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

814 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

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Reviews: 814 | Ratings: 2,144
Photo of BMMillsy
4.03/5  rDev -10%

Bottle purchased in Bruges and poured safely back home in Florida. Pours murky dark brownish purple with a massive light khaki head that sticks around. Aroma is dry funky barnyard yeast, surprisingly grassy, light spices, with low sweetness on the nose but for some raisins and figs. Flavor begins with a punch of sweet figs and pears and raisins balanced by a crisp grassy hop finish. Plenty of dry barnyard funk here from the yeast. Medium bodied but lightened up considerably by the high carbonation, crisp, with a dry finish. Definitely lighter than its 12 counterpart. Overall a very nice brew but maybe not quite living up to the considerable price tag. Worth trying, but don't kill yourself over it.

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Photo of stevoj
4.96/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Aroma of apples and peaches, same dark brown color as the 12, but smooth and fruity. No alcoohol burn to be noticed. Acompanied with the apple tart...a mix made in heaven!

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Photo of WTKeene
4.29/5  rDev -4.2%

Appearance: A chestnut brown, with a pale, eggshell-white head. Very creamy head, and it lasts a while.

Smell: Dark fruits, dates specifically, brown sugar and pale syrup. Definitely smells sweet, and dark in the way that Belgians tend to be.

Taste: Sweet, dark fruits, hints of caramel. Belgian sugar comes through a lot too, obviously.

Mouthfeel: Thick, creamy, and sticky, lower carb than with the Westy Blonde. Still works beautifully for the beer though.

Overall: Another solid, exceptional example of what a Belgian dubbel should be. Those monks know what they’re doing.

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Photo of endovelico
4.76/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bold and firm, this mohoganny brew shows tremendous complexity and focus, with a warming full body supporting notes of raisins, caramel, grape, chocolate, coffee, fruit, yeast and God knows what else - No joke intended. The finish is long and expressive and overall the beer is abound with stand out features.

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Photo of PrinceDarren
4.35/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I initially tried this along with a Westvleteren 12 and a Rochefort 10.

Poured into a new belgium tulip to reveal a thick, foamy head. The aroma reveals some citrus notes. It is decent dubbel that is easy to drink, but doesn't exactly stand out.

I would struggle to identify this in a blind taste test against other belgian-style beers. I can't see any characteristics that explain what makes it unique. I have a feeling that I should not have tried it alongside the other two quads as they seemed to over power it a little.

Edit: Tried it again at Abbey St. Sixtus along with the 12 and the Blonde and this was my favorite of the three. Definitely better this time around. Loved it.

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

7-7-2014 - My actual 50th! At the brewery with the bride and daughter (who unfortunately could only have the ice cream). So so good. Get here early for the view and hospitality.

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Photo of errantnight
4.24/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A beautiful, deep brown with creamy, fluffy head. Aroma is intense, complex, huge. Brown sugar, dates, hints of warm spice, faint metallic note.

On the palate, it's just ever so much a disappointment. The body feels a little thin, and the metallic note comes to the fore. What's there is really excellent, a round, nutty sweetness with an herb-tinged bitterness.

One of the best aromas on a dubbel I've ever had, but not one I'd make a particular effort to seek out, and didn't love nearly as much as the quad or the pale.

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

330cl bottle; best by 5/3/2016; poured into an unlabeled snifter 6/18/2014.

A- Dark brown body. Despite it not being black, this is a very opaque and dark beer. Comes with a thick, substantial two-finger offwhite head with fair retention; it drops quickly into a thick, frothy collar that remains for a good while. Some lacing. Darker and more opaque than I expected from the style; looks an awful lot like it's bigger brother, Westvleteren 12.

S- Dark fruits galore along with a good bit of caramel and toffee. There is a strong contingent of plums and dates that is very pleasing. Some dark chocolate, Belgian candi sugar, caramel and toffee. Even a bit of a distinct yeast scent. It's a very sweet smelling beer with a lot of complexity. Very nice.

F- Similar to the nose for once; but not quite as sweet. It's just as interesting, though. Plum, date, chocolate covered cherry, Belgian candi sugar, toffee, caramel and some dark chocolate. A little bit of molasses. Sweet and even a bit spicy with some yeast esters. On the backend, there is a fascinating grape juice-like sweet finish. Very complex palate.

M- Medium bodied, smooth and silky, quite resinous but somewhat dry. Very easy drinker with a lot of complexity and plenty of bubbles. Finish is grape juice tempered by some yeast esters.

O- Easily the best dubbel I've had. Very complex in both the nose and palate, with a very good mouthfeel. Reminds me a lot of Westvleteren 12 in its flavour profile, but quite a bit more drinkable.

