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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.

4,581 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,581
Reviews: 1,609
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 8.89%
Wants: 2,841
Gots: 1,306 | FT: 102
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
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Ratings: 4,581 | Reviews: 1,609 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of IPAIsaac


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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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
Photo of ljthiesse

Manitoba (Canada)

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

This was a 2012 vintage, consumed in 2013. Absolutely beautiful - this was the best Belgian I have ever tried, without question. Very rich, complex flavor, with notes of raisin, plum, dates, toffee, a little chocolate and much more. Dark, rich, full-bodied and complex. A stunning beer.

04-29-2014 04:27:12 | More by ljthiesse
Photo of djaeon


4.61/5  rDev 0%

Bottle from the "brick" release. Poured into a tulip.

Pours solid dark brown, with a nice thick light-tan head. Excellent retention, and nice sticky lacing. Full of rich aromas, leather, tobacco, fig. Tastes of fig, raisin, alcohol is evident, but not overpowering. Mouthfeel is very smooth. Perfectly carbonated.

12-13-2012 03:21:40 | More by djaeon
Photo of cambabeer


4.61/5  rDev 0%

This beer is so complex that I could have it again and different aspect would prevail. I had this with my best beer bud, Cervezango, while sitting in Brussels. This beer was a somewhat dark brown with a little ruby. The head was nice and creamy, a little off white. The smell sweet, herbal, toasty, caramel, alcohol, malty for sure. The taste as complex as the smell. The high alcohol isn't as strong as it would seem. This beer has it all. Creamy feel. I could review this again every day and probably not get board. I paid about $15 for one bottle, and I don't even regret it.

07-31-2012 00:24:34 | More by cambabeer
Photo of truebluebums


4.61/5  rDev 0%

Picked up a bottle at the Molen brewery, and this is my second time trying the Westvleteren 12. Found it at a bar in Delft a while back, but I did not take notes.

Poured in De Molen snifter

Appearance: The 12 has a reddish/brown hue and pours a white/tan head. Laces the glass quite well.

Smell: This is where the beer really sets itself apart from other quads. It has the beautiful fruity smell so typical of Westvleteren beers. Not surprisingly, sweet dark fruits hit the nose first. Like the 8, the esters really shine through right off the bat. It's reminiscent of old fashioned bubble gum, the kind you find at a baseball game. Bready aromas, like fresh rye covered with stroop. Caramel and toffee mixes in with all these scents to make the 12 smell more like a dessert than a beer.

Taste: The sharp dark fruit bite is at the forefront and is pleasantly, but ever so slightly bitter. Like the smell, the taste of the beer is more comparable to a desert cake than a beer. Dates, raisins, brown sugar, toffee, and clove all mix together to attempt to veil the alcohol. The bready malts form a good base to the beer, reigning in, and complementing all the other aspects.

Overall: This is a truly beautiful beer. The pleasant dark fruit bite reminds me of the Westmalle dubbel, which isn't surprising considering they share the same yeast (or so I've heard). I'm not on the bandwagon of ''Westvleteren 12: Best Beer in the World'' but I will say it surely is one of the greatest. It is delicately crafted, and a real treat to the taste buds.

03-25-2013 12:22:00 | More by truebluebums
Photo of hopsolutely

Ontario (Canada)

4.61/5  rDev 0%

Finally opened this iconic beer that we'd been saving until 1000th unique check-in on UnTappd - a wait I'd been finding very difficult. Surprised by how well this beer lives up to its reputation, and has exceeded my own personal expectations.

Pours a muddy, warm dark brown with a creamy, off-white head that has great retention. Aroma of brandied raisins, prunes and plums, with the initial hint of cellared mustiness disappearing as it warms. The flavour has both depth and balance, with only a mild alcohol warmth in the finish belying its 10.2% ABV. The Belgian yeast complements the malt body without being overwhelming. Lots of toffee and candied fruit, as well as brandy and barrel tones.

There's no way my description could do this justice, so will just state that I am ecstatic to have finally tried it and will purchase again, should a second opportunity ever arise...

11-12-2013 20:21:46 | More by hopsolutely
Photo of dill


4.6/5  rDev -0.2%

This is obviously one that I was looking forward to. Some friends from Belgium and I used the opportunity to cook some game and drink this from some Westvleteren chalices which had a really nice shape to them. The bottle had been aged 5 years. When we poured it out it was difficult to get a decent head on it. My friend thought perhaps we should have washed the glasses a bit differently. The smell and taste were rich with toffee. It had a nice sweetness to it that gave way to some warmth from the alcohol at the end. A very fine beer, and one that I will look forward to trying fresh.

06-11-2008 18:11:59 | More by dill
Photo of Mora2000


4.6/5  rDev -0.2%

Thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this beer with me. This is beer No. 1,000 for me. I wanted to do something special but had no idea thirdeye11 was going to break out a bottle of this. Thanks a ton.

Pours a medium brown with a beige head. The aroma is dark fruit along with some alcohol and caramel malt. The flavor is complex with brown sugar and dark fruit. This has a little more alcohol flavor than some quads but everything is nicely balanced. Medium mouthfeel and extremely drinkable.

Not sure if this is the best beer in the world, but there are certainly no flaws. Thanks again to thirdeye11.

01-03-2010 22:19:32 | More by Mora2000
Photo of Swedes21

Ontario (Canada)

4.6/5  rDev -0.2%

Finishing 2010 off with my buddy SpinRSX and the worlds #1 beer!

