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

1,847 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: 1,847 | Ratings: 6,229
Photo of Dodo2step
4.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

P- Thanks to buddy Donn in Germany for this brew!

A- a fig/raisin like color that is soemwhat hazy. A nice 2 finger head that is fluffy and sticky. perfect!

S- dark fruits: plums, raisins and figs. subtle caramel malts that complement the brew nicely.

F- Wow, i can see why this brewery and its beers are highly revered. This has great flavor tones of figs and raisins mixed with the malts. I have nothing bad to say. I mean it was just like a big sigh. taseful and relaxing.

M- Slightly carabonated but very very smooth and creamy. It is like eating a plum with a lil bit of brown sugar and it slides all the way down.

O- best beer i have ever had to date. World class and i am grateful i could have it.

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Photo of Ri0
4.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured 330ml bottle into chalice. It is a deep, dark amber brown in color with a thick 2 finger khaki head remains for the entire session and leaves webs of lacing on my glass. The aroma is fantastic with brown sugar, bread, sweet dark fruits with some yeast and toffee and nice spices. Flavor is very full with abundant candied plums, raisins, and figs. Very bready with some brown sugar, toffee. There is a nice yeast and spice on the finish. The body is soft and sublime, medium feel with bubbly carbonation. This is certainly the best Quad I have ever enjoyed!

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Photo of augusttag
4.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 12oz bottle that my uncle brought from Belgium. Approx 60 degrees F. Opened 5/25/15 Freshness date 1/14/18.

Look: Poured into tulip glass. Foggy dark brown color with tiny particles floating in it and with a finger of off-white head of small bubbles that faded quickly. Beautiful in the glass.

Smell: Malt. Toast. Dark Fruit. Cherry. Yeast. Alcohol.

Taste: Extremely smooth through the whole process of drinking. All of the above flavors with a nice sweetness towards the end which hides the alcohol.

Overall, the best beer that I have had. Definitely the best Quad that I've had. A joy and pleasure to drink. Unfortunately my uncle insisted on sharing it with others who don't know beer and who appreciated it a lot less...frustrating.

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Photo of SeanMNCraftBeerLover
4.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Aged for 6 months after receiving beer in a dark cupboard in basement, then chilled and served at 55 degrees. Beer stamped with 13.12.15 as "sell by date", poured into the Westvleteren Trappist glass, best dark beer I have ever had in my life by far. Couldn't believe that this would be as smooth as it was. The monks did an amazing job here. It just sucks that its so hard and expensive to obtain.

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Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A wonderful, world-class brew. As good as anything I've had. Every time I try it, I like it more. Yes, it's quite pricey, but costs the same as just a fairly good bottle of wine (and it's one of the top 5 beers in the world!). Probably the best body-mouthfeel of any beer I've had. CREAMY! Smooth, deep, and complex. Fruity, perfect balance. Nothing negative to say. If I could get this close to home, I'd have it (at least) once a week. As good as it gets, beer fans!

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Photo of Biggiekrock627
4.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Worth all the hard work searching in Brussels. Balance of malt, sweet under tones and balance perfected over time. This is an example of difficulty to find not being justification for a fad.

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Photo of madbrewer9
4.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Have had this beer several times, including on tap at In de vrede. Each time it delivered as promised.
Smooth, malty, spicy and complex, without the high viscosity of many American and other Belgian quads.
It's somewhat light bodied for a beer of this size, which works well. As the Belgians call it "digestable".
Had it once again recently, a leftover from 12/12/12 and once again it was fantastic! This is one beer that definitely lives up to the "hype" ! Truly one of the top ten beers In the world!!

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Photo of Cthulhusquid
4.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: One finger white-brown head, cloudy brown body.

Smell: See below, but with a hint of spices.

Taste: Earthy yeast, honey, brown sugar, some apple, some dark fruits.

Feel: High carbonation, medium body, mild-medium alcohol burn upfront, sweet upfront, dry finish.

