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

Not Rated.
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)

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1,690 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,690
Hads: 5,479
rAvg: 4.63
pDev: 3.89%
Wants: 3,318
Gots: 1,760 | FT: 133
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: 1,690 | Hads: 5,479
Photo of PDXHops
3.66/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Massive thanks to jsilva and Gatorbeernerd for these 2 bottles, which were shared and compared with Ryan011235.

# 1- Poured into a Chimay goblet. Bottled November 2008.
Murky brown with a ton of floaties, even with a pretty careful pour. Eventually this clears/settles into something somewhat resembling a strongly roasted tea. Modestly sized head, but pretty nice retention considering the age and the width of the glass opening. Nose is freshly baked bread smeared with apple butter, straw and yeast. Not nearly as fruity smelling as I’d guessed, and not as fruity tasting, either. Yeasty and bready with a pleasant, but light plummy taste. As warms, sorghum and toffee sweetness begin to emerge, along with a light grassiness. Brown sugar. Sourwood honey. The skim of foam is easily kept alive with a swirl now and then. Scattered speckly lace isn’t too bad at all considering how much I’ve swirled this stuff to study it. Without a doubt the highlight of this bottle is the incredibly soft and velvety mouthfeel, which leaves behind a lingering yeast/bread/honey combo in the finish.

# 2- Poured into a La Chouffe tulip. Bottled February 2009.
A shade darker, with active carbonation feeding a finger or so of beige foam. Comparatively tenacious retention. Perhaps a trick of the glassware, but the aromas are more lively with this one. The nose seems more fresh and yeasty, although not as bold as I'd like. A fruitier flavor, particularly with prune and raisin, but again, not as potent as expected. Light leafy and tobacco notes. Carbonation slightly more prickly, but in general the same seductive, slippery feel. This one seems to have a touch more warming alcohol, although neither is particularly boozy. Light cocoa and a sweetness that reminds me of straight liquid malt extract.

Overall impression: I was somewhat surprised about the differences between the batches bottled just 3 months apart, but even moreso by the subtlety of both bottles. I’d almost go so far as to call them tame, at least in the bold world of quads. Tasty, although somewhat underwhelming. Perhaps they go through something akin to the ‘awkward’ stage you often see in American barleywines. I’ll update my review if I get the chance to try fresher or older samples. (2,270 characters)

Photo of liamt07
3.7/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle as part of Westy Wednesday at Volo, served in a flute. Anticipation is huge with this one, peensteen and I were drooling waiting to sample this one. Been waiting to get my lips on this one for a while.

Poured a deep dark maroon, with some burgundy and deep blood red highlights at times. Great lace and creamy, dense head. Nose is of rich dark fruits, figs, rich plums, brown sugar and a vanilla. A sense of some subdued alcohol notes, rich and very pleasant overall. Taste is a cascade of raisin, plum and figs on the tongue, less brown sugar than the nose, some vanilla, light spicing. Long dry finish, and fairly dry throughout. Lingering mouthfeel with some warming alcohol. Begs for sip after sip, this was just fantastic. Best quad I've come across thusfar, absolutely delicious and worth every bit of hype. 5/45/5/5/45

Re-reviewed as this was shared among a variety of other quads as part of the QuadShowdown - amazingly, out of 13 quads, we ranked this the absolute lowest. 2010 vintage. Poured a dark brown, with a dark cream coloured head. Great retention and a bit of lace. Nose is really grape-y, sweet with a lot of Welch's grape juiciness. Some sugary notes and a bit of vanilla. Taste reflects the nose, more grape and Welch's, some balance but there's just a great amount of grape juice here. Some caramel, darker fruits and sugar, but not alot of complexity. Medium-medium heavy mouthfeel with a bit of creaminess, with some lingering saccharine and grape notes. Modest, but feels too young. 4/4/35/4/35 (1,530 characters)

Photo of Ryan011235
3.7/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Two vintages shared by PDXHops on 11/18/11.

