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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.

5,119 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,119
Reviews: 1,650
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 3,076
Gots: 1,549 | FT: 116
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,119 | Reviews: 1,650 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bertram
4/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of Johnhaley1989
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of TheBronze
4/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of safaricook
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of pvequalsnrt
4.75/5  rDev +3%

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

The heavens opened up, and His light came down and landed on a small Abbey of Monks. In turn, they grace the world with one of the perfectly complex beers for those lucky enough to find and partake.

I have been lucky enough to spend a year visiting my wife and kids in France, just 45 minutes away from the abbey. In my visits, I would have a beer in the restaurant, and take home a few boxes for enjoyment. The 12 sets the standard; a Holy Grail for those lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. I had a "taste" of one in Pittsburgh at the House of 1000 Beers (New Kensington), where four of us split one bottle ($9 each, for 3 ounces!). I first visited the Abbey with wife and kids, sitting on the outdoor veranda and enjoying each second of the visit. I've been finding that the best beers are made better by the journey and the exclusivity of the brew. In this case, the journey was as memorable as the beer, and the beer is 'top rate.'

Appearance (5.0). Smooth and deep, thick but light, dark reddish brown, with sticky lacing after a full head. Thinking that I heard the voice of god as I took my first sip of beer, I was disappointed to look up and see my waiter asking for my lunch order. I had ham sandwich and salad.

Smell (5.0). Too many real smells, blending together to show hints of plum and fig, yeast and a bit of sunshine. The garden also helped enhance the smells, as the spring morning gave way to a pleasant afternoon.

Taste (5.0). Who can argue on the complex nature of the tastes, which changed and grew as the beer became warmer. By the end of the 2nd draft, I had hints of chocolate and fig, brown sugar and caramel.

Mouthfeel (5.0). A party. Bubbles and Belgian at first, and then calm and tasty to finish.

Overall (5.0). After the skies shined, we had to return home. But not without stopping at the gift shop to pick up as many boxes of the samplers as I could manage. Flew home with four boxes of beer (four glasses, four 12, four 8 and 8 blond). Gave one box to my brother, split one with my beer nerds, and saved two for myself. I can't wait to try the 8 & 12 in a few .... years.

Photo of jxc5
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of nicsman
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of JustinQ
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of D2Dodds
5/5  rDev +8.5%

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

Tasting this beer, drinking this beer is very different than what you might expect.

The Westy 12's distinguishing feature is its complexity. It is a multi-layered experience. None of the vertices that lay down its shape are arbitrary, though. Other reviews guess at the 'notes' which range from being raisins to prune to plums to dates to molasses. Whatever the true sources are, the beer is almost classical in that a) there aren't too many of them; b) they exist in just the right combination.

Unlike an Oerbier, say, which is similarly well-crafted -- the Westy 12 is actually thirst-quenching. It's even a bit watery, without that detracting from the flavor or composition at all.

On the way down, it diffuses beautifully. It's the kind of beer that gives you a red, full face with which you can go out and face a winter's night.

This beer is not a gut-buster. In my experience it is unique. You can wrestle with it for long hours, drinking one after another. But instead of besting you or defeating you -- and instead of wasting your time -- the beer seems to match you move for move. It dances with you. It never overpowers you. Until by gentleman's agreement, the match is over, and you get up and find pleasantly that you can hardly walk.

N.B. This beer was had by the reviewer on two separate summer afternoons at the In de Vrede cafe attached to the monastery in 2012. He had 2-4 of them on each occasion.

Photo of RuckusDu
4.45/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

200th review. Had it a few times but that was before I was reviewing. Figured this would be a good milestone beer. Dated 07.01.14, so about a year and nine months old. In my limited experience, about 2 years on these is best.

A - The beer pours just right. Nice two finger head that sticks around for a while. Head is light tan, with maybe some slight red in it. The body is a gorgeous deep amber. Very dark, but red and brown in it.