Appearance - beer pours a dark brown murky like in appearance, very hard to tell any carbonation levels due to the 0 clarity. The head produced a nice brown based foamy head, that had some good volume to it. The head stuck around for a good duration too.

Smell - I found this to be a very dynamic smelling beer, right upfront i was able to pick up some green apples, followed by a hint of grapes. There was almost, buried a little deeper, some dark fruits, possible raisin like in smell.

Taste - Dark tones right off the top, followed with some sweetness but as well raisins. The end produced a little hop with some bitterness. I found the alcohol was well hidden. One thing i noted, there where signs of a "dry" fruit to this beer.

Mouthfeel - the carbonation levels increase and the deep raisin taste. As well, i found as the beer warmed the alcohol came fwd a bit more. This is where i was able to pick up a hint of sweetness, very nice.

Drinkability - SpinRSX and i had this debate, but i think this is a well rounded beer and brings complexity to the menu. This is something that was more of an investment and a sample, but if i could drink it daily i would love too.

12-31-2010 22:51:44 | More by Swedes21
Photo of yankeeheel


4.6/5  rDev -0.2%

Welcome to my 200th review. Can't say I'm the most poetic reviewer here but I try. For this momentus occasion I chose Westy 12 sine it appears to be a Holy Grail beer here.

Pours a dusky garnet with a couldronous eggshell colored head. The foam settles out in to a bubbling sheet of lace.

Smells strongly of candi sugars and very dark fruit. There is something about the smell of quadrupels. I love them. Definitely a little alcohol lurking in the back of this one.

Lots of cherry and grape come to the front of this brew. Sugary malts rush in close behind to fill the void. Spices fill in closely and then it finishes quite peppery, dry, and warms like a kerosene heater.

Mouthfeel is very big. Slick, malty, and filling.

Drinkability. I think this one has sipability. It needs to be taken slowly like a brandy or single malt. It's in that class of beverage.

03-27-2004 00:23:23 | More by yankeeheel
Photo of ggaughan


4.6/5  rDev -0.2%

Bottle picked up at a bottle shop in Antwerp 2 weeks ago so it seems to be pretty fresh. I have had several bottles of this before but most of them were obtained in the U.S. from overseas.

The beer poured a deep brown, almost black color with a medium thickness tan head that lasted for a few minutes and gave way to nice ring around the end but the lacing doesn't hold up well. The nose is pretty damn imressive. There are some fruit notes, dates, plums and a nice chocolately character. The taste is very impressive as well. The malty chocolate notes are the first thing that takes my taste buds on a ride along with some of the deep fruit notes I got in the aroma as well. The carbonation is rather full and overall makes for a full bodied beer. I could not say for sure whether this is the best beer in the world but it is a pretty damn good beer and well worth a try if you can get it for a reasonable price.

12-25-2007 21:44:54 | More by ggaughan
Photo of SpeedwayJim

New York

4.6/5  rDev -0.2%

Big thanks to alcstradamus for this one. Finally got around to opening it. In honor of BA JosephLondon R.I.P. 07.10.12 printed on the cap. Poured from a 11.z oz. into a Blue Point Snifter.

A: Gentle pour yields a billowy 1.5 finger off-cream head with great retention. Beer is a semi-cloudy, near opaque purplish-brown. Lacing is patchy and ample with excellent stick.

S: Nose is clove, Belgian yeast, grapes, figs, green apples, and sweet brown sugar. Very alluring and rich. Fruity and sweet. Impossibly complex but balanced at the same time. Alcohol is conspicously missing.

T: Opens grape, prunes, and clove. Bready and brown sugar. Belgian yeast is very apparent towards the middle where it adds a nice spice and bitterness. Grape gummy sweetness towards middle that tapers off into a slightly twiggy bitterness. Malt forward presence never fades though. Finishes is brown sugar and just the slightest bit of alcohol. Aftertaste is sweet and fruity.

M: Medium to full bodied, aggressively carbonated and lively but rich and smooth at the same time in the mouth. Finish is clean and aftertaste is filmy and slightly sticky.

D: Likely the most drinkable 10.2% beer in the world. This one really earns its accolades. Incredible balance and complexity with a mouthfeel that really pulls it all together. Nose is impeccable and even looks great. Definitely one to try and seek out and very much worthy of the praise.

10-04-2010 22:47:18 | More by SpeedwayJim
Photo of tempest


4.6/5  rDev -0.2%

A year after trading with Leftmindedrighty, I finally decided to crack this baby open.

It's pours a dark, slightly hazy brown with a thin tan head. The aroma has a hint of cardboard, but otherwise its smooth, Belgian chocolate with a hint of fruit. The flavors going on in the beer are nuts. I'm blown away by the complexity. Just running down the list of flavors in my notes I got: chocolate (lots of it), grassy/herbal hops, caramel, candi sugar, medjool dates (really sweet dates), and cola. Everything is very smooth and one flavor melts into the next.

I tried to be skeptical, but this truly is divine beer. I had this back to back with the St. Bernardus 12, but there's not much comparison. The Bernardus is lighter in color and thus has more fruity flavors than chocolate. I love Bernardus, but if Westy 12's were just as available, it'd be my go-to.

04-19-2008 14:10:23 | More by tempest
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 4,581 ratings.