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St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

2,715 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: 2,715 | Ratings: 9,143
Photo of thetachibro
4.7/5  rDev +6.3%
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

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Photo of jeffaz02t
4.68/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with lace that will NOT quit!

S: It has a sweet smell, but also has an alcohol bite. Hints of clove and LOTS of malt.

T: Cloves and malt. The finish is yeasty and sweet, then goes slightly dry. Alcohol is def. there, but does not take away from the taste of the beer.

M: Creamy, full bodied.

D: This is not a session beer. This is a beer I have once in a while to appreciate its goodness. I love this beer.

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Photo of dolemite77
4.2/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brownish red, like old red wine... light head that gives way to lacing. Initial taste was overcarbonated, so I let it warm a bit in the goblet. Much better when tasted at cellar temp... aroma is boozy and fruity. Flavors are dried fruits and alcohol. After the beer warmed a bit, the mouthfeel was much better, and the flavors and aromas popped out a bit more. Minimal yeasty flavors, with some earthy notes on the end. Sweetness is about spot on for a dubble/quad.

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Photo of mmahut
4.39/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark bronze with little carbonation and lazy head. Beautiful ring tears.

S: Wine-styled with sweet malt, dark fruits.

T: Well brewed. Sweet and spicy followed by an explosion of flavours. Malt, forest fruits and caramel.

M: Medium soft body with little of carbonation, making people happy (tm).

D: One of the best friend of beer lovers. Dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of djbow
4.82/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark hazy brown like strong sweet tea. Quickly forming head of tight tan that form a rich two finger head. After the head dissipates beautiful lacing and alcohol legs take the stage.

S: Ripe dark fruit, dates, rasins, cherries and rich honey / malt sweetness balanced by a slight aroma of alcohol.

T: Just like its smell suggests, ripe dark fruit, dates, rasins, cherries and rich honey / malt sweetness balanced balanced a very slight alcohol taste. This beer tast is quite complex and I think if I try it agan (and I will) there will be more flavors that become apparent. Like most beers of this style, as it warms the taste becomes more pronounced.

M: Crisp, Champagne like feel that cleanses the pallet with each swallow. This is accomplished by the medium-high carbonation combined with a silky soft medium - heavy body.

O: This is truly a World-Class Belgian Quad. There are other more expensive and lauded Belgian Quads, but in my opinion St. Bernardus Abt 12 is on a nearly equal plane. Also, St. Bernardus is affordable and readily available. Finally, is important to not that this beer gets better with age and can be aged up to four years before consumption. Strap in, try this beer and get ready for a wonderful taste journey.

Glass = Chalice.

Temp = 51F.

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Photo of Antnego
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am simply overwhelmed with quality of this true Belgian classic. Thick persistent foam, beautiful color and thick smooth mouthfeel with little carbonation. The flavor/nose profile - WOW! Raisins, dried fruit, banana, clove, sourdough bread, grass and even soy sauce!! The flavors are developed- clear, bold assertive. I'm going to dream about this one.

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Photo of MediocreatBest
3.54/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

as i watched it fall from bottle to glass it was brown, but it sits a very dark deep brown, almost black in the glass. the greatest highlight of this beer for me was watching the head sit a good thumbs liength above the top of the glass with out any of it running down the sides, it jsut sat there happy as could be, pillowing above the glass, providing quite a sight. it has a murky brown color as it lessens in the glass and more light is allowed to pass through. i smell grass, malty sweetness, pepper, alcohol, and pears. tastespeppery, wet horsblanket taste that is oh so popular this year, wiht an aftertaste of booze and pepper. bubbly at first which seems to fade somewhat quickly perhaps i swirled it in the glass to many times. also hints of fruit (peas, current, depnding on the sip) and grassy ntoes blending together with the horse blanket taste. surprisingly light in the mouth, and very drinkable, but as i have been rereading some of my reviews lately, i think everything is drinkable, it seems that i would almost always take another. but this doesnt lend much in the way of the 10% abv, or overbearing tastes of some belgians.

