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

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Trappist Westvleteren Special 6Trappist Westvleteren Special 6

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)

Style: Belgian Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
(Red Cap)

Added by TheLongBeachBum on 03-31-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 46 | Ratings: 62
Photo of jrallen34
3.57/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I had this from the bottle into a Westy glass at Akkurat. Very excited to try this! Dated 10 22 2000, so this is a 1995 bottle.

The beer pours with light carbonation a very dead beer showing off its age. Its light clearish brown with hints of amber, almost see through. Light tan head only rises about half a finger and is gone right away, light lacing. There is at least half a centimeter of dark yeast at the bottom.. The aroma is super nice and complex, totally mellowed out over the time. Has really muted the sugar and alcohol that presents in the regular westy. Shows off tons of caramel and dark fruits, its sweet but very nice...The taste is sadly a huge let down, clearly anything 1995 or older is well past its prime. The taste is really muted only shows off a little dark fruit then from there all chalk and alcohol. Its really really bad...The feel actually is pretty good, but could hardly finish a bottle that was split.

This is one of those white whales that is all about the chase. Its past its prime and not worth getting now. Wish I could have had one in its day and give it the proper review it probably deserves.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
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.

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Photo of pwoods
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to WeeHeavySD on RB for sharing this gem while I was in San Diego.

330ml unmarked brown bottle with a red cap poured into a chalice. Vintage 1996.

Pours a light brownish amber color with plenty of light coming through. Still plenty of head with decent retention and some lacing. Smells great. I would easily be able to tell this is a Westy if it was in a blind tasting... as paytoplay put it, "it has that Westvleteren stamp on it". Very well put. Pleasant caramel and light dark fruitiness. No alcohol. Nice soft yeast. Body is medium full and rich. Drinks very easily. Really an awesome beer and I can't believe it's held up.

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Photo of PapaEugene
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The highlight of another beertasting with rvdoorn. The retired and aged Westvleteren 6. A 1996 vintage.

A: Lightbrown/orange color with a lightbrown head.

S: My first impression was vintage kriek like Cantillon or Boon. Cherries, woody and some red wine.

T: Roasted malts, red fruits, woody, cloves. Slightly bitter and even some liquorisch in the finish.

M: Medium carbonation but rather fast oxidation. A medium body.

D: A unique beer that probably is over its top. HIghly enjoyable nevertheless.

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Photo of rvdoorn
4.46/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Probably the rarest beer in the world. I am so happy I can try this unique Trappist beer. Cap says 28-08-98, meaning this should be a 95 or 96 vintage. This must be the "big bang" in terms of taste and flavor of my beer evening with PapaEugene. Carefully opened the bottle with the opener, since I want to keep the cap. Surprisingly, a lot of gas escaped from the bottle when I opened it, even some beer wanted to come out. Wow, I had lots and lots of vintage beers before, but this is truly unique for a 14 year old beer! Poured into a westvleteren glass. The beer pours light-brown-orange-amber-color with a beautiful thick (!!!) light-brown head, which changed into a very nice and sticky lacing. This beer is so lively....

Smell: A bit sour, red wine, tart, red fruits (cherries) and nicely woody. It really reminds me a bit of a kriek (cantillon) or a Flemish old brown ale.

Taste: Red, sour fruits combined with tasty roasted malts. Also here the wood is present, together with some hints of clove. This beer is really pleasantly sour, extremely well balanced with the sweetness of the roasted malts. The aftertaste is medium-bitter and not dry at all. Wait, what do I taste if I roll the beer in my mouth, swallow and inhale some extra air...liquorish, clear liquorish. What an unexpected surprise.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thick bodied and medium carbonation (but for a vintage, high carbonation, unique). The oxidation in the glass is very high though, because the carbonation is almost gone after several minutes.

Overall: This was a truly unique experience. This beer is so different from all the other Westvleteren beers! So full of taste, and this for a vintage of only 6.2 ABV! But, I have to say, that I think this beer has passed its top. It is good, very good, but I think it would be magnificent fresh. What a pity I will never be able to try this one fresh. But I suggest, if you still have a bottle of this rare beer, drink it as soon as possible, and don't wait to long with it.

