Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Trappistes Rochefort 10

I know nothing about Belgian beers. The very helpful man in the fantastic Bitter Virtue in Southampton spoke with such passion that this was "the best Belgian beer" I felt compelled to believe him.

It snaps open with a big fizz, pours with good carbonation, revealing a rich dark porter almost black beer. The aroma is to die for, rich and deep, full of brown sugars, molasses and burnt caramel. But hidden within there is a light freshness, lifting out some beautiful grassy and floral aromas.

Words struggle to explain the intensity of the first sip, at 11%Abv it's clearly a big beer, but it has such intensity. It's like a double concentrated ESB, boiled down until its a sauce sweet and rich enough to be poured on a pudding. Melted dark muscavado sugar dominates the initial taste, but there are no roasty or chocolate stout notes despite the dark colour. The finish provides a gentle hop bittering, bringing a delicate freshness to the finish.

8/10 A beer richer than a billionaire. If you like your beers sweet, rich and strong this will rock your world.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Gorge Best (Cheddar Ales)

Provided as a gift by @beerbunkerpaul this is not one I would have picked out, my experience of best bitters in bottles is they are always well short of their cask equivalents. But with an open mind...

It opens with a whisper, the perfect beer for cracking open in silent cinemas and during church services. The faint fizz is clearly an attempt to recreate the cask style, giving a faint grassy and sulphurous nose before removing all trace of the head.

The malt is light with no deep roasted notes, just a snap of biscuit and a long lingering sweetness. The hops a very noticeably zesty, lemon and lime jumping out with the assertion of bitterness.

It's a lovely balanced beer, designed for long sessions, but feels rather out of place in a bottle.

6/10 Better than most commercial competitors but lacking enough punch to stand out in a bottle.