St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

2,762 Reviews
St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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: 2,762 | Ratings: 9,392
Photo of cutthetail
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I was excited for this beer. After popping the cork I smelled a rich smell of bread and malt. I could tell this was going to be a big beer. Like a meal in a bottle. I wasn't disappointed. Just like the others who reviewed this beer I was treated to a nice lacy head. I enjoyed this in a 1 liter glass beer stein so I could enjoy the opaque tea like color. The beer showed lots of suspended yeast. It was everything I expected and just made me wish I could plan a trip to Belgium.

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

Poured from a 750 ml Cork & Cage Best before date: 7/24/2016. (Refrigerator temperature upon popping the cork *light white smoke from the bottle)

Poured into a Duvel Tulip.

A: Very dark brown fading to a dark tan toward the bottom of the glass held up to a natural light source. Poured a 2 finger head with beautiful lacing.

S: Rich but balanced smell, Almost difficult to describe.. Raisins, Plums, A ever so slight aroma of alcohol.

T: For me.. Luxurious.. A light/medium carbonation hides this beers 10+% alcohol content EXTREMELY well. Sweet burnt caramel, Raisins, a taste of Honey come to my mind quickly, but this beer is much more complex to the taste then I can describe. I am writing this review on the last of 3 equal pours from this bottle. Taste has become extremely more pronounced as this beer has warmed to proper serving temperature.

M: Personally a little less intruding to the palate compared to a Rochefort 10. Also deceivingly a little lighter also most likely due to a bit more carbonation. best thing I can use to describe it is ... Silk

O: my favorite Belgian Quad. Working at a beverage center that distributes over 1200 beers, Including over 175 Belgian selections. The discount I receive from this job allows this to be my "GO TO" beer. I can not get over it. I always have at least a 4 pack on hand.

note: Tasting was paired wonderfully with 8 slices of thick cut smoked bacon.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

from a 750 into a oversized chalice

appears quite dark brown with a retentive, tight head that leaves even but thin lacing. appealing to look at.

aroma is very fruity, detecting bananas, apples, plums, and some spice. malt is evident but not overpowering. so similar to the westy 12 in look and smell.

enters the mouth with a peppy dose of fizz on the tongue, followed by a numbing alcohol sensation on the tongue that erupts with dark, rich flavors. plums and caramel are smooth here, and the brew continues toward the stomach with a mild warming which reminds you that you are INDEED in the presence of greatness.

probably my 10-20th bottle lifetime of this stuff and i will not stop consuming it. never tried it (or westy 12) aged significantly, and that will be my next step in its appreciation. look forward to it.

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

It flows out of the bottle into my favorite pub glass and I'm picking up all the dried fruit aromas. Figs, raisins, prunes... plus some molasses.

The head that forms is fluffy and tinted ivory. The pinhead sized bubbles dance in the glass and give it a creamy appearance. It's thick and substantial.

The taste is somewhat sweet and very satisfying. A little heavy, but in a good way. You definitely know it's got a kick of high gravity. It's reminiscent of a fine barleywine.

Definitely going on my rotation, but it's a little pricey... you get what you pay for, though.

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

Poured from a 330 ml bottle into a St. Bernardus chalice.

A: This quad pours a murky brown with some ruby hues. Upon pouring there is a small head, but this dissolves quickly leaving a small wisp and some lacing.

S: Dried fruits are prominent, and the lovely smell of Belgian yeasts are present as well.

T: The dried fruits come forward, a sweet taste but not overpoweringly so. The yeast can be tasted as well and you can certainly notice the alcohol on this beer.

M: The carbonation is good, and the beer leaves a nice feeling.

O: This is a superior example of a quad. In the same wheelhouse as Rochefort 10, it has a great flavour and body. This just confirms to me my preference for abbey beers. I would highly recommend this beer to anyone who wants an example of a quad.

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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, itÂ’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 99bottles
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

33 cL bottle. Drink before the end of April 2004 the label reads in German and Spanish. I guess I gotta.

Appearance: This beer poured into a goblet is a beautiful reddish brown body with a sloshy white head. Retention is somewhat on the low side, but seems perfect for this beer.

Smell: Is of rich malts with a fruity and slightly alcholic nature. Figs, dates, plums, raisins all seem to be wrapped delicately in the warm phenols.

Taste: Incredible. There is so much complexity that it sort of figures itself out and leaves you with jaw agape saying wow. The sweet malts are ever so light and fruity. Interesting notes of spice slip through the smooth fruit. I'd say clove or nutmeg, but subdued in such a way that they never steal the show. Those monks have stumbled across something here. Very earthen, also very sweet, alcoholic and easy going. This is really a piece of art.

Mouthfeel: Absolutely perfect. It feels so light, so fluid and yet has a deceiving amount of body. Good bright carbonation plays with the smooth and slick malt. No cloying whatsoever in the aftertaste.

Drinkability: Who cares if this is 10% ? If I could, I'd bring them one after another all evening. Really one of the most profound beers I've had the pleasure of tasting. I wish they were less expensive here in the U.S. Awesome.

