1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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

Not Rated.
Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII)Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
99
world-class

1,778 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,778
Reviews: 773
rAvg: 4.48
pDev: 8.48%
Wants: 1,269
Gots: 299 | FT: 18
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) visit their website
Belgium

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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII) Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,778 | Reviews: 773 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.15/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a murky, dark brown body with a thin, creamy, beige-colored head.

Smell: Malty, fruit nose smelling of molasses blended with homemade caramel sauce, dark fruits, apple slices, and French vanilla.

Taste: Rich, sweet maltiness tasting of chocolate, caramel, and molasses. Maybe a sprinkle of brown sugar and dark candi sugar, too. Splash of fruity Beaujolais. Flavors of figs and golden raisins and Red Delicious apples. Pass the Baked Alaska!! A touch bready. Slight yeastiness. Rather warming alcohol presence, particularly on the finish. Finishes sweet and resoundingly fruity with a lingering red wine taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-high carbonation. Smooth, velvety mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Rich, punchy and packed with a fruitastic estery character, although it lacks the depth of the yellow-capped twelve or the drinkability of the green-capped blonde. Still recommended, though.

Photo of cpn920
4.73/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I tried this beer after doing research on the trappist brewers. All I can say is WOW. Amazing beer that is the best that I have tried thus far in my life. I now have beer that all others will have to measure up to in the dubbel style. My only regret is that I didn't try this beer earlier in my life.

Photo of prototypic
4.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: It's extremely hazy and a dark, nut brown color. Carbonation is very active and yields a very light mocha colored, two and a half finger head. Retention was excellent and a sticky web of lace clung to the glass.

Smell: The nose is very complex and intriguing, but just a tad light in strength. Up front, it's a little sweet smelling and features raisin, fig, and plum aromas. There's a bit of apple in there. The sweetness, in large part, seems to be attributed to a healthy dose of caramel/toffee malts. There's a hint of toasted nut that emerges late, in addition to an interesting, faint whiskey note. All in all, it's very complex and features a number of fine scents. If it were just a little stronger....

Taste: This flavor is every bit as diverse and complex as the nose. It is sweet up front and slightly sugary. Raisin, plum and fig flavors are a little less pronounced here. Caramel/toffee malts are sweet and very flavorful. They blend with a slight whiskey (or some other spirit) flavor extremely well and create a unique, very tasty flavor. Toasted nut and apple flavors emerge late contributing even more to its complexity and appetizing flavor. Alcohol is not noted. Finish is rich and sweet.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's full bodied and incredibly smooth. This is one of those rare concoctions that could be labeled "liquid silk." Despite the active carbonation, it's as smooth as can be. Drinkability is extremely high. Even at 8% abv, this is a beer I could drink all night long and ask for more...please.

Westvleteren 8 is one hell of an incredible beer. Frankly, it's slightly better than the 12. Just my personal preference. The only complaint I have is that the nose is slightly weak. Other than that, this is an extremely complex and excellent beer. Simply a "must get" for any BA.

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

359 reviews as of this writing. thanks to azurelimits for the chance to try this fine beer. Since there are so many reviews I'll note that I have no idea of how old this one is. For the rest I'll say wow, this beer is good. That's the technical review. I am impressed at how the Westy yeasts combined with what I can only imagine is a mineral water quality creates such an amazing experience. It is that good! I'd recommend it to anyone who has a chance to try this fine beer.

Photo of IPAcraig
4.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had to go through a lot to get this beer back from Belgium, my honeymoon. Running through charles de Gaulle as security chases me. 16 months later I am opening this gem.

Pours a semi transparent ruby brownish color. The head explodes after pouring (4 fingers) but after a minute it settles to about nothing. Has a cola type appearance at this point, no head but alot of bubbles streaming in it.

Sweet figs and cream. Velvety.

Sweetened walnuts and creamy fruit goodness. Really smooth. this beer doesn't disappoint. Better than the hype.

I mentioned this beer had a sweet aroma and taste, but the mouthfeel is light and well carbonated. Not heavy in the least bit.

This has become my stranded island beer. That is the highest compliment I can give it.

Photo of julian
4.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Received in a trade from zaf88. Thanks for the opportunity!

A: pours a murky cola brown color with ruby highlights around the edges. Reasonably frothy off white almond colored head. bits of sediment near the end of the bottle.

S: incredibly fruity, sweet smell with barely any alcohol noticeable. Again, similar to Westy 12, this smells like berry pie or sweet berry punch.

T&M: lots of carbonation, very bubbly. taste is of sugary sweet malt and dark fruits both of which are dominant yet not overkill in their taste. Great balance and complexity. Alcohol completely masked and no discernible bitterness. Taste lingers for quite awhile, with the sweet fruits and malts really taking over your palate and sinking into every crevice of your taste buds. Taste is fantastic!

