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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,960 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,960
Reviews: 1,633
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 2,983
Gots: 1,447 | FT: 108
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: 4,960 | Reviews: 1,633 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rhoadester69
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%

rhoadester69, Nov 18, 2014
Photo of tkelley
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from the US release last year that Ive been sitting on. Poured into a Chimay chalice.

A -- Dark, dark brown with sediment. Cream-tan head with good lacing.

S -- Stone fruits (plum, cherry...), earthy and sweet. Bready and boozy.

T -- Very complex. Dirty. Prunes, cherries. Yeasty goodness. Sweet. Very well balanced.

D -- Better be careful, this one is quite boozy. But the booze doesnt keep you from taking big sips in rapid succession (because its really good). the Bubbles are very fine.

O -- Probably suffers a bit from overhype, but it is still really good. One of the best beers Ive ever had.


tkelley, Aug 11, 2013
Photo of nataku00
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A lightly chilled bottle with a drink by date of 03.03.13 poured into a tulip glass. Despite a gentle pour to keep the yeast caked at the bottom of the bottle from being disturbed, nearly two fingers of off white head. The head continued to grow after I stopped pouring, and build peaks of foamy head out of the opening of the glass, reaching three fingers plus in height. The beer is dark and somewhat clear brown, with scarlet streaks at the edge when held up to the light. Tons of carbonation streaming from the bottom of the glass. Really impressive looking beer.

Nose is dark fruits, plums and raisins, dark caramel, and yeast notes.

Taste is a nice balance of sweetness from the dark fruits, malty caramel sweetness and a dry light hop bitterness. Alcohol is very well hidden in this beer, despite its relative young age as it was brewed earlier this year. Compared to other Belgian quads, this definitely drinks the easiest, but the flavor complexity is a bit lacking compared to the others.

Medium body with lots of light bubbled carbonation that sweeps gently across your tongue. A drinkable and inviting beer, but flavor wise isn't as impressive as I had hoped.

nataku00, Dec 05, 2010
Photo of rarbring
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A clouded brown brew, an off-white small head leaving little lacing but very good curtains.

The smell is whipped eggs with sugar, sherry, Parmesan and canned fruit.

The smell is sweet, caramelized peaches, boiled sausages, almonds and cheese.

Little carbonation, soft pleasant and oily texture, a good body.

Very complex, many aromas, many dimensions. Must be examined more times.

rarbring, Sep 06, 2011
Photo of FosterJM
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1200th Review on BA
Bottle to Bruery Tulip

I didnt save the cap, dont remember the date.

Thanks to lcmir23 for this one

Shared with Gurudel for his birthday.

App- A very dark brown with some amber highlights in the glass. Fairly thick and didnt let a lot of light through. A nice puffy 1-1/2 finger head with some good stick and cling.

Smell- A very aromatic quad. Has a great layer on the nose of sweetness, malts and the ABV is completely hidden. The beer as it warms creeps with more dark fruits and gets more complex.

Taste- This was my 3rd bottle of this one and I have to say this was the best one yet. Had a good complex flavor with some sweetness and the dark fruits shined. Much like the nose the ABV is really hidden well.

Mouth- A medium body with a medium carbonation level. Good residual dark fruits and some sweetness.

Drink- Great beer, hard to get but worth the experience at least once.

FosterJM, Apr 01, 2012
Photo of k3n
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received bottle from Tangfoot (all hail!).

Disclaimer: This bottle was the casualty of the shipment, arriving wet and leaking. I'd lost about 20% of the beer in transit. I rinsed the bottle, and stuck it in the fridge. After 3 days of hemming and hawing, I decided to trhow caution to the wind and crack it. Hence...

A: Dark brown, murky gold on the edges. Eureka! Still has bubbles! I got about 1/2" of dense bubbles which died down almost immediately, leaving no lacing, but plenty of swirly patterns on top of my beer.

S: ::cautious:: not skunky. Smells of malt and alcohol, maybe some raisins. Not much smell, unfortunately, could be due to leakage?

T: Ahh. Malty-caramelly-figgy-molassesy. A hint of alcohol heat underneath, but very understated.

M/D: Thick and syrupy, but not cloying. Excellent for sipping, just take it easy, and enjoy the bottle.

