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

1,851 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: 1,851 | Ratings: 6,247
Photo of willjansen
4.97/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle purchased at In De Vrede cafe in June of 2006, stored in a dark closet until drinking on 28 October 2007. Best before date of 08.04.09. Pulled this one out to celebrate the award of a master's degree to my girlfriend. Relieved to hear a massive whoosh of carbonation upon opening... poured into a Trappist chalice served just below room temperature. lets see how she went...

Appearance - Nice, strong two-finger head with a beautiful deep mohagony color with ruby sheen when held up to the light. Head slowly and evenly recedes to an even cover of lace. Some chunks of yeast despite careful handling and 85% pour. Beautiful Belgian abt.

Smell - Sweet dark fruits (raisins, figs) coming through immediately, followed by a wonderul rush of aromas that is almost too complex to decode any individual components. Sweet candy, even a strange whiff of marshmellow. Extremely enticing, smells amazing. Alcohol notes come through in the nose.

Taste - Dark fruits predominant with a host of complexity swirling around this main theme - bit of toffee/caramel, molasses, chocolate. Ever-so-slight burnt edge with a great balance that prevents it from being overly-sweet. Slightly boozy, but in a good way - can be compared with the smoothness of a high quality whiskey (that element that sets it apart from a cheap whiskey). Amazingly pleasant aftertaste - like no other beer.

Mouthfeel - Perhaps the highlight of the beer; super-silky feel with the perfect amount of carbonation that spreads the flavor out evenly over the tongue. Spot-on for use of texture and carbonation to most efficiently deliver the flavor to the mouth. Perfect.

Drinkability - Exceptional drinkability. Certainly for sipping, but the beautiful aroma, taste and mouthfeel fuse into a very drinkable brew that I could drink until the ABV caught up with me (which, at 10.2% (probably more after >1 year in the cellar/closet) is pretty quickly).

Notes: I am very happy that my stash has not been tarnished by my less-than ideal storage conditions. Compared to the many that I drank last year in Belgium, the beer has retained many of its great characteristics while mellowing out in the alcohol slightly. I would say that it has lived up to the hype that is associated with it... this is for a damn good reason. I hope this beer always maintains the quality and doesn't sacrifice this for quantity. Proost.

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

Beer bottle (33cl.), first tasted in 2002.

Appearance : dark brown color (disturbed by yeast), fine beige foamy head (and remaining).
Smell : rich sweet aromas, depth liqueur.
Taste and mouthfeel : sweet, yeasty and spicy flavors, rich and round, very well balanced.
Drinkability: beer very pleasant beer in the style Trappist Abt.

Review translated from french (11-15-08).

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Photo of Backer2004
4.87/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to bruskiator for sharing this 7 year old bottle with us at our BJCP final class. I have heard so much hype for the Westy 12 in the last three years, and I do have to say, I was very excited to try this one out. Just like the others, I was not disappointed one bit.

Red copper hues, prunes and plums, then add chocolate and caramel. So much complexity, full body, some alcohol present to the nose and mouth. Dried cherry, tons of pleasant sweet aftertaste. Nothing to add that others haven't already.

Okay, I'm retired. No more beers for me. What's the point?

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

I bought this back in 2005 from The Belgian Shop.

This pours from 12oz bottle( stamped date of 07 06 08) a deep brown that you just can't see through, ok, I'll say murky. The head takes up about 20% of my New Belgium goblet and is an off white and is thick and billowy that I imagine myself being able to a take a bite out of it and it would be chewy. Also, there's a few sprinkles on the top of the head from the sediment.

The smell has a realy dark fruity nose to it, raisin-prine-plum-fig, along with some chocolate, yeast, coffee, and yeah, a bit of the alcohol.

The taste on first sip has the dark fruits at center stage. Subtly sweet portions of plum, raisin, fig, some dark cherry, a touch of chocolate and cofee(and I do mean just a touch) and a slight bitterness in the form of some citrus near the tail end of the sip and it carries on right through the finish where I also get some of the alcohol that warms the throat during the swallow. This is so darn complex that I fear my words will not do it justice but hey, I'm doing the best I can. ;^)

Ok, I'm about 2/3rds of the way through my glass and the chocolate is a bit more pronounced now and that simply adds to how silky smooth the mouthfeel is. And look at all that sticky lacing on the sides of my glass!

