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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.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

4,444 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,444
Reviews: 1,603
rAvg: 4.62
pDev: 8.87%
Wants: 2,776
Gots: 1,245 | FT: 97
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: 4,444 | Reviews: 1,603 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Lothore
Lothore

California

4.55/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Pours a deep, cloudy violet color with little to no head, perhaps because the pour wasn't very aggresive.

S- Smell is amazing. Deep dark fruits, raisins, hints of plum, with a deep yeasty earthiness that is hard to describe. boozy.

T- Taste is extremely balanced and minimal yet overflowing with complexity. Starts off just as in the nose with deep dark fruits, moves into a bit of an acidic bite which mingles with a hop bitterness joined with a spicy flavor. There is a deep breadiness all the way through and booziness at the end which tops it off perfectly.

M- Thick, low on carbonation and fairly dry. Lingers on the palate for a while.

D- I wanted to dislike this beer, I really really did. I told myself I would rate it like any other and try to play down the hype but it just didn't work. The only way I can describe how good this one goes down is the spicy, warming sharpness of the finish of a good big red wine. Because of the price I won't actively seek this one out again but if i'm ever in europe and I see one you can bet that's what i'll be drinking. I usually dislike quads but this one seemed so laid back, it was a delight.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2008 03:54:25 | More by Lothore
Photo of bkilpatr
bkilpatr

Oregon

4.55/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 330 ml bottle into a Westvleteren glass. 10/12/08. Cap has 18.12.10 printed on it.

Pours a deep dark mahogany brown color with about one finger of light tan head. The head slowly dropped to just a thin layer, no lacing. The aroma is amazing and intense. Belgian yeast, bread, sweet malt, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, apple, raisin, date, fig, toasted nut, banana, clove, and alcohol make up the aroma. Very complex, one of the best smelling beers I've ever had.

Unfortunately the taste does not carry the same complexity as the aroma. It's still darn good though. Sweet malt, Belgian yeast and bread, brown sugar, candied sugar, raisin and fig, and a touch of alcohol make up the taste. The high alcohol (10%) is pretty well hidden.

This beer is smooth and not too heavy. Medium-full body and well-carbonated. Almost creamy. A bit of warmth from the alcohol. Drinkability is pretty good. The alcohol really sneaks up on me. It's really easy to drink for such a big beer. Definitely a sipper though.

Overall, a darn good beer. Try it if you get a chance, though it might be difficult to obtain.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2008 03:25:26 | More by bkilpatr
Photo of GoNowhere
GoNowhere

Arkansas

4.55/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Much to my delight, the Holiest beer on planet earth arrived three days prior to Christmas. Two bottles were purchased online--one for me and one for a beer loving homie.
On to the review...

Appearance: Dark earthy tone resembling very fertile soil with a nice bleached leather colored head. Lacing immediate and intricate. Tiny bubbles of carbonation bouncing and popping.

Smell: Fruity. Raisins. Plums. Pumpkin. Dates. Dried bananas. Malty. Molasses. Earth. Reminiscent of a thick autumn fog on a pumpkin farm. Lots of stuff going on.

Taste: Malty goodness giving way to a break of fruity sweetness and ending with a nice tinge of alcohol that only serves to cleanse the palate for another swig. It tastes just as it smells.

Mouthfeel: Not heavy. Not light. It dances and skips along with the tastes. The carbonation is perfect. It's a ballerina.

Drinkability: Well, at 10% you can't hang with more than a couple and still appreciate them, but damn I would love to try.

While drinking this I asked myself the same questions I asked myself before I decided to marry my wife... I made it about beer instead of a woman though because it would be weird if I didn't.

Is it the best and if I were to consume this one beer for the rest of my life would I still have eyes for other brews?

-Well, if I lived next to the brewery, or even within 200 miles, this might be the best beer ever.... But I don't, so it isn't. If I did live that close, I can't honestly say that a Saison, Strong Pale or Dark, or a really nice Triple wouldn't tempt me to stray (Really, Belgium has all the super model beers). However, this is by far the best Quad I have ever had and would love to drink it again someday.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2011 04:38:37 | More by GoNowhere
Photo of cratez
cratez

Ontario (Canada)

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

330ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. It is fitting that I have finally sampled this nectar in my fifth year of 'serious' craft drinking, on the dawn of a new year with an ambitious set of beer goals for 2010. Westvleteren is appropriately known as THE beer, made by the only remaining Trappist brewery that employs strictly in-house monks (no outside staff). Since I approached this beer with respect and humility, rather than overloaded expectations, I was thoroughly satisfied with the experience.

