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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

5,119 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,119
Reviews: 1,650
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 3,079
Gots: 1,550 | FT: 116
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001

(Yellow Cap)
View: Beers (3) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,119 | Reviews: 1,650 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of regspeir
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of a trade with digita7693
I had this "young" with a 2013 "best by" date. 12-oz bottle poured into a chalice. Poured a ruddy-red tinged, dark brown. A moderately aggressive pour yielded a huge three-finger white head. It settled to 1/2' which lasted throughout. I sipped this beer and there was that fluffy head at the very last sip. The nose was coffee, caramel, plums, lemon, clove, and chocolate. The taste? My goodness...dark, sweet fruit (plums, grapes) with some chocolate at the start and some spices. Belgian (bready) yeasts were evident. The finish moved to dry and even a little bitter, providing a wonderful, complex and balanced evolution. Mouthfeel was thick without being syrupy. Carbonation was surprisingly high, but seemed to fit. It's hard not to gush but this is just an amazing beer. I wanted to find fault with it but could not. Nothing in this review does it justice because it is the subtleties that make it special, and most of them defy description. It is NOT over-rated. You MUST have this.

Photo of pwoody11
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Best by date: 17.11.12

Poured a dark brown with a huge off white 3 finger head.

What can I say that hasn't already said about this amazing brew. So complex. I couldn't even begin to describe the aromas and flavors. I looked here on BA for inspiration and came across the review by Feloniousmonk:

"...requires a new vocabulary!...serious contemplation is required, for I am seriously, honestly, taken aback by the force of, not only the alcoholic content, but the strong, full, bewitching flavor of this incredible ale! It staggers the senses! Honestly, I reel from it's effects and must wait until my consciousness can comprehend what is going on...many layers, many flavors, many ways that this incredible concoction can impact upon the senses."

Monk's description is everything I wanted to say, but couldn't put into words.


Photo of Atricapilla
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was split between four of us and poured into small tumblers...I had extremely high expectations for this beer and they were definitely met. Beer poured a dark toffee color with a thick foamy head. It smelled of caramel, malt and flowers. I was a bit surprised by the complexity of the taste; I know that I cannot do it justice: very strong caramel and malt flavours, with a striking tone of ethanol. It had a flavor of dark bread and a light sweetness to it, but was not sticky. Very well done.

Photo of dnichols
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Details- 330 ml served in a chilled Westvleteren Chalice. I was worried about the hype this beer has generated so I waited until my forth tasting before submitting a review (the events were spread out over several months with the most recent tonight).
A – It is a beautiful murky dark ale that has tan tight bubbles that linger deep into the experience and leave a nice lace ring on the glass.

S – Subtle spices and roasted molasses. I frequently put my nose deep into the glass to get another joyous whiff. I only wish I had a colon that smelled as good as this beer does.

M - Mellow, slightly sweet, creamy, and spiced. I feel rich drinking this beer. Its full bodied without being heavy. The alcohol is well hidden.

T - A creamy and malty, rich but subtle masterpiece. The flavors are subdued and balanced so no one dominates. There are hints of figs, chocolate, toffee with a touch of spices. The blend of flavors coats my tongue and leaves a pleasant light aftertaste that makes me want another sip. I want this beer to linger yet I lust every sip. I am in danger of becoming a addict to this great beer.

D - A great quadruple. Simply the best. I could drink it night after night. However, living 3,000 miles from the source makes the price per unit of enjoyment a bit out of my everyday range. Hence, it is my special treat. When I want to go to a happy place this is the beer for me.

Photo of slitherySOB
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I'm here in Brazil doing some field work for herpetology. One of the villages, I can't pronounce the name yet alone spell it, had a large snake roaming around. My friends and I caught it and relocated it. One of the villagers offered me a beer as a reward. I said sure, expecting some Corona knockoff. It was this. Oh God, this is goooood. She poured this into a fattened wine glass. I don't know the style. Think champagne glass big enough to hold about a pint. It was a pleasant, ruddy red colour. Big head that needs some time to level down. Smelled alot of raisins, complex sugars, malt, a little alcohol, some more fruit I'm unsure of, and orange peel. Exceptional taste. The mixtures of fruit gave me a different taste every sip. The beer was served a little warmer than usual, which probably made it better. Beer aroma and taste are more pronounced when warm, and this is a very complex brew. Medium heavy mouthfeel. Only drink a few of these at a time. Drink it too enjoy it, not for the sake of drinking.

