I think I'm about to hit Beer Nirvana

After 20 years of diligent research, I think I’ve come to the end of the road. I’ve travelled thousands of miles and abused my liver more times than is healthy, but I’m there. After this point, I have no idea where to go or what may lay ahead. All is shrouded in mist (or my beer goggles are misted up).

Before me is a bottle of Westvleteren 8. It’s supposed to be one of the best beers in the world. It’s definitely one of the rarest. To buy it, you have to call the monastery in advance. Then you have to arrange a day to pick up a single case. They write down your car number plate in order that you can only visit once per year.

Here goes…

Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug!


Bloody Americans :slight_smile:

Tapioca Dextrin: let us know what it’s like! Comparisons to other Belgian beers would be appreciated by me at least.

Well??? Let’s hear it!


That sounds annoyingly gimmicky, but I’d love to try it anyway.

Damn it! I had a long post on this and the hamsters just ate it. To briefly reitterate:

Westvleteren 12 is supposed to be beer nirvana. I’ve had it. Its good. But when I drank it I thought “it tastes almost exactly like St. Bernardus 12”.

Do yourself a favor and get St. Bernardus 12. The abbey that brews St. Bernardus used to brew Westvleteren on a contract basis, but stopped in the early 1990’s due to the new legal requirement that Trappist beers be brewed within the walls of a Trappist monestary.

The St. Bernardus Abbey in Watou started marketing their own beer. St. Bernardus 12 is made with the SAME recipe that they used to use to contract brew Westvleteren 12.. Really. Its almost identical. And you can drink it anytime - Its easy to find in any good bottle shop at about 10-12 dollars a 750 ml bottle.

Go get some!

You know what I like? Ommegang Rouge. But you can’t get it in bottles.

I will look for the St. Bernardus 12. My local liquor store has an amazing selection.

It’s dark. Coke colour. Good tight persistent head. God it’s dry. Not a hint of residual sugar. Lots of coffee and chocolate aromas. Some burnt toffee flavours. Dry, tangy and bitter aftertaste. That aftertaste is very persistence and very good. I can feel my palette drying out.

Second mouthful. There’s a very fruity, very alcoholic mouth feel. Almost like decent cognac, but swallowing brings the massively dry and malty beeriness. It’s quite unlike any other beer I’ve ever tried.

I like it :smiley:

St Bernardus 12 is my favorite beer; I second this. And pleased I’ve apparently already found beer nirvana and don’t have to go looking for it. :smiley: The St. Bernardus 6 and 8 are quite good as well.

Okay, I’m off to my local gourmet beer shop to see if they have any St Bernardus 12. Sounds like I need to give it a try.

You’ll leave a happy man. I didn’t know about the Westvleteren/St. Bernardus history when I tried the Westvleteren 12. The similarities in taste just really struck me so I went to look it up.

St. Bernardus 12 is one of my favorites as well, but I now that it is getting warmer I find it a bit heavy - I prefer hefeweizens in the spring/summer. Come September i’ll be bask to St. Bernardus.

The local supermarket (of all places!) carries St. Bernardus 12 and it is indeed excellent.

I’m a huge Ommegang fan (I’ve posted more than once here about their offerings, particularly the Three Philosophers.) I never tried the Rouge. Tell me about it!!

How much better is this more rarified variant of Trappist beer than say, the more commercially available beers from Chimay?

I’ve never heard of St Bernardus and Westvleteren…does Chimay stack up or is this a whole 'nother galaxy of beer?

I’m also a fan of the St. Bernardus 8.

Hmm, might have to stop at Hopleaf after I have dinner at Sun Wah tonight.

I like Chimay fine, particularly the Cinque Cents. The St. Bernardus is deeper, and richer.

Chimay is great (well, the red leaves a bit to be desired but the blue or white are very nice). I have a soft spot in my heart for Chimay, as it is the brew that got me to begin my life as a beer hound. I always thought I hated beer, never started drinking it until grad school.

(My dad drinks a lot of beer and I hated it growing up. He drinks cheap stuff. I found out as an adult that he loves good beer but since my mom does the shopping she always bought the cheapest thing as he would go through a case in about 3 days. Given the opportunity, he drinks the better brews.)

Chimay showed me that beer can be awesome - I moved from that to the other trappist ales, to belgians, to german brews, then to the wonderful world of American microbrews.

All the trappist ales are excellent. Its difficult, however, to say that one trappist is “better” than another. Take Orval, for instance. Orval is one of the more unique trappist brews. It is, by all accounts, an excellent beer.

I can’t stand it. it is one of the only belgians that I had to pour down the sink (and at $9 for a 330 ml bottle, that HURT). It has a characteristic flavor known, interestingly, as “horse blanket”. And to me that’s exactly what it tasted like.

Many people love this beer. I hate it. But I would never say its a bad beer - its excellent. Just not to my taste.

Try everything you can, you never know what you will like or dislike!

I’ve tasted Westvleteren before, but whether it was a 8 or 12 has been lost to time and beer haze. A friend of mine went on a trip to France and took a detour to Belgium specifically for that beer. She ended up having to hitchhike in order to get there in time. From what I remember, it was a beer you could almost chew through. The foam had this delicate, smooth flavor that tasted almost like caramel bread and the beer was complex and nutty. It was probably a 8 since I remember she wanted to keep at least one bottle for a few more years in order to age it some more.

We had several different trappist ales that night, starting with Chimay, then Orval, then a Trappist Rochefort, and finally the Westvleteren. They’re all pretty good, but there’s definitely a huge quality jump between the Chimay and Westvleteren. Just as a counterpoint to mozchron, I thought Orval was great. I don’t remember much about it besides the fact that I liked it more than everyone else (we were drinking quite a bit), but it did have a distinct sharpness to it. However, it was a good contrast to the other beers. My only regret about the Westvleteren is that I had it before my palate matured enough to fully appreciate it.

I’d say it was better. Definitely more intense and more flavourful. Of course, sometimes the journey is more important than the end result :smiley: