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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.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

5,243 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,243
Reviews: 1,677
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 3,176
Gots: 1,630 | FT: 122
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001

(Yellow Cap)
View: Beers (3) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,243 | Reviews: 1,677
Photo of GallowsThief
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Received from my friend Thijs (Brabander), one of the most generous BA’s I know. My thanks. Poured out of a 33 ml bottle into my tulip.

A – Poured out a brown with reddish hues. Luxurious looking creamy one finger tan head. Sticky lacing.

S – Classic Belgian aroma to start. Yeast. Lots of floral qualities. Spiciness. Rum. Dark fruit.

T - Nice dark fruit to start off with plums and raisins included. A nice grape flavor comes along. Some caramel and brown sugar lend some sweetness. Towards the finish you get a spicy, peppery quality along with just a touch of warming effect from the alcohol.

M – Medium bodied with medium to high carbonation. Incredibly smooth drinker. This beer just coats your palate with flavors.

O – Incredibly tasty brew. More complexity then my palate can even fathom. Taste is out of this world. Lived up to the hype for me. Always on the prowl for more.

Photo of dcmchew
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Finally got my hands of Westy XII. Best before 16.11.14 on the cap.
Dark brown in color, with some copper notes. Not a huge beige head, but sticks around for a long time. You can hear a lot of aggressive carbonation at first, but it seems to settle rather fast.
Rich smell, with dark malts, raisin, brown sugar, figs, red grapes (with a musty component, enhanced by the subtle alcohol), nuts and faint dark spices. Don't expect a strong smell that you get from popping the bottle, you have to give this one a big close sniff, but the elements are really well balanced.
Taste knocks it out of the park. Wow. Toffee and caramel, with a nice citrus feel right on its tail, but also juicy cherries, berries, plums, grapes (strong alcohol makes it feel like a sherry or a brandy). Malts are pretty quiet, way in the back, but with a decent enough roastiness and a rich taste of multi-cereal bread (ryebread maybe?). Spicy, hints of vanilla, anise, faint nutmeg and cinnamon. Mildly bitter finish with some hops peaking through.
Full body, low carbonation. There's a big complexity here, starting off crisp, then sweet, alcohol tends to dry the mouth a bit afterwards, then there's a roasted bitterness... it's really a lot going on. Malts linger in the aftertaste, would have enjoyed some fruitiness to stick around too. Not boozy.
I'm gonna stop now and just enjoy this perfect beer. Yes, "perfect" should suffice.

Photo of Tschnab
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have reached the pinnacle of beers...

A- pours a dark ruby with a one inch head that fades into an active film of offwhite carbonation.

S- Smells of candy sugar, raisons, belgian yeast, cherries, yadayada. Just amazing.

T- Even better than the smell; woody, sweet cherries, rum-soaked raisons, warm alcohol esthers, and belgian yeast converge to make an incredibly drinkable beer despite its abv, easily the best Belgian beer I have ever seen.

O- This beer is incredible. Believe the hype.

Photo of Srqb
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After a long wait and lots of anticipation, here it is. The best beer in the world and the highest rated beer of my favorite style. Thanks to Kendall for hooking this up. 33cl bottle poured into Westvleteren Chalice.

A. Pours a pretty well carbonated 2+ finger head. Good retention. Thick lacing. Colr is dark brown with some amber hues.

S. Very complex and rich smell. Luscious dark fruit smell, raisins, figs, and quite a bit of grape. Nice caramel malt base underneath. St. B so far for me has been the best smelling quad, I have had. I think I have to say that I give a slight edge to Westy 12. This is really a delicous smelling quad.

T. Wow. Great dark fruit flavor just like the aroma. Raisins, figs, and quite a bit of grape. Has really all the flavor qualities that I think make the great quads. Very complex flavor. Nice caramel base, and some candi sugar sweetness. Very interested to see what time does to this beer, as in my opinion it is pretty damn good right now.

