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St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,684 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,684
Hads: 8,922
Avg: 4.42
pDev: 17.42%
Wants: 690
Gots: 2,184 | FT: 51
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Belgium | 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.
View: Beers (11) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of St. Bernardus Abt 12 Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,684 | Hads: 8,922
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 Jimlikesbeer
4.74/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Large thick head. Foamed right out of the bottle when opened. Very smooth Quad. This is really good. No strange after taste. Of St. Bernardus Abbey, this is definitely my favorite

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Photo of MVassar
3.92/5  rDev -11.3%
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.

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

Pours dark brown with a creamy off-white head and some sediment.

You get the dark fruit and malt on the nose, which follows through and opens up on the palate. Nice nutty chocolate undertones without being too sweet. It is smooth and well balanced with the high ABV in no way dominating, instead counter-balancing the sweetness perfectly.

This is a classic Belgian ale and a rival for any pretender. Its been known to win blind tastings with Westvleteren to boot.

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Photo of WoogityBoogity
4.72/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown color, hazy body. Off-white tan head with high retention.

S - Complex malt and dark fruit esters. Phenolic characters uncharacteristic compared to other Quads. Faint hop aroma.

T - Malt complexity soon overwhelmed by fig and dark fruit palate overload. Phenolic profile of various herbs and spices unique to Abt 12's nostalgia. Well balanced with a dry finish of intense flavors and palate overload.

M - Creamy body with high carbonation. Warming from ABV is subdued by matured palate.

D - What many consider one of the quintessential beers, and quite possibly the closest thing to Westveterlan 12.

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

Bottle served in a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a rich brown color with a huge frothy white head that lingers.

Smell: The primary aroma is spicy European hops. There are also hints of bready malt and a hint of fruity ester aromas.

Taste: Very well balanced flavor with the bready malt and fruity yeast flavors are neutralized by the spicy (clove) hop flavors.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and easy to drink.

Overall: An exceptional and complicated beer. I was surprised to find so much clove in the flavor and aroma, but it is pleasant and works well. An amazing beer.

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

Poured from 12oz bottle into imp pint glass. Yeah, it isn't optimal, but I don't have a chalice (yet).

A: Dark brown body that reveals a beautiful dark ruby when held up to light. The head is very large for a beer of this color and, while it does recede, remains at least 1.5cm throughout.

S: Fruity and spicy. I would say that the predominant aroma is the spiciness, but there are very full notes of both raisins and malt. This ups the sweetness of the aroma, overall, making for a great balance for the spicy smell. Finally, there is a bit of boozy bite in the smell, which balances the spice and sweet very well.

T: The order of notes changes. First is the raisin flavors, followed by the malt sweetness. This is a quad, of course it will be sweet, but this is a thick, full sweetness that is fruity and malty in nearly equal parts. The spices are noticed as the sweet flavors begin to reside, providing a bit of a biting contrast to such sweetness. Combine this spiciness with the bit of alcohol at the very back end, and you have a wonderfully balanced beer without any remarkable hop notes.

M: Thick, fully, sweet. It's awesome. It feels like a very light, slightly bubbly, syrup, but in the best of ways. Truly a beer to be sipped and enjoyed.

O: Awesome. Not quite Rochefort 10, but one of the best and most flavorful beers I have encountered.

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Photo of Biggtriksta
4.29/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Solid Belgian Quad here. In comparison to some of the Rochefort beers (especially 10), I don't think it holds up quite as well, but it is rightfully within that discussion of which Quad is the best in the world. Notes of fig, plum, molasses, and vanilla. Classic within the style and highly recommended. It helps that is pretty readily available.

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Photo of Adamanton
4.84/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a growler into a goblet with little to no head. Smells sweet. Dark fruit lots of plum. Tastes like it smells with rich malty goodness and zero bitterness. Then comes the boozy bunch off the backside. Sit down, sip, and enjoy every drop. Damn near a 5.

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

It seems natural to compare St. Bernardus Abt 12 to Rochefort 10, which is my favorite Belgian quad. St. Bernardus Abt 12 is certainly an excellent beer. It is somewhat drier and perhaps a touch hoppier than Rochefort 10. Anyone who is a fan of Rochefort should give this one a try as well.

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

The beer is reddish brown with moderately sized, light tan head. The head has died down to a consistent layer across the top of the beer. A fine bit of lacing is forming on the sides of my St Bernardus chalice as I drink.

