Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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Abt 12Abt 12
9,799 Ratings
Abt 12Abt 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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Ratings: 9,799 |  Reviews: 2,843
Photo of BeefyMee
3.94/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Paid 3.99 for an 11.2 oz bottle. 1,2,3 and 5 are notched on the bottom of the label. I'm not quite sure what that means.

Very dark with a light tan head. Smell is not too impressive and kind of fruity. This one is all about taste to me. There's a creaminess that is appealing, to say the least. The alcohol tingles on the tongue and warms your insides on the way down. Despite this, the beer does not have an overpowering alcohol taste. It is nicely balanced and one I'd like to have on hand more often if I could afford it.

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Photo of freed
4.7/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

All my recycling paid off today. 80 bottles = 1 bottle of St. Bernardus. Seems like there's a discrepancy, but after the first sip, I'm happy with the trade.

Pours a deep jungle wood brown with red shoulders. Buoyant foam crown with tiny black specks intermixed with the brown mocha foam. More sediment on the bottom as well. Lacing up the side of the glass favors one side. Aroma is dank, warm, and fruity. It seems to have aroused the last fruit fly in our house's attention.

First sip, sweet kiss of malt and happy yeast. Free range, evidently. As it warms, more orchard flavors, sweet bready yeast, and here comes that damn fruit fly again. Filling combination of flavors and sensations make me completely forget that I was going to have dinner after this. Wonderful.

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Photo of 86MonteSS
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
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 SigEp
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Solid, solid, Belgian. Pours ruby to brown in tglass (chalice) forms a nice 3 finger head that sticks around to the bottom. Slightly sweet, though not overly-so for it's type. Yeasty but not overpowering in that regard. Velvety-smooth in the mouth with plum, slight tang of citrus peaking around the end. Truly a great beer; although not the best in it's style, it is competing with the creme-de-la-creme of the beer world, and it definately holds it's own!

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Photo of DagFishHead
4.78/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Hazy, dark brown body, with suspended yeast. Gorgeous light-tan pillow of a head with apparently endless retention and the creamiest, richest lace I've ever seen.
Smell: MALT... excellent malt nose, alcohol overwhelms, but this was expected.
Taste: Big strong ale malt, very pleasing yeast support, with a semi-dry wine-like grape/citrus fruit character.
Mouthfeel: Rich, full, creamy. Alcohol warmth is subtle and not at all intrusive. Carbonation level is perfect. Wow this is big.... leaves your whole mouth tingling.
Drinkability: A delicious fire-side sipper! This ale certainly deserves all of the accolades heaped upon it.

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Photo of philipt
4.82/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So I finally took the recommendation of the beer shop retailer. I should have have listened months ago.

This was a really great beer. The aroma was very complex, with emphasis on fresh fruit, some spiciness, sweet malt, and hint of alcohol. The flavor is truly great and complex as well. There is definite maltiness, some fruit flavors, spices, and a mild nuttiness. There is the typical Belgian yeast presence, but that's why it's so good. The alcohol is pleasantly hidden.

One of my new favorites.

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Photo of HappyHourHero
4.85/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

NOOO!!! The head is shooting out of the bottle, all over the table. Well I've got half the bottle in my glass and half still in the bottle. It sure tastes good off the table, I bet it's even better in the glass. Siphoning the head off the top, I ended with a half pint of extra head. What are the little brown flecks in the cream colored head, they look like spices. This stuff leaves lace all over the glass, awesome.
The aroma is of over-ripe plums, a bit of alcohol, and a really deep red wine. The color is dark, ruby brown, only a small amount of light escapes this brew. Wow, this is incredibly smooth. The alcohol smell and the 10% abv had me expecting the worse, but there's nothing to be afraid of. The taste is of dark ripe fruits, balanced by a very light nuttiness and a bit of hops to even it all out. This stuff even makes your burps taste good. I could drink this Abt. 12 daily, time to take out an extra student loan!

