Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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Abt 12Abt 12
9,844 Ratings
Abt 12Abt 12

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Style: Belgian 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: 9,844 |  Reviews: 2,853
Photo of twilight
4.82/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33cl bottle. Poured into a goblet.

Hands down one of the best beers I've ever had. It pours dark reddish with a finely bubbled head that resembles the head on a bowl of proofed yeast for bread. The head isn't thick (abt 1cm), but it lasts all the way through. I can't quite pinpoint the smell, but it tends to go towards bread yeast, which I absolutely love. It smells comforting, smooth, like smelling the same way as the head is beautifully fine.

The taste is sweet, yeasty, with a slight aftertaste of alcohol, thus detracting from the mouthfeel, but still maintaining a five for the taste. It just tastes so yummy. I haven't had a strong belgian ale that retains its taste without giving a hint of the high ABV. It fits the description of 'liquid bread' too well. Too bad this is as pricey as most belgians— I could spend nights just sitting back and sipping this brew.

This has indeed earned its place in the top 50, and indeed a place in my favorite beer list.

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Photo of LuckySevens82
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle cap is a pain in the ass to get off, but is well worth the fight.
The aroma from the bottle in concentrated and amazing. If this beer tastes half as good as it smells, it's fantastic.

Pours a dark reddish-brown with a thick 2 finger head. The head didn't last for long but the lacing is up to the top of the glass and isn't going anywhere.

The taste: Dark malts, dried fruit, spices. Just plain wonderful. It's hard to believe this is 10% abv, I could sit here and sip it all night long. There is a distinct alcohol kicker as the taste fades from your mouth, but the feeling isn't as strong as some of the other belgian ales I've had.

In my opinion, this is better and a lot more drinkable than the Westy 12. I am very happy with my choice.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4.58/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep maroon. Heavy head with enormous bubbles and amazing carbontion racing up the side of the glass. Aroma is dates, figs, dark tropical fruits, spice, cloves, candy sugar and an alcoholic tint. Wow, complex aroma, can't wait to taste.
Taste is deep, dark malt with spice and slightly bitter and, yet malty aftertaste. Very complex, spicy alcoholic kicker at the end. As it warms the fruit seems to stand out even more and I get a sort of banana-like aroma and even flavor.

Absolute joy to drink, one of my highest rated beers thus far.

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Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.67/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this tonight at Monk's in Philly. I thoroughly enjoyed it. My favorite out of the five I tried and judging by the marks, my favorite beer of all those I've reviewed on this site. While a very strong tasting beer, one that I thought was still quite smooth. Some nice chocolate notes, spicy fruityness, like the dankest raisins you can imagine. The alcohol was quite obvious, but certainly did not dominate the profile. Something I will seek out from now on.

EDIT 12/19: Had this a couple times since this review and have to say that I'm not as impressed. I was a little drunk when I had it last, first time too at Monks...so maybe its too be expected I inflated the score. So I knocked the taste down to 4.5.

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

This beer pours amber with red hues. Copiosly thick light beige head that got rocky as it dissapated, which took a while. Lots of fruit in the nose with some brown sugar and rum. Almost a kicked up juicy fruit/bubblegum smell. That obligatory Belgian yeast smell was there as well.
Huge bready malt flavors. Red (prunes, raisins) and other sticky sweet fruits. Balanced by the slightly tart yeast. Alcohol was hidden extremely well.
Rich, full, round velvety smooth mouthfeel that seemed lighter due to great balance and carbonation. Wicked drinkable for a 10% beer. Outstanding!

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

I have been anticipating trying this one since my beer-loving friends rave about it. They were right. This is one of the good ones, pouring a cloudy amber to hazy brown brew with a lot of off-white head. The lacing is pronounced and long lived. The surprise was that it blew the cork out of the bottle when I removed the twist-wire. The first beer that I have seen do this. It is a peppy beer with lots of malt, hops, and grain in the aroma. There are hints of clove and malt in the taste, which is outstanding. This looks, tastes, feels like a true Abbey. It is creamy and rich in the mouth, and I could drink this for a long time. The high alcohol level isn't noticeable until the bottle is gone.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.23/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My goodness, this is one big abbey!
It pours a dark chocolate brown with a full beige/tan head and some spotty and webby lace. The aroma has an over all leathery quality. It has a smell reminiscent of a horse stall (a clean one). Malt, hops, yeast and a faint alcohol fuminess round out the aroma department. There's a candy sweetness within the herbal malt body. Ripe banana, prunes, oranges and a nice clovey spiciness mingle and dance upon the taste buds. A little chocolate and brandied candy appears as it warms.
The extremely happy smiling monk on the slightly crookedly placed label should serve as sign of things to come.

