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

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)
6,529 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: 6,529 |  Reviews: 1,911
Photo of PhantomVodoo
4.28/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Patience young grasshopper. Let this beer warm to the proper 54-58 degree F serving temperature. Don’t drink this one too cold. I was a little impatient and the improvement was evident as I worked my way through the beer and it warmed from it's 44 degree storage temperature.

Murky brown, dark caramel color. Evident sediment as it flowed into my glass. Sizable tan head that maintained well throughout the beer.
Aroma of sweet malt, raisins, alcohol, and ripe bananas.

Taste is complex. Sweet, roasted caramel malt is big up front. Raisin and ripe banana flavors come into play. Finishes well at first, but after a delay a bitterness creeps in.

Mouthfeel was heavy on the carbonation at first, but this waned as I drank the beer and it became very creamy and smooth.
Drinkability is good. Alcohol is hardly noticed except for the post finish kick.

Overall, a very good beer. This style of beer is a change of pace for me which makes it a nice treat, but one I’ll rarely shell out $10 for.

A huge thank you to AKSmokedPorter for snagging the sample for me completely on his own whim after spotting it! That’s a great beer advocate and a great friend!

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

A most difficult decision faces me: Which beer to review for #100? I had quite a selection to choose from, but I felt this undefinable urge to try this amazing beer. The minutes I let it sit to warm were some of the longest minutes of my life. Patience certainly rewarded me.

Appearance: Poured a deep, dark, and rich-looking dark amber color. Incredibly cloudy with all sorts of sediments suspended in mid-beer. Tiny bubbles compose a thin layer of head. Lacing is excellent.

Smell: I can almost see the vapors rising from the glass. All sorts of lovely aromas can be detected: fresh honey, raisins, sweet caramel, apple pie, and a hint of alchol envelope your olfactories.

Taste: The appearance and smell are merely the appetizer for the subsequent taste. Where to begin? Is "perfection in a bottle" acceptable? Quite simply the best beer I've had to date. A veritable circus of flavors parade and dance across your palate. Just when one seems to fade, another steps up to offer itself to your taste buds. A myriad of fruit flavors abound, with honey and caramel lending their flavors to the profile. A prevailing sweetness is the backbone of this beer, but is so lovingly meshed with all of the other flavors that you wonder where it begins and ends. Only near the end do you feel the slight warming effect of the alcohol. I am amazed that this is an 11.0% ABV beer. It certainly hides the alcohol content well.

Mouthfeel: I felt like I could take a knife and fork and cut this beer. The mouthfeel is so "chewy"! It's as if each taste bud has been soaked in flavor, drenched in this ambrosia-like concoction that effortlessly makes its way into your mouth.

Drinkability: Simply fantastic. An incredibly easy to drink beer, even with the high alcohol content. It got even better as it warmed. Finish was on the dry side, which was another pleasant surprise. It took quite some time to finish this, and I savored every last drop. Even after swallowing, there are flavors that show up, demanding you sit up and take notice. I know began to feel an appreciation for what is contained within the bottle.

Please...I beg of you to seek out this beer. It is an experience you'll not soon forget. The combination of aromas and flavors weave such an impressive tapestry of complexity that you must try it and see what you think.

A mighty thanks to fellow BA AKSmokedPorter for acquiring one of these for me.

A truly worthy beer for my 100th review and a truly amazing beer to be tasted.

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Photo of Denali
3.87/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Opaque dark brown with slight tan head that dissipated quickly with no lace.

Smell: Red wine aroma mixed with spices. Alcohol presence also detected.

Taste: Fruity plums and grape like flavor followed by very sweet malt and spiciness. Also detected roasted pears. Finished with strong hop bitterness and alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and dry.

Drinkability: Moderately drinkable but limited by the ABV presence.

Comments: Flavors were very well blended together. The flavors however did not emerge slowly in sequence but came all at once. I enjoyed the beer, but there are others I like better that have (at least from what I perceive) a more multi-dimensional flavor profile.

