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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.

4,697 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,697
Reviews: 1,615
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 8.89%
Wants: 2,885
Gots: 1,352 | FT: 105
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)
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: 4,697 | Reviews: 1,615 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rkhaze
4.95/5  rDev +7.4%

Aaah yes..the Westy 12. This bad boy poured a cloudy dark brown with a medium sized dense head and suspended yeast. Aromas of sweet malt, brown sugar, loads of ripe fruit, honey and alcohol.
Complex taste of sweet grainy malt, brandy soaked ripe stone fruits of all colors, and a bit of nuttiness. There was a tangy bitterness and mildly raw alcohol flavor that actually contributed to the overall experience by cutting the almost cloying sweetness.
Full viscous, sticky, creamy mouthfeel with killer carbonation that made it feel smooth, velvety and supremely drinkable.
Another masterpiece from my brown hooded brothers!

rkhaze, Dec 26, 2003
Photo of RoyalT
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%

Appearance – Thick, dark brown with live carbonation and a monster head that went down slowly and puddled at the end.

Smell – Big, sweet, buttery malts lead this one off. This is followed by an array of fruity smells that are very rich and thick. Sharp, heavy maple and molasses bring up the rear of this BSDA, giving it a wonderful bouquet indeed.

Taste – This is exceptional. The rich buttery malt base is there, laden with alcohol. Behind that are the fruits. They are dark and extremely ripe. The overripe apricots, dark cherries, and figs all seem to be smashed together (well blended) and covered in sugars of all types, especially brown and raw.

Mouthfeel – Full in the body and extremely smooth and buttery. This one defines creaminess at its best. The carbonation is very live and fluffy.

Drinkability – This is truly a BSDA classic that lives up to the hype. It will always be towards the top of the ratings list.

Comments – With almost zero availability here in Seattle, I was thrilled when I got this one from OldFrothingSlosh in the Christmas Beer Exchange coordinated by Richard, Mr. Big Dog himself. Thanks to the giving spirit of the BA community for giving me the opportunity to try this most excellent Trappist Ale.

RoyalT, Dec 26, 2003
Photo of Indybeer
4.68/5  rDev +1.5%

11.2 oz bottle. Poured a deep brown, with a huge frothy head that really stuck around. Lots of lace on the glass. Aroma is a complex mix, malty and sweet. Taste is as complex as the aromas. And as it warms it changes. Lots of sweetmalty goodness, nice and creamy feeling and it goes down so nice. The alcohol is nicely hidden, but makes itself known in the end. A thoroughly enjoyable experiance

Indybeer, Dec 25, 2003
Photo of BierReise
4.47/5  rDev -3%

Bottle dated 01-14-06 Poured a cloudy murky brown with small beige head and light lacing. Aroma is decadent. Malty caramel, spicy and big notes of sweet cherries. Body is full, smooth and delicate on the tongue. Possibly the most smooth ale I've experienced. The flavor of this beer is also one to savor and combined with the aroma is one that's hard to beat. That's one thing about this ale I found most impressive. The in your face aroma with the flavor is an onslought of your senses. The malty caramel and fruit flavor leads to a gentle warming sensation towards the middle of the glass. I'm glad I finally had a chance to sample this wonder, but at a price of $13 a bottle it's one I won't enjoy often. The only downfall of this brew.

BierReise, Dec 09, 2003
Photo of HappyHourHero
4.35/5  rDev -5.6%

Thick, shiny, khaki, meringue like head. Awesome l acing. Very dark brown in color with a cola hue. The smell is of dark fruits and a little grape popsicle. The taste is hard to put a finger on. There's some subdued alcohol, a lightly bitter aftertaste, a little Captain and coke? The taste isn't the flavor explosion I was hoping for, but it was interesting. The aftertaste is lightly bitter, just enough to cut the flavor. A really good beer, not quite great, especially when price is brought into the equation.

HappyHourHero, Dec 02, 2003
Photo of jahred
4.68/5  rDev +1.5%

Finally found a bottle of this stuff in the nearby liquor store for $7.99 - will it live up to all the hype?

Bottle cap date of 20.03.05 (I assume a "best by" date?)

