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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)
BA SCORE
4.6/5
World-Class
6,433 Ratings
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Belgium
sintsixtus.be

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
(Yellow Cap)

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#32
Reviews:
1,885
Ratings:
6,433
pDev:
8.91%
Bros Score:
4.19
 
 
Wants:
3,687
Gots:
2,248
Trade:
156
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,433 |  Reviews: 1,885
Reviews by Yesdog:
Photo of Yesdog
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%

More User Reviews:
Photo of BEERchitect
4.8/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

July 24, 2009: Along with the notes below, the cotton candy/confection/powdered sugar flavor is super clean and full of taste. Ester profile shows more grape flavors than I remember. An immaculate beer fit for it's #1 status.

So, this is the daddy of all daddyies; the penacle of all fermented malty beverages; the beer that carries the biggest kahunas; the most elusive and sought-after beer of all. Can a beer possibly live up to it's legendary status? Yes in fact, it can. A very deep, strong, agressive berry and candied aroma swells from the bottle, even before the pour. The beer pours neatly into the chalice with a rising pillow of foam that brings out more dark berries, dehydrated fruits, and tart, warming alcohols. Very mouth-watering and inviting. That first sip brings a lot of that rich berry flavor (blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, and a hint of grapes) that shines above a seriously malt base. Pecans, almonds, and graham cracker flavors display the malts well. Dehydrated / candied fruits (cherries, pineapples, dates and figs) meld with a sweet rum-like alcohol flavor and makes this beer some of the better flavors ever placed into my mouth. The body shows all of the firm-ness, viscity, and creaminess needed for a perfect-five beer, but the alcohols and berry-vineous flavors slice through it, making it waver just a bit. The berry flavor lingers on and on... I can still taste it from last night. It is easy to see why this beer so easily seduces even the most seasoned beer enthusiest, but I have to ask it to reluctantly step aside of this grand pedistal for its little brother, Westvleteren Dubbel.

Thanks Clvand0
Nathan15
Thanks Maxskip!

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Photo of wdberkley
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Where do I start?

Thank you monks. You've inspired me to shave what's left of my hair, buy a brown robe, and learn to chant.

Call it lack of exposure, but I've never been a fan of this style. Westy 12 just changed that. I could tell you about the beautiful color it pours, the massive head it left, the scent of fruits, raisins, carmel, the wonderful mouth feel, the fact that it's not even remotely boozy for a 10% beer. But that's all been said.

There is a reason its commonly referred to as the best beer in the world.

"It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up."

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Photo of kojevergas
4.78/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sometimes a beer calls to mind terms like ineffable or sublime...

I had the esteemed pleasure of having this beer on my trip to Belgium; first a one year old version at my friend's house in Ghent, then straight out of the bottle at the abbey when I picked up 48 bottles of blond, then a two year old version at my friend's house. While having the two year old, my friend brought out yet another bottle of the one year old so we could compare them. I figured aged beers were for snobby pretentious little bastards, but I was proven wrong upon tasting the difference betwixt the two. Touche. I didn't actually review the version straight from the abbey, but I've included my reviews of both the one year old and the two year old below. (I know I'm a lucky bastard, for the record.) Obviously, both were from the bottle, served into a proper Westy goblet. I tasted the aged versions in Ghent.

A(1yr): Two finger head of amazing cream and thickness. A dark black colour with an amber bottom. Very appealing. Excellent retention. I let the beer sit for a bit so that it would be the correct temperature; it was fetched from a refrigerator.

A(2yr): Two finger head of lovely cream and thickness. Dark amber colour.

Sm(1yr): Cream. Very subtle spices and esters. Esters are seemingly dominated by raspberry. Some nutty hops. Exquisitely subtle. Balanced. A light strength scent overall, but then me nose is broken.

Sm(2yr): Dark fruit. Cream. Hops. Complex.

T(1yr): Beautiful body of nut, spice, and especially tamed fruit, which bleeds - nay - allows itself into the finish. Perfectly balanced. Fruit hangs on the finish, joined by a symphony of cream. Cream is also present on the open. A perfect injection of bitterness is present just before the climax.

