This much hyped beer actually lives up to the hype. Pours a dark brown/mahogany with a big bready head. Aroma of malts, sugars, raisins and slight caramel. Tastes the same with a slight indication of the alcohol that is in it. Not a session beer, but if you have enough you may be tempted. Elusive but well worth getting stationed over here to get it every chance I can, and when I can get a reservation.
Price: $4.00 Served In: Tulip
The Westy 12 pours a tawny brown and has some dirty brown sediment drippings towards the end of the pour. Settles super opaque as a rosey dark brown color with a finger high crown of dark ivory creamyness, fading evenly and slow to a hazey broken skim and a firm collar hugs the edge of the glass a good portion through the session. Lace quickly slips back in with minimal spots sticking.
Aroma is soft and yeilding, complexing and layered; at it sits a welcoming orangey fruit yeast tone releases over some really nice cookie sugars and waffer light chocolate. Deeper wiffs bring out some darker fruits within of raisin and fig with soft dry woodish earthyness. Slight phenolic notes emerge here and there as it warms giving it a bit of spice and burn. There's more here then I can really put my nose too. Cocoa filled fruits and light spices is what I can figure. It's very appealing however way you smell it.
Taste has a refined roundness with an encompassing natural tasting softness of fruits, earth, yeast, spice, cocoa, and some slight roastyness. Its quite soft for what seems to be such a big beer. The flavors carry alot of the effects over from the aroma, lending a bit more dark fruits then the smell would lead you to believe is there and they're there in good stature. There's some artfully placed sweet malts throughout that bring out the darker fruits and sweetness bringing in raisin, fig, apple, and touches of banana, oh but there's a bit more that continues to ensue. There's delicately hidden melding of chocolate cookie sugars, bits of yeasty spices, and mild caramel. There's a milding woody earthyness that keeps a small drying presense throughout as well. Again, there's more here then a can put my mouth too and intermingles with the body and feel of the beer. Quite complex and full of softly spoken actions. Very enthusiatic and engrossing to say the least.
Feel is beyond words here. Wow! Amazingly full, yet calmingly smooth and fluffy with a heavenly fine carbonation that continues to give way to the flavors, never too sharp and never too distant. Well rounded, superbly soft, and exceptionally drinkable. Its nearly a meal! It doesn't seem to have 10.8% ABV, its masked very well. One isn't enough, not nearly enough. I will need to get more, alot more, and hopefully begin to pick out what it is about this beer that makes my eyebrows raise and my mind go "huh? and wow!" Loftly, noble, sublime; wonderfully put together.
Reviewed on my B-Day - 03-26-2004
Served In: Goblet
I get to try this heavy hitter of Belgian brew courtesy of BitterBill, thanks a lot Bill! Westy twelve fills up my goblet to the halfway point with a murky rusty red liquid that has some viscosity and borders on the darkest of browns. I poured hard but could only conjure up a half finger beige head that quickly swirled to a small island of foam and a short collar. Surprisingly this small collar leaves behind some nice lacework down the glass.
The nose has a lot of depth and a solid amount of booziness. There's a ton of fruit jumping from the glass each time I stick my beak in there. Dates, plums, prune all come to mind along with brandy macerated raisins. There's even a spicy apricot flavor that I didn't at all expect. Musty, somewhat earthy notes lie deep in the background along with mild freshly baked pumpernickel bread. I'm really getting into the smell of this beer. The longer I smell the more I like.
This big quad seems to come across the palate a little muddled when compared to the nose but is still very good. Prunes and the brandy macerated raisins are the main culprits on the tongue with the figs and dates bringing up the rear. Bready notes litter the background and the spicy, musty yeast adds a nice touch of depth. There's a little too much alcohol on the swallow that seems to push some of the other flavors aside. I'm being picky with this brew, I know, but it really is very good.
I wasn't so sure of the mouthfeel of this beer when I first started drinking it. The body seemed a little on the thin side and the carbonation didn't have that snap that brings the frothy finish like others of the style. As this beer breathes the body falls nicely into place with a medium-full body and a slight stick. The alcohol fumes rise through the throat nicely.
As big as this beer is it goes down easily and is a joy at every sip. The lighter than expected body keeps this beer flowing without a problem.
