St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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2,734 Reviews
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: 2,734 | Ratings: 9,235
Photo of C3likesbeer
4.76/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance- Nice amber gold with a little haze. Nice lace.

Smell- Spicy citrus abbey aley excellence.

Taste- Clove and ancient spice; soooo smooth and deep texture. This stuff is good. For 10% ABV. Surprisingly sippable and drinkable

Overall- My favorite abbey ale hands down. If you like abbey ales and trippels and haven't tried this, you're missing out. I like this beer.

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Photo of brutusmuktuk
4.76/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle with a hazy brown color and a thick, foamy off-white head. Has a subtle fruit aroma, perhaps too subtle, but that’s the only fault I can find with the beer. Has a sweet dark fruit flavor and no hint of the 10.5% alcohol. Feels smooth and has a nice full body. St. Bernardus, I would say, is heavenly .

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Photo of Lemke10
4.76/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This pours a medium brown color with a foamy, beige head. It has a very inviting aroma of malts and yeast. The taste is rather amazing and easy to see why this is considered one of the best beers in the world. The texture is well carbonated as wheat, spices, and yeast tickles your taste buds. Quite filling and very well made, as if I would expect anything less from Belgium.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
4.76/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle from Systembolaget, Sweden. Best before july 17 2018. ABV: 10.5 %

Dark brown, hazy, beer with a two finger high head that leaves lacing on the glass.

Nose: Dark fruit, raisin, plum, grapes, brown sugar, butter and caramel malt.

Taste: Rich and complex! Bread, caramel, syrup, banana, grapes, dark rum, raisin and dried fruit. Great carbonation and a creamy feeling. Sweet and warm finish.

Halleluja! I’m saved!

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Photo of tavernjef
4.76/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Gorgeous thick color of reddish, dark crusty earth brown with a substantially tall, softly creamy, yet densely whipped, dark ivory crown that remains for a good while before slowly creeping down to an ever present thick murky skim. Lacing starts as styrofoam sheets but dissolves and sticks in big spots and some globules.

Aroma is soft and subtle, not all that strong but comes across complex enough with dark citrusy fruits of fig, raisin, starfruit, and touches of lemon and banana. Some cocoa sits within and a bit of crispy vanilla and cookie dough sweetness. But as it warms some major yeasty tones take over lending phenolic notes and spicy alcoholic burn.

Yum! Taste is super nice; very soft and subtle, full and scrumptious, nice dulled-like dark citrusy fruit notes dancing upon chewy cookie dough sweetness where pleasing sugars, vanilla, and lingering cocoa wait in the wings to finish it off. Quite a bit of things going on; like a waffer lemon tea cookies meets chewy sweet oatmeal raisin cookie dough with a splash of cocoa. Heavy milk-like thickness upfront, some light chewy malts and cookie sugars dominate the middle where it mingles with a solid carbonation and some wonderfully placed yeasty spices of clove and earthy dryness towards the finish. But this really never gets all that dry at all, it remains full and wet with amazing sugary cookie things. Its fades ever so gently off the palate where a dry spice coats under a sweet malt laden heaven. Mmmm...Liquid bakery flavors of oatmeal cookies, caramel chewy raisin bars, and moist chocolate/cocoa cake with a spritz of darkened citrus in the frosting. Amazing! The yeast sits just right for me, mild yet present with just the right amount of give and take around the middle and into the finish with its clove-like and phenolic spice and alcohol.

Full, fluffy carbonation, semi-chewy, very well rounded and just spicy enough, just the right amount of sweetness and sugarsall combine, and whammo, you've got an amazingly easy smooth, soothingly thick glass of necture here. Beyond drinkable; its fan-tabulous! Slides right down with wonderment! How in the hell do those 'smiling' monks do it?
Thanks to Prostman for the samples!

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Photo of SensorySupernova
4.76/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Dark brown with lighter brown lacing.

Smell: Belgian yeast, sweet spices and fruit.

Taste: Belgian yeast throughout, carmel and raisin-like sweet malt, a little bitterness towards the end, and finally ends with slight alcohol and a strong banana-like yeast aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy thickness, low carbonation.

Overall: Full of flavor. Everything fits together perfectly. If you like Belgian beer, you should have tried this by now!

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Photo of zachisspeaking
4.76/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I bought a bottle of this beer at the local beer shop, and had a glass after my stew lunch. The tase, exceptional. The smell---okay for a bottle.

But later that night I went over to Bob's Keg and Cork, and serendipity or providence had it that Bob had this beer on tap. It wasn't there last saturday.

