Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII) - Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
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Ratings: 1,621 | Reviews: 763 | Display Reviews Only:
4.35/5 rDev -3.1%
My cherished Moinette goblet broke tonight. Very sad. At least the last beer to ever sit inside it was Ommegang's Three Philosophers. Now my main goblet is a Trappist Rochefort one. It's into this that I pour the highly coveted Westvleteren 8. (Forgive the dramatics, but I did love that goblet...)
Pours a gorgeous caramel brown underneath a super-creamy head (like an Irish stout) that lasted forever. A whole lot of carbonation. Huge walls of lace. Again: gorgeous.
Lots going on in the aroma: raisins, brown sugar, black pepper, young Concord grapes and generous alcohol.
The flavors are compelling and complex: peppery spice, juicy dark raisins, cognac, and anise. These hit first. A mild cocoa essence comes later, as does lots of dark fruits and cinnamon as it warms. Pleasant bitterness in the finish.
Mouthfeel is not all that effervescent, considering all the bubble action happening in its caramel sea. It's smooth, even buttery, delivering the minimum of carbonation needed for you to feel it.
Sounds like a spikey, exotic, too-sweet beer, right? It's not. It's purely a well-crafted, highly-drinkable, super-enjoyable indulgence for lovers of prime Belgian beercraft. Too bad the monks won't let us enjoy this more often. I respect their ways, but then again, if you've got a great thing going, let the world in on it. No?
07-12-2006 03:03:24 | More by Metalmonk
3.18/5 rDev -29.2%
Don't get the hype.
Pours a murky brown in color. Nearly flat. Lots of bubbles clinging to the bottom of the goblet but none of them rising to the top. Slight ring of foam around the edges of the glass. Little dark blobs of yeast towards the bottom that sneaked past my careful pour.
All the flavors come across as flat and lifeless. There is a cherry and grape flavor but very subdued. Caramel and molasses too--but like they've been in the cupboard for years. Brown sugar, but as if it was mixed and diluted with water. Medium body with some slight heat from the alcohol. Kind of tangy. Alright for what it is, but not sure I understand how it has scored so high.
07-07-2006 21:51:57 | More by MuddyFeet
4.85/5 rDev +8%
Finally got my hands on some of this elusive beverage thanks to fellow BA dogfooddog. The sample I am currently drinking is 3 years of age, and it's held up spectacularly. I also have a much fresher sample that I will probably give another review of.
The appearance nice. Based solely on appearance, this beer doesn't seem any more or less great than most other brews I've had. The beer pours to a nice dark reddish brown, a little bit cloudy. Not completely opaque, but quite dark. The head does not build up too the impressive rockiness of some belgians I've had. In fact, it is quite small and doesn't last very long or lace very well. Not a big deal. This beer is still quite spectacular.
The nose is great. Has a nice roasted barley aroma with plenty of dark fruit and berry esters. Very smooth. This is a really "cut the bullshit" beer compared to most belgians, and that is very reassuring to me. I had high hopes for this beer, and I didn't want it to turn out too over aggressive. So far it's holding up to its hype.
The taste is just as wonderful. Tastes very rich and roasty. Very smooth sweetness mixed with the berry and fruit flavors. Perfect bitterness. I love the roasty flavor in this. Has a very distinct Westmalle Dubbel yeast flavor, along with a distinct St Bernardus 8 malt flavor. Like the best of both worlds, but better still.
Nice creamy and full mouthfeel. Still has some carbonation after 3 years. The finish is divine, and keeps me coming back for more. This is a very drinkable beer, particularly considering the ABV. If it were even the least bit more easily accessable or cheap, I would probably acquire more. I can't wait to finally travel to Europe.
07-06-2006 05:25:51 | More by neonbrown82
4.5/5 rDev +0.2%
I received this back in April, along with a bottle of Westvleteren Blonde. I'd been waiting until I was in the right mood to give this a try. I let this warm to around 45º F and served it in my Westvleteren Chalice.
