Beer Review: Westvleteren 12

The day has finally arrived. 12/12/12. I’ve talked about the hype behind this beer before but I’ll very quickly say that this has been rated as the best beer in the world and has been one of the hardest to get. Starting today, and likely only today as it will sell out, the monks have changed their rules so instead of only buying it at the abbey you can buy it across America.

Westy 12 brick

I was lucky enough to win a lottery drawing to be able to pay $85 for the 6-pack + 2 glasses. Some are going to the basement for aging, some are being saved for a tasting with friends, but 1… 1 is going down tonight!

Brewery: Abbey of St. Sixtus
Beer: 12
Style: Belgian Quadrupel
Alcohol by Volume: 10.3%

I let this thing warm up a bit since the monks suggest serving it around 58 degrees, I’m not sure what I started at probably mid 40s or something. I think that was a wise move as it was great to start with and improved even more as it warmed. One small complaint to get off the bat with is that these glasses are too small, they’re only 6 oz. I guess that’s what you get with glasses from folks who espouse holiness and moderation and all that but I’m still happy to help them build a new roof! Ok, time to take a deep breath, put aside all hype, and do my best to review this “legend” like any other beer.

Very dark brown color with hints of amber when held up to the light. Nice chunk of tan head on top which drops to a thin layer and stays there for the rest of the glass.

I got a whiff of fruit as soon as I popped the cap and it only intensified as my nose got close. Those fruits are not the hop variety of oranges or pineapple. There is a strong raisin aroma and other stuff that reminds me of currants, plums, and a little bit of grapes.

Hits the tongue with a wave of sweetness packing more of those same fruity flavors. As that slides past you’re presented with a slight hit of bitter roasted malts. I’m also picking up some clove and pepper spices, caramel, and earthy yeast. The list of other flavors hitting my tongue could go on for pages. Bottom line is that this flavor is very complex and brings a lot to the table. The alcohol is there, but not over bearing or too aggressive.

Body is just a bit over medium but is ultra creamy and smooth with quite a bit of bubbly carbonation.

All sensations considered this is a bad ass beer. The best in the world? Well, I haven’t had all the beers in the world and “best” is an individual judgement. Personally I doubt this is the best beer in the world. It’s certainly the best Quadrupel I’ve had and that is my favorite single style, so this is in my top 5 beers without a doubt. $85 a 6-pack, not worth it. You can probably score a decent trade for it, especially now that there is a glut of it around the country, which I would highly recommend doing. Lastly, you can probably talk a friend into sharing if they scored a 6-pack today. Bottom line is to try it, for the hype, the true quality, and to help out the monks a bit.

As I said initially some of these bottles are going in my basement for aging. So check back on this blog 1 year from today, then 3 years today, and finally 5 years from today. I hear 5 years is the absolute prime for this beer so I’m psyched to see how it progresses.

10 thoughts on “Beer Review: Westvleteren 12”

  1. I managed to score a pack of this as well. I haven’t busted any out yet though. I brought a few bottles home from Belgium, including the blond and 8. I’ll be reviewing them before I open a XII. I just put the blond review up Tuesday.

    Congrats on scoring one. I walked into a shop to talk to a friend and he was literally answering the phone every minute “We’re sold out of Westvleteren 12. This is the Hop & Vine, how can I help you.” Another store just unplugged their phone. It was insane.


  2. Had my first Westvleteren XII last night and was surprised at how light and carbonated it was… in a good way! I thought it was, well, heavenly. I’m glad we splurged on a once-in-a-lifetime purchase but we’ll save our money next time for an actual trip back to Belgium and visit the monastery instead 🙂
    I’m impressed that you plan to cellar one for five years! I don’t have enough self-control for that!


  3. Pingback: Beer Review: Westvleteren 12 « Good Beer Better Hats
  4. Pingback: How to Enjoy a Rare Beer « Home Brewing for the Unsophisicated
  5. Pingback: How to Enjoy a Rare Beer | How To Taste Beer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: