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

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Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII)Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII)
2,222 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:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,222 |  Reviews: 832
Photo of ZAP
4.59/5  rDev +2.5%
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 +0.7%
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 -5.4%
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 +3.8%
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 +1.6%
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 +2.7%
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 -7.1%
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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Photo of PhantomVodoo
3.91/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A large tan head results from the high amount of carbonation. Lacing present. Cloudy, dark amber to dark brown colored beer. Dark yeast at the bottom of the bottle.
Aroma of rich, sweet malt with some smoke and wood character thrown in. Sharp, with a hint of vinegar.

Taste shows a rich, sweet caramel malt backbone. Fairly sharp, with slight vinegar. Lightly roasty. Hint of dark fruit.

Good body and mouthfeel.
Good drinkability, although the sour notes hold it back a bit.
Overall, a good beer, but I was disappointed as I was expecting so much more.

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Photo of yankeeheel
4.38/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a lovely candy apple red with a large frothy eggshell colored head. Tons of lacing with a fat sheet of foam adorning the surface. Quite pretty in the glass.

Smells deeply fruity and sweet. Hard to nail down. Very pleasant.

Malts are very soft and plum like. Turn brown sugar sweet and ebb in to a slightly bitter texture of coriander. Cloves and apple linger in the background. Exemplary of the style. Notig clashes. Very harmonius in it's blending of flavor.

Silky is a good way to describe it's mouthfeel.

I'd drink it everyday if I could. Taste belies it's ABV.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a dark brown beer with a huge head with excellent retention. Aroma is quite sweet with some great mix of spice and malts. Taste is sweet with what seems like a mix between candi sugar and plum with some added roastiness. Great carbonation and alcohol is very subtle. Overall, this is way better Westmalle Dubbel and probably one of the Belgian Ale I appreciated the most.

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Photo of tjd25
4.95/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Amazing appearance: a perfect dense and fine brown head that fades into a nice thin collar. The body is of an intense dark brown color. A nice smoky aroma. Very yeasty, the smell reminded me of some fresh cereal bread. Very nice.
The taste develops the very enjoyable bread aspect that appeared in the smell: the bread just melts in the mouth. Dark malts create a great flavor, which has some light raisin and winy notes, and maybe a hint of licorice. The hops are hidden and take time to appear. They combine harmoniously with the malts to create a very full, round and complex mouthfeel: thick but not chewy, hoppy but not bitter. Such a pleasure in the mouth.

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Photo of kegerator
5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

hands down the best beer i have ever had to date...
poured out a very nice deep brown with a perfect 2 inch head that dwindled slowly.
smell was of spicy fruitiness and some carmel sweetness
the taste was about the same but i recieved a littel more of the malty spiciness then sweet or fruit.
this one went down amazingly smooth and if it was not as expensive as it is i would buy this over and over again. outstanding. IMHO this one is defintiely better then the westy 12

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Photo of Jables
4.7/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep auburn with thick but quickly dissipating head. What is left behind in chunky with thick fluffs in spots and nearly nothing in others. Fine little bubbles indicate the carbonation on the edges of the glass.

Aroma is effervescent with apples, peaches, cherry pie with a yeasty tartness evident. This lively fruity blend is only accentuated by the yeastiness.

Flavor is crisp yet vibrant, alive with fruits, most noteably fresh grapes, apples, peaches, cherries, faint blueberries also. Finish is at first sweet with some sugary alcohol then quite dry leaving me wanting more.

Mouthfeel is slick and the body is fairly light considering the amount of flavour it is conveying, but is in no way watery. Carbonation lightly tickles the tongue.

I personally enjoyed this more than Westy 12. It paired perfectly with the first fresh homemade applesauce of the season!

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Photo of Foxman
4.62/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It pours a hazy ruby brown, like rich, melted milk chocolate. Two fingers of spongy light tan head lifts off, then settles slowly to a smooth, foamy Berber. Filigrees of fine lace snake around the inside of the glass.

In the aroma, a mellow malt sweetness is initially paired off with a tart yeasty presence.Almost as forward are dueling notes of apple, and a more subdued chocolate. A bit quieter still is a thin vein of spice, coupled with indistinct citrus.

Upon sipping, the first wave brings a soft malt sweetness which is soon outpaced by an intriguing swirl of caramel and chocolate. A rounded character of apples and cherries sits close at hand in the middle, in conjunction with a pleasant yeast tartness. Delicate spice hints arrive at the finish and linger along with a muted memory of cocoa. There are very brief and fleeting glimpses of an alcohol presence. This is complexity disguised as simplicity, and the flavor blends and balances artfully and cunningly.

Medium bodied, it caresses the tongue and mouth as it flows langorously on by, coating and ebbing sensuously. The palate glows gleefully at the finish.

