1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Trappist Westvleteren Special 6 - Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)

Not Rated.
Trappist Westvleteren Special 6Trappist Westvleteren Special 6

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

58 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 58
Reviews: 45
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 12.68%
Wants: 101
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Dark Ale |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

(Red Cap)

(Beer added by: TheLongBeachBum on 03-31-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 58 | Reviews: 45 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by davod23:
Photo of davod23
5/5  rDev +19.6%

davod23, Dec 12, 2011
More User Reviews:
Photo of pwoods
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to WeeHeavySD on RB for sharing this gem while I was in San Diego.

330ml unmarked brown bottle with a red cap poured into a chalice. Vintage 1996.

Pours a light brownish amber color with plenty of light coming through. Still plenty of head with decent retention and some lacing. Smells great. I would easily be able to tell this is a Westy if it was in a blind tasting... as paytoplay put it, "it has that Westvleteren stamp on it". Very well put. Pleasant caramel and light dark fruitiness. No alcohol. Nice soft yeast. Body is medium full and rich. Drinks very easily. Really an awesome beer and I can't believe it's held up.

pwoods, Apr 22, 2010
Photo of ggaughan
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (from 1996) at Akkurat in Stokholm. I had been searching for this beer for awhile and it took a trip to Sweden to find it. Beer poured a deep amber color with a slight haze in the body but fairly clear. The aroma was earthy and a bit scotchy. The taste was sweet, almost port like. This beer appears to have held up very well as there was still a malty character to the beer but no real hop presence as expected. Overall a damn find beer that is worth the cost to me.

ggaughan, Aug 24, 2008
Photo of Mar02x
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

With thanks to BA Brabander, I was able to try this beer. Brabander brought his beer to a tasting organized by Fiona de Lange (the Dutch beer lady).

A - A murky fluid with no head whatsoever.

S - It has got the smell of a sweet sherry.

T - Gone! This beer is long gone! It became sour. Not that I mind though, because of the sweet sherry it is very nice to drink.

M - A very light carbonation, no bitterness.

O - I would love to try one that is still good.

Mar02x, Feb 20, 2012
Photo of UGADawgGuy
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to the legendary generosity of BA Brabander, I had the singular experience of enjoying one of the relatively few remaining bottles of this stuff today. Although there was no date discernible on the slightly rusty bottle cap (or anywhere else), I was told that this beer was probably bottled in 1986, if I remember correctly. That would make it approximately 25 years old at the time I tried it...and it's apparently been stored AT WESTVLETEREN ABBEY the entire time. This is a truly incredible find.

Appearance: Just what I would expect of a Belgian dark ale, minus any hint of carbonation. I have to attribute that to the beer's extended age, and from that standpoint, it's not a big deal. When poured into a generic trappist-style chalice and held up to the light, Special 6 is a uniformly murky mahogany color with an unusually clear, shallow "watery" layer floating at the very top. Again, I'd attribute that to the beer's age and carbonation loss.

Smell: Now we're getting somewhere. I'm a well-known malt aficionado, which means I favor beers on the sweet side of the spectrum. And, man, this beer has that in spades (no doubt due in part to its age). A whiff of this stuff conjures up memories of the first time I ever tried vintage Schneider Aventinus, which is one of my two all-time favorite beers. I get honey, amber-doppelbock-style malt, and faint hints of toffee and Tootsie Rolls. If that sounds bad, ignore it; it's meant to be a compliment. This beer smells GREAT, especially considering its extended age and relatively low ABV. While I do pick up some sherry-like notes, the telltale odor of oxidation is absent -- I guess I got lucky in this regard, based on what I see in other relatively recent reviews.

Taste: Absolutely unique, in my experience...and absolutely flawless. This is on par with the very best foods and beverages I've tried during the course of my lifetime. Sweet-yet-subtle honey, milk chocolate, toffee, and mildly earthy clay are united in a cohesive masterpiece. I've got to be honest -- since this low-ABV beer is as old as it is, I went into this prepared for the scattered, incongruous mess most such beers would be at this point. Instead, I was met with perfection. Incredible.

