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

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807 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: 807 | Ratings: 2,094
Photo of scooter231
3.92/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I wonder if I should have saved these guys for a while, if perhaps they were too young yet, because I can sense the possibility of them, the character there, but... young. Hmm.

Pours a dark brown, slightly crimson color, with a tan, creamy looking head and some lacing. Smells mostly of raisins, a sweet, and lightly floral backgrounds. As it warms, I get more powerful raisiny smells. Taste is also quite raisiny, with hints of chocolate, coffee, and toffee- a stouty type thing going on. Very dry. Can't sense the alcohol at all, very sneaky. Mouthfeel is smooth and chewy and frothy- very nice. Drinkable, sure, to some extent- but I find there's something in there that would prevent me from being able to have a few of these. A solid beer to be sure, but I hope I can get another one and hold on to it for a few years...

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Photo of THECPJ
3.92/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes 3/15/2011

Appearance: murky dark brown, with a 1 finger off-white head, opaque, lacing, but disappears quickly

Smell: dark fruits, sour, tart, and sweet, smells of red-wine or sherry

Taste: fruity-dark fruits and cherries, sweet, yet tart, got a hint of something perfumey on the back end

Mouthfeel: very mild carbonation, almost flat, thick body

Drinkability: a good representation for the style, however, I would prefer a good dubbel with easier access.


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Photo of ricke
3.93/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with a medium sized off-white/pale brown head that dissipates slowly and leaves plenty of lacings.

S: Light fruity aromas and plenty of malts - very thick and robust. Notes of fudge and toffee mixed with earthy herbal aromas. Some spicy phenols and alcohol. Rather complex and well balanced, but it's not as impressive or as powerful as I had expected.

T: A similar balance between fruity aromas and malts as in the smell: cherries, slightly tart red currants rests upon a decent malty backbone. Fudge and caramel delivers much of the sweetness. Dark bread, a gentle note of wood and just a hint of blanket (which I find a bit odd). The finish is slightly phenolic and somewhat bitter with notes of sweet alcohol, herbs and minerals.

M: Full bodied, smooth texture. The finish is somewhat dry. A very pleasant mouthfeel.

D: A good beer, very good actually. Complex, well balanced and tasty. But one of the best beers in the world? Perhaps not, in my humble opinion.

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Photo of UA8
3.93/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark burnt caramel color with a thin off white head.

Smell is complex with big yeasty notes and a touch of golden raisin. However whats somewhat off putting is a a funky urea smell.

Tastes fairly malt forward with caramel and raisin notes coming forward with backnotes of the funky belgian yeast and finishes pear sweet.

Mouthfeel is smooth and silky with an extremely smooth carbonation.

Overall I'm not blown away by this beer especially when it comes so highly rated. It is a solid example of the style with some funky Trappist notes.

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Photo of daythree16
3.94/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to phil7568 for this one.

Pours a dark brown with sudsy white one-finger head that fades pretty quickly. Lots of carbonation evident from the tiny bubbles rising to the surface. Full of suspended sediment...I mean FULL. The bigger pieces begin to settle out, but lots of smaller particles remain.

Smell is sweet, dark fruit. Big raisiny aroma with some prunes as well. Taste is similar to the aroma, with the alcohol being pretty forward. It's hard to pick out a lot of flavors due to the almost immediate alcohol burn.

Mouthfeel is on the heavy side of medium. I was almost expecting a chewy feel based on the look, but it's really pretty smooth. Drinkability is decent. I still think the Westmalle Dubbel is better. As far as Wesvleteren goes, I think this one is better than the blonde, but not as good as the 12. Very happy I got to try it, though.

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Photo of geetlord
3.94/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A friend braught this back from his travels to share with me.
This beer poured a reddish amber with a very thick foamy head but suprisingly littel aroma. I did manage to catch hints of fruits and some yeasts.
Teh flavor was supprisingly light though it had a gerat mouthfeel, full bodied with just the right amount of carbonation. It had a malty body with a slightly tart finish and some hints of alcohol at teh very end. thi beer put up a great appearance butt eh flavor and aroma somewhat left me feeling let down. it was still quite a good beer and very drnkable, and i would drink it again.

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Photo of tilbo
3.94/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown copper colour with a big creamy off white head with great retention. Strong aroma of dried fruit mostly plum also a bit of caramel and tobacco notes. flavour is very smooth low carbonation light dried fruit with a nice sweetness and well balanced bitterness. also the alcohol is barely noticeable. excellent beer

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Photo of glazeman
3.95/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter

A: The beer pours a murky brown and has a ½ finger off-white head. There is no ruby red aspect as in the 12. The head is relatively short-lived and there is only minimal lacing.

S: The smell is of dark fruits and roasted malts. It also has a little bit of what smells like coca-cola.

T: There was a lot more roasty malts than I expected. The middle consisted of some dark fruits, but nowhere near to the level of the 12. In the finsh was a little bit of hop bitterness followed by alcohol.

