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

1,795 Reviews
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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)

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: 1,795 | Ratings: 5,981
Photo of dogfooddog
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This bottle dated 30.03.02 - this bottle is 7 years, 2 months old, more or less. I had forgotten I owned this and it is now the oldest Westv. 12 I have tried. This one was brought in by D&V and is probably part of the first batch of westv.12 i tried in early 2002; 2 of these got lost in my local store's (case and keg) large cooler and I acquired this one after more than 3 years of being hidden. I think I have had it over 6 months. Notable it has been refrigerated for probably 4 years.

cap abv says 11%, this has been reduced from even higher levels and today AFAIK is around 10.2%.

Pours 10% head; nose is a gentle glowing sweetness with some sweet raisiny notes, not so much bread-sense yeastiness as the 07.09.04 bottle reveiewed earlier.

Taste is somewhat drier and more subtle up front, with more sweet-type fruity notes and less sense of yeast or bread. There are so many different tastes active in this beer it is very hard to put into words for me. the sweetness slowly becomes bitter and by the finish is bittersweet, dark, and a little heavy. the alcohol is invisible in this bottle. Overall the intensity of taste is less pronounced than the previously reviewed bottle.

It has been over 3 months since I last had ANY westvleteren 12 or 8, but this reaffirms that this truly is a masterpiece of the art of brewing

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Photo of bennetj17
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Deep murky brown with nice 1/2 inch cap that never fully goes away. The swirly top is what I'd expect from a good trappist ale. The smell is nice and complex, but not as strong as it could be. Notes of chocolate, tangy raisin, and alcohol eminate. The taste has similar character of chocolate and raisin, only slightly sweet, and it finishes with an earthy/herbal flavor. It doesn't seem as complex as I would expect from the top rated beer overall. The mouthfeel was the best part of this beer. Rich, creamy, but not that thick, the bubbles are perfect on the palate and it finishes smooth. I enjoyed this beer, although I didn't think it was amazing. I would definitely like to try it again though....

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

Head died quickly. Slight remnant holding on around edge of glass. Lots of sediment..HEAVY with sediment. Toffee colored, raw sienna.

Aroma slightly sour like apple juice. Candi sugar, raisins. Caramel apple.

Oh my god, where to begin. There are far too many flavors happening to even try to isolate one. Bit overwhelming in the best way possible. Maple sweetness hits the tip of the tongue immediately before the caramel apple flavors wash over the palate. Lots of toffee and dried fruits. A slight malty roastedness lingers after the swallow...coffee undertones towards the back of the tongue with a minute sourness in the middle of the tongue. Holy Jeebus.

Thick texture. Its almost like they brewed the beer then removed actual "liquid" out to condense flavor and mouth feel.

It was everything I thought it would be. With a bigger head this beer is perfect.

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Photo of mentor
4.94/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Super huge thanks to Prufrock for the opportunity to try this one. Poured a third of the bottle to get three fingers of dark tan head over a gorgeous clear red red-brown liquid. Smells musty, yeasty, banana, pineapple, lightly anise and plum, hint of alcohol. Smells a little bit like some indoor public swimming pools. Dried hay, vanilla, flatly of raisins, some brown sugar. Not to the nose, but wafting up from the glass I get belgian candi-sugar.

Tastes, hmmm...chocolate with oodles more flavors and the beer develops into a rich deep wet chocolate like premium cake. Whoa, man, this beer is so damned tasty I'm having a hard time picking out flavors. So many, so rich vibrant, so complex, and well balanced. It's perposterous that something can taste this wonderful. Light fruity esters tamed by darker dry brooding malts. Alcohol sting is clean and mild and comes across as peppery. Phenolic funk is on the stage singing, but is just a voice in the choir. Brown sugar, some candi-sugar, amaretto, nutty. Vanilla keeps the dry finish in check. All this time I've been comtemplating a flavor that I couldn't put my finger on. But now I think I got it. Blueberry raisin bagel from a high quality bakery. Not a bite out of the bagel, but like you've scraped the soft dough out and are sucking on a piece of the toasty crust. Deliciously flavorful with a mild sweet seeping out as the amylases in your mouth break down the bread. Near the end of the glass the dry finish is becoming a bit woody. One more of these beers would likely be enough.

For a long time I've been wanting to review this beer so I could criticise 'the masses' for buying into all the hype. But I must say, this is the most amazing beer I've ever tasted in my life. Perhaps the most enjoyable treat of any sort I've ever tasted in my life. Too bad about the large head, this beer had a perfect score locked up for sure. Md-thick mouthfeel and modest carbonation. Creamy smooth body. I could drink this stuff forever.

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

This beer looked much like a cloudy root beer that picked up some straw towards the edges, but had a mossy green halo around the edges when held to the light. Also, there were a few flecks floating around. The dirty off white head looked a little like my carpet with uneven bubbles creating a pleasantly chaotic surface that didn’t last for all that long.

Smelled of salty, flakey pastry that was creamy and doughy. Also included ideas of gooey cookie and/or bread dough with a sweet musky honey. Hell, it could even smell like baklava if you squinted right. There’s also some fruity notes of figs, cherries and plumbs. I was really astonished (as if I wasn’t impressed by now) by the “residual alcohol suggestion” where my mind pointed out where the 10.2% should be, but my nose could only pick up its shadow. Very nice indeed.

Tasted of creamy, milky caramel then picks up a pleasant tingly sensation that blossoms into an amazing syrup, peaches and pecans. Then there are also some playful light nips of hop that roll around my tongue, back and forth re-releasing little hints of a milky bread dough, honey and nuts in between the suppressive drops of dryness. Finishes like the pastry from the smell with some honey. As I exhale, I get an amplified, brilliant doughy yeast.

The mouth feel is light to medium and creamy with a brilliantly paired sandy feeling carbonation. Perfect!

What can I say? This one’s in a class of its own. Thanks to blitheringidiot for this one!

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Photo of bierman2000
4.58/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is smooth opaque and malty. The alcohol is present form the 1st sip yet still very well hidden. An excellent beer thast is well worth the search. Mine was tasted at the Brewery and also in Brugge at a cozy pub. This beer is served in a chalice and should be consumed at close to room temperature for best enjoyment.

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

First of all I must thank meathookjones for this little bottle of what is turning out to be the best Belgian beer I have ever had the pleasure to...

Pours a hazy, dark reddish to brown with 1 inch head that stays for a bit then quickly dissapates. The lace is fine, and sticks to the snifter all the way around.

Scent is of rich bready malts, sweet candy, dark fruits, grapes and a spicey alcohol.

Taste is WOW. It is very complex. I don't know where to begin. Ok, a spicey alcohol as it starts with a solid rich malt backbone and yeast after that I get lost. I can taste some of the fruits I smelled in the finish. I get just a bit of citrus at the end as well. Did I say complex? This one is hard to get each flavor as I taste it. However, I have to place this at the top of the Belgian Quads I've had.

Mouthfeel is silky, velvety smooth. It's not sticky for being such a big beer. It goes down easy for the incredibly complex flavor and the abv. I could put many of these away in a sitting till the alcohol caught up with me (ok maybe two).

Yes, It lived up to the hype for me. I am amazed at the complexity of the flavors. The scent was fairly easy to distinguish, but the flavor was another story. Truly, a world class beer.

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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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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 1,795 ratings.