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

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)

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1,701 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,701
Hads: 5,547
rAvg: 4.63
pDev: 7.13%
Wants: 3,385
Gots: 1,813 | FT: 138
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)
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,701 | Hads: 5,547
Photo of Real_BeerMAN
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!!okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okeyЭТО Россизм!!! ПОчему я УВАЖАЕМЫЙ ЧЕЛОВЕК, должен тыкать 250 раз.... (359 characters)

Photo of peabody
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Last of the birthday brews. 12/22
Pours out a very nice dark coffee with mabey a 1/2 of finger of offwhite suds. The chunks are in the bottom of this one for sure.
If you want a pure pour you have to be very careful. I might do that on the next one. I want every part of this in my westy chalice.
Smell is like a fine wine. So subtle with fruits and spices galore.
Raspberry and cherry hit me first and the yeast is so impressive.
I smell coffee and sugar and caramel and malt. The yeast is the strongest though as it burns the nose.
Taste is a malty sugarness with hints of cherry and orange that dance on the tip of the tounge. Coffee and grapefruit come to mind.
This is a very sweet beer. The aftertaste is the best part because it lingers such a long time in the back of the throat.
Mouthfeel is perfect with the spices and the alcohol mixing to leave the tounge coated with so many memories.
If I were either a rich man or a monk, I could drink this all day and all night. (987 characters)

Photo of goz
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

07/09/02 date stamped on the cap.

Murky brown pour, lots of sediment swirling about in the glass. Thick, medium lasting tan head, huge clingy bubbles initially formed on the side of the glass, then burped their way to the top, never to be seen again. Aroma filled the room with strong apple scents, with some yeast and doughy aroma coming with a more intimate sniff. Taste is strongly doughy and apple, with hints of banana, grape, plum and strong malty sweetness in there. The banana seems to come through more as it gets warmer. Slight alcohol comes through towards the end. Mouthfeel is huge, pummeling the palate with all the different luxurious flavors, feelings, and hints of alcohol. (694 characters)

Photo of Gusler
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The pour is a fuliginous deep cherry red color with a behemothic head, creamy in texture, and a beauteous light tan color, as the head unhastingly erodes; a splendid sheet of lace is formed to unite lovingly with the glass. “Heavenly”, is the word that best describes this nose, ambrosial, hints of over ripe fruit, yeast tones also noticeable along with a slight hint of alcohol, start is thickly malt, sweet, the top middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is pleasantly acidic, the alcohol grasp the taste buds in a Anaconda death grip, the dry vinous aftertaste lingers long after the beer is gone, but certainly not as long as the memory of this fine beer as it stays in your sub-conscience like your first kiss. (722 characters)

Photo of joseph82
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ain't nothing like this beer, it's one in a million. There's simply no comparison. The fact that you can only pick up one crate per car, at the abbey where this stuff is brewed by monks (!), only adds to its exclusivity. It's taste is like honeysuckle dipped in angel sweat. Best beer in the universe bar none. (310 characters)

Photo of JNewbs
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Everything I could hope for. Big head, great color. The mystery bottle and identifying cap add to the alure.
Smell - Figgy, fresh, a bit boozy.
Taste - Indescribable. Delicious.
Mouthfeel - Very carbonated, smooth, as good as anything I've had, though I don't typically discriminate by mouthfeel unless a beer is flat or thin.
Drinkability - I could drink two of these with no issue. After that, the booze would be too much. But I'm sleeping by then anyway.

This beer was absolutely incredible. I've been drinking St. Bernardus 12 and Rochefort 10 to prepare myself to try it. Then this puppy blew them out of the water. Unbelievable, the difference. More fruity taste, and a delicious warmth. Not as boozy as other quads I tried, and I can easily say if this ever comes across my path again, I won't be trading it away. (834 characters)

Photo of eric5bellies
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drank from my Vintage Sint Sixtus Chalice

A - What makes this 5 in appearance is the way the head just stays true and settles into what every beer lover wants and that is a beer that just demands to be consumed, it settles to a uneven surface that you would see on the moon. The colour is a testament to everything beer should be and is mesmerising.

