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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)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,650 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,650
Reviews: 764
rAvg: 4.49
pDev: 8.46%
Wants: 1,201
Gots: 251 | FT: 15
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) visit their website

Style | ABV
Dubbel |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
(Blue Cap)

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-03-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,650 | Reviews: 764 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nataku00
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A fairly fresh bottle of Westvleteren 8, dated with a best by date of 12.05.13 poured into a tulip glass. Really insane amount of carbonation initially that I can see through the bottle after popping open the bottle cap. Carbonation calms down a little after the beer has spent some time in the glass, but there is still very ample amount of bubbles. I poured carefully and left most of the residual yeast in the bottom of the bottle.

Very dark brown, with some dark red at the edge of the glass. Initial three fingers of head forced me to stop pouring out the bottle after about 250 ml. The very high carbonation is streaming from the bottom of the glass, feeding a light khaki colored cloud of head at the top. The head is clinging tightly to the edge of the glass, despite the middle beginning to recede five minutes after the pour. A very impressive pour and a nice looking beer in the glass.

Nose is pretty surprising. I get a small hint of funk initially, that somewhat reminds me of a lightly brett infected beer. Not full on funky, but enough to make the aroma really interesting, when combined with the dried dark fruits (plums and figs primarily), cloves, and a bit of malt. Nicely balanced aroma, with the sweet and sour playing nicely with each other.

Taste follows through with a balance of dried fruit, spice and a mellow slightly sweet but dry finish. Not as fruity as I was expecting it to be, but the flavors play very well with each other.

Medium bodied beer drinks very easily, finishing cleanly on the tongue. Carbonation is gentle in the mouth despite my initial worry after pouring, but it really calms down the longer it is in the glass. Halfway through drinking the glass, the Westvleteren 8's head is almost all gone, and the mouthfeel turns a little creamy.

Very easy to drink, but it demands to be sipped so that you can enjoy the well balanced flavor profile. Worth acquiring a bottle to try, and drinks really nicely when it is young.

I have two more bottles of Westvleteren 8 that I'll try to keep and age until it's best by date and try one in a 1-2 years and one in 3 years. Looking forward to it.

nataku00, Sep 26, 2010
Photo of ToasterChef
4.6/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from my tasting notes of a decent sized sample I consumed at an epic tasting event held with the members of the SMBDC.

It has a brown hue, like caramel, and is translucent. There is a good tan bubbly head. I can smell caramel, plums, brown and crystal sugars. The flavor has notes of a fine chocolate, but also some plum and other dark fruits. The yeast imparts an interesting aspect that is hard to summarize from my pour (I have a bottle of this in my cellar that I hope will help me expand this review). Overall, the taste is sweet and effervescent. The sweetness lingers. It has a medium body and low carbonation. The coat isn't very big, which I found slightly surprising. It is a very drinkable beer. Having a bottle or two in a session would be perfect.

ToasterChef, Sep 14, 2010
Photo of cbak999
5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Again, thanks to Don (digital7693) for obtaining this gem for our epic beer tasting!!!

A: poured a medium amber, brown with a nice white head.

S: A bit fruitier than the 12. I get notes of raisins and plums. Also caramel, molasses, and brown sugar.

T: the fruit notes follow through in the taste. Plum dominates the pallet. No alcohol taste at all. Also not too sweet, but just a perfect balance of hop, malt, and fruit.

D: Wow...this is perfection in a bottle. I prefer this to the 12 as it's more drinkable. It's not so much the sipper that 12 is, thus I have to score this higher in my book. I would love to sit down with a few bottles around a fire pit on a cool winter evening! Eh, maybe someday!

cbak999, Sep 10, 2010
Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.97/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Don for bringing this one to an EPIC tasting! Poured into a generic tulip. Nice off white head. Moderate retention. Ruby body. Aroma of dark, over ripe pitted fruits. Taste is raisins, brown sugar and liquid gold. Greatness, everything expected and a little more. Smooth as can be with no abv noted. Perfection.

