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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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5,131 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,131
Reviews: 1,651
rAvg: 4.6
pDev: 9.13%
Wants: 3,084
Gots: 1,558 | FT: 116
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: 5,131 | Reviews: 1,651 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.97/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

330ml bottle served in a Westvleteren chalice.

A: Pours a light brown color which is very cloudy. Many particles can be noticed floating around. Forms a medium, creamy and medium bubbled beige head. Good retention and only few thin molasses lacings left in the glass. A thin layer remains forever on the top

S: Very sweet and fruity upfront. Strong notes of dark fruits like, plums and grapes. Raisins. Strong notes of brown bread, caramel malts and roasted malts. Candy sugar, brown sugar, Belgian yeasts and some alcohol

T: As suggested by the nose. Sweet and fruity upfront. Strong notes of dark fruits (grapes and plums) and dry dark fruits (dates ans raisins), brown bread, caramel malts, candy sugar, Belgian yeasts and earthy hops. A bit of bubblegum sensation. Nice light bitter end. Hops are bit grassy and bit citrus. Great bittersweet balance

M: Heavy, creamy and molasses body. Medium to low carbonation. Fruity and mainly bready aftertaste. Bittersweet

O: Deliciously drinkable despite of the high ABV. Perfect Belgian Trappist. Perfect Belgian Quad. Not as good as Rochefort 10 but, this is another story... ;)

Photo of drabmuh
4.92/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally, Westy 12. Poured from a bottle into a Chimay glass (its the only Trappist glass that I own). Beer was brown, mostly clear until the mud at the bottom of the glass came out, this was avoidable, i know how to pour. The head was diffuse but present and the carbonation was slow but steady, continuously replenishing the thin head. The smell was amazing. Beautiful yeasty and sweet smell. The taste and mouthfeel were out of this world. It was smooth, I could have drank the whole thing in a few minutes but I savored it for as long as possible. Taste was sweet and pleasant. More yeast, no aftertaste. A perfect beer. I wish I could have ti year round.

Photo of gory4d
4.76/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to Masterski for throwing this one in to our last in-person trade.

Pours a rusty brown with a thin but dense white head, leaves lots of lacing. The color is not terribly appealing. The smell is of roasted nuts, hijiki seaweed, sweet grape, a rich caramel malt -- very complex. The flavor is sweet grapes (like cognac, almost), caramel, grain, with a lingering bitter earthy finish. It's creamy but clean in the mouth, not at all viscous, very nice. Really just too delectable for words. More.

Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.69/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- A nice hazy/opaque chocolate brown. Medium white head with good lacing.

S- Grapes, cherries, cloves, a hint of alcohol. Smells delicious and balanced.

T- A barrage of roasted malt, cherries, grapes, some alcohol, big herbal hops. One of the best quads out there, no doubt, but I don't think the best beer in the world. Some bread malt in there too. The beauty of this one is in its balance.

M- Refreshingly creamy and smooth. Pretty much exactly what it should be.

D- I'm loving this, although I'm not sure it soundly beats out others like the Abt 12 and Rocheforte 10. Definitely a great drink, worth the try, although I probably won't get it again because of the price.

Photo of KCHopHead
4.18/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had the 3 bottles in order Blond, 12 then 8. Split the bottle 3 ways for a tasting.

A - Not sure if it was the weather but I didn't get a lot of lacing or head from this beer. What head it did have formed the larger bubbles that some Belgian yeasts help produce. This was very transparent for being so dark. I got some crazy floaties from the yeast sediment. No problem with me though.

S - I smelled the alcohol there but a lot of fruitiness was there as well.

T - The balance was great on this beer. Not as good as the 8, but still well done. I remember there being a ton of left over sugar taste. I'm still not sure how to get that raisin taste in my homebrew but I'm sure the yeast and fermentation temp plays a big role. The alcohol was present but not overwhelming for a 10% beer.

M/D - Very good carbonation. I would have like to have this on tap at my home.

I think I built this up too much in my head. It is definitely not on the top of this hophead's list, but still an amazing beer that I would highly recomend.

Photo of blaje
4.82/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First, lets admit it. How can you be absolutely honest when you have the chance to drink this beer? Only in a blindtasting session... This was not the case!

Poured ina Delirium Tremens sniffer, This gem pours mahogany brown with reddish tone, hazy. It forms a nice white to off-white head, 1cm thick. Unfortunately disappearing to quickly. Is this one's to cold?

