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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,715 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,715
Hads: 5,608
Avg: 4.61
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 3,424
Gots: 1,852 | FT: 139
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: 1,715 | Hads: 5,608
Photo of Sammy
4.33/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Beer. Hard to meet the bar and expectations, but it does. Could 2 years plus not be enough aging? The fine wine appearance. Even the sediment is beautiful. Complex aroma including raisin.

Was even better at room temperature on a very cold day
Had one in late winter 2011. Its very classy . Averaging my individual 5 ratings on it.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.54/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

HUGE thanks to ehammond1 for setting me up with one of these!

Cap is dated 15.06.14.

Pours a murky dark brown with a foamy 2 inch khaki head that settles to a puffy cap on top of the beer. Thick foamy chunks of lace cling to the sides of the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, and a variety of fruit aromas: grape juice, grape jelly/jam, dark fruits. Taste is of raisin bread, brown sugar, burnt caramel, dark fruits, grape juice, and a kick of alcohol on the finish. The alcohol is warming in the back of the throat after each sip and a slight amount of bitterness as well. This beer has a bubbly level of carbonation with a crisp and slightly drying mouthfeel. Overall, this is a fantastic beer and very worthy of its reputation. The carbonation level seems a wee bit high but that is of minor concern. I am thrilled that I finally got to try this beer.

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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!

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.21/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: single finger frothy with excellent lacing on a murky brown with amber hue body.

S: dark fruits, molasses, spices, belgian yeast, candy and brown sugar

T: caramel and toasted malt base, brown sugar, fruits including pear, fig, some plum and raisin. Belgian yeast with some spices, mostly cinnamon and nutmeg. Hint of chocolate and toffee arrive in the finish.

M: crisp up front, finishing smooth and dry. medium to full body and moderate to high carbonation. oily, coating the palate

Overall: A lot of hype around this one. It is certainly an excellent beer. I feel there are other Quads out their that are similar enough to this one without all of the recognition. Regardless it was great to be able to try this one.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.49/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

at long long last, I finally got my chance to try this beauty. a friend of a friend lucked out when it came to the states, shared a bottle, and I was invited. the anticipation was obviously huge here, and the beer met all expectations. this pours a lighter brown color with plenty of fish food yeast floaters and maybe a finger or two of tan airy froth. the nose is remarkably complex, lots of interesting dried fruits and that classic Belgian yeast. it also smells pretty sweet, like brown sugar or molasses, and just a clue about its strength. the flavor immediately reminds me of Ramadan. dried figs and dates, raisins, and bready yeast, its got a lovely buttery component, and seems somehow understated compared to what my palates definition of a quad is, recognizing of course that this is THE quad of quads, and this is a personal definitional problem, rather than a shortcoming of this particular brew. its layered and refined, and dangerously drinkable. the body is light, still medium probably, but it doesn't feel heavy or sticky or filling at all. the carbonation is ultra bright, and the flavors come one after the other throughout the entire drink until well after the swallow. this beer is famous and renowned for a reason, it is of the highest quality. I am maybe most impressed by how well the alcohol is hidden. one would never know this beer is so strong. one of those rare moments when you feel a connection with people you have never and may never meet. this beer is like a brotherhood of sorts, and I am humbled and honored to be a part of it now.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Received as a wedding gift from my best man--by far the best gift we received. He got us a six pack, and my wife and I are planning on having the next five each anniversary up until our fifth.

A: Poured into a Mikasa chalice. Pours a large mocha head atop a very dark brown body. Plenty of yeast. The lacing is extremely long-lasting.

S: Lots going on here, especially as it warms up. The trademark yeast is by far the most prominent smell, accompanied by some dark malts and fruits, along with a bit of alcohol.

T: Much the same as the nose, and probably the most complex beer I've ever tasted. Plenty of dark fruits, dark malt, alcohol, fruit and yeast spice, caramel, and molasses.

M: Very full and heavy with a moderate amount of carbonation. Luscious.

D: Quite complex and takes a while to drink, and only gets better as it warms up. Very nice to savor for a long period of time while continuing to find new things going on.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.22/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally got a bottle of this in a very generous trade with MrKennedy. This beer is really special to say the least and I'm very happy to be reviewing this right now.

