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

Not Rated.
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

1,701 Reviews
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,701
Hads: 5,543
rAvg: 4.63
pDev: 7.13%
Wants: 3,382
Gots: 1,812 | FT: 137
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001

(Yellow Cap)
View: Beers (3) | Events
Beer: 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: 1,701 | Hads: 5,543
Photo of putnam
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Aromas: nougat; poundcake; nutmeg; walnuts; and great boozes such as high-altitude Amarone, Spanish brandy, solera-aged rum, cappuccino and mother's milk. The liquid calms the palate for a moment, stalling, only to move from one archetype to another. The first is coffee liqueur : sweet, yet sharpened with deep etchings of gas. The second is a fantasy realm : baked banana forests dripping with Valrhona chocolate; heirloom oak chests; earth; roasted and raw nut medleys; enlightenment humanity. Sweetness is the life of every layer in this liquid while being shaped with Darwinian structure. Butter-basted tangerine slices drizzled with Turkish honey. Indian perfumes. African coffee.
One can perhaps see why these European lowlanders thought so much blood was worth expending to maintain tropical spice island and plantation colonies in another era. Flavors like these are as cheap today as $12 or so a third liter. (920 characters)

Photo of bditty187
4.65/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I’ve had this beer in my possession for many months (thanks to Bierman9); I don’t know why I kept waiting to try it. I pledged I wasn’t going to drink it for a “BA Milestone.” Oh well, this is my 800th BA Beer Review.

Murky reddish-brown in hue, the liquid looks a bit like apple cider fresh from the orchard. The head reached one finger in height on a soft pour. It was off-white in color. Head retention was fair; it subsided hastily to a big, bubbly collar, soapy in the middle. In my goblet there isn’t much glamour to this beverage. Is this a sign of high expectations? I’d say no. Really there isn’t much excitement in the appearance. I’ll also add there was not much subsequent lacing, just some unorganized spottiness. The nose on Westy 8 failed to arouse me. I took a sniff of Westy 12 and there are more aromas with a little more to say. (Which is a good thing.) Still the bouquet is far from impressive. The malt is pleasantly rich with sweetness like caramel covered chocolate fruit. I like the spicy green apple aromas at the back, faint hints of cloves and ginger. Bready. Raisins soaked in rum. There is admirable intricacy in the fragrances, however the strength just doesn’t electrify me. It is still inviting. The palate is very impressive. First of all, there is a tremendous liveliness to the taste. This is the first step to a great beer, IMO. Big beer needs to be talkative. This one is chatty. The rich, malty qualities blend with alcohol and fruit. Surely it is not that simple? It is not. Luscious malt depth, rich caramel flavor that is very wide and it dances with the raisins, purple grapes, plums, figs, coriander, clove, more malt (this time chocolate), and just enough alcohol heat to add yet another layer. What a tasty beer! There is tremendous complexity. If I ever get to drink this beer again, I will pair it with bananas, apples, grapes, cheese, and crackers. That would be a meal fit for a king. I am impressed at the fullness of this beer, medium/medium-full in body, low carbonation, which helps make a bigger than real mouthfeel. Lovely. To ask if this beer is drinkable is to ask if water is wet. I wish this beer were available locally. I know that John’s in Iowa City will get this on occasion. That won’t cut it. But this bottle came from Bierman9. What a generous guy! Thanks. I really like this beer. I now personally understand why this beer is so legendary. The back-story and history of the brewery and the monks connect perfectly with a terrific beer. Recommended.

Best before date of 21.12.02 stamped on the bottle cap. How good is this SOB fresh!? (2,618 characters)

Photo of Crosling
4.05/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I brought 6 bottles back from Belgium and decided to open one up to celebrate the anniversary of my birth last night.

Mahogany.

Heavily aromatic, complex, winey nose of cherries, plums, currants, caramel and toffee.

Complex, melded flavor. Up front, the beer is lacking in my opinion but does possess notes of cherries and grapes. Mid-palate leans into a brandy-like sweetness, notes of caramel and pepper and finishes with hints of plums and berries. The alcohol is precisely hidden throughout the brew and it simply just doesn't show its potency. That being said, I truly don't find this beer to be all that flavorful and I never have. It's a great beer but I don't think its the best beer in the world. I can see why others do though. (746 characters)

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My 100th BA review.

