Saturday, July 17, 2010

Wesvleteren 8 tasting

My good friend Forrest told me that he was sending a few beers my way from his last trip to the Netherlands. I was expecting something cool from a Dutch brewery, but he blew my mind by sending some Westvleteren (8, 12) and Drie Fonteinen (Oude Geuze Vintage 2005) bottles! After an exhausting 13 hour day at Alameda, washing kegs and doing a beer tasting at a local grocery market, I figured I owed myself a treat, so I broke out the bottle of Westy 8.

Aroma: Lactic acid and some barnyard, dark fruit aromas like plum and prune. Light bubblegum and floral esters, some pineapple. No hops, alcohol is very subdued. Some light oxidation coming through as coconut.

Appearance: Big frothy tan head and a murky auburn to brown color. High carbonation. Some chunks made it into the glass, probably kicked up by the high carbonation.

Flavor: Rich fruity plum / caramel flavor, very deep. Some banana, some acetone flavor from higher alcohols. Significant bitterness and actually finishes fairly aggressively, but not much hop aroma or flavor.

Mouthfeel: Prickly high carbonation, medium body, warming finish.

Overall: I think this is probably not the beer in its best condition unfortunately. I would guess it has been "warm aged" in a bottle shop, because it is still displaying a fair amount of acetone and higher alcohols that would probably dissipate with time if properly cellared. There is definitely some lactic acid, most likely from a little brett sneaking in and taking over and adding a funky note that isn't bad, but probably isn't supposed to be there. Still after all that, this beer is enjoyable and it is a delight to get to try it firsthand!

Thanks again Forrest! I'm looking forward to trying the other 2 beers, and I'm hopeful that the Westy 12 and the Geuze made it in better condition!


forrest said...

that's too bad. while I'm no qualified beer taster, i've tried the 8 and 12 at Cafe Gollum in de Pijp, Amsterdam with much better results. maybe the 12 will have fared better? i remember it being very big, soft, cigar, and chocolate. we'll just have to take a road trip to the Abbey when you come visit :)

Seanywonton said...

A Westvleteren visit? I don't think you'd have to twist my arm about that one. ; )