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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
99
world-class
794 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
794
Ratings:
2,026
Avg:
4.48
pDev:
13.17%
 
 
Wants:
1,402
Gots:
402
For Trade:
25
Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII)Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Belgium | website

Style: Dubbel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
(Blue Cap)

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-03-2001

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Reviews: 794 | Ratings: 2,026
Photo of rye726
4.88/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

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Photo of shigg85
4.88/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Purchased from Tanakaya in Mejiro, Tokyo. Poured into an also newly purchased Trappistes Rochefort wide-rimmed goblet. I can't even begin to describe this wonderful brew in words that conform to a language I speak. A lovely caramel-colored head covered the black-brown brew from beginning to end, releasing all of the magical scents that again escape known words. I drank it, and it warmed my soul. Then, I drank more and it made me smile. I continued to drink and continued to grow more and more in love with it. If you have the chance (and the money) to buy this beer, do not pass on it. It is worth the search and the cash.

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Photo of pkalix
4.88/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

soft pour, huge head and tons of bubbles fizzing up from below the head. dark mahogany certainly does do the color justice as a descriptor.
I left this a bit warm, or rather, not chilled as someone recommended it to me that way. just a little bit in the frig to take it down a notch. the darker fruits come to the nose and the tongue. plum, fig, raisin. slightly spicy, but from the yeast. someone else mentioned brandied cherries and I think that is a great way to explain the aroma and taste along with the fruit. I have stayed away from the Belgian brews for quite a while as I was tiring of the rich yeastiness but this reminds me of my other favorites- the st. bernardus, and the rochefort, not quite the same as I remember now but very nice. very smooth. very stable. awesome head. beautiful tannish lace. 2nd pour is on top of the last bit in the glass is ultra creamy and thick enough to hold the sediment on top. taking a slight break I notice the head has risen toward the top of my tulip glass. it is GROWING. like bread. this is awesome! slight torch from the alcohol although it is more like a 'spirit' than a 'burn'. it seems much stronger than 8%, for sure. brown sugar, more dark fruit and more alcohol on the second half of this bottle. the liquid is not heavy, as I might expect for a higher abv. what a very wonderful brew.
pour is simply beautiful. the taste has to be as close to perfection as I have had, although I readily admit I rate most beers higher than others (it's all good, right?). I love how the brew is light and fluid yet firm enough to hold the still floating sediment on the top thin layer. i'm not intimidated by the degree of difficulty in obtaining this brew, or at least not reflecting it in the rating. I believe this is a great specimen and I wish there were more available.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.88/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It's time once again to add a little beer to this mug of mine. Since the first addition to the glass was Westvleteren 12, I've decided to keep it in the family and go with Westvleteren 8, the best dubbel on the planet according to those whom I respect and admire.

Pecan shell brown that takes on more of an auburn hue with orange highlights when backlit. The voluminous toast brown head appears frothysoft, but is deceptively firm with a supernatural persistence. This beer is simply beautiful in the glass. Lovely aroma of heavily toasted caramel, dried fruit (apples, figs) steeped in brandy, and spice (cinnamon, allspice). The nose is complex to be sure, although it could be a mite stronger.

Wonderful flavor; delicious. My first impression is that, although there are many flavors to be had in this bottle, the beer is unquestionably a seamless, individual entity. As I drink, I actually have a mental image of a sphere that has multiple and varied components, but is first and foremost a perfectly smooth whole. My first bottle of exceptional wine was an eye opening experience because it introduced me to the concept of what I like to call 'volume'. This beer has an superabundance of volume.

When a beer is this well-crafted, this flavorful, this complex and this nuanced, when it has a body that is at once full and silky smooth, each mouthful seems to completely fill the mouth, to have such a depth and breadth of flavor and body that it expands into three dimensions and push the boundaries of sensation. That, my friends, is the best way that I can devise to describe the loveliness that is Westvleteren 8.

