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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1,691 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,691
Hads: 5,483
rAvg: 4.63
pDev: 7.13%
Wants: 3,326
Gots: 1,765 | FT: 135
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)
View: Beers (3) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,691 | Hads: 5,483
Photo of Chapter40z
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks go out to TehAnkh for this opportunity. He got this in a trade with deepsouth.

Cap is dated 13.08.11 (6 months old at time of drinking)

First Westy!

A. Dark brown hazy leather. What can i say this brew is beautiful. Nice thick frothy head, receded to a delicate layer of foam. Unimaginable lacing on the glass.

S. Dark fruit notes up front. So complex I'm hit with a plethora of smells. Best i can describe is it smells like happiness.

T. Taste very similar to the smell. Hints of green apple. Warm belly glow.

M. Smooth and creamy. Hits and coats the tongue with a strong body that settles just right.

D. Great. I could drink this beer all night unfortunately I only have the 1 *sigh*. Is this the best beer in the world? I don't know, I haven't had them all yet but it is definitely the best damn beer I've ever had. (832 characters)

Photo of YonderWanderer
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into my Westvleteren glass, both obtained in Brugges.

A: Dark brown, with ruby-ish tones when held up to the light. Pours with a decent white head that dissipates slowly.

S: Fruit is the main aroma - raisins, grapefruit, a hint of caramel. After a little time the caramel and toffee aroma is a little more pronounced.

T: Similar to the taste, there's a definite fruit presence, however with the taste the sweetness of the malt really comes out. Caramel and toffee are pleasant. Alcohol warming is strong, yet balanced at the end. Lets you know that you're consuming an alcoholic beverage, but not in an unpleasant way. Well balanced with the other flavors.

M: Solid and smooth, velvety in a way. Not syrupy or watery at all.

D: High. If only this were not one of the hardest beers to obtain in the world, I would have this available to me on a regular basis. Looks like I just have to go back to Belgium! (935 characters)

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to many BAs for sharing, most recently GOGRANDE and Spycow.

A - It pours a rich plum-mahogany hue; translucent, though the shade is dark enough to prevent much light from passing through. A short-lived ivory head gives way to migrating wisps of froth, leaving a few substantial swaths of rocky lace on the chalice.

S - The aroma is so multifaceted and dynamic that it is nearly akin to perusing a gourmet market. At times the aroma is more nutty, at other times more raisin-y, notes of maraschino cherry appear and then segue into impressions of mejool dates, Concord grape, blueberry bushes, hazelnut, honey, and a variety of cognacs, fruit brandies, sherries and port wines. Perhaps there is a hint of a woody-earthy spiciness too.

T - This stuff is amazing; the intensity of flavor is superb and astounding. It's all it is cracked up to be. The taste is full, rich and beautifully balanced. I am initially getting sublimely sweet Concord grape and rich date flavors, coupled with nuances of earthy hazelnut, chocolate covered cherries, fruit brandies and cognac. I am particularly impressed by the sublimely tempered booze. Actually, I am particularly impressed by every aspect of this brew. As it airs out, I get an additional plethora of tastes including clove-nutmeg spiciness, dark bread, dark fruit, papaya, more concord grape, Curacao, anise... What an outstanding libation. Truly some other-level stuff.

M - Nectar-like; expansively creamy, softly and persistently carbonated, lighter in body but still tremendously substantial, totally enhancing.

D - Off the charts. This is as good as the best beer I have ever had. (1,639 characters)

Photo of projectflam86
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First of all, I must give a shout to a great trader, a061183, for hooking me up with a few Westys. Cheers!

I'm hoping that this will be a fitting brew for my 200th review here on BA. I'm guessing that it will...

Date on Cap: 23.04.11
Served in a chalice @ approx 50˚ F

A- The cap pops off with a gentle hiss. I poured this ever so slowly into my favorite chalice. Pours a deep murky burgundy color with tiny little floaties hovering around. A thin but rocky crème colored head leaves some scattered lacing behind. Lots of carbonation bubbles stream up the sides of the glass as I sip.

