Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) - Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 4,610 | Reviews: 1,611 | Display Reviews Only:
4.85/5 rDev +5.2%
Thanks to my friend OlieIPA for procuring this in a trade and selling me a bottle.
A- Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Chimay chalice, this beer pours a murky dark brown color with a creamy light-brown head that settles to a medium-thin layer, leaving only a few sheets of lacing after each sip.
S- The aroma is sugary and malty with sticky dark fruits, molasses and Belgian yeast as the most prominent characteristics. There are accents of indiscernible spices and with burnt sugar as well. The alcohol is only slightly noticeable even as the beer reaches room temperature.
T- The initial taste mirrors the aroma, with flavors of malty sweetness and dark fruits making their way to maple syrup and brown sugar town. There is a slight alcohol warmth on the finish, which also leaves a mild tea-like bitterness on the palate.
M- The mouthfeel is creamy and velvety smooth with very mild carbonation.
D- This beer is very drinkable considering its immensely complex flavor profile and a 10.2% ABV. Each sip leaves you in anticipation of the next.
09-01-2008 04:40:40 | More by Tdizzle
4.8/5 rDev +4.1%
Well its time to crack this one open I won this particular bottle in a LIF hosted by Life is good major Karma goes her way. I figured this was the perfect time to celebrate this brew the last weekend of summer, the working mans weekend, and all truly life is good.
Bottle served slightly chilled in my favorite chalice. The pour produced a good two fingers worth of Brown head that goes to a great lace. The body was brown to a dark red in color
The nose has tons of Malts and dark fruits It is a little less Intense than expected But it may be just reality catching up to expectation. There was a hint of spice and alcohol as well as it warms.
Flavors of sweet dark fruits filled my mouth raisins figs and such. As it warms more of the alcohol is present in its bite but so does the spiciness in the flavor as well .Great mouthfeel and perfect carbonation for its style
For this holy grail of all brews this was a pleasure to drink, highly drinkable. The rarity of this brew aside. I do think it is close to a few of the other Belgian Quads I have tried St. Bernardus comes to mind. Don't get me wrong this brew was better balanced in the flavor department but I think if it comes down to it St. Bernardus is a close second.
Thanks again Life is good for sharing such a rare brew as well as another BA who will remain nameless for trading me one to put away for my son when he is legal age. Who knows I may even split it 60 /40 LOL
08-31-2008 22:28:15 | More by joepais
4.6/5 rDev -0.2%
Into its beautiful chalice it pours a very dark, yet clear, brown with highlights of ruby red shining through the brew, only a bit of head crowns the beer and it fades to a delicate lace. I raise the glass to my nose and scents of warm red grapes, cranberry and cherry come flooding into my awareness. The sweet smell of fruit, caramel and toffee candy wraps itself so nicely around the significantly boozy brew. It pours over my lips and onto my tongue. Sudden sweetness hits me with flavours of red wine, plums, and wild berries. The sweetness is quickly followed by a refreshing dryness brought on by the high alcohol content. Both the sweet and the bitter mingle and dance on the palette in perfect unison, and linger into a long dry aftertaste that leaves me begging for more. The low carbonation takes the edge off of what might have otherwise been a sharp and bitter dryness, and makes it so very easy to drink. And then I had a second sip.
08-27-2008 19:36:54 | More by Quej
4.95/5 rDev +7.4%
Gracias goryshkewych for trading me this puppy. Let us now see if it was really worth the hype. Been waiting a while to try and here goes nothing.
Lovely nondescript Westy bottle poured into a nondescript chalice. Served mildly chilled at what seems to be the right temperature.
A: Oak brown color with a head that is incredibly lasting. Lacing surprisingly strong as well, a looker by all means. The puffy chestnut head stayed creamy through the entire drink.
N: Raisins, dates and dried figs. Sweet belgian malts, deep caramel and spices. Pleasant in every sense of the word. Like the smell of a floured, sweet mapled waffle.
T: Fabulous, figs and dates. Just like chewing on those figs that have the natural sugar on the outside. The warmth of this drink balances out the taste perfectly. The sweetness lasts on the front, the back, and all other parts of the tongue. Packing this amount of sweetness from all you can ask for in a Belgian into something so drinkable and balanced is artwork.
