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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

4,967 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,967
Reviews: 1,633
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 2,985
Gots: 1,451 | FT: 108
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: 4,967 | Reviews: 1,633 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of choyhosoi
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured from a bottle into a glass.

A-looks very inviting with a nice head and awesome smell.

T-This is something that changes as you drinkk it. It is sweet and smooth but you can feel thr alcohol.

M/D-This is as good as you have heard so stop reading and try to get one.

choyhosoi, Dec 26, 2010
Photo of Gosox8787
4.45/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2 oz unlabelled bottle poured into a freshly cleaned Smuttynose tulip glass. Served at room temperature.

Appearance: Really deep cloudy brown in color. Gushed just a tiny bit as I opened the bottle. Poured a nice two beige head that left a nice lacing around the top and left a little lacing around the glass.

Aroma: Beautiful bouquet of cinnamon, rum, molasses and vanilla. All are beautifully integrated and nothing dominates. Molasses and caramel notes compliment the breadiness in the background. Perfectly balanced and complex.

Taste: All the notes from the aroma are here too. Molasses and vanilla create a really nice backdrop to all the spices here. The alcohol creates a nice warming during each sip, though it is not perfectly hidden. Brown sugar and caramel notes are also quite nice. Good balance and remarkable subtly and complexity.

MouthfeeL: Full bodied and creamy. The amount of carbonation in this beer was more than I expected.

Drinkability: Really smooth and drinkable for the ABV. The things pulling my score down here in this section are availability, alcohol content, and price.

Overall, a really great beer and possibly my favorite of this style. I didn't expect this to be my number one beer of all time, but I definitely enjoyed it immensely. I'm really happy to have tried this and crossed it off my beer bucket list.

Gosox8787, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of Kendo
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Christmas Eve, 2010. 5 years and 1 day on BA fcr me. Kids are asleep, presents wrapped, house is clean (more or less). . . time to celebrate with my first Westy 12.

A big thanks to MRMOJORISIN for the bottle - and 15+ years of sharing great beer, great tunes and good times.

Best-by date on the bottle cap is 9.11.11. Allowed the bottle to sit at room temperature for about 10-12 minutes. Not sure if that's enough to take the chill off, but I'm like my 6-year old on Christmas Eve right now - that is, excited and anxious, and asking for patience is just unreasonable.

A: A slight gush upon popping the cap is followed by a careful effort to decant the yeast. Poured into a Piraat snifter/tulip-type glass (I debated between this glass, a Duvel tulip and a Chimay chalice). Body is dark brown with a light-khaki-colored 1/2-finger head. Head settles fairly quickly to a film, with some bubbles rising to fortify the foam and popping like the occasional stray fireworks on the Fourth of July. Leaves some splotchy lace. Notwithstanding the careful pour, there is plenty of sediment in suspension.

S: The smell is wonderful, and - besides the slight gusher upon opening - provides the first impression. Raisins, candied sugar, dried fruits in general are all present in a candy-like package. Hint of black licorice too. Waft of alcohol as it warms up a bit more.

T: Here goes. . . When my father-in-law drinks SNPA, he puts it down very quickly and is fond of saying "it's like candy." Well, THIS is like candy. Those dark fruits are there, along with candied sugar. Regular fruit too - some berries or maybe cherries (slightly booze-soaked). Alcohol warmth - it's warm, not hot - is felt on the way to the belly, but in a soft, not harsh, kind of way. Slight drying from the alcohol at the finish of the sip too. Lingering bitterness seems somewhat tannic.

M: Like a good Belgian - there is a fine fizziness that makes it feel lighter in heft than it really is, and almost airy on the palate. That fizziness helps to cleanse the palate after each sip

D: Extremely drinkable, especially for a beer of this strength. I'd give it a 6 if I could in this category.

Kendo, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of webbcreative
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice burgundy brown color with an off white head that hung around but only as a thin layer.

A= wonderful smell of Belgian sugar. Typical Belgian spiciness, but not booze smelling considering this is over 10% abv.

T= more Belgian sugar, spiciness and dark fruit flavor that all meld together nicely. Sill impresses that this isn't as boozer as expected. As it warms all the above flavors shine through even more.

M=the water used In his is incredibly soft! And the mouthfell is actually not as thick and heavy as expected buy is nice none the less.

