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 Immortale25
3.85/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a snifter. Bottlecap says 29.09.15.

A- Pours an opaque medium brown color with a 1/2 inch dark tan head that's very crackly for a quad as it loses retention quickly and becomes a thin ring around the edge of the glass. Thick, semi-resilient lacing slides quickly down the glass and minimal surface foam.

S- Boozy aroma reminds me more of a barleywine than a quad although, once I swirl, I get a nice waft of Belgian candi sugar and toasty malt. Still, the alcohol sticks out unpleasantly.

T- And there's a sharp booziness in the flavor too, followed by some faint raisin and dark fruit. Once the palate acclimates, things mellow out a bit. Semi-sweet, somewhat toasty with a syrupy aftertaste. Not very complex.

M- A bit stinging from the booze, sticky and dry. Medium carbonation and a hefty body.

O- I love quads, but this is probably the most overrated one I've ever had. Maybe I should have let it sit longer, but I feel like it should be good fresh as well considering all the hype surrounding it. A pretty big letdown but I guess my expectations were quite high. Either way, definitely not worth the money.

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Photo of GreenCard
3.85/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: dark brown, a decent layer of tan foam, head is a bit rocky w/ pretty good retention, slight haze

Aroma: a balanced hit of malt and clovey phenols, raisins, rum, a wisp of hops, acetone

Flavor: starts off with a subdued maltiness, then a strong alcohol flavor takes over which is then mitigated by a smooth sweetness, touch of chocolate, yeast, raisins, the finish is semi-sweet w/ a hop bitterness riding out in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium-full body, gentle carbonation, creamy texture, nice alcohol warmth without the burn

Overall Impression: Finally, after all the hype, I tried this beer (yeah, shame on me for taking so long!). It does not disappoint. A world class beer, all the way. Definitely deserving to be in the top 50, just maybe not at #1. Come on guys, is the abv really that important!?! I tried to review this without the beer's "rep" clouding my judgement. And also before the beer's cojones rendered my judgement unreliable!

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.86/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Split a single bottle with my roommates, Zach and Jorge, in honor of their graduation from college. Congrats guys!

Best before February 1, 2012 (listed as 01.02.12 on cap).

Poured into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Poured out flat: no head, no bubbles, no signs of carbonation. Bummer. I hope it wasn't meant to be like this. Though I was very careful to leave the end contents in the bottle, the body is still loaded with sediment (as was the Westy 8 we had right before this). Gorgeous color: ruby-amber through the center and orange-yellow around the edges. Looks oily when swirled. No lacing.

Smell: Red apple, cinnamon, figs, dark currants, and lemony and berry-like esters. Very balanced and very complex. I also get cherry cola, molasses, and brown sugar. Very nicely done.

Taste: Red apple, cherry lemonade, and molasses upfront; earth and leather in the finish. Caramel also plays a pretty big role in the flavor profile.

Mouthfeel: Flat, syrupy, and full. Finishes dry and earthy. The lack of carbonation really shows through in the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Tastes and smells nice, but the lack of carbonation ruined it for me. I hope I got a bad bottle. Otherwise, I can't understand how this is ranked so high.

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Photo of Denali
3.87/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Opaque dark brown with slight tan head that dissipated quickly with no lace.

Smell: Red wine aroma mixed with spices. Alcohol presence also detected.

Taste: Fruity plums and grape like flavor followed by very sweet malt and spiciness. Also detected roasted pears. Finished with strong hop bitterness and alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and dry.

Drinkability: Moderately drinkable but limited by the ABV presence.

Comments: Flavors were very well blended together. The flavors however did not emerge slowly in sequence but came all at once. I enjoyed the beer, but there are others I like better that have (at least from what I perceive) a more multi-dimensional flavor profile.

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Photo of Soonami
3.88/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Rich (phillybeer7779) for sharing a bottle of Westy 12 with me and the gang, one of the beers I've most looked forward to trying.

A little ripe, dried fig flavor nice malty sweetness, and a bit of bitter alcohol. There are other flavors of sweet stone fruit (cherries and dried peaches) in the beer and aroma. Clove-like phenols and toasty bread are more highly expressed when the beer warms.

This beer is a bit underwhelming, and maybe it was the age, but I found that I've liked St. Bernardus 12 and a couple other Quads I've had in the past better.

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Photo of beerhan
3.88/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle, best buy 2013.

A-Gorgeous brown body, lots of carbonation and huge tan head. A real pretty beer.

S-Smells very earthy, lots of brown sugar and caramel with a fruitiness to it. Almost a little bit of fig.

T-Grape flavor overwhelms this one. Lots of grape followed by brown sugar and molasses, not quite what I was expecting. It is very sweet and flavorful but also very fruity.

