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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

4,713 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,713
Reviews: 1,617
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 8.89%
Wants: 2,892
Gots: 1,356 | FT: 103
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:
(Yellow Cap)

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,713 | Reviews: 1,617 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Pencible
4.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 vintage. This poured a hazy mahogany with moderate light tan head. It smelled like strong sweet brown sugar and caramel and creamy yeast, with some banana nut bread and milk chocolate and confectioners sugar and raisin. It tasted like toffee and brown sugar and raisin and banana nut bread, with creamy yeast and cocoa powder and chalky confectioners sugar. It was oily with smooth carbonation, and had a bittersweet aftertaste. Overall this was amazingly sweet (malty) and complex. It really is one of the best Belgian ales ever. It had a delicious scent and taste, with great body. The alcohol was well hidden, so it was easy to drink, but it definitely needs to be sipped to be fully savored. I'm curious how this tastes fresh, but I don't know when I'll ever find out. Regardless, this beer meets the hype. Fantastic.

Pencible, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of Anthony1
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark brown/red color, lots of carbonation, nice small creamy head which leaves pretty quick, lots of nice lacing throughout the drink in forms of islands in some spots. Scents are very complex, lots of stuff going on, but could detect plums, raisins, toffee. The taste is very very nice, I believe I've had nothing like this so far. Nice tart/tangy/sweet flavor. Could taste plums/grapes I think. The finish is dry and clean. Medium body, well rounded, with a carbonated feel. Very drinkable. This is my first Westy, and what a powerful/excellent/awesome brew. Just might have to try and get some soon.

Anthony1, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of ffejherb
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to akorsak for sharing this 12oz. bottle on 12/22/09.

A - Emerged from the bottle as a chunky, muddy-looking brown, earthy color with half an inch of bubbly beige head that retained well but only left some spotty lace that slid down the sides of the glass.

S - Sweet and malty aroma with lots of dark fruit tang suggesting raisins, plums and dark wine-like grapes. Toffee and caramel notes are also abundant. Floral hop notes add a bit of contrast, but work nicely with the sweetness of the nose. Subtle honey notes also opened up as the liquid reached room temperature.

T - My initial take is that this reminds me of a liquid Heath bar. Uber-toffee notes dominate, while caramel candies and sugary sweet notes mingle with more slightly bittersweet licorice notes and a mild floral hop bitterness.

M - Thick and syrupy with a solid medium body and very sparse carbonation. Finishes sweet with a hint of bitterness on the palate.

D - Yes this is a great Quad to say the least, but is it THE best beer in the world? Well, perhaps not in my humble opinion, but still this is an excellent Quad.

ffejherb, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of jbphoto88
4.15/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

For a beer that is so hard to get there sure is a lot of us BA's reviewing it. Time to add my two cents.. This westy 12 pours leathery brown with strong caps of white suds on top. The last third of the pour starts to get a murky. Gritty, chunky, yeasty stuff escapes the bottle and into my glass. I'm ok with that, it's all part of the Belgian experience.

Wow the smell is pretty amazing. Dark candied sugars dissolved in honey, molasses and rum soaked raisins with a peppery, bready punch. The previous sentence packed with descriptions is the only way to portray the nose. Each whiff has so much going on, each time I smell something a little different.

The taste is also quite satisfying and quite layered like the nose. Sweet, caramelized malts with candied sugar. Following are hints of spices, dark fruits and a touch of booziness. It is a little too sweet for my taste but I still give it high marks for the flavors pushing through that sweetness.

The mouthfeel is very smooth with a nice peppery kick in the finish. It's heavier then I expected but not chewy like a stout. Lightly carbonated and full bodied with a dry boozy warmth in the finish.

I try not to buy into the hype but I honestly think it somewhat sways my senses. I honestly can't be sure if it made me more critical or more flexible but what I am sure of is that this is a very good beer. It's not my favorite and not as good as Rochefort 10 but it is up there. What it's not, is worth the hype. I wouldn't pass up another one but I would not actively search it out again. There are far better beers that are readily available here in the States.

jbphoto88, Dec 29, 2009
Photo of jampics2
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review #100. Glad I finally started documenting the beers I've tasted lately!! Here's to the next 100!

