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

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

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4,820 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,820
Reviews: 1,621
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 8.89%
Wants: 2,932
Gots: 1,391 | FT: 105
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
(Yellow Cap)

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,820 | Reviews: 1,621 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Samichlaus82
4.68/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark brown beer with small biege head and yeast..Very complex taste and smell.Sweet smell,wet wood,little smoky,raisins,pulms,spruce,bread,coffee. Taste sweet and dry,wood,bread,chocolate dry fruits,complicated spices,alcohol (but very ballanced with the taste.so good palate,a warm complicate feeling in mouth with a very long lasting finish.It has it all :the taste,aroma,prestige the legent. It is made by monks but the feeling is like orgasm in a glass.

Samichlaus82, Oct 24, 2012
Photo of timnkate
4.68/5  rDev +1.5%

timnkate, Sep 01, 2014
Photo of xpimptastikx
4.68/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

15.12.12 Cap date. I drank it on it's 2yr bottle date.

A - rootbeer with 2cm of off white head, legs for days.

S - Candi sugar, cherries, plums, whoppers, awesome.

T - A lovely malt ball covered raisin. It's delicate and and decadent and could be sipped for a long time.

M - creamy body with a slightly dry finish.

O - Screw the hype, I love this beer. I've had it, along with most of the other Belgian quads and varying ages, and this is still my favorite. I think 2-3yrs really is perfect for the beer to showcase everything.

xpimptastikx, Dec 30, 2011
Photo of Danny1217
4.66/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Ordered a bottle at Cambrinus in Brugges. 12 euro for the bottle, but with all the hype surrounding it, I decided it was worth trying once.

It pours into the challice a deep, slightly murky brown color with a thick, tan head of foam. Excellent head retention.
Smells of rich dark fruits, caramel, fresh baked bread, cloves, and a slightly vinous grape aroma.
The smoothness of this beer on the palate is incredible. The alcohol is very well hidden. The taste is similar to the aroma, but with an incredible richness.

I went in expecting it to not meet up to the hype, but it actually almost does. I'm a big fan of Belgian dark ales, and this might actually top St. Bernardus Abt. 12 and Rochefort 10 for me. Incredible beer.

Danny1217, May 12, 2013
Photo of PBRstreetgang
4.66/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

PBRstreetgang, Aug 09, 2013
Photo of anteater
4.66/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle

A: Dark brown with a bit of ruby red, thin light tan head.

S: Cherries, molasses. Beautiful sweet aroma.

T: Sweet malt and cherries married perfectly. There is actually a slight bitterness I notice more than in most quads. Not much alcohol present at all.

M: Excellent. Slightly dry, fine carbonation. Goes down way too easily.

O: I was not expecting this to live up to the hype. Tried it back to back with Pannepot, St. Bernardus 12, Rochefort 10 and Pannepot. Westy was the clear winner. Fantastic!

anteater, Nov 23, 2013
Photo of Stevedore
4.66/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

330ml bottle, with labels signifying its US import status, shared with a bunch of BAs at a birthday tasting last night, 6/15/2013.

Aroma: I was really wowed by the nose on this beer. Super pungent, sweet dark fruits- figs, raisins along with a little bit of blueberry sweetness. There is quite a bit of Belgian yeastiness that I've come to associate with dubbels and quads- really complements the sweetness very well with its spiciness. Smells incredibly delicious, quite sweet, and keeps getting better as it warms up. (4.5)

Colour: Dark brown, not quite black but more like a mahogany brown. Pours a thick (a bit thinner than super thick and viscous) body. Its not quite motor oil but this is quite viscous. The head is a 1cm white, perhaps slightly tan, head that becomes a somewhat thick film on the beer. Looks delicious, like a dessert. (4.5)

Flavour: It was an incredible beer. A tasty melange of Belgian spiciness of cloves, maple syrup, figs, raisins, blueberries, and caramel. The yeast and hops mellows out the sweet malt. I think that compared to some of the other quads I've had, this puts together a great bit of flavours high in complexity that is incredibly mellow and pleasing to drink. (4.75)

Mouthfeel: Thick bodied, very viscous and incredibly chewy. Carbonation was solid, nothing special. Aftertaste is the spiciness of the yeast, which was incredible. Smooth and incredibly easy to drink! It's too bad there's only 33cl of this beer in a bottle. (4.5)