This is a damn fine beer and one I would love to have more bottles of. I believe I enjoy St. Bernardus' version more so but this is the highest of quality. Thanks again for the treat Bill!
Served In: Goblet
Now I know what the hype is about. Pours a very cloudy, chestnut brownish color. A soft off white head with a light tan hue to it. Good retention through the tasting though hid to the side of the glass. I don't know why but I guess I was expecting more viscous of a liquid. Not bad just thinking aloud.
The nose is rich with malt and some very nice esters that blend really well. Overall that is what is great is that everything is present but nothing dominates. To start there is a very complex malt with hints of caramel and sweet bready and light note of biscuit. Hints of cinnamon and cloves but brings the breadiness out. A minor chocolate notes. Great fruity aromas that blend well. Some figs, raisins, plums and olives (yes olives). Some minor cherry and rose peddles. The yeast notes are light with no major residual, most esters. Some alcohol but light as well.
The taste is similar where the flavors are present but don't dominate. Very well balanced. The malt is prominent than what the nose indicated. There is a nice blend of caramel and bready flavors. The chocolate comes out but doesn't give it a lactic quality. There is a bit of roast that is noticeable in the finish. Less spice flavors but still leaves the bready quality in the flavor. Some salty and peppery flavors in the finish as well. The fruit notes seemed lighter than the nose (maybe why the malt came out). Figs and cherries really come out more but limited raisins and plums. Hints of pears and mangos as well. The yeast again is really subtle. As is the alcohol, but some minor solvent notes are detectable.
The body is really key here. There is noticeable body here but finishes dry for style. Just interesting to see all the flavor come out and then drop out with a lingering flavor. Overall a great beer. Loved the complexity and blend overall. I can see why this is a treat for so many!
Served In: Pint Glass
*Uploading my old reviews, this one has a review date of: 11-06-07. If I can acquire the beer again I will re-review it*
Nov. 6, 2007
My last Westvleteren of the night and a great one to cap off my b-day celebration. I came across three of these so I don’t know who exactly to thank, I think this is the bottle that I received from BuckeyeNation, thanks!
Date of 29.02.08 on the cap (the clearest date of all 3 westvleterens I had tonight).
Pours a ruby, dark brown color. Not too active on the foam but seems to settle to a nice thin ring around the glass, and I say “seems to settle” because as it warms up that ring becomes a bit thicker.
Very good aroma. Spiciness, dark fruits, bread dough, cinnamon, raisins, cherries, dark sugars, really varied and floral. Caramel and burnt sugar, candied yams, piloncillo, very good all around. Reminds me very much of Rochefort 10 and this might just be a step above. The aromas feel very well balanced and once you pick up on one, another quickly demands attention. I’m just trying to enjoy this as a whole, I think it works best this way.
The taste is fantastic. Again, spicy with dark fruits like figs, prunes, raisins, and then there is a sweet bread finish. The after-taste is sweet and slightly alcoholic.
Mouth-feel is not as creamy as I thought it would be but still very good. After-taste, just like the westvleteren 8, is very clean with just a few hints of dark fruits and some residual sugars in the back of the mouth.
It has been a great experience in reviewing all three Westvleterens within 24 hrs. Although it is a very good beer, Rochefort 10 is just as good, easier to get and more economical, plain and simple.
Served In: Bottle
Cap Best By Date November 2007; Sampled February 2009
A vigorous pour into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip produces a two-finger thick, creamy, tan colored head. The beer is a dark, concentrated amber color that when held up to the light shows that I poured quite a bit of the sediment from the bottom of the bottle into my glass, but is also a hazy, bright cherry color. The aroma smells of spices and fruit with a rich, caramelized maltiness to the finish. Aromas of fig cake, brandy soaked fruit cake, some marzipan, clove, dried cherries, white pepper, candied ginger form the bright aromatic notes. There is a nice backbone here of must and damp earth, as well as some toasted malt character that provides a biscuit malt aromatics. Some higher alcohols provide a bit of spiciness as well as some warming character to the tail end of each draught of the nose. This has quite a rich nose to it, both the fruit and spices accentuate the perceived sweetness of the aroma.
