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

6,360 Ratings
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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Ratings: 6,360 |  Reviews: 1,877
Photo of nhindian
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Review #100!

11.2oz bottle poured into a Westvleteren chalice.

Huge thanks to some great BAs for this.

After a rat race to get this beer (asked a girl I had class with if she had any family in Belgium, who then got me in contact with her uncle in Holland, who met a contact I met through BA to pick up the beer, who then delivered the beer to her grandma who traveled in this winter for her graduation, who then gave it to the girl, who gave it to a friend of mine from college who finally gave it to me), I finally received 8 bottles from this abbey after two bottles and a chalice broke in transit. I got three 12's, two 8's, and three blondes. Cracking the 12 in celebration of the New Year, bowl season (damnit PSU), and the Winter Classic tonight (go Pens!)

A - This beer kind looks a bit similar to other Belgian-styled Quads in that shows as a murky brown, copper, almost muddy purple color. Head is a nice, 2-fingered frothy cap, but retention is a bit on the poor side. Not much lacing at all, surprisingly.

S - As this beer warms up, the aroma really picks up and grows in complexity. Initially a bit muted, as it aerates the bouquet of Belgian yeast, sweeter malts, grapes, plums, and apples. There is that noticeable alcohol smell that is common for the style, but not bad at all. What really stood out to me in this beer compared to others in the style is that while it does have some of the candied sugar smell, it is definitely more toned down compared to some beers which seem to be swimming in it. It just seems more blended and complex as a result. As it approaches room temperature, the grains start to show through which adds an even deeper layer to this already multi-faceted bouquet.

T - If the smell was deep and complex, the flavor profile is that and more. While its possible to note individual flavors in this beer, such as the slight sugar at the front, then the juicy apples and grapes which give way to the alcohol, the overall taste combines all of these elements without giving a clear distinction or transition between them, especially as it warms up. This is both good and bad, as I enjoy being able to pinpoint exact flavors, but it is a testament to how complex this beer is while keeping it from appearing muddled and haphazard. The finish is sweet, long, with a bit of alcohol, but also with the sugar.

M - Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation. Given the relatively poor head and retention, I wouldn't be surprised if this had a bit of a carbonation problem, but the flatness doesn't kill the beer. Coats the mouth and has a great finish.

D - Drinkability is high. The mouthfeel, flavors, smell... everything comes together to work here. For the 10.2% alcohol, it is really hidden well and is dangerously drinkable.

So is it the greatest beer in the world? That's hard to say. It certainly has an appeal to it due to the rarity and trouble taken to get it, but I'm not sure if that should be taken into account too much. In my opinion, it's an incredible beer, but I think I let the hype get to me a bit and was expecting a bit more. I have a few more bottles, so hopefully in a few years I'll revisit this beer.

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Photo of MattGrimley
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Kendo
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Christmas Eve, 2010. 5 years and 1 day on BA fcr me. Kids are asleep, presents wrapped, house is clean (more or less). . . time to celebrate with my first Westy 12.

A big thanks to MRMOJORISIN for the bottle - and 15+ years of sharing great beer, great tunes and good times.

Best-by date on the bottle cap is 9.11.11. Allowed the bottle to sit at room temperature for about 10-12 minutes. Not sure if that's enough to take the chill off, but I'm like my 6-year old on Christmas Eve right now - that is, excited and anxious, and asking for patience is just unreasonable.

A: A slight gush upon popping the cap is followed by a careful effort to decant the yeast. Poured into a Piraat snifter/tulip-type glass (I debated between this glass, a Duvel tulip and a Chimay chalice). Body is dark brown with a light-khaki-colored 1/2-finger head. Head settles fairly quickly to a film, with some bubbles rising to fortify the foam and popping like the occasional stray fireworks on the Fourth of July. Leaves some splotchy lace. Notwithstanding the careful pour, there is plenty of sediment in suspension.

S: The smell is wonderful, and - besides the slight gusher upon opening - provides the first impression. Raisins, candied sugar, dried fruits in general are all present in a candy-like package. Hint of black licorice too. Waft of alcohol as it warms up a bit more.

