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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.

4,625 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,625
Reviews: 1,612
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 8.89%
Wants: 2,856
Gots: 1,322 | FT: 104
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
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Ratings: 4,625 | Reviews: 1,612 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dbrauneis

North Carolina

4.64/5  rDev +0.7%

A: Pours a murky brown in color with some light amounts of visible carbonation and some mahogany highlights. The beer has a finger tall light tan head that slowly reduces to a medium to large thin patch, a very thin film covering about 75% of the remainder of the surface of the beer, and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: There is a fair amount of sweetness to the aroma of this beer - caramel, molasses, candi sugar, and dark fruits (cherries, plum, date, and fig). Very light aromas of booze.

T: Upfront there are flavors of dark fruits with cherries dominating and more moderate amounts of plum, fig, and date. There is a decent amount of sweetness but never enough to become cloying - caramel, molasses, candi sugar, and toffee are all present. Moderate flavors of Belgian yeast and just a touch of spices. Light hint of cocoa powder in the finish.

M: Just shy of full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly creamy with a light amount of alcohol warming in the finish.

O: Great complexity to the aromas and flavors make this a world class beer. It is easy to drink and enjoyable, I would gladly have another one of these in the sitting. The alcohol is not completely hidden but it is not overwhelming and there is sweetness but not cloyingly so.

04-12-2013 01:21:14 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of orangesol


4.64/5  rDev +0.7%

THE beer. Finally got another one in a recent trade. I decided to open it with a friend of mine and tonight just happened to be that night. Bottle poured into a chalice.

A - Pours murky brown with a start white one and a half finger head leaving small wisps of lacing down the glass.

S - Smells of dark fruits; like figs, prunes, and raisins; mixes with the sweet malt, chewy belgian yeast, and some damp earth. The alcohol creeps in as it comes to room temperature.

T - Starts off with a sweet mix of dark fruits and candied sugar slowly giving way a mix of bready malts, spicy belgian yeast, caramel, toffee, molasses, and some chocolatey sweetness. The alcohol begins to rear its head as the ale comes to room temperature, drying the pallet. The finish is a mix of sugary sweetness and light heat from the alcohol. Amazingly balanced overall.

M - Medium-Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. So damn smooth with a little bit of chewiness. The alcohol does become a bit tiresome over the course of the glass.

O - This is still one of my favorite beers of all time. From the dark, complex, flavors to the soft, velvety, feel you would be hard pressed to find a better quad. I can't wait for my next encounter with this amazing beer.

08-03-2011 04:12:21 | More by orangesol
Photo of tmzl


4.64/5  rDev +0.7%

Look: Deep amber, brown with golden tone. Foam - nice off-white, even, equal bubbles. Very good retention. Hazy with some floating yeast.

Smell: Dark fruit, raisins, little banana. Deep sweet malt; brown, burnt sugar. There is some very subtle smokey, roast notes, hint of coffee (more like cappuccino). There is also some sour and (hm) "bitter" tone. Superb balance, yet subtle and complex.

Taste: Dark fruits again, little spike from high alcohol. Very smooth, creamy, caramel, toffee and cappuccino middle malts. Little brandy notes but not overwhelming. There is also some very subtle funk. Ends with a very good mix of sour and malty aftertaste. Perfect. Last sips with some yeast, nice finish.

Mouthfeel: Starts a little spicy then very smooth, full. It is slightly warming doe to the high alcohol but goes away after a few sips. Alcohol very well hidden. Surprisingly good and lively carbonation. Leaves a nice creamy feeling.

Overall: Was skeptical with all the hype, but it delivered. Balanced, subtle and very complex. Definitely a must try.

12-03-2013 22:06:13 | More by tmzl
Photo of Bleedcold


4.64/5  rDev +0.7%

Consumed from a Trappistes Rochefort glass.

Appearance: This is a great looking beer very dark and cloudy in appearance has a relatively high carbonation while consuming.

