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

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)
6,420 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: 6,420 |  Reviews: 1,884
Photo of MarkIntihar
4.6/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review #50!

Poured from the bottle into my Russian River Belgian glass. Huge thanks to Erik for the hookup! Date on the bottle cap is 24.09.13.

A - Pours an impossibly opaque reddish brown, with a finger's worth of cream colored head. Never seen a beer quite this color. When held up to the light, shows a tannish outer edge. The way that this beer starts at the darkest of browns in the center and just sort of works its way out to the edges and a lighter brown/tan is astounding. Head retention is great as well, lasting for a full 20 minutes after the pour.

S - Ripe red apples. Just a dash of tartness. I want this smell in my nose forever. As I delve further into the glass, picking up some caramel notes, some molasses perhaps. I have definitely never smelled a beer quite like this.

T - Starts off following well from the nose, especially as I swirl it around my mouth. Tastes of red apples, with some caramel and molasses in the background. Honestly reminds me of a warm apples cider type of taste. There is an odd dry finish to this beer that leaves an interesting aftertaste in my mouth. Fairly alcoholic in the finish, which is my one beef with this beer. I also don't really get the tartness that I picked up in the nose, which was a bit disappointing.

M - Starts off with a great feel, with no burn at all and absolutely fantastic on the tongue. However, the finish provides a bit of a harsh burn, which is accompanied by a drying sensation that doesn't quite work for me.

O - Overall, a great beer. A phenomenal beer. But not the perfect beer. If the mouth was matched perfectly to the nose, this may have been my first perfect 5, but alas, it was not to be.

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Photo of poppollutesminds
4.54/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Liquoric3
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of DannyBaldoni
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of 4amepiphany
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of Nefarious
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of Virby44
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of doppelmeup
4.43/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to my friend Troy who brought back two bottles of this from a recent trip to Belgium and was gracious enough to share.

Poured a rich, dark brown color into a chalice. However, when the light hit it just right, it had a deep ruby/garnet glow. Wasn't a huge head, but stayed around for a while. Also, we were sharing this among several people, so pouring this bottle into multiple glasses may have affected the head size as well.

Aromas were good, but nothing really stood out. Rather fruity, like plums and brown sugar, with some sweetness as well.

The taste was excellent. Lots of dark fruits, honey, some spice, and also a bit of alcohol bitterness.

Mouthfeel was exceptiona, like drinking velvet. Just a tingle of carbonation to keep the palate fresh.

Overall, this was a great beer. Did it live up to the hype--could it live up to the hype? Hard to say. I would love to have another full glass rather than the portion I had in order to really savor and explore this beer. But I can't say that I was dissappointed, either, because what I did get to sample was awesome.

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Photo of MarkFy
4.31/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle dated 01.12.12

A: pours a murky amber brown with a thin tan head that diminishes over time.

S: raisins, figs, some barn oats

T: raisins and figs dominate with candied fruit, slightest metallic finish.

M: Carbonation is near perfect with a nice creamy balance.

D: Fair to good, that metallic finish is getting to me a little bit, but overall the alcohol is hidden quite well.

Glad I got to try this one, being the top dog and all but it is definitely not my #1. Very good though and would not pass it up if I saw it, but I can easily get Abt. 12 and Rochfort 10 and think they are on par with this guy.

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Photo of joemetric
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of Sephiroth
4.85/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Cap dated 29-04-06: I had intended to not drink this until I found another, but that may be awhile. Besides, this is my 100th beer reviewed.

Into the requisite tulip it goes, with some effort needed to coax a slight foam, I wouldn't even call it head. When held to a light source, the body is a beautiful cherry amber, clear save for a small number of floaties. The nose is a luscious blend of dark, dried fruits, and some wood.

The taste is completely blended, there are no layers of individual flavors. The initial flavor is kind of sweet up front, but quickly begins to dry out. The woody, or perhaps leathery, character appears, and then a faint bitterness, as if from hops. The mouthfeel is barely carbonated, but silky smooth, and heavy. I drank three of these the last night of Marvin's rule over Chalkies. It is to him that I owe many thanks for this bottle.

