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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

4,827 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,827
Reviews: 1,621
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 8.89%
Wants: 2,935
Gots: 1,396 | FT: 105
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: 4,827 | Reviews: 1,621 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of vacax
4.3/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Side-by-side tasting with Rochefort 10, St. Bernardus Abt 12, and Westvleteren 12. Thanks jerz for sharing the Westy.

Pours a ruddy brown, somewhat reddish. Comparatively tiny head to other quads, but what does remain has fine bubbles with good retention and lace.

Smells of wine, with the alcohol well integrated into it. Fructose, raisin, brown sugar, and earth round out the bouquet. Tastes of wine and cloyingly sweet candi sugar with lots of floral notes and some earth. Full bodied with a light, smooth carbonation.

A large feat this beer accomplishes is integrating the alcohol so well into the fruit that it resembles wine in many ways. Is this why this beer is so world-renowned? Because it so tastes like wine? Additionally, the intense sweetness leaves me wondering as well. Other quadrupels or sweetened lambics leave beer geeks complaining over the sugar content, but still they are not as sweet as this beer. It is all quite perplexing. A very good beer this is, yes, but drinking it sheds a lot of light on the biases of the beer world. This beer took third place in my three-way side-by-side.

vacax, Oct 15, 2009
Photo of redneckchugger
4.3/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured dark brown with almost tan-cream head. Loads of lacing
Beauriful nose, belgian yeast, caramel, toaasted nuts, and a huge plum presence.
The palate is less refined, huge hit of alcohol, with a bit more of the belgiany flaovr from teh yeast. More plum, lots of sugar fruit like rum soaked raisens, plums, some breadiness as well.
This is a great beer, worldclass no doubt, but best on the planet, i think thats a stretch. The nose is amazing, as good as any i have smelled to this point However, the pallete is a bit less complex than suggested by the nose. Don't get me wrong, this beer is better than most, its mindblowingly good. I jsut find the alcohol to be a bit much, and the flavor profile to be a hair off. All in all a truely great beer though.

redneckchugger, Oct 11, 2009
Photo of jamescain
4.97/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What else is there to say about this beer. I didn't want to be one of those people that tried this beer and called it my favorite beer because its on the top of the list. But its nearly impossible.

The first time I tried the beer in was at my apartment and some people i knew bought it over spring break when they went to Belgium. It was my first experience with a beer that was this complex. The next time I tried it I was in Belgium and i had more time to develop my beer pallet.

The beer is bottle conditioned and can therefore be stored in a dark cool place to age the beer. I haven't tried it aged because I cant wait to drink it every time I have had it.

The beer was poured into a goblet shaped class. Dark and cloudy, not as dark as I was expecting, but a brownish color. The smell is overwhelming. It smells of malts, caramel, sugar, very sweet smelling and yet still a very subtle and pleasant hop smell. The beer poured with about an inch of head that lasted until the beer was gone. The head itself was not as thick as a stout, but nor is it as light as a lager. The color of the head is a light brown.

Even though the beer is 10.2% alcohol there is virtually no alcohol taste to the beer and a very smooth finish to it. The taste of the beer is mostly contributed by the Belgium yeast, but it is far more complex than that. It contains subtle hints of dark fruits, dark malt, yeast spice, caramel, and molasses. But no one ingredient hides any other, they are all represented in the correct amount.

It takes a while to drink this beer, but it is best to savor it. Each taste should be a mouthful that you spend at least five seconds before you swallow it to fully experience all this beer has to offer. If you have the chance to try it I fully recommend it.

jamescain, Oct 08, 2009
Photo of mvice001
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So.... I have read all the hype about this beer and I must say that for the most part.. the hype is true.. To start off with, I'm an IPA drinker so when all things are said and done I prefer a very good IPA such as 3F, Weyerbacher Double Simcoe, or Bells HopSlam. With that being said, this is probably the best Belgium beer I have ever had.. I recently went to Belgium in Feb. of 2009 and let me say that it was somewhat of a challenge to find it. I had lots of angry retailers tell me that it is illegal to buy it and would ask me to leave.. I had finally located some and brought some home with me in the US. While in Belgium, I had located a bar in Brugges that had some and I was impressed, but not particularly taken away (I'm skeptical if this was indeed a true westy... at the same time it may have not been as aged

since then I had been really into Chimay, Rochfort 10, and St. bernardus.... So... it has been about 8 months since Belgium and I had bottles of Westy 12 waiting for a special occasion and aging and I don't know how old the bottle was to begin with. the cap said a date of 2011 so I'm not sure if that is when it expires or the best time to drink it..I brought a house and I figured that it was time to open one of my Westy's so here are my notes of last week's tasting

