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Westvleteren XII – Beer of the Week: Week 13 2019

Westvleteren XII brewed by the Trappist monks of the Sint-Sixtus Abdij - a Belgian Quadrupel at 10.2%

I bought this bottle of Westvleteren XII at Beereau a few months ago and was waiting for a special occasion to open it. I decided to crack it open so I could use a photo of it as my 100th post on Instagram.

Westvleteren XII is one of the most hyped and revered beers in the world but just in case you haven’t heard of it, here’s why.

It’s a Belgian Qudrupel brewed by the monks of the Sint-Sixtus Abbey in Westvleteren in Belgium. One of the reasons there is so much hype about it is that it’s difficult to get hold of. The monks only brew enough beer to support their community and only sell it direct to customers. The beer can only be collected from the Abbey itself and only by prior appointment. Potential customers have to call the brewery to place an order and find out when the beer can be collected. Those who are lucky enough to get through on the phone may then wait several weeks before they can get their beer. Of course, this all means that Westvleteren XII is particularly desirable to beer lovers and despite strict instructions to the contrary it is sold on for considerably more than cost price.

The beer’s rarity isn’t the only reason that it’s so attractive to beer geeks though. It’s also a damn good beer. On opening the bottle my nose was filled with the smell of hot cross buns. The taste comes pretty close too. It’s full of bread-like flavours, with lots of dried fruit and spices. It’s magically complex and the flavour changes over time as it warms. At 10.2% ABV it’s a potent drop but you wouldn’t guess that when drinking it.

If you can’t get hold of a bottle of Westvleteren XII or don’t want to pay the inflated sell-on prices, St Bernardus Abt 12 comes pretty close flavour-wise. Hardly surprising given the Brouwerij St Berardus used to brew Westvleteren XII and their Abt 12 is brewed to one of the beer’s original recipes.


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