Beer notes

My friend Eoin is back for the second installment of his Beer Notes series, this time with a review of Rochefort 10. Over to you Eoin…

Alas, the Indian summer we experienced of late seems to have left us. As the autumnal cold envelops us and night falls a little quicker, what better way to immerse one’s self in the changing season than indulging in a deliciously dark Belgian beer?

Rochefort 10 is one of a trio of beers brewed by the Trappist monks in the Abbey Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy just outside the little town of Rochefort, on the edge of the Ardennes region. The others are Rochefort 6 and Rochefort 8.

Don’t be fooled by the numbers after the name though. This does not indicate the alcoholic strength of the beer as we currently know it; this is the old system of Belgian beer degrees, which is falling out of use now (keep in mind that the monks have been brewing beer here since 1595!) The Rochefort 10 weighs in at hangover-inducing 11.5% alcohol, the strongest of the beers brewed at this monastery.

So what’s it like? When poured it looks slightly ominous in the glass, dark and bruised under its off-white head. The first taste is sweet, thanks to candy sugar. Then comes a hint of chocolate, spices and fruit like dates. The aftertaste is sublime – warm, lingering sweet alcohol. On the palate it is quite smooth but tending towards heavy.

Personally I think Rochefort 10 is best savored by itself as an aperitif before dining, or even better, as a beer to drink on a long, cold night while brooding by the fire.

Thanks so much to Eoin for today’s post – very appropriate recommendation as the days are turning colder! If you’re looking for somewhere in Brussels to drink a Rochefort 10, stop by the cozy L’Atelier bar (77 Rue Elise) in Cimetiere d’lxelles, popular among university students and beer lovers.

Images via SlashFood.com, The Guardian and Abbey Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy.

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4 thoughts on “Beer notes

  1. Emily says:

    This is a great review of the 10! I did a review of the 8 a few months back (http://thepetitfour.com/?p=1467) and it seems that Eoin likes the Rochefort family as much as I do. I would love to visit the abbey’s brewery, but it sometimes seems like it’s inaccessible to us mere mortals. Perhaps one of these days.

  2. John says:

    Great beer, though six in a row led to me falling and twisting my ankle when I first moved to Brussels!

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