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St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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2,744 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: 2,744 | Ratings: 9,297
Photo of jwc215
4.53/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yesterday, I had the pint corked bottle. Today I had the 11.2 oz. bottle.
Poured into chalice.
It poured brown with a thick, creamy two-finger off-white head that after a minute or so went to half the size and remained there - just as a great beer's head should do. Wonderful to look at!
This beer has been reviewed so many times - I just want to say what impressed me the most - the spices and fruitiness was very creamy - some of the wonderful tastes were almost lost in the creaminess. It was a wonderful sipping beer - The alcohol warmed the body at the end - This was a great beer - similar to the trappist ales - but creamier, and with a little bite at the end. I don't know - IMO - that it was an all "5" beer - but, very close - if 4.75's could be given - I would have given it that. It was truly a pleasure.

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Photo of tdm168
4.05/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brownish amber with 1" of off white head that has great retention. The nose has notes of bread, caramel, clove, and yeast. The taste is rich caramel, slightly bitter, spicy, and slightly boozy. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, warm, and well carbonated.

The alcohol is present and adds a great amount of warmth making this one a sipper. The flavor is solid and the subtleties are there. It's probably one of my favorite St. Bernardus brews.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.52/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a chalice/goblet.

Big feeling pop off the cork, releasing a good blast of yeast smell. Very large head that is light tan off the pour, takes much time to recede, with some tightness and retention. Gorgeous clear indian red body. Leaves a good small puck and collar while drinking also.

Smell is kind of small. Sensing some yeast , not much really going on here, a small hint of gaseous carbonation. Kind of disappointing. This isn't very open it seems. Kind of powdery too.

Taste is much improved. Small malty tones but also a spicey almost phenolic tasting hop. This is different, a feel of gaseous carbonation and malt backbone. This is not fruity tasting or sweet at all, it's kind of neat like that very unexpected. Has a nice warming pit stomach feeling too, but feels a little wet also and slight hint of tonic water taste and prickliness.

Overall it's interesting but I was expecting a bigger nose on this. It does feel very much like a sipper that's for sure. Checking my notes and re-examining the bottle says "dubbel" and this feels more like one, but probably not a fav.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.87/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The jovial monk on the label seems the perfect host, holding his chalice aloft, and, after drinking down this deliriously delectable ale, who can argue his happiness? Not I, not I!!

Color is a dark russet brown, and head is enormous, majestic, utterly awesome!

Aroma hits you right off: earthy, nutty, and not merely deep, but cavernous. Incredibly complex, and utterly gorgeous: cocoa,plum, port wine, medicine, and a very apparent alcoholic character, plus anise, pepper, and more, so much more!

On first sip, I can't help but think that "complexity" is a shallow term with which to circumscribe the many aspects of this amazing brew. So much to contend with, so much going on!
I need to take a breath and reel from the feeling, and seek relief from the rush! Extraordinary!

Integration is perfect: there are hops aplenty, and massive malt, but nothing sticks out above or beyond, it all joins forces to create this amazing masterpiece.

Was this only 10%? Oh, they must be happy monks, indeed!

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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 WoodBrew
4.21/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The St. Bernardus Abt 12 is a solid drinkable quad. Not my favorite style....but definitely like this one. It poured a clear (I made sure not to get any sediment in my glass) Deep copper with fizzy white head that did not leave a lace. The scent had hints of apricot and grape. The taste was Belgian in style but was smooth. Fruit certainly present. The Mouthfeel was medium in body with good carbonation. Overall it's definitely worth a try.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on-tap and served in a chalice, the beer is an opaque, rich, blood-brown coloring with a slight filmy sparsely coating the surface. Aromas are rich and complex, with notes of licorice, molasses, and slight pepper and spicing. The flavors are rich and deep, with a blend of plum, date, and raisin on a crisp, well carbonated body. The alcohol gives a nod here and there, highlighting the palate. Biscuit and bready flavors throughout balance the other characteristics, and the overall malt profile is complex and delicious. At any given time you can get notes of caramel, toffee, molasses, old world fruits, and even some buttery tones. The aftertaste is creamy sweet and rich, almost like cake batter. The finish, remarkably, is kept light by the carbonation, and leaves the palate fairly clean. Great beer.

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Photo of Billolick
4.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap, (gotta love the Blind Tiger!) This gem poured dark brown, and murky. minimal head, but leaves well developed lacing. Multiple layers of flavor going on here, fruity, malty, yeasty. complex and intriguing, warrming but not overpowering in strength, body or flavor. the genius here is that its so drinkable. seek out savor and enjoy.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.23/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked bottle without a freshness date into a St. Bernadus goblet. Beer is brown, high haze, white head made up of smallish bubbles, lacing on glass, carbonation mild.

