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

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BA SCORE
100
world-class
1,832 Reviews
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Belgium
sintsixtus.be

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
(Yellow Cap)

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,832
Ratings:
6,157
Avg:
4.61
pDev:
8.89%
 
 
Wants:
3,637
Gots:
2,143
For Trade:
159
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Reviews: 1,832 | Ratings: 6,157
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From a fresh bottle brought from Belgium. Believe the hype... it's real! And please don't drink this right out of the fridge, it needs to come to around 55F to really shine.

A densely creamy tan head rests lazily atop a hazy, dark russett body (carefully poured from a longstanding bottle it's a clear ruby with orange highlights - but add the yeast later on!). Eventually the head receeds, but it's somehow able to hold a thin but completely solid cap throughout the entire beer. And initially, it leaves solid walls of thin lace that fade to become sheets of tiny spots towards the end of the chalice. And that's no easy feat given its 10.2% abv! The nose offers honeyish, nutty, cocoaish (Ovaltine...?), bready, and caramel drenched malt as well as a bit of hard candy and some chewy fruit (raisins, berries). It's velvety smooth across the palate with a full, dextrinous body and exceptionally fine, natural carbonation. The flavor is even more exquisite than the nose implies, and includes notes of soft anise, lemon rind, a touch of leather, some delicate bubblegum, and a mild floral character that really helps to round it out. They yeast is incredibly important as well, as it gives it depth and rounds it out; and it should be poured even with an aged bottle. Finally, one of the things that makes the Westy 12 such a stunning beer is that it's so soft and supple considering it's such a behemoth. The alcohol is barely noticeable, and when it does appear in the flavor it only helps by lending a "spicy" character. And despite the amount of character it has, it's actually not as malty as a doppelbock. It's lighter, and it finishes semi-dry with more spiciness and yeastiness than sweet malt that might build on the palate... giving it a really great drinkability. Impressive, to say the least, this is a brilliant beer because it's big enough to deliver a great richness and lots of complexity, but also incredibly well-balanced enough that it really leaves you wanting more!

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

December 2008 release, acquired via trade from jojox so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 33cl bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a dark brown color, with a large off-white head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of brown sugar, caramelized malts, Belgian yeast some fruit and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors brown sugar, caramel and dark fruit. There's a hearty malt character and Belgian yeast backbone that come in to provide a good deal of substance. The hops presence is very mild but is enough to provide a good balance. The after-taste is sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky but clean for the style.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, deceptively strong kick, very good representation of style, as it is ranked #1 on BA at the time of this review and has been for some time, I was expecting something a bit more demonstrative from this beer, but the only things that stood out in this beer above other were its sweetness and its smoothness. While I don't consider it the absolute best beer on Earth, it is indeed very good.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.28/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The time has finally come to put a splash of beer in my BA mug and what better beer than Westvleteren 12? I've had two of these in my cellar for about six months now and have been saving them for a special occasion. Something tells me that the contents have held up just fine. 'Best by' date on the yellow cap is 01.07.06.

The pour generates the typically massive Belgian head and I can see small chunks entering my chalice when the bottle is about 2/3 empty. Extremely murky chestnut brown; the beer looks like strong, unfiltered apple cider. The ecru colored cap has barely fallen in the three minutes since the pour. I'm expecting a huge amount of Belgian lace, but it hasn't yet had the chance to form since the head is so obstinate.

The aroma is more subdued than expected, but to be fair, I'm trying to assess it through a still thick cap of foam. What I do appreciate is brown malty, fruity and toasted nutty. I also pick up whiffs of Belgian yeast and alcohol.

The flavor profile is complex to say the least. It's comprised of loads of caramel malt, molasses, licorice, and dark, dried fruits (raisins, dates and prunes). Candied pecans and modestly funky yeast make appearances, as does the aforementioned alcohol. There are also darker contributors such as coffee and chocolate. Simply an amazing collection of seemingly unlimited flavors. The mouthfeel is big and firm, chewy even, but stops short of full or heavy.