Nose: Rich malt, medium roast. very faint smoke wood. Caramel. Fig. Alcohol nose is present and fruity but not dominative event though this one is 10.2% ABV.

Mouth: Carbonation is medium-low. Taste... very complex. Extremely complex and evolves as its temperature changes. So as the nose. Bitter chocolate. Faint cherry flavours comes up after a few sip that's reminds me of Flemish red beer. Bitterness is present but really nicelly balanced. Alcohol note is fruity and delightful. It blends all the flavours together and brings warmth. It carries this beer very well. In the finish, sweet roasted sugar cane or brown sugar even and hint of oatmeal flavour.

Conclusion: Wow, truly one of its kind. Deserves an A+ easily. Perfectly balanced beer. Outstanding.

Photo of nickd717
4.88/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this beer several times now, including once paired with Westvleteren 12 ice cream at Cafe in de Vrede and one '04 bottle (consumed in '09) at Kulminator in Antwerpen.

A - Hazy brown color with a large tan head that lasts and leaves awesome lacing.

S - Heavenly aroma of dark fruits, sweet malt, caramel, spices, and Belgian yeast.

T - Really complex with sweet caramel malt, candi sugar, prune, fig, raisin, plum, and other dark fruits, Belgian yeast, spices, and a touch of hops. Phenomenal.

M - Incredibly full-bodied and velvety smooth on the palate with soft carbonation. Gives you an excellent warming sensation on the way down.

D - Ridiculously drinkable. It took quite a bit of restraint to not put down the Westy 12s I had at in de Vrede in two minutes. Every time you take a sip of this stuff, you instantly want another.

Photo of fiver29
4.78/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours dark brown with a white head. Has a brown sugar aroma to it with some malt undertones. Mouthfeel is medium-light with a lot of tiny bubbles for carbonation. I really like the feel of this beer. Taste is very complex. There is candi sugar, dark fruit, some sweet malt, and a small amount of hop spice. Alcohol is hidden very well. The blend of malt, hops, mouthfeel, and finish makes this a supreme beer. Truly world class.

Photo of TheViolator666
4.69/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Can't believe I got my hands on one of these so easily, excited to drink what is the reigning "World's Best Beer". Cap says 21.04.12 I'm guessing that means it's good 'til 2021?

A: Haven't had many quads yet, but this one pours without any head at all. The color is cloudy dark brown with a reddish/yellow tint. Very slight, if any, lacing.

S: There's alot going on in this one. Smells of sweet raisins/grapes/wine. Sugar coated plums and fermented dark fruits also. Slightly earthy scents as well.

T: The taste is big. The raisiny/fruityness is very forward and is followed by sugar sweetness. I get sort of a caramel covered apple aftertaste, which is extremely delicious. There is somewhat of an alcohol presence, but not as much as expected.

M/D: This is a full bodied, thick beer. Would love to have a bottle to myself in the dead of winter, as this could definitely warm one up.

Just excellent.

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

Here we go, Westy12....

Poured a deep amber, reddish brown color. The head is very faint, only a foamy ring around the outside of the glass at its maximum and quickly dissipated down.

The smell is great, slightly vinous and very complex. Big malt presence in the aroma; caramel, earthy grainy notes, dark fruit or perhaps raisins and a hint of cider all compliment each other making this beers bouquet very rich and complex.

The taste has a big malt sweetness up front. Raisins, dark fruit, caramel, cider and earthy notes come from big malt flavor up front. The alcohol is present but not too overpowering. Huge flavor with a big sweet chewy and syrupy mouth feel that is just right and not over done. The aftertaste is warm with a hint of hop bitterness that lingers on the palate balancing out the big malt presence up front.

I can definitely see why this is the reigning champ of beers!


Photo of sisuspeed
4.69/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First Westvleteren 12, very excited to try this one.

Pours a dark reddish-brown, with very little head that dissipates to almost nothing. The smell is ripe fruits with a syrupy sugar glaze. With this comes some fruity esters from the high ABV. To be more precise, I would say the smell is almost vinous, fermented grapes.

The flavor is extremely sweet upfront, followed by fruits and maltiness. The finish is very warm with an alcohol mixed malt flavor. This beer is like liquid candy and warm alcohol. Tastes delicious.

