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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)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,690 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,690
Reviews: 767
rAvg: 4.49
pDev: 8.46%
Wants: 1,220
Gots: 256 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII) Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,690 | Reviews: 767 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of drumline
4.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

33cl bottle with an 08.08.09 date on the bottle

Appearance - Pours a dark reddish color, with about half an inch of head that sticks to the sides of the glass, giving this beer "legs"

Smell - Sweet apples and grapes, bready and yeasty smell.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Very smooth and creamy, with just the right amount of carbonation. Lots of fruitiness here, with plum and grape flavors taking the forefront. Dry aftertaste with a mild alcohol warming sensation.

Drinkability - Hands down one of the most drinkable beers I've ever had. I finished off this bottle in no time. Each sip leaves you yearning for another. Damn near perfect brew.

drumline, Nov 16, 2006
Photo of Derek
4.45/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark reddish-brown, light tan head, very little retention or lace.

S: Dark raisins, brown sugar, figs, chocolate, floral hops, caramel & alcohol (sherry?).

T: Dark caramelized raisins, sherry, brown sugar, dark bread, chocolate, slightly spicy & floral; modest bitterness; alcohol is well-hidden.

M: Moderate body is creamy. Light to moderate carbonation.

D: Quite good considering the strength.

Derek, Nov 14, 2006
Photo of rayjay
4.3/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just earned my first site honor (initiate!) and just got some of these in the mail today. Time to crack one open and celebrate! 26.08.09

Deep brown. Head is multi-colored, with creamy white and stained brown patches and busy carbonation. Couldn't detect much sediment through the dark beer, but there was a layer of yeast sticking to the bottom of the bottle :-)

Sweet malts on the nose.

Malty profile, with a notable bitterness that is soft as a pillow. Subtle sweetness that fades off before the aftertaste kicks in. Notes of dates, brown sugar, mineral water, and mild alcohol.

Soft carbonation, that just melts on your tongue and provides a gentle spicyness.

It is quite obvious that lots of care and skill went into the making of this perfectly balanced ale. Simply the very definition of the style. Worth seeking out. Cheers!

rayjay, Nov 08, 2006
Photo of rsyberg01
4.72/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

S - 330 ml bottle much thanks to a certain someone, you know who you are. Cap reads 14.05.07

A - Pours a chocolatey black with brownish red breaking through. Head is a light tan that is tightly woven smooth foam. Drops to an inch of thick creamy cover on the beer. Lacing is extraordinary.

S - Raisins, viney, caramel, notes of bittersweet chocolate, tangy as well, really what I had hoped for.

T - Toasted caramel, dark dried fruits, figs, raisins, dates, sugary malts, tangy hints as well, warm in the chest. This is exactly what I had hoped for.

M - Not really what I had expected. Not as viscous as I thought it would be. It is above average, but I thought it would be a bit heavier on the palate.

D - I want another, but I assume thats the usual feeling. I cant wait to try the 12.

rsyberg01, Nov 08, 2006
Photo of therica
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Carried with reverence from Brugge, Belgium to the USA in January 2006, consumed 3 November 2006.

I'd heard so much about this beer-- and people on the Belgian train bowed with awed reverence when they saw the bottle I was carrying. I wasn't disappointed-- only mildly so, actually-- it's a beer, not a god! ha ha

Appearance-- incredibly nice, a dark purplish-brown with some effervescence and a gorgeous stained-brown even head.

Smell-- complex, enticing, smoky.

Taste-- much like the smell, lots of complex florals, prune, apricot, malt, caramel, burnt-wood smoke, traditional Belgian flat-hops but not much bitterness, a very nice experience.

Mouthfeel-- a nice bouquet ot be savored.

Drinkability-- goes down easily, except that you are continually grasping to identify the complex flavors. Very drinkable-- if you were fortunate enough to find enough to consume in-quantity.

therica, Nov 05, 2006
Photo of davidchollar
4.65/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

out of the plain, label-free bottle and into a tulip glass. this is a very dark, nearly black beer, a.deep mahogany when held up to the black sides of BA. a great big gorgeous tan head sits at the top and refuses to go away.

the first sniff is intriguing. there is obviously a lot to smell, but when i get closer, my first thought is not dubbel. i expect a really sweet, malty yeast bomb. but what i get is a big ale with lots of fruit and a strong hop presence. there's a wonderful mix of malt, dark fruits, some marshmallows and bubble gum. recently i have had several of the style, and although i didn't review it the st. bernardus blew me away. i am reminded of that here but at the same time this one is unique. so much character, such depth.