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Photo of mtbdonn
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in my trusty Westy chalice; pours a deep brown with a big tan tightly bubbled head, fades to the edges and leaves a nice lacing. Held to the light, the body is a beautiful cherry amber, clear save for a small amount of setiment at the bottom.
A-The nose is a luscious blend of dark, dried fruits, and an unidentified wood; oak? Much yeast in the nose with fruits such as prune, fig, and raisin.
T-The taste is completely blended, there are no layers of individual flavors. The initial flavor is kind of sweet up front, but quickly begins to dry out. A light touch of effervescent which I find is typical or bottle fermented Belgian Ales, and I love it. The palate is sweet and yeasty and a blend of darkish fruits like the prune, fig, and raisin I got in the nose. The whole flavor profile seems to settle right on the center of my tongue, lingering with a hint of dryness. Like a good Belgian, Westy warms beautifully, bringing out even more of the tangy yeasty sour goodness.
M-The mouthfeel is barely carbonated, but silky smooth, and heavy.
O-Head and shoulders above all other Quads, Trappists definitely included. Westy 12 finishes beautifully, much to my sadness, because I really didn’t want this wonderful Belgian beer to end. A true Trappist quadrupel, bless those monks. For a high ABV, Westy 12 is very drinkable, and I could easily put a couple of these away

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Photo of geetlord
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My friend braught this bottle back with him from Belguim and I am very glad that he shared it with me.
This beer poured a very dark amber with excelent lacing
its aroma was full of dark berries, black cherries, black currnts and teh like, it had some ints of mollasses and some yeastyness.
the flavore was wonderfulyl complex. it initialy tasted of fruis and berries, but subsided to a more bitter unsweetened chocolate like flavor and finished with a smooth tartness at the back of the toung with hints of alcohol.
overall this beer was excelent and if i ever stumble uppon it again I intend on getting some.

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Photo of PartyHatjo
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After taking a break from reviewing beers, I figured I'd get back on board with one of the "Crown Jewels" of this site. This was my reward after a 20 mile training run for my next marathon. The beer was sampled In De Vrede across the road from the Sint-Sixtusabdij...

Appearance: Brown in color, about a half inch off-white head that does dissipate relatively quickly, but leaves an impeccable lace on the glass. Ruby tones are brought out by the light.

Aroma: Very sweet smell, hints of caramel and the spiciness of the yeast. Alcohol comes through a bit, its volatility serves to bring out even more aromas (toffee, cherries, and slight smoke).

Flavor & Mouthfeel: Body is lighter than I've experienced for a quad (and that's a very good thing) and more bitter than typical of Belgians in general. Bitterness balances the malt and sweet caramel tastes. Again, cherries come through a bit in the taste, as well as a smoky, burnt toffee character.

Drinkability: For its strength (10.2%), it is remarkably drinkable, I could have sat there the rest of the day and had glass after glass to replenish lost calories from the run.

If you see this available where you are, grab it without hesitation. I recommend going to Belgium, though and experiencing it in its homeland (plus there's about 1000 other breweries to try beers from over there).

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Photo of SDDanC
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours cloudy amber with a tad bit of reddish pink hue. Minimal, but creamy head around the edge of the glass. The nose is pounding with grape/honey/wood. On the tongue it is sweet, quite sweet, grapes or raisins, then the alcohol bites you in the rear, but subtly. Mouthfeel is excellent, goes well with the fruity explosion. Overall, the Westy definitely lives up to the hype and I was very excited to drink it.

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Photo of byronic
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Pours an opaque brown with a frothy tan head which dissipates leaving a nice persistent lacing.

A bouquet of ripe dark fruits, brown sugar and Belgian yeasts.

Sipping this beer is an adventure. Lots of dark fruits, fig, raisin and plums with sweetness added from brown sugar and caramel. The Belgian yeasts really shine and are fantastically complimented.

Highly carbonated with a smooth creamy mouth feel. The alcohol leaves a nice warming feeling and becomes ever more present as it comes up to temperature.

The only downside is an empty glass.

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Photo of randomdanger
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

HUGE thanks to Brabander for his generosity!!! Saved my first review just for this one.

Appearance: Dark, reddish brown body (mahogany perhaps). Nice, thick tan/off-white head, just under two fingers. Disappeared rather fast but left fair amount of lacing.

Smell: Sweetness upon first whiff followed by a good amount of dark fruit (plum, fig, perhaps grape). A touch of alcohol shows up late with a tinge of yeast throughout.

Taste: A ton going on here. The sweetness was prevalent to me (Belgian Candi sugar and maybe a bit of brown sugar). But it was countered nicely by a peppery spiciness. The dark fruits jump in (a little cherry lends itself to the mix) and the yeast makes a subtle appearance. The warming presence of the 10.2% is only there as a reminder but not overpowering at all.

Mouthfeel: Very full-bodied without being heavy at all. There's a creamy smoothness here that is very unique and welcomed. Carbonation is there but very light. A slight dryness shows up at the finish.

