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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: 1,550 | FT: 114
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 NittanyBeerFan
4.3/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to lurchingbeast for sharing this one in a recent trade. Poured into a long-stemmed tulip during the Eagles' game today. Best by date on the cap reads 17-11-12.

The color is a deep brown, as garnet only shows up when viewed at an angle with a bit of backlighting. The head is full, creamy, and well retained, and there are clumps of foam indicating active yeast cultures that form on top of the beer. there is a good amount of irregular lace that sticks all over the walls of the glass.

Full of toffee and caramel from a distance, the aroma develops to include some cocoa, dark fruits (dates and raisin), and some nutty malt notes.

The taste is similar, as the dates, raisins, toffee, caramel, and some spicy, funky yeasty notes start of the profile. Cocoa powder makes a subtle appearance later, bringing with it the nutty maltiness that really rounds out the flavor.

The body is full and creamy without being too heavy or overwhelming. It works nicely with the carbonation and the flavors to create a sublime drinking experience. While I am not completely blown away, this is still a phenomenal beer. I do wish it was easier to obtain, as this is a top-notch BSDA/'quad' that certainly sets the bar high for the style.

Photo of mdfb79
4.87/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 0.33L bottle into my Duvel tulip. Cap is dated 29.03.09, so it is about 4.5 years old. I've had Westy 12 3 times before this, but always relatively fresh and never more than 2 oz.'s or so, so excited to have a full bottle.

a - Pours a dark mahogany brown color with two to three inches of off white head that lasts for four or five minutes. High carbonation evident and a tiny amount of sediment. Left the last oz. or so in the bottle as the amount of sediment was very high in the bottle.

s - Smells of dark fruits, especially cherries, plums and raisins, as well as Belgian yeast. Also getting some grapes/wine smell in it as well. Hints of caramel malts, sweet fruit malts, spices, bready malts, and a touch of alcohol. Very enjoyable; it's very complex and balanced, especially as it warms up and the cherries come out.

t - Tastes of raisins, plums, figs, other dark fruit, bready malts, caramel malts, Belgian yeast, and a hint of spice. Not really getting any alcohol in the taste. Was hoping for more cherries like the smell, but still wonderful. Tasting amazing.

m - Medium body and high carbonation that stings the tongue. It has a nice, smooth body, but the high carbonation hurt it a bit and keeps it from being great.

d - There's a reason it's #1 of BA; it's pretty amazing. While it isn't the #1 beer on my list, it's safe to say it's high on my list. The good news is that the taste and smell are the highlights of this beer. Both are complex and enjoyable. While the high carbonation hurt the mouthfeel a bit, the smell and taste are amazing. It also definitely helps to let this one warm up a bit, so you can fully appreciate everything in the nose and mouth. If you like quads, I think it is safe to say you'll love this beer. I was also surprised how easy it was to drink and how little alcohol was noticable in the taste. I think I like this slightly better than Westy 8, but it's close. I look forward to aging my other 2 bottles and see how they do with even more time on them.

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

Big thanks to Thijs for getting me 2 bottles. Split one with my dad and the other with a friend.

Poured from the label-less bottle into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a bubbley, chocolate-amber color with wonderful lacing. The head quickly recedes leaving a small ring on top.

Smell: Very complex, dark fruits, milk chocolate. Surprised there is no alcohol present in the nose.

Taste: Again complex. Dark fruits (plums??) milk chocolate. No alcohol flavor. Just a complex multitude of plums, figs, and chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Wonderful. If I had more bottles they'd be gone. But then I'd be on the floor because the 10.2% abv can be felt but not tasted.

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

thanks to cubbywans for this

REVIEW 400

cap reads 2/7/11 - meaning brewed in 2008.

poured into a russian river belgian glass

pours extremely murky dark brown with slight copper hue and lots of yeasty chunks floating around. about an inch of cocoa creme head. light creamy and frothy retention with a very slight trace of lacing.

sweet and vibrant grape juice with hints of dark fruit like fig and raisin. slight hint of booze.

again, grape juice. sweet and grape like with subtle hints of fig, date, and raisin. very vibrant sweet and boozy combo. not nearly as complex as i had hoped for. this really has a dominating grape flavor.

moderate carbonation and a slick mouthfeel.

this is good, cus i love grape juice. but really, this is a bit overrated. i highly preferred the westy 8 to this. i would love to try this fresh. at 12 years old, terrible. at 2 years old, good, whats fresh like?

