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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

5,020 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,020
Reviews: 1,634
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 3,025
Gots: 1,483 | FT: 107
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)
View: Beers (3) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,020 | Reviews: 1,634 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nycwinter
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Entry 1/8/09: So this is what good beer tastes like. The date is a little confusing. Does any one know what 24.09.11 denotes? I have two more bottles, should I let these sit around a lot longer?
Also, I had it at room temperature (approx. 72F) then put it in the fridge a few days ago. I let it sit out for about 10 minutes before I opened it. Did I ruin anything in this process?

A- I poured it into a pint glass. The color is an awesome light but murky brown. Very thin head that remained throughout, and some lacing.

S- Sweet and hoppy.

T- Like it smells. A little too strong for my tastebuds, bud I can definitely get used to it.
The high ABV probably takes some getting used to.

M- A little dry, but again, I can get used to it.

O- I'm really looking forward to the other two. One is enough for now.

Entry 12/21/09: This is bottle two of three that my wife got for me last Christmas. The date on the cap reads, "24.09.11". I stored this in my pantry for the last year, and placed it in a cooler set at about 45 degrees for a couple of days. Poured into a tulip glass.

A= Once opened, the contents fizzed out. This caused the sediment to swirl throughout the glass as I poured it as quickly as possible. It looked as thick and chewy as was perceived in the mouthfeel.

S= Honey and raisin bread

T= Very balanced watery sweetness, hop tartness, and alcohol hotness.

M= Medium-heavy viscosity. Smooth aftertaste.

D= I wish I could say, "Keep 'em coming!", but at $20 a bottle I gotta save bottle number three.

Photo of Kendo
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Christmas Eve, 2010. 5 years and 1 day on BA fcr me. Kids are asleep, presents wrapped, house is clean (more or less). . . time to celebrate with my first Westy 12.

A big thanks to MRMOJORISIN for the bottle - and 15+ years of sharing great beer, great tunes and good times.

Best-by date on the bottle cap is 9.11.11. Allowed the bottle to sit at room temperature for about 10-12 minutes. Not sure if that's enough to take the chill off, but I'm like my 6-year old on Christmas Eve right now - that is, excited and anxious, and asking for patience is just unreasonable.

A: A slight gush upon popping the cap is followed by a careful effort to decant the yeast. Poured into a Piraat snifter/tulip-type glass (I debated between this glass, a Duvel tulip and a Chimay chalice). Body is dark brown with a light-khaki-colored 1/2-finger head. Head settles fairly quickly to a film, with some bubbles rising to fortify the foam and popping like the occasional stray fireworks on the Fourth of July. Leaves some splotchy lace. Notwithstanding the careful pour, there is plenty of sediment in suspension.

S: The smell is wonderful, and - besides the slight gusher upon opening - provides the first impression. Raisins, candied sugar, dried fruits in general are all present in a candy-like package. Hint of black licorice too. Waft of alcohol as it warms up a bit more.

T: Here goes. . . When my father-in-law drinks SNPA, he puts it down very quickly and is fond of saying "it's like candy." Well, THIS is like candy. Those dark fruits are there, along with candied sugar. Regular fruit too - some berries or maybe cherries (slightly booze-soaked). Alcohol warmth - it's warm, not hot - is felt on the way to the belly, but in a soft, not harsh, kind of way. Slight drying from the alcohol at the finish of the sip too. Lingering bitterness seems somewhat tannic.

M: Like a good Belgian - there is a fine fizziness that makes it feel lighter in heft than it really is, and almost airy on the palate. That fizziness helps to cleanse the palate after each sip

D: Extremely drinkable, especially for a beer of this strength. I'd give it a 6 if I could in this category.

Photo of seec
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of numenor1
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Friend of mine brought me a few of these back from Belgium at my begging.

Pours a deep ruby shade of brown with a nice head that dissipates before too long. Smells of sweet malts, dark fruits, spices with slight mint and clove. It begins to flesh out as it warms. The taste is phenomenal. it's incredibly full and seems to put every taste receptor and area of the tongue on overload. Mouth tingling. At first it's all spice and sweet dark fruits. Raisins, plums, black cherries, some slight earth and rum. Then there's a nice gentle hop twang and then the spice really gets going and completely overwhelms me in the finish. Blackpepper, clove, coriander and faint mint. A bit phenolic. As I swallow my tongue begins to water and tingle all over. Owned thorougly. The taste lingers in my mouth and nasal passages. Truly remarkable. The body is medium and the carbonation too, but it coats the mouth beautifully and conceals the alcohol like a master thief.

Fantastic.

