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

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)
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Belgian Quadrupel (Quad)
Ranked #1
Ranked #25
4.66 | pDev: 8.8%
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)
Notes: (Yellow Cap)
Reviews: 1,941 | Ratings: 6,669
Photo of npolachek
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of the top beers I have ever had. Smells of cloves and allspice. Mouthfeel extremely well balanced with no bitterness. There are a few bars in USA that actually have this beer, so worth the $30 if you are not in Belgium and want to try it.

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Photo of Torps
3.98/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Running through every Belgium ale while visiting Netherlands and Belgium!

Got a bottle from Cafe gollem in Amsterdam. This one is definitely hyped. I agree with a previous reviewer that this is comparable to Rochefort 10 which is one of my favorite quads. I feel ABT12 is a bit better and has more of a dynamic flavor as the it warms.
Worth a try though!

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Photo of BenHoppy
4.23/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Good quad but not only is it not the best beer in the world, its not even the best quad. Does not taste much different than Rochefort 10 and still I'd rather have a Blue Chimmay.

The pour is a murky caramel brown with flavors of brown sugar, dates, figs, caramel, chocolate, and spice. If you know to go to Au Bron Vieux Temps in Brussels this beer is not that rare. It is super smooth for 10% but so much better brews in today's world yet glad to have gotten to finally try it. Good for what it is but would never pay more than $8 for a second round.

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Photo of kylesobrien
4.38/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Aroma of fresh bread, raisins, hints of clove and allspice. Noticeable alcohol, and the faintest scent of something resembling soy sauce.

Largely opaque caramel colour, deep ruddy brown, luxurious lacing and a fantastic and persistent white head. Looks almost perfect for what I'd expect from a beer like this one, honestly.

Ample carbonation, sharp but not harsh bitterness, complex assortment of flavours -- starting out spicy, then noticeably bitter (without much if any hop flavour), lightly phenolic, drying finish with caramel-like/slight toffee aftertaste.

It's like eating a warm piece of well-spiced, bready fruitcake with a little caramel sauce -- and taking a quick sip of clovey wheat beer afterwards.

Definitely one of the best Belgian strong ales I've had. For me, definitely not the "best beer in the world" (which seems a meaningless statement anyway), but I'd say it's one of the best brews made in Belgium for sure.

(For my money, the Westvleteren blonde is outstanding, if I had to choose between them, I'd take a fresh bottle of that in a flat second. The 8 is not very interesting compared to either, in my opinion.)

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Photo of Billybrewer
4.87/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

So after ordering this from the Monks by email, I waited a long time for it to be shipped to the states. It was worth the wait, but obviously an extravagance that most can not afford. Simply put abt $20 a 12 oz bottle is steep. That said, it was totally worth it an one of the most complex beers I have ever had. I did a side by side with two other Belgium styles Rochefort 10 and Jeffe. After doing so, I can say that West’s was the best with Rochefort 10 very close behind. With Rochefort being 40% cheaper and more readily available, I can recommend that as well. Should you be in a position to order some westy, do so. Make sure you only share with people who truly appreciate beer. If a persons favorite beer is a mass marketer beer, leave them out because they will ruin your experience. Also, there is nothing bad about keeping them all to yourself. After all, you’ve certainly earned it.

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Photo of mike22ne
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally got to have one while visiting a friend in Germany. The bottle was about a year old, dated 07.12.19.
Yeah it's just a really nice Belgian quad, but its rarity boosts the score for many. Great deep caramel malts and fruit sugars. Excellent.

I can't say for sure that there's no better beer in the world but this one is certainly up there.

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Photo of WickedBeer
4.68/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Finally got my hands on this legendary Trappist beer. Cap reads “Trappist Westvleteren 12, bevat / bier, gerstemout 10,2% VOL, ABDIJ ST. SIXTUS 8640 WESTVLETEREN TENMINSTE HOUDBAAR TOT : ZIE TOP 33Cl e”. Date on cap is 06.04.19.

This beer pours a beautiful burnt sienna brown, completely opaque with some noticeable sediment and continually rising carb. The head bubbles away quickly, beginning around two fingers and settling at one finger of ivory foam.

The nose is bursting with vibrant aromas of caramel, subtle molasses, and a wonderful combination of spices . Dark fruits are all over the backbone of this beer, full of dates and raisins.