Photo of yapi
4.66/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Drank this one where you should drink one at least once in your life... café In de vrede

L: yeah I know, sexy dark color, 2 finger head, lacing, but... when you drink it in that atmosphere, in an original westvleteren chalice, an absolute fiver!!!

S: here I was a bit disappointed... very difficult to find pronounced aroma, a bit of caramel, sweetness, dark fruit, but not enough in my book

T: but... here comes the orgasme: everything you could hardly smell, you could taste a million times better! What a full, complex, creamy, smooth, sweet excellent beer!!! Heaps of dark fruit, brown sugar, and an almost perfect balance.

O: nearly perfect. Maybe just a tad too fresh, so I can't wait for my cases to put some days behind them... Does it live up to the hype? Yes. Is it the best beer in the world? Like a Carlsberg... probably... at least one of the best! And... you can age them and long for them, cherish them... and drink'em: perfect hobby, enjoy!

This could become a perfect 5, if it balances even more with age and if the aroma's would be a bit more pronounced... but proud to be Belgian!

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.62/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to alcstradamus for this one. Finally got around to opening it. In honor of BA JosephLondon R.I.P. 07.10.12 printed on the cap. Poured from a 11.z oz. into a Blue Point Snifter.

A: Gentle pour yields a billowy 1.5 finger off-cream head with great retention. Beer is a semi-cloudy, near opaque purplish-brown. Lacing is patchy and ample with excellent stick.

S: Nose is clove, Belgian yeast, grapes, figs, green apples, and sweet brown sugar. Very alluring and rich. Fruity and sweet. Impossibly complex but balanced at the same time. Alcohol is conspicously missing.

T: Opens grape, prunes, and clove. Bready and brown sugar. Belgian yeast is very apparent towards the middle where it adds a nice spice and bitterness. Grape gummy sweetness towards middle that tapers off into a slightly twiggy bitterness. Malt forward presence never fades though. Finishes is brown sugar and just the slightest bit of alcohol. Aftertaste is sweet and fruity.

M: Medium to full bodied, aggressively carbonated and lively but rich and smooth at the same time in the mouth. Finish is clean and aftertaste is filmy and slightly sticky.

D: Likely the most drinkable 10.2% beer in the world. This one really earns its accolades. Incredible balance and complexity with a mouthfeel that really pulls it all together. Nose is impeccable and even looks great. Definitely one to try and seek out and very much worthy of the praise.

Photo of calir1
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Found this in a small bar in Brussels. For 10 Euro I was pumped just to have one. Anyhow they had two and I cannot believe I found this there. It was deliciou. Even though not my favorite style it was truely delicious. I shared the other bottle with my buddy in Paris

Photo of boatshoes
4.1/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was left for me at my apartment by my buddy Charlatansin the weekend of the GABF after he and a bunch of my friends came out. Was excited to finally try this beer after everything I've heard about it.

Appearance- Pours a murky brown mahogany out of the bottle with about a finger of slightly tan head sitting on top. The head dies back relatively quickly to a thin, spotty layer across the bop of the beer. Very small amount of lacing left as I drink as well.

Smell- Smells of booze soaked dark fruits, showcasing figs, dates, and raisins in particular. Complex but a surprising amount of booze showing through on the nose. Doesn't really offend however.

Taste- Again, big on dark fruits here. Lots of fruity esters showing through, with figs, dates, candy sugar and raisins in particular. Although present, much less booze on the palate and becomes even more well hidden as the beer warms further. Nice.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is substantial and well carbonated but surprisingly more carbonated that I was expecting. I will say the beer went down quite easily for the style, especially as it warmed.

Overall a very nice quad, but I didn't find it completely mindblowing. Worth trying for sure but more for the experience than the beer I think.

