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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) - Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)

Not Rated.
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

4,942 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,942
Reviews: 1,632
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 2,970
Gots: 1,439 | FT: 108
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
(Yellow Cap)

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,942 | Reviews: 1,632 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by erz316:
Photo of erz316
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

oh man, I'm reviewing The Beer. .33l bottle into westvleteren chalice. date on cap is 21.04.12

A - dark opaque brown body, medium tan head, dark brown yeast on top of the head, which is big and made from medium sized bubbles. top of the head is creamy and smooth, with some big crackly bobbles int he middle. tons of lacing. head slowly, slowly comes down; retention is great. let me emphasize how much lace there is on this beer once more. top notch. the colour is perfect, and the head makes it look so incredibly appetizing. the color of the beer and the head compliment the dark green logo quite well. maybe its just the experience but I have never seen such a hot piece of beer ass.

S - has to warm up a bit, but the initial right-out-of-fridge notes are almost clean, except for a light fruitiness of golden raisins. as the brew warms up the notes do not really change that much, except a roasted and slightly nutty malt character comes into play. I am pretty disappointed with the strength of this beer so far; but as I wait the beer gets even more complex: here is the quad I was expecting! slightly spicy phenols, alcohol, and Belgian yeast all come out now. some fresher notes are to be had as well, like lemon grass. that alcohol is quite amazing, really blend well with the spicy aspect. the nose never does get too strong, but the dynamism of how the beer changes over temperature difference is amazing, and gets it the big five (this beer tastes to excellent, anyways, to not be perfect). moreover, the fact that this beer isnt as strong in the nose doesn't actually detract from the excellence of the beer, the nose doesn't need to be powerful to get across the message of this brew.

T - yep, this gets a five. this is so complex and delicious, i just don't even know where to start. the initial notes are like a unsweetened sparkling apple cider, some aggressive alcohol, hops and malts. the hops are bitter an noticeable, while the malts are rich and almost nutty, a bit of mustiness from the yeast. these malts are really masterfully combined with hop bitterness, they create this perfect balance which is then trampled over by the alcohol, which brings another aspect from the hops: this dry like astringent-ness, an even sharper bitterness. this is so complex that I cant get enough of it. the amazing thing is how the beer goes from a semi-mild flavour as it just enters the mouth, malt-hop blend dominating, to something so bold and powerful. the nuttiness from the malts is most prevalent when the beer wafts through the nose via the back of the throat. the finish is hoppy, followed by a slightly sweet malt character, maybe a hint of that Belgian candied sugar? probably not, i bet the yeast has taken care of all of the sugar in this brew. the hops are coupled with a yeast character that adds a sense of stagnation and mustiness, making the brew really feel rustic and unfiltered. the aftertaste is this bittersweet malt-hop brawl. the hops have reverted to their standard bitter character, which can be described an herbal oil kind of bitterness. phenomenal. this beer is not all hype; it is the be all and end all for Belgian beers and the quad style. the taste is so varied and has so many discernible layers that it completely deserves the full score

MF&D - perfect and utterly drinkable. the body is fully that of a medium beer, which is perfect to compliment the capriciousness of the beers intricate flavours; anything heavier might be a detriment and make the beer way too overwhelming, especially when considering the alcohol content, which is not a detriment on the experience at all, rather, it compliments the aggressive hops and rustic malts. The beer is so incredibly good that no matter how much alcohol was in it, I would gladly keep drinking this; the booze is no detriment in any way (maybe that's just my tolerance, but who cares! this beer rocks!)

the only complaint I could have is that the nose is not strong enough. but i find this to be completely irrelevant when considering how synergistic the whole beer is together. keeping this brew from receiving a perfect score, in that respect, would not be right. this is the beer, and will be so in my view until I try something that is even better for its own style.

erz316, Sep 17, 2009
More User Reviews:
Photo of BEERchitect
4.78/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

July 24, 2009: Along with the notes below, the cotton candy/confection/powdered sugar flavor is super clean and full of taste. Ester profile shows more grape flavors than I remember. An immaculate beer fit for it's #1 status.

