By Bill Lau | A Potable Pastime
Silly me, I’d thought this was a tripel when I selected it, based on the fact that there were three Rochefort beers available, simply called 6, 8 & 10, and I surmised this equated to single, dubbel, & tripel. Not so! As evidenced by this ale’s very dark robe. Ah, but perhaps it’s a dark tripel, yes? After all, there’s always that exception to the rule, especially when it comes to beers & beer styles. Well, I did a little quick research on the interwebs to get some idea of what I should expect.
At least one site categorized this as a quadrupel, so I adjusted my expectations accordingly (to something along the lines of “oh, crap, this is gonna be big!”). Also, as you can see from the aerial photo and the dark patch visible atop the foam, I poured the whole bottle, lees and all, into my glass. I’ve found that I generally enjoy the added earthiness and breadiness contributed by the yeast sediment in bottle-conditioned beers, at least when it comes to Belgian beers and Bavarian hefe-weizens. (The little boost of Vitamin B can’t hurt, either!)
Bottle marked Best Before End 7/23/20. Served cool, not cold, in a stemmed Belgian beer glass.
Appearance (4.5/5): Impenetrably dark, with barely a mahogany highlight when held up to the light. Dense cap of beige foam rests a half inch thick on top with a dark patch from the yeast sediment resembling an espresso macchiato.
Aroma (9/10): Rich notes reminiscent of a brandied fruit cake – burnt currant, candied fruit (citrus peel and cherries), and a bready component.
Palate (4.5/5): Fairly full-bodied with a smooth, rich viscosity. Moderate and very finely beaded carbonation. Finishes with some alcohol burn.
Taste (9/10): Deep, complex malt and rich baked fruit notes, suggesting an old-fashioned English fruit cake. Burnt currant, citrus peels, and fig with notes of treacle and molasses. Alcohol is also evident in the back end. Possesses a certain refined balance and restraint overall. I’m so glad I allowed the beer to warm from refrigerator temperature! I can definitely see why this has a best before date so far in the future – I do believe I’m going to have to purchase another bottle and cellar it; I’d love to experience the evolution of flavors over time.
Overall (18/20): Potent, complex, contemplative. A wonder of the brewer’s art. Sit back, sip, and savor this one.
Disclosure: The author has received no reimbursement or compensation for this article. All opinions and remarks are those of the author alone.