Photo of BeerResearcher
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What better beer to reach the 500 karma level with?
It pours a deep dark murky brown with and tannish beige head. An earthy aroma of cut hay, coffee, cocoa, sweet malt, hops and warming alcohol excites the olfactory senses. Sweet caramel malt, buttery biscuits, toffee, banana, lemon zest, light pine, hint of herbs and flavors of dark rum mingle and dance in perfect rhythm and harmony. This is a very drinkable brew for something of this strength. Velvety smooth and lush. Is there a perfect beer out there? Almost...try the Blue Cap Abt 8.

Photo of intensify
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aquired this beer through an early christmas present from my father in law. How he got it? Who knows. I am just starting to get into high quality craft beer, but I have already exploded my taste buds. Anyhow, here are my thoughts.

Appearance - Dark brown, Caramel color on bottom with a lighter tone on top.

Smell - Dark fruits, a hint of raisins.

Taste - So many different things going on. First drop that hits your mouth is a 360 spin from the last flavor that hits you. In my opinion, it starts out bitter, then quickly goes into an almost sweet aftertaste. By sweet i mean chocolatey, then a hint of raisins.

Mouthfeel - I believe mine is aged a couple years, so it is lighter. Not thin what so ever though. Just right.

Overall Westvleteren 12 impressed me more then i thought. There were so many different flavors going on that it blew me away. The best beer in the world? Maybe, maybe not. But it is a good beer that anybody should try if they have the chance.

Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle sharred with my two brothers.

Cap Date: 07/01/14

A- Pours a 1 ½ finger tan head that dissipates slowly, really nice lacing, dark dark brown color, burnt orange hues coming off the bottom, really attractive beer.
S- Beautiful aroma, sweet dark fruit aroma coming out right away, Plums, raisins, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, really complex aroma.
T- Wow, this is Incredibly smooth, brown sugar and toffee come out a lot stronger in the taste than the aroma, dark fruits come out in the background, plums, raisins just like the nose, again really smooth and easy drinking, the abv is nowhere to be seen.
M- Medium mouth feel, incredibly smooth drinking, clean finish, coats the palate, well carbonated.
O- I have had this on numerous occasions and I always forget to review it. This bottle really surprised me compared to the past bottles I’ve had, incredibly smooth, and well balanced. World class beer, very impressive.

Photo of Mississipping
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Urbancaver for splitting this bottle with StayWhatYouAre2, w113raf, and me. After a great weekend at Jackie O's, this was an amazing way to kick off our tasting.

A: Pours a dark brown with amber hues, especially when held to light. Small tan head that dissipates slowly, leaving decent lacing.

S: A plethora of dark fruit are dominate ... especially plum, fig and cherries. Yeasty with sweet carmel and syrup. No booze in the nose at all. Very, very nice.

T: Much like the aroma, the taste is dominated by dark fruit. Sweet, but not overly sweet. Toffee and maple syrup perfectly meld with the fruit and yeast to create something truly special. Just a bit of alcohol on the back end, but certainly not what you'd expect for a 10.20% quad.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation with fine bubbles, creating a smooth, silky presence on the palate. Warming alcohol and just a bit drying.

I really enjoyed this, and would highly recommend it. Thanks again to Urbancaver for his generosity.

Photo of josvemden
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of chalsk
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally. Got it for a college friend's graduation from law school. Pours a deep amber brown with a generous caramel colored head. Has an aroma of dark fruit, caramel and malts. Some breadiness. The taste was worth the wait. This beer is not overrated. Sweet up front, then dark fruit taste. Chocolate notes show up. The carbonation hits at the perfect spot. Nice dry clean bitter finish with a subtle tart aftertaste.

Photo of chiguy2420
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review #1. Poured into a Dogfish head glass. All I have right now.

A - Pours a brownish, slightly red with little khaki head, and slight amount of lace.

S - Just as advertised, smells like so many dried fruits. Hint of alcohol, which is amazing seeing its 10.2% ABV.

T - Incredible taste of raisins, not the black ones, more like the golden ones. Reminds me of alittle bit of lemon and orange rind. Great spice and minimal alcohol, which again amazes me. Webster should change complex to Westvleteren 12.

M - This is the best part. I really don't want to swallow it. If this beer was served worldwide we would have world peace. A nice slight burn from the alcohol is just what I wanted. Good amount of carbonation but not like a can of coke thank god. Really is balanced, these others have it right.

D - I have said it a few times but you really have no idea that this is a 10.20% ABV and that is evident by how easy this is to drink. I would say this may be the perfect comfort beer as it alters the doldrums.

What an experience. This is my first review on this site but by no means is this my first beer or review. At this rate I doubt I will find a better beer. If you can find it, try Belgian stores or trade here, pull the trigger on it and don't think twice.

Photo of jjanega08
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A=pours an amazing brown color with a thin miniscule head that dissapaits quickly to nothing.
S= sweet grapes all around reminicent of wine deep dark fruits are present with a slight tart note. Very little alcohol but some is present.not as flavorful as anticipaited but the flavors blend beautiful. Pretty bready and buttery with flavors of plums and prunes. Really great grape notes are in it. Smooth in every way.
M= the best part of the beer. Super smooth and delicious. Amazing.
D= awesome. The most amaing thing I've tasted in a long time.

