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

Trappist Westvleteren Special 6Trappist Westvleteren Special 6
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Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Brown Ale - Belgian Dark
4.16 | pDev: 12.26%
Jul 24, 2020
Apr 01, 2004
Trappist Westvleteren Special 6Trappist Westvleteren Special 6
Notes: (Red Cap)
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Ratings by wyllder:
Photo of wyllder
4.97/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by wyllder from Massachusetts

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.


Sep 26, 2005
More User Ratings:
4.26 by edthehead from New York on Jul 24, 2020
3.99 by SadMachine from New Jersey on Jul 19, 2020
4.45 by HopBelT from Belgium on Aug 18, 2015
Photo of beerdrifter
3.71/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
by beerdrifter from Germany

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
3.5 by olradetbalder from Sweden on Dec 04, 2014
4.04 by innominat from Ireland on Nov 01, 2014
Photo of DarthKostrizer
4/5  rDev -3.8%
by DarthKostrizer from California

1999 bottle

Look: pours a dark amber with some chocolate colored highlights. No real head but there is some carbonation

Smell: raisin leather brown sugar

Taste: upfront is lots of raisin and that Westy yeast. Some nice undertones of brown sugar chocolate toasted bread. Very very little oxidation

Mouthfeel: thin, very little carbonation slightly sticky

Overall: this beer has stood the test of time. It actually reminded me a little of HotD Matt. It was truly a pleasure to try this beer

Sep 04, 2014
4 by zestar from California on Aug 14, 2014
Photo of gory4d
4.09/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by gory4d from Texas

Thanks to Will for this one. Shared with my wife.

Pours a dark brown with a lot of white foam that doesn't quite turn into a head. Sort of russet around the edges. The smell is faint leather, some plum, a little wood. It's quite sweet, really, reminding me of a mild cola; lots of melon and fruit, with some rich undertones of tobacco. It's quite effervescent, but creamy at the same time - very pleasant. A nice treat that I'm glad I was able to try.

Nov 18, 2013
4.25 by PorterLambic from Florida on Sep 26, 2013
3 by mwbrady12 from Florida on Jul 29, 2013
Photo of beerpirates
3.34/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5
by beerpirates from Belgium

Many thx to Thijs for opening this very rare bottle

Poured into a westy 12 tastingglass

Poured medium-to-deep amber with no head.
The aroma picked up soft, dusty, spicy yeast over well-aged toffee, raisins, and dates The flavor held up as well with some caramel and accents of port , raisins, and faint smoke
Medium-bodied with lower carbonation on the palate..

May 21, 2013
3.25 by Doodler from Colorado on Mar 23, 2013
Photo of spdyfire83
3.52/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5
by spdyfire83 from Ireland

307th Review
33cl bottle poured into Crooked Stave tulip
Mid/late-90's, I gather from discussions with the individual who passed this my way. Cheers!

I shared this at a random Wednesday afternoon tasting at Crooked Stave (thanks Chad for welcoming us!) as part of "December to Remember - 2012". Drank alongside Westvleteren Dubbel, amongst others.

A: Light brown. Quarter, (tan) fingernail, bubbly head on medium pour. More carbonated than its brethren!

S: Notes of dark fruit, raisin, light brown sugar, and breadiness. Touch of mild cherry here too.

T: Hidden cherry starts things off followed by soft dark fruit, caramel, and cardboard. Touch of sour too and I know this thing is past its prime.

M: Medium/full bodied with soft (nearly flat) carbonation.

O: Surprisingly bad and over-the-hill. Quite strange to me considering this bottle is younger than the Red Cap. I find it amazing that the lower ABV withstood time more resiliently than this. Granted they are different styles, but they generally have the same characteristics in my opinion. My recommendation, do not bend-over-backwards to get this.

Feb 17, 2013
Photo of bmwats
3.94/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25
by bmwats from Louisiana

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
4.75 by digita7693 from Germany on Dec 15, 2012
4 by t0rin0 from California on Nov 15, 2012
Photo of eric5bellies
4.95/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5
by eric5bellies from Australia

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
4.5 by hanlonrn from Virginia on Jul 10, 2012
Photo of Huhzubendah
3.76/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
by Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

A huge thanks to drabmuh for sharing this whale of a beer with us on his birthday.

The beer is orange hued, displaying a thick, lasting head that coats the chalice with a sheet of lacing.

The aroma offers malt, butterscotch, basement, rain water, canteloupe. Interesting. It does smell a monk's closet.

The flavor was decent, especially given the age of the beer. Interesting to say the least. Dank basement, melons, butterscotch, caramel malt.

I was really impressed with the mouthfeel. Perfect carbonation and silky smooth on the palate.

Overall, what an experience. Thanks Matt!

