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St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

6,358 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6358
Reviews: 2442
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%

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)
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Ratings: 6,358 | Reviews: 2,442 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Manos


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

If there is a beer to motivate anyone to write something nice,
this is it. My second sampling in as many days, I am noticing how I
value each sip more this second time around. If you notice the thumbs up/down on this one, not much more need be written. No matter; I'll look to
write something of value about the happy friar's buddy...
It did'nt matter that I drank this at the end of a wonderful meal at
Der Braumeister (http://www.beeradvocate.com/beerfly/user_reviews/6298/)
and stealing bites of apple strudel while drinking this, or as a sampling by
itself, this is a true treat. Warming (and yes smelling a bit) like a good coffee, with a touch of sweet
to make you crave more, the dark brown liquid in my cup is leaving me too quickly. Smooth , too smooth, I want to gulp, but NO! Savor...
If I could, I would buy a case; regardless, it always seems that I can't find many happy friars waiting around on the shelves. Do not hesitate
in buying if you can find.

Dammit. I'm preaching to the converted.


Serving type: bottle

02-23-2005 03:52:33 | More by Manos
Photo of absolutbc2001

New York

4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

An interesting beer. One that presents itself as midiocor.An interesting beer - one that presents itself as mediocre. The smell and appearance are average. The smell is distinctly malt with a little hint of hops and a sugar cherry smell.

Taste: A little heavier in currant then the Rochforte. I had a fresh un-aged bottle which leads me to believe that aging is extremely important.

Mouthfeel: Great. I had a hard time with my fresh bottle as the carbonation was high. The texture was great. The thickness left a nice aftertaste that lingered perfectly.

Drinkability: Unbelievable, I love this type of beer and it is perfect for me. Someone that doesn’t like this beer my shy away from the high alcohol but it is well masked (assumed with aging).

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2006 03:33:40 | More by absolutbc2001
Photo of Keitherduder


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

From the bottle into a proper oversized goblet. Fantasticly intoxicating in it's glorious appearance! With it's big creamy head that sits softly upon it's dark browney color. Hurling out aromas of fine malts, spices and sweetness right up your nostrils, sending you into an epical state of euphoria. ...and you havent even taken a sip yet!!!
Once you finally let your lips and tounge indulge in this masterpiece; You become awakened by this phenomenal array of malts, hops, yeast, and spice. All I can think is that this beer is a perfection of wonders!
Them monks sure know what their doing!!!

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2007 22:52:30 | More by Keitherduder
Photo of pdxwhisky


4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very Very Nice.

Perfect for style. Wonderful candi sugar notes. Excellent lacing and carbonation.

If only my drinking companions were as able to enjoy it (too complex for them, 2 of 3 left their glasses 1/2 full, oh well).

This might be the Belgian Quad that I use to rate others by.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2009 03:45:56 | More by pdxwhisky
Photo of steveshields


4.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm just going to review this beer briefly if I can.

I usually drink this on tap, but right now I'm having a 22oz bottle. I can immediately say that this beer tastes MUCH more amazing on tap, but I recently found these at the store across the street from my place, so it's a cheap alternative on a Sunday evening.

This beer pours a dark honey-brown. I feel like the mouthfeel tastes thicker on draft and the head lasts longer. This one is super fizzy and I kind of like that. I like good carbonation and this has it. It is super crisp, effervescent. Smells sorta like a bakery- very fresh. *update*- got another one. Getting a HEAVY cherry taste off of this bottle. Not sure why, but it's not bad.

This is an AMAZING Belgian beer. Overall very smooth and tasty. If you can find it, grab one, but at 10.5% ABV, take them SLOW!

Serving type: on-tap

07-20-2009 04:09:49 | More by steveshields
Photo of 220emaple


4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The thing that I love about this beer is the almost hidden alcohol flavor. It's 10.5% but can pass as 7%.

The color is a very dark, murky brown. The head ends quickly and has very little lacing when poured into my tulip.

Very drinkable but unfortunately expensive--best for special occasions.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2010 01:50:02 | More by 220emaple
Photo of iwantsomerocks

New Jersey

4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 24oz bottle into a Chimay chalice. I specifically like the monk on the bottle--he looks so cheery and warm--his beer must be pretty good. I take this as an invitation to critique.

A- Moderate brown color, lacing is minimal but tight and tempting. Has a single finger head, that stays and barely diminishes as this delicious brew somehow disappears from my glass. Sticks to the sides. Very nice.

S- Dark fruits, brown sugar come through strongest. A small hint of maple and clove under all the esters.

T- Wow. the spice of alcohol is very faint but noticeable up front, and never comes back. Very strong hints of brown sugar right up front, cloves and fruit provide the backdrop to a truly delicious brew. Slight pepper hints toward the back.