Appearance: Pours a dark brown with hints of garnet at the edges. The excellent clarity reveals vigorous carbonation. A fluffy beige head tops the beer. The head persists well eventually fading into a thin layer leaving lace behind.
Smell: Sweet candy malts dominate, with aromas of fruit and a slight spiciness. Yeasty aromas and moderate alcohol are also evident.
Taste): Sweet candy flavors upfront with dark fruits and more subtle note of yeast and spice. The finish is significantly bitter which provides a nice balance to the sweetness. Decanting the yeast into the beer at the end increases the yeast flavors and the spiciness.
Mouthfeel: Not overly carbonated, smooth and medium bodied.
Drinkability: Easy to drink and delicious.
Overall: A very good and well-balanced beer.
06-18-2006 03:24:21 | More by EPICAC
4.97/5 rDev +10.7%
Thanks to hopdog for opening a '99 bottle...
Appears a dark mahogany toned brown with a mild off white head that slowly fades out into a small cap and collar. Streaky lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of yeasty bread, raisins, brown sugar, toffee, sweet caramel...much more complex than the newer bottles I've had.
Taste is equal to the aromas with the sugar and doughy yeast working well together.
Mouthfeel is super smooth, rich, and deliciously heavenly.
06-16-2006 15:29:09 | More by weeare138
United Kingdom (England)
4.68/5 rDev +4.2%
After purchasing a single bottle of this beer at Beer Mania in Brussels two years ago, I thought I'd never find it in London, esp. after the monks announced their new policy on distribution. But by courtesy of RichLightweight's kind info., the Quinn's in Camden Town, London, has quite a few bottles sitting in the fridge!! Most importantly, the cool landlord doesn't allow it for take-away (deserves applauses) and sell it at the same price as all other Belgian beers!! (3.2quid, how about that? FANTASTIC!) I had a bottle of it on the first visit there three weeks ago with RichLightweight and Chris (axisjones), and another two bottles three days ago. Here goes the note, finally~~
BB: 18/02/09, served lightly-chilled in a "dry" tulip glass (the landlord insists on wetting all the glasses before serving all Belgian beers at his pub, bar this one on MY insistence).
A: pours a very dark mahogany colour, with some ruby glows; the beer head takes its time to build up to a incredibly tight and frothy souffle-shaped, beige chunk of air cells on the top, refusing to budge what-so-ever... the carbonation is contantly lively, as detected from the sides of the glass. Brilliant.
S: exotic fruit-esters coming from yeasts (pineapple+mango+apricot) abound, accompanied by a deeply perfumy, sour-sweet dark maltiness (with hints of Chinese red-bean paste+melted brown sugar)... Balanced with a malty theme, but rather understated, which is hard to achieve for a strong beer like this, I presume. Incredibly complex in a low-key way and very approachable.
T: upfront is an exceptionally creamy-textured flavour of black beans, treacles, black malts, backed by an interesting perfumy yeasty and metallic edge of black malts, which surprisingly reminds me of rice-vinegar marinated raw mackerel tasted with a little wasabi!! No kidding, the metallic touch is exactly like that! No offence intended, but that adds to the overall complexity for me... An intriguing sour-sweet fruitiness, like dried red-dates, develops in the aftertaste, followed by a slowly intensifying herbal bitterness which stays deeply down the sides of the tongue. As the liquid warms up a bit, the sour fruity maltiness and the profound bitter edge plays a more assertive role in the balance, but never quite too much to be overpowering.
M&D: the mouthfeel is superbly creamy and silky smooth, matching the soft body just perfectly. For all the Dubbel-style ales I've tasted, this is by far the most smooth example yet showing impressive complexity and really great flavours. This is not a big beer to make drinkers feel small, but a beer to lift up both their souls and sensations in a subtle manner... Having tried it at last, I think I'll keep my original bottle purchased in Brussels for several more years. I'm sure it'll be even more mature through the test of time~~
06-15-2006 15:58:06 | More by wl0307
4.45/5 rDev -0.9%
Pours a dark cloudy mahogany with an inch-thick creamy head that barely moves. Aroma is caramel malt and that traditional Belgian yeastiness. Lacing has already started, like it's trying to climb out up the sides of the tulip.