Photo of gtn80
4.69/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Acquired this bottle through the most generous and random wedding gift we received. Poured from the bottle into a champagne flute. Served around room temperature.

The aroma was amazing. Dark sugars and rum/raisin.

The appearance was nice, a dark brown color with a small white head.

The taste was amazing. Tons of dark, rummy sugars. Lots of figs, but zero alcohol burn.

This was an amazing beer. I am not worldly enough to say best beer or not, but it was an amazing beer and I feel fortunate to get to try one.

Photo of crusian
3.84/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from a great BA digita7693. Cap 16.2.13
bottle share with a good friend that is a home brewer and great BA as well.

Pours like a carbonation bomb. I hate waiting 5 minutes and pouring 5 times in order to try a beer. But oh well, looks good otherwise. Pours a dark burnt amber color (once it settles and I can actually see color)
Smells of figs and Belgian Yeast, slight flowery aroma, and also a bit wine-like.

Taste, well this is where it gets interesting. I didnt get much out of it when it was cold so I let it sit a while. The warmer it got the more figs came out of it. The alcohol is VERY well hidden. can't detect much alcohol at all. The flavors do dance around on the palate, and is very complex as well. not sure if they blend all that well, or that this is really worth the hype, but it is a good beer. Still way too carbonated for me, and the entire time I was drinking this I was swirling it out. mouthfeel is diminished because of that, but again, as I got down to the end, and it was warmer and less carbonated it got much better. I am not a huge fan of working my beer as I drink it, but so be it.
Not AWESOME, but it was good. i wouldnt go out of my way to try it again, but am glad I did drink into the hype machine at least once, and have another in the cellar to age and review again. But as many have said, St. B 12 isn't that too far off if not better.

Photo of kbutler1
4.47/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Date on the cap of 08.01.11, so bottled in 2008 I believe. Pours a hazed deep mahagony reddish brown color with a slighlty off white head. Some sediment evident in the glass. A solid mix of aromas in the nose including fruit like raisins, spice, and alcohol. Also get plums in the nose. Medium mouthfeel with some carbonation that dances across the tongue. Dark fruits and subtle sweetness dominate the flavor. Some evidence of the alcohol in the taste. Pretty smooth and exceptional tasting. Other flavors that I can pick out include molasses and caramel. Nice sweetness left in the mouth after your drink. So, how does the "#1" beer in the world rate? It's hard to imagine how any such beer can be #1 for me. This is a great, very smooth drinking, well made beer for sure. The fact that you can only get it from the monastery has to come into effect in where it is on the list. Overall, I really like this beer. Its really tasty but I couldn't drink it all the time. Give it up to the monks for making this one.

Photo of StephenRich
3.52/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It is widely and arguably acknowledged as the best beer on the planet. It has had more heritage and prestige poured into its creation, more exclusivity surrounding its availability, and more debate about its worth than potentially any beer on earth. It is the Westvleteren 12. The bottles come exactly as shown here; no label, and nearly no branding wahtsoever. A thick bevel around the shoulder of the bottle claims Trappisten Bier, and the cap indicates that it is indeed a Westvleteren 12, at 10.2% abv, and thats it.

It is important to understand that this is not the best beer in the world, it is merely the highest rated beer on the planet. There is a difference.

This posses an interesting predicament that I have come by so many times since engulfing myself in the world of beer; that is trying a beer that has been so outrageously hyped with an untainted preconception of it. Its nearly impossible to ignore the hype and approach it with a clean slate and unbiased palate. It's true, I wanted to love the Westy, but I tried my very hardest to conduct an unobstructed tasting of it before I would relax and simply enjoy it.

The Westy 12 was served to me at cellar temperature around 14C (57F) as a vintage Belgian Quadrupel should be. This allows all of the beer's flavors to stand forward without the cold numbing your palate or any sensations. The pour was easy and straight forward; nothing too elegant, thick or lush - rather uneventful actually. No head built until about halfway up the glass when a soft airy cream colored foam began to build. It showed a smattering of large bubbles scarcely scattered throughout the head eventually building to maybe an inch. It faded fast to a translucent film. The beer was dark and glowing. It was a rich burgundy red with deep ambers, golden browns, and pitches of black trapping any light that came near. It was not totally opaque though, and was crisply transparent. Very pretty, but not nearly as dense or as full as I had expected.