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Photo of marcobrau
4.1/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a beautiful, sort of bowl shaped, St. Bernadus glass. Half the beer in my glass was thick, white foam, but this led to a very smooth,almost thick and extremely creamy mouthfeel. The first sip of this brownish colored abbey style ale is bits of caramel and fruit. There's some green apple in the aroma, which in any other beer, could be considered a flaw. Almost smoky caramel flavors with bits of dark fruit such as figs or plums. Periously drinkable for its strength. A bit more rustic for me than the last time I had this on tap at the Map Room in Chicago.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.58/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

An aroma of plum, clove, fruitiness and some sweetness emanates from the glass. Pours with a light brown head, and it is a cloudy amber-brown color. A very thick lasting rocky head tops this beer, it is very well carbonated. Very spicy tasting, accompanied by a certain mustiness. Finishes with a bit of sweetness. The dense rocky head and the Belgian lacing on this beer is quite amazing. Alcohol in the finish, along with a certain astringency. Malty, fruity, caramel notes, and a strong finish of rich fruit (perhaps plum and/or cherry). Quite a complex brew. Very light in body but quite a mouthful that will hit you when you stand up. As it warms up it gets a bit more sweet, more fruity, and it loses a bit of the astringency in the finish. A great example, and a must try for anyone.

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Photo of DESTRO
3.75/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

i read all the hype so i figured what the hell. it pours a nice hazy brown with a goodsized head. the smell is sweet, sweet malt, clove and yeast. the taste is sweet and malty, think brown sugar, spices, maybe a little banana. finishes with a decent alcohol smack. nice creamy body, extremely smooth in the mouth. this beer is great for the style i guess. im not really too hyped on the style though. so as far as personal tastes go, its good, not great and maybe on rare occasions id hit it up.

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Photo of TAMU99
3.55/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A good Dark/sweet beer.

A: Dark brown with hints of red when held up to the light. Thin head, that liongers and leaves a good amount of lace.

S: Sweet and fruity with caramel and coffee overtones.

T: Almost port-like. Think tripplebock. Taste closely echoes the smell with a strong fruity showing and just a little balance from the caramel and coffee

M: Incredibly smooth, stays on the tongue and it's welcome there

D: Good, but really too sweet for >1

Good, very well crafted beer, perfect for an after dinner drink in place of a port wine.

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Photo of HossMcGraw
4.97/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

If I may quote Uncle Jesse from "Full House", "Have Mercy!". Just unreal. I took a sip and nearly did a backflip. The taste is just phenomenal. It's like liquid cotton candy. Alcohol is brilliantly hidden. Mouthfeel is perfect with just the right amount of carbonation, and the drinkability is through the roof. I don't know how this is out of the bottle, but on draft, it was almost perfection. This is definitely one you need to try.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.88/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance – Gorgeous, solid dark brown, carbonating body fed the head until I got tired of waiting for it to go down. I’m diving in.

Smell – The wonderful yeast and dark chocolate malt aroma fills the room once the ale has warmed. The fragrant raw brown sugar and ripe fruit come along as well. This was has a beautiful bouquet.

Taste – Lovely malted dough supports the remaining flavors. The malts are dark, as are the sugars. This really has the most remarkable sugar flavors that I’ve ever had. The sugar mixture and the present but very smooth alcohol create a new food group: Liquid alcohol sugar. As Lucille Ball would say, “It tastes just like candy.”

The yeast too deserves a second mention. This has got to be one of the smoothest doughy yeast flavors I’ve ever tasted. These are all complimented tremendously by very light spicing (hint of clove, cinnamon, etc) and fruity sugars such as the taste you’d find in ripe apricots, pears dipped in honey, and apple slices rolled in brown sugar and cinnamon.

Mouthfeel – Lightly carbonated and smooth, smooth, smooth. The ale is full-bodied for sure, filling the mouth with a chewy wad of malty sugary alcohol with every bite (I mean sip).

Drinkability – I’d run down my momma to get another bottle of this stuff. This is one of the most drinkable ales that I have ever tasted.

Comments – Super thanks to jreitman for laying this one on me.

