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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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4,695 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,695
Reviews: 1,615
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 8.89%
Wants: 2,885
Gots: 1,351 | FT: 105
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
(Yellow Cap)

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,695 | Reviews: 1,615 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of heebes
4.45/5  rDev -3.5%

Review #200!

Bottle from Against the Grain, unknown dating.

Served in a Rochefort goblet, pours a dark brown colour with a thin tan bubbly head. Leaves a thin layer of lacing down the glassware.
Nose is very balanced; brown sugar, pear, apples, sweet malts, Belgian yeast.
Taste remains sweet, and is well rounded. Malt body highlighted by apple accents, light fruits and the distinct yeast strain. More brown sugar and grapes follow into the finish.
High carbonation and medium bodied mouthfeel.
Overall, I was pretty impressed with this Trappist concoction, figured the hype wouldn't live up to itself seeing as its not a preferred style of mine. However I must admit it was worth its price tag, albeit once...a must try. Top of its style for me, beats St. Bernardus 12 and Rochefort 10 personally. Not something I would care to drink regularly thankfully given its rarity, and no where near best beer in the world.
But thats just me.

heebes, Sep 05, 2011
Photo of Mar02x
4.78/5  rDev +3.7%

What is there to say about the best beer in the world. In the end of March I got the Westvleteren 12, as a gift from my parents. This opened a hole new beer world for me. Before I have never heard of such rare and special beer. I always thought, and still do, that beer is there to share and enjoy. Therefore beer must be widely available.
After this introduction to very special beers, my learning ladder looked like a speedway and as a result I am now on BA. Because special beers need to be shared.

OK enough chitchat;

A-Nice dark brown, hazy fluid with nice head that disappears slowly.

S- Wood, wine and peat

T- A very nice beer with nut flavors, some vanilla. A bit sweet in balance with the bitterness.

M- Creamy not sticky, just enough, carbonation slowly explodes in your mouth.

O- A good beer, but worlds best??? I don't think one can say there is only one best beer in the world.

Due to the availability issues, I would rather drink Trappistes Rochefort 10 and St. Bernardus 12.

Today (13-09-2011) I tasted a Westy 12 once more at the 'Vrede' next to the monastery Sint-Sixtus. What a great beer!! We discovered (my buddy Ed and I) that when this beer is served, not to cold but say around 17-18 degrees Celcius, it is absolutely World Class. Nothing comes close. You can drink this beer anytime of the day and take any kind of meal with it, it will hold.

Mar02x, Sep 04, 2011
Photo of afksports
3.73/5  rDev -19.1%

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...

afksports, Sep 03, 2011
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%

BA review #500 and brewery review #200. Thanks to BrianTheBrewer for this one (and thanks to Jeffo for trading me another one to cellar).

Poured in to Duvel tulip.
Bottle date on the cap was 3/12/11.

A - Poured a very murky dark brown colour with a small amount of khaki coloured head that disappeared quickly and left good lacing behind on the glass.

S - A very interesting nose. Lots of fruit - raisins, figs, pear and apple come through. Sweet caramel, brown sugar and a slight sticky candy scent round out the nose.

T - Similar to the nose. Apple, pear, plum, raisin and fig contribute a spectrum of fruit flavours to this beer. They are complimented by a sweetness with hints of dark caramel and brown sugar. The alcohol is slightly noticeable as well but is generally well hidden. The sweetness in this beer is perfect, which is something that I don't get very often. It is just enough to be noticeable yet not enough to dominate the palate, which makes this beer all the more complex. The apple flavour is really noticeable at times but without dominating either. Incredibly delicious and complex.

M - Medium body. Smooth and somewhat chewy. Light carbonation.

O - Absolutely lived up the they hype for me. Belgian ales are typically not one of my preferred styles and this is the first one I have had that I would drink every day if it was available. Truly remarkable.

TheSevenDuffs, Sep 02, 2011
Photo of doopydoogle
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Words cannot describe. Rich, complex, and delicious. The epitome of ultimate beerdom! Cherry, yeast, bread, full bodied, beautiful color, and packs quite a punch. Sampled at the Trappist Tasting @ The Moan and Dove, Amherst, MA. At that point I was quite libashed, so apologies for a less specific review. Try it if you can!

doopydoogle, Aug 31, 2011
Photo of Soonami
3.9/5  rDev -15.4%

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.

Soonami, Aug 28, 2011
Photo of zeff80
4.97/5  rDev +7.8%

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.

zeff80, Aug 28, 2011
Photo of impending
4.95/5  rDev +7.4%

Into a tulip, it looks fine. simply dark

Held to the nose the scent is a siren song. Reluctant to sip as the scent may diminish. Quad defining.

The flavor justifies existence. Aftertaste lasts forever, till it doesn't.

The medium bodied mouthfeel is caressed by creamy goodness.

impending, Aug 27, 2011
Photo of sarro
4.7/5  rDev +2%

2006 bottle shared by Weisguy.
Pours a super syrupy brown with nearly zero head on a careful pour. Smells very bready along with nuts and dark fruit. The taste is delicate brown sugar malt with several layers of sweetness. I pickup lots of belgian dark sugar and it reminds me a bit of a well aged barleywine, but not as thick or heavy. The mouthfeel is slick and a tad syrupy with a nice medium carbonation. Mild alchohol finish on it, but I loved it.
Leaps and bounds better than the first Westy 12 I had that was full of sediment and aged on its side.

sarro, Aug 23, 2011
Photo of Azurescens
4.7/5  rDev +2%

330mL bottle with best by date 24.03.13 printed on cap, poured into Trois Pistoles goblet, reviewed on 8/15/11.

A: Pours a dark brown with tan head that leaves some lacing around glass. Clear and maroon when held to the light.

S: Aroma is wonderful, sweet dark malt, brown sugar and molasses, dark fruit, herbs and spices with a hint of spicy alcohol. Everything that I want in a quad.

T: Wow, so flavorful and absolutely delicious. Layers upon layers of flavor. Starts sweet with dark malt, brown sugar and some molasses, followed by candied fruit with herbs and spices, a slight hint of alcohol and more brown sugar in the end followed by a long lingering melody of all the aforementioned flavors.

M: Super smooth, somewhat creamy medium body with some tingling from the carbonation, finishes on the sweeter side.

O: So delicious and drinkable, could easily drink this every night for the rest of my life. Definitely the best quad that has crossed my taste buds. Simply incredible, wish this glass would last forever.

Azurescens, Aug 16, 2011
Photo of seanyfo
3.63/5  rDev -21.3%

33cl bottle poured into Grimbergen chalice

Best Before date 04 December 2010

A- Dark mahogany body with a lot of sediment. 2 finger creamy head with average retention and minimal lacing.

S- Toasted almonds, a little dark fruit, some rose petal sweetness and a touch of wholemeal bread. Overall aromas are subtle

T- Malt forward again. Wholemeal bread qualities come through again supported by a sweet malt backbone. No real suggestion of alcohol heat, very smooth.

M- Creamy with medium carbonation, full body. Very smooth considering abv

D- Appearance wise not amazing, Flavour/aromas are subdued i guess with age. Mouthfeel retains a lovely creaminess and full mouthfeel. Overall, not a beer i would say has enhanced with age. Certainly no developing complexties. Eventhough not drinking this beer before, i cant help but feel its lost some former glory. Would love to try fresh!

seanyfo, Aug 13, 2011
Photo of seeswo
4.35/5  rDev -5.6%

Bottle split with a buddy. Didn't catch the date, but it was about 3 years out.

Pours a hazy brownish copper with a tan head. The nose is slightly caramel and bready with dark fruits and plum. The taste is big, bready, yeasty plum with a touch of banana and other dark fruits and slightly caramel malts. Very smooth flavor with a very subtle complexity. Blink and you miss it. Good carbonation, good body. Overall, this is a very good beer, but it did not top the 25 year old Extra 8. Maybe worth trying once, then grab a Rochefort 10 given the relative difference in ease of acquisition.

seeswo, Aug 12, 2011
Photo of bcostner1
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%

Thanks to Brabander and another buddy of mine, I was able to procure 3 bottles of the Westy 12. Just cracked open the first one and it absolutely lived up to the hype. Amazing...

A: Dark brown with an aggressive tan head at the pour, the remnants of which linger for a while as I drink it.

S: Perfect. Dark fruits, delicious yeast are the most predominant aromas.

T: Wow...incredible. Dark fruits, yeast, brown sugar, a hint of molasses maybe. Absolutely delicious.

M: This beer is so incredibly easy to drink. It's actually kind of "light" feeling for a quad. Slightly overcarbonated to me...hence the deduction. Lingers on the palate just long enough but not too long to be cloying. I could definitely do multiples of this (if I were lucky enough to have a limitless supply).

Overall, this beer is phenomenal and worth of it's reputation. I love Quads, have tried a number of them, and this one is the undisputed king. I can't wait to have occasion to drink my last 2.

bcostner1, Aug 11, 2011
Photo of OakedCanuck
4.47/5  rDev -3%

11.2oz bottle into chalice. From notes. Bottle dated 21.04.13.

A - This gem pours a murky, swampy brown with slight reddish and purple edge accents. Faint bubbly beige head quickly dissipated.

S - Lots of ripe purple fruits of plums, currants, raisins and black cherries. Distinct Belgian yeastiness adds that desired bread nose.

T - Very complex. Epitome of quad brew flavour profile, dark fruits, cherries, some pepper and amazing cloves. That bready yeast profile is nicely integrated and somewhat subdued. Wonderful experience

M - Ridiculously smooth, no ABV to me picked up, medium and caressing.

O - I was a bit skeptical going in as this is quite the highly hyped, idolized beer. However, the beer speaks for itself and completely crushes any of the perceived 'hype' surrounding. Delicious, and that's all.

OakedCanuck, Aug 09, 2011
Photo of tsatem
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%

12 oz. bottle at In De Vrede, in a chalice. Been dreaming of having this beer at this cafe for awhile.

A: Dark brown that lightens toward the edges. Frothy one and a half finger head with decent lacing immediately. A small layer stays suspended forever.

S: Huge cornucopia of dark fruits, candied figs, caramel, small esters, rather sweet. Sublimely balanced - it's really hard to pick anything out. Everything blends in an incredible way.

T: Full! So much, very rich. Rather sweet, a bit light. Alcohol presence has a great warming but not hot character. Some toasty grains. All the dark fruit is in there just like the nose. Wonderful Belgian yeast flavors. Just as well balanced as expected, everything blends to create a phenomenal flavor that seems unique in its complex unity.

M: Medium-heavy but still lively. Great.

O: Incredible! I don't know how much of that is the rare talking, but at the first sip I was blown away. Huge and bold, but still tame and so well balanced.

tsatem, Aug 09, 2011
Photo of msfoster77
4.05/5  rDev -12.1%

Pours an opaque brown with an off-white head. Almost 0 light was shining through the liquid which was pretty cool.

Smell was slightly fruity, some raisins and dark fruits, with mostly caramel and booze coming through.

The taste was very good, the mouthfeel was amazing, the booziness warmed the mouth and gave a great sensory experience while drinking it.

This is an amazing beer, the fact that it is so hard to get and the recipe hasn't changed for thousands of years makes drinking it a great experience. I think the 8 was better, but this one was really good as well.

msfoster77, Aug 05, 2011
Photo of TheTippler
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Rich, raisiney, well masked alcohol, thick. Complex like a big meaty red wine. This is one of the finest quads I have had, but I can't say it lives up to the hype. I would rank this right along side the Rochefort 10, yet the unobtainability and buyer's remorse creates a mythical presence in this beer that causes to be catapulted to the top of any beer list. This is a fine beer that should certainly be seeked out. But is it definitively the best beer in the world? Probably not.

TheTippler, Aug 05, 2011
Photo of s1ckboy
4.03/5  rDev -12.6%

A - Deep brown with a small head

S - Bready, sweet.

T - Bready, sweet, vanilla, spices. I got a lot of dark fruits mainly raisins, figs. Very malty, a bit of alcohol in the finish. Very smooth. There is a lot going on, flavors kept going.

