ChadwickCarey (3) - West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA - OCT 19, 2006 does not count
4.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Best Beer in the World??? What a tough reputation to live up to. I think this is a beer that beer lovers are afraid to rate honestly because they feel their other beer aficianados my have a more sofisticated palate than they have. My honest opinion is that this is one of the top belgian beers that I have tasted. Strangely it is so smooth that I can understand that some (including myself) can not express one defining characteristic to describe this beer. It is in the same class as St. Bernardus abt 12 and Rochefort 10. I still prefer the Rochefort. My recommendation is if you can try it at what you feel is a resonable price you should. However, for those that canít afford it or choose not to try this rare beer.... you shouldnít feel like you are left out of the "beer club". If you can try a St. Bernardus or Rochefort you are truly tasting beers in the same class that are as good or better depending on your taste. I will be aging my remaining stock and am looking forward to how this beer will age.
Glouglouburp (6103) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - OCT 18, 2006
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: JUL 1, 2010 Complete re-write for a very fresh bottle
In short: A decadent Abt. One of the best (if not THE best) of its kind. Lives up to the hype.
How: Bottle 330ml at In de Vrede (pub in front of the Westvleteren abbey). About two months old, bottling date on the cap.
The look: Purple-brown body topped by a medium beige head with medium retention
In long: Intense aroma with earthy dark fruits, tobacco, chocolate and more. That beer has lots of great qualities but its body is my favourite of them all. Big, rich, smooth, creamy, filling. Swimming in this 5/5 body are a ton of malts and juicy leafy hops. Flavors of dark fruits, toffee, milk chocolate, nuts, tobacco, wood, name it! I was very surprised at how hoppy a fresh bottle is. Lot and logs of juicy leafy hops with a medium slightly resinous bitterness. Alcohol remains well hidden until a little bite at the end. Totally decadent. The sad part about being labelled the #1 beer in the world is that you cannot surpass the expectations. It is not my own #1 beer but it will always be in my top 50 nonetheless. It is sad to see that this wonderful beer is circulating a lot but mostly is borderline illegal ways. Very soon weíll come across suspicious looking dudes going ďhash, pot, acid, westvleteren 12, mescalineĒ.
Sofajoern (146) - DENMARK - OCT 17, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
This really is very, very good. Smooth, full bodied and extremely well balanced without being bland. Almost too perfect. Iíd have liked something to stick out about the 12 - so I could say "I really liked the flavour of dates" or maybe something about the aroma of overripe bananas, but it is so nuanced that I really canít. Iím thinking that a few years in the cellar will improve this considerably. Luckily Iíve got my hands on a few more bottles.
Not my favourite but it might very well be, when I rerate it in a year or two.
Egon (478) - Gothenburg, SWEDEN - OCT 16, 2006
4.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Bottle bought at BeerMania, tasted with a Westvleteren glass together the other two :-) Tasted last of the three and what a beer! The foam is lightbrown with some yellow in it but thinner than Westvleteren Extra 8. Notes of alcohol, it is above ten ABV after all. Tastes of caramel, sweet and very complex. Some fruits and nuts? When the glass was empty, the fragrances was still there for a long time.
Fin (8428) - Merton, Oxfordshire, England, Oxfordshire, ENGLAND - OCT 16, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: MAR 3, 2010 Bottle at The Kulminator, Antwerp, Belgium, 05-10-06. I scoured the beer list, well it wasínt so much a list more like a copy of War and Peace, could I find this mythical beer?The heart rate started to climb, fingers getting twitchy, the other three had decided on their beers "come on Fin what are you having", I started running my hands through my hair and getting more irritable by the minute, it must be here. The lady came over, I asked nervously "Do you have any Westvleteren" without answering she brought a laminated small sheet with a selection of Westvleteren beer back, I gave the others a knowing look and picked the 12. She slowly walked towards me with bottle and glass in hand, I licked my lips, this must have been how Bobby Moore felt when the queen presented him with the Jules Rimet Trophy, and like Bobby Moore I wiped my hands, though on my trousers not shorts and more through sweat than mud. the glass and beer were laid before me and it was expertly poured. I lifted it up and íharkí was that the voices of angels belting out íJerusalemí? I cradled the glass whilst the others watched intently, slowly I lifted it up, the group on the other table were huddled like a group of Hyenaís staring silently waiting for scaps, I fixed them a steely glance and they cowered back. A delicated nutty aroma, backed up with dried fruits and spices slowly started to fill my nose. The taste was sublime, incredibly full flavoured and complex with some silky chocolate and soft maltiness, some burnt sugar, superb. The place was silent and then I gave them a little nod and a wry smile a triumphant cheer rose