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Photo of artoolemomo
4/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours up a good amount of head which has excellent retention. The head is a light beige with hints of khaki while the body is a dark amber with hints of maroon and chestnut that shows as a hazy dark amber in the light. Leaves some lacing behind.

Nose- Very vinous and very sweet- almost syrupy if an aroma can be that. Lots of red grapes followed by plums and other dark red fruits. Maybe some grain. Swirling doesn't add much to the picture. Maybe little bits of leather but this isn't as complex as I expected it to be. I does not lack presence, however. Light citrus notes (orange primarily). Some other stone fruit, peaches.

Taste- Very reflective of the nose and seems to have a lot in common with its elder brother. Lots of vinosity and heavy grapes. Some plums. Spiciness on the finish. Some banana and coriander. A tiny bit of woody bitterness. Some raisins as well. Closer to the style of dubbel that I like but this does not seem to have the complexity of Westmalle (but that may be my favorite dubbel of all time.) Nice yeastiness and some cloves on the finish. A little bit of ash but I wish there was some leather, chocolate, and tobacco. A really good beer but there is nothing at the moment that indicates a great beer.

Mouthfeel- A little less than medium bodied with light carbonation and a nice dry finish. Maybe a slight hint of syrup.

Drinkability- Very easygoing but as I wrote before, lacks the complexity I expected. And because of that I will never pay the price that I did for this beer ever again. It was worth it to check this off the list though.

Overall- Really good beer that is one of the best in its style but just doesn't quite have what it takes to be one of the great ones. I don't even really understand this beer's placement in the top 250. But I also wasn't terribly impressed with 12 either. I'm sure some of it's the hype and some of it's differing taste buds. But if you have the money to blow, I would say give this a try. At least you'll be able to say you did.

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Photo of kevanb
4.57/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

355ml bottle poured into a Trappist Westvleteren chalice.

The beer pours a deep burgundy color, hues of dark amber with some garnet highlights, fair opacity with a soft, fizzy and foamy bone colored head that has moderate retention and leaves little lace behind. The aroma is wonderful, lots of big yeasty fruit, fig, raisin, plum and cherry with plenty of rich, malted barley, some spice character, like an allspice component with a nice helping of brown and candi sugars. The flavors match very well, plenty of fruit, predominantly raisin and plum, heaps of rich malt flavor with a nice spice layer that blends the fruit and the malt so well while brown sugar is not forgotten and sweeps over the finish with some noticeable alcohol. The body is super crisp and lively, loads of zip that coats the mouth wonderfully well and finishes softly but full of energy.

Verdict: A masterful take on the dubbel and perhaps the best in show for that style, hard to find another contender this complex and well rounded. The balance is spot on and the depth and complexity of the flavors is inspired. The monks certainly know how to make a fine ale.

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Photo of Guess2814
4.29/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Great Beer. Whoa! This beer here. I made a bad decision on drinking this beer after pounding down some St. Bernardis and Tripel. This beer has an intense taste. Strong as heck. This beer definitely leaves a lingering taste in your mouth. Cheerston this beer. Take your time with this one.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.41/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle. Pours a murky amber, topped with a thin yet bubbly tan head. This retains with some light ringing that leaves back a smattering of spotty lace down the sides of the glass. The aroma smells of ripe fruit, spice and sweet sugars. A smidge of light alcohol, roast and some darker fruit character add some edge to the nose as well. The taste pretty much mirrors the aroma, with a rich and flavorful mix of tropical and dark fruits, toffee and brown sugar. Spice works itself into the profile effortlessly, giving things a zesty edge that lingers on the tongue. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a soft crispness to the carbonation. Just a touch of alcohol heft sits underneath but overall, this is extremely smooth in the mouth for an 8% beer. This is a really impeccable Dubbel, with a richness and smoothness to the flavors, which just knocks it out of the park. Fantastic beer!

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Photo of danieelol
4.28/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle cap dated 10.10.16

Pours basically a brown (dark brown though), with totally white fizzy head and lacing. Lacing is quite resilient.

First off smell is Belgian yeast- those tropical fruit notes and mango, almost like a lighter coloured beer. There's also a strong savouriness to this beer- a similar quality that I remember the 12 having in relation to other beers of its style. Heavily yeasty like the 12 and the yeast notes again remind me of celery. A slightly sour paw paw note and strong yeasty breadiness. Little bit of alcohol. Apple. When I pour the second half of the bottle (presumably including the yeast) in, the funky meaty paw paw notes increase, making for a better beer on the whole. Definite fig.

Taste is very dry- bready, yeasty. More paw paw and general tropical fruits throughout. Finishes with quite a bit of bite, almost a little astringently alcoholic at times.

