Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) - Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 4,609 | Reviews: 1,611 | Display Reviews Only:
4.83/5 rDev +4.8%
One beer to rule them all
One beer to find them
One bring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
(not quite, but.... it was damn good)
I am in Belgium at my computer sipping as i rate this beer
A: The beer pours a ruddy brown color with a medium sized foamy head that dissipated more quickly than expected, mild lacing.
S: It smells well... like heaven. Absurd amounts of smoky rich malts and vanilla tingle the nostrils. One can detect spices and citrus; perhaps even molasses?
T: Wonderful, a perfect balance of yeast and overpowering malts engulf my taste buds caressing each section of my tongue. Hops levels are low and overpowered by the rich malts.
M: Average at best. Upon first sipping, it stung my tongue to the point where it almost overwhelmed the otherwise perfect flavor. Over carbonated i would say. However its body was perfect after the carbonation sting subsided. Felt like I was drinking some sort of evil IPA.
D: Minus the carbonation, amazing the malts and flavor are absolutely perfect this is a beer that would suit any meal or weather.
Overall this was an excellent beer. I can see why it is the best in the world. I personally would not give it such a grand title because of its less than steller lacing and mouth feel however this is truly a great beer that i found myself in awe of.
06-12-2009 17:03:03 | More by HopBacchus
4.47/5 rDev -3%
Thanks to NorCalYeti for sharing his bottle with me. Very excited to try the #1 ranked beer and am hoping it doesn't disappoint.
Poured into my Maudite snifter and am met with a caramel color, a thin layer of head and some major sediment.
An aroma of burnt toast, bourbon and some dark fruits seem to be the major smells.
The taste is smooth and silky though the alcohol seems to be easily identifiable and somewhat distracting. As the beer warms, the intensity of the liquor qualities increases.
Overall I was very happy to try this beer, but I really wanted to be blown away but unfortunately I wasn't. I would still drink this in a heartbeat but the price of a bottle just wasn't worth it to me.
06-12-2009 02:59:06 | More by kaseydad
4.5/5 rDev -2.4%
Appearance - Dark, somewhat hazy brown, small head and nice lacing
Smell - Typical quad fruitiness, with strong suggestion of spice. Sweet smell after a while consisting of dark fruits and sugar
Taste/Mouthfeel - Strong fruity sweetness, with slight bite at the end. No notable alcohol presence, which is odd at over 10%. Sugary, almost caramel flavor as it warms. Not watery, but not syrupy, just the right consistency.
Drinkability - Complete. Equally as filling as any light beer or soda. This beer could be drank with any meal, in any weather, at any time, and as much as is possible.
Though this was one of the more enjoyable beers I've ever had, I think it's hype and limited availability have propelled it to #1. It's deserving of a top 10, but for it's rarity I think St. Bernardus Abt 12 makes a great substitute.
06-08-2009 00:43:20 | More by sgsmfdoom
4.63/5 rDev +0.4%
Figured I'd finally pull this one out of the fridge for the occasion of my 50th review. Poured into a Chimay glass.
Body is a very dense, dark, and cloudy brown. Forms a medium sized light brown head with mediocre retention but lacing is excellent.
The aromas start off with the figs and other sweet dark fruits expected of the style along with some great graham-crackery malts and yeast. Also some bitter grassy hops in the background.
Along with the style-requisite dark fruits picked up on the aroma I'm also getting some anise, ginger bread, toffee, and almond flavors on first sip. Hop bitterness is slightly more assertive than in other beers in this style, especially in the aftertaste. As it warms fruit sweetness becomes more easily identifiable with more fig and some faint cherries.
Good carbonation is complimented by a slight alcohol tingle to create an enjoyable mouthfeel. Incredibly drinkable for the style but because of the difficulty obtaining this I don't anticipate having more than one of these in a sitting unless I'm in Belgium.
Overall I enjoyed this one very much. One of the best examples of this style out there, although probably not number one according to my personal tastes. Still, this would definitely be a regular if it were more readily available.
