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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) - Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)

Not Rated.
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

5,126 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,126
Reviews: 1,650
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 3,081
Gots: 1,553 | FT: 116
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001

(Yellow Cap)
View: Beers (3) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,126 | Reviews: 1,650 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Wisconsinality
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Super Bowl victory celebration beer #1.

Thanks to Sweemzander for this treat.

A- Pours a chocolate brown with a huge head, three fingers and some sticking out of the top of the tulip. The head takes forever to die down and leaves great lacing on the side of the glass.

S- Some nice notes of milk chocolate, and dark fruits such as dates and fig. There is also just a hint of sweetness and no alcohol whatsoever.

T- This beer does not disappoint. Some nice chocolate notes to go along with some malt and some dates and currants. There is a creaminess that adds to the flavor.

M- Full bodied that coats the mouth. For as big as the head is, the carbonation isn't very apparent. Just a little heat on the back of the throat from the alcohol.

D- I could sip on this beer all night long. Great flavors and great mouthfeel make this a winner. I will be seeking this out for future Green Bay Packer Super Bowl celebrations.

Photo of Mississipping
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Urbancaver for splitting this bottle with StayWhatYouAre2, w113raf, and me. After a great weekend at Jackie O's, this was an amazing way to kick off our tasting.

A: Pours a dark brown with amber hues, especially when held to light. Small tan head that dissipates slowly, leaving decent lacing.

S: A plethora of dark fruit are dominate ... especially plum, fig and cherries. Yeasty with sweet carmel and syrup. No booze in the nose at all. Very, very nice.

T: Much like the aroma, the taste is dominated by dark fruit. Sweet, but not overly sweet. Toffee and maple syrup perfectly meld with the fruit and yeast to create something truly special. Just a bit of alcohol on the back end, but certainly not what you'd expect for a 10.20% quad.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation with fine bubbles, creating a smooth, silky presence on the palate. Warming alcohol and just a bit drying.

I really enjoyed this, and would highly recommend it. Thanks again to Urbancaver for his generosity.

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

Pours a darker brown. Almost like brown sugar with lots of frothy head. Very very pretty. Smells yeasty and flowery. Lots of light and dark fruity flavours. Tastes very smooth and clean. Amazing on the palette. Especially as it warms up. A slight sharpness and hint of the alcohol content but very drinkable

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

Poured into a snifter

A: Medium dark brown with heavy ruby red accent. The head is tan in color and is about ½ finger. The head faded quicker than I expected, but left some lacing and a swirl of bubbles and crown that remained for the duration of the drink.

S: My initial reaction was that this smelled a lot like plums. There's also some light caramel, and grapes/champagne. Finally I get a bit of alcohol. This is a very layered and interested smelling beer.

T: The flavor is deep and complex with a lot of dark fruits up front, primarily raisins and plums, followed by some dry bitterness and a little alcohol heat. The flavor is a little sweet but is nicely balanced and quite a bit different than the smell would indicate.

M: This has a fairly light mouthfeel, but a nice level of carbonation. The aftertaste is great and the beer is crisp. The viscosity is medium of the road and what I would expect. Overall this may be the weakest part of this otherwise outstanding beer.

D: If I lived in Belgium, I would drink this every night of the week. It is truly amazing. Only if...

Photo of kzoobrew
4/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review input from notes, enjoyed 01/10/11. Big thanks to Carleton, Spdkilz, for the bottle. Cheers buddy!

Pours a dark brown with slight maroon hues. Fairly large antique white head recedes at a moderate pace. A decent amount of lacing left clinging to the glass.

The aroma is rather herbal and sweet. Brown sugar and dates. I am not getting the depth with the dark fruit that I hoped for. The herbal and spicy aroma are coming through much more clearly than the sweeter scents.

Deeply caramelized sugars and raisins come sweep across the front of the palate. Strong yeast characteristics, cloves and anise, appear mid palate. Medicinal flavor is a bit to pronounced, not a fan of the phenols here. Earthy hops flavor is subtle.

