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

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1,828 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: 1,828 | Ratings: 6,127
Photo of RobSouza
4.98/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Right now, my standard of Belgians, of which all others are measured. I've had this by itself, and compared it next to St. Bernardus ABT 12 and Rochefort 12. Comparatively, the Westy 12 has the best balance of flavors, mouth feel/carbonation, and finish.

Pours deep and dark like a true quad should. Head is fluffy like whip cream.

The flavors are bold yet subtle and evenly spread, not one overpowering the other. Berries, cacao, earthy, subtle on the nose.

The carbonation is delightfully effervescent and energetic...electric in some bottles, which shock the eardrums.

The finish is relaxing and pleasing, of a mild dark chocolate, the best finish of any Belgian. I found St. Bernardus ABT to come in at #2 -- flavor profile is slightly more minerally and metallic. Rochefort 12 was #3 in the lineup -- the chocolate dipped berry boldness is a bit overpowering for my liking, and always has been. I continue to drink and enjoy it, but it's still my #3.

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Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.57/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- dark plum colour with a typical frothy head.

S- booze and dark fruits.

T- incredibly refined, layered flavours of cherry, booze, figs and plums. Less sweet than the Rochefortes but still has that sweet flavour.

M-incredible. Possibly the best aspect of this beer, silky smooth, a mouthfeel ive never experienced in any other quad.

O- hard to live up to the immense hype, but it comes close. Just an incredibly well made beer.

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Photo of TheDoctor
4.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Service: Bottle
Best before: Jan-6-2019 (bottled Jan-2016)

Pours a muddy mohagany with an enormous khaki head that is basically sturdy as a dollop of dirty-looking whipped cream. Great retention; gorgeous lacing. (4.75)

Aromas of musty old barnwood and cherries with a slightly tart twang that is barely perceptible. (4.25)

Waves of smooth earthy, rich, brown bread and workbench dirt, dripping in dark fruit character with a touch of bubblegum and caramelized sugar in the finish. (4.5)

Medium+ bodied with active (but soft) carbonation, puffy, fluffy feel, drinkable. (4.75)

This is a very nice, very flavorful, very enjoyable beer. I am a big fan of Belgians and that is one that I've always wanted to get ahold of. I'm glad I did (merci, Steve). A unified sensory experience that highlights the incredible nature of brewing. Walks a line between big and drinkable, sweet and earthy, rich and refreshing. This is a world-class beer. Have it if you ever see it! (4.75)

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Photo of ilikebeer03
4.67/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Excellent beer. Definitely lives up to the hype. Great quad. Nose and pallate are a ton of crisp plum, raisin, cherry, dark fruits. Definitely dominated by plum, though. Never had a quad with so much plum. Drank side by side one from Belgium, one of the American releases and rotchefort 10. The one not imported (straight from Belgium) was better than the American distributed box one. Both blew rotchefort 10 out of the water.

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Photo of steve032
4.6/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Not a huge Belgian quad fan but this is truly the best that the style can offer. Spicy, bready, syrupy. All that lovely belgian-ness for when you get tired of lambic (which is never).

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

Sight: Pours dark brown, almost chocolatey, with a slight reddish hue. Beautuful, thick head, is creamy, off-white and variable in size.

Smell: dark fruits esters with mild pleasant phenols. Dark bread, and something prickly like dr. Pepper.

Taste: I think cherry cola would not be far off. There's also rum soaked currants, and prunes, and dates. fruity chocolate notes, with bright berries. Rye bread dough. Pepper. Subtle sweetness, decadent, but somehow still feeling off dry. Cookie dough? Omg this is good. The complexity is pretty mind blowing. The finish is absurdly long and unfolds like a symphony of sensations. Literally 20 minutes and still picking up nuances from residuals.

Feel: prickly carbonation is lively on the tongue giving a fine texture that is almost champagne like. body is medium but sturdy and chewy. Downright doughy. So.etimes feels like I'm drinking a cup of Mexican hot chocolate!

Mind: transcendental? Yeah. I think that term applies. To all those that think good beer has to be a hop bomb, take note. Is this the best beer in the world? Hard to say, but it very well could be.

Is this the same as Saint Bernards ABT 12? And how does it compare to Rochester or Westmalle? I intend to find out soon, in a side by side comparison!

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Photo of Buck89
4.55/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a 2012 bottle poured into a chalice. The color was a murky rusty reddish-brown with a relatively thin light tan head. Prominent caramel on the nose, with cinnamon, plum, raisins, and toffee. Huge tastes with the aforementioned fruit, cloaked in a spiciness and leathery funk. Really nicely balanced with everything playing well together.Medium to high carbonation and a dry finish. Would love to try newer bottles and compare.

