Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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Abt 12Abt 12
9,801 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: 9,801 |  Reviews: 2,844
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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Photo of Ellbert
3.45/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was a decent beer. I was a little disappointed though, with some of the reviews I feel it did not live up to what I expected. The apperance was awesome. It was a nice dark brownish color with a huge head. It was very pleasant to my nose. Very spicy smell. The taste was very complex but not what I expected. There wasn't as much spice as was in the smell. It had a different taste than I can descibe. I could taste the alcohol in the end. It wasn't overpowering though, amazing at %10, it was a very pleasant alcohol taste. I think I may have served this too warm. I will definitely give this beer another chance. I think it may need one for me to give it a fair reveiw.

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

11.2oz. bottle poured into a St. Bernardus long-stemmed snifter. It pours a deep brown, near black, with two huge fingers of light tan foam. There is lots and lots of lace left behind with each sip. The smell is fruity and pleasant, banana and raisins mixed with just a hint of alcohol. The taste brings forth plums and raisins mixed with sherry. The alcohol, along with the hops, is only slightly noticeable. The body is thick and silky smooth. Even the drinkability is nice for being 10%. This one is right up there with Westy 12!

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Photo of ADR
4.48/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Best by 5/2005...

Poured in a relatively shallow LaTrappe chalice. Dark brown and plenty hazy. Head spread out and rose to a slight 1/4 of an inch to start, perhaps because of the glass. Big thick sheets of lace. A vinous nose, lots of rum and candied citrons -- and alcohol. This bad boy says alcohol quick, brandy mixes with bing cherries and a pronounced ginger. Finishes with a great fresh manure earthiness, but also with a very well done sense of medium and balancing carbonation. Alcoholic, coating and full-bodied, very heavy-duty to my tongue. The drinkability suffers slightly for me, but this is a spectacularly big and flavorful beer.

Source: Liquid Solutions

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

Beer pours a deep brown color, with dark amber highlights and a huge fluffy head that wouldn’t go away. Aroma is wine like, with fruits and a hint of spice. Taste starts sweet with a touch of spice, middle is so many tastes at once, ripe fruit, brown sugar, molasses, alcohol, sweet malt. Extremely smooth and rich and finishes crisp.

The finish and the aftertaste are the shining moment of this beer, crisp and sweet, and gives your mouth a wonderful feeling, hard to describe but this is a great beer.

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

Love the smiling monk on the label. Pours out a ruby-reddish brown with a lively head due to the carbonation. Malty-fruity smell with a hint of banana. Nice malty taste, raisins and the presence of banana on the palate. Extremely well balances. Finish is silky smooth and absolutely scrumptious. Another Belgian masterpiece that I will drink again and again and again....

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Photo of Jon
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

St. Bernardus Abt 12 pours a magnificent ruby-brown color. A creamy head sits atop the dark liquid which leaves nice rings of lace down the chalice. Smell is quite complex with notes of dates, raisins, alcohol and yeast. The taste is vastly complex, as well. Here, notes of spice, yeast, dates, raisins, figs and alcohol are all well represented. This is certainly one tasty brew. Mouthfeel is quite luxurious with mild carbonation and an overall creamy texture. With the amount of alcohol in this one, it's really hard to detect overall. This is a beautiful, tasty creation, and one that I will certainly sample again.

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Photo of MJR
4.73/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark reddish-brown that is quite clear from a careful pour. A thick tan head starts at a full finger thick and holds strong at a sturdy cap. Adding the yeast sediment towards the end darkens the brew considerably.

Smell: The aroma is rustic and rich with a generous helping of dark fruits: raisons, plums, and dates. Rum-soaked cherries add a sharpness. There's a strong bready smell, as well as a hint of phenolics. The alcohol is hidden well, only showing itself slighty.

Taste: Wonderfully complex and bittersweet with a fantastic balance between the sweet, dark fruits and bitter hops. Lots of Concord grapes, plums, and bananas. What starts out fruity, midway melds with a peppery spiciness, along with a taste similar to warm raison bread. Hefty dose of yeast and earth on the tail end. Finishes with a touch of a phenolic note, and a rush of warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Thick and rich, but not the least bit cloying. Very warming and smooth...

