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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.

1,736 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,736
Hads: 5,683
Avg: 4.61
pDev: 16.49%
Wants: 3,455
Gots: 1,903 | FT: 145
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 (4) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,736 | Hads: 5,683
Photo of Newsman
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Seriously...what am I supposed to add here? For all its rarity, the Westy 12 has been very thoroughly reviewed.

So I'll keep it short. Given the expectations one has after reading all these reviews, I approached skeptically. Westy 12 delivered and then some. A genuinely beautiful beer. Find some and try it.

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Photo of whitehouse50
4.13/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Has a best before date on the cap of 2.11.14 - November 2, 2014. From tasting notes -

A - Poured this into my Rochefort chalice. Dark brownish and clear no haze

S - suddle hints of apple and dark fruits

T - very complex, you get cherries and figs, deliciously sweet but not overpowering

M - incredibly smooth with clean finish and suddle alcohol burn, minimal carbonation

O - a great beer worth trying. IMO it's a dulled down version of St Bernardus 12. The recipe for the St. Bernardus and Westy are the same, so if you can't get your hands on this one pick up a St. Bernardus and try that. I was lucky to bring one back from Belgium and it was very good. IMO the Westy is like the Bernardus little brother/cousin.

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

Ahhhh the legendary Westy 12. Pulled out my last bottle of this at a recent tasting of friends. Poured into a wonderful Cantillon snifter/wine glass thing that said friends gave me for a Christmas/Birthday gift.

A - Poured a slightly-viscous brown with a thin but long lasting head.

S - Amazingly complex. Figs, malt, raisins, and dates. I spent a good 2 minutes just smelling this beer. It truly is a great smell, my favorite quad tied with St. Bernardus 12, which is amusing and expected, given their history.

T - Amazing fruit and malt flavors, like a hyped up dubbel. Fruits similar to fig, dried orange and the aforementioned raisins. There is nary a hint of alcohol here, it's just very well balanced and masked by the flavors here.

M / D - Mouthfeel here deserves some special attention: This is just chewy and moist, an incredible refreshing mouthfeel to this. Wonderfully drinkable as I wish I had more than my 5 ounce pour on this.

So, is it the end all be all? The ratings don't lie: This is an amazing beverage. I think the rarity and mystique probably add to the experience, but believe the hype: This beer deserves the acclaim.

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Photo of Louisville-Beer-Reviews
3.88/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Dark brown, root beer color, with a tan head and nice lacing.

Aroma: Tart grapes, raisin, and butterscotch hard candy.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Flavors of black liquorice, raisin, subtle Christmas spice, and horehound hard candy. It has a buttery/butterscotch flavor and texture overall, with mineral flavors through the nose.

Final Word: For the price, I found this beer to be surprisingly straightforward and simple. The flavors were good (though the buttery characteristic could be a sign that my bottle wasn’t in peak shape), but they didn’t seem to mesh very well or stick around very long. I count myself lucky to have even gotten the chance to try a bottle, but find that I am completely unwilling to pay the steep price for another bottle. I’ve had plenty of beers with big price tags that were absolutely worth the price of entry, but I wouldn’t count this one among them. It simply lacked that euphoric “Wow!” that I’ve gotten from other top tier beers that I’ve tasted. When you pay $20+ for an 11.2oz. bottle, the reaction should never be indifference or disappointment. Again, I’ve found that very few reviewers of this beer include the butter/butterscotch flavor that I experienced in their profiles, which could point to my bottle being sub par due to shipping, temperature, or time, but at the same time I tasted what I tasted, and it was unfortunately disappointing given the price tag. This beer is far from bad, but it did not live up to its reputation as the best beer in the world, as the flavors weren’t full enough, and seemed to stand apart from each other instead of existing in harmony. If you get the chance to pick one up, it might be worth it just to say you’ve had it, but honestly I worry that this reasoning is what drives many people to buy it. Rarity doesn’t necessarily equal quality, and while this beer was still tasty, I found that Rochefort 10 not only gave it a run for its money, but was actually preferred by me. Check for freshness before you buy.

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Photo of digitalbullet
3.27/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: dark mahogany and... OH no! not a trace of a head!!!
Smell: Sweet candi sugar. Good malt in the nose. Minimal hops. Slight vanilla twang.
Taste: NOOO! this is supposed to be the holy grail!! It is overwhelmingly sweet. It has some redeeming qualities however. It is malty with some complex vanilla flavors.
unfortunately it tastes somewhat like the sweet unfermented mash.
Mouthfeel: thin, thin, thin, Not a trace of carbonation.
Drinkability: If this is the holy grail its one and done for me. I hope that I have been duped and I bought one of those counterfeit beers. I have one more in the cellar (my closet). Will edit my review if this was just a bad bottle.

