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

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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

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Reviews: 1,815 | Ratings: 6,070
Photo of VTMLB
4.98/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Completely lived up to the hype. Had two when I was in Amsterdam over Christmas. I can't speak highly enough of this beer. I love Quads and this one beats them all.

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Photo of doktorhops
4.66/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Well this is it - the granddaddy of beers: Westvleteren XII. 5 years ago to the day when I joined BeerAdvocate this was the number 1 beer in the world, since then it has been overtaken by barrel-aged beers (and a whole lot of hyperbole) but this is the one I have always wanted. Now that I have it warming up to 12 Celsius on my kitchen bench I find myself reflecting back over the last 5 years and 649 beer reviews: I’ve had a great time, it has been a real pleasure to taste so many fantastic brews and I’ve quite enjoyed writing every one of the 240,000+ words on the subject, as I hope many have enjoyed reading them. Well it’s time now to see what the monks of Sint-Sixtus can do.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: Presents with a cloudy caramel brown and nice dense 2 centimetre off-white head that slowly tapers back to a still dense half centimetre blanket on top. I’ve always loved the look of a decent Quad and this one is no exception - top marks. 10/10.

S: Sweet dark fruits (plum, prune, date) with a splash of brandy and some nice bready yeast tones. It’s not quite as complex as expected, but it is nonetheless a moreish Quad aroma. 8/10.

T: Sublime flavour profile - begins with the above noted dark fruits, touch of brandy, some mid palate bread and burnt sugar notes follow through to a hint of cracked pepper and an apothecary of herb characters - it’s difficult to pick an individual herb but if I had to I would say wormwood. This is a flavour profile that commands respect (although so does the MUCH cheaper St. Bernardus Abt 12). 10/10.

M: Medium to heavy bodied with a mid to light, dense carbonation. A touch of stickiness means you get a nice Quad sheen coating your tastebuds. 10/10.

D: Was it as good as I was expecting? No. Still it is one of the greatest Quadrupels I’ve managed to lay my hands on, and I’ve had a few Quadrupels now. Compared to its brethren St. Bernardus Abt 12 and Trappistes Rochefort 10 though it’s not worth the price or trouble you go through accruing it, and I suspect if it was a bit more available that it might not be so hyped, but there you go it is and St. Bernardus Abt 12 is my Quad of choice overall. As Westy XII warmed up even more a wild cherry note became present, how complex can a beer get? This guy. 9/10.

Food match: Obvious choice is cheese made by the sisters of Abbaye de Belval which uses Westvleteren beer to refine it, and other Trappist cheeses would work well.

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Photo of Bdawg1
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 2011 with 4 years of age
Looked like a typical quad with a medium to dark color with exceptional head retention for the age
Smelled like raisins,stone fruit and caramel
The complexity from the very start of the first sip was worth everything it took to get a bottle!
At first its caramel soaked raisins that giveaway to bready stone fruit and belgian yeast esters!
Over all my favorite Quad

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Photo of PDXAmbassador
3.7/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Maybe mine was aged poorly, but tasted like iron filings and grape cool aid. Looked and smelled the part though. Probably need to try a fresher one. Eh.

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3.47/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First time having this. Before I get on, I will say that, I am cellaring a few bottles to try a year from now and 2 years from now. Had a 6 pack shipped in and just poured myself a nice chalice. Our came 2 fingers of foam. Nice dark brown body with vanilla looking head. A swirl, and it smells very familiar. Smells like malt, maybe a little coffee, roasted goodness. A few small tastes and I wasn't impressed. It was a little disappointing at first. Got better with each sip. The last couple were really smooth like a good creamy dessert. I want more! A fully circle experience. Not hooked but not turned off either. Will be interested in seeing what a little age does to these.

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Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.76/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

My father-in-law bought boxes of these and gave it to me, so I have a lot. You are supposed to store them (cool) for a while but I've drank several already. It is a top notch Trappist/Quadruple.

L- Cloudy dark brown and not much of a head, but appearance is not that important.

S- Complex fruity and spicy aroma. Interesting and inviting.

T- Wow, it blew me away the first time I had it (now I had many). The taste was bready toasted malts, caramel, raisins, some spices, not too much, well balanced, and not a hint of alcohol despite the high alcohol content. It was easy drinking even for my friends who prefer blander styles.

F- silky smooth creamy.

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Photo of angelmonster
3.99/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review is of a 3 yr old bottle.

Pours a very murky, dirty brown color. Head is tan and 1/4th of an inch. Sediment is very evident throughout tasting. Head retention and lacing were above average.

