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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
1,815 Reviews
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Belgium | website

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
(Yellow Cap)

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,815 | Ratings: 6,068
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.

 830 characters

Photo of Floydster
4.47/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Blank bottle with a yellow cap purchased from eBay for about twenty dollars after shipping, this one spent about four months in my closet before finally drinking it, had a best before October 2008 (10-8-08) date

Very special occasion tonight, so I decided to drink the highest rated beer in the world and indulge into the holy grail of Belgium, I was very anxious to see if this one lived up to all the hype and deserved to be number one rated on this site

Poured into my Westvleteren chalice that came with this beer when I purchased it, had a murky dark brown color with a dark red tint when held up to the light, the head was almost an inch and was off white and creamy, left crazy amounts of lacing during the hour plus while I was drinking this

Smell ranged as the drinking experience went on, at the end it smelled mostly like a candy apple, at first I got a significant amount of dark fruit, some Belgian yeast, and a lot of sugar in general, also a small amount of citrus aromas at the end

Taste was strong and had several different things going on, this one probably gets better with each month of aging and look forward to testing this opinion sometime in the upcoming years, started out with fig, raisins, sweet malt, sugary accents, prunes, and toffee, as it got warmer more fruity flavors kept coming to the surface, by the end I had tasted tangerine, grapefruit, and lemons but all faintly, some butterscotch, this one was dominated mostly by dark fruit and had red apple and grapes as well, no real evidence of any hop profile, had a nice syrupy texture that forced me to take my time drinking it thankfully because I probably would have guzzled it otherwise because it was so good, nice variety of malt and sugars overall making this a nice sweet Belgian, significantly better than Westvleteren 8 to me but that is just an opinion, wish I had more of this right now

Perfect amount of carbonation, a very thick and full body, a taste that kept attacking the taste buds for close to a minute, great mouthfeel

Could drink this all night and day if it was not for the fact that it was ten percent alcohol, its availability and price do not make it much easier, the alcohol is hidden well in here nevertheless and it is a smooth and easy to drink quadrupel, even though it tasted more like a tripel to me, not too filling on the stomach

Well, this beer was fantastic but it certainly was not the best beer I have ever had, probably towards the bottom of my top ten though, even though it was the best quadrupel I have tasted, I think the fact that it is limited and you can only get it directly from the monastery a couple times a month makes this beer so sought after

I wish I would not have traded away my other bottle but at least I got a Russian River Toronado out of the deal, this beer truly is a novelty and I see myself forking out significant dough for this again in the future via an online auction or trade

As far as the talk and excitement about the beer, Westy 12 is worth it, but I would not pay forty dollars a bottle for it at a bar but twenty bucks or so seems okay to spend from time to time, I highly recommend it even if you have to go through the hassle of getting from someone in Belgium because otherwise people are going to have some from trades or vacations where they brought some of this back, it is definitely a rare and highly demanded beer, yes this one was noticeably better than St. Bernardus 12 in my opinion, I am happy I got to try such a great beer and hope all of you some time soon

 3,539 characters

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.65/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Westvleteren 12

Huge thanks to Pimpp for this 1!

A- Hazy murky red with a nice creamy head. Foamy lacing on the glass.
S- Raisins, prunes, figs, nutmeg, and pepper.
T- Big strong and sweet dried fruits; raisin, figs, and prunes dominate touch of spices like pepper, nutmeg, and clove. Strong rock candy sugar with a kick of alc. in the end.
M- Fruity and sweet yet creamy mild on the tongue. A touch of boozy alc. in the aftertaste.

Overall- A good cold evening or desert beer!

 480 characters

Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had plenty of other quads and this one has been quite elusive. There's tons of reviews already so I'll leave you with 2 things that stood out prominent to me:
1: that is a ton of sediment at the bottom of a small bottle.
2: I love the mineral influence on the taste of this rich beer. Never had a quad quite like this before.

Yeah, it's pricey but I'd go for another. Thanks eclectic for this via trade!

 410 characters

Photo of basica
4.68/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (1998 Vintage) (Rating 9.5/10) - 11 ABV - 26 Nov 2007

Not too long ago, in my haul from CrackedKettle's online beer sales, I have a Westvleteren 12 from 1998 and the date on the cap is for the year 2001. (I am not sure if it shld be 1997 instead) So I had a contemporary Westy 12 2 days ago and I clearly recall the taste as well as the full experience and gratification level; let's see how this one does. It is interesting to note that in 1998 (when I was in middle school), Westvleteren 12 is 11 ABV as opposed to the 10.2 ABV that it is today; it was also 10.6 ABV at a certain point in time. Man this baby is crowned tight; it took some effort to get it off and immediately a vinous grassy aroma can be can be detected at the opening of the bottle; some dark fruits but not really impressive here. I poured it out into my old Abdij St Sixtus oversized wine glass and a one finger thick head developed over a dark amber brown liquid below. What surprised me was the way this head grew to a 2 finger thick head which persisted for a while. the head was creamy and bubbly but more bubbly and I prefered the creamier head on the contemporary Westvleteren. The smell was not very strong but the vinous part of it was clear; there was this light yeasty bready smell with a little bit of fruits underneath and I think I sense a dash of malts but in general the smell was not fantastic. Moving on to the taste, the nutty/almondy goodness from the contemporary Westy was still present though the intensity probably halved. Other than the nutty entry, there was a well pronounced vinous taste of aged beers that was well within expectation along with the a nice maltiness which followed behind. Sweetness was clear but it was not a "thick" sweetness like in the contemporary Westvleteren; it became a more mellow sweetness. The fruitiness was also more subtle and mellow on this one; I can raisins, grapes and some plums which were kind of buried under the malts but stil detectable along with the sweetness. The finish was a pleasant nutty/almondy dryness with nice vinous aromas, maltiness and plums on the nose. The maltiness and the fruitiness towards the finish was a very pleasant part of the taste that somewhat reminds me of the greatly aged 1985-1988 La Trappe Dubbel that I had which was so called one of the best aged beer I ever had thus far; up there with the Special 6. On the whole I still prefer the taste of the contemporary Westvleteren though I prefer this one's finish. It was clearly a very much mellowed down taste which had it's unique strengths. The after taste was flooded with malts, brown sugar sweetness and dark fruits starting with plums and moving on to raisins and grapes after a while. The mouthfeel on this was about medium bodied; clearly the aging compromises on the thickness and the creaminess as well. It was still slightly creamy to drink and the carbonation was clearly going low but still pretty sufficient. 11 ABV seems deceivingly smooth and light and I almost thought this was a 7 or 8 ABV if I did not know from the start that it is 11 ABV. Again I prefer the mouthfeel of the contemporary Westvleteren 12. Let's now break things down further, the smell was largey vinous aromas which was obviously different from the contemporary's intensely fruity and sweet smell. Taste was a classic mellowed down version which was generally not as good except for the slightly pre-finish and finish which was in a greatness realm of it's own.Mouthfeel lost thickness, richness and creaminess as well as some carbonation over time but surprisingly, the nuttiness was still there. Very nice and I can really appreciate it but I still prefer the contemporary Westy to this particular bottle of 1998 Vintage; I mean aging really produces different results... We all know that. Cheers for the season folks! :)Ok, I am v.slightly intoxicated.. maybe it is my lethargy and lack of food... and... 11 ABV heh... In case I forget my individually ratings (BA disabled reviews till Sunday) Taste: 5, Appearance: 4.5, Smell 4.0, Drinkability: 5, Mouthfeel: 4.5 (Overall: 4.65 I believe...)

 4,131 characters

Photo of Overlord
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

At long last, the holy grail-esque Westy 12.

Pours a murky brown/red color, not much head, but there is a thin rim of carbonation. Surprisingly drinkable considering the ABV. Not as thick as I expected.

Taste is sublime. Very much what I could imagine quaffing by the jugful in a European village pub. Delicious cherries, plums, malt, and just a hint of spiciness to the palate. Very well integrated considering its ridiculous complexity. I could go on and on, but this a beer that I suspect has been thoroughly reviewed before.

Not my favorite beer, but it's up there.

 573 characters

Photo of Vancer
4.51/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Well, here we go; it’s been a 3 year journey on BA, and for review 1000 it’s time for the Westy 12.

Murky brown pour as I swirled to get every freakin’ last bit from the plain glass bottle. Not much tan head, but not expected with the 10+% alcohol in this – which, by the way, is not detectable in the least.

Dark fruits, malt and a cherry finish. Doesn’t seem to overpowering by any means. Very drinkable in fact, slides like a dream – but the glow in my cheeks are showing the high alcohol in this one.

This is one tasty brew, but, ya know what? The price is too high unless you’re in Belgium drinking from the local café. But this is to be experienced in your lifetime.

 683 characters

Photo of objectivemonkey
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cap states: 07.03.10. I think.

Into a St Bernardus glass, pours a lovely russet brown, a fluffy, bubbly tan twinged head diminishing to a bubbly foamy film, lacing in sheets coming down the glass with a swirl, slowly receding till splotchy spots remain. Give 'er a swirl and that head pops right back up. A lovely start.

The aroma, though not as enveloping as its Dubbel brother, is a treat in its own right. What hits me first is the ripe dark fruits, raisins, berries, a very sweet Belgian sugar heaping with hefty caramels and a slight honey bready feel, very rich and very enticing.

And then, the taste. I suppose I could probably drone on about the sweets, the spices, the mouthful of malts and yeasty earthiness, the way it changes and surprises and delights, dries through the end with a lingering beauty... I'll just say its perfect. And an incredibly smooth mouth, ultra fine carbonation, the alcohol warm and caressing, everything here is superb.

In sum, its in fact a remarkable beer, worth the praise and the efforts required to acquire. What may perhaps be so amazing is it keeps light and dodgy, beckoning for you to try some more... yes yes, open that other bottle, raid that cellar, Clear your STASH! DRINK IT ALL! It really would be that easy, such a joy to drink.

Huge thanks go to tpd975 for getting me this bottle!!

 1,341 characters

Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark brown, slightly translucent around the edges. Pours with a 2-inch head that eventually settles to a quarter-inch. Very good head retention, a trait I've noticed amongst most Trappist beers.

Aroma: Dark dried fruits, figs, candi sugar, slight alcohol. Very aromatic.

Taste & texture: Very fruity initially, though not overly sweet. Takes on a rum cake quality toward the middle. The finish leans more on the dry, herbal and hoppy side, though it retains a trace of sweetness.

Notes: I compared this side-by-side with St. Bernardus Abt 12, and while quite similar, I slightly prefer this. I found it more aromatic and slightly more balanced. In contrast, St. Bernardus is a bit more dry and bitter in finish, though both beers are excellent. While I approached this with as much cynicism as I could muster, it really is great, and largely worthy of the praise it receives. Hard to call it the best beer ever, but I'm not sure I could say that about any beer. Nonetheless, it's well worth trying.

1997 vintage consumed 2011:

Murky ruddy brown color. This has lost some carbonation, but it looks decent. Very fruit-forward nose with fairly pleasant oxidation, smells decent. Palate is very oxidized, a little cardboardy. Earthy fruit is also prevalent. Carbonation is a bit low at this point. Pretty good, but I'd take a fresh bottle over this.

 1,362 characters

Photo of wcudwight
4.34/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chestnut color. No head just some thin white lace on top and around the glass. Yeast floating around.
Mmmm this smells like gingerbread and oatmeal cookies right out of the oven.
Big malty flavors. Candy sugars. Whole wheat toast. Raisins. Somewhat nutty. Pecans and Almonds. Well balanced with a big alcohol kick at the end.
I think it's the mouthfeel that sets this beer apart from the others. It's perfect. Silky smooth with some alcohol kick and lively carbonation. It coats the mouth and warms you going down. I like.
It's 10% and drinkable. The alcohol is definately there, but hey it's a big beer.
This beer has been hyped as much as Obama/Clinton, but when you drink it you realize that it's just a beer. A very good beer, but just a beer.

 760 characters

Photo of seaoflament
4.47/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nov. 6, 2007

My last Westvleteren of the night and a great one to cap off my b-day celebration. I came across three of these so I don’t know who exactly to thank, I think this is the bottle that I received from BuckeyeNation, thanks!

