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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.

1,769 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,769
Hads: 5,829
Avg: 4.61
pDev: 16.27%
Wants: 3,521
Gots: 1,986 | 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: 5,829
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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Photo of Fish113d
4.73/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I gotta thank my best buddy, Sulldaddy for bringing this one home to me recently. He made my year getting this for me!

Pouring into tulip at a chilled temp (recommended on bottle), it pours a thick brown w/ a 3 cm tannish spongy head that is very dense!

Sipping, I get lots of sweet brown malts along with a slightly sweet peach flavor- some alcohol drying on the finish w/ a bold malty after-taste. During drinking, i fell in love with the flavor so much that I had difficulty reviewing how complex and yummy I found it. I just know it tasted EFFIN' GOOD!

If there's a perfect balanced beer, this is it! Full-body, carbonation wasn't too bold or tingly allowing more flavor to come out, while the smooth body takes over along with a very slight dry finish. WOW!

Drinkable? Does a bear shit in the woods?! By far maybe the best beer I've ever had the pleasure of drinking!

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Photo of deejaydan
3.71/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to numenor1 for the chance to try this one. Pours a beautiful amber deep copper color into my DFH chalace. At first, an impressive head that looked like a cooking pancake, with large bubbles rising to the surface. Then, the head vanishes. I pick up alchol and dates in the aroma. Interesting enough... but not shocking. Taste is that of rum mixed with ripe fruits, and then it dries out and leaves your palate clean. Almost too dry though to me. Mouthfeel is good, outside of the dry chalky taste that this leaves. It is drinkable given the ABV, but I've got to say, I don't think this is the "best beer in the world".

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

Bottle Inspection: Cap has a date, but I can only read the first two numbers: 11/08/? Cap is worn on one side and the bottle has the "American" label.

Aroma: Rich malt nose, hints of fruit, mainly fig, and a good dose of spicy alcohol.

Appearance: Clear tan amber glass with a good cover of off white head that lasted as a collar (impressive given the abv), but didn’t lace. Last pour was murky with a fair amount of blackish sludge (you KNOW I drank it all).

Flavor: Belgian yeast and dark fruit are the main flavors with a touch of almond liquor (Frangelico). There is a hint of the "fresh Christmas present" taste that I get from Rochefort 10 as well. A well put together taste overall and enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Lighter than expected but silky smooth texture

Overall Impression: Impossible to be objective with this one. In some ways I was a touch disappointed. I imaged angels dancing on my tongue and some sort of beer epiphany that would allow me some sort of deep beer insight into the nature of things.

It’s just a beer. A good beer, heck, a Great Beer! But, beer.

That said, it is massively drinkable and if the monks lived next door, I’d drink this daily! I’m not going to fly all the way to Belgium just to drink this though. If you get the chance, by all means, give it a shot, but if you don’t get the chance, don’t feel like you’ve missed out of what beer is about.

Undying thanks to the premier sack kicker on BA: Stonecrusher for the bottle. Look, I finally drank it! It only took me a year!

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Photo of texashammer
3.93/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Red-orange or copper color, with a thin head composed of very small bubbles. Beautiful fine resilient lacing. The lacing lasts and glitters in the light. It's gorgeous.
Nose is malty and yeasty with maybe some subdued raspberry -- I know this may sound like blasphemy but it reminded me immediatly of New Belgium Frambozen.
Taste is burnt roasty and smoky with a bite of carbonation. Raisins definitely; here I think of the Raison d'Etre. Sweet malts. As it warms there is more heady alcoholic sweetness. Burnt chocolate, caramelized sugar like creme brulee. There is a lot of yeastiness, very fruity.
The body is medium-full with an incredibly soft and smooth mouthfeel. The finish is like silk. Drinkability is hurt a little by the richness and the alcohol which I can feel.

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Photo of hero27
4.69/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz humble bottle. Graciously given by Px2GrafX in BIF. Thanks so much for the opportunity to try this highly prized brew. No label, no fancy silk-screened etching. Just a plain, brown bottle with the famous yellow cap of this widely sought after beer.

Simply tremendous flavor. So rich and complex..alcohol is subdued to a point that you can hardly notice it. So many others have described it's multitude of characteristics in near perfection, so I'll spare you the details. Truly exceptional mouthfeel..silky smooth and delicious. As drinkable as any beer. This really leaves you wanting more..it's a good thing this stuff isn't widely available, because I'd be happy but poor. But then again, if you're buying Westy 12, you're probably not too concerned about the price. This is the quintessential treat for any beer lover, and something every BA should (and would probably love to) try.

