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

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

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BA SCORE
99
world-class

1,854 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,854
Reviews: 784
rAvg: 4.48
pDev: 8.26%
Wants: 1,309
Gots: 331 | FT: 26
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Dubbel |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-03-2001

(Blue Cap)
View: Beers (3) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,854 | Reviews: 784
Photo of Foxman
4.62/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It pours a hazy ruby brown, like rich, melted milk chocolate. Two fingers of spongy light tan head lifts off, then settles slowly to a smooth, foamy Berber. Filigrees of fine lace snake around the inside of the glass.

In the aroma, a mellow malt sweetness is initially paired off with a tart yeasty presence.Almost as forward are dueling notes of apple, and a more subdued chocolate. A bit quieter still is a thin vein of spice, coupled with indistinct citrus.

Upon sipping, the first wave brings a soft malt sweetness which is soon outpaced by an intriguing swirl of caramel and chocolate. A rounded character of apples and cherries sits close at hand in the middle, in conjunction with a pleasant yeast tartness. Delicate spice hints arrive at the finish and linger along with a muted memory of cocoa. There are very brief and fleeting glimpses of an alcohol presence. This is complexity disguised as simplicity, and the flavor blends and balances artfully and cunningly.

Medium bodied, it caresses the tongue and mouth as it flows langorously on by, coating and ebbing sensuously. The palate glows gleefully at the finish.

It's so good, you might just wonder if you're worthy. But we are, every one of us. It's so well put-together that you could think it basic and miss a lot, but think and absorb a moment and the balance and complexity break the lull and amaze. Like silken sable on the tongue and flavorful splendor on the palate, this is something you could learn to crave. There's an ABV here, but you feel it in your head more than sense it in the flavor, so it's sneaky, but no matter, you'll have another, if you know what's good for you. The thing is, if this is only 8, will I really be worthy of 12?
I cannot wait to find out.

Photo of oberon
3.78/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Finally a chance to get my hands on a Westy and well not as awed as many others by this beer.Pours a deep brown almost black color with a fizzy head that didnt stick around to long,aroma of spiced apples and quite yeasty.Very raisiny and somewhat spicey up front, with a light medicinal note as it warms along with some alcohol tones.I highly anticipated this beer and was left a little dissapointed.

Photo of Crosling
4.89/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my first Westvleteren but at my ripe young age I should come to experience each one time and time again.

Light wine stained oak. Nice color. Mostly diminishing head that left very little lacing. Nonetheless, a very good looking beer.

The aroma is wonderful. Raisins, plums, figs with many spices. Slighty bready with some apple skins glazed with graham crackers. Very complex. Essentially, it just smells like fresh granny smith apple juice.

It's like dippin into a fresh bag of licorice. Fastastic flavor. Licorice laden plums and raisins, some chocolate notes, some spices, serious flavor. Wow. This is the most creamy, chewy and cleanest beer I have had in awhile. The flavor is magnificnet and that 11.2 ounces of beer could have beer the most savored liquid in the history of madkind.

I am beginning to realize why people rave about this monastery. This beer was eye opening. The 8% alcohol tasted like 4%.

I'm glad I tried the 8 before the 12 because I am ready for that 12.

Photo of oggg
4.37/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled in a red wine glass

A caught a whiff of apples at the bottleneck on opening my 11.2oz bottle. It threatened to foam up too much, so I poured it gently. It's an earthy brown with a small head of fine bubbles that clings to the glass. The aroma is extremely fruity. Not floral hoppy. Plum, apples, cinnamon? On first taste, I have to get past the significant carbonation. Then I'm thinking of wine, maybe plum wine. Then chocolate. It gets dry and spicy towards the end. Subtle warmth at the end, way less so than Westy 12. Full bodied. So smooth.

Photo of cokes
4.71/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Muddy brown trimmed by scarlet with a bountiful, dense, head of yellowed cream.
The aroma is relatively muted, but beautiful with toffee-smothered raisins and bready plum pudding.
Sugar cookies are kissed by molasses. More of that bread-based plum pudding. Swirls of cocoa. Black pepper yeast hues, twisted with lime rinds and figs. Fruit baskets liquified, bananas and tangerines are foremost. Deeper, there are vanilla beans and sassafras stems. Gentle alcohol ebbs, kept mostly at bay with the collage of flavors. Bittered herb hop closure.
The light-heartedness of the brew, belies its depth and strength. This is worthy of all praise. It's probably about the only dubbel that has ever had me truly screaming.

I find writing this review difficult, as each keystroke takes my mind off of the immediate sensual experience and this is so far beyond the words above. It's akin to running an obnoxious play-by-play commentary on sex.
At some point, it's time to shut the fuck up, and enjoy.
So I will.