jebus. this masterpiece has everything going for it. heavanly mouthfeel, perfect balance and an impossibly light, dry finish. the only thing keeping me from giving this a perfect 5 is probably the same thing that keeps quadrupels and imperial stouts at the top of the best of BA list. 8% abv is nothing to play with, this is a strong ale. but it doesn't quite have the kick your ass wow factor of the biggest and strongest. having said that, this is probably more drinkable and a better everyday beer than the much stronger ales.

davidchollar, Oct 22, 2006
Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.93/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I got this one from a good friend of mine who happened to be at the right store at the right time in Brussels. Thanks Robb! This is my 400th review, and it seemed like a good time to break out such a special beer.

Appearance: Pours a clear deep red-garnet color with a huge fluffy 1" head of off white bubbles. There are tons of bubbles rising to keep the head up there, and it looks like this one is going to be here for the long haul. There is already a bit of lacing being left on the side of the glass even though I still haven't taken a sip of it yet. As I drank the beer the lace was somewhat sporatic, and by the time I got to the end of the beer it had recessed back into the beer.

Aroma: The aroma is really complex with some dark fruit and subtle spices complimenting a fresh bread like base. The yeast is a big player in the aroma of this one. This is really pleasant with some floral notes. It is hard to put your finger on any one flower in particular, but I get hints of Jasmine and maybe a tad of lavender. As the beer sits for a while and starts to warm, there is a more roasty aromatic coming out that seems like it is from sweet chocolate. The beer smells sweet, but I know that it is not and that the sweetness is just perceived due to the strong malt balance.

Taste: The flavor is amazingly complex with some sweet candy like flavors to get you in the beginning along with a defined bready presence. The evolution of flavor in this beer lasts forever and keeps changing as it sits on your palate. Somewhere after the sweetness starts to mellow a bit, you get the carbonation and what seems like dry attenuation. This lets you taste the alcohol for a second as a spicy bite just before a somewhat roasted impression sets in. Just when you think that the roast is going to be what you taste, there is a floral contribution that teases you just before you get back to the spicy alcohol to take you into the finish. Late after the sip, there is a defined alcoholic warming that coats your throat and warms you up all the way to the belly. As the beer warms, the fruit flavors are becoming much more apparent and they are taking much more plum-like or even currant-like character. Man, this is an excellent beer!

Opinion: What can I say about such an outstanding beer? This is fabulous! As I drink this beer for a while, and I am taking my time with it, I can see how there is often a comparison made between this and Rochefort. This beer does taste a bit like their #8 with all of its fruity complexity and full flavor while still coming across as well attenuated and drinkable. I think that Rochefort is a bit more dark malt driven which gives it a tad more acidity. This beer is a bit more fruity, but both are dangerously drinkable for such strong beers.

SkeeterHawk, Oct 12, 2006
Photo of Lnedrive14
4.65/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Cracked this bad boy open to celebrate beginning my second year of law school (what better time?).

I liked it better than the 12. It was more subtle, refined, and although i generally like the big alcohol beers, i thought the 12 tried to do too much. this reminded me greatly of the rochefort 10 both in style and substance (and yes, i know the styles are technically different).

Pours a dark ruby with a amorphous white head. Great lacing/head retention. Aromas quickly filled the room - candied apples, banana, prune, toffee, caramel, even a bit of chocolate. Taste hits strong up front with fruity sweetness and rounds out with the dessert flavors. Mouthfeel is impecable - thick yet effervescent and tingling. Highly drinkable, aside from the difficulty to acquire.

Lnedrive14, Sep 19, 2006
Photo of tatterdash
4.7/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The stunned looks of my bandmates as I revealed bottles of Westvleteren for sharing... priceless.

Pours a lovely deep garnet with a creamy light tan head. With a lot of sticky lace and just a little hazy. Aroma was quite vinous, with a bit of green apple sourness. Lots of caramel and some chocolate surfaced as it warmed. Taste was a roller coaster of flavour, an absolutely amazing ride. Candy apple sweetness and green apples up front, changing to caramel and chocolate maltiness, changing again to a mild bittersweet chocolate peppery finish. Mouthfeel was amazingly smooth and not too heavy, the body of a red wine in a way. This is very drinkable and the flavour is amazing. Definitely something to track down.

tatterdash, Sep 16, 2006
Photo of nouseforotacon
4.13/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This one was a present last Christmas, so it's nearly a year old. I can't think of a better occassion other than my 21st birthday to finally crack this one open and give it a try. :) I'll be cellaring an 8 and a 12 for tasting further down the road.

