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

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1,825 Reviews
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Belgium | website

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: 1,825 | Ratings: 6,102
Photo of Pauken
4.99/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was my 3rd and 4th Westy 12. One of them was brought back from Belgium and the other was from the one time U.S. release. For me, this beer lives up to the hype! I will say however, each of the 4 of these I've been lucky to drink have all been slightly different. My favorite two were both from Belgium (one consumed there and one consumed here with 4 years age on it). The U.S. release version that I had last night was slightly sweeter but the finish wasn't as smooth. Anyway, must try beer for any Belgian lover!

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Photo of atget57
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This beer deserves all the good you have heard of. Sitting by the wood stove with my son and a gift bottle spirited out of Belgium. Strong presence right out of the bottle. It is perhaps, one of the most complex & full beer experiences in 50 years of brewing appreciation. Each taste provides a different layer for the senses. It has the weight of a barleywine but is so much more delicate. Licorice, chocolate, cardamon, anise, coffee, spruce they are all present but understated. The finish is long lasting & very clean/dry. This is something that should be sought after by anyone who is serious about making the leap into the very best the brewing world has to offer.

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Photo of swid
4.59/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2008. Port-like aroma, with some additional plum in the aroma as well. The taste follows up with the port-like promise, with added chocolate-y flavors. The flavor finishes with some more traditional Belgian candy and a hint of spiciness. Finishes smooth, with very little heat from the alcohol.

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

A masterpiece of balanced brewing. A euphonic harmony comprising just the right amount of everything good about beer-- just the right mixture of sour, bitter, smoothness, maltiness, and hopiness. The only imperfection is the smell, but that's a personal thing. I generally find Trappist ales to smell soapy. I married into a Belgian family with a connection to the brewery so I get to enjoy a 12-pack every year or two, which I always share, earning me some major friend points.

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Photo of kkleu357
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

From notes on 9/12/15. Drinking across the street from the monastery at In De Vredes. This is very similar to Abt 12. Possibly more aroma and flavor. Seems to be on the bitter end. Anyways, poured from a bottle. Nice dark caramel body. Big fluffy head. Tastes is huge dark roast with tons of sweet prunes.

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Photo of Mojua
4.06/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quads as a style don't generally interest me, but I had to tick this beer. The only memorable things about it, we're that it's softer and lighter than I was expecting, it's extremely smooth, the ABV is masked well, and it's a good, drinkable beer.

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Photo of Kevingbecker
4.61/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

went on a beer tour in brussels and they kept talking about this beer as the holy grail over there. at the end of the tour, the guide took a few of us to his local bar where he knows they had a case of these for sale. We tried a few other "copies" as he called it on the tour, but this by far was the best beer i had while there. Just as the pic shows, it was a plain brown bottle and he advised us to keep the cap as evidence we have actually had this elusive beer. Its an online lottery system to get the beer from the abbey, and you need to submit your license and license plate number and show up without one of the two and they will not sell you the beer. crazy.

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Photo of metter98
4.51/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A: The beer is very dark brown in color (black when viewed from afar). It poured with a half finger high light tan colored head that died down, leaving a short head covering the surface and a coating of bubbles around the edge of the glass. When held up to the light, I can make out some clumps of yeast floating near the bottom of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of dark fruits are present in the nose along with notes of malty sweetness and hints of candi sugars.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste is dominated by flavors of dark fruits—plums and prunes seem to stand out in particular—and has some malty and candi sugar sweetness along with hints of clumpy yeast. Only faint bits of alcohol are perceptible.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied and a little smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This quadrupel bursts out with lots of flavors of dark fruits and associated sweetness but is quite drinkable considering its strength because it does a very good job at hiding its alcohol. Comparing this to my notes for the Rochefort 10 and St. Bernardus Abt. 12, I didn't pick up any of the spices that I picked up in those other beers—this one seems to be fruitier.

Note: 2012 vintage

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of MS22
4.77/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a long time coming. I've been sitting on both direct from the Abbey and the US "XII" labeled bottles.

This is the best version of the style I have ever tried. People comparing ABT to Westy and claiming they are close...not to me.

On the nose are baking spices, brown sugar, dates, and the slightest bits of bready malt and cocoa.
Taste follows the nose. All dark fruits, candied dates, brown sugar and some booze. Then the carbonation comes along and cleans everything up. To me that is the only problem, a bit too many bubbles for my liking for the style and hence the reduction in points.

Overall great experience and worth seeing out even if only once.

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Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the best quad I've had...a beautiful beer with velvet-like qualities throughout, especially as it warms it all comes together. Patience is a virtue with quads and this one is no exception. A belgian quad symphony but with a caveat, though, that Abt 12 is just a notch below and at a fraction of the retail and / or trading price. I'm glad I tried this for the first time but won't plan to seek it out again.

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Photo of madbrewer9
4.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Have had this beer several times, including on tap at In de vrede. Each time it delivered as promised.
Smooth, malty, spicy and complex, without the high viscosity of many American and other Belgian quads.
It's somewhat light bodied for a beer of this size, which works well. As the Belgians call it "digestable".
Had it once again recently, a leftover from 12/12/12 and once again it was fantastic! This is one beer that definitely lives up to the "hype" ! Truly one of the top ten beers In the world!!

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Photo of PintOh1759
1.99/5  rDev -56.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Absolutely garbage if your a true beer nerd. Taste like a budweiser with some raisin and plum notes, on top of it being extremely difficult to get this beer does not live up to its hype at all, pure malty shit bomb.

