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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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5,180 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,180
Reviews: 1,662
rAvg: 4.6
pDev: 9.13%
Wants: 3,130
Gots: 1,590 | FT: 118
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: 5,180 | Reviews: 1,662 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DovaliHops
4.47/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Jason for sharing this rare gem with me at the bottle share! Pours a murky brown color with a small tan head that sticks around for a little. Scent is delicious candied dark fruits and brown sugar. Taste is initially sweet caramel, followed by figs and prunes. Lots of dark fruits with hints of green apple, molasses, and brown sugar. There is also some alcohol taste to it, but not overwhelming at all. The complexity of this beer is ridiculous. Mouthfeel is extremely dry and full-bodied. Well-balanced. Drinkability is VERY HIGH for the ABV. Overall, this beer is outstanding and I'm glad I got the opportunity to try it. However, the beer does not blow Rochefort 10 outta the water, so I'm not sure if it's worth all the trouble getting one.

Photo of robbrandes
4.12/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a tulip, courtesy of a birthday present - thank brosephus!

pours a nice, dark brown, slightly cloudy. head was extremely underwhelming, aggressive pour and it barely mustered a quarter inch. nice aroma - raisins, dark rum, carmelized sugars, a lot going on.

broad range of tastes on the tongue - again lots of dark fruit, brown sugar, alcohol warms on the back end. this beer was a bit thinner than i was prepared for, although it did continue to open up nicely for at least 20 minutes.

overall - very nice beer, would gladly drink it again and was thrilled i finally got to try it. but i'm not understanding the holy grail status.

Photo of Rick187
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Dark brown color with a head that sticks around a long time and alot of lacing.

S- Alot less of a scent then I would have thought. I get alot of the yeast and some dark fruit.

T- Extremely complex taste. Malt, raisin, prune, date, malt, nuts.

M- Smooth and no big alcohol bite. It's a big beer, but it goes down very easily.

O- If this were local and reasonably priced I could easily drink this on a regular basis. Definitely lived up to the hype and I will seek this out again.

Photo of jayhawk73
4.88/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a super dark brown color with a perfect two finger chocolate head. Head sticks around a long time, and there's massive lacing on my goblet. Good carbonation too. Can't really see through this one, but it's not a black hole like some beers are. This looks like one serious Quad, and I really can't find a fault w/ it- it's really a beautiful looking beer.

S- The smell is slightly less pungent than I thought it would be, but it's still really good. Caramel, malt, fruit, yeast, alcohol all make their presence known. Maybe some nut in there as well? It definitely gets better the warmer it gets. Really opens up. Very nice.

T- Wow. Super complex taste. Caramel, malt, raisin, prune, date, hint of chocolate, licorice.. Maybe some more as well. There seems to be no end to the flavor profile of this beer, and it keeps improving the more I sip it. Warming also really opens this beer up. Pretty amazing! I don't get much alcohol, just a little on the aftertaste. This beer definitely lives up to the hype- it's a remarkable brew, and I can understand why it lives in the top 3 beers in the rankings.

M- Big, smooth, slightly chewy without being overwhelming or heavy. Exceptional feel. I can't really imagine it getting much better than this for the style.

O- I've had Westy 12 a couple times now. Once was pretty good, but this batch seems to be a step up from the last time I had it. Definitely one of the best beers I've ever had, and one of my favorite styles as well. If you get a chance to try this beer, you'll never forget it. It's a masterpiece that gets better w/ every sip. Cheers, Advocates!

Photo of 05Harley
4.07/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best before date: 15.06.04 (June 15, 2004) It's my understanding the Westvleteren beers are bottled 3 years prior to the best before date. Which makes this beer almost ten years old to the day! The alcohol content is also a bit higher @ 10.8%.

Purchased through Cracked Kettle, Netherlands

Price - Lost record, I'm sure it was expensive...
I purchased this a few years back before I was keeping receipts.

Popped the cap and bam, a flow of foam gushes out of the bottle. A quick pour in my glass reveals a two inch creamy foam head that fizzles out after a few minutes leaving behind the scene of a cloudy sky. Polka dotted lacing stains the glass after several sips. The color is brown with quite a bit of yeast sediment.

The aroma is fairly strong and pleasent. Full of caramel, red grapes, candy sugar and spices.

The flavor is sweet malt, caramel and dark fruit with some earthy notes.

The mouthfeel is medium in body, soft and smooth with plenty of carbonation. Unfortunately a metallic bitter aftertaste sneaks in and kills the overall enjoyment.