06-07-2009 20:15:09 | More by berkey
5/5 rDev +8.5%
Thanks to juicestam for his round the world odyssey that led to this 3-way all Westy tasting.
Here it is. The Big Kahuna. The one and only. The number one beer in the world, or is it?
Appearance: Dark , dark brown body. Solid finger of white head. Nice lacing. Just picture perfect. Wish I had taken a picture.
Nose: Stronger than 8, much more spice. Sweet/spice combo that really makes an impression.
Taste: Spicy strength, but restrained. Dark fruit and caramel/molasses. This defines complexity. A relatively simple initial sip turns into so much more.
Mouthfeel: Here's where it really glows. Tingly spice, slightly numbing, like cloves. Slick and frothy.
Drinkability: Deceptive and tantalizing. Easy to drink. Is this 10%? I can't tell, but I know I want more...
It is #1 for a reason. Please try it if you can.
06-07-2009 06:14:54 | More by ghostwalker
4.65/5 rDev +0.9%
Bottle capped with 17.10.10
A: Beatiful pour. Dark brown with a nice frothy tan head, about an inch thick. With a minute or two, the head diminishes by about half. Nice tiny carbonation bubbles hugging the side.
S: Belgian yeast; sweet dark fruit---raisins, prunes, etc...; caramel
T/M: Caramel malt and dark fruit are prominent. Classic quad flavors. The caramel really lingers through the finish. Mouthfeel is dry and carbonated. Given the overly rich American brews that suck ever little bit of your taste buds down with each sip, this is a welcome change. I'd almost call it refreshing. Excellent, excellent beer.
D: Extremely high. I can't believe this is a 10% beer. Slight booziness on the finish, but there's no way I'd guess it was that high.
The best beer in the world? A lot of the hype certainly comes from how difficult it is to obtain. It's certainly a world-class beer. We'll just leave it at that.
06-03-2009 04:10:38 | More by abfraser
4.88/5 rDev +5.9%
I decided to pick out something good for my 200th review. I do not think it gets much better than this. 11.2 oz bottle purchased at the monastery by my friend for me. Poured into the Westvleteren chalice that he also bought for me at the cafe across the street from the Abbey.
A: Pours a dark brown with small tan head. The tiny bubbles really stick to the side of the glass as the beer is consumed.
S: Belgian yeast, sweet smelling malt, dark fruit aroma (raisin), and alcohol is the best I can describe the aroma. I am sure there is even more to this complex brew, but the aroma is a bit subdued.
T: All the pieces from the aroma mix together to make one of the most rich flavors of any beers I have ever had. There is more going on, but I am too inexperienced to pick them all up. I started into good beer via Belgian ales, and this is easily the best of any of them I have ever had. It deserves the hype it gets.
M: It feels thick bodied at times, but if I was forced I would call it more of a medium body. The in mouth carbonation level is perfection for the style. It is nice and smooth and a joy to just roll around on the tongue.
D: You sip this one because you want to savor every drop. The ABV does cause you to slow down a little as well, but not more than you want to anyway.
Those monks sure know how to brew a fantastic beer.
06-02-2009 02:27:36 | More by GatorBeerNerd
5/5 rDev +8.5%
pristine condition, cap said oct 08 as the brew or bottle date. stunner of a nose. best i've ever had. warm it was very silky, satin, smooth ect ect. great balance, acidity, woodsy. super finish. cooled down a bit more chocolate came out but the best milk chocolate you could ever imagine, with muddled fruits. super finish. could drink this all day every day. lives up to the hype and the best beer i've ever had.
05-31-2009 18:09:16 | More by paytoplay
5/5 rDev +8.5%
March of 2007 I went to the abbey cafe at St. Sixtus and had all the Westvleteren beers. I never had the chance to review them so this time when I was in Belgium I took some notes...
Had this bottle at Cambrinus in Brugge, it was not cheap but not too over the top. (6.95 euro, the same as at de Bier Tempel in Brussels)
Pours a deep dark brown with very little head yet it was very persistent and did not seem to be fading whatsoever.
