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

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1,832 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

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Reviews: 1,832 | Ratings: 6,159
Photo of philbe311
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Majors thanks for Rfgetz for sharing a bottle with me... I've been saving this one for a special occasion and the birth of my latest child qualifies... This one is for Andrew Michael, born on May 20, 2012...

Cap Code - 16.06.13

A - Slightly more than finger's worth of rich creamy velvety light cream colored froth with a couple of medium sized bubble mixed in for good measure... There is a bit of an audible fizz... Modest retention gives way to a full lacing of identical characteristics... Lightly carbonated with a few small streaks of rapid paced carbonation seen within.. The color is a medium to dark brown that lets bits of light in at angles... The delicate lacing clings to the sides of the glass...

S - Wonderfully sweet aroma... Loads of dark fruit are at the forefront... Raisins... Dates... Fig... Plums... Brown sugar... Molasses... Light toffee notes... Some light dark bread undertones... A bit of Belgian yeast and booze lie further beneath the surface... Complex and completely satisfying...

T - The expected dark fruits lead the charge... Riasins... Plums... Figs... Dates... Then comes the additional malt sweetness... Caramel... Toffee... Brown sugar... Molassess... Then emerges light of tobacco... A bit of eye heat and booziness on the finish that is potent, but never overwhelming... On the very deep finish are some very very light peppery notes which are a bit surprisingly, but compliment this brew wonderfully... Layers and richness and complexity...

M - In the lighter side of full bodied... Uber lush... Uber rich... Uber creamy... Surprisingly light... Starts sharp with a touch of dryness... The finish is ever so slightly chalky yet saliva producing... An excellent and complex mouthfeel that delights with each sip...

D - This one lives up to the hype... After 974reviews, I have finally found the elusive perfect 5... This one exceeds lofty expectations in all categories... So tasty and satisfying, it's hard not to gulp this one down... A truly satisfying and enriching reward for any BA who has the honor of putting their lips to this fine offering... Complex and completely satisfying in all facets... Now if I could only get another bottle...

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

So I have had this special brew on several occasions but never done a proper review. This beer is so well worth all the hype. Thie style used to hold many of the top spots in BA's top spots but have slipped a bit in recent years. Much of the slide of this brew can be attributed to the release of the castle box that made it to the U.S. Big IPA's and barrel aged stouts be damned, this beer is the pinnacle of perfection for the style. So much balance and complexity that is almost to much for a novice palate to appritiate. This may be a reason for the slip in ratings. Spicy and layered wonderful sweetness in terms of flavor. Let this warm to closer to room temperature before you enjoy.

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

A Christmas present from my daughter who is spending a year near Amsterdam. She made the trek, made the calls for an appointment, took the trains and got a few rides....There is no way that I thought this beer could ever live up to its hype. (A group of us just got back from a vacation to Belgium and we could not get this beer anywhere.)

It lived up to its hype!

A plain brown bottle with only the cap signifying that you have a Westvleteren 12 in your grasp. On the cap in computer print is 22.11.09...it was just a month from being picked up at the brewery. The beer pours into my official "Trappist Westvleteren" tulip glass (also part of the present) a burnt amber with an offwhite head that lasts a good while before disappearing into persistent lace.

The aroma is a delicious combination, perfectly balancing sweet malts and dark fruits. There is raisin, some plum, backed by caramel and light toffee.

The flavor is just amazing. Again, the perfect balance of malt, dark/dried fruits with a hint of alcohol. A little taste of brown sugar, fresh plum, dried cherry, and the slightest hop presence to wrap everything together. The aftertaste stays with you, making you not want to eat or drink anything else to help you savor this beer.

Medium body, velvety smooth, and a nice alcohol warmth.

This beer is close to perfect. It's freshness no doubt really helps the intangibles come out, but I happen to have another couple of bottles that I plan to stash away to try later. The smoothness and balance are so hard for any other beer to capture, and this beer does that impecibly. What a great Christmas present!!

edit: OK...I did find the date and put it in my review. I put the rest of my bottles away to cellar, taking out for special occasions. I hope a few last a year or so. Fresh it's, well, exceptional.

