Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
1,828 Reviews
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
(Yellow Cap)

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,828 | Ratings: 6,130
Photo of Spica66
4.42/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got this one from megriggs, serving our country while stationed in Germany. Thank you very much, Megan!

Consumed on my 44th birthday with Father Ian on my deck at Vintage Hills.

Date on the cap is 25.04.13.

Poured from the bottle into tulip glasses. Started at 51 degrees and ended at 54 degrees.

A: Murky dark brown. I gave a very careful pour to avoid stirring up too much yeast. Tiny, tiny carbonation bubbles formed a one-finger head that dissipated quickly to a thin head that stays on top of the beer and leaves some lacing when drinking. There is still a significant amount of floating material (yeast, I suppose), but it does not detract from the look of the beer.

S: At first, there was virtually no smell from it at all. As soon as it warmed up a few degrees, the nose came to life with caramel and fresh fruit aromas. I really enjoyed just breathing it in deeply.

T: Here I was slightly disappointed. The beer tasted good. There was nothing "off" in the taste- no funkiness at all. There also was not a whole lot going on. Fresh and slightly fruity was all I could get myself convinced of. No specific notes like raisins or those types of things. I have a feeling that this beer was very freshly made and might get some of the more pronounced flavors with some age on it.

M: How in the hell does this beer hide 10.2% alcohol the way it does? The beer has an incredible, creamy mouthfeel and the carbonation is perfect.

D: I am sorry that I was only able to obtain one bottle, because when I took a break from sniffing it, I drank it down way too quickly.

Overall, this was a very good beer, but I hope maybe someday I will be able to obtain a bottle with some age on it to enjoy more pronounced flavors an aromas.

 1,735 characters

Photo of tjkinate
4.42/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not my favorite style, but damn tasty non the less.

A: Single finger head, decent retention, creamy off-white color settling to a thin white film. The body itself is deep rusty colored brew that is partly cloudy, but still allowed you to see bubble rising to the top.

S: Cherries, grain, dark fruits, belgian yeat, green apples and other tart notes. High ABV was surprisingly not detectable.

T: Did a side by side with Rochefort 10 and Abt 12. I found the Westy to be the winner due to its subtle richness and high level of drinkability. I detected hints of cherry, but much more in the grain and dark fruit department.

M: Moderate carbonation, medium bodied.

O: Pretty damn good.

 686 characters

Photo of Dunkle
4.42/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2 year old bottle poured into a snifter.

It pours a nice cloudy dark brown with a small sized head. Smells great (and complex). I sensed some dark fruits, and a hint of caramel and sugar.

The taste is exceptionally complex. Each sip was different. It tasted of yeast, candied sugar, and dark fruits (think figs and raisins). Although the alcohol was hidden well in some sips, it was not hidden at all in others. The mouthfeel was pleasant and smooth, though a tad thinner than I excpected.

Overall, this is a fantastic brew, although overrated. It is on the same level as St. Bernardus and Rochefort, and I would actually prefer St. Bernardus.

 647 characters

Photo of donkeyrunner
4.41/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

We've been waiting for something big to warrant popping our Westy. The defeat of DOMA seemed like a great occasion.

Giant runaway head settles into a sticky, fingers width blanket of retention. Eggplant color when held to light.

Not as aromatic as I was anticipating. In fairness the smell has a hefty head to break through. Deep, dark merlot - very wine-y and nutty, coppery earth, dark fruit and dandelion.

Very effervescent at first the bubbles quickly calm down and give way to a plush, pillow mouthfeel. There's plenty of flavor here to pick out, some things I found: red wine, brownie batter, bitter backer's chocolate, toffee, earth and soil and even some birch beer. Still packs some heat.

So, so complex and layered. As it sits more flavors emerge and the complexity evolves. Like an evolutionary organism right in my glass.

 837 characters

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.41/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ever meet one of those beer geeks that will wait in line for a limited release of something? That was me last week at Top Hops in New York. When I heard this was coming out, I wanted to finally give it a go and see what all the fuss was about. Seeing that I'm not getting to Belgium anytime soon, I figured this would be my only chance to ever have a review this. It was really cold and and I waited a while but thankfully, it was worth the effort I put into getting my hands on this. Whether it's the best beer on the planet is another question, but it's one that I don't mind attempting to answer!