T(2yr): Dark fruit, hoppy body build. Amazing. Incredibly complex. Balanced perfectly. Built perfectly. Fuck me that's delightful.

Mf(1yr): Perfectly creamy, smooth, and wet yet dry. Teases an orgasm from the tongue. Amazing.

Mf(2yr): Silky. Soft and smooth. Amazing. Delicate and incredible.

Dr(1yr): I would down this repeatedly if given the chance and budget (and I did, at In Da Vrede). If you have a last meal, this ought to be a candidate for the drink. Makes you close your eyes to savour the taste. Believe the hype; this is the best beer I've had so far. The best retention I've ever seen.

Dr(2yr): Fecking brilliant-like. Hides its ABV absurdly well.

Note that the numeric review values correspond to the two year.

A+ (4.8)

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Photo of Morpheus
4.96/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I had the opportunity to finally try the Holy Grail of beer. I had expected to have been let down due to the hype and exclusivity, but was very pleased with the bottle! The level of balance and complexity was remarkable. Indeed, the Holy Grail was in my possession. For the briefest moment, I was immortal.

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Photo of Gajo74
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

For years I've been hearing about the mythical and seemingly unattainable Westvleteren XII. As a result, its become one of those so called "whales" that, considering its scarcity and hefty price in the U.S., I would resign myself to having to travel directly to the monastery in Belgium. How ironic that on a leisurely family trip to Rome I came across it at Beerland Trillusa in Trastevere, Rome for the hefty but manageable price of 19 euros. My search was over! I sat down in the modest outdoor cafe overlooking the hip Trastevere
Neighborhood, and as I waited for my server, I pondered if it was worth the hype.
The stately plain brown bottle came out. Who needs fancy label art when this one is so elegant in its simplicity. It poured a murky mahogany brown color. An enormous tan foam head gushes up to the top in a beautifully controlled fashion. It retains seemingly for an eternity, its thick film covering the surface until the very end.
As I poured it out of the bottle onto the pint glass that was handed to me, I could immediately smell the aromas of dark bread, amber malts, caramel, dark fruit and a whiff of alcohol cutting through the air with their alluring boldness, as if to say "come hither!" So many layers throughout, its difficult to do justice to all. There was also a touch of cocoa, spices, raisin, plum and grape. Towards the end there was biscuity malt.
Going into the mouth was the highly anticipated moment for me. Some beers take a while for the flavors to develop. Not with this one. It's like all the nuances of bold and complex flavors burst forth as soon as they hit the tip of the tongue in a frenzy of instant gratification. If there is a smoother, more velvety and creamier brew out there, I haven't had it. In the mouth it feels like fluffy and soft floating clouds. Full bodied and gently carbonated, yet so drinkable that a few sips in I realized it was going down too fast. I'll discuss the flavors soon, except that I can't emphasize enough what an amazing texture, feel and drink ability this work of art of a beer is. As for the flavors, I do not know if there is another brew out there with such a complex array of flavors and that still manages to blend them so elegantly and smoothly. In the first phase there is a sweetness from amber malts, dark candi sugar, and soft tones of cocoa powder that add a smooth creaminess. This is complemented by a light alcohol spice that is just right and not boozy. Hard to decide what else to add as I'm sure I'm missing out on some flavor, but, here goes: dark fruit such as alcohol soaked raisins, plumps, red grape, and even a touch of lightly sour cherries. Vinous and with the feel of currants. Spicy and peppery but not overwhelmingly so, dark bread, and berries. What really did it for me is how in the middle phase there was the emergence of earthy, herbal grassy green hops that added a bold bitterness and dryness to the finish, unique in that I usually don't associate a strong hops profile with Belgian Ales.
As I finished I was in a state of both euphoria and sorrow. Euphoria at both the delicicious cornucopia of tastes and for the deceptively high ABV that provided no burn, and sorrow because it came to an end. Now for the dilemma of rating it. Was it worth the hype? Most definitely so, although the price and its status might have convinced me to wish it so. However, what is undeniable is that it is one of the most perfectly crafted, classy and elegant of all brews; it's like the Rolls Royce of brews. Is it the so called "world's best beer" as the sign at the bar said? Clearly a subjective and almost ridiculous concept, kind of like asking "what is the world's greatest piece of music, art or literature, however, I would find it hard to argue against it. Does it have flaws? I don't see any, which is why I will score it a perfect 5.
P.S. On the way out I picked up a bottle of Westvleteren VIII to go. Can't wait to try it!

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Photo of guityler83
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Cap Date - 07.05.17

A: Poured into a chalice, the beer produced lots of foam at first but quickly fizzed away allowing the pour to finish - when it was finally poured fully (minus the yeast) it was a finger and a half tall made of mid sized bubbles with a tan color. It continually bubbled up from the bottom creating pockets of foam, but the retention was low. The beer has a dark brown, leather like appearance with moderate haze, hints of auburn show as it is held to a light source.

S: Mild to medium aroma with prunes, plums, figs, red grapes. Also getting a fresh yeasty character, not traditional belgian yeast but more like bread yeast. Toast and melenoidin bread crust aromas are at the threshold levels and a spicey note that could be coming from hops or yeast phenols.

T: Huge flavor.. Tons of those dark fruit flavors - dates, prunes, figs, with a big base of bread crust, biscuits and toast. Tobacco, melenoidins, burnt sugar, slight vanilla and dark cherries also coming through at different rates. The sweetness is kept to a low level with the big spicey hop bitterness and flavor giving an earthy undertone and the yeasty character i pickup gives a surprising lager like cleanness. The phenols are kept to a minimum and there is only a hint of ethanol in the flavor (at this early age).

M: A creamy mouthfeel that gives way to a moderately high carbonation bite. There is a tingly sensation on the palette that reminds me of a bourbon barrel aged beer. Moderate body with a high amount of alcohol warming.

O: There are no short of reviews for this beer and chances are this won’t convince you to try or not try this beer, however if you can get the beer without too much trouble - get it. Not nearly as alcohol forward as I’ve heard and I wasn’t prepared for the yeasty bread flavor that made this very interesting and more drinkable. I’ll be curious to see how my other bottles age.

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Photo of khiasmus
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

And the lady rose from the wood, as the archers tromped through the dales in seek of the fountain of perfection. The craft had been whiling away the years for the better part of a century. Settled royally atop her mount, she directed the footsoldiers as they traipsed through the underbrush, brandishing their pikes and longswords against the inhuman foe of the dark wood. Occasional copses and dales provided much-needed relief from the dense thickets that made up the majority of the wooded landscape. Atop the mountain they had seen afar their destination, and the lady would not rest until they had inhaled the aromatic glory and tasted the nectar of liquid perfection. The going was hard through the wood, and the clearing came none too soon, but they had arrived. A friar greeted them warmly, welcoming them to the humble monastery in which was conceived one of the greatest treasures on earth. Apart from the Bible and his countless hours of prayer, one passion consumed him. The same passion which had consumed so many of his forefathers and would yet become a passion for thousands of years to come. He had created one of the marvels of the then-modern world, the perfect combination of hops, malt, pure water, and yeast.
The appearance was brown, with a crown of light tan head which would cling to the ridge of the goblet of whomever had the pleasure of enjoying it. The lady was taken aback by the complexity of the aromas, contrasted with the dank odour of the stone corridors in the bowels of the monastery. The flavour was rapturous. rich, complex flavours of dark fruits, the yeast lending a spicy character and the alcohol rounding out the drink with a warmth and intensity that she had not experienced before. She let out a deep sigh. She could die content now, as she held in her hands what her heart had so longed for.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.28/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The time has finally come to put a splash of beer in my BA mug and what better beer than Westvleteren 12? I've had two of these in my cellar for about six months now and have been saving them for a special occasion. Something tells me that the contents have held up just fine. 'Best by' date on the yellow cap is 01.07.06.

