Origin: Belgium | Date: 2011 | ABVs: 9.2% & 11.3% | On The Beer Nut: October 2007
And it's with the 8 I'm starting. The yeast is quite firmly stuck to the bottom of the bottle so I get a perfectly clear deep brown glassful. The aroma is surprisingly subtle, but a lungful pulls out boozy plums and a coarser nuttiness. Although it fizzed as it poured and formed a short-lived head, the surface is mill-pond still after a moment and the first sip reveals it as remarkably flat. Coupled with the dense texture, this produces the sensation of drinking a red wine to begin with, aided by dark plummy fruit. But, after a moment, it miraculously transforms back into beer and there's a wheaty, cakey Christmas pudding flavour and a coating of milk chocolate. The plums and black grapes which add panache to the malt weight taste incredibly fresh, almost juicy. The beer certainly hasn't been ruined by five years of neglect but I don't think it's been enhanced in any way. You may as well drink your Rochefort 8 fresh: no point in taking a risk with it.
Effects of long-term stashing aside, this pair has reminded me that Rochefort beers are of immense quality. When you have the time, the disposition, and maybe a nice piece of cheese, they're always worth it.