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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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1,646 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,646
Reviews: 764
rAvg: 4.49
pDev: 8.46%
Wants: 1,202
Gots: 252 | FT: 15
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) visit their website

Style | ABV
Dubbel |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
(Blue Cap)

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-03-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,646 | Reviews: 764 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bitterbill
4.72/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle(room temp) a deep, cloudy burgundy with a huge tannish head of foam that actually grew bigger and towered over the top of my glass.(like Mt Everest) Luckily, none spilled out. ;^)

The smell is all fruity with notes of plum and peach and there's caramel tones there as well. Very complex and inviting.

The taste is firstly from the foam.(it just refuses to give up) ..huge fruitiness of plums and peaches hits my palate with a nice bitterness in the background. On to the liquid...there's the fruit blended well with a caramel sweetness and just a smidgeon of bitterness and I can *just* feel a slight warming sensation from the abv. Dang, this is sucha complex brew, my words cannot give it proper justice.

Bottom line: This is one classy and classic brew. If you ever see some around your neck of the woods, do not fail to grab some and if you can't find any locally, try your best to arrange for a trade or buy some online. It's too good to miss out on!!

Bitterbill, Jan 29, 2006
Photo of AlexJ
4.7/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Burnt crimson pour with a sizable head of wheat hued froth that retains beautifully and laces nicely. A lasting veil remains until the end.

Aroma is massive and fruity, like raisins, prunes, and dried apple rings simmering in molasses and port wine. There's a good sense of yeast, subtle spice, and slightly tart over-ripe apple and red grape mustiness.

Flavor has all kinds of sticky dark fruit notes, mainly prune, raisin, and apple. It's not as sweet as the nose, and perfectly balanced by vinous wine nuances and a spicey hop finish.

Body is right between medium and large with a chewy, sticky mouthfeel and creamy soft texture. Nectar of the Gods this is!

AlexJ, Jan 20, 2006
Photo of tgbljb
4.6/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured a deep brownish-red color with chunky, slightly off-white head. Little retention but nice subtle lacing on the side of the glass. Smell is absolutely fantastic, being a nice combination of dark fruits (raisins, prunes, figs, dates), tart apples, and wine. Very unique and supremely enjoyable. The taste is a culmination of the promise of the smell. What a mixture of spiciness, fruitiness, and toasty malt. It virtually dances in the mouth. Finish is so smooth that its difficult to believe there is 8% alcohol in it. Some wine-like flavors come through at the end. Easy to drink. Will try to find another bottle some time.

tgbljb, Jan 15, 2006
Photo of ggaughan
4.63/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a beer. I have had a few of these in Belgium and brought back a few bottles as well and I am still cellaring those. This bottle I got from Kclinger's Public House in Etters, PA. Shared it with a few friends on New Year's Eve, what a treat.

The beer poured a nice rich dark mocha color with a nice tan head that stuck around for awhile. Yum.

The beer has some nice roasted caramel and fruit notes that I can't get enough of. I have to go back for a few more wiffs before starting to consume the beer.

The fruit character of this beer masks the high alcohol content but it is still there to remind you it is a dubbel and a damn good one at that.

This is definitely a drinkable beer that I would like to have another of really soon. I think I will.

ggaughan, Jan 01, 2006
Photo of GClarkage
4.9/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12/29/05- Purchased at Jackson's Wine and Spirits in Lafayette, CA.

Presentation- 11.2oz bottle without any dating. Purchased over a year ago though. Consumed out of my St. Bernardus goblet.

Appearance- Dark caramel colored pour. A full inch of head which settles into a nice 1/8 inch rim throughout. Moderate lacing for a dubbel.

Smell- A dark roasted caramel malt base, followed by a sweet dark fruity smell. Plums and raisins mainly. Hits of anise also detected. Best smelling dubbel I have set my nose upon.

Taste- Almost has a grape jolly rancher kinda taste going. That combined with plums and maybe a taste of over ripe dates. Nonetheless it has a wonderful fruit barage going on. After the sweetness goes away it leaves a nice darker caramel malt flavor in the back of your mouth.

