Westvleteren 8 is the next beer in my Westvleteren tasting flight. This is the second beer in Westvleteren’s lineup. I’ve already reviewed the blond. On 12/12/12, the monastery and their US importer, Shelton Brothers, released limited edition 6-packs of Westvleteren XII with 2 glasses. That same day, NPR released an article and talked about the beer and the release on air. This added to what was already going to be a beer geek frenzy. I have several friends that work at beer shops that were going to be releasing the beer. One was answering the phone “We’re out of Westvleteren XII, This is (shop name). How can I help you?” The other simply unplugged their phone. The calls seemed to be a mix of girlfriends/wives who heard about the beer on NPR and wanted to buy it as a gift for their beer loving significant other or people who were obviously looking to buy and resell it. I’ve heard of it being posted on Ebay for up to $1,000. Thanks to some inside help from a friend, I managed to get one of the packs.
The 8, upon doing some research, is considered by many folks to be just as good as the XII. Some even prefer it. I haven’t tried an aged version of this beer, but reports are that it ages beautifully. This beer would fall in the Belgian Trappist Dubbel category.
Appearance: Brown with ruby highlights with the slightest touch of haze. Light tan head with great retention.
Aroma: Raisins, toffee, cinnamon, clove, cocoa, dates, and dried fruits.
Taste: Dates, dried fruits, candied fruits, spicy, rich. Sweetish but largely balanced with soft but persistent CO2 and a nice, full mouthfeel.
Overall Impression: Outstanding beer! I can see why people place it up there with the XII. I have one more bottle left that I brought home from Belgium. I’m tempted to leave it in my cellar for a year. I’m also tempted to bust it out and drink it now! The “best before” date on the cap is: 06.04.14 (April, 6 2014)
Availability: In Belgium, at the Monastery (De Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren). VERY RARE.