My little cellar sits forlorn and empty at the moment, and my mind is wondering what to re-fill it with. That is because I pulled out the final bottle of Rochefort, the 10, last night. So far the Rochefort ales have been something of a revelation to me, I thoroughly enjoyed the 6, was blown away by the 8 and was eagerly anticipating the 10.
The 10 pours an exceptionally dark brown, which in a backlight has tints of ruby, topped with a light tan head that disappears fairly quickly. The nose of Rochefort 10 is at first very sweet, as is to be expected for a beer of 11.3% abv, with coffee and even banana notes. At one point I stuck my nose right into the glass and inhaled deeply, and while it took me four or five breaths to really work out the smell, it was a distinct tinge of nail polish remover. I asked Mrs Velkyal to see what she made of it, and she came back saying that it smelled of alcohol laced with molasses.
Drinking the ale was a delight, and I found it smoother than the Rochefort 8 yet with the same chocolate and cocoa flavours. Being so dark and full, the 10 is a very rich beer, and definitely not a beer that you would want to be drinking as though it was a run of the mill lager. Despite the smoothness of the beer, there is also a slight touch of bitterness adding a nice counterpoint to the sweetness, like burnt caramel. In the final taste though there was a distinct alcohol taste.
All three of the Rochefort ales are superb and I have enjoyed trying each of them, however I have to admit that the one that will be a regular visitor to my little cellar will be the 8. Of the three I prefer the slightly rougher edge that the 8 has when compared to the 10, as well as the richer cocoa flavours than the 6. So know I plan to move on to other Trappist ales, depending of course on what is available in the cheese shop – I still love the eccentricity of being able to buy beer in a cheese shop, not only that but they have a reasonable selection of wines too.