# 1- Poured into a Chimay goblet. Bottled November 2008.
Deep brown in the middle but brighter around the edges. Thin, wispy head over half the beer with a thick-ish ring of retention holing well. A few drippy spots of lace, too.

The aroma started out incredibly bready - freshly baked, lightly buttered and grainy. Something akin to sugar-drizzled pecans. As it warms, fruit tones emerge - baked apples, tart and still green. Suggestions of black raspberry jam. Biscuit, toffee and candy corn. Very pleasant.

The flavors are much more integrated than the aromas, balanced and blended. Lots of lightly toasted bread; nicely grainy. Toffee and the faintest caramel. I'm shocked at how fruit this isn't; then again, that's probably the reason I like it. Not spicy, either.

The feel is full, though it has watery edges. Carbonation is low. While this isn't the smoothest, the feel is very fluid regardless in spite of a graininess.


# 2- Poured into a La Chouffe tulip. Bottled February 2009.
The appearance is is a swamp water bogged wooden brown; dulled and dense. It's an ugly color. Sediment is suspended throughout. Poured a 1/3rd inch head that hold 1/4th inch retention - quite impressive in that regard. One thick drip of lace.

The nose finds tart and tangy fruit notes - over-ripe apple, especially. Pear, too. Undertones of baked and toasted bread with spicy yeast tones. Buttered biscuit even deeper down. Sugary pastry notes. A vapid, dry aroma catches my attention from time to time. Faint banana. Smooth butter toffee as it warms.

The flavor has an overarching sense of dirt and earth, which turns to dry bread notes - simultaneously fluffy and yeasty. Surprisingly, fruit esters take a back seat. Toasted sugars on the back end aren't terribly sweet - more rounded than anything.

The body is a bit on the plump side of medium. Any smoothness is aggravated by a modest carbonation up top and sandy, granular underpinnings. Warming. Spicy finish with alcohol residuals.


Overall impression: Neither vintage was what I was expecting; I figured this would be a far more potent beer. These two bottles don't even seem like the same beer, they're so different. I like #1 better but, in terms of style, it's for all the wrong reasons. (2,302 characters)

Photo of afksports
3.7/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I opened a 2006 bottle the other day with my girlfriend before she began an internship. Special woman, special beer, random day of the week.

Recent studies suggest that our perceptions have a lot to do with how we taste. Rarity, for example, has something to do with a positive reaction. Same with group pre-approval. So opening the A+ "best in the world" beer from BeerAdvocate, I suppose my expectations were already through the roof.

Sadly, they were let down. The appearance was dark, reddish at the seams, with good head and lacing even after five years in the bottle. But it's a bit too ruddy, and appears like it hasn't completely held together. The smell is pure, complex, and holds dates, raisins, caramel, candy, roastiness and smoke. It doesn't appeal strongly to my palate, but it's all there.

The taste is more of the same. Dates: dried and sugared. Sweet, with a yeasty alcohol finish. In the mouth it's relatively thick despite the age, and there's no doubting it's complexity. That said, I look forward to trying one fresh, because Rochefort 10 blew this out of the water.

Or maybe that's just my perception... (1,130 characters)

Photo of dren
3.71/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was overly excited when a buddy of mine bought a case of this and we were to have it for our final beer club beer #500. This beer poured a dark amber haze with a sizeable head. Smelled slightly sweet with a little spice and apple juice notes. Starts off with spiced apple juice, some sweet brown sugar flavors, dark dried fruit flavors, a little more spice and hints of lemon at the end of every few sips. More alcohol warmth than I would have liked. It overpowered some of the flavors and stood out more as the beer warmed. A very full flavored beer but not as good as I was expecting. In fact I favor several quads and trippels over this brew. It was worth the money to say you have had one, but I would never pay the high price to have this beer again. The rarity gives this beer extremely too much credit. (811 characters)

