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St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

2,716 Reviews
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St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Belgium | website

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001

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Reviews: 2,716 | Ratings: 9,145
Photo of EPICAC
4.92/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours a hazy dark brown with a thick beige head that persists as a thin quarter inch layer that reemerges on swirling. Moderate lacing.

Smell: Raisins and other dark fruit, rich malts, caramel, spicy alcohol and a bit of Belgian yeast.

Taste: Like the aroma, the flavors are dominated by dark fruit and rich malts. Flavors of raisins and caramel are obvious. The finish is lightly bitter, with noticeable, but not overpowering alcoholic spice.

Mouthfeel: Tingly carbonation, smooth and medium-bodied.

Drinkability: Very tasty, the alcohol is noticeable, but not overpowering. Delicious and dangerous.

Overall: A really fantastic beer. Easily one of the best I've had.

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Photo of orfeu
4.6/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

33 cL crowned bottle, "Best Before End 15 09 09" -- relatively young, I imagine. Poured into an oversized wine goblet. Densely clouded blood red with a thinning and finely attenuated light tan layer of foam. Nose is predominantly port-like, with notes of alcohol heat, maraschino cherries, and yeasted sugar candies. The highly noticeable booziness of the aroma is stunningly masked in the flavor; all I get are dark rum-soaked plums, bing cherries, and a slightly soured date sugar sweetness at the finish. Hearty yeast-flavored aftertaste. The alcohol is slightly noticeable immediately before the finish in the form of a langorous warming at the back of the throat. Mouth feel is chewy and expansive, airy and fluffy with a rapid yet subtle carbonated effect. Without a doubt, ridiculously drinkable for 10% abv. As expected, pure class in a bottle.

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Photo of brushpig
3.75/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

As soon as you pour this baby into your glass you can tell its going to be a interesting beer with it's rich dark chocolate brown coloring and it full thick head.
Cherry, yeasty, alcohol, Cloves, and Coco fill the nose.
Nice moderate carbination with a rich and creamy feel. The alcohol
does take a little bite. So I took small sips.
Taste of carmel, dryed fruits,and alittle strong in the alcohol, but it still tasted dessert like. It is a nice beer to end the evening with.
Recommended for sure.

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Photo of UncleFlip
4.23/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had it a few times before....just now getting around to the review....

Looks great in the glass... Nice explosive tan head...medium bubbles....fills the glass nicely, but falls at a decent rate (should have used a wet glass, maybe...). Liquid under is clear red-copper when held to light...looks more aubunr to reddish-brown on the table.

The smell is bready-yeasty, reminds me a bit ofthe crusty brown bread my father used to bake...however, it's a bit spicier, and has some almond and grapefruit notes. Just a slight hint of banana back there somewhere, as well.

Pretty much what I expect form a well-done quad. Nice and spicy up front, slightly sour, with a deep molasses-like sweetness,then a spiciness that returns on the end. Not the most assertive flavour, but very good. There'a a nice chest-warming alcohol as it goes down.

A little oily on the tongue, and the liquid is not thick or hearty at all. Carbonation hits a second or two in, but does not get overbearing.

Were this one just a BIT more assertive, I might give it a 5 on drinkability. As it its, there are other belgians that command my attention a bit more. However, it's not bad, and I'd not turn it down.

Be well

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Photo of mattcrill
3.91/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Belgian yeast, cloves, wet grains, a touch estery. Not all that impressed by the aroma.

Appearance: Murky brown ice tea color pour. Fades to ruby edging. A pillowy tan cap develops and the retention is simply breathtaking. Most impressive.

Flavor: Peppery, rum soaked raisins, hints of smokiness, cabarnet grapes, and a firm alcohol punch. A touch hot but seems to blend together better as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with lively carbonation. Slightly creamy at points.

Overall impression: Certainly a good beer and enjoyable enough but not sure that I would put it in the "outstanding" category. I enjoyed the Abt 8 much more. This seems a touch unbalanced with the alcohol taking too much presence. The bottle suggests aging and I'd be inclined to agree with them. Put this back a few years and I could see this as outstanding. Recommended.

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Photo of Absumaster
3.68/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a red brown colour an d a crude head with a lot of carbonation.
Smell was not very impressive, slightly acidic and almost like red wine. Some tannine and molasses or soy sauce? Off course the usual dark fruit like cherries and grapes, mhh... this sounds an awfull lot like red wine, I am not a fan of red wine, because of the grapes and dry mouthfeel, so does that make me prejudiced?

