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

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

4,077 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4077
Reviews: 1585
rAvg: 4.62
pDev: 8.66%


Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
(Yellow Cap)

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001)
View: Beers (3) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,077 | Reviews: 1,585 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of dv8sean
dv8sean

California

4.7/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

One of two beers remaining beers on my "bucket list" was enjoyed today, thanks to the generosity of a well-known friend and the benevolence of friends I've yet to meet.

Now, to the beer itself...

The appearance is burnt orange, brick red, and Colorado River mud. Partly cloudy with active carbonation but not too foamy. Just the right amount of head for a quad leaves delightful lace patterns in the glass.

Smell is beguiling. It's all about the malt and the yeast. Really no hop nose to be discerned. Biscuits, candy apple, and plum sauce come to mind. Very layered, complex, and changes with temperature.

The taste is in line with other Trappist and Abbey quadruples / grand reserves, but it struck me as more lively, fresh, and balanced. Flavors fall in line with the fragrance, with caramel and plum sauce being evident but certainly not overpowering. For a beer of this weight and ABV (over 10%), it's remarkably easy to drink.

The mouthfeel is...well, I'm just going to go with "perfect". Whatever the combination of local water, malt, brewing process, and perhaps divine blessing, it's the most pleasing beer to the palate that I have ever encountered. Sweet without being cloying or sticky. Just a hint of bitterness from hops and, presumably, a pinch of roasted malt to bring things to a harmoniously clean finish.

There's no doubt that the overall experience is enhanced by the beer's scarcity. However, taken by itself and tasted blindly, I have no doubt that "Westy" would remain stellar. While I'd stop short of calling ANY beer "the best in the world", this one is among the best. To this lucky drinker, it's earned and lived up to the hype.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2013 00:50:36 | More by dv8sean
Photo of baos
baos

Indiana

4.94/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle into large snifter

A: Heavy brown color with a nice creamy-tan head sweet lacing and nice head retention considering the alcohol content.

S: Very sweet: caramel, Belgian candi, molasses, and raisins with other dried fruits, i.e. plums.

T: Sweet lots of dried fruits, heavy wheat malts, Belgian candi-goodness.

M: Full bodied. One of the best I have ever had in this repects.

O: A plus plus. Try one on for size!

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2013 04:24:14 | More by baos
Photo of BREWMONKEY27
BREWMONKEY27

California

5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ever seen the movie Beerfest... The perfect beer they brewed... They wish it is as good as this one.

This beer gets one word on all levels, magical. If you ever get a chance to try or buy it you must not let it pass. If you do not have the patience to wait for a pickup date at the Abbey you can be one of the lucky travelers that gets to try a glass at the Brugge, Belgium Annual Beer Fest. Make sure you are there during one of the first days because it goes quick.

Perfectly balanced with high ABV but sooo smooth!

My next trip to Belgium will include a stop at the Abbey.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2013 06:39:33 | More by BREWMONKEY27
Photo of Bubba569
Bubba569

Illinois

4.85/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Have to give a shout out to Unsung for sharing this great beer with me!! Cheers!!

A: Awesome bottle, golden brown color that pours a tad cloudy with light amber head.

S: Very sweet tropical fruity smell with a hint of honey.

T: Hard to describe this very full flavored beer...but it has a tropical fruity taste with a hint of caramel, finishes with a warm soothing taste of honey!

M: Nice warm, very well balanced taste, fullest flavored tasting beer I've ever had the pleasure drinking!

O: Outstanding, very well balanced, full flavored beer! Highly recommend!

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2013 17:27:48 | More by Bubba569
Photo of Snamnoum
Snamnoum

District of Columbia

4.79/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer has been reviewed over three thousand times at this point and everyone knows it's outstanding, so I'd like to point out what I thought it does especially well.

What stands out to me most about this beer and in my opinion the reason it is far better than the other trappist quads, is simply that it has one of the most perfect soft, yielding mouthfeels I've ever experienced. On top of that it is incredibly balanced sweet and subtly bitter cocoa like malt, a touch of sourness from the yeast strain.