Update – Had this again in ’04 just to revisit the beauty that is the St. B. Abt 12. It really is a remarkable beer and one of my favorite Belgians of all time.

Update – I had this again in 2011 and this really is one of the most complex, amazing ales ever made. I wrap into a different zone whenever I drink this beer and the consistency year over year is astounding. I would love to give this ale a perfect 5.0 but try as I may, using every method I can think of, I just can’t coax a perfect score out of the nose. Great is great though and this beer is spectacular.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
4.05/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally, I decide to drink my bottle of St. Bernardus 12. And having had it now, I personally see no need to compare this to Wesvleteren. In my humble opinion they are very different beers, with the Westy 12 being far superior. Maybe I have a bad bottle of this stuff, but it is still pretty good so I dont think i do.

Pours a very murky brown with just a very thin head atop. Its almost just lace. Not the massive head of Westy. Aroma is very very spicy, almost peppery. Strong notes of alcohol and grapes as well. Mouthfeel has a bit more carbonation than I expected, but still not very much. Still, it is slick and coats the tongue.

On to the flavor. Alcohol seems predominant, but leads to some mild flavors of plum and caramel. Finishes spicy and alcoholic. This is a quality strong Belgian ale, one definitely to be respected. But please, this is not a Westy 12 clone, not even close.

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Photo of Stingray5
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours stunning auburn with a thick long lasting foamy white head. Intoxicating fruity aromas, with some banana and clove, multiple spices. I find I'm inhaling the aromas until there is no room left in my lungs. Getting lightheaded and not even a sip yet!
Mouthful is incredible - high carbonation leads to a thick, luscious, creamy, slickness like no other. I can't stop drinking it. 2 sips and all my troubles are forgotten. Nothing else matters now. Why oh why St. Bernardus are there only 11.2 ounces of this sweet elixer in your bottle? Taste is smooth and creamy. Complimenting the wide array of dried fruit and spices is a nice toasted maltiness. A slight sweetness arrives in the finish - just the right amount. Alcohol warmth is here as well.

To hell with hops. I could live on this stuff. Superb.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.45/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After picking up my first bottle from Vintage Cellar, I called them back due to the fact when I cracked the last bottle it was completely flat without carbonation. So, I called them back and let them now and they shipped out another without a problem, good customer service down there. Appearance: Lucious semi gelatinous tan colored head placed ontop of deep ruby brown cloudy body the lacing is layered in thick patches excellent appearance head is unrelenting lasts great retention. Aroma: Apple, raisin, ginger bread dough, layers of candied sugar plum brandy like tones with the alcohol layers this is excellent. Taste hasn't evolved too much since the last time I tasted but this is most definitely an experience. Mouthfeel: Creamier than before with an even smooth carbonation this one is silky in texture and devine going down.

Appearance: Pours a murky mahogany amber brown tone wih the lightest trickling bubbles of a head thin layer of bubbles on top with absolutely no lacing at all here, on top of that when I popped the cap no air released from the bottle interesting. Aroma: Ambrosia enticing spices, blends of fruit juice, alcohol infused figs, this beer is definitely out there some anise tones with a peppery finish just the most unique smell I have ever come across with all the complexity it still holds the candy like smell of wow, complex. Taste: A warming spiced up alcoholic flavor with trickles of leaves a thick dark roasted malt aftertaste on my tongue this beer is complex creamy flavor hard to describe must be experienced I guess, not sure if I love it but it's good. Mouthfeel: Is think lacking any much carbonation redefines beer I guess but overall an experience to be had, I must find some Westy 12 now but this beer is interesting. Drinkability: Challenging to the senses I am dragging just trying to figure this one out, it goes down incredibly smooth I have no idea what the abv is but I'm sure it's capable of rattling the skull.

