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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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1,677 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,677
Reviews: 765
rAvg: 4.49
pDev: 8.46%
Wants: 1,213
Gots: 256 | 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: 1,677 | Reviews: 765 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of devilben02
4.65/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a murky cola-color, with the dregs from the bottom of the bottle floating about, unfortunately eliciting a comparison to a glass of pond water. The appearance is at least partially saved by the thick, frothy head that quickly develops over the murky liquid despite a slow, deliberate pour.

Any doubts about this beer that were raised by the suspect appearance are immediately forgotten once the aroma hits. I would call it pleasantly pungent, but that still doesn't seem to convey how intensely pleasing the aroma is. Curiously, the primary characteristic I picked up was freshly juiced grapes, although there were also accents of plums, caramel, and yeast that are more expected in a Belgian Dubbel. The flavor is not quite so potent. Rather, although it is quite complex and fruity and at times it is almost tangy, it is light and not exceptionally sweet.

Part of the reason for the apparent lightness of the flavor may be the high degree of carbonation. I would say that it masks some of the flavors, trying to be an attraction of its own, but it does seem to energize the beer, deftly concealing the moderate alcohol level, and thus helping it go down way too easily. As the carbonation settles out a bit, the flavors are allowed to shine a bit more, bringing on a kind of second stage of the drinking experience. Overall, this one is truly interesting, unique, and exceptionally drinkable.

devilben02, May 05, 2010
Photo of AgentZero
4.33/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Nice brownish color with a decently sized brown head that did some nice lacing on the sides.

S - Lots of dark fruits, sweet, spice, get a ton of sugar in this one, smells like a very old school brew. Bit of raisin and date smells stand out a lot to me.

T - Great dark fruit and sweetness going on in this one. I like the sugar taste in this, not overly sweet buy nice and syrupy. Carmel malts and a touch of old wood. This tastes like a candy that's just not too sweet, just right. This is very very good, can't say enough about it.

M - Chewy and smooth, a little thinner than I would have expected based on the look, but it's got some nice heft.

D - It gets too sweet and syrupy for me to session, but could drink a decent amount of this happily. Great brew.

AgentZero, May 04, 2010
Photo of RuudJH
4.45/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Allways a pleasure to have a chance at beer like this. Who will not enjoy the result of one of the best brewing recipes in the World?
33 cl. bottle, first time I tried this. Well worth.

Nice dark brown ale, with a good pale head as well. Good lacing.
Smell is very fresh, with nice balance between malts and yeast. But there is also some real stout character in this, as well as dark fruits. Plus a bit of spice and herbs.
Taste is very mellow, it delivers the same, with also some mild coffee, and a nice milky chocolate.
Mouthfeel is silky smooth, but also slightly thin. Alcohol is well masked.
Very drinkable with it's 8%.

RuudJH, Apr 30, 2010
Photo of elvisnj
4.93/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Did some work for a guy in Belgium who sent me all 3 of the Westvleteren beers. This was the first one I opened.

Pours out medium head into my generic Belgian beer glass (almost a wine glass). Not alot of head, but just fine. Retains slight coating all the way to finish. Poured almost all the way before I stopped for the yeast.

Dark beer with hint of ruby. Beautiful nose. Is that cola I smell? Taste is cherrys and brown sugar. Definitely a cola thing going on in the flavor as well as the nose, but this is no cherry cola. So smooth its unreal. Not a single hint of alcohol in this despite its 8%.

Great mouth feel. Not thick at all yet creamy still. Distinct as hell. I have never tasted a beer quite like it. Despite an attempt to savor this beer slowly, its gone before I know it.

I put this beer in a category of its own. Its a winner and clearly a champion.

elvisnj, Apr 22, 2010
Photo of Slatetank
4.4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

taken from notes - I discovered after moving at the end of last year
Many, many Thanks to Leftmindedrighty for this bottle!-poured cellar temp in my la fin du monde tulip

A -beautiful bronze, dark toffee color w/ thick cap of beige that produces a copius amount of lace slight haziness but bead is very tiny

S - The smell has plenty of dark fruit scents w/ mild date and nuts w/ slight ripe banana and caramel -this has a lot going on. There is a mild raisin and dark sugar component with light woody tinge too.

M- The feel is as great as the smell, light in body for such a big beer with smooth malt textures and lively carbonation with a dry luxurious finish

T - The flavor is not exactly mirroring the nose which through me off a little - more nutty and toasted malt than the yeast, but pretty dry with a light dried fruit flavor and slight twiggy element from the hops which are very subtle. The yeast has a mild spice element in the flavor with gentle vanilla qualities, very good flavor with only a mild warming of acohol.

D - One of the best dubbels I have had for sure, an excellent trappist - I spent some time savoring this but would love to see what it is like fresh. I think it might rate a bit higher since the age could have dried it out a bit.

Slatetank, Apr 21, 2010
Photo of pepsican
3.58/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I figured I should pop open something decent for my birthday, and I figured this would do. Pours dark brown with a thick head. Grape, caramel malt, candi sugar, and tobacco nose. Flavor was very similar, lots of dark fruits come out as well. Finish was thick, lots of stuff going on but not something I really cared for.

pepsican, Apr 19, 2010
Photo of GilGarp
4.78/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My 500th review!

A huge thanks to BuckeyeNation for the wonderful trade that included this long-sought beer. The highest ranked of my favorite style, Westy 8 has a lot to live up to.

A 33cl brown bottle with black and blue cap, the date code appears to be 15.06.11. Served cool into my St. Bernardus Watou glass.

I pry the cap and pour the 8 slowly into the center of the glass. Towards the end, I notice a large amount of sediment so I stop before it has a chance to reach the glass. The color is a very dark brown with ruby highlights. Even holding it up to sunlight, it's mostly opaque except around the edges. The tight off-white head has good retention.

The aroma is fantastic. It's really everything a dubbel should be with pitted dark fruits, toffee, and Belgian yeast. A slight bit of red wine on the nose too.

Flavor is huge, chewy, and rich. Westy 8 has tons of that dark fruit like cherries, figs, and red grapes. There's also sweetness in the form of caramel and vanilla. A nice toasted quality comes through about half way. The wine flavor is there but it totally compliments everything else that's going on. It finishes dry with the alcohol coming though a little stronger than expected.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with ample carbonation. The latter being the only real downside of this beer. That and the finish isn't as smooth as expected.

Overall an outstanding beer. The best of the style? It's hard to say but judging by my scores, yes. Westmalle, Rochefort, Prior and Pater are all exceptional but none rate as highly as this. So, while Westvleteren is a rare treat, the others can all be had any day of the week.

Cheers to the great dubbels of Belgium!

GilGarp, Apr 17, 2010
Photo of TPatuto
4.33/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tasted two days ago thanks to Madtowndmb1.
Not a gusher at all as it has been for a few others. Poured quite easily.

The appearance of the beer was a lighter brown certainly reddish hues around the edges. Different small pours had differing amounts of sediment. I was initially expecting it to be more cloudy, but in hindsight, given the amount of time it had for settling, I'm no longer surprised. Head was light brown/tan. Lingered for a long time, until I licked it off the top of the glass.

The Aromas, I was hoping for just a little more dark fruit... I got raisins, plums, a little banana, some spices. Not unusual for a dubbel.

Taste: Similar to aroma profile. Raisins, Plums, banana, spices, a hidden breadiness. I enjoyed the play of these flavors together; a well balanced flavor palate. But nothing POPPED, and I was anticipating that this would sing of something specific.

Mouthfeel: Much lighter in body, but in a good way. Smooth all the way through. The flavors lingered when you finished your sip and you got to enjoy more of the fruits. Until we finished the beer, I wan't sure if we had gotten one with alcohol in it or not. Very well hidden.

Drinkability: Most dubbels I've had are a bit thicker or richer, which makes this one stand out. Unbelievably drinkable. I could drink this anytime, anywhere.

TPatuto, Apr 11, 2010
Photo of ndolover
4.95/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle date: 26.09.11

Upon opening: gusher! I believed this affected the overall carbonation.

A: Creamy white head sits atop a brown colored beer with ruby highlights. Similar to coca cola.

S: malty backbone of fruit breads, redolent of figs, raisons, and banana. Some rum type sugar notes, with some citrus notes. No hop aroma to speak of

T: Upfront dark fruit: raisons, figs with banana showing through as it warms. Love the understated bread notes playing with the dark fruits.