Yes its gonna have dark fruit (i.e. plumb, raisin), molasses, brown sugar, caramelized sugar to the point of burning, cocoa, coffee, maybe even toffee malt profile. And yes the yeast has a bready/doughly, slightly sour, phenolic quality but none of this is unique to this beer or this brewery.

What is unique to this beer, even amongst its Belgian peers, and what makes it is so fantastic is its RESTRAINT. In a world of ever expanding malt, hop, abv content, this beer is the exemplar of refinement and what a delicate touch can create. After waiting so long to try it I'm surprised its been received as well as it has because frankly its a beer that is so complex and nuanced that it doesn't deliver the instant gratification of the massively hopped up or malted up high alcohol beers that populate the top 250. But that's also why is so amazing.

It doesn't need to bash you over the head with sugar content, hop content, or alcohol content. It has the subtlety and restraint of a brewery who's level of maturity epitomes what it means to be confident in ones product.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2013 00:39:14 | More by Snamnoum
Photo of TomSchuwer
TomSchuwer

Belgium

4.04/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

In a westvleteren Glass, Production: 28.08.13

A: cloudy with dark amber light head (witch does not last more thant 30 sec)

S: Alcohol smell, fuity, yeasty

T: Caramel, whiky hint, tropical fruits, honey

M: Nice warm feeling, well balanced but should be age a bit in the cellar :)

O: Great, but so is Rochefort 12, Achel bruin and Westmalle Dubbel...

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2013 19:06:05 | More by TomSchuwer
Photo of dar482
dar482

New York

4.71/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The beer comes in a classic quad look with a reddish brown color and a huge huge white head.

The aroma has some sweet juicy dark fruit and deep brown sugar with tons of Belgian yeast and breadiness.

The flavor follows with prune, cherries, raisins, and a rolling amount of dark fruit. There's a nice deep candy sweetness along with caramel and toffee. There's tons of carbonation to pick this beer up. A bit of alcohol in there.

In the end, this beer was great, but not really about the hype. It stacks up to other quads like Rochefort, but there's this wonderful amount of estery pop that picks this beer up nicely along with big drying notes that helps separate it.

I wouldn't go crazy for it, but I would surely try it if you can.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2013 02:39:33 | More by dar482
Photo of Tortman
Tortman

Illinois

5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a very opaque, dark brown. You can’t see through this one. A finger of off white head that lingers a bit. Decent amount of sticky lacing. The nose is well, incredible. There is so much going on. A lot of malt and Dark fruits, mainly plum, fig and raisin. A lot of pear, sparkling grape and orange zest. Caramel, spice, nutmeg, cloves and a unique sparkling wine/brandy combo. The alcohol is present but subtle. Than there is the mouth. Much of the same going on here. A huge malt backbone with a lot of dark fruits up front that fade immediately into a sweet caramel, almost creamy butterscotch like flavor. Nutmeg and cloves blended in perfectly again with that alcohol/wine mix followed with some licorice. Very smooth finish. Best beer in the world? Yes. Definitely!

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2013 03:57:42 | More by Tortman
Photo of jpro
jpro

South Carolina

4.55/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle from Mikkeller and Friends bottleshop in Copenhagen - poured into a St. Bernardus chalice.

A: Pours a deep ambered ruby; with a light tan, inch of creamy foam; nice retention leaves a few strands of lace, and sticks around until the beer is finished.

S: So complex... Dark fruit - primarily plum, fig and black cherry; nutty; some light chocolate notes; toffee; lightly phenolic; a touch of alcohol.

T: Darker flavors and complex like the aroma... dried cherry and plum; toasted banana bread; light toffee flavor; molasses; almost vinous; heavy phenol (bubble gum, cotton candy, light banana) presence and a bit of hot alcohol; surprisingly bitter... earthy / leafy touch of dryness.

M: Medium-full; creamy; lively carbonation; a touch sticky; alcohol heat on the end.

O: A delightful beer; a lot of complexity in the aroma - maybe one of the best aromas on a beer I've experienced; taste is not quite on the same level, although still very good and satisfying; mouthfeel is a bit lighter than expected, but helps bring this 10.2% to more drinkable levels. Glad I stumbled upon this and was able to try it!

