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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
100
world-class
1,806 Reviews
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Belgium | website

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
Reviews:
1,806
Ratings:
6,043
Avg:
4.61
pDev:
16.27%
 
 
Wants:
3,624
Gots:
2,091
For Trade:
158
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,806 | Ratings: 6,043
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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Photo of markman
4.97/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (Yellow Cap), 23.09.06 on the cap:

Not much of a head, but crystal clear cola-colored from an easy sedimentless pour (though there is much to swirl in later). An avalanche of aromas and flavors: molasses, ripe fig, malt, etc, etc. An easy hop bite finishes this big-bodied brew. Very nice beer…hard to imagine how they pull these flavors out of a minimal number of ingredients. Incredible.

Big thanks to cooperrip for parting with it.

Cheers...

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Photo of mcallister
4.15/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought 6 bottles of this off of the ebay belgium site. Sampled with four other people (one bottle) so review will re-review upon drinking bottle my self with some decanting time.

A cloudy obscene looking dirty pond water brown pours from the bottle. Quite beautiful:) Slight off white head with trace lacing.

Big roasty caramel malt, alcohol, toffee bar, orange peel, hints of apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, fig, and spicey etheral aromas.

Roasty, and malty as hell. Fig paste, thick vinous earthy flavors, petroleum, caramel, good carbonation, somewhat loamy, spicey, very balanced and overly complex. Leaves a slight alcohol burn in the chest.

Spicey, carbonated, creamy mouthfeel. But not sure how drinkable it is considering the alcohol.

I'm not sure this one met my expectations. Looking forward to trying another under different circumstances. Will review again.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
4.58/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a bottle marked 23.08.08 in late Nov. 2005. Therefore, this bottle was ~3 months old. Sampled at Apspanning 't Waagstuk in Antwerp, Belgium.

This beer poured a dark brown color with highlights of red. The foam was creamy and tan, and settled to a thin coat. The smell was lightly malty and slightly vinous. The taste was malty and lightly sweet with a touch of vinous overtones. The flavor was good, but was much less complex than older bottles that I had sampled. The mouthfeel was smooth with medium-full body and good carbonation. The aftertaste was pleasantly malty. Slightly warming. This was the first time I had sampled such a "young" bottle of this beer, and frankly the beer tastes much better after aging in the bottle a few years.

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

Once this was poured it had a cloudy mahogany hue to it.
The smells were so complex I had trouble deciding what was all in there. The only prominent smell was fruit filled pastries.
I could taste barley and molasses with an oaky finish. There was so many subtle flavors mixed in I couldn’t decipher many of them. Once it warmed the flavors changed.
The mouth feel was syrupy and creamy. The texture was smooth with light carbonation.
I think this beer was a bit too overwhelming for me right now.
There was so much going on I didn’t know what was going on. I especially enjoyed letting it warm and seeing the changes that occurred in the flavor.
Once my palate is more refined I’d love to try this again and see what I can decipher.

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Photo of Lnedrive14
4.32/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been sitting on this bottle for about a year now - just finished first year of law school, so what better time to crack it open?

A: Pours a dark, chunky brown. Definitely some floaties in there. Nice sized head (especially given the fact that I poured into a 6oz Grand Cuvee glass - thanks Nick, both for the glass, and the idea of what to finally use it for).

S/T: Lot going on here. In my opinion, not the best tasting beer in the world, but certainly one of the most complex. Rasins, plums, dried cherries, big malts, fresh maple syrup, fine scotch, and port. So many different flavors and all there with a big presence. I felt, however, that it was a bit too sweet. The alcohol was also not as masked as other similar beers (like Rochefort).

M/D: Very syrupy feel. Nevertheless, i liked the full-bodiedness. Really felt good on the palate. Drinkability not so great on account of the sweetness and alcohol.

Best beer in the world? Not in my opinion - still a good one, and definitely worh picking some up if you find it.

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Photo of elricorico
4.48/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

orrshow received a bottle in CanBif from Goldorak, and decided that he had to share it with me. Neither of us know when we will next have the opportunity to taste this one. Date on the cap was 06 04 07.

