timbeer (69) - Rosemount, Minnesota, USA - FEB 15, 2009
[Bottle] Shared with MatSciGuy - Pours a murky brown with some fermenation floaties. Lasting tan head that nicely laced the glass. This beer is complex and for me there was a pronounced raisin aroma and flavor mixed with malt, dark fruits and caramel. Smooth, medium body mouthfeel. It was a truly wonderful beer and I am appreciative of the chance to give it a try. Thanks man. Tmoney99 (14747) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - FEB 15, 2009
Bottle shared by alexadad06.
Poured a cloudy brown color with a large frothy brown head that lasted with excellent lacing. Moderate to heavy dark citrus, ginger and caramel aroma. Medium to full body with a smooth sticky texture and flat carbonation. Heavy bittersweet flavor with a heavy sweet finish of moderate to long duration.
This is a standout complex brew. davidpl (435) - Santiago, CHILE - FEB 14, 2009
I waited a lot of time for this and I found it in the beautiful Brugges...
Appearance: Dark brown color. Great head, beige, rocky, with good adherence at glass and very lasting.
Aroma: complex-ripe fruity aroma, several fruits in my nose like, plums, cherries, prunes, figs..... Underlying caramel notes, vinous and with reminiscences of tart and marmalade.
Flavor: vinous profile and caramel malts in the start, that vinous touch never disappear and remember me a carmenere and, perhaps, a sweet rose. The fruitiness is even more complex that in the nose with the same reminiscences as well of cassis, blackberries and semi-fermented red apples. Woody touches and a very slight hot note similar to chocolaty tobacco. A lot of secondary notes like marmalade, roasted sugar, vanilla and lightly is possible to feel the hops given even more balance.
Palate: medium to full body; semi-oily and silky texture. Low carbonation.
Remark: this is a excellent beer with a lot of attributes and complexity, but in spite of that complexity and variety of flavors is incredible its balance, in fact for me four adjectives resume the Westy12: "noble, harmonious, very balanced and elegant". SuperDave (1932) - Beautiful Sunny Mesa, Arizona, USA - FEB 13, 2009
Pours a beautiful burnt caramel color with big yeast chunks and a nice creamy brown head that lasts and laces throughout. Aroma is fantastic, with loads of dark ripe fruit, spice, deep roasted caramel malt, yeast and alcohol. Flavor of dark roasted malt, toffee, plums and figs, yeast, sugar, and a big alcohol bite. Nice and sour lingering finish. Soft carbonation with a full, smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Wow, this is truly amazing. I drank part of the bottle side by side with a St Bernardus 12 and Rochefort 10. This was definitely the best of the three. The St B was much lighter than the other two. The Rochefort and Westy had many similarities. The Rochefort was a bit roastier, but the flavor in the Westy was just a bit bigger, deeper and more complex. Very close, though. This is a great brew. Worth the hype! nickd717 (4769) - San Francisco, California, USA - FEB 10, 2009
Finally made it to Westvleteren heaven after a long wait. Make no mistake, this beer is AWESOME. Hazy brown color with a tan head. Heavenly aroma of dark fruits, sweet malt, and Belgian yeast. Flavor is sweet malt, candi sugar, dark fruits, Belgian yeast, and spices. Incredibly full-bodied and smooth on the palate. Gives you an excellent warming sensation. Remember it’s still just a beer though, it won’t transport you to a magical fairyland (the stuff that does that is called "acid" I believe).
esox (1225) - Oulu, FINLAND - FEB 10, 2009
Bottle @ De Kelk, Bruges (thanks Jeroen!) Pours hazy, ruby red to brown. The head is thin but creamy. The aroma is very complex. It is intesively malty with a huge punch of dark fruits (prunes, raisins, riped) and slightly hoppyish and yeasty finish. Alcohol is barely noticable. The flavor also has great complexity. Huge malt character with sweetish fruitness of prunes, dates and candy. It is mostly sweetish and mildly bitter in the finish. The finish is very long and powerful but not alcoholic or unfresh at all. The palate is full bodied, supremely soft and silky. Very rich, complex and perfectly balanced. JCB (3999) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - FEB 9, 2009
11.2oz shared by OldStyleCubFan - thanks, Todd! Whoa, this is a seriously generous dude to bust this bad boy out at the "scrip club" in Winston. The nose is far more grainy and malty than I would have expected. Rich head and prickly carbonation, and very shortly the fig notes emerge along with plums and other related fruits. A truly complex beer with different elements seeming to pinwheel in and out, almost too quickly to process. Top notch, and big thanks again to Todd. dalekliz (923) - New Jersey, USA - FEB 9, 2009
Bottle, sampled at Woodshop Quad, thanks to wetherel for making sure I got some! Pours a muddy brown with a small tan head that fades to a ring. Rich aroma, of malt, dark fruits, and caramel. Very rich taste, of malt, honey, brown sugar, and notes of herbs and pine. Hides the alcohol nicely. Lingering richness. Great carbonation. Awesome. Hank1980 (966) - Athens, Georgia, USA - FEB 7, 2009
UPDATED: OCT 30, 2009 Pours dark brwon, small beige head, some floaties noted. Aroma of dark fruit, sherry, chocolate, sweet malt. Taste is a little sweeter than I expected, with plenty of fruit and some tart bitter notes. Some chocolate and caramel tastes are also present. Finish is a little warming. Mouth is smooth, with light carbonation. Overall, a very nice trappist ale. FlacoAlto (4213) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - FEB 6, 2009
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.
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).