St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
2,732 Reviews
St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Belgium | website

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: 2,732 | Ratings: 9,215
Photo of kmpitz2
4.12/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm not sure what the freshness date is on this one. There is a mark at 7, 8 and 9 on the scale along the bottom. There is also a double-label thing going on. The bottle definately got hit with two labels.

It pours a deep murky brown color with a solid 2.5 finger head over top that falls very slowly. The nose is full on raisin and fig character, with a nice spicey character hiding in there as well. The flavor is subdued from the nose a bit. The yeast imparts a creamy character, on top of the sweet raisin and light brown sugar character. Very nice flavor. The feel is moderate, with a light carbonation. I'm finding it to be a sipping beer. Not something I can drink a whole lot of at a time. I like it. Definately not as good as the same beer off tap. I'll re-rate this one when I have it off tap again. Still a nice brew.

 832 characters

Photo of Lungman
4.12/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Super hyped up beer here. Expecting a mouth oragasim. Looks nice and dark. Smells like toffee, coffee, and vanilla. Super carbonated. I like that, but no so much in this style. I like high carbonation in a saison, but weird here. Abv well hidden. Not to complex. Kinda disappointed. Oh well, back to IPA's.

 306 characters

Photo of dcook11
4.12/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark brown with ample carbonation and sea foam two finger head. The lacing is very nice as well. The nose is a little weak but detectable are belgian yeast, malt and candied sweetness. The taste is the same as the nose with the abv masked nicely. The mouthfeel is a velvety light to medium body and the drinkability is high.

 332 characters

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

From Spec's in Houston

A: pours a golden color but settles a slightly cloudy ruby brown, generous two finger head with good retention, nice lacing

S: sour grapes, caramel, acidic alcohol, slight strawberry

T: yeasty caramel with slightly acidic sour grapes again, ripe red fruit towards the end, not as complex as the smell in my opinion, 4.0

M: thick, but not overpowering with a slightly dry finish

D: very good, but there seemed to be something missing that I couldn't quite put my finger on, I aged my bottle about 8 months, maybe more would have been appropriate

 572 characters

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

A: Deep dark brown with minimal tan head. It does leave some lacing as it is consumed.

S: I don't know why the word comes to me, but it smells deep just like it looks. It smells like its going to be full of flavor, but I don't have an experienced nose to know what exactly the aroma is. With that said, I love the smell.

T: I know I sound like a broken record, but deep once again comes to mind. Bold is another great word for this one. Most of the flavor kicks in as after taste, but its a very pleasing strong flavor that once again I cant put my finger on.

M: It is a medium thickness in the mouth with a good level of in mouth carbonation.

D: The excellent but short lived after taste makes me want to go for another sip not quickly. I really enjoyed this one.

I cant put my finger on what the smell or taste of this one is, but I know that both are very enjoyable. St Bernardus' line has yet to disappoint me. Give this one a try!

 940 characters

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

Pours a dark reddish brown color that is almost transparent. Medium off-white head that diminishes rather slowly. Scent is a lot of sweet malts with dark fruits and somewhat of a strong alcohol smell. Very sweet-smelling. This is what is expected from a Belgian quad, and it's quite delightful. Taste is dark fruits with a slight licorice taste. Great Belgian yeast flavors and nice malt flavors. Mouthfeel is a bit more bubbly than I remembered, but feels very nice. Not syrupy at all. Drinkability is fairly high.

 515 characters

Photo of Prufrock
4.12/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle into a Rochefort glass.

murky medium brown. got about a half-inch of off-white head that falls quickly (glass isn't so conducive to anything higher). even so, leaves nice sheets of lacing.

10% abv definitely comes through in the aromas. lots of sweet brown sugar and bready malts as well. fruit aromas in the background, like over-ripe bananas (but in a good way).

alcohol is very well-hidden in the taste; don't really notice until i start feeling it about halfway through the bottle. sugary, doughy malts, fruity esters. buttery, rich mouthfeel with heavy carbonation. incredibly drinkable, great aroma, great taste...mouthfeel is the only weakness for me; a few too many bubbles. fantastic brew from the friendly monk.

 744 characters

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

A - Pours a very dark brown/amber color with a thin off-white head and good lacing.

S - Sweet fruits, candy sugar, and yeast. Some caramel as well.

T - Dark fruits, some caramel and candy sugar flavors. Alcohol noticeable as well (though not in a "hot" way). A little on the sour side.

M - Medium bodied, good carbonation. Relatively smooth and drinkable.

O - I enjoyed St. Bernardus Abt 12 and it's a great example of the quad style. I don't think it quite lives up to the hype, but it's enjoyable and relatively decently priced/widely available, so I imagine it'll be a beer that I revisit multiple times in the future. A nice beer to sit back and enjoy.

 660 characters

Photo of CHADMC3
4.12/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A frothy and intensely carbonated ivory head erupts from even a slow pour of this chestnut brown quad, giving way to a thick sticky lacing existing throughout the beer.

