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

6,362 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: 6,362 |  Reviews: 1,877
Photo of BlackHaddock
4.61/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finaly got round to opening a bottle of this stuff (had 5 bottles for a number of years), lets see what all the fuss is about.

Poured into a Westvleteren chalice, it looked fairly limp compared to it's 8% brother, wispy head on top of a moody looking dark browny/red body. I tried not to let any sediment out the bottle, but a little managed to leap past me into the chalice, I'll drink the remainder of the bottle (a fifth) with most of the sediment at the end of the review. I am reviewing live as I drink this evening.

The nose is rich red fruits, dried on a bed of dark chocolate and aged with fine English Oak, this is a smell not to mess with.

The taste is fantastic, add some carbonisation and a heap of alcohol to the aforementioned aromas and you're half way there: I found a gargantuan amount of flavours and I now see why beery people clamour for this brew so much. Sweeter than I thought it would be (shared half a glass at the brewery bar when I bought the beer, don't remember the sweetness), but that doesn't detract from the tasting I'm currently having, which I'm really enjoying.

The 10.2% only become evident as the mouth dries, so well is the body and mouthfeel, a truely great beer, certainly now in my top 10, only the appearance letting it down.

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Photo of homerbunker
4.61/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Kevingbecker
4.61/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

went on a beer tour in brussels and they kept talking about this beer as the holy grail over there. at the end of the tour, the guide took a few of us to his local bar where he knows they had a case of these for sale. We tried a few other "copies" as he called it on the tour, but this by far was the best beer i had while there. Just as the pic shows, it was a plain brown bottle and he advised us to keep the cap as evidence we have actually had this elusive beer. Its an online lottery system to get the beer from the abbey, and you need to submit your license and license plate number and show up without one of the two and they will not sell you the beer. crazy.

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.61/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I tried this at a tasting where I had no way to write down the experience. I remember tasting it and fully expecting it to be a normal Belgian Quad, as I had tried so many of the easier to obtain versions of the style (and some of them are so damn good). I had read before that the hype around Westvleteren was truly just that: Hype. Only because of the rarity did people say it was better than the others. I try to not buy into hype. But then I tasted it, and it truly was special. There was something different, a yeasty note which I have never tasted elsewhere. I later bought a Westy 8 in Belgium and opened it with the guy who let me try his bottle of XII, and it had the same "special" character.

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Photo of cambabeer
4.61/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer is so complex that I could have it again and different aspect would prevail. I had this with my best beer bud, Cervezango, while sitting in Brussels. This beer was a somewhat dark brown with a little ruby. The head was nice and creamy, a little off white. The smell sweet, herbal, toasty, caramel, alcohol, malty for sure. The taste as complex as the smell. The high alcohol isn't as strong as it would seem. This beer has it all. Creamy feel. I could review this again every day and probably not get board. I paid about $15 for one bottle, and I don't even regret it.

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Photo of jwinship83
4.61/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

HUGE thanks to yesac for sending me this without setting up a trade, or wanting anything in return. youll get yours buddy, dont worry. 11.2oz bottle with no label and the famous yellow cap with 19/11/11 on it.

A- this pours a murky dark brown with a finger of thick looking cream colored head that lasts a while and leaves a solid ring on the sides of my glass. cant ask for anything more.

S- sweet malts first and foremost. lots of fruits. raisins/tobacco, figs, plums, grapes, and maybe a bit of apple. some alcohol odor comes through.

T- sweet caramel and toffee malts. lots of ripe dark fruit. cherries, raisins/tobacco, plums, figs and grapes. a hint of alcohol, that adds to the experience. extremely complex and leaves me wanting another sip immediately after i finish one.

M- light, fluffy, and highly carbonated which i was expecting for the style. what i wasnt expecting was how smooth this one was going to be.

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Photo of pottergator
4.61/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of truthbrew
4.61/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed this at "Le Bier Circus" in Brussels served in it's proper chalice on June 16, 2003.

While having little in the way of aroma (my only complaint), this beer proved to be exceptional. The medium-dark body and semi-thick consitancy amused me as I gently swirled in my glass. You would never guess this beer is 10,2%. Even my fruit-lambic (Lindemann's, Mort Subite, New Glarius) loving wife thought that this beer was a stand out.

Brought two Abt 12's, One Westy 8, and two Blondes home from Belgium. Can't wait to have it again!