Mouthfeel: While excusable due to age, Special 6's mouthfeel is sorely lacking in the carbonation necessary to support its flavor. Put simply, this beer is flat, save for a faint rumor of prickliness on the back of the tongue with each swallow. Oh, to have had this beer ten years ago...but, then, its flavor and aroma may very well not have been this coalescent back then, and I know I wouldn't have been ready to appreciate it at age 22. At any rate, the mouthfeel is clearly this beer's weakest suit, 25 years after bottling. This is not a surprise.

Overall: I feel a little bit strange giving a 4.5 overall score to a beer whose mouthfeel merited only a 2.0, but in the greater context of the beer's age and stellar delivery in other areas, I believe it warrants a near-perfect overall score. This beer's flavor alone makes it possibly the best beer I've ever tried, and I can't attribute its lack of carbonation to some flaw in its construction. This is a masterfully crafted beer, as evidenced by its incredibly long shelf life and aging curve at such a low ABV.

If you like malty/sweet beers and can get your hands on a bottle of this stuff, I would recommend doing so at almost any cost. To have what is now one of the most elusive and lesser-known beers from one of the world's most expert breweries has been a once-in-a-lifetime treat, and it's one you should have, too. I owe Brabander big-time for this...one of my all-time finest beer-drinking experiences.

Truly incredible!

UGADawgGuy, Jul 03, 2011
Photo of Beertracker
5/5  rDev +19.6%

Beertracker, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of basica
4.97/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Trappist Westvleteren 6 (VINTAGE 1998) (Rating 10/10) - 6.2 ABV - 28 September 2007

This one is none other than my toughest find in the world of beers; not only is it the revered Westvleteren, it is a Westvleteren Special 6 from 1998 which is its last year of brew. A mighty THANK YOU to one of my Belgian beer friend, Christelle, for getting this for me. I know that
folks have yearned for this much sought after red cap and I myself had went through much before finally getting to Christelle who managed to get me 2 bottles straight from the Kulminator in Antwerp and have it shipped thousands of miles to Singapore into my very arms! It's a true godsend and now with the rambling out of the way, lets get down to reviewing this great beer. The bottle was capped tight and I had some trouble cracking it open; when I did an immediately vinous aroma flows out; I poured it carefully into my Abdij St Sixtus chalice. The Special 6 pours out a dark brown color with a thick head with good retention; a good looking bouquet. The smell was like some sort of a pie or sweet pastry with a good amount of breadiness; lot's of sweetness packed in it. Of course aged vinous aromas with dark fruits also form part of the aroma; a very good and sweet smelling beer. It is now all set for me to take my first sip. It has a strong taste of aged dark fruits which includes plums, dates, raisins, berries with a light bready malt backing. The sweet pie like nature was only very subtle. The finish was dry, slightly bitter, and it leaves strong vinous dark fruity, floral and sweet malty aromas on the nose; very nice. The after taste started off with strong dark fruit tastes ranging from dates, plums to raisins and a slight bit of pie or pastry sweetness; some malts on the nose and palates too. Also on the nose as the after taste lingers is a nice everlasting fruity floral aroma. The after taste then then becomes more of grapes and raisins with the familar aged vinous tastes; a very lasting after taste which concludes like a fruity tasting candy. The mouthfeel was slightly creamy and the body was between medium to full but what surprised me was how well the carbonation held up over the years and was still at such a
good level. It was generally light and refreshing and definitely very smooth drinking as I drank up the last few mouthful. The taste of the Westvleteren Special 6 was generally reminiscent of most well-aged Belgian Dark Ales; I am not sure if the very well aged 1984 La Trappe Dubbel which threw me off was better than this but both are great beers for sure. I went to great lengths to get this beer and probably I am very slightly disappointed as I intended that this is going to be my top beer but I believe it is still under the blue and gold cap slightly; though I rate it very well on BA. However it is within my top 3 beers and I still have 1 more bottle. I will try to have Christelle get me a few more bottles of this wonderous brew.