Medium bodied, carbonation is moderate and appropriate. Finish is clean but moderately long. The residual flavor does cling to the tongue a bit.

Maybe my expectations were too high, maybe my palate was not feeling it, I am just not finding what makes this the worlds best beer. Pleasant to drink, I am not sure I want more than one in a sitting. Good beer, worth trying atleast once in your lifetime.

Photo of wisrarebeer
3.97/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Date stamp on cap of 22.11.08 (5+ years old)

A: deep copper color with rosy hues, lots of sediment in bottle (about 3/4 of an inch)
S: malt and some oxidation, earthy notes evident
T: nice beer, warming, slightly sweeter malt with good bitter finish, some oxidation noticeable, fruit taste in the finish (plums?)
M: very clean, warming
D: very drinkable

This is my second Westy 12 and although it's a very good beer it doesn't strike me as a world class contender. Very good but not worthy of all the hype. I was also surprised on the level of oxidation.

Photo of kbanks13
4.82/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got this in a LIF from prufrock, thanks again Dan!

Poured slightly chilled into a chalice with a hazy opaque brown body. Hazelnut color with lighter tobacco like hues around the edges, fluffy tall white head with nice retention. Smells like figs and fine cognac. Bready and caramel sweet odors in the nose, too. Taste is raisin and fig with brown sugar and slight booze. Sweet and caramel, malts are very pronounced with a slight floral background. Very clean and smooth, booze is not very apparent in taste or feel. Silky character to the body with low to moderate carbonation. This beer was extremely complex and balanced, rich and luxurious, and just downright delicious. I can see why this is touted as the best beer in the world, I hope that I get the chance to try this again and maybe get a few bottles to age.

Photo of drewba
3.95/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

A - Deep, reddish amber with a finger silky smooth tan head. The lacing is impressive - when you til tthe glass, the bubbles all fall together, then break. Nice eye candy.

S - Tart cherries, sweet raisin, rum raisin, fresh baked bread, nuts, slight cardboard oxidation. It all finishes with an unusual slightly tart lemon aroma.

T - Caramel, loads of molasses, hints of raisin, plum, dates and cinnamon. Quite bready and nutty, this tastes very hearty. I'm impressed that the hop profile is so apparent: slightly acidic and tart lemon, grass and orange flavors are found near the finish. Also adding a dryness I was not expecting or enjoying for that matter.

M - Syrupy, mouth coating body with an obnoxious amount of carbonation. Carbonation is prickly and really too much as I feel like I can't taste everything because of it. it does get better the more you let it warm and let the carbonation die down.

D - I am stunned that this is 10+%abv, it drinks wonderfully with zero alcohol heat. The dryness in the finish is my only drinkability related criticism. Lots of nuance and complexity, solid beer.

Photo of dasenebler
4.73/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

.33cl, bottled in September 2010.

Rich mahogany color, copious off-tan creamy head-- really a beautiful appearance, though with lots of yeast sediment on the final pour. Very nice lacing.

Aroma is interesting though subtle, with some grape fruitiness, toasted malts and buttery caramel. Booze is there as well.

Easily one of the most complex ales I've ever tasted. Initially sweet, with candied and brown sugars. Then a pretty strong bitterness is revealed, and the finish is remarkably dry for the style. Seductive and complex dark fruit. The aftertaste is roasty and chocolatey. After a few sips, a pleasant warming effect sets in. As the beer warms, a yeasty-spicy character becomes apparent, adding to the depth of this amazing ale. The mouthfeel is very effervescent, coating the tongue in full, smooth and creamy layers. Although it's very strong, it's very drinkable, with a decently disguised alcohol.

This beer deserves its status as one of the best. THE best? Who knows. Westy 12 is a dry, balanced Quad, and this is what makes it a beautiful beer.

Photo of gameface23
4.67/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours an intense shade of brown with a light tan head.

S: So complex. Brown sugar is prominent. There are dark fruits, but they don't assault the nose like super malty beers that use a ton of specialty grains known to create those flavors (special B, etc). There is a caramel softness to it, which lends the perfect amount of sweetness.