Pours a purplish, burgundy brown with ruby red hues and a bubbly ring of tan head. Spotted lacing covers the top half of the glass. Smell is doughy malts, baking yeast, caramelized fruit, candy sugar, and a trace of alcohol. Taste is a lovely mix of blueberries, plums, apple cider, prunes and chocolate chips. There's a prominent vinous flavour, very wine-like in character, imparting green and dark grapes with a touch of sour tartness. Finish contains a hint of alcohol, boozy and warming. Spicy, fruity bite from the hops with a quick flash of bitterness to end. In a word, delicious.

The mouthfeel is in a category of its own. Lush, resinous, and silky in texture, with vanilla and cream flavours in the body. Velvety and clean, yet chewy at the same time. Dangerously drinkable for 10.2%. I'm not worthy!

It took me an hour to properly savour this brew as the complexity is nearly unparalleled. Like most BAs, I prefer a handful of beers over Westy 12, but it's still a beast that needs to be tamed at some point in your craft beer journey. I feel extremely fortunate to have tried this legendary quad. A tasty and luxurious treat, deserving of its world class status.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2010 19:47:39 | More by cratez
Photo of GPHarris
GPHarris

Alabama

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

thanks to andy barnett for the bottle

a - poured a three-fingers thick bubbly and fizzy light tan head into a tulip glass. it left thick lace and sheeting throughout, really coats the glass. the body was a dark and heavy brown with hints of purple.
s - very comples, smells of plums, raisins and other dark fruits with hints of caramel.
t - so much going on here, vanilla, honey, fruit, with a caramel malt sweetness.
m - this is perfection. so smooth and creamy.
d - what a wonderful sipper, goes down easily and one could get carried away with this if not careful.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2008 17:43:13 | More by GPHarris
Photo of MCain04
MCain04

Illinois

4.54/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle from my Westy brick on 12/12/12. Poured into the Westy Chalice.

Appearance: Dark muddy opaque brown. Solid 1 finger head with awesome retention and lacing. Impressive.

Smell: Raisins, figs, a little nutty, some apples, grapes, nice but not jumping out on the nose.

Taste: Right along with the nose. Raisins and figs mainly. Malty aftertaste. A little dry on the aftertaste. Alcohol is a tad evident but not displeasing.

Feel: Moderate to high carbonation, nice for the style. Really smooth. Only a little viscous, without being too syrupy. Somewhat sticky.

Overall: World-class quad. Happy to have had the opportunity to taste it. I don't think it blows all other Trapist quads out of the water, but it definitely has a stake in the "best quad in the world" contest. Hard to say it is that much better than Rochefort 10 though, so given the availability of the latter, I'm not sure it's worth the trouble and price of going after more than once.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2013 04:27:18 | More by MCain04
Photo of StaveHooks
StaveHooks

Oklahoma

4.54/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle served in a Westy 12 chalice of course.

A - Hazy pecan brown with a massive creamy head that takes awhile to settle.

S - Brown sugar, dark Belgian candy, spicy yeast, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon, leather, tobacco, plumbs, dates, bananas, cherries, walnuts. The yeast become more raw and bready as it warms. Awesome aroma.

T - Dark Belgian candy jumps out long with Belgian yeast, bananas, nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, cherries, tobacco, some hop bitterness is present, the alcohol is present and adds a spicy kick on the palate. The malt is sweet and caramelized but has a rawness that you don't get with alot of ales. There's an earthy and rustic character makes that adds an edginess. The finish is very dry with dry spices and a kiss of rummy alcohol.

M - Moderate carbonation, medium/full body, thins out as it warms.