This is the second of my bottles I've tasted(the last one was shortly after I received them) and I'm as impressed now as I was then....a 2 year span.

Bottom line: Yeah, I spent a few bucks to get my bottles of Westvletern 12(and 8) and I could have bought lots of other beers for the cost but, I feel that the money was spent well. I've had other quadrupels before and I liked them. I'm partial to the style. Is this the best example of the style that I've had to date? You darn tootin. Is it because of the scarcity factor? No. It's because my palate tells me that it is *that* damn good. Complexity in the taste? This has it. Complexity that has all the flavours working in harmony? This has it. A great looking appearance in a glass? This has it. A nose that keeps you sniffing before every sip? This has it. A mouthfeel that is both silky smooth and chewy at the same time? This comes very close. Drinkability that goes through the roof? Just about. So, would I buy some again? At current prices?(US$18 per bottle plus shipping from Belgium) Maybe, but if it was as "easily" available as other examples of the style, I'd buy it by the case.

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Photo of srandycarter
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into tulip. Cap reads 07.03.1. Served at 48F.

A - Dark brown with small reddish tint, light is difficult to penetrate.
Nice egg white head. Massive lacing.

S - Like some kind of antiquated Christmas pie, so many deep dark fruits rush up. Alcohol present but not overwhelming.

T - Fig, dark fruit in general, fruit juice notes and sweet malt. Finish with subdued but perfectly adequate astringency, which I can only attribute to hops , though they seem hard to perceive. It starts veering toward thick cloying, then 'zeros' out magically. Reaches the peak of fruitiness then pulls back.. Nice trick.

M - Different than any other beer I know. Full feel, lots of fruit notes, medium carbonation. The bigness of the fruit and the subsequent reigning in are most remarkable.

D - Too big a beer to session. One is enough for a special occasion then move on.

Expensive, but a must.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
4.06/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Caramel malt smell. Some spiciness going on. Banana phenol comes out as the beer warms.

This is a good beer but no where neer the best beer in the world. Caramel malts come out on the forefront. Beer gets better as it warms It's very good, but it's a litle simple. Just some belgian fermented beer with caramel malts. It's really good, but not anywhere near the best beer in the world. There are a good amount of undertones, but nothing reall comes out and says "hey taste buds, what's up?" Some phenol comes out, the alcohol presents it self as well. Banana phenol notes comes out as beer warms. The beer is just kind of mellow and not that exciting. I prefered Avery's The Reverend.

Decent mouthfeel, but not great.

I could make a decent session of this beer.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally, a date with the hottest beer on the block. I have to thank msubulldog25 for the hookup. It was an excellent final beer to wind down my whirlwind journey in Portland. Thanks Brian!

Judging by the '09 on the cap, this was probably bottled Nov. 29, 2006. It poured a dark murky brown, but wasn't cloudy, just impenetrably solid brown. The head arrived as a small cap, but it did stick around for the duration.

Aroma is wonderfully vinous, like fresh, young grapes crushed in a new-wood tun. Quirky yeast character in the background, just what you would expect from a secret and hallowed Belgian yeast strain. More aromas: prune, raisin...and more grapes, white ones too.

Flavor is a strong, assertive grape character with a mild alcohol warmth and subtle notes of weird nuttiness from the yeast. (weird = good) Some prune juice and raisin, and other dark fruits, slight chalky cocoa...Incredibly succulent, so much that I can't properly compare it to another beer. Rough grape skin acidity in the finish, but in a good way. A big, controlled, unique beer.

Mouthfeel is fairly neutral, in that it offers carbonation and silkiness in equal parts, nothing stunning but certainly adequate. It dries fast, and there's a fruity sourness in its finish.

Heavily vinous, and clearly a top-notch beer. I would definitely pay a crazy price for another bottle. There's more here than just one tasting can reveal.

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Photo of northernbrews
4.6/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had a mini quad tasting with HellsBells24 in April 07. Had this one after the Abt 12.

Received this bottle from rayjay via trade. Thanks Jason!

Appearance: Pours a nice and clear brown color with a 1.5 finger tan head. Slightly red around the edges. There is a little bit of lacing on my snifter. This looks very similar to the Abt12.

Aroma: Starts with some dark fruits, nice malts and a slight alcohol burn. This is followed by dark fruits, figs, roasted malts, and slight cherry. The aroma is more pronounced as it warms. Very nice. Lets see how it tastes.