Up front this beer is a bit lighter than I expected, as it rolls across my tongue though it starts to pick up a viscous richness and heft, though it still maintains the drinkability that I like to have in a strong Belgian ale. The beer has a definite sweetness (though not as much as the aroma might have suggested), but finishes with a spiciness that helps to dry the palate out. The beer is a bit carbonated still after the vigorous pour and it provides a prickly carbonation as it rolls across the tongue. fruit notes of prunes, musty figs and raisin are brought out by a touch of tartness as well as the sweetness in this beer. There is a definite mustiness to this beer, it is oxidation character that it has picked up over the years, and it mixes nicely with the spiciness in the finish. Speaking of which, the spiciness provides notes similar to white pepper, clove, a nutmeg like bite, some woody ginger and a touch of menthol in the long finish as well as some bitter cocoa. This definitely gets more complex as it warms up from the high 40°F (~8°C) that it started out at. The alcohol in the finish combines with the fruitiness to reminds me of Brandy.
Well I had a bug dive bomb this beer, so it must have though there was something worth drinking in my glass (one of my dogs got a tasty, Westy soaked morsel because of that). While this beer is quite good, I am quite disappointed in some ways. I haven't had this in a couple years, and I am thinking I need to try a fresher version to see if it is more like my memory of having this in Belgium and at the Hop Leaf (where I had it last).
Served In: Tulip
Sampled February, 2004; Hop Leaf, Chicago
An immediate rich, bready aroma wafts from my glass as I pour this beer. This beer is topped by a light brown head that sits atop a brown beer. There are notes of sherry, plum, and raisin (though the raisin is definitely the most dominant aroma) in the nose. The beer smells sweet & rich as well. Well the taste is fairly rich & sweet; there is lots of fig and plum notes, which are joined by a woodiness that is in the taste as well. This beer was an awesome way to finish my great dinner at the Hop Leaf. There is an astringent complexity to this beer that just brings it to a whole other level, and there is a slightly musty character that integrates well with the rest of the flavors. I can fully understand why many consider this a world class beer. I really like how this beer is quite fruity in both the aroma and in the taste. The alcohol is very well hidden here, I can't really detect it at all. The rich sweetness is very conducive to being an after dinner drink. This beer is like a rich, dark, sweet traditional German bread. What makes this beer so good is that it is extremely well integrated; absolutely world class.
Served In: Goblet
I cannot thank TipTop enough for the bottle. :thumbsup: Date code appears to be 26.04.09... but the 9 could be an 8 or a 3 as the number is in the black part of the cap.
Shared this with two buds, but gave myself the biggest pour because, well, wouldn't you? Pours a dark red brown with floaties all over the place when held up to the light. Offwhite head lasts forever and the lacing tells you how fast you're sipping it. Aroma is of dark fruit (cherries, maybe plums and figs?), slight toffeeish malt, distant whiff of alcohol.
This baby has a depth of flavor that astounds me. A deep fruity sweetness, with fruit (cherry, plum, raisin, fig?) and a toffeeish, dark tea, and slightly port-like maltiness combine with faint whiffs of alcohol coat the mouth from beginning to end. Faintly hoppy bitterness balances it beautifully. Finishes slightly drier than I expected it would. Chewy, perfect fine carbonation. Just an astonishing brew. They could put this into a 3L bottle and the bottle would still be too small.
As a comparison, we followed this up with St. Sixtus Abt 12. The Abt tasted thin and lacked depth in comparison. The only beer I've ever had that has been able to knock the crown off the head of Andechs Doppelbock Dunkel. Just a stunning brew - regardless of hype.
Served In: Other
Bottle very generously opened by dewbrewer at a recent tasting. Thanks Dan & Joelle!
This relatively fresh bottle from this year pours a lovely rich muddy, thick, dark brown color with a nice beige head. Smell is wonderful and of raisins and dark brown sugariness. Taste is oatmeal cookies, raisin, with light hoppiness mixed in, and a slight yeasty sweetness. Very balanced still and not too malty at all. Very balanced and a fantastic beer. Didn’t expect to like a beer of this style as much as I did.