M-Nice carbonation and flavor, quite drinkable.

O-Not quite the greatest beer in the world at all. Very good but nothing over and above other similar of the style. I feel that the effort for this one is too much for the reward.

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Photo of Absumaster
3.88/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It is hard to say anything about a beer that has a reputation to be excellent. It does not help either that the beer is reaching it's de date pretty soon.
It pours a dark ruby colour with a nice stable head and a lot of flaky yeast.
Smell of baked bread, malty and some minor oxidation and husky smell. (don't want to anger the Westy fans, but I smell it)
Taste of grapes and currants and dark fruits, is that cherry?, what a nice balance! The maltbitternes changes with each sip. This beer drinks very easy and I have to be carefull not to drink his too fast. Although I feel the warming alcohol, it is very well hidden.

This is a very good beer, but I think the reputation is part of the high ratings.

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Photo of Louisville-Beer-Reviews
3.88/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Dark brown, root beer color, with a tan head and nice lacing.

Aroma: Tart grapes, raisin, and butterscotch hard candy.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Flavors of black liquorice, raisin, subtle Christmas spice, and horehound hard candy. It has a buttery/butterscotch flavor and texture overall, with mineral flavors through the nose.

Final Word: For the price, I found this beer to be surprisingly straightforward and simple. The flavors were good (though the buttery characteristic could be a sign that my bottle wasn’t in peak shape), but they didn’t seem to mesh very well or stick around very long. I count myself lucky to have even gotten the chance to try a bottle, but find that I am completely unwilling to pay the steep price for another bottle. I’ve had plenty of beers with big price tags that were absolutely worth the price of entry, but I wouldn’t count this one among them. It simply lacked that euphoric “Wow!” that I’ve gotten from other top tier beers that I’ve tasted. When you pay $20+ for an 11.2oz. bottle, the reaction should never be indifference or disappointment. Again, I’ve found that very few reviewers of this beer include the butter/butterscotch flavor that I experienced in their profiles, which could point to my bottle being sub par due to shipping, temperature, or time, but at the same time I tasted what I tasted, and it was unfortunately disappointing given the price tag. This beer is far from bad, but it did not live up to its reputation as the best beer in the world, as the flavors weren’t full enough, and seemed to stand apart from each other instead of existing in harmony. If you get the chance to pick one up, it might be worth it just to say you’ve had it, but honestly I worry that this reasoning is what drives many people to buy it. Rarity doesn’t necessarily equal quality, and while this beer was still tasty, I found that Rochefort 10 not only gave it a run for its money, but was actually preferred by me. Check for freshness before you buy.

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Photo of mike409
3.9/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

tried this beer for the first time a few weeks ago and have been waiting to rate it so doing it now for the rb scavanger hunt. did not think it was worth all the hype tasted very similar to roch10. it poured a hazy deep yellow with great white frothy head aroma was sweet and nutty as was the taste.

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Photo of CampusCrew
3.9/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

update score: ....

appearance: The most amazing thing about the beer. I give it 5 plus.... amazing forever head and laces the glass the whole way down. the sediment at the bottem even forms a cinnamon like residue on the top of the head making this look like a latte. Beer Latte!

smell: the weakest part of the beer. although still a 5 the aromas were sublte to what I expected. but still world class spices like nutmeg and cinnamom fuming from the top of the glass.

taste: the high alcohol didn't take over the beer like rochefort does. I'm expecting this beer to be under a year. lots of cocoa and amzing spices. really makes me wonder if anything was added. Like nutmeg

mouthfeel: medium to nearly full bodied

drinkability: world class and amzing expereince. glad to have tried it

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Photo of brendan13
3.9/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Drinking this to celebrate my 1 year anniversary on BA.
Bottle cap stamped with 29.08.10. That's when I plan to open 1 of 2 other bottles I have.
A - Poured into the Westvleteren goblet a hazy dark brown colour with a few centimetres of beige head that slowly falls away to a thin whisp.
S - Big dark fruit notes up front as too be expected. Such an inviting smell. Some caramel sweetness & a nutty presence.
T - Dark fruit is also quite strong on the taste with a lot more caramel sweetness also coming through. A strong belgian yeast presence is also quite dominant.
M - Slightly syrupy, medium bodied beer with minimal carbonation.
D - A very nice, well made & interesting beer. The 10.2%ABV as well as availability and price lower the drinkability a bit.
I think the "rarity" of this artifically heightens it's overall score.

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Photo of zhanson88
3.91/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 15.12.13, so bottled in 2010. Tried side by side with a Rochefort 10, into an Old Guardian chalice.

Appearance: Pours out a reddish mahogany color, with 2" of light khaki head. Retention is incredible on this beer, and the lacing is awesome as well.

