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

Not Rated.
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

5,244 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,244
Reviews: 1,677
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 3,179
Gots: 1,634 | FT: 122
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001

(Yellow Cap)
View: Beers (3) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,244 | Reviews: 1,677
Photo of jera1350
4.73/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to GOGRANDE for this offering.

A date of 27.10.12 on the cap.

Pours into a Chimay Chalice a muddy brown color with all kinds of sediment suspended about. The head is about a finger thick, tan in color and so thick you could cut it with a knife. Lacing? Plenty.

To be honest, the nose is rather faint. Picking up some lightly roasted malt, milk chocolate and some light fruitiness. Maybe it needs to warm even more, but right now, I smell nothing special.

Okay, so the nose isn't that great. Well, the taste more than makes up for it! Where to begin? There is no one thing that just pops out, it is really unexplainable. Just a complex meshing of roasty malt, malted milk balls, chocolate, nougat, rum and dark fruit such as dates. I cannot do this justice. The alcohol is there, but it's not showing that the beer is over ten percent in any way. The finish is so pleasant and clean. Just amazing.

Mouthfeel is like a milk spongebath on palate. Full bodied, thick, rich, and creamy velvet. Amazing again.

It's crazy how well this beer drinks. I am honored to have tried it and have to say it is every bit as good as anyone has ever said. Amazing, amazing, amazing. There will soon come a time where I will NEED to have this again.

Photo of jvajda
4.73/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark red-brown with thick four finger head. There was a lot of yeast in the bottle, which settled at the base of the glass.
Smell: Malty with a strong smell of figs.
Taste: Wow. The most complex beer I've ever had. It's flavor starts with malt, goes to sweet bananas and figs, then nuts and malt, finishing with alcohol and bitterness. Very hearty. More forgiving than I expected.
Mouthfeel: The beer has a smooth feel partly due to the light carbonation.
Drinkability: For a quadruple, this beer is very drinkable. It doesn't sit as heavy in the stomach as other beers, yet is rich and hearty. This beer is an absolute joy to drink.

Brewed in March 2004 and sampled in May 2004. I've got five more, that I'll put away for aging. I can't wait to see how this beer matures.

Photo of dasenebler
4.73/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

.33cl, bottled in September 2010.

Rich mahogany color, copious off-tan creamy head-- really a beautiful appearance, though with lots of yeast sediment on the final pour. Very nice lacing.

Aroma is interesting though subtle, with some grape fruitiness, toasted malts and buttery caramel. Booze is there as well.

Easily one of the most complex ales I've ever tasted. Initially sweet, with candied and brown sugars. Then a pretty strong bitterness is revealed, and the finish is remarkably dry for the style. Seductive and complex dark fruit. The aftertaste is roasty and chocolatey. After a few sips, a pleasant warming effect sets in. As the beer warms, a yeasty-spicy character becomes apparent, adding to the depth of this amazing ale. The mouthfeel is very effervescent, coating the tongue in full, smooth and creamy layers. Although it's very strong, it's very drinkable, with a decently disguised alcohol.

This beer deserves its status as one of the best. THE best? Who knows. Westy 12 is a dry, balanced Quad, and this is what makes it a beautiful beer.

Photo of PlaywrightSam
4.73/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My boyfriend got this for me as a Christmas present, last year, I recently pulled out a bottle for my 28th birthday.

Pours a beautiful brown/mahogany, thick head, lots of lacing, nice retention. The smell is a bit subtle--not as big as I expected. Almost like wine. Also some clove, lots of dark fruit, a bit of booze and yeast, and maybe even some banana? Great, but really not what I was expecting. The taste is just incredible--more dark fruit and wine, grapes, brown sugar, raisins--very faint alcohol. As I continue I'm getting lots of bread, a really surprising, balanced bitterness... With every sip it keeps getting more and more complex. Probably one of the most complex beers I've ever tasted, I'm getting hits of things I've never gotten from beer. Incredibly unique. Mouthfeel is smooth, thick, creamy. Drinkability is amazing for the ABV.

I was expecting a lot, and it delivered.

Photo of naterock
4.73/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Smokestack Goblet. Extremely cloudy with a reddish brown hue and just a ring of head around the glass. truly a perfect looking quad.

Smell is probably the most complex I've ever smelled. But I can say I wish the volume was kicked up a notch. because it's very hard to pull the distant ones out of the background. Candied sugar and a Vanilla/banana/burnt currants and some exceptional figgy undertones. WOW

I thought that because of the hype I wouldn't be blown away....I am. Tastes like it smells with a overly complex flavor. A tingling alcohol twinge scurries it's way down your throat and almost sends chills up your spine. Jesus...

