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

814 Reviews
Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII)Trappist Westvleteren 8 (VIII)

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)

Style: Dubbel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
(Blue Cap)

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-03-2001

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Reviews: 814 | Ratings: 2,144
Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.85/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

330ml bottle poured in its own chalice.

I've kept this beers stored for almost three years before open it. Best before 7th of June, 2011. Consumed at 15th of March, 2012 in perfect condition. Completely alive beer :)

A: Pours a nutty brown color and a big light beige head. Fizzy and "alive" carbonation. Good retention, it never disappeared leaving a thin small bubbled head. No lacings and a lot of dark particles floating around

S: Very bready. Very yeasty. Fruity, but moderate on these regards. Caramel malts. Hints of roasted malts. Toffee. Hints of alcohol

T: Follows the nose: Brown breauud, caramel malts, toffee, dark fruits, Belgian yeasts. A bit sweet upfront and a very moderate bitterness. Alcohol sensation

M: Medium creamy and bit molasses body. Moderate carbonation

O: Honestly: Fantastic beer! Despite of the hype around Westys, there's no way to deny that, this is a just another perfect beer made by the Sint Sixtus monks

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Photo of mwa423
4.85/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

To congratulate myself for getting a new job, I decided it was the night to jump into the cellar with a Westy 8.

A - Poured a very dark brown that only when you hold up to a bright light will you get hints of red. The head is a dingy off white that sticks to the glass till the bottom!

S - The fruity and yeasty flavors that define the dubbel fill the nose here. Lots of dried fruit, yeast, with a backbone of caramel, hint of cocoa.

T - A mouth filling and coating rich beer. The flavors include what I would normally call dark roast malt, dried fruit, fig, raisin, with a tart aftertaste that reminds me of the average saison.

M/D - When reviewing a world class beer like this, it seems like you never want to drink more than one for want of being mad at yourself for dipping that far into your stash. However, the clean finish on this beer makes it exceedingly drinkable, I imagine that this is what monks kill 6-8 of per night to keep the faith. The mouthfeel is basically perfect for the style!

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Photo of pheggeseth
4.85/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

07/07/10 on the cap. All glory laud and honor to PHawk for the trade.

A: pours a darkish gold settling into a dark semi-opaque ruby brown, two finger tan head with a creamy composition
S: gentle spices, tart apples, raspberry mixed with phenol, sweetness in the back
T: first impression very smooth, intricate layers of flavor underneath, chocolate and toffee mixed with dark fruit (black cherry or date?), subtle spiciness emerges from the middle, some sugary sweetness (like carmelized brown sugar) and bready yeast as it tapers, slight hoppy tang right at the end as it warms, I could probably go on forever
D: so smooth and subtle it's a challenge to truly appreciate it. I could pound it, but I know it'd be a sin. Wonderful.

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Photo of FloridaDrinker
4.85/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I finally scored a few bottles of this amazing beer. Poured into a goblet, the dark brown liquid was topped by a frothy head that slowly dissipated. The aroma was very complex, with hints of raisins, figs and spices. The flavor of sweet malt and candi sugar, figs, raisins, cinnamon and a slight sour note of cherries was followed by a lingering hop bitterness. Carbonation was spot on, just enough to notice without detracting from the smoothest mouthfeel I've experienced in a beer. This is a very complex tasting beer - every sip brings a new flavor, yet it's all smoothly integrated into a surprisingly drinkable brew.

Quite honestly, it's currently the best beer I've ever tasted.

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Photo of d3brewing
4.86/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Grabbed one of these bad boys while waking around Belguim summer 2015 and fell in love. This was the most impressive beer I drank in all of Europe. The secondary stores you can buy them from mark it up 400% but it was worth it. Found it @ a bar in Ghent for less and drank every bottle they had. Enjoyed it more than the XII. Seek this beer out, sell your 1st born of one, it's worth it.

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Photo of dmitrosan
4.86/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A great soft, complicated and balanced aroma! Very rich taste that becomes different with every next sip. Soft alcoholness and kind hop bitterness. A very long nutty aftertaste that becomes fruity at the end. Amazing beer!

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Photo of santoslhalper
4.87/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearence: Pours a seductive dark browin with a thin, fizzy beige head.