I thought the pour to this was amazing, with a nice raisin hue, ruby edges, and a head that would rival that of any root beer float. The aroma was the weakest aspect of this beer as it was quite strong with currant and raisin, but not as overpowering as I expected it to be. Thankfully, the lacing was present on my pint glass and the mouthfeel was about as full and balanced as any Belgian beer I've ever had. The alcohol up front gave way to an increasing amount of dark fruit, sugar, apple, and molasses with the booze sticking around in the aftertaste. The back reminded me of amaretto and finished just as clean as a cordial. It almost reminded me of mead because of how smooth and silky this was while having a strong fermented taste and strong alcoholic characteristic to this, while having a natural sweetness.

This was strong and very aggressive but never did the alcohol drown out all of the flavors and nuances that this had to offer. While I don't regret waiting for hours in the freezing cold to get my hands on a "brick" of this, it fell just a hair short of all the hype given to this. Most of that had to do with the unavailability of this beer in North America but there's no doubt that I don't regret a minute of the wait or cost of this beer. It's not #1 in my book but with so many offerings available these days, this easily beats out 99% of what's on the shelf or on tap at the local brewery or brewpub. This was fabulous from start to finish and I don't care what the extra bottles I have would fetch via a trade - they're either going into my stomach or to people that I deeply care about. Great beers like this do not deserve to be pimped out, but savored for the good times around good people. Anything less would be a disservice.

 2,358 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A viscous pour, mohogany brown color with the unfiltered approach let's the light through but very cloudy nice creamy textured head very small bubbles gives the silky appearance. Lacing forms in nice bands the typical belgian style lacing going down, overall great appearance. Aroma: A blissful mixture of different scents, this beer serves up a great spiced tone, then a warming sweet dough character, blended with raisins and alcohol. The vinous tone is the hallmark characteristic the one that stands out just a great experience even if it costs 10 to 12 dollars a bottle. Taste: Alcohol is warming and blends with a shortbread cookie and overly ripened fruit quality, cloves and spices are evident as well this beer is good stuff very complex. Mouthfeel: Full bodied soft silky carbonation coats the palate with a pleasant sensation. Drinkability: Massive amounts of flavor and complex aroma equals a satisfying drinking session this beer doesn't mess around very big, and unique all on it's own. Can't say their anything that compares besides the St. Bernadus Abt.

 1,081 characters

Photo of mentaltraveller
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful dark brown. It smells of sweet fruit, rum, sugar, and malts. The taste is very sweet and complex, with a good deal of alcohol. There is a nice warming mouthfeel from the alcohol, and medium carbonation. I preferred Westvleteren 8, but this was still amazing. I think perhaps this one would have benefited from a bit more aging.

 345 characters

Photo of djeffbee
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A big thank you to Mike from Quotations who GAVE us a bottle to ush in the New Year.... 2009 edition.

Shared with some of my lifelong friends in goblets...

A - handsome deep ruby, clear until the bottle became slighlty disturbed which led to some magical yeasty chunks. No head, thick, no lacing. (new sample had a monster head with heavy lacing)

S - caramel, raisiny, figs, slightly winey yet sweet (new sample - not winey)

T - sweet caramel, slight winey sour - just like the aroma. In my mind I was trying to compare this against a Rochefort 10 or SB12, but this was way different. (new sample did not have any sourness)

M - smooth, syrupy, low carbonation, but left a tingling on my tongue.

D - wish I could have more, will call this drinkable, availability is a slight problem, but very drinkable.

I was very excited to share this with my bests... Great beer - yes, best in the world - no, at least not this sample. Would like to assess this further with more samples.

UPDATE: Freshie from Belgium (thanks Riggsy), and much, much better. The mouthfeel, much much more in the line of what was expected!

Forgive spelling/grammar - from my iPhone.

 1,160 characters

Photo of mechamifune
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice mahogany brown with a fluffy off white head. Very obviously well carbonated. Looks thinner than I thought it would as it pours out of the bottle. Nice looking beer.

Smell is a little bit of alcohol up front, followed by some sweetness and dark fruit. No real hop presence. Smell is pleasant but not an overwhelming or out of the ordinary smell for the style.

Taste is dark fruit up front, followed by brown sugar and then a slight lingering tartness. Not much of any ligering aftertaste, no real bitterness. Drinks a little hot as it warms up. A very pleasant flavor profile with no one note really overpowering.

Mouthfeel is probably the best i've had in this style. Full carbonation but not foamy. Very smooth and easy to drink despite the large flavor profile. Still a sipper for sure, but it never becomes harsh.