Drinkability: Easily is the best Quad I've ever had. I could have easily had more than one of these. Unfortunately I only have one bottle left and I'm going to save that for a spell. If it was more readily available, I would drink this every day. As far as I'm concerned, it lives up to the hype. It is "World Class" as stated on it's page. And I cannot say that I would argue against billing it "Best Beer in the World".

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Photo of scifan
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Many many thanks to jojox for this in a recent trade. I am sooo excited to finally try this masterpiece of a brew. When opened it did spew a little like many belgians but not too much of the precious brew was wasted.
Pours an amber brown with a small head that quiclkly fades away. The nose on this baby is amazing. Lots of sweet malts, dark fruits, plums, figs, raisins and candi sugar. There is soo much complexity. some alcohol in there as well. Taste is similar to smell. Very complex, dark fruits, candi sugar not as much alcohol as the smell would indicate. Feels nice in your mouth good carbonation and kind of creamy when swallowed. This was an amazing beer what else can I say. I mean its Westvleteren 12.

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Photo of pschul4
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle into pint glass. Big shoutout to readbaron for hooking me up!

A- Pours a light brown. Sits in the glass as a dark brown brew. My anticipation is palable. This is friggin Westy!

S- Very sweet dark fruit scent, it smells so good I don't want to stop smelling it.

T- Oh dear sweet baby Jesus... It's exceeding all expectations. Honestly I'm not a huge fan of quads but this is mind blowing. Sweet dark fruits come into perfect harmony with hops, malts, and alcohol. I could go on all night but just rest assured this is everything it's made out to be.

M- Low carbonation and quite think, which is a great thing given how amazing the flavor is. Definitely a sipper which just makes it last longer.

O- First when I traded for this I was glad I wouldn't have to take part in the hysteria. Now I think I might have to give my first born for a crate of this. Seek out at any cost!

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Photo of jdubjacket
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ah, I am reviewing the granddaddy of them all. Thanks to my dad for getting me a sixer of all three Westvleterens.

Pours a deep brown with amber hues. Almost no head to speak of. Good amount of sediment in the glass. Only some lacing.

Smells like angels tears. Very sweet, likely the malt coupled with the alcohol presence. Traces of prunes and raisins.

Tastes Plain and simple joy. Brown sugar, lots of malt, alcohol, dark fruits, toffee, a hint of chocolate, and mildly spicy. Aftertaste provides a delicious malt aftertaste that lingers with you.

Perfectly carbonated mouthfeel. Dangerously drinkable despite the ABV.

Well, I have had it. Nothing else to drink now. Overall, this is one beer that lives up to its hype. Coupling its quality with its rarity makes this beer a real treat.

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Photo of urwithdave
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle into my imperial pint glass. I split it with Gtreid! I owe him this one and soooo much more.

A- Poured a caramel color. It was brown with shades of orange. Had a frothy head that was 3/4'' of a inch. It left nice lacing on the way down.

S- Figs, malts, apples, caramel, brown sugar,molasses, and orange zest. I felt like I was in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when they were licking the candy flavored wallpaper. I couldn't wait to dive into this beer.

T- It was funny, Gtreid and I both stated at the same time that it tasted like caramel apples and apple pie. It was AMAZING! All the flavors stood out on their own yet at the same time they blended together perfectly. It seriously was a gr8 experience. I didn't get alot of alcohol in the taste and if you would've told me the ABV was 10+ I wouldn't have believed it.

M- Nice and creamy. Perfectly balanced. I def want more!!!!

D- I have never been happier knowing that my father in law travels to Belgium on a regular basis. I want to drink this everyday. I will def revisit this masterpiece as often as I can.

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Photo of Scheity
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It's tough to review this beer anymore, almost like knocking it would be trying to unseat a benevolent king. Well, at least I won't be the one to do it.

After biking 5km from Poperinge in cold that felt like daggers, through barren hop farms and fields of sheep, we made it to in de Vrede, that Mecca that had been the final destination of our long voyage.

Totally worth risking my extremities to frostbite. Just looking at the beer, resting in the wide glass, dark brown with a touch of red, is awesome.

But the smell simply explodes. You can feel it circulating through your nose and mind, a welcome guest to the body. Dark fruits and nuts and something like cinnamon or licorice all twirl together like those ghosts in The Sorcerer's Apprentice, when Mickey makes the potion. But the nose is deep, much more than any beer I've had, including all the other trappists. Chimay Bleu comes the closest, I think

The taste, though, is incredible. You get the rush of dark fruits and even a few trailing hops to really full it out. But the coolest part is the way it interacts with the alcohol: When you're about to taste the alcohol on the tongue, after the first round has cleared, another round of delicious darkness rolls over the alcohol on the tongue. You expect a bit of a bite from the 10.2ABV, but it never comes, falling to the exceptional depth of this brew.

