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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

1,769 Reviews
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,769
Hads: 5,833
Avg: 4.61
pDev: 16.27%
Wants: 3,521
Gots: 1,985 | FT: 147
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Belgium | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,769 | Hads: 5,833
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.

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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.

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

Finally had the chance to try this with a non ba friend of mine.
Pours a cloudy dark brown. Would have been clear, but I got over zealous with the pour and let some yeasties in. Thin whitish head doesn't stick around very long.
Aroma starts off with some vanilla and slight chocolate, but really comes to live as the brew warms. Banana's, plums, lots of malty goodness. Taste is caramel, dried fruit some alcohol as she warms. Medium mouthfeel with a bit of stickeyness. Nice carbonation. Definately worthy of the hype.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.47/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to BA Daus for his opening up his cellar.

Well, this a very fine beer...but I've had better. No problem, I give it props.

Pours a light caramel brown, lighter than expected and for the style. Some particles floating around and a 1 finger head. Head pulls down to a collar.

Aroma is caramelized almost-rotten apple, sweet biscuit and plump young raisin. Boozy, too.

Flavors are extremely well balanced, yet nothing sturdy. Orchard fruits, caramel, candied sugar. Boozy on the end. Some spice comes and goes. A bit light with the flavors. Nice finish on it with the fruit and caramel tailing off nicely, and the alcohol giving a pleasant warming.

Overall, a very nice beer. A tad light for the style, and not a "holy poop, this is great" beer. Worth the adventure to secure one...or two

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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.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Leftmindedrighty for the bottle in a LIF. Poured into a St Bernardus wide mouth glass. Review #200.

A- Westy is a dark muddled brown with some light seen coming through the top looking beneath the glass. A bunch of tiny balls of debris came from a careful pour but oh well. A creamy dark tan sheet of semi dense foam was good looking. Spider web lacing.

S- A candi sweetness with burnt (turbinado) sugar and a nice malt build. On top of that raisins are up front with some more sweet toffee/caramel. Figs plus some ripe apples and plums. Bubblegum and a hint of heat from the Alcohol.

T- Yes, Yes, Yes. Twelve has a nice sweetness with a bunch of raisins intermingled with some prune and other dark fruits. The sweet consists of Dates and some burnt sugars and some bubblegum. Toasted malt as well. In the middle a well warm leather comes forth. When warm the belgian yeast comes forth giving off a slighty sour vibe. The sediment really gives this another character all together plus a nice spicy finish.

M- Very sweet and medium bodied. The flavors just keep coming ounce after ounce leaving the mouth wanting more. Perhaps the best mouthfeel I have ever had within this style, it just goes glides down without question. Smooth textured and a breeze to drink. A bit of a hot patch felt in the back of the throat but im thinking it's from some of the spices, in other words not a problem.

D- Not sessionable but the 10 plus percent is hardly evident in the taste or feel and this is a wonderful quad. What else can I say. Well one thing is each sip is better than the last sip I took. westy 12 is a creamy sweet ride with a body of epic proportions. Cant wait till I try it again

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.36/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This has been a long time coming. I had a small taste of it years back, but having a taste is not the same as having an entire bottle to yourself. It also isn't the same as being in the cafe across the street of the monastery and having it served properly in its own chalice. The main event is here. On to the beer:

A large rocky head sits on top of this dark, creamy brown colored beer. It retains well and leaves reasonable lace around. The aroma is...not as intense as expected. It features notes of plum, chocolate, and pudding, however I needed to dig deep to find this subtle, lovely notes.

The flavor puts this beer on track. The flavor is as intense as I thought and does feel more so than the 8. Ironincally, soft yeasty fruit hits first, followed by figs, a peppery biterness, pudding, and dark chocolate. Very deep in flavor, and the full creamy body of the beer suits the beer very well. Yum yum yum!

On its own, Westvleteren 12 is an excellent beer. If you're not at In de Vrede, it's a bit of work to track down a bottle, even at bottle shops in Brussels! Everyone shoud try this beer at least once.

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Photo of tempest
4.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A year after trading with Leftmindedrighty, I finally decided to crack this baby open.

It's pours a dark, slightly hazy brown with a thin tan head. The aroma has a hint of cardboard, but otherwise its smooth, Belgian chocolate with a hint of fruit. The flavors going on in the beer are nuts. I'm blown away by the complexity. Just running down the list of flavors in my notes I got: chocolate (lots of it), grassy/herbal hops, caramel, candi sugar, medjool dates (really sweet dates), and cola. Everything is very smooth and one flavor melts into the next.

