After my recent flurry of Irish ales, I think it's fair to say I started missing Belgium. Belgian and Trappist ales are what really got me excited about beer and while it's nice to try a pint of local stuff, there's nothing quite like a glass of complex, fully flavoured and often strong Belgian nectar to finish the day. Granted, I'd had two glasses of Piraat on tap in the midst of my Irish ales, but it's just not the same as opening the bottle and pouring yourself a masterpiece.
As such, you can imagine my immense joy at finally deciding to show my Rochefort 8 a good time. The 10 was one of those beers that genuinely blew me away, and since then I've endeavoured to try the rest of the Rochefort range, as well as to keep a bottle of Rochefort 10 in the cupboard at all times. So far, I've failed in the latter, but seeing as it's a pretty accessible beer I don't think I need to stock up urgently.
Rochefort 8 is a, ahem, lighter drink than it's big brother, with 'only' 9.2% ABV. It pours a hazy brown with a two finger off-white head that lasts for yonks, and has lively carbonation. On the nose I got Belgian yeast with citrus, cherries and zesty fruit aromas, spicy bread malt, and after a while, caramel chocolate malt. It's also worth noting that I forgot to check my pour, so pretty much all the sediment was in the glass from the get go, which is why the Champagne-like yeast smells were a bit strong here. It didn't take much from the beer, but I would like to try it again without... The taste is incredible. Caramel maltiness right up the front with dark fruits, raisins and cherries in the middle and finish. Bread and yeast all the way through. The taste - as well as the mouthfeel - does peel off towards the very end, but that's no real harm. It's still delicious and the mouthfeel is still creamy and satisfying. Also, I can't help but enjoy the alcohol heat given by some of the stronger Belgians, and this one is no exception.
I will probably be trying this again, it's a brilliant beer, but I'm not too sure I'd pick it over the Rochefort 10. That being said, maybe I do need to try this without dumping in all the yeast at the very beginning.