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

1,859 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: 1,859 | Ratings: 6,275
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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Photo of nerdboy19
4.22/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appear : Brownish dark black.
Aroma : Very rich, full and complex aroma. Starting with spicy yeasty-ester aroma. Sugar, dark fruits, some bananas, etc.
Mouthfeel : Medium-high carbonated, medium-full bodied.
Taste : Very drinkable, a little bit sweet and complex flavor in mouth.
Overall : I have to say this beer is really great, pretty much live up to it's hype. But since the high price and rarity, I would enjoy St.bernardus Abt.12 - almost the same beer.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

11 ounce bottle poured into a Belgian stemmed glass

A: Pours dark brown with a tan colored head, head is pillowy, full, creamy, lots of lacing, good amount of carbonation, no light comes through around the edges, looks solid.

A: Figs, raisins, plums, dark brown sugar, toffee, caramel, lots of aromas in this beer, bread notes, Belgian yeast, hint of alcohol, very complex with lots of depth.

T: Like the nose, there are notes of dark fruits like figs and plums, dark roasted and toasted candy, Belgian yeast, spice, clove, hint of banana, finish is dry with more dark fruits lingering in the aftertaste, very tasty, drinkable.

M: Full bodied with lots of carbonation, semi-dry finish, very smooth and creamy.

O: A world class beer, full of flavor, nice mouthfeel, lots of aroma, definitely worth the money I paid to get it. This is an amazing beer, I can't believe how drinkable it is for 10.2 % ABV, I won't hesitate to place another order for this beer.

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Photo of TheElectricOne
4.52/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a chalice; bottle courtesy of @benbking:

Appearance: pours a very dark, purplish brown color. Almost ruby-like. Carries a fair amount of yeast trub into the glass with it, even after settling for a while, though not nearly as much as Rochefort 10. Crazy amount of activity going on in the glass, with tons of bubbles rising up the edges and from the center. On top is a massive, stiff bed of foam, that sticks around forever. Literally for like a half hour.

Aroma: lots of stone fruit, and even some dark grape aroma. My first thought upon smelling it was flat grape soda, but upon giving it some more time, all the aromas came through. Spicy Belgian yeast, along with lots of dark, deep fruit notes. Plums mostly, although the dark grape notes are definitely there too.

Taste: very smooth and sweet, with tons of fruit flavor coming through. It's probably the fruitiest beer I've ever had, in strict terms of potency. If Julius and King Julius deliver the straight up orange juice, this beer is all plum, pomegranate, and grape. Incredibly smooth and refined. A touch of spice and some burnt sugar come through as well as the beer warms a bit.

Feel: LIghtly carbonated, this brew has a silky-smooth feel and coats the palate with flavor. It's not viscous, but carries a very full body nonetheless. None of the 10% ABV is detectable.

Overall: it was a pleasure to drink what many consider one of the best beers in the world. I agree with the assessment delivered by many prior beer drinkers. Even as tastes change, and people flock to hops, stouts, and sours (myself included) this beer will remain one of the best and most sought after brews, and for good reason. It's worth it!

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Photo of BranfordBound
4.57/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Waited 5 years to try this beer, at one point (specifically when I first joined BA in 2010) this was rated as the #1 beer. The hype around this was immense, coupled with the fact it was nearly impossible to get, even more so as time went on and the abbey began to restrict sales to some notable traders. Finally found some in stock at an online store, so I threw some Cantillons in my cart and hit purchase, a week later here we are!

Poured from the yellow cap adorned, nondescript bottle into my favorite Gandhi glass snifter, it comes out a beautiful ruby brown, dark enough to not see through, but light enough around the edges to show its true colors. A super bubby off-white head pillows up and leaves moderate lacing.

Smell is lovely, a ton of malt and Belgian yeast, spicy, notes of plums. Taste begins with a big chewy bread note, followed by plums, fruits, molasses and rum flavors. Ends with a hint of roasted malt, some bitterness, and a nice yeasty esters.

Body is very bubbly and carbonated, it adds to the spice. Extremely light for the ABV. I think the body is one of the main selling points.

Overall a very nice quad, but I don't see the hype. I had Abt 12 from St. Bernardus a few months ago and I think the similarities are really obvious. This beer might beat it by a bit, but not by any significant measure. Maybe with age the differences are more prominent...

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

Cap had the date 1.8.16. Enjoyed it on 1.29.16 - Saved it for my birthday.

A - Murky, brown, thick, creamy head, poured all of it in my St. Bernardus glass even the yeast, they worked hard and I wanted to appreciate them too.

S - Smells of molasses, raisons, Belgian candi sugar at the homebrew store, caramel, toffee, biscuit malts.

T/M - WOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAHHH. This was my original white whale, I sadly gave up on it but came to work one day to find that my co-worker dropped it off on my desk after learning that I never had it yet. Taste is remarkable. People say fresh is better and I'll believe them once I try it in Belgium but damn, the carbonation was mellow, raisons, alcohol well hidden, dried dark fruits throughout, did not want this one to end.