Smell: Some dark fruits present, with figs and dates. Probably not as dark fruit heavy as I was expecting though. Phenols as well, some yeastiness, and a sweet grapey twang oddly enough.

Taste: Caramel malts and a bit of toffee up front, followed by figs, dates, yeast, and again that sweet grape flavor. Phenols and spices round out the back end. Finish is sweet with a grape juice twang and phenols.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel is just under medium with high, very fine carbonation. Pillowy mouthfeel. This beer was certainly good as I had expected, but I wasn't awed by it. A little sweeter than I was expecting which retracted for me.

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Photo of DARIVA
3.91/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Nice little light dark beer with a good head.

S: The smells of caramel but nothing more recognizable.

T: The taste of toffee. Bit bitter beer and a little sweet taste.

M: Light carbonation.

O: Fairly long finish but a bit on the light side, even some creamy. Had something more expected, will later do a review of this beer.

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Photo of grynder33
3.93/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had been saving my Westy 12 for a special occasion, like maybe my 100th review, but I could only look at that number 1 rating so long, so I popped it.Maybe I should have waited. It looked nice enough, an exquisite brown red color, the aroma was malty sweet, with some citrus, but somewhat thin and evasive. The taste was supposed to be the thing, just send me to 7th heaven.Sorry. It was a straight malt citrus with hints of cherry. Nice enough, but simple. My cap read 08-07-06, so it appears that this beer has to sit.Just on its rep, Ill buy another bottle and let it sit

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Photo of texashammer
3.93/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Red-orange or copper color, with a thin head composed of very small bubbles. Beautiful fine resilient lacing. The lacing lasts and glitters in the light. It's gorgeous.
Nose is malty and yeasty with maybe some subdued raspberry -- I know this may sound like blasphemy but it reminded me immediatly of New Belgium Frambozen.
Taste is burnt roasty and smoky with a bite of carbonation. Raisins definitely; here I think of the Raison d'Etre. Sweet malts. As it warms there is more heady alcoholic sweetness. Burnt chocolate, caramelized sugar like creme brulee. There is a lot of yeastiness, very fruity.
The body is medium-full with an incredibly soft and smooth mouthfeel. The finish is like silk. Drinkability is hurt a little by the richness and the alcohol which I can feel.

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Photo of LampertLand
3.94/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Trappist Westvleteren XII @ 10.2% , served from 'The Brick' purchased for $60 , & revisited via two 330 ml bottles cellared for 2 years/june2015
A-pour is a dark amber from the bottle to a burnt amber in the glass with a small fine off white head leaving a lace ring along the supplied goblet
S-fruity & floral , a slight varation on the classic Belgian yeast , with a couple of years on it lost something
T-smooth & strong , hints of a slight bittersweet finish , even better tasting with some more age
MF-low carbonation , full bodied , very pleasant on the palate , very smooth
Ov-not the best beer in the world but a damn good one , worthy of seeking & cellaring
prost LampertLand

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Photo of Hex92
3.95/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After all the trouble and expense I went through to get my hands on one of the bricks sold on 121212 I have to wonder if the rating on this beer isn't inflated because people think its got to be better than it really is.

Its a good beer, but not super amazing. I am going to set a couple back and try them again in one year intervals to see if they improve, but at this point, given the price I wouldnt buy this beer again. I'm tempted to sell a couple to recoup my cost.

S- dried fruits a bit of alcohol. Same for tne flavor.
M- a bit thin and more carbonation than expected .

O- decent. I am glad I was able to get my hands on a sixer, but there are several better beers out there IMHO.

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Photo of drewba
3.95/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

A - Deep, reddish amber with a finger silky smooth tan head. The lacing is impressive - when you til tthe glass, the bubbles all fall together, then break. Nice eye candy.

S - Tart cherries, sweet raisin, rum raisin, fresh baked bread, nuts, slight cardboard oxidation. It all finishes with an unusual slightly tart lemon aroma.

T - Caramel, loads of molasses, hints of raisin, plum, dates and cinnamon. Quite bready and nutty, this tastes very hearty. I'm impressed that the hop profile is so apparent: slightly acidic and tart lemon, grass and orange flavors are found near the finish. Also adding a dryness I was not expecting or enjoying for that matter.

M - Syrupy, mouth coating body with an obnoxious amount of carbonation. Carbonation is prickly and really too much as I feel like I can't taste everything because of it. it does get better the more you let it warm and let the carbonation die down.

D - I am stunned that this is 10+%abv, it drinks wonderfully with zero alcohol heat. The dryness in the finish is my only drinkability related criticism. Lots of nuance and complexity, solid beer.

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Photo of elvisnj
3.96/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from a bottle.

Upon opening we have a light gusher.