M: No cloning the mouthfeel of this one. Unlike anything Ive had before. This is where it really sets itself apart from other quality quads like st. bernadus. The creaminess is perfect.
D: Most complex beer I have had for a belgian like this. Almost hard to describe. It takes on different character throughout drinking it. Cant wait to have more at some time.
Was it worth the hype and hope? Indeed.
08-21-2008 00:00:37 | More by marcpal
4.95/5 rDev +7.4%
Poured into a Westmalle chalice. Date on the cap 23.04.11.
A - I may have poured it too delicately because the head was very thin and there was no lacing whatsoever. The body was magnificent though, cloudy brownish red that made my mouth water just looking at it.
S - So complex! Sweet aromas of cherries, plums, and red apples come through the strongest, complimented by more earthy aromas from the yeast. There seems to be much more going on here, but I'm not even going to try to figure out what it is.
T - Even more complex than the smell. The fruits, sugars, and yeast all combine to create a taste that leaves your palate writhing in a purely orgasmic state. The mix of sweetness and breadiness is simply divine. The alcohol tries to poke its head out as it warms, but even then it stays very well hidden.
M - Holy freaking Christ!!!! I never would have thought a Belgian quad could be so smooth! It's thick and fairly wet on the tongue and leaves a faint cherry aftertaste on the palate. The carbonation is low, but still keeps the sweetness in check perfectly. Oh, did I mention how incredibly smooth it is?
D - Please sir, may I have another?
Notes: This beer is positively phenomenal. Even without the hype and exclusivity, I have no doubt in my mind that I could easily call this the Holy Grail of beers. This beer doesn't need the hype to make it world-class. It speaks well enough for itself.
08-20-2008 20:31:46 | More by pwsoldier
4.53/5 rDev -1.7%
Well, this is the one, apparently. Too bad I had to enjoy it while listening to tacky American 80s music... only in Belgium, at my personal adventure...
Served at Cambrinus in Brugge, in a branded Trappist Westvleteren chalice. Best before 17/10/10.
Intense milky black-brown. Coffee mottled offwhite tan head. Mossy in texture. Effervescent. Unbelievably good retention that's impossible to deny. Great! On the nose: plums, ripe apples, sour cherries, diacetyl, apple juice, hint of yeasty funk. Chocolate, coffee, cane sugar, rye bread, port wine. Raisins, dates. (the point in my notes where I write an expletive).
Surprisingly light palate with carbonation, sweetish on the tongue with moderate alcoholic/yeasty bitterness. Chocolate malt. Mouth-coating. Something in the background I'm not getting... nuts - definitely. Slightly salty. Tropical fruit?! Cookie dough, coffee cake - caramel. Malt whisky. Well hidden abv.
Is this the best? I don't know. I started my adventure in legality about one year ago and I've already enjoyed what is commonly regarded as "the greatest beer on earth". No matter - breweries change and I have no doubt that within my lifetime W-12 will be unseated, hopefully for the better. In the meantime... I'll keep on coming back for this stuff.
08-19-2008 23:37:07 | More by Antilochus
5/5 rDev +8.5%
And the lady rose from the wood, as the archers tromped through the dales in seek of the fountain of perfection. The craft had been whiling away the years for the better part of a century. Settled royally atop her mount, she directed the footsoldiers as they traipsed through the underbrush, brandishing their pikes and longswords against the inhuman foe of the dark wood. Occasional copses and dales provided much-needed relief from the dense thickets that made up the majority of the wooded landscape. Atop the mountain they had seen afar their destination, and the lady would not rest until they had inhaled the aromatic glory and tasted the nectar of liquid perfection. The going was hard through the wood, and the clearing came none too soon, but they had arrived. A friar greeted them warmly, welcoming them to the humble monastery in which was conceived one of the greatest treasures on earth. Apart from the Bible and his countless hours of prayer, one passion consumed him. The same passion which had consumed so many of his forefathers and would yet become a passion for thousands of years to come. He had created one of the marvels of the then-modern world, the perfect combination of hops, malt, pure water, and yeast.
