St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

2,778 Reviews
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: 9,451
Photo of TastyTaste
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Absolutely gorgeous, murky brown color huge tan head, and I mean huge. This is exactly what the beer should look like.

Smell: A dark but sweet smell of raisins, brown sugar, yeast, alcohol, toffee, and hints of java.

Taste: Holy mackerel, this is good, taste is dark and complex, lots of mig flavors competing for attention. More sweetness up front, but turn into a drier beer finishing with a good shot of alcohol and hops, buttery toffee, rum, bourbon, plums. I could see aging this for years.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Perfect, this beer is a world class Quadrupel, one that should be tried and enjoyed by all.

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Photo of Uscjojo
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This pours a dark brown with a light tan head.
The smell is yeast, raisins, plums, banana, spices, and figs.
The taste is like raisins, figs, and spicy. There is a good carbonation and slight bitterness in the back palate.
The feel is thick and creamy.
Overall, this is an excellent Quad that I will definitely be buying again.
I give it a 5 for the type of beer it is.

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Photo of moulefrite
5/5  rDev +13.1%
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 mts198
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: dark brown, creamy one finger head

Smell: Vanilla, fruitcake, Brown sugar, stone fruits, old wood, burnt sugars

Taste: Very smooth mild bitterness, slightly muddled in a good way. Overlapping of flavors, Dark liquid candy, sweet, stone fruits in sugar, old wood, fruitcake, jelly.

Mouth feel: high carbonation, fuller mouth feel the warmer it gets, very smooth

Overall: It's an Amazing beer, sweet but not cloying, light bitterness but without harshness, very smooth for a high alcohol beer, the alcohol hides very well, The flavors muddle together in a perfect balance without one over powering the other, Dark fruits take hold as the slight bitterness pushes back with maybe some lighter fruits popping through, old wood seems to be in there too. But everything layers over each other and gives it a great quality. Reminds me of an old plum tree.

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Photo of Brunite
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 11.2 ounce bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

A: The beer pours a very dark brown with some traces of ruby along the edges. The head is off-white and about 2-3 fingers. Very nice. Stout-like but brown in appearance. Thick and creamy looking as it pours.

S: Excellent. Very complex array of aromas. Raisin, prune, sweet malt, some unique florals from the yeast. Some faint over-ripe banana.

T: Delicious! Raisin, prune, fig, dark cherry fruit notes are the highlight....but in a balanced way...not overpowering as in some of the Trappists. Also less obvious are some banana and clove notes. Also lots of brown sugar/molasses and breadiness from the malt. Nice balance. Just a hint of alcohol on the finish.

M: Perfect carbonation. Creamy and chewy. Very full bodied.

D: Very high drinkability here. The flavors are perfectly balanced and the alcohol very well hidden at 10% ABV. I finished this one very quickly....much quicker than I should have. Such an easy drinker but you feel the alcohol afterward. Drinking a few of these in tandem could get you in trouble if you don't take your time.

O: Highly recommended. If this is really as close as you can get to a "Westy 12", short of the real thing...I get the hype! This is a great tasting, perfectly balanced beer. Not something you might drink on a daily basis....but a great beer to sit down and share or reward yourself with. In my top 10 and my favorite Quad/Trappist/Abbey Ale to date.

Update: This one is truly one of the greats. I picked up a 4-pack of this puppy for $ 19.99 because I can't overstate how much I enjoy it. Only 1 of 2 beers to get my "Perfect 5" rating. Truly epic stuff. I could drink this all day long if not for the ABV and the price. One of very few beers that has you smiling and saying "ahhh!!!" upon the very first sip. Truly under-appreciated vs some of the more well know Belgians that don't come close to this IMHO. If the First Miracle involved beer instead of likely would have tasted like this!!

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Photo of TheItalianStallion
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 750ml. bottle into a tulip

A: Pours a russet brown color with ruby edges when held up to the light. There is a luscious, sticky cap of beige foam that remains for the entire drink. Excellent head retention. A few random spots of lacing dot the glass.

