Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
2,744 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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,744 | Ratings: 9,301
Photo of ledemie
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Dark garnet with a white head and good head retention.

S: I smell some pepper, hint of fig,a little alcohol well balanced.

T: a taste fig, date,fresh ripe plum, the malty,toffee, then it finished with some alcohol warmth, grest balance overall.

M: Creamy and warming, nice body.

D: this beer is great, the revues I read said that this is the closest you can come to westwelderen ABT 12, goosh I can wait to get me a bottle of Westwelderen ABT 12, anyway I am going t stock on this one for now and make sure I age them 3 years or so this is by far the best and well balanced beer I tasted, I love the warmth of alcohol a the body the creaminess, and the plum fig and all... for all of you out there this is perfection ( for my taste of course )

 750 characters

Photo of cktison
4.87/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown, redish? Foamy, billowing head that remained through tasting after pour from a 22 oz bottle.
S: No beer smell. Fruity, complex, deep. No malt or yeast odors, you could smell it 10 times and pick out 10 new compounds.
T: Fantastic, bready, sugars (brown) and fruits.
M: Smooth, creamy, chewy. Carbonation gives it some air and makes it appear light and east to swallow.
D: excellent. great quadruple, great experience.

 436 characters

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

On tap at Blend in Cedar Rapids. Dark brown with a huge white head. Aroma of sweet fruits and alcohol. Sweet with more fruits in the flavor, mostly green apples and pears. A nice hint of bitter thrown in with the sweetness. Finishes with a strong alcohol bite, very warming.

 274 characters

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

This beer was stored for roughly two years.

A: This, when poured into a pint glass, produced some nice head, roughly 1-1 1/2 inch head, with steady head through out the drink which lead to outstanding lacing. The beer color itself was a nice muddy brown, with a fair bit of bottle yeast.

S: The smell of the beer was very aromatic to say the least. The smell of fruits was very present, but there was an overwhelming, a good overwhelming smell of hops.

T: This beer was outstanding. I didn't want my drink to end, but wanted to drink more and more of it. The taste itself was warming to my tongue, with a sort of citrus aftertaste that softened to a nice relaxed, almost vanilla flavor.

M: The mouthfeel was fullbodied and perfect for consumption.

D: If this beer wasn't so expensive per bottle (5.00 for a 11.2 FL OZ), I'd be all over this like white on rice. However, because of the price, I'd have to rate it slightly below exceptional, however since this is one of the lowest parts of the scale, I felt that it was more than alright to do so.

Overall, this beer is outstanding, with out a doubt. I found myself taking smaller drinks each time to try and savor the flavor and to push myself to find new flavor notes. I'd highly suggest this beer to anyone. Cheers.

 1,274 characters

Photo of bceagles39
4.68/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle at The Publick House (Brookline, MA) on May 28, 2010.

Pours a beautiful mahogany brown. A large fluffy off-white head, most of which went down quickly. What remained left a nice sticky lacing which held up until the last sip. Noticeable fizziness.

Smells sweet with dark fruits, chocolate, and caramel.

Taste is incredible - roasted malts, rich dark fruit flavors, and overripe grapes. There is a lot going on, almost a sweet/sour flavor. Just the right amount of hop backbone. Alcohol comes in on the finish which is long.

Love the mouthfeel, the carbonation cuts through the heavy syrupy goodness.

This is a supremely drinkable beer. Although I've been keen on trying as many brews as I can lately, I ordered a second because I could not get enough.

 778 characters

Photo of M_J_Z
4.34/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

One of my all-time favorites! This beer never disappoints either on draft or from the bottle. It's exceptionally well-made and has great value and availability. If you're new to Belgian quadrupels, this is among the first you should try. It's excellent. There isn't much that I could say that hasn't been said in the countless glowing reviews here and elsewhere.

I just had this on draft last week and loved it as much as I ever have. It's timeless.

 450 characters

Photo of descartes
4.2/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 33 cl bottle.

Appearance: Chestnut brown with a thin yellowish head.
Smell: Very malty with a hint of chestnut.
Taste: Very smooth and creamy. Some fleeting fruity moments, taste the alcohol. This beer will burn your throat and give you warm feelings.
Mouthfeel: Very thick and consistant.

