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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
100
world-class
1,788 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,788
Ratings:
5,955
Avg:
4.61
pDev:
16.27%
 
 
Wants:
3,584
Gots:
2,055
For Trade:
150
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Belgium | website

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
(Yellow Cap)

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001

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Reviews: 1,788 | Ratings: 5,955
Photo of Absumaster
3.88/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It is hard to say anything about a beer that has a reputation to be excellent. It does not help either that the beer is reaching it's de date pretty soon.
It pours a dark ruby colour with a nice stable head and a lot of flaky yeast.
Smell of baked bread, malty and some minor oxidation and husky smell. (don't want to anger the Westy fans, but I smell it)
Taste of grapes and currants and dark fruits, is that cherry?, what a nice balance! The maltbitternes changes with each sip. This beer drinks very easy and I have to be carefull not to drink his too fast. Although I feel the warming alcohol, it is very well hidden.

This is a very good beer, but I think the reputation is part of the high ratings.

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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 harsley
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well, since I recently visited this Brewery I figure I should review their beer. Having the notion that this is the best beer around and very difficult to get going in, my review could be partial. Pours a rich dark amber/brown with a great creamy head on top. The head never dies and lasts the beer. For such high alcohol content, what make this beer so good is it's drinkability. The alcohol is there but definitely not over powering. It's not syrupy but has good body. All sorts of crazy flavors present..couldn't really begin to define. You just have to try it.

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

Well who am I to blow against the wind? This beer is flat out amazing, and a big thanks to mighty Jetsbeer for hooking me up!
This beer pours a delicate brown witha slight white head. The only thing that holds this beer down is it's lack of solid lacing. That is it though.
The smell is extremely complex and layered. It starts off like sweet bread, with yeast tones, gives a bit of raison, English toffee, plums, honey and molassis.
It's like wine, more than anything.
On taste, words kind of defy you. Incredible malt use, there isn't a hint of the alcohol wallop at all. It's sweet and bubbly like candy, but far from obnoxious. The toffee taste is delicious. all in all, this is the king. THE KING! No chinks in this armor.

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

Pours a deep dark red with a one finger light tannish head that falls to a ring and leaves some lace behind.

Aroma is nice fruity malt lightly sweet some nice spice underneath. Smells nice and inviting good sweetness not cloying and not much candi sugars at all just good fruity malts. Aroma does fade in intenstiy quite quickly though.

Taste is nice lightly zesty malt good fruit grapes, rasins, dates dipped in nice molasses. Some good lingering spice clove blend with some coriander and a light alcohol flavor that blends well. Taste is great nice sweetness no cloying with candi sugars.

Mouthfeel is good nice big medium carbonation level is real good little zest, but not too much as many from this style seem to favor. Other Quads should take notes and follow suite.

Drinkability is very good also the best Quad I have had to date, didn't want to rate this well because all the crap I hear about it being the best but it is quite good. However not my favorite style so not the best beer in the world for me but can't find anything to nock it for. Big thanks to gimmehead for this great brew he slipped into a trade as a suprise.

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

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a rochefort goblet.

medium brown that shows a ruby amber against the light. golden orange at its thinnest along the edges. an inch of off-white head that falls into lumps and leaves touches of lace.

belgian yeast in the aroma with dark, overripe fruits. a hint of spice, lemon and bananas. a swirl of the glass brings out a hint of the alcohol and some breadiness.

oh dear lord, i understand the hype from the first sip. malty, bready sweetness, the perfect light carbonation, unbelievably rich body with absolutely no hint of the alcohol. ridiculously smooth. a touch dry but with a honey sweetness in the finish. drinkability? i wish it came in bombers, although the alcohol would put me in a coma. i hate being predictable, but this is going to get my highest rating ever.

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Photo of Scheity
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It's tough to review this beer anymore, almost like knocking it would be trying to unseat a benevolent king. Well, at least I won't be the one to do it.

After biking 5km from Poperinge in cold that felt like daggers, through barren hop farms and fields of sheep, we made it to in de Vrede, that Mecca that had been the final destination of our long voyage.

Totally worth risking my extremities to frostbite. Just looking at the beer, resting in the wide glass, dark brown with a touch of red, is awesome.

