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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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1,742 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,742
Reviews: 769
rAvg: 4.49
pDev: 8.46%
Wants: 1,245
Gots: 272 | 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: 1,742 | Reviews: 769 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kkipple
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

At last!

This bottle, of indeterminate age, had an attractive white label and the distinctive blue Westy 8 cap. I shared this with some fine friends at a cool spring evening's tasting and all proclaimed it excellent. From notes:

Westvleteren 8 is a hazy copper, dark in the center of the glass, and sports a small lingering spotty head of foam. Good retention throughout the duration. Some sediment. Nothing unusual. But then!

The smell is, honestly and easily, the finest I've ever had from a Dubbel. The best beers of a style often make your senses stand up and take notice and say "I'd have not expected this!" Westvleteren 8 is such a Dubbel.

The initial nose is sweet and complex fruity malts. Then you get figs, faint old hops, a slight sour fruit and musty, floral smell and just a hint of alcohol. Spice and fruit, grain and booze - simply sublime! Soothing and reassuring - and tempting.

After a few sips, a classic Dubbel emerges. Musty and fruity, light toffee blended with clove and flowery esters, a hint of perhaps cinnamon and nuts. Complicated yet mild, and finishes with a fantastic sweet-dry caramel finish that leaves a calling card. The mouthfeel is perfect, creamy and smooth and relaxing.

Westvleteren gets a lot of buzz, but there's a reason. They really are THAT good. I'm happy to report that this beer nearly lives up to the hype - and given the amount of hysteria that surrounds the beer, that's astounding.

Exceptional. Highest recommendation for the Belgian beer lover.

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

Thanks to Josh from Vintage Beer and Wine for the generous hookup...I have tried the 12 and 8 due to his efforts. Sorry Josh, temptation was too great, had to open it!

I decided to do a Pepsi challenge by drinking the Westvletaren and Rochefort 8's at the same time, so I will rate the Westy and then share some comparative notes afterwards.

A--Deep brown, just the slightest red tones. Not a ton of head after a careful pour. Sticky lacing to be sure.

S--Sweet and fruity. Really nice aroma.

T--This bottle is pretty new and I can tell that it needed a good bit of time to mature and get more complex. That being said, incredibly complex and tons of things going on. Pears, apples, raisins, cherries, all seem to come out with each sip. Outstanding to be sure.

M--It is beers like this that make me understand this category a little better. So silky smooth on the palate, impressive.

D--A little difficult to give this beer a 5 in this category because of the incredible difficulty finding this beer and its general rarity. Each sip is a little depressing because I realize it gets closer to an empty chalice.

The Rochefort 8 does a pretty good job of holding up. Deeper and certainly has a little more of a punch. You can taste the alcohol more with the Rochefort. A little more head, a little more lacing. If somebody put a gun to my head and said choose, I am not sure which direction. Westy by a nosehair???

Photo of YonderWanderer
4.6/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark, almost cola-brown, with a single finger of foam on the top of it. No lacing is left on the glass with this one.

S: Belgian yeast, bread, and some dark fruits. Not much, but it's still pretty solid.

T: This is where this brew shines. Taste is full of dark fruit, yeast, bread, and nice hints of chocolate throughout. Alcohol warms a bit, but is quite pleasant.

M: Smooth, with a nice deal of carbonation.

D: This is an easy-drinking Belgian. Quite tasty, and enjoyable. Were it not so rare, I would quite happily drink it frequently.

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

Poured into a Westvleteren chalice. It appears brown with red highlights and an off-white head.

Smells a bit like chocolate graham cracker and malted milk balls (a possible hint of oxidation maybe as it's not far from cardboard) with a touch of funk. Very biscuity and nutty like a brown ale at times, interesting. Not what I expected, but not out of line for the style.

The initial flavor is of smooth Belgian chocolate with candied dates. There seems to be a sprtiz of sweet cherry and herbal hops at the end, while the finish is slightly sweet with notes of caramel and toffee.The flavors are subtle like a great English bitter and while the flavor is sweet, it's well balanced and never cloying.

The body is medium and the carbonation is light, but just enough. Overall, it's very drinkable. It just strikes me as a very well made beer. If it weren't so damned rare it'd be easy to sit down and drain a few of these bottles. I think I can settle for Rochefort 8, however. I'd like to taste those head to head.

Hype factor: Doesn't live up to it in my book, but for me, hyped beers rarely do. Maybe one of the most drinkable Belgian's I've had, and easily the best dubbels I've had. I just had the Allagash dubbel a few days ago, and while a very nice beer, I found it a bit lighter and not quite as pleasing. I must say, however, I don't think with is worthy of being considered a top 10 in the world beer.