Go to Westvleteren. In summer, if you can. One of the coolest experiences of my life.

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Photo of bhb
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I shared 3 bottles with friends after we bought a crate in Belgium, all dated 05/04/08. I didn't see how people considered it all that special, but I was wrong...

It poured into a Westvleteren glass with a lovely dark mahogany/ruby colour with a 1cm frothy light tan head. Mine disippated after a couple of minutes but the other two lasted and lasted. No visible carbonation.

On the first sniff, I was instantly awestruck. A dominant port aroma is the first to come out! Wow! Not overpowering at all, but appetising, totally unique and loaded with fruits and raisins. It's like christmas pudding in a glass, including the flambe. Musty leather yeastiness and woody hops remind me this is definitely a beer.

Loads of other flavours come out when tasting. Raisins, prunes, cherries, wines, port, woddiness, honey, spices all come through, going down in a full bodied beer, with a hint of saltiness and a moderate bitterness at the end. There's a touch of mineralised feel to it. It sounds sweet but it balances beautifully with the other sensations so it's not overwhelming at all.

I've had all the non-Westy BA top 10 Belgians before, and this one is truly a style in itself. There is no comparison to it. And no, it's quite different to St Bernardus Abt (EDIT - Some St B Abt tastes like Westy 12, see my review on it).

Make a pilgramage to Belgium if you have to - Westvleteren is one of a kind, straight from heaven.

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Photo of Big78CJ
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I will keep my comments brief as there are enough people contributing their opinions on this beer.

I recently returned from Belgium where I visited the abbey with a friend and consumed/purchased each of the Westvleteren trappist beers (in addition to an old red cap I obtained at De Kulminator in Antwerp). The beer is fantastic, my ratings clearly show I do not diagree with this. However, I find myself hard pressed to declare it the best beer in the world. I think it is hard to claim any beer is the best in the world as temperature variations, storage conditions, age, not to mention quality of that year's ingredients can alter the taste of any beer to make it better or worse.

As a result, I think it is actually the scarcity of this beer that drives up the desire and thus the eventual payoff. It is not that the beer is the best in the world (though I would rank it in my top 5), it is simply that after so much longing, one cannot alloe oneself the disappointment of not calling it the best in the world. Many of you may think my comments blasphemous but I do not contest the goodness of the beer, I only wish to point out the effect of expectation on perception....

This beer continues to grow on me every time I drink it, or as is more often the case, drink another beer out of my silver-rimmed westvleteren chalice

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Photo of korguy123
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Westvletern 12 thanks to Jeffo!
Cap date 22.09.13

A- Totally opaque muddy brown pour. Three finger fluffy egg shell head slowly recedes to finger width cap that doesn't look like it's going anywhere. Lacing is excellent.

S- Juicy apples, cherries, plums, figs sour dough bread with hints of grapes and slight yeast notes. Brown sugar and vanilla with cinnamon as it opens further.

T- Brown sugar, vanilla, figs and plums. Apples and grapes. Fresh baked bread. Subtle chocolate and leather notes.

M- Medium to full bodied, subtle carbonation makes this creamy and smooth feeling.

O- Excellent quad, alcohol is invisible unlike the Rochefort 10 and St. Bernadus ABT.

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Photo of birderbeerer
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Deep chestnut brown with thin but solid head. Pours thick and slow.

Rich aroma of figs, chocolate, bread (breads really), raisins, currants.

Taste is as complex and dark as you'd expect from a quad and matches the aroma. It's drier and less sweet than some quads. Very creamy and thick. It finishes clean and dry. Every sip is a little different--one of the great qualities of the most complicated beers.

Hard to beat.

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Photo of brew3crew
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had a chance to share this with an amazing woman, Lauren195. Cheers Lauren!

Bottle Cap dated 29.08.10

A- nice medium brown color. Clear once the sediment settled

S-caramel/chocolate sweetness to the smell

T- Wow. if this one doesn't live up to the hype then I don't know what ever will. A lot like it smells with a little bit of alcohol (very Mellow) and some yeast to it

M-Medium body, smooth and rich

O-Wow. This is amazing.

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Photo of GRBrew
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The setting probably had a lot to do with how much I love this beer. I drank it from the bottle on a square in Bruge during my honeymoon. It was not the ideal way to drink it but it was amazing none the less. Luckily I have one more in my cellar. I just need a reason to drink it.

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.61 out of 5 based on 6,229 ratings.
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