Photo of Boilermaker88
4.89/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sampled at the Carlsbad Pizza Port 12 Hour Belgian Beer Festival. Westy 8 was what I drew on my first spin of the Belgian Beer Wheel. Sporting an opaque brown color and a creamy vanilla head that left a patchwork of lace, Westy 8 had a nose that just begged to be tasted. Abundant doughy malt, caramel, lots of dark fruits, a touch of chocolate, and a spicy hops aroma were all rolled into one package. Initially, the taste of candy sugar and well-ripened plums were evident. The malt backbone, with a bready flavor, stood up well and added to the pleasure. Chocolate and caramel notes carried on the sweetness but as I held it and moved each sip back on the palate, a lightly peppery, vaguely clove-like spiciness became more noticeable. The feel was medium-bodied, with a nice velvety creaminess and a drying finish.
Quite enjoyable. I just sat back in the sun with the glass to my nose, taking an occasional sip and relishing each one. A wondrous dubbel that sets the standard for the style, IMO.

Photo of Dogbrick
4.57/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Kind of a hefty price tag but it's worth it to finally have Westy available in my area. I tried the Westy 12 almost 2 years ago by trading and didn't really have the palate to appreciate it at the time. This being the 12's little sibling maybe I should have tried this one first. Pours a deep mahogany color with a very thick and creamy light beige head. The foam actually threatened to escape the bottle immediately after opening. The aroma is a nice bouquet of fruit, spice and sweet malt. Rich bodied and on the carbonated side, with a mild blend of dark fruit, malt, caramel, spice and a hint of sweet chocolate. None of the flavors really stands out, instead it is a nice harmony of flavors. The finish is very crisp and lively on the tongue. The flavor is a little more subdued in the finish, but this is still a well-rounded and exemplary Belgian.

Photo of Suds
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the first sip I was thinking, “This is why I love Belgian beers.”
Pours a dark, earthen brown with a dense and rocky head. The head is an off-white to tan color and produces marvelous lace.
The aroma simply bowls you away….yeast and malt, candy sugar, over-ripe fruit (apples, plums) and pine needles. Continental hops are subdues and well into the background of the smell.
The taste and mouthfeel are simply luxurious….full, sensuous maltiness. Just the right balance of alcohol and mild, subtle hops. Spice and alcohol in the mid-taste. I love how the taste seems to bring out more aromas….sip, smell and repeat through the entire glass. Finish has a lingering spiciness and is incredibly smooth.

Photo of ManekiNeko
4.05/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

33 cL bottle served at cellar temps in s St. Bernadus goblet. Bottle cap indicates a best by date of May 24, 2005.

Appearance: Murky, muddy brown liquid topped by a smallish offwhite head, which settles to a slight layer of foam after a short while.

Smell: An intriguing mix of anise and green apples largely. Some caramelized sugars kicking around, too.

Taste: Sweet caramel malts and candi sugars. Prominent anise flavors, some modest tart green apples as well. Dusty black pepper notes on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied for the style, with an almost characteristic cotton candy presence on the palate.

Drinkability: A rather enjoyable and well-made little brew. The anise flavors come close to overpowering the flavor profile, but thankfully back away at the last minute. I could see myself having a few more of these were it not for the pricetag.

Photo of tavernjef
4.46/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Settles a deep dark muddy brown color, pours out a softer brown with lots of brown wet dusties and chunks from off the bottom of the bottle falling into a super gorgeous tall head of cream colored girth thats thick, puffy and whipped smooth. Lacing appears in fast dripping sheets and leaves behind some larger ink blots. A very thick skim snugs the top during the entire glass.

Aroma is a bit subdued but is layered with some nice subtleties with utmost positioning yeastiness thats creating some major fresh yet dried wood characteristics upfront mixed with dirt. Very dry overall with hints of dried, even roasty, lemon, pine, and sugars.

Taste has quite a mixture of things within, mostly dryish with some moderate dry wood and dirt mostly. That levels off and intermingling nuances of dried fruits, chocolate notes, and light mild spices fill in adding interesting little delicately refined yeasty layers which all maintains one very incredible smoothness. There's just a small twinge of hops but never is it in control or ever present for long. Its squeezed in there with some of the woodish yeast tones. Overall the flavors are mellowing and mild with very subtle tones and really becomes a treat as it warms. After a while I didn't even realize I was drinking a beer, it seemed more like cold Japanese herbal tea. Smaller chocolate tones appear a wee bit more as it warms with a waffer cookie dryness. Outstanding... very smooth yet thick with a mellowing full mouthfeel and easy-on-the-palate dryness that has a nice carbonation thats not overly lively. One very well put together beer, it went from wood and earthy to slightly fruity and spicy to chocolatey and always stays dry. Quite a nice cup of a tea, I mean glass of beer.

Was able to get this nice brew courtesy of Gusler, Thanks!

Photo of nomad
4.37/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A dark-ish red and brown mélange with little head and no other action. Despite the latter, the color was clear and shining, a tough feat with the darker brews.

