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

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)
6,431 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,431 |  Reviews: 1,885
Photo of D2Dodds
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of amendt
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tasting this beer, drinking this beer is very different than what you might expect.

The Westy 12's distinguishing feature is its complexity. It is a multi-layered experience. None of the vertices that lay down its shape are arbitrary, though. Other reviews guess at the 'notes' which range from being raisins to prune to plums to dates to molasses. Whatever the true sources are, the beer is almost classical in that a) there aren't too many of them; b) they exist in just the right combination.

Unlike an Oerbier, say, which is similarly well-crafted -- the Westy 12 is actually thirst-quenching. It's even a bit watery, without that detracting from the flavor or composition at all.

On the way down, it diffuses beautifully. It's the kind of beer that gives you a red, full face with which you can go out and face a winter's night.

This beer is not a gut-buster. In my experience it is unique. You can wrestle with it for long hours, drinking one after another. But instead of besting you or defeating you -- and instead of wasting your time -- the beer seems to match you move for move. It dances with you. It never overpowers you. Until by gentleman's agreement, the match is over, and you get up and find pleasantly that you can hardly walk.

N.B. This beer was had by the reviewer on two separate summer afternoons at the In de Vrede cafe attached to the monastery in 2012. He had 2-4 of them on each occasion.

 1,420 characters

Photo of RuckusDu
4.45/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

200th review. Had it a few times but that was before I was reviewing. Figured this would be a good milestone beer. Dated 07.01.14, so about a year and nine months old. In my limited experience, about 2 years on these is best.

A - The beer pours just right. Nice two finger head that sticks around for a while. Head is light tan, with maybe some slight red in it. The body is a gorgeous deep amber. Very dark, but red and brown in it.

S - It's that distinctive, complex quad aroma. A lot of sweetness in this. Black cherry, chocolate, cinnamon, plum, molasses, and brown sugar. Very much in your face with strong aromas.

T - Pretty similar to the aroma on this, very complex. Dark fruits such as cherry, grape, and prune. Also some chocolate and sugar. A great balance between that fruit and sweetness.

M - Strong all around. Nice body and carbonation. Does hit the back of the mouth with a little pucker, but still nice.

O - Really a nice beer. Goes down smooth, yet is complex and has a lot going on. No evidence of alcohol despite the 10.6% in there. It is very dark, so you need to be in the mood for something like that, but if you are, this is definitely one of the best.

 1,184 characters

Photo of LennyZero
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of danp14
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of dansmcd
4.97/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A huge thank you to Brabander for my first (hopefully not the last) Westy 12.

A - Pours a dark muddy brown beneath a permanent creamy head and expansive sheets of lacing. Good start.

S - Woah....cant talk...ohh... hold on...F*ck this smells incredible. Thick wafts of creamy chocolate and marshmellow, hazelnut, freshly baked brown bread, musk, yeast, rye, slightly medicinal. Just bloody orgasmic.

T - Much of the same on the tongue, with the addition of dark fruits, particularly prune. Sweet rosewater, nutty turkish delight, rocky road, deep bready grains. An unmitigated joy.

M - Smoooth. Mellow with a soft warmth like a dying fire. FULL body. Complex to the extreme and indescribably delicious.

O - I had this in the pantry for about a year, waiting for that special occasion to crack this one open. One rainy, windy Friday evening at home with the wife I decided that given the hype of this beer, it must be a special occasion in itself to drink a Westy 12, and I can tell you now that I was not wrong. Incredible depth of flavour, sumptuous heavenly aroma, reaches the dizziest heights of beer quality. Exceeds the hype. Best beer I have ever had.

 1,162 characters

Photo of ElViajero87
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of COBeerBuff
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of JonIrabagon
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of funkyaudio
4.83/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

dark brown colour with a fine head, very complex aroma: bread, raisins and black chocolate, impressive malty palate, deep balance between sweetness and bitterness, slightly oily, the finish is moderately dry showing candy sugar, plums, gingerbread and a long warming alcohol touch - my deep consideration goes to the monks who are brewing this wonder and who make me think for a moment that I'm living in paradise

 413 characters

Photo of Mark000
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of match1112
3.83/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to bitterbill for helping me knock this one off the to do list!

A: murky brown with some amber highlights. little specs of sediment are seen floating around. thin brown head fizzed out to nothing in no time flat.

S: toffee, plums, figs, raisins and rubbing alochol.

T: sweet dark fruits and alochol is about it.

M: Starts thin but finishes thick as syrup. Warming effects from the alochol. Seems kinda flat, could use more carbonation.

O: Quads are far from my favorite style and I was expecting this bottle to be wasted on me but I rather enjoyed it.

 576 characters

Photo of RBee
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of stmgl01
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of zeledonia
4.12/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to n2185 for the bottle. Best by 14 Jun 2015; assuming that means it was bottled June 2010. Tasted 9 September 2012, reviewed from notes.

Pours a murky medium-brown amber, yellowish at the edges. One finger of cream-colored head. Decent retention and lacing.

Smell is a combination of thin high-nose volatile compounds, and deep fruits like plums and dates. Nice varied fruity aromas. Sugar is fairly low, and it's not as sweet or as complex as I would hope.

Taste is fine, but most of the flavors are shallow fruity flavors, not really wowing me. Has some deeper flavors, but they're tough to dig out. Main complaint is that it's lacking the layering and depth that the best big big beers have. Alcohol is strong in the flavor, as an astringent bitterness that comes in late. Good, but not my favorite.

Mouthfeel is slick and full, with medium-low carbonation. Just fine.

What can I say? I know tons of people love this beer. I hope to try it again, to see if my opinion remains the same. But for now, I find it to be in the upper tier of quads, but definitely not at the top. I prefer some others over it by a decent margin.

 1,138 characters

Photo of allergictomacros
4.37/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this at the Marienbad Restaurant/Chaucer pub, London Ontario of all places. No idea about freshness, vintage, etc. Served colder than I would like, and too gentle of a pour by yours truly.

A - Poured a dark, brown. First a bit translucent, but cloudy later on with the swirled yeast.

S - Nose is ripe, fruity. Dark sugary aroma.

T - Huge flavours. Dark fruit, raisins, prunes, concord grapes. Spicy, winey, and thick molasses. Big alcohol and moderate backing bitterness. Very sweet, smooth but also very heavy and strong.

M - Heavy, sweet and not quite syrupy but with smoothness to it.

D - Definite sipper, and TBH something I would prefer to split 2 ways. Still, amazing complexity and flavour.

 707 characters

Photo of Sbekolay
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of tobelerone
4.59/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally decided to crack open my sole bottle of this much heralded beer. Roughly two years in the cellar, after drinking it I could easily see how this would be a prime candidate for extended aging. Perhaps when it becomes available stateside I will spring for a box and stash it away.

Pours a deep mahogany with faint reddish highlights; a small cream colored head settles fairly quickly but becomes a foamy cappuccino topping as it rests and remains there for the duration of the beer. Patchy lacing slips around the sides of the glass. The aroma is complex as is the taste. In fact this is one of the most complex beers I’ve tried, with tons of nuanced layers emerging over time and as the beer warms. Rum-soaked raisins and fruitcake, apples, almonds and marzipan, toffee and caramel, plums, figs, dates, and prunes all make an appearance. Each sip reveals another facet. Has to be served at cellar temperature to glean all of these fine details. A restrained bitterness emerges in the aftertaste, and the finish is fairly dry, with fading memories of dark fruit, pleasantly warming alcohol, and marzipan.

Medium-bodied and carbonated, clean and crisp, but velvety smooth and creamy. Yes, it’s probably a bit overrated due to its scarcity, but it’s certainly the best quad I’ve tried. Others come close, and it doesn’t destroy Rochefort 10 or even the best of De Dolle, but it is better than them, deeper and more complex but a good measure. Worthy of its place atop the pantheon of Trappist beers to be sure.

 1,526 characters

Photo of eorwar
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of Hophead717
4.47/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated 25.8.12 . Just over three years old.

A: Dark amber, brown with a creamy half-finger head. Glass w/o yeast shows some light when held up, but the glass w/ swirled yeast is much darker.

S: Rich dark fruits. Deep toffee. Fairly sweet, lightly floral. Namely fig, dark plum, and candied fruit in the nose.

T: Sweet fig. The ultimate malt-forward beer, with candied fruit, moderately spicy bread. The glass with the swirled yeast is stronger in flavor, but introduces phenolic notes which I do not enjoy. So, pour carefully.

M: Thin to moderate in body with moderate to high carbonation. Works well.

O: Very good. Obviously hyped, but more enjoyable than any other Trappist beer that I've tried. At three years, it's tasting very nicely.

 750 characters

Photo of cosmo4u
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of rab53
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of paleoplant
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of rolopix
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of Maction
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Beer rating: 4.6 out of 5 with 6,431 ratings
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