Smell: Smells a lot like the Westy 8 did a lot of dark fruit smells figs, cherries, brown sugar and molasses.

Taste: Getting a lot of the same tastes that I did with the Westy 8, dark fruits and sugars amazing flavor very powerful but not overwhelming. Can not really taste much of the alcohol but defiantly a great flavor, some spice in the brew.

Mouthfeel: Smooth yet spiced. Carbonation is prevalent seems very light.

Overall: This beer has been on my radar for a very long time and I am pleased to say that I was not let down. This is a wonderful beer, I absolutely love this beer.

04-14-2013 00:53:46 | More by Bleedcold
Photo of marysparks18


4.64/5  rDev +0.7%

A: golden brown, small head, somewhat opaque

S: toasty, nutty, strong smell of bannanna-ish esters, maple

T/M: carbonated, light boozeyness, smooth roasted malts, caramel, mildly phenolic

Overall: amazingly well balanced mix of booze, toastyness, caramel and mouthfeel. Historic, time tested brew at its finest.

06-10-2013 07:09:11 | More by marysparks18
Photo of Popsinc

Ontario (Canada)

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.

11-03-2003 14:34:25 | More by Popsinc
Photo of fdrich29


4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Thanks to hopdog and unclejimbo who each were kind enough to help bottles of this brew find themselves in my possesion.

The bottle I am trying has no label, I presume it was purchased in Belgium.

Appears to be a bowl full of liquid raisins, dates and figs. Smells sweet and of plums. Tastes sweet, malt, caramel, spice all wrapped up in one succinct, perfect brew. Nice tingly carbonation.

More than lives up to is status as a very special beer.

07-19-2005 01:23:42 | More by fdrich29
Photo of JohnnyBarman

Ontario (Canada)

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Second Westy to get through was the 12, as I decided to lead things off with the 8 the other day. I fell in love with the 8 - how will the 12 hold up?

Thanks again to Jeffo for bringing a crate of this back in the Great Canadian Westy Trade 2011!

Poured into a Duvel goblet. A nice, murky chestnut brown colour, with a slight reddish tinge. A billowing pile of off-white head sat upon the brew and refused to leave. By the end of the bottle, there was still a thick ring and scads of lacing. A terrific looking brew.

Great nose to it as well: raisins, booze, candied fruit, chocolate, all sorts of goodies. Not quite as potent and rich as 8 (which I will inevitably be comparing this to, despite being different styles), but still terrific.

A great quad, rich and spicy, with those same fruit notes (raisin, dry white wine, raspberry), spices, a bit of chocolate, warming alcohol and a drying finish. Exceptional stuff, really enjoying this.

Tart carbonation, but coats the tongue well and leaves a nice slick feel. The booze stings ever so slightly.

Gotta put the 8 a hair above this brew, but damn is it close. I think it comes down to personal preference - I prefer dubbels to quads or tripels (I'd make a lousy figure skater) as a general rule. However, I do enjoy a fine quadrupel, and this is most certainly among the top of its class.

07-25-2011 00:33:03 | More by JohnnyBarman
Photo of CanuckRover

Ontario (Canada)

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

I want to preface this review by saying that my girlfriend picked this up for me having no idea what it was. Fortune smiled.

Pours a murky reddish-brown with a big off-white head. More carbonation than I would have expected. Yeast from the bottle leaves a dark red mark in the head and last throughout which is really cool looking. Substantial lacings.

A real satisfying port-like aroma, nothing like combining my two favourite tipples! Alcohol characterizes everything but it certainly isn't overbearing, comes across as wine-soaked fruit. I get cinnamon covered apples like a dark cider. Standard style notes like plum, raisins and dates. It's incredibly rounded.

Serious malt backbone. Thick, boozy brown raisin bread. A fruity combination of plums and dates and nice sweet berries makes this alot more balanced than alot of quads. Cloves but not overpowering. Likewise, generous hopping leaves a spicy finish resembling bitter cocoa. Alcohol is not strong at all, I'm actually kind of shocked, I was expecting a real burning beer, but it isn't.

