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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.

5,239 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,239
Reviews: 1,677
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 3,176
Gots: 1,629 | FT: 122
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: 5,239 | Reviews: 1,677
Photo of CarpalTunnell
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of bullywee
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of EmmyYUMYUM
4/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of MDunk
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of Rollzroyce21
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of brystmar
4.87/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Cap date 09.03.12, so it’s ~3 years old. Opened as part of a 4-way blind(!) taste test with Abt 12, Rochefort 10, and Malheur 12. Thanks to Sarah for administering!

Hazy, deep brown pour yields one to two fingers of head with stubborn retention. The four of us participating all remarked on its aroma when smelling the (unbeknownst to us) Westy for the first time. It holds layers upon layers of complexity that the others simply couldn’t match.

The term "bready" is often thrown around, but Westy 12 actually smells like a freshly baked loaf of bread. Surprisingly strong caramel character too with a more tame spiciness than the others. As stated, we all agreed that this was the best aroma of the bunch.

Extremely complex flavor profile without an over-reliance on the style’s traditional spice characteristics. Tons of caramel (again) atop an already intriguing set of flavors. Bready. Significantly more interesting than the others. Finishes slightly sweet with lingering caramel amidst the boozy warmth.

Westy 12 sports a fuller body than its peers; noticeably more luscious and creamy than the others. Plenty of carbonation, but not too much.

Despite everything I've written, I can't drink this the way I do stouts or sours. It's become grueling for me to drink a Belgian these days, though this is certainly my favorite non-sour Belgian. The monks at Westvleteren deserve the hype they’ve earned over the years. Not the best beer in the world, but I'm rating to style and this is unquestionably the best Belgian Quad in the world -- particularly with a few years of age. I've since had Westy 12 fresh and, while it was still great, it couldn't compare to this ~3-year-old bottle.

...and in case you're wondering, my order of preference ended up being: Westy 12, Malheur 12, Abt 12, and finally Rochefort 10. Cheers!

Photo of cbnz
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of herman77
4.73/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Brabander. Bottle cap date of 18/11/14 so bottled on 11/18/11

A: Murky ice tea color. Tons of carbonation streaming up to form a nice foamy light tan head, looks like a head on a nice oatmeal stout. Great head retention, decent lacing. Love that color.

S: Bready, floral and dark fruits (mainly figs and plums). Some tart apples, thought the nose would be a bit stronger, but still good.

T: Wow! So complex. So smooth. Up front there's nice bready malt with toffee and rich dark fruits. Again, plums, figs and prunes? Then comes some tart green apples and a bit of spice from the yeast. Finishes a bit warming that brings a nice carmel/toffee sweetness and slight tartness that lasts and lasts. It literally makes your mouth water after each sip.

It's incredibly hard to pin down all the flavors since there is so much going on.

M: Mouthfeel is awesome. High on the medium side, with a lot of carbonation, but its not prickly. Weird since it's so smooth, like liquid velvet.

O: In one word; phenomenal. Awesome drinkability and the ABV is hidden pretty well. I was a little concerned about the hype, but this lived up to it for sure.

Photo of TGS
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of jburchett
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of YaKnowBrady
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of overplayed
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of JimDH
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of hunnybunny
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of Gary779
4.22/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer pours a nice toffee-amber colour, almost sherry like. The head is nice and dark for this style, and leaves good lace.

S: A malty smell with a hint of hops. The smell consists of molasses and dark fruit, as well as a refined, thick and sweet alcohol flavour.

T: There is a strong, in-your-face alcohol taste. It is quite sweet, with a non-bitter liquorice flavour, and there are lots of molasses and fruit present. Burnt sweetcorn and sugar cane also present on the edges. Too strong in my opinion.

M: Very smooth with good carbonation. The beer just seems to go down.

O: This is one oddly addictive beer. After sipping you just want more. If this was readily available I would have this quite often.

Photo of Reaper16
4.08/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was going to save this for a special review number, like review #600 or something. But screw that, welcome to review #537!