Taste was dry, but full, slightly acidic again the wine-like acidity and dryness. Mild and very little maltiness and hop bitterness. The alcohol really warms me up and quickly goes up to my brain, numbing it. Almost forgot to mention the most upfront tastes which are caramel and dark fruit.

I can't really say that this beer lives up too the reputation. For me it is too acidic and too strong to really enjoy the beer.

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Photo of IceAce
4.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 Oz. bottle marked with a 'Best Before' date of July 28, 2010. I fear this may not have had enough time to mature.

Pours chestnut brown with two fingers of tiny-bubbled foam leaving copious amounts of lace on my St. Bernardus chalice. Aroma reminds me of a concentrated version of the Pater 6...many promises of rum-soaked fruits, dates, figs, scattered alcohol esters, and that beautiful house yeast which resides at the Abbey.

Entry is perfect, with slightly addled carbonation tickling the sides of the tongue and inside of the cheeks. Midtaste features layer upon layer of rich bready malt, ripe figs, and spicy-rum soaked cherries. The finish is a wonderful mixture of St. B's yeasties, biscuity malt, and wonderful alcohol warming on the back of the throat.

Quads have never been a style to make me cross the street...but I'd crawl naked over two miles of broken glass just to get my hands on another bottle of this.

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Photo of jettjon
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Highs: Appearance, nose, taste, mouthfeel
Lows: None

OK, I must admit this is a terribly anticipated tasting. I was not disappointed. From the 11.2 oz. bottle dated 1/27/10, pours a nearly opaque brown color that seems more caramel-like in bright light. Also evident in strong light is the suspended yeast from a pour, resuspend, and finish, though the yeast is transparent to the mouth. Topped by a one-finger brown-tan head of small bubbles that fades pretty quickly leaving a thin sheet-like head and plenty of lacing along the sides that persists until the bottom of the chalice. Odor of grapes, definitely a strong and pleasant bready yeast presence and maybe a bit of orange rind. Taste is extremely complex, a bit much to take in at once. Buttery creamy grape malt, fades to a pretty strong alcohol at the end that culminates in a slow burn into a fruity-dry finish. Mouthfeel is substantial but not creamy with heavy but gentle carbonation. The bubbles persist, slowly fading in the mouth, almost melting away. The mouthfeel is absolutely fantastic. Drinkability is good, but at 10% ABV, watch out!

Overall: A fantastic quadrupel. Well representative of the style. Enthusiastically recommended, if you can find it.

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Photo of semihobo
3.66/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Been sitting on this bottle for a year and a half, I've had other bottles of this since then but not sure what the age will do for it. Best by 20-07-09 though.

What a beaut. In the Bernardus chalice, rich and dark with a creamy half inch head, bubbles so fine that you can't even see them individually. Reminds me of tiramisu. 2 inches of lacing drying on the sides of the glass by the time it is finished, and great retention. This Abt 12 -- so hot right now. Seriously though, you could be a model. And I'm not just saying that to get in your pants.

Smells delicious. Cloves and candy. Raisins. Some sort of cleaner product though lurks in the back, could be the alcohol ... I like how cleaner products smell though. Vanilla, yeasty. Yessir.

Taste is ... not as amazing as its been in the past. Alcohol, sadly the dominant flavor, is sharp; the sweetness isn't delicate and is in fact quite harsh. Nothing is too off, but this is not a masterpiece I expect from St. B. A slight bonus for the times it's been delicious.

Mouthfeel is big, in your face bubbles, not creamy. Maybe this fermented more in aging and powered up the alcohol and carbonation... just speculating.

I really like the brewery and this beverage. I guess I took a chance on aging it, in some subideal conditions, and it didn't work out. I'll have to do another review with a fresh bottle and note the differences. The Pater 6 and Tripel are much better, I think, and they were aged side by side for almost the same amount of time so I don't feel the bottle should be spoiled.