Taste is a subdued bready malt. Some sweetness, some bitterness, nothing really grabs you at first, like the beer is circling and trying to get a feel for you. Caramel, dry toasty malt, bare traces of candy sugar. Hints of tea or tobacco, some dried leaf like a cigar wrapper. Still more bread, like a fresh whole grain loaf, not too sweet at all. More of a raisiny, dark fruit nature arises with some warmth, but the alcohol stays well-hidden at all times.
Mouthfeel is gentle, not heavy at all, a touch of biting acidity. Carbonation keeps it lively, lifts off the palate easily and cleanly. The finish is sweetish and caramelly, very gentile. I'm not getting the rich and fruity aromas that others have mentioned, so this may be a young bottle that should have sat for a couple of years. Overall, fantastically smooth and balanced. The nose could be a little more bold but otherwise flawless.
Cap dated "16:09:08," no label. Can't tell exactly how old it is.
06-13-2006 02:18:10 | More by assurbanipaul
4.47/5 rDev -0.4%
A huge thanks to Bruskiator for allowing me to try this one. I belived Bruno picked this up at the brewery in Belgium about 6 years ago. He pulled this one out of his excellent beer cellar for the Carolina Brewmasters BBQ for me and my buddy to experience. My only issue was after lots of beer, BBQ, and sun, I was not able to fully appreciate the taste and mouthfeel as one really needs. Nevertheless, I must let you know this is a beautiful beer, very deep bronze with a pretty fair amount of carbonation. Smelled of wonderful complexity of fruit and chocolate. Just a great way to top off last night.
05-28-2006 21:18:48 | More by Backer2004
4.53/5 rDev +0.9%
Pours a dark, hazy brown color with a huge tan head that is still there after several minutes and a couple of sips. The lacing is stuck fast to the snifter all the way around.
Scent is of funky Belgian yeast, dark fruits, bananas, bubble gum, sweet sugary malts and just a hint of alcohol.
Taste absolutely follows the nose. Dark fruits, bananas, maybe a bit of that bubble gum, sweet bready malts and that wonderful yeast spiciness. Finishes quite dry for the overload of malt at the front. Maybe, the spiciness from the yeast?
Mouthfeel cannot be improved upon. This is as smooth and silky as the 12 maybe even more-so. Medium to full bodied and just so creamy and smooth. NICE!!
I would drink these until stupor insued, probably 3-4. Then happily pass out in front of a late showing of Sports Center. I said it before, NICE!!
I only have one though, and it's gone.
05-21-2006 04:00:47 | More by trumick
4.47/5 rDev -0.4%
bottle, no label - just the blue cap. In a goblet.
Dark VERY murky/muddy brown with a clouded opaque color. Very interesting to look at, with a huge smell of figs, roasted nuts, malt, caramel, prunes, dried fruits...awesome. Medium head that was great to look at.
Taste - for what this is, it truly is exceptional. There is a bit of hype on the brewery due to supply and demand - however in taste, it is exceptional.
Drinkability is strange because I am not sure how much more I would have had of this in one sitting, but if you define drinkability as "should I drink this?" the answer is yes.
Get it - Absolutely worth it, don't drink it too cold. This style shines on cellar temperature.
05-19-2006 14:52:07 | More by HimerMan
4.95/5 rDev +10.2%
cap dated 12.06.05, this bottle is 3 years 11 months old. It was imported by D&V and bought by me in Q3 2002. I remember tasting bottles of this same-dated batch beer (as well as a batch of westv.12) when I bought them and they were quite unorganized in taste with limited complexity, but, as the seller advised upon inquiry, they would mature fabulously with time.
Pours lively 30% head in a rochefort chalice, surprising. Immediately yeasty bready odors permeate, along with something somewhat syrupy, and this is at 2 feet from the glass. Close nose is very bready and sweet, similar but not as deep as the 12.