This pours out with a murky brown color with some orange highlights, the head is kind of minimals but has a little white ring around the glass. The smell of this beer is very good. Lots of sweet fruit aromas a little Belgian yeast on the nose. Not much in way or hops. The taste is very good, the flavors of apple, fig, and white grapes all come together in a very nice combo. When the beer is colder the mouthfeel is a little thicker feeling. Once it warms up it thins out and the booze aromas start to show. The beer as a whole is very good. It's incredibly easy to drink, it's great to savor over the course an hour if you want to. The finish is dry but smooth and overall just really nice. I can see why people love it so much.

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Photo of brentk56
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy medium brown color with a frothy head that persists somewhat and leaves plenty of lace

Smell: Boozy aroma of rum-soaked raisin, dried cherry, honey, cocoa powder and candi sugar

Taste: Starts with a dark fruit laden mouthful of creamy cocoa; after the swallow, the fruit and chocolate flavors build without ever becoming too sweet, although there is some residual honey, cotton candy and toffee elements that appear in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full and creamy body with moderate carbonation; warmth on the finish

Drinkability: I'm glad I finally had a chance to try this but, to be honest, I prefer the Rochefort 10; this one is just a bit too boozy for my taste

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

July 24, 2009: Along with the notes below, the cotton candy/confection/powdered sugar flavor is super clean and full of taste. Ester profile shows more grape flavors than I remember. An immaculate beer fit for it's #1 status.

So, this is the daddy of all daddyies; the penacle of all fermented malty beverages; the beer that carries the biggest kahunas; the most elusive and sought-after beer of all. Can a beer possibly live up to it's legendary status? Yes in fact, it can. A very deep, strong, agressive berry and candied aroma swells from the bottle, even before the pour. The beer pours neatly into the chalice with a rising pillow of foam that brings out more dark berries, dehydrated fruits, and tart, warming alcohols. Very mouth-watering and inviting. That first sip brings a lot of that rich berry flavor (blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, and a hint of grapes) that shines above a seriously malt base. Pecans, almonds, and graham cracker flavors display the malts well. Dehydrated / candied fruits (cherries, pineapples, dates and figs) meld with a sweet rum-like alcohol flavor and makes this beer some of the better flavors ever placed into my mouth. The body shows all of the firm-ness, viscity, and creaminess needed for a perfect-five beer, but the alcohols and berry-vineous flavors slice through it, making it waver just a bit. The berry flavor lingers on and on... I can still taste it from last night. It is easy to see why this beer so easily seduces even the most seasoned beer enthusiest, but I have to ask it to reluctantly step aside of this grand pedistal for its little brother, Westvleteren Dubbel.

Thanks Clvand0
Thanks Maxskip!

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle: Poured a deep ruby colored beer with a huge thick foamy dark white head with incredible retention (the head was still in place when drinking the last sip of this beer 30 minutes after the bottle had been opened). Carbonation is really good with lots of bubble at the bottom of the glass and some other ones sticking on the side of the glass. Aroma is comprised of light and sweet roastiness with a nice touch of spice but I could not detect any alcohol. Taste is an almost perfect mix between caramel malts, candi sugar and something else, which might be cinnamon. I was really glad that I could not taste the alcohol since it could have been quite harsh at 10.2%. Wow, what a beer. I originally thought that this might be a bit of an over hyped beer but I’m glad to report that it lives up to all the praises.

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Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark brown, slightly translucent around the edges. Pours with a 2-inch head that eventually settles to a quarter-inch. Very good head retention, a trait I've noticed amongst most Trappist beers.

Aroma: Dark dried fruits, figs, candi sugar, slight alcohol. Very aromatic.

Taste & texture: Very fruity initially, though not overly sweet. Takes on a rum cake quality toward the middle. The finish leans more on the dry, herbal and hoppy side, though it retains a trace of sweetness.

Notes: I compared this side-by-side with St. Bernardus Abt 12, and while quite similar, I slightly prefer this. I found it more aromatic and slightly more balanced. In contrast, St. Bernardus is a bit more dry and bitter in finish, though both beers are excellent. While I approached this with as much cynicism as I could muster, it really is great, and largely worthy of the praise it receives. Hard to call it the best beer ever, but I'm not sure I could say that about any beer. Nonetheless, it's well worth trying.

1997 vintage consumed 2011:

Murky ruddy brown color. This has lost some carbonation, but it looks decent. Very fruit-forward nose with fairly pleasant oxidation, smells decent. Palate is very oxidized, a little cardboardy. Earthy fruit is also prevalent. Carbonation is a bit low at this point. Pretty good, but I'd take a fresh bottle over this.

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Photo of ygtbsm94
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: This is the absolute best Trappist beer I've tried out of the six brewed in Belgium. 33cl brown bottle fresh from Saint-Sixtus Abbey in Westvleteren, Belgium. Freshness code has 13/08/08 on the yellow bottle cap and no label; 10.2% ABV.

