St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

9,456 Ratings
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: 2,778 | Ratings: 9,456
Photo of Beerzebub
4.67/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown, thick beige head that really persists and paints the glass with solid sheets of lacing.

Smell is deep and complex. Nuts (slightly sherryish), spice, fudge, earth, dates, raisins, grass/herbs/green tea. Elements that I can't describe, and continuously changing in the glass.

Taste matches smell, complex and delicious. Malty, some sweetness but not cloying. A little alcohol in the finish, but really little for 10.5%.

Mouthfeel is great. These are probably the tiniest bubbles I've ever had. Full and creamy, with slight astringency.

So smooth and pleasurable, this is very drinkable.

This beer is amazing.

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

Appearance: Dark, ruddy brown. It had been sitting in my fridge long enough that it was fairly clear. Big head that lasted forever, with beautiful lacing. Exceptional.

Smell: Bubble gum, dark fruit, earthy grassiness, and alcohol.

Taste: Dark fruit, bubble gum. Alcohol better covered in the taste than it is in the aroma. Doesn't finish too sweet. Very good.

Mouthfeel: Silky mouthfeel, good carbonation.

Drinkability: High! I wish I hadn't split this 750 ml bottle four-ways, and saved it all for me instead. Goes down very easy for 10% abv. Drank this while brewing - next time I'll try it when I'm not so busy and enjoy it a bit more.

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Photo of Doomcifer
4.26/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 12oz bottle:

Poured an extremely ruddy, dark brown, ebony-like color with a caramel hue to it. HUGE beige, frothy, rocky, cloud-like head that sticks around for the long haul, with lacing galore! Simply gorgeoud looking beer. Smells of ripe fruit, yeast, a little chocolate, maybe some alcohol. Tastes of ripe dark fruits, figs, raisins, some chocolate, spiciness, kind of nutty, anise, and alcohol warming that is decently masked for such a big beer. The taste is VERY complex and delicious. Mouthfeel is very bubbly, champagne-like carbonation, very creamy and full-bodied. I could drink these puppies all day long if it wasn't for the 10.5% ABV. Absolutely delicious and a work of art.

I reviewed this beer a few months back from a bomber and this one from the 12oz. bottle seems much better. Perhaps it may be aged a bit, I dont know, nor do I care. This is near perfection.

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Photo of cabsandking
4.73/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured in an appropriate chalice a dark brown color. The nose is a nice coffee aroma and slight sweet floral notes. The first sip offers a mouthful of flavors. Raisons, coffee, molasses, oranges, oak soaked aging. You immediately know this is a great beer. A one finger head reduces to a thin layer of fine, white bubbles. Medium body with a fantastic creamy mouth feel. Very mellow and smooth drinking, perfectly balanced and excellent melding of all characteristics. Hints of bananas towards the end. Finishes very well and I just couldn’t resist finishing a couple more!

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

Poured into a Leffe chalice.
Dark reddy brown, with orange edges. Clear, with good bubble beads. Frothy beige head. Clouds up when I swirl the remnants into the glass.
Rich aroma... oaky, malty, estery, doughy/fresh bread. Hint of caramel.
In the mouth, noticable alcohol, big malt, hint of molasses or licorice. Very spicy, nutty.
Very bubbly, explodes in the mouth. Hot with alcohol, and firm with bitterness. All up a bit harsh on the mouth, although it seems to improve when the bottle-bottom yeast is swirled and poured, giving a more creamy expression.
The finish is long, and it's a couple of minutes before I really pick up some delicate hop flavours.

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Photo of geographie
4.67/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - An opaque juggernaut crowned by a thick head that refuses to leave - this is one daunting brew!

S - Notes of coffee and toffee well-backed by strong malty goodness. Smells like a real hearty beer.

T - First, a distinct concord grape/toffee well-lit flavour strike the palate. To flollow, a champagne-like feeling enters the nose and rushes to the belly. Faint notes of cinnamon in the background. A bitterness unique to only the far reaches of the tongue allow for these flavours to melt slowly from one stage to the next, increasing my confusion and desire to keep drinking and exploring this one.

M - Bold and delicate. The alcohol here does not control this one- it rests quite smoothly on your tongue, gently wooing you.

D - yes yes yes. give me more! Everything about this one is a winner.

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Photo of rsyberg01
4.84/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

S - 11.2 oz bottle with St. Bernardus on the front. He looks like a happy guy, with this beer on hand whenever you want I think I would be a happy guy too.