basica, Sep 27, 2007
Photo of trappistlover
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(11.2 oz bottle courtesy of Alpar!) I’m still very humbled that he included this in our last trade! Many, many thanks for sending one of my major whales. Pours cloudy caramel with an off-white head (I got the bottom of the bottle). Aroma has candied sugar, caramel and some port-like notes. Taste is sweet reminiscent of tootsie roll/chocolate. Thin bodied with oily texture. The finish was quite smooth. This beer held up marvelously for its age

trappistlover, Apr 23, 2011
Photo of hanlonrn
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

hanlonrn, Jul 10, 2012
Photo of claaark13
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks for having a birthday Cam, that was nice of you.
Poured into a Delirium snifter. Thanks THIJS for being the root of this bottle, and thanks to the "one" that gave it to Cam.

A - Ruby, light lacing with bubbles. The lacing is nice, especially with consideration that it is 25 years old. It actually looks nice as it is if the age isn't considered.

S - Malts....yeah, malts....light breadiness and a little bit of sweetness. The aroma is quite potent for the age. Slight amount of dark fruits. I'd say that the fruits are like a small amount of fresh cherries. Not artificial cherries, but some fresh black cherries. Maybe it is the sweetness mixed with the bready malts, who really knows? Very nice no matter how you slice it.

T - Muted breadiness, then some missing flavors in the middle, then a very dry finish. The middle is a slight cherry on top of muted bread. The end is almost like taking a bit of a green apple but without any sourness. The middle is just missing some flavor that I think would be more evident in a 90's version of this beer.

M - Certainly carbonated. Light, drinkable. Appropriate for what it is. I watched Cam drink the dregs...I bet that was nice.

O - Good, old, enjoyable. There was less of a cobweb/cellar/dust flavor in this one than other +15 year old beers I've had, with few exceptions. I also didn't get as much oxidation as expected. When it comes down to it, this bottle is rare as can be. I'd ONLY pass on it because I know that would give the next person a chance to try it. However, if someone offered me a 90's version of the bottle, I'd go for it. I think the later bottles (90's) are probably more flavorful in the middle.

claaark13, Oct 29, 2011
Photo of eric5bellies
4.95/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drank at Kulminator, Antwerp 98 vintage from a st sixtus chalice

A - Pours a nice deep mahogany colour with a an off white two fingered head that stays the distance, amazing

S - Port, toasted bread and raisins. Very pronounced.

T - Wow, this beer has held up amazingly well, the yeast and raisins are very evident still with a little port like flavours as well. The finish is so smooth and not boozy at all.

M - the carbonation is almost all there with the body medium. Smoothness is impressive.

O - Although this beer is 13 years old I'm amazed at how well it has held up. So much flavours and complexity still exists in this beer. It's a privalidge to taste masterpieces like this and although a little past it's best I cannot mark it down because it has truly lasted the test of time and for a beer that is only 6.2% that is quite remarkable.

eric5bellies, Sep 29, 2012
Photo of Apophis666
4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ok, here goes my first review, and what a beer it is!

I had the honour to try the Westy Special 6 at Thijs' (Brabander) beer tasting session.

A very nice looking beer (especially concidering it's age) with more carbonation than I expected.
Smell was slightly sour (oxidization) and a bit spicy.
Taste was somewhat sweet and spicy with a slight sour touch.
Even though oxidization as set in, it was still very drinkable and tasty!

Thank you again Thijs for this once in a lifetime opportunity!