Poured a dark brown color with a thin head that remained until I finished the beer. Very pretty foam remnants stick to my glass. Yeast remained in the bottom of the glass even after the pour.

Smell is of alcohol, coffee, esters and cherry - very nice, quite deep.

The taste? Quite complex (as hoped for and expected). Many different flavors as it continues to warm. At first I get plum and caramel with a definite alcoholic taste. Later on an almost milky coffee flavor (this surprised me). Then malty characteristics (more surprises!) Then ester tastes and more caramel. Finally, as I finished the glass, I was hit with a lemon-like flavor. Amazing.

Easy to drink because it's so good, but the large alcohol content definitely was getting to me. Not sure yet if it's worth the $7.99 for a 12 oz. bottle, but it's still pretty amazing.

jahred, Nov 30, 2003
Photo of drewbage
4.58/5  rDev -0.7%

Sampled from 33cl bottle hand carried back from Belgium. (Let's here it for the backpack brigade!)

Dark milk chocolatey brown with muddy clarity.

Aroma is warm leathery fruit aromas mix with chocolates and cherries and alcohol.

Malt is rich and chocolatey with cinnamon, persimmions and tropical grapes.

Acidy sweet finish is long and lingering with spices and plums.

drewbage, Nov 29, 2003
Photo of wyllder
4.1/5  rDev -11.1%


After reading all the hype I managed to order a few bottles of this from Vintage Cellar (www.vintagecellar.com).

Color is exceptional, deep amber with an excellent head.

The first hit on the palate is smooth, clean with good malt and some slight floral hints. A nice warm alcohol rush (surprising) not unlike the warm fuzzy from a liquor.

As noted by everyone else, a very complicated beer. Lots going on with all sorts of flavor hidden in the smooth malts.

Too bad this beer sells for the equivalent of $1.50 in Belgium and costs about $11 a bottle over here whereas other Trappists start at about the same price and end up costing about $5-7 a bottle here. While it is an exceptional beer, it hardly qualifies as being worth the extreme price when you compare it to some of the quality micro-brews available for a fraction of the cost in the states.

Bottom line? Worth trying once unless you live in Belgium.


wyllder, Nov 24, 2003
Photo of merlin48
4.95/5  rDev +7.4%

Brought one bottle of this back from a trip to the Vintage Cellar in Blacksburg, Virginia, 9 days ago. $9.95 a bottle is pretty steep, so let's see what all the fuss is about. Pours an inviting cherry mahogany with a two finger head. Pleanty of lacing. Smells divine, but difficult to describe. Malt and fruitcake? Excellent feel in the mouth. Alcohol is definitely in there. Toffee, Kona coffee, plums, a lot going on here. Very tasty, almost like a separate course of a meal. Delicate lacing and a small yeasty head hang around for quite awhile.

Almost to room temperature now. It's got a kick to it with the high abv. Highly complex all around. Definitely a special occasion brew at the price. This is the best Belgian strong ale I've had in my life, including a few I've had in Belgium. This Westy is, for sure, worthy of its reputation. No sediment noted, and I just drained the bottle. Keeps getting better, and leaves you with a warm feeling. Caramel aftertaste, in a good way. Whew! Quite an experience.

merlin48, Nov 18, 2003
Photo of beerluvr
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Cellared since 1999. Pours with a short lived almost white head featuring large bubbled laciness sitting atop murky brownish-red liquid. Slight oxidation in the nose when first poured, along with brown sugar and lots of malt. The taste is more brown sugar coated malts mixed with plenty of nuttiness followed by some alcohol prescence. Lingering thick maltiness on the palate as it warms, with spicy notes arising along with chocolate notes...sublime.

Thanks to Pabobcat!

beerluvr, Nov 16, 2003
Photo of ColForbin
4.97/5  rDev +7.8%

Westvleteren 12 is a beautiful ruby red that pours with a slight head. Nice lacing on my Chimay chalice as I sip. The nose is full of sour fruit - raisins and plums. The sour nose gives way to a very sweet taste (Belgian candi sugar), but balanced with some bready undertones. This beer could certainly get me through a fast. I'm not sure how the monks maintain their vow of silence after drinking this - all I want to do is talk about it. The body is quite light, actually, but it holds up to the ABV well and makes for a very drinkable beer. I can see how this would get better with age, as some of the residual sugars get munched on by the yeast. I think I'll have to pick up another bottle. I don't know if I am being swayed psychologically by this being the rarest Trappist beer, but it is truly amazing.