Mar 10, 2012
5 by BeerBaron from Ohio on Mar 04, 2012
Photo of drabmuh
3.92/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
by drabmuh from Maryland

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
Photo of mdfb79
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by mdfb79 from New York

From 02/25/12 notes. Bottle shared by drabmuh at his birthday tasting; thanks Matt, was very excited to try this one. Tried in line with a 25 year old bottle of Westy 8, a relatively newer Westy 8, and a Westy 12.

a - Pours a murky mahogany brown color with one inch of off white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of fruity malts, raisins, dark fruits, a little musty, bready malts, light caramel. Smell is sweet and a little oxidized, but still very nice.

t - Tastes of dark fruits, raisins, sugar, fruity malts, earthy notes, more musty then the nose, sweet. A step down from the nose and oxidized again.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Pretty easy to drink.

o - Overall a nice beer but a bit oxidiized and I'd guess a bit past its prime. Taste was a little too sweet for me. Very cool to try and was better then the 25 year old Westy 8, but didn't compare to the fresher Westy 8 and Westy 12. I'd suggest drinking yours now if you've got one left.

Feb 26, 2012
Photo of Thorpe429
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Thorpe429 from Illinois

Huge thanks to drabmuh for acquiring this bottle. Served in a small Westvleteren chalice.

A: Pours a very slightly-hazed amber-copper color with a half-finger white head and just a bit of spotty lacing on the way down.

S: The nose carries a pretty heavy amount of fruit. Slight oxidation plus a bit of cherry and other dark fruits. Almost a touch of melon waiting in the background.

T: The flavor is a bit less traditional. Some melon-type flavor comes through along with a bit of bread and a touch of caramel. Really quite interesting. Maybe a bit of strawberry. There are definitely fruits present, but not in the traditional way. Hard to place.

M: Body is light to medium with good carbonation and a semi-dry finish. Very light bitterness.

O: This has held up fairly well. Good fruit presence and a bit of malt. Assuredly past its prime, but still certainly worth a try.

Feb 25, 2012
Photo of Mar02x
3.91/5  rDev -6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Mar02x from Netherlands

With thanks to BA Brabander, I was able to try this beer. Brabander brought his beer to a tasting organized by Fiona de Lange (the Dutch beer lady).

A - A murky fluid with no head whatsoever.

S - It has got the smell of a sweet sherry.

T - Gone! This beer is long gone! It became sour. Not that I mind though, because of the sweet sherry it is very nice to drink.

M - A very light carbonation, no bitterness.

O - I would love to try one that is still good.

Feb 20, 2012
Photo of cpetrone84
3.45/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5
by cpetrone84 from Pennsylvania

Had at Akkurat. Pour is slightly murky brown with ruby red edges and a light tan head. The nose has tons of sweetness, loads of raisin, caramel malt, syrupy dark berries. The taste is more balanced but also less bright. Seems a touch oxidized, raisins and caramel are most dominant, syrupy dark fruits almost artificial berry-like, flavor thins out in the finish. Full bodied, very thin finish, syrupy texture on the tongue, light carb and slightly oily.

Jan 16, 2012
4.5 by Lee45102 from Ohio on Dec 27, 2011
Photo of Jugs_McGhee
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by Jugs_McGhee from Colorado

Brown glass bottle with no label and the distinctive Red Westvleteren cap served into a goblet at Akkurat in Stockholm, Sweden, in July 2011. Vintage was 1996, making it roughly fifteen years old. Cost was a brutal 295 SEK (~43 USD at the time). They had to fetch this from the cellar for me, and it was opened pretty carefully. Served fairly cool but not too cold.

Reviewed from detailed notes.

A: Pours a half finger head of brilliant beautiful cream, good thickness, and bad retention for the ABV. The head is white in colour, while the beer is a very appealing dark ruby-black. I can't wait to dive in.

Sm: Cherry, raspberry, strawberry - all light fruit hop esters (as opposed to 'dark' fruit like in the other three Westvleteren beers I've tried). It's a very excellent fruit aroma all around. Refreshing, and evocative of fruli or framboise summer beers. I didn't expect the fruits to smell as bright and pleasant as they do. Amazing, pleasant, and perfect. Incredibly subtle; I think the age has done the aroma well.

T: Creamy foundation with bright fruit ester hops atop. Everything from the nose is present; lots of strawberry dominates. There's a bit of a water note, no doubt from the aging. Structurally, each act is quite brief but impressively flavorful. The climax is bright ester laden. It's brilliantly balanced, ignoring the water (which is easy to do). It's beautifully artfully constructed. Complex and wonderful.

