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

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Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII)Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII)
2,240 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 2,240 |  Reviews: 834
Photo of HardTarget
4.46/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

25.09.06 printed on the cap.
Aroma: Some dark roasted malt with a slight bubble gum edge mixed with mild spices. Overall very mild and a touch coarse.
Appearance: Dark brown glass with a solid half finger of creamy froth of tan with an interesting ring of dirty brown where the head collapsed on itself. The head looks like it is settling in for the long haul, and it did. A smattering of lacing graced my goblet.
Flavor: First blush is the dark roasted malt, then some subtle complex flavors rush over the tongue. Anise, licorice, wet wood, grapes, powdered dry bubble gum, cola, and cocoa. Then, the dark malt rushes back in, mixed with all the flavors for a slow fading after glow. No alcohol tastes noted when chilled, but they slowly emerge as it warms.
Mouthfeel: Spritzy, a touch heavy handed with the carbonation in my view, but as the beer sits it settles down to a nice level. Very smooth with a medium heavy body, but no chew.
Overall Impression: As the beer warms, so does my impression. I’d start this beer out closer to 60 degrees to get the best effect. This is a complex, well made beer, but just didn’t provide the existential, religious, sexual experience other Trappist beers have given me. It is worth seeking, but its current ranking of 6 on the Best of BA seems a touch excessive. Overall, a world class beer that I’m very happy to add to my list.
Many thanks to Brother Stonecrusher for enlightening a simple backwoods Texan.

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Photo of hopdog
4.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle tasted from case bought on 1/1/02. Reddish brown in color with an off white head. Lots of particles. Aromas of dark fruits (plums & raisins), spices, dough, caramel and slight yeast. Mmmm, nice smelling. Tastes are just as complex, if not better, than the smells. Great tasting beer. Alcohol content hidden. Lively carbonation. This is a very good beer - one of my favorites (I’m glad I still have 12 in the cellar).

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
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 canucklehead
4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This bottle was aged in Malto's cellar and I believe the age gave this beer an amazing smoothness combined with a chocolate flavour that put me into orbit. I didn't expect the chocolate notes but they were somehow perfect complements to the dark esters and old fruit buried in the body. A truly great beer experience.

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Photo of bditty187
3.77/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

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Photo of marburg
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From the first whiff, it's evident this is unique. A spicy conglomoraton of cinnamon, ground cardamom, Dr. Pepper, Raisinets, and Kahlua. Such intensity! Where the chocolate was obscure and more a ghost than a reality, coccoa powder dominates the flavor and texture of this beer. Abrasive carbonation and chocolate literally give the sensation of licking pure chocolate powder. Brown sugar. Bits of alcohol. And then there's tree bark or cracked peanut shells -- whatever it is, there's a natural, raw character to this beer despite its upbeat aroma. One of the best beers I've ever tasted.

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Photo of Doppel07
4.42/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Murky, rusty-brown body and a large, relentless, soft ripply beige head. Very rich, malty aroma - almost wortlike. Specific aroma notes include buttery roasted nuts, burnt caramel, barnyard and earth. Rich malty flavor followed by some very nice late bitterness. Also has a woody flavor and texture even. Mouthfeel struck me as a little chalky at first but that sensation subsided and gave way to a nice, big, smooth palate. Great stuff indeed. I wouldn't have pegged this as a dubbel.

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Photo of danadeny
4.51/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Looks just like it's big brother the 12%'er. The smell is more faint though meaning you can pick out more subtle smells, vanilla and raisin, chocolate raspberries, and a Vienna style smell. Flavors are just as many with toasted almond, vanilla, medium alcohol, overall has a much better balance than the 12%. Finish is of chocolate and coffee, reminds me of a fullers London porter in flavor and mouth feel. Overall much better than the 12% alcohol version, balance is much better.

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Photo of Rastacouere
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours opaque deep brown with orange hints. Head is first rather large, off-white, well-laced, but diminishes to a thin cover. Sediments are dancing all over the glass. Aroma is an explosive fruity malt and yeast meadow. Tangy fruits are chewy (bubble gum, plums, pears, dates, banana, grapes, watermelon, grapefruit.. name it you have it). Huge malt hides smoky suggestions. Monstruous house yeast offers those chocolate bread characteristics a plenty. Enough complexity to lose yourself in. Incredible smooth rounded mouthfeel, silky texture, easy 5. Contemplative dry balancing bitter finish is very long and bear a small warming alcohol hint. Very worthy, I may prefer it to the 12, it seems better balanced(a bit less yeasty and less fruit juice like), but it could just be lighter. I owe it to myself to compare both side by side someday.

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Photo of Guinness4me
4.68/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

You say it best when you say nothing at all. This could possibly be the most perfect beer.

Pours dark and lovely, but doesn't taste heavy at all. The fragrance is slight but rich. The taste is classic; perfect balance of savory sweetness and the epitome of precise carbonation. I'd drink this into eternity. Can I please be buried with a bottle?