S- As soon as I opened it I was hit with waves of dark fruits and Belgian yeast. The alcohol is quite noticeable in the nose but it doesn't take away or detract from more subtle aromas of sweet roasted malt, figs, and chestnuts.

T- I imagine that trying to name all of the different contributions to the flavor profile would be futile to say the least, but I'll give it a shot anyway. Sharp initial sting of alcohol that is quickly whisked away by massive amounts of dark fruit flavors including plums, raisins, white grapes, and figs. A sweet caramel malt takes over and brings in flavors of anise, licorice, toasted nuts, oak, and honey. A slight characteristically funky Belgian yeast flavor in the finish that helps to round out the overall taste. To say this beer is balanced almost seems like an insult. I think that 'harmony' is a better word than 'balanced' in this situation.

M- Big and smooth with a tannin like dryness that leaves you wanting another sip. The high level of carbonation helps disperse all of the intricate flavors across the tongue. The aftertaste lingers of sweet grapes and the alcohol creates a gentle warming effect.

D- I must admit, I had pretty lofty expectations for this brew, but I can easily say that this is one of the best beers that I have ever had. By far one of the most complex and drinkable beers around. (1,948 characters)

Photo of tarheels86
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

330mL 2003 ed

A- Pours very deep brown almost black with a thin tan head that leaves some nice bubbles and a faint protective layer. Really wants to lace well. Other samples I've had at In De Vrede usually prodcue large patterns of webby lace on the Westy chalice.

N- Outstanding on the older bottles: loads of rum raisin, malaga gelato, light cognac, dates, figs, mulled apple cider. Whoa.

T- Similar: tons of gourmet dark fruits, cognac, milk chocolate, ganache, chocolate mousse, mulled red wine. A little warming from the 10%. This is seriously good.

P- Beautiful creamy, rich palate. Definitely gains mouthfeel and body from the aging.

Definitely one to age for 5+ years. (684 characters)

Photo of silenius
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I ordered this from Delilah's in Chicago for $12.

It was aged since 1997.

Appearance was an opaque chestnut brown with no head except for a tiny patch of tan bubbles and a ring around the glass. The beer was definitely carbonated, though. I asked the server to pour the yeast in the glass.

First sniff was a woody, earthy, fruity smell that made my mouth water.

The taste is a kung-fu master combination of sweet port-like notes, fruit, and wood. It has a woody caramel malty-sweet aftertaste that seriously lasted for more than a minute (I timed it.)

This is one very complex beer that is not tiring to my palate. I would reach for another if they weren't so expensive!

Mouthfeel is slightly oily and smooth with a pleasant crispness from the carbonation.

The Arrogant Bastard I had afterward seemed lame in comparison.

If this is aged beer, I hope I live a long life! (894 characters)

Photo of fff
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Oh my God, I'm drinking a Westvleteran 12. Poured out of a bottle into a goblet.

A- Beautiful dark brown color, thin to no head. Beautiful auburn.

S- Malty sweetness with a high alcohol smell.

T- Completely unique. Waves of flavor assault the palate. First yeast, then malts, then a short glimpse of booze with a finish and aftertaste of hops. Completely different from anything I've ever exprienced.

M- Substantial, yet comfortable. Not too thick to make it syrupy, but not too thin to make it insubstantial.

D- Superior to most flavorful beers, it's not too heavy to drink more than one or two of. I'd drink it all night if I had access to them.

This beer is not all hype. Well worth the money. (702 characters)

Photo of IrishRedRock
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well...just when I thought nothing could ever dethrone Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout as my favorite beer in the entire's happened. No disrespect to SSOS, but holy christmas! I can only say if you have not yet sampled this brew, seek until ye find, pay whatever ye must, and sit down with this bad boy.

It appeared before me in the goblet as a muddy light brown brew, with a pretty decent head that retained very well. The smell was wonderful at the start, and only got better and more powerful as it warmed. The initial aroma is quite sweet, mostly of yeast and cherries. After a while, I started to pick up darker fruits, plums, and maybe some very light chocolate (?). I thought so. All the while though, the initial sweet smells came through at the same time.