Taste: The tastes are similar to the aroma, but not a noticable. Cherry and dark fruits from the start followed by warming alcohol and some spicy hops. There is a nice malt background that balances all these flavors.

Mouthfeel: The dark fruit and malt flavors hang for a bit. This is pretty creamy.

Drinkability: This goes down very smooth for 10.2%. I wish I had more than one bottle of this because I could easily drink a few of these.

Overall. This finished behind the Rochefort 10 and slightly above the Abt 12 and Chimay Blue. Another truely a world-class beer (as were the others). I'm not sure if it's worth $20 if you don't get it in Belgium due beers of similar quality being available more readily and for much cheaper. Definitely a beer you have to try though.

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Photo of lifeboyq
4.87/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.10.09 stamped on the cap. I've had these for a year or so as part of a wonderful gift from a 12 pack given to me. Poured at ~55F into my Westvleteren chalice. Strong tan head, decent retention, solid lacing. Nose has notes of rasin, figs and dates, perhaps plum. Mouthfeel is silky and spicy. Taste is similar to the nose, just more apparent in the depths of a profound flavor. This is sure making my Tuesday night something special. Truly one of the world's best offerings for a "commercial" beer, although I'm not sure this is the epitiome of a commercial offering. As far as drinkability goes, should we even discuss this? This beer is closest to the St Bernardus Abt 12, but is much cleaner, deeper and pure. Truly the best quadrupel offering by a long shot. I'd offer a longer diatribe about the complexities and beauty of this beer, but if you dont get it already, there is nothing my words can do.

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

Got this in trade well over six months ago and man has it been hard to wait this long, but in celebration of my 24th birthday I decided it was time. I've heard so much about this beer over the course of the year some say its the best quad ever, some say its all hype now its time to put it all to criticism:

Cap states 09.08.09 I assume this is a best by date. I chilled this a touch below cellar and let it warm up for about fifteen minutes. Finally the caps off and I can immediately smell complex notes of yeast and alcohol. Poured into my watou goblet huge two fingers of off white, light brown almost gray egg shell color head, it is immense very tight and creamy. The retention is decent and lacing creamy and thick. The body away from the light is a muddy red brown, though through a light red amber hughes are apparent. It sort of looks like an unpasteurized, unfermented very dark apple cider.

Aroma is big and complex with notes of chocolate and caramelized sugars, burnt biscuit, hints of yeast and grandiose complex alcohol on the back-end. It smells almost port like, green raisons, a bit vinous sort of like vintages tokaji, its that sort of dirty musty scent with sweet dark fruit aromas. As it warms clove like big alcohol become more apparent. I get apple core, touches of vanilla on the outer rim with subtle and very illusive touches of fig, pear and pecans.

Taste is big lots of caramelized flavors and burnt sugars. The carbonation is apparent on the fist part of the draw making it a bit lighter than expected. I get the musty slightly chocolety tokaji taste and as it warms up it becomes more and wine like (not like a cab., pino., or, chardonnay, but big and well aged port, muscadet, tokaji.). After the swallow notes of burnt rummed raisons (this is where the bitterness manifests) present them selves and on the finish a nice alcohol warmth. Apple core and hints of vanilla are also present in the taste as it warms.

This is one big complex beer that really needs time to be consumed it is always fun to experience the change temperature can make in a these type of beers. If you ever have the pleasure of drinking this do not make the mistake of drinking it too fast or too cold it must be consumed slowly to let it warm up and express it's full potential. Great for the style and a pleasure to drink.

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Photo of brentk56
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy medium brown color with a frothy head that persists somewhat and leaves plenty of lace

Smell: Boozy aroma of rum-soaked raisin, dried cherry, honey, cocoa powder and candi sugar

Taste: Starts with a dark fruit laden mouthful of creamy cocoa; after the swallow, the fruit and chocolate flavors build without ever becoming too sweet, although there are some residual honey, cotton candy and toffee elements that appear in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full and creamy body with moderate carbonation; warmth on the finish

Drinkability: I'm glad I finally had a chance to try this but, to be honest, I prefer the Rochefort 10; this one is just a bit too boozy for my taste

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Photo of k3n
4.16/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received bottle from Tangfoot (all hail!).

