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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)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

5,020 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,020
Reviews: 1,634
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 3,025
Gots: 1,483 | FT: 107
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)
View: Beers (3) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,020 | Reviews: 1,634 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ccrida
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle that I've had for maybe a year or so, traded from a guy that claimed to get them regularly in Belgium on business, so reasonable provenance. An over-foamer. I was being gentle with the cap to save it, and ended up loosing at least an oz. or two. Bummer. Dark cola brown with a light tan head, decent foam and nice sheets of foamy lace. It had a little spritziness to it that I found concerning, but it didn't decimate the head retention as I expected.

Smell is phenolic, not as sweet as the taste, fruit and spice, macerated berries.

Taste is good, this one is complex, on the sweet side, some big grape flavors, caramel, but it's not to sugary. Just awesome.

Mouthfeel is lighter, some crispness to it, just a touch sticky.

Drinkability is pretty good. I've had this a few times, but this is the first full bottle I've savored on my own. Obviously, it's hard to get a hold of, so that hurts it, but overall, it's a great beer. A top candidate for a desert island beer.

Photo of PAYankeeFan
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A nice beer with a unique blend of cherries and brown nut malt caramel malts tones. At first I was "best beer in the world?" but it started to grow on me with each sip. I kept it on my tongue and rolled it around. The mouthfeel is luscious with a perfect balance of carbonation and dryness. I haven't felt that since say St Benardus 12. But St. Benardus isn't a substitute for the fruitiness that this beer imparts. I expected more in the aroma department but the flavor more than makes up for it.

Photo of gtn80
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Acquired this bottle through the most generous and random wedding gift we received. Poured from the bottle into a champagne flute. Served around room temperature.

The aroma was amazing. Dark sugars and rum/raisin.

The appearance was nice, a dark brown color with a small white head.

The taste was amazing. Tons of dark, rummy sugars. Lots of figs, but zero alcohol burn.

This was an amazing beer. I am not worldly enough to say best beer or not, but it was an amazing beer and I feel fortunate to get to try one.

Photo of ShadyRigglesbee
4.7/5  rDev +2%

Photo of walows
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Westy 12....
Got a bottle in a trade, thanks stigs!
A: poured into my New Belgium Globe, It is a dark brown/slight reddish hue and with a nice tan rocky head.
S: The aroma consists of brown sugar, dark fruits and cloves. Complex
T: The taste is similar to the aroma, brown sugar, dark fruits like rasins, prunes. With a mild phenolic yeast profile, nice clove flavor. Little bit sweet. Very complex flavors that are all working together.
M: The beer is full bodied and coats your mouth. However, it is not cloying and finishes clean.
D: The drinkability is really good, this beer is just super complex and full bodied. I could drink this for days.

Photo of rodlavers
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Greg06
4.7/5  rDev +2%

Photo of sisuspeed
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First Westvleteren 12, very excited to try this one.

Pours a dark reddish-brown, with very little head that dissipates to almost nothing. The smell is ripe fruits with a syrupy sugar glaze. With this comes some fruity esters from the high ABV. To be more precise, I would say the smell is almost vinous, fermented grapes.

The flavor is extremely sweet upfront, followed by fruits and maltiness. The finish is very warm with an alcohol mixed malt flavor. This beer is like liquid candy and warm alcohol. Tastes delicious.

The mouthfeel is smooth and warm. The consistency seems about perfect. Aside from the huge sweetness factor and the high ABV, this is a very drinkable beer. However, I don't think I would want more than two in a sitting.

So, I have finally had the highly renowned Westvleteren 12. Tonight I tried this beer along side the St. Bernardus 12, which was my favorite trappist beer up to this point. I've also had the Rochefort 10, but after drinking these two I think I need to try it again. Drinking the St. Berndardus and Westvleteren head to head has really helped define the differences in these beers. In terms of appearance, the St. Bernardus looks much more attractive to me. However, I found myself liking the overall flavor of the Westvleteren more, and since beer is mostly about flavor, I tip my hat to the Westy. It truly is an exceptional beer.

