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

1,854 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: 1,854 | Ratings: 6,254
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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Photo of adamdotson
4.87/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a rare treat. In this case it was a christmas present from Jason and Julie at Brews and Ales in Asheville, NC. Amazing beer store. Bottled just over a year ago at the abbey. Been again in perfect cellar conditions. Tasted in a blind quad tasting my brothers and I did along with Rochefort 10, St.Bernardus 60th anniversary, and SOuthampton Abbot 12(the surprising victor).
Appearance was brown coppery with a creamy beige head. Nice head retention. Some legs holding long on the glass.(large chimay glass).
Aroma was surprising subtle, but do not let that fool you, it was still extremely complex. Rich caramel notes. Heavy on the dark fruits, figs, prunes, especially raisins. Nice cinnamon raisin bread fresh out of the oven. There is something mature and classy about this aroma. It doesn't have to yell at you to make its point. Not as heavy on the banana esters as I remember.
Yummy taste. SPicy cinnamon and heavy raison flavor. Very complex taste progression. SUbtler on the caramel than the nose implies, which I appreciated. SHockingly smooth for such a rich full-bodied beer. Just a tinge of fusels. This beer is like a grandfather. It has an important message to impart and is full of wisdom , but you have to be listening closely, and selflessly. The brothers truly put a lot of love into this beer. I don't believe despite the brilliance of this beer that everyone would really get the point, but those who do are blessed. A gem.

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Photo of ggaughan
4.62/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle picked up at a bottle shop in Antwerp 2 weeks ago so it seems to be pretty fresh. I have had several bottles of this before but most of them were obtained in the U.S. from overseas.

The beer poured a deep brown, almost black color with a medium thickness tan head that lasted for a few minutes and gave way to nice ring around the end but the lacing doesn't hold up well. The nose is pretty damn imressive. There are some fruit notes, dates, plums and a nice chocolately character. The taste is very impressive as well. The malty chocolate notes are the first thing that takes my taste buds on a ride along with some of the deep fruit notes I got in the aroma as well. The carbonation is rather full and overall makes for a full bodied beer. I could not say for sure whether this is the best beer in the world but it is a pretty damn good beer and well worth a try if you can get it for a reasonable price.

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Photo of domtronzero
4.47/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brown and murky with a large mousse-like tan head that lingers for a long time.

Smells of dark fruits, dried prunes, apricot and a very slight banana aroma. Very estery with nice bready malts.

Flavor is very similar to aroma with a nice subtle hop bitterness. Banana and dark fruits, again very estery. Flavors are a little muddled, but still very good.

The mouthfeel has slightly more body than I prefer in a Quad.

Overall I prefer St. Bernardus 12 over this beer. The slightly thicker mouthfeel gives this beer slightly less drinkability than SB12.

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

Acquired via trade with recent trade with Ding. Thanks for the opportunity to review my first Westy 12. I've had 2 before, but hadn't reviewed them, just enjoyed them. Now to do both....

Poured into my Trappist Rochefort chalace. Best by date on cap is 09/05/10, so this is still a rather "young" Westvleteren compared to the 2 others I've had which were each past their date. Beer is a deep, hazy garnet color brushed with dark chocolate. Gorgeous 1 1/2 finger head of tan, falling ever so gracefully into streaks of hearty lace. No discernable carbonation rising from the glass.
Aromas of fig and shortbread immediately assault my senses. I can almost taste them through my nose, they're that prominent. Dates, raisins and sweet honey follow close behind. A huge malty whiff produces no apparent hop aroma, but this IS a quad, so.... I'm also getting no alcohol on the nose. I've had beers much smaller than the 10.2% listed here where the alcohol made itself known throughout the beer. Not in this case. Dangerously quaffable.
Now for the taste. Not that I haven't been tasting it for the past 15 minutes, but I have to go back and try to remember everything I've tasted. Once again, shortbread, but albiet a bit spicier than on the nose. Peppery. Toffee and figs, dates and banana nut bread dance on my tongue. Hazelnuts coated in a yeasty, Belgian candi sugar. There's so much taste going on here, it's really hard to wrap my head (and taste buds) around it.
Close to the end of the glass, and there's still a full covering of lace and more on the edges of the glass. Not too shabby for 1/2 hour later.
Not overly carbonated with a mouthfeel that stays with you for a while. Nice and hearty for a 25 degree night and our first 8 inches of snow of the year. Alcohol definitely makes itself known towards the end of the beer. Does not take away from it's drinkability at all. You just have to put the brakes on so as not to guzzle the rest of the beer.
I've been waiting all day to drink this beer, but waited until the snowball fights with my daughter and cocoa and shoveling were done. It was well worth the wait. And as hard as it is to get, it will be worth the wait until my next Westvleteren 12. But believe me, there will be a next one.

