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

1,851 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: 1,851 | Ratings: 6,247
Photo of bgramer
4.77/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Many, many thanks to Barefootbrewer for the trade!

I had high expectations for this "holy grail" of beers and once I received this, I put it away and tried to think of when would be the perfect time to drink it. After a combination of my own impatience and some pestering from a couple friends, I decided to put the expectations and hype to the test.

I poured this into a Chimay goblet glass.

The appearance was a brown color with a powerful but thin tan head about one finger thick slowly dissipating to a frothy skim top. It was well carbonated but not overpowering and seemed to settle down after sitting for a while.

I smelled fruits, raisins, spiciness, and sweetness such as caramel and chocolate, and dare I say, nuts of some kind. The mouthfeel was malty and creamy, a bit smoother and not as thick as St Bernardus Abt 12 but that's a good different thing. There seemed to be a slightly dry bitter finish at the very end of each sip. Complexity at it's finest!

Really a solid wonderful beer, and it didn't disappoint.

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Photo of CH3CH2OH
4.12/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Traded with Akorsak for this; thanks again.

Head dissipated quickly. Poured a dark and murky, like a good Belgian should. Had a bready aroma, with some light malt. Faint fruity esters. A tart flavor with a nice heavy melanoidin background. Little bit of a thin mouthfeel with very little finish. Extremely drinkable for a beer of this abv.

I did a blind taste test between this, Rochefort 10, and St. Bernardus 12 to take some of the bias away that I might normally have for such a rare beer. I had a hard time differentiating it from the St. Bernardus (makes since, because St. Bernardus contract brewed for Westvleteren for many years.)

Great to try, but given its rarity I would go with Rochefort or Chimay first.

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Photo of Hallu
4.11/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm not a big fan of Trappiste beers I must admit. I love ones with a hint of acidity like Karmeliet, or complex ones like Rochefort 12. So I wasn't expecting that much. After all, the best beer in the world title came from a lot of hype and rarity.

On the smell, it's shocking how it smells exactly like a doppelbock. Cloves, caramel, banana. Nothing similar to a trappiste. I'm missing the dark fruit notes from a Rochefort for example. On the taste, it's disappointing. It's like an amped up Chimay (so too sweet for me), but it doesn't surprise. My friends who like Trappiste beers absolutely loved it, but the lack of surprise and the sweetness disappointed me. Rochefort manages to stay on a drier note and is complex, interesting. This one is more like a british beer, meaning it's balanced and simple. Because it's rare, online bottleshops sells this 10 € for the 33 cl. But a case is around 40 € at the Abbey, so less than 2 € a beer... It's not more expensive than other trappiste beers (less, even). I think the monks know they do a good beer, but they don't believe it's better than what the other abbeys do. And this is to me absolutely true.

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

2006 bottle shared by Weisguy.
Pours a super syrupy brown with nearly zero head on a careful pour. Smells very bready along with nuts and dark fruit. The taste is delicate brown sugar malt with several layers of sweetness. I pickup lots of belgian dark sugar and it reminds me a bit of a well aged barleywine, but not as thick or heavy. The mouthfeel is slick and a tad syrupy with a nice medium carbonation. Mild alchohol finish on it, but I loved it.
Leaps and bounds better than the first Westy 12 I had that was full of sediment and aged on its side.

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

Had this today at Westvleteren's Cafe served in their glassware thanks to Yapi who took me out to see the abbey.

Pours a brilliant rich brown with some reddish tinge to it with a soft 1" off white light brown head.

smell of honey and candi sugar and some dark fruits with some alchoholic burn in there. nice yeasty smell as well.

taste has a good amount of candi sugar with some nice rich fruits a bit of bread and some burn to it. There is a bit of vanilla in here as well. This would really improve with some aging and I can clearly see the potential.

great mouthfeel very smooth and viscous

easy to drink, much to easy to drink.

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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 jojox
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It's finally time to review this beer. I'll be updating and changing as time goes on I think. I used to live in Paris and went to the Abbey 3 times with reservations, to buy cases. I had so much Westvleteren 12 at one point that I used a bottle to make a roast. Those were the days!

