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

813 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: 813 | Ratings: 2,128
Photo of Vancer
5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

New Year’s Eve and this bad boy pops and hisses like a party favor.

The murky amber oak pour greets me next, topped by a tan crown. Nothing better in the world today – it’s me, family, friends and superb frostys. Swirl it, and watch that elixir lace that crystal, baby!

Sour mash cherry, figs, Belgium candy cane and malts, just an unbelievable brew. Sharp, crisp, dry and tasting like a new dawn on a Caribbean beach. This is comparable to drinking a bourbon single malt fermented in an oak beer tank. Why a beer like this has to end is beyond me – but all things must pass.

Many, many thanks to bennetj17 and my secret santa for a superb B-day treat! 50? Wish I could have more big un’s, when I get to enjoy brews like this.

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

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

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

This is the best dubbel I've ever had, so let me say that up front. I could just breathe in the smell all day, like putting your face in a bag of sugar, but balanced by apples and dark fruits. This bottle was 2yr old and the flavor had synthesized in a way that I do not have grammar to describe. There is a subtlety, depth, and smoothness that is unmatched by any dubble I have ever had. Westmalle is a close second, but this is the ultimate.

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

Thanks to Heffe and Shaun for an unbelievable 30th bday present. Cheers!

I was to excited to look at it so I'll skip right to the good stuff.

Smell: Wonderfully full and complex nose. First sniff hits you with so many aromas I wasn't sure what's what. A cornucopia of smells, yet even in the nose nothing seemed overwhelming or out of balance. Definite hit of sweet caramel and bread like maltiness. Some chocolate/toffee/licorice sweetness probably from the belgian candy sugar. Some dark fruits like a bit of prunes, figs and raisins, maybe even some apple too. Surprised to find the slightest bit of refreshing vinegar/oakiness rise up, a bit reminiscent of a flemish red.

Taste: By the smell of it you'd think that something would rise up and hog the stage, but that's not the case. Just like the nose, everything is in an amazing balance. Beautiful malt backbone takes hold right away and rides throughout giving off a toasty, slightly nutty flavor accentuated by the candy sugar imparted flavor of molasses. Nice slick and creamy mouthfeel. The fruitiness gets a just a bit tart and again reminds me ever so slightly of a bit of flemish red (how are they doing this???). A bit of alcohol spiciness at the end. Finishes super dry and clean. Vanishes as though it was never there, leaving you immediately ready for the next sip.

I always wondered if it would live up to the hype and indeed it did and more. The impression I was left with was the unbelievable robustness and complexity, yet perfectly balanced and smooth.

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Photo of kmpitz2
5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a very deep brown color with ruby hues. A two finger head sits over top and falls to a finger. The nose is brown sugary and even slightly mapel-like. Sweet dark fruits with puffs of alcohol abound. I even get a touch of cherry in there too. Very nice. Flavor is oh so nice. A ton going on here. Light dark fruits, caramel, brown sugar, slightly creamy. Shit. So smooth. This may be the best brew I have had. Hands down. The feel is velvet smooth with a very fine carbonation. Its moderate in thickness. I could sit and drink this brew all damn day. No hint anywhere of the 8%. Everything moves seamlessly into each other in the flavor, aroma and mouthfeel. Divine. Absolutely divine

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

Bottle shared with drabmuh at my place recently. Review from notes.

Bottle cap dated 01.04.13

A: This trappist ale appears a dark brown color with a substantial head and generous amount of lacing on the glass. Looks very nice.

S: This beer begins to distance itself from other dubbels right away. The aroma is simply fantastic. The Belgian yeast component alone is one of the most inviting and delectable scents I have yet found in a beer.

T: The flavor is incredible. Toffee and caramels amongst the best Belgian yeast strain on the planet. I can't imagine a single way that this beer could possibly improve. So many flavors constantly developing on the palate, all flowing seamlessly together in a work of art, this is a sublime elixir. The conclusion of every drink begs for the onset of another.

M: The feel is yet another flawless aspect of this beer. It's so smooth, it feels like water, yet coats the palate with a myriad of wonderful flavors that evolve from the moment your nose initially detects the beer.

D: I could, and would, drink this beer very regularly, if only that were possible. This is a truly special beer and absolutely worthy of any and all praises.

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

Thanks to my boy Greg (tpd975) for this beauty.

11.2 oz. bottle poured into my Chimay goblet with 09.08.10 stamped on the cap.

