journal of a self proclaimed beer connoisseur

Posts tagged “abbey

In-depth: Trappist and Abbey Beers

The title may have lured you to this post; however, allow me to immediately explain the difference between the two types of beer and eject Abbey Beers from the remainder of the discussion.

Abbey beers use traditional recipes for brewing beer and may or may not be associated with an actual Abbey. In Belgium there are some marketing devices in place to help one determine if the beer is actually from an Abbey. The ones that aren’t typical brew the beer of a past abbey under license as the abbey may have ceased brewing sometime in the past.

The types of beer I am interested in discussing are Trappist beers. There are three strict conditions to be considered a Trappist beer:

  • the beer must be brewed within a Trappist Abbey;
  • the brewing must occur under the supervision and responsibility of Cistercian monks; and
  • the majority of the revenue must be dedicated to charitable work.

This, to me, is a very intriguing list. Pair that with the fact that any beer geek can tell you that authentic Trappist beer are consistently some of the absolute best brews attainable…anywhere, and you have a very interesting conversation.

Take another read through that list and answer me something: how many other beer producers you know have any rules even remotely similar to this? All three of these points are going to have a pervasive effect on the beer brewed.

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Rochefort – Trappistes 10

Date: Thursday, January 13, 2011
Brewery: Rochefort
Beer: Trappistes 10
Category: Belgian Dark Strong Ale
ABV:
11.30%
Brewed in: Belgium

Pours a very murky dark brown with a fairly large fizzy head. Head retention is impressive but leaves minimal lacing.

Aroma is a veritable buffet of dark fruits including raisins, plums, figs and grapes. There are notes of caramel accompanied by yeast, molasses and some brown sugar. It is an incredibly complex aroma that took me several minutes and a dozen sniffs to dissect and I still think there are more notes to uncover.

The flavor is a rich combination of the same notes in the aroma. I taste some chocolate that didn’t stick out in the nose along with the raisin, plum, fig, grape, caramel, yeast, molasses, and brown sugar. You can barely taste the 11.3% ABV hidden amongst the flavors but you are reminded it is there with the pleasant warming feeling the brew brings as you swallow. I would describe the beers dominant flavor profile to be sweet rather than bitter. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth with medium carbonation.

I find the beer goes done smoother and smoother as it warms to room temperature. A stunning combination of flavors are found in this beer.

I would again highly recommend this beer to any beer nerds out there. I am creating quite a streak of amazing beers this past week. Probably because I just decided to do this blog and have been buying all the superstars.

One caveat to note – this is a big beer. I wouldn’t be serving this to any beer newbies. You need a developed appreciation for beer before you should tackle this giant.

Rating: