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Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII) - Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)

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Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII)Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII)

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1,791 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,791
Reviews: 774
rAvg: 4.48
pDev: 8.26%
Wants: 1,280
Gots: 303 | FT: 21
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) visit their website

Style | ABV
Dubbel |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-03-2001

(Blue Cap)
View: Beers (3) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,791 | Reviews: 774
Reviews by MrNuggets:
Photo of MrNuggets
4.3/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Kind of funny that this beer has traveled more than the majority of my friends and family. She started off in Belgium, acquired directly from the source. A nice bed of foam and bubble wrap was made for her and her big sister in my backpack. I was determined to get them home safely, but with an entire month of wayfaring ahead of me I was uncertain if they would make it.

She road comfortably north into the Netherlands, where we lounged in world famous cafes and picnicked in Vondelpark. South to Paris for a night on the town before jumping on a train bound for the Cote d’Azur. The beaches of Nice were a wonderful change of place for that dreary old monastery. A rickety old plane took her to visit some friends in Germany. Boring, flavorless friends in comparison to her. She was soon ready to go home. She grabbed at the chance to return to the French Riviera for one last glimpse at the those beautiful beaches and a final day in the sun.
Her return to Belgium was a sad one, she knew she would never return again.

The US customs agent was amazed by my tales of beer made by monks, "Holy smokes", he said "it's blessed beer!"
How right he was, for the top to this fine brew was just popped using a papal bottle opener blessed by non other than JPII himself.

My efforts paid off, my favorite chalice now holds a dark brown liquid topped with a creamy tan head. Held high to the midnight sun shining through my windows she shows deep ruby. A lasting head releases odors of all things dark and delicious. The smells are remembered as subtle once I begin sipping. Dense flavors dig deep into all corners of my mouth. Leaving unmatched richness lingering above, beneath, along and probably inside every last one of my taste buds. Although hefty, my chalice drains quickly.

How wonderful that such a little piece of Belgian culture can find its way all the back to Alaska and be enjoyed with almost as much splendor as when it was had at De Vrede.

More User Reviews:
Photo of BEERchitect
4.78/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The pleasure to enjoy this magical beer at the Cambrinus Restaurant in Brugge in complement to a fine late lunch is as welcome in my memory bank as profound as any I have had in all my beer drinking days.

As the beer pours into the challice, the carbonation errupts and threatens to overtak the rim. But alas, it settles into a creamy and rocky set of tightly and loosely knit foam with tremendous staying power and intricate lace to boot. The beer underneath is a dark garnet with lavender highlights carrying a modest yeasty haze. The beer just exudes prowessness.

Delicate and succulent aromas provide a candied fruit scent of powdered sugar, ripe grape, light sherry wines, cahsews, honey, mild chocolate and toast. A mild spicy note that seems somewhat of wine, wood, dried orange peel, and peppercorn come to life just as the first sip is taken.

The taste envelops the mouth, coating it with the taste of powdered sugar, dry malt, red wine, candied grapes, nuts, berries, and the background note of dried pitted fruits like dates and figs. Very well balanced with dry malt tannin, spicy peppercorn, and slight citrus- this beer captures wave after wave of flavor combination with exquisit balance and finesse.

Soft and expansive textures seem to explode in the mouth giving an airy robustness that's somewhat firm and whimsical at the same time. But the beer's ultimate dry and powdery warmth causes it to disolve on the tongue just like cotton candy, and when the beer finishes there's nothing there to swallow- only an impression of dry fruit and spice that lingers softly in aftertaste but easy on the palate and stomach.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.88/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It's time once again to add a little beer to this mug of mine. Since the first addition to the glass was Westvleteren 12, I've decided to keep it in the family and go with Westvleteren 8, the best dubbel on the planet according to those whom I respect and admire.

Pecan shell brown that takes on more of an auburn hue with orange highlights when backlit. The voluminous toast brown head appears frothysoft, but is deceptively firm with a supernatural persistence. This beer is simply beautiful in the glass. Lovely aroma of heavily toasted caramel, dried fruit (apples, figs) steeped in brandy, and spice (cinnamon, allspice). The nose is complex to be sure, although it could be a mite stronger.

Wonderful flavor; delicious. My first impression is that, although there are many flavors to be had in this bottle, the beer is unquestionably a seamless, individual entity. As I drink, I actually have a mental image of a sphere that has multiple and varied components, but is first and foremost a perfectly smooth whole. My first bottle of exceptional wine was an eye opening experience because it introduced me to the concept of what I like to call 'volume'. This beer has an superabundance of volume.

When a beer is this well-crafted, this flavorful, this complex and this nuanced, when it has a body that is at once full and silky smooth, each mouthful seems to completely fill the mouth, to have such a depth and breadth of flavor and body that it expands into three dimensions and push the boundaries of sensation. That, my friends, is the best way that I can devise to describe the loveliness that is Westvleteren 8.