The myth, the legend. A beer that sat in my cellar wanting to be opened. Its siren song always calls out, now it must be answered.

Split with family - 4 oz or so in my New Belgium globes. Looks great, caramel brown with a small head that quickly disappears.

Smell is amazing. Plums, grapes, chocolate malt, alcohol, caramel.

Taste is what makes this #1. Is it similar to others like St. Bernardus? Yes, but NO. To say yes would be to liken a Lexus to a Bentley. Both are very nice cars (I'd drive either in a heartbeat) but only one is truly a marvel of engineering and craft. A spicey taste shocks the palatte. A wave of caramel and nutty malt is surfed by a grape/plum taste that never truly "fades". The lingering taste has more dark fruit and yeasty elements, then finally subsides. This is a marvel of taste engineering - the flavor just embodies the word "refined". Something for everyone in this beer, not surprised at all that it's so highly regarded.

Mouthfeel is amazing. It's velvet on the tongue, great body and carb support the flavor explosion. Wow. Wow. Wow. Best mouthfeel ever perhaps.

Drinkability is also unheard-of. To be blessed with great friends, great beers, and great memories is what life is about. This is a beer to celebrate the best of all life has to offer!

jampics2, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of hrking
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is an awesome brew. Lots of candi sugar and not heavy on the annoying clove corriander like some Belgians. Highly and dangerously drinkable.A true find worth searching out for those who have yet to try it..Best in the world? But worth seeking for sure..I must admit though this is a must try! Cheers

hrking, Dec 27, 2009
Photo of mothman
4.28/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into one of my goblets.

Pours a small 1/2 finger of tan head. Color is a very hazed murky caramel brown. Head fizzles down to a thin layer fast. Leaves some lace.

Smell is very complex with bready and caramel malts. Cherries, plums, and other dark dried fruits present. Also some booze and silk chocolate in the aroma. Toffee notes, figs, and Belgian candi sugar.

Taste: Chocolate, cherries, plums, raisins, apples, and some heat. Caramel and bready malts. Pretty solid brew. I also get the toffee, figs, and candi sugar again. Petty malty brew.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Feels very creamy and smooth. Ends a little dry but doesn't have a lot of heat as most quads do.

Overall, is it worth it? I would have to say sort of. Is it good? Yes. I really like this quad because it isn't so boozy as compared to a lot of the other quads I have had. It is worth a try. A lot of nice flavors in this beer. A bit slow drinking, however.

mothman, Dec 24, 2009
Photo of callmescraps
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally. I've been craving this since my first day on BA. Lots of thanks to the lady friend for getting this for my b-day. Awesome present. Here goes nothing. Opens with a great hiss, poured into my Westy glass.

Appearance - A nice deep ruby, brown. Chestnut. An inch of creamy tan head. It settles into a nice quarter inch cap that isn't going anywhere. Looks great. That cap isn't going anywhere. The cap is there for the duration. Great lacing.

Smell - A little subdued at first. Lots of nice yeast. A sweet malty smell as well. Nutty, definitely. Some dark fruit. Hint of raisin, more plum. Fresh baked black bread.

Taste - A very nice complex taste right off the bat. Cherry, definitely. And some grape. Sweet nuttiness. Can definitely taste the booze, in a nice way. It has a warm, boozy finish. I'd love this on a cold day. Vinous, surprisingly. Almost a hint of citrus. This has a lot of things that those barrel-aged, blended, crazy concoctions have, but in just a simple, natural way. Complex, but clean flavors.

Mouthfeel - Nice carbonation. Just a hint, a tiny hint, on the thin side. Still excellent.

Drinkability - Too damn good. Trying to slow down to let it warm up.

An excellent, exceptional beer. It may not be the best beer I've ever had, but I certainly understand why so many believe that it is. I may prefer the Abt 12, but this is about as good as it gets.

callmescraps, Dec 18, 2009
Photo of MPLS
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

We all know it's reputation and beer geek admiration. There is no special occasion as to why I'm drinking this special beer.