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Photo of Gavage
4.35/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy brown color with a thin head that lasted through half of the session. Lacing developed. Aroma was of malt, caramel, yeast, and fruit tones.

This was a full flavored ale, as malt, caramel, and fruit flavors were strong. Smooth creaminess on the tongue when you first sip it, then the carbonation level caused a crisp finish. Medium bodied and alcohol levels were well hidden, making this extremely drinkable. One of the top Belgian ales I have tried.

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Photo of GreenCard
4.42/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark brown, almost opaque, a medium-sized layer of khaki foam that slowly flattens out, some temporary lace

Aroma: deeply malty and caramelly, clove, pruney fruitiness, touch of roast and sherry, faint wisp of hops, alcohol, raisins

Flavor: rich Belgian maltiness, caramel, balanced sweetness, raisins, spearminty hop flavor, some sherry notes, peppery alcohol, sweetich finish w/ an unctuous caramel aftertaste, just a hint of bitterness

Mouthfeel: soft, medium-full body, prickly carbonation, lots of alcohol warmth but no burn

Overall Impression: This beer deserves all the raves it gets. One of those beers that can get you really excited about abbey/Trappist ales (THIS is what it's all about!). Haven't tried Westy 12 (the beer upon which this one is based) yet, but it's coming up soon.

My favorites are still Rochefort 8 and 10, though.

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Photo of AsburyParkJMH
4.1/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

i had been a bit turned off to this style after sampling a bottle of trappistes rochefort 10, but found the st. bernardus 12 to be a much more refreshing and enjoyable example of it and can't wait to try a few more. this one poured with a slightly frothy off-white head and had a cloudy ruby colour to it. the smell was quite good but not overly complex, with malt, hop, butter, and caramel being the most prominent that i can recall. the taste was equally good, with a tart caramel buttery feel to it along with a sour fruity (cherry) taste. this one has enhanced fruit flavouring as well as it warms. there's a nice little carbonation bite at the finish of an otherwise smooth drink. a solid brew.

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Photo of byrd
4.03/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bubbly fizzy light tan head that lasts a while. Dark reddish copper color. Spicy malt aroma with vinous and cherry notes mixed in. This is a very peppery dubbel with considerable carbonation that gives a bit of a bite on the tongue. Clove and other spices I can’t place are also present. Malt notes are apparent at the start, but sweetness is minimal. Finishes with citrusy hops notes that linger in the aftertaste with the pepper notes. Mouthfeel is medium and somewhat fluffy from the carbonation. Quite a dry finish that is fairly tart. Somewhat warming on the way down.

This one improves immensely as it warms. Spice notes become more subdued, malts become more pronounced, fruitiness picks up, and all the flavors begin to meld together wonderfully. The mouthfeel becomes increasingly smooth. Malt sweetness reveals notes of bread, honey, and dark sugar. Spiciness is still present, but does not seem as excessive as it does when cold.

I typically keep my beers in the fridge and let them sit out for 5-10 minutes before opening the bottle. Evidently, I was a little over eager and opened this one while it was still a bit too cold. I was quite surprised by the changes (for the better) in flavor as Abt 12 warmed.

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Photo of Crosling
4.59/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A fine looking beer. Pours out a dark brown with a fine vuluptious tan head which at a closer glance seems to have some spices or something hidden in the head! Cool!

The nose was full of alcohol, raisins, plums, honey, dark cherries, other dark fruits, bananas and cloves. A very nice nose!

The flavor is so complex. Massive amounts of dark fruits, apples, sweetness, a little chocolate and as it warmed the alcohol started to come out.

Overall, an incredible beer that is one notch below the Rochefort 10 but I will still drink hundreds of bottles of this beer when I am in Belgium this summer!

