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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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5,126 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,126
Reviews: 1,650
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 3,082
Gots: 1,551 | FT: 115
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: 5,126 | Reviews: 1,650 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rtratzlaff
4.87/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Westvlyteren 12 pours a deep hazy dark brown to ruby body with plenty of yeast floating about. The aromas are just about everything I have ever smelled in a beer. Spices of clove, cinnamon, banana, dark fruit, sweet maltiness, cocoa, bubblegum. Complex as hell. The flavor was nothing but superb with dark fruit, spice, and enough bittering. The mouthfeel is full bodied with ample carbonation. I was skeptical about this beer and usually do not like darker Belgians, but this blew me away. Yes, it is worthy of the hype and praise it gets unlike many rare hyped American beers.

Thanks to atsprings for splitting this bottle.

Photo of atsprings
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Many thanks to afatty for the in-person trade. Poured into a Corsendonk tulip a hazy, murky brown with a nice light tan head that lasts as a thin layer that leaves slight lacing on the glass. The aroma is an incredible blend of sweet fruits, brown sugar, clove, spices and numerous other aromas that just add up to spectacular. The taste is more of the same, just about everything you look for in a beer all melded perfectly into one. The beer is medium bodied with decent alcohol presence, but with a taste that good, you barely notice. This one certainly lives up to the hype, and thanks to afatty's generosity, I look forward to trying it again!

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.81/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle into chalice. Massive (and very heartfelt) thanks to Dev (Buckeyesox) for including this as an extra, alongside other equally amazing extras in the middle of a trade that was awesome in and of itself. Drinking with my wife to celebrate the birth of our first daughter a week ago - her first beer since birth. Edit: Dev passed away a week after this review. I'll always remember drinking this beer in celebration of the new life that came into our family, so soon before Dev passed on. A great loss to the BA community. You will be missed, Dev.

Pours dark, cola-brown, very lightly hazy, with a very thin off-white head. This one is a bit disappointing, but I have no idea what year this is, and honestly, I'm not going to care if it tastes the way I hope it will.

Nose is fantastic as expected. Notes of dark fruit and mollasses, toffee and brown sugar, spicy yeast and even a bit of earthy anise. Some phenols give a light spicy complexity that combines with just a hint of alcohol. Beautiful.

Taste is more of the delicious same - malt driven and fruity, with a dark malty sweetness that pulls out raisins and dried candied plums, molasses and brown sugar, with a spicy phenol presence and just a bit of alcohol underneath livening things up. There's a candy, "sugar in the raw" note in there as well, some toffee, and a very light, earthy bitterness leading into a finish that I can only describe as perfect - bready, dark fruits, rich dark brown sugar that's just a bit caramelized. Perfect combination of dryness and malt sweetness. Phenomenal.

Mouthfeel is very nice but not flawless - sharp but sparse and not overbearing in the slightest, with a body that is light but full somehow. Taste lingers steadfastly after every swallow and is sublime.

Drinkability is really perfect. Alcohol is there but not at all overbearing, flavor is unbelievably complex but balanced and even the mouthfeel tends towards emphasizing drinkability.

What it all comes down to is that every time you pick out a flavor with this one, there's a subtlety and clarity to it that is just striking. Everything just rings true with every aspect of it. I'm humbled to be drinking this thanks to the generosity of a man I feel truly blessed to have met through this website, which only adds to the depth of quality I suppose. Lives up to the hype.

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle at PPRBSG09. Pours a dark murky brown with a thick white head. Aroma is very fruity--lots of dark fruits (plum, apple, and fig) plus some honey. Flavor is nice and fruity, with yeast notes and a rich malt base. The palate sort of had a pulp-like quality to me. Very nice and delicious! I can't wait to try this again.

Photo of jrallen34
4.58/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I drank this in Brussels.

The beer pours dark brown, murky quad color, light tan head with good retention and lacing...The aroma is nice full of dark fruits, figs, caramel, slight alcohol, sugar. Taste is much of the same, great feel and easy to drink.

This is a great beer, but I believe just a notch below Rochefort 10.