Hard to grade this beer impartially given all the anticipation and the amount of time it spent at the top of the top beers list. For the style, this is marginally the best example i've had. For me, though, it doesn't transcend the style or make me think of quads any differently than I did beforehand. It is worth seeking out if you can get it and are a fan of the style in general. For the price point though, i'd rather buy rochefort going forward, even if I prefer this by a slight margin.

 1,326 characters

Photo of Wanne
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Dark brown color with a beige head. Aroma of dark fruit and spices. Taste is a mix of dark fruit, chocolate, spices and caramel. The alcohol is also present in the taste and enriches it. Very good beer, but the Rochefort 10 is slightly better in my opinion.

 257 characters

Photo of IPA1978
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer is damn interesting, when cold it has dark raisiny smell and taste then as it warms it starts to smell exactly like grape Kool-aid! and the flavour deepens to a phenolic warm boozy quad! Epic beer but....... not sure its the best.

8/7/16 - Sampled with a rochefort 10 and these two are the king of quads. Westy is more subtle and complex as it warms. As the roch flavors are a tad more intense upfront but doesn't quite have the finesse as westy.

 465 characters

Photo of DenisKolkin
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed November 29, 2013. This review is from notes made that day. As a present for passing my final accounting exam, my mom took me out for lunch and purchased a beer (any beer) of my choosing. With the knowledge that this location actually had Westy 12, I decided the time was right.

Unfortunately served quite cold into a dainty Westvleteren glass. I waited at least 20 minutes before sipping on it, but i'm not 100% sure that was enough time.

Appearance - Hazy dark brown color, with some reddish / purple hues. Not much in the way of head, but looks rich and inviting. Tons of bits of sediment dispersed throughout the glass.

Smell - a deep inhale yielded tons of funky Belgian yeasts and some bready notes. As the beer warmed there was some butterscotch and caramel with quite a few hints of other aromas that my nose was unable to identify. Smells delicious especially as the beer warms.

Taste - Very complex, some bitterness from a deep earthy taste but also some sweetness from dark fruits and especially figs. Spiciness comes out a bit more as the beer warms and the butterscotch and caramel do too. There is bready flavors throughout. Quite delicious, but this is a beer that really does need to be served rather warm. (12-18 degrees Celsius).

Mouthfeel - Rather crazy carbonation throughout, tons of tiny bubbles fizzing over your tongue. Some mild boozy heat in the back of the throat. You realize the alcohol is there, but it is blended very smoothly into the taste and the mouthfeel that it doesn't really occur to you that its over 10%.

Overall - Slightly disappointing, as I've heard so much hype of this being at least on par with and better in some people's eye with St Bernadus Abt 12 and Rochefort 10, two of my absolute favorite beers. Clearly a world class beer that was immensely enjoyable, but a beer that really needs to be served at the correct temperature, since so much of its aromas and flavors are released at higher temperatures even compared with the other two aforementioned quads. Really glad I tried it, but probably won't seek another until there's another momentous event in life.

 2,126 characters

Photo of coloradorios
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A buddy of mine from Netherlands and I shared this gem. We chilled it for approximately 15 minutes and drank it very slow to enjoy it. Amazing beer. Wish I could find it in Houston.

 182 characters

Photo of Naugros
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This will be my 200th review and I wanted to have a special beer for that milestone. My wife delivered that to me for our anniversary by getting her hands on a couple of bottles of Westvleteren 12. Perfect!

I kept putting the instant read thermometer to the side of the bottle to ensure that I was drinking this beer at the recommended temperature.

I poured the beer and took a photo of the bottle and bottle cap next to the Westvleteren chalice that my wife got me to go with the beer. The color of the beer appeared almost purple but on closer inspection it is a deep, ruddy brown that is mostly opaque. The head, the color of toasted marshmallow, rises quickly and thick (more than 2") and had enough structure to exceed the bounds of the edge of the glass by a good 1/2". I dared not go further than that in fear of spilling even one drop of this difficult-to-procure elixir. The head did fall down into a dense, sudsy surface coating with a thick ring that left sheets of foamy lace.

One smell and I realized that I have smelled better. Figs and brown sugar matched with an alcohol warmth greet the nose without overpowering it. Tropical fruit esters are thrown off and are backed up by a barely perceptible sense of black pepper.

