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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.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

5,127 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,127
Reviews: 1,650
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 3,081
Gots: 1,553 | FT: 116
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) visit their website
Belgium

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
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: 5,127 | Reviews: 1,650 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of drabmuh
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally, Westy 12. Poured from a bottle into a Chimay glass (its the only Trappist glass that I own). Beer was brown, mostly clear until the mud at the bottom of the glass came out, this was avoidable, i know how to pour. The head was diffuse but present and the carbonation was slow but steady, continuously replenishing the thin head. The smell was amazing. Beautiful yeasty and sweet smell. The taste and mouthfeel were out of this world. It was smooth, I could have drank the whole thing in a few minutes but I savored it for as long as possible. Taste was sweet and pleasant. More yeast, no aftertaste. A perfect beer. I wish I could have ti year round.

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

Appearance: deep, dark burgundy brown, rich as a raisin, with a fine reddish hue 'round the edges. Head is towering, huge, off-whitish color, and slow to sizzle down to size.

Aroma:....requires a new vocabulary! Deep, and heady, rich, full of fruit, grapes, raisins, plums, and spices, a very complex blend, soft, but sensual, deliriously so, and delicious, and the more I breathe it in, the more the flavors become pronounced, more is revealed here, pepper, anise, rich mollasses, rum, sweetness compounded by rich dark flavors...

Now to drink...I...um...serious contemplation is required, for I am seriously, honestly, taken aback by the force of, not only the alcoholic content, but the strong, full, bewitching flavor of this incredible ale! It staggers the senses! Honestly, I reel from it's effects and must wait until my consciousness can comprehend what is going on...many layers, many flavors, many ways that this incredible concoction can impact upon the senses.

I feel thoroughly slayed, laid waste, but utterly uplifted in my oblivion! Let the sword fall upon me more often, if the taste is as sweet!
Have I said heavenly already? No matter if I did, it's a truly transmogrific feeling, it is, and I could be in another galaxy, for all I care...fly me not to the moon, nor Jupiter, or the outer stars, but, merely wherever this impossibly exhilirating nectar may blossom...

Now that I have finally downed a simple sample of this much renowned ale, I can only say..."more, please!"

Photo of beernads
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of drewone
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of mdfb79
4.87/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 0.33L bottle into my Duvel tulip. Cap is dated 29.03.09, so it is about 4.5 years old. I've had Westy 12 3 times before this, but always relatively fresh and never more than 2 oz.'s or so, so excited to have a full bottle.

a - Pours a dark mahogany brown color with two to three inches of off white head that lasts for four or five minutes. High carbonation evident and a tiny amount of sediment. Left the last oz. or so in the bottle as the amount of sediment was very high in the bottle.

s - Smells of dark fruits, especially cherries, plums and raisins, as well as Belgian yeast. Also getting some grapes/wine smell in it as well. Hints of caramel malts, sweet fruit malts, spices, bready malts, and a touch of alcohol. Very enjoyable; it's very complex and balanced, especially as it warms up and the cherries come out.

t - Tastes of raisins, plums, figs, other dark fruit, bready malts, caramel malts, Belgian yeast, and a hint of spice. Not really getting any alcohol in the taste. Was hoping for more cherries like the smell, but still wonderful. Tasting amazing.

m - Medium body and high carbonation that stings the tongue. It has a nice, smooth body, but the high carbonation hurt it a bit and keeps it from being great.

d - There's a reason it's #1 of BA; it's pretty amazing. While it isn't the #1 beer on my list, it's safe to say it's high on my list. The good news is that the taste and smell are the highlights of this beer. Both are complex and enjoyable. While the high carbonation hurt the mouthfeel a bit, the smell and taste are amazing. It also definitely helps to let this one warm up a bit, so you can fully appreciate everything in the nose and mouth. If you like quads, I think it is safe to say you'll love this beer. I was also surprised how easy it was to drink and how little alcohol was noticable in the taste. I think I like this slightly better than Westy 8, but it's close. I look forward to aging my other 2 bottles and see how they do with even more time on them.

Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of smcolw
4.14/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A friend of mine gave me this beer when I visited him in France. As good as it was, I was not as enamored as most reviewers. First, the appearance was pedestrian--little head, no lace. Cloudy, brown color.