Photo of deejaydan
3.71/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to numenor1 for the chance to try this one. Pours a beautiful amber deep copper color into my DFH chalace. At first, an impressive head that looked like a cooking pancake, with large bubbles rising to the surface. Then, the head vanishes. I pick up alchol and dates in the aroma. Interesting enough... but not shocking. Taste is that of rum mixed with ripe fruits, and then it dries out and leaves your palate clean. Almost too dry though to me. Mouthfeel is good, outside of the dry chalky taste that this leaves. It is drinkable given the ABV, but I've got to say, I don't think this is the "best beer in the world". (629 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.72/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

330 mL bottle poured into a de Struise chalice. 2001 bottle. Best by 9/7/2004. Won this bottle in a raffle at the Funky Buddha.

Appearance - Pours a murky reddish brown with a surprising off white head. Chunky and sedimenty. Collar of foam.

Smell - Sherry and other oxidized flavors. Very fruity. The caramel malt still comes through.

Taste - Significantly better than the aroma. The oxidation makes it a little creamier. Lots of sherry. No booze. Buckets of dark fruit. A touch sweet with a somewhat rough cardboard finish.

Mouthfeel - No booze. Low carbonation. Way too oxidized, but it's still pleasant to drink.

Overall - I should really review a fresher bottle. This is really oxidized but the quality of the beer still comes through. Westy with sherry. (763 characters)

Photo of Arbitrator
3.72/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bottle into a glass.

A: Pours a magnificent chestnut brown with moderate light penetration. Despite a vigorous pour, the only bubbles churned up are from agitation; retention is nonexistent, no donut, no lacing. Meh.

S: My first thought was that this smells like a wine. Lots of ripe, pungent dark fruit (red grapes, dates, figs) with the slightest hint of a boozy warmth. Phenolic spice character, candied sugar, and some yeast in there as well. At times I get a cinnamon-infused banana bread character. Wow.

T: It starts off with yeast, but progresses into a restrained sweetness consisting of bread, graham crackers, and dark fruits. I taste a lot of grape/raisin, and some lesser dates and figs. Spiciness is actually pretty mild, pricking the tongue just slightly here and there. Very light candi sugar is tasted throughout. Despite all this, the beer finishes, amazingly, a tad on the dry side. Impressive. Kind of expecting more spice though.

M: I'll be honest, I expect lively carbonation in Belgians. This beer poured flat, and suffers a bit for it, but it makes it up with a fairly attenuated body that doesn't let the sweetness become too much. Despite smelling a touch of the booze, I never tasted it and never felt it while drinking -- although walking straight was a challenge afterward.

D: It's a great beer, but in almost a dozen bottles of having this, I can't recall one that was above a wisp of carbonation. Maybe I have bad luck or maybe this beer just lacks in that department. I don't care for that. Given the difficulty of acquiring it, I give the nod to St. Bernardus 12 here. (1,618 characters)

Photo of jolly_lynch
3.73/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

L- Deep amber with more head than expected; pretty murky
S- Dark fruit, burnt toffee, sugar, not much to cut the sweetness
T- Carb definitely plays in the finish, but still too sweet for me
F- Once again, carb really played a center role in this one, not my thing
O- Was nice to try, but won't be seeking this out in the future (327 characters)

Photo of bobhits
3.73/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I'm sure this is a bit too soon to give this beer a fair review, but I've been holding it since the US release and well it's a year old finally so I couldn't hold myself back.

Poured into a St Bernardus glass. I poured a bit too gingerly and as a result no head to speak of. A murky dark brown with marginal but noticeable non the less legs.

The nose is of spices, molasses, caramel, sugar, dark fruits, and raisins.

The flavor is of spiced rum, caramel, rum soaked raisins and plums. The sugars are high, but the spices seem to keep them from pushing too far forward. I believe there is still a bit of a hop bite, not really adding much but perhaps enhancing the spices. Clearly this is a bit too fresh. As I drink this the sugars are almost taking on a bit of a fake sugar element. There is just something very so slightly off.

