The Westy 12

Anyone who knows and loves good beer has probably heard of the Westvleteren Trappist 12 before. It's almost always rated as the top beer in the world by beeradvocate, Ratebeer, etc. I've never had the good fortune of having this beer until last week.

It's incredibly hard to come by since the Trappist monks only sell the beer at its Monastery gate and the inn next door. In 2009, sale of this beer was limited to one case per person. The monks brew just enough to sustain their small monastery so the beer is incredibly hard to come by.

It is the only Trappist brewery left where the monks do all of the brewing.

The bottles come plain like this with no labels at all.

The only information about the beer comes on the cap.

The number 12 doesn't refer to the ABV but to the number of weeks of maturation. That being said this is still a hefty beer ranging between 10.5 and 11.5% abv.

We weren't sure what kind of glass to use but we figured a Chimay glass would give it some good breathing room.

It poured a dark amber with very little bubbles on the head that clung to the glass and hung around on the side. I took a whiff and smelled a little bit of caramel, yeast and a slight smell of cognac.

This beer is pretty thick. I did a few swirls of my glass and the wonderful foamy twists stayed right where they were.

Then I took a sip...Wow.

At first it tasted slightly like a Rochfort 10 with that fruity woody tone but the finish was much different. Incredibly smooth and almost a little sweet on the end. It was absolutely lovely.

This beer is incredibly creamy, almost velvet in texture and honestly quite unbelievable in taste. Each sip seemed to elicit something new. A little bit a banana, a hint of raisins, each sip more tasty than the last. Those monks really know what they're doing.

With the abv so high I had quite a nice buzz at the end of this beer. Was it the best beer I've ever had? I'm not sure but it is definitely high up there. If this wasn't so hard to get (or so expensive) I would be enjoying a lot more of these. If you ever have the chance to try this beer, don't pass up the opportunity. Enjoy every minute of it.