The freshness is impossible to describe; a trappist beer on tap is heaven with a creamy head.

This is the quintessential Belgian Quad. No immitators, even New Belgium's Lips of Faith Series, can match this nearly.

At 10 percent alcohol, you can't feel it. It is such a well balanced brew. The malts are not too dominant; the bitter character is reminiscent of angustoro.

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Photo of kevd193213
4.76/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 mL bottle with a dark walnut cloudy pour with a nice thick tan head. Aroma of caramel, apples and sugar. Taste of apples, Belgian yeast, spices and caramel malt and very little alcohol despite its almost 11% ABV. Nice lacing, and a great full finish.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle from Knightly Spirits in Orlando.

Poured into a small wine glass (best approximation of a chalice I had available). A splendid murky chestnut brew, with a sturdy 1/2 inch head that would not quit, made more appealing as the brew warmed up. Superb lacing and retention. Looks brilliant.

Nose is cherry, plums, figs, white wine, yeast, spices, overlain with a foundation of classic Belgian ale malts. Inviting.

Tasting notes are similar to the nose, which work brilliantly together. A nice toasted brown sugar and caramel flavor as well. A wonderfully balanced brew, hard to believe it's a quad, considering the absolute lack of an alcohol taste. Finishes slightly dry and crisp. The brew only gets better as it warms, which opens up all the richness within. Superb stuff.

Carbonation was initially high, but became less of an impediment as it warmed, making it easy to quaff. Definitely a brew to be served after being given a chance to breathe.

A real joy to drink, a first-rate Belgian strong ale. A high ABV means less drinkability, but I'd gladly spend an evening with a tall bottle of this. Brilliant.

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Photo of rwill2001
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - poured a dark brown with a 2 finger head that dissipated slowly. The lacing was perfect for a quad.

S - The perfect smelling beer. Dark fruits, alcohol, bready yeast dominate. Hints of caramel ride underneath.

T - A very very smooth beer. The taste goes right in line with the smell, sweet coupled with an alcohol that longs to be embraced.

M - Not overly carbonated with a nice smooth feel.

O - a fantastic beer with everything you could ever ask for. I want a bottle to be placed in my casket.

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Photo of elricorico
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet. A funny thing happened, that I've never seen with a beer. The pour is a dark brown, with almost a violet hue. The pour resulted in a loose bubbly head, that faded away. However, over the past couple of minutes, the beer has generated a new head, that is thick and creamy. Very nice.

The smell is oh so fruity. Dark grapes and cranberry, raisin and plum. A faint whiff of alcohol and a suggestion of candy sugar. I'd say it is about the nicest smelling beer I've had.

The taste... well... so much there I don't think I could list it all, and I don't believe I have the skill to seperate it. It is sweet, but not overly so, and a bit tart in the finish. I can't say that I am able to detect hops, but with so much malt taste going on I'm not surprised. I'll leave others to tell what ingredients the flavour holds. I'll just say that it tastes good.

The mouthfeel is a tad coarse, at least that is what I find with this bottle. It is still pleasant, but I'd call the carbonation a little rougher than it I desire.

Is it drinkable? Well, it's certainly not a beer for chugging, but as far as a high alcohol beer goes, this is a sipper that keeps you coming back.

This is the highest rated beer I've had the chance to taste, and it only strengthens my faith in the BA community's skill at picking out a winner.

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Photo of coltrane4me
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured 33cl bottle into a chalice.

Pours a beautiful, rich dark brown with a wispy foam head. Leaves a considerable amount of lace.

Taste and drinkability were excellent; has a dark, rich taste - the 10.5 % ABV is cleverly disguised behind the bold fruit tastes up front. A true pleasure to drink.

An exceptional beer that lived up to the hype.

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Photo of AmberMan22
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Figured earning my 'Empty Mug' Karma status deserved a proper beer in celebration.
This is the first Quadrupel I've had, which gives me reservations about making a review -- but I have had plenty of good dubbels, tripels, BSDA and BSPA before, so that helps.

Had this on tap, served into a St. Bernardus Chalice.

And wow, does it look good. Color is a deep, hazy cherry mahogany mixed lightly with plum, with a lightly toasted colored cap on top. The only demerit this faces is that I expected better head retention and lacing.

Smell doesn't disappoint in the least. Candied plums, raisins, a hint of blackberry(?), all mixed beautifully with the heavenly malt smell.

I'm just going to clump the rest of the categories into one grand paragraph.