Glad I got to try this. I've done a blind taste test with this and 2 other highly acclaimed quads and this did well. It's not as fruity as other quads and has a more rustic character. This taste like a true trappist ale.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2014 20:41:17 | More by StaveHooks
Photo of deereless
deereless

Colorado

4.54/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Thick craggy head that held for a minute before dropping into a oozing layer of foam leaving a few sticky spots on the side of the glass, lots of sediment, chestnut to rust brown - 4.25, S: Nose is creamy, chalky and with dark cherries, hint of candied mango, some sweet doughy bread, trace of honey as well as hints of toasted nuts and some bold malt, incredibly complex nose, -5.00, T: Dry, noticeable alcohol but very nicely masked in a 10.2% beer, candied sugar, slight burn, pureed figs and dates along with some golden raisins, - 4.50, M: Body is a touch thin with a slight effervescence and very mildly gritty – 4.00, D: All around an exceptional beer, one everyone should try at least once in their lifetime - 4.50

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2013 20:04:03 | More by deereless
Photo of badbeer
badbeer

Iowa

4.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Date on bottle says best before 11/1/09. Poured into a Rochefort chalice.

Poured a really dark amber brown with an off white head that stayed throughout the glass and left some lacing. Smell is a little lighter than I expected, but still plenty of dark fruits and spices, with a little bit of a sour smell detected. Taste was much of the same, didn't really detect any sourness that I found in the nose, also I couldn't detect the alcohol. Even with my expectations of this beer being very complex, it still caught me a bit offguard, it was very nice, nearly perfect. Medium bodied, with a light to medium amount of carbonation; it was smooth with a slightly dry finish to it. Drinkability was incredible, alcohol was not to be found and it seemed to go down just as easy as a 3.2% cask ale, I had to hold myself back from drinking this too fast. The best beer in the world? Maybe. My favorite beer? No, maybe with some age though. A damn fine beer worth seeking out? Absolutely.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2006 07:34:03 | More by badbeer
Photo of CaptinRedBeard
CaptinRedBeard

Pennsylvania

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

Big thanks to Thijs for sending me this. Cheers to a great BA.

A: It pours into my Chimay goblet a cloudy dark amber/brown color. With one finger of tight, spotty, off white head that remains for some time. As I slowly drink it down, persistent lacing covers the side of the glass

A: The floral Belgian yeast is noticeable immediately. Followed by some caramel malt aroma, and dark fruits. Notably, raisins, figs and plums.

T: The flavors here are so complex that it is hard for me to discern, break down and describe the individual flavors. What a wonderful yeast strain used here. The flavors of the dark fruits do come through nicely. The plums and raisins blend effortlessly with the flavors from the malt and yeast. This is possibly the most well balanced beer that I have ever had. No one flavor really jumps out apart from the rest. Everything just blends together perfectly.

M: Fairly highly carbonated. More than I was expecting actually. None the less, this is no detractor here. It has a wonderful smooth, medium body on the palette.

D: The alcohol is nearly unoticeable at first, but comes out a bit as the beer warms. I could literally drink this every day and never get tired of it. It really is too bad that alas, I only have one bottle. This is the very definition of a world class beer. I will certainly be seeking out more of it.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2010 13:55:56 | More by CaptinRedBeard
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

4.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

330ml naked bottle, best before Oct 2013, courtesy of tbeckett - cheers, man! I've heard of this Trappist moniker for a while now, so after a bit of googlemappery, it is nice to see that there is indeed a place called 'Vleteren', with a West and of course, an Oost. Nice.

This beer pours a dark, murky, dishwater brown hue, with a fair amount of swirling, suspended sediment, and one ascetic finger of tightly foamy specked beige head, which doesn't wait around for alms, leaving only a few isolated beads of lace around the glass as it quickly bleeds away.

It smells of sharply bready grain - somewhat sourdough-esque, astringent dark sugar, vinous, floral Madeira, fruity prunes, and a slight apple cider tartness. The taste is a whole lot sweeter than the aroma let on - the nose, it seems, doesn't always know. Caramel malt, tempered by a furthered sour bread character, mildly spiced, in a down-low Noel manner, soft, but firm drupe fruitiness, a subtle leafy, herbal hop dryness, and some sneaky, underhanded rum cake booze warming.

The bubbles are quite frankly, all played out, and not very noticeable, excepting the effect they must have in keeping the fruity, medium-heavy body from even dancing near cloyingness, but rather into an abject, enveloping smoothness. It finishes like a well balanced dessert - multifaceted sweetness, well modulated by ethereal hop and alcohol. Bravo.