I tried to be skeptical, but this truly is divine beer. I had this back to back with the St. Bernardus 12, but there's not much comparison. The Bernardus is lighter in color and thus has more fruity flavors than chocolate. I love Bernardus, but if Westy 12's were just as available, it'd be my go-to.

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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).

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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.

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Photo of liamt07
3.7/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle as part of Westy Wednesday at Volo, served in a flute. Anticipation is huge with this one, peensteen and I were drooling waiting to sample this one. Been waiting to get my lips on this one for a while.

Poured a deep dark maroon, with some burgundy and deep blood red highlights at times. Great lace and creamy, dense head. Nose is of rich dark fruits, figs, rich plums, brown sugar and a vanilla. A sense of some subdued alcohol notes, rich and very pleasant overall. Taste is a cascade of raisin, plum and figs on the tongue, less brown sugar than the nose, some vanilla, light spicing. Long dry finish, and fairly dry throughout. Lingering mouthfeel with some warming alcohol. Begs for sip after sip, this was just fantastic. Best quad I've come across thusfar, absolutely delicious and worth every bit of hype. 5/45/5/5/45

Re-reviewed as this was shared among a variety of other quads as part of the QuadShowdown - amazingly, out of 13 quads, we ranked this the absolute lowest. 2010 vintage. Poured a dark brown, with a dark cream coloured head. Great retention and a bit of lace. Nose is really grape-y, sweet with a lot of Welch's grape juiciness. Some sugary notes and a bit of vanilla. Taste reflects the nose, more grape and Welch's, some balance but there's just a great amount of grape juice here. Some caramel, darker fruits and sugar, but not alot of complexity. Medium-medium heavy mouthfeel with a bit of creaminess, with some lingering saccharine and grape notes. Modest, but feels too young. 4/4/35/4/35

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a flute. Amber in appearance with foamy bubbles presenting the off white head. Active carbonation apparent with some sediment.

Strong aroma of bready malts, apparant booze. Fragrant and inviting.

Tastes of sweet malts. Very complex malt body. Tart and puckering. Herbal hop adds to the mix. Perfectly balanced. Pronounced dark fruit character. This beer is strong flavored and full bodied, reminiscent of a fine bourbon, only much cleaner on the palate.

Goes down really damn smooth. Crisp and well carbonated mouthfeel that makes me yearn to continue sipping.

Glad I got to try such a fine beer. Sets a benchmark of what a Quad should be. Drink em if you got em.

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

BA review #500 and brewery review #200. Thanks to BrianTheBrewer for this one (and thanks to Jeffo for trading me another one to cellar).

Poured in to Duvel tulip.
Bottle date on the cap was 3/12/11.

A - Poured a very murky dark brown colour with a small amount of khaki coloured head that disappeared quickly and left good lacing behind on the glass.

S - A very interesting nose. Lots of fruit - raisins, figs, pear and apple come through. Sweet caramel, brown sugar and a slight sticky candy scent round out the nose.

T - Similar to the nose. Apple, pear, plum, raisin and fig contribute a spectrum of fruit flavours to this beer. They are complimented by a sweetness with hints of dark caramel and brown sugar. The alcohol is slightly noticeable as well but is generally well hidden. The sweetness in this beer is perfect, which is something that I don't get very often. It is just enough to be noticeable yet not enough to dominate the palate, which makes this beer all the more complex. The apple flavour is really noticeable at times but without dominating either. Incredibly delicious and complex.

M - Medium body. Smooth and somewhat chewy. Light carbonation.

O - Absolutely lived up the they hype for me. Belgian ales are typically not one of my preferred styles and this is the first one I have had that I would drink every day if it was available. Truly remarkable.

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Photo of Duff27
4.39/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage

A- One inch off-white head recedes quickly to a cap and thick collar throughout. Deep ruby red body color with light purple hues around the edges. Splotchy lacing.

S- Major raisins, prunes, grapes, dark fruits aplenty. Slight hint of oxidation but it works well with the Westy 12.

T- More with the raisins but finishes with a taste of cherries. Well balanced hop profile to malts but yeast dominates as it should. Dangerously drinkable for 10.2%abv.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Medium-low carbonation fits great to the overall profile of the beer.