KickbacksSteve, Sep 10, 2010
Photo of Khazadum
4.28/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Courtesy of my buddy Tim at a tasting after his return from Europe. If I remember correctly, bottle was aged for 3 years.

A- Dark chocolate tones, hot cocoa-esque body, pure white head, minimal carbonation.

S- Heavily anise, sweet caramel malts, and a faint yeasty like bread.

T- Alcohol tinge melded into all the flavors. Strongly sweet that matches the aroma perfectly. It has flavors that remind me of butter. Finish is a bit malty.

M- Not the best here. The alcohol makes the mouthfeel diminished. Sure it tastes great, but it loses me here. Smooth and easy to drink. Creamy, modest body make up for the alcohol burn.

D- Without a doubt would drink it again. Makes me want to try a fresh one.

Khazadum, Sep 10, 2010
Photo of BMan1113VR
4.15/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle marked 20-09-10. Pours with a fluffy, light tan head that sticks over a deep, hazy, amber brown body. Great lace. Aroma is banana, licorice, light alcohol, plums, yeast, dried fruits and candi sugar. A bit on the non assertive side. Taste is rum, dark fruits, plum and a touch of wheat. Water like consistency, light bubbles. Very good, albeit understated beer.

BMan1113VR, Sep 09, 2010
Photo of cpanossian
2.93/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Visited in de Vrede at Saint Sixtus last week. The Bruin was served from a bottle into a goblet.

Clumpy creamy biege head. Dark brown body/color with light carbonation from the bottom. Large bands of biege lacing.

Thick rich sweet nut brown taste, some raison some cocoa. Almost no aroma - barely a farmhouse field aroma.

Nothing special but enjoyable in their cafe on a sunny day.

cpanossian, Sep 08, 2010
Photo of Tabni
4.22/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Thijs for letting me get this great beer. After waiting for a few weeks, I finally decided to crack this open. Served into a wine glass since I just moved and had my specialty glasses in boxes. Ohh lots of head, creamy and rich. Hints of caramel but not too sweet. Perfection on this style!

Tabni, Aug 31, 2010
Photo of CaseyK
4.4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The cap was dated 9.3.10.
Big thanks goes out to mbrasi who threw this in as an extra!

A: Pours a white creamy head with a tinge of a chocolaty brown, head dissipates to a thin layer leaving nice lacing along the glass.

S: This beer smells great. A sweet smell, caramel, malt, a hint of cinnamon at the end.

T: Similar to the smell but it comes through stronger and with more nuance and layers. This is incredibly smooth, the three years of age on this one certainly didn't do any harm. Starts with a bit of spice, maybe cloves, also full of malt and a sweet flavor, caramel. The flavor really sticks in your mouth, great aftertaste.

M: Medium to full bodied, decent carbonation and creaminess make this beer great.

D: This is definitely smooth for the ABV, I could drink a few of these if given the chance.

Overall: This is really a great beer. Glad I finally got the chance to try it, I will certainly seek it out again in the future.

CaseyK, Aug 28, 2010
Photo of Schmaltzy
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared with me by a great BA, thanks Thijs.

A- Dark hazy ebony wood brown with a 2 finger fluffy off white head with a nice layer of head that retains for the duration of the beer leaving clumps of lace all over the glass.

S- Nice sweet caramel scents followed by nice dark fruits and a load of spice on the backend, loads of cinnamon and nutmeg, almost smells like a cigar on the backend, with a nice belgian yeast scent that is always great.

T- Wow, similar to the scent but more powerful. Nice caramel and belgian yeast up front making this a very nice sweet belgian beer followed by the dark fruit and candi sugar with a slight almond flavor and a finish that is dominated by spices like cinnamon and nutmeg and a macanudo cigar spice finish.

M- Medium/Full body with ample carbonation that attacks the tongue, very nice flavors and almost creamy body. Would have scored a 5 here but carbonation was a little too much.

D- Alcohol is hidden, you don't notice any heat. The scents and flavors are great and as this beer warms the flavors seem to explode and express themselves three-fold. Will hold my other bottle for several years and re-visit.

Thanks Thijs, a real treat.