Photo of alcstradamus
4.95/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A--Popped the cap and this one was a gusher, I probably should have let it settle for longer since it just arrived via FedEx 2 hours ago. Luckily it was a slow gusher and I only lost probably a half-ounce of beer total. Very dark brown in color with a full finger of camping head. Some nice sheets of lacing are left behind in my Dogfish Head signature glass

S--Plums, raisins, wood, orange peel, alcohol burn, apples, band aid, leather. You really have to let this one marinate because there is a new surprise around every corner

T--Behold, the famed Westy 12. Now I "get" it. I always wondered how a beer that people claimed was so unique could be so universally acclaimed. After all, one-of-a-kind flavor often can be polarizing. So where was the negative backlash? One sip and it all becomes clear. There is absolutely nothing offensive about this beer. How could anyone possibly NOT like this? I can't say whether this is the best beer I've ever had, because comparing it to other styles is difficult. But without question, this is the best Quad/BSDA I've ever had (and I've had all of the top rated ones). I'm not going to go into all the flavors, there are plenty of reviews for that. Just know that this is one smooth, complex, tasty mother of a beer

M--Full bodied and creamy with a slight carbonation sting

D--I really feel ashamed to be chugging this like I am. I can't help it. This is spectacular. This and HOTD Adam are the two most drinkable +10% ABV beers I have ever had. All around this beer is amazing, mind blowing, unbelievable. The hype is real. I need more. I will get more. I must get more.

Photo of scottyshades
4.55/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Stonequarrywest for the bottle!

A: Pours a rich deep mohagany color that produces a fizzly white head that retains well and leaves nice lacing along the glass. Little brown spots appear in the head over time.

S: Champagne yeast, alcohol, dark fruits (figs/plums/pears/dates/cherries), candy, bubblegum, malts. Very complex...I can only imagine the care and technique that it takes to craft this brew.

T: Soooo good. Dark fruits are nice and sweet while the bitterness is perfectly balanced. Malts are hugee in this brew.

MF/D: Very chew brew for its style (although not as chewy as I have heard). Superbly smooth, finishes clean and velvety.

To be honest, I was expecting more, but still a ridiculous brew

This brew was born in November of 2008 which makes it only half a year old. I must say that I got a little anxious to try this one. Still have one more that I plan on aging for a long while.

Photo of mugglesandhops
4.79/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Davey shared this bottle with me when we drank my Westy 8. Poured into goblet a still, murky, yeasty, brown with no head. Smelled of dark fruit, brandy. Taste of dark fruit as well, raisin, cherry, fig, a little warm, in the finish. This was pretty fizzy in the mouth which surprised me as it didn't look very carbonated when I poured it. Amazing beer and I'm glad I was able to sample this.

Photo of ricke
4.67/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A deep reddish brown color, nearly opaque. A nice looking beige head of about 3 cm with good retention leaves plenty of lacings.

S: A deep and rich smell. Plenty of fruity aromas (cherries, plums, overripe strawberries), raisins, wet wood. The malty backbone is thick and "dark" and is accompanied by a prominent spicy aroma. A hint of yeast. The alcohol is noticeable, but very integrated with the rest of the aromas. A great smell.

T: The taste is nothing but fantastic. A noble and rich malty backbone and semi-sweet cherries converge with a prominent, but not very strong, taste of alcohol. At this point, the beer is quite reminiscent of a fine liqueur. Hints of chocolate and coffee. Raisins adds another sweet component. Earthy yeast and spices balance the massive sweetness. Faint nutty aromas, and perhaps just a minimal hint of tartness. In the finish, the alcohol is very noticeable and has a sweet and warming character. But the alcohol is very well integrated and suits the beer nicely. The finish is slightly bitter with notes of spices, iron and grass.

M: Full-bodied with a velvety smooth texture. The rather high level of carbonation is well suited for the overall character.

D: What to say about this legendary brew? Well, I think it's almost as good as it's reputation say it is. It's just unbelievably tasty with an impressive complex character. This one comes really close to perfection.

Photo of johnd513
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks goes to slater1313 for including this as an extra!
Cap reads 02 07 11
Smells of bourbon, raisins, dark fruits, honey, candi sugar and a phenol character. Tastes of fruit, honey and dark malts. The mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, tingles the tongue and finishes smooth. The sweetness, carbonation and alcohol warming character of this beer mend together perfectly. Drinkability is exceptional, I could enjoy this all night.

Photo of EatsTacos
4.45/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chestnut brown, with a clumpy and thick head. Great lacing.

There are a few aspects to the aroma of this beer. Dark, dried fruits; raisins, prunes, even dried apricot. Chocolate, coffee, and sweet toffee and caramel. Burnt toast.

Taste begins on a fruity note. Apricots, plums, prunes, raisins. Slightly bitter chololate on the sides of the palate. Alcohol is not well hidden. The roasted malt is not overly sweet, and the finish is not completely dry.