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2013 02:52:50 | More by jpro
Photo of JudgeRoughneck
JudgeRoughneck

Louisiana

4.71/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

AROMA - very refined dried cherry, light and lean malty aroma with a nutty dimension, ever so slight hint of alcohol, a whisp of banana, another aroma which is moderate in intensity and could be diacetyl, caramel malt, or a combination of the two -( pleasant), bass notes of rum-raisin, all coming together to give a wonderful character of warm banana bread, lightly peppery, fresh plum skin, perhaps a faint herbal hop aroma, - this all comes off spectacularly fresh, clean ,and in balance. This is a bouquet which is noticeable upon quaffing but hardly leaps out of the glass. The overall intensity of the aroma is moderately-strong at best and very harmonious. The malt and fermentation elements stand out most and speak no louder than a robust dopplebock might.

APPEARANCE- This is a really beautiful beer. It is stark crystal clear with a gorgeous deep-ruby hue, and modest (less than one finger), but healthy and persistent off-white head. It gently gives up sparkling-wine style carbonation without being foamy or difficult to manage (3.5 volumes?). Wide legs that creep down the glass at a snail's pace.

FLAVOR- A bit simpler than the aroma. Overall impression is a lightly peppery alcohol keeping a creamy caramel/nugat malt base lively on the palate with a soft nut and vanilla finish. Malt character takes on a brown sugar/ light molasses character as sample warms. Fresh cherry, plum, red apple, red grape, and raisin notes tumble across the palate, but you must really focus to corner them. Banana notes in the aroma are nowhere to be found until sample hits room temp. No diacetyl. Barely perceptible hop bitterness that does not linger. Moderately strong peppery/ spicy quality is probably some combo of phenols, alcohol, and possibly hops, but it is not possible to determine where one begins and the other ends. Moderate malts sweetness is a big player in the balance but does not dominate impression.

MOUTHFEEL- medium-full bodied at most with a lively but never fizzy carbonation. The peppery alcohol character does grow to moderate or moderately-strong as you work through the glass, but never gets hot. Really overall a very lithe and graceful beer considering its size. I would never call it thick, slick, sticky or sweet, but would also never call it dry.

OVERALL- This is not only an extraordinarily well-made beer, but really quintessentially "Trappist". I have now sampled beer from every Trappist brewery and I don't know if it is for better or worse that most will try this one last because it makes you realize what the other breweries are aiming at. It has that semi-sweet (never dry, never cloying, but teasing you with moments of both), lightly tangy quality that must surely come from the sugar usage. Like all great strong beers, it is dangerously drinkable and unlike so many US big beers or "extreme" beers, it is not intense in any regard really. The alcohol comes on a bit strong at times, and so it is possible that aging this beer might be wise, but I'd hate to lose the wonderfully fresh malt and ester qualities that really make it sparkle. Belgian and Trappist beer fans would do well to seek this out, but those looking to get their minds blown by an intense beer would do better to spend their time and money pursuing something state-side.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2013 08:53:24 | More by JudgeRoughneck
Photo of Stocean1
Stocean1

Ontario (Canada)

5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Translucent brown with shimmering ruby hues, and a thick, tightly-laced, creamy, sticky head above. Similar aroma as the other Westys; a complex, deep malted nose of carob, toffee and honey. Massive creamy buildup on the palate, as the tight carbonation hits the warmth of the mouth. Silky smooth, with a dry, medium, even body. Again with the powdery feel. Interesting twang of grapes. Dextrin sweetness. More carob, golden syrup, blossom honey, toffee, medicinal phenols, anise, ginger, booze-soaked golden raisins, raw candi sugar and a watery, slightly fruity currant character. Alcohol on this one is quite boozy and warming. Bone-dry, powdery, with a residual cocoa character and alcohol breath.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2013 23:24:53 | More by Stocean1
Photo of nlmartin
nlmartin

Ohio

4.11/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A fitting beer for my 1000th review / had. This bottle has sat in my cellar for awhile. The date on the cap 18/04/10. So this bottle 5-6 years old. The bottle was chilled and served in a chalice and allowed to warm up a bit.

A- The body of the beer is chestnut brown colored a little murky. Nice highlights when the beer is held to the light. The head was off white and resolved quickly.

