Westvleteren 8

Rating: 4.5

My second Westvleteren beer post in relatively quick succession now and what is the penultimate beer I have to review from last month’s first to Amsterdam; it’s taken me a while but there is light at the end of the tunnel now. This one follows on from the bottle of Westvleteren XII I recently reviewed and as it happens I was lucky enough to try both on the same day on my final night in Amsterdam. I ordered this bottle as my first beer in the Café De Spuyt bar after visiting once I’d found out they were one of the places in the city that frequently stocked Westvleteren beers although I can’t say I wasn’t tempted to order another bottle of the XII and probably would have if I thought I could handle a second bottle only a couple hours after the last. Anyway, that’s now two Westvleteren beers down and leaves me with only the Blond version left to try, hopefully I can pick a bottle up on my travels in the near future.

Westvleteren 8

Appearance (4/5): Quite a dark coloured brown, almost murky in appearance and it didn’t look all that different from Westvleteren 12 as I recall although the lighting in the bar I was in wasn’t the best. There was some sediment in the glass and the head was slightly thinner than I’d expected, sitting a fine, bubbly white colour on the top and just about managing to cover the surface of the beer.
Aroma (9/10): Not quite as strong on the nose as it’s bigger brother but it was a long way from being considered weak with quite a strong sweetness coming through early on alongside some dark, dried fruits such as prunes, dates and apricot. Some cherries also featured and the beer was quite malty with some caramel adding further sweetness towards the end.
Taste (9/10): Dark fruits kick things off in the taste department here with some plums, figs and dates coming through alongside the prunes and apricot from the nose. There was a lot of sweetness coming through as well with some spice and yeast thrown in for good measure and the beer had quite a malty taste that was complimented by some vanilla and banana flavours as well as some faint touches of bubblegum.
Palate (5/5): This one from Westvleteren was an exceptionally smooth and perfectly balanced beer that came through a little sweeter than I’d been expecting but went down a treat. The beer had good carbonation and came through lively and crisp yet still seemed creamy in places and it was also quite an easy beer to drink with only faint hints of the alcohol content showing as I worked my way down the glass.

Overall (18/20): Another absolutely amazing beer from Westvleteren, they’re two for two now and I’ll hopefully get to try the third beer in the roster sometime in the near future to find out if they can manage the clean sweep. This one was quite a sweet beer with a lot of dark fruits and caramel but the balance remained great and it was a pleasure to drink with a nice alcohol kick giving the beer a warming feel towards the end; excellent stuff.

Brewed In: Vleteren, West Flanders, Belgium
Brewery: Westvleteren Abdij St. Sixtus
First Brewed: Brewery since 1838
Also Known As: Westvleteren VIII
Type: Abbey Dubbel
Abv: 8.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Café De Spuyt (Amsterdam)
Price: €13.50 (approx. £10.00)

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