The smell is brown sugar, similar to candy. The flavor matches this except that there is notable hop. Not surprisingly, very strong warm alcohol flavor and feel. This is a thick beer with a low level of carbonation.

Photo of kojevergas
4.78/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had the esteemed pleasure of having this beer on my trip to Belgium; first a one year old version at me mate's house in Ghent, then straight out of the bottle at the abbey when I picked up 48 bottles of blond, then a two year old version at me mate's house. While having the two year old, me mate brought out yet another bottle of the one year old so we could compare them. I figured aged beers were for snobby pretentious little bastards, but I was proven wrong upon tasting the difference betwixt the two. Touche. I didn't actually review the version straight from the abbey, but I've included my reviews of both the one year old and the two year old below. I know I'm a lucky bastard, for the record. Obviously, both were from the bottle, served into a proper Westy goblet. I tasted the aged versions in Ghent, but I don't recall the altitude there. Note the two year aged review is less specific because I knew I'd already reviewed the one year.

A(1yr): Two finger head of amazing cream and thickness. A dark black colour with an amber bottom. Very appealing. Excellent retention. I let the beer sit for a bit so that it would be the correct temperature; it was fetched from a refrigerator.

A(2yr): Two finger head of lovely cream and thickness. Dark amber colour.

Sm(1yr): Cream. Very subtle spices and esters. Esters are seemingly dominated by raspberry. Some nutty hops. Exquisitely subtle. Balanced. A light strength scent overall, but then me nose is broken.

Sm(2yr): Dark fruit. Cream. Hops. Complex.

T(1yr): Beautiful body of nut, spice, and especially tamed fruit, which bleeds - nay - allows itself into the finish. Perfectly balanced. Fruit hangs on the finish, joined by a symphony of cream. Cream is also present on the open. A perfect injection of bitterness is present just before the climax.

T(2yr): Dark fruit, hoppy body build. Amazing. Incredibly complex. Balanced perfectly. Built perfectly. Fuck me that's delightful.

Mf(1yr): Perfectly creamy, smooth, and wet yet dry. Teases an orgasm from the tongue. Amazing.

Mf(2yr): Silky. Soft and smooth. Amazing. Delicate and incredible.

Dr(1yr): I would down this repeatedly if given the chance and budget (and I did, at In Da Vrede). If you have a last meal, this ought to be a candidate for the drink. Makes you close your eyes to savour the taste. Believe the hype; this is the best beer I've had so far. The best retention I've ever seen.

Dr(2yr): Fecking brilliant-like. Hides its ABV absurdly well.

Note that the numeric review values correspond to the two year.

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of Mora2000
4.6/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this beer with me. This is beer No. 1,000 for me. I wanted to do something special but had no idea thirdeye11 was going to break out a bottle of this. Thanks a ton.

Pours a medium brown with a beige head. The aroma is dark fruit along with some alcohol and caramel malt. The flavor is complex with brown sugar and dark fruit. This has a little more alcohol flavor than some quads but everything is nicely balanced. Medium mouthfeel and extremely drinkable.

Not sure if this is the best beer in the world, but there are certainly no flaws. Thanks again to thirdeye11.

Photo of InspectorBob
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

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

Sampled February, 2004; Hop Leaf, Chicago
Total 4.8
An immediate rich, bready aroma wafts from my glass as I pour this beer. This beer is topped by a light brown head that sits atop a brown beer. There are notes of sherry, plum, and raisin (though the raisin is definitely the most dominant aroma) in the nose. The beer smells sweet & rich as well. Well the taste is fairly rich & sweet; there is lots of fig and plum notes, which are joined by a woodiness that is in the taste as well. This beer was an awesome way to finish my great dinner at the Hop Leaf. There is an astringent complexity to this beer that just brings it to a whole other level, and there is a slightly musty character that integrates well with the rest of the flavors. I can fully understand why many consider this a world class beer. I really like how this beer is quite fruity in both the aroma and in the taste. The alcohol is very well hidden here, I can't really detect it at all. The rich sweetness is very conducive to being an after dinner drink. This beer is like a rich, dark, sweet traditional German bread. What makes this beer so good is that it is extremely well integrated; absolutely world class.