Photo of dalion037
5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Now this is a great Belgian. It had miles of creamy tan head that lasted for a couple minutes. It reduces down to a silky foam floating on the top. The beer itself was a dark reddish brown. The taste of sweet, yeast, caramel does a great job of hiding the 8% alcohol that sneaks up on you. The beer is thick enough to cover your tongue with the rich taste of heavenly trappist ale you will definately remember.

Photo of joepais
4.55/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to Jw347 for this rare treat
Bottle poured into my chalice produced a finger worth of off white head that turned to a thin lace. The body was a burgundy color

Aromas of a red wine in some ways tons of dark fruit

Wow great flavors dark fruit malts and a citrus bitter

Great mouthfeel nice carbonation on the tongue

Highly drinkable will seek out again I am enjoying this on and will continue to enjoy it with my Easter dinner as a tribute to the monks

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

Pours with an off-white foamy, mostly lasting head. It has a deep amber colour. Lovely fruity aroma. Palate with notes of caramel, raisins and roasted malt. Little sweet/ bitter aftertaste. Praise God who inspirited the monks to create this little miracle.

Photo of wcudwight
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to markguggs for the bottle.
Pours a dark auburn color with a creamy tan head that retains until the glass is empty.
Smells like cookie dough with some spice to it. Very pleasant and not overpowering.
Complex flavors that melt together perfectly. The way this beer has so much going on yet remains it's balance amazes me. I taste honey, toast, apples, Belgian yeast and a touch of alcohol in the finish.
Perfect mouthfeel. Big and bold with out being too filling. Silky smooth.
Excellent beer that lives up to the hype and just might be better than the 12 imo.

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

This beer pours a rich purple color with a massive head that quickly dissolves.

The smell is that of dark fruit and tart. Not much else to say.

The taste is that of the smell. Dark fruit and a slight tartness make up the taste of this distinct beer.

The mouthfeel is light and creamy. Its very appealing.

Overall, I like this beer. Its quite a treat and an honor to be my beer that achieves my Initiate status.

Photo of bassmantin
4.2/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to iconoklaztor for the sample.

Pours a very dark black/red. One of the best looking beers I've ever seen.

Taste is a bit tart, with subtle coffee notes. So complex, I can't quite put my finger on it. Very interesting and highly satisfying.

Mouthfeel is quite good and drinkability is amazing for such a big beer.

This is a legend; what else can I say about it.

Photo of DrJay
4.33/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice. Slightly murky, deep coppery rust colour with a thin cap of beige bubbles. Decent head retention, some belgian lace. Looks nice. Fruity, bready aroma with notes of plum, raisin, crust, faint alcohol, some caramel, and a hint of spice. Very mild banana appeared as it warmed. Light alcohol up front along with sweet malts. This dissolves into a caramel and raisin sweetness, dried fruit, giving way to malt and spicy alcohol in the finish. Bready malts linger on the palate. Smooth texture, generous carbonation that feels light and airy rather than aggressive. Pretty tasty and easy to drink, though the alcohol does makes itself known. Malt sweetness really started to dominate as it warmed from just below cellar temperature.

Photo of barleyman
4.68/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first ever Westy. I've had all of the other Trappist products. As you may know, the Westvleteren products are unavailable in the US. Provided by the son, in the Air Force, in Germany, by mail to the US. I have to admit, I've previously been pre-occupied by the tripels and quadrupels. This dubbel is wonderful. Poured from the brown glass 33cl. bottle, into my straight sided glass tumbler. The very dark white head quickly subsides. A fruity, raisiny aroma predominates. The citrusy, malty taste predominates. The complexity of this beer is absolutely amazing. Almost no hop taste or aroma is present. Mouthfeel is appropriate for this style. As one might imagine, I had a lot of trepidation upon opening this wonderful product. Do what you can to obtain a Westvleteren beer. I have been enjoying Belgian beers for over 25 years. Not once in that time have I been disappointed.

Just a thought,


Photo of rye726
4.9/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Mahogany color with nice bubbling from the bottom. An absolutely perfect creamy tan head.

Earthy malts, dark sugars, ripe fruits, spicy yeast and citrus hops. Really grows as it warms.

Very complex and well balanced. Chocolate, caramel, honey, dried fruits and buttery malts. Also a nice presence of peppery Belgian yeasts and earthy hops.

Full and creamy up front with a much drier finish. Perfect carbonation.

A superbly balanced beer that can be enjoyed any time. Pairs well with most any meal. Fantastic example of the style.