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Photo of orsulacp
4.32/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this beer into a big wine glass; the color was deep amber with hints of red and a big light off white head. I get alot more phenol than esters in the smell; peppery is the dominant smell with some plum in the background. The taste starts out peppery then hint of orange and plum that give way to a malt, bready type ending. The flavors are all mixed in after each sip, the peppery taste may not be first but it is there as is the fruit and malt. It is highly carbonated and has a medium mouthfeel; the carbonation seems to help mix all the flavors around. I hope I can get more of this soon

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Photo of scottoale
4.37/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml. brown glass bottle pours a dark mahogany, cloudy brown ale with an ivory inch of bubbly foam head.

Very strong, sweet malty nose with brandy-soaked fruits and alcohol reeling you in for the taste, smells potent and tasty.

Full malt flavor, sweet yet earthy, swells in your mouth with alcohol releasing warmth and more rich malt characture and fruit subtleties, only to be tamed supremely by the hops, what a concoction?! This kind of brew could only take centuries of brewing expirience, to reach a level of this caliber...bless the Belgian's for their expertise here!

Great full bodied quad to be reckoned with. Very strong, but goes down with ease...your mad if you don't try this one for sure!!!

Enjoy and be careful, this ale packs a wallop!

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Photo of BadBadger
4.48/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow, this is a very nice experience. It pours from the bottle a cloudy dark color. There is plenty of head. The smell is malty, fainlty of citrus, and with only hints of the alcohol content within. The taste is a nice malty slap to the palate. The after taste is nice, with just a bit of stick residue on the glossal apparatus. This is a very, very, drinkable beverage, while the high ABV content may prevent over indulgence.

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Photo of ggaughan
4.47/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Monk's in the back bar. What a great looking beer. It pours a nice deep brown, almost black body with a thick off-white and creamy head. The aroma is a good balance of deep toasted notes and some dried fruit tones as well. The taste is a feast for the mouth. I get dried fruits, plums and berries. I also get an obvious toasted character to this bold and complex and full bodied beer. What a joy to consume.

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Photo of bierman2000
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A strong dark Belgian, is it a Quad or just a abbey dubble with lots of power.. malty and worth the search from the bottle as sampled at Ommegang beer festival. The mouthfeel and aroma of sweet bread along put this beer over the top. Savor slowly as it does creep up on you with the potent alcohol content.

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Photo of artusory
4.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown with a big, creamy off-white head, mostly lasting, nice lacing. Aroma is clove, plums, banana, and sweet malt. Flavor is caramel, toffee, plums, raisins, figs and spice. These all come together superbly. The mouthfeel of this is wonderful, very smooth, carbonation dances on the tongue. Long finish, slightly warming, but alcohol is amazingly hidden. Fantastic.

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Photo of InandOutBeerGuys
4.03/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm going on memory of a few months ago...A delightful pair brought me two bottles back from their monastic tour in Belgium I dont recall the date-if there was one but I imagine it was fairly fresh. The first bottle poured wonderfully toffee brown with a semi-sweet very malty backbone. Black pepper dominated the spices. The other bottle has been cellared for a while now, I beleive I'll try it tonight with dinner & report very soon with notes.

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Photo of GreenWBush
2.99/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Bottled 2004, aged roughly two years in my cellar.

Gorgeous appearance. At least something hasn't changed.

I was worried about this beer from the moment I cracked it. The nose was filled with slight suggestions of age and vinegar. This beer deteriorated from the most well-balanced and fully-integrated slice of dessert-rich heaven to a boozy, candied mess.

Perhaps I caught this beer at an unfortunate point of age. As it stands now, I will never age this one again and I promise to drink it by the chalice, fresh and unwithered.

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Photo of cro250klr
3.83/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap a bit ago. This review, however, is a bottle. To be honest, I would much rather the tap. The bottle is nearly the same, with the exception of a bit more carbonation. The St. Bernie on tap had a softer mouthfeel. I also think that the smell suffers a bit in the bottle. However, this is still a very good beer. Dried fruits and vanilla are present in the nose and the taste. The head on the bottle version is a tad more than that on tap, but both lace the chalice tremendously, till the very end. The taste finishes on the dry side, and the acholol is present on each sip, but that doesn't shy me away from this one. As usual, the Belgian pride shows through. Absolutely worth the effort put forth in searching this one out.

