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

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)
BA SCORE
4.6/5
World-Class
6,451 Ratings
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Belgium
sintsixtus.be

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
(Yellow Cap)

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#32
Reviews:
1,892
Ratings:
6,451
pDev:
8.91%
Bros Score:
4.19
 
 
Wants:
3,700
Gots:
2,257
Trade:
156
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,451 |  Reviews: 1,892
Photo of leighton
4.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at home in London with Lyoli. Vintage 2002, drank in 2013. Got this in a trade with Ian - thanks, mate! Pours lightly murky brown with a slight, tan foam head that quickly fizzes away into a few filmy bubbles before receding into nothing. The aroma holds all kinds of aged fruits, brown sugar, caramel, dates, figs, raisins, plums, suggestions of oxidation, rich bread, fruit cake. Flavor is big and sweet, lots of syrupy fruits, hints of tang to the dark berries, lots of brown sugar, plums, golden raisins, dates. Full bodied with soft carbonation. Lightly warming finish with lots of sticky sugars, overripe fruits, candied sugars, hefty caramel and dates, lots of sweet bread. Immensely complex and nuanced, and quite drinkable given the ABV. Additionally, the beer has aged gracefully. Absolutely world-class. Wonderful beer.

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Photo of DocJitsu
4.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very murky horehound brown color with a thick, foamy caramel colored head. Dates, brown sugar, caramel, notes of maple, and very light bourbon without the alcohol on the nose. The moutfheel is medium- to full-bodied and lightly oily. A bit of carbonation on the rear of the tongue. Nutty up front, caramel apple appears shortly after. Alcohol warmth shows up late and lingers in the throat. Some alcohol bitterness appears as well. So much balance from start to finish in all aspects of the beer. The only drawback is the cutoff at the finish by the alcohol bitterness.

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Photo of HiGravShawn
4.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Deep red brown. Thick fizzy head which settles into some nice lacing.

S: Earth and prunes with a little spiciness.

T: Rich and earthy with tons of dark fruit and deep complex Belgian sugar flavor. The warmth from alcohol is present and blends nicely with the depth for flavor for a pleasant mind dulling enjoyment.

M: Medium to heavy in body with a good dose of carbonation. This is my one complaint as it hides the flavor and took a few sips to adjust to the fizziness. Carbonation with fruitiness initially gave me an initial perception of a carbonated wine.

O: This definitely lives up to the hype. I am not disappointed at all. I have one more bottle so will probably refine this when I break it open.

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Photo of BeerRun13
4.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finaly get to try this one. Big thanks to HimmerMan.

Pours a mostly clear burgundy cranberry color. A fluffy eggshell head fades a bit and leaves some sticky lace.
Malty, candi sugar, spice in the nose. Also some fruity notes and quite noticeably a plumb like aroma.
Fruity flavors are abundant banana clove for sure. Plumby, pruny flavors. A nice spice element. Some alcohol. A light hopiness in the midst of everything.
Medium to full bodied. Perfectly carbonated. Perfectly dry. Warming to the palate.
Don't know if this is my # 1, but can certainly see how this is one of the best beers out there.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Inspection: Cap has a date, but I can only read the first two numbers: 11/08/? Cap is worn on one side and the bottle has the "American" label.

Aroma: Rich malt nose, hints of fruit, mainly fig, and a good dose of spicy alcohol.

Appearance: Clear tan amber glass with a good cover of off white head that lasted as a collar (impressive given the abv), but didn’t lace. Last pour was murky with a fair amount of blackish sludge (you KNOW I drank it all).

Flavor: Belgian yeast and dark fruit are the main flavors with a touch of almond liquor (Frangelico). There is a hint of the "fresh Christmas present" taste that I get from Rochefort 10 as well. A well put together taste overall and enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Lighter than expected but silky smooth texture

Overall Impression: Impossible to be objective with this one. In some ways I was a touch disappointed. I imaged angels dancing on my tongue and some sort of beer epiphany that would allow me some sort of deep beer insight into the nature of things.

