Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) - Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)

Not Rated.
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,769 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,769
Hads: 5,833
Avg: 4.61
pDev: 16.27%
Wants: 3,521
Gots: 1,985 | FT: 147
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Belgium | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,769 | Hads: 5,833
Photo of charlzm
4.34/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

October 11th, 2015. Poured from a bottle into a tulip.

Beer is a medium to dark brown with reddish-amber highlights. Fairly modest tan head that fades fairly quickly.

Aroma is brown sugar, dates/raisins and booze.

Flavor is much like the nose, but deeper. First note is a brown sugar note layered with caramel. Raisins and dates follow on as a strong woody note appears. Hotter with alcohol than I would have expected. Finish is very clean; the only thing that hangs around is the fairly bitter wood note.

Medium-bodied - a little thinner than I expected.

I am so happy I finally got to try one of the great white whalez. For the effort, though, I would go for a Rochefort, St. Bernardus or any other of the more easily obtained examples of this style.

 764 characters

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.38/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle. Unsure of the Vintage but it was one of the bottles with the name printed upon it. Finally get to try a Westy. Fairly excited. The G.O.A.T. of all Abbey Ales poured a light brown (lighter than many Quads) with a fizzy head of divided bubbles. Aroma is immediately better and more suited to my liking than any other Quad. Its less decadently sweet and boozy and much more complex. The malt on the nose is brown sugary but there is a dryness to it as well. Candied malt. Dark fruits without overrepresentation. Really digging the nuanced yeast character on the nose. The flavor is pretty impressive. Its drier and less cloying than any Quad I have had. It has a sort of dessert wine flavor to it as well. Maybe even a bit of a nutty element. Dried raisins and figs. Raisin bread. Some powdered chocolate? Caramel, brown sugar, toffee and the like. Lots going on. The alcohol is present in a way that adds to the hot decadence of this beer. Yet, its still more reserved than most Quads I have tried. Love that this beer somehow dries out on the finish. This isn't my favorite beer but its damn sure my favorite Quad. Happy to check this one off the list.

 1,159 characters

Photo of SeanMNCraftBeerLover
4.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Aged for 6 months after receiving beer in a dark cupboard in basement, then chilled and served at 55 degrees. Beer stamped with 13.12.15 as "sell by date", poured into the Westvleteren Trappist glass, best dark beer I have ever had in my life by far. Couldn't believe that this would be as smooth as it was. The monks did an amazing job here. It just sucks that its so hard and expensive to obtain.

 402 characters

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

Where do I start?

Thank you monks. You've inspired me to shave what's left of my hair, buy a brown robe, and learn to chant.

Call it lack of exposure, but I've never been a fan of this style. Westy 12 just changed that. I could tell you about the beautiful color it pours, the massive head it left, the scent of fruits, raisins, carmel, the wonderful mouth feel, the fact that it's not even remotely boozy for a 10% beer. But that's all been said.

There is a reason its commonly referred to as the best beer in the world.

"It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up."

 612 characters

Photo of Dolphinsmarlins1
4.52/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle received via trade. A massive head erupted as it hit the glass and maintained for several minutes after. Color was dark amber-brown. Smelled and tasted sweet. Though not typically a fan of the style, it exceeded my expectations and met the hype. If only it didn't cost me nearly $20 per bottle...

 318 characters

Photo of NilocRellim
4.79/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Cloudy, unfiltered brown colour. Crisp smell with a typical "Belgian-sweetness" to it. Caramel and a bit of fruitiness as well. Quite sweet and caramel taste to it. There is a bit of spiciness to it and is nicely rounded-out with a higher alcohol taste. Lovely beer.

 267 characters

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

Best trappist beer I have ever drink.

Typical Belgian smell, plenty of fruits.
Strong taste, the exact sweeterness for a Quad, a pleasure to taste.

Definitely one of the best beers on Earth.

 192 characters

Photo of Andrijas
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

At first glance an excellent looking bottle without any labels and all the information is contained on the top of the cap itself. The bottle itself seems like something a person would keep for a souvenir.

I poured it in a Westvleteren chalice (the larger of two). It is a very dark brown (almost black) looking beer, with lacey head. It seems very "thick". The smell has caramel characteristic (Belgian candi) and although it has high alcohol content, it does not have a strong alcoholic smell.

The first taste already confirms the strong caramel/candi taste along with some spices. You can feel it warm you up a bit while travelling through your throat. It packs a nice punch which you don't really expect from such a nice and drinkable beer.

After drinking I strongly recommend to wash the glass because the leftover candi will become hard and it will be more difficult to remove it later.

 899 characters

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

Girlfriend brought me this one home from Amsterdam.