D/O- The Westvleteren XII excels in every aspect of it's attributes. A complete beer if their ever was such a thing. Highly recommended for any Belgian beer fan. A thank you to digita7693 many moons ago for the LIF send out. Happy college graduation to me :)

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

Pours a cloudy dark brown brew.

Smell is malty and spicy, lots of grape and apple smells. Brown sugar and maple add to the sugar smells.

Taste is sweet and very sugary. Prominent sugar and fruit tastes. Lots of brown sugar and cinnamon flavors. Delicious spice flavors, Pepper and cardamom are foremost. Nice bitterness in the aftertaste. Malt and Biscuit flavors come through after a bit. Woody and earthy flavors complete the brew, mushrooms and oak flavors.

Mouthfeel is very good, thickish with champagne bubbles.

Really drinkable...If you can find a bottle! I have been storing these two bottles for a long time.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark, hazy, muddy brown. Mixed foam, off-white head. Ok retention and lace.

S - Milk chocolate, prune, fennel, pumpernickel bread, rum soaked fruit cake.

T - Huge flavor profile. Prune, caramel, toasted raisin bread, milk chocolate, vanilla, Drambuie, honey.

M - Thick, boozy, full body. Smooth, lingering finish.

O - Doesn't disappoint. Outstanding nose, and incredible integration and balance on the flavor profile. The best Quad I've had to date.

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

First I would like to thank BitterBill for this awesome brew, thanks buddy. I would most likely not go thru all the hoops to get this, but now I just might, lol I believe the cap said 09/08 date, no label.

A - Pours a dark brown/red color, lots of carbonation, nice small creamy head which leaves pretty quick, lots of nice lacing throughout the drink in forms of islands in some spots.

S - Scents are very complex, lots of stuff going on, but could detect plums, raisins, toffee.

T - The taste is very very nice, I believe I've had nothing like this so far. Nice tart/tangy/sweet flavor. Could taste plums/grapes I think. The finish is dry and clean.

M - Medium body, well rounded, with a carbonated feel.

D - Very drinkable. This is my first Westy, and what a powerful/excellent/awesome brew. Just might have to try and get some soon.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.67/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

LaLaLoveYou hooked me up with the 6 bottle gift pack in a very reasonable trade!! Thanks a ton Lauren... I hope you enjoy your beers as much as I am going to like these.

Poured into the little Westy XII chalice... long lasting tannish head atop a fairly clear walnut brew... great lacing and retention.

Nose is rich and malty.... complex mix of dark toast... caramel... light peppery notes... raisin... maybe some dark plum... A little cold with the initial pour... but warmth really blooms the aromas and helps them meld into near perfect territory.

Flavor is wonderful.... again very very complex... brown maltiness makes me think a bit of a nutty addition.. tons of malt character without ever being sweet.. nice balance of esters and spicy phenols pull and push all the nuances into a great bow that allows the flavors to linger forever on the palate.

I always think the 12 is a bit overcarbonated.... but what do I know? the carbonation is little bubble and lends a fairly creamy quality to the medium bodied brew.

Not much else to say other than this is IMHO the benchmark for the quad style... I had a St. Bernardus 12 recently and still think the Westvleteren is better by a decent margin.

Funny that I've never reviewed this ... Inflatablechair has opened the 12 in my presence at least a few times that I can remember... While I thank Sam, this bottle (and the 5 others) all my appreciation goes out to LaLaLoveYou... Lauren is a rockin' trader.

4.5/5/4.5/4/5

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

I'm finally reviewing this beer that I've had sitting around for months and months. Thanks to Floydster for the chance to try it. I'm a big fan of quads in general, and especially the Trappist ones. So far my benchmark for the style has been Rochefort 10, which I like a deal better than the St. Bernardus 12. What I like about the Rochefort 10 as compared to the St. Bernardus is the nice spicy hop finish and lingering bitterness wheras I find the abt 12 to be a good deal breadier and maltier. Both have exceptional balance, but I also like the Rochefort's more sustained fruit as compared to the St. Bernardus's creamier finish. I had expected the Westvleteren 12 to be more like the St. Bernardus in flavor given its history and all of the comments about it over the years. At least in these three beers current incarnations, I finf the Westvleteren 12 and the Rochefort 1o to be much more similar than either is to the abt 12. I can't say that I like the Wewstvletern better than the Rochefort, but they are both exquisite beers.

