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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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1,743 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,743
Reviews: 769
rAvg: 4.49
pDev: 8.46%
Wants: 1,243
Gots: 273 | FT: 16
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)
View: Beers (3) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,743 | Reviews: 769 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of KCHopHead
4.55/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

In order I drank the Blond, 12 then 8 back to back so I could compare.

A - Poured into Boulevard goblet. Not as many floaties as the 12.
S - Fruity and subtle yeast smells.
T - The balance of the fruit and malt was done well. Not a lot of hop action but still a good balance. The yeast that was used tasted unique and delicious.
M/D - The most I remember about this brew was how smooth it went down. I split this bottle 3 ways and really I just wish I had 3 bottles of it. This as been one of the easiest Belgian's I have drank.

I'm going out on a limb here and saying that it is better than West 12.

Photo of jbone78
4.38/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No introduction needed. My first one, thanks to tpd975.

A- Pours hazy dark broun into my St. Bernardus goblet. I thought that would be appropriate. Lacing is wonderful.
S- I am not getting anything other than fruits hidden behind alcohol.
T- Raisin, plum, vanilla, sour yeasty character. I dig it.
M- Carbonation perfect. No real malt aftertaste you sometimes get with Dubbels. The alcohol comes trough the nose, little strange.
D- I could drink this everyday.

I'm going to enjoy my beer.

Photo of drabmuh
4.38/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got a Westy 8. Served in a Chimay goblet (at least its a Trappist glass). Thick fine brown head. The head was great when I poured it and has lasted as I drink. The head leaves a nice lacing on the glass. The aroma is amazing. That great smell of Belgian yeast, like on the air. The carbonation is steady with tiny bubbles all over the outside of the glass. The mouthfeel is smooth, I could drink 10 of these in no time at all. The flavor is sweet and yeasty. It is a great example of a style that I am not usually thrilled with, dubbels. I really like this beer a lot. Its truly one of the great beers of the world.

Photo of waltonc
4.83/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dropped some acid before drinking this. Just kidding. Seems like it though with all the different flavor components to this beer.

Pours garnet/brown color with huge light tan head. There's some yeast murk even though I left a lot of it in the bottle. Even 10 minutes after pouring, there's still quite a bit of foam sitting on the surface. I don't even know how to describe this smell, since I haven't smelled many beers like it. Fresh apples, grapes, a cornucopia of other dark fruits, yeast. There's all sorts of other stuff going on that I can't identify. Same goes for the taste - the balance of fruit, malt, spice, and candi sugar is really good; and there's a very slight tartness that underlies everything. Medium body and high carbonation. Because of all the hype, I didn't want to give this beer a high score if I could help it. But the acclaim is well deserved. This is one of the best beers I've ever had, and reminds me that many American brewers have a long way to go to replicate the quality of great Belgian-style beers.

Photo of bret27
4.83/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Dark brown, light tan foamy head, w/a little belgian lace. Clear.

Smell: Little fruitiness coming through, raisins possibly. Sweet malt, caramel.

Taste: Malty full mouthfeel, smooth and creamy. Tastes kind of like cream. Definite unique maltiness and yeast. Some old fruitiness lingering around. Don't even taste alcohol.

Overall: Literature varies whether this is a dubbel or strong ale. Either way it tastes almost like nice cream ale or something, but w/unique belgian qualities. Could drink all day, and would if I could buy it locally. Delicious.

Photo of chicagobeerriot
4.38/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in September of 2008. Pours thickly veiled brown with yellow-tan highlights -- almost like the inside of an overripe plum. Modest head dissipates to a fine surface film. Smells of prune, plum, banana, a little bit of cherry-tinged funk. Comes together to smell a bit like unsweetened purple grape juice. The smell is a true harbinger of the taste: deep plum and light caramel flavors form the backbone as banana and subtle cherry tart notes take turns. The light tartness builds a bit and ends up being the last note at the finish line. Lots of subtle complexity here for the style: no one flavor dominates or speaks out of turn. Very drinkable in that you can keep discovering new flavors over multiple servings. A real standout in the Belgian brown class.