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Photo of dochook
4.61/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.61/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

33cl bottle into a snifter, dated 18.01.15, so it should be about a year old

A: Pours a deep amber color, a tad lighter than expected for the style. Three fingers of foam developed quite quickly, a bit prickly, but with pretty good retention. Lacing is good.

S: Spices are most evident in this beer, moreso than I'm used to for the style - orange bitters, licorice, and cardamom. A strong, malty sweetness helps balance this spiced aroma with prunes and plum. Very well balanced.

T: Sweeter than expected from the aroma, I get a strong plum flavor to start. Prunes quickly come in after that with a fairly strong caramel sweetness. The caramel and dark fruits play well off each other. The spiciness from the aroma is also in the flavor, balancing the sweetness. I get mostly cardamom with a bit of peppercorn.

M: Medium bodied for the style with slightly stronger than average carbonation. This beer was very easy to drink.

O: This beer was consumed in about ten minutes. Even while reviewing, it just went down so quickly, even while picking out all the complexities present. This is a complex, yet quaffable beer that begs you to keep drinking more. Good thing I have three more on order.

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Photo of phisigben
4.61/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this over a year ago but I finally decided to not be lazy and keep up with some old reviews. This was also apart of blind quad tasting.

Severed in Chimay chalice it produces about 2 fingers width of white fluffy head that disappears somewhat quickly the color is a outstanding dark chestrnut brown. The smell is very faint I pick up the Belgium yeast, a boozy smell and very faint caramel sweetness. The first sip is amazing, where I was let down by the smell the taste blew me out of the water. Great caramel/molasses flavor, nice dark fruit like raisins or figs, and that great Belgium yeast flavor. The mouthfeel is prefect great balance between the carbonation and the body. Overall this was one of my favorite beers I had, the 10% alc was extremely well hidden in the taste. This is a dangerous beer if I could get my hands on it more often I would drink this all the time.

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Photo of PlayitAgain
4.61/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Jmonah3
4.61/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of ohmybock
4.62/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is from a review I did back in 2002...
Enticing, sweetish aroma. Color is dark, murky brown. Pours with a big, white head. Sweet malt flavor up front closely followed by a balancing hit of bitterness. Rich complex malt, hop bitterness and complex fruit flavors dance in my mouth. The attack on my tastebuds is incredible. This beer has a long lingering finish that just won't quit. There's also a touch of alcohol warmth to the finish. I love the balance of this beer. Easily one of the best beers I've ever had. Delicious! I wish I had more.

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Photo of yankeeheel
4.62/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Welcome to my 200th review. Can't say I'm the most poetic reviewer here but I try. For this momentus occasion I chose Westy 12 sine it appears to be a Holy Grail beer here.

Pours a dusky garnet with a couldronous eggshell colored head. The foam settles out in to a bubbling sheet of lace.

Smells strongly of candi sugars and very dark fruit. There is something about the smell of quadrupels. I love them. Definitely a little alcohol lurking in the back of this one.

Lots of cherry and grape come to the front of this brew. Sugary malts rush in close behind to fill the void. Spices fill in closely and then it finishes quite peppery, dry, and warms like a kerosene heater.

Mouthfeel is very big. Slick, malty, and filling.

Drinkability. I think this one has sipability. It needs to be taken slowly like a brandy or single malt. It's in that class of beverage.

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Photo of chinchill
4.62/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Two pours each from a 2012 bottle and a 2015 bottle. (Thanks Chris & Mark!).

Excellent in all aspects, including a lively but very soft medium+ body. The flavor and aroma are loaded with dark dried fruits. Spot on bitter/sweet balance. Somewhat surprised that I so clearly preferred this over the Rochefort 10 that it was paired with. Also think I had a very slightly preference for the 2015 over the 2012 vintage, although both were thoroughly enjoyable.

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Photo of ggaughan
4.62/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle picked up at a bottle shop in Antwerp 2 weeks ago so it seems to be pretty fresh. I have had several bottles of this before but most of them were obtained in the U.S. from overseas.