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Photo of yen157
4.97/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The pour gave this brown, murky, ugly beer a nice chunky, off-white head which quickly melted into a thin, lacing layer. The great charm about the appearance of this beer is the fact that the CEOs of the macro producers would find this to be the farthest thing from acceptable. Looking like swamp water with a few sediment chunks, it must be completely repulsive to a drinker of crystal clear, yellow beer. It is an offensive thing of beauty.

It had a very pleasant aroma that can only be described as smooth. It was slightly dusty with heft, nostril filling doses of cookie dough, milk chocolate, and something reminiscent of the flavor of browned saltines. Stunning nose, simply stunning.

While it’s appearance is lovable like a retarded kitten, and it’s aroma is unforgettable, the taste of the beer is hefty, but in an elegant sort of way. It’s not delicate like a fine pils, but it’s beauty is in its strength. Sweetness and unadulterated malt immediately fill the mouth, and after swallowing yeasty bread lingers for some time playing with ripe fruit and the flavors fade. A very complex brew, but simple in that nothing is hidden, only meticulously layered. The alcohol wasn’t a huge factor in this beer, but it wouldn’t be the same without the same with out the unmistakable warming of the gullet.

It was silky in the mouth, carbonation perfect. This was a truly great beer.

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Photo of mzwolinski
4.3/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I paid $11.39 for 11.2 oz of this stuff, and I have to question whether the expectation this price creates might be affecting ratings of the beer. Don't get me wrong, it's quite good. The pour is dark ruby with a thin, light tan head. Lots of sediment though, even when I tried to pour carefully. Aroma is slightly sweet, with hints of plum and a nutty character. Beer has a smooth body with a light, fruity malt flavor and what struck me as a very noticeable alcohol character. Malt takes on a slightly toasty character mid-palate, with hints of toffee, and the beer finishes with an earthy/herbal, and very well-blended hop flavor. Finish is slightly sugary, and very lightly dry. Good stuff, and well worth trying, but other examples of the style (Abbaye des Rocs comes to mind) provide a much better bang for the buck.

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

Well...just when I thought nothing could ever dethrone Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout as my favorite beer in the entire's happened. No disrespect to SSOS, but holy christmas! I can only say if you have not yet sampled this brew, seek until ye find, pay whatever ye must, and sit down with this bad boy.

It appeared before me in the goblet as a muddy light brown brew, with a pretty decent head that retained very well. The smell was wonderful at the start, and only got better and more powerful as it warmed. The initial aroma is quite sweet, mostly of yeast and cherries. After a while, I started to pick up darker fruits, plums, and maybe some very light chocolate (?). I thought so. All the while though, the initial sweet smells came through at the same time.

This is by far one of the most complex brews in the world. Flavors of just about everything hit, layer after layer. Sweet flavors initially, then some dark fruitiness, raisins, rum, spicy clove...and then the warm alcohol finish. This is absolutely delicious.

The mouthfeel is pure perfection and probably could not be better. It's indescribable...silky smooth. You would have to try this beer to understand. If you haven't I suggest getting it on your short list, and then attempting to find it very soon. This is a legitimate #1, and as of yet, I have not had a better beer.

Thanks to ElGuapo for so generously giving me a bottle of this wonderful brew, when I randomly showed up at his apartment.

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

I'm drinking this one as I type this. And man, is it a treat. Poured a dark, deep brown color. Head dissipated reasonably fast but left colonies atop the brew for the duration of my drinking experience.

Alcohol, alcohol, and more alcohol in the nose underscored by a grainy, malty smell.

Buttery, silky, velvety texture... smooth and cold on the tongue. Tastes of alcohol, pine trees, bread, toffee... Shit -- this beer is so rich and flavorful, I'm surprised there's not pizza flavoring in there. Alcohol and pine taste turns to chocolate and caramel as the beverage sits.

This beer changes dramatically over time. The somewhat dry, crisp finish turns to a more flavorful, lingering aftertaste over time.

You could write a friggin book of poetry on this beer.