Photo of jdubjacket
4.47/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoying the 2nd one of the installment.

Pours a deep brown with a spotty head. Not a lot of lacing with some yeast and sediment in the glass.

Smell is spicy, brown sugar and sweet candy.

Taste is that oh so sweet Belgian yeast coupled with the brown sugar, candy and spices. Hints of dried, dark fruits...perhaps prunes.

Very carbonated mouthfeel. Could drink these all day. An excellent beer.

Photo of dukedevil0
4.28/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Super thanks to koopa for sending me this as a replacement in our trade when the first box had a breakage and was discarded by UPS! Cap says 05.12.11 and poured into a Chimay goblet.

A: Pours a brownish amber color with some yellowish tints at the edges and some reddish tints in the darker spots. There were a couple of fingers of white-ish colored head that settled down to a small film of bubbles while lacing the glass some in the process.

S: Smells consisting of brown sugar, molasses, raisins, dark fruits, figs, a somewhat wine like scent as well.

T: Tastes include the predominant brown sugar, molasses, and raisins, but there are hints of dark fruits and figs just not with much intensity. There's also a champagne-esque quality to it, with some yeasty flavors as well as a hint of alcohol taste.

M: Lots of carbonation with a nice bite present, very full bodied and palate coating.

D: Pretty drinkable as this beer has good flavor and the alcohol flavor isn't overwhelming, but I wouldn't put this near session beer level.

Overall, I think this is a really good beer, but maybe not to the level as it's revered. The flavor is good, although it needs a little more complexity for me to really be amazing. At face value the flavor is just too predominantly brown sugar, caramel and I wish the darker fruits would have come out more.

Photo of erz316
4.97/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

bottle with 12.02.12 on the cap. poured into the silver-rimmed Westvleteren chalice, naturally.

A - oh man, here it goes! the bottle pours perfectly into the glass, giving a 1.5 finger head, maybe two; either way the whole bottle fits perfectly. the head starts out big and pretty surely goes down to a .75 finger amount in the first minute. the color is purely off white, nowhere near a richness of cream. the head eventually settles down to a thin layer across the whole top of the beer, as is expected.full dark brown colour, completely opaque. no reds or anything else, this beer is a solid dark brown. I can find no fault with this dubbel except for the lack of lace, and the eventual rarefaction of the head down to a threadbare covering.

S - this beer isnt even really that warm yet and the aromas coming off of it are so extraordinary. sweet apples and malts, yeast, and a pinch of spice. and the nose is strong too! there is no searching for notes with this beer, they come right out and present themselves. the top notes are spice and apples, like a baked apples kind of smell where they just blend perfectly. what makes this level excelent is that the beer knows when to limit itself on sweetness and fruitiness, not going into the belgian dark regions. the midground is like a light vanilla. the bottom is a slight malty sweetness, along the lines of a sweetness found in brandy. what makes this so amazing is that not only is the nose extremely complex, with many variations on what seem to be one note, but you can clearly smell all of them; its strong enough to even satify me.

T - wow, this is amazing. the whole taste is floral, a bit ashen, and malty. such complex flavours all coming in at once, and fading into this slightly sweet oblivion. the identity of this beer as a single entity is flawless: all of it comes togather. the initial tastes are quite yeasty, and a bit wooden. then come the other flavours: herbals, some bitterness, and a raisin/prune boozy concoction. the alcohol warms the back of the throat with the raisin flavour. the finish is a bit elusive, but there is this slightly ashy, almost like tobacco flavour that quickly comes in and out; almost like a faded out latakia blend, no where as strong as nightcap. the malts make their presence here: big sweet burst followed by some yeast mustiness. the aftertaste is great
fruity sweet followed coupled with a bit of hoppy bitterness, almost like granny smith apple skin, but not as tart. the whole eventually fades out into a fuji apple like sweetness. the only thing I do not like abut the taste of this beer are the flavours I find to not be characteristic with this style: i have never experienced an ashen or wood-like character in a dubbel. I am going to attribute this to my inexperience, and simply assign them to being facets of the complexity of this brew.

