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

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

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5,237 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,237
Reviews: 1,676
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 3,176
Gots: 1,628 | FT: 122
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,237 | Reviews: 1,676
Photo of Bubba569
4.84/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Have to give a shout out to Unsung for sharing this great beer with me!! Cheers!!

A: Awesome bottle, golden brown color that pours a tad cloudy with light amber head.

S: Very sweet tropical fruity smell with a hint of honey.

T: Hard to describe this very full flavored beer...but it has a tropical fruity taste with a hint of caramel, finishes with a warm soothing taste of honey!

M: Nice warm, very well balanced taste, fullest flavored tasting beer I've ever had the pleasure drinking!

O: Outstanding, very well balanced, full flavored beer! Highly recommend!

Photo of KeefD
4.84/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finally! A Westy 12 is in my chalice. It's about time. Review #500. Huge thanks go out to deepsouth for the trade!

03.12.11 printed on the cap.

Pours a very dark amber brown color with almost no head and no lacing. I thought I would was going to have a hugely carbonated beer here, but it doesn't seem to look that way. Lovely aroma of yeast, dark sugar, apples, plums, raisins, brandy, hints of chocolate and a light booziness. Wow, I could smell this all night and keep coming up with more familiar aromas. Taste is off the charts. This tastes like a dark Belgian beer with a few drops of brandy splashed in. Strong caramel and toffee flavors are at the forefront followed by a nice boozy brandy flavor, dark fruit, namely raisins, a bit of chocolate, lightly bitter earthiness from the hops, sweet, delicious, satisfying. Wow, this beer really does live up to the hype. So much complexity in the flavor. It's truly outstanding. Medium-full bodied, lower carbonation than what I was expecting. Boozy warmth becomes more prevalent as it warms up in the glass. Delicious aftertaste seems to linger forever.

What a great beer. I can certainly see why it's the top rated in the world. While it's not my highest rated beer, it's certainly deserving of it's praise. Very drinkable despite the high ABV, which is virtually absent in the taste. So good. I will cherish the remaining bottles I have and drink them a bottle at a time over the next few years. Thanks again, Jason!

Photo of glazeman
4.84/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter

A: Medium dark brown with heavy ruby red accent. The head is tan in color and is about ½ finger. The head faded quicker than I expected, but left some lacing and a swirl of bubbles and crown that remained for the duration of the drink.

S: My initial reaction was that this smelled a lot like plums. There's also some light caramel, and grapes/champagne. Finally I get a bit of alcohol. This is a very layered and interested smelling beer.

T: The flavor is deep and complex with a lot of dark fruits up front, primarily raisins and plums, followed by some dry bitterness and a little alcohol heat. The flavor is a little sweet but is nicely balanced and quite a bit different than the smell would indicate.

M: This has a fairly light mouthfeel, but a nice level of carbonation. The aftertaste is great and the beer is crisp. The viscosity is medium of the road and what I would expect. Overall this may be the weakest part of this otherwise outstanding beer.

D: If I lived in Belgium, I would drink this every night of the week. It is truly amazing. Only if...

Photo of Seanniek91
4.84/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Served from a european bottle into a Krombacher pils glass. Shared with RoninTK3. Vintage 08'. Cellar temp.

Appearance- Beautiful hazy orangeish/brown with huge three finger fluffy white head that dissipated surprisingly quick. Lots of yeast floating around. Crazy lacing.

Smell- Cherry, tobacco, rich bready belgian yeast, dark dried fruit, vanilla. The list goes on, but this is one of the most layered beers I've had the pleasure to have.

Taste- Vanilla, plum, raisons, fresh bread. Finish is pure raison. Yeasty character isn't as pronounced as in the smell which is nice for me. Sweet clean lingering flavors.

Mouthfeel- Tons of bubbly carbonation with a nice resiny stickiness. Clean without the booze heat one might expect from a 10% (especially with 5 years on it.

Overall- Quads are a hit or miss with me, but this is hands down the best quad I've had. Truly a beautiful beer.

