Rochefort Trappistes 10

Ten names, four countries: Orval, Chimay, Westvleteren, Rochefort, Westmalle, Achel (Belgium), La Trappe, Zundert (Netherlands), Engelszell (Austria) and Spencer (USA).

That short list comprises every Trappist brewery in existence. And is bound to win you at least one trivia night in your lifetime.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, for a beer to be considered ‘Trappist’ the beers must be brewed within the walls of an abbey under the control of Trappist monks and profits from sales must go towards the upkeep of the monastery, the livelihood of the monks and anything left donated to charity (a refreshing change from the profit-driven multi-brewery conglomerates and mass-marketing of commercial breweries).

Because monks are seemingly beer fiends, Trappist beers are typically strong (weighing in at around 6-12%), and are usually complex-flavoured, bottle-conditioned blonde, brown (brune or bruin) and dark ales.

On the menu today is the Rochefort Trappistes 10 – hailing from the Abbey of St-Remy (found in southern Belgium).

Now whilst you might be hoping the beer is brewed from an ancient recipe (the Abbey started brewing in 1595), the Rochefort 10 was developed in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. That fact may strip some of the ‘historical’ appeal of the beer away, but despite this I can probably sway you with some other facts.

On Ratebeer.com the Rochefort 10 scores a perfect 100/100. It’s won Gold Medals at World Beer Championships in 2004 and 2006, and has been included in just about every top beer list in the world.

The beer pours a dense, dark brown, with perhaps a few flecks of sediment (a common feature of bottle-conditioned beers).

Aromas of over-ripe plums and raisins, and vanilla tones greet you upon pouring. Seriously, do yourself a favour and find a proper glass to drink this out of.

The taste is amazingly complex. Spice, fruits, port wine, a firm malt backbone, perhaps some chocolate. The mouth-feel is thick and heavy, and is deceptively smooth given the 11.3% alcohol punch it packs.

If you want to be a horrific beer snob, it is suggested that you can serve the beer with lamb shanks, juniper berries, wild chanterelle mushrooms, and truffles.

Don’t be that person. Please.

Just drink it. Slowly.

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