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

1,851 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

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Reviews: 1,851 | Ratings: 6,247
Photo of GeeL
4.54/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is a great beer for the style, though it's not the greatest. The marketing for this beer has made it seem better than it is.
If you drink it, remember it needs to be warmer than your intuition tells you.
All that said, if offered a bottle, I'm not turning it down.

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Photo of keithmurray
4.71/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - murky chestnut brown body with off white head

Smell - nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, brown sugar

Taste - brown sugar, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, allspice, red wine, fig, raisin, lots of layers to this

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, high carbonation, sweetness upfront from the stone fruits, spices linger in the aftertaste, smooth going down

Overall - this beer is a treat and certainly lives up to the hype. Great complexity in the flavors, excellent mouthfeel and the booze isn't overwhelming. If you have the means to acquire this, it should be experienced by all beer fans. Highly recommended.

Price Point - ~$300/case of 11.2 oz bottles

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Photo of RNbeerfan
4.44/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark Redish Brown with a thin white head that dissipates quickly.
S: Dark Overripe fruit. Lots of plum and raisin
T: Raisins, figs, and alcohol dominate
F: Great Mouthfeel. Velvety. One of the more unique carbonations that I have experienced
O: This might have been built up to be something that it couldn't be in my head. This is a great quad though. I think some others have caught up, but easy to see why this has set the bar.

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Photo of mattmarch
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Lucky to have a friend bring 2 bottles back from Belgium.
Sets the standard for a Trappist quad. So complex, all the markings of a Belgian quad but I loved the dankness from the wood and how balanced the fruit, yeast, and sugars were. Totally lived up to the hype for me.

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

Just secured 6 bottles of Westy 12. First time tasting the beer. This beer lives up to the hype. It's incredibly complex and fires on all cylinders. I think recent reviews have purposely downplayed the beer due to it's previous publicity as "the best beer in the world." It's a fantastic beer...a rare beer. Worthy of the title of the world's best.

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Photo of Mike_Aguirre
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours deep copper, brown with a very wide ivory foam head, medium retention. Aroma is complex and rich, lots of spices, fruits, malts and alcohol, no hops. Taste is complex too, delicious and strong, lots of alcohol and dark fruits. Bold body with high carbonation. Worldclass beer, you should taste it at least once. Cheers.

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Photo of dfd02186
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this beer as part of a Trappist tasting that my friends and I had been putting together for a while. Obviously, the guy who brought the Westy 12 didn't have to bring anything else. We started with it, and split a bottle 4 ways, into traditional chalice type glass. It's a gorgeous dark dark plum-brown, with a nice little head (pouring left something to be desired, but that's on us). It smells like you'd expect and hope a quad to smell, and the same holds true for taste and feel. It wasn't too sweet, wasn't too boozy (considering it's over 10%). I didn't let it sit on my tongue for too long, but it was incredibly smooth drinking. Will head to Belgium soon to buy some more.

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Photo of d3brewing
4.68/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had it in Belgium summer 2015. It was the classic example but actually preferred the Westvleteren 8 better. I realize this is a quad but was just too thick, like it was going in too many directions.
Would I drink it again? Of course. Will I pay the $60 my LBS wants for a bottle? He'll no.

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Photo of Hallu
4.11/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm not a big fan of Trappiste beers I must admit. I love ones with a hint of acidity like Karmeliet, or complex ones like Rochefort 12. So I wasn't expecting that much. After all, the best beer in the world title came from a lot of hype and rarity.

On the smell, it's shocking how it smells exactly like a doppelbock. Cloves, caramel, banana. Nothing similar to a trappiste. I'm missing the dark fruit notes from a Rochefort for example. On the taste, it's disappointing. It's like an amped up Chimay (so too sweet for me), but it doesn't surprise. My friends who like Trappiste beers absolutely loved it, but the lack of surprise and the sweetness disappointed me. Rochefort manages to stay on a drier note and is complex, interesting. This one is more like a british beer, meaning it's balanced and simple. Because it's rare, online bottleshops sells this 10 € for the 33 cl. But a case is around 40 € at the Abbey, so less than 2 € a beer... It's not more expensive than other trappiste beers (less, even). I think the monks know they do a good beer, but they don't believe it's better than what the other abbeys do. And this is to me absolutely true.