S: Right off the bat you get hit with rich aromas of sweet, candied dark fruits. Raisins, figs, plums, and some dark cherry all seamlessly meld together in a perfect mix of fruity sweetness. This beer has just the right amount of sweetness and is only slightly tart. Absolutely perfect! Aromas of lightly roasted malts and a caramel/brown sugar sweetness quickly follow. Some faint Belgian yeast notes of clove and banana.

T: WOW! The flavor starts with ripe dark fruits and brown sugar sweetness; almost a candy like sweetness. So much is going on its hard to put my finger on everything, it just perfectly blends together. The dark fruits I detect are raisins, figs, plums, black currants, and a bit of dark cherries also in the mix. The yeast profile is phenomenal as well. I'm getting yeast esters of clove and banana, with a hint of apple occasionally coming out. The use of caramel malts blends perfectly with the dark fruit flavors and compliments them well.

M: This beer is full bodied with medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is rich, creamy, and smooth with no hint of the 10% ABV. Perfect!

O: I have never given a perfect rating before, but in my personal opinion I feel St. Bernardus ABT 12 deserves it. This is the definition of complexity, and every time I drink it it manages to blow my mind time and time again. The sweet, dark fruit flavors along with the caramel maltiness and the yeast profile truly make this a delight. This beer almost has a wine like quality to it, it really is something special. The only negative is that it is expensive, but then again you usually have to pay for quality. However it is well worth the price tag, and it is without a doubt one of the greatest beers in the world.

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Photo of creepinjeeper
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An 11.2 oz bottle poured into a St. Bernardus Watou goblet. (Bottle and glass were part of a gift set. Bottle dated 3/07/17.)
Look - Beer foamed slightly upon opening. Poured into snifter. Slight head that lingered for a minute or two before settling in to lacing. Beer was reddish brown leather in hue. Almost looked like fruit was soaking in it and then removed.
Smell - Mmmm. Lots of raisins, dates, a little stone fruit and some booze. You could anticipate what was coming next. My mouth actually watered for this.
Taste - Again, mmmmm. Raisins, dates, bready malt, slight hint of booze.
Mouthfeel - Nice. Creamy. Carbonation light and does not get in the way. Each sip lingers on the palate.
Overall - This beer blew me away. Absolutely beautiful beer. Can't wait to go deeper into this style.

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Photo of acrawf6
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First off, this is one of my absolute favorite beers. I should have reviewed a long time ago. Its soo freakin good!

Pours out a deep cloudy dark leathery brown. Some light gets through, which shows its cloudyness. Nice 1 1/2 inch head rises from the glass. Thick lacing.

Smells so very good. sweet spiced fruits come up first, i get apple, a little banana (with cloves), and slight raison. Its a little lighter than what i remembered, but great. A very nice sweet smell too i might add.

Taste. Sensational. again, sweet but has a little amount of tartness i dont remember, and almost doenst seem like it belongs. I get dried plums at first. As it sits on my tongue i get a white wine, or better yet a champagne taste and mouthfeel to it. Alcohol is slightly present, but is masked very well. I love the complexity of this beer. As it warms, more and more flavors come out. Roasted malts come through.

Mouthfeel is great. Good carbonation. Excellent balance. So full, and yet so slick on my tongue.

Overall, just one of the finest beers around. I could have this all day long (well, until i pass out) and not get tire of the complexities. However, i dont feel this bottle represents what i have had before (or maybe its just me tonight). Great stuff.

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Photo of mariposafan
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally getting around to reviewing the beer that brung me here.

Pours into my Duvel tulip with a huge tan head that settles back to a nice cap of foam that persists. Slightly murky dark brown body.

The aroma is of yeast and fruits. More yeast in the nose here than any beer I can remember - almost like bread dough proofing. Some sweetness and a little maltiness as well.

The taste is super rich and yeasty as well but with lots of malt, port and raisins. Some spiciness comes across as well as a little molasses like sweetness. Some alcohol there but not much.

Slightly viscous, bubbly carbonation and a drying finish - it feels wonderful.

Easy enough to drink but there's enough alcohol in the flavor to remind me that it's over 10%. For the amount of alcohol it's supremely drinkable, though. Every single sip leaves me wanting the next.

