TRAPPIST WESTVLETEREN 8 - VINTAGE 2008
Along with the 12, the Westvleteren 8, or Westy 8, is regarded as a world-class beer. A Belgian Trappist Dubbel, 8 sits at 8% ABV and is produced in the same limited, year round schedule as the 12 and 6. Unlike the 12, the 8 isn't exactly one you strive to hang on to for a while since the style doesn't lend itself to age as well as the Quad, but it's not at all bad if you happen to stash a few bottles for a while. After all, it's not an easy beer to get.
As a note, with the date on the cap being 26.09.11, this beer is about 3 years past it's marked "enjoy by" date.
The aroma is made up of candied fruits, figs, grape, biscuit, and toasted grains. Still very well balanced. As it warms up, some spice comes out a bit. A note of cinnamon sticks and wood strikes through and caramel becomes very noticeable.
The taste is slightly sweet but with a bit of the earthy wood notes from the nose. It isn't as fruit forward as you'd expect from the aroma, but the fig is an underlying characteristic and so are the toasted grains. A bit of powdered cocoa develops as the beer opens up. It isn't as dimensional as it is when younger, and instead of perking up, the candied fruits are dissipating.
The 8 is a wonderful beer when fresh and even after a year or two, but after about 6 years it seems to have muddled up a bit and drinks more like a weak, soft barrel aged brown ale. I'd almost say it borders on a thin old ale, but it just lacks the caramelized sugars and sweet malt body. It's not awful but it's definitely a dimming bulb that is on the last leg. The 12 can go for a while, but the 8 should be kept within the 3 year after bottling enjoyment range as recommended on the cap.
WHAT IS CELLARED?
Our CELLARED series aims to explore the world of aging beer and sharing the effects of time in the bottle. Bottles have been kept away from light and at temperatures between 44-60 degrees. Individual experiences may vary depending on storage environments.