T: Follows the nose. More complexity. Layers upon layers of interesting flavors. Brown sugar, dates, caramel, Belgian yeast phenols.

M: Light on the carbonation.

D: Westy 12 and Hair of the Dog Adam are the two most complex and interesting beers I have ever had. There is a refined elegance to everything about this beer, from the packaging, to the aroma and taste.

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

Reviewing from notes - 12/25/10

Bottle Date: 15.12.11 (approx 2 years old, would turn three this december).
Tasted on christmas day in what i called "battle of the quads." Was compared to Rochefort 10 and St Bernardus Abt 12.
Poured into a Duvel Tulip.

Well Westy, we finally met. It was a excellent christmas day beer.

A: Fairly dark brown, lighter then a stout, but darker then your usual brown ale. Pretty sexy looking if you ask me. Poured about two inches of creamy off white head and left tons of lacing.

S: If you are a fan of Quads, it really can't get any better than this. Dark fruits are just coming out of the wood work with this beer. You name it - Plums, figs, dates, raisons and maybe some cherry. Semi-sweet on the nose, some carmel notes present as well as of course, some belgian yeast i have grown to love.

T: WOW, what a beer. One of the beers that really puts you back in your seat and takes you for a ride. Going along with the smell in perfect harmony, dark fruits are present along with a sweet belgian brown sugar after taste. Just wonderful.

M: Heaven on the tongue. Perfect amount of carbonation, very well balanced beer. Very tasty! Alcohol so well hidden its barely there.

O: Overall, this beer is INSANELY good. I just wish it was more available to get, but oh well. I would recommend that any who likes belgian beers, especially Quads and Strong Dark Ales, this is a MUST try.

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

2009 rate.

Aroma is wildly delicious - sweet figs in honey, toffee, an immediately noticeable vinous presence, rum sugars, candied dates. A rich, fresh maple syrup is announced. Pour is deep chestnut brown with a small, cobwebby beige head. A highly-anticipated first sip. This has the round, chewy malt of St. Bernardus 12, but has a richer fruit presence and is more refined. Creamy, wonderful mouthfeel. Just beautifully balanced and well-crafted. As with Rochefort, an impression of overripe banana makes itself known. This is fucking amazing. A brilliant spicy note, like cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom swirl about the dark fruits and rich, deep alcoholic sugars. I don't know if I''ve ever enjoyed a bottle of beer this much. If my tooth wasn't hurting I probably would have enjoyed it even more.

Photo of ottovon
4.6/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: pours out a coppery-brown color with a light tan head. it has lots of head.

S: i get a lot of caramel aromas, some candi sugar, and yeast with hints of raison.

T: i get some spice, raison, lots of caramel and candi sugar flavor as well as yeast and bready flavors. there is a little bit of alcohol in the finish.

M: it has a light and slightly carbonated mouthfeel. it is quite nice.

D: i could drink these all night. while there are hints of alcohol in the taste, it is pretty hidden.

shared with whiterascal.

Photo of CraigKodish
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ah, To get this beer here in California. That in it's self is quite a feat. The much sought after Westvleteren 12 - 6 pack finally arrived after weeks of pursuit. Refrigererated to only 12 degrees C per Saint Sixtus' website.
Appearance - Pours a beautiful mahogany brown with just the slightest head.
Smell - Smells of caramalized sugar and dark fruits. Some spices too. You know this will be something special.
Taste - Candy sugar and cocoa; Hop bitter palate. Dark fruits evident. WOW ! Considering this is a 10.2% you would not know it incredibly smooth. Rochefort 10 is great but heavy alcohol taste evident. This beer is very complex but tastes excellent.
Mouthfeel - Carbonation slight, not overbearing. Almost creamy/frothy.
Drinkability - What can I say. For a 10.2%abv this has got to be hands down the most drinkable quad I have ever had. PERIOD ! So smooth.

Overall - This is a great beer. Worth the painstaking time, effort and money to get it over here ?? Probably not. I would never turn this beer down, but thank god for Rochefort and St. Bernardus which are here and a lot cheaper.
All beer connoisseurs must at least try the #1 rated beer in the world. Excellent !