But the smell simply explodes. You can feel it circulating through your nose and mind, a welcome guest to the body. Dark fruits and nuts and something like cinnamon or licorice all twirl together like those ghosts in The Sorcerer's Apprentice, when Mickey makes the potion. But the nose is deep, much more than any beer I've had, including all the other trappists. Chimay Bleu comes the closest, I think

The taste, though, is incredible. You get the rush of dark fruits and even a few trailing hops to really full it out. But the coolest part is the way it interacts with the alcohol: When you're about to taste the alcohol on the tongue, after the first round has cleared, another round of delicious darkness rolls over the alcohol on the tongue. You expect a bit of a bite from the 10.2ABV, but it never comes, falling to the exceptional depth of this brew.

Go to Westvleteren. In summer, if you can. One of the coolest experiences of my life.

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

11.2oz with no label and a best before date of 28.02.08 ink jetted across the yellow, black and silver cap. Acquired via trade and carefully decanted into a Val-Dieu chalice.

Mahogany under a huge off white head that slowly falls and leaves thick sheeted lace.

The aroma is an incredible mix of fresh bread dough made with cinnamon, raisins, dates and dark cherries with some peppery warmth from the alcohol. Brown sugar from the malts and suggestions of licorice and a sprinkling of powdered chalk. Wow!

Tastes malty upfront then fades into ripe dark fruits such as cherries, plums, and ripe red grapes all dipped in brown sugar. The middle brings a tart flavor followed by some more suggestions holiday fruit cake. Not the cheap fruit cake we all hate to recieve at Christmas but rather like the one made from scratch with a little apple liquer that has that yeasty just pulled from the oven flavor. The alcohol registers only as a pinch of pepper in the finish yet I don't feel any heat upon my breath. Amazing!

The mouth is velvety fullness with just the right amount of carbonation. You bet your ass this is drinkable.

I'm giving this the exact same score I gave to the Gouden Carolus Carolus D'Or - Cuvée Van De Keizer. I think it might be a little better, or maybe that's the hype talking.

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

Brown bottle with no label, gold cap. Lot's of sediment floating around in the bottle. 2004 Vintage.
Poured a dark ruby/burgundy red color. Faint tan head.
Smell and taste were so complex. Mainly evident are the typical dark fruit aromas, plums, prunes, raisins grapes. I also thought there was a slight melony and perfumy aroma as well as woody, musty barnyard characteristics.
Tasted of Port, dark fruit, wine, pears, melon.
Strong alcohol warmth.
Very drinkable. An incredible beer. The most drinkable quadruppel I've ever tasted. Incredibly well balanced and complex.
This beer has a lot of hype and surrounding it and I think it's all very well deserved. An absolutely incredible brewing acheivement!

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Photo of bhb
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I shared 3 bottles with friends after we bought a crate in Belgium, all dated 05/04/08. I didn't see how people considered it all that special, but I was wrong...

It poured into a Westvleteren glass with a lovely dark mahogany/ruby colour with a 1cm frothy light tan head. Mine disippated after a couple of minutes but the other two lasted and lasted. No visible carbonation.

On the first sniff, I was instantly awestruck. A dominant port aroma is the first to come out! Wow! Not overpowering at all, but appetising, totally unique and loaded with fruits and raisins. It's like christmas pudding in a glass, including the flambe. Musty leather yeastiness and woody hops remind me this is definitely a beer.

Loads of other flavours come out when tasting. Raisins, prunes, cherries, wines, port, woddiness, honey, spices all come through, going down in a full bodied beer, with a hint of saltiness and a moderate bitterness at the end. There's a touch of mineralised feel to it. It sounds sweet but it balances beautifully with the other sensations so it's not overwhelming at all.

I've had all the non-Westy BA top 10 Belgians before, and this one is truly a style in itself. There is no comparison to it. And no, it's quite different to St Bernardus Abt (EDIT - Some St B Abt tastes like Westy 12, see my review on it).

Make a pilgramage to Belgium if you have to - Westvleteren is one of a kind, straight from heaven.

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

Dates and Anise fill out this perfectly rounded and balanced brew that is the color of blood and prune juice with a lovely yeast loaded off white head. Drinking this one was such a thrill and I largely agree with the hype. This is undoubtedly one of the top ten beers I have ever tasted. It is so wonderfully warming and gets richer and more pleasurable with each taste. Well worth a trip to Belgium in my book even if you can get it black market style at the punk bar down the street. Couldn't ask for a more perfect brew for my 200th review.

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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 AlexJ
4.89/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Bruno for sharing this 4+ year old bottle.

