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

1,854 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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,854 | Ratings: 6,256
Photo of MaltyPythonsHopCircus
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Truly is the perfect beer. Amazing balance.
Pours a delicate off white head that never changes.
Reddish brown slightly hazy.
Bread, fig and raisin pudding on the nose and flavour. Some soft toffee and rum notes.
Hops build subtly with earthy herbal tones.

 260 characters

Photo of BlackBeerPirate
4.35/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Taste: Bold bready, rich earthy malts, raisins, dark fruit, chewy, and balanced. Big malt and dark bread nose. Dark Mahogany in color, semi opaque with big head of sticky lace. Medium/Full body. Liquid bread, no wonder the monks could survive on this during fasting.

 266 characters

Photo of brewbegoodtome
4.16/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Undoubtedly a great beer, but do your best to lower your expectations going in because its reputation is so sky-high, it'd be hard for any beer to live up to the hype. For me it improved massively with age, developing a nice rummy note 6 months to a year in. Soft dark caramel/muscovado sugar, raisins, figs with a slight cedar-y quality and a bit of a spicy/bublegummy prickle from the yeast, but still a very smooth finish.

 427 characters

Photo of tigg924
4.94/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours hazy, dark brown in color with 1/2 inch head. The head simmers down to a beautiful thin frothy top. Amazing looking beer. Taste is raisin, fig, dark bread, plum, red apple skin, and light alcohol. Multi-layered, malty, medium heavy bodied, and sweet. Cannot get over the complexity and the smoothness. One of the best Belgian beers I have had. A treat to myself. I will get this again.

 400 characters

Photo of OlaB
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L:gives a hazy dark reddish color. A good creamy top of head when I pour, sticky lacings on the glass.

S: brown sugar, dark fruits especially plums, cherries, spices like peppercorn,cardamom and cloves,caramel and chocolate.

T&F: starts of with delicious dark fruits and brown sugar,with the malt caracters in the background. I sense both plums,figues, caramel and a hint of what feels like the middle I get a more sour flavour that reminds more of cherries with different spices,the finish is dry and bitter but in the background I sense very sweet flavour, the aftertaste are one of the longest I encountered. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth in every aspect,and I already in the first sip get a warm feeling in my body. This beer is great balanced in all aspect,and all the flavours I encounter are amazing

O: this is a amazing beer and it is impressive in every aspect. Maybe is hyped up to much, I don't know. Is other belgian quads that are close to this. Anyway it was a pure pleasure to trie this and I enjoyed every drop of it.

 1,060 characters

Photo of RobSouza
4.98/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Right now, my standard of Belgians, of which all others are measured. I've had this by itself, and compared it next to St. Bernardus ABT 12 and Rochefort 12. Comparatively, the Westy 12 has the best balance of flavors, mouth feel/carbonation, and finish.

Pours deep and dark like a true quad should. Head is fluffy like whip cream.

The flavors are bold yet subtle and evenly spread, not one overpowering the other. Berries, cacao, earthy, subtle on the nose.

The carbonation is delightfully effervescent and energetic...electric in some bottles, which shock the eardrums.

The finish is relaxing and pleasing, of a mild dark chocolate, the best finish of any Belgian. I found St. Bernardus ABT to come in at #2 -- flavor profile is slightly more minerally and metallic. Rochefort 12 was #3 in the lineup -- the chocolate dipped berry boldness is a bit overpowering for my liking, and always has been. I continue to drink and enjoy it, but it's still my #3.

 972 characters

Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.57/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- dark plum colour with a typical frothy head.

S- booze and dark fruits.

T- incredibly refined, layered flavours of cherry, booze, figs and plums. Less sweet than the Rochefortes but still has that sweet flavour.

M-incredible. Possibly the best aspect of this beer, silky smooth, a mouthfeel ive never experienced in any other quad.

O- hard to live up to the immense hype, but it comes close. Just an incredibly well made beer.

 432 characters

Photo of TheDoctor
4.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Service: Bottle
Best before: Jan-6-2019 (bottled Jan-2016)

Pours a muddy mohagany with an enormous khaki head that is basically sturdy as a dollop of dirty-looking whipped cream. Great retention; gorgeous lacing. (4.75)

Aromas of musty old barnwood and cherries with a slightly tart twang that is barely perceptible. (4.25)

Waves of smooth earthy, rich, brown bread and workbench dirt, dripping in dark fruit character with a touch of bubblegum and caramelized sugar in the finish. (4.5)

Medium+ bodied with active (but soft) carbonation, puffy, fluffy feel, drinkable. (4.75)

This is a very nice, very flavorful, very enjoyable beer. I am a big fan of Belgians and that is one that I've always wanted to get ahold of. I'm glad I did (merci, Steve). A unified sensory experience that highlights the incredible nature of brewing. Walks a line between big and drinkable, sweet and earthy, rich and refreshing. This is a world-class beer. Have it if you ever see it! (4.75)

 1,019 characters

Photo of ilikebeer03
4.67/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Excellent beer. Definitely lives up to the hype. Great quad. Nose and pallate are a ton of crisp plum, raisin, cherry, dark fruits. Definitely dominated by plum, though. Never had a quad with so much plum. Drank side by side one from Belgium, one of the American releases and rotchefort 10. The one not imported (straight from Belgium) was better than the American distributed box one. Both blew rotchefort 10 out of the water.

