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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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5,184 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,184
Reviews: 1,662
rAvg: 4.6
pDev: 9.13%
Wants: 3,134
Gots: 1,593 | FT: 118
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: 5,184 | Reviews: 1,662 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MystikCelt
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of TheGermanator
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of claspada
4.62/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled March 9, 2009.

Pours a semi-hazy dark brown color with a fairly large bubbly tan head that recedes to leave some solid lacing.

Aromas begin with an intense amount of dark raisin fruitness and caramelized sugars. As it warms you get some candy and lesser molasses notes. But the real standouts are the dark fruits consisting of dark cherries, plums, figs, and dates.

The tastes follow the nose with inital caramelized maltiness with an underlying toasted crackery maltiness. It is fairly sweet malt forward with some caramel, molasses and toffee. Once again there are strong flavors of dates and figs with some raisins and prunes as well.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side of medium with a perfect amount of carbonation (on the heavier side) that is standard in high quality, well-made Trappist beers.

Overall I was really really really impressed with this beer. After hearing for years that a Rochefort 10 is equally on par with this if not better, I have to say that I do not agree. Maybe it is the age that made this one so special and tasty but I remember being really unimpressed with the Rochefort 10 I had around a year ago. This reminds me agreat deal of the St Bernardus 60th Anniversary beer which I previously thought was the best Belgian beer I have ever had. I would have liked to sample this next to that one to really see who is tops and I will revisit a Rochefort 10 I have been aging as well in a year to see if my memory/opinions will change but I cannot say enough about this beer right now, it was quite special indeed.

Photo of mschind
4.97/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got my brick on 12-12-12 and tried one on Christmas Day. Now it's time for a review. First off, I had this accompanying dinner. First a prime rib and second a lobster tail and filet. It was a perfect pairing.

A- Actually, nothing too special. Poured into the tasting glass that came with the brick and I tried very hard to get a luxurious head but it produced a moderate foamy head that lasted a minute or so. Great lacing down the glass. Medium dark clear reddish brown color.

S- Incredibly complex from plain carmel maltiness to brown bread, raisins, chocolate, vanilla and licorice.

T- Everything in the nose is here. It starts sweet and runs through the complex flavors suggested in the aroma. There is slightly bitter finish that balances the sweetness. Over all there is a malty quality that holds it all together.

M- I finally get what they mean by the term "digestible". This packs huge flavor and a good alcohol punch without being heavy or cloying. Medium body, ultra smooth and perfectly carbonated.

O- The best quad/strong dark I have had so far. Last time I finished the bottle with some dark chocolate cheesecake. Not a good match. This seems to go better with savory foods. Something that is very sweet will cancel out the complexity of this amazing beer.

Photo of rale
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of EdgeBrewHouse
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of Guinnsslvr
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of ScottP
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of JeffreyJDavis
4.47/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cracked my second bottle from my 12.12.12 Westy 12 brick between the football games on New Year's Day 2013 so that I could do a proper review. I have had the Westvleteren Blue Cap and Yellow Cap twice before in a bar, but never have I "owned" these coveted beers, and I must admit that I have taken them out of the fridge a few times to just hold them and comfort them prior to my indulgence. So now is the time to cut open the hype, and to determine whether this really is "the best beer in the world"? Is there such a thing as "the best beer in the world", any more than than the existence of the "best sex in the world"? Let's see . . . .

Poured from a 11.2 oz bottle (10.02.15 date) into the gift pack chalice, after being stored at 51F in my wine cabinet all day and then sitting out at room temp for about 15 minutes. (I'm pretty sure I drank my first one last night too cold.).

A: Pours a medium mahogany / teak color which is more transparent than other quads I have had. Despite visible clumps of dark yeast coming out in the pour, the beer is not overly cloudy in the glass, but is almost burgundy around the edges. The chunky head dissipated pretty quickly and left no lacing whatsoever, a bit of a disappointment, pours like an undercarbonated Coke.

N: The nose is appealing and complex, but much more subdued than I would have expected. Relatively boozy smelling, with vanilla , apple and fig ester smells the predominant notes, backed up by a strange, though not un-appealing buttery woody aroma and the ever so slightest rucola mediciny smell.

T: Bready and malty biscuit foundation with sweet toffee, caramel and fruity notes. The more it opens up, the buttery flavors and the sweetness comes through more prominently with a cola / prune / vanilla flavor which for some reason reminds me of Dr Pepper (not a bad thing.) The taste profile is definitely complex and quite enjoyable and I got almost no warming alcohol burn. One of the more subtle quads I have ever had.

MF: This is where the Westvleteren Cistercians excel, both in the Dubbel and the Quad. The mouthfeel is just so smooth, sensual and enjoyable. The mouthfeel is much more carbonated than the beer appears in the glass, but it's almost velvety in texture.

In summary, is this a great beer? Yes. Is it the best beer in the world? For me, probably not. Like sex, everything is relative and everyone is entitled to their opinion. I've had beers that I enjoyed better, but I just slept with a super model, so I'm gonna gloat for a while.

Photo of richj1970
4.8/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle from U.S. released brick into one of the chalice glasses that came with the brick.

A: Poured dark mahogany brown with a reddish tint, and a one finger head that slowly dissipated. Fair amount of lacing.

S: Fruits like plums and dates, sweet sugar, roasted malts.

T: Roasted malt, sugar, plum, dates, cherries. A nice underlying spiciness with flavors like clove and allspice.

M: Big body but not overly thick, fair amount of carbination, coats the palate nicely.

O: A very nice quad. The first couple of sips had me worried that it was going to be average, but it really improved by the time i finished it. I think it will benefit from some aging. Planning on spreading the other 5 bottles over the course of a few years.