Smell is very sweet caramel/brown sugar, stewed fruit, cooked cherries and a very slight whiff of alcohol.
Taste is ridiculously smooth for the strength. Wow. Lots of complexity to say the least. Toasted brown bread, sweet caramel and brown sugar, sweet dark fruit with a super nice clean smooth finish.
This is a very nice treat at @$10usd while over in Belgium. I saw at the most in Brugge and at differing prices. My first experience with this beer a few years ago at the abbey cafe was completely unforgettable.
05-26-2009 15:50:16 | More by indiapaleale
4.75/5 rDev +3%
Thanks to deepsouth for the trade.
A = Decanted into chalice. Dark brown with light hints of amber light coming through the edges. Light head quickly receded with light lacing.
S = Smells of yeast, dark fruit and alcohol. Pretty typical quad aroma.
T = Very complex blend of sweet malts, begian yeast, and an array of dark fruits. I'm picking up dates, raisins, prunes, overripe apples with strong brown sugar. Also, a very apparent boozy flavor and heat on the back. Hard not to appreciate what went into brewing this beer, even if this isn't your style.
M = Best quality of this beer to me. Just perfectly executed mouthfeel with a subtle carbonation and a bit chewy but not overdone. Very, very well crafted.
D = Very drinkable considering the ABV. Not a session (duh), but its taste and mouthfeel more than make up for the booziness and high ABV. This is meant to be sipped and savored.
Overall, quite impressed and appreciative of the opportunity to try it. Definitely world class.
05-25-2009 01:59:33 | More by JonMich13
4.85/5 rDev +5.2%
Finally! A Westy 12 is in my chalice. It's about time. Review #500. Huge thanks go out to deepsouth for the trade!
03.12.11 printed on the cap.
Pours a very dark amber brown color with almost no head and no lacing. I thought I would was going to have a hugely carbonated beer here, but it doesn't seem to look that way. Lovely aroma of yeast, dark sugar, apples, plums, raisins, brandy, hints of chocolate and a light booziness. Wow, I could smell this all night and keep coming up with more familiar aromas. Taste is off the charts. This tastes like a dark Belgian beer with a few drops of brandy splashed in. Strong caramel and toffee flavors are at the forefront followed by a nice boozy brandy flavor, dark fruit, namely raisins, a bit of chocolate, lightly bitter earthiness from the hops, sweet, delicious, satisfying. Wow, this beer really does live up to the hype. So much complexity in the flavor. It's truly outstanding. Medium-full bodied, lower carbonation than what I was expecting. Boozy warmth becomes more prevalent as it warms up in the glass. Delicious aftertaste seems to linger forever.
What a great beer. I can certainly see why it's the top rated in the world. While it's not my highest rated beer, it's certainly deserving of it's praise. Very drinkable despite the high ABV, which is virtually absent in the taste. So good. I will cherish the remaining bottles I have and drink them a bottle at a time over the next few years. Thanks again, Jason!
05-20-2009 01:32:28 | More by KeefD
4.88/5 rDev +5.9%
Pours a medium brown body with hints of red/orange around the edges. Short tan head.
Nose of deep rich fruit and malt. Hints of raisins and stone fruit. Hints of complex malt and toffee/carmel/whiskey. Flavors were rich, bold, assertive, long lasting and fantastic.
Front palate hits you with sweet malt and the flavors just grow in layers; malt, whiskey, raisins, figs and a bit of light chocolate.
The beer just reeks of complexities and character. This is one of the best liquids I've tasted, and I've tasted some nice stuff, including some of the rarest and oldest wines in the world. This beer ranks right up there.
I love old stouts and some of the crazy extreme beers that are now being produced. However, for overall quality and flavor this is probably the best ale I've ever tasted. I hope I can try it again. Don't miss this one if you get the chance!
05-19-2009 04:49:46 | More by GRG1313
4.83/5 rDev +4.8%
12oz bottle poured into a Trappist Westvleteren chalice
Pours a medium chestnut body with a reddish tinge. A rather ominous, murky body. A sandy colored head rose to fill the chalice.