Mouthfeel- A tad thick and a tad creamy at that. Medium carbonation and slightly warming.

Drinkability- By far the most flavorful dubbel I have tried. I usually am not really a fan of dubbel's, but this one I would gladly drink all the time if it was readily available. Highly recommended.

GClarkage, Dec 29, 2005
Photo of Franchise
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a dark brown and leaves a 1/2in tan head. The smell is sweet fruits figs, plums, grape juice and honey. As I tasted this beer all the previous fruit flavors come out this has a great malty taste on the palate and is really smooth. As I let this beer continue to warm up I can really begin to smell and taste more of the fruitiness as well as the honey and cloves and it just compliments each other so well. This is one of the best beers I have ever had, it is well crafted and would pair well with some smoked gouda or any antipasto dish to really contrast against the sweetness of the beer.

Franchise, Dec 04, 2005
Photo of akorsak
4.43/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First review, so here goes...

Serving: Clean Three Philosopher's chalice. Bottle comes from a case of Westy (6, 8 and 12) purchased for Father's Day. Bottle was refrigerated prior to opening and allowed to warm to room temperature prior to enjoying.

Appearance: Robust dark brown ale with visible yeast and sediment throughout.

Smell: Incredible smell, so many different flavors mixing together.

Taste: Powerful taste, the alcohol is just under the surface but evident.

Mouthfeel: Clearly there is a party in my mouth and everyone's invited.

Drinkability: High alcohol inhibits session drinkability, but the brew is delicious (not as good as the 12, but close).

akorsak, Nov 18, 2005
Photo of atigerlife
4.22/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed again 10/30/08, same vintage: Did not seem to age very well. Still good, best to drink fresh.

Ordered directly from Belgium. Poured into a Westy chalice.

A surpisingly dark brown with a lovely one finger light brown head. Very creamy head which lasted quite long.
The smell was of dark chocolate, fermenting plums. Some farm qualities and yeast.
The taste is quite intense. Lots of dark fruit powering through the alcohol. Some brandy hints as well as liquorice.
There is a fair amount of carbonation. Overall, this is a very nice dubbel. Would most likely be a good beer to cellar and let its character come through. Glad I have some more.

atigerlife, Nov 11, 2005
Photo of CRJMellor
4.47/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, but thick deep mahogany and burgundy with a ecru head that starts fairly large but settles down quickly. Lots of lace on the chalice.
Aroma has a definitive cough medicine alcohol pop and some sweet raisins and figs with just a twinge of dark bread and yeast.
Taste has some cofffee and chocolate with plum and dates being the most apparent dark fruit profiles.
Mouthfeel is smooth and lush yet powerful with an alcohol presence. Gracefully glides down the gullet and is delectable. This one had a far amount of age and really mellow but still tasty.
Drinkability is very high. all Dubbels should be this graceful yet powerful, still the standard bearer for the style.

CRJMellor, Nov 02, 2005
Photo of ColForbin
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

For my 100th beer review, I thought the perfect beer would be a Westvleteren 8 that I have been cellaring for a couple years. My 11.2oz bottle has a date of 7.12.02 on the cap, making this beer 3 years old (or almost 3, if they use the dd.mm.yy format). Pours a deep red brown with a fluffy tan head in my chalice. Nose is spicy, with some deep caramel and some slight sour fruit notes. Up front in the taste is corainder, which is quickly followed by some caramel and a slight bit of sour fruit, perhaps brought on by its stay in my cellar, but it only improves the beer. Fascinating and complex. Very dry slightly bitter finish, and a highly carbonated champagne-like mouthfeel, with a lingering maltiness. High carbonation makes this beer extremely drinkable.

An entirely worthy beer for my 100th review, I just hope my review is worthy of the beer. A shame this can't be (legally) purchased in the US anymore.