Best to have it only very slightly chilled, otherwise the lively carbonation takes out a bit of the flavour. As it warms it smooths out quite a bit eventually becoming quite creamy.

Certainly deserving of the hype. An excellent beer and probably my favourite of the quads.

11-23-2008 23:37:32 | More by CanuckRover
Photo of HalfFull


4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Well, it's Presidents day. Reason enough to commence a Quad-off. Westy 12, Rochefort 10 and St. Bernardus 12. All poured into identical large wine glasses at the same temp. and roughly the same age. Westy picked up fresh at 'Café In de Vrede' and the others imported to the States via normal channels. All roughly eight months old I would guess. All from single 330 ml. bottles as I dont trust the St. Bernardus 750ml. Let's let them warm up a bit before we dive in.

Which is best? Hmmm...I've had them all before but never in such tight competion. After twenty minutes at room temperature, I decide to dive in...

All three pour dark with crimson highlights. Only the Westy is clear and bright while Rochefort and St. Bernardus show a bit of haze. St. Bernardus and Westy show solid retention with Westy a bit creamier in nature. Rochefort settles out quickly yet keep a film.

Nose agains goes to Westy with a pleasant dubbel-like aroma of yeast and bready malts. Rochefort is notably more malty but then that is a bit expected given the lack of foam. St. B. is bright and yeasty but dare I say half way to Unibroue?? But not in a bad way.

All taste excellent with St. Bernardus perhaps a bit lighter in body yet equally if not more depth to be offered. Westy is perfectly balanced and comes off almost as a dryish Dubbel. Rochefort has more character and alcohol and some rich caramel and chocolate and fig that seem to ebb and flow. St. B. is creamy and smooth.

Warming brings out great character in the Westy, more caramel sweetness in the Rochefort and a bit more yeasty character in the St. Bernardus. I must say that I would have trouble distinguishing the Westy from the St. Bernardus as for yeast influence alone, but then they do have a common history. Okay, the Westy is a bit smokier, but subtle.

Overall the Westy and St. Bernardus are largely indistinguishable given the bloodlines. Again, avoid the 750 and go for the 330 as more St. Bernardus. The Rochefort is best fresh and offers amazing depth. Drink local...

02-19-2013 04:17:44 | More by HalfFull
Photo of berkey


4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Figured I'd finally pull this one out of the fridge for the occasion of my 50th review. Poured into a Chimay glass.

Body is a very dense, dark, and cloudy brown. Forms a medium sized light brown head with mediocre retention but lacing is excellent.

The aromas start off with the figs and other sweet dark fruits expected of the style along with some great graham-crackery malts and yeast. Also some bitter grassy hops in the background.

Along with the style-requisite dark fruits picked up on the aroma I'm also getting some anise, ginger bread, toffee, and almond flavors on first sip. Hop bitterness is slightly more assertive than in other beers in this style, especially in the aftertaste. As it warms fruit sweetness becomes more easily identifiable with more fig and some faint cherries.

Good carbonation is complimented by a slight alcohol tingle to create an enjoyable mouthfeel. Incredibly drinkable for the style but because of the difficulty obtaining this I don't anticipate having more than one of these in a sitting unless I'm in Belgium.

Overall I enjoyed this one very much. One of the best examples of this style out there, although probably not number one according to my personal tastes. Still, this would definitely be a regular if it were more readily available.

06-07-2009 20:15:09 | More by berkey
Photo of cdrogers


4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Beer poured straight from the bottle into a tall goblet. It had been stored for a couple months from the date of purchase in an light-free and cool place in the house.

It poured a strong "cola" color with a dark-brown and almost milky head. The carbonation was quite visible and more so then most beers I've had. The head seemed to stay, very slightly, throughout drinking. For the dark color it was still a pretty clear pour.

