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

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)
6,510 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,510 |  Reviews: 1,906
Photo of SeanMNCraftBeerLover
4.91/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Aged for 6 months after receiving beer in a dark cupboard in basement, then chilled and served at 55 degrees. Beer stamped with 13.12.15 as "sell by date", poured into the Westvleteren Trappist glass, best dark beer I have ever had in my life by far. Couldn't believe that this would be as smooth as it was. The monks did an amazing job here. It just sucks that its so hard and expensive to obtain.

 402 characters

Photo of Casey_L
4.53/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of searsclone
4.35/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

delicate pour from a bottle into a chimay goblet

amber dark brown color with a tan head that lasts through the whole beer

smell is dark fruit, raisins, plums, figs, red grapes, black pepper, and vanilla

taste is bitter spices, vanilla, sweet molasses, and alcohol

mouthfeel is perfect! chewy, creamy, wet, dry, great carbonation, alcohol warmth, everything you could want.

overall, great beer.

 398 characters

Photo of MisterMike
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of JoeMarinello
4.77/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of md655321
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of rkcrozier
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%

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

So I stop over my friend Joe's apartment one Thursday afternoon for a quick visit. I was in the area and had to pick up/drop off some things. The timing was good, because he had to pick up some boxes from the mail room.

The box is opened, and there are a ton of goodies. One of them is a 5 year old bottle of Westvleteren 12.

Are we really about to crack a Westy 12 out of the blue on a Thursday afternoon?

Before there is any time to discuss it, the "mail room temp" bottle is poured into our glasses. My glass is a stemmed tulip, and is a little wide to hold any head for a 5 year old beer. Joe's glass is a stemmed Cantillon flute, and the beer looks much better there. It's got a solid, yellowish brown head and a murky, dark brown head.

We immediately agreed that this beer smelled a lot like apple cider. I was thinking apple fritters when I smelled the cap, but there is definitley some apple in the nose. It reminds me of a holiday scented spice. There is a small amount of oxidation and alcohol in the nose, but not much. Other aromas include malty nuttiness, some dark fruits, and figs.

The taste is complex yet smoothly integrated. Yummy is a good word. It's got a good brown sugar and apple dessert flavor to it. Brown sugar sweetness adds to the dessert characters, and there is also some fruity, fig like flavors. Overall, it reminded me of what a big Belgian brown ale would taste like. I have a feeling that this beer is in a strange spot age wise. I'm guessing it was better fresh, but would go through another transformation with more time and get better in the future.

The mouthfeel is the most impressive part of this beer. It's smooth and rich yet surprisingly light on the palate. The carbonation is a little lower than I'm used to, but is still adequate. The drinkability also shocked me. Compared to others in the style, there is no comparison. Other Quads are slow sippers and hard to finish, but this one begged me to drink more than half a bottle. I don't think I've had a beer this big and flavor that was so easy drinking.

 2,073 characters

Photo of grayburn
4.97/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

At long last, through the selfless actions of a true advocate, the holy grail is here. I am going to do my best at giving this beer a fair shot; its difficult to not ride the wave of hype surrounding this beer. It is even more difficult when the beer certainly lives up to everything that is said about it.

(As a quick side note: I received this beer about 32 hours ago after being flown accross the Atlantic. I immediately put it into the fridge, I figured that over 30 hours in a fridge was enough to let things settle down a bit. I have another bottle that I am saving for a few months, or years, so if I am doing the beer any injustice by reviewing it so soon, I will correct later.)

Westvleteren 12 is a mahogany colored brew with a finger's worth of head. The lace sticks to the glass for several seconds as a solid mass, then breaks suddenly. This leaves a thick ring of beige clinging for its life. I have never seen lace break so quickly, its as though some silent whistle blew, and the huddle broke to approach the line of scrimmage. The pour is pretty clear, any murkiness present I am attributing to my impatience (see above.)

The smell and taste are as close to perfection as my senses are able of detecting (then again, I am neither a supersmeller or taster) So many components floating around. There is a definite raisin or plum note. The first sniff gives me some slightly burnt toffee, a touch of smoke (?), coriander, and just a hint of warm booziness. The taste follows the smell, starting sweet and caramel-like, before coming to an almost tart fruitiness, think green apple, and then melting away to a little warming alcohol. The booze plays well, the flavors melding together just enough to mingle without either making it stand out, or covering it completely. Wow, as I mentioned earlier, I am doing my best to give this beer a fair review, I am just having much trouble finding faults. The complexity is awe-inspiring. As a homebrewer, I feel I really have tasted the holy grail, knowing the amount of work that goes into even mediocre beers...I cannot imagine the care that has went into this beer over the generations.

The mouthfeel leaves me unable to criticize...highly carbonated, starts off thick and chewy, but finishes dry, with just a hint of caramel sticking to the tongue, begging you to take another sip. I cannot think of anything I would change. The bitterness is there, the booze is there, but everything in just the right measure.

Drinking this beer is an experience to say the least, it almost transports you to some medieval monastery, where monks in tattered robes stand around wood-fired copper kettles, stirring and sampling with large wooden oars. Highly recommended, worth the time spent salivating, excellence. Thank you again to the BA who put this into my hands, thank you from the bottom of a well enjoyed glass.

