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

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1,819 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: 1,819 | Ratings: 6,078
Photo of rye726
4.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Rich burgundy brown color with a very nice tan head. Silky with good lace and excellent longevity.

Complex blend of dark fruits, candy, bready malts, cocoa, floral hops and spicy yeast.

Wow, this is some good stuff. Everything in the nose and more. Buttery malts, dark dried fruits, chocolate, caramel, toffee and Belgian yeast with earthy hops.

Thick and silky, but very drinkable. Perfect carbonation. This is a fantastic example of the style and one of the best beers made.

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Photo of kmo1030
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

well this is it... i'm finally cracking the westy 12 i got in belgium...
this beer pours a garnet brown with a moderate light tan head, that drops to a film.
the aroma is a slightly vinous soft caramel coated grape. there are many other furits in there: pear, raspberry, a very nice juicy plum, prune, soft black cherry. i also find chocolate combined with a cereal quality, almost like the smell of special k. its also got a powdery crackery yeast characteristic.
the taste contains a rich malty caramel backed by a plethora of other complexities. the half dozen fruits from the aroma are there, leaning toward the darker earthy side of the spectrum. they remain light and not in your face though, showing a magnificent level of restraint. beyond those you find bits a pieces of chocolate, corriander, hints of clove, graham, hints of vanilla (resembling oak), an almost pecan pie type flavor, with soft light brown sugar. the 11% abv is masked in a near supernatural way... there is no trace. rounded out with it's soft powdery yeast. impeccably balanced.
the body is fullish medium, with soft moderate carbonation, that facilitates this beer gliding down your throat. slightly dry.
exceptional drinkability, balanced and beautiful, this beer is a work of art and the pinnacle of it's style. intially i had a few of the ratings at less than five, but as the bottom of the glass approaches you start to realize exactly what you have in front of you, nothing less than brewing perfection.

this is everything it's advertised to be.

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Photo of pwoods
4.58/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz. brown bottle, yellow cap - no label, poured into a snifter. Best before 4.12.10

A: Pours a deep burgundy with zero visibility. Just over 1 finger of light toffee head forms and holds nicely. Bit chunks of lacing to start, then decent patching.

S: Very similar to the 8 but more intense and with a phenolic line. Very clean smelling caramel malts and plenty of boozy dark fruits.

T/M: I'm really diggin' the alcohol in this. Normally I only like an alcohol warming in my beer... when I want something stronger I'll pour some single malt. Not the case here. The alcohol adds such an amazing complexity to everything. The dark fruits pop so much better. The caramel malts are still as great as ever but with an 'adult theme' haha. The mouthfeel is just as perfect as the 8.

D: I don't typically like Belgians too much but the 8 and 12 are definitely worthy. I won't call this my favorite beer but I'd never argue with someone for saying it's theirs.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.45/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

February 8, 2008:

11.2 oz brown bottle without a logo... Finally got this one... Yellow cap with Westvleteren logo and the two words "bevat" and "BIER", including 10,2% VOL....
Appearance = Deep, dark mahogany brown with a frothy tan head that lingered for a bit.
Smell = Very malty aroma, loaded with figs, prunes, malts, and caramel.
Taste = Very thick, rich, and full-flavored taste that strongly complements the aroma... dominated by malts, dehyrdrated fruits, caramel, slight vanilla and sweet, candied sugars... Alcohol is difficult to detect behind a rich combination of thick flavors.
Mouthfeel = Extremely creamy, thick, rich, and full mouthfeel... the taste lingers on your tongue for a while after the first sip...
Drinkability = Good drinkability despite the hefty 10.2% ABV... As mentioned before, alcohol is difficult to detect...
Overall, yes, this is a world-class, top-notch beer, but it is certainly not the best that I've ever tried...
For a good equivalent to this one, try
St. Bernardus Abt 12 or Trappist Achel Extra...

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Photo of GPHarris
4.55/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to andy barnett for the bottle

a - poured a three-fingers thick bubbly and fizzy light tan head into a tulip glass. it left thick lace and sheeting throughout, really coats the glass. the body was a dark and heavy brown with hints of purple.
s - very comples, smells of plums, raisins and other dark fruits with hints of caramel.
t - so much going on here, vanilla, honey, fruit, with a caramel malt sweetness.
m - this is perfection. so smooth and creamy.
d - what a wonderful sipper, goes down easily and one could get carried away with this if not careful.