M- Smooth as Johnny Cochran. 'Nuff said.

D- I could drink this all day, everyday. Amazing brew. I love belgian quadrupels almost as I love my girlfriend/Elisha Cuthbert, but this beer is special. Truly smooth from start to finish, with a barely noticeable alcohol content--up until you finish the 24oz and then start walking around. This beer should be the center of a new olympic game.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2010 04:15:22 | More by iwantsomerocks
Photo of Bmuncy

West Virginia

4.93/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Gorgeous in appearance. Dark brown with a slight reddish hue. Poured somewhat softly but still got a finger and a half finger white/tan head. Alcohol leaves nice leggings.

Smell: Sweet malts, spicy yeastiness, some definite fruitiness, bread/toast. Very complex and the aromas meld together in perfection.

Taste: Absolutely delicious in every imaginable aspect. My palate almost can't pick out individual flavors it's so well put together. What I'm getting is definite fig, cream/milk, toast and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Though medium bodied, it's very creamy and smooth. Dangerously drinkable for a beer of it's abv.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2011 23:59:10 | More by Bmuncy
Photo of stevenstofen


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

750mL bottle poured into my Duvvel tulip.

A - Nothing short of beautiful here. A gorgeous hazy-brown-amber color. An off-white, 2 1/2 finger head with long-lasting retention. It was there through the entire experience. Tons of lacing from each sip.

S - Probably my favorite part of this beer. I could just pour a glass to smell. Tons of dark fruits and spicy goodness. Cherry, plum, figs, and raisins. Obviously the belgian yeasts are there. A little alcohol as well.

T - Freshness. The first thing i am tasting is just the beer's pureness. I wonder if it has anything to do with the well water that they use to brew it. Much like the smell, I am getting a lot of darker fruits: Cherry, Plum, Raisins, Blackberry. The alcohol is there but that is to be expected for a 10%ABV brew.

MF - Medium-full bodied brew. Extremely smooth. Certainly a warming beer; it would probably be even more fantastic in the fall or winter.

O - A FANTASTIC beer. My favorite quad to date. I guess I'll have to try Westy 12 and see if that one takes the title.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2011 18:03:04 | More by stevenstofen
Photo of tripledbrew


4.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice dark brown in color, slight alcohol presence and nicely carbonated.
Chewy with nice fruit, spice,yeasty banana and malts.
Very smooth and harmonious, probably the most balanced Quad I have drank thus far. Only wish I had several of these to put back. Find it and enjoy!

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2012 03:55:58 | More by tripledbrew
Photo of bier_uber_alles

4.93/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It is difficult to find something lacking in something this special.

The brew has a gorgeous ambery reddish brown color. Pours out a very sturdy head that will lace the glass the entire way down. the taste is so malty and sweet it will explode every taste bud in your mouth. The carbonation is perfect. small and giganitic bubbles in balance.

overall this a great experience, one to be shared with friends and family. share a few of these tasty babies and you'll be singing and toasting together in no time.

celibacy aside, being a Trappist monk must be great.. pray to God all day- drink this heavenly nectar all night.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2012 17:50:32 | More by bier_uber_alles
Photo of Theshooster

Korea (South)

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

I have been to Belgium 5 times now and I often visit my friend in the town of Poperinge, just East of Watou were the St. Bernardus Brewery lies. Interestingly, when the Brouwerij Westvleteren Monastery needed to update its facility, it gave St. Bernardus the recipes to its beers, including the 12, so that production would continue. After the update, St. Bernardus's 12 recipe seemed to change to match that of Westvleteren's holy grail of a beer. In addition, the bottles are exactly the same size and shape, the only difference being that St. Bernardus has a label. When speaking to the locals, they will tell you that the only difference in the beers now besides commercial availability is the water source, which gives Westvleteren its claim to fame.

A - Dark, carmel color

S - Sweet, malty, and vanilla overtones

T - Almost perfect

M - Full, bubbly

O - A great beer that almost compares to the Westvleteren 12

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2012 04:11:50 | More by Theshooster
Photo of Noyt

Quebec (Canada)

4.06/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark reddish brown pour with loose white head. Complex belgian beer fruit aromas (ripe sugarey red fruits, cherry, raspberries, blackberries), alcohol, chocolate and a bit of yeastiness. Taste is quite boozy and fruity but very well balanced. Beautiful mouthfeel no wateriness here.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2013 00:55:22 | More by Noyt
Photo of Moheban


3.84/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Chimay chalice on 12/30/13

A: beatuiful tan head that lasted throughout the tasting. Nice dark ruby color.

S: dissapointed with the smell because the yeast odor really predominated from the moment I opened the bottle. I get nothing but bready yeast on the nose.