I think that in Europe, the second number of the date represents the year, rather than the third, as in America. And I seem to remember reading in one of the forums that Westvleteran 12 is bottled three years before the date on the cap. As good as this was, I would like to try a slightly fresher sample. And my two cents is that this is head and shoulders above all other Quads, Trappists definitely included.

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Photo of crnipeter
4.94/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The review comprises notes from separate tastings of two different vintages. Scores are for vintage 2008.

Vintage '08:
The review is based on notes taken in fall/winter 2009.
Yellow capped ascetic bottle with best before date 03.12.2011. Considering that Westveleteren 12 beers are bottled 3 years prior to expiration date the beer is vintage 2008. The pour into St. Bernardus goblet gives muddy rusty - mahogany brown nectar with light tan bubbly head fading into an island of agglomerated bubbles. Aromas of sour cherries, berries, figs & raisins, touch of cocoa, breeze of red wine. The flavor profile is nutty-cocoaish with over-ripened figs, rummy with sweet malt base balanced by mild hoppy bitterness prolonged into lingering subtle bitter aftertaste. Silky smooth and creamy with alcohol unbelievably well hidden the roughly one year old beer is fruitier, with more expressed vinousness and less hoppy character than fresh one. 4 5 5 5 5 = 4.8

Vintage '89
I was told the bottle is '89 vintage therefore 21 yrs old although this cannot be verified as Westvleteren bottles didn't always have BBE date on their crowns. However, the 11% ABV imprinted on the cap indicates this was a pre-1999 bottling. Between 1999 and 2002 the alcohol content of Westvleteren 12 has been gradually reduced from 11% to the current level of 10,2%. Diminishing of ABV was necessary to facilitate the brewing process as high levels of alcohol are more likely to kill the yeast. To the beer.
Into Westvleteren chalice. Clear coppery-mahogany brown body lacking any head apart from short lived bubbly island floating on the surface. In over two decades of aging the beer has undergone a complete transformation from quad to fortified wine or even liqueur: at this stage is highly viscous, alcoholic, sweet and abounds in fruity esters.
Palpable aromas of strongly fortified, port-like wine, intense sugary sweetness, plums, dried fruits represented by prunes, sour cherries , figs and rum soaked raisins. Clear presence of alcohol which is well incorporated into the whole. Each aroma listed reincarnates itself in the flavor department that perfectly matches the nose.The mouthfeel of warming and liqueurish brew is syrupy but not in a sickly manner, with zero carbonation. I'm pouring the beer carefully to keep the black slush at the bottom. Even so the last pour is hazy due to the raised yeasty sediment which adds some spiciness and in contrary with beliefs does not ruin the beer. Fully mature Westvleteren 12 is great, although does not have much in common with what I see as a beer. 2.5 5 5 5 5 = 4.5

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Photo of naterock
4.73/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Smokestack Goblet. Extremely cloudy with a reddish brown hue and just a ring of head around the glass. truly a perfect looking quad.

Smell is probably the most complex I've ever smelled. But I can say I wish the volume was kicked up a notch. because it's very hard to pull the distant ones out of the background. Candied sugar and a Vanilla/banana/burnt currants and some exceptional figgy undertones. WOW

I thought that because of the hype I wouldn't be blown away....I am. Tastes like it smells with a overly complex flavor. A tingling alcohol twinge scurries it's way down your throat and almost sends chills up your spine. Jesus...

Mouth is overcarbonated at first but flattens out quickly. Slightly dry like it has been wood aged but I'm sure it hasn't. I can't even describe this one past a point. I could enjoy a bottle but I wouldn't dare waste another on a ruined palate.

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Photo of boatshoes
4.1/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was left for me at my apartment by my buddy Charlatansin the weekend of the GABF after he and a bunch of my friends came out. Was excited to finally try this beer after everything I've heard about it.

Appearance- Pours a murky brown mahogany out of the bottle with about a finger of slightly tan head sitting on top. The head dies back relatively quickly to a thin, spotty layer across the bop of the beer. Very small amount of lacing left as I drink as well.

Smell- Smells of booze soaked dark fruits, showcasing figs, dates, and raisins in particular. Complex but a surprising amount of booze showing through on the nose. Doesn't really offend however.