As I said before this one is a bit fresher than it should be. Still at a year old I'd think it would be a BIT more refined. Who's got 3-4 years to wait for a beer? The beer starts out a bit too bubbly and finishes a bit hot still. I imagine both will be better with age.

I'm torn on this review. I believe a beer should be nearing high marks even if it requires age at a year. I however have been told 3 years is where this one needs to be. I just can't justify not marking a beer off for wanting 3 years of cellaring to drink. That said this is complex as hell, the flavors are well balanced and well put together. With that said it's not for me. The flavors will mellow and blend more but the end result will still be a beer that's too sugary and has spices that I can pass on. (1,618 characters)

Photo of ricknelson
3.75/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Our group of 4 Beer Advocate members did a recent small bottle tasting of high alcohol brews. Among the 12 brews tasted was; Westvleteren XII Quadrupel. We did a direct comparison tasting of the Westvleteren XII against the Rochefort 10. The Rochefort 10 was chosen the better 3 to 1, and tied for 4th highest average score of the 12 brews tasted at 4.25. Smoothness being the deciding factor between the the Rochefort 10 and the Westvleteren XII. The Westvleteren XII came in 9th of the 12 brews tasted with an average score of at 3.81. (537 characters)

Photo of UnionMade
3.76/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

After a bit of hunting, I finally tracked down a bottle of this coveted brew. A faint stamp on the cap declares it to have been bottled on 30.07.01.
The beer within pours a mostly clear ruby red on perhaps the first couple ounces, whereupon the bottle conditioning disengages itself to swamp up the brew considerably. I notice that trappist ales seem to have a very loose yeast, and it finds its way into your glass with even the most careful of pours. The yeast swims in large, fleshy clumps, slowly settling to the bottom of the glass in a loose heap. The liquid looks something similar to pond water, a rich, earthy brownish red. Atop the beer floats a huge, tightly packed ivory froth. Great head retention, keeping a half finger's thick crown atop the beer for the life of the goblet. Very impressive for the beer's strength (11% according to the cap). Some sticky blobs of lace cling to the glass, forming a weak, broken cobweb effect.
The aroma is very surprising. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting, but this wasn't it. Very nutty and chocolately, with a pervasive vinous feel. The malt is very muddy, earthtoned, with a belgian biscuity haze. Burnt, sugary toffee drizzled with dark chocolate and cashew. Very deep fruitiness, with ripe, squishy cherry, rotting plum, date and fig. The vinous feel has a bit of cardboardy oxodization around the edges, furthering the muddy haze. A sweetish, leathery scent grows with warmth, soft alcohol barely present under it all. Complex, but in a strange obscured way.
The flavor almost has nothing to do with the aroma. A surprise attack of sugary sweetness hits the tongue on the first sip, just shy of cloying. Toasty, drizzled with maple sugar and caramel filled, the candi sugar just engulfs your palate with a hazy fugue of drugged saccharine sweetness. A molasses-slow river of fruit syrup follows the sugar, coating the malt with a dark purple layer of just about every fruit you can imagine. Mostly a gooey plum sauce, with distinct currant, fig, banana and apple. The yeast presents itself within the fruitiness, a strange, eccentric blend of cashew, leather, crumbling treebark and walnut. Very odd. Interesting, but not entirely pleasing to the tastebuds. The yeast gains some strength into the finish, a more pronounced nutty wierdness blending with very attractive spicy belgian yeast qualities, as well as plastic-like, clovey phenols. A bit of sourness, and a brush of licorice. The finish is very long, the whole experience seeming to move at a snail's pace. The woody, nutty flavors continue, the glazed fruit reasserting itself in the very end. Some roasty chocolate flavors, as well as toffee, creating a fuzzy malt effect. A soft lick of alcohol in the swallow, with a sludgy, syrupy prune fruitiness lingering on the palate like a gob of molten caramel. Very heavy bodied, almost milky, furthering the lackadaisical mouthfeel. The carbonation is decent, but it seems to have trouble moving the beer around the palate. It's velvety and fine bubbled, perhaps something a little more attenuated would suit it better.
Really one of the most complex beers I've ever sat down to. A full bottle presents new flavors with each sip, some dwindling with warmth as others take their place. With the complexity came some unpleasant flavors, and I thought the sweetness was overbearing, especially when approaching room temperature. I didn't care for the yeast flavor, which was quite prominent, or the muddy drone of the malt, but that could have something to do with a couple years on the brew. Maybe the brew would present itself differently when fresh. I'd hope for something a bit more toned and alert feeling. A fine belgian ale, but nothing I'd consider world class material. I'm actually surprised at how well regarded this is. Possibly something to do with it's scarcity? I don't expect I'll be paying $9 for a second bottle, nor going through the trouble to get it. One was more than enough. It certainly does have personality, and I doubt I'd ever mistake this for another beer. (4,054 characters)

