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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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5,026 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,026
Reviews: 1,635
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 3,025
Gots: 1,487 | FT: 107
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
(Yellow Cap)

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001)
View: Beers (3) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,026 | Reviews: 1,635 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of twiggamortis420
4.45/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle courtesy of cmurren25, many thanks to you Chad! Had this as part of a horizontal tasting with Rochefort 10 and St. Bernardus 12. Pours a dark brown color with a creamy, large and voluminous tan head. Very good looking brew.

The westy has the best nose of the three trappist quads with a nice balance of fruit, caramel and light roast.

Lots of chocolate and bready yeast. I am surprised by the amount of roast this has! A bit of an earthier, woody tone to it compared to the St. Bernardus and Rochefort. Body is just about right, not quite chewy but plenty viscous. This most certainly is a world class beverage, but I am pretty surprised at how close St. Bernardus comes to this. The Rochefort came in a distant third for me. Great beer, cant wait to try one in Belgium one of these days...

Photo of jckp64
4.58/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours cloudy amber with a light head. The aroma is dark fruits and malty. Flavor is very malty, with a sweet finish. Overall a very good belgium quad. Not really sure if it deserves the number 1 overall beer, but thats maybe because it's not my favorite style.

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

Bottle shared by colonelforbin. Big thanks Mike. Bottled on 15 December 2009. Pours a cola brown with a small light that has very good retention and leaves a decent amount of lacing on the glass. A little big of yeast can be seen floating in it. Aroma is big dark, plum, raisin, light brown sugar, a light nuttiness, Belgian yeast, and light alcohol. The taste is sweet with raisin, plum, brown sugar, hints of nuts. No alcohol to be found in the taste. Medium body. Medium carbonation. Really smooth for being such a big beer. A very good beer. Certainly one of the best quads I had. I wouldn't say it was one of my personal favorites, but I can certainly see how it has the reputation that it does.

Photo of SpencerDB
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got two of these in a trade. Thanks Brad! Popped this open after my last exam of the semester.

Poured in trappist glass a murky brown with a pretty thin white head.

Immediately smacking you in the face is an aroma of dark fruits - grapes, figs, plums, and most of all, dates. I didn’t get much malt but there was definitely a bit of spices in there.

Taste was about the same. Huge dark fruit explosion. Dates were the prevailing fruit taste in the beer. It was smooth and had a pretty dry finish.

The alcohol came through on the palate but not in a bad way. What an awesome brew. I wish I had a case of this

Photo of nickhiller
4/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: opaque chocolate brown, tan creamy head.

S: fresh sourdough bread dough, raspberry jam, cherries, apple juice.

T: yeasty and biscuity at first, the middle tastes almost exactly like malt extract, just as sickly sweet and syrupy, slight bitterness on the finish. There's almost no suggestion of the alcohol, which is crazy considering the ABV.

M: light to medium bodied, a little on the thin side, low carbonation, syrupy finish.

O: overall a decent beer, but there are some things I felt it was lacking. I wish that there was some more complexity in the flavor, it's a little bit like a glorified malt drink, more dessert wine than beer. I also found the body a little watery. It's really hard to believe it's 10%, it's so well blended that it tastes non-alcoholic.

Photo of tbeckett
4.58/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a review of the bottle I brought home from In De Vrede. I have tasted this beer twice before, both times at In De Vrede, but never outside of Belgium.

A - Pours a 2 finger, creamy tan head. Colour is a dark copper with a brown element, almost black and there is good carbonation coming up the sides. Great creamy head retention with one finger sustaining and a significant amount of soapy lacing. Great head retention and creaminess of it is a bonus.

S - Pit fruits, dates, raisins, lot's of yeast, sugar, boozy fruitcake. Tons of plum and raisin, dark bread.

T - Starts out with alot of yeast. Sugar, slight booze, great rich dark fruit like dates, raisins, plums. Some sort of sugary syrup covered fruit comes to mind or syrupy dessert cake. Once it opens up the fruits become more intense and the yeast element is tamed. There is almost no alcohol. A little bit of spice. Avoids being too sweet as well. Red grapes are present as well. Wonderfully complex and delicious.

M - So insanely smooth. This is my third tasting of this beer and it happens every time. That is one of the things you notice with Westvleteren 12. The fact that it is so incredibly smooth and easy drinking, going down without any sort of sting and almost not wanting to swallow earns lot's of points. You need about half a bottle to realize the ease that you can drink this and yet enjoy it so much and recognize its subtleties. The body is full but not thick, a little creamy, and has medium carbonation.

O/D - I can't see how people consider this the best tasting beer in the world. But it's lovely complexity and texture are world class. It's amazingly drinkable, wonderfully smooth and flavourful. The yeast character at the start is a surpise, but once it opens up it becomes a great, complex beer. It seems alot more yeasty and sugary than other quads...probably due to the amount of candi sugar used. My girlfriend thought it was the best beer she'd ever had.