Appearance: Smooth creamy off-white head with very tiny lacey bubbles which settles to a thin layer after warming. Color is Dark brown

Smell: Very aromatic. Fantastic malt aroma, along with different kinds of sweet fruit.

Taste: The flavor hits as soon as it enters the mouth. The velvety carmel complex flavor with little to medium carbonation is something savor. All these flavors throughout tasting are just incredible. Its amazing how this beer keeps its complexity and taste throughout the duration of tasting even as the beer warms.

Notes: I usually just read the ratings and don't post reviews. However, I felt I had to submit something for this beer; but I must say of all the beers I have tried so far, nothing has compared.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

330ml naked bottle, best before Oct 2013, courtesy of tbeckett - cheers, man! I've heard of this Trappist moniker for a while now, so after a bit of googlemappery, it is nice to see that there is indeed a place called 'Vleteren', with a West and of course, an Oost. Nice.

This beer pours a dark, murky, dishwater brown hue, with a fair amount of swirling, suspended sediment, and one ascetic finger of tightly foamy specked beige head, which doesn't wait around for alms, leaving only a few isolated beads of lace around the glass as it quickly bleeds away.

It smells of sharply bready grain - somewhat sourdough-esque, astringent dark sugar, vinous, floral Madeira, fruity prunes, and a slight apple cider tartness. The taste is a whole lot sweeter than the aroma let on - the nose, it seems, doesn't always know. Caramel malt, tempered by a furthered sour bread character, mildly spiced, in a down-low Noel manner, soft, but firm drupe fruitiness, a subtle leafy, herbal hop dryness, and some sneaky, underhanded rum cake booze warming.

The bubbles are quite frankly, all played out, and not very noticeable, excepting the effect they must have in keeping the fruity, medium-heavy body from even dancing near cloyingness, but rather into an abject, enveloping smoothness. It finishes like a well balanced dessert - multifaceted sweetness, well modulated by ethereal hop and alcohol. Bravo.

Well, the hype, she can be one harsh mistress, but this time, she really puts out - a stellar example of the 'quad' style, or what have you. Complex, balanced, strong yet soft, and beguiling. Like the beer itself, I took a wee spell to warm up, but once it got going, it was very hard to stop. Taken as part of my Winter 2012 Quad Tasting - a rather pushed forward affair, seeing how our 'winter' has petered out this year (spring-like weather in my hood in early March is quite unusual), here's how the Westy 12 fared against its nearest locally available competition:

Westvleteren 12: as above.

Rochefort 10: complex, yessiree - but in a somehow more simple (mea culpa) manner, i.e. - your stellar, GGG wife, until you are presented with the idea of that SI swimsuit model of a particular adolescent fantasy.

St. Bernardus ABT 12: everything going for it to compete, except for the big step up in complexity that the Westy presents. Nothing bad to say - just another subtle reminder of that 'there'll always be someone bigger and/or stronger' maxim of life.

So, after all that - mere tenths of rating points divide this hedonistic, rarified harbinger of kingdom in the sky end days from its slightly more pedestrian brethren - I shall be taking that into consideration as I move forward in the beer-imbibing world.

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Photo of emerge077
4.43/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

BBD: 29.03.11
Bottled around March '08, guessing this based on the date printed on cap, three years from bottling date. Huge thanks to ygtbsm94 for this, a very generous trader.

Auburn brown with orange edges, a creamy texture to the foam. Served in a Moinette chalice. In time the head fades to a ring at the edge. Spotty bits of lacing, looks every bit the trappist ale. Malty, peppery aroma.

Taste is where it really shines, a concentrated dose of phenolic clove, rich complex malts, tobacco, and a drying bitter hop note towards the end. The yeast gives some minor grape fruitiness, but it's not pronounced. Very light sweetness in the middle that flourishes just for second. Creamy and full bodied. Holding it on the palate, you notice a hint of the alcohol warmth, but not in the taste. Exceptional body and drinkability. One to sip and contemplate.

It's hard to judge, while finely crafted, it's certainly not my personal favorite. Rochefort 10 has surpassed this at times, and other bottles fall short. One to savor and recognize as a benchmark Quadrupel.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.28/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The time has finally come to put a splash of beer in my BA mug and what better beer than Westvleteren 12? I've had two of these in my cellar for about six months now and have been saving them for a special occasion. Something tells me that the contents have held up just fine. 'Best by' date on the yellow cap is 01.07.06.