Photo of Etan
3.77/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz shared by Marco into a snifter.

A. Burnt orange with a large off-white head.

S. Deep honey and raisin, mild alcohol heat, figgy, concentrated caramel, dried peach.

T. Taste is less interesting. Dry, slightly bitter alcohol, old dried fruit, raisiny, mild oxidation, a little soapy, orange zest.

M. Medium-bodied, high carbonation.

O. I was less than impressed with this bottle. There are a lot of easier-to-get Trappist quads that are better than this. (462 characters)

Photo of JoeySchlitz
3.77/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed a little while ago, from my notes. Cap reads: 17.10.10

A: A thick 2" of head forms from a gentle pour into my Hop Monk snifter. It slowly diminished and melds with the copper mahagony beer below which is a lighter golden at the edges.

S: Initially there's a bit of delicious yeasty funkiness and as it warms, a much stronger Belgian yeast aroma dominates. A rich, concentrated banana bread, soaked in rum with some dark cherries in the background.

T: The taste unfortunately doesn't follow the smell as closely as hoped, and a more medicinal alcohol laden flavor is present with a slight bitter aftertaste. Fairly smooth overall and as it warms is pretty dry and crisp. The Belgian yeast breadiness is in the background but is overpowered by the medicinal flavors unfortunately.

M: Very good carbonation - gives the beer levity. Medium to thick viscosity which is perfect for the style.

O: For the highest rated beer on BA, I was very disappointed. It is a good quad but when I can go to the corner-store and buy a Rochefort 10 or a St. Bernardus Abt 12 (both of which I think are better than this) for much, much cheaper, it makes this obsolete. Very glad to have tried this, but this is a 'one and done' given the logistics of obtaining more. (1,259 characters)

Photo of schuim
3.8/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For sale now in Holland. Had a bottle which was very young.

A Dark brown, with yeast clouds in it.

S Sweet chocolate and sugered fruits.

T. Full bodied, sweet chocolate and fruit and warming.

M. Warming due to the high alcohol level

O. A liquid bonbon. (258 characters)

Photo of Damian
3.8/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 33 cl bottle
Date on cap read 17.01.10
Served in a chalice
Acquired in a trade with nathan15

Review #500

After a few years of cellaring this holy grail of the beer world, I finally decided to pop the cap for this landmark review.

The beer poured a cloudy, deep chestnut brown with a creamy, light tan, one-finger head that quickly dissipated to a thick, lasting mass of bubbly froth. Tiny streaks of lacing trickled down the glass.

The aroma was somewhat restrained initially, yet pleasant. Sweet and plummy. Caramel malts were noticeable. Spicy and just a smidge boozy. As the beer warmed, the unique, floral, fruity boquet that is a signature of Westvleteren beers came alive.

The taste was semi-sweet and quite nutty. Fruity Belgian yeast notes came through up front. Raisins, plums and figs were noticeable. Caramelized candi sugar notes appeared as well. A slightly sour flavor was also detectible. The finish was pithy, dry, slightly bitter and a touch woody. It was also fairly hoppy for the style. Overall, the beer was very well balanced but it was not nearly as flavorful as I anticipated.