Photo of Dobby
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle from Cracked Kettle in Amsterdam. Lugged around in my suitcase all around europe for the next 3 weeks. I was wondering if it even survived the journey..

A: Pours a dark copper brown, with a good one finger head that just wont seem to go away.

S: Figs, plums, mostly dark fruit and booze.

T: The dark fruit really comes through and creates a wonderful taste. Everything works so well together. Slight boozyness in the finish, but overall very light for such a high abv.

D: great. You can barely taste any alcohol in this beer and you only feel it about half way through when a nice creeping buzz hits you.

O: Love it, which it wasnt so hard to get or damn expensive.

Photo of jradams76
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into pint glass

A: Color is dark amber brown. Excellent lacing.

S: You can smell hints of plums, figs, and other fruitiness.

T: Perfect rounded balance of fruit and malt with minimal hoppiness. Hides the alcohol very well.

M: A very tastey beer indeed. I really love this beer it is a good beer. It reminds me more of the Rochefort 8 than the 10.

D: Easy to drink and would drink another but want to save one for a couple years.

Photo of TheEpeeist
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

.33 L bottle at the Tap House in Norfolk back in 2006. Drove down from Philly just to try this one minutes from the home of a good friend.

Chocolate brown with thin creamy head. Whiff of flowers, malts; so gentle. Incredibly balanced taste. A flavor like other Belgians I’ve had but super refined. I can see what the others were striving for. Curiously recognizable but almost as if from a dream. Once you’re immersed the 12 goes down just like water. Buzz creeps in half way through; makes me happy. I think I could drink these continuously for a few days.

Not the beast I expected but a Shakespearean achievement of fermentation. A keystone of western culture.

Photo of weissbierdrinker
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark brown color with a fluffy tan head that fades leaving some lacing around the glass.

Smell is of figs, vanilla, banana nut bread, rum cake, and plum

Taste is malty sweet, candi sugar, rum notes, bready plum flavors, alcohol is very well hidden, nice and chewy. Carbonation is perfect. Some banana and clove with some spicy characteristics. A very complex beer, lots going on here. A real treat wish I could drink this more often.

Photo of tarheels86
4.97/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

330mL 2003 ed

A- Pours very deep brown almost black with a thin tan head that leaves some nice bubbles and a faint protective layer. Really wants to lace well. Other samples I've had at In De Vrede usually prodcue large patterns of webby lace on the Westy chalice.

N- Outstanding on the older bottles: loads of rum raisin, malaga gelato, light cognac, dates, figs, mulled apple cider. Whoa.

T- Similar: tons of gourmet dark fruits, cognac, milk chocolate, ganache, chocolate mousse, mulled red wine. A little warming from the 10%. This is seriously good.

P- Beautiful creamy, rich palate. Definitely gains mouthfeel and body from the aging.

Definitely one to age for 5+ years.

Photo of stageseven
4.55/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pouring the bottle into the glass was a little whiff of Belgium. The smell was fruity, of cherries, apple, and candied sugar. Around the edges of the smell there's a bit of round hops that have just a bit of bite. It's a fairly strong smell, but mainly sweet, with little bitterness present. Underneath was just a touch of roast, but it's faint.

The beer poured a deep brown color, fairly cloudy, and with quite a bit of sediment in the bottom. There's nearly a finger of yeast sediment at the bottom of the bottle, in large white flakes. There's almost no head, just a slight dusting of off-white head. The ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass left a touch of lacing.

The taste was initially of chocolate and fruit, with a good candy sweetness, but still some tartness in the mouth. Towards the back of the tongue, a smooth hop bitterness took over. The malty chocolate flavor sat just in the middle of the tongue. I noticed just a hint of alcohol flavor as well, not nearly enough to indicate the 10.2+% that this beer contained. The flavor was very strong though, absolutely filling the mouth, and leaving a fruity and bitter aftertaste for quite a while.

It's a very full bodied drink, absolutely thick and syrupy. There's quite a bit of carbonation though, much more than I'd expect from such a thick beer. It left a filmy coating on the teeth as well. The beer warmed the throat going down, a much better indicator of how strong it is.

It's definitely a very good drink, and well worth getting your hands on one. I didn't like it quite as much as the 8, but it's probably more a style preference than anything else. I'm not sure exactly how old the bottle was, at least 4 months, and probably older.

