Abt 12
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Abt 12Abt 12
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Quadrupel (Quad)
Ranked #3
Ranked #151
4.5 | pDev: 9.11%
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Abt 12Abt 12
Notes: St. Bernardus Abt 12 is widely regarded as one of the best beers in the world. It is therefore no surprise that it is our brewery’s flagship beer, ranked at the very top of the St. Bernardus beer hierarchy. It is brewed in the classic quadrupel style and adheres to the original 1946 recipe.

This is a dark beer with a robust head that is ivory in colour.

Color: Dark
Type of beer: Quadruple / Top fermentation
Alcohol degree: 10 %
° Plato: 20
Recommended pouring temperature: 8 - 12 °C
Color (EBC): 60
Bitterness (EBU): 20
Shelf life: 4 years (bottle) / 1,5 years (keg)
Packaging: Bottle: 33 cl / 75 cl - Keg: 20 L
Reviews: 2,909 | Ratings: 10,056 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Ernald_Elbertson
Ernald_Elbertson from Delaware

4.67/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

First Quad I've ever tried, and despite my questionable past with Belgian styles, this really delivers.

Look: Deep dark brown, only allows the smallest amount of light through. Great fluffy head, lots of carbonation which I wasn't expecting, but I'm not opposed to it.

Smell: Pretty subdued actually, mostly just a general malty smell with perhaps a hint of the Belgian yeast coming through.

Taste: Sweet, spicy, caramel, fruity, vanilla, almost like root beer even. If Stouts are the fine coffee and chocolate of the beer world, this is the craft soda. There's a great combination of dark fruits, vanilla, and something vaguely tropical (reminds me of coca-cola as well somehow). Finishes with a pleasant alcohol heat that warms you up; probably ideal for the winter as opposed to now. Will probably save the rest for that season.

Feel: Probably the highlight, feels practically like drinking hot chocolate. Comforting, thick, and warm. Best enjoyed in small sips, as it really is a lot to take in with each drink you take. The alcohol burn really actually boosts this beer quite a bit as opposed to most styles. Additionally, the beer is quite carbonated for such a high ABV, making it smooth rather than syrupy.

Overall: Pricey, but probably worth it in the end. This beer is perfect for a freezing winter night with pot roast or something like that. If you don't like Stouts or Porters, this might be worth a go as a cold weather choice. It has an entirely different flavor profile while still warming the soul.

Jul 03, 2020
Photo of Spike
Spike from England

4.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle.
L: Dark brown, almost black, with a ruby core. Two fingers of ivory head settles quickly to a cap. Arcs of lacing.
S: Rich, bready, fruity. Very long-lasting.
T: Sweet, dark fruit: raisins, plums, dates. Like liquid soreen malt loaf... but with banana esters. Just gorgeous.
F: Full-bodied with a rich mouth-coating. Never becomes cloying due to foaming (not fizzy) carbonation. Finishes with a blast of hot alcohol.
O: Top notch sipper. Subtly powerful.

Jun 23, 2020
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jimmah120 from Minnesota

4.44/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Surprised I hadn't reviewed this one, so I'll do a quick write-up

Pours dark and slightly cloudy out the bottle, dark brown-amber with the faintest amount of lees. Smells delicious, like a big pillowy bed of beer. The taste follows with big chewy malts and earthy hop bitterness. Dangerously drinkable, the alcohol is almost imperceptible, and what alcohol you do notice only adds to the flavor

One of the best readily available beers in my area, a go-to. Awesome

Jun 19, 2020
Photo of TheGent
TheGent from New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Abt 12

Look: The beer is opaque, deep, dark brown. A beige colored finger of head. A lot of carbonation streaming up the sides of the glass.

Smell: Banana bread, caramel, figs and raisins.

Taste: Overripe banana, raisins, caramel and figs on the finish.

Feel: Super light and fluffy on the palate for such a big beer.

Overall: Easy drinking for 10%. I got more of the alcohol Not too sweet a bit too dry. Very enjoyable.

May 25, 2020
Photo of KRug
KRug from Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Quite the acclaimed quad we have here, huh? Always happy to try something highly rated, and this was only a $3 single!

