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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)

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5,237 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,237
Reviews: 1,676
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 3,176
Gots: 1,628 | 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: 5,237 | Reviews: 1,676
Photo of rhodeska
4.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Really good beer, thanks to Hayesez for hooking me up with these.

I opened the 2010 bottle that I had, and really am a fan. I did this side-by-side with a 2003 bottle and much preferred the newer, fresher version. It was a very interesting beer, definitely had a ton of taste and some fruit flavor to it. It was very strong, but even for a quad, I didn't get a strong burn or anything like that from the alcohol. I am interested to open my 2008 and do a test of the middle-of-the-road version.

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

Poured in short drinking glass; shared with friends

A: modest head, orange brown, moderate carb, not much lacing
S: cherry, plum overtones with some molasses in the mix
T: Wow! Lambic-like flavor; very strong cherry, malt; very complex and sweet

This beer is amazing. Get it. Try it.

Photo of andrewinski1
4.22/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Ben for sharing! Poured into a Chimay chalice. Nice dark mauve color dances between amber and brown. There is a spritzy one inch head that leaves a good amount of lacing.

The aroma is full of plums and yeasty pepper. I really like the balance of sweet and spice in the aroma.

The taste is nice and sweet with dates, figs, and a hearty dose of brown sugar and cinnamon. The finish is a little drier with some peppery spice.

The body is medium to heavy and the carbonation is slightly prickly, helping out the sweetness. This is a nice sipper.

I don't think it's MY favorite, but it's very delicious and complex.

Photo of Bendurgin
4.3/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

With impending doom right around the corner I decided it was high time to crack this bad Larry open. Thanks for the hook up Craytonic! Split with Andy and poured into a tulip. This one pours a murky brown with about an inch of white head. It settles to foam with some soapy lace.

The aroma is full of dark fruits with with hints of toffee. Plums and raisins with grape skins and a bit of booze. Lots of grapes in the aroma. Fruity and sweet with a tanic aroma. Hints of molasses sweetbess yo front with lots of dark fruits. Tanic flavors like grapes. This one is a bit on the boozey side though. It finishes with a really nice caramel sweetness to it with a touch of grassy hops.

The feel on this is nice. Really a dry beer with a full body. Soft carbonation makes this one really nice. Overall, this is clearly a well made beer. For my money, I can get stuff stateside that I'll be just as happy with. But don't get me wrong, this one is a rare treat that I'll accept anytime.

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

I have the fortune to try this one beside a St. Bernardus Abt 12. They use the same yeast. To compare them will be quite exciting.

A: Pour is murky dark brown with a medium large tan head that sinks into great lacings.

S: A rich full smell with lots of sweet malt. A nice mix of bitter and floral hops - lots of dark fruits. Complex, yeasty and spicy.

T: Malty, very malty - sweet, but not to sweet. Some yeast and faint alcohol with spices. A very complex and well balanced beer. Again both floral and bitter hops. Rich dark dried fruits, almost like molasses.

M: A really long after-taste with a creamy sence and both bitter and sweet. Full bodied and mild carbonation.

O: One of the best beers in the world? Well in my opinion: it's clearly a fantastic beer, and in comparison to the St. Bernardus; It's very similar in taste and smell, but in this beer the smell and taste are so much stronger. When it comes to quads; this one is very nice, but I prefer Rochefort 10.

Photo of Vdubb86
4.03/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass

Screw Kyle on this one, thanks to mdfb79 for this taste.

First off a Westy 12, are you serious!?!?!?!?!...Dude, you're the man. And I'm so glad I came over to help Kyle out, this was all the reward I needed.

This beer pours a cloudy dark amber color. I'm guessing some dark Belgian ale. The aroma is actually rather yeasty in nature, like that of rising bread. Though for smelling like yeast, it's oddly pleasant, usually I don't say that. Wow, this tastes worlds different then it smells. There are plums and figs and berries all with a sweet dark caramel sugar flavor. Some spices from either additions or the yeast itself. This is really tasty for a Belgian, if that's the case. I've also changed my opinion to narrow it down to a BDSA or Quad, but since IMHO those are the same, I consider myself right. The reason of this narrowing is that this beer is pretty boozy. It isn't enough to hurt the flavor, but it's not really all that pleasant either. Overall this is a pretty darn good beer. My guess is it could use some time.

May I just express my disappointment at how regular this was for the top beer in the world.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.98/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

No thanks is big enough for mdfb79 for this bottle!

Reviewed blind as part of Blind BIF Round 5. Cap reads 06.10.13. It pours a dark, semi-cloudy burnt auburn topped by a healthy tower of cream foam. The nose comprises dark greens, black pepper, clove, very bready yeast, nutmeg, figs, and light cocoa. The taste holds notes of cinnamon, brown sugar, clove, nutmeg, mild milk chocolate, Belgian yeast, light citrus peel, light cardamom, dark greens, candi sugar, and grass. The body is a hefty-leaning medium, with a light-ish moderate carbonation and an almost astringently chewily dry finish. Overall, this stuff was indeed tasty (and admittedly a little young), but it felt a bit wrong on my tongue. Honestly, I generally enjoyed it, but I've had plenty of better quads in my day.

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

I decided to review this beer not because I could possibly add anything others have not already, but because this beer somehow is rated the same as pliny the younger. And although I haven't had that beer but the similarly rated elder, I feel there has to be some justice in this world. The pliny is a very good beer, I must admit, and it is a completely different beast, but I don't think it inhabits the same universe as Westvleteren. Westvleteren is a perfect beer. It is not THE perfect beer. But it is, IMHO, absolutely great. It is just so perfectly balanced. It really is a 5 out of 5 sort of a beer. If you have the money and the great luck to find it somehow, you must try it.

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

The second of my big Christmas stash thanks to my brother. Been saving this one for long time. Was hoping to open to celebrate the Flyers winning the cup but since that isn't going to happen in my lifetime there's no time like the present. Let's see if this worth all the hype.

Pours a deep brown color with a thin tan head that has nice retention. When held up to the light some amber tints show through.

Smell of raisins and plums with a solid candied sugar backbone. Taste of mostly raisins with lots of sweetness up front. Overall just a very smooth impression. Very complex flavors but somehow presented in a very clean way.

Overall an obviously world class beer. Not sure if I agree that it's the best in the world but it is good. Would grab this any time I have the chance.

Photo of bs870621345
4.06/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The best in the world...here we go...thanks to Augustiner719 for the bottle in a trade a few months ago. 16.2.2013

Pours a hazy ruby brown color with a half inch of head. Head fades quickly leaving no lacing, but there are bubbles comming up from the Chimay C on the goblet.

Smells like tawny port and bread. I would say, figs, prunes, dates, bread, alcohol, raisons, slight orange, chocolate, caramel, and a hint of molassas. It smells...good.

Taste opens with raisons and plums, moves into more fruit and alcohol, finishes with a strong caramel sweetness. Lasting impression is fruity in the mouth with an off tasting alcohol flavor. The alcohol flavor really brings this down...age that sucker.

Mouthfeel is nice, good carbonation and plenty thick.

Overall, its good, no where near the best. Give me a Rochefort 10 and call it a day.

Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.39/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Well, here it is: The World's Finest beer, as listed by both Beer Advocate and ratebeer...

Thanks to excellent trader MrKennedy for this - cheers mate!!

Pours a dark brown with amber hints at the edges. There is plenty of sediment as this was bottled March of 2009. I didn't pour it violently, and not really any head formed. I probably needed to pour a little more forcefully as I babied it too much. Lightly carbonated and little to no lacing...

Aromas are rich and complex. I get a lot of fig, raisin, some applesauce, A hint of brown sugar. The aroma profile is very robust, too. Maybe a hint of bubblegum, too. Overall a quite sweet and rich smelling beer.

