St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

BA SCORE
98
world-class
9,478 Ratings
St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Belgium
sintbernardus.be

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
9,478
Reviews:
2,784
Avg:
4.42
pDev:
9.5%
 
 
Wants:
766
Gots:
2,570
For Trade:
49
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 9,478 |  Reviews: 2,784
Photo of Rifugium
4.63/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First had: on tap at Eulogy, Philly, PA

Most enthusiasts know and love this beer, as do I. Many said enthusiasts also prefer this beer to such heavy hitters as Rochefort 10 and Westvleteren 12. Well, it's certainly more obtainable than the latter, and cheaper than the former, but as far as being better, I supposed that's a matter of personal taste.

Pours--preferably into a chalice, and more preferably into a signature chalice--a deep carameled mahogany color with a firm, creamy half inch of ivory head that retains through the session, and leaves beautiful lacing. When you see a beer presented like this, it's just...this is what beer is supposed to look like. This is craftmanship. Aroma is rich with dark sugars, dark fruits, and spicy Belgian yeast. Taste of toasted bread, with lots of brown sugar up front, along with dark dried fruits--raisins, figs, plums--caramel, tobacco, almond, subtle hop spiciness, and an ubiquitous alcohol bite. Not heavy, but full-bodied, and highly drinkable.

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Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -9.5%

Photo of mendvicdog
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of dcmchew
4.48/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best Before: 12 07 12.

Appearance: Pours a near opaque, dark brown body with a full, cascading, and lasting, ivory-colored head. Sea foam lacing on the way down.

Smell: Aromatic blend of stewed, spiced fruit, liqueur, and chopped up chocolate cookies and candy bars.

Taste: First and foremost, it's fruity, tasting of golden raisins, plum juice, and candied figs. Then you get some maltiness, mainly dark chocolate and nutty caramel. Hit of dark candi sugar. Not really much in the way of hops here. Touch of clove and nutmeg. Sip of creme de cocoa. Maybe a bit of fresh, oily orange zest. Finishes malty, sweet, and rather warming.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Moderately carbonated.

Drinkability: Paired very well with some Pinback mp3's (particularly "Tripoli" and "Seville"). Full of flavor, rich complexities, and yet it's easily accessible and generally readily available from coast to coast. What's not the like? Although, I will say, I dug that 'Special Edition' a bit more. That's just me, though!

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Photo of billab914
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my Westvleteren chalice. Gushed a little as I opened it but was able to get it into the glass in time. Poured brown in color with a frothy and bubbly off-white head. Excellent head retention and moderate lacing.

The aroma has a sweet, malty, caramel, chocolate, dark fruit aroma to it. Very nice and complex, not too dark for the style either. A little yeast flavors round out the nose.

The taste is full dark fruit and malty sweet goodness. It has some notes of caramel, brown sugar, chocolate, figs, plums and bread. Very nice and complex tasting, probably the best of the style I've had so far.

The mouthfeel is on the thicker side and carbonation is moderate to below average. Drinkability is good, it's a great tasting beer for the style and abv. Overall an excellent beer and one worth all of it's praise.

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Photo of russpowell
4.56/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Date of 26 08 10. Pours burgundy/chestnut (a hazy red when held to the light) with 2+ fingers of pillowy tan colored head. Great lacing & head retention

S: Fruitty & bready with hints of chocolate

T: Fruitty, cakey with hints of plum liquor up front. Raisins & chocolate follow. Oaky dryness, leather and a hint of fruitcake settle in as this warms. Earthy grainyness and hops are there as well. Cinamon, apple pie, warming boozeyness. a tinge of tobacco, figs, dates, bitterness & dryness all show up in the finish. Super complex & satisfying

MF: Medium/heavy bodied, vinous & slightly carbonated

Drinks too easy. I believe this would shine with beef or Christmas pudding. At $3 for a 300ml bottle, a steal!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Glazed persimmon orange with a fine sprinkling of yeast drifting downward against the tide of uprushing carbonation. The wheat toast colored crown is a firmly creamy, rocky, sticky masterpiece of the sort that only Belgians seem able to create. What a fantastic way to start.

Does Brouwerij St. Bernardus (and do other Belgian breweries) recognize the quadrupel style, or do they consider Abt 12 to be a high-ABV dubbel? The silk-screened label on the 750 indicates that this ale is 'brewed in the classic Dubbel style'.