I'd love the chance to try one that's aged a bit!

k3n, Aug 30, 2007
Photo of caresville
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

split bottle with PaulMPap, poured into unibroue chalice.

a- deeep, dark, murky brown with some floaties. nice little fluffy head with good but not great lacing.

s- hype or not this stuff smelled amazing. baked bread, brown sugar, figs, cinnamon, prunes, raisins, licorice, basically smells like if you mixed everything that is the color brown that tastes fantastic and liquify it.

t&m- pretty much what i expected... a heavy, earthy hop tone with hints of malts, sugars and dried fruits. liquid alcoholic cinnamon teddy grahams. cant even taste the alcohol, very well masked and truly a thing of beauty to drink.

d- smooth and delicious, lives up to the hype for me!! IMO not the best beer in the world, but damn near close. looking forward to getting my own bottle very soon and not sharing!!

caresville, Feb 08, 2010
Photo of kappldav123
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally I have this legendary beer in my glass. The bottle looks really good, no label - which brewery can do that? Dark in the glass, almost black, nice head. Starts strong and malty, modest sweetness. Notes of wood and a bit liquorice. Not as strong as exspected, very drinkable for its strength. Warming finish. Really great beer!

kappldav123, Jul 28, 2009
Photo of mikereaser
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bottle cap reads 28-05-??

A - Pours a deep plum chestnut with a 1/4 inch tan foam that slowly faded.
S - yeasty grainy aroma, some dried figs and not alot else
T - boom, hit with a big amount of raisins, figs and caramel, there is a spiciness to the yeast. It starts out really sweet and mellows out as the alcohol comes forward.
M - lively carbonation, medium bodied and very drinkable
D - Its a shame that this is sort of hard to get, its very enjoyable and one I wouldn't mind pulling out from time to time. By all means, if you can grab some, definitely do so.

mikereaser, Nov 30, 2011
Photo of Knapp85
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally got a bottle of this in a very generous trade with MrKennedy. This beer is really special to say the least and I'm very happy to be reviewing this right now.

This pours out with a murky brown color with some orange highlights, the head is kind of minimals but has a little white ring around the glass. The smell of this beer is very good. Lots of sweet fruit aromas a little Belgian yeast on the nose. Not much in way or hops. The taste is very good, the flavors of apple, fig, and white grapes all come together in a very nice combo. When the beer is colder the mouthfeel is a little thicker feeling. Once it warms up it thins out and the booze aromas start to show. The beer as a whole is very good. It's incredibly easy to drink, it's great to savor over the course an hour if you want to. The finish is dry but smooth and overall just really nice. I can see why people love it so much.

Knapp85, May 30, 2011
Photo of Gary779
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer pours a nice toffee-amber colour, almost sherry like. The head is nice and dark for this style, and leaves good lace.

S: A malty smell with a hint of hops. The smell consists of molasses and dark fruit, as well as a refined, thick and sweet alcohol flavour.

T: There is a strong, in-your-face alcohol taste. It is quite sweet, with a non-bitter liquorice flavour, and there are lots of molasses and fruit present. Burnt sweetcorn and sugar cane also present on the edges. Too strong in my opinion.

M: Very smooth with good carbonation. The beer just seems to go down.

O: This is one oddly addictive beer. After sipping you just want more. If this was readily available I would have this quite often.

Gary779, Feb 09, 2012
Photo of Bros2Hoes Brewery
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%

Bros2Hoes Brewery, Sep 11, 2014
Photo of kylehay2004
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: single finger frothy with excellent lacing on a murky brown with amber hue body.

S: dark fruits, molasses, spices, belgian yeast, candy and brown sugar

T: caramel and toasted malt base, brown sugar, fruits including pear, fig, some plum and raisin. Belgian yeast with some spices, mostly cinnamon and nutmeg. Hint of chocolate and toffee arrive in the finish.

M: crisp up front, finishing smooth and dry. medium to full body and moderate to high carbonation. oily, coating the palate

Overall: A lot of hype around this one. It is certainly an excellent beer. I feel there are other Quads out their that are similar enough to this one without all of the recognition. Regardless it was great to be able to try this one.

kylehay2004, Dec 21, 2012
Photo of andrewinski1
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Ben for sharing! Poured into a Chimay chalice. Nice dark mauve color dances between amber and brown. There is a spritzy one inch head that leaves a good amount of lacing.

The aroma is full of plums and yeasty pepper. I really like the balance of sweet and spice in the aroma.

The taste is nice and sweet with dates, figs, and a hearty dose of brown sugar and cinnamon. The finish is a little drier with some peppery spice.

The body is medium to heavy and the carbonation is slightly prickly, helping out the sweetness. This is a nice sipper.

I don't think it's MY favorite, but it's very delicious and complex.

andrewinski1, May 20, 2011
Photo of KCHopHead
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had the 3 bottles in order Blond, 12 then 8. Split the bottle 3 ways for a tasting.

A - Not sure if it was the weather but I didn't get a lot of lacing or head from this beer. What head it did have formed the larger bubbles that some Belgian yeasts help produce. This was very transparent for being so dark. I got some crazy floaties from the yeast sediment. No problem with me though.

