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

797 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: 797 | Ratings: 2,050
Photo of Bleedcold
4.54/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Consumed from a Trappistes Rochefort glass.

Appearance: This beer has a great look its cloudy, dark and creamy in appearance with a good level of carbonation and foam.

Smell: It smells of dark fruits (Figs and Cherry are prevalent) Possibly some brown sugar and molasses.

Taste: Sugars, and darker fruits for sure very smooth and rich. Can not really taste much of the alcohol. mostly tastes of fruite very clean.

Mouthfeel: Slight amount of spice, mild carbonation and creamy.

I absolutely love this beerdeffinatly in my top 5 of actually tried beers, Superbe .

I have a Westy 12 in my refrigerator and I have never had that one. absolutely ecstatic to try. Will be reviewing that beer shortly thanks for the read.

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Photo of pmarlowe
4.41/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Bottle cap says 03.06.12. Tulip glass.

A: Pours a very dark brown--nearing black--with a finger and a half of white head. Still manages good clarity around the edges. Medium sized bubbles which recede to a nice thick ring. Very good retention and a few dots of lacing.

S: Dark molasses, brandy-soaked dark fruit (blackcurrant, loads of fig), cherry juice, brown sugar, caramel and Christmas spice.

T: Caramelized sugar, dried fruit, cherry juice, spices (cinnamon and allspice), and a perfect level of dryness. A little booze comes through but it's mild.

M: Carbonation is on the high end, cola-like in its sharpness. Medium-full body.

O: Superb complexity that develops in the glass, and highly drinkable.

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Photo of chrisgalvin
4.93/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

See my review of the 12.

I dropped some cash and purchased some of this from a reputably shop online and was really happy with my purchase. Some could say that it was a bucket list next to actually visting the brewery to buy my own case. Nice appearance with a bit of suspended yeast, malty malty taste and minimal hops. Truly a great beer from the "Westy Lads..."

I prefer the 8 to the 12 purely on my own palate. Both are truly fantastic beers.

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Photo of IPA35
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Second review 22-03-2013

From the same batch, so it is over half a year old now.

A lovely dark brown beer with an offwhite head. Quality foam. Looks just great.

An extremely complex scent. Sweet but also with a certain earthiness to it and some tartness as well. Darker malts, chocolate, toffee, even some oaky vanilla stuff going on. Dark fruits, slightly boozy dark fruits. Raisins, dried figs, big dried prunes maybe cherry and some red apple (tartness). Just great smelling.

A very malt forward beer that is not overly sweet actually. A pretty big dark maltiness. The fruitiness is nice and balances out the firm maltiness. Take a sip and let it sit in the mouth for a few seconds to enjoy the complex flavours.

The body is medium and nice and smooth. Well carbonated.

Overall a great dubbel. Better than the Westmalle? I don't think so. Equal? Probably.

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Photo of Jonada
4.28/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

33cl bottle best by 11th November 2014. Served in a Chimay goblet

Appearance: Muddy brown color. Nearly opaque with quite a bit of sediment in the glass. Poured about 1 finger of a creamy light tan head.

Smell: Brown sugar, caramel, red grape, sweet milk chocolate. There's a hint of tartness as well.

Taste: Sweetness upfront balanced out by slight bitterness in the finish. Flavors of raisins, grape, plum, bready malt, slight spice from the yeast.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, soft mouthfeel despite the medium/high carbonation. Gentle alcohol warmth in the throat and chest as it goes down

Overall: Really good beer, but doesn't live up to the hype in my opinion. Considering the great effort or cost that goes into obtaining this, I'll be sticking to more readily available options in the future.

