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

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)
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Style:
Belgian Quadrupel (Quad)
Ranked #1
ABV:
10.2%
Score:
100
Ranked #24
Avg:
4.66 | pDev: 8.8%
Reviews:
1,960
Ratings:
6,719
From:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
 
Belgium
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  3,781
Gots
  2,351
SCORE
100
World-Class
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)
Notes: (Yellow Cap)
Reviews: 1,960 | Ratings: 6,719 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of RNA
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Malty nose and beautiful amber coloring, taste was complex, malty with several other flavors - the flavors lasted long after the beer was down into my stomach. Excellent beer

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Photo of Wheezy
4.83/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The hype is real. I have had the pleasure of having two six packs of these. One when they did the release with the box and the glasses, and another from a friend that went and actually shipped em back to me! Funny to see how the bottling/labels differ from the USA version to the real version (same beer though). So as an FYI you can now get these shipped - belgianmart.com

Pour - dark murky brown with perhaps a touch of deep redness - a nice desert camo beige head - more than I would have thought for a Belgian quad.
Smell - Plums? WTF is that? Chocolate... boozy, like rum? - smells kind of harsh - to me. I was prepared to not like it.
Taste - BOOM - What just happened? What is this sorcery? Not much to compare to. I still get that plum / dark fruit taste, warming boozy, surprisingly smooth yet bold. It's an experience for sure. Finish, ya, I want another sip. #chasingthedragon

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Photo of DEZ01301960
4.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best Trappist beer I have ever had. I have tried most except for Tre Fontaine and Zundert. Not easily attainable but i was able to snag a 6 pack with 2 chalices for $100 bucks online. Definitely worth the price.

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Photo of rdilauro
4.05/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was slightly disappointed with this one. Probably because I am not a big fan of Belgium Ales.
But rating this on its own merits, itis one great beer. It poursjet black with almost zero head or carbonation. A big powerful nose with a strong alcohol trait. The finish was long. It was if I was drinking a port

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Photo of twage04
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought at a Brussels bar for 19 euro, including the cap from the bottle! This was after a beer and chocolate tour that concluded with samples of St. Bernardus quad and Rochefort 10, so on one hand the contrast was interesting, on the other my palette had been through the ringer and I may have been a little tipsy or beyond at this point.

With all that being said, poured a dark black with normal carbonation or a little higher than normal? Aroma was of dark fruit, raisins/plum. Taste was much the same with some yeasty spiciness but all in all balanced and smooth to drink. I can see the hype although between this and Rochefort 10 it's a toss up, both are excellent but certainly different. This beer did taste pretty similar to the st. bernardus, maybe a bit more yeast coming through?

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Photo of travolta
4.24/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: very minimal head and lacing. Minimal head retention. Color is a bit disappointing, light brown.

Nose: fruitcake, rum, yeast, cola, molasses.

Taste: light caramel smoothness with a tiny hint of lemon, I find it simple but very well balanced. Carbonation is near perfect. Gets much better as it warms up. A bit of syrup and brown sugar. Finishes dry.

Notes: Had two bottles with Tony for Christmas 2019.

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Photo of GarrettB
4.68/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

October 23rd, 2015 - Beer in perfection. This takes everything that makes the Belgian Ale and tunes to perfection. Every taste, every flavor, everything in impeccably synchronization and balanced to make this an exceptional beer. Take your Rochefort or your Bernardus, and imagine it in its highest form. For a premium, that will be the Westy 12.

Westy 12 Review


The Westvletren 12 is my 500th beer. And it marks my passage from beer drinker to beer appreciator. I am thirsty for more.

I chose the Westy to mark a half-thousand beers consumed not only because it is an excellent and well-regarded beer. It is symbolic. More than a sample of a precise chemical craft, or brewing, the Westy represents the origins of my beer hobby, and the evolution of my palate and my interest in the field of beer. Above all, this particular bottle was a gift from the very person who introduced me to beer. It is a gesture that I took his invitation to heart, and have faithfully pursued the hobby well after we parted to different parts of the globe. And it is a mark of my respect for his patience in enduring my initial skepticism, callousness and thick-headedness when it came to drinking beer and taking notes. I owe him a great debt, and I honor that debt by drinking his beer.

