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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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5,128 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,128
Reviews: 1,650
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 3,084
Gots: 1,557 | 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: 5,128 | Reviews: 1,650 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tedsox31
4.89/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Served at 55 degrees F, it pours a thick and carbonated, off-white head. The color of the beer is medium brown and somewhere between translucent and opaque.

Aroma: Up front there is a ton of dark fruit character: raisins, cherries, and figs with cherries being the most aggressive. There is also some caramel and toffee flavors, and a touch of yeast and alcohol. As it warms some more of the yeasty character comes to the fore, along with a sweetness that wasn't there in the beginning.

Taste: There is a surprising lack of alcohol in this beer. What alcohol I did detect was well-hidden and not present until I was nearly done with the entire glass. The dark fruits mentioned in the aroma are all there, but there is also a bit of roastiness, similar to toasted oatmeal. The caramel and toffee flavors are there at the beginning, but as it warms they subside into more of an overall malt character. A touch of bitterness at the end is all that lets me know there were indeed hops added at some point in the brew day.

Mouthfeel: Creamy with medium carbonation. The taste of the sweetness lingers, but not in an unpleasant or cloying way.

Overall: Such a fantastic, fantastic beer, and well worth the wait I enforced upon myself. And it lives up to the hype! It's unbelievable to me that there are Belgians out there that have the opportunity to drink this beer on a semi-regular basis. I will seek this beer out again sometime, and encourage all beer lovers to try it at some point in their lives.

Photo of vandemonian
4.38/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Trappist Westvleteren 12 is a strong flavoured and delicious quad. I tasted it along side St Bernardus Abt 12. The St Bernardus looked better and smelled better but the Westy tasted better

A: Cloudy brown/red colour and a 1 cm head that is maintained by very good carbonation. 4

S: Malty with some yeasty aroma and a hint of alcohol. There is also a hint of raisins. 4.5

T: Malty with some delicious mellow yeast flavour that has a sawdust-like character. It is dark, fruity and tangy. The main flavour in the aftertaste is raisins as well as a hint of bitter chocolate. The alcohol has a noticeable kick in the tail. 4.5

M: Fizzy and foamy. 4.5

O: 4.5

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

This is my first Westy 12!!!

HUGE thanks to a regular trading partner Daniloknezic!

Date on cap reads: 23.03.14

poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: light brown bodied beer with cranberry hue noted when held up to light. 1 finger of tan colored head that fades down into a thin cap on top of the beer.

Smell: Very fruity smelling quad; apples, pears, and dark fruits abound. A mild spicy smell is noted in the nose as well.

Taste: Caramel and brown sugar malty sweet goodness. Also very fruity just like the nose. Dark fruits are prominent. Hints of pears, red delicious apples and white grapes. Malty sweet and fruity. Its delicous.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied beer with lively moderate carbonation. This beer is soo rediculously smooth and yet it has a syrupy feel to it is well. Not boozey at all. As the beer warms it becomes a little dry. Fantastic mouthfeel.

Overall: Yes I agree. This beer is living up to the hype for me. I really enjoy this beer and I want to get my hands on more! Seek it out and enjoy it. Every beer geek needs to try this once in thier life! Willing to visit the brewery for a beer that is without a doubt World Class beer!

Photo of BlackHaddock
4.61/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finaly got round to opening a bottle of this stuff (had 5 bottles for a number of years), lets see what all the fuss is about.

Poured into a Westvleteren chalice, it looked fairly limp compared to it's 8% brother, wispy head on top of a moody looking dark browny/red body. I tried not to let any sediment out the bottle, but a little managed to leap past me into the chalice, I'll drink the remainder of the bottle (a fifth) with most of the sediment at the end of the review. I am reviewing live as I drink this evening.

The nose is rich red fruits, dried on a bed of dark chocolate and aged with fine English Oak, this is a smell not to mess with.

The taste is fantastic, add some carbonisation and a heap of alcohol to the aforementioned aromas and you're half way there: I found a gargantuan amount of flavours and I now see why beery people clamour for this brew so much. Sweeter than I thought it would be (shared half a glass at the brewery bar when I bought the beer, don't remember the sweetness), but that doesn't detract from the tasting I'm currently having, which I'm really enjoying.