Overall: Incredible quad, one of the best beers I have ever had. I thought it was all hype and came in with a jaundiced eye, but this one really blew me away, which was an incredibly nice surprise. It's not that the specific flavours in this beer were especially great compared to other quads that I've had, but it all came together incredibly well. I think that's the difference between this beer and all the others. (4.75)

Stevedore, Jun 16, 2013
Photo of ohmybock
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is from a review I did back in 2002...
Enticing, sweetish aroma. Color is dark, murky brown. Pours with a big, white head. Sweet malt flavor up front closely followed by a balancing hit of bitterness. Rich complex malt, hop bitterness and complex fruit flavors dance in my mouth. The attack on my tastebuds is incredible. This beer has a long lingering finish that just won't quit. There's also a touch of alcohol warmth to the finish. I love the balance of this beer. Easily one of the best beers I've ever had. Delicious! I wish I had more.

ohmybock, May 29, 2007
Photo of mutterfudder
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ahhhh the legendary Westy 12. Pulled out my last bottle of this at a recent tasting of friends. Poured into a wonderful Cantillon snifter/wine glass thing that said friends gave me for a Christmas/Birthday gift.

A - Poured a slightly-viscous brown with a thin but long lasting head.

S - Amazingly complex. Figs, malt, raisins, and dates. I spent a good 2 minutes just smelling this beer. It truly is a great smell, my favorite quad tied with St. Bernardus 12, which is amusing and expected, given their history.

T - Amazing fruit and malt flavors, like a hyped up dubbel. Fruits similar to fig, dried orange and the aforementioned raisins. There is nary a hint of alcohol here, it's just very well balanced and masked by the flavors here.

M / D - Mouthfeel here deserves some special attention: This is just chewy and moist, an incredible refreshing mouthfeel to this. Wonderfully drinkable as I wish I had more than my 5 ounce pour on this.

So, is it the end all be all? The ratings don't lie: This is an amazing beverage. I think the rarity and mystique probably add to the experience, but believe the hype: This beer deserves the acclaim.

mutterfudder, Feb 01, 2010
Photo of bradford
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

i acquired this bottle in a trade with leftmindedrighty and waited until today to drink it with a buddy who has been overseas for a while. We enjoyed this while brewing an old ale.
Looks good, dark with a light head that stays with the beer and laces the glass with a sticky film
Smells good. Lots of complexity in the nose, as well as the distinct alcohol
Tastes great. Loads of alcohol, the right balance of malt and hop, and a spicy flavor from miscellaneous ingredients
Mouthfeel is a winner again. Very smooth, with a coating from the alcohol
Drinkability is very good considering the strength

bradford, Aug 13, 2007
Photo of abfraser
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle capped with 17.10.10

A: Beatiful pour. Dark brown with a nice frothy tan head, about an inch thick. With a minute or two, the head diminishes by about half. Nice tiny carbonation bubbles hugging the side.

S: Belgian yeast; sweet dark fruit---raisins, prunes, etc...; caramel

T/M: Caramel malt and dark fruit are prominent. Classic quad flavors. The caramel really lingers through the finish. Mouthfeel is dry and carbonated. Given the overly rich American brews that suck ever little bit of your taste buds down with each sip, this is a welcome change. I'd almost call it refreshing. Excellent, excellent beer.

D: Extremely high. I can't believe this is a 10% beer. Slight booziness on the finish, but there's no way I'd guess it was that high.

The best beer in the world? A lot of the hype certainly comes from how difficult it is to obtain. It's certainly a world-class beer. We'll just leave it at that.

abfraser, Jun 03, 2009
Photo of JohnGalt1
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

LaLaLoveYou hooked me up with the 6 bottle gift pack in a very reasonable trade!! Thanks a ton Lauren... I hope you enjoy your beers as much as I am going to like these.

Poured into the little Westy XII chalice... long lasting tannish head atop a fairly clear walnut brew... great lacing and retention.

Nose is rich and malty.... complex mix of dark toast... caramel... light peppery notes... raisin... maybe some dark plum... A little cold with the initial pour... but warmth really blooms the aromas and helps them meld into near perfect territory.

Flavor is wonderful.... again very very complex... brown maltiness makes me think a bit of a nutty addition.. tons of malt character without ever being sweet.. nice balance of esters and spicy phenols pull and push all the nuances into a great bow that allows the flavors to linger forever on the palate.

I always think the 12 is a bit overcarbonated.... but what do I know? the carbonation is little bubble and lends a fairly creamy quality to the medium bodied brew.

