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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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5,187 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,187
Reviews: 1,662
rAvg: 4.6
pDev: 9.13%
Wants: 3,135
Gots: 1,596 | FT: 118
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: 5,187 | Reviews: 1,662 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of perrymarcus
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

200th review.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of DrewZ926
4.45/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of mlaroche
4.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of kevinv
4.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of SiepJones
4.97/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

Photo of ButtWizzard
4.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

Photo of hawks10
3.96/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.85/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

Photo of djmichaelk
4.36/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of GoNowhere
4.57/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of nhindian
4.74/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Review #100!

11.2oz bottle poured into a Westvleteren chalice.

Huge thanks to some great BAs for this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of bbeane
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First review of the new year!!
A- Poured into a tulip... starts with a nice
head that leaves behind nice lacing. Beer is murky copper color with some fine as well as larger chunks of sediment

S- Smells very malty, dark fruits, apples

T- Super smooth... sweets malts, caramel, apple, cherry. No booziness

M- Full bodied with medium carbonation

D- Amazingly easy to drink, not a hint of the 10% alcohol. Glad I can say Ive had my first westy12... looking forward to a second


Photo of Swedes21
4.6/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finishing 2010 off with my buddy SpinRSX and the worlds #1 beer!

Appearance - beer pours a dark brown murky like in appearance, very hard to tell any carbonation levels due to the 0 clarity. The head produced a nice brown based foamy head, that had some good volume to it. The head stuck around for a good duration too.

Smell - I found this to be a very dynamic smelling beer, right upfront i was able to pick up some green apples, followed by a hint of grapes. There was almost, buried a little deeper, some dark fruits, possible raisin like in smell.

Taste - Dark tones right off the top, followed with some sweetness but as well raisins. The end produced a little hop with some bitterness. I found the alcohol was well hidden. One thing i noted, there where signs of a "dry" fruit to this beer.

Mouthfeel - the carbonation levels increase and the deep raisin taste. As well, i found as the beer warmed the alcohol came fwd a bit more. This is where i was able to pick up a hint of sweetness, very nice.

Drinkability - SpinRSX and i had this debate, but i think this is a well rounded beer and brings complexity to the menu. This is something that was more of an investment and a sample, but if i could drink it daily i would love too.

Photo of spinrsx
4.62/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finishing off 2010 in style..

330ml Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a murky brown colour with a very large frothy beige coloured head. I can't see much carbonation due the murkiness of the beer and there is some excellent lacing running in stages down the sides of the glass. The head lasted for several minutes before it began to dissipate. There was a small amount of sediment on the bottom of the bottle.

Smell - apples were the first thing that came to mind, also malts, dark fruits, an earthiness

Taste & Mouth - The beer actually has quite a bit of carbonation but it still feels smooth and creamy on the tongue. Most of the taste is made up of malts, dark fruits (rasins?), and some light hops. As the temperature of the beer got warmer the flavour of the beer really seemed to change. The alcohol is extremely well hidden and this beer is very easy to drink. The beer finishes with a malty and sweet aftertaste, there was also a light hop bitterness.

Drink - I'm happy I got to check this beer off my want list. I'm sure the fact that it is hard to get adds to the hype and positive reviews; but it really is a must try and a fantastic beer.

Photo of uberkane
4.97/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2003 Bottle traded from masterhomebrewer. Thanks so much!

A: Pours a dark mahogany brown, hazy. Didn't pour aggressively, and the head dissipated to a ring. Decent lacing.

S: Juicy dark fruit. Complex, resiny... dark gushers? There is a musty cherry woodiness as well. Wow.

T: Right up front I got that dark-fruit gusher taste mixed with an almost leather-mahogany taste. In the middle of the palate it produces a sweetness that reminds me of raw, dark agave syrup. The slightest hint of spiciness and bitterness at the very end. Aftertaste is of pleasant dark cherry. As the beer warms, more pleasant spiciness (like cinnamon and cloves, not peppers) appears.

M: Velvety smooth on the tongue, with a little bit of carbonation. Body is surprisingly light for a darker beer. There is some stickiness on the tongue.

D: WAY too drinkable for a beer that is booth 10%abv and very hard to find. I could have easily see myself drinking two or three of these in a sitting, despite the higher abv. It just went down so nice. A lot of this may be due to the 7 years it's been aged.

Notes: I can't believe how good this beer is. For years I've wanted to try it. I tried to calm myself recently so as not to over-hype it, so I approached this tasting with level-headedness. It blew me out of the water.

My wife LOVED it. She has tried (mainly sipped) almost every beer I have and isn't really a huge fan of many. This, on the other hand, she tried to drink all of. I had to pry it out of her hands a few times. She says she likes it more then most drinks in general.

Is it the best beer in the world? Well, I still have a lot of beer to taste before I pass that judgment. I would also need to taste a fresh Westy as well as an aged St. Bernardus Abt 12
and/or Rochefort 10 (only had them fresh) before I truly make the call. Any which way, it is a phenomenal beer.