The basement was at just about the right temp, but I put it in the fridge for about 10 minutes to get it to the low 50 degrees. The cap came off with a very short escape of air. The cap has 100 08007 on it or 08/10/07 as a best by date, but I can attest to this beer being properly stored? A lot of dead yeast remain in the bottle and settled there with my slow pour. I almost want to give a 4.5 based on reputation alone, but I can't.

A: The carbonation is looking a little sparse, a small 0.5 cm head that slowly settles into swirls atop the Chimay glass. There is a nice lace ring that stays on the outside. The beer has a dark brown/plum color that doesn't let the UV rays through. Good looking color, but was expecting a bigger Belgian head, perhaps the age of the beer can be the cause of that?

S: A behemoth aroma on this beer: Complexly sweet with vinous grapes, rum soaked cherries, raisin skins, anything dark 'n' sweet under the sun really. In addition to this there is a molasses like sweetness that is paired with some spice and black licorice.

T: Not the prettiest thing to look at, but my what a complex flavor profile. I find immediate gratification as it touches my tongue. The aroma was amazing and the taste is equally complex, but in a largely understated way. Up front is muted grapes and raisins that prospers into other an almost prolonged honey, berry, sugary finish with the tiniest amount of burn maybe due to the age. The taste isn't aggressive and I find it pretty divinely smooth.

M: The mouf of this beer is thick bodied and exceptionally creamy.

D: This beer is pretty rather divine and I am almost tempted to try and fetch another few bottles. I almost did not want to like this beer going into it because of its scarcity and it always seems like a faux pas to give into "the best". A complex aroma and a smooth/mellow flavor (appropriating this to the age of the beer) made for a great experience.

MPLS, Dec 15, 2009
Photo of froglord
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I approach the Westy 12 with a little trepidation. I've tried all of the currently available Trappist beers except for the Westvleterens and my experience has been mixed.

There have been some good beers, to be sure. The Rochefort 10, Chimay Red, Koningshoeven Dubbel and Achel Blonde are all tasty beers which I'll be trying again, but the others have been less inspiring, some even disappointing, given the weight of expectation. Could it be true that some of the Trappist ales aren't what they used to be? As a newcomer to strong Belgian beer, I can't really say.

However, I couldn't pass up the chance to try the legendary Westvleteren 12 when the opportunity presented itself (thanks, Thijs!). Could it possibly live up to its reputation? After leaving upright for the recommended eight days (!) to allow the sediment to settle, I cracked open the bottle...

I used an entirely inappropriate Young's pint glass - useful for containing large heads while maintaining a single-action pour that gets maximum beer with minimum chance of sediment contamination. Except that the Westy pours with only a small head for such a strong beer (unlike, say, Duvel, whose foam creeps inexorably out of the freshly opened bottle like an amorphous alien life form oozing from its lair). The sediment is so dark that it's easy to stop the pour before it escapes.

The beer is a dark bronze and slightly hazy in the glass. The taste is an explosion of dark fruit, Christmas cake, molasses and toffee, with a wine-like intensity that nevertheless masks the full extent of the alcohol (over 10% ABV). There's plenty of rich malt, but the hops put in a decent appearance too. The mouthfeel is luxurious, and I like the low carbonation. There's a great balance between bitterness and a slight sweetness. The aftertaste is a thing of wonder, retaining a huge amount of the original flavour, giving you the impression that you haven't actually swallowed the mouthful yet, even though you have. Some beer, even the very strong rich Belgians, tastes good but seems to have some element missing. The Westy satisfies across the entire taste spectrum. Liquid bread? Liquid banquet, more like.

My wife, raised on much milder English ales and suspicious of anything over 6% ABV, helped me drink this with gusto.

I didn't want to disappoint my supplier by telling him I found it merely pleasant, but I needn't have worried - its reputation is justified. This is my favourite Trappist beer, without a doubt. The hype, the cachet, the rarity: all of these are irrelevant. It simply tastes better than all the others. My favourite ever beer? Probably not, but it's fairly close.