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

This bottle was courtesy of lotsaswigs (thanks Eric!) at DLD. The bottle was from '08. It poured a dark raisin brown, very cloudy, with a light cream colored head. The head was ultimately smooth and creamy and sat atop the brew in such a delicate manner. It looked exceptional! The aromas consisted of a lot of yeast, bananas, cloves, freshly baked bread, and it had a sweet and dry malty finish. The flavors were very full and consisted of bananas, yeast, freshly baked bread, and some type of nut (hazelnut perhaps). It was simply delicious. It was very full in body and quite thick. It was also exceptionally smooth. Wow, this is hands down the best Quad I've ever had. What an amazing beer. Thanks again Eric!

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

Holy cow, I'm drinking the number one rated beer in the world. Lets do this. Poured into a wine glass.

A - Deep ruby-brown body with lots of visible sediment. Then again, I'm drinking the last 1/3 of a bottle that I shared with two others. Head has great retention and by far the best lacing I've ever seen.

S - Smells like a malty red wine with a slight hint of orange. I'm blown away by the scent.

T - Wow. Honey and oak. Really rich yet still remains incredibly drinkable. The alcohol in this is hidden amazingly. Nice dryness in the finish with an aftertaste that stays for quite a while but is really enjoyable.

M - Like velvet on the tongue. Very full-bodied but manages to stay light on the tongue as well.

O - Definitely deserves its high rank. This is a beer you have to experience. I'll be damned if I never get to drink it again.


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

Purchased from http://shop.belgianshop.com/ $40+shipping

Bottle stamped 23.03.14

Appearance: Ruby coloring. 2 bottle were shared among 3 people.

Smell: Reminded me of smelling a bag of candy.

Taste: smooth dry beer.

Mouthfeel: Smooth

Overall: Only downside was price. Worth it for the experience.

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

Cap stamped 23.03.14. Poured into a wine glass. Thanks to Chrislouden for getting these two bottles; he's the most awesome dude ever!

Appearance - Dark clear ruby black. cream colored head. With good lacing.

Smell - Candy. Almost medicinal, but not in a bad way. Just in a weird exotic way. and something delicious I haven't found in any other beer ever.

Taste - Dark fruit body, honey finish. Hidden alcohol, but still with a delicious sharpness to it. Strange sweetness that I can't identify. like some sort of exotic fruit. Pomegranate maybe?

Mouthfeel - Smooth body. Nice sharpness to it that dissipates and doesn't leave a strong alcoholic breath like other beers might.

Overall - Lived up to the hype. I was hoping i wouldn't be let down and i wasn't. I would call this the best beer in the world for sure.

Photo of cbingham24
4.78/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Murky dark brown with a solid finger and a half of head that sits around and leaves slabs of lace.

S- Sweet malt, toffee and sugar. Some liquorice and warming alcohols.

T- A medium to thick body. Candy sugars, molasses and liquorice. Bitter roasted barley and hops. Starts dry and definately becomes sweeter. A slight alcohol that lingers in the back of the throat. mouth.

M- Good medium level carbonation. The generous malt body does give it a good solid almost chewy feel.

O- Sweet and thick. A joyous discovery. Doesn't get much better. The reason Trappists are the best. Westy 12 you have my heart.

Photo of Trizzle
4.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Murky dark brown with a solid finger and a half of head that sits around and leaves slabs of lace.

Sweet malt, raw sugar, toffee and a background of wet grass and hay in the nose. Some liquorice, and warming alcohols in the mix as well.

A medium thick body full of raw cereal, muscovado and candy sugars, molasses and liquorice in the malt. Bitter roasted barley and hops from the boil bring a good hit of dry bitterness in the middle. Finish starts dry and becomes sweeter. A slight alcohol that lingers in the back of the throat is the only real sign of the ABV.

Good medium level carbonation plus the very generous malt body give a good solid chewiness. (I think this is the only area where this beer definitively tops the fantastic Rochefort 10)

I like it. Its my 3rd lash at the 12 and I hope I get another go.

Photo of stakem
4.08/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I decided to open one of these on Good Friday. The usual suspects were in attendance for a tasting at my place so why not start it off right with a Westy 12.

Poured from a bottle (just shy of a year old) into a small Westy goblet at cellar temperature. This brew appears a clear amber color with ruby and orange tints around the edges of the glass. A cap of fizzy yellowish tan head forms a finger's worth of head that dissolves to a thin lacing across the top of the brew. A light swirl revives the head and produces some spotty lacework on the glass.

The smell of this brew is sweet with dark fruitiness riddled with candy sugar. It smells of plums, raisins, dates and brown sugar. Just collectively a bunch of deep sweet scents whack the nose. A light touch of fruity alcohol is present and a contrasting strong herbal to almost medicinal hoppy bitterness keeps the sweetness of this brew's smell in check.

