Brasserie de Rochefort, Abbey of Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy
Trappistes Rochefort 10 Belgian Quad
My Belgian beer kick was in full swing after getting home from my recent honeymoon in Belgium, and my thirst for try Belgian beers I had seen around forever yet never tried needed to be quenched. While you’d be hard pressed to come across any Westvleteren 12 in South Carolina, there is one beer that’s a close competitor, and one that many consider better than Westy 12: Rochefort 10.
Opened in 1595, Rochefort is one of the world’s seven trappist breweries. And much like their trappist counterparts, their selection is small and to the point. There’s Rochefort 6, a 7.5% Belgian strong ale brewed once a year; Rochefort 8, a 9.2.% strong ale and the brewery’s biggest product; and Rochefort 10, a massive 11.3% quad. All three are readily available around my area but I always pass by them when making a beer run.
After finally trying 10, I’ll never make that mistake again.
The beer has a very deep, muddy water appearance. There’s a finger and a half of an off-white head that dissolves quickly. Lacing’s not too strong but the alcohol legs are gorgeous and hang on forever.
There’s a huge, thick sweetness on the nose. Big notes of butterscotch and raisins, and light wisps of the classic quad flavors including plums, figs, dates and caramel. There’s a sort of candy sweetness as well, and the alcohol definitely leaves a light sting.
The mouthfeel on this thing is just luscious. There’s just a hint of very slight carbonation, and it’s thick and creamy and just melts over your palate. The thing coats your throat like melted caramel. The butterscotch explodes on the back as do the raisins and those other dark fruit notes. It’s leaves this sugary film on your lips, again like eating a piece of caramel. You don’t taste the alcohol, but you sure feel it after a few sips.
I think there’s a definite argument to be made as to whether Rochefort 10 or Westy 12 is better. They have the same base flavors – what you’d expect in a Belgian quad – but whereas Westy keeps everything balanced and even, Rochefort turns them up to 11, giving you huge, rich and luxurious flavors throughout. Balance be damned, this thing is a kick in the mouth as far as flavors go. I don’t know how or why I passed over this time and time again, but just thinking about how good it was makes me want another one.