Served at room temperature, in a Westvleteren glass. Dark cola bottom that can be deceiving, as it has a dark ruby red/amber tint when held up to the light. Big, billowing, puffy head that clings and sticks to the glass. Head dissipates rather quickly, but leaves nice lacing.

Aroma is wonderful. Malty nose with a strong spice presence, nutty like banana bread. Mild phenolic character, but not overpowering. Rich, bready aroma, white peppers tickles my nose. Plums/raisins noted as well, wonderful smell.

Creamy/carbonated mouthfeel, with phenols coming into play on my tongue. Upfront hop bitterness with a brandy-like finish in both the taste and the warming alcohol. Nicely constructed malt profile, plums/raisins paired with dark chocolate lingers around in the background.

Taste is good, but the mouthfeel falls way short of my expectations and is thus rated average at best. Medium body, substainable, but for my tastes - carbonation comes on a bit too strong and is only accentuated by the hop profile. Also, phenol properties need to be toned down in the mouth.

Now I'm just waiting for another special occassion to crack open my first 12. I can respect this brew, and I'll definitely give it a shot again once I age it for a good while. A bit hyped, sure, but I'm not totally against it.

nouseforotacon, Sep 16, 2006
Photo of Phatz
4.78/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: This is a beautiful beer. It is an incredibly dark tawny brown color that lets a little light rough to show off the carbonation. The head is creamy beige and big. The fingers of foams that has excellent retention and leaves tons of lacing.

Smell: The aroma is magnificent. It is loaded with currants, caramel and a hint of wet sweet bread and sour apple. Raisins brown sugar and caramelized malts along with a light sprinkling of spices tickle the senses next. This is a beer I would like to smell all the time. Give me the friken candles that smell like Trappist Westvleteren 8 (Blue Cap) over those damn vanilla one my wife burns all day =).

Taste: A spectacular web of yeast driven flavors showcases honey candied malts, hints of coco, whole grain bread and fruits, prune juice toffee and cherries. A hint of alcohol shows throw a brandy attribute but the alcohol is mostly masked until the dry finish. The aftertaste set me back a bit at first but I quickly warmed up to the lip smacking flavor that lingered and lingered seemingly indefinitely on the palate.

Mouthfeel: This beer is as smooth as I could imagine (except for the 12 which… well, came from the Gods). This beer is lightly carbonated but lightly spiced to give a a remarkably gentle overall feel.

Drinkability: If monks in the abbey get to drink all they want I am going to convert to monk immediately. Mmm. I could live on this stuff.

Hope this is helpful.

Phatz, Sep 08, 2006
Photo of beerphilosopher
4.38/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a label-free bottle with a banded neck, reading "Trappistenbier." Different from the photo depicted here. Pours a deep, dark ruby color that is almost opaque until held in the light. The head is absolutely mountainous and a caramel-tan color. It would not die. Hardcore lacing in the chalice. Nose is exceptional - sweet malt, confectioner's sugar, stewed fruits, banana bread ... gorgeous. Palate is quite sweet upfront, but is offset quickly by an almost perfect hop balance. Sweet malts and alcohol are dominent, especially as the beer warms to optimal temperature. Finish is surprisingly dry, thanks to the masterful balance in this beer. Medium mouthfeel and a lingering sugar and alcohol memory in the mouth. An excellent dubbel in every respect. The best of the type I've tried thus far.

beerphilosopher, Sep 01, 2006
Photo of Westsidethreat
4.2/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a red mahagoney cloudy base with a solid 3/4 light khaki head resting on top.

S: Doughy, fresh yeast, toffee, citrus and a touch of vanilla. Very nice.

T: Immediate apricots and dried dates. Subtle notes of cocoa, toffee and lemon rind. Finishes with surprisingly notabled hops. Aftertaste is cantelope, brown sugar and a lingering gently bitterness.

M: Medium body, smooth with a bit of fuzzy carbonation.

D: Balanced and quite good, but this isn't the #7 beer in the world.

Westsidethreat, Aug 27, 2006
Photo of Phocion
4.78/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dated May 20th 2009. Pours a dark, thick amber, with an enormous frothy beige head. Excellent retention; this thing just does not want to leave. Don't think I've ever given a 5 for "appearance" before, but this thing just looks incredible.

Aroma is mostly of sweet caramel malts, with underlying spice and fruit. Raisins, figs, spice, and yeast.

Bready malts, and strong yeast. Mild spicy bitterness with the aforementioned fruit tones coming out strong as well. Alcohol very well-hidden. Incredible.

Creamy and soft, but not too thick. Goes down very smoothly. Along with the Rochefort 10, this is the best beer I've tried. After this, I can't wait to try its big brother.

Phocion, Aug 23, 2006
Photo of shroompod
4.2/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dated 18 .06 .09 . Redish brown with a rocky head. Good lacing.

Smell some cloves , slight hop bitterness.

Taste is initially bitter. Alot of flavors going on from smoke , cloves , to wood. Not a great explanation of taste, but alots going on with this one.

Mouthfeel is light , crisp , good carbonation.

Drinkabitly of this beer is great , I expect it to improve with some more age under it.

shroompod, Aug 15, 2006
4.8/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle with a cap dated 07.12.02.

A - 1/4" beige head with a dark brown yeast spot in the middle from an overzealous pour. Head falls to a collar quickly and leaves no lace. The dubbel is a murky brown color with a lot of sediment.

S - Dark fruit - prune, plum, fig. Dried fruit. Spicy fruitcake. Chocolate. Sweet tobacco. Port. Slight sour aroma late.

T - Brown sugar. Raisins. Molasses. Chocolate syrup. Rich and earthy. Tobacco leaves. Great balance - not bitter or overly sweet - just damn fine. There is a tangy, sour note late in the finish. WOW!

M - Rich, dense, full body. Liquid bread for sure. Mid level lively carbonation that has a delicate champagne like dryness.

D - Drinkability is exceptional. What a wonderful complex beer - one of the best I have had yet. Definitely believe the hype on this one. A special thanks to xcjetta who sent me this beer as part of Secret Santa '05. I have been looking at it for almost 9 months, it was worth the wait!!

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

Vintage 1997

Pours mahogany with burgundy hues, somewhat translucent in the chalice, with thick, tan, foam atop.
Head is a bit porous, and recedes within a few minutes revealing frothy curtains aplenty.
Aromatics lead off with cocoa and caramel, accented with bubblegum and spice.
Nose is complex, approachable, and sophisticted, with chocolate drizzled bannana and rum-soaked raisins following through.
Mouthfeel is medium and slickish, with a delectable creamyness and a touch of oilyness.
Pallet is lushious and has great depth of flavor.
Starts out with chocolate, toffee, and caramel, and pulls through with warming spice and vanilla.
Finishes with a medium to strong vineosity, with a drying cocoa note and smooth warming on the throat.

brewandbbq, Jul 28, 2006
Photo of geetlord
3.98/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A friend braught this back from his travels to share with me.
This beer poured a reddish amber with a very thick foamy head but suprisingly littel aroma. I did manage to catch hints of fruits and some yeasts.
Teh flavor was supprisingly light though it had a gerat mouthfeel, full bodied with just the right amount of carbonation. It had a malty body with a slightly tart finish and some hints of alcohol at teh very end. thi beer put up a great appearance butt eh flavor and aroma somewhat left me feeling let down. it was still quite a good beer and very drnkable, and i would drink it again.

geetlord, Jul 23, 2006
Photo of DaveFL1976
4.72/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at Cafe de Hopduvel in Gent, Belgium.
Beautiful mahogany body with a foamy, off-white head with nice lacing. Smell is dark fruity. Maybe plums. And caramel sugar. Taste is so clean and smooth. It all comes together in this brew. I can't think of how I could make this beer taste any better. Mouthfeel is lighter than I expected and incredibly smooth. Carbonation is almost creamy. Microscopic bubbles. Well hidden alcohol makes drinkability outstanding.

DaveFL1976, Jul 12, 2006
Photo of Metalmonk
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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?

Metalmonk, Jul 12, 2006
Photo of MuddyFeet
3.18/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

MuddyFeet, Jul 07, 2006
Photo of neonbrown82
4.85/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

neonbrown82, Jul 06, 2006
Photo of EPICAC
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

EPICAC, Jun 18, 2006
Photo of weeare138
4.97/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

weeare138, Jun 16, 2006
Photo of wl0307
4.68/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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~~

wl0307, Jun 15, 2006
Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
98 out of 100 based on 1,690 ratings.