Smell...Brown sugar raisin malts.. Mellow and sweet smelling.. at some point I could have sworn I smelled a very faint hint of cinnamon, but intertwine with brown sugar

Appearance: dark brown... had a nice head which allowed the aroma to seep in my nose

Taste: Are you serious... this beer is 10.2% alcohol!! Very sweet, but not overbearing.. slight mild hops... only word that I can say is complex....

before I enjoyed the beer completely I actually did a taste test with all my favorite Belgiums (Chimay, Rochfort 10, St. Bernardus)... West 12 won.... hands down..the closest to complexity was Rochfort although they are two different beers and do not resemble one another at all.. the other beers seemed watered down and somewhat bland compared to Westy... don;t get me wrong.. they are great beers, but it doesn't compared.. Many people say that St. bernrdus is closest... I think it is to an extent, but it tasted very watered down in flavor...

Nevertheless. I will still prefer drinking a great IPA on a regular basis.. on occasions I drink Belgium's... But if I had Wests 12 all the time, I may possibly drink them all the time... unfortunately they are hard to find.. I have two left... One for when I get married and the other when I become a father...

mvice001, Oct 08, 2009
Photo of davexisxrabid
3.15/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured into my Chimay goblet. It literally changed color in front of my eyes! Left the yeast floating in the bottom of the bottle. Golden brown (started off a lot lighter), no head, no lacing. Seemed flat and uncarbonated.

Aroma of cinammon, brown sugar, pungent hop aroma, caramel.

Very sweet caramel and brown sugar flavor. Alcohol well hidden. Couldn't help but notice it had a flat cola type of taste; I honestly wasn't impressed.

Medium bodied but lacking carbonation. Flavor does remain on the palate, along with a slight hop bitterness.

Decent drinkability, but I would find it infinitely more interesting if it were carbonated. I have one more bottle in my fridge and I really hope it's carbonated; if it is and it tastes a helluva lot better then I'll repost an edit on my review.

davexisxrabid, Oct 07, 2009
Photo of cvfish
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - This beer poured a murky reddish brown color that produced a great fluffy off white head that had good retention and lace the side of the glass nicely

S - The aromas produced by this by this beer had a mix of malts, cherries, plums, nutty, of course that Belgian yeast is very strong, but a bit of heat is on the back end

T - The taste of this beer is very complex, but each and every aspect of the beer presents itself nicely, caramel malts, brown sugar, molasses, cherries, dried plums and raisins, and of course the Belgian yeast

M - The mouthfeel of this beer had a medium to heavy body, with a light to moderate amount of carbonation, this beer is very warming

D - This is the kind of beer that I would imagine a St. Bernard would carry to a frozen hiker, seriously, I was sweating after drinking this beer, but in all seriousness, good beer, everything that I imagined, not my favorite, but definitely in my top 10

cvfish, Oct 05, 2009
Photo of stephens101
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to petecz for the hookup on this one!

After a bit of hesitation, I finally pop the cap. Pours a pure brown infused with a panoply of bubbles. A slight covering of tan head dissipates quickly, leaving a few dots of lace strewn about. The aroma is vinous with ripe grapes, grape juice, grain, beer bread and some candy sweetness underneath it all. As it warms the complexity grows, with notes of vinegar and phenols eventually opening up. Tastes bready, malty and fruity up front. The alcohol heat goes straight to the stomach and curls up into a warm fuzzy little ball. Subsequent drinks reveal some sweet chocolates and caramel as well as spice and grain. The medium to full-body goes down creamy, and I'm looking at the half-empty bottle, already wishing I had more of this goodness.

stephens101, Oct 02, 2009
Photo of Thorpe429
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Received as a wedding gift from my best man--by far the best gift we received. He got us a six pack, and my wife and I are planning on having the next five each anniversary up until our fifth.

