St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

2,770 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: 2,770 | Ratings: 9,423
Photo of Estarrio
4.23/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark blood red with an off-white, medium frothy head. Retention is moderate, giving way to full, yet watery lacings.

Aroma is malt, flowers and esters. The smells are not quite as intense as I had anticipated.

Well-carbonated, full-bodied brew. Taste is of sweet malt caramel, toffee, vanilla, dark fruits, slightly bitter hops and distinct alcohol presence throughout. The flavors are complex, as a quad should be. There is a big cherry taste that I found to be more distinct than any other flavor.

This beer fell slightly short of my high expectations, based on the Trappiste quads. I'm going to review again with an aged beer a fresh open mind.

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Photo of barefootbrewer
4.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured a deep amber color with a thick persistent head. The smell is a bit sweet with a nice touch of hops. The taste is incredibly well balanced and a great example of a Belgian beer. The mouthfeel is full and chewy with a slight orange like aftertaste that comes through after swallowed. As far as drinkability goes, this should be savored as often as possible!

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Photo of bigdeuce
4.12/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

There are so many flavors in this brew it is unreal. Bananas, cardimon, cinamon, dry ripened plums, maybe some cherries. An outstanding beer. Only problem with this one is, it has a very whiskey booziness that is noticeable. I also believe this drinks more like a belgian strong dark than a quad. Other than that, an outstanding brew. Nice lacing down the tulip. Can't drink too many, may put someone into an eternal sleep. Highly recommeded.

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

A: 11.2 oz in a Duvel tulip glass. One thick finger of beige head topping the chocolate-colored body. Head slowly fades to a creamy film. Looks slightly murky and does not allow a ray of light through. Tiny bubbles are visible rushing to the surface near the edges. Lacing hangs around well.

S: Complex malt body. Lots of sweet fruit: apples, raisins, dates, pears, and anything else you could want. No need for hops here.

T: So many flavors merging into a nearly perfect final taste. Tart fruits meeting sweet caramel malt. More flavors than I can pick out and list. Alcohol is not as present as I would expect.

M/D: Mouthcoating and creamy. Carbonation is perfect, the tiniest of bubbles. As heavy and coating as it is, rinses very clean without harsh hops. Drinkability is unique. Alcohol seems very low. Very inviting, but the flavors are so complex that the tastebuds need a rest. Not a refreshing beer, but a perfect beer to sit and think with.

Notes: Not a huge fan of big Belgian beers (Belgian strong dark, dubbels, trippels, quads, etc.) but this is amazing. Will never be a nightly drink for me, but I could drink this every now and then for a special treat.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.59/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mury brown beer, like homemade apple cider. Thin head that faded quickly.

Nose is a complex Christmas spice cake. Ginger, nutmeg, and perhaps some unidentifiable berries too. Brown sugar.

Palate is brown sugary sweet with some cinnamony alcohol heat. Fig newtons. Whole wheat toast. Earthy. Wow.

Finish is tangy/sweet. I keep coming back to brown sugar.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.43/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, best-before date is 2008. I've had in my fridge at least a year. Served in a Watou Bernardus chalice. Pours out very dark brown, with a half-inch rocky head. Very good lacing on the glass. Nose is ripely vinous, spicy, with notes of licorice and plum. Good roasted malt flavor initially, with hints of many others, mocha, plum, caramalized apple, all blended wonderfully together. Bitterness is clearly apparent but balanced very well. Finishes with a fair acidity and a prolonged after-taste. Plenty of carbonation, but the body remains surprisingly light for the strength.

One of the greatest of the quadrupels.

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

Poured from the brown glass, 1 pint, 9.4 oz., cork finish bottle into my straight sided tumbler. A most amazing two inch dark white head settles down to a rocky head that follows the beer down to a finish. A slightly hazy, dark mahogany color is a sight for my sore eyes. The smell is of bread, malt and candy sugar, raisins and clove. The taste adds notes of alcohol, prunes, with very little hop balance. The mouthfeel is quite a sublime experience, whether it be a quadrupel or as the label suggests, a dubbel, brown ale. This is the best beer I have ever tried. If I could afford to drink it everyday, I would. I understand Watou in the past brewed Westvleteren's beers for them. One could probably find Coors Lite a bit more drinkable. It don't get any better than this.

Just a thought,


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

picked up a 750ml after a recent visit to a belgian beer bar (sharp edge beer emporium in pittsburgh) and subsequent love affair with belgian beer. nice dark appearance and deep, dark aroma. taste was outstanding. very complex and rewarding. nicely texture, not too thick, but plenty of body. only reason i wouldn't give it higher drinkability was it's weight and high ABV. one of these days i'll get my hands on a westy, but in the meantime, i'll take this again and again.

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Photo of Fuller
4.47/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured a nice dark brown cloudy body with a big creamy tan head that had decent retention. Nice lacing left all around the tulip glass it was poured in. Strong scent of dark fruit and bread along with a hint of alcohol. The flavor is sugary sweet dark fruit with a good dose of warming alcohol. As it warms, more fruit taste and a slightly bitter, bready yeastiness comes through. It mixes well to smooth out the taste of the 10.5% alcohol. Rich and complex but perfectly balanced. An excellent beer that I will definitely go out of my way to drink again.

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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 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 GratefulBeerGuy
4.43/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1PT 9.4 fl. oz Poured (about 1/3) into a Goblet.

Deep brown with dark amber hues in direct light. Massive Frothy light-mocha colored head at least 3" thick! Dissipated to a constant 1/4 thick head that lasted until the end.

Smells of sweet malts, earthy green, flowery notes (hops), caramel.

Taste: Sweet and sour! Banana, caramel sweet malts, flowery-non bitter hops. Starts of sour and finishes with an incredible deep smokey taste. Mellows and enriches on the palate.

Full Body(legs last forever and even displays some nice design's after the beer is gone!!)Feels thick, chewy, very substantial, yet a flatness that makes this rather smooth. NO Bite from the 10 % ABV.Well hidden!! You would never figure it was 10%, the mellow complexity masks it's power pretty well understood.

Easily one of the best beer experiences I've had. The complexity and clearity of the taste is rather exceptional IMHO.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
4/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle that by the way inists that this is a "dubbel", and not a "quadrupel" , as it is listed here. Anyway, it left a beige one finger head, that eventually recedes to long lasting surface skim, and this has some decent lacing. Body was a dark brown. Looks good.

Smell - esters and phenols. Dried dark fruits, dark bread, and medicine. Tiny hint of abv.

Taste - plums, raisins, figs, and medicine. It's rather straightfoward, and really no more complicated than that, but it's very good and satisfying. There is a very slight bit of alcohol warmth , especially as the ale gets warmer, but it only adds a pleasing spicy finish on the taste, rather than harshness. Actually, at this level of abv, the alcohol, is very well hidden, a very good thing, as far as I'm concerned.

Mouthfeel - halfway between full and thin, it is smooth, and has medium carbonation.

Drinkability - this is good, and goes down well. However, the high abv would limit this to one 750 ml. serving per session.

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Photo of CH3CH2OH
4.65/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is exceptional. Pours a black, just short of a stout. Good head for a beer of this ABV. Smell the yeast, roasted malt, very faint hop. The taste is so well balanced that each taste shows something else. One taste might have a tangy sweetness, the next esters from a warm fermentation, the next, pleasant alcohol warmth. A pleasure to drink from a cold room temp all the way to room temperature. Wow. I think I'll have another.

Belgian Strong Dark Ale - Aroma 10; Appearance 3; Flavor 18; Mouthfeel 5; Overall Impression 9 (45/50).

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Photo of SupaCelt
4.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This has been in the box for at least an eon if not more. It is Independence Day. It is time for this one. The pour reveals a shade of amber that leans heavily toward purple, or garnet, or red. Quite a peach to look at really. A wonderfully appetizing head rolls up and holds as a slender slab of creamy froth. Most delicious. Fluffy whips of lace cling heavily and create a rolling topography around the outskirts of this event. A few drips of yeast have peppered a tight pattern in the midground of this head. It looks like a bit of nutmeg sprinkled atop a fine dessert. The nose is complex in dark fruit subtleties. It smells like a bit of fermented black cherry. A sort of sugar crusted candy sweetness booms within the honed confines of this brew as the malt structure is notably solid. I think the yeast has contributed heavily to the delight I derive from repeated and incessant sniffing. The smell is so much different. Wild and tart with an expressive gale of alcohol. The taste is darkly fruity, alcoholic and rootish. The black fruitiness and alcoholic characters lay on the back of a creamy mouthfeel. Unique and delicious. The drinkability is super good. The only problem is it ends up gone. The last few sips are a spectacle. This song has ended on a solid note. I can tell this one is from somewhere else. It is completely unlike...