Aroma is very weak and subtle. Some sweetness a little alcohol, no hops or roast.

Beer is full bodied and smooth. Yeasty flavor, tons of malt, some sweetness from the malt / alcohol. This is a really good beer. It is not as good as I remember though. I feel like I've had better quads to date. I will try it again and review it again in the future, even though I'm giving it a good review now, it didn't live up to my memory.

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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 stevoj
4.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A reputation well deserved. Smooth and rich, with beautiful flavor. Deep brown color with thick fluffy head ( four fingers). Taste stays with you on the palate. Drinkable and very enjoyable. Excellent!

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.9/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: poured a poopy brown with light brown highlights and a half finger head that died quick and left good lacing.

S: sweet malts, pear, and booze hit me up front with hints of leather and brown sugar.

T: pears sweet malts and booze stirke first on the palate with brown sugar and belgian yeast characteristics.

M: medium to full body with light carbonation with a sweet boozy finish.

D: pretty good quad but its a little on the swwet side. It drinks decent but starts to taste like leather as it warms up.

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Photo of Tone
4.21/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy, amber color. 1/5 inch head of a white color. Decent retention and decent lacing. Smells of yeast, sweet malt, alcohol, tart malt, and citrus (raspberry?). Fits the style of a Quadruple. Mouth feel is slightly smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of tart malt, sweet malt, yeast, dark citrus, and slight alcohol. Overall, a good aroma, mouth feel, and body.

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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.

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Photo of tempest
4.42/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

You know, the last couple times I've had this beer it was on tap and I found it sweet and fruity, but unimpressive. The bottle I had, however, was damn good.

Poured into a red wine glass, its a slightly hazy brown and light tan head. Rich smell of dark fruit malts that gives way to the cherries and blackberries in the flavors that roll over your tongue with a mellow caramel. It finishes with a grassy hops note that stands up to the big malts and adds a wonderful balance. This bottle ran out too quickly.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.72/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Used a snifter glass for this one. Poured a smokey looking amber with an overall rust tinge. Big head, rocky, foams up past the rim but doesn't drop over. Very nice looking.
Smell of soft fruit; over ripe banana, raisin, plum and touch of passion fruit. The malts give a sweetness to the nose, a bit sticky. I love it.
Taste; mostly earthy flavors. Dark plum, soft wood and leather. As strange as that sounds, it is wonderful. The alcohol is nicely hidden.
Very good feel to it, makes drinking it very easy. Perhaps a bit rich to power down two of these (bombers), but one is a treat.

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

Pours a hazy brown color with a thin head that lasted through half of the session. Lacing developed. Aroma was of malt, caramel, yeast, and fruit tones.

This was a full flavored ale, as malt, caramel, and fruit flavors were strong. Smooth creaminess on the tongue when you first sip it, then the carbonation level caused a crisp finish. Medium bodied and alcohol levels were well hidden, making this extremely drinkable. One of the top Belgian ales I have tried.

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Photo of WesWes
4.27/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a deep dark brown/black color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a nice malty scent with a fruity Belgian yeast aroma. It boasts of pale and crystal malts; very complex. The taste is good. It has a very smooth and rich malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes warm and fruity. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very enjoyable brew with loads of flavor and aroma; a good drinker.

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

Serve at 52-56 degrees F, says the label of the bottle. If it's a Quadrupel that's brewed in Belgium by monks, do what the label says! But now I must wait after pulling it from the fridge to warm it up. Well, time to pop the cap and give it a ride:

Poured into a chalice, it looks like a darker shade of liquid caramel. Has a nice soapy head that eventually dies and morphs into a creamy head (a la nitro stout). Smell is alcoholic, chocolatey, a touch of caramel, peppery fruit juice, and syrupy. Taste is more of the same, but the spice isn't as rough. Some date flavors poke through, but just as the flavors start to get at you, the alcohol pushes it back down. It has a creamy feel that finishes dry with bready flavors, but the latter is incredibly uplifting, pleasuring you palate and brain by making it so easy to take more and more sips.

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Photo of liamt07
4.4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from the LCBO, shared as part of the QuadShowdown. 330ml into a tulip, 2010 vintage.