Disclaimer: This bottle was the casualty of the shipment, arriving wet and leaking. I'd lost about 20% of the beer in transit. I rinsed the bottle, and stuck it in the fridge. After 3 days of hemming and hawing, I decided to trhow caution to the wind and crack it. Hence...

A: Dark brown, murky gold on the edges. Eureka! Still has bubbles! I got about 1/2" of dense bubbles which died down almost immediately, leaving no lacing, but plenty of swirly patterns on top of my beer.

S: ::cautious:: not skunky. Smells of malt and alcohol, maybe some raisins. Not much smell, unfortunately, could be due to leakage?

T: Ahh. Malty-caramelly-figgy-molassesy. A hint of alcohol heat underneath, but very understated.

M/D: Thick and syrupy, but not cloying. Excellent for sipping, just take it easy, and enjoy the bottle.

I'd love the chance to try one that's aged a bit!

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Photo of BeerTruth
4.82/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to metallitone1 for this one of a kind beer.

Poured into my Chimay goblet.

28.03.10 stamped on the cap.

Pours a dark chesnut brown with a frothy thin off-white head that dies down to a mystical layer that floats on top the entire time. Lacing is spotty all over the sides of the glass. Smell is so complex. Combination of yeasty goodness, dark fruits (fig, cherry, raisin, dates, plum), sweet caramel malt, sugary vanilla, thick honey, and fresh flowers. I can't think of a single beer that even compares to this one in terms of smell. Taste starts off with a bready yeast which is then bitch slapped by a whole lot of sweet goodness. Almost tastes like a caramel apple to me as lame as that sounds, but think about it when you take a sip next time. Aftertaste is a bit spicey, but perfect in the sense. Mouthfeel is full, complex, and warming with the perfect amount of carbonation. A bit of burning alcohol in the throat as it slides down, but the alcohol has to be somewhere with a 10.2% abv. beer. Hype? What hype!?...this beer clearly delivers.

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

I can't believe I just popped the cap on this. I'd been saving it for so long, it became a staple of my beer collection. But in celebration of my 100th review and more importantly, my wedding yesterday, this is as good a time to enjoy it as there is.

Best by date: 07 06 08
Served after cooling in the fridge for 45 minutes

APPEARANCE: Pours into my Trois Pistoles chalice a very dark brown with no light getting through. The head starts at a one finger height and drops to a huge collar and large bubbly patch. Mine unfortunately has some chunky sediment floating in it. Lacing is present in a few splotchy patches.

SMELL: The smell is huge with fruity estery aromas. Raisin, plum, sour cherry, red wine, you name it - it's all here. Yeasty breadiness is minimal and the smell of alcohol comes through pretty well.

TASTE: Heaven. I wish I could give it more than a 5.0 for this. Just the most complex, well balanced blend of flavors I could imagine. The same flavors from the aroma are there in the taste, but they fuse together so well that they are almost imperceptable from one another. Alcohol heat is very minimal and the finish is only slightly dry and amazingly clean. Amazingly, fantastically, incredibly wonderful.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium full body without being remotely syrupy or thick. It almost seems light because of some kind of monk magic or something. Carbonation is super fine and effervescent.

DRINKABILITY: Again, off the charts. It goes down like it's nothing and is smooth the whole way. You might even think this is a session beer, the alcohol is so hidden. It's just a perfect beer.

Oh, it's so sad to see it go. Who knows if I'll ever have the opportunity again. I'm just at a loss for words trying to describe this beer anymore. Believe the hype. And if you have a chance to drink this, DO IT.

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

Dear friends just returning from Belgium honoured me with this offering that we opened the same night due to a bit of dampness around the top of the bottle, possibly due to the flight over the Atlantic. The bottle cap bore the date 26-05-10. I could hardly wait to see what this Trappist offering was all about!

Poured into a Chimay goblet - with the letters turned around ofcourse. This showed as a dark, opaque plum or prune colour that, under a very bright light, had an off-orange hue around the edges and was hazy and cloudy in the middle. A half-inch head flattenned out to a thinner crown of very tiny bubbles that covered the whole top of the beer. These were a multitude of slow risers that persisted throughout.

