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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.

4,949 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,949
Reviews: 1,632
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 2,977
Gots: 1,442 | FT: 107
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
(Yellow Cap)

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001)
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: 4,949 | Reviews: 1,632 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Saviorself
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

Saviorself, Apr 09, 2013
Photo of More_betterness
4.44/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark mahogany with clear ruby hues when held up to the light. High carbonation causes an off white head that leaves patchy lacing on the glass when it recedes.

S: Banana, walnuts, and bready malt combine to create an aroma reminiscent of banana nut muffins. Brandied darks fruits and sweet caramel close out the nose. Fantastic.

T: Dates, plums, and a slight bitterness upfront. Long and lingering notes of brown sugar and raisins mid-palate. No perceptible alcohol which is amazing considering the ABV. Not nearly as complex or potent as the nose but still great.

M: Light bodied and effervescent. However, each sip coats the mouth and causes the flavors to linger long after each sip.

O: Amazing how such complex flavors and aromas can be contained in such a concise package. It is almost impossible to live up to the hype that this beer has, but by far the best example of the style I've ever had. Those monks at Saint Sixtus know what they're doing.

More_betterness, Aug 07, 2014
Photo of bassmantin
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought eight of these at De Bier Tempel in Brussels and brought them back to the US. Shared some with friends. Want an amazing find.

Pours a very dark brown with not much head into my authentic Westvleteren chalice. Oh, the anticipation.

The smell in taste are remarkably complex. Banana, wheatiness, great subtle spiciness, nice full malt sugars. Every taste reveals additional flavors. In some ways it tastes like a nice wheat doppelbock. And the alcohol is so incredibly well concealed.

Amazing. I could drink this beer forever. And I don't think I'm being biased by the hype.

bassmantin, May 13, 2008
Photo of Avryle
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Cap dated 18.04.10

Again, huge kudos to drseamus for sharing this on such a beautiful day.

A- Dark cola brown with slight tan head. Residual head does not cap the surface like on the 8. Light spidery lacing.

S- Rich malts, Belgian candi sugar and grapes. There's also a buttery/spiciness hanging out. Very rich.

T- Up-front taste is similar to the nose with rich malts, candi sugar and wine(ish). As it warms the body develops more complexity with notes of caramel, toffee, dates and raisins. The alcohol presence is subdued but leaves a definite warming feeling. The spicy flavors in the body & finish... This is where I cannot put my finger on the tastes. It could just be the yeast, but its this presence that takes this beer from really good to phenomenal. Jayzus, even the burps taste really freakin' delicious.

M- Medium bodied with an ideal amount of tingly carbonation. The body is so creamy and smooth finishing with a crisp and brandy-like dryness.

D- Oye! Amazingly good. This really lived up to the hype. I don't really know what more I could say that hasn't been said by other reviewers.

Avryle, Apr 13, 2008
Photo of TheAnk
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

TheAnk, Oct 07, 2013
Photo of Pelican5
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

Pelican5, Apr 06, 2014
Photo of dickieb
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I always assumed If I has the opportunity to try this I would have to kill three men and give away the rights to my first born to do so. Luckily for my future generations a beer bud of mine took a trip to belgium and surprised me with a bottle.

Pours a murky dark walnut in color with very little light coming through. The head is thick and bright white leaving some awesome lacing. The smell is a bit subtle for what i was expecting but the amount of scents fuzed into a singe whiff is astounding, dried fruits cinnamon yeast spices and a bunch of other things I cant even put my finger on. The taste is more complex then the smell but also subtle. Raisins the slightest citrus note cloves and a warm tasty booze dominates for me. The mouthfeel is not heavy at all but you know its there and the drinkability is through the roof. Not that anyone would want to but you could put a few of these down in a hurry if you had to. This is hands down the best Quad I have ever had, I don't know if it would be the all time best for my taste but I would never argue this being the holy grail.

dickieb, Jul 30, 2010
Photo of StephenRich
3.58/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It is widely and arguably acknowledged as the best beer on the planet. It has had more heritage and prestige poured into its creation, more exclusivity surrounding its availability, and more debate about its worth than potentially any beer on earth. It is the Westvleteren 12. The bottles come exactly as shown here; no label, and nearly no branding wahtsoever. A thick bevel around the shoulder of the bottle claims Trappisten Bier, and the cap indicates that it is indeed a Westvleteren 12, at 10.2% abv, and thats it.