Date of 29.02.08 on the cap (the clearest date of all 3 westvleterens I had tonight).

Pours a ruby, dark brown color. Not too active on the foam but seems to settle to a nice thin ring around the glass, and I say “seems to settle” because as it warms up that ring becomes a bit thicker.

Very good aroma. Spiciness, dark fruits, bread dough, cinnamon, raisins, cherries, dark sugars, really varied and floral. Caramel and burnt sugar, candied yams, piloncillo, very good all around. Reminds me very much of Rochefort 10 and this might just be a step above. The aromas feel very well balanced and once you pick up on one, another quickly demands attention. I’m just trying to enjoy this as a whole, I think it works best this way.

The taste is fantastic. Again, spicy with dark fruits like figs, prunes, raisins, and then there is a sweet bread finish. The after-taste is sweet and slightly alcoholic.

Mouth-feel is not as creamy as I thought it would be but still very good. After-taste, just like the westvleteren 8, is very clean with just a few hints of dark fruits and some residual sugars in the back of the mouth.

It has been a great experience in reviewing all three Westvleterens within 24 hrs. Although it is a very good beer, Rochefort 10 is just as good, easier to get and more economical, plain and simple.

 1,566 characters

Photo of Monsone
4.47/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to rayjay for this.

A - Murky dark brownish red with very little head. Actually was expecting more out of the head.

S - Spicy with dark fruit and caramel malt. I detect a little alcohol in the nose.

T - Malty sweet with plum, chocolate, toffee and spices. Very well balanced. Alcohol warmth on the back end.

M - Full bodied and creamy

D - Pretty decent drinkable for how big this beer is.

Overall, this is one of the best Quads I have ever had. I did this as a side by side with the Rochfort 10 and prefered the Westy. That said I can get a Rochefort all the time. Westy is much more difficult. Yes there is a bit of hype to this beer, but it is a great for a reason.

 681 characters

Photo of DavidEddie
3.44/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Jasonjlewis for the trade.
06.12.09 printed on cap.
Dark cola appearance. Off-white head diminishes quickly. Smells of dark fruits, grape, red wine, and cotton candy. Very aromatic. Tastes sugary sweet, dark dried fruits, dark cherries, grapes, and a small bit of chocolate mixed in there. Kinda boozy, some alcohol warming as it goes down. Flavors linger in the finish. Mouth feel is mildly creamy at first then turns a bit syrupy. Good amount of carbonation.
Overall, the drinkability was not bad. ProbabIy won‘t be seeking it out again. Worth a try. Cheers!

 571 characters

Photo of irishkyle21
4.94/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one killer beer, those monks sure know what they are doing. They only thing I was disappointed with was the appearance but I have another bottle to be had on another special occasion ( I had this one the day after my B-Day Oct 24th to be exact cause I knew I would be to drunk to appreciate it on the 23rd, I always take notes than type them up on BA). I poured the 12 fairly vigorously ( which is my usual pour) and to my surprise the head was fairly small and there was minimal lacing. The color is very attractive though a hazy brown with a bit of purple tints.

Every other aspect of this brew is amazing. The nose is full of dark fruits ( plums, raisins), candy sugar, a bit of malt, some spices and so much more. I can only imagine how many different scents I could pick out of this beer after having it a couple of times ( and I don't even have a great nose).

Tastes like heaven will ( if I make it). The alcohol is almost completely hidden, has notes of raisins, plums, sweet malt, spices and yeast. No wonder this is rated so highly. Believe the hype.

 1,070 characters

Photo of willjansen
4.97/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle purchased at In De Vrede cafe in June of 2006, stored in a dark closet until drinking on 28 October 2007. Best before date of 08.04.09. Pulled this one out to celebrate the award of a master's degree to my girlfriend. Relieved to hear a massive whoosh of carbonation upon opening... poured into a Trappist chalice served just below room temperature. lets see how she went...

Appearance - Nice, strong two-finger head with a beautiful deep mohagony color with ruby sheen when held up to the light. Head slowly and evenly recedes to an even cover of lace. Some chunks of yeast despite careful handling and 85% pour. Beautiful Belgian abt.

