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

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1,828 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: 1,828 | Ratings: 6,126
Photo of Derek
4.82/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Back to back (actually side-by-side) with the St. Bernardus 12 & special edition. This one is certainly a touch darker, fruitier, smoother, a little heavier. Significantly better.

A: Dark, dark, reddish-brown. Off-white head, not much retention or lace, but it leaves A LOT of lace.

S: Dark raisin, sherry, dark bread, brown sugar, spice,

T: Dark raisin, rum, dark caramel, brown sugar. Moderate bitterness for the style; relatively dry (yet hints of syrupy sweetness), warming finish. A step up from the St. Bernardus Abt 12 (they're approximately the same colour, but this one tastes darker/maltier). Exceptional.

M: Moderate body & carbonation. Not as attenuated (dry) as expected. Not exceptional, but its definitely got it together.

D: Very good.

Thanks for the rare treat Mike (MDS)!

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Photo of SacoDeToro
3.97/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was fortunate enough to score a bottle of this stuff stateside and sampled it with a friend side-by-side with Rochefort 10 and St. Bernardus Abt 12.

The beer poured a rich and slightly hazy brown with a small tan head that quickly turned to lace.

The aroma of the beer was that of dark sugars, raisins, and figs, all carried up to your nose by the volatile 10.2% alcohol. It was nicely estery without going overboard.

The flavor of the beer had a rich maltiness with many accents of dried fruits, such the aforementioned raisins and figs. The hops were there enough to balance things out. The beer was also very creamy and smooth.

The mouthfeel of the beer was medium and not too heavy. The carbonation was fine and tight

Overall, a very impressive beer from a modest monastary.

As complex and impressive as this beer is, I feel it's touted so highly partly due to its scarcity. Having had it along side the Rochefort 10, I actually liked the Rochefort better. To me it seemed to have a little more depth and richness than the Westvleteren.

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

Well, since this is the most revered beer in the world, I had to give it a shot.
Pours a cloudy chocolate brown color. A thin head forms at the top, but it's not too thick. For a 10%+ ABV beer, it's what you'd expect. It does however lace the glass as you work your way down.
Smells of sweet malt, dried fruits, alcohol, and cocoa. As it warms, more fruitiness comes out.
Flavor is where this excels. Lots of depth. At first you get a sweet flavor up-front, followed by little bitterness and yeast, then the sweet fruit comes out. As you swallow there's some chocolate, and the sweet finish.
Mouthfeel's thick at first, but it goes down easy and smooth.
For something over 10%, it's very drinkable. In a lot of ways just because of the flavor depth and how it changes as it warms.
I guess the obvious question is - is it the best on earth? Does it live up to the hype? Personally I like a few other beers more than this one. It's wonderful, but it's not my personal favorite. It's ONE of the best, but definitely not atop my list.
It's possibly the best of it's kind. I think it's different enough from Rochefort and St. Bernardus to suggest everyone try it. They're similar, but not quite the same. Each is good in it's own way...but considering how hard this brew is to come by, I'll likely stick to the other two most of the time.

Edit in 2015: I'll admit that this beer has grown on me quite a bit. At least as much as a beer I've tried a dozen or so times can. The additional hops compared with the other Trappists allows it to shine. It's not my absolute favorite beer or anything, but it's definitely in my top 10.

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

330ml bottle bought from onlyfinebeer.co.uk.... best before date of October 2005... poured into a Westvleteren chalice...

Poured a very murky deep browny red colour with some dark coppery tinges - also quite a few floaties... Creamy tan head poured fairly thick and rocky then faded quickly to very light layer... No real carbonation to speak about... some light sticky lacing...

Aroma - Where to start !!! Strong dark, alcohol soaked, fruits (raisins, figs, prunes and blackcurrents were some of ones i could make out), strong toffee maltiness, loads of treacle/honey sweetness, ginger bread, christmas cake spices, some light rum notes, nutmeg, some faint aniseed notes, yeasty/bready, peppery, some light hops coming through the maltiness... outstanding...

Taste – Strong spicy fruits (definite raisins, figs and prunes), strong warming alcohol, roasted malts, molasses and treacle sweetness, malt loaf, quite strong Belgian yeastiness, light aniseed, peppery, some light medicinal notes, spicy / peppery hops cut through the sweetness, ginger spiciness.... again outstanding...

NOTE - Towards the end i poured the last few yeasty dregs from the bottom of the bottle into the glass - this just seemed to concentrate the flavours even more...