Smell is big on dried and candied fruits, dates, figs, even some apricot. Belgian rock candy is also very present. Slight soy sauce is there, hops are not, and alcohol is definitely there.

Taste is heavy on caramelized sugar, dates, and figs. Burnt malt is also apparent, with belgian yeast/ witch hazel also present. Hops arent present but alcohol flavor is high.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Head retention added slightly to the substance of the beer.

Overall this was a good beer but dont know how it was once regarded as the best beer in the world. It was a solid beer for the style but there was nothing in the flavor profile that stood out to me.

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

Wow...... Five year old version cellared at 45 degrees.

Popped the top and a slight gush of bubbles that dissipated quickly. Poured into a snifter. Cloudy marroon color.

Smell of dried fruits and sugars. complex though.

Taste... Speechless. Dried figs, and apricots. Some many subtle flavor including vanilla and Carmel . So smooth. No bite from alcohol.

Feel. Carbonation perfect and some lacing but really just melts in mouth like a piece of dried fruit.

Amazing, amazing beer. Best I've had....

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Photo of Crveballin
4.43/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Certainly a great and classic quad. If you haven't had one and get a chance it is worth it, although if it wasn't hard to get, this beer wouldn't be hyped as much as it is.

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Photo of Dentist666
4.82/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours cloudy dark brown with reddish hue, 1-finger beige head, recedes quickly to some laces, poured yeast residue in.
Smell - nuts, caramel, prunes, figs, dates, raisin, yeasty spiciness.
Taste - caramel, toasted malts, pepper and other spices, candy sugar.
Full body, medium carbonation, creamy, oily.

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Photo of WillDavis707
4.63/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Truly one of the all time greats. Nothing wrong with this beer. Great dark fruit notes and candied sugar sweetness. Im not the biggest fan of Belgians in general, but if i could, i would drink one of these everyday.

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

I had this Westy 12 on Christmas Eve. This was an aged Westy 12 I purchased when released in the U.S. This aged beautifully, with a nice cream/very light brown head, aromas of dried fruit and a touch of malt, flavor was similar with dried fruit soft mouthfeel and lingering finish. Can't wait till next year to open my last one and see what snother year does to this excellent ale.

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Photo of MartzMimic
4.64/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep reddish brown from the bottle. I was surprised by the carbonation, giving a creamy off-white head that remained for some time before settling down to a nice foam. I love the nose of bready malt mixed with Belgian yeast, then comes the fruit. Raisins, fig and prunes, giving way to candy and cloves. The candy is more prominent on the tongue, along with a bit of alcohol. Such a nice blend of fruit and spice. As for the mouth, it starts silky smooth, then becomes somewhat dry and crisp. This stands apart from the St. Bernardus Abt 12 moreso than I expected. Both are fine, excellent beers. Westvleteren, to me, has slightly more depth in all areas. It's wonderful.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

11.2 Oz. bottle poured into a Westvleteren chalice. Date on bottle cap says 10.02.15.

Appearance: Pours a deep brownish amber with a moderate amount of bubbles. Solid finger of off white head that settles into a thin creamy layer that sticks around.

Smell: A very juicy and nicely sweet yeast driven aroma with a big scent of dark fruit, spices, and caramel. Belgian yeast with hints of funk, clove, pepper, and cinnamon. Big presence of fruit with hints of dark grapes, raisin, cherry, fig, plum, prune, dates, banana, pear, and apple. Malt hints of caramel, toffee, toast, biscuit, straw, and mild chocolate. Sweet hints of candied sugar. Nice hints of leather and tobacco as well as some light anise. Hops are pretty subtle. A really great aroma.

Taste: As great as it smells, a juicy, spicy, and sweet yeast driven taste with notes of dark fruit, spice, and caramel malt. Belgian yeast with good spice notes of clove, pepper, cinnamon, and funk. Lots of fruit with notes of dark grapes, fig, raisin, plum, cherry, prune, dates, banana, apple, and pear. Sweet taste of Belgian candied sugar. Toasted malt notes of caramel, toffee, biscuit, toast, straw, and subtle chocolate. Also some notes of tobacco, leather, and slight anise. Hops are very light. A really great taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a medium to high level of carbonation. Juicy, creamy, and drying on the finish. Alcohol heat is minimal.

Overall: A truely great Quad that lives up to it's status as one of the best beers in the world. Great complex blend of fruit flavors, spice, and caramel malt. Glad I finally got my hands on a bottle.