S - It's that distinctive, complex quad aroma. A lot of sweetness in this. Black cherry, chocolate, cinnamon, plum, molasses, and brown sugar. Very much in your face with strong aromas.

T - Pretty similar to the aroma on this, very complex. Dark fruits such as cherry, grape, and prune. Also some chocolate and sugar. A great balance between that fruit and sweetness.

M - Strong all around. Nice body and carbonation. Does hit the back of the mouth with a little pucker, but still nice.

O - Really a nice beer. Goes down smooth, yet is complex and has a lot going on. No evidence of alcohol despite the 10.6% in there. It is very dark, so you need to be in the mood for something like that, but if you are, this is definitely one of the best.

Photo of LennyZero
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of danp14
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of dansmcd
4.98/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A huge thank you to Brabander for my first (hopefully not the last) Westy 12.

A - Pours a dark muddy brown beneath a permanent creamy head and expansive sheets of lacing. Good start.

S - Woah....cant talk...ohh... hold on...F*ck this smells incredible. Thick wafts of creamy chocolate and marshmellow, hazelnut, freshly baked brown bread, musk, yeast, rye, slightly medicinal. Just bloody orgasmic.

T - Much of the same on the tongue, with the addition of dark fruits, particularly prune. Sweet rosewater, nutty turkish delight, rocky road, deep bready grains. An unmitigated joy.

M - Smoooth. Mellow with a soft warmth like a dying fire. FULL body. Complex to the extreme and indescribably delicious.

O - I had this in the pantry for about a year, waiting for that special occasion to crack this one open. One rainy, windy Friday evening at home with the wife I decided that given the hype of this beer, it must be a special occasion in itself to drink a Westy 12, and I can tell you now that I was not wrong. Incredible depth of flavour, sumptuous heavenly aroma, reaches the dizziest heights of beer quality. Exceeds the hype. Best beer I have ever had.

Photo of ElViajero87
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of COBeerBuff
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of JonIrabagon
5/5  rDev +8.5%

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

dark brown colour with a fine head, very complex aroma: bread, raisins and black chocolate, impressive malty palate, deep balance between sweetness and bitterness, slightly oily, the finish is moderately dry showing candy sugar, plums, gingerbread and a long warming alcohol touch - my deep consideration goes to the monks who are brewing this wonder and who make me think for a moment that I'm living in paradise

Photo of Mark000
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of match1112
3.85/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to bitterbill for helping me knock this one off the to do list!

A: murky brown with some amber highlights. little specs of sediment are seen floating around. thin brown head fizzed out to nothing in no time flat.

S: toffee, plums, figs, raisins and rubbing alochol.

T: sweet dark fruits and alochol is about it.

M: Starts thin but finishes thick as syrup. Warming effects from the alochol. Seems kinda flat, could use more carbonation.

O: Quads are far from my favorite style and I was expecting this bottle to be wasted on me but I rather enjoyed it.

Photo of RBee
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of stmgl01
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of zeledonia
4.1/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to n2185 for the bottle. Best by 14 Jun 2015; assuming that means it was bottled June 2010. Tasted 9 September 2012, reviewed from notes.

Pours a murky medium-brown amber, yellowish at the edges. One finger of cream-colored head. Decent retention and lacing.

Smell is a combination of thin high-nose volatile compounds, and deep fruits like plums and dates. Nice varied fruity aromas. Sugar is fairly low, and it's not as sweet or as complex as I would hope.

Taste is fine, but most of the flavors are shallow fruity flavors, not really wowing me. Has some deeper flavors, but they're tough to dig out. Main complaint is that it's lacking the layering and depth that the best big big beers have. Alcohol is strong in the flavor, as an astringent bitterness that comes in late. Good, but not my favorite.

Mouthfeel is slick and full, with medium-low carbonation. Just fine.

What can I say? I know tons of people love this beer. I hope to try it again, to see if my opinion remains the same. But for now, I find it to be in the upper tier of quads, but definitely not at the top. I prefer some others over it by a decent margin.

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,119 ratings.