M: The carbonation in this bottle was much higher than in the 12. It was actually quite a bit more carbonated than I would have liked. Otherwise, it's light-bodied like the 12 and has a pretty good aftertaste.

D: Pretty good drinkability, but a lot less interesting than the 12. It was nice to try this, but I won't seek it out again.

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Photo of mcallister
3.95/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been waiting a few weeks to crack one of these beauties. Finishes off the top 10 BA brews for me until another makes its way to the top echelon.

Very nice looking ale here. Dark mahagony musty brown with some floaties and completely opaque. A wonderful tannish head is full and fluffy and has great retention and leaves some thin sticky lacing behind. Reminiscent of what you would think a monk would brew.

Damn fine nose that's damn hard to quit sniffing. Spicey apple tart, with sour bing cherries, candied sugar, stove top cooking caramel oozes olfactor gestures, belgian yeasts and other belgian spice, maple and brown sugar. Fig, white raisin, and dates as well. One fine fine nose on this beer.

Very nice beer but not as nice as the nose. A little burn in the chest as well even at 8%. Not as complex as the nose but big and meaty nonetheless. Very dry finish with a dried mixed berry end. Again fig and white raisin with hints of mollasses and maple. Nice malty mid palate with dominating toffee and caramel. Dates and prune fill things out and then some more ripe flavors of cherry and red baked apple. Mouth is creamy with moderate carbonation. Very good beer but not as complex in flavor as I anticipated.

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Photo of kappldav123
3.95/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The unlabeled bottle looks really good, the beer in the glass also. Starts modest malty, a little bit alcoholic, not too intense. Finish mild, notes of marzipan, warming. Harmonic aftertaste. Really good, but not as good as exspected. Thanks to HenrikSoegaard for the bottle!

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Photo of hayesez
3.98/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Long night in the office punching in some waypoints for our upcoming Idaho backpacking trip. What better way to prepare than to pop a Westy 8. 28.09.11 on the cap, so this one has been sitting in my basement for nearly a year and a half. I pull out a couple a year or so. I think I have determined that I enjoy the 8 more when it is young, as opposed to the 12 which I find to be the best about 3 years in. I'm not a huge fan of the Westy 8, although I still enjoy them - however, worthy of a review, of course.

Lots of sediment in the bottom so I took my time pouring into my Westvleteren chalice. Caramel colored brown with a very nice light sandy head. Settles about one centimeter high and has left an impressive amount of thick lace on the side. This continues throughout the beer.

Fair amount of varying smells going on here. I think time has increased the amount of apple on the nose, as it is easily the most dominant smell in the glass. There is also a decent amount of spiciness coming out as well as some sweetness - raisins and caramel.

Taste is also moved toward the apple fruitiness with the addition of the same sweetness I get on the nose. Definitely caramel, in addition to sweet raisins. Even a bit of honey. This bottle has a bit more bitterness at the finish which usually isn't as prominent. It's also significantly more dry than when consumed fresh. I can already sense that my numbers are going to be a bit lower than with a fresh bottle. I promise to re-review it the next time I open a fresh one. The mouthfeel is still as impressive as always. Smooth, velvety, medium-bodied with perhaps just a touch too much carbonation. The tastes is still just extremely complex. There is a ton going on in there and as I near the end and finish my warmed brew, there is a noticeable increase in a chocolatey and spicy component. The alcohol is a bit more noticeable as well.

I know this beer is chosen by many as the best of the Westvleteren beers. I still gotta go with a nice aged Westy 12. While this is certainly a good brew, I don't think it quite matches the uniqueness or complexity of their quadruple. Easy to drink, unfortunately it's never much more than 11 ounces when given the opportunity. One of these days we'll make it over to Belgium again and review it in quantity from the source!

Consumed: 6/19/2010

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Photo of heterotopia
3.98/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A gift my boyfriend brought back for me from Belgium.

A: Like the bottle that contains it, the color was nothing of note -- translucent chestnut color that many beers of its kind have.

S: The smell was delightful, of flan (a type of custard found in Spanish speaking countries). It was intoxicating.

T: Nutella and flan were the prominent flavors. The undertones were subtle jams and gentle bitterness.

M: Light, smooth and slightly creamy.

O: It's a light version of St. Bernardus 8, which I favor over Westvleteren 8. Way too much hype. It's a great dubbel, but there are better ones out there.

Still, it's much better than Westvleteren 12.

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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 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 DavoleBomb
4/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. 21.01.14 printed on cap.

3.5 A: Murky dark brown color. Three fingers of frothy beige head. Retention is average I suppose and a small amount of lacing is left.

3.5 S: The aroma is very subtle. Pepper is the strongest component. Raisin and plum underneath followed by clove. Clean with a light earthiness.

4.0 T: Taste is more potent than the nose for sure. Big peppery spiciness with clove not too far behind. Plum, raisin, date, and fig fruitiness. Warming on finish.

4.5 M: Lighter body. Good spritzy carbonation. Good creaminess and super smooth.

4.5 D: A couple categories could have been a touch higher, so 4.5 here. This is a lot like the 12. Super well integrated, subtle, and infinitely clean. But, unlike the 12, this is perhaps a bit too subtle and you really have to concentrate to enjoy it. Still, good beer.