A - Dark brown, with some sediment freckling the liquid. Head is very pretty and takes quite some time to dissipate. When it does, it covers the beer with about a half finger of fine foam.

S - Dark fruits, caramel, sweet maltiness. Wow, shivers are going down my spine in anticipation to try this sweet treat of the gods.

T - Velvet. Fruity, sweet, caramely, creamy, delicious. Little hop character but so much flavor. My dear lord this is an epic beer. Dark fruits such as raisins, plums, a bit of a fig. Touches of chocolate, along with the sweetness of the malt and the touch of delicious caramel. Also the warming of the alcohol makes me want to lick my lips and take a nap. I did not know what I was in for with this, give me a cover and a pillow next to a warm winter fire.

M - Like I said, velvety smooth. Just jumps right in and shows you what love is. A beer for the ages.

D - This little treat does not get old for a second, I could drink 2 750's of this bad mama in a night no problem.

Notes: A classic, no doubt about it.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz, $3.29 at Steve's - University, 1st time trying

appearance: pours into a La Chouffe tulip...mahogany/dark garnet body with a huge frothy beige head. The head is fluffy and ginormous and doesnt go anywhere either. Once it all settles down, it truly is a glorious looking beer

smell: big yeasty aroma in the forefront, nice and bready, lots of dried dark fruit, a little booze, earthy tones, brown sugar, lots of sweetness, nice potent aromas draw me in from the get-go

taste: Truly wonderful served slightly above cellar temperature...big sweet malt body, clove, strong notes of brown sugar, dried dark fruit - particularly plum, big belgian yeast flavours, bready traits, sugary sweet, a touch boozy, faint chocolate notes, banana noticeable...great quad and found at a pretty decent price

mouthfeel: surprisingly very creamy, alcohol not abrasive at all, smooth medium-full body

drinkability: very good

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Photo of neenerzig
4.28/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this beer at La Cav Du Vin last night. This beer is a dark golden color. Mine had a nice, thick frothy white head with some very good staying power. Aromas of malt, fruits, some light spices perhaps, and caramel were certainly present. The taste was pretty much exactly the same as the smell. The alcohol was well masked in both taste and smell. The taste was also extremely well balanced. The taste was overall not as robust and in your face with this beer as with some other quads and Belgians I have had in the past. Has a full bodied, smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Also not as carbonated as I would have expected it to be. Light to medium carbonation. This beer sure does not taste of feel like a 10.5% ABV beer in your mouth. This beer is quite drinkable, especially considering its ABV content. A must try for all Belgian and quad lovers!


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

I originally reviewed this for the first time on the 9th of October of 2004, but my palate, as well as beer knowledge, has improved dramatically since then. I felt this needed revisiting.
It poured from a 330mL bottle into my goblet a very murky brownish bronze colour with an alarming amount of sediment and debris. I may need a fork for this one. The head was monstrous and I had to wait a few moments before I could begin drinking it. I really don't care for quads, but this beer is so legendary I felt I had to revisit it. The smell on this one is fabulous. Sweet malts and stewed fruit. I detect almost no alcohol at all. The taste is more of the smell, but with a bit of detectable alcohol that gives a warming sensation as it goes down. The mouthfeel is slick and smooth; easy to drink for a 10.5%abv brew.
Overall, I'm very pleased with it, and quite glad that I chose to revisit it. I think it's also important to note that the example I had this evening had a bit of age on it. I have had it in the cellar for at least 6 months, and there's no telling how long the guy from whom I got it had had it, as well. Perhaps a bit of time tucked away does St. B12 some good for those who don't normally care for quads.

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

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a goblet. Poured dark reddish brown with a 1 inch, fluffy, off-white head. Cloudy, with visible sediment. Persistent lacing left around glass.

Malty aroma with fruitiness and alcohol. Also a slight hint of a sour smell, but not unpleasant.

Sweet and malty with a bit of fruit (maybe black cherry?). Alcohol balances the sweetness well. The flavors are complex and intermingled; sometimes difficult to pintpoint, but excellent overall.

Medium bodied with a tingle from the carbonation.

Excellent for sipping slowly so that you can appreciate the changes as it comes to room temperature. Will definitely partake of this one again.