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Photo of ITK4ever
4.58/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Again, the Belgians are never short on balance. Everything is balanced about this beer. From the pour, to the deep, rich color, to the exciting, malty nose, and the taste....orgasmic. Top ten indeed and the cool thing about Belgian beer...it gets better as you drink it but once the glass is finished, you're pissed off because it's gone. These beers are like a woman with PMS...you run the gamut of emotions with each one.

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Photo of ledemie
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Dark garnet with a white head and good head retention.

S: I smell some pepper, hint of fig,a little alcohol well balanced.

T: a taste fig, date,fresh ripe plum, the malty,toffee, then it finished with some alcohol warmth, grest balance overall.

M: Creamy and warming, nice body.

D: this beer is great, the revues I read said that this is the closest you can come to westwelderen ABT 12, goosh I can wait to get me a bottle of Westwelderen ABT 12, anyway I am going t stock on this one for now and make sure I age them 3 years or so this is by far the best and well balanced beer I tasted, I love the warmth of alcohol a the body the creaminess, and the plum fig and all... for all of you out there this is perfection ( for my taste of course )

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Photo of cktison
4.87/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown, redish? Foamy, billowing head that remained through tasting after pour from a 22 oz bottle.
S: No beer smell. Fruity, complex, deep. No malt or yeast odors, you could smell it 10 times and pick out 10 new compounds.
T: Fantastic, bready, sugars (brown) and fruits.
M: Smooth, creamy, chewy. Carbonation gives it some air and makes it appear light and east to swallow.
D: excellent. great quadruple, great experience.

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Photo of pepsican
3.73/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Blend in Cedar Rapids. Dark brown with a huge white head. Aroma of sweet fruits and alcohol. Sweet with more fruits in the flavor, mostly green apples and pears. A nice hint of bitter thrown in with the sweetness. Finishes with a strong alcohol bite, very warming.

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Photo of greshdoghophead
3.74/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Tulip glass at House Wine bar
A- muddy tealike with minimal head

S-slight raisin, fig and fruit

T-underwhelmingly rich caramel and spicy

M-thinish with a nice buttery tone

O- it really does mask the ABV only mild heat on the backend, lacks robust complexity

First time tasting this highly rated example didnt blow me away
Other top rated brews often live up to their billing but high expectations were deflated

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

This beer was stored for roughly two years.

A: This, when poured into a pint glass, produced some nice head, roughly 1-1 1/2 inch head, with steady head through out the drink which lead to outstanding lacing. The beer color itself was a nice muddy brown, with a fair bit of bottle yeast.

S: The smell of the beer was very aromatic to say the least. The smell of fruits was very present, but there was an overwhelming, a good overwhelming smell of hops.

T: This beer was outstanding. I didn't want my drink to end, but wanted to drink more and more of it. The taste itself was warming to my tongue, with a sort of citrus aftertaste that softened to a nice relaxed, almost vanilla flavor.

M: The mouthfeel was fullbodied and perfect for consumption.

D: If this beer wasn't so expensive per bottle (5.00 for a 11.2 FL OZ), I'd be all over this like white on rice. However, because of the price, I'd have to rate it slightly below exceptional, however since this is one of the lowest parts of the scale, I felt that it was more than alright to do so.

Overall, this beer is outstanding, with out a doubt. I found myself taking smaller drinks each time to try and savor the flavor and to push myself to find new flavor notes. I'd highly suggest this beer to anyone. Cheers.

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Photo of bceagles39
4.68/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle at The Publick House (Brookline, MA) on May 28, 2010.

Pours a beautiful mahogany brown. A large fluffy off-white head, most of which went down quickly. What remained left a nice sticky lacing which held up until the last sip. Noticeable fizziness.

Smells sweet with dark fruits, chocolate, and caramel.

Taste is incredible - roasted malts, rich dark fruit flavors, and overripe grapes. There is a lot going on, almost a sweet/sour flavor. Just the right amount of hop backbone. Alcohol comes in on the finish which is long.