The pour generates the typically massive Belgian head and I can see small chunks entering my chalice when the bottle is about 2/3 empty. Extremely murky chestnut brown; the beer looks like strong, unfiltered apple cider. The ecru colored cap has barely fallen in the three minutes since the pour. I'm expecting a huge amount of Belgian lace, but it hasn't yet had the chance to form since the head is so obstinate.

The aroma is more subdued than expected, but to be fair, I'm trying to assess it through a still thick cap of foam. What I do appreciate is brown malty, fruity and toasted nutty. I also pick up whiffs of Belgian yeast and alcohol.

The flavor profile is complex to say the least. It's comprised of loads of caramel malt, molasses, licorice, and dark, dried fruits (raisins, dates and prunes). Candied pecans and modestly funky yeast make appearances, as does the aforementioned alcohol. There are also darker contributors such as coffee and chocolate. Simply an amazing collection of seemingly unlimited flavors. The mouthfeel is big and firm, chewy even, but stops short of full or heavy.

Westvleteren 12 is world-class, no doubt about it. I can appreciate this beer (I think), I respect this beer, I even like this beer a lot. I just don't love this beer. Call me a hophead, call me an unrefined simpleton, call me what you will, but that's how I feel at this juncture in my journey. That doesn't mean that Westvleteren 12 is anything less than incredible. Everyone should have the chance to sample it at least once.

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Photo of zeff80
4.97/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

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Photo of oberon
4.04/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At long last I was finally able to snag the great Westy 12,pours a deep brown with a suprisingly thin head that was gone pretty quickly not leaving anything behind.Whoa the aromas are just incredibly complex and rich,some almond and raisin almost a cinnamon bun type aroma to it,just awesome.Flavors are more mellow than expected,I get some star anice and raisin up front with some mellow orange tinge in the lngering finish.I like the "12"better than the "8" but I have had some better Quads but still a pleasure to drink for sure.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.67/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured an extremely dark brown, with a small tan head. There was tons of visible sediment and lots of swirling lace in the top. Looks pretty good in the goblet.

S - Smell is really hard to pin down. There is soo much going on here I really do not know where to begin. It was sweet yet sour, spicey and yet fruity. A bit of alcohol mixed in with hints of pears, apples, raisins, grapes, everything. This was really just soo complex I had trouble finding definate answers. Very very pleasing aroma, nothing ever smelt like that.

M & T - The feel on this was soo light, soo frothy, soo easy to put down it was almost a shame that it went soo quickly. Soo many great tastes here, this was just really fantastic. There have been soo many reviews of this that I really don't have anything else to add other then you have to try it, it just cannot be summed up in words on this page.

D - This really was everything I wanted it to be, and lives up to its rep. By far the best belgian I have had, it is just on another level. The aromas and flavors were so unique. This really just needs to be tried as it is really hard to describe it. Fantastic brew.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.42/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage thanks to Richard.

A: The pour is a dark brown color with a sizable tan head and plenty of carbonation.

S: An intense sweetness that comes in the forms of caramel, candi sugar, molasses, and a whole lot of dark fruits. I get some cherries, plums, figs, and dates.

T: The flavor is pretty much more of the same, and that's not a bad thing. A lot of sugary sweetness along with some caramel, molasses, and toffee. There is a strong flavor of dates and figs with some raisins and prunes, too.

M: The body is quite full with that fine carbonation that it seems only the Belgians can pull off.

D: A very, very good beer. Maybe a bit too sweet to drink a lot of at a time, but such a good flavor that you might make a bit of an exception.

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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.

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Photo of nickfl
3.58/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - pours with one and a half fingers of off white foam on top of a somewhat hazy, dark brown body. The head settles slowly and leaves nice lacing on the glass.

S - Spicy yeast with notes of molasses, brown sugar, and a bit of a boozy note. Kind of rum like really.

T - A bit of dark fruit up front which is quickly washed away by toasty brown malt. Lots of burnt sugar and toast in the middle with a spicy finish of clove, licorice, and some tea like herbal bitterness.

M - Medium body, moderately high carbonation, and a vey dry finish for such a strong beer.

D - Well, after years of wondering if I would ever have a chance to try this, here I am. You have to sort of expect that a beer with this much hype might fail, at least a little bit, to lie up to its reputation and as much as I hate to say it this is no exception. It is harshly toasty and kind of one dimensional, with a sickly sugary flavor that tastes like someone put too much sugar in their homebrew. It isn't as good as ABT 12 and its not even in the same building as Rochefort 10. I'm glad I only traded for one, I would guess this would fall off the top 100 rapidly if people could get it more easily.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.98/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

No thanks is big enough for mdfb79 for this bottle!