S - Powerful sweet fruits from the bottle. Once poured it's released from it's cage and just plain stinks of roasted sweet fruits and bready yeasts that give of smooth creamy vanilla aromas.

T - The complexity of this brew is astounding. It commands respect and at the same time introduces your palate to a myriad of flavours that actually hypnotises you. The flavours are raisins, bread, chocolate, stewed cherries, dark fruits. It finishes with a lingering zing of intense dark fruits.

M - The incredibly smooth body is just perfectly complimented by low to medium carbonation.

D - This is more than a beer. It is a truly great experience, hype aside this brew is rightfully called the best beer in the world. Everything about this beer says exquisite. No RIS can express a subtle domination of your senses as this beer can. In it's subtleties it's power leaves you seriously impressed.

There are very few beers that one feels privalidged to drink. This is one of them. The fact that it is made by reel monks for love, warms the heart. For me Russian Imperial Stouts are plentyfull and some even delectable. What makes the Quadrupel superior is the way the subtleness is balanced by sheer power and flavour, this is at the top of the tree in Quads and therefore rightly sits as the best beer in the World. I have been lucky enough to try Big DIPA's and massive Imperial Stouts. This trumps them all.

Revisit 04/02/2009

Bottled 05/05/2009

Drank from my 1960's St Sixtus Vintage chalice

A - Pours a deep Mahogany colour with the classic foamy head that does not move at all, and laces all the way down the glass.

S - Oh sweet lord, I don't think it gets better than the aromas displayed by this beer.

T - The flavours have nicely balanced out with the brown sugar subsiding to let the dark fruits be more prominent. The alcohol is still sublimely hidden and the complexity is still unbelievable.

M - Medium to full body with low to medium carbonation.

O - This beer does get a lot better with age. The port like flavours begin to emerge at three years old. I will review again in a couple of years time. This beer cannot be beaten. I know some people are dissapointed when they first tsate this beer because they are used to massive bourbon barrel aged stouts that are dominated by a particular flavour or two. This beer challenges the need for massive flavours by taking you on a journey of subtleness and balance. That for me is the pinnacle of brewing. (2,819 characters)

Photo of Axic10
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Brabander for this. I decided to have this at midnight on my birthday. Poured from the bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown with a half inch of foam that maintains during the entire drink with some nice lacing.

Smell: Sugar cane, candied fruits, burnt banana, belgian yeast, hints of caramel and malt towards the end. Possibly the most complex and best smelling beers I've ever smelled.

Taste: Wow. Candied fruits, burnt banana and clove, bready malt, slight brown sugar, and a very nice yeast character. Very tasty beer.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, yet very smooth.

Drinkability: Yeah, if I could buy this locally, I would never drink any other beer as long as I live. Well worth the effort locating some bottles, would do it again and again. (778 characters)

Photo of KickbacksSteve
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Don for bringing this one to an EPIC tasting! Poured into a generic tulip. Nice off white head. High retention. Soapy lacing. Aroma of caramel, brown sugar, molasses and raisins. Taste is perfect malt sweetness, no alcohol, warming and effing amazing. Flawless in every way, shape and form. (300 characters)

Photo of ajramirez1
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beervana bought at belmont station. Good looking out. Got 3 gftboxes. Aging some for awhile...special occasions...

Beer is g damn $$$$. Im a belgian fan and im so glad i waited to try this after trying alot of belgian beer. Great look to beer. Smell is pleasing. Taste is $. Beer is just a must try. Hands down worth every penny.

Just a great beer. I would put PtY ahead of this but its not far behind at all.

Pacific NW 12/12/12!

Westy 12!!!

Aged and had 1/6 from this 12/12 crop. Beer is awesome with a few years on it...congrats to my brother on wedding as well!!!

A- (577 characters)

Photo of FreshHawk
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Dark chestnut with garnet red hues and an above average sized, creamy, smooth, tight foamy head. Good retention that finally rests into a nice, creamy, smooth layer of lace.

