St. Bernardus Abt 12, a Quadrupel by Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV blends dark and tree fruits, various spices with pumpernickel and rye.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 is a Belgian Quadrupel brewed by Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV. For the purposes of this craft beer review, the ale was served in a snifter from a 750 ml bottle.

Packaging art for the St. Bernardus Abt 12 by Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Packaging art for the St. Bernardus Abt 12 by Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

What You Need to Know

The St. Bernardus Abt 12 is the flagship beer of the St. Bernardus Brewery and its recipe hasn’t changed since its inception in 1946. Today, this classic Quad is regarded as one of the finest beers in the world. So is it really? Well, let’s get to the review.


The ale pours an opaque chestnut brown with no light showing through. It’s topped by a thick cap of frothy tan-colored foam that shows good retention. A smattering of residue and a thin soapy collar rings the glass during consumption.

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Its aroma is sugary sweet with a scent of raisin and fig. A touch of cherry appears as the beer warms.


The palate has a slightly earthy draw with flavors of pumpernickel and tea. The taste sweetens rapidly with brown sugar, prune, and transitions to notes of pear and apple. Its dry finish is spiced with clove, coriander, and pepper. A bready malt base of rye and pumpernickel tie the palate together.

Label art for the St. Bernardus Abt 12 by Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Label art for the St. Bernardus Abt 12 by Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV


Its feel is creamy on the draw that becomes lively on the tongue with its effervescence. Its body is medium-full with moderately-high carbonation. Finishes somewhat warm and dry from the alcohol.


The St. Bernardus Abt 12 is an excellent representation of a Quad. The head retention is fine but could be better. Its aroma is pleasant and its feel is superb. But it’s the palate that’s the real star. Besides being so flavorful and complex, what’s particularly impressive about this brew is how it’s easily quaffed. It’s a ten-percenter but its alcohol is masked quite well. This Quad drinks lighter than it is and it’s surprising how quickly this boozy treat disappears. Nothing new to those who have been enjoying this Quad for years.

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