I took great care and attached great ceremony to reviewing the Westvleteren. Ambient noise and smells were minimized. Paper and pen were placed nearby, ready to receive observations and hastily scrawled epiphanies. I cleared my head of distractions (there are many) and focused exclusively on this laughably humble bottle and its innards. I girded myself for my Westvleteren 12.

The pour is pretty standard, even mundane. It kicks up a light brown head, little to no lacing, and aside from a few flecks of yeast in the last droplets to fall from the bottle’s mouth, I have no physical evidence that this beer will be a milestone in my beer drinking career. That evidence appears in the aroma. I am stricken with childhood memories of happy Colorado Christmases, as an intoxicating blend of vanilla, oak, ribeye steaks, fig, and a touch of chocolate fill my nose. It is incredible, and it is here that I first get a taste of what all the praise, writing and hype is about. The Westy isn’t hype at all. It is credibly amazing, and deservedly loved. And the taste fits the Quad. style I’ve come to love so much. It is big and rich, barreling onto the tongue with the same aromatic flavors that caused me to reel in my chair. A few seconds later this boldness attenuates, exposing an undercurrent of fig and a deep, sweet red wine flavor. And then again, moments later this layer of flavor recedes to expose a tertiary layer of molasses, oak, smoked wood and a parmesan cheese like umami. To be short, there are three distinct layers of flavors, each of them characteristically delicious, and each a little quieter than the last. That final touch of umami savoriness is practically a whisper, but you can still make out the words.

With all these flavors in a single beer there is a very real threat that the flavors may become crowded and muddled. This is not the case. The Westvleteren 12 delivers these flavors in stages, and on a perfect palate. The beer is thick, but not syrupy, and it textures the flavors without warping them. It is a crowd of luminaries, each in perfect concordance with the others, a kind of harmony of brilliance without egos to interfere.

By the very end of the beer I am questioning whether this is actually a Quadrupel. It has all the basic qualities of a Belgian Strong Ale according to my taste buds, and possibly according to a rigid style guide. But I think the Belgian Strong Ale tag might be slightly too tight on a beer like this. The Westvletren is an expression of a style, and a permutation so fantastically brewed that it almost breaks from tradition. These breaks are sometimes called revolutions, which would be the highest form of irony for the Westy’s brewers who are steeped in tradition themselves. But they are also steeped in this beer, and they must know that what they do, they do very well. This level of brewing is intentional, and it shows. One need only look at the lines of avid drinkers banging on the monastery’s doors to understand that there must be some authentic draw to this beer. And now I finally realize it through a few intense sips. I’ve extended a dimension of my understanding of beer and the craft beer world with one bottle of a highly-esteemed brew. This really is a fantastic hobby.

Cheers Stéphane!

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Photo of bbtkd
4.54/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) Quad, 10.2% ABV. Pours dark brown with a hand of foamy beige head that left only slight lacing. Nose is caramel, bread, brown sugar, and malt. Taste follows, slightly sweet, almost no bitterness. Outstanding mouthfeel, overall world-class.

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Photo of TH28
4.61/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Bottle. 5/2/22 date. Appearance: Dark murky brown with a light hint of ruby red. Minimal light khaki head.
Aroma: Alcohol, chocolate, toasted bread, and dark fruit, namely raisin.
Taste: Rich, super sweet maltiness, with strong brown sugar and toasted bread notes. Minimal bitterness is just enough to prevent the sweetness from being cloying. Raisin and tobacco notes come through on the back end.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a biting carbonation.
Finish: Malt forward, but has a surprising amount of bitterness that’s sticky on the tongue. Brown sugar, molasses, and raisin all linger.
Overall: Rarely do beers live up to the hype, but this is truly a world class beer, even within a rich, complex style with plenty of great examples. Drinks surprisingly easy for a beer this complex and rich in maltiness. So many layers of flavor, all well rounded and smooth