Has a scent of graham crackers that open to a more wheaty, rough cracker smell. Abundant grapes and cherries wrapped in sugar sauce, as well as soft florals of Continental hops. Warms to deep and sweet caramelized scents, akin to maple syrup.

This beer was ever-changing through the sipping session. Obviously grape-like, with fruity flavors sliding between cherries, apple, and melon, it also showed the requisite highly-complex mash of malts. Warms to a rum-like sense of warmth and rosy-ness and a whiskey-like sense of rough grains. Slight cream flavor through out. The winning-point is in the long and stellar finish, a noble and austere ending full of almost licorice notes, the soft drying of Continental hops, and a subtly and softly melded roasted quality. Mouthfeel is smooth, slick, and with just enough carbonation.

Very easy to drink, though I think this beer needs some aging. My bottle was 6 months old and still required some settling and concentrating (felt the same way about their 12, too).

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

Bought at 'de bier tempel' in Brussels.

From a label-less brown bottle, with only a discrete blue cap, sint-sixtus abdij, westvleteren 8.

I'm not going to give you my ever unaccurate descriptions. rather my, uh, feelings about it-if descriptive, dont rely on them.

A proper, mysterious dark caramel pour, completely opaque; dirty with small chunks of debris within (yeast?) which are actually in order, according to guides to belgian beer. A sweet, pleasant, inviting smell to be a soft prelude to the taste. By now, its comforting bittersweet combination is savoured, and invited as tried. excellent thick body. The last sips with this debris I described are the most flavourful and pleasant. Discrete for the alcohol, very drinkable, if only for the price...

Definetly one of the best beers I have ever tried. To my luck, though, I still have the '12' on standby--not for long.

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

Turbid brown with orangy-copper highlights underneath a nice thicket of beige colored head. Good lacing and healthy carbonation (I've experienced a flat bottle before, kind of a bummer when forking over $10 for one beer). Lots of protein coagulation and yeast in suspension (consistent with some trappists). Aroma is outstanding. Healthy aroma of dark candi sugar, yeast, dark fruits like candied figs and dates, expensive chocolate, hops, peat or dirt, and, strangely enough, botanical, like a humid greenhouse. It gets even more complex after that. It's rather difficult to describe the taste, a lot going on at once and in singularity. Kilned candi sugar is obvious. Cocoa, toffee, sugarplum, maple, cardboard, dark chocolate with a slight touch of anise and ginger to "round it out". Silky, effervescent and smooth. If I were rich, I'd have a stockpile of it.

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

Served at about 55F in a Westy silver-rimmed glass. It pours a deep and dark mahogany with a substantial beige head and some trailing, sliding and sticky lace. Sweet malt, fruit soaked in rum, hops, yeast and a mild pine scent make up the complex aroma. The lightly herbal malt features caramel and candy sugar sweetness in a rich velvety, nearly oily body. Beautiful symphonies of flavors mingle and harmonize. Ripe banana, plums, vanilla, fruitcake, coriander and cloves vie for attention within the dark rum-like warming alcohol background. Piney esters and an ever so slightly camphor astringency provide more interesting tastes. This wonderful brew pairs nicely with Molanari salami and Cabot Vintage Cheddar, and as can be imagined, any gourmet offering. Pure bliss!

Photo of stingo
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle of this knowing it is usually the top of the BA list - and now I can see why: perfect balance between the malt and hops - with a very agreeable if understated finish. The flavors are simple, clean and elegant, much like the design on the bottle. The 8% abv is very well hidden, though this ale provides a very calming, warming quality that is very agreeable. Outstanding and very highly recommended.

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

Poured a slightly murky amber with bits of yeast. Thick, creamy and rocky beige head. Complex aromas of sticky fruits all over the place. Brown sugar, dark rum, alcohol and that lovely tart smelling Belgian yeast.
Great flavors. Malty sweet, bready and fruity. Tasted like a dark fruitcake soaked in rum and brandy with bananas thrown in for good measure. Definite alcohol presence, but not in a bad way. Nice tart yeast to cut the richness.
Rich, full medium bodied mouthfeel. Exceptionally drinkable for such a rich beer this high in alcohol.
Another heavenly (sorry) libation by those monk-type people!

Photo of AbePhroman
4.72/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was browsing my favorite store again and I saw what I had heard so much about. Never had I seen it in the store. I hoped it was the yellow cap, but it was blue. I knew I had to get it. ZING!!! $5.49 for a single 11.2oz bottle!! Oh well.

I do like the label on the bottle. Simple but elegant. Not flashy liek other brews. Didn't see a date like others did, but with this type of brew it isn't an issue. Small film of sediment on the bottom. Poured a nice brown with a tan, fizzy head.

