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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5,034 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,034
Reviews: 1,636
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 3,031
Gots: 1,496 | FT: 106
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
(Yellow Cap)

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001)
View: Beers (3) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,034 | Reviews: 1,636 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Kegatron
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

.33 l bottle into a Chimay goblet. Thanks to deepsouth for the trade and opportunity to try this.

Pours a dark brown with +1 fingers of creamy looking tan foam head. The retention is just beautiful looking, with a smooth and creamy layer that sticks around for a good bit and leaves behind thick lacing that coats the sides of the glass and then cascades down. This is one of those beers that I could just sit there and watch swirl around in the glass for hours on end. The bouquet on this is quite a complex and well balanced little fume of aromas with sweet notes of cocoa powder, vanilla, and candied sugar giving way to dark fruit tartness and the scent of an earthy oakiness. There is quite a nice contrast and interplay between the sweet and tart notes.

The taste profile is similar to the aroma being both complex, well balanced and layered. A delicious sweet mix of candied sugars, chocolate, and bready malts with some deep dark fruit notes and spices. There is also an earthy feel and yeast presence but they are very subtle and integrated perfectly into the surroundings. For me though, the mouthfeel of this beer is where is absolutely excels. It's got a very rich texture yet still feels smooth and mellow in the mouth with fantastic carbonation. There is maybe just the teeniest, tiniest bit of alcohol in the body but for the most part that 10+% ABV is absolutely no where to be found.

This beer carries a lot of expectations and while it wasn't quite a perfect beer for me, it still came pretty darn close. The look, smell, and taste of this are outstanding but it's the body and drinkibility that are truly world class, being rich and complex but still immensely smooth and quaffable. Absolutely worth seeking out.

Photo of Oxymoron
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to brianj555 for trade. Now I know what the hype is about. Pours a very cloudy, chestnut brownish color. A soft off white head with a light tan hue to it. Good retention through the tasting though hid to the side of the glass. I don't know why but I guess I was expecting more viscous of a liquid. Not bad just thinking aloud.

The nose is rich with malt and some very nice esters that blend really well. Overall that is what is great is that everything is present but nothing dominates. To start there is a very complex malt with hints of caramel and sweet bready and light note of biscuit. Hints of cinnamon and cloves but brings the breadiness out. A minor chocolate notes. Great fruity aromas that blend well. Some figs, raisins, plums and olives (yes olives). Some minor cherry and rose peddles. The yeast notes are light with no major residual, most esters. Some alcohol but light as well.

The taste is similar where the flavors are present but don't dominate. Very well balanced. The malt is prominent than what the nose indicated. There is a nice blend of caramel and bready flavors. The chocolate comes out but doesn't give it a lactic quality. There is a bit of roast that is noticeable in the finish. Less spice flavors but still leaves the bready quality in the flavor. Some salty and peppery flavors in the finish as well. The fruit notes seemed lighter than the nose (maybe why the malt came out). Figs and cherries really come out more but limited raisins and plums. Hints of pears and mangos as well. The yeast again is really subtle. As is the alcohol, but some minor solvent notes are detectable.

The body is really key here. There is noticeable body here but finishes dry for style. Just interesting to see all the flavor come out and then drop out with a lingering flavor. Overall a great beer. Loved the complexity and blend overall. I can see why this is a treat for so many!

Photo of Bierguy5
4.95/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review # 700. .33L bottle, 10.2% ABV. Date on cap appears to be 08 04 09. Pours a chestnut color, with a good deal of sediment, even with a careful pour. Tan fluffy head trickled down to a thin collar very quickly.

To describe the aroma as complex would be an understatement. Figs, raisins, rum soaked sweetbread, ripe fruit, alcohol, and some spices just to start off. What a great combonation. A beer that you could sit and smell forever.

Huge amount of ripe and dark fruit, along with some fig. Good amount of boozy flavor, without being overbearing. Hints of sweetness, but very well balanced. Long lingering rum soaked raisin finish.