The aroma isn't as dark as some... or as dark as expected. There's more steely caramel, earth and toast than anything even remotely resembling chocolate or roasted malt. It's also more medium fruity than dark fruity. A wonderful clove-and-pepper yeast-derived spiciness pulls it all together in beautiful fashion.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 easily deserves its reputation as one of the world's finest beers. It delivers the same seamless quality, mind-boggling complexity and compulsive drinkability as the rest of their outstanding lineup. Along with Brouwerij Het Anker, these guys are my favorite Belgian brewery.

This flagship ale really does taste more like a BSDA or a big dubbel than most quadrupels. Specifics include well-toasted brown bread, steely caramel, unsweet figs, earthy tobacco, ground clove and black pepper. What was a solid 4.5 during the first few ounces is now a much-deserved 5.0 as the middle of the bottle is breached.

Warming brings greater flavor intensity, several more flavor facets, and a more complete melding of flavors. We're now talking 'gold standard' for the style. My tongue registers the ABV as 8.5% while my brain is beginning to feel the Full Monty. Time to start sipping rather than greedily gulping.

This big bottle must be fairly fresh (estimated age is barely more than one year) because a surprising amount of hop bitterness is still present. Sweeter would be fine, but I like it just the way it is. Aging this beauty for 15 years, as the label suggests is possible, doesn't seem like such a great idea.

The body/mouthfeel isn't far from perfection. It's lighter than most triple-digit ABV ales, but heavier probably wouldn't have worked as well. The smooth-edged creaminess can't be faulted. Nor can the ideal amount and well-integrated feel of the carbonation.

Abt 12 is a true classic that deserves mention whenever the topic turns to the best beers on the planet. Even though Tripel is the finest ale that St. Bernardus has to offer, this big brew isn't far behind. It's also better (and more widely available) than either Trappistes Rochefort 10 or Westveleteren 12.

 2,642 characters

Photo of drewone
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

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

A big thanks to DmanGTR for sending this in my very first trade! Now consuming it for my one year anniversary on BA!

750 ml bottle poured into a DFH signature glass

A: Pours a ruby/brown color, slightly hazy with one finger of off white head. Great retention, lasting for the entire time I drank this beer. Left some very pretty lacing down the sides.

S: Lots of dark fruits, some cherries, plums, and some bruised apples. Also a little bit of vanilla and a little bit of spice.

T: Nice darker fruit flavor, raisins, a little bit of cherry, some yeast, and a little bit of spice. As it warms an apple flavor develops.

M: Medium bodied, but slightly lighter than expected. Nice carbonation.

O: Really good beer, very impressed. This is my first quad and I think it will be a style that I seek out more. Really easy drinking.

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

Brown, muddy look with beige head. Aroma is intense, with lots of brown sugar but also somehow fresh. Taste is balanced at first, with some spices, dark sugar taste but without the sweetness. It slowly builds up to a bittersweet finish. Quite easy to drink for 10% ABV but the alcohol is a bit present in the taste. Carbonation is on the high side, something I don't really enjoy for high ABV beers. Overall it's a good representation of the style but not really my type of beer.

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Photo of duceswild
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of smcolw
3.53/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy with LOTS of suspended yeast clumps. Some light shines through. Nice head with good lace after each sip.

Earthy and slightly sweet aroma. Low level of Belgian yeast and hop.

Rich and creamy, the alcohol is ever-present. A little oily in the body. The aftertaste reminds me of a swallow of brandy. The flavor has some hard-stone fruit tones, such as plum and cherry.

The story of this beer is the alcohol, which I find distracting. IMHO, the dilemma with Quads is that they are made extreme without placing stronger flavors in the brew (like darker malts or more hops). So, I find these to be a little too one-dimensional.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep brown with a huge head and laced up the whole bottle. Smell was very complex. Malty, berry, fruity smell. A tiny bit of alcohol, very strong smell. Taste was the smae, Very very complex, every sip gave a different flavor it seemed, simply wonderful. Very drinkable too. This was my first try of this wonderful brew and I must say it completly lived up to the hype. This was really really wonderful to drink, and really seemed to get better each time I sipped!

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

Picked this bottle up at Capone's, decanted the corked and caged brown 750ml into a goblet.
A - A deep caramel brown with a medium tan head that has good retention.

S - Malty w/ a sweet dry scent and supple soft fruit odors.

M - A snap of carbonation w/ a spicy yeast note and slightly dry nutty textures.