Well, the hype, she can be one harsh mistress, but this time, she really puts out - a stellar example of the 'quad' style, or what have you. Complex, balanced, strong yet soft, and beguiling. Like the beer itself, I took a wee spell to warm up, but once it got going, it was very hard to stop. Taken as part of my Winter 2012 Quad Tasting - a rather pushed forward affair, seeing how our 'winter' has petered out this year (spring-like weather in my hood in early March is quite unusual), here's how the Westy 12 fared against its nearest locally available competition:

Westvleteren 12: as above.

Rochefort 10: complex, yessiree - but in a somehow more simple (mea culpa) manner, i.e. - your stellar, GGG wife, until you are presented with the idea of that SI swimsuit model of a particular adolescent fantasy.

St. Bernardus ABT 12: everything going for it to compete, except for the big step up in complexity that the Westy presents. Nothing bad to say - just another subtle reminder of that 'there'll always be someone bigger and/or stronger' maxim of life.

So, after all that - mere tenths of rating points divide this hedonistic, rarified harbinger of kingdom in the sky end days from its slightly more pedestrian brethren - I shall be taking that into consideration as I move forward in the beer-imbibing world.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2012 01:45:37 | More by biboergosum
Photo of cokes
cokes

Wisconsin

4.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Have you ever been experienced?

Well, I have. Now.

My Westy12 deflowering began with a muddied, amber-tilted brown scattered with yeast particles. The head was beige and semi-short-lived.

After fooling around and reaching third base with Westy 8, this has long anticipated. Surely a defining moment.

The time arrived, and the bottle cap is awkwardly slipped off.

Head swimming and bursting and dizzy. The room fragrant with spiced rum cake, lime juice, clove, and pepper.

A heavy, petting caramel begins the escapade. A bready mattress on which to romp. Caressing raisin fingers graze with slightly rough grain nails. Hotter now. Derobed cognac, naked, but shrouded in shadow. Elongated, excited rods of liquorice. Spice draws closer, and penetrates with silken and throbbing anise, white pepper, and clove. Squeezing and rhythmic plum pudding and carrot cake.
From here on, the mind only recalls images, mere snapshots. Moaning figs and thrusting dark chocolate and grimacing florals. Squeals of passion fruit, then spurts of lime juice.

Sweaty, sappy, heavy embrace. Full of momentum and ambiance, but not free from missteps. A bit clingy afterward. Roll over, and go to bed.
Not perfect, but in the moment, it nearly seemed as such.

Done too soon, but that's not a flaw. At least not here.

This will ever be looked back upon longingly, and with a sly grin. Certainly not the best, most erotic, or most complete one will experience (in fact, I'm calling Ms. Abbaye des Rocs right now).
Regardless, this is absolutely lusty and gratifying.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2004 03:08:24 | More by cokes
Photo of Shumista
Shumista

Ohio

4.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

After a bit of bartering I was able to get a hold of a Westy through a trade. Been waiting around for the right time to try it but yesterday was finally time. Shared the 33 cl bottle three ways. Just a big enough pour for each of us to get a good feel for the beer. From notes.

Pours a muddy dark brown, no head at all. Barely looks carbonated. Smell is dominated by juicy ripe dark fruits. Also there is some spice, brown sugar and subtle yeastiness. Taste is very port like, definitely a dessert beer. And I don't mean it is a beer to be paired with dessert but rather is a dessert in and of itself. More unctuous sweet juicy ripe dark fruits, apple cider, candied sugar, a spice that is somewhere between cinnamon and nutmeg, and a subtle yeastiness. Surprisingly clean taste, much less funky than I would have expected. Very little aftertaste, each sips leaves a sweet warming sensation. It is thick and mouthcoating with very little carbonation that borders on being cask-like. Drinkability is difficult to judge with such a small pour, but I think the sweetness would get to me pretty quickly. I'm not sure if I would want to do an entire bottle. That's ok though, beers like this are way more fun to drink when shared anyways.

Best beer ever? What does that even mean...? Anyways it certainly was great, and definitely one of the best Belgian beers I have had yet.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2010 02:03:28 | More by Shumista
Photo of MarkJBurch
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
Photo of Antilochus
Antilochus

Ontario (Canada)

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

Well, this is the one, apparently. Too bad I had to enjoy it while listening to tacky American 80s music... only in Belgium, at my personal adventure...

