westvleteren xii gift pack

Blind tasting panel results raise questions around Westvleteren XII ratings

Westvleteren is currently rated second among all beers on BeerAdvocate and is RateBeer’s highest rated.  Yet in a blind test, only one person thought it was the best of just eight beers in its group.  Two of the three highest rated beers in our group get relatively "meh" scores by BeerAdvocates–but they are not boosted by the luster of monks.

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14 thoughts on “Blind tasting panel results raise questions around Westvleteren XII ratings

  1. Well naturally, taste is entirely subjective. I can gauge from the tasting notes I’ve read, Westy XII probably wouldn’t be a brew I’d obsess over, at least in the way the collective internet seems to do. The “best” anything— movie, video game, pillow-top mattress, beer— will always vary depending on the personal preferences of those you ask.

    FWIW, I’ve heard Rochefort 12 has a very similar flavor, and it can be had for substantially less money and hoop-jumping.

  2. Pardon, I got mixed up between Bernadus 12 and Rochefort 10… Those would be the taste-alikes I was referring to.

  3. It’s a victim of its own legend. Surely Westvletern XII is a tasty beer, but a panel discovering that other beers were better isn’t the problem. The idea of any beer being “the best in the world” is the problem, as the definition of “best” is not standardized for the beer drinker’s palate.

  4. It seems that rating sites are good at stratifying beers, i.e. terrible, ok, good, great, but beyond that the top beer is somewhat meaningless.

    That said, if you are expecting the “best beer in the world”, and when you drink it you believe you are experiencing the “best beer in the world” and you enjoy it more so because of the expectation, is that really a bad thing? I would say it’s only a bad thing if you paid a ridiculous amount for the beer, but if it’s justified to the purchaser, who am I to judge?

  5. The thing this article seems to forget is there are almost 1400 ratings for Westy 12 on BA and almost 2300 ratings on RB. A beer doesn’t get close to 4000 rating across two sites and be in the top 2 on accident. How do we know the Westy 12 wasn’t served colder than the rest, how do we know the people sampling weren’t macro beer drinkers, etc, etc. And yes, people do all have different tastes. My father mostly drinks beers by Leinenkugel. I gave him a sip of a Rochefort 10 one time and he didn’t like it. So, this test really proves nothing but the one thing I will say is I could pick the Westy out of the group of 20 Belgians blindfolded. Yeah, I’m that good. 🙂

  6. The best beer in the world is whichever one I have in hand I’m about to drink. Ratings are getting out of hand, it’s just beer, ENJOY!!!!

  7. Come on Adam, you’re better than trolling for page views like this.

    But if you’re not, contact me for info on a blind tasting of eight IPAs that I had with friends last weekend. Results were pretty surprising honestly. Russian River’s Pliney the Younger is the number one beer on BeerAdvocate and number four on RateBeer, but the seven month old hand bottle we had was only the favorite of one of the Cicerone Certified Beer Servers in our group!! Five of the four highest rated beers in our tasting received got relatively “This is a [email protected]!$%^ drainpour” scores by BeerAdvocates but they were not boosted by the luster of freshness.

  8. “Come on Adam, you’re better than trolling for page views like this.”

    Don’t understand the logic. So it’s more of a general interest item that has garnered more attention and comments than just about every other ‘news’ item posted today, ok? Sharing content that people are interested in reading and discussing does not equal trolling for page views. You’ll know that I’m doing that when I introduce one-item-per-page slideshows for top ten stouts to drink this winter & similar garbage.


  9. So, Michael, you’re drinking a 7-month old Pliny The Younger and only one person rates it as a favorite? Do you have any idea what a triple IPA is? Do you understand the most basic concept of what happens to hops over time?

    Oh, right, that’s what I thought.

  10. I think the issue with most people regarding Westvletern Abt 12 is how one bottle is amazing and the next is merely very good.

    In 2006 I had a bottle of 1999 WAbt12 and it blew my mind. I’ve never had a beer as incredible, interesting and crazy as that beer. The flavors kept rushing past my tongue for nearly a minute after every sip. A stunning, unbelievable beer. Hands-down the best beer I’ve ever had. Nothing’s even close; and I never thought I’d say that about one beer.

    The next beer I had was a bottle of 2000 WAbt12.

    It was a very nice belgian-style quad; nothing like the one from the year before.

    Thus, I completely understand the two, radically different opinions of Westvletern Abt 12. Both are valid, it just depends on which one you’ve had.

  11. Attended a Trappist Beer dinner featuring Westy 12, probably ranked 4th or 5th out of the night for me. I would take Achel Bruin, Rochefort 10, and Westmalle Tripel over Westy12 any day.

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