Photo of youradhere
3.61/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've been holding off on this for a while to prepare myself for the hype, so lets see how this "famous" beer holds up to the lumpen proletarian sentiment.

Pours a murky amber-brown with a rocky off-white head. Smells of wine, peppery yeast, wheat spice, kind of like hopped up Bitburger. Taste is subdued, sweet but not in your face; I get some cola, toffee, white wine, hop bitterness on the very back that is barely there, some clove spice, mellow flavor for sure. I like the mellowness of this compared to similar brews with in-your-face spice that makes me wish I was drinking something else. Carbonation is high and mouthfeel isn't thick at all; very drinkable as the sugars aren't cloying, the pepper-clove character seems to cleans that 'sugar overload' from the palate. Drinkability was marked down to the exclusivity of this, if I could find it down the street I would sit through a sixer of it and crawl on my lips to my bed. A decent beer indeed, but nothing I'd trade something special out of my cellar for. Verdict: the best of the Belgian styles that I have tried thus far, but certainly not a game changer for me.

Photo of boss302
4.8/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Westvleteren 12, 09 09 11 on the cap. This was the first of a 3 beer tasting with Abt12 and Rochefort 10. 330ml bottles, 3 people tasting, so the pours were small. The Westy had the edge over the Saint Bernardus and the Rochefort. The Westy was older than the other two.

A dark chestnut color. Not a big head. Not much more to say without a big robust pour that was not possible with the size of the bottle and number of glasses (3) that needed filling. Pretty beer. 4.5

S Aromas were rounded with nothing sharp. Plums and dried fruit come first, but as it sits some biscuity, bready aromas are detectible as well. Very clean and inviting. 4.5

T Chocolatey taste at first, more dried fruit, most like plums. There is some lingering sweetness, but it is a dry beer. This is one of the better balanced beers I have tried. 5 

M This beer has a nice thickness on the tongue. The carbonation was a little lighter than the other Belgian beers we tried this night, but didn't seem to detract from the beer.  4.5

D It is high in alcohol, therefore you won't be drinking a lot of these at one sitting. However, aside from the high alcohol, it is one of the most drinkable Belgian beers I have tried. Wonderful. 5

Photo of brendanbeer
4.67/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

first time westvleteren 12, boy am i excited.

poured from bottle into goblet.

A: rich reddish golden brown. small light head that lingers well.

S. My goodness, i wish i could inhale this lovely bouquet for much longer than my lungs provide capacity for. Dark fruits, sweetness and a little alcohol comes through. mouthwatering to say the least.

T. I'm really not sure how to get into it... Theres so much i want to try to describe, but i am left for an utter loss for associations. Dark fruits comes through, and a nice level of heat from the alcohol, though it is amazingly enshrouded in drinkable flavor. I'm sure if i let it age for longer, the heat would have become even more subdued and incorporated. Each taste is a new experience as different subtle flavors grab my attention. The slight afternotes of hoppiness are exquisitely balanced with the sweeter richer flavors, leaving a kind of dryness that begs you to take another sip. As the beer warms closer to room temperature the uniqueness of each sip is exacerbated, the intense web of subtleties which give this beer its incredible foundation become more prominent. im really not sure how to pinpoint the particular flavors. familiar, yet denser, more complex, more "whole" sweetnesses and bitternesses.

M. Silky, but not oily. it gently covers the palate and reveals new sensations as air circulates around my tastebuds.

D. incredibly drinkable for its alcohol content. gives an experience that is truly unique and fulfilling in all beer drinking aspects.

Photo of choyhosoi
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured from a bottle into a glass.

A-looks very inviting with a nice head and awesome smell.

T-This is something that changes as you drinkk it. It is sweet and smooth but you can feel thr alcohol.

M/D-This is as good as you have heard so stop reading and try to get one.

Photo of Gosox8787
4.47/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2 oz unlabelled bottle poured into a freshly cleaned Smuttynose tulip glass. Served at room temperature.

Appearance: Really deep cloudy brown in color. Gushed just a tiny bit as I opened the bottle. Poured a nice two beige head that left a nice lacing around the top and left a little lacing around the glass.

Aroma: Beautiful bouquet of cinnamon, rum, molasses and vanilla. All are beautifully integrated and nothing dominates. Molasses and caramel notes compliment the breadiness in the background. Perfectly balanced and complex.

Taste: All the notes from the aroma are here too. Molasses and vanilla create a really nice backdrop to all the spices here. The alcohol creates a nice warming during each sip, though it is not perfectly hidden. Brown sugar and caramel notes are also quite nice. Good balance and remarkable subtly and complexity.

MouthfeeL: Full bodied and creamy. The amount of carbonation in this beer was more than I expected.

Drinkability: Really smooth and drinkable for the ABV. The things pulling my score down here in this section are availability, alcohol content, and price.