M: Some alcohol notes, but not fusels. medium mouthfeel, low carbonation, and no real stringency

O: Complex, but very drinkable. Lots of different flavors that are well balanced. Best Dubbel I have ever had and I could drink a 6 pack if I wanted to crappie flop all over the place as the alcohol is quite high! Get this beer!

ndolover, Mar 29, 2010
Photo of weissbierdrinker
4.4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Maredsous Chalice. Heads settles into a thin tan head that last almost until the beer is gone. Looks a bit like the top of a cloud. Carbonation is clearly active bubbling up past the head and producing a little beer head mountain range. Color is a deep ruby red.

Smell is of Figs, dried plums, brown sugar, cinnamon, and I'm sure some other things I'm missing.

Wow what can I say about this beer that hasn't already been said. It's a little bit sweet, with figs, dried plums, and brown sugar throughout. A brief hint of hops. There is a nice chewiness about the beer and it has a spicy dry finish with just a touch of alcohol that tops the whole thing off making this a fantastic beer that I could drink again and agin.

weissbierdrinker, Mar 29, 2010
Photo of womencantsail
4.4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to tendermorsel for sending me this bottle. My first Westvleteren beer and review #600.

A: The crack of the cap let loose a gusher all over my lap. Once I managed to get the beer into my goblet, the pour is a dark mahogany color with a fluffy tan head that sticks to the glass.

S: The nose is rich and fruity with notes of plums and raisins. There is plenty of malty and sugary sweetness and some Belgian yeast esters and a faints spice.

T: The flavor is chocolatey and sweet with hints of molasses and caramel. The raisins, plums, and figs provide fruitiness and along with the alcohol, a rum-like flavor.

M: The body is smooth and medium to full bodied with a creamy and smooth carbonation.

D: My first Westy didn't disappoint. I'm not always the biggest fan of dubbels, but this was quite complex and flavorful. I understand why it's so highly regarded.

womencantsail, Mar 25, 2010
Photo of jgasparine
4.38/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served at In De Vrede, Westvleteren, Belgium on 3/20/2010.

A- Poured from the bottle into a Westvleteren challice with a diffuse khaki colored head with little bits of lacing here and there. The little head that's there is actually well-retained. The body is a semi-opaque garnet-tinged brown. No visible carbonation from the sides of the glass.

S- Initial impressions are rich candy malt, some melanoidins, perceived molasses, some faint Belgian yeast esters, and a very faint aroma of stale hops. As the beer warmed, the bouquet really opened-up to reveal some rich caramel and chocolate notes that were not initially there. Again, as the beer further warmed, some amazing fruity esters appeared: chocolate, cherries, dried dark fruit, leather.

T- Very rich flavor right off-the-bat; big candy and roasted malts, that perceived molasses, some candi sugar, and some mild Belgian yeast esters. Some mild hop bitterness comes in midway along with some very mild nuttiness, which last through the sustained finish. As the beer warmed, some amazing fruity esters appeared: chocolate, cherries, dried dark fruit, leather. Amazing.

M- Thick, chewy mouthfeel. An amazing texture, yet the carbonation is a bit overactive... which makes you feel a bit bloated after each sip. This overcarbonation is a detractor.

D- The carbonation issue and the associated bloatiness makes it hard to drink in volume.

jgasparine, Mar 23, 2010
Photo of icetraxx
4.38/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For a bottle aged just over two years.

A: Pours a one finger head that quickly dissipates into nothing. This looks exactly like coca-cola! A very dark ruby read that is as clear and glass, again, coca-cola. Vibrant and intense carbonation causes the surface to dance, I've never seen anything like it before. A subsequent pours reveals yeast that give it the classic murky brown color. 5

S: Smells like sweet nectar of malty toffee, with a hint of teddy grahams. The aroma is very bready with a bit of oak. I'm sorry, but that is the best description I can come up with. I can't describe the aroma, but it works, just trust me here. 4.5

T: The flavor starts with a sweet caramel note that quickly fades into a strong earthy and Belgian yeast extravaganza of assertive, but never overwhelming, flavors. The flavors are mildly dynamic and adjust ever so slightly while you drink. This beer is overall very dry and not sweet unlike other dubbels. I have a hard time describing the specifics of the flavors. 4.5

M: Medium bodied with a higher level of carbonation, but the carbonation is not overly carbonated. The shimmering carbonation effect visible in the appearance is unreal as the mouthfeel does not feel overly carbonated. The body is a bit thinner than I expected overall. 4

D: This beer gets easier to drink as time goes on. I didn't think I would want a second one, but I have become more open to that idea as I drink it. 4

O: A beer that is worth it's top 10 "magical" status, but I've enjoyed other beers more. The pinnacle of dubbels, probably.

icetraxx, Mar 17, 2010
Photo of Beejay
4.78/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Deep cloudy dark brown with plenty of creamy tan head. Some floaties down at the bottom, but I'm not worried.