S - Wonderful mix of dark fruit (raisin, date, a bit of cherry, and lots of other dark fruit). Strong amount of spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, pepper, allspice, coriander, etc.) paired with some warming alcohol. Also a good amount of dark caramel malt.

T - Similar to the nose. Well balanced and complex, and hard to fully describe so I'll just say wow. Strong amount of spice (similar to the nose) along with a touch of warming alcohol that compliments the spice. Dark fruit mixes in well with raisin being the strongest, but others making a showing. Has a good amount of candi sugar, Belgian sweetness along with the dark fruit. Also has a good amount of dark, sweet, caramel, and slightly bready malt. Wonderful mix of sweet, spice, fruit, etc.

M - Medium body with a perfect amount of carbonation. Wasn't quite as thick as I was expecting, but it works well with the taste. Incredibly smooth and creamy.

D - So easy to drink with the smooth and creaminess and the well balanced flavors. Would gladly drink another.

Notes: Best before 24/03/13. Wonderful beer that lived up to the hype for me. Well balanced and complex. Really an enjoyable beer that I would gladly drink again. A touch lighter than what I was expecting, but it worked well. Very tasty beer, with all the hype I can see how it might fall short for a number of people, but all in all I think most people would gladly drink another. (1,584 characters)

Photo of nsp73
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have had it from the bottle (in a glass of course) twice now. Thank god I was sitting down both times.
Truly is the only beer I have ever said that with and that's all that needs to be said. It tastes and smells wonderful. Malty, dark fruit, and earthy. The absolute best beer. I keep thinking others may overtake it from my favorites... like I said, it is still the only beer I have ever had that made my knees quiver.
Can't wait to try this on tap some day. (461 characters)

Photo of GbVDave
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 33cl bottle into two small snifters. Extra special thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist! Last Christmas was Westy 8, this year it's Westy 12...what an awesome Christmas tradition!

Cap dated 19.09.10

A: Pours a deep, dark, and opaque cola-brown color with a luxuriously creamy light-tan head that retains forever and leaves sticky drapes of lace coating the inside of the glass.

S: Incredible aromas of caramel, raisin, dark chocolate, plum, grape, toffee, roasted nuts, and further complexities offered up by a fantastic pinch of booziness that develops in the nose.

T: HUGE flavors of caramel and/or molassas, dark chocolate, alcohol, rum raisin bread pudding, tootsie-roll, sweet over-ripe dark fruit, and a faint lemon/orange citrus flavor in the finish.

M: Smooth, creamy, very silk-like. Glides over the tongue and down the throat with nary a problem. A bit of pepper (From the booze? Or the hops?) adds a whole different dimension to this.

D: This absolutely lives up to the hype. It went down so smooth and easy it was scary! Wonderful. (1,062 characters)

Photo of Timmace
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

F*CKING DELICIOUS! Well worth the extravagant amount of money spent on it. It seriously tasted like an explosion of flavour in my mouth. I would recommend this to anyone who is a serious beer drinker and especially anyone who likes belgian style ales. This is the best of trappist market. The best the world has to offer. (321 characters)

Photo of jneiswender
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this beer from the bottle at In De Vrde near the abbey. Served in a chalice, cool.

A-mahogany brown body, tan head (thick).

S-sweet grain, alcohol, candy

T-chocolate, smoke, sugar, marshmallow, light hop.

M-full flavor but light on the palate.

D-This is unquestionably the best beer I've ever had. Life throws so many overhyped things that never fit the bill. This fits the bill and then some. If I have the honor of drinking this again. I will. (454 characters)

Photo of connecticutpoet
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The result of a wonderful trade with GClarkage... poured into the accompanying St. Bernardus chalice. A lovely brown, slightly hazy ale with a one finger head that eventually settled to a one-eighth inch layer of foam that never went away. Lots of lace on the glass.

Lots of anticipation for this one... had to work hard to make a personal goal before I rewarded myself with this one. So I was ready and eager.

The aroma was of sweet plums, raisins, dates, and other dark fruits, dark malt, and a hint of brown sugar. Many layered and complex.