Two words: Liquid Orgasm.

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Photo of putnam
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Rootbeer brown and eager to raise a tall cake of caramel foam. The aromas are reminiscent of a Turkish coffee, complete with cardamom seed, yet, at the same time, frail. Loosly wrapped with nutmeg, white raisin, dark rum, whole cream, spring branches, rainwater and black stones, the aromas are utterly seductive.
It offers the kind of tannic grip one might associate with tamarind husks or date pits. Incense-like qualities increase through the pack passages to the sinus. There is an intersection on the palate with the resinous, herbal qualities of fine chocolate too. Raspberries and beeswax pull it toward unspoiled, comforting, Middle Earth fragrances -- up front -- while easy, sad, wilting, exotic perfumes of New Orleans close it. Full stop.
This is non-Grand Cru Grand Cru.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2oz bottle from Vienna Whole Foods, Vienna, VA.

Poured into a Rapscallion snifter, formed a 1/2" creamy beige head over the murky (even wihtout yest poured in) chestnut brew, with red highlights. Foam is here to stay, apparently, not fading, and laces tremendously. Creamy, fruity aroma, with tremendous depth of scent, if that makes sense. Needs to be experienced to be understood, I think.

Taste is sweet initially, with fruity notes, and then takes on a tart character. Mouthfeel is great, creamy and smooth, and drinkability is excellent, as you'd have to sit and drink a few before nailing down everything that's going on for the senses. Unfortunately, not so easy to find to have that many on hand, so this one bottle's review will have to do for now. Worth the search to enjoy...

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Photo of SeanChouffe
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a deep ruby/brown color with no obvious signs of co2. The head is an off white, and light textured with low retention. Lace is sticky and the head leaves a fine layer. Aroma: bread dough, with rummy fruits, preserves and a hint of alcohol. Flavor: A dry start with a sweeter middle -- caramel, raisins -- and a tart finish. Mouthfeel: medium bodied and effervescent with a peppery finish.

An interesting beer with a nice warming sensation and some relatively complex attributes. Lighter tan I had expected and surprisingly tart. Temperature should be over 60f.

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Photo of Admiraldinty
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Wow. Why did I wait so long to buy this? Pours a murky ruby with a huge rocky tan/brown head, that remains as a sticky lace. Aroma is of granny smiths, phenol, and some maltiness. First let me tell you about the mouthfeel: out of this world smooth medium body, with a touch of prickliness. Bitterness, phenols, and fruitiness present themselves as flavours. Toasted grains and molasses for malts. This is one of the best beers I've experienced, but unfortunately it loses points in drinkability due to price: $9.00 per bottle. Nice for a treat every once in a while.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.23/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear, deep burgandy tone. Nicely whipped head of light beige froth adorns the surface and has great retention and lacing ability. Initial blast of alcohol on the nostrils subsides as the sweet bubblegum and rock candy notes take over. There's also a raisiny, rummy characteristic on the nose. Very nice aroma. The flavors are complex, yet subdued. A graceful profile of dates, figs, plums, raisins, bubblegum, rum, toffee and chocolate. A spicy, alcoholic bitterness resides on the tongue after the swallow and detracts just a little from the overall drinking experience. Mouthfeel is light and airy. It almost melts in the mouth like cotton candy. Carbonation is appropriate. Good dubbel.

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Photo of mikeys01
3.9/5  rDev -12.8%
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.

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Photo of donnebaby
4.56/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark brown opaque color body with an intricate tan head. Small bubbles soft all the way yet arriving to a tighter capping on top. Thin, feathery lacing that shimmers as it rolls around the glass.

Smell is distinct pineapple with some apples and muscat grapes, sweet yet not overpowering. Alcohol lurks within but can easily be mistaken with the potent pineapple. Subtle clove spicing. As it warms, flavor explodes out into more tropical fruity sweetness and more cinnamon and cloves.

Taste is remarkably compact and quick. A quick burst of spice and overripe pineapple in the soft yet somehow slightly aggressive carbonation and then it is all washed away into the hop dryness that seems to last just long enough and not really seem dry either somehow, like the taste after eating a particularly crusty part of hard bread. Smooth, smooth bubbles seem incomparable.

Became easier and easier to drink as I drank. Dang good beer!

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Photo of Zorro
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A VERY hard to find beer!

Pours a clear walnut brown colored brew with champagne like carbonation.

Smell is a Mozart symphony, tart yet strongly malty scent! Fruit flavors abound too, lots of apple, but grapes and cherries, lemon, Paw Paws, and pineapple!

Taste is as complex as the smell, or more complex. Mildly sweet with a complex mix of sugar flavors, like a gourmets caramel! Molasses, Brown sugar, apple juice, melon, and Maltose are in here. Fruit flavors are in this too, mostly apple but notes of plums and papaya, pineapples. Nutty flavors like Walnuts and Pecans, and almonds are in this too. The Spice layer has cinnamon and all spice as the main flavors, but not the only ones. Bit of black pepper bite and a hop bitterness in the finish. There are woody flavors in this too, mostly oak and cork.