It is important to understand that this is not the best beer in the world, it is merely the highest rated beer on the planet. There is a difference.

This posses an interesting predicament that I have come by so many times since engulfing myself in the world of beer; that is trying a beer that has been so outrageously hyped with an untainted preconception of it. Its nearly impossible to ignore the hype and approach it with a clean slate and unbiased palate. It's true, I wanted to love the Westy, but I tried my very hardest to conduct an unobstructed tasting of it before I would relax and simply enjoy it.

The Westy 12 was served to me at cellar temperature around 14C (57F) as a vintage Belgian Quadrupel should be. This allows all of the beer's flavors to stand forward without the cold numbing your palate or any sensations. The pour was easy and straight forward; nothing too elegant, thick or lush - rather uneventful actually. No head built until about halfway up the glass when a soft airy cream colored foam began to build. It showed a smattering of large bubbles scarcely scattered throughout the head eventually building to maybe an inch. It faded fast to a translucent film. The beer was dark and glowing. It was a rich burgundy red with deep ambers, golden browns, and pitches of black trapping any light that came near. It was not totally opaque though, and was crisply transparent. Very pretty, but not nearly as dense or as full as I had expected.

The nose is soft and aromatic in a classic Belgian style. Malted grain bring pale and caramelized flavors into your nose and plays with the range of sweet bread, biscuit, golden raisins, brown sugar, and nuts. Sweetness dominates the air with no hop aroma to be found. Leaning back in for more brings apple juice and cider to my senses and more raisin flavor. Touches of pear and cereal show up, then fresh baked sweet egg bread.

When going in for a sip I was madly excited and nervous. I wanted it to be good, but at the same time was trying not to expect anything. I let the first sip wash over my palate and swirl into ever inch of my mouth. My friends were starring at me in silence awaiting my approval or disapproval. I said nothing and went in for another taste before I made any premature conclusions.

My first impression was of the mouthfeel - it was not thin, but it was definitely not lush. It poured over me with a smooth and silky texture, but was relatively flat and uncarbonated. The years ageing in the bottle may have have stripped the beer of its effervescence faster than I would have assumed. Beyond the mouthfeel was a sweet and fruity wave of malts - big malts. Quick complexity caught my attention at the Westy showed me golden raisins, plums, pears, light golden sugar and grapes. It was richly fruity and a good balance of sweet pale and caramel malts.

No roast, bitter, or tart was apparent to me yet, and I started to wonder how this seemingly one sided beer had claimed the top spot among the beer world's best. The malt was soft but potent, digging deep into my taste buds bringing candy, and sweet molasses. It showed hints of nut and sweet cereal, but lacked the cocoa, earth, citrus or complex presence that I was expecting from a big Quad like this. Regardless of what I was expecting, a delicious soft sweet bread flavor was present. It was the unmistakable flavor of Challa - a sweet egg bread made for Shabot dinner. Soon then came based apples and a hint of tart cider. The sweet was wide and generous, and very delicious. But still, something was lacking; a spice, or herb, or balance... Something.

The finish mimicked everything about this beer so far; it was a short, plain finish with a sweet fruity sensation and little crackle.

Don't get me wrong, this was very delicious, but to me beer is graded by flavor, construction, and sensations. This beer just didn't peak where I had expected it to, and hence the problem with knowing the hype. I would still give the Westy very high grades, just not in the elite class. That being said, two of my friends satting at the table has each had a Westy 12 before, and they both claimed that this tasted different. So, will not make a conclusion on this beer until I have had another. And the hunt continues...