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Photo of WeisGuy
4.26/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml brought back from Blue Max in the Twin Cities

a - deep brown with lots of sediment suspended, huge rocky head with decent retention and great lacing, I really couldn't ask for a better looking beer

s - lots of malt with some sweet fruit scents blended in as well, alcohol evident

t - spicy (clove perhaps) and malty throughout with a nice fruity sweetness mixed in there, the alchol is definitely present as well

m - good deal of carbonation, medium-bodied

d - a great sipping beer, not one you want to drink all night though, as the abv is a bit high for that, the taste is interesting enough to keep me drinking it though

Great beer that I thoroughly enjoyed, even though Quads aren't one of my favorite styles. Personally, I enjoyed Rochefort 10 a bit more, but this is solid in its own right.

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Photo of cbl2
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

$9.75 750 mL 10.00% No best by date, but bottle says it can age for up to 15 years, which is odd because the last time I tried this (11.2 oz) the bottle said best by end of 2005.


Pours a hazy dark brown with hints of orange, topped by over 2 inches of tight tan foam that settles slowly.


After waiting over 10 minutes for the head to settle (which leaves a beautiful lace) the complex aromas that arise are a blend of pepper, honey, marachino cherries with a tinge of alcohol.


Rich round mouthfeel that begs to be chewed. A succulent blend of cherries, chocolate and mellow notes of alcohol combine into a rich drinking experience. Far superior to the 11.2 oz bottle, the 750 mL bottle is smooth and supple with layers of depth. This only gets better as it warms, displaying more of its fruit characteristics. Highly drinkable and worth seeking out.

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Photo of davidchollar
4.72/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

with lagers and pale ales being my beers of choice in muggy japan, and with my recent trip to seattle where i consumed as much local beer as possible, it's been a long time since i've had a belgian dark. or a dubbel, or a quad, although i had one imperial stout, (my first) and i thought it reminded me of a quad in some ways. anyway, as i pour this beer into a chalice i am reminded of the awesomeness of a good dark belgian ale, and i change the favorite beer in my profile to quadrupel.

i got this 750 of st. bernardus abt 12 at bottleworks in seattle for $11. this is my first time buying this beer, which is basically tied with rochefort 10 as the top quad on BA. i've had the rochefort once, and i remember it clearly... what an experience. so i have high hopes for this one. looks a very dark brown, nearly black, but a little brown on the edges when held to the light. the head is thick, creamy and tan. it never goes anywhere, just stays there, leaves a solid wall of lacing as i sip. a beautiful brew, only missing the perfect 5 because personally i like to look at beers with a little color.

whoa, what a bouquet. it took my nose a little while to adjust, to remember what belgian ales smell like. because at first all i got was that big belgian bready yeast smell. but now, it's been out of the fridge for a while, it's opened up and i'm getting a lot of good smells. dark fruits, prunes, dates, caramel and malt, alcohol. this is strong, and although you don't smell it at first, there is an obvious booziness. overall, it smells like some incredible desserts, raspberry mousse a la mode deluxe with coffee. yum.

alright, after .92 years on BA, i can have an opinion on the debate of which is the top quad. the answer is, whichever one is in my chalice. seriously, it's hard to pick one over the other, that's probably why their overall scores are so close. enough about that though, about the taste of this beer, this one is a party in my mouth. tasty, complex, full-bodied, smooth, big boozy and fruity, bitter finish. it doesn't really taste like a 10% abv, but i am feeling the effects after nearly finishing the bottle. it's not the kind of beer that makes me want another right away, and as i sometimes interpret drinkability as the desire to drink more, the grade suffers a bit. i couldn't handle another one of these right now. but i will get it again some day, and i recommend it to anyone who likes belgian beers or wants to try something new and different. yum.

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Photo of stephendr
4.67/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

color is cloudy and dark with spots of sediment, nose of sweet maple syrup raw bread, sweet initial taster, creamy and medium bodied, port wine taste ,acidic aftertaste color is cloudy and dark with spots of sediment, nose of sweet maple syrup raw bread, sweet initial taster, creamy and medium bodied, port wine taste ,acidic aftertaste

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Photo of hckyfn9999
4.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very nice appearance. Pours a dark brown with a slight orange hue at the bottom of my goblet when held to the light. Nice head that lingers for quite sometime.

Smell is very sweet fromt he malt. There is a strong raison smell present in this beer with hints of apple. The taste is of fruit and a little bit of spice in the finish.

For a 10% abv, it is extremely drinkable, a little alcohol present when smelling the beer but not much in the taste.

Definitely one of my favorites, it has never let me down. I have a 60th anniversary I am saving for a while. Can't wait to give it a try.

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Photo of bonbright7
3.85/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I found this yesterday at Whole Foods since I liked the St Bernadus Tripel very much. I found it poured well into a toasty oatmeal kind of head that needed my attention right away.