Absolutely wonderful - compared next to St. Bernardus and can tell overwhelmingly that this is the better brew.


 174 characters

Photo of JackieTH
4.64/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This will not be a long review, not that this cornerstone of The Belgians doesn't deserve it, but there is little I can add to all the 1000's of existing reviews except to thank my friends Jeremy & Drew who were the chain of folks who made the Abbey to Minneapolis, MN connection happen.

In any event I should say something, because Westvleteren 12 is a phenomenal beer across all categories. The pour into a snifter featured a rich mahogany body with a billowing cap of very persistent khaki foam that left sheets of lacing. Entirely attractive and impressive. The nose is all about dark dried fruits.. dates, figs, raisins, and a hint of candied faintly caramelly sweetness which is oh so smooth. You can sniff this for a long time, it's very enjoyable. Taste is exactly right IMO with dark fruity raisins, dates, molasses, brown sugar, bready, toffee, faint chocolate. Lightly sweet throughout but a very balanced with all the depth of flavors working together toward the whole. Mouthfeel is luxury, velvety, nice. Full bodied but enough carb to keep it interesting. Fantastic. Maybe I'll get to try it again someday..

 1,134 characters

Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.79/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A- Pours a beautiful, murky, deep brown in color. There is just a touch of copper-reddish color peeking through the edges of the beer in the light. For a beer that has been in the bottle 3 years, this still pours fairly vigorously, with a decent sized, 1.5 finger thick head. The head sticks around a very long time and laces very well as well. All in all, the pour is very impressive looking in the glass.

S- Huge dark fruit flavors greet the nose in a pleasant and slightly tart aroma. Dates, figs, and even a touch of bright and juicy grapes are the prominent scents hitting the nose. After the fruit, there is an understated candy sugar component of the beer that sweetens and balances out the fruits. Just a touch of caramel malt flavor is evident at the very end of the scent.

T- The much anticipated first sip of this beer results in a wave of complex and dark flavors over the tongue. The first flavor that displays itself is a mild caramel malt that is quickly joined by a brown sugar and candy sugar sweetness. The sweetness is quickly washed away by the dark fruit flavors from the scent, that aren't quite as potent in the taste. In the middle part of the drink, the bitter component of the malts' flavors take over and really move the flavor of the beer to the darker side of things. The fruits make a small comeback at the very end of the drink and it washes away with both the fruits and the malt/alcohol bitterness left on the tongue.

M- I was expecting this beer to be closer to flat after 3 years in the bottle, but it is highly carbonated, yet smooth and thick as it moves across the palate. While the beer itself is a relatively easy drinker, the alcohol warmth after the drink and as it goes down makes drinking this beer a little slower.

Overall, this beer lived up to its hype for me, but in an unexpected way. I was expecting a mellowed out beer that possibly had some evidence of some oxidation, but what I got was a great pour with good carbonation and flavor that had complicated with age. The flavors themselves were complex and didn't have as much dark fruit as expected. Instead, the beer displayed good amounts of bitter malts and brown sugar sweetness. I may have aged this one a little past its peak, but all in all, this is still a world class beer.

 2,287 characters

Photo of jonesry09
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Wasn't sure what to expect from such a highly rated and sought after beer.

It lived up to everything people had to say about it.

The raisin/fig flavor is the more forefront. There is a smooth sugary after taste that lasts until the net sip. The thicker texture keeps your mouth coated just long enough to keep the flavors to stick around.

Glad I am working in Germany for a few months, so that I can stock up on this!!

 423 characters

Photo of Tidesox28
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Why does this have to be so impossibly hard to get? Exactly what a Belgian should be. Raisins. Figs. Dark brown sugar. The mouthfeel is verging on thick. One of the best beers on the planet.

 191 characters

Photo of Cpmitchno1
4.68/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow is all I can say. Fantastic beer. While most belgian beers don't tend to be my favorite styles, this and Abt 12 have both been spectactular. I plan on sampling Rochefort 10, Abt 12, and Westy 12 against each other soon.

 226 characters

Photo of Hugues
4.49/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Definitely worth it's title as "the world's best beer", I worship the rare places in Brussels where you can buy this (unfortunately in too small quantities)

 156 characters

Photo of craftbeersweden
4.67/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I finally got hold of this beauty, bottled in 2014 from Belgian Happiness.

The beer pours dark brown with a little hint of copper and is hazy. Almoust compact liquid.
A two finger high, beige, head that dissapears pretty quick and leaves lacing.

Nose: Soft touch of yeast, dark bread, fruity esters, plum, raisin, dark fruit, caramel malt, brown sugar, toffee and molasses. It's a very sweet nose! So wonderful nose - I could stay here, just feeling the nose...
Taste: Wow! Brown sugar, caramel malt, carmelized sugar, some dark notes of coffee and leather, dark bread, riasin, dried fruit and molasses. It's beatiful!
Body: Medium body and carbonation. A bitterness that works together with the sweet malt. Thick, complex structure.