Pours a reddish brown, with a creamy tan head. Great head, with modest retention, and great lacing. Good clarity in the body. Nose has some soft fruits, brown sugar, alcohol soaked fruits, a touch of spice and some vinous notes. Soft fruitiness is again found in the flavour, lightly sugary, a touch of earth, caramel. Some sweetness and a bit of dryness in the finish. Soft, smooth and gentle carbonation, fills the mouth exceptionally. An awesome quad, great flavours and the mouthfeel make this exceptional.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.6/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from 12/2010 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a dark red/orange amber. Small head leaving a light ring and slight lacing. Sweet aroma of malt and dark fruit. Dark fruit, sweet malt and light Belgian spicing. Caramel and malt finish. Excellent body, mouth feel and flavor. A world class quadrupel.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.37/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a hazy medium brown color with a tan head. The head appears very fluffy and soft. The aroma is alcohol, dark fruit, brown sugar, yeast and candi-sugar. The beer smells great. The flavor is a lot of dark fruit (plums and raisins) with some brown sugar, candi-sugar, yeast and alcohol. Medium-thick, very creamy mouthfeel and soft carbonation. This is what a quadrupel is supposed to taste like.

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

This bottle is roughly a year old and was poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a snifter. This beer poured a dark and murky, raisin brown with a three finger, beautiful beige foamy head that just sat atop the brew for about five minutes. It looks like a Root Beer float. The smell is very soft and exceptionally smooth. It is pure yeast and sooo bready with very light and subtle sweet malt. The flavor is kind of hard to describe. Let me begin by saying that it is amazing. It's kind of funky and has light spicyness to it. It's very yeasty and full of bready malt. There is a light presence of alcohol but it's every so slight. Wow. This is one of the smoothest beers I've ever had. It tingles the palate initially before melting in your mouth. It's perfect as far as mouthfeel goes. It's also very, very drinkable. The alcohol is well hidden and all aspects of the Abt 12 are well rounded and complex. This is definitely world class. I'm glad I could try this before my Westy 12, which I'm saving. I've been told that their recipes are near identical and this one didn't let me down at all. Excellent, excellent brew.

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

Dated 19 01 11

Poured into a Unibroue Chalice, a clear dark golden/amber color, nice carbonation, nice 1.5 finger creamy tan head which hangs around for quite sometime, tons of sticky lacing around with some foamy puddles. The nose is sweet malty, with nice scents of grapes, raisins, figs, and prunes. The taste is pretty carbonated, sweet/malty, slightly tart/tangy, nice dry finish. The alcohol is hidden very well. Medium body, a nice complex brew. Very drinkable, a truly awesome beer. Glad it is more readily available, than say a Westy 12.

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

11.2oz bottle into a St. Bernardus Tulip late at night. Review numero 550.

Bernie 12, rustic burnt wood brown and spots of faded orange around the sides. Parts of the liquid look darker than others while the upper half has a dirty tap water thing going for it, I like it. Floating particles of Belgium yeast among other things in suspension. Even with the aggressive pour the yield of dark ivory foam comes to 1/2 an inch. Old cobweb lacing that does not stick at all. I expected a bumpier head with mountain peaks.

Twelves' nose is muted in distance with a less than pungent effect but what's there is good, you just gotta sniff it out. Possibly the best nose out of all the Belgium Quad's IMO, Bernie spits forth sweet sugar out the ying yang with a candi like sweetness. Turbinado sugar, plums, slight caramel/toffee mix, toasted malt, more dark fruit, and more suga on top. Some melted chocolate in the finish.

12 is well rounded and while the sweet sugar is very prevalent in the nose, it does not make for a cloying mess, this melds almost perfectly. Candi sugar graciously sprinkled on top of a bed of plums with caramel covered apple slices. This is very light on the raisins and I'm grateful. Toasted malt and the huge amount of yeast and particles made for a bready/doughy. Did I mention that the 10.5% does not come into play at all, this drinks more like 6.8%.

The feel is smooth like baby skin with a sweet start, a fruity middle, and a yeasty ending, I might as well call it a 'happy ending' cause the alcohol presence is zilch. Not hot at all, it's actually amazing. I thought I was drinking iced tea in the summer. The feel is a strong medium with just enough carb to not linger, but enough to showcase the flavors.

Let's face it, everytime I have a small bottle of this, I always kick myself for not getting the 750ml version for two reasons, one being that I just have a craving for more and this is easy drinking. Two being that there is no way to not get the dregs/yeast of a small bottle into your glass, trust me, I've tried on several occasions. I would like to fill two snifters of 12, the 1st being a clean quad, with the 2nd being a dirty pour, I expect the differences to be slight but noticeable.

This is a beer that everybody needs to try once. I try to have at least two every year. This may be my favorite out of the St. Bernardus lineup but it's in a tight race with the Pator 8, that stuff is also excellent.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.42 out of 5 based on 9,297 ratings.
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