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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.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

4,607 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,607
Reviews: 1,610
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 8.89%
Wants: 2,850
Gots: 1,313 | FT: 101
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:
(Yellow Cap)

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,607 | Reviews: 1,610 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CanuckRover
CanuckRover

Ontario (Canada)

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

I want to preface this review by saying that my girlfriend picked this up for me having no idea what it was. Fortune smiled.

Pours a murky reddish-brown with a big off-white head. More carbonation than I would have expected. Yeast from the bottle leaves a dark red mark in the head and last throughout which is really cool looking. Substantial lacings.

A real satisfying port-like aroma, nothing like combining my two favourite tipples! Alcohol characterizes everything but it certainly isn't overbearing, comes across as wine-soaked fruit. I get cinnamon covered apples like a dark cider. Standard style notes like plum, raisins and dates. It's incredibly rounded.

Serious malt backbone. Thick, boozy brown raisin bread. A fruity combination of plums and dates and nice sweet berries makes this alot more balanced than alot of quads. Cloves but not overpowering. Likewise, generous hopping leaves a spicy finish resembling bitter cocoa. Alcohol is not strong at all, I'm actually kind of shocked, I was expecting a real burning beer, but it isn't.

Best to have it only very slightly chilled, otherwise the lively carbonation takes out a bit of the flavour. As it warms it smooths out quite a bit eventually becoming quite creamy.

Certainly deserving of the hype. An excellent beer and probably my favourite of the quads.

11-23-2008 23:37:32 | More by CanuckRover
Photo of HalfFull
HalfFull

California

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Well, it's Presidents day. Reason enough to commence a Quad-off. Westy 12, Rochefort 10 and St. Bernardus 12. All poured into identical large wine glasses at the same temp. and roughly the same age. Westy picked up fresh at 'Café In de Vrede' and the others imported to the States via normal channels. All roughly eight months old I would guess. All from single 330 ml. bottles as I dont trust the St. Bernardus 750ml. Let's let them warm up a bit before we dive in.

Which is best? Hmmm...I've had them all before but never in such tight competion. After twenty minutes at room temperature, I decide to dive in...

All three pour dark with crimson highlights. Only the Westy is clear and bright while Rochefort and St. Bernardus show a bit of haze. St. Bernardus and Westy show solid retention with Westy a bit creamier in nature. Rochefort settles out quickly yet keep a film.

Nose agains goes to Westy with a pleasant dubbel-like aroma of yeast and bready malts. Rochefort is notably more malty but then that is a bit expected given the lack of foam. St. B. is bright and yeasty but dare I say half way to Unibroue?? But not in a bad way.

All taste excellent with St. Bernardus perhaps a bit lighter in body yet equally if not more depth to be offered. Westy is perfectly balanced and comes off almost as a dryish Dubbel. Rochefort has more character and alcohol and some rich caramel and chocolate and fig that seem to ebb and flow. St. B. is creamy and smooth.

Warming brings out great character in the Westy, more caramel sweetness in the Rochefort and a bit more yeasty character in the St. Bernardus. I must say that I would have trouble distinguishing the Westy from the St. Bernardus as for yeast influence alone, but then they do have a common history. Okay, the Westy is a bit smokier, but subtle.

Overall the Westy and St. Bernardus are largely indistinguishable given the bloodlines. Again, avoid the 750 and go for the 330 as more St. Bernardus. The Rochefort is best fresh and offers amazing depth. Drink local...

02-19-2013 04:17:44 | More by HalfFull
Photo of berkey
berkey

California

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Figured I'd finally pull this one out of the fridge for the occasion of my 50th review. Poured into a Chimay glass.

Body is a very dense, dark, and cloudy brown. Forms a medium sized light brown head with mediocre retention but lacing is excellent.

The aromas start off with the figs and other sweet dark fruits expected of the style along with some great graham-crackery malts and yeast. Also some bitter grassy hops in the background.

