St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

2,770 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: 2,770 | Ratings: 9,427
Photo of clickpush
4.21/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour: 33cl bottle to wide mouth goblet. Pours a ruby or cherry wood colored beer with tons of bubbles streaming throughout the glass. A healthy two finger pillowy light tan head cap the brew and it's very resistant, clinging to the glass wherever possible as it goes down, and never really disappears from the surface, leaving a quarter inch frothy layer on top.

Nose: Yeast, sourdough bread, oranges, grapes, clove, anise... really enjoyable, sweet & complex, but a tad too faint. Also, as the beer warms I was getting lungs full of alcohol fumes.

Mouth: Enters biscuity and yeasty, spicy and sweet, grape flavors, creamy clove and possibly chocolate, fruity esters. The mouthfeel is a bit disappointing, tingly upon entering then thick and creamy at the end, retaining a bit too much gas, making the swallow a bit hard. Hops don't add much flavor here but serve to keep the malts in order.

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Photo of danielocean03
4.2/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep, hazy brown similar to that of an apple cider into a wine glass. Head is a khaki tan that fades to a moderate sticky ring of lacing along with a light coating on the top. Aroma is fruity, mostly ripe, dark fruit paired with a caramel sweetness with some earthier undertones, some spice notes, warm sugary alcohols finish out the nose. Taste is sweet, candied dry fruit, caramel, malt, light alcohol notes and a similar earthiness of the nose present as well. Sweetness increases as it warms, fruitier profile emerges as well, taste some cinnamon/nutmeg like spiciness as the fruits fade off the tongue. Light sweet and dry aftertaste. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with very low carbonation, slides down the throat. Drinkability is high, given the intriguing complexity and character of this Quad, hardly hints at it's nearly 11% abv. Overall an impressive beer I'd recommend to try at least once, a rewarding experience. Will likely purchase again.

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Photo of Neehan
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

When deciding which beer I would choose to be my first review, I finally chose this to be the one... and I am confident in my selection. Enjoying this beer begins with the aroma of apples and a hint of other fruits complimented by the dark auburn appearance with a large frothy head. The taste and finish completely mask the alcohol. A sweet, fruity taste with a very crisp and pure mouthfeel make this an exceptional treat that I highly recommend.

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Photo of benito
2.87/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I'm not sure why this is categorized as a Quad, as its flavors sit squarely in the world of Dubbels. Anyhow, I should point out that Dubbels are probably my least favorite style of beer (with the notable exception of Goose Island's Pere Jacques...mmm). For whatever reason I struggle with the mix of fruity sweet and miscellania, so take my review with a grain of salt.

This is a brownish, amber brew with a small head and good lacing. The bouquet and flavor both are dominated by flouride like flavors--call it bubblegum or mint--and in both cases, the sweetness is backed up by a nice salty dryness. In the bouquet, this is mostly a sea-water quality and in taste, more of a alcohol flavor. The mouthfeel is soapy--sweet and then dry, though bubbly and effervescent throughout. Unfortunately, it doesn't do much to aid a rather thin body and flimsy length. I honestly don't care for this beer that much, though again, I recognize that as a quirk of my palate and some sort of strange prejudice against this style.

This is certainly not in my Top 100 beers, but for folks who dig dubbels, I would recommend this, maybe even highly.

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

A beautiful dark dubbel, that tastes like a quad. I swear if this beer was aged, it would turn into Westy12. Nice, dark look with a sweet belge glaze. Smells nutty and musty. Taste is incredible, by far my favorite dubbel. Mothfeel is lively and effervescent. Drinkability: I could session this beer at 10% in alchol all day and have no worries. It's that damn good! Can't wait for the 60th anniversary!

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Photo of dherling
4.79/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a friendly little monk on my bottle of beer. I had no idea I was about to be in for such a treat. I popped the cork like it was a champagne bottle, not hollywood style, but slowly, so as to let out a small slow hiss. This poured true, not like some other high ABV malt monsters that run thick or syrupy. There was a nice foamy white head that brought a little hop oil to the surface for me to breathe in, as well as some yeast to look at. It is a rare beer that can whollop you with flavor without killing you with its alcohol an dpotential heavyness, but this pulled off that feat. It has tremendous layers for you to go through and enjoy from toffee through stone fruit flavors, with some vanilla rounding off the edge. Much like the pour, it drank clean. I could have a few of these in one sitting, but I don't reccomend lightweights trying that. An instant classic for me.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.44/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle, unknown vintage, purchased recently

Pours murky mahogany with a lively, spritzy head.
Foam is airy and beige, with very little retention.
An odd pattern of dot-work was the last to remain on the surface before nothingness.
No lace or curtain remains.
Fruits drizzeled with caramel and dark rum in the nose.
Warming and slightly sweet, with candied apple and a hint of vanila and raisins.
Medium body and a bit sticky, with a slight oilyness.
Rummy and chocolately pallet underscored with fruit and toffee.
Finishes warming with fading rum and raisins.
There was something lacking on this one, it seemed a bit "dead" for lack of a better term. Perhaps the 750's are better.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

08/01/06- Purchased at Bottleworks in Seattle, WA.