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Photo of trep
4.33/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a classy looking bottle. 11.2 ouces of goodness await me i'm quite sure of it.

Dark brown, tobacco colored body. Inpenetrable with light except at the edges. Vanilla head of EPIC proportions sits atop the raisin body. Tons of lacing.

Very smooth aroma. Hints of fruit, sour grapes, an acidic tartness, a little funk and some yeastiness. Pretty complex stuff we're talkin about here.

What a solid beer. Everything melds together perfectly. Begins with some funkiness, probably the yeast. Alot of over-ripe dark fruits. Raisins, prunes, and a very sweet aftertaste that is kind of like white-grapes or apples. Quality stuff. So smooth and it doesn't get boring.

Full body, not oily, but definitely something that coats your mouth and your throat as it goes down. Carbonation is perfect and this is super smooth and easy-drinking. The 10.5% is un-noticable. World class, and definitely lives up to the hype.

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Photo of jwc215
4.53/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yesterday, I had the pint corked bottle. Today I had the 11.2 oz. bottle.
Poured into chalice.
It poured brown with a thick, creamy two-finger off-white head that after a minute or so went to half the size and remained there - just as a great beer's head should do. Wonderful to look at!
This beer has been reviewed so many times - I just want to say what impressed me the most - the spices and fruitiness was very creamy - some of the wonderful tastes were almost lost in the creaminess. It was a wonderful sipping beer - The alcohol warmed the body at the end - This was a great beer - similar to the trappist ales - but creamier, and with a little bite at the end. I don't know - IMO - that it was an all "5" beer - but, very close - if 4.75's could be given - I would have given it that. It was truly a pleasure.

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Photo of Conrad
3.98/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

With 600 reviews of this beer, is this one redundant? Well I don't care. Here it is anyway. Had this one poured in a Trappist chalice.
Short and to the point:
A: Deep ruby brown, cloudy opaque. Light brown head that settles quickly. From first sip to the last the bubbles sparkled in the lacing as it trickled down the side of the glass. Beautiful.
S: Right up front, there is spice, bready yeast, fruit, cola, and a few others I couldn't put my finger on.
T: This one has big flavour. Strong caramel malt, all of the above flavours, and an overall earthiness. That is earthiness in a good sense, like when you take a deep sniff of a handful of top grade farm soil and can tell from the aroma that this is full of goodness.
M: Medium to full body. Although this beer was not really cold, it seemed to pass on the sense of coldness more than most beers could.
D: Refreshing and smooth. I would say yes to another, but at 10% abv, that would be enough.

If you can get these at a decent price, snap them up.

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Photo of Damian
4.52/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drank from a 11.2 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Julio's Liquors, Westboro, MA

The first thing that impressed me about this beer was the interesting bottle graphics. Quite funny.

Poured a dense, murky black with only traces of dark brown noticeable on the fringes of the glass. One-finger, foamy, light cocoa head faded to a thick coating of lace with intermittent bubbles. Large, sporadic patches of lacing lasted long after the beer itself was finished.

Smell was incredibly aromatic and sweet. Super malty rich (caramel malts) and yeasty with fresh, ripe fruits and candied sugar. Notes of powdered cocoa and coffee also detectable.

Taste was decadent. Strong malt presence up front (caramel malts) along with sweet, luscious fruits and brown sugar. So pleasant and enjoyable. Spices, dark, dried fruits (raisins, prunes) and dark chocolate became apparent mid-palate. On the back end, sugars and alcohol dominated and became more prevalent as the beer warmed. Noticeable alcohol warming in the back of the mouth and the throat. At 10% ABV, the alcohol was still not overwhelming. Sugary, sweet, resonating aftertaste.