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Photo of AudioGilz
4.46/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thick and hazy brown is the color, huge is the off-white head, and pleasantly fruity is the aroma. No single flavor jumps out at me. There is some major complexity in there while staying somewhat mellow all around. It's a warm kind of mellow, a fruity mellow. The alcohol is a little bit noticeable, pretty much warm really. Body is medium and there is a moderate carbonation feel. This is definitely the best Belgian ale I have had to date. I can't say it's the best beer overall, because I have so many yet to try. Anyone who is a broke college student like myself.....well you should still come up with $8 for a bottle of this. You won't regret it.

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Photo of maltydog
4.38/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a great way to spend a half hour! Sampled my first Yellow Cap last night and I was not disappointed. This ale pours with a silky, creamy beige head sitting on top of beautifil toffee brown body. Belgian lace in the glass as you drink this offering is evidence of the excellent head reteniton. The nose is very malty with hints of prunes and toffee. The taste...ahhh...the taste! The taste is robustly malty with hints of raisin, caramel, toffee and chocolate. Take your time enjoying Yellow Cap because these flavors develop as the beer warms in your hand. Overall, the taste is sweetly malty with an excellent background of clove spiciness. The warming alcohol sensation only adds to the character of this ale. The finish is dry with a pleasant caramel aftertaste. a well balanced and well crafted ale. A must add to any true beer lover's collection!

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

This was my "Holy Grail" that I have been looking for and praise be to God that I did! When you taste something like this, you gotta feel bad for the Southern Baptist down here, becuase they either A) Can't drink alcohol or B) Can drink it, but can't tell anyone. This is proof that it is great to be a Catholic. At least something good has come from it lately. Anyways, the beer is a cloudy brown color and had a light brown head for a little bit. It's smell is that of various fruits and nuts. You can taste a hint of alcohol, but it smooths out quickly. The aftertaste is very smooth and also tastes quite fruity. I could drink this all day and night, but it's kinda on the high side for price. I guess that's the only drawback for it though. Aside from the price, all the combinations that are put into this beer, truely make this beer a heavenly experience. Praise be to God in the Highest!

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Photo of francisweizen
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

One of the best beers in the world! This fresh sample came to me directly from belgium via!:-) Anyway, this beer poured a very dark cloudy, amber-ish brown. I was pouring this into my genuine Trappist Westvleteren glass and before I knew it the whole bottle was in the chalice yeast and all...Oh Well! This beer had a nice appearance that was a bit cloudy and yeasty(since I poured all the floaties in there...)but it still looked very nice. This smelled of fruity alcohol esters, chewy roasted and chocolate-y malts as well as raisins, figs, plums and you name it! This tasted heavenly, and seemed to be a perfect blend of all of the above mentioned flavors. It sure is amazing what westvleteren can do with very few simple ingredients! This beer had one of the best mouthfeels ever! It was extremely thick and velvetty and rolled down my throat oh so smoothly! I have to tag the drinkability factor by .5 just for the alcoholic flavors and the very high abv %
This is a damn fine amazing beer and possibly 1 that is deserving of the #1 spot on BA if you ask me. although I have only had all of the beers from 3 of 6 trappist breweries in Belgium. For me Westvleteren is easily the best of the 3(orval, chimay and westie)!

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Photo of PatandDavid
4.6/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had my very first one at the Redbones BA pub crawl. I asked Longstaff and Bierman9 for their recommendation, and they steered me to this one, so a big thanks to them.

This beer is outstanding. It was a bit dark down there, so I have to say that it poured a dark robust color. I don't remember the smell as being overwhelming, let's say it didn't prepare me for such a wonderful taste. This beer is among the smoothest I have ever had. I can't get over how some high alcohol beers let you know right off from the smell that they are going to make you know they have alcohol in them. This beer may have a high alcohol content, but I did not pick up an overwhelming alcoholic taste. A beer that can do that, I really respect. The taste was, oh I almost can't describe, but it was smooth as silk, and made you say this is a beer to savor. I gave the mouthfeel a 4.5, and the drinkability only a 4, out of respect for the alcohol content.

I would highly recommend this to anyone.