Presentation- 750ml bottle, not sure from what year. Purchased in September 2005, so probably either 2004 or 2005. Poured into my St. Bernardus chalice.

Appearance- Deep brown in color. A bit of a auburn highlight. Full inch head, very large bubbled and foamy. Excellent chunks and streak of lace left behind. Furious as hell pop from the cork. I thought it was going to explode, it was that loud.

Smell- At first very fruity. Then it turned into a very sweet and caramel scented malt mixture. Kinda like cookie dough, but more like dulce de leche. Seems kinda earthy. Whatever it is, it smells increasingly better as it warms into above room temp. Started out at about 50, and finished it off at about 60-65.

Taste- At first sip it had a somewhat offputting metallic taste. This went away bit by bit as it was consumed. As it warms (key is to drink it at room temp at the coolest) it brings in a really nice ultra sweet candied malt flavor. That mixed with plims, prunes, raisins and figs make it very tastefull. It has a very earthy and irony taste that could be past for metallic, but I think it's more earthy and dirt like. Kinda a newbie to this style...still trying to figure them out.

Mouthfeel- Higher carbonated than I would like, but it calmed down after a good 30 minutes of resting in the chalice.

Drinkability- Probably my top ranked Quad. Was very nice to the tastebuds. What I wouldn't fo for a beer like this on cask. Or at least on tap. Have past it up at the Toronado many times because I knew I had a few bottles at home I was waiting to try. Quality beer for sure. Glad I have a few more smaller bottles to save for later on. Nice to know it can be aged for 15 years according to the script on the back of the bottle. Recommended.

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Photo of cproioi
4.08/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a nice dark brown body with a huge fluffy tan head that had loads of retention. It also had bits of yeast particles floating in it. Holding the glass to my nose I smell a very sweet raisiny aroma that is coupled big a huge alcohol scent. The taste. ah yes my favorite thing about this beer. This beer had a huge taste of raisins that gave this beer of faulty impression that it was overlly sweet with a load of sugars left behind. However, the mouth feel was extremely dry. With the raisin taste I expected there to be a sugary build up on my tounge then I realized no this finishes extremely dry with none of the sugar build up. Even with the abv being high I really could not detect it. This made the drinkability a little too easy and a beer I would definitly buy again.

*With a little more aging the beer developes a much more nutty taste to it.

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Photo of peabody
4.32/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

While the taste was warm and clean and sweet and the color was beautiful, the sediment in the bottom of the glass threw me off. I can understand why it is so high on the BA list. Although I thought it was nice , I thought the Brasserie du Rocs was a better all around beer. This is a first review for me and looking at all the great reviews I appologize for not knowing all about what flavors I am tasting and smelling.

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Photo of Estarrio
4.23/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark blood red with an off-white, medium frothy head. Retention is moderate, giving way to full, yet watery lacings.

Aroma is malt, flowers and esters. The smells are not quite as intense as I had anticipated.

Well-carbonated, full-bodied brew. Taste is of sweet malt caramel, toffee, vanilla, dark fruits, slightly bitter hops and distinct alcohol presence throughout. The flavors are complex, as a quad should be. There is a big cherry taste that I found to be more distinct than any other flavor.

This beer fell slightly short of my high expectations, based on the Trappiste quads. I'm going to review again with an aged beer a fresh open mind.

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Photo of barefootbrewer
4.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured a deep amber color with a thick persistent head. The smell is a bit sweet with a nice touch of hops. The taste is incredibly well balanced and a great example of a Belgian beer. The mouthfeel is full and chewy with a slight orange like aftertaste that comes through after swallowed. As far as drinkability goes, this should be savored as often as possible!

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

There are so many flavors in this brew it is unreal. Bananas, cardimon, cinamon, dry ripened plums, maybe some cherries. An outstanding beer. Only problem with this one is, it has a very whiskey booziness that is noticeable. I also believe this drinks more like a belgian strong dark than a quad. Other than that, an outstanding brew. Nice lacing down the tulip. Can't drink too many, may put someone into an eternal sleep. Highly recommeded.

