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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

5,044 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,044
Reviews: 1,638
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 3,030
Gots: 1,504 | FT: 107
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)
View: Beers (3) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) Alström Bros
Ratings: 5,044 | Reviews: 1,638 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Ungertaker
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of Scamboogery
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of TonyMath
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of joh04587
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
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.


Photo of mkennedy119
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of edproctor
4.58/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- pours a dark colaish brown. Two finger light khaki head with nice lacing. Thick viscous tears slowly crawl down the glass.
S- lots of fruity sweetness. Dark cherry, plum, fig, and a fruit cakey breadyness. Still some alcohol presence, but it's almost masked by a honey like sweetness. What a funky nose this beer has. This just smells like a masterfully crafted quad.
T- wow! This is a hot little devil! More spicy than anything. Cloves, fruitcake, dried raisins. Not as much of the fruit as there is in the nose. Reminds me of a fine cognac or something.
M- thick and full bodied. The first sip the effervescence just went in and opened up my palate. Finish is dry.
O- overall, I feel that this bottle of westy 12 was damn enjoyable! Is it one of the best beers I've ever had? Well, I'll put it in my top 5 for sure. All hype aside this is a beautifully crafted beer and, in my opinion, on the same level as roch 10, and st bern 12. Give this beer 18 months and maybe it will rise to greatness. I'll give it a solid A.

Photo of mchen
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of rhinis23
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of kawilliams81
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 33 cl bottle into a Westy XII chalice.

A- pours a dark brown with a 2 finger beige head. Big walls and trails of lacing remain on the glass.

S- sweet dark fruits, dough, brown sugar, faint spices.

T- dark fruits, candi sugar, some roasted malts, Belgian yeast at the finish with some alcohol as well.

M- full body and medium carbonation. This beer is very smooth for 10% but the abv becomes more apparent as it warms.

O- very good beer. # 2 beer in the world, not sure about that. Did a side-by-side with Abt 12 and they are very similar. I would give Westy the slight edge, but if you don't care about the hype I would suggest just getting the Abt 12.

Photo of freewill35
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of parris
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of OF001
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330mL btl from the expansion 6pk w/glasses. served at 3C(for head management), tasted at 5-6 C in a Westy glass.

Dark earthy, and murky nut brown pour; also a light gery tone that, along with some protein clumping (fuck) is worrisome. and a thick 3 finger head that shrinks to about 4cm and stabilizes. Very little lacing , i was expecting much more

Dark browned sweet cooked sugars dominate the nose. Subtle orchard fruits: pear, apple- maybe some cider spices. Toasted nuts and warm alcohol.

The mouth feel is smooth with a surprising lightness from the carbonation that gives a spicy tingle-bubbles at the end, dry on the front of the palate and juicy rear on the finish. Subtly present wood tannin without the overt acidity.

Very warming alcohol. Mulling spices: clove (including the numbness from the alcohol), cinnamon, mace, allspice, and white pepper. Roasted nuts in the middle, hazelnut sweetness, walnut creaminess. Caramel, licorice and hints of dried fruits. Lots of residual sugars especially on the finish. Juicy and oh so subtle.

As a taste experience, drop your pants and blow your load because this it fucking ineradicable. I have had a couple of beers that are about as complex but this was deceptively layered in a tight (not young but condensed) but not muddling fashion. Super complexity that takes only a slight effort to decode the majority and will give more as you look for it.
That being said I couldn't have this beer every day, or even more than special occasions, even if I could afford it. It is easy enough to drink and it hits all the right notes but the alcohol is about 1% too high for me and the finish is a little flat and is neither a complete taste (makes me want no more except to have it again) or left me wanting more .

Therefore I will give it two ratings and the above and a balance.
A - 4.25 : 4.0
S - 4.5 : 4.5
T - 5 : 4.5 (low due to the finish for my tastes)
M - 4.5 : 4.75
O - 5 : 4.5

Photo of Holy_Hop_Head
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into a delicate Westvleteren 12 chalice...ready with an objective palate, skeptical of the hype...

Appearance: dark brown, a bit cloudy with a thin head that dissipates to a clinging ring around the glass and some beautiful stubborn lace.

Smell: to be fair, I'm recovering from a cold...I smell apples. Not a complex smell. No indication the flavor to come...

Taste: Here is where it gets interesting. Here is where I say, "Oh. Okay. I get it." Yes, what people say about the complexity is true. I taste many things. Overall, one might compare it to a really fine, 20-year tawny port. Apples, raisins, prunes, strawberry, and spice but without the over-powering sweetness that you sometimes find in Belgian ales. It finishes with a nice, slightly tart crisp apple that balances it very well. Truly complex and well-balanced. A definite alcohol flavor that melds into the rest of the flavors so well that it just makes it seem like it was barrel aged for a very long time in fine sherry-cask scotch barrels. I don't know when I've tasted anything quite this good. I could drink it all day...what a shame it's so hard to come by!

