Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Trappist Westvleteren XII

I have a friend who lives in Belgium. Belgium has some of the oldest, most outstanding breweries in the world. Of course, a lot of the beer brewed in the good ol' USofA is nothing to shake a stick at either.

I've known this fellow for quite a few years and it never occurred to me to do a beer swap with him. Not until one day a package arrived from Belgium. A mangled package marked !FRAGILE! (must be Italian). Inside said package was three bottles - two intact and one horribly shattered. They were bottles of - drumroll please - Trappist Westvleteren 12 (AKA Westy 12) and Trappist Westvleteren Blonde. Sadly the broken bottle was a Westy 12.

Somehow I managed to hold off drinking them until a special occasion. I figure New Year's Eve was a good enough reason to bust into them.

The bottles are as they are distributed from the monastery; an embossed brown bottle with no label and only the cap to distinguish which beer is inside.

The humble, understated package belies the magnificence contained within.

I don't go in for hype. I choose to rely on my own experiences rather than the submit to the opinions of the masses.

However . . .

This is a beer that truly lives up to it's reputation. It may actually be the greatest beer on earth. It may have spoiled me for any other. Seriously, I had four different beers after the Westy 12 and all of them were a letdown. I'm ruined. Ruined, I say, for other beers.

Westvleteren XII (10.20% ABV) is brewed by Brouwerij Westvleteren; a monastic brewery that has been in continuous production since 1838.

It pours a muddy reddish brown with a medium dense, quickly dissipating cap of foam that clings to and slides down the side of the glass but leaves no real lacing behind.

The aroma is remarkable. It has a sharp wine-like nose and lovely yeastiness. Very appealing and kind of sexy.

The taste is malt forward with a wine characteristic that teases the back of the palate in a way that is smelled more than tasted. Dark fruit, yeast, and grain build the flavor profile.  There is a mild booziness that isn't a distraction but only serves to add additional depth and complexity. The finish is warm and lingering.

The mouth feel is full and smooth. Low carbonation with a warm, tingly alcohol sensation.

Trappist Westvleteren XII is a wonderful mosaic of flavors. Balanced and engaging. It is as close to beer perfection that I've experienced.

Overall: Sublime

Read my review of Trappist Westvleteren Blond  here.

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