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

Picked up a bottle at the Cracked Kettle in Amsterdam, along with the 8. They were serving them both across the street at Cafe Gollem, but with such a sought after beer, we couldn't have our first taste of the Westvleterens after knocking back a few other belgian treats. I enjoyed the 8 a few nights ago and have been looking forward to cracking open the 12.

Opened the bottle and had a whiff of of sweet carmel. Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. The beer is dark in color and has small bubbles making the head hardly noticeable. The beer is almost the color of Coca-Cola, and as I folded in one part Coca-Cola, the two beverages blended seamlessly, and I knew I would be in for a great treat.

Just kidding, I can't even imagine adding Coca-Cola to a sub-par kölsch, though that's what all the cool kids do here in Cologne.

This beer is extremely aromatic, sweet and complex. With such a strong sweet smell, I expected a much sweeter taste. Certainly a sweetness does run through your mouth, but it's mild and not at all overwhelming, perhaps tempered by its remarkable smoothness. After gulping down a sip, a dark toasted flavor lingers, which can be detected while the beer's still in your mouth, but really comes to the front in a nonetheless complex aftertaste. Not much of an alcohol warming feel with this one, but I really didn't miss it because of, again, the ridiculous smoothness.

This beer surpassed any expectations I had, high as they were. The discussions about the beer started strong, but in the end we were simply too distracted by the deliciousness of this beverage to talk. Finished it pretty quickly, as each tasted prompted another. Had there been another bottle in our refrigerator, I'm sure it would not be there this morning. It may be time to start planning that trip to visit the monks.

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


Thanks to Josh from Vintage Wine and Beer for the birthday hookup, very cool my friend.

Two months I have stared at the bottle with the gold cap, almost frightened to open it. Afraid of the effect it would have on me. I mean, Belgian Quads are my favorite and this is widely known not only as the pinnicle of that genre, but of beer in general. Well, its Super Sunday, and the hated, cheating Patriots are on their way to a SB victory, this Steeler fan needs something to make me smile.

A--A little lighter than the Rochefort but similar lacing and retention. Carbonation seems to be very prevelent in this brew. Pretty sweet.

S--I smell a very complex and remarkable beer. Cherries seem to be most noticeable. Definitely candied sugars are there. So much going on with this brew.

T--Wow. Hard not to be let down by this considering the rarity and considerable notoriety. However, it holds up very well. Little metallic due to the relative freshness of the beer. This is still one terrific beer. This is a really complex beer, so many flavors and I love it.

M--Silky smooth.

D--Well, what can you say, it is Westvletaren. Unfortunately, you are about as likely to win the lottery than to have this beer at your disposal. $450 a case?? That makes it pretty tough. IF I could have this beer regularly, I would. Though I have to say it will definitely hit you with its whopping ABV. A question any Belgian fan needs to ask is how does this brew compare to its most celebrated cousins, Rochefort 10 and St Bernardus ABT 12? It holds up quite nicely. Know this, this is the best beer in the world, hands down. I dont know what is more depressing, that the Pats will likely win today or that my goblet is almost gone.

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

My first bottle was consumed fresh... it was only about a month old. It had a metallic after taste to it. Still wonderful but not great. My second was aged for 6 months and it made all the difference in the world.

Appearance: Rich brown with a white lace head. Stunning in the Westvleteren goblet.

Smell: Sweet malts... honey... raisen... sour dough bread.

Taste: Orgasmic. I can't even begin to give this brew a proper description of taste... But I will try. Sweet, bready and malty with an after taste of raisin or fruit and spices.

Mouthfeel: Smooooth as a babies ars. Perfect carbonation level. Perfect consistency.

Drinkability: Do you really need to ask? If only I lived somewhere near the monastery... I'd have my fridge filled with them... Sadly I am down to just two bottles.

This is perfection.

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Photo of ryrust5301
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I feel honored to make my first beer review the one and only Trappist Westvleteren 12. The beer Gods shot from the bottle like Raiders of The Lost Ark. Poured out of an 11.2 oz brown bottle with gold cap, and no label.

Apperance - soft white lacing coats the sides of the glass, and clings beautifully.

Smell - Wondeful aroma. Plum, honey, and a bready aroma dance around the nose.

Taste - Smooth mouthful. Taste of sweet malts and breadyness, with a spicy alcohol taste the sneaks up on you. Finishes wonderfully with a slight fruity taste at the back of the tounge.

West 12 trumps any Belgian I have ever had. Honored to be one of the rare few who has had the opportunity to have it pass through my lips. Got 5 more bottles, so i'm dying to see what will await me in two to three years when I open the next bottle. I can only imagine the taste after it's been cellared a few years.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

July 24, 2009: Along with the notes below, the cotton candy/confection/powdered sugar flavor is super clean and full of taste. Ester profile shows more grape flavors than I remember. An immaculate beer fit for it's #1 status.

So, this is the daddy of all daddyies; the penacle of all fermented malty beverages; the beer that carries the biggest kahunas; the most elusive and sought-after beer of all. Can a beer possibly live up to it's legendary status? Yes in fact, it can. A very deep, strong, agressive berry and candied aroma swells from the bottle, even before the pour. The beer pours neatly into the chalice with a rising pillow of foam that brings out more dark berries, dehydrated fruits, and tart, warming alcohols. Very mouth-watering and inviting. That first sip brings a lot of that rich berry flavor (blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, and a hint of grapes) that shines above a seriously malt base. Pecans, almonds, and graham cracker flavors display the malts well. Dehydrated / candied fruits (cherries, pineapples, dates and figs) meld with a sweet rum-like alcohol flavor and makes this beer some of the better flavors ever placed into my mouth. The body shows all of the firm-ness, viscity, and creaminess needed for a perfect-five beer, but the alcohols and berry-vineous flavors slice through it, making it waver just a bit. The berry flavor lingers on and on... I can still taste it from last night. It is easy to see why this beer so easily seduces even the most seasoned beer enthusiest, but I have to ask it to reluctantly step aside of this grand pedistal for its little brother, Westvleteren Dubbel.

Thanks Clvand0
Thanks Maxskip!

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Photo of korndog
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Let me start off by saying that I am not really worthy. Nor am I truly qualified to review this beer. Started off pouring this beauty into a snifter at 60F. It poured with a nice three fingers of tan, tight bubbles that dissipated rather quickly, leaving a gorgeous lacing which I am sure would have revealed the future in the hands of a skilled fortune teller. Smelled the obvious sweet maltiness, combined with a fine boot leather most worthy of any fetishist's attention. A slightly alcoholic cream soda came to mind as well. The taste hit me with a heavy sweet and cloying bombardment that didn't yield anything too unusual. Those fig trays with a spiral pattern and the fork in the middle. The first drag of a Marlboro Red was also present; not that I smoke 'em anymore. The carbonation was sublime as it presented the tiniest bed of nails to roll around on while enjoying this sweet beauty. The finish is quite lovely bittersweet, with a faint hop presence and a Jagermeisterish herb sensation low on the Pallete. End of the journey and the lacing is still on high where it started, and so am I. The 10.2 has shown its face as I wonder how on earth I will manage to keep my hands off the other two bottles I have. I think the lacing is now part of my little snifter as though it were painted on.

Update: Oh god, this stuff is so good. I am praying for forgiveness as I buy all I can get.

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Photo of JBogan
4.58/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark bown with amber highlights. Solid two finger head whic stayed for the length and left good lacing.

Smelled of dark fruits and alcohol, as mentioned before almost a champagne aroma.

Tasted of fruits and spices. Some alcohol present but blended in very well.

Very smooth and rich, with some carbonation present.

This beer was everything people have said it would be. Tasted much like other Trappist beers but more well rounded and smooth.

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

Thanks to HimerMan for the trade.

Pours a brown/amber color with slight haze and ruby highlights. The nose is very fruity with some sour tones maybe cherry, and some spice. Smell almost champagnish (slightly kindof maybe a little) Nice white/off white head dissipates fairly fast. Wow!! intense dark fruit flavors. plums, raisins, figs, dates, black cherry wowwwowowowow!! Awesome spice and smoothness! damn smooth! I see what all the hype is about, this beer is great. The finish is smooth as hell and the mouthfeel is bomb. Drinkability is very dangerous as the alcohol on the finish is about as minimal as you can get with a quad, but still a great warming effect in the stomach. Awesome beer!!! Get it if you can. props to the monks.