Photo of Johnny_cage
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of jtfest
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The Westvleteren website says:

"We are no brewers. We are monks. We brew beer to be able to afford being monks."

If they are half as good at being monks as they are at brewing, then these boys are damn fine monks!

Poured a hazy dark caramel with a small, creamy mocha head. It had a rich, well blended malty aroma with only a hint of alcohol -- one of the most pleasant aroma's I've encountered. The mouthfeel was almost more like eating than drinking -- it was full and flavorful; thick and heavy on the palate with a nice carbonated highlight. I detected toasted, chocolaty hints, but the alcohol was quite discernable. Blended enough to fit well with the flavor, but a definite alcohol presence. Highly drinkable for the style.

Photo of SpencerDB
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got two of these in a trade. Thanks Brad! Popped this open after my last exam of the semester.

Poured in trappist glass a murky brown with a pretty thin white head.

Immediately smacking you in the face is an aroma of dark fruits - grapes, figs, plums, and most of all, dates. I didn’t get much malt but there was definitely a bit of spices in there.

Taste was about the same. Huge dark fruit explosion. Dates were the prevailing fruit taste in the beer. It was smooth and had a pretty dry finish.

The alcohol came through on the palate but not in a bad way. What an awesome brew. I wish I had a case of this

Photo of hrking
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is an awesome brew. Lots of candi sugar and not heavy on the annoying clove corriander like some Belgians. Highly and dangerously drinkable.A true find worth searching out for those who have yet to try it..Best in the world? But worth seeking for sure..I must admit though this is a must try! Cheers

Photo of LarryKemp
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this in a beer store in Brugge so it was a plain brown bottle with a cap that has the number 12 on it.

It pours a very dark brown with a fairly thick tan head. The head does not last as long as I had expected and left no lace on the glass. Instead the beer left an oily film.

It aroma is very, VERY malty with a finish of earthy hops. As the beer warmed, the aroma became more caramelly.

The taste is BIG time complex. It is sweet to begin and building sweetness as the beer lays on the tongue. About half way through, a hoppy bitterness creeps in and builds. In the finish, the sweetness is large and the alchohol bangs through.

The mouthfeel is medium fullness. The alcohol tingles the tongue and roof of the the mouth.

This has to be one of the best beers I have ever tasted. It is so complex that my pallete was exhausted after drinking one. It is a beer that you will never forget.

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.71/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

AROMA - very refined dried cherry, light and lean malty aroma with a nutty dimension, ever so slight hint of alcohol, a whisp of banana, another aroma which is moderate in intensity and could be diacetyl, caramel malt, or a combination of the two -( pleasant), bass notes of rum-raisin, all coming together to give a wonderful character of warm banana bread, lightly peppery, fresh plum skin, perhaps a faint herbal hop aroma, - this all comes off spectacularly fresh, clean ,and in balance. This is a bouquet which is noticeable upon quaffing but hardly leaps out of the glass. The overall intensity of the aroma is moderately-strong at best and very harmonious. The malt and fermentation elements stand out most and speak no louder than a robust dopplebock might.

APPEARANCE- This is a really beautiful beer. It is stark crystal clear with a gorgeous deep-ruby hue, and modest (less than one finger), but healthy and persistent off-white head. It gently gives up sparkling-wine style carbonation without being foamy or difficult to manage (3.5 volumes?). Wide legs that creep down the glass at a snail's pace.

FLAVOR- A bit simpler than the aroma. Overall impression is a lightly peppery alcohol keeping a creamy caramel/nugat malt base lively on the palate with a soft nut and vanilla finish. Malt character takes on a brown sugar/ light molasses character as sample warms. Fresh cherry, plum, red apple, red grape, and raisin notes tumble across the palate, but you must really focus to corner them. Banana notes in the aroma are nowhere to be found until sample hits room temp. No diacetyl. Barely perceptible hop bitterness that does not linger. Moderately strong peppery/ spicy quality is probably some combo of phenols, alcohol, and possibly hops, but it is not possible to determine where one begins and the other ends. Moderate malts sweetness is a big player in the balance but does not dominate impression.

MOUTHFEEL- medium-full bodied at most with a lively but never fizzy carbonation. The peppery alcohol character does grow to moderate or moderately-strong as you work through the glass, but never gets hot. Really overall a very lithe and graceful beer considering its size. I would never call it thick, slick, sticky or sweet, but would also never call it dry.