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Photo of Trevor11
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Lucky enough to find a bottle at Monterrey Bar in Berlin, which had another wonderful cellar. Affordable, met the hype, sweet, earthy, alcohol well hidden. The monks have their art down to a science at this point

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Photo of JCJones66
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Consistent. Unique. Incomparable. You can shamelessly wax lyrical about Westvleteren. So, I will. My sin of cheesy cliche won't be absolved. To try any Westvleteren is a rite of passage. I have been visiting Westvleteren Abbey since the late eighties. Back then, you turned up on spec, no appointment or reservation needed, and loaded up. 10 crates was the max. If you are lucky, you can get two crates now. Or a take out pack of six, or two, from the cafe opposite the monastery gates. This is what hype has done. But also, has not. This beer is the same now as I remember it >30 years ago. No succumbing to fad or fashion. Now, a further, but very important point. Listen to the monks! Westvleteren is made to age. It really does get more surreal with months, even years on it, if stored cool. Yesterday I cracked open a bottle from my stash brewed in January 2019. For me, it has cream and ginger characteristics, and they were really getting a hold here and singing. For you - well, you decide. Even the taste evolution from the February release was interesting. Its texture, too, is like no other. You don't just taste it - you hear it. So. Drinking Westveleteren 12 (and 8 and 6 for that matter) is a ceremony. A truly personal experience, whether you are religious, agnostic or an atheist. Meanwhile, the myth shrugs its shoulders and keeps on delivering one world class, perhaps once in a lifetime, experience. Visit the Abbey. And have your ceremony.

Finally. Just a note on its price. Bear with me here. If you are lucky enough to get to reserve a crate or two to collect, or buy it at the Cafe opposite the monastery, remember this. This beer is not supposed to be for resale. It is, however, MASSIVELY good value. A world class bargain. The rip off merchants that make this available through resell are doing so against the spirit of what Westvleteren beer is all about. So, feel the guilt if you bought this off site - but do not criticise the price you paid for it.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.4/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(330 ml bottle, slightly overfilled, cap date 27.09.21; purchased in Belgium by my bro, shipped to US; chilled for 6 days before opening... decanted into 0,15 l Westvleteren chalice)

L: clear, garnet liquid; tan foam, loose upon pour, but settles to steady cap, draping lace... maybe should've left the bottle to settle a lot longer, as there's an alarming amount of nucleation

S: sherry, dates, brown sugar upon first whiff, giving way to rich brown bready malts; perhaps a faint vinous note, but not overtly boozy; moderate intensity in this glass

T: sherry, plum wine, chocolate-coated caramel; black cherry candy note lingering in the aftertaste... malt takes over, getting a bit nutty along the way, with semi-dry leathery dried dark fruit layered atop

F: expanding burst of carbonation upon first sip, mild residual viscosity on the finish, sharp spicy sting in the aftertaste as the heat from the alcohol sets the palate alight and warms the chest... the mellow drag in the finish never ceases; lovely bold cut from the booze

O: rather flavorful, though not all that distinctive, but nonetheless expertly executed - this is similar to what I remember Rochefort 10 tasting like before I went on a (still active) years-long string of purchasing lousy, infected, spoiled bottles... kicking off the last day of my 30s in style (1594)

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Photo of egrandfield
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip from a bottle dated 4.01.2018
L: chestnut brown, murky, tiny bubbles arising from the murk
S: like grape candy and maybe some licorice. Smells not like anything I’ve had from beer. Very low if any alcohol presence
T: grape, grape soda, and chocolate brownie. No taste of alcohol
F: lingers then fades softly on the tongue. Surprisingly easy to drink
O: Definitely now understand why it’s considered the best beer in the world.

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Photo of JediMasterLenin
4.52/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33cl bottle into a snifter

Look: Pours a gorgeous deep amber with a dark purple/red hue to it. Light tan head dissolves into a ring around the glass.
Smell: Brown sugar, dates, red grape, dark marble bread, and prune. A smokey quality there as well.
Taste: Much like it's aroma, dark pitted fruit and brown sugar, the smokey quality is much less pronounced here. but there is a wine-like tanic dryness on the finish.
Feel: Soft medium bodied, with small foamy bubbles and a dry, tanic finish.
Overall: Fantastic! Dark fruit, dark grain, brown sugar all mixes with a dryness that keeps the sweetness from lingering.