The mouthfeel was perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this beer. It was quite thin for the style with an extremely fine and mild carbonation. The liquid almost seemed flat.

Drinkability was quite impressive however. The flavor profile was rather well integrated and the 10.2% ABV was remarkably well masked. It drank like something half its strength.

I loved Westvleteren 8 but I was unimpressed with the 12. This beer had no real qualities that distinguished it from its counterparts. In fact, many of its characteristics seemed rather ordinary. I definitely planning on sampling another bottle in the near future to see if my opinion should change. (1,776 characters)

Photo of papat444
3.82/5  rDev -17.5%

Big thanks to FondueVoodoo for getting me this one.

Gushes a little at the pop of the cap, effervescent head atop a dark leather brown. Musty aroma; flavor is figs, dates and tobacco leaves(?). Coats tongue, bit too carbonated but not by much, feel is good but needs to overstay its welcome.

I`ll be honest, 2nd time i try a Westy and i`m not wowed. A good Belgian ale but i prefer St-Bernardus or Rochefort. I think this is a question of the mystique overshadowing the actual beer. (485 characters)

Photo of sonicdescent
3.82/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Could I be possible that I had a bad bottle? Looks good with a murky brown color and quickly disappearing caramel head. Smells fantastic, sweet and fruity. Taste is heavy with fruits, figs, none of the "bread" taste I had had expected. Mouthfeel is thick. Drinkability suffers a bit because of the heaviness. I prefer the Bernardus and to a greater extent, the westy 8. (369 characters)

Photo of match1112
3.83/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to bitterbill for helping me knock this one off the to do list!

A: murky brown with some amber highlights. little specs of sediment are seen floating around. thin brown head fizzed out to nothing in no time flat.

S: toffee, plums, figs, raisins and rubbing alochol.

T: sweet dark fruits and alochol is about it.

M: Starts thin but finishes thick as syrup. Warming effects from the alochol. Seems kinda flat, could use more carbonation.

O: Quads are far from my favorite style and I was expecting this bottle to be wasted on me but I rather enjoyed it. (576 characters)

Photo of crusian
3.84/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from a great BA digita7693. Cap 16.2.13
bottle share with a good friend that is a home brewer and great BA as well.

Pours like a carbonation bomb. I hate waiting 5 minutes and pouring 5 times in order to try a beer. But oh well, looks good otherwise. Pours a dark burnt amber color (once it settles and I can actually see color)
Smells of figs and Belgian Yeast, slight flowery aroma, and also a bit wine-like.

Taste, well this is where it gets interesting. I didnt get much out of it when it was cold so I let it sit a while. The warmer it got the more figs came out of it. The alcohol is VERY well hidden. can't detect much alcohol at all. The flavors do dance around on the palate, and is very complex as well. not sure if they blend all that well, or that this is really worth the hype, but it is a good beer. Still way too carbonated for me, and the entire time I was drinking this I was swirling it out. mouthfeel is diminished because of that, but again, as I got down to the end, and it was warmer and less carbonated it got much better. I am not a huge fan of working my beer as I drink it, but so be it.
Not AWESOME, but it was good. i wouldnt go out of my way to try it again, but am glad I did drink into the hype machine at least once, and have another in the cellar to age and review again. But as many have said, St. B 12 isn't that too far off if not better. (1,385 characters)

Photo of Immortale25
3.85/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a snifter. Bottlecap says 29.09.15.

A- Pours an opaque medium brown color with a 1/2 inch dark tan head that's very crackly for a quad as it loses retention quickly and becomes a thin ring around the edge of the glass. Thick, semi-resilient lacing slides quickly down the glass and minimal surface foam.

S- Boozy aroma reminds me more of a barleywine than a quad although, once I swirl, I get a nice waft of Belgian candi sugar and toasty malt. Still, the alcohol sticks out unpleasantly.