This is by far one of the most complex brews in the world. Flavors of just about everything hit, layer after layer. Sweet flavors initially, then some dark fruitiness, raisins, rum, spicy clove...and then the warm alcohol finish. This is absolutely delicious.

The mouthfeel is pure perfection and probably could not be better. It's indescribable...silky smooth. You would have to try this beer to understand. If you haven't I suggest getting it on your short list, and then attempting to find it very soon. This is a legitimate #1, and as of yet, I have not had a better beer.

Thanks to ElGuapo for so generously giving me a bottle of this wonderful brew, when I randomly showed up at his apartment. (1,484 characters)

Photo of ColoradoBobs
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My 300th review; and what a beer to review for #300, thanks to a fellow northern Colorado B-A who shared this with me in a side-by-side with a Westvleteren 8. What an hour! Amazing! Well, on to the review . . .

Served at about 55 degrees.

Slow pour into a tulip glass yields a smallish tan-yellow head over a clear dark mahogany-cherry body. Lovely beer. The small solid head stays put like meringue on a chocolate pie, hardly diminishing at all over the 40 minutes I savored this baby, and leaves thick sheets of lacing.

Smell is astonishingly rich. Maybe the best-smelling beer I've ever had. I must have put my nose down into the glass fifty times, it smelled so good. Dates, raisins, dark chocolate, caramel, pepper, leather, coriander, espresso, toffee. I don't think I can describe it.

Taste is even more broad-spectrumed than the aroma. The front flavors include all of the above notes from the aroma, all sweet and nice. The mid-palate starts to darken up things, and the spices come up. The finish is all deep and warmly-bitter, with a length that lasts and lasts. BTW, the alcohol is not even noticeable on the tongue. 10.2%? No, it tastes and feels like 5% or less.

Mouthfeel is fantastic, but really not as thick and rich as the aroma and taste. Fine and long-lasting carbonation spreads things around nicely. It's so smoooth, though, and so creamy, I'm giving it a 5.

Drinkability? Wow! So easy on the palate, and the alcohol is totally invisible. I could drink this for hours, because it would take me that long to drink 2 or 3 -- there is so much going on here, your palate would never get bored.

Believe the hype. While a tiny bit lacking in appearance and mouthfeel, the aroma and taste of this beer are matched -- at least in my experience -- only by the 2005 Dark Lord.

Thanks again to my fellow (anonymous) B-A for sharing this amazing and understandably highly-sought-after beer. Dude, you are excellent. (1,955 characters)

Photo of Rothobinide
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled 2014. Had this side-by-side with a St. Bernardus Abt 12 - no contest the Westy is superior in every way.

Westvleteren 12 looks like fizzy molasses and smells like a cake that was baked in an enchanted forest by elves. Barely any head, though the beer decided to start rising slowly from the bottle the moment the cap came off. Taste is complex, rich like a spiced cake, boozy but with a heat that only threatens to burn, then gracefully segues into the smoothest finish. Incredible mouthfeel, carbonation was just right. Obviously I had high expectations going into this and I'm glad I had it next to the St. Bernardus Abt 12 (supposedly based upon the same recipe) for some enlightening context. (705 characters)

Photo of paterlodie
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What to say about this beer... Well to say is that I can dream the road to the abbey and to know that it's a day job, just to get a couple of casses; you can guess how we( I never go alone) think about this beer. Just getting the smell of all the fruit and hops makes me dream away! Drinking it you go to (beer)heaven and afterwards you just feel in a green field with beautifull hopflowers of Poperinge. Well that's not too far from Westvleteren so I mostly go for another one because there is no other beer that you want after a 12 then another 12! (550 characters)

Photo of zeff80
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Ryan for sharing this.

A - Poured out a slightly cloudy, burgundy color with a two-finger head of pillowy, off-white foam. The head was long lasting and left sudsy trails of lace down the sides of the glass.

S - Hard to explain how fantastic this aroma was. Everything was perfectly balanced - plum, fig, raisin, yeastiness, caramel, toffee. Nothing was strong or overpowered the other aromas. It was just perfect.