ColForbin, Oct 31, 2005
Photo of Px2GrafX
4.22/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

presentation: i'm guessing this is close to a very modest looking 12oz. brown bottle with no label. blue cap with all the info. you need. "trappist westvleteren" on top with their logo in the center. the number 8 is on the bottom of the cap encircled. abv is displayed at 8%. there is a best by date stamped across the cap: 10.07.

appearance: pours a deep, dense reddish-brown with crimson highlights in a chalice glass. nice light tan, creamy and tight 1.5 inch head. retention is good and lacing is excellent.

smell: aroma is sweet and lightly spicy. grainy and bready.

taste: spicy and bready with an overwhelming alcohol flavor. almost like brandy or conac. there are touches of caramel and prunes. toasty graininess. yeasty bitterness in the finish.

mouthfeel: creamy smooth medium body with superb carbonation. very champagne-like. clean and rolls around nicely. swallow is velvet. my favorite aspect of this beer.

drinkability: this is a nice sipper. alcohol slows, but is pleasant. tasty and the mouthfeel is truely a dream. goes down easy when you enjoy slowly.

overall: this is a very good dubbel. ranked as the number 5 beer in the world, i had quite high expectations. as good as this was, i was still hoping for a little more. i have two more that i'll have over the next two years. this brew is prime for maturation.

Px2GrafX, Oct 15, 2005
Photo of kmpitz2
5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a very deep brown color with ruby hues. A two finger head sits over top and falls to a finger. The nose is brown sugary and even slightly mapel-like. Sweet dark fruits with puffs of alcohol abound. I even get a touch of cherry in there too. Very nice. Flavor is oh so nice. A ton going on here. Light dark fruits, caramel, brown sugar, slightly creamy. Shit. So smooth. This may be the best brew I have had. Hands down. The feel is velvet smooth with a very fine carbonation. Its moderate in thickness. I could sit and drink this brew all damn day. No hint anywhere of the 8%. Everything moves seamlessly into each other in the flavor, aroma and mouthfeel. Divine. Absolutely divine

kmpitz2, Sep 16, 2005
Photo of Viggo
4.65/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very murkey iced tea brown/orange, lots of fine chunkies, perfect light brown head forms, settles in a ring around the glass. Smell is very vinous, sweet honey like aroma, chocolate, and dark cherries. Taste is alcohol and chocolate up front, rich malty middle, dark cherries, some grassiness/hay and a rich bitter finish. Mouthfeel is like butter, medium bodies, perfect carbonation, just slides down your throat. Excellent beer, as good in its own ways as Westy 12, and I'm glad I have another bottles kicking around.

Viggo, Sep 16, 2005
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.55/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a chalice)

A-This beer pours a deep dark warm brown with a thick creamy tan head that last and last. It has a good carbonation of tiny bubbles that can only be seen on the edge of the glass.

S-Lots of aromas blended together with a slight sweetness. The smell of caramel, faint chocolate, raisins and even a nice tobacco aroma. As it warms some smells of rose and cloves start to pop through.

T- A nice toasted malt flavor is the base with lots of complexity but not as complex as the smell. Some raisin and clove notes in the malt but it finishes kind of dry with a slight alcohol warmth.

M- medium mouthfeel with no astringency or alcohol warmth.

D- This is a nice complex beer in the smell but it just doesn't have the same complexity in the taste. Very nice beer.

rhoadsrage, Sep 08, 2005
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.6/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into Watou chalice.

Appearance: Reddish brown, big pillowy head on top. The head retained really well.

Smell: The smell is the main draw for me. Completely intoxicating, with yeasty fresh-baked bread dominating, and fruity esters adding some character.

Taste: Very nice, but kind of more alcoholic flavor than the St. Bernardus Prior 8. They're both good.

Notes: This was the first time I tried Westvleteren 8. I set up a side-by-side comparison with St. Bernardus Prior 8 (served in another Watou chalice from an 11.2 oz bottle). The Prior 8 has been one of my favorites since I first tried it last December. Now I can happily say that I think it is marginally better than Westvleteren in my opinion. They are both exceptional, but the alcohol was just more present in the Westvleteren flavor than I would prefer. The St Bernardus seemed a little richer in malt flavor also.

TurdFurgison, Sep 06, 2005
Photo of scooter231
3.93/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I wonder if I should have saved these guys for a while, if perhaps they were too young yet, because I can sense the possibility of them, the character there, but... young. Hmm.