This beer pours dark chestnut with a very tightly knit head that soon settles to a thin ring and leaves some spotty lacing. The clarity is better on this beer than the Rochefort, but the head is not as magnificent. Beautifully balanced malt aromas with quite a bit of dark fruit and a hint of spun sugar. The taste is exceptional with beautifuly balanced sweet malt, dark fruit, and spicy hops. The mouthfeel is slightly heavy, maybe a bit more so than the Rochefort and has a tannic edge to it rather than being super creamy. Regardless, this is a pleasure to drink and parse its flavors and if I had another one I'd crack it right now.

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

An unmarked, unlabeled 12 oz bottle purchased from the Bier Tempel in Brussels. I saved this, my first taste of the Westvleteren 12, for the last night of my first trip to Belgium, August 2007. I refused to brush my teeth before bed that night...

It glows a gorgeous burgundy when held up to the ceiling but is quite dark away from the lights. The beer is, at normal angle, only a shade or two deeper than scarlet or the aforementioned burgundy; such a lovely colour. A dusty white coloured head perches atop, appearing thin but is, in actuality, quite thick and sturdy along the perimeter.

The aroma is a soft mix of nuts, caramel and bready malts. The yeast seems to accentuate something akin to pralines or walnuts. I finally would place creme brulee in the smell as well. Almonds maybe, raisins for sure. Became increasingly fruity. Even though I didn't find the aroma to live up to other aspects of the beer, no arguments here, this is one beautiful yeast! In this beer's case, the smell mimics the taste (not vice versa), although it hardly hints at how great it is...

A very neat water profile. The yeast and mineral character of the water seem to play with one another. There is little carbonation with a sandy texture. The flavours don't seem to last too long on the tongue, they are very gentle.

I was completely and utterly taken away with the flavour - it is loaded and lovely. Notes of dates, prunes, plums, and increasingly, a strong taste of grapes. Slightly chocolaty alongside flavour of nuts and raisin. My first impression of the Westvleteren 8 was 'chocolate covered raisins' which is the same idea here.

Sampling the trio all in one night I wasn't sure, initially, which one I like best. But I simply kept upping the marks in the 12, growing to like it more and more and more and more. I wish I was a monk...

Is this damn good? Yes. Great? Yea. Amazing? Well... yea.
This is unique, as all Trappists are. Is it better? Not necessarily. Each Trappists is unique and to be appreciated in its own right. Is this deserving of the title of worlds best? Well... I overheard a server here in Belgium put it best: "whatever beer you like, then that is a good beer"...

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Photo of HopHead84
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

8/22/2010

1996 vintage.

The beer appears deep burgundy tinged brown with a large frothy beige head. The aroma displays a complex and complimentary sherry-like oxidation quality. This aged iteration is reminiscent of a fine port, with notes of ripe plum and prominent cherries. It's somewhat nutty, with an effusion of caramel, dates, and prunes. The flavor is rich and malty with sherry oxidation and a touch of cardboard, just a touch. Notes of ripe cherries accompany dates, prunes, and a strong caramel profile. The beer is highly carbonated with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel and noticeable alcohol warming. A rare aged treat, thanks!

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Photo of weeare138
4.97/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

'05 bottle...
Appears a deep mahogany color with a beautiful 1/2" beige head that slowly fades out. Scattered lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of candy sugar, raisins, brown sugar, and some black grapes.
Taste is of sweet brown sugar, rich malt, vanilla, raisins, nuts, and dark fruits.
Mouthfeel is lingering with chewy, malty sweetness, lip numbing stickiness, but very much balanced with the malt and hops melding together for a superb finish.
The ABV is well hidden.
I had this next to a 15 year old bottle of Westy 12 and while the older bottle was more complex(and mildly oxidized), the fresher bottle's flavors and mouthfeel outdid the elder bottle.

Edit 11/25/06: I just popped a 3 year old bottle received in a trade from prop13. This one seemed near flawless. I had it side by side with a Rochefort 10 and it slightly edged out the Rochefort by a hair with it's smoothness, gentle hopping, and a boozy brandy-esque enjoyability. Heaven in a bottle.

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

Many thanks to Matthew at Capone's for selling this beauty to me. Thought this beer would be an appropriate selection for my 100 BA review.

