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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

4,610 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,610
Reviews: 1,611
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 8.89%
Wants: 2,851
Gots: 1,316 | FT: 101
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,610 | Reviews: 1,611 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ryrust5301
ryrust5301

Louisiana

4.78/5  rDev +3.7%

I feel honored to make my first beer review the one and only Trappist Westvleteren 12. The beer Gods shot from the bottle like Raiders of The Lost Ark. Poured out of an 11.2 oz brown bottle with gold cap, and no label.

Apperance - soft white lacing coats the sides of the glass, and clings beautifully.

Smell - Wondeful aroma. Plum, honey, and a bready aroma dance around the nose.

Taste - Smooth mouthful. Taste of sweet malts and breadyness, with a spicy alcohol taste the sneaks up on you. Finishes wonderfully with a slight fruity taste at the back of the tounge.

West 12 trumps any Belgian I have ever had. Honored to be one of the rare few who has had the opportunity to have it pass through my lips. Got 5 more bottles, so i'm dying to see what will await me in two to three years when I open the next bottle. I can only imagine the taste after it's been cellared a few years.

01-24-2008 03:01:03 | More by ryrust5301
Photo of korndog
korndog

California

4.88/5  rDev +5.9%

Let me start off by saying that I am not really worthy. Nor am I truly qualified to review this beer. Started off pouring this beauty into a snifter at 60F. It poured with a nice three fingers of tan, tight bubbles that dissipated rather quickly, leaving a gorgeous lacing which I am sure would have revealed the future in the hands of a skilled fortune teller. Smelled the obvious sweet maltiness, combined with a fine boot leather most worthy of any fetishist's attention. A slightly alcoholic cream soda came to mind as well. The taste hit me with a heavy sweet and cloying bombardment that didn't yield anything too unusual. Those fig trays with a spiral pattern and the fork in the middle. The first drag of a Marlboro Red was also present; not that I smoke 'em anymore. The carbonation was sublime as it presented the tiniest bed of nails to roll around on while enjoying this sweet beauty. The finish is quite lovely bittersweet, with a faint hop presence and a Jagermeisterish herb sensation low on the Pallete. End of the journey and the lacing is still on high where it started, and so am I. The 10.2 has shown its face as I wonder how on earth I will manage to keep my hands off the other two bottles I have. I think the lacing is now part of my little snifter as though it were painted on.

Update: Oh god, this stuff is so good. I am praying for forgiveness as I buy all I can get.

01-18-2008 04:33:23 | More by korndog
Photo of JBogan
JBogan

Nevada

4.58/5  rDev -0.7%

Poured a dark bown with amber highlights. Solid two finger head whic stayed for the length and left good lacing.

Smelled of dark fruits and alcohol, as mentioned before almost a champagne aroma.

Tasted of fruits and spices. Some alcohol present but blended in very well.

Very smooth and rich, with some carbonation present.

This beer was everything people have said it would be. Tasted much like other Trappist beers but more well rounded and smooth.

01-16-2008 23:52:28 | More by JBogan
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
AKBelgianBeast

Alaska

4.9/5  rDev +6.3%

Thanks to HimerMan for the trade.

Pours a brown/amber color with slight haze and ruby highlights. The nose is very fruity with some sour tones maybe cherry, and some spice. Smell almost champagnish (slightly kindof maybe a little) Nice white/off white head dissipates fairly fast. Wow!! intense dark fruit flavors. plums, raisins, figs, dates, black cherry wowwwowowowow!! Awesome spice and smoothness! damn smooth! I see what all the hype is about, this beer is great. The finish is smooth as hell and the mouthfeel is bomb. Drinkability is very dangerous as the alcohol on the finish is about as minimal as you can get with a quad, but still a great warming effect in the stomach. Awesome beer!!! Get it if you can. props to the monks.

01-08-2008 05:03:59 | More by AKBelgianBeast
Photo of MMAJYK
MMAJYK

Georgia

4.8/5  rDev +4.1%

This review is for my virtual mug! I have been holding off on this awesome brew for that special occaision.