The flavor profile is amazingly similar to the nose, but much more satisfying ('tis the taste, the actual imbibing that I crave). Sweet, dark caramel-toffee, brandy-soaked cherries, leather, good bourbon... combined with a grace and a lightness of touch that will make your very soul weep with pleasure.

Is Westvleteren 8 better than Westvleteren 12? My vote is an unqualified 'yes'. I could drink this every day for the rest of my life and not tire of its myriad charms. This is as soul satisfying and as life affirming as beer gets.

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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.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.89/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

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Photo of taez555
4.89/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer poured a big white/tan head with a dark brown body.

The nose was simply amazing. Phenols, grapes, dark malts, dark plums, raisins, mild chocolate, caramel. Very port like.

The taste was also just as impressive. Medium bodied with a very fine carbonation. Sweet with lots of dark roasted malt flavors. Dates, raisins, chocolate, caramel, toffee, and dark bitter cherries as it warms. Definitely a slight citrus flavor like lime peel or grapefruit juice. A smooth woody flavor as well. Oak, faint tobacco or smoke, almost like the inside of a charred barrel. It had a very faint earth hop flavor, but mostly a soft bitterness and light alcohol warmth.

This beer took its time to fade and ended with a long bitter and raison finish.

Basically this is an amazing beer. Beautiful combination of all the dark malts and bitter fruit flavors. All in perfect balance and harmony. I actually like this better than the abt 12. Almost worth the $8 a bottle.

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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.

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

Very nice pour. Wonderful dark burgundy with a long lasting white head that settles into a white cap.

Smells of very intense flowers and fruity yeast. Fanstatic! This is Masla Mama of yeasty Belgians--it's not as huge with its potporri alcohol like rainbows and unicorns--but that's good. The rainbow comes without rain, and unicorns without heavy hooves and unicorn shit (which is pretty, yes, but smells MUCH worse than regular horse shit).

Slow sip. Very fizzy. Very fizzy. I taste the fizz. That moves into a dull, over ripe, and almost perfectly sweet fruit. The ending is odd but not bad--it tastes kind of like the way your whole mouth feels after a shot of novacaine. No kidding. Intense black dullness that light cannot escape. In the same way that liquid nitrogen is sold cold it can burn you, so is this dullness so dull that it's a flavor, a far drawn, negative yeast that just tastes like the anti-taste, which actually tastes pretty good. A far cry from the nose, yes, but still very nice.

This is a wonderful beer. I don't know if I'd say it was quite as good as the 12, but it surely come close.

EDIT:

Okay, here's the deal. When I first poured this, it was too cold. All the intensity remained, but it was confined. Like seventeen pitbulls in a shoebox, it was confined. Now that's it's warmed, the big fruit yeast of the nose comes in at the start, wonderfully sweet and balanced perfectly against a dryly sweet malt middle and a kick of honest to god hops.

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Photo of Wegomlegging
4.9/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful deep brown, pulled back on the pour for clarity (my preference). Wonderful sweet smell that's hard to pin down. It's just awesome. Tasted slightly sweet with full flavor mix of perfectly combined malt and yeast, again very hard to describe accurately without going too far down any one road. Plum notes show up in the flavor, but don't linger too long. Very nice going down in full-flavored swallows. If there's a downside here, which is hard to find, it might be too sweet to drink all night.

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Photo of swamiswamu
4.9/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown with an exeptional head filled with hills and valleys. The aroma is the most remarkable I've experienced: very earthy, brown sugar and cinammon (?). The flavor starts out a little boozy, but mellows once it aerates: cinammon, apple, pepper, brown sugar, butter and oolong tea with musty hints. The bouquet seems to fluctuate between a almost cleansing edge.The booze numbs the tongue, but oddly this one is far from a palate killer. I'm deducting the drinkability .5 just because I don't think this one is perfect, but it is damn near it.