Incidentally, when you pour this, make sure none of the sediment gets through. Once I'd finished my glass, I went back and poured the last inch or so through a paper kitchen towel, hoping to filter out the sediment and get another few sips. I failed and ended up with a very hazy last inch. It didn't taste the same: drinkable, but the complexity was gone. Other beers (St. Austell Clouded Yellow, for example) seem quite tolerant to this, but not the Westy. Remember: store upright for eight days and leave the black sludge in the bottle!

froglord, Dec 13, 2009
Photo of kingcrowing
4.58/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12.oz bottle from 2009 AND an 11.2oz bottle from 1995 poured into a sampling glass - HUGE thanks to stowehop for his generosity!

Pours a rich deep golden/amber/ruby with a thing light fluffy head, surprisingly still there on the '95 but more subtle than on the '09. Nose is very complex, slight booze - but not much for a 10.2% beer. Has quite a bit of sweetness, and on the '95 a ton of rum/raisin as well.

Taste is very crisp and sweet and it's got some complex grain/earthy flavors. Light belgian yeastiness to it with raisins dominating the flavor. The '95 as much more mellow and drinkable/smooth but the '09 was very bright and sharp, both were excellent!

kingcrowing, Dec 13, 2009
Photo of br3wmeister
4.1/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

18.12.10
9.11.11

A- Large multi textured light tan head with large bubbles suspended in thick foam. Great head retention and good lacing. The beer is dark brown in color with some haziness, minimal light penetration.

S- Large fruity aroma, cherries, apples, peaches and plums. Also a great malty profile displaying Caramel, roasted pecans and a touch of molasses. The yeast really makes this beer shine with some nice spicy notes to balance all the sweet malty character.

T- Spicy fruit up front then some roasted nuts and fruit are accompanies by dry bitter spice, warming alcohol and a slight peppery flavor. Cherries, raspberries make an appearance in the flavor as well. This is a very complex and tasty beer.

M- This is a full bodied beer with a nice oily smoothness and dry bitter bite in the end. The alcohol is a little apparent for my taste.

Overall this is a great quad, and a great beer in general.

br3wmeister, Dec 07, 2009
Photo of colts9016
4.68/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I am so freakin happy, I finally get to try this beer. This beer is my 500th review. It has been sitting in my cellar for almost a year. I had to beg borrow and almost steal to get someone one to trade me for this beer. When I got this beer there were far fewer reviews. I know everybody wants this beer so tonight is my night to either defeat the hype or promote it. Poured into a a tulip glass at 45 degrees.

Appearance: The head is a light tan one finger and has good retention. The head is creamy and frothy and left lacing on the glass. The color of the beer is a very dark brown color and is very hard to distinguish. The clarity of the beer is opaque and hazy.

Nose: A rich fruity aroma with alcohol presents. There is a peppery, cloves, bananas, phenols, and yeast/bread. There is so much going on in the beer that I could have missed something or some compound. In the back ground of the beer there is some solvent and sweetness.

Taste: A very deep rich fruity malty flavors. The flavors are peppery, cloves, yeasty bread, phenols and banana. There is a lot going on in the flavors. In the background of the beer there is some alcohol warmth and some sweetness.

Overall: The mouth feel is carbonated, warming, and smooth. The body of the beer is medium and the finish is medium to medium full. This beer is fantastic, it has so much going on in it, yet it is so simple. The flavor explode in your mouth and is very easy to drink. The head was disappointing, nonetheless, the flavor makes up for it. I am so glad that I got to try it. It is just amazing.

colts9016, Dec 01, 2009
Photo of MrIncognito
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

All I can say is... FINALLY!

A - Dark hazy brown body beneath a thick and fluffy slightly offwhite head. Fantastic retention, the head lasts a solid 4-5 minutes then settles to a 1/4-inch foamy cap that lasts the duration of the beer. Wonderful sticky lacing.

S - Really, really nice and strong aroma. Dark malts, dark chocolate, and then alcohol soaked fruits such as cherries and plums. Slight pruney aroma with a deep breath. Some nice spices in there, almost like all spice, and then peppery perhaps from the alocohol.