A: Poured into a Mikasa chalice. Pours a large mocha head atop a very dark brown body. Plenty of yeast. The lacing is extremely long-lasting.

S: Lots going on here, especially as it warms up. The trademark yeast is by far the most prominent smell, accompanied by some dark malts and fruits, along with a bit of alcohol.

T: Much the same as the nose, and probably the most complex beer I've ever tasted. Plenty of dark fruits, dark malt, alcohol, fruit and yeast spice, caramel, and molasses.

M: Very full and heavy with a moderate amount of carbonation. Luscious.

D: Quite complex and takes a while to drink, and only gets better as it warms up. Very nice to savor for a long period of time while continuing to find new things going on.

Thorpe429, Sep 24, 2009
Photo of Stinkypuss
4.55/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a flute. Amber in appearance with foamy bubbles presenting the off white head. Active carbonation apparent with some sediment.

Strong aroma of bready malts, apparant booze. Fragrant and inviting.

Tastes of sweet malts. Very complex malt body. Tart and puckering. Herbal hop adds to the mix. Perfectly balanced. Pronounced dark fruit character. This beer is strong flavored and full bodied, reminiscent of a fine bourbon, only much cleaner on the palate.

Goes down really damn smooth. Crisp and well carbonated mouthfeel that makes me yearn to continue sipping.

Glad I got to try such a fine beer. Sets a benchmark of what a Quad should be. Drink em if you got em.

Stinkypuss, Sep 21, 2009
Photo of naterock
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Smokestack Goblet. Extremely cloudy with a reddish brown hue and just a ring of head around the glass. truly a perfect looking quad.

Smell is probably the most complex I've ever smelled. But I can say I wish the volume was kicked up a notch. because it's very hard to pull the distant ones out of the background. Candied sugar and a Vanilla/banana/burnt currants and some exceptional figgy undertones. WOW

I thought that because of the hype I wouldn't be blown away....I am. Tastes like it smells with a overly complex flavor. A tingling alcohol twinge scurries it's way down your throat and almost sends chills up your spine. Jesus...

Mouth is overcarbonated at first but flattens out quickly. Slightly dry like it has been wood aged but I'm sure it hasn't. I can't even describe this one past a point. I could enjoy a bottle but I wouldn't dare waste another on a ruined palate.

naterock, Sep 20, 2009
Photo of SpecialK088
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Goblet

A-Deep caramel brown, very light head that lingers around the edges. Very dark brown yeast floats all over, not sinking to the bottom just stays suspended in the glass.

S-So incredibly much going on here its crazy notes of bannanna, sweet fig, maple syrup, white grape, spicy hops. Also a woody note to go with the slight alcohol undertone.

T-Bitter malt and yeast with a very earthy wine flavor in the middle. On the very tip of your tongue it is incredibly sweet while on the sides and back it comes across incredibly bitter and boozy. The complex nature of the hops, yeast and malt all blend like nothing I've ever tasted before, and the alchol flavors that it finishes with give it a nice burn in the back of your throat. As rich and complex as the beer is the most amazing thing is the way it just goes away off your palate but leaves a very flavorful burn in the back of your throat.

M-Rich and oily, but not bad oily a very sliky smooth feel. Carbonation even on the 3 year vintage is near perfect. Feels very much like a wine in your mouth.

D-This is an amazing beer but I would never want it all the time. What I would like to do is get hold of a few of them or even be lucky enough to try one fresh.

SpecialK088, Sep 20, 2009
Photo of rvdoorn
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The most popular beer in the world, the Westvleteren 12. I had it already many times, fresh and vintage, but never reviewed one until now. Because I think the fresh Westvleteren 12 is nice, but quite overhyped because of its rarity, I review a vintage from 1999.

Poured into a Westvleteren chalice. The beer pours a clear caramel brown color, with a small head (normal for a vintage) that disappeared fast into a thin lacing.