Pours a very rich dark brown with 2 fingers of tan head that sticks around a longgggg time before reducing to a cap, minimal lacing

Aromas of sweet brown sugar, molasses, dark fruit, vanilla, and nuttiness. Very sweet malty but hefty and rich, very welcoming scent

One of the best examples of a beer matching taste to nose, just incredible. An interesting burnt sugar note that pairs well with dark fruits like plum. Malty sweet in the finish with a nice caramel character

Despite the dark color and bold flavor, this drinks pretty light! Does not drink like 10% at all, finishes super smooth with a perfectly attenuated sweetness

Wow, one of the best quads I've ever had, if not beers in general! Absolutely killer in all aspects, I could drink this again and again, but probably not more than 2 in a night lol

May 07, 2020
Photo of Daniel473
Daniel473 from Netherlands

4.87/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Popped cap, fiesty burst. Sniffed it, hmmmmmmmm... Take good hard look... Is it draught? Obly a smokers lung is more black than this manky gunk... Tasted it. Absolutely marvelous. Nothing negative, its black, delicious and strong.

May 03, 2020
Photo of GaryG7
GaryG7 from New Jersey

4.86/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I bought this when the store was out of the Trappistes Rochefort 10 I wanted. I hope to someday have both together so that I can compare them.

The pour results in a dark liquid under a caramel-colored foam. (The foam settles quickly.) The taste is smooth like most Quads I've had. This is a thoroughly enjoyable beer, but this isn't a beer for tailgate parties or fishing trips unless you like sleeping on the floor of bars.

Apr 25, 2020
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Pivopijak from Washington

3.92/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dense, small bubbled beige head. Very dark brown with a caramel highlight at edge of glass. Sweet spice, maybe some nutmeg in the aroma. Full bodied with no sweetness and a taste of sweet spice with toasted malt.

Mar 31, 2020
Photo of IronLover
IronLover from Pennsylvania

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

Dark brown in color with chestnut hues. Poured with a tall, frothy, light beige foam with medium high retention. Aromas of dark fruit, plum, raisin, rich dark malt and hint of chocolate. Medium bodied with assertive, medium high carbonation and mellow boozy warmth. Rich dark maltiness, dark fruit, fig, and raisin followed by a medium, lightly acidic hop bitterness. Dark bready and over-ripe banana flavors on the back end along with light prickly booziness. Finished with sweet dark fruity, banana and mellow dark malt notes. A plethora of rich, malty flavors and fruity esters balanced by light hip bitterness and mellow booziness. Fantastic!

Feb 20, 2020
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InspectorHound from Canada

4.77/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Beautiful shades of brown, with gold and red. The beer can look pretty dark in one light, then catch the light from another direction giving a much lighter look. The head starts off strong (3 fingers) foamy whitish with a brown yellow undertone. Gives way eventually to stong lacing.
Smell: Sweet, dried fruits and malt.
Taste: Raisins, plums, spice and malts with a hint of leather. Smooth and warming with no boozy aftertaste despite the high abv.
Feel: Creamy, slick and a little oily. Coats the tongue and plays over every section of your tongue and mouth. No area of your taste buds or palate gets left behind.
My favourite beer of all time. This beer earns a solid A+.

Feb 08, 2020
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Mugman8 from New York

4.77/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours to a hazy dark cola brown with a huge pillowy head and substantial lacing. Aroma is a combination of musty grains and sweet fruit. Taste is a complex mix of dark malts and fruits but the finish is crisp and smooth. I don't usually pay $18 for a four pack -- but this one is worth it. The 10% ABV gives a warmy feeling and a nice kick. A world class brew worth a splurge on a cold winter night!

Feb 07, 2020
Photo of Nugganooch
Nugganooch from California

4.31/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

St. Bernardus Abt 12 is a true liquid bread delight. The pour showcases a dark brownish amber looking body with a healthy stack of khaki foam head. The nose is a bouquet of dark grains, sweetened dried fruit like fig/dates/currants, subtle spices, and fresh well water. The flavors emphasize more of the same with dark malts and dark fruits at the forefront followed by a bit of dark Belgian candi sugar and a nice peppery bitterness to help cut back on all that ABV. In fact the alcohol is incredibly well disguised at the 10% bill making this dangerously delectable. There is a bit of mild spice noted and a finish of rich mineral water. Somewhat tinny at times but never so detracting from the overall balance of this fine brew. The mouthfeel is highly carbonated from the bottle conditioning that lends a frothy micro-bubble action keeping things light and airy on the palate. Really solid stuff, difficult to replicate likely.
A beer to be revered over the ages.

The monks of had it right all along...I mean if you are drinking on this Quad everyday, well then life is pretty damn good.

Feb 05, 2020
Photo of SierraNevallagash
SierraNevallagash from Maine

4.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

330ml (11.2oz) bottle - best before 03 03 23 - poures into s fancy tulip at 50F.