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Photo of brendan13
3.9/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Drinking this to celebrate my 1 year anniversary on BA.
Bottle cap stamped with 29.08.10. That's when I plan to open 1 of 2 other bottles I have.
A - Poured into the Westvleteren goblet a hazy dark brown colour with a few centimetres of beige head that slowly falls away to a thin whisp.
S - Big dark fruit notes up front as too be expected. Such an inviting smell. Some caramel sweetness & a nutty presence.
T - Dark fruit is also quite strong on the taste with a lot more caramel sweetness also coming through. A strong belgian yeast presence is also quite dominant.
M - Slightly syrupy, medium bodied beer with minimal carbonation.
D - A very nice, well made & interesting beer. The 10.2%ABV as well as availability and price lower the drinkability a bit.
I think the "rarity" of this artifically heightens it's overall score.

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Photo of Floydster
4.47/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Blank bottle with a yellow cap purchased from eBay for about twenty dollars after shipping, this one spent about four months in my closet before finally drinking it, had a best before October 2008 (10-8-08) date

Very special occasion tonight, so I decided to drink the highest rated beer in the world and indulge into the holy grail of Belgium, I was very anxious to see if this one lived up to all the hype and deserved to be number one rated on this site

Poured into my Westvleteren chalice that came with this beer when I purchased it, had a murky dark brown color with a dark red tint when held up to the light, the head was almost an inch and was off white and creamy, left crazy amounts of lacing during the hour plus while I was drinking this

Smell ranged as the drinking experience went on, at the end it smelled mostly like a candy apple, at first I got a significant amount of dark fruit, some Belgian yeast, and a lot of sugar in general, also a small amount of citrus aromas at the end

Taste was strong and had several different things going on, this one probably gets better with each month of aging and look forward to testing this opinion sometime in the upcoming years, started out with fig, raisins, sweet malt, sugary accents, prunes, and toffee, as it got warmer more fruity flavors kept coming to the surface, by the end I had tasted tangerine, grapefruit, and lemons but all faintly, some butterscotch, this one was dominated mostly by dark fruit and had red apple and grapes as well, no real evidence of any hop profile, had a nice syrupy texture that forced me to take my time drinking it thankfully because I probably would have guzzled it otherwise because it was so good, nice variety of malt and sugars overall making this a nice sweet Belgian, significantly better than Westvleteren 8 to me but that is just an opinion, wish I had more of this right now

Perfect amount of carbonation, a very thick and full body, a taste that kept attacking the taste buds for close to a minute, great mouthfeel

Could drink this all night and day if it was not for the fact that it was ten percent alcohol, its availability and price do not make it much easier, the alcohol is hidden well in here nevertheless and it is a smooth and easy to drink quadrupel, even though it tasted more like a tripel to me, not too filling on the stomach

Well, this beer was fantastic but it certainly was not the best beer I have ever had, probably towards the bottom of my top ten though, even though it was the best quadrupel I have tasted, I think the fact that it is limited and you can only get it directly from the monastery a couple times a month makes this beer so sought after

I wish I would not have traded away my other bottle but at least I got a Russian River Toronado out of the deal, this beer truly is a novelty and I see myself forking out significant dough for this again in the future via an online auction or trade

As far as the talk and excitement about the beer, Westy 12 is worth it, but I would not pay forty dollars a bottle for it at a bar but twenty bucks or so seems okay to spend from time to time, I highly recommend it even if you have to go through the hassle of getting from someone in Belgium because otherwise people are going to have some from trades or vacations where they brought some of this back, it is definitely a rare and highly demanded beer, yes this one was noticeably better than St. Bernardus 12 in my opinion, I am happy I got to try such a great beer and hope all of you some time soon

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.65/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Westvleteren 12

Huge thanks to Pimpp for this 1!

A- Hazy murky red with a nice creamy head. Foamy lacing on the glass.
S- Raisins, prunes, figs, nutmeg, and pepper.
T- Big strong and sweet dried fruits; raisin, figs, and prunes dominate touch of spices like pepper, nutmeg, and clove. Strong rock candy sugar with a kick of alc. in the end.
M- Fruity and sweet yet creamy mild on the tongue. A touch of boozy alc. in the aftertaste.

Overall- A good cold evening or desert beer!

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

I've had plenty of other quads and this one has been quite elusive. There's tons of reviews already so I'll leave you with 2 things that stood out prominent to me:
1: that is a ton of sediment at the bottom of a small bottle.
2: I love the mineral influence on the taste of this rich beer. Never had a quad quite like this before.

Yeah, it's pricey but I'd go for another. Thanks eclectic for this via trade!