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Photo of Boto
4.9/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This was my first Westy. It was absolutely superb! I love the caramel and fruit tastes and aroma. This may be the priciest beer that I have bought, but it is an exceptional treat. It even caused me to fork over $180.00 for a mixed full case to be shipped from Belgium of the 12, 8 and blonde. Truly nirvana!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.9/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Body is a perfect ruddy brown, eggplantish, edging on violet, lovely, rich and full color, and the head is large, slowly to simmer down, off-whitish.

Aroma : good Lord, it's perfect, rich and raisiny, strong, spicy, very lively, ...what are they mixing in those monasteries? It's a magical bouquet, is what I say!Oh,to sniff it anew is another pleasure, and now, I can't hold back, it's time to drink the damned thing!

OHMYGOD!!!
I've raved about the works of the brothers of St. Sixtus before, but GOOD GOD JESUS!!! This is mystifying, uplifting, magical, amazing! Can I be more specific? No...Energizing is the best adjective, the beer is so lively it makes everything it comes in contact with livelier!

This apparently belongs to the style "Belgian Abbey Dubbel", but on consuming 1/2 of one small bottle, I know now that this beer puts all the others to shame! There is fruit, and dazzling hops, and malt, and tantalizing texture, but the thing that sets this apart, if there is such a thing, is unknowable.
I had a Belgian Abbey Dubbel tonight from a very reputable source, and it was nice, but not magical.
This ..this ...it transports ones senses to new realms, higher planes of appreciation! If I'm getting lofty, forgive me, please, but know that every word is true..I don't know how they do what they do, but they do! This is the ultimate!
I'm joining the cloister, too, if means getting close to beer this fine and lovely!
Here's to all the monks, toiling for our sins, and crafting this exceptional, gorgeous, transcendental work!

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.91/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer poured into the chalice crystal clear deep amber brown and then the sediment decided to crawl out of the bottle and it became a chunky, hazy mess. The head was tan and small bubbled and fell slowly to coat the glass as the beer was consumed.

The aroma was deep, deep malt with caramel and dark fruits, namely raisins and prunes. Also present was a pineapple aroma if the nose was held back from the chalice and deep maltiness and dark fruits if held directly above the liquid surface. Alcohol enhanced the aromas and esters and a substantial bready/biscuit aroma was also present in the complexity of it all.

The flavor was malty with caramel and dark fruits, raisins and prunes/plums. There was also a wonderfule biscuit/breadiness to the flavor and a slight spice that added to the complexity. The deep dark caramel and candy flavors were deep and interesting and the alcohol presence added to the impression of all the flavors.

The finish was just even and dried out over time into the aftertaste but the deep dark caramel, dark fruits, and spice complexity last long into the aftertaste and linger. The body was medium full and well done. The alcohol was present in the warming, but was restrained every step of the way from start to finish and at no time did the beer reveal it's 8% secret that it kept so well.

50 cl bottle. Date code on cap 26.11.03. Price of $7.50 still on bottle. This one is still pricey, but beginning to become well worth the price of admission to see the show.

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Photo of elvisnj
4.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Did some work for a guy in Belgium who sent me all 3 of the Westvleteren beers. This was the first one I opened.

Pours out medium head into my generic Belgian beer glass (almost a wine glass). Not alot of head, but just fine. Retains slight coating all the way to finish. Poured almost all the way before I stopped for the yeast.

Dark beer with hint of ruby. Beautiful nose. Is that cola I smell? Taste is cherrys and brown sugar. Definitely a cola thing going on in the flavor as well as the nose, but this is no cherry cola. So smooth its unreal. Not a single hint of alcohol in this despite its 8%.

Great mouth feel. Not thick at all yet creamy still. Distinct as hell. I have never tasted a beer quite like it. Despite an attempt to savor this beer slowly, its gone before I know it.

I put this beer in a category of its own. Its a winner and clearly a champion.

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Photo of Brewfan
4.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Cooperrip for this bottle. Xmas gift in '05, just drinking it now.
Best by date of 10/10/06 stamped on bottlecap. I'm not sure how old the bottle is, but judging by the date, it's got a few years on it.