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Photo of plinythederek
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of MrKennedy
4.62/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle with 07/01/14 on the cap.

Deep russety brown appearance with a hint of murkiness when held up to the light. Nice beige foam on top doesn't require any coaxing to stay at about a finger in height.

Intriguing smell. Lots of dark fruit with figs, dates, prunes some spice there as well. Reminds me of some red wine at certain stages, not that I drink much wine. Seems to have the warming alcohol bring out the spice without inflaming the situation. Brilliant!

Spicy, cinnamon and allspice are there along with the dark fruits of plum and figs and prunes. Seems to transition from the spices on the front to the fruit on the back and then some spice right at the end to keep you really, really interested. Really dry ending.

The body is solid, but by no means too big, i think the spice helps cut through things. Nice interaction between the spice, the warming alcohol and the fruity smoothness. Really well done.

Don't recall ever having liked this as much as i like this sampling. I always seemed to prefer the 8 out of the Westvleteren brews, but this is helping change my mind. Not a big fan of Quads, but this is very well done and so well integrated.

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Photo of mrandypandy
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of flipper2gv
4.65/5  rDev +1.1%

From notes.

A: Hazy brown color with tons of light beige head. Very fluffy foam with tons of lacing.

S: What you would expect from the style: raisins, plums, spiced/banana bread. Lots of sweetness with a little tangy kind of smell that makes me think of wine.

T: Well, it follows the nose very well. You get the best balanced quad I've ever had. Good amount of banana bread, candied ginger, dried fruits and the wine like quality I got in the smell. Extremely well balanced. Alcohol is present, but compliments the tastes very well. Warm, comfy beer.

M: As you expect from such an old yeast strain: very light and fluffy with no stickiness to be found.

D: This beer is extremely drinkable and you could get a couple of these down without realising what you are doing.

All in all, a legendary beer with old and tested heritage. A beer all beer lovers should at least taste once.

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Photo of devilben02
4.39/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasting the legend at last. The beer out of the unassuming bottle is likewise humble in appearance, being generally raisin-colored and surprisingly not overly dark, but there is an inviting, creamy head that quietly disappears to a thin cap that lasts for the duration.

The aroma is truly unique and alluring. Initial scents of fresh, juicy grapes turn to raisins, prunes, and yeast that are more expected for the style. The flavor is likewise interesting and complex, albeit restrained, with a subtle combination of plums, raisins, brown sugar, and surely plenty of other components that I can't identify individually but muddle together to create the delicate, dry, fruity sweetness that seems to change in small ways with every sip. The specific characteristics within this pleasant jumble of flavors are further concealed by the super-fine carbonation, which gives the beer a texture that is energetic at first, but creamier after a few minutes.

The one big knock I have against this beer is the alcohol presence. For as hyped as this beer is, I found it to be boozier than I was expecting (contrary to what many others have commented). This booziness would be more understandable if the flavors were more potent, but then again it seems that this beer is meant to tantalize the taste buds rather than punish them. I can only imagine that if I had been more patient and given the alcohol heat some more time in the "cellar" to calm, allowing the subtlety of the flavors to truly shine, I would have seen this beer as the world-class stuff it is known to be. As it stands, however, it is still a unique, complex, enjoyable beer that suffers a bit from its potency.

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Photo of bleeps
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of imbuckeye
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of supermeniscus
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of Grant35
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of BlackTuesday
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of jayluf
4.94/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of fiver29
4.78/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours dark brown with a white head. Has a brown sugar aroma to it with some malt undertones. Mouthfeel is medium-light with a lot of tiny bubbles for carbonation. I really like the feel of this beer. Taste is very complex. There is candi sugar, dark fruit, some sweet malt, and a small amount of hop spice. Alcohol is hidden very well. The blend of malt, hops, mouthfeel, and finish makes this a supreme beer. Truly world class.

 435 characters

Photo of bulletrain76
4.45/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

At Gollem, Amsterdam, 12-2-07. Dark brown, beige head, lace. Looks perfect in its own chalice, very elegant. My first impression of the aroma is lots of yeast; very bready and doughy. Then prunes, dates, and pure malt; not overly sweet, and very intricate. the flavor is bready as well; plenty of spice and dried fruit, but not sugary., and surprisingly not as sweet as the other abts I've had. No alcohol flavor. The palate is very smooth and full, almost perfect. Goes down cleanly with a finish that leaves a pleasant but not overly sweet taste in your mouth for quite a while. I knew that they would have this when I was planning my trip to Amsterdam, but I was almost in disbelief until I actually ordered it and forked over the twelve euros. It was served out of the cellar, like the St. Bernardus 12 that I had the nigh before, and that temperature perfectly complimented its flavors. As the last of the top three abts to have rated, in comparison I would say that westy is by far the most drinkable and balanced. I think that Rochefort has more complexities in the aroma, which I really like, but it can be too rich and alcoholic. St Bernardus is about the same in intensity as westy, but lacks the powerful yeastiness and complexity of flavor. Price wise, is it three times better than St Bernardus? No way, and I know I'll be lucky to get another one any time soon, which I guess is part of the mystique.

 1,414 characters

Photo of mirish72
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of moshea
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of alalvarez75
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Beer rating: 4.6 out of 5 with 6,510 ratings