T - Again, so much balance. A perfect marriage of flavors. Dark dried fruits - fig, plum and raisin. Sweet maltiness with caramle, toffee and some molasses. A touch of yeasty spiciness.

M - So smooth! Medium bodied and crisp.

O - This is fantastic. Lives up to the hype. It was like a fantastic dessert or a flavorful steak that melts in your mouth. (779 characters)

Photo of joshstevens87
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-pours a chestnut red/brown with a light tan head
S-dar fruit and raisins up front with a bit of dryness and spicyness very complex
T-tons of fruity malt with a perfect blend of dark fruits raisin figs with the perfect amoubnt of spicyness to balance it out
M-unbelievably smooth, absolutely stunning
D-without a doubt this beer in a class of its own i only wish id could be able to drink this all night long (411 characters)

Photo of khumbard
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Lucky enough to get a hold of one of these from a very generous trader. Would this live up to the hype? The answer is yes. This is the best Belgian beer I have had, hands down. This handles all the complex quad flavors so well it's ridiculous. It is actually hard to pick out individual flavors. I found myself saying "wow..." at just about every sip. This is a complex, rich, fruity, malty, awesome beer. The mouthfeel is so smooth, and goes down so easy. If I could get this everyday, I could easily put down a few at once. I kind of feel like I'm fueling the hype train, but it deserves it. Drank this after a Roch 10 and before a Bernardus 12, and it was head and shoulders above those two. (694 characters)

Photo of Chico1985
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well, here it is, Westvleteren 12. The big #1! Super thanks to Douglasjamjak for my first 2 bottles of this epic beer! Bottle date is 11/17/10, so this is relatively fresh for a quad.

Pours dark brown with red highlights, off-white head turns to film and thick ring which retains perfectly. Some lacing left. Sediment settled at the bottom.

Pretty awesome scent. Super fresh baked bread, raisins, caramel, cherries.

Follows the nose pretty closely...warm dark bread I think being the stand out, brown sugar, figs, cherry pie, nutty malts. Explodes with flavor, yet remains subtle...

Mouthfeel and drinkability to me are the true highlights of this beer. 10.2%, uh whaaa? Not even really a hint of that present. Light, extremely smooth and a bit too drinkable. Even as it warmed to about room temperature, this only improved. (828 characters)

Photo of scottum
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Worlds best beer?

Pours out dark with a small tan head. Served in the proper glassware it looks splended. Velvet smooth mouthfeel makes for so smooth and so perfect smiles. This is a fine crafted beer which is certainly in a class by itself. Best Belgian trappist brew hands down. Best beer? I don't think one can cross compare styles. (338 characters)

Photo of TehAnkh
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enormous thanks go out to deepsouth for this opportunity.

Cap is dated 13.08.11 (6 months old at time of drinking)

A: Poured in to a Westvleteren goblet (yes, I bought one for the occasion, and it was worth it). It foamed up a bit when I opened it, but it wasn't a full-on gusher, could've just been a little shaken.
Poured a hazy medium leather brown with one finger of off-white to light tan head. It seemed to recede fairly quickly to a nice froth and thick lacing clings to the glass like soap suds.

S: Oh, oh my... Dark fruits like plum and raisin, hints of vanilla, caramel, butterscotch and some chocolate all come through on the nose. Smells sweet and extremely complex, there's also some scents in there that smell so familiar yet so hard to describe, like candy but I'm not sure what kind.
It smells extremely unique, unlike any other beer I've had placed in front of me, and I think those that have tried it know what I mean.

T: Dark fruits run the party. Plum, raisins, and a touch of red apple. Some brandy-like notes come along with the light touch of alcohol, and is completely complimentary to the overall balance. It has a very light sweetness that I find indescribable, along with a sprinkle of bitterness over the tongue in the finish that fades out beautifully and quickly. I've never had a beer with such a perfect finish. The only way I can describe the finish is that it's almost savory, like a perfectly seasoned broth.

M: This beer is sooo silky smooth. Lightly carbonated, but perfect. Tiny bubbles make this beer go down like a milkshake, super creamy and on the heavy end of medium bodied.
The mild hop bitterness in the finish rounds it out beautifully.