It smelled so sweet. Not a bad sweet though, not like a pot of warm, double-boiler chocolate type sweet, but somewhat cinnamony(?). It wasn't overpowering and it pulls you in.

After taking a sip the sweetness seems to dance over the tongue and into the cheeks. For this sweetness it goes down very smooth and has a minimal aftertaste. I had it by itself, but I could see it going well with a nice creamy cheese for some reason. I think the flavors would balance well.

I received six of these from someone in Belgium and sold all but two of them. I wanted to keep a couple and try it out and I'm glad I did. I wish it were widely available in the states. Of course the value or mystic of it would go down, but regardless it is a beer that I could see myself drinking any day of the week. More so in the winter months, but a nice relaxing evening would work well. I recommend this to anyone who has the chance to taste it.


07-10-2008 04:06:55 | More by cdrogers
Photo of Brewfan


4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Acquired via trade with recent trade with Ding. Thanks for the opportunity to review my first Westy 12. I've had 2 before, but hadn't reviewed them, just enjoyed them. Now to do both....

Poured into my Trappist Rochefort chalace. Best by date on cap is 09/05/10, so this is still a rather "young" Westvleteren compared to the 2 others I've had which were each past their date. Beer is a deep, hazy garnet color brushed with dark chocolate. Gorgeous 1 1/2 finger head of tan, falling ever so gracefully into streaks of hearty lace. No discernable carbonation rising from the glass.
Aromas of fig and shortbread immediately assault my senses. I can almost taste them through my nose, they're that prominent. Dates, raisins and sweet honey follow close behind. A huge malty whiff produces no apparent hop aroma, but this IS a quad, so.... I'm also getting no alcohol on the nose. I've had beers much smaller than the 10.2% listed here where the alcohol made itself known throughout the beer. Not in this case. Dangerously quaffable.
Now for the taste. Not that I haven't been tasting it for the past 15 minutes, but I have to go back and try to remember everything I've tasted. Once again, shortbread, but albiet a bit spicier than on the nose. Peppery. Toffee and figs, dates and banana nut bread dance on my tongue. Hazelnuts coated in a yeasty, Belgian candi sugar. There's so much taste going on here, it's really hard to wrap my head (and taste buds) around it.
Close to the end of the glass, and there's still a full covering of lace and more on the edges of the glass. Not too shabby for 1/2 hour later.
Not overly carbonated with a mouthfeel that stays with you for a while. Nice and hearty for a 25 degree night and our first 8 inches of snow of the year. Alcohol definitely makes itself known towards the end of the beer. Does not take away from it's drinkability at all. You just have to put the brakes on so as not to guzzle the rest of the beer.
I've been waiting all day to drink this beer, but waited until the snowball fights with my daughter and cocoa and shoveling were done. It was well worth the wait. And as hard as it is to get, it will be worth the wait until my next Westvleteren 12. But believe me, there will be a next one.

12-14-2007 02:59:45 | More by Brewfan
Photo of lightindarkness


4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Thanks to Nesued for giving me the chance to try this one.

Pours a raisin colored richness with surprising clarity, even with some sediment from the bottom. Creamy full head settles slowly.

Nose is very complex and intriguing, nearly vinous, with notable sweet dark fruits of raisin, blackberry, and plum, some full bready malt, grapes, and a subtle spice.

For the strength, depth of flavor, and complexity, this remains very delicate and fine. More bready character saturated with candy sweet fruit and a soft lingering spicy note are pronounced on the tongue. Not overly sweet, not too dry, and surprisingly lacking the 10+% abv taste.

Feel is very pleasant, medium bodied with enough carbonation to lighten it up just a little. Smooth, with the impression of being syrupy, though somehow remaining much lighter and more delicate.

Deceivingly rich, with masterfully crafted character, it's very difficult to say how drinkable this is. So enjoyable to sip. While I certainly want more, I found it very satisfying.

07-05-2008 11:57:05 | More by lightindarkness
Photo of TCgoalie


4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Reddish-brown hue with some yeasty modules. White head and lacing along the sides.