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

33 cl bottle shared by the house wine lover himself- I must admit that before we even tried this one, we seriously considered dumping this out, and in its place, pouring Fuller’s London Porter, mixed with Vodka to create a clone. Then we had an even better idea, why not buy a bottle of La Terrible, and add water to it, to bring the ABV down? Wouldn’t it be the same thing? Deep chestnut, pours and emits a thin, tight bubbled beige skin. Apples, plums, prunes, fig, pear, and orages give way to spices (cinnamon) and a mildly smoky malt with subtle hops. Ohh my. Very fruity flavours, that pretty much mimic the aroma, nutmeg and other spices, very earthy and full. Dry, flavourful, lingering finish. Yes, I like it. Thanks Mr.S!

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

When you pour it, it sounds like a cola with its fizzy, lively head. Bubbles steam up the sides, again much like a coke, but with this beer, the head stays, but forms an odd concave surface as the middle starts to fade, but the outside stay much the same, reinforced by the constant bubbling. Head lacks the creaminess of the 12. Initial flavor is surprisingly realistic cocoa. There was some complexity, but that was the big flavor. Not as complex or as balanced as it's big brother.

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Photo of tarheels86
4/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330mL from In De Vrede. I'm not a big Westy 8 fan. 12? Yes. Blonde? Even more so yes.

A- Pours a cloudy mahogany to deep, hazed amber with a thin, khaki head.

N- Bready, yeasty, lots of boozy caramel, brown sugar, dark fruits.

T- Sweet, lots of candi sugar, plums, figs, brown sugar.

P- Soft, mild carbonation, milk chocolate rich, slightly oily.

Really not any better than your normal Dubbel. Prolonged aging seems to give this more lemon, chalk, and mustiness whereas the 12 gains oil, ganache, heavy butter, and melted chocolate.

Definitely my least favorite of the Westy bunch.

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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 mschofield
4/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark ruby red, topped with a two finger creamy tan head, leaves broken webs of lacing in my Westvleteren chalice.
Fruity aroma, plenty of malt with an alcohol tingle.
Cherry, plum, candy and flowers in the taste, a little powdery, a small note of nuts.
Medium bodied and quite dry, very drinkable.

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

A- A nice hazy caramel brown with medium head and good lacing. Looks a lot like the 12.

S- Alcohol is prominent with some citrus, cloves, and white grapes.

T- Clove, yeast, big herbal/leafy hops, a bit of light roasted malt, is this a dubbel that drinks like a tripel? Interesting.

M- A bit prickly, high carbonation, a drier finish than I'd like.

D- A bit too prickly, really tasty though. Just behind the 12, but very good in its own right.

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

Bottle at In de Vrede. My second time having this beer there. From notes.

A - Poured a dark brown with red notes. Creamy one finger beige head. Some slight filmy lacing was left and typical head retention that looked really good.

S - Good dark fruit aroma. Quite nice. Some hop and yeast as well.

T - Spice fairly obvious. Yeast, booze, and more yeast. Dark fruit dominated by the yeast character and spice mixed in. A little sweet.

M - Medium to full body and good carbonation with a slight alcoholic note in the finish.

O/D - Good beer. Nice dark fruit flavour mixed with other well represented elements. I think this is the weakest of the Westvleteren beers with the Blonde being my second favourite but this was still very drinkable and very tasty. And like all the other Westy beers, so smooth and extremely easy to drink 3 before you notice you finished 1.

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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 rapidsequence
4/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle. Picked up at at the brewery cafe last year. Its almost exactly one year old.

Appearance: A lot of chill haze in this now. Dark amber brown. I'm guessing it will clear with warming. Excellent tight head with good retention and lacing.

Smell: Raisin-date-fig spectrum of dark fruits. All grain toast. HInt of alcohol.

Taste: As expected from the smell. Nice complexity of flavor. Ends with some toasty, husky grain flavors and is drier than you would expect, but seems less so as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Lively carbonation, smooth and slightly sticky at first, but the aforementioned dryness starts to take over a bit at the end. Ultimately lasting rich flavors in the finish.

Overall: A very good beer. The flavors are a bit more like a small quad than that of a large dubbel. The dryness took me by surprise. A great Belgian, but its much better on draft at the source.

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

Served from bottle into a champagne glass. Bought in Brussels (but I've also had it at the brewery's cafe a year ago).

A: Brown, medium head.

S: Strong molasses / caramel smell, with a touch of fruit and honey.

T: Sweet and caramel flavors. Tasty, but not super complex.

M: Medium body and carbonation; quite drinkable, compared with the Westvleteren 12.

O: It's a good abbey beer, to be sure. But is it considerably better than something like a Westmalle dubble? I doubt it. The Westvleteren 12 is too strong and not much more complex, though, so I think it's the best of the (overrated) bunch.

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Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
4.48 out of 5 based on 2,094 ratings.
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