MF&D - how do you describe a perfect dubbel? the feel is perfect: perfect small, crisp carbonation combine with the ample body to make a completely chewy and creamy experience. the beer is so incredibly creamy from the carbonation, and the body, coupled with the carbonation makes this rich chewy kind of feeling. simply superb! needless to say, I would drink this anytime with anything. I just cant wait to see what the 12 has in store!

Photo of PapaEugene
4.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I shared this beer with RvDoorn and it was my first experience with a cellared beer, in this case a Westvleteren 8, 1998 Vintage.

A: Poured into a Lindemans glass. It showes just a small creamy head and a very dark brown color.

S: Very soft balanced smell of raisins, banana, malts and cloves.

T: I immedialetly pick up the Madeira tones in the taste, which can also be defined as nuts and spicy herbs. The taste is sweet with no alcohols. The sweetness reminds me of clover honey. Unfortunatley also a little dusty. Probably due too the caps used on a 33 cl bottle. That is the reason why I don't rate it 5 for taste. Like RvDoorn says taste and aftertaste are equal.

M: Low carbonation and very smooth.

D: WOW, a unique experience. This makes me want to store beer.... without the dusty taste of course.

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Westvleteren Chalice

Body pours a deep, russet brown with an underlying purple hue. An off-white head rose to fill the glass and subsided slowly. A small touch of lace is left behind.

Aroma is of cherries, raisins, molasses, spices, sweet caramel malt, Belgian candy sugar, and hearty fresh baked bread. Loads and loads of aromas here. It's nearly perfect in this regard.

A rather sweet texture as a whole. Belgian candy sugar, cherries, raisins, dates, and plums all meld together to form a rather cohesive, smooth flavor. Not rugged and overly sweet while still maintaining a large fruit character. While the fruit dominates, there is a hearty fresh baked bread backbone that gives this a much needed shot of heartiness.

Really the only downfall this beer has is that it is a bit thin and fizzy for my tastes. I like my dubbels to be a little more lush and creamy.

Due to its fizzy, slightly thin nature, this beer is scary drinkable. The flavors complement each other so well and it is a delicious blend of sweet and hearty. There is only a faint touch of heat in the finish, but not enough to slow you down.

These beers really need to be in bombers.

Photo of alcstradamus
3.75/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours an extremely dark brown with a massive four finger head that camps out forever and leaves thick lacing down the glass. Smell is grapes, orange peel, spice, clove, and rubber. Taste is rubber, apple skin, and lots of spices. Medium to full bodied with soft but plentiful carbonation. This one has a little bit of an alcohol burn which hurts the drinkability.

Well, I guess I have come to the conclusion that dubbels just are not a style I can enjoy. This is the highest rated dubbel on BA, in the top 10 overall, and possibly the best one I have had yet I still can't bring myself to give it more than a 4 for taste. I was hoping that this one would break the streak and stand out like its big brother #12 does, but alas it ends up being just a "good" beer for my palate

Photo of rvdoorn
4.85/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Westvleteren 8, 1998 Vintage. The recent vintage Westvleteren 8 is a great beer, but from previous experiences, I know that Westvleteren vintage is way better and really different compared to the fresh ones and therefore, this beer was on forehand "the king of beers" during our beer taste evening last night. Couldn't wait to try....

Poured into a Urthel glass. The beers pours a deep caramel-dark-brown color, with (for a 1998 vintage) still surprisingly decent head.

The scent is fantastic, sweet malts, sweet raisins, banana

The taste as expected, sweet!! Like Porto, or Madera wine. Very low malts, honey, raisins and other sweet fruits again. Strikingly, the taste and aftertaste are completely similar. However, there was a vague dusty taste, an indication that it could have aged just a little bit better.

The mouthfeel is what can be expected from a 1998 vintage, very smooth, with relatively low carbonation.

Overall, really a fantastic beer. Pity this bottle had a slightly (hidden) dusty taste. A previous bottle from the same batch was better. I think I will rate that bottle instead of this one. Anyhow, one of the better beers one can have. get it get it get it, I will drink it surely again!