Overall: A very strong beer, too strong to contemplate having several in a row, could probably use a year or two in the cellar. Look forward to having a mellower version.

 485 characters

Photo of bigflatsbeerman
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Classic dark look of a Dubbel.
Smell: Great great smell.
Taste: There are not enough of "o's in smooooth to describe this taste.
Mouthfeel: I would say medium, the beer has a champagne like taste to me.

Overall: Simply said I can't find anything to criticize about this beer. I cannot criticize monks that give their life to God and in the process make mankind very happy. Superb.

 393 characters

Photo of Optimat0r
4.65/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

appearance - so dark amber its brown...a deep brown almost completely impenetrable by light. minimal foaming.

taste - heavy malts, ended with a perfect fruityness, a hint of cinnemon...extremely complex but not so rich that its overboard. one of the best tasting beers you will ever come across, goes amazing with food. i didnt give it a 5 because of the inevitable occasional hint of alcohol taste that comes through every now and then.

drinkability - unbelieveable, incredible especially considering its 10% alcohol. mouthfeel is the best ive had. tastes amazing through a range of temperatures, great alone or with food, i intend to keep some of this around whenever i can, is perfect in nice 5 oz servings, taste never falters, could sip it all day despite its abv.

 775 characters

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

An amazing beer to savor.
Fantastic complex tastes mix, including: clove, raisin, prunes, and toffee and carmel.
Carbonization is slightly high (higher than the Rochefort 10, for example), but this is refreshing, not bothersome.

Slightly expensive. I think I paid about $16 for a four pack.

 296 characters

Photo of AlexF
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark hazy brown. Chocolate, brownies brown. Deep! With a LOT of yeast floating. A nice beige head is also persisting throughout the session, with wonderful lacing. Perfect appearance for a rich quadrupel.

A sugary odour of brownies, dark fruits and hints of caramel suggest that this beer will be heavy, real heavy.

No disapointment. This beer rocks! Layers of dark ripe fruits, generic sugary dessert (cookie or brownies again), with a touch of... magic? This is real good.

This is the best quadrupel i've tasted, by far.

 525 characters

Photo of kurtissellen
3.86/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From an aggressive pour into an oversize wine glass produced a massive +3 fingers worth of head and almost when over the top of the glass. Good amount of lacing with head receding but never completely going away leaving a sort of foam island in the center of the glass. Dark black chocolate color and smelled of doughy yeast. Tasted dark roasted malts, cinnamon, cloves, and a little amount of sweetness. Alcohol was present but never overwhelming. Very attractive looking beer when first poured.

 496 characters

Photo of Hellabeerguzzler
4.73/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Golden Crust. Couldn't believe it. Used to be hard to find in any container. I loved the bottles but adore the draft!
L: Tranlucent brown with caramel head. Looks beautiful.
S: Bready, some tanginess, maybe some mild spices but not overpowering at all.
T: This was my "5". The aroma combines with the taste to produce a beer that's so thoroughly simple, yet complex at the same time. I enjoyed this beer the first time with a steak, potato, and some fresh-baked bread and I was in heaven 2.0 - It's flavor is a mixture of some natural sweetness from raisins, maybe dates, cinamin, and maybe a touch of clove. It's yeasty malt and just goes does well and given the high ABV, is just delightful.
F: It's not overly effervescent but not flat by any means. It's heavy, yet light, and the only reason I marked it down a half a point is that it is a little hot. No so much that it was unpleasantly so, just that I could feel it.

O: Overall a word-class Belgian beer worthy of recognition. Not so much that anything heavily stands out, but rather that is so good withOUT anything standing out. It's even better with the right food so watch your pairings. Don't go trying to drink this with you sushi or something ridiculous. This is a hearty, delicious meal in bottle as it is and deserves to be paired with a meat and potatoes (or brown rice of pilaf) meal - or if it's not mealtime, stick to the best cheese, quality sourdough breads and pretzels, and maybe some figs or other dried fruits. In other words, don't do anything to wreck your palate because you don't want to miss a single chug of this fine drink to any pickles, citrus, or wasabi.