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Photo of Furlinator
4.52/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cap dated 10/02/15.
Consumed on 09/04/16.
Pours hazy dark copper. A fizzy khaki head forms then fades to wisps on top and leaves faint spots of lace. The smell is of caramel, toffee, booze, raisins and figs. The taste follows with caramel covered raisin and a hint of alcohol. Full texture. Classic and world class.

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Photo of Esquire08
4.93/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

In 2011, a friend and I decided to sample all of the original Trappists after I managed to procure four (well, three, after one broke in transit) Westy XII's. The beer did not disappoint. Fast forward a few years when I visited Brussels, I found more of this heavenly beer and brought back a few bottles for a friend. I currently have seven sitting in a cool, dry place.

L - very dark, molasses, with thick head which lingers
S - fruity/fig, sugary
T - perfect blend of fruits and sugar, complexity changes as the beer finishes
F - very smooth, not overpowering

This really is one of the best beers I've had—it blends sweetness and acidity/carbonation quite well. Roche10 is often compared with this beer, which is more of a compliment to Roche10 than a knock to Westy XII. Although Roche10 comes very close, Westy XII is still the king of the Trappists; Roche10 seems slightly more carbonated, slightly overpowering the blend of sweetness compared to Westy XII. If you can find Westy XII—especially in Brussels—reward yourself, but I would never pass on a Roche10, especially given the differences in price (Westy XII was €12).

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle recently required in Brussels into a tulip glass.

Look is a dark hazy brown with an inch head that holds up well.

Aroma is dried fruit fig raisin earthy dryness at the end.

Taste has some of that dried fruit from the aroma lots of Belgian yeast esters and a smooth dryness at the end.

Absolutely wonderful balanced beer. 10% just shines through a bit as a nice balance to the intense Belgian notes. Absolutely worth the hype. Glad I picked up a couple of bottles.

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Photo of Chris1108
4.99/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is all its hyped to be!

Found in Aruba at Madame Jennettes! Brought a couple back to age.

Amazing. I can't say anything that hasn't already been said. Most complex beer I've ever had.

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Photo of DaveBar
4.35/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Got on trade. 330ml bottle served at 8deg C in a chalice.

A- Opens well and pours a 1" high light brown head that lasts for nearly 4mins before film out. Dark brown colour and unfiltered

S- Molasses, fig, caramel

T- Complex. A lot of flavors as expected from a quad. Sweet. Changes as it lingers on the tongue. Very Roche10 like or should I say the other way around?

M- Creamy going down then dries out

O- Nice beer. Not great and severely overrated. Not worth some $15/20/bottle by a long shot. Will not try again. Better off with Roche10's at $4/ea and you get 90+% of this beer.

Food Pairing

This rather good quad went well with...... Roasted lamb leg.


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Photo of jamesroses
4.29/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: ruby brownish with a big head of tiny bubbles. Creamy head that stays for a long time with great lacing.

Aroma: I let it warm and it smelled really sweet and boozy, mainly caramel and brown sugar with a slight red wine aroma but besides that, didn't get much dark fruits smell.

Taste: caramel and toffee, I'd say really sweet and spicy, not fruity at all, maybe a bit of that red wine character.

Mouthfeel: the best of this beer IMO. Despite being so sweet, the mouthfeel was like expansive and spot on, taking that sweetness apart and letting some hoppy flavours develop.

Overall: Well, another praised beer that I think it's very good but not the "holy grail". I prefer Rochefort 10 over this, a lot more -that should get much more praise than this. That one is much fruity and pleasant. This Westvleteren seemed to be one-dimensional and it's 5 times more expensive.

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Photo of Beersnake1
4.79/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled November 2013 (best before November 2016). Poured from fridge temp into Trois Pistoles glass. Allowed to warm over 45 minutes. Popped the cap and immediately got a smell of greatness. The pour was slow, and still ended up with 2 inches of head. Lots of sediment. Smell is so sweet - deeper and stronger than other Quads that I have had. Dark fruit is dominant. Taste is so smooth. Lots of cherries, blackberries, toffee, and hint of bitterness. Incredible. By far my favorite quad so far.

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Photo of nicola5555
4.29/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.71/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a snifter, the beer is a dark, vibrant, ruby-tinted brown coloring with a foamy, clingy, bubbly, off-white head. Aromas of rich toffee and date forward, with highlights of molasses, apple, caramel, fig, plum, subtle dark grapes, and earthy overtones. Very rich and layered aromas. Flavors are a richly sweet blend of old world fruit forward, sticky sweet with fig, date, plum, raisins, and followed with notes of apple, caramel, toffee, molasses, and earthy notes, as well as a solid boozy kick, and some subtle earthy notes. Extremely layered and dynamic flavor profiles, rich and earthy throughout, on a chewy, rich body. There is an edge from the carbonation that helps to lighten up this beast of a beer, but only slightly. The aftertaste is a blend of all the rich old world and stone fruits, with a solid booze warmth building. Slow, rich, lingering finish, with notes of molasses, date, and fig loitering on your taste buds. What a tremendous beer!