Aromas of brown sugar, cherries, basement, bread. Tart cherry really comes through.

A lot going on with the taste. Bread and brown sugar heavy up front which transitions to toffee and dark fruits. Spicy, bitter, and dry in the back end with some nice warming. Not overly hot and silky smooth.

The feel is extremely soft with some drying in the end. It's like diving into a pool of cool whip, being pulled out by angels, and the dried with a sherpa cloth.

What a wonderful treat brought back from Belgium by my sister and bro-in-law. Merry Christmas! Thoroughly enjoyed!

12-29-2012 18:26:17 | More by TCgoalie
Photo of Rifugium


4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

First had: bottle from Brouwerij Westvleteren (via a German friend)


Oh the hype! Was it worth it? Well, sure. I've heard mixed reports on this beer, and from my experience, many true beer aficionados out in the "real world" will tell you, that the main appeal of this beer is it's unavailability, not it's features, and that in fact, a fine Rochefort or even St. Bernardus is as good as or even better than a Westvleteren. So in the end, it's just a matter of opinion, like anything else.

That said, this was a great beer. I acquired the bottle legitimately: a friend of a friend of mine traveled to Westvleteren and respectfully procured me a few bottles from the elusive monks.

My at-the-time fianceé and I each had a bottle, we shared one with friends at our engagement party, I used one for a video review, and I have four that I'm cellaring, with one or two perhaps for trade.

Anyway, on to the review, as you can see from the video, this beer was properly poured into a signature Westvleteren goblet. Dark caramelized brown in color, hazy, moderately carbonated, with a beautifully crafted light tan head that settled right around the "Trappist" logo of the glass, retained throughout the session, and exhibited some fine lacing. Robust aroma, dark fruits, dark sugars. Extremely full of flavor, smooth, candi sugars, toffee, dark cherries, raisins, alcohol is noticeable but not at all detrimental. Earthy, organic, chewy, complex... Medium mouthfeel, but full of flavor, slightly bitter aftertaste, and very drinkable.

06-28-2011 21:34:29 | More by Rifugium
Photo of WillCarrera


4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Picked up a bottle from Bier Tempel in Bruges, the bottle was from one of those special six packs that the monks released in Belgium this November to raise funds for renovations on the abbey. Has the Latin phrase "Ad aedificandam abbatiam adiuvi," which means "I helped to build the abbey" on the bottle as well as a pretty dramatic "Westvleteren XII" label. Has a best before date of 31.08.14 on the cap. Poured into a Westvleteren chalice.

A- Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights, produces a thin layer of tan head, bubbles down to a ring around the edge of the glass.

S- The aroma is massive, a delicious blend of fruit (raisins, figs, dates) some phenol with licorice and caramel, spice, and moist bready malt with brown sugar.

T- Similar to the nose, with big dark fruit flavors as well as spice. Malts are big and moist, lots of caramel and bread pudding. Alcohol is warm and spicy with some clove and phenol and licorice.

M- Medium bodied, solid carbonation with a smooth, creamy feel.

O- An amazing beer, its reputation really is well deserved. One of the best beer's I've ever tasted.

12-22-2011 13:02:53 | More by WillCarrera
Photo of Pamola


4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Lucky to get this in a trade from JeffV for my 1000th beer (give or take a few probably). Thanks, Jeff.

A: Poured into a tulip and shared with a couple select friends. Dark dark chestnut with a 3 finger off white head. Very slow dissipation. Slow and steady release of carbonation adds to the head nearly as fast as it settles. Wonderful, thick lacing. Physical foam more than superficial detritus.

A: warm dark fruit aromas with a slight ester funk. Powerful and steady without being overwhelming.

T: First impression is the ridiculous smoothness of flavor. For the style the maltiness and yeast sharpness are perfect. The esters dance on the tongue and there is absolutely no indication of the alcohol content. Buttery, oakey finish.