M - Medium, on the thicker side. Nice light carbonation, again very smooth.

O - Very good.

s1ckboy, Aug 05, 2011
Photo of orangesol
4.64/5  rDev +0.7%

THE beer. Finally got another one in a recent trade. I decided to open it with a friend of mine and tonight just happened to be that night. Bottle poured into a chalice.

A - Pours murky brown with a start white one and a half finger head leaving small wisps of lacing down the glass.

S - Smells of dark fruits; like figs, prunes, and raisins; mixes with the sweet malt, chewy belgian yeast, and some damp earth. The alcohol creeps in as it comes to room temperature.

T - Starts off with a sweet mix of dark fruits and candied sugar slowly giving way a mix of bready malts, spicy belgian yeast, caramel, toffee, molasses, and some chocolatey sweetness. The alcohol begins to rear its head as the ale comes to room temperature, drying the pallet. The finish is a mix of sugary sweetness and light heat from the alcohol. Amazingly balanced overall.

M - Medium-Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. So damn smooth with a little bit of chewiness. The alcohol does become a bit tiresome over the course of the glass.

O - This is still one of my favorite beers of all time. From the dark, complex, flavors to the soft, velvety, feel you would be hard pressed to find a better quad. I can't wait for my next encounter with this amazing beer.

orangesol, Aug 03, 2011
Photo of seabass87
4.97/5  rDev +7.8%

Bottled 18.09.08 and cellar-aged. A wonderful present from my girlfriend for our anniversary.

A- Deep, opaque mahogany brown. One finger of eggshell white head that dissipates quickly and leaves a mild, creamy cap throughout consumption. Leaves minor silky lacing throughout. Surprisingly, only a small amount of sediment present here.

S- Caramel malt, walnuts, ripe grapes, Belgian yeast. A background of sour cherries and other dark fruit esters. A bit of alcohol.

T- The base is introduced with scrumptious, chewy malt goodness intertwined with rich caramel, bread/biscuit, and wonderfully balanced Belgian yeast. This is paired with a number of rich fruits - primarily red grape peel, figs, and ripe apricots. We are transitioned to a beautiful sweet finish, with walnut banana bread being the best way I can think to describe it. There is only a bit of warmth from the alcohol - it's hidden exceedingly well and what warmth does surface is only complimentary to the flavors present. As it warms, the fruit esters become more pronounced.

M- Wonderfully light for the style, and considering the complexity I was surprised with how easy-going the body was. Just a tingle of carbonation during transition to inject a little excitement. Primarily dry finish that works well with the nutty aftertaste.

O- What can I say that hasn't been said already... This is quite simply the best tasting beer I've ever had. Considering the relative difficulty in obtaining it, I'm not sure how many times in my life I will get to taste this beer again, but I'm very glad I had to opportunity to do so. If you have the chance, make every effort to experience this masterpiece.

seabass87, Jul 31, 2011
Photo of crossovert
4.97/5  rDev +7.8%

When I got this beer I was in the company of some Flemish friends. I took no time to critique it. I didn’t figure out what kind of farts it produces, or count each tiny bubble of the head. Nope, I just drank it in good company. It is thick, sweet, complex, and delicious. Now is it my favorite beer of all time? Close. Top 3 for sure. Just a total experience.

crossovert, Jul 29, 2011
Photo of drowland
4.8/5  rDev +4.1%

The aroma hints of grapes and some dark fruits as well. The flavor is grapes and dark fruits mixed with wonderful Belgian yeast characteristics - and no hotness whatsoever. This is delicious, well balanced, and very smooth. The mouthfeel is amazingly soft and effervescent like real Champagne.

drowland, Jul 25, 2011
Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Second Westy to get through was the 12, as I decided to lead things off with the 8 the other day. I fell in love with the 8 - how will the 12 hold up?

Thanks again to Jeffo for bringing a crate of this back in the Great Canadian Westy Trade 2011!

