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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.

5,016 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,016
Reviews: 1,634
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 3,021
Gots: 1,480 | FT: 107
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
(Yellow Cap)

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001)
View: Beers (3) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,016 | Reviews: 1,634 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of OneDropSoup
4.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Much love to Shyne for the trade!

Poured into a snifter: About a finger of beige head that dissipates & leaves a wisp across the surface & a loose, bubbly collar. Body is deep ruby amber, hazy, with a few tiny strands of nucleation.

Dark, stewing fruits are up front in the nose: prunes, raisins, even some slightly tart cherries & sweet wine grapes. There's an herbal quality here that reminds me of Orval, even a little floral. Nose evolves subtly with each whiff, into mild baking spices (cinnamon, nutmeg) to hints of cocoa. The smell is more restrained & not very intense, but complex & pleasing.

Significant herbal flavors at play in the flavor, followed by a vinous sweetness, sweet baked dough, a little hot cinnamon, & drying out near the finish. Ends with a subtle alcoholic jab, then unrolls into a long aftertaste that moves through candied fruits, menthol, even a tiny bit of smokiness. I love a beer with a "second act" after each sip.

Velvety smooth with just a little prick from alcohol. There's some heat, then the cool menthol-like quality. Rolls around on the tongue, this has such a great mouthfeel. Full-bodied but somehow light & airy as well.

This really defied my expectations. What I anticipated was a big, bold flavor profile, this is all about finesse. So complex, but not a slap in the face -- there are a lot of subtle notes & movements, & none of them overpower the others. Well-balanced, silky smooth, & flavorful, this is a great beer.

Photo of billshmeinke
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

4 oz. pour. HUGE thanks to BMan1113VR for sharing this. Review from notes.

Half a finger of off white head Murky brown with some floaties. Great retention.

Smells of brown sugar, plumbs, raisins, and honey.

Taste follows smell. Brown sugar, honey, caramelized sugar, raisins, plumbs, and candied dark fruits.

Incredibly smooth, lush texture, low carbonation, simply amazing mouthfeel.

So easy to drink. Quite subtle, but greatly complex.

Photo of BigMike
4.55/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review # 250

Big thanks to Chris from The Blue Dog for sharing his case of Westy 12. Thanks to him I was able to try what many consider the #1 beer in the world.

A super slow pour produced about a 4 finger head. The beer is a murky brown iced tea color with a huge fluffy beige head that's going nowhere anytime soon.
The nose is lots of spice, lots of sticky dark fruits, figs, raisin, plums and sugary molasses. A bit of alcohol also.
Flavor is just like the nose. The dark fruits, the spice and caramel and candied figs go along nicely with the Belgian yeast.
The mouthfeel is where this thing really shine. Light and fluffy, smooth and creamy and oh so soft on the palate. Very impressive.
Best beer in the world? In my opinion no. But I can definitely see why it gets all the accolades it does. It's an amazing beer and would love to drink as much of this as possible.

*From notes taken on 6-28-10

Photo of Mavajo
4.6/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a dark chestnut color with a moderate eggshell head - it hung around decently, but didn't provide any lacing. Nothing special in the looks department.

The aroma actually presented a bit of a challenge for me - I had difficulty picking out the individual notes. There's the yeast, along with some clove and then a fairly sweet, light fruit aroma. The taste didn't provide much more clarity - but it was sure delicious. Surprisingly sweet - much moreso than I expected. A fairly light flavor for a quad - sweet, brown sugar, honey, light fruit, toffee, a bit biscuity.

Mouthfeel was good. Appropriate carbonation.

Honestly, I read some of the descriptions in other reviews, and I my experience seems significantly different from what others are describing. This was a fairly light-tasting, sweet experience for me. I guess my palate has even farther to go than I realized.

Regardless, this thing was absolutely delicious - I could drink this all day.

Photo of WYVYRN527
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from it's signature unmarked bottle into my Westy chalice.

A: Dark copper to brown in color, slightly cloudy, with an eggshell colored head that does not want to go away. Lacing is excellent.

S: Insane aromas of brown sugar, spice, fig, dried dark fruits, and toast. Hops are not prominent on the nose, but still noticeable.

T: Wow! Much like the aroma. Dough, sugar, spice, raisin, prune, fig. You name it, it's there! Alcohol lends a slight warming sensation, but less than would be expected. The finish is somewhat dry, with slight hop notes lingering.