Poured slowly into a chalice. It is murky brown and no head formed. Kinda looked like muddy water. I'll admit I was hoping for darker, with a creamy head, as I've seen from other Quads.

I could smell it when the glass was a couple feet away as orrshow finished pouring. It has a very sweet smell that is rife with alcohol. A little bit reminiscent of ice cold, fine scotch, port wine and dark rum. Raisins and other dark fruits, baked sweets and candy sugar. With each smell I could likely add another item to the list.

The taste is again big and sweet, full of alcohol. Again reminding me of tasting an ice cold scotch in the overall effect of it. Brown sugar and dark grapes, with many other subtle sweet flavours in the mix. The finish has a fairly hot alcohol burn, and has a touch of molasses.

This beer is rich and sticky in the mouth. The carbonation is there, but it is subtle and natural feeling.

This is very good, but I wonder if the hype and limited availability doesn't effect people's overall impression of the beer. I certainly wanted it to be the best beer I'd ever tasted, but it wasn't there. In a way it felt less like beer and more like a hard liquor drink with how prevelant the alcohol was. Having said all that, I would still like to have this again, and certainly wouldn't let any chance of acquiring it get by me.

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

I got this beer from thomashardy for an AleSmith Barrel Aged Wee Heavy. I have been sitting on it for a few weeks, and now, on my birthday, I think it is the time to try it.

This beer pours a dark rust brown color with a light brown head. The head is quite fluffy. It fades very slowly, leaving many thick laces.

This beer has a spicy peppery aroma. I can detect some alcohol. It also smells of dates and maybe prunes and raisins. It has a rich caramle sweet aroma also. It has an earthy yeast aroma.

This beer tastes very complex. It is very well balanced. I taste some spicy flavor. Also, the dark fruit flavors are present. Raisins, prunes, dates. It tastes sweet. It has a slight bready yeast flavor.

This beer is very smooth. It leaves a caramel sweet aftertaste. It is carbonated to perfection.

This beer would probably make an excelent session beer if you could get it. It is a little high in alcohol, but the great well balanced flavor more than makes up for it.

Is this the best beer in the world? Apparently so. If you want my opinoin, and you must since you are reading this review, it is definately a great beer. I have had other beers of different styles that are equally as good though. It is definately the best Quadrapel I have had though. Thank you thomashardy for helping me finally try this great beer.

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Photo of Orrshow
4.86/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Before I say anything I want to put out a huge thanks to Martin (Goldorak) for this bottle. Very generous of you man.

Appearance – This beer pours a very cloudy brown color. There is a slight bit of maroon tinge to it as well. The head is virtually non existent besides a ring and a tiny bit of bubbly froth in the center of the beer.

Smell – I get all those nice dark fruit like dates, plums, and prunes big time. There is a very strong dark spiced rum aroma arising from this beer as well giving it an alcohol scent. Some yeast is detectable along with some brown sugar sweetness and spice. The complex combination of all these things makes this beer absolutely wonderful to sniff at again and again.

Taste – Up front this beer is extremely strong of sweet malts and that nice dark rum characteristic I smelled. The plums and raisins make themselves present with a caramel and brown sugar sweetness added on. Dark spiced rum flavors linger on strongly after a sip is taken. It’s wonderful.

Mouthfeel – Carbonation is very nice here. Nothing to complain about. The feel of this beer is almost silky…it has this nice subtle creaminess that I enjoy quite a bit.

Drinkability – Top Notch. It is so easy to drink despite the high alcohol content and robust flavor. This beer would not have lasted long if I didn’t show restraint to enjoy it.

For me it lived up to the hype. I must say this is among the best beers I’ve ever had. The only downer is that it did not look amazing which is not that important.

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

This bottle dated 30.03.02 - this bottle is 7 years, 2 months old, more or less. I had forgotten I owned this and it is now the oldest Westv. 12 I have tried. This one was brought in by D&V and is probably part of the first batch of westv.12 i tried in early 2002; 2 of these got lost in my local store's (case and keg) large cooler and I acquired this one after more than 3 years of being hidden. I think I have had it over 6 months. Notable it has been refrigerated for probably 4 years.

cap abv says 11%, this has been reduced from even higher levels and today AFAIK is around 10.2%.


Pours 10% head; nose is a gentle glowing sweetness with some sweet raisiny notes, not so much bread-sense yeastiness as the 07.09.04 bottle reveiewed earlier.

Taste is somewhat drier and more subtle up front, with more sweet-type fruity notes and less sense of yeast or bread. There are so many different tastes active in this beer it is very hard to put into words for me. the sweetness slowly becomes bitter and by the finish is bittersweet, dark, and a little heavy. the alcohol is invisible in this bottle. Overall the intensity of taste is less pronounced than the previously reviewed bottle.

It has been over 3 months since I last had ANY westvleteren 12 or 8, but this reaffirms that this truly is a masterpiece of the art of brewing

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Photo of bennetj17
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Deep murky brown with nice 1/2 inch cap that never fully goes away. The swirly top is what I'd expect from a good trappist ale. The smell is nice and complex, but not as strong as it could be. Notes of chocolate, tangy raisin, and alcohol eminate. The taste has similar character of chocolate and raisin, only slightly sweet, and it finishes with an earthy/herbal flavor. It doesn't seem as complex as I would expect from the top rated beer overall. The mouthfeel was the best part of this beer. Rich, creamy, but not that thick, the bubbles are perfect on the palate and it finishes smooth. I enjoyed this beer, although I didn't think it was amazing. I would definitely like to try it again though....

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

Head died quickly. Slight remnant holding on around edge of glass. Lots of sediment..HEAVY with sediment. Toffee colored, raw sienna.

Aroma slightly sour like apple juice. Candi sugar, raisins. Caramel apple.

Oh my god, where to begin. There are far too many flavors happening to even try to isolate one. Bit overwhelming in the best way possible. Maple sweetness hits the tip of the tongue immediately before the caramel apple flavors wash over the palate. Lots of toffee and dried fruits. A slight malty roastedness lingers after the swallow...coffee undertones towards the back of the tongue with a minute sourness in the middle of the tongue. Holy Jeebus.

Thick texture. Its almost like they brewed the beer then removed actual "liquid" out to condense flavor and mouth feel.

It was everything I thought it would be. With a bigger head this beer is perfect.

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

Super huge thanks to Prufrock for the opportunity to try this one. Poured a third of the bottle to get three fingers of dark tan head over a gorgeous clear red red-brown liquid. Smells musty, yeasty, banana, pineapple, lightly anise and plum, hint of alcohol. Smells a little bit like some indoor public swimming pools. Dried hay, vanilla, flatly of raisins, some brown sugar. Not to the nose, but wafting up from the glass I get belgian candi-sugar.

Tastes, hmmm...chocolate with oodles more flavors and the beer develops into a rich deep wet chocolate like premium cake. Whoa, man, this beer is so damned tasty I'm having a hard time picking out flavors. So many, so rich vibrant, so complex, and well balanced. It's perposterous that something can taste this wonderful. Light fruity esters tamed by darker dry brooding malts. Alcohol sting is clean and mild and comes across as peppery. Phenolic funk is on the stage singing, but is just a voice in the choir. Brown sugar, some candi-sugar, amaretto, nutty. Vanilla keeps the dry finish in check. All this time I've been comtemplating a flavor that I couldn't put my finger on. But now I think I got it. Blueberry raisin bagel from a high quality bakery. Not a bite out of the bagel, but like you've scraped the soft dough out and are sucking on a piece of the toasty crust. Deliciously flavorful with a mild sweet seeping out as the amylases in your mouth break down the bread. Near the end of the glass the dry finish is becoming a bit woody. One more of these beers would likely be enough.

For a long time I've been wanting to review this beer so I could criticise 'the masses' for buying into all the hype. But I must say, this is the most amazing beer I've ever tasted in my life. Perhaps the most enjoyable treat of any sort I've ever tasted in my life. Too bad about the large head, this beer had a perfect score locked up for sure. Md-thick mouthfeel and modest carbonation. Creamy smooth body. I could drink this stuff forever.