Not much else to say other than this is IMHO the benchmark for the quad style... I had a St. Bernardus 12 recently and still think the Westvleteren is better by a decent margin.

Funny that I've never reviewed this ... Inflatablechair has opened the 12 in my presence at least a few times that I can remember... While I thank Sam, this bottle (and the 5 others) all my appreciation goes out to LaLaLoveYou... Lauren is a rockin' trader.


JohnGalt1, Nov 04, 2012
Photo of mikesgroove
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured an extremely dark brown, with a small tan head. There was tons of visible sediment and lots of swirling lace in the top. Looks pretty good in the goblet.

S - Smell is really hard to pin down. There is soo much going on here I really do not know where to begin. It was sweet yet sour, spicey and yet fruity. A bit of alcohol mixed in with hints of pears, apples, raisins, grapes, everything. This was really just soo complex I had trouble finding definate answers. Very very pleasing aroma, nothing ever smelt like that.

M & T - The feel on this was soo light, soo frothy, soo easy to put down it was almost a shame that it went soo quickly. Soo many great tastes here, this was just really fantastic. There have been soo many reviews of this that I really don't have anything else to add other then you have to try it, it just cannot be summed up in words on this page.

D - This really was everything I wanted it to be, and lives up to its rep. By far the best belgian I have had, it is just on another level. The aromas and flavors were so unique. This really just needs to be tried as it is really hard to describe it. Fantastic brew.

mikesgroove, Mar 28, 2007
Photo of BlackHaddock
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finaly got round to opening a bottle of this stuff (had 5 bottles for a number of years), lets see what all the fuss is about.

Poured into a Westvleteren chalice, it looked fairly limp compared to it's 8% brother, wispy head on top of a moody looking dark browny/red body. I tried not to let any sediment out the bottle, but a little managed to leap past me into the chalice, I'll drink the remainder of the bottle (a fifth) with most of the sediment at the end of the review. I am reviewing live as I drink this evening.

The nose is rich red fruits, dried on a bed of dark chocolate and aged with fine English Oak, this is a smell not to mess with.

The taste is fantastic, add some carbonisation and a heap of alcohol to the aforementioned aromas and you're half way there: I found a gargantuan amount of flavours and I now see why beery people clamour for this brew so much. Sweeter than I thought it would be (shared half a glass at the brewery bar when I bought the beer, don't remember the sweetness), but that doesn't detract from the tasting I'm currently having, which I'm really enjoying.

The 10.2% only become evident as the mouth dries, so well is the body and mouthfeel, a truely great beer, certainly now in my top 10, only the appearance letting it down.

BlackHaddock, Oct 13, 2011
Photo of trumick
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First of all I must thank meathookjones for this little bottle of what is turning out to be the best Belgian beer I have ever had the pleasure to...

Pours a hazy, dark reddish to brown with 1 inch head that stays for a bit then quickly dissapates. The lace is fine, and sticks to the snifter all the way around.

Scent is of rich bready malts, sweet candy, dark fruits, grapes and a spicey alcohol.

Taste is WOW. It is very complex. I don't know where to begin. Ok, a spicey alcohol as it starts with a solid rich malt backbone and yeast after that I get lost. I can taste some of the fruits I smelled in the finish. I get just a bit of citrus at the end as well. Did I say complex? This one is hard to get each flavor as I taste it. However, I have to place this at the top of the Belgian Quads I've had.

Mouthfeel is silky, velvety smooth. It's not sticky for being such a big beer. It goes down easy for the incredibly complex flavor and the abv. I could put many of these away in a sitting till the alcohol caught up with me (ok maybe two).

Yes, It lived up to the hype for me. I am amazed at the complexity of the flavors. The scent was fairly easy to distinguish, but the flavor was another story. Truly, a world class beer.

trumick, Apr 18, 2006
Photo of claspada
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled March 9, 2009.

Pours a semi-hazy dark brown color with a fairly large bubbly tan head that recedes to leave some solid lacing.

Aromas begin with an intense amount of dark raisin fruitness and caramelized sugars. As it warms you get some candy and lesser molasses notes. But the real standouts are the dark fruits consisting of dark cherries, plums, figs, and dates.

The tastes follow the nose with inital caramelized maltiness with an underlying toasted crackery maltiness. It is fairly sweet malt forward with some caramel, molasses and toffee. Once again there are strong flavors of dates and figs with some raisins and prunes as well.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side of medium with a perfect amount of carbonation (on the heavier side) that is standard in high quality, well-made Trappist beers.