Drinkability: Damn good! This is widely believed to be the same recipe as Westy 12, and it's just as good. I could go through an entire week drinking only this...slowly of course!

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

The war horn sounds under a clouded brown sky, with gradients of orange as light infiltrates the edges of the horizion. A large storm cloud of French vanilla-hued cream lies directly overhead.

The battalions converge, preceded by aromatics of clove, candied plums, merlot, chalk dust and oak.

And so it begins...

An epic clash of fruit and spice. Loads of cloves draw swords with ripe prunes. Raisins come swashbuckling down from the hills. In another duel, banana esters rumble with black pepper. Mace-wielding Carobs whallop the crippled and weakened tropical fruit brigade. Walnuts and chocolate join forces against Concord grapes. A hissing sugar cookie dart fired from a dough crowbow strikes and falls a farmy footsoldier and the horse that carried him.

The echoing shrieks fade, as a fruit-cake laden sword clanks upon the ground.

In the wake of the melee, only Brandy alcohol and the doughy union of malt and yeast remain standing. A fierce glare is exchanged, then they walk away. The atmosphere remains energized and thick.
This will certainly be resumed another day.

Delicately embittered hop minions clean up the carnage.

Heavenly cacophony.
Magnificent destruction.
The stuff from which legends are forged.

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Photo of AudioGilz
4.73/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served just below room temperature. It's murky dark brown in color with very large tan head with a whipped egg white consistency. Plenty of bubbles rise up in columns. It's a pure temptation to look at this brew. Malt sweetness and alcohol are in the aroma strongly, also plums. WOW, there's a lot going on here.....chocolate and coffee, yeast and banana, spices, caramel, high levels of sweetness and syrupy alcohol. The alcohol really makes a stand in the aftertaste. I really enjoy it though. I rated drinkability on whether or not I want another sip or not.....instead of another bottle or not. This is a sip and savor brew for sure. Yummy.

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Photo of jcalabre
4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Originally sampled from bottle on 18 December 2002. St. Bernardu Abt 12 is dark reddish brown w/ a tan head. It has an aroma of toffee & rum. soft textured w/ a slightly sweet finish. Another example of a fine Belgian ale. Take your time and sip this one & savor it.

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark reddish-brown with a very thick beige head. Thin lacing. Aroma is pleasantly fruity, with some malt, spice and alcohol as well. Medium-bodied and sweet, with flavors of malt, licorice, cherry and raisins. Flavor became more rich and easier to drink as it warmed. Pretty good Belgian.

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

Pours a dark brown, with some ruby tinges in it. Head is large, big-bubbled tan, slowly diminishes to some decent lacing. Body has lots of carbonation, and lots of yeasty bits swirling around in it. Aroma is huge, yeasty, vinous, fruity, grapes, raisin, some doughiness, and hints of honey. Flavor is equally huge and complex, lots of fruitiness and sweetness, and changes over time as the brew comes up to room temp. Very full bodied, massively complex flavors and aromas. Very similar to the Westy 12, but seemed to have more lively and lasting carbonation.

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Photo of clvand0
2.93/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours a murky brown like many of the other Belgian strongs. The aroma was very malty with hints of caramel - almost like brandy. The flavor was fairly smooth for the level of alcohol, but too strong in my opinion. For the abv and price for the taste, I'd go with one of the other Belgians.

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Photo of taez555
4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a HUGE firm very fine white/beige head. The head itself took several minutes to die down to the point where I could even start to taste it. It did however give me time to admire the dark brown almost ruby colored body.

The smell was very sweet and fruity. With banana and clove smells that almost reminded me of some german heffeweizens.

The taste of this beer was very nice. A rather full bodied thick beer, with a lot of up front bitterness followed by some beautiful raisin, plum and even chocolate tones. From start to finish it just passes over the tongue in one smooth motion. The alcohol was a bit more present than I expected, but not overshadowing in any way. Very well balanced. Maybe only a touch to bitter , but otherwise very well done.