A- Milk chocolate brown with light browinsh 1" film on top surface after a conservative pour. Lacing is shimmery like glitter on the sides of the glass. Nice floaties in the glass, but most was left in the bottle, leaving 3/4" of beer and sediment behind.

S- Plums, cherries and sour tones with roasted malts well blended throughout. After warming a bit, I pick up the darker side with chocolates and raisins. Buttery too.

T- Chocolate, caramel, and same dark fruits. The chocolate and caramel really come out after warming it a bit. The alcohol is nice and warming. You know you have a real beer when you drink this one.

M- Medium mouthfeel with high carbonation. Stingy all over the tongue. Very nice.

D- Alcohol taste and warming keeps it from a perfect score, but still very high.

Overall- From the look, to the smell, to the taste, to the feel, just a bad ass beer. I see what the fuss is about and I am glad to try it, and also glad to try more. I feel that this particular beer is a little young, and will only get better with age.

01-07-2008 23:06:36 | More by MMAJYK
Photo of meechum
meechum

Georgia

4.75/5  rDev +3%

I bought this bottle along with 5 friends back in October from E-bay and waited until the New Year for the sampling. Had this on New Years Eve and it was exquisite.

Poured into a oversized wine glass as that's the closest I had to a goblet. The tan head was extreme and fell slowly. The smell was rich in fruits, spices, just a hint of biscuity malts and a piney hops (very subtle). The taste lived up to the expectation. This is not a beer you drink by the gulp that's for sure. The taste was as big as the smell and lived up to everything I thought it would be..very complex..it started off to me with a immediate alcohol warmth and taste of roasted barley and biscuits and then flowered into a nice thick fig and raisin taste and finished with a bite of hops that was subtle but cut the fruity tastes.

Overall this was a great beer and surely one of the best on the planet. I don't think I would even call it my favorite and if I never get to try another again I'm glad I got one shot and giving it a try

01-06-2008 23:10:21 | More by meechum
Photo of sessycuban
sessycuban

California

5/5  rDev +8.5%

33cl bottle received in a trade. Will likely be my last sampling outside of Belgium, in accordance with the wishes of the monks.

A- The beer pours a dark brownish read with very dense head. The head is off-white in color and dissipates slowly. The lacing was absolutely magnificent. Residual amounts of sediment.

S- I'm getting a lot of molasses, dried fruit, figs, and raisons. This is one of the few beers that deserves the label of complexity.

T- Absolutely delicious. It tastes of malt, plums, candi sugar, and an assortment of fruits. Truly a unique tasting experience.

M- Medium bodied, but very rich. This one is definitely a sipper. I wish I had paired it with food.

D- This beer could be paired with anything, or be enjoyed as an apperatif. This is an incredibly versatile beer. My only regret is not cellaring it for longer.

01-04-2008 19:24:37 | More by sessycuban
Photo of aaronh
aaronh

Pennsylvania

3.6/5  rDev -21.9%

Deep brown body topped by a thin head that fades quickly. Aroma is a lot of dark fruits, brown sugar and some nice malt sweetness. In fact, the aroma is the best part of this beer. Tatse is a bit flat. Malt and fruit flavors seem muted. Yeast autolysis is noticeable. Mouthfeel is OK, buit it seems a bit off. Like there's oil and water both in the same drink. Drinakibility is OK, but for the price I'd expect a lot more.

I've been waiting to review this beer for a while (2 years since my first notes). I've tried 3 bottles from 3 locations - I guess I just don't like this beer as much as a lot of other beers!

01-04-2008 00:58:05 | More by aaronh
Photo of fightingirishcmk
fightingirishcmk

New York

4.68/5  rDev +1.5%

Gold capped bottle with a best before date of 8/29/10.
A: Pours a deep reddish brown with an enormous head. The froth is off white in color and dissipated slowly. Lacing was beautiful on the glass. Slight amounts of sediment were poured in.

