Friday, November 23, 2007

Monk Juice

UPDATE: Thanks to a helpful commenter, the info for the bottled on date for Trappistes Rochefort can be found here.

Picked up two of the Boulevard Smokestack Series for Thanksgiving: The Sixth Glass and Tripel. Ever heard of a Plog? Well, has one and they just posted a review of the series.

Sadly, I couldn't coax any of the family to take a walk on the wild side. Hell, I couldn't get any of them to try one of my Boulevard Bob's 47. In the face of all my cat calls and repeatedly impuning their guy cred, they still opted for the Michelob Ultra.

So, while I'm not about to bust open one of those by myself, I was itching to try something out of the ordinary. I had purchased the Bully Ales at the Hy-Vee on Antioch Road and while I was there I noticed they had some singles of Trappistes Rochefort 8. I almost picked one up, but at $4.93 for 11.2 ounces, I just couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger.

Friday comes and I have to put in 6 hours at work and I'm coming home and I keep thinking about those two big beautiful bottles of beer in my fridge, and LSU can't put any light between them and the Razorbacks and they are talking about what will happen if the fans tear down the goalposts at Arrowhead tomorrow night and I've got tickets to the game and I know when I get home I am going to bust open one of those bottles and I won't be able to get thru my to-do list and one bottle of Trappistes Rochefort at $.50 per ounce starts making real economic sense.

(I was going to post an image of the Supply and Demand curve but when I searched google images for "beer supply and demand" I came across something better. Tilt your head a little to the right, see it, there, yea, the S curve. And the D curve just jumps out at you now, doesn't it? Granted, the Equilibrium point is skewed a little to the left.)

I thought I would find lots of information devoted to this beer. The Monks' website was in not in English, natch. Only one other site went into any detail. These beers are known for drastically changing character with age. My bottle was stamped with an "expiration date" of 08:03 which I take to mean March 2008. The TR "Fan" Site had extensive reports on the nature of the beer for various ages, but are they from the date it was bottled or from the expiration date? They even note that the expiration date is "interesting because in that way the bottle date is known"

Really? And what date would that be? Does the expiration date tell them when the beer was bottled?

The beer is dark and poured with a nice three finger head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing, but it has so much carbonation it kept bubbling for another couple of minutes. Initially, the fragrance was dominated by alcohol, followed by fruit with a hint of malts. The first sip had a strong alcohol bite, then things settled down. The flavor of fruit was much different than a Hefe, it was the sweetness of dates and figs rather than citrus. But this is not a desert beer, there is not much body and it has a nice dry finish. It reminded me a bit of the Bully Lunar. I will definitely go back and get some bottles and put them away for next Thanksgiving.

The dearth of info about the Rochefort on the internet is made up with lots of info about Trappist Monks. For instance, there is was musical performance in Jerusalem recently by a French troupe that included parts for Trappists monks. I saw no pictures of monks, though.


Lee said...

I feel your pain regarding your relatives. I've tried to expose mine to good beer, but if I can even get them to take a taste, they just make a funny face and go back to their Bud Light.

Don't worry about that expiration date. High-alchol beers like that age well. You might check out the posts on my blog about aging beers. Right now I have a sixer of Saint Arnold Divine Reserve and a four-pack of North Coast Old Stock in my closet, and I won't open them for at least another year. And I don't anticipate actually finishing them off for two or three years. I also have a bottle of Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA that the brewer recommends aging, so I won't crack that open for another year or two, either.

Muddy Mo said...


Thanks for the helpful info.

The thing that is frustrating me about this date thing is that if I go to the trouble of putting away some beer for a year or so, I would really like to know exactly when it was bottled, which the TR website guys implied could be determined by the expiration date.

Aging the beer in your closet must mean that temperature control is not much of an issue. That's good to know.

Lee said...

I've seen recommendations that it be aged at wine cellar temperature (high 50s or low 60s), but I've also read opinions saying that temperature stability is more important than the actual temp. It's consistently about 70 degrees in my closet, so I'll see what result that produces. I tried buying a wine cellar fridge, but all were so poorly made that after about three tries I gave up.

Safe@First said...

For the Rochefort 8, the bottled on date equals the expiration date minus five years.

Muddy Mo said...


Thanks you sir, much appreciated.