Overall this is a terrific beer. And most certainly the best quad I have ever tasted. Seems more restrained then most bug Belgians which is nice.

webbcreative, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of strangefate
4.38/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle.

Pours a dark brown with a good amount of off-white head, lots of lacing.

Scent is of dark fruits, raisins, a sweet sugar presence, and a hint of booze.

The taste is similar - dark fruits, figs, raisins, and a sugary sweetness in the back.

This is medium-bodied and creamy with a well-balanced moderate level of carbonation.

This is a great beer. A quadrupel that I can drink all night (I wish I had enough to do that). I had this at a tasting with Westy 8 as well and I found it interesting that this was less boozy than that. Is this worthy of the title of "best beer in the world"? That's for you to decide. But I'll doubt you'll call it anything but a great beer regardless.

strangefate, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of rka758
4.22/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle poured into Westy goblet.
Received for birthday.

A: Pourd a reddish brown with a big head at first, that quickly calmed.
S: Smells of sugars and malts.
T: A lot of different stuff is going on here. Dark fruits including raisons and figs. Sweet malts. I suspect you already know this...it's good.
M: High carbonation. Good texture
D: Very. This thing is 10.2 ABV so be careful.

rka758, Dec 20, 2010
Photo of BarrelO
4.45/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a goblet. Best-by date of October 15, 2013 stamped on the cap.

A: Dark hazy reddish-brown body. Three finger off-white head leaves lots of lacing.

S: Mostly dark fruits and sugar.

T: Ridiculously complex. Plums, raisins, brown sugar, and gingerbread. Peppery alcohol. A hint of noble hop bite. Finishes somewhat dry.

M: Rich and creamy. Practically melts in your mouth.

D: The million-dollar question: is this the best beer on Earth? First off, I should note that my bottle was pretty young and still had some heat on it. I think it would improve with age. Anyway, this was an excellent beer, and I feel privileged for having had a chance to drink it. Whether it's the best is, of course, subjective, but I'd definitely put it in the conversation. However, Rochefort 10 did just a little bit more for me. Honestly, though, all the elite Trappist beers are superlative in their own way.

BarrelO, Dec 19, 2010
Photo of woodychandler
4.05/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I felt EXTREMELY privileged to share a bottle with some CouchSurfing friends of mine in late-July 2010 while staying with them in Pittsburgh. I attended their wedding a couple of years ago and they received some bottles as a wedding present and held them for one of my visits. My Facebook page shows us drinking this beer on a hot, humid night as took the best notes possible.

I was (hopefully) getting smarter as I went along. I only gently poured a little better than half of the bottle after it foamed continually once the cap was popped. Its color was a deep brown with good clarity, excepting a slight sludge in the well of the glass. Nose was really rich with a good bit of alcohol heat accompanying notes of fudge, anise and licorice. The mouthfeel was REALLY hot, medium-to-full, and filled my mouth with caramel, burnt brown sugar and molasses. It was MUCH sweetr than any of us expected. Finish had a sugary, malty heat that seemed to linger, killing the other underlying flavors. I also poured the lees separately, and they turned out to be comparable to the taste of the beer initially without the heat, perhaps even a bit sweeter.

I am not discounting how good this beer was, especially in the face of so many horrible CANQuest (TM) beers, but neither did I hear the singing of angels or have any sort of religious experience.

woodychandler, Dec 18, 2010
Photo of Lakes
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Notes From a bottle I had last winter...
Poured into a Chimay glass

Appearance:
Initial pour is clear dark ruby. Head is good and lingering despite slow pour so as not to disturb the sediment. Last of the 3 of us sharing this bottle had an understandably cloudy pour.

Aroma:
Deep malt sweetness. Excellent yeast esters giving light fruit notes. Carmel and wisps port. Fig and date with soft alcohol.

Taste:
Complex malt, sweet candied sugar, dates, leather dried plum and warm alcohol. I haven't the words. Very low hop bitterness without being overly sweet.

Mouth-feel:
Smooth and full. Warming alcohol. Very pleasant aftertaste. Carbonation is excellent.

Drinkability:
Price alone hurts the score here. I could drink this all day...slowly, but all day.