Poured into my Trappist Rochefort chalace at slight cooler than cellar temp.

Large head of HUGE bubbles, tan, thick. Good retention. Head fades eventually to a nice ring of lace.
Burnished brown color. Slightly hazy. Almost the exact color of the bottle it was just released from. Thin layer of carbonation bubbles fill the bottom of the chalace. Layer of sediment forms towards the bottom as well. Yes I poured the yeast. I wanted to taste the ENTIRE offering.

Where do I start with the smell? Fresh baked shortbread cookies, candy sugar, malt, slight cherry mustiness, deep fruity sweetness, some yeast aroma. Can't discern any hops character in the nose. Slight alcohol aroma, but only after twirling the chalace roughly.
Now for the taste. Chocolatey, deep bread flavors, figs, malty, some nut-bitterness towards the back of the tongue.
Medium mouthfeel with mild carbonation. Oh so drinkable.
Creamy, luscious, delicious. Yes, delicioius. A very broad word used to describe something. Very few things in life can simply be described as delicious. This is one of those special things.

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Photo of ken3c
4.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Deep dark brown with a tan lumpy head with darker brown patches in the foam. Intense lacing.

The aroma of berries rise from the glass.

My neighbors, when I was 8, had an old mulberry tree growing through a fence. We would climb the fence to reach the biggest darkest juiciest berries. I've never tasted anything quite as good until now. There is a pleasant bitterness near the end and the finish is dry and too short but then, anything short of forever would be too short.

Very foamy with champagne-like carbonation feel. Very warming.

I love it.

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Photo of HumuloneRed
4.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle aged for a least 1 year.
Nose of bread dough with a earthiness and a vanilla/caramel sweetness were noted.

A nice red brown with a frothy head and great lacing.
Medium sweetness with vanilla and cookie dough with some nice earthy notes.

This is very nice beer that is easy on the palate and I could drink a lot more of if it were more available.

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Photo of ypsifly
4.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Unlabeled bottle with a best before date of 28.10.07 ink jetted across the cap. Acquired via trade and decanted into a Val-Dieu chalice.

Mahogany with slightt red edges. Tall billowing head of light tan that just sits there and slowly falls into a rocky landscape. Thick webby tendrils of lace are left in its wake.

The nose brings those wonderful aromas of freshly baked fruit cake made with cherries and plums that I love so much. A little bit of damp earth that reminds me of a my Grandma's old cellar in Ohio that I used to play in as a kid. A ghost of alcohol hangs in the back. Not as intense as the 12, but I love it.

Full mouth with just the right tingle from the carbonation that finishes clean.

The dark fruit flavors are upfront and everything flows just like the nose promised. The spices and earthy dough are all perfectly blended and the alcohol is there but it fits in so well that you have to really search for it to find it. Peppery finish that holds on to the plums and lingers pleasntly.

With everything this beer has going for it, the drinkablity is a five. No doubt about that. Again, I'm in awe of what the brothers can do.

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Photo of stemcell001
4.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this bottle in my cellar for nearly a year after it was sent to me from abroad. It poured a fairly dark, hazy brown with a light tan head. The head dissipated a little but held a nice thin covering even after a few sips. The smell is amazing, rich aroma of dark fruits, malt and some hops. At first the taste hits with sweet caramel and dark fruit (raisin, fig?) and then some slight sting of alcohol that fades into gentle bread malts. I had to stop myself from drinking it too fast because I wanted to drink it down in one gulp it was that delicious. Even the the belching that followed tasted delightful.

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Photo of alpinebryant
4.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a dark chestnut brown with a strong light tan head. Relatively clear body with some sediment at the bottom.

S: Figs , caramel, dark plum and brandy aromas coming off the top with no problems at all. This has a lot more aroma than I had expected and for a dubbel is outstanding.