T&M - Very peppery taste on the tip of my tongue at first sip then the dark fruits come through very intensely. Definite alcohol soaked cherries and more prune than plum coming through. Lightly sweet but not overly so. The spicey alcohol and smooth dark malts mellow out the sweetness. Nice kick of Belgian yeast as the beer is swallowed and again the alcohol throws pepper at you as it is swallowed. Dark bread crust lingers in the aftertaste with just a touch of cherries. Moderate/high carbonation gives this a dry feel but not overly spritzy or champaign-like. Somewhat sticky on the lips and tongue keeps this from being overly dry. Balanced and complex are the best words for this beer.

D - Obviously a sipper but goes down really well. So complex in the flavors and develops nicely as it warms to room temperature. The alcohol is noticable in the spicey flavor it gives but does not come across boozy, so I think I could easily do two of these. A pleasure to drink and I really would like to have this again and would love to cellar a few as well to see what age will do.

MrIncognito, Nov 30, 2009
Photo of hobojon
4.45/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle brough back from Belgium by a friend, bought in the cafe. Cap code: 05.05.12. Served in tulip glass.

Aroma- solvent alc. funky sweet caramel. toast crust, roasty burnt sugar. pils malt. spicy, minty noble hop. dark fruit. sulfur, dissipates with time. much better with some warmth and time.

App- deep red, darker than the 8. big tan foam stays for awhile. laces around glass.

Taste- tart and sweet, pear, alcohol. mouth watering tart berries. plum, raisin, grape and cherries. bread crust, roasty chocolate, caramel. hops are present and minty, herbal, and spicy. subtle grapefruit.

Mouth- full, creamy. dry for perceived sweetness. some alcohol in the mouth.

Overall- very good. great tart taste. complex, great sipper. not the best quad I have had though.

hobojon, Nov 30, 2009
Photo of mikey711
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I have been looking forward to this one for a while and split a couple with some great friends and family. Poured into a Chimay Goblet

A: Murky brown like a dark apple cider. Lots of sediment in the glass when viewed in the light. The head was only about a quarter inch thick and did not retain very well but a nice layer of white foam remains on top of the beer throughout.

S: This smelled fantastic. Rich toffee and caramel were pretty dominant. It also smelled a bit like a caramel covered green apple. The green apple esters were very pleasant. There was a mild amount of booziness and a great gram cracker note.

T: The taste was very similar to the smell. What really impressed me was the complexity of this beer. My favorite part was definitely the gram cracker. Also a nice mild grape and green apple note balance out the sweetness from the candied sugar.

M: Very impressed by the creaminess os this beer. I was very pleased that it was not cloying sweet.

D: Definitely worth the hype behind it. I dont know if I could drink this everyday, but it is worth it

mikey711, Nov 30, 2009
Photo of beerwolf77
4.3/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been sitting on this beer for a special occasion. Well fellow BA BeerFMAndy shares the same birthday with myself so I believe that qualifies.

Poured and split into two tulip glasses the beer is a muddy cinnamon hue with about an inch of creamy tan head. The head settles leaving slight ring of slippery lace.

The aroma is tad more subdued then I had expected. Candied fruit, brown sugar, fresh baked bread and maybe a hint of spice. Still not the olfactory monster I had hoped for.

The flavor is caramel malt up front. With sweet candied fruit, cocoa, toffee, cinnamon toast and a touch of bitter fruit in the finish. Dryer and more tart then I would have imagined.

Medium creamy body with moderate carbonation. Basic quad feel.

Overall not quite the mind blowing experiance I had envisioned for the number one beer. A good beer that I would love to revisit. I'm glad I was able to share this with a friend for our birthdays.

beerwolf77, Nov 29, 2009
Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz label-less bottle shared and poured into a Unibroue tulip. 10,2% ABV on the cap but no date (although it's fairly fresh).

Many, many thanks to a generous friend; Todd aka Beerwolf77
Happy shared birthday Todd!

A - Clear dark amber with caramel hints and a low, creamy dense head that formed off an aggressive/tall pour into the center of the glass. Good retention with a bit of lacing that tries hard to cling to the glass despite my constant swirling.

S - The aroma is deep and mysterious with toasted, bread-like malts that fade in and out of the foreground complimented by a low but persistent dark fruit nose of raisin, grape, and prune. A bit of dark candi sugar and brown sugar too. Small amounts of spice poke through with the low alcohol nose. Very mild and not hot or fusel at all. The nose is much better and open after a few good swirls, otherwise its a bit timid.