Pours a super dark, rich, amber hue with a big fluffy two finger khaki colored head that slowly dies down. There are some spots in the head that are darker than others, perhaps some sediment I should have let in the bottle. Stickiness is amazing. Holds on to all sides of the glass and doesn't plan on letting go. Smell is a huge dark fruit aroma of mainly dates, plums, and raisins. There's also a sweet molasses scent mixed with brown sugar and a hint of pears. Finally, some fresh honey mixed with a yeasty scent and some caramel malt. Wow, just like its brother Westy 12, complex on the nose. Taste starts off with a spicey sweetness which is followed by the big caramel malt flavor. All of those dark fruits as mentioned before come into play again on the tongue. That's what I like, a beer that lives up to how it smells. I also sense some floral flavors on the tongue as well. Mouthfeel is beyond perfect, if that's possible. So soft, so balanced, so fluffy, so pure. The head lightly flows over the tongue so smoothly, I think I just had a beergasm. I detect no alcohol anywhere with this brew. If God pissed, this would come out. As much as I loved the Westy 12, this easily beats it in my opinion. Perfect 5, you better believe it bitches. I need more of this stuff, NOW!! Greg, hook a brother up!!

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Photo of cbak999
5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Again, thanks to Don (digital7693) for obtaining this gem for our epic beer tasting!!!

A: poured a medium amber, brown with a nice white head.

S: A bit fruitier than the 12. I get notes of raisins and plums. Also caramel, molasses, and brown sugar.

T: the fruit notes follow through in the taste. Plum dominates the pallet. No alcohol taste at all. Also not too sweet, but just a perfect balance of hop, malt, and fruit.

D: Wow...this is perfection in a bottle. I prefer this to the 12 as it's more drinkable. It's not so much the sipper that 12 is, thus I have to score this higher in my book. I would love to sit down with a few bottles around a fire pit on a cool winter evening! Eh, maybe someday!

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

Pours a cloudy reddish-brown color, huge thick foamy head. Sweet sugary candy aroma, flavors of caremel toffee and butter, perfect thick and creamy mouthfeel, smooth and silky, It don't get any better than this, well maybe the 12.

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Photo of hardy008
5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best before date is 06.03.12 or June 3rd, 2012.

Pours a dark amber, close to brown color with a huge, foamy, off white to tan head. Great retention and lacing. An absolutely gorgeous beer. The aroma has caramel, apples, pears, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Just a wonderful aroma.

The taste is out of this world. Apples, caramel, pears, brown sugar, cinnamon, as well as several spices I am not able to pick out. This drinks like a dream.

Between medium and full bodied, smooth, easy to drink, with perfect carbonation. Try as hard as I can, I cannot find a flaw with this beer. This is so drinkable it is insane. The 8.00 % alcohol is perfectly hidden. There is nothing more to say, except that this is a perfect beer.

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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 tsauce2
5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewed from notes.

P: 11.2 fl oz bottle in to a snifter.

A: SRM is toffee/cola brown. Translucent with sediment. Head is off white, 1 in, dissipates to 1 cm. Medium carbonation. Heavy lacing.

S: Sweeter than the 12, dark fruit, light hops, caramel andmedium roast malt (a bit more than the 12), blegian yeast and light bready notes.

T: A bit more maltiness than the 12, semi sweet dark fruit, more caramel sweetness than the 12, light hops, and more of a chewy/bread taste than the 12. Aftertaste is malt, caramel and bread notes, light sweetness.

M: Medium/full body. Malt, caramel, and light dark fruit additions give a rich and full feel, the yeast adds a bit of density. Finished wet.

O: I can't believe it, but I think I might like the 8 more than the 12. Awesome malt/caramel complexity with the belgian yeast/bready aspect. Again, one of the top five beers I have ever had. A treat to try and I consider myself extremely lucky to have some great beer buddies and the chance to have tried this.

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

Live review. Purchased from (not to be confused with for something like 10 Euros, received about 6 weeks ago and waiting for this opportunity to sample. I also bought a Westvleteren glass and of course I poured it into it.

A Pours a dark, dark brown, in front of direct light there is a ruby red outline, glow but the body remains very dark indeed. It reminds me a lot of the Westy 12 but this head is not as significant and long lasting (the head on the 12 never did go away but this one dissipated within a few minutes). Sediment is visible in the bottom of the glass but also sticking around in the body itself. That is also very much like the Westy 12.

S I am really glad that I had the Westy 12 just before this one since it affords me a quick comparison. The smell has the sweet concord grape malt but it is weaker than the 12, appropriately enough. It remains inviting and I do not detect any alcohol in the nose.

T The complex malt, grains and wonderful grainy taste with barely perceptible alcohol are very much present in this beer along with the Westy 12. Something that sets this one apart is that it is a it less sticky with less than an aftertaste.

M Full for sure but this is less smooth than the 12. It is a bit more watery but maintains its biggness due to bit malt, yeasty grain and high ABV.

D This has a high drinkability as well but it is equally expensive and difficult to get and also has a high ABV, all of which, in a practical sense, drives down the drinkability. Even through all of that, though, I enjoyed every drop of this beer.