to a crescendo. Fantastic, I felt waves of elation course through me, now for the Westvletern 12 1998 A8 A5 F10 P5 Ov19 4.7 Iíve had this a few times since that wonderful day back in 2006, had it at the Westy Cafe 2-3 times, at home 4-5 times and whilst I still consider this a truly world class beer I think that it needs some age on it to be truly excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed that beer then and whilst it was young I think the 1998 Westy I had was even better that day. The bottles that Iíve had since then have all been young, fresh and a bit raw, even dare I say it harsh, the alcohol showing more and without the mellowness of age its just not the same beer. I have a few of these aging now and I will continue to rate it but next time itíll have some years behind it. A8 A5 F8 P4 Ov16 4.1
Skidds (252) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - OCT 15, 2006
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: NOV 11, 2006 Iím very happy to have the privilege to try this beer. Thank you Belgianshop.com! I constantly wonder why, or how drunk I was to be online and felt it justifiable to spend 25$ for a bottle of this all the way from Belgium but when I look at the scarcity of it, the 1# rating, and what a change it was from other beers Iíve tasted, Iím kicking myself for not ordering more. This beer is at the top of its class, and rightfully so. There is so much going on in this beer itís hard to describe. Every sip is different. Chocolate, raisons, and roasted caramel stood out most when I tasted it. Brilliant long lasting head, and gorgeous overall appearance. Highly recommended if you can get your hands on it. From what I understand, almost the only way to purchase this beer is to stand outside the monasterie in Westvleteren Belgium and pray the monks wish to distribute any that day.
Phil (181) - Kent, ENGLAND - OCT 9, 2006
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
So, the best beer in the world? Well, it gave me my first emotional experience with beer, back in 1999! Iíve had the priviledge of sharing this beer with many many friends, Iíve probably given more of this away than Iíve drunk? Why? It is simply sublime, that fruity dark flavour, sweet, yet dry, but itís that saline finish that for me seperates it from Rochefort 10. Best drunk, with friends, at In De Vrede.
gladstone (23) - NORWAY - OCT 6, 2006
4.3 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Finally, I got the chance to drink "the best beer of the world". A friend of mine hand it over from an outlet in Copenhagen where he had to ask in an extremely polite manner to please buy two bottles, one for him one for me.
Iíve had it in my celler for quite some time and today I drunk it.
And what can I say? First of all, itís good. Very good. These monastery guys really know whats beer all about. Fruity, dark flavour, its got it all. I understand why beer lovers really love and love and love this beer over and over again.
However, for me, itís too much of everything. I loved to drink it, I loved to smell it, I loved to feel it, but I didnít love to feel its incredible taste. Not that it is not excellent (cause it is) not that it is not perfect (cause it probably is) but the hype is bigger than the beer from my point of view. It is objective fantastic, but subjective only GREAT.
I had problems finish it, probably mainly due to my love for not that complexe beers.
Still, what can I say? Itís what beers all about, but still too much of a really good thing.
As you probably understand, the beer puts me in a total duality of a fantastic experience and a feeing of drinkability and enjoyment. It was like "Shit, this beer is gooooood" with a grimmy face.
Thx munks, but youre not my first choice and probably never will be.
BeerandBlues2 (10834) - San Diego, California, USA - OCT 3, 2006
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle received via SecretSanta. Pours deep mahagony, slightly cloudy, with a medium sized creamy light tan head, somewhat diminishing to more rocky head with some spotty lacing. Aroma is caramel roasted nutty malt (biscuit, meal), yeast (dough, earth), some straw and floral notes, alcohol at the end, perfumey as it warms up. Medium acidity that grows as the alcohol continues to singe the tongue, well balanced malt and yeast flavored body, a hint of hops (floral) with some earth notes, overall a very good flavor, nothing offensive. Full bodied and warm, fizzy palate with some lively carbonation though still pleasant. Overall a very good beer, but it is not "perfect" in my humble opinion.
chilehead (186) - Laguna Niguel, California, USA - OCT 3, 2006
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
I finally got my hands on this beaut. Typically when I taste a beer I pick out flavor spikes - pine, oak, smoke, etc and highlight them in my rating. What made this beer so intriguing was that the flavor profile was almost perfectly round. No single flavor within the spectrum of caramel/nutty/woody etc really stood out, everything blended and balanced perfectly.
Mouthfeel was soft and round, very soft small carbonation, complimenting the flavor profile. Nose was spicy/floral/woodsy/root beer.
While I canít say this is my personal favorite beer in the world, I certainly can agree that this may be the best crafted beer in the world, and so have no remorse giving it a big rating.
And... I canít wait to open the next 5 bottles over the next 10 years :-)