11.2oz. bottle -- the versions in the bricks w/ the gold etched labeling; cap dated 02.09.14 -- poured into a Duvel tulip

Pours out a dark breadcrust. This isn't beer whose color looks like a dark breadcrust. No, this just looks like a dark breadcrust. It's so opaque! You don't see through it at all. Less than one finger of head, but oh is that creme foam so tightly composed. Very small, fine bubbles. Spots and arcs of lacing make a bunch of abstract happy faces on the sides of the glass.

I didn't come into this beer expecting to be blown away by it or expecting it to hammer me over the head with obvious flavor. I was expecting subtlety, refinement. And I got it in the aroma. It smells like you're a block away from a neighborhood that has both a flower shop and a bread bakery. There's lots of straight-up delicious bread aroma here, but there's all these scents of flower petals and spices (clove, cardamom). I get traces of old dates too; not fresh ones, but old ones. That's neat. There's also a cookie dough aroma... or something. It smells close to that, anyway -- a mix of sweet dough and dairy.

The flavor is not what I expected, though I think that owes to just how fresh this bottle is. An older bottle will be more developed than this. Regardless, here's what I'm tasting. The initial flavor is bread and fruitcake: all malty and sweet. It's a lovely malt profile, but it quickly gets masked by the alcohol. It's surprisingly astringent here, and the tip of my tongue is nearly numbed by its potency. During the midpalate is when the yeast strain starts to take over. It's like a rambunctious toddler at this point in the beer's life. It's forceful and bratty. There's a cloves & band-aid phenols component that absolutely takes over the midpalate. Despite the sweet flavors, this is pretty dry due to those phenols. The yeast then throws out mint all over the place as you transition to the finish. The finish yields this brief flirtation with a grapes & vanilla flavor that I've never quite tasted before ending up with a lingering version of where it started: sweet, slightly fruity bread-based dessert.

The mouthfeel is this beer's biggest strength, at least at this stage. It's so, so smooth. A perfect level of carbonation. I happen to like drier beers, so I enjoy how relatively dry this beer is. I'd score it a 5.0 in mouthfeel if the alcohol weren't so aggressive.

Overall, this is basically the freshest possible Westy you can drink. This is an infant. So this whole review should be taken with that particular grain of salt: this beer will likely be better in a few years. This is just a score for a fresh bottle. I'll age my other bottles and reassess it if need be. As it is, this is a beer that is on-par with the St. Bernardus 12s and Rochefort 10s and De Dolle Oerbiers of the world. With age? I'll find out in a few years.

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

600th REVIEW!!!!

11.2 oz bottle at about fridge temp split with a friend, poured into an ommegang goblet. best before 21.09.14 on the cap, labelless bottle.

pours out a dark, murky, reddish- brown color, some yeast sediment is visible. a nice thick 1/4 inch layer or so of slightly off white colored head that stayed the whole glass. good head retention, but only minimal lace from a swirl.

very vinious and winey, some booze is evident. you really have to let this warm up before it starts to shine, but i still maybe expected a little more to the aroma. once it opens up some light yeasty phenolics and a hint of a brown sugary malt come out.

much more complex than the aroma suggested. but again, it becomes better and better the more it warms. has a nice sweetness, but at the same time finishes a bit dry. lots of wine like fruits, grapey, vinious, a nice range of subtle spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, a hint of clove, as well as some phenolicy yeast. some nice molasses and brown sugar and just a hint of some dark breads.

comes off much lighter than you would think. heavier side of medium bodied, a nice fine carbonation. the booze was such well hidden in the taste.

really such a complex and enjoyable beer, but i was expecting there to be more to it. the taste was prolly the best part about this beer, but IMO this is still on the same level with rochefort and pannepot. im also not sure on exactly how old this bottle is, my guess would be around 1-2 years. with that said, id definately drink this again, but i wouldnt go through any lengths to get it again. still a beer every BA should atleast try once.

Photo of jkscast
3/5  rDev -34.9%

Photo of Satchboogie
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of haz77
4.42/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My 250th review has coincided with a beer I've been wanting to try for a long time. Bought as part of the 6 bottle set released to finance renovations at the monastery. Best before date of 21.09.14.

A - Pours into an Oerbier tulip a murky dark brown with burnt orange hues when held to the light. Three fingers of light tan head fall to a frothy cap of a single finger. Small bubbles of carbonation are present, keeping the head firmly in place for a while.