Mouthfeel improves substantially after I pour the entirety of the bottle in the glass- it becomes extremely umami-ish and satisfying.

This is certainly a well-made, solid and dry beer. I'd go so far as to say it's easily one of the best BSDAs I've ever had. Not sure it quite deserves the hype in relation to beers of certain other styles however. If/when I drink future Westys I will try to get them with more age on them, as that is supposed to improve them substantially.

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Photo of brianmandell
4.36/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle with freshness date 10/10/16

Deep chestnut brown; a bit murky. Aromas of sweet malts, fruity yeast, brown sugar and dark fruit -particularly raisin. The taste mirrors the aroma with some brightness in the malt from the creamy carbonation. The mouthfeel is excellent with an oily viscous feel. The only mark against this beer is some slight solvent alcohol flavor on the finish.

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

My first perfect full review.
Best by date: 07.10.14

My Birthday Banger.

This one surprised me!

Ap - Deep chestnut brown, with lighter hues shining through the edges with a light source. Head is constant, off-white that leaves nice scattered lace. There is a hint of sediment, I mean flavor sparkles, in there if you look for it.

Ar - Simple. Perfect. Bready, light malty, subtle sweet cocoa, and dark fruit.

T - Similar to the aroma. There is a noticeable amount of a banana taffy flavor and more raisin, or plum in the middle. So clean.

M - Perfect. Next...

O - Wow! Completely blown away. Not expecting this quality. If you aren't a fan of Belgian style beers, this isn't for you. Perfection. This is amazing!


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Photo of heygeebee
4.46/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From poor after-the-event notes. Huge props to MrKennedy for sharing.

Has to be the biggest dubbel I have tried. The usual dubbel Belgian yeast, molasses and brown sugar morph more into almost quad territory, with christmas cake notes. Big big flavour and aftertaste. The 8% is very well hidden, and only slightly warming.

I had an open mind, and was maybe expecting the hype train to be in full swing, but was pleasantly surpised to find that everything folks say about Westy is true. Top stuff.

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Photo of pkalix
4.88/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

soft pour, huge head and tons of bubbles fizzing up from below the head. dark mahogany certainly does do the color justice as a descriptor.
I left this a bit warm, or rather, not chilled as someone recommended it to me that way. just a little bit in the frig to take it down a notch. the darker fruits come to the nose and the tongue. plum, fig, raisin. slightly spicy, but from the yeast. someone else mentioned brandied cherries and I think that is a great way to explain the aroma and taste along with the fruit. I have stayed away from the Belgian brews for quite a while as I was tiring of the rich yeastiness but this reminds me of my other favorites- the st. bernardus, and the rochefort, not quite the same as I remember now but very nice. very smooth. very stable. awesome head. beautiful tannish lace. 2nd pour is on top of the last bit in the glass is ultra creamy and thick enough to hold the sediment on top. taking a slight break I notice the head has risen toward the top of my tulip glass. it is GROWING. like bread. this is awesome! slight torch from the alcohol although it is more like a 'spirit' than a 'burn'. it seems much stronger than 8%, for sure. brown sugar, more dark fruit and more alcohol on the second half of this bottle. the liquid is not heavy, as I might expect for a higher abv. what a very wonderful brew.
pour is simply beautiful. the taste has to be as close to perfection as I have had, although I readily admit I rate most beers higher than others (it's all good, right?). I love how the brew is light and fluid yet firm enough to hold the still floating sediment on the top thin layer. i'm not intimidated by the degree of difficulty in obtaining this brew, or at least not reflecting it in the rating. I believe this is a great specimen and I wish there were more available.

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Photo of Marius
4/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl bottle. Very dark ruby pour, hazy and witg a fine tan head that gives way to a thick lacing. Smells of dark fruit, dried fruit, caramel and yeast. Tastes bitter-sweet, with notes of cocoa, chocolate, dried fruit, cola. Soft mouthfeel, medium to high carbonation.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.52/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

whale status from drlovemd87, this has been a long time want. i have to say, i was more impressed by this than by the 12. not that its that much better or anything, but in the context of all quads, westy 12 was excellent but has beers. in the context of all dubbels, westy 8 stands alone at the top in my mind, in terms of quality. hazy amber color to this, dull looking really, with a fizzy off white head, not really all that impressive to look at. the nose on this is great though, its just exuding a wonderful belgian yeast strain that i can say has no equal. in combination with a sweeter malt profile, gentle candy sugar, and raisin type fruitiness, i can say that this is one incredible aromatic profile. the taste is just like the nose, very straightforward. what i like the most about this is its simplicity. not that the flavors are not complex, but this is brewing art it its purist. clean flavors, i taste the grain, i taste the sugar, burnt caramel like is how it comes through, and i taste the yeast, which may be my favorite strain going. the finish is sweet indeed, but its a pleasurable sweet and one that feels right in the mouth. expressive mouth feel, very lively and bright for the style, not weighed down by either its sugars or its alcohol strength. a really splendid beer, yeast forward, and perfectly executed. this is the standard for the style, hands down. i should also mention that i had the esteemed privilege to drink all three of these beers in one session, and the 8 was the pick for me. i am truly blessed.