T: taste doesn't match the nose thankfully. The taste is complex, dark fruits, Booze is well masked.

M: rich and creamy

O: point for rochfort 10... Sorry bernie

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2013 05:08:40 | More by Moheban
Photo of grapemaster


4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The tale of the Quadrupel is one not told enough. The Bernardus Abt 12 is definitely a fine member of the family. With a dark caramel color, large bubbles and good lacing, it was certainly something to look at. The smell was faint with traces of fruits and alcohol. The taste was similar, with the alcohol maybe coming through a little strong though... covering up some of the delicious citrus. Overall, a good beer. I strongly recommend drinking at the proper temp of 50-55, because the flavor certainly improved as it warmed.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2005 21:40:33 | More by grapemaster
Photo of bhb


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

St Bernardus Abt 12 is truly a beer deserving of "outstanding".

Pouring with a large frothy head, with a very dark brown almost black colour, it oozes all sorts of aromas. My nose is awash with winter-warming aromas of wine, dates, raisins, banana, oter dark sweet fruits and a hint of citrus for good measure. A very full body and a gentle fizz really gets it going in the mouth, and it goes down extremely well. It costs me 2 euros a bottle (less than $3) so it's a regular for me.

Some say this is like Westvleteren, and some don't. The brewery was at one stage brewing for Westvleteren, so no doubt there are influences in there. But if you're confused as to whether it's the same or not, I've got news for you. I've drunk several of these in my time, as well as westy 12, and most were quite different from Westy (hence my comments in my westy 12 review). Excellent, but different. But tonight I popped open an Abt 12 and, well, it was VERY Westy-like. Perhaps it depends on the brewing season, but this one is very much like Westy. It's got that alcohol/port aroma that's not in the other Abt 12s I had, and it's very very similar to Westy 12, though it is a little less punchy. Best before date of this one is 20-09-10, so if you've got one of those, and it's got port-ish aromas, you're lucky to have an almost-westy batch. Otherwise, it's pot luck and you might just get a fantastic beer rather than a stunning beer.

Overall, this is a brilliant brew, especially as a winter warmer, and will not disappoint.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2006 23:24:04 | More by bhb
Photo of brewone

New Hampshire

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

Aroma - First I recognize malt with a light fig note. Also a slight caramel aroma as well as something I cannot smell, but not quite identify. There are no hops evident in the aroma
The beer pours well and has a nice rich head, but the bubbles are large and loose. The collapse to a very nice layer on the surface of the beer that stays with it the entire glass
Very noticeable alcohol flavor. Also taste the malt and figs evident in the aroma. Very little bitterness. Slight notes of both caramel and prunes. Also notice some phenolic character. After taste is very pleasant and leaves a nice sweetness on the palate.
Very smooth for the high carbonation. The alcohol warmth is quite nice.
Overall this is the best Belgian beer I've had to date, of any style. Very drinkable even with the alcohol strength. Wouldn't want to have more than one or two, I'd be wasted. The aftertaste is reminiscent of fig newton filling. Combined with the malt sweetness, it just tastes nice.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2007 22:57:26 | More by brewone
Photo of notown


4.13/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer poured a nice deep brown with a big off-white head. Huge yeasty, bready aroma with a slight fruity.

Beer is smooth which supprised me a bit because if its high alchohol content. It started with a fruity note, which lingered and I detected subtle clove flavors giving way to a nice malty flavor. It finished with a slight alchohol warmth and sharpness in the finish.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2008 23:25:11 | More by notown
Photo of rustrose

North Carolina

4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

St. Bernardus 12 bottled 9-16-08 (counting back from the expiration date on bottle)
Tasted 7-30-09

Opened with a big pfft and foam started climbing the neck. Poured into Unibroue tulip. Carbonated enough that opening stirs up some yeast. Dark brown body, slightly cloudy, with a beige head, two fingers and growing of dense, sticky foam. Ruby highlights taper to a deep orange. Head swelled to 3 fingers with a little swirling.

Nose struck me initially as big ripe plum and candy--sweet tart? Fun dip? Pear. Honey. Flowers. A little bit of runts banana. A tiny bit of toast or cookie. Some fresh-cracked pepper.

Very candy-like flavor. Tangy and zesty. Malt-forward, rich, sweet without any lingering cloy. Warming in throat and chest. A little spicy--peppery. More phenols as it warms--fresh pepper and a touch of clove. Overwhelmingly delicious, complex flavor. A gentle push of bitterness to clean up and dry the swallow. Booze noticeable but not distracting. A brightness from phenols. Slight roasted aftertaste--reminiscent of horehound candy?

Soft, full mouthfeel. Creamy and firm, with dancing prickles from strong carbonation and alcohol. Leaves a slightly numb tingle--perhaps a touch astringent? I can feel the sides of my tongue.