T: Here goes. . . When my father-in-law drinks SNPA, he puts it down very quickly and is fond of saying "it's like candy." Well, THIS is like candy. Those dark fruits are there, along with candied sugar. Regular fruit too - some berries or maybe cherries (slightly booze-soaked). Alcohol warmth - it's warm, not hot - is felt on the way to the belly, but in a soft, not harsh, kind of way. Slight drying from the alcohol at the finish of the sip too. Lingering bitterness seems somewhat tannic.

M: Like a good Belgian - there is a fine fizziness that makes it feel lighter in heft than it really is, and almost airy on the palate. That fizziness helps to cleanse the palate after each sip

D: Extremely drinkable, especially for a beer of this strength. I'd give it a 6 if I could in this category.

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Photo of ColSanders123
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Hornet2003
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a bubbly, cloudy, dark brown with champagne bubbles that linger but don't really maintain a solid head.

Smell: Spot on. All the dark, Abt/Quad elements one wants. Figs, dark, burnt sugar, clove and banana from the Trappist yeast.

Taste: Very powerful flavours. The mellow softness differentiates this from the Rochefort. The flavours here are calming maltiness, herbal spiciness, floral hoppiness and a lot of breadiness in the backbone.

Mouthfeel: To me, just a slight too much carbonation, but the smoothness and creaminess of the beer, minus the prickly bubbles is quite delectable.

Overall: I'm glad I got to try this in a way that supports the monks. This fundraiser gift-pack showed up in Alberta and I just had to pick it up even though it had a price tag of $75 for 6 of the Westy 12's and 2 collectible glasses. Not a terrible deal I suppose compared to the grey market prices, but still more than I'm used to paying. The beer speaks for itself though and there's a reason it's generally considered to be the greatest Trappist ale out there.

 1,072 characters

Photo of rowingbrewer
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this beer pours a nice brown color wh a small off white head that recedes quickly. the smell is sweet, slightly spicey and reminds me of concord grapes. the taste follows suit with a very mild yeasty spiciness, with amazing layers of fruit flavors coming through and a nice sweet finish, but not too sweet. the mouthfeel is full and medium carbed overall this beer more than lived up to the hype. would definitely trade for this beer again.

 440 characters

Photo of MattSweatshirt
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

15.06.14 into a Chimay chalice.

Produces a fizzy tan head that falls down to a nice little thing of almost a finger. The body is brown with red/orange hues popping up at the bottom of the glass when held up to the light. The head sticks around and leaves a nice sheet down the glass.

Pleasant alcohol aroma is present along with a little sweet caramel. Dark bread, dark fruits, and cherry round it out.

Oh my, this thing is smooth as a babies bottom. The alcohol and carbonation leave a little tingle on your tongue. Medium bodied. Dry. Some dark fruity raisin thing going on. Leaves a bready taste in my mouth. A little sweet, but not overbearing like some quads can be.

As close to perfection regarding quads as far as I’ve had. I suggest eating beforehand or pairing with something after you get a taste for it because this leaves the head feeling good afterwards if you aren't prepared.

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Photo of millerbuffoon
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of babbules
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the typical plain brown glass bottle into a wine glass. First thing I noticed is a white soapy head floating on a beautiful dark amber liquid. Great subtle smell with lots of dried fruits and a bit of alcohol. The taste is very nice--slightly dank with more fruits and a touch of sweetness. The real strength of this beer is the mouthfeel, in my opinion--super-soft and almost creamy. Well-balanced, overall. This is one of my new favorites; too bad it's so pricy and hard-to-get!

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Photo of meatyard
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle cap is dated 09/08/09 so this bottle is 5 years old. One of the last few that I have left from the original case.

Pours with a murky brown/amber with a short-lived 1-finger tan head that falls to a partial cover without much lace.

The aroma is rich with dark fruits and candied sugar; it's very enticing and just smells warm and inviting.

