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

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)
6,597 Ratings
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)

Style: Belgian 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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Ratings: 6,597 |  Reviews: 1,926
Photo of TheBrewo
4.69/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Here it is, the traditional holy mother of the beer kingdom. The fair lady was kind enough to track down a bottle (cap-stamped with 20.12.16) of this for the anniversary of the day I was born, so for such an occasion we crack right into it on a fresh, rested palate. We pour a brew of rich ruby-mahogany into our oversized tasting snifters. It immediately jets up two fingers worth of tight latte colored foam that doesn’t quit. This retains excellently, sifting down and sitting atop the liquid in an eventual creamy, ephemeral film. Thick corded ridges and archipelagos of lacing are left around the glasses. No real haze is noted, but tiny flecks of sediment sit suspended throughout. Carbonation appears to be moderate yet pervasive. The aroma takes you by surprise, with massively sweet booziness and vanilla bean off the bat. These settle as the beer warms, allowing room for the remaining mix of heavy caramel, brown, and burnt wheaty malts, straw, musk, cherry and fig syrups, dried dates, almond oil, melty candied toffies, plum and concord grape fruitiness, dirty dried grass and petal, savory Belgian yeasty steel, smoked tobacco leafiness, perfumed booziness, match head sulfurics, buttercream frosting, peanut butter nuttiness, and gentle buttery diacetyls, to flower through. Our first impression is that the flavoring is almost drowned out by the mouthfeel, which is intensely creamy and thick. As we sip, the taste begins with the bite of fusel booze, brightly sweet caramel and brown maltiness with a buttery brush, wood lacquer, black pepper, astringent plum skins, dried figs and raisins, vanilla and almond extract, and that aromatic, dusty Belgian yeast. The middle peaks with a sweeter cloy of malty fruitiness, with caramel and toffee biscuits, strawberry, pear, and date syrups, chewy burnt granola, wheat flour, toasty walnuts, cooked brown, wheaty, and crystal maltiness, granular white sugar sweetness, and dried cedar lick. Washing through the end is a cleansing bitterness of booze, light cloven phenols, the softest banana esters, licorice, burnt leathers, cereal and caramel grain, continued grapey fruitiness, salted yeastiness, toasty almonds, mild oaky woodiness, vanilla extract, cigar smokiness. The aftertaste breathes of walnut oils, dates and golden raisins, lint and dust, phenolic plastics, tinny and brassy metallics, rum-soaked pound cake, bile acidity, sea salt, heavy alcohols, basement mustiness, bitter booziness, light bourbon-corn essence, continued gentle smoked peatiness, and the final echoes of that warming European yeastiness. The body is thick and chewy, and the carbonation is medium. Slurp, smack, cream, froth, pop, glug, foam, and drag are all intense, complete, and wonderful. The mouth is thickly coated, but dried overtop with a quickly burning layer of thin alcohol that leaves the mouth somewhere between satiated and astringently puckered with chalkiness. The abv is appropriate, and although it drinks back well, you find the desire to want to make it last strong.

Overall, the best thing about this beer is how it handles your expectations of it. You go into it expecting this insane, flavor-bomb of power that will forever change your views and opinions of beers. You don’t really get that. The real magic of this beer is in just how simple and clean the execution of it is. The balance is unsullied, with the booze and the malt bill meeting for a beautiful dance in the center of the room. They just take their recipe and should you how it’s done, without the need for any bells, whistles, or unnecessary flair or novelty. This beer is all about harmony, and doing the right thing at the right time. The nose and the flavoring both embody this mantra naturally and intrinsically, so it comes as an even bigger surprise when the mouthfeel comes crashing in unfettered. It is so thick and creamy, creeping along like molten lava, acting like the perfect delivery vessel for the bold cleanliness of flavoring. This is an exercise is technique, and although some may be disappointed by the flavoring alone not taking them into the clouds, one must sit back and appreciate the art of the craft and what it means to strive for brewing perfection. Hard to track down, but well worth it if you want to taste what a fantastic beer is made from.

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3.75/5  rDev -18.5%

Photo of Goalcam
4.59/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Don't make the mistake of trying this as your first Belgian Dark Ale, you'll be ruined. This is a great beer but just really tough to find in the U.S. Has a great spicy taste on your tongue and goes down great with some salami and cheese. I was fortunate to bring back a few bottles from Brussels to get my fix.

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4/5  rDev -13%

Photo of dcmchew
4.92/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Finally got my hands of Westy XII. Best before 16.11.14 on the cap.
Dark brown in color, with some copper notes. Not a huge beige head, but sticks around for a long time. You can hear a lot of aggressive carbonation at first, but it seems to settle rather fast.
Rich smell, with dark malts, raisin, brown sugar, figs, red grapes (with a musty component, enhanced by the subtle alcohol), nuts and faint dark spices. Don't expect a strong smell that you get from popping the bottle, you have to give this one a big close sniff, but the elements are really well balanced.
Taste knocks it out of the park. Wow. Toffee and caramel, with a nice citrus feel right on its tail, but also juicy cherries, berries, plums, grapes (strong alcohol makes it feel like a sherry or a brandy). Malts are pretty quiet, way in the back, but with a decent enough roastiness and a rich taste of multi-cereal bread (ryebread maybe?). Spicy, hints of vanilla, anise, faint nutmeg and cinnamon. Mildly bitter finish with some hops peaking through.
Full body, low carbonation. There's a big complexity here, starting off crisp, then sweet, alcohol tends to dry the mouth a bit afterwards, then there's a roasted bitterness... it's really a lot going on. Malts linger in the aftertaste, would have enjoyed some fruitiness to stick around too. Not boozy.
I'm gonna stop now and just enjoy this perfect beer. Yes, "perfect" should suffice.

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Beer rating: 4.6 out of 5 with 6,597 ratings