The nose is soft and aromatic in a classic Belgian style. Malted grain bring pale and caramelized flavors into your nose and plays with the range of sweet bread, biscuit, golden raisins, brown sugar, and nuts. Sweetness dominates the air with no hop aroma to be found. Leaning back in for more brings apple juice and cider to my senses and more raisin flavor. Touches of pear and cereal show up, then fresh baked sweet egg bread.

When going in for a sip I was madly excited and nervous. I wanted it to be good, but at the same time was trying not to expect anything. I let the first sip wash over my palate and swirl into ever inch of my mouth. My friends were starring at me in silence awaiting my approval or disapproval. I said nothing and went in for another taste before I made any premature conclusions.

My first impression was of the mouthfeel - it was not thin, but it was definitely not lush. It poured over me with a smooth and silky texture, but was relatively flat and uncarbonated. The years ageing in the bottle may have have stripped the beer of its effervescence faster than I would have assumed. Beyond the mouthfeel was a sweet and fruity wave of malts - big malts. Quick complexity caught my attention at the Westy showed me golden raisins, plums, pears, light golden sugar and grapes. It was richly fruity and a good balance of sweet pale and caramel malts.

No roast, bitter, or tart was apparent to me yet, and I started to wonder how this seemingly one sided beer had claimed the top spot among the beer world's best. The malt was soft but potent, digging deep into my taste buds bringing candy, and sweet molasses. It showed hints of nut and sweet cereal, but lacked the cocoa, earth, citrus or complex presence that I was expecting from a big Quad like this. Regardless of what I was expecting, a delicious soft sweet bread flavor was present. It was the unmistakable flavor of Challa - a sweet egg bread made for Shabot dinner. Soon then came based apples and a hint of tart cider. The sweet was wide and generous, and very delicious. But still, something was lacking; a spice, or herb, or balance... Something.

The finish mimicked everything about this beer so far; it was a short, plain finish with a sweet fruity sensation and little crackle.

Don't get me wrong, this was very delicious, but to me beer is graded by flavor, construction, and sensations. This beer just didn't peak where I had expected it to, and hence the problem with knowing the hype. I would still give the Westy very high grades, just not in the elite class. That being said, two of my friends satting at the table has each had a Westy 12 before, and they both claimed that this tasted different. So, will not make a conclusion on this beer until I have had another. And the hunt continues...

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

Reviewed from my tasting notes of a decent sized sample I consumed at an epic tasting event held with the members of the SMBDC. I hate to fall victim to inflated scores due to this beer's rarity and reputation, but I do believe it is deserving of the highest ratings I have given.

The beer is clear and has a amber brown color. The head is tan and very bubbly. There is a sweet, semi-dry fruit that makes up the aroma. It smells like some sort of berry, but not one that I can identify (if I knew what it was, I'd go out and buy a pint). The flavor is big but not overbearing. There is some toasted malt and noticeable alcohol. The malts are sweet but never too much so. They impart a hint of strawberries that is most enjoyable. After each swallow the warmth of the alcohol lingers on and keeps you company until you bring the glass back to your lips. It has a medium body and plenty of carbonation. Swishing it about my mouth, the beer foams up quite a bit. I could easily drink a lot of this, at least until the alcohol caught up with me. It doesn't feel or taste like a 10% ABV beer at all. This is truly a world class beer. Nearly everything about it sets the standard for which quads should be judged. As I said above, Westy 12 is worth all of the praise it gets (but I must agree that there are some beers easier to obtain that come close to its greatness, see St. Bernardus 12), and it deserves your attention.

Photo of womencantsail
4.42/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage thanks to Richard.

A: The pour is a dark brown color with a sizable tan head and plenty of carbonation.

S: An intense sweetness that comes in the forms of caramel, candi sugar, molasses, and a whole lot of dark fruits. I get some cherries, plums, figs, and dates.

