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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)
6,431 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,431 |  Reviews: 1,885
Photo of womencantsail
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage thanks to Richard.

A: The pour is a dark brown color with a sizable tan head and plenty of carbonation.

S: An intense sweetness that comes in the forms of caramel, candi sugar, molasses, and a whole lot of dark fruits. I get some cherries, plums, figs, and dates.

T: The flavor is pretty much more of the same, and that's not a bad thing. A lot of sugary sweetness along with some caramel, molasses, and toffee. There is a strong flavor of dates and figs with some raisins and prunes, too.

M: The body is quite full with that fine carbonation that it seems only the Belgians can pull off.

D: A very, very good beer. Maybe a bit too sweet to drink a lot of at a time, but such a good flavor that you might make a bit of an exception.

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Photo of dVinci
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Cmack15
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ahh the infamous Westvleteren 12 one of the most highly sought after beers. The beer is a nice deep brown color but not black. You have to take your time with this beer because of the high abv and all the notes that you can pick up in both the nose and the taste. Toffee, caramel, and malty sweetness capture your nose. The taste is a delicious blend of the aromas plus a little warmth from the abv. This beer is a good beer to end the night with because of its high abv plus your palette will be overloaded after drinking this beer. Take your time and savor this great brew.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally had the chance to try this with a non ba friend of mine.
Pours a cloudy dark brown. Would have been clear, but I got over zealous with the pour and let some yeasties in. Thin whitish head doesn't stick around very long.
Aroma starts off with some vanilla and slight chocolate, but really comes to live as the brew warms. Banana's, plums, lots of malty goodness. Taste is caramel, dried fruit some alcohol as she warms. Medium mouthfeel with a bit of stickeyness. Nice carbonation. Definately worthy of the hype.

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Photo of haz77
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My 250th review has coincided with a beer I've been wanting to try for a long time. Bought as part of the 6 bottle set released to finance renovations at the monastery. Best before date of 21.09.14.

A - Pours into an Oerbier tulip a murky dark brown with burnt orange hues when held to the light. Three fingers of light tan head fall to a frothy cap of a single finger. Small bubbles of carbonation are present, keeping the head firmly in place for a while.

S - Red wine, grapes, cocoa, star anise, clove, leather, woodiness, a boozy kick of dark rum, prunes, dried figs. A heady and enticing blend which is well integrated given its relative youth.

T - Initial caramel is joined by the dark fruit, with spice then taking over towards the middle of the drink. Cocoa moves out from the middle along with molasses and the alcohol warmth of rum builds towards the finish, its heat increasing in the mouth and throat in the aftertaste. Herbal hops keep dryness lingering, counterbalanced by sweet caramel. Would have liked the alcohol to be better masked and I would have thought age will certainly take care of this in part. Plenty of interest and an adept transition of flavours.

M - Full bodied and carbonation is quite sharp and lively for the style, probably due to its freshness. A creamy mouthfeel keeps trying to poke through but as it appears it's continually cut down by the carbonation.

D - No doubt a world class beer, but a question remains as to whether the hype is fully justified when compared to others in the style. Perhaps this is down in part to the relative rarity and therefore premium price point. Unsurprisingly, reminiscent of St Bernadus Abt 12, which whilst being good isn't my favourite of the quads. I'd go as far as to say Rochefort and De Struise offer slightly better beers, as well as being readily available to me and a much more cost effective option. I'll be cellaring a handful to explore how the booze and carbonation mellow and the flavours integrate, as in my estimation a few years will make it outstanding. Despite this, the overall score speaks for itself. Clearly the work of expert hands...

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Photo of jsdavis422
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of GorillaBean
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of jcugafsu
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of American_Hawk
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of sholland119
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a murky dark brown with a large tan head and very nice lacing.

S-Very rich blend of sweet and dark fruits along with some molasses notes.

T-Delicious and complex. Lots of raisin and caramel with a healthy dose of molasses and brown sugar.

M-Mouthfeel is thick and rich.

D-Very easy to drink despite the ABV. Can't wait to get my hands on some more.

Tough to separate the hype and expectation with a beer like this one. Deliciously rich and complex, more so than probably any quad I have had.


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Photo of Sk8sean86
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of BedetheVenerable
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

HUGE thank-you to frissianwits for this one...the generosity blew me away.

Presentation: Classic Westy 330ml brown pop top with no label; cap says 27.05.13

Appearance: Murky walnut beer with a light beige cap with good retention.

Smell: Spicy, sweet, and beguiling...there are a host of different spices here, but everything is so well-integrated I'm having a tough time pulling them all out...I do get a definite hit of cinnamon sugar, however. There's lots of fruit as well, and more light fruit (apricot, maybe?) than I was expecting...some very light booze as well, and I'm getting sugared dates now as this warms a bit.

Taste: This courses across the palate, constantly changing and showing a new side. It starts out with burnt caramel, toasty malts (like an amped-up Munich Dunkel), some light minerality, and some dark fruit...cotton candy makes its presence known as well, as well as various sweet baking spices...there's a bit more bitterness than I was expecting, though there's no real hop flavor. The bitterness is actually just a bit stronger than I'd like. Eventually apple and other light fruit make their way forward, as well as mild alcohol as this warms. In a word, complex.

Mouthfeel: Fairly high carbonation levels, but remarkably light for the high abv, which keeps the drinkability...