ColForbin, Nov 14, 2003
Photo of grynder33
3.93/5  rDev -14.8%

I had been saving my Westy 12 for a special occasion, like maybe my 100th review, but I could only look at that number 1 rating so long, so I popped it.Maybe I should have waited. It looked nice enough, an exquisite brown red color, the aroma was malty sweet, with some citrus, but somewhat thin and evasive. The taste was supposed to be the thing, just send me to 7th heaven.Sorry. It was a straight malt citrus with hints of cherry. Nice enough, but simple. My cap read 08-07-06, so it appears that this beer has to sit.Just on its rep, Ill buy another bottle and let it sit

grynder33, Nov 04, 2003
Photo of Popsinc
4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

My second Westy ever! Also at the Kulminator.

Appearance: Like the 8, this beer poured a super drak brown and was accompanied by a huge, appetizing tan head. While it looked like alot of beers....worth a scoing of 4....i had to give it a 4.5 based on my anticipation. It just looked so good, i couldn't wait!

Smell: Although the nose had sweet chocolatey notes as well as spicey hints to it, i found that it was much more mild and subtle then i had anticipated.

Taste: Here we go!!! Wow. A wonderfuly rich beer with sweet and complex flavours throughout. Hints of chocolate and caramel. Spices of cinamon and nutmeg, maybe even a hint of molasses. Soem dark fruitiness and even some light woody notes towards the mildly bitter finish which also had a refined, port-like quality to it.

Mouthfeel: Rich, creamy, complex...very warming and fullfilling. Tastes linger nicely and change even after you're done your sip.

Drinkability: It doesn't get much better than this! A world class beer. This one goes into my top 10 for sure. If i could only find more, i would buy them all.

Popsinc, Nov 03, 2003
Photo of Gusler
5/5  rDev +8.5%

The pour is a fuliginous deep cherry red color with a behemothic head, creamy in texture, and a beauteous light tan color, as the head unhastingly erodes; a splendid sheet of lace is formed to unite lovingly with the glass. “Heavenly”, is the word that best describes this nose, ambrosial, hints of over ripe fruit, yeast tones also noticeable along with a slight hint of alcohol, start is thickly malt, sweet, the top middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is pleasantly acidic, the alcohol grasp the taste buds in a Anaconda death grip, the dry vinous aftertaste lingers long after the beer is gone, but certainly not as long as the memory of this fine beer as it stays in your sub-conscience like your first kiss.

Gusler, Oct 16, 2003
Photo of beerguy101
4.8/5  rDev +4.1%

Dark brown color. Medium head. Aroma is yeasty and sour with a touch of fruitiness. WOW. An amazingly complex and excellently made beer. Full bodied. Malts are bold and flavorful. Very complex. Seems to be a different taste/flavor aspect with every sip. Fruity with raisins, plums and cherries interplaying with vanilla, chocolate and orange peel. Hides the 10.2% alcohol very well. This is one beer that is definitely worthy of all the hype/accolades it has received. Very smooth and extremely complex. Excellent beer. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and dry. Aftertaste is slightly sweet. Beer # 1100 on my personal list. Thanks to herbjones for this one.

beerguy101, Oct 03, 2003
Photo of Ianhockey91
4/5  rDev -13.2%

Not my favorte beer out there, but to say its a great beer is an understatement. A nice mohogany color which light does shine through, with a tannish head, which doesnt last long but does leave a good amount of lace. Smells, well some spices, some prunes or raisins maybe, and some faint sweet citrus. A lot of malt hits the toungue right away followed by some dry fruits (maybe those prunes or raisins i smelled) with a spice/ hop subtlety at the end, paired with some alchohol. Only one word desribes the mouthfeel.... velvet, it is rich and smooth. Great beer all around, expensive but worth it.