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Photo of Wildman
4.77/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I finally got my hands on one of these, and at these prices, one is all I should have. This beer poured a very dark cloudy amber color and formed a light tan foamy head that disappeared quickly leaving some circular lace. An aroma of alcohol, raisins and yeast/grains. A flavor of malt, caramel and raisin with some elements of spices. The finish is creamy and a touch sweet with elements of the alcohol. A very great belgian beer, but will need to try some others to see if this is really the best out there.

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Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4.91/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A wonderful, world-class brew. As good as anything I've had. Every time I try it, I like it more. Yes, it's quite pricey, but costs the same as just a fairly good bottle of wine (and it's one of the top 5 beers in the world!). Probably the best body-mouthfeel of any beer I've had. CREAMY! Smooth, deep, and complex. Fruity, perfect balance. Nothing negative to say. If I could get this close to home, I'd have it (at least) once a week. As good as it gets, beer fans!

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

07/09/02 date stamped on the cap.

Murky brown pour, lots of sediment swirling about in the glass. Thick, medium lasting tan head, huge clingy bubbles initially formed on the side of the glass, then burped their way to the top, never to be seen again. Aroma filled the room with strong apple scents, with some yeast and doughy aroma coming with a more intimate sniff. Taste is strongly doughy and apple, with hints of banana, grape, plum and strong malty sweetness in there. The banana seems to come through more as it gets warmer. Slight alcohol comes through towards the end. Mouthfeel is huge, pummeling the palate with all the different luxurious flavors, feelings, and hints of alcohol.

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Photo of BeerAngel
4.82/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours slightly hazed brown/copper with one truly massive off-white head that is like smooth frothy foam that is very long-winded. Aromas of fruit with a sweet raison-like fragrance are quite nice. Whoa, Nellie! The taste reveals a very creamy medium bodied mouthfeel that consists of raisons, fruit, spices, light yeast, and alcohol. It finishes with a lightly sweet aftertaste that leaves you wanting more. The high ABV is not so obvious as this is a very complex and very well-done ale. Thanks to McCall for the opportunity to taste such an awesome brew! Op uw gezonheid!

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

Beer tasted in a parallel comparison with Rochefort 10.
The colour is the same dark brown (monk's habit). The head is huge, tan, with persistent lace on the glass. The smell is more wide and variegated, with point of floral well delineated. White grape. The taste is delicate, creamy, velveted and soft, with continuity in the sweet. Finish more bitter, but not too bitter. The body is full, round, persistent and durable, for a very long time. The aftertaste is also persistent.
Can I have another one?
"Gianni, sono ottimista!"

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

Deep hazy mahogany in color, huge thick creamy off white head, leaves a thick lace in the glass. Fruity, spicy, bready aroma of caremel and plums, kind of like a cake. Malty bready caremel flavors, full body, thick and creamy, silky mouthfeel, can't really even taste the alcohol, smooth and wonderfull, this is the best of the best, perfect.

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Photo of pheurton
4.87/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

pours a murky dark brown with an sizeable tan head. the aroma is by far the most powerful i've ever experienced. ripe dark fruit and sweet malt. the mouthfeel redefines smooth....liquid silk. full, full chewy mouthfeel. the taste is a deep burnt caramel, spicy, sweet fruits and a touch of spicy hops. the finish lasts forever. i had high expectations for this beer, and i must say i wasn't dissapointed at all. it is deserving of it's reputation. this is a world-class beer that must be experienced by every beer geek. find it, drink it, love it.