Love the mouthfeel, the carbonation cuts through the heavy syrupy goodness.

This is a supremely drinkable beer. Although I've been keen on trying as many brews as I can lately, I ordered a second because I could not get enough.

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Photo of M_J_Z
4.34/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

One of my all-time favorites! This beer never disappoints either on draft or from the bottle. It's exceptionally well-made and has great value and availability. If you're new to Belgian quadrupels, this is among the first you should try. It's excellent. There isn't much that I could say that hasn't been said in the countless glowing reviews here and elsewhere.

I just had this on draft last week and loved it as much as I ever have. It's timeless.

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Photo of bilbobrewer
3.77/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

33cl btl purchased at grocery store in Brussels.
BB 04/29/2019
Served chilled in tulip.

Pours opaque brown. Like a (well filtered) homebrew, there's just a few 'meatier' brown drops at the end of the pour.
Head is short-lived.....virtually all gone in a few seconds.
Taste is thick, syrupy sweet malt. Resiny on the tongue, dry on the throat.
As only the second quad I've had (Trappist 10 being the other) I'm apparently just not a fan of something THIS sweet. Diabetes in a bottle.
Maybe call this one a "dessert beer".....but I don't drink beer with dessert.

I'm afraid this is a "quadrupel bypass" for me....Forgive me Father, for such a terrible pun.

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Photo of descartes
4.2/5  rDev -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.

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Photo of Optimat0r
4.65/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

appearance - so dark amber its brown...a deep brown almost completely impenetrable by light. minimal foaming.

taste - heavy malts, ended with a perfect fruityness, a hint of cinnemon...extremely complex but not so rich that its overboard. one of the best tasting beers you will ever come across, goes amazing with food. i didnt give it a 5 because of the inevitable occasional hint of alcohol taste that comes through every now and then.

drinkability - unbelieveable, incredible especially considering its 10% alcohol. mouthfeel is the best ive had. tastes amazing through a range of temperatures, great alone or with food, i intend to keep some of this around whenever i can, is perfect in nice 5 oz servings, taste never falters, could sip it all day despite its abv.

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

An amazing beer to savor.
Fantastic complex tastes mix, including: clove, raisin, prunes, and toffee and carmel.
Carbonization is slightly high (higher than the Rochefort 10, for example), but this is refreshing, not bothersome.

Slightly expensive. I think I paid about $16 for a four pack.

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Photo of AlexF
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark hazy brown. Chocolate, brownies brown. Deep! With a LOT of yeast floating. A nice beige head is also persisting throughout the session, with wonderful lacing. Perfect appearance for a rich quadrupel.

A sugary odour of brownies, dark fruits and hints of caramel suggest that this beer will be heavy, real heavy.

No disapointment. This beer rocks! Layers of dark ripe fruits, generic sugary dessert (cookie or brownies again), with a touch of... magic? This is real good.

This is the best quadrupel i've tasted, by far.

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Photo of kurtissellen
3.86/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From an aggressive pour into an oversize wine glass produced a massive +3 fingers worth of head and almost when over the top of the glass. Good amount of lacing with head receding but never completely going away leaving a sort of foam island in the center of the glass. Dark black chocolate color and smelled of doughy yeast. Tasted dark roasted malts, cinnamon, cloves, and a little amount of sweetness. Alcohol was present but never overwhelming. Very attractive looking beer when first poured.

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Photo of Hellabeerguzzler
4.73/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Golden Crust. Couldn't believe it. Used to be hard to find in any container. I loved the bottles but adore the draft!
L: Tranlucent brown with caramel head. Looks beautiful.
S: Bready, some tanginess, maybe some mild spices but not overpowering at all.
T: This was my "5". The aroma combines with the taste to produce a beer that's so thoroughly simple, yet complex at the same time. I enjoyed this beer the first time with a steak, potato, and some fresh-baked bread and I was in heaven 2.0 - It's flavor is a mixture of some natural sweetness from raisins, maybe dates, cinamin, and maybe a touch of clove. It's yeasty malt and just goes does well and given the high ABV, is just delightful.
F: It's not overly effervescent but not flat by any means. It's heavy, yet light, and the only reason I marked it down a half a point is that it is a little hot. No so much that it was unpleasantly so, just that I could feel it.