The 10.2% only become evident as the mouth dries, so well is the body and mouthfeel, a truely great beer, certainly now in my top 10, only the appearance letting it down.

Photo of mrnobody
4.33/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Figured review #100 should be for something special. Thanks to Jeffo for the bottle.

330 ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a dark reddish-brown with three plus fingers of thick brownish head with some darker/reddish patches like cinnamon on cappuccino. Great retention and sticky lacing.

S: Smells of yeast, spice, plum, alcohol.

T: Tastes of lots of rich dark fruit (plum, raisin, fig). Starts out very sweet but finishes nice and dry with just a hint of booze. Delicious.

M: Fairly full mouthfeel with subtle carbonation.

D: For a quad, drinkability is very high.

Photo of BeerWanker
4.49/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured into a chardonnay wine glass (a chalice style) as i am travelling and dont have my glasses. best before 7.1.14 drunk on 11.10.2011 (DD/MM/YY).

poor head retention with minimal lacing, not what i expected. i do believe the glass may be the issue here.

soft malty nose with raisins and stewed plums coming to the front with notes of rich barley and caramel at the finish.

sweet on the palate with rich flavours of malt and stewed fruits with hints of caramel on the back end. the sweetness works well with the 10.2 ABV but is a little cloying with the sweetness. only a little!

mouthfeel is fantastic, thick on the tongue and the faintest ethanolic presence which cuts through the high sugar content to leave you wanting more. very long finish, god its good.

overall a fantastic beer. however the excess sugar and added caramel make the beer a little cloying, nothing compared to some other beers but still, for the worlds most acclaimed beer i find the balance could be more centered. having drunk a lot of belgian trappists on tap in belgium, i am fairly certain that if this was on draught these problems wouldn't exist. a travesty that the westy cafe was closed for the hop harvest festival when i was there.

to conclude, this beer needs to be drunk on draught to fully enjoy it, i got a fresh bottle but even so i just know it would have been out of this world if it was from a freshly tapped keg. next time i will report on and aged bottle, just give me a few years! the best trappist ive ever drunk and hopefully not the last time i drink it.

EDIT* reading back over the reviews. i believe this beer has been subject to the tried and true over-hype phenomenon. someone says its 'the shit', and people taste it, even if it isnt there. covet this beer but dont ASSUME its the be all and end all.

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

A - dark brown with an off white to light brown head. great retention and nice lacing.

S - dark fruit right up front mostly fig. phenols are there as well. perfect nose on this.

T - dark fruit hits up front with a bit of caramel. some spicing around the edge as well. top class.

M - low carbonation full bodied with a great booziness thats just right.

O - hands down the best quad and the best beer i've ever had to date.

Photo of Holland
4.32/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours dark brown with a large head. Looks cloudy and delicious with yeast.

S: fruity esters, dark roasted malt notes, banana, apple

T: a bit of sweet and sour, heavy on the yeast and its esters like apple and banana, slight roasted malt flavor

M: pretty standard for the class, this is medium bodied with a heavy carbonation of fine bubbles. Solid.

O: Excellent beer, very complex, very drinkable, and well put together. We won't talk hype, but this can't be worth whatever price my friend paid to get it back here. I'd love to have this one again side by side with the St. Bernardus abt 12.

Photo of zhanson88
3.91/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 15.12.13, so bottled in 2010. Tried side by side with a Rochefort 10, into an Old Guardian chalice.

Appearance: Pours out a reddish mahogany color, with 2" of light khaki head. Retention is incredible on this beer, and the lacing is awesome as well.

Smell: Some dark fruits present, with figs and dates. Probably not as dark fruit heavy as I was expecting though. Phenols as well, some yeastiness, and a sweet grapey twang oddly enough.

Taste: Caramel malts and a bit of toffee up front, followed by figs, dates, yeast, and again that sweet grape flavor. Phenols and spices round out the back end. Finish is sweet with a grape juice twang and phenols.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel is just under medium with high, very fine carbonation. Pillowy mouthfeel. This beer was certainly good as I had expected, but I wasn't awed by it. A little sweeter than I was expecting which retracted for me.

Photo of GRBrew
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The setting probably had a lot to do with how much I love this beer. I drank it from the bottle on a square in Bruge during my honeymoon. It was not the ideal way to drink it but it was amazing none the less. Luckily I have one more in my cellar. I just need a reason to drink it.