The smell was a rich aroma of fresh dates. Full, rich taste in the mouth with balanced bitterness. The finish was elegant and satisfying and not overpowering in the least despite the alcohol content. The mouthfeel was really exceptional and the finish satisfying, long and lingering. The subtle carbonation stayed for the duration of the tasting, even while there was less than a half inch left in the glass. This was truly a delightful taste experience, many thanks for this one.

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

Details- 330 ml served in a chilled Westvleteren Chalice. I was worried about the hype this beer has generated so I waited until my forth tasting before submitting a review (the events were spread out over several months with the most recent tonight).
A – It is a beautiful murky dark ale that has tan tight bubbles that linger deep into the experience and leave a nice lace ring on the glass.

S – Subtle spices and roasted molasses. I frequently put my nose deep into the glass to get another joyous whiff. I only wish I had a colon that smelled as good as this beer does.

M - Mellow, slightly sweet, creamy, and spiced. I feel rich drinking this beer. Its full bodied without being heavy. The alcohol is well hidden.

T - A creamy and malty, rich but subtle masterpiece. The flavors are subdued and balanced so no one dominates. There are hints of figs, chocolate, toffee with a touch of spices. The blend of flavors coats my tongue and leaves a pleasant light aftertaste that makes me want another sip. I want this beer to linger yet I lust every sip. I am in danger of becoming a addict to this great beer.

D - A great quadruple. Simply the best. I could drink it night after night. However, living 3,000 miles from the source makes the price per unit of enjoyment a bit out of my everyday range. Hence, it is my special treat. When I want to go to a happy place this is the beer for me.

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

Pours a very dark brown. Big fluffy head that dissipates somewhat quick. Silky white lacing. Looks delicious. Too many smells to distinguish. Fig, caramel, raison, plumb, jam, malt, honey, tea, spices and mild alcohol. Flavors are abundant as well. It tastes of all that the smell indicates and it is an unreal flavor experience. The warming from the alcohol is the only indication that it exists. A spicy semi dry finish. The drinkability is unreal for any beer, especially for this type and abv. Lives up to the hype through and through. A unique experience that should be on every BA's list.

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

Thanks to mac300 for sharing this at Phatz' tasting.
A - A beautiful dark ale w/ compact bubbles and light tan head

S - Roasty, spicy and sweet with scents of currants and dark sugar.

M - Mellow, sweet and spiced. Layered and balanced with a subtle feel of alcohol and lightly nutty finish.

T - A malty supple masterpiece. So much flavor figs, nutmeg, gentle herbal notes. So layered and yet the flavors blend seamlessly. Nuts, toffee and honey with a tinge of spice and light grain flavors.

D - A great nuanced ale - lives up to the hype.

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Photo of bradford
4.6/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

i acquired this bottle in a trade with leftmindedrighty and waited until today to drink it with a buddy who has been overseas for a while. We enjoyed this while brewing an old ale.
Looks good, dark with a light head that stays with the beer and laces the glass with a sticky film
Smells good. Lots of complexity in the nose, as well as the distinct alcohol
Tastes great. Loads of alcohol, the right balance of malt and hop, and a spicy flavor from miscellaneous ingredients
Mouthfeel is a winner again. Very smooth, with a coating from the alcohol
Drinkability is very good considering the strength

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

F*CKING DELICIOUS! Well worth the extravagant amount of money spent on it. It seriously tasted like an explosion of flavour in my mouth. I would recommend this to anyone who is a serious beer drinker and especially anyone who likes belgian style ales. This is the best of trappist market. The best the world has to offer.

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Photo of jj21
4.28/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Frosted pint glass served from Nitro tap at...Yeah Right!!
Received in trade from brewedlyhooked13
Poured carefully into a Chimay Goblet. Date ? (I'll have to check the cap later) Dense, creamy light brown head with great retention eventually leaving a nice lacing. Body is slightly murky brown. Not much carbonation after the pour, at least that I could see. Beatuiful sight. Heavenly aromas! Yeast, dark fruit, caramel, candy sugar- everything you would expect from a quad but nothing out of the ordinary. Complex flavors hinted by the aroma with some dry bitterness. Very well balanced. Such a smooth mouthfeel! Hardly any sign of the alcohol. Incredibly drinkable for a big beer.

This was my first, and more than likely last, experience with Westy 12. As good as it was there are other more accessible Quads (St. Bernardus 12, Trappistes Rochefort 10) just as good that don't break the bank like this does. One of those "At least now I can say I tried it" beers. Now onto the Dark Lord!!