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

11.2oz. brown bottle, blue cap - no label, poured into a chalice. Best before 31.10.10

A: Pours a very deep brown with very little visibility. 1 1/2 fingers of toffee head forms decently tight and has very good retention, eventually laying down to a thick fluffy skim. Decent lacing throughout.

S: Pleasantly sweet caramel malts. Great caramel smell, very nice. A little bit of cocoa in the very back with some pulpy dark fruits. Only complaint is that it's all on the subtle side.

T/M: Great caramel malts with that tiny wisp of cocoa in the back. More of the pulpy dark fruits and an underlying alcohol warmth that's barely audible. A touch of yeast in end. Body is medium and very creamy and smooth. Mouthfeel is absolutely perfect.

D: Very tasty and the 8% is nicely hidden. Two down, one to go.

Photo of jbphoto88
4.4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle purchased on ebay as a full "souvenir" bottle. No label just the trademark blue cap from the monastery. I was a little skeptical about the purchase until I poped the cap off. Phssshhhhtttt. This brew poured a dark leathery brown with royal reddish tints. Beautiful. The head is a full two inches in the glass almost the same size of the brown liquid. A fluffy tan pile of perfection that laces the glass and thins as you drink but never disappears.

Smell is complex and enticing... world class. It is a sharp smell that has malts, candied sugar and hints of fruits. A typical belgian beer smell but above average. Nice.

Taste is smooth and rich. It has a slight green apple twinge to it with a deep malt flavor. The mouthfeel is amazingly creamy and there is a nice subtle carbonation. The flavor then flows into a superb yeasty honey flavor. There is a nice sweet candied sugar aftertaste that is reminiscent of eating fine chocolates.

This beer is world class and worth the premium paid on ebay. I now have to make a journey to the monastery in order to fully experience this beer. Does it live up to the hype? Yes. I can't wait for the 12 I have in the fridge.

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

The pour is very dark brown with some garnet highlights when held to light. The head started bit and fizzy, then settled to around a quarter inch of khaki foam. My first impression of the nose is cherries. A touch of chocolaty raisins. Some dusty yeast character. Very subtle flavors here. Light cherries, banana chips, roasted nuts, raisins. Hell, lets just call this liquid trail mix. Medium body. High carbonation. Creamy. Well, this is certainly a good beer, but it aint all that.

Photo of IntriqKen
3.65/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark copper amber...very dark...impressive white head that melts very slowly and leaves a delicious sticky lace as it melts.

Aroma is subdued buttery caramel malts...very smooth...wonderfully toasted and sweet.

Taste is toasted amber malts with a burnt characteristic that mellows into a slight hop finish. Nice double however...not as impressive as the 12 is for a quad.

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

Picked up a bottle at the Cracked Kettle in Amsterdam, along with the 12. They were serving them both across the street at Cafe Golem, but with such a sought after beer, we couldn't have our first taste of the Westvleterens after knocking back a few other belgian treats.

Poured into a snifter glass. It has a dark color and very nice lacing. Noticed a dark yeast sediment as I poured it into the glass.

Definitely could smell the yeast, almost bread like; very gentle spices.

The taste definitely evolves in your mouth. It begins a tad spiced and with the warming effect it changes to slightly peppery. The carbonation was light, but leaves a long impression in your mouth.

This certainly lived up to expectations. I'm trying to wait a bit before enjoying the 12, but we'll see how long I can hold out.

Photo of grandq
3.73/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big ol' thanks to pimpp for the twofer of the 8 and 12. Pours a deep reddish brown, thick, billowy head. Smelling apples, raspberries, and mulberry. On first sip, I find the initial carbonation really jarring. Takes a bit of warming and swirling until it gets down to a less distracting level. Getting alot of raspberry on the tongue, plum, cherry, a faint hint of caramel and toffee in the middle of the very mild malt, some spicy yeast/hop notes follow. The water this is made from may have a bit of mineral bittering, but not as strong as a Burton. Nothing is to pronounced and the light mouthfeel lets one explore all the flavors, but I didn't feel it was all that well balanced - perhaps as a result of the aforementioned carbonation.

On the positive side, the finish isn't overly dry, and despite being so sweet this leaves nothing unwanted or too forceful on the tongue as it evaporates. Liking the earthy, barnyardy notes on the very tail end.

Overall, there's some interesting flavors and its no doubt well crafted, but there's nothing really grabbing me here. I'll give this a re-review if I make my way to Belgium one of these days but don't think I'll go to the trouble of tracking down another bottle state-side. Not my favorite dubbel.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.8/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The pleasure to enjoy this magical beer at the Cambrinus Restaurant in Brugge in complement to a fine late lunch is as welcome in my memory bank as profound as any I have had in all my beer drinking days.