Photo of westweasel
4.84/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Special thanks to chadspivey for the opportunity to try the best beer on BA!!! According to him, this bottle was aged for about a year.

The beer poured out a hazy dark brown with a french vanilla colored notable head. A few whiffs of it almost blew me away. I was able to detect chocolate, toffee, caramel, raisin, and peaches. Of course now I was really looking for to the taste, and it did not disappoint. I could taste maple, caramel, toffee, and butterscotch. The mouthfeel was very full and creamy.

This beer lives up to the hype - of course I could drink tons of these. Too bad I may never get to Belgium.

Photo of Lasherh
4.84/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of dseanv
4.84/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of Bigbiz74
4.84/5  rDev +5%

Photo of Arithmeticus
4.84/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured in short drinking glass; shared with friends

A: modest head, orange brown, moderate carb, not much lacing
S: cherry, plum overtones with some molasses in the mix
T: Wow! Lambic-like flavor; very strong cherry, malt; very complex and sweet

This beer is amazing. Get it. Try it.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well...it's Oct. 21st and it's my birthday today so I decided to have this much anticipated brew...the Westy 12. It pours out of the bottle a deep brown color with a fluffly 1 inch head that seems to produce instant lacing. Yummy. The smell is a mix of candied fruit, raisins, alcohol tones, spiced plums. It has a very vinous, almost red wine aroma. Quite complex.

The long awaited first sip is a smooth earthy malty ride. Raisins, fresh baked bread and dark candied fruits are the first things I notice. It has a pleasant caramel sweetness that's not overpowering. Alcohol is non-existant in the flavor and each sip makes we want to take another sip. The velvety texture is freakin amazing...this is an exceptionally well balanced delicacy.

Mouthfeel is good, really spot on. Carbonation and body are well balanced and make for a lucious drinking experience. A little more body wouldn't hurt though. Drinkability...well damn...I could drink this all night..problem is I'd be drinking it on the street because my home would be repossesed. If this was a bit more affordable it would be a 5 for drinkability. If you have yet to try this gem, track it down ASAP...it's worth the hunt.

Photo of magictrokini
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I found this beer for sale at O'Brien's, with a hefty price tag for a 12 oz. Still, it was cheaper than a ticket to Belgium and I wasn't about to pass up the top rated beer in the world. Pours murky brown with a big tan head that stays around for a while. Pleasantly sweet aroma of cherries, prunes, brown sugar, licorice, bread dough, oak, and yeast. Unbeleivably light mouthfeel. Its like the beer hovers on your tongue. Amazing taste. It mimics the aroma quite well, with an intriguing combination of tastes. I had the same problem as others: it was very, very difficult to pin down specific flavors. It was almost as if the beer was blending and mixing while in your mouth. Sweet, sour, spice, and fruit were in constant motion and made up a beer that is almost undescribably good. It was well worth its price.

Photo of PretzelCity
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours an nice deep caramel brown with a decent head that dissipates rather quickly. The smell for me was probably the worst part, it doesn't smell as good as it tastes but it still smells pretty damn good. Sweet malts and candied sugars make this beer incredibly easy to drink. Would love to try this with a couple of years on it. I wish I had it every day as this would easily be my everyday go to beer. Really in a category of its own. Excellent beer! One of the few beers really worth the hype.

Photo of Kegatron
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

.33 l bottle into a Chimay goblet. Thanks to deepsouth for the trade and opportunity to try this.

Pours a dark brown with +1 fingers of creamy looking tan foam head. The retention is just beautiful looking, with a smooth and creamy layer that sticks around for a good bit and leaves behind thick lacing that coats the sides of the glass and then cascades down. This is one of those beers that I could just sit there and watch swirl around in the glass for hours on end. The bouquet on this is quite a complex and well balanced little fume of aromas with sweet notes of cocoa powder, vanilla, and candied sugar giving way to dark fruit tartness and the scent of an earthy oakiness. There is quite a nice contrast and interplay between the sweet and tart notes.