Photo of wdarcy77
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of sjones5045
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of susanml
3.5/5  rDev -23.9%

Photo of BucannonXC5
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Type: 11.2-oz. bottle
Glass: Trappist glass
From: Holiday Wine Cellar in Escondido, Calif.
Price: $84.99 for 6-pack + two glasses (also had to purchase $50 worth of stuff at HWC)
Misc.: Bottle cap and part on bottle said best by Jan. 8, 2015; The only time this beer has been in the U.S. and supposedly the only time it will be.

Poured a mahogany color with about a finger of off-white head that stayed forever on the top of the beer. Great thick and milky lacing on the sides. Great retention all the way down.

Smelled sour fruit up, followed by a sweet tarty flavor. Got green apple and kiwi. Also some malt backbone to it, mainly toasty caramel and toffee. Some light chocolate, too? Got better as I sat and smelled it.

Tasted similar to the nose. Just so damn smooth. Definitely could taste the alcohol up front. Some cloves, which I didn’t get in the smell. Got the green apple and tartness. Also light hints of caramel, honey

Medium body. Thin texture. Soft (below average) carbonation. Long, smooth finish.

An obviously fantastic beer. Like Frank the Tank in “Old School” said, “Once it hits your lips, it’s so good.” One of the smoothest beers I’ve ever tried.

Photo of mmapes
4.12/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Craig for the trade. Poured just before midnight on Dec. 31, 2012. Poured into a North Coast snifter (1/2) and a tulip glass (1/2). Had a St. Bernardus Abt 12 ready to go for comparison's sake. Bottle cap says 02.09.14.

First scent: beery, almost cola-ish, sweet. Pours ruby. Fizzy head. Scents of dried fruit, apple, yeasty.

First sip: brighter than expected, effervescent, full bodied but not oily or round. Beery/fruity up front, woody carmelly finish. THat's the first sip.

Later sips: cola notes again, but really a planty/woody flavor in the middle -- not something I'm used to in a beer. Expected it would be sweeter. Very long finish with alcohol and wood. Almost a mineral quality to the finish.

The bottom of the bottle poured noticeably cloudy and had slightly more body to it.

The Bernardus is almost exactly the same color. Bernardus has more of an apple scent, less of a dark dried fruit. Bernardus might be a little sweeter. Less wood. Bernardus might have a shorter finish.

All in all, a good quad. If I didn't know it was "the best beer in the world," I might not have figured it out by what's in the glass. It is very good, but I think a lot of its reputation is self-fulfilling. Would buy again if I could.

Photo of dna1964dna
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of WesM63
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of Hex92
3.95/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After all the trouble and expense I went through to get my hands on one of the bricks sold on 121212 I have to wonder if the rating on this beer isn't inflated because people think its got to be better than it really is.

Its a good beer, but not super amazing. I am going to set a couple back and try them again in one year intervals to see if they improve, but at this point, given the price I wouldnt buy this beer again. I'm tempted to sell a couple to recoup my cost.

S- dried fruits a bit of alcohol. Same for tne flavor.
M- a bit thin and more carbonation than expected .

O- decent. I am glad I was able to get my hands on a sixer, but there are several better beers out there IMHO.

Photo of Savearth
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of DocJitsu
4.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very murky horehound brown color with a thick, foamy caramel colored head. Dates, brown sugar, caramel, notes of maple, and very light bourbon without the alcohol on the nose. The moutfheel is medium- to full-bodied and lightly oily. A bit of carbonation on the rear of the tongue. Nutty up front, caramel apple appears shortly after. Alcohol warmth shows up late and lingers in the throat. Some alcohol bitterness appears as well. So much balance from start to finish in all aspects of the beer. The only drawback is the cutoff at the finish by the alcohol bitterness.

Photo of KSather
4/5  rDev -13%

Photo of splendidsplinter
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of tdm168
4.08/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to jtd1969 for somehow finding this gem.

A - dark brown with a slight amber hue; huge, soft, thick, foamy, brownish head that has tremendous retention

S - alcohol, baked apples, sweet, sugary

T - baked apples, caramel, sugar, warming alcohol, raisins, figs, a bitter finish

M - warm, full bodied, crisp, well carbonated

I have to say that this did not live up to the hype for me. I think had this been fresh it would have been exceptional. As it stands it is a good beer, but certainly not perfect. The flavors did not all come together for me. They all seemed to be disjoint. The baked apples are the dominant flavor followed by caramel and sugar. The dark fruits come in the finish. Don't get me wrong. This is a tremendous beer and it is definitely worth trying if you can find it, but ultimately there are equally good Quads available that are much easier to find.

Photo of Tucquan
4.3/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on 2012-12-23 in Lititz, PA from the special brick released on 2012-12-12.

A - Ruby-brown with a 1-finger tan head and sticky lacing.

S - Glazed biscuit, dark cherry, semi-sweet cocoa, mild spice. Not real strong.

T - Somewhat tart cherry, sweet raisin, plum, earthy spice, good amount of roasted malt, light toffee, citrus. Quite dry. Finishes more bitter than I expected.

M - Medium body and quite a bit of carbonation. Smooth, syrupy,

O - A fine beer. We had this at our Christmas party and everyone enjoyed it; some more than others of course. After tastings of the (arguably) top four Belgian Quads, I would rate them in this order for my personal taste preference:

1 = Pannepot
2 = Westvleteren XII
3 = Rochefort 10
4 = St. Bernardus Abt 12.

Of interest, my wife would rate them in this order:

1 = St. Bernardus Abt 12
2 = Pannepot
3 = Westvleteren XII
4 = Rochefort 10

Quads aren't my favorite style, but I/we enjoyed everything about this beer and the others mentioned above. It was worth the drive to Maryland and the long wait in line to score, share and taste this well-regarded brew.

Photo of kaelingirl
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,184 ratings.