Overall, a really great beer and possibly my favorite of this style. I didn't expect this to be my number one beer of all time, but I definitely enjoyed it immensely. I'm really happy to have tried this and crossed it off my beer bucket list.

Photo of Kendo
4.74/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Christmas Eve, 2010. 5 years and 1 day on BA fcr me. Kids are asleep, presents wrapped, house is clean (more or less). . . time to celebrate with my first Westy 12.

A big thanks to MRMOJORISIN for the bottle - and 15+ years of sharing great beer, great tunes and good times.

Best-by date on the bottle cap is 9.11.11. Allowed the bottle to sit at room temperature for about 10-12 minutes. Not sure if that's enough to take the chill off, but I'm like my 6-year old on Christmas Eve right now - that is, excited and anxious, and asking for patience is just unreasonable.

A: A slight gush upon popping the cap is followed by a careful effort to decant the yeast. Poured into a Piraat snifter/tulip-type glass (I debated between this glass, a Duvel tulip and a Chimay chalice). Body is dark brown with a light-khaki-colored 1/2-finger head. Head settles fairly quickly to a film, with some bubbles rising to fortify the foam and popping like the occasional stray fireworks on the Fourth of July. Leaves some splotchy lace. Notwithstanding the careful pour, there is plenty of sediment in suspension.

S: The smell is wonderful, and - besides the slight gusher upon opening - provides the first impression. Raisins, candied sugar, dried fruits in general are all present in a candy-like package. Hint of black licorice too. Waft of alcohol as it warms up a bit more.

T: Here goes. . . When my father-in-law drinks SNPA, he puts it down very quickly and is fond of saying "it's like candy." Well, THIS is like candy. Those dark fruits are there, along with candied sugar. Regular fruit too - some berries or maybe cherries (slightly booze-soaked). Alcohol warmth - it's warm, not hot - is felt on the way to the belly, but in a soft, not harsh, kind of way. Slight drying from the alcohol at the finish of the sip too. Lingering bitterness seems somewhat tannic.

M: Like a good Belgian - there is a fine fizziness that makes it feel lighter in heft than it really is, and almost airy on the palate. That fizziness helps to cleanse the palate after each sip

D: Extremely drinkable, especially for a beer of this strength. I'd give it a 6 if I could in this category.

Photo of webbcreative
4.77/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice burgundy brown color with an off white head that hung around but only as a thin layer.

A= wonderful smell of Belgian sugar. Typical Belgian spiciness, but not booze smelling considering this is over 10% abv.

T= more Belgian sugar, spiciness and dark fruit flavor that all meld together nicely. Sill impresses that this isn't as boozer as expected. As it warms all the above flavors shine through even more.

M=the water used In his is incredibly soft! And the mouthfell is actually not as thick and heavy as expected buy is nice none the less.

Overall this is a terrific beer. And most certainly the best quad I have ever tasted. Seems more restrained then most bug Belgians which is nice.

Photo of strangefate
4.35/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle.

Pours a dark brown with a good amount of off-white head, lots of lacing.

Scent is of dark fruits, raisins, a sweet sugar presence, and a hint of booze.

The taste is similar - dark fruits, figs, raisins, and a sugary sweetness in the back.

This is medium-bodied and creamy with a well-balanced moderate level of carbonation.

This is a great beer. A quadrupel that I can drink all night (I wish I had enough to do that). I had this at a tasting with Westy 8 as well and I found it interesting that this was less boozy than that. Is this worthy of the title of "best beer in the world"? That's for you to decide. But I'll doubt you'll call it anything but a great beer regardless.

Photo of rka758
4.23/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle poured into Westy goblet.
Received for birthday.

A: Pourd a reddish brown with a big head at first, that quickly calmed.
S: Smells of sugars and malts.
T: A lot of different stuff is going on here. Dark fruits including raisons and figs. Sweet malts. I suspect you already know this...it's good.
M: High carbonation. Good texture
D: Very. This thing is 10.2 ABV so be careful.

Photo of BarrelO
4.43/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a goblet. Best-by date of October 15, 2013 stamped on the cap.

A: Dark hazy reddish-brown body. Three finger off-white head leaves lots of lacing.

S: Mostly dark fruits and sugar.

T: Ridiculously complex. Plums, raisins, brown sugar, and gingerbread. Peppery alcohol. A hint of noble hop bite. Finishes somewhat dry.

M: Rich and creamy. Practically melts in your mouth.

D: The million-dollar question: is this the best beer on Earth? First off, I should note that my bottle was pretty young and still had some heat on it. I think it would improve with age. Anyway, this was an excellent beer, and I feel privileged for having had a chance to drink it. Whether it's the best is, of course, subjective, but I'd definitely put it in the conversation. However, Rochefort 10 did just a little bit more for me. Honestly, though, all the elite Trappist beers are superlative in their own way.

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,187 ratings.