M: Full bodied, and has a mouthfeel unlike any other beer I have ever tried. This is liquid silk.

D: I can see what the hype is about. Westy 12 is near perfect. Extremely easy to drink. This may be the best beer of any style that I have ever had the opportunity to try.

Photo of jera1350
4.78/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to GOGRANDE for this offering.

A date of 27.10.12 on the cap.

Pours into a Chimay Chalice a muddy brown color with all kinds of sediment suspended about. The head is about a finger thick, tan in color and so thick you could cut it with a knife. Lacing? Plenty.

To be honest, the nose is rather faint. Picking up some lightly roasted malt, milk chocolate and some light fruitiness. Maybe it needs to warm even more, but right now, I smell nothing special.

Okay, so the nose isn't that great. Well, the taste more than makes up for it! Where to begin? There is no one thing that just pops out, it is really unexplainable. Just a complex meshing of roasty malt, malted milk balls, chocolate, nougat, rum and dark fruit such as dates. I cannot do this justice. The alcohol is there, but it's not showing that the beer is over ten percent in any way. The finish is so pleasant and clean. Just amazing.

Mouthfeel is like a milk spongebath on palate. Full bodied, thick, rich, and creamy velvet. Amazing again.

It's crazy how well this beer drinks. I am honored to have tried it and have to say it is every bit as good as anyone has ever said. Amazing, amazing, amazing. There will soon come a time where I will NEED to have this again.

Photo of ChadQuest
4.47/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Wow, i had this one sitting down in my holding for about a year before tonight, which is the night before my wedding, and with it being on reserve for a special purpose it did not dissapoint. 2 bottles, one each for my Best Man and I, poured at 45ish and sipped until warmed to room temp.

From the initial pour, perfect. great head retention. i just want to stick my nose in the head it's so frothy, like a properly foamed cappachino. a dark sandy brown color, a bit lighter color then expected, not a wrong color just not what my brain had in mind, stunning.

Nose is great but a little subdued overall. There is a nice fruity alcohol i pick out that smells great however.

Amazing in this field, strongly reminds me of Pannepot Grand Reserve, but with more depth to it overall. I think the strong spice like presence brings alot of the resemblance, but this one goes deeper into the territory of dark fruity flavors, and warming alcohol. The yeast also pokes through more and you can get some baked bready flavors,and a nice earthy and mineral esqe facet. For this beer, i really liked drinking about 8oz, then drinking the last 4oz with the yeast poured in to see how it added to the beer. I'm sure with every bottle opened something new would present itself, 12oz is simply not enough to explore such a complex beer to the extent of it's depth.

i had to stop for a bit to think about how exactly to rate this ones drinkability....i had no desire, at any point, to take more then a sip. i have been repeatedly pouring this into a 4oz sample snifter actually. nothing more is needed. a beer that can make 12oz fulfill such an amount of time and be so complex yet still be easy to drink, perfect. Bella.

Photo of scottfrie
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The moment of truth has arrived! Exponential thanks to BeerThursdays for hooking me up.

33cl bottle into oversized wine glass. Best-by date 24.09.11 (therefore bottled Sept. 08).

A: I was carful as to how I pried the cap off this beer because I wanted to save it. To my surprise, as I started to pry carefully around the lid, I released the slightest amount of pressure with a "pfffft" which then quickly became a forceful fountain of foam. I did not lose much more than an ounce or two since the cap was basically still on, but that was an ounce or two too mcuh for this beer. I quickly pried the rest of the cap off and poured the dark mahogany-chestnut colored liquid into my glass. A small amount of fine sediment came out as well and settled on the bottom. The light tan head was not as ample as expected (probably due to the spill), but it was thick and impressive none the less. A fuzzy film stayed on top of the beer the whole way through and left some faint rings of thin, sticky lace down the glass.

S: Beautiful soft aroma. Not as strong smelling as I was expecting, but so very lovely. There is an overall yeasty, buscuity, and woody quality to the scent, with sweeter notes of prunes, black figs, raisins, coco and caramel malt. Not very spicy. Earthy and vinous scents along with a faint hint of alcohol come through as well.

T: Incredibly smooth and complex. I'm glad I've tried Rochefort 10 so that I have something similar to compare this to. Not since that beer have I had anything this soft, complex and smooth. It is similar, but better. My unworthy palate picks out notes of prunes, red grapes, oak, caramel malt, dried cherries, leather and coco. There is an overall mustiness like an old damp basement. Finish is full of raisins, coco and a slight funk. Aftertaste can be described as a mixture of berries and toasted marshmallows. After-aftertaste is similar to the aftertaste of smoking a fine cigar, but not as potent. It reminds me of tobacco though.

