BEER STYLE AND COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Style category: Belgian Trappist Strong Ale / Quadrupel
This huge, copper-colored, bottle-conditioned ale is the flagship from the tiny brewery at the St. Benedictus Abbey at Achel, in the Northeast of Belgium. 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.
Achel is by far the smallest of Belgium’s six Trappist monasteries, and one of only two in which the monks themselves still take a hand in the daily operation of the brewery. We think you’ll agree that the care and time that a little hands-on brewery devotes to its beers makes all the difference.
OUR BREWVIEW ON TRAPPIST ACHEL EXTRA
9.5% ABV, deep brown color with a creamy, dense, off white colored head which leaves behind dense lacework on the sides of the glass during consumption.
Very malty, you can smell the deep caramel malt bouquet from at least a foot away from the glass. Bready Trappist yeast, there is a hop aroma in the mix, dark fruits, with a unique (very faint) funkiness due to its spiciness. NOTE; the funkiness we are describing is not brett or anything like that. Think of a high quality Trappist fruitcake.
The taste most certainly carries over from the aromas. As with the other two Trappist Achel ales, the fruitiness / spicy phenols are quite unique from all the other Trappist ales. It has notes of a Pedro Ximenez sherry. The spice notes are allspice, cardamom, with deep raisins and toffee.
Medium bodied, bordering on full bodied, the spiciness really tickles the front of the tongue, but then assaults the soft palate. It doesn’t hide its 9.5% strength. The finish is burnt toast, mixed with biscuits.
FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS
(Similar to the Bruin)
(Cheeses) Rich, Blue veined, Trappist or Washed Rind cheeses would go very well- many to choose from. The classic charcuterie platter with rich, salty meats.
Wide open, but our suggestions would be beef or venison. Barbeque, Carbonade flamande, Steak Frites, Boudin.
Dark Chocolate Chipotle Sweet Potato Fudge, Mini Spicy Crust Bourbon Pecan Pies, Triple Ginger Snap Cookies.
The Trappist Achel ales are very unique, and do not taste like any of the other Trappist ales. Their fruitiness, the spiciness is distinctive.
You could easily cellar the Extra for 3-5 years with great results. We could envision the fruitiness / spicy phenols developing even more, in a deeper way.
The Trappist Achel ales are not easy to find, especially in retail outlets, or in good drinking establishments. If you can find them, get them for sure. However, our friends at Belgian-Style Ales has that covered! Seek this one (and all the Trappist Achel ales) out for sure. World class, brewed to impeccable quality.
ADDITIONAL LINKS- MARCH 2017 BREWERY SPOTLIGHT
BrewView author GORDON A. PONCE is the main driving force behind Belgian Beer Journal.com. Since 1983, Gordon recognized that beers from Belgium were special, set apart from the typical craft beer.
He views beers from Belgium (plus Belgian-style and Belgian Inspired beers from other countries) great examples of the brewer’s art. Gordon and his wife live in beautiful Northern California- a great place to enjoy Belgian beer! Ecclesiastes 8:15