The pour generates the typically massive Belgian head and I can see small chunks entering my chalice when the bottle is about 2/3 empty. Extremely murky chestnut brown; the beer looks like strong, unfiltered apple cider. The ecru colored cap has barely fallen in the three minutes since the pour. I'm expecting a huge amount of Belgian lace, but it hasn't yet had the chance to form since the head is so obstinate.

The aroma is more subdued than expected, but to be fair, I'm trying to assess it through a still thick cap of foam. What I do appreciate is brown malty, fruity and toasted nutty. I also pick up whiffs of Belgian yeast and alcohol.

The flavor profile is complex to say the least. It's comprised of loads of caramel malt, molasses, licorice, and dark, dried fruits (raisins, dates and prunes). Candied pecans and modestly funky yeast make appearances, as does the aforementioned alcohol. There are also darker contributors such as coffee and chocolate. Simply an amazing collection of seemingly unlimited flavors. The mouthfeel is big and firm, chewy even, but stops short of full or heavy.

Westvleteren 12 is world-class, no doubt about it. I can appreciate this beer (I think), I respect this beer, I even like this beer a lot. I just don't love this beer. Call me a hophead, call me an unrefined simpleton, call me what you will, but that's how I feel at this juncture in my journey. That doesn't mean that Westvleteren 12 is anything less than incredible. Everyone should have the chance to sample it at least once.

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Photo of Brolo75
4.74/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

11 ounce bottle poured into a Belgian stemmed glass

A: Pours dark brown with a tan colored head, head is pillowy, full, creamy, lots of lacing, good amount of carbonation, no light comes through around the edges, looks solid.

A: Figs, raisins, plums, dark brown sugar, toffee, caramel, lots of aromas in this beer, bread notes, Belgian yeast, hint of alcohol, very complex with lots of depth.

T: Like the nose, there are notes of dark fruits like figs and plums, dark roasted and toasted candy, Belgian yeast, spice, clove, hint of banana, finish is dry with more dark fruits lingering in the aftertaste, very tasty, drinkable.

M: Full bodied with lots of carbonation, semi-dry finish, very smooth and creamy.

O: A world class beer, full of flavor, nice mouthfeel, lots of aroma, definitely worth the money I paid to get it. This is an amazing beer, I can't believe how drinkable it is for 10.2 % ABV, I won't hesitate to place another order for this beer.

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Photo of jmasher85
4.31/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

To honor NASA discovering the TRAPPIST-1 star system, I'm finally breaking open the bottle I got at the local shop last year. I have to say, everything about this beer is a surprise, from the texture to the flavor. It pours clear dark brown with receding head, no lacing, and clumps of heavy sediment towards the end of the pour.

Smell is sweet toffee candy, red apples, dark cherries, cola; sweet and interesting. Taste is where it gets really weird though. Starts off quite sweet, but gets shockingly bitter and dry by the end. Burnt toffee and spice dominate the front end, with fairly strong alcoholic roughness and clove-like numbing feeling on the tongue. This is one that must be sipped slowly or palate fatigue will do you in, and fast. A strange Dr. Pepper-like medicinality threatens to make this one cloyingly sweet, but then a bitterness sets in and all of a sudden, you're dealing with burnt malts, dry, strong boozy flavors that give the lingering finish more of a sharp, acidic, spicy yeast quality than a sweet, rounder one. I can't say this is a particularly balanced beer, and nor does it want to be. It hits hard and strong in each direction it pulls.

The strangest thing about this beer is the carbonation, which, with it's disappearing head, is between soda and champagne, and less like beer. It certainly brings up those belches! Overall, I can't say this lives up to the hype of former "best beer ever, anywhere." It just doesn't quite complement itself well in the flavors it most strongly forces. That said, every sip was interesting, pleasurable, and I don't regret the slightly exorbitant price I paid to get it locally. It may not be my favorite, but it's deserving of it's place as a legend.

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Photo of jlsims04
4.4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Glad I was able to try this one. Did not blow my mind. Very good for the style but not worth the effort required in my opinion

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

A - pours a dark but slightly opaque brown. Finger width light tan head that holds well.

S - Plenty of toffee, dark fruits and raisins.