Taste is sweet at first, then carries a curious bittersweet undernote which reminds me of something i will put in here later if i remember it. The sensation is similar to licorice, but far less pronounced. The breadyness dissapates into the finish. Having had the 12 last night it does seem a diminished version of that beer, but this beer is magnitudes beyond most things out there claiming to resemble it. It is the master of the style and probably several other categories.
As with the 12, there is almost a glow or permeating tingling in the mouth when I drink this, I have found this typical of westvleteren beers more than a year or so old and occasionally have found in very old bottle-conditioned beers (recent example King and Barnes 1994 christmas ale, though that beer did not taste great).
I think the only comparable beer per style in quality at this age is Rochefort 8. It is a masterpiece and should be bought on sight.
05-19-2006 04:39:26 | More by dogfooddog
4.7/5 rDev +4.7%
This beer poured a creamy dark brown that fades to apricots with a nice sustained film of almond head. There are also a good deal of little flecks of yeast swimming around the bottom of my tulip.
Smelled of creamy pastry with some sticky brown sugar or molasses. In the background theres an earthy dry sticky yeast and a nip of alcohol. Also, theres a banana, organic cherry and a crisp and dry rhubarb.
Tasted of light and creamy caramel and pastry but pops into a sharp dry hoppy/yeast sting that then falls into a honey and hazelnut. The mouth feel is light and easy with a storm of tiny, easy carbonation.
Very well done. I liked the pastry ideas here, like in the 12, but the dryness tragically (I use this term relatively) stole the show. Thanks to blitheringidiot for this one.
05-01-2006 21:17:58 | More by DarkerTheBetter
4.9/5 rDev +9.1%
This may be the best dark malty beer in Belgium. Creamy smooth and with enough punch to hit you after you've decided to stand up from the bar or table. Excellent with cheese and the foamy Belgian lace and sweet aroma make this another outstanding Westvletern product. Get some if you can find it.
04-18-2006 23:38:31 | More by bierman2000
4.5/5 rDev +0.2%
Pours a deep brown color, with a touch of red hue, very hazy. A light tan head of 1/2 inch shortens quickly to a foam crust which then lasts awhile, looking frothy and swirly. Nice streaming bubbles, minimal lacing, however. The smell is only mildly strong, with coffee and banana notes up front. Slightly roasted nut aroma in the background, the nose is a bit raisiny and tart making it overall complex. The alcohol is barely detectable here.
The first sip is intense on malt flavor, a sweet brown sugar taste coupled with a rasiny fruit flavor, mildly tart. Slight coffee and chocolate also in the mix. There is a slight astringence down the throat, although I can't really taste the alcohol. A gentle bitterness on the tongue serves to balance out the strong malt flavors yielding a nice balance through all the complexity.
Rich and full in body, not overly thick, but creamy enough to make it highly enjoyable. Fairly high in carbonation, it makes me let out a joyous belch after the first few sips. Drinkablility of this beer is off the charts. Not too strong, complex flavors, probably the best Dubbel I've ever had, as expected...
04-11-2006 06:20:03 | More by bennetj17
4.45/5 rDev -0.9%
Thanks to Jetsbeer for the trade. Pours with moderate carbonation, body is dark brown with a slight amber hue. A little swirl produces a furious frothing that is quite audible. Aroma is fruity, a little yeasty, and slight hops. There is also that same something I smell in Westy 12, though I can't put my finger on it. Their water source, or the yeast, perhaps.
Tastes damn good. The flavors are layered and seem to repeat. Slightly fruity, some yeast, spice, and hops. Mouthfeel is full, well carbonated, but smooth. I would drink dubbels more often if I could buy this. At least I have 1 more.