S: Lots of fruit in there, banana, strawberry, fig. Definitely a big yeasty scent in there as well.

T: Yum. Fruit notes, with a good bit of spice as well. Very tasty, with a yeasty kick. Raisons, brown sugar, and a mouthfeel/flavor I can't figure out.

M: Medium bodied with lots of carbonation. It feels like very small bubbles, and there is a whole bunch of it. Not abnormal for the style. I like it.

D: Any day. Absolutely delicious. Tasty, fruity, yeasty, and a perfect beer for the moment, whatever the moment may be.

Beejay, Mar 16, 2010
Photo of djbreezy
4.95/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

shared this bottle with squaremile

bottle date: 09.08.11 (bottled 8/9/08)

appearance - dark brown with lingering lacing

nose - apple, dates, dark and complex fruit

taste - pronounced sugar, complex fig/date/dark fruits, very subtle and mature complexity, most likely from the aging of the bottle

mouthfeel - light and whipped, smooth

drinkability - goes down smooth and easy

djbreezy, Mar 11, 2010
Photo of squaremile
5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the best dubbel I've ever had, so let me say that up front. I could just breathe in the smell all day, like putting your face in a bag of sugar, but balanced by apples and dark fruits. This bottle was 2yr old and the flavor had synthesized in a way that I do not have grammar to describe. There is a subtlety, depth, and smoothness that is unmatched by any dubble I have ever had. Westmalle is a close second, but this is the ultimate.

squaremile, Mar 11, 2010
Photo of Brabander
4.38/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Yesterday i drank the blond of Westvleteren and today the 8 stands before me. Bought it in cafe In de Vrede when i was there the last time i picked up the blond beer. Of course poured in my Westvleteren chalice. The beer is very darkbrown, like the 12.

The head is lightbrown and very bubbly. A very exeptional view of a very overhyped beer. After a few minutes the head is a few millimeter thick.

Very balanced taste, not that sweet as the 12. Very drinkable. Again i have problems with the smell. There is not much i smell but thats the problem i have with other beers.

I drank the 8 last night (july 30th 2011) after i drank a westy 12. There is a big difference between these beers, always has been. The one i had yesterday had a bit more sourness in it than i could remember.

Brabander, Mar 07, 2010
Photo of smcolw
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Impressive head that lasts a very long time. Chunky lace on the glass. Dark, dark brown color. Very cloudy.

Strong malty presence without any sweetness.

Sweet with an excellent light hop balance. Very easy to drink. Deceptive on the alcohol--it's well hidden. Rich body but it also has a very high level of carbonation.

This is a very easy-to-drink Trappist beer. I prefer it to the 12.

smcolw, Mar 07, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
4.48/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark, chestnut brown with a very nice head and lacing throughout.

S: Lots going on here. Dark fruits are there, but the dominant scent seems to be that of fresh, sweet red/black grapes. Very nice and interesting. Quite a bit of Belgian yeast coming through.

T: Lots of red grapes, slightly-roasted doughy malt, yeast, dark fruits, a bit of earth, and some very nice all-around sweetness.

M: Complex and creamy, not too alcoholic. Perhaps a tad bit thin.

D: Amazing. Such a complex and wonderful beer. I actually think I like this better than the 12, at least while they are relatively fresh.

Thorpe429, Mar 03, 2010
Photo of kreeper
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber/brown with a ton of carbonation and a massive light tan head. Out of this large head bellows the aromas of fruit, spices, and yeast that make the mouth water. The nice blend of flavors is a repeat of the smell but with more complexity

kreeper, Feb 27, 2010
Photo of stevefinny
4.13/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I thought I would start my first beer review with a BANG. Thank you Flick for 06' Bottle straight from the source.

Appearance: Poured into large wine glass. Thick tan head. Nice lacing. Just beautiful dark caramel color. It is really amazing how pretty this beer looks. I am really excited.