S: Molasses and fruit such as figs was present, also some raisin and bubblegum were detectable.

T: Simply put, delicious. Malt, plums, and a vast array of other various dark sugared tastes were a delight to the palate.

M: Moderately warming, with a somewhat lighter consistency than what I expected. Feels great in your mouth and going down.

D: Will I find myself craving this beer at many different occasions? Yes. However, some points taken off due to its rarity and inability to be a session beer

01-02-2008 08:21:59 | More by fightingirishcmk
Photo of Mudpuppet
Mudpuppet

Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

A- Poured from a unmarked bottle (except the cap of course). Pours mud brown with no head. You can see a watery edge on the beer also.

S- There is a very light malty aroma from the beer.

T- This is a very tasty beer with notes of chocolate, grape, raisin and plum.

M- The is a low carbonated beer but it is perfectly carbonated. It is smooth across the tongue and you want another sip asap.

D- I like this beer a lot. I obviously won't be having it often but I am happy to have the chance to try it. This was the last beer of a Trappist tasting so my notes were light even though this was great.

01-01-2008 21:37:30 | More by Mudpuppet
Photo of tayner
tayner

Arizona

4.45/5  rDev -3.5%

Thanks to a very generous Aaron (leftmindedrighty) for this bottle as a x-mas present. This was a february 2007 bottling, cracked this New Years Eve 2007 at 6:15. chose this one first to start off the festivities as to not forget what i was tasting.

Looks nice in my St. Bernardus chalice, deep brown with a 1/4 inch foamy head that sticks around for the entire glas, lacing quite well.

Smells of dark fruit and alcohol. smells very sweet like a quad should. for a malthead like me it smells perfect.

Tastes of brown sugar, dark cherries/figs, sweet. There is the presence of alcohol as well but i would never guess 10.2%.. this could be that the bottle i have is nearly a year old and it has mellowed, but if that is the case this is the best way to drink it.

The mouthfeel on this beer is the best i have tasted to date. It is creamy, like the perfect chocolate melting in your mouth.

The drinkability is good, i lowered the score on this one only because the ABV is a bit high to have more than one... which is good i guess since it is so expensive and hard to get, which is the second reason i docked the drinkability. I would love to have a sixer of these to hold on to and drink one per year for six years.. i think this beer would get nothing but better with time, year after year.

Thanks again to Aaron for letting me try this brew, one of the FEW "top 100" that i havent thought was overrated. Now to try and find a westy 8 to try :)

01-01-2008 01:22:44 | More by tayner
Photo of deepsouth
deepsouth

Mississippi

5/5  rDev +8.5%

i enjoyed this wonderful beer out of a great divide yeti glass.

this beer appears to be a dark brown with a toffee colored head with excellent lacing.

the smell is malty and chocolaty and toffeeish. belgian candy as well. you can smell the alcohol in there, but it's a wonderful smell.

this beer tastes wonderful. belgian candy... taste consistant with the smell. also a hint of spice.

the mouthfeel is thick & sticky with medium carbonation.

what a wonderful beer this is. superbly drinkable. i'm glad i have a few more of these laying around.

12-31-2007 14:09:14 | More by deepsouth
Photo of daledeee
daledeee

Iowa

4.9/5  rDev +6.3%

This was actually a Christmas present and what a treat. I thought I had posted this review but don't see it so I am reentering my notes.

Open this beer and pour it carefully into my favorite glass. Very dark and very nice head. The scent is beautiful with dark fruit and malt. Taste is nearly perfect. Some malt, dark fruit and earthy. So complex I need the list of adjectives.

I may, if pressed, have some that are more favorite. The only thing that keeps me from buying this all the time is the price. $10 for one bottle is not a frequent visitor to my shelf.

12-31-2007 04:10:23 | More by daledeee
Photo of dontworrybeh0ppy
dontworrybeh0ppy

Massachusetts

4.47/5  rDev -3%

At first glance, the pour seems sadly ironic, as the beer has been hyped up a bit on BA and you expect fireworks to shoot out from the glass. This did not happen however, and there wasn't a great amount of head, likely because of it being poured into a goblet. But otherwise a looker - left the sediment at the bottom of the bottle so not too much in the glass.