Smell - Sweet dark fruits (raisins, figs) coming through immediately, followed by a wonderul rush of aromas that is almost too complex to decode any individual components. Sweet candy, even a strange whiff of marshmellow. Extremely enticing, smells amazing. Alcohol notes come through in the nose.

Taste - Dark fruits predominant with a host of complexity swirling around this main theme - bit of toffee/caramel, molasses, chocolate. Ever-so-slight burnt edge with a great balance that prevents it from being overly-sweet. Slightly boozy, but in a good way - can be compared with the smoothness of a high quality whiskey (that element that sets it apart from a cheap whiskey). Amazingly pleasant aftertaste - like no other beer.

Mouthfeel - Perhaps the highlight of the beer; super-silky feel with the perfect amount of carbonation that spreads the flavor out evenly over the tongue. Spot-on for use of texture and carbonation to most efficiently deliver the flavor to the mouth. Perfect.

Drinkability - Exceptional drinkability. Certainly for sipping, but the beautiful aroma, taste and mouthfeel fuse into a very drinkable brew that I could drink until the ABV caught up with me (which, at 10.2% (probably more after >1 year in the cellar/closet) is pretty quickly).

Notes: I am very happy that my stash has not been tarnished by my less-than ideal storage conditions. Compared to the many that I drank last year in Belgium, the beer has retained many of its great characteristics while mellowing out in the alcohol slightly. I would say that it has lived up to the hype that is associated with it... this is for a damn good reason. I hope this beer always maintains the quality and doesn't sacrifice this for quantity. Proost.

 2,383 characters

Photo of thierrynantes
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer bottle (33cl.), first tasted in 2002.

Appearance : dark brown color (disturbed by yeast), fine beige foamy head (and remaining).
Smell : rich sweet aromas, depth liqueur.
Taste and mouthfeel : sweet, yeasty and spicy flavors, rich and round, very well balanced.
Drinkability: beer very pleasant beer in the style Trappist Abt.

Review translated from french (11-15-08).

 375 characters

Photo of Backer2004
4.87/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to bruskiator for sharing this 7 year old bottle with us at our BJCP final class. I have heard so much hype for the Westy 12 in the last three years, and I do have to say, I was very excited to try this one out. Just like the others, I was not disappointed one bit.

Red copper hues, prunes and plums, then add chocolate and caramel. So much complexity, full body, some alcohol present to the nose and mouth. Dried cherry, tons of pleasant sweet aftertaste. Nothing to add that others haven't already.

Okay, I'm retired. No more beers for me. What's the point?

 568 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought this back in 2005 from The Belgian Shop.

This pours from 12oz bottle( stamped date of 07 06 08) a deep brown that you just can't see through, ok, I'll say murky. The head takes up about 20% of my New Belgium goblet and is an off white and is thick and billowy that I imagine myself being able to a take a bite out of it and it would be chewy. Also, there's a few sprinkles on the top of the head from the sediment.

The smell has a realy dark fruity nose to it, raisin-prine-plum-fig, along with some chocolate, yeast, coffee, and yeah, a bit of the alcohol.

The taste on first sip has the dark fruits at center stage. Subtly sweet portions of plum, raisin, fig, some dark cherry, a touch of chocolate and cofee(and I do mean just a touch) and a slight bitterness in the form of some citrus near the tail end of the sip and it carries on right through the finish where I also get some of the alcohol that warms the throat during the swallow. This is so darn complex that I fear my words will not do it justice but hey, I'm doing the best I can. ;^)

Ok, I'm about 2/3rds of the way through my glass and the chocolate is a bit more pronounced now and that simply adds to how silky smooth the mouthfeel is. And look at all that sticky lacing on the sides of my glass!

This is the second of my bottles I've tasted(the last one was shortly after I received them) and I'm as impressed now as I was then....a 2 year span.

