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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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5,190 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,190
Reviews: 1,664
rAvg: 4.6
pDev: 9.13%
Wants: 3,136
Gots: 1,596 | FT: 117
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: 5,190 | Reviews: 1,664 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wahhmaster
4.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Chimay chalice. Thanks Thijs (Brabander) for the hook-up!!

Appearance: Pours a dark black color with reddish edges. Has a large foamy head that dissipates slowly and leaves a ton of lacing.

Smell: Very complex. Has hints of dark fruits, grapes, citrus, spice, caramel, and many other things. Very strong-smelling.

Taste: Has an intense wine-like taste up front that finishes sweet with hints of caramel. Also finishes with a heavy alcoholic bite. Also has that typical yeasty flavor typical of most Belgian beers. This is one of the most complex and flavorful beers I've had yet.

Mouthfeel: Relatively full-bodied with a nice carbonation bite. Kinda was expecting more here but I'm not that disappointed.

Drinkability: A truly world-class brew. I'm deeply grateful to brabander for the opportunity to try this one. If you can get your hands on it, try it!!

Photo of marysparks18
4.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: golden brown, small head, somewhat opaque

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

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

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

Photo of TongoRad
4.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle cap stamped 21/12/02

A decanted pour reveals a crystal clear rich mahogany brown with a dense head which lingers a bit and then settles down to a fine layer atop the beer.

Aroma is magnificent- I could be happy just smelling this all night. A combination of rich maltiness, dark caramel, dried fruits and roasty cocoa all add up to one singular presence, as these characteristics play off of each other quite sympathetically. Just underneath is a bready/yeasty quality. At 10.8% (per the cap) the alcohol is bound to show itself but it is faint and you really have to search it out.

Dark caramel maltiness dominates the palate, with a not so insignificant clean bitterness coming in second. A distant third and fourth are the alcohol and fruity/bready notes. It is quite nice, but just can't match that magnificent nose.

Helluva beer- no question. I am reviewing such an old sample to let other consumers know that they may indeed be trustworthy- I have had at least four with this date stamp recently and they have all been remarkable. If I should ever have an opportunity to sample a fresher bottle I will not hesitate to re-review.

Photo of Reagan1984
4.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

O.K., it's open... I'm scared.. I get one shot at this. Special thanks to Avalon68 for providing this in a trade. Cap says 08.08.10

I poured about 60% of the bottle into my snifter glass watching to leave the sediment in the bottom of the glass. About a finger of foamy off white head formed and then slowly receded into the brew... The beer was a deep dark ruby red/amber color... Held to the light you can see the clarity is very nice. It's just very dark so it appears more opaque. Not a classic lacing, but on the side of the snifter where I am drinking from is covered with clinging foam that stays put between sips... Perhaps as I make my way through the glass further I will see more.

The aroma is very deep and very inviting. Dark fruits, cherries, dates, tobacco and some real earthiness.

The flavor is really smooth... I'm not sure what I was expecting, but this is very nice. It's interesting in that it's fairly complex, yet also pretty consistent front to back.. Dark dates nice sweetness then to some deep malt flavors. No harsh grain nature.. just a smooth malt flavor... some subtle bitterness in the background that I believe is hiding the alcohol notes. If you really concentrate, they are there... but barely noticeable.

Silky smooth with the slightest tingle of carbonation. I literally grabbed this from my aging cellar and 52-55 degrees was perfect for this.

Really is supremely drinkable. There is the slightest presence of alcohol, but overall it's such a well hidden 10% it's almost scary.

I am honored to have tried this gem.. It won't rank as my favorite beer, but I can certainly see why it's so well respected...

Photo of cbeer88
4.65/5  rDev +1.1%
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 Dogbrick
4.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I didn't know what to expect with this brew after receiving it (thanks to a trade from a gentleman in NYC!) and reading many reviews of it. I think it was a little too cold when I tried it, as the taste got noticeably better as I moved through the glass. Now about the taste, I honestly don't think my palate is refined enough to describe accurately what is going on here. This will be one I have to try again around beer #250 I think. There is a trail mix aroma, and the flavor is hard to pin down. If they captured this flavor in a cereal I would get up earlier every day, hints of berries, grain, nuts, chocolate. Like Willy Wonka invented it, I tasted something different with every sip. I think this would be a perfect drink with some Godiva chocolate covered strawberries. Superb!

Photo of ADTaber
4.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

33cl btl poured into a goblet, shared with KevinmusPrime, reviewed from notes

A: pours a muddy brown with a thin cream colored head with fairly good retention that leaves some spotty lacing 

S: loaded with dark fruits  and molasses but not overly sweet, quite complex aroma

T: similar to smell, packed with dark fruits, a hint of molasses/brown sugar but really not very sweet, a hint of spiciness from the Belgian yeast

M: medium body, fairly low carbonation, quite smooth

O:   Definitely the best Quad I've had thus far, tasted side by side with Rochefort 10 and this was by far the better beer

Photo of Scotchboy
4.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review No. 600

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Hair of the Dog tulip, cap dated 26.09.15 - this is an unmarked bottle and not the recent US release. This bottle sent to me by Curtis McArthur (thanks man!) and reviewed from notes.

A: Careful pour yields a ton of off-yellow head that has good substance and sticks around forever; it looks like a root beer float head. Body is darker opaque brown/prune colored with gold highlights at the stem of the glass. Carbonation is still rising ten minutes after the initial pour, streaming up the side of the glass. I'm intrigued - this thing is beautiful.

S: Instant fruitiness, darker in essence; grapes upfront with some suggestions of apples, prunes, plums, and raisins. Maltiness is apparent, and sweeter Belgian candy sugar rises, with hints of caramel as well. Brilliant smell.