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Photo of tenaciousp65
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

i am fortunate enough to be studying in london this fall and was even more fortunate that my dad wanted to visit and see belgium and him and his friend were willing to drive to the middle of nowhere to try a beer they had never heard about. As i walked into In Dre verde my whole body was shaking with anticipation and i must say the 12 didn't let down. It was poured into the Westvleteren glass and it looked so elegant. It had a perfect one and half inch head right up to the lip. And from the first sip i could tell what an amazing beer it was. Just like the other Westys it has a full and I mean FULL body and right away you can taste 4 or 5 different flavors coming through. What most impressed me was the smoothness. From start to finish it was incredibly consistent. After all of my hyping my father and friend were also very impressed and could see why we made the trip. Can't wait to try another bottle of this when i get home

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

A: Pours a watery brown with a think white head that quickly fades. All thats left after a few minutes is a ring around the beer.

S: The beer is pretty calm. I am picking up some dark fruit, like figs or raisins. Maybe I am crazy, but I also get a bit of banana in there.

T: Now this is where the beer deserves to be considered the greatest beer in the world. There is a nice amount of dark fruit with some malt and a good amount of sweetness. I am also getting a tiny bit of banana. Really tastes more like a 4% beer and not 10.2%.

M: This is the perfect mouthfeel to me. It is so smooth and easy to drink. There is a tiny amount of crispness that tingles the tongue, but other than that it goes down like water. Cant ask for anything better.

O: If I could give this beer a 6 out of 5 I would. It just doesn't get much better than this and I wish it was easier to find, but I cant complain too much because I was lucky to get one thanks to my wife. Just amazing!

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

okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!!okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okey!!! okeyЭТО Россизм!!! ПОчему я УВАЖАЕМЫЙ ЧЕЛОВЕК, должен тыкать 250 раз....

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

Last of the birthday brews. 12/22
Pours out a very nice dark coffee with mabey a 1/2 of finger of offwhite suds. The chunks are in the bottom of this one for sure.
If you want a pure pour you have to be very careful. I might do that on the next one. I want every part of this in my westy chalice.
Smell is like a fine wine. So subtle with fruits and spices galore.
Raspberry and cherry hit me first and the yeast is so impressive.
I smell coffee and sugar and caramel and malt. The yeast is the strongest though as it burns the nose.
Taste is a malty sugarness with hints of cherry and orange that dance on the tip of the tounge. Coffee and grapefruit come to mind.
This is a very sweet beer. The aftertaste is the best part because it lingers such a long time in the back of the throat.
Mouthfeel is perfect with the spices and the alcohol mixing to leave the tounge coated with so many memories.
If I were either a rich man or a monk, I could drink this all day and all night.

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

07/09/02 date stamped on the cap.

Murky brown pour, lots of sediment swirling about in the glass. Thick, medium lasting tan head, huge clingy bubbles initially formed on the side of the glass, then burped their way to the top, never to be seen again. Aroma filled the room with strong apple scents, with some yeast and doughy aroma coming with a more intimate sniff. Taste is strongly doughy and apple, with hints of banana, grape, plum and strong malty sweetness in there. The banana seems to come through more as it gets warmer. Slight alcohol comes through towards the end. Mouthfeel is huge, pummeling the palate with all the different luxurious flavors, feelings, and hints of alcohol.

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

The pour is a fuliginous deep cherry red color with a behemothic head, creamy in texture, and a beauteous light tan color, as the head unhastingly erodes; a splendid sheet of lace is formed to unite lovingly with the glass. “Heavenly”, is the word that best describes this nose, ambrosial, hints of over ripe fruit, yeast tones also noticeable along with a slight hint of alcohol, start is thickly malt, sweet, the top middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is pleasantly acidic, the alcohol grasp the taste buds in a Anaconda death grip, the dry vinous aftertaste lingers long after the beer is gone, but certainly not as long as the memory of this fine beer as it stays in your sub-conscience like your first kiss.

