Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
2,738 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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,738 | Ratings: 9,258
Photo of jsausley
4.48/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a glass into a Belgian Ale stemmed glass.

A: Dark, cloudy brown with tinges of deep red and orange. Thick head, some sediment (in bottle) can sneak out in an aggressive pour.

S: Big roasted malt body with strong notes of caramel, honey, molasses and peat. Some spicy and hoppy finish.

T: Primarily dark roasted malt body with spice and sweet on top. Big caramel notes and hints of clove and candy. Some cherry nose and a somewhat hoppy finish. Fairly boozy but very balanced considering its ABV and OG.

M: Smooth and silky, somewhat carbonated, not overly sweet or bitter. No unfortunate aftertastes. Very balanced and enjoyable to drink.

O: Another fine Belgian. Not quite as good as the Trappistes beers, specifically the Rochefort 10, but nonetheless an excellent beer. I enjoyed the malty body and tinges of cherry candy in the finish. Nice color, a bit more sediment than I was expecting (got a little in my glass, oops!).

 945 characters

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

Finally got myself a bottle of this. This beer is amazing. As soon as the brew hit my crystal goblet all I said was, "Oh damn!" as a frothy tan head rose to the top. Excellent lacing on the glasss. What a great smell. Complex malts with fruity hints. The taste is so sweet and smooth. Very drinkable IMO. The 10%abv is very suddle. This may be one of the best beers I've ever tried.

 382 characters

Photo of MrBen
4.88/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had a smiliar experience with a brew about eight years ago, called St. Sixtus. While I don't think it was exactly the same beer, the graphic on the bottle was identical.

Anyway, here's a real winner. I dig the tripels and quadrupels, and this one is no exception. This is a big beer, but it's quite balanced and well-presented in all of the right places. At 10%, it really hides the raw alcohol nose well.

Pours very nicely, and the head hangs on. It's lacey and bubbly -- not chunky or rocky. Smell and color are super and the taste is out of this world. You get the dark roasted coffee, the nutty and buttery notes, the dark chocolate ... the works. This is beer that has depth *and* complexity. Highly recommended.

 725 characters

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

Appearance - very dark, orangish tones, head retention is not amazing.

Smell - sweet candy, sweetness is more apparent - spice is also pretty apparent and citrus...

Taste - a bit thin? Spiciest, there is a tartiness, grape, dark fruity sweetness. is slightly unpleasant for some reason, the thinness of other quads I am tasting.

Overall - not that impressive to be honest, I expected a lot better. Somewhat weak in taste - but well brewed. Essentially I think it should not be tasted next to the Rochefort in my opinion.

 524 characters

Photo of Mario61Aler
4.94/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

25 oz bottle
Yummy and wow.
S- is slightly hops, little malts with notes of citrus Opens with a slight pop,
A- pours very dark brown w/red highlites into a tulip glass develops a nice froth that leaves a small lace at the rim.
T- is slightly hops, light malts and citrus with a little alcohol
M- feel is smooth, starts medium to a slightly dry feel, no creaminess but finishes wonderfully with a staying taste of a GREAT beer.
O- overall my wife and I really enjoyed this one and will revisit it often, This one is great and you'd never go wrong bringing this to a dinner party or as a gift to special friends. An excellent example of the style

 647 characters

Photo of VoodooBear
4.18/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 330mL brown bottle, served in an oversized wine glass.

Appearance: It has a very dark brown color and develops a tan, two finger head. It has good retention, so it stays for a while and leaves some nice lacing.

Smell: The sweet malty smell is right up front with a strong alcohol note in the background.

Taste: Just as with the nose, there's a very dominant malt sweetness at the front, with some ripe fruit notes and a warming alcohol feel throughout that wraps things up very nicely.

Mouthfeel: It's full bodied, with average carbonation. Very smooth and creamy, it just feels balanced.

Overall: An incredible beer. This is a must-have.

 657 characters

Photo of Blindpigbiz
4.6/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smell: currants, toast and coriander hit the nose somewhat brazenly

Taste: currants, along with other dark fruits, and toast entwined themselves with marmalade, toffee, candied almonds, and sweet citrus. There are slight malty notes, but overall, this beer is full bodied, dark as hell, and delicious like sin

Pairs well with: pretentious/standard American burgers, BBQ, smoked Gouda, and spiced sausage

 405 characters

Photo of Trentonator
4.67/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful pour, two fingered head, great lacing. Smells and tastes exquisite, smooth and complex, almost like a fine wine. The box says "bringing heavenly nectar within reach". Well put. This beer is heavenly. I LOVED this beer. I bought a four pack and it set me back about 15 bucks, but I could drink this all day long.