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Photo of KYGunner
4/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Not as thick or strong as I anticipated but it delivers classic Quad flavors. Dark fruit, raisin, prune and a sweet plum, mixes with a herbal heather. It gives off additional malt flavors of grain and tea leaves.

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Photo of DASA10
4.29/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Yellow-cap bottle purchased online through a Belgian purveyor. Unmarked bottle. Malt explosion. Dark and subdued flavor with a balanced sweetness and alcohol complexity. Good stuff but doesn't necessarily live up to all the hype.

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Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
4.68/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

From the bottle, it pours brown with a nice head, quickly dissipating into a small layer - my bad pour left lots of yeast floaters. Very slightly fruity, possibly prune-ey, in the nose. Sweet in the mouth, but not overly so (to me). Awesomeness!

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Photo of Majikow
4.46/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Got at a bottle shop in Brussels and at a bar. Has some serious floaties. Really enjoyed the taste and smell. Not sure it's my favorite quad but it's definitely up there. Brought two bottles back and recently enjoyed them after cellaring for a year or so and they were delicious.

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Photo of BonerKoozie
4.57/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Finally completed the holy Trinity of quads... St. Bernardus, Rochefort, and Westy. This being the hardest to find and most sought after let myself, and my significant other down. She likes a sweeter quad and tend to pull more towards Rochefort, and I lean towards St bernardus. Westy was TOO sweet. Body/feel/color all perfect. Just a let down on the taste. But hey, A bad day drinking Westy is better than most other days so take it FWIW.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.45/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – The beverage poured a deep murky brown with some white bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass.

Smell – It is hard to nail the nose on this one. I will say it resembles smoky prunes.

Taste – Malty prunes is a good start on the description. There is syrup, raisins, and a higher than expected level of carbonation that brushes away the sweetness. The dark fruits linger in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel – I was a little surprised by the high carbonation. It brushed aside the sweetness, making the aftertaste drier than expected.

Overall – I admit was expecting a little more. Is the carbonation a symptom of this batch being off? Or is the high machine to forceful on this one?

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

My palate tends to appreciate the blunt instrument of hops, but this is (obviously) world class in its category. Opened my bottle in May 2015. Highly recommend.

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Photo of mr-jj
4.44/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Entered from my notes of October 18. This opportunity was provided by the incredibly generous snaotheus upon his return from a trip to Belgium. I compared this to Rochefort 10 and ABT 12 side by side.

Color is dark mahogany with a dense tan head that faded pretty quickly. Smell is all about the yeast and booze - it has a very complex blend of dark fruits, toffee, some honey, and of course, booze. Flavor is dark fruit, brown sugar and booze - very nice. Body is not as full as I expected - medium with a light carbonation. Overall, it's a great beer and deserves its reputation. In the comparison to the other beers, it was the winner - with a very similar flavor profile to the ABT 12. Surprisingly to me, the Rochefort 10 paled in comparison to the other two. I'd like a chance to repeat the tasting to see if that verdict holds - anyone else want to bring me a bottle of W12? :^)

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

I cannot really add more to the wonderful reviews displayed here.
Suffice to say that my favourite pub owner ordered a couple of bottles for our little gathering, and even at CDN$20/bottle, it was worth the try. Clearly, at that price, I would not make a habit of purchasing it (though some other pubs sell it for as much as CDN$40).
But I digress.
The nose, the head, the taste - all top class. Strong hints of grapes and so much more overwhelms your senses, just as Heady Topper does.
Brilliance in a bottle.

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Photo of tynian16
4.93/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is hard to describe but it's one of those beers you have to have at least once. Everything about it was phenomenal and impossible to realize that it comes in at 10.2%. My wife who is not a beer drinker thoroughly enjoyed this as well.

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

2011 bottle. Very complex quad, smells not like anything I've had before. Dark fruits, alcohol, almost an oatmeal cookie type scent. Taste is so good, so smooth and balanced. Worth the effort to try.

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Photo of LAp
4.96/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into a tableglass. Pours a deep auburn, with a two finger tan head. Baker's yeast on the nose, with fermenting sugar. The palate leads with a full-bodied, yeasty, bread note, accompanied by dates and raisins. Hints of brown sugar are well-accompanied by a warm alcohol undertone, which is the only reminder of the 10ish% ABV. Mouthfeel intermediate. Overall, an exceptional Quad. Not overly spiced like many of the entries from Unibroue or Ommegang nor overly sweet either. There's an excellent harmony between the yeast, spice, sugar, and alcohol notes in this beer that ultimately make this a wonderfully balanced and complex beer.

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Photo of RickyS
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Here we go! After waiting for a long time I finally got my hands on one of these. Dark liquid, the color of a dark date, surmounted by a beige head that lasts for a long long time and formed by big bubbles. The aroma is so very rich. Dates, figs, dark sugar, almonds, marzipan, honey. Comparing it to Rochefort 10, it promises to be sweeter and less on the fruity side. The taste is a bit weaker than I expected but still phenomenal. Dark fruits, bread and no alcohol whatsoever. I believe I have some bitter aftertaste, on grassy notes, but not very pronounced. Creamy mouthfeel and medium carbonation. In the end, an exquisite beer. However, is this the absolute king of quads? I believe it's overall pretty close to Rochefort 10, and extra points might be due to the hype. Don't get me wrong, I think this reputation is deserved, but should be shared with another beer!

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.61 out of 5 based on 6,102 ratings.
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