Photo of kappldav123
3.95/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The unlabeled bottle looks really good, the beer in the glass also. Starts modest malty, a little bit alcoholic, not too intense. Finish mild, notes of marzipan, warming. Harmonic aftertaste. Really good, but not as good as exspected. Thanks to HenrikSoegaard for the bottle!

Photo of coldmeat23
4.15/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Goblet
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
DATE ON CAP: 20 12 09

Pours a dark brown with a slight golden red tint. About half a finger of creamy light tan foam forms, then dissipates to a decent covering. Lacing is full, but slick.

The nose is filled with loads of dark fruit notes. Lots of sweet caramel maltiness. Belgian candi sugars. Buttered bread with cinnamon and spices. Wonderful raisin presence.

Wonderful dark fruit flavors. Plums, raisins and a touch of cherries. Not nearly as sweet as the nose led me to expect. It's actually quite balanced, in the sweet/dry category. A mild nuttiness and a nice level of spiciness. Good malty backbone, but not over-pronounced. Light touches of caramel and candi sugars. Butterey bread, once again.

Wonderfully creamy and full-bodied. This is a beautiful example of the Dubbel style, especially in the body.

The 8.0%abv is so well hidden, I think I could drink this one all night long. Or, at least until I fall out of my seat.

Photo of Arbitrator
4.78/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. Courtesy of a trade with mfielden. Thanks Mark.

A: Pours an extremely hazy/murky chestnut brown with 2 inches of tan bubbly head. I let the beer sit for nearly 25 minutes to warm up, and the head never dipped below a finger's worth. Beautiful. Some patches of lacing.

S: Raisins are strongest on the nose, along with a dark sweetness of brown sugar and molasses. Other dark fruits include plums and dates, with some Belgian spice in the nose.

T: Belgian candy sugar over a large assortment of dark fruits: raisins, plums, figs, dates. A more naked sweetness from brown sugar and molasses, but it's nicely offset by a toasty grain character, earthy yeast, and a slight spicy bite. While most of the components are sweet flavors, the overall effect is not cloying, thanks in part to the cleansing carbonation and the contrasting flavors.

M: Medium bodied. High carbonation as expected from a dubbel, but it's not over-foamy - just cleansing. No trace of the ABV. Has a slightly dry finish with a hint of yeasty aftertaste.

D: This went down really easy, despite its big beer status and strong flavors. A testament to its balance and craft. It's unfortunate that it costs so damn much, but I must honestly admit, I'd buy it again if I had the chance.

Photo of jjanega08
4.68/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A= a beautiful two finger thick bubbly soapy head rises out of this delightful beer that presents itself a deep ruby color in my goblet leaving some great lacing and amazing head retention.
S= oh my where to begin. Great dark fruit odor with some wine sort of notes. I swear I'm getting some sour cherry in it as well. Lots of yeasty spicyness buried in there too.
T= for not being anywhere near one of my favorite styles this beer tastes wonderful. The cherry I smelled was there but not sour at all. Lots of spicey yeasty flavors as well. The dark fruits are in there just buried deeper within.just a touch of booze to finish it off.
M= awesomely coating and smooth. My mouth feels like a slip and slide.
D= great. This sipper is amazing. Truelt lives up to the hype and its a style I usually don't enjoy much of at all.

Photo of stemcell001
4.93/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this bottle in my cellar for nearly a year after it was sent to me from abroad. It poured a fairly dark, hazy brown with a light tan head. The head dissipated a little but held a nice thin covering even after a few sips. The smell is amazing, rich aroma of dark fruits, malt and some hops. At first the taste hits with sweet caramel and dark fruit (raisin, fig?) and then some slight sting of alcohol that fades into gentle bread malts. I had to stop myself from drinking it too fast because I wanted to drink it down in one gulp it was that delicious. Even the the belching that followed tasted delightful.

Photo of jjayjaye
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy brown with a big foamy light tan head that resists fading. Visibly effervescent, the collar leaves excellent stringy patterns of Belgian lace. The smell is rich and earthy dark fruit and malty cocoa. Lively mouth feel with a little heat and a lighter body that works with the full rich caramel and fruit flavors. The lingering aspect adds complexity that gives it a larger presence. A really nice drinker...gone way too quickly. Many thanks to Alen for the opportunity!