Bottle from batch February 12, 2008. Tasted March 25, 2009.

a - Dark brown. Not crystal clear. Thin, pale head. Fading but steady, islands of creamy bubbles sail down the whole way to the bottom of the glass when it's finally empty.

s - Malt. Caramel, alcohol, prunes, raisins. Strong smells. Complex sweetness-smells.

t - Wow. Dried fruits. Well carbonated. Alcohol/port bite is slight. It's not.. sweet, but malty, and yeah.. a little sweet. Deliciously sweet. This is awesome. This is the best malt profile ever. Belgain yeast creates a smooth, slightly estery aspect that perfectly marries the malt sweetness. It's difficult to say it's sweet because it's not cloying, at all. There is no hop character in the flavor, but clearly enough bittering to balance the rediculous malt profile.

m - creamy, well integrated CO2. Activity happening in the mouth but it's.. balanced.

d - In for a couple, but it's not a session beer due to the strength. But I could drink it 'till I passed out. Very Sad that it's over.

Note - Take a long time to drink this. Start it cold, and drink it slow enough that it's room temperature when it's done. That way you can experience all of the nuances.

My only perfect beer. There can be only one.

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

Deep mahogony in color this poured a thick fluffy beige head. The nose gave off complex scents of sweet dark fruit, raisins, dark malt, chocolate dipped toffee, yeast, mineral and dark caramel. In the mouth it was medium-bodied with nice concentration yet light-on-its-feet due to the abundance of carbonation. The mouthfeel is soft and round with good richness in the midpalate which adds some dry/bitterness on the finish. Balance is the key work here and it has that in spades!

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

12 oz. bottle at In De Vrede, in a chalice. Been dreaming of having this beer at this cafe for awhile.

A: Dark brown that lightens toward the edges. Frothy one and a half finger head with decent lacing immediately. A small layer stays suspended forever.

S: Huge cornucopia of dark fruits, candied figs, caramel, small esters, rather sweet. Sublimely balanced - it's really hard to pick anything out. Everything blends in an incredible way.

T: Full! So much, very rich. Rather sweet, a bit light. Alcohol presence has a great warming but not hot character. Some toasty grains. All the dark fruit is in there just like the nose. Wonderful Belgian yeast flavors. Just as well balanced as expected, everything blends to create a phenomenal flavor that seems unique in its complex unity.

M: Medium-heavy but still lively. Great.

O: Incredible! I don't know how much of that is the rare talking, but at the first sip I was blown away. Huge and bold, but still tame and so well balanced.

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

Look: Head was pretty consistant, cloudy body, very tiny bubbles, and a caramel color

Aroma: I smelled some copper, as well as bread, it had minerality to it, and hints of cocoa

Flavor: What stood out to me the most were the flavors of chocolate, plum, and bread. There was a sweetness that was somewhere between that of cane sugar and brown sugar. I also tasted hints of copper and cinnamon.

Mouth feel: Full body, bubbles were at a nice consistency.

Overall: Not a huge fan of Belgiums but this is a nice beer. Complex yet nicely balanced :)

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Photo of WilliamD
4.23/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Murky amber-brown that lightens to a hazy gold near the top. A thin, cream colored head that remains. Leaves thick lacing around the glass above.
Smell is not intense. Raisins, plums, hint of banana. Slight floral aroma.
Very complex taste. Perhaps too much for my relatively uncultivated palate. I am probably not truly worthy of this beer. I am, however, appropriately humbled. I do know it's delicious. Raisins, bananas, little bit of booze. Nice, soft, leathery tone on the exhale.
Mouthfeel is crisp and slick with a very slight alcohol warming.
Alcohol presence is well-concealed. I have a few more bottles and would love another, but I must resist. If this wasn't as hard to come by as it is, I would have two more and call it a wonderful night.
Have a few more bottles and am looking forward to how this one tastes with age.

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

33cl bottle received in a trade. Will likely be my last sampling outside of Belgium, in accordance with the wishes of the monks.

A- The beer pours a dark brownish read with very dense head. The head is off-white in color and dissipates slowly. The lacing was absolutely magnificent. Residual amounts of sediment.