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

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (1998 Vintage) (Rating 9.5/10) - 11 ABV - 26 Nov 2007

Not too long ago, in my haul from CrackedKettle's online beer sales, I have a Westvleteren 12 from 1998 and the date on the cap is for the year 2001. (I am not sure if it shld be 1997 instead) So I had a contemporary Westy 12 2 days ago and I clearly recall the taste as well as the full experience and gratification level; let's see how this one does. It is interesting to note that in 1998 (when I was in middle school), Westvleteren 12 is 11 ABV as opposed to the 10.2 ABV that it is today; it was also 10.6 ABV at a certain point in time. Man this baby is crowned tight; it took some effort to get it off and immediately a vinous grassy aroma can be can be detected at the opening of the bottle; some dark fruits but not really impressive here. I poured it out into my old Abdij St Sixtus oversized wine glass and a one finger thick head developed over a dark amber brown liquid below. What surprised me was the way this head grew to a 2 finger thick head which persisted for a while. the head was creamy and bubbly but more bubbly and I prefered the creamier head on the contemporary Westvleteren. The smell was not very strong but the vinous part of it was clear; there was this light yeasty bready smell with a little bit of fruits underneath and I think I sense a dash of malts but in general the smell was not fantastic. Moving on to the taste, the nutty/almondy goodness from the contemporary Westy was still present though the intensity probably halved. Other than the nutty entry, there was a well pronounced vinous taste of aged beers that was well within expectation along with the a nice maltiness which followed behind. Sweetness was clear but it was not a "thick" sweetness like in the contemporary Westvleteren; it became a more mellow sweetness. The fruitiness was also more subtle and mellow on this one; I can raisins, grapes and some plums which were kind of buried under the malts but stil detectable along with the sweetness. The finish was a pleasant nutty/almondy dryness with nice vinous aromas, maltiness and plums on the nose. The maltiness and the fruitiness towards the finish was a very pleasant part of the taste that somewhat reminds me of the greatly aged 1985-1988 La Trappe Dubbel that I had which was so called one of the best aged beer I ever had thus far; up there with the Special 6. On the whole I still prefer the taste of the contemporary Westvleteren though I prefer this one's finish. It was clearly a very much mellowed down taste which had it's unique strengths. The after taste was flooded with malts, brown sugar sweetness and dark fruits starting with plums and moving on to raisins and grapes after a while. The mouthfeel on this was about medium bodied; clearly the aging compromises on the thickness and the creaminess as well. It was still slightly creamy to drink and the carbonation was clearly going low but still pretty sufficient. 11 ABV seems deceivingly smooth and light and I almost thought this was a 7 or 8 ABV if I did not know from the start that it is 11 ABV. Again I prefer the mouthfeel of the contemporary Westvleteren 12. Let's now break things down further, the smell was largey vinous aromas which was obviously different from the contemporary's intensely fruity and sweet smell. Taste was a classic mellowed down version which was generally not as good except for the slightly pre-finish and finish which was in a greatness realm of it's own.Mouthfeel lost thickness, richness and creaminess as well as some carbonation over time but surprisingly, the nuttiness was still there. Very nice and I can really appreciate it but I still prefer the contemporary Westy to this particular bottle of 1998 Vintage; I mean aging really produces different results... We all know that. Cheers for the season folks! :)Ok, I am v.slightly intoxicated.. maybe it is my lethargy and lack of food... and... 11 ABV heh... In case I forget my individually ratings (BA disabled reviews till Sunday) Taste: 5, Appearance: 4.5, Smell 4.0, Drinkability: 5, Mouthfeel: 4.5 (Overall: 4.65 I believe...)

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Photo of Overlord
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

At long last, the holy grail-esque Westy 12.

Pours a murky brown/red color, not much head, but there is a thin rim of carbonation. Surprisingly drinkable considering the ABV. Not as thick as I expected.

Taste is sublime. Very much what I could imagine quaffing by the jugful in a European village pub. Delicious cherries, plums, malt, and just a hint of spiciness to the palate. Very well integrated considering its ridiculous complexity. I could go on and on, but this a beer that I suspect has been thoroughly reviewed before.

Not my favorite beer, but it's up there.

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Photo of Vancer
4.51/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Well, here we go; it’s been a 3 year journey on BA, and for review 1000 it’s time for the Westy 12.

Murky brown pour as I swirled to get every freakin’ last bit from the plain glass bottle. Not much tan head, but not expected with the 10+% alcohol in this – which, by the way, is not detectable in the least.

Dark fruits, malt and a cherry finish. Doesn’t seem to overpowering by any means. Very drinkable in fact, slides like a dream – but the glow in my cheeks are showing the high alcohol in this one.

This is one tasty brew, but, ya know what? The price is too high unless you’re in Belgium drinking from the local café. But this is to be experienced in your lifetime.