The beer poured a deep brown, almost black color with a medium thickness tan head that lasted for a few minutes and gave way to nice ring around the end but the lacing doesn't hold up well. The nose is pretty damn imressive. There are some fruit notes, dates, plums and a nice chocolately character. The taste is very impressive as well. The malty chocolate notes are the first thing that takes my taste buds on a ride along with some of the deep fruit notes I got in the aroma as well. The carbonation is rather full and overall makes for a full bodied beer. I could not say for sure whether this is the best beer in the world but it is a pretty damn good beer and well worth a try if you can get it for a reasonable price.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.62/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to alcstradamus for this one. Finally got around to opening it. In honor of BA JosephLondon R.I.P. 07.10.12 printed on the cap. Poured from a 11.z oz. into a Blue Point Snifter.

A: Gentle pour yields a billowy 1.5 finger off-cream head with great retention. Beer is a semi-cloudy, near opaque purplish-brown. Lacing is patchy and ample with excellent stick.

S: Nose is clove, Belgian yeast, grapes, figs, green apples, and sweet brown sugar. Very alluring and rich. Fruity and sweet. Impossibly complex but balanced at the same time. Alcohol is conspicously missing.

T: Opens grape, prunes, and clove. Bready and brown sugar. Belgian yeast is very apparent towards the middle where it adds a nice spice and bitterness. Grape gummy sweetness towards middle that tapers off into a slightly twiggy bitterness. Malt forward presence never fades though. Finishes is brown sugar and just the slightest bit of alcohol. Aftertaste is sweet and fruity.

M: Medium to full bodied, aggressively carbonated and lively but rich and smooth at the same time in the mouth. Finish is clean and aftertaste is filmy and slightly sticky.

D: Likely the most drinkable 10.2% beer in the world. This one really earns its accolades. Incredible balance and complexity with a mouthfeel that really pulls it all together. Nose is impeccable and even looks great. Definitely one to try and seek out and very much worthy of the praise.

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Photo of MrKennedy
4.62/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle with 07/01/14 on the cap.

Deep russety brown appearance with a hint of murkiness when held up to the light. Nice beige foam on top doesn't require any coaxing to stay at about a finger in height.

Intriguing smell. Lots of dark fruit with figs, dates, prunes some spice there as well. Reminds me of some red wine at certain stages, not that I drink much wine. Seems to have the warming alcohol bring out the spice without inflaming the situation. Brilliant!

Spicy, cinnamon and allspice are there along with the dark fruits of plum and figs and prunes. Seems to transition from the spices on the front to the fruit on the back and then some spice right at the end to keep you really, really interested. Really dry ending.

The body is solid, but by no means too big, i think the spice helps cut through things. Nice interaction between the spice, the warming alcohol and the fruity smoothness. Really well done.

Don't recall ever having liked this as much as i like this sampling. I always seemed to prefer the 8 out of the Westvleteren brews, but this is helping change my mind. Not a big fan of Quads, but this is very well done and so well integrated.

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Photo of davod23
4.62/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Fresh bottle from the monastery, poured into a Westy chalice. I've had this a couple times before, but it always feels special to open one of these up.

Appearance is a medium-dark brown color with a billowing off-white head. Some yeast floaties, as per usual, but the beer itself has great clarity. The cap never completely recedes, and a swirl brings it back in force.

Smell is classic Belgian quad. A glassful of dried dark fruits, plums, raisins, prunes. A hint of banana, rum, vanilla, spice, and yeasty notes. The nose is outstanding and one of the more complex you'll find. It's in perfect balance, no aroma dominating whatsoever, all in good harmony.

Taste follows the nose in almost all respects. Dark fruit, rum, banana, and spicy components. The alcohol is barely perceptible. This is one of the best beers ever with respect to hiding its alcohol content.

Mouthfeel, I have to dock it just a little bit. At the start of the pour, it's just a bit too vigorous with the carbonation, providing more of a sharp bite than the creaminess that I would expect from this style. However, by the end of the bottle, it had rounded out nicely. I've had an aged bottle before, and I seem to remember that the level of carbonation was greatly superior, with a silky quality that is unrivaled by other beers.

Drinkability is outstanding. So amazingly easy to drink. This beer is dangerous.

I think that I will age most or all of my remaining bottles. This is a great beer, no doubt, but I have had it when it's been better. I do have two 7-year-old bottles sitting at home, maybe I will try one of them soon and refresh my memory how it ages. Regardless, fresh or not, this beer truly is great.

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Photo of WeeObese
4.62/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My friend broke a bottle out today as we were hanging out, it was a 2007 bottle aging in his wine/beer fridge.

