Beer: Trappist Westvleteren 12
Brewery: Abbey of St. Sixtus, Westvleteren (Belgium)
The 8 led things off with all the flair and pizazz of a young Rickey Henderson, and quickly stole my heart. But all I've heard is that while the 8 is terrific, the 12 is a godlike brew, suitable to be served at the finest keggers on Mt. Olympus. The hype and anticipation for this brew concerned me a great deal; just before opening the bottle, I had to keep everything in check. Forget where this brew came from and what it represents, and just focus on the taste. A difficult challenge indeed.
Poured into a Duvel goblet. A nice, murky chestnut brown colour, with a slight reddish tinge. A billowing pile of off-white head sat upon the brew and refused to leave. By the end of the bottle, there was still a thick ring and scads of lacing. A terrific looking brew.
Great nose to it as well: raisins, booze, candied fruit, chocolate, all sorts of goodies. Not quite as potent and rich as 8 (which I will inevitably be comparing this to, despite being different styles), but still terrific.
A great quad, rich and spicy, with those same fruit notes (raisin, dry white wine, raspberry), spices, a bit of chocolate, warming alcohol and a drying finish. Exceptional stuff, really enjoying this.
Tart carbonation, but coats the tongue well and leaves a nice slick feel. The booze stings ever so slightly.
Gotta put the 8 a hair above this brew, but damn is it close. I think it comes down to personal preference - I prefer dubbels to quads or tripels (I'd make a lousy figure skater) as a general rule. However, I do enjoy a fine quadrupel, and this is most certainly among the top of its class.