The taste of this brew is sweet caramelized sugars tasting reminiscent of plums and raisins. There is a light nuttiness to the malt flavoring and a strong booze flavor that is backed by herbal flavors and modest hoppy bitterness. This initially tasted like the sweetness could get out of control but the alcohol and hoppy bitterness keep it balanced. There is a lingering taste of candy left in the mouth coupled with fusel alcohol and a bit of yeastiness that provides a light spiced aspect like clove.

This is a medium bodied brew that has a lively, prickly level of carbonation. A little young, green yeastiness is present throughout the flavor profile. This is more herbal and bitter than I was expecting with hops being more evident than I would prefer but regardless it is balanced well and enjoyable. I couldn't wait any longer to open this brew and finally give it a try. Unfortunately it did not live up to my expectations, shame on me for opening this too early. Perhaps I will need to acquire a vintage bottle and revisit my review.

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

*2008 Vintage; cellared since fall '08*
Opened 25/04/11
Poured into Red Wine goblet

A: Deep, rich, thick brown with an equally thick, almost viscous creamy foam atop -- reminds me of cappuchino!

S: Roasted barley, faint leather, coffee, ever-so-faint alcohol, damp earth, mineral, biscuit, oak.

T: Very rich -- like candy. A cascade of biscuity malt with the perfect balance of bitterness reminiscent of a good espresso -- oaky, like a barrel-aged stout or even a smooth bourbon. And keeps on going.

M: I want to just keep going with this brew. No stickiness -- perfectly balanced, ideal carbonation.

O: Oh man. Even apart from the mystique, it's art. The mystique is there for good reason! Worth seeking out, and cellar it if you've got strong enough resolve.

I paired it with a Polyface Farms "Fauxo-" buco (adult beef shank), risotto milanese, sugar snap peas, and sour cream biscuits. An excellent pairing, but not perfect -- the beer was actually a bit strong for the food. It could stand a stronger, heartier dish, but it does love the garlic-tomato stewed meat and marrow.

Photo of davidfortunato
4.35/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (the only available option) at the In de Vrede, the only place that sells white market Westvleteren.

Overall, this is a textbook quadrupel. It was not, however, markedly better than the neighboring St. Bernardus. I understand that the rarity of this beer may drive up the ratings a bit, and that's understandable, but this is not the best beer, or even quadrupel I have had. It was, however, fantastic, and I highly recommend trying one if you have the opportunity to visit In de Vrede. The pilgrimage is worthwhile.

Photo of schlimenhaumer
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a goblet at low altitude.

A: Beautiful nearly opaque brown butter color with a formidable cream-colored head. Excellent lacing.

S: A very complex smell with some fresh yeasty notes, fruitiness and a bit of alcohol. I'm excited to drink this.

T: Everything you could possibly want in a Belgian quad. Perfect rounded balance of fruit and malt with minimal hoppiness. Can't taste the alcohol at all.

M: Definitely an experience on the same level as the taste. Wet at the beginning with some delightful tingling from the carbonation. Drinking water with this kind of mouthfeel would be a pleasure.

D: If I could procure this readily, I would drink it every night.

Photo of CruisaC
4.47/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into hotel glass to celebrate my 30th birthday. Cap stamped 16/6/13.

Pours a dark brown, not unlike the color of the bottle it was poured from. Forms at least an inch of tan head which clings to the glass like someone was coming to take it away

Smells of raisins, grape juice, and caramel.

The taste is more of the same. I love that grape juice characteristic, which is not unlike Pannepot Old Fisherman's ale. Very pleasant overall.

Finishes smooth. Very carbonated but not overly so.

Ahhhh, the question that can not be answered: is this the best beer in the world? It is certainly one of the best I've ever had, but I'm fairly new to the ticking scene, so I don't know how I'll ever k ow, unless I get my hands on a case and can compare every year or so to the new beers I've come across. Overall wonderful and one I'm glad to have ticked.

Photo of
4.15/5  rDev -10%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Purchased this at de Bier Tempel in Brussels and had it in my hotel room, which was actually equipped with a bottle opener and a proper beer glass. This beer pours deep, ruby-tinted brown with a huge and dense fluffy white head. The nose is malty and complex, with notes of dark dried fruits, cocoa, honey, and faint spiciness. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, and the taste is complex with more dark fruit and caramel with almost port-like flavours. Alcohol is present and warming, but not hot despite the ABV of 11%. Probably not the best beer I’ve ever had, but damn good.

Photo of Bisho
4.86/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Like the 8 I had this one straight from the abbaye itself.
Once again super fresh and super tasty!
I want bore you with the same tasting notes that 1000 others have already beaten me to. I will say that whilst I do prefer the 8, this is still an exceptional beer but it also proves that sometimes more isn't necessarily better.
Not quite up there with the worlds greatest quad, Rochefort 10, but damn it came close.

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,026 ratings.