Photo of mugglesandhops
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I received this bottle as an extra in a trade, I can't remember who from so I can't give you credit whoever you are. Poured an active murky, oily, redish/brown body with an off white/tan head that lasted a while. Smells of cherry, raisin, very floral. Taste was amazing with dark fruits as in the taste. The 8% come through in the end as it warms a bit. Medium body that was fairly fizzy,

Photo of ricke
3.95/5  rDev -12%
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 capra12
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed this evening paired with dinner and served in a snifter glass with the help of wheatman106 and Jimmy

Appearance - Slightly cloudy brown with about 1 1/2 fingers of head. The carbonation of this beer forms a nice thick, web-like frothy head that slowly dissipated as the meal continued.

Smell - On opening this holy brew I knew I was in store for something that could not have been made by the hands of laymen. The brew gives off a complex compilation of fresh concord grapes, Belgium yeast with very little traces of hop to me smelt.

Taste - The balance of this brew is quite remarkable, from start, middle to finish the taste of Belgium yeast, dark berries and a hint of perfectly ripened apples. I can barely taste the alcohol in this beer and reminds me of a Sunday morning having a glass of cold grape juice.

Mouthfeel - This brew is has a nice medium body that coats the taste buds on my tongue and leaves a quite enjoyable after taste which holds me over till my next sip.

Drinkability - The drinkability of this beer is rather high because of the balance between all of the complex element in this beer.

After taking my last sip, Wheatman106, Jimmy and I cracked open the Westveleteren 12 and to say the least we all were blown away by both of this beers. Kudos to the Trappist monks, without them I would not know what the taste of perfection would be.

Photo of daythree16
3.9/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to phil7568 for this one.

Pours a dark brown with sudsy white one-finger head that fades pretty quickly. Lots of carbonation evident from the tiny bubbles rising to the surface. Full of suspended sediment...I mean FULL. The bigger pieces begin to settle out, but lots of smaller particles remain.

Smell is sweet, dark fruit. Big raisiny aroma with some prunes as well. Taste is similar to the aroma, with the alcohol being pretty forward. It's hard to pick out a lot of flavors due to the almost immediate alcohol burn.

Mouthfeel is on the heavy side of medium. I was almost expecting a chewy feel based on the look, but it's really pretty smooth. Drinkability is decent. I still think the Westmalle Dubbel is better. As far as Wesvleteren goes, I think this one is better than the blonde, but not as good as the 12. Very happy I got to try it, though.

Photo of theghost3
4.43/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to brewsb4shrews for this one.

Pours a dark brown with a little sediment. There's a 3-finger beige head & medium lacing.

The smell is not real overpowering--just herbs, caramel, yeast & faint dark fruits. The taste is really complex starting with bitter herbal flavors, chocolate, and yeast, and then ending with a dryness, spices. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied, carbonated with a slight oily quality, but the sediment isn't felt at all.

This is drinkable brew, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to try it as it seems it's not the easiest beer to acquire.

Photo of glid02
4.45/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Tried this thanks to jopish17 - much obliged!

Pours a somewhat clear dark brown color with ruby and almost purple highlights and a two-finger off-white head. The head recedes slowly due to a steady stream of bubbles from the bottom of the glass into a thin pancake on top leaving thick lacing.

Smells of sugary caramel with large amounts of raisins and dates. Lots of fruit aromas without overpowering the Belgian yeast.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet caramel flavors up front shortly give way to fruit flavors. The fruit flavors are as robust and complex as any, with sugar-coated raisins and dates playing a large part with hints of prunes in the background. The ending is crisp and sufficiently sweet.

Mouthfeel is great. It has a great thickness with very active carbonation that does it's job to the T.

Drinkability is good. I could drink a lot of these.

Overall this beer lived up to it's billing. The flavors weren't the best part of the beer, but rather how they entered and faded at just the right times - though the solid levels of carbonation helped things along nicely. However, I've heard many people say they liked the 8 better than the 12 and I have to respectfully disagree, though just by a hair. Give both a shot if at all possible.

Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 1,743 ratings.