The appearance was brown, with a crown of light tan head which would cling to the ridge of the goblet of whomever had the pleasure of enjoying it. The lady was taken aback by the complexity of the aromas, contrasted with the dank odour of the stone corridors in the bowels of the monastery. The flavour was rapturous. rich, complex flavours of dark fruits, the yeast lending a spicy character and the alcohol rounding out the drink with a warmth and intensity that she had not experienced before. She let out a deep sigh. She could die content now, as she held in her hands what her heart had so longed for.
08-19-2008 01:32:36 | More by khiasmus
4.53/5 rDev -1.7%
Thanks to CamuMahubah for this one!
Poured into a chalice...
A: Dark raisin in color with ruby hues when held up to light. Rich, foamy head that leaves lacing the whole way down! Quite a sight!
S: So much here! Raisins, dates, Belgian candi sugar, Belgian yeast, caramel, many dark fruits. The smell is so complex!
T: The taste is just as complex, mainly of dark fruits and tons of Belgian candi sugar! The alcohol is hidden very well, though it is noticeable...might need some age
M,D: The mouthfeel is minorly thick, but I could drink this all day!
Overall, one of the best Belgian's I have had, though it does not top much others by far
08-13-2008 01:52:10 | More by treyrab
4.68/5 rDev +1.5%
Received from a trade with ralflord... Classic unlabeled 12oz bottle poured into my Duvel tulip glass. First look appears as a murky brown color with shades of ruby. 1/2inch head that slowly recedes to small ring of sticky lace.
Smell is not overpowering but there is sweet candy, bread like yeast and ripe fruit. The taste: WOW, sweet ripe fruits like dates, plums, and cherries. Malty backbone with hardly any hop bite. This is one complex brew as other flavors pull through; licorice, yeasty esters (in a good way), and more sweet candy. Thick mouthfeel yet semidry finish. This brew goes down amazingly smooth given the ABV and complexity. ABV seems almost non-existent until the end when it warms, definitely sneaks up on you.
Drinkability is of course fanatstic and this is my favorite quad. The best beer in the world? Definitely not but within range...
08-08-2008 14:53:56 | More by phattysbox
4.33/5 rDev -6.1%
Pours a nice dark brown with a thick tan head that lasts. Smells of banana, dark fruits, slight roastiness, and caramelized brown sugar. Taste is more on the chocolate/dark roasty malt side, but with banana and brown sugar. Sweet finish with noticeable bitterness and next to no alcohol. Thick velvety body with low-medium carbonation. Quite drinkable for the ABV.
08-03-2008 20:05:38 | More by philipquarles
4.15/5 rDev -10%
Review from Inaugural Issue of Beeradvocate Magazine.
The so-called Holy Grail for many beer geeks, with single bottles going for upwards of $20 in the US. This bottle is at least eight years old. Poured into a silver-rimmed Westvleteren chalice. Translucent brown with shimmering ruby hues, and a thick, tightly-laced, creamy, sticky head above. Similar aroma as the other Westys; a complex, deep malted nose of carob, toffee and honey. Massive creamy buildup on the palate, as the tight carbonation hits the warmth of the mouth. Silky smooth, with a dry, medium, even body. Again with the powdery feel. Interesting twang of grapes. Dextrin sweetness. More carob, golden syrup, blossom honey, toffee, medicinal phenols, anise, ginger, booze-soaked golden raisins, raw candi sugar and a watery, slightly fruity currant character. Alcohol on this one is quite boozy and warming. Bone-dry, powdery, with a residual cocoa character and alcohol breath.
Stellar fresh, preferred fresh, damn good aged. Best beer in the world? That's a debate for the forums on BeerAdvocate.com, but it's deﬁnitely among the top.
07-24-2008 18:34:02 | More by BeerAdvocate
4.88/5 rDev +5.9%
Poured into my Orval chalice.
A - Translucent dark brown-amber with a white-ish head that diminishes. Not much lacing.
S - Dark dried fruits, candi sugar, and some yeast present. Not a huge smell, but gorgeous overall.
T - YUM. Normally I hate raisins, but I get the point of them from drinking the notes in this brew. Caramel, molasses, yeast, and of course malt. It's everything you'd want from a candy store sans chocolate.
M - This is honestly my favorite part of the beer. Lively carbonation gives it a unique sort of creaminess unlike any other beer I've had, period. It honestly feels perfect.