Feel - Very smooth and creamy with some light sharpness after a few seconds... full bodied... unbelievably drinkable considering this is at least 10.2%...

Overall - Believe the hype !!! This is without doubt the finest beer i've had the pleasure of sampling so far... Outstanding and highly recommended.... Thankfully i still have 2 bottles tucked away for another day !!

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

Captured as part of a spectacular trade with AlohaC.
Cloudy dark brown with wispy off white/tan head. Nice lacing and more retention than I expected.
Dark fruits and some flowery aspects of the aroma.
Flavor started off a little tart and vinuous. Finished with a somewhat bland caramel that I usually equate with homebrew. Light spiciness and a hint of brown sugar.

This was incredibly smooth and easy drinking. Finished with a small lingering sweetness with some booze burn. This made it drinkable as all get out.

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

This review is from notes so I will be neither lengthy nor flowery of speech.

First off, thank you to Phatz for going to great lengths and expense to get this bottle and then showing his true nature by being so kind and generous as to share it with me.

A: This beer sits in the bowels of my snifter a dark caramel-swirled brown coated in a full head of sullen khaki with expertly clingy lace.

S: Wildflowers and alcohol. Spiced plums and earthy scents. Mild yeast.

T: Sweetened prunes and melted caramel start things off. After that the taste becomes so incredibly smooth and complex in a way that defies tacked-down descriptions of individual flavor components.

I pondered over my share of this beer for some time trying to identify and capture the flavors that make up the taste of this beer.

Eventually I decided that they are too tightly woven, and mellow, and strong, and muted, and complex to be picked apart and written about as individual elements. Instead, I have decided that this beer must be appreciated and enjoyed in its entirety, and that it does in fact taste like Trappist Westvleteren 12.

M: Very smooth and mild on the tongue. Prickly and tart at first before turning immediately mellow.

D: A strong beer but infinitely quaffable. The combination of flavors and textures in this bottle truly put this beer in league unto itself. If it were more accessible I could drink several of these every day for a long time without tiring of it.

This beer is at peace with itself and the world. There are no internal conflicts or doubts. All the elements and flavors are in harmony working together to bring a sense of quiet stillness and well being to those who consume it.

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

How do you review this beer? How do you rate a beer that many people believe to be the best beer in the world? With all the hype surrounding this beer and all the anticipation, (including the price tag), I had very high expectations. I was almost expecting to be disappointed as this beer has been pedestalled as "the holy grail" of beers. Truth is; it is deservingly in a league of its own.

Appearance: Pours a deep brown color with a nice beige head that fades into a frothy cap and an attractive halo. It was surprising the head and lacing on a 10.2% ABV beer.

Smell: The aroma is complex and sweet. Dark fruits like plums, figs and dates are all interwoven into a truly enticing aroma that smells only like Trappist Westvleteren 12 (Yellow Cap)! I was surprised at the amount of floral character this beer displayed.

Taste: The taste can only be described as tasting like Trappist Westvleteren 12 (Yellow Cap)! It is completely unique. There is a tartness surge on the front end, then a very mellow smooth silky vinous middle with caramel flavors that lead into what I might try to liken to figs and dates and toasted brown sugar malts; but it is really so well blended that is hard to isolate individual flavors. In the aftertaste, there is again a yeasty tart that maybe be similar to a splash of green apple, and a bit of alcohol warmth. I love the stinging character on the lips. It is not clear what causes that spicy stinging sensation (maybe the acidity) but it begs you to drink more. Truly though, I can only describe this as being in a league of it's own!

Mouthfeel: Super freaking smooth and so creamy it is sinful! It is light and perfectly carbonated to be full and easy to drink at the same time.

Drinkability: Absolutely dangerous. I was pleased to share this beer with a couple of close friends, but I must say, a beer this big may never go down so easily! Is a $300 case out of the question? If it fits in your budget, absolutely go for it; you won't regret it. It goes down so dangerously easily its indescribable. Until next time someone shares a Westy 12 with me, I will keep a special place in my heart for this spectacular gem.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of Estarrio
4.66/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Cap reads: 24-05-09

Poured a very dark, reddish brown. After reading many reviews, I was very surprised by the enormous head. The head is a white/tan and it's big, chunky and long lasting. What little dissipation there was yielded to very smooth, silky lacings. This is by far the best looking and most intriguing of the Belgian quads that I've sampled.

