kepano (250) - Los Angeles, California, USA - JUL 8, 2006
4.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: OCT 24, 2008 There’s nothing supernatural about beer. You might say the monks of St. Sixtus harbor a metaphysical relationship through this beer, yet in itself it is but the sum of a very tangible - though nonetheless complex - brewing process. I suppose that may seem obvious, but I only fully understood the implications after drinking the Westvleteren 12. In some way I have always believed that one day I would drink a beer that couldn’t be described in comparative terms, a beer that in the words of Hegel would aufheben. The reverie can never be utterly anulled, but certainly dimmed as it has by the disillusion of drinking such a strong candidate. Don’t get me wrong, the Westvleteren Abt is an exceptional brew, but the fact that I can pinpoint its shifting nuances with precision leaves me with a sense of control that could not exist in my utopian nectar.
Westvleteren is no epigone and their Abt warrants careful scrutiny, beginning with its beautiful black velvet robe that radiates a clear crimson hue in the light. The praline pillow-like head evolves gracefully and slips through the lips with a delicate creamy touch. Wondrous scents of banana and dark sugars are immediately apparent. Rich caramel and molasses develop and with each sniff appears a refining shade: chocolate, coffee, fig, plum, red wine, licorice. The complexity is ever increasing and builds a rustic profile highlighted by hints of dust, soil, wood and apple that evolve with warming to reveal buttery raspberries, cinnamon, honey and progressively sweeter and fruitier tonalities. The first sip is equally enticing and coats the tongue in a slightly burnt chocolate bitterness that slowly unveils a sweet pear flavor, not unlike a bite of Poire Belle-Hélène. A soupçon of black pepper enhances the nutty coffee and dark malts which gradually smoothen to reveal raisins and cherries. The finish is surprisingly hoppy, far more than most Belgian brewers allow, but this touch is not unwelcome and adds a certain identity to an almost excessively well balanced beer. My specimen was just a few weeks old, but I’ll be aging the rest of my bottles to observe this beer’s evolution. Perhaps its maturation will yield what I so deeply pursue.
Re-rate: As my bottles age I am beginning to understand the mystique behind Westvleteren’s Abt. Between three and five years of age this is a beer that truly radiates perfection. I had to increase my rating.
tjthresh (1867) - Greenfield, Indiana, USA - JUL 7, 2006
4.9 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
UPDATED: JUN 5, 2007 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.
decaturstevo (5696) - decatur, Tennessee, USA - JUL 6, 2006
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Thanks to kp again for the opportunity to sample this beer. My pour was close to the bottom and was a slightly hazy brown pour. An aroma of fruit but lighter yeast than I expected. I couldn’t detect alcohol in the aroma. A flavor of frruit that sorta changes the longer youi wait. After you drink it down the flavor still continues to change in your mouth. I couild taste the alcohol in the finish a little. As I’ve said before I like that. A most excellent beer.
nolankowal (937) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - JUL 4, 2006
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Bottle provided by xproudfoot, many thanks again Chris! Pours a rusty-brown color with a somewhat fizzy light tan head that dissapates to a nice film over the top. Aroma of raisin, alcohol, bread perhaps a bit of banana. The flovor get a good deal of the raisin, alchohol, clove, and perhaps some cherry, chocolate. It’s very dark and boozey, like a refined dessert where the sweetness is limited and balanced. It still has a nice light fruity quality over the tounge with a good punch of booze in the middle with a fairly sweet finish. Despite its large amount of carbonation, it is still quite smooth throughout the whole experience. It may not have the biggest flavors or original flavors, I think this one is all about balance and just making one damn fine beer.
thebaldwizard (1205) - Ohio, USA - JUL 3, 2006
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: FEB 3, 2007 "I was a little let down after all the build up and the difficulty in obtaining this beer. The Westy 12 poured a very nice dark brown color with a minimal head. The aroma was of dark fruits and herbs. The mouthfeel is spot on and definitely the best part of the beer. The tastes were dark and interesting. I got a good bite when it first hit my mouth that gave way to a very strong herbal taste(almost tobacco). The finish was sweeter and smooth. It had some of that herbal aftertaste as well. I thought this was a great belgian, but I honestly would prefer St. Bernardus 12 or Rochefort 8. "
biggcb (464) - Harleysville, Pennsylvania, USA - JUL 3, 2006
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Bottle. This completes my Westvleteren threesome. This is also my 200th rating. Again, poured ever so gently into my new Westy glass. Color is a very dark and opaque brown. Thin tan head. Aroma is malty with a bit of fruity sweetness (dark fruits & grapes). Flavor consists mostly of maslt, fruits, maybe a little vanilla and some alcohol. Very nice mouthfeel. Very rich. Complex, but perhaps not to the degree I had expected. I may be scoffed at, but I liked the 8 better. I am very happy I was able to finally try this one, but given the insane price I paid for it, I do not see me trying this one again anytime soon.
dkoonce (911) - People’s Republic of Athens, Ohio, USA - JUL 2, 2006
4.9 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
From the Pintelier in Groningin, NL. Simply outstanding. Pours dark brown, with a dark thick head. The aroma is of apples and raisins. The flavor is rich and very smooth. You can barely tell the alcohol is there until you finish teh bottle. This is the best beer I’ve had
00cobraR (1103) - Greensboro, North Carolina, USA - JUL 1, 2006
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours a dark brown color with a off white head. Flavor was malty and sweet. Alcohol was very present. A little intense. Aside from that this is a wonderful brew. Something I would love to have again.
hellomynameis (876) - Mayer, Minnesota, USA - JUL 1, 2006
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
It’s hard to not echo every one elses rating of this beer... It poured a brown colour that was completly opaque. The head was surprisingly white; large and fizzy but setteling into a ring around the edge. This was very wine like for me, grapes mostly, but with small hints of other dark fruits. There was quite a bit of alcohol present in this that became more dominating as it warmed from the mid 50’s to about 70 degrees F. Surprisingly, this wasn’t as complex as I suspected, but was very rich in flavour and body. It was a fullfilling experiance and quite tasty. However, I tend to prefer deep complex stouts to this. Hopefully I’ll have rated it well, giving it marks where it deserves, because it is a fantastic beer, without dining it too much for my personal preferances.
beastiefan2k (3044) - Emerald City (formely NYC & KS), Washington, USA - JUL 1, 2006
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle thanks to tever. this bottle took a long journey, from Belgium to Cali and from Cali to NY in a trade. Cellared it for 2 weeks and fridged it for about 2 hours. Poured into a small glass Budum coffee cup, split three ways. Pours murky brown with a small head. Cannot see through the beer. Aroma is very present. I get a grape aroma behind the sweetness and malt. Same in taste. Overall, its a good beer but ’divine’ or ’greatest beer in the world’ I don’t think so. This did cause me to break out the Rochefort 10 in comparision, which I enjoy more.