T: The flavor is pretty much more of the same, and that's not a bad thing. A lot of sugary sweetness along with some caramel, molasses, and toffee. There is a strong flavor of dates and figs with some raisins and prunes, too.

M: The body is quite full with that fine carbonation that it seems only the Belgians can pull off.

D: A very, very good beer. Maybe a bit too sweet to drink a lot of at a time, but such a good flavor that you might make a bit of an exception.

Photo of cbak999
4.62/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Don (digita7693) for acquiring this (and Westy 8) for a rare beer tasting.

A - Pours a deep, dark brown...not at all what I was expecting. Very nice tan head sits atop the beer.

S - caramel, brown sugar, raisins - very complex. Many smells going on here.

T - It's as good as the best amber Belgian I've tried. It's just a tad hot tasting, but not too bad considering it's 12%. Other tastes are caramel, brown sugar....just like the smells.

D - OK - so it's very drinkable. I was super exited to try it. However, I think if it were easier to obtain, it might not hold the position of top beer in the world. Something to be said for having to call the monastery for an appt, hoping you get through, and then picking it up. A treat to try for sure!

Photo of Spica66
4.42/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got this one from megriggs, serving our country while stationed in Germany. Thank you very much, Megan!

Consumed on my 44th birthday with Father Ian on my deck at Vintage Hills.

Date on the cap is 25.04.13.

Poured from the bottle into tulip glasses. Started at 51 degrees and ended at 54 degrees.

A: Murky dark brown. I gave a very careful pour to avoid stirring up too much yeast. Tiny, tiny carbonation bubbles formed a one-finger head that dissipated quickly to a thin head that stays on top of the beer and leaves some lacing when drinking. There is still a significant amount of floating material (yeast, I suppose), but it does not detract from the look of the beer.

S: At first, there was virtually no smell from it at all. As soon as it warmed up a few degrees, the nose came to life with caramel and fresh fruit aromas. I really enjoyed just breathing it in deeply.

T: Here I was slightly disappointed. The beer tasted good. There was nothing "off" in the taste- no funkiness at all. There also was not a whole lot going on. Fresh and slightly fruity was all I could get myself convinced of. No specific notes like raisins or those types of things. I have a feeling that this beer was very freshly made and might get some of the more pronounced flavors with some age on it.

M: How in the hell does this beer hide 10.2% alcohol the way it does? The beer has an incredible, creamy mouthfeel and the carbonation is perfect.

D: I am sorry that I was only able to obtain one bottle, because when I took a break from sniffing it, I drank it down way too quickly.

Overall, this was a very good beer, but I hope maybe someday I will be able to obtain a bottle with some age on it to enjoy more pronounced flavors an aromas.

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

Thanks to Don for bringing this one to an EPIC tasting! Poured into a generic tulip. Nice off white head. High retention. Soapy lacing. Aroma of caramel, brown sugar, molasses and raisins. Taste is perfect malt sweetness, no alcohol, warming and effing amazing. Flawless in every way, shape and form.

Photo of BMan1113VR
4.54/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Have had this many times with bottles dating back to the mid 1990's. This review comes from my first time having the beer with a bottle marked 28.03.10. It pours with a off-white head that goes with time and leaves some waves covering a murky brown body with particles. Alcohol legs on the side of the glass. Amazing aroma of figs, dark fruits, raisins, chocolate, alcohol, brandy and a slightly tart plum. Taste is sweet, lighter than expected with complex, rich and spiciness. There is a complex savory alcohol note on the finish that is beautiful along with a long, clean and pleasant after taste. Brandy, spicy, sweet, yeasty and fruit. There is so much in this beer. It is subtly amazing! Syrupy mouthfeel with really light bubbles. This beer quietly lives up to all expectations. Is it the best beer in the world? Probably not, but it sure is an excellent one.

Photo of HopHead84
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

8/22/2010

1996 vintage.

The beer appears deep burgundy tinged brown with a large frothy beige head. The aroma displays a complex and complimentary sherry-like oxidation quality. This aged iteration is reminiscent of a fine port, with notes of ripe plum and prominent cherries. It's somewhat nutty, with an effusion of caramel, dates, and prunes. The flavor is rich and malty with sherry oxidation and a touch of cardboard, just a touch. Notes of ripe cherries accompany dates, prunes, and a strong caramel profile. The beer is highly carbonated with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel and noticeable alcohol warming. A rare aged treat, thanks!