 1,652 characters

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

Served into a Westmalle chalice

A: beautiful brown almost like an ice tea with a 1 inch frothy head beige in color, high carbonation with a bubbly lace.

S: Sweet brown sugar, some grape aroma, alcohol, fruity (banana?), i got an weird faint smell of condensed milk.

T: Sweet bitterness, astringent, warming (not rochefort warming), ripe fruit.

Overall very good beer but not what I expected, will give a try again, felt a little bit flat in flavor.

 452 characters

Photo of Blackwolf
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into an oversized wine glass.


A- Beautiful, beautiful and I mean BEAUTIFUL beer, and nothing short of that. It poured a very deep mahogany color into the glass, light can barely pass through it. A creamy chocolate to then a semi-light khaki frothy head sits on top of this wonderful quad. The retention is beautiful also, it just won't give up. A decent lacing stares back at you from the side of your glass. Just perfect.

S- Smell and taste are pretty hand and hand with my tastings, but smell is usually the first factor to entice me into a deep ale. The second my nose hit this monumental beer I was hit with a notes of pear, a deep spice and a yeasty/breadiness. It sucked me in almost immediately! Very strong!

T- Yum, and more yum! Fruity, hints of fig... apply pear-ish notes and again the breadiness. There is a a little kick of alcohol in this ale, but a well balanced taste. It finishes with a banana drive and leaves you wanting much more.

MF- Just thick enough but creamy/chewy. An intense mouth feel but a good intense for lack of better words. This quad sits around your palate just long enough to leave you wating for more.

O- 5.0! Just amazing!!! I was hesitant towards grabbing this beer, I don't know why... But this wonderful concoction of smell, taste, look and feel just blew me away! I would recommend this to many, if you see it.... BUY IT! It is just an astounding, well crafted beer that can not disappoint anyone. St. Bernardus is easily making their way into my favorite breweries. LOVE IT! <3

 1,555 characters

Photo of Morpheus
4.42/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It was with eager anticipation that I tried this landmark beer. There is no denying that it is representative of 'quads', and as such it becomes the benchmark in comparisons (as placebos are to clinical trials -- Yet, this ain't no sugar pill!)

First, I selected a tulip glass and poured at around 45°F (I prefer a little on the cooler side, as it can warm a little as I sip) It pours with a beautiful foam in a deep brownish-gold, exhibiting a gentle cloudiness of particulate yeast.

Next, I inhale through my mouth first, as to not overwhelm the olfactory senses - faint yeast and malt as to be expected, yet not overpowering. Confirmed with nasal inhalation, and I am pleased at the level of balance, as this is a beer of diligent attention to brewing details.

Foreplay over, we progress to the act of tasting. Notes of a light bitterness, moderate tones of malt, all in a well-balanced exhibition of flavor. I search my mind for ideal food pairings: Wild elk or moose would be appropriate. I think smoked salmon would also provide a pleasing contrast.

Time for cuddles, I mean kudos. This is not my favorite style, and I have previously been disappointed by the offerings of St. Bernardus, yet I am impressed by this product. For my tastes, it is not for down time after work, or as a thirst quencher. This is one to crack open to accompany a wonderful meal.

 1,367 characters

Photo of AussieAbroad
4.83/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A - A deep, dark brown appearance that poured two fingers of creamy, off white head. There is plenty of retention and lacing, and appears very well carbonated.

S - A complex mix of cloves, dark ripened fruits with notes of raisins, and definite sweet malts.

T & M - Carbonation and cloves greet the palate, before the middle transitions to notes of dark, ripened fruits and brown sugar. The finish is sweet, and warming courtesy of the 10% ABV, but balanced extremely well.

O - Complex, boozy and incredibly balanced. This brew is well deserving of its reputation. This beer is an indulgence, an excellent all night sipper or night cap, and quite possible the best beer I've had. A classic that I'll go back to again, and again!.