D: Perfect. I could drink this all night long.

What a great beer, I think I like this better than Westy 12. This is a superb beer and one that I wish I had more of. I'm just glad I was able to try this unique and rare offering.

Photo of JEdmund
4.08/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance
Deep, dark brown and nearly black, sporting a towering tan head that sticks around for quite a while

Smell
Not a big component of the beer, but I detect some sour notes, minerals, brown sugar, and even orange

Taste & Mouthfeel
Flavors are subtle and hard to describem but they are smooth and balanced the whole way through; finishes with pronounced alchol heat; body is somewhat thin; fine carbonation, though does not lead to the velvety texture found in an Orval or even Duvel; light flavors of caramel, brown sugar dominate the spectrum, but there's also a presence of grain and toasted malts

Overall
It's a really good beer, but I don't believe it lives up to the hype. I find too much fault in the thin body, weak aroma, and noticeable alcohol to give it a perfect rating. Definitely a treat to try in Belgium though!

Photo of Blakaeris
4.45/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours caramel brown with a fluffy tan head. Plenty of yeasty floaties.

Aroma is musty and yeasty, with mild dark fruit and dry apple. Very mild overall.

Taste continues with the very musty and dry aspect, reminiscent of an old ale. Mild dark fruit soaked in alcohol. Subdued citrus character. Dry cocoa and a touch of woody, earthy hop in the mildly spiced finish.

Mouthfeel is exceptionally smooth and soft.

Tasty and interesting. Quite smooth and dangerously easy to drink. High ABV is very well hidden. Flavor is mild and unified. I will drink more if I can get a hold of it.

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

Poured a deep dark brown with lots of sediment, a big creamy tan head that left some minor lacing. Lots of carbonation running throughout.

Has a big and fruity smell with some herbal and spicy qualities.

Flavor is very nice with a mixture of dark fruitys, figs, chocolate, toffee, and cloves with a bit of a minty bit of hops in the finish. Very balanced and mellow yet it still has a lot of flavors and deep complexity.

Mouthfeel is very creamy with a nice medium body and lots carbonation, yet finishes very dry and clean.

Very easy drinking and tasty belgian, would be a mainstay in my fridge if it was readily available.

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 yemenmocha
4.52/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours hazy dark brown, perhaps amber-ish when held to direct light. Sediment crept into the glass in spite of my best efforts.

Nose is complex mixture of musty attic, apple core, unsalted walnut, and wet black tea teabag. Reminds me of scented coca-cola ink pen that I had in childhood.

Palate is noticeably creamy, high carbonation, coating the palate well - and leads into a soft caramel, ginger/cinnamon flavor that is rounded out with hop bitterness proceeding into the finish. Reminiscent of cola flavors in general.

Aftertaste reminsicent of quality black tea.

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

11.2 oz bottle into my Chimay Chalice. A thick tan had rises up and gently fades to a thin, ever present covering. A constant stream of bubbles is barely visible through the murky bottle-brown ale. There is a decent amount of yeast in my glass despite my gentle pour. Bits of lace adorn my glass.

Smell is rich with the aroma of toffee, malt, raisins, light banana, Belgian yeast and spices.

Taste is heaven in a glass. Sweet, smooth, delectable malt artfully blended with toffee, chocolate, molasses, light coffee, banana, raisins, figs, and spices. Yeast plays the part of binding it together. It also brings out a brandy like aspect to the taste. The finish is lightly bitter, just enough to clean your palate and set you up for the next sip. Short and rather dry there remains a light grainy taste of graham crackers and bread in the back of your throat. Superb. I would probably add more but my glass is almost empty. There are so many layers to the taste you can find something new with each sip.

Mouthfeel is super creamy and gently carbonated. Like liquid velvet.

Drinkability is the best I have ever experienced for a dubbel. A benchmark sipping beer. If you have enough to spend the night drinking it I'm jealous.

My thanks to my Westy traders bdrc, hrking, krkearny,ggaughan, banker joe

Photo of gford217
4.65/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review #200! Bottle courtesy of deepsouth poured into my trusty Terrapin snifter.

A: Pours dark, dark cola brown with a big rocky off-white head that shows very good retention and excellent lacing.

S: Aroma is very sweet initially with candi sugar and a healthy dose of Belgian yeast in the nose as well. Dark fruits are also prevalent with a hint of spices on top.

T: Taste is a more complex version of the nose. The sweetness is toned down just slightly with caramel and toffee playing a huge role on top of the dark fruits. Molasses sweetness is there in the background.

M: Mouthfeel is truly exceptional - the perfect balance of medium to full body and high carbonation. The tastes just dance all over the tongue.

D: This is one of the better examples of a Dubbel I've ever had and the drinkability is off the charts. Big thanks again to Jason for the opportunity to try all of the Westies!

Photo of Biggness
4.7/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow I spent a few bucks to buy this beer but boy was it worth it! It poured amber, very cloudy with lots of sediment! The smell was amazing, just like any other well crafted beer. The taste was amazing, the flavors meshed very well with the overlying malt flavors with some nut. The mouthfeel was nice a littl different from your normal beer with all the sediment. I wish I could afford to drink this all the time

Photo of Hibernator
4.82/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Trappist Westvleteren 8
11.2 oz brown bottle with a unique blue cap
Served in a Chimay goblet

Pours a dark brown with a rocky head that forms on top. A mixture of sticky lacings and spots cling to the glassware.

Whiffs of funky Belgian yeast, strong spices and ripe plums in the nose.

A syrupy and malty flavor dominates the palate. I think of flavors like caramel, toffee & dark fruits such as prunes and rum-soaked raisins. All of these flavors blend quite nicely with a significant sugar presence. The bitterness is quite modest overall, yet still there. I really dig the bitterness as well, the carbonation bubbles prick the tongue. The drinkability level is ridiculously good.

Wonderfully complex and so enjoyable. I could sip this beer all night long, a phenomenal Dubbel overall. This is another world class beer from Westvleteren - highly recommended.

Photo of DefenCorps
4.38/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle received as an EXTRA from largadeer. Thanks a million, Chris! Stamp on bottle cap says 01.09.10. Poured into my Chimay chalice

A: Deep reddish brown with a thin but persistent beige head. Great retention - there's a constant head until I finish! There's a fair amount of carbonation creeping up the side of the glass. Pretty.

S: Complex with a combination of figs, brown sugar, nougat. Mildly alcoholic. Excellent

T: I'm having a hard time describing this. As with the nose, it's complex and very, very subtle. Starts off mildly sweet with hints of fruit (plum and figs), honey, and then dries up fairly quickly leaving a nutty finish.

M: Incredible. Soft and smooth despite the high level of carbonation that makes this dance on the tongue. Dry.

D: I'd drink another if I had one.

Photo of tubaguy
4.82/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(poured into a goblet)

A- pours a dark, dark brown (almost black) with a tan head which dissolved in a few minutes into a thin layer but never completely disappeared.

S- wonderful fruity aroma with spices and caramel

T- evolves over a 10 second period after each sip: coffee, chocolate, spices, plum, raisin, and other indescribable sensations. Though 'only' 8% , I tasted the alcohol as it went down the throat. Interestingly, I tasted pepper when I exhaled after drinking. An occasional twirl of the glass woke up the taste as well.

D- feels thick on the tongue but smooth. Drink this slowly and savor every sip if you're fortunate enough to acquire it! Its like drinking the world's greatest dessert.

Photo of philipquarles
4.45/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

At Cafe in de Vrede. Pours almost black with a thick two finger, off-white head that lasts and lasts. After a few sips, the lacing is--well, not even lacing, more like a sheet of foam clinging to all sides of the glass. Held up to a light source, the 8 is a beautiful dark ruby red. The nose is fantastic; fruitiness comes through first. Banana, date, cherries, etc. Incredible malt too, along with lots of earthy and floral notes. The taste matches the richness and complexity of the smell and then some. Once again, fruit-like hints are definitely present at first, and then give way to dark complexity. Hints of spice. Hoppiness at the end. Quite sweet, overall. The mouthfeel is another great factor. This is what beer should feel like--a thickness to it that coats the mouth, though it's not syrupy. Good stuff.

Photo of tdt560
4.64/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thankfully recieved a couple of "8"'s and a couple of "12"'s thanks to a family friend that just visited Amsterdam. I had asked her to pick me up some from the De Bierkoning Beershop, thanks to azorie's beer mail for guidance.

Appearance - Poured from bottle (cellared, date marked on cap 10.07.99) into a St. Bernardus chalice, deep cherry brown with 1 to 1.5 finger of eggshell white colored head, good lacing. Some flakes of yeast floating.

Smell - Some fruit, chocolate and plum smells with an addition of a strong smell of alcohol (probably due to it's age, hence the lower mark for smell). To be honest the smell wasn't overly attractive to me, actually somewhat turned me off at first which led me to believe that this was going to be overhyped (much to my surprise).

Taste - Taste is fabulous, semi-sweet and smooth with tastes of chocolate candy, fruit, bread and a slight spiceness. Warming alcohol effect, which isn't exactly what I need on a 95+ degree day but good none the less. Incredibly smooth!

Mouthfull - Medium, creamy mouthfull with a slight dryness upon swallowing.

Drinkability - As much as I could see myself believing that this beer is overhyped, I surely tell you it is not. I could definitley see myself drinking a few of these but it probably wouldn't be practical nor very cost effective. A beer to savor and enjoy while relaxing and being able to enjoy the complexity. If you can get your hands on one, which isn't exactlly easy or cheap, I would highly recommend trying this, obviously!

Photo of Dubbercody
4.02/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had two different samples one labeled as 20 years old and one 1-2 years old.

Both fantastic in their own right. I'm very impressed with how the 20 year bottle held up. Some oxidation, but it added to the flavor profile. Whomever I got if from took care of it...thank you.

Dark reddish brown ale, with a head on the newer one. Nose brought out a lot of fruits and nuttiness. Feels fantastic in your mouth, nice thick coating feel.

Great beers!

Photo of Tilley4
4.52/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to deepsouth for the chance to savor this awesome brew...

I poured this into a Duvel tulip and it is quite dark and murky in appearance. Almost a walnut color... It quickly forms a 2-3 inch tan foamy head that slowly fades into an 1/8 or so...

The first aroma I got from this was raspberry and sweet malts... The raspberry started out faint but got more prevalent as it warmed up...I can also smell plums or some other sweet dark fruit present... Maybe a little chocolate...a touch of booze..gets way deeper and more complex the longer I let it sit...

The first sip is a doozy... Its boozy and much drier than I thought it would be, but absolutely delicious. Its quite crisp and floral and fruity with the raspberries coming in as well as some earthy leather, some funky Belgian yeast, and the merest hint of chocolate...its got one of the creamiest mouthfeels in a Belgian that I've ever experienced.. Its creamy at first then snaps off abrubtly into a dry booziness...

I'm sad to see my only bottle go but I'm thrilled to have had the opportunity to try this. I wasn't disappointed at all and to make it even more ezciting, I still have a 12 to drink.

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 FatheadBrew
4.13/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

My sister brought this back from Belgium for me.

A: Pours very dark purplish with some ruby highlights poking through. Large 3 finger billowy head forms and lasts throughout drinking.

S: Fruity, maybe grapes or figs, subtle malt, hint of roast at the end

T: Starts off sweet. Faintly fruity. Biscuity middle. Dry, slightly bitter finish. Very complex, but not overly powerful flavors.

M: Smooth, fills the mouth with flavor. Perfect carbonation.

D: Good. Went down very easy for 8%. The finish kind of got me though.

Overall a very nice beer. I don't know if I would say it is in the top 10 beers I have ever had. Wish I had a couple more though.

Fathead

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

So I finally get to try some Westvleteren 8, and I'm pleasantly surprised. After all the hype I was sure I would be fairrly let down, even though I had a good experience with the 12. I figured that this beer would be somewhat ridding on the coattails of that beer. I was wrong. The first impression upon tasting this was Wow!, this is so fruity and lively. It was much brighter tasting than I expected, extremely floral and with some nice hop bite in the finish. The predominant flavor seeemed to be honeysuckle. Light and effervescent in the mouth, this was unbelievably drinkable and pleasant. The pour was a dark amber with little head, but the aromas immediately lure you in with fresh fruity and floral notes with a bit of metal underneath. Really a classy beer, and if it were more available one that I would probably drink more often than the 12- as much as I love that beer.

Photo of lpayette
4.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to a fellow BA for trading this. Cap date reads 25.08.08, enjoyed 18.05.08.

Appearance - After a careful pour into a chalice, this beer produced about 1/2 finger's worth of head atop a deep mohogany body. The head is made up of millions of very tiny bubbles. plenty of lacing

Smell - the initial pop of the cap produced a hiss that expelled some gas that smelled like granny smith apples. It's more faint after being poured, but that characteristic does remain. Belgian candy sugar abounds, along with a gentle caramel aroma and a soft herbal aroma. More discrete notes include chocolate, a near oatmeal-like quality, molasses/brown sugar, mild phenols, and moderately faint alcohol esters.

Taste & Mouthfeel - Finally for the tasting part... The taste is like a volume knob starting up high, then being turned down low in the middle, then slightly up again at the finish. Somewhere mid-sip the beer almost seems to cleanse itself off your palate, but then the flavors come back strong in the aftertaste. So clean just like the other westvleteren beers. Other dubbels try to overdo the sweetness, but this one seems to be about perfect. Slightly drying/bitter at the finish after a few sips, but certainly not too dry for me. Lightly carbonated which seems just the right amount to me.

Drinkability/last word- highly drinkable, although not as much as the 6 though. Still, for the style, I've never had a beer that was more drinkable than this one. For me this is certainly the new benchmark when it comes to dubbels. As with the 12 and the 6, the hype behind this beer is well merited.

Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
99 out of 100 based on 1,778 ratings.