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

1,839 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: 1,839 | Ratings: 6,194
Photo of wagenvolks
4.6/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A two year old bottle poured into a goblet. Very opaque appearance with a chestnut hue. Dark chunks of yeast present. A soda-colored head dissipates quickly. The aroma is that of a caramel apple, with hints of nut, chocolate. Rather earthy/leathery. It is not a strong smell, but enough to let you know something good lurks beneath.

The taste is dominated with malty caramel and nuts with small hints of (?)cabbage. It feels smooth and rather dry on the tongue. Very potent. It finishes as smooth as it starts and is very agreeable. Great beer.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.94/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Westvleteren chalice it forms a whispy tan head that is very creamy as it settles and leaves sporadic lace. Brown body with small amounts of super fine carbonation.

Smell is of dark fruits, namely plumbs, raisins and suggestions of chocolate and caramel in the backdrop.

Taste: This is where the rubber hits the road and this is where this brew excells to perfection. What I don't pick up in the smell is the hops and spices that make up the finish of this offering. It has everything you'd expect from a quad and then blammmo right towards the finish is a spiced up, alcohol warming, and a touch of hop bitterness that really keeps this huge offering in check and adds to the drinkability as well.

Notes: I was taken back by the complexity and depth of this offering. You could tell me there is a woody presence and I could find it. You could tell me there are exotic fruits and in the depths of this brew I could get a slice of mango. Its all over the map and perfectly executed. The spices and slight bitter balancer towards the finish was the sealer for me. I bought 4 bottles of this and I will pull one out when the mood hits me although they may stick around for very special occasions.

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Photo of chadspivey
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into my hand-washed, air-dried St. Bernardus goblet...
gotta let this one sit out of the fridge for at least 15 minutes before serving....

A: pours a dark brown with a 1 and 1/2 finger off-white head. Down to about a 1/4 inch after about 1 minute.

S: Smells yeasty. Dark fruits....definitely apples and plums.

T: flavors blend so well it's hard to pick out anything individually. I'm not even gonna try, but it's oooh so nice.

M: smooth and chewy at the same time. Is that possible? It appears so..

D: I'd drink them all night if they weren't already designated to friends and trades... trying to rationalize drinking another, but not comming up with anything good.

I gotta admit, with it being number one, I was expecting a religious experience, instead I ended up with a really, really good beer. My best advice is to NOT drink it cold. You gotta let the flavors show through at about 55 degrees. (20 minutes outside the fridge).

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

33cl bottle with a 30.08.09 freshness date

Appearance - Pours a very dark red/brown, with around half an inch of head that clings to the side of the glass with each swirl.

Smell - Dark fruity smell of raisins, plums, and cranberries. Yeasty smell as well.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Very creamy, malty mouthfeel. Taste of belgian candi sugars and dark fruits. Light hop bitterness, and the perfect amount of carbonation. The closest thing to an orgasm of the mouth. Absolutely wonderful.

Drinkability - The 10.2% alcohol is barely even noticeable. Very drinkable brew; my 33cl glass was empty before I knew it, and left me wanting more and more. I could drink this everyday for the rest of my life, if it was readily available.

At first I was hesitant to give this beer straight 5s, but I honestly can't find anything I'd want to change about it. Perfection in a bottle. Easily the best beer I've ever had.

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Photo of akorsak
4.78/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A 33 cL bottle purchased from

A: The beer is a deep, dark brown color. When held to light, a few red hints emerge, but not enough to radically change the color. The head is a billowy white crown, pouring to 2 fingers and leaving lace throughout the goblet.

S: The beer has a big, bold alefruity aroma. The scents are thick and lucious, with raisins, milk chocolate, figs and yeast dominating the nose.

T: The ale has as many flavors as it does scents. The malty body is thick and chewy, full of candi sugars that are sweet without overloading the tastebuds. The candi sugars are followed by an array of dark fruity flavors: raisins, figs, dates. All of the flavors occur at once and never dominate each other. Truly an incredible beer.

M: The flavors are so intense that they almost overwhelm the senses. Every sip, especially as the ale warmed, was a pure treat.

D: The 10.2% abv is a whopper, as is the thickness of the taste. The abv is gonna limit you to one or two and the thickness is gonna fill you up quick. Absolutely drinkable and well worth the cost.

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Photo of rayjay
4.48/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just got some in the mail today, and I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep tonight before I cracked one open.... 30.08.09

Deep brown beer with red highlights, low carbonation. There was a head, for about 60 seconds or so, but it has dissipated to a reddish/purplish/brownish-stained island and a single ring of white lacing around the entire goblet.

There is a faint nose, but what is detectable is sweet malty beer.

Wow, my first impression is subtle boldness; nothing about this beer is simple or ordinary, yet it remains constrained and civilized. Quite a work of art, indeed. Complex sugar-dominated flavor profile, full of rich, sweet caramelized malts and candi sugar, and yet it remains tame and never overly-sweet; most of the sweetness rolls off after just a brief moment, to reveal a complex, colorful aftertaste. Warmth is the only hint of alcohol. Notable flavors include pepper jack cheese, dried fruits (apricots, dates, figs, bananas), faint hop bitterness, and delicious spring water.

Carbonation is very light and hardly there, and adds a bit of spiciness that enhances the flavor perfectly. It is slightly sticky, which adds a bit of thickness and cuts drinkability a tad; honestly, though, it's the most drinkable quad I've had yet-it's not as thick as maple syrup and also doesn't coat your tongue.

Highly recommended; I was expecting a much more arrogant beer, and what I found was a gentle giant.

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Photo of CH3CH2OH
4.12/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Traded with Akorsak for this; thanks again.

Head dissipated quickly. Poured a dark and murky, like a good Belgian should. Had a bready aroma, with some light malt. Faint fruity esters. A tart flavor with a nice heavy melanoidin background. Little bit of a thin mouthfeel with very little finish. Extremely drinkable for a beer of this abv.

I did a blind taste test between this, Rochefort 10, and St. Bernardus 12 to take some of the bias away that I might normally have for such a rare beer. I had a hard time differentiating it from the St. Bernardus (makes since, because St. Bernardus contract brewed for Westvleteren for many years.)

Great to try, but given its rarity I would go with Rochefort or Chimay first.

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

sampled a bottle that has been stashed away since 2002. to the person who let me sample this, you are truly a (beer) good among men. thank you so much for sharing this with me.

pours pale brown with ruby highlights. a thin layer of very fine dense head on top that lingers and pops back up with a gentle swirl.

aroma is awesome. i almost can't find all the right words to describe it, there is so much depth there. dried fruit, like dates or currants more so than raisin. a little alcohol in the end. slightly spicy with a nice earthyness.

taste is spectacular. all the elements of the aroma are here and more. nice malty background. toasted rye bread. currant and dates again. moderate sweetness. a little alcohol warmth. superb balance between all aspects of the beer, mellowed and meshed together to perfection. wow.

mouthfeel is great. out of the bottle it was too cold and came across a bit thin, but letting it sit for a while to warm really brought out its true self. a bit thicker than i thought it would be.

drinkability is great. i could easily drink this with dessert every day if it was available. a truly wonderful beer.

i can't call any category on this beer anything other than exceptional. wonderful beer that i can happily give a solid 5 review.

i almost don't want to remove it from my 'wants' list so that i can have it again, but feel it's more important that anyone who would have potentially hooked me up sends it on to someone who has never tried it.

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Photo of DouggiePhresh
4.73/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Poured smoothly in my Chimay chalace with an off white head that quickly dissipated into a thin foam floating on the top of the molasses colored beer. Very fine carbonation. No transparance at all

Smell: Smells of dark, candied, fermented fruits. Raisins come to mind, maybe figs too.

Taste: Sweet at the front, alcoholic fruit in the back. Aftertaste is candied fruits and alcoholic fumes.

Mouthfeel: Velvety feel as the foam touches the lips. Sticky and viscous. Coats my mouth with foam.

Drinkability: As with any quad, drinkable in moderation. I would say because of the lack of carbonation, more drinkable than most.

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

A couple kind souls have made it possible to have this avoid them receiving excessive beermails, they will remain nameless here. You know who you are...thank you.
Chestnut brown in color...some mahogany hue and three full fingers of thick, off-white head. Leaves behind some thick, clingy lace as the foam recedes back into the brew.
Huge raisin profile, vanilla, a hint of sherry and caramel in the nose.
The taste is fantastic...subtle spice is added to the raisin character and a dose of brown sugar as well...the alcohol is very well hidden, although this one warms you within just a few sips. A hint of sweetness is there, but finishes quite dry on the pallet.
Mouthfeel is above average and the carbonation is sublime...not a session beer, but quite mindless to enjoy the hell out of.
Definitely one of the best in the style and one to seek out if your pallet is receptive to the quads.

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

A massive thank you to the extremely generous Skyhand for parting with this! You rock!

Pours an almost cocoa color, with edges that are very light brown. Head was a sparse carpet of off white foam. Aroma nearly bursts from the bottle as it's poured. It's syrupy sweet, with notes of vanilla, dried candied plums crusted with sugar, maybe some raisins, and just the absolute barest hint of caramel.

Taste is dark fruit syrup with fleeting wisps of vanilla, and toffee caramel. It's rich and makes you feel almost naughty for drinking and having such impure thoughts about a liquid made by holy men.

Mouth is really huge, even without a lot of carbonation. I wish I could take this beer for granted ... what I mean is, I wish this beer was so plentiful that I could buy it just about everywhere. I would love to drink this again.

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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 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. 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.
** year later...there is nothing simple about the aroma...sweet malts, yes, but dark fruits, candied words... One year later I am forced to kick up my rating of the Aroma from a 4.5 to a truly is exceptional.

Taste is sweet candy malt, smooth dark fruits...raisins...prunes....others.
*** 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 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 Raymond69
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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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.61 out of 5 based on 6,194 ratings.
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