Doctor Duvel

I'm like a sommelier, but for beer.

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Location: Upstate New York, United States

Favorite Beers: Orval, Samuel Smith, Duvel, Hennepin, Oude Gueze, Chimay, Dogfish Head, Anchor Steam, and anything made by Trappist monks.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Dulle Teve, meet Rochefort 6

It's been a while since I had a mad bitch, so I snapped this up when I was in Boston, despite the price tag. It's an absolutely gorgeous beer. The palate is clean and dry, and the color's real pale, so we can't be talking about much more than Pilsner malt and candi sugar. I'd like to get an idea of what the yeast involved here is, because it's an amazing producer of herbal aromatics, unless they're spicing this in some really funky ways. I get mint and cilantro and basil and stuff like that just busting out of this beer. I'm thinking coriander is definitely used, as there's a little nutty, spicy thing somewhere too. It's the mint that really kills me--it's such a high, clear, sexy scent. The palate is very subtle and complex. The alcohol, which is probably substantial, is not very perceptible at all. I would fuckin' flip if I could brew a tripel that resembled this. Run of the mill tripels are often simplistically reliant on spicing, or have somewhat coarse malt profiles. This works like a Swiss watch. So there's something to work on: figure out how to brew a beer that has that herbal greenery thing going on. Nice hop bitterness in the finish. Probably the idea would be to brew an extra dry tripel, with a little extra hopping, and then unleash just the right yeast.

And, in a burst of feckless beerlust, I decided to crack open another beer brought back from Boston. I get, thrill of thrills, to try a Trappist beer I have not had before: Rochefort 6. I love the 10, one of the great classics amongst the bigger Belgians. And I had the 8 in the bay area recently, which I found really captivating. One might expect the 6, the lowest in gravity, to be less interesting, but of course, that would be wrong. It's drop dead gorgeous. Kind of dusky, russet color, red under light. Every time I smell it, it's different. One minute I get this kind of delicately lactic thing--which reminds me of the effect the 3787 yeast is producing in my beers (Westmalle and Rochefort appear to use the same yeast). The next minute, I get a rich whiff of plummy, raisiny Special B and Caramunich (the latter being a signature malt at Rochefort). The idea of brewing anything comparable is rather daunting, but I think you'd be talking about pilsner malt, plus relatively heavy handed applications of Caramunich (primarily) and Special B (secondarily), plus dark candi sugar. Hopping would be like Styrian Goldings and Hallertau or something, limited almost entirely to bittering. Wow. This is so soft and yet mouth-filling at the same time. Now that was a beer tasting.


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