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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.

4,632 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,632
Reviews: 1,612
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 8.89%
Wants: 2,861
Gots: 1,324 | FT: 104
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) visit their website

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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,632 | Reviews: 1,612 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BrewCrew2010


4.88/5  rDev +5.9%

A: Dark brown body, red tint, small white head.

S: Dark fruit; Belgian yeast which give a hint of clove in the aroma; caramel sweetness, slightly boozy, bit of chocolate malts, some bready notes.

T: Dark fruits- especially raisin and plum; brown sugar sweetness; chocolate malts; a bit of molasses maybe; complex combo of flavors; a very rich and boozy flavor.

M: Full mouth coating feel; very decadent; smooth carbonation.

O: One of the best Quads out there, but it's too difficult to get here in the states. A must try for any beer lover.

06-18-2012 22:51:32 | More by BrewCrew2010
Photo of jampics2


4.88/5  rDev +5.9%

Review #100. Glad I finally started documenting the beers I've tasted lately!! Here's to the next 100!

The myth, the legend. A beer that sat in my cellar wanting to be opened. Its siren song always calls out, now it must be answered.

Split with family - 4 oz or so in my New Belgium globes. Looks great, caramel brown with a small head that quickly disappears.

Smell is amazing. Plums, grapes, chocolate malt, alcohol, caramel.

Taste is what makes this #1. Is it similar to others like St. Bernardus? Yes, but NO. To say yes would be to liken a Lexus to a Bentley. Both are very nice cars (I'd drive either in a heartbeat) but only one is truly a marvel of engineering and craft. A spicey taste shocks the palatte. A wave of caramel and nutty malt is surfed by a grape/plum taste that never truly "fades". The lingering taste has more dark fruit and yeasty elements, then finally subsides. This is a marvel of taste engineering - the flavor just embodies the word "refined". Something for everyone in this beer, not surprised at all that it's so highly regarded.

Mouthfeel is amazing. It's velvet on the tongue, great body and carb support the flavor explosion. Wow. Wow. Wow. Best mouthfeel ever perhaps.

Drinkability is also unheard-of. To be blessed with great friends, great beers, and great memories is what life is about. This is a beer to celebrate the best of all life has to offer!

12-28-2009 15:01:30 | More by jampics2
Photo of HopDerek


4.88/5  rDev +5.9%

Major thanks to ralflord for hooking me up with this one.

Pours a cloudy dark chestnut brown color with 2 fingers of creamy tan head into a tulip glass. Amazing retention with beautiful lacing that is both thick and sticky and also slides down the glass to reconnect with its brethren. Smells of cocoa, caramel, vanilla, honey, sweet bread, dark fruits, cinnamon, clove, rose petals, coriander, candy, light yeast, and slight alcohol. Tastes of candy, fruits like apple and pear, spices, a touch of citrus juice, caramel, sweet bready malts, cocoa powder, figs, plums, cherries, earthy notes, peppercorns, a touch of yeast, and a slight dash of alcohol. An amazing balance of flavors, each pronounced at first along the journey and then gently fading away, leaving only a hint of lingering taste behind. Smooth and velvety with a nice dry finish and great carbonation. Simply a fantastic beer, not my favorite beer of all-time, but definitely the best Quadrupel I've experienced and among the best beers out there. For as high in ABV as it is, it covers it up beautifully. This is a sipping beer, but only because you don't want the glass to run empty. Definitely worth a try whenever you may find it.

09-19-2008 22:37:05 | More by HopDerek
Photo of GatorBeerNerd


4.88/5  rDev +5.9%

I decided to pick out something good for my 200th review. I do not think it gets much better than this. 11.2 oz bottle purchased at the monastery by my friend for me. Poured into the Westvleteren chalice that he also bought for me at the cafe across the street from the Abbey.

A: Pours a dark brown with small tan head. The tiny bubbles really stick to the side of the glass as the beer is consumed.

S: Belgian yeast, sweet smelling malt, dark fruit aroma (raisin), and alcohol is the best I can describe the aroma. I am sure there is even more to this complex brew, but the aroma is a bit subdued.

T: All the pieces from the aroma mix together to make one of the most rich flavors of any beers I have ever had. There is more going on, but I am too inexperienced to pick them all up. I started into good beer via Belgian ales, and this is easily the best of any of them I have ever had. It deserves the hype it gets.

M: It feels thick bodied at times, but if I was forced I would call it more of a medium body. The in mouth carbonation level is perfection for the style. It is nice and smooth and a joy to just roll around on the tongue.