As the beer pours into the challice, the carbonation errupts and threatens to overtak the rim. But alas, it settles into a creamy and rocky set of tightly and loosely knit foam with tremendous staying power and intricate lace to boot. The beer underneath is a dark garnet with lavender highlights carrying a modest yeasty haze. The beer just exudes prowessness.

Delicate and succulent aromas provide a candied fruit scent of powdered sugar, ripe grape, light sherry wines, cahsews, honey, mild chocolate and toast. A mild spicy note that seems somewhat of wine, wood, dried orange peel, and peppercorn come to life just as the first sip is taken.

The taste envelops the mouth, coating it with the taste of powdered sugar, dry malt, red wine, candied grapes, nuts, berries, and the background note of dried pitted fruits like dates and figs. Very well balanced with dry malt tannin, spicy peppercorn, and slight citrus- this beer captures wave after wave of flavor combination with exquisit balance and finesse.

Soft and expansive textures seem to explode in the mouth giving an airy robustness that's somewhat firm and whimsical at the same time. But the beer's ultimate dry and powdery warmth causes it to disolve on the tongue just like cotton candy, and when the beer finishes there's nothing there to swallow- only an impression of dry fruit and spice that lingers softly in aftertaste but easy on the palate and stomach.

Photo of brewcrew76
4.55/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle cap dated 29 10 09

A - Pours a deep brown ruby with ruby highlights and a thin tan head that leaves patches of foam behind.

S - Wonderful aroma. Sweet dark fuits of raisins plums and figs, a hint of caramel and candy sugar, tart apple and some belgian yeast. Very complex.

T - Plums, raisins, figs, slightly tart apple, caramel and candy sugar. Not as complex as the aroma.

M - Slightly creamy with prickly champagne like carbonation and a dry lingering finish.

D - As good as I remember it when I had it in bottles at the Maproom years ago.

Photo of JBogan
5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ok, let's get this out of the way first. This is the best beer I've ever had, bar none. As you can see, I've given it perfect marks in all catagories. I'm not one to give perfect scores either. In fact, of all the beers I've reviewed so far I can only recall giving a beer a perfect score in any catagory once, and that was to the Westvertleten 12 for mouthfeel. So with that in mind, here we go ...

Poured a dark brown with ruby highlights. Rich creamy two finger head which stayed through the glass and left excellent lacing.

Smelled of plums, raisins, caramel, subtle spices, and no sign of alcohol that I could detect.

Tasted much like it smelled, a perfect balance of the above mentioned fruits, caramel and spices.

Mouthfeel was superb. Smooth and creamy with just enough carbonation. Medium to thick bodied and smooth. Oh, and did I mention it was smooth?

This is as drinkable as it gets. If someone told me that from this day on I could drink only this beer, I'd say bring it on! My favorite beer on the planet, bar none.

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

had this in a bottle imported from Belgium to me from a good friend. That's the kicker is the shipping cost on these beers the trip to the Abby and the cost to ship is extreme but the beer is worth it. Light brown appearance with almost a sour farmhouse funk to it very appealing to the palette. Easily drinkable..The only problem was I had 1 bottle the other 2 busted in shipping : ( but it was a treat to be able to drink this rare beers indeed!

Photo of brdc
4.65/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a small capped bottle, no label, blue cap, into a goblet.

In the full glass, this is a dark reddish brown beauty with a foamy, well retained tan head. As the amount of fluid goes down, it looks quite clear, tawny-like in color with golden and amber highlights.
Nose is malty and sweet, fruity, caramelized and actually quite spicy, peppery with some hints of alcohol in the background.
Nice carbonation adds to the velvety mouthfeel, with a deep flavor but actually quite light for its taste, adding tremendously to its drinkability.
Its caramelized, malty sweetness is well balanced by the same peppery spiciness suggested on the aroma, and layer upon layer of fruit comes into play. Warmingly alcoholic at times, it is still quite well balanced, and incredibly pleasant.

Photo of Mudpuppet
4.13/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured from an unlabeled bottle (except cap) into a Chimay chalice. Pours a brownish-red with no head. Small bubbles rising to the surface.

S- Light smell of malt and molasses. Not much nose at all.

T- Tastes of toffee, coffee, and chocolate. I also get some fruit punch type flavor. Very interesting brew. I enjoyed this wholly.

M- Medium carbonation. Nice feel across the tongue.

D- Very tasty beer. The beer is somewhat light but full flavored. Great beer overall.

Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 1,742 ratings.