M: Rounded and perfectly effervescent on the palate.

D: This beer was worth the wait. I certainly do wish access was better and easier, and that ease of procurement wouldn't take anything away from the beer. It does live up to the hype.

01-26-2009 04:43:04 | More by Pamola
Photo of hefevice


4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Bottle dated August 2005. Made a pilgrimage all the way to Westvleteren to pick this up. Pours into my Westy goblet black with dark tan hints when held up to the light. Decent compact light tan head which recedes fairly quickly to a thin covering. Aroma is complex and amazing dark fruit, toffee, oak (almost wine barrel), subtle spice from the alcohol. Taste is full on - all of the components identified in the aroma, but so intense. Very sweet start is balanced we superbly by the bitterness of finish and the peppery spice from the otherwise well hidden alcohol. Mouth feel is full and velvety smooth, just about perfect. I can't imagine having too many of these in a session - it would have to be the night cap, however it is almost sad to get to the bottom of the glass, so I have rated it high on that basis. Damn, only one left now :-(.

10-28-2005 11:05:42 | More by hefevice
Photo of IPAcraig


4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Poured into a Westy goblet at Cafe Gollem in Amsterdam. Served at cellar temp from the cellar of the cafe. I paid 12 euro for it, but it didnt matter; this was the first time I was ever able to get my hands on this beer. Despite the fact that I have been wanting to try this beer for a long time, I reviewed it as unbiasedly as possible (I am confident I acheived this); attempting to forget the name on the top of the cap.

A - A gorgeous beer. Deep orange brown. There was minimal head that faded pretty fast, no lacing. I knocked it slightly for that, but minimal lacing and head are to be expected in bigger beers like quadrupels.

S - This beer has a huge aroma.A big sweet/malty smell with hints of figs and prunes. A touch of caramel and tobacco as well.

T - This is a fine beer, it tastes similar to smell described above. A big malty presence assaults your tastebuds. Has a fruity character as well that wasnt apparent in the nose. Also has a nice touch of yeast to it as well and a different salty character at the finish. A complex quadrupel.

M - Lightly carbonated and slick. The taste on this lingers forever, it dosent want to quit. And again there is this salty finish on the tounge

D - The 5 a give for drinkability is maybe where a slight bit of bias creeps in. I dont want to quit drinking this beer. It is exceptional and very well rounded. I am in a great cafe, in a foreign country, drinking an exceptional beer.

I suppose this is where I say whether or not the beer lives up to the hype. For me it is not the best beer in the world. However it is the best quadrupel I have ever tried. It blows St. bernardus away and narrowly edges Rochefort. This is truly a fine beer, and the rareness of it makes it a treat to seek out. The feeling a got when i finally was able to find one was bliss. For that factor the beer deserves a five.

In short - best quadrupel I have ever had, though that might only get it into my top 15 or so beers.

05-22-2007 20:13:56 | More by IPAcraig
Photo of IPAIsaac


4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to try this beer during a beer tasting tour in Brussels. Id say around April 2013.

After the tour (having sampled 8 other awesome beers from Belgium + chocolate ), we were given the option of going to a place that served this.

Of course we accepted.

Bottle was unlabeled and we were not allowed to keep. Place we went to was in a back alley. Locals only.

Very rich and flavorful. Being younger I tried to take in as much as I could, however, when I had the beer I had not much to compare. I do remember it being special.

The worst part was the 3+ hr train ride back to Amsterdam !! But at least I got to try it and keep the bottle cap.