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Photo of ajramirez1
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beervana bought at belmont station. Good looking out. Got 3 gftboxes. Aging some for awhile...special occasions...

Beer is g damn $$$$. Im a belgian fan and im so glad i waited to try this after trying alot of belgian beer. Great look to beer. Smell is pleasing. Taste is $. Beer is just a must try. Hands down worth every penny.

Just a great beer. I would put PtY ahead of this but its not far behind at all.

Pacific NW 12/12/12!

Westy 12!!!

Aged and had 1/6 from this 12/12 crop. Beer is awesome with a few years on it...congrats to my brother on wedding as well!!!


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Photo of Rinkor16
4.59/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed my first Westy 12 tonight! What a treat. Thank you Kayn169!

A: A dark brown with an amber hue. Nice head and great retention.

S: Very aromatic. Sweet smelling. Darker fruits. Plum, brown sugar, figs and molasses. Smells fantastic, especially as it warms up.

T: Very complex and well balanced. Plum, molasses and other dried fruits. A little alcohol finish. Tastes absolutely fantastic!

M: Medium bodied, average carbonation.

O: This a fantastic beer. The flavor and smells have increased dramatically as the beer has warmed up. This beer was well worth seeking out! Definitely deserves to be within the top 10!

EDIT: I had this a second time and was a little different. The smell and taste were extremely nutty. Almond was my first thought.

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

Really good beer, thanks to Hayesez for hooking me up with these.

I opened the 2010 bottle that I had, and really am a fan. I did this side-by-side with a 2003 bottle and much preferred the newer, fresher version. It was a very interesting beer, definitely had a ton of taste and some fruit flavor to it. It was very strong, but even for a quad, I didn't get a strong burn or anything like that from the alcohol. I am interested to open my 2008 and do a test of the middle-of-the-road version.

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Photo of dalion037
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Where are these monks hiding the alcohol? This beer was deliciously complex and balanced that I could not taste the 10.2% alcohol until I was working on a nice buzz. There is nothing I could say about this beer that has not been said before so all I want to add is, if you haven't had one get one. You won't be disappointed even if you pay $20 a bottle like I did. (I would have paid $50 if I knew it was so damn good.)

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Photo of BS68280
4.55/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Hayesez for this one. I've been holding onto this one for over a year now and finally found a reason to open it... Celebrating a wonderful weekend with my new beautiful fiance.

Poured from a bottle which I have no idea how to tell the date on, into a chalice.

A: A deep mohagony with about a half inch of a foamy light brownish head.

S: Lots of dark fruits. Raisons, prunes, figs, maybe a touch of brown sugar and a hint of caramel. Wonderful especially from a style that isn't my favorite.

T: Sweat dark fruits show up once again, this one goes right along with the smell which is nice. There is only the slightest trace of the 10% abv. Very complex and by far the best belgian I have ever had.

M: Full bodied and creamy.

D: I could drink many more of these... well maybe if i lived there.

Not my favorite style, and definately not my favorite beer, but this is by far my favorite beer of this style.

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Photo of mikeale
4.03/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to brianj555 for this one, aged a year or so...
Served in my Allagash chalice.

A. dark chestnut brown w/ruby highlights, thin head, nice lacing.

S. the first thing I thought of was fruit Kool-Aid... raisins, candy sugar

T. very complex... dark fruits, caramel malt, spicy finsh

M. carbonation is well balanced, body is almost perfect.

D. this is well balanced and very enjoyable.

I was'nt expecting perfection but I was hoping for more... very good. If I get another bottle I'll take more notes and compare the results.

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Photo of schuim
3.8/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For sale now in Holland. Had a bottle which was very young.

A Dark brown, with yeast clouds in it.

S Sweet chocolate and sugered fruits.

T. Full bodied, sweet chocolate and fruit and warming.

M. Warming due to the high alcohol level

O. A liquid bonbon.

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Photo of nbree00
4.82/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thank you, billinlafayette, for sharing this in a trade. Cheers buddy

A: Slightly lighter in color than I imagined for a quad, almost caramel to brown, with a sort of milky quality from the sediment.

S: Aromas are simply amazing with notes of dates, raisins, licorice, baking spices, dark fruits and fennel.

T: On the palate the flavors were a lot creamier than I expected, almost reminiscent of a barleywine. Notes of caramel, milk chocolate, licorice, cloves, fresh baked wheat bread and rich cinnamon-raisin bread pudding

M: Feel is soft and silky, about as elegant a mouthfeel as I can remember.

D: Drinkability was first class, perfectly balanced, which doesn't strike me as earth shattering, cause lets face it if your 10% ABV quad is overly boozy your probably doing it wrong.