It’s just a beer. A good beer, heck, a Great Beer! But, beer.

That said, it is massively drinkable and if the monks lived next door, I’d drink this daily! I’m not going to fly all the way to Belgium just to drink this though. If you get the chance, by all means, give it a shot, but if you don’t get the chance, don’t feel like you’ve missed out of what beer is about.

Undying thanks to the premier sack kicker on BA: Stonecrusher for the bottle. Look, I finally drank it! It only took me a year!

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Photo of BierJager89
4.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark opaque murky brown with a creamy foamy tan head.

S: Hard to describe. Definitely some dark fruit, malt, orange, Belgian yeast and spices in the nose.

T: Starts off a touch citric, but once it spreads across the tongue you get sweet, rummy candied fruits, raisin, dark fruit, malt, with a lingering malty sweet dark fruit finish.

M: Full bodied and smooth. Alcohol warms as it goes down.

O: Is this the best beer of all time? No. It's not my favorite quad. It is an excellent beer. I had been told it lived up to the hype, but 97 is the the highest I've given to a belgian ale, and this, St. Bernardus & Rochefort 10 all got 97s from me.

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Photo of ddarden
4.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle dated best before April 2, 2007

I poured this gem into a tulip glass and it produced a wonderful off white head with tight carbonation. It is deep reddish brown and cloudy with yeast particles floating around. The head drops down to about a 1/4" from a 1 1/2". A small head remains through the rest of the beer and leaves a little bit of lacing.

The first smell is of strong Belgian yeast and dark fermented fruits. Plums and cherries seem to accent the sweet smell coming from this anticipated beer. Alcohol also seems to be in the aroma.

My first taste of the beer is complex and hard to describe: Dark malts, chocolate, espresso, and a grainy cherry. Also an unexpected dry grassy, bitterness at the end. The alcohol is very well hidden in this fabled beer. This is a very creamy tasting beer

The mouthfeel is nice and full. It coats your tongue like a fine wine. This is a very creamy tasting beer. Also the carbonation is wonderful. The drinkability of this beer is excellent for something with such a high abv. I hate to say this, but I like the Westvleteren 8 a little better than the 12. That said, this is truly one of the best beers in the world.

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Photo of kirok1999
4.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Obviously had huge expectations for this one but I put the objective goggles on and just treated it like any other beer. Poured deep ruby, crystal shiny in the glass but 1/2" of yeasties in the bottle. Lots of grape wine in the nose, sweet fruity, not dominant. Very nice taste, more like a wine than a beer, lots of heavy fruity grape notes. Tight carbonation and dense mouthfeel. Slight alcohol burn in the end. I could drink this all night long but, seriously, it's not that much better than Trappistes Rochefort 10. If I can get another one I'll do a blind side by side with the 10. Very good but not the best beer in the world.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
4.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good beer, like a good wine, must exist in time. This is to say, it must be good at the moment you have it, but also good in the scheme of beers as a whole such that as new styles and techniques evolve it remains well regarded and enjoyable. The fact that this one has acquired a nickname (Westy) is a testament to this. Out of a bottle provided by BA members (THANK YOU!) this legend was a deep, copper color with burgundy highlights. It was visibly viscous, leaving good streaks of lacing off the well-retained head. The aroma was complex and demanding; a sensual blend of ripe plums, dates and dark fruits galore. Behind that was alcohol (esp. dark rum), chocolate, spices and the pungent twist of Belgian yeast. The flavors were just as big and layered. Chocolate, more dark fruits, coffee hints, raisins, wood, cinnamon, figs etc. etc. The doughy notes were hard to discern under the other heavier elements but the impact was like an alcohol soaked fruitcake. Despite the depth of the beer it was indeed a brew with finesse and a good finish. Easy to drink? No. It's rich and intense. Pleasant to drink? Yes, especially if you love beer. A casual drinker could be run over by this thing. The mouthfeel was good and creamy but not amazing, the body full without being heavy and the carbonation right on. Relatively drinkable for all that is has to offer and a genuine joy for the advanced palate. In short, this delivered on every level including living up to its reputation and if you can find it, do so.