Mouth is overcarbonated at first but flattens out quickly. Slightly dry like it has been wood aged but I'm sure it hasn't. I can't even describe this one past a point. I could enjoy a bottle but I wouldn't dare waste another on a ruined palate.

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of beerluvr
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Cellared since 1999. Pours with a short lived almost white head featuring large bubbled laciness sitting atop murky brownish-red liquid. Slight oxidation in the nose when first poured, along with brown sugar and lots of malt. The taste is more brown sugar coated malts mixed with plenty of nuttiness followed by some alcohol prescence. Lingering thick maltiness on the palate as it warms, with spicy notes arising along with chocolate notes...sublime.

Thanks to Pabobcat!

Photo of bowyerbe
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of SpecialK088
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Goblet

A-Deep caramel brown, very light head that lingers around the edges. Very dark brown yeast floats all over, not sinking to the bottom just stays suspended in the glass.

S-So incredibly much going on here its crazy notes of bannanna, sweet fig, maple syrup, white grape, spicy hops. Also a woody note to go with the slight alcohol undertone.

T-Bitter malt and yeast with a very earthy wine flavor in the middle. On the very tip of your tongue it is incredibly sweet while on the sides and back it comes across incredibly bitter and boozy. The complex nature of the hops, yeast and malt all blend like nothing I've ever tasted before, and the alchol flavors that it finishes with give it a nice burn in the back of your throat. As rich and complex as the beer is the most amazing thing is the way it just goes away off your palate but leaves a very flavorful burn in the back of your throat.

M-Rich and oily, but not bad oily a very sliky smooth feel. Carbonation even on the 3 year vintage is near perfect. Feels very much like a wine in your mouth.

D-This is an amazing beer but I would never want it all the time. What I would like to do is get hold of a few of them or even be lucky enough to try one fresh.

Photo of RuudJH
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Of course I had to try this beer. I found it in my local liquorstore, in stock (I guess they made the ride to West-Vleteren for it).

The beer is very dark, doesn't foam a lot, it has flaky floaty bits in it.
The smell is the best I've come across in a beer. Dried fruits and cherries, good bread, coffee, caramel, roasted grains and seeds, also floral. Something in it hit me and woke me up, very complex and Sublime!
The taste, consequently, is also very good: full range of bitter from nice hops, coffee/choco, sweet from dried fruits, slightly sour from cherries/kriek, plus the roasted seeds, very chewy indeed.
I have to be honest and give this beertaste a 5 too.
And so drinkable too, very well masked alcohol.

5 years along the line, in 2014, it's still very great. I've had some similar smells in beer since then, from f.i. Struise brouwers, but the taste seems somehow different. It's very strong and powerfull of almonds. Quite overwhelming I would say, and it throws the beer a bit off balance. It changed my taste note from 5 to 4,75.

Still it's a must try, highly recommended after this time.

Photo of Px2GrafX
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

presentation: i'm guessing this is close to a very modest looking 12oz. brown bottle with no label. golden yellow cap with all the info. you need. "trappist westvleteren" on top with their logo in the center. the number 12 is on the bottom of the cap encircled. abv is displayed at 10.2%. there is a best by date stamped across the cap: 14.03.08.

appearance: pours a muddy brown with brick red highlights in a chalice glass. head is a half inch off-white that dropped to a capper surprisingly fairly quickly. carbonation appears to be good, but retention and lacing is just decent.

smell: smells caramelly sweet with dark fruit and alcohol. medicinal but there are also hints of lemon rind and licorice.

taste: lots of flavors hitting you at once. cloves, caramel, raisins, spice cake, and alcohol. alcohol is prevelant and provides a nice warming effect. phenolic towards the end of the sip with a light yeasty bitterness. vinous with some anise towards the finish and continues in the aftertaste.

mouthfeel: very nice. creamy medium body with great carbonation despite a slightly disappointing head. rolls around nicely and the alcohol prickles your tongue. swallow is velvet.

drinkability: i'm not sure what exactly keeps me drinking this, but i have a hard time putting it down. i try to slow and sip and savor, but it's tough. alcohol is there and intoxicating, but this is an easy to drink quad.

overall: delicious. this is deserving of the current number one beer in the world. i cannot give it a five, nor can i make it my highest rated beer, but it's definitely one of the best beers i've ever tasted. i have three more of these put away, and i can't wait to see how it matures.