T - Incredibly balanced beer with dark plums, chocolate and some roasted coffee.

M - vibrate mouthfeel with pretty high carbonation. It is balanced with the silk of the liquid itself though.

O - Just an incredible well made and balanced beer. Hope to have more.

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Photo of Jnashed
4.99/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow...... Five year old version cellared at 45 degrees.

Popped the top and a slight gush of bubbles that dissipated quickly. Poured into a snifter. Cloudy marroon color.

Smell of dried fruits and sugars. complex though.

Taste... Speechless. Dried figs, and apricots. Some many subtle flavor including vanilla and Carmel . So smooth. No bite from alcohol.

Feel. Carbonation perfect and some lacing but really just melts in mouth like a piece of dried fruit.

Amazing, amazing beer. Best I've had....

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

330ml bottle, with labels signifying its US import status, shared with a bunch of BAs at a birthday tasting last night, 6/15/2013.

Aroma: I was really wowed by the nose on this beer. Super pungent, sweet dark fruits- figs, raisins along with a little bit of blueberry sweetness. There is quite a bit of Belgian yeastiness that I've come to associate with dubbels and quads- really complements the sweetness very well with its spiciness. Smells incredibly delicious, quite sweet, and keeps getting better as it warms up. (4.5)

Colour: Dark brown, not quite black but more like a mahogany brown. Pours a thick (a bit thinner than super thick and viscous) body. Its not quite motor oil but this is quite viscous. The head is a 1cm white, perhaps slightly tan, head that becomes a somewhat thick film on the beer. Looks delicious, like a dessert. (4.5)

Flavour: It was an incredible beer. A tasty melange of Belgian spiciness of cloves, maple syrup, figs, raisins, blueberries, and caramel. The yeast and hops mellows out the sweet malt. I think that compared to some of the other quads I've had, this puts together a great bit of flavours high in complexity that is incredibly mellow and pleasing to drink. (4.75)

Mouthfeel: Thick bodied, very viscous and incredibly chewy. Carbonation was solid, nothing special. Aftertaste is the spiciness of the yeast, which was incredible. Smooth and incredibly easy to drink! It's too bad there's only 33cl of this beer in a bottle. (4.5)

Overall: Incredible quad, one of the best beers I have ever had. I thought it was all hype and came in with a jaundiced eye, but this one really blew me away, which was an incredibly nice surprise. It's not that the specific flavours in this beer were especially great compared to other quads that I've had, but it all came together incredibly well. I think that's the difference between this beer and all the others. (4.75)

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Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.57/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- dark plum colour with a typical frothy head.

S- booze and dark fruits.

T- incredibly refined, layered flavours of cherry, booze, figs and plums. Less sweet than the Rochefortes but still has that sweet flavour.

M-incredible. Possibly the best aspect of this beer, silky smooth, a mouthfeel ive never experienced in any other quad.

O- hard to live up to the immense hype, but it comes close. Just an incredibly well made beer.

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Photo of deepsleeper
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Better than expected. Reminds me of Trappist Rochefort 10, but less alcoholy. Like the bottle design a lot. I have a version minus the label, but looks much better with it on.

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Photo of rudzud
4.84/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Received in a trade almost 6 years ago. 2011 Vintage from the monastery (not part of the 'brick' series).

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a nice deep, rick mahogany/garnet hue with a nice thin thin off white head that fades to leave light thin blanket but a nice creamy halo. Nice lacing.

S - Aromas of dark fruits, plums, raisins, figs. Nice yeast notes, like soaked bread. Super super faint black cherry pit aroma. Nice light caramel. The belgian yeast notes are a little spicy/warming as well. Very aromatic.

T - Taste is similar to the nose, loads of dark fruit. Big raisins and plums, light fig. Lots of leather. Definitely tastes 'aged'. Great caramel and belgian yeast going on. Honestly this is just picture perfect for what I want in a Quad. Zero discernible alcohol as well.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, not cloy, and the alcohol is hidden very nicely.