Amazingly, it somehow lives up to the hype. Best beer in the world? I'm not sure, but it is certainly deserving of the title.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Yeah buddy! I got me some Westy in a trade, and now that it's harder to find than all hell, i'm gonna drink it and review it. Blank bottle (no label), brought back directly from Belgium. Yellow cap is dated 05/04/08. Poured out to a dark brown color that became bright auburn red when held to the light. Lower carbonation, with some notes of lace in the glass. Nice 1/4 inch head was consistant through the entire glass. Aromas of fruits, buttery malts. Very sweet smelling overall. The taste, hands down, is a 5. I find this beer to be everything it is touted to be; flavors of sweet bread, smooth malts, ripe fruits and roasted elements all perfectly balanced made this brew exceptionally enjoyable. A thick, silky mouthfeel was ever present, reminding me that this brew really is quite heavenly (that's probably what the monks had in mind). Finished crisp, with some bitterness and sweetness in the aftertaste. The nearly 11%ABV was well concealed, a point that is well noted, as this could be very powerful in doses of more than one bottle (but really, who could honestly afford or even want to drink more than one bottle a sitting). A world class brew, and even better now that it is becoming a rarity. Highly recommended. Special thanks go out to kevinl6 for the hook up of this brew and his highly professional and friendly trade.

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

Consumed in a duel, side by side, against St. Bernardus 12.
What an epic battle it was!
Poured into identical goblets they looked virtually identical and both beautiful... rich tan head, almost completely opaque against the light; deep ruby color where not opaque.
Smells were very, very similar. The St. Bernardus had a brighter smell while this had a deeper one. Same deal with the flavor profile... bright versus deep. An alcohol soaked dark fruit medley going on with plenty of caramelized sweetness. There was also a pepperyness in the finish of the mouthfeel and flavor... perhaps some vanilla, chocolate and coffee singing backup.
Easy to see why this gets the credit that it does. If I *had* to pick which one I enjoyed more overall it would be Trappist Westvleteren 12. A smooth operator with a great deal of depth. The St. Bernardus had a livelyness and a brightness that this did not, which I could see making it more appealing from time to time, but good ol' Westy 12 won out in the end.
When I get the money, I'm going to Belgium for some Belgian brew.

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Photo of scooter231
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this with St. Bernardus 12 to compare properly. They look very, very similar... identical, really. A dark brown with red tints, a good tan head that lingers. Couldn't tell the difference between the two.

Smells is raisiny and chocolatey with a sweet maltyness in there and a breadyness near the end. Light but complex- each layer is separate and precise, but they all come together very nicely.

Taste is amazing- raisins at the forefront, but there's caramel, vanilla, chocolate and coffee in there too. A good amount of brown sugar adds to the sweetness without putting it over the edge. There's a butteryness in here- in the mouthfeel and in the flavor, making it extremely smooth- and almost dessert-like. Dessert "fosters" style comes to mind- caramelized fruit and brown sugar. And there is a decidedly peppery flavor and feel at the very end- adds this great level of spicyness to the whole thing, wrapping up the flavor nicely.

Mouthfeel is, as I said, very smooth and buttery, also bubbley, chewy, and full- I believe I felt it was "lip-smacking, teeth-licking good." Highly drinkable for such a strong beer (which, by the way, I couldn't really taste, but certainly felt as I warmed up.) Deep and complex, tasty, and becomes even sweeter and more lovely as it warms up.

I really enjoyed both beers- but I prefer this. The flavors seem to harmonize much better, it's deeper, richer. If only this was easier to find...

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

Appearance is murky brown with some sediment at the bottom. Surprisingly long lasting lacing which made me happy! I'm not getting a whole lot from the smell at first, but this bottle was served a bit too cold at the Hop Leaf in Chicago. As it warms, the smell opens up, but is not as powerful as I would like. It smells very spicy and a little alcoholic - in a mellow, rum-like way. There are also some fruity tones, which take the form of apple and cherries mainly. The taste is like no other beer I have tasted. The best way I can describe it is to tell you to imagine the monks mashed up some apple pie and some pumpkin pie into a liquid and added some Captain Morgan spiced rum. That's all I need to say about that. The mouthfeel is very luxurious and silky, and this beer is thick! This really complements the dessert like flavor well. Overall, I'm very impressed, and I like this one better than the 8. I definitely couldn't drink this every day because of the sheer sinfulness of it all (sorry monks), but I couldn't get enough of it when I had it so I would rate the drinkability extremely high.