VLAAMSVEST '08

Served at Cambrinus in Brugge, in a branded Trappist Westvleteren chalice. Best before 17/10/10.

Intense milky black-brown. Coffee mottled offwhite tan head. Mossy in texture. Effervescent. Unbelievably good retention that's impossible to deny. Great! On the nose: plums, ripe apples, sour cherries, diacetyl, apple juice, hint of yeasty funk. Chocolate, coffee, cane sugar, rye bread, port wine. Raisins, dates. (the point in my notes where I write an expletive).

Surprisingly light palate with carbonation, sweetish on the tongue with moderate alcoholic/yeasty bitterness. Chocolate malt. Mouth-coating. Something in the background I'm not getting... nuts - definitely. Slightly salty. Tropical fruit?! Cookie dough, coffee cake - caramel. Malt whisky. Well hidden abv.

Is this the best? I don't know. I started my adventure in legality about one year ago and I've already enjoyed what is commonly regarded as "the greatest beer on earth". No matter - breweries change and I have no doubt that within my lifetime W-12 will be unseated, hopefully for the better. In the meantime... I'll keep on coming back for this stuff.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2008 23:37:07 | More by Antilochus
Photo of mmager
mmager

United Kingdom (England)

4.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a maroon brown with copper highlights at the edges. A bit cloudy, some small sediment particles even with an extremely careful pour. Thin slightly off-white head, only a few millimeters, which goes down a bit a first but then lingers for quite a while.

S: Initially bready/yeasty smell is most apparent. Light phenols. A hint of alcohol, but not boozy smelling at all. Very subtle hints of fruit, possibly bruised apple? Full rounded malt character and just a hint of grape as it warms up a bit more.

T: Not the typical heavy dark fruit of most quads. Instead an initial rich bready flavor. Rich caramel follows as it warms up a little bit, then transitions to almost a tart flavor. A little bit of spicy bitterness on the (long) finish. Malt notes also last long into this extended finish.

M. Extremely full but not heavy or coating. Carbonation level is nice to balance. Some warming alcohol on the finish but very subdued, not at all harsh.

D: For its strength, quite good. The alcohol content is very very subtle. I would almost prefer that it be a bit more apparent, in fact. The aroma is lovely, but I wouldn't mind a bit more warming in the mouth.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2009 20:05:22 | More by mmager
Photo of OneDropSoup
OneDropSoup

Pennsylvania

4.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Much love to Shyne for the trade!

Poured into a snifter: About a finger of beige head that dissipates & leaves a wisp across the surface & a loose, bubbly collar. Body is deep ruby amber, hazy, with a few tiny strands of nucleation.

Dark, stewing fruits are up front in the nose: prunes, raisins, even some slightly tart cherries & sweet wine grapes. There's an herbal quality here that reminds me of Orval, even a little floral. Nose evolves subtly with each whiff, into mild baking spices (cinnamon, nutmeg) to hints of cocoa. The smell is more restrained & not very intense, but complex & pleasing.

Significant herbal flavors at play in the flavor, followed by a vinous sweetness, sweet baked dough, a little hot cinnamon, & drying out near the finish. Ends with a subtle alcoholic jab, then unrolls into a long aftertaste that moves through candied fruits, menthol, even a tiny bit of smokiness. I love a beer with a "second act" after each sip.

Velvety smooth with just a little prick from alcohol. There's some heat, then the cool menthol-like quality. Rolls around on the tongue, this has such a great mouthfeel. Full-bodied but somehow light & airy as well.

This really defied my expectations. What I anticipated was a big, bold flavor profile, this is all about finesse. So complex, but not a slap in the face -- there are a lot of subtle notes & movements, & none of them overpower the others. Well-balanced, silky smooth, & flavorful, this is a great beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2010 00:23:26 | More by OneDropSoup
Photo of psiweaver
psiweaver

Washington

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

Had this today at Westvleteren's Cafe served in their glassware thanks to Yapi who took me out to see the abbey.