Westvleteren 12 is world-class, no doubt about it. I can appreciate this beer (I think), I respect this beer, I even like this beer a lot. I just don't love this beer. Call me a hophead, call me an unrefined simpleton, call me what you will, but that's how I feel at this juncture in my journey. That doesn't mean that Westvleteren 12 is anything less than incredible. Everyone should have the chance to sample it at least once.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.63/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First had: bottle from Brouwerij Westvleteren (via a German friend)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4Qh-YmW2SM

Oh the hype! Was it worth it? Well, sure. I've heard mixed reports on this beer, and from my experience, many true beer aficionados out in the "real world" will tell you, that the main appeal of this beer is it's unavailability, not it's features, and that in fact, a fine Rochefort or even St. Bernardus is as good as or even better than a Westvleteren. So in the end, it's just a matter of opinion, like anything else.

That said, this was a great beer. I acquired the bottle legitimately: a friend of a friend of mine traveled to Westvleteren and respectfully procured me a few bottles from the elusive monks.

My at-the-time fianceé and I each had a bottle, we shared one with friends at our engagement party, I used one for a video review, and I have four that I'm cellaring, with one or two perhaps for trade.

Anyway, on to the review, as you can see from the video, this beer was properly poured into a signature Westvleteren goblet. Dark caramelized brown in color, hazy, moderately carbonated, with a beautifully crafted light tan head that settled right around the "Trappist" logo of the glass, retained throughout the session, and exhibited some fine lacing. Robust aroma, dark fruits, dark sugars. Extremely full of flavor, smooth, candi sugars, toffee, dark cherries, raisins, alcohol is noticeable but not at all detrimental. Earthy, organic, chewy, complex... Medium mouthfeel, but full of flavor, slightly bitter aftertaste, and very drinkable.

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

A - Poured an extremely dark brown, with a small tan head. There was tons of visible sediment and lots of swirling lace in the top. Looks pretty good in the goblet.

S - Smell is really hard to pin down. There is soo much going on here I really do not know where to begin. It was sweet yet sour, spicey and yet fruity. A bit of alcohol mixed in with hints of pears, apples, raisins, grapes, everything. This was really just soo complex I had trouble finding definate answers. Very very pleasing aroma, nothing ever smelt like that.

M & T - The feel on this was soo light, soo frothy, soo easy to put down it was almost a shame that it went soo quickly. Soo many great tastes here, this was just really fantastic. There have been soo many reviews of this that I really don't have anything else to add other then you have to try it, it just cannot be summed up in words on this page.

D - This really was everything I wanted it to be, and lives up to its rep. By far the best belgian I have had, it is just on another level. The aromas and flavors were so unique. This really just needs to be tried as it is really hard to describe it. Fantastic brew.

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Photo of dcmchew
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Finally got my hands of Westy XII. Best before 16.11.14 on the cap.
Dark brown in color, with some copper notes. Not a huge beige head, but sticks around for a long time. You can hear a lot of aggressive carbonation at first, but it seems to settle rather fast.
Rich smell, with dark malts, raisin, brown sugar, figs, red grapes (with a musty component, enhanced by the subtle alcohol), nuts and faint dark spices. Don't expect a strong smell that you get from popping the bottle, you have to give this one a big close sniff, but the elements are really well balanced.
Taste knocks it out of the park. Wow. Toffee and caramel, with a nice citrus feel right on its tail, but also juicy cherries, berries, plums, grapes (strong alcohol makes it feel like a sherry or a brandy). Malts are pretty quiet, way in the back, but with a decent enough roastiness and a rich taste of multi-cereal bread (ryebread maybe?). Spicy, hints of vanilla, anise, faint nutmeg and cinnamon. Mildly bitter finish with some hops peaking through.
Full body, low carbonation. There's a big complexity here, starting off crisp, then sweet, alcohol tends to dry the mouth a bit afterwards, then there's a roasted bitterness... it's really a lot going on. Malts linger in the aftertaste, would have enjoyed some fruitiness to stick around too. Not boozy.
I'm gonna stop now and just enjoy this perfect beer. Yes, "perfect" should suffice.

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

A: Pours a murky brown in color with some light amounts of visible carbonation and some mahogany highlights. The beer has a finger tall light tan head that slowly reduces to a medium to large thin patch, a very thin film covering about 75% of the remainder of the surface of the beer, and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: There is a fair amount of sweetness to the aroma of this beer - caramel, molasses, candi sugar, and dark fruits (cherries, plum, date, and fig). Very light aromas of booze.