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Photo of objectivemonkey
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cap states: 07.03.10. I think.

Into a St Bernardus glass, pours a lovely russet brown, a fluffy, bubbly tan twinged head diminishing to a bubbly foamy film, lacing in sheets coming down the glass with a swirl, slowly receding till splotchy spots remain. Give 'er a swirl and that head pops right back up. A lovely start.

The aroma, though not as enveloping as its Dubbel brother, is a treat in its own right. What hits me first is the ripe dark fruits, raisins, berries, a very sweet Belgian sugar heaping with hefty caramels and a slight honey bready feel, very rich and very enticing.

And then, the taste. I suppose I could probably drone on about the sweets, the spices, the mouthful of malts and yeasty earthiness, the way it changes and surprises and delights, dries through the end with a lingering beauty... I'll just say its perfect. And an incredibly smooth mouth, ultra fine carbonation, the alcohol warm and caressing, everything here is superb.

In sum, its in fact a remarkable beer, worth the praise and the efforts required to acquire. What may perhaps be so amazing is it keeps light and dodgy, beckoning for you to try some more... yes yes, open that other bottle, raid that cellar, Clear your STASH! DRINK IT ALL! It really would be that easy, such a joy to drink.

Huge thanks go to tpd975 for getting me this bottle!!

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

Appearance: Dark brown, slightly translucent around the edges. Pours with a 2-inch head that eventually settles to a quarter-inch. Very good head retention, a trait I've noticed amongst most Trappist beers.

Aroma: Dark dried fruits, figs, candi sugar, slight alcohol. Very aromatic.

Taste & texture: Very fruity initially, though not overly sweet. Takes on a rum cake quality toward the middle. The finish leans more on the dry, herbal and hoppy side, though it retains a trace of sweetness.

Notes: I compared this side-by-side with St. Bernardus Abt 12, and while quite similar, I slightly prefer this. I found it more aromatic and slightly more balanced. In contrast, St. Bernardus is a bit more dry and bitter in finish, though both beers are excellent. While I approached this with as much cynicism as I could muster, it really is great, and largely worthy of the praise it receives. Hard to call it the best beer ever, but I'm not sure I could say that about any beer. Nonetheless, it's well worth trying.

1997 vintage consumed 2011:

Murky ruddy brown color. This has lost some carbonation, but it looks decent. Very fruit-forward nose with fairly pleasant oxidation, smells decent. Palate is very oxidized, a little cardboardy. Earthy fruit is also prevalent. Carbonation is a bit low at this point. Pretty good, but I'd take a fresh bottle over this.

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

Pours a dark chestnut color. No head just some thin white lace on top and around the glass. Yeast floating around.
Mmmm this smells like gingerbread and oatmeal cookies right out of the oven.
Big malty flavors. Candy sugars. Whole wheat toast. Raisins. Somewhat nutty. Pecans and Almonds. Well balanced with a big alcohol kick at the end.
I think it's the mouthfeel that sets this beer apart from the others. It's perfect. Silky smooth with some alcohol kick and lively carbonation. It coats the mouth and warms you going down. I like.
It's 10% and drinkable. The alcohol is definately there, but hey it's a big beer.
This beer has been hyped as much as Obama/Clinton, but when you drink it you realize that it's just a beer. A very good beer, but just a beer.

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Photo of seaoflament
4.47/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nov. 6, 2007

My last Westvleteren of the night and a great one to cap off my b-day celebration. I came across three of these so I don’t know who exactly to thank, I think this is the bottle that I received from BuckeyeNation, thanks!

Date of 29.02.08 on the cap (the clearest date of all 3 westvleterens I had tonight).

Pours a ruby, dark brown color. Not too active on the foam but seems to settle to a nice thin ring around the glass, and I say “seems to settle” because as it warms up that ring becomes a bit thicker.

Very good aroma. Spiciness, dark fruits, bread dough, cinnamon, raisins, cherries, dark sugars, really varied and floral. Caramel and burnt sugar, candied yams, piloncillo, very good all around. Reminds me very much of Rochefort 10 and this might just be a step above. The aromas feel very well balanced and once you pick up on one, another quickly demands attention. I’m just trying to enjoy this as a whole, I think it works best this way.

The taste is fantastic. Again, spicy with dark fruits like figs, prunes, raisins, and then there is a sweet bread finish. The after-taste is sweet and slightly alcoholic.

Mouth-feel is not as creamy as I thought it would be but still very good. After-taste, just like the westvleteren 8, is very clean with just a few hints of dark fruits and some residual sugars in the back of the mouth.

It has been a great experience in reviewing all three Westvleterens within 24 hrs. Although it is a very good beer, Rochefort 10 is just as good, easier to get and more economical, plain and simple.

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.61 out of 5 based on 6,254 ratings.
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