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Photo of maxifunk777
3.17/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The hype out weighed the reality overly carbonated rather bland taste mouthful very lack luster. Maybe it was aged to long glad I tried it but would never seek it out anymore.

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

Found in Bruges, drank these with dad in Brussels in Westvleteren glasses. Pours a rich walnut color with an off-white head- sizable at first and present the whole way down- about half a cm for a while, then lacing. Smell is mild, yeast, a little sweetness, a little alcohol, a tiny bit of phenolic funk lurking way in the background. Taste is assertive up front- dark fruit, raisins, wood, deep and complex, boozy warmth. And although the taste is assertive, as I said, the flavor blends in a perfect way so that it almost has a mellow pleasantness. Mouthfeel is creamy and full-bodied and highly carbonated- really great. Overall what is there to say- the beer is flawless and I'm only taking a quarter point off smell because I wish it less subtle. Amazing.

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Photo of senglish7
4.49/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Nose is very boozy. For a beer this strong it is so smooth to drink. Lil bready and a lil boozy on the taste. Gotta respect a beer like this, even though my ratings on quads are rather lacking.

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Photo of Ri0
4.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured 330ml bottle into chalice. It is a deep, dark amber brown in color with a thick 2 finger khaki head remains for the entire session and leaves webs of lacing on my glass. The aroma is fantastic with brown sugar, bread, sweet dark fruits with some yeast and toffee and nice spices. Flavor is very full with abundant candied plums, raisins, and figs. Very bready with some brown sugar, toffee. There is a nice yeast and spice on the finish. The body is soft and sublime, medium feel with bubbly carbonation. This is certainly the best Quad I have ever enjoyed!

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

So the day finally came. It's the 24th of April, one day before celebrating the Liberty Day in Portugal. Westvleteren XII is, until this date, my white wale. Since my first days here in BA, Westy 12 has been my first moonshot, my only European moon shot that comes today to an end.

So I used my Russian River keychain to open up this bottle and pour it to a Leffe glass.

A: The body is dark, coppery to brown hues but a bit crystalline. The head is white with some retention on the the smallest possible iteration and has some great lacing.

S: The aroma is composed with belgian yeast, raisins, blueberries and some alcohol due to the 10.20% ABV. If it wasn't for the alcohol, this aroma would be just perfect.

T: The taste is just perfect with the great taste of this belgian yeast, the dark roasted malts, the prominent raisins and the blueberries. But again, alchohol strikes again because it should, indeed, be a bit more hidden in all these flavors.

M: The body is very high, high carbonation that gives this velvety touch to the beer. If you look at the top of the glass, it seems that the yeast is still alive by creating small areas of activity but it's just the beautiful carbonation making its work.

O: The wait is over. And I'm very happy about this. By the end of this beer, I can say that this is not the perfect beer but it's by far the best quad I've had, which is a very subtle and hard style to make. Or probably is just the romantic side of a successful hunt speaking. I'm very happy at the moment and I feel like the spirit of craft beer is blooming inside of me. :) Thank you all you BAs!

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Photo of dabeerbuddha
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Have had this holy grail of beer a couple of times.
This review is based on a bottle with a more recent date code in 2015.
A: rich mahogany red brown in colour with a consistently thick and productive head sitting about a centimetre (~1/2") and remaining throughout the beer
N: strong earthy tones, complex malts, raisins and other dried fruits
T: beautiful malt structure, complex and well balanced. Notes of raisin, caramel, slight sourness and well disguised ABV.
M: probably one of the stronger caracteristics of this beer for me. Full, velvety luxuriousness
O: great beer, no doubt. Hard to come by which adds to its cache. I would certainly never turn down the opportunity to try another, especially one that has aged, but it won't be my daily drinker. Lol

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Photo of noz03
4.79/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

After years of searching I finally found this at the Beer Mania bar/shop in Brussels. At 15 euros a glass it is not cheap, but definitely worth the experience. Definitely a world class beer and a great culture/history surrounding it but I must say it was a little simplistic to give it a perfect score but still... Great beer.