Aromatic, fairly powerful alcohol smell, similar to most Trappists, and expected.

Mouthfeel is truly the cornerstone of this brew, as it feels as though angels of my Jewish background have landed from the heavens of Jewdom and landed on my palate, creating a cornucopia of flavor explosion. There are literally clouds of life flowing about in my mouth.

Taste follows through with the smell and mouthfeel, light alcoholic flavors, hints of honey, and some other spices that I'm not familiar with but I'm sure have some fancy names ( see other reviews).

Overall, a great beer, not sure if worth the hype, but certainly great. It's likely due to my lack of beer tasting experience. It actually got me a little lightheaded. Yes.

12-31-2007 01:58:04 | More by dontworrybeh0ppy
Photo of jwolfie70
jwolfie70

California

4.7/5  rDev +2%

This beer is worth the hype. It has the best mouthfeel of any beer I have ever had, and for me defines what would be perfect mouthfeel in a beer.

Tastes of dark fruit, with a series malt backbone, without being cloying. It poured a dark brown with a light tan head. Can't wait to try again.

12-30-2007 00:21:00 | More by jwolfie70
Photo of barefootbrewer
barefootbrewer

Mississippi

4.55/5  rDev -1.3%

This beer poured a dark brown with some amber hues. The head was tan with very nice lacing. The aroma is caramel with Belgian candy noticeable - alcohol is also perceptible. The taste is heavily malty with caramel and candy notes quite evident. The mouthfeel is full with a carbonation bite on the tongue – very delightful. This is a compelling beer that is quite elegant.

12-29-2007 22:52:12 | More by barefootbrewer
Photo of adamdotson
adamdotson

Massachusetts

4.88/5  rDev +5.9%

This is a rare treat. In this case it was a christmas present from Jason and Julie at Brews and Ales in Asheville, NC. Amazing beer store. Bottled just over a year ago at the abbey. Been again in perfect cellar conditions. Tasted in a blind quad tasting my brothers and I did along with Rochefort 10, St.Bernardus 60th anniversary, and SOuthampton Abbot 12(the surprising victor).
Appearance was brown coppery with a creamy beige head. Nice head retention. Some legs holding long on the glass.(large chimay glass).
Aroma was surprising subtle, but do not let that fool you, it was still extremely complex. Rich caramel notes. Heavy on the dark fruits, figs, prunes, especially raisins. Nice cinnamon raisin bread fresh out of the oven. There is something mature and classy about this aroma. It doesn't have to yell at you to make its point. Not as heavy on the banana esters as I remember.
Yummy taste. SPicy cinnamon and heavy raison flavor. Very complex taste progression. SUbtler on the caramel than the nose implies, which I appreciated. SHockingly smooth for such a rich full-bodied beer. Just a tinge of fusels. This beer is like a grandfather. It has an important message to impart and is full of wisdom , but you have to be listening closely, and selflessly. The brothers truly put a lot of love into this beer. I don't believe despite the brilliance of this beer that everyone would really get the point, but those who do are blessed. A gem.

12-29-2007 18:31:35 | More by adamdotson
Photo of ggaughan
ggaughan

Pennsylvania

4.6/5  rDev -0.2%

Bottle picked up at a bottle shop in Antwerp 2 weeks ago so it seems to be pretty fresh. I have had several bottles of this before but most of them were obtained in the U.S. from overseas.

The beer poured a deep brown, almost black color with a medium thickness tan head that lasted for a few minutes and gave way to nice ring around the end but the lacing doesn't hold up well. The nose is pretty damn imressive. There are some fruit notes, dates, plums and a nice chocolately character. The taste is very impressive as well. The malty chocolate notes are the first thing that takes my taste buds on a ride along with some of the deep fruit notes I got in the aroma as well. The carbonation is rather full and overall makes for a full bodied beer. I could not say for sure whether this is the best beer in the world but it is a pretty damn good beer and well worth a try if you can get it for a reasonable price.