Pours a dark brown, slightly crimson color, with a tan, creamy looking head and some lacing. Smells mostly of raisins, a sweet, and lightly floral backgrounds. As it warms, I get more powerful raisiny smells. Taste is also quite raisiny, with hints of chocolate, coffee, and toffee- a stouty type thing going on. Very dry. Can't sense the alcohol at all, very sneaky. Mouthfeel is smooth and chewy and frothy- very nice. Drinkable, sure, to some extent- but I find there's something in there that would prevent me from being able to have a few of these. A solid beer to be sure, but I hope I can get another one and hold on to it for a few years...

scooter231, Aug 26, 2005
Photo of ommegangpbr
4.15/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Good lacing, good head, good color though not quite as vibrant as I anticipated.
The smell gets quite lively as it warms. Sweet, dark fruits... raisins mostly. I pick out some others but not clearly. A sweet smell and a pleasant one at that.
The taste is much more dry than the smell indicates, though there is a sweetness... like sweetend coffee.... perhaps coffee with a splash of raisin syrup. There's also a stouty/coffee like thing in the mouthfeel. Can't really detect the alcohol in the flavor, though I imagine it serves to liven up flavors.Very complex. This isn't my favorite dubbel out there but it's nothing to sneeze at.

ommegangpbr, Aug 26, 2005
Photo of Paddez
4.05/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a turbid dark brown brew with a big tan head. Very nice.

Smell: The smell is probably the best part about this beer. Dark fruits, roasted malts and honey are the main attractions with some faint hints of alcohol near the end. There's something else going on there, but I can't really put my finger on it. Qiute complex and very good.

Taste: Roasty, caramelly, ... notes of honey bring a lightly sweet touch to the brew. Figs and other dark fruits carry the taste towards a slightly spicy and dry finish. Good but definitely not ground-breaking.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: Excellent mouthfeel: smooth, creamy with a gentle and pleasant carbonation. The more it warms, the more the alcohol gets a pleasant, warming effect. Drinkability is good, as long as it's not too cold.

Conclusion: Very 'dubbel'-like in character. It's a good and solid beer, but world class? Meh.

Paddez, Aug 14, 2005
Photo of Sixpoint
4.7/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Grape APE! Grape APE! Remember that shit? This beer is the Grape Ape. Period.

I don't know how they do it. There's no grapes in it, it is not a wine. Yet in the aroma and the aftertaste, the sample I recently had contained the most subtle but distinguishable GRAPE aroma and flavor. It was awesome. Grape soda anyone?

My sample was a deep burgunday color, almost brown. Left an awesome whisp of head all the way down a goblet style glass.

The aroma was of figs, caramel, clove, and of course, GRAPES.

The body was medium to full; almost silky. Very nice.

A very drinkable brew. You'd guess it was only 5% ABV. These people obviously know what they're doing. Respect.

Sixpoint, Aug 04, 2005
Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.58/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Opaque. Cloudy. Brownish. Two fingers worth of head. Thick lacing later on.

Nose has typical Belgian esters.

Taste is not near the 12, but still very good. Dark candi sugar noticeable. Typical Belgian esters stronger than in nose. Become stronger as it warms.

Mouthfeel is perfect at first. Not as good as it warms, but still excellent.

Goes down real easy, esp. for 8%.

Final thoughts: an excellent brew but don't fall prey to "you can't find it, it is sooo good." There are other dubbels out there that will keep you happy.

GeoffFromSJ, Aug 04, 2005
Photo of bristerboy
4.85/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What a surprise. I found two bottles with 05-05-2005 on cap ., at a drive in beer store that specializes in imported beer. $9.95 per bottle, but I figured , what the heck; all the raves that I have read on this forum, I might not find it again.

Since it had been in a cooler of unknown temp, I allowed it conme warm up slightly before pouring. It poured a beautiful DARK brown with tan generous head that stayed forever.

Smoooth!!! Alsolutely wonderful. Never have I tasted a beer so good. If the 12 is better, I might not be able to handle it.

Caramel, raisins which very little if any hop taste. Alcohol not apparent but after this small 11 oz drink, I felt it.