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

Sampled from a bottle that's been aged ~2 years. Murky reddish brown with a moderate head of very fine bubbles. Extraordinary delicate lacing in the chalice (it actually looks just like lace) that didn't budge even when the beer was agitated. Superb retention as well -- I don't think the head dissipated at all from beginning to end. Nice aroma, lots of fruity wine/vinous character along with a bit of more acidic fruit, possibly cranberry. Soft maltiness with a bit of light roast and faint hops. Mild fruit flavour throughout, malt sweetness fills out the middle and end, but stays fairly subdued. Some chocolate and roasted malt creeps in, but this is very mild. Caramel and toffee appear at the mid-point briefly. Moderate bitterness with a bit of grassiness. Complex flavour that stays balanced and round all the the way through, but keeps changing. Soft carbonation with an airy texture. Off-dry finish, a full body, and slight alcohol warmth. This is a wonderfully balanced, yet complex brew. A rare treat. A big thanks to Ralph for sharing this truly exceptional beer. It didn't disappoint!

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Photo of Danny2321
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

248 reviews and counting, what can I say that hasn't been already? I'll just add to the glowing reviews.

This was the one that did it for me. I didn't even like beer all that much, I was a college kid used to macro crap and the occassional SNPA. Then I went to Belgium for a spring break trip . Then I ended up at a little bar in Brugges one afternoon that I only wish I remembered the name of. Asked the barkeep to bring me the best thing they had, and sure enough, he did...and I haven't had anything better since. Believe me, I've tried.

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Photo of kbub6f
4.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Reviewed in a side-by-side with St. Bernardus 12.

There's one inch of dense, light tan head in the chalice. A toffee-brown pour fills out a deep red-brown beer (very nice, dark red). The nose is bursting with ripe fruit, deep toffee caramel, tons of malt, some tart apples. Rich caramel and ripe fruit (plums?) up front. Middle is buttery, rich, THICK caramel; brown sugar and milk at temperature. Delicious. Alcohol evident in the bready, yeasty finish. Cookie spice. This is delicious, fruity, buttery, toffee goodness. Definitely the best quad I've had: not too sweet, alcohol well-balanced. Exceptional.

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

Presentation: I drank this from a Westvelteren chalice, poured out of 11.2 oz bottle. The bottle was prepared for export, with a label. Ordered at a bar in Chicago for $12.

Appearance: I poured the beer myself, and probably was too tender (there wasn't very much head on top). The color was deep orange-brown, not completely opaque. There was only the thinnest hint of a lacy head, mostly present on the glass when I took sips.

Smell: The smell was very good. I'd been looking forward to this for a long time, so I don't want to allow hero-worship or anticipation to color the review too much... Kind of a bready yeasty malt aroma, pretty strong, with a hint of fruitiness.

Taste: Perfect score. I expected a St. Bernardus 12 flavor based on previous reviews, and the first sip was similar in my opinion. I think it was served a little cold, so I let it sit a while. When it warmed, I could taste more fruity esters than in St. Bernardus 12. Actually this is a lot sweeter, but not as sickly sweet as Rochefort 10.

Notes: I don't really know if it's worth the price on a regular basis, but it's definitely worth it for special occasions. My very amateur first-time impression of this beer: 90% St Bernardus ABT 12 + 10% Rochefort 8 or 10..

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Photo of numenor1
4.68/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Friend of mine brought me a few of these back from Belgium at my begging.

Pours a deep ruby shade of brown with a nice head that dissipates before too long. Smells of sweet malts, dark fruits, spices with slight mint and clove. It begins to flesh out as it warms. The taste is phenomenal. it's incredibly full and seems to put every taste receptor and area of the tongue on overload. Mouth tingling. At first it's all spice and sweet dark fruits. Raisins, plums, black cherries, some slight earth and rum. Then there's a nice gentle hop twang and then the spice really gets going and completely overwhelms me in the finish. Blackpepper, clove, coriander and faint mint. A bit phenolic. As I swallow my tongue begins to water and tingle all over. Owned thorougly. The taste lingers in my mouth and nasal passages. Truly remarkable. The body is medium and the carbonation too, but it coats the mouth beautifully and conceals the alcohol like a master thief.


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

S: Dad it out of a chilled bottle and in a tulip at the hop leaf in chicago, which is a great bar btw, mid west, toronado like selection, with food.