12-25-2007 21:44:54 | More by ggaughan
Photo of domtronzero
domtronzero

California

4.45/5  rDev -3.5%

Pours a brown and murky with a large mousse-like tan head that lingers for a long time.

Smells of dark fruits, dried prunes, apricot and a very slight banana aroma. Very estery with nice bready malts.

Flavor is very similar to aroma with a nice subtle hop bitterness. Banana and dark fruits, again very estery. Flavors are a little muddled, but still very good.

The mouthfeel has slightly more body than I prefer in a Quad.

Overall I prefer St. Bernardus 12 over this beer. The slightly thicker mouthfeel gives this beer slightly less drinkability than SB12.

12-19-2007 04:37:21 | More by domtronzero
Photo of Brewfan
Brewfan

Connecticut

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Acquired via trade with recent trade with Ding. Thanks for the opportunity to review my first Westy 12. I've had 2 before, but hadn't reviewed them, just enjoyed them. Now to do both....

Poured into my Trappist Rochefort chalace. Best by date on cap is 09/05/10, so this is still a rather "young" Westvleteren compared to the 2 others I've had which were each past their date. Beer is a deep, hazy garnet color brushed with dark chocolate. Gorgeous 1 1/2 finger head of tan, falling ever so gracefully into streaks of hearty lace. No discernable carbonation rising from the glass.
Aromas of fig and shortbread immediately assault my senses. I can almost taste them through my nose, they're that prominent. Dates, raisins and sweet honey follow close behind. A huge malty whiff produces no apparent hop aroma, but this IS a quad, so.... I'm also getting no alcohol on the nose. I've had beers much smaller than the 10.2% listed here where the alcohol made itself known throughout the beer. Not in this case. Dangerously quaffable.
Now for the taste. Not that I haven't been tasting it for the past 15 minutes, but I have to go back and try to remember everything I've tasted. Once again, shortbread, but albiet a bit spicier than on the nose. Peppery. Toffee and figs, dates and banana nut bread dance on my tongue. Hazelnuts coated in a yeasty, Belgian candi sugar. There's so much taste going on here, it's really hard to wrap my head (and taste buds) around it.
Close to the end of the glass, and there's still a full covering of lace and more on the edges of the glass. Not too shabby for 1/2 hour later.
Not overly carbonated with a mouthfeel that stays with you for a while. Nice and hearty for a 25 degree night and our first 8 inches of snow of the year. Alcohol definitely makes itself known towards the end of the beer. Does not take away from it's drinkability at all. You just have to put the brakes on so as not to guzzle the rest of the beer.
I've been waiting all day to drink this beer, but waited until the snowball fights with my daughter and cocoa and shoveling were done. It was well worth the wait. And as hard as it is to get, it will be worth the wait until my next Westvleteren 12. But believe me, there will be a next one.

12-14-2007 02:59:45 | More by Brewfan
Photo of brendan13
brendan13

Australia

3.9/5  rDev -15.4%

Drinking this to celebrate my 1 year anniversary on BA.
Bottle cap stamped with 29.08.10. That's when I plan to open 1 of 2 other bottles I have.
A - Poured into the Westvleteren goblet a hazy dark brown colour with a few centimetres of beige head that slowly falls away to a thin whisp.
S - Big dark fruit notes up front as too be expected. Such an inviting smell. Some caramel sweetness & a nutty presence.
T - Dark fruit is also quite strong on the taste with a lot more caramel sweetness also coming through. A strong belgian yeast presence is also quite dominant.
M - Slightly syrupy, medium bodied beer with minimal carbonation.
D - A very nice, well made & interesting beer. The 10.2%ABV as well as availability and price lower the drinkability a bit.
I think the "rarity" of this artifically heightens it's overall score.