It's so good, you might just wonder if you're worthy. But we are, every one of us. It's so well put-together that you could think it basic and miss a lot, but think and absorb a moment and the balance and complexity break the lull and amaze. Like silken sable on the tongue and flavorful splendor on the palate, this is something you could learn to crave. There's an ABV here, but you feel it in your head more than sense it in the flavor, so it's sneaky, but no matter, you'll have another, if you know what's good for you. The thing is, if this is only 8, will I really be worthy of 12?
I cannot wait to find out.

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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.

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Photo of Crosling
4.89/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my first Westvleteren but at my ripe young age I should come to experience each one time and time again.

Light wine stained oak. Nice color. Mostly diminishing head that left very little lacing. Nonetheless, a very good looking beer.

The aroma is wonderful. Raisins, plums, figs with many spices. Slighty bready with some apple skins glazed with graham crackers. Very complex. Essentially, it just smells like fresh granny smith apple juice.

It's like dippin into a fresh bag of licorice. Fastastic flavor. Licorice laden plums and raisins, some chocolate notes, some spices, serious flavor. Wow. This is the most creamy, chewy and cleanest beer I have had in awhile. The flavor is magnificnet and that 11.2 ounces of beer could have beer the most savored liquid in the history of madkind.

I am beginning to realize why people rave about this monastery. This beer was eye opening. The 8% alcohol tasted like 4%.

I'm glad I tried the 8 before the 12 because I am ready for that 12.

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Photo of oggg
4.37/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled in a red wine glass

A caught a whiff of apples at the bottleneck on opening my 11.2oz bottle. It threatened to foam up too much, so I poured it gently. It's an earthy brown with a small head of fine bubbles that clings to the glass. The aroma is extremely fruity. Not floral hoppy. Plum, apples, cinnamon? On first taste, I have to get past the significant carbonation. Then I'm thinking of wine, maybe plum wine. Then chocolate. It gets dry and spicy towards the end. Subtle warmth at the end, way less so than Westy 12. Full bodied. So smooth.

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Photo of cokes
4.71/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Muddy brown trimmed by scarlet with a bountiful, dense, head of yellowed cream.
The aroma is relatively muted, but beautiful with toffee-smothered raisins and bready plum pudding.
Sugar cookies are kissed by molasses. More of that bread-based plum pudding. Swirls of cocoa. Black pepper yeast hues, twisted with lime rinds and figs. Fruit baskets liquified, bananas and tangerines are foremost. Deeper, there are vanilla beans and sassafras stems. Gentle alcohol ebbs, kept mostly at bay with the collage of flavors. Bittered herb hop closure.
The light-heartedness of the brew, belies its depth and strength. This is worthy of all praise. It's probably about the only dubbel that has ever had me truly screaming.

I find writing this review difficult, as each keystroke takes my mind off of the immediate sensual experience and this is so far beyond the words above. It's akin to running an obnoxious play-by-play commentary on sex.
At some point, it's time to shut the fuck up, and enjoy.
So I will.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
4.89/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sampled at the Carlsbad Pizza Port 12 Hour Belgian Beer Festival. Westy 8 was what I drew on my first spin of the Belgian Beer Wheel. Sporting an opaque brown color and a creamy vanilla head that left a patchwork of lace, Westy 8 had a nose that just begged to be tasted. Abundant doughy malt, caramel, lots of dark fruits, a touch of chocolate, and a spicy hops aroma were all rolled into one package. Initially, the taste of candy sugar and well-ripened plums were evident. The malt backbone, with a bready flavor, stood up well and added to the pleasure. Chocolate and caramel notes carried on the sweetness but as I held it and moved each sip back on the palate, a lightly peppery, vaguely clove-like spiciness became more noticeable. The feel was medium-bodied, with a nice velvety creaminess and a drying finish.
Quite enjoyable. I just sat back in the sun with the glass to my nose, taking an occasional sip and relishing each one. A wondrous dubbel that sets the standard for the style, IMO.

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.57/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Kind of a hefty price tag but it's worth it to finally have Westy available in my area. I tried the Westy 12 almost 2 years ago by trading and didn't really have the palate to appreciate it at the time. This being the 12's little sibling maybe I should have tried this one first. Pours a deep mahogany color with a very thick and creamy light beige head. The foam actually threatened to escape the bottle immediately after opening. The aroma is a nice bouquet of fruit, spice and sweet malt. Rich bodied and on the carbonated side, with a mild blend of dark fruit, malt, caramel, spice and a hint of sweet chocolate. None of the flavors really stands out, instead it is a nice harmony of flavors. The finish is very crisp and lively on the tongue. The flavor is a little more subdued in the finish, but this is still a well-rounded and exemplary Belgian.