Hmmm, pretty complex. Both broad and deep. Golden raisins hit me at first with dark cherries, licorice, cocoa powder, and a meaty, bready quality.
At first sip, I was taken back by the complexity. Sweet malts dominate the flavor with a spicy character begging to be reckoned with. Golden raisins and figs with dark cherries are the flavors I get the most of, but there are a good amount of licorice, cocoa powder and a hearty bready complexity as well.
A velvety, hearty, luscious mouthfeel. Medium to full body, but drinks much easier than that.
This beer nears perfection in drinkability. I could not wait to take my next sip.
Definitely one of the best beers I have ever had.
05-17-2009 00:05:56 | More by ColForbinBC
4.35/5 rDev -5.6%
The Westvleteren is 1 year aged. Pours a hazy mahogany with a decent sized head. It looked like it would be a gusher at first, but didn't quite make it over the top. The head dissipates quickly. It smells largely of dark fruits, with a bitterness combined with it. There is also a sweetness combined with it as well. The alcohol comes through slightly in the smell, but not to strong. The taste is filled with tons of spices and dark fruits. The alcohol has largely mellowed into the taste, though there is a warming sensation to the beer. The bitterness blends nicely into the taste, though there is a slight dry aftertaste. The mouthfeel is as smooth as I've ever had a beer. The beer goes down smooth and is very drinkable. If I ever head over to Belgium, I'll enjoy myself a few.
05-09-2009 23:56:15 | More by Jablonski
4/5 rDev -13.2%
Poured a diet coke without the ice color that gave a small tannish head.
Aroma is caramel..brown sugar...dark fruits
Tast is much of the same with the ABV hidden nicely
Mouthfell is rather nice and has a decent carbonation..
Not the most drinkable beer in my cellar. But I had to try it to see the hype of the #1 beer around.
05-08-2009 16:30:27 | More by stonequarrywest
4.68/5 rDev +1.5%
My friend broke a bottle out today as we were hanging out, it was a 2007 bottle aging in his wine/beer fridge.
Pours a nice deep mahogany color with a slightly tan billowing head, with some belgian lacing. Large amount of sediments, but not distracting.
Smell is typical Trappist beer, sweet malt, some dried fruits, carmelized candy sugars, chocolate, spice from the yeast, not hot alcohols.
Taste was well, lack luster upon the first sip. However, as I took second, third, etc. the beer opened up as a masterpiece of malty sweetness, yet dry finishing, with hints of dark caramelized sugar, chocolate, sherry, tawny port like flavors, dark fruits, slight yeast spice. But most of all well balanced, especially for the abv. I really relate this beer to a after dinner sipper like a tawny port, or a dry sherry.
Good body, but not too big even for the abv. Very well hidden alcohol, and finishes dry.
Overall, this beer did not disappoint. It was certainly a treat and an honor to share with a good friend. The 12 oz was probably the right amount of beer for two people to drink. It is a great sipping beer and would be a perfect after dinner or special occasion beer. No off flavors or hot alcohols at all, very, very well crafted beer.
05-02-2009 01:34:40 | More by WeeObese
4.7/5 rDev +2%
This is my first and I saved it for this ocassion. This is my 50th Birthday. My son gave this to me for my birthday present.
A: A dark murky brown color with a off white head. It has some debris floating in it.
S: Sweet carmel and molasses aroma with some fruitiness. A hint of the alcohol does come through the aroma.
T: A sweetness from fruits, candi syrup and carmel. Toasted malt coming through with alcohol warming. Yummy!
M: A medium bodied beer with high carbonation. Sweetness with a alcohol warming. Soon after a swallow your mouth is wanting more.
O: This is truly an outstanding beer. I sure all the hype surrounding it adds to the mystic of it. There no evidence this is a 10% beer. It is very well hidden. Thanks to my son, Geoff for a great birthday present!