The aroma is very rich, earthy, and a bit wine-like.

The flavor is absolutely wonderful. So complex, it’s hard for me to pin down the specific flavor components. The best I can describe it: a lightly nutty, dark fruit-oriented flavor. This is some good stuff. Very rich.

The mouthfeel is perfect: light carbonation and a creamy body.

The drinkability of this beer is very good. The alcohol is pretty much nonexistent is a sea of flavor. I'd love to have another, but I only have one 330 ml bottle. Oh well, makes it more of a treat.

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

Poured from 11.2 ounce bottle into St Bernardus chalice.

Pours a beautiful deep, dark brown with a gorgeous billowy head that leaves sticky lacing on the glass. Maintains a half inch head through out drinking.

Smell is plum with a hint of brown sugar. Hard to take your nose from the glass.

Taste is immensly complex and satisfying. Malt, yeast, old world hops, brown sugar all combine with faint fruity undertones, certainly some bannana in there. Alcohol is definetely here but not overpowering and warms up the beer nicely. Wow, there is too much here to grasp with just one 11.2 ounce bottle. I'll have to review this one again to get a better grip.

This beer is fantastic, certainly deserving of the praise sung by other BA's. I still think Rochefort 10 is my favorite, but this one makes the short list of best in the world. I plan to come back to it shortly.

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Photo of JBStith
4.53/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

St Bernadus Abt 12 out of a 750 ml bottle...

A: Brilliant but hazy brown, ruby color. Pours with a volumous off-white head that disappates quick. Maintains a lacing of foam that coats the glass as I consume it.

S: Aromas of malt, wood and earth. Maybe a slight yeasty sourness creeps in as well. No apparent bitterness or hop character (just as it should be).

T: Taste starts off very clean and leads into malt with a slight presence of yeast. Alcohol creeps in at the end, though hidden fairly well, and finishes very warm. Absolutely delicious. All tastes lead to a very balance experience.

M&D: Medium mouthfeel. Malt is not sweet, but more earthy. The alcohol balances out the malt. Highly drinkable, though I'm sure the 10.5 abv will quickly reign me in.

Overall, this is a glorious beer. I cant wait to taste it again over time to see how it ages.

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Photo of dizknee24
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I heard about this and finally had the chance to pick one or two up. Very hazy and a light head in my chalice. Tastes was exceptional as any good quad, it has very sweet aroma.
I would definitely buy this again next time i go to the store. I advise you to do the same.

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Photo of Aml42000
4.35/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Mahogany with a thick, off-white head. Beautiful lacing and head retention in a red burgundy glass.

S- Savory aromatics with hints of florals and esters. Excellent complexity.

T- Nutty flavors, apple and pear and just a touch of tart/bitter on the long finish. Layers and layers of complex flavors. A hint of umami.

M- Full bodied, but balanced well with carbonation/effervescence.

O- Truly excellent. Paired with mussels and frites. Delicious and complex.

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

Appearance: Classic dark look of a Dubbel.
Smell: Great great smell.
Taste: There are not enough of "o's in smooooth to describe this taste.
Mouthfeel: I would say medium, the beer has a champagne like taste to me.

Overall: Simply said I can't find anything to criticize about this beer. I cannot criticize monks that give their life to God and in the process make mankind very happy. Superb.

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Photo of geographie
4.67/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - An opaque juggernaut crowned by a thick head that refuses to leave - this is one daunting brew!

S - Notes of coffee and toffee well-backed by strong malty goodness. Smells like a real hearty beer.

T - First, a distinct concord grape/toffee well-lit flavour strike the palate. To flollow, a champagne-like feeling enters the nose and rushes to the belly. Faint notes of cinnamon in the background. A bitterness unique to only the far reaches of the tongue allow for these flavours to melt slowly from one stage to the next, increasing my confusion and desire to keep drinking and exploring this one.

M - Bold and delicate. The alcohol here does not control this one- it rests quite smoothly on your tongue, gently wooing you.

D - yes yes yes. give me more! Everything about this one is a winner.

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

A: Dark reddish orange. Cloudy with a large foamy tan head.

S: Some sweet fruitiness as well as toasty malt. A very earthy feel.

T: Dark fruits are most noticable and work well with some spiciness. A bit of brown sugar/chocolate sweetness. The alcohol comes through but doesn't overpower.

M: Medium bodied with lots of cabonation. A bit spice and the alcohol is apparent.