Drinkability: High...though it's so complex, it begs to be mused over...so complex you just want another taste, and it'd be easy to drink more than the 1-2 of these that you could have without starting to get goofy

Conclusion: Was it the earth-shattering, worldview-changing epiphany I was awaiting? No. But I don't think a beer that's this hyped could *ever* meet expectations. That being said, it was by FAR the best Belgian Strong Dark Ale/Quadrupel I've ever had. I think if the bitterness had been just slightly less, this would have been an A+. Better than Chimay's Blue and Rochefort's 10 w/out question (though those are both delicious beers; I haven't tried Achel's Extra yet, so I can't comment on it). I would love (someday) to have 3-4 of these so I could drink 1 a year or so and see how they change. I broke this open to celebrate passing my MA defense that day; again, thanks to frissianwits, I cannot think of a better way to have celebrated.

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Photo of nrbw23
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank this one the other day with the wife celebrating our 3rd anniversary.

A- Pours a brown color with a moderately sized head. Lacing is really tight to the brew as the head falls, but it doesn't last terribly long. Looks very good and had a few floaters in there as well.

S- Smells of caramel, raisin, dark chocolate, plum, grape, toffee, roasted nuts, and bready. Every whiff I think I noticed something different a lot going on here.

T- A lot more sweet than I thought. The flavours exploded more when I let this one warm up. Tons of sweetness up front with hints of dark fruit, raisins, and banana with caramel and candy. The spice flavour of clove comes in towards the back end with the lingering fruity sweetness coming back in. Nice long aftertaste. Let this beer warm up and all the flavors get more pronounced. Seemed like a ton of brown sugar here as well.

M- Medium in body and carbonation was just about perfect.

D- It was easy to drink and fun for sure. Nothing that I could drink all day or on a regular basis but was damn easy to drink.

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Photo of ckeegan04
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep dark brown color with thick brown head. Not quite the head I get from some other Belgians I have tried. Excellent retention and good lacing. A very inviting beer.

S - Not as overwhelming as I thought it would be. Excellent balance of nuttiness, malt sweetness, spice, yeast, and a hint of alcohol thrown in.

T - Incredibly well balanced taste but more mild than I anticipated. Sweet malts giving a nice caramel taste as well as a nutty flavor. Some clove spice taste as well followed by a hint of alcohol. Very busy beer on the pallete.

M/D - Creamy, almost chewy and full bodied. The only thing keeping it from beeing a 5.0 for drinkability is the alcohol content.

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Photo of CwrwAmByth
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Chimay goblet. Big thanks to Zimbo for sending me this!

Pours a dark brown with a tinge of red colour bordering on completely black. Creamy and small off white head.

Smells dark, fruity, malty and a hint of booziness too.

Tastes quite lovely, dark fruits, caramalised sweetness and slightly rum-like booziness. Teeny tiny hint of a bitter tang. Crazy mouthfeel, it's almost like i'm chewing it!

Overall a very tasty beer, half a point knocked off for being so hard to drink any amount of.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

received in a trade from Mikey711

the fact that this beers reputation precedes itself goes without saying in this forum, so objectivity in reviewing needs to be at its best

btw, beer (not review) number 1000 for me, not a bad choice for that milestone

A - cola brown without the transparencey, plenty of visible sediment, an easy pour wells up a finger of off white head, too dark for noting visible carbonation

S - bready, yeasty malt aromas are what I first detect, some lingering sweetness, similar to dark fruits, especially figs, dates and raisins, some fainter more sugary sweetness as well, like brown sugar or molasses

T - geez, where to start... yeasty bready maltiness still leads the way, then those dark fruits bridge the gap to the finish, fresh fruits, more like figs than dried dates or raisins, some fresh anise, the finish arrives with the more sugary sweetness, molasses, and brown sugar, the beer leaves a overripe dark red grape fresh off the vine kind of aftertase

M&D - incredibly smooth and complex in both aroma and taste, this beer at least meets the hype, I'll leave "excedes the hype" to the individual. I wouldnt say this was the best beer i have ever had, but it was incredibly good, and worth the cost to try at least once

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Photo of JasonLey
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of riemster
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into the Westvleteren chalice.

A- hazy, almost clear brown and reddish hue, 1 finger light tan head

S- dark fruits, raisins, plums, toasted caramel, toasted bread, woody, rum soaked cake

T- rum soaked sugary dark fruits, plums, raisins, dates, yeasty bread

M- medium bodied, medium carbonation, little creamy, not much warmth

O- The smell of this beer was fantastic. It really opens up. I found the taste was not near as good as the aroma. Great beer, but I hope it improves more with age. I still have 8 bottles left from the big blow out late last year. I would take a Rochefort 10 over this any day, but I hope some older bottles will change my mind!

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Photo of SpongeHop
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tasted alongside the St. Bernardus abt 12, which is supposedly a derivative of this beer.

L - dark brown, raisiny; creamy off-white head that dissipates quickly
S & T - raising yeasty wholewheat breaddough; toasty; rum-raisins; earthy herbally (almost like a thyme cough syrup); very 'full' flavored, more so than the St. Bernardus
F - slightly boozy, creamy, quite smooth, but with a definite cognac-y alcohol glow

O - very, very solid beer. Would definitely not call it best-beer-in-the-world though... I did prefer it over the St. Bernardus, as it is more 'full' in its flavor, like it's turnt the flavors up a few notches without going overly overboard and cranking it all the way up to 11. That said, it is more boozy than the St. Bernardus, and the St. Bernardus recipe seems to have evolved since Westvleteren withdrew the outsourcing of their recipe to make all the flavors way more sessionable and harmoniously blended, whereas this 'real deal' is more of a rollercoaster.

I do recommend this one.

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Photo of Spica66
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

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Photo of emptyglassagain
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of tjkinate
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

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Photo of Lucoli
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of govlady
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Dunkle
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Beer rating: 4.6 out of 5 with 6,431 ratings
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