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

Not Rated.
Trappist Westvleteren Special 6Trappist Westvleteren Special 6

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

46 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 46
Hads: 62
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.78%
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:
Beer added by: TheLongBeachBum on 03-31-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

(Red Cap)
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 46 | Hads: 62
Photo of beerpirates
3.34/5  rDev -19.7%
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.. (365 characters)

Photo of cpetrone84
3.45/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had at Akkurat. Pour is slightly murky brown with ruby red edges and a light tan head. The nose has tons of sweetness, loads of raisin, caramel malt, syrupy dark berries. The taste is more balanced but also less bright. Seems a touch oxidized, raisins and caramel are most dominant, syrupy dark fruits almost artificial berry-like, flavor thins out in the finish. Full bodied, very thin finish, syrupy texture on the tongue, light carb and slightly oily. (454 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
3.46/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

1998 vintage, served in a goblet.

A - Well, it still looks good - Poured with a finger of off-white foam that dissipated to a solid cap and thick ring. Murky orange-raisin color.

S - The smell is...not what I was expecting. Peppery spice, earthy, wet dog, super vinous, starting to go a little lacto-sour. As it warms a little more of the original flavor comes out with some candy sugar, Belgian yeast, etc.

T - Taste is less funky, with more oxidized Belgian dark character to it. It's actually a little bit bland.

M - Carbonation is still good, feel is quite appropriate to style. Some nice dryness in the finish.

D - I was happy to try 4oz, but this is way past its prime. Still it was interesting, and not all that bad. (729 characters)

Photo of spdyfire83
3.52/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

307th Review
33cl bottle poured into Crooked Stave tulip
Mid/late-90's, I gather from discussions with the individual who passed this my way. Cheers!

I shared this at a random Wednesday afternoon tasting at Crooked Stave (thanks Chad for welcoming us!) as part of "December to Remember - 2012". Drank alongside Westvleteren Dubbel, amongst others.

A: Light brown. Quarter, (tan) fingernail, bubbly head on medium pour. More carbonated than its brethren!

S: Notes of dark fruit, raisin, light brown sugar, and breadiness. Touch of mild cherry here too.

T: Hidden cherry starts things off followed by soft dark fruit, caramel, and cardboard. Touch of sour too and I know this thing is past its prime.

M: Medium/full bodied with soft (nearly flat) carbonation.

O: Surprisingly bad and over-the-hill. Quite strange to me considering this bottle is younger than the Red Cap. I find it amazing that the lower ABV withstood time more resiliently than this. Granted they are different styles, but they generally have the same characteristics in my opinion. My recommendation, do not bend-over-backwards to get this. (1,113 characters)

Photo of weeare138
3.57/5  rDev -14.2%
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. (608 characters)

Photo of jrallen34
3.57/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I had this from the bottle into a Westy glass at Akkurat. Very excited to try this! Dated 10 22 2000, so this is a 1995 bottle.

The beer pours with light carbonation a very dead beer showing off its age. Its light clearish brown with hints of amber, almost see through. Light tan head only rises about half a finger and is gone right away, light lacing. There is at least half a centimeter of dark yeast at the bottom.. The aroma is super nice and complex, totally mellowed out over the time. Has really muted the sugar and alcohol that presents in the regular westy. Shows off tons of caramel and dark fruits, its sweet but very nice...The taste is sadly a huge let down, clearly anything 1995 or older is well past its prime. The taste is really muted only shows off a little dark fruit then from there all chalk and alcohol. Its really really bad...The feel actually is pretty good, but could hardly finish a bottle that was split.

This is one of those white whales that is all about the chase. Its past its prime and not worth getting now. Wish I could have had one in its day and give it the proper review it probably deserves. (1,134 characters)

Photo of kappldav123
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The bottle looks really good. No label - which brewery can do that? The beer is quite dark, not much foam. Starts spicy, a little bit woody, also a bit earthy. The finish is almost a bit vapid, for a short moment spicy again. I think the beer is already a bit over its top.