Paired this beer with the Rochefort 10 (a beer I'm pretty familiar with), just for a reference point. I don't want to suggest the Westy blew the Rochefort out of the water, but the difference was pretty striking.

Considering what this beer had undoubtedly been through coming into my hands, it was incredibly fresh and lively. The beer poured an impressive cloudy, amber red color, with excellent head retention. There isn't a huge amount of foam, but what there is lasts and lasts. Very nice lacing throughout my tasting of this beer.

The nose is incredibly complex and, like the taste itself, continued to change the longer it sat in the glass. Initially I got lots of Belgium spice and orange citrus in the nose (but much more subtle then the type of citrus you'd get in an IPA), with a hint of sweetness. Later, this turned to an aroma of cherry, ginger and chocolate. The flavor profile replicated the nose, but was even more complex. Initial flavors were of melon, pear and cherry; later on I started to get flavors of ranier cherry, chocolate, butter and a hint of licorise. Later still there was a cola flavor (not unlike the Bernadus abt 12, a beer I have heard this beer likened to) intermixed with the cherry and chocolate. The beer is amazingly supple on the palate, and oh so easy to drink.

This beer is a joy to drink, though it was nothing like what I expected. I guess I sort of expected a Belgium version of the Thomas Hardy or JW Lee, but it was nothing like that. This beer is incredibly light on it's feet for such a big beer, and was way too easy to drink. It finishes with a whisper, a very smooth, satisfying end to a nearly flawless beer. Most excellent.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.73/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Here it is. What, by many accounts, is the best beer in the entire world. Purchased at Bier Tempel in Brussels, along with the 8 and the Blond. Carried to Bruges until I realised I didn't have a bottle opener. After I attempted to prise off the cap with the edge of the table and the toilet-roll dispenser in the hotel room, my girlfriend became bemused and went out to buy me a bottle opener.

To the big question, however: can a beer this hyped live up to its expectations?

Freshness date of 20/04/14 stamped on the cap.

Pours a murky red brown, deeply coloured with amazingly fine carbonation feeding a modest, but amazingly fine-bubbled head. Lacing is thick and creamy, like uncooked meringue. Body is light, but slick looking, holding some of that fine carbonation when tilted. The bead is what makes this beer look so very refined. It's an absolutely lovely lookjng brew.

Nose is fine and light, tantalisingly giving off its aromas of spicy esters, fruity tannins and portlike booze. Slight tingle of lemon acidity to it as well. To be perfectly honest, though, its a lot less robust than I expected. The characters are very pleasant, and nicely balanced, but I've had beers with similar characters that have been fuller and more intoxicating. I'm not saying the subtlety here is bad. Just surprising.

Taste is lovely, however. Broad and long, giving wonderful complexity over the tongue, and developing as time passes along its length. Characters of raisins, tea leaf, red grapes, banana skin, rosemary, vanilla, cherry brandy, with a boozy and mildly astringent finish that you think is there to clean it up, but in fact just adds its own subtle complexity. Feel is sublime, just so smooth and supple and slick and thinly creamy. Now I understand the lack of body. Any more, and you'd look at overwhelming the subtle complexities.

I don't think I've had a better Belgian. This is top of the style easily, and it does easily warrant such an impressive place in the beer ethos. But, no, it's not the best beer in the world. The best beer in the world is still out there somewhere, tantalising me with its mythical presence. Some day, I will find it.

And unless I want to think that it's all downhill from here, I have to believe that until the end of my beer-drinking days.

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

I have the fortune to try this one beside a St. Bernardus Abt 12. They use the same yeast. To compare them will be quite exciting.

A: Pour is murky dark brown with a medium large tan head that sinks into great lacings.

S: A rich full smell with lots of sweet malt. A nice mix of bitter and floral hops - lots of dark fruits. Complex, yeasty and spicy.

T: Malty, very malty - sweet, but not to sweet. Some yeast and faint alcohol with spices. A very complex and well balanced beer. Again both floral and bitter hops. Rich dark dried fruits, almost like molasses.

M: A really long after-taste with a creamy sence and both bitter and sweet. Full bodied and mild carbonation.

O: One of the best beers in the world? Well in my opinion: it's clearly a fantastic beer, and in comparison to the St. Bernardus; It's very similar in taste and smell, but in this beer the smell and taste are so much stronger. When it comes to quads; this one is very nice, but I prefer Rochefort 10.

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 1,769 ratings.