 427 characters

Photo of steve032
4.6/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Not a huge Belgian quad fan but this is truly the best that the style can offer. Spicy, bready, syrupy. All that lovely belgian-ness for when you get tired of lambic (which is never).

 183 characters

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

Sight: Pours dark brown, almost chocolatey, with a slight reddish hue. Beautuful, thick head, is creamy, off-white and variable in size.

Smell: dark fruits esters with mild pleasant phenols. Dark bread, and something prickly like dr. Pepper.

Taste: I think cherry cola would not be far off. There's also rum soaked currants, and prunes, and dates. fruity chocolate notes, with bright berries. Rye bread dough. Pepper. Subtle sweetness, decadent, but somehow still feeling off dry. Cookie dough? Omg this is good. The complexity is pretty mind blowing. The finish is absurdly long and unfolds like a symphony of sensations. Literally 20 minutes and still picking up nuances from residuals.

Feel: prickly carbonation is lively on the tongue giving a fine texture that is almost champagne like. body is medium but sturdy and chewy. Downright doughy. So.etimes feels like I'm drinking a cup of Mexican hot chocolate!

Mind: transcendental? Yeah. I think that term applies. To all those that think good beer has to be a hop bomb, take note. Is this the best beer in the world? Hard to say, but it very well could be.

Is this the same as Saint Bernards ABT 12? And how does it compare to Rochester or Westmalle? I did a side by side comparison and can tell you they are most certainly NOT the same. Of the bunch, Saint Bernardus ABT 12 is the most similar to the Westy 12--quite a bit similar, but not at all the same. The Westy is more balanced, drier, with a good deal more subtle complexity and a heftier bready quality. All the others are excellent Belgian quads, but there is a reason they are all being compared to Westy 12, because this is the Belgian beer to which all Belgian beers must be compared. It is the standard to meet and the yard stick against which all others must be judged.

 1,794 characters

Photo of Buck89
4.55/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a 2012 bottle poured into a chalice. The color was a murky rusty reddish-brown with a relatively thin light tan head. Prominent caramel on the nose, with cinnamon, plum, raisins, and toffee. Huge tastes with the aforementioned fruit, cloaked in a spiciness and leathery funk. Really nicely balanced with everything playing well together.Medium to high carbonation and a dry finish. Would love to try newer bottles and compare.

 436 characters

Photo of Furlinator
4.52/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cap dated 10/02/15.
Consumed on 09/04/16.
Pours hazy dark copper. A fizzy khaki head forms then fades to wisps on top and leaves faint spots of lace. The smell is of caramel, toffee, booze, raisins and figs. The taste follows with caramel covered raisin and a hint of alcohol. Full texture. Classic and world class.

 315 characters

Photo of Esquire08
4.93/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

In 2011, a friend and I decided to sample all of the original Trappists after I managed to procure four (well, three, after one broke in transit) Westy XII's. The beer did not disappoint. Fast forward a few years when I visited Brussels, I found more of this heavenly beer and brought back a few bottles for a friend. I currently have seven sitting in a cool, dry place.

L - very dark, molasses, with thick head which lingers
S - fruity/fig, sugary
T - perfect blend of fruits and sugar, complexity changes as the beer finishes
F - very smooth, not overpowering

This really is one of the best beers I've had—it blends sweetness and acidity/carbonation quite well. Roche10 is often compared with this beer, which is more of a compliment to Roche10 than a knock to Westy XII. Although Roche10 comes very close, Westy XII is still the king of the Trappists; Roche10 seems slightly more carbonated, slightly overpowering the blend of sweetness compared to Westy XII. If you can find Westy XII—especially in Brussels—reward yourself, but I would never pass on a Roche10, especially given the differences in price (Westy XII was €12).

 1,138 characters

Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle recently required in Brussels into a tulip glass.

Look is a dark hazy brown with an inch head that holds up well.

Aroma is dried fruit fig raisin earthy dryness at the end.

Taste has some of that dried fruit from the aroma lots of Belgian yeast esters and a smooth dryness at the end.

Absolutely wonderful balanced beer. 10% just shines through a bit as a nice balance to the intense Belgian notes. Absolutely worth the hype. Glad I picked up a couple of bottles.

 489 characters

Photo of Chris1108
4.99/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is all its hyped to be!

Found in Aruba at Madame Jennettes! Brought a couple back to age.

Amazing. I can't say anything that hasn't already been said. Most complex beer I've ever had.

 197 characters

Photo of DaveBar
4.35/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Got on trade. 330ml bottle served at 8deg C in a chalice.

A- Opens well and pours a 1" high light brown head that lasts for nearly 4mins before film out. Dark brown colour and unfiltered

S- Molasses, fig, caramel

T- Complex. A lot of flavors as expected from a quad. Sweet. Changes as it lingers on the tongue. Very Roche10 like or should I say the other way around?