Oh, yeah - the Basics: No idea on price and 10.2% ABV...

The beer lacks carbonation. That's too bad. It must simply be a case of storage. Very rich and malty upfront, and very sweet. I get a ton of caramel malt, brown sugar, and raisin flavors, just as was suggested by the aroma profile. Middle sees it round out somewhat and show off more of the yeast. I get a touch of bitterness from this and then it quickly morphs into the finish where the yeast character takes us to the finish line. I have to say that, even considering how hyped it was, and I certainly was expecting a lot, this is not nearly as good as even St. Bernardus ABT 12 or Pliny the Younger (I know, not a quad, but a better beer for sure). I'm not certain a better stored or fresher bottle would have made a huge difference. If the carbonation wasn't completely gone, I'm sure I'd like it more. As it is, the flavors don't burst and it is overall simply too sweet...bummer...

What I like most: The wonderful aroma profile.

What I like least: The complete lack of carbonation.

Verdict: Unfortunately, this doesn't pass even the second tier of quads I have had, and unfortunately it's not the Monks' fault as this is simply a question of poor storage...what a bummer.

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.45/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle courtesy of cmurren25, many thanks to you Chad! Had this as part of a horizontal tasting with Rochefort 10 and St. Bernardus 12. Pours a dark brown color with a creamy, large and voluminous tan head. Very good looking brew.

The westy has the best nose of the three trappist quads with a nice balance of fruit, caramel and light roast.

Lots of chocolate and bready yeast. I am surprised by the amount of roast this has! A bit of an earthier, woody tone to it compared to the St. Bernardus and Rochefort. Body is just about right, not quite chewy but plenty viscous. This most certainly is a world class beverage, but I am pretty surprised at how close St. Bernardus comes to this. The Rochefort came in a distant third for me. Great beer, cant wait to try one in Belgium one of these days...

Photo of jckp64
4.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours cloudy amber with a light head. The aroma is dark fruits and malty. Flavor is very malty, with a sweet finish. Overall a very good belgium quad. Not really sure if it deserves the number 1 overall beer, but thats maybe because it's not my favorite style.

Photo of jethrodium
4.27/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by colonelforbin. Big thanks Mike. Bottled on 15 December 2009. Pours a cola brown with a small light that has very good retention and leaves a decent amount of lacing on the glass. A little big of yeast can be seen floating in it. Aroma is big dark, plum, raisin, light brown sugar, a light nuttiness, Belgian yeast, and light alcohol. The taste is sweet with raisin, plum, brown sugar, hints of nuts. No alcohol to be found in the taste. Medium body. Medium carbonation. Really smooth for being such a big beer. A very good beer. Certainly one of the best quads I had. I wouldn't say it was one of my personal favorites, but I can certainly see how it has the reputation that it does.

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

Got two of these in a trade. Thanks Brad! Popped this open after my last exam of the semester.

Poured in trappist glass a murky brown with a pretty thin white head.

Immediately smacking you in the face is an aroma of dark fruits - grapes, figs, plums, and most of all, dates. I didn’t get much malt but there was definitely a bit of spices in there.

Taste was about the same. Huge dark fruit explosion. Dates were the prevailing fruit taste in the beer. It was smooth and had a pretty dry finish.

The alcohol came through on the palate but not in a bad way. What an awesome brew. I wish I had a case of this

Photo of nickhiller
4.02/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: opaque chocolate brown, tan creamy head.

S: fresh sourdough bread dough, raspberry jam, cherries, apple juice.

T: yeasty and biscuity at first, the middle tastes almost exactly like malt extract, just as sickly sweet and syrupy, slight bitterness on the finish. There's almost no suggestion of the alcohol, which is crazy considering the ABV.

M: light to medium bodied, a little on the thin side, low carbonation, syrupy finish.