A shame that it cost so much, as I would have loved to drink the 2nd bottle, but I'll save it for a little cellaring and drinking later.

bristerboy, Aug 03, 2005
Photo of cypressbob
4.6/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled, served in Cafe Gollem, Amsterdam

Pours with a dark brown body, burgandy hues, thick frothy tan head with good retention. Some yeasties floating around

Smell, strong and estery, full of dark dried fruits, plums too. Slight whiff of alcohol although its very refined, like a single malt whiskey only less.

Taste, smooth and dark malty caramel, honey and maple syrup. Raisins, toffee and some alcohol on the finish

:) Fantastic...i prefer this over the 12 actually

cypressbob, Jul 29, 2005
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.63/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The Westvleteren 8 pours from the bottle a beautiful stream of crystal-clear orange-amber. In the glass it appears darker as the volume of liquid increases, and it's mounting head of creamy, yellowed-paper foam rises. The head retention is excellent and it leaves a fortress of creamy lace about the glass. Carefully poured it remains clear, and it's a beautiful glass of beer with a dark-crimson-accented copper/chestnut body that reveals plumes of streaming bubbles within, and gleaming crimson, orange, and gold highlights towards the base of the goblet.

The nose is sweet and caramelish, with undercurrents of dark-skinned fruits (some dried, some fresh) and delicate spice; as well as the occassional waft of light alcohol.

In the mouth, it's light bodied with a lively zest due to it's effervescent, natural carbonation. As it warms, however, it becomes cottony soft and smooth across the palate; accentuating its maltiness and rounding it greatly.

Spice and caramel appear first on the palate, and leave last... but in between there's a wide variety of sugary sweet, spicy, and fruity flavors that appear. Sweet sugar-cookie dough that's been drizzled with caramel comes to mind first. Additionally, dark fruit skins quickly appear upfront and become more fruity and juicy (and even slightly vinous towards the end...) as it progresses across the palate, joined by a rising spiciness and balancing bitterness. A splash of alcohol is right on the tail (but not until you've had half a glass), and it finishes dry but with lingering doughy-caramel malt and sublime, peppery spice that fades to a muddy-spicy-dark fruit linger.


NeroFiddled, Jul 28, 2005
Photo of connecticutpoet
4.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Obtained through a trade with GClarkage... thanks, Chris!

This was a dark brown, slightly hazy ale with a one and a half finger, creamy head that left tons of lace on my St. Bernardus chalice.

The aroma was fruity, with some spiciness, a little sweetness, and a touch of alcohol hovering over a dark malt background. Plums and perhaps apples?

The taste was initially of dark, slightly roasted malt. Raisins and plums then flowed over the taste buds. It was slightly vinous and a little dry. VERY good. Alcohol came through at the swallow.

Mouthfeel was smooth and creamy, but chewy and with the body needed to support the full flavors. The alcohol was present, but restrained.

Drinkability... well, DAMN hard to find, and a little too rich for session drinking... but would I have another if the opportunity arose? HELL YES!

connecticutpoet, Jun 17, 2005
Photo of sulldaddy
4.43/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am sampling a chilled bottle of this brew that I have had for at least 1.5 years. I am using a tulip/snifter for the sampling.
The beer pours a clear mahogany color with a large fluffy eggshell white head that foams up 3 cm easy. Leaves large latticework as it slowly recedes.
Aroma is fruity and spicy with apple and cloves and some yeasty biscuit scents. I also detect a bit of a hard candy sugary scent and banana.
First sip reveals a very fine yet super prickly carbonation that tingles my tongue and cheeks with each mouthful. Body is average and very smooth.
Flavor is toffee and caramel up front with some red grape and berry fruit as well. I also get a bit of non sweet bakers chocolate on the finish.
As the beer warms the prickliness of the carbonation dies down a bit and some more complexity of flavor comes forth. a bit of biscuit/scone flavor develops and I also get a bit more spiciness.
Overall the beer is fairly sweet from start to finish and is very drinkable. I dont get any alcohol presence on nose, mouth or belly.
A well crafted brew for sure!
I would buy again if I saw it for sure!

sulldaddy, Jun 12, 2005
Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
99 out of 100 based on 1,646 ratings.