T: Strong caramel pouring off my tongue, with figs and toffee, sweet caramelized sugars and dark fruit. The aftertaste is even amazing with bold flavors that I have never tasted this strong in a dubbel. Really this impressed me above and beyond what I had expected. I really enjoyed the 12, but the 8 takes the cake for me. Much more flavorful and interesting in my opinion. The aftertaste flavors are bready, yeasty and full of caramel that is dry and candied , almost a baked cookie flavor of butter and caramel.

M: Near perfect mouthfeel. For a dubbel, it could be a little thicker, but it is hard to argue with how drinkable it is in its current state. Easily drinkable and a medium to light carbonation.

O: Hands down best dubbel out there that I have had. Glad I hauled this back with me as a single bottle from Amsterdam.

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Photo of tpd975
4.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Review number 150. I have enjoyed several of these prior to this one, and have traded numerous others. I have to give a great big shout out to Regine' my boy in Belgium who continues to send these babies across the pond for me to enjoy, and more importantly to share with my BA buds. On to the review!

A: It pours a rich deep dark brown color with tons of carbonation. A head builds and recedes. There is no lacing, but some yummy sediment in the bottom of my Westvleteren Chalice. (Compliments of Regine)

S: Wonderful aromas waft from the glass. Tons of deep dark fruits. Plum, raison and figs stand out front. They are matched with a wonderful sweetness. I detect brown sugar, caramel, and buttered toffee. The last time I smelled such wonderful aromas was a child at the county fair.

T: It's Westvleteren, and despite the detractors, this one is heavenly. This beer is so rich and creamy. The flavors are bold yet married wonderfully. The dark fruits are noted in the taste as is the buttered toffee. I also pick up hints of vanilla and a touch of dark cocoa. This beer is as good as advertised and worth every dollar I spend on it.

M: Bold, Rich, and Creamy. A true Masterpiece.

D: So drinkable. The cost prohibits drinking too many of these at a time, but I have been known to drink two in a sitting.

Overall: What can I say, this beer truly is a work of god. The Monks of Westvleteren make wonderful hand crafted old world beers. I am honored each and every time I drink one.

This beer is fitting of the honor of #150. Can't wait for #200 when I will review the ABYSS!!!!

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Photo of 4thelvofbeer
4.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is ALMOST as good as the 12...the only thing that makes it not as good as the 12 is that it is not the 12!! The Westy 8 is one of my all-time favorite beers. It has all the characteristics of the 12, just not as complex and deep. If you have not had the opportunity to enjoy one of these great beers, do yourself a favor...find one and drink it. Enough said...

A: Golden brown, frothy, foamy...
S: The best...fruits, caramel, notes of spice and fig....deep...
T: Your 5...the 5 of beers is here....liquid caramel delight!!
M: Smooth, sweet and so drinkable...
O: Get one and drink it....

Note: 2 to 4 year aging of this beer is optimal...

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Photo of khiasmus
4.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A beer to blow your mind, yet again. This one is at least a year and a half old, though I know not the exact date. Dates? yes, dates, and figs, but mostly grain. Fresh, dripping, sweet-mash, 145 degree grain. Glorious, steamy grain.
The absolute best earthy, natural smells possible... a cave, the clean brook there, some dates, some syrup... biscuit, but the british kind. The figs are outlandish, as is the soft, warm alcohol.
Oh, I suppose I got ahead of myself. Appearance, of course. A muddy dark brown, plenty of head and beautiful lacing on this one.
Oh, but the aroma... melba toast. Baby cereal. Rose water.
Ah, the monks, the solitude, the dank dungeons of incredible inventiveness... how does one go about producing this?
The flavour melds with the aroma, though it is not quite as sweet. It's like a fresh wort with dark fruit steeped in it, but with a warmth in the finish, the beautiful soft spice of the alcohol.
This beer is cake. Biscuit-cake, grain-cake, date-cake. As if one could make flour from the dark fruits of all the world, and make a cake from it. Mmmm... cake.
Exceptional. Absolutely exceptional. Unbelievable. Worth every bit of hype you've ever heard. Oh...

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.92/5  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.

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Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
99 out of 100 based on 794 ratings.