The mouthfeel is smooth and warm. The consistency seems about perfect. Aside from the huge sweetness factor and the high ABV, this is a very drinkable beer. However, I don't think I would want more than two in a sitting.

So, I have finally had the highly renowned Westvleteren 12. Tonight I tried this beer along side the St. Bernardus 12, which was my favorite trappist beer up to this point. I've also had the Rochefort 10, but after drinking these two I think I need to try it again. Drinking the St. Berndardus and Westvleteren head to head has really helped define the differences in these beers. In terms of appearance, the St. Bernardus looks much more attractive to me. However, I found myself liking the overall flavor of the Westvleteren more, and since beer is mostly about flavor, I tip my hat to the Westy. It truly is an exceptional beer.

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

21.04.12, poured into a snifter.

Color is a lighter mahogany in direct light and a deep red at the thickest part of the glass. Pours with little to no head. Very clear. Smells pretty crazy for a beer! More like a plum wine, white grape juice, mead, sherry or even Manischewitz. Very sweet, fairly alcoholic.

Tastes smooth, barely carbonated but slightly sharp. Again, very sweet with a medium body that starts with those same aromatic notes of white grape and evolves into a pleasant caramel malt before leaving a lingering hoppy bitterness. This reminds me very much more of a sherry with its flatness and the fruit notes, but without some of the mouthfeel. Alcohol fumes are quite effervescent here despite the low carbonation. There is a lot of cake at the bottom and it loosens a little as poured, so leaving the final inch or so in the bottle. Refilling the glass has produced a slightly cloudier pour that retains the same characteristics except with slightly more malt shining through as it warms a little and slightly more yeasty aftertaste... which makes sense.

Pretty good, I'd say! Not sure if this becomes my definitive quad, but for sure it's a very interesting one and appreciably complex. I wouldn't mind sipping away at it again.

Photo of jdubjacket
4.92/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ah, I am reviewing the granddaddy of them all. Thanks to my dad for getting me a sixer of all three Westvleterens.

Pours a deep brown with amber hues. Almost no head to speak of. Good amount of sediment in the glass. Only some lacing.

Smells like angels tears. Very sweet, likely the malt coupled with the alcohol presence. Traces of prunes and raisins.

Tastes like...joy. Plain and simple joy. Brown sugar, lots of malt, alcohol, dark fruits, toffee, a hint of chocolate, and mildly spicy. Aftertaste provides a delicious malt aftertaste that lingers with you.

Perfectly carbonated mouthfeel. Dangerously drinkable despite the ABV.

Well, I have had it. Nothing else to drink now. Overall, this is one beer that lives up to its hype. Coupling its quality with its rarity makes this beer a real treat.

Photo of degerbah
4.38/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Here we go...the big one. Thanks to Mwa423 for making this possible. Poured a hazy deep brown into my delerium tremens glasses. Almost no head at all in the glass. Smell is somewhat boozy with a lot of malt presence.

The first taste was extremely sweet with a lot of malt presence. Thick taste sits on the tongue. After just a few sips and I can feel the alcohol in my face.

Unbelievably drinkable for the alcohol content. Extremely hard to get unfortunately and althought it is easily one of my favorites of all time, but I think I just prefer my RIS's better.

Photo of CoolJosh
4.73/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I finally got to try this beer! Huge thanks to Deuane and Carolyn (Sierrags), I owe you two big time!!!

Poured into a stemmed tulip from a 12oz bottle. The appearance defines eye candy. A very hazy and viscous brown with no visibility through the body. Pours an initially foamy creamy light khaki head with streaks of what looks like cocoa powder. The head retains at a creamy, thin layer. Slight lacing rests about an inch above the body.

The smells is mind numbingly complex. Every time my nose takes a whiff, I smell something different. I want to break this down as far as I can so hear goes... Tons of toffee/bitter caramel scents, light belgian candied sugars, raisins, white grapes, brown sugar, light coriander, semi tart cherry, and some light cocoa scents. The smell isn't in your face, but it blends so well together.

The taste is exceptional in the same way that the scent is. Everything noted in the scent is visible in the taste in some form or another in addition to some figs, vanilla, and some plum and red grapes. This beer is so smooth, I don't know if this has come with age (2.5 years cellared) or what, but this is such a well crafted beer.