S- I'm getting a lot of molasses, dried fruit, figs, and raisons. This is one of the few beers that deserves the label of complexity.

T- Absolutely delicious. It tastes of malt, plums, candi sugar, and an assortment of fruits. Truly a unique tasting experience.

M- Medium bodied, but very rich. This one is definitely a sipper. I wish I had paired it with food.

D- This beer could be paired with anything, or be enjoyed as an apperatif. This is an incredibly versatile beer. My only regret is not cellaring it for longer.

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

Enjoyed several of these during my time in Bruges and Antwerp, including a magnificent 2004 edition from Kulminator's cellar. With a little age, even more light is shed on the absolute perfection in the way the wondrous flavors of this beer of gods blend together in creating a taste of the heavens.

Pours a murky, alive, dark chocolate malt brown with a fluffy, cloudy, pillowy extremely light tan head that sits on top of this wonder as a heavenly cloud sits above the wonders of life below. Close your eyes and inhale the deep, succulent, full, chocolaty, creamy, soul of bread aroma and you can feel the beers aura inviting you to taste it's otherworldly pleasure.

The feeling as it flows through your mouth and makes contact with the taste buds, immaculate. This beer is alive! As you become one with its glory you not only taste, but feel the incredible deep full roasted blend of complex bready chocolate sweet dried fruit goodness that balance in creating the ultimate beer flavor.

This beer is unlike any other that I have experienced. It has the incredible balance and smoothness that makes the Rochefort 10 so special, but it's flavor - complexity similar to the Bernardus Abt, but blends and is alive in a way which can't be done justice through comparison. The individual aspects of this beer are reminiscent of those that make other great beers exactly that, but the way in which they all come together in a harmonious revelation is what ultimately makes this beer unmatched.

All hail the king in his golden crown.

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

Poured into Tulip

A- Poured lighter out of the bottle than in the glass. Good dense cloudy reddish brown nice frothy head

S- Raisin, apple, yeast, it's sweet & spicy

T- Beautiful, caramel, yeast, some hops, Biscuit

M- At first high and spicy carbonation, poured too cold. Then as it warms, nice & smooth with slight bitterness on the tongue

D- Really drinkable, not easy to get but nice balances of flavor and alcohol.

Overall: Must go to Belgium

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Photo of adkirkish
4.45/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Phil for sharing!!

A: poured (chill haze), dark armber, thin foamy light tan head, slow dissipation with excellent lacing.

A: Light aroma w/ toffee and caramel, no hop aroma, belgian yeast aromatics.

F: Toffee, tropical fruit : melon, caramel malt. Flavors are perfectly complementory

M: Light in mouthfeel and body, finishes light on the palate, almost like a 'whispering finish' / medium carbonation. Drinks very smooth on the palate. No alcohol warmth.

O: To be a quad, I think this needed a little more oomph. Not as viscous as I would have thought a quad to resemble to style, but yet still delicious.

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Photo of SDDanC
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours cloudy amber with a tad bit of reddish pink hue. Minimal, but creamy head around the edge of the glass. The nose is pounding with grape/honey/wood. On the tongue it is sweet, quite sweet, grapes or raisins, then the alcohol bites you in the rear, but subtly. Mouthfeel is excellent, goes well with the fruity explosion. Overall, the Westy definitely lives up to the hype and I was very excited to drink it.

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Photo of Lillie1128
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this on 11/26 at Sweetwater with Urbancaver and Cashew70

- Pours a deep caramel with a small white head

S - Wild, yeasty smell

T - Amazing. Like a magic beer ambrosia. It tastes like Belgian with sweet floral notes

M - Medium bodied and lightly carbonation

D - Medium drinkability

Thanks to urbancaver for this one! Best birthday present ever!

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Photo of hughesm4
4.76/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drank a portion of a bottle poured into a glass.

A. Great. A dark red/brown in color that is opaque. It aslo has an epic head that just sits on the side of the glass.

S. The only thing that is not exceptional about the beer. Doesn't have any overpowering elements, but a very nice blend of smells.

T. A terrific taste. A very nice blend of spices, with a slight bitterness in the back of the mouth. The beer keeps getting better and better with each drink you take.