06-22-2013 03:52:15 | More by IPAIsaac
Photo of grandq

New York

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Popping the top as my beerthday present to me. Pours a deep dark hazy bubbly brown, the color of honey fresh from a comb around the edges. The initial smell is...beer - fairly straightforward malty, slightly musty scent with a couple bolder notes of clove and cinamon around backing up the basics. The fairly simple nose belies the rich, complex flavors that greet the tongue. A fairly neutral, caramel malt starts things off, then the taste gets big. I can't even begin to chart the unfolding of the various flavors that appear, but its big on deep red, not overly sweet bing cherries, dark but not terribly bitter chocolate, crisp but not too bright macintosh apples, along with some prickly pear, clove, cinamon, raisin, course ground white pepper... and on and on. Balance is the key word here. Roling this around on the tongue, I'm faintly picking up the mineral bitterness I'd noticed and somewhat faulted in the Westy 8, but here its quite well hidden. And so is the alcohol, which adds some depth to the flavors but sneaks in like ninja. I suppose silent like a monk would be more apropos, but ninja sounds more dramatic, and like the alcohol content, ass kicking.

The mouthfeel is thick and chewy yet still pretty heavily carbonated, keeping things paradoxically light. My tounge's feeling a little dry after a bit, but I'll man up and soldier on, poor me. For a quad, holy crap this is quaffable. Just wonderfully balanced and subtly flavorful.

Is this a world class beer? Absolutely. Is it the best thing I've ever tasted? I certainly enjoyed it a great deal, but I'm afraid the answer is no, there are other things more pleasing to my palate. But who cares about the hype, it's a lovely drink and I'm pleased as punch, or I guess pleased as really good beer, to be drinking it. Thanks to pimpp for the inadvertent birthday present

03-21-2008 00:14:49 | More by grandq
Photo of CBFanWish

New York

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

So here I am with the fabeled Westy 12. There is no beer in the world as highly regarded as this. As I look at the bottle, I can't help but to think that this is no different than looing upon a Jackson Pollock painting. A true piece of art. I wanted to wait for a while to drink this, but we all know what it's like holding a piece of cake in your hand and being told not to eat it.
It poured a dark reddish brown colour. It was more like the colour of blood than anything else. The head was a frothy two finger cloud that released aromas that just filled the room. Chocolate, toffee, caramel, nuts and grains filled the air causing great antisipation.
The taste is so complex yet so smooth. I first noticed toffee that soon blended with chocolate, caramel, nuts, grass, and apples. I have never tasted anything like it before.
I thouroghly enjoyed this beer. I can't wait for the other to be opened. Only a couple more years to go.

05-06-2004 22:22:28 | More by CBFanWish
Photo of PatandDavid


4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

I had my very first one at the Redbones BA pub crawl. I asked Longstaff and Bierman9 for their recommendation, and they steered me to this one, so a big thanks to them.

This beer is outstanding. It was a bit dark down there, so I have to say that it poured a dark robust color. I don't remember the smell as being overwhelming, let's say it didn't prepare me for such a wonderful taste. This beer is among the smoothest I have ever had. I can't get over how some high alcohol beers let you know right off from the smell that they are going to make you know they have alcohol in them. This beer may have a high alcohol content, but I did not pick up an overwhelming alcoholic taste. A beer that can do that, I really respect. The taste was, oh I almost can't describe, but it was smooth as silk, and made you say this is a beer to savor. I gave the mouthfeel a 4.5, and the drinkability only a 4, out of respect for the alcohol content.

I would highly recommend this to anyone.

01-26-2003 07:12:48 | More by PatandDavid
Photo of UncleJimbo


4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

Sampled from a bottle marked 23.08.08 in late Nov. 2005. Therefore, this bottle was ~3 months old. Sampled at Apspanning 't Waagstuk in Antwerp, Belgium.

This beer poured a dark brown color with highlights of red. The foam was creamy and tan, and settled to a thin coat. The smell was lightly malty and slightly vinous. The taste was malty and lightly sweet with a touch of vinous overtones. The flavor was good, but was much less complex than older bottles that I had sampled. The mouthfeel was smooth with medium-full body and good carbonation. The aftertaste was pleasantly malty. Slightly warming. This was the first time I had sampled such a "young" bottle of this beer, and frankly the beer tastes much better after aging in the bottle a few years.

05-29-2006 19:19:20 | More by UncleJimbo
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 4,625 ratings.