The flavor profile is amazingly similar to the nose, but much more satisfying ('tis the taste, the actual imbibing that I crave). Sweet, dark caramel-toffee, brandy-soaked cherries, leather, good bourbon... combined with a grace and a lightness of touch that will make your very soul weep with pleasure.

Is Westvleteren 8 better than Westvleteren 12? My vote is an unqualified 'yes'. I could drink this every day for the rest of my life and not tire of its myriad charms. This is as soul satisfying and as life affirming as beer gets.

Photo of brentk56
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark amber color with a pancake batter head that drapes sheets of lace

Smell: Very different aromatics from this one - phenolic scent of caramelized apple, rum-soaked raisins, french toast with vanilla sugar, honey and almonds

Taste: Opens with a rum-soaked raisin and caramel flavor with budding vanilla flavors by mid-palate; Amaretto, as well; after the swallow, the caramel, creme brulee takes over and additional alcohol appears on the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; very smooth

Drinkability: While very similar to its boozy cousin, this one is less sweet and less alcoholic and, in my opinion, much more drinkable

Thanks, UncleJimbo, for the long-awaited experience

Photo of oberon
3.78/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Finally a chance to get my hands on a Westy and well not as awed as many others by this beer.Pours a deep brown almost black color with a fizzy head that didnt stick around to long,aroma of spiced apples and quite yeasty.Very raisiny and somewhat spicey up front, with a light medicinal note as it warms along with some alcohol tones.I highly anticipated this beer and was left a little dissapointed.

Photo of Popsinc
4.2/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Westy ever, at the Kulminator in Antwerp!

Appearance: A dark brown pour with a very rich looking tan head.

Smell: I fund the nose to have a suprising tartness to it and light woody notes. There are hints of spice and unsweetened chocolate here as well.

Taste: Now this is what i was waiting for! A lovely creamy, rich body with wonderful sweetness and complexity. Hints of cocolate, black licorice and caramel reign supreme. Underlying spice gives the beer an extra kick.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and rich. A full and satisfying beer.

Drinkability: How about all the time?! Fantastic beer with great complexity and great dinkability. This is what brewing is all about.

Photo of RoyalT
4.83/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance – Gorgeous, deep brown color with a gigantic whitish tan head that laced every square exposed inch of the inside glass.

Smell – Strong aroma of molasses and fine brown sugar. Some malt as well, and a few other things that I couldn't pinpoint. The smell says it’s serious.

Taste – This is a hearty brew. The initial taste is almost like a good single malt scotch. It is so sweet, but a sophisticated sweet. I don’t know what it is, almost like a good rye or barley flavor. The malt is there, too, along with a presence of alcohol and even a bitter, slightly burnt, dark flavor. This beer has it all, and it's all well executed.

The finish just keeps going. It’s almost like syrup – it lingers in your mouth forever. I can’t say enough about the flavor of this beer. I’m a big fan of the (properly done) darker European ales (weitzens, abbeys, etc) and this one just blows me away.

Mouthfeel – I thought the beer was undercarbonated ever so slightly (for my taste), but typical of the style. The smoothness though was beyond reproach.

Drinkability – This is its strong suit. The 5.0 that I’m giving it here under represents my enjoyment in drinking this bottle.

Comments – I had never heard of this beer until I went into a store and, for no real reason, tossed it in my cart. When I logged on I realized that I may have grabbed a diamond in the sand, and I was right.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.65/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I think that I might just like this one a touch more than the 12. The 8 has lighter aromas and flavors, a softer body and a lighter palate. The reduced alcohol gives the beer a less vinous character, which allows more delicate components of the nose and tongue to shine through. This is certainly more subtle but I don’t think it’s lacking anything significant on the 12. It’s just a different beer. One item that I must note is the body. IN addition to being generally softer, the 8 seems to be considerably more bubbly. The head is slightly more aggressive on the lips and tongue and the more assertive carbonation seems to do a better job of cleansing the palate between sips. Each next sip, is therefore closer resembling the original, full flavored, mind blowing sip. I like this about the beer. I also like that it looks, tastes, and smells just uncannily good and also that it’s damn near impossible to find. What a treat it is and well worth every penny, or couple thousand pennies that one must drop to get a bottle.

Photo of tectactoe
3.8/5  rDev -15.2%

Photo of ricke
3.93/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with a medium sized off-white/pale brown head that dissipates slowly and leaves plenty of lacings.

S: Light fruity aromas and plenty of malts - very thick and robust. Notes of fudge and toffee mixed with earthy herbal aromas. Some spicy phenols and alcohol. Rather complex and well balanced, but it's not as impressive or as powerful as I had expected.