Very warming, without being too hot. This could probably age with the best of them. Light body, with a good amount of carbonation aids in drinkability. What a world-class beer!

Photo of punkindrublic50
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Absolutely deserving of the best beer in the world title. Has such an utter depth and complexity it will leave your head spinning. Aesthetics are quite nice with a dark color and a pleasant tan head, but the smell is when you realize something incredibly is coming. Fruits, spices, candy, it just hits you all at once with an intensity even stronger than a Dogfish 120.

On a side note, if at all possible wait to try this beer until you are able to make the pilgrimaged out to the monastery in Belgium. The surrounding country is some of the most peaceful and quiet farmland I've ever seen, and builds up the experience of trying the beer to a whole new level.

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

Appearance- Pours with a large off-white head that just wont quit. Carbonation is very pronounced, right up the middle and color of the beers is a very deep delicious looking amber.

Smell- Notes of fruit with an undertone of alcohol. Smell is definitely the weakest part of this beer but it is still quite lovely. Smell almost seems to be running away from the beer and into my nose.

Taste- WOW!!! Very thick on the tongue, alcohol is very well disguised and beer is incredibly balanced. Hints of chocolate, ever so slight bitterness, candy, and some candied fruit flavors. Carbonation has slight pop on the aftertaste that really leaves the taste to linger.

Mouthfeel- So thick! I can almost chew this beer, its truly wonderful, fills palate and the taste just lingers for ages.

Drinkability- A+ no doubt about it this beer is delicious and has no peer that Ive yet tried.

Update to review: Tasted this beer again at the 2013 "The Festival" in Portland, Me.

This is only my second time ever seeing or having this beer. What struck me most about it upon a second try was the predominance of chocolate that I tasted. It is very delicious, perhaps a little boozy once it starts warming up, but a very, very tasty beer.

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

I have gotten several of these in trades and this is about my 4th one but have just started reviewing.

Poured into a chimay goblit. Looks beautiful. Nice tan head that stays through with a nice brown body.

Smells of dark fruits, spices and candy sugar. Simply awesome smell.

Tastes just as it smells and is simply amazing. I am very fortunate to have a couple of these and will always keep a
couple around since it is a top five brew that I have had. Recomend that everyone try this one because it will knock your socks off.

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

Deep mahogony in color this poured a thick fluffy beige head. The nose gave off complex scents of sweet dark fruit, raisins, dark malt, chocolate dipped toffee, yeast, mineral and dark caramel. In the mouth it was medium-bodied with nice concentration yet light-on-its-feet due to the abundance of carbonation. The mouthfeel is soft and round with good richness in the midpalate which adds some dry/bitterness on the finish. Balance is the key work here and it has that in spades!

Photo of dill
4.6/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is obviously one that I was looking forward to. Some friends from Belgium and I used the opportunity to cook some game and drink this from some Westvleteren chalices which had a really nice shape to them. The bottle had been aged 5 years. When we poured it out it was difficult to get a decent head on it. My friend thought perhaps we should have washed the glasses a bit differently. The smell and taste were rich with toffee. It had a nice sweetness to it that gave way to some warmth from the alcohol at the end. A very fine beer, and one that I will look forward to trying fresh.

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

An unmarked, unlabeled 12 oz bottle purchased from the Bier Tempel in Brussels. I saved this, my first taste of the Westvleteren 12, for the last night of my first trip to Belgium, August 2007. I refused to brush my teeth before bed that night...

It glows a gorgeous burgundy when held up to the ceiling but is quite dark away from the lights. The beer is, at normal angle, only a shade or two deeper than scarlet or the aforementioned burgundy; such a lovely colour. A dusty white coloured head perches atop, appearing thin but is, in actuality, quite thick and sturdy along the perimeter.