12-09-2007 06:29:44 | More by brendan13
Photo of Floydster
Floydster

California

4.47/5  rDev -3%

Blank bottle with a yellow cap purchased from eBay for about twenty dollars after shipping, this one spent about four months in my closet before finally drinking it, had a best before October 2008 (10-8-08) date

Very special occasion tonight, so I decided to drink the highest rated beer in the world and indulge into the holy grail of Belgium, I was very anxious to see if this one lived up to all the hype and deserved to be number one rated on this site

Poured into my Westvleteren chalice that came with this beer when I purchased it, had a murky dark brown color with a dark red tint when held up to the light, the head was almost an inch and was off white and creamy, left crazy amounts of lacing during the hour plus while I was drinking this

Smell ranged as the drinking experience went on, at the end it smelled mostly like a candy apple, at first I got a significant amount of dark fruit, some Belgian yeast, and a lot of sugar in general, also a small amount of citrus aromas at the end

Taste was strong and had several different things going on, this one probably gets better with each month of aging and look forward to testing this opinion sometime in the upcoming years, started out with fig, raisins, sweet malt, sugary accents, prunes, and toffee, as it got warmer more fruity flavors kept coming to the surface, by the end I had tasted tangerine, grapefruit, and lemons but all faintly, some butterscotch, this one was dominated mostly by dark fruit and had red apple and grapes as well, no real evidence of any hop profile, had a nice syrupy texture that forced me to take my time drinking it thankfully because I probably would have guzzled it otherwise because it was so good, nice variety of malt and sugars overall making this a nice sweet Belgian, significantly better than Westvleteren 8 to me but that is just an opinion, wish I had more of this right now

Perfect amount of carbonation, a very thick and full body, a taste that kept attacking the taste buds for close to a minute, great mouthfeel

Could drink this all night and day if it was not for the fact that it was ten percent alcohol, its availability and price do not make it much easier, the alcohol is hidden well in here nevertheless and it is a smooth and easy to drink quadrupel, even though it tasted more like a tripel to me, not too filling on the stomach

Well, this beer was fantastic but it certainly was not the best beer I have ever had, probably towards the bottom of my top ten though, even though it was the best quadrupel I have tasted, I think the fact that it is limited and you can only get it directly from the monastery a couple times a month makes this beer so sought after

I wish I would not have traded away my other bottle but at least I got a Russian River Toronado out of the deal, this beer truly is a novelty and I see myself forking out significant dough for this again in the future via an online auction or trade

As far as the talk and excitement about the beer, Westy 12 is worth it, but I would not pay forty dollars a bottle for it at a bar but twenty bucks or so seems okay to spend from time to time, I highly recommend it even if you have to go through the hassle of getting from someone in Belgium because otherwise people are going to have some from trades or vacations where they brought some of this back, it is definitely a rare and highly demanded beer, yes this one was noticeably better than St. Bernardus 12 in my opinion, I am happy I got to try such a great beer and hope all of you some time soon

12-08-2007 17:11:14 | More by Floydster
Photo of NJpadreFan
NJpadreFan

New Jersey

3.63/5  rDev -21.3%

Westvleteren 12

Huge thanks to Pimpp for this 1!

A- Hazy murky red with a nice creamy head. Foamy lacing on the glass.
S- Raisins, prunes, figs, nutmeg, and pepper.
T- Big strong and sweet dried fruits; raisin, figs, and prunes dominate touch of spices like pepper, nutmeg, and clove. Strong rock candy sugar with a kick of alc. in the end.
M- Fruity and sweet yet creamy mild on the tongue. A touch of boozy alc. in the aftertaste.

Overall- A good cold evening or desert beer!

11-27-2007 21:33:13 | More by NJpadreFan
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barleywinebrewer

New Hampshire

4.83/5  rDev +4.8%

I've had plenty of other quads and this one has been quite elusive. There's tons of reviews already so I'll leave you with 2 things that stood out prominent to me:
1: that is a ton of sediment at the bottom of a small bottle.
2: I love the mineral influence on the taste of this rich beer. Never had a quad quite like this before.