T: Upfront there are flavors of dark fruits with cherries dominating and more moderate amounts of plum, fig, and date. There is a decent amount of sweetness but never enough to become cloying - caramel, molasses, candi sugar, and toffee are all present. Moderate flavors of Belgian yeast and just a touch of spices. Light hint of cocoa powder in the finish.

M: Just shy of full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly creamy with a light amount of alcohol warming in the finish.

O: Great complexity to the aromas and flavors make this a world class beer. It is easy to drink and enjoyable, I would gladly have another one of these in the sitting. The alcohol is not completely hidden but it is not overwhelming and there is sweetness but not cloyingly so.

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

Thanks to mac300 for sharing this at Phatz' tasting.
A - A beautiful dark ale w/ compact bubbles and light tan head

S - Roasty, spicy and sweet with scents of currants and dark sugar.

M - Mellow, sweet and spiced. Layered and balanced with a subtle feel of alcohol and lightly nutty finish.

T - A malty supple masterpiece. So much flavor figs, nutmeg, gentle herbal notes. So layered and yet the flavors blend seamlessly. Nuts, toffee and honey with a tinge of spice and light grain flavors.

D - A great nuanced ale - lives up to the hype.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.42/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage thanks to Richard.

A: The pour is a dark brown color with a sizable tan head and plenty of carbonation.

S: An intense sweetness that comes in the forms of caramel, candi sugar, molasses, and a whole lot of dark fruits. I get some cherries, plums, figs, and dates.

T: The flavor is pretty much more of the same, and that's not a bad thing. A lot of sugary sweetness along with some caramel, molasses, and toffee. There is a strong flavor of dates and figs with some raisins and prunes, too.

M: The body is quite full with that fine carbonation that it seems only the Belgians can pull off.

D: A very, very good beer. Maybe a bit too sweet to drink a lot of at a time, but such a good flavor that you might make a bit of an exception.

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

Cheers to brianj555 for this one! Decanted into a duvel tulip. 18/12/10 on the bottle cap

Pours a red tinged chestnut with 2+ fingers of sand colored head. Very good lacing & head retention, almost pulled 5.0...

S: Fruittyness, a touch of chocolate; dark fruit takes over as this warms

T: Dark fruits, some cocoa, licorice& touch of boozyness up front. Loads of dark fruit, raisins, figs, & dates, plus dryness as this warms, along with some warming booze & just a touch of leafy hops, plus brown sugar. Finishes fruitty with woody dryness & a touch of vanilla & some tobacco like hops

MF: Medium bodied, with pretty lively carbonation, this one brings a an overall warming sensation

Drinks pretty good for the ABV & complexity, maybe a touch hot alcohol-wise, but in line with the style. A super, quad, this is the best quad I've had. The flavor & aromatics are superior for the style. I could happily stock this in my cellar, but I am just as happy with St. Benardus Abt 12 & Pannepot (sic). Now to go get those other 50 or so top 100 beers I must try before I die!

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Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 11.2 oz slender brown bottle, no freshness code and no label.

Appearance: Silky looking off white lace, very tiny bubble dropping rings around the glass.

Smell: Very aromatic. Suggestions of plump golden raisins, anise, herbal tea, buckwheat honey, caramel, lemon rind, fresh baked short bread and a mild phenolic character. Sweet and spicy alcohol in the nose with a mellow malt.

Taste: Luscious velvety mouth feel, medium carbonation that fuels the viscosity of the smoothness and body. Big maltiness is pushed around by a flailing spicy character, bit of clove with a mellow medicinal phenol also. Malt is sweet and has flavours of brown bread and caramel but Christmas pudding also with alcohol and candied fruit. Alcohol is very prevalent but not overwhelming, adds a sweet and spicy presence and a warming effect. Hints of raw honey, anise and lemon zest. Touch of yeast adds the element of earth to the complex mix, esters grow more towards the end with an addition of ghost like fusel alcohol. Semi-dry finish with lingering spicy and phenolic flavours.

Notes: So damn smooth, near perfection in a bottle. The alcohol at its strength does not bring down the drinkability and makes this beer so balanced in a heavenly way that it is devious for making you want more and more.