Photo of SmithwicksNut
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first and I saved it for this ocassion. This is my 50th Birthday. My son gave this to me for my birthday present.

A: A dark murky brown color with a off white head. It has some debris floating in it.

S: Sweet carmel and molasses aroma with some fruitiness. A hint of the alcohol does come through the aroma.

T: A sweetness from fruits, candi syrup and carmel. Toasted malt coming through with alcohol warming. Yummy!

M: A medium bodied beer with high carbonation. Sweetness with a alcohol warming. Soon after a swallow your mouth is wanting more.

O: This is truly an outstanding beer. I sure all the hype surrounding it adds to the mystic of it. There no evidence this is a 10% beer. It is very well hidden. Thanks to my son, Geoff for a great birthday present!

Photo of OF001
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330mL btl from the expansion 6pk w/glasses. served at 3C(for head management), tasted at 5-6 C in a Westy glass.

Dark earthy, and murky nut brown pour; also a light gery tone that, along with some protein clumping (fuck) is worrisome. and a thick 3 finger head that shrinks to about 4cm and stabilizes. Very little lacing , i was expecting much more

Dark browned sweet cooked sugars dominate the nose. Subtle orchard fruits: pear, apple- maybe some cider spices. Toasted nuts and warm alcohol.

The mouth feel is smooth with a surprising lightness from the carbonation that gives a spicy tingle-bubbles at the end, dry on the front of the palate and juicy rear on the finish. Subtly present wood tannin without the overt acidity.

Very warming alcohol. Mulling spices: clove (including the numbness from the alcohol), cinnamon, mace, allspice, and white pepper. Roasted nuts in the middle, hazelnut sweetness, walnut creaminess. Caramel, licorice and hints of dried fruits. Lots of residual sugars especially on the finish. Juicy and oh so subtle.

As a taste experience, drop your pants and blow your load because this it fucking ineradicable. I have had a couple of beers that are about as complex but this was deceptively layered in a tight (not young but condensed) but not muddling fashion. Super complexity that takes only a slight effort to decode the majority and will give more as you look for it.
That being said I couldn't have this beer every day, or even more than special occasions, even if I could afford it. It is easy enough to drink and it hits all the right notes but the alcohol is about 1% too high for me and the finish is a little flat and is neither a complete taste (makes me want no more except to have it again) or left me wanting more .

Therefore I will give it two ratings and the above and a balance.
A - 4.25 : 4.0
S - 4.5 : 4.5
T - 5 : 4.5 (low due to the finish for my tastes)
M - 4.5 : 4.75
O - 5 : 4.5

Photo of kplooki
4.7/5  rDev +2%

Photo of soulgrowl
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The Holy Grail.

Looks-wise, slightly disappointing. The trappists are known for their big, voluptuous heads and this one is a little sad, a sandy beige with limited retention and no lacing. But otherwise, it looks good, cloudy cola brown with cinnamon orange highlights. The aroma is a deep, dark vault of nuance. Brown sugar, raisins, pure caramel malt, pumpernickel, and toffee come first; delve a little deeper and you get toast, coconut, praline, and calvados. Despite its darkness there is a champagne-like quality to it, a mix of biscuit and fruit (mostly apples, grapes, and figs).

The flavor is lovely and round, full of cherries, dates, rum, and brandy. Toasted marshmallow and bourbon come through as well, with a touch of oak and hints of anise. It is delicious, filling, lingering, and soft, chewy and rich but still vaporous and dry. A beer of many contradictions and beautiful harmonies.


Photo of Soneast
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my quad goblet. Pours a cloudy, dark reddish-brown color. Creates a 2 finger creamy, beige colored head, with really good retention and a whole lot of lace.