Deep mahogany pour with burgundy highlights and a thin but dense beige head that settles into a lasting veil which laces nicely for a strong beer.

Aroma is a heady medley of caramelized malts, honey drenched pears, cherry preserves, prunes, soft floral notes, wild berries, grape must, spicey yeast, and a nice blanket of funky Belgian damp cellar notes. Fantastic!

Flavor goes beyond the nose with complex caramel and candied malt notes, a basket full of over-ripe fruit including plum, dark cherries, pear, rotting concord grapes, and even hints of banana. There's soft mustyness and traces of minerality shadowed by intense yeast and phenolic warmpth. Finish is fruity and balanced by floral and peppery hops. Believe the hype.

Body reaches towards large w/out getting there. The silky smooth texture and creamy body just glides the subtle nuances across your palate. Awesome.

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

Dark brown with the typical big Beligian head. Sweet spun sugar aroma with hints of raisin. Very present alcohol initially, but fades quick, and more of the spun sugar flavor with something slightly acidic, though still sweet, toward the end. Well balanced alcohol and worth the reputation if this is your favorite style.

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Photo of edchef1850
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Monks must make this stuff because only god could tell you how to do this. Deep brown liquid poured into a westvleteren chalice, minimal head , off white color on the head, wonderful aromas, sweet, slight alcohol, caramale, and maybe liquorice at the same time, incredibly complex in the nose. big in the mouth, sipping beer at its best, savor this its great with a heady ripe cheese and some crusty bread. This beer gives a nice alcohol warmth going down, but not overpowering. I want to go to Belgium just to have this at the cafe adjacent to the monestary and soak it all in.

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

Presentation: 12oz. bottle. No label, yellow cap. Date printed is 21.06.08. 10.2% ABV. I had bought this one at In de Vrede in Westvleteren, so it is quite fresh.

Appearance: Deep brown amber with a small yet fluffy light tan head. The beer was pretty clear, but I was careful to reserve most of the yeast in the bottle.

Smell: Rich sweet caramel malt with a ton of fruity esters. A lot of dark fruits, cherries, and prunes. Absolutely wonderful.

Taste: There is a lot of upfront sweetness. The alcohol is strong, but it compliments the beer. Light medicinal phenols and estery alcohol with more fruits, and a very faint bitterness plays on the back of the tongue. There is a light coffee and toffee finish.

Notes: I hate to do it, but this beer is just so good. The complexity and the amazing balance of this beer is just awe inspiring. I think that is what makes this beer so great the balance. Its full bodied, but not thick, sweet, but not cloying, phenolic, but not overpowering, estery, but not over the top, with the perfect amount of bitterness to contrast the sweetness. Absolutely wonderful.

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Photo of Ieatlambfries
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I received 2 bottles from my brother and his girlfriend on Christmas eve. Thanks Joe & Lori!

Served in my Orval chalice.

Poured a dark redish brown. Very little head, although a fair amount of carbonation was present. Many fine bubbles coated the surface after the pour, however I wouldn't call it a head.

It smelled of mulled apple cider with a hint of bread and yeast. Very striking smell to say the least. Also the slightest hint of caramel.

The taste was fruity upfront. Apple cider, caramel and honey. I was suprised that the finish began with more hop bitterness than I expected, as well as a hint of the warming alcohol within.

Mouthfeel was smooth and velvety. Almost chewy. This example had a good amount of carbonation bite as well.

Drinkability was very good. Although the abv is quite high, I found that it went down very easy. The alcohol in the finish did not deter me one bit. My only regret is that I drank it too fast.

All in all quite an experience. I live in an area where St. Bernardus abt 12 is readily available, and I'd heard they were simular. I have to say I don't find that to be accurate at all. Westy 12 had all the things I love about Belgian Quads and a bit of hoppiness to boot. A welcome suprise.

A true standout in the world of beer. I wonder when I'll drink my next bottle?

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

11.2 oz. bottle. The cap states 11% abv as opposed to the 10.2% listed here.

Appearance: After removing the crusty and rusty yellow cap, this beer poured a deep amber with blood-red highlights. I was trying not to get any sediment into the glass, but when it started coming out, it came out fast. Therefore, there was a decent amount of yeast floating around in the beer. Where it settled on the bottom, thick streams of bubbles rose up to from patches on the surface of the liquid. The initial head only reached about one finger in the wide-mouthed chalice and settled down rather quickly. A few freckles of lace were left behind.

Smell: Thick with caramel malt, raisins, and molassess. Apples and grapes provided a strong dose of fruitiness. It was a little spicy, too, reminding me of apple pie on occasion. Yeast and some round alcohol hovered in the background. There were light cherries and bread present at times.

Mouthfeel: Medium- to full-bodied with a thick, mouth-filling feel to it. Chewy and light coating. A light, velvety carbonation developed in the back of the mouth. Very nice.

Taste: A big combination of flavors that developed early and continued on well into the aftertaste. This one really lingered. Bread, raisins, molassess, and sweet caramel provided a thick bottom end. I could taste the caramel malt when I licked my lips after each drink. Cherry liqueur and white wine provided a bit of a kick. A little bit of cocoa lingered on the finish, along with the flavor of over-cooked muffins (like when with bottoms get a little too brown). The alcohol was definitely present, but it didn't overpower. No cloying sweetness either, just a nicely balanced beer. The flavor itself might not merit a 5, but the richness, complexity, and the way the different flavors lost and gained ground as the temperature of the beer changeed warranted it.

This was a hard beer to open. Graciously gifted to me by Bruiser81 a long time ago, it's the only bottle that I have ever layed eyes on, let alone possess. Does it live up to all the hype? Almost. Is it freakin' delicious? Hell yeah, it is!

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

(Served in a chalice)
this beer is from 27.04.02

A- This beer pours a deep warm dark brown with lots of little suspended bits. The head is a thin web of bubbles around the rim.

S- The smell of sweet dark cherries, caramel malt and a faint sour cherry in the finish. Note of oak and vanilla come through aswell. This is a wonderful complex aroma with lots of depth.

T- The taste of dark caramel malt with some notes of lighter grain mixed. The taste of oak and vanilla come through in the finish with some slight sweetness in the finish but very faint. The notes of brown sugar and cherries are faint in the front of the taste along with some raisins.

M- The mouthfeel is very light and there is no alcohol warmth or astringency to this beer.

D- This is a very nice beer. The notes of malt and sugar are balanced with a nice oaky flavor and some cherry characteristics come through but it is not a sweet or hot beer. This has done well with age and I hope to review it fresh one day.

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

This beer has been aged for about 2 years. The look of this beer pours a delicious dark ruby brown that leaves a quickly disappating tan head. Very little carbonation compared to the fresher one I had 2 years ago. The smell is of candied fruit, plum, peaches, golden raisins, bananas, cloves, and some slight essence of chocolate liqour. The complexity of this beer is the best I've ever come across. The taste of this beer just explodes with the sweet fruit and at first has a powerful vinos essences that subsides with warmth.

This beer is one that should mellow even more with age but I actually prefered the fresher bottle I had about 2 years ago. As I let this beer warm up I began to taste even more of the honey and clove. Overall this is a great beer, I love things about the fresher version but I love the smoothness of this aged bottle.

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

HUGE THANKS TO DAVE AT THE PUBLIK HOUSE BROOKLINE for pulling this out of the basement and hooking me up with a huge surprise. Especially since it has been aged for 2 years. Once my heart restarted I poured this bad boy into a Westvleteren glass (also provided by Dave) and noticed that all the carbonation was gone. This was a bit of a disappointment because I remember in a fresher version I had the carbonation caused the yeast to swirl and swim around when the glass is sitting still. It was visually stunning and added to this beers mystique. The aged beer still had a fresh and balanced smell, a bit more molasses / maple syrup then I remember. The taste follows a trend I have noticed with aged Belgian darks, the flavors seem to meld and result in an overall flavor timeline similar to raisin bran. The front is sweet like a dried raisin, the middle is where the molasses and maple syrup are present, then when the hops appear they transform the flavor to a hearty, malty, grainy flavor (the bran part). Meanwhile the alcohol is hidden well, it's there if you look for it, and overall the beer is very well balanced. I have noticed that with age the flavors have toned down and blended much better (as expected). Especially the alcohol, in my previous review I mentioned that the alcohol flavor was too strong that it overpowered the rest of the beer. I rated the 8 over the 12 because of the alcohol flavor balance. So it was a pleasant surprise to see that age has solved this issue. Mouthfeel has also changed due to the lack of carbonation. I recall the fresh version evaporated on the tongue, it was epervescent, and lively. The aged version is more syrup like and smooth, which allows you to roll the beer around the tongue and really study the flavors before it evaporates. That being said, I like the fresh version better. It's more of a party in your mouth. And the drinkability I have to give a high mark because it was very smooth and balanced. The real test was that I was with a newbie to "good beer" and she probably drank more of it than I did.