T- And there's a sharp booziness in the flavor too, followed by some faint raisin and dark fruit. Once the palate acclimates, things mellow out a bit. Semi-sweet, somewhat toasty with a syrupy aftertaste. Not very complex.

M- A bit stinging from the booze, sticky and dry. Medium carbonation and a hefty body.

O- I love quads, but this is probably the most overrated one I've ever had. Maybe I should have let it sit longer, but I feel like it should be good fresh as well considering all the hype surrounding it. A pretty big letdown but I guess my expectations were quite high. Either way, definitely not worth the money. (1,129 characters)

Photo of GreenCard
3.85/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: dark brown, a decent layer of tan foam, head is a bit rocky w/ pretty good retention, slight haze

Aroma: a balanced hit of malt and clovey phenols, raisins, rum, a wisp of hops, acetone

Flavor: starts off with a subdued maltiness, then a strong alcohol flavor takes over which is then mitigated by a smooth sweetness, touch of chocolate, yeast, raisins, the finish is semi-sweet w/ a hop bitterness riding out in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium-full body, gentle carbonation, creamy texture, nice alcohol warmth without the burn

Overall Impression: Finally, after all the hype, I tried this beer (yeah, shame on me for taking so long!). It does not disappoint. A world class beer, all the way. Definitely deserving to be in the top 50, just maybe not at #1. Come on guys, is the abv really that important!?! I tried to review this without the beer's "rep" clouding my judgement. And also before the beer's cojones rendered my judgement unreliable! (972 characters)

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.86/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Split a single bottle with my roommates, Zach and Jorge, in honor of their graduation from college. Congrats guys!

Best before February 1, 2012 (listed as 01.02.12 on cap).

Poured into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Poured out flat: no head, no bubbles, no signs of carbonation. Bummer. I hope it wasn't meant to be like this. Though I was very careful to leave the end contents in the bottle, the body is still loaded with sediment (as was the Westy 8 we had right before this). Gorgeous color: ruby-amber through the center and orange-yellow around the edges. Looks oily when swirled. No lacing.

Smell: Red apple, cinnamon, figs, dark currants, and lemony and berry-like esters. Very balanced and very complex. I also get cherry cola, molasses, and brown sugar. Very nicely done.

Taste: Red apple, cherry lemonade, and molasses upfront; earth and leather in the finish. Caramel also plays a pretty big role in the flavor profile.

Mouthfeel: Flat, syrupy, and full. Finishes dry and earthy. The lack of carbonation really shows through in the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Tastes and smells nice, but the lack of carbonation ruined it for me. I hope I got a bad bottle. Otherwise, I can't understand how this is ranked so high. (1,228 characters)

Photo of Denali
3.87/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Opaque dark brown with slight tan head that dissipated quickly with no lace.

Smell: Red wine aroma mixed with spices. Alcohol presence also detected.

Taste: Fruity plums and grape like flavor followed by very sweet malt and spiciness. Also detected roasted pears. Finished with strong hop bitterness and alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and dry.

Drinkability: Moderately drinkable but limited by the ABV presence.

Comments: Flavors were very well blended together. The flavors however did not emerge slowly in sequence but came all at once. I enjoyed the beer, but there are others I like better that have (at least from what I perceive) a more multi-dimensional flavor profile. (707 characters)

Photo of Soonami
3.88/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Rich (phillybeer7779) for sharing a bottle of Westy 12 with me and the gang, one of the beers I've most looked forward to trying.

A little ripe, dried fig flavor nice malty sweetness, and a bit of bitter alcohol. There are other flavors of sweet stone fruit (cherries and dried peaches) in the beer and aroma. Clove-like phenols and toasty bread are more highly expressed when the beer warms.

This beer is a bit underwhelming, and maybe it was the age, but I found that I've liked St. Bernardus 12 and a couple other Quads I've had in the past better. (563 characters)

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 1,690 ratings.