Mf: Masterfully complementary of the flavours of the body. It's a bit vinegary/watery after the climax, but that's not the brewer's fault. It's delicately soft, subtly creamy, and incredibly well suited to the complexity of the taste. Very carefully crafted indeed.

Dr: The obscene price is to be expected. No alcohol comes through. It's a wonderful beer but sadly it seems to be getting steadily worse with time; it probably peaked five years ago. Drink it while you can, because soon it will be shite vinegar (see La Trappe Amber). I've given is a score based on its full character as is now, but I suspect at its peak it was an A- or even an A. Either way, it's fantastic.

[Note that I gave it a B+ at time of review, prior to the new number system coming in. A B+ at that time was 3.76-4.00.]

Dec 26, 2011
5 by Beertracker from Oklahoma on Dec 19, 2011
5 by davod23 from California on Dec 12, 2011
4 by sideshowe from Pennsylvania on Nov 15, 2011
3.5 by ygtbsm94 from Utah on Nov 15, 2011
Photo of claaark13
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5
by claaark13 from Indiana

Thanks for having a birthday Cam, that was nice of you.
Poured into a Delirium snifter. Thanks THIJS for being the root of this bottle, and thanks to the "one" that gave it to Cam.

A - Ruby, light lacing with bubbles. The lacing is nice, especially with consideration that it is 25 years old. It actually looks nice as it is if the age isn't considered.

S - Malts....yeah, malts....light breadiness and a little bit of sweetness. The aroma is quite potent for the age. Slight amount of dark fruits. I'd say that the fruits are like a small amount of fresh cherries. Not artificial cherries, but some fresh black cherries. Maybe it is the sweetness mixed with the bready malts, who really knows? Very nice no matter how you slice it.

T - Muted breadiness, then some missing flavors in the middle, then a very dry finish. The middle is a slight cherry on top of muted bread. The end is almost like taking a bit of a green apple but without any sourness. The middle is just missing some flavor that I think would be more evident in a 90's version of this beer.

M - Certainly carbonated. Light, drinkable. Appropriate for what it is. I watched Cam drink the dregs...I bet that was nice.

O - Good, old, enjoyable. There was less of a cobweb/cellar/dust flavor in this one than other +15 year old beers I've had, with few exceptions. I also didn't get as much oxidation as expected. When it comes down to it, this bottle is rare as can be. I'd ONLY pass on it because I know that would give the next person a chance to try it. However, if someone offered me a 90's version of the bottle, I'd go for it. I think the later bottles (90's) are probably more flavorful in the middle.

Oct 29, 2011
Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5
by BeerAndBourbon from Ohio

1986 vintage. Thanks Cam!

A. Pours brown with amber with just a touch of a head.

S. Smells of raisin, hints of caramel/toffee

T. Raisin is the most prominent. The toffee is not as prominent as in the nose.

M. Very thin with low level of carbonation.

D. Delicious, but definitely suffers a bit from the age. Can't believe I got to try this one. Awesome!

Oct 21, 2011
Photo of Urbancaver
4.39/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
by Urbancaver from Ohio

Bill... You are my hero...

1986 vintage
A gift from the gods

Pours a murky orangeish brown, nice yellowish tint. Some nice white head. Looks pretty phenomenal. Smells incredible. Rich malts, vanilla, amazing nose. Tastes malty, a touch of vanilla. The beer tastes great... The mouthfeel is a bit lacking but man it's tasty. Overall, a very enjoyable

Oct 21, 2011
Photo of brew3crew
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by brew3crew from Ohio

Bottle courtesy of urbancaver. Wow!this is actually happening

A-earthy red color with no head whatsoever. Looks like a nice port

S-very sweet with a nice bit of malt

T-this is unreal. Sooo smooth aand delicious. Maybe a little bit of sweet cherries. I wan to drink all of this. Damn.

M-medium body and smooth

O-holy crap. This is a wonderful beer. Wish they made more of this!

Oct 21, 2011
Photo of UGADawgGuy
4.39/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.5
by UGADawgGuy from Georgia

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 of my all-time finest beer-drinking experiences.

Truly incredible!

Jul 03, 2011
Photo of trappistlover
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
by trappistlover from Arizona

(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
Photo of fewa
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by fewa from Belgium

Cap dates 18-05-98. Poured into a westvleteren glass. The beer pours a brown color with a nice light-brown head. Smell: some red wine notes, red fruits (mainly cherries), sweet plums and some wooden hints. Taste: Sour fruits combined with sweet plums, rasins and roasted malts with some wooden aftertaste. Hints of clove as well. Mouthfeel is medium, with nice medium-high carbonation. Overall, great beer, still in perfect condition. A must try for every true westvleteren fan!

Apr 11, 2011
Trappist Westvleteren Special 6 from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 64 ratings