D: You sip this one because you want to savor every drop. The ABV does cause you to slow down a little as well, but not more than you want to anyway.

Those monks sure know how to brew a fantastic beer.

06-02-2009 02:27:36 | More by GatorBeerNerd
Photo of aerozeppl

New York

4.88/5  rDev +5.9%

Cap dated 18.04.10

Thanks to DrSeamus.

A: Poured like cola. Slightly off white off white head. Tons of lacing.

S: Malt sugar and grapes. The spice looms larger than on the 8. The yeast is nice and strong.

T: This is the best Belgian I have ever had hands down. The taste is so complex that every sip yields something different. Earthy taste in there as well. There are a few things in there that I cannot even pick up on but this was incredible.

M: So smooth. The 8 might have been a little more drinkable but this was drinkable. So creamy and wonderful. Slight dryness just like the 8.

D: Like the 8 this is an incredibly drinkable. No hint of the ABV at all. Some of the hyped beers let you down but this one does not. Makes me wish I would I lived in Belgium. Drink this one if you can.

04-14-2008 00:12:18 | More by aerozeppl
Photo of RCane1


4.88/5  rDev +5.9%

I had the pleasure of experiencing this in a four-hundred year old Belgian bar. Even so, it exceeded my high expectations given it's reputation. I hardly want to waste time going through motions but:

Dark, even for a quad. Definitely says there's something of substance in the glass. Very nice dark head. My nose was a bit frozen (it was January in Brussels...) but still picked up a nice fruity, nutty smell. Taste was amaaaazing. Smooth, perfectly balanced. No bitterness, offensive funk or alcohol taste.

I can't say "best in the world" because I haven't had them all yet. But definitely, the best I've ever had.

02-01-2014 01:38:03 | More by RCane1
Photo of GeoffFromSJ

New Jersey

4.88/5  rDev +5.9%

The myth, the legend, Westy 12. Two things complicate reviewing this beer. Both involve the fact that it is hard to get and has a great reputation. Nothing can live up to the legend. At the same time, you want to like this beer because you went through such a hard time to get it.

Poured into a tulip glass with a nice head. Went down into a nice lace that stayed throughout. Dark, but not black as night dark.

Smell is wonderful. You can smell the Belgian yeast esters in a very wonderful way. Hints of candi sugar as well?

Taste is nice and smooth. Belgian yeast esters blend in a way which makes for a smooth, but not overpowering taste. Bananas and cloves seem are present in the taste. I think I'm tasting residual candi sugar as well.

Nice carbonation levels with a good mouthfeel.

Update: Got my hands on a better handled version. Dear me. Wonderful taste. Plums and chocolate.
Exceptionally drinkable for a 10.2%.

02-20-2005 01:04:33 | More by GeoffFromSJ
Photo of SavoD


4.88/5  rDev +5.9%

Loved the mouthful caramel malty flavor. A very complex flavor with a rather deep finish. I just do not understand why it is under so much hype as it is a great beer but the availability should not influence the impression of the beer itself. I just think there are other rather similar excellent beers in the same style. However, I would still like to drink it again ;-).

02-25-2014 22:48:35 | More by SavoD
Photo of Sephiroth


4.88/5  rDev +5.9%

Cap dated 29-04-06: I had intended to not drink this until I found another, but that may be awhile. Besides, this is my 100th beer reviewed.

Into the requisite tulip it goes, with some effort needed to coax a slight foam, I wouldn't even call it head. When held to a light source, the body is a beautiful cherry amber, clear save for a small number of floaties. The nose is a luscious blend of dark, dried fruits, and some wood.

The taste is completely blended, there are no layers of individual flavors. The initial flavor is kind of sweet up front, but quickly begins to dry out. The woody, or perhaps leathery, character appears, and then a faint bitterness, as if from hops. The mouthfeel is barely carbonated, but silky smooth, and heavy. I drank three of these the last night of Marvin's rule over Chalkies. It is to him that I owe many thanks for this bottle.

I think that in Europe, the second number of the date represents the year, rather than the third, as in America. And I seem to remember reading in one of the forums that Westvleteran 12 is bottled three years before the date on the cap. As good as this was, I would like to try a slightly fresher sample. And my two cents is that this is head and shoulders above all other Quads, Trappists definitely included.

11-11-2005 01:57:33 | More by Sephiroth
Photo of DigitalHype


4.88/5  rDev +5.9%

Stamp on the cap is 03.12.11.

Poured into a Westvleteren glass. What else would one use for this masterpiece?

I have to say. I was a bit worried that it wouldn't live up to the hype, and the anticipation. I was not disappointed. Not in the least.

It pours a very rich, dark caramel-like color, with a minimal, but persistent head that remains at the edges, from start to finish. Very tight, crystalline lacing.

Wonderful aroma of candied fruits and warm bread. It is almost unbelievable how dampened the alcohol is here.

I'm not sure where to begin with flavors. This is really complex. Evolving heavily, as I finish it. At first, the sweetness is more than I expected. But, not overpowering. Lots of fig, and stone-fruit flavors. Honey-like sweetness. Bread pudding with raisins comes to mind. Toffee, caramel, and a mild-roast coffee.

The texture is soft and slightly sticky. The carbonation is elevated, but controlled. And, the alcohol is perfectly balanced and masked, as with most all Trappist work. It is still warming though.

This really is wonderful. I can't wait to have another. I only received 8 of these. So, I'm going to do my damnedest to cellar some. But, I have a feeling I will fail miserably. That's okay too. :P

02-14-2009 22:31:45 | More by DigitalHype
Photo of mmahut

Czech Republic

4.88/5  rDev +5.9%

I was lucky to found a bottle of this magnificent beer "under table" in one lost pub in Brussels; cap: 24. 03. 2013.

A: Dark brown body with creamy and solid head.

S: Aromatic smell of dark fruits and sweet sugar, very soft and pleasant. I was stuck at smelling it for pleasure during few seconds, I could just smell it all till there is nothing left. Very sublime and complex.

T: Dark fruits, prunes, caramel with added awesomeness. First time I can rate the taste as exceptional.

M: I think the mouth feel is the best aspect of this beer. You feel like you're in heaven and drinking a cloud. The softness and pleasant after-taste last several minutes.

D: I was very afraid that this beer will be overrated and nothing exceptional, but I was wrong. I must agree it is really exceptional. The high price and unavailability makes me kind of sad but makes me also think about becoming a monk myself, on the other hand :)

05-02-2010 20:34:04 | More by mmahut
Photo of johnd513


4.88/5  rDev +5.9%

Big thanks goes to slater1313 for including this as an extra!
Cap reads 02 07 11
Smells of bourbon, raisins, dark fruits, honey, candi sugar and a phenol character. Tastes of fruit, honey and dark malts. The mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, tingles the tongue and finishes smooth. The sweetness, carbonation and alcohol warming character of this beer mend together perfectly. Drinkability is exceptional, I could enjoy this all night.

06-30-2009 15:59:26 | More by johnd513
Photo of chemmie


4.88/5  rDev +5.9%

Drinking at my home, in a Trappist Westvleteren goblet. Both the beer and goblet were purchased a De Bierkonig in Amsterdam.

This is (I'm still drinking as I write) a great beer.
Nice smell. A little bit of natural vanilla and some figs. It's a very sweet smell. It gives you a good clue as to the sweet taste that is to come.
Not too hard hitting like some of the other stronger Belgians out there. I'm suprised this is as drinkable as it is. I could drink a few of these.
The carbonation is nice and bubbly, but fades rather quickly. The immediate taste is of sugary figs. It leaves almost a licorice aftertaste behind, that sticks around for a couple minutes after each sip.
It is a very complex, and very sweet, flavor without being too hard on the palate.

I'd have to say this beer was worth the money, and worth the wait. It certainly lives up to the hype.

05-15-2008 21:39:50 | More by chemmie
Photo of peacemakers48


4.88/5  rDev +5.9%

This is definitely the best belgium beer I have had. It is the perfect beer to sip and enjoy every last drop. Nice aroma and color but the taste is unmatched. Since this is really hard to get I had to be careful to rate it based on what I feel it really is, but is is fantastic. Since there was no 4.95 review, I had to give it 4.75.

02-24-2014 20:10:09 | More by peacemakers48
Photo of drink1121


4.88/5  rDev +5.9%

2003 with the label that was illegally distributed in the US. Celebrating the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Championship win.

A - pours a deep mohagany with a light tan head and some lacing. I would like a little more head on this off of the pour, but its a 2003, so that needs to be taken into consideration

S- Major raisins off from the start and alll the way through. I get some light oaky-vanilla and cherries at the end.