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Photo of MMAJYK
4.78/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This review is for my virtual mug! I have been holding off on this awesome brew for that special occaision.

A- Milk chocolate brown with light browinsh 1" film on top surface after a conservative pour. Lacing is shimmery like glitter on the sides of the glass. Nice floaties in the glass, but most was left in the bottle, leaving 3/4" of beer and sediment behind.

S- Plums, cherries and sour tones with roasted malts well blended throughout. After warming a bit, I pick up the darker side with chocolates and raisins. Buttery too.

T- Chocolate, caramel, and same dark fruits. The chocolate and caramel really come out after warming it a bit. The alcohol is nice and warming. You know you have a real beer when you drink this one.

M- Medium mouthfeel with high carbonation. Stingy all over the tongue. Very nice.

D- Alcohol taste and warming keeps it from a perfect score, but still very high.

Overall- From the look, to the smell, to the taste, to the feel, just a bad ass beer. I see what the fuss is about and I am glad to try it, and also glad to try more. I feel that this particular beer is a little young, and will only get better with age.

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Photo of meechum
4.73/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought this bottle along with 5 friends back in October from E-bay and waited until the New Year for the sampling. Had this on New Years Eve and it was exquisite.

Poured into a oversized wine glass as that's the closest I had to a goblet. The tan head was extreme and fell slowly. The smell was rich in fruits, spices, just a hint of biscuity malts and a piney hops (very subtle). The taste lived up to the expectation. This is not a beer you drink by the gulp that's for sure. The taste was as big as the smell and lived up to everything I thought it would be..very started off to me with a immediate alcohol warmth and taste of roasted barley and biscuits and then flowered into a nice thick fig and raisin taste and finished with a bite of hops that was subtle but cut the fruity tastes.

Overall this was a great beer and surely one of the best on the planet. I don't think I would even call it my favorite and if I never get to try another again I'm glad I got one shot and giving it a try

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

33cl bottle received in a trade. Will likely be my last sampling outside of Belgium, in accordance with the wishes of the monks.

A- The beer pours a dark brownish read with very dense head. The head is off-white in color and dissipates slowly. The lacing was absolutely magnificent. Residual amounts of sediment.

S- I'm getting a lot of molasses, dried fruit, figs, and raisons. This is one of the few beers that deserves the label of complexity.

T- Absolutely delicious. It tastes of malt, plums, candi sugar, and an assortment of fruits. Truly a unique tasting experience.

M- Medium bodied, but very rich. This one is definitely a sipper. I wish I had paired it with food.

D- This beer could be paired with anything, or be enjoyed as an apperatif. This is an incredibly versatile beer. My only regret is not cellaring it for longer.

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Photo of aaronh
3.62/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown body topped by a thin head that fades quickly. Aroma is a lot of dark fruits, brown sugar and some nice malt sweetness. In fact, the aroma is the best part of this beer. Tatse is a bit flat. Malt and fruit flavors seem muted. Yeast autolysis is noticeable. Mouthfeel is OK, buit it seems a bit off. Like there's oil and water both in the same drink. Drinakibility is OK, but for the price I'd expect a lot more.

I've been waiting to review this beer for a while (2 years since my first notes). I've tried 3 bottles from 3 locations - I guess I just don't like this beer as much as a lot of other beers!

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Photo of fightingirishcmk
4.67/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Gold capped bottle with a best before date of 8/29/10.
A: Pours a deep reddish brown with an enormous head. The froth is off white in color and dissipated slowly. Lacing was beautiful on the glass. Slight amounts of sediment were poured in.

S: Molasses and fruit such as figs was present, also some raisin and bubblegum were detectable.

T: Simply put, delicious. Malt, plums, and a vast array of other various dark sugared tastes were a delight to the palate.

M: Moderately warming, with a somewhat lighter consistency than what I expected. Feels great in your mouth and going down.

D: Will I find myself craving this beer at many different occasions? Yes. However, some points taken off due to its rarity and inability to be a session beer

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Photo of Mudpuppet
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured from a unmarked bottle (except the cap of course). Pours mud brown with no head. You can see a watery edge on the beer also.

S- There is a very light malty aroma from the beer.

T- This is a very tasty beer with notes of chocolate, grape, raisin and plum.

