Unknown to anyone, I have been keeping four bottles of Westvleteren 8 in a secret location ever since we visited the abbey last year. Of course, I tasted Westvleteren 8 at that time, but I wanted to save a few to see what a little age would do.
The fruity tastes we noticed a year ago were indeed gone. Twelve months had taken away sweetness and added liquorice. It seemed more bitter, even slightly astringent. Interestingly, however, that over-sharp aspect dies away after the beer sits for a bit. My conclusion: one year in the bottle adds some interesting flavours if, once poured, you let the beer breathe in the glass for 15 or 20 minutes.
I had this beer on Sunday via video link with Brian, who will be here in Brussels in a few weeks. We’ll try two of those remaining three bottles, and I’ll report back...