 321 characters

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

This is a great beer and I'm pretty sure that to date this will be the highest rating I've given.

Poured at cellar temp into Westmalle chalice finding a nice 1.5cm frothy and light head over dark brew that smelled of sweet malts, floral, almost raisen and carmel-like nose to me. The head melts throughout the session but doesn't fully dissipate which is nice. Taste is again full of raisen/currant sweetness, malt, carmel later..floral notes and alcohol at the finish that more than hints at the higher %ABV. Mouthfeel is quite good, in my opinion very drinkable though obviously one to sip and savor.

 603 characters

Photo of fattychubs
4.58/5  rDev +3.6%
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 wouldnÂ’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.

 508 characters

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

Looking forward to this as it is my favorite beer style. Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into goblet.

Appearance is a luscious dark raisin/prune juice color and has a slight head and carbonation ring.

Smell is of delicious dark fruit/heavy brandy and whets my desire to sup.

Taste is very good, has many levels of flavors, high amount of sweetness but it does not upset the drinkability. Usual raisin, brown sugar notes for the style.

Mouthfeel is nice - carbonation is light but perfect for the beer. Silky and velvety, coats the mouth and tongue with its complexity.

Drinkability is very good but not sure if I could have more than one bottle in a sitting - rated the beer on one bottle per session.

 711 characters

Photo of loving44
4.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep brown with ruby highlights into a St. Bernardus goblet. Tight bubbly off-white head that clings to the glass and fades to 1/2". Looks special :D

Smells of rum soaked raisins, tart plum, chocolate, caramel, and alcohol. It smells thick if that makes any sense!

The first sip filled my mouth with rich malt, lots of dark fruits as the nose hinted: dark cherry, plum, raisin, lots of buttery essences, very sweet with a slight bitter hop aftertaste. This is followed by slight alcohol bitterness.

Mouthfeel is velvety smooth. The beer glides on a tight layer of bubbles and fills the mouth easily. Dangerously drinkable as well.

In the past the samples of this that I have had from the bottle have been dominated a little too much by the alcohol, while on tap versions have been a little on the sweet side. This is the best I have had of this variety to date, and I think the beer's temperature played a big part. do not serve this too cold!

In case you wondered ( and you probably didn't) This beer came from a St. Bernardus gift box which included four beers and a glass. Label code/date: 280710

 1,125 characters

Photo of KiltedCulinarian
4.05/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a branded goblet. Poured a deep brown in colour. Stained foamy head, leaving no lacing. Smells sweet and malty, with a hint of alcohol too, thanks to the 10%. Tastes light on the tongue, filling and developing in the back of the mouth. Malt presence becomes really prevalent on the finish. Classic trappist.

 317 characters

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

Had a bottle of this tonight at Pub Italia here in Ottawa.

Poured into a goblet with a nice thick head, gorgeous dark brown body. Smells like dark fruits with some spice. Tastes amazing; ripe dark fruits... picking up raisin/prune mostly, sweet caramel maltiness, and the classic Belgian yeast in the finish. The mouthfeel was nice and full, although the carbonation was a little high at first. Drinkability was surprising for such a strong beer. Really enjoyed drinking this, wish it was more readily available in Ontario.

 524 characters

Photo of greshdoghophead
3.74/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Tulip glass at House Wine bar
A- muddy tealike with minimal head

S-slight raisin, fig and fruit

T-underwhelmingly rich caramel and spicy

M-thinish with a nice buttery tone

O- it really does mask the ABV only mild heat on the backend, lacks robust complexity

First time tasting this highly rated example didnt blow me away
Other top rated brews often live up to their billing but high expectations were deflated

 416 characters

Photo of greg202stewart
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is one of my favorites. I had revisited this beer last night. As soon as I open a bottle I can see the beer is very lively. The head of the beer if nice light brown and has an aroma of spices. The taste is out of this world, very crisp and clean, with a hint of brown sugar. This is my favorite beer to sip on out of my St. Bernardus tulip. This beer leaves me feeling like I can walk on water.

 404 characters

Photo of Maakun
4.03/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark brown with hints of red. Nice compact head that lasts for a very long time in the Orval glass.

Smell is slightly sweet and not very strong. Dades, malt, maybe even some chocolate.

Taste is sweet, some dark bready malts, almost rye, dried dark fruits. A slightly burned touch. Then a nice touch of hops, some dark sugars, light yeasty bitterness.

Mouth is medium with medium carbonation. Feels very light for a 10% beer, but not very remarkable.