Pours dark ivory with slight head that does not stick around beyond a slight skimming.

Nose is light. Phenols are detected along with classic Belgian Trappist yeast. Not much hop scent.

Taste.. is good. Its definitely a high quality brew. Its got some similarities to the Westvleteren 8 but I think it has less flavor. Its got dark fruits but they are not as evident. Raisins, plum, cola... I get just a hint of alcohol. Pretty smooth mouth feel.

Overall its good but definitely not as good as the 8. Being as how I lucked upon this and might never get another, I think the St Bernardus Abt 12 will do just fine as its equal.

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Photo of ChrisPro
3.96/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tasted 2010 vintage blind as part of a top 10 quad tasting with callmemickey and sideshowe.

A - murky orange brown with a distinguishable frothy pillowtop of head. Tons of lacing

S - Spices, lost of sweet caramel, biscuit and roasted nuts.

T - Had a weird off-tasting spice and lots of caramel. nice bitter finish.

M - Very sharp uncomfortable carbonation. Lots of booze. Slick and oily.

O - not very drinkable but tied for #3 out of the 10 best quads. Would do MUCH better with some age.

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Photo of hawks10
3.96/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml brown bottle - Dated March 3rd, 2013 - Poured into a chalice...

This beer is quite beautiful when held up to the light, deep, dark red with sparkling clarity. Two fingers of pancake batter head forms and slowly recedes, leaving chunks of lacing behind...

Sweet and sugary in the nose. Dark fruits and caramel malt. Belgian yeast spice, surprisingly muted aromas overall...

Ripe dark fruits provide some sweetness on first sip. Quickly becomes yeasty, Belgian spice and a lot of caramel malt. A bit of alcohol heat in the finish with a lingering spice and dark, burnt sugar...

Full bodied, creamy and very smooth. Has a certain lightness to it, soft. Alcohol heat shows up and lingers long past the finish...

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Photo of wisrarebeer
3.97/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Date stamp on cap of 22.11.08 (5+ years old)

A: deep copper color with rosy hues, lots of sediment in bottle (about 3/4 of an inch)
S: malt and some oxidation, earthy notes evident
T: nice beer, warming, slightly sweeter malt with good bitter finish, some oxidation noticeable, fruit taste in the finish (plums?)
M: very clean, warming
D: very drinkable

This is my second Westy 12 and although it's a very good beer it doesn't strike me as a world class contender. Very good but not worthy of all the hype. I was also surprised on the level of oxidation.

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Photo of SacoDeToro
3.97/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was fortunate enough to score a bottle of this stuff stateside and sampled it with a friend side-by-side with Rochefort 10 and St. Bernardus Abt 12.

The beer poured a rich and slightly hazy brown with a small tan head that quickly turned to lace.

The aroma of the beer was that of dark sugars, raisins, and figs, all carried up to your nose by the volatile 10.2% alcohol. It was nicely estery without going overboard.

The flavor of the beer had a rich maltiness with many accents of dried fruits, such the aforementioned raisins and figs. The hops were there enough to balance things out. The beer was also very creamy and smooth.

The mouthfeel of the beer was medium and not too heavy. The carbonation was fine and tight

Overall, a very impressive beer from a modest monastary.

As complex and impressive as this beer is, I feel it's touted so highly partly due to its scarcity. Having had it along side the Rochefort 10, I actually liked the Rochefort better. To me it seemed to have a little more depth and richness than the Westvleteren.

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Photo of Dithyramb
3.98/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Captured as part of a spectacular trade with AlohaC.
Cloudy dark brown with wispy off white/tan head. Nice lacing and more retention than I expected.
Dark fruits and some flowery aspects of the aroma.
Flavor started off a little tart and vinuous. Finished with a somewhat bland caramel that I usually equate with homebrew. Light spiciness and a hint of brown sugar.

This was incredibly smooth and easy drinking. Finished with a small lingering sweetness with some booze burn. This made it drinkable as all get out.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.98/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

No thanks is big enough for mdfb79 for this bottle!

Reviewed blind as part of Blind BIF Round 5. Cap reads 06.10.13. It pours a dark, semi-cloudy burnt auburn topped by a healthy tower of cream foam. The nose comprises dark greens, black pepper, clove, very bready yeast, nutmeg, figs, and light cocoa. The taste holds notes of cinnamon, brown sugar, clove, nutmeg, mild milk chocolate, Belgian yeast, light citrus peel, light cardamom, dark greens, candi sugar, and grass. The body is a hefty-leaning medium, with a light-ish moderate carbonation and an almost astringently chewily dry finish. Overall, this stuff was indeed tasty (and admittedly a little young), but it felt a bit wrong on my tongue. Honestly, I generally enjoyed it, but I've had plenty of better quads in my day.

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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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