Rich, creamy, smooth mouthfeel.

This is an amazingly complex beer. With each sip I tasted an array of new flavors. An outstanding quad rivaled by few.

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

On tap at Concordia Ale House in Portland, OR.

Poured into a Bernadus Chalice. Two fingered fluffy head that disapated into a nice layer of light fluff along top of beer. Thick lacing remained on side of glass. Beer looks very dark amber to brown.

Smells spicy and malty. Taste follows nose beautifully. Great carbonation that leads to a spicy aftertaste that tickles the roof of mouth. Taste is smoother on draught than from bottle.

It's a bit heavy, more of a fall/winter beer in my eyes. Would be perfect with a sweater. Overall fantastic beer will have again especially when I can find it on tap.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
2.78/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a nice finger width head that falls thin, but doesn't dissapear and leaves a beautiful lacing behind. Color is amber to black.

Heavy roasted malts with slight burnt sugar and a slight fowery hops that do a good job of bringing out the fruit flavors.

Light, hard to taste and watery. Spicy sweet with a slight peppermint and burnt sugar flavors. This was a little dissaponting, I should've rated the one bottle I've ever had.

Mouthfeel is smooth and nice.

I wouldn't have this on tap ever again unless I saw them tap the keg myself.

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Photo of OStrungT
4.43/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a cloudy dark rusty brown color with a thick tan head. The head fades very slowly, leaving many thick laces.

This beer has a spicy aroma. Coriander and cloves. It smells fruity also. I smell figs and dates. The alcohol is very well hidden in the aroma. It has an earthy yeast aroma also. It also has a nice sweet molasses aroma.

This beer tastes exactly like it smells. The spict flavor is great. It has a pleasent fruity flavor too. It has a spicy hop flavor. As with the aroma, the alcohol is very well hidden in the flavor.

This beer is full bodied, but it goes down smooth. It leaves a very spicy aftertaste. This beer is highly carbonated, going well for the style.

I dont know if this beer would be my first choice as a session beer. Although it dosent taste like it, the alcohol content is up there. Also, the aggressive flavor might become a bit much after too many.

Thank you very much babydoc for this great surprise. I am in you debt.

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Photo of medic25
4.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in a Saint Bernardus chalice; pours a rich ruby brown with a lacy tan head. Aroma is terrific; bread and raisins, very appealing. Taste is world class; very little hint of alcohol, with a great blend of yeast, fruit, and malt balanced perfectly. Very smooth drinking, this beer is a fantastic example of the quadrupel. Sitting sipping an Abt 12, watching Game 7 of the Stanley Cup.... what else do you need in life...

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Photo of doppelmeup
3.73/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured a dark cola color into a tulip glass, with a several inch thick frothy head. Giant bubbles slowly dissipated, leaving a healty covering of foam on top of the beer. Lacing was not as good as I was expecting.

Aroma was typical of a Belgian Ale. Strong yeast, fruit, bananas.

Taste was good, but I was really expecting something that would grab me and scream out about how good it was, and this beer didn't do it for me. Slight alcoholicy, sweet, a bit of an overripe banana aftertaste. As beer warmed, alcohol taste came to the forefront. I've had many other beers that I've liked better than this. Very disappointed.

Mouthfeel was good. Very creamy and smooth. Alcohol was waming and bitter as beer warmed. It is very strong, and I could not drink more than one or two at a sitting.

Overall, I don't think this beer is worth the price it commands. It's not a bad beer by any means, but it just didn't do much for me. I'll not spend my money on it again.

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Photo of Backer2004
4.41/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this one up for maybe $9 at a local Organic Marketplace. Well deserved to drink it after a very big week at work. Absolutely a beaut -- lots of carbonation, lacing, and a fair amount of head retention. Smells of light caramel, fruits . . . a bit "fresh."

A perfect 58 degree temperature makes all the flavors and complexity come out right away. Chewy malt goodness and a taste that is damn near perfect. Would age very well after a few years but I just could not keep it in the cabinet any longer.

Very excited that I can have this practically any time at home for less than $10.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.42 out of 5 based on 9,423 ratings.
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