Cap Best By Date November 2007; Sampled February 2009
Total 4.1
4/4/4/5/4
A vigorous pour into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip produces a two-finger thick, creamy, tan colored head. The beer is a dark, concentrated amber color that when held up to the light shows that I poured quite a bit of the sediment from the bottom of the bottle into my glass, but is also a hazy, bright cherry color. The aroma smells of spices and fruit with a rich, caramelized maltiness to the finish. Aromas of fig cake, brandy soaked fruit cake, some marzipan, clove, dried cherries, white pepper, candied ginger form the bright aromatic notes. There is a nice backbone here of must and damp earth, as well as some toasted malt character that provides a biscuit malt aromatics. Some higher alcohols provide a bit of spiciness as well as some warming character to the tail end of each draught of the nose. This has quite a rich nose to it, both the fruit and spices accentuate the perceived sweetness of the aroma.

Up front this beer is a bit lighter than I expected, as it rolls across my tongue though it starts to pick up a viscous richness and heft, though it still maintains the drinkability that I like to have in a strong Belgian ale. The beer has a definite sweetness (though not as much as the aroma might have suggested), but finishes with a spiciness that helps to dry the palate out. The beer is a bit carbonated still after the vigorous pour and it provides a prickly carbonation as it rolls across the tongue. fruit notes of prunes, musty figs and raisin are brought out by a touch of tartness as well as the sweetness in this beer. There is a definite mustiness to this beer, it is oxidation character that it has picked up over the years, and it mixes nicely with the spiciness in the finish. Speaking of which, the spiciness provides notes similar to white pepper, clove, a nutmeg like bite, some woody ginger and a touch of menthol in the long finish as well as some bitter cocoa. This definitely gets more complex as it warms up from the high 40°F (~8°C) that it started out at. The alcohol in the finish combines with the fruitiness to reminds me of Brandy.

Well I had a bug dive bomb this beer, so it must have though there was something worth drinking in my glass (one of my dogs got a tasty, Westy soaked morsel because of that). While this beer is quite good, I am quite disappointed in some ways. I haven't had this in a couple years, and I am thinking I need to try a fresher version to see if it is more like my memory of having this in Belgium and at the Hop Leaf (where I had it last).

Photo of GClarkage
4.75/5  rDev +3%

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

Pulled out my new Maudite glass and poured it. Nice dark amber that sported a thin but lasting head. Very yeasty nose that was pleasant to smell. First taste was new to the tastbuds, almost velvety (not velveeta !) on the tongue. Great aftertaste. I bought the bottle for a mere $6.99 since it has been talked about so on the site. Worth every penny, and I will need to return to the only place I have seen it in NJ and buy some more. Lasting impression that I termed "great Belgian on steroids" to my wife. Her comments were different and interesting. She likes it also.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of orangesol
4.62/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of BlackHaddock
4.61/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finaly got round to opening a bottle of this stuff (had 5 bottles for a number of years), lets see what all the fuss is about.

Poured into a Westvleteren chalice, it looked fairly limp compared to it's 8% brother, wispy head on top of a moody looking dark browny/red body. I tried not to let any sediment out the bottle, but a little managed to leap past me into the chalice, I'll drink the remainder of the bottle (a fifth) with most of the sediment at the end of the review. I am reviewing live as I drink this evening.

The nose is rich red fruits, dried on a bed of dark chocolate and aged with fine English Oak, this is a smell not to mess with.

The taste is fantastic, add some carbonisation and a heap of alcohol to the aforementioned aromas and you're half way there: I found a gargantuan amount of flavours and I now see why beery people clamour for this brew so much. Sweeter than I thought it would be (shared half a glass at the brewery bar when I bought the beer, don't remember the sweetness), but that doesn't detract from the tasting I'm currently having, which I'm really enjoying.

The 10.2% only become evident as the mouth dries, so well is the body and mouthfeel, a truely great beer, certainly now in my top 10, only the appearance letting it down.

Photo of duceswild
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of dbrauneis
4.64/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a murky brown in color with some light amounts of visible carbonation and some mahogany highlights. The beer has a finger tall light tan head that slowly reduces to a medium to large thin patch, a very thin film covering about 75% of the remainder of the surface of the beer, and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: There is a fair amount of sweetness to the aroma of this beer - caramel, molasses, candi sugar, and dark fruits (cherries, plum, date, and fig). Very light aromas of booze.