S- This beer has a huge malty bready aroma. Lots of dark fruit dates, plums, and tons of raisins, almond nuttiness, brown sugar, cloves and nutmeg. Smells great!

T- The flavor of this beer is a huge malty treat, very bready, the dark fruit gives raisin / date preserve notes, lots of brown sugar a bit of banana, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves fill out the spice bill.

M- The beer is full bodied and very smooth. The carbonation is low and nearing flat at times. This isn't a deal breaker but certainly diminishes the drinking experience. The alcohol is a non entity in the mouth.

O- Best beer in the world? I am really enjoying this beer and would never turn a bottle down; however, I will not go out of my way to have another. Far too many other great beers available for less effort.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2013 21:14:27 | More by nlmartin
Photo of King_KongDCO93
King_KongDCO93

Minnesota

5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: cloudy, dark amber light head and constantly carbonating.

S: Getting some hints of sweet berries, caramel, cherries and tropical aroma.

T: Perfect, not overly sweet, bitter, or boozy. It has some dark fruit taste, with cherries, and almost like it was barrel aged. Perfect balance.

M: mid-to-large body. not boozy and is nicely carbonated

O: must have beer and A+ rating is deserved.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2013 23:25:58 | More by King_KongDCO93
Photo of falloutsnow
falloutsnow

Illinois

4.05/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From: Etre Gourmet
Date: Best by 2014-08-07 (bottled 2011-08-07)
Glass: New Belgium globe glass

Westvleteren's 12 is a good, strong, Belgian ale, but not one that seems to represent the pinnacle of any particular style. The beer has heavy influences from Maillard reactions, Belgian candi sugar, and ethanol, but not in any amount or quantity different from other ales of more easy availability or lower price. I think this beer is a bit misclassified, or at least should be considered to lie between two styles, Belgian Strong Dark Ale and Quadrupel. As a BSDA, I prefer Het Anker's Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw; as a quad, I found Rochefort's to be of more intense and enjoyable flavor. While good, aside from wanting to try this as fresh as possible to compare my experience with the two-year aged bottle, I don't think I'd pay for this again - others that are more readily available are also far less expensive.

Pours a tall, 2.5cm head of dark beige to tan-colored foam that is made up of small-sized bubbles, creating a very dense, frothy appearance. Retention is excellent, the foam lasting several minutes in a gradual decline to a thin cap atop the body of the beer that persists for the duration of drinking the glass. Lacing is excellent, thick washes, spots, and lines cling to all sides of the glass. Beer is a dark brown color, opaque, with light changing little except to bring out a slightly brighter shade of dark brown. Carbonation only visible along the top of the beer, though it seems fairly high in number and activity.

Aroma of spicy phenols, dense Maillard reaction products (ie, caramel and brown sugar), amber Belgian candi sugar, anise, and faint cocoa when warm. Quite good and enjoyable, but more reminiscent of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale to me and not a Quadruple.

Front of palate notes Maillard reaction sweetness (caramel and heavily toasted bread crusts), amber Belgian candi sugar, anise, spicy Belgian phenols, and ethanol tingle. Mid-palate experiences continued Maillard reaction sweetness (caramel and heavily toasted bread crusts), amber Belgian candi sugar, stronger spicy phenols, anise, dried dates and brown figs, and the appearance of mild ethanol. Back of palate picks up strong anise, spicy phenols, dried dates and brown figs, ethanol, with notable undercurrents of Maillard reaction products (caramel and toasted bread crust sweetness). Aftertaste of spicy phenols, anise, ethanol, atop a base of Maillard reaction products (sweetness as from caramel and heavily toasted bread crust).

Beer features a body of medium weight with carbonation of medium-low intensity, resulting in a very soft, foamy mouthfeel that would complement any beer quite well. Ethanol is felt on the nostrils, tongue, and back of the throat, but only in a marginal way, surprising for a 10% ABV beer. Closes quite dry, with substantial stickiness on the palate and lips.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2013 14:55:43 | More by falloutsnow
Photo of Zraly
Zraly

Virginia

4.3/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Westvleteren chalice. Soft off-white head floats upon a tawny hued ale. Soft notes of fruit and earth waft up and invite the first sip.

