "beer" existing in the Third Realm. However, on this earth, I think it unlikely this beer can be surpassed, and know that it has not yet been surpassed.

It was $11.99 for a fifth, but, like Macallan 25 (which is generally in the ~$750 for a fifth), if this was $50+ a fifth, it would still be worth it to taste, even if too expensive to drink regularly.

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.

Photo of smooth_aleing
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well-awaited, and worth the wait. Poured from tap into a snifter at Isaac's in Newtown, PA.

A= Murky, muddy brown with a thick, frothy head. Settles down to good lacing.

S= Strong notes of raisin, black bread, caramel, roasted malt. Very sweet and pronounced smell.

T= Wonderful. Sweet at first, then settles down to a rich, yeasty flavor. Strong notes of raisin, brandy, black bread, with lighter fruits in background, esp. plum and cherry.

M= Great carbonation, no bitterness.

0= Just a superb beer, one of the best I've had.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 8,443 ratings.