A: dark brown body, with creamy with head, you could see carbonation rising up along the edges of the glass. it had a rusty brown color to it, not so dark that it didn't let the light pass through.

S: This is where it at, all sorts of spicy notes, cloves, corriander, nutmeg, fenel, also sweet fruits like pear, plums, prunes, really nice, and a touch of phenals.

T: Up front you taste all the nice spicy and fruity notes, this is followed by nice rich oily malt characteristics definatly dark malts here, along with just a touch of noble hop flavors,

M: very nice carbonation, that runs along the top of your mouth and tingles your asaphogus. this followed by a good oily feeling from the malt, then it finishes with a slight warmth from the alcohal that is present in the back of your throut and gums, also when you exhale you get that I've had to many liquid ice mints feeling in your nose. but it's a plesent feeling reminding you that your drinking beer that is extermely well made.

D: What can you say it's a great beer, and you could probably drink several if you had the money to.

ps if you see this beer on a shelf buy it right away it is extremely rare.

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

Pours a very cloudy hazy brown, some orange around the edges, thick off white head forms, perfect lacing and plenty of legs, this head lasted until the end. Smell is very vinous, aged wine/port, fruity, some chocolate cranberries, little bit of alcohol. Taste is insanely complex, its a shape shifter of a brew. First very vinous and port like, chocolate toffee middle, dark cherries, tart bitter finish. The mouthfeel is amazing, silky and smooth, absolutely no rough edges, the carbonation was perfect, this beer just glides. Aged a couple of years, thanks a ton to the man who made this possible.

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

What else can I say about this beer? Ummm... Very rich. Too bad the monks now limit purchases to a sixtus of this wonderful brew. 10.2%? I have had 6% or 8% brews where they failed to conceal the alcohol better than this beer. Much lighter on the tongue than I expected. Not lots of heavy sugars like other quads, but just amazing malts that are light (and crisp, dare I say?). Nose is full of nice yeasties and the hops are surprisingly potent throughout this beer. The Belgian sugars are sweet but not filling or so rich as to overwhelm the palate. Nursing my way through this goblet. May plan a trip to Belgium just to get some more of this beer.

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

The INFAMOUS Westvleteren Abt 12. Nuff said.

We all know the awesome reputation surrounding this beer. Is it deserved?

In this brewer's opinion, most definitely YES. What an awesome creation of mankind and nature.

My sample poured a deep burgundy color - almost brown - as I gently decanted into a goblet. Rather murky, but not opaque. Head dissipated rather quickly, and was not as mousselike as many other trappist ales.

Aroma was of complex esters and fruit. Definitely does not smell like beer at all. Some type of wicked fermented breakfast smoothie for a medieval monk.

Taste? Can't adequately describe it. A nectar - very sweet. A little tartness from the yeast. Complex spice and a slight hop aftertaste. Wow.

A mouthfeel of liquid velvet. Like one of those Elvis paintings. Not too thin, not too viscous. What a great gift from Belgium.

Drinkable? At 10.2%, I can't think of a more drinkable potion on earth. Believe the hype.

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Photo of assurbanipaul
4.68/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

To any reader of this website, it is nigh impossible to approach this beer with any objectivity. As a perennial top-ranked beer, you either want to jump on board and sing its praise or find fault and bring this giant down to a more mortal level. Regrettably, the latter is extremely difficult to do.

Pours a deep opaque brown with a thick tan head so solid you could walk across it. Aroma is malt, candy sugar and some traces of fruit and alcohol. If any flaw exists, I would place it with the nose -- it just never develops as strongly as I would like. I wouldn't call it one-dimensional but not quite as complex as it should be.

Initial taste is warm, smooth and slightly fruity. Dark but not heavy malts, more candy sugars, traces of yeast. Some woody flavors, as if it had been barrel aged. Sweet but not cloying, maybe some plum, cherries, a faint taste of alcohol. Early taste of alcohol puts me off just a little but any reservation is gone before half the glass is emptied.

Flavors begin to bloom as it warms in the tulip. More fruits, more yeast, fewer malts, less sugary. Raisins, currants, almost sliding towards a dark lambic character. A gentile spiciness is found, reminicient of a winter warmer with traces of maple syrup, rum and allspice. A softness persists throughout, making this one very easy to drink. The ABV is hardly noticeable by the end of the glass.

No date, but bottle consumed fresh without aging. Time would only benefit this beer, it can wait longer than I can. Whatever your preference, pour in the yeast -- I downed at the last without regret.

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