Yeah, it's pricey but I'd go for another. Thanks eclectic for this via trade!

11-27-2007 20:39:26 | More by barleywinebrewer
Photo of basica
basica

Singapore

4.72/5  rDev +2.4%

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (1998 Vintage) (Rating 9.5/10) - 11 ABV - 26 Nov 2007

Not too long ago, in my haul from CrackedKettle's online beer sales, I have a Westvleteren 12 from 1998 and the date on the cap is for the year 2001. (I am not sure if it shld be 1997 instead) So I had a contemporary Westy 12 2 days ago and I clearly recall the taste as well as the full experience and gratification level; let's see how this one does. It is interesting to note that in 1998 (when I was in middle school), Westvleteren 12 is 11 ABV as opposed to the 10.2 ABV that it is today; it was also 10.6 ABV at a certain point in time. Man this baby is crowned tight; it took some effort to get it off and immediately a vinous grassy aroma can be can be detected at the opening of the bottle; some dark fruits but not really impressive here. I poured it out into my old Abdij St Sixtus oversized wine glass and a one finger thick head developed over a dark amber brown liquid below. What surprised me was the way this head grew to a 2 finger thick head which persisted for a while. the head was creamy and bubbly but more bubbly and I prefered the creamier head on the contemporary Westvleteren. The smell was not very strong but the vinous part of it was clear; there was this light yeasty bready smell with a little bit of fruits underneath and I think I sense a dash of malts but in general the smell was not fantastic. Moving on to the taste, the nutty/almondy goodness from the contemporary Westy was still present though the intensity probably halved. Other than the nutty entry, there was a well pronounced vinous taste of aged beers that was well within expectation along with the a nice maltiness which followed behind. Sweetness was clear but it was not a "thick" sweetness like in the contemporary Westvleteren; it became a more mellow sweetness. The fruitiness was also more subtle and mellow on this one; I can raisins, grapes and some plums which were kind of buried under the malts but stil detectable along with the sweetness. The finish was a pleasant nutty/almondy dryness with nice vinous aromas, maltiness and plums on the nose. The maltiness and the fruitiness towards the finish was a very pleasant part of the taste that somewhat reminds me of the greatly aged 1985-1988 La Trappe Dubbel that I had which was so called one of the best aged beer I ever had thus far; up there with the Special 6. On the whole I still prefer the taste of the contemporary Westvleteren though I prefer this one's finish. It was clearly a very much mellowed down taste which had it's unique strengths. The after taste was flooded with malts, brown sugar sweetness and dark fruits starting with plums and moving on to raisins and grapes after a while. The mouthfeel on this was about medium bodied; clearly the aging compromises on the thickness and the creaminess as well. It was still slightly creamy to drink and the carbonation was clearly going low but still pretty sufficient. 11 ABV seems deceivingly smooth and light and I almost thought this was a 7 or 8 ABV if I did not know from the start that it is 11 ABV. Again I prefer the mouthfeel of the contemporary Westvleteren 12. Let's now break things down further, the smell was largey vinous aromas which was obviously different from the contemporary's intensely fruity and sweet smell. Taste was a classic mellowed down version which was generally not as good except for the slightly pre-finish and finish which was in a greatness realm of it's own.Mouthfeel lost thickness, richness and creaminess as well as some carbonation over time but surprisingly, the nuttiness was still there. Very nice and I can really appreciate it but I still prefer the contemporary Westy to this particular bottle of 1998 Vintage; I mean aging really produces different results... We all know that. Cheers for the season folks! :)Ok, I am v.slightly intoxicated.. maybe it is my lethargy and lack of food... and... 11 ABV heh... In case I forget my individually ratings (BA disabled reviews till Sunday) Taste: 5, Appearance: 4.5, Smell 4.0, Drinkability: 5, Mouthfeel: 4.5 (Overall: 4.65 I believe...)

11-26-2007 01:43:24 | More by basica
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 4,610 ratings.