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

813 Reviews
Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII)Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII)

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

Style: Dubbel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
(Blue Cap)

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-03-2001

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 813 | Ratings: 2,131
Photo of Hoppsbabo
3.71/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

My bottle is dated February 2014, one year from now, so I guess it's a couple of years old.

A: A dulled bottle brown body with a creamy light beige head which clings to the sides of the glass.

S: Mildewy dried prunes/figs/dates and Cointreau. Nothing else.

T: Not registering any big flavour up front but it's quite crisp. Initially dry but sweetens up slightly. A tad bitter but pleasantly so and gets better with warmth but really there's not a lot to it. No interesting fruity esters, bubblegum or marzipan. Just a very fine balance of modest, conventional Belgian dark ale flavours, just like in the Westy 12. I can pick out a bit of sherry, a bit of mildew or something like an old wine cork flavour. Alcohol is very well hidden. Virtually no aftertaste. Verging on blandness if not for the crispness.

M: The balance and mouthfeel are the centrepiece. Beautifully creamy and silky and yet crisp at the same time. Also a bit sticky.

O: I thought I'd missed the point with the Westy 12 but now I've been similarly underwhelmed by the 8. If my bottle was a typical example of a two year old bottle then it tastes very ordinary with a bit of age. I'd love to try a fresh one because all these people can't be wrong.

 1,221 characters

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

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

 791 characters

Photo of alcstradamus
3.74/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours an extremely dark brown with a massive four finger head that camps out forever and leaves thick lacing down the glass. Smell is grapes, orange peel, spice, clove, and rubber. Taste is rubber, apple skin, and lots of spices. Medium to full bodied with soft but plentiful carbonation. This one has a little bit of an alcohol burn which hurts the drinkability.

Well, I guess I have come to the conclusion that dubbels just are not a style I can enjoy. This is the highest rated dubbel on BA, in the top 10 overall, and possibly the best one I have had yet I still can't bring myself to give it more than a 4 for taste. I was hoping that this one would break the streak and stand out like its big brother #12 does, but alas it ends up being just a "good" beer for my palate

 776 characters

Photo of grandq
3.75/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big ol' thanks to pimpp for the twofer of the 8 and 12. Pours a deep reddish brown, thick, billowy head. Smelling apples, raspberries, and mulberry. On first sip, I find the initial carbonation really jarring. Takes a bit of warming and swirling until it gets down to a less distracting level. Getting alot of raspberry on the tongue, plum, cherry, a faint hint of caramel and toffee in the middle of the very mild malt, some spicy yeast/hop notes follow. The water this is made from may have a bit of mineral bittering, but not as strong as a Burton. Nothing is to pronounced and the light mouthfeel lets one explore all the flavors, but I didn't feel it was all that well balanced - perhaps as a result of the aforementioned carbonation.

On the positive side, the finish isn't overly dry, and despite being so sweet this leaves nothing unwanted or too forceful on the tongue as it evaporates. Liking the earthy, barnyardy notes on the very tail end.

Overall, there's some interesting flavors and its no doubt well crafted, but there's nothing really grabbing me here. I'll give this a re-review if I make my way to Belgium one of these days but don't think I'll go to the trouble of tracking down another bottle state-side. Not my favorite dubbel.

 1,252 characters

Photo of Cramshawbar
3.75/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

An incredibly weak sister of the XII, this way too carbonated beer has a lovely nose and strong bread flavour. But it is nowhere in the same ballpark to XII. Skip if you can.

 174 characters

Photo of kbutler1
3.75/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle. Cap has 2.05.13 on the cap, reviewed on 2/2/11. Poured into a tulip glass a clear, deep ruby red brown color with a large fluffy 3 finger light tan head that slowly recedes. Head leaves some nice lace as it settles. The aroma is pretty nice with a subtle dark fruit smell along with some banana. Medium/light mouthfeel with some good carbonation. First taste yields flavors of dark malt, dark fruit, and some alcohol notes. Some lingering bitterness as well. The taste is actually a little more subdued than I thought it would be. The carbonation seems a little high for me as well and detracts from the flavors. Overall, I'm just ok on this beer, it isn't exactly what I thought it would be and isn't as good as I wanted.