It finished very soft, with some lingering bitterness and spice.

To be perfectly honest I found this beer to be a very middle of the road belgian. A well crafted work of art, but just a little too subtle and bitter in it's taste for me.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.87/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The jovial monk on the label seems the perfect host, holding his chalice aloft, and, after drinking down this deliriously delectable ale, who can argue his happiness? Not I, not I!!

Color is a dark russet brown, and head is enormous, majestic, utterly awesome!

Aroma hits you right off: earthy, nutty, and not merely deep, but cavernous. Incredibly complex, and utterly gorgeous: cocoa,plum, port wine, medicine, and a very apparent alcoholic character, plus anise, pepper, and more, so much more!

On first sip, I can't help but think that "complexity" is a shallow term with which to circumscribe the many aspects of this amazing brew. So much to contend with, so much going on!
I need to take a breath and reel from the feeling, and seek relief from the rush! Extraordinary!

Integration is perfect: there are hops aplenty, and massive malt, but nothing sticks out above or beyond, it all joins forces to create this amazing masterpiece.

Was this only 10%? Oh, they must be happy monks, indeed!

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Photo of pio
4.22/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this beer is awesome. pours a dark brown with an orange tint. it starts with a huge head that was beautiful, it held down through the brew and was it's smallest at about an eigth inch and it made a really neat looking ying-yang starfish looking swirl when i roused it up. it left a lace on the glass like a wreath. my lord the aroma on this one is indeed exceptional! i liken it to liliacs, daiseys and rosewater but overall it's a very complex aroma. now on to the taste and mouthfeel and wow does this beer ever stop impressing me? no it does not. the flavors of lemons, brown sugar, ripe red delicious apple skins, carmelized friuts and a neat pumpkin back flavor. the mouthfeel was very consistant and was essential in tasting. there was a plesant alcohol flavor in the mouthfeel too. a nice burp like a little encore. this beer was great to drink and if it weren't so damn rich i could drink it all day and night, stick to one and drink it for a long time. this is special. thanks, as always, for reading my review.

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

Bear with me. I struggle with the jargon. This beer is a real treat.

Pours a beautiful carbonated head. Nice dark reddish brown.

Smells good but can't quantify. Maybe banana or citrus.

Tastes so good I hope I can describe. Figs, banana, citrus. Don't hurry 15 minutes later your mouth is still full of flavor. I love the carbonated bite. This is one of the Best Belgians you will try. Alcohol is not overwhelming until you have finished. One will give you a nice buzz.

I have trouble describing the experience of drinking this beer but I know this is an exceptional beer. I like the label also. Do not pass up the Tripel(green label) That is a good one also.

Addendum: I have tried all the heavyweights available in the US. Westy, Trappist Rocquefort. This is the 5 out of the bunch. P.S. This is the only 5 I have given any beer.

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

I can't say enough good things about Abt 12. While not a true trappist Abbey ale, it does not disappoint. In fact, it is one of my favorites of the Abbey incarnation. It pours a deep burgundy hue with an excellent head and hints of rasins, figs and a fine lace upon settling. Its just one of those beers you could take a sip of and let it sit in your mouth for 30 seconds before swallowing. Excellent balance, given its heavy alcohol content. Just the right amount of malt. When tasting a Westie Abbey alongside of Abt 12, I actually found the Abt 12 to be more enjoyable. Definately give this one a look the next time you're at your favorite shop. You can't miss the smiling monk!

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Photo of nomad
4.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a very darkened ruby color with great clarity and hue. The carbonation made a pockmarked thick frothy head, was nice to peer at.

Had some lace that fell fairly fast. Nose was very fruity-malty (grape, dark chocolate), and had a spice that seemed like coconut but darker. A slightly medicinal tone as well, and on whirl of the liquid I picked up an alcohol scent of a wine type.

