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

BA SCORE
100
world-class
6,344 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
Ratings:
6,344
Reviews:
1,873
Avg:
4.61
pDev:
8.89%
 
 
Wants:
3,679
Gots:
2,209
For Trade:
154
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,344 |  Reviews: 1,873
Photo of Sammy
4.33/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Beer. Hard to meet the bar and expectations, but it does. Could 2 years plus not be enough aging? The fine wine appearance. Even the sediment is beautiful. Complex aroma including raisin.

Was even better at room temperature on a very cold day
Had one in late winter 2011. Its very classy . Averaging my individual 5 ratings on it.

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Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.21/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: single finger frothy with excellent lacing on a murky brown with amber hue body.

S: dark fruits, molasses, spices, belgian yeast, candy and brown sugar

T: caramel and toasted malt base, brown sugar, fruits including pear, fig, some plum and raisin. Belgian yeast with some spices, mostly cinnamon and nutmeg. Hint of chocolate and toffee arrive in the finish.

M: crisp up front, finishing smooth and dry. medium to full body and moderate to high carbonation. oily, coating the palate

Overall: A lot of hype around this one. It is certainly an excellent beer. I feel there are other Quads out their that are similar enough to this one without all of the recognition. Regardless it was great to be able to try this one.

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Photo of GRG1313
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a medium brown body with hints of red/orange around the edges. Short tan head.

Nose of deep rich fruit and malt. Hints of raisins and stone fruit. Hints of complex malt and toffee/carmel/whiskey. Flavors were rich, bold, assertive, long lasting and fantastic.

Front palate hits you with sweet malt and the flavors just grow in layers; malt, whiskey, raisins, figs and a bit of light chocolate.

The beer just reeks of complexities and character. This is one of the best liquids I've tasted, and I've tasted some nice stuff, including some of the rarest and oldest wines in the world. This beer ranks right up there.

I love old stouts and some of the crazy extreme beers that are now being produced. However, for overall quality and flavor this is probably the best ale I've ever tasted. I hope I can try it again. Don't miss this one if you get the chance!

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Photo of jaydoc
4.59/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.54/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

HUGE thanks to ehammond1 for setting me up with one of these!

Cap is dated 15.06.14.

Pours a murky dark brown with a foamy 2 inch khaki head that settles to a puffy cap on top of the beer. Thick foamy chunks of lace cling to the sides of the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, and a variety of fruit aromas: grape juice, grape jelly/jam, dark fruits. Taste is of raisin bread, brown sugar, burnt caramel, dark fruits, grape juice, and a kick of alcohol on the finish. The alcohol is warming in the back of the throat after each sip and a slight amount of bitterness as well. This beer has a bubbly level of carbonation with a crisp and slightly drying mouthfeel. Overall, this is a fantastic beer and very worthy of its reputation. The carbonation level seems a wee bit high but that is of minor concern. I am thrilled that I finally got to try this beer.

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Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.49/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

at long long last, I finally got my chance to try this beauty. a friend of a friend lucked out when it came to the states, shared a bottle, and I was invited. the anticipation was obviously huge here, and the beer met all expectations. this pours a lighter brown color with plenty of fish food yeast floaters and maybe a finger or two of tan airy froth. the nose is remarkably complex, lots of interesting dried fruits and that classic Belgian yeast. it also smells pretty sweet, like brown sugar or molasses, and just a clue about its strength. the flavor immediately reminds me of Ramadan. dried figs and dates, raisins, and bready yeast, its got a lovely buttery component, and seems somehow understated compared to what my palates definition of a quad is, recognizing of course that this is THE quad of quads, and this is a personal definitional problem, rather than a shortcoming of this particular brew. its layered and refined, and dangerously drinkable. the body is light, still medium probably, but it doesn't feel heavy or sticky or filling at all. the carbonation is ultra bright, and the flavors come one after the other throughout the entire drink until well after the swallow. this beer is famous and renowned for a reason, it is of the highest quality. I am maybe most impressed by how well the alcohol is hidden. one would never know this beer is so strong. one of those rare moments when you feel a connection with people you have never and may never meet. this beer is like a brotherhood of sorts, and I am humbled and honored to be a part of it now.

edit: just as good or even better after five years in the cellar. wow, this is definitely the defining moment of the style. thanks drlovemd87!

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Photo of kjkinsey
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of djrn2
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of Knapp85
4.22/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally got a bottle of this in a very generous trade with MrKennedy. This beer is really special to say the least and I'm very happy to be reviewing this right now.

This pours out with a murky brown color with some orange highlights, the head is kind of minimals but has a little white ring around the glass. The smell of this beer is very good. Lots of sweet fruit aromas a little Belgian yeast on the nose. Not much in way or hops. The taste is very good, the flavors of apple, fig, and white grapes all come together in a very nice combo. When the beer is colder the mouthfeel is a little thicker feeling. Once it warms up it thins out and the booze aromas start to show. The beer as a whole is very good. It's incredibly easy to drink, it's great to savor over the course an hour if you want to. The finish is dry but smooth and overall just really nice. I can see why people love it so much.

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Photo of t0rin0
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of nmann08
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of metter98
4.51/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A: The beer is very dark brown in color (black when viewed from afar). It poured with a half finger high light tan colored head that died down, leaving a short head covering the surface and a coating of bubbles around the edge of the glass. When held up to the light, I can make out some clumps of yeast floating near the bottom of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of dark fruits are present in the nose along with notes of malty sweetness and hints of candi sugars.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste is dominated by flavors of dark fruits—plums and prunes seem to stand out in particular—and has some malty and candi sugar sweetness along with hints of clumpy yeast. Only faint bits of alcohol are perceptible.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied and a little smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This quadrupel bursts out with lots of flavors of dark fruits and associated sweetness but is quite drinkable considering its strength because it does a very good job at hiding its alcohol. Comparing this to my notes for the Rochefort 10 and St. Bernardus Abt. 12, I didn't pick up any of the spices that I picked up in those other beers—this one seems to be fruitier.

Note: 2012 vintage

Serving type: bottle

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

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

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

Thanks Clvand0
Nathan15
Thanks Maxskip!

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Photo of biboergosum
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

330ml naked bottle, best before Oct 2013, courtesy of tbeckett - cheers, man! I've heard of this Trappist moniker for a while now, so after a bit of googlemappery, it is nice to see that there is indeed a place called 'Vleteren', with a West and of course, an Oost. Nice.

This beer pours a dark, murky, dishwater brown hue, with a fair amount of swirling, suspended sediment, and one ascetic finger of tightly foamy specked beige head, which doesn't wait around for alms, leaving only a few isolated beads of lace around the glass as it quickly bleeds away.

It smells of sharply bready grain - somewhat sourdough-esque, astringent dark sugar, vinous, floral Madeira, fruity prunes, and a slight apple cider tartness. The taste is a whole lot sweeter than the aroma let on - the nose, it seems, doesn't always know. Caramel malt, tempered by a furthered sour bread character, mildly spiced, in a down-low Noel manner, soft, but firm drupe fruitiness, a subtle leafy, herbal hop dryness, and some sneaky, underhanded rum cake booze warming.

The bubbles are quite frankly, all played out, and not very noticeable, excepting the effect they must have in keeping the fruity, medium-heavy body from even dancing near cloyingness, but rather into an abject, enveloping smoothness. It finishes like a well balanced dessert - multifaceted sweetness, well modulated by ethereal hop and alcohol. Bravo.

Well, the hype, she can be one harsh mistress, but this time, she really puts out - a stellar example of the 'quad' style, or what have you. Complex, balanced, strong yet soft, and beguiling. Like the beer itself, I took a wee spell to warm up, but once it got going, it was very hard to stop. Taken as part of my Winter 2012 Quad Tasting - a rather pushed forward affair, seeing how our 'winter' has petered out this year (spring-like weather in my hood in early March is quite unusual), here's how the Westy 12 fared against its nearest locally available competition:

Westvleteren 12: as above.

Rochefort 10: complex, yessiree - but in a somehow more simple (mea culpa) manner, i.e. - your stellar, GGG wife, until you are presented with the idea of that SI swimsuit model of a particular adolescent fantasy.

St. Bernardus ABT 12: everything going for it to compete, except for the big step up in complexity that the Westy presents. Nothing bad to say - just another subtle reminder of that 'there'll always be someone bigger and/or stronger' maxim of life.

So, after all that - mere tenths of rating points divide this hedonistic, rarified harbinger of kingdom in the sky end days from its slightly more pedestrian brethren - I shall be taking that into consideration as I move forward in the beer-imbibing world.

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

Sometimes a beer calls to mind terms like ineffable or sublime...