Photo of uno99
4.62/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well I might as well add my own take on this beer....
A September 2006 bottle from a Belgian friend I made on my honeymoon.

A: bottle split 4 ways, but the head still fills the glass. the beer itself is a captivating brown color. very impressive looking beer. I have pictures to prove it!

S: an unreal wave of ripe prunes and figs fills the nostrils. smells kind of like a Christmas cake... complete with marzipan icing. hints of citrus and a toasted nut quality.

T: An unreal beer. taste is very complex. I wish I had the whole bottle to myself!

M: velvety smooth. carbonation is so delicate but also enough to excite the pallet.

D: This is a beer that makes you want to raise your arms in joy. The best beer in the world? I'm not sure about that, but in my opinion; the best Trappist!

Photo of eric5bellies
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drank from my Vintage Sint Sixtus Chalice

A - What makes this 5 in appearance is the way the head just stays true and settles into what every beer lover wants and that is a beer that just demands to be consumed, it settles to a uneven surface that you would see on the moon. The colour is a testament to everything beer should be and is mesmerising.

S - Powerful sweet fruits from the bottle. Once poured it's released from it's cage and just plain stinks of roasted sweet fruits and bready yeasts that give of smooth creamy vanilla aromas.

T - The complexity of this brew is astounding. It commands respect and at the same time introduces your palate to a myriad of flavours that actually hypnotises you. The flavours are raisins, bread, chocolate, stewed cherries, dark fruits. It finishes with a lingering zing of intense dark fruits.

M - The incredibly smooth body is just perfectly complimented by low to medium carbonation.

D - This is more than a beer. It is a truly great experience, hype aside this brew is rightfully called the best beer in the world. Everything about this beer says exquisite. No RIS can express a subtle domination of your senses as this beer can. In it's subtleties it's power leaves you seriously impressed.

There are very few beers that one feels privalidged to drink. This is one of them. The fact that it is made by reel monks for love, warms the heart. For me Russian Imperial Stouts are plentyfull and some even delectable. What makes the Quadrupel superior is the way the subtleness is balanced by sheer power and flavour, this is at the top of the tree in Quads and therefore rightly sits as the best beer in the World. I have been lucky enough to try Big DIPA's and massive Imperial Stouts. This trumps them all.

Revisit 04/02/2009

Bottled 05/05/2009

Drank from my 1960's St Sixtus Vintage chalice

A - Pours a deep Mahogany colour with the classic foamy head that does not move at all, and laces all the way down the glass.

S - Oh sweet lord, I don't think it gets better than the aromas displayed by this beer.

T - The flavours have nicely balanced out with the brown sugar subsiding to let the dark fruits be more prominent. The alcohol is still sublimely hidden and the complexity is still unbelievable.

M - Medium to full body with low to medium carbonation.

O - This beer does get a lot better with age. The port like flavours begin to emerge at three years old. I will review again in a couple of years time. This beer cannot be beaten. I know some people are dissapointed when they first tsate this beer because they are used to massive bourbon barrel aged stouts that are dominated by a particular flavour or two. This beer challenges the need for massive flavours by taking you on a journey of subtleness and balance. That for me is the pinnacle of brewing.

Photo of cpanossian
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tried a of bottle Westvleteren 12% (2004) at Kulminator in Antwerp last week. Served from bottle into goblet.
Thick tasting pruney choclate molassas (without the sulpher) and oak barrel vanilla flavors.
Black ruby red. Thin head film that leaves nice lacing
Light dairy funky cheese aroma with whiffs of oaky vanilla.
A meal for the soul. A real treat. Thick rich complicated like a real frersh fortified sherry wine from Jerez de la Frontierea Spain. Come with a clean slate and come mentally prepared.

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

Big thanks to Thijs for sending me this. Cheers to a great BA.