So, this is the daddy of all daddyies; the penacle of all fermented malty beverages; the beer that carries the biggest kahunas; the most elusive and sought-after beer of all. Can a beer possibly live up to it's legendary status? Yes in fact, it can. A very deep, strong, agressive berry and candied aroma swells from the bottle, even before the pour. The beer pours neatly into the chalice with a rising pillow of foam that brings out more dark berries, dehydrated fruits, and tart, warming alcohols. Very mouth-watering and inviting. That first sip brings a lot of that rich berry flavor (blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, and a hint of grapes) that shines above a seriously malt base. Pecans, almonds, and graham cracker flavors display the malts well. Dehydrated / candied fruits (cherries, pineapples, dates and figs) meld with a sweet rum-like alcohol flavor and makes this beer some of the better flavors ever placed into my mouth. The body shows all of the firm-ness, viscity, and creaminess needed for a perfect-five beer, but the alcohols and berry-vineous flavors slice through it, making it waver just a bit. The berry flavor lingers on and on... I can still taste it from last night. It is easy to see why this beer so easily seduces even the most seasoned beer enthusiest, but I have to ask it to reluctantly step aside of this grand pedistal for its little brother, Westvleteren Dubbel.

Thanks Clvand0
Nathan15
Thanks Maxskip!

BEERchitect, Jan 23, 2008
Photo of guityler83
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Cap Date - 07.05.17

A: Poured into a chalice, the beer produced lots of foam at first but quickly fizzed away allowing the pour to finish - when it was finally poured fully (minus the yeast) it was a finger and a half tall made of mid sized bubbles with a tan color. It continually bubbled up from the bottom creating pockets of foam, but the retention was low. The beer has a dark brown, leather like appearance with moderate haze, hints of auburn show as it is held to a light source.

S: Mild to medium aroma with prunes, plums, figs, red grapes. Also getting a fresh yeasty character, not traditional belgian yeast but more like bread yeast. Toast and melenoidin bread crust aromas are at the threshold levels and a spicey note that could be coming from hops or yeast phenols.

T: Huge flavor.. Tons of those dark fruit flavors - dates, prunes, figs, with a big base of bread crust, biscuits and toast. Tobacco, melenoidins, burnt sugar, slight vanilla and dark cherries also coming through at different rates. The sweetness is kept to a low level with the big spicey hop bitterness and flavor giving an earthy undertone and the yeasty character i pickup gives a surprising lager like cleanness. The phenols are kept to a minimum and there is only a hint of ethanol in the flavor (at this early age).

M: A creamy mouthfeel that gives way to a moderately high carbonation bite. There is a tingly sensation on the palette that reminds me of a bourbon barrel aged beer. Moderate body with a high amount of alcohol warming.

O: There are no short of reviews for this beer and chances are this won’t convince you to try or not try this beer, however if you can get the beer without too much trouble - get it. Not nearly as alcohol forward as I’ve heard and I wasn’t prepared for the yeasty bread flavor that made this very interesting and more drinkable. I’ll be curious to see how my other bottles age.

guityler83, Sep 30, 2014
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The time has finally come to put a splash of beer in my BA mug and what better beer than Westvleteren 12? I've had two of these in my cellar for about six months now and have been saving them for a special occasion. Something tells me that the contents have held up just fine. 'Best by' date on the yellow cap is 01.07.06.

The pour generates the typically massive Belgian head and I can see small chunks entering my chalice when the bottle is about 2/3 empty. Extremely murky chestnut brown; the beer looks like strong, unfiltered apple cider. The ecru colored cap has barely fallen in the three minutes since the pour. I'm expecting a huge amount of Belgian lace, but it hasn't yet had the chance to form since the head is so obstinate.

The aroma is more subdued than expected, but to be fair, I'm trying to assess it through a still thick cap of foam. What I do appreciate is brown malty, fruity and toasted nutty. I also pick up whiffs of Belgian yeast and alcohol.

The flavor profile is complex to say the least. It's comprised of loads of caramel malt, molasses, licorice, and dark, dried fruits (raisins, dates and prunes). Candied pecans and modestly funky yeast make appearances, as does the aforementioned alcohol. There are also darker contributors such as coffee and chocolate. Simply an amazing collection of seemingly unlimited flavors. The mouthfeel is big and firm, chewy even, but stops short of full or heavy.

Westvleteren 12 is world-class, no doubt about it. I can appreciate this beer (I think), I respect this beer, I even like this beer a lot. I just don't love this beer. Call me a hophead, call me an unrefined simpleton, call me what you will, but that's how I feel at this juncture in my journey. That doesn't mean that Westvleteren 12 is anything less than incredible. Everyone should have the chance to sample it at least once.

BuckeyeNation, Jun 06, 2004
Photo of oberon
3.98/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At long last I was finally able to snag the great Westy 12,pours a deep brown with a suprisingly thin head that was gone pretty quickly not leaving anything behind.Whoa the aromas are just incredibly complex and rich,some almond and raisin almost a cinnamon bun type aroma to it,just awesome.Flavors are more mellow than expected,I get some star anice and raisin up front with some mellow orange tinge in the lngering finish.I like the "12"better than the "8" but I have had some better Quads but still a pleasure to drink for sure.

oberon, Apr 24, 2005
Photo of Popsinc
4.63/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My second Westy ever! Also at the Kulminator.

