Trappist Westvleteren – Belgium
Westvleteren 12 – 10.2% ABV
Belgian Quadrupel (Quad). This bottle was provided courtesy of Marty C. and Steve C. Aged 5 years.
Most people who follow craft beer know the name: Westy. Does any other beer hold such a revered/famous/infamous reputation? Let’s find out if it’s worth the hype…
This Westy was shared one evening to help a friend check the “quality” of the beer. It was 5 years old, and well… you never know…
The beer poured a burnt red color with some brown highlights. A very small head formed on the first pour, and it quickly receded to nothing. There were some yeast floaters in the glass, but that’s to be expected when a beer is 5 years old. They didn’t bother me while I sipped.
Westy had an aroma that was full of dark fruits like raisins and dates. Also lots of malt with some roasty notes and a bit of molasses. There was also a hint of toffee in the back of the sip. I also sensed an Earthy aroma.
The flavor was fruity and sweet. I was expecting more complexity, but it excelled at the one-note show: caramel malt and dark fruit flavors. The alcohol appeared in the finish and warmed the mouth slightly. The aging definitely helped the alcohol mellow out a lot! When I tasted this beer fresh, the alcohol was more forward.
The mouth feel was light to medium bodied with almost no carbonation. The carbonation was certainly a casualty of the serious aging, as a fresh bottle was crazy with effervescence. I did realize that the beer thicken up a bit as it aged. I remember the fresh bottle being very light-bodied.
As for the drinkability, it was off-the-chart good because this beer was so balanced. There wasn’t any overpowering bitterness, but just a hint. It was sweet, but not too sweet. The alcohol was present, but only in the finish and greatly mellowed. A truly balanced beer.
As one of the rarest beers in the U.S., this beer was truly amazing. Also, the extra years helped make it even more balanced. And for the record, it’s fantastic fresh, but it’s almost a different beer with 5 years of age. It was awesome!
I do believe Westvleteren 12 is one of the best beers in the world. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.