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Photo of swirldog
4.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this classic a couple of years ago at a homebrew meeting. A one of a kind very rare thing to get a hold of.
Deep mahogany appearance, strong brown head with excellent lace.
Nose is fruity with strong malt with chocolate notes, hops are low.
Flavor is malt upfront with raisiny/fruity esters. Chocolate flavors predominate in the middle. Hops are very low, bit in the finish.
Mouthfeel is chewy with nice creaminess and carbonation.
Drinkibility is good, a beer for a cold nite.
A classic that I would love to have again.

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Photo of StaveHooks
4.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle served in a Westy 12 chalice of course.

A - Hazy pecan brown with a massive creamy head that takes awhile to settle.

S - Brown sugar, dark Belgian candy, spicy yeast, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon, leather, tobacco, plumbs, dates, bananas, cherries, walnuts. The yeast become more raw and bready as it warms. Awesome aroma.

T - Dark Belgian candy jumps out long with Belgian yeast, bananas, nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, cherries, tobacco, some hop bitterness is present, the alcohol is present and adds a spicy kick on the palate. The malt is sweet and caramelized but has a rawness that you don't get with alot of ales. There's an earthy and rustic character makes that adds an edginess. The finish is very dry with dry spices and a kiss of rummy alcohol.

M - Moderate carbonation, medium/full body, thins out as it warms.

Glad I got to try this. I've done a blind taste test with this and 2 other highly acclaimed quads and this did well. It's not as fruity as other quads and has a more rustic character. This taste like a true trappist ale.

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Photo of BS68280
4.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Hayesez for this one. I've been holding onto this one for over a year now and finally found a reason to open it... Celebrating a wonderful weekend with my new beautiful fiance.

Poured from a bottle which I have no idea how to tell the date on, into a chalice.

A: A deep mohagony with about a half inch of a foamy light brownish head.

S: Lots of dark fruits. Raisons, prunes, figs, maybe a touch of brown sugar and a hint of caramel. Wonderful especially from a style that isn't my favorite.

T: Sweat dark fruits show up once again, this one goes right along with the smell which is nice. There is only the slightest trace of the 10% abv. Very complex and by far the best belgian I have ever had.

M: Full bodied and creamy.

D: I could drink many more of these... well maybe if i lived there.

Not my favorite style, and definately not my favorite beer, but this is by far my favorite beer of this style.

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Photo of cratez
4.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. It is fitting that I have finally sampled this beer in my fifth year of 'serious' craft drinking, on the dawn of a new year with an ambitious set of beer goals for 2010. Since I approached this beer with respect and humility, rather than overloaded expectations, I was thoroughly satisfied with the experience.

Pours a purplish, burgundy brown with ruby red hues and a bubbly ring of tan head. Spotted lacing covers the top half of the glass.

Smell is doughy malts, baking yeast, caramelized fruit, candy sugar, and a trace of alcohol.

Taste is a lovely mix of blueberries, plums, apple cider, prunes and chocolate chips. There's a prominent vinous flavour, very wine-like in character, imparting dark grapes with a touch of tartness. Finish contains a hint of alcohol, boozy and warming. Spicy, fruity bite from the hops with a quick flash of bitterness to end. In a word, delicious.

The mouthfeel is in a category of its own. Lush, resinous, and silky in texture, with a pronounced creaminess in the body. Velvety and clean, yet chewy at the same time. Dangerously drinkable for 10.2%.

It took me an hour to properly savour this brew as the complexity is nearly unparalleled. Like most BAs, I prefer a handful of beers over Westy 12, but it's still a beast that needs to be tamed at some point in your craft beer journey. I feel extremely fortunate to have tried this legendary quad. A tasty and luxurious treat, deserving of its world class status.