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

This beer looked much like a cloudy root beer that picked up some straw towards the edges, but had a mossy green halo around the edges when held to the light. Also, there were a few flecks floating around. The dirty off white head looked a little like my carpet with uneven bubbles creating a pleasantly chaotic surface that didn’t last for all that long.

Smelled of salty, flakey pastry that was creamy and doughy. Also included ideas of gooey cookie and/or bread dough with a sweet musky honey. Hell, it could even smell like baklava if you squinted right. There’s also some fruity notes of figs, cherries and plumbs. I was really astonished (as if I wasn’t impressed by now) by the “residual alcohol suggestion” where my mind pointed out where the 10.2% should be, but my nose could only pick up its shadow. Very nice indeed.

Tasted of creamy, milky caramel then picks up a pleasant tingly sensation that blossoms into an amazing syrup, peaches and pecans. Then there are also some playful light nips of hop that roll around my tongue, back and forth re-releasing little hints of a milky bread dough, honey and nuts in between the suppressive drops of dryness. Finishes like the pastry from the smell with some honey. As I exhale, I get an amplified, brilliant doughy yeast.

The mouth feel is light to medium and creamy with a brilliantly paired sandy feeling carbonation. Perfect!

What can I say? This one’s in a class of its own. Thanks to blitheringidiot for this one!

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Photo of bierman2000
4.58/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is smooth opaque and malty. The alcohol is present form the 1st sip yet still very well hidden. An excellent beer thast is well worth the search. Mine was tasted at the Brewery and also in Brugge at a cozy pub. This beer is served in a chalice and should be consumed at close to room temperature for best enjoyment.

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Photo of trumick
4.67/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First of all I must thank meathookjones for this little bottle of what is turning out to be the best Belgian beer I have ever had the pleasure to...

Pours a hazy, dark reddish to brown with 1 inch head that stays for a bit then quickly dissapates. The lace is fine, and sticks to the snifter all the way around.

Scent is of rich bready malts, sweet candy, dark fruits, grapes and a spicey alcohol.

Taste is WOW. It is very complex. I don't know where to begin. Ok, a spicey alcohol as it starts with a solid rich malt backbone and yeast after that I get lost. I can taste some of the fruits I smelled in the finish. I get just a bit of citrus at the end as well. Did I say complex? This one is hard to get each flavor as I taste it. However, I have to place this at the top of the Belgian Quads I've had.

Mouthfeel is silky, velvety smooth. It's not sticky for being such a big beer. It goes down easy for the incredibly complex flavor and the abv. I could put many of these away in a sitting till the alcohol caught up with me (ok maybe two).

Yes, It lived up to the hype for me. I am amazed at the complexity of the flavors. The scent was fairly easy to distinguish, but the flavor was another story. Truly, a world class beer.

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Photo of Absumaster
3.88/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It is hard to say anything about a beer that has a reputation to be excellent. It does not help either that the beer is reaching it's de date pretty soon.
It pours a dark ruby colour with a nice stable head and a lot of flaky yeast.
Smell of baked bread, malty and some minor oxidation and husky smell. (don't want to anger the Westy fans, but I smell it)
Taste of grapes and currants and dark fruits, is that cherry?, what a nice balance! The maltbitternes changes with each sip. This beer drinks very easy and I have to be carefull not to drink his too fast. Although I feel the warming alcohol, it is very well hidden.

This is a very good beer, but I think the reputation is part of the high ratings.

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

First I would like to thank BitterBill for this awesome brew, thanks buddy. I would most likely not go thru all the hoops to get this, but now I just might, lol I believe the cap said 09/08 date, no label.

A - Pours a dark brown/red color, lots of carbonation, nice small creamy head which leaves pretty quick, lots of nice lacing throughout the drink in forms of islands in some spots.

S - Scents are very complex, lots of stuff going on, but could detect plums, raisins, toffee.

T - The taste is very very nice, I believe I've had nothing like this so far. Nice tart/tangy/sweet flavor. Could taste plums/grapes I think. The finish is dry and clean.

M - Medium body, well rounded, with a carbonated feel.

D - Very drinkable. This is my first Westy, and what a powerful/excellent/awesome brew. Just might have to try and get some soon.