 730 characters

Photo of falloutsnow
3.75/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From: Etre Gourmet, Belgium
Date: Best by 2014-08-19
Glass: New Belgium globe glass

Westvleteren's '8' is a fairly typical dubbel: easy-to-drink and rather sweet, with notable fruity esters. The flavor borders more on the side of a Belgian strong dark ale, and does not widely differ in flavor or quality from many other dubbels. Considering the hype and price, one I would definitely would not go out of my way to try again.

Pours a 1cm head of beige foam, made up of small-sized bubbles, creating a frothy appearance. Average head retention of around one minute. Lacing is good, though not great, some modest lines and dots adorn the inner sides of the glass. Body is a dark garnet color, nearly black-brown, with light bringing out garnet-amber hues and orange tints. Carbonation is visible throughout he slightly transparent body, substantial and quite active.

Aroma is sweet, slightly fruity with grape ester, some Belgian yeast mustiness, then raisins, light toast, and faint brown sugar. It's not a particularly impressive or robust aroma, and aside from the sweetness and fresh grape esters, one has to search with some effort to find the various components.

Taste, overall, is sweet with touches of anise, grape, and mild bittering hops. The sweetness, though prominent, is neither syrupy nor bready, just slight hints of caramel and candi sugar characters. Front of palate finds sweet and fruity flavors, with strong grape esters, slight caramel, and hints of anise and raisin. Mid-palate of anise, Belgian amber candi sugar, grape ester, light toffee, and hints of ethanol. more fruit and spice than malt and sugar. Back of palate finds richer, toffee-like sweetness with more noticeable ethanol and continued anise and grape ester flavor. Aftertaste of light caramel sweetness, lingering grape ester, slight bitterness, and ethanol.

Beer is medium weight in body, with medium-high carbonation levels. Prickly as it moves across the palete, but fairly quickly becoming foamy and smooth on the palate. Closes dryly, with light stickiness on the palate.

 2,067 characters

Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.76/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this in a BIF - my last of the main Westvleteren lineup to try. 3.12.12 on the cap

A- Body is a cloudy dark brown hue. Pours with a foamy 1-2 finger eggshell head. This retains nicely at 1 finger and leaves behind little lacing in the glass.

S- Nose is moderate to strong in strength. Cola, raisins, and a mild to moderate alcohol strength.

T- Dry raisin and plum flavors upfront with a very mild bready backbone that has a hint of peppery spice. The spiciness slightly intensifies for the finish as the other flavors fade minimally and a bit of alcohol astringency comes through for the finish as well as a hint of cola. Left to linger are hints of plum, raisin, spice, and a big alcohol heat.

M- Medium to high carbonation and a medium weight body with a mild breadiness as well as a mild alcohol consistency.

O- 12 and 6 were fantastic, 8 is well done; but its not as good as I was expecting. It reminds me of the Rochefort lineup.