OVERALL- This is not only an extraordinarily well-made beer, but really quintessentially "Trappist". I have now sampled beer from every Trappist brewery and I don't know if it is for better or worse that most will try this one last because it makes you realize what the other breweries are aiming at. It has that semi-sweet (never dry, never cloying, but teasing you with moments of both), lightly tangy quality that must surely come from the sugar usage. Like all great strong beers, it is dangerously drinkable and unlike so many US big beers or "extreme" beers, it is not intense in any regard really. The alcohol comes on a bit strong at times, and so it is possible that aging this beer might be wise, but I'd hate to lose the wonderfully fresh malt and ester qualities that really make it sparkle. Belgian and Trappist beer fans would do well to seek this out, but those looking to get their minds blown by an intense beer would do better to spend their time and money pursuing something state-side.

Photo of RuudJH
4.71/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Of course I had to try this beer. I found it in my local liquorstore, in stock (I guess they made the ride to West-Vleteren for it).

The beer is very dark, doesn't foam a lot, it has flaky floaty bits in it.
The smell is the best I've come across in a beer. Dried fruits and cherries, good bread, coffee, caramel, roasted grains and seeds, also floral. Something in it hit me and woke me up, very complex and Sublime!
The taste, consequently, is also very good: full range of bitter from nice hops, coffee/choco, sweet from dried fruits, slightly sour from cherries/kriek, plus the roasted seeds, very chewy indeed.
I have to be honest and give this beertaste a 5 too.
And so drinkable too, very well masked alcohol.

5 years along the line, in 2014, it's still very great. I've had some similar smells in beer since then, from f.i. Struise brouwers, but the taste seems somehow different. It's very strong and powerfull of almonds. Quite overwhelming I would say, and it throws the beer a bit off balance. It changed my taste note from 5 to 4,75.

Still it's a must try, highly recommended after this time.

Photo of cdmillard
4.71/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Just back from Belgium where I was able to pick up some Westvleteren 12. I'm not a professional by any stretch, but had to chime in here.

A- It pours a deep coppery brown, with light foamy head that forma a nice lace along the glass.

S- The bouquet on this is very complex, and fantastic. Breads with dark fruits, and the alcohol jumps out at me, but not overpowering. It all blends together nicely.

T- The flavors in this are incredible, combined with strong, but not overpowering alcohol. Combines perfectly. The flavors seem to change throughout, seeming sweeter to me toward the bottom. The maltiness is nicely offset by just the right amount of bitterness to create an incredible balance.

MF- Lighter than expected, with nice carbonation. I love Quads, but this one has a different feel to it.

O- Best beer in the world? This will always be a atter of opinion and personal taste. For me, it's on of the top 2 or 3. Just a shame that more can't try this wonderful beer.

Photo of brewtus
4.71/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage. Pours dark brown, very little white head. Smell: dark fruit, plum, sweet Carmel, cream brûlée , some vanilla .Taste: wow, amazing. A lot like the nose, caramel, plum, some dark cherry,vanilla, perfect sweetness. Mouth feel: scary drinkable, slight creaminess, not a lot of carb, not as thick as I expected. Overall: I did this side by side with abt 10 and roch 12, and this was a clear winner. I will admit that this is the only aged bottle but wow does this live up. Doing it side by side to fresh bottles show how amazingly the beer ages. usually after 4 years a beer's flavors have blended TOO well, but this is magic. So happy to finally have opened this. The beauty of this beer lies in its world-class balance.

Photo of RevCraig
4.71/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of dar482
4.71/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The beer comes in a classic quad look with a reddish brown color and a huge huge white head.

The aroma has some sweet juicy dark fruit and deep brown sugar with tons of Belgian yeast and breadiness.

The flavor follows with prune, cherries, raisins, and a rolling amount of dark fruit. There's a nice deep candy sweetness along with caramel and toffee. There's tons of carbonation to pick this beer up. A bit of alcohol in there.

In the end, this beer was great, but not really about the hype. It stacks up to other quads like Rochefort, but there's this wonderful amount of estery pop that picks this beer up nicely along with big drying notes that helps separate it.

I wouldn't go crazy for it, but I would surely try it if you can.

Photo of babbules
4.71/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the typical plain brown glass bottle into a wine glass. First thing I noticed is a white soapy head floating on a beautiful dark amber liquid. Great subtle smell with lots of dried fruits and a bit of alcohol. The taste is very nice--slightly dank with more fruits and a touch of sweetness. The real strength of this beer is the mouthfeel, in my opinion--super-soft and almost creamy. Well-balanced, overall. This is one of my new favorites; too bad it's so pricy and hard-to-get!

Photo of fireman1013
4.71/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Very welcoming smell with fresh yeasty aroma. Slightly champagne'y mouth feel with caramel, belgian yeast, and light hop taste. I liked it very much as a belgian style monk brewed ale. I was not disappointed at all and highly recommend a similar beer if the opportunity presents itself. Overall a very smooth, well-balanced beer.

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,020 ratings.