Appearance: Like the 8, this beer poured a super drak brown and was accompanied by a huge, appetizing tan head. While it looked like alot of beers....worth a scoing of 4....i had to give it a 4.5 based on my anticipation. It just looked so good, i couldn't wait!

Smell: Although the nose had sweet chocolatey notes as well as spicey hints to it, i found that it was much more mild and subtle then i had anticipated.

Taste: Here we go!!! Wow. A wonderfuly rich beer with sweet and complex flavours throughout. Hints of chocolate and caramel. Spices of cinamon and nutmeg, maybe even a hint of molasses. Soem dark fruitiness and even some light woody notes towards the mildly bitter finish which also had a refined, port-like quality to it.

Mouthfeel: Rich, creamy, complex...very warming and fullfilling. Tastes linger nicely and change even after you're done your sip.

Drinkability: It doesn't get much better than this! A world class beer. This one goes into my top 10 for sure. If i could only find more, i would buy them all.

Popsinc, Nov 03, 2003
Photo of BrbnBarlAgdBil
4.75/5  rDev +3%

BrbnBarlAgdBil, Mar 12, 2013
Photo of RoyalT
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance – Thick, dark brown with live carbonation and a monster head that went down slowly and puddled at the end.

Smell – Big, sweet, buttery malts lead this one off. This is followed by an array of fruity smells that are very rich and thick. Sharp, heavy maple and molasses bring up the rear of this BSDA, giving it a wonderful bouquet indeed.

Taste – This is exceptional. The rich buttery malt base is there, laden with alcohol. Behind that are the fruits. They are dark and extremely ripe. The overripe apricots, dark cherries, and figs all seem to be smashed together (well blended) and covered in sugars of all types, especially brown and raw.

Mouthfeel – Full in the body and extremely smooth and buttery. This one defines creaminess at its best. The carbonation is very live and fluffy.

Drinkability – This is truly a BSDA classic that lives up to the hype. It will always be towards the top of the ratings list.

Comments – With almost zero availability here in Seattle, I was thrilled when I got this one from OldFrothingSlosh in the Christmas Beer Exchange coordinated by Richard, Mr. Big Dog himself. Thanks to the giving spirit of the BA community for giving me the opportunity to try this most excellent Trappist Ale.

RoyalT, Dec 26, 2003
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dates and Anise fill out this perfectly rounded and balanced brew that is the color of blood and prune juice with a lovely yeast loaded off white head. Drinking this one was such a thrill and I largely agree with the hype. This is undoubtedly one of the top ten beers I have ever tasted. It is so wonderfully warming and gets richer and more pleasurable with each taste. Well worth a trip to Belgium in my book even if you can get it black market style at the punk bar down the street. Couldn't ask for a more perfect brew for my 200th review.

DaPeculierDane, Feb 02, 2006
Photo of tectactoe
4.58/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Acquired one bottle from '12 (thanks to cneville) and one bottle from '11 (from Mike) and did a side-by-side with the '11 Westy and a St. Bernardus Abt 12 - just to see what all the fuss is about. Westy pours a murky, dark brown color that accumulates deep at the bottom with light only passing through near the top of the beer, giving it a lighter, copper color. A beige, creamy head forms but remains small, even with an aggressive pour, though it can be coaxed out easily by swirling the glass. So far, so good.

The aroma was beautiful, and in all honesty, simply everything that a Belgian strong ale should be. Raisins, figs, dates - all lightly sugar coated and soaked with a mild boozy flavor. Sweet, smooth brown sugar, faint roses, lightly toasted nuts, toffee malt, and another complex layer of booze that gets a bit stronger as the beer warms up, until it reaches a slightly phenol-like presence. Earthy and dark, fruity esters abound, along with light hints of spices and Belgian yeasty warmth. It all remains wrapped in an array of sugary and savory aromas - the nose on this is one of the most perplexing things I've come across. Just SO MANY THINGS going on, yet it all mingles so strangely well.

A heavily bread and caramel malt backbone leads the way as I take my first sip. I don't have much time to linger with that, however, because my palate is immediately thrust into a flavor profile more stunning than the aroma. Candied grapes, figs, dates, and more dark, juicy, overripe fruits. Sweet red licorice, light booze, honey, calm, earth and fruit esters, mild clove and warming spices, Belgian yeast... I could go on and on. Truth is, the flavor profile on this bad boy is truly an enigma - so many things happening and there's no way you're going to capture all of them with mere words. Some heavy bread and almost rye-like flavors in the aftertaste, buttery and smooth. Somewhat on the heavy side without being thick or syrupy; silky and smooth on the palate, very creamy and not sticky at all - decent carbonation, even for nearly two years of age.