Aroma consist of sweet malts, brown sugars, caramelized raisins and other dark fruits with an earthy quality throughout. Some fresh baked bread yeastiness evident as well.

The flavor is also very complex. The front is predominately a sweet malty, toffee-like flavor with some dark fruits evident with a semi-sweet, rich, boozy finish.

Medium-heavy body with a really fine, sparkling carbonation factor. It just feels so good in my mouth. It is a beer that one could drink a lot of, while it is pretty heavy, the alcohol is hardly perceptible aside from the warming sensation. This beer gets a lot of attention but IMO it has definitely earned it's grade.

If you can get this beer do not hesitate. You won't be disappointed.

Photo of TheViolator666
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Can't believe I got my hands on one of these so easily, excited to drink what is the reigning "World's Best Beer". Cap says 21.04.12 I'm guessing that means it's good 'til 2021?

A: Haven't had many quads yet, but this one pours without any head at all. The color is cloudy dark brown with a reddish/yellow tint. Very slight, if any, lacing.

S: There's alot going on in this one. Smells of sweet raisins/grapes/wine. Sugar coated plums and fermented dark fruits also. Slightly earthy scents as well.

T: The taste is big. The raisiny/fruityness is very forward and is followed by sugar sweetness. I get sort of a caramel covered apple aftertaste, which is extremely delicious. There is somewhat of an alcohol presence, but not as much as expected.

M/D: This is a full bodied, thick beer. Would love to have a bottle to myself in the dead of winter, as this could definitely warm one up.

Just excellent.

Photo of brendanbeer
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

first time westvleteren 12, boy am i excited.

poured from bottle into goblet.

A: rich reddish golden brown. small light head that lingers well.

S. My goodness, i wish i could inhale this lovely bouquet for much longer than my lungs provide capacity for. Dark fruits, sweetness and a little alcohol comes through. mouthwatering to say the least.

T. I'm really not sure how to get into it... Theres so much i want to try to describe, but i am left for an utter loss for associations. Dark fruits comes through, and a nice level of heat from the alcohol, though it is amazingly enshrouded in drinkable flavor. I'm sure if i let it age for longer, the heat would have become even more subdued and incorporated. Each taste is a new experience as different subtle flavors grab my attention. The slight afternotes of hoppiness are exquisitely balanced with the sweeter richer flavors, leaving a kind of dryness that begs you to take another sip. As the beer warms closer to room temperature the uniqueness of each sip is exacerbated, the intense web of subtleties which give this beer its incredible foundation become more prominent. im really not sure how to pinpoint the particular flavors. familiar, yet denser, more complex, more "whole" sweetnesses and bitternesses.

M. Silky, but not oily. it gently covers the palate and reveals new sensations as air circulates around my tastebuds.

D. incredibly drinkable for its alcohol content. gives an experience that is truly unique and fulfilling in all beer drinking aspects.

Photo of cbeer88
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Reviewed blindly from Blind BIF 6. Poured into Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Bottle opened to a barely audible hiss. Gentle pour into glass is yielding no head, and I can already smell the must. As I near the bottom of the bottle, I quickly stop a thick and heavy sediment from making its way into my glass. Color is a dark ruby brown, and I get nothing but a few bubbles from the nucleation point and minimal wispy lacing. This looks like a quad, and one with some age on it.

Smell: Must dominates the nose - no doubt this has some serious age on it. Underneath I get raisins and caramel.

Taste: Sweet with a nice blend of raisins and caramel, even more fruity as it warms. The alcohol has molded into the beer nicely and makes it impossible to tell how strong it is, but something tells me this is an ass-kicker. Hint of oaky/woody flavor in here, but I don't think it's enough to say this is wood aged - more just earthy. I do get a bit of alcohol numbing on the back end, particularly as the beer warms. I will say, the one thing scaring me here is I'm not getting that Belgian yeast punch to the palate that I'd expect from a quad/strong dark. Got me worried that I'm way off here.