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Photo of joseph82
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ain't nothing like this beer, it's one in a million. There's simply no comparison. The fact that you can only pick up one crate per car, at the abbey where this stuff is brewed by monks (!), only adds to its exclusivity. It's taste is like honeysuckle dipped in angel sweat. Best beer in the universe bar none.

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

Appearance - Everything I could hope for. Big head, great color. The mystery bottle and identifying cap add to the alure.
Smell - Figgy, fresh, a bit boozy.
Taste - Indescribable. Delicious.
Mouthfeel - Very carbonated, smooth, as good as anything I've had, though I don't typically discriminate by mouthfeel unless a beer is flat or thin.
Drinkability - I could drink two of these with no issue. After that, the booze would be too much. But I'm sleeping by then anyway.

This beer was absolutely incredible. I've been drinking St. Bernardus 12 and Rochefort 10 to prepare myself to try it. Then this puppy blew them out of the water. Unbelievable, the difference. More fruity taste, and a delicious warmth. Not as boozy as other quads I tried, and I can easily say if this ever comes across my path again, I won't be trading it away.

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Photo of eric5bellies
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drank from my Vintage Sint Sixtus Chalice

A - What makes this 5 in appearance is the way the head just stays true and settles into what every beer lover wants and that is a beer that just demands to be consumed, it settles to a uneven surface that you would see on the moon. The colour is a testament to everything beer should be and is mesmerising.

S - Powerful sweet fruits from the bottle. Once poured it's released from it's cage and just plain stinks of roasted sweet fruits and bready yeasts that give of smooth creamy vanilla aromas.

T - The complexity of this brew is astounding. It commands respect and at the same time introduces your palate to a myriad of flavours that actually hypnotises you. The flavours are raisins, bread, chocolate, stewed cherries, dark fruits. It finishes with a lingering zing of intense dark fruits.

M - The incredibly smooth body is just perfectly complimented by low to medium carbonation.

D - This is more than a beer. It is a truly great experience, hype aside this brew is rightfully called the best beer in the world. Everything about this beer says exquisite. No RIS can express a subtle domination of your senses as this beer can. In it's subtleties it's power leaves you seriously impressed.

There are very few beers that one feels privalidged to drink. This is one of them. The fact that it is made by reel monks for love, warms the heart. For me Russian Imperial Stouts are plentyfull and some even delectable. What makes the Quadrupel superior is the way the subtleness is balanced by sheer power and flavour, this is at the top of the tree in Quads and therefore rightly sits as the best beer in the World. I have been lucky enough to try Big DIPA's and massive Imperial Stouts. This trumps them all.

Revisit 04/02/2009

Bottled 05/05/2009

Drank from my 1960's St Sixtus Vintage chalice

A - Pours a deep Mahogany colour with the classic foamy head that does not move at all, and laces all the way down the glass.

S - Oh sweet lord, I don't think it gets better than the aromas displayed by this beer.

T - The flavours have nicely balanced out with the brown sugar subsiding to let the dark fruits be more prominent. The alcohol is still sublimely hidden and the complexity is still unbelievable.

M - Medium to full body with low to medium carbonation.

O - This beer does get a lot better with age. The port like flavours begin to emerge at three years old. I will review again in a couple of years time. This beer cannot be beaten. I know some people are dissapointed when they first tsate this beer because they are used to massive bourbon barrel aged stouts that are dominated by a particular flavour or two. This beer challenges the need for massive flavours by taking you on a journey of subtleness and balance. That for me is the pinnacle of brewing.

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Photo of Axic10
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Brabander for this. I decided to have this at midnight on my birthday. Poured from the bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown with a half inch of foam that maintains during the entire drink with some nice lacing.

Smell: Sugar cane, candied fruits, burnt banana, belgian yeast, hints of caramel and malt towards the end. Possibly the most complex and best smelling beers I've ever smelled.

Taste: Wow. Candied fruits, burnt banana and clove, bready malt, slight brown sugar, and a very nice yeast character. Very tasty beer.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, yet very smooth.

Drinkability: Yeah, if I could buy this locally, I would never drink any other beer as long as I live. Well worth the effort locating some bottles, would do it again and again.