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Photo of smcolw
4.14/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A friend of mine gave me this beer when I visited him in France. As good as it was, I was not as enamored as most reviewers. First, the appearance was pedestrian--little head, no lace. Cloudy, brown color.

The smell is brown sugar, similar to candy. The flavor matches this except that there is notable hop. Not surprisingly, very strong warm alcohol flavor and feel. This is a thick beer with a low level of carbonation.

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

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

No thanks is big enough for mdfb79 for this bottle!

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

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

A: Pours a hazy brown/burgundy color with a large two finger head, tan in color. Lasts for a while before reducing to a splotchy cap on top. Sticky lacing forms on most of the glass. Some sedimentation.

S: Some dark fruit upfront, mostly raisins and plums. Some Belgian yeast shines through in the middle followed up by some bready malt, caramel, and a little molasses.

T: More dark fruit, raisins, plums, a little bit of dates, mixed with some caramel and chocolate. The yeast component is not as strong on the flavor profile as it was on the aroma.

M: Medium bodied, very smooth. No sign of the abv.

O: Very good, glad to have tried it, but if I was in the mood for a quad, I think I would reach for St. Bernardus 12, not to take anything away from this fantastic beer.

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Photo of orangesol
4.62/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

THE beer. Finally got another one in a recent trade. I decided to open it with a friend of mine and tonight just happened to be that night. Bottle poured into a chalice.

A - Pours murky brown with a start white one and a half finger head leaving small wisps of lacing down the glass.

S - Smells of dark fruits; like figs, prunes, and raisins; mixes with the sweet malt, chewy belgian yeast, and some damp earth. The alcohol creeps in as it comes to room temperature.

T - Starts off with a sweet mix of dark fruits and candied sugar slowly giving way a mix of bready malts, spicy belgian yeast, caramel, toffee, molasses, and some chocolatey sweetness. The alcohol begins to rear its head as the ale comes to room temperature, drying the pallet. The finish is a mix of sugary sweetness and light heat from the alcohol. Amazingly balanced overall.

M - Medium-Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. So damn smooth with a little bit of chewiness. The alcohol does become a bit tiresome over the course of the glass.

O - This is still one of my favorite beers of all time. From the dark, complex, flavors to the soft, velvety, feel you would be hard pressed to find a better quad. I can't wait for my next encounter with this amazing beer.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.87/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 0.33L bottle into my Duvel tulip. Cap is dated 29.03.09, so it is about 4.5 years old. I've had Westy 12 3 times before this, but always relatively fresh and never more than 2 oz.'s or so, so excited to have a full bottle.

a - Pours a dark mahogany brown color with two to three inches of off white head that lasts for four or five minutes. High carbonation evident and a tiny amount of sediment. Left the last oz. or so in the bottle as the amount of sediment was very high in the bottle.

s - Smells of dark fruits, especially cherries, plums and raisins, as well as Belgian yeast. Also getting some grapes/wine smell in it as well. Hints of caramel malts, sweet fruit malts, spices, bready malts, and a touch of alcohol. Very enjoyable; it's very complex and balanced, especially as it warms up and the cherries come out.

t - Tastes of raisins, plums, figs, other dark fruit, bready malts, caramel malts, Belgian yeast, and a hint of spice. Not really getting any alcohol in the taste. Was hoping for more cherries like the smell, but still wonderful. Tasting amazing.

m - Medium body and high carbonation that stings the tongue. It has a nice, smooth body, but the high carbonation hurt it a bit and keeps it from being great.

d - There's a reason it's #1 of BA; it's pretty amazing. While it isn't the #1 beer on my list, it's safe to say it's high on my list. The good news is that the taste and smell are the highlights of this beer. Both are complex and enjoyable. While the high carbonation hurt the mouthfeel a bit, the smell and taste are amazing. It also definitely helps to let this one warm up a bit, so you can fully appreciate everything in the nose and mouth. If you like quads, I think it is safe to say you'll love this beer. I was also surprised how easy it was to drink and how little alcohol was noticable in the taste. I think I like this slightly better than Westy 8, but it's close. I look forward to aging my other 2 bottles and see how they do with even more time on them.

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

A huge thanks to Brad for sharing several of these with me over the last few years.