O: Overall a word-class Belgian beer worthy of recognition. Not so much that anything heavily stands out, but rather that is so good withOUT anything standing out. It's even better with the right food so watch your pairings. Don't go trying to drink this with you sushi or something ridiculous. This is a hearty, delicious meal in bottle as it is and deserves to be paired with a meat and potatoes (or brown rice of pilaf) meal - or if it's not mealtime, stick to the best cheese, quality sourdough breads and pretzels, and maybe some figs or other dried fruits. In other words, don't do anything to wreck your palate because you don't want to miss a single chug of this fine drink to any pickles, citrus, or wasabi.

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Photo of arturorg
4/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served into a Westmalle chalice

A: beautiful brown almost like an ice tea with a 1 inch frothy head beige in color, high carbonation with a bubbly lace.

S: Sweet brown sugar, some grape aroma, alcohol, fruity (banana?), i got an weird faint smell of condensed milk.

T: Sweet bitterness, astringent, warming (not rochefort warming), ripe fruit.

Overall very good beer but not what I expected, will give a try again, felt a little bit flat in flavor.

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Photo of Blackwolf
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into an oversized wine glass.


A- Beautiful, beautiful and I mean BEAUTIFUL beer, and nothing short of that. It poured a very deep mahogany color into the glass, light can barely pass through it. A creamy chocolate to then a semi-light khaki frothy head sits on top of this wonderful quad. The retention is beautiful also, it just won't give up. A decent lacing stares back at you from the side of your glass. Just perfect.

S- Smell and taste are pretty hand and hand with my tastings, but smell is usually the first factor to entice me into a deep ale. The second my nose hit this monumental beer I was hit with a notes of pear, a deep spice and a yeasty/breadiness. It sucked me in almost immediately! Very strong!

T- Yum, and more yum! Fruity, hints of fig... apply pear-ish notes and again the breadiness. There is a a little kick of alcohol in this ale, but a well balanced taste. It finishes with a banana drive and leaves you wanting much more.

MF- Just thick enough but creamy/chewy. An intense mouth feel but a good intense for lack of better words. This quad sits around your palate just long enough to leave you wating for more.

O- 5.0! Just amazing!!! I was hesitant towards grabbing this beer, I don't know why... But this wonderful concoction of smell, taste, look and feel just blew me away! I would recommend this to many, if you see it.... BUY IT! It is just an astounding, well crafted beer that can not disappoint anyone. St. Bernardus is easily making their way into my favorite breweries. LOVE IT! <3

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Photo of Morpheus
4.42/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It was with eager anticipation that I tried this landmark beer. There is no denying that it is representative of 'quads', and as such it becomes the benchmark in comparisons (as placebos are to clinical trials -- Yet, this ain't no sugar pill!)

First, I selected a tulip glass and poured at around 45°F (I prefer a little on the cooler side, as it can warm a little as I sip) It pours with a beautiful foam in a deep brownish-gold, exhibiting a gentle cloudiness of particulate yeast.

Next, I inhale through my mouth first, as to not overwhelm the olfactory senses - faint yeast and malt as to be expected, yet not overpowering. Confirmed with nasal inhalation, and I am pleased at the level of balance, as this is a beer of diligent attention to brewing details.

Foreplay over, we progress to the act of tasting. Notes of a light bitterness, moderate tones of malt, all in a well-balanced exhibition of flavor. I search my mind for ideal food pairings: Wild elk or moose would be appropriate. I think smoked salmon would also provide a pleasing contrast.

Time for cuddles, I mean kudos. This is not my favorite style, and I have previously been disappointed by the offerings of St. Bernardus, yet I am impressed by this product. For my tastes, it is not for down time after work, or as a thirst quencher. This is one to crack open to accompany a wonderful meal.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
98 out of 100 based on 2,715 ratings.