T- raisins again, but not as much a the smell. more vanilla and tobacco at the end. lots going on here and they blend very very well. very, very light alcohol kick at the end, but a pleasant one.

m- smooothh and creamy with perfect carbonation. slightly light on the mouthfeel and a tiny hot at the end, but great overall.

d- i could drink this beer until i was blue in the face. my oh my, this is not my favorite beer ever, but probably the best beer i have ever had. lived up to the hype for sure

06-10-2010 04:54:29 | More by drink1121
Photo of bainard


4.88/5  rDev +5.9%

Poured into my Orval chalice.

A - Translucent dark brown-amber with a white-ish head that diminishes. Not much lacing.

S - Dark dried fruits, candi sugar, and some yeast present. Not a huge smell, but gorgeous overall.

T - YUM. Normally I hate raisins, but I get the point of them from drinking the notes in this brew. Caramel, molasses, yeast, and of course malt. It's everything you'd want from a candy store sans chocolate.

M - This is honestly my favorite part of the beer. Lively carbonation gives it a unique sort of creaminess unlike any other beer I've had, period. It honestly feels perfect.

D - Each sip unfolds new themes and flavors. Like any good work of art, one's appreciation deepens as you delve further into it. Wonderful.

07-23-2008 23:25:19 | More by bainard
Photo of Bisho


4.86/5  rDev +5.4%

Like the 8 I had this one straight from the abbaye itself.
Once again super fresh and super tasty!
I want bore you with the same tasting notes that 1000 others have already beaten me to. I will say that whilst I do prefer the 8, this is still an exceptional beer but it also proves that sometimes more isn't necessarily better.
Not quite up there with the worlds greatest quad, Rochefort 10, but damn it came close.

04-19-2011 21:07:16 | More by Bisho
Photo of NiceTaps

New Jersey

4.86/5  rDev +5.4%

0.33l bottle, about 11.16 oz., into a stemmed tulip glass.

A- Caramelized brown color, golden and ruby hues. Massive and durable mocha-tan colored head that has a scoop of mass in the center. Just translucent enough to see the abundant micro-carbonation and slight bit of sediment. Hearty foam lacing.

S-Rich malts, sweet and sour dark fruit. Not boozy, but the alcohol provides enhancement and muskiness to the aroma. There's some Eastern-European baking influenced aroma as well, sweet and dark raisin bread. It gets better as it warms.

T- Once again, hearty malts with dark fruit. Raisin in particular. Just enough sugars for sweetness without being a sugar bomb. Tastes of anise, coffee, spice, and tobacco bounce around.

M- So full and sturdy, yet incredibly smooth. It makes me think of cooking roux as a base, thick rather than water based. Nice tingle of carbonation in each sip. Some alcohol bite. Lasting sweet finish.

O- All the hype and more. Drinkable at 10.2% abv. Maybe too drinkable.

02-16-2014 21:14:47 | More by NiceTaps
Photo of RoyalT


4.85/5  rDev +5.2%

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.

12-26-2003 00:06:59 | More by RoyalT
Photo of orbitalr0x


4.85/5  rDev +5.2%

Well...it's Oct. 21st and it's my birthday today so I decided to have this much anticipated brew...the Westy 12. It pours out of the bottle a deep brown color with a fluffly 1 inch head that seems to produce instant lacing. Yummy. The smell is a mix of candied fruit, raisins, alcohol tones, spiced plums. It has a very vinous, almost red wine aroma. Quite complex.

The long awaited first sip is a smooth earthy malty ride. Raisins, fresh baked bread and dark candied fruits are the first things I notice. It has a pleasant caramel sweetness that's not overpowering. Alcohol is non-existant in the flavor and each sip makes we want to take another sip. The velvety texture is freakin amazing...this is an exceptionally well balanced delicacy.

Mouthfeel is good, really spot on. Carbonation and body are well balanced and make for a lucious drinking experience. A little more body wouldn't hurt though. Drinkability...well damn...I could drink this all night..problem is I'd be drinking it on the street because my home would be repossesed. If this was a bit more affordable it would be a 5 for drinkability. If you have yet to try this gem, track it down ASAP...it's worth the hunt.

10-22-2004 04:32:56 | More by orbitalr0x
Photo of nbree00


4.85/5  rDev +5.2%

Thank you, billinlafayette, for sharing this in a trade. Cheers buddy

A: Slightly lighter in color than I imagined for a quad, almost caramel to brown, with a sort of milky quality from the sediment.