Ianhockey91, Sep 19, 2003
Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.3/5  rDev -6.7%

As everyone knows, this is exceptional beer. Is it the best in the world? Time will tell, but I have an opinion that I will share.

I saved this bottle especially for my 500th review expecting it to be something very special and it is. Poured into an appropriate glass purchased for this special occasion, the lovely body is an exquisite light mahogany color and appears clear as the carbonation settles. The head comes up fairly nicely and produces about one finger's width of finely packed tan foam. But to my amazement this head is not lasting; in fact, it disappears quite quickly and leaves a thin filmy residue. That small residue is, however, covering the sides of the glass in a sheet of lace; not too sticky, mind you, but quite lovely in its brief coverage.

The aromas are, as advertised, quite complex. There's no missing the strong malt base and this is complemented by additional hints of dried fruit, perhaps prunes and raisins. Certainly there's some yeast action here, but quite subtle at that. As this warms the malt moves more to the fore and begins to add in some caramel to the mix.

The flavor is, well, complex. There's the malt and the dried fruit, alcohol creeps into the mix creating a lovely heating sensation to the mouth. Do I sense spice? I don't think so but I believe there's something else going on; I've added in the final dregs from the bottle and now the clearness is replaced by murkiness. The heat goes up and there's even more warmth in the mouth. Now we sense a very strong aftertaste and this is becoming very interesting as the flavors linger longer. Perhaps even a bit too much lingering as the burning increases and the long aftertaste moves to a mildy pungent and bitter state. Gone is the initial sweetness. So, too, is the sense of calm - this is strong beer that strengthens as it goes.

Incredible mouthfeel from this great beer - velvety and smooth. Creamy and full. I believe the feel to be the strongest attribute here. The alcohol is not as muted as I thought it would be and my drinkability rating is likely higher in this category than it should be, probably because of this beer's reputation. There is a coating to the mouth that lingers excessively long and is really more than a little annoying, thus I'm not at all sure that more than one would be to my liking.

A great beer? Certainly. The best in the world? Time will tell.

AtLagerHeads, Sep 18, 2003
Photo of StevieW
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%

Small brown Euro bottle without the label. Well what can I add that hasn't already been described so perfectly. This is incredible beer.
Medium burgundy color, shiny and glowing. Hints of ruby along the edges. Foamy, dense, soft bubbly beige head. Beautiful.
First aromas are full of sweet carmel sauce, rum soaked raisans, and fruits. Some others have described the first taste it as bread pudding in a glass, that's about exactly what I experienced. rich full array of flavors. Rum soaked raisans, plums, cherries, and sweet cookie dough all wrapped up with a carmel sweet cookie. Snappy alchohol bite, some peppery fresh hop presence just for a second. Hints of honey, and freshly toasted grains. Flavors wash and soothe your tastebuds into submission. Supersmooth and rich. Perfectly charged, eases into your belly with a nice warming touch. One of the top 3 beers I have had, easily. Well worth the wait for a special occasion. I saved this one since last winter, cheers to the Belgian Bum for this treasure.

StevieW, Aug 23, 2003
Photo of dmarch
4.78/5  rDev +3.7%

I was actually expecting to be let down. It's the most highly anticipated beer I ever had so I though there was no chance it would be as good as others have claimed. Ok, so I was wrong. Deep garnet color with a long lasting had. Fresh plums in both the aroma and the taste. Also hints of molassass in the taste. The level of complexity is unbelievable. This beer lives up to it's expectations and that's saying a lot.

dmarch, Aug 19, 2003
Photo of WanderingFool
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%

This beer is packed with flavor and hides its 12% alcohol very well. I just wish it was easier to find!

It pours a clear dark ruby color with a thin tan head that dissolves to a thick ring around the surface. Some spots of lace cling to the side of the glass. The aroma is mainly caramel malts, raisins, cherry's and a mild hint of alcohol. Each sip of this smooth full bodied beer is like a velvet blanket covering the tongue. The flavor is a well balanced combination of caramel malts, raisins, cherry's, molasses and alcohol. There's a slightly sour fruity finish and aftertaste with each sip.