Mouthfeel: Thick and syrupy, but goes down smooth. The carb is surprisingly strong in the mouth given the still appearance of the beer.

Drinkability: High - I'm enjoying it immensely, but it's a sipper.

Overall: This is right up my alley. Love the style, love the age, love the beer. Would happily drink again. Fantastic beer.

Best by date of 4/18/10.

Photo of dv8sean
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

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

Now, to the beer itself...

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of BeerStine
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle top has "20.11.10" printed on it. 12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a dark reddish brown with plenty of off-white head.

Smell is very complex. I smell a soapy malt smell with dark red fruity undertones. Smell is defiantly subdued, but maybe appropriate for a quad.

Taste is amazing. The different malt characters are like no other beer I've tried. It has a great cinnamon-like spice malt flavor. The bitterness of the hop balance with the malts perfectly.

Mouthfeel is medium with a light/medium carbonation - the ideal mouthfeel for a quad.

This beer is extremely drinkable. After I'm done I want another. Enough said.

I have to say, the spicy malts of this beer are like no other I've tried. And it's not the spice flavor you find in some winter beers where you they just dumped a can of nutmeg, cinnamon and the like in a pot and called it a winter beer.

Photo of sarro
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 bottle shared by Weisguy.
Pours a super syrupy brown with nearly zero head on a careful pour. Smells very bready along with nuts and dark fruit. The taste is delicate brown sugar malt with several layers of sweetness. I pickup lots of belgian dark sugar and it reminds me a bit of a well aged barleywine, but not as thick or heavy. The mouthfeel is slick and a tad syrupy with a nice medium carbonation. Mild alchohol finish on it, but I loved it.
Leaps and bounds better than the first Westy 12 I had that was full of sediment and aged on its side.

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

330mL bottle with best by date 24.03.13 printed on cap, poured into Trois Pistoles goblet, reviewed on 8/15/11.

A: Pours a dark brown with tan head that leaves some lacing around glass. Clear and maroon when held to the light.

S: Aroma is wonderful, sweet dark malt, brown sugar and molasses, dark fruit, herbs and spices with a hint of spicy alcohol. Everything that I want in a quad.

T: Wow, so flavorful and absolutely delicious. Layers upon layers of flavor. Starts sweet with dark malt, brown sugar and some molasses, followed by candied fruit with herbs and spices, a slight hint of alcohol and more brown sugar in the end followed by a long lingering melody of all the aforementioned flavors.

M: Super smooth, somewhat creamy medium body with some tingling from the carbonation, finishes on the sweeter side.

O: So delicious and drinkable, could easily drink this every night for the rest of my life. Definitely the best quad that has crossed my taste buds. Simply incredible, wish this glass would last forever.

Photo of wheatman106
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Reviewed with the help of capra12 and Jimmy

Poured into a snifter

A: Poured a slightly cloudy, rich brown color like dark brown sugar. Formed about a 1.5 finger head, very tight with small bubbles, ivory in color. Moderate retention and left a nice, even lacing.

S: Most of the noticeable notes were very balanced, none overly pronounced compared to the others. Included were slight notes of alcohol, rich berries, and faint notes of molasses and pear. Again, no one aroma overpowered the others.

T: From the opening through the finished, there exists a very complex blend of flavors. It is an extremely balanced combination of alcohol, berries, and dark malts, with mild to medium levels of carbonation. The moderate finish trails off evenly leaving a slightly sweet and alcoholic aftertaste.

M: Full-bodied, but not too heavy.

D: For a quadrupel, drinkability is very good, as the alcohol taste and weight of the beer are not obnoxious.

Myself, capra12, and Jimmy were in agreement that we simply cannot wait to enjoy this beer again.