Tastes literally like sugar-plum fairies (thank you Tchaikovsky) are dancing on my tongue. Carbonation is of superfine bubbles which tingle and only enhance the experience. Alcohol is certainly present, but remains tucked behind the rest of the symphony. The fruit-laced malt flavors are out of this world. A dash of bitterness sneaks in towards the end, and dissipates before the sweet and malty finish.

[Taste is wonderful, but I won't give this a 5 until I've had Westvleteren 12.]


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Photo of NWC
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Saw this in the supermarket today, had never seen it before, and it was only 1.30euros, so I decided to give it a shot. I'm sipping as I type this :)

a - my beer glasses are all at my girlfriend's house, so I just went with a regular glass. Little to no head. Dark, caramel-y appearance, a little cloudy.

s - Everytime I open a bottle, I smell before pouring, and this one told me immediately that it was going to be very good. It's allergy season, so I can't smell perfectly, but it told me enough with what I could smell. Sweetish, but not too much.

t - awww yeah. All sorts of flavors, malt, subtle fruit flavors, things I can't put my finger on but I like. It's a little bitter, you can taste the alcohol, but it's not overwhelming. I like bitter though, so that should be taken into account. Suffice to say it's delicious.

m - light carbonation. Just enough to feel refreshing, not enough to make me burp with every sip. I like it.

d - I could easily go through 4 in a night(and, subsequently, be trashed). You can taste the alcohol, but it's not overwhelming. It has a high ABV, though, so it's best to go slow. I would take this as a conversational beer, one to sip while discussing music or philosophy.

Overall: I'm going to stock up before it goes away. I'd never seen it before in the supermarket, and I don't want to not see it ever again. Excellent beer. I love strong dark beers, and this one balances bitter and sweet perfectly.

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Photo of jar2574
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours brown, with an off-white head. Well formed lacing and good head retention. The lacing slides off fairly quickly on the way down.

When you take a wiff, there's a strong scent of berries, bananas and malts.

The taste deserves the slogan, "heavenly nectar within reach." Complex, dark taste. Yeasty, with berries, bananas, malts, and a touch of black liquorice. Even with all those flavors, it's a fairly mellow beer.

Great mouthfeel, plenty to be excited about. You can sense the alcohol, but it's not overwhelming. Overally, I'm really impressed and will be buying this again. It's as good as some of the best trappist brews.

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Photo of Spineypanda
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one exceptional abbey!

Starting with Trois Pistoles, then going on to New Belgium's abbey which are both delicious... St. Bernardus Abt 12 is one of the best I have had.

A cloudy old rust color and a nice lingering foam is a nice start. The smell is what pulled me in most. It has the wonderful smell of Belgian malts and yeast that I love in all my abbey styles.

The taste is strongly alcoholic :). Some plum and red grape flavors stand out. This is definitely smooth!

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Photo of ColoradoBobs
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

25.4 ounce bottle with cork and basket stopper purchased from Wilbur's Wine and Spirits in Ft. Collins, CO, for $8.99. Happy birthday to me.

Oh my gosh! What a beer! Really very unique. The appearance is exceptional -- kind of cloudy like you would expect a BCA to be, but a rich thick head and lots of lacing!

Incredible aroma! Mix chocolate, raisins and rye bread rising just before it goes in the oven. Wow!

Amazing taste. Very unexpected! Not the flavor I had expected from the color. Raisin, plum, yeast, a ripe banana note, high note of pineapple, but not overly sweet. My friend, who shared part of this bottle (25.4 oz is too much for one person!) said, "Like baked raisins with all the sugar turned into alcohol." Not much of the toasted malt or chocolate tastes I had been expecting -- just a total and wonderful surprise!

What a rich, round feel! The bottle said to serve this at 52 to 56 degrees F., and that was right! Smooth without being syrupy -- I hardly wanted to swallow this, it was so nice in the mouth.

The drinkability is fine for the first 8 oz. or so, but this is too strong to have very much.

Can't believe they sell this at the brewery for about 1 Euro a bottle!

This beer is for special occasions, and worth it. Enjoy!

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Photo of lic217
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: Brown with a tough of ready, slightly hazy, quick fading head that does linger, but extremely thin, not much lacing
Smell: Dark fruit, Belgian yeast esters, sweet, alcohol, slight spice
Taste: Dark fruit, grape toffee, and sweet, but not cloying. A touch of spice and alcohol
Feel: Prickly carbonation, moderate thickness
Overall: A great example of a quad. A world class brew, meant to be drank with great food. Happy to be able to enjoy this one periodically. If only it were a little bit cheaper...

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Photo of DogFood11
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

whoaaa this beer forms a khaki humongous head that maintains and leaves frothy sticky lacing.

caramel combined with a light pear type fruitiness. This head is still dominating. rolling alcohol that is never in charge but always evident. some deep dark fruits come through.