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Photo of marc77
4.18/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This bottle gushed upon opening, and was furiously overcarbonated. Upon pouring, the brew forms an off white head that slowly settles into a tight, well retained thin layer. Muddy, murky dark brown hue, w/ flowing aggregrates of yeast liberated from the gushing. Musty yeast, and dry, bittersweet dark chocolate upfront in aroma. As the beer breathes fruity esters of both banana and raisins emerge simultaneously with deeply caramelized sugar and mellow chocolate. Hints of cardboard from oxidation unfortunately dulls the aroma a bit. Chewy, molasses - like, heavily caramelized dark candi sugar sweetness hits the tongue at first. Sweetness then becomes dark fruit like in nature and when coupled with the mellow chocolate undertone, I am left with an impression of chocolate covered dates. Banana esters then surface along with yeast must, lending a perhaps overripe banana flavor mid palate. Hop bitterness is virtually absent, leaving an overall richly sweet profile to this brew. A true dessert in a beer! Full in body, w/ a sugary, slightly syrupy viscous mouthfeel that is appropriate considering the high strength and richness. Finishes caramelly sweet, offset by dull notes of oxidation. Alcohol warmth emerges dangerously late. Although it is clear that my bottle didn't travel well, 12 is complex and robust enough to prevent the oxidation from affecting the overall aroma and rich flavor profile significantly. Delicious! I will search out another bottle for another taste.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.8/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Well, I've heard a lot about this baby...and figured it's time to give it a shot. Has a dark brown color, nearly opaque, with some yeasty bits hovering throughout, even with a fairly slow pour. Head was quite fine, and thinned down quickly, and managed to leave some lace.

First whiff knocked me back a bit with a "whoa!". A big dose of dark fruit notes and alcohol hit me between the eyes.

Extremely smooth on the tongue....velvety almost. And the body was medium-plus overall.

First sip had me throwing out another "whoa!". Malty, sweet flavors combine with some excellent dark fruitiness to create a luscious combo for the palate. And I can also feel a pleasant warming inside from the alcohol. I'm giving it a drinkability of 5 not because it's something I'd drink a lot of, but because I would NOT turn one down at any time if offered. This one's a big-time keeper! I'm very happy with this choice for #400! Zum Wohl!!

overall: 4.75
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 5


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Photo of Longstaff
4.88/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the best dark Belgian beers I've had yet. It was perfect pour into a Westvleteren goblet with the head rising to the top of the glass when I had poured all but the last ounce leaving the yeast behind. The head dissapated to about a quarter inch and lasted to the end. Its heavenly dark malty body is offset perfectly by the tannish head. Smell is somewhat weathish with a slight tinge of bananas and chocolate. Went down smooth and creamy with chocolate, caramel, and fruity flavors of bananas and dates. First few sips were somewhat crisp and dry but as you drank more, it became sweeter but not overly sweet and the fine alcohol flavors became more pronounced. Had a nice floral hop flavor and there wasn't much bitterness, just enough dryness from the hops and alcohol to balance the sweet malt. As close as you can get to perfection in the style.

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I didn't know what to expect with this brew after receiving it (thanks to a trade from a gentleman in NYC!) and reading many reviews of it. I think it was a little too cold when I tried it, as the taste got noticeably better as I moved through the glass. Now about the taste, I honestly don't think my palate is refined enough to describe accurately what is going on here. This will be one I have to try again around beer #250 I think. There is a trail mix aroma, and the flavor is hard to pin down. If they captured this flavor in a cereal I would get up earlier every day, hints of berries, grain, nuts, chocolate. Like Willy Wonka invented it, I tasted something different with every sip. I think this would be a perfect drink with some Godiva chocolate covered strawberries. Superb!

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Photo of proc
4.1/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out to a dark, almost purple color in the glass with minimal head. Taste is that of a spiced fruit. Very wine-like in character and finish. Reminiscent of brandy as well. Enjoyable, but my palate didn't find it to be the best beer in the world.

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

I hate giving a beer a straight 5, but it is so hard to find fault with this beer. A strong, robust, vinuous beer in the style of an English Barley Wine mixed with all of the Trappist skill of a Belgium Strong Ale.
Dark, with hefty doses of everything from Toffee, Raisins, Cadburys Bourneville Dark Chocolate, Dundee Cake, Caramel, etc. Need I go on? Keeps its head well. Malt dominant and a meal in its own right. Best drunk from a proper Westvleteren Goblet emblazoned with those immortal words in yellow.
Even better when drunk in the unofficial Westvleteren Brewery Tap, the Café In De Vrede opposite the Abbey. Dangerously drinkable for an 11% ABV beer.

There must be something to fault right ?? Well, at the risk of damnation from the Monks - its Bloody impossible to get your hands on it in the US, and you can't down-mark it for that.

Probably the Best Beer in the World.

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Beer rating: 4.6 out of 5 with 6,529 ratings