S - I smelled the alcohol there but a lot of fruitiness was there as well.

T - The balance was great on this beer. Not as good as the 8, but still well done. I remember there being a ton of left over sugar taste. I'm still not sure how to get that raisin taste in my homebrew but I'm sure the yeast and fermentation temp plays a big role. The alcohol was present but not overwhelming for a 10% beer.

M/D - Very good carbonation. I would have like to have this on tap at my home.

I think I built this up too much in my head. It is definitely not on the top of this hophead's list, but still an amazing beer that I would highly recomend.

KCHopHead, Sep 01, 2009
Photo of csrbv
4.19/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Orval tulip glass. Bottlecap says 29.09.15.

A- Pours an opaque medium brown color with a 1/2 inch dark tan head. It loses retention quickly and becomes a thin ring around the edge of the glass. Thick, semi-resilient lacing slides quickly down the glass and minimal surface foam.

S- Boozy aroma reminds me of a barleywine, once I swirl, I get a nice waft of Belgian candi sugar and toasty malt. Still, the alcohol sticks out unpleasantly.

T- And there's a sharp booziness in the flavor too, followed by some faint raisin and dark fruit. Once the palate acclimates, things mellow out a bit. Semi-sweet, somewhat toasty with a syrupy aftertaste. Not very complex.

M- A bit stinging from the booze, sticky and dry. Medium carbonation and a hefty body.

This is a very good beer, but I feel that it is wildly overrated based on it limited availability. Maybe I should have let it sit longer, but I feel like it should be good fresh as well considering all the hype surrounding it. A pretty big letdown but I guess my expectations were quite high. I I compared this to Abt 12 which I found to be superior.

csrbv, May 29, 2013
Photo of mdvatab
4.18/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received 330ml bottle in trade from cosmonick. (Thanks Randall!)
Poured into goblet after returning home from hospital after the birth of my son!

Aroma: A nice, sweet apple note, freshly-baked whole grain bread, clove, and yeast.

Appearance: Very light tan, 2 fingered head hangs around for a while, and leaves sticky lacing on the side of the glass. Body is a very hazy dark amber/brown.

Flavor: Sweet caramel, subtle clove, and some underlying alcohol. Sip after sip, the alcohol seems to come through more and more, and lends to a bitter finish. Up front, the brew tastes fantastic. It could probably use some age, though, to soften the boozy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Very well-carbonated. Body is medium-full. The high amount of alcohol leaves a nice warming feeling in the throat after swallowing.

Overall: Definitely a fantastic, well-balanced quad. Is it the best beer, or even Belgian quad I've ever had? Unfortunately not. I'd really like to get another bottle of this and let it age for a couple of years to see how it improves. This many people can't be wrong!

mdvatab, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of smcolw
4.18/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A friend of mine gave me this beer when I visited him in France. As good as it was, I was not as enamored as most reviewers. First, the appearance was pedestrian--little head, no lace. Cloudy, brown color.

The smell is brown sugar, similar to candy. The flavor matches this except that there is notable hop. Not surprisingly, very strong warm alcohol flavor and feel. This is a thick beer with a low level of carbonation.

smcolw, Jan 01, 2009
Photo of CH3CH2OH
4.18/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Traded with Akorsak for this; thanks again.

Head dissipated quickly. Poured a dark and murky, like a good Belgian should. Had a bready aroma, with some light malt. Faint fruity esters. A tart flavor with a nice heavy melanoidin background. Little bit of a thin mouthfeel with very little finish. Extremely drinkable for a beer of this abv.

I did a blind taste test between this, Rochefort 10, and St. Bernardus 12 to take some of the bias away that I might normally have for such a rare beer. I had a hard time differentiating it from the St. Bernardus (makes since, because St. Bernardus contract brewed for Westvleteren for many years.)

Great to try, but given its rarity I would go with Rochefort or Chimay first.

CH3CH2OH, Oct 29, 2006
Photo of Jwale73
4.18/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Procured this rare gem from bgramer in July (thanks Brendan) and shared with Thirstybird. 11.2 Oz. bottle dated 08.04.11 served in my Simon Pierce goblets. Poured a mahogany/cola color - some light penetration with ruby red highlight around the edges and tiny particles visible in solution. Incredible head retention unlike any brew I've ever had, with thick sheets of sticky lacing evident throughout the tasting. Nose was wine-like with some woody characteristics, spices and cherry-flavored cough medicine. Taste follows nose with a dry, oaky and spicy finish. Mouthfeel fell between light- and medium-bodied with a tingly effervescence from beginning to end. Hands down the best Quad I've ever had. So smooth and easy drinking with an abv that's undetectable. I was not at all let down by this incredible Trappist offering and really savored the changing qualities of the brew as it warmed.