Lakes, Dec 14, 2010
Photo of CharlatanSin
4.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Westy 12 pours a hazy dark brown with almost a maroon or purplish tinge. The pour into my Duvel chalice creates a decent tan head that dissipates but leaves quite a bit of lacing. The aroma on this beer is outstanding. It's a great blend of dark fruits, brown sugar, and Belgian yeast. There's a little bit of booze to tie it together.

The taste is far more subtle than I had expected. This is not a bad thing. Similar to the smell, dark figs or plums are prominent. A definite flavor of charred brown sugar. A small hit of crisp, light hops. Complex yet restrained. Beautifully balanced, with just the right amount of booze. The mouthfeel is very sticky, with carbonation lighter than I'd expected. I did my best to pace myself, but it was gone before I knew it.

Now, obviously, I can't answer the question about whether this is the best beer in the world. That's a completely subjective question. I can do a little better by comparing it to other quads. I would need to taste them side-by-side a few times to really make up my mind, but my first instinct is that I like St. Bernardus Abt 12 a tiny bit better. But if you're a Belgian beer fan, or any sort of beer fan at all really, Westy 12 is worth at least some of the hype and is an absolute must-try.

CharlatanSin, Dec 14, 2010
Photo of BeerThursdays
4.38/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Maybe my pallet isn't as advanced as everyone else, or maybe this just didn't live up to the hype, but I was not as enamored with this beer as others.

A: Pours a muddy brown color with a good amount of head that had good retention.

S: Lots of really complex smells in here. I pick up sweet berries, raisins and spices. Maybe some chocolate as well.

T: Very nice. Somewhat boozy. Other than the obvious Fruit and sweet sugar tastes, there is maybe a bit of black liquorish.

M: Thin, nicely carbonated and well balanced. Lots of flavor for a beer of this weight.

D: Impossible to find, so that hurts the score. Great beer for sure, but I just don't think that that much better than some of the other more readily available Trappist Beers.

Edit: Upped the overall a bit, as I take into account the beer experience. One part of that for me is availability, and this one seems to have become increasingly more available.

BeerThursdays, Dec 13, 2010
Photo of cetherid
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

my 100th review! Date on cap (01.12.12)

poured into a tulip

A.

appearance is a brownish and dark ruby red color (when held up to light). A huge amount of very light khaki head...About 3 fingers worth that is very ice cream like. Insane amount of lacing on the glass as well, even to the very last sip.

S.

Lives up to the hype! Booze soaked dark fruits like figs, raisin, prunes, etc. A very sweet aroma like brown sugar and caramel. A little wine smell as well, like a good port. Absolutely fantastic.

T.

again. Fantastic. Where to start? Sweet sugars and dark fruits with a little booze. A little caramel apple in there. Such a complex beer. You also get some of that Belgian yeast, spice and a little bit of bitterness in there. There is so much going on with this beer. Each taste and smell is something different.

M.

medium bodied. huge amounts of carbonation. A little bit of bitterness and a dry finish, like a wine.

D.

Wish I could rate this a 5 but I can't. If it was easy to find, cheaper and a little lower ABV, I'd rate this a 5. Even with the high ABV, the booze is hidden really well. It is still there in the nose and taste, but not as strong as I thought. I will definitely be going out of my way to try and grab more of these. Definitely an A+ beer that lives up to the hype!

cetherid, Dec 12, 2010
Photo of hardy008
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Chestnut brown with a 3 finger tan head with great lacing and retention. The aroma has dates, rum soaked raisins, candi sugar, cherries, pears, Belgian yeast, and grapes. The aroma is truly outstanding.

The taste is everything the aroma promises. Dates, rum soaked raisins, candi sugar, cherries, pears, Belgian yeast, and grapes. There also is some spice, perhaps cinnamon? This is a nice sweet Quadrupel, which is not overly sweet. There is a nice complexity of flavors, and there are flavors in this beer which I cannot pick out. All the same, I would not change a thing.

Medium to full bodied and perfectly carbonated. I can taste some of the alcohol, but there is no alcohol burn at all. The alcohol is definitely warming though. This is also a smooth and creamy beer. Drinking beer does not get any better than this. The drinkability is off the charts, and I must seek this out again.

hardy008, Dec 12, 2010
Photo of Stigs
4.58/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

well, why not. opened a Westy 8 tonight and it gushed, so I took this as an odd sign and reason to pop a 12. 11.2oz bottle (dated ) served in a Chimay chalice.

