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

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803 Reviews
Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII)Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII)

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Belgium | website

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: 803 | Ratings: 2,075
Photo of SeanChouffe
4.3/5  rDev -4%
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 -0.7%
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 -5.6%
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 -12.9%
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.

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Photo of donnebaby
4.56/5  rDev +1.8%
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 +11.6%
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 +2.5%
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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Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.48 out of 5 based on 2,075 ratings.
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