Smell: The nose is full of complexity, with hints of wood, fruit, and so much more. Candy sugar is also a huge component of the sniff.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Holy god. What a phenomenal tastying beer. So much complexity, yet it's all very balanced and very tasteful. The fruit notes are huge, with cherries, grapes and many other great characteristics. There is a sugary sweet quality to it that rounds off the incredible fruitness very well. The mouthfeel is full, creamy, and very smooth.

Drinkability and Overall: Well wouldn't you know it. This is damn near as good as the 12, if not better. It's smoother and more balanced, while not quite as complex. This beer is truly one of the world's best. Westvletern is the best of the Trappist breweries I've tried. The balance and complexity they achieve is unmatched by any other beer on the market. This is a remarkably smooth, tasty, complex, and delicate beer, that is perfect for any occassion. One of the world's best.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
4.87/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Phawk for the bottle.

Poured into a Westmalle goblet with a good head and great lacing. I did see a small amount of dark yeast fall into the glass before I could stop the pour. Dark color almost like a light American normal stout, but it let's a purple-like color come through all over, not just the sides. Sweet malty and candy sugar tones waft into my nose. Still smell a bitter flavor inside of the sweetness. Mouthfeel gives a well carbonated, but smooth feel. Like drinking a highly carbonated pop/soda/coke without the bite. The taste is malty, slightly sweet, with spices and a lightly sweet cane sugar background. Very drinkable beer. Very enjoyable. Overall, if I lived in Belgium I would drink this more often it's so good.

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Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.87/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: poured from a 330 mL bottle into a chalice at the abbey cafe, dark red brown with a short white head that lingers leaving good lacing, clear

S: lighter smells of dark fruit, raisins, figs, dark bread

T: sweeter and less intense than 12, figs, raisins, dark fruits, yeast

M: full bodied and slightly creamy

O: more approachable than 12 with similar flavors but less intense

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Photo of Damian
4.87/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Drank from a 33 cl bottle
28 10 09 was stamped on the cap
Served in a chalice

Acquired in a trade with nathan15

Review #400

The beer poured a deep chestnut color with ruby highlights when held to the light. A dense, creamy, tan, two-finger head capped the liquid. The head faded to a thick creamy ring and a lasting film. Some trickling lacing cascaded down the glass.

The aroma was amazingly unique and complex. Semi-sweet, fruity and malty rich with indications of dark candi sugar. Somewhat boozy. A unique, floral-like, Belgian yeast strain was immediately detectable, and it became more pronounced as the beer warmed. Some red wine-like characteristics were noticeable as well.

The taste was amazingly smooth and delicate. The first thing that hit me was the Belgian yeast strain that is so apparent in both the Westvleteran 8 and 12 beers. Pungent, flowery and slightly creamy. Very intriguing. Caramel malts came through up front. Dark, fruity, plum and raisin notes appeared in the center. Brown sugar and spice notes (clove and allspice) were also quite noticeable. A touch woody. As the beer warmed, the spiciness intensified. A slight twang came through on the crisp, off-dry, somewhat cider-like finish.

The mouthfeel was initially light, creamy, pillowy and amazingly supple on the palate, but it became less appealing with time. As the beer sat, the liquid became thinner and the carbonation seemed to turn more prickly.

Drinkability was outstanding. This beer was so incredibly smooth, balanced and flavorful. Furthermore, the 8% ABV was amazingly well hidden.

If I had to use one word to describe this beer it would be "graceful." Truly world-class in every sense.

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Photo of clvand0
4.87/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours the cloudy brown that I've become accustomed to with excellent Belgian beers. This one has quite a bit more head than the Rocheforts and the Westy 12. The aroma is great - smells of fruits with an undertone of alcohol. The taste is wonderfully smooth - must like the Westy12, but the taste reminds me a lot of the Rochefort 8. This is one of the best beers I've had along with the others mentioned above. If you've not had this, it's worth the high price. It leaves a great fruity taste on the palate after drinking. I could drink this beer all night if it weren't so expensive.

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

Found this at a bar in Brugges. I was excited to try it. It poured very nicely into a chalice. There was not much head, but the color was a beautiful brown, cloudy, with particles in it. It smelled sweet; plum, sugar and faint alcohol. The taste is excellent, very sweet but complex, fruit and sugar with slight bitterness. The mouthfeel was surprisingly crisp. That said it was not thin. I actually preferred this to the 12. One of the best beers I have ever had. Try it if you get a chance.