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Photo of harsley
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well, since I recently visited this Brewery I figure I should review their beer. Having the notion that this is the best beer around and very difficult to get going in, my review could be partial. Pours a rich dark amber/brown with a great creamy head on top. The head never dies and lasts the beer. For such high alcohol content, what make this beer so good is it's drinkability. The alcohol is there but definitely not over powering. It's not syrupy but has good body. All sorts of crazy flavors present..couldn't really begin to define. You just have to try it.

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

Well who am I to blow against the wind? This beer is flat out amazing, and a big thanks to mighty Jetsbeer for hooking me up!
This beer pours a delicate brown witha slight white head. The only thing that holds this beer down is it's lack of solid lacing. That is it though.
The smell is extremely complex and layered. It starts off like sweet bread, with yeast tones, gives a bit of raison, English toffee, plums, honey and molassis.
It's like wine, more than anything.
On taste, words kind of defy you. Incredible malt use, there isn't a hint of the alcohol wallop at all. It's sweet and bubbly like candy, but far from obnoxious. The toffee taste is delicious. all in all, this is the king. THE KING! No chinks in this armor.

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

Pours a deep dark red with a one finger light tannish head that falls to a ring and leaves some lace behind.

Aroma is nice fruity malt lightly sweet some nice spice underneath. Smells nice and inviting good sweetness not cloying and not much candi sugars at all just good fruity malts. Aroma does fade in intenstiy quite quickly though.

Taste is nice lightly zesty malt good fruit grapes, rasins, dates dipped in nice molasses. Some good lingering spice clove blend with some coriander and a light alcohol flavor that blends well. Taste is great nice sweetness no cloying with candi sugars.

Mouthfeel is good nice big medium carbonation level is real good little zest, but not too much as many from this style seem to favor. Other Quads should take notes and follow suite.

Drinkability is very good also the best Quad I have had to date, didn't want to rate this well because all the crap I hear about it being the best but it is quite good. However not my favorite style so not the best beer in the world for me but can't find anything to nock it for. Big thanks to gimmehead for this great brew he slipped into a trade as a suprise.

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Photo of Prufrock
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a rochefort goblet.

medium brown that shows a ruby amber against the light. golden orange at its thinnest along the edges. an inch of off-white head that falls into lumps and leaves touches of lace.

belgian yeast in the aroma with dark, overripe fruits. a hint of spice, lemon and bananas. a swirl of the glass brings out a hint of the alcohol and some breadiness.

oh dear lord, i understand the hype from the first sip. malty, bready sweetness, the perfect light carbonation, unbelievably rich body with absolutely no hint of the alcohol. ridiculously smooth. a touch dry but with a honey sweetness in the finish. drinkability? i wish it came in bombers, although the alcohol would put me in a coma. i hate being predictable, but this is going to get my highest rating ever.

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

It's tough to review this beer anymore, almost like knocking it would be trying to unseat a benevolent king. Well, at least I won't be the one to do it.

After biking 5km from Poperinge in cold that felt like daggers, through barren hop farms and fields of sheep, we made it to in de Vrede, that Mecca that had been the final destination of our long voyage.

Totally worth risking my extremities to frostbite. Just looking at the beer, resting in the wide glass, dark brown with a touch of red, is awesome.

But the smell simply explodes. You can feel it circulating through your nose and mind, a welcome guest to the body. Dark fruits and nuts and something like cinnamon or licorice all twirl together like those ghosts in The Sorcerer's Apprentice, when Mickey makes the potion. But the nose is deep, much more than any beer I've had, including all the other trappists. Chimay Bleu comes the closest, I think

The taste, though, is incredible. You get the rush of dark fruits and even a few trailing hops to really full it out. But the coolest part is the way it interacts with the alcohol: When you're about to taste the alcohol on the tongue, after the first round has cleared, another round of delicious darkness rolls over the alcohol on the tongue. You expect a bit of a bite from the 10.2ABV, but it never comes, falling to the exceptional depth of this brew.

Go to Westvleteren. In summer, if you can. One of the coolest experiences of my life.

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 1,806 ratings.
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