Photo of draheim
4.52/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

330mL bottle (best by 8/29/2010 on the cap) poured into a St. Bernardus chalice. Mahogany brown color with a thin fizzy head that dissipates quickly - nice carbonation continues to rise to the surface.

Aroma is dark fruits, figs, dates, brown sugar, spice, rum, and a hint of molasses. Smells exquisite.

Taste is rich and complex. Sweet dark caramel malt, spice, booze, figs, and raisins. Super smooth, chewy mouthfeel. Fills every taste bud with a complex blend of flavors.

This beer totally lives up to the hype. The only thing I'm disappointed with is the head - but this beer is also 4+ years old, which may account for that. If I try another one I'll make sure to get it fresh.

(Note: This tasting was done side-by-side with Rochefort 10 and I found this beer just ever so slightly more impressive on the aroma and mouthfeel. Otherwise they were very close.)

Photo of Preismj
4.37/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

a murky brown with a nice creamy head to it. Higher carb that I anticipated. smell is of dates, fig, grapeskin and caramalized brown sugar. Taste is all the same. Very strong on the dark fruit flavors. I was impressed by how strong the date and fig come out in this. Very good quad. Nice balanced flavors. Good mouthfeel, but a touch high on the carbonation. This was an '09 vintage.

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

A: Murky brown/purple pour with noticeable sediment. Very much like the 8, a thick off white to light brown head forms a nice cap atop the brew.

S: Huge hit of dark fruits on the smell, more plums and the like than the caramel malts and raisins present on the 8. Boozy and malty.

T: My word this is good. The flavor of the dark fruits is nothing short of spectacular. Robust, bold, big flavors. Malts, booze, fruits, all balanced together absolutely perfectly.

MF: Full body. nicely carbonated. Dry finish. The mouthfeel really keeps you sipping on this one.

O: No doubt one of the best beers I've ever had. I just can't put the glass down. So drinkable, so delicious, basically perfect.

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

I shared a few bottles with a handful of friends, poured into a Rochefort goblet.

It's a cloudy brown color very similar to the 8, with a finger or so of off-white head.

The aroma is heavenly, a blend of toffee, dark fruits, rich caramel, spices, a little floral hops, and just a slight tinge of alcohol. It's inviting, warm, and top notch.

The taste is more of the same, rich with flavors, each bursting through but none overpowering. It's like everything you would want in a good quad is there, toffee, dark fruit, floral hops, esters, a slight yeast funk, brewing spices... it's all there but nothing in so much quantity that it takes away from the rest.

A pure joy to drink, there's a reason this beer is considered by many to be the #1 beer in the world. I was worried it wouldn't live up to all the hype, but it absolutely did, and everyone else tasting it felt the same way.

Photo of mrfrancis
4.62/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from the bottle into a chalice, Westvleteren 12 displays a murky brownish amber hue beneath a pillowy, dense beige head. Fairly typical for a Belgian quadrupel.

S: Aromas of toffee, ripe plums, port, raisins, and table grapes fill the nose. As the beer settles, notes mellow alcohol and brandy become detectable. Very nice.

T: A malty, rich entry dissolves into harmonious notes of milk chocolate, toffee, plums, raisins, figs, dates, cognac, and port. The finish is delicate, mellow, and exceptionally long with restrained notes of dark fruit and warming alcohol giving way to a pipe tobacco and earthy hop fade. Exceptional. I've never had a beer with a better flavor profile.

M: Full-bodied and substantial in the mouth. Starts off silky and smooth, but dries out nicely on the finish. Very satisfying and perfectly balanced for such a strong ale.

O: I simply cannot recommend this beer highly enough. An excellent example of Belgian monastic brewing at its finest.

Photo of bulldogp04
4.67/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: murky brown with a beige head...typical to style

S: dark fruits, raisins plums figs, pear esters, alcohol, warm baked banana walnut bread, spicy yeast/Belgian character....very nice

T: taste very similar to smell....alcohol in this beer mellows perfectly with about 2 years on it - notes of massive dark fruits, esters, and Belgian yeasty spice goodness...lightly tart complexities as well

M: perfect lively carbonation that helps cut through rich flavor profile...perfect for Belgian "quad" style

O: seek out if you like Belgians, although st. Bernardus 12 and Rochefort 10 are more than adequate substitutes if not available to you

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

A: Cloudy, mahogany body. Thick off-white head (about two fingers) that leaves behind some heavy lacing.

