Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) - Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
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Ratings: 4,463 | Reviews: 1,603 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by 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.
Serving type: bottle
02-27-2013 13:08:25 | More by tectactoe
More User Reviews:
4.83/5 rDev +4.8%
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 +5.9%
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 4,463 ratings.