T: Follows the nose, with a more subdued sweetness. A touch of a chalky yeast character distracts slightly. Moderate fruitiness again with the slightest sensation of holiday and baking spices; apples and raisin bread, faint caramel drizzle. Dessert, and bready malt; on the sweeter side. Carbonation cleans the palate and the flavors meld harmoniously. Very nice.

MF: Thinner medium body with a dancing carbonation presence that isn't distracting. Just a touch of an alcohol bitterness.

O: Fabulously done Quad. Right up there with Abt. 12, though I believe Abt 12 tasted better to my palate, with more caramel-apple dessert notes. Overall I can see why this is such a sought after beer. This also seems to be an excellent age for this beer.

Photo of tr4nc3d
4.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Date on Cap says 24.09.11

Fortunately Im one of the lucky ones and this is not the first time I have drank this beer, it is the second. The first time I did not have time to review it.

Well here it is in front of me, the mother of all beers to say, the one that any beer enthuasist "HAS" to try. For me this is the real "King of all Beers" to try since my fav style is "Belgians". I need to mention this has been aged a while, the last one I drank was about 5 months ago.

So having a beer like this deserves its own proper glass. I poured this into my "Trappist Westvleteren" glass. It poured a nice caramel brown like color with a tannish/white two finger head. Leaves beautiful lacing throughout my glass.

Smells of dark brown warm bread that comes out of the oven, dark fruits, plums, raisins, mild hops, spicy alcohol. Very mouth watering.

Mildy fruity with hint of spices coming trough, biscuit like taste, figs, dark sugary chocolate. Very smooth and sticky.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and covers the whole palate full of flavors, very complex.

This is a very drinkable beer, hides the alcohol very well. Very tasty and surely one of the best beers I have tried, easy top 3. As for being the best beer in the world, I would say there are a couple better ones out there I tried.

Photo of CanuckRover
4.64/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of Thewvic
4.64/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of ovaltine
4.64/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of dbrauneis
4.64/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of Danny1217
4.64/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

Photo of WillCarrera
4.64/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of hefevice
4.64/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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

Photo of IPAIsaac
4.64/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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

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

Of course we accepted.

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

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

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

Photo of chugalug06
4.64/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5


Bottle cap is dated: 10.11.14

Very large snappy, soapy, tan colored head. poor retention. Brew is deep red with lots of brown. Good clarity too. No lacing. Thin.

Tons of smooth clove, lots of spice, but not over the top. Heavenly smooth butter cream on the nose. Not sugary. I could Sniff this for quite sometime... Great raisins. Very-very mild "Belgian Banana".

Nearly distracting amount of carbonation. Large amount of bubbles. Great fluidity and heavenly drinkability. Slightly lighter and thinner than I had imagined it would be. SLIGHT rubber aftertaste on the very tail end. Sweetness is light, crisp, airy, and solid. I would prefer a bit more body and a little less fluid. Cloves are strong robust, crisp, airy. Not a banana bomb... Nice smooth dry bitter finish.

IMO, this beer delivered the hype; it's one of the few. It's not mind altering, but very solid and well rounded. *Nearly* perfect for the style. I would have enjoyed a bit stronger appearance, more forward flavoring, thicker body, and more creamy head. Definitely recommended.

Photo of Chris-1911
4.64/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of PAYankeeFan
4.64/5  rDev +0.9%
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 snowmg
4.64/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of endovelico
4.64/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Nose: A seriously monstrous nose. Notes of chocolate, dark fruit and roses among other flowery notes make for a complete aromatic delight. Stupendously complex and fragrant.

Mouth: Bold, intense, rich. Coffee up front and a lot dark fruits and perfumy notes at the back. The finish is expressive and long, reminiscent of a Black Russian shot.

Overall: Myth status confirmed. This beer is pretty much near perfection for its style.

Photo of woosterbill
4.64/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Ernie for sharing this, a 1998 bottle from the batch that got labeled and sold in the US. Craziness.

A: Murky chestnut body with an impressive cap of tan foam that sticks around nicely. Great head for being sold old.

S: Intense, rich, deep, and smooth. Toffee, dates, prunes, and straight maltiness. Very, very, very nice. Perhaps not as noticeably complex as a fresh bottle, but the smoothness more than makes up for that. Terrific.

T: Super smooth, with terrific balance between sweet malts and more restrained dark fruits. Slight alcohol tingle on the finish, and a touch of mustiness that is the only negative sign of senescence.

M: Smooth (again), delicately carbonated, and perfectly graceful.

O: No surprises here, this beer ages like a champ. I'll be updating this review with that of a fresher bottle shortly; I've tried this beer several times now at tastings, and I can't wait to savor an entire bottle all by myself.


Photo of ljthiesse
4.64/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This was a 2012 vintage, consumed in 2013. Absolutely beautiful - this was the best Belgian I have ever tried, without question. Very rich, complex flavor, with notes of raisin, plum, dates, toffee, a little chocolate and much more. Dark, rich, full-bodied and complex. A stunning beer.

Photo of rudylaw
4.63/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My first Westy! Here we go...

Pours a maple color with a nice 1/2-1 finger foamy, off whiite head. I'm not getting any lacing.

I smell a ton of dark fruit, bread, candy, spices. There's a lot in the nose of this. Similar to the Pannepot Fisherman's Ale, but much more balanced and pleasant.

I taste raisin, fig, caramel corn, perhaps even some candy sugar-coated nuts.

This is also going down way too easy. I'm hardly detecting the alcohol in this at all. What a masterwork.

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,190 ratings.