The taste is a lot more of these tasty, dark fruits and candied sugar. It's noticeably sweet which could be a problem yet isn't in this beer. All of the flavors are still there but have mellowed quite nicely and, surprisingly so, I am able to detect just a hint of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium tending toward full with barely there carbonation that doesn't affect the taste adversely.

Overall: I have had about 15 bottles from this case over the past 5 years. I tried to space them out while giving/sharing the others. I hope this has diminished the hype/rarity factor so that I am not too swayed by those factors. So, even at 5 years this is a wonderful, tasty beer. I may have liked it better at 3 years or even fresh but it has held up well. For those who like Rochefort 10 or any other quads this is a beer that you must try. It may not live up to the hype, for some, but it's worth the try. Even my cat loved the drop I put on the table for her. I guess it's nearly impossible to do but I wish a USA company could replicate this beer.

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Photo of chiguy2420
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review #1. Poured into a Dogfish head glass. All I have right now.

A - Pours a brownish, slightly red with little khaki head, and slight amount of lace.

S - Just as advertised, smells like so many dried fruits. Hint of alcohol, which is amazing seeing its 10.2% ABV.

T - Incredible taste of raisins, not the black ones, more like the golden ones. Reminds me of alittle bit of lemon and orange rind. Great spice and minimal alcohol, which again amazes me. Webster should change complex to Westvleteren 12.

M - This is the best part. I really don't want to swallow it. If this beer was served worldwide we would have world peace. A nice slight burn from the alcohol is just what I wanted. Good amount of carbonation but not like a can of coke thank god. Really is balanced, these others have it right.

D - I have said it a few times but you really have no idea that this is a 10.20% ABV and that is evident by how easy this is to drink. I would say this may be the perfect comfort beer as it alters the doldrums.

What an experience. This is my first review on this site but by no means is this my first beer or review. At this rate I doubt I will find a better beer. If you can find it, try Belgian stores or trade here, pull the trigger on it and don't think twice.

 1,270 characters

Photo of jjanega08
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A=pours an amazing brown color with a thin miniscule head that dissapaits quickly to nothing.
S= sweet grapes all around reminicent of wine deep dark fruits are present with a slight tart note. Very little alcohol but some is present.not as flavorful as anticipaited but the flavors blend beautiful. Pretty bready and buttery with flavors of plums and prunes. Really great grape notes are in it. Smooth in every way.
M= the best part of the beer. Super smooth and delicious. Amazing.
D= awesome. The most amaing thing I've tasted in a long time.

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Photo of Ajenkins626
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Maltenbach
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From a bottle. Pours dark reddish brown with a massive beige head. Aromas of dried fruit, plum and apple. Very complex flavors! Apple, raisin, brown sugar, candied fruit and chocolate cake. Finishes with subtle flavors of chocolate, coffee, perhaps a touch of licorice. Fruitier than I expected, but very nice. Very light mouthfeel for such a big, flavorful beer. Delicious!

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Photo of jtfest
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The Westvleteren website says:

"We are no brewers. We are monks. We brew beer to be able to afford being monks."

If they are half as good at being monks as they are at brewing, then these boys are damn fine monks!

Poured a hazy dark caramel with a small, creamy mocha head. It had a rich, well blended malty aroma with only a hint of alcohol -- one of the most pleasant aroma's I've encountered. The mouthfeel was almost more like eating than drinking -- it was full and flavorful; thick and heavy on the palate with a nice carbonated highlight. I detected toasted, chocolaty hints, but the alcohol was quite discernable. Blended enough to fit well with the flavor, but a definite alcohol presence. Highly drinkable for the style.

 739 characters

Photo of SpencerDB
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got two of these in a trade. Thanks Brad! Popped this open after my last exam of the semester.

Poured in trappist glass a murky brown with a pretty thin white head.

Immediately smacking you in the face is an aroma of dark fruits - grapes, figs, plums, and most of all, dates. I didn’t get much malt but there was definitely a bit of spices in there.

Taste was about the same. Huge dark fruit explosion. Dates were the prevailing fruit taste in the beer. It was smooth and had a pretty dry finish.