Photo of gfg0020
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of stephenjmoore
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Cola colored body with a bubbly beige head that stays around. Bubbles come up from the bottom of the glass with enough transparency to let some light through.

S- Dark dried fruit, raisins, cherries, Belgian yeast, banana, bread.

T- The backbone has a bread-like flavor to it with tons of yeast. Tons of sweet dried fruits, banana, a nutty flavor comes through too (hazelnut?). Tons of flavors, all working very well together, with almost no alcohol presence.

M- Very bubbly with high carbonation and full bodied. Crisp bite on the tongue, and has a slight seltzer like feel to it.

O- Lives up to the high rating. I feel like this one is different than the other top quads and separates itself with the complex flavors and minimal alcohol taste.

Photo of daledeee
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This was actually a Christmas present and what a treat. I thought I had posted this review but don't see it so I am reentering my notes.

Open this beer and pour it carefully into my favorite glass. Very dark and very nice head. The scent is beautiful with dark fruit and malt. Taste is nearly perfect. Some malt, dark fruit and earthy. So complex I need the list of adjectives.

I may, if pressed, have some that are more favorite. The only thing that keeps me from buying this all the time is the price. $10 for one bottle is not a frequent visitor to my shelf.

Photo of Cubatobaco
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of mhewes
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A : Pours a murky dark brown with a little bit of tan head

S : Big malty aromas. There's also some brown sugar sweetness, dark fruits, and yeast aromas

T : This one has a big malty flavor that has some serious dark fruit flavors. There's some sweetness throughout with a slight alcohol taste on the finish

M : Full-bodied, creamy, and incredibly smooth

D : Very easy to drink. I would love to get more of this hard to find beer. Greatest beer in the world? Probably not but it's not far off that mark.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.89/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz label-less bottle shared and poured into a Unibroue tulip. 10,2% ABV on the cap but no date (although it's fairly fresh).

Many, many thanks to a generous friend; Todd aka Beerwolf77
Happy shared birthday Todd!

A - Clear dark amber with caramel hints and a low, creamy dense head that formed off an aggressive/tall pour into the center of the glass. Good retention with a bit of lacing that tries hard to cling to the glass despite my constant swirling.

S - The aroma is deep and mysterious with toasted, bread-like malts that fade in and out of the foreground complimented by a low but persistent dark fruit nose of raisin, grape, and prune. A bit of dark candi sugar and brown sugar too. Small amounts of spice poke through with the low alcohol nose. Very mild and not hot or fusel at all. The nose is much better and open after a few good swirls, otherwise its a bit timid.

T - Lightly toasted, bready malts that have a really good smooth feel with a mellow candi sugar and brown sugar flavor with lots of dark fruits in the background. Raisin, grape, prune, and dark cherry. A fantastic tasting, mellow quad. Tiny hints of spice with almost no alcohol flavor for its percent. Again, I only wish the flavor was just a SMALL bit more upfront.

M - Super-smooth like velvet and medium-full bodied. A lasting sweetness with a very small bitterness to the finish. Mellow overall and well carbonated but its so complex and smooth otherwise I didn't even think about it.

D - An incredibly easy drinking beer, especially for a Belgian Quad. After all the hype of being the "number one beer" I think I'm a little disenchanted with it. A great beer, that's to be certain of, but had I not had the expectations I had, I'm sure I would have found it to be much better. Still an incredible beer I wish I could get more frequently.

Another huge thanks to Todd for sharing this with me for our shared birthday!

Photo of santoslhalper
4.89/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a stunning hazy brown with a frothy head. Smells very sweet and caramelly. Malty upfront with a nice floral hoppy back. Now for the taste. I also love wine, and this is almost a wine to me, except far surpassing any wine I've ever had. Tastes so complex and smooth, and fruity, and malty, and sweet, and hoppy, and bready, and so, so much more. This is a beer words cannot describe. This is one of my first attempt's at trappist beer, and I must say I've never been more impressed with a beer. This is beer perfection. This is beer paradise. This is beer bliss. This is beer. Period.