The taste profile is similar to the aroma being both complex, well balanced and layered. A delicious sweet mix of candied sugars, chocolate, and bready malts with some deep dark fruit notes and spices. There is also an earthy feel and yeast presence but they are very subtle and integrated perfectly into the surroundings. For me though, the mouthfeel of this beer is where is absolutely excels. It's got a very rich texture yet still feels smooth and mellow in the mouth with fantastic carbonation. There is maybe just the teeniest, tiniest bit of alcohol in the body but for the most part that 10+% ABV is absolutely no where to be found.

This beer carries a lot of expectations and while it wasn't quite a perfect beer for me, it still came pretty darn close. The look, smell, and taste of this are outstanding but it's the body and drinkibility that are truly world class, being rich and complex but still immensely smooth and quaffable. Absolutely worth seeking out.

Photo of Gmann
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a murky dark brown color with a huge, pillowy tan head that slowly settles. Very puffy looking.

The aroma is of grape juice and light prune. There are some musty yeast notes that bring an earthy character to the aroma. Some light tobacco notes round out the aroma.

The taste starts off with grape juice and prune flavors as well as some honey and caramel. This is quickly balanced by some stark earthy notes. Some nice tobacco notes bring balance to the flavor profile. There is some ash that actually gives the beer a lightly bitter finish. Some light medicinal characteristics are detected but nothing really stands out, perhaps some clove. A really well rounded flavor profile that has great balance.

Moderate feel with fizzy and airy carbonation that makes the beer feel lighter than it actually is. Very creamy feel. Sweet on the palate but does finish with a light bitterness. Great balance.

Great quad/BSDA. Exactly what I look for in the style. Not overly sweet with raisin and prune flavors but more of an earthy flavor that makes the beer very drinkable. Glad I got 3 more.


Photo of GRG1313
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a medium brown body with hints of red/orange around the edges. Short tan head.

Nose of deep rich fruit and malt. Hints of raisins and stone fruit. Hints of complex malt and toffee/carmel/whiskey. Flavors were rich, bold, assertive, long lasting and fantastic.

Front palate hits you with sweet malt and the flavors just grow in layers; malt, whiskey, raisins, figs and a bit of light chocolate.

The beer just reeks of complexities and character. This is one of the best liquids I've tasted, and I've tasted some nice stuff, including some of the rarest and oldest wines in the world. This beer ranks right up there.

I love old stouts and some of the crazy extreme beers that are now being produced. However, for overall quality and flavor this is probably the best ale I've ever tasted. I hope I can try it again. Don't miss this one if you get the chance!

Photo of jmalex
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I can't believe I just popped the cap on this. I'd been saving it for so long, it became a staple of my beer collection. But in celebration of my 100th review and more importantly, my wedding yesterday, this is as good a time to enjoy it as there is.

Best by date: 07 06 08
Served after cooling in the fridge for 45 minutes

APPEARANCE: Pours into my Trois Pistoles chalice a very dark brown with no light getting through. The head starts at a one finger height and drops to a huge collar and large bubbly patch. Mine unfortunately has some chunky sediment floating in it. Lacing is present in a few splotchy patches.

SMELL: The smell is huge with fruity estery aromas. Raisin, plum, sour cherry, red wine, you name it - it's all here. Yeasty breadiness is minimal and the smell of alcohol comes through pretty well.

TASTE: Heaven. I wish I could give it more than a 5.0 for this. Just the most complex, well balanced blend of flavors I could imagine. The same flavors from the aroma are there in the taste, but they fuse together so well that they are almost imperceptable from one another. Alcohol heat is very minimal and the finish is only slightly dry and amazingly clean. Amazingly, fantastically, incredibly wonderful.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium full body without being remotely syrupy or thick. It almost seems light because of some kind of monk magic or something. Carbonation is super fine and effervescent.

DRINKABILITY: Again, off the charts. It goes down like it's nothing and is smooth the whole way. You might even think this is a session beer, the alcohol is so hidden. It's just a perfect beer.