M. Well carbonated, you get a different feeling on every part of your tongue while you are drinking it. The flavors stick to the back of your mouth well after you are done drinking.

D. Goes down very well. I drank slowly to enjoy the taste, however it tastes better when it is gulped.

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

I got three bottles at De Bierkoning, a great beer store in Amsterdam. I drank the first one while sitting along a canal outside of the apartment that my wife and I rented for our short stay. Great environment to say the least.

Poured into a La Trappe glass that I purchased at the same store.

A. Poured a beautiful dark auburn with a small tan like head.

S. The aroma may have been the best part. The smell reminded me of raisins and over ripe plums. I also got a hint of alcohol along with some yeast in the nose.

T. The taste was a composite of dried and undried fruit (raisins, cherries, plums, and prunes) and molasses. I also thought that it had a good amount of carbonation. At the end I felt some warming alcohol flavors.

F. More carbonation than I am used to for this style of beer. I liked that.

D. Almost scarry how drinkable this beer is. At over 10% abv this beer could do damage fast.

I drank all three of my bottles on my trip so I doubt that I will have another anytime in the near future. So I must ask the question; is this the best beer in the world? It was great. But I think that I like Rochefort 10 a little better.

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Photo of kbanks13
4.82/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got this in a LIF from prufrock, thanks again Dan!

Poured slightly chilled into a chalice with a hazy opaque brown body. Hazelnut color with lighter tobacco like hues around the edges, fluffy tall white head with nice retention. Smells like figs and fine cognac. Bready and caramel sweet odors in the nose, too. Taste is raisin and fig with brown sugar and slight booze. Sweet and caramel, malts are very pronounced with a slight floral background. Very clean and smooth, booze is not very apparent in taste or feel. Silky character to the body with low to moderate carbonation. This beer was extremely complex and balanced, rich and luxurious, and just downright delicious. I can see why this is touted as the best beer in the world, I hope that I get the chance to try this again and maybe get a few bottles to age.

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

Bottled. Dark nut brown, hazy colour with small beige head. Sweet aroma of caramel, alcohol, fruit, flowers a bit licorace and banana, very complex. Extremely wellbalanced complex flavour, being soft and sweet into a bit biting alcohol. Flavour consists of bananas, citrus, hops, alcohol and caramel and lots more. Excellent beer.

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Photo of drowland
4.78/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The aroma hints of grapes and some dark fruits as well. The flavor is grapes and dark fruits mixed with wonderful Belgian yeast characteristics - and no hotness whatsoever. This is delicious, well balanced, and very smooth. The mouthfeel is amazingly soft and effervescent like real Champagne.

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

Poured from the bottle dark chocolate brown with a light creamy head into a short tulip snifter. The deep aroma of chocolate and spice invited you to sip. As this nectar dances on your taste buds you notice that although the ABV is over 10%, it is almost unnoticeable as the rich body of the beer and robust flavors reminiscent of dark roast coffee, figs, and roasted barley fill your mind. The experience is likened to a display of fireworks, with each new wave of flavors replacing those previously held and combining to form a symphony on your mouth. You swallow, and immediately you want to taste it again, but refrain; allowing the finish to further tease your senses.

One of the most complex brews I've ever experienced....

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

Finally got to sample this much anticipated treat!

A: Dark Dark brown, very cloudy. Light brown head that didn't stick around for very long. Left some decent lacing though.

S: Nutty, Lots of different malt characteristics.

T: Rich flavors of nuts, and malt, Belgian yeast and some fruit. The fruit was subtle but prune or fig is what I tasted, very nutty.

M: Very well balanced and light for a quad. good carbonation. Great mouthfeel.

O: This beer was awesome but put next to some of the other great Quads I have had I don't think it really would be leagues above them. This beer def didn't live up to the hype and I don't think it deserves the #2 spot overall. With that said it was still very enjoyable and a great beer!

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Photo of Wanne
4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Dark brown color with a beige head. Aroma of dark fruit and spices. Taste is a mix of dark fruit, chocolate, spices and caramel. The alcohol is also present in the taste and enriches it. Very good beer, but the Rochefort 10 is slightly better in my opinion.

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.61 out of 5 based on 6,247 ratings.
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