Along with the style-requisite dark fruits picked up on the aroma I'm also getting some anise, ginger bread, toffee, and almond flavors on first sip. Hop bitterness is slightly more assertive than in other beers in this style, especially in the aftertaste. As it warms fruit sweetness becomes more easily identifiable with more fig and some faint cherries.

Good carbonation is complimented by a slight alcohol tingle to create an enjoyable mouthfeel. Incredibly drinkable for the style but because of the difficulty obtaining this I don't anticipate having more than one of these in a sitting unless I'm in Belgium.

Overall I enjoyed this one very much. One of the best examples of this style out there, although probably not number one according to my personal tastes. Still, this would definitely be a regular if it were more readily available.

06-07-2009 20:15:09 | More by berkey
Photo of cdrogers
cdrogers

Illinois

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Beer poured straight from the bottle into a tall goblet. It had been stored for a couple months from the date of purchase in an light-free and cool place in the house.

It poured a strong "cola" color with a dark-brown and almost milky head. The carbonation was quite visible and more so then most beers I've had. The head seemed to stay, very slightly, throughout drinking. For the dark color it was still a pretty clear pour.

It smelled so sweet. Not a bad sweet though, not like a pot of warm, double-boiler chocolate type sweet, but somewhat cinnamony(?). It wasn't overpowering and it pulls you in.

After taking a sip the sweetness seems to dance over the tongue and into the cheeks. For this sweetness it goes down very smooth and has a minimal aftertaste. I had it by itself, but I could see it going well with a nice creamy cheese for some reason. I think the flavors would balance well.

I received six of these from someone in Belgium and sold all but two of them. I wanted to keep a couple and try it out and I'm glad I did. I wish it were widely available in the states. Of course the value or mystic of it would go down, but regardless it is a beer that I could see myself drinking any day of the week. More so in the winter months, but a nice relaxing evening would work well. I recommend this to anyone who has the chance to taste it.

Cheers!

07-10-2008 04:06:55 | More by cdrogers
Photo of Brewfan
Brewfan

Connecticut

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Acquired via trade with recent trade with Ding. Thanks for the opportunity to review my first Westy 12. I've had 2 before, but hadn't reviewed them, just enjoyed them. Now to do both....

Poured into my Trappist Rochefort chalace. Best by date on cap is 09/05/10, so this is still a rather "young" Westvleteren compared to the 2 others I've had which were each past their date. Beer is a deep, hazy garnet color brushed with dark chocolate. Gorgeous 1 1/2 finger head of tan, falling ever so gracefully into streaks of hearty lace. No discernable carbonation rising from the glass.
Aromas of fig and shortbread immediately assault my senses. I can almost taste them through my nose, they're that prominent. Dates, raisins and sweet honey follow close behind. A huge malty whiff produces no apparent hop aroma, but this IS a quad, so.... I'm also getting no alcohol on the nose. I've had beers much smaller than the 10.2% listed here where the alcohol made itself known throughout the beer. Not in this case. Dangerously quaffable.
Now for the taste. Not that I haven't been tasting it for the past 15 minutes, but I have to go back and try to remember everything I've tasted. Once again, shortbread, but albiet a bit spicier than on the nose. Peppery. Toffee and figs, dates and banana nut bread dance on my tongue. Hazelnuts coated in a yeasty, Belgian candi sugar. There's so much taste going on here, it's really hard to wrap my head (and taste buds) around it.
Close to the end of the glass, and there's still a full covering of lace and more on the edges of the glass. Not too shabby for 1/2 hour later.
Not overly carbonated with a mouthfeel that stays with you for a while. Nice and hearty for a 25 degree night and our first 8 inches of snow of the year. Alcohol definitely makes itself known towards the end of the beer. Does not take away from it's drinkability at all. You just have to put the brakes on so as not to guzzle the rest of the beer.
I've been waiting all day to drink this beer, but waited until the snowball fights with my daughter and cocoa and shoveling were done. It was well worth the wait. And as hard as it is to get, it will be worth the wait until my next Westvleteren 12. But believe me, there will be a next one.

12-14-2007 02:59:45 | More by Brewfan
Photo of lightindarkness
lightindarkness

Florida

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Thanks to Nesued for giving me the chance to try this one.

Pours a raisin colored richness with surprising clarity, even with some sediment from the bottom. Creamy full head settles slowly.

Nose is very complex and intriguing, nearly vinous, with notable sweet dark fruits of raisin, blackberry, and plum, some full bready malt, grapes, and a subtle spice.

For the strength, depth of flavor, and complexity, this remains very delicate and fine. More bready character saturated with candy sweet fruit and a soft lingering spicy note are pronounced on the tongue. Not overly sweet, not too dry, and surprisingly lacking the 10+% abv taste.

Feel is very pleasant, medium bodied with enough carbonation to lighten it up just a little. Smooth, with the impression of being syrupy, though somehow remaining much lighter and more delicate.

Deceivingly rich, with masterfully crafted character, it's very difficult to say how drinkable this is. So enjoyable to sip. While I certainly want more, I found it very satisfying.

07-05-2008 11:57:05 | More by lightindarkness
Photo of TCgoalie
TCgoalie

Michigan

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Reddish-brown hue with some yeasty modules. White head and lacing along the sides.

Aromas of brown sugar, cherries, basement, bread. Tart cherry really comes through.

A lot going on with the taste. Bread and brown sugar heavy up front which transitions to toffee and dark fruits. Spicy, bitter, and dry in the back end with some nice warming. Not overly hot and silky smooth.

The feel is extremely soft with some drying in the end. It's like diving into a pool of cool whip, being pulled out by angels, and the dried with a sherpa cloth.

What a wonderful treat brought back from Belgium by my sister and bro-in-law. Merry Christmas! Thoroughly enjoyed!

12-29-2012 18:26:17 | More by TCgoalie
Photo of Rifugium
Rifugium

Pennsylvania

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

First had: bottle from Brouwerij Westvleteren (via a German friend)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4Qh-YmW2SM

Oh the hype! Was it worth it? Well, sure. I've heard mixed reports on this beer, and from my experience, many true beer aficionados out in the "real world" will tell you, that the main appeal of this beer is it's unavailability, not it's features, and that in fact, a fine Rochefort or even St. Bernardus is as good as or even better than a Westvleteren. So in the end, it's just a matter of opinion, like anything else.

That said, this was a great beer. I acquired the bottle legitimately: a friend of a friend of mine traveled to Westvleteren and respectfully procured me a few bottles from the elusive monks.

My at-the-time fianceé and I each had a bottle, we shared one with friends at our engagement party, I used one for a video review, and I have four that I'm cellaring, with one or two perhaps for trade.

Anyway, on to the review, as you can see from the video, this beer was properly poured into a signature Westvleteren goblet. Dark caramelized brown in color, hazy, moderately carbonated, with a beautifully crafted light tan head that settled right around the "Trappist" logo of the glass, retained throughout the session, and exhibited some fine lacing. Robust aroma, dark fruits, dark sugars. Extremely full of flavor, smooth, candi sugars, toffee, dark cherries, raisins, alcohol is noticeable but not at all detrimental. Earthy, organic, chewy, complex... Medium mouthfeel, but full of flavor, slightly bitter aftertaste, and very drinkable.

06-28-2011 21:34:29 | More by Rifugium
Photo of WillCarrera
WillCarrera

Ohio

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Picked up a bottle from Bier Tempel in Bruges, the bottle was from one of those special six packs that the monks released in Belgium this November to raise funds for renovations on the abbey. Has the Latin phrase "Ad aedificandam abbatiam adiuvi," which means "I helped to build the abbey" on the bottle as well as a pretty dramatic "Westvleteren XII" label. Has a best before date of 31.08.14 on the cap. Poured into a Westvleteren chalice.

A- Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights, produces a thin layer of tan head, bubbles down to a ring around the edge of the glass.

S- The aroma is massive, a delicious blend of fruit (raisins, figs, dates) some phenol with licorice and caramel, spice, and moist bready malt with brown sugar.

T- Similar to the nose, with big dark fruit flavors as well as spice. Malts are big and moist, lots of caramel and bread pudding. Alcohol is warm and spicy with some clove and phenol and licorice.

M- Medium bodied, solid carbonation with a smooth, creamy feel.

O- An amazing beer, its reputation really is well deserved. One of the best beer's I've ever tasted.

12-22-2011 13:02:53 | More by WillCarrera
Photo of Pamola
Pamola

Vermont

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Lucky to get this in a trade from JeffV for my 1000th beer (give or take a few probably). Thanks, Jeff.

A: Poured into a tulip and shared with a couple select friends. Dark dark chestnut with a 3 finger off white head. Very slow dissipation. Slow and steady release of carbonation adds to the head nearly as fast as it settles. Wonderful, thick lacing. Physical foam more than superficial detritus.

A: warm dark fruit aromas with a slight ester funk. Powerful and steady without being overwhelming.

T: First impression is the ridiculous smoothness of flavor. For the style the maltiness and yeast sharpness are perfect. The esters dance on the tongue and there is absolutely no indication of the alcohol content. Buttery, oakey finish.

M: Rounded and perfectly effervescent on the palate.

D: This beer was worth the wait. I certainly do wish access was better and easier, and that ease of procurement wouldn't take anything away from the beer. It does live up to the hype.

01-26-2009 04:43:04 | More by Pamola
Photo of hefevice
hefevice

Australia

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Bottle dated August 2005. Made a pilgrimage all the way to Westvleteren to pick this up. Pours into my Westy goblet black with dark tan hints when held up to the light. Decent compact light tan head which recedes fairly quickly to a thin covering. Aroma is complex and amazing dark fruit, toffee, oak (almost wine barrel), subtle spice from the alcohol. Taste is full on - all of the components identified in the aroma, but so intense. Very sweet start is balanced we superbly by the bitterness of finish and the peppery spice from the otherwise well hidden alcohol. Mouth feel is full and velvety smooth, just about perfect. I can't imagine having too many of these in a session - it would have to be the night cap, however it is almost sad to get to the bottom of the glass, so I have rated it high on that basis. Damn, only one left now :-(.

10-28-2005 11:05:42 | More by hefevice
Photo of IPAcraig
IPAcraig

Tennessee

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Poured into a Westy goblet at Cafe Gollem in Amsterdam. Served at cellar temp from the cellar of the cafe. I paid 12 euro for it, but it didnt matter; this was the first time I was ever able to get my hands on this beer. Despite the fact that I have been wanting to try this beer for a long time, I reviewed it as unbiasedly as possible (I am confident I acheived this); attempting to forget the name on the top of the cap.

A - A gorgeous beer. Deep orange brown. There was minimal head that faded pretty fast, no lacing. I knocked it slightly for that, but minimal lacing and head are to be expected in bigger beers like quadrupels.

S - This beer has a huge aroma.A big sweet/malty smell with hints of figs and prunes. A touch of caramel and tobacco as well.

T - This is a fine beer, it tastes similar to smell described above. A big malty presence assaults your tastebuds. Has a fruity character as well that wasnt apparent in the nose. Also has a nice touch of yeast to it as well and a different salty character at the finish. A complex quadrupel.

M - Lightly carbonated and slick. The taste on this lingers forever, it dosent want to quit. And again there is this salty finish on the tounge

D - The 5 a give for drinkability is maybe where a slight bit of bias creeps in. I dont want to quit drinking this beer. It is exceptional and very well rounded. I am in a great cafe, in a foreign country, drinking an exceptional beer.

I suppose this is where I say whether or not the beer lives up to the hype. For me it is not the best beer in the world. However it is the best quadrupel I have ever tried. It blows St. bernardus away and narrowly edges Rochefort. This is truly a fine beer, and the rareness of it makes it a treat to seek out. The feeling a got when i finally was able to find one was bliss. For that factor the beer deserves a five.

In short - best quadrupel I have ever had, though that might only get it into my top 15 or so beers.

05-22-2007 20:13:56 | More by IPAcraig
Photo of IPAIsaac
IPAIsaac

Florida

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to try this beer during a beer tasting tour in Brussels. Id say around April 2013.

