Rochefort 10 - Abbaye St-Remy, Rochefort
Rochefort 10 is a very, very special beer. This beer is almost as highly regarded among internet beer geeks as the legendary Westvleteren 12, but is far easier to obtain. I held off on drinking this beer for the longest time, in fact this is the first bottle I've had in the United State. I didn't abstain from the Rochefort 10 because I don't like Quads or I don't like Trappist beers, quite the opposite... I love both. I'd known for at least a year that I was going to spend some time in Belgium last year and I couldn't resist putting a visit to Westvleteren on my list... and since I'd waited this long to try Rochefort 10, I might as well do a side-by-side with Westy. Needless to say, I had a great time in Belgium...
Rochefort 10 is a Quadrupel, though you could say Rochefort 10 is THE Quadrupel. This beer is widely distributed throughout the US and is even available at most of the finer beer bars I've been to. It's not a cheap beer, at about $6 for 11.2 ounces, but it's worth every penny. As I mentioned, my first experience with Rochefort 10 was in Belgium, more specifically it was at the Poechenellekelder in Brussels, just across the alley from the Manneken Pis. This was the first beer bar we stopped in and once I saw Rochefort 10 on the menu I figured it was time to finally try one. I remember this beer being rich with dark fruit, sweet and smooth while being nearly hearty enough to knock me out after a 10 hour flight.
Rochefort 10 pours a deep dark purplish color and kicks up a subtle but persistent head of soft and small white bubbles. The carbonation in this beer is nearly nonexistent, yet those bubbles hang around for quite some time. The aroma is boozy and full of sweet dark raisiny malt. There's no mistaking this beer for a Quad when you get in close enough to smell it.
The flavor of Rochefort 10 is truly divine. This huge dark beer with a boozy nose is quite well balanced, smooth and easy to enjoy despite being over 11% alcohol. The dark fruits and raisin flavors stand out but don't dominate by any stretch of the imagination. This masterfully balanced beer is one of the most enjoyable I've ever had. It is extremely decadent, yet surprisingly approachable. This is a beer I would recommend to anyone who has an interest in craft beer, it is one of the finest beers currently available and simply should not be missed.