Initially, the high carbonation is a little bit off-putting, but as it warms and dies down it becomes much more pleasing. I didn't really understand the darker complex belgians when I began my journey. Beers like this, Rochefort 8/10, and St Bernardus 12 really help in making sense of the magical and mythical works of the trappists!

Photo of Arbitrator
3.72/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bottle into a glass.

A: Pours a magnificent chestnut brown with moderate light penetration. Despite a vigorous pour, the only bubbles churned up are from agitation; retention is nonexistent, no donut, no lacing. Meh.

S: My first thought was that this smells like a wine. Lots of ripe, pungent dark fruit (red grapes, dates, figs) with the slightest hint of a boozy warmth. Phenolic spice character, candied sugar, and some yeast in there as well. At times I get a cinnamon-infused banana bread character. Wow.

T: It starts off with yeast, but progresses into a restrained sweetness consisting of bread, graham crackers, and dark fruits. I taste a lot of grape/raisin, and some lesser dates and figs. Spiciness is actually pretty mild, pricking the tongue just slightly here and there. Very light candi sugar is tasted throughout. Despite all this, the beer finishes, amazingly, a tad on the dry side. Impressive. Kind of expecting more spice though.

M: I'll be honest, I expect lively carbonation in Belgians. This beer poured flat, and suffers a bit for it, but it makes it up with a fairly attenuated body that doesn't let the sweetness become too much. Despite smelling a touch of the booze, I never tasted it and never felt it while drinking -- although walking straight was a challenge afterward.

D: It's a great beer, but in almost a dozen bottles of having this, I can't recall one that was above a wisp of carbonation. Maybe I have bad luck or maybe this beer just lacks in that department. I don't care for that. Given the difficulty of acquiring it, I give the nod to St. Bernardus 12 here.

Photo of natasharai
4.32/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured with a tan creamy head that dissipated to no head leaving very little lacing. The beer is dark dark brown with a reddish tint, and is pretty cloudy. No light shows through when held up to a light source.

Smell: Dark fruit, figs and plums. Sweet candied sugar, sweet red grapes, strong honey, sweet allspice berries and cardamon spice.

Taste: What I expect after the smell. Sweet grape and cherry, alcohol spice that remains throughout, plums and figs, allspice berry, honey, and sweet malty grain.

Mouthfeel: Thick body, good carbonation, very sweet and syrupy, alcohol burn, leaves mouth a bit sticky but also somewhat clean.

Overall: Good drinkability, a bit more alcohol spice than I would like, nice sweet fruity character. Very complex sweet flavors, but the spice could be more prevalent. Overall great beer! Worth trying despite the cost or troubles.

Thank you Hophead101!!!

Photo of bobsy
4.19/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First bottle of Westy came out of nowhere. Kinda fell into my lap without so much as a fanfare or accrued quest to find it, so hopefully this cut down hype generating expetations. I didn't write notes, but wanted to put down a few thoughts to act as a placeholder for a more considered tasting. I'll drink this in Belgium next month, but here's a bottle drank in Canada...

Oaken pour with a very thin tan head that dissipated to a film. The retention and lacing isn't all that good, but it has a nice higher ABV, so I'll cut it some slack.

Aroma of raisins, chocolate, brown sugar and marzipan. Sweet, rich and enticing... while the appearance was a bit of a disappointment, the aroma is certainly all I would hope for. The taste is also excellent, though not quite the heavenly elixir I was led to believe. Again, strong dark fruit notes mingle with chocolate, sweet spice and burned sugar. The body is smooth, but could do with being a bit thicker to punch up the flavour and add some more luxury to it. Nonetheless this is a minor quibble.

An excellent beer, and the world number one, if not mine. I can see why people like it, but for me it doesn't stand out from the crowd.

Photo of BeTheBall
4.72/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Trappist Westvleteren goblet after getting a HOLE IN ONE yesterday. What a way to celebrate. Dark opaque brown with a frothy two finger head; some minor lacing down the glass. Smell was heavenly; dark fruits, malty with some spice, sweet. Taste was similar, very complex; sweet and dry at the same time, very rich fruit flavor; figs, raisins, dates? Amazing how long down the throat the flavors continue. As it warmed it was slightly easier to taste the 10% ABV. Mouthfeel was really good, with a high degree of carbonation to keep all corners of the pallette involved in the pleasure. Drinkability from a flavor standpoint is good, but this one sneeks up on you. A powerhouse of alcohol.