I think the age of this bottle is certainly bringing it down a bit. I have several newer versions and will update this review to reflect the best buy date.

Photo of pzrhsau
4.97/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Dark reddish brown body with a robust creamy colored head.
S: Smells like oak. Very woody aroma and has some notes of dried fruits such as figs and dried plums.
T: The beer has a nice bitter woodiness balanced perfectly with some nice sweet dried fruit. Not too heavy but really has a good weight
M/O: Very good carbonation and presentation even after aged for a year. Very good balance with strong alcohol aroma but not overpowering the flavor or the texture This beer is balanced on a knifes edge presenting weight and superior drinkability.

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.12/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I feel like I've always been alone in thinking this is over rated and had to give this another try the night before my wedding, may 27. It's good, but not number one in my book by a long shot. Aged about a year or more.

A: Brown hue with lighter brown highlights and a bubbly off white head. Cloudy look.

S: Smell is dense with bready/dark bread malt character thats dry but not overly sweet smelling. Savory for sure in terms of the grain in there. Some ripened dark fruits abound with a little syrup and nutty notes.

T: Follows the smell but it is not as vibrant as the aroma forshadowed, sort of falls flat over part of the palate though what is there is good for sure: Some almost citrus like twists accompany a ton of dry caramel, chestnut, cinnamon, and of course plenty of grain. There are other quads I enjoy far more than this that are much easier to get!

M: Medium feel with lots of carbonation. Smooth and nice overall.

Photo of rowingbrewer
4.74/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this beer pours a nice brown color wh a small off white head that recedes quickly. the smell is sweet, slightly spicey and reminds me of concord grapes. the taste follows suit with a very mild yeasty spiciness, with amazing layers of fruit flavors coming through and a nice sweet finish, but not too sweet. the mouthfeel is full and medium carbed overall this beer more than lived up to the hype. would definitely trade for this beer again.

Photo of jbonapar
4/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow, I can't beleive i found this beer! Anyway..

As expected, poured a dark, yet clear beer with alot of yeast and nice head.

Taste: Raisins, dark candy fruit, a spiciness. I'm actually surprised at the lack of complexity. To me, a nice Dark Strong Ale, but overall not as enjoyable as some others. I realize this is the "king" of DSA, but to me, not the best.

Overall: Wonder full, I'm glad I tried it, but I prefer some others. Particularly given the cost and difficulty getting this. Perhaps some fresh from the brewer would be ideal.

Photo of notchucknorris
4.89/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

200th Review!

A: Pours a very dark and murky Coca Cola-looking brown color with very little head. I wasn't super impressed by the appearance.

S: And here we go. Simply put, I have never smelled a beer that smells this good. It's incredible. I found it nearly impossible to pinpoint all the smells. I got notes of brandy-soaked raisins, fruitcake, chocolate, tons of dark fruit, molasses, some overripe banana and a bit of jackfruit. Unbelievable.

T: Lots of raisin and brown sugar flavor upfront along with some brandy. Hints of plum and raisin on the finish along with a nice warmness on the way down. Some spiciness and a bit of white pepper to be found in this as well. Well worth it's reputation. I don't know if it's my favorite beer ever (still a sucker for Abyss), but this is a stellar beer.

Photo of mcguirmn
4.77/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought this fine beer from the Cracked Kettle in Amsterdam. Waited until I returned to the states to drink it.

A: Cloudy, chocolate color with a tan colored head.

S: Bread. Kinda like sourdough. A hint of raisins, dates, and plums, along with cherries.

T: Expected the alcohol to give this beer a nice kick, but the beer masks the ABV well. The taste starts off rather sweet, with a little bitterness in the aftertaste.

M: Somewhere between a light and a medium body. I expected the beer to be much thicker than it was. The thin-ness definitely enhanced the experience, as I expected it to be rather syrupy.

OVERALL: A very nice beer. Maybe it was all the hype, but I can definitely see how this is voted the best beer in the world. The complexity was remarkable. Quadrupels are not my favorite style, but I thoroughly enjoyed Westvleteren 12. If it wasn't so expensive and so damn hard to get, I would definitely put this beer in my rotation.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

330 ml bottle poured into my Duvel tulip glass.

A - Dark brown with a huge creamy, tan head. Good retention and some lacing.

S - Dark fruit and spices. Not as strong as I thought it would be.

T - Zapped my tongue. Fruit, carmel, raisins, toffee.

D - Very carbonated, slightly sweet.

O - This is #1. It was extremely good, but not sure if it is my #1.