Smell: Sweet, spicy, very malty, honey, caramel and hints of alcohol.

Taste: overall sweet-bitter. Maple syrup, toffee, caramel, clear honey, some hints of dark fruits (although not as strong as the WV8 vintage) and nicely spiced hops (much more spicy than WV8 vintage). Reminds me a bit of Madera wine.

Mouthfeel: still surprisingly much carbonation for a 10 year old beer. Mouthfeel is incredibly smooth. Medium-bodied

Overall: This is absolutely the best beer in the world. Fresh good, vintage simple the best. I can drink this one whole year. Perfect balance between sweet, bitterness and spices. It is so soft, smooth, creanessmy and full of taste, this must be the real angels share! All other beers in the world, eat your heart out!!!

rvdoorn, Sep 18, 2009
Photo of erz316
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

oh man, I'm reviewing The Beer. .33l bottle into westvleteren chalice. date on cap is 21.04.12

A - dark opaque brown body, medium tan head, dark brown yeast on top of the head, which is big and made from medium sized bubbles. top of the head is creamy and smooth, with some big crackly bobbles int he middle. tons of lacing. head slowly, slowly comes down; retention is great. let me emphasize how much lace there is on this beer once more. top notch. the colour is perfect, and the head makes it look so incredibly appetizing. the color of the beer and the head compliment the dark green logo quite well. maybe its just the experience but I have never seen such a hot piece of beer ass.

S - has to warm up a bit, but the initial right-out-of-fridge notes are almost clean, except for a light fruitiness of golden raisins. as the brew warms up the notes do not really change that much, except a roasted and slightly nutty malt character comes into play. I am pretty disappointed with the strength of this beer so far; but as I wait the beer gets even more complex: here is the quad I was expecting! slightly spicy phenols, alcohol, and Belgian yeast all come out now. some fresher notes are to be had as well, like lemon grass. that alcohol is quite amazing, really blend well with the spicy aspect. the nose never does get too strong, but the dynamism of how the beer changes over temperature difference is amazing, and gets it the big five (this beer tastes to excellent, anyways, to not be perfect). moreover, the fact that this beer isnt as strong in the nose doesn't actually detract from the excellence of the beer, the nose doesn't need to be powerful to get across the message of this brew.

T - yep, this gets a five. this is so complex and delicious, i just don't even know where to start. the initial notes are like a unsweetened sparkling apple cider, some aggressive alcohol, hops and malts. the hops are bitter an noticeable, while the malts are rich and almost nutty, a bit of mustiness from the yeast. these malts are really masterfully combined with hop bitterness, they create this perfect balance which is then trampled over by the alcohol, which brings another aspect from the hops: this dry like astringent-ness, an even sharper bitterness. this is so complex that I cant get enough of it. the amazing thing is how the beer goes from a semi-mild flavour as it just enters the mouth, malt-hop blend dominating, to something so bold and powerful. the nuttiness from the malts is most prevalent when the beer wafts through the nose via the back of the throat. the finish is hoppy, followed by a slightly sweet malt character, maybe a hint of that Belgian candied sugar? probably not, i bet the yeast has taken care of all of the sugar in this brew. the hops are coupled with a yeast character that adds a sense of stagnation and mustiness, making the brew really feel rustic and unfiltered. the aftertaste is this bittersweet malt-hop brawl. the hops have reverted to their standard bitter character, which can be described an herbal oil kind of bitterness. phenomenal. this beer is not all hype; it is the be all and end all for Belgian beers and the quad style. the taste is so varied and has so many discernible layers that it completely deserves the full score

MF&D - perfect and utterly drinkable. the body is fully that of a medium beer, which is perfect to compliment the capriciousness of the beers intricate flavours; anything heavier might be a detriment and make the beer way too overwhelming, especially when considering the alcohol content, which is not a detriment on the experience at all, rather, it compliments the aggressive hops and rustic malts. The beer is so incredibly good that no matter how much alcohol was in it, I would gladly keep drinking this; the booze is no detriment in any way (maybe that's just my tolerance, but who cares! this beer rocks!)