Bready, fruity, caramel, and dark fruits all balance the amazing flavors in this beer. A subtle spiciness rings true throughout; I pick out anise in particular. More of those dates and raisins settle on the tongue. A boozy warmth is felt all the way down, paving the way for that undoubtedly certain next sip.

A great weight to this beer. Full mouthfeel, with a high carb that hits sharply but not unpleasantly. Slight stickiness, great warmth.

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Photo of csmrx7
4.52/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I don't usually love Trappist beers bunthisnis just another level. Bready, with dates and raisins and a nice hint of ABV without been too hot. A must try.

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Photo of FloydTurbo
4.88/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

The actual king of beers, aroma of sweet bread, dates, raisins. Has been beautifully brought together by the monks of the abbey. Taste is heavenly. Starts out smooth with great non abrasive carbonation, finishes with a medium body and flavours of anise, raisin and bready. Highly highly recommend visiting the brewery or gift shop at least!

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Photo of Bfork
4.16/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

L: cloudy dark brown with full head of small champagne bubbles that give away to larger bubbles that dissipates slowly back into small champagne sized bubbles. Clumps of yeast settle on bottom after a few minutes
S: mild smell of pre baked rising bread and Belgium yeast, plumbs and dates
T: tobacco hits first giving way to dark marbled rye bread. Metallic taste fades quickly into a bitter hops forward
F: carbonate forward which fades fast due to the bitterness left on the back of the tounge

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Photo of chitoryu12
4.14/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Look: Dark ruby red, with a huge head. Lots of carbonation.

Smell: Yeast, bread, and a malty sweetness.

Taste: Unlike any other beer I've had. Chocolate, malt, and bread. A high enough alcohol content that I can actually taste it on the back of my tongue.

Mouthfeel: Very carbonated, like a sharp soda.

Overall: While I don't quite know if I'd declare this "the best", it's certainly up there and unlike any other beer I know.

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Photo of gudthing
4.87/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Large thick head, not going anywhere fast, Dark ruby colour, gentle fizz, looks delicious.

Smells yeast, biscuit, caramel and toffee. Quite delicate smell, but very pleasant.

Taste is delicious! Certainly get some toffee malts, raisin and a little sugar. Extremely well balanced, an absolutely incredible smooth beer.

The feel is thick and creamy, which goes wonderfully with the beer. A real Belgian gem!

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Photo of jbone09
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark muddy chocolate, with a small froth top. Fruity, chocolaty, zesty. It's a very distinguished beverage. I had two of these: one was fantastic, the other like vinegar; clearly past its prime.

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Photo of Harrison8
4.67/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a dark brown with a bit of murkiness to it. Head formation is high, fluffy, and retains exceptionally well. There is a bit of dark, grainy particles that linger at the bottom of the cup after leaving what looks like a little patch of dirt on the head. Lacing is dense enough that it looks like chocolate milk layered on the glass. Aroma is dark and rich plum, clove, and yeast. There is a teasing kiss of toffee and caramel on the nose as well. Flavor profile is rich and decadent plum, raisin, cloves, yeast, and biscuit and toffee malts. Toffee, and caramel add a bit more depth to it. Mouth feel is medium-thick with a velvety, smooth, and creamy feel. Overall, a magnificent brew. There is still a finger of khaki foam sitting a top even after this review. Aroma is maybe a touch thin when comparing with the rest of the beer, but the flavor profile carries a lot of depth while remaining balanced.

Served in a Chimay chalice from a 11.2oz bottle.

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Photo of elpanson
4.29/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Like another reviewer, it was the journey for this beer that led to a cool experience.

I was living in Germany and was headed to the Brugges beer fest and wanted this unicorn beer, I had to make 85 phone calls to the Abby to reserve a time slot and only 2 racks per car. Luckily our slot was available on the drive back. I think we paid 45 Euros per rack (24 bottles and cool wooden rack) with a promise to save some for a friend that met us at Brugges. He never got any, sorry bro.

Anyhow, about a year later, my buddy was headed downrange and stopped off at the local base liquor store which had a very small lot of this beer, priced at $450 a case!! The unicorn beer is good, hell, great when you can only buy it at a small Abby in Belgium (they have a pub across the street where its on tap) but St. Bernardus Abt 12 is almost its clone and attainable.