Photo of Knapp85
4.22/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally got a bottle of this in a very generous trade with MrKennedy. This beer is really special to say the least and I'm very happy to be reviewing this right now.

This pours out with a murky brown color with some orange highlights, the head is kind of minimals but has a little white ring around the glass. The smell of this beer is very good. Lots of sweet fruit aromas a little Belgian yeast on the nose. Not much in way or hops. The taste is very good, the flavors of apple, fig, and white grapes all come together in a very nice combo. When the beer is colder the mouthfeel is a little thicker feeling. Once it warms up it thins out and the booze aromas start to show. The beer as a whole is very good. It's incredibly easy to drink, it's great to savor over the course an hour if you want to. The finish is dry but smooth and overall just really nice. I can see why people love it so much.

Photo of FLBeerGuy
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage, a nice way to break in my virgin Duvel tulip. Pours a dark cola brown with a thin white head that leaves very little lacing.

Nose is dark fruits (figs, dates, raisins), brown sugar, molasses and some bready yeast.

Taste is much like the nose, figs, dates, rasains, brown sugar molasses, vanilla and some bready yeast Alcohol is hidden well here.

Overall, a very nice quad, not sure it is worth the hype, but being a beer geek, you have to try it.

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a dark cola brown with a small head. Had some sediment in the bottom

S: Nose smelled of figs, caramel, brown sugar and grapes.

T: Taste is good with lots of grapes, figs, caramel raisins. Amazing. Very smooth

M: Mouthfeel was good, ABV was well hidden and it kept this beer very drinkable. A very smooth and silky element

O: Overall I can def see why this is world class. Amazing beer

Photo of surlytheduff
4.3/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Decided tonight was the night to finally give this beer a try - been sitting on a couple bottles for a few months now. It was an 8/2010 bottle, so about nine months old. Consumed from an Orval chalice. The beer gave a strong hiss on opening the bottle, and after pouring filled the chalice to the absolute rim with about a finger of a gradient of light brown to frothy white foam. The head receded after a bit, leaving a minimal amount of lacing along the sides of the glass. The beer was a rich brown, with amber highlights around the edges.

The smell was a blend of date & fig, sweet brown sugar and a bready yeastiness. The taste followed right along with where the nose was leading, but stepped up the complexity with additional elements. A peppery spiciness was there along with the candied dark fruits, a little bit of a vanilla and warming alcohol. This is an extremely well rounded and balanced quad flavor. The feel was equally as pleasant - full bodied, with a medium amount of carbonation. The finish was fantastic and imparted no harsh alcohol component. Overall this was a real treat to try - I don't know if after one bottle I'm ready to place it above some of my other quad favorites (St. B, Rochefort 10) but it is definitely a member of the exclusive group of top tier beers of this style.

Photo of Alpar
4.92/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this gem from Trappistlover as an extra! Huge thanks Dave.

A: Big fluffy off white head accompanied by some sediment. An exceptional brown with a ruby hue. Lots of "floaties." Heads

S: Strong port wine, not sure if my nose is off but that is what I am getting. Bready with lots of dark fruits. I think that is where the port wine is coming from...

T: Oh my word! This is far more than I expected. Big bread and fruit just like the smell. There are definitely some spices, not sure what it is though? Not getting much alcohol but this bottle has a little age on it. More robust flavors of bread and plum arise as it warms. Fantastic.

O: I love this beer and will most likely be ISO more, a great treat. Glad I got to try this!

Photo of ChrisPro
3.96/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tasted 2010 vintage blind as part of a top 10 quad tasting with callmemickey and sideshowe.

A - murky orange brown with a distinguishable frothy pillowtop of head. Tons of lacing

S - Spices, lost of sweet caramel, biscuit and roasted nuts.

T - Had a weird off-tasting spice and lots of caramel. nice bitter finish.

M - Very sharp uncomfortable carbonation. Lots of booze. Slick and oily.

O - not very drinkable but tied for #3 out of the 10 best quads. Would do MUCH better with some age.

Photo of rhodeska
4.8/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Really good beer, thanks to Hayesez for hooking me up with these.

I opened the 2010 bottle that I had, and really am a fan. I did this side-by-side with a 2003 bottle and much preferred the newer, fresher version. It was a very interesting beer, definitely had a ton of taste and some fruit flavor to it. It was very strong, but even for a quad, I didn't get a strong burn or anything like that from the alcohol. I am interested to open my 2008 and do a test of the middle-of-the-road version.

