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Review of Achel Extra

Hi guys.  For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying the Achel Extra produced by the Brouwerij der St. Benedictusabdij de Achelse located in Hamot-Achel, Belgium.

I’ve really been in the mood for a Trappist brew lately and when I saw this one on the shelf, I just had to give it a go.

I couldn’t find any information regarding this particular beer on the website, http://www.achelsekluis.org/, but I was able to gather a commercial description from ratebeer.com

Huge, copper-colored, bottle-conditioned ale, still hot off the presses, Achel Trappist Extra is the latest from the tiny brewery at the St. Benedictus Abbey at Achel, in the Northeast of Belgium. At this year’s World Beer Championships in Chicago, the Extra was easily the best of the many Trappist beers tasted, scoring 97 points and an “Exceptional” rating. You will find this a very satisfying beer, with just a little malt sweetness, dried fruit flavors, warm sherry notes, and a brisk balancing backdrop of fresh hop bitterness.

Let’s pour.

This brew comes in a 25.4 oz. bottle and it has an ABV of 9.5%.

It poured a burgundy color with a copper/orange sheen around the bottom of the chalice.  It formed a light tan head from a gentle pour.  It wasn’t particularly large in size, but it was smooth and mostly creamy.  The retention time was decent and the lacing looked ok too.

The aroma brought forth hints of dark fruit.  Mostly plum and fig.  A slight relish of toasted wheat bread and yeast along with touches of chocolate and light caramel.  Only the most faint waft of clove was found along the spice realm.  This Quad wasn’t as robust or strong as some of the others that I’ve tried, however it seemed better balanced and harmonized in my opinion.

The flavor was very, very nice.  Stabs of dark fruit.  Figs, dates, plums and a bit of grape as well.  Flavors of yeast, toasted breads and biscuits.  The chocolate and caramel malt that I found in the aroma were very subdued in the taste.  They were still there, but maybe just a touch underscored.  The dark fruits were the primary players in the taste I thought.  The clove stepped up towards the end of the drink after it had time to warm at bit.  Slight savors of alcohol were found as well.

The mouthfeel was a sturdy medium.  Smooth, kind of creamy and dry.  A light, easy going warmth was felt from the alcohol and a great amount of carbonation really tickled the tongue.  A good dose of flavor was left on the palate after the sip too.  I tasted it for quite a while after the bottle was finished.

Overall, I really liked the Achel Extra.  It succeeded in quenching my Trappists thirst that’s for sure.  I think Achel deserves more respect than it gets in the “craft beer world”.  It seems that most dismiss their brews when they think of an authentic Trappist beer.  One thing is for sure…. I don’t.  I think these brews have plenty to offer, are easily drinkable and are relatively easy to obtain.  If you guys have yet to try anything from Achel, I would highly recommend it.  I think you will be rather impressed.

Thanks for reading and commenting everyone.  I really appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  4.25 out of 5
Grade:  A- 

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Posted by on August 21, 2012 in Achel, Country: Belgium

 

Review of Trappist Achel 8 Bruin

Hello guys.  For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying the Trappist Achel 8 Bruin produced by the Brouwerij der St. Benedictusabdij de Achelse located in Hamot-Achel, Belgium.

Nothing like an authentic Trappist brew to set the night off right.

I couldn’t find any type of commercial description on the website http://www.achelsekluis.org/, nor could I find any information anywhere else on the web, so we are just going to have to try this out and decide for ourselves what this beer is all about.

Let’s pour.

This Achel 8 Bruin comes in an 11.2 oz. bottle and has an ABV of 8.0%.

The beer poured a murky brown to burgundy color.  The cap was off white, decently sized, mostly creamy, soft and smooth.  The retention time was quite alright and the lacing was more than ok too.  Once the head settled it left a thin skim behind on top of the liquid.

The smell revealed wonderful hints of dark fruit.  Figs, dates and raisins.  Some spicy cloves were infiltrated by a delightful sour dough bread and that all too familiar Belgian yeast.  It had an almost “tea like” quality to the nose I thought.  As the brew warmed I began to detect hints of caramel sugar and touches of booze.  This nose was very, very well balanced and harmonized.  Really nice.

The taste was more of the same except that the alcohol was a bit more established.  Awesome dark fruit tones.  Figs, dates and raisins mixed with a pleasant bready goodness.  More of that smooth, silky and creamy Belgian yeast also.  The cloves sat right in the middle and only added to the overall complexity.  The caramel sweetness was more of an undertone that never got in the way.  One thing I noticed about this brew was the fact that it never became sharp or medicinal like some of the “American” Dubbels can be.  This beer tasted wonderful and was super well coordinated to say the least.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied.  Very smooth, dry, mostly creamy and chewy.  The carbonation was spot on and a good bit of warmth was felt for the entire drink.  The palate was convincingly drenched with flavor after each and every sip.

Man.  This is a beautiful and brilliant beer in my opinion.  It was so easy to drink too.  It had all of the proper goodness that one would expect from a Belgian Dubbel without ever becoming obtrusive or overbearing.  There’s really not a whole lot else to say except pick one of these up if you happen across a bottle.  I don’t think that you will be disappointed.  The Achel 8 Bruin may very well be the best Dubbel that I’ve tried up to this point.  I would love to pick up another bottle or two to sip on while I play guitar.  It seems like the right kind of beer for that sort of thing.  Could just be me though.

Thanks for reading and commenting folks.  I appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  4.5 out of 5
Grade:  A   

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Achel, Country: Belgium

 
 
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