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

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1,816 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: 1,816 | Ratings: 6,072
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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Photo of ThickNStout
4.71/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

330mL bottle from the fall 2012 American release. Served in a pretentious, matching gold-rimmed Westvleteren XII goblet.

Pours a turbid, dark chestnut with a three quarter finger cap of beige head. Some sort of yeast or particulate is visible in suspension. The foam settles to a beautiful, full, fluffy halo and a wide lingering island. Only a few scattered specks of lace find purchase.

The aroma is fruity with a good but of sweet Belgian yeast up front. Toffee, dark fruit, brown sugar, cocoa and bread round and it the nose. Very nice.

The flavor explodes with dark fruit. Raisins, figs, plum, brown sugar, toffee, fruity and mildly funky Belgian yeast, semi tart cherry skin, caramel, bread, subtle chocolate, apple, honey, hints of earth and a faint tickle of alcohol that is only occasionally noticeable. The flavors drift in and amongst each other and amount to a smooth, delicious blend with everything working in harmony. Truly delicious.

Rich, creamy, full body with soft carbonation. Finishes with pleasing notes of toffee, dark fruit and yeast.

Westvleteren XII definitely stands as best in class of the Belgian quadruples. The flotsam and jetsam in the body does not phase me a bit and I think this is a world class brew in every respect. The price of admission was admittedly high but I am very happy to have tried this fresh and at one and three years old. I'm looking forward to continuing to follow its development over the next five years or so.

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Photo of mjpolzin
4.3/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A damn good beer but maybe not quite up to the level that a lot of other people think it is. It may be that I am just not a big Belgian fan. Still very smooth with a nice, bready, fruity quality.

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

The day has finally come :) L = Dark brown semi cloudy. minimal head that leaves nice ring & lacing. S = Nutty, Toffee & Caramel. T = Full flavor & body, slight ABV burn. perfectly balanced. Much thicker in line with a Barleywine. WOW! this is it! one of the best beers i've ever tried, perfectly made with help from above. Definitely on my future Belgium roadtrip stop!. 5.00

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

L - brilliant.
S - brilliant.
T - FREAKING BRILLIANT. Absolutely best quad I've ever tried. Nothing more to say.
F - It's senseless to describe, you should just taste it on first occasion.
O - absolutely well-deserved masterpiece.

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

Westvleteren 12: The perfect quad. It seems to just get better year after year. Review is based off of 2014, 2013 and 2012 vintages served at Shelton Brothers The Festival 2015.

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

October 11th, 2015. Poured from a bottle into a tulip.

Beer is a medium to dark brown with reddish-amber highlights. Fairly modest tan head that fades fairly quickly.

Aroma is brown sugar, dates/raisins and booze.

Flavor is much like the nose, but deeper. First note is a brown sugar note layered with caramel. Raisins and dates follow on as a strong woody note appears. Hotter with alcohol than I would have expected. Finish is very clean; the only thing that hangs around is the fairly bitter wood note.

Medium-bodied - a little thinner than I expected.

I am so happy I finally got to try one of the great white whalez. For the effort, though, I would go for a Rochefort, St. Bernardus or any other of the more easily obtained examples of this style.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.38/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle. Unsure of the Vintage but it was one of the bottles with the name printed upon it. Finally get to try a Westy. Fairly excited. The G.O.A.T. of all Abbey Ales poured a light brown (lighter than many Quads) with a fizzy head of divided bubbles. Aroma is immediately better and more suited to my liking than any other Quad. Its less decadently sweet and boozy and much more complex. The malt on the nose is brown sugary but there is a dryness to it as well. Candied malt. Dark fruits without overrepresentation. Really digging the nuanced yeast character on the nose. The flavor is pretty impressive. Its drier and less cloying than any Quad I have had. It has a sort of dessert wine flavor to it as well. Maybe even a bit of a nutty element. Dried raisins and figs. Raisin bread. Some powdered chocolate? Caramel, brown sugar, toffee and the like. Lots going on. The alcohol is present in a way that adds to the hot decadence of this beer. Yet, its still more reserved than most Quads I have tried. Love that this beer somehow dries out on the finish. This isn't my favorite beer but its damn sure my favorite Quad. Happy to check this one off the list.

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

Aged for 6 months after receiving beer in a dark cupboard in basement, then chilled and served at 55 degrees. Beer stamped with 13.12.15 as "sell by date", poured into the Westvleteren Trappist glass, best dark beer I have ever had in my life by far. Couldn't believe that this would be as smooth as it was. The monks did an amazing job here. It just sucks that its so hard and expensive to obtain.

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

Where do I start?

Thank you monks. You've inspired me to shave what's left of my hair, buy a brown robe, and learn to chant.

Call it lack of exposure, but I've never been a fan of this style. Westy 12 just changed that. I could tell you about the beautiful color it pours, the massive head it left, the scent of fruits, raisins, carmel, the wonderful mouth feel, the fact that it's not even remotely boozy for a 10% beer. But that's all been said.

There is a reason its commonly referred to as the best beer in the world.

"It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up."

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 1,816 ratings.
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