Overall I was really really really impressed with this beer. After hearing for years that a Rochefort 10 is equally on par with this if not better, I have to say that I do not agree. Maybe it is the age that made this one so special and tasty but I remember being really unimpressed with the Rochefort 10 I had around a year ago. This reminds me agreat deal of the St Bernardus 60th Anniversary beer which I previously thought was the best Belgian beer I have ever had. I would have liked to sample this next to that one to really see who is tops and I will revisit a Rochefort 10 I have been aging as well in a year to see if my memory/opinions will change but I cannot say enough about this beer right now, it was quite special indeed.

claspada, Jan 02, 2013
Photo of AZbelgian
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

While in Belgium on my honeymoon, my wife and I stopped at the Abbey St. Sixtus (the last of our stops to all seven of the Trappists). I didn't know much about Westvleteren 12 and had no idea what I had.

The first one I had was poured almost room temperature from the bottle into a matching chalice. Dark brownish/red hue. Dark brooding scents of prunes and other dark fruit.

Taste was absolutely amazing (even warm - which normally I don't care for). I was sold in the first few sips. Tastes of prunes, sweet dark fruit and spices. Very little aftertaste and almost no hint of alcohol at all. Heavier mouthfeel but drinkability was fantastic.

I turned to my wife and said "this is without question the best beer I've ever had". I felt vindicated when I found out later that I was sampling one of the highest rated and most sought after beers in the world. Brought a couple bottles home for my first wedding anniversary and I can't wait to drink them.

AZbelgian, Mar 19, 2011
Photo of stingrayvr6
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Lucky enough to try this from a friend who picked it up from the abbey in Belgium in 2008. Poured deep red with thick white head, great lace and retention, something very appealing about it. Smell was intense, sweet cherries, raisins, caramel and malt, alcohol in the nose too. Taste was equally intense, incredibly smooth and complex, sweet and bitter fruit and bready malt followed by spice and alcohol warming, yeasty with some more spice and alcohol bite in the finish. Incredible balance and complexity.

stingrayvr6, May 09, 2010
Photo of Yesac
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This isn't just a great beer, it's unique and I can attest this beer has earned every bit of hype that it receives.

A- Cloudy dark-caremel brown. Small bright white head that fades to the edge around the glass.

S- One of the best smelling Belgiun's or beers I've ever smelt. Strong sweet dark fruits, sweet grape/raisin, and a scotch-like whiff of the 10.2% ABV.

T- Incredibly smooth, like no other beer.The taste is tightly complex.. the sheer smoothness makes it hard to analyze the tastes as you instinctivly swallow this nector quickly. Big unique Belgiun malt dominance up front and overall. Finishes with spice and a presence of the 10.2% ABV.

M- Hands down the best mouthfeel I've ever experienced. Westy has this fluffy-smooth sensation that is simular to a cloud on the palate. Medium carbonation, medium bodied.

D- I had to force myself from chuggin this beer down. THe smell, taste, and mouthfeel is just incredibly smooth making this a 5 on drinkability as its like no other.

Yesac, Mar 12, 2009
Photo of dickieb
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I always assumed If I has the opportunity to try this I would have to kill three men and give away the rights to my first born to do so. Luckily for my future generations a beer bud of mine took a trip to belgium and surprised me with a bottle.

Pours a murky dark walnut in color with very little light coming through. The head is thick and bright white leaving some awesome lacing. The smell is a bit subtle for what i was expecting but the amount of scents fuzed into a singe whiff is astounding, dried fruits cinnamon yeast spices and a bunch of other things I cant even put my finger on. The taste is more complex then the smell but also subtle. Raisins the slightest citrus note cloves and a warm tasty booze dominates for me. The mouthfeel is not heavy at all but you know its there and the drinkability is through the roof. Not that anyone would want to but you could put a few of these down in a hurry if you had to. This is hands down the best Quad I have ever had, I don't know if it would be the all time best for my taste but I would never argue this being the holy grail.

dickieb, Jul 30, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Received as a wedding gift from my best man--by far the best gift we received. He got us a six pack, and my wife and I are planning on having the next five each anniversary up until our fifth.

A: Poured into a Mikasa chalice. Pours a large mocha head atop a very dark brown body. Plenty of yeast. The lacing is extremely long-lasting.

S: Lots going on here, especially as it warms up. The trademark yeast is by far the most prominent smell, accompanied by some dark malts and fruits, along with a bit of alcohol.

