Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

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

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)
BA SCORE
4.6/5
World-Class
6,431 Ratings
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Belgium
sintsixtus.be

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
(Yellow Cap)

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#32
Reviews:
1,885
Ratings:
6,431
pDev:
8.91%
Bros Score:
4.19
 
 
Wants:
3,687
Gots:
2,247
Trade:
156
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,431 |  Reviews: 1,885
Photo of bylerteck
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a review of the bottle I brought home from In De Vrede. I have tasted this beer twice before, both times at In De Vrede, but never outside of Belgium.

A - Pours a 2 finger, creamy tan head. Colour is a dark copper with a brown element, almost black and there is good carbonation coming up the sides. Great creamy head retention with one finger sustaining and a significant amount of soapy lacing. Great head retention and creaminess of it is a bonus.

S - Pit fruits, dates, raisins, lot's of yeast, sugar, boozy fruitcake. Tons of plum and raisin, dark bread.

T - Starts out with alot of yeast. Sugar, slight booze, great rich dark fruit like dates, raisins, plums. Some sort of sugary syrup covered fruit comes to mind or syrupy dessert cake. Once it opens up the fruits become more intense and the yeast element is tamed. There is almost no alcohol. A little bit of spice. Avoids being too sweet as well. Red grapes are present as well. Wonderfully complex and delicious.

M - So insanely smooth. This is my third tasting of this beer and it happens every time. That is one of the things you notice with Westvleteren 12. The fact that it is so incredibly smooth and easy drinking, going down without any sort of sting and almost not wanting to swallow earns lot's of points. You need about half a bottle to realize the ease that you can drink this and yet enjoy it so much and recognize its subtleties. The body is full but not thick, a little creamy, and has medium carbonation.

O/D - I can't see how people consider this the best tasting beer in the world. But it's lovely complexity and texture are world class. It's amazingly drinkable, wonderfully smooth and flavourful. The yeast character at the start is a surpise, but once it opens up it becomes a great, complex beer. It seems alot more yeasty and sugary than other quads...probably due to the amount of candi sugar used. My girlfriend thought it was the best beer she'd ever had.

 1,954 characters

Photo of tmclain
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of jpro
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle from Mikkeller and Friends bottleshop in Copenhagen - poured into a St. Bernardus chalice.

A: Pours a deep ambered ruby; with a light tan, inch of creamy foam; nice retention leaves a few strands of lace, and sticks around until the beer is finished.

S: So complex... Dark fruit - primarily plum, fig and black cherry; nutty; some light chocolate notes; toffee; lightly phenolic; a touch of alcohol.

T: Darker flavors and complex like the aroma... dried cherry and plum; toasted banana bread; light toffee flavor; molasses; almost vinous; heavy phenol (bubble gum, cotton candy, light banana) presence and a bit of hot alcohol; surprisingly bitter... earthy / leafy touch of dryness.

M: Medium-full; creamy; lively carbonation; a touch sticky; alcohol heat on the end.

O: A delightful beer; a lot of complexity in the aroma - maybe one of the best aromas on a beer I've experienced; taste is not quite on the same level, although still very good and satisfying; mouthfeel is a bit lighter than expected, but helps bring this 10.2% to more drinkable levels. Glad I stumbled upon this and was able to try it!

 1,126 characters

Photo of NolaHopHead
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 version. Seems to have peaked for me at 2-3 years. Still candy-like delish with incredible rich flavors, silky.

118 characters

Photo of berto714
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Bonsall_Phil
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of capnamerica
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of bkilpatr
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 330 ml bottle into a Westvleteren glass. 10/12/08. Cap has 18.12.10 printed on it.

Pours a deep dark mahogany brown color with about one finger of light tan head. The head slowly dropped to just a thin layer, no lacing. The aroma is amazing and intense. Belgian yeast, bread, sweet malt, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, apple, raisin, date, fig, toasted nut, banana, clove, and alcohol make up the aroma. Very complex, one of the best smelling beers I've ever had.

Unfortunately the taste does not carry the same complexity as the aroma. It's still darn good though. Sweet malt, Belgian yeast and bread, brown sugar, candied sugar, raisin and fig, and a touch of alcohol make up the taste. The high alcohol (10%) is pretty well hidden.

