Trappist Westvleteren Special 6
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)

Trappist Westvleteren Special 6Trappist Westvleteren Special 6
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Style:
Brown Ale - Belgian Dark
ABV:
6.2%
Score:
91
Avg:
4.16 | pDev: 12.26%
Reviews:
46
Ratings:
64
From:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
 
Belgium
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  98
Gots
  5
SCORE
91
Outstanding
Trappist Westvleteren Special 6Trappist Westvleteren Special 6
Notes: (Red Cap)
Reviews: 46 | Ratings: 64 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by UGADawgGuy:
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UGADawgGuy from Georgia

4.39/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to the legendary generosity of BA Brabander, I had the singular experience of enjoying one of the relatively few remaining bottles of this stuff today. Although there was no date discernible on the slightly rusty bottle cap (or anywhere else), I was told that this beer was probably bottled in 1986, if I remember correctly. That would make it approximately 25 years old at the time I tried it...and it's apparently been stored AT WESTVLETEREN ABBEY the entire time. This is a truly incredible find.

Appearance: Just what I would expect of a Belgian dark ale, minus any hint of carbonation. I have to attribute that to the beer's extended age, and from that standpoint, it's not a big deal. When poured into a generic trappist-style chalice and held up to the light, Special 6 is a uniformly murky mahogany color with an unusually clear, shallow "watery" layer floating at the very top. Again, I'd attribute that to the beer's age and carbonation loss.

Smell: Now we're getting somewhere. I'm a well-known malt aficionado, which means I favor beers on the sweet side of the spectrum. And, man, this beer has that in spades (no doubt due in part to its age). A whiff of this stuff conjures up memories of the first time I ever tried vintage Schneider Aventinus, which is one of my two all-time favorite beers. I get honey, amber-doppelbock-style malt, and faint hints of toffee and Tootsie Rolls. If that sounds bad, ignore it; it's meant to be a compliment. This beer smells GREAT, especially considering its extended age and relatively low ABV. While I do pick up some sherry-like notes, the telltale odor of oxidation is absent -- I guess I got lucky in this regard, based on what I see in other relatively recent reviews.

Taste: Absolutely unique, in my experience...and absolutely flawless. This is on par with the very best foods and beverages I've tried during the course of my lifetime. Sweet-yet-subtle honey, milk chocolate, toffee, and mildly earthy clay are united in a cohesive masterpiece. I've got to be honest -- since this low-ABV beer is as old as it is, I went into this prepared for the scattered, incongruous mess most such beers would be at this point. Instead, I was met with perfection. Incredible.

Mouthfeel: While excusable due to age, Special 6's mouthfeel is sorely lacking in the carbonation necessary to support its flavor. Put simply, this beer is flat, save for a faint rumor of prickliness on the back of the tongue with each swallow. Oh, to have had this beer ten years ago...but, then, its flavor and aroma may very well not have been this coalescent back then, and I know I wouldn't have been ready to appreciate it at age 22. At any rate, the mouthfeel is clearly this beer's weakest suit, 25 years after bottling. This is not a surprise.

Overall: I feel a little bit strange giving a 4.5 overall score to a beer whose mouthfeel merited only a 2.0, but in the greater context of the beer's age and stellar delivery in other areas, I believe it warrants a near-perfect overall score. This beer's flavor alone makes it possibly the best beer I've ever tried, and I can't attribute its lack of carbonation to some flaw in its construction. This is a masterfully crafted beer, as evidenced by its incredibly long shelf life and aging curve at such a low ABV.

If you like malty/sweet beers and can get your hands on a bottle of this stuff, I would recommend doing so at almost any cost. To have what is now one of the most elusive and lesser-known beers from one of the world's most expert breweries has been a once-in-a-lifetime treat, and it's one you should have, too. I owe Brabander big-time for this...one of my all-time finest beer-drinking experiences.

Truly incredible!

Jul 03, 2011
More User Reviews:
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Bitterbill from Wyoming

4.92/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

1996 vintage purchased from the Cracked Kettle in Amsterdam online.

Red cap, says 26 6 98

A big whaff of yeast hits my nosebuds when I popped the cap. It pours a hazy to cloudy rust colour with about a 1 finger head of foam. Tilting my glass, the lacing is superb!

The smell has a strong yeasty nose with also strong notes of candy sugar, spice(pepper), and an overall earthy nose. Some tartness here as well.

