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

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1,832 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: 1,832 | Ratings: 6,157
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
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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. Still, St. Bernardus easily beats it.

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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 a 3 year (2012, 2013, 2014) vert served at Shelton Brothers The Festival 2015, with the 2012 being just pure perfection.

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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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Photo of Dolphinsmarlins1
4.52/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle received via trade. A massive head erupted as it hit the glass and maintained for several minutes after. Color was dark amber-brown. Smelled and tasted sweet. Though not typically a fan of the style, it exceeded my expectations and met the hype. If only it didn't cost me nearly $20 per bottle...

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Photo of NilocRellim
4.79/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Cloudy, unfiltered brown colour. Crisp smell with a typical "Belgian-sweetness" to it. Caramel and a bit of fruitiness as well. Quite sweet and caramel taste to it. There is a bit of spiciness to it and is nicely rounded-out with a higher alcohol taste. Lovely beer.

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

Best trappist beer I have ever drink.

Typical Belgian smell, plenty of fruits.
Strong taste, the exact sweeterness for a Quad, a pleasure to taste.

Definitely one of the best beers on Earth.

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Photo of Andrijas
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

At first glance an excellent looking bottle without any labels and all the information is contained on the top of the cap itself. The bottle itself seems like something a person would keep for a souvenir.

I poured it in a Westvleteren chalice (the larger of two). It is a very dark brown (almost black) looking beer, with lacey head. It seems very "thick". The smell has caramel characteristic (Belgian candi) and although it has high alcohol content, it does not have a strong alcoholic smell.

The first taste already confirms the strong caramel/candi taste along with some spices. You can feel it warm you up a bit while travelling through your throat. It packs a nice punch which you don't really expect from such a nice and drinkable beer.

After drinking I strongly recommend to wash the glass because the leftover candi will become hard and it will be more difficult to remove it later.

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

Girlfriend brought me this one home from Amsterdam.

Absolutely wonderful - compared next to St. Bernardus and can tell overwhelmingly that this is the better brew.


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Photo of JackieTH
4.64/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This will not be a long review, not that this cornerstone of The Belgians doesn't deserve it, but there is little I can add to all the 1000's of existing reviews except to thank my friends Jeremy & Drew who were the chain of folks who made the Abbey to Minneapolis, MN connection happen.

In any event I should say something, because Westvleteren 12 is a phenomenal beer across all categories. The pour into a snifter featured a rich mahogany body with a billowing cap of very persistent khaki foam that left sheets of lacing. Entirely attractive and impressive. The nose is all about dark dried fruits.. dates, figs, raisins, and a hint of candied faintly caramelly sweetness which is oh so smooth. You can sniff this for a long time, it's very enjoyable. Taste is exactly right IMO with dark fruity raisins, dates, molasses, brown sugar, bready, toffee, faint chocolate. Lightly sweet throughout but a very balanced with all the depth of flavors working together toward the whole. Mouthfeel is luxury, velvety, nice. Full bodied but enough carb to keep it interesting. Fantastic. Maybe I'll get to try it again someday..

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.79/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A- Pours a beautiful, murky, deep brown in color. There is just a touch of copper-reddish color peeking through the edges of the beer in the light. For a beer that has been in the bottle 3 years, this still pours fairly vigorously, with a decent sized, 1.5 finger thick head. The head sticks around a very long time and laces very well as well. All in all, the pour is very impressive looking in the glass.

S- Huge dark fruit flavors greet the nose in a pleasant and slightly tart aroma. Dates, figs, and even a touch of bright and juicy grapes are the prominent scents hitting the nose. After the fruit, there is an understated candy sugar component of the beer that sweetens and balances out the fruits. Just a touch of caramel malt flavor is evident at the very end of the scent.

T- The much anticipated first sip of this beer results in a wave of complex and dark flavors over the tongue. The first flavor that displays itself is a mild caramel malt that is quickly joined by a brown sugar and candy sugar sweetness. The sweetness is quickly washed away by the dark fruit flavors from the scent, that aren't quite as potent in the taste. In the middle part of the drink, the bitter component of the malts' flavors take over and really move the flavor of the beer to the darker side of things. The fruits make a small comeback at the very end of the drink and it washes away with both the fruits and the malt/alcohol bitterness left on the tongue.

M- I was expecting this beer to be closer to flat after 3 years in the bottle, but it is highly carbonated, yet smooth and thick as it moves across the palate. While the beer itself is a relatively easy drinker, the alcohol warmth after the drink and as it goes down makes drinking this beer a little slower.

Overall, this beer lived up to its hype for me, but in an unexpected way. I was expecting a mellowed out beer that possibly had some evidence of some oxidation, but what I got was a great pour with good carbonation and flavor that had complicated with age. The flavors themselves were complex and didn't have as much dark fruit as expected. Instead, the beer displayed good amounts of bitter malts and brown sugar sweetness. I may have aged this one a little past its peak, but all in all, this is still a world class beer.

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Photo of jonesry09
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Wasn't sure what to expect from such a highly rated and sought after beer.

It lived up to everything people had to say about it.

The raisin/fig flavor is the more forefront. There is a smooth sugary after taste that lasts until the net sip. The thicker texture keeps your mouth coated just long enough to keep the flavors to stick around.

Glad I am working in Germany for a few months, so that I can stock up on this!!

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Photo of Tidesox28
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Why does this have to be so impossibly hard to get? Exactly what a Belgian should be. Raisins. Figs. Dark brown sugar. The mouthfeel is verging on thick. One of the best beers on the planet.

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.61 out of 5 based on 6,157 ratings.
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