S: Sweet mixed with a fair amount of dark fruit (plum, fig, raisins). Yeast is also evident with a hint of alcohol.

T: Belgian candied sugary sweetness which is offset by a peppery spiciness. Dark fruits are also involved. Only a hint of alcohol warming.

M: Full-bodied but not heavy. Creamy and smooth, while light in carbonation with a touch of dryness.

O: One of the best Quads I have ever had. I can definitely see why it's ranked #1.

Photo of nsp73
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have had it from the bottle (in a glass of course) twice now. Thank god I was sitting down both times.
Truly is the only beer I have ever said that with and that's all that needs to be said. It tastes and smells wonderful. Malty, dark fruit, and earthy. The absolute best beer. I keep thinking others may overtake it from my favorites... like I said, it is still the only beer I have ever had that made my knees quiver.
Can't wait to try this on tap some day.

Photo of CHickman
4.66/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy chestnut brown with little light coming through it and showing some red at the top and bottom, with tons of bubbles racing up the beer; it looks like a thick porter or brown ale with a lot of sediment in it. This had the most amazing creamy tan head that poured 3 fingers thick and lasted about 5 minutes, literally. It was marvelous to look at as it faded extremely slowly, leaving good spotty lacing. A very impressive looking beer overall that was a sight to see.

Smells of caramel, syrup, sweet malt, yeast, brown sugar, pepper and light spices, herbs and faint molasses. The alcohol aroma was very mild and not a distraction, making for a nice sweet malty nose.

Tastes of caramel, syrup, sweet malt, yeast, brown sugar, pepper, light spices, mild floral hops, herbs, tea leaf, faint molasses, a sweet alcohol presence like rum or a port wine, and some dark fruit; this tastes like it was barrel aged and the fermentation leaves an overall sweet flavor that is complex and very tasty.

Mouthfeel is incredibly smooth and creamy, with basically no carbonation, a medium body that's chewy, and a buttery feel as it slides across the tongue that left a semi-dry finish.

This beer was a pleasure to drink and felt great as it went down. Very high drinkability, this was an outstanding beer that I am happy to have tried as it's not readily available in the US and I was lucky enough to try some brought back straight from Belgium. It went down so smooth and easy, hid the ABV with perfection so it wasn’t even a factor, and this beer was just impressive in every facet of this drinking experience. This beer lived up to the hype and is a very high recommendation.

Photo of birderbeerer
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Deep chestnut brown with thin but solid head. Pours thick and slow.

Rich aroma of figs, chocolate, bread (breads really), raisins, currants.

Taste is as complex and dark as you'd expect from a quad and matches the aroma. It's drier and less sweet than some quads. Very creamy and thick. It finishes clean and dry. Every sip is a little different--one of the great qualities of the most complicated beers.

Hard to beat.

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

I had the opportunity to visit l'abbey of Saint Sixtus and their cafe, de Vrede, late in October 2010 with a beer tour group. We tasted all three beers. I waited a few months to review this and add comments just to see if time and more tasting would alter my opinion. It has not.

Everyone in our group had read and heard all the hype for years and quite frankly many in the group, including myself, were doubtful that any beer could live up it to such a reputation. For the record, although the beer by the six-pack is sometimes available for purchase and carryout at the cafe, it was not on the day of our visit. In reality, unless you live in the area or are visiting for a long time, you will probably never be able to buy any of the beer in great quantity. Check our their website to review their order and purchase system. If you are lucky enough and living right, their system allows you to purchase a couple of cases (sometimes more) through their reservation system. We did see an OCCASIONAL bottle for sale in beer stores such as Bier Temple in Brugge and Brussels.
When I see Westvleteren for sale in the U.S. and it has a label on it or a different cap, etc. I wonder who did that? Certainly not the monks. I wonder if it is even the same beer. The individual bottles I saw around Belgium retailed for 14 Euro (close to $20 per bottle).

Now, on to the tasting!