Notes: What a pleasure to have this beer, along with its big brother, the 12 tonight.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
4.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Part of a pack bought at the Abbey a couple of years back, decided to broach one of them at last.

Poured into the glass that came in the pack (a chalice): everything went in, the sediment arriving half way through the pour.

Deep auburn brown body with a rich looking creamy head sat above.

The nose is complex and delightful, huge fruit esters, both dried and fresh, malty goodness and walnut whips (for the Brits reading this) all seem to vie for position within the aromas.

The taste follows along the same lines, with the vanilla from the walnut whip asserting it's self a little more, but not taking over in any way. What a lovely balanced Dubbel, certainly the best I've ever had in my fairly long life. I can now see what all the fuss is about, later this evening I'm having one of my Westy 12's really looking forward to that, what a night I'm having.

Rich, deep and very, very enjoyable, my sweet tooth just loves this, I thought the Westmalle Dubbel was superb, but this knocks socks off it in all departments, a wonderful beer from start to finish.

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Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Don for bringing this one to an EPIC tasting! Poured into a generic tulip. Nice off white head. Moderate retention. Ruby body. Aroma of dark, over ripe pitted fruits. Taste is raisins, brown sugar and liquid gold. Greatness, everything expected and a little more. Smooth as can be with no abv noted. Perfection.

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Photo of weeare138
4.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to hopdog for opening a '99 bottle...
Appears a dark mahogany toned brown with a mild off white head that slowly fades out into a small cap and collar. Streaky lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of yeasty bread, raisins, brown sugar, toffee, sweet caramel...much more complex than the newer bottles I've had.
Taste is equal to the aromas with the sugar and doughy yeast working well together.
Mouthfeel is super smooth, rich, and deliciously heavenly.

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Photo of Cresant
4.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured this 33cL brown bottle into a Chimay glass. No date on the cap. A mild pour created 1"+ of fizzy light tan head. Lacing and a hefty film remain throughout. The body was opaque plum. Served around 50 F.

Smell was cola nut. Freshly opened bag of prunes. Freshly milled grains. Grapes. Complex.

Taste was figgy. Slight alcohol aroma. A light tangy aftertaste. Juicy raisins. Rich, intense dried fruitiness. Not cloying and well balanced between the fruity sweetness and the tangy, light bitterness.

Mouthfeel was lively. Effervescent but not overly carbonated. Medium to full bodied. All around nice beer. I drank this one entirely too fast, so good.

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Photo of Lupe
4.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Date on cap: 07 09 03

Pours a deep tawny-ruby color that lightens when held up to the light. Creamy off-white head that settles to a thin sheet and leaves behind patchy lace.

Rich malt aroma of Belgian candy sugar, caramel and toffee, yeast, light spice, and granny-smith (sour) apple. Incredibly appealing.

Lush malt flavors of caramel, toffee, honey and fruit with notes of chocolate covered cherries. Hops add a nice bitterness to balance the malt, as well as a tea-like quality. Gets very juicy in the middle before the alcohol steps in to add a brandy flavor to the mix. Finishes dry with lingering spice.

Ridiculously smooth and creamy. Medium-full in body but not heavy. Maintains a crispness and has the perfect amount of carbonation.

If not for the rareness, I would have this beer on hand at all times. So easy to drink. Complex and so flavorful, but not overpowering or aggressive.

This is my second time having this beer. I bought 2 bottles around 3 years ago. I didn't review the first bottle, but I would say this one was much more memorable. Truly a world class beer.

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Photo of DaveHS
4.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

bottle courtesy of Jeffo. Best by 02/05/13. Poured into a St. Feuillen goblet.

A-Opens with a loud hiss. Pours deep burgundy with over 2 inches of thick, foamy light tan head. Deflates, leaving rings of sticky lacing and a fat cap of foam.

S-Unbelievably complex. Candied raisins, beet sugar, brown sugar, madeira and earthy hops. Can't wait to drink this.

T/M-The mouth feel on this is exceptionally smooth and mellow. Light, supportive carbonation, velvety soft texture. Can't see this getting any better with age than it is right now. It's difficult to do justice to how much is going on with this beer. Flavors of rose petal and lavender layered over a blanket of fine brown sugar and toffee flavors. Slightly oaky,with a refined estery yeast flavor. The finish is dry and warming.

O-Best dubbel I've ever had, hands down. As I see it, this is the one to beat. Good luck with that.

