Sunday, 3 April 2011


No Belgian beer blog  would be deemed complete if it didn't contain what is without doubt Belgiums most wanted, most hunted, most desired beer - the infamous Westvleteren 12.

Brewed by the monks at the Trappist Abbey of St Sixtus, situated near Poperinge in West Flanders - they make just three beers, one blonde and two dark, all sold in plain bottles with no labels , each identified by its coloured cap.

Westvleteren Blonde - Green cap 5.8%
Westvleteren 8 - Blue cap 8%
Westvleteren 12 - Gold cap 10.2%

As with all other Trappist breweries, beer is sold to financially support the monastery and for local charitable causes - no advertising is done except for a board outside stating what  beers are available daily.
Sales of the beer are by appointment only (though each person visiting the abbey-owned cafe In de Vrede can purchase six bottles from the gift shop and sample the beer from the bar) Buyers are limited to just two cases of beer per month (for the 12 just one) and these must be ordered on the "beer phone" beforehand, the monks will not sell to individuals chancing their luck who just turn up at the abbey - the reason is to eliminate reselling, the abbey is very much against any resale of their beer, likewise no wholesalers or pubs are supplied with their beer.

Now it's time to taste, carefully uncapping and pouring this piece of heaven produces a hazy dark brown beer with a creamy tan coloured head that slowly fades to a constant ring. Aroma is amazing, even pouring the beer wonderful aromas fill your senses, smooth chocolate, rich dark autumnal fruits and warming alcoholic spices with a sweetness that suggests creme brulee - a beer i could happily sit and sniff all night.

Taste starts caramel sweet with figs, plums and cocoa but then a roasted depth that borders on tobacco appears, creamy smooth and with almost no hint of alcohol...magnificent. Flavours are perfectly balanced and the mouthfeel lightly carbonated - this is a Quad by all others will be judged.

Rated as the worlds best beer and subsequently the worlds most sought after, it is a beer that can rightly wear that crown.  

1 comment:

  1. Great 'thirst making' write-up Jay. Indeed, a Belgian beer blog without Trappist Westvleteren 12 would be like a beer bar without beer.
    Keep up the great beer reporting job Jay !