I had the esteemed pleasure of having this beer on my trip to Belgium; first a one year old version at my friend's house in Ghent, then straight out of the bottle at the abbey when I picked up 48 bottles of blond, then a two year old version at my friend's house. While having the two year old, my friend brought out yet another bottle of the one year old so we could compare them. I figured aged beers were for snobby pretentious little bastards, but I was proven wrong upon tasting the difference betwixt the two. Touche. I didn't actually review the version straight from the abbey, but I've included my reviews of both the one year old and the two year old below. (I know I'm a lucky bastard, for the record.) Obviously, both were from the bottle, served into a proper Westy goblet. I tasted the aged versions in Ghent.

A(1yr): Two finger head of amazing cream and thickness. A dark black colour with an amber bottom. Very appealing. Excellent retention. I let the beer sit for a bit so that it would be the correct temperature; it was fetched from a refrigerator.

A(2yr): Two finger head of lovely cream and thickness. Dark amber colour.

Sm(1yr): Cream. Very subtle spices and esters. Esters are seemingly dominated by raspberry. Some nutty hops. Exquisitely subtle. Balanced. A light strength scent overall, but then me nose is broken.

Sm(2yr): Dark fruit. Cream. Hops. Complex.

T(1yr): Beautiful body of nut, spice, and especially tamed fruit, which bleeds - nay - allows itself into the finish. Perfectly balanced. Fruit hangs on the finish, joined by a symphony of cream. Cream is also present on the open. A perfect injection of bitterness is present just before the climax.

T(2yr): Dark fruit, hoppy body build. Amazing. Incredibly complex. Balanced perfectly. Built perfectly. Fuck me that's delightful.

Mf(1yr): Perfectly creamy, smooth, and wet yet dry. Teases an orgasm from the tongue. Amazing.

Mf(2yr): Silky. Soft and smooth. Amazing. Delicate and incredible.

Dr(1yr): I would down this repeatedly if given the chance and budget (and I did, at In Da Vrede). If you have a last meal, this ought to be a candidate for the drink. Makes you close your eyes to savour the taste. Believe the hype; this is the best beer I've had so far. The best retention I've ever seen.

Dr(2yr): Fecking brilliant-like. Hides its ABV absurdly well.

Note that the numeric review values correspond to the two year.

A+ (4.8)

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Photo of oline73
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a clear dark reddish amber with a finger of very smooth off white head. A layer of head remains on top of the pour.

Smell: Sweet with dark fruit notes and some brown sugar/molasses hints. Mild Belgian spice. Everything blends together perfectly.

Taste: Sweet but not in a cloying way. Extremely smooth. Some Belgian spice with hints of brown sugar and dark fruit. There is a slight bitterness in the finish along with the sweetness. Hardly any alcohol taste at all.

Mouthfeel: Body is just on the thick side with smooth tingly carbonation and a slight dryness in the finish.

Overall: Just an amazing beer. Everything blends together perfectly. Kind of reminds me of a super smooth barleywine. I definitely want to have more in the future.

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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 SocalKicks
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of emerge077
4.43/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

BBD: 29.03.11
Bottled around March '08, guessing this based on the date printed on cap, three years from bottling date. Huge thanks to ygtbsm94 for this, a very generous trader.

Auburn brown with orange edges, a creamy texture to the foam. Served in a Moinette chalice. In time the head fades to a ring at the edge. Spotty bits of lacing, looks every bit the trappist ale. Malty, peppery aroma.

Taste is where it really shines, a concentrated dose of phenolic clove, rich complex malts, tobacco, and a drying bitter hop note towards the end. The yeast gives some minor grape fruitiness, but it's not pronounced. Very light sweetness in the middle that flourishes just for second. Creamy and full bodied. Holding it on the palate, you notice a hint of the alcohol warmth, but not in the taste. Exceptional body and drinkability. One to sip and contemplate.

It's hard to judge, while finely crafted, it's certainly not my personal favorite. Rochefort 10 has surpassed this at times, and other bottles fall short. One to savor and recognize as a benchmark Quadrupel.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle: Poured a deep ruby colored beer with a huge thick foamy dark white head with incredible retention (the head was still in place when drinking the last sip of this beer 30 minutes after the bottle had been opened). Carbonation is really good with lots of bubble at the bottom of the glass and some other ones sticking on the side of the glass. Aroma is comprised of light and sweet roastiness with a nice touch of spice but I could not detect any alcohol. Taste is an almost perfect mix between caramel malts, candi sugar and something else, which might be cinnamon. I was really glad that I could not taste the alcohol since it could have been quite harsh at 10.2%. Wow, what a beer. I originally thought that this might be a bit of an over hyped beer but I’m glad to report that it lives up to all the praises.

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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.61 out of 5 based on 6,344 ratings.
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