A - pours with a quarter inch of loose, sudsy very light tan colored foam. some sediment started creeping out of the bottle before I stopped short, saving that for later. the beer is cloudy, very dense amber/brown in color.

S - insane amounts of dark, juicy fruits....figs, raisins, red grapes, cherries...some leathery and tobacco notes, brown sugar, bubblegum, white wine, brown sugar, and caramel. I could probably go on for another 15 minutes. nice.

T - begins with a pleasant mix of sugary sweetness and yeasty Belgian notes. brown sugar, massive amounts of candi sugar, dark fruits (apples, raisins, figs), yeasty phenols, leather, molasses, spices (nutmeg and black pepper) just come alive in the mouth. light notes of boozy vodka, aspirin, and banana near the end. as complex as the nose and just as enjoyable.

M - light to medium body with very sharp, dense, and pinchy carbonation. insanely refreshing and awakening alcohol burn, though it certainly doesnt drink like a 10% beer. burns the mouth (pleasantly) with the history of generations of Trappist monks.

D - an insanely well crafted beer here, the fact they can pull off flavors like this without any flashy ingredients is just mind boggling. just cant begin to describe how complex yet delicately constructed this one is. a real treat, and worthy of its own special occasion. cheers to the monks of St. Sixtus for this one.

Stigs, Dec 12, 2010
Photo of jkpm
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very top of the heap.
The strongest of the Westvleteren´s beer.
Very difficult to find.
Deep brown colour, large and persistant beige head.
Flavour has a nice deep complexity.
Sweet roasted malts, fruits flavours , and the great Belgian yeast feeling.

jkpm, Dec 09, 2010
Photo of nataku00
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A lightly chilled bottle with a drink by date of 03.03.13 poured into a tulip glass. Despite a gentle pour to keep the yeast caked at the bottom of the bottle from being disturbed, nearly two fingers of off white head. The head continued to grow after I stopped pouring, and build peaks of foamy head out of the opening of the glass, reaching three fingers plus in height. The beer is dark and somewhat clear brown, with scarlet streaks at the edge when held up to the light. Tons of carbonation streaming from the bottom of the glass. Really impressive looking beer.

Nose is dark fruits, plums and raisins, dark caramel, and yeast notes.

Taste is a nice balance of sweetness from the dark fruits, malty caramel sweetness and a dry light hop bitterness. Alcohol is very well hidden in this beer, despite its relative young age as it was brewed earlier this year. Compared to other Belgian quads, this definitely drinks the easiest, but the flavor complexity is a bit lacking compared to the others.

Medium body with lots of light bubbled carbonation that sweeps gently across your tongue. A drinkable and inviting beer, but flavor wise isn't as impressive as I had hoped.

nataku00, Dec 05, 2010
Photo of kjc51478
4.47/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a deep brown, almost black with a light, quickly dissipating head. For such a highly touted beer, I was surprised how the taste was very subtle. The appearance makes you think that's it's really full, but that's not the case. I was initially disappointed in the flavors but grew to appreciate it as I drank more. I noticed the chocolate and light roasted grain flavor at the outset. The real strength of this beer for me was on the back end.

kjc51478, Dec 02, 2010
Photo of bnieman
4.47/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Mahogany in color, good amount of sediment, sticky lace

S - Brown raw sugar, fig, raisin bread slightly browned

T - Brilliant mix of dried fruit with roasted malt. Tempting amount of hops lingers on the tongue begging for another sip. Signature Belgian yeast notes. Enough heat to pleasantly warm your belly.

M - Tastes as if it were straight from the tap. Subtle carbonation. Great body.

D - Dangerously easy to drink to start, becomes more intense about half way through.

Best Before Date: 2011-11-19
Epic thanks to beerwolf77 for sharing

bnieman, Dec 02, 2010
Photo of ramseye4
4.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ah, the Holy Grail. I acquired a bottle of this by mistake, and the guy said to keep it, and boy was I excited! On to the review.
Poured into a chalice. Pours a beautiful dark dark mahogany brown, with a two finger head that laces up the glass. Aroma is of figs, subtle spices, a bit of alcohol, some dark fruits. Taste is...wow. Incredibly complex, A lot of caramel, a bit of booze, figs, slightly bitter, gives a wonderful warming feeling on its way down. The malt backbone is spectacular, and a fruity aftertaste lingers around the lips. The mouthfeel is the best I have ever had. It slides around so smoothly, and the gentle carbonation pops all over the tongue, bringing out the taste. It is full bodied, and goes down incredibly easily for a beer of this ABV.