The alcohol came through on the palate but not in a bad way. What an awesome brew. I wish I had a case of this

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Photo of Epicfail97081
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of spoony
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From a 330 ml bottle into a chalice.

A-A normal pour produces a dark chestnut colored brew that is nearly opaque with reddish highlights. There is a bubble or two of carbonation visible. The head is one and one-half fingers of dense, tan head. The retention is good.

S-The smell is sweet, intense, and full of dried dark fruits, over-ripe banana, hints of spice, molasses, and a touch of leather. The fruity alcohol is well-integrated into the mix. It smells really lovely if you like your quads on the sweet side.

T-The taste, like the smell is loaded with dark, sweet dried fruit notes. The banana is still present, but a strong spice note (pepper and clove) comes through, along with some dark cherry and just a hint of earthy leather. The alcohol is warming and sweet.

M-The beer is more carbonated that some quads, but the feel remains pretty soft and the carbonation works with the big flavors well.

O-Hype notwithstanding, I was blown away by how complex and pleasing the flavors were in this beer. I know there is some debate about whether this brew is really better than Rochefort or St. Bernardus (or De Struise or...whatever), but for me, it really hits all the sweet spots. I mean that literally and figuratively because the beer really is quite sweet, but unlike some others, I did not feel this was cloying or syrupy.

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Photo of Brandy3423
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Jon
4.73/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After much contemplation on whether this beer was worth trying based on its cost alone, I decided to splurge. Abt 12 pours a deep mahogany color with a creamy, off-white head. The head retains exceptionally well. Flecks of yeast sediment abound in the dark liquid. The smell is a bit port-like, with some sweet candy present in the aroma, as well. The taste is quite strong, with notes of candy sugar, dates, dark fruit, etc. all making equal impressions. A very well-balanced brew. Almost every sip is like a unique experience. The mouthfeel is wonderfully smooth, albeit a little less carbonated than it could be. For a beer of 10.2% abv, this one drinks dangerously easy. Although maybe not worth the price for a single bottle, this is nonetheless an excellent creation from the Westvleteren Trappist brothers. Nectar, indeed.

 829 characters

Photo of Westyn
4.73/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of andylipp
4.73/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Noelito76
4.73/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Jpwv
4.73/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Cap date is 15.12.12 (about 1 year 2 months).

A: Dark cloudy amber with a tight bubbly thick tan head that quickly subsides to a minimal head. Some sediment floating about.

S: Candi sugar, dates, brown it warms slight cherry and alcohol appear.

T: Starts creamy caramelized brown sugar covered dates, transitions to a slight alcohol astringency, slight yeast and a hint of chocolate. A candi sugar/brown sugar sweet taste lingers. Very complex to the point where I don't do it justice in my description.

M: Creamy, perfectly carbonated. First Westy 12 so Im not sure what the year has done to the carbonation.

D: Very drinkable. Alcohol is well hidden but enough is there to remind you that you are drinking an alcoholic beverage.

I have read many times that Rochefort 10 and St. Bernardus Abt 12 are good substitutions for Westy 12. I have had both on multiple occasions and could not disagree more. There is no substitute for this beer! May have found a new favorite beer.

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Photo of meechum
4.73/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought this bottle along with 5 friends back in October from E-bay and waited until the New Year for the sampling. Had this on New Years Eve and it was exquisite.

Poured into a oversized wine glass as that's the closest I had to a goblet. The tan head was extreme and fell slowly. The smell was rich in fruits, spices, just a hint of biscuity malts and a piney hops (very subtle). The taste lived up to the expectation. This is not a beer you drink by the gulp that's for sure. The taste was as big as the smell and lived up to everything I thought it would be..very started off to me with a immediate alcohol warmth and taste of roasted barley and biscuits and then flowered into a nice thick fig and raisin taste and finished with a bite of hops that was subtle but cut the fruity tastes.

Overall this was a great beer and surely one of the best on the planet. I don't think I would even call it my favorite and if I never get to try another again I'm glad I got one shot and giving it a try

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.61 out of 5 based on 6,360 ratings.
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