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Photo of beerguy101
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown color. Medium head. Aroma is malty and sweet. Nice smooth malty beer. Malts are richly sweet and slightly nutty. Touch of barnyard. Herbal hops. Well balanced. VERY NICE beer. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter

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Photo of jackndan
4.18/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

St. Bernardus Abt 12: I understand this beer is made from the same recipe as Westervletern, and there are substantial similarities in the two brews, the most important being that they are both freaking fantastic. Nice looking brew, deep brown, virtually impregnable to light. Nice head, slightly off white, nice rocky eighth of an inch coverage.

The aroma is pleasant, although somewhat port like and vinous.

The taste is exceptional, nice malty taste, with the predominant flavor being dried fruits, such as raisons and prunes. Thick, creamy mouthfeel. The alcohol warmth is notable, in this fairly high abv beer.

St. Bernardus does not quite match the wonderful complexity of Westy, but given the fact that it is a third of the price, its well worth picking up.

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Photo of mickeymac
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love seeing a smiling monk on a beer label and for good reason. Pretty brown beer, nice tan head, and lace. Smells of ripe fruit, spice, and just a hint of alcohol. Tastes slightly sweet, raisiny, and just a bit funky. Big, chunky mouthfeel and happily drinkable at 10% abv. Great beer, plain and simple.

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Photo of kevinl6
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this one appropriately into a St. Bernardus Goblet glass. I had a huge smile on my face as I studied it for a few seconds in the glass...I had been anticipating this one for a while. It appeared a dark brownish mohagany/chestnut color in the glass, with a thin, lacy head clinging nicely to my goblet. The smell was very rich and fruity, a strong overall aroma. Heavy carbonation in the mouthfeel of this one, but still it was easy on the palate. A complex taste, definately fruity with hints of raisons and grape. Drinkability? Lets just say that I wanted to refill the goblet as soon as I was finished. A fine brew!!

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Photo of Elemental
4.63/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

App - Nice dark brown color with a half finger of head sitting on top.

Smell - flavorful, hard to place all the flavors but very inviting slightly spicy with a lit hop aroma.

Taste - Strong, malty, and wonderfully pleasent. Nice and tart and slightly bitter all thought it leaves the lips slightly sweet. Nicely carbonated to complement the balance of hops and malts. Pretty smooth

Mouthfeel and Drinkability - great feel and is pretty drinkable.

Overall - Nice! Very Nice!

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Photo of hotstuff
3.55/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Dayton, OH AleFest:This beer had a large sized ivory head with a cloudy uncarbonated body.The hue was brown and the nose was malty and of fruit.The flavor of this beer was bitter and malty.The mouthfeel was smooth and light bodied.This beer left good lacing on the sides of my glass.

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Photo of mzwolinski
4.38/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is full of a complex blend of hard-to place spices, a mild alcohol nose, a bready body, and some sharp acidic notes. In appearance, this beer is dark brown with a very thin, but surprisingly persistent, whitish head. The taste is malty, spicy, a bit bready with notes of fig and a slightly burnt aftertaste. Medium-full bodied with a creamy mouthfeel. Quite a pleasingly complex beer. Hard to get ahold of, but worth the trouble.

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Photo of beergeek279
4.82/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 330mL bottle. The color is a very dark amber, with excellent head. The smell is a very fruity malt, with hints of alcohol. The taste is a very fruity, yeasty, malty one, with the alcohol a bit more harsh than in the Westy 12. Mouthfeel was creamy yet tasting of alcohol. Drinkability-wise, could have a few more.

Though not quite as good as Westy 12, this is also 1/3rd the price. A wonderful treat, and certainly something that I'd have again.

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Photo of BierReise
4.43/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appears very similar to the Rochefort 10, deep brown yet with light behind it, a beautiful deep reddish amber. Tan head is thin but creamy and also quite like the Rochefort. Aroma is sweet, fruity and malty. Mouthfeel is crisp yet creamy and full bodied. Really smooth. Has a wonderful big fruity malty flavor. The aroma and flavor here are in my opinion brighter and bigger than the Rochefort. I could drink a few of these quite easily. This ale is quite impressive, I'm extremely pleased to be drinking it.

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Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Beer rating: 4.46 out of 5 with 9,799 ratings