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

Thanks to Don for bringing this one to an EPIC tasting! Poured into a generic tulip. Nice off white head. High retention. Soapy lacing. Aroma of caramel, brown sugar, molasses and raisins. Taste is perfect malt sweetness, no alcohol, warming and effing amazing. Flawless in every way, shape and form.

 300 characters

Photo of ajramirez1
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beervana bought at belmont station. Good looking out. Got 3 gftboxes. Aging some for awhile...special occasions...

Beer is g damn $$$$. Im a belgian fan and im so glad i waited to try this after trying alot of belgian beer. Great look to beer. Smell is pleasing. Taste is $. Beer is just a must try. Hands down worth every penny.

Just a great beer. I would put PtY ahead of this but its not far behind at all.

Pacific NW 12/12/12!

Westy 12!!!

Aged and had 1/6 from this 12/12 crop. Beer is awesome with a few years on it...congrats to my brother on wedding as well!!!


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

A - Dark chestnut with garnet red hues and an above average sized, creamy, smooth, tight foamy head. Good retention that finally rests into a nice, creamy, smooth layer of lace.

S - Wonderful mix of dark fruit (raisin, date, a bit of cherry, and lots of other dark fruit). Strong amount of spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, pepper, allspice, coriander, etc.) paired with some warming alcohol. Also a good amount of dark caramel malt.

T - Similar to the nose. Well balanced and complex, and hard to fully describe so I'll just say wow. Strong amount of spice (similar to the nose) along with a touch of warming alcohol that compliments the spice. Dark fruit mixes in well with raisin being the strongest, but others making a showing. Has a good amount of candi sugar, Belgian sweetness along with the dark fruit. Also has a good amount of dark, sweet, caramel, and slightly bready malt. Wonderful mix of sweet, spice, fruit, etc.

M - Medium body with a perfect amount of carbonation. Wasn't quite as thick as I was expecting, but it works well with the taste. Incredibly smooth and creamy.

D - So easy to drink with the smooth and creaminess and the well balanced flavors. Would gladly drink another.

Notes: Best before 24/03/13. Wonderful beer that lived up to the hype for me. Well balanced and complex. Really an enjoyable beer that I would gladly drink again. A touch lighter than what I was expecting, but it worked well. Very tasty beer, with all the hype I can see how it might fall short for a number of people, but all in all I think most people would gladly drink another.

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Photo of nsp73
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have had it from the bottle (in a glass of course) twice now. Thank god I was sitting down both times.
Truly is the only beer I have ever said that with and that's all that needs to be said. It tastes and smells wonderful. Malty, dark fruit, and earthy. The absolute best beer. I keep thinking others may overtake it from my favorites... like I said, it is still the only beer I have ever had that made my knees quiver.
Can't wait to try this on tap some day.

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Photo of wdberkley
5/5  rDev +8.5%
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."

 612 characters

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

Poured from a 33cl bottle into two small snifters. Extra special thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist! Last Christmas was Westy 8, this year it's Westy 12...what an awesome Christmas tradition!

Cap dated 19.09.10

A: Pours a deep, dark, and opaque cola-brown color with a luxuriously creamy light-tan head that retains forever and leaves sticky drapes of lace coating the inside of the glass.

S: Incredible aromas of caramel, raisin, dark chocolate, plum, grape, toffee, roasted nuts, and further complexities offered up by a fantastic pinch of booziness that develops in the nose.

T: HUGE flavors of caramel and/or molassas, dark chocolate, alcohol, rum raisin bread pudding, tootsie-roll, sweet over-ripe dark fruit, and a faint lemon/orange citrus flavor in the finish.

M: Smooth, creamy, very silk-like. Glides over the tongue and down the throat with nary a problem. A bit of pepper (From the booze? Or the hops?) adds a whole different dimension to this.

D: This absolutely lives up to the hype. It went down so smooth and easy it was scary! Wonderful.

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

F*CKING DELICIOUS! Well worth the extravagant amount of money spent on it. It seriously tasted like an explosion of flavour in my mouth. I would recommend this to anyone who is a serious beer drinker and especially anyone who likes belgian style ales. This is the best of trappist market. The best the world has to offer.

