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 StoutElk_92
4.68/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

11.2 oz. bottle with a date code of 07.12.19 on the cap

Pours cloudy opaque reddish dark brown with a dense creamy light khaki colored foam head. Smells almost like a smooth sherry wine with apples, pear, grapes, some dark fruit like plum and cherry, dried fruit, raisins, some apricot, honey, caramel, toffee, toasty bread, mild chocolate, tobacco, slight funk, a hint of spice, with floral earthy herbal grass. Tastes very complex with some of the aforementioned notes of slightly oxidized sherry wine, dark fruits, dried fruit, plum, cherry, dried figs, raisin, grapes, apple, pears, apricot, caramel, dark toffee, mild chocolate, rich roasty toasted bready malts, some tobacco, slight funk, a hint of spice, with floral earthy herbal grass. Feels medium bodied, soft and creamy with smooth moderate carbonation. Overall a real great Belgian quad.

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Photo of Morpheus
4.96/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I had the opportunity to finally try the Holy Grail of beer. I had expected to have been let down due to the hype and exclusivity, but was very pleased with the bottle! The level of balance and complexity was remarkable. Indeed, the Holy Grail was in my possession. For the briefest moment, I was immortal.

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Photo of rudzud
4.84/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Received in a trade almost 6 years ago. 2011 Vintage from the monastery (not part of the 'brick' series).

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a nice deep, rick mahogany/garnet hue with a nice thin thin off white head that fades to leave light thin blanket but a nice creamy halo. Nice lacing.

S - Aromas of dark fruits, plums, raisins, figs. Nice yeast notes, like soaked bread. Super super faint black cherry pit aroma. Nice light caramel. The belgian yeast notes are a little spicy/warming as well. Very aromatic.

T - Taste is similar to the nose, loads of dark fruit. Big raisins and plums, light fig. Lots of leather. Definitely tastes 'aged'. Great caramel and belgian yeast going on. Honestly this is just picture perfect for what I want in a Quad. Zero discernible alcohol as well.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, not cloy, and the alcohol is hidden very nicely.

O - Overall this was a very very well done Quad. This is drinking absolutely wonderfully right now, really happy I drank this now and was able to enjoy it but sad that it is my one and only vintage bottle. Just excellent. There's a reason why cars used to line up in droves at the monastery gates to get Westy all those years ago.

Serving Type: Bottle

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Photo of lic217
4.79/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a chalice with a big head, dark red brown color. Aroma is fruity and spices. Taste is slightly sweet, no alcohol, dark fruit, grape, and spices. Drinks extremely smooth, with prickly carbonation. An extremely delicious treat. Glad to finally try this one.

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Photo of BWED
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle poured into a wine glass. (Found on shelf at Mikkeller & Friends Bottle Shop in Copenhagen)

A- Pours deep mahogany. Head is soda like, quite bubbly, and tan. Really nice retention.

S- Rich dark fruits, plum, raisin, fig. Alcoholic tinge. Some black cherry. Very light caramel and some Belgian yeast spice character.

T- Cherry, fig sweetness, caramelized fruit. Some straight malt, biscuity sweetness. Yeast bite, faint caramel, and a bit of alcohol.

M- Medium-full body. The finish lightens up with a bit of dryness, as well as a good lingering warmth of alcohol.

O- Fantastic quad. Maybe doesn't live quite up to the hype, but depth is great and really enjoyable.

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Photo of VABA
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a rich dark amber color with little head and lacing.

Aroma is of fruits specifically raisins and figs, with toffee, brown sugar, and honey notes.

Taste is a thick rich complex character with fruity flavors and moderate carbonation.

A very unique beer which I had always wanted to try, and which lived up to it's reputation.