Aroma wasn't as strong as I expected, even after letting the beer reach room temperature. Smells consisted of dark fruit mingling with a light malt presence. The alcohol content and a slight hop aroma are also noticeable. Swirling the bottom of the almost empty glass gave the best scents. Some spice and floral notes made the last few smells a bit more complex.

The first sip was like drinking velvet. The body and carbonation lend to a very drinkable beer with a very light syrup consistency. There is a notable taste of cherries and plums up front. This is followed by a sweet caramel and nutty flavor. About mid-sip, the high alcohol content becomes very noticeable. The pleasing warmth traverses the palate and can be traced to your stomach. Other notable flavors included clover, light ginger, bittersweet chocolate and an aftertaste that provides gentle hop bitterness.

This beer personifies what I love about quads. I completely forget that I'm drinking a beer while sipping this fine brew. It feels more like I am enjoying a fine dessert wine and my imagination easily allows me to imagine it being some form of divine nectar.

I would not consider this to be the best beer that I've ever had. However, I would say that this is the best Belgian quad that I've ever had and one of the smoothest, most balanced and pleasurable brews that I've ever enjoyed. I tried my best to be objective, despite the hype but the mystery and the quality of this beer lend to a very unique and memorable experience. I regret that I only have five more to enjoy!

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.69/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

geeze...I hate trying to review this beer. So much hype has surrounded it that you almost feel like you have to say it's heavenly.
Well...it is...but I don't think I can really adequately describe why or it's attributes.

Pours a beautiful amber brown with a faint amber head that melts to a ring of lacing that lasts thoughout the drink.

Aroma is sweet malts...period.
**edit...one year later...there is nothing simple about the aroma...sweet malts, yes, but dark fruits, candied sugars...more...no words... One year later I am forced to kick up my rating of the Aroma from a 4.5 to a 5.0...it truly is exceptional.

Taste is sweet candy malt, smooth dark fruits...raisins...prunes....others.
***edit...one year later...yep...all of the above...still few words and can't add much to what I already wrote.

Aftertaste is slightly dark fruit sweetness and alcohol warmth.

I know this is a bad discription of this brew, but the bottom line is this is incredibly smooth, warming, and sweet.

For my BA Anniversary I received two very fresh bottles of this brew...I just remembered...the orginal review was of a fresh bottle as well.
This beer really does deserve it's hype...it is extremely complex and obviously very well crafted. I would like to try another St. Berny's 12 for comparison again...another excellent quad...but this one really is worth the hype, if not the price.

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Photo of makisupa
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My father surprised me, last week, with a package on my doorstep. Low and behold, it contained 2-bottles of Westvleteren. The 8 and 12. A few months ago, at a RAQshow, I was lucky enough enough to have my friend Antonio share his recently ordered Westvleteren 8 with me. One worthy for review, but not in this forum. Regardless, the 8 has been placed in my cellar for drinking in probably in 2-years. This leads me to the Westy 12. I let it reside in it's box, out of sunlight, over the weekend. 3-days later I placed it in the fridge and another 4 to 5-days laters we proceeded to drink it. So here we are...

We cooked a generous portion of mussels seasoned in basil, onions, cream, garlic and white wine. We took the Westy 12 out of the fridge, opened it and let it breathe while we ate our mussels, bread and salad and drank a Victory Grand Gru with dinner. After dinner, we poured the bottle into two Tripel Karmeleit tulip glasses. I have a thing for tulip glasses - I prefer them over all others regardless what might be recommended.

The beer poured dark brown into the first glass and produced a half-inch head which dissolved quickly. The second pour resulted in no head and finished with with a much darker, murkier result. The lacing on both was little only resulting in tan bubbles sporadically placed on the edge of the glass. The smell resembles a brown with banana highlights and alcohol is easily traceable through the nostril. From sip to sip the taste is very complex and, like the Westy 8, the finish is as smooth as smooth can be and this is what makes Westy the best beer in the world. Its finish cannot be matched. I hope to order more of this beer as I feel, like Corsendonk Christmas Ale, it will taste much better with age. My guess is 2-years min and max.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.77/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Vintage 1997