Mouthfeel is full with champagne bubbles.

Drinkability is a masterpiece of a sipper’s brew! This cost $7 for one small bottle for a REASON!

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Photo of ZAP
4.59/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A nice tasting, easy drinking dubbel...almost too easy drinking as I expected a little more heftiness to this...Great nose of cookie dough, and brown sugar glazed plums..the flavor has some bubble gum notes...also brown sugar...some sweet dark fruitiness...and it finishes spicy with licorice and a dash of pepper...body is medium...feels right... this is just too damn easy drinking...I guess I an't penalize for that..

My expectations were probably unrealistically high and this falls short of what I expected...still damn good but for $8 for an 11 ounce bottle I'll pass in the future...too many other great beers....

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Photo of HopLeaf
4.51/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is positively delicious. It has all the characteristics of a good dubbel but it isn't too heavy. The alcohol is there but not overbearing. The color of the beer is a deep amber/brown with a lovely tan head. A perfect pour generates the proper amount of head on the beer, and it has a good bit of carbonation to it. Upon first sip, the flavors are rich with a hint of fruitiness. There is a slightly bitter aftertaste that follows. Midway through the glass, the head is still there. Ohh this beer goes down easy.

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Photo of scottum
4.24/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a slightly hazy dark brown with a full light tan head. Good balance in flavor. Complex and getting better as the beer warms up a bit. Fruityness is there, but not overstated. Spiced flavors blend in well with the overall profile. Hop flavors are around, but remain in the background. A solid beer, but nowhere near the beer that the 12 is.

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Photo of Sammy
4.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Auburn colour, bergundy in some light. Vanilla, fruit, yeast and malts. Mouthwarming sizzling carbonation with light-medium texture. Spice and dried fruit, bannana with raisin, carmel . Bit acidic. Great by itself and as appetizer, but beware that the alcohol is there. Deserves its rich reputation.

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Photo of ngandhi
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

BubbleYum grapey on the nose and palate, W8 is more vinous even than many wines I've had, calling directly on beaujolais nouveau. Not jammy or concentrated, but fresh and Concord-like in its grape character. Even cold, the esters are loud and deep, though singular.

Though this dubbel is almost cloying with fruit up front, it is also an exercise in grace. There are movements in this, as subtle and powerful as Beethoven's, that demonstrate what happens to beer, perhaps what happens even to us, when we leave everything to the gods. The fruit naturally calms down after coating the tongue with fresh-picked grapes. As it dries, an underlying cocoa emerges -- the chocolate we hope for with this style -- rich cocoa fresh ground from the bean.

W8 shows you everything that goes into brewing a dubbel, from the deep malt for high gravity to the candi sugar to encourage attenuation, boost alcohol and thin the beer enough to make it drinkable. Once it comes up to room temperature, I'm left with a goblet of mocha -- almost oaky -- filled with Raisinettes.

This beer never misses a step -- no sharp phenols, no laceless head, no inconsistencies: Nothing that could go wrong with a high alcohol Belgian beer does go wrong in this beer. The finish is eternal and ever changing -- back and forth with grapes, dark chocolate, unexplainable oak, and Hangar One Straight vodka (herbal in its alcohol). Even some spicy hops five minutes later.

Long after the conception of this beer, breweries around the world have adapted the dubbel and veritably changed my expectations of the style. Sometimes I want more body, sometimes more chocolate, sometimes a more phenolic nose. But Westvletern 8 is what the dubbel was. What's more, it actually tastes like it; there is a frank, honest rightness to this beer -- a confidence not usually bestowed upon inanimate objects. And so I take notes and listen.

Relax, relax.

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Photo of egajdzis
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a dark tan color with a light tan head that quickly disappeared. Taste was very winish, raisins, slight nutty and malty flavor to it. A very good brew, however I feel the 12 is slightly better. I really dig what those Monks at Westveleteren are doing.

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Photo of merlin48
4.16/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served slightly chilled into a St Bernardus goblet, the body is dark brown with mahogany hues. The one finger beige head settles into a coat and collar of garnet fringed, foam lace. Sheet lacing effect is profound, as an excellent Belgian dubbel should be.

Aroma is subdued. Kiwi fruit and strawberry are up front, with a nice, spicy background of clove and allspice.

Mouthfeel is silky, full and rich. Carbonation is ideal.

Taste is pleasantly complex, with kiwi, strawberry, and mango fruitiness. Caramel malt flavors mingle with some noble hops to create a tasty balance. Finishes with a clean, Winesap apple note.

Drinkability is superb, as the alcohol is buried deeply in the complexity of flavors. This is certainly a Belgian classic, but at over $8 a bottle, I would prefer its big brother, Westy 10.

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Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Beer rating: 4.47 out of 5 with 2,240 ratings