Picked up two bottles of this much sought after beer at the Bier Tempel in Brussels. No Labels, just a lot of information on the cap. Sampled in a 'Trappist Westvleteren' chalice, my Brussels souvenier.

The beer pours a mysterious extremely dark brown with no light penetration. Theres a massive off white head that lasts the entire glass and leaves behind huge swathes of lace in its wake.

The aroma is of dark fruits, apples, christmas pudding, nutmeg, cloves and some other incredibly aromatic components that defy my olefactory cabilities.

The taste is so incredibly smooth and subtle with a whole range of different flavors that blend seamlessly together. Theres an immensely fruity malt character upfront with berry, apple, mango, plum and pear notes. Theres also nutmeg, clove, black licorice and a great fresh raisin bread flavor. Hints of caramel are also there. The hops are evident only in the back of this cacaphony of interesting flavors. This beer tastes remarkably perfumey and floral.

This beer is the smoothest Belgian beer Ive ever tried. It doesnt hit you with overt malt or alcohol flavors right off the bat like Chimay, Orval or Maredsous its much more understated and subtle. The flavors start softly and build to a crescendo, lingering for a long time with an excellent aftertaste. The flavors also change from sip to sip.

The mouthfeel is velvety smooth, with a warming blanket of bubbles. The 10.5 ABV is evident but hidden very well, and what you do taste simply adds to the flavor (which isnt usually the case for me.

The massive hype surrounding this beer is absolutely justified. Pure beer perfection. Definitely the best Trappist Ive ever tried. Worthy of its long held place at the top of the vaunted Best of BA list. (1,789 characters)

Photo of ppoitras
4.7/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

200th review, cool...

11.2oz bottle from Vienna Whole Foods, Vienna, VA.

Poured into a Rapscallion snifter, formed a 1/2" creamy beige head over the murky chestnut brew, with red highlights. Foam is here to stay, apparently, not fading, and laces well. Swirlign for aroma raises the head back to its original heights. Creamy, dark, fruity aroma, with tremendous depth of scent, if that makes sense. Needs to be experienced to be understood, I think.

Taste is sweet initially, with fruity notes. Almost seems to evaporate on your tongue, leaving the slight alcohol flavors to mingle with the dark fruits. Mouthfeel is great, creamy and smooth, and drinkability is excellent, as you'd have to sit and drink a few before nailing down everything that's going on for the senses. Unfortunately, abv kind of prevents you from re-examining many in a row, and then there's that whole availability problem. As was the 8, worth the search to enjoy... (950 characters)

Photo of Admiraldinty
4.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured almost black with amber/ruby highlights and a silky lace.

Aroma is of dark fruits, raisins, "pastries", and is very malty.

So damned smooth and velvety. Taste is big on malt, with a bit of spiciness brought on by the alcohol which is fairly prevalent. Again a "pastry-like" sweetness. Some yeast.

This stuff will hit hard, because of the alcohol and the price. I wouldn't say that the drinkability suffers to much though, as this is truly a special occasions sort of beer. $9 is a little tough on the wallet for one brew.

In sum, the best example of this style, and one of the best beers I've had. (618 characters)

Photo of SeanChouffe
4.63/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: euro size brown bottle. No label. Yellow cap with freshness date: 24/02/07

This has been my holy grail of beers for over a year now. High expectations abound. Pours a deep red/brown color with no signs of co2 other than a nice large tan head. The head diminishes relatively quickly and leaves a nice creamy layer. Lace clings to the glass. The aroma is rich and earthy; malt and dried fruits, plums and spices. Hints of bubblegum and candy sugar. Flavor has a sweet start with quick effervescent spreading (rolling) of a dry metallic hop bite. Mouthfeel is full bodied, creamy and surprisingly effervescent.

Flavor appears one-dimensional at first, but becomes obviously more complex and mellows as it warms. More dry than I had expected. A great warming sensation and a nice buzz that seems to come only from the Trappist brews. (849 characters)

Photo of donnebaby
4.56/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Without light, this beer looked...brown. With light, it became an amorphous whitish brown and showed alternating specks of color. Complex cherry red rose color. Glistening tight foam seems to wash up and cling to the sides of the glass.