This beer is smooth and not too heavy. Medium-full body and well-carbonated. Almost creamy. A bit of warmth from the alcohol. Drinkability is pretty good. The alcohol really sneaks up on me. It's really easy to drink for such a big beer. Definitely a sipper though.

Overall, a darn good beer. Try it if you get a chance, though it might be difficult to obtain.

 1,112 characters

Photo of BucannonXC5
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Type: 11.2-oz. bottle
Glass: Trappist glass
From: Holiday Wine Cellar in Escondido, Calif.
Price: $84.99 for 6-pack + two glasses (also had to purchase $50 worth of stuff at HWC)
Misc.: Bottle cap and part on bottle said best by Jan. 8, 2015; The only time this beer has been in the U.S. and supposedly the only time it will be.

Poured a mahogany color with about a finger of off-white head that stayed forever on the top of the beer. Great thick and milky lacing on the sides. Great retention all the way down.

Smelled sour fruit up, followed by a sweet tarty flavor. Got green apple and kiwi. Also some malt backbone to it, mainly toasty caramel and toffee. Some light chocolate, too? Got better as I sat and smelled it.

Tasted similar to the nose. Just so damn smooth. Definitely could taste the alcohol up front. Some cloves, which I didn’t get in the smell. Got the green apple and tartness. Also light hints of caramel, honey

Medium body. Thin texture. Soft (below average) carbonation. Long, smooth finish.

An obviously fantastic beer. Like Frank the Tank in “Old School” said, “Once it hits your lips, it’s so good.” One of the smoothest beers I’ve ever tried.

 1,190 characters

Photo of BAsbill
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Chibeerguy1
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of RoyAndyMN
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of chadwickwb
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of deereless
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Thick craggy head that held for a minute before dropping into a oozing layer of foam leaving a few sticky spots on the side of the glass, lots of sediment, chestnut to rust brown - 4.25, S: Nose is creamy, chalky and with dark cherries, hint of candied mango, some sweet doughy bread, trace of honey as well as hints of toasted nuts and some bold malt, incredibly complex nose, -5.00, T: Dry, noticeable alcohol but very nicely masked in a 10.2% beer, candied sugar, slight burn, pureed figs and dates along with some golden raisins, - 4.50, M: Body is a touch thin with a slight effervescence and very mildly gritty – 4.00, D: All around an exceptional beer, one everyone should try at least once in their lifetime - 4.50

 727 characters

Photo of szmnnl99
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Tim725
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of jlee922
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of dill
4.57/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is obviously one that I was looking forward to. Some friends from Belgium and I used the opportunity to cook some game and drink this from some Westvleteren chalices which had a really nice shape to them. The bottle had been aged 5 years. When we poured it out it was difficult to get a decent head on it. My friend thought perhaps we should have washed the glasses a bit differently. The smell and taste were rich with toffee. It had a nice sweetness to it that gave way to some warmth from the alcohol at the end. A very fine beer, and one that I will look forward to trying fresh.

 588 characters

Photo of kingcrowing
4.57/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12.oz bottle from 2009 AND an 11.2oz bottle from 1995 poured into a sampling glass - HUGE thanks to stowehop for his generosity!

Pours a rich deep golden/amber/ruby with a thing light fluffy head, surprisingly still there on the '95 but more subtle than on the '09. Nose is very complex, slight booze - but not much for a 10.2% beer. Has quite a bit of sweetness, and on the '95 a ton of rum/raisin as well.

Taste is very crisp and sweet and it's got some complex grain/earthy flavors. Light belgian yeastiness to it with raisins dominating the flavor. The '95 as much more mellow and drinkable/smooth but the '09 was very bright and sharp, both were excellent!

 663 characters

Photo of mjtiernan
4.57/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to auroracrisis for sending me this!

33cl bottle best by dated 03.13.13 poured into a tulip

A: Very carbonated. Pours a deep reddish brown. A complex spider web of lacing.

S: Belgian yeast unlike others that I’ve smelled. Red grapes, raisins, and a small amount of caramel.

T: Loaded with flavor. The yeast really stands out. I’m going to pour it all in. Yum! Dark fruit and chocolate. Pretty sweet. Lots going on. The finish is pretty hot...lots of alcohol. Enough analyzing...I’m going to slow down and enjoy this.