O: overall a decent beer, but there are some things I felt it was lacking. I wish that there was some more complexity in the flavor, it's a little bit like a glorified malt drink, more dessert wine than beer. I also found the body a little watery. It's really hard to believe it's 10%, it's so well blended that it tastes non-alcoholic.

Photo of tbeckett
4.56/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a review of the bottle I brought home from In De Vrede. I have tasted this beer twice before, both times at In De Vrede, but never outside of Belgium.

A - Pours a 2 finger, creamy tan head. Colour is a dark copper with a brown element, almost black and there is good carbonation coming up the sides. Great creamy head retention with one finger sustaining and a significant amount of soapy lacing. Great head retention and creaminess of it is a bonus.

S - Pit fruits, dates, raisins, lot's of yeast, sugar, boozy fruitcake. Tons of plum and raisin, dark bread.

T - Starts out with alot of yeast. Sugar, slight booze, great rich dark fruit like dates, raisins, plums. Some sort of sugary syrup covered fruit comes to mind or syrupy dessert cake. Once it opens up the fruits become more intense and the yeast element is tamed. There is almost no alcohol. A little bit of spice. Avoids being too sweet as well. Red grapes are present as well. Wonderfully complex and delicious.

M - So insanely smooth. This is my third tasting of this beer and it happens every time. That is one of the things you notice with Westvleteren 12. The fact that it is so incredibly smooth and easy drinking, going down without any sort of sting and almost not wanting to swallow earns lot's of points. You need about half a bottle to realize the ease that you can drink this and yet enjoy it so much and recognize its subtleties. The body is full but not thick, a little creamy, and has medium carbonation.

O/D - I can't see how people consider this the best tasting beer in the world. But it's lovely complexity and texture are world class. It's amazingly drinkable, wonderfully smooth and flavourful. The yeast character at the start is a surpise, but once it opens up it becomes a great, complex beer. It seems alot more yeasty and sugary than other quads...probably due to the amount of candi sugar used. My girlfriend thought it was the best beer she'd ever had.

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

Bottle from Cracked Kettle in Amsterdam. Lugged around in my suitcase all around europe for the next 3 weeks. I was wondering if it even survived the journey..

A: Pours a dark copper brown, with a good one finger head that just wont seem to go away.

S: Figs, plums, mostly dark fruit and booze.

T: The dark fruit really comes through and creates a wonderful taste. Everything works so well together. Slight boozyness in the finish, but overall very light for such a high abv.

D: great. You can barely taste any alcohol in this beer and you only feel it about half way through when a nice creeping buzz hits you.

O: Love it, which it wasnt so hard to get or damn expensive.

Photo of jradams76
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into pint glass

A: Color is dark amber brown. Excellent lacing.

S: You can smell hints of plums, figs, and other fruitiness.

T: Perfect rounded balance of fruit and malt with minimal hoppiness. Hides the alcohol very well.

M: A very tastey beer indeed. I really love this beer it is a good beer. It reminds me more of the Rochefort 8 than the 10.

D: Easy to drink and would drink another but want to save one for a couple years.

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

.33 L bottle at the Tap House in Norfolk back in 2006. Drove down from Philly just to try this one minutes from the home of a good friend.

Chocolate brown with thin creamy head. Whiff of flowers, malts; so gentle. Incredibly balanced taste. A flavor like other Belgians I’ve had but super refined. I can see what the others were striving for. Curiously recognizable but almost as if from a dream. Once you’re immersed the 12 goes down just like water. Buzz creeps in half way through; makes me happy. I think I could drink these continuously for a few days.

Not the beast I expected but a Shakespearean achievement of fermentation. A keystone of western culture.

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

Pours a dark brown color with a fluffy tan head that fades leaving some lacing around the glass.