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Photo of TheBungyo
4.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One bad thing about living so close to Bottleworks is that I have access to some of the best beers this world has to offer. That's bad you ask? It is if you can't appreciate the beer. You see, when I first decided to explore the various tastes of beer I decided to try some of the best right off. Good idea in theory but bad idea if the palate is not ready for it. As I've come to see recently many beers I thought of as "ok" are now considered amazing by me now that my palate has grown enough to appreciate them. Take this beer for example. I thought it was good the first time I tried it. Now a year later I find it devine.
The pour gave way to an attractive brown elixir with floating carbonation. Head is mild, about an a half inch, with minor lacing.
Nose is something like an apple strudel. This is just incredible. Tartness, sweetness and a fresh sourness.
Taste is a riot of flavors. An almost buttery medley of apple, vanilla frosting and dash of white wine mingled with caramel. All the while the methodical carbonation is massaging your tongue.
This is a beer to buy and savor again and again. Thank god Bottleworks carries this regularly. I Will kill .... err BUY again!

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Photo of jamesdergen
4.05/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a translucent cocoa brown with a one-finger frothy tan head. Plenty of particles floating around.

Smell: This is one of those brews that your friend smells from across the room when you open the bottle. Dried fruits, alcohol and some grainy malts.

Taste: Very sweet, tart dried fruits up front with a big alcohol backing. Sweet bready notes in the background complemented by some caramel.

Mouthfeel: A lot more aggressive on the palate than I remember. Medium-bodied and more carbonated than I expect from a Quad.

Drinkability: Well, this is only a 330cl, but I'm splitting it with a friend. I would not be able to take down more than one of these smaller bottles.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.15/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle with the numbers 260710 on the label. Cloudy, muddy light brown color. Thick off-white head, which disappeared quickly, leaving a thin ring around the edges of the goblet. Aroma of plums, raisins, figs, dark bread and alcohol. Quite a pleasant combination for the old sniffer! Warming with alcohol, lots of carbonation.Dark fruity, and bread-like with some spices and yeasty flavor. Heavy in aroma and flavor, but doesn't overwhelm the palate due to the carbonation. Very well done.

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

Pours a deep dark brown with tan head - beautiful lacing.

High carbonation. Brown bread nose with raisin hints. ALcohol present in nose.

Flavors back the nose - brown bread, raisin, plums. Candy. A hint of spices and maple. Yeast present and adds a nice character.

A delight - warming and full of flavor. While it provides warmth, the drying carbonation prevents cloying and makes this an easy drinking high alcohol beer.

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Photo of Graham21
4.26/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is a very dark amber carmel red color which is cloudy. The head is very pretty, its a light nutty color;very light tan. head was one finger high then reduced to a beautiful lacing. the foam stuck to the glass.
The nose is very fruity and malty, a little dissapointing. As far as the flavor went i picked up on malts, fruits/citrus, nuts, alchol, and hot cinnamon flaovr, the beer is full bodied and leaves your mouth with a buttery lard feeling after drinking. The alchol is present to say the least and it warms your whole body up. I enjoyed this beer alot. "Two Thumbs Way Up"

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thick 1.5 inch thick head that halved quickly. Great looking color, a sort of caramel brown, reminds me of the color of prune juice. Thick rings of lace.

Smells are caramel, rum, roasted malts and raisins.

This bottle had been aging while, so maybe that's why the alcohol bite was mellow compared to newer bottles I've had. In any case, I found the alcohol to be present but not overwhelming. The flavors were of dark fruits, roasted malts, toffee and chocolate. And I swear there's a ripe grape essence too. Nice creamy mouthfeel coats the mouth/tongue, keeping those flavors going long after the sip.

Pretty high ABV but an absolutely delicious experience. Reminded me of Trappistes Rochefort 10, and also Gulden Draak and Nostradamus. So it sits in exalted company, but we should expect that from the St. Bernardus brewery by now.

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Photo of Mitchel
4.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bernardus 12 pours a dark hazy brown with a pillowy off-white head. The head retention in this beer is fantastic. It smells of dark fruits, brown sugar, clove, grape, malty and above all, sweet.

Very sweet tasting, almost too sweet. There is a burst of clove and dark fruits in the mouth. There is an overwhelming presence of brown sugar and is very grapy. The alcohol is obvious in this one, but what do you expect? This beer tastes smooth and finishes even smoother. Exceedingly warm.

This beer is great! Is it one of the best in the world? Most certainly in my book. Absolutely worth the six dollars per glass at the Saucer (both times). Not a horribly complex beer, but great overall.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
98 out of 100 based on 2,716 ratings.