T - Lightly toasted, bready malts that have a really good smooth feel with a mellow candi sugar and brown sugar flavor with lots of dark fruits in the background. Raisin, grape, prune, and dark cherry. A fantastic tasting, mellow quad. Tiny hints of spice with almost no alcohol flavor for its percent. Again, I only wish the flavor was just a SMALL bit more upfront.

M - Super-smooth like velvet and medium-full bodied. A lasting sweetness with a very small bitterness to the finish. Mellow overall and well carbonated but its so complex and smooth otherwise I didn't even think about it.

D - An incredibly easy drinking beer, especially for a Belgian Quad. After all the hype of being the "number one beer" I think I'm a little disenchanted with it. A great beer, that's to be certain of, but had I not had the expectations I had, I'm sure I would have found it to be much better. Still an incredible beer I wish I could get more frequently.

Another huge thanks to Todd for sharing this with me for our shared birthday!

BeerFMAndy, Nov 29, 2009
Photo of WeedKing4
4.13/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to the bar manager for informing me this was on the 'secret' menu. Bottle pours a dark ruby brown with a little bit of foam. Tastes of very strong dark fruits with lots of flavour that lingers on the tongue. Its quite easy to drink considering the abv%. Its a decent beer, but it didn't wow me away being the number one rated beer in the world. Glad I got to try this though.

Got to try this again thanks to Jeffo. Very solid quad. It tasted a little hot at first, but it settled and became very drinkable. Lots of brown sugar and dark fruits in the flavour.

WeedKing4, Nov 28, 2009
Photo of Everdrift
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Many thanks to Brabender for affording me the opportunity to try this rare and profound brew.

Pours a deep nutty brown with a smallish head that dissipates rather quickly. I don't feel that the smaller head really counts much against it as a smoother, creamier, less carbonated mouthfeel is achieved through the lack of huge bubbliness.

The smell offers up a fine aroma of plum, pear, and sweet malt. It is not a nose that hits you over the head, but neither is the taste really. This ale is about subtlety, depth, and the interplay of flavors.

The taste is pretty deep. Dark fruity flavors are up front, such as plum and raisin. Alcohol is noticeable, but not nearly as strong as one might expect given the high ABV. Fruity flavors, toasty malts, and sweet belgian sugars all stand up over the high alcohol content. The taste has a special kind of depth that allows you to get into it it further and further the more you drink it.

The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, especially for such high ABV. A light carbonation is there, but not the dominant element. The alcohol doesn't burn too much, but it does numb the tongue slightly. I found all of this to be very pleasant and complimentary to the flavor.

Drinkability, what can I say? Very, very drinkable. Probably the most drinkable ale at this ABV that I have had. It compares very favorably overall to other Belgians that I've had, though I still need to try a couple of the classics. I just had a nice Maredsous 8 on draft at the Renaissance fair here in Texas and it was lovely but it didn't have the depth of character that this Westvleteren exhibited. This ale is a classic for sure. I don't know if it's the best in the world, but it's certainly in my top few beers I've tried.

Everdrift, Nov 28, 2009
Photo of digitalbullet
3.23/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: dark mahogany and... OH no! not a trace of a head!!!
Smell: Sweet candi sugar. Good malt in the nose. Minimal hops. Slight vanilla twang.
Taste: NOOO! this is supposed to be the holy grail!! It is overwhelmingly sweet. It has some redeeming qualities however. It is malty with some complex vanilla flavors.
unfortunately it tastes somewhat like the sweet unfermented mash.
Mouthfeel: thin, thin, thin, Not a trace of carbonation.
Drinkability: If this is the holy grail its one and done for me. I hope that I have been duped and I bought one of those counterfeit beers. I have one more in the cellar (my closet). Will edit my review if this was just a bad bottle.

digitalbullet, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of IronDjinn
4.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A massive thanks to Goldorak for giving me this treasure, hand delivering it no less. Yer a gentleman and a prince Martin! Bottlecap is dated 06.04.07.

Pours out a deep, nearly opaque murky brown in appearance, thin, quick creamy tan head that disappears quickly.