the only complaint I could have is that the nose is not strong enough. but i find this to be completely irrelevant when considering how synergistic the whole beer is together. keeping this brew from receiving a perfect score, in that respect, would not be right. this is the beer, and will be so in my view until I try something that is even better for its own style.

erz316, Sep 17, 2009
Photo of radshoesbro
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

thanks a lot to GCurlow for the hook up via stevemcqueenjr!

after wanting this beer for nearly 5 years i'm finely able to drink it! huzah!!

pours a deep redish brown with very little head and showing a small amount of carbonation.

smell is definitely very hot for my liking and i was slightly worried that this was going to be ultra boozey, but that's not the case at all. the booziness gives way to marciano cherries and molasses.

complex. first sips taste of melted dark chocolates and buttery smooth malts. as you get further in a slight zestiness at first gives way to cherries, plum, and a sweet candied taste at points. other dark fruits seem to pop up every now and then.

very smooth in the mouth, not very much carbonation, but it just adds to how smooth and truly drinkable this beer is.

drinkable? absolutely!

radshoesbro, Sep 15, 2009
Photo of PlaywrightSam
4.78/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My boyfriend got this for me as a Christmas present, last year, I recently pulled out a bottle for my 28th birthday.

Pours a beautiful brown/mahogany, thick head, lots of lacing, nice retention. The smell is a bit subtle--not as big as I expected. Almost like wine. Also some clove, lots of dark fruit, a bit of booze and yeast, and maybe even some banana? Great, but really not what I was expecting. The taste is just incredible--more dark fruit and wine, grapes, brown sugar, raisins--very faint alcohol. As I continue I'm getting lots of bread, a really surprising, balanced bitterness... With every sip it keeps getting more and more complex. Probably one of the most complex beers I've ever tasted, I'm getting hits of things I've never gotten from beer. Incredibly unique. Mouthfeel is smooth, thick, creamy. Drinkability is amazing for the ABV.

I was expecting a lot, and it delivered.

PlaywrightSam, Sep 14, 2009
Photo of flagmantho
4.78/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am very excited that I get to review Westvleteren 12 for my 100th BeerAdvocate review. I have long awaited this day.

Poured from 330mL bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: beautiful slightly opaque mahogany with a nice very light tan head. Gorgeous!

Smell: very subtle; floral with a bit of a spicy yeast character.

Taste: frankly, the aroma did not meet my preconcieved notions of how good this beer is supposed to be; however, the flavor blows them away. The malt is well-rounded and flavors migrate from light berry to tree fruit to a delicious, almost floral je ne sais quoi. Is it too late to become a monk?

Mouthfeel: body is the heavy side of medium, the impression is one of a very light syrup without being at all cloying or over-thick. There is not a lot of carbonation, but I don't think it matters.

Drinkability: the only thing impeding the drinkability is availability. More please.

flagmantho, Sep 12, 2009
Photo of punkrkr27
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle dated best before 08 03 088. Pours a deep mahogany, ruby highlights, and a long lasting huge pillow white head. Smells of rich dark fruit, candi sugar, cereal, a light grassiness, yeasty, a hint of alcohol, somewhat vinous, amazingly complex. Flavor profile is so deep, I'm not even sure I know how to describe it. Getting some candied figs, lightly chocolaty, chewy malts, buttery on the finish. Full velvety body with carbonation just dancing in your mouth. This definitely lives up to it's reputation.

punkrkr27, Sep 11, 2009
Photo of originalsin
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My 100th Review! Ah the memories. I've been holding off on reviews lately waiting for a good time to review this. I shared the bottle with two great friends of mine who went to meet the Belgians with me. We're finally settled into our house: just about everything is perfect and we're ready for an amazing year. I couldn't possibly think of a better way to start it: my escapades this weekend coupled with the drinking of a Westy 12 today? Divine. And yes, today was the end of the weekend.

Thanks so much to Filip and the rest of the Belgian Beer Board for this bottle.

Drank relatively warm: put it in the fridge for about 35 minutes to lightly chill it before drinking.