Jwale73, Jan 19, 2009
Photo of whitehouse50
4.18/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Has a best before date on the cap of 2.11.14 - November 2, 2014. From tasting notes -

A - Poured this into my Rochefort chalice. Dark brownish and clear no haze

S - suddle hints of apple and dark fruits

T - very complex, you get cherries and figs, deliciously sweet but not overpowering

M - incredibly smooth with clean finish and suddle alcohol burn, minimal carbonation

O - a great beer worth trying. IMO it's a dulled down version of St Bernardus 12. The recipe for the St. Bernardus and Westy are the same, so if you can't get your hands on this one pick up a St. Bernardus and try that. I was lucky to bring one back from Belgium and it was very good. IMO the Westy is like the Bernardus little brother/cousin.

whitehouse50, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of bobsy
4.18/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First bottle of Westy came out of nowhere. Kinda fell into my lap without so much as a fanfare or accrued quest to find it, so hopefully this cut down hype generating expetations. I didn't write notes, but wanted to put down a few thoughts to act as a placeholder for a more considered tasting. I'll drink this in Belgium next month, but here's a bottle drank in Canada...

Oaken pour with a very thin tan head that dissipated to a film. The retention and lacing isn't all that good, but it has a nice higher ABV, so I'll cut it some slack.

Aroma of raisins, chocolate, brown sugar and marzipan. Sweet, rich and enticing... while the appearance was a bit of a disappointment, the aroma is certainly all I would hope for. The taste is also excellent, though not quite the heavenly elixir I was led to believe. Again, strong dark fruit notes mingle with chocolate, sweet spice and burned sugar. The body is smooth, but could do with being a bit thicker to punch up the flavour and add some more luxury to it. Nonetheless this is a minor quibble.

An excellent beer, and the world number one, if not mine. I can see why people like it, but for me it doesn't stand out from the crowd.

bobsy, Aug 05, 2009
Photo of jaywes754
4.16/5  rDev -9.8%

jaywes754, Sep 30, 2014
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.15/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review from Inaugural Issue of Beeradvocate Magazine.

The so-called Holy Grail for many beer geeks, with single bottles going for upwards of $20 in the US. This bottle is at least eight years old. Poured into a silver-rimmed Westvleteren chalice. Translucent brown with shimmering ruby hues, and a thick, tightly-laced, creamy, sticky head above. Similar aroma as the other Westys; a complex, deep malted nose of carob, toffee and honey. Massive creamy buildup on the palate, as the tight carbonation hits the warmth of the mouth. Silky smooth, with a dry, medium, even body. Again with the powdery feel. Interesting twang of grapes. Dextrin sweetness. More carob, golden syrup, blossom honey, toffee, medicinal phenols, anise, ginger, booze-soaked golden raisins, raw candi sugar and a watery, slightly fruity currant character. Alcohol on this one is quite boozy and warming. Bone-dry, powdery, with a residual cocoa character and alcohol breath.

Stellar fresh, preferred fresh, damn good aged. Best beer in the world? That's a debate for the forums on BeerAdvocate.com, but it's definitely among the top.

BeerAdvocate, Jul 24, 2008
Photo of jbphoto88
4.15/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

For a beer that is so hard to get there sure is a lot of us BA's reviewing it. Time to add my two cents.. This westy 12 pours leathery brown with strong caps of white suds on top. The last third of the pour starts to get a murky. Gritty, chunky, yeasty stuff escapes the bottle and into my glass. I'm ok with that, it's all part of the Belgian experience.

Wow the smell is pretty amazing. Dark candied sugars dissolved in honey, molasses and rum soaked raisins with a peppery, bready punch. The previous sentence packed with descriptions is the only way to portray the nose. Each whiff has so much going on, each time I smell something a little different.

The taste is also quite satisfying and quite layered like the nose. Sweet, caramelized malts with candied sugar. Following are hints of spices, dark fruits and a touch of booziness. It is a little too sweet for my taste but I still give it high marks for the flavors pushing through that sweetness.

The mouthfeel is very smooth with a nice peppery kick in the finish. It's heavier then I expected but not chewy like a stout. Lightly carbonated and full bodied with a dry boozy warmth in the finish.

I try not to buy into the hype but I honestly think it somewhat sways my senses. I honestly can't be sure if it made me more critical or more flexible but what I am sure of is that this is a very good beer. It's not my favorite and not as good as Rochefort 10 but it is up there. What it's not, is worth the hype. I wouldn't pass up another one but I would not actively search it out again. There are far better beers that are readily available here in the States.

jbphoto88, Dec 29, 2009
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 4,960 ratings.