Taste was fruity (darkly so) and malty (akin to dark syrup). Had a soft spice like a roasted coconut mixed with an earthy yeast flavor. A little chewy with a soft mouthfeel, but extremely drinkable. It left a very yummy but peculiar hops flavor – not the bitter, graprefuity type, but more like a salad greens taste (mesclun, arugula). Long finish that tasted like how soft choose lingers. Also gave off a damn yummy burp! Overall, smooth but large maltiness with a subtle though not small stance on the palette.

Simple but effective - an excellent dark and malty beer with that great Belgian bent to it.

EDIT: Okay, many months later and this beer has become my favorite "big and darker" Belgian. Amazing value for the price.

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Photo of bditty187
4.89/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Murky, brownish-red hue, a long lasting finger’s worth of tan head, some unorganized lace. Wonderful nose… banana, rum, raisin, prunes, sugary candy, and alcohol; complex and inviting. A heavenly quaff, the first sips race its joy straight to the brain yet simultaneously warming the belly. Ultra complex palate… The alcohol seems to be a tasty blend of wine & rum with passionate dark, rich fruits mixed with the subtly spicy peppery hints. Then for good measure, well placed bubble gum notes. The malt foundation is perfect. The abv is concealed in the taste… not so much with the warming effect though. I find the mouthfeel to be almost ideal… just a tad thin at times, no complaints though. The drinkability is phenomenal for the potency and complexity of this beer. An absolute gem of a beer, it is worthy of its World Class reputation.

For $3.50 an 11.2 oz. bottle it is a steal. And as VENOM (and others) note, this is supposedly the same recipe as Westvleteran Abt 12.

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Photo of beerluvr
4.42/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out with a white head that settles over hazy reddish-brown liquid. The nose is spicy, with notes of chocolate and light hints of dark fruits & a "horse blanket" aroma. Mouthfeel is effervescent, with notes of nuts, chocolate, fruitiness and a healthy amount of hops. The finish drys out to a perfect balance of hoppiness and malt sweetness...the high alcohol in this beer is hardly noticeable until late finish. A remarkable beer, you find it..buy it!

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

Muddy, translucent mahogany-brown, this had a pillowy floater of a head that took forever to level off...and still kept a good 1/8 inch at all times, with excellent lacing.

Aroma is a bit musty and warm, notes of baked fruit, malt, and alcohol.

Very striking is the "melts in your mouth" feel of this beer, almost perfect carbonation. A high level of sweetness without feeling sticky or cloying, rounded out by the not especially discreet alcohol. However, this doesn't taste rough in the least.

Taste starts sweet, malty, and warming. A complex body, notes of raisins, pears, candy apples, and hearty malt. A perfectly clean but sweet finish, with a bit of a kick mingled in.

There's a reason the monk on the label is smiling broadly; even aware of the high ABV, I'm feeling this going to my head 2/3 of the way through a single bottle. Very, very nice on a dark rainy night; this will be a regular selection on my too-infrequent trips to Premier Gourmet.

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Photo of StevieW
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. Foamer. Murky brown with burgundy hints. Prodigious (did I just say that ?) head. Foamy and rich, covered the side of the glass completely. The head stayed in little clumps on the surface.
Initial smell were plums, figs, and earthiness combined with a super malty candy sweetness. Smells smoothed out to a mellow carmel candy sweetness and some fig undertones. Overall very pleasant and supersmooth.
First taste was a combination of the above mentioned carmel sweetness but with a hot shocking alcohol presence. I thought for a couple minutes I had over estimated this beer, or maybe expected more. As the beer settled the candied sweetness took over, nearly syrupy but falls short of that. Lots of figgy, rum soaked raisins, and malty sweetness dominate the taste. Sticky sweet but not overwhelming. Touch of cotton candy dryness then finishes. Tastes melt together better as the beer sits a while. Medium bodied, perfectly carbonated. Overall alot of good flavors that eventually come out and blend perfectly.
Worthy of it's high rating and very enjoyable.

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Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Beer rating: 4.46 out of 5 with 9,801 ratings