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

Enjoying the last of about 120 bottles I've been working my way through over the last two years. Most of the last forty bottles have a rising head as soon as I open the bottle and strong carbonation that often causes an immediate overflow and requires me to start the pour as soon as possible. There is a sense of freshness that reminds me of the freshest baguettes from the best Parisian boulangerie. At first I didn't like how carbonated it was but I quickly realized I could simply wait for the level of carbonation I felt like that day. Flavor is, for me, just a tad too bitter. At first this kept leaving me a bit disappointed. Now I love it. Head is epic. Like beaten egg whites. I almost tried shaving with it. The lacing on the sides of the glass and on the top of the beer, drunk from the classic or the more recent glasses from the brewery, is absolutely perfect. I used to photograph it because it really is gorgeous and unique. It is luxurious and generous and the bubbles are tiny holes in whipped-cream textured sheets that cling to the sides of the glass and really are a pleasure to look at as I continue. The flavor is honey, fig, nutmeg, dark fruits, berries, a bit of pineapple, dried fruits in a trail mix, fresh, rich crust from the best European bread, and a bitter undertone that must be the hops but the integration of these flavors is a marvel that provides the kind of taste odyssey that matches the experience of the finest high-end wines. From small sips savored in discrete moments or actually drinking, even gulps - I've been drawn to try consuming it in every way and each has its charms. in the layered variation that is a meditative experience I have come to value beyond any normal beer. It is a fuller experience than I can really relate in words. It occupies my attention on multiple levels in a way that has a value I can't quite articulate as a celebration or a comfort or a wake-up call that changes each time I pour one of these marvels. The texture is on the viscous side, just enough to coat my mouth with a nuanced, ever-changing percolation of flavors that take over my attention and my mouth that is better than any other beer I've ever had. It's chewy; I actually found myself chewing at it at first because it's so complete. This beer absolutely screams quality in every mouthful. The smell alone has occupied my attention through entire bottles. Actually, that's the thing about this beer - I have enjoyed bottles where I found myself focusing on the taste, or the texture, or the lacing and the head, or the lovely warming intoxication and in none of those areas, no matter how much I focused on it, did I find any level of disappointment. With many things in life, if you focus on them too much there is repetitiveness and limitation. Pick any food you thought you loved and eat it every day. Inevitably something about it eventually predominates that leaves disappointment. Not with this beer. It is more than a beer. Seriously - it is an experience in itself that concentrates my focus in a way that transports me from the normal experience of life. I would put this on the level of a trip to the best museum, the highest-level artist of whatever music you love, or the best book or movie. It really is all that. The alcohol is perfectly integrated and brings a heart-lifting warmth that penetrates the taste buds and - ok, laugh at me if you will - the soul and the heart. As I drink this last bottle, not knowing if I can manage to get any more right now, I am moved by the pure quality and the sense of integrity in every mouthful. This truly is everything I ever heard people say it was and I am finally willing to say that it is the best beer experience I have ever had, bar none.

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Photo of cmsiii
3.93/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a solid brown with almost no head.

Aroma is very pleasant and fruity.

I found it to be above average in carbonation.

Overall taste was of light toffee and figs.

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Photo of DaverCS
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Westy 12 from bottle dated 14/3/15. Big thanks to Jason for the glasses and 2 bottles from when they were distributed to the US.

Pours a rich amber color with ample sediment. Quickly dissipating head.

Aroma is pure dark fruits: raisins and figs. Lots of toffee, brown sugar, and honey notes.

Taste is on the thicker side with a moderate amount of carbonation. Dark fruits are present but are overshadowed by ample honey note. In comparison to other Belgian beers, it's a bit thicker and less carbonated. More alcohol is present on the palate; not heat or burn.

Overall, this is a very unique beer that is almost a concentrate to its competitors. I do like it... quite a bit, but I wish it had just a little more carbonation. I paired it with a mixed cheese ball (Beverly's recipe). It gets 93/100.

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

Tasted from bottle. Pours a cloudy dark brown with khaki head. Very complex strong aroma. Notes of figs, brown sugar, molasses, dark fruits, caramel. Mouthfeel is a little sticky and chewy. Flavors of raisin, plum, figs, caramel, toffee, maple syrup, bourbon, earthy notes and spices. Complex incredible beer. Definitely deserves the hype.

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Photo of thebeers
4.19/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Cloudy plum brown with a small off white head.

Fig, plum, earthy hops in the nose. Fig, plum, anise, caramel and earthy bitterness in the taste, with the bitterness continuing to the after taste.

Relatively light bodied for the style with strong carbonation.

Exceptionally well crafted beer. I think I prefer the 8 a bit better though.

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Photo of Gajo74
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