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Photo of sfprint
4.83/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Exp: 8/18/2013
A: very very dark and opaque. small flakes of yeast suspended. Quickly dissipating head, too, dense to see any rising carbonation but there's a little something rising through the center. After sipping, it does form a pretty beautiful creaminess on the surface. Very even lacing.
S: interesting, coffee candy, cherry alcohol syrup, creamy, fiber powder, other complexities I can't describe. Pretty damn impressive.
T: Pretty crazy. I haven't had a beer like this one before. Chocolately. Really nice malt. It tastes like a dark malt and it's perhaps the first beer that I've had where the malt is such a defined flavor. Like malt coffee. And it's beautiful. With a perfect "grain" flavor on top. And while that's 65% of the flavor, sitting right under it, which is more like an unsweet cherry cola. No detection of alcohol.
M: Perfect mouthfeel. Thick and creamy with a very delicate carbonation sting. Unlike any other mouthfeel in a beer I've had,
O: An incredibly special beer. Incredibly. I wasn't blown away with the Blonde. Actually disappointed, which made me skeptical about how this one would be. But this one lives up to it's fetishized name. With that said, I'm not jumping up and down saying, this is the most delicious beer I've ever had. Dubbels are not my style. But this one is the holy grail of Dubbels. Magical. It was worth the 10 euros I paid for it (please dont bash me!).

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Photo of Hoppsbabo
3.71/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to wethorseblanket for sharing this one at jmgrub's tasting.

Cap is dated 02.12.07.

Pours a murky dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down either. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, grape juice, and lots of dark fruit aromas. Taste is much the same with a fruity flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with a great smell and some really tasty flavors.

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Photo of RoamingGnome
4.33/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Westvleteren 8 (2011 vintage)

Poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle into a goblet. Served at cellar temperature.

A) It was burnt amber in color. A little bit hazy with a bit of sediment noted as well. There was nearly a finger of off-white head which quickly dissipated to a collar.

S) A pleasant sweetness which I found to include some raisin and pear slices as well as a little bit of nuttiness probably best described as hazelnut. There were some nice spices too. This is a rich, filling aroma. This could possibly be how Ron Burgundy's apartment smells.

T) The flavor is near the nose, but what I found was a little more grape from a fruit standpoint and a hint of coffee as well. The yeast is also noted in the flavor. Sweet for sure, but also bitter enough for balance. Very, very little alcohol, actually the 8% a ABV was quite well hidden

M) A medium body with a moderate amount of carbonation. Actually more carbonation than I really anticipated, not that this was a bad thing. Really a very smooth beer. The finish is very dry, and the aftertaste is quite pleasant and clean.

O) A very nice treat on my birthday, so thanks for the bottle Dad. Met my expectations and definitely worth acquiring. Look forward to trying the Westy 12 some day.

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

Served slightly chilled just below room temperature. Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

A: Amber or perhaps chest nut coloured liquid crowned by a white - beige head. Got som bubbles playing around.

S: Apricot, butter scotch, almond, chocolate and alcohol. It has some kind of smell that reminds me of the limestone church where I grew up.

T: Sweetness at first. Almonds, raw sugar, chocolate and syrup. The finish is bitter. It also have some fruity tastes to it, towards apricot.

M: Creamy yeat bubbely. A bit dry in the finish.

O: Very balanced and surprisingly easy to drink. An excellent beer but it lacks the big WOW that would make it a true titan among giants.

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

Bottle courtesy of totoropanda. Thanks Daniel. Pours a dark amber with small tan head that has decent retention and leaves a good amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma is fruity with raisin and plum, some caramel, and some light oxidation. The taste is mildly sweet with raisin plum, and a bit of caramel. The finish is slightly dry with a light bitterness. Medium body. Medium-low carbonation. Good. Like a slightly toned down version of Westy 12.

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Photo of Siriusfisherman
4.54/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: The beer poured a deep purple with a two-finger head that dissipated into a thin white foam.

S: Exquisite grape and dark fruit, some fruity phenolic character and a tiny touch of spice.

T/M: Incredible dark fruit and grape flavor with very low alcohol presence. The beer starts with a light bitterness and carbonation bite, followed by the dark fruit/malt flavor, and morphs into more complex drying fruit notes from the yeast. Very low phenolic astringency, the yeast blends into the flavor profile perfectly.

