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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)
BA SCORE
4.6/5
World-Class
6,431 Ratings
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
Ranking:
#32
Reviews:
1,885
Ratings:
6,431
pDev:
8.91%
Bros Score:
4.19
 
 
Wants:
3,687
Gots:
2,247
Trade:
156
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,431 |  Reviews: 1,885
Photo of dickieb
4.67/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I always assumed If I has the opportunity to try this I would have to kill three men and give away the rights to my first born to do so. Luckily for my future generations a beer bud of mine took a trip to belgium and surprised me with a bottle.

Pours a murky dark walnut in color with very little light coming through. The head is thick and bright white leaving some awesome lacing. The smell is a bit subtle for what i was expecting but the amount of scents fuzed into a singe whiff is astounding, dried fruits cinnamon yeast spices and a bunch of other things I cant even put my finger on. The taste is more complex then the smell but also subtle. Raisins the slightest citrus note cloves and a warm tasty booze dominates for me. The mouthfeel is not heavy at all but you know its there and the drinkability is through the roof. Not that anyone would want to but you could put a few of these down in a hurry if you had to. This is hands down the best Quad I have ever had, I don't know if it would be the all time best for my taste but I would never argue this being the holy grail.

 1,086 characters

Photo of boss302
4.8/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Westvleteren 12, 09 09 11 on the cap. This was the first of a 3 beer tasting with Abt12 and Rochefort 10. 330ml bottles, 3 people tasting, so the pours were small. The Westy had the edge over the Saint Bernardus and the Rochefort. The Westy was older than the other two.

A dark chestnut color. Not a big head. Not much more to say without a big robust pour that was not possible with the size of the bottle and number of glasses (3) that needed filling. Pretty beer. 4.5

S Aromas were rounded with nothing sharp. Plums and dried fruit come first, but as it sits some biscuity, bready aromas are detectible as well. Very clean and inviting. 4.5

T Chocolatey taste at first, more dried fruit, most like plums. There is some lingering sweetness, but it is a dry beer. This is one of the better balanced beers I have tried. 5 

M This beer has a nice thickness on the tongue. The carbonation was a little lighter than the other Belgian beers we tried this night, but didn't seem to detract from the beer.  4.5

D It is high in alcohol, therefore you won't be drinking a lot of these at one sitting. However, aside from the high alcohol, it is one of the most drinkable Belgian beers I have tried. Wonderful. 5

 1,211 characters

Photo of StephenRich
3.52/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It is widely and arguably acknowledged as the best beer on the planet. It has had more heritage and prestige poured into its creation, more exclusivity surrounding its availability, and more debate about its worth than potentially any beer on earth. It is the Westvleteren 12. The bottles come exactly as shown here; no label, and nearly no branding wahtsoever. A thick bevel around the shoulder of the bottle claims Trappisten Bier, and the cap indicates that it is indeed a Westvleteren 12, at 10.2% abv, and thats it.

It is important to understand that this is not the best beer in the world, it is merely the highest rated beer on the planet. There is a difference.

This posses an interesting predicament that I have come by so many times since engulfing myself in the world of beer; that is trying a beer that has been so outrageously hyped with an untainted preconception of it. Its nearly impossible to ignore the hype and approach it with a clean slate and unbiased palate. It's true, I wanted to love the Westy, but I tried my very hardest to conduct an unobstructed tasting of it before I would relax and simply enjoy it.

The Westy 12 was served to me at cellar temperature around 14C (57F) as a vintage Belgian Quadrupel should be. This allows all of the beer's flavors to stand forward without the cold numbing your palate or any sensations. The pour was easy and straight forward; nothing too elegant, thick or lush - rather uneventful actually. No head built until about halfway up the glass when a soft airy cream colored foam began to build. It showed a smattering of large bubbles scarcely scattered throughout the head eventually building to maybe an inch. It faded fast to a translucent film. The beer was dark and glowing. It was a rich burgundy red with deep ambers, golden browns, and pitches of black trapping any light that came near. It was not totally opaque though, and was crisply transparent. Very pretty, but not nearly as dense or as full as I had expected.