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Photo of janubio
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Note: This is a bottle that I have been storing for more than three years since it go out of date. Light brown reddish colour, small head with very short retention. No lace. Aroma of dates, raisins, brandy, spices, wood, some chocolate, spices Medium to full body, creamy alcoholic palate, flat carbonation. Sweet fruity finish. Taste of dried fruits: prundes, raisins, dates, chocolate, spices, pepper, fruits, wood. Exceptional, one of te best, like his sister 8.

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Photo of Hyptochrons
4.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

pours out a murky brownish ruby color, nice half finger head leaves a few bits of lacing. nose reminds me of cherry coke in the best way hahah - has this sweet cherry note and an almost vanilla quality. smells delicious, very fruity and sweet. on palate there is a beautiful and rich dark fruit note up front, reminiscent of cherry and plum, the sweetness of the malts is there as well, toasty nuttyness, caramel and toffee, hints of vanilla again. absolutely no booze but a subtle hit of spice and warmth. mouthfeel is medium+ bodied and has a luscious texture to it, excellent carbonation. overall an absolute masterclass and wonderfully smooth and well rounded beer. quads are usually not my thing but its pretty much impossible not to get excited about this one. cheers!

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Photo of Arkrebel
4.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The hype is that this is the best beer in the world. And depending on your taste it may well be. I love the Trappist style ales but living where I do the style is hard enough to find let alone true Abby produced ales.

We recently traveled to Europe and added a few days before our river cruise to visit Poperinge Belgium, yes that mystical place that is close to the St. Sixtus Abby. We actually went there to visit the St. Bernardus brewery in nearby Watou.

The kind lady at the hotel desk was aware we were beer geeks and asked if we had tried the Westvleteren 12 and we said no, she got with the hotel owner who arrainged for us to visit a cafe and try some.

Westvleteren 12 is what all Belgian Quads try to be. You have to enjoy the style to really appreciate this beer. It has all the aromas and flavors you would expect in an Abby ale, but it's subtler in the balance than a lot of them. Poured from a bottle into traditional glass wear complete with the St. Sixtus branding it hard a tight carmel colored head. Taste had notes of fruits, spices, and sweetness. Aroma carried the same notes as the taste. Mouth feel was silky smooth. The monks have mastery of the art of making high gravity beers that do not taste like high gravity beers.

Okay I will freely admit that the overall experience may color my review of this beer but picture this scene before you judge me too harshly. We were seated at an outdoor table in a small Belgian town, our waiter brings two bottle of this nearly un-obtainable beer to us and is laughing to himself. We asked why he was laughing and he tells us as he is passing behind the bar with our beers another patron calls a friend to tell him the bar has the Trappist for sale and he stopped to tell him "no we don't". We were just finishing the first bottle as he brought us a second. Total cost for us to each enjoy two of the worlds most exclusive beers was 10 Euros.

Best beer in the world, maybe or maybe not depending on your taste. Have I ever enjoyed a beer as much as that day? No I have not!

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.16/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into chalice glass.

A: Huge fizzy slightly off white khaki color that makes the beer almost hard to pour, but it settles almost as quickly as it forms. Brackish brown black body with very little light escaping its murkiness.

S: Light bits of dates, figs, and clove, but also a floral hop presence like noble hops. There is a nice doughy almost banana bread like smell that permeates.

T: Lots of lovely date, fig, caramel raisin taste with a little burnt sugar and toffee.

M: Insanely biting high carbonation, but yet it finishes so smooth it's unreal.

O: This is a world class beer no doubt, but the carbonation is way too high and I was expecting the depth of flavor to be more nuanced. That being said, it is really really good.

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Photo of brewerburgundy
4.29/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tea to crimson in color, massive bubbling head that almost made my cup runneth over. It retains a meringue of the khaki foam of over two fingers for a good while. This find of Westvleteren at the Yongsan seven day did make said cup overflow with joy!

Dark caramel, plum, a twinge of brandy, cherry wood.

Sweet tobacco, bourbon, toffee, dark fruit. The balance is phenomenal; rich, sweet flavors, alcohol bitterness, and booze that is more flavor than heat.

A light to medium body is accosted by waves of carbonation. I would like a little less carbonation, it would make things a little smoother, but it doesn’t really hurt.

I can’t believe I found this in the Republic of Korea. This legend is definitely the best Quad I’ve had.

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Photo of dpgoblejr
4.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours dark brown, large frothy cap and lacing along the edge of the glass. Aromas of bread and dark fruits. Sweet candied fruits and caramel toffee taste with a dry finish. Overall, amazing! Great to try at least once.