Bottom line: Yeah, I spent a few bucks to get my bottles of Westvletern 12(and 8) and I could have bought lots of other beers for the cost but, I feel that the money was spent well. I've had other quadrupels before and I liked them. I'm partial to the style. Is this the best example of the style that I've had to date? You darn tootin. Is it because of the scarcity factor? No. It's because my palate tells me that it is *that* damn good. Complexity in the taste? This has it. Complexity that has all the flavours working in harmony? This has it. A great looking appearance in a glass? This has it. A nose that keeps you sniffing before every sip? This has it. A mouthfeel that is both silky smooth and chewy at the same time? This comes very close. Drinkability that goes through the roof? Just about. So, would I buy some again? At current prices?(US$18 per bottle plus shipping from Belgium) Maybe, but if it was as "easily" available as other examples of the style, I'd buy it by the case.

 2,425 characters

Photo of srandycarter
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into tulip. Cap reads 07.03.1. Served at 48F.

A - Dark brown with small reddish tint, light is difficult to penetrate.
Nice egg white head. Massive lacing.

S - Like some kind of antiquated Christmas pie, so many deep dark fruits rush up. Alcohol present but not overwhelming.

T - Fig, dark fruit in general, fruit juice notes and sweet malt. Finish with subdued but perfectly adequate astringency, which I can only attribute to hops , though they seem hard to perceive. It starts veering toward thick cloying, then 'zeros' out magically. Reaches the peak of fruitiness then pulls back.. Nice trick.

M - Different than any other beer I know. Full feel, lots of fruit notes, medium carbonation. The bigness of the fruit and the subsequent reigning in are most remarkable.

D - Too big a beer to session. One is enough for a special occasion then move on.

Expensive, but a must.

 889 characters

Photo of jasonjlewis
4.06/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Caramel malt smell. Some spiciness going on. Banana phenol comes out as the beer warms.

This is a good beer but no where neer the best beer in the world. Caramel malts come out on the forefront. Beer gets better as it warms It's very good, but it's a litle simple. Just some belgian fermented beer with caramel malts. It's really good, but not anywhere near the best beer in the world. There are a good amount of undertones, but nothing reall comes out and says "hey taste buds, what's up?" Some phenol comes out, the alcohol presents it self as well. Banana phenol notes comes out as beer warms. The beer is just kind of mellow and not that exciting. I prefered Avery's The Reverend.

Decent mouthfeel, but not great.

I could make a decent session of this beer.

 764 characters

Photo of Metalmonk
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally, a date with the hottest beer on the block. I have to thank msubulldog25 for the hookup. It was an excellent final beer to wind down my whirlwind journey in Portland. Thanks Brian!

Judging by the '09 on the cap, this was probably bottled Nov. 29, 2006. It poured a dark murky brown, but wasn't cloudy, just impenetrably solid brown. The head arrived as a small cap, but it did stick around for the duration.

Aroma is wonderfully vinous, like fresh, young grapes crushed in a new-wood tun. Quirky yeast character in the background, just what you would expect from a secret and hallowed Belgian yeast strain. More aromas: prune, raisin...and more grapes, white ones too.

Flavor is a strong, assertive grape character with a mild alcohol warmth and subtle notes of weird nuttiness from the yeast. (weird = good) Some prune juice and raisin, and other dark fruits, slight chalky cocoa...Incredibly succulent, so much that I can't properly compare it to another beer. Rough grape skin acidity in the finish, but in a good way. A big, controlled, unique beer.

Mouthfeel is fairly neutral, in that it offers carbonation and silkiness in equal parts, nothing stunning but certainly adequate. It dries fast, and there's a fruity sourness in its finish.

Heavily vinous, and clearly a top-notch beer. I would definitely pay a crazy price for another bottle. There's more here than just one tasting can reveal.

 1,411 characters

Photo of northernbrews
4.6/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had a mini quad tasting with HellsBells24 in April 07. Had this one after the Abt 12.

Received this bottle from rayjay via trade. Thanks Jason!

Appearance: Pours a nice and clear brown color with a 1.5 finger tan head. Slightly red around the edges. There is a little bit of lacing on my snifter. This looks very similar to the Abt12.

Aroma: Starts with some dark fruits, nice malts and a slight alcohol burn. This is followed by dark fruits, figs, roasted malts, and slight cherry. The aroma is more pronounced as it warms. Very nice. Lets see how it tastes.

