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

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)
6,561 Ratings
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)

Style: Belgian 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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Ratings: 6,561 |  Reviews: 1,918
Photo of beerluvr
4.72/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Cellared since 1999. Pours with a short lived almost white head featuring large bubbled laciness sitting atop murky brownish-red liquid. Slight oxidation in the nose when first poured, along with brown sugar and lots of malt. The taste is more brown sugar coated malts mixed with plenty of nuttiness followed by some alcohol prescence. Lingering thick maltiness on the palate as it warms, with spicy notes arising along with chocolate notes...sublime.

Thanks to Pabobcat!

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

Westvleteren 12 is a beautiful ruby red that pours with a slight head. Nice lacing on my Chimay chalice as I sip. The nose is full of sour fruit - raisins and plums. The sour nose gives way to a very sweet taste (Belgian candi sugar), but balanced with some bready undertones. This beer could certainly get me through a fast. I'm not sure how the monks maintain their vow of silence after drinking this - all I want to do is talk about it. The body is quite light, actually, but it holds up to the ABV well and makes for a very drinkable beer. I can see how this would get better with age, as some of the residual sugars get munched on by the yeast. I think I'll have to pick up another bottle. I don't know if I am being swayed psychologically by this being the rarest Trappist beer, but it is truly amazing.

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Photo of grynder33
3.93/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had been saving my Westy 12 for a special occasion, like maybe my 100th review, but I could only look at that number 1 rating so long, so I popped it.Maybe I should have waited. It looked nice enough, an exquisite brown red color, the aroma was malty sweet, with some citrus, but somewhat thin and evasive. The taste was supposed to be the thing, just send me to 7th heaven.Sorry. It was a straight malt citrus with hints of cherry. Nice enough, but simple. My cap read 08-07-06, so it appears that this beer has to sit.Just on its rep, Ill buy another bottle and let it sit

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Photo of Popsinc
4.58/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My second Westy ever! Also at the Kulminator.

Appearance: Like the 8, this beer poured a super drak brown and was accompanied by a huge, appetizing tan head. While it looked like alot of beers....worth a scoing of 4....i had to give it a 4.5 based on my anticipation. It just looked so good, i couldn't wait!

Smell: Although the nose had sweet chocolatey notes as well as spicey hints to it, i found that it was much more mild and subtle then i had anticipated.

Taste: Here we go!!! Wow. A wonderfuly rich beer with sweet and complex flavours throughout. Hints of chocolate and caramel. Spices of cinamon and nutmeg, maybe even a hint of molasses. Soem dark fruitiness and even some light woody notes towards the mildly bitter finish which also had a refined, port-like quality to it.

Mouthfeel: Rich, creamy, complex...very warming and fullfilling. Tastes linger nicely and change even after you're done your sip.

Drinkability: It doesn't get much better than this! A world class beer. This one goes into my top 10 for sure. If i could only find more, i would buy them all.

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

The pour is a fuliginous deep cherry red color with a behemothic head, creamy in texture, and a beauteous light tan color, as the head unhastingly erodes; a splendid sheet of lace is formed to unite lovingly with the glass. “Heavenly”, is the word that best describes this nose, ambrosial, hints of over ripe fruit, yeast tones also noticeable along with a slight hint of alcohol, start is thickly malt, sweet, the top middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is pleasantly acidic, the alcohol grasp the taste buds in a Anaconda death grip, the dry vinous aftertaste lingers long after the beer is gone, but certainly not as long as the memory of this fine beer as it stays in your sub-conscience like your first kiss.

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Photo of beerguy101
4.78/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown color. Medium head. Aroma is yeasty and sour with a touch of fruitiness. WOW. An amazingly complex and excellently made beer. Full bodied. Malts are bold and flavorful. Very complex. Seems to be a different taste/flavor aspect with every sip. Fruity with raisins, plums and cherries interplaying with vanilla, chocolate and orange peel. Hides the 10.2% alcohol very well. This is one beer that is definitely worthy of all the hype/accolades it has received. Very smooth and extremely complex. Excellent beer. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and dry. Aftertaste is slightly sweet. Beer # 1100 on my personal list. Thanks to herbjones for this one.