 944 characters

Photo of bditty187
3.77/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fairly dark brown in hue with obvious beige and auburn highlights; I’d even say there is a suggestion of copper. I can’t see through it. The head was russet in color and at the apex it was a shade over two fingers in height. The bubbles were tightly compacted. Head retention was excellent; it sat there motionless for a long while. A decent sized cap lasted the entire consumption. I am very impressed. It looks magnificent in my goblet. There was subsequent lacing; it was a bit spotty and unorganized. The nose is lacking in a major way. I am dumbfounded! This beer sat for 45 minutes once I took it out of the DFB (previously in the cellar). There is hardly a chill to the touch yet almost no aromas are found. The best I can say is the smells are largely neutral with only a suggestion of malt and the faintest trace of green apple. What a disappointment! There is no invitation. Hell, there isn’t even an implication that it might be worth my time to take a sip. Unacceptable. The palate is much improved over the nose. Big whoop! The nose offered nothing, on the other had, the palate has taste. Still, I wouldn’t call the palate noisy. It is flavorsome but nothing out of the ordinary for a Dubbel. There is really good maltiness depth; it is somewhat caramely, lightly toasty, sweet brown sugar too but more so chocolate notes. This aspect reminds me of coco powder (is that a compliment?). Astringency works well, there was even a few sips that were roasty. Again, good malt depth. Other flavors include hints of nuts, figs, green apples, a kiss of plum, peppery and then herbal qualities. At the finish there is a bust of alcohol, more fruit (this time dark), and powdery chocolate. As a whole I like the palate. It has turned the tide in Westy 8’s favor. I wouldn’t say this is the best Dubbel I’ve had. But I would say it is tasty enough to drink again (price considering). Medium in body, modestly low carbonation but it works with this beer. The mouthfeel is fair, it does come off a little thin and, dare I say, watery. But I’m not going to knock it. Well, I’ve come to the end of my bottle. I can sum it up like this… it is better than Chimay Red. In my mind, that is not saying much. Okay, maybe that is not totally fair. I think Chimay Red sucks. Westy 8 is good, just not noteworthy.

Best before date of 31.01.06 stamped on the bottle cap. Purchased in Iowa City, IA for $9.00.

 2,411 characters

Photo of IPA4LIFE
3.77/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Deep ruby, almost brown. Thin brown head with decent retention when swirled.

S- Rich earthy notes. Brown sugar, spicy Belgian yeast characteristics. A bit dull for what I expected, but not bad by any means.

T- Pretty complex. Spicy champagne-like characteristic up front, with a surprisingly strong oak note in the mid palate, mixed with some caramel and brown sugar. A little fig and more oak in the aftertaste. Pretty good, but not the best dubbel I have ever had.

M- Carbonated and spicy. Not bad.

O- Not quite as amazing as I had expected, but that is a common problem with these types of beers- they tend to be a bit over-hyped. I may have had a bad bottle, but this just didn't blow my hair back like I expected.

 729 characters

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

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

 400 characters

Photo of jmalex
3.8/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hard to believe this is a first timer for me. I've been lucky enough to have the 12 a few times, but this is the first 8 I've had the pleasure of opening.

Best by: 15 08 11

APPEARANCE: Pours a murky brown into my Westvleteren chalice. This one seems to developed some protein chunking in its short time aging which will hopefully settle out in my glass. The head is tightly bubbled and creamy. It started at about a finger's height and hasn't dropped much at all.

SMELL: Not terribly intense, but what's there is quite nice. Heavy on the sweet fruits especially cherry and raisin. A bit of a bready character gets through as well. Not a whole lot coming from the yeast nor is there any whiff of alcohol.

TASTE: Wow, completely different than the aroma. This has quite a bit of unmistakable character from the abbey yeast. It's really bready with a kick of alcohol that's accentuated by a significant dryness. There's not a whole lot of sweetness going on here. Just the opposite in fact, with an unexpected spicy bitterness on the back end.

MOUTHFEEL: Haven't swallowed any chunks yet, so I can give an honest answer here. The body is on the lighter side for sure, with a very piquant carbonation that's at the higher end of the spectrum.

DRINKABILITY: Good, just like the rest of the beer. The alcohol is slightly prohibitive, and there's a few unexpected twists with the beer. But I'd be glad to have one of these any time.

It feels slightly blasphemous, but I was not blown away by this beer. I do have a few more bottles, and I will happy to give it another chance every opportunity I get. I get the feeling that this could definitely benefit from aging for a good while, and I'll definitely be putting that theory to practice given the young age of this particular bottle.

 1,784 characters

Photo of brendan13
3.81/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoying this for my 25th birthday. Yesterday was too hectic.