T: Upfront there are flavors of dark fruits with cherries dominating and more moderate amounts of plum, fig, and date. There is a decent amount of sweetness but never enough to become cloying - caramel, molasses, candi sugar, and toffee are all present. Moderate flavors of Belgian yeast and just a touch of spices. Light hint of cocoa powder in the finish.

M: Just shy of full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly creamy with a light amount of alcohol warming in the finish.

O: Great complexity to the aromas and flavors make this a world class beer. It is easy to drink and enjoyable, I would gladly have another one of these in the sitting. The alcohol is not completely hidden but it is not overwhelming and there is sweetness but not cloyingly so.

Photo of stakem
4.1/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I decided to open one of these on Good Friday. The usual suspects were in attendance for a tasting at my place so why not start it off right with a Westy 12.

Poured from a bottle (just shy of a year old) into a small Westy goblet at cellar temperature. This brew appears a clear amber color with ruby and orange tints around the edges of the glass. A cap of fizzy yellowish tan head forms a finger's worth of head that dissolves to a thin lacing across the top of the brew. A light swirl revives the head and produces some spotty lacework on the glass.

The smell of this brew is sweet with dark fruitiness riddled with candy sugar. It smells of plums, raisins, dates and brown sugar. Just collectively a bunch of deep sweet scents whack the nose. A light touch of fruity alcohol is present and a contrasting strong herbal to almost medicinal hoppy bitterness keeps the sweetness of this brew's smell in check.

The taste of this brew is sweet caramelized sugars tasting reminiscent of plums and raisins. There is a light nuttiness to the malt flavoring and a strong booze flavor that is backed by herbal flavors and modest hoppy bitterness. This initially tasted like the sweetness could get out of control but the alcohol and hoppy bitterness keep it balanced. There is a lingering taste of candy left in the mouth coupled with fusel alcohol and a bit of yeastiness that provides a light spiced aspect like clove.

This is a medium bodied brew that has a lively, prickly level of carbonation. A little young, green yeastiness is present throughout the flavor profile. This is more herbal and bitter than I was expecting with hops being more evident than I would prefer but regardless it is balanced well and enjoyable. I couldn't wait any longer to open this brew and finally give it a try. Unfortunately it did not live up to my expectations, shame on me for opening this too early. Perhaps I will need to acquire a vintage bottle and revisit my review.

Photo of imperialking
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of yourefragile
1/5  rDev -78.3%

Photo of woodychandler
4.05/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I felt EXTREMELY privileged to share a bottle with some CouchSurfing friends of mine in late-July 2010 while staying with them in Pittsburgh. I attended their wedding a couple of years ago and they received some bottles as a wedding present and held them for one of my visits. My Facebook page shows us drinking this beer on a hot, humid night as took the best notes possible.

I was (hopefully) getting smarter as I went along. I only gently poured a little better than half of the bottle after it foamed continually once the cap was popped. Its color was a deep brown with good clarity, excepting a slight sludge in the well of the glass. Nose was really rich with a good bit of alcohol heat accompanying notes of fudge, anise and licorice. The mouthfeel was REALLY hot, medium-to-full, and filled my mouth with caramel, burnt brown sugar and molasses. It was MUCH sweetr than any of us expected. Finish had a sugary, malty heat that seemed to linger, killing the other underlying flavors. I also poured the lees separately, and they turned out to be comparable to the taste of the beer initially without the heat, perhaps even a bit sweeter.

I am not discounting how good this beer was, especially in the face of so many horrible CANQuest (TM) beers, but neither did I hear the singing of angels or have any sort of religious experience.

Photo of Billolick
4.12/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle. Expensive, I think I paid over $7 for this little sucker! Anyway, pours dark and viscous. This stuff is thick, raises a formidable long lasting head. Nose of spices,yeast,earth, currants and musk. Flavor notes of fruit, earth, muskyness and yeast. COMPLEX flavors, yeastyness. Not on the top of my list, cuz its just not all that drinkable , IMHO, Not a beer for beginners. All strong dark Belgian lovers rejoice and seek out this classy, exotic sipper.

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,127 ratings.