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

200th review.

11.2oz bottle served in a snifter glass. best before bottle date 13.08.11

pours an opaque mahogany tone with a solid finger of lush, creamy head... slowly fades to a thin cap, collar around the glass; decent lacing. good dose of sediment.

nose is headlined by dark fruits, with notes of spice, brown sugar and caramel malts; definitely a sweet aroma. very nice. slight but perceivable presence of booze.

flavor follows the nose. again, dark fruits - raisin, plum, cherry; brown, maybe carmelized sugar; belgian yeast... very balanced, very complex. also happens to be quite delicious. some warming alcohol in the finish.

medium bodied with adequate carbonation. insanely drinkable, i could happily drink this all day.

worthy to note that there was no eureka moment upon first sipping it, but as you drink, the brew really opens up. hands down a world class beer, but THE best? hmm... not sure i could give any beer that distinction. were rochefort 10 as difficult to come by i think it would marshall a similar hype. that said, it's easily a top 5 candidate in my book.

Photo of DrewZ926
4.45/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a- pours a rich deep brown with lighter highlights, a sand colored head that fades to a slight rim.

s- heavy on the candi sugar and caramel, a hint of spice and raisin, slight prune smell too.

t- again big sweet malts, caramel and toffee, picking up a surprising hop taste too, adds some nice bitterness, finishes with classic belgian yeast spice and some orange zest.

m- just the right level of carbonation, feels almost a bit creamy

d- for a quad, feels very light and sessionable. 10+% begs to differ...

will be doing a side by side with rochefort 10 later this week to determine which I like better, right now it's pretty up in the air. i would have liked more of an emphasis on the dark fruits in the taste, but the presence of other nice flavors certainly makes up.

Photo of mlaroche
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired from beerinvest.eu (De Struise shop) on 4/29/2010, consumed 1/17/2011. Best before date on cap is "24.03.13" Served in a Bruery tulip.

Appearance - Opaque brown - lighter than a stout. 1cm head, subsiding slowly to consistent lacing.

Smell - light alcohol, raisins, caramelized sugar (but not as heavy a caramelized sugar as Westy 8). Warm and inviting. Light spicing - perhaps anise?

Taste - some roasted malts. I'm usually not a big fan of quads -they're usually overwhelmingly cloying. But it seems to have a nice balance of noble hops. Slight orange peel flavor.

Mouthfeel - nice carbonation - helps bring out the flavor. Not sickly sweet, but thick.

Drinkability - much like Westy 8, I'm picking up new things on each sip. I wish I could keep picking up this beer and figuring it out.

I figured the "best beer in the world" would be more mind blowing - but this is more cerebral. It doesn't stand out in any one way, but it seems a great exercise in balance. Don't get me wrong, it's strong, but restrained.

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

Cap dated "16.02.13." Thanks for the chance to try this elusive beer, D13Logan.

Appearance:
Pours a dark mahogany brown with ~1-1.5 inches of an off-white head that lasts for a few minutes. Perfect carbonation levels.

Smell:
It smells beautiful. Smells of dark fruits - plums, raisins, cherries. Only a hint of alcohol and a faint caramel smell. As it warms, the cherry fruit really comes out.

Taste/Mouthfeel:
The taste is rich and creamy. Lots of dark Belgian malts. The fruits shine and have a sweet and slightly sugary taste. This beer definitely needs to be drank at the correct temperature as you'll miss much of what the beer has to offer if it's too cold. Long lasting dark finish with brown sugar notes and a slight bitterness. It drinks like a 6-7% beer, not a 10% ABV beer - only a small alcohol burn.

Drinkability:
This beer is almost scary drinkable as it goes down so easy with almost zero hint of alcohol. In my opinion, the Westy 12 deserves every bit of hype that it gets.

