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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

4,481 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,481
Reviews: 1,603
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 8.89%
Wants: 2,795
Gots: 1,265 | FT: 100
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
(Yellow Cap)

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,481 | Reviews: 1,603 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of IPAcraig
IPAcraig

Tennessee

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

Poured into a Westy goblet at Cafe Gollem in Amsterdam. Served at cellar temp from the cellar of the cafe. I paid 12 euro for it, but it didnt matter; this was the first time I was ever able to get my hands on this beer. Despite the fact that I have been wanting to try this beer for a long time, I reviewed it as unbiasedly as possible (I am confident I acheived this); attempting to forget the name on the top of the cap.

A - A gorgeous beer. Deep orange brown. There was minimal head that faded pretty fast, no lacing. I knocked it slightly for that, but minimal lacing and head are to be expected in bigger beers like quadrupels.

S - This beer has a huge aroma.A big sweet/malty smell with hints of figs and prunes. A touch of caramel and tobacco as well.

T - This is a fine beer, it tastes similar to smell described above. A big malty presence assaults your tastebuds. Has a fruity character as well that wasnt apparent in the nose. Also has a nice touch of yeast to it as well and a different salty character at the finish. A complex quadrupel.

M - Lightly carbonated and slick. The taste on this lingers forever, it dosent want to quit. And again there is this salty finish on the tounge

D - The 5 a give for drinkability is maybe where a slight bit of bias creeps in. I dont want to quit drinking this beer. It is exceptional and very well rounded. I am in a great cafe, in a foreign country, drinking an exceptional beer.

I suppose this is where I say whether or not the beer lives up to the hype. For me it is not the best beer in the world. However it is the best quadrupel I have ever tried. It blows St. bernardus away and narrowly edges Rochefort. This is truly a fine beer, and the rareness of it makes it a treat to seek out. The feeling a got when i finally was able to find one was bliss. For that factor the beer deserves a five.

In short - best quadrupel I have ever had, though that might only get it into my top 15 or so beers.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2007 20:13:56 | More by IPAcraig
Photo of kpantz
kpantz

Pennsylvania

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

Executive Summary: Yes. It's that good. That's all you need to know. Well worth it if you can find it.

My 100th review. How appropriate. Bought this to celebrate the completion of the first year of my MBA.

Appearance: Translucent mahogany/toffee with subtle ruby highlights. A creamy off-white head - finger-thick. Excellent lacing

Smell: Earthy, with a distinct spicy belgian yeast aroma. some red wine fruitiness embedded as well as a candy-like sweetness. Some beers try to be everything and fall on their faces, but somehow this can present a myriad of facets and do it flawlessly.

Taste: Big malt up front and an initially sweet/floral taste that mingles with raisins and figs. Absolutely wonderful aftertaste brought about by subtle hop bitterness combined with a bright fruitiness. Some alcohol warming, but it's very subdued and wonderfully hidden. Peppery spiciness throughout. Just fantastic.

Mouthfeel: Smooth like Barry White. Full and creamy but not overly heavy. Can't beat it.

Drinkability: Well-hidden alcohol and a divinely complex flavor profile? Drink on!

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2007 00:41:03 | More by kpantz
Photo of OWSLEY069
OWSLEY069

Pennsylvania

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

I got this beer and was so excited to try it due to the many good things that have been said about it. After drinking this I realized that it was one of the most complex and tasty beers I have ever had. It was like velvet, but abrasive. Sweet but dry. I could go on and on, but never the less, remarkable. I know now what everyone has been talking about. A rare beer, but worth every drop.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2007 21:44:10 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of WeisGuy
WeisGuy

New York

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

Big thanks to akorsak for this bottle from a few months ago. Cap date is 09.08.09. This is to celebrate the completion of my second year of law school.

a - pours a deep dark mahogany with a slight red tint, thick two finger head with great retention, slight lacing

s - lots of caramelly sweetness, dark fruit, definite alcohol presence, quite spicy, black pepper, slight clove

t - big maltiness, caramelly sweetness, dark fruits, raisins, prunes, slight milk chocolate, nice alcohol bite on the end, but not overwhelming, quite spicy on the finish, lots of pepper, very, very complex

m - medium-bodied, very creamy, coats the whole mouth well, very nice warming, moderate carbonation

d - this is definitely a sipper, but it's so complex and the alcohol is there but not overwhelming

Wow, I wasn't sure what to expect with all the hype, but this is one fine beer. Certainly the best Belgian I've had. I don't think I'll be trying this again anytime soon due to the trouble/cost involved with getting one, but it's definitely one of the best.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2007 01:31:23 | More by WeisGuy
Photo of drpimento
drpimento

Wisconsin

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

My sweet lord! I've glimpsed divinity as interpreted by the hands of the monks at St. Sixtus. And savored by me - ahem. This sample was poured into a belgian beer glass with a small lite tan head. Only a little lace. Color is a slightly hazy brown with hints of walnut and mahogoney. Sensuously aromatic. Lots of levels of dark fruit, berries, desserts, candies. Specifically chocolates, pastries, malt, blackberries, cherrys, and many others that just goes on and on. Some yeastiness. Very balanced despite its rich fullness. Could dwell on this endlessly so much going on. Velvety texture, reminds me of what a mink jock must be like. I have been in the presense of divinity and drank it in.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2007 02:31:33 | More by drpimento
Photo of brdc
brdc

Wisconsin

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

Many thanks to Derek hoppymeal for this experience
Expiration date 24/05/09, small capped bottle.

It is hard to describe this one, and add something to the other notes. My first sip was actually disappointing, I was probably expecting something to blow my socks away, and it did not, at least immediately. The second sip, third sip, and it keeps changing.
Beautiful looking brownish, hazy brew with red hues, and a much more generous, light tan head than other trappists, with very good retention.
Nose is impressive as well, and it improved remarkably as it warmed up; sweetish, fruity, earthy, and multiple other aromas.
Interestingly enough, alcohol is one thing I could barely notice on the aroma.
The mouthfeel is full, velvety but not overly "heavy". Taste is multi-faceted, mellow and sweetish, fruity, earthy and even at times bitter, but never overly sweet like Rochefort, for example, can sometimes get.
After a few minutes with this beer, it struck me, for its complexity and wonderful, sweetish taste without being overfilling. The alcohol is barely noticeable, making this the only beer in tis class I could actually have more than one.
A true masterpiece!

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2007 17:54:46 | More by brdc
Photo of OutlawJoseyWales
OutlawJoseyWales

Georgia

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

my last westy 12, with an expiration date of 08/30/09. about an 8 month bottle.

poured it into a westvleteren glass. tan two finger head. absolutely gorgeous. here is a picture. http://photos.pe.facebook.com/v71/1/117/4911912/n4911912_36340347_1073.jpg

the nose was a variety of smells ranging from earthy notes to sweet fruity aromas.

taste was slightly earthy with a slight bitterness in the finish. also present was a mellow fruitiness, that ranged from dates and raisins/ to grape bubblegum. very complex, and the mouthfeel was INCREDIBLE. full bodied, and velvety, but not syrupy or cloying...very pleasant.

drinkability: the abv is not noticeable as in the rochefort 10 (although not a bad thing in the 10)
very easy to drink, but i would definitely stave off from drinking 2 in one night. better to save it for another joyous occasion.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2007 21:12:00 | More by OutlawJoseyWales
Photo of mjc410
mjc410

Vermont

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

Reviewing this beer is a momentous occasion in my life. A bottle was purchased for me from eBay, and sent from the Netherlands. My friends did this for me as a graduation present, and I am again very thankful.

The bottle cap reads 22.11.09, which I understand is the "expiration date," three years after the bottling. So, this is a fairly new bottle.

I pour the beer into my Westvleteren goblet, which has been in my possession for a year or more, awaiting this moment. Carefully decanting, the ale raises a creamy, light tan two-finger head. It seems to fall at a fairly fast rate, but when the majority of large bubbles have burst, it settles to a thick and creamy one-finger layer. The head retention is simply fantastic; it resembles that of a nitro stout. The beer leaves almost no lacing as I move the head about the glass before taking my first sip, as if it's quite heavy. Throughout the whole glass, there's virtually no trace of lacing on the sides. The beer's body is dark brown, but yields up ruby-copper light when directly back lit.