This is great, beyond question. It is the best beer I have had so far, but I think that there are a very very small percentage of better beers out there. But for now, long live the king!

ramseye4, Nov 29, 2010
Photo of kfsv034
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Shawn for this brew.

A- Pours a Dark Carmel brown with a nice finger head that leaves lacing all the way down the glass. When held up to the light there are lighter carmel hues on the edges of the glass

S - Smells of Carmel, brown sugar, some dark fruits and Booze.

T - Is a bit more complex than the nose, Brown Sugar, Carmel, Dark Fruits specifically plum, raisin, fig and hints of apple, belgium yeasty flavors, vanilla?, followed by some booze on the backend, overall very tastey.

M - Medium bodied, what you would expect from the style.

D - Taste is magnificent, ABV be damned I could drink this all night.

kfsv034, Nov 28, 2010
Photo of radioscooter
4.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

So after all the reading about, hearing about, and let's face it - hype - associated with this beer, I have finally opened my single bottle I acquired on eBay.

As always, I will try to comment here away from what has gone previously. My ranking or specific commentary is worthless to pros. I am but a novice. I know what I like. I like quads, strong dark ales with complexity and flavor.

As I pour it into a goblet, I notice the lack of head, and an unassuming semi translucent mahogany hue.

The bottle is colder than I like to drink. But my pattern is to start chilled and let it come up to room temp before I start seriously sipping.

Aroma is very subdued, Earthy, but not heady - not revealing too much of what's to come.

What comes is nothing short of history in a bottle. The mystery and intrigue of centuries of Trappist Monks creating the ultimate ale is present in every sip.

Once again I am forced to reference legend. If there was ever a beer that could eclipse the stories of Mead, Treacle, Butter Beer or Ambrosia - this truly is a magical nectar in our physical mundane, Muggle world. The words "flagon", "quaff" and "tavern" were created to accessorize this ale.

I can't imagine what standardization needs to be in place to vote something the "best beer in the world". It seems like a ludicrously subjective classification. And as amazing as this beer is - I'm not saying that I'd choose it every or all night. But really -there is no "next best contender" to this beer, because it is unique in its approach and scope. A heady breath of dark, slightly figgy, mildly sweet (and I mean mild) malt flavors hits the tongue and then dissipates into... more of the same. Instead of transmuting into some phenol-ridden, frothy fluff - the flavor just exponentially increases and drapes as it travels over your palette.

As I get to the bottom of the bottle, the cloudy sediment shows its presence. Flavors are hard to isolate because the blend has been perfected into a cohesive whole ONEness. But some fig, currant and - as God is my witness - LOAM come to the top of the pile.

The hype is high on this one because of its legendary rareness. One in a while hype is justified. Sometimes, you just need to recognize that the laws of supply and demand are affected by real world lay-lines of taste and appreciation.

There are so many magical fables that we can't reach out and touch. If, as a child - you ever longed for Brigadoon, Narnia, Middle Earth or Neverland to be real - go through the motions and acquire a bottle of this beer. It's worth the trouble to reaffirm your sense of humility and wonder in the world.

radioscooter, Nov 25, 2010
Photo of foxbat2500
4.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Brought 2 bottles back from Belgium. Shared with some friends in my office at work. DON'T TELL LEGAL!

A- Reminds us of autumn in Belgium, even tough most people in the room have never been. Nutty and carmel color. With tones of amber and small bubbles on the frothy, lacy top. Looks like a pancake ready to be flipped.

Smell = Sweet caramel apple, with a hint of bitter.

Taste = Strong and yet sublime. You taste but there is no bitter after taste. Its just perfect tasting. Little bit of sweet and sour, apple under tones.

Mouth & Drink = Just smooth. Taste a bit of froth. It warms you up, the first sip you feel it in your stomach.

The drink equivalent of Oh NOM NOM NOM!