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Photo of 86MonteSS
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hallelujah, I love trying beers like this for the first time, as they tend to change the way you think about beer. I could tell just by looking at it in the glass that I was in for a treat. It's brown and merky with a big tan head that damn near jumped out of the bottle. As smell and taste are so well intertwined, I will simply say that the malty, banana-like quality of this beer is the stuff of dreams. As for the drinkability... if I had no self-restraint, I'd finish the bottle in about 3 minutes.

Once again, let it be noted that a label featuring a smiling monk holding a beer designates a truly fantastic brew.

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Photo of etaylor7
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%

With no question, one of my favorite beers. I consider this a gold standard Belgium quadruple... one of the smoothest 10% beers I've had. You'll have to dish out a little more cash but it's definitely worth it. Enjoy!

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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 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 Ruger
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark brown with a a thick tannish white head.

S - Bread and dark fruits it's really sweet smelling and not as much booze as I expected.

T - I started drinking it while it was pretty cold, which is what I like to do with most beers, to see how flavors progress as they warm. And as this beer warmed the flavors just really came out caramel, dark fruits, brown sugar and bread to just name a few.

M - Perfect mouthfeel extremely smooth and the carbonation was not overwhelming, just a little on the watery side but when drinking on a warm summer night I'm not going to complain it was amazing.

O - I would really like to try this beer with some age.

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

Deep brown/mahogany... shows glimmers of a faint red through a pretty murky glass... 1/4" off-white head... leaves a great swirl and nice cap... great legs, as well.

Yeasty/bready aroma... molasses and spice... some cinnamon, raisin, dried fig, big and nice... quite toasty with a touch of maple.

Mouthfeel is very good... creamy feel and tickles of carbonation...

Some big sweet notes... fig and turkish apricot... ripe plum and lots of raisiny goodness... very yeasty... awesome malt flavor.

This one is the standard to compare the rest, in my opinion.

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

My bottle listed alcohol as 10% by volume. Alcohol definitely present in the taste. Quite creamy, large head, remained prominent throughout. Significant lace. Nice, somewhat spicy fragrance and taste. Clearly a very high quality beer. I followed this with a Rochefort 10, which was a quite different (and ultimately more enjoyable) experience! This is like a slightly thinner Westy 12. Not as rich or complex as the Westy, but not far off. Very good, gets better as it warms. Handles the 10% abv quite well. Better than Chimay blue (IMO), and I'll certainly take it over Trios Pistoles. One of the best!

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Photo of mjurney
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%

Deep brown color, murky. Lots of lively carbonation rising. Spongy head.

Malty, dark fruit, cloves, a little nutty, alcohol.

Very rich, deep caramel, molasses, hint of roasted malts. Lots of fruity character, prunes and ripe bananas. Some spices, mainly cloves and nutmeg. Bitter finish, a bit boozy. Body is full, a little syrupy, smooth, warmth.

It's a world class beer.

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Photo of PorterLambic
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Man, can the monks make good beer!!!!
This amazing beverage pours a nice deep brown with red & orange highlights. The pour produces a big, fluffy, creamy tan head that has extremely great retention and pretty nice lacing. Noticed some of the "waterfall effect" in the initial pour, a la Guinness, et al.
Smell is sweet, fruit (raisin, cherry, grape and plum), malt, oak, spice (clove), fine Belgian dark chocolate and some alcohol. Amazing complexity and great balance.
Taste is every bit of what is promised to the nose without the noticeable, and expected, alcohol. For a brew this potent I am very surprised that the ABV is so well hidden. A whiskey note is there as well.
Mouthfeel is rich and smooth, warming the throat. A light effervescence all over the tongue, as well. Medium-full bodied. The only downside I found was a bit of roughness in the aftertaste, kind of a bitter cherry/oak flavor. That being said, this is an absolute "cream of the crop" beer. Few, if any better in the style. Few better in any style, in my not so humble opinion.

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Photo of LuckySevens82
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle cap is a pain in the ass to get off, but is well worth the fight.
The aroma from the bottle in concentrated and amazing. If this beer tastes half as good as it smells, it's fantastic.

Pours a dark reddish-brown with a thick 2 finger head. The head didn't last for long but the lacing is up to the top of the glass and isn't going anywhere.

The taste: Dark malts, dried fruit, spices. Just plain wonderful. It's hard to believe this is 10% abv, I could sit here and sip it all night long. There is a distinct alcohol kicker as the taste fades from your mouth, but the feeling isn't as strong as some of the other belgian ales I've had.

In my opinion, this is better and a lot more drinkable than the Westy 12. I am very happy with my choice.

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Photo of Agold
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer is a very dark garnet with about an inch of white fluffy head which recedes to about a quarter inch. It smells amazing, with notes of spice, figs, and sweetness. It tastes amazing as well, with a taste which mirrors the nose, adding a little bit of yeast bite and some caramel. These flavors mostly, if not completely mask the high abv. The higher carbonation gives it a deceivingly light mouthfeel, but as it warms and the carbonation dissipates, it becomes thicker. Most drinkble quad i have ever had. Amazing. It seems like it would hold up well with age, and I would love to see how it changes with a year on it.

