Brasserie de Rochefort (or just ‘Rochefort’ as it is commonly called) is housed within the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Saint-Rmy near the small town of Rochefort, in the Ardennes, Belgium. That alone is a mouthful, but this is fitting given their beers are certainly a mouthful as well. The brewery itself has been in operation since 1595, though St. Remy has been in operation since 1230 or earlier – first as a convent and then later (1464) as a monastery.

Three beers are brewed within St. Remy that are available to the public – all of them are of the dark, malt-heavy variety. Rochefort 6 at 7.5% ABV; Rochefort 8 at 9.2% ABV and Rochefort 10 at 11.3% ABV. Like the other Trappist breweries, the beers are sold to the public for the sole purpose of maintaining the monastery and some outside charitable works. Unlike some other Trappist breweries, there is no cafe or inn on or around the premises where the beer is sold.

The Rochefort 10 is one of my very favorite beers, hands down. All three Rochefort ales have similar characteristics, but the ’10’ seems to turn it up a notch or two in terms of flavor and aroma. In addition to possessing a very high level of alcohol warmth, the 10 also has pronounced notes of dark fruits and baker’s chocolate that are intoxicating in more ways than the 11.3% ABV. This beer has some of the most complex and wonderful flavors I’ve ever tasted in a beer, Trappist or otherwise. Here is my review of Rochefort 10, taken from notes:

Decanted into a Rochefort goblet, the beer appears as a slightly hazy deep reddish brown color with deep crimson hues. A voluminous head emerges of a light sandy tan color that nearly spills over the rim of the goblet. An absolutely gorgeous beer in every way.

The nose is an explosion of sweet tropical fruits (pear, banana, mango), some candy-like characteristics reminiscent of bubble gum and hard Christmas candy. Underpinning these notes, a solid caramelized malt base is evident. This is one of the most enjoyable beers to sniff you’ll ever have the pleasure of sniffing, without a doubt.

The palate is a myriad of complex flavors that wholly embody the essence of what Belgian strong dark ale ought to be. Roasted coconut, spicy banana and pear, subtle floral hops, and a wonderfully rich, warm alcohol presence. Some rich chocolate-like flavors add to the incredible complexity of this beer and make it unique, to me, among Belgian quadrupels. The mouth feel is no more than medium and not cloying in the least, even with the aggressive sweet candy-like elements and fruity esters.

This beer contains a good amount of carbonation, leaving the finish clean and rather dry with considerable residual alcohol warmth which lingers long. This is, without a single doubt, one of the finest beers I’ve ever sampled regardless of style or origin. This beer is, in my mind, the pinnacle of the Trappist brewer’s art. Nearly perfect, the much sought-after Westvleteren 12 really has nothing on this beer. If you want to taste Trappist brewing perfection, you really can’t do any better than the best of the Rochefort beers, and one of the best in the world, Rochefort 10.”

Rochefort 10 is a “quadrupel” ale with an ABV of 11.3%


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