Smell showed alot of red fruits and alcohol. Sweet malts, notes of figs and cloves. Spicier as warmed. Had higher expectations.

Taste shot down the slide from red fermenting strawberries in the mouth to a pit of baking chocolate in an instant before the liquid seems to undergo some chemical reaction and creams into microfine bubbles that twinge down the throat.

Really a unique drinking experience, especially as far as the mouthfeel and drinkability go. Superfine bubbles and dynamic mouthfeel are incomparable, and the drinking only gets smoother and smoother.

Had this at 5 in the morning while doing some last minute packing. Will have to try it again... (910 characters)

Photo of Bighuge
4.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Muddled looking auburn tone. Bubbly light brown head leaves sparse lace. Aroma consists of light candy notes. Some bubblegum. Brown sugar. Very sweet nose. The flavors are very delicate, yet complex. Sweet melon like tones. Light rum alcohol. Candy and more candy. And then a dry wash of spice cleans up. Very flavorful....even in it's fragile nature. For such a big beer, this is incredibly drinkable. Mouthfeel is very light and airy. Carbonation is moderate. Very enjoyable brew. (482 characters)

Photo of silenius
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I ordered this from Delilah's in Chicago for $12.

It was aged since 1997.

Appearance was an opaque chestnut brown with no head except for a tiny patch of tan bubbles and a ring around the glass. The beer was definitely carbonated, though. I asked the server to pour the yeast in the glass.

First sniff was a woody, earthy, fruity smell that made my mouth water.

The taste is a kung-fu master combination of sweet port-like notes, fruit, and wood. It has a woody caramel malty-sweet aftertaste that seriously lasted for more than a minute (I timed it.)

This is one very complex beer that is not tiring to my palate. I would reach for another if they weren't so expensive!

Mouthfeel is slightly oily and smooth with a pleasant crispness from the carbonation.

The Arrogant Bastard I had afterward seemed lame in comparison.

If this is aged beer, I hope I live a long life! (894 characters)

Photo of Guinness4me
4.13/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Oh my....is it the fact that this is so hard to get that makes it so good? According to the beer dude I talked to, the monks don't make this to sell. After a tour of the brewery, they offer each visitor a case to purchase. That's it. So, some guy in Belgium decided he'd hire people to take the tour and buy a case. In the great words of Homer, "MMMM...forbidden donut." Could be an urban beer legend, but I digress. The beer is tasty.

It pours a deep brownish-red with a healthy head that hung well until the last sip. The lace left on the glass was like a glass dipped in soapy dishwater. The sediment was present while drinking and at the bottom of the glass.

The smell of the beer surprised me. It wasn't as "dark" of a smell as I imagined it would be. To me it smelled slightly sweet, with a mild beer aroma.

The taste was very good. Mild, creamy, complex...it took me from sweet, to bitter, to fruity to malty and back to sweet again. Raisins, prunes, nuts and yeast balanced well with the malt.

The mouthfeel was a bit of a zing at first but rounded out nicely as it hit every taste bud on my tongue. I even savored the aftertaste. The high alcohol content gave a nice, slow burn all the way down.

The only downfall for me in drinkability was the price. At $11.00 a bottle it would hurt my bank account a bit to drink more. (1,345 characters)

