Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) - Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
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Ratings: 4,451 | Reviews: 1,603 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by LambicPentameter:
4.58/5 rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Was able to get my hands on this beer of legends thanks to the kindness of a trade with fellow BA Stevedore. Enjoyed out of the classic label-less 330 mL label-less brown bottle with the embossed ring around the neck and nothing but a cap to denote its origin. Cap is marked clearly with an enjoy by date of April 25th, 2016. Poured into a large brandy snifter.
Appearance - Gentle pour yields an effervescent khaki head of champagne-like bubbles about a finger and a half thick. Beneath the head lies a dark brown body that obscures the light, but when held up in front of a light source reveals a hue of ruddy maroon, like clay. With about an inch of liquid left in the bottle, the liquid coming out of the bottle turns from a light caramel brown to a cloudier tone from the sediment. The head dissipates fairly quickly, leaving a thick rim of foam around the edge of the glass, with a thin film of bubbles across about half of the surface, with a smattering of thicker bubbles in the middle. Lacing is sparse, but when I tilt the glass to look at the color, it leaves some nice legs that cling to the glass for quite awhile before slinking back down into the glass.
Smell - I could probably sit here and sniff at this one for awhile. Each new inhalation reveals slightly new aroma profiles. Initially, I got some faint astringency and booziness, but began to detect notes of vanilla, brown sugar, nutmeg, dark fruits--mostly raisin at this juncture. There is also a pleasant floral element to the smell, imparting a gentleness that I don't tend to expect from such a high ABV beer. Soft hints of alcoholic esters dance throughout, but don't overpower the more subtle notes.
Taste - Picking up where the hauntingly delicate aroma left off, the flavor is a bit more aggressive, but only by comparison to the aroma. It's far from a mouth-punch, but it does contain complexity upon complexity. Caramel malt, some faint roasty bitterness, plum, black currant, fig, vanilla, anise. Some spiciness that reminds me of rye as well, though I doubt there is any of that grain in this beer. Mind you, it's taking me sip upon sip--much like with the aroma--to get all these notes. One sip, the fig and vanilla will hit me, and on the next one, it's the considerable presence of the esters that punch through. Doing my best to let it warm up to capture every single bit of the massive amount of depth contained therein. In many ways, it reminds me of a fine brandy, but a little more earthy.
Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied, but lighter than I expected. Not sure where that expectation came from, but there you have it. Carbonation is moderate. Honestly, the thinness of the feel is the first major qualm I have with this beer.
Overall, a beer that surely lives up to the massive reputation that precedes it. I think my favorite aspect is the wonderfully complex, but admittedly subdued, aroma, but there truly isn't a negative component to this beer. Now to get my hands on some of the 8 and Blonde...
Serving type: bottle
12-26-2013 04:30:35 | More by LambicPentameter
More User Reviews:
4.83/5 rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
Cap dated April 20, 2009, making this about six years and three months old. Stored at cellar temp since it arrived in the States in 2006. Last one; I drank the most recent in the spring of 2008. 330ml bottle poured into a Westvleteren chalice. Dark copper with a minimal but dense and persistent beige head. Head dissipates into a very swirly crown. Very hazy with pieces of sediment (unsurprising due to the age) floating around, despite my careful attempts to avoid pouring them.
Massive, complex bouquet. Huge alcohol and esters. Rum-like fusels with a ton of fruit flavors; cherry, plum, raisin, dark berries. Medicinal and slightly spicy phenols. Toffee, bready, and caramel malts and candi sugar. Molasses. Slightly nutty.
The flavor is just as ridiculously complex as the nose, but a little more subdued. Soft, sweet candi sugar combines with a ton of fruity esters. The cherries give it almost a little vinous flavor, but it combines with dates and raisins. The malts are big and sweet and indicating toffee and caramel(along with the candi sugar), but not even remotely close to cloying. Warmth from the alcohol brings about an excellent balance, and the yeasty esters and phenols give it a little bit of sharpness.
Moderately carbonated; it may have dropped after six years in the bottle. Medium body, but it stands up to the alcohol and massive flavor profile. The alcohol gives it a more substantial feel and some warmth, but it is still fairly smooth.
For the first few years I was on this site, it was considered the Holy Grail beer. I have drank it before but never rated it, but this one is utterly phenomenal. Even if not the best beer in the world, it lives up to its hype. Apparently six years isn't too long to age it either. Absolutely wonderful and I hope I get the chance to drink another one of these again.
Serving type: bottle
07-22-2014 18:42:58 | More by Phocion
4.88/5 rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5
Nice hiss and carbon smoke on open.
Effervescent like champagne as it hits your tongue, then melts into figs, raisins, grapes, chocolate... no alcohol on it at all.
For a quad, this is superb, as expected.
**When I got this, I wasn't expecting it to live up to the hype. In all honesty, this surpassed all the hype and expectations. It's a fantastic beer.
Serving type: bottle
07-22-2014 16:36:01 | More by bbarclay
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 4,451 ratings.