T - A great smooth caramel and toasted malt taste combines w/ a candy-like nutty taste. A dry effortless nuance of dates and vanilla flavor that hints at candy sugar. The abv is well masked and the subtle sweetness makes you want to sip at it. The smooth dry malt combines w/ a subtle fusel alcohol tinge as it warms with a fig-like sweetness. The flavor is very subdued, yet well balanced and interesting.

D - An fantastic quad, that is highly drinkable for the 10% that it is. Soft, smooth and light in body, never cloying. Wonderful in every sense, a true taste delight.

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Photo of Jason
4.4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: The glass is rimming with lace, hazed brown colour gives the appearance some depth.

Smell: A spike of clove, layers of ripe fruit and malt sweetness are what the aroma is all about.

Taste: Clove is certain to be the first flavour you taste as it rides the wave of sweetness, big brown sugar flavour with some cake like malty qualities. Some buttery and phenolic flavours shoot to the palate in the middle to make it a bit juicy. Some earth and carob flavours in the mix. Alcohol is a little evident, it hiding under the sweetness right behind the fruity flavour that soon flare into esters and mild solvent flavours. Finishes sweet and warming.

Mouthfeel: Exceedingly smooth with a creamy full body after the smoothness moves through.

Drinkability & Notes: I’d have no problem sipping this all night long. A heavenly abbey ale that goes down as one of the best for me.

Thanks to D & V International for the sample. http://www.specialtybeer.com

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Photo of atrocity
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of smithj4
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of Gagnonsux
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of mdfb79
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - Pours a darker brown color with 2 fingers of an off white foam with decent retention and moderate carbonation.

s - Smells of yeast, some sweet fruits and malts, maybe a little alcohol.

t - Tastes of sweet malts, some apples/fruit, bread, yeast, and a tiny bit of alcohol which becomes more apparent in the aftertaste.

m - I would say a medium body that is smooth and not very carbonated.

d - Overall I thought this was a very good Belgian quad. It smelled and tasted great, and was a very nice, smooth balance between sweeter malts and bread/yeast. Would love to have this again, the only thing aganist it might be that the 10.5% ABV will limit the amount you'd have in one night.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.35/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The pour is a cloudy dark mahogany color without much head to speak of.

S: Good but not great aromas of sweet malt, caramel, and yeast. There might be a touch of alcohol as well.

T: I was a bit let down by the aroma, but the flavor does quite well to redeem itself. A slight warming feel of alcohol goes well with some dark fruits and sweet, caramel malt. The yeast is not as quite prominent as many other Belgian beers.

M: Even with the high level of carbonation, the body is still quite full.

D: The alcohol makes itself known more in terms of the subtle warmth it provides the beer but isn't aggressive by any means. The flavors are sweet but balanced and are helped out by the carbonation.

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Photo of orangesol
4.13/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at Shady McGrady's into a snifter.

A - Pours deep brown with a thick cap of one finger tall white head, dissipating down to a light film, leaving thin webs of lacing down the glass.

S - Very strong smell overall. Hints of sweet malt, dry yeast, strong booze, dark fruits, and a touch of caramel sweetness. The booze is ever present and seems to only get stronger as the beer begins to warm.

T - Now we are talking. Still plenty of warming alcohol but it is tempered with hints of sweet malts, dark fruits, dry Belgian yeast, and some light spice. Finish is a mix of sweetness and warming booze. Very nice beer overall, just a touch too boozy for my liking.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Sweet, boozy, feel with most of it lingering throughout the finish.

D - Pretty good. I like quad's, and this one is no different, but they really wear on me over the course of the glass. The combo of high price, $8 for this snifter...ouch!, and the strong booze really bring the drinkability down.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.08/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep mahogany amber. Rocky head with a hyper-variable bubble consistency and low lace.

S - Mild, almost wheat-like, malt and a honey scented booze. Just a touch of sweet spice.

T - Crazy profile. Custard, yellow raisins, coriander, pink peppercorn. Fresh plum. Sweet prosecco tones mid profile. Banana and oak on the back end.

M - Well carbonated (our cork hit the ceiling the second we took the cage off). Soft, medium body. Lightly dry finish.

O - A great beer to sip and savor.

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

A half finger's worth of light-tan head with decent retention. Color was a deep brown with ruby highlights. Nose was dried dark fruits (prunes, raisins, blackberries). Mouthfeel was full with some heat and a fruity sweetness. Finish was juicy, sweet, raisiny. Why did I let The Chauffeur talk me into this? Too good to be true.

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Photo of MarkyMOD
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.42 out of 5 based on 9,478 ratings.
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