StephenRich, Sep 14, 2010
Photo of HopFace
3/5  rDev -34.9%

HopFace, Jun 11, 2012
Photo of mwbbq
4.75/5  rDev +3%

mwbbq, Jul 15, 2014
Photo of 05Harley
4.05/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best before date: 15.06.04 (June 15, 2004) It's my understanding the Westvleteren beers are bottled 3 years prior to the best before date. Which makes this beer almost ten years old to the day! The alcohol content is also a bit higher @ 10.8%.

Purchased through Cracked Kettle, Netherlands

Price - Lost record, I'm sure it was expensive...
I purchased this a few years back before I was keeping receipts.

Popped the cap and bam, a flow of foam gushes out of the bottle. A quick pour in my glass reveals a two inch creamy foam head that fizzles out after a few minutes leaving behind the scene of a cloudy sky. Polka dotted lacing stains the glass after several sips. The color is brown with quite a bit of yeast sediment.

The aroma is fairly strong and pleasent. Full of caramel, red grapes, candy sugar and spices.

The flavor is sweet malt, caramel and dark fruit with some earthy notes.

The mouthfeel is medium in body, soft and smooth with plenty of carbonation. Unfortunately a metallic bitter aftertaste sneaks in and kills the overall enjoyment.

I think the age of this bottle is certainly bringing it down a bit. I have several newer versions and will update this review to reflect the best buy date.

05Harley, Jun 09, 2011
Photo of dazedandconfused
5/5  rDev +8.5%

dazedandconfused, Jun 05, 2013
Photo of Beerman6686
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

Beerman6686, Oct 07, 2014
Photo of RES
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

RES, Jan 08, 2013
Photo of ThrewRedButter
4.75/5  rDev +3%

ThrewRedButter, Dec 25, 2013
Photo of nabit
4.75/5  rDev +3%

nabit, May 09, 2014
Photo of AD17
5/5  rDev +8.5%

AD17, May 21, 2014
Photo of boudeysbigbrew
4.75/5  rDev +3%

boudeysbigbrew, Jul 03, 2014
Photo of aficionado
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Chimay chalice. Thanks Thijs aka brabander (He stopped trading Westy a long time ago so don't bother him).

Murky dark brown body with no head or lacing to speak of. The lowest of the rating tiers for sure.

Aromas of prunes, dates and baking spices.

Brown sugar, dried fruits and spices. Oak aging is evident. Has a tiny bit of sour funk to it. Pretty sweet overall. The yeast dominates. Quad Heaven!

Silky full body with low carbonation. This is "beer juice".

No obvious alcohol presence to speak of. Any difficulty you will have drinking this beer would be from the richness of flavor, which is expected, and not the harshness of the alcohol. It's so incredibly smooth for the abv %. The smoothness of this beer is unparalleled. If I could rate this an A++, I would.

Probably one of my favorite beers ever and I'm usually an American hops kinda guy. Trade more of this with me and I'll be your best friend!

aficionado, Mar 22, 2011
Photo of DStoked
4/5  rDev -13.2%

DStoked, May 14, 2013
Photo of Lucho
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Lucho, Jul 15, 2013
Photo of Lochnessmonster
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Lochnessmonster, Feb 11, 2014
Photo of Indybeer
4.68/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle. Poured a deep brown, with a huge frothy head that really stuck around. Lots of lace on the glass. Aroma is a complex mix, malty and sweet. Taste is as complex as the aromas. And as it warms it changes. Lots of sweetmalty goodness, nice and creamy feeling and it goes down so nice. The alcohol is nicely hidden, but makes itself known in the end. A thoroughly enjoyable experiance

Indybeer, Dec 25, 2003
Photo of ottovon
4.6/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: pours out a coppery-brown color with a light tan head. it has lots of head.

S: i get a lot of caramel aromas, some candi sugar, and yeast with hints of raison.

T: i get some spice, raison, lots of caramel and candi sugar flavor as well as yeast and bready flavors. there is a little bit of alcohol in the finish.

M: it has a light and slightly carbonated mouthfeel. it is quite nice.

D: i could drink these all night. while there are hints of alcohol in the taste, it is pretty hidden.

shared with whiterascal.

ottovon, Jan 27, 2011
Photo of Kshock
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Kshock, Nov 26, 2011
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 4,949 ratings.