I really expected a lot more bold flavors and an orgasmic or, more appropriate, religious experience, but it does not live up to the hype. I suspect the scarcity of this brew and its reputation have driven many of the previous reviews. Don't get me wrong, it's delicious but it's not the be-all, end-all of beer. Cocoa, brown sugar and figs represent for the malts and are in perfect balance with the tropical fruit esters put off by the yeast. Alcohol is well-masked, but is not entirely mitigated, leaving a sense of dark rum laced with one mini-pinch of black pepper. All the flavors work very well together and is the strength of this beer.

The mouthfeel is silky smooth and surprisingly light with just enough bite to express itself nicely without overpowering the palate. This is one wonderful, wonderful, wonderful beer. I would really love to put down quite a few more of these but that is cost-prohibitive due to the efforts needed to obtain a bottle. Due to the ABV it is also equilibrium-prohibitive.

Overall this is one amazing quad, but Rochefort 10 does compare favorably as do a few other quads and Belgian strong darks. It earns its reputation as the "Holy Grail of Beer" by the means needed to get a taste of it but once it has been tasted your efforts could be better used for more reasonable endeavors. I am so happy to have had it though and now need to decide when and where to open the second bottle.

 2,668 characters

Photo of HopHead84
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


1996 vintage.

The beer appears deep burgundy tinged brown with a large frothy beige head. The aroma displays a complex and complimentary sherry-like oxidation quality. This aged iteration is reminiscent of a fine port, with notes of ripe plum and prominent cherries. It's somewhat nutty, with an effusion of caramel, dates, and prunes. The flavor is rich and malty with sherry oxidation and a touch of cardboard, just a touch. Notes of ripe cherries accompany dates, prunes, and a strong caramel profile. The beer is highly carbonated with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel and noticeable alcohol warming. A rare aged treat, thanks!

 640 characters

Photo of strohme2
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

What a treat to try. Thanks to a true Beer Advocate for the chance. Admittedly, I'm not a fan of this style. Served at cellar temp. Murky brown with a big, tan, soapy head. Rye bread, figs, raisins. Superb. Didn't want it to end. Didn't think I'd like it as much as I did.

 279 characters

Photo of GatorBeer
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to brbander for hooking it up!

Split a bottle into a Bruery tulip.

A: Light head that cascades down as the beer is poured. An inviting creamy brown color of the body sucks you in.

S: I'll say this word a lot, but the smell is full. It occupies the nose completely with dark, complex fruits. The smell is rich enough that it is almost filling. Some warm bready notes come through as well.

T: The liquid seems to expand as it hits the tongue and the taste follows full and hard. It's a delicious, complex taste that brings memories of an earthy, warm dark setting. Maybe it's just my imagination or the power of persuasion, and I'm not sure this makes sense but I feel like this beer taste like what I imagine a monestary in Belgium to look like. Figs and dark, sweet fruits are very prominent.

M: I mentioned the mouthfeel above but it demands a second mention. I feel that the mouthfeel really puts this beer over the top. It's a light carbonation that explodes and expands as it moves through my mouth. A unique and wonderful experience.

O: I must profess that I'm not a Belgian style lover. I'm not sure if I let the hype get to me or I feel like I need to like this beer because it was expensive, but I really enjoyed this. If I was able to have access to this regularly, it would be a staple in my fridge and I'd be a Belgian beer fan for sure. Worthy of the acclaim that it gets.

 1,397 characters

Photo of elgiacomo
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottled Feb 10, 2012. XII version from the US gift set. Served at cellar temperature. Enjoyed on Christmas Day 2012.

Pours clear dark brown with red highlights and an active one finger light tan head that recedes to a small cap, but doesn’t leave much lacing. (not much room for lacing in the tiny Westy XII glass included with the set).

Aroma is dark fruits, cherries, alcohol, belgian yeast, bread, brown sugar, red wine characteristics. Good to very good strength. This glass isn’t very good for capturing aromas...will try second half pour in a snifter or tulip.

Flavor is big overripe dark fruits, cherries, figs, plums, belgian yeast, rich bread, toward the finish some chocolate notes come up and more really dark fruits such as raisins, dates and figs, brown sugar. Some alcohol burn in the middle and finish, but not too bad. Moderate sweetness. Extremely complex.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, sharp, fizzy carbonation, somewhat sticky. As it warms to room temp the mouthfeel completely changes, much more full bodied, super creamy, soft carbonation, wonderful.