M- The is a low carbonated beer but it is perfectly carbonated. It is smooth across the tongue and you want another sip asap.

D- I like this beer a lot. I obviously won't be having it often but I am happy to have the chance to try it. This was the last beer of a Trappist tasting so my notes were light even though this was great.

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

Thanks to a very generous Aaron (leftmindedrighty) for this bottle as a x-mas present. This was a february 2007 bottling, cracked this New Years Eve 2007 at 6:15. chose this one first to start off the festivities as to not forget what i was tasting.

Looks nice in my St. Bernardus chalice, deep brown with a 1/4 inch foamy head that sticks around for the entire glas, lacing quite well.

Smells of dark fruit and alcohol. smells very sweet like a quad should. for a malthead like me it smells perfect.

Tastes of brown sugar, dark cherries/figs, sweet. There is the presence of alcohol as well but i would never guess 10.2%.. this could be that the bottle i have is nearly a year old and it has mellowed, but if that is the case this is the best way to drink it.

The mouthfeel on this beer is the best i have tasted to date. It is creamy, like the perfect chocolate melting in your mouth.

The drinkability is good, i lowered the score on this one only because the ABV is a bit high to have more than one... which is good i guess since it is so expensive and hard to get, which is the second reason i docked the drinkability. I would love to have a sixer of these to hold on to and drink one per year for six years.. i think this beer would get nothing but better with time, year after year.

Thanks again to Aaron for letting me try this brew, one of the FEW "top 100" that i havent thought was overrated. Now to try and find a westy 8 to try :)

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

i enjoyed this wonderful beer out of a great divide yeti glass.

this beer appears to be a dark brown with a toffee colored head with excellent lacing.

the smell is malty and chocolaty and toffeeish. belgian candy as well. you can smell the alcohol in there, but it's a wonderful smell.

this beer tastes wonderful. belgian candy... taste consistant with the smell. also a hint of spice.

the mouthfeel is thick & sticky with medium carbonation.

what a wonderful beer this is. superbly drinkable. i'm glad i have a few more of these laying around.

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Photo of daledeee
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This was actually a Christmas present and what a treat. I thought I had posted this review but don't see it so I am reentering my notes.

Open this beer and pour it carefully into my favorite glass. Very dark and very nice head. The scent is beautiful with dark fruit and malt. Taste is nearly perfect. Some malt, dark fruit and earthy. So complex I need the list of adjectives.

I may, if pressed, have some that are more favorite. The only thing that keeps me from buying this all the time is the price. $10 for one bottle is not a frequent visitor to my shelf.

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Photo of dontworrybeh0ppy
4.46/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

At first glance, the pour seems sadly ironic, as the beer has been hyped up a bit on BA and you expect fireworks to shoot out from the glass. This did not happen however, and there wasn't a great amount of head, likely because of it being poured into a goblet. But otherwise a looker - left the sediment at the bottom of the bottle so not too much in the glass.

Aromatic, fairly powerful alcohol smell, similar to most Trappists, and expected.

Mouthfeel is truly the cornerstone of this brew, as it feels as though angels of my Jewish background have landed from the heavens of Jewdom and landed on my palate, creating a cornucopia of flavor explosion. There are literally clouds of life flowing about in my mouth.

Taste follows through with the smell and mouthfeel, light alcoholic flavors, hints of honey, and some other spices that I'm not familiar with but I'm sure have some fancy names ( see other reviews).

Overall, a great beer, not sure if worth the hype, but certainly great. It's likely due to my lack of beer tasting experience. It actually got me a little lightheaded. Yes.

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Photo of jwolfie70
4.68/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This beer is worth the hype. It has the best mouthfeel of any beer I have ever had, and for me defines what would be perfect mouthfeel in a beer.

Tastes of dark fruit, with a series malt backbone, without being cloying. It poured a dark brown with a light tan head. Can't wait to try again.

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Photo of barefootbrewer
4.55/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a dark brown with some amber hues. The head was tan with very nice lacing. The aroma is caramel with Belgian candy noticeable - alcohol is also perceptible. The taste is heavily malty with caramel and candy notes quite evident. The mouthfeel is full with a carbonation bite on the tongue – very delightful. This is a compelling beer that is quite elegant.

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 1,819 ratings.
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