Great way to spend a lunch break. I don't think this is the best beer I've ever had, but I am very appreciative of the rare opportunity to try it. Here's to the last sip.

foxbat2500, Nov 24, 2010
Photo of Naugros
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This will be my 200th review and I wanted to have a special beer for that milestone. My wife delivered that to me for our anniversary by getting her hands on a couple of bottles of Westvleteren 12. Perfect!

I kept putting the instant read thermometer to the side of the bottle to ensure that I was drinking this beer at the recommended temperature.

I poured the beer and took a photo of the bottle and bottle cap next to the Westvleteren chalice that my wife got me to go with the beer. The color of the beer appeared almost purple but on closer inspection it is a deep, ruddy brown that is mostly opaque. The head, the color of toasted marshmallow, rises quickly and thick (more than 2") and had enough structure to exceed the bounds of the edge of the glass by a good 1/2". I dared not go further than that in fear of spilling even one drop of this difficult-to-procure elixir. The head did fall down into a dense, sudsy surface coating with a thick ring that left sheets of foamy lace.

One smell and I realized that I have smelled better. Figs and brown sugar matched with an alcohol warmth greet the nose without overpowering it. Tropical fruit esters are thrown off and are backed up by a barely perceptible sense of black pepper.

I really expected a lot more bold flavors and an orgasmic or, more appropriate, religious experience, but it does not live up to the hype. I suspect the scarcity of this brew and its reputation have driven many of the previous reviews. Don't get me wrong, it's delicious but it's not the be-all, end-all of beer. Cocoa, brown sugar and figs represent for the malts and are in perfect balance with the tropical fruit esters put off by the yeast. Alcohol is well-masked, but is not entirely mitigated, leaving a sense of dark rum laced with one mini-pinch of black pepper. All the flavors work very well together and is the strength of this beer.

The mouthfeel is silky smooth and surprisingly light with just enough bite to express itself nicely without overpowering the palate. This is one wonderful, wonderful, wonderful beer. I would really love to put down quite a few more of these but that is cost-prohibitive due to the efforts needed to obtain a bottle. Due to the ABV it is also equilibrium-prohibitive.

Overall this is one amazing quad, but Rochefort 10 does compare favorably as do a few other quads and Belgian strong darks. It earns its reputation as the "Holy Grail of Beer" by the means needed to get a taste of it but once it has been tasted your efforts could be better used for more reasonable endeavors. I am so happy to have had it though and now need to decide when and where to open the second bottle.

Naugros, Nov 21, 2010
Photo of DannyS
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy...ok, so, here we go.

Poured into the Westvleteren chalice.

A - Pours a magnificent dark red amber that seems both opaque and crystal clear at the same time, with a 1/2 inch head that is not going anywhere anytime soon. Seriously, this pillow of off-white foam sits proud and strong in the chalice, leaving a great wall of rich, creamy lacing as you drink.

S - Dark, rich dried fruit, brown sugar, slightly boozy, spiced, phenolic. Oh so complex.

T - Right after pouring, it's very boozy and a tad harsh, but given the chance to breathe, it mellows into a malty, slightly hoppy, slighty fruity and sugary sweet nectar of the gods. Liquid joy.

M - Surprisingly light on the palate with a very fine carbonation. Warms a lot right off the bat, then settles down for a bit, then gives off the warming feel again. Lovely.

D - PROTIP: Let this one breathe for a minute after pouring. It was very boozy and in my face right off the bat, but it settled down into a very drinkable brew once it had the chance to aerate. As for the ABV/feel, it goes to your head pretty quick, but it's a great buzz.

Overall - Oh man, this is a damn good one. I was nervous about opening it, but I'm so glad I did. Every sip I take is in eternal thanks to the good monks who brew this divine libation. I can see why they say this is the best beer of all time.

And now my glass is empty. Sigh.

DannyS, Nov 20, 2010
Photo of sixthglass
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Medium brown in color, small frothy head, slight lacing

S: dark fruits, slight spiciness, brown sugar (ish)

T:dark fruits, spice, brown sugar, small bit of alcohol. many more layers i couldn't get a read on.

M: Smooth, low carbonation.

D: Simply incredible, something I could drink on a regular basis, if I had the access to it. Warms you up and doesn't disappoint.

sixthglass, Nov 17, 2010
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 4,967 ratings.