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Photo of PolarBear3
4.65/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A - Pours a nice dark mahogany colour with creamy looking tanned head that retains throughout.

S - Amazing malt, belgium yeasty notes including plums, raisins, cherries and sweet caramel, toffee.

T - The dark fruit really shines here along with the candied sugar, toffee, caramel, biscuit like sweet malts, cherries/figs at the back end with a gentle tartness that lingers well.

M - Creamy with medium carbonation and medium bodied

O - Well, its a great pleasure again to drink and review this beer, in particular on xmas day. Still one of my favourite beers and although I believe it is inferior to the 12 it i s still a great complex and delicious beer to consume. Highly recommend

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Photo of gr0g
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mostly opaque, dark mahogany color. Nice head formation with good retention. Lacing is there, but it's only spotty. Smells rich and malty but not very sweet. Dark toffee and toasted grain at first, then notes of plum and raisin.

Richly malty and only a touch sweet. Raisin and pear, maybe some ripened red grapes in there, too. Well carbonated but soft, even silky. Candi sugar is there but it's very minimal. Yeast character is present through some clove flavor.

Excellent, but not head and shoulders above others in the style as the scores would suggest. With the robust maltiness and restrained sweetness, I find that Westy 8 is quite similar to Ommegang Abbey Ale.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.34/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

11.2oz, Cap date 19.11.13
Westy glass

A: Pours a hazy chestnut brown color. There is light that gets through it. Bright around the edges. Thin layer of light tan head. Mostly a collar.

S: Nice dark fruit character. Raisin. Prune. Fig. Some rum soaked raisin. Biscuity Belgian notes from the yeast.

T: This is very nice. Initially getting hints of grape juice almost. Then some of the dark fruit: raisin and fig. It's very easy to drink compared to a quad. Thinner. Finish is lingering fig and mild prune.

M: Medium bodied.

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Photo of patre_tim
4.79/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: Dark brown unfiltered with a reddish tinge, lots of fine carbonation, a finger of tan head that retains exceedingly well.

S: Cherries, aromatic, floral complexity, dark fruits- especially figs.

T: Now I see why its so highly rated. Cherries and dark fruits with a light sweetness, liquorice finnish with a long lasting mild bitter taste that is in harmony with the beer as a whole.

M: Amazingly smooth, medium body, lots of fine foamy carbonation.

O: I don’t smoke but could see a cigar pairing well with this beer. I think it’s the overall composition with the mouthfeel, head retention, scent and taste that make this beer one of the world’s most sought after beers. I went to In De Verde and picked up a case of 6 less than 2 weeks ago. Love it, refined classic brew that will keep you sipping.

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Photo of dcmchew
4.22/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with amber hues up to the light. One finger light beige head, really sticky.
Typical dubbel smell, with dark fruit, cocoa, vanilla, caramel, cake, Belgian sugars and chocolate.
Rich chocolate and caramel from the start, sweet and "lumpy", perfectly molded with dark malts, creating a chocolate cake taste. Dark fruits (like plum and figs) aren't alone here, but accompanied by red cherries, banana, red apple, red grapes and lemon rind (producing also some nice light tartness and sourness). Lots of spices, with cinnamon, vanilla, slight clove and pepper, notes of aniseseed also.
There's an earthy-woody note also, producing an oaky taste, close to reminding of a barrel aged beer (the light tart and the musty grapes help also) . This, and taking the nice warm alcohol into consideration, produces a cognac-like taste. Especially in the finish.
Hops are present, mildly bitter, giving off some green tobacco and grass, also some dryness.
Body is chewy at first, with a prickly fizz throughout, goes down easily and keeps you asking for more.
Expectations were high, but this beer was higher even. Definitely the best dubbel i've ever had. Too bad it's hard (and expensive) to find.

Had it some time later. Big let-down, something seems to have happened here.

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Photo of vinny21bal
3.4/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I am sure this is a great beer just not my style and I also tried it both times pretty young. I bet I would like it a lot more with some age on it. It was fun to chase down but I will probably never do it again. This is one of those beers where I think the hype is bigger and better then the beer itself. Again I think it was made stylistically correct just not my cup of tea.

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Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.48 out of 5 based on 2,144 ratings.
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