Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) - Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
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Ratings: 4,469 | Reviews: 1,603 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by JudgeRoughneck:
4.71/5 rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75
AROMA - very refined dried cherry, light and lean malty aroma with a nutty dimension, ever so slight hint of alcohol, a whisp of banana, another aroma which is moderate in intensity and could be diacetyl, caramel malt, or a combination of the two -( pleasant), bass notes of rum-raisin, all coming together to give a wonderful character of warm banana bread, lightly peppery, fresh plum skin, perhaps a faint herbal hop aroma, - this all comes off spectacularly fresh, clean ,and in balance. This is a bouquet which is noticeable upon quaffing but hardly leaps out of the glass. The overall intensity of the aroma is moderately-strong at best and very harmonious. The malt and fermentation elements stand out most and speak no louder than a robust dopplebock might.
APPEARANCE- This is a really beautiful beer. It is stark crystal clear with a gorgeous deep-ruby hue, and modest (less than one finger), but healthy and persistent off-white head. It gently gives up sparkling-wine style carbonation without being foamy or difficult to manage (3.5 volumes?). Wide legs that creep down the glass at a snail's pace.
FLAVOR- A bit simpler than the aroma. Overall impression is a lightly peppery alcohol keeping a creamy caramel/nugat malt base lively on the palate with a soft nut and vanilla finish. Malt character takes on a brown sugar/ light molasses character as sample warms. Fresh cherry, plum, red apple, red grape, and raisin notes tumble across the palate, but you must really focus to corner them. Banana notes in the aroma are nowhere to be found until sample hits room temp. No diacetyl. Barely perceptible hop bitterness that does not linger. Moderately strong peppery/ spicy quality is probably some combo of phenols, alcohol, and possibly hops, but it is not possible to determine where one begins and the other ends. Moderate malts sweetness is a big player in the balance but does not dominate impression.
MOUTHFEEL- medium-full bodied at most with a lively but never fizzy carbonation. The peppery alcohol character does grow to moderate or moderately-strong as you work through the glass, but never gets hot. Really overall a very lithe and graceful beer considering its size. I would never call it thick, slick, sticky or sweet, but would also never call it dry.
OVERALL- This is not only an extraordinarily well-made beer, but really quintessentially "Trappist". I have now sampled beer from every Trappist brewery and I don't know if it is for better or worse that most will try this one last because it makes you realize what the other breweries are aiming at. It has that semi-sweet (never dry, never cloying, but teasing you with moments of both), lightly tangy quality that must surely come from the sugar usage. Like all great strong beers, it is dangerously drinkable and unlike so many US big beers or "extreme" beers, it is not intense in any regard really. The alcohol comes on a bit strong at times, and so it is possible that aging this beer might be wise, but I'd hate to lose the wonderfully fresh malt and ester qualities that really make it sparkle. Belgian and Trappist beer fans would do well to seek this out, but those looking to get their minds blown by an intense beer would do better to spend their time and money pursuing something state-side.
Serving type: bottle
09-24-2013 08:53:24 | More by JudgeRoughneck
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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 4,469 ratings.