Served In: Snifter
So I’m on vacation over the 4th of July, and I finally got a chance to stop by my pal’s place. My pal just happens to be BBB63
. We had a couple of beers then Mike says something like, "I think its time for number one." At first, I had know idea what the hell he was talking about. Well, I finally figured it out, I shat myself, that we opened it up. Boy what a great beer. Poured with no head. Looks like brandy. Actually even has some signs of legs. Toffee and brandy aromas. Alcohol. Fruity and estery. The flavor left me speechless. Man, what a flavor. Raisin, cherry, gosh. Any description I could conjure up would not do this beer justice. How can the monks be so selfish.
Served In: Pint Glass
Good carbonation, lots of floaties. Brown in color, and opaque.
Amazing smell, reminds me of wine. Fruity, acidic, sour, and good Belgian spiciness.
A sipper. Strong alcohol, a bit of a muted spiciness, and lots and lots of earthy fruits. Ripe fruits. Perhaps overripe fruits. Raisiny, bready, a bit of a yeasty taste. Taste lingers and lingers, getting bitter and sweet at the same time.
Wonderful feel. The carbonation keeps the taste prickling at my tongue, and my cheeks are puckering with the lasting bitterness.
Served In: Pint Glass
Finally adding this via notes from 5/9/08
A- Muddy brown pour. Nice creamy light tan head rises from the pour. Settles into a nice thin layer on the brew.
S- Yeasty, sweet smell to it. Light alcohol notes to it. Smell like fresh cinnamon rolls almost.
T- Very complex brew, yet soooo smooth. The taste almost dissipates too fast, but then more flavor kicks in. Light malty, candi sugar flows through upfront. Some fruity fig flavor there, toffee, and a dry finish to it. Light alcohol flows over the fruity finish. This is one sweeeeeet brew. Very niiiice /Borat
M- Solid, just fizzy enought with a strong finish.
O- Hype, ratings, can ruin a brew for you. This withstood the hype and the wait. An extremely good brew. So much going on in it and yet not overblown or underwhelming in any facet. simply great.
Served In: Pint Glass
Originally reviewed 08/23/06
Poured from 333ml bottle into chalice.
A - Pours a very dark brown with a bit of a red tint to it. Big fluffy, off-white/tan head. Gorgeous lacing.
S - Not nearly as strong of an aroma as some quads out there. Dark fruit (plum, cherries) with sweet malt. Slight scent of alcohol.
T - Much like the smell, but much more rich. Dark fruit is very present with both plums and cherries followed up with sweet candy malts. Slight citrus hop bitterness. Chocolate.
M - Nice and thick. Improves as it warms. Carbonation is spot on.
D - This beer is super hyped up and failed to disappoint. Great beer. Had this during a tasting I hosted, but poured an entire chalice for myself and glad I did.
Served In: Other
From BTG ---
Westy 12, time was 9pm Central, March 1st, 2007.
Reading TTs review, I agree with him that the smell is somewhat weak. Especially compared to some lesser names like Founders Bad Habit and such. Disclaimer -- I am a HUGE fan of Bad Habit. So don't bunch your undies, Beagle.
Color is a bit darker than the Westy 8. And expected for the style. Nothing really to say about it.
First drink ---- good but somewhat stark in terms of the alcohol and the finishing "bite". An alcohol or somewhat burnt flavor is lingering. Maybe a yeast/bread/toast flavor?
Maybe I didn't store these properly, but they were upright in a wine cellar kept at 58'. Seriously, the taste on this one is very linear in terms of the very strong alcohol and sorta hoppy bite. Certainly less rounded and nuanced than I had ever expected. Carbonation is much better than the Westy 8 in this one, but even so a bit more than "right". Taste is actually close to a port quite honestly.
There we go........I think I figured out the problem. The rum/port taste is easing up as this warms. I think I had it too cold. The alcohol is still very apparent, but easing up a bit.
Those were my first two good-sized drinks. A little more than half left, so I'll let it sit and get back to it in a little while to see how it improves. Crossing fingers.....
(40 minutes later)
Back at it after letting it sit. Alcohol has calmed down a lot. But still there. I think Skylord is right -- this one needs A LOT of time to age in proper storage. I'll let my last bottle go, and just order some more every year. Not at all impressive to me as this beer is supposed to be. I'll consider it the "Stone 10th" of the Belgian Beer World.
Served In: Pint Glass
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