Poured clear mahogany until the near bottom of bottle arrived, which added murky sediment and a few flakes.
Off-white head was moderate, not large, and receded within two minutes to edging only.
No lacework except for a few erratic dots.
Aromatics lead off with boozy figs, raisins, caramel, chocolate covered apple, and a hint of mandarin underneath.
Rum-soaked dark fruits with a tootsie roll center.
Nose rounds out very warming with vineous notes and vanilla.
On the larger side of medium bodied, slightly syrupy but quite creamy, and a bit sticky. Carbonation on the low side.
Pallet is alcohol-laden with chocolate, caramel, toffee, raisins, and ripe fruits.
Bitterness is perfectly balanced, keeping the residuals in check.
Finishes with a lingering warmth on the throat, with rummy caramel notes and vanilla.
Only the slightest wet paper note is a detraction, and a decent trade-off for some added vineousity.
Kick ass after nine years.

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

Had to order this beer to see what all the hoopla is about. I received 3 bottles 3 days ago. I had one chillin in the fridge. This doesn't seem long enough to let the yeast compact , but I'll drink it anyway. dated 24-05-09 , so it's very fresh.

This poured a hazy dark brown. Creamy head that lasts.

Smell is has some bourbon/alcohol notes. Faint hop aroma.

Taste has some dark fruit , possibly prune or raisin up front. This melds into a nice light hop bitterness and seems to finish with some woodsy bourbon flavors. Couldn't find anything objectionable.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly crisp and light considering the amount of alcohol and flavors.

Drinkability is amazing , very balanced. I could sip a few of these all night.Could I be buying into the hype, I dunno ? I like this beer.

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Photo of nickd84
4.89/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After lurking for many months, this is my first review for BA, because it is practically high treason to drink this beer and *not* review it. Westvleteren 12 is absolutely spectacular, worth the year of uncorroborated hearsay that I've seen here. One owes it to themselves to track this beer down, regardless of what style they prefer. It took me 1.5 years before I had good enough trade fodder for it... thanks so much to Aloha for the hookup.

Pours a surprisingly light amber, like many brunes, with very little head and subtle lacing. Carbonation is perfectly balanced, very subtle and warming.

I could spend a long time picking apart the various flavors of this beer, but it's a lost cause because the flavors continue to show themselves differently after every sip, every minute increase in temperature, every separate bottle in every context that I could possibly drink this in. More importantly than the flavor, one thing I think many reviewers overlook here is that this beer is so animated, it has such a distinctive character and personality - and it's so dynamic that it reveals new sides of itself after every sip. My first sip was different from my second sip, which was different from my third, and on and on for 90 minutes.

The best point of comparison, unsurprisingly, is Bernardus 12 from the tap; but this is richer, far more complex, with a bit more pronounced alcohol at the finish in its warmer stages.

I rarely place a beer on my shortlist until I've had multiple experiences with it, to develop a relationship with it and discover new things after every bottle. I will gladly make an exception for this one, not because of its rarity and hype but because it gave such a positive first impression that to do anything else just feels wrong. If it isn't the best beer in the world, it's certainly in the top five, and I say that with confidence after only one bottle. It sits in a class with my other favorites - Rochefort 10, Westmalle Tripel, Goose Island Bourbon County Stout - of quality, subtlety, and depth that just demolishes every other beer out there.

I want another right now. Writing this review makes me a little sad that I'm presently drinking something besides it.

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

My friend braught this bottle back with him from Belguim and I am very glad that he shared it with me.
This beer poured a very dark amber with excelent lacing
its aroma was full of dark berries, black cherries, black currnts and teh like, it had some ints of mollasses and some yeastyness.
the flavore was wonderfulyl complex. it initialy tasted of fruis and berries, but subsided to a more bitter unsweetened chocolate like flavor and finished with a smooth tartness at the back of the toung with hints of alcohol.
overall this beer was excelent and if i ever stumble uppon it again I intend on getting some.

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

Nice chestnut colour in glass, wht brwn to peach edges. Head is smooth tan, three fingers on the pour, but falls to about 1 1/2.

Smell is bready, sligtly medicinal- but its not unpleasant. A little hop note here, but not overpowering.

Nice alcohol notes up front, nutty and roasty. Very smooth. A bit of sweetness and spice at the end. Lovely.

The mouthfeel is just slightly oily- with a low, very tight carbonation.

I hate to just rubber stamp this as amazing...but dangit, it is!

Be well

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Photo of Big78CJ
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I will keep my comments brief as there are enough people contributing their opinions on this beer.