Smell: I dont know if it was just me but i got this tart figgy yeast smell up front. After a minute or so got this great roasted malt with figs and dates, slight alcohol. My mouth is salivating.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Smooth and almost creamy. This is actually 8% ABV. WOW. Caramel, roast malt, dates, candy sugar, toffee, slight alcohol and seems to leave a mild coffee flavor and somewhat dry finish.

Drinkability: I wish I had more. By far one of the best Dubbels I have ever had the privilege of trying. Wish this beer was easier to get I could defiantly get use to drinking this on a daily basis.

My first official beer review and my first Westvleteren 8. Great way to start things.

stevefinny, Feb 26, 2010
Photo of ohoh
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nicely presented. Sleek trappist bottle, blue cap. The fact that it has no label makes it even better.

When we open it the beer explodes, leaving a bit of a stain on the carpet (as stains go, though...). We suspect that there's something wrong with it, but the smell tells us that everything is all right.

It pours cloudy brown, and looks beautiful. And it smells nice, too. Westvleteren beers are generally exceptionally well-balanced and so is this. The taste is very dubbellish at first but then taste nuts... roasted almonds?

Feels great in my mouth, the alcohol has a presence, but don't really feel it. Wow, 8%. Very drinkable stuff, by far the best of it's kind that I've tasted.

I don't usually like dubbel, but there's just nothing to say here. The key I feel is that it's so well-balanced. There's nothing extreme in this beer, but just unquestionable craftsmanship.

ohoh, Feb 25, 2010
Photo of sisuspeed
4.3/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle date 03.08.12

Poured into a red wine glass, the Westvleteren 8 displays a dark rum raisin color with a foamy white head. Nice lacing on the glass.

Lots of sweet, fermented grapes and bready malts on the nose. Just a whiff of alcohol and more vinous characteristics. A little earthy. Great aroma, but not as complex as the 12.

Bread and biscuit malts on the tongue, followed by grapes. Alcohol is there, but light, slightly rum like. Raisins, sweeter malts. Overall, bready malts and fermented grapes take the center stage. Sweet, but not as sweet as other dubbels I've had.

Mouthfeel is creamy, smooth and warming. Light carbonation. Very well done.

Drinkability is good. I will have no problem finishing the glass in front of me. A great beer for a special occasion, but probably not something I would drink all the time, even if I had easy access to it.

Overall, this is my first Westvleteren 8 and it is quite good. It's not a top 10 beer in my book, but definitely the best dubbel I have ever had. The Westvleteren 12 is amazing and I guess the 8 fits in nicely as the runner up to Westvleteren's flagship beer. If you haven't had the 8, its worth buying/trading for. An excellent Belgian both in taste and style.

sisuspeed, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of abuliarose
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet to reveal effervescently tall off-white head and burnt caramel body. Looking good for a dubbel. Smells a little sweetbready and just slightly tart, like over-yeasted dough-based Belgian waffles.

Tastes like creamy carbonation, followed by thick, smooth almost mealy malts with a hint of sweetness. Carbonation is there on so many levels: from the gigantic bubbles to the small and tingly. Slightly spiced-tasting. Very rich malts and some caramel underpinning. Medium-bodied going on heavy. Quite drinkable, cold and RT.

This might be my best in style for the dubbel. If only it were more available.

abuliarose, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of jazztoloc
5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Goblet from a 330 bottle. A friend brought it from Belgium. I am new to beers from Belgium, so it´s kind of difficult for me to make this review. What it's very easy, it's to say that this is an amazing beer, I am really impressed.

A: Cloudy brown with a big brown head and a nice lacing. The traces of the beer in the glass look great, it hangs into the glass walls.

S: Some alcohol, some fruit, grapes, funny but it's tamarind again with this belgium beers. The aroma is so complex, I wouldn't know how to make an accurate description.

T: A lot of fruit nicely blended with the alcohol. Grapes, tamarind, alcohol. Can't feel the hops in this kind of beers.

M: Big carbonation, backed up with the amazing taste and aroma. Big body, sticks into your whole mouth.

D: I could drink this wonderful beer all my life, I can see why people get so into to belgium beers.
A lot of things are sayed about trappist beers, and I am positive, the are all true.

jazztoloc, Feb 06, 2010
Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
99 out of 100 based on 1,677 ratings.