T: A similar balance between fruity aromas and malts as in the smell: cherries, slightly tart red currants rests upon a decent malty backbone. Fudge and caramel delivers much of the sweetness. Dark bread, a gentle note of wood and just a hint of blanket (which I find a bit odd). The finish is slightly phenolic and somewhat bitter with notes of sweet alcohol, herbs and minerals.

M: Full bodied, smooth texture. The finish is somewhat dry. A very pleasant mouthfeel.

D: A good beer, very good actually. Complex, well balanced and tasty. But one of the best beers in the world? Perhaps not, in my humble opinion.

Photo of punkindrublic50
4.6/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Carries the flavor of the famous Westvleteren 12, but without so much of the depth or complexity. Still an amazing beer, more drinkable in the sense that if you have 3 your head doesn't start swimming, but you cant shake the feeling that the 12 is that much better and what you really want. Similar to Dogfish 90/120 in that sense, the 90 is good in its own right but still just pales in comparison to its big brother.

Anyhow, the beer itself looks and smells excellent, extremely dark with a tan head. Definite mix of darker fruits and malts, goes down extremely easy especially for a beer with 8% alcohol. Nicely carbonated, and like its big brother best enjoyed at the cafe opposite the monastery for the full experience.

Photo of OhioBobcat
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of brownbeer
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of Schlais
4/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of ccapurso
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of tbryan5
5/5  rDev +11.6%

Photo of SkiBum22
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights, lively carbonation, produces a thin white head that diminishes to a thin film.

S - The Belgian yeast smells of figs and cherries are really coming through.

T - Sweet brown sugar and dark fruit, a bit of booze, some fig and a hint of something almost herby. Nicely complex for a dubbel.

M - Light to medium bodied, good carbonation.

O - A great beer that I'm glad I had the opportunity to try. Just like the 12 this is worth the hype and price to try this special beer.

Photo of readicculus
5/5  rDev +11.6%

Photo of drumline
4.85/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

33cl bottle with an 08.08.09 date on the bottle

Appearance - Pours a dark reddish color, with about half an inch of head that sticks to the sides of the glass, giving this beer "legs"

Smell - Sweet apples and grapes, bready and yeasty smell.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Very smooth and creamy, with just the right amount of carbonation. Lots of fruitiness here, with plum and grape flavors taking the forefront. Dry aftertaste with a mild alcohol warming sensation.

Drinkability - Hands down one of the most drinkable beers I've ever had. I finished off this bottle in no time. Each sip leaves you yearning for another. Damn near perfect brew.

Photo of farundrpar
5/5  rDev +11.6%

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.3/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from Inaugural Issue of Beeradvocate Magazine.

Four-year-old bottle--a gift from a friend. Poured into a silver-rimmed Westvleteren chalice, a nearly opaque, dark, rusty brown, with shimmering ruby hues, a tightly-laced creamy beige head atop, and a settled, healthy, ringed lace. Toffee in the nose, along with a suggestion of dates. On the palate, very dry up front, and incredibly complex beneath. Powdery malts, dextriny notes of carob, honey, and a spike of sherry. Similar malted milky sweetness profile found in the Blonde, but with more depth. Soft prune, date sugar, hint of anise, slightly roasty around the edges, carob and a brush of toffee. Light phenols, herbal. Slightly fumy alcohol on the breath. Dry, powdery finish.

Westvleteren 8 is fine aged, but it's become a bit too dry and muted for our liking. Delicious fresh, and arguably better than Westvleteren 12 in drinkability.

Photo of SuomiHobbit
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of newk340
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.37/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had this one for a bit and finally decided to crack it open. Bottle cap reads 11.12.06. Pours into my glass a deep chocolate brown with a half inch of light tan fizzy bubbles on top of the brew. I got a little over zealous and ended up with some floaties in the glass. Otherwise it does looks nice...good head retention. Aromas start off with boozy dark fruits, raisins and rich dark malts. Notes of cocoa, molasses and leather all work in. Dark candy sugar comes to mind with a yeasty twang. Really quite nice.

First sip brings a smooth dark, slightly roasty maltiness that carries flavors of raisins and dark fruits with some cherry noticeable. A touch of cocoa works in with some sweetness but it's not overpowering. Some lightly spicy yeast tones follow on the way down along with a hint of a leathery flavor yet again. The brew finishes smooth with a light caramel, fruity finish. Tasty stuff indeed.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and rather smooth with a fast paced somewhat aggressive carbonation. Quite easy to drink and goes down almost too easily. A tasty treat of a brew and I'm glad to have had the opportunity to try it. I still prefer the 12 and I'm not gonna go out of my way to find this again considering the cost and the trouble involved. If I run across it or find myself in Belgium than that will be a different story :-).

Photo of briang01
4/5  rDev -10.7%

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Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
99 out of 100 based on 1,791 ratings.