Apophis666, Dec 17, 2010
Photo of weeare138
3.55/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Much thanks to egajdzis for this vintage brew from '91.
Appears a dark, hazy chestnut with a small off white head that fades into a small collar. There is no lacing left around the glass.
Smell is of dusty, corky, caramel, brown sugar, with oak, nuts, and dark fruit swirling in there.
Taste is of the same aromas with the yeast jumping out.
Mouthfeel is mildly thin with the yeast standing out amongst everything else along the palate. Starts out sweet on the front of the tongue, fading into a mild dull bitter with a very faint sourness that's hardly noticable. Finishes slightly slick at the swallow.

weeare138, Jun 16, 2006
Photo of DarthKostrizer
4/5  rDev -4.3%

1999 bottle

Look: pours a dark amber with some chocolate colored highlights. No real head but there is some carbonation

Smell: raisin leather brown sugar

Taste: upfront is lots of raisin and that Westy yeast. Some nice undertones of brown sugar chocolate toasted bread. Very very little oxidation

Mouthfeel: thin, very little carbonation slightly sticky

Overall: this beer has stood the test of time. It actually reminded me a little of HotD Matt. It was truly a pleasure to try this beer

DarthKostrizer, Sep 04, 2014
Photo of beerpirates
3.33/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Many thx to Thijs for opening this very rare bottle

Poured into a westy 12 tastingglass

Poured medium-to-deep amber with no head.
The aroma picked up soft, dusty, spicy yeast over well-aged toffee, raisins, and dates The flavor held up as well with some caramel and accents of port , raisins, and faint smoke
Medium-bodied with lower carbonation on the palate..

beerpirates, May 21, 2013
Photo of wyllder
4.97/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled in 1998.

Sampled at the Kulminator in Antwerpen.

Pours a hazy medium brown with a bumpy tan head that disippates after the first few sips.

The nose is incredible. Imagine opening the oven door to remove a loaf of dark fruitbread with nuts, cherries, raisins, and plums. It's warm, dark, fruity and beautiful in its complexity.

The taste follows the nose, comingling dark fruits and yeasty esthers all while maintaining an incredible mouthfeel.

Too bad the monk's stopped brewing this. One local I spoke to in Brugge voiced the opinion the monks had stopped production on this out of a desire to avoid increasing demand. I'm not sure if this theory holds any truth, but I could certainly see why people would have been wanting this delicious beer.

Eric-

wyllder, Sep 26, 2005
Photo of digita7693
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%

digita7693, Dec 15, 2012
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%

ygtbsm94, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of mwbrady12
3/5  rDev -28.2%

mwbrady12, Jul 29, 2013
Photo of Thorpe429
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to drabmuh for acquiring this bottle. Served in a small Westvleteren chalice.

A: Pours a very slightly-hazed amber-copper color with a half-finger white head and just a bit of spotty lacing on the way down.

S: The nose carries a pretty heavy amount of fruit. Slight oxidation plus a bit of cherry and other dark fruits. Almost a touch of melon waiting in the background.

T: The flavor is a bit less traditional. Some melon-type flavor comes through along with a bit of bread and a touch of caramel. Really quite interesting. Maybe a bit of strawberry. There are definitely fruits present, but not in the traditional way. Hard to place.

M: Body is light to medium with good carbonation and a semi-dry finish. Very light bitterness.

O: This has held up fairly well. Good fruit presence and a bit of malt. Assuredly past its prime, but still certainly worth a try.

Thorpe429, Feb 25, 2012
Photo of hopdog
3.63/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared with weeare138 & egajdzis (thanks a ton Eric)!. 1991 vintage. I've looking for this one for a long time and finally, here it is!

This one was a light gusher (shame a couple drops were wasted on the counter top, but I though I saw Eric slurpping the drops up!). Poured a medium and murky brown color with a small sized off white head.

Aromas of dark fruits (plums and cherries), caramel, light cork, and had a light overall mustiness to it. Tastes of the same although they were lighter than the aromas.

Thinner body. Held up amazingly well and its a shame they don't brew this one any more.

hopdog, Aug 30, 2006
Photo of AgentZero
3.63/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Closed out our Epic Chicago Tasting with this one. Provided by me, nothing like being shit-faced at 2 am after 36 beers and then doing one of these rarities for the hell of it.