M. Full bodied. Drinks pretty sweet but finishes fairly dry. Medium carbonation. Nice mouthfeel.

O. Having had Rochefort 10 and St. B in the last week in preparation to try the Westy 12, I am basing a lot of my review on how Westy 12 compares to those excellent beers. In all honesty I think Westy 12 is an amazing beer. For me there is quite a few similarities to St. B Abt 12. I think the Westy 12 is just a bit better overall. Very complex aroma and taste. Nice carbonated full bodied mouthfeel. Is this the best beer in the world? That is hard to say, as one of the best beers in my favorite style, I would have to say it is certainly in contention.

Photo of ubenumber2
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of VncentLIFE
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pour is a murky brown, muddy. nice patterns in the rings of head.

Smell has a bit of dry grains, hints of dried plums, and somehow a bit of belgian funk. not real sure where it came from, but i like it. Strong Belgian yeast esters.

The taste isnt as strong as I was expecting, but so well balanced. Strong plum and raisins (mostly raisins). Well balanced with dry grains and sweet dark fruits.

Its got every flavor from a quad, but all in balance. I see why its so highly rated.

Photo of wilkowski
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Shared two bottles with two good friends on Saturday (16 Mar 2013)

A: Deep brown with a thin lacing that hangs around.

S: Incomparable. The first glass was poured a few feet away from me and I could smell the aroma from there. Beautiful warm yeasty bread, rich dark fruits, plum, malt and more malt. Soft is the best word I have. I wish I could keep my nose in a glass of this all day long.

T: Follows the aroma. Complex, gorgeous, bold, but also well balanced. Heavenly.

M: Mouthfeel is great. Good, slightly high carbonation.

O: The best beer in the world? I'm surprised to say "yes".

We lined up two bottles of St Bernardus Abt 12 afterwards for comparison. Extremely similar but the Westy is noticeably better in almost every respect. Prior to this, the St. Bernardus Abt 12 was probably my favorite beer and I was blown away by how good the Westvleteren 12 was. I did not expect it to live up to the reputation, but it did and I'm happy to cross this off the bucket list.

Photo of peensteen
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours dark mahogany with vibrant ruby red tones showing in the light, tight sticky white head and nice lace showing along the glass. Smells of subtle alcohol, fig, brown sugar, yeast, plum, raisin, cherry, faint leathery notes, dark fruit. Nose is stunning on this one. Tastes of yeast, dark fruit, alcohol, toffee, vanilla, fig, plum, raisin, dark sugar and something almost oak like that are behind the vanilla notes. Every sip of this opens up something new or complimentary. Medium to full mouthfeel that is smooth as silk with a delicate, light carbonation. Dangerously drinkable, ABV is hidden well and its so very tasty and flavorful. Does it live up to it's hype? it certainly comes close. Maybe the best I've ever had and absolutely in my top 3. Thanks to Volo for doing a side by side of all three Westy's that was an amazing idea!

Photo of Alpar
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this gem from Trappistlover as an extra! Huge thanks Dave.

A: Big fluffy off white head accompanied by some sediment. An exceptional brown with a ruby hue. Lots of "floaties." Heads

S: Strong port wine, not sure if my nose is off but that is what I am getting. Bready with lots of dark fruits. I think that is where the port wine is coming from...

T: Oh my word! This is far more than I expected. Big bread and fruit just like the smell. There are definitely some spices, not sure what it is though? Not getting much alcohol but this bottle has a little age on it. More robust flavors of bread and plum arise as it warms. Fantastic.

O: I love this beer and will most likely be ISO more, a great treat. Glad I got to try this!

Photo of jayray
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of jeffaz02t
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Nice silky lace to contrast with the dark brown of the beer.

S: Complicated smells... Raisins, plumbs seem to dominate, then there are other smells that come to me every few sips.

T: Very malty. Very very malty. There is also a spicyness that compliments the alcohol. There is also a nice honey flavor in this one. It finishes dry with a hint of yeast.

M: Nice, smooth.

D: This is a good end of the night, sip for an hour and a half kind of beer. Very complicated...

Photo of LittleCreature
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served by the barman at In de Vrede.

Appearance - 4.5
Poured a finger of beige head that quickly reduced to a thin layer. The body is completely opaque, black with reddish brown where the light hits it. Left little lacing.