For years I've been hearing about the mythical and seemingly unattainable Westvleteren XII. As a result, its become one of those so called "whales" that, considering its scarcity and hefty price in the U.S., I would resign myself to having to travel directly to the monastery in Belgium. How ironic that on a leisurely family trip to Rome I came across it at Beerland Trillusa in Trastevere, Rome for the hefty but manageable price of 19 euros. My search was over! I sat down in the modest outdoor cafe overlooking the hip Trastevere
Neighborhood, and as I waited for my server, I pondered if it was worth the hype.
The stately plain brown bottle came out. Who needs fancy label art when this one is so elegant in its simplicity. It poured a murky mahogany brown color. An enormous tan foam head gushes up to the top in a beautifully controlled fashion. It retains seemingly for an eternity, its thick film covering the surface until the very end.
As I poured it out of the bottle onto the pint glass that was handed to me, I could immediately smell the aromas of dark bread, amber malts, caramel, dark fruit and a whiff of alcohol cutting through the air with their alluring boldness, as if to say "come hither!" So many layers throughout, its difficult to do justice to all. There was also a touch of cocoa, spices, raisin, plum and grape. Towards the end there was biscuity malt.
Going into the mouth was the highly anticipated moment for me. Some beers take a while for the flavors to develop. Not with this one. It's like all the nuances of bold and complex flavors burst forth as soon as they hit the tip of the tongue in a frenzy of instant gratification. If there is a smoother, more velvety and creamier brew out there, I haven't had it. In the mouth it feels like fluffy and soft floating clouds. Full bodied and gently carbonated, yet so drinkable that a few sips in I realized it was going down too fast. I'll discuss the flavors soon, except that I can't emphasize enough what an amazing texture, feel and drink ability this work of art of a beer is. As for the flavors, I do not know if there is another brew out there with such a complex array of flavors and that still manages to blend them so elegantly and smoothly. In the first phase there is a sweetness from amber malts, dark candi sugar, and soft tones of cocoa powder that add a smooth creaminess. This is complemented by a light alcohol spice that is just right and not boozy. Hard to decide what else to add as I'm sure I'm missing out on some flavor, but, here goes: dark fruit such as alcohol soaked raisins, plumps, red grape, and even a touch of lightly sour cherries. Vinous and with the feel of currants. Spicy and peppery but not overwhelmingly so, dark bread, and berries. What really did it for me is how in the middle phase there was the emergence of earthy, herbal grassy green hops that added a bold bitterness and dryness to the finish, unique in that I usually don't associate a strong hops profile with Belgian Ales.
As I finished I was in a state of both euphoria and sorrow. Euphoria at both the delicicious cornucopia of tastes and for the deceptively high ABV that provided no burn, and sorrow because it came to an end. Now for the dilemma of rating it. Was it worth the hype? Most definitely so, although the price and its status might have convinced me to wish it so. However, what is undeniable is that it is one of the most perfectly crafted, classy and elegant of all brews; it's like the Rolls Royce of brews. Is it the so called "world's best beer" as the sign at the bar said? Clearly a subjective and almost ridiculous concept, kind of like asking "what is the world's greatest piece of music, art or literature, however, I would find it hard to argue against it. Does it have flaws? I don't see any, which is why I will score it a perfect 5.
P.S. On the way out I picked up a bottle of Westvleteren VIII to go. Can't wait to try it!

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Photo of minterro
4.06/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Did the beer as part of a tasting. I love the look of the bottle. Just trappisten bier carved in the glass, no label.

Very interesting beer both in the taste and aroma. Doesn't seem like a quad, smells and tastes like a dunkel. It's not bad by any means, just not what I expected. Very well balanced, way easier to drink than expected for +10% ABV. Malty and interesting barnyard vibes from the yeast. I didn't taste it, but possibly some bubblegum as well.

For the price tag, I'm pretty sure this will be the last time I have this beer.

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Photo of cmurphy7
4.4/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

much anticipation for this brew. it was bottled a year ago. absolutely beautiful beer. brown ale look with a subtle malty smell. perfect mouth-feel and a sweetness that is in the Belgium wheel-house. l wish i could drink this beer as my beverage for every meal, every day of the year. love this brew.

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Photo of MKV
4.99/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: Dark brown with a moderate head.
Smell and taste: very similar. Wonderfully intermingling flavors including spices, some grain, even a hint of fruit. You find something new every time you taste it.
Feel: My friend and I initially described it as almost umami-like, but that's not quite accurate. It does hint, however, at the depth and full-bodied character of the beer, which fully envelops every sip.

Overall: it's quite the hike to get out there, but it's a fun day trip made even more worth it by the beer.

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Photo of chicagobeerguy
4.22/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: A dark brown, with off white color, sediment is apparent. Not the best looking beer.

S: Raisins, forest floor, biscuits. slight boozy smell

T: Very well balanced beer. A blend of dark fruits, sweet malty flavors but nothing over the top sweet, a slight boozy chocolate taste towards the middle. Hints of toffee and plum to finish.

F: Smooth but slightly too carbonated.

O: This is a fine beer, very well crafted and the balance is fantastic. A very drinkable beer with deep complex flavors. I really enjoyed tracking this beer down and was not left disappointed but slightly underwhelmed. Still the best Quad I've had but not sure if I'd go out of my way to track this guy down again.

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

Poured into a Pint Defiance tulip. The body is a dark chocolate brown with a tan finger head with amazing retention. Aromas are the same as the flavors. Flavors include apple, pear, toffee, milk chocolate, caramelized sugar, dates, plum, vanilla, and brown sugar. The feel is highly carbonated, with a slightly heavy, but marshmellowy body.

