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

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)

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1,713 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,713
Hads: 5,598
Avg: 4.61
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 3,421
Gots: 1,845 | FT: 140
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) visit their 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
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Reviews: 1,713 | Hads: 5,598
Photo of walleye
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

sat. 11/27/04 at Kuhnhenns with bierisgut and clark v v from rate beer,who brought this wonderful bottle to share. redmosquito and one of the kuhnhenn brothers where at the table to. poured a rich brown with a light tan head.aroma got a nice hit of alcohol, than came the malts, caramels, honey, cherry, and some apple. flavor, didn’t want to swallow this , the creamy smoothness of this beer was great. got malts, caramel alcohol, honey, raisins, chocolate or maybe chocolate covered raisins.this is only the 3rd bottle I have seen I know bierisgut has got one so maybe in the middle of the night under the cover of darkness I’ll see if I can get it.

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

Coppery amber in color with an off white head and a little cloudy yeast sediment. Interesting aroma, definite alcohol smell, then a wine like aroma, oakey yet it still has some creamy malt fragrance. Alcohol warms as I taste this, malt sweetness dominates, nutty, caramelly, and creamy vanilla in the finish. The beer sits on the tongue and lingers with a warm malt creaminess. This is a great beer, the only thing keeping this from being a daily beer is the availability.

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

Pours a stunning hazy brown with a frothy head. Smells very sweet and caramelly. Malty upfront with a nice floral hoppy back. Now for the taste. I also love wine, and this is almost a wine to me, except far surpassing any wine I've ever had. Tastes so complex and smooth, and fruity, and malty, and sweet, and hoppy, and bready, and so, so much more. This is a beer words cannot describe. This is one of my first attempt's at trappist beer, and I must say I've never been more impressed with a beer. This is beer perfection. This is beer paradise. This is beer bliss. This is beer. Period.

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

I had this first about a year or so ago when I was really starting to get into craft beers. I decided to wait a while though before I tried it again as it had so much going on I couldn’t appreciate it all. Bottle is dated with 07-09-04, so I will have to pick up a few to age. This poured out a murky brown with a tall light tan head that filled the goblet. There were some floaties that could be seen occasionally and the beer coated the glass in rings of lace. The head managed to stay afloat till the end, which was impressive. Aroma is very fruity with raisins and other dark fruit. It was quite sweet and spicy as well with a touch of yeast. The taste starts of with a strong fruity sweetness before a good bit of spice comes through to even things out a bit. Earthiness is also in full swing here adding a touch of bitterness before the spicy sweet after taste. Wow there is just so much going on here I feel like I am still missing out on plenty. Mouthfeel is full and creamy with good carbonation. This bottle went down easily but I would be reluctant to grab another right after, not sure why but one was plenty. Amazing beer that everyone should get a chance to try.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.81/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

600th review...

The beer poured into the chalice clear deep amber brown and then the sediment decided to crash the party and ended up with a cloudy and chunky mess. The head was very, very low, but what little was there was persistend and tried to lace the glass. Alcohol most likely impaired the head retention.

The aroma was deep, deep, deep dark caramel maltiness with a huge biscuit and aromatic presence. The fruits present were dark and were raisins and prunes. Some alcohol presence enhance the deeply malty and deep dark fruits that comprised the aroma. The alcohol gave the aroma a vinous complexity.

The flavor was deep dark caramelized maltiness with dark fruits or raisin and prune. The beer contained a slight spiciness that was endhanced by alcohol flavors and fruty esters. The biscuit and aromatic aromas carried over into the flavor and enhanced the complexity along with the malty, fruity and spicy flavors.

The finish was malty with dark caramel, biscuit and dark fruits lasting long into the aftertaste and alcohol warming adding to the complexity but never detracting. The body was full, slick, and viscous with carbonation only impaired by the alcohol content of the beer.

33 cl bottle. Date code of 30.03.02 on cap. No price on bottle, but seem to recall $8 as being the price. None of the Westy beers poured very clean. The sediment separated no matter how carefully the beer was decanted. With the higher alcohol in this beer you could not drink a ton, but the smooth viscous nature of the flavors and the deep maltiness make you want to try.

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

Finally decided to open this bottle and see what the fuss is about. Poured a rich Mahogany colour with an nice fluffy offwhite head. Smell is or dried fruits, prunes, spice and a brown sugar. Flavour was huge. Well rounded caramel flavours combined with liqour soaked dried fruits. A bit of dark sweet bread in the middle i think. Exceptionally well balanced. Carbonation was good and the alcohol was well hidden. Drinkability.... would I have another of course. This was a very tasty brew. Was it the best of the best. Not in my opinion, but then again tasting is subjective and can vary with time and place. A top-notch beer to say the least, but not the holy grail to me

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5's Oct. 21st and it's my birthday today so I decided to have this much anticipated brew...the Westy 12. It pours out of the bottle a deep brown color with a fluffly 1 inch head that seems to produce instant lacing. Yummy. The smell is a mix of candied fruit, raisins, alcohol tones, spiced plums. It has a very vinous, almost red wine aroma. Quite complex.