Reviewed blind as part of Blind BIF Round 5. Cap reads 06.10.13. It pours a dark, semi-cloudy burnt auburn topped by a healthy tower of cream foam. The nose comprises dark greens, black pepper, clove, very bready yeast, nutmeg, figs, and light cocoa. The taste holds notes of cinnamon, brown sugar, clove, nutmeg, mild milk chocolate, Belgian yeast, light citrus peel, light cardamom, dark greens, candi sugar, and grass. The body is a hefty-leaning medium, with a light-ish moderate carbonation and an almost astringently chewily dry finish. Overall, this stuff was indeed tasty (and admittedly a little young), but it felt a bit wrong on my tongue. Honestly, I generally enjoyed it, but I've had plenty of better quads in my day.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From a fresh bottle brought from Belgium. Believe the hype... it's real! And please don't drink this right out of the fridge, it needs to come to around 55F to really shine.

A densely creamy tan head rests lazily atop a hazy, dark russett body (carefully poured from a longstanding bottle it's a clear ruby with orange highlights - but add the yeast later on!). Eventually the head receeds, but it's somehow able to hold a thin but completely solid cap throughout the entire beer. And initially, it leaves solid walls of thin lace that fade to become sheets of tiny spots towards the end of the chalice. And that's no easy feat given its 10.2% abv! The nose offers honeyish, nutty, cocoaish (Ovaltine...?), bready, and caramel drenched malt as well as a bit of hard candy and some chewy fruit (raisins, berries). It's velvety smooth across the palate with a full, dextrinous body and exceptionally fine, natural carbonation. The flavor is even more exquisite than the nose implies, and includes notes of soft anise, lemon rind, a touch of leather, some delicate bubblegum, and a mild floral character that really helps to round it out. They yeast is incredibly important as well, as it gives it depth and rounds it out; and it should be poured even with an aged bottle. Finally, one of the things that makes the Westy 12 such a stunning beer is that it's so soft and supple considering it's such a behemoth. The alcohol is barely noticeable, and when it does appear in the flavor it only helps by lending a "spicy" character. And despite the amount of character it has, it's actually not as malty as a doppelbock. It's lighter, and it finishes semi-dry with more spiciness and yeastiness than sweet malt that might build on the palate... giving it a really great drinkability. Impressive, to say the least, this is a brilliant beer because it's big enough to deliver a great richness and lots of complexity, but also incredibly well-balanced enough that it really leaves you wanting more!

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Photo of jlindros
4.42/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally got a chance to drink this. About to buy an awesome new house, so figured it was time to crack this baby. A huge thanks to Brabander for getting my a couple fresh bottles I can age a bit. In the mean time I also have to thank kkipple and nickd717 for pre-aged bottles to try in the mean time. I believe this specific bottle is from nickd717.

Pours with no carbonation, absolutely zero head with just a few light bubbles from air being mixed in as I poured. I wonder if that was a mistake capping, or something, I'll have to try another one sometime and see if that's better. The beer is super thick and a yeast chunked swamp. It's so thick looking the yeast is completely suspended in it like Jello. It's the color of maple syrup mahogany brown wood.

The nose brings tons of fruit, apple, pear, apricot, raisin, and more. Then plenty of Belgian dark malts, not so heavy though, more delicate actually. Some chewy like malt aromas, a light essence of dark candi sugar, some sweetness, and almost no booze aromas.

The taste comes rich and somewhat creamy, lots of Belgian dark malts, and some light ones too. It is kinda barleywine like with the way all the malts and fruits come together. The fruit flavors bring a lot of various fruits, a light apple, pear, fig, raisin, etc, and a light caramel apple flavor. A bit of dark candi sugar, some candy bar flavors, touch of brown sugar. A very light bitterness too. It's extremely smooth and drinks like a 7-8% beer and not 10+%. It finishes with some light sweetness, a little candi sugar, lingering fruits and Belgian dark malts, and a very light toffee. It really is delicious.

The mouth is somewhat thick, creamy, and very smooth, a little syrupy, but the lack of carbonation gets it.

It drinks very smoothly and very well. It's not sticky at all either, and no off flavors. I could easily pound this like it's water, if it didn't taste so good. Again the only thing that hurts it a bit is the lack of carbonation.

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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.

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 1,715 ratings.