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Photo of Lastmanback
4.95/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Lucky enough to try this only a short trip from where it is brewed in Belgium. It's been on my list for a long time.

Dark brown with an off-white head. Great retention lasting all the way down.

Very complex aroma, dried fruit, brown sugar, slight boozy alcohol too.

Smooth and velvety mouth feel.

Lovely sweet taste with lots of flavours, sticky sweet fruit cakes, more dried fruit, breads, caramel.
Not as much alcohol in the taste as there was in the aroma.

Very easy to drink.

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

Perfect for the style. Rich malts, toffee, raisins & caramel. Velvet mouthfeel glides over the pallet leaving behind a candied sugar aftertaste. Can see why this has been a world class beer forever.

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Photo of mcgill7
4.81/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Excellent beer, a great example of how complex a Belgian quad can be. Pours a dark brown with an extremely complex nose. Dark fruit, slight sweetness, bready flavor - really a nice depth of flavor. Definitely worth the hype.

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Photo of IDrinkAlltheBeer
4.69/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of the best Belgian quads out there. I had the opportunity to try it finally. Great color, the smell is rich with malts, not overwhelming on the palate at all. Smooth. At first taste there was caramel, dried fruits, roasted malts. Not too sweet not too bitter. Incredibly well balanced.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle received in a recent trade, drank and shared last night with some friends.

The one pours a dark leathery-looking brown, with a 1.5 inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells like raisins, port wine, rum, caramel, tobacco, yeast phenols, and toffee.

This has a pretty crazy complexity to it, a perfect marriage of malt and yeast. It has a lot of raisin and dark fruit, first and foremost, gives off kind of the impression of port wine, with a spiced character that's reminiscent of rum. There's a bit of bitterness, kind of reminiscent of dark chocolate and tobacco, with some yeasty phenols, brown bread, and clove. There's so much going on in this beer and I can't get over how good it is.

This has a higher level of carbonation, with a pretty creamy mouthfeel.

The top of the mountain, so to speak. The view is pretty nice up here, and this is an absolutely world class beer in every way. A stunner.

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

Bottle at home in London with Lyoli. Vintage 2002, drank in 2013. Got this in a trade with Ian - thanks, mate! Pours lightly murky brown with a slight, tan foam head that quickly fizzes away into a few filmy bubbles before receding into nothing. The aroma holds all kinds of aged fruits, brown sugar, caramel, dates, figs, raisins, plums, suggestions of oxidation, rich bread, fruit cake. Flavor is big and sweet, lots of syrupy fruits, hints of tang to the dark berries, lots of brown sugar, plums, golden raisins, dates. Full bodied with soft carbonation. Lightly warming finish with lots of sticky sugars, overripe fruits, candied sugars, hefty caramel and dates, lots of sweet bread. Immensely complex and nuanced, and quite drinkable given the ABV. Additionally, the beer has aged gracefully. Absolutely world-class. Wonderful beer.

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

A: pours a dark brown body with tan, off-white head with excellent retention and lacing.
S: yeasty notes with hint of dark fruit and date.
T: sweet, fruity taste; dark fruity notes. Candi sugar and yeast notes in the aftertaste with hints of toffee, burnt caramel, and some honey.
M: incredibly smooth and velvety.
D: excellent M&T combo; couldn't believe this was a quad that's how well balanced and smooth this beer is. Excellent, wish I didn't have to go all the way back to Belgium to get another!

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Photo of Sheppard
4.34/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep rich mahogany. It's got a luxurious dried fruit mouthfeel. A good amount of heat and some hop presence which detract from the smooth, fruity, nuttiness of the beer. If I had this again, I would age it and let it mellow out, but definitely a beer that is worthy of its hype.

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Photo of chinchill
4.62/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Two pours each from a 2012 bottle and a 2015 bottle. (Thanks Chris & Mark!).

Excellent in all aspects, including a lively but very soft medium+ body. The flavor and aroma are loaded with dark dried fruits. Spot on bitter/sweet balance. Somewhat surprised that I so clearly preferred this over the Rochefort 10 that it was paired with. Also think I had a very slightly preference for the 2015 over the 2012 vintage, although both were thoroughly enjoyable.

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.61 out of 5 based on 6,247 ratings.
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