D - Each sip unfolds new themes and flavors. Like any good work of art, one's appreciation deepens as you delve further into it. Wonderful.
07-23-2008 23:25:19 | More by bainard
4.95/5 rDev +7.4%
First off - WOW!
A: The beer pours a nice dark brown.
S: Smells of caramel with hints of fruit and malt.
T: First off, it is absolutely delicious. Exceptionally smooth and it has a great aftertaste. It is a very complex, yet awesome taste.
D: I wish I could have had many more. Very drinkable considering it is a much heavier beer and has a somewhat high ABV.
This is the best beer I have ever tasted and I am genuinely jealous of those that live close enough to go to the brewery and partake in this wonderful beer.
07-23-2008 23:02:47 | More by Jcb890
5/5 rDev +8.5%
4/27/09 - Updating due to a recent tasting. My gf got me a bottle for my bday (yes, I'm lucky I know) and we shared it last night. It was even better than I remembered it.
Poured into a Rochefort Trappist chalice
A: Initially this pours a murky, sediment filled brown color but after drinking 1/2 of it, you can see ruby highlights throughout. thick creamy off white almond colored head. Unfortunately this didn't leave very much lacing at all.
UPDATE: There was barely any sediment in this bottle. It poured a beautiful, clear (until the very last ounce) brown/ruby color. The last little bit was a bit muddy but to be expected, I think. Head formation was decent and lacing was pretty much non-existent. Rating bumped to 4.5.
S: soon as the cap was popped off the scent of strong sweet fruit filled the air. There's a medium heavy malting, brown sugar, deep dark fruits, cherries mostly and it's slightly alcoholic. Smells like a combo of berry pie and caramel.
UPDATE: This smelled amazing and as described above. I bumped my rating to 5.0.
T&M: very smooth taste, medium bodied beer which is perfect for the style. sweet and malted, lots of fruits on the palate but so much complexity that it's hard to pinpoint what flavors I'm experiencing. Non noticeable bitterness or hop flavor. Needless to say this feels and tastes great! The only thing I'm not too keen on is the "bits" of sediment that get stuck between your teeth as you're nearing the end of the bottle. I could do without that.
UPDATE: Similar to above minus the "bits" of sediment. This was clearly a higher quality beer, one that was most likely not aged for as long or aged under better environmental conditions. Taste rating bumped to a solid 5.0! Def worth it! Can't really find a flaw in the mouthfeel either - 5.0 too.
D: Pretty high ABV that's masked almost completely. Great sweet, fruity taste, if it weren't for the carbonation I'd think I was drinking some kind of concentrated berry juice.
Overall impressions: This is one of the most sought after, legendary beers. Given it's availability, it makes it that much more precious and highly coveted. While it is a great beer, and a fine example of the style, dare I say that I think it's slightly overrated and that there are better examples of the style available closer to home, namely Rochefort 10 and St Bernadus Abt 12.
Big thanks to zaf88 for this trade. I feel blessed to have tried this truly unique brew.
07-21-2008 02:09:15 | More by julian
4.78/5 rDev +3.7%
11.2 oz bottle poured gently into my Chimay chalice. A cloudy, coffee color with wisps of bubbles on top and a ring around the edge. No visible carbonation and some sediment made its way in. Scattered spots of lace on my glass.
Smell is candy sugar and malted grains. Bready notes are played along with a touch of brandy. Fusel alcohol is mixed with belgian yeast esters, associated fruits like banana, and spices.
Taste is big malty sweetness featuring a shade of molasses and dark fruits. Alcoholic bite sets in but is never aggressive. Yeast brings out a brandy like facet as in the Westy 8 but it is more forward due to the alcoholic presence that is invisible in the 8. Fruits like figs, raisins and banana swirl in and out. While not as overtly layered and complex as the 8 it is nonetheless a multifaceted brew. Actually the layering and complexity is more subtle and harder to dissect. The finish is mildly bitter with a short hop kiss and a gently lingering alcoholic note that fades to dark breads and sweet rolls.
Mouthfeel is perfectly weighted, light with enough girth to chew on, gently slick, subtle carbonation.