Mouthfeel: much lighter in body than I expected - it's about a medium-light with a crisp, champagne-like carbonation.

Overall: Amazing flavor, as described, with a million other fabulous flavors that I'm too much of a novice taster to even detect I'm sure. I really like the way the lighter body balances out the richness of the flavor. What more can I say?

Photo of chazasu
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of saintwarrick
4.98/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The myth. The legend. Extremely happy St. Sixtus sent a few bottles of their brew stateside, and I was lucky enough to pick up one of the bricks. (One good thing about South Carolina, no lines for rare beer releases.) Well, on to the beer.

This brew pours a clowdy tannish-brown with a single layer of lacey off-white head in my Westy glass that came with the beer pack. Some floaties on the second pour. Aroma is excellent, sweet plums, prunes, figs and caramel. Taste is sharp and spicy with many of the dark fruits I mentioned. The alcohol is hidden very well, although this is a heavier-than-most quad. A bit more bitterness than most quad on the follow-through. Noticeable hops.

Definitely can see the hype for this brew. A true classic, though probably not a ton of difference between this and Rochefort 10. Would I pay $85 for another sixer? No, probably not. But for this first chance to try it? Definitely. If I saw a single bottle on the shelves one day, I'd probably buy a bottle though. Well, time to sit down some of the other bottles and see how this beer changes.

Photo of bigclydeoliver
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of akylles
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of DangerDawg
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of pgaveau
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of spencerberus
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of ystazi
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of markbxl
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of cdayb1
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of rickyleepotts
3.23/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Here it is… the best beer in the world. Not only is this supposed to be the best beer in the world, it is also one of the hardest beers in the world to obtain. Outside of scheduling an appointment with the brewery in Belgium, this beer is nearly impossible to get. We lucked out and got ours on eBay. We grabbed two bottles for $50. Cheaper than a plane ticket, that’s for sure! I do want to see the brewery, regardless of how good the beer is.

We are writing this review on 12/12/12 for a reason. Today, in most cities and states, this beer was released for sale in limited edition (VERY limited edition) gift sets. The set came with six bottles and two glasses for $84.99. The bottles have commemorative labels on them, making it the first time they have ever put labels on this beer. You see, the monks that make this beer are not allowed to take a profit from it. But the brewery needs some TLC and to help raise money they decided to release the beer for the first and what may be the last time. We didn’t buy a gift pack, but a LOT of my beer drinking buddies online did.

Some folks say that this recipe is similar to the St. Bernardus Abt 12. That beer is easy to get, and I am actually not a huge fan of that one. It has a tolerable flavor toward room temperature, but has a weak aroma and basically no flavor. That, and the amount of hype behind Westvleteren… my expectations are REALLY high. I am excited to try it, and to write about it. I am even more excited that we were able to get a bottle without much trouble and without spending an arm and a leg. So today, as many wait in line to spend $84.99 on this beer… we toast you and your first experience with the best beer in the world. Bottoms up, people!

In the Glass: The beer is VERY carbonated. More so than I expected. It had a soda pop sort of head when pouring it into the glass. The head settled quickly leading to a deep dark brown, nearly black color in the glass. There is a very nice lace on this beer, as well. A thin head sits on top of the glass begging me to take a sip.

Nose: It smells like a quad. It is somewhat sweet, and has a subtle fruit aroma. I am getting almost fig on the nose. It is not ice cold, but is chilled. I wanted to make sure we gave it time to warm up as we reviewed it. I love the bottle, too. No labels… just says TRAPPIST on the neck. The bottles that were released today (in Arizona at Total Wine & More) came in a commemorative box and had labels on them. But this bottle, straight from the monks, doesn’t have a label. The cap says what it is… but that’s it! Oh, and I smelled the beer once again. Still sweet, and might be getting sweeter as it sits. OK… here we go. I am about to drink the “best” beer in the world.

Flavor: Yeah, that’s a quad. It has a nice mouthfeel (which I will get to) and slides across the tongue coating your palate with that same sweetness that I was getting on the nose. Maybe it’s just me, but this beer isn’t that impressive. I am not sure why people would rate this the “best” beer in the world. I like Belgian beers, but this is nothing special. If you would do a blind taste test next to the St. Bernardus Abt 12, I wouldn’t be able to tell a difference. It’s good, but this is not the best beer in the world. I have beers in my fridge that are better than this!

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is really nice. It is thick and does a great job of coating your tongue with flavors that lead to a nice aftertaste. On a second sip, I swirled it around in my mouth for a minute. It really opens up the flavors when doing that. It also heats the beer up just a tad, providing more sweetness than before.

Aftertaste: The aftertaste is nice. The sweetness hangs around and some malty flavors start to come forward… but they are here and gone again just as fast. If you have had a Belgian quad before, it is a very similar flavor. We had some quads in Belgium a few months ago… and they do taste better over there. But still. The aftertaste here is nice, and seeing as how I like sweets, that makes sense.

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,044 ratings.