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

Let me explain why I think it is the best on the world. First, I am a wine person. When I moved to Belgium I had never heard about the Westvleteren. I got the suggestion from a blog from someone who doesn't know beer. When I tried it I said: "My God, this is amazing", then I start to read like crazy about the beer.
That said, I went there with no expectations, it was just a weekend trip, so I could appreciate it as neutral. I believe a lot of people has high expectations and it bothers the judgement.
To say it is the best in the world is subjective, but I think it is in a class of outstanding beers, with Rochefort 10 and others that must receive a 5. Today is the best for me, tomorrow maybe I can find another one, but this will always be amazing.
The good news: I could place a call last week and tomorrow I will pickup my 2 crates, with 48 bottles at the abbeys. If I move from Belgium, I will miss it.

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

Bottle dated 17.6.18. Decanted into a Rochefort chalice. Clear dark brown, thick creamy light tan head. Head lasts forever. Smells of dark fruit dark wine and dark rum. Smooth fruity lushious wounderful flavor. Engages all the taste buds. I do not feel or taste the booze going down, but after a bit i can tell it's there. Full body but not syrupy. Easy to drink. I do think its the best of the Trappistes and like Quads. Thanks to my step son for finding this for me!

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.59/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer review #3000 for me.

A - Pours a nice raisin color with amount of floaties, lacing is moderate and dense.

S - Raisins, plumb, fig, toasted toffee, slight rum aroma, very little alcohol in the nose.

T - Complex and flavorful with no flavor being dominant. Plumb, brown sugar, toasted toffee, figs, rum, raisin. Nice lingering rum and toasted toffee.

M - Big medium body, creamy carbonation.

O - This aged fantastically!!

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Photo of Raime
3.92/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Remember when I first joined here this brew sat around the top 100 list as the proverbial shit. Remember passing on it about five years ago when it came to my area with a price tag of $299.99 per six pack. Wasn't having it but I knew a guy who did. He came over tonight with the final bottle and since we were childhood friends, he thought he'd share with me. So here goes.

Looks - Poured into a goblet. Deep heavily murked brown woth a large tan head loaded to the brim with bubbles. High carbonation and no lacing surprisingly upon a finished glass.

Smell - You get all the usual quad suspect with a substantial whiff of alcohol.

Taste - Low bubblegum levels with a heavy hay like presence. Raisiny and highly alcoholic.

Feel - Surprisingly thin bodied with high carbonation. Flavors all retain and it swallows with a boozy slickness.

Overall - Glad I finally got to try it. Worth $299.99 a sixer? Hell no. This is a good beer of course but I honestly prefer Rochefort ten. More explosive flavors and the alcohol is better hidden.

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Photo of SpongeHop
4.42/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tasted alongside the St. Bernardus abt 12, which is supposedly a derivative of this beer.

L - dark brown, raisiny; creamy off-white head that dissipates quickly
S & T - raising yeasty wholewheat breaddough; toasty; rum-raisins; earthy herbally (almost like a thyme cough syrup); very 'full' flavored, more so than the St. Bernardus
F - slightly boozy, creamy, quite smooth, but with a definite cognac-y alcohol glow

O - very, very solid beer. Would definitely not call it best-beer-in-the-world though... I did prefer it over the St. Bernardus, as it is more 'full' in its flavor, like it's turnt the flavors up a few notches without going overly overboard and cranking it all the way up to 11. That said, it is more boozy than the St. Bernardus, and the St. Bernardus recipe seems to have evolved since Westvleteren withdrew the outsourcing of their recipe to make all the flavors way more sessionable and harmoniously blended, whereas this 'real deal' is more of a rollercoaster.

I do recommend this one.

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Photo of Radcpa
4.42/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Held this one for a year before opening. Brown appearance with two finger tan head that disipates slowly. Aroma is a a cherry or raisin type fruity that is very pleasant. Taste is a very smooth cherry or raisin fruity.

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Photo of Meyers1023
4.35/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Finally got the opportunity to have this whale. It has definitely earned the hype. I don't know if it's the best beer I have ever had even in its style but it shows what this style should strive to be. The beer pours a reddish brown with a light of white lacing of bubbles. The smell is dark fruits and caramel. The flavor starts with raisins and plums and finishes with a subtle hoppy bitterness. The feel is extremely smooth and creamy with a good amount of carbonation hiding the alcohol until the very end but even then not overpowering. Outstanding!

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Photo of papposilenus
4.45/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

From the .33l bottle, cap stamped 16.12.18. Served in a tulip.

Pours an aggressively carbonated acorn brown with a ridiculously tall and poufy head of tan foam. Looks like a root beer float. Retention is excellent and leaves fat wads of lacing sliding down the glass.

Nose of funky, fruity yeast and earthy, toasted grain.

Taste is spot-on with the smell, whole grain toast with fig preserves, cherries, caramel apple and mushroom. Earthy, tannic and funky, but lightly sweet. Finishes nutty, with a little spice and and some subtle, boozy warmth.

Feel is smooth and creamy, no more than medium bodied and lightly carbonated despite appearances. Detectable booziness is moderately low.

Overall, it's enough to make me want to be a monk.

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