Overall: Extraordinary, one of the best belgian beer I have laid my hands on. I thought that all of the westy beers were just hype machines, but this is just magnificent, I cannot imagine that Westy 12 is any better.

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

Thanks to Brian (msubulldog) for throwing this in as an extra!

2006 vintage, consumed Dec., 2012, shared at Funky Buddha, Boca Raton, FL.

Dark mahogany color, with a small tan head that retained as a thin layer, and left a little lacing on the glass. Absolutely loved the aroma on this. Rich scents of sweet raisins, figs, caramel malts, brown sugar, Belgian yeast. Super smooth. I almost want to give it a 5.0. The taste reflects the nose, dried dark fruits, mingled with smooth malt sweetness, dark sugars, a touch of cocoa, and a mellow but ubiquitous booziness throughout the session. Smooth mouthfeel, medium body, moderate carbonation. Complex and well-crafted.

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Photo of Radome
4.42/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 33 cl bottle bought in Brussels.

A - A dark brown color with some red or even burgundy highlights when held to light. Slightly cloudy. Sediment in bottle got stirred during the pour and seems to contribute to the cloudiness. Head is tan and piled 4-5 cm high initially. Faded to a thin layer and big beefy ring around the glass. Serious lacing.

S - Beautiful aroma. Bready malt, molasses, raisins, and brandy-like alcohol jump out and dominate. There is a bit of spice in the background that adds complexity. There is a minty/medicinal note (could be from hops) that lightens the aroma and keeps it from giving a cloying impression.

T - The taste is well balanced and complex, but not as complex as the aroma. The warm, bready malt balances against the minty/medicinal hops flavor. Additional flavors like licorice, alcohol and dried fruits run around the edges, but the finish is dry and does not linger.

M - Medium body. Prickly carbonation lightens the mouthfeel. Alcohol burn is well-hidden. Hop bitterness is present but not overt. Some sweetness coats the mouth and offsets the generally dry finish.

O - Overall, this is an outstanding beer. No flaws. Every aspect is appealing. If I had a wish, it would be for a bit more body and complexity, but now I'm splitting hairs.

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Photo of Theshooster
4.4/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have visited the In De Vrede Cafe located right next door to the Westvleteren Monatry 4 times now and each time is a special treat. My good friend lives in Poperinge, a tiny town just south of the cafe and each time I visit we grab the bicycles and go for a beer. Absolutely delicious and the seclusion of the place is equally wonderful. Nestled in the middle of hops paradise. I typically order the 8 to get my taste buds fired and ready for the 12.

A - Brown and caramel, not as dark as the 12

S - Sweet, fruity aroma

T - Spiced, caramel, lovely taste

M - Full but not quite as complete as the 12

O - A wonderful beer in a wonderful location

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

I remove the blue capped one from the back of the fridge and let it warm for 15 minutes or so prior to opening. Maybe a year old I know it knows its competition better than I. The Prior and the Pater, from just across the way at St. Bernardus. The history may be storied but I wasn't there for it, so I seek the state of the present, and as for Dubbels that is where my allegiance lies.

I pour the #8 into a large wine glass from its 330 ml. Trappistenbier bottle. Pours with a rambunctious cap of foam and shows a medium brown with a fairly clear ruby in the light. Shows strong retention and some sticky lacing.

Aroma of yeast along with light fruit and caramel. Light yet complex and never overwhelming. Such a contrast to many American Dubbels that simply try to overwhelm. Quite similar to St. Bernardus and well attenuated. Warms to offer more complex notes.

Nice flavor, unobtrusive and yet delivering a multitude as for nuance on the finish. Feel is lingering but never sweet. Lightly coarse yet dry and showing just a hint of alcohol throughout. Touch creamy with warming, quite nice, and gladly the word cloying is not even in my vocabulary tonight.

I'll have to call it a tie for now with Prior 8.