I just LOVE tuhis beer! It is definitely one of the best! Previously I have had a lot of St. Bernardus Abt 12 and as I've been told - It i pretty close! But this is the master :)

 919 characters

Photo of jgunther71
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very good. Smooth for 10.20% percent. No boozy taste. One of the best Quads out there. Very hard to find. A complex beer that most everyone will love!

 150 characters

Photo of Moose90
3.82/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at a bottle share, updated from notes

A — Pours a deep ruby amber hue into the glass. Quite dark and rich looking. Puffy and sticky light mocha colored head forms and leaves some sticky lacing behind. There is also a fair amount of sediment in the beer, even with a slow and steady pour.

S — Smells quite bright initially, lots of dark fruits, plums, figs, raisins, light cherry component as well. Lots of yeasty character. Big hit of caramel and molasses sweetness as well.

T — Lots of stone fruits and quite a bit sweeter than expected to be honest. Lots of bright sweet fruits and a little bit of a caramel sweetness. As it warms there is a bit of an oaky component and a bit of nuttiness.

M — Medium bodied, long and sweet lingering finish.

O — Very good overall, though it is lighter than anticipated. There is still a great depth of flavor, and it is worth seeking out, just temper expectations.

 926 characters

Photo of coloradorios
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A buddy of mine from Netherlands and I shared this gem. We chilled it for approximately 15 minutes and drank it very slow to enjoy it. Amazing beer. Wish I could find it in Houston.

 182 characters

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

Better than expected. Reminds me of Trappist Rochefort 10, but less alcoholy. Like the bottle design a lot. I have a version minus the label, but looks much better with it on.

 175 characters

Photo of Doderlein_Bacillus
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours dark brown, murky. Aroma is a complex blend of fruit, chocolate and caramel malt. Mouthfeel is soft and wineous. Flavour starts sweet, goes into a toffee sweet-/softness, a slight touch of bitterness breaks the sweet notes. Extremely well balanced palate, all elements blend perfect into each other and none of them dominate. Has a touch of warming alcohol in the finish.

 377 characters

Photo of Ranz
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Cap is dated 13.12.15

In an oversized goblet, it poured a quarter-inch head that dissipated quickly. The color is a rich opaque brown with some sediment floating near the top.

Aromas of overripe plums, figs, dates, and maybe even apricot. The alcohol is present on the nose, too, along with a major sugar character. It's rich but not overpowering. Absolutely lovely.

Wow, this is the quad to beat. Rich fig, molasses, and carmelized brown sugar. It's hitting all of the right notes.

The mouthfeel is luxurious: stilly lightly carbonated with some creamy juiciness. I'm not sure how else to describe it. The alcohol has just the slightest singe, but it's extremely drinkable.

I have my brother-in-law and his sergeant to thank for this, and I'm so grateful for the experience. This is truly world-class, and one of the top three best beers I have ever enjoyed.

 868 characters

Photo of MIbeerGeek84
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This Could very will be the best non BA beer ive ever had.
Pours a tan/copper tone with a finger head.
Smells of dark fruit, toffee, caramel, and leather.
Taste is just as the smell except it has some more sweetness to it like a brown sugar.
Mouth full is perfect for a quad. Thick with the taste lingering.
Overall like it says the best non BA beer ive had to date.

 367 characters

Photo of pagriley
4.57/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle

L - Deep Amber Ruby color. Very clear with a foamy off white head
S - Dried fruit and dark caramel malts. Surprisingly soft yeast without much overt fruity esters
T - caramel, figs and raisins. Some stone fruit overtones. Firm bitterness to finish
F - prickly with bright carb. Slightly creamy with a sweet finish

Overall worth seeking out. Had this with st bernardus ABT 12, and I would give this the nod, but it is exceptionally close. Frankly shipping and storage conditions could easily account for the difference

 531 characters

Photo of WertMaker
4.94/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle dark chocolate brown with a light creamy head into a short tulip snifter. The deep aroma of chocolate and spice invited you to sip. As this nectar dances on your taste buds you notice that although the ABV is over 10%, it is almost unnoticeable as the rich body of the beer and robust flavors reminiscent of dark roast coffee, figs, and roasted barley fill your mind. The experience is likened to a display of fireworks, with each new wave of flavors replacing those previously held and combining to form a symphony on your mouth. You swallow, and immediately you want to taste it again, but refrain; allowing the finish to further tease your senses.

One of the most complex brews I've ever experienced....

 735 characters

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 1,769 ratings.