The ocasual beverage: Trappist Westvleteren 8

Last year we decided to go to Brussels for 3 days where we visited the city and a art exhibition arranged by students from The Netherlands. During this trip we stumbled upon a liquor merchant which had a lot of crates of the Westvleteren beer standing outside, this immediately catched our attention and we went inside to buy Westvleteren 8, 12 and the Westvleteren blond.

For those who don’t know Trappist Westvleteren: Westleveteren is a beer that’s only sold once a year at the monastery/abbey, your license plate is registered and you’re only allowed to get a limited amount of crates, this makes the beer exclusive and it can be quite expensive if you compare it to your regular beer.

The brand

Westvleteren 8 is sharing the name of the village where it’s being brewed in the Saint Sixtus abbey which is located in Vleteren. The beer got a great deal of attention by being a very exclusive beer. The monks at the Saint Sixtus abbey started brewing in 1838 and started selling the beer to the general public about 100 years later in 1931.

A couple of years later the neighbouring brewery of the St. Bernardus beer was granted a license to brew beer under the Saint Sixtus name, however, that agreement has ended in 1992 but the brewery still brews beer in the same style as the Saint Sixtus abbey but uses different names.

For more information, visit Wikipedia.

The beer

Westvleteren 8 is a dark beer and separates itself from the other two beers which are brewed at the abbey (12 & Blond). Although the Westvleteren 12 is considered to be the most popular beer, the Westvleteren 8, doesn’t have to back down in any way.

As a lot of other reviewers tend to say, the color of the Westvleteren 8 is dark red, however, from what I’ve seen it was more a true dark (black) color and didn’t have a red glow when viewed through a light.

The bottle

The artwork on the bottle give you a medieval atmosphere where people are working on the field harvesting crops to brew the beer. The way how they have displayed this, is attractive to the person buying the beer (it is for me at least).


The pour

The pour of Westvleteren 8 isn’t difficult and get’s you a nice glass of beer quite easily. The foam, with any other dark beer is white/yellow-ish and has nice thick texture.

The scent

Westvleteren 8 has a fresh and bitter smell which is also quite soft.

The taste

The taste of Westvleteren 8 does not directly reflect the smell the beer has. When you take your first sip of Westvleteren 8 you tase the bitterness you taste with every beer, but the taste you get afterwards resembles a sweet and caramel like taste.

This combination of flavours gives the Westvleteren 8 a soft taste which I like very much. When you’ve finished the beer you’re eager to take another one.

Westvleteren 8 has a 8% of alcohol by volume (ABV).


Throughout the years I’ve heard a lot about Westvleteren and it’s rarity. During this time the suspense to give it a try was continuously building up. This also means that my expectations were growing even further and I must say the Westvleteren 8 does meet my expectations of a beer with this status. The bitter but soft taste makes it a very good beer to drink at special moments or just to relax a bit with a good movie or dinner (check out this other review of Westvleteren 8 which also describes how you can combine Westvleteren 8 culinarily).

Have you been a proud owner of Westvleteren 8 and couldn’t resist to open the bottle? Share your experience!

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