I recently returned from Belgium where I visited the abbey with a friend and consumed/purchased each of the Westvleteren trappist beers (in addition to an old red cap I obtained at De Kulminator in Antwerp). The beer is fantastic, my ratings clearly show I do not diagree with this. However, I find myself hard pressed to declare it the best beer in the world. I think it is hard to claim any beer is the best in the world as temperature variations, storage conditions, age, not to mention quality of that year's ingredients can alter the taste of any beer to make it better or worse.

As a result, I think it is actually the scarcity of this beer that drives up the desire and thus the eventual payoff. It is not that the beer is the best in the world (though I would rank it in my top 5), it is simply that after so much longing, one cannot alloe oneself the disappointment of not calling it the best in the world. Many of you may think my comments blasphemous but I do not contest the goodness of the beer, I only wish to point out the effect of expectation on perception....

This beer continues to grow on me every time I drink it, or as is more often the case, drink another beer out of my silver-rimmed westvleteren chalice

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Photo of DaveFL1976
4.94/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this across the road from the monestary, at the cafe.

Pours a deep chocolate brown with a thin layer of foam. Beautiful body, but I was a bit disappointed with the head. damn. But still worth a 4.

Smell is figs and dates. A little sweet. Not much alcohol. Smells clean and crisp. Very nice. Wow, there are a lot of layers to this. Very, very nice.

Incredibly smooth taste. It's hard to believe this is 10% alcohol. Fruity smooth. Plums and raisens. So well balanced. Clean aftertaste. This is everything I hoped it would be. The best I've ever had.

Mouthfeel is ridiculously good. It's creamy beyond belief and the carbonation bubbles are microscopically tiny and tickle the tongue in an entirely new way.

Drinkability is out of this world.

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

Infinite gratitude to Jeff for this 3 year old sample. That kid didn’t miss school the day that they taught sharing. Murky, brown pour with a medium sized, tan head. The aroma is very rich with lots of ripe fruit, apple pie, plums, pears, candi sugar. The flavor is well blended and superbly complex, toffee, pears, golden raisins, candi sugar, very rich. The mouthfeel is very soft, smooth and lucious. Believe the hype.

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Photo of neonbrown82
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was every bit as awesome as I was hoping, and thus much better than I was expecting. Very appropriate for my 500th review on BA. Thanks to dogfooddog once again for the trade. This is a 3 year sample, and a much fresher review will be forthcoming.

The beer pours to a nice dark reddish brown. Decent frothy head that doesn't quite stay around for too long, but it laces to the glass fairly well.

The smell is great. Very complex. Sweet and nutty with lots of fruit and berry esters. Nice roasted barley flavor as well. The taste is just as great and equally complex. Very smooth. Mouthwatering bubblegummy, cotton candy sweetness. The sweetness is not cloying, but just right. Has a great roasty nuttiness that pairs brilliantly with the sweetness. The alcohol is no more detectable than it is in the blue cap, which is not at all. Awesome. I can't wait to compare the fresher version to see if this is still the case.

Body is full and creamy. Residual sugars stay in the mouth forever, punishing you with the fact that you probably can't drink another bottle right then and there. Awesome through and through. I can't wait to go to Belgium myself. This beer is every bit deserving of a 5.0 rating. That being said, I think Rochefort 10 is every bit as brilliant as this, much cheaper, and readily available here in Iowa. That simply cannot be beat, number one rated beer or not.

edit: I just had the fresher ~6 month version of this beer tonight (8/24/06). I did the Rochefort vs. Westy challenge, and the Westy prevailed on all fronts. My roommate and I were even biased towards the Rochefort. Had a much cleaner flavor and finish. Not quite as roasty. Lots of bubblegum esters. Phenomenal. I want more.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to 1759dallas for the bottle. Best before 15-02-09 according to the crown cap. Served up in a Trappiste Rochefort chalice. Dark ruby-brown color, topped by a lovely off-white head of foam. Rich, malty-caramel aroma laden with ripe, fruity overtones. Big sweet malt flavor bursts out on initial tasting, followed by dark honey esters (with notes of raisin and plum) and enough bitterness to keep it all firmly in check. Finishes with delightful lingering maltiness. Surprisingly light-bodied for the strength.

What I really like about this is how lightly drinkable it is for a 10% trappist... it dances on the tongue in a way that I've not experienced before in an Abbey quadruple. Quite amazing.

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Photo of mynie
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A careful pour yields a very dark mahogany like intensely dry wine. A tan head, one half inch tall, sits atop. It will never go away.

Delightful smell. I'm usually not as big fan of Quadruples as I am some other Belgian styles—I prefer Dubbles—as they tend to be overpowering, too alcoholic and astringent. I like to get kicked in the face by a stout or a double IPA, not by a complex and fruity Belgian. This is perfect.

Gingerbread. A pleasant walk down a spice aisle in a store with wooden floors. You smell the products, and the history surrounding the products, not floor cleaners. Everything is beige like a mid October sunset. Dull and sweet, but just as full as life as it ever was.

Very, very creamy. Such a perfect mouthfeel that I notice it even before the flavor. I'm taking too small a sip, like a bird. Conserving. I must forget the price.

A respectable sip reveals a creamy yeastiness that gives way to fruit complexities that are above average (which is saying something, since the style is certainly above average, but it is still not up to snuff with the most complex). Like organic fruit candy, the kind that actually tastes like fruit but only like the good parts of fruit—oranges, apples, pears, and mint. All sundried, mellowed out to perfection. Damn fine. Damn fine.

A great great beer. Not quite the best Belgian I've had, but close enough to where I have no problems at all with this being considered the world's best. Believe the hype.

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Photo of jdoolin
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 33cl bottle, poured into my 12oz chalice

Appearance - very dark brown, with a long lasting fluffy tan head.

I wouldn't say anything about the aroma and taste that a hundred others haven't already said, so I'll dispense with that, other than to say that it truly is an incredible flavor. But I do want to say how incredibly drinkable this beer is. I was amazed at how little alcohol presence this beer had. It was so smooth and so easy to drink. The alcohol warmed the back of my throat a bit, but that didn't last.

I tried very hard not to let the status of this beer influence my rating, and I feel as though I've succeeded. I didn't expect the beer to be the best I've ever had, I just expected it to be good, and I wasn't disappointed. I will have to say that at this point, Westvleteren 12 is my favorite beer. I won't go so far as to say it's the best in the world, just my favorite, which makes sense as this style is my current favorite. But that doesn't mean it will always be.

This is a truly exceptional beer, regardless of its status.

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Photo of guinnessdoc
4.6/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got my first bottle of this thanks to a trade from AlohaC.

A - Nice dark brown color with reddish coloring at the edges. Creamy, off-white head made up of small bubbles that stayed about 1/4 inch thick throughout.

S - Malty sweetness with hints of fruit.

T - Sweet up front with tart fruit flavors that were hard to place. Perhaps prunes, plum, or cherries? Very slight smoky taste hidden amongst everything else.

M - Slides smoothly over the tongue with a fair amount of carbonation.

D - This is a fantastic beer that has no apparent flaws. However, I don't know if that's enough to make it the #1 beer in the world. Regardless of rankings, it's just damn good. How those monks get so much flavor out of just 4 ingredients is beyond me. But I'm sure glad they do.

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Photo of weeare138
4.97/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

'05 bottle...
Appears a deep mahogany color with a beautiful 1/2" beige head that slowly fades out. Scattered lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of candy sugar, raisins, brown sugar, and some black grapes.
Taste is of sweet brown sugar, rich malt, vanilla, raisins, nuts, and dark fruits.
Mouthfeel is lingering with chewy, malty sweetness, lip numbing stickiness, but very much balanced with the malt and hops melding together for a superb finish.
The ABV is well hidden.
I had this next to a 15 year old bottle of Westy 12 and while the older bottle was more complex(and mildly oxidized), the fresher bottle's flavors and mouthfeel outdid the elder bottle.

Edit 11/25/06: I just popped a 3 year old bottle received in a trade from prop13. This one seemed near flawless. I had it side by side with a Rochefort 10 and it slightly edged out the Rochefort by a hair with it's smoothness, gentle hopping, and a boozy brandy-esque enjoyability. Heaven in a bottle.

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

Poured like dark copper pond water with a foamy, thick head. Has a yeasty fruity smell, leading into excellent sweet, fruity flavors of nut bread, dates, plum and caramel bursting out of a crazily carbonated bottle. Mild finish for a 10 percent beer, very drinkable but a bit yeasty to me (although I got it fresh off the plane from Belgium, courtesy of a friend, and probably should have let it settle for awhile.) A great beer to be sure, though surprisingly not my favorite beer ever (sacrilege, I know.)

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.61 out of 5 based on 6,126 ratings.
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