Beer Review: Trappistes Rochefort 10

Have you ever walked around (metaphorically, of course) your life, believing that you knew all that you needed to know about a certain subject? And then you came across an item/philosophy/belief system that was so unlike anything you had come across before that it made you question, not just the subject of note, but quite possibly life itself?

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to a Trappist Quadrupel. If American Lagers are the frat boys of the beer world, Trappist Quadrupels are the Shaolin Monks. Deep, complex, full of flavor, and oh so strong, these beers are meant to be enjoyed and considered, rather than mindlessly consumed. It is a dark ale, and comes in at a whopping 11.3% ABV. Disrespect this beer, and it will sneak up on you and kick you in the ass.

As I talked about on Friday, the Rochefort is a Trappist beer, and a secretive one at that, being one of the few breweries not opened to the public. But if you’re a believer that tradition is an indicator of quality, the monks at the Brasserie de Rochefort have been brewing there since 1595. That’s a full twenty-six years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, by the way.

So where does the number 10 comes from on the label? According to Michael Jackson (the drink guru MJ, not the Pop-Rock guru MJ), is simply the old way of measuring the gravity of the beer prior to fermentation. Gravity, in beer, is a rather important thing, letting the brewer know just how much sugar is in the brew, and thus how much alcohol one can expect post-fermentation. Coincidentally, the 10 is also indicative of how many weeks have to go by before the beer is ready to drink.

So how does it taste?

Appearance: Dark Walnut Brown with a really nice full tan head. The beer itself is quite hazy.

Aroma: A bit of a tang, along with a small bit of a soapy smell. But then the malt shows, and puts on a bit of a dance in my nose.

Taste: Strong nutty taste to start, and then evolves into a bit of cola/fig taste, before ending on a nice wash of milk chocolate on the finish. It’s a very complex beer, possibly one of the most complex beers I’ve had yet.

Mouthfeel: Coats the tongue nicely, and it’s not afraid of being bold. Very nice.

Drinkability: A definite beer, in the best sense of the term. This is one that should be tried. Honestly? This is the benchmark that now defines what beer means to me.

Rating: A