Pours a brilliant rich brown with some reddish tinge to it with a soft 1" off white light brown head.

smell of honey and candi sugar and some dark fruits with some alchoholic burn in there. nice yeasty smell as well.

taste has a good amount of candi sugar with some nice rich fruits a bit of bread and some burn to it. There is a bit of vanilla in here as well. This would really improve with some aging and I can clearly see the potential.

great mouthfeel very smooth and viscous

easy to drink, much to easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2011 20:05:24 | More by psiweaver
Photo of Kilonad
Kilonad

Virginia

4.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Didn't take detailed notes, but...

A - Good dark color, like a great quad should look.

S - Really interesting smell. Cheese, funk, and fruit. Pretty complex.

T - More fruit than cheese, but there was this really interesting and complex cheesiness/yeastiness to the beer. I really enjoyed this one, and it's the most complex beer I've ever tasted.

M - Mouthfeel was solid but nothing out of the ordinary.

O - Worth tracking down, and an excellent beer, but naturally it can't live up to the overwhelming hype attributed to it.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2011 05:55:30 | More by Kilonad
Photo of flexabull
flexabull

California

4.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of leftmindedrighty, thanks again!

Cap marked 7.3.10

Been holding this one for a while, I just had a great weekend, and in celebration of that, and the Phillies winning the NL East, I figured this would be a fitting beer.

Pours a dark brown color with a thin off white head.

Aromas are nutty, of booze, oak, and some dark chocolates as well. Very complex and a pleasant to sniff.

Taste starts out with a soft mouthfeel and a crisp finish. Creamy malts, a bit chocolate like, nutty, oaky, and some sweet light cola flavors. Flavors are complex, but soft and meld together really well. It certainly doesn't taste like it's a 10+% ABV beer, only the slightly hint of booze and alcohol warmth. Quite smooth and actually even a little subtle.

Mouthfeel is superb. Thick, full, smooth, and with perfect carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I really enjoyed this one. It's definitely top notch, excellent, and well worth the praise. However... I'll take Rochefort 10 or Pannepot. I liked those 2 just a little bit better than this one.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2008 03:57:16 | More by flexabull
Photo of rayjay
rayjay

Hawaii

4.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just got some in the mail today, and I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep tonight before I cracked one open.... 30.08.09

Deep brown beer with red highlights, low carbonation. There was a head, for about 60 seconds or so, but it has dissipated to a reddish/purplish/brownish-stained island and a single ring of white lacing around the entire goblet.

There is a faint nose, but what is detectable is sweet malty beer.

Wow, my first impression is subtle boldness; nothing about this beer is simple or ordinary, yet it remains constrained and civilized. Quite a work of art, indeed. Complex sugar-dominated flavor profile, full of rich, sweet caramelized malts and candi sugar, and yet it remains tame and never overly-sweet; most of the sweetness rolls off after just a brief moment, to reveal a complex, colorful aftertaste. Warmth is the only hint of alcohol. Notable flavors include pepper jack cheese, dried fruits (apricots, dates, figs, bananas), faint hop bitterness, and delicious spring water.

Carbonation is very light and hardly there, and adds a bit of spiciness that enhances the flavor perfectly. It is slightly sticky, which adds a bit of thickness and cuts drinkability a tad; honestly, though, it's the most drinkable quad I've had yet-it's not as thick as maple syrup and also doesn't coat your tongue.

Highly recommended; I was expecting a much more arrogant beer, and what I found was a gentle giant.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2006 08:19:05 | More by rayjay
Photo of Khazadum
Khazadum

Illinois

4.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Well, every time Sunday rolls around I want to join in on that famous NBS thread. I thought to myself... after the day I had, what would top it off? The sole Westy 12 I've ever had! BIG thanks go out to Prufrock for putting this in as an extra in the Blind Beers BIF. Poured into my lovely brandy snifter and reviewed on the spot for all to enjoy.

Vision
The moment I began gently pouring this acclaimed brew into my glass I had the sudden urge to scream out "Carbonation ho!" It is extreme the amount of head that gushed forth from a gentle pour. Easily a finger and a half of pure white foam that absorbs the hues from the liquid below. In fact there is a two tier system of bubbles here. One is a gentle brown fading quickly to wedding gown white. You'd think that the body would share a similar coloration as it gives off, but this is not true.