The nose is soft and aromatic in a classic Belgian style. Malted grain bring pale and caramelized flavors into your nose and plays with the range of sweet bread, biscuit, golden raisins, brown sugar, and nuts. Sweetness dominates the air with no hop aroma to be found. Leaning back in for more brings apple juice and cider to my senses and more raisin flavor. Touches of pear and cereal show up, then fresh baked sweet egg bread.

When going in for a sip I was madly excited and nervous. I wanted it to be good, but at the same time was trying not to expect anything. I let the first sip wash over my palate and swirl into ever inch of my mouth. My friends were starring at me in silence awaiting my approval or disapproval. I said nothing and went in for another taste before I made any premature conclusions.

My first impression was of the mouthfeel - it was not thin, but it was definitely not lush. It poured over me with a smooth and silky texture, but was relatively flat and uncarbonated. The years ageing in the bottle may have have stripped the beer of its effervescence faster than I would have assumed. Beyond the mouthfeel was a sweet and fruity wave of malts - big malts. Quick complexity caught my attention at the Westy showed me golden raisins, plums, pears, light golden sugar and grapes. It was richly fruity and a good balance of sweet pale and caramel malts.

No roast, bitter, or tart was apparent to me yet, and I started to wonder how this seemingly one sided beer had claimed the top spot among the beer world's best. The malt was soft but potent, digging deep into my taste buds bringing candy, and sweet molasses. It showed hints of nut and sweet cereal, but lacked the cocoa, earth, citrus or complex presence that I was expecting from a big Quad like this. Regardless of what I was expecting, a delicious soft sweet bread flavor was present. It was the unmistakable flavor of Challa - a sweet egg bread made for Shabot dinner. Soon then came based apples and a hint of tart cider. The sweet was wide and generous, and very delicious. But still, something was lacking; a spice, or herb, or balance... Something.

The finish mimicked everything about this beer so far; it was a short, plain finish with a sweet fruity sensation and little crackle.

Don't get me wrong, this was very delicious, but to me beer is graded by flavor, construction, and sensations. This beer just didn't peak where I had expected it to, and hence the problem with knowing the hype. I would still give the Westy very high grades, just not in the elite class. That being said, two of my friends satting at the table has each had a Westy 12 before, and they both claimed that this tasted different. So, will not make a conclusion on this beer until I have had another. And the hunt continues...

 4,790 characters

Photo of Leinie
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of Respirologist
4/5  rDev -13%

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

Photo of Idrankitall
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of mcgovern1010
4.77/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of 05Harley
4.07/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best before date: 15.06.04 (June 15, 2004) It's my understanding the Westvleteren beers are bottled 3 years prior to the best before date. Which makes this beer almost ten years old to the day! The alcohol content is also a bit higher @ 10.8%.

Purchased through Cracked Kettle, Netherlands

Price - Lost record, I'm sure it was expensive...
I purchased this a few years back before I was keeping receipts.

Popped the cap and bam, a flow of foam gushes out of the bottle. A quick pour in my glass reveals a two inch creamy foam head that fizzles out after a few minutes leaving behind the scene of a cloudy sky. Polka dotted lacing stains the glass after several sips. The color is brown with quite a bit of yeast sediment.

The aroma is fairly strong and pleasent. Full of caramel, red grapes, candy sugar and spices.

The flavor is sweet malt, caramel and dark fruit with some earthy notes.

The mouthfeel is medium in body, soft and smooth with plenty of carbonation. Unfortunately a metallic bitter aftertaste sneaks in and kills the overall enjoyment.

I think the age of this bottle is certainly bringing it down a bit. I have several newer versions and will update this review to reflect the best buy date.