Photo of BeTheBall
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Trappist Westvleteren goblet after getting a HOLE IN ONE yesterday. What a way to celebrate. Dark opaque brown with a frothy two finger head; some minor lacing down the glass. Smell was heavenly; dark fruits, malty with some spice, sweet. Taste was similar, very complex; sweet and dry at the same time, very rich fruit flavor; figs, raisins, dates? Amazing how long down the throat the flavors continue. As it warmed it was slightly easier to taste the 10% ABV. Mouthfeel was really good, with a high degree of carbonation to keep all corners of the pallette involved in the pleasure. Drinkability from a flavor standpoint is good, but this one sneeks up on you. A powerhouse of alcohol.

Photo of WeisGuy
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to akorsak for this bottle from a few months ago. Cap date is 09.08.09. This is to celebrate the completion of my second year of law school.

a - pours a deep dark mahogany with a slight red tint, thick two finger head with great retention, slight lacing

s - lots of caramelly sweetness, dark fruit, definite alcohol presence, quite spicy, black pepper, slight clove

t - big maltiness, caramelly sweetness, dark fruits, raisins, prunes, slight milk chocolate, nice alcohol bite on the end, but not overwhelming, quite spicy on the finish, lots of pepper, very, very complex

m - medium-bodied, very creamy, coats the whole mouth well, very nice warming, moderate carbonation

d - this is definitely a sipper, but it's so complex and the alcohol is there but not overwhelming

Wow, I wasn't sure what to expect with all the hype, but this is one fine beer. Certainly the best Belgian I've had. I don't think I'll be trying this again anytime soon due to the trouble/cost involved with getting one, but it's definitely one of the best.

Photo of EGledhill
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Been saving this one for a special occasion and found out yesterday night that I got the job I've been wanting for a while. Time to open this.

Big thanks to srandycarter for hooking me up with this one. Poured into chalice glass

A. Murky brownish red body with a creamy white two finger head that last a good while and leaves a nice lacing.

S. Fruity nose dominates. Plums, raisons, mostly. Sweet malts, caramel, and a yeasty smell lay subtle. Smells pretty damn good.

T. Phenomenal... Easy on the palate. Much like the smell, Dark fruits with sweet candy hints, a slight bready taste, and very subtle on the alcohol. Taste lives up to all this beer is hyped up to be.

M. this has got to be the perfect mouthfeel. not too thin or thick. creamy head even added points to this.

D. I could sip one of these all day. the 10.2% would catch up to you sooner or later. But at the same time, I'd only want one every once in a while so it wouldnt cheapen the experience.

wow. I'd love to put some age on a bottle and see how it develops. Wonderful beer. Thanks again for the hookup randy.

Photo of chadspivey
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into my hand-washed, air-dried St. Bernardus goblet...
gotta let this one sit out of the fridge for at least 15 minutes before serving....

A: pours a dark brown with a 1 and 1/2 finger off-white head. Down to about a 1/4 inch after about 1 minute.

S: Smells yeasty. Dark fruits....definitely apples and plums.

T: flavors blend so well it's hard to pick out anything individually. I'm not even gonna try, but it's oooh so nice.

M: smooth and chewy at the same time. Is that possible? It appears so..

D: I'd drink them all night if they weren't already designated to friends and trades... trying to rationalize drinking another, but not comming up with anything good.

I gotta admit, with it being number one, I was expecting a religious experience, instead I ended up with a really, really good beer. My best advice is to NOT drink it cold. You gotta let the flavors show through at about 55 degrees. (20 minutes outside the fridge).

Photo of Newsman
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Seriously...what am I supposed to add here? For all its rarity, the Westy 12 has been very thoroughly reviewed.

So I'll keep it short. Given the expectations one has after reading all these reviews, I approached skeptically. Westy 12 delivered and then some. A genuinely beautiful beer. Find some and try it.

Photo of brokenleadedcask
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into Tulip

A- Poured lighter out of the bottle than in the glass. Good dense cloudy reddish brown nice frothy head

S- Raisin, apple, yeast, it's sweet & spicy

T- Beautiful, caramel, yeast, some hops, Biscuit

M- At first high and spicy carbonation, poured too cold. Then as it warms, nice & smooth with slight bitterness on the tongue

D- Really drinkable, not easy to get but nice balances of flavor and alcohol.