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Photo of GJ40
5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sampled from a 12oz bottle in a hotel glass. Cap date is 06.04.14. As I understand it, the bottle was about 1 1/2 years old.

A - Starts a deep brown with some light and clarity along the edges. Toward the end, more and more light comes through and it drops several shades in color.

S - Complex dates, raisins, figs and fruit. It really builds your anticipation.

T - Spicy and fruity with brown sugar, dates and raisins. There are so many layers. It's complex but completely smooth and balanced.

M - Sturdy but also light and airy. It delivers the flavor perfectly.

O - I've wanted to try this beer for a long time so it could easily have been a letdown. But it was worth the wait. This is a wonderful hand crafted work of art.

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Photo of beertunes
4.6/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to great BA Brabander for this beauty. Poured into 10oz goblet. Poured a very pretty clean, clear mahogany color with an inch of khaki head that had good retention but no lacing.

The aroma had good rich malts, earthy grains, and a nice yeast scent that had just a bit of spiciness. The flavors were the same, just better defined and clearer. The grains gave a solid foundation, the malts were a nice counter-point to the spice, and everything blended together very nicely.

The body was crisp, full and smooth. Drinkability was excellent, this would be the rare beer where I would want a large format bottle all to myself. Overall, a great beer. Worth whatever it takes to get your hands on.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.62/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beer is a very dark red, rather brown. Moderately-sized beige head. Very good retention- head never leaves totally.

Smell is big. Very vinous. Raisin, grape, prune, brown sugar and sweet bready malt. Fruit scents are shockingly big.

Huge sweet fruit flavours: grape, raisin and prune. Brown sugar. Nice, soft bready malt flavours. Belgian yeast. Seriously good.

Full bodied, moderate carbonation. Incredibly smooth and creamy. Really a shockingly good mouthfeel, just lovely.

Overall, just terrific. Truly a remarkable beer. Definitely lives up to expectations. I basically assumed the beer would be good but a bit of a letdown, and it was not in the slightest!

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Photo of vandemonian
4.08/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Trappist Westvleteren 8 is a clean, dry and simple dubbel. I don't taste all the complexity that everyone else on this page raves about.

A: Dark brown colur and a big 2 cm head that lasts really well. 4.5

S: Strong aroma of Belgian yeast as well as a little sourness. Not a strong aroma. 4

T: Malty but quite dry with some subtle dried fruit flavour. There is some dry toasty malt in the finish and the alcohol is quite noticeable. I also taste some metallic flavours but I may be confused by the dryness and the alcohol. It's a clean pleasant beer but I didn't find it very complex. 4

M: Foamy. 4.5

O: 4

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Photo of jegross2
4.75/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing the Trappist Westvleteren 8 (aka Westy 8) from the monks of Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) out of Belgium.
Score: 97

"Best by" 11/30/14 according to the bottle cap. Served in a Westy 12 chalice and enjoyed on 09/17/12.

Appearance: Pours a chocolate color with some yellowish-brown color atop and mild ruby highlights at the bottom. There is excellent color depth and fade to the body of this beer, which wine aficionados should appreciate.. Pours a half finger of tan head that settles to a thin layer. Good lacing and average retention. 4.5/5

Smell: Slighty "fruity" yeast, caramel, figs and apples and a little chocolate. Some spice, a "nutty" maltiness, and a hint of brown sugar. Just a hint of alcohol esters too. 4.5/5

Taste: Figs, musty caramel malt and a hint of raw cocoa bean flavor. There is a smooth weizenbock-like banana-y yeast flavor on the center of the tongue throughout, and it lightly lingers. Unlike what the nose hints, there is no "fruitiness" to the taste really -- maybe faintly as the beer warms up. Instead, there is a dried dark fruit flavor here -- primarily figs, but a little date flavor too. Westy 8 beer is not sweet at all -- instead, it is possesses a very balanced, nuanced and drinkable maltiness. There's a very faint alcohol warmth on the sides of tongue, but no boozy flavor whatsoever. What an incredibly and carefully crafted beer! I am sure there are plenty of nuances that I just cannot pick out here. 4.75/5