Taste- Again, big on dark fruits here. Lots of fruity esters showing through, with figs, dates, candy sugar and raisins in particular. Although present, much less booze on the palate and becomes even more well hidden as the beer warms further. Nice.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is substantial and well carbonated but surprisingly more carbonated that I was expecting. I will say the beer went down quite easily for the style, especially as it warmed.

Overall a very nice quad, but I didn't find it completely mindblowing. Worth trying for sure but more for the experience than the beer I think.

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Photo of InVinoVeritas
3.98/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of meb3476
2/5  rDev -56.5%

Photo of Brewer1980
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of redfish2942
4.81/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of BrickOneal
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of rugbypsu
4.36/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of erz316
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

oh man, I'm reviewing The Beer. .33l bottle into westvleteren chalice. date on cap is 21.04.12

A - dark opaque brown body, medium tan head, dark brown yeast on top of the head, which is big and made from medium sized bubbles. top of the head is creamy and smooth, with some big crackly bobbles int he middle. tons of lacing. head slowly, slowly comes down; retention is great. let me emphasize how much lace there is on this beer once more. top notch. the colour is perfect, and the head makes it look so incredibly appetizing. the color of the beer and the head compliment the dark green logo quite well. maybe its just the experience but I have never seen such a hot piece of beer ass.

S - has to warm up a bit, but the initial right-out-of-fridge notes are almost clean, except for a light fruitiness of golden raisins. as the brew warms up the notes do not really change that much, except a roasted and slightly nutty malt character comes into play. I am pretty disappointed with the strength of this beer so far; but as I wait the beer gets even more complex: here is the quad I was expecting! slightly spicy phenols, alcohol, and Belgian yeast all come out now. some fresher notes are to be had as well, like lemon grass. that alcohol is quite amazing, really blend well with the spicy aspect. the nose never does get too strong, but the dynamism of how the beer changes over temperature difference is amazing, and gets it the big five (this beer tastes to excellent, anyways, to not be perfect). moreover, the fact that this beer isnt as strong in the nose doesn't actually detract from the excellence of the beer, the nose doesn't need to be powerful to get across the message of this brew.

T - yep, this gets a five. this is so complex and delicious, i just don't even know where to start. the initial notes are like a unsweetened sparkling apple cider, some aggressive alcohol, hops and malts. the hops are bitter an noticeable, while the malts are rich and almost nutty, a bit of mustiness from the yeast. these malts are really masterfully combined with hop bitterness, they create this perfect balance which is then trampled over by the alcohol, which brings another aspect from the hops: this dry like astringent-ness, an even sharper bitterness. this is so complex that I cant get enough of it. the amazing thing is how the beer goes from a semi-mild flavour as it just enters the mouth, malt-hop blend dominating, to something so bold and powerful. the nuttiness from the malts is most prevalent when the beer wafts through the nose via the back of the throat. the finish is hoppy, followed by a slightly sweet malt character, maybe a hint of that Belgian candied sugar? probably not, i bet the yeast has taken care of all of the sugar in this brew. the hops are coupled with a yeast character that adds a sense of stagnation and mustiness, making the brew really feel rustic and unfiltered. the aftertaste is this bittersweet malt-hop brawl. the hops have reverted to their standard bitter character, which can be described an herbal oil kind of bitterness. phenomenal. this beer is not all hype; it is the be all and end all for Belgian beers and the quad style. the taste is so varied and has so many discernible layers that it completely deserves the full score

MF&D - perfect and utterly drinkable. the body is fully that of a medium beer, which is perfect to compliment the capriciousness of the beers intricate flavours; anything heavier might be a detriment and make the beer way too overwhelming, especially when considering the alcohol content, which is not a detriment on the experience at all, rather, it compliments the aggressive hops and rustic malts. The beer is so incredibly good that no matter how much alcohol was in it, I would gladly keep drinking this; the booze is no detriment in any way (maybe that's just my tolerance, but who cares! this beer rocks!)

the only complaint I could have is that the nose is not strong enough. but i find this to be completely irrelevant when considering how synergistic the whole beer is together. keeping this brew from receiving a perfect score, in that respect, would not be right. this is the beer, and will be so in my view until I try something that is even better for its own style.

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Photo of rightcoast7
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of Josiah2729
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of 1jstafan
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of berlinabb
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Beer rating: 4.6 out of 5 with 6,420 ratings
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