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Photo of REDAMI
4.94/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L-poured from a 330 mL bottle into a chalice

S-sweet, yeasty bread, molasses, fig

T-raisins, figs, rich brioche bread

F-creamy, coating, sinfully smooth

Perfectly balanced, a rare beer that actually lives up to the hype

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Photo of Ragnar
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Nice looking bottle. Very pleasant smell. Very nice taste and Good alcohol content. Excellent beer! Good beer for Sunday's relaxing in a sofa. Good also that all the money goes to the monks and charity.

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Photo of raysat
4.57/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Found at a bottle shop in Denmark, surprised to stumble upon it. I was really excited just to try it, knowing how difficult it is to find and the reputation around it. It was good, very good. Maybe not the ’best in the world’ (it’s impossible to say with so many great beers out there), but really great to find something so interesting. Good appearance, really large head that adds to the flavour of the first few sips. The toasted caramel flavour is really nice. I bought a few more bottles to age as well, that should be fun.

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Photo of superspak
4.52/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

4500th review! 330 ml bottle into chalice, bottled on 4/20/2014. Pours clear deep ruby red/brownish color with a 1 finger dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of huge raisin, prune, cherry, fig, date, apple, light red grape, peppercorn, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, herbal, tobacco, light leather, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Incredible aromas with awesome complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/bready malt notes; with great strength. Taste of huge raisin, prune, cherry, fig, date, apple, light red grape, peppercorn, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, herbal, tobacco, light leather, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Moderate peppery yeast spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, prune, cherry, fig, date, apple, peppercorn, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, herbal, tobacco, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible compelxity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/bready malt flavors; with a great malt/spiciness balance, and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-moderate dryness from yeast spiciness as well. Medium carbonation and medium-plus body; with a very smooth, fairly creamy/bready, and lightly crisp/sticky balanced mouthfeel that is amazing. Alcohol is very well hidden with a only a light warmth present after the finish. Overall this is an insane quadrupel style. All around incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/bready malt flavors; very smooth and easy to drink for the ABV. Very similar to Abt 12; but this one had more nutty/biscuity malt complexity and a better mouthfeel. A highly amazing offering all around, as I had hoped for.

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Photo of strohme2
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

What a treat to try. Thanks to a true Beer Advocate for the chance. Admittedly, I'm not a fan of this style. Served at cellar temp. Murky brown with a big, tan, soapy head. Rye bread, figs, raisins. Superb. Didn't want it to end. Didn't think I'd like it as much as I did.

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Photo of scottsoileau
4.47/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Finally able to pick this up in Georgetown while on vacation. Have to say I'm disappointed. This is a fantastic beer but can never live up to the hype. Looked the part, smelled the part. Mouthfeel was great. But flavor left me wanting more. Paid $34.99 and it was worth it for the experience. .....Once....Prefer Rochefort 10 by quite a lot. Better than St Bernadus. .maybe.

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Photo of ragnar3
4.46/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a taster. Although quads are not my favorite beer style, Westy XII was extremely well executed. Tons of brown sugar and dark fruit shine through...great beer.

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Photo of Fotonut
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love this beer. i drive to the brewery/monastery every chance I get to drink and pick up a few. Unfortunately that's like once a year or two. Last time I was there I was talking with an older gentleman who said he lived close by. As we were talking, a large fly dove into his 12. He calmly took the fly out with a spoon, let it dry on the table, and continued to enjoy the beer --- "Can't let it go to waste." Even the fly eventually shook itself off and flew away...

This beer is hard to get. You can get it only at the monastery, and even then you have to make reservations ahead of time. But even if you don't have a reservation, go by and have some at the cafe next to the monastery. If you're lucky, you can pick up a gift pack with a few bottles of 12 or sometimes even a six pack in the small shop.

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Photo of Beginner2
4.34/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sometimes it is better to find without looking.
Because you guys snap up this quad, I never expected to taste it.
Listed on the "1001 Beers To Taste Before You Die," this was one I never expected to Have. So imagine my surprise in Stockholm when I got lucky in a Belgian bar (Belgobarren) and they served it with chocolate.
Quite possibly the most analyzed ale in the world, I will say just two things.
First, it reminded me a lot of Orval in its medicinal aftertaste (medicine is good for you and, done correctly, "medicinal" is a good taste.)
Second, MJ's "Great Beers of Belgium" devotes 4 pages to Westvleleteren and is a must-read for any devotee to this brewery. MJ's 1999 "guide" gave this 4 of 4 stars back when 12 was called the "Yellow" .... and, guys, he kept it to one line: "mahogany in color, creamy, gingery and toffeeish." We can learn from that.

As for the price, it was not worth the arm and leg I paid. So, I am one and done looking for 12... but glad that it found me.

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.61 out of 5 based on 6,127 ratings.
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