 1,218 characters

Photo of RES
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

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

Photo of westweasel
4.84/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Special thanks to chadspivey for the opportunity to try the best beer on BA!!! According to him, this bottle was aged for about a year.

The beer poured out a hazy dark brown with a french vanilla colored notable head. A few whiffs of it almost blew me away. I was able to detect chocolate, toffee, caramel, raisin, and peaches. Of course now I was really looking for to the taste, and it did not disappoint. I could taste maple, caramel, toffee, and butterscotch. The mouthfeel was very full and creamy.

This beer lives up to the hype - of course I could drink tons of these. Too bad I may never get to Belgium.

 618 characters

Photo of aficionado
4.66/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Chimay chalice. Thanks Thijs aka brabander (He stopped trading Westy a long time ago so don't bother him).

Murky dark brown body with no head or lacing to speak of. The lowest of the rating tiers for sure.

Aromas of prunes, dates and baking spices.

Brown sugar, dried fruits and spices. Oak aging is evident. Has a tiny bit of sour funk to it. Pretty sweet overall. The yeast dominates. Quad Heaven!

Silky full body with low carbonation. This is "beer juice".

No obvious alcohol presence to speak of. Any difficulty you will have drinking this beer would be from the richness of flavor, which is expected, and not the harshness of the alcohol. It's so incredibly smooth for the abv %. The smoothness of this beer is unparalleled. If I could rate this an A++, I would.

Probably one of my favorite beers ever and I'm usually an American hops kinda guy. Trade more of this with me and I'll be your best friend!

 927 characters

Photo of kif
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of shagens
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of TheHumanTorch
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of MachIPA
4.21/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Indybeer
4.69/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle. Poured a deep brown, with a huge frothy head that really stuck around. Lots of lace on the glass. Aroma is a complex mix, malty and sweet. Taste is as complex as the aromas. And as it warms it changes. Lots of sweetmalty goodness, nice and creamy feeling and it goes down so nice. The alcohol is nicely hidden, but makes itself known in the end. A thoroughly enjoyable experiance

 395 characters

Photo of ottovon
4.6/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: pours out a coppery-brown color with a light tan head. it has lots of head.

S: i get a lot of caramel aromas, some candi sugar, and yeast with hints of raison.

T: i get some spice, raison, lots of caramel and candi sugar flavor as well as yeast and bready flavors. there is a little bit of alcohol in the finish.

M: it has a light and slightly carbonated mouthfeel. it is quite nice.

D: i could drink these all night. while there are hints of alcohol in the taste, it is pretty hidden.

shared with whiterascal.

 522 characters

Photo of Dajtai007
4.97/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

08, this was poured at the end of a long tasting, but damn did it stand out.
Poured into glasses, three-ways. Beautiful appearance, nice head retention.
The nose was amazing, very complex of dried and tropical fruits, caramel, sweet Belgium yeasts. I smelled the glass for about 10 minutes without even taking a sip.
Taste was transferred from the nose. Smooth, delight, and complexity danced on my tongue. Truly the best beer in the world hands down. Mouth feel was perfect, I was in heaven.
I wish I had several cases of this, I swear it would turn peoples notion about beer. Truly exceptional, to be brewed only by the divine. I can't wait to open up the other bottles further down the road.

 694 characters

Photo of primrose54
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Kshock
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Schmaltzy
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of brydeen
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of camil1mj
4.3/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A:Deep caramel brown. White foamy head. Good amount of lacing.

S: Immediate spicy, sweet maltiness.

T: Caramel maltiness with shades of dark fruit and that typical Belgian yeast taste that is common to the stlye.

M: Medium bodied. Good amount of carbonation.

O: Great Quad, probably the best I have had in the style. Glad to have tried it, but it does not live up to the hype. This is surely not the best beer I have ever tried.

 432 characters

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Beer rating: 4.6 out of 5 with 6,431 ratings
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