Taste... heaven in a glass. I wanted to compare this to St. Bernardus Abt 12, but the two beers are so distinctive I couldn't. It was a thing unto itself. Dark malt, a hint of spiciness, chocolate, caramel, and a blast of alcohol at the end that was not overpowering and not out of place. Wow.

Mouthfeel was smooth and creamy. Not like your average drinkin' brewski. Wonderful and sliky.

Drinkability was excellent... I could do several and not get tired of them (although I might not be able to see straight at the end).

I tried to find fault with this beer, I really did... it was almost like a challenge, rating the #1 beer in the world. But I couldn't. (1,219 characters)

Photo of neonbrown82
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was every bit as awesome as I was hoping, and thus much better than I was expecting. Very appropriate for my 500th review on BA. Thanks to dogfooddog once again for the trade. This is a 3 year sample, and a much fresher review will be forthcoming.

The beer pours to a nice dark reddish brown. Decent frothy head that doesn't quite stay around for too long, but it laces to the glass fairly well.

The smell is great. Very complex. Sweet and nutty with lots of fruit and berry esters. Nice roasted barley flavor as well. The taste is just as great and equally complex. Very smooth. Mouthwatering bubblegummy, cotton candy sweetness. The sweetness is not cloying, but just right. Has a great roasty nuttiness that pairs brilliantly with the sweetness. The alcohol is no more detectable than it is in the blue cap, which is not at all. Awesome. I can't wait to compare the fresher version to see if this is still the case.

Body is full and creamy. Residual sugars stay in the mouth forever, punishing you with the fact that you probably can't drink another bottle right then and there. Awesome through and through. I can't wait to go to Belgium myself. This beer is every bit deserving of a 5.0 rating. That being said, I think Rochefort 10 is every bit as brilliant as this, much cheaper, and readily available here in Iowa. That simply cannot be beat, number one rated beer or not.

edit: I just had the fresher ~6 month version of this beer tonight (8/24/06). I did the Rochefort vs. Westy challenge, and the Westy prevailed on all fronts. My roommate and I were even biased towards the Rochefort. Had a much cleaner flavor and finish. Not quite as roasty. Lots of bubblegum esters. Phenomenal. I want more. (1,731 characters)

Photo of digita7693
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well what can I say... Had this at the café next to the abbey and have since enjoyed several bottles at home.

color is dark amber, almost looks black, depending on the light
smell is wonderful, fruity and caramel
taste, perfection. you can hardly taste the alcohol behind the rush of flavors, fruits (raisins, figs) slight gingerbread taste, sweet caramel. but not overpoweringly sweet, just enough (400 characters)

Photo of siliconalchemy
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was GIVEN a bottle of this by a great guy at work. I shared it with some great friends at a great bar. None of that matters to this fact: this beer is INCREDIBLE. (164 characters)

Photo of ghostwalker
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to juicestam for his round the world odyssey that led to this 3-way all Westy tasting.

Here it is. The Big Kahuna. The one and only. The number one beer in the world, or is it?

Appearance: Dark , dark brown body. Solid finger of white head. Nice lacing. Just picture perfect. Wish I had taken a picture.

Nose: Stronger than 8, much more spice. Sweet/spice combo that really makes an impression.

Taste: Spicy strength, but restrained. Dark fruit and caramel/molasses. This defines complexity. A relatively simple initial sip turns into so much more.

Mouthfeel: Here's where it really glows. Tingly spice, slightly numbing, like cloves. Slick and frothy.

Drinkability: Deceptive and tantalizing. Easy to drink. Is this 10%? I can't tell, but I know I want more...

It is #1 for a reason. Please try it if you can. (827 characters)

Photo of tconboy
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed several of these during my time in Bruges and Antwerp, including a magnificent 2004 edition from Kulminator's cellar. With a little age, even more light is shed on the absolute perfection in the way the wondrous flavors of this beer of gods blend together in creating a taste of the heavens.

Pours a murky, alive, dark chocolate malt brown with a fluffy, cloudy, pillowy extremely light tan head that sits on top of this wonder as a heavenly cloud sits above the wonders of life below. Close your eyes and inhale the deep, succulent, full, chocolaty, creamy, soul of bread aroma and you can feel the beers aura inviting you to taste it's otherworldly pleasure.