The aroma is a soft mix of nuts, caramel and bready malts. The yeast seems to accentuate something akin to pralines or walnuts. I finally would place creme brulee in the smell as well. Almonds maybe, raisins for sure. Became increasingly fruity. Even though I didn't find the aroma to live up to other aspects of the beer, no arguments here, this is one beautiful yeast! In this beer's case, the smell mimics the taste (not vice versa), although it hardly hints at how great it is...

A very neat water profile. The yeast and mineral character of the water seem to play with one another. There is little carbonation with a sandy texture. The flavours don't seem to last too long on the tongue, they are very gentle.

I was completely and utterly taken away with the flavour - it is loaded and lovely. Notes of dates, prunes, plums, and increasingly, a strong taste of grapes. Slightly chocolaty alongside flavour of nuts and raisin. My first impression of the Westvleteren 8 was 'chocolate covered raisins' which is the same idea here.

Sampling the trio all in one night I wasn't sure, initially, which one I like best. But I simply kept upping the marks in the 12, growing to like it more and more and more and more. I wish I was a monk...

Is this damn good? Yes. Great? Yea. Amazing? Well... yea.
This is unique, as all Trappists are. Is it better? Not necessarily. Each Trappists is unique and to be appreciated in its own right. Is this deserving of the title of worlds best? Well... I overheard a server here in Belgium put it best: "whatever beer you like, then that is a good beer"...

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

A 2001 vintage Westy 12 was the grand finale of my 05/21/08 tasting with a friend. Poured into an Ommegang chalice.

Appearance: A deep, crystalline brown with a roaring ocean of head yields delicate, mild lacing. Looks downright regal in the chalice I had mine in. It's not huge, it's not flat - it just looks great.

Aroma: Loads of goodies here. Raisins and other sweet stone fruits, light woody tannins, licorice, both light, sweet sugars and darker, molasses-esque sugars. Some sweet, spicy alcohol too. Divine.

Taste: Mmmph. So wonderfully complex. Sweet, bready and caramel malts and fruit sugars - figs, cherries - are reminiscent of Christmas pudding. Light, simple sugars - honey, pure brown sugar and molasses notes - are balanced by mild, spicy, dry hops, and that delicious, deceptively-smooth alcohol in the finish rounds things out. Divin ... er?

Mouthfeel: Goose-feather pillow, and maybe the best feeling beer I've ever had. The profile is easily the most even - velvet smoothness, with a medium-to-high body. Amazing.

Drinkability: My notes just say "OMG," I guess I was pretty gone by this point. But this beer was truly phenomenal - the alcohol was barely noticeable, and everything was balanced so perfectly you can't help but take another sip. And so I did.

A classic - the classic perhaps - and rightfully so. Perfect in most ways a beer can be perfect, if you ever are lucky enough to get your hands on one of these ... well, I'll pay you for it.

Photo of gford217
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Rating #100! Bottle courtesy of deepsouth poured into a snifter. Bottle cap dated 18.12.10. Big, big thanks Jason!

A: Pours a beautiful deep brown with mahogany hints around the edges. The head is a rocky off-white two fingers thick which lingers for quite a while and leaves minimal lacing.

S: Where do I start with the aroma? Sweet bready caramel malts with huge dark fruit aromas of raisins and plums up front. Big and complex with molasses, brown sugar, and some spices on top of that. Just a wonderfully aromatic brew.

T: Just like the smell, the taste is just incredibly complex and wonderful. There is a prevailing sweetness that pervades the entire flavor with molasses, dark fruit, caramel, and vanilla. Spices are also present but perfectly balanced with the sweetness and malts.

M: Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth but with a nice big carbonation that tickles the tongue. I honestly don't think you could improve the mouthfeel...exceptional.

D: Well, what else to add to the praise? I'm not sure if this is the best beer I've ever had, but it's pretty damn close. It's unbelievably complex but extremely drinkable and is certainly the best of the style I have ever tasted.

Thanks again to Jason for sharing the wealth!