Oh, it's so sad to see it go. Who knows if I'll ever have the opportunity again. I'm just at a loss for words trying to describe this beer anymore. Believe the hype. And if you have a chance to drink this, DO IT.

Photo of lou91
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

01-07-06. This beer looked and smelled great as was expected making waiting to warm and drink it very difficult. It poured with some life leaving a small but fragrant head and a dark brown root beer color. This is the best beer I have ever had. It is so good that it acts like several beers. First you have the high alcohol, sweet honey, maple like a trappist or abbey ale, then you have the lasting alcohol burn of a barley wine, then you have the crisp clean thirst quenching finish that makes it thoroughly satisfying and wanting more. Silky, rich with a panoply of flavors that linger on your palate. Even with a piece of pungent English stilton, westy 10 compliments it well and cuts right through it. Get it at Jackson Wine and Spirits.

Photo of pauljmccain
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted at the Gollem, Amsterdam. Great place.
Poured into a generic goblet.

A: Dark brown with reds appearing in the light. Not the darkest quad. Creamy 2-3 finger head, a tan color, but doesn't last very long. Looks great.

S: A mix of fruits, very dark and distinct, but not overpowering. You can certainly smell the caramel.

T: This is where this brew makes its name. It's hard to imagine that it's 10.2% ABV, as unlike Rochefort, there is no alcohol taste at the end. Very smooth with fruity, sweet flavors, shadowed by dark spices and the caramel coming through. Overall, perfect.

M: A very nice feel. Was surprisingly lighter than I expected, though I could have still done with a little more carbonation. Very smooth.

D: Perfectly balanced flavors, perfect taste. A little heavy for top drinkability marks, but it is not a weak point of this beer.

Photo of ShrLSU
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from the traditional labless bottle to a Trappist Westvleteren goblet that was shipped with my 6 pack.

Apperance - beautiful white lacing, dark brown in color

Smell - great nose, a little fruity, and bread like

Taste - Amazing combination of sweet malts, some breadiness, and a little bit of fruit at the finish

This is the best beer I have ever had hands down. It lived up to it's reputation as world's greatest. I have a few more cellared, but will save them until a special occasion. It was truly an honor to drink this beer!

Photo of oline73
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a clear dark reddish amber with a finger of very smooth off white head. A layer of head remains on top of the pour.

Smell: Sweet with dark fruit notes and some brown sugar/molasses hints. Mild Belgian spice. Everything blends together perfectly.

Taste: Sweet but not in a cloying way. Extremely smooth. Some Belgian spice with hints of brown sugar and dark fruit. There is a slight bitterness in the finish along with the sweetness. Hardly any alcohol taste at all.

Mouthfeel: Body is just on the thick side with smooth tingly carbonation and a slight dryness in the finish.

Overall: Just an amazing beer. Everything blends together perfectly. Kind of reminds me of a super smooth barleywine. I definitely want to have more in the future.

Photo of shroompod
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had to order this beer to see what all the hoopla is about. I received 3 bottles 3 days ago. I had one chillin in the fridge. This doesn't seem long enough to let the yeast compact , but I'll drink it anyway. dated 24-05-09 , so it's very fresh.

This poured a hazy dark brown. Creamy head that lasts.

Smell is has some bourbon/alcohol notes. Faint hop aroma.

Taste has some dark fruit , possibly prune or raisin up front. This melds into a nice light hop bitterness and seems to finish with some woodsy bourbon flavors. Couldn't find anything objectionable.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly crisp and light considering the amount of alcohol and flavors.

Drinkability is amazing , very balanced. I could sip a few of these all night.Could I be buying into the hype, I dunno ? I like this beer.

Photo of Cresant
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my 500th review, I thought I would make it a special one. Poured this .33L brown bottle (with raised neck ring) into a Westmalle glass. Cap was dated 8.09.11. The body was hazy and a dull plum color. The creamy, irregular head had an iridescence in the light tan bubbles. Some foam remained throughout.