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Photo of jprock01
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I went to the abbey last week, and brought two six packs home, $25 per six-pack. The best pure beer I have ever had. It is easy to add ingredients or to age beer in whiskey barrels to change the flavor, but that is not making pure beer.
I think I'll become a monk and join the abbey, just so I can drink it everyday.

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Photo of kinglouix
3.78/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have often heard that if you make something hard to get or hard to find the public will want it all the more. I finally found this beer after realizing you cannot get it at their brewery and that the pub they serve it at across the street is often closed. I finally found it at an oyster bar in Ghent. It poured a nice brown with a good deal of carbonation. I found it was smooth, drinkable and enjoyable but completely overhyped. Tasted to me more like a German double than a Belgium quad and for the ridiculous price of 16 euro's a bottle it is a true avoid.

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Photo of Herbabee
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

just thought i'd stop in and pile on. finally blessed to pop one open. it is no lie, all that they say.

a cloudy grey-plum hue held up to a bright light. no noticable particulates swimming about.
a persistent surface fizz in the glass, nearly menacing.
complexities of the sweet, stone-fruit and bitter. deep and pronounced.
like a razzle-dazzle maze upon the tongue and senses, it lingers.

now, the task is to protect my stash from myself... special milestone occasions only!!

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Photo of FriedSlug
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Amazing beer. Burnt sugar, fruit, pear maybe, fig, peppery. Smooth and sweet with a bitter finish. Very carbonated and tasty. Was definitely worth getting my chance to try it.

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Photo of jcruelty
4.21/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Friend brought this back from Belgium. It's several years old and a bit funky, not quite in the same league as Trappist Rochefort 10, but then again who knows. Pretty good. Funky

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Photo of zuun
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've tasted Westvleteren 8 first and then 12 right after 8.
L-Very similar to 8. Dark brown body and beige foam on the top with nice thickness.
S-Can imagine the taste would be sweet. Blueberry, prune, bready.
T-Nice sweetness from the beginning, while 8 has sweetness from the middle to end. I'm not big fan of too much sweetness such as speedway mokaside, but both 8 and 12 has very nice, semi-sweetness
F-Creamy, foamy very smooth
O-Most expensive ever, best beer ever.

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Photo of Sandis
4/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle at home. I tried this once in 2017 and did not enjoy it quite as much as I do this time around. The carbonation was not as elevated in this current version which is nice. A real nice mix of sugar and spice.

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Photo of darktronica
4.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

After having it in the American gift brick from a number of years ago, now I'm finally in Belgium able to enjoy it at the source. The epitome of a Belgian quad. Brown sugar and chocolate with Belgian spices and a bit of raisin, exceptionally smooth and exceptionally complex.

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Photo of cuy50
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

It's just so damn drinkable. Tastes like a 7% abv beer, no sickly oversweetness or bitterness, or really anything. There's nothing that particularly stands out, and that's why it's so good. You just don't think about it much, it goes down so easily. Perfectly balanced creation.

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Photo of donkeylips
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I got to drink this across the street from the abbey. Luscious and full, I was struck by the balance between alcohol and sweet flavors. Simultaneously a liquid lunch and clean on the palate. The alcohol cleanses the palate after the cacophony of flavors of ripe fruits, caramel, and molasses. I was amazed that a beer this rich left me itching for more, as I would expect the richness to be over-satiating. Just the opposite.

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Photo of marcbosch
4.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: Opaque, reddish brown, a bit muddy. Thin head.
S: Fruit, both sweet and dry, caramel, a bit of cellar. Complex and strong.
T: Intense but nuanced. Malt, dry fruit, toffee, a bit of booze.
F: Big body but moderate carbonation. Rather dry finish.
O: Simply outstanding.

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 6719 ratings