Saturday, May 5, 2018

Trappistes Rochefort 10

It has been described as one of the five beers that will change one's life.  Craft beer aficionados who have a special place in their heart for Trappist beers would readily agree with that description.  The beer ... the 10.  The ultimate beer produced by the Trappist monks at the Abbaye St. Remy, near Rochefort, Belgium.

That the beer would have such a distinguished honor comes as no surprise.  Records show that those monks at Abbaye St. Remy have been brewing beer since at least 1595 and perhaps as far back as 1464, which was when Cistercian monks took over the monastery and abbey. 

After a few hundred years, the monks refined their brewing skills to three beers.  Each is represented by a number.  The 6.  The 8.  The 10.  Translated: the dubbel, the tripel and the quadrupel.  That is a very basic categorization of the three beers when put side-by-side with traditional Belgian beer styles.

Despite the long history of brewing at the Abbaye St. Remy, the monks have been brewing the 10 since the late 1940s or early 1950s.  The ingredients include what you would expect -- water, barley malt, hops and yeast -- but also candi sugar and coriander.  

The 10 pours a nice chestnut brown.  There is a slight foam that develops as the beer is poured, but that foam quickly recedes to the edge of the glass, exposing the full liquid to allow the aroma to greet the nose.  That aroma has a certain sweetness from it, such as boozy cherries or molasses, with a light clove note.  As with most beers, the aroma carries over to a certain extent with the taste of the beer.  However, the taste of the 10 is not so much as dark cherry and molasses, but more reminiscent of plums and figs.  There is a certain  je ne sais quoi aspect to the taste.  Perhaps a little banana or clove, which would be more expected from a tripel than a quadrupel.

This is a very, very good beer.  I now understand why most reviewers rank this beer as one of the best beers in the world.  I have had this beer cellared for so long that I forgot what I paid for it.  But, if you happen across a bottle in your local beer store, it is definitely worth it.


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