Trappistes Rochefort 8

Reviewed by on December 5, 2013 in Holiday Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Brasserie de Rochefort

  • Origin: Belgium

  • Rated On: December 26, 2012

  • Best Before: end of 2016

  • ABV: 9.2%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

  • Rating: WORLD-CLASS !!!

The Review

A sturdy Belgian-style bomber of this purported nectar of the gods, replete with a hearty image of Santa Claus beaming from the otherwise standard label.  It sure is nice to be able to try these Trappist offerings without an indeterminate trip to the brewery itself, eh?

This 750ml bottle pours a cloudy, very dark golden amber colour, with three fingers of audibly fizzy, lightly foamy pale beige head, which contains a few black-toned roaming specks, and leaves an undulating wall of painted lace as it lazily recedes. There is also some persistent, rising effervescence swirling about and upwards after the fact.

It smells weirdly (though not in a bad way) of woody, earthy, noble hops, and very little yeast – expectations are tremulous, I suppose, as the fruity, dark caramel-tinged malt kind of has to approach this from a lower position, but this is not a problem whatsoever. The taste is more forward with the raisins, toffee, caramel, and mild dark fruit (plums, blackberries, most evidently), and some moreover earthy, fruity hops, and a very even, less than obvious alcohol dryness.

The carbonation is quite mild, and generally effusive, the body displaying a solid state smoothness, and a certain hefty density, finishing with an undeniable heaviness, and a well balanced melange of malt and hops, yin and yang, as it were. The big ABV is so well integrated, I almost forgot to mention it.

Having been holding on to this bottle for a while, but after sampling a number of other Belgian and German offerings of late, and getting out of my industry-enabled, IPA-heavy comfort zone, it seemed appropriate at this time of year to bring out the heavy guns – especially when they’re flaunting ol’ St. Nick himself.  A splendid strong Belgian ale, with all the warmth and complexity of flavour that one might expect.

Brady White

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