O - Overall this was a very very well done Quad. This is drinking absolutely wonderfully right now, really happy I drank this now and was able to enjoy it but sad that it is my one and only vintage bottle. Just excellent. There's a reason why cars used to line up in droves at the monastery gates to get Westy all those years ago.

Serving Type: Bottle

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Photo of mentor
4.94/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Super huge thanks to Prufrock for the opportunity to try this one. Poured a third of the bottle to get three fingers of dark tan head over a gorgeous clear red red-brown liquid. Smells musty, yeasty, banana, pineapple, lightly anise and plum, hint of alcohol. Smells a little bit like some indoor public swimming pools. Dried hay, vanilla, flatly of raisins, some brown sugar. Not to the nose, but wafting up from the glass I get belgian candi-sugar.

Tastes, hmmm...chocolate with oodles more flavors and the beer develops into a rich deep wet chocolate like premium cake. Whoa, man, this beer is so damned tasty I'm having a hard time picking out flavors. So many, so rich vibrant, so complex, and well balanced. It's perposterous that something can taste this wonderful. Light fruity esters tamed by darker dry brooding malts. Alcohol sting is clean and mild and comes across as peppery. Phenolic funk is on the stage singing, but is just a voice in the choir. Brown sugar, some candi-sugar, amaretto, nutty. Vanilla keeps the dry finish in check. All this time I've been comtemplating a flavor that I couldn't put my finger on. But now I think I got it. Blueberry raisin bagel from a high quality bakery. Not a bite out of the bagel, but like you've scraped the soft dough out and are sucking on a piece of the toasty crust. Deliciously flavorful with a mild sweet seeping out as the amylases in your mouth break down the bread. Near the end of the glass the dry finish is becoming a bit woody. One more of these beers would likely be enough.

For a long time I've been wanting to review this beer so I could criticise 'the masses' for buying into all the hype. But I must say, this is the most amazing beer I've ever tasted in my life. Perhaps the most enjoyable treat of any sort I've ever tasted in my life. Too bad about the large head, this beer had a perfect score locked up for sure. Md-thick mouthfeel and modest carbonation. Creamy smooth body. I could drink this stuff forever.

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Photo of T00ms
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

God's gift to beer fans. The best of the best in my favorite style.

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Photo of BeersRock
4.9/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoying the last of about 120 bottles I've been working my way through over the last two years. Most of the last forty bottles have a rising head as soon as I open the bottle and strong carbonation that often causes an immediate overflow and requires me to start the pour as soon as possible. There is a sense of freshness that reminds me of the freshest baguettes from the best Parisian boulangerie. At first I didn't like how carbonated it was but I quickly realized I could simply wait for the level of carbonation I felt like that day. Flavor is, for me, just a tad too bitter. At first this kept leaving me a bit disappointed. Now I love it. Head is epic. Like beaten egg whites. I almost tried shaving with it. The lacing on the sides of the glass and on the top of the beer, drunk from the classic or the more recent glasses from the brewery, is absolutely perfect. I used to photograph it because it really is gorgeous and unique. It is luxurious and generous and the bubbles are tiny holes in whipped-cream textured sheets that cling to the sides of the glass and really are a pleasure to look at as I continue. The flavor is honey, fig, nutmeg, dark fruits, berries, a bit of pineapple, dried fruits in a trail mix, fresh, rich crust from the best European bread, and a bitter undertone that must be the hops but the integration of these flavors is a marvel that provides the kind of taste odyssey that matches the experience of the finest high-end wines. From small sips savored in discrete moments or actually drinking, even gulps - I've been drawn to try consuming it in every way and each has its charms. in the layered variation that is a meditative experience I have come to value beyond any normal beer. It is a fuller experience than I can really relate in words. It occupies my attention on multiple levels in a way that has a value I can't quite articulate as a celebration or a comfort or a wake-up call that changes each time I pour one of these marvels. The texture is on the viscous side, just enough to coat my mouth with a nuanced, ever-changing percolation of flavors that take over my attention and my mouth that is better than any other beer I've ever had. It's chewy; I actually found myself chewing at it at first because it's so complete. This beer absolutely screams quality in every mouthful. The smell alone has occupied my attention through entire bottles. Actually, that's the thing about this beer - I have enjoyed bottles where I found myself focusing on the taste, or the texture, or the lacing and the head, or the lovely warming intoxication and in none of those areas, no matter how much I focused on it, did I find any level of disappointment. With many things in life, if you focus on them too much there is repetitiveness and limitation. Pick any food you thought you loved and eat it every day. Inevitably something about it eventually predominates that leaves disappointment. Not with this beer. It is more than a beer. Seriously - it is an experience in itself that concentrates my focus in a way that transports me from the normal experience of life. I would put this on the level of a trip to the best museum, the highest-level artist of whatever music you love, or the best book or movie. It really is all that. The alcohol is perfectly integrated and brings a heart-lifting warmth that penetrates the taste buds and - ok, laugh at me if you will - the soul and the heart. As I drink this last bottle, not knowing if I can manage to get any more right now, I am moved by the pure quality and the sense of integrity in every mouthful. This truly is everything I ever heard people say it was and I am finally willing to say that it is the best beer experience I have ever had, bar none.