Photo of Redwood21
4.78/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: my only complaint was the head on mine really didnt stick around for the party. my friend who was next to me had a ring of head that survived the drink so i split the distance between 4 and 5. it has an almost cola color and the head is thin and white

S: nothing too strong, as it warmed the bouquet opened up. there is an almost prune aroma with a some what sweet ester as a backbone. the aroma ends with a slight yeasty kick.

T: when you drink this beer at a cooler temp you are cheating yourself. it starts out with a bit of alcohol and yeasty fruit taste. as it warms it really opens up. you have a semi sweet start (think a raspberry in a bitter chocolate shell) and a spicey back of your tongue finish. as it warms it also becomes more smooth there is an earthy caramel taste as well, not sweet, but still caramel. there is also the yeasty component that is most evident on the finish and is more pungent than a hefe.

M/D: as it warms it becomes amazingly smooth and easy to drink. the carbonation is very easy and does not distract. the drinkability only gets a 4.5 because im not sure i could sit and just go at this all day. I know id never turn one down, but it also might not be the first beer i grab (may...)

this is a fun, interesting beer to get the pleasure to try. if you like quads it wont disappoint...

Thanks hoeferweisen for the bottle

Photo of RixBeer
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An extra from an awesome trade with deepsouth! Brown label-less bottle. Like all Westvleteren all information is on the cap. Trappist Westvleteren, "bevat gerstemout", bier, 12 circled,bier, 10% vol... I really do believe that "God's Brewers" should be added somewhere.

Brown with hints of dark cherry in color with light carb bubbles and a 1/3" head that fades to 1/4". Head is cream white. Looks like a thicker cider.

Smells of raisins, caramel and slightly sweet. Spicy alcohol fill the end of the inhale.

Suede Mouthfeel with a medium carbonation. The spicy character hides the malt nicely. Pretty sweet like with a nice warming from the ever present alcohol. Lingering spiciness and dry fruit flavors.
Very creamy mouthfeel, very smooth.

O the big flaw is how smooth this beer is. Hell I didn't want to wait for it to warm up a little. This has been the most impatient I've been with a beer. Waiting this glass to warm as I drank it made me agitated. I wanted to keep drinking this amazing beer. To to drinkable. I wish I could buy a 6 pack of Westy 12's at ANY store.

My hats of to the monks of Trappist Westvleteren.

Photo of RomanW70
4.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My first Westy 12! Dark brown with a cramy tan that disappears into a ring. Huge thanks to Old Style Cub fan! Huge and beautiful aroma of cherries, brown sugar, raisins, figs. Amazing flavor, fresh and strong, yet extremely complex. Has a strong vineous quality. Finish is beautifully smooth and sweet. There's a lot going on in this beer. It's worthy of its top beer titile!

Photo of falcon1
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Without any doubt, Trappist Westvleteren 12 is one of the finest beers, if not the best, in the world. The aroma and taste of this outstanding trappist quadrupel is exceptional and extraordinary, to say the least. It ages extremely well and its drinkability is truly remarkable.

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

Enjoying this during Masters weekend!
Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights. Just a froth of head appears on the pour.
Smell is dark fruits, belgian candy sugar and some alcohol. Taste is pretty complex and quite nice. More of the dark fruits in the start, then there is a sense of spice with a roasted, smokey flavor to finish. Velvety smooth on the mouthfeel and easy drinking. Just enough alcohol to notice in each sip. Excellent brew, but #1 beer in the world?

Photo of chemmie
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drinking at my home, in a Trappist Westvleteren goblet. Both the beer and goblet were purchased a De Bierkonig in Amsterdam.

This is (I'm still drinking as I write) a great beer.
Nice smell. A little bit of natural vanilla and some figs. It's a very sweet smell. It gives you a good clue as to the sweet taste that is to come.
Not too hard hitting like some of the other stronger Belgians out there. I'm suprised this is as drinkable as it is. I could drink a few of these.
The carbonation is nice and bubbly, but fades rather quickly. The immediate taste is of sugary figs. It leaves almost a licorice aftertaste behind, that sticks around for a couple minutes after each sip.
It is a very complex, and very sweet, flavor without being too hard on the palate.