The nose has a dark fruity scent that I pick up in a lot of other Belgians, but there's also a bit of toasted caramel and a touch of acidity mingled with the fruit. I'm even reminded of a less sweet pecan pie, although I can't 100% support this claim, it just feels right. There's also a noticeable grape aroma. I admit that I would prefer this to be stronger, but my sense of smell has always been weak. A great blend of scents, though. I read in another review about the odor of earth, and I didn't notice it at first. But, as the beer approached room temperature, I could pick it up. Very interesting and complex, this beer, which has me raising the nose from a 4.5.

The taste is heady, woody, a bit acidic, and has fruit flavors lead by grape. In some ways, it tastes like a red wine with an incredible body. There are even elements of wood that are in the same vein as a Shiraz, but more balanced with the other taste components. It has a sweetness to it that lasts the whole way through, leaving its mark on my lips. The hops have a metallic feel to them, akin to what I've tasted in every altbier I've had. However, the hops are not overbearing as they often are in alts. I swear I smell caramel, but I only notice a bit of toastiness here. At the very end of the aftertaste, there lingers just a slight sourness, which is indeed pleasant. The taste has a lightness to it, despite its complexity. Oh, and as I said earlier, it's heady, but not in a painful way, just noticeable. By the way, pouring in what little yeast there was didn't make a noticeable difference in the flavor.

The body, the mouth of Westy 12, is truly balanced. For a quadrupel, it is more like a rapier than a claymore. The mouth is of medium thickness, with fine carbonation that just livens up the liquid. It moves easily in the mouth..

Having had Rochefort 10 and St. Bernardus 12, I can say that this is far and above the champion. It has complexity without being overpowering, and drinkability without too much weight. It's an elegant beer that I'm overjoyed to have been afforded the chance to try.

As I said above, this beer, as a gift, might force me to rate it above its true worth. I worried about that a bit, but Westy 12 lives up to all of the hype. A marvel of brewing. Plus, it adds to the pride of being Catholic just a bit more!

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2007 01:31:14 | More by mjc410
Photo of Boppar
Boppar

New Hampshire

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

Definitely a very, very good beer. I would not go so far as to say that it is the best beer. That being said, it was a tremendous joy to drink, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to do so.

If I read the cap properly, then this was vintage 2003. Wow.

A: Pours reddish-brown with great lacing.

S: Smells of alcoholic warmth and raisins. Actually, it smelled very "dignified," if that makes any sense at all. The smell reminded me of cognac.

T: It tastes the way it smells, with sweet raisins and warm alcohol. Some other non-specific fruits in the background. The alcohol is definitely present. Again, sort of like a cognac. This is a tremendous beer. However, in a blind taste-test against Rochefort 10, for example, it would be a toss-up. While a very impressive offering, I guess I was expecting something more, given this beer's reputation.

M: Mouthfeel was good, although I would've liked it maybe a little thicker. It seemed to work quite well for this style.

D: I want another. Too bad it'll be quite some time. And at a steep price.

Again, this is an awesome beer. I encourage you to try it. But I was expecting it to be far and away the best.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2007 19:56:41 | More by Boppar
Photo of kajerm
kajerm

Illinois

4.55/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Austere, unlabeled brown glass bottle with "Trappistenbier" embossed around the neck. Gold cap with location information, brewery name, ABV, and small 12. A date that appears to be 07.06.03 is printed over the cap text in the hardest possible place to read-- get with the program, monks.

Pours dark, cloudy brown with loads of sediment and no head to speak of. The aroma is pretty complex-- belgian yeast, esters, some medicinal phenols, dark fruit, mixed malts, and some port-type wininess.

Tastes like it smells: awesome. Esters and malt are even more pronounced, with just a little candi sugar. Phenols and wine notes appear mid-palate. Wininess persists to the finish, where some berry flavors and maybe diacetyl show up. Some alcohol flavor, but not overwhelming.

It's been talked up a little, but damn is it exquisite.

The mouthfeel is modestly chewy, lightened by the port wine flavor. Balanced as hell.