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Photo of HopHead84
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.

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Photo of Overlord
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks, Masterski!

Pours a hazy, orange-ish brown. Surprisingly large off-white head.

Smells. ... funky? Some interesting spices, pepper, and ... cloves? Some malt in there.

Taste-wise, this is clearly at the ass-end of the drinkable spectrum. If you're sitting on these, drink them now.

Spices, pepper, dark, sweet malt, and a bit of a mineral earthy quality to it. As it warms, it sweetens a bit, and the spices fade.

Surprisingly bubbly.

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Photo of MasterSki
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.

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Photo of kappldav123
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The bottle looks really good. No label - which brewery can do that? The beer is quite dark, not much foam. Starts spicy, a little bit woody, also a bit earthy. The finish is almost a bit vapid, for a short moment spicy again. I think the beer is already a bit over its top.

Big thanks to yespr for the bottle!

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Photo of Bitterbill
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 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!

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Photo of brdc
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.

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Photo of ggaughan
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.

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

Trappist Westvleteren 6 (VINTAGE 1998) (Rating 10/10) - 6.2 ABV - 28 September 2007

This one is none other than my toughest find in the world of beers; not only is it the revered Westvleteren, it is a Westvleteren Special 6 from 1998 which is its last year of brew. A mighty THANK YOU to one of my Belgian beer friend, Christelle, for getting this for me. I know that
folks have yearned for this much sought after red cap and I myself had went through much before finally getting to Christelle who managed to get me 2 bottles straight from the Kulminator in Antwerp and have it shipped thousands of miles to Singapore into my very arms! It's a true godsend and now with the rambling out of the way, lets get down to reviewing this great beer. The bottle was capped tight and I had some trouble cracking it open; when I did an immediately vinous aroma flows out; I poured it carefully into my Abdij St Sixtus chalice. The Special 6 pours out a dark brown color with a thick head with good retention; a good looking bouquet. The smell was like some sort of a pie or sweet pastry with a good amount of breadiness; lot's of sweetness packed in it. Of course aged vinous aromas with dark fruits also form part of the aroma; a very good and sweet smelling beer. It is now all set for me to take my first sip. It has a strong taste of aged dark fruits which includes plums, dates, raisins, berries with a light bready malt backing. The sweet pie like nature was only very subtle. The finish was dry, slightly bitter, and it leaves strong vinous dark fruity, floral and sweet malty aromas on the nose; very nice. The after taste started off with strong dark fruit tastes ranging from dates, plums to raisins and a slight bit of pie or pastry sweetness; some malts on the nose and palates too. Also on the nose as the after taste lingers is a nice everlasting fruity floral aroma. The after taste then then becomes more of grapes and raisins with the familar aged vinous tastes; a very lasting after taste which concludes like a fruity tasting candy. The mouthfeel was slightly creamy and the body was between medium to full but what surprised me was how well the carbonation held up over the years and was still at such a
good level. It was generally light and refreshing and definitely very smooth drinking as I drank up the last few mouthful. The taste of the Westvleteren Special 6 was generally reminiscent of most well-aged Belgian Dark Ales; I am not sure if the very well aged 1984 La Trappe Dubbel which threw me off was better than this but both are great beers for sure. I went to great lengths to get this beer and probably I am very slightly disappointed as I intended that this is going to be my top beer but I believe it is still under the blue and gold cap slightly; though I rate it very well on BA. However it is within my top 3 beers and I still have 1 more bottle. I will try to have Christelle get me a few more bottles of this wonderous brew.

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Photo of EPICAC
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.

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Photo of hopdog
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.

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Photo of weeare138
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.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
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.

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Photo of wyllder
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.


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Photo of PopeJonPaul
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.

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Photo of Crosling
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.

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Photo of francisweizen
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)

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Trappist Westvleteren Special 6 from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.16 out of 5 based on 62 ratings.
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