Pours a delightful deep cola brown - quite cloudy, and with ample visible effervescence. When held to the light, the ale become a bright, firey scarlet red, absolutely streaming with bubbles. The elixir is topped with four fingers of dense, foamy, khaki head that retains its shape for an eternity, eventually settling fiwn to a finger, leaving tenacious lacing in its wake. What a stunning beer.

Nose: Rich roasted malts evoke aromas of cola, prunes, raisins, figs, dates, cherries, red apple, allspice, nutmeg, dark bread, ale yeast, Belgian yeast esters, brown sugar, toffee, milk chocolate, some European spicy hops, a slight metallic note, and just the faintest whiff of funk.

Palate: I had to take a minute with this one, because after the first sip, I realised that I was dealing with something significantly more complex and nuanced than I had anticipated. This is going to be interesting. Let's begin.
Upon greeting the palate, the ale carries a mild malt sweetness, with an absolute ton of maltiness. Fresh baked still soft dark bread, rum-soaked fruit cake, and cola emerge, peppered with dark spiced rum notes. An explosion of dark fruit reveals notes of prune, fermented cherry, dates, raisin, and fig. Along with these dark fruit notes comes a character I generally only find in red wine cask-aged ales - fruity, yet dry wine grape/red berry notes, with the typical fermented wine flair. This actually shifts along with the dark fruit notes to become fairly earthy, and extremely similar to the port note in a port cask-aged imperial stout. Some subtle European hop spice and earthiness pair up with this wine-like character, and the initial malt sweetness begins to fade to the background, followed closely behind by much of the dark fruit notes. Into the finish, it becomes earthy and spicy, with the earthiness coming primarily from hops, but some of that tawny port note still lingers. At this point - well into the finish - the flavour takes a turn, and it suddenly takes on the characteristics of a traditional German amber/dark lager. The caramelised bread notes, the subtle spicy hopes, and most of all, the yeast flavour takes on a lager-esqu flavour, complete with the very subtle metallic note. The cola, spice, sweetness, malt, dark fruit, and earthiness fade away, and the ale concludes with the aftertaste of European hops and a whisper of dark bread.

Mouthfeel/Body: The body is rather unique, because it's both rich and crisp at the same time. It greets the palate medium-bodied, with a very tight crispness about it. Soon after, the maltiness lends a big, soft, not-quite-chewy richness to it, pushing it close to full-bodied territory, but constantly remains balanced by a very lively fizzy effervescence. It's wet, soft, and even a bit slick upfront, but as it finishes, it dries out and becomes fairly crisp once again. There are stages where the ale is crisp, medium, and full-bodied, but it's a harmonious transition, and in the end, I would put this in the medium-bodied category. Slight acidity in the first half of the beer, which is slowly extinguished by the malt. Semi-dry finish with mild drying properties, and some slight hop resin cling. Becomes sticky around the lips. Very mild alcohol warmth from the back of the throat to below the sternum, from its 10% ABV, and fluid nature.

Overall: This is a truly fine example of nuance, and does not strike me an an ale that is easy to properly brew. There is a lot going on in here, but it's never loud or abrasive. It's soft, friendly, and comforting, offering a warm, gentle embrace, and a velvet caress. I've never had Westvleteren 12, but if it's truly significantly better than this, then that must be one spectacular beer. I hope someday to try it, but for now, this stands as the best Belgian quadruple I've had to-date.

Feb 01, 2020
Photo of Anders91
Anders91 from California

4.87/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: dark brown with some amber, big fluffy off-white head

Smell: malt, carmelized sugar, plums, rasins

Taste: follows the smell, with a delicate balance of sweetness. A very well round flavor

Feel: smooth, nice small bubbles on the tongue

Jan 15, 2020
Photo of MissouriMule

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The part of me that wants to be different (just like everyone else) strives to find some aspect of this beer to ding, to no avail. If you want a heavier, more complex, or otherwise more extreme beer, there are barleywines, imperial stouts, barrel-aged porters, and over-the-top IPAs to suit. This beer has the benefit of being a nigh perfect execution of the genre. It balances sweetness, malt, bitterness, mouthfeel, and that “skunkiness” of Northern/Central European beer to perfection. The result is a beer you can turn to regardless of mood or season with the assurance of enjoyment. It is the penultimate decathlete of suds. Only its price keeps it out of my weekly rotation, and there is no rating component for cost.

Jan 02, 2020
Photo of GarrettB
GarrettB from Colorado

4.25/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

October 23rd, 2015 - There's a single point I want to make in this review, and that is the St. Bernardus 12 is has most of the spirit and character of the Westvleteren 12 which a much, much larger distribution map. It is inferior, but only marginally, and captures much of the complexity and flavor that makes the Westy a gray market favorite. If you're tired of doggedly chasing bottles of Westvleteren though back channels and trades, you owe it to yourself to spend a little coin on a much more local favorite with the charismatic and lovable Benedictine face.

Dec 27, 2019
Photo of Thankin_Hank
Thankin_Hank from Texas

4.51/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle "dated"? 16 08 22 poured into a goblet. A dark brown reddish in color with a half inch head that has suspension and a lot of carbonation. No lacing. Has a rich aroma of dark fruits like raisins, dates or figs. Even some sourness. Taste is slightly astringent and then sweet. Carbonation is present. Has the dark fruits flavors and some alcohol. Fairly complex. A little tingle on the tongue. Overall a premiere craft beer that is a must try for beer lovers everywhere. An incredible Quadruple that is probably the standard to achieve for quad brewers and there are many great ones out there made right here in the good 'ol USA.

Dec 24, 2019
Photo of sjdevel
sjdevel from Colorado

4.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Dark deep red/brown and a nice amount of frothy foam upon pour. Nice head retention and activity continues onward - nice big fluffy bubbles. Rich and powerful smell of caramel, brown sugar, and prunes. Some rich yeast and alcohol. Very flavorful with tobacco, coffee, caramel, molasses, plum/prune, Belgian yeast. Feel was a bit thinner than expected but a nice medium body. Overall this is one of the best Quads that I have had. Very tasty and a slow sipping Belgian. Definitely will not disappoint.

Dec 23, 2019
Photo of MNAle
MNAle from Minnesota

4.14/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Date stamped 03 11 22.

Aroma is nice, with your nose into the chalice, but not too strong otherwise. Dark ripe fruits, plums, cherries, sweet-smelling bread. Rich malty aroma.

Look is coffee from the front; mostly clear ruby red with a backlight. 1 inch head, very thick and creamy, light tan, with little retention, with a 1/4 inch long solid lacing following the head down, lengthening as the head recedes. Good level of visible carbonation.

Taste is rich dark fruit, as with the aroma, ripe plums, dark cherries, with a rich, sweet bready-malt backing. They whole taste package is one of gravitas. Slightly bitter in the middle. No obvious alcohol in the taste (or the feel) - well maybe just a little in the aftertaste. The finish is dry, despite the sweet malts initially and in the middle.

The body is moderate with nice carbonation contributing to the overall feel.

A wonderful sipping beer for a relaxing evening.

Dec 17, 2019
Photo of Traveler1
Traveler1 from Texas

4.28/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

UPDATED REVIEW; In a blind taste test with Rochefort 10, my previous top-rated beer, Abt 12 was a clear winner. Rochefort 10 seemed harsh, although the difference between the two seemed to diminish as I drank them.

PREVIOUS REVIEW: Poured from a bottle. Carbonation a bit too much, distracting from the experience. It seemed to get better over time as the carbonation left, but I’d already rated it. Rochefort is better.

Nov 26, 2019
Photo of Sup_Sippin
Sup_Sippin from California

4.25/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Ball of pale fire drowning in cold spit, marbled, swaddled/mummified, stale gingerbread house flooding & only becomes self-aware when it reaches the roof, smooth, again- pale, stale, super skim honey, burp is extra mild. Alcohol whipped and strained. Very pleasant. Too pleasant. Yet I'm happy. It's at the back of my throat, or the front of my neck. "Smooth, creamy, full-bodied" does a better job. Pop, hit the skull. Soft, soft blow.

Nov 26, 2019
Photo of sjrider
sjrider from California

4.4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle -root beer brown with big foamy head . Nose is sweet dark stone fruit , a hint of yeast and malt. Taste follows with a mild spiciness. Good carbonation and no alcohol creep. Deceptively easy to quaff.

Nov 23, 2019
Photo of Vyacheslav
Vyacheslav from Canada

4.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Exceptional beer deserving of it's rating, a dark, crazy, high-spirited beer. Sweet, extremely foamy and just slightly venomous feeling, this beer will take you for a ride.

Nov 03, 2019
Photo of egrandfield
egrandfield from Massachusetts

4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: brown, dark, thin head with ok retention; looks rich
S: grape and maybe cinnamon
T: cinnamon raisin bagel
F: decent carbonation, lingers on the tongue
O: outstanding

Oct 26, 2019
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JohnFred4 from New York

4.22/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

look: brown red black

Smell: wetttttt

rye, candi sugar, baking spices, clove , pepper, yeasty

shockinhly light, effervescent

overall i feel like this might be more representative of the style but rchsfort is better

Sep 22, 2019
Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 10056 ratings