Aromas of dark fruit such as fig and cherries joins the yeast, sugar, and phenol alcohol follow up. The figs, cherries, and raisins become more pronounced as the temperature increases in the glass.

Again sweet dark fruits and spice dominate the flavor with a slight phenol aftertaste to accompany the roasted malt.

Great drinkability exists in the medium body with generous carbonation and dryness of the beer.

This just keeps getting better as it warms with more character coming through leaving you craving another sip.

 694 characters

Photo of psuKinger
4.11/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from the glass-set, poured into said St. Bernardus chalice/snifter.

A: Pours a murky medium-brown/caramel color, with a thick 1+ finger's worth off-white head on top, with big "pancake batter"-like bubbles towards the middle of the glass, near where I poured.

S: Yeasty candied sugars and a touch of dates on the nose.

T: Bitter-sweet dark chocolate, figs, and dates, all artfully balanced. The dark chocolate arrives first and probably stands most prominently. There is just a touch of yeasty breadiness near the finish that works nicely within the confines of its role here. Perhaps some of the "bitterness" is hops-related? Far from overpowering, I'm not sure if it's related to a roastiness of the barley, a particular fermentable added, or the presence of hops, but it's there, and helps make this a truly "well balanced" belgian dark.

M: Initially hefty and bubbly with great carbonation that wisks away nicely.

D/O: A tasty treat. My only complaint in terms of drinkability would be that, as I worked through the glass, a bit of a "black licorice" taste started to shine through. I like black licorice, but I just thought it was "odd" and didn't quite work here. Still enjoyable, overall, though. Certainly repeatable.

 1,237 characters

Photo of craftaholic
4.11/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance- A cloudy caramel color with a light creamy tan head. Very little retention.

Nose- What a bouquet in the nose. Banana and bubblegum yeast notes and lovely candied dark fruit aromas abound.

Taste- The aromas were spot on with the forefront of this brew. The yeast greets the palate and from there comes a multitude of flavors. Crisp apple and grape flavors have a refreshing balance with the bready yeast. From there the beer gets a little richer with fig and date notes and a honey sweetness that masks the alcohol in the finish.

Mouthfeel- Light and sudsy with a buttery consistency. Smooth and the body intensifies as it sits in your glass.

Drinkability- Dangerous. With a 10% abv this drinks closer to a 7%, quaff with care.

Overall- I wasn't blown away with the legacy this beer has but I definitely enjoyed it!

 834 characters

Photo of von_kaiser
4.11/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

this rating comes from one that dislikes the style all together. struggled putting the bomber down but i do respect what this aims for. sweet-yeast, full bodied, hazy beer that reminds me of banana bread. Cheers!

 215 characters

Photo of hwwty4
4.11/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured an 11.2oz bottle into my Chimay chalice. This beer pours a raisin brown with a 2 inch head that leaves just minimal lacing. The aroma is dark fruit with prunes, raisins, and brown sugar. The flavor follows suits with raisin and dates in the forefront with brown sugar, barley, and just a bit of cherry. Also there is just a hint of spiciness to it, probably from the Belgian yeast strains. The 10.5% alcohol really comes through, especially as it warms. The mouthfeel is full and leaves a nice boozy sensation on the palate. The colder this beer is, the less drinkable it is. As it warms, it really shows its true colors. It becomes a very drinkable quad, but it's still a bit on the boozy side for me.

 709 characters

Photo of Quaffer
4.11/5  rDev -7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

25.4 oz bottle, caged and corked. Picked this up in Dallas. Not available here in Wichita.

Appearance: A very deep amber-brown. Quite a bit darker than I was expecting. A heavy bead could be seen when enough light was put behind the glass to actually see through it. Absolutely wonderful, dense, thick head. It stuck to the side of the glass like glue and seemed to not dissipate at all, probably due to the large amount of bubbles feeding it from below. Aesthetically speaking, this beer was perfection in a glass.

Smell: The aroma was comprised of a rich maltiness that was pierced by sharp fruit and spicy yeast. Alcohol spice and some dark fruit lay underneath. Quite a bit of depth, but not heavy smelling at all.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth upfront and gained more of a velvety texture as it moved back in the mouth. Medium-bodied.

Taste: A nice, dark maltiness was prominent upfront, having a lightly caramel, but more cocoa-like, character to it. The yeast rose up strong in the middle. On the finish, the yeast was joined by spicy alcohol and a sharp fruitiness. This beer became almost sour on the finish. The aftertaste provided a reprise of the chocolate-like malt that was present at the start.

This was a good, solid beer. Not a mind-blowing experience, but very enjoyable.

 1,298 characters

Photo of ArrogantB
4.11/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle $3.99, not a bad price at all. I am not the biggest fan of Trappist beers but I thought I needed to try this since it is so highly regarded. Dark brown color, short head. Aroma is brown sugar, raisins, pretty nice. Flavor is more of the same and the alcohol is very well hidden.