Taste: The tastes are similar to the aroma, but not a noticable. Cherry and dark fruits from the start followed by warming alcohol and some spicy hops. There is a nice malt background that balances all these flavors.

Mouthfeel: The dark fruit and malt flavors hang for a bit. This is pretty creamy.

Drinkability: This goes down very smooth for 10.2%. I wish I had more than one bottle of this because I could easily drink a few of these.

Overall. This finished behind the Rochefort 10 and slightly above the Abt 12 and Chimay Blue. Another truely a world-class beer (as were the others). I'm not sure if it's worth $20 if you don't get it in Belgium due beers of similar quality being available more readily and for much cheaper. Definitely a beer you have to try though.

 1,338 characters

Photo of lifeboyq
4.87/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.10.09 stamped on the cap. I've had these for a year or so as part of a wonderful gift from a 12 pack given to me. Poured at ~55F into my Westvleteren chalice. Strong tan head, decent retention, solid lacing. Nose has notes of rasin, figs and dates, perhaps plum. Mouthfeel is silky and spicy. Taste is similar to the nose, just more apparent in the depths of a profound flavor. This is sure making my Tuesday night something special. Truly one of the world's best offerings for a "commercial" beer, although I'm not sure this is the epitiome of a commercial offering. As far as drinkability goes, should we even discuss this? This beer is closest to the St Bernardus Abt 12, but is much cleaner, deeper and pure. Truly the best quadrupel offering by a long shot. I'd offer a longer diatribe about the complexities and beauty of this beer, but if you dont get it already, there is nothing my words can do.

 907 characters

Photo of mmcave
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this in trade well over six months ago and man has it been hard to wait this long, but in celebration of my 24th birthday I decided it was time. I've heard so much about this beer over the course of the year some say its the best quad ever, some say its all hype now its time to put it all to criticism:

Cap states 09.08.09 I assume this is a best by date. I chilled this a touch below cellar and let it warm up for about fifteen minutes. Finally the caps off and I can immediately smell complex notes of yeast and alcohol. Poured into my watou goblet huge two fingers of off white, light brown almost gray egg shell color head, it is immense very tight and creamy. The retention is decent and lacing creamy and thick. The body away from the light is a muddy red brown, though through a light red amber hughes are apparent. It sort of looks like an unpasteurized, unfermented very dark apple cider.

Aroma is big and complex with notes of chocolate and caramelized sugars, burnt biscuit, hints of yeast and grandiose complex alcohol on the back-end. It smells almost port like, green raisons, a bit vinous sort of like vintages tokaji, its that sort of dirty musty scent with sweet dark fruit aromas. As it warms clove like big alcohol become more apparent. I get apple core, touches of vanilla on the outer rim with subtle and very illusive touches of fig, pear and pecans.

Taste is big lots of caramelized flavors and burnt sugars. The carbonation is apparent on the fist part of the draw making it a bit lighter than expected. I get the musty slightly chocolety tokaji taste and as it warms up it becomes more and wine like (not like a cab., pino., or, chardonnay, but big and well aged port, muscadet, tokaji.). After the swallow notes of burnt rummed raisons (this is where the bitterness manifests) present them selves and on the finish a nice alcohol warmth. Apple core and hints of vanilla are also present in the taste as it warms.

This is one big complex beer that really needs time to be consumed it is always fun to experience the change temperature can make in a these type of beers. If you ever have the pleasure of drinking this do not make the mistake of drinking it too fast or too cold it must be consumed slowly to let it warm up and express it's full potential. Great for the style and a pleasure to drink.

 2,334 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy medium brown color with a frothy head that persists somewhat and leaves plenty of lace

Smell: Boozy aroma of rum-soaked raisin, dried cherry, honey, cocoa powder and candi sugar

Taste: Starts with a dark fruit laden mouthful of creamy cocoa; after the swallow, the fruit and chocolate flavors build without ever becoming too sweet, although there are some residual honey, cotton candy and toffee elements that appear in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full and creamy body with moderate carbonation; warmth on the finish

Drinkability: I'm glad I finally had a chance to try this but, to be honest, I prefer the Rochefort 10; this one is just a bit too boozy for my taste

 691 characters

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 1,815 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.