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

Cap dated 29-04-06: I had intended to not drink this until I found another, but that may be awhile. Besides, this is my 100th beer reviewed.

Into the requisite tulip it goes, with some effort needed to coax a slight foam, I wouldn't even call it head. When held to a light source, the body is a beautiful cherry amber, clear save for a small number of floaties. The nose is a luscious blend of dark, dried fruits, and some wood.

The taste is completely blended, there are no layers of individual flavors. The initial flavor is kind of sweet up front, but quickly begins to dry out. The woody, or perhaps leathery, character appears, and then a faint bitterness, as if from hops. The mouthfeel is barely carbonated, but silky smooth, and heavy. I drank three of these the last night of Marvin's rule over Chalkies. It is to him that I owe many thanks for this bottle.

I think that in Europe, the second number of the date represents the year, rather than the third, as in America. And I seem to remember reading in one of the forums that Westvleteran 12 is bottled three years before the date on the cap. As good as this was, I would like to try a slightly fresher sample. And my two cents is that this is head and shoulders above all other Quads, Trappists definitely included.

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Photo of hefevice
4.64/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated August 2005. Made a pilgrimage all the way to Westvleteren to pick this up. Pours into my Westy goblet black with dark tan hints when held up to the light. Decent compact light tan head which recedes fairly quickly to a thin covering. Aroma is complex and amazing dark fruit, toffee, oak (almost wine barrel), subtle spice from the alcohol. Taste is full on - all of the components identified in the aroma, but so intense. Very sweet start is balanced we superbly by the bitterness of finish and the peppery spice from the otherwise well hidden alcohol. Mouth feel is full and velvety smooth, just about perfect. I can't imagine having too many of these in a session - it would have to be the night cap, however it is almost sad to get to the bottom of the glass, so I have rated it high on that basis. Damn, only one left now :-(.

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

11.2 oz brown bottle with yellow cap and "import" label. Poured into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Deep, rich brown. Smallish off-white head with tiny compact bubbles. Beautiful lace rings as the glass is emptied. Lazy, but steady, carbonation.

Aroma: Complex aromatics. Raisins, figs, licorice, honey, citrus, bread. Sweet and spicy at the same time. Slight alcoholic tinge.

Taste: Rich. Complex. Sweet maltiness blends with earthy yeast and spicy alcohol in a swirling tornado of velvety goodness. Slightly dry, spicy finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and oh-so-smooth, this is a stunner!

Drinkability: Dangerously so at 10+%. More please.

This has been a "goal" beer for me for a long time. When a good friend saw a bottle, he picked it up for me. What a great friend!

I enjoyed this beer so much, that I will, without doubt, order it whenever it appears on a beer menu that passes in front of me...

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Photo of Px2GrafX
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

presentation: i'm guessing this is close to a very modest looking 12oz. brown bottle with no label. golden yellow cap with all the info. you need. "trappist westvleteren" on top with their logo in the center. the number 12 is on the bottom of the cap encircled. abv is displayed at 10.2%. there is a best by date stamped across the cap: 14.03.08.

appearance: pours a muddy brown with brick red highlights in a chalice glass. head is a half inch off-white that dropped to a capper surprisingly fairly quickly. carbonation appears to be good, but retention and lacing is just decent.

smell: smells caramelly sweet with dark fruit and alcohol. medicinal but there are also hints of lemon rind and licorice.

taste: lots of flavors hitting you at once. cloves, caramel, raisins, spice cake, and alcohol. alcohol is prevelant and provides a nice warming effect. phenolic towards the end of the sip with a light yeasty bitterness. vinous with some anise towards the finish and continues in the aftertaste.

mouthfeel: very nice. creamy medium body with great carbonation despite a slightly disappointing head. rolls around nicely and the alcohol prickles your tongue. swallow is velvet.

drinkability: i'm not sure what exactly keeps me drinking this, but i have a hard time putting it down. i try to slow and sip and savor, but it's tough. alcohol is there and intoxicating, but this is an easy to drink quad.

overall: delicious. this is deserving of the current number one beer in the world. i cannot give it a five, nor can i make it my highest rated beer, but it's definitely one of the best beers i've ever tasted. i have three more of these put away, and i can't wait to see how it matures.

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 1,788 ratings.