I'd have to say this beer was worth the money, and worth the wait. It certainly lives up to the hype.

Photo of bulletrain76
4.43/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

At Gollem, Amsterdam, 12-2-07. Dark brown, beige head, lace. Looks perfect in its own chalice, very elegant. My first impression of the aroma is lots of yeast; very bready and doughy. Then prunes, dates, and pure malt; not overly sweet, and very intricate. the flavor is bready as well; plenty of spice and dried fruit, but not sugary., and surprisingly not as sweet as the other abts I've had. No alcohol flavor. The palate is very smooth and full, almost perfect. Goes down cleanly with a finish that leaves a pleasant but not overly sweet taste in your mouth for quite a while. I knew that they would have this when I was planning my trip to Amsterdam, but I was almost in disbelief until I actually ordered it and forked over the twelve euros. It was served out of the cellar, like the St. Bernardus 12 that I had the nigh before, and that temperature perfectly complimented its flavors. As the last of the top three abts to have rated, in comparison I would say that westy is by far the most drinkable and balanced. I think that Rochefort has more complexities in the aroma, which I really like, but it can be too rich and alcoholic. St Bernardus is about the same in intensity as westy, but lacks the powerful yeastiness and complexity of flavor. Price wise, is it three times better than St Bernardus? No way, and I know I'll be lucky to get another one any time soon, which I guess is part of the mystique.

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

Finally had the chance to try this with a non ba friend of mine.
Pours a cloudy dark brown. Would have been clear, but I got over zealous with the pour and let some yeasties in. Thin whitish head doesn't stick around very long.
Aroma starts off with some vanilla and slight chocolate, but really comes to live as the brew warms. Banana's, plums, lots of malty goodness. Taste is caramel, dried fruit some alcohol as she warms. Medium mouthfeel with a bit of stickeyness. Nice carbonation. Definately worthy of the hype.

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

Bought eight of these at De Bier Tempel in Brussels and brought them back to the US. Shared some with friends. Want an amazing find.

Pours a very dark brown with not much head into my authentic Westvleteren chalice. Oh, the anticipation.

The smell in taste are remarkably complex. Banana, wheatiness, great subtle spiciness, nice full malt sugars. Every taste reveals additional flavors. In some ways it tastes like a nice wheat doppelbock. And the alcohol is so incredibly well concealed.

Amazing. I could drink this beer forever. And I don't think I'm being biased by the hype.

Photo of russpowell
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Cheers to brianj555 for this one! Decanted into a duvel tulip. 18/12/10 on the bottle cap

Pours a red tinged chestnut with 2+ fingers of sand colored head. Very good lacing & head retention, almost pulled 5.0...

S: Fruittyness, a touch of chocolate; dark fruit takes over as this warms

T: Dark fruits, some cocoa, licorice& touch of boozyness up front. Loads of dark fruit, raisins, figs, & dates, plus dryness as this warms, along with some warming booze & just a touch of leafy hops, plus brown sugar. Finishes fruitty with woody dryness & a touch of vanilla & some tobacco like hops

MF: Medium bodied, with pretty lively carbonation, this one brings a an overall warming sensation

Drinks pretty good for the ABV & complexity, maybe a touch hot alcohol-wise, but in line with the style. A super, quad, this is the best quad I've had. The flavor & aromatics are superior for the style. I could happily stock this in my cellar, but I am just as happy with St. Benardus Abt 12 & Pannepot (sic). Now to go get those other 50 or so top 100 beers I must try before I die!

Photo of Proteus93
4.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finally having the opportunity to take part in the 'earned hype.' I had been looking forward to this for a little while, and went about getting the temperature just right and so forth

A: A very dark brown pour, with a touch of ruby highlights. Surprisingly dark, moreso than I was expecting. A two finger head, pale tan / offwhite, nice and sticky, good retention. I was quite pleasantly surprised by the size of the head on here, especially considering the ABV.