M: Very fine carbonation that hits the tongue sharp at first and then melts into the full body of this beer. Silky soft mouthfeel with a dry finish makes me wish I had a lot more of this beer left in my glass. Alcohol is lightly present but well intergraded into the flavors. For a beer that is over 10%, the alcohol is actually handled extremely well.

D: It's beers like this that make you really appreciate what can be done with beer as a beverage and as an art form if produced in the right hands. Every beer that I have in the next couple days will be just a little bit less enjoyable because of this experience. I hate to give this beer so much praise, and part of me was expecting to be let down since there is so much legend surrounding it. But honestly, I can see how this is the top beer in the world. I wouldn't say it's my favorite beer, but world class, yes, and definitely worthy to be one of the top five beers ever made.

[My mother HATED the sip of this I let her have :-) ]

Photo of jneiswender
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this beer from the bottle at In De Vrde near the abbey. Served in a chalice, cool.

A-mahogany brown body, tan head (thick).

S-sweet grain, alcohol, candy

T-chocolate, smoke, sugar, marshmallow, light hop.

M-full flavor but light on the palate.

D-This is unquestionably the best beer I've ever had. Life throws so many overhyped things that never fit the bill. This fits the bill and then some. If I have the honor of drinking this again. I will.

Photo of ne0m00re
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

05/19/10- Had a 33cL bottle marked 25.08.12. Thanks to beernerd81 and klevelandrocks for this one. I can speak almost definitively that this is one of my top favorite beers.
A: Reddish brown mahogany, it poured with a creamy thin head that sticks.
S: Raisins, molasses, rum alcohol, leafy/moldy hops, a particular sweetness like cinnamon bread, slight cranberry walnut. Pleasant is an understatement.
T: Stick sweet, like a cinnabon with subtle raisin and dried fruit, cherry/cranberry, rummy alcohol with hops that are sharper than expected, which linger on the front while a musty leafy sweetness slowly fades.
M: Semi-creamy, only slightly syrupy, and kind of frothy.
D: Really great for a quad at 10% ABV. I could drink this all night.

Photo of uturn
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After almost 7 years as a Member of BA and after drinking a few thousand different beers, I've finally gotten around to writing my 1st review, so it might as well be a good beer.

330ml capped bottle poured into a vintage Abbij St. Sixtus goblet

The Cap is stamped with a 19/09/10 date, meaning this beer will be 3 years old this September 19th.

I let it warm to 50° before I opened the bottle. It opened with a "hiss" and poured a deep dark cloudy brown with a one finger tan head on a slow easy pour. The head leaves a nice thin lace on the glass.

The nose was sweet with hints of dried fruit (raisins/plums), licorice, chocolate and bit of alcohol .

The taste is of caramel, dried raisins, prunes, vanilla, sweet candy (is that licorice again) and a hint of cherries.

The mouth-feel is of medium creamy feel with a nice pleasant warmth from the 10.2% abv.

This is a very drinkable brew and I'm going to be heading to my fridge for an encore.

Photo of dcrouanzoin
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was in Brussels sorting through a variety of beers at a local beer shop when I discovered the coveted 12. I thought, there's no way this could be the best beer in the world.

Well, to my surprise, everything made this rare beer exceptional. This beer was a great beer. Taste, color and quality made me an advocate of this trappist experience.

Photo of Pardishcreel
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Upon finding this site me and my friend deiced to quest our way down the top 100 beers trying our damn-dist to find them all.

Beer one was easy to find a little pricey but worth its weight in gold. If you want a beer that tastes great this is it. So many complex flavors and smells hit you pallet then as you are about to be overwhelmed the flavors subside leaving a hard to describe but great taste in you mouth. The texture was good it felt and tasted like a strong ale, but the alcohol taste that haunts this genera of beer was absent.

A must try for anyone.

Photo of Khazadum
4.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Well, every time Sunday rolls around I want to join in on that famous NBS thread. I thought to myself... after the day I had, what would top it off? The sole Westy 12 I've ever had! BIG thanks go out to Prufrock for putting this in as an extra in the Blind Beers BIF. Poured into my lovely brandy snifter and reviewed on the spot for all to enjoy.