The sound of the cap popping off was so awesome. There's no other way to describe it. The moment it came off some huge dark fruit notes assaulted our nostrils in the best kind of way. My initial pour yielded a very generous head that threatened to spill out of my chimay glass. I waited a moment and then ever so slowly poured the rest of the bottle. My hands shook. So. Much. to live up to here. Poured a beautiful deep, dark mahogany to rival the coffee table we rested the bottle on. The head was a billowing tan-white thing that eventually settled to about an 1/8 inch cap over the beer. Lacing was spot on.

The only component of this beer that didn't blow my mind was the smell. From the bottle a heavenly aroma wafted towards our nostrils but once poured it was far more subdued and I had a hard time reconciling my initial perception with the one to follow. The smell of dark fruits: figs, plums, raisins were present. Additionally, some roasted nuts and Belgian yeast. One thing I didn't pick up on was any alcohol notes.

I couldn't dream up a more complex tasting beer. I only wish I had more Belgian Quads under my belt- the only ones of truly spent some time with are the Rochefort and St. Bernadus. Nonetheless, I detected a lot going on- big dark fruit notes...it's so hard to pick apart this flavor profile. That balance is beyond beautiful. It's perfect. Molasses, dates, caramel malt. Better than exceptional.

What I really noticed first and foremost with this beer was this: the mouthfeel was the most incredible of any beer I'd ever tasted. Drinkability, too, was absolutely off the charts. It's full bodied with a light dryness and perfectly rounded smoothness.

Here's to hundreds and hundreds more beers!

I need more. Please send.

originalsin, Sep 10, 2009
Photo of projectflam86
4.97/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First of all, I must give a shout to a great trader, a061183, for hooking me up with a few Westys. Cheers!

I'm hoping that this will be a fitting brew for my 200th review here on BA. I'm guessing that it will...

Date on Cap: 23.04.11
Served in a chalice @ approx 50˚ F

A- The cap pops off with a gentle hiss. I poured this ever so slowly into my favorite chalice. Pours a deep murky burgundy color with tiny little floaties hovering around. A thin but rocky crème colored head leaves some scattered lacing behind. Lots of carbonation bubbles stream up the sides of the glass as I sip.

S- As soon as I opened it I was hit with waves of dark fruits and Belgian yeast. The alcohol is quite noticeable in the nose but it doesn't take away or detract from more subtle aromas of sweet roasted malt, figs, and chestnuts.

T- I imagine that trying to name all of the different contributions to the flavor profile would be futile to say the least, but I'll give it a shot anyway. Sharp initial sting of alcohol that is quickly whisked away by massive amounts of dark fruit flavors including plums, raisins, white grapes, and figs. A sweet caramel malt takes over and brings in flavors of anise, licorice, toasted nuts, oak, and honey. A slight characteristically funky Belgian yeast flavor in the finish that helps to round out the overall taste. To say this beer is balanced almost seems like an insult. I think that 'harmony' is a better word than 'balanced' in this situation.

M- Big and smooth with a tannin like dryness that leaves you wanting another sip. The high level of carbonation helps disperse all of the intricate flavors across the tongue. The aftertaste lingers of sweet grapes and the alcohol creates a gentle warming effect.

D- I must admit, I had pretty lofty expectations for this brew, but I can easily say that this is one of the best beers that I have ever had. By far one of the most complex and drinkable beers around.

projectflam86, Sep 04, 2009
Photo of waltonc
4.47/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cracked this in celebration of my third anniversary. Currently listening to Dr. Dre's Chronic Re-lit "B***hes Aint S**t."

Guess I'm one of those people that likes Westy 8 more, as my score isn't as high for the 12. Pours a swampwater brown but plenty of tan head salvages the appearance. Smell is sweet, malty, dark fruit, stone fruit, grapes, yeast, and bread. Tastes similar, but add brown sugar to the mix. I don't find this as complex and layered as the Westy 8. Maybe that means my palate isn't as complex, but it is what it is. Body is medium with medium to high carbonation. Highly drinkable. Could drink 3 no problem. But I disagree with the characterization of this beer as best in the world. It's great but easily eclipsed by several brews. I wonder to what extent the beer's high rating self-perpetuates additional high scores.

waltonc, Sep 04, 2009
Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.98/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

330ml bottle served in a Westvleteren chalice.