The long awaited first sip is a smooth earthy malty ride. Raisins, fresh baked bread and dark candied fruits are the first things I notice. It has a pleasant caramel sweetness that's not overpowering. Alcohol is non-existant in the flavor and each sip makes we want to take another sip. The velvety texture is freakin amazing...this is an exceptionally well balanced delicacy.

Mouthfeel is good, really spot on. Carbonation and body are well balanced and make for a lucious drinking experience. A little more body wouldn't hurt though. Drinkability...well damn...I could drink this all night..problem is I'd be drinking it on the street because my home would be repossesed. If this was a bit more affordable it would be a 5 for drinkability. If you have yet to try this gem, track it down's worth the hunt.

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Photo of etaggie09
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Blackish brown with a long lasting mocha colored head. Very nice lacing and the head never disappeared.

Aroma: Holy hell! I can smell this thing from across the room! Upon closer inspection its smells like a fine red wine. Flowery with some spicy, fruity notes and some alcohol and malt with a hint of caramel. Quite enjoyable.

Taste: Smooth brandy, ripe fruit, raisin, wine, a little hops with a sweet balance of malt and hops. Alcohol plays a perfect role in the taste. Aftertaste is a lingering somewhat bitter taste. This beer's taste is the basis on which to judge other beers of the style. Absolutely wonderful.

Mouthfeel: Absolutely perfect. medium body with a moderate-low carbonation. Wonderfully coating. Flawless.

Drinkability: Well obviously its 10.8% ABV; its not a session brew. This was a great beer to sip because it was just so damn smooth. You don't know how much alcohol is in it until after a few minutes.

Notes: How lucky am I that the wine cellar in my city carries this beer that almost no one knows about? I really could drink this forever. Too bad its so expensive. Ah well. It was worth the 12 bucks. A wonderful and godly brew, not to mention my favorite as of now. no wonder its rated number 1.

Edit: I got the chance to try both the Rochefort 10 and the St. Bernardus 12 and I think that the St. Bernardus was good, but a tad watery and I will have to try the Rochefort and Westvleteren again, because the Rochefort was so good.

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

From my tasting notes (tasted on 1/14/04); How lucky was I to find a case of this in PA. Expensive but well worth it! Poured a beautiful dark mahagony with a small tan head. Initial aromas of maple syrup, brown sugar, molasses and fruits.Soft tastes (sugar, fruits, molasses, prunes, dates, so many tastes coming thru). Alcohol content well hidden. I can't say/put into words the depth and greatness of this beer.

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Photo of ken3c
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge head, recedes slowly. Anticipation. Deep dark brown with a red tint. Beautiful. Bits of sediment are held suspended by the multitude of bubbles. Interesting. Patterns of lacing are left on the glass. Majestic.

Aroma of plums and white grape juice fill my nose. Inviting.

Sweet. Expansive. Fruit. Tart. Watering. Bitter. Receding. Sweet memory. The tastes come like that.

Effervescent. Chewy. Warming. Very warming.

I'm delighted. I want it. I miss it already.

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Photo of fingolfin72
4.57/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The color is deep mahogany with a fine, palamino-colored head which dissipates to lacy remnants fairly soon.

The nose is somewhat restrained, but it contains sugar, oranges, banana, and croissants.

The palate is smooth with an abundance of flavor. I get toffee, brown sugar, banana, nutmeg, chocolate, quinine and fresh grapes.

The finish is long. The bitterness, reminiscent of quinine or campari, becomes slightly more prominent as the sip of beer fades. It does not, however, overexpress itself.

This beer has extraordinary balance and complexity. It does not hit you over the head; it just states itself perfectly with nothing out of place. I equate it with Veuve Cliquot La Grande Dame.

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

What to say about this beer... Well to say is that I can dream the road to the abbey and to know that it's a day job, just to get a couple of casses; you can guess how we( I never go alone) think about this beer. Just getting the smell of all the fruit and hops makes me dream away! Drinking it you go to (beer)heaven and afterwards you just feel in a green field with beautifull hopflowers of Poperinge. Well that's not too far from Westvleteren so I mostly go for another one because there is no other beer that you want after a 12 then another 12!

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Photo of putnam
5/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

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Photo of bditty187
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
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!?

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Photo of Crosling
4.05/5  rDev -12.1%
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.


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.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.7/5  rDev +2%
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...

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Photo of Admiraldinty
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

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Photo of SeanChouffe
4.63/5  rDev +0.4%
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.

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Photo of donnebaby
4.56/5  rDev -1.1%
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...

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Photo of Bighuge
4.6/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

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Photo of silenius
4.97/5  rDev +7.8%
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!

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Photo of Guinness4me
4.13/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Oh 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, 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.

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Photo of UnionMade
3.76/5  rDev -18.4%
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.

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

Pours a cloudy dark brown brew.

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

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

Mouthfeel is very good, thickish with champagne bubbles.

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

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 1,713 ratings.