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Photo of GPHarris
4.55/5  rDev -1.1%
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 tectactoe
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Acquired one bottle from '12 (thanks to cneville) and one bottle from '11 (from Mike) and did a side-by-side with the '11 Westy and a St. Bernardus Abt 12 - just to see what all the fuss is about. Westy pours a murky, dark brown color that accumulates deep at the bottom with light only passing through near the top of the beer, giving it a lighter, copper color. A beige, creamy head forms but remains small, even with an aggressive pour, though it can be coaxed out easily by swirling the glass. So far, so good.

The aroma was beautiful, and in all honesty, simply everything that a Belgian strong ale should be. Raisins, figs, dates - all lightly sugar coated and soaked with a mild boozy flavor. Sweet, smooth brown sugar, faint roses, lightly toasted nuts, toffee malt, and another complex layer of booze that gets a bit stronger as the beer warms up, until it reaches a slightly phenol-like presence. Earthy and dark, fruity esters abound, along with light hints of spices and Belgian yeasty warmth. It all remains wrapped in an array of sugary and savory aromas - the nose on this is one of the most perplexing things I've come across. Just SO MANY THINGS going on, yet it all mingles so strangely well.

A heavily bread and caramel malt backbone leads the way as I take my first sip. I don't have much time to linger with that, however, because my palate is immediately thrust into a flavor profile more stunning than the aroma. Candied grapes, figs, dates, and more dark, juicy, overripe fruits. Sweet red licorice, light booze, honey, calm, earth and fruit esters, mild clove and warming spices, Belgian yeast... I could go on and on. Truth is, the flavor profile on this bad boy is truly an enigma - so many things happening and there's no way you're going to capture all of them with mere words. Some heavy bread and almost rye-like flavors in the aftertaste, buttery and smooth. Somewhat on the heavy side without being thick or syrupy; silky and smooth on the palate, very creamy and not sticky at all - decent carbonation, even for nearly two years of age.

So, is this the "best beer in the world" ? No. Well, in my opinion, anyway. BUT - I can definitely see why some people might agree with that, and I can definitely say that it deserves to be in the discussion. Even though it doesn't necessary top my list, it's certainly one of the best and most well crafted beers I've had, and no doubt a benchmark example of the style. If you love beer, do yourself a favor and seek one of these out. It was really an amazing beer, and the experience of enjoying it for yourself (or with a friend) is excellent.

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Photo of Iparedman
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of troupos40
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of diamondlie
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of 11-52_4hops
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of blackie
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

given free reign over dirtylou's cellar fridge on this, my final day in madison, the legendary westy 12 catches my eye...

a: poured into my st. bernie chalice, maintains an attractive frothy beige coating over a date colored beer

s: soft and yeasty fruit profile with puree of date and raisin, delicate aged hops, flashes of milk chocolate as it warms, spicy ethanol, tantalizingly deep, rich, and refined all at once

m: gentle carbonation on the high side of medium, medium-full body, almost milky

t: smooth date-raisin-walnut compote over subtle milk chocolate that lingers long into the finish, aged hops contribute a papery flavor, fitting levels of booze

d: no issues here, very enjoyable but certainly a sipper

original scores: 45, 45, 45, 45, 4

acquired by dirtylou in amsterdam, consumed in madison

bottle from the Xmess 2012 stateside shipment, consumed 6/2013: Just a flawless example of the style. Gorgeous brune color with khaki head. Raisins, dates, papery aged hops, and delicately spicy yeast. Alcoholic warmth. Part of my pre-Belgium re-education. Flawless.

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Photo of sammy806
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of aracauna
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very dark. The color of a raisin, black except at the right angle when it turns a deep mahogany brown. Light khaki head is a creamy foam that is long-lasting. Laces the glass well. Yeasty caramel on the nose. The taste is vaguely stout-like. The richness of the flavor is very nice but not too rich to make it hard to drink. Caramel, spicy yeast and wood come out first. As it warms, more coffeeish flavor and some lactic characteristics. The beer manages to be slightly creamy and bright on the palate at the same time. Amazingly easy drinking for its strength.

 562 characters

Photo of oskinker
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of mattflippin
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Rowen
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Beer rating: 4.6 out of 5 with 6,451 ratings
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