S: Aromas are simply amazing with notes of dates, raisins, licorice, baking spices, dark fruits and fennel.

T: On the palate the flavors were a lot creamier than I expected, almost reminiscent of a barleywine. Notes of caramel, milk chocolate, licorice, cloves, fresh baked wheat bread and rich cinnamon-raisin bread pudding

M: Feel is soft and silky, about as elegant a mouthfeel as I can remember.

D: Drinkability was first class, perfectly balanced, which doesn't strike me as earth shattering, cause lets face it if your 10% ABV quad is overly boozy your probably doing it wrong.

Over all an incredible beer that I was glad to finally try. Can't say I'd climb any mountains to get this again, but I certainly wouldn't say no if one happened to fall in my lap again.

03-01-2011 01:18:39 | More by nbree00
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

4.85/5  rDev +5.2%

Bottle: Poured a deep ruby colored beer with a huge thick foamy dark white head with incredible retention (the head was still in place when drinking the last sip of this beer 30 minutes after the bottle had been opened). Carbonation is really good with lots of bubble at the bottom of the glass and some other ones sticking on the side of the glass. Aroma is comprised of light and sweet roastiness with a nice touch of spice but I could not detect any alcohol. Taste is an almost perfect mix between caramel malts, candi sugar and something else, which might be cinnamon. I was really glad that I could not taste the alcohol since it could have been quite harsh at 10.2%. Wow, what a beer. I originally thought that this might be a bit of an over hyped beer but I’m glad to report that it lives up to all the praises.

05-14-2004 13:54:18 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of charlesw

New York

4.85/5  rDev +5.2%

So there you have it. I cracked and bought me some westy 12 - just to see what it was like. Well, holy cow. It's good. It's so good that I promptly made a clone recipe and brewed up 20 gallons. It's the best beer I've ever made. And... And it only has hints of this in it. Man, this is good. Perfectly balanced between sweetness, fruitiness, bitterness. Like, what? When did Belgians get bitter? Anyway, wow. Golly.
And, ha, very little of any Belgian taste to it. Like... Like they didn't even use Belgian yeast or something. So, strange and interesting and magic - this is good. I'd drink it every day - only it's just not available. As it is, I drink my clone every day. Just cracked my second westy 12 and found so many more things I can change in mine - to try to bring it a little closer. Oh! Man is this stuff good!

This is the best beer I've ever consumed. Amazing. Awesome.

12-13-2008 21:19:54 | More by charlesw
Photo of Tdizzle


4.85/5  rDev +5.2%

Thanks to my friend OlieIPA for procuring this in a trade and selling me a bottle.

A- Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Chimay chalice, this beer pours a murky dark brown color with a creamy light-brown head that settles to a medium-thin layer, leaving only a few sheets of lacing after each sip.

S- The aroma is sugary and malty with sticky dark fruits, molasses and Belgian yeast as the most prominent characteristics. There are accents of indiscernible spices and with burnt sugar as well. The alcohol is only slightly noticeable even as the beer reaches room temperature.

T- The initial taste mirrors the aroma, with flavors of malty sweetness and dark fruits making their way to maple syrup and brown sugar town. There is a slight alcohol warmth on the finish, which also leaves a mild tea-like bitterness on the palate.

M- The mouthfeel is creamy and velvety smooth with very mild carbonation.

D- This beer is very drinkable considering its immensely complex flavor profile and a 10.2% ABV. Each sip leaves you in anticipation of the next.

09-01-2008 04:40:40 | More by Tdizzle
Photo of pauljmccain


4.85/5  rDev +5.2%

Tasted at the Gollem, Amsterdam. Great place.
Poured into a generic goblet.

A: Dark brown with reds appearing in the light. Not the darkest quad. Creamy 2-3 finger head, a tan color, but doesn't last very long. Looks great.

S: A mix of fruits, very dark and distinct, but not overpowering. You can certainly smell the caramel.

T: This is where this brew makes its name. It's hard to imagine that it's 10.2% ABV, as unlike Rochefort, there is no alcohol taste at the end. Very smooth with fruity, sweet flavors, shadowed by dark spices and the caramel coming through. Overall, perfect.

M: A very nice feel. Was surprisingly lighter than I expected, though I could have still done with a little more carbonation. Very smooth.

D: Perfectly balanced flavors, perfect taste. A little heavy for top drinkability marks, but it is not a weak point of this beer.

07-04-2010 19:55:57 | More by pauljmccain
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 4,632 ratings.