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Photo of Bisho
4.88/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drank this at the cafe directly across from the abbaye itself so it was super fresh!
Let me start by saying it is probably close to perfect and I do prefer it over its big brother the 12. It has all the flavours of the 12 without the extra sweetness and is more well rounded.
The balance is impeccable considering the complexity of the brew. The only thing that lets it down is the exclusivity of the beer. This may add to its charm but I may never get to try it again and that really pisses me off!!

If you are lucky enough to get the chance to try it, do not pass it up. A true world class belgian, worthy of its reputation.

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Photo of bierman2000
4.88/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This may be the best dark malty beer in Belgium. Creamy smooth and with enough punch to hit you after you've decided to stand up from the bar or table. Excellent with cheese and the foamy Belgian lace and sweet aroma make this another outstanding Westvletern product. Get some if you can find it.

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


Vintage 1997. aged 10 years before sampling 12/31/07.

A: Poured a deep, hazy mahogany red with a beautiful fluffy light beige head that was mostly lasting leaving a thin film lacing on the sides of the glass. There were small and numerous suspend yeast particles dancing about.

S: On the nose was dark, caramelized molasses, and dried fruit (plums, raisins, cherries) with just a touch of figs.

T: The initial flavor was miraculous, full of the rich flavors of ripe fruit (raisins, apples, dates) along with a rich creamy caramelized malting that was silky and smooth. The mouthful was full, with a rich sweet caramel and warm fruit coming through. There was a sweet spiciness (light brown sugar, maple syrup) alogn with a beautiful arm toastiness, and light woody notes. The alcohol was incredibly hidden for its abv of 8.0%abv.

M: The carbonation was incredibly smooth and soft with a silky smooth texture.

D: Overall a perfectly balanced beer with a rich maltiness full of caramel and maple syrup sweetness with a vast complexity of dried fruit. Drinks like a dream leaving a sweet malty lacing behind. Believe it, its not just hype, truly a standout beer amongst all others and the best beer in the world.

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Photo of rye726
4.88/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Mahogany color with nice bubbling from the bottom. An absolutely perfect creamy tan head.

Earthy malts, dark sugars, ripe fruits, spicy yeast and citrus hops. Really grows as it warms.

Very complex and well balanced. Chocolate, caramel, honey, dried fruits and buttery malts. Also a nice presence of peppery Belgian yeasts and earthy hops.

Full and creamy up front with a much drier finish. Perfect carbonation.

A superbly balanced beer that can be enjoyed any time. Pairs well with most any meal. Fantastic example of the style.

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Photo of shigg85
4.88/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Purchased from Tanakaya in Mejiro, Tokyo. Poured into an also newly purchased Trappistes Rochefort wide-rimmed goblet. I can't even begin to describe this wonderful brew in words that conform to a language I speak. A lovely caramel-colored head covered the black-brown brew from beginning to end, releasing all of the magical scents that again escape known words. I drank it, and it warmed my soul. Then, I drank more and it made me smile. I continued to drink and continued to grow more and more in love with it. If you have the chance (and the money) to buy this beer, do not pass on it. It is worth the search and the cash.

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

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

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

It's time once again to add a little beer to this mug of mine. Since the first addition to the glass was Westvleteren 12, I've decided to keep it in the family and go with Westvleteren 8, the best dubbel on the planet according to those whom I respect and admire.

Pecan shell brown that takes on more of an auburn hue with orange highlights when backlit. The voluminous toast brown head appears frothysoft, but is deceptively firm with a supernatural persistence. This beer is simply beautiful in the glass. Lovely aroma of heavily toasted caramel, dried fruit (apples, figs) steeped in brandy, and spice (cinnamon, allspice). The nose is complex to be sure, although it could be a mite stronger.

Wonderful flavor; delicious. My first impression is that, although there are many flavors to be had in this bottle, the beer is unquestionably a seamless, individual entity. As I drink, I actually have a mental image of a sphere that has multiple and varied components, but is first and foremost a perfectly smooth whole. My first bottle of exceptional wine was an eye opening experience because it introduced me to the concept of what I like to call 'volume'. This beer has an superabundance of volume.

When a beer is this well-crafted, this flavorful, this complex and this nuanced, when it has a body that is at once full and silky smooth, each mouthful seems to completely fill the mouth, to have such a depth and breadth of flavor and body that it expands into three dimensions and push the boundaries of sensation. That, my friends, is the best way that I can devise to describe the loveliness that is Westvleteren 8.

