Trappist Achel ExtraNovember 1, 2003 Achel, Belgium
Brouwerij der St. Benedictus
Imported by: Shelton Brothers
Available: AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, IA, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, TN, VA, WA, WI
Achel is the newest of the abbey breweries to receive the designation “trappist,” bringing the number of Trappist Breweries back up to six.
Alcohol by weight: 7.56
This is one fine beer, and a joy to drink, although a tad strong at 9.5%. Nevertheless, smooth, rich and flavorful, it makes a really fine lawnmower beer, but don’t plan any post-lawnmowing festivities. It was definitely worth waiting for. The color is a stunning brown, almost teak. The head is large, well mannered, exquisitely textured, with a soft, steady, sound. The aromatics are a joy. This is true Trappist.
- Fred Eckhardt
The beer is a light reddish brown and slips below a rocky tan head. The nose is beautiful: stewed dark fruit, cherries, plums, rum, raisins and sweet spices. The palate opens up sweetly, but the impression is false. The hops step in, light but firm, and the beer dries through the round, fruity center. The alcohol comes forward in the finish, which is long and warming. This delicious beer shows great finesse. Australian lamb chops, covered in rosemary, olive oil and cracked black pepper; 20 minutes at 450 degrees F. You’ll thank me.
- Garrett Oliver
Nice bulging, showy head. A typical, lively Belgian beer, it must be poured carefully, preferably into a wide-mouthed, curved snifter. Caramel-brown in color with a slight haze. The aroma is mellow, but complex with some brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg notes. The smooth, savory flavor is alive with raisiny-sweet, malty notes, and plenty of earthy subtleties. Decent mouthfeel, with a dry finish, and a balancing dose of bittering hops. Great with some soft, pungent cheese, or a slice of pecan pie.
- K. Florian Klemp
Fred Eckhardt lives, writes about and drinks beer in Portland, OR. He is the author of The Essentials of Beer and Sake (USA).
Internationally recognized brewer and expert on traditional beer, Garrett Oliver is the brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery and the author of The Brewmaster's Table.
K. Florian Klemp
K. Florian Klemp is a research analyst at Duke University in Durham, NC, and an award-winning homebrewer. Michael Jackson returns next issue.