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

Poured from a bottle into a St.Bernardus goblet.

A: Looks a dark cloudy reddish brown with a 1cm. head with great lacing.

S: VERY Bready and yeasty. The raw materials of bread and some dark fruits are present. It has a distict smell that lets you know it's Belgian. Great!

T: It begins with that yeasty taste and then the fun starts. You get a VERY balanced combination of bread, dark fruits and alcohol. It also has a light note of marzipan which makes it so much nicer. It finishes with some hop bitterness and it finishes very dry. That makes it even easier to drink.

M: Just one word. Medium. Nothing overbearing. I'll say probably a notch up of Rochefort 8.

O: Everything is just right in the center it's so great to drink. It's never overbearing so I recommend it to those who are thinking about starting to drink quads. The dry finish is probably what makes it so easy to drink despite the 10% abv. A greatly balanced Quad indeed.

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

Dark brown with a ruby tinge. Huge tan foamy head. Lacing.

Smell right out of the fridge is about a 3. But after you wait about a half hour it gets tremendously better. Dark fruits, warm whiskey.

Taste becomes exceptional. Chianti, brown sugar, molasses, cognac, plum.

The alcohol makes a very smooth presence. Not much on the tongue, but lots in the stomach. Medium-full body gives it a wonderfully smooth and creamy mouthfeel.

One hell of a beer. Easily ranks in my top 5 Belgians.

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Photo of bjoyce12
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Public House in Brookline, MA. Wow. The Bernardus 12 is the standard by which all others are judged. Pours a big dark brown, white foam, and then the aroma hits you. Caramel, roasted malt, then burnt sugar. These are all present in undercurrents of the taste, as well as some molasses, dates, and currants. With a 10.5%ABV, the Bernardus 12 provides an SUV-size vehicle to carry all the flavors. The big ABV still doesn't have any of the burn.

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

Bottle Pours a beautiful deep brown-black with a generous off white head. The head last nicely. Has a great sweet aroma of fruits. I get plums, cherries, and grapes. Wow the flavor is awesome. Great carbination. A wonderful mouthfeel. Taste is not too sweet. The alcohol is hidden very well. This is blended great. Has a good robust finish. This is just an awesome beer.

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Photo of BillyBoysPie
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at the Nachbar, Louisville, KY - poured in a St. Bernardus Chalice.

Dark ruby/garnet color, beautiful pale/light tan head about half an inch thick. The head retention was slim, typical for a high alcohol beer. Lacing covered the entire glass when I had finished. Quite beautiful.

Smell of spices and dried figs. Some malt presence, but not overpowering the complexity (and main interest) of the dried fruit/spice character. No heavy notes of alcohol, but it is present on the palate.

Taste is quite what one would expect from the smell - rich dried fruits and spice dominate the flavor with malts and a touch of bitter to finish the flavor. I don't really feel the alcohol at all, and drinking this over the course of 30 minutes didn't have any effect.

Well balanced mouthfeel - the carbonation offsets what could have been a boring texture. Nothing overdone in this beer.

I'll be having this again. A delicious Quad that is a great introduction to this style of beer.

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Photo of tom444
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours out a rich deep brown, somewhat cloudy, with a thick light tan head that seems to last forever.

Aroma: Tons of malt, fruit, and enough alcohol that when I first started pouring it, I thought one of my roommates was drinking a Jack and Coke.

Taste: Rich and creamy, with plenty of malty goodness, and an added sweetness from the sugars. Some interesting fruity notes, black cherry, prune, grape, plenty of others - I'm tasting something new with every sip of this. Certainly warming, but the alcohol is masked very well by the other flavors. Almost tastes more like a fine wine than my usual dark beers.

Mouthfeel: Perfect. Full-bodied, creamy, with just the right amount of carbonation.

A truly incredible beer (just watch out when you stand up after finishing it). Words can't even begin to describe the experience of drinking it. Now, if only I can justify the cost of a 750mL bottle next time...

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Photo of hero27
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap @ the Lava Lounge in Waterloo, Iowa..

To fully appreciate this beer, I think one must really have it on-tap, or, at the very least, in a 750ml bottle. I have previously only had this in the small 11.2oz bottles, and, while it was very good, it was more flavorful on-tap...I have not ruled out that the bottles I had were possibly a bit tainted due to handling/shipping/exposure, etc..

Anyways..that's not important...on to the good stuff. This beer is nothing short of majestic. Always touted as one of the best beers in the world, and now I believe it. Served in a tulip-style glass. Dark brown, rich ruby color with a very large, frothy, immovable head. Yeasty sediment is suspended in the glass and the lacing forms in sheets. Aroma & taste are huge and complex..big brown sugar flavors & rich malts blend perfectly with the subtle and amazing array of spices. Full mouthfeel..little carbonation. The 10% alcohol is hardly even a thought as you're drinking it. Just an outstanding beer, and one every beer lover should enjoy.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.42 out of 5 based on 9,392 ratings.
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