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

Had this beer from the bottle at In De Vrde near the abbey. Served in a chalice, cool.

A-mahogany brown body, tan head (thick).

S-sweet grain, alcohol, candy

T-chocolate, smoke, sugar, marshmallow, light hop.

M-full flavor but light on the palate.

D-This is unquestionably the best beer I've ever had. Life throws so many overhyped things that never fit the bill. This fits the bill and then some. If I have the honor of drinking this again. I will.

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

The result of a wonderful trade with GClarkage... poured into the accompanying St. Bernardus chalice. A lovely brown, slightly hazy ale with a one finger head that eventually settled to a one-eighth inch layer of foam that never went away. Lots of lace on the glass.

Lots of anticipation for this one... had to work hard to make a personal goal before I rewarded myself with this one. So I was ready and eager.

The aroma was of sweet plums, raisins, dates, and other dark fruits, dark malt, and a hint of brown sugar. Many layered and complex.

Taste... heaven in a glass. I wanted to compare this to St. Bernardus Abt 12, but the two beers are so distinctive I couldn't. It was a thing unto itself. Dark malt, a hint of spiciness, chocolate, caramel, and a blast of alcohol at the end that was not overpowering and not out of place. Wow.

Mouthfeel was smooth and creamy. Not like your average drinkin' brewski. Wonderful and sliky.

Drinkability was excellent... I could do several and not get tired of them (although I might not be able to see straight at the end).

I tried to find fault with this beer, I really did... it was almost like a challenge, rating the #1 beer in the world. But I couldn't.

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Photo of neonbrown82
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was every bit as awesome as I was hoping, and thus much better than I was expecting. Very appropriate for my 500th review on BA. Thanks to dogfooddog once again for the trade. This is a 3 year sample, and a much fresher review will be forthcoming.

The beer pours to a nice dark reddish brown. Decent frothy head that doesn't quite stay around for too long, but it laces to the glass fairly well.

The smell is great. Very complex. Sweet and nutty with lots of fruit and berry esters. Nice roasted barley flavor as well. The taste is just as great and equally complex. Very smooth. Mouthwatering bubblegummy, cotton candy sweetness. The sweetness is not cloying, but just right. Has a great roasty nuttiness that pairs brilliantly with the sweetness. The alcohol is no more detectable than it is in the blue cap, which is not at all. Awesome. I can't wait to compare the fresher version to see if this is still the case.

Body is full and creamy. Residual sugars stay in the mouth forever, punishing you with the fact that you probably can't drink another bottle right then and there. Awesome through and through. I can't wait to go to Belgium myself. This beer is every bit deserving of a 5.0 rating. That being said, I think Rochefort 10 is every bit as brilliant as this, much cheaper, and readily available here in Iowa. That simply cannot be beat, number one rated beer or not.

edit: I just had the fresher ~6 month version of this beer tonight (8/24/06). I did the Rochefort vs. Westy challenge, and the Westy prevailed on all fronts. My roommate and I were even biased towards the Rochefort. Had a much cleaner flavor and finish. Not quite as roasty. Lots of bubblegum esters. Phenomenal. I want more.

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Photo of digita7693
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well what can I say... Had this at the café next to the abbey and have since enjoyed several bottles at home.

color is dark amber, almost looks black, depending on the light
smell is wonderful, fruity and caramel
taste, perfection. you can hardly taste the alcohol behind the rush of flavors, fruits (raisins, figs) slight gingerbread taste, sweet caramel. but not overpoweringly sweet, just enough

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

A: poured from a 330 mL bottle into a chalice at the In De Ve Vrede cafe, dark red brown with a short white head that lingers leaving good lacing, clear

S: wine, raisins, brown sugar, yeast, stone fruits, cherries, figs

T: leather, tobacco, cherry, raisins, figs, dark breads

M: slightly creamy, fills the mouth and coats the tongue

O: an amazing beer in a fantastic setting

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.61 out of 5 based on 6,159 ratings.
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