[Edit 9/18] The last category was originally Drinkability - at 10+% not this beers strong suit. Now it's given as overall - as this is my favorite beer that *is* a strong suit. So a 4 for drinkability becomes a 5 for overall.

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Photo of Crotor
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sweet Jesus, this is a fine beer.

Pours a deep, reddish brown, lifting a delightfully abundant off-white head. As the head settles (which takes ages...) it forms delightful dimples. I also notice specks of brown on it - I don't know if these are chunks of yeast or what, but they make me think of one thing - grated nutmeg on eggnog.

Smells of big malt and fruit. Sour apple, yeastiness, cinnamon. Is this beer *really* not spiced?

Tastes more glorious than anything else. Big, wintery, spicy fruit. Cinnamon and nutmeg and clove and apple - like apple pie in a glass. Frothy, estery caramel goodness. Chewy and malty to no end.

As for the mouthfeel, it's honestly quite like drinking heavy cream. Feels like frothy espresso. Caramely-apple-pie-flavored frothy espresso.

A damn good beer. Few beers would elicit a "perfect 5" from me, but this one pulled it off. Without a doubt, my current favorite beer.

*Note: Also, it's *damn* drinkable for a quadrupel.

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Photo of nicksawick
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I paid the 5 dollars for one bottle of this beer because of the high reviews it received. After chilling it and them letting it sit out to get it to the 53-56 degrees that is recommended, I opened it up. I then had to wait another 5 minutes for the head to dissipate after pouring it. The wait was well worth it. For an alcohol content of 10.2% you barely taste it. The best part of the beer is the after taste. It finishes very smooth and delicious. It was a good beer to try but I could never afford to drink it on a consistent basis. I recommend to try it at least once so you can get a feel for what a real beer tastes like.

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Photo of Keitherduder
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From the bottle into a proper oversized goblet. Fantasticly intoxicating in it's glorious appearance! With it's big creamy head that sits softly upon it's dark browney color. Hurling out aromas of fine malts, spices and sweetness right up your nostrils, sending you into an epical state of euphoria. ...and you havent even taken a sip yet!!!
Once you finally let your lips and tounge indulge in this masterpiece; You become awakened by this phenomenal array of malts, hops, yeast, and spice. All I can think is that this beer is a perfection of wonders!
Them monks sure know what their doing!!!

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Photo of RobertHolley
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bernie's #12 is one of my "desert island" beers. Love it! Smell has hints of figs and raisins. Pours dark and rich with a thick head. Taste is amazing with an after taste that lasts all day long. This is a strong beer and is so good if you are not careful you can get wacked on the side of the head.

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Photo of Eeroomnhoj
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fantastic Beer. Went to the Capital Ale House in Fredericksburg, Va this afternoon with my wife and thoroughly enjoyed this beer. This isn't something I would have everyday, but it was a delight to drink.

I'd drink this again!

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Photo of lifeboyq
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a St Bernardus chalice. Dark mahogany, not fined beer with deep chestnut tones. Monster cream head typical of the strong carbonation in Belgian offerings. Smell is of caramel malts, unrefined sugar and that all too familiar peculiarity of a belgian yeast phenols with bready overtones. The beer tastes like figs and dates and caramel and toffee, bready, sweet and again that all too hard to put your finger on delicious belgian pecularity. Incredibly complex, incredibly deep that improves as it warms. One of the top few beers of the world. Most closely resembles the Westy of any other offering. Absolutely amazing. In my eyes, as close to perfection in a beer as you can get. This is so good it hurts. Lip smacking good. One of the finest examples of the most complex tasting beer class, Belgian Quads.

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Photo of Deus1138
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've had this a few times, but held off on reviewing it until now.

A: Poured into my St. Bernardus Goblet. Pours a nice brown with a reddish glow. Good amount of head that lasts quite a while.

S: Sweet dark fruits, plum, raisin, a little yeasty. It smells thick.

T: Raisin, plum, brown sugar, very sweet (but not too much sweetness). Lots of alcohol in this one, but it's only slightly noticeable. The malts and sweetness mask nicely. Makes me think of fig newtons. Mmmm...

M: Nice and smooth with just the right amount of zest from the carbonation and alcohol.