The moment I began gently pouring this acclaimed brew into my glass I had the sudden urge to scream out "Carbonation ho!" It is extreme the amount of head that gushed forth from a gentle pour. Easily a finger and a half of pure white foam that absorbs the hues from the liquid below. In fact there is a two tier system of bubbles here. One is a gentle brown fading quickly to wedding gown white. You'd think that the body would share a similar coloration as it gives off, but this is not true.

The body is burgundy melted into ruby red. It reminds me of unfiltered apple cider. You want to call it brown and red at the same time. Brick red isn't right, but it isn't muddy clay either. It is dark enough that light fails to penetrate far into the center. It gets just enough in to divulge the secrets of carbonation, but no further.

This beer is like every other Belgian I have had, fizzier than a pop drink on a warm day. I do not despise this. I look forward to it, actually! Without this, I would have been disappointed, to be quite frank.

After a few minutes, almost all the head is gone except for a nice island of bubbles that is constantly regenerated by the endless supply from below.

Caramel tones sneak by under the stadium-sized apple presence. If I grabbed a truck full of apples, mashed them, and laid them bare into my front room I doubt it could even match the intensity that enters my nostrils. I can actually taste the tartness through my nose. It is strong in bitterness ( Not acetic, but can't tell ) but the strong fruit sweetens the deal to make it quite enjoyable. The ending breath whispers a bready note, but I'm almost positive I'm lying to myself. I wish there were more complexities to note, but maybe I am missing them currently.

Flavor Profile
The very first sip is like a journey from high noon into the depths of a cave. I can only start off by proclaiming this is where the complexities lie.

The entrance-way of this spelunking trip is instantly tart with a good amount of sweetness. It is there not to be a player, but the walkway with which I can traverse between rooms. Without it, there is an overwhelming uncomfortable bitterness instead of tart. That is not the case, thank goodness.

My very first steps ring out with the noise of fruits, tart nature, and crisp flavors. I stand still for a moment and the echo kicks me in the tongue. The finish is falsely clean, because not more than five seconds later I can taste bananas on the back of my tongue. A new challenger squishes its medicinal head free of the at once mildly sweet flavor and drenches me in what can only be a disinfecting alcohol.

These same flavors find new ways to meander around depending on how I sip this. Letting it rest for much longer than previous sips reveals a new layer. It grows crisp little legs that tickle relentlessly all over my tasting centers. Apples, tart notes, and bananas once again but if I let it sit too long, it feels like a giant jackhammer stabs through all flavors and prickles with an intense desire to burn, to own all locations. The alcohol reminds me of every stereotypical tourist flashing his camera endlessly to the point where it is a violent weapon. I enjoy this assault, but maybe because it is a new experience.

Oral Sensations
The body is exactly as it should be. I mean it. This is perfect for this beer. There needs to be no increase or decrease in how it feels flowing in my glass or in my mouth. It is both creamy and crisp. Both tingly and smooth. It has enough presence to linger, but it goes home exactly when it should.

Even though the alcohol is the flock of bats inhabiting this cave, I find it only warming my throat and no where else. It did not light a fire in the pits of my stomach even after halfway through. It is almost a contradiction in this way.

This sneaky little beer, both in its alcohol content and flavors, proves to be quite easy to enjoy. I wanted to hate it. I looked for things to down grade it on. I wish I could treat this with rougher hands, but it is what it is. I truly enjoyed this beer. It not only was a pleasure to enjoy, but I anxiously await another. I could have two in an evening and be satisfied.

The flavors keep coming back in interesting ways, and I do not grow to despise them. I welcome them like an oil lantern after my flashlight lost power.

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Luckily poured into a Chimay goblet. Thanks to Brabander for this rare gem.

A - Pours an awesome mahogany color witha nice .5 inch head that is off-white and very active and dense. Very attractive beer. Head retention is nice and it is reduced to a nice thin mat.

S - Starts nice and spicy, with some cinnamon and some cloves. Also sweet and malty with some nice bread aromas. Some vanilla, mild vinous character, raisins and also some nice phenols and yeast. Some mild citrus character as well maybe lemons. Absolutely delicious.

T & M - Starts off smooth with a great bready flavor. Then nice sweet malt with cinnamon and many spices. Very malt heavy beer with a greta full body. Fluffy and smooth all at the same time. Some vinous character, nice phenols and spices complement and are perfectly balanced with nice bready malt. Some vanilla and a nice alcoholic sweetness that is very much noticeable but not overwhelming. There is actually some nice dry hop-like character at the end but a great malty sweet aftertaste.