Drinkability is very good for this abv. While not a session beer, certainly one that is easy to drink too fast because of it's ease of consumption.
07-19-2008 03:50:41 | More by scootny
4.43/5 rDev -3.9%
A-Pours a murky dark brown with a large tan head and very nice lacing.
S-Very rich blend of sweet and dark fruits along with some molasses notes.
T-Delicious and complex. Lots of raisin and caramel with a healthy dose of molasses and brown sugar.
M-Mouthfeel is thick and rich.
D-Very easy to drink despite the ABV. Can't wait to get my hands on some more.
Tough to separate the hype and expectation with a beer like this one. Deliciously rich and complex, more so than probably any quad I have had.
07-16-2008 14:05:22 | More by sholland119
4.38/5 rDev -5%
Pours a dark cola brown, but with minimal head. Smells of figs, carmel, brown sugar. All the above flavors plus cola, cinnamon, grape, raisin and I don't know what else. The flavors are all mild, in fact a good notch milder than I'd prefer, but they are very well-combined in an intriguing package. I kept sipping at it to try to get a grip on the elusive flavor. A great beer and well worth trying, but not as intense as some other quads. I liked the St. B a bit better, and at a quarter of the price it's no contest.
07-15-2008 06:03:31 | More by PhxHorn
4.97/5 rDev +7.8%
A - Pours a dark brown color with a slight haze, fantastic Belgian lace.
S - Complex! Rich malt characters that mingle with the phenolic and fruity yeast components and hops to make an amazing balance.
T - Very malty flavors, dark fruit, bready, toasty. The malt mixes with the yeast characters and hops to provide and wonderful experience.
M - Medium body provides a very drinkable beer without it being to full, good carbonation and excellent alcohol warmth.
This is a wonderful beer! It achieves a balance in both aroma and flavor such that nothing is dominate but rather achieves a complexity that keeps you looking for more!
07-14-2008 19:46:19 | More by donaldchapman
4.53/5 rDev -1.7%
A - Pours dark murky brown in color. The light tan head was massive and stuck around for a while. As expected, lacing was phenomenal. This is quite an attractive brew.
S - Caramel and dark bread are prominent in the aroma. Some fruitiness shows up as a backing aroma. Mostly prune and fig is what I picked up. Some sweeter spices and alcohol round out the flavor.
T - Mostly sweet. Caramel, candied suger, brown suger, and molasses come to mind. Dark bread is very present and makes for a nice background to the sweeter flavors. Fruitiness in the taste leans more toward prune and plum. Cinnamon and clove make up the spice profile. Warm alcohol and hints of chocolate finish up the flavor.
M - Medium to full bodied with great carbonation. Finish is sweet and cleaner than expected.
D - Drinkability is good. The high abv does place limits on how many of these that should be consumed at once. There is really nothing bad that can be said about this beer. It excels in every category. Glad I got the chance to try one of these and I'd definitely have another.
07-14-2008 01:59:38 | More by csmiley
4.8/5 rDev +4.1%
Served from a 33 cl bottle into a Westvleteren goblet.
A: pours brown with a grape, fig-like color, opaque; tightly-beaded head of a light tan color that gently settles into the beer and laces.
S: yeasty, fresh-baked bread, dark fruit/fig, very slight noble hop spiciness. Scores just shy of perfect because I have to work for it a little.
T: Starts with chocolate and quickly follows with lots of dark fruit, fig, plum, grape fruit flavor. Settles into a sweet caramel, molasses taste, ending with a bitterness mixed with noble hops and alcohol that lingers into the aftertaste, which is almost numbing.
M: very light, somewhat fluffy, effervescent. a little sticky, light but viscous.
D: Scores just shy of perfect as this is a strong sipper, Complexity in this beer is unmatched and the balance is better than any I have tried. It seems I get a little more of everything--the fruity, malty, yeasty flavors mixed with just a little hops at the end.
07-12-2008 01:30:08 | More by joeysmokedporter
4.63/5 rDev +0.4%
Beer poured straight from the bottle into a tall goblet. It had been stored for a couple months from the date of purchase in an light-free and cool place in the house.
It poured a strong "cola" color with a dark-brown and almost milky head. The carbonation was quite visible and more so then most beers I've had. The head seemed to stay, very slightly, throughout drinking. For the dark color it was still a pretty clear pour.