Well then, the aroma is absolutely gorgeous, if this is as good as it gets, then I'm content. Rich, vinous dark dried fruit, brown sugar, light caramel, plum and candi sugar, mild alcohol warmth and spice.

Bready, nutty, some toffee in the malt up front, sweet sugary alcohol warmth, candy-like berry sweetness and vinous dark fruit. Finish is dry, sweet yet earthy, low alcohol warmth into the aftertaste, spicy with a Turkish Delight savoury sweetness. I had this at a 4.5 starting out, but really, near the end of the glass, this is some 5 star flavour as good as and greater than the sum of its parts.

Mouthfeel is the only slight against it, thin and a bit watery, very low carbonation with some light stickiness.

One of those few beers that lives up to its hype and delivers, certainly does not disappoint, I now know the exemplar to hold all other quads up to. Wow.... Once again thanks to Goldorak, how am I gonna follow this one up?

IronDjinn, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of ShadesOfGray
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally had the oppertunity to devour a bottle of the holy grail of beers...aged 2 years mind you. I tried hard to have low expectations since a lot of Belgians beers have been letting me down lately. Better too to be pleasantly surprised than let down.
Let down? That didn't happen.
A: Medium dark brown with decent head.
S: From the moment the bottle was cracked open...the aroma was so strong, it filled the room and made my mouth start watering. Very strong Belgian strong dark ale/quad smell. Lots of dark sweet malts and fruits. A slight wine smell on the backside.
T: Just like the smell. Very complex. Tons of dark overripe fruits, sugars, slight booze, smooth.
I wish Westy 12 came in a 750ml, so tasty and easy to drink, it's gone before you know it. Don't pass up an oppertunity to try Westvleteren 12 atleast once in your lifetime!

ShadesOfGray, Nov 22, 2009
Photo of nomomentwasted
4.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this last night after having it sit in the cellar for quite a while now. Received it in a trade a few months ago and the best after date (to which I have been informed was three after it was bottled) had passed over a year ago, so I'm thinking this bottle was an '05.

Poured into a chalice and away we go.

Appearance: Dark orange-amber with huge amounts of sediment and floating yeasties and goodness. Nice head and lacing, but the yeastiness was the biggest surprise.

Smell: Holy cow, this is where the beer really picks up. Big notes on just so many different levels, the complexity is fantastic. Pour was still a little on the cool side, but as it warmed it smelled as fantastic as any beer I've ever smelled. Grapefruit, fig, anise, molasses, slight leather, caramel, and grape-raisin. Booze is a little present as well, but nothing too off-putting. Just excellent and complex, everything I had hoped for and more.

Taste: Wow, just keeps on coming. Fantastic dark fruits and licorice, with a slightly peppery alcohol that only really adds another dimension to the beer, in no way boozy. I can see where this beer probably was a bit sweeter a few years back, but it mellows beautifully. Part of the reason this beer is so loved I would have to feel is you can just tell it ages like a charm. Three tiers of taste, starting fruity, going more peppery, and finishing with a malty creaminess that is just awesome. Bravo.

Mouthfeel: Very nice, not too bitter in any way, and alcohol is more of a flavor than a harshness. Carbonation is still great after all these years too, and just works well.

Drinkability: I kept pulling it back and was saddened when it was gone. I have to say, when I had Bernardus 12 on tap a few times on tap, I really loved it, and this beer was everything it was and just a hint more. I don't know if I had them both aged to the same point what they would look like in comparison, but both are worthy and amazing beers. Worth its' post in the pantheon of great beers, this is for certain, and like everyone always says, I just wish I could grab this more regularly for a special occasion.

nomomentwasted, Nov 21, 2009
Photo of muttyd
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber/brown with some floaters. Thin tan head that slowly dissipates. Aroma is of plums, burnt sugar, & yeast. No hop aroma whatsoever.

Massively complex flavor. Brown sugar, fig, and plum sweetness. Alcohol is well hidden, but catches up with you in the end. Very creamy mouth feel; this beer completely coats your mouth and stays sticky throughout.

muttyd, Nov 16, 2009
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 4,713 ratings.