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Photo of Ianhockey91
4/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not my favorte beer out there, but to say its a great beer is an understatement. A nice mohogany color which light does shine through, with a tannish head, which doesnt last long but does leave a good amount of lace. Smells, well some spices, some prunes or raisins maybe, and some faint sweet citrus. A lot of malt hits the toungue right away followed by some dry fruits (maybe those prunes or raisins i smelled) with a spice/ hop subtlety at the end, paired with some alchohol. Only one word desribes the mouthfeel.... velvet, it is rich and smooth. Great beer all around, expensive but worth it.

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.3/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

As everyone knows, this is exceptional beer. Is it the best in the world? Time will tell, but I have an opinion that I will share.

I saved this bottle especially for my 500th review expecting it to be something very special and it is. Poured into an appropriate glass purchased for this special occasion, the lovely body is an exquisite light mahogany color and appears clear as the carbonation settles. The head comes up fairly nicely and produces about one finger's width of finely packed tan foam. But to my amazement this head is not lasting; in fact, it disappears quite quickly and leaves a thin filmy residue. That small residue is, however, covering the sides of the glass in a sheet of lace; not too sticky, mind you, but quite lovely in its brief coverage.

The aromas are, as advertised, quite complex. There's no missing the strong malt base and this is complemented by additional hints of dried fruit, perhaps prunes and raisins. Certainly there's some yeast action here, but quite subtle at that. As this warms the malt moves more to the fore and begins to add in some caramel to the mix.

The flavor is, well, complex. There's the malt and the dried fruit, alcohol creeps into the mix creating a lovely heating sensation to the mouth. Do I sense spice? I don't think so but I believe there's something else going on; I've added in the final dregs from the bottle and now the clearness is replaced by murkiness. The heat goes up and there's even more warmth in the mouth. Now we sense a very strong aftertaste and this is becoming very interesting as the flavors linger longer. Perhaps even a bit too much lingering as the burning increases and the long aftertaste moves to a mildy pungent and bitter state. Gone is the initial sweetness. So, too, is the sense of calm - this is strong beer that strengthens as it goes.

Incredible mouthfeel from this great beer - velvety and smooth. Creamy and full. I believe the feel to be the strongest attribute here. The alcohol is not as muted as I thought it would be and my drinkability rating is likely higher in this category than it should be, probably because of this beer's reputation. There is a coating to the mouth that lingers excessively long and is really more than a little annoying, thus I'm not at all sure that more than one would be to my liking.

A great beer? Certainly. The best in the world? Time will tell.

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

Small brown Euro bottle without the label. Well what can I add that hasn't already been described so perfectly. This is incredible beer.
Medium burgundy color, shiny and glowing. Hints of ruby along the edges. Foamy, dense, soft bubbly beige head. Beautiful.
First aromas are full of sweet carmel sauce, rum soaked raisans, and fruits. Some others have described the first taste it as bread pudding in a glass, that's about exactly what I experienced. rich full array of flavors. Rum soaked raisans, plums, cherries, and sweet cookie dough all wrapped up with a carmel sweet cookie. Snappy alchohol bite, some peppery fresh hop presence just for a second. Hints of honey, and freshly toasted grains. Flavors wash and soothe your tastebuds into submission. Supersmooth and rich. Perfectly charged, eases into your belly with a nice warming touch. One of the top 3 beers I have had, easily. Well worth the wait for a special occasion. I saved this one since last winter, cheers to the Belgian Bum for this treasure.

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

I was actually expecting to be let down. It's the most highly anticipated beer I ever had so I though there was no chance it would be as good as others have claimed. Ok, so I was wrong. Deep garnet color with a long lasting had. Fresh plums in both the aroma and the taste. Also hints of molassass in the taste. The level of complexity is unbelievable. This beer lives up to it's expectations and that's saying a lot.

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

This beer is packed with flavor and hides its 12% alcohol very well. I just wish it was easier to find!