Overall this is good stuff, but the balance between the sweet and more bitter flavours could be better. Still very enjoyable.

 596 characters

Photo of princessbay710
4.69/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Dark dark brown body, beautiful, dense foam. One sip and my head is already feeling like "whoa". Taste is beyond clean, I was actually really scared try this one, thinking it would be a malty overload or something. Highly carbonated. It's hard for me to pin point what exactly I'm tasting, it kind of is lost in the carbonation. Overall something I would drink again.

As posted on the bottle, "Bringing heavenly nectar within reach" Cheers.

 442 characters

Photo of LMO1190
4.44/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

NIce dark copper color on pour. About 1 finger of head that disappears fast.

Smells like what a quad should. Lot's of dark fruit, plums , bubble gum. very nice.

Taste= very carbonated, plums, very malty. not overly sweet. you can't really taste the booze for being 10 percent.

This beer is a classic for a reason. it is the host HAD QUAD in this site. I personally think I would prefer the Trois Pistoles from Unibroue. But is this is still a superior brew. Cheers!!!!!!

 473 characters

Photo of thetachibro
4.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

i can honestly say this is one of the first quadrupels that i've actually sat down and enjoyed. it looked beautiful being poured into my snifter with a monsterous 2 in. foaming light tan head. It has a light brown color to it. A slightly fruity smell with a little hint of vanilla. This is probably one of the best balanced beers that i've tasted. I was expecting a big alcohol kick with the 10% but it was just right mixed with the malts. Pretty much perfect. i can sit down and drink a few of these. I might not feel too good in the morning but i wouldn't mind drinking it

 574 characters

Photo of jeffaz02t
4.68/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with lace that will NOT quit!

S: It has a sweet smell, but also has an alcohol bite. Hints of clove and LOTS of malt.

T: Cloves and malt. The finish is yeasty and sweet, then goes slightly dry. Alcohol is def. there, but does not take away from the taste of the beer.

M: Creamy, full bodied.

D: This is not a session beer. This is a beer I have once in a while to appreciate its goodness. I love this beer.

 427 characters

Photo of dolemite77
4.2/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brownish red, like old red wine... light head that gives way to lacing. Initial taste was overcarbonated, so I let it warm a bit in the goblet. Much better when tasted at cellar temp... aroma is boozy and fruity. Flavors are dried fruits and alcohol. After the beer warmed a bit, the mouthfeel was much better, and the flavors and aromas popped out a bit more. Minimal yeasty flavors, with some earthy notes on the end. Sweetness is about spot on for a dubble/quad.

 473 characters

Photo of mmahut
4.39/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark bronze with little carbonation and lazy head. Beautiful ring tears.

S: Wine-styled with sweet malt, dark fruits.

T: Well brewed. Sweet and spicy followed by an explosion of flavours. Malt, forest fruits and caramel.

M: Medium soft body with little of carbonation, making people happy (tm).

D: One of the best friend of beer lovers. Dangerously drinkable.

 366 characters

Photo of djbow
4.82/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark hazy brown like strong sweet tea. Quickly forming head of tight tan that form a rich two finger head. After the head dissipates beautiful lacing and alcohol legs take the stage.

S: Ripe dark fruit, dates, rasins, cherries and rich honey / malt sweetness balanced by a slight aroma of alcohol.

T: Just like its smell suggests, ripe dark fruit, dates, rasins, cherries and rich honey / malt sweetness balanced balanced a very slight alcohol taste. This beer tast is quite complex and I think if I try it agan (and I will) there will be more flavors that become apparent. Like most beers of this style, as it warms the taste becomes more pronounced.

M: Crisp, Champagne like feel that cleanses the pallet with each swallow. This is accomplished by the medium-high carbonation combined with a silky soft medium - heavy body.

O: This is truly a World-Class Belgian Quad. There are other more expensive and lauded Belgian Quads, but in my opinion St. Bernardus Abt 12 is on a nearly equal plane. Also, St. Bernardus is affordable and readily available. Finally, is important to not that this beer gets better with age and can be aged up to four years before consumption. Strap in, try this beer and get ready for a wonderful taste journey.

Glass = Chalice.

Temp = 51F.

 1,276 characters

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

I am simply overwhelmed with quality of this true Belgian classic. Thick persistent foam, beautiful color and thick smooth mouthfeel with little carbonation. The flavor/nose profile - WOW! Raisins, dried fruit, banana, clove, sourdough bread, grass and even soy sauce!! The flavors are developed- clear, bold assertive. I'm going to dream about this one.

 354 characters

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.42 out of 5 based on 9,258 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!