Photo of Arithmeticus
4.84/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured in short drinking glass; shared with friends

A: modest head, orange brown, moderate carb, not much lacing
S: cherry, plum overtones with some molasses in the mix
T: Wow! Lambic-like flavor; very strong cherry, malt; very complex and sweet

This beer is amazing. Get it. Try it.

Photo of andrewinski1
4.22/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Ben for sharing! Poured into a Chimay chalice. Nice dark mauve color dances between amber and brown. There is a spritzy one inch head that leaves a good amount of lacing.

The aroma is full of plums and yeasty pepper. I really like the balance of sweet and spice in the aroma.

The taste is nice and sweet with dates, figs, and a hearty dose of brown sugar and cinnamon. The finish is a little drier with some peppery spice.

The body is medium to heavy and the carbonation is slightly prickly, helping out the sweetness. This is a nice sipper.

I don't think it's MY favorite, but it's very delicious and complex.

Photo of Bendurgin
4.3/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

With impending doom right around the corner I decided it was high time to crack this bad Larry open. Thanks for the hook up Craytonic! Split with Andy and poured into a tulip. This one pours a murky brown with about an inch of white head. It settles to foam with some soapy lace.

The aroma is full of dark fruits with with hints of toffee. Plums and raisins with grape skins and a bit of booze. Lots of grapes in the aroma. Fruity and sweet with a tanic aroma. Hints of molasses sweetbess yo front with lots of dark fruits. Tanic flavors like grapes. This one is a bit on the boozey side though. It finishes with a really nice caramel sweetness to it with a touch of grassy hops.

The feel on this is nice. Really a dry beer with a full body. Soft carbonation makes this one really nice. Overall, this is clearly a well made beer. For my money, I can get stuff stateside that I'll be just as happy with. But don't get me wrong, this one is a rare treat that I'll accept anytime.

Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.8/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have the fortune to try this one beside a St. Bernardus Abt 12. They use the same yeast. To compare them will be quite exciting.

A: Pour is murky dark brown with a medium large tan head that sinks into great lacings.

S: A rich full smell with lots of sweet malt. A nice mix of bitter and floral hops - lots of dark fruits. Complex, yeasty and spicy.

T: Malty, very malty - sweet, but not to sweet. Some yeast and faint alcohol with spices. A very complex and well balanced beer. Again both floral and bitter hops. Rich dark dried fruits, almost like molasses.

M: A really long after-taste with a creamy sence and both bitter and sweet. Full bodied and mild carbonation.

O: One of the best beers in the world? Well in my opinion: it's clearly a fantastic beer, and in comparison to the St. Bernardus; It's very similar in taste and smell, but in this beer the smell and taste are so much stronger. When it comes to quads; this one is very nice, but I prefer Rochefort 10.

Photo of Vdubb86
4.03/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass

Screw Kyle on this one, thanks to mdfb79 for this taste.

First off a Westy 12, are you serious!?!?!?!?!...Dude, you're the man. And I'm so glad I came over to help Kyle out, this was all the reward I needed.

This beer pours a cloudy dark amber color. I'm guessing some dark Belgian ale. The aroma is actually rather yeasty in nature, like that of rising bread. Though for smelling like yeast, it's oddly pleasant, usually I don't say that. Wow, this tastes worlds different then it smells. There are plums and figs and berries all with a sweet dark caramel sugar flavor. Some spices from either additions or the yeast itself. This is really tasty for a Belgian, if that's the case. I've also changed my opinion to narrow it down to a BDSA or Quad, but since IMHO those are the same, I consider myself right. The reason of this narrowing is that this beer is pretty boozy. It isn't enough to hurt the flavor, but it's not really all that pleasant either. Overall this is a pretty darn good beer. My guess is it could use some time.

May I just express my disappointment at how regular this was for the top beer in the world.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.98/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

No thanks is big enough for mdfb79 for this bottle!

Reviewed blind as part of Blind BIF Round 5. Cap reads 06.10.13. It pours a dark, semi-cloudy burnt auburn topped by a healthy tower of cream foam. The nose comprises dark greens, black pepper, clove, very bready yeast, nutmeg, figs, and light cocoa. The taste holds notes of cinnamon, brown sugar, clove, nutmeg, mild milk chocolate, Belgian yeast, light citrus peel, light cardamom, dark greens, candi sugar, and grass. The body is a hefty-leaning medium, with a light-ish moderate carbonation and an almost astringently chewily dry finish. Overall, this stuff was indeed tasty (and admittedly a little young), but it felt a bit wrong on my tongue. Honestly, I generally enjoyed it, but I've had plenty of better quads in my day.

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,180 ratings.