Smelled fruity and of malt. Most definitely a yeast-like flavor in this one. Yeasty flavor prevails. There is a tinge of hops but not overwhelming at all. The 8% abv is very subdued in my opinion.

I found this beer very drinkable. Good sipping beer if you don't mind swinging the price for such a small quantity. Maybe I need to look around and find it cheaper, I certainly would love to have it again.

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

Pours a hazy chestnut with a persistent 1 finger beige head that leaves behind patches of lace. Aroma is musty with notes of caramel, chocolate, dates, and some herbal notes. Flavor is equally complex, with a slightly sweet start, some notes of toffee, dates, chocolate, musty yeast, some unidentifiable spiciness, and a lingering herbal bitterness in the finish. Moutfeel is smooth and medium bodied. Utterly drinkable, especially considering the high ABV % of this beer. This is a true gem!

Photo of BierReise
4.17/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle Dated 31-01-06 This one poured cloudy and dark brown with a big frothy tan head and light lacing. The aroma is similar to the Westy12, spicy with fruit notes and a little yeast showing up as well. The mouthfeel here differs though and I found it to be more of a Tripel like mouthfeel. Very effervescent and crisp. Unfortunately this does not have the big flavors of the 12. Actually a bit bland in comparison. Still a decent ale with a good malty body and a subtle spiciness.

Photo of aaronh
3.71/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy, dark chocolate colored beer topped by a thick head that looks like spray-foam insulation. Aroma of plums smothered in dark chocolate, with a hint of bready yeast and a slight spiciness. Complex yet clean. Surprisingly, there is a noticeable bitterness in the flavor. A sweet malt and alcohol backdrop support the fruity notes and a decent amount of phenols. Lingering bitterness with a slight sugary sweetness. The mouthfeel is decent, but perhaps a bit on the thin side. Drinkability is good, although I'm not sure I'd want to drink this one very often. This is a decent beer, but there are many, many better in my opinion. This one's pretty to look at, but nothing special to imbibe. So let's see, a bottle of this or a sixer of SNCA? This will stay on the shelf almost every time.

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

Alright, this one was incredible! Great dark red-brown/burgundy colour, very pretty. It smelled fruity and spicy- like cinnamon/nutmeg dusted apples perhaps.. It tasted a thousand times more than it smelled. I looked at my boyfriend and said with wide eyes it's like those red spiced apple rings! But better! That is the best way I could describe the taste- red spiced apple rings. Mouthfeel was perfect and drinkability is therefore great. I can't wait til I can afford to get this again.... yes I only bought 1 bottle but it's still a bit too pricy to get too often. For now the experience lingers in my mind....

Photo of beerguy101
4.4/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Medium brown color. Medium white head. Aroma is malty, bananas and bready yeasts. A medium bodied Belgian Strong Ale. Malts are fruity and complex; oranges, plums and banana flavors compete with bready yeasts. Rich complex flavor. Very smooth. The flavors improve and the beers mellow as it warms. It much better at 68 degrees that 58. This is a nice beer, very drinkable. But the 12 is so...much better. Very drinkable and worth trying. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

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

Rich brown with ruby undertones. Slight light beige incomplete head.

Nose is stunning. Bready with some slightly biscuity malt support an incredible array of candied fruit (cherry, lime, raisin, prune) and rum/spirity notes.

Great flavor. Very fruity and complex all supported by wonderful malt. Well-balanced, not remotely cloying, and showing no alcohol. Very long finish.

Carbonation is excellent, cutting through the richness without becoming obtrusive. Imminently drinkable, but worthy of deliberation and contemplation.

All other Trappist offerings fail in comparison to this one for me. Brilliant beer and worth every penny.

Photo of Hex92
4.6/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

With my first few sips of this beer I was not too impressed. But I let it sit for a few minutes and warm up some. Truly an amazing beer. Very dark brown beer with a good head but no lacing. Not as many different flavors as say the Maredsous 8, but whats there is better. Excellent mouthfeel and very drinkable. I think this may be my favorite dubbel. I'm glad I bought two bottles.

Photo of freed
4.65/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Special thanks to Elemental for getting this one for me.

Pours a deep mahogany with the slightest ruby tints when held to the light. Amazing head made of smallish to medium sized bubbles that are cream colored. Head lasts all the way through the beer, but no lacing belies this.

Aroma is that of a single malt distiller. Rough, musty timber, warm peat, and sour tang of the distiller's feet. Entering the mouth, its almost creamy. Smooth sensation then follows with sweetness and tartness of a fruit, but mouth fills with the body of malt. The expansive feeling in my mouth is quite amazing. The carbonation, alcohol, and body all make for a full experience. The mouth is left dry and sweet, and definitely ready for another sip. My own sense of duty must override my mouth's desire for more. I've managed to make this last for 45 minutes though, and its just getting better.

Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
99 out of 100 based on 1,854 ratings.