The flavor profile is amazingly similar to the nose, but much more satisfying ('tis the taste, the actual imbibing that I crave). Sweet, dark caramel-toffee, brandy-soaked cherries, leather, good bourbon... combined with a grace and a lightness of touch that will make your very soul weep with pleasure.

Is Westvleteren 8 better than Westvleteren 12? My vote is an unqualified 'yes'. I could drink this every day for the rest of my life and not tire of its myriad charms. This is as soul satisfying and as life affirming as beer gets.

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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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Photo of GClarkage
4.89/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12/29/05- Purchased at Jackson's Wine and Spirits in Lafayette, CA.

Presentation- 11.2oz bottle without any dating. Purchased over a year ago though. Consumed out of my St. Bernardus goblet.

Appearance- Dark caramel colored pour. A full inch of head which settles into a nice 1/8 inch rim throughout. Moderate lacing for a dubbel.

Smell- A dark roasted caramel malt base, followed by a sweet dark fruity smell. Plums and raisins mainly. Hits of anise also detected. Best smelling dubbel I have set my nose upon.

Taste- Almost has a grape jolly rancher kinda taste going. That combined with plums and maybe a taste of over ripe dates. Nonetheless it has a wonderful fruit barage going on. After the sweetness goes away it leaves a nice darker caramel malt flavor in the back of your mouth.

Mouthfeel- A tad thick and a tad creamy at that. Medium carbonation and slightly warming.

Drinkability- By far the most flavorful dubbel I have tried. I usually am not really a fan of dubbel's, but this one I would gladly drink all the time if it was readily available. Highly recommended.

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Photo of taez555
4.89/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer poured a big white/tan head with a dark brown body.

The nose was simply amazing. Phenols, grapes, dark malts, dark plums, raisins, mild chocolate, caramel. Very port like.

The taste was also just as impressive. Medium bodied with a very fine carbonation. Sweet with lots of dark roasted malt flavors. Dates, raisins, chocolate, caramel, toffee, and dark bitter cherries as it warms. Definitely a slight citrus flavor like lime peel or grapefruit juice. A smooth woody flavor as well. Oak, faint tobacco or smoke, almost like the inside of a charred barrel. It had a very faint earth hop flavor, but mostly a soft bitterness and light alcohol warmth.

This beer took its time to fade and ended with a long bitter and raison finish.

Basically this is an amazing beer. Beautiful combination of all the dark malts and bitter fruit flavors. All in perfect balance and harmony. I actually like this better than the abt 12. Almost worth the $8 a bottle.

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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 mynie
4.89/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very nice pour. Wonderful dark burgundy with a long lasting white head that settles into a white cap.

Smells of very intense flowers and fruity yeast. Fanstatic! This is Masla Mama of yeasty Belgians--it's not as huge with its potporri alcohol like rainbows and unicorns--but that's good. The rainbow comes without rain, and unicorns without heavy hooves and unicorn shit (which is pretty, yes, but smells MUCH worse than regular horse shit).

Slow sip. Very fizzy. Very fizzy. I taste the fizz. That moves into a dull, over ripe, and almost perfectly sweet fruit. The ending is odd but not bad--it tastes kind of like the way your whole mouth feels after a shot of novacaine. No kidding. Intense black dullness that light cannot escape. In the same way that liquid nitrogen is sold cold it can burn you, so is this dullness so dull that it's a flavor, a far drawn, negative yeast that just tastes like the anti-taste, which actually tastes pretty good. A far cry from the nose, yes, but still very nice.

This is a wonderful beer. I don't know if I'd say it was quite as good as the 12, but it surely come close.


Okay, here's the deal. When I first poured this, it was too cold. All the intensity remained, but it was confined. Like seventeen pitbulls in a shoebox, it was confined. Now that's it's warmed, the big fruit yeast of the nose comes in at the start, wonderfully sweet and balanced perfectly against a dryly sweet malt middle and a kick of honest to god hops.

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Photo of Wegomlegging
4.9/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful deep brown, pulled back on the pour for clarity (my preference). Wonderful sweet smell that's hard to pin down. It's just awesome. Tasted slightly sweet with full flavor mix of perfectly combined malt and yeast, again very hard to describe accurately without going too far down any one road. Plum notes show up in the flavor, but don't linger too long. Very nice going down in full-flavored swallows. If there's a downside here, which is hard to find, it might be too sweet to drink all night.

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