Photo of UnionMade
3.76/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

After a bit of hunting, I finally tracked down a bottle of this coveted brew. A faint stamp on the cap declares it to have been bottled on 30.07.01.
The beer within pours a mostly clear ruby red on perhaps the first couple ounces, whereupon the bottle conditioning disengages itself to swamp up the brew considerably. I notice that trappist ales seem to have a very loose yeast, and it finds its way into your glass with even the most careful of pours. The yeast swims in large, fleshy clumps, slowly settling to the bottom of the glass in a loose heap. The liquid looks something similar to pond water, a rich, earthy brownish red. Atop the beer floats a huge, tightly packed ivory froth. Great head retention, keeping a half finger's thick crown atop the beer for the life of the goblet. Very impressive for the beer's strength (11% according to the cap). Some sticky blobs of lace cling to the glass, forming a weak, broken cobweb effect.
The aroma is very surprising. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting, but this wasn't it. Very nutty and chocolately, with a pervasive vinous feel. The malt is very muddy, earthtoned, with a belgian biscuity haze. Burnt, sugary toffee drizzled with dark chocolate and cashew. Very deep fruitiness, with ripe, squishy cherry, rotting plum, date and fig. The vinous feel has a bit of cardboardy oxodization around the edges, furthering the muddy haze. A sweetish, leathery scent grows with warmth, soft alcohol barely present under it all. Complex, but in a strange obscured way.
The flavor almost has nothing to do with the aroma. A surprise attack of sugary sweetness hits the tongue on the first sip, just shy of cloying. Toasty, drizzled with maple sugar and caramel filled, the candi sugar just engulfs your palate with a hazy fugue of drugged saccharine sweetness. A molasses-slow river of fruit syrup follows the sugar, coating the malt with a dark purple layer of just about every fruit you can imagine. Mostly a gooey plum sauce, with distinct currant, fig, banana and apple. The yeast presents itself within the fruitiness, a strange, eccentric blend of cashew, leather, crumbling treebark and walnut. Very odd. Interesting, but not entirely pleasing to the tastebuds. The yeast gains some strength into the finish, a more pronounced nutty wierdness blending with very attractive spicy belgian yeast qualities, as well as plastic-like, clovey phenols. A bit of sourness, and a brush of licorice. The finish is very long, the whole experience seeming to move at a snail's pace. The woody, nutty flavors continue, the glazed fruit reasserting itself in the very end. Some roasty chocolate flavors, as well as toffee, creating a fuzzy malt effect. A soft lick of alcohol in the swallow, with a sludgy, syrupy prune fruitiness lingering on the palate like a gob of molten caramel. Very heavy bodied, almost milky, furthering the lackadaisical mouthfeel. The carbonation is decent, but it seems to have trouble moving the beer around the palate. It's velvety and fine bubbled, perhaps something a little more attenuated would suit it better.
Really one of the most complex beers I've ever sat down to. A full bottle presents new flavors with each sip, some dwindling with warmth as others take their place. With the complexity came some unpleasant flavors, and I thought the sweetness was overbearing, especially when approaching room temperature. I didn't care for the yeast flavor, which was quite prominent, or the muddy drone of the malt, but that could have something to do with a couple years on the brew. Maybe the brew would present itself differently when fresh. I'd hope for something a bit more toned and alert feeling. A fine belgian ale, but nothing I'd consider world class material. I'm actually surprised at how well regarded this is. Possibly something to do with it's scarcity? I don't expect I'll be paying $9 for a second bottle, nor going through the trouble to get it. One was more than enough. It certainly does have personality, and I doubt I'd ever mistake this for another beer. (4,054 characters)

Photo of Zorro
4.67/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy dark brown brew.

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

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

Mouthfeel is very good, thickish with champagne bubbles.

Really drinkable...If you can find a bottle! I have been storing these two bottles for a long time. (629 characters)

Photo of Sammy
4.33/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Beer. Hard to meet the bar and expectations, but it does. Could 2 years plus not be enough aging? The fine wine appearance. Even the sediment is beautiful. Complex aroma including raisin.

Was even better at room temperature on a very cold day
Had one in late winter 2011. Its very classy . Averaging my individual 5 ratings on it. (336 characters)

Photo of ZAP
4.62/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After just drinking a very solid Westy 8, I am even more impressed with this one...now this is a beer I would save away for an after Thanksgiving Day meal special treat...

Nose is dark sweet dark fruits....plums and burgandy cherries...I actually liked the nose on the 8 a little better....body is much fuller and substantial than the 8...this feels like a sipper..creamy, buttery smoothness....still this is sliding down way too quick...very smooth and sweet...flavors swirl around...some caramel covered cherries....plums dipped in brown sugar.... just enough spicyness(black pepper and a small hit of alcohol) to keep things in check....

This is an excellent beer...perhaps not my personal favorite for #1 but no arguments here..it is certainly worthy..a world class beverage I wouldn't mind having around for special occasions.

