The famous Westvleteren 12. I finally got my hands on it at my local pub Kuikka, after learning that they had secured a small batch. No secret handshakes were required this time, as Saint Sixtus Abbey has released a small amount out to the market, for the first time. As I understand, this is because the abbey is in need for some extra income in order to repair their roof. Six packs of this precious nectar with two tasting glasses are now available in limited quantities, and it seems that my local pub acquired a few of those. Normally you can only buy the beer at the abbey in Belgium in person and after a phone reservation — in unbranded bottles. So, needless to say, it’s a beer that’s very hard to come by, not least because it’s praised as one of the best, if not the best beer in the world. Well, as is often the case with such hype, I had my doubts. But I felt that I must get my hands on some. Without further ado, here are my tasting notes.
Appearance: Black but not fully opaque, light ruby hue. Pours a one finger dense head. It is quite beautiful. 4.5/5
Aroma: Molasses, liquorice, medicinal characteristics and sweetness. 4.5/5
Taste: Dominated by rich and malty molasses. It’s very sweet, with medicinal flavour and cough syrup stickiness. Warming alcohol all the way through. Like rich fruit cake. 4/5
Mouthfeel: Fairly heavy body, oily, rather light on the carbonation. 4.5/5
Overall: Well, I wouldn’t miss the chance, even if it did cost me 19,5 EUR! It’s obviously a great beer, but I personally prefer Rochefort 10 — this is just too sweet for me. It would go well with a rich chocolate dessert or fruit cake and it’s fitting for Christmas time. Not worth the insane price tag though. I do feel that the praise for this beer is partly just due to the difficulty in obtaining it. But it is one of those beers that you just have to try. I wasn’t disappointed — I’m giving it a very high score after all — but it’s not something that I would travel all the way to Belgium for. 4.5/5