Even setting aside the fact that I had to give up both kidneys, three of my girlfriend's ova, and my firstborn to get it, this beer is a sipper. It drinks like a fine cognac, and if I read the date on my bottle properly, it ages just as well.

EDIT: I recently found out that the date on the cap is a freshness date, marked for three years after the date of bottling. So this was vintage 2000. Wow. It was probably madeirized, but whatever it was, it was fantastic.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2007 00:37:24 | More by kajerm
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

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

A - Poured an extremely dark brown, with a small tan head. There was tons of visible sediment and lots of swirling lace in the top. Looks pretty good in the goblet.

S - Smell is really hard to pin down. There is soo much going on here I really do not know where to begin. It was sweet yet sour, spicey and yet fruity. A bit of alcohol mixed in with hints of pears, apples, raisins, grapes, everything. This was really just soo complex I had trouble finding definate answers. Very very pleasing aroma, nothing ever smelt like that.

M & T - The feel on this was soo light, soo frothy, soo easy to put down it was almost a shame that it went soo quickly. Soo many great tastes here, this was just really fantastic. There have been soo many reviews of this that I really don't have anything else to add other then you have to try it, it just cannot be summed up in words on this page.

D - This really was everything I wanted it to be, and lives up to its rep. By far the best belgian I have had, it is just on another level. The aromas and flavors were so unique. This really just needs to be tried as it is really hard to describe it. Fantastic brew.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2007 00:41:01 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of bensiff
bensiff

Washington

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

Bought a few of these from Beer Mania when I was in Brussels last year. I had one immediately and cellered the other. I noticed it tasted better fresher than it did older, I had to give it a 4.5 on taste for that.

The beer pours from the bottle a mahogany color that is slightly less intense than say a Rocheforte 10. Nice thick head that leaves lacing on the glass. Flavor is of raisins, caramal, malts, maple syrup in the background, and a alcohol bite that is well within line for the high alcohol. It has a long finish, a sustain like a Gibson Les Paul, yeah this beer goes to eleven.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2007 22:22:14 | More by bensiff
Photo of roblowther
roblowther

Texas

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

Bottle carried back from the monastery and cellared for 1 1/2 years. Pours a completely opaque, very dark brown with a dense, rocky head that leaves nice lacing on the sides of the glass. Smells of candied fruits, plums and raisins with a orange note in the background and a dusky, rich aroma throughout. Taste? A 5 doesn't do it justice. Fruits up front, mellowing into an incredibly smooth malt, followed by nice tannins and then a sharp but mellow aftertaste. It has a nice warming alcohol finish but nothing harsh anywhere in this beer. The mouthfeel is oily and chewy, dense and spectacular. The drinkability is only limited by the availability. We bought a case of this in Belgium and went through it like shit through my dog after he's gotten into the trash. I hate to just jump on the bandwagon but this really does live up to its reputation. This is quite possibly the best beer I've ever had and is just a testament to what brewing can be. Hallelujah!

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2007 00:21:23 | More by roblowther
Photo of auderale
auderale

Germany

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

Bought a 4 pack at the Kulminator. Poured a dark brown with a nice thick head. Spicy, malty aroma with hints of sweetness. Slight sweet and malty flavor also. I honestly thought this would be better than it was. Don't get me wrong this was an awesome beer, but I guess with all the hype I thought it would be much better.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2007 13:22:07 | More by auderale
Photo of dherling
dherling

New Jersey

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

First off, let me just say: yippee!!!

Ok... The westy poured out a soft dark velvety brown with a light caramel colored frothy head, sticky lacing slides down the sides. The nose offers deep wood notes, prune, chocolate, caramel, sweet toffee, cherry, maple syrup, mollasses, and lots of other sticky sweet flavors. The taste starts off with all of those sticky sweet notes, mostly maple syrup, caramel, sticky bun, then goes sharp for a moment before descending into chocolate, some anise, a little wood, and some faint orange? Wow. The mouthfeel is clean and prickly, finishing super clean, not cloying at all in any way. Immensely and dangerously drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2007 02:37:42 | More by dherling
Photo of jeffaz02t
jeffaz02t

Arizona

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

A: Nice silky lace to contrast with the dark brown of the beer.