After the tour (having sampled 8 other awesome beers from Belgium + chocolate ), we were given the option of going to a place that served this.

Of course we accepted.

Bottle was unlabeled and we were not allowed to keep. Place we went to was in a back alley. Locals only.

Very rich and flavorful. Being younger I tried to take in as much as I could, however, when I had the beer I had not much to compare. I do remember it being special.

The worst part was the 3+ hr train ride back to Amsterdam !! But at least I got to try it and keep the bottle cap.

06-22-2013 03:52:15 | More by IPAIsaac
Photo of grandq
grandq

New York

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Popping the top as my beerthday present to me. Pours a deep dark hazy bubbly brown, the color of honey fresh from a comb around the edges. The initial smell is...beer - fairly straightforward malty, slightly musty scent with a couple bolder notes of clove and cinamon around backing up the basics. The fairly simple nose belies the rich, complex flavors that greet the tongue. A fairly neutral, caramel malt starts things off, then the taste gets big. I can't even begin to chart the unfolding of the various flavors that appear, but its big on deep red, not overly sweet bing cherries, dark but not terribly bitter chocolate, crisp but not too bright macintosh apples, along with some prickly pear, clove, cinamon, raisin, course ground white pepper... and on and on. Balance is the key word here. Roling this around on the tongue, I'm faintly picking up the mineral bitterness I'd noticed and somewhat faulted in the Westy 8, but here its quite well hidden. And so is the alcohol, which adds some depth to the flavors but sneaks in like ninja. I suppose silent like a monk would be more apropos, but ninja sounds more dramatic, and like the alcohol content, ass kicking.

The mouthfeel is thick and chewy yet still pretty heavily carbonated, keeping things paradoxically light. My tounge's feeling a little dry after a bit, but I'll man up and soldier on, poor me. For a quad, holy crap this is quaffable. Just wonderfully balanced and subtly flavorful.

Is this a world class beer? Absolutely. Is it the best thing I've ever tasted? I certainly enjoyed it a great deal, but I'm afraid the answer is no, there are other things more pleasing to my palate. But who cares about the hype, it's a lovely drink and I'm pleased as punch, or I guess pleased as really good beer, to be drinking it. Thanks to pimpp for the inadvertent birthday present

03-21-2008 00:14:49 | More by grandq
Photo of CBFanWish
CBFanWish

New York

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

So here I am with the fabeled Westy 12. There is no beer in the world as highly regarded as this. As I look at the bottle, I can't help but to think that this is no different than looing upon a Jackson Pollock painting. A true piece of art. I wanted to wait for a while to drink this, but we all know what it's like holding a piece of cake in your hand and being told not to eat it.
It poured a dark reddish brown colour. It was more like the colour of blood than anything else. The head was a frothy two finger cloud that released aromas that just filled the room. Chocolate, toffee, caramel, nuts and grains filled the air causing great antisipation.
The taste is so complex yet so smooth. I first noticed toffee that soon blended with chocolate, caramel, nuts, grass, and apples. I have never tasted anything like it before.
I thouroghly enjoyed this beer. I can't wait for the other to be opened. Only a couple more years to go.

05-06-2004 22:22:28 | More by CBFanWish
Photo of PatandDavid
PatandDavid

Massachusetts

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

I had my very first one at the Redbones BA pub crawl. I asked Longstaff and Bierman9 for their recommendation, and they steered me to this one, so a big thanks to them.

This beer is outstanding. It was a bit dark down there, so I have to say that it poured a dark robust color. I don't remember the smell as being overwhelming, let's say it didn't prepare me for such a wonderful taste. This beer is among the smoothest I have ever had. I can't get over how some high alcohol beers let you know right off from the smell that they are going to make you know they have alcohol in them. This beer may have a high alcohol content, but I did not pick up an overwhelming alcoholic taste. A beer that can do that, I really respect. The taste was, oh I almost can't describe, but it was smooth as silk, and made you say this is a beer to savor. I gave the mouthfeel a 4.5, and the drinkability only a 4, out of respect for the alcohol content.