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Photo of HardTarget
4.31/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aroma: Powdery caramelized banana smell I associate with the style. I feel, rather than smell some alcohol, with a slight burn.
Appearance: Deep brown only showing ruby edges when backlit. There is a creamy sandy colored head on top of a steady stream of carbonation. I’ve been waiting for a few minutes for the head to die down, but it just looks like it’s settling in and compacting into an enduring fixture. Left a rocky lace.
Flavor: A mild and gentle blend of a world of flavors. Apples, spices, raisins, yeast, grapes, nuts, malt, slate, & pepper, and that’s just what I’m able to pick out. I think there is more in there. One thing I don’t taste is alcohol, which is a bit scary.
Mouthfeel: Silk. Has a light-medium body with a bit of an alcohol burn in the aftertaste.
Overall Impression: Thinking this would go very well with a roast, or a beef meal. Its flavor is pronounced, but not overwhelming. The spices are reminiscent of Unibroue’s blend. Drinkability is impaired only by the alcoholic kick that has clouded my wits after the first goblet. This is truly worthy of the top 50 spot it holds, a classic brew. One to go to school on.

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

Tawny port, raisin wine, Indonesian spices, black berries, black plums, black figs, vanilla, hazelnuts, walnuts, pepper, pork fat, slate, creosote, oak, brown sugar, etc. etc.

The texture is viscous and glossy like crushed velvet. It could use some time to temper the elemental crush of flavors and aromas. Think what this beer could be!

Update: 24 hours later I ate the thumb-sized foamscicle that had formed at the top of the bottle. It was amazing! I am therefore upgrading the drinkability score from 4.5 to 5.0. No beer, in my experience, has produced such pleasure with so little weight for so long after it was opened. Bravo!

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Photo of dmarch
4.03/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The poor mans westy. Pours a deep garnet color with a gorgeous white head. Very warming beer. The alcohol is apparent, but enjoyable. Mostly raisins in the taste, a little plum. Very fruity. Supposedly the same recipe as westy 12, but if I had a choice, I would go with the westy. But then again, I am a poor man.

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Photo of grynder33
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark brownish color, an aroma that was very complex Abbey type malts and the smell of well kept but old monastery wine casks thick chewy mouthfeel and the taste ,so many things going on here, fig , cherry , chocolate, banana, all perfectly blended and the alcohol does sneak up on you. Plan on storing a couple to see if this wonderful gets even better.

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

Dark brown body, pocked and cratered tan head. Aroma is yeasty and bready, quite sharp with faint sweetness.

Very chewy and thick in the mouth. Sweet -- like walking into a cave of sugar and yelling "Hello," it seems to reverberate in your mouth. All of this is balanced by hops burn, which combines with the sweetness to form a burning dessert. As is the case with the best beers in the world, this beer grabs you by the hand when it is cold and takes you on a journey, changing (improving!) as it warms.

A very fine Belgian -- top notch, and deserving of its reputation as one of the best beers in the world. This is one of my "oh my" beers... the beers that I can't help saying "oh, my" after I've taken a sip.

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Photo of Sixpack595
4.45/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very dark red, almost black with a healthy tan head. Sweet with brown sugar, raisins, cherries, clove, and a bit of bready malt. Improves as it goes, and it starts very well. Clean and well balanced with a spicy hop and alcohol finish. Very nice, well made beer. Definitly will be getting a second look.

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

To date the best beer I've tasted. Pours a mammoth/iceburg of a head-perfect lace which covers at least 75% of the glass and takes a good five minutes to retreat. The color is that of dark cocoa with some ruby hues. Gobs of cocoa on the nose. Wonderful sweet raisin and prune aromas bathed in brown sugar and butter. Damn inticing! Sweet on the nose, yet with a snappy acidity to keep focus. A dream of a brew to taste!! Full bodied, rich and malty with waves of tangy bitter chocolate, cocoa powder, sauteed prune in brown butter, exotic spice-ineffable?-vanilla, cinnamon, mollases-hard to put down! Add the perfect balance and the fact that the alcohol is so well integrated and I think I've found a perfect brew. Can't ask for any more. Not a complaint-I could sip this into eternity.

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Photo of faernt
4.61/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I started out pouring this into a chalice. It hissed at me. I carefully poured it but The head rose so quickly that I had to stop with some still left in the bottle. How civilized...the remaining amount had the yeast in it....which I swirled and drank. This "yeast hit" was not the slightest bitter but clovy and pruny....very tasty.
My nose must be wired wrong because I get very little aroma from this one but hey what a taste. Without smell the taste wouldn't be so unique. The head subsides but remains lumpy and I mean that in a good way.
The mouthfeel is silk....Just drink this one. I will get more. This is a celebratory beer. I understand now what it would be like to have walked all day to a monastery and have slaked my thirst on a safe liquid that came from God.

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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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Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Beer rating: 4.46 out of 5 with 9,844 ratings