Poured into a Duvel goblet. A nice, murky chestnut brown colour, with a slight reddish tinge. A billowing pile of off-white head sat upon the brew and refused to leave. By the end of the bottle, there was still a thick ring and scads of lacing. A terrific looking brew.

Great nose to it as well: raisins, booze, candied fruit, chocolate, all sorts of goodies. Not quite as potent and rich as 8 (which I will inevitably be comparing this to, despite being different styles), but still terrific.

A great quad, rich and spicy, with those same fruit notes (raisin, dry white wine, raspberry), spices, a bit of chocolate, warming alcohol and a drying finish. Exceptional stuff, really enjoying this.

Tart carbonation, but coats the tongue well and leaves a nice slick feel. The booze stings ever so slightly.

Gotta put the 8 a hair above this brew, but damn is it close. I think it comes down to personal preference - I prefer dubbels to quads or tripels (I'd make a lousy figure skater) as a general rule. However, I do enjoy a fine quadrupel, and this is most certainly among the top of its class.

JohnnyBarman, Jul 25, 2011
Photo of jrenihan
4.8/5  rDev +4.1%

Best before on cap is 24.09.13.

Beer is brown with reddish hints. Minimal white head fades quick;y. Not as dark as I would have expected the beer to be.

Smell is excellent. Dark fruit (plum, red grapes, fig) and brown sugar. A complex and enveloping smell. A bit of alcohol is present, but only slightly. Gives the nose a bit of a sterness that is nice.

Taste is fantastic. Just like smell, but more. Again we have dark fruit, plum, fig, red grape and some brown sugar, with a somewhat dry finish. The beer has a lot of fruit in it, but is not juicy. Almost tastes like a rich syrup. A warming alcohol flavour runs alongside the other flavours, not overpowering but present.

Beer is full bodied, with a medium amount of carbonation that is perfect. Beer is active, but not irritating- very minute bubbles.

Overall, truly an excellent beer. Given the availability and price disparities, I would go for the Rochefort 10, but this is just wonderful. Glad I got to try it.

jrenihan, Jul 22, 2011
Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.78/5  rDev +3.7%

Here it is. What, by many accounts, is the best beer in the entire world. Purchased at Bier Tempel in Brussels, along with the 8 and the Blond. Carried to Bruges until I realised I didn't have a bottle opener. After I attempted to prise off the cap with the edge of the table and the toilet-roll dispenser in the hotel room, my girlfriend became bemused and went out to buy me a bottle opener.

To the big question, however: can a beer this hyped live up to its expectations?

Freshness date of 20/04/14 stamped on the cap.

Pours a murky red brown, deeply coloured with amazingly fine carbonation feeding a modest, but amazingly fine-bubbled head. Lacing is thick and creamy, like uncooked meringue. Body is light, but slick looking, holding some of that fine carbonation when tilted. The bead is what makes this beer look so very refined. It's an absolutely lovely lookjng brew.

Nose is fine and light, tantalisingly giving off its aromas of spicy esters, fruity tannins and portlike booze. Slight tingle of lemon acidity to it as well. To be perfectly honest, though, its a lot less robust than I expected. The characters are very pleasant, and nicely balanced, but I've had beers with similar characters that have been fuller and more intoxicating. I'm not saying the subtlety here is bad. Just surprising.

Taste is lovely, however. Broad and long, giving wonderful complexity over the tongue, and developing as time passes along its length. Characters of raisins, tea leaf, red grapes, banana skin, rosemary, vanilla, cherry brandy, with a boozy and mildly astringent finish that you think is there to clean it up, but in fact just adds its own subtle complexity. Feel is sublime, just so smooth and supple and slick and thinly creamy. Now I understand the lack of body. Any more, and you'd look at overwhelming the subtle complexities.

I don't think I've had a better Belgian. This is top of the style easily, and it does easily warrant such an impressive place in the beer ethos. But, no, it's not the best beer in the world. The best beer in the world is still out there somewhere, tantalising me with its mythical presence. Some day, I will find it.

And unless I want to think that it's all downhill from here, I have to believe that until the end of my beer-drinking days.

lacqueredmouse, Jul 20, 2011
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 4,695 ratings.