D: I could easily drink 10 of these based on flavor and smell alone. The alcohol is subdued enough that this is incredibly drinkable considering the 10.2%.
Whether or not you get smashed in the process, it's nearly impossible to not want another one after you've cracked the first.

Notes: This may not be the best beer on earth. This may not be worth ALL the hype, and this may not be everyones idea of perfection. However, this is the best beer that I, personally, have ever had.
Will I seek this out within the United States again? Probably not.
Will I go way out of my way to buy 3 cases and get them home from Belgium one day? Damn right I will! (2,340 characters)

Photo of ypsifly
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2oz with no label and a best before date of 28.02.08 ink jetted across the yellow, black and silver cap. Acquired via trade and carefully decanted into a Val-Dieu chalice.

Mahogany under a huge off white head that slowly falls and leaves thick sheeted lace.

The aroma is an incredible mix of fresh bread dough made with cinnamon, raisins, dates and dark cherries with some peppery warmth from the alcohol. Brown sugar from the malts and suggestions of licorice and a sprinkling of powdered chalk. Wow!

Tastes malty upfront then fades into ripe dark fruits such as cherries, plums, and ripe red grapes all dipped in brown sugar. The middle brings a tart flavor followed by some more suggestions holiday fruit cake. Not the cheap fruit cake we all hate to recieve at Christmas but rather like the one made from scratch with a little apple liquer that has that yeasty just pulled from the oven flavor. The alcohol registers only as a pinch of pepper in the finish yet I don't feel any heat upon my breath. Amazing!

The mouth is velvety fullness with just the right amount of carbonation. You bet your ass this is drinkable.

I'm giving this the exact same score I gave to the Gouden Carolus Carolus D'Or - Cuvée Van De Keizer. I think it might be a little better, or maybe that's the hype talking. (1,312 characters)

Photo of alohaspicoli
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip. Date on the cap reads 06.07.14.

A: Darker brown w/some red. Has a creamy/smooth, 1-finger head that's an off-white or cream color.

S: Great blend of subtle sweetness. Dark fruit. Definitely getting fig.

T: Again, subtle sweetness that's VERY smooth and unbelievably well-balanced. Some bitterness and alcohol in the finish but not much. I did my best to savor this bottle but at the same time, I know I could put down a lot if an abundant supply was in front of me.

M: Carbonation is there but it's not very noticeable (the perfect amount, IMO). I wouldn't say it's thick although I am leaning in that direction.

O: Wasn't sure what I'd think after reading so much about it, but this definitely lives up to its reputation IMO. The overall balance is unreal and it was a complete pleasure to drink in almost every way. It is going to be a total challenge to save my 2nd bottle. (919 characters)

Photo of pzrhsau
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Dark reddish brown body with a robust creamy colored head.
S: Smells like oak. Very woody aroma and has some notes of dried fruits such as figs and dried plums.
T: The beer has a nice bitter woodiness balanced perfectly with some nice sweet dried fruit. Not too heavy but really has a good weight
M/O: Very good carbonation and presentation even after aged for a year. Very good balance with strong alcohol aroma but not overpowering the flavor or the texture This beer is balanced on a knifes edge presenting weight and superior drinkability. (547 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First I would like to thank BitterBill for this awesome brew, thanks buddy. I would most likely not go thru all the hoops to get this, but now I just might, lol I believe the cap said 09/08 date, no label.

A - Pours a dark brown/red color, lots of carbonation, nice small creamy head which leaves pretty quick, lots of nice lacing throughout the drink in forms of islands in some spots.

S - Scents are very complex, lots of stuff going on, but could detect plums, raisins, toffee.

T - The taste is very very nice, I believe I've had nothing like this so far. Nice tart/tangy/sweet flavor. Could taste plums/grapes I think. The finish is dry and clean.

M - Medium body, well rounded, with a carbonated feel.