The taste starts off very yeasty and tart with a mild flavour of white pepper, and when I say tart, I don't mean in your face sourness, no, it's much more subtle than that and goes superbly with the yeasty tones that dominate this brew. The candy sugar sweetness is also subtle but at just the right level for my palate. Wow. There's a lot of fruitiness here as well with some flavours of grapes and plums.

I just poured the rest of the bottle and it turns a dark cloudy brown. Usually, the best to be found in a Belgian Ale shows up in that final pour. I can't say that anything improved with that last pour...it tastes the same...brilliant! And..I'm not just saying that because of its rarity or the cost to me getting it. It's just bloody amazing.

Btw, head retention=first class. Lacing dropped off a bit after the first pour. Taste and drinkability=off the charts. Mouthfeel=on the light side but worked extremely well.

Bottom line: Would I seek this out again? It's expensive as hell and isn't always available, even from the Cracked Kettle, but the answer is...yes!

Apr 19, 2009
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francisweizen from Alaska

4.97/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

1997 vintage, sampled at the Kulminator in Antwerpen. Wow, what an awesome dead beer. Make this again you monks! This is a dark, slightly hazy brown colour with an ample head of tan foam. Aromas are strong and forceful. They consist of a multitude of berries, and other dark fruits, slight alcohol, deep malts, and nice herbal/medicinal hops. The taste is very fruity, creamy, and malty with a nice hoppy finish. The mouthfeel is quite creamy and really rather exceptional...and the drinkability is perfect as well. The blonde is pretty damn good, but why they *replaced* this with it, I will never know...they should start making this one again. It's like a session version of the 8 (which I also love)

Apr 01, 2004
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weeare138 from Pennsylvania

3.57/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Much thanks to egajdzis for this vintage brew from '91.
Appears a dark, hazy chestnut with a small off white head that fades into a small collar. There is no lacing left around the glass.
Smell is of dusty, corky, caramel, brown sugar, with oak, nuts, and dark fruit swirling in there.
Taste is of the same aromas with the yeast jumping out.
Mouthfeel is mildly thin with the yeast standing out amongst everything else along the palate. Starts out sweet on the front of the tongue, fading into a mild dull bitter with a very faint sourness that's hardly noticable. Finishes slightly slick at the swallow.

Jun 16, 2006
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wyllder from Massachusetts

4.97/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled in 1998.

Sampled at the Kulminator in Antwerpen.

Pours a hazy medium brown with a bumpy tan head that disippates after the first few sips.

The nose is incredible. Imagine opening the oven door to remove a loaf of dark fruitbread with nuts, cherries, raisins, and plums. It's warm, dark, fruity and beautiful in its complexity.

The taste follows the nose, comingling dark fruits and yeasty esthers all while maintaining an incredible mouthfeel.

Too bad the monk's stopped brewing this. One local I spoke to in Brugge voiced the opinion the monks had stopped production on this out of a desire to avoid increasing demand. I'm not sure if this theory holds any truth, but I could certainly see why people would have been wanting this delicious beer.

Eric-

Sep 26, 2005
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EPICAC from Massachusetts

4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My friend and I each had a bottle of this at Bierhuis Kulminator in Antwerp. My friend spotted some unlabeled bottles with red caps on the shelf behind the bar. He asked about them and was told that they were bottles of Westvleteren 6 from 1998, the last year that it was produced. We ordered two bottles, which were served in Abdij St. Sixtus goblets at cellar temperature.

Appearance: Pours a hazy dark-brown with ruby tints. A one-inch beige head fades to a quarter-inch layer leaving sheets of lace.

Smell: Smells aged. Notes of tart cherries, dark fruit and light toffee maltiness. Has the characteristic vinous aroma of an aged beer. Smells amazing.

Taste: Sweet with some malty caramel notes and fruity notes of dates and raisins, not too sweet though. Light peppery spice and a nice amount of hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, low carbonation.

Drinkability: Mellow, but flavorful.

Overall: It's amazing how well this beer has held up, very delicious. I feel very lucky to have had one.

Dec 11, 2006
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Crosling from Colorado

4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Kulminator in Antwerpen, Belgium. This was the first of the evening and a beer I had to try before it, well, disappeared from the planet.

Vintage 1998

Ruddy Brown.

