Label Art and Blurbs(to include ABV): The label art is pretty simple for Trappistes Rochefort beers. A buttery yellow background with Old English lettering states the brewery’s name and a billiard ball looking green circle with a large 8 in it expresses which “number” beer you’re holding. (NOTE: This brewery mass produces three beers; “6”, “8”, and “10”. Each number is accompanied by a color; red, green, and blue respectively. ) The hexagonal “Authentic Trappist Product” logo is stamped to the lower left side, along with your distributor’s information and Government Warning for all those expecting mothers and heavy equipment operators who didn’t get the memo. ABV is noted at 9.2%
Nasal Observations During Pour: This bottle was very well carbonated, and a sour aroma rushed out of the neck immediately after I opened it. That scent settled down during the pour, and I got the general “Belgian” smell of layered spices and sweet malts.
Visual Observations During Pour: I noticed some peppercorn sized sediment jumping down to my glass about halfway through the pour. This beer comes out a deep amber/almost brown hue and is virtually opaque.
Head(Foam): Fizz, fizz, fizz. This is an incredibly effervescent brew. Maybe I just got a randomly over-carbonated bottle, but I’d say this bad boy gave me about ¾ of an inch of head before settling down.
First Taste: Dry, mellow, Belgian. The use of “Belgian” as a descriptor for beer has bugged me for a long time since it can’t be used in terms of food or any other drink, but such an inclusive word for a beer is hard to get away from. If you handed me a beer I’d never tried before and only told me it was a Belgian ale, I would pretty much know what to expect. I’m using “dry” in the same terms as one might use it when discussing champagne. The beer feels a little bubbly in your mouth, especially sitting on your tongue, but almost cleans up after itself as you swallow. I’m saying that Number Eight is a mellow beer in comparison to other (here it comes again…) Belgian ales. If you’ve ingested any other Belgians, you’re already aware of the huge body, not to mention alcohol content, that these beers typically have to offer. Dad, if you’re out there, find a Trappist Ale to serve the next time you are planning on having Port wine.
Second Taste: There is a very subtle bite that comes in each sip of this beer. It doesn’t hit you right when the liquid sloshes across your tongue, but it’s in that split second afterwards. Right when your taste buds think they know what’s going on, something just slaps the shit out of them and then walks away.
Aftertaste: The aftertaste from this beer is like that from a slightly buttered toast. I almost prefer the smoothness of the aftertaste to the actual feeling of having the actual beer frolicking around your mouth.
Overall Opinion: I’ll admit I’m partial to Belgian Ales, and even if I wasn’t I know enough about true Trappist beers that I have too much respect to ever turn one down. This beer is a legend. It is history, short and sweet. If a bunch of guys who have devoted their entire lives to doing right in God’s name are willing to put their name on a beer, I’m willing to give them the benefit of a doubt that it’s good enough to drink, and I’ll be damned if they’ve wronged me yet.
Last Taste: I’ll try to explain the meaning behind the “Beglian” thing again. It’s not quite sour, but it’s not quite sweet. There is a fine line between the two, and Belgian ales tip toe it with incredible balance. If I had to compare it to a food, I might say a caramelized green apple. Does that help at all?