I would highly recommend this to anyone.

01-26-2003 07:12:48 | More by PatandDavid
Photo of UncleJimbo
UncleJimbo

Massachusetts

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Sampled from a bottle marked 23.08.08 in late Nov. 2005. Therefore, this bottle was ~3 months old. Sampled at Apspanning 't Waagstuk in Antwerp, Belgium.

This beer poured a dark brown color with highlights of red. The foam was creamy and tan, and settled to a thin coat. The smell was lightly malty and slightly vinous. The taste was malty and lightly sweet with a touch of vinous overtones. The flavor was good, but was much less complex than older bottles that I had sampled. The mouthfeel was smooth with medium-full body and good carbonation. The aftertaste was pleasantly malty. Slightly warming. This was the first time I had sampled such a "young" bottle of this beer, and frankly the beer tastes much better after aging in the bottle a few years.

05-29-2006 19:19:20 | More by UncleJimbo
Photo of guinnessdoc
guinnessdoc

Pennsylvania

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Got my first bottle of this thanks to a trade from AlohaC.

A - Nice dark brown color with reddish coloring at the edges. Creamy, off-white head made up of small bubbles that stayed about 1/4 inch thick throughout.

S - Malty sweetness with hints of fruit.

T - Sweet up front with tart fruit flavors that were hard to place. Perhaps prunes, plum, or cherries? Very slight smoky taste hidden amongst everything else.

M - Slides smoothly over the tongue with a fair amount of carbonation.

D - This is a fantastic beer that has no apparent flaws. However, I don't know if that's enough to make it the #1 beer in the world. Regardless of rankings, it's just damn good. How those monks get so much flavor out of just 4 ingredients is beyond me. But I'm sure glad they do.

06-20-2006 03:51:11 | More by guinnessdoc
Photo of ZAP
ZAP

Minnesota

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

After just drinking a very solid Westy 8, I am even more impressed with this one...now this is a beer I would save away for an after Thanksgiving Day meal special treat...

Nose is dark sweet dark fruits....plums and burgandy cherries...I actually liked the nose on the 8 a little better....body is much fuller and substantial than the 8...this feels like a sipper..creamy, buttery smoothness....still this is sliding down way too quick...very smooth and sweet...flavors swirl around...some caramel covered cherries....plums dipped in brown sugar.... just enough spicyness(black pepper and a small hit of alcohol) to keep things in check....

This is an excellent beer...perhaps not my personal favorite for #1 but no arguments here..it is certainly worthy..a world class beverage I wouldn't mind having around for special occasions.

Paid 8.50 for the 11 ounce bottle..

07-13-2004 05:05:10 | More by ZAP
Photo of fear025
fear025

Illinois

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Aroma:Malt and grapes. Nice sweet aroma.

Appearance:Brown in color, nice head that's ecru in color.

Taste:Caramel and Malt, wine notes. The aftertaste leaves some leather, earthy notes.

Mouthfeel:Medium to thick in body. Hot alcohol, a little astringency, great carbonation.

Drinkability:It's a really easily drinkable, flavorful, complex, and smooth beer.

10-25-2010 18:03:55 | More by fear025
Photo of endovelico
endovelico

Portugal

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Nose: A seriously monstrous nose. Notes of chocolate, dark fruit and roses among other flowery notes make for a complete aromatic delight. Stupendously complex and fragrant.

Mouth: Bold, intense, rich. Coffee up front and a lot dark fruits and perfumy notes at the back. The finish is expressive and long, reminiscent of a Black Russian shot.

Overall: Myth status confirmed. This beer is pretty much near perfection for its style.

08-03-2014 19:49:43 | More by endovelico
Photo of cpmichael
cpmichael

Indiana

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Poured into a Stone snifter, Bottle date 13/10/15

A: Pours a beautiful dark brown, with a medium amount of head retention. Does not seem to be overly carbonated.

S: Yeasty, with some banana and hints of hazelnut. Sweet malts come through too.