D - Delicious and everything that is expected of a beer of this caliber. ABV is high so its not a perfect 5.

Photo of DeutschesBier
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to Brabander for being the man!

What else is there to say about this beer. I tried to taste this beer with the most open mind I could, and it floored me.

I was able to acquire a fresh bottle, and was lucky enough to acquire a 3 year old bottle. It was amazing fresh, but out of this world after three years. The carbonation in the fresh Westy can be a bit much, but it really settled down in the 3 year-old and brought out the complexities.

This is as close to a perfect beer as you can get!

Photo of thagr81us
4.97/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to billinlafayette for this one! Dated 08.09.11 on the cap. Served from bottle into a Chimay goblet. Pours a deep dark brown with an off-white two finger head with a dusting of brown sediment on the top. Maintains phenomenal lacing throughout. The aroma is comprised of fruit, bread, alcohol, and malt. The flavor is of malt, bananas, alcohol, biscuits, citrus, and bread. It is medium on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this brew is excellent in all aspects. The complexity of this one is truly INSANE. The appearance is awesome as well. This one sample makes me want to book a flight to Belgium and drink more... The hype is true.

Photo of dickieb
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I always assumed If I has the opportunity to try this I would have to kill three men and give away the rights to my first born to do so. Luckily for my future generations a beer bud of mine took a trip to belgium and surprised me with a bottle.

Pours a murky dark walnut in color with very little light coming through. The head is thick and bright white leaving some awesome lacing. The smell is a bit subtle for what i was expecting but the amount of scents fuzed into a singe whiff is astounding, dried fruits cinnamon yeast spices and a bunch of other things I cant even put my finger on. The taste is more complex then the smell but also subtle. Raisins the slightest citrus note cloves and a warm tasty booze dominates for me. The mouthfeel is not heavy at all but you know its there and the drinkability is through the roof. Not that anyone would want to but you could put a few of these down in a hurry if you had to. This is hands down the best Quad I have ever had, I don't know if it would be the all time best for my taste but I would never argue this being the holy grail.

Photo of ElGallo
4.93/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to chowdahead for bringing a bottle back from the abbey. You da man! (Gosh I miss the 90s)

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a Westvleteren goblet (of course). Bottled at the abbey in May or early June 2010.

The nose is fantastic. I must have spent several minutes just taking the aroma in before my first sip. I love Rochefort 10, but this one takes it up a notch - marvelous velvet brown complexity as it comes up in temp. Tasty wee bits of sediment floating around without a care in the world. I wish I could have enjoyed you all day, but all good things must come to the end of the bottle and into my belly.

This beer is worth the hype and is a must have on any beer lover's Bucket List of fine beers. Thank you monks, you hath done well.

Photo of Donerik
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The only place I could grade this beer down was Appearance, it was brownish, the color beer should be, nothing, special, or amazing, just normal.

Smell: Sublime, fruity esters, more intense then the 10

Taste: Wonderful, belgian flavors, esters, fruits hit with bubbles and alchohols. An amazing flavor, trying to quantify it wouldn't do it justice.

M & D: perfectly balanced even after a cross atlantic journey, refreshing and filling.

I'd drink this every day, I liked the 10 a bit better, but my friends who I shared these with all liked this better, but we're talking 1 sub A, and 1 sub B here. Amazing for the style.

Photo of regspeir
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of a trade with digita7693
I had this "young" with a 2013 "best by" date. 12-oz bottle poured into a chalice. Poured a ruddy-red tinged, dark brown. A moderately aggressive pour yielded a huge three-finger white head. It settled to 1/2' which lasted throughout. I sipped this beer and there was that fluffy head at the very last sip. The nose was coffee, caramel, plums, lemon, clove, and chocolate. The taste? My goodness...dark, sweet fruit (plums, grapes) with some chocolate at the start and some spices. Belgian (bready) yeasts were evident. The finish moved to dry and even a little bitter, providing a wonderful, complex and balanced evolution. Mouthfeel was thick without being syrupy. Carbonation was surprisingly high, but seemed to fit. It's hard not to gush but this is just an amazing beer. I wanted to find fault with it but could not. Nothing in this review does it justice because it is the subtleties that make it special, and most of them defy description. It is NOT over-rated. You MUST have this.