D - Very drinkable. This is my first Westy, and what a powerful/excellent/awesome brew. Just might have to try and get some soon. (851 characters)

Photo of yen157
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The pour gave this brown, murky, ugly beer a nice chunky, off-white head which quickly melted into a thin, lacing layer. The great charm about the appearance of this beer is the fact that the CEOs of the macro producers would find this to be the farthest thing from acceptable. Looking like swamp water with a few sediment chunks, it must be completely repulsive to a drinker of crystal clear, yellow beer. It is an offensive thing of beauty.

It had a very pleasant aroma that can only be described as smooth. It was slightly dusty with heft, nostril filling doses of cookie dough, milk chocolate, and something reminiscent of the flavor of browned saltines. Stunning nose, simply stunning.

While it’s appearance is lovable like a retarded kitten, and it’s aroma is unforgettable, the taste of the beer is hefty, but in an elegant sort of way. It’s not delicate like a fine pils, but it’s beauty is in its strength. Sweetness and unadulterated malt immediately fill the mouth, and after swallowing yeasty bread lingers for some time playing with ripe fruit and the flavors fade. A very complex brew, but simple in that nothing is hidden, only meticulously layered. The alcohol wasn’t a huge factor in this beer, but it wouldn’t be the same without the same with out the unmistakable warming of the gullet.

It was silky in the mouth, carbonation perfect. This was a truly great beer. (1,399 characters)

Photo of Labeorphile
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Excited to get a hold of one of these and it wasn't cheap.

Good dark appearance with a thin off-white head. Lighter than most quads but rich.

Nose is great. Not overpowering, but hints of plum and dark fruit. Alcohol is well hidden among the fruit.

Taste is the same. Very smooth and blended. No particular taste stands out. Very balanced.

Great mouth feel with the perfect amount of carbonation. A truly amazing beer. (423 characters)

Photo of waughbrew
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Cap marked "03.09.05" If I remember correctly, that means this was bottled on 9/3/02.

Paler than I remembered - a dark brown with a head that has strangely large bubbles but settles to a creamy top. The aroma is godly. The esters that come out of that yeast just lend a complexity that is more refined than just about anything else I have smelled or tasted. Taste is soo smooth and has everything in perfect balance. The dark caramel, the raisin, the chocolate, the sweetness, the hops, the yeast, the esters, the alcohol. Wonderful and extremely drinkable. The last bottle that I had of this I thought the alcohol flavor was too present, but I find this one to be just right.

Many thanks to Paquette for importing this gift by hand. (739 characters)

Photo of uberkane
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2003 Bottle traded from masterhomebrewer. Thanks so much!

A: Pours a dark mahogany brown, hazy. Didn't pour aggressively, and the head dissipated to a ring. Decent lacing.

S: Juicy dark fruit. Complex, resiny... dark gushers? There is a musty cherry woodiness as well. Wow.

T: Right up front I got that dark-fruit gusher taste mixed with an almost leather-mahogany taste. In the middle of the palate it produces a sweetness that reminds me of raw, dark agave syrup. The slightest hint of spiciness and bitterness at the very end. Aftertaste is of pleasant dark cherry. As the beer warms, more pleasant spiciness (like cinnamon and cloves, not peppers) appears.

M: Velvety smooth on the tongue, with a little bit of carbonation. Body is surprisingly light for a darker beer. There is some stickiness on the tongue.

D: WAY too drinkable for a beer that is booth 10%abv and very hard to find. I could have easily see myself drinking two or three of these in a sitting, despite the higher abv. It just went down so nice. A lot of this may be due to the 7 years it's been aged.

Notes: I can't believe how good this beer is. For years I've wanted to try it. I tried to calm myself recently so as not to over-hype it, so I approached this tasting with level-headedness. It blew me out of the water.

My wife LOVED it. She has tried (mainly sipped) almost every beer I have and isn't really a huge fan of many. This, on the other hand, she tried to drink all of. I had to pry it out of her hands a few times. She says she likes it more then most drinks in general.

Is it the best beer in the world? Well, I still have a lot of beer to taste before I pass that judgment. I would also need to taste a fresh Westy as well as an aged St. Bernardus Abt 12
and/or Rochefort 10 (only had them fresh) before I truly make the call. Any which way, it is a phenomenal beer. (1,868 characters)

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 1,691 ratings.