It pours a clear dark ruby color with a thin tan head that dissolves to a thick ring around the surface. Some spots of lace cling to the side of the glass. The aroma is mainly caramel malts, raisins, cherry's and a mild hint of alcohol. Each sip of this smooth full bodied beer is like a velvet blanket covering the tongue. The flavor is a well balanced combination of caramel malts, raisins, cherry's, molasses and alcohol. There's a slightly sour fruity finish and aftertaste with each sip.

This is a beer I searched high and low for and was very excited to finally find a single bottle sitting all by itself at a local liquor store. The flavor is exquisite and I hope to find another bottle soon.

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Photo of slitherySOB
4.9/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I'm here in Brazil doing some field work for herpetology. One of the villages, I can't pronounce the name yet alone spell it, had a large snake roaming around. My friends and I caught it and relocated it. One of the villagers offered me a beer as a reward. I said sure, expecting some Corona knockoff. It was this. Oh God, this is goooood. She poured this into a fattened wine glass. I don't know the style. Think champagne glass big enough to hold about a pint. It was a pleasant, ruddy red colour. Big head that needs some time to level down. Smelled alot of raisins, complex sugars, malt, a little alcohol, some more fruit I'm unsure of, and orange peel. Exceptional taste. The mixtures of fruit gave me a different taste every sip. The beer was served a little warmer than usual, which probably made it better. Beer aroma and taste are more pronounced when warm, and this is a very complex brew. Medium heavy mouthfeel. Only drink a few of these at a time. Drink it too enjoy it, not for the sake of drinking.

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Photo of Gavage
4.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pulled out my new Maudite glass and poured it. Nice dark amber that sported a thin but lasting head. Very yeasty nose that was pleasant to smell. First taste was new to the tastbuds, almost velvety (not velveeta !) on the tongue. Great aftertaste. I bought the bottle for a mere $6.99 since it has been talked about so on the site. Worth every penny, and I will need to return to the only place I have seen it in NJ and buy some more. Lasting impression that I termed "great Belgian on steroids" to my wife. Her comments were different and interesting. She likes it also.

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Photo of truthbrew
4.61/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed this at "Le Bier Circus" in Brussels served in it's proper chalice on June 16, 2003.

While having little in the way of aroma (my only complaint), this beer proved to be exceptional. The medium-dark body and semi-thick consitancy amused me as I gently swirled in my glass. You would never guess this beer is 10,2%. Even my fruit-lambic (Lindemann's, Mort Subite, New Glarius) loving wife thought that this beer was a stand out.

Brought two Abt 12's, One Westy 8, and two Blondes home from Belgium. Can't wait to have it again!

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

Not much you can say about this beer that already hasn't been said. I just wish I lived closer to Westvletern, Belgium. I'm sure you can get it alot cheaper than the 8.50 that I had to pay. At that price I'll just save drinking this wonderful brew for a special occassion. Monks rule.

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Photo of taez555
4.47/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a large frothy white/yellowish tan head that took several minutes to die down. It had a dark brown, almost black colored body with fine bubbles.

The nose of this beer had a lot of sweet fruit flavors. Apples, cherries, chocolate, roasted malt and a firm alcohol smell. I got a light spice hint and yeast smell as well.

The initial taste was very mellow and smooth from start to finish. A very fine carbonation. Chocolate and cherry flavors dominate. Mixed in with some apple, raisins, dark roasted malt and caramel flavors as well. I could also taste some earthy wood tones, like natural wood or tobacco. Very subtle, but well blended with a very soft hop bitterness. Finishing with an alcohol warmth and soft fruit flavors.

I found this beer rather heavy and port like, but always easy drinking. On top of that, it had a very strong warm alcohol punch that never became overpowering.

I bought 2 bottles of this beer and tried it on 2 sepperate occasions to get a better picture of this beer. I liked the beer much more the 2nd time around. I found that I actually enjoyed the beer a few degrees cooler than the recomended 55-60 degrees.

Overall this is a really great beer. Although I feel it's a little overrated for it's $10 price tag. I'll definately have it again, and recommend giving it a try if you can find a bottle, but feel that there are other beers out there just as good or better for half the price.