It smelled so sweet. Not a bad sweet though, not like a pot of warm, double-boiler chocolate type sweet, but somewhat cinnamony(?). It wasn't overpowering and it pulls you in.
After taking a sip the sweetness seems to dance over the tongue and into the cheeks. For this sweetness it goes down very smooth and has a minimal aftertaste. I had it by itself, but I could see it going well with a nice creamy cheese for some reason. I think the flavors would balance well.
I received six of these from someone in Belgium and sold all but two of them. I wanted to keep a couple and try it out and I'm glad I did. I wish it were widely available in the states. Of course the value or mystic of it would go down, but regardless it is a beer that I could see myself drinking any day of the week. More so in the winter months, but a nice relaxing evening would work well. I recommend this to anyone who has the chance to taste it.
07-10-2008 04:06:55 | More by cdrogers
4.05/5 rDev -12.1%
Big thanks to deepsouth for the chance to try this brew!
Pours out a warm smooth deep brown, very murky, with a decent head..
Lovely aroma of chocolate, cinnamon, raisins, yeast, and that familiar Belgian sugariness...
Well, it is delicious. Loaded with sweet dark fruits and hints of cocoa and cinnamon, it is a deceptively strong and tasty brew..
I guess its probably sacrilege to say this but this wasn't my favorite Belgian. It was good but not the best I've ever had. Still... I'm priveleged to have gotten the opportunity to try this.
07-10-2008 00:17:14 | More by Tilley4
4.9/5 rDev +6.3%
Trappist Westvleteren 12
11.2 oz brown bottle with no label and a unique yellow cap
Served in a Chimay chalice
I served this one at just the right temperature (around 58 degrees or so). Pours a chestnut brown with a massive head that forms on top. Incredible trails of sticky lace patterns cling to the sides of chalice.
The nose is malty with whiffs of Belgian yeast and sweet fruit that linger in the background. Aroma is not quite as intense as one might expect, but yet quite effective.
First sip is pure bliss. Juicy, chewy-rich malts provide the backbone of this beer with a sharp and striking hop finish. Flavors of Belgian sugar, caramel, dried fruit (prunes, figs & raisins), toffee and ripe rasberries.
A significantly strong offering that is deceptively smooth, complex and extremely enjoyable. The smoothness is almost creamy in its delivery. The mouthfeel is outstanding and arguably the best I've ever tasted.
An exquisite and marvelous masterpiece that defines the beauty of beer.
07-09-2008 22:02:36 | More by Hibernator
4.68/5 rDev +1.5%
My first Westy! Here we go...
Pours a maple color with a nice 1/2-1 finger foamy, off whiite head. I'm not getting any lacing.
I smell a ton of dark fruit, bread, candy, spices. There's a lot in the nose of this. Similar to the Pannepot Fisherman's Ale, but much more balanced and pleasant.
I taste raisin, fig, caramel corn, perhaps even some candy sugar-coated nuts.
This is also going down way too easy. I'm hardly detecting the alcohol in this at all. What a masterwork.
07-07-2008 19:43:13 | More by rudylaw
4.63/5 rDev +0.4%
Thanks to Nesued for giving me the chance to try this one.
Pours a raisin colored richness with surprising clarity, even with some sediment from the bottom. Creamy full head settles slowly.
Nose is very complex and intriguing, nearly vinous, with notable sweet dark fruits of raisin, blackberry, and plum, some full bready malt, grapes, and a subtle spice.
For the strength, depth of flavor, and complexity, this remains very delicate and fine. More bready character saturated with candy sweet fruit and a soft lingering spicy note are pronounced on the tongue. Not overly sweet, not too dry, and surprisingly lacking the 10+% abv taste.
Feel is very pleasant, medium bodied with enough carbonation to lighten it up just a little. Smooth, with the impression of being syrupy, though somehow remaining much lighter and more delicate.
Deceivingly rich, with masterfully crafted character, it's very difficult to say how drinkable this is. So enjoyable to sip. While I certainly want more, I found it very satisfying.
07-05-2008 11:57:05 | More by lightindarkness
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 4,610 ratings.