Over all an incredible beer that I was glad to finally try. Can't say I'd climb any mountains to get this again, but I certainly wouldn't say no if one happened to fall in my lap again.

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Photo of yapi
4.66/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Drank this one where you should drink one at least once in your life... café In de vrede

L: yeah I know, sexy dark color, 2 finger head, lacing, but... when you drink it in that atmosphere, in an original westvleteren chalice, an absolute fiver!!!

S: here I was a bit disappointed... very difficult to find pronounced aroma, a bit of caramel, sweetness, dark fruit, but not enough in my book

T: but... here comes the orgasme: everything you could hardly smell, you could taste a million times better! What a full, complex, creamy, smooth, sweet excellent beer!!! Heaps of dark fruit, brown sugar, and an almost perfect balance.

O: nearly perfect. Maybe just a tad too fresh, so I can't wait for my cases to put some days behind them... Does it live up to the hype? Yes. Is it the best beer in the world? Like a Carlsberg... probably... at least one of the best! And... you can age them and long for them, cherish them... and drink'em: perfect hobby, enjoy!

This could become a perfect 5, if it balances even more with age and if the aroma's would be a bit more pronounced... but proud to be Belgian!

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Photo of OF001
4.67/5  rDev +1.3%
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

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Photo of TStandley13
4.43/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Studying abroad in Brussels has certainly had its perks! I was lucky to find a bottle in a local shop rather than having to visit the brewery (though I would absolutely love to). I now know what all of the hype is about.

Color was a darker brown color with a slight hint of reds. When held to light you could see that it was slightly clear, not as cloudy as I had anticipated. Head was decent, nothing notable however.

Smelled very good. You could certainly smell some fruits and sugars, some alcohol, and some yeast. Also smelled a little of honey and cane sugar.

Delicious! Perfect blend of malts and hops. Could definetely taste the sugars - high quality tasting sugars - and the fruits.

The mouthfeel to me was amazing. It was a very smooth drink, almost felt as though you were drinking - now picture this - a very diluted and carbonated milkshake. Not too thick but not too thin. Felt like heaven.

Awesome beer. I wish it wasn't so hard to come by as I would certainly have it on hand regularly. Great treat though. Is it the best in the world? For me so far it has been one of my favorites.

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Photo of bensiff
4.77/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought a few of these from Beer Mania when I was in Brussels last year. I had one immediately and cellered the other. I noticed it tasted better fresher than it did older, I had to give it a 4.5 on taste for that.

The beer pours from the bottle a mahogany color that is slightly less intense than say a Rocheforte 10. Nice thick head that leaves lacing on the glass. Flavor is of raisins, caramal, malts, maple syrup in the background, and a alcohol bite that is well within line for the high alcohol. It has a long finish, a sustain like a Gibson Les Paul, yeah this beer goes to eleven.

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

Once this was poured it had a cloudy mahogany hue to it.
The smells were so complex I had trouble deciding what was all in there. The only prominent smell was fruit filled pastries.
I could taste barley and molasses with an oaky finish. There was so many subtle flavors mixed in I couldn’t decipher many of them. Once it warmed the flavors changed.
The mouth feel was syrupy and creamy. The texture was smooth with light carbonation.
I think this beer was a bit too overwhelming for me right now.
There was so much going on I didn’t know what was going on. I especially enjoyed letting it warm and seeing the changes that occurred in the flavor.
Once my palate is more refined I’d love to try this again and see what I can decipher.

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

I was definitely worried that the considerable hype would lead to disappointment - boy was I mistaken.
A: Poured a dark hazy copper brown with a rich one finger head that receded to a light cap with thick lacing.
S: Very complex with notes of malt, molasses, figs, cloves, butter, bananas, yeast, and alcohol. There was an earthy undercurrent hidden at the bottom - almost like mushrooms. For me, the aromas were intense at the beginning and remained strong throughout the tasting.
T: Wow! Incredibly smooth with a multitude of extremely well layered notes. Dry with sweet caramel maltiness and cloves. Notes of molasses and sugars with rich fruits like bananas, raisins, and figs. Mellow butterscotch notes with hints of yeast followed by citrusy bitterness. Sweet malty residue on the lips at the end.
M: Decadently smooth and creamy. Full bodied with decent carbonation.
D: I could drink many. The alcohol is well hidden - a true delight!

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Photo of brendanbeer
4.67/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

first time westvleteren 12, boy am i excited.

poured from bottle into goblet.

A: rich reddish golden brown. small light head that lingers well.

S. My goodness, i wish i could inhale this lovely bouquet for much longer than my lungs provide capacity for. Dark fruits, sweetness and a little alcohol comes through. mouthwatering to say the least.

T. I'm really not sure how to get into it... Theres so much i want to try to describe, but i am left for an utter loss for associations. Dark fruits comes through, and a nice level of heat from the alcohol, though it is amazingly enshrouded in drinkable flavor. I'm sure if i let it age for longer, the heat would have become even more subdued and incorporated. Each taste is a new experience as different subtle flavors grab my attention. The slight afternotes of hoppiness are exquisitely balanced with the sweeter richer flavors, leaving a kind of dryness that begs you to take another sip. As the beer warms closer to room temperature the uniqueness of each sip is exacerbated, the intense web of subtleties which give this beer its incredible foundation become more prominent. im really not sure how to pinpoint the particular flavors. familiar, yet denser, more complex, more "whole" sweetnesses and bitternesses.

M. Silky, but not oily. it gently covers the palate and reveals new sensations as air circulates around my tastebuds.

D. incredibly drinkable for its alcohol content. gives an experience that is truly unique and fulfilling in all beer drinking aspects.

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Photo of Festigio
4.99/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought the brick from a binny's in Chicago

A: Appearance is almost a flawless dark deep hazy brown, very appealing

S: Fantastic, you've never smelled beer like this. Smell is similar to red-wine, a lot of dark fruit, fig, date, and a hint of booze. My description couldn't give it justice.

T: This beer will not blow you away. It is not extreme or striking, but It is masterfully balanced. You get all the right flavors in the right order, with the wonderful yeast derived flavors piloting the ship the whole time while maintaining a very drinkable character.

M: Again balance like no other. Very full mouthfeel with a slight boozy trail leading into a very surprisingly clean and crisp finish. Interesting for a quad.

O: This beer succeeds where Rochefort 10 fails. 10 is a very good beer but can be a bit messy at times in the taste and feel department. But this beer fails at its whalez status. I could session this beer alll day.

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Photo of Donerik
4.77/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The only place I could grade this beer down was Appearance, it was brownish, the color beer should be, nothing, special, or amazing, just normal.

Smell: Sublime, fruity esters, more intense then the 10

Taste: Wonderful, belgian flavors, esters, fruits hit with bubbles and alchohols. An amazing flavor, trying to quantify it wouldn't do it justice.

M & D: perfectly balanced even after a cross atlantic journey, refreshing and filling.

I'd drink this every day, I liked the 10 a bit better, but my friends who I shared these with all liked this better, but we're talking 1 sub A, and 1 sub B here. Amazing for the style.

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

Stamp on the cap is 03.12.11.

Poured into a Westvleteren glass. What else would one use for this masterpiece?

I have to say. I was a bit worried that it wouldn't live up to the hype, and the anticipation. I was not disappointed. Not in the least.

It pours a very rich, dark caramel-like color, with a minimal, but persistent head that remains at the edges, from start to finish. Very tight, crystalline lacing.

Wonderful aroma of candied fruits and warm bread. It is almost unbelievable how dampened the alcohol is here.

I'm not sure where to begin with flavors. This is really complex. Evolving heavily, as I finish it. At first, the sweetness is more than I expected. But, not overpowering. Lots of fig, and stone-fruit flavors. Honey-like sweetness. Bread pudding with raisins comes to mind. Toffee, caramel, and a mild-roast coffee.

The texture is soft and slightly sticky. The carbonation is elevated, but controlled. And, the alcohol is perfectly balanced and masked, as with most all Trappist work. It is still warming though.

This really is wonderful. I can't wait to have another. I only received 8 of these. So, I'm going to do my damnedest to cellar some. But, I have a feeling I will fail miserably. That's okay too. :P

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

Drinking at my home, in a Trappist Westvleteren goblet. Both the beer and goblet were purchased a De Bierkonig in Amsterdam.

This is (I'm still drinking as I write) a great beer.
Nice smell. A little bit of natural vanilla and some figs. It's a very sweet smell. It gives you a good clue as to the sweet taste that is to come.
Not too hard hitting like some of the other stronger Belgians out there. I'm suprised this is as drinkable as it is. I could drink a few of these.
The carbonation is nice and bubbly, but fades rather quickly. The immediate taste is of sugary figs. It leaves almost a licorice aftertaste behind, that sticks around for a couple minutes after each sip.
It is a very complex, and very sweet, flavor without being too hard on the palate.

I'd have to say this beer was worth the money, and worth the wait. It certainly lives up to the hype.

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Photo of csaxon128
4.24/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Glad to finally get my hands on this.

Aroma: Lots of dark fruit. Dates, raisons and plums. Sweet with less yeast character than I anticipated.
Taste: Follows the aroma. Sweet thick body

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 1,736 ratings.