A: Pours a light brown color which is very cloudy. Many particles can be noticed floating around. Forms a medium, creamy and medium bubbled beige head. Good retention and only few thin molasses lacings left in the glass. A thin layer remains forever on the top

S: Very sweet and fruity upfront. Strong notes of dark fruits like, plums and grapes. Raisins. Strong notes of brown bread, caramel malts and roasted malts. Candy sugar, brown sugar, Belgian yeasts and some alcohol

T: As suggested by the nose. Sweet and fruity upfront. Strong notes of dark fruits (grapes and plums) and dry dark fruits (dates ans raisins), brown bread, caramel malts, candy sugar, Belgian yeasts and earthy hops. A bit of bubblegum sensation. Nice light bitter end. Hops are bit grassy and bit citrus. Great bittersweet balance

M: Heavy, creamy and molasses body. Medium to low carbonation. Fruity and mainly bready aftertaste. Bittersweet

O: Deliciously drinkable despite of the high ABV. Perfect Belgian Trappist. Perfect Belgian Quad. Not as good as Rochefort 10 but, this is another story... ;)

eduardolinhalis, Sep 03, 2009
Photo of drabmuh
4.93/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally, Westy 12. Poured from a bottle into a Chimay glass (its the only Trappist glass that I own). Beer was brown, mostly clear until the mud at the bottom of the glass came out, this was avoidable, i know how to pour. The head was diffuse but present and the carbonation was slow but steady, continuously replenishing the thin head. The smell was amazing. Beautiful yeasty and sweet smell. The taste and mouthfeel were out of this world. It was smooth, I could have drank the whole thing in a few minutes but I savored it for as long as possible. Taste was sweet and pleasant. More yeast, no aftertaste. A perfect beer. I wish I could have ti year round.

drabmuh, Sep 02, 2009
Photo of gory4d
4.78/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to Masterski for throwing this one in to our last in-person trade.

Pours a rusty brown with a thin but dense white head, leaves lots of lacing. The color is not terribly appealing. The smell is of roasted nuts, hijiki seaweed, sweet grape, a rich caramel malt -- very complex. The flavor is sweet grapes (like cognac, almost), caramel, grain, with a lingering bitter earthy finish. It's creamy but clean in the mouth, not at all viscous, very nice. Really just too delectable for words. More.

gory4d, Sep 02, 2009
Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.68/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- A nice hazy/opaque chocolate brown. Medium white head with good lacing.

S- Grapes, cherries, cloves, a hint of alcohol. Smells delicious and balanced.

T- A barrage of roasted malt, cherries, grapes, some alcohol, big herbal hops. One of the best quads out there, no doubt, but I don't think the best beer in the world. Some bread malt in there too. The beauty of this one is in its balance.

M- Refreshingly creamy and smooth. Pretty much exactly what it should be.

D- I'm loving this, although I'm not sure it soundly beats out others like the Abt 12 and Rocheforte 10. Definitely a great drink, worth the try, although I probably won't get it again because of the price.

LordAdmNelson, Sep 01, 2009
Photo of KCHopHead
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had the 3 bottles in order Blond, 12 then 8. Split the bottle 3 ways for a tasting.

A - Not sure if it was the weather but I didn't get a lot of lacing or head from this beer. What head it did have formed the larger bubbles that some Belgian yeasts help produce. This was very transparent for being so dark. I got some crazy floaties from the yeast sediment. No problem with me though.

S - I smelled the alcohol there but a lot of fruitiness was there as well.

T - The balance was great on this beer. Not as good as the 8, but still well done. I remember there being a ton of left over sugar taste. I'm still not sure how to get that raisin taste in my homebrew but I'm sure the yeast and fermentation temp plays a big role. The alcohol was present but not overwhelming for a 10% beer.

M/D - Very good carbonation. I would have like to have this on tap at my home.

I think I built this up too much in my head. It is definitely not on the top of this hophead's list, but still an amazing beer that I would highly recomend.

KCHopHead, Sep 01, 2009
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 4,827 ratings.