Pours a nice deep mahogany color with a slightly tan billowing head, with some belgian lacing. Large amount of sediments, but not distracting.

Smell is typical Trappist beer, sweet malt, some dried fruits, carmelized candy sugars, chocolate, spice from the yeast, not hot alcohols.

Taste was well, lack luster upon the first sip. However, as I took second, third, etc. the beer opened up as a masterpiece of malty sweetness, yet dry finishing, with hints of dark caramelized sugar, chocolate, sherry, tawny port like flavors, dark fruits, slight yeast spice. But most of all well balanced, especially for the abv. I really relate this beer to a after dinner sipper like a tawny port, or a dry sherry.

Good body, but not too big even for the abv. Very well hidden alcohol, and finishes dry.

Overall, this beer did not disappoint. It was certainly a treat and an honor to share with a good friend. The 12 oz was probably the right amount of beer for two people to drink. It is a great sipping beer and would be a perfect after dinner or special occasion beer. No off flavors or hot alcohols at all, very, very well crafted beer.

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Photo of Franchise
4.62/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer has been aged for about 2 years. The look of this beer pours a delicious dark ruby brown that leaves a quickly disappating tan head. Very little carbonation compared to the fresher one I had 2 years ago. The smell is of candied fruit, plum, peaches, golden raisins, bananas, cloves, and some slight essence of chocolate liqour. The complexity of this beer is the best I've ever come across. The taste of this beer just explodes with the sweet fruit and at first has a powerful vinos essences that subsides with warmth.

This beer is one that should mellow even more with age but I actually prefered the fresher bottle I had about 2 years ago. As I let this beer warm up I began to taste even more of the honey and clove. Overall this is a great beer, I love things about the fresher version but I love the smoothness of this aged bottle.

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Photo of BradfordStuckey
4.62/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

A beautiful beer. Smells and tastes like fresh baked bread. I have had the pleasure of tring a 3 year aged version and a fresh 4 month old one. Aging improved this beer. Both were excellent but the aged version gave new flavors and put the yeast as a role player rather than the main character. Subtle sweetness not normally found in the style. Worth all the hype.

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Photo of Darkale
4.62/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The aroma of this beer is incredible, so thick it's like fog, and full of raisins, plums, and all manners of bright and sweet things.

Appearance is also incredible. The color is milk chocolate brown, sort of like root beer with a bad attitude, with so much cloudy swirling sediment that you feel like you've captured a sandstorm at midnight. By the way, I was a bad boy and poured the whole beer into the glass, because I wanted to taste everything.

Mouthfeel was slightly thinner than expected -- this beer has been called chewy and I am not prepared to agree. Foamy is more like it. Malty, slightly burning. Very nice, just not as chewy as I had been led to expect.

Taste is a circus that changes as the beer warms, and like the aroma, is full of raisins and plums and chocolate and burning cocoa and a hundred other things that I could not catch before they ran down my tongue and into my belly.

Very drinkable! This beer was gone too quickly. In fact, this is one of the few beers that I would rather have in a larger size.

Definitely one of the best beers in the world, but I am not yet prepared to call it THE best in the world. I may have to try another. Yeah, that's it... that's what I have to do... I have to try another... for purely scientific reasons.

Certainly a beer that you have to try if you can.

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Photo of berkey
4.62/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Figured I'd finally pull this one out of the fridge for the occasion of my 50th review. Poured into a Chimay glass.

Body is a very dense, dark, and cloudy brown. Forms a medium sized light brown head with mediocre retention but lacing is excellent.

The aromas start off with the figs and other sweet dark fruits expected of the style along with some great graham-crackery malts and yeast. Also some bitter grassy hops in the background.

Along with the style-requisite dark fruits picked up on the aroma I'm also getting some anise, ginger bread, toffee, and almond flavors on first sip. Hop bitterness is slightly more assertive than in other beers in this style, especially in the aftertaste. As it warms fruit sweetness becomes more easily identifiable with more fig and some faint cherries.

Good carbonation is complimented by a slight alcohol tingle to create an enjoyable mouthfeel. Incredibly drinkable for the style but because of the difficulty obtaining this I don't anticipate having more than one of these in a sitting unless I'm in Belgium.

Overall I enjoyed this one very much. One of the best examples of this style out there, although probably not number one according to my personal tastes. Still, this would definitely be a regular if it were more readily available.

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.61 out of 5 based on 6,362 ratings.
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