This is a beer I searched high and low for and was very excited to finally find a single bottle sitting all by itself at a local liquor store. The flavor is exquisite and I hope to find another bottle soon.

WanderingFool, Aug 08, 2003
Photo of slitherySOB
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%

I'm here in Brazil doing some field work for herpetology. One of the villages, I can't pronounce the name yet alone spell it, had a large snake roaming around. My friends and I caught it and relocated it. One of the villagers offered me a beer as a reward. I said sure, expecting some Corona knockoff. It was this. Oh God, this is goooood. She poured this into a fattened wine glass. I don't know the style. Think champagne glass big enough to hold about a pint. It was a pleasant, ruddy red colour. Big head that needs some time to level down. Smelled alot of raisins, complex sugars, malt, a little alcohol, some more fruit I'm unsure of, and orange peel. Exceptional taste. The mixtures of fruit gave me a different taste every sip. The beer was served a little warmer than usual, which probably made it better. Beer aroma and taste are more pronounced when warm, and this is a very complex brew. Medium heavy mouthfeel. Only drink a few of these at a time. Drink it too enjoy it, not for the sake of drinking.

slitherySOB, Aug 04, 2003
Photo of Gavage
4.58/5  rDev -0.7%

Pulled out my new Maudite glass and poured it. Nice dark amber that sported a thin but lasting head. Very yeasty nose that was pleasant to smell. First taste was new to the tastbuds, almost velvety (not velveeta !) on the tongue. Great aftertaste. I bought the bottle for a mere $6.99 since it has been talked about so on the site. Worth every penny, and I will need to return to the only place I have seen it in NJ and buy some more. Lasting impression that I termed "great Belgian on steroids" to my wife. Her comments were different and interesting. She likes it also.

Gavage, Jul 25, 2003
Photo of truthbrew
4.68/5  rDev +1.5%

Enjoyed this at "Le Bier Circus" in Brussels served in it's proper chalice on June 16, 2003.

While having little in the way of aroma (my only complaint), this beer proved to be exceptional. The medium-dark body and semi-thick consitancy amused me as I gently swirled in my glass. You would never guess this beer is 10,2%. Even my fruit-lambic (Lindemann's, Mort Subite, New Glarius) loving wife thought that this beer was a stand out.

Brought two Abt 12's, One Westy 8, and two Blondes home from Belgium. Can't wait to have it again!


truthbrew, Jul 11, 2003
Photo of SamAdams
4.78/5  rDev +3.7%

Not much you can say about this beer that already hasn't been said. I just wish I lived closer to Westvletern, Belgium. I'm sure you can get it alot cheaper than the 8.50 that I had to pay. At that price I'll just save drinking this wonderful brew for a special occassion. Monks rule.

SamAdams, Jun 20, 2003
Photo of taez555
4.47/5  rDev -3%

This beer poured a large frothy white/yellowish tan head that took several minutes to die down. It had a dark brown, almost black colored body with fine bubbles.

The nose of this beer had a lot of sweet fruit flavors. Apples, cherries, chocolate, roasted malt and a firm alcohol smell. I got a light spice hint and yeast smell as well.

The initial taste was very mellow and smooth from start to finish. A very fine carbonation. Chocolate and cherry flavors dominate. Mixed in with some apple, raisins, dark roasted malt and caramel flavors as well. I could also taste some earthy wood tones, like natural wood or tobacco. Very subtle, but well blended with a very soft hop bitterness. Finishing with an alcohol warmth and soft fruit flavors.

I found this beer rather heavy and port like, but always easy drinking. On top of that, it had a very strong warm alcohol punch that never became overpowering.

I bought 2 bottles of this beer and tried it on 2 sepperate occasions to get a better picture of this beer. I liked the beer much more the 2nd time around. I found that I actually enjoyed the beer a few degrees cooler than the recomended 55-60 degrees.

Overall this is a really great beer. Although I feel it's a little overrated for it's $10 price tag. I'll definately have it again, and recommend giving it a try if you can find a bottle, but feel that there are other beers out there just as good or better for half the price.

taez555, Jun 18, 2003
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 4,697 ratings.