Medium bodied, with a soft carbonation

Photo of Nick3
4.26/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Bottle reads a date on the cap of 19 11 11. Beer poured into my Westvleteren goblet is rich dark brown in color. No head or lacing to speak of has me a bit worried given this beer's rich tradition. Nose is wonderful and complex. Notes of candi sugar, dark fruit, anise and caramel. Taste is complex as well and nearly as great as the boquet. Amazing synthesis of flavors. Mouthfeel is too thin and the beer lacked enough carbonation. Alcohol was there but overwhelmed by the amazing flavor. A great beer but I would like to have one with a bit more carbonation.

Photo of wheatman106
4.68/5  rDev +1.5%
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 swirldog
4.55/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this classic a couple of years ago at a homebrew meeting. A one of a kind very rare thing to get a hold of.
Deep mahogany appearance, strong brown head with excellent lace.
Nose is fruity with strong malt with chocolate notes, hops are low.
Flavor is malt upfront with raisiny/fruity esters. Chocolate flavors predominate in the middle. Hops are very low, bit in the finish.
Mouthfeel is chewy with nice creaminess and carbonation.
Drinkibility is good, a beer for a cold nite.
A classic that I would love to have again.

Photo of NorCalYeti
3.47/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

color- brown

taste- bourbon, toast, chocolate

aroma- floral, chocolate

appearance- opaque, suspended sediment

i bought this bottle in 2003 so it had some time on it, i was let down with this beer...could have been a variety of reasons...maybe held onto it too long. i would give it another try.

Photo of juicestam
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My first review... I traveled 12,000 miles for this beer - was it worth the journey? Or would it leave me wondering why I ever left my tropical paradise?

A - Poured into a Westvleteren chalice. Beautifully dark brown, with a thick creamy white head. Perfect.

S - Earthy and spicy. Somehow stronger, more complex, yet more delicate than anything I've tried.

T - Absolutely amazing! Spicy, some banana and dark fruit. Alcohol just comes though to remind me it's there. Somewhat similar to St. Bernardus, but deeper and more refined.

M - Silky and creamy. It's like there's a party in my mouth and everyone's invited. Excellent.

D - I could drink this forever - or at least until I pass out. I get ready to order another, but then I remember that I've already sampled the Blonde and the 8, and I've got a 2 mile bike ride ahead of me. Better stop while I'm ahead.

Easily the best beer I've had. Yes, there's a degree of mystique added given that it's also so rare. But seriously - try it!

Photo of HopBacchus
4.82/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

One beer to rule them all
One beer to find them
One bring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
(not quite, but.... it was damn good)

I am in Belgium at my computer sipping as i rate this beer

A: The beer pours a ruddy brown color with a medium sized foamy head that dissipated more quickly than expected, mild lacing.

S: It smells well... like heaven. Absurd amounts of smoky rich malts and vanilla tingle the nostrils. One can detect spices and citrus; perhaps even molasses?

T: Wonderful, a perfect balance of yeast and overpowering malts engulf my taste buds caressing each section of my tongue. Hops levels are low and overpowered by the rich malts.

M: Average at best. Upon first sipping, it stung my tongue to the point where it almost overwhelmed the otherwise perfect flavor. Over carbonated i would say. However its body was perfect after the carbonation sting subsided. Felt like I was drinking some sort of evil IPA.

D: Minus the carbonation, amazing the malts and flavor are absolutely perfect this is a beer that would suit any meal or weather.

Overall this was an excellent beer. I can see why it is the best in the world. I personally would not give it such a grand title because of its less than steller lacing and mouth feel however this is truly a great beer that i found myself in awe of.

Photo of kaseydad
4.47/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to NorCalYeti for sharing his bottle with me. Very excited to try the #1 ranked beer and am hoping it doesn't disappoint.

Poured into my Maudite snifter and am met with a caramel color, a thin layer of head and some major sediment.

An aroma of burnt toast, bourbon and some dark fruits seem to be the major smells.

The taste is smooth and silky though the alcohol seems to be easily identifiable and somewhat distracting. As the beer warms, the intensity of the liquor qualities increases.

Overall I was very happy to try this beer, but I really wanted to be blown away but unfortunately I wasn't. I would still drink this in a heartbeat but the price of a bottle just wasn't worth it to me.

Photo of sgsmfdoom
4.48/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Dark, somewhat hazy brown, small head and nice lacing

Smell - Typical quad fruitiness, with strong suggestion of spice. Sweet smell after a while consisting of dark fruits and sugar

Taste/Mouthfeel - Strong fruity sweetness, with slight bite at the end. No notable alcohol presence, which is odd at over 10%. Sugary, almost caramel flavor as it warms. Not watery, but not syrupy, just the right consistency.

Drinkability - Complete. Equally as filling as any light beer or soda. This beer could be drank with any meal, in any weather, at any time, and as much as is possible.