S: A ton of dark fruit, sweet candi sugar scents, almost caramel like, too. A smoky, and woody quality, kinda oak like.

T: Sugary dark fruit... A very notable raisin, fig, and date flavour. A warm, alcohol flavour... A little sweet, a little tart, a little peppery/spicy. A nice earthiness, smokiness, leather and tobacco. A lot going on, and beautifully balanced. Certainly my favourite of the trappists, and a very fine abbey ale.

M: Big, rich, and round. A nice, fizzle of carbonation over the tongue, swirled through the mouth, and easing to soft and smooth on the finish, leaving the warmth and rich flavour on the finish.

D + Notes: An excellent beer, and unfortunate to only have one bottle. It drinks incredibly smooth and soft, with an excellent sense of satisfaction after a glass. It has certainly secured a place among the best of the best, and well worth seeking out to try. Almost frighteningly drinkable, and perhaps the closest thing to perfection that I have had the opportunity to taste.

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

24.09.11 Cheers!!!

Pours a beautiful dark maroon color! I cant believe how beautiful this rich, dark , and inviting beer is. The monks got this right!

The smell from the bottle is a little boozy and full of dark fruits. Plum, grape, and raisins make up this bouquet of a brew!

Okay, now on too the taste. I seriously can not wait to try this again! wait for, this is so drinkable. It has a very nice fruit and nut flavor! Prunes, grapes and cashews make up the taste! It does have a boozy taste however its incredibly drinkable!

PS no special occasion I just couldn't wait any longer!

Thanks to bassmantin for sharing this brew.

The appearance was a dark prune color with minimal head. The smell was sweet and complex. As for the taste...mmmm, exotic fruits and a warm, yet subtle, alcohol taste made this brew a classy beer.

The mouth-feel was lite and delicious. I really enjoy this beer. I've never been a huge fan of Belgian brews because of the headaches they cause me but this beer is amazing.

I enjoy this beer. Get it. It will last forever!

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

Parents brought this back from Belgium, damn that was pretty cool of them.

appearance: pours a surprisingly clear amber into a red wine glass.
nice head gives way to some small lacing. The second pour is much more thick and cloudy, more yeast in this half.

smell: a very wonderful smell of figs and rum. sugar coated raisins come to mind as well.

taste: a blend of smooth alcohol, and warm brown sugars. Figs again come to mind. It's sweet, but in the perfect way, it's not cloying at all. The alcohol gives it great balance, and there is some hop dry bitterness there as well. Masterfully crafted.

mouthfeel: light going down, and yet has the right amount of body to sail perfectly over the tongue.

Drinkabilty: through the charts, it's hard to set this one down. On the other hand it's certainly a sipper.

The legendary Westy lives up to its reputation. It's a bit sad to think I won't be able to try this one again for some time, but good old St. Bernardus can keep me company in the meantime.

Photo of marksto
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at the Tampa BA gathering 5/5/08. I think I'd had this one before but it has been a very long time. Pours a tawny, cloudy, light brown color with thin head of dense bubbles. Medium retention. Aroma displays very nice complexity - fruit, light spice, malt sweetness, even the slight essence of juicy fruit gum. The flavor builds on the notes in the nose. Brown sugar, carmel, light cinnamon, with dark fruit essences. Alcohol is well hidden beneath it all. The key is the wonderful balance of all of them - sweetness, bitterness, and fruitiness all interplay wonderfully.

Reviewing the beer long rated #1 here brings mixed feelings. Certainly it is an excellent beer, but I also believe there are some better ones out there, and my scores on this and those beers reflect that. Then again, it's all about individual tastes and how they reflect on a common scoring system. Any true conniseur knows there really is no #1 - there is a grouping of world class beers and this one belongs in the upper echelons of that group. 'Nuff said.

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,034 ratings.