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Photo of klewis
4.94/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to leftmindedrighty for this one!!

06.12.09 on the cap

A: Pours into a small chalice with a reddish brown color and a bubbly head. Moderate lacing.

S: Beautifully complex smell. Raisins, figs, caramel, candy sugar, and several more aromas. Too many to identify, but they're all good.

T: Sweet but balanced with a multi-dimensional flavor. A taste of dark fruits is first noticable and is complemented with a sweet toffee-like flavor. Alcohol is very well-hidden. Blissful.

M: Full-bodied with carbonation that is a bit light for most Belgians, but just how I like it. A wam, fuzzy sensation from the alcohol.

D: Damn. An amazingly superb beer that is worth the hype. This one easily makes my top 3.

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Photo of ColoradoBobs
4.97/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My 300th review; and what a beer to review for #300, thanks to a fellow northern Colorado B-A who shared this with me in a side-by-side with a Westvleteren 8. What an hour! Amazing! Well, on to the review . . .

Served at about 55 degrees.

Slow pour into a tulip glass yields a smallish tan-yellow head over a clear dark mahogany-cherry body. Lovely beer. The small solid head stays put like meringue on a chocolate pie, hardly diminishing at all over the 40 minutes I savored this baby, and leaves thick sheets of lacing.

Smell is astonishingly rich. Maybe the best-smelling beer I've ever had. I must have put my nose down into the glass fifty times, it smelled so good. Dates, raisins, dark chocolate, caramel, pepper, leather, coriander, espresso, toffee. I don't think I can describe it.

Taste is even more broad-spectrumed than the aroma. The front flavors include all of the above notes from the aroma, all sweet and nice. The mid-palate starts to darken up things, and the spices come up. The finish is all deep and warmly-bitter, with a length that lasts and lasts. BTW, the alcohol is not even noticeable on the tongue. 10.2%? No, it tastes and feels like 5% or less.

Mouthfeel is fantastic, but really not as thick and rich as the aroma and taste. Fine and long-lasting carbonation spreads things around nicely. It's so smoooth, though, and so creamy, I'm giving it a 5.

Drinkability? Wow! So easy on the palate, and the alcohol is totally invisible. I could drink this for hours, because it would take me that long to drink 2 or 3 -- there is so much going on here, your palate would never get bored.

Believe the hype. While a tiny bit lacking in appearance and mouthfeel, the aroma and taste of this beer are matched -- at least in my experience -- only by the 2005 Dark Lord.

Thanks again to my fellow (anonymous) B-A for sharing this amazing and understandably highly-sought-after beer. Dude, you are excellent.

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

Here it is, my first taste of the Holy Grail. Pour is a dark mahogany brownish color, with a creamy off white, light brown 2 inch head. The head color seems to taper off and slowly fade into the top of the beer, very beautiful presentation. The head leaves lacing and large bubbles of dark and light brown color.

Smell is yeasty, doughy, malty, slight esters,

The taste is sweet at first. Seems fruity with cherry, grape, molasses flavors, but the strong alcohol and malty presence covers up those flavors to create a perfect balance. These sweet candy like flavors are also present that are meshed well with the doughy, malty presence that creates an indescribable experience. I felt like I was drinking a deliciously rich piece of cake... I have no idea how.

Mouthfeel is very warm because of the high ABV. Carbonation is very filling too.

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Photo of YonderWanderer
4.97/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into my Westvleteren glass, both obtained in Brugges.

A: Dark brown, with ruby-ish tones when held up to the light. Pours with a decent white head that dissipates slowly.

S: Fruit is the main aroma - raisins, grapefruit, a hint of caramel. After a little time the caramel and toffee aroma is a little more pronounced.

T: Similar to the taste, there's a definite fruit presence, however with the taste the sweetness of the malt really comes out. Caramel and toffee are pleasant. Alcohol warming is strong, yet balanced at the end. Lets you know that you're consuming an alcoholic beverage, but not in an unpleasant way. Well balanced with the other flavors.

M: Solid and smooth, velvety in a way. Not syrupy or watery at all.

D: High. If only this were not one of the hardest beers to obtain in the world, I would have this available to me on a regular basis. Looks like I just have to go back to Belgium!

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.61 out of 5 based on 6,247 ratings.
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