Schmaltzy, Aug 13, 2010
Photo of jneiswender
4.85/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this beer from the bottle at In De Vrde near the abbey. Served in a chalice, cool.

A-mahogany brown body, tan head (thick).

S-sweet grain, light floral aroma

T-sweet grain, raisin, light hop.

M-full flavor but light on the palate.

D-Excellent beer. Not as heavy as 12. Still has complexity and far from a disappointment after having 12. If I have the honor of drinking this again. I will.

jneiswender, Aug 11, 2010
Photo of seanyfo
4.4/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

1999 vintage bottle cap best before 11/03/02

Poured into my Delirium Tremens chalice glass.

A- Ruddy dark brown with no light perception. 3 finger tan head which reduces quickly. Minimal to average lace.

S- Wholemeal bread and honey dominates for me. If this was actually bread i can imagine it being the extremely dense heavy kind. Some munich malt roasted notes in the background.

T- Wholemeal bread and munich malt roasted flavours are there but sweeter than the smell giving malt domination. Honey comes through again leaving a faint bitter bite and a semi dry finish. No hot alcohol bite

M- Moderate carbonation, medium to full body. Very smooth.

D- Very complex and apparent smells and flavours stand out well. You dont have to go looking for them at all. A very drinkable dubbel with a smoothness that gives a fantastic mouthfeel. Not had fresh but those 11 years did not do any harm!

seanyfo, Aug 10, 2010
Photo of Anthony1
4.22/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, deep burgandy tone. Nicely whipped head of light beige froth adorns the surface and has great retention and lacing ability. Initial blast of alcohol on the nostrils subsides as the sweet bubblegum and rock candy notes take over. There's also a raisiny, rummy characteristic on the nose. Very nice aroma. The flavors are complex, yet subdued. A graceful profile of dates, figs, plums, raisins, bubblegum, rum, toffee and chocolate. A spicy, alcoholic bitterness resides on the tongue after the swallow and detracts just a little from the overall drinking experience. Mouthfeel is light and airy. It almost melts in the mouth like cotton candy. Carbonation is appropriate. Good dubbel.

Anthony1, Aug 10, 2010
Photo of SFLpunk
4.4/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz proprietary brown glass bottle. Cap dated 04.06.13.

Pours a cola-brown color and is hazy. Some reddish hues along the edges. Fluffy tan head billows up and falls quickly.

Nose: Lovely dried fruits, dark candi sugar, and some dark tanned leather. Black cherry, apricot and river rocks aromas too.

Palate: Crisp yet fat and rich too. Medium bodied and creamy carbonation. Figs a plenty, some black leather, hazelnut whispers, fresh cream. A little crispness from the hops, a pleasant bitterness.

Notes: I usually don't like "Dubbels" but this is by far the best one out there...it has to be, seriously! Complex, but doesn't demand your full attention and has a nice balance between bitterness and sweet-/creaminess.

SFLpunk, Aug 10, 2010
Photo of Pardishcreel
4.85/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is one of my favorites of all time.

It smells of fruits and spices with a bit of grains. The taste is where this beer shines. It hits you with a sweet sugar taste right at the beginning, then followed quickly by the fruit. It almost taste like a grape juice for the first split second. Then it turns grainy and that beer flavor that is so important to a good beer is there. The thing that is odd for me about this beer is just as fast as all these flavors hit your pallet they are gone again. This beer had almost no after taste at all. An oddity for a beer of this complexity.

Pardishcreel, Aug 09, 2010
Photo of STEG
4.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a molasses murky brown into a westvleteren chalice, big creamy frothy head is present and recedes into a small layer of thin bubbles. Smell is sugary and soapy with golden raisin and dark wheat bread present. Taste is filled with notes of darkfruits, bready and it's slightly smoky. Mouthfeel is silky smooth with a carbonated fizz at the end, it's really nice. I could have a few of these but won't because I'd be feeling like crap cause I drank them all so soon. My favorite Dubbel ever.

STEG, Aug 09, 2010
Photo of FreshHawk
5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Dark garnet mahogany with a deep amber hue on the edge. Huge, fluffy, creamy, thick, frothy, off-white head with amazing retention finally settling into a very thick and creamy lace.