Smell is of figs, vanilla, banana nut bread, rum cake, and plum

Taste is malty sweet, candi sugar, rum notes, bready plum flavors, alcohol is very well hidden, nice and chewy. Carbonation is perfect. Some banana and clove with some spicy characteristics. A very complex beer, lots going on here. A real treat wish I could drink this more often.

Photo of tarheels86
4.97/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

330mL 2003 ed

A- Pours very deep brown almost black with a thin tan head that leaves some nice bubbles and a faint protective layer. Really wants to lace well. Other samples I've had at In De Vrede usually prodcue large patterns of webby lace on the Westy chalice.

N- Outstanding on the older bottles: loads of rum raisin, malaga gelato, light cognac, dates, figs, mulled apple cider. Whoa.

T- Similar: tons of gourmet dark fruits, cognac, milk chocolate, ganache, chocolate mousse, mulled red wine. A little warming from the 10%. This is seriously good.

P- Beautiful creamy, rich palate. Definitely gains mouthfeel and body from the aging.

Definitely one to age for 5+ years.

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

Pouring the bottle into the glass was a little whiff of Belgium. The smell was fruity, of cherries, apple, and candied sugar. Around the edges of the smell there's a bit of round hops that have just a bit of bite. It's a fairly strong smell, but mainly sweet, with little bitterness present. Underneath was just a touch of roast, but it's faint.

The beer poured a deep brown color, fairly cloudy, and with quite a bit of sediment in the bottom. There's nearly a finger of yeast sediment at the bottom of the bottle, in large white flakes. There's almost no head, just a slight dusting of off-white head. The ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass left a touch of lacing.

The taste was initially of chocolate and fruit, with a good candy sweetness, but still some tartness in the mouth. Towards the back of the tongue, a smooth hop bitterness took over. The malty chocolate flavor sat just in the middle of the tongue. I noticed just a hint of alcohol flavor as well, not nearly enough to indicate the 10.2+% that this beer contained. The flavor was very strong though, absolutely filling the mouth, and leaving a fruity and bitter aftertaste for quite a while.

It's a very full bodied drink, absolutely thick and syrupy. There's quite a bit of carbonation though, much more than I'd expect from such a thick beer. It left a filmy coating on the teeth as well. The beer warmed the throat going down, a much better indicator of how strong it is.

It's definitely a very good drink, and well worth getting your hands on one. I didn't like it quite as much as the 8, but it's probably more a style preference than anything else. I'm not sure exactly how old the bottle was, at least 4 months, and probably older.

Photo of aasher
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This bottle was courtesy of lotsaswigs (thanks Eric!) at DLD. The bottle was from '08. It poured a dark raisin brown, very cloudy, with a light cream colored head. The head was ultimately smooth and creamy and sat atop the brew in such a delicate manner. It looked exceptional! The aromas consisted of a lot of yeast, bananas, cloves, freshly baked bread, and it had a sweet and dry malty finish. The flavors were very full and consisted of bananas, yeast, freshly baked bread, and some type of nut (hazelnut perhaps). It was simply delicious. It was very full in body and quite thick. It was also exceptionally smooth. Wow, this is hands down the best Quad I've ever had. What an amazing beer. Thanks again Eric!

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

Holy cow, I'm drinking the number one rated beer in the world. Lets do this. Poured into a wine glass.

A - Deep ruby-brown body with lots of visible sediment. Then again, I'm drinking the last 1/3 of a bottle that I shared with two others. Head has great retention and by far the best lacing I've ever seen.

S - Smells like a malty red wine with a slight hint of orange. I'm blown away by the scent.

T - Wow. Honey and oak. Really rich yet still remains incredibly drinkable. The alcohol in this is hidden amazingly. Nice dryness in the finish with an aftertaste that stays for quite a while but is really enjoyable.

M - Like velvet on the tongue. Very full-bodied but manages to stay light on the tongue as well.

O - Definitely deserves its high rank. This is a beer you have to experience. I'll be damned if I never get to drink it again.


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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,237 ratings.