O - The original and longest lasting #1 beer in the world honestly should still be up there. This beer is what brewing is all about. Exclusivity but not too crazy, spot-on style profile, amazing smells and tastes. If you close your eyes while enjoying it you may just imagine the monks brewing it, I didn't but you may.

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Photo of freneticamnesic
4.63/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I've never put down the money for a Westvleteren before, but my lovely girlfriend was awesome enough to get me one for my birthday this year.

A - pours dark red brown with a light tan head that dissipates quickly
S - caramel notes, light toasty malts
T - toffee, toast, light oakiness, toasted apple, hints of caramel with a smooth boozey finish
M - thick, pleasantly bubbly
O - nothing innovative or wildly special but very well balanced and delicious.

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Photo of Phoneguy
4.24/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tulip glass a hazy dark amber with a creamy 1/2" head which lasted throughout and left nice lacing on the glass. Aromas and flavors of dark fruit and alcohol. Very complex, full bodied, and robust. An outstanding beer.

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Photo of Stevem68
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a cloudy Amber color. Aroma is deep rich dark fruits. Flavor is awesome. Belgian yeast with an awesome mellow delicious flavor. This does not remind me of a normal Belgian. Finishes smooth and overall the best Belgian beer I've ever had.

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Photo of FLima
4.54/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beauty has been waiting a long time in my cellar to get close to the brewer best of date. I am having this before dinner to sharp my senses and pouring this to both the original chalice and in my Orval one. Interestingly, its appearance was much better on Orval’s.
It has a brown reddish color with a thick dark beige head with eternal retention and leaving a curtain of laces. Hard to beat for the style.
Nice aroma with notes of prunes, raisins, plums, raspberries, molasses, dark chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla, grape juice, brandy and candied fruits. This is a bit more delicate than I expected, but elegant and still quite present.
Bold flavor with notes of figs, Port wine, creamy chocolate, noble hops, prunes, some molasses, bread crust, lots of spices (cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, vanilla), peppery yeast, a bit of licorice, wood, a distant blue cheese, herbs, pear, apple puree, banana, mild tobacco, raisins, candi sugar and cherries. Dry and bitter aftertaste. Virtually it is easy to keep going naming more flavors.
Liquorish full body (not heavy) with perfect carbonation of tiny bubbles. Alcohol of 10.2% is subtle and disguised to trick you.
Needless to say this is an excellent beer. Huge fruit and malt complexity with enough hops to balance its sweetness and a phenolic vortex. Sure it is hard to live up to its legend and I am not sure this is really superior to Bernardus 12. Expectation is a bitch; still I cannot name definitely better non-barrel aged Quads (I could name very few equivalents).
Now I know why they don’t expand and let common men to brew this, it would lose its magic imaginative differential.

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Photo of SHDoyle
4.23/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Description: More dark brown than ruby in color with a light tan/khaki head. The head quickly dissipates but leaves some lacing on the glass. Smell was a mix of dark fruits (dark/sour cherry, raspberry, red grapes) and possibly even some melon or maybe apricot. There was another acidic, fruity flavor that I couldn't quite place. The taste was sweet and fruity on the front of the palate and the grape flavor came through more clearly than with the aroma. There was a touch of bitterness on the finish which helped to balance the beer. The alcohol was certainly there but it didn't overwhelm the flavors. It was more carbonated than expected and the feel was on the thin side for a quad.

Suggested Food Pairing: Smoked white cheddar

If you like this beer then you should also try: Trappistes Rochefort 10

Overall: 4.25 (This beer is good and I would likely have it again) Certainly a good beer, but not one that I would rate as one of the best in the world. I really expected it to be more flavorful and full-bodied...generally "bolder" than it was. It seemed a little delicate to me, which isn't necessarily bad it's just not what I was looking for. In comparing it with other highly regarded Belgian quads I'd put it on par with Bernardus 12 but behind Rochefort 10. If you can get your hands on one it's worth trying (lots of people seem to think it's pretty fantastic) but it didn't blow me away.

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Photo of VTMLB
4.98/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Completely lived up to the hype. Had two when I was in Amsterdam over Christmas. I can't speak highly enough of this beer. I love Quads and this one beats them all.

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Photo of doktorhops
4.66/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Well this is it - the granddaddy of beers: Westvleteren XII. 5 years ago to the day when I joined BeerAdvocate this was the number 1 beer in the world, since then it has been overtaken by barrel-aged beers (and a whole lot of hyperbole) but this is the one I have always wanted. Now that I have it warming up to 12 Celsius on my kitchen bench I find myself reflecting back over the last 5 years and 649 beer reviews: I’ve had a great time, it has been a real pleasure to taste so many fantastic brews and I’ve quite enjoyed writing every one of the 240,000+ words on the subject, as I hope many have enjoyed reading them. Well it’s time now to see what the monks of Sint-Sixtus can do.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: Presents with a cloudy caramel brown and nice dense 2 centimetre off-white head that slowly tapers back to a still dense half centimetre blanket on top. I’ve always loved the look of a decent Quad and this one is no exception - top marks. 10/10.