S - Good amount of sweet, caramel, and slightly bready malt base. Dark and golden fruit on top of that with a lot of spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, some clove and allspice, amongst others). Wonderfully balanced and strong and enjoyable fruitiness.

T - Similar to the nose with a rich, sweet caramel and bready malt taste being pretty strong. Also a good amount of molasses, brown sugar, and dark candi sugar along with the spices. Fair amount of dark fruit and a bit of golden fruit (particularly apple). A touch of nuttiness is also present.

M - Medium to full body with a good amount of carbonation. Very smooth and creamy.

D - Very easy to drink. Flavors all work well and have a complex mixture. Extremely smooth and goes down easy. Alcohol is very well hidden.

Notes: Best before 30/09/12. Very good beer, and right at the same level as the 12. Very complex, malty beer. Very easy to drink, if only it was easier to get.

FreshHawk, Aug 08, 2010
Photo of mrandypandy
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle graciously shared by jmheart. Direct from his trip in April.

A- Pours a slightly murky brown/plum. Minimal haze, and the fluffy white head is reduced to a ring as the beer progresses. High carbonation.
S- Sweet. Dark belgian candy sugar dominates with plums and figs and other dark fruits in the background.
T- The dark candy sugar comes through again, but is well tempered with the dark fuit flavor. Strong malty background with some spicy notes as well.
M- My ONLY complaint about the beer. The carbonation levels were too high, and the beer felt fizzy/zesty, which detracted from my overall enjoyment.
D- Even with the carbonation this beer drinks well and I would gladly have this as one of my staples (if it were readily available).

Overall - Despite the hype that the 12 gets, the 8 holds its own as one of the better/best dubbel's out there. My distaste for high carbonation aside, this is a great beer and a great example of the style. Thanks again, Jeffrey!

mrandypandy, Aug 07, 2010
Photo of SShelly
4.63/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a semi-cloudy dark amber with a crackling bright white head, huge poof even with a very gentle pour, lots of sediment on the bottom of the bottle.

Aroma is yeasty with a very light fruit ester, some warmer malt comes through as it warms up.

Flavor is...well damn this is the best dubbel ive ever had. dark fruit and malt meld really well with a suprising amount of alcohol that isnt tasted in the mouth but I can definetly feel in the chest. All of the flavors simply meld amazingly well.

As I said this really has redefined the style for me, one thing that normally bugs me about dubbels is some feel really thin in the mouth, where this really fills it up and is solid through the sip.

SShelly, Aug 03, 2010
Photo of DeutschesBier
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Again, many thanks to Brabander!

I got to try this beer next to its big brother (Westy 12), and I can understand why some prefer it to the 12. However, in my opinion, I would take the 12 any day of the week.

The flavors are right there with the 12. A great toffee, caramel, raisin sweetness. This is definitely dangerous, as I could drink this all night without even thinking about the 8% abv.

One thing that hurt the beer just a tad is the amount of carbonation. Just a little too much, as this beer was very fresh. I have another one in my cellar, so I am anxious to see how it turns out. If it is anything near the 3 year old Westy 12 I had, I am in for a treat.

DeutschesBier, Aug 03, 2010
Photo of Huhzubendah
5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared with drabmuh at my place recently. Review from notes.

Bottle cap dated 01.04.13

A: This trappist ale appears a dark brown color with a substantial head and generous amount of lacing on the glass. Looks very nice.

S: This beer begins to distance itself from other dubbels right away. The aroma is simply fantastic. The Belgian yeast component alone is one of the most inviting and delectable scents I have yet found in a beer.

T: The flavor is incredible. Toffee and caramels amongst the best Belgian yeast strain on the planet. I can't imagine a single way that this beer could possibly improve. So many flavors constantly developing on the palate, all flowing seamlessly together in a work of art, this is a sublime elixir. The conclusion of every drink begs for the onset of another.