Enticing aroma. Probably the best aroma of any beer I have ever smelled before. Vibrant fruit notes; apple, pear, berries and cherries along with a maltiness of cookies and caramel.

Soft and mellow. Spicy and very fruity. The woven fruit notes are very hard to distinquish. Banana esters, ripe pear and plums along with a nice maltiness of chocolate, biscuits and slight butter. Somewhat oxidized but it didn't matter. This was so big for its size. I'm glad I was able to try this.

Jul 25, 2004
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PopeJonPaul from Oregon

4.76/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Circa 1997, pulled magically out of the air (actually out of Amsterdam I think) by Felonious Phil. The best smelling beer ever. Smelled like pumpkin-apple cake. I could have just kept smelling this beer forever. Appearance was a cloudy, bottom-of-the-lake brown. Taste was like a bunch of great desserts all mixed together; blueberry cheesecake, pumpkin pie, caramel mousse, apple fruit tart. Silky, silky smooth wih a sweet finish. This is the definition of dessert beer. I think one of those naughty monks sold his soul to come up with this. So sad to find out it is made no more.

Oct 25, 2004
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PorterLambic from Florida

4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Sep 26, 2013
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drabmuh from Maryland

3.92/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This has been a long time coming, a personal "whale" of mine, drinking a Westvleteren 6 out of a Westvleteren goblet...doesn't get much more "baller" than that in my mind. I loved this experience.

Beer is amber to brown with a slight haze, almost no head, low carbonation, no lacing, no retention.

Aroma is sweet, almost cherry like, mild sherry notes, thin, perhaps a bit oxidized.

Beer is sweet, bright on the palate, not funky at all, drinking pretty nicely, mild notes of oxidation on the palate, a strong finish on the beer overall. I enjoyed it and if possible I'd have it again.

Feb 29, 2012
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Beertracker from Oklahoma

5/5  rDev +20.2%

Dec 19, 2011
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hopdog from Pennsylvania

3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared with weeare138 & egajdzis (thanks a ton Eric)!. 1991 vintage. I've looking for this one for a long time and finally, here it is!

This one was a light gusher (shame a couple drops were wasted on the counter top, but I though I saw Eric slurpping the drops up!). Poured a medium and murky brown color with a small sized off white head.

Aromas of dark fruits (plums and cherries), caramel, light cork, and had a light overall mustiness to it. Tastes of the same although they were lighter than the aromas.

Thinner body. Held up amazingly well and its a shame they don't brew this one any more.

Aug 30, 2006
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beerdrifter from Germany

3.71/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Got this from my good friend Thijs! Murky dark brown pour with a quickly fading one finger off-white head with minimal lacing. The nose is very malty with lots of raisins and dates along with brown bread, toffee, and yeast. The taste is dominated by sweet dark fruits, specifically raisins, dates, and plum. Hints of brown bread, leather, toast, toffee, almond, and some Port on the finish. The mouthfeel is somewhat thin and very sweet with very little carbonation and a nearly flat finish. Overall, this beer is probably not tasting as it was intended due to probable oxidation, but nonetheless interesting. Thanks again to Thijs for giving me the opportunity to try it!

Jul 26, 2015
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ggaughan from Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (from 1996) at Akkurat in Stokholm. I had been searching for this beer for awhile and it took a trip to Sweden to find it. Beer poured a deep amber color with a slight haze in the body but fairly clear. The aroma was earthy and a bit scotchy. The taste was sweet, almost port like. This beer appears to have held up very well as there was still a malty character to the beer but no real hop presence as expected. Overall a damn find beer that is worth the cost to me.

Aug 24, 2008
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TurdFurgison from Ohio

4.87/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Tried at the Kulminator in Antwerp. Bottled in 1998, there can't be too many of these left anywhere.

Leen (co-owner of Kulminator) poured this into a St. Sixtus goblet. It had an enormous tan-white head which was pillowy, sticky, and durable. The beer itself was light brown, murky but light passed through. It looked and smelled appetizing, with yeasty bready aromas.

Probably the best part was the creamy texture which complimented the fig-like fruity flavors. I don't know what this tasted like fresh, but 8 years later it's really good. Similar to the Westvleteren 8, but different in a way I can't describe very well. I prefer this to the 8.

Get it while it's still around.

Mar 18, 2006
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ygtbsm94 from Utah

3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

Nov 15, 2011
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davod23 from California

5/5  rDev +20.2%

Dec 12, 2011
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brdc from Wisconsin

4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks TurdFurgison for this one. 1998 bottling if I am not mistaken.