Though this was one of the more enjoyable beers I've ever had, I think it's hype and limited availability have propelled it to #1. It's deserving of a top 10, but for it's rarity I think St. Bernardus Abt 12 makes a great substitute.

Photo of berkey
4.62/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Figured I'd finally pull this one out of the fridge for the occasion of my 50th review. Poured into a Chimay glass.

Body is a very dense, dark, and cloudy brown. Forms a medium sized light brown head with mediocre retention but lacing is excellent.

The aromas start off with the figs and other sweet dark fruits expected of the style along with some great graham-crackery malts and yeast. Also some bitter grassy hops in the background.

Along with the style-requisite dark fruits picked up on the aroma I'm also getting some anise, ginger bread, toffee, and almond flavors on first sip. Hop bitterness is slightly more assertive than in other beers in this style, especially in the aftertaste. As it warms fruit sweetness becomes more easily identifiable with more fig and some faint cherries.

Good carbonation is complimented by a slight alcohol tingle to create an enjoyable mouthfeel. Incredibly drinkable for the style but because of the difficulty obtaining this I don't anticipate having more than one of these in a sitting unless I'm in Belgium.

Overall I enjoyed this one very much. One of the best examples of this style out there, although probably not number one according to my personal tastes. Still, this would definitely be a regular if it were more readily available.

Photo of ghostwalker
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to juicestam for his round the world odyssey that led to this 3-way all Westy tasting.

Here it is. The Big Kahuna. The one and only. The number one beer in the world, or is it?

Appearance: Dark , dark brown body. Solid finger of white head. Nice lacing. Just picture perfect. Wish I had taken a picture.

Nose: Stronger than 8, much more spice. Sweet/spice combo that really makes an impression.

Taste: Spicy strength, but restrained. Dark fruit and caramel/molasses. This defines complexity. A relatively simple initial sip turns into so much more.

Mouthfeel: Here's where it really glows. Tingly spice, slightly numbing, like cloves. Slick and frothy.

Drinkability: Deceptive and tantalizing. Easy to drink. Is this 10%? I can't tell, but I know I want more...

It is #1 for a reason. Please try it if you can.

Photo of abfraser
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle capped with 17.10.10

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of GatorBeerNerd
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I decided to pick out something good for my 200th review. I do not think it gets much better than this. 11.2 oz bottle purchased at the monastery by my friend for me. Poured into the Westvleteren chalice that he also bought for me at the cafe across the street from the Abbey.

A: Pours a dark brown with small tan head. The tiny bubbles really stick to the side of the glass as the beer is consumed.

S: Belgian yeast, sweet smelling malt, dark fruit aroma (raisin), and alcohol is the best I can describe the aroma. I am sure there is even more to this complex brew, but the aroma is a bit subdued.

T: All the pieces from the aroma mix together to make one of the most rich flavors of any beers I have ever had. There is more going on, but I am too inexperienced to pick them all up. I started into good beer via Belgian ales, and this is easily the best of any of them I have ever had. It deserves the hype it gets.

M: It feels thick bodied at times, but if I was forced I would call it more of a medium body. The in mouth carbonation level is perfection for the style. It is nice and smooth and a joy to just roll around on the tongue.

D: You sip this one because you want to savor every drop. The ABV does cause you to slow down a little as well, but not more than you want to anyway.

Those monks sure know how to brew a fantastic beer.

Photo of paytoplay
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

pristine condition, cap said oct 08 as the brew or bottle date. stunner of a nose. best i've ever had. warm it was very silky, satin, smooth ect ect. great balance, acidity, woodsy. super finish. cooled down a bit more chocolate came out but the best milk chocolate you could ever imagine, with muddled fruits. super finish. could drink this all day every day. lives up to the hype and the best beer i've ever had.

Photo of indiapaleale
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

March of 2007 I went to the abbey cafe at St. Sixtus and had all the Westvleteren beers. I never had the chance to review them so this time when I was in Belgium I took some notes...

Had this bottle at Cambrinus in Brugge, it was not cheap but not too over the top. (6.95 euro, the same as at de Bier Tempel in Brussels)

Pours a deep dark brown with very little head yet it was very persistent and did not seem to be fading whatsoever.

Smell is very sweet caramel/brown sugar, stewed fruit, cooked cherries and a very slight whiff of alcohol.

Taste is ridiculously smooth for the strength. Wow. Lots of complexity to say the least. Toasted brown bread, sweet caramel and brown sugar, sweet dark fruit with a super nice clean smooth finish.

This is a very nice treat at @$10usd while over in Belgium. I saw at the most in Brugge and at differing prices. My first experience with this beer a few years ago at the abbey cafe was completely unforgettable.

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,126 ratings.