Rich fruit upfront. In particular, raisins predominate. A touch of "fruity leather" and candied ginger makes for a novel flavor profile. Very interesting mix of phenol, pepper, star anise, and cinnamon toward the finish. Compact, tight bubbles comprise carbonation, and with each sip, they provide the right amount of tickle and lift to a very complex, round ale.

Finish is clean and powdery dry. The carbonation makes this ale deceiving as this does not drink like it is 10.2% ABV.

Bring on the roasts and lamb. Overall, this is delightful. Way too expensive for regular enjoyment but great for special occasions (or needed moments of joy).

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2013 00:58:59 | More by Zraly
Photo of socon67
socon67

New York

4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Shared this bottle at a hosted quadrupel tasting.

A - Dark brown pour with a rusty\red hue. Thin white foam settles quickly. Small bubbles of carbonation are noted. There is a small bit of yeast sediment in the pour as the bottle finished.

S - Notes of raisins, honey, toffee, and molasses are noted. Such a complex aroma that I can easily see why this is often considered the pinnacle of Belgian ales. Subtle yeast aroma of French toast came from the glass.

T - In short, this delivered the goods. Rich flavors of honey and candied fruit are right at the forefront. There is a bit of a rich molasses & brown sugar flavor that gives to a warming sherry burn in the belly at the finish. This rivals any cordial I've had really I can't see what could make this better. Its worthy of the hype.

M - Uncanny how smooth this is. Leaves a sweetness on the palate similar to a tawny port wine. Rich in the taste, yet very light and the balance makes this the ultimate sipper.

O - I love Rochefort 10 and this I have to say is a bit better. It easily was the winner in a side by side with Rochefort and St. Bernardus Abt 12. This is a beer I would drop some serious coin on to get again, and a big thanks tot he distributor who hooked me with a bottle.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2013 04:00:51 | More by socon67
Photo of facundoCNB
facundoCNB

New Jersey

4.15/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

a deep brown pour with 2 fingers of off-white head which diminished slowly and gave off great amounts of lacing. aromas of dark roasted grains, molasses, bready yeast, dark fruits (plum/raisins), chocolate. the flavor is much like the aroma, except there is a nice warmth from the abv. lots of bready chocolate.. almost rye notes. lots of dark fruit flavor as well. as far as quads go, this is great.. not TOO sweet, and right up my alley. as far as considering this the best beer in the world or whatever, meh.. it's just not what i would consider, not even the style really. full body with modest amount of carbonation. a nice warming feeling from the alochol.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2013 00:33:57 | More by facundoCNB
Photo of deadonhisfeet
deadonhisfeet

Kentucky

4.6/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2012 bottling poured into a Rochefort chalice. The pour is typical of a Trappist Quad - dark, deep brown in color with a nice finger of fine sandy-colored head that dies down to some nice lacing. On the nose I get lots of rich, sweet, malty goodness. There is fresh bread, dark fruits, and rum-soaked chocolate cake. I can't wait to dive in.

Full body and a sweet flavor that has some surprising spiciness. Lots of sweet malt up front as well as the dark fruit promised by the nose, but the real action is at mid-palate where the phenols and hops kick in. I was taken aback by how spicy the beer gets at mid-palate and just how much the carbonation intensifies the effect. The spicy flavors remain strong through the finish, even managing to mask the taste of the alcohol (if not the warming feeling). After the beer sits and de-gasses, the spiciness is still evident, though not as intense, and some sweet, rummy flavors come forward on the back of the palate.

What can be said about this classic beer that hasn't already been said? How about this ... It's outstanding. It's delicious. It's certainly one of the best beers in the world. It's the white whale. The MacGuffin. The Force. The bone thrown up in the air in 2001. I'm extremely fortunate and grateful that to have had an opportunity to try it. Now are you sitting down? Here goes...

I have enjoyed at least 3 or 4 other quads just has much as I'm enjoying this one (perhaps even a little bit more).

Now that the shock has worn off, I'll explain. Even though it adds to the complexity and doesn't disturb the balance, I don't particularly care for all the spiciness. For me, it gets in the way of the sweet, rich, dessert-like qualities of the beer. Some BAs will disagree, but that's just my palate. Also, I definitely taste the similarities between this and St. Bernardus Abt 12 (although this one is a little spicier). Anything else? Oh, yeah. Highly, highly recommended every BA try this at least once (if at all possible).