Photo of LeeryLeprechaun
4.89/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Westy from brick.

Beer pours a dark crimson red color. Very clear. Beer poured with a strong head that is a creamy color and forms a nice lace on the glass.

Initially a lot of caramel in the aroma. A little bit of grape in the aroma, fairly clean esters. You can smell a lot of malt.

Very clean tasting, caramel, toffee, toast, vanilla. Malt is just amazing, a wonderful mixture of toast and roastedness. Reminds me of a dunkel almost with the balance between roasted smooth malt flavors. Plums, raisin, candy sugar, slight phenolic spice, maybe some clove as well.

Full mouthfeel. Very smooth and somewhat silky.

Not as complex as i expected but that is not a bad thing here. The malt just comes through very well. Little to no hops. The alcohol is not noticeable at all.

Photo of MPLS
4.89/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

We all know it's reputation and beer geek admiration. There is no special occasion as to why I'm drinking this special beer.

The basement was at just about the right temp, but I put it in the fridge for about 10 minutes to get it to the low 50 degrees. The cap came off with a very short escape of air. The cap has 100 08007 on it or 08/10/07 as a best by date, but I can attest to this beer being properly stored? A lot of dead yeast remain in the bottle and settled there with my slow pour. I almost want to give a 4.5 based on reputation alone, but I can't.

A: The carbonation is looking a little sparse, a small 0.5 cm head that slowly settles into swirls atop the Chimay glass. There is a nice lace ring that stays on the outside. The beer has a dark brown/plum color that doesn't let the UV rays through. Good looking color, but was expecting a bigger Belgian head, perhaps the age of the beer can be the cause of that?

S: A behemoth aroma on this beer: Complexly sweet with vinous grapes, rum soaked cherries, raisin skins, anything dark 'n' sweet under the sun really. In addition to this there is a molasses like sweetness that is paired with some spice and black licorice.

T: Not the prettiest thing to look at, but my what a complex flavor profile. I find immediate gratification as it touches my tongue. The aroma was amazing and the taste is equally complex, but in a largely understated way. Up front is muted grapes and raisins that prospers into other an almost prolonged honey, berry, sugary finish with the tiniest amount of burn maybe due to the age. The taste isn't aggressive and I find it pretty divinely smooth.

M: The mouf of this beer is thick bodied and exceptionally creamy.

D: This beer is pretty rather divine and I am almost tempted to try and fetch another few bottles. I almost did not want to like this beer going into it because of its scarcity and it always seems like a faux pas to give into "the best". A complex aroma and a smooth/mellow flavor (appropriating this to the age of the beer) made for a great experience.

Photo of nickd84
4.89/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After lurking for many months, this is my first review for BA, because it is practically high treason to drink this beer and *not* review it. Westvleteren 12 is absolutely spectacular, worth the year of uncorroborated hearsay that I've seen here. One owes it to themselves to track this beer down, regardless of what style they prefer. It took me 1.5 years before I had good enough trade fodder for it... thanks so much to Aloha for the hookup.

Pours a surprisingly light amber, like many brunes, with very little head and subtle lacing. Carbonation is perfectly balanced, very subtle and warming.

I could spend a long time picking apart the various flavors of this beer, but it's a lost cause because the flavors continue to show themselves differently after every sip, every minute increase in temperature, every separate bottle in every context that I could possibly drink this in. More importantly than the flavor, one thing I think many reviewers overlook here is that this beer is so animated, it has such a distinctive character and personality - and it's so dynamic that it reveals new sides of itself after every sip. My first sip was different from my second sip, which was different from my third, and on and on for 90 minutes.

The best point of comparison, unsurprisingly, is Bernardus 12 from the tap; but this is richer, far more complex, with a bit more pronounced alcohol at the finish in its warmer stages.

I rarely place a beer on my shortlist until I've had multiple experiences with it, to develop a relationship with it and discover new things after every bottle. I will gladly make an exception for this one, not because of its rarity and hype but because it gave such a positive first impression that to do anything else just feels wrong. If it isn't the best beer in the world, it's certainly in the top five, and I say that with confidence after only one bottle. It sits in a class with my other favorites - Rochefort 10, Westmalle Tripel, Goose Island Bourbon County Stout - of quality, subtlety, and depth that just demolishes every other beer out there.