Paid 8.50 for the 11 ounce bottle.. (876 characters)

Photo of cypressbob
4.37/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.4oz bottle, no label

Pours with a hazy brown body, fizzy thick head erupting, forms 2 inch, good retention and some lacing

Smell, sweet dried fruit, malty thickness, heady yeasty aroma also

Taste, thick dried fruit, slight alcohol sweetness. Dry aftertaste, slight greasiness left on the palette, also an odd tingling

A fantastic example of a belgian ale, but maybe not quite as good as rochefort 10, didnt live up to my extremely high expectations, i thought it was great but rochefort 10 truly is the greatest quadrupel inmo (541 characters)

Photo of LarryKemp
4.7/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this in a beer store in Brugge so it was a plain brown bottle with a cap that has the number 12 on it.

It pours a very dark brown with a fairly thick tan head. The head does not last as long as I had expected and left no lace on the glass. Instead the beer left an oily film.

It aroma is very, VERY malty with a finish of earthy hops. As the beer warmed, the aroma became more caramelly.

The taste is BIG time complex. It is sweet to begin and building sweetness as the beer lays on the tongue. About half way through, a hoppy bitterness creeps in and builds. In the finish, the sweetness is large and the alchohol bangs through.

The mouthfeel is medium fullness. The alcohol tingles the tongue and roof of the the mouth.

This has to be one of the best beers I have ever tasted. It is so complex that my pallete was exhausted after drinking one. It is a beer that you will never forget. (910 characters)

Photo of scottum
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Worlds best beer?

Pours out dark with a small tan head. Served in the proper glassware it looks splended. Velvet smooth mouthfeel makes for so smooth and so perfect smiles. This is a fine crafted beer which is certainly in a class by itself. Best Belgian trappist brew hands down. Best beer? I don't think one can cross compare styles. (338 characters)

Photo of egajdzis
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This immaculate elixir poured a beautiful cloudy brown color with a medium tan head. Roma was that of dark fruits such as grapes and plums. It had a creamy mouthfeel and a sweet fruity but at the same time nutty and slightly chocolately tsate. Slight alcohol burn as the beer warmed up. Calling this a beer is an understatement, more like heaven! (346 characters)

Photo of cokes
4.54/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Have you ever been experienced?

Well, I have. Now.

My Westy12 deflowering began with a muddied, amber-tilted brown scattered with yeast particles. The head was beige and semi-short-lived.

After fooling around and reaching third base with Westy 8, this has long anticipated. Surely a defining moment.

The time arrived, and the bottle cap is awkwardly slipped off.

Head swimming and bursting and dizzy. The room fragrant with spiced rum cake, lime juice, clove, and pepper.

A heavy, petting caramel begins the escapade. A bready mattress on which to romp. Caressing raisin fingers graze with slightly rough grain nails. Hotter now. Derobed cognac, naked, but shrouded in shadow. Elongated, excited rods of liquorice. Spice draws closer, and penetrates with silken and throbbing anise, white pepper, and clove. Squeezing and rhythmic plum pudding and carrot cake.
From here on, the mind only recalls images, mere snapshots. Moaning figs and thrusting dark chocolate and grimacing florals. Squeals of passion fruit, then spurts of lime juice.

Sweaty, sappy, heavy embrace. Full of momentum and ambiance, but not free from missteps. A bit clingy afterward. Roll over, and go to bed.
Not perfect, but in the moment, it nearly seemed as such.

Done too soon, but that's not a flaw. At least not here.

This will ever be looked back upon longingly, and with a sly grin. Certainly not the best, most erotic, or most complete one will experience (in fact, I'm calling Ms. Abbaye des Rocs right now).
Regardless, this is absolutely lusty and gratifying. (1,577 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.28/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The time has finally come to put a splash of beer in my BA mug and what better beer than Westvleteren 12? I've had two of these in my cellar for about six months now and have been saving them for a special occasion. Something tells me that the contents have held up just fine. 'Best by' date on the yellow cap is 01.07.06.

The pour generates the typically massive Belgian head and I can see small chunks entering my chalice when the bottle is about 2/3 empty. Extremely murky chestnut brown; the beer looks like strong, unfiltered apple cider. The ecru colored cap has barely fallen in the three minutes since the pour. I'm expecting a huge amount of Belgian lace, but it hasn't yet had the chance to form since the head is so obstinate.