A: It pours into my Chimay goblet a cloudy dark amber/brown color. With one finger of tight, spotty, off white head that remains for some time. As I slowly drink it down, persistent lacing covers the side of the glass

A: The floral Belgian yeast is noticeable immediately. Followed by some caramel malt aroma, and dark fruits. Notably, raisins, figs and plums.

T: The flavors here are so complex that it is hard for me to discern, break down and describe the individual flavors. What a wonderful yeast strain used here. The flavors of the dark fruits do come through nicely. The plums and raisins blend effortlessly with the flavors from the malt and yeast. This is possibly the most well balanced beer that I have ever had. No one flavor really jumps out apart from the rest. Everything just blends together perfectly.

M: Fairly highly carbonated. More than I was expecting actually. None the less, this is no detractor here. It has a wonderful smooth, medium body on the palette.

D: The alcohol is nearly unoticeable at first, but comes out a bit as the beer warms. I could literally drink this every day and never get tired of it. It really is too bad that alas, I only have one bottle. This is the very definition of a world class beer. I will certainly be seeking out more of it.

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

So it's my second Westy of any strength (had the blonde at a recent tasting, thanks colforbin), really nice beer, appearance is fine, just hard to be "exceptional" in appearance, unless you put a meringue head on a bmc (sorry that's from a recent Duvel thread and made me laugh). Actually I am going to bump up the appearance score a tad for the dramatic difference between the dark liquid and the white head, which my homebrewed attempt lacked (its head was brown).

Smell is oh so complex, lots of dried fruits, malt, subdued hops on the nose, sweet malt; taste is similarly full and complex, lots of sweetness yet not cloying in the least, sort of just what I expected and have aimed for in my homebrewed imitation. Real nice bittering hop on the finish. Mouthfeel, see taste, not thin but never thick and at this ABV that's the magic. Drinkability, I thought about a 5 here but that would be totally adjusting for ABV, a 4.5 is still fair.

Other note, slight hints of oxidation, this bottle is roughly 5-6 months old, this seems like a beer where oxidation will not be a big detriment at all. Going to open my homebrewed W12 attempt, about 9 months old now, may revisit this review if that opens new insights.

Opened the homebrewed version, makes me appreciate the real thing much more, the homebrew is actually less sweet but more oxidized, darker color and especially darker head. Loving the original.

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

A huge thanks to Chris for the generous trade of Westvleteren.

A plain 33cl brown bottle with a slim neck topped with a black and gold cap. Dated 25.08.12

Holding the bottle up to the window, I can already see that it has excellent clarity and just a tiny bit of sediment at the bottom.

The cap opens with a loud hiss. I pour it slowly down the side of the goblet glass but a huge rocky head forms anyway. Even leaving the last dregs in the bottle, the oversized glass is complete filled - half glorius beer, half thick linen colored head. I'm starting to wonder if it will ever settle. Chunky lace is left behind as it starts to give up the fight.

Westy 12 is a perfect ruby red color when the light hits it. Surprisingly good clarity but that's probably due to having plenty of time to settle in my basement. The bubbles continue to cascade up through the beer from the etched bottom of this glass. What a sight.

The aroma is distinct and special in it's own right. While familiar to a Belgian beer lover, it seems to have a little something special - that unique trappist yeast. It's like a warm wheat bread dough being proofed. Dark cherries, raisins, plum pudding, and fruit cake all mingling in my nose.

The flavor is equally wonderful and complex. The first sip dances across my tongue and has such incredible nuance and depth that it seems to linger well after. The taste is much like the aroma with all sorts of fantastic dark fruit both sweet and a little tart. There is bread and chocolate as I roll it around my mouth. What a great combination of flavors! The yeast imparts a flavor that isn't funky or sour but somewhere in between and very mild.

The mouthfeel is suprisingly light in body with perfectly judged carbonation for the style. It's smooth but the alcohol begins to warm on its way down. Otherwise, I don't know if I would ever know it's over 10%. A beer this strong and full of complex flavors has no right being so easy to drink.

Overall just an amazing beer! Looking over my review, I realize I'm running out of adjectives to describe how great it is. Worthy of the accolades and praise. The most wonderful, special, and unique beer in the world. Period.

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