M- Creamy going down then dries out

O- Nice beer. Not great and severely overrated. Not worth some $15/20/bottle by a long shot. Will not try again. Better off with Roche10's at $4/ea and you get 90+% of this beer.

Food Pairing

This rather good quad went well with...... Roasted lamb leg.


 671 characters

Photo of jamesroses
4.29/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: ruby brownish with a big head of tiny bubbles. Creamy head that stays for a long time with great lacing.

Aroma: I let it warm and it smelled really sweet and boozy, mainly caramel and brown sugar with a slight red wine aroma but besides that, didn't get much dark fruits smell.

Taste: caramel and toffee, I'd say really sweet and spicy, not fruity at all, maybe a bit of that red wine character.

Mouthfeel: the best of this beer IMO. Despite being so sweet, the mouthfeel was like expansive and spot on, taking that sweetness apart and letting some hoppy flavours develop.

Overall: Well, another praised beer that I think it's very good but not the "holy grail". I prefer Rochefort 10 over this, a lot more -that should get much more praise than this. That one is much fruity and pleasant. This Westvleteren seemed to be one-dimensional and it's 5 times more expensive.

 887 characters

Photo of Beersnake1
4.79/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled November 2013 (best before November 2016). Poured from fridge temp into Trois Pistoles glass. Allowed to warm over 45 minutes. Popped the cap and immediately got a smell of greatness. The pour was slow, and still ended up with 2 inches of head. Lots of sediment. Smell is so sweet - deeper and stronger than other Quads that I have had. Dark fruit is dominant. Taste is so smooth. Lots of cherries, blackberries, toffee, and hint of bitterness. Incredible. By far my favorite quad so far.

 497 characters

Photo of nicola5555
4.29/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


 175 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.71/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a snifter, the beer is a dark, vibrant, ruby-tinted brown coloring with a foamy, clingy, bubbly, off-white head. Aromas of rich toffee and date forward, with highlights of molasses, apple, caramel, fig, plum, subtle dark grapes, and earthy overtones. Very rich and layered aromas. Flavors are a richly sweet blend of old world fruit forward, sticky sweet with fig, date, plum, raisins, and followed with notes of apple, caramel, toffee, molasses, and earthy notes, as well as a solid boozy kick, and some subtle earthy notes. Extremely layered and dynamic flavor profiles, rich and earthy throughout, on a chewy, rich body. There is an edge from the carbonation that helps to lighten up this beast of a beer, but only slightly. The aftertaste is a blend of all the rich old world and stone fruits, with a solid booze warmth building. Slow, rich, lingering finish, with notes of molasses, date, and fig loitering on your taste buds. What a tremendous beer!

 981 characters

Photo of REDAMI
4.94/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L-poured from a 330 mL bottle into a chalice

S-sweet, yeasty bread, molasses, fig

T-raisins, figs, rich brioche bread

F-creamy, coating, sinfully smooth

Perfectly balanced, a rare beer that actually lives up to the hype

 224 characters

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

Nice looking bottle. Very pleasant smell. Very nice taste and Good alcohol content. Excellent beer! Good beer for Sunday's relaxing in a sofa. Good also that all the money goes to the monks and charity.

 202 characters

Photo of raysat
4.57/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Found at a bottle shop in Denmark, surprised to stumble upon it. I was really excited just to try it, knowing how difficult it is to find and the reputation around it. It was good, very good. Maybe not the ’best in the world’ (it’s impossible to say with so many great beers out there), but really great to find something so interesting. Good appearance, really large head that adds to the flavour of the first few sips. The toasted caramel flavour is really nice. I bought a few more bottles to age as well, that should be fun.

 534 characters

Photo of superspak
4.52/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

4500th review! 330 ml bottle into chalice, bottled on 4/20/2014. Pours clear deep ruby red/brownish color with a 1 finger dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of huge raisin, prune, cherry, fig, date, apple, light red grape, peppercorn, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, herbal, tobacco, light leather, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Incredible aromas with awesome complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/bready malt notes; with great strength. Taste of huge raisin, prune, cherry, fig, date, apple, light red grape, peppercorn, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, herbal, tobacco, light leather, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Moderate peppery yeast spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, prune, cherry, fig, date, apple, peppercorn, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, herbal, tobacco, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible compelxity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/bready malt flavors; with a great malt/spiciness balance, and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-moderate dryness from yeast spiciness as well. Medium carbonation and medium-plus body; with a very smooth, fairly creamy/bready, and lightly crisp/sticky balanced mouthfeel that is amazing. Alcohol is very well hidden with a only a light warmth present after the finish. Overall this is an insane quadrupel style. All around incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/bready malt flavors; very smooth and easy to drink for the ABV. Very similar to Abt 12; but this one had more nutty/biscuity malt complexity and a better mouthfeel. A highly amazing offering all around, as I had hoped for.

 1,905 characters

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.61 out of 5 based on 6,256 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.