Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Trappist Achel 8° Blond


April is winding down and I still haven't reviewed a Belgian beer this month. So why not try a Trappist brew I've never had before. Achel is probably the least popular of the seven Trappist monastaries (it's also the smallest). I don't think too many people have reviewed them,either, so I guess it's time I stepped up.

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (654) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 24, 2012
I poured an 11.2oz bottle into a Trappist chalice.

Appearance: Nearly opaque orange/yellow with spastic micro carbonation visible. Forms a huge fluffy white soapy head which retains and laces tremendously well for a beer of the style.

Smell: Typical Trappist yeast esters - flowery perfume and orange and white fruit peels. A fresh, clean scent.

Taste: Trappist beers are known for being complex, but Achel 8° Blond is actually a repetitive palate. That’s not to say it’s bad, far from it, because the flavors that are on repeat here are quite tasty. It’s the rind and peel of the orange and white citrus fruits: orange, grapefruit and even some lemon but without the tartness or acidity. Throw in some white grape and green pear and you’ve got the palate of this beer.

There’s not much in the way of spice or sweetness, though, except for a hint of coriander and subtle banana flavors in the aftertaste due to the yeast. There’s a bitterness that seems to engulf the mouth due to the foaminess of the head and effervescence of the body. It creates for a slight doughy, powdery sensation and flavor, but it’s not sharp or dry or tangy (even with the addition of the bottle-conditioning yeast). It’s tasty and satisfying, but nothing mind-blowing.

Drinkability: I’ve yet to find a Trappist beer that is as smooth as a nitro stout, but for a Belgian tripel, Trappist Achel 8° Blond is one of the easiest beers of its class to throw back. The palate has energy for sure, but isn’t anything obnoxious. Some carbonation does get stuck in the throat, but gradually. You don’t burp until the end, instead of between each swig like, say, a Chimay White. The carbonation creates for a self-cleaning palate, leaving little aftertaste. For an 8% ABV Belgian brew there’s no alcohol warmth or distraction whatsoever. If it weren’t so expensive this would be an ideal beer to keep in the fridge on a somewhat frequent basis to pair with dinner or enjoy on a warm evening.

Grade: 8/10