M: The feel is yet another flawless aspect of this beer. It's so smooth, it feels like water, yet coats the palate with a myriad of wonderful flavors that evolve from the moment your nose initially detects the beer.

D: I could, and would, drink this beer very regularly, if only that were possible. This is a truly special beer and absolutely worthy of any and all praises.

Huhzubendah, Aug 02, 2010
Photo of thagr81us
4.65/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to billinlafayette for this one! Dated 29.09.09 on cap. Served from bottle into a McChouffe goblet. Pours a dark brown with one finger off white head that contains a dusting of brown sediment on the top. Maintains excellent lacing throughout. The aroma is comprised of mat, fruit, alcohol, and citrus. The flavor is of big fruit, alcohol, malt, and a smooth creamy followthrough. It is medium on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this brew is phenomenal. I was expecting it to be good, but wow... The aroma and flavor of this brew is beautiful. Definitely the best of this style I have had to date. Believe the hype people!

thagr81us, Jul 31, 2010
Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.4/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to alcstradamus for this one. Finally got around to it! Dated 1.11.11 on a blue cap. Poured from a 11.2oz. bottle into a La Trappe goblet and shared with schen9303.

A: The cap opens with a hiss and this one turns out to be a slow gusher. Suffice to say I was left licking Westy8 off my hands and table. Pours a 2 finger brownish-off-white semi-coarse, frothy head with great retention. Beer is a slightly cloudy, dark, purplish-brown. Lacing is patchy and ample with great stick.

S: Smell is of nuttiness, purple grape gummies, vanilla, sweet brown sugar, clove, and a touch of Belgian yeast spiciness. Aromas are very rich overall and complement each other well.

T: Opens grape, slightly yeasty bitterness in the back, clove, brown sugar, cinnamon, gummy. Taste is very dense. Middle is prunes and plum. Good balance. Clove becomes more apparent at the middle, end. Finish is a bit dry with a spicy, yeasty aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied with low carbonation, smooth, and a bit watery. Dry towards the end with a dry finish. Aftertaste is messy and dense.

D: Super solid Belgian with incredible balance in both aroma and flavor. This one is very drinkable with a feel that is smooth and really serves to both meld and separate the complexities of this beer. Worth the trouble without a doubt!

SpeedwayJim, Jul 31, 2010
Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.72/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Chimay goblet. Thanks to Brabander for this great treat.

A - Pours a very nice hazy mahogany with some nice sediment and a nice 0.75 inch head. THe head is nice and light tan colored with good density and recedes to a nice little mat with some lacing along the sides. Im already enjoying this brew.

S - Starts off with very good sweetness and some nice fruit aromas. Apples, pears and some nice vinous characteristics. Mild yeasty and bready character as well and some mild phenols Very yummy.

T - Starts off with a nice sweet almost cinammon-breadbready flavors. Very nice malt sweetness with some good spice and great yeasty phenols. Some nice dark fruit sweetness almost like apple/cinnamon. There is some nice mild hop character and bitterness on the back end but its not too present.

M & D - Very nice crisp and dry. Great fluffy mouthfeel with almost perfect CO2 content. Good full body with great overall flavors. I would drink this all day, everyday even with the ABV.

JoEBoBpr, Jul 31, 2010
Photo of pitasoup
4.47/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: pours dark orange brown with huge head - fine foamy bubbles that leave exceptional lacing

S: Banana and apricot fruits, Dandelion florals and a bit of candi sugar. Lavender later.

T: Tons of flavor, sweet molasses, currants, figs - a sipper if only to milk each fruity bit of deliciousness. Hint of licorice at the end. Dry trappist yeast finish. Subtle hop aftertaste.

M: Smooth and thick. This was a bit overcarbonated. Creamy bubbles hid the body.

D: Very slow drinking - this became cloyingly warm halfway through and burps very hot. A great beer with tons of flavor, but I'd rather not have more than one in a sitting.

Best estimate is that this is a sweeter version of a Westmalle Double. Undated bottle, assumed to be brewed in '09. Had at Cafe Gollem in mid-May.

pitasoup, Jul 28, 2010
Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
99 out of 100 based on 1,650 ratings.