04-29-2009 22:03:38 | More by SmithwicksNut
4.38/5 rDev -5%
Thanks to my new found friend Andersand for buying this one from a store in Denmark. Really cool to finally try the one most hyped beer in the world!
Westvleteren 12 pours a clear, deep amber color with a nice white-ish foam. Looks quite nice, but you don't know what to expect.
Aroma is really promising on this one. Lots of burnt sugar, belgo yeast, but also some really amazing wineous notes. Really good aroma anyways, but I've smelled trappists that smell better!
Taste is amazing! Definetively the greatest tasting of all the Trappistes. Lots of burnt almonds, belgo yeast and nice hints of dried fruits. The alcohol is perfectly warming, not disturbing in any way. I was expecting to get dissapointed, as I think it's so hyped, but it surprised me, in a good way!
If you get the chance, try it. But don't pay like 80 USD for it, there are better beers out there!
04-26-2009 17:47:51 | More by Bananaman
4.71/5 rDev +2.2%
Of course I had to try this beer. I found it in my local liquorstore, in stock (I guess they made the ride to West-Vleteren for it).
The beer is very dark, doesn't foam a lot, it has flaky floaty bits in it.
The smell is the best I've come across in a beer. Dried fruits and cherries, good bread, coffee, caramel, roasted grains and seeds, also floral. Something in it hit me and woke me up, very complex and Sublime!
The taste, consequently, is also very good: full range of bitter from nice hops, coffee/choco, sweet from dried fruits, slightly sour from cherries/kriek, plus the roasted seeds, very chewy indeed.
I have to be honest and give this beertaste a 5 too.
And so drinkable too, very well masked alcohol.
5 years along the line, in 2014, it's still very great. I've had some similar smells in beer since then, from f.i. Struise brouwers, but the taste seems somehow different. It's very strong and powerfull of almonds. Quite overwhelming I would say, and it throws the beer a bit off balance. It changed my taste note from 5 to 4,75.
Still it's a must try, highly recommended after this time.
04-24-2009 10:48:36 | More by RuudJH
4.68/5 rDev +1.5%
OK A land mark review.... My first! So I thought I would start with a Slam dunk. L) Darker than I thought it would be ..Very dark but not a RIS. Two finger head. S) Molasses, dark fruits,. sweet. T) Same and stays along time, awesome. F) Very good . D) excellent.. This is not my type but I can appreciate this GREAT GREAT Beer. Is this the best beer in the world? ....I Don't think so .. I'm an RIS guy.. But I have had the best BEER in the WORLD and that is a lot more then most people can say.
04-23-2009 17:16:29 | More by eerbayman
4.83/5 rDev +4.8%
finally cracked my westy 12, from 2007. pours deep mahogany with ropes of bubbles catapulting to a lush three finger head that settles to a half thumb nail in depth.
smells of fig, rum, caramel and rich chocolate.
very very smooth and drinkable for its high alcoholic content, very rummy, warming, with a tad of spice that has smoothed out, i can tell there used to be more.
m- medium bodied and full of flavor. very chunky once swished around and leaves a very thin amount of cloying malt on the palate.
d- wish this beer wasnt so rare and expensive but i could drink this every day for the rest of my life. in fact, if i ever get on death row, this will be my final supper.
04-23-2009 04:34:29 | More by slayer3604
4.55/5 rDev -1.3%
Hugenormous thanks to buckeysox for this extra!
Poured from the brown bottle into an oversized merlot glass.
A good inch of foamy off white head. Extremely long lasting head. I cant tell if its retention or the head is still receeding.
A brownish color with some light glowing of reds, but still pale and non transparent.
The head has finally fallen leaving a quarter inch of egg white like whipped topping and plenty of white drapeing lace.
Aroma is devine. Smells of french toast with just a little spice/ cinnemon aroma, some dairy like eggyness, lemon zest, vanilla, anise, brown sugar, and some raisin de'extra similarities with, raisin and alcahol aroma. By no means hot, its a super appealing aroma here. Some floral rose pedals, honey, and a mild grassy hop aroma.