The aroma is more subdued than expected, but to be fair, I'm trying to assess it through a still thick cap of foam. What I do appreciate is brown malty, fruity and toasted nutty. I also pick up whiffs of Belgian yeast and alcohol.

The flavor profile is complex to say the least. It's comprised of loads of caramel malt, molasses, licorice, and dark, dried fruits (raisins, dates and prunes). Candied pecans and modestly funky yeast make appearances, as does the aforementioned alcohol. There are also darker contributors such as coffee and chocolate. Simply an amazing collection of seemingly unlimited flavors. The mouthfeel is big and firm, chewy even, but stops short of full or heavy.

Westvleteren 12 is world-class, no doubt about it. I can appreciate this beer (I think), I respect this beer, I even like this beer a lot. I just don't love this beer. Call me a hophead, call me an unrefined simpleton, call me what you will, but that's how I feel at this juncture in my journey. That doesn't mean that Westvleteren 12 is anything less than incredible. Everyone should have the chance to sample it at least once. (1,861 characters)

Photo of sulldaddy
4.62/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been sitting on this one for quite a while now. Broke it out this weekend with Stopper. The bottle has been chilled for many months since purchase. The bottle foams outupon opening. Poured into a real ale fest glass. The beer pours a rich mahogany color with a beige fluffy head that settles slowly. There are lots of dark brown yeast chunks floating thorughout the pour.
Aroma is rich, complex, and sweet. I get cloves, raspberry, and for the first time ever bubblegum. Very appealing on the nose.
The first sip reveals a fairly thick body with very fine yet prickly carbonation. Flavor is spicy and fruity. I get a little green apple and some caramel and toffee notes. Almost like a toffee hard candy in fact. These flavors roll to a bit of a warming alcohol character on the finish. I also get a bit of chocolate on the finish, not like candy but hot cocoa powder.
This is a very complex beer and I am very glad to finally have tried it and add the bottle to my collection. Is it the best beer I've ever had? Tough to say, Top 15 easy. Go and look for it! (1,068 characters)

Photo of Stopper
4.54/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This gusher finally settles with a giant light tan head that's not overly persistent, atop a brown body with copper notes. Dark brown yeast flocs populate the glass and take their time settling. A huge malty aroma leaps from the glass, with a strong merlot-like vinous quality and a touch of vinegar. Smooth sweetness and spritzy carbonation battle for predominance as a many-layered symphony of malt and alcohol warms and entices the palate. This finishes wit a moderate alcohol heat and mild earthy hop character that emerge and linger as the formidable malt dissipates. (572 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.83/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle: Poured a deep ruby colored beer with a huge thick foamy dark white head with incredible retention (the head was still in place when drinking the last sip of this beer 30 minutes after the bottle had been opened). Carbonation is really good with lots of bubble at the bottom of the glass and some other ones sticking on the side of the glass. Aroma is comprised of light and sweet roastiness with a nice touch of spice but I could not detect any alcohol. Taste is an almost perfect mix between caramel malts, candi sugar and something else, which might be cinnamon. I was really glad that I could not taste the alcohol since it could have been quite harsh at 10.2%. Wow, what a beer. I originally thought that this might be a bit of an over hyped beer but I’m glad to report that it lives up to all the praises. (819 characters)

Photo of tjd25
4.85/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Amazing appearance. The head was fine and thin and disappeared quicker than for the westvlteren 8. The body is of a great opaque dark purple color. Great smell: yeast and cereals give this wonderful impression of fresh baked bread with some flour aspect. It also has a winy aspect, but not the hint of smoke the number 8 had.
The taste is a perfect and subtle balance of dark caramel malts and kind of hidden so floral hops. I got the impression to eat a slice of amazing bread: this beer's so nutritive. A veil of citrus and a note of raisin and grape appear also, with a wooden and slightly tart aspect of some great wines . What an amazing beer! A masterpiece that wonderfully hides its power. I had read a lot about it, I had thought about it a lot, and I will continue to do so... (786 characters)

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 1,701 ratings.