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2013 00:24:33 | More by deadonhisfeet
Photo of Roman5150
Roman5150

Spain

4.93/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle into Westvleteren 12 Tulip, dated 5.10.14

Purchased from Het Beste Biertje in Málaga, Spain (drank 2 there, and 1 to take away)

Appearance: Cloudy dark mahogany brown with a decent amount of sediment, 1 finger highly carbonated white head, intricate lacing

Smell: Lot's of breadiness initially, followed by the typical trappist dark fruit notes. Also getting a lot of figs, plums, raisins, apple, and biscuity notes. Belgian yeast is highly pungent, you can smell the sweetness. Also some wood/oak smell.

Taste: Follows the nose with huge dark (almost overripe) fruit flavors off the bat, which slowly fades into a plethora of biscuity, bready notes. Roasted malt backbone is rather dark and sweet, and there's a lot of raisin and sherry presence mid-palate. Probably the lightest quad i've ever had, alcohol is distincly hidden, more so than a St. Bernardus ABT 12 or Rochefort 10. The lingering aftertaste is very sweet and leaves some wood, oaky notes in your mouth. This is one of the few beers that actually tastes better once it warms, all the flavors come out full force.

Mouthfeel: HIgh carbonation, medium to light bodied, especially for a quad

Overall: I'll try to keep this short: It lives up to the hype. Honestly I had the mindset that there really couldn't be a much better quad than a Rochefort 10 or a St. Bernardus ABT 12, but all hype aside, this is the better beer. I would love to do a blind test just to make sure... This one is so much lighter in feel but without sacrificing flavor or anything for that matter. It seems to emphasize the bready, biscuity characteristics instead of being dark fruit dominant like other quads. And I guess you can attribute it to the stellar brewing craftsmanship of the monks, but the alcohol in this is even less apparent, you could almost think you were drinking a trippel. Throughly impressed, waiting to try my 3rd one, and hopefully the other's once I make it out to Belgium again.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2013 19:35:44 | More by Roman5150
Photo of dboon
dboon

Florida

4.34/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle thanks to Zathrus13. I can’t add anything the other 1783 raters didn’t already cover. I would like to say that I am pleasantly surprised with the complexity of this ale. I am really diggin the dark fruits (fig, plum, raisin), spices, alcohol, and Belgian candies. Oh brother, I need to fly to Belgium and spend a week or two defiling my liver..

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2013 12:45:19 | More by dboon
Photo of tkelley
tkelley

Massachusetts

4.2/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from the US release last year that Ive been sitting on. Poured into a Chimay chalice.

A -- Dark, dark brown with sediment. Cream-tan head with good lacing.

S -- Stone fruits (plum, cherry...), earthy and sweet. Bready and boozy.

T -- Very complex. Dirty. Prunes, cherries. Yeasty goodness. Sweet. Very well balanced.

D -- Better be careful, this one is quite boozy. But the booze doesnt keep you from taking big sips in rapid succession (because its really good). the Bubbles are very fine.

O -- Probably suffers a bit from overhype, but it is still really good. One of the best beers Ive ever had.

Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2013 00:25:56 | More by tkelley
Photo of PBRstreetgang
PBRstreetgang

Ohio

4.66/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2006 Vintage; date on bottle cap is 30. 08. 09, cellared at room temperature but in darkness for the last 7 years, acquired via beer trade. Pours a very dark brown with mahogany highlights; too dark to judge clarity, – but yeast sediment in bottle suggests the clarity isn’t good, but that shouldn’t count against bottle conditioned beer. Three finger head of dense froth- a pale sand hue. Very good head retention for the alcohol content; a thin cap persists to the finish with large specks hanging on to the sides of my chalice.

The aroma is a fantastic blend of dark, very ripe fruits but not vinous, yet clean ethanol is apparent, but not boisterous. Very bready and dark malt aromas prevail, I’ve heard that this is made using only pilsner and/or pale two row, but I would swear it used a ton of Carapils and Crystal 120. The candy sugar has pushed the Belgian twanginess forward but the yeast character doesn’t overpower the malt and the very subtle hop nose is clean and flowery like light Saaz or Hallertau.