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Photo of stcules
4.97/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beer tasted in a parallel comparison with Rochefort 10.
The colour is the same dark brown (monk's habit). The head is huge, tan, with persistent lace on the glass. The smell is more wide and variegated, with point of floral well delineated. White grape. The taste is delicate, creamy, velveted and soft, with continuity in the sweet. Finish more bitter, but not too bitter. The body is full, round, persistent and durable, for a very long time. The aftertaste is also persistent.
Can I have another one?
"Gianni, sono ottimista!"

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Photo of Fotonut
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love this beer. i drive to the brewery/monastery every chance I get to drink and pick up a few. Unfortunately that's like once a year or two. Last time I was there I was talking with an older gentleman who said he lived close by. As we were talking, a large fly dove into his 12. He calmly took the fly out with a spoon, let it dry on the table, and continued to enjoy the beer --- "Can't let it go to waste." Even the fly eventually shook itself off and flew away...

This beer is hard to get. You can get it only at the monastery, and even then you have to make reservations ahead of time. But even if you don't have a reservation, go by and have some at the cafe next to the monastery. If you're lucky, you can pick up a gift pack with a few bottles of 12 or sometimes even a six pack in the small shop.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
4.29/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from the cellar, marked 27-03-15. Dark reddish root beer brown with five fingers of sudsy beige foam. Rich sweet nose: Milk chocolate, sultanas, rum toffee, faint clove, banana chips, strawberry, subdued grassy hops. The aroma does live up to the hype. And the taste? I do understand the comparisons with St. Bernardus Abt 12 (allegedly these beers are the same recipe, different yeast strain). A supremely well-integrated combination of toffee/candy sugar, carob, molasses, cooked fruit (pears and mixed berries), clove-like phenols, licorice, grapes, root beer extract, ginger, plum liquor ... Heady alcohol bloom is the icing on the cake. Although the initial sips are sharply medicinal and boozy, the beer mellows in the glass and on the palate such that the great nuances shine though. Curiously dry and "drinkable" with a lighter than expected body and rather prickly mouthfeel. Some floral hops poke out in the otherwise cacao-like malty finish. Red berry and currant flavors are lingering long after my glass is empty. "Best beer in the world" is not a debate that can ever truly be resolved but this is certainly worthy of the accolades bestowed. Maybe the rarity factor used to play a role here ... With improved availability will the hype wither a bit? Not sure it matters. Worthy of its place in the Trappist pantheon.

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Photo of Footballtennishockeygolf
5/5  rDev +8.7%

In order to properly rate this beer, one must also consider the journey that is required to enjoy this brew at its home in Westvleteren, Belgium. The fruity, complex taste is complemented by the atmosphere of enjoying this in the hop fields of western Belgium. I highly recommend taking the trip to Westvleteren in order to enjoy one of the best beers that I have ever had the privilege of tasting. It is truly a pilgrimage that should be taken by every serious beer lover.

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Beer rating: 4.6 out of 5 with 6,433 ratings
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