This is an exceptional brew that deserves its praise.

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Photo of jsprain1
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A- Dark orange. Thick creamy head, lasts quite well, good bit of lacing.
S- Complex caramel, toast, and a good bit of fruit. Specifically there is apricot, peach and a bit of plum.
T- Very, very complex. Caramel, yeast, toast, fruit, and alcohol heat. Starts pretty sweet, but quickly goes into complex flavors with some chocolate. There is just a faint wisp of smoke. Finish is a bit boozy. If I had any criticism of this beer, it is that this boozy finish is just a touch aggressive.
M- Really full body. Smooth. Again, only criticism is it just a bit hot.
O- A top class beer. Glad I finally got a chance to drink this one. Definitely a must try for the beer fan.

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Photo of Beerenauslese
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark but translucent brown into my St. Bernardus glass with an initial ample head that quickly dissipates into a fine ring of foam.

Lovely nose with complex aromas of raisins and other fruit, chocolate, ginger and other spices. I am in the bakery here.

Taste is wonderful, sweet at first but finishes dry and crisp. This is one of the great Belgian beer taste sensations. Lots of complexity, with flavors of coffee, chocolate, ginger, cola, hops, pepper, and salty finish. Defies complete identification.

Mouthfeel is medium body, very creamy with good carbonation.

This is a beer I'll drink until it is clear I shuddah stopped. Addictive.

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Photo of MaineBrewing
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A - Doing a quad vertical with Rochefort 10, first impression is this is going to be a lot better. Two finger fluffy off white head, reduced to some nice airy lumps with some decent lacing. Body is dark brown and murky with a lot of suspended yeast, looks very thick.

S - Very phenolic, alcohol, slight fruit, caramel, nice malt character behind some brash phenol/alcohol notes.

T - Very fruity, really nice banana character. definitely a lot of malt, and candy sugar, lots of molasses notes. The yeast bouquet dominates this beer and it is simply delicious. Finishing hops and pepper yeast character at the end provide a nice refreshing bitterness, makes me crave more.

M - a little heavy ample carbonation. certainly finishes dry, what I would expect for the style.

O - As aforementioned, doing a vertical with Rochefort 10 tonight, this beer is much more awesome, simply put. I would think personally that this is what a quad should taste like. Very complex taste, and pure Belgian from the very fruity dominant yeast character.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured very dark, hazy brown with an off-white head that was substantial to start and then faded rather quickly.

The smell is very bready with some spice notes and a sour, winey finish.

The taste is long and complex, with clove, peach, banana, dark rye bread, and winey flavors, and a faint but delicious sweetness underpinning it all, and beautifully integrated hops. The echo of clove and nutmeg persists long after you swallow.

The mouthfeel is bready, creamy, and silky- the high carbonation is just the slightest bit distracting.

Drinkability is excellent- the flavors are so intriguing that you want to keep downing these just to taste more nuances in the beer. Absolutely spectacular!

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Photo of gford217
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours dark, dark brown with hints of cola coloring around the edges. The head is massive, off-white and lasts quite a while leaving good lacing. All kinds of doughy stuff floating around in this one as well.

S: Big sweet and massively complex aromas. There's belgian yeast, sugar, plums, bubble gum, nuts...extremely pleasing to the nose.

T: Taste is just as complex as the nose with sweet malts, yeast, dark fruits and even a little chocolate. The layers of flavors just keep coming and leave a wonderfully sweet aftertaste that lingers pleasantly on the tongue.

M: Mouthfeel is truly exceptional. Perfect medium to full body with high carbonation that tickles the tongue with the myriad of flavors. Creamy and delightful.

D: This is the beer that got me started on craft beers and so I'm always going to have a couple of these on hand. One of my absolute favorites.

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Photo of darklordlager
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dug out of the cellar on the first snow of... "winter?" (October 12th)

Pours a nice brown amber, which let's some light through when held up. Nice lacing and head retention.

Smells of of date bread, raisons, light mulled spice.

Taste is a barrage of spiced dark fruit--figs, dates, prunes. Caramel and molasses work their way in, with a nice bready note from the yeast. Alcohol makes its presence subtly known in the finish. Tasty.

Mouthfeel is extremely creamy. "Best before" date is 2014, and I have reason to believe it was aged for quite some time prior to purchase.

Drinkability is fantastic. Between the mouthfeel and depth of flavours, I don't want this glass to end...!

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.42 out of 5 based on 9,235 ratings.
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