This is alarmingly good. I drank that bottle FAST. I remember not liking this one a ton the first time I tried it because of phenolic brightness, but that isn't striking me this time. The predominant flavor is a candy tangy malt with cracked pepper. Awesome. World class. I'd like to taste one with some age.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2009 04:50:08 | More by rustrose
Photo of illinijer


4.93/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this on draft at Jaks Tap in Chicago. Came in a distinctive St. Bernardus goblet (not sure what the correct name is).

A: It was a deep brown, almost black. Very lightly carbonated. Small 1/2 inch head. In appearance alone, it reminds me of a RIS.

S: This is probably the best smelling beer I've had the pleasure of smelling. Smells of plums and brown sugar, with just a hint of spice.

T: Tastes like heaven in a goblet. Full of malty sweetness. Very subtle hop profile. It's all about the malt. The plum smell comes through on the taste as well. The alcohol hits in the middle, but soon goes away as the sweetness wins the day.

M: Thinner than it looks. Was expecting a thicker brew. That being said, the mouthfeel was still good. I would describe it as "smooth".

D: Extremely drinkable. Quickly working its way to the top of my favorites list. I could enjoy a few of these without a problem...in fact, after one it makes me want to have another! The alcohol is well hidden and doesn't detract from the experience at all. Overall a great example of the style, and one of the best brews out there today.

Serving type: on-tap

08-06-2009 18:53:04 | More by illinijer
Photo of richago1


4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 11.2 oz bottle dated 25 12 12.

Poured a burnt amber color with a medium ivory head into a St Bernardus chalice. Smells of sweet dark fruit, caramel, molasses, just waiting to be savored. Tastes like it smells "nectar of the Gods", I love Quad's but they are well beyond my ability to describe. Mouthfeel is great, smooth, carbonated,sweet, with enough bitterness to balance it all. Keeping in mind I am just beginning my foray into the world of fine beers, it's one of the nicest beers I have ever tried.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2009 23:24:13 | More by richago1
Photo of timrosenblatt


4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Looks awesome. I can't see anything on the other side of my glass. I bet I could safely look at a solar eclipse through this.

It smells sweet. I don't know what it smells like, but I wish I could buy a Glade scent packet with St Bernardus for my living room.

It's nice and tasty. The sweet is there, with some kind of spicy something that comes in halfway through the drink, and stays in my mouth. Someone else said cloves...yeah.

It's too thick to drink on a hot Florida summer day, but right now it is December, and it's down to at least 60 at night.

I gave it a 4 on drinkability, just because I don't think this could be drunk over the course of a whole evening. Then again, I only really need one or two.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2009 03:46:27 | More by timrosenblatt
Photo of jxhowell


4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a garnet color with an off-white foamy 1 finger head

Initially aromas of bread and yeast fill the nose. As the head slowly fades you begin to smell ripe fruit, brown sugar and spiced rum

Initially clove and spice esters, rich ripe fruits such as plums and dates with a slight drying sour aftertaste

Effervescent with rich full body that lingers near the middle of the tongue and slowly covers you entire tongue with bubbles and ends with a slight dry finish.

Rich and enjoyable like a decadent dessert. Perfect for the style but definitely too rich to be a session beer.

This is my favorite Belgian Quadrupel and in my opinion even compares with more exotic and rare versions of the style only available in Belgium. It's even more enjoyable with age and at 10.5% ABV it can age for quite some time with no adverse effects.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2010 02:50:02 | More by jxhowell
Photo of Machinehead


3.6/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Was a little disappointed with this one. Similar in style to the Westmalle. Good overall taste, but not too complex in flavor. Overall fairly sweet, but nothing to write home about. Aroma is pleasant and sweet but I don't really see what all the hubub is about.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2010 05:16:10 | More by Machinehead
Photo of Sesmu


4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Hazed brown/amber color, on a light side. Huge head, about two inches, doesn't stay too long though, leaving virtually no lace.

S: Very fresh, bright nose of clove and fruits. Quite fruity. Lots of sweetness. Very enticing.

T/M: Clove and fruitiness again. Very sweet with a slight touch of sourness. And these sour notes balance malt sweetness quite nicely. Good carbonation, just enough to bring the taste forward with the touch of effervescence. Full body, not viscous. Again, pronounced freshness in the mouth feel. Alcohol is evident, but lurking, not straight forward. After a while (of drinking) the sourness comes forward more. Or maybe it's because I like it and tend to "seek". Alcohol becomes a little more noticeable, it's combined effect, I guess

Simply excellent brew! Very smooth and extremely easily drinkable. Everything is so nicely balanced.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2011 07:48:58 | More by Sesmu
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 6,358 ratings.