My Christmas treat! This has always been way high on my wants, but never had much chance to try this...heard about the gift sets coming to the US and even then it was dicey whether I could procure one...lucked out and so glad I did! Truly enjoyable beer, worth the price...gonna cellar one bottle and spread the rest out to some friends.

 1,423 characters

Photo of Jeffo
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Got this at De Bierkoning in Amsterdam.

From a bottle into a chalice.

Note: Part of the Quad Showdown, including Rochefort 10, St. Bernardus 12, and Westvleteren 12, in that order.

Note II: Bottle says best before 2011, which means this bottle is about a year old.

APPEARANCE: Pours a two finger, medium looking tan head that quickly fades to a thin film leaving some clingy lacing down the sides. Colour is sepia or raw umber brown, slightly clearer than average, with medium levels of carbonation evident. A bit of a film remains until the end and leaves some lacing down the glass. Pretty quad for sure.

SMELL: A very nice, but mild nose. Carmel malt up front with toffee and lost of dark fruits as well. Raisins and plumbs are prominent, as well as some nice spicy elements, such as cloves and coriander. Needs to be a little bolder bring it over the hump.

TASTE: Ok, this part really is exceptional. Caramel malt, toffee, with lots of dark fruits again. Like the nose, raisins, plumbs and grapes come out well. Some spicy qualities, cloves for sure, and some spicy alcohol at the end. A nice dose of Belgian yeast provides the foundation for it all. The aftertaste is sweet and spicy with hints of alcohol, and is mild and long lasting. Much more complex and interesting than the nose had indicated. Very nice job here. One of the best in the category.

PALATE: Medium-thin body with higher end carbonation, means you get quite a bit of air on the swallow. Creamy on the palate, goes down smooth with no bite at all, which is surprising for the ABV. Finishes slightly sticky on the palate. Decent, but a bit too thin and airy for my tastes.

OVERALL: A very tasty quad, no doubt, but the look wasn't all that spectacular and the feel definitely held it back some. A little too thin and airy, a thicker more robust palate would bring it over the hump and set it apart from the masses for sure. Unlike their dubbel, which is world-class to say the least, and despite the superb taste profile, this one doesn't quite live up to the hype. In the Quad Showdown, it's a toss-up between this and the St. Bernardus, while both are well behind the superior Rochefort 10.

 2,179 characters

Photo of zoolzoo
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle dated "16.06.13". 2010 vintage, I believe.

A: Pours chestnut, a large khaki head quickly develops.

S: The aroma good yet not incredibly complex. Hearty bread, and a ton of "dark fruit". Im going to call it raisin bread....Also getting hints of candi sugar, yeasty under tones, and a touch of alcohol. Dark, yet sweet.

T: Dark fruit is the biggest player here by far. Dark cherry, figs, raisin are all well pronounced. Candi sugar and spice really shows in the finish, pleasantly sweet. Tons of flavor here, yet somehow so delicate. Theres lots to discover as the glass warms.

M: Bubbly, medium all around. Expressive, silky smooth.

D: Alcohol heat is barely discernible except in some pleasant warming. This is something to savor yet nothing about this beer would stop me from sucking it down if I wanted to. All things considered, drinkability is great.

Masterfully crafted, oh and uh...better than Rochefort 10!

 930 characters

Photo of oggg
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled in a wine glass, poured from a 11.2oz bottle.

The beer pours an orangey dark brown color that reflects a garnet red in the light. The head is large and slightly off white. Creamy looking and retains well. Leaves an inconsistent lacing on the glass. I served it a little cold, but I could still make out a spicy apple cidery smell, lots of apple, hints of banana, currants?

The flavors come on in waves. There is no hop bite but rather a mild to moderate bitterness with none of that Pale Ale floral character... fades to a dry finish. Quite smooth. Reminds me of cognac. I get sweet malt and caramel -- ah I'm getting the sugar now. There's licorice and spiciness and something else I can't describe. It's full bodied and rich and darn smooth. The finish is dry but you still have the taste of complex fruit in your mouth. The alcohol moves in with gradual warmth. I sip it over and over and it remains a complex mystery to me. I must have more and more. It makes me hungry though I just finished lunch. I have some special Chinese duck that has been cooked with soy sauce and spices (five spice?) and they go together perfectly. Finally at the end my head is spinning with the alcohol. This would've kicked ass in the middle of my lunch. I can see why BAs love this beer. I'm glad I bought an extra bottle!