I noted the smell of apples as I practically dove into the hearty ale with the same enthusiaasm I have reserved for great al great ails

I liked the tangy sweet malt taste as well as the robust character of the ale and thought it would probably go well with roast beef heros.

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Photo of absolutbc2001
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

An interesting beer. One that presents itself as midiocor.An interesting beer - one that presents itself as mediocre. The smell and appearance are average. The smell is distinctly malt with a little hint of hops and a sugar cherry smell.

Taste: A little heavier in currant then the Rochforte. I had a fresh un-aged bottle which leads me to believe that aging is extremely important.

Mouthfeel: Great. I had a hard time with my fresh bottle as the carbonation was high. The texture was great. The thickness left a nice aftertaste that lingered perfectly.

Drinkability: Unbelievable, I love this type of beer and it is perfect for me. Someone that doesn’t like this beer my shy away from the high alcohol but it is well masked (assumed with aging).

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Photo of gunnerman
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Stone Barley wine glass, appearance is impressive with a nice brownish red color with a impressive two finger head that leaves superb heavy lacing on glass, one of the best looking drinks I have ever seen. Smell is of fresh ripe apples, with hints of sweet raisons and other fruits come to mind, the smell is really amazing, very fresh. Taste is very good like sweet candy on the palate, I can taste fruit and some slight bitterness followed by a nice tart taste that goes down really smooth, the alcohol content is really masked behind the great flavor. This is a top notch quality product very good indeed and I can't believe the flavor, it goes down really smooth which can be a bad thing since there is a high abv to it.

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Photo of dhilltop2000
4.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark plum, leathery consisantcy with light off-white head. The head is rather foamy when looking at the glass from the side. The top, however, is deceivingly thick looking. Underneath the initial 1/18" of dense head is a semi-large diameter bubbly-like honeycomb which supports the thick top layer. At first note smells of fig, plum, banana crème pie, and a hint of vanilla are noteded. Very complex, however the taste is within to the realm of the above smells. Again, quite complex. Belgian lace subsides quickly. Great beer - Among the best -

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

On tap at Lucky Baldwin's in Pasadena, dense off white head as you would expect which sticks around for a bit on top of thick dark brown body. The aroma shoots out of the glass and stuns your senses as your nose approaches the glass for a whiff. Lots of prunes, and sour yeast with a tad bit of alcohol to it. The taste contains lots of dark malts and fruit. A small amount of chocolate in the finish was detectable with the grape fruit and alcohol, which is slightly present.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
4.17/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle

Pours a murky deep chestnut brown with a creamy tan head that endures. Thick lacing on the glass.

Aroma is very yeasty and bready with a rich dark fruitiness. A slight booziness is also lurking in the shadows.

Very yeasty and bready upfront with nice dark fruity flavors. A warming booziness eases in and rides through the finish which is sweet and rather clean.

Creamy texture, nicely carbonated.

This is very drinkable considering the ABV. It's certainly a fine brew and I can see why it gets a lot of praise.

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

Had this draught last night at the Boston's Bistro in Dayton O. I prefer this beer aged a few years is the conclusion I now have.

Burnt ginger bread color with a thick creamy off white head. A viscous lace is left behind.

Spicy, malty, toffee aromas. Some sweet earthy fig, and brown sugar notes are also in the nose.

Big, chewy, and rich. Good amount of alcohol in the throat and chest. Nice balance but not as complex as I like this beer after laying down a few years. Burnt malts, with a mid palate burst of dried fig. A prune flavored finish, with hints of brown sugar and toffee. Finish lasts a good 30 seconds.

Mouthfeel is rich and creamy. Drinkability is above average considering the nice alcohol burn.

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Photo of seedee17
4.62/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Let this warm up to almost room temp. and poured into a chalice. This beer is a deep brown with a ruby hue, nice big tan head that leaves nice lace on the glass. The aromas from the beer are outstanding, caramel, fruit, a hint of alcohol, raisins, grain, mossy earth, wow. The flavors are equally interesting with a huge caramel flavor coupled with some pleasant spice and dried fruit flavors, rock candy. The alcohol warms the belly and cheeks, but is really well hidden among the big flavors. Finishes fairly dry with a little alcohol flavor. The mouthfeel is great, really silky and smooth with just enough carbonation to keep it lively. Overall an outstanding beer, with all of the flavors and aromas coming together to make a supremely drinkable quad.

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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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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.42 out of 5 based on 9,456 ratings.
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