The body is burgundy melted into ruby red. It reminds me of unfiltered apple cider. You want to call it brown and red at the same time. Brick red isn't right, but it isn't muddy clay either. It is dark enough that light fails to penetrate far into the center. It gets just enough in to divulge the secrets of carbonation, but no further.

This beer is like every other Belgian I have had, fizzier than a pop drink on a warm day. I do not despise this. I look forward to it, actually! Without this, I would have been disappointed, to be quite frank.

After a few minutes, almost all the head is gone except for a nice island of bubbles that is constantly regenerated by the endless supply from below.

Bouquet
Caramel tones sneak by under the stadium-sized apple presence. If I grabbed a truck full of apples, mashed them, and laid them bare into my front room I doubt it could even match the intensity that enters my nostrils. I can actually taste the tartness through my nose. It is strong in bitterness ( Not acetic, but can't tell ) but the strong fruit sweetens the deal to make it quite enjoyable. The ending breath whispers a bready note, but I'm almost positive I'm lying to myself. I wish there were more complexities to note, but maybe I am missing them currently.

Flavor Profile
The very first sip is like a journey from high noon into the depths of a cave. I can only start off by proclaiming this is where the complexities lie.

The entrance-way of this spelunking trip is instantly tart with a good amount of sweetness. It is there not to be a player, but the walkway with which I can traverse between rooms. Without it, there is an overwhelming uncomfortable bitterness instead of tart. That is not the case, thank goodness.

My very first steps ring out with the noise of fruits, tart nature, and crisp flavors. I stand still for a moment and the echo kicks me in the tongue. The finish is falsely clean, because not more than five seconds later I can taste bananas on the back of my tongue. A new challenger squishes its medicinal head free of the at once mildly sweet flavor and drenches me in what can only be a disinfecting alcohol.

These same flavors find new ways to meander around depending on how I sip this. Letting it rest for much longer than previous sips reveals a new layer. It grows crisp little legs that tickle relentlessly all over my tasting centers. Apples, tart notes, and bananas once again but if I let it sit too long, it feels like a giant jackhammer stabs through all flavors and prickles with an intense desire to burn, to own all locations. The alcohol reminds me of every stereotypical tourist flashing his camera endlessly to the point where it is a violent weapon. I enjoy this assault, but maybe because it is a new experience.

Oral Sensations
The body is exactly as it should be. I mean it. This is perfect for this beer. There needs to be no increase or decrease in how it feels flowing in my glass or in my mouth. It is both creamy and crisp. Both tingly and smooth. It has enough presence to linger, but it goes home exactly when it should.

Even though the alcohol is the flock of bats inhabiting this cave, I find it only warming my throat and no where else. It did not light a fire in the pits of my stomach even after halfway through. It is almost a contradiction in this way.

Conclusions
This sneaky little beer, both in its alcohol content and flavors, proves to be quite easy to enjoy. I wanted to hate it. I looked for things to down grade it on. I wish I could treat this with rougher hands, but it is what it is. I truly enjoyed this beer. It not only was a pleasure to enjoy, but I anxiously await another. I could have two in an evening and be satisfied.

The flavors keep coming back in interesting ways, and I do not grow to despise them. I welcome them like an oil lantern after my flashlight lost power.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2010 22:17:12 | More by Khazadum
Photo of draheim
draheim

Washington

4.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

330mL bottle (best by 8/29/2010 on the cap) poured into a St. Bernardus chalice. Mahogany brown color with a thin fizzy head that dissipates quickly - nice carbonation continues to rise to the surface.

Aroma is dark fruits, figs, dates, brown sugar, spice, rum, and a hint of molasses. Smells exquisite.

Taste is rich and complex. Sweet dark caramel malt, spice, booze, figs, and raisins. Super smooth, chewy mouthfeel. Fills every taste bud with a complex blend of flavors.

This beer totally lives up to the hype. The only thing I'm disappointed with is the head - but this beer is also 4+ years old, which may account for that. If I try another one I'll make sure to get it fresh.

(Note: This tasting was done side-by-side with Rochefort 10 and I found this beer just ever so slightly more impressive on the aroma and mouthfeel. Otherwise they were very close.)