Overall: Must go to Belgium

Photo of barleyman
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finally, the holy grail of beer. Poured from the 0.33 liter brown glass bottle into my straight sided glass beer tumbler. The very dark amber head is rocky and uneven. It slowly dissapates as the beer disappears. The beer is a murky reddish brown color. Aroma is of straw and hop. The taste is where all of the action is. Taste is of raisins, coffee, candy sugar and toffee. Very predominate malt with just the right amount of hop balance. Mouthfeel is just right for the style. The drinkability is also just right, you won't be drinking a 12 pack of this beer. Thanks to a son in the air force stationed in europe, I was able to enjoy the beer that is revered as the best in the world. I'm going to revisit St. Bernardus Abt 12, available locally, and compare.
If you can lay your hands on a bottle, spare no expense, in my opinion, it lives up to the hype.

Just a thought,


Photo of CraigKodish
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ah, To get this beer here in California. That in it's self is quite a feat. The much sought after Westvleteren 12 - 6 pack finally arrived after weeks of pursuit. Refrigererated to only 12 degrees C per Saint Sixtus' website.
Appearance - Pours a beautiful mahogany brown with just the slightest head.
Smell - Smells of caramalized sugar and dark fruits. Some spices too. You know this will be something special.
Taste - Candy sugar and cocoa; Hop bitter palate. Dark fruits evident. WOW ! Considering this is a 10.2% you would not know it incredibly smooth. Rochefort 10 is great but heavy alcohol taste evident. This beer is very complex but tastes excellent.
Mouthfeel - Carbonation slight, not overbearing. Almost creamy/frothy.
Drinkability - What can I say. For a 10.2%abv this has got to be hands down the most drinkable quad I have ever had. PERIOD ! So smooth.

Overall - This is a great beer. Worth the painstaking time, effort and money to get it over here ?? Probably not. I would never turn this beer down, but thank god for Rochefort and St. Bernardus which are here and a lot cheaper.
All beer connoisseurs must at least try the #1 rated beer in the world. Excellent !

Photo of crookedhalo
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

33 cl unlabeled bottle; cap dated best before 5/13/2006. Pours a deep coppery brown with a fluffy light tan head. Caramel and apple aromas with some healthy yeast notes. Sipping is the true measure of this beer. Mostly malty and sweet, however there is the most intriguing floweriness in the finish, like a blossom. Appley esters come into play a lot and work well to hide the alcohol. Good mouthfeel, not too sticky like other quadruples. Overall, a wholly excellent brew that is quite elusive to many. It's worth the effort to seek it out.

Photo of TheEpeeist
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

.33 L bottle at the Tap House in Norfolk back in 2006. Drove down from Philly just to try this one minutes from the home of a good friend.

Chocolate brown with thin creamy head. Whiff of flowers, malts; so gentle. Incredibly balanced taste. A flavor like other Belgians I’ve had but super refined. I can see what the others were striving for. Curiously recognizable but almost as if from a dream. Once you’re immersed the 12 goes down just like water. Buzz creeps in half way through; makes me happy. I think I could drink these continuously for a few days.

Not the beast I expected but a Shakespearean achievement of fermentation. A keystone of western culture.

Photo of humuloner22
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Generally I am not a huge fan of quads, but damned if this one isn't solid as hell. I saw some posts today so I figured that I would go ahead and tick this one off the list!

Appearance: Murky very dark chestnut colored. Lots of foamy frothy head develops in the pour.

Aroma: Winelike aroma. Nice ripe grape and plum aromas in there. Not as estery as one would think from a Belgian quad.

Taste: Very well made beer. Some Belgian yeast esters in there, but it does not have that clove spice note that is every present in many of them. The wine ripe grape and plum fruits shine on the palate as well. Finish is very clean and dry for such a dark beer.

Overall: I wasn't sure about this one considering my past experiences with quads, I mean like them alright but this one certainly lives up to the hype and the complexities are there to a point I really cannot convey as well as others, but its well worth the ratings it once had as number 1 beer in the world and maybe should be closer than it used to be. I am just happy I had the opportunity to give it a try!

Photo of bhalter8
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A special treat for my wife and I on our anniversary, as she is a huge Belgian fan. Pours a hazy deep brown color, with huge (2 finger), thick head that quickly evaporates into my goblet. Little darker than I expect from a quad. The smell was striking to me, and in a good way. It was nice mix of the sweetness of raisins and honey and an almost red wine alcohol smell. A very unique, and very enticing smell. The complex aroma is definitely a forebearer of the taste. A blend of a malty, sweet backbone, with spices, and that red wine character (I am not a huge wine advocate, so I cannot describe it any more specifically, and have never used a wine reference in a beer review, it just fits here). Medium carbonization and a medium density makes this rest nicely in the mouth, allowing you to enjoy all the complexities of the flavor. The ABV is also superbly masked by the complex flavor. Worthy of its lofty status indeed.

Photo of EduardoOzorio
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of seec
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,244 ratings.