The feeling as it flows through your mouth and makes contact with the taste buds, immaculate. This beer is alive! As you become one with its glory you not only taste, but feel the incredible deep full roasted blend of complex bready chocolate sweet dried fruit goodness that balance in creating the ultimate beer flavor.

This beer is unlike any other that I have experienced. It has the incredible balance and smoothness that makes the Rochefort 10 so special, but it's flavor - complexity similar to the Bernardus Abt, but blends and is alive in a way which can't be done justice through comparison. The individual aspects of this beer are reminiscent of those that make other great beers exactly that, but the way in which they all come together in a harmonious revelation is what ultimately makes this beer unmatched.

All hail the king in his golden crown. (1,532 characters)

Photo of RoBotGod
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The best thing about this beer is it goes through several different changes during the process of drinking it and all of them are great. The pour was a dark brown but not black. The nose came out with dates, caramel, leafs, and strong yeast. The texture was some what like champagne. Tasted way lighter then it looked. I almost could not taste the alcohol at all. When it started to warm up I started getting a heavy tobacco taste, would have even been good with a cigar or what ever it is you put in your pipe. Also some strong licorice flavors. The malt is perfect and not heavy at all. Not sure of the date of mine but I would love to try one of these that as quite of bit of age on it. (689 characters)

Photo of dalion037
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Where are these monks hiding the alcohol? This beer was deliciously complex and balanced that I could not taste the 10.2% alcohol until I was working on a nice buzz. There is nothing I could say about this beer that has not been said before so all I want to add is, if you haven't had one get one. You won't be disappointed even if you pay $20 a bottle like I did. (I would have paid $50 if I knew it was so damn good.) (419 characters)

Photo of EmpiricalBill
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I finally got a Westvleteren 12 the other day. I have been wanting one for years. A buddy of mine was able to get some on a trip to Belgium and a six pack arrived on my doorstep a few days later labeled "yeast sample".

I immediately made a run to Binny's to get some other Quads to prepare my palate and set up a blind tasting. I was told Trappistes Rochefort 10 was a great comparable so that's the one we chose to face off with the Westy. Unfortunately, the Westy 12 completely demolished the Rochefort. I was truly hoping the Rochefort would win since it's so readily available.

So, here are the details: Westvleteren 12 is a moderately deep amber, very clear (much more than the relatively cloudy Rochefort). Smell is boozy, raisins, maybe a little banana. Rochefort is more of a caramel scent. The taste of the Westy will initially throw you, striking you as overly bitter at first. As other reviewers have pointed out, you may not like this one on the first taste but it will quickly win you over. It has an extremely complex flavor. I would not say this is a "fruity" beer but there are fruit notes, along with wood and maybe even a little smoke. The finish is warm but not boozy. Perfect beer. If you are lucky enough to get some, do it justice: serve it around 60F in a perfectly clean glass, pour it carefully to avoid the sediment, have a clean palate, etc. I must say I cannot disagree that this is possibly the best beer in the world. (1,449 characters)

Photo of roblowther
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle carried back from the monastery and cellared for 1 1/2 years. Pours a completely opaque, very dark brown with a dense, rocky head that leaves nice lacing on the sides of the glass. Smells of candied fruits, plums and raisins with a orange note in the background and a dusky, rich aroma throughout. Taste? A 5 doesn't do it justice. Fruits up front, mellowing into an incredibly smooth malt, followed by nice tannins and then a sharp but mellow aftertaste. It has a nice warming alcohol finish but nothing harsh anywhere in this beer. The mouthfeel is oily and chewy, dense and spectacular. The drinkability is only limited by the availability. We bought a case of this in Belgium and went through it like shit through my dog after he's gotten into the trash. I hate to just jump on the bandwagon but this really does live up to its reputation. This is quite possibly the best beer I've ever had and is just a testament to what brewing can be. Hallelujah! (961 characters)

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 1,701 ratings.