 735 characters

Photo of lifeboyq
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a St Bernardus chalice. Dark mahogany, not fined beer with deep chestnut tones. Monster cream head typical of the strong carbonation in Belgian offerings. Smell is of caramel malts, unrefined sugar and that all too familiar peculiarity of a belgian yeast phenols with bready overtones. The beer tastes like figs and dates and caramel and toffee, bready, sweet and again that all too hard to put your finger on delicious belgian pecularity. Incredibly complex, incredibly deep that improves as it warms. One of the top few beers of the world. Most closely resembles the Westy of any other offering. Absolutely amazing. In my eyes, as close to perfection in a beer as you can get. This is so good it hurts. Lip smacking good. One of the finest examples of the most complex tasting beer class, Belgian Quads.

 832 characters

Photo of Graham21
4.26/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is a very dark amber carmel red color which is cloudy. The head is very pretty, its a light nutty color;very light tan. head was one finger high then reduced to a beautiful lacing. the foam stuck to the glass.
The nose is very fruity and malty, a little dissapointing. As far as the flavor went i picked up on malts, fruits/citrus, nuts, alchol, and hot cinnamon flaovr, the beer is full bodied and leaves your mouth with a buttery lard feeling after drinking. The alchol is present to say the least and it warms your whole body up. I enjoyed this beer alot. "Two Thumbs Way Up"

 591 characters

Photo of Pballa4lyfe
3.81/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- dark, brownish/purple with thick white head

S- sugary, somewhat cranberrish

T- very syrupy and sugar, definitely yeasty as well

M- carbonated, but ironically is very smooth

D- very drinkable, hides the alcohol well

i'm not a huge belgian fan, but this is definitely a unique beer...its good and worth a try

 314 characters

Photo of withliterature
3.97/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- dark purplish, little to no head dissappearing to a thin white lace; clear with no Belgian-like cloudiness

S- bananas, fruity sweetness, figs

T- fruity start, dry finish that disappears from the palate quickly; relatively high carbonation; yeasty taste, but the filtering seems to have removed all the sediment

M- thin, disappears quickly with carbonation; not sticky

D- very strong but very pleasant; carbonation adds sharpness bit fades the taste fast; one glass is enough, though

I wouldn't say this is the best example of a Belgian; very original and not all that characteristic of the style in general. Glad I tried it, but I have to say not as awesome as it's cracked up to be online.

 698 characters

Photo of Jerico
4.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - dark, murky coffee color with a gigantic fluffy head that is in no hurry to disappear.

S - raisins, figs, brown sugar and maybe a touch of coffee.

T/M/D - heavenly, very smooth, slightly sweet and somewhat heavy. The fruit taste is there but hangs out in the bacjground and lets your taste buds look for it a bit. This beer pulls together extremely well. One of my all-time favorites!

 390 characters

Photo of chrisafari
4.03/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Yard-House in Irvine, california. Pours dark brown, deep reddish amber with small white head. Slight aroma of hops with powerful sense of spice and alcohol. Flavor of spice, pepper and sweet plums. Finishes with a slight ting of alcohol. Very enjoyable!

 267 characters

Photo of slk22
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours cola brown with heavy turbidity and a large cream-colored head. Beautiful and very inviting. Aroma jumps right out of the glass. Huge complexity here, but I am clearly getting raisins, plum, cherry, amaretto, fresh-baked bread, and a hint of alcohol. Flavor is complex as well. Sweet and fruity up front with unripe cherry, amaretto, and caramel malt. Alcohol is definitely noticeable at the beginning and in the finish, but not offensive, and gives an immediate warming feeling that is quite pleasant. I'm not a big fan of alcohol flavor, but this is quite enjoyable. Carbonation is high tickling the tongue and body is medium. Overall, a delicious beer. I would have several if not for the high ABV.

 707 characters

Photo of Curt3
4.94/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow, I can see why it is rated as World-class! My current number one.
L = Dark brown, golden hue.
S = Pleasant, slightly sweet.
T = Outstanding full bodied flavor.
F = Super smooth from start to finish, especially considering the alcohol content.

 247 characters

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.42 out of 5 based on 9,301 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!