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Photo of BeerNCue
4.48/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

33 cL bottle. Pours a beautiful mohagony with a fluffy khaki head that produced brilliant lacing. Carbonation bubbles rose from the bottom of the glass for the duration of drinking it. Smell is some dark fruit, and maybe a little nutty. Nothing mind blowing but not bad either. Taste is a smooth blend of dark fruit followed by a slight sweetness and then a little dry, nutty finish. Alcohol is present but very well hidden. The feel is creamy and smooth with a very pleasant moderate viscosity, making the feel my favorite attribute of this beer. Overall a great beer, certainly worth trying once if you’re lucky enough to find it.

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Photo of jwilcox767
4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A - Nice deep, rick mahogany with all of that nice sediment that I like. Nice thin head that stuck around.
S - Dark fruits, plums, raisins, figs. Awesome Belgian yeast notes. Maybe a little caramel. Some level of spiciness.
T - Just like the nose. Throw in some leather too. The spicy notes were unexpected, or stronger than expected, but they were perfectly balanced as well.
M - Well carbonated, mouthfeel is just perfect.
O - Overall this was an excellent quad. That being said, it is definitely -not- worth the pain of obtaining it. Rochefort 10 and Abt 12 are within a hair's breadth of the quality of this brew (maybe better), but the latter 2 I can pick up anywhere. I would take all of these that someone would sell at retail price, but I will never pay a big premium over these 2 other superb and readily available competitors.

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Photo of zielijo1
4.42/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I read about this beer. I had a trip to Belgium n picked up a case. A really nice taste, not boozy. Too much foam but does disappear quick to a nice head. Complex flavor. The lacing is great. Flavor changes as it warms. Better than st Bernardus 12. An outstanding beer but not necessarily the worlds best beer. Seek it out if you can

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Photo of SargeMcCluck
4.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours murky brown. The tan head is pillowy, but less pronounced than other quads – maybe a finger and a half in the Rochefort (forgive me) chalice. Sat on this one for a year, so Merry Christmas to me. This contemplative time calls for casting a blog post out into the great wide sphincter of the web.

Rating this, it’s true – the hype colours my opinion, for better or worse. Having tried the Blonde, 8, and 12, the word I keep coming back to with the Westys is 'subdued'.

I'll come clean – that's pretentious English for 'not as tasty as expected'.

These are obviously complex flavours that mingle to create something unique, cohesive, and of course, oft-mimicked. But in a world where incredible brews are becoming more accessible with each passing day, these holy grails from a romanticized era of monks and secret yeasts are built to disappoint.

Still, I kept it for a year, took it from the cellar at just the precise time, took a couple of silly photos, cut a slice of Christmas pudding, and tucked in. Lo and behold, it was great! It maintains a deeper character than other quads, forgoing syrupy sweet fruits and sugars to ponder leathery fig and cherry. The spices recall cigar paper and toffee, and, of course, there is zero alcohol whatsoever.

But then, constantly on the periphery of booze and jolly times, there’s St. Bernardus – brown robed, chalice aloft. I can grab his abt. 12 from 4 or 5 different liquor stores in the area, and am yet to have a straight-up bad or tainted experience. Is the Westy really as superior as the comparative hassle of acquiring it would suggest? No, not really.

There’s also Rochefort 10 – definitely a favourite of mine. Each bottle has slight variances, but what beer doesn’t? I’m sure the Westy does, despite its deified status.

But which is better? Well, I'm no expert. Who's to say my pour or temperature control wasn't off? Maybe my tastebuds weren’t working at 100% efficiency. When I make it to Belgium, I’ll be sure to try them side by side. It’ll be fun.

Then, for all I drone on about the market being saturated with young breweries jumping in to imperial stouts and unnecessarily aged quad-wannabes, there’s something like Copperhead’s quad, Medusa. Is it superior to the originals? Well, no. But it *is* a half hour drive and 5 bucks away, and I can get it straight from the tap. Probably some nice conversation, too.

So, what's the lesson here? Well, time to go dark on hype. No more Facebook circlejerks telling me what it is the local community should like; no more avoiding things because untappd decided it’s only worth a 3.8 (I mean, Gulden Draak? Common guys!); no more hoarding bottles for the sake of hoarding.

I’ll probably get excited for the odd interesting-sounding limited release, but let’s see what’s on the doorstep before I get blueballs for the next Best Beer in the World™. Cheers, everyone! Happy New Year!

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 6669 ratings