I want another right now. Writing this review makes me a little sad that I'm presently drinking something besides it.

Photo of Gargamel27
4.89/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of notchucknorris
4.89/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

200th Review!

A: Pours a very dark and murky Coca Cola-looking brown color with very little head. I wasn't super impressed by the appearance.

S: And here we go. Simply put, I have never smelled a beer that smells this good. It's incredible. I found it nearly impossible to pinpoint all the smells. I got notes of brandy-soaked raisins, fruitcake, chocolate, tons of dark fruit, molasses, some overripe banana and a bit of jackfruit. Unbelievable.

T: Lots of raisin and brown sugar flavor upfront along with some brandy. Hints of plum and raisin on the finish along with a nice warmness on the way down. Some spiciness and a bit of white pepper to be found in this as well. Well worth it's reputation. I don't know if it's my favorite beer ever (still a sucker for Abyss), but this is a stellar beer.

Photo of bark
4.89/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Unknown vintage, although I think it is quite fresh.

The colour is brown, the liquid a bit cloudy. The low head is off-white, it leaves some nice lacing.

The smell got a distinct note of sponge-cake dough. Sweet Champagne. Red berries. It is very smooth.

The taste is first enormously sweet. Then, fruity jam flavours kicks in. Smooth hoppy-hayish notes with very low bitterness. Wheat flour. Some toffee. The aftertaste is tremendously smooth with fruits and herbs in the finish.

The carbonation is fresh, the bubbles are small. The liquid is smooth and a bit dry.

One of the best beers in the world? I was a bit nervous before tasting it, but it didn’t disappoint me: One of the smoothest and most balanced beers I have had, with a distinct note of Raspberry Swiss roll.

Photo of thegodfather2701
4.89/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Based on notes from 7/21/11 bottle date:11-17-13 It was a bottle split with me by a good friend. Also, this is my 300th review.

A-Chestnut with a billow tan head. I am disappointed that there was no lacing or cascading.

S-Yeasty, boozy, dark fruits consisting of plums and raisins, but also some pearl and apple, with a hint of caramel. It is a complex nose.

T-Cocoa, alcohol, caramel, with some toffee and dark fruits. Surprisingly there is a slight hop bitterness which was unexpected. It was also fruitier than expected.

M-Slightly thick and somewhat chewy, balanced by a nice amount of carbonation. Honestly, it is not as thick as I expected it to be.

D-Complex, rich and satisfying-a beer I could drink for days.

Overall, I will admit I was slightly disappointed by the greatest beer in the world. That was obviously due to the extremely high expectations I had. That being said it is a great beer, but honestly I think St. Bernardus Abt. 12 is slightly better. However, I will definitely drink this again in the future. A must try for all lovers of beer.

Photo of bcostner1
4.89/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Brabander and another buddy of mine, I was able to procure 3 bottles of the Westy 12. Just cracked open the first one and it absolutely lived up to the hype. Amazing...

A: Dark brown with an aggressive tan head at the pour, the remnants of which linger for a while as I drink it.

S: Perfect. Dark fruits, delicious yeast are the most predominant aromas.

T: Wow...incredible. Dark fruits, yeast, brown sugar, a hint of molasses maybe. Absolutely delicious.

M: This beer is so incredibly easy to drink. It's actually kind of "light" feeling for a quad. Slightly overcarbonated to me...hence the deduction. Lingers on the palate just long enough but not too long to be cloying. I could definitely do multiples of this (if I were lucky enough to have a limitless supply).

Overall, this beer is phenomenal and worth of it's reputation. I love Quads, have tried a number of them, and this one is the undisputed king. I can't wait to have occasion to drink my last 2.

