Rochefort

Tasting Notes

The Rochefort beers are, just like all other strengthfull beers of high fermentation, excellent for keeping. The expiration date is just a legally obliged indication which is irrelevant. In principle the beer is non-perishable. An expiration date is of course interesting because in that way the bottle date is known.
The flavour of the beer keeps evolving in the botlle, by the effects of the added barm and a series of chemical processes, which are unknown to us, and which are not yet scientific examinated in full. But what is accessible for everyone, is the magnificent development that the beer experienses in the bottle. We give an extensive report for the noted impressions of the different beers that we tasted between a month and two years after they were bottled. We concentrated ourselfs on the flavour and the aroma, because there the strongest evolution is noticed. The feeling in the mouth is not mentioned individual, where they were changes whe have mentioned them in the flavour notes.

 

Rochefort 6

Rochefort 8

Rochefort 10

       

1-2 month

 

froth: very regular, disappears quickly, a thin frothlayer remains, cream-coloured
aroma: strong fruitiness
colour: strong dark red
flavour: burnt, mocha, dominating bitterness from the start till the end, not a lot of structure, rather onedimensional
opinion: not fluently drinkable, needs still some time to develop

froth: very regular, but disappears quickly, a thin frothlayer remains
colour: very dark red, almost opaque
flavour: absolute bitterness, it reminds sometimes of stout, strong mocha- and chocolate touches, maybe alreay a little fruitiness: pears; syrupy mouth feeling
opinion: already more in balance than the 8 of the same age, but also still needs some time

       

2-4 month

 

froth: idem
aroma: soil, evolves to strong fruitiness, a touch of banana
flavour: bitter, bittersweet fruitiness at the start, a little bit of banana, evolves to bitter yeastflavour which resist long, and also dominates the aftertaste
opinion: rather fluently drinkable, but is not yet perfect, and has yet a lot of potential

froth: idem
aroma: on its way to full fruitiness: banana, pear, grape,... a whole fruit basket
flavour: still a little touch of chocolate, mingled with the sweetness of preserved pears, with sufficient bitterness
opinion: fluently drinkable, excellent balance of all flavourcomponents

       

4-6 month

 

froth: idem
aroma: full fruitiness, mostly banana, also fresh chopped pinewood, resin, alcohol, barm, all together in a harmonic bouquet
flavour: complex: sweet and fruity, banana and ripe pears, also a bit of spiciness: a touch of red pepper
opinion: beer at his best, further yeasted out and full in balance: no annoying elements which pop up rather frequent with dark beers of the same density, like exaggerated alcohol or sweetness; sometimes a little bit sticky, aftertaste last also a little less longer than the previous ones

froth: idem
aroma: fruit, like the 8, overwhelming, impenetrable complexity
flavour: still a fruity climax, althought it diminishes in strenght reaching 6 months

       

6-12 month

froth: disappears quickly, not glass-sticking, cream-coloured
colour: dark amber
aroma: liquorice, touch of sauerkraut, honey, confitures, cinnamon
flavour: starts neutral with a bitter flow out

froth: idem
aroma: resin: sometimes volatile, sometimes pregnant, diminished fruitiness, typical smell of banana eases slowly
colour: dark red, autumn leafs, maybe a little more transparant than fresh trappists
flavour: the complex fruitiness makes way for a smooth, uncomplicated sweet flavour which becomes dominant, which retronasal reminds even more at flowers than at fruit, further an initiative of aniselike flavours, maybe a bit of vanilla or even cinnamon, light bitterness

froth: disappears quickly, sometimes even difficult frothing
aroma: less strong and less complex, resin
colour: dark red autumn leafs, maybe a litte more transparant than previous
flavour: already further softened and further evolved than the 8 at the same time, sometimes alreay almost flat without froth, at this point almost the same evolution as the 8 only a bit faster, and maybe with a longer preservation of the typical fruitiness; maybe, for some people, a little more bitterness than the 8

       

12 month and further

 

Above-mentioned symptoms are more or less preserved, but, in flavour and aroma, touches of liquorice, gingerbread and malt are originating; the beer now starts at an evolution for many years which will lead slowly to the typical fully fermented Trappistflavour

 

       

Opinion

Summarized: the beers evolve the fastest during the first months. They all evolve from wild, complex brewings at the start, to much more soft beers which will with the lapse of time lose almost all interfaces with fresh brewings. After 6 months, when the added yeast is no longer active, and the complexity has reached his summit, the beer begins in a certain way lose all its classical flavour marks. Instead of that, through many years, touches appear which reminds of port, madeira or, with very old beers, certain liqueurs. Sometimes, after about a year, there is a clear brut-flavour to distinguish.

This evolution is attached to chemical processes which are also found in other beers, certainly when they are produced at a similar way. Think hereby in the first place at other dark Trappist beers or Abbey beers, often called 'double'. In general the above-mentioned evolution in flavour shall be parallel with the evolution in such beers.

Now, what makes this Trappist beer so special? According to us, in the first place, the flavour, which is extensively discussed at this page, about which everyone has his own opinion and about which in fact there is not much more to say. And in the second place: the ability to have, in a certain way, a control over the beer ourselves: as the flavour evolves strong through the years and months, you can keep a stock of it and investigate how old the beer should be, before you find it at flavour. This examination has to be accompanied by regular and profound tastings, which are not unpleasant neither. In the quest for the ultimate bottle you can increase your chances.

To conclude still this: make no abuse of this gift of God. Let your Rochefort moment also be a moment of reflection. Enjoy it, drink a second glass, and a third for special occasions, but never more. Be heedless of the way of living of the monks, who devote their life to God, and who, with respect and worship for the components that nature gives us, deliver quality products. Let their silence and their austerity persuade to you, and be amazed over and over again, which beautiful results love and belief can produce.



Tasting form

For a good analysis of the flavours and the aromas of beer, a tasting form is essential.

You can download a form by clicking here. (The file is in the pdf format. To open and print it, you need Acrobat Reader. This program can be downloaded for free at the site of Adobe.)

A lot of tasting pleasure !!!