M: The alcohol burn keeps me from rushing through this (which is good) but it hurts drinkability a bit. Carbonation was more than I expected, but I’m enjoying it.

O: So glad I got to try the great Westy 12. It’s interesting to think about everything that went into making this. I’d like to try another one with some more time on it. Hope I get another chance to try it again. Next time I'll opt for a chalice instead of a tulip.

 970 characters

Photo of BranfordBound
4.57/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Waited 5 years to try this beer, at one point (specifically when I first joined BA in 2010) this was rated as the #1 beer. The hype around this was immense, coupled with the fact it was nearly impossible to get, even more so as time went on and the abbey began to restrict sales to some notable traders. Finally found some in stock at an online store, so I threw some Cantillons in my cart and hit purchase, a week later here we are!

Poured from the yellow cap adorned, nondescript bottle into my favorite Gandhi glass snifter, it comes out a beautiful ruby brown, dark enough to not see through, but light enough around the edges to show its true colors. A super bubby off-white head pillows up and leaves moderate lacing.

Smell is lovely, a ton of malt and Belgian yeast, spicy, notes of plums. Taste begins with a big chewy bread note, followed by plums, fruits, molasses and rum flavors. Ends with a hint of roasted malt, some bitterness, and a nice yeasty esters.

Body is very bubbly and carbonated, it adds to the spice. Extremely light for the ABV. I think the body is one of the main selling points.

Overall a very nice quad, but I don't see the hype. I had Abt 12 from St. Bernardus a few months ago and I think the similarities are really obvious. This beer might beat it by a bit, but not by any significant measure. Maybe with age the differences are more prominent...

 1,384 characters

Photo of Roguer
4.57/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Lots of dark brown yeast; a careful pour can keep most in the bottle. Even then, there's a ton of sediment in the brew. Topped by an off-white, cream-colored head of fairly small size (~3/4 finger). Excellent retention and lacing.

Boozy, strong aroma typical of a quad: yeast, Candi, dark fruit, nuts. Brown sugar. Alcoholic fruit bread. Dark bread is definitely the strongest takeaway. No hint of oxidation. Remarkably complex.

Flavor follows the aroma, maintaining a nice sweetness, but not out of character for the style. Lots of dark, thick bread; a bit of bite; tons of dark fruit (plum, prune, raisin); liquorice and brown sugar; nuts.

Feel is full-bodied, smooth, and lively, with no sting and minor foaming. Fairly wet, medium length finish, with a lingering sweetness and a bit of alcohol effervescence. Though it's definitely a sipper, it's incredibly drinkable for such a big beer.

This is an absolutely fantastic, nearly perfect quad. My personal favorite in the style is Rochefort 10, but that's mostly preference over any distinct difference in quality.

 1,071 characters

Photo of Bills453
4.57/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into the Westy 12 chalice in celebration of the birth of my second son!

Appearance - a nice dark brown, reddish, almost purple tint. Kind of the color of prune juice with some fantastic tan-brown head!

Smell - cherries, dark fruits, prunes. Bit of yeast.

Taste - an amazing mixture of fruits. Probably my favorite Belgian offering, but not my favorite beer ever.

Mouthfeel - very smooth and refreshing.

Overall - an amazing offering! I'm so glad I was able to try this and the birth of my second son is the best reason ever to crack it open.

 568 characters

Photo of Burntknuckles
4.57/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Quej
4.57/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Into its beautiful chalice it pours a very dark, yet clear, brown with highlights of ruby red shining through the brew, only a bit of head crowns the beer and it fades to a delicate lace. I raise the glass to my nose and scents of warm red grapes, cranberry and cherry come flooding into my awareness. The sweet smell of fruit, caramel and toffee candy wraps itself so nicely around the significantly boozy brew. It pours over my lips and onto my tongue. Sudden sweetness hits me with flavours of red wine, plums, and wild berries. The sweetness is quickly followed by a refreshing dryness brought on by the high alcohol content. Both the sweet and the bitter mingle and dance on the palette in perfect unison, and linger into a long dry aftertaste that leaves me begging for more. The low carbonation takes the edge off of what might have otherwise been a sharp and bitter dryness, and makes it so very easy to drink. And then I had a second sip.

 947 characters

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

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.