Photo of rajendra82
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The bottle came to me in a trade from BA dogfooddog, and was unlabeled, with a yellow cap indicating a best before date of 08 04 08, making this a little over a year old. As I poured into a tulip, the beer came out murky dark brown and had a two finger thick foamy head. The aroma was spicy-sweet, with the smells of fresh hay, ripe cherries, chocolate, brown sugar, and apple skins detectable. The taste was about as smooth as I have had in a beer of this strength. Sweet tropical fruit and spiced bread like malts interplayed with earthy yeast and spicy hops, and everything was in perfect balance. The beer was somehow robust and delicate at the same time. At this young age the alcohol was evident, but only as soothing warmth. The mouthfeel was oily smooth, and the beer went down very easily and left a sweet aftertaste. Very fine beer indeed.

I decided to drink it side by side with a 2006 St. Bernardus Abt 12 for the sake of comparison. The color of the two was almost the same but the St. Bernardus was much more carbonated. It also smelled stronger, and had a distinctly sour note in the taste that was absent from the Westvleteren offering. The Westvleteren was sweeter and smoother than the secular cousin. Bottom line; can’t go wrong with either of them.

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

I've been wanting to try this beer for years and have it on my list of must haves to try. Finally I got a bottle from the US release as a Christmas present to myself.

I'm glad to report there was nothing about this beer that fell short.

Snifter Glass at about 55 degree beer temp.

Appearance: A reddish purple hue and a tad bit cloudy. Nice head that stays around for the duration of the beer.

Smell; Raisins, plums, figs and some what yeasty.

Taste: Refer to smell yet with some complexity on the back end of the tongue. So much depth.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is retained and provides a great feel not over powering. Alcohol content is very well hidden.

Overall: It lives up to the hype and I'm so glad I had a chance to partake. It's a must try.

Photo of CHickman
4.69/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy chestnut brown with little light coming through it and showing some red at the top and bottom, with tons of bubbles racing up the beer; it looks like a thick porter or brown ale with a lot of sediment in it. This had the most amazing creamy tan head that poured 3 fingers thick and lasted about 5 minutes, literally. It was marvelous to look at as it faded extremely slowly, leaving good spotty lacing. A very impressive looking beer overall that was a sight to see.

Smells of caramel, syrup, sweet malt, yeast, brown sugar, pepper and light spices, herbs and faint molasses. The alcohol aroma was very mild and not a distraction, making for a nice sweet malty nose.

Tastes of caramel, syrup, sweet malt, yeast, brown sugar, pepper, light spices, mild floral hops, herbs, tea leaf, faint molasses, a sweet alcohol presence like rum or a port wine, and some dark fruit; this tastes like it was barrel aged and the fermentation leaves an overall sweet flavor that is complex and very tasty.

Mouthfeel is incredibly smooth and creamy, with basically no carbonation, a medium body that's chewy, and a buttery feel as it slides across the tongue that left a semi-dry finish.

This beer was a pleasure to drink and felt great as it went down. Very high drinkability, this was an outstanding beer that I am happy to have tried as it's not readily available in the US and I was lucky enough to try some brought back straight from Belgium. It went down so smooth and easy, hid the ABV with perfection so it wasn’t even a factor, and this beer was just impressive in every facet of this drinking experience. This beer lived up to the hype and is a very high recommendation.

Photo of BMMillsy
4.69/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Received from Ibrew2or3 in a trade. Thanks man! Looks to be one of the brick box ones that were sent to the U.S., given the gold writing on the bottle. Having this as I brew my first beer ever. Hoping that I will get some good vibes in my wort! Pours deep murky brown with fluffy light kahki head. A bit of reddish hue on the edges. Smells of figs, plums, pears, raisin, light alcohol, bit of bready nuttiness. Flavor is slight bitter up front that explodes into chocolatey fig and white grape. Some nutty bite going on as it mellows into a fruity sweetness. More carbonation than I expected, but still chewey mouthfeel. Lasting bouquet of fruit. So glad I got to try it.

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,020 ratings.