Photo of hu5om
4.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

BIG thanks to rhodeska for these. newk340 and i both cracked ours last night. new belgium goblets.
a-dark brown. 2.5 fingers of fluffy off-white foam that stays the whole time and leaves absurdly nice lacing.
s-sweet + spicy. herbal and slightly medicinal. brown sugar and honey.
t-sweet delicate maltiness, caramel, honey, a slight medicinal taste, mild spiciness. ginger? these monks definitely know what they're doing.
m-friggin velvet. exquisite. gentle, gentle tingle massages your taste buds.
d-i'm an atheist, but this was a religious experience. is it THE best beer on earth? maybe. is it the best Quad on earth? i certainly think so. once you climb everest, what's next?

Photo of Lukafer
4.68/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I have to give a shout out to Jdefont for busting this out, thanks for making my going away tasting epic! Reviewed from notes.

Pours a little murky, medium brown with a lot of carb., off-white head. Smells are dark fruits, a lot of yeast, slight funk and a hint of booze, smells really great. Taste some dark fruits, figs, a lot of yeast, slight funk again, a touch of hops and grapeskin. Mouthfeel is perfect amount of carb., smooth, feels great. Drinkability is very good, I understand why everyone wants to try this beer. Is this the greatest beer I've ever had? No, but it is definitely a great one, and one I would love to drink again. Soon. Very soon.

Photo of BedetheVenerable
4.43/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

HUGE thank-you to frissianwits for this one...the generosity blew me away.

Presentation: Classic Westy 330ml brown pop top with no label; cap says 27.05.13

Appearance: Murky walnut beer with a light beige cap with good retention.

Smell: Spicy, sweet, and beguiling...there are a host of different spices here, but everything is so well-integrated I'm having a tough time pulling them all out...I do get a definite hit of cinnamon sugar, however. There's lots of fruit as well, and more light fruit (apricot, maybe?) than I was expecting...some very light booze as well, and I'm getting sugared dates now as this warms a bit.

Taste: This courses across the palate, constantly changing and showing a new side. It starts out with burnt caramel, toasty malts (like an amped-up Munich Dunkel), some light minerality, and some dark fruit...cotton candy makes its presence known as well, as well as various sweet baking spices...there's a bit more bitterness than I was expecting, though there's no real hop flavor. The bitterness is actually just a bit stronger than I'd like. Eventually apple and other light fruit make their way forward, as well as mild alcohol as this warms. In a word, complex.

Mouthfeel: Fairly high carbonation levels, but remarkably light for the high abv, which keeps the drinkability...

Drinkability: High...though it's so complex, it begs to be mused over...so complex you just want another taste, and it'd be easy to drink more than the 1-2 of these that you could have without starting to get goofy

Conclusion: Was it the earth-shattering, worldview-changing epiphany I was awaiting? No. But I don't think a beer that's this hyped could *ever* meet expectations. That being said, it was by FAR the best Belgian Strong Dark Ale/Quadrupel I've ever had. I think if the bitterness had been just slightly less, this would have been an A+. Better than Chimay's Blue and Rochefort's 10 w/out question (though those are both delicious beers; I haven't tried Achel's Extra yet, so I can't comment on it). I would love (someday) to have 3-4 of these so I could drink 1 a year or so and see how they change. I broke this open to celebrate passing my MA defense that day; again, thanks to frissianwits, I cannot think of a better way to have celebrated.

Photo of notdan
4.78/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Drank in Brussels on my recent trip around Europe. Found a package at De Bier Tempel that included one 12, one 8, two blondes, and a glass.

Pours into the Westy glass as a dark, ruby-tinged brown with an extremely persistent beige head (seemed to last the entire time I was drinking the beer).

Aroma was very nice, though could have been slightly stronger. Brown sugar, molasses, spicy clove/yeast. A touch of dark fruit, maybe even some citrus.

Taste is pretty amazing. Chocolate was the first thing I noticed, then brown sugar, caramel, and sweet, cherry-like molasses. A hint of something medicinal, then a slight earthiness came in as the beer progressed towards a mildly bitter finish to balance it out. Not a hint of alcohol. Just awesome.

Smooth, full-bodied mouthfeel with enough carbonation.

Overall, this compares closely to the other favourite quads (Rochefort, St. Bernardus, etc.), but the thing that elevates it just above is the drinkability. Considering my bottle was quite fresh, I was very surprised how little alcohol I could detect.

Can't say whether or not it's the best beer I've ever tried, but it certainly ranks in the top few.

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,016 ratings.