First sip screams malt breadlines and dark fruit that continue to dominate on the tongue, with apricot suddenly becoming particularly apparent. There is a very subtle difference between multiple decoction beers and those that fake it by altering the grist bill, but the care that went into this beer is obvious, and the finished product is executed gloriously. A brief spicy hop note in the aftertaste begins to dry the palate with some help from the booze; the hop character has no doubt faded over the past 7 years, but the bitterness still provides a solid balance. This is a sweet beer, and the hop flavor is very mellow, but still within the parameters of the style. Caramel and a dark fruit are the major players here, the overall profile is not very complicated, but the flavors and aroma are highly developed and balanced well. This is an old bottle, so the carbonation has dropped off, and the sweetness would be lifted better with a fresher sample, so I will not let a slight cloying sweetness damage the score due to my own error in over-cellaring. Bubbles are very fine and achieves a superb mouthful if one is fond of Quadruples. The body is thicker, but smooth and not oily, alcohol thins the body out enough and again, a fresher bottle would have more carbonation.

Finishes with waves of sweet dark malt, apricot brandy, and the quintessential Trappist funk. While it seems sinful to imbibe more than one Westy 12 in a session, I could imagine drinking 3 maximum before the sweetness becomes overpowering. I waited too long to drink this masterpiece, but even in its ripe old age, the beer is exquisite and deserves the praise it receives.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2013 04:57:02 | More by PBRstreetgang
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Smurf2055

Washington

4.23/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Done in a blind tasting with Rochefort 10, St Bernardus 12, and Achel Bruin.

Poured into a Duvel tulip, hazy brown with a small off white head.

Smell is tart fruit, cherry, plum, pretty strong flavors.

Taste is rich fig, smoke, oak/nut, a bit of alcohol heat.

Medium body and mouthfeel. It is bold up front, pretty balanced, but the attraction is mostly in the smell.

It gets better as it warms, almost a marshmallow taste, Belgian Candi Sugar, prune and red fruit comes out. Very rich and complex, but it still has that alcohol bite and doesn’t go down as smooth as some of the others.

Overall a great beer, but my friend rated it as the lowest (a step below the 2/3) and I put it as third (4th being Rochefort). Different tastes for different people, but I say there is a lot of hype to this one.

Results of the tasting:

1. St Bernardus 12

2. Achel Bruin

3/4. Westy 12/Rochefort 10

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2013 16:11:55 | More by Smurf2055
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pperez38

California

4.11/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

From bottle at In de Vreede, September 2012. Pours a deep amber color with a big rocky head. Aromas of figs, plums, candi sugar, dark chocolate, and dates. The palate is rich with fine carbonation and flavors of molasses, plum, raisins, spice, and some caramel. Finishes semi dry and not overly sticky. Well balanced.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2013 20:04:18 | More by pperez38
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MarkJBurch

New York

4.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Two vintages in front of me, 2013 and 2005. The younger is slightly lighter, with much less sediment, both carefully poured. Thin head exists on both, more so on the younger vintage, light lacing. Dark, ruby and amber tones.

Nose is much more assertive with the older vintage, candi sugar, dark fruit and booze. Apple-ish esters exclusive to the older vintage, come into the back of the nose after sipping.

2013: Intense dark fruit, plum, raisin and dates. Burnt caramalized sugar, fruit esters, light diacetyl. Sweet with a harsh alacohol burn on the throat. Full bodied with a nice level of carbonation.

2005: Smooth, muddled fruit. Berries? Much sweeter than the young bottle. Ever try a milk chocolate covered raisin? Imagine that in s'mores, the sweetness of marshmellow, faint bittness associated with fine chocolate and a bready element thrown into the mix. A lot going on here. Alcohol is less prevelent but still present. The vintage bottle is thinner than the younger example.

Worth a try, for sure. Lucky enough to be in Belgium during the time of this review but the vintage bottle still broke the bank. I like them both, but prefer it with age. My guess would be that four years, somewhere in the middle of these two vintages... Could be perfection. Taking a couple fresh bottles home with me, time will tell!

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2013 10:11:36 | More by MarkJBurch
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 4,077 ratings.