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

I'm very lucky/thankful to have a chance to try this beer. Pours a deep brown with an inch of foamy off-white head on top. This beer is not black but you can't see anything through the glass. Lots of lacing on the sides of my glass as I lift it to drink. I love the smell of the Belgian yeast in this beer, it smells like a really sweet apple cider. Lots going on with the flavor of this beer but I taste lots of sugary apple flavored yeast. There are also some slight hints of dark fruit and a nutty finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied but with a "lively" feeling of carbonation. There is hint of alcohol in the aftertaste. Everything about this beer was great, and with the exception of the mouthfeel I hardly noticed any of the alcohol presence. I would drink this again or consecutively if it were readily available.

Photo of ButtWizzard
4.95/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was impressed with this one. Even my mother who only smells beers because she finds them so repugnant went ahead and tried it. She enjoyed it too.

It was just the right blend of strong, but not alcoholly or overwhelming flavour where oh so many other hoity toity Belgian beers have let me down.

Only place I was let down was mouthfeel. I've come to enjoy carbonation, and was slightly disappointed. To each their own.

Photo of hawks10
3.96/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml brown bottle - Dated March 3rd, 2013 - Poured into a chalice...

This beer is quite beautiful when held up to the light, deep, dark red with sparkling clarity. Two fingers of pancake batter head forms and slowly recedes, leaving chunks of lacing behind...

Sweet and sugary in the nose. Dark fruits and caramel malt. Belgian yeast spice, surprisingly muted aromas overall...

Ripe dark fruits provide some sweetness on first sip. Quickly becomes yeasty, Belgian spice and a lot of caramel malt. A bit of alcohol heat in the finish with a lingering spice and dark, burnt sugar...

Full bodied, creamy and very smooth. Has a certain lightness to it, soft. Alcohol heat shows up and lingers long past the finish...

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

10% ABV. Tasted on self-proclaimed "Westy day" 01/06/11 with my craft beer aficionado buddy. This quad made of perfection was bottled in 2010 (with date stamped 15.10.13 on cap) and given the title "Baby Westy" by us because of its perfection from birth. Currently, ranked the world's best beer gave off an opaque brown/copper appearance. As you drink it, you see many different layers of color - multi-layered complex. Smell hints of Belgium candy sugar. Mouthability and drinkability gave off a smooth and perfect balance. I could taste caramel, raisins, licorice, figs, maybe hint of orange peels, and candied sugar. Additional notes: A beer beyond measure and perfection. Now we can fully measure taste of all beers going forward now that we've had a Westy 12. By drinking the Westy 12, I wouldn't mind joining the St. Sixtus monastery. Humbling experience. Me: I feel buzzed already, Friend: No, its probably the euphoria of drinking this beer. This is a heavenly task that I would totally kill someone if he drank it down in one big gulp. The Westy 12 is indeed the "Holy Grail of Beers"!

Photo of djmichaelk
4.36/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

March 2010 bottle into a snifter. Tasted as part of a comparison tasting between it, Rochefort 10, and St. Bernardus Abt 12.

A - Pours a nearly opaque, cloudy brown, with a huge three fingers of head that fills the remainder of the glass. Great retention and lacing. By far the best looking of the three.

S - The requisite dark fruit, with fig seeming to be the dominant one. Candied sugar, and a slight spiciness in the background. Nice for the style but not necessarily superior to its competitors.

T - As expected, it's very, very nice. Not as sweet as the nose would indicate, but there's plenty of that candied sugar leading off. Some yeastiness follows, along with the dark fruit. Raisins and figs, maybe a bit of molasses, and caramel. At colder temperatures it wasn't our favorite, but as it warmed it took over the competition.

M - Definitely softer and rounder than the others. It has a velvety feel that the others can't match. Excellent.

D - While the flavors and feel are definitely great, like most quads it suffers from the high abv. That being said, I wish I had another to open.

O - Great beer, but not the world-changer that the hype makes it out to be. There are just too many easily-obtainable beers in this category that are close to it in quality for me to work this hard for another one.

Photo of GoNowhere
4.57/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Much to my delight, the Holiest beer on planet earth arrived three days prior to Christmas. Two bottles were purchased online--one for me and one for a beer loving homie.
On to the review...

Appearance: Dark earthy tone resembling very fertile soil with a nice bleached leather colored head. Lacing immediate and intricate. Tiny bubbles of carbonation bouncing and popping.

Smell: Fruity. Raisins. Plums. Pumpkin. Dates. Dried bananas. Malty. Molasses. Earth. Reminiscent of a thick autumn fog on a pumpkin farm. Lots of stuff going on.

Taste: Malty goodness giving way to a break of fruity sweetness and ending with a nice tinge of alcohol that only serves to cleanse the palate for another swig. It tastes just as it smells.

Mouthfeel: Not heavy. Not light. It dances and skips along with the tastes. The carbonation is perfect. It's a ballerina.

Drinkability: Well, at 10% you can't hang with more than a couple and still appreciate them, but damn I would love to try.

While drinking this I asked myself the same questions I asked myself before I decided to marry my wife... I made it about beer instead of a woman though because it would be weird if I didn't.

Is it the best and if I were to consume this one beer for the rest of my life would I still have eyes for other brews?

-Well, if I lived next to the brewery, or even within 200 miles, this might be the best beer ever.... But I don't, so it isn't. If I did live that close, I can't honestly say that a Saison, Strong Pale or Dark, or a really nice Triple wouldn't tempt me to stray (Really, Belgium has all the super model beers). However, this is by far the best Quad I have ever had and would love to drink it again someday.

Photo of nhindian
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Review #100!

11.2oz bottle poured into a Westvleteren chalice.

Huge thanks to some great BAs for this.

After a rat race to get this beer (asked a girl I had class with if she had any family in Belgium, who then got me in contact with her uncle in Holland, who met a contact I met through BA to pick up the beer, who then delivered the beer to her grandma who traveled in this winter for her graduation, who then gave it to the girl, who gave it to a friend of mine from college who finally gave it to me), I finally received 8 bottles from this abbey after two bottles and a chalice broke in transit. I got three 12's, two 8's, and three blondes. Cracking the 12 in celebration of the New Year, bowl season (damnit PSU), and the Winter Classic tonight (go Pens!)

A - This beer kind looks a bit similar to other Belgian-styled Quads in that shows as a murky brown, copper, almost muddy purple color. Head is a nice, 2-fingered frothy cap, but retention is a bit on the poor side. Not much lacing at all, surprisingly.

S - As this beer warms up, the aroma really picks up and grows in complexity. Initially a bit muted, as it aerates the bouquet of Belgian yeast, sweeter malts, grapes, plums, and apples. There is that noticeable alcohol smell that is common for the style, but not bad at all. What really stood out to me in this beer compared to others in the style is that while it does have some of the candied sugar smell, it is definitely more toned down compared to some beers which seem to be swimming in it. It just seems more blended and complex as a result. As it approaches room temperature, the grains start to show through which adds an even deeper layer to this already multi-faceted bouquet.

T - If the smell was deep and complex, the flavor profile is that and more. While its possible to note individual flavors in this beer, such as the slight sugar at the front, then the juicy apples and grapes which give way to the alcohol, the overall taste combines all of these elements without giving a clear distinction or transition between them, especially as it warms up. This is both good and bad, as I enjoy being able to pinpoint exact flavors, but it is a testament to how complex this beer is while keeping it from appearing muddled and haphazard. The finish is sweet, long, with a bit of alcohol, but also with the sugar.

M - Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation. Given the relatively poor head and retention, I wouldn't be surprised if this had a bit of a carbonation problem, but the flatness doesn't kill the beer. Coats the mouth and has a great finish.

D - Drinkability is high. The mouthfeel, flavors, smell... everything comes together to work here. For the 10.2% alcohol, it is really hidden well and is dangerously drinkable.

So is it the greatest beer in the world? That's hard to say. It certainly has an appeal to it due to the rarity and trouble taken to get it, but I'm not sure if that should be taken into account too much. In my opinion, it's an incredible beer, but I think I let the hype get to me a bit and was expecting a bit more. I have a few more bottles, so hopefully in a few years I'll revisit this beer.

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,126 ratings.