D: The greatest beer I've had to date. I love this stuff. If the alcohol wouldn't destroy my life, I'd drink this with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and every snack in between!

If you have not had the pleasure, get this one ASAP!

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Photo of putnam
5/5  rDev +13.1%
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 okono
5/5  rDev +13.1%

Hands down, the best beer I've ever had. It's the gold standard by which other beers should be measured...acknowledging, of course, that each beer needs to be appreciated and rated in the context of its style. St Bernardus 12 is the definitive 5.0 amongst Quads, with Rochefort 10 coming in a close second.

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Photo of bonsreeb85
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - this beers pours a deep brown color(identical to the bottle) and sports a massive 3 finger rocky biege head. B E A uuutiful.

S - dark fruits, apple skin, spicy hops and brown shuga!

T - candy-like sweetness, wow. lots of fruit esters(much like the nose hints at). very malty with a spicy finish. this is one complex and tasty beverage! oh-so-sweet, i can feel the cavaties forming as a savor the flavor. i enjoy every sip, and it only gets better as it warms up(the sign of a good beer no doubt)

MF - lots of lively carbonation on this full bodied beast. very creamy feel, excellent.

D - alcohol is well hidden, this one goes down so easy its criminal. worth every penny!

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Photo of LVituri
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Com certeza um dos grandes rótulos não trapistas da Bélgica. Levo em consideração duas maneiras de degustá-la. Na garrafa ela possui um sabor mais forte e marcante. Na pressão ela é mais aromática e equilibrada, não há defeitos, não sinto que tenha o que criticar ou apontar como não cumprido. Um rótulo sensacional.

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Photo of DenverLogan
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yeah...this could be a benchmark for Belgian strong dark - quad beers. Absolutely lovely fresh or aged up to 7 or more years. Beautifully balanced malt body of rich dark fruit, raisins, toffee, roasted malts, dark chocolate all blended together where none stands out overwhelmingly. Big alcohol but not hot. Great with soups. meat or rich vegie dishes, deserts. I've had this in Belgium, in various states, on tap, in small, big, and very big bottles. This is a great beer to serve fresh or after years of aging. I should add that while my rating across the board indicates 5.0, I can't add my own specific point rating, say, 4.6 for mouthfeel. There's a few beers I might want to rate higher, but this is definitely in the running for a dessert island beer. Exceptional!

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Photo of mg3
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Probably my most favorite beer if not the best beer I have ever had as of now. Didn't exactly fall in love with it the first time, but after a few times it just kinda grabbed a hold of me and never let go. Definitely one of the best Belgian's I've ever had.

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Photo of LeoEnergy
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into my St. Bernardus Chalice.

A-- Beautiful dark caramel with with deep ruby highlights and rich molasses. Smooth, wavy, and consistent lacing with tiny bubbles sticking to the sides.

S-- First the alcohol comes strong with the raisin, then the malts hit in the middle, and an after smell of sweet fruit, bread, caramel, and honey.

T-- The alcohol is very well hidden in this delightful beauty, it barely seeps through between the fig, apricot, plum, apple, maple, malt, bread and yeast as the finishing touch. Complex and keeps me guessing until I take another sip.

M-- First the distinct carbonation hits like high quality champagne; the tiny bubbles tickle the tongue and kiss the palate. Then it settles into a smooth, rich and soft flowy creaminess , almost too much-but wait, no it's just right.

O-- Amazing beer, worthy of being within the world class selection. Tradition prevails with this kind of quality history.
If I were wealthier I would have this readily available in my

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5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well balanced. So drinkable it's nuts. Feel was great. light not heavy crosses the boundaries of Belgian beer. Hoppy but not offensive. . Big big head. .dark gold lots going on in here. .but not to crazy. .

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Photo of Beercub
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Quite simply this has become my favorite beer. The appearance is caramel brown, the smell fruity and sweet malty, the taste is incredibly complex yet fuses together into a wonderful impression - raisins, caramel, toffee... The mouthfeel at first seems a little bit over-carbonated, but as it warms and settles, it is simply perfect.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.42 out of 5 based on 9,451 ratings.
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