Style: Belgian Abbey Dubbel
Brewery: Brasserie de Rochefort / Abbaye de Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy (Rochefort, Belgium)
Availability: year round
Pairing: soft cheese, s’mores, small game, fish with butter or cream sauce
The tough thing about Big Beer month (besides the intoxication after two or three beers) is that a lot of these brews need to be laid down for a bit. Because we are talking about beers in the 10 or 11% alcohol range, a lot of them need at least a year to mellow out. Other just become too syrupy to get through 12oz (let a long a 750ml) unless you are out camping in the cold. So, since I fell short of a beer a day last week (note: I had them, just didn’t want to talk about them) I figured I’d start the week off with some tried and true big beers. These are favorites that I fell in love with years ago and still drink regularly to this day. To me, there is something to be said groundbreaking brews but there is also something to those perfect beers that have been brewed for decades (or centruries). With that, I tip my cup to a personal favorite, Trappistes Rochefort 8
Appearance: Pours a deep brown with rich, tan head with lots of carbonation from the bottle fermentation that slowly resides to leave little lacing
Smell: The nose has lots of vanilla and toffee notes up front along with some marshmallow, sweet apples, and a bit of plywood.
Taste: The taste goes right along with the nose as there are lots of vanilla and deep caramel flavors. Behind that there are some tart flavors of dark fruits and a bit of unassuming spice.
Mouthfeel: There’s lots of carbonation on the Rochefort 8 which leaves a nice tingle on the tongue but with a medium body creates a dry finish. This is a much more palatable brew when compared to others of this ABV.
Drinkability: With its lighter mouthfeel (for 9.2% ABV), the Trappistes Rochefort 8 is a very drinkable strong beer. This is one that you could easily have with dinner and pair with small game, rich cream/butter sauces or even a soft cheese. It’s more of a casual drinker than a sipper.
Overall: Trappistes Rochefort 8 is, to me, the quintessential Abbey. It’s big bodied, sure, but with a perfect balance of flavors that come across as like-minded rather than competing. It’s heavy and sweet without being overwhelming and finishes clean and dry.