Smell was of cola and light molasses. Stewed apples with a dash of cinnamon.

Taste was raisins and apples. Mellowed to perfection, nicely balanced. Each element compliments the other, not negating one another. Distinct, rich maltiness is countered with a tangy long finish. Taste surpassed the aroma, which I don't experience often enough.

Mouthfeel was zesty yet smooth. Very drinkable. Very well hidden alcohol. This is not one of my favorite styles but I would never pass the opportunity to enjoy one of these.

Photo of LittleBreeze
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is damn close to perfect. Balanced fruits, bready, malt, spices. The body is light. I don't recall ever drinking a quad with anything close to this body and mouthfeel. Alcohol is well hidden. There is little reason for me to wax on about this beer. Many reviews have nailed it.

Photo of ScreamForMe
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What else can be written about this beer? Without going over too many of the same details, the one thing that keeps coming up is how the alcohol in the brew is rather well hidden. This and the incredible mouthfeel stood out for me.

Did it live up to the hype? Nah, there's no way a beer can live up to that much hype. Is it a great, world class, beer? Absolutely!

Time to have another!

Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What a beautiful day for one of the world’s most beloved beers: all final exams complete, Christmas fast approaching, and all worries carefully plucked away by months of hard work. And it’s all accented by my good fortune, as I was one of the 15,000 people to take place in the historic commercial crossing of the Atlantic by Westvleteren 12. I am grateful to have this opportunity – thank you, Shelton Brothers and St. Sixtus Abbey for all that you do!

A: Pours creamy as ever: as soon as the beer hits the glass it expands in a wave of silky beige foam. The body is a deep auburn color, thick and slightly hazy, only allowing a portion of light through its body. Head is sustained for a short time at about an inch or so before settling to a spotty layer of thin bubbles. At times, wet lacing clings to the side of the glass for a few seconds before falling back in.

S: A fruity, vinous nose rolls out tones of juicy red grape and raisin, sweet peach, and baked apple; all reminiscent of a strong cider or fruit wine. It’s an authentically pleasing aroma of natural fruit character, great on its own, but even better within the shell of grainy Belgian malt that’s just as evident in this nose. The grassy, tannic feel of these scents pulls you into a mill, wafting up as you watch the processing of wheat germ and smell the fresh product – incredible, and natural in every way. Nothing seems forced here, and that seems to show the true character of what this beer represents.

T: Incredible flavor – I can’t believe it, what everyone was saying was true. Dark fruit tastes swarm the palate with every sip, splitting through the initial alcohol warmth with tannic apple skin, sweet baked dates, lightly acidic citrus, and soft peach. A taste of fruit juice this isn’t: what we have here is a savory, chewy, sustained profile of fleshy fruit, turning almost pie-like when a few spots of spicy cinnamon and nutmeg appear. A warm cider alcohol taste extends along the underside of the fruity body; it’s one of those things where you can’t taste the booze as much as you can feel the fullness it imparts on the palate as a whole. Again, we’re talking fresh, natural fulfillment. Slight bitter hop to it, a rindy, herbal, flowery texture that reaches a short peak toward the end and settles almost as quickly as it emerges. Finishes with a mild flavor of vanilla bean and, while grainy wheat is present in the background throughout the drink, it’s showcased in the aftertaste to a fuller extent.

M: Completely weightless in every way; the best texture of any beer I’ve ever tasted. It froths and flows around the tongue, but thickens and warms as it goes down, giving it an impossibly smooth-yet-powerful character. Any beer with this texture would be unforgettable, but with the palate described above, it’s legendary.

O: The thing I love most about beer is the way it can fulfill my palate and warm my soul with just a mix of simple ingredients. This beer showcases that majesty, the beauty inherent in simple ingredients accompanied by inspired craftsmanship, to a T. Drinking this was not only a splendid experience, but a part of beer history, and something that has inspired me to stay within the world of beer for as long as I possibly can.


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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,237 ratings.