Sunday, 16 April 2017

Westvleteren 12

Origin: Belgium | Date: 2012 | ABV: 10.2% | On The Beer Nut: December 2007

This bottle of Westvleteren 12 was not captured in the wild, acquired instead via the brick-shaped six-packs that the brewery released in 2012 as a one-off fund-raising effort. When I got it open I was surprised by the lack of head on my glassful, I don't remember that being a feature of the beer. The flavour is still undimmed, however: it still has all the complexities that made this beer so famous.

So, it's a prune-like bitterness up front, then a Christmas pudding cakey sweetness, replete with citrus peel, sweet juicy raisins and lashings of spiritous booze. Wholesome and clean, yet heavy and a little bit dirty. It's an absolute beaut, but...

I'm really not tasting what four and a half years of cellaring has done to this. There's not even a trace of oxidation, which is kind of the baseline of ageing beer. The subtle fruit notes haven't diminished and there's no extra emphasis on the weighty malt or heady alcohol either. I don't think I've ever had a beer of such high quality cause me to shrug.

If you're still sitting on most of a brick you can leave it alone for now. It's not getting worse but I'm not sure if it's going to get any better either.

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