Big thanks to yespr for the bottle! (310 characters)

Photo of Overlord
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks, Masterski!

Pours a hazy, orange-ish brown. Surprisingly large off-white head.

Smells. ... funky? Some interesting spices, pepper, and ... cloves? Some malt in there.

Taste-wise, this is clearly at the ass-end of the drinkable spectrum. If you're sitting on these, drink them now.

Spices, pepper, dark, sweet malt, and a bit of a mineral earthy quality to it. As it warms, it sweetens a bit, and the spices fade.

Surprisingly bubbly. (446 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
3.61/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1998 vintage. Thanks Masterski. Consumed on 10/10/2009 with Masterski and Overlord. The beer appears dark red with a huge creamy white head.

The nose is very earthy with some bready malt and a clove-like spiciness. There are some mineral notes as well.

The taste is rather funky with a strong earthy presence. I get some mineral, plastic, and spicy clove. The malt is sweet and bready. The finish is very dry with bready malt and a lingering mineral flavor. (459 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
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. (1,090 characters)

Photo of hopdog
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
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. (615 characters)

Photo of beerdrifter
3.71/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Got this from my good friend Thijs! Murky dark brown pour with a quickly fading one finger off-white head with minimal lacing. The nose is very malty with lots of raisins and dates along with brown bread, toffee, and yeast. The taste is dominated by sweet dark fruits, specifically raisins, dates, and plum. Hints of brown bread, leather, toast, toffee, almond, and some Port on the finish. The mouthfeel is somewhat thin and very sweet with very little carbonation and a nearly flat finish. Overall, this beer is probably not tasting as it was intended due to probable oxidation, but nonetheless interesting. Thanks again to Thijs for giving me the opportunity to try it! (679 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.76/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A huge thanks to drabmuh for sharing this whale of a beer with us on his birthday.

The beer is orange hued, displaying a thick, lasting head that coats the chalice with a sheet of lacing.

The aroma offers malt, butterscotch, basement, rain water, canteloupe. Interesting. It does smell old...like a monk's closet.

The flavor was decent, especially given the age of the beer. Interesting to say the least. Dank basement, melons, butterscotch, caramel malt.

I was really impressed with the mouthfeel. Perfect carbonation and silky smooth on the palate.

Overall, what an experience. Thanks Matt! (599 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
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. (881 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 02/25/12 notes. Bottle shared by drabmuh at his birthday tasting; thanks Matt, was very excited to try this one. Tried in line with a 25 year old bottle of Westy 8, a relatively newer Westy 8, and a Westy 12.

a - Pours a murky mahogany brown color with one inch of off white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of fruity malts, raisins, dark fruits, a little musty, bready malts, light caramel. Smell is sweet and a little oxidized, but still very nice.

t - Tastes of dark fruits, raisins, sugar, fruity malts, earthy notes, more musty then the nose, sweet. A step down from the nose and oxidized again.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Pretty easy to drink.

o - Overall a nice beer but a bit oxidiized and I'd guess a bit past its prime. Taste was a little too sweet for me. Very cool to try and was better then the 25 year old Westy 8, but didn't compare to the fresher Westy 8 and Westy 12. I'd suggest drinking yours now if you've got one left. (976 characters)

Photo of Mar02x
3.91/5  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. (462 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
3.92/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This has been a long time coming, a personal "whale" of mine, drinking a Westvleteren 6 out of a Westvleteren goblet...doesn't get much more "baller" than that in my mind. I loved this experience.

Beer is amber to brown with a slight haze, almost no head, low carbonation, no lacing, no retention.

Aroma is sweet, almost cherry like, mild sherry notes, thin, perhaps a bit oxidized.

