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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (2011)
I think it goes without saying that Westvleteren 12 carries a strong reputation as being the World’s finest beer and while that is up to the person drinking it, there is still a significant amount of hype and fanfare that surrounds this beer. This bottle, dated 20.5.14, was bottled on May 20, 2011 as the dating looks 3 years out and is a freshness guide, although let’s face it, a quad of this quality can age gracefully for decades. Westy 12 pours a fantastic burgundy brown with nice hints of light amber and caramel brown. A nice big 3 finger tannish, bone colored head sits atop the beer that has pretty decent retention, leaves behind a lot of film atop the beer and around the glass, but also yields a fair amount of soapy lacing. The aroma is wonderful, lots of tart dark fruit, cherries, plums, some prune, that is balanced with some caramel sweetness that also brings out some brown sugar and a bit of the alcohol, but in a nice smooth way rather than something more abrasive and hot. Lastly, there is a great amount of that famous Belgian yeast in the nose that really ties everything together. The flavors are exceptionally complex, nice raisiny start that gets very bready right away, the yeast really comes out and with it, come a variety of wonderful flavors. Tart notes of cherry, plum and dark grape, some smokey tobacco and leathery flavors, some brown sugar, alcohol and caramel also come around at the end that gives the beer a nice smooth sweet finish. Every sip yields more flavor, more complexity and enhances the overall experience. The body is great, higher than expected carbonation, but still big, thick, and smooth, yet finishes quite dry.
Verdict: Simply sublime. I may not consider it the best beer in the world, but it has earned its reputation as one everyone should make a point to try in their lifetime. The flavors are balanced so well and have seemingly endless complexity, definitely worth the effort to get. (4.73/5)
Had it and loved it. Truly an amazing beer.
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