Smell - 5.0
Not as powerful as some beers of this strength, but oh so pleasant. The sweet aroma includes golden syrup, toffee, cocoa, raisins, stewed apple and a little spice.

Taste - 5.0
What does one expect when drinking the world's greatest beer? It doesn't blow my head off, and it isn't outrageously complex, but it does taste damn good. Alcohol is smooth and warming, and it is much sweeter than the other Westvleterens. Flavours of caramel, stewed red apple, burnt sugar, mixed spice and cocoa. The finish is pleasantly bitter (although not quite enough to call it perfectly balanced) and slightly dry.

Mouthfeel - 4.5
Amazingly smooth, fine carbonation, although perhaps a little flatter than desirable.

Drinkability - 4.5
Very easy to drink for one so strong, but the sweetness meant that I was not longing for a second (but I had one anyway!).

OVERALL
Alright, let's get the obvious questions out of the way:
Q. Is Westvleteren 12 the perfect beer?
A. No. If it were perfect I would have scored it a 5. To me it has one definite flaw, and a couple of minor flaws. First, it is definitely too sweet. Deliciously sweet I might add, but ultimately it is a beer that is best suited to drinking one on its own, or serving with dessert. As mentioned, the beer is also a little flatter that I would like, but for the style this is acceptable.
Q. Is Westvleteren 12 the best beer in the world?
A. Possibly, although my gut feeling is that there are probably a couple of beers in the American micro brewing scene that are better.
Q. Is it the best beer I have tried?
A. Yes. Not by a huge margin mind you, but no beer I have tasted before has had quite the wow factor, or delicious richness of flavour that the Westy has.
Q. If I have one bottle of Westvleteren 12, should I drink it now or let it age for a few years?
A. Either. I have now tried the beer both fresh, and after 5 years in the Kulminator cellar. Overall I would say the cellared version was the more complex, better tasting beer, but it had lost much of its carbonation. Whichever way you choose to drink it, it is a fantastic beer.

Photo of JC333
4.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The best way to start is from the beginning....I can't recall a beer where the aroma instantly filled the air after the opening of the bottle in this matter. Right up the nostrils....

We got a solid pour into two deep wine glasses where the perfect amount of yeast sediment stayed in the bottle (I only drank that later after lamenting that the Westy was gone forever)

After reading about how many flavors and tastes would come with each sip, I certainly had my doubts only. I came to realize there was truth behind these claims. I noticed smoke and pepper with the initial sips only to catch oak on the back end. As it warmed and settled, the fruit notes took over and it became a bit more sweet with every sip.

Went down smooth and the mouthfeel was spot on.

It's a bit sad the quest is over but the end result was not disappointing at all. I walk away from the experience realizing how much I truly love Belgian beers. It will be nice knowing that I no longer have to compare other beers by saying "but I still haven't had westvleteren yet..."

Photo of Dodo2step
4.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

P- Thanks to buddy Donn in Germany for this brew!

A- a fig/raisin like color that is soemwhat hazy. A nice 2 finger head that is fluffy and sticky. perfect!

S- dark fruits: plums, raisins and figs. subtle caramel malts that complement the brew nicely.

F- Wow, i can see why this brewery and its beers are highly revered. This has great flavor tones of figs and raisins mixed with the malts. I have nothing bad to say. I mean it was just like a big sigh. taseful and relaxing.

M- Slightly carabonated but very very smooth and creamy. It is like eating a plum with a lil bit of brown sugar and it slides all the way down.

O- best beer i have ever had to date. World class and i am grateful i could have it.

Photo of Bergus
4.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of lohbah
4.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of pinto1993
4.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of Paccamacca
4.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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

I've waited a long time for this legend. The weekend of the EBF seemed as good a time as any to finally crack it open, to parallel the enjoyment my roommates were likely having hundreds of miles away in Boston.

It poured a dark, chocolatey brown with a coke fizz-colored head. Innumerable small puffs of sediment were suspended throughout, adding to the murky mystery as the head quickly backed into a stiff, 1/2 finger ring of bubbly lace clinging to the glass.