Mouthfeel is unbelievably rich and creamy with a thicker feel. Some carbonation present into the foreground but quickly dissapearing into a creamy thickness. God almighty, I havnt had a belgian with a mouthfeel like this ever, awsome!
The taste is also very drinkable and delicious, I'm really enjoying this brew and have waited along time to get it. I honestly didnt think I'd ever get a chance to try one.
Some fermented fruityness up front with fermented honey, spices, anice and plenty of floral honey suckle like taste. Some bready yeastyness, like a sourdough bread with plenty of honey butter, a touch of sour apples, and a bit of earthy piney hops into the finish. Some more citric lemon zest flavors also coming into the linger with a bit of a citric acid likeness, comparable to drinking orange juice with that slightest bit of citric acid after effect.
As its warmed It picked up more of the sweet candy sugar typical belgian flavors. Some burnt toast like grain flavors, they roasty flavors of the grain with that candy sugar sweetness is delicious.
This is hugely drinkable, its not hot, does not bully the tastebuds, its a simple/ humble yet extravagent beer at the same time. Nothing bragging like here, its got a humble bottle with no lable and its just a really enjoyable beer.
Thanks again Dave, I really appreciate this one!
04-22-2009 17:35:28 | More by Buebie
4.5/5 rDev -2.4%
Bottle Pours a murky brown with tan head. The head lasts well. The head laces well. Has a great aroma of fruits, spices, cocoa, and vanilla. Has perfect carbination and an awesome mouthfeel. I waited a long time to get one of these and it is great. The flavors are very complex, tastes dance on your tongue. Has a medium to heavy body. A thick texture. The Finish is smooth and perfect. This truely is an awesome beer. The balance is perfect. I can't think of any bad part of this
04-19-2009 23:26:06 | More by Birdiebeagle
5/5 rDev +8.5%
This was certainly a special tasting for my developing palate. I want to deeply thank my friend Tyler for blessing me with this pinnacle of beer as a 26th birthday present. This superior belgian ale poured an opaque, cloudy dark amber hue from the bottle. The perfection in this brew lies in both the flavor and the balance. The flavor is complex, yet sweet on the tongue at first with hints of banana, raisins, plums, strawberries, and dates. The finish is of smokey dark fruit with a pleasant warmth of alcohol down the throat. This ale truly has every important aspect you could hope for in a beer. The flavors work in perfect harmony together, with neither over powering one another. The carbonation is subdued, yet present enough to remind you that this is a truly special belgian ale. I am truly amazed at the subtle, yet complex collection of flavors present in this ale. For those that are considering trying this ale for the first time, please take my advice and enjoy all of the wonderful flavors at room temperature. This brew achieves true perfection, and I am honored to have experienced the world's greatest ale on my birthday. Thank you Tyler.
04-18-2009 03:48:14 | More by Dopplebock
District of Columbia
4.65/5 rDev +0.9%
(From notes - can't resist reviewing even though my input is negligible with so many reviews already)
A - Dark, deep coppery brown color and poured with a long-staying slightly tan head. Noticeable sediment toward the bottom of the glass, and some lacing through the sample.
S - Sweet passion fruits, dark sweet maltiness, candied aromas. (I'm really afraid I'm not qualified to review this brew)
T - Toffee; flavor that reminds me of a melted/reduced cane sugar; pruney and raisiny and deeply maltly.
M - Medium MF, with a nice bubbly carbonation presence. Really coats the entirity of the mouth.
D - Pretty insane drinkability for a quad, though it is definitely a sipper. The intriquing flavors and sweetness definitely piqued my interest and was curious to see how the brew changed as it warmed.
Overall, again very glad to have tried this brew and it is indeed wonderful stuff. The flavors and warming touch of booze really provided a pleasant experience. Against the style, it might just be the best I've had. As to whether it's the best brew in the world, I'm not quite sure. Definitely try it if you have the chance.
04-15-2009 15:12:16 | More by Nickls
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 4,609 ratings.