Inspired by last week's Sierra Nevada Belgian Brewers Dinner and emboldened by the cooler turn in the weather in Oregon, I reached into the “big beer” drawer and pulled out an offering from Abbey Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy, Trappistes Rocheforte 10 Belgian Ale.
Trappistes Rochefort 10 Belgian Ale poured with a fair amount of carbonation trailing through the murky brown body to a small but long lasting off-yellow head. The nose was dark and warm, lead by candied figs, vanilla, and a hint of banana.
Trappistes Rochefort 10 Belgian Ale’s light carbonation quickly cleared the palette for the introduction of a thick dulce de leche opening. Caramel and sweet malts took hold and thickened in the mouth, the sweetness tamed by a warm cognac heat. The ale’s long fade continued to darken the sweetness, ending on a semi-sweet brown sugar note.
Trappistes Rochefort 10 Belgian Ale is another testament to the power of nuanced brewing… big, complex, and liqueur-like while avoiding cloying sweetness, an overly-viscous body, or distracting alcohol heat. Apparently more than 400 years of practice makes perfect.