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Photo of roblowther
4.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle hand-carried back from the abbey & aged 1 1/2 years. It is a very cloudy orange-tined dark brown with a thin head comprised of microscopic bubbles that create a light tan head & leave beautiful lacing. Smells of oranges, plums, and spices (nutmeg & cloves?). It also has a hint of dark maple syrup lurking in the background. The taste goes through more changes than I can count. Dry cocoa gives way to dark fruits (rum soaked oranges and plums), then a nuttiness that melds into an oak aftertaste, and then a finish like brown sugar. The mouthfeel is chewy and smooth, substantial and lovely. A bit drier at then end than I'd like, if I'm splitting hairs from split hairs. The drinkability is phenomenal, with a warmth that blooms from the alcohol but not a hint of any harshness. In fact, the smooth, melded flavors are the only thing that linger. And they beg to be repeated. Seriously, this one's drinkability is only limited by the lengths to which you have to go to get it. If you can? GET IT!

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Photo of Realale
4.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Rich brown with ruby undertones. Slight light beige incomplete head.

Nose is stunning. Bready with some slightly biscuity malt support an incredible array of candied fruit (cherry, lime, raisin, prune) and rum/spirity notes.

Great flavor. Very fruity and complex all supported by wonderful malt. Well-balanced, not remotely cloying, and showing no alcohol. Very long finish.

Carbonation is excellent, cutting through the richness without becoming obtrusive. Imminently drinkable, but worthy of deliberation and contemplation.

All other Trappist offerings fail in comparison to this one for me. Brilliant beer and worth every penny.

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Photo of Donerik
4.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer looked the part, smelled the part, and tasted the part.

A: brownish, nice head, milled my glass nicely

s: amazing, fruit, grain, maltiness, esters

T: This is where the beer jumped out of the glass and into my mouth. Tasted amazing; how could a beer made so simply be so amazing? 500 years of flavor. Fruits, Malts, Sweetness.

M: Light, Crisp, Refreshing

D: Wonderful

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Photo of horndecker
4.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yes, it IS worth $6- a bottle.

Into a big Westmalle goblet it looks beautiful but not like a sunset. It looks beautiful because of what the tobacco colored murk promises. A very active and rocky head with nooks and crannies, just like a Thomas' English Muffin.
Vigorous carbonation at first but the head does not overwhelm the glass.

The nose is cocoa and yeast with mild citrus notes, then caramel, vegetal - cabbag-ey, then cookie dough and bready malt. Later a bit port-like. Notes of black cherries get very strong as it warms. (On other occasions I have noted sweet yams, white chocolate, earthy and musty raisins, and malted milk.)

The taste is also very complex and fascinating. Cocoa, prunes, alot of fruit, currents of coffee, mocha and taffy, all with a slightly smoky finish. A mild bitterness lingers at the tail end - it all just gets better and better with every sip. A great balance.

The mouthfeel is very smooth and silky despite all that initial carbonation.

Staggeringly drinkable.
postscript - I must mention a phrase coined by a friend upon tasting this beer for the first time: "...a freight train of flavor"

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

had my first westy 12 last march when my daughter was born, why not go for my first westy 8 on father's day? big thanks to metalgdog for sending this bottle my way.

cap dated 30.09.12 (so 2007 vintage?)

a - opened the bottle and filled my trappist westvleteren chalice. brew poured a deep brown with a generous creamy head. only a true belgian dubbel could catch that big creamy head. the head hung out and moved as a unit. really attractive.

s - wonderful grape nutmeg smell with a hint of heat. great belgian candied sugar. some hints of caramel and mild spicy zest. really smells like a BSDA. wonderful!!!

t - a masterpiece. dark fruit bouquet married with some heat on the finish. the candied sweetness in the nose is also on the taste. truly a wonderful brew. dubbels at times are a bit too in your face for me, but this is tamed back with a great sweetness to even out any harshness of the style. absolutely perfect tasting.

m - the first thing that really jumped at me was the feel of this beer. SUPER silky and smooth. there is a bit of heat on the finish, but this beer just has a creamy wonderful perfect body.

o - one of the more flavorful dubbels i've had. the sweetness balances out the dark fruit and heat really rounding this one out immensely. i'll have to have my next one of these next to a westy 12 since i can't remember enjoying the 12 as much as this beer. this beer is of the better beers i have ever tried. i was simply blown away by this beer.

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Photo of IPAcraig
4.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had to go through a lot to get this beer back from Belgium, my honeymoon. Running through charles de Gaulle as security chases me. 16 months later I am opening this gem.

Pours a semi transparent ruby brownish color. The head explodes after pouring (4 fingers) but after a minute it settles to about nothing. Has a cola type appearance at this point, no head but alot of bubbles streaming in it.

Sweet figs and cream. Velvety.

Sweetened walnuts and creamy fruit goodness. Really smooth. this beer doesn't disappoint. Better than the hype.

I mentioned this beer had a sweet aroma and taste, but the mouthfeel is light and well carbonated. Not heavy in the least bit.

This has become my stranded island beer. That is the highest compliment I can give it.

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Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.48 out of 5 based on 2,128 ratings.
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