A - Cap is dated 01/09/10. Poured into a Westvleteren goblet a very murky, dark brown with ruby red highlights when held up to light. Few centimetres of beige head that hangs for a fair while. Big patchy lacing is left.
S - Raisin & prune dark fruit aromas, spicy phenols. Some savoury aroma that is hard to place. Never had it in a dubbel before. It's a bit off putting.
T - Along the same lines as the taste but without the savory smell.
M - Quite a smooth mouthfeel, medium bodied, low carbonation.
D - Would I drink it again? Yes. Would I pay the same amount to drink it again? No way.

 652 characters

Photo of siege06nd
3.83/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

IrishColonial you are too good to me. Thanks, Eric!

A. Pours a dark ruddy brown. Huge three finger cream colored head erupts even from a careful pour. Lacing is some of the thickest and most consistent I have seen. Beautiful.

S. Fresh bread, cherry, fig, and some brown sugar. Little bit of booze as well. Very nice.

T. Dried fruit, bready malt, roasted biscuit. Some slightly odd vegetal notes, maybe a little green pepper. Good but some weird notes.

M. Creamy, balanced, medium bodied.

O. Good. Much prefer the quad (12) but this aint half bad. Didnt like some of the vegetal flavors, but for the most part this was a good one.

 638 characters

Photo of tewaris
3.83/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to jrallen34 for this 11.2 oz bottle. Date on the cap is August 2013. Poured into a snifter. Pours chestnut brown with good clarity and a light cappuccino colored huge creamy head. The head retention is good, and so is the lacing.

The aroma is very sharp and almost pungent at times! More phenolic and yeasty, and less sweet smelling than 12; there is ample toasty caramel goodness from the dark sugars, and hints of fruit and chocolate, but there's a strong phenolic character too. A note or two of alcohol that I don't mind one bit.

Fruity sweet with dark fruit on the palate with the yeast/byproducts present all along. Not quite as tannic as the bigger Quads, but still bitter and cleansing at the end. Very clean finish with some warmth lingering. The body is medium and the carbonation rather low. It's good, actually very good, but I doubt I'll have it by myself again. Considering it's tougher to come by, more so than 12, I think it'll be best shared. There are equally good or better off the shelf Quads for regular drinking.

4.5, 4, 3.5, 4, 4

 1,069 characters

Photo of BDTyre
3.85/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The colour matches the bottle...brown. Creamy, khaki head. Dense, billowy but not too big. Raisins, candi sugar, caramel and brandy.

Malty, candi sugar and light citrus hops. Raisins, bread and caramel. A light alcohol burn. Mild carbonation, a nice sipper. A very enjoyable beer even with the alcohol burn.

 308 characters

Photo of Trizzle
3.85/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Murky brown body but a perfect tight head that grows aggressively , settles, then retains very well with red hot lace down my wine glass.

The nose unfortunately is dominated by acetaldehyde. Just underneath is warming aclohols, christmas fruits of raisins and figs and faint dry dark malt and hop notes. As it warms, the acetone gives out a touch to the other flavours.

Brown sugar, fig and raisins, caramel, dark grain, carob, and warming alcohol all obvious. Drys out through the middle with more cereal grains and a delicious chewy body with good carb levels.

I'd started righting a negative review. Beer was too cold. School girl error. Although it wasnt really THAT cold, this if far better at around 15 degrees C. I think I enjoyed this more drinking in big chewy mouthfulls rather than dainty sips as well.

 816 characters

Photo of satowns
3.85/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thick creamy head. Deep opaque ruddy red/brown.

Raisins and alcohol. Mild floury grain aroma.

Fairly sweet. dark caramel, toffee. mild peppery phonolics.

medium bodies with appropriate carbonation.

very drinkable...too bad its so difficult to acquire.

 255 characters

Photo of deebo
3.86/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

At the Cafe de Verve, time to move on from the blond and move up one step to the dubbel. This beer is dark brown, cloudy appearance with medium sized and amount of CO2 bubbles. Roasted malt flavor with an alcohol end note. Notes of chocolate and coffee present, missing the dark ripe estery fruits normally found in dubbels. The mouthfeel is quite nice, creamy and heavy with a nice smoothness and drinkable. This beer ends with a dark roasted malt quality with a hint of spiciness-more hoppy than yeasty.