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

Oh my God, I'm drinking a Westvleteran 12. Poured out of a bottle into a goblet.

A- Beautiful dark brown color, thin to no head. Beautiful auburn.

S- Malty sweetness with a high alcohol smell.

T- Completely unique. Waves of flavor assault the palate. First yeast, then malts, then a short glimpse of booze with a finish and aftertaste of hops. Completely different from anything I've ever exprienced.

M- Substantial, yet comfortable. Not too thick to make it syrupy, but not too thin to make it insubstantial.

D- Superior to most flavorful beers, it's not too heavy to drink more than one or two of. I'd drink it all night if I had access to them.

This beer is not all hype. Well worth the money.

Photo of BrewSomerville
4.16/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Aroma: Dark fruits. Plums, raisins, prunes. Spices.
Looks: Very little head. (I poured it sort of gently into a Konnigss Hoeven goblet). Light brown with orange/copper highlights. No lace.

Taste: Some alcoholic warmth. Same flavours as in aroma, but with a little bitterness to balance. There was some noticeable sweetness left in the beer. There is lots of depth and complexity here. I enjoyed the beer, and I know that it enjoys a great reputation, but I picked up some almost worty flavours in it.

Mouthfeel: Chewy, full bodied. Low carbonation, which suited the beer nicely.

Photo of hughesm4
4.76/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drank a portion of a bottle poured into a glass.

A. Great. A dark red/brown in color that is opaque. It aslo has an epic head that just sits on the side of the glass.

S. The only thing that is not exceptional about the beer. Doesn't have any overpowering elements, but a very nice blend of smells.

T. A terrific taste. A very nice blend of spices, with a slight bitterness in the back of the mouth. The beer keeps getting better and better with each drink you take.

M. Well carbonated, you get a different feeling on every part of your tongue while you are drinking it. The flavors stick to the back of your mouth well after you are done drinking.

D. Goes down very well. I drank slowly to enjoy the taste, however it tastes better when it is gulped.

Photo of ThaBobfather
4.88/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Courtesy of mwa423.

Pours a silky beer red/brown mud hut color with an inch of medium bodied but long lasting tanish/beige head. Retains in the glass remarkably.
Smell has got sweet malts, grain, banana bread, and spice.
Taste has different flavors on each drink. I get spice and sweet malt through the first few drinks, then becomes spicy with some non-citrus fruit on the next few sips. They blend together greatly.
I stopped drinking this nearly 3 minutes ago and I've still got some Belgian spice and grain on my palate.
One of my friends said this, and I agree, this is a much better gulper than a sipper. You do the math...

Photo of Casey10
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this for my 50th review on Ba quite excited to finally try this.

A - Dark amber color tan wispy head.

S - grape, fig, spices

T - This is were it gets good very nice tastes of grape cherry, spices gets even better as it warms up a bit. Very complex.

M - smooth and warm leaves a lasting taste that stays with you.

D - Very good could drink a bunch but wouldn't want to over due it either.

Photo of coldmeat23
4.15/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
DATE ON CAP: 19.03.11

Pours up a very dark, almost opaque, golden brown. Slightly more than a fingers worth of light tan colored foam makes the head. It recedes to a foamy film that sits on the surface throughout the rest of the glass. Lacing is in slightly thick ropes and is quite clingy.

Oh, man, it does smell wonderful. Like a huge basket full of dark fruits at varying degrees of ripeness. This creates an almost wine-like scent. Bold hints of candi sugars. Subtle malty presence. Cherries, grapes, figs and pomegranates....it smells almost candy-like. As it warms a touch of nice yeastiness comes out.

Wow, this alot drier than the nose foretold. It's not totally dry, to be honest. It has a nice level of sweetness on the tongue, but is really dry around the edges. Candi sugars and malts are fairly subdued, here. A bit of yeasty bread smothered in a dark fruit jam.
Maybe I need to try one that's been aged for awhile, but I'm not really ecstatic about this one. I expected a little more complexity and seperation of flavors. It's actually fairly subdued and the flavors are all blended together.

The body is on the lower end of the 'full' side of the spectrum. Carbonation is very well done. Silky smooth and a touch creamy. Very nice.

This is totally a highly drinkable brew, but, honestly, if I'm going to drink a Quad, which I often do, I'd probably reach for a different one than this, first.

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,131 ratings.