T: Whoa, this thing is balanced. Sweet malts and molasses are noticeable at first. Then banana-bread and raisins come through. The alcohol is noticeable, but fairly subdued.

M/D: This had medium amount of carbonation, which allowed a lot of the subtleties to be appreciated throughout the tasting. A well-balanced and complex beer. I would love to let there be some age on the beer and see what it does. But a fresh one is superb, so I cannot complain

03-07-2011 16:38:25 | More by cpmichael
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Kentucky

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Huge thanks to Ernie for sharing this, a 1998 bottle from the batch that got labeled and sold in the US. Craziness.

A: Murky chestnut body with an impressive cap of tan foam that sticks around nicely. Great head for being sold old.

S: Intense, rich, deep, and smooth. Toffee, dates, prunes, and straight maltiness. Very, very, very nice. Perhaps not as noticeably complex as a fresh bottle, but the smoothness more than makes up for that. Terrific.

T: Super smooth, with terrific balance between sweet malts and more restrained dark fruits. Slight alcohol tingle on the finish, and a touch of mustiness that is the only negative sign of senescence.

M: Smooth (again), delicately carbonated, and perfectly graceful.

O: No surprises here, this beer ages like a champ. I'll be updating this review with that of a fresher bottle shortly; I've tried this beer several times now at tastings, and I can't wait to savor an entire bottle all by myself.

Cheers!

11-17-2011 20:38:26 | More by woosterbill
Photo of TongoRad
TongoRad

New Jersey

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Bottle cap stamped 21/12/02

A decanted pour reveals a crystal clear rich mahogany brown with a dense head which lingers a bit and then settles down to a fine layer atop the beer.

Aroma is magnificent- I could be happy just smelling this all night. A combination of rich maltiness, dark caramel, dried fruits and roasty cocoa all add up to one singular presence, as these characteristics play off of each other quite sympathetically. Just underneath is a bready/yeasty quality. At 10.8% (per the cap) the alcohol is bound to show itself but it is faint and you really have to search it out.

Dark caramel maltiness dominates the palate, with a not so insignificant clean bitterness coming in second. A distant third and fourth are the alcohol and fruity/bready notes. It is quite nice, but just can't match that magnificent nose.

Helluva beer- no question. I am reviewing such an old sample to let other consumers know that they may indeed be trustworthy- I have had at least four with this date stamp recently and they have all been remarkable. If I should ever have an opportunity to sample a fresher bottle I will not hesitate to re-review.

05-06-2005 02:44:51 | More by TongoRad
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Scotchboy

Idaho

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Review No. 600

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Hair of the Dog tulip, cap dated 26.09.15 - this is an unmarked bottle and not the recent US release. This bottle sent to me by Curtis McArthur (thanks man!) and reviewed from notes.

A: Careful pour yields a ton of off-yellow head that has good substance and sticks around forever; it looks like a root beer float head. Body is darker opaque brown/prune colored with gold highlights at the stem of the glass. Carbonation is still rising ten minutes after the initial pour, streaming up the side of the glass. I'm intrigued - this thing is beautiful.

S: Instant fruitiness, darker in essence; grapes upfront with some suggestions of apples, prunes, plums, and raisins. Maltiness is apparent, and sweeter Belgian candy sugar rises, with hints of caramel as well. Brilliant smell.

T: Follows the nose, with a more subdued sweetness. A touch of a chalky yeast character distracts slightly. Moderate fruitiness again with the slightest sensation of holiday and baking spices; apples and raisin bread, faint caramel drizzle. Dessert, and bready malt; on the sweeter side. Carbonation cleans the palate and the flavors meld harmoniously. Very nice.

MF: Thinner medium body with a dancing carbonation presence that isn't distracting. Just a touch of an alcohol bitterness.

O: Fabulously done Quad. Right up there with Abt. 12, though I believe Abt 12 tasted better to my palate, with more caramel-apple dessert notes. Overall I can see why this is such a sought after beer. This also seems to be an excellent age for this beer.

12-26-2012 15:03:15 | More by Scotchboy
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 4,607 ratings.