Beer is sweet, bright on the palate, not funky at all, drinking pretty nicely, mild notes of oxidation on the palate, a strong finish on the beer overall. I enjoyed it and if possible I'd have it again. (588 characters)

Photo of bmwats
3.94/5  rDev -5.3%
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. (572 characters)

Photo of DarthKostrizer
4/5  rDev -3.8%

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 (500 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
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.] (2,245 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark amber brown. This seems to be on the tail end of it's life of drinkability, but it still works enough to enjoy. There are tones of chalk on hearty leafy edges. More hearty than I would have guessed. Still after 14 years it's nice. And I don't think the rarity of this one is skewing my judgement. (315 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The old, retired Westvleteren 6 - Red Cap. This is one of those beers you hear about in fairy tales, myths and ledgends, but don't really believe it exists. Well, thanks to Brabander and the monks at St. Sixtus, we got to see it with our own eyes.

Part of an amazingly fun tasting at Babander's place last night, which included five Westvleteren beers, two of which have long been retired. The tasting included the 12, 8, blond, Special 6 - red cap, as well as the Extra - light blue cap, which isn't even listed on the site. Thanks heaps for the fun filled day Thijs!

From a bottle into a small tulip.
Vintage: Early 90's.
Note: Reviewed this as an aged beer.

APPEARANCE: Pours a medium sized, off-white head with pretty good retention. Reddish-brown in color, cloudy, with medium carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a decent wisp, leaving some decent lacing down the glass. For almost twenty years, it looks wonderful still.

SMELL: Touch of caramel malt, with some fruity notes in there. Mostly red fruits; raspberries are apparent. Some spicy yeast aromas, as well as off, sour notes unfortunately. Oxidization is definitely starting to play a role, though it is still holding up.

TASTE: Caramel malt and red fruit again. Some spicy notes, such as coriander and thyme, along with the yeasty flavors. Definitely starting to sour as well, but it's not too far along yet. Aftertaste is bold and lingering, with spicy, yeasty notes and some sour tones from the oxidization.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Lighter on the palate, though still nice and creamy, goes down fine and finishes relatively dry. Has held up really well here.

OVERALL: At this point the beer is starting to oxidize, and it is most likely quite different than it was ten years ago, let alone when it was first brewed. If you've got a bottle, I'd suggest opening it sooner rather than later. That said, this was a real treat, and probably the most exciting experience I've had in the world of beer. Besides the fact that this is one of the rarest beers that is still somewhat attainable, it is also one of the better aged beers of this ABV that I've had. Twenty years at 6.2% is no joke, and despite the effects of age, this one held up pretty well indeed. It was the hit of the tasting and everyone had positive things to say about it. Definitely still worth tracking down and drinking if you're interested in aged beer. I'm very glad to have had the chance to try it while it is still possible. Thanks again Thijs, for the beer experience of a lifetime. (2,558 characters)

Photo of gory4d
4.09/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Will for this one. Shared with my wife.

Pours a dark brown with a lot of white foam that doesn't quite turn into a head. Sort of russet around the edges. The smell is faint leather, some plum, a little wood. It's quite sweet, really, reminding me of a mild cola; lots of melon and fruit, with some rich undertones of tobacco. It's quite effervescent, but creamy at the same time - very pleasant. A nice treat that I'm glad I was able to try. (452 characters)

Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

1986 vintage. Thanks Cam!

A. Pours brown with amber with just a touch of a head.

S. Smells of raisin, hints of caramel/toffee

T. Raisin is the most prominent. The toffee is not as prominent as in the nose.

M. Very thin with low level of carbonation.

D. Delicious, but definitely suffers a bit from the age. Can't believe I got to try this one. Awesome! (357 characters)

Photo of PapaEugene
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The highlight of another beertasting with rvdoorn. The retired and aged Westvleteren 6. A 1996 vintage.

A: Lightbrown/orange color with a lightbrown head.

S: My first impression was vintage kriek like Cantillon or Boon. Cherries, woody and some red wine.

T: Roasted malts, red fruits, woody, cloves. Slightly bitter and even some liquorisch in the finish.

M: Medium carbonation but rather fast oxidation. A medium body.

D: A unique beer that probably is over its top. HIghly enjoyable nevertheless. (503 characters)

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Trappist Westvleteren Special 6 from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
91 out of 100 based on 46 ratings.