D: Pretty drinkable for 10%

Overall this is a great belgian that is thankfully not too hard to find

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Photo of DrinkNewport
4.83/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

"That's him - Iceman. It's the way he flies, ice cold, no mistakes. He wears you down, you get bored, frustrated, do something stupid and he's got you."

This is a flawless Belgian Abbey Ale. I was hoping for something a bit mind-blowing and out-of-this-world, considering how everyone ranks it, but I had to settle for a beer that just does everything without defect. A 10% ABV beer that doesn't taste at all boozy.

This is the kind of beer that you don't appreciate until you're drinking a beer that's trying to be it.

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Photo of GregBrewski
3.88/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

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Photo of dhilltop2000
4.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark plum, leathery consisantcy with light off-white head. The head is rather foamy when looking at the glass from the side. The top, however, is deceivingly thick looking. Underneath the initial 1/18" of dense head is a semi-large diameter bubbly-like honeycomb which supports the thick top layer. At first note smells of fig, plum, banana crème pie, and a hint of vanilla are noteded. Very complex, however the taste is within to the realm of the above smells. Again, quite complex. Belgian lace subsides quickly. Great beer - Among the best -

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Photo of HombreWing
4.4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle ...ballooned red wine glass

Eyes: Deep mahogany, bright. Tiny bubbles. Head leaves unfortunately and unexpectedly.

Nose: Raisins, caramel malts, perhaps caramelized...Spicy yeast....some alcohol

Tongue: Sweet malt, chocolately notes/subtle nuttiness...drying finish on some swallows, but not all ? Full flavored Ale Def alcohol hotness as it warms up..started around 60'F to begin with. Very, very, very subtle autolysis, also can be perceived as the yeast bite.

Texture: Some chewiness..medium body helps hide some of that 10%

Overall experience: It commands a higher price and with good reason. This was a nice treat.

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Photo of Silenus89
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 11.2oz bottle to chalice

A. Hazy brown color with off white head, good lacing

S. Complex Belgium malts and a little fruity

T. Sweet malts at first then fruits like apples and peach. Very smooth and creamy

M. Medium mouth feel, can barley taste the alcohol and goes down smooth

D. Such an easy beer to drink at 10.5%. I love it!

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Photo of echdk3
4/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11,2oz bottle into a snifter

A_Extremely dark brown-black opaque color, thick tan head made completely of frothy bubbles

S_Burnt malts and fresh baked homemade biscuits, slight hoppy-dank aroma

T_Not balanced at all but in a great way. Spicy caramel and charcoal taste. Absolutely wonderful and rewarding spicy caramel aftertaste that appears after the beer has gone and is just as strong as it was when the beer was still on the pallet. The alcohol is there for sure

M_Somewhat heavy bodied and lightly carbonated. I expected it to be even heavier and chewier

D_Pleasing but not overwhelming flavors and aromas make this beer unoffensive and easy to enjoy, but the 10,5ABV might be a bit prohibitive. I can definitely feel the alcohol's kick but the beer is nonetheless overall easy to down

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Photo of BricksandPorter
3.2/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Got this bottle from Wegman's great selection. After a month of aging, I set in the fridge over night and poured into a tulip snifter. I just cant have nice things...

Pour - beautiful maroon brown color. Hues of brown, red, orange, purple, plum and lavender - really nice looking. Has a great pour too - good creamy one/two finger head that smooths out but lingers in reduced form. Lacing is minimal, it sticks to the beer column rather than the glass. Seems a little dark for the triple style I'm used to.

Nose - Carmel and fruit. Sweet on the nose with a definite sour alcohol undertone. Simple and straight forward.

Taste - begins with a bombardment of fruit sweetness. Esters bring about notes of banana, sour cherries, fresh strawberries and even citrus. Full malt sweetness isn't apparent until about midway through the finish, making it even sweeter. Alcohol not hidden at all. This is actually not very appealing - too much going on at once.

Mouthfeel - great carbonation and a medium-full body with lots of character, but balance is not present. All sweet, nothing else. Rather chunky on the way down, and the burp is marshmallowy. Kind of weird, especially for a trappist.

Drinkability - nope, not a session beer. Too much booze, too much sweet, not enough balance. I usually like St. Bernadus alot - the Prior 8 is phenomenal. They missed on this one.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
98 out of 100 based on 2,684 ratings.