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

The beer is a brownish-orange color. There's a thin head at first, and a thin head it remains. Lovely aroma. It manages to be both sweet and sour at the same time. Tastes great. Very complex. A fantastic beer. And the finish is near-perfect. Smooth and clean. Slightly bitter after more sips.

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

I've been waiting for this brew and it was well worth the wait!!! Poured a large, invigorating long-lasting tan head with fine-small bubbles. There was good lacing on the sides of my glass. This brew had a cloudy brown body with yeast. It had a sweet aroma to it. I could definitely taste the alcohol in this brew and was it ever good!!! I think thedm enjoyed this brew just about as much as I did! What do you say thedm??

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

I held a special party for this one. I invited 3 friends and Hotstuff to join me in a little Westy 12 sampling party. Two showed up and the third gets his sample tomorrow as well as 2 other co-workers. My Rating: This brew poured a medium head of fine to medium sized light brown bubbles and a cloudy yeasty semi opaque dark brown beautiful body. The aroma was its weakest point as it was only a sweet mild malt aroma. I would have expected a stronger more pleasant aroma for a higher rating. It has a very complex flavor of roasted notes as well as spices and the taste that a high alcohol content brings to a great brew. It had a tingly mouth feel in its finish as well as an alcohol taste. This is truly a brew to sip and enjoy as long as you can make it last because you certainly can't get too many of these especially at $10 a bottle. This brew has to rate as one of the best beers available. It is truly a masterpiece! The high point of the tasting came from a younger gentleman who had never had a great beer before. He rated it as the best beer he had ever had. Who would have guessed! The low point of the evening was when the host offered up a couple of more beers after the Westy's. Sorry to say, he had Miller lights in the fridge! Gag! The friends rated the brew as 8-3-10-4-16 and 6-5-9-5-19 per the RateBeer rating system. They did truly enjoy the brew and stated that it was probably the best beer they had ever had. Go figure!

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

I’d been saving this one in the cellar for some time. A wet, cool, dreary June afternoon seemed like the perfect time to open the bottle….just the thing to warm and brighten the day.
Pours with considerable aroma…the smells of alcohol and ripe fruit spring forth as soon as you open the bottle. The thick, blanket-like light-tan head produces considerable lace. Brown and murky color, with an awful lot of sediment.
Phenols, Alcohol, and malt smells grow more intense as you work through the glass. The beer is intensely sweet foretaste, with a heavy, full, creamy mouthfeel (even the smallest sips seem to fill your mouth). Finish is spicy and peppery, with serious alcohol warming.
This beer probably has more in common with a sweet, after-dinner port than any other brew. It’s simply delicious.
It’s not quite as complex as I was expecting, but it’s an outstanding, amazing beer.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My only Belgian glass for this is a Maudite, I assume that will do proper justice for any Belgian. The Westie12 pours a ruddy, muddy Brown with yeast floaties suspended throughout the brew. Not the most attractive beer you'll ever see, but the head is smooth and beautiful and actually feels good when it coats your top lip during the tasting.

The fluffy 2-finger head grudgingly gives way to about a half-finger and holds with excellent replenishment from below

Aroma is of raisins, shortbread cookies, something else is nipping at my nose, but I can't quite place it, blackstrap molasses?

Taste is wonderfully complex. Rum and chocolate, raisiny, fruity flavor. No doubt about the alcohol level, but criminy what a drink! Malty and solid feeling, but not overly heavy. A soft sweet finish leaves the mouth with traces of sugar and a mild touch of lingering hops.

The bubbles that feed the head might make you think this is a gassy beverage, but the carbonation is simply not that pronounced in the mouth. Elfen Belgian magic I suppose.

As it warms, I can sometimes pick up a peppery sensation towards the middle-back of the tongue. The sweet component begins to develop a licorice bend of sorts and I'm picking up other tastes, but either they are too faint or I'm taking too long to identify them. A very enjoyable beer well worth its rank & status. I may have to go down to Party Source and drain their supply. Thanks to SheepNutz for this bottle, I owe you a couple for this one, I feel like I just drank the taste equivalent of 3 beers.