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2011 05:37:16 | More by draheim
Photo of jeffthecheff
jeffthecheff

Connecticut

4.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So I stop over my friend Joe's apartment one Thursday afternoon for a quick visit. I was in the area and had to pick up/drop off some things. The timing was good, because he had to pick up some boxes from the mail room.

The box is opened, and there are a ton of goodies. One of them is a 5 year old bottle of Westvleteren 12.

Are we really about to crack a Westy 12 out of the blue on a Thursday afternoon?

Before there is any time to discuss it, the "mail room temp" bottle is poured into our glasses. My glass is a stemmed tulip, and is a little wide to hold any head for a 5 year old beer. Joe's glass is a stemmed Cantillon flute, and the beer looks much better there. It's got a solid, yellowish brown head and a murky, dark brown head.

We immediately agreed that this beer smelled a lot like apple cider. I was thinking apple fritters when I smelled the cap, but there is definitley some apple in the nose. It reminds me of a holiday scented candle...apple spice. There is a small amount of oxidation and alcohol in the nose, but not much. Other aromas include malty nuttiness, some dark fruits, and figs.

The taste is complex yet smoothly integrated. Yummy is a good word. It's got a good brown sugar and apple dessert flavor to it. Brown sugar sweetness adds to the dessert characters, and there is also some fruity, fig like flavors. Overall, it reminded me of what a big Belgian brown ale would taste like. I have a feeling that this beer is in a strange spot age wise. I'm guessing it was better fresh, but would go through another transformation with more time and get better in the future.

The mouthfeel is the most impressive part of this beer. It's smooth and rich yet surprisingly light on the palate. The carbonation is a little lower than I'm used to, but is still adequate. The drinkability also shocked me. Compared to others in the style, there is no comparison. Other Quads are slow sippers and hard to finish, but this one begged me to drink more than half a bottle. I don't think I've had a beer this big and flavor that was so easy drinking.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2010 21:46:38 | More by jeffthecheff
Photo of radioscooter
radioscooter

Pennsylvania

4.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

So after all the reading about, hearing about, and let's face it - hype - associated with this beer, I have finally opened my single bottle I acquired on eBay.

As always, I will try to comment here away from what has gone previously. My ranking or specific commentary is worthless to pros. I am but a novice. I know what I like. I like quads, strong dark ales with complexity and flavor.

As I pour it into a goblet, I notice the lack of head, and an unassuming semi translucent mahogany hue.

The bottle is colder than I like to drink. But my pattern is to start chilled and let it come up to room temp before I start seriously sipping.

Aroma is very subdued, Earthy, but not heady - not revealing too much of what's to come.

What comes is nothing short of history in a bottle. The mystery and intrigue of centuries of Trappist Monks creating the ultimate ale is present in every sip.

Once again I am forced to reference legend. If there was ever a beer that could eclipse the stories of Mead, Treacle, Butter Beer or Ambrosia - this truly is a magical nectar in our physical mundane, Muggle world. The words "flagon", "quaff" and "tavern" were created to accessorize this ale.

I can't imagine what standardization needs to be in place to vote something the "best beer in the world". It seems like a ludicrously subjective classification. And as amazing as this beer is - I'm not saying that I'd choose it every or all night. But really -there is no "next best contender" to this beer, because it is unique in its approach and scope. A heady breath of dark, slightly figgy, mildly sweet (and I mean mild) malt flavors hits the tongue and then dissipates into... more of the same. Instead of transmuting into some phenol-ridden, frothy fluff - the flavor just exponentially increases and drapes as it travels over your palette.

As I get to the bottom of the bottle, the cloudy sediment shows its presence. Flavors are hard to isolate because the blend has been perfected into a cohesive whole ONEness. But some fig, currant and - as God is my witness - LOAM come to the top of the pile.

The hype is high on this one because of its legendary rareness. One in a while hype is justified. Sometimes, you just need to recognize that the laws of supply and demand are affected by real world lay-lines of taste and appreciation.

There are so many magical fables that we can't reach out and touch. If, as a child - you ever longed for Brigadoon, Narnia, Middle Earth or Neverland to be real - go through the motions and acquire a bottle of this beer. It's worth the trouble to reaffirm your sense of humility and wonder in the world.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2010 01:35:06 | More by radioscooter
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 4,444 ratings.