Rochefort: Trappistes Rochefort 10 (Belgium: Quadrupel: 11.2% ABV)

Visual: A dark cloudy brown body. Fizzy brown head that descends into light scrapings of bubbles very quickly.  When swirled the beer leaves a viscous brown smear across the glass.

Nose:  Really rich, full of figs and plums. Bitter chocolate, malt turning room air. Brandy.  Smooth and just crammed with fruit cake elements. Brandy cream.  Coconut. Caramelised brown sugar- crème brulee. Condensed cream.

Body: Chocolate, plums. Bitter coffee. Cherries. Slight bitter core. Nutmeg. Laced orange fresh back. Fudge.

Finish: Massive creamy milk chocolate, milky coffee, dry chocolate shavings. Nuttiness. Fresh chocolate orange.

Conclusion: I have for a long time wondered exactly how much difference ageing a beer makes, having tried aged beers, but never aged beers that I had previously tried an unaged version of. So I try this and wow, what a difference it makes.  Had raw this is a fantastic beer already, but this version with a few years under the hood really shows the extra smoothness and flavour it brings in.

The alcohol punch from the young beer is racked all the way down bringing out richness and smoothness unparalleled.  The aroma is cloying, heavy and fruity.  You could almost drink this beer through smell alone.  The body is sweet, thick and chocolaty into a rich finish.  This lasts as long as you could ever want it to, or until you sip again, whichever comes first.

Rich fresh excellence in a glass, it’s a real after dinner beer, that could be had as a pudding itself or as a brandy replacement. Up there with the best of the trappist, which means it is really in a class of its own as beers go for complexity and power.

If you can avoid drinking it for a year or two then this beer becomes one of the all time greats.

Background: An aged example of this beer, with about two years rest between creation and drinking, which is definitely noticeable.  As always, I’m a huge fan of the trappist ales, being made by trappist monks themselves.  Rochefort is second only to the legendry Westvleteren in my eyes for quality and I’ve sampled many of their small range over the years. This particular beer was being saved for a special occasion and drunk as such.