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Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Okay, I feel like something of a heretic for not waxing poetic over this beer, given the praise of the many before me, but, while I thought the beer was good, I just did not find the depth of flavor I was looking for.

Poured an attractive cola brown with a tight, fizzy head. There was a fair amount of sediment in the bottle, which was retained by leaving a bit of the beer unpoured. Aroma was rum soaked chocolate covered cherries. Flavor was mildly phenolic, the alcohol creeping in around the edges and a hint of burgundy wine. I kept expecting the flavor to go just a bit deeper, but it never developed, even as the beer warmed. Quite a good beer, but not head and shoulders above other good Belgians I've had.

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Photo of Darkale
4.62/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The aroma of this beer is incredible, so thick it's like fog, and full of raisins, plums, and all manners of bright and sweet things.

Appearance is also incredible. The color is milk chocolate brown, sort of like root beer with a bad attitude, with so much cloudy swirling sediment that you feel like you've captured a sandstorm at midnight. By the way, I was a bad boy and poured the whole beer into the glass, because I wanted to taste everything.

Mouthfeel was slightly thinner than expected -- this beer has been called chewy and I am not prepared to agree. Foamy is more like it. Malty, slightly burning. Very nice, just not as chewy as I had been led to expect.

Taste is a circus that changes as the beer warms, and like the aroma, is full of raisins and plums and chocolate and burning cocoa and a hundred other things that I could not catch before they ran down my tongue and into my belly.

Very drinkable! This beer was gone too quickly. In fact, this is one of the few beers that I would rather have in a larger size.

Definitely one of the best beers in the world, but I am not yet prepared to call it THE best in the world. I may have to try another. Yeah, that's it... that's what I have to do... I have to try another... for purely scientific reasons.

Certainly a beer that you have to try if you can.

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

Appearance: deep, dark burgundy brown, rich as a raisin, with a fine reddish hue 'round the edges. Head is towering, huge, off-whitish color, and slow to sizzle down to size.

Aroma:....requires a new vocabulary! Deep, and heady, rich, full of fruit, grapes, raisins, plums, and spices, a very complex blend, soft, but sensual, deliriously so, and delicious, and the more I breathe it in, the more the flavors become pronounced, more is revealed here, pepper, anise, rich mollasses, rum, sweetness compounded by rich dark flavors...

Now to contemplation is required, for I am seriously, honestly, taken aback by the force of, not only the alcoholic content, but the strong, full, bewitching flavor of this incredible ale! It staggers the senses! Honestly, I reel from it's effects and must wait until my consciousness can comprehend what is going on...many layers, many flavors, many ways that this incredible concoction can impact upon the senses.

I feel thoroughly slayed, laid waste, but utterly uplifted in my oblivion! Let the sword fall upon me more often, if the taste is as sweet!
Have I said heavenly already? No matter if I did, it's a truly transmogrific feeling, it is, and I could be in another galaxy, for all I me not to the moon, nor Jupiter, or the outer stars, but, merely wherever this impossibly exhilirating nectar may blossom...

Now that I have finally downed a simple sample of this much renowned ale, I can only say..."more, please!"

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Photo of mjohn27603
4.85/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A rare treat. Brought back from Sam's in Chicago by trbeer. The label is very spartan and doesn't advertise the mythical qualities of this beer. Enjoyed after a Rochefort 10. This is a special occasion - late night on a rare day off. I didn't quite get any special aroma until I inhaled deeply. At that point I got a whiff of grapes and bubble gum. Maybe this is unique. Beer in botle was mpale to dark brown with a two finger head. Flavor is of grapes, roasted caramel. A sip reveals fruitiness, followed by bitterness, alcohol taste, then fizz. Enjoying very late, 2AM, listening to some techno music. I'm enjoying this more than the Rochefort 10. A slight bit of hops bitterness in the beer which is nice along with the fruity taste. Drinkability is high - fairly light in body and not much stinging alcohol. Will I ever rate a perfect 5.0 beer? Let's see when I let the other bottle cellar for some time.

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Beer rating: 4.6 out of 5 with 6,561 ratings