 290 characters

Photo of JordanlikesAles
4.11/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

One of the great quads. Typical dark fruit aromas & flavors with a big malt presence. Out of the more famous quads, this one seems the harshest with the alcohol more evident in the taste.

 189 characters

Photo of DenverHopHead
4.11/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a caged and corked 25.4 oz bottle into a tulip.
Appearance - brown, but a crimson hue against the light. Cloudy, but some carbonation apparent against the sides. Foamy tan head that recedes to a medium layer. Lacing is minimal.
Smell - sweet dark fruit; hints of toffee and caramel.
Taste - flavorful assortment of dark and stone fruit accompanied by a smooth and warming alcohol.
Feel - full bodied, creamy yet carbonated mouthfeel. The complexity of this beer grows as it finishes with a bitterness and a quiet and easy to drink alcohol burn!
Overall - aging another bottle with high expectations!

 611 characters

Photo of JRed
4.11/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown body with a reddish edge towards the bottom of the glass. An off white head sticks around for a while and leaves some pretty lacing. Subtle aroma of plums, dark fruit, candy sugar and some booze. Great flavors with some ebb and flow: grapes, slight dark fruit, medicinal notes, slight spice, warming booze, slight caramel towards the finish with some dryness. Zapping carbonation with a medium body. A hell of a Belgian potion.

 438 characters

Photo of jbphoto88
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep bottle brown colored beer poured from a corked and caged bottle, that by the way was extremely hard to open. There is a thick fluffy head that is the color of clean dry wood. It rises well above the brew and lasts for the duration of the beer.

Smell is sweet and bready with lovely hints of spiced caramel and vanilla. It's not the strongest of smells but all the characteristics of a good Quad are in there.

Taste is along the lines of the nose. Sweet malts with a bread yeast taste. Following that is a creamy caramel with a light spice and vanilla splash of alcohol. Quite nice.

The mouthfeel is soft and silky, peppered with fine carbonation. Bitterness is present but not a focal point. Very slick with a lingering doughy coating feel in the finish. Very tasty and easy to drink at 10.5% it's a nice sipper.

 820 characters

Photo of marcobrau
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

 570 characters

Photo of bierguru
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - deep brown carmel color not much light comes through pours with a thick head which settles as a thin lace

S - very strong fruit flavor maybe fig slight carmel undertones with clove

T - definitely fig kind of sweet but not overly sweet slight alcohol taste no bitter taste to it but there is a spice would say from the clove

M - not much carbonation very smooth and light

D - one or two and done since this beer is pricey but without thinking about the price i would still say its about the same since the beer is fairly rich in flavor

 544 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My 1 year BA birthday beer!!!
12 oz bottle from the LCBO. Dates 07/09/15
Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Dark brown with one finger of bubbly off-white head.

S - Full or dark fruit - raising, figs, dates. Some sweet brown sugar and a slightly noticeable alcohol smell.

T -Sweet malts with brown sugar and caramel notes are dominant on the palate. Dark fruit and some yeast flavours are present as well. The alcohol is noticeable but not overwhelmingly so considering the 10% ABV.

M - Quite heavily carbonated, which somewhat covers up the nice medium body that the beer has.

D - Very drinkable for the ABV.

 613 characters

Photo of SixpointJMH
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

 699 characters

Photo of mdwalsh
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked up at 750 mL of this beer in Chicago because I had heard it was a great stand in for Westy 12, the best beer in the world. If it is, I do not need to get a Westy, I was sorely disappointed. I even drank this on my one year anniversary for being a BA as my 250th review. What a let down.

A: Three finger tan head on top, medium-brown beer with decent active carbonation on bottom. Less lace than I would expect to see here. All in all, ok looking, but not amazingly beautiful.

S: Here I get a mild roast, and some mild Belgian yeast, but not much. Neither is there a lot of the Belgian Candi Sugar. It's pretty weak and really just needs to be stronger.

T: Similar to the smell, mild roast, mild yeast. There's a little bit of a sour taste, the good kind for a Belgian, though perhaps not a Quad. It's still just not full bodied enough.

M: Can't stress it enough, too light! But it is very very smooth and has perfect carbonation.

D: Can't argue with the drinkability here. It went down perfectly smooth, and I wouldn't have suspected 10.5% abv.

 1,059 characters

Photo of ilikebeer03
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into snifter.

A: Pours a nice, thick, (eggshell?) white head. Pretty solid retention. Eventually fades into a pretty nice ring around the glass with some residual hanging out around the middle. Not too much lacing.

S: smells of dark fruit, bubblegummy yeast.

T: delicious. I don't drink too many belgians so I'm not as familiar with the style as others. I get a lot of dark fruit, candy sugar, bubblegum-y from the yeast. caramel. A very complex beer. Maybe toffee? I can't quite place it. anyway, it's good.

M: pretty thin (as is typical for the style) / good carbonation

O: delicious. Would buy again (especially because I found it priced at $1.79!!)

 679 characters

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
98 out of 100 based on 2,732 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.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.