04-07-2006 07:17:19 | More by Sephiroth
4.97/5 rDev +10.7%
I believe that this has held up to the legendary status surrounding it. Best before date on the cap read,"18-02-09". It poured about like any other dubbel. It appeared very slightly cloudy reddish rusty brown colour with a monster khaki coloured head. Craggy, pitted foam left lots of sticky lacing on the edges of my Konings Hoeven goblet. The smell? Unimaginable! Spice, banana bread, cherries, pumpkin pie, pizza dough. Absolutely amazing, and it didn't stop there as much of this carried over to the taste, as well. Lots of fruit on the palate, as well as yeasty dough. The mouthfeel was almost velvety as this silky dubel washes over your tongue and down the back of your throat. I don't want to say that it seemed oily, as that would sound offensive, but that is how easily and gracefully it seemed to glide about my mouth as I savoured and swallowed each sip. Even at 8% and to be a dubbel, I'm quite sure that I could have 3 of these in a sitting. I was a bit skeptical at first as to whether or not this legendary ale would live up to all it has become through all the hype surrounding it. I think the answer to that question is certainly "yes".
04-06-2006 22:28:06 | More by SilentSabre
4.3/5 rDev -4.2%
Drank this bottle at 't Oud Arsenaal, in Antwerp, Belgium.
This beer poured an opaque, brown color with creamy, light brown foam that was slow to settle and clung to the glass, coating it. The smell was modest, but some malt came through. The taste was fruity and vinous, almost like blueberries (!). The light fruitiness was up front but the finish was dry with some hops coming through the malt. The mouthfeel was smooth and dry overall with medium body and strong carbonation. A very nice mouthfeel. This was a very nice bottle, and probably the freshest I have had this beer. The only weak point was the aroma.
03-21-2006 03:15:36 | More by UncleJimbo
4.93/5 rDev +9.8%
Unlabeled bottle with a best before date of 28.10.07 ink jetted across the cap. Acquired via trade and decanted into a Val-Dieu chalice.
Mahogany with slightt red edges. Tall billowing head of light tan that just sits there and slowly falls into a rocky landscape. Thick webby tendrils of lace are left in its wake.
The nose brings those wonderful aromas of freshly baked fruit cake made with cherries and plums that I love so much. A little bit of damp earth that reminds me of a my Grandma's old cellar in Ohio that I used to play in as a kid. A ghost of alcohol hangs in the back. Not as intense as the 12, but I love it.
Full mouth with just the right tingle from the carbonation that finishes clean.
The dark fruit flavors are upfront and everything flows just like the nose promised. The spices and earthy dough are all perfectly blended and the alcohol is there but it fits in so well that you have to really search for it to find it. Peppery finish that holds on to the plums and lingers pleasntly.
With everything this beer has going for it, the drinkablity is a five. No doubt about that. Again, I'm in awe of what the brothers can do.
03-20-2006 04:43:32 | More by ypsifly
4/5 rDev -10.9%
dark brown body with deep, bloody red rare highlights. catch the light the right way and the highlights glow radiantly. the surface has a brownish-yellow translucent layer as well, resting underneath a misty surface covered inadequately by cobwebby carbonation clusters. lacing dots the side of the glass gently and a ring stays around the edge.
aroma vomits forth ripe, rich fruits. raisin paste and juicy plum notes jump out of the glass from a distance. brown sugar smack and a light maltiness carries with it the sweet odor of cherry syrup. the slightest hint of raw cocoa beans top off this exotic nasal medley.
muddy and hot, slightly overcarbonated for the depth of flavor. nice caramel base although the alcohol abrasiveness and possible oxidation kills some of the subtler sweetnesses. warmth brings forth a kiss of fresh mowed grass and berry skins, saving the flavor from disappointing mediocrity. still, tastewise, there are better dubbels.
it's no 12, but it's a solid beer wrapped in an exquisite package. worth a try, glad i did.
03-13-2006 19:47:44 | More by goodbyeohio
4.8/5 rDev +6.9%
When I first had this beer I was let down but realized that I was not having it at the right temperature, that is the key with good Belgium beer. Also aging them in the right conditions helps.