S: Complicated smells... Raisins, plumbs seem to dominate, then there are other smells that come to me every few sips.

T: Very malty. Very very malty. There is also a spicyness that compliments the alcohol. There is also a nice honey flavor in this one. It finishes dry with a hint of yeast.

M: Nice, smooth.

D: This is a good end of the night, sip for an hour and a half kind of beer. Very complicated...

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2007 20:47:15 | More by jeffaz02t
Photo of mmmbeer
mmmbeer

Massachusetts

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

Decided that the ol' Westy 12 was worthy of my 500th beer review. 330 mL bottle which I found at the Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville over a year ago - 14/9/07 ink-jet printed on the cap. It pours a deep brownish/red that is crimson in the light, but I didn't decant carefully enough as there is a lot of yeast in suspension. It has light carbonation and a half-inch head that leaves some nice lacing. The aroma is quite nice, vinous and sweet, with ripe grapes and raspberries, figs, apples, pine?, cookie batter?, and doughy yeast. It tastes of sweet and toasted, lightly smoky malts, green hops, a medium bitterness, melon, green apple, raspberry, strawberry?, a flash of banana, a light herbal quality, Belgian yeast, and very light oxidation in the form of paper. It has light, smooth carbonation on the palate, with a medium, drying body that becomes more full and leaves a medium to long finish. It is both immensely drinkable and a very nice ale, but my bottle was a bit past its prime. I would love to taste a fresh one purchased directly from the abbey - I imagine that is a divine experience. Best beer in the world? Perhaps not, but it's a beautifully crafted Trappist that is worth at least half of the hype that surrounds it.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2007 05:26:23 | More by mmmbeer
Photo of phisig137
phisig137

Virginia

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

Recieved in a trade from a good trader, whose name I will withhold to prevent him from constantly being beermalied. Thanks for letting me try this one.

Pours from an unlabeled bottle a deep brown, almost black color with nice ruby highlights, and a two finger head. Great retention, but only moderate lacing.

Aroma is dominated by fresh baked bread, biscuits, and bread yeast. Very little yeasty aromas, and only a hint of the flavor to come.

Flavor is complex, enjoyable, yet subtle. Up front, there is some caramel like sweetness from the malts, and big esters of figs and plums. Chocolate covered and rum soaked cherries come to mind. It also reminds me a bit of fine old scotch, even though there are no smokey flavors. Very spirit like in flavor, but without any real alcohol presence. The finish switches to a dry chocolate malt type flavor, that is clean, and does not linger very long on the finish. Very well balanced, and very subtle. This is not a huge in your face type of flavor, but a very well constructed one. Mouthfeel hits a home run... up front it is very thick and heavy, almost like warm honey. But on the finish, the mouthfeel thins out a bit, and does not leave you with a cloying feeling left in your mouth. This is aided by tiny bubbles of aggressive carbonation. Drinkability is excellent.

Is this a great beer? Yes. Is it worth trying if you can get it? Yes. Is it worth the hype? Not really. Is it worth the $30+ that some people pay for it? I don't think so.
While this is a damn fine beer, this is not the beer to end all other beers. It is very good, well crafted, and delicate in its approach, but it is not deserving of the incredible hype it gets. In this country, we are blessed to have a wide selection of great belgian style beers. St. Bernardus Abt. 12, Rochefort 10, Kasteel, and Gouden Carolus Grand Cru are all also excellent beers that are similar to the famous "westy", but they don't have the huge hype associated with them. This is every bit as good as those other beers, but I can't say for sure if it's "better". I'd say that it is worth all the praise for being as good as it is, but it's not worth the hype and longing for it. I can now see why the brothers decided to stop selling it here. If you can get it, try it.... but it's not worth trading your first born for. Be happy with what we have here.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2007 23:48:50 | More by phisig137
Photo of browner
browner

Wisconsin

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

Just when you thought you could not find a better beer than luck finds it's way to your cellar. The deep color, and a somewhat translucent brown-red. Love the Belgian scent. Ripe raisins and sugar plums. If subtle is grand then here is the Marshall. A fine long finish, with a beautiful blend of harmonic complexity. The yeast is just a thing of perfection ! A great beer that is hard to find but worth the effort.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2007 21:31:01 | More by browner
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TastyTaste

Minnesota

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

I have been waiting for an occasion to finally enjoy this one, and that day has come.

Appearance: Very murky medium to dark body, capped with a big off-whte head that is very sticky and resilient. There is great lacing, and a creamy layer on top of the beer long after the pour.

Smell: Fruity and musty, alcohol and hard candy. Smells sweet and very smooth.

Taste: Maybe not of this world, has a slightly spicy flavor from the alcohol (black pepper), Sweet like pineapple and pear, but the hops are definitely not lost in this one. Everything blends, separates, repeats over and over it seems. This is the best quadrupel I have ever had, most likely best beer in the world.

Drinkability: This beer did not disappoint, start to finish, it lived up to the hype. I wish getting another one would be a little easier.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2007 21:33:36 | More by TastyTaste
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drseamus

New York

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

Today is my birthday, and my present to myself is to open a bottle of Westvleteren 12. It's pretty green though, about 4 months old at this point based on a best buy date of 10/11/09 (converted to american format). I poured a bottle into a chimay glass.

It pours a very dark brown. It isn't black, but light barely penetrates. There is a nice mocha colored head that hangs around for a while and laces nicely down the glass leaving patches of foam on the surface of the beer.

The aroma is great. It has a raisin and rich toffee aroma with a malty background. It is very sweet and there is another aroma on top of the raisins I can't quite place that might be caramelized brown sugar.

I have heard so much about this beer that I almost though it would fall short of my expectations. Fortunately, that was not the case. This is a great beer. The first thing that hits me is the insane level of smoothness and creaminess. For a Belgian Quad, it is ridiculous. In no way can I detect any of the 10.2% alcohol in this beer. I don't consider myself a good enough beer taster to break down all the flavors in this, but I get a pretty strong chocolate flavor and a bit of spiciness as well.

The feeling of this beer is great. It has great body, but not as heavy as a stout would be. I would consider it to be medium bodied but the complexity adds so much to the mouthfeel.

In case you couldn't figure it out from the rest of the review, the drinkability is extremely high. I'm gonna have to start calling in all my favors from friends with belgian contacts.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2007 23:28:41 | More by drseamus
Photo of dedrinker
dedrinker

Kansas

3.53/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a well kept bottle of 4 years age. Poured a dark cola brown, and had little head or aroma. Slight aroma of dark fruit and maple, and flavor was similar. No oxidative notes, or any hint of staleness/ skunkiness etc. so I am sure this beer was well kept. I just don't get what the big deal is. this is my second try from a different batch a couple years after I had my first one, and the impression it has on me is consistent. Of course I did like the mouthfeel and finish that I couldn't quite put my finger on, but these were not very enchanting or beguiling - just vaguely pleasant. I suspect people just hype it up in their minds because it is so rare, and expensive. Highly coveted due to to its scarcity. Sorry if you are an offended devotee, but the emperor wears no clothes on this one. Someone said they are better fresh - I suppose I should try that before the final judgement.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2007 21:38:51 | More by dedrinker
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cbl2

New York

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

2/3/2007 $18.00 11.2 oz 10.20% Best by 9/27/09 clearly stamped on the cap. Here we go, I've been waiting a long time for this…

Appearance:

Normal hiss as the cap is removed, nothing special yet. Pours a deep dark brown with a quarter inch of tight tan head that settles slowly and laces the goblet nicely.

Aroma:

Bread, brown sugar, ripe figs and a faint whiff of alcohol.

Taste/Mouthfeel:

This is the first beer I've given pause before drinking, because I'm so nervous after all the buildup, anyway, time to dive in. Creamy effervescent mouthfeel imparted by decent carbonation levels. Flavors of belgian candied sugar are interspersed with fresh dark fruit flavors, a taste of rum cake emerges as well due to the combo of bready yeast and mild alcohol notes creeping in.