S - Red wine, grapes, cocoa, star anise, clove, leather, woodiness, a boozy kick of dark rum, prunes, dried figs. A heady and enticing blend which is well integrated given its relative youth.

T - Initial caramel is joined by the dark fruit, with spice then taking over towards the middle of the drink. Cocoa moves out from the middle along with molasses and the alcohol warmth of rum builds towards the finish, its heat increasing in the mouth and throat in the aftertaste. Herbal hops keep dryness lingering, counterbalanced by sweet caramel. Would have liked the alcohol to be better masked and I would have thought age will certainly take care of this in part. Plenty of interest and an adept transition of flavours.

M - Full bodied and carbonation is quite sharp and lively for the style, probably due to its freshness. A creamy mouthfeel keeps trying to poke through but as it appears it's continually cut down by the carbonation.

D - No doubt a world class beer, but a question remains as to whether the hype is fully justified when compared to others in the style. Perhaps this is down in part to the relative rarity and therefore premium price point. Unsurprisingly, reminiscent of St Bernadus Abt 12, which whilst being good isn't my favourite of the quads. I'd go as far as to say Rochefort and De Struise offer slightly better beers, as well as being readily available to me and a much more cost effective option. I'll be cellaring a handful to explore how the booze and carbonation mellow and the flavours integrate, as in my estimation a few years will make it outstanding. Despite this, the overall score speaks for itself. Clearly the work of expert hands...

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

Starting off with my first review I thought I would go for the so claimed best beer in the world. Bottle dated 17.08.14 poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance (4): Poured a dark golden brown, non-translucent somewhat murky look. An aggressive pour yielded a 2-3 finger tight small bubbled head. Head retention good throughout the drinking process. Mildly creamy head. Not the prettiest beer in the world IMO but still enticing.

Smell (4.5): Wow, a lot going on in this first initial sniff. Automatically I got plums, raisins, figs, banana bread, slight cherry, and prunes. All the fruity goodness as you would expect with a world class belgian quad. One thing I was expecting was a alcohol scent with the ABV being what it is, 10.2%, but couldn't smell it.

Taste (5): Holy cow, right away you pick up on the palate the smells you took in from the scent. Sweet bread malts, dark sugars, candied raisins, figs, and oddly a tiny cherry twinge. Not cloying whatsoever. Just the right amount of sweetness I care for, its there but not overpowering. A small and I mean small hop flavor comes through in your search for it. Just like in the scent portion of the review the alcohol was hidden and it holds true to the taste. The only time I could pick up on the alcohol was by the time it reached my gut. It would warm your esophagus on the way down and continue through your stomach. Masterfully done, least boozy presence of all the belgian quads I've had.

Mouthfeel (5): Good carbonation, medium body. Has a slight coating tendency but not even close to syrupy thanks to the moderate carbonation. Slight creamy feel, very smooth on the swallow.

Overall (5): Awesome! Very well balance with the alcohol and deep rich complex flavors keep you searching for something you havent yet tasted. Tasted this with the other 2 big contenders in the belgian quad category, St. Bernies Abt 12 and Rorchefort 10 and have to say the Westy won out. Each of the two aforementioned beers are great without a doubt, but if money was no object I am drinking the Westy over the other two. Will definitely age out the remaining four I have left to see how it matures year by year. Yes, this beer is expensive and hard to get but I have to say I now know what the hype was about. It's a freaking fantastic beer that has made it's way into the top 3 best beer I've ever sampled. Best beer in the world as people say? Cant say, because I havent tried them all! But it is the best belgian ale I've sampled without a doubt.

Photo of drumenigma
4/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of Asgeirr
4/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of prender1482
5/5  rDev +8.5%

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

A: Dark amber/chocolate brown with a 1.5 finger off white head and thick lacing.

S: Subtitle vanilla and caramel notes.

T: Rich and malty with some sweet caramel. Noticeable alcohol in the finish.

M: Active medium to high carbonation with warming alcohol in the finish.

O: A great quad that I was fortunate enough to drink fresh right at Cafe 'In de Vrede' across from the abbey. However, I preferred the bottle that I had with some age on it, which mellowed out the alcohol.

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,239 ratings.