The appearance is dark with a little light shinning through. The aromas are fruity and fruity that is all you smell. At a young age this is a excellent beer but age it atleast a year to enhance the flavors. At the young age it has a good fruity flavor but after a year this flavor is unbelievable, I first thought that it was not worth the drive across Belgium but now after tasting a couple more can't wait to go back. The mouthfeel is smooth with an abundance of flavor, the only thing I marked it down on was the drinkability due to the fact that it is packed full of flavors, to much of this wonderful brew and you will give yourself a headache enjoying every sip. But it is the only way to drink this beer. ENJOY
03-12-2006 00:57:57 | More by paulaner
4.47/5 rDev -0.4%
A red ruby beer with a deep intense robe, no head at all, I think the head was guillotined a while ago.
Alcohol esters, malt flavours, caramel with a hint of smoked oak hints that come and tease the nose. Also a strong grape wise flavours comes from that beer.
taste is like grape, very carbonated, refreshing, hoppy. It starts with a grape like flavors then followed by a hoppy aromas and end up with caramel malt.
I had that beer in my cellar since a year in a half waiting to drink it, I guess I was disapointed, I was waiting for the Holy Grail. A very good beer, not a great one to jump out of building tho
02-26-2006 22:04:15 | More by 3Vandoo
4.83/5 rDev +7.6%
Pours a dark brown with ruby red highlights with two finger brown/tan head.
Aroma is rummy, plummy, sweet, chocolate, caramel, raison.
Tastes of all of the previously mentioned as well as yeasty breads, tart apples, and grassiness.
Nice subtle alcohol warmth and a deep , rich, creamy mouthfeel. It's so smooth it almost disappears down your throat. Little flecks of sediment float at the bottom of the glass.
Best Dubbel I've ever had.
02-25-2006 20:55:16 | More by BillyB
3.53/5 rDev -21.4%
blank 11.2 oz. bottle poured into a rochefort goblet.
murky maroonish brown with half an inch of tan head that falls quickly, leaving nice webs of lacing.
tart apples, dry white wine, belgian yeast and a touch of cola sweetness in the nose.
more tart, almost sour apples in the flavor. bready malts and a crisp, dry, champagne-like feel. alcohol and sour in the finish, which is a touch unpleasant. surprisingly straightforward, as i've come to expect a lot more complexity from the trappists. then again, i far prefer the rochefort 10 to the 8 or 6; maybe the westvleteren 12 will also far exceed its lesser brethren.
02-22-2006 03:42:27 | More by Prufrock
5/5 rDev +11.4%
Perfection. Pours out to a dark cranberry brown color with a lively head of foam. Nice lacing. Medium level of carbonation. Aromas of sugary candy and yeast, with subtle spicey notes and malts lingering in the background. Very enjoyable. Taste was exemplary, complex and inviting. Utterly delicious. Flavors of yeasty bread and malts, with a toffee candied like sweetness; grass and grain, dark plumbs and nectars. Wow. Mouthfeel was buttery smooth and slightly jazzy due to the mild carbonation stemming from the small, easy sips. Very high level of drinkability. If it weren't so expensive and hard to find, this would be it. Possibly better than it's quadrupel brother "12". World Class, and Highly Recommended.
THE BLOODHOUND FACTOR: Yes, I shared this heavenly brew with my angelic pups. They both were thrilled with it, even though they got little more than a cap ful.
02-10-2006 23:58:29 | More by Frozensoul327
4.53/5 rDev +0.9%
Bottle Pours a clear brown with a light tan and fizzy head. The head lasts a good while, but doesnt lace all that well. Aromas are sweet with touches of raisins, plums, and a touch of cherry. Has a strong alcohol presence. Taste is very refined with a great mix. This is not real sweet or bitter or malty, just has a pure beer taste. A very crisp refreshing beer. No real noticable aftertaste but it has a solid duration. Definately as good as advertised.
02-05-2006 16:41:50 | More by Birdiebeagle
Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
99 out of 100 based on 1,621 ratings.