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Photo of Suds
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the first sip I was thinking, “This is why I love Belgian beers.”
Pours a dark, earthen brown with a dense and rocky head. The head is an off-white to tan color and produces marvelous lace.
The aroma simply bowls you away….yeast and malt, candy sugar, over-ripe fruit (apples, plums) and pine needles. Continental hops are subdues and well into the background of the smell.
The taste and mouthfeel are simply luxurious….full, sensuous maltiness. Just the right balance of alcohol and mild, subtle hops. Spice and alcohol in the mid-taste. I love how the taste seems to bring out more aromas….sip, smell and repeat through the entire glass. Finish has a lingering spiciness and is incredibly smooth.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
4.05/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

33 cL bottle served at cellar temps in s St. Bernadus goblet. Bottle cap indicates a best by date of May 24, 2005.

Appearance: Murky, muddy brown liquid topped by a smallish offwhite head, which settles to a slight layer of foam after a short while.

Smell: An intriguing mix of anise and green apples largely. Some caramelized sugars kicking around, too.

Taste: Sweet caramel malts and candi sugars. Prominent anise flavors, some modest tart green apples as well. Dusty black pepper notes on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied for the style, with an almost characteristic cotton candy presence on the palate.

Drinkability: A rather enjoyable and well-made little brew. The anise flavors come close to overpowering the flavor profile, but thankfully back away at the last minute. I could see myself having a few more of these were it not for the pricetag.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.46/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Settles a deep dark muddy brown color, pours out a softer brown with lots of brown wet dusties and chunks from off the bottom of the bottle falling into a super gorgeous tall head of cream colored girth thats thick, puffy and whipped smooth. Lacing appears in fast dripping sheets and leaves behind some larger ink blots. A very thick skim snugs the top during the entire glass.

Aroma is a bit subdued but is layered with some nice subtleties with utmost positioning yeastiness thats creating some major fresh yet dried wood characteristics upfront mixed with dirt. Very dry overall with hints of dried, even roasty, lemon, pine, and sugars.

Taste has quite a mixture of things within, mostly dryish with some moderate dry wood and dirt mostly. That levels off and intermingling nuances of dried fruits, chocolate notes, and light mild spices fill in adding interesting little delicately refined yeasty layers which all maintains one very incredible smoothness. There's just a small twinge of hops but never is it in control or ever present for long. Its squeezed in there with some of the woodish yeast tones. Overall the flavors are mellowing and mild with very subtle tones and really becomes a treat as it warms. After a while I didn't even realize I was drinking a beer, it seemed more like cold Japanese herbal tea. Smaller chocolate tones appear a wee bit more as it warms with a waffer cookie dryness. Outstanding... very smooth yet thick with a mellowing full mouthfeel and easy-on-the-palate dryness that has a nice carbonation thats not overly lively. One very well put together beer, it went from wood and earthy to slightly fruity and spicy to chocolatey and always stays dry. Quite a nice cup of a tea, I mean glass of beer.

Was able to get this nice brew courtesy of Gusler, Thanks!

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Photo of nomad
4.37/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A dark-ish red and brown mélange with little head and no other action. Despite the latter, the color was clear and shining, a tough feat with the darker brews.

Has a scent of graham crackers that open to a more wheaty, rough cracker smell. Abundant grapes and cherries wrapped in sugar sauce, as well as soft florals of Continental hops. Warms to deep and sweet caramelized scents, akin to maple syrup.

This beer was ever-changing through the sipping session. Obviously grape-like, with fruity flavors sliding between cherries, apple, and melon, it also showed the requisite highly-complex mash of malts. Warms to a rum-like sense of warmth and rosy-ness and a whiskey-like sense of rough grains. Slight cream flavor through out. The winning-point is in the long and stellar finish, a noble and austere ending full of almost licorice notes, the soft drying of Continental hops, and a subtly and softly melded roasted quality. Mouthfeel is smooth, slick, and with just enough carbonation.

Very easy to drink, though I think this beer needs some aging. My bottle was 6 months old and still required some settling and concentrating (felt the same way about their 12, too).

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Photo of Andreji
4.82/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought at 'de bier tempel' in Brussels.

From a label-less brown bottle, with only a discrete blue cap, sint-sixtus abdij, westvleteren 8.

I'm not going to give you my ever unaccurate descriptions. rather my, uh, feelings about it-if descriptive, dont rely on them.

A proper, mysterious dark caramel pour, completely opaque; dirty with small chunks of debris within (yeast?) which are actually in order, according to guides to belgian beer. A sweet, pleasant, inviting smell to be a soft prelude to the taste. By now, its comforting bittersweet combination is savoured, and invited as tried. excellent thick body. The last sips with this debris I described are the most flavourful and pleasant. Discrete for the alcohol, very drinkable, if only for the price...

Definetly one of the best beers I have ever tried. To my luck, though, I still have the '12' on standby--not for long.

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Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Beer rating: 4.48 out of 5 with 2,222 ratings