S: Sweet dark fruits (plum, prune, date) with a splash of brandy and some nice bready yeast tones. It’s not quite as complex as expected, but it is nonetheless a moreish Quad aroma. 8/10.

T: Sublime flavour profile - begins with the above noted dark fruits, touch of brandy, some mid palate bread and burnt sugar notes follow through to a hint of cracked pepper and an apothecary of herb characters - it’s difficult to pick an individual herb but if I had to I would say wormwood. This is a flavour profile that commands respect (although so does the MUCH cheaper St. Bernardus Abt 12). 10/10.

M: Medium to heavy bodied with a mid to light, dense carbonation. A touch of stickiness means you get a nice Quad sheen coating your tastebuds. 10/10.

D: Was it as good as I was expecting? No. Still it is one of the greatest Quadrupels I’ve managed to lay my hands on, and I’ve had a few Quadrupels now. Compared to its brethren St. Bernardus Abt 12 and Trappistes Rochefort 10 though it’s not worth the price or trouble you go through accruing it, and I suspect if it was a bit more available that it might not be so hyped, but there you go it is and St. Bernardus Abt 12 is my Quad of choice overall. As Westy XII warmed up even more a wild cherry note became present, how complex can a beer get? This guy. 9/10.

Food match: Obvious choice is cheese made by the sisters of Abbaye de Belval which uses Westvleteren beer to refine it, and other Trappist cheeses would work well.

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Photo of Bdawg1
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 2011 with 4 years of age
Looked like a typical quad with a medium to dark color with exceptional head retention for the age
Smelled like raisins,stone fruit and caramel
The complexity from the very start of the first sip was worth everything it took to get a bottle!
At first its caramel soaked raisins that giveaway to bready stone fruit and belgian yeast esters!
Over all my favorite Quad

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Photo of PDXAmbassador
3.7/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Maybe mine was aged poorly, but tasted like iron filings and grape cool aid. Looked and smelled the part though. Probably need to try a fresher one. Eh.

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3.47/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First time having this. Before I get on, I will say that, I am cellaring a few bottles to try a year from now and 2 years from now. Had a 6 pack shipped in and just poured myself a nice chalice. Our came 2 fingers of foam. Nice dark brown body with vanilla looking head. A swirl, and it smells very familiar. Smells like malt, maybe a little coffee, roasted goodness. A few small tastes and I wasn't impressed. It was a little disappointing at first. Got better with each sip. The last couple were really smooth like a good creamy dessert. I want more! A fully circle experience. Not hooked but not turned off either. Will be interested in seeing what a little age does to these.

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Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.76/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

My father-in-law bought boxes of these and gave it to me, so I have a lot. You are supposed to store them (cool) for a while but I've drank several already. It is a top notch Trappist/Quadruple.

L- Cloudy dark brown and not much of a head, but appearance is not that important.

S- Complex fruity and spicy aroma. Interesting and inviting.

T- Wow, it blew me away the first time I had it (now I had many). The taste was bready toasted malts, caramel, raisins, some spices, not too much, well balanced, and not a hint of alcohol despite the high alcohol content. It was easy drinking even for my friends who prefer blander styles.

F- silky smooth creamy.

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Photo of angelmonster
3.99/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review is of a 3 yr old bottle.

Pours a very murky, dirty brown color. Head is tan and 1/4th of an inch. Sediment is very evident throughout tasting. Head retention and lacing were above average.

Smell is big on dried and candied fruits, dates, figs, even some apricot. Belgian rock candy is also very present. Slight soy sauce is there, hops are not, and alcohol is definitely there.

Taste is heavy on caramelized sugar, dates, and figs. Burnt malt is also apparent, with belgian yeast/ witch hazel also present. Hops arent present but alcohol flavor is high.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Head retention added slightly to the substance of the beer.

Overall this was a good beer but dont know how it was once regarded as the best beer in the world. It was a solid beer for the style but there was nothing in the flavor profile that stood out to me.

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Photo of Jnashed
4.99/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow...... Five year old version cellared at 45 degrees.

Popped the top and a slight gush of bubbles that dissipated quickly. Poured into a snifter. Cloudy marroon color.

Smell of dried fruits and sugars. complex though.

Taste... Speechless. Dried figs, and apricots. Some many subtle flavor including vanilla and Carmel . So smooth. No bite from alcohol.

Feel. Carbonation perfect and some lacing but really just melts in mouth like a piece of dried fruit.

Amazing, amazing beer. Best I've had....

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.61 out of 5 based on 6,275 ratings.
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