 505 characters

Photo of KYGunner
3.86/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2013 aged in a cellar

Spritzy and sharp it delivers a lot of candied fruit and sugary fructose. Raisins, cotton candy, cherry cough syrup, black licorice, Pez candies and a bit of sassafras or Heather. May just not be my style.

 229 characters

Photo of Mauerhan
3.88/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

brownish red with amber hints when I hold it to the light. Two finger head is produced. With fantastic lacing.

victor seriously said it the best. Welches grape juice. Serious good beer. As it warms I get a bit of prune.

This beer is completely unique. Sweetness from the malt are complimented by the smoothness of this brew.

supersmooth, medium carbonation

lessens as it warms. But still a decently drinkable beer.

over all this was a nice beer. preferred it colder over room temp which is one of the only things that i feel brings it down.

 548 characters

Photo of lackenhauser
3.88/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brown in color-huge, fluffy tan head. Slight aroma of raisens and dried fruits. Solid malty flavor-trace of roasted malt. Again with the dried fruits. Moderate level of candy like sweetness at times. High level of carbonation makes it very bright on the tongue. Quite dry in the finish. Overall a good beer. I think I preferred the 12. Doesnt live up to the hype for me. I wish it was more readily available and at a better price to really form a solid opinion.

 466 characters

Photo of mikeys01
3.9/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 090902, courtesy of Unionmade, thanks! Pours into my glass a surprisingly clear medium shoe polish brown color, gushing with effervescent foam that quicky sizzles off leaving only a faint glaze of foam to stay. Aroma is very aged fruity, reminiscent of an English vintage ale, Fuller's comes to mind. Lots of plum, apple, and raisin in the nose along with a tantalizing caramely malt sweetness. First thing I notice upon tasting is again the carbonation, there's way to much fizz, seems to be overpowering some of the beer flavor. I actually found this beer to be much better on the second day when I was finishing the last bit in the bottle from the night before. Flavor has lots of complexity, I'm at first assaulted with brandied fuit, then some toasted malt blends easily into the fray. Finish has a nice tight bitterness that I didn't expect and definitely some alcohol warmth is noticeable. I don't think the flavor quite lived up to the nose, but it's tasty. Body is on the lighter side of medium. As the beer warms closer to room temperature, it seems to gain a lot more depth and charachter that wasn't evident when chilled, with more sweetness and maybe a hint of oak coming through. This is a respectable beer, definiely worth trying.

 1,258 characters

Photo of PatronWizard
3.9/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Continuing a kick ass tasting at Mauerhan's. The big lug comes out the booth to open this puppy. Pretty damn cool I must say.

Looks good, legs keep running.

Smells good, as in who doesn't love Welch's grape juice?

Taste the grape juice, but also some tobacco leaves, tea leaves. Smooth stuff.

This is obviously a well crafted brew. Personally I'm not diggin it too much. Could be my lack of experience with dubbels, could be the fact that I'm an "uncultured motherfucker" as Mauerhan so poetically stated. As if that foul-mouthed sonofabitch is gonna culturize me.

His potty mouth aside, big display of generosity here. Ya bastard.

Overall: well crafted, not my thing

 673 characters

Photo of aleigator
3.9/5  rDev -12.9%

Big fluffy head, with a cherry-brown color.

Aromas are defined by chocolate, malts, toffee and hints of coffee.

Very warm, alcoholic, malty beginning with plums and raisins. Fitting carbonation, helping the beer from becoming too heavy. Malt, in comparison to other Brunes, isn’t too sweet, gets mixed up with an enjoyable, spicy bitterness. Earthy, bready and warm malts define this beer, wrapped up in honey, as the beer warms up. Great balance, decent complexity, smooth mouthfeel, medium body.

 504 characters

Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.48 out of 5 based on 2,131 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.