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

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

5,243 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,243
Reviews: 1,677
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 3,175
Gots: 1,630 | FT: 122
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001

(Yellow Cap)
View: Beers (3) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,243 | Reviews: 1,677
Photo of BierGartenok
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewed from Notes: I had this amazing brew on a trip to Europe that was as equally amazing. Sampled at In De Vrede in the shadow of the abbey of Saint Sixtus, it really doesn't get any better than that. This nectar of the Gods pours a lovely dark brown color, aroma is of fruit, plumbs and sugar canes. As soon as you take a sip you realize that this beer lives up to the hype..Does it get any better than this? NO. This beer coats the tongue in sweet fruit flavors and the alcohol is so well hidden that you are not aware of the effects. That is until you walk down the path at Westvleteren to the shrine and realize that you are extremely drunk. This is OK you remind yourself, as you are in Europe at the Mecca for all beer drinkers. If you ever have the chance to visit PLEASE do..you will not be disappointed. We purchased some at De Bier Temple in Brussels. The lady there has plenty to go around, so if you miss the "Beer line" or all orders are full, fear not she has you covered. Do yourself a favor and grab a Westy, it is what the Gods Drink! Cheers!

Photo of lr99gt
4.84/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Murky Brown with nice head

S: Fruit Cake, dark fruits

T: Very complex with dark fruits from the nose coming through.

M: Beautiful carbonation, nice champagne like bubbles

O: Lives up to its promise. Super hard to get. Lucked out with several bottles from the recent release in Vancouver BC.

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

I bought a Case of this beer through a friend. He sent it to me to mexico. I opened 2 last thursday with my friends. We all tasted it and it was amazing.

The head was just right, smell and taste are really great. Its a beer to drink while you are in the company of good friends or family.Cant wait to have one with my father.

Photo of brew3crew
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had a chance to share this with an amazing woman, Lauren195. Cheers Lauren!

Bottle Cap dated 29.08.10

A- nice medium brown color. Clear once the sediment settled

S-caramel/chocolate sweetness to the smell

T- Wow. if this one doesn't live up to the hype then I don't know what ever will. A lot like it smells with a little bit of alcohol (very Mellow) and some yeast to it

M-Medium body, smooth and rich

O-Wow. This is amazing.

Photo of claaark13
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this at room temp in Belgium and couldn't note any differences between it and Rochefort (from memory). I suppose a review is appropriate after I've returned to the States for a while.

This review is from a cellared bottle, 20.04.14 dating on the cap. Thijs, you are the MAN!!!

A - Good color. Deep brownish-red. Head retention is great. I couldn't ask more from a beer, especially this style. Once again, I'll give this a top rating for style appearance. Head retention is beautiful after the 30 minutes it took me to review this beer.

S - Wow. It took me a bit, but I've actually pinned the aroma down to white grape juice. Yep, you read that right. The more time I spend sniffing, I guess I would say that it smells like a bready smashed handfull of grapes. I am seriously getting bready grapes here. That may sound crazy, but that's what I get. Then again, the beer is still at around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. I get a little more bread as I walk away for 15 minutes and return. I still smell some sweet grapes though. I'm not sure if a quad "should" smell like this, but it is a great aroma. Who am I to tell the Monks what a quad "should" smell like.

T - I should put it next to Rochefort 10, and I will, the next time I open a bottle. I get a slight grape that quickly moves to a bready quad flavor, then to a dry grape finish. Grape is the only way I can think to describe it. It isn't like a wine or Lambic. There is a bread-like flavor on top with an underlying sweetness that is comparable to eating red/purple grapes. This is a very unique flavor. I actually think I'm in love. I have given a few of these out to people as extras since I've been back from Belgium, but I think I will keep the rest after trying this one.

M - An odd medium-thick body. It's right in the middle, but I think that it is probably best described as a medium body with creaminess that creates almost a thicker mouthfeel. Fantastic. The flavors stick to the palate after each sip. This is just one more reason for me to love this beer.

O - Damn. Sorry, I hate to use this language in a review, but Damn. I've only had one beer that stood out as an equal or superior to this (hahaha, thanks Urbain!). To each his own, but I love this beer. I could slam this beer upon request. I would happily drink this and only this for the rest of my life if I had to. This is so much better than the one I had in an Antwerp hotel room. And to think that I've been telling people that it is no better than Rochefort.

NOTE: eBay prices are far too much for a bottle. Please don't buy these bottles from that site. The practice is against the wishes of the Monks and in an unbelievable inflation of the prices for each bottle. If you really need a small number of bottles, please post to the Belgium forum and I'm almost certain that you will be taken care of.

Photo of distantmantra
4.79/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle at Au Bon Vieux Temps in Brussels, BE. Review based on notes from April 2011.

A: Dark copper brown color with a small tan head of foam.

S: Sweet chocolate aroma with a hint of bread and raisins. Alcohol is slightly present.

T: Sweet caramel front with a backing of raisins and figs. The alcohol becomes more noticeable as you get further into the beer.

M: High level of carbonation with a warm alcoholic feel.

O: Extremely complex and impressive quad. I was absolutely impressed at how well the alcohol is masked. Sure, you can tell it's there, but at 10.2% you'd think it would be more noticeable. Definitely worth the hype. I brought a bottle home with me to cellar. Current plan is break it out for a special occasion in a year or so.

Photo of pdoran10
4.63/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a very hazy brown color into a Sam Adams pint glass. Split two ways, thanks to Taylor and Frank for this bottle! One finger of tan head that leaves nice lacing.

I get i big wheat presence and slight caramel sweetness in the nose.

Taste is a complex mash up of sweet elements. I get plum, cotton candy, banana and vanilla. Big smooth sweet presence and really nice taste.

Mouthfeel is creamy and thick with moderate to high carbonation. Very well done here.

Overall there is just something amazingly drinkable and smooth about this big flavorful beer. Almost silky on the palate. Rounded flavors, I'm impressed.

Photo of SDDanC
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours cloudy amber with a tad bit of reddish pink hue. Minimal, but creamy head around the edge of the glass. The nose is pounding with grape/honey/wood. On the tongue it is sweet, quite sweet, grapes or raisins, then the alcohol bites you in the rear, but subtly. Mouthfeel is excellent, goes well with the fruity explosion. Overall, the Westy definitely lives up to the hype and I was very excited to drink it.

Photo of badboyrsl84
4.97/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours dark brown with a foamy white 2 inch head.

Smells - like a grape juice. I don't know how else to explain this other than welchs grape juice.

Taste - follows the nose to a T. Super fruity grapes and furctose sugar. A hint of bitterness from grapes citric acid.

Overall - super smooth and easy to drink. I concur on the hype to this. Super smooth and savory!

Photo of Tschnab
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have reached the pinnacle of beers...

A- pours a dark ruby with a one inch head that fades into an active film of offwhite carbonation.

S- Smells of candy sugar, raisons, belgian yeast, cherries, yadayada. Just amazing.

T- Even better than the smell; woody, sweet cherries, rum-soaked raisons, warm alcohol esthers, and belgian yeast converge to make an incredibly drinkable beer despite its abv, easily the best Belgian beer I have ever seen.

O- This beer is incredible. Believe the hype.

Photo of Rifugium
4.63/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First had: bottle from Brouwerij Westvleteren (via a German friend)


Oh the hype! Was it worth it? Well, sure. I've heard mixed reports on this beer, and from my experience, many true beer aficionados out in the "real world" will tell you, that the main appeal of this beer is it's unavailability, not it's features, and that in fact, a fine Rochefort or even St. Bernardus is as good as or even better than a Westvleteren. So in the end, it's just a matter of opinion, like anything else.

That said, this was a great beer. I acquired the bottle legitimately: a friend of a friend of mine traveled to Westvleteren and respectfully procured me a few bottles from the elusive monks.

My at-the-time fianceé and I each had a bottle, we shared one with friends at our engagement party, I used one for a video review, and I have four that I'm cellaring, with one or two perhaps for trade.

Anyway, on to the review, as you can see from the video, this beer was properly poured into a signature Westvleteren goblet. Dark caramelized brown in color, hazy, moderately carbonated, with a beautifully crafted light tan head that settled right around the "Trappist" logo of the glass, retained throughout the session, and exhibited some fine lacing. Robust aroma, dark fruits, dark sugars. Extremely full of flavor, smooth, candi sugars, toffee, dark cherries, raisins, alcohol is noticeable but not at all detrimental. Earthy, organic, chewy, complex... Medium mouthfeel, but full of flavor, slightly bitter aftertaste, and very drinkable.

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

Picked a few bottles up at De Bierkoning in Amsterdam. Initially, I was going to wait until I got back to the States to indulge...but the excitement got the better of me.

I poured the beer in a Chimay chalice. Dark and beautiful...but still transparent.

The smell was complex and earthy. Dried fruit and dark sugar.

Huge build-up to my first taste, and it was not disappointing. Fruity, floral, boozy, earthy. Thick and very complex...it's difficult to point out each individual flavor, because they interact with each other. It was more carbonated than I thought, but the mouthfeel was still great.

Hard to tell if this is the best beer that I have ever had, but I will always remember the day in Nice, France when I first tried this beer. This beer wins for my favorite "beer moment".

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

Drunk this, the Stanley Cup of beers, to celebrate the Bruins Stanley Cup win. And I love how the crown cork is black and gold. Coincidence? I think not.

But you know, I am sort of skeptical of all the reviews of this beer on BA. Not that I believe that this beer is over rated. Not at all. It definitely deserves its status. Its just that I can't see how everyone understands this beer after just one bottle. Westy 12 just way too complex for that.

Pours a lovely deep mahognay colour maintaining a creamy full thick head which leaves sticking drifts of foam all over the glass.
Taste is where its complexity really comes in on the tongue. There is earth, toffee, dark chocoate and a cutting form of sweet, fine and fairly intense custard cream richness. There's a deep thick oakiness there too especially with the body. An unbelievably complex balance of strength, finesse and complexity. Aftertaste is very very long and has left an impression on my taste buds like no other beer.

Despite its religious inspiration this really is a beer that strikes at your intellect and curiosity more than the heart. For me this is what makes it so inspiring. I'm still very much just beginning to understanding Westy 12 but I can recognise its genius which would have totally missed me had I drunk it as a beer rookie many years ago. And this is what makes me think that people here award it top marks based on reputation alone. Either that or BAs really have some of the most sophisticated and perceptive palates you'll find anywhere.

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

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

Photo of robbrandes
4.12/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

Photo of Rick187
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of jayhawk73
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of 05Harley
4.07/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

Purchased through Cracked Kettle, Netherlands

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.12/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of rowingbrewer
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of notchucknorris
4.89/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

200th Review!

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

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

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

Photo of mcguirmn
4.77/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

330 ml bottle poured into my Duvel tulip glass.

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

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

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

D - Very carbonated, slightly sweet.

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

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,243 ratings.