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Photo of kdmorse
4.67/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: 11.2 oz in a Duvel tulip glass. One thick finger of beige head topping the chocolate-colored body. Head slowly fades to a creamy film. Looks slightly murky and does not allow a ray of light through. Tiny bubbles are visible rushing to the surface near the edges. Lacing hangs around well.

S: Complex malt body. Lots of sweet fruit: apples, raisins, dates, pears, and anything else you could want. No need for hops here.

T: So many flavors merging into a nearly perfect final taste. Tart fruits meeting sweet caramel malt. More flavors than I can pick out and list. Alcohol is not as present as I would expect.

M/D: Mouthcoating and creamy. Carbonation is perfect, the tiniest of bubbles. As heavy and coating as it is, rinses very clean without harsh hops. Drinkability is unique. Alcohol seems very low. Very inviting, but the flavors are so complex that the tastebuds need a rest. Not a refreshing beer, but a perfect beer to sit and think with.

Notes: Not a huge fan of big Belgian beers (Belgian strong dark, dubbels, trippels, quads, etc.) but this is amazing. Will never be a nightly drink for me, but I could drink this every now and then for a special treat.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.59/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mury brown beer, like homemade apple cider. Thin head that faded quickly.

Nose is a complex Christmas spice cake. Ginger, nutmeg, and perhaps some unidentifiable berries too. Brown sugar.

Palate is brown sugary sweet with some cinnamony alcohol heat. Fig newtons. Whole wheat toast. Earthy. Wow.

Finish is tangy/sweet. I keep coming back to brown sugar.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.43/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, best-before date is 2008. I've had in my fridge at least a year. Served in a Watou Bernardus chalice. Pours out very dark brown, with a half-inch rocky head. Very good lacing on the glass. Nose is ripely vinous, spicy, with notes of licorice and plum. Good roasted malt flavor initially, with hints of many others, mocha, plum, caramalized apple, all blended wonderfully together. Bitterness is clearly apparent but balanced very well. Finishes with a fair acidity and a prolonged after-taste. Plenty of carbonation, but the body remains surprisingly light for the strength.

One of the greatest of the quadrupels.

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Photo of barleyman
4.6/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the brown glass, 1 pint, 9.4 oz., cork finish bottle into my straight sided tumbler. A most amazing two inch dark white head settles down to a rocky head that follows the beer down to a finish. A slightly hazy, dark mahogany color is a sight for my sore eyes. The smell is of bread, malt and candy sugar, raisins and clove. The taste adds notes of alcohol, prunes, with very little hop balance. The mouthfeel is quite a sublime experience, whether it be a quadrupel or as the label suggests, a dubbel, brown ale. This is the best beer I have ever tried. If I could afford to drink it everyday, I would. I understand Watou in the past brewed Westvleteren's beers for them. One could probably find Coors Lite a bit more drinkable. It don't get any better than this.

Just a thought,


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Photo of pemulis
4.6/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

picked up a 750ml after a recent visit to a belgian beer bar (sharp edge beer emporium in pittsburgh) and subsequent love affair with belgian beer. nice dark appearance and deep, dark aroma. taste was outstanding. very complex and rewarding. nicely texture, not too thick, but plenty of body. only reason i wouldn't give it higher drinkability was it's weight and high ABV. one of these days i'll get my hands on a westy, but in the meantime, i'll take this again and again.

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Photo of Fuller
4.47/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured a nice dark brown cloudy body with a big creamy tan head that had decent retention. Nice lacing left all around the tulip glass it was poured in. Strong scent of dark fruit and bread along with a hint of alcohol. The flavor is sugary sweet dark fruit with a good dose of warming alcohol. As it warms, more fruit taste and a slightly bitter, bready yeastiness comes through. It mixes well to smooth out the taste of the 10.5% alcohol. Rich and complex but perfectly balanced. An excellent beer that I will definitely go out of my way to drink again.

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Photo of JBStith
4.53/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

St Bernadus Abt 12 out of a 750 ml bottle...

A: Brilliant but hazy brown, ruby color. Pours with a volumous off-white head that disappates quick. Maintains a lacing of foam that coats the glass as I consume it.

S: Aromas of malt, wood and earth. Maybe a slight yeasty sourness creeps in as well. No apparent bitterness or hop character (just as it should be).

T: Taste starts off very clean and leads into malt with a slight presence of yeast. Alcohol creeps in at the end, though hidden fairly well, and finishes very warm. Absolutely delicious. All tastes lead to a very balance experience.