Poured into a goblet, I am already amazed by the fact the deep ruby colored beer with golden highlights has a reasonably thick light tan head that holds very well, and leaves some nice lacing.
Aroma is mostly of dark fruits, but has yeasty notes, caramel, cardamom, coriander, other unidentifiable smells, all blending quite well, and still quite noticeable.
Velvety on the palate, mostly sweet maltiness, earthy notes, caramel, dark fruits, figs, cardamom again. Still finishes dry.
It is amazing how well this has been maintained, with such a low ABV. Belgian monks really know their stuff.

Feb 22, 2009
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eric5bellies from Australia

4.95/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drank at Kulminator, Antwerp 98 vintage from a st sixtus chalice

A - Pours a nice deep mahogany colour with a an off white two fingered head that stays the distance, amazing

S - Port, toasted bread and raisins. Very pronounced.

T - Wow, this beer has held up amazingly well, the yeast and raisins are very evident still with a little port like flavours as well. The finish is so smooth and not boozy at all.

M - the carbonation is almost all there with the body medium. Smoothness is impressive.

O - Although this beer is 13 years old I'm amazed at how well it has held up. So much flavours and complexity still exists in this beer. It's a privalidge to taste masterpieces like this and although a little past it's best I cannot mark it down because it has truly lasted the test of time and for a beer that is only 6.2% that is quite remarkable.

Sep 29, 2012
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trappistlover from Arizona

4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(11.2 oz bottle courtesy of Alpar!) I’m still very humbled that he included this in our last trade! Many, many thanks for sending one of my major whales. Pours cloudy caramel with an off-white head (I got the bottom of the bottle). Aroma has candied sugar, caramel and some port-like notes. Taste is sweet reminiscent of tootsie roll/chocolate. Thin bodied with oily texture. The finish was quite smooth. This beer held up marvelously for its age

Apr 23, 2011
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RblWthACoz from Pennsylvania

4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark amber brown. This seems to be on the tail end of it's life of drinkability, but it still works enough to enjoy. There are tones of chalk on hearty leafy edges. More hearty than I would have guessed. Still after 14 years it's nice. And I don't think the rarity of this one is skewing my judgement.

Jun 20, 2010
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bmwats from Louisiana

3.94/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 33 cl bottle, into a tulip.

A: Hay colored. Lots of carbonation. Pours a cascading bubbly head. Settles fairly quickly, but does leave a smattering of bubbles on the surface. Sparse spiderweb lacing.

S: Fresh cut grass and hay. Sourdough.

T: Fresh cut grass, a little honey, bitter rye, and a little bready.

M: Light, crisp, bittersweet finish.

D: Not much resistance. Go for it.

Atmosphere is good. Nice hue, carbonation, and head. Nose is bittersweet and grassy. Flavor is fresh cut flora, with some sweet notes. Overall, this is a really good quaff.

Feb 14, 2013
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HopHead84 from California

3.61/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1998 vintage. Thanks Masterski. Consumed on 10/10/2009 with Masterski and Overlord. The beer appears dark red with a huge creamy white head.

The nose is very earthy with some bready malt and a clove-like spiciness. There are some mineral notes as well.

The taste is rather funky with a strong earthy presence. I get some mineral, plastic, and spicy clove. The malt is sweet and bready. The finish is very dry with bready malt and a lingering mineral flavor.

Oct 11, 2009
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MasterSki from Canada (ON)

3.46/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

1998 vintage, served in a goblet.

A - Well, it still looks good - Poured with a finger of off-white foam that dissipated to a solid cap and thick ring. Murky orange-raisin color.

S - The smell is...not what I was expecting. Peppery spice, earthy, wet dog, super vinous, starting to go a little lacto-sour. As it warms a little more of the original flavor comes out with some candy sugar, Belgian yeast, etc.

T - Taste is less funky, with more oxidized Belgian dark character to it. It's actually a little bit bland.

M - Carbonation is still good, feel is quite appropriate to style. Some nice dryness in the finish.

D - I was happy to try 4oz, but this is way past its prime. Still it was interesting, and not all that bad.

Oct 11, 2009
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t0rin0 from California

4/5  rDev -3.8%

Nov 15, 2012
Trappist Westvleteren Special 6 from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 64 ratings