So, is this the "best beer in the world" ? No. Well, in my opinion, anyway. BUT - I can definitely see why some people might agree with that, and I can definitely say that it deserves to be in the discussion. Even though it doesn't necessary top my list, it's certainly one of the best and most well crafted beers I've had, and no doubt a benchmark example of the style. If you love beer, do yourself a favor and seek one of these out. It was really an amazing beer, and the experience of enjoying it for yourself (or with a friend) is excellent.

tectactoe, Feb 27, 2013
Photo of ricke
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A deep reddish brown color, nearly opaque. A nice looking beige head of about 3 cm with good retention leaves plenty of lacings.

S: A deep and rich smell. Plenty of fruity aromas (cherries, plums, overripe strawberries), raisins, wet wood. The malty backbone is thick and "dark" and is accompanied by a prominent spicy aroma. A hint of yeast. The alcohol is noticeable, but very integrated with the rest of the aromas. A great smell.

T: The taste is nothing but fantastic. A noble and rich malty backbone and semi-sweet cherries converge with a prominent, but not very strong, taste of alcohol. At this point, the beer is quite reminiscent of a fine liqueur. Hints of chocolate and coffee. Raisins adds another sweet component. Earthy yeast and spices balance the massive sweetness. Faint nutty aromas, and perhaps just a minimal hint of tartness. In the finish, the alcohol is very noticeable and has a sweet and warming character. But the alcohol is very well integrated and suits the beer nicely. The finish is slightly bitter with notes of spices, iron and grass.

M: Full-bodied with a velvety smooth texture. The rather high level of carbonation is well suited for the overall character.

D: What to say about this legendary brew? Well, I think it's almost as good as it's reputation say it is. It's just unbelievably tasty with an impressive complex character. This one comes really close to perfection.

ricke, Jul 06, 2009
Photo of punkindrublic50
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Absolutely deserving of the best beer in the world title. Has such an utter depth and complexity it will leave your head spinning. Aesthetics are quite nice with a dark color and a pleasant tan head, but the smell is when you realize something incredibly is coming. Fruits, spices, candy, it just hits you all at once with an intensity even stronger than a Dogfish 120.

On a side note, if at all possible wait to try this beer until you are able to make the pilgrimaged out to the monastery in Belgium. The surrounding country is some of the most peaceful and quiet farmland I've ever seen, and builds up the experience of trying the beer to a whole new level.

punkindrublic50, Jun 18, 2008
Photo of OhioBobcat
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

OhioBobcat, Aug 09, 2013
Photo of MadScientist
5/5  rDev +8.5%

MadScientist, Jul 30, 2013
Photo of Zakk
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Zakk, Aug 13, 2013
Photo of brownbeer
4.75/5  rDev +3%

brownbeer, Feb 14, 2014
Photo of 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.

JudgeRoughneck, Sep 24, 2013
Photo of Schlais
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

Schlais, Mar 07, 2014
Photo of ccapurso
5/5  rDev +8.5%

ccapurso, Nov 01, 2014
Photo of tbryan5
5/5  rDev +8.5%

tbryan5, Dec 31, 2012
Photo of SudSister
4.75/5  rDev +3%

SudSister, Nov 03, 2013
Photo of Dabeel
4/5  rDev -13.2%

Dabeel, Jun 05, 2013
Photo of delaced21
3/5  rDev -34.9%

delaced21, Aug 24, 2014
Photo of SkiBum22
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a very dark brown with some amber highlights in the glass. Fairly thick and didnt let a lot of light through. A nice puffy 1-1/2 finger head.

S - Smells of dark fruits and berries. Grapes, raisins, cherries, vinous red wine and some tobacco. Also a strong caramel malt backbone to balance.

T - Very complex. Up front there's nice bready malt with toffee and rich dark fruits. Then comes some tart green apples and a bit of spice from the yeast. Finishes a bit warming that brings a nice carmel/toffee sweetness and slight tartness that lasts and lasts.

M - Very smooth with good carbonation. The beer just seems to go down.

O - This lived up to the hype for me and was worth the price and hassle to get. I'm very glad I finally got to try this beer. Is it the best beer in the world? It wouldn't be number 1 on my list but it's definitely a world class beer worthy of a high ranking.

SkiBum22, May 17, 2012
Photo of Anstuart5
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Anstuart5, Aug 09, 2014
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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 4,942 ratings.