Photo of ncvbc
4.89/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ruby brown in color with shades of rust and copper. Medium head but not near the retention of some in its class. It's still falls slowly to a ring, leaving random lacing down the glass. Smell is amazing. Not as big and rich in the malt department. It makes you anticipate a slightly less full body compared to others. Great scent of fruits. Some grape, raisin, plum, pear, and fig. More fruity than anything. Still a good touch of candy(i) sugar and light yeast. Leather. Some caramel is evident also. Taste is just as amazing. Good fruit flavors again, not too thick from caramel and the like. Candy sugar and a lightly toasted bready yeast. Also some subtle bubble gum flavor. A delicate touch of spice and candy sugar. Mouthfeel isn't as velvety as possible but very nice. More on the medium bodied side with a bit of spice. Alcohol is hardly noticeable in this brew. It's a pleasure to sip on, if possible. So full of flavor and complexity that it's tough to beat. Unbelievably drinkable for what it is.

Photo of Gyle41386
4.89/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Review #300. Can't think of a better one to review than #1.

Muddy brown pour with a rich finger of foam. Nice rings of lacing on the glass.

Ridiculously complex nose. So much going on. Dark fruits, brown sugar, Belgian yeast, candi sugar, tobacco, leather...the list goes on. I'd be perfectly content just smelling this beer, but, come on, it's Westy 12. Down the hatch.

Every component of the nose shows up in the flavor. Unbelievable. Just a really earthy flavor of figs and plums, brown sugar, tobacco...light bitter finish. Outstanding flavor.

Great texture. Tingly and soft at the same time. Absolutely no hint of the ABV. Such an easy drinking quad, too. Clearly the best.

Photo of AlexJ
4.89/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Bruno for sharing this 4+ year old bottle.

Deep mahogany pour with burgundy highlights and a thin but dense beige head that settles into a lasting veil which laces nicely for a strong beer.

Aroma is a heady medley of caramelized malts, honey drenched pears, cherry preserves, prunes, soft floral notes, wild berries, grape must, spicey yeast, and a nice blanket of funky Belgian damp cellar notes. Fantastic!

Flavor goes beyond the nose with complex caramel and candied malt notes, a basket full of over-ripe fruit including plum, dark cherries, pear, rotting concord grapes, and even hints of banana. There's soft mustyness and traces of minerality shadowed by intense yeast and phenolic warmpth. Finish is fruity and balanced by floral and peppery hops. Believe the hype.

Body reaches towards large w/out getting there. The silky smooth texture and creamy body just glides the subtle nuances across your palate. Awesome.

Photo of tedsox31
4.89/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Served at 55 degrees F, it pours a thick and carbonated, off-white head. The color of the beer is medium brown and somewhere between translucent and opaque.

Aroma: Up front there is a ton of dark fruit character: raisins, cherries, and figs with cherries being the most aggressive. There is also some caramel and toffee flavors, and a touch of yeast and alcohol. As it warms some more of the yeasty character comes to the fore, along with a sweetness that wasn't there in the beginning.

Taste: There is a surprising lack of alcohol in this beer. What alcohol I did detect was well-hidden and not present until I was nearly done with the entire glass. The dark fruits mentioned in the aroma are all there, but there is also a bit of roastiness, similar to toasted oatmeal. The caramel and toffee flavors are there at the beginning, but as it warms they subside into more of an overall malt character. A touch of bitterness at the end is all that lets me know there were indeed hops added at some point in the brew day.

Mouthfeel: Creamy with medium carbonation. The taste of the sweetness lingers, but not in an unpleasant or cloying way.

Overall: Such a fantastic, fantastic beer, and well worth the wait I enforced upon myself. And it lives up to the hype! It's unbelievable to me that there are Belgians out there that have the opportunity to drink this beer on a semi-regular basis. I will seek this beer out again sometime, and encourage all beer lovers to try it at some point in their lives.

Photo of Guden
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Medium brown, a bit muddy looking. Small off white head stays around forever (really, it doesn't fade)

S- Brown sugar, figs, plums. There's a touch of toast in the mix too. Really great bouquet.

T- Light fruitiness, some very mild spice, sweet caramel, finish is bitter sweet with a slight tang.

M- Slightly syrupy in its thickness but finishes surprisingly dry. Medium low in carbonation. Perfect for the style.

O- Entirely worth it. A great beer that is unique and awesome and I crave more...guess I'll have to make another trip to Belgium.

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,119 ratings.