On to the penultimate day now and it’s time for what is probably one of the most famous beers around. Many people seem to be of the opinion that this is the best beer in the world… I’m not one of them though. It’s good, but there are many better, even for this style and even within the brewery in fact. It’s just the relative rarity that boosts the perception of quality.
However, having managed to get through to the monks on their ‘Beer Telephone’ last year I was able to reserve a couple of crates that I’ve been slowly working my way through. I’ll probably put a few away to see how they develop, but I’ll open one for a review this evening.
The cap opens with a satisfying gasp, a sign of the high carbonation typical of the style. Pouring results in a big head of tight bubbles that falls back to a layer a couple of millimetres thick that hangs around for the duration. The other notable point from the pour is the presence of a lot of sediment. This seems to be a characteristic of this beer that doesn’t really change with age and as a result there’s a centimetre or more of beer lost with every bottle.
Obviously it’s important to drink any Belgian beer from the correct glass… I’m sure that influences the flavour at least a little!
The aroma is dark sugar, liquorice, a little alcohol but not over the top. The taste is immediately a little bitter, but the residual sugars come through and soften it eventually. The high carbonation tingles the tongue slightly and gives a little more body to the beer… it’s not as thick and syrupy as you might expect though. Flavours are dominated by dark brown sugar, burnt toffee, liquorice and aniseed.
Given the choice though I’d take a Rochefort 10 – now that’s a beer!
Beer: Westvleteren 12
Brewery: St Sixtus
Style: Belgian Quadruple