A - A reddish-brown color, pretty opaque, with a small white head. The head had surpringly decent retention, and faded to a partial cap. Some spot and chunks left on the sides.

S - Carmel, dark fruits, and the usual belgian notes, although this one (for obvious reasons) had a bit of oxidation in there. Surpringly sweet smelling and good for something thi old.

T - Fruity, belgian yeast, little bit of candied sugar, additional dark fruits, and a healthy dose of caramel complete a sweet pallate. The oxidation adds a little souring effect, and there is a little bit of chalk, but it is not horrible. A couple of others who had sampled this before stated this was a much better bottle. Good to hear.

M - Full bodied, slightly less carbonation than I would like, but it is old. Smooth and syrupy, little gritty.

D - Pretty good beer, would have loved to try it in its heyday, but just happy I got to have it.

AgentZero, Feb 22, 2011
Photo of bmwats
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 33 cl bottle, into a tulip.

A: Hay colored. Lots of carbonation. Pours a cascading bubbly head. Settles fairly quickly, but does leave a smattering of bubbles on the surface. Sparse spiderweb lacing.

S: Fresh cut grass and hay. Sourdough.

T: Fresh cut grass, a little honey, bitter rye, and a little bready.

M: Light, crisp, bittersweet finish.

D: Not much resistance. Go for it.

Atmosphere is good. Nice hue, carbonation, and head. Nose is bittersweet and grassy. Flavor is fresh cut flora, with some sweet notes. Overall, this is a really good quaff.

bmwats, Feb 14, 2013
Photo of sideshowe
4/5  rDev -4.3%

sideshowe, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of kojevergas
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown glass bottle with no label and the distinctive Red Westvleteren cap served into a goblet at Akkurat in Stockholm, Sweden, in July 2011. Vintage was 1996, making it roughly fifteen years old. Cost was a brutal 295 SEK (~43 USD at the time). They had to fetch this from the cellar for me, and it was opened pretty carefully. Served fairly cool but not too cold.

Reviewed from detailed notes.

A: Pours a half finger head of brilliant beautiful cream, good thickness, and bad retention for the ABV. The head is white in colour, while the beer is a very appealing dark ruby-black. I can't wait to dive in.

Sm: Cherry, raspberry, strawberry - all light fruit hop esters (as opposed to 'dark' fruit like in the other three Westvleteren beers I've tried). It's a very excellent fruit aroma all around. Refreshing, and evocative of fruli or framboise summer beers. I didn't expect the fruits to smell as bright and pleasant as they do. Amazing, pleasant, and perfect. Incredibly subtle; I think the age has done the aroma well.

T: Creamy foundation with bright fruit ester hops atop. Everything from the nose is present; lots of strawberry dominates. There's a bit of a water note, no doubt from the aging. Structurally, each act is quite brief but impressively flavorful. The climax is bright ester laden. It's brilliantly balanced, ignoring the water (which is easy to do). It's beautifully artfully constructed. Complex and wonderful.

Mf: Masterfully complementary of the flavours of the body. It's a bit vinegary/watery after the climax, but that's not the brewer's fault. It's delicately soft, subtly creamy, and incredibly well suited to the complexity of the taste. Very carefully crafted indeed.

Dr: The obscene price is to be expected. No alcohol comes through. It's a wonderful beer but sadly it seems to be getting steadily worse with time; it probably peaked five years ago. Drink it while you can, because soon it will be shite vinegar (see La Trappe Amber). I've given is a score based on its full character as is now, but I suspect at its peak it was an A- or even an A. Either way, it's fantastic.

[Note that I gave it a B+ at time of review, prior to the new number system coming in. A B+ at that time was 3.76-4.00.]

kojevergas, Dec 26, 2011
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Trappist Westvleteren Special 6 from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
92 out of 100 based on 58 ratings.