Notes:

This is a good beer, a great beer perhaps, but it can't hold a candle to the hype that has been built around it. IMHO the Westvletere 8 is a better beer. I'm glad that I've now experienced the so called "nirvana" of beer even if I did spend a small fortune to get my hands on it.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2007 00:23:20 | More by cbl2
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Finite

Australia

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

P - Brown 330ml bottle. Yellow cap,

A - Very dark - Dark Amber. Wonderfull head retention and lacing

S - Plums, rasins, toffee, and beautiful alcohol phenols, anise, honey backed with mild malt character and spices

T - Alcohol & dark fruits fuse into a delecate flavour of complex malt characters. Wonderfull complex stages of alcohol, dark fruits, dark candy, and some earthen yeast flavours. this beer so wonderfully complex and yet so very drinkable. Alcohol is strong but only assists in drinkablility, adds a spicy, warming and slightly dry element. As the complex malts leave a soft floral hop bitterness is present leaving a slightly dry mouth and soft bitterness.

M - Bloody outstanding, thick and sticky, very soft in the mouth, fluffy. All assisting to make this so easy to finish. Carbonation is perfect.

D - So very easy to drink, smooth and complex, warming alcohol flavour carries this beer down with ease. Utterly hard to falt truly without a doubt one of the best beers in the world.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2007 09:30:39 | More by Finite
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IrishCowboy

California

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

I didn't want to review this one when I first tried it a year+ ago.

Reason for this was the date on the bottles indicated they were fairly new.
I had read other reviews that mentioned how the brew had gotten much better after a year of aging.

So, I did what any sensible Beer Advocate would do. Tried one IMMEDIATELY and then saved some for down the road.

Well, I tried one at 6 months and now a year+ later tried another one.

Since this beer left such a unique impression on me right away I didn't need to be reminded what it tasted like.

So my impression comparison is based on the difference betwene the young brewed version vs the aged versions.

The Westvleteren 12 is more invasive when it is young. By invasive I mean that the alchohol/phenol elements can take alot of the sweetness off the beginning. The young one assaults your palate and if you are not very verse in beer tasting you WILL NOT understand what is going on. To top this off the different subtle flavors get lost in the potency of the crispness of the young brew. You will be trying to taste it but its too much. You WILL know its a 11-12% alcohol content but will also be surprised how well the brew works with the potency.

Your tongue can pick out flavors but its a wild ride.

Now onto the 6 month and 12 month aged brews.

Here is where the trappist craft starts to show up.

Both the 6 and 12 month aged brews (aged in a wine fridge at 40f) were less invasive then the young brew and to top it off the natural carbonation crispness is reduced a bit.

A - Young brew poured into the westy12 glass and the 6 and 12 month poured into my favorite beer glass, the russian river drinking glass, the brew shows up a dark deep ruby red with an off white head. Again the head was about 1 finger and didn't seem to be much different then the young brew.

S - The smell of the aged brews were each less alcoholic in presence and the real berry and chocolate in fresh cracked warm bread smell shows up great. I would smell it throughout the session amazed at the different characteristics.

T - The taste is astounding at the 12 month mark. I would say if you tried a young version of this to do yourself a favor and wait for a year and give it a go. Its the same beer you had but with a much richer and greater range of flavor and the finish leaves you with an even greater need to lift it back to your mouth. The 12 month old one had me begging to slug it down like I would a glass of water after a 5 mile run in the desert. The taste starts out with berrys then moves into the breads and finally levels out feeling as though you had just swallowed a chocolate covered cherry.

M - Mouthfeel is another characteristic that changes alot with aging. I would say after my initial year run that young, 6 and 12 month versions would leave me to believe that a 9 month aged bottle would be the perfect balance between the crispness in carbonation vs phenolic nose. Not flat and still a little edge in the wash.

D - Very few crafted beers make me want to slam them all the way through. Usually I would want to sip them and enjoy the flavor with the occasional mouth slug to accomodate the medium cooked mustard cheese burger. This Westvleteren 12 is really hard to leave alone. Its a trappist that you could easily call a session beer IF you could get over the rareness and your liver can hack the alcohol % since it is hidden well from the senses after a year of aging. The young Westy 12 will make you sip it. Its invasive and still tastes great but the aged one was not asking me to use caution. It was mellowed out and finally the whole idea comes together for, easily, the finest quad on the planet.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2007 01:26:51 | More by IrishCowboy
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 4,481 ratings.