Westvleteren 12 pours a somewhat thin looking brown hue with a nice sized head and decent lacing. Ooo...there's some abbey floaties in my glass...straight from God. Amen. Sweet malt with raisins, figs, and seductive Belgian yeast fill the senses throughout the smell and taste. What deliciousness! The beer is a bit thin in the feel, but on a positive note, this makes it silky smooth and easy to drink. The aftertaste is great and lingers for a considerable time between sips. This is remarkable beer.

Edit: July 21, 2012

Split a 2005 vintage with Brad. Rain water, earth, malt, yeast. Sublime. Hard to find any fault with this.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.05/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I felt EXTREMELY privileged to share a bottle with some CouchSurfing friends of mine in late-July 2010 while staying with them in Pittsburgh. I attended their wedding a couple of years ago and they received some bottles as a wedding present and held them for one of my visits. My Facebook page shows us drinking this beer on a hot, humid night as took the best notes possible.

I was (hopefully) getting smarter as I went along. I only gently poured a little better than half of the bottle after it foamed continually once the cap was popped. Its color was a deep brown with good clarity, excepting a slight sludge in the well of the glass. Nose was really rich with a good bit of alcohol heat accompanying notes of fudge, anise and licorice. The mouthfeel was REALLY hot, medium-to-full, and filled my mouth with caramel, burnt brown sugar and molasses. It was MUCH sweetr than any of us expected. Finish had a sugary, malty heat that seemed to linger, killing the other underlying flavors. I also poured the lees separately, and they turned out to be comparable to the taste of the beer initially without the heat, perhaps even a bit sweeter.

I am not discounting how good this beer was, especially in the face of so many horrible CANQuest (TM) beers, but neither did I hear the singing of angels or have any sort of religious experience.

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

Appearance: A viscous pour, mohogany brown color with the unfiltered approach let's the light through but very cloudy nice creamy textured head very small bubbles gives the silky appearance. Lacing forms in nice bands the typical belgian style lacing going down, overall great appearance. Aroma: A blissful mixture of different scents, this beer serves up a great spiced tone, then a warming sweet dough character, blended with raisins and alcohol. The vinous tone is the hallmark characteristic the one that stands out just a great experience even if it costs 10 to 12 dollars a bottle. Taste: Alcohol is warming and blends with a shortbread cookie and overly ripened fruit quality, cloves and spices are evident as well this beer is good stuff very complex. Mouthfeel: Full bodied soft silky carbonation coats the palate with a pleasant sensation. Drinkability: Massive amounts of flavor and complex aroma equals a satisfying drinking session this beer doesn't mess around very big, and unique all on it's own. Can't say their anything that compares besides the St. Bernadus Abt.

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

Hey it's 5:00 on a Saturday. Why don't we review the highest rated beer in the world.

Pours slightly fogged brown. Nose is malty. Darker sugars. Flavor is bringing much of the same. I want to say it is kind of boozy as well. Not sure if some age would mellow that out. Malty plums start to appear as it warms. Rich, yes. Smooth, yes. Feel is quite smooth on liquid. Carbonation is middle of the road. I like this, yes. It's good. But I feel like this is a bit tight and might need more age to develop more noticeable complexities. And it's certainly not my favorite beer ever.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.72/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

330 mL bottle poured into a de Struise chalice. 2001 bottle. Best by 9/7/2004. Won this bottle in a raffle at the Funky Buddha.

Appearance - Pours a murky reddish brown with a surprising off white head. Chunky and sedimenty. Collar of foam.

Smell - Sherry and other oxidized flavors. Very fruity. The caramel malt still comes through.

Taste - Significantly better than the aroma. The oxidation makes it a little creamier. Lots of sherry. No booze. Buckets of dark fruit. A touch sweet with a somewhat rough cardboard finish.

Mouthfeel - No booze. Low carbonation. Way too oxidized, but it's still pleasant to drink.

Overall - I should really review a fresher bottle. This is really oxidized but the quality of the beer still comes through. Westy with sherry.

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Photo of stakem
4.1/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I decided to open one of these on Good Friday. The usual suspects were in attendance for a tasting at my place so why not start it off right with a Westy 12.