T: Much the same as the nose, and probably the most complex beer I've ever tasted. Plenty of dark fruits, dark malt, alcohol, fruit and yeast spice, caramel, and molasses.

M: Very full and heavy with a moderate amount of carbonation. Luscious.

D: Quite complex and takes a while to drink, and only gets better as it warms up. Very nice to savor for a long period of time while continuing to find new things going on.

Thorpe429, Sep 24, 2009
Photo of Gilmango
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

So it's my second Westy of any strength (had the blonde at a recent tasting, thanks colforbin), really nice beer, appearance is fine, just hard to be "exceptional" in appearance, unless you put a meringue head on a bmc (sorry that's from a recent Duvel thread and made me laugh). Actually I am going to bump up the appearance score a tad for the dramatic difference between the dark liquid and the white head, which my homebrewed attempt lacked (its head was brown).

Smell is oh so complex, lots of dried fruits, malt, subdued hops on the nose, sweet malt; taste is similarly full and complex, lots of sweetness yet not cloying in the least, sort of just what I expected and have aimed for in my homebrewed imitation. Real nice bittering hop on the finish. Mouthfeel, see taste, not thin but never thick and at this ABV that's the magic. Drinkability, I thought about a 5 here but that would be totally adjusting for ABV, a 4.5 is still fair.

Other note, slight hints of oxidation, this bottle is roughly 5-6 months old, this seems like a beer where oxidation will not be a big detriment at all. Going to open my homebrewed W12 attempt, about 9 months old now, may revisit this review if that opens new insights.

Opened the homebrewed version, makes me appreciate the real thing much more, the homebrew is actually less sweet but more oxidized, darker color and especially darker head. Loving the original.

Gilmango, Sep 06, 2010
Photo of sulldaddy
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been sitting on this one for quite a while now. Broke it out this weekend with Stopper. The bottle has been chilled for many months since purchase. The bottle foams outupon opening. Poured into a real ale fest glass. The beer pours a rich mahogany color with a beige fluffy head that settles slowly. There are lots of dark brown yeast chunks floating thorughout the pour.
Aroma is rich, complex, and sweet. I get cloves, raspberry, and for the first time ever bubblegum. Very appealing on the nose.
The first sip reveals a fairly thick body with very fine yet prickly carbonation. Flavor is spicy and fruity. I get a little green apple and some caramel and toffee notes. Almost like a toffee hard candy in fact. These flavors roll to a bit of a warming alcohol character on the finish. I also get a bit of chocolate on the finish, not like candy but hot cocoa powder.
This is a very complex beer and I am very glad to finally have tried it and add the bottle to my collection. Is it the best beer I've ever had? Tough to say, Top 15 easy. Go and look for it!

sulldaddy, May 25, 2004
Photo of WanderingFool
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

WanderingFool, Aug 08, 2003
Photo of John_M
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Many thanks to Matthew at Capone's for selling this beauty to me. Thought this beer would be an appropriate selection for my 100 BA review.

Paired this beer with the Rochefort 10 (a beer I'm pretty familiar with), just for a reference point. I don't want to suggest the Westy blew the Rochefort out of the water, but the difference was pretty striking.

Considering what this beer had undoubtedly been through coming into my hands, it was incredibly fresh and lively. The beer poured an impressive cloudy, amber red color, with excellent head retention. There isn't a huge amount of foam, but what there is lasts and lasts. Very nice lacing throughout my tasting of this beer.

The nose is incredibly complex and, like the taste itself, continued to change the longer it sat in the glass. Initially I got lots of Belgium spice and orange citrus in the nose (but much more subtle then the type of citrus you'd get in an IPA), with a hint of sweetness. Later, this turned to an aroma of cherry, ginger and chocolate. The flavor profile replicated the nose, but was even more complex. Initial flavors were of melon, pear and cherry; later on I started to get flavors of ranier cherry, chocolate, butter and a hint of licorise. Later still there was a cola flavor (not unlike the Bernadus abt 12, a beer I have heard this beer likened to) intermixed with the cherry and chocolate. The beer is amazingly supple on the palate, and oh so easy to drink.

This beer is a joy to drink, though it was nothing like what I expected. I guess I sort of expected a Belgium version of the Thomas Hardy or JW Lee, but it was nothing like that. This beer is incredibly light on it's feet for such a big beer, and was way too easy to drink. It finishes with a whisper, a very smooth, satisfying end to a nearly flawless beer. Most excellent.

John_M, May 23, 2007
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 4,820 ratings.