The aroma is rich, deep, and a touch phenolic, with a soft, malty sweetness peppered by anise and other spices and alcoholic warmth surrounding it all.

One taste and its easy to see why this beer is considered the best of BA. The flavors are big, warm, and smooth, softly melding the high alcohol content into a tremendous malt profile full of myriad flavors. Figs, cloves, rum-soaked raisins, anise, and caramel intertwine with a bready, sweet roll-like backbone, leaving the tongue with an almost milk chocolate-like texture sensation.

Bubbles flutter and bite throughout this beer, adding texture to the perfect, velvet-smooth feel of this brew on the palate.

It's hard to believe that a beer is this good. Despite my high expectations, this has been everything I expected and more, worth every penny of its high purchase price.

So complex. So smooth. So delicious.

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

Appearance: - Pours rather hazy brown. Somewhat lighter than I'd expect. Head retention on this one was pretty lacking. One finger head faded withing a minute or two. Yeast suspended and settled somewhat on the bottom.

Smell: - Dried figs. Somewhat malty. Some alcohol definitely present

Taste: - Sweet- dried fig overwhelmingly apparent. Some serious alcohol aftertaste, but less than what I would expect for the ABV. Malty and delicious.

Mouth Feel: - at first, almost too carbonated. Champagne-like effervescence detracts somewhat from the taste for this style in my opinion. I Let it sit and warm up for a few minutes (probably started a little too cool), and the mouth feel smoothed out remarkably.

Overall: Definitely a great beer. Somewhat sweeter than I'd expect, but I really like that. For my next one I'll try a more vigorous pour and make sure its starting at a better temp.

Photo of ArtZan
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

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

Poured from a no label 33 cl. brown bottle with a date on the cap of 22:11:09. Sampled at serving temperature (50-55F), served in a Westvleteren silver rimmed chalice, resting on a Westvleteren coaster. Opened with a BA "The Return of the Belgian Beer Fest" opener. My 73rd review. This review also puts me over 250 "karma points" (i.e. I get my first "mug"). Sampled on 28 June 07 at 0000 UTC.

The planets have aligned for this moment in time. Might as well "play to the hype" right?

Appearance - Poured with a lively tan creamy head that quickly developed into a two-finger presentation. In my excitement, I almost overpoured. After allowing it to settle a bit, I swirled the remaining and added it to the glass. Dark amber/brown in color. Very hazy/murky as well. The retention/lacing is something I haven't seen before, with the exceedingly small carbonation bubbles gripping the glass with the remaining head being supported/fed from the murky depths.

Smell - Fruity plum raisin aroma with a refreshing woody/grassy malt presence as well. Very inviting with the anticipation of a crisp clean taste to accompany this wonderful smell. I might say a bit of a caramel aroma as well trying to fight to the front, but the fruit and malt presence takes center stage.

Taste - Now's the time. Oh my. The complex mixing of plum, raisin and sweet malt that I smelled takes life in the first part of the beer with a smooth molasses and roasted malt/caramel middle as it sits on my tongue. Finishes with light yeast and alcohol presence. I was waiting for the alcohol and it was not overpowering to say the least.

Mouthfeel - I mentioned earlier about the size of the bubbles. Well, as this ambrosia was transported around my mouth, I could feel those bubbles remaining the same size. So many times I've felt the carbonation almost causing an expansion of the body of the beer, instead of being used as a transport media for the flavors and body. This body was well worth the wait. It was full without relying on the carbonation to bring it to life.

Drinkability - As close to perfection as I've tasted. I would say I would like to see this aged for a bit and then compare it again. I think the drinkability suffers from the lack of access to this beer which then everyone implies perfection, due to feeling as if they may never experience it again.

I've had many quads before. Some of my favorate being: Kasteelbier Brune, Trappistes Rochefort 10, St. Bernardus Abt 12 60th Anniversary. Somehow, this is more than just a good quad this is a good total beer. I'm still savoring it.

Photo of schomber
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of muishkin
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,243 ratings.