Poured from a bottle (just shy of a year old) into a small Westy goblet at cellar temperature. This brew appears a clear amber color with ruby and orange tints around the edges of the glass. A cap of fizzy yellowish tan head forms a finger's worth of head that dissolves to a thin lacing across the top of the brew. A light swirl revives the head and produces some spotty lacework on the glass.

The smell of this brew is sweet with dark fruitiness riddled with candy sugar. It smells of plums, raisins, dates and brown sugar. Just collectively a bunch of deep sweet scents whack the nose. A light touch of fruity alcohol is present and a contrasting strong herbal to almost medicinal hoppy bitterness keeps the sweetness of this brew's smell in check.

The taste of this brew is sweet caramelized sugars tasting reminiscent of plums and raisins. There is a light nuttiness to the malt flavoring and a strong booze flavor that is backed by herbal flavors and modest hoppy bitterness. This initially tasted like the sweetness could get out of control but the alcohol and hoppy bitterness keep it balanced. There is a lingering taste of candy left in the mouth coupled with fusel alcohol and a bit of yeastiness that provides a light spiced aspect like clove.

This is a medium bodied brew that has a lively, prickly level of carbonation. A little young, green yeastiness is present throughout the flavor profile. This is more herbal and bitter than I was expecting with hops being more evident than I would prefer but regardless it is balanced well and enjoyable. I couldn't wait any longer to open this brew and finally give it a try. Unfortunately it did not live up to my expectations, shame on me for opening this too early. Perhaps I will need to acquire a vintage bottle and revisit my review.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.42/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally had the chance to try this with a non ba friend of mine.
Pours a cloudy dark brown. Would have been clear, but I got over zealous with the pour and let some yeasties in. Thin whitish head doesn't stick around very long.
Aroma starts off with some vanilla and slight chocolate, but really comes to live as the brew warms. Banana's, plums, lots of malty goodness. Taste is caramel, dried fruit some alcohol as she warms. Medium mouthfeel with a bit of stickeyness. Nice carbonation. Definately worthy of the hype.

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Photo of tdm168
4.08/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to jtd1969 for somehow finding this gem.

A - dark brown with a slight amber hue; huge, soft, thick, foamy, brownish head that has tremendous retention

S - alcohol, baked apples, sweet, sugary

T - baked apples, caramel, sugar, warming alcohol, raisins, figs, a bitter finish

M - warm, full bodied, crisp, well carbonated

I have to say that this did not live up to the hype for me. I think had this been fresh it would have been exceptional. As it stands it is a good beer, but certainly not perfect. The flavors did not all come together for me. They all seemed to be disjoint. The baked apples are the dominant flavor followed by caramel and sugar. The dark fruits come in the finish. Don't get me wrong. This is a tremendous beer and it is definitely worth trying if you can find it, but ultimately there are equally good Quads available that are much easier to find.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.09/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jeffo much kindly for the Westvleteren trade. A fresh one here, bottle cap dated 22.09.13. Poured into an official Westvleteren chalice. Smoke and big gas pop upon opening.

A great appearance consisting of a creamy off tan/white head that has peaks and valleys. Whipped up meringue like topping. Body is a nice dark ruby red and some chestnut/walnut dark brown with a see through quality but dark to actually see through. Lacing while drinking is exceptional consisting of scatters waves of foam while drinking. Once again like their blonde, an amazing appearance.

Nose though is almost non existent. Closed and muted a subtle hint of alcohol heat over top a juicy grape. Nose opens up after a couple of sips more so slightly. Hints of grainy ripping husk sense too after opening, perhaps some raisin/dates sense.

Taste though, is an example I think of why lots of people cellar this beer. A very noticeable and overpowering hot alcohol heat that sits on top of a juicy grape palate. Alcohol masks much of the malt and fruit component but does bring interesting play. Much of the boozy feels like a junipery gin with classic botanicals and so forth. Texture is solid even creamy to some extent giving that juicy feeling. There is a tannic quality to this like the 8 but more like a nut than barrel/wood with a teeth coating chew.

Overall man I wish this wasn't so hot. It feels like a typical hot young wine that needs to age maybe that will make it better? Would love to age this and try it again some day in the future.

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.61 out of 5 based on 6,157 ratings.
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