M&D: Medium mouthfeel. Malt is not sweet, but more earthy. The alcohol balances out the malt. Highly drinkable, though I'm sure the 10.5 abv will quickly reign me in.

Overall, this is a glorious beer. I cant wait to taste it again over time to see how it ages.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured very dark, hazy brown with an off-white head that was substantial to start and then faded rather quickly.

The smell is very bready with some spice notes and a sour, winey finish.

The taste is long and complex, with clove, peach, banana, dark rye bread, and winey flavors, and a faint but delicious sweetness underpinning it all, and beautifully integrated hops. The echo of clove and nutmeg persists long after you swallow.

The mouthfeel is bready, creamy, and silky- the high carbonation is just the slightest bit distracting.

Drinkability is excellent- the flavors are so intriguing that you want to keep downing these just to taste more nuances in the beer. Absolutely spectacular!

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.43/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1PT 9.4 fl. oz Poured (about 1/3) into a Goblet.

Deep brown with dark amber hues in direct light. Massive Frothy light-mocha colored head at least 3" thick! Dissipated to a constant 1/4 thick head that lasted until the end.

Smells of sweet malts, earthy green, flowery notes (hops), caramel.

Taste: Sweet and sour! Banana, caramel sweet malts, flowery-non bitter hops. Starts of sour and finishes with an incredible deep smokey taste. Mellows and enriches on the palate.

Full Body(legs last forever and even displays some nice design's after the beer is gone!!)Feels thick, chewy, very substantial, yet a flatness that makes this rather smooth. NO Bite from the 10 % ABV.Well hidden!! You would never figure it was 10%, the mellow complexity masks it's power pretty well understood.

Easily one of the best beer experiences I've had. The complexity and clearity of the taste is rather exceptional IMHO.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
4/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle that by the way inists that this is a "dubbel", and not a "quadrupel" , as it is listed here. Anyway, it left a beige one finger head, that eventually recedes to long lasting surface skim, and this has some decent lacing. Body was a dark brown. Looks good.

Smell - esters and phenols. Dried dark fruits, dark bread, and medicine. Tiny hint of abv.

Taste - plums, raisins, figs, and medicine. It's rather straightfoward, and really no more complicated than that, but it's very good and satisfying. There is a very slight bit of alcohol warmth , especially as the ale gets warmer, but it only adds a pleasing spicy finish on the taste, rather than harshness. Actually, at this level of abv, the alcohol, is very well hidden, a very good thing, as far as I'm concerned.

Mouthfeel - halfway between full and thin, it is smooth, and has medium carbonation.

Drinkability - this is good, and goes down well. However, the high abv would limit this to one 750 ml. serving per session.

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Photo of CH3CH2OH
4.65/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is exceptional. Pours a black, just short of a stout. Good head for a beer of this ABV. Smell the yeast, roasted malt, very faint hop. The taste is so well balanced that each taste shows something else. One taste might have a tangy sweetness, the next esters from a warm fermentation, the next, pleasant alcohol warmth. A pleasure to drink from a cold room temp all the way to room temperature. Wow. I think I'll have another.

Belgian Strong Dark Ale - Aroma 10; Appearance 3; Flavor 18; Mouthfeel 5; Overall Impression 9 (45/50).

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Photo of SupaCelt
4.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This has been in the box for at least an eon if not more. It is Independence Day. It is time for this one. The pour reveals a shade of amber that leans heavily toward purple, or garnet, or red. Quite a peach to look at really. A wonderfully appetizing head rolls up and holds as a slender slab of creamy froth. Most delicious. Fluffy whips of lace cling heavily and create a rolling topography around the outskirts of this event. A few drips of yeast have peppered a tight pattern in the midground of this head. It looks like a bit of nutmeg sprinkled atop a fine dessert. The nose is complex in dark fruit subtleties. It smells like a bit of fermented black cherry. A sort of sugar crusted candy sweetness booms within the honed confines of this brew as the malt structure is notably solid. I think the yeast has contributed heavily to the delight I derive from repeated and incessant sniffing. The smell is so much different. Wild and tart with an expressive gale of alcohol. The taste is darkly fruity, alcoholic and rootish. The black fruitiness and alcoholic characters lay on the back of a creamy mouthfeel. Unique and delicious. The drinkability is super good. The only problem is it ends up gone. The last few sips are a spectacle. This song has ended on a solid note. I can tell this one is from somewhere else. It is completely unlike...

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.42 out of 5 based on 9,427 ratings.
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