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Photo of MaineBeerDinner
4.79/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

L: Deep red hue, sun just under the horizon, khaki head
S: Date, raisin, plum for days, raisin bread crust
T: balanced sweetness, ripe date lead, less raisin than raisin paste, warm raisin bread with a slightly boozy finish, processed molasses
F: medium bodied,
Would camp out for this anyway, makes me religious to learn from the monks who know

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

This was my 3rd and 4th Westy 12. One of them was brought back from Belgium and the other was from the one time U.S. release. For me, this beer lives up to the hype! I will say however, each of the 4 of these I've been lucky to drink have all been slightly different. My favorite two were both from Belgium (one consumed there and one consumed here with 4 years age on it). The U.S. release version that I had last night was slightly sweeter but the finish wasn't as smooth. Anyway, must try beer for any Belgian lover!

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Photo of atget57
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This beer deserves all the good you have heard of. Sitting by the wood stove with my son and a gift bottle spirited out of Belgium. Strong presence right out of the bottle. It is perhaps, one of the most complex & full beer experiences in 50 years of brewing appreciation. Each taste provides a different layer for the senses. It has the weight of a barleywine but is so much more delicate. Licorice, chocolate, cardamon, anise, coffee, spruce they are all present but understated. The finish is long lasting & very clean/dry. This is something that should be sought after by anyone who is serious about making the leap into the very best the brewing world has to offer.

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Photo of swid
4.59/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2008. Port-like aroma, with some additional plum in the aroma as well. The taste follows up with the port-like promise, with added chocolate-y flavors. The flavor finishes with some more traditional Belgian candy and a hint of spiciness. Finishes smooth, with very little heat from the alcohol.

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Photo of thevenerablebede
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A masterpiece of balanced brewing. A euphonic harmony comprising just the right amount of everything good about beer-- just the right mixture of sour, bitter, smoothness, maltiness, and hopiness. The only imperfection is the smell, but that's a personal thing. I generally find Trappist ales to smell soapy. I married into a Belgian family with a connection to the brewery so I get to enjoy a 12-pack every year or two, which I always share, earning me some major friend points.

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Photo of kkleu357
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

From notes on 9/12/15. Drinking across the street from the monastery at In De Vredes. This is very similar to Abt 12. Possibly more aroma and flavor. Seems to be on the bitter end. Anyways, poured from a bottle. Nice dark caramel body. Big fluffy head. Tastes is huge dark roast with tons of sweet prunes.

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Photo of Mojua
4.06/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quads as a style don't generally interest me, but I had to tick this beer. The only memorable things about it, we're that it's softer and lighter than I was expecting, it's extremely smooth, the ABV is masked well, and it's a good, drinkable beer.

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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 metter98
4.51/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A: The beer is very dark brown in color (black when viewed from afar). It poured with a half finger high light tan colored head that died down, leaving a short head covering the surface and a coating of bubbles around the edge of the glass. When held up to the light, I can make out some clumps of yeast floating near the bottom of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of dark fruits are present in the nose along with notes of malty sweetness and hints of candi sugars.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste is dominated by flavors of dark fruits—plums and prunes seem to stand out in particular—and has some malty and candi sugar sweetness along with hints of clumpy yeast. Only faint bits of alcohol are perceptible.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied and a little smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This quadrupel bursts out with lots of flavors of dark fruits and associated sweetness but is quite drinkable considering its strength because it does a very good job at hiding its alcohol. Comparing this to my notes for the Rochefort 10 and St. Bernardus Abt. 12, I didn't pick up any of the spices that I picked up in those other beers—this one seems to be fruitier.

Note: 2012 vintage

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of MS22
4.77/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a long time coming. I've been sitting on both direct from the Abbey and the US "XII" labeled bottles.

This is the best version of the style I have ever tried. People comparing ABT to Westy and claiming they are close...not to me.

On the nose are baking spices, brown sugar, dates, and the slightest bits of bready malt and cocoa.
Taste follows the nose. All dark fruits, candied dates, brown sugar and some booze. Then the carbonation comes along and cleans everything up. To me that is the only problem, a bit too many bubbles for my liking for the style and hence the reduction in points.

Overall great experience and worth seeing out even if only once.

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Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the best quad I've had...a beautiful beer with velvet-like qualities throughout, especially as it warms it all comes together. Patience is a virtue with quads and this one is no exception. A belgian quad symphony but with a caveat, though, that Abt 12 is just a notch below and at a fraction of the retail and / or trading price. I'm glad I tried this for the first time but won't plan to seek it out again.

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