We ordered all three and if memory serves me right, we paid about 3.5 Euro per beer. The beers arrived in bottles and the staff opened and poured each at the table (they weren't going to allow any unopened bottles to leave the premises). Poured into Westvleteren chalices. Naturally, we started with the 6, then the 8 and finally the 12. The 6 and 8 were great beer in their own right but we had come for the 12! Quite frankly we had been tasting beer for two weeks all over Belgium and the Netherlands and had some very fine beers, some well known and others from small artisan local breweries. I love Belgian ales and I doubted that any beer could top my favorites. I was looking and hoping to find fault. I did not. The 12 was pure perfection.

I won't spend my time rehashing what most reviewers have already covered. You already know the color, feel, etc. I will say the smell is heavenly and unlike any I had ever experienced. I wondered if the taste would match. It did. I will concur with those that were amazed at the complexity of the taste (earthy, dark fruits, sweet, etc. ) and how well masked the alcohol was. This beer slowly crept up on us and just covered us. This will be the taste against which I will always measure similar styles of beer. I will be chasing the memory of that taste and the rest of my beer drinking days. It was just different and a notch above everything else. We may have been drunk as we walked out of the cafe, but we all agreed that . . . yes . . . there is a God and he has his hand in this endeavor!

I have had a couple of 12s since that day, both had been aged for a couple of years. Great, but not the same. Perhaps the travel and heat altered it. Fresh is what I will always remember. The monks advocate drinking it fresh and from my experience . . . I have to agree.

Photo of EA728
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Amazing Quad. Ordered this one online, vastly overpriced, but I had to try it. Quads aren't my personal favorite style, but for a Quad this is definitely the best in my opinion. Very flavorful, with a nice level of sweetness and an interesting level of hops. Alcohol felt well masked. It poured a dark brown with perfect head left on top. Wish this was more readily available, but if I get the chance, I will definitely purchase again. Lives up to the hype.

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

Very nice beer, aroma of honey, yeast, clove, bread, schocolad (?) malt, dark fruits and vanilla. Big taste - honey, dark fruit, bread, nice hops, candy sugar, yeast and light earthiness
It is the king of beer. He has a great background. Pity that it can not simply buy

Photo of smakawhat
4.09/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jeffo much kindly for the Westvleteren trade. A fresh one here, bottle cap dated 22.09.13. Poured into an official Westvleteren chalice. Smoke and big gas pop upon opening.

A great appearance consisting of a creamy off tan/white head that has peaks and valleys. Whipped up meringue like topping. Body is a nice dark ruby red and some chestnut/walnut dark brown with a see through quality but dark to actually see through. Lacing while drinking is exceptional consisting of scatters waves of foam while drinking. Once again like their blonde, an amazing appearance.

Nose though is almost non existent. Closed and muted a subtle hint of alcohol heat over top a juicy grape. Nose opens up after a couple of sips more so slightly. Hints of grainy ripping husk sense too after opening, perhaps some raisin/dates sense.

Taste though, is an example I think of why lots of people cellar this beer. A very noticeable and overpowering hot alcohol heat that sits on top of a juicy grape palate. Alcohol masks much of the malt and fruit component but does bring interesting play. Much of the boozy feels like a junipery gin with classic botanicals and so forth. Texture is solid even creamy to some extent giving that juicy feeling. There is a tannic quality to this like the 8 but more like a nut than barrel/wood with a teeth coating chew.

Overall man I wish this wasn't so hot. It feels like a typical hot young wine that needs to age maybe that will make it better? Would love to age this and try it again some day in the future.

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

Review 500! with an epicly famous beer.
16.06.13 bottle dating

A: Pours a very healthy head into a tulip with heavy lacing. Dark muddy brown in color with tiny visible bubbles coming to the top of the glass.

S: There is a lot of bubblegum mixing with figs, dates, prunes, and plums. A dry belgian yeast aroma with caramelized sugars.

T: First sip was a little more bitter than I had expected. There is a deep fig taste with plenty of bittering characteristics, a dry tongue buckling presence of either oak barrels or a large dosing of bittering hops. There are caramelized sugars all over mixing nicely with a dark belgian candied sugar presence.

M: Perfect mouthfeel really. There is a medium body with a mild carbonation. Slick rolling mouthfeel that stayed consistent.

O: It lived up to its name. Glad to try this before hitting up Belgium in a few weeks. I will be sure to take notes of all the other great beers I am trying out there.

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,128 ratings.