smcd (366) - USA - FEB 26, 2006
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: MAR 8, 2006 Being obliged to rate this beer seems apparently necessary ... I like W.12. I do. I wouldnít rate it as the best beer in the world. But it is delicious. Note, however, that this is a "vintage" product -- some years are better than others and it changes with age.
(Bottled. 03/2006). This batch seems "green". Body is relatively thin compared to past experiences with this brew. All the same major notes as described below but the body definitely seems thinner warranting a slight "downgrade" in the overall impression.
(Earlier notes) Pours dark, dark brown. Complex aromas of dried fruits, nuts, and biscuits. An intense flavor that emerges as it warms up. A wonderful experience to be sure. Vintages vary ... a "4" would be a "4.5" for some years and something less in others.
Immy (1955) - Virginia Beach, USA - FEB 22, 2006
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
FINALLY! Had mine at the Taphouse in the Ghent section of Norfolk, VA with gputty. Even brought my own glass for the occasion.
Many things in life do not come close to matching their "hype". Fortunately, I feel this one goes beyond the considerable buzz surrounding it.
Pours into my trappist glass a deep mahogany brownish red. Somewhat murky, a slight, off white head crowns the top, a foreshadow of the weblike dense lacing. Initially, the nose is rather vinous, like a medium red, with some cherry notes peeking through. As it warms, a far more complex aroma emerges. Notes of dark fruits - raisin and black cherries - shine through. The cornucopia of scents is almost overwhelming, too much going on to pinpoint all the complexities.
Finally, I lift the glass and draw my first sip. Light Muscatine grapes cascade across my tongue to start the show, followed by a textbook quad fruitiness, highlighted by black cherry, prune and some light molasses. All this flies by you as the finish approaches, a lovely sweet, slightly tart mildly dry epilogue.
All too soon, I see the tiny logo at the bottom of my glass, signaling the beginning of the end. Fully warmed, the alcohol becomes just slightly more apparent, and some of the initial winelike notes have faded to a warm, sweet end. Sad but sated, I give this my first 5.
Holdwine (1077) - Beertimore, Maryland, USA - FEB 20, 2006
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Thanks Max. Well, now I have tasted the best. Wonderful mix of fruitcake flavors, all spicy and warm. 10.2%? nicely hidden. Super complex with notes and tastes flying everywhere. Hard to imagine such variety in a single beer. Almost unassuming as you drink in the monkís labor. Then when finished you sit back and smile...
auerbrau (3177) - Peace Dale, Rhode Island, USA - FEB 18, 2006
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: DEC 13, 2008 Pours a clear ruby red with mahogany, head of even cream with a fine bubbled geometric tan, followed with sticky sheeting lacing. Aroma is a phenolic fruit and floral quality, with a hint of lavender and honeysuckle, with a strong fresh blast of raspberries, almost candied, with cream. Bottom, with yeast, has a more subdued and dusky aroma, with raisins, yeast and light hazlenut. Flavor is classic fruity quad, that as it warms develops into a much broader level of complexity. A real strong edge of fresh squeezed orange juice and a tinge of the fresh raspberrie continues. Dense flavor, with sweet candi sugars, warm yeast and a hint of lime peel and juniper berries. A good strong dose of abbeyian fruitcake on the backend, laced with silken chocolate swirls. A smack of rich mulled apple cider, with light spice. A hint of nutmeg. Itís as delecate and deft as a rich creamy port sauce, over quickly seared kobe beef, with italian cherries in syrup. Mingled in is a hint of wild mushroom. All poured into a buttery crust of pastry. Palate is perfect and exquisite, dazzling the tounge, hiding any alcohol and carrying all these flavors most deftly. Obviously good. It held up to my expectations and deserves one of my Top 10 spots, but this beer is <i>perfect</i>. Itís not startlingly different, just amazingly crafted. Thanks Jason!
awaisanen (1304) - Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, USA - FEB 17, 2006
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: MAR 7, 2007 Dark, ruby red coloring with a beautifully self-sustaining head. Luscious raspberry, raisin, ripe plum, fragrant rose petals, and soft ripe peaches are intoxicating to the nostrils. Initial flavors are of the ripe red fruits, but then a delcious breadiness takes over as the yeasts start to work their magic. Iím flashing back to memories of eating freshly baked pumpkin bread as a child. Fantastic experience overall, first by meeting my expectations for such a renowned brew, and secondly by masking the alcohol in such a marvelous fashion. Welcome smack of delicately spiced apple cider for the grand finale.
onystrom (1319) - Magellan Hunter! - Skanderborg, DENMARK - FEB 13, 2006
4.1 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Dark amber (brown) unclear color with fine head. Fantastic aroma fruity among many other odors and flavors. But its strong. I prefer no 8.
Dedollewaitor (13913) - Odense, DENMARK - FEB 13, 2006
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: OCT 16, 2009 Only avaliable at the monastery. 3 times 24 beers avaliable per. car only! Limited and Beautiful. Dark, full and long finish! Very smooth texture. Dark fruits & caramel - little sweetness & little alcohol. Rerating Oktober 09. Had this more than a hundred times and it really needed a few extra words. 2005 vintage. Deep, dark rum and fruits. Complex in a way that is hard to describe. Even after 3500 beers. World class and top 10 for sure.
redlight (2316) - Orlando, Florida, USA - FEB 10, 2006
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: AUG 23, 2009 Wow it was a treat to get to try this one. Great aroma, raisons, berries, caramel. Poured a dark brown, with a thin white head. The flavor was so smooth! Rich caramel, some plum, raison, vanilla. Felt silky.
barleyandmalt (25) - USA - FEB 5, 2006
4.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
The end of the road is reached. Because of the hype, I did expect this beer to explode berries, caramels, many such complexities, and yet it was subtle. So unassuming and drinkable that I could have it on any occasion, with or without food, perhaps at any temp. and still enjoy it thoroughly. My applause to Westvleteren and deep thanks to Tijs Mallaerts.
RateandPillage (426) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - FEB 5, 2006
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Pours red/brown with a big offwhite head. Aroma is malty with some spice, banana, bread, and dark fruits. Flavor of the same, but keeps on going. Some caramel and light amounts of chocolate. Very complex. Thick on the palate. Nice, I can see why it is the most sought after beer on the planet.