Mouthfeel: Just shy of full bodied, and perfectly carbonated. Very creamy, slick mouthfeel. Malty, but balanced. 5/5

Overall: Easily my favorite dubbel. Call me crazy, but, at least relatively fresh, I prefer this one to Westy 12. This is such an amazing malt-dominant beer that has so much subtle complexity. I wish I had a consistent line on this stuff, cause believe me, there would always be a few of these in my fridge.

Recommendation: Seek this one out. It's at least as good as Westy 12, but without all the fanfare.

Pairings: The Mustard Seed Cafe's harvest panini (a turkey sandwich on zucchini bread with provolone cheese, slices of apples and cranberry sauce).

Cost: $12 for a 11.2 oz bottle.

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

Poured from bottle into Westvleteren Glass at the Abbey cafe on 9/8/12 - not sure when bottled or any of that. Pours a deep chocolate brownie looking brown, with slight tan rim. Superb fruity yeast aromas. Taste is really just amazing...chocolatey, dried fruit and some spice/vanilla maybe. Super smooth and just all around amazing. Although the Abbey was so over commercialized, its still worth the visit to try them at the source. Obviously, go out of your way for this...because there really isnt any other choice!

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from that distinctive Westy bottle into a Westvleteren chalice.

Westvleteren 8 pours a dense walnut brown color with a slight cranberry tint. A creamy tan head forms gently on top with the initial pour. There was a lot of sediment in the bottom of the bottle, to the point where it was difficult not to pour it in.

Caramel malt, figs, dates, overripe red apples, brandy, and cinnamon gust up my nose.

The flavor is more of the same. The flavor is not as sweet as I would expect, though. There is a bit of caramel up front providing a slightly sweet base, but the fig, date, red apple, cinnamon, and all spice do not provide enough sweetness to overcome the boozy brandy that comes through. There is great integration of the flavors - a sign of long-perfected brewing processes.

The mouthfeel is pretty much perfect, for the style or otherwise. The body is on the full side of medium, representing the 8% ABV quite accurately. Each sip has a foamy, creamy carbonation with just a bit of a crisp, tingly bite to it to help ease the flavors down the tongue to reset after each sip. Very smooth.

This is a wonderfully balanced and drinkable beer. I am glad I finally cracked my bottle.

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Photo of davey101
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

01.03.15...making it a 03/01/2012 vintage. Split a bottle at a bar, poured into a tall tulip glass. Quick phone notes.

A - Dark brown body, pour yields a nice one finger tan head. Solid lacing.

S - Lots of spice, Belgian yeast, brown sugar, figs, and toffee. A bit nutty and sweet.

T - Spice and dark fruits lead into a cola syrup flavor. Notes of brown sugar, liquorice, molasses, toasted nuts, and spicy yeast as it warms up. Ample carbonation with a silky and chewy medium mouth feel.

O - Not quite as complex or intricate as the quad, but this is certainly the best dubbel I have tried. Very tasty, even being this fresh.

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

Poured into a Shelton Brothers The Festival Tasting Glass.
Ironic that my first Westy 8 is poured into the first glass I tasted westy 12 from.

A: Golden dark brown color. One finger head that lingers forever. Settles to a creamy film across the surface.

S: Very distinctive smell to Westvleteren. The 8 smells quite like the 12. Sweet, spicy aroma, possibly some roasted nuts and honey detected along with the hops

T: I still feel my tongue is not sophisticated enough for westy. My tongue is confused. Lots of flavors and spices blend together into what I call the westy taste that I can not distinguish.

M: Nice body, thick and thin at the same time. Carbonation lingers on the tongue.

O: It lives up to the Westvleteren name, however I do not feel it is worth the effort required to seek out in the US.

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Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
99 out of 100 based on 797 ratings.
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