 1,322 characters

Photo of aleigator
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%

Has a giant beige head, while being brown-black color.

Burned malts, plums, chocolate, hints of bread and hazelnut define the aromas.

Rich roasted, earthy malts, plums, walnuts and hazelnuts, hints of chocolate, very complex beer. Malts turn sweeter, in a honeyed fashion, supported by chocolate and wood. Fitting carbonation helps the body from becoming too heavy - adds refreshment. Full-bodied, complex beer, pleasantly sweet with a unique character, turning into an earthy direction with hints of chocolate in it. Very smooth mouthfeel, a little oily. Warm, slightly bitter, coffeeish finish.

 600 characters

Photo of devilben02
4.39/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasting the legend at last. The beer out of the unassuming bottle is likewise humble in appearance, being generally raisin-colored and surprisingly not overly dark, but there is an inviting, creamy head that quietly disappears to a thin cap that lasts for the duration.

The aroma is truly unique and alluring. Initial scents of fresh, juicy grapes turn to raisins, prunes, and yeast that are more expected for the style. The flavor is likewise interesting and complex, albeit restrained, with a subtle combination of plums, raisins, brown sugar, and surely plenty of other components that I can't identify individually but muddle together to create the delicate, dry, fruity sweetness that seems to change in small ways with every sip. The specific characteristics within this pleasant jumble of flavors are further concealed by the super-fine carbonation, which gives the beer a texture that is energetic at first, but creamier after a few minutes.

The one big knock I have against this beer is the alcohol presence. For as hyped as this beer is, I found it to be boozier than I was expecting (contrary to what many others have commented). This booziness would be more understandable if the flavors were more potent, but then again it seems that this beer is meant to tantalize the taste buds rather than punish them. I can only imagine that if I had been more patient and given the alcohol heat some more time in the "cellar" to calm, allowing the subtlety of the flavors to truly shine, I would have seen this beer as the world-class stuff it is known to be. As it stands, however, it is still a unique, complex, enjoyable beer that suffers a bit from its potency.

 1,669 characters

Photo of Duff27
4.39/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage

A- One inch off-white head recedes quickly to a cap and thick collar throughout. Deep ruby red body color with light purple hues around the edges. Splotchy lacing.

S- Major raisins, prunes, grapes, dark fruits aplenty. Slight hint of oxidation but it works well with the Westy 12.

T- More with the raisins but finishes with a taste of cherries. Well balanced hop profile to malts but yeast dominates as it should. Dangerously drinkable for 10.2%abv.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Medium-low carbonation fits great to the overall profile of the beer.

D/O- The Westvleteren XII excels in every aspect of it's attributes. A complete beer if their ever was such a thing. Highly recommended for any Belgian beer fan. A thank you to digita7693 many moons ago for the LIF send out. Happy college graduation to me :)

 818 characters

Photo of OlieIPA
4.39/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally decided to open this bad boy up on a day in which I was brewing with my good friend Mike. Poured and shared from a 12 oz. bottle (or close to it) in a Bruery tulip glass.

A: This brew exhibited an overall dark brown hue with lit edges piercing around all sides of the glassware. The head was decent in the beginning, but didn't avail towards the end. The same thing can be said about the lacing as well.

S: Licorice, dark fig, raisin, green apple, both light and dark grapes, tree bark, booze, and brown sugar. A multifaceted beer aroma to say the least and probably the most complex for any Quad I've run into yet.

T: Light brown sugar or dark fruit sweetness, caramel, candied sugar, wood, and raisin are most of the flavors that my palate could distinguish and pick up. Again, there's a lot going on in both the smell and taste and feel like I'm missing out on tons of minute flavors. The only criticism I have is the over-the- top harsh finish.

M: Mild carbonation, slightly drying, and the sugary malts seem to cling to mouth long enough bring out some sort weird sweet bitterness.

D: A perfect fall/winter brew that is somewhat easy to drink and full of complex flavors; extremely impressed. I'm not sure if I could have more than a bottle, but again...wouldn't complain if someone shoved another glass of this right in front of me.

Overall: #1 in the world? In my opinion...no, but I can definitely see why this beer is enjoyed by so many people. I've had the pleasure of drinking this mighty fine brew and hope one day I can enjoy it again. Cheers!

 1,575 characters

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.61 out of 5 based on 6,130 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!