Westy 12 release: mid December

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atomeyes
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Postby atomeyes » Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:19 am

my only "complaint":

Ovral tastes so odd compared to some of these. as in: it is in its own league. it uses brett, so there's some sour/funkiness to it.

also, the best way to maximize the tasting (in an ideal world) is by putting the best vintages forward.

Like, Chimay GR, i think, tastes stellar after 1-2 years of cellaring. same with Westy 12. Orval is incredible after 3-5 years of cellaring.
St Berny really didn't improve after aging.

one more beer you should add (but a trip to buffalo would be required): Pannepot
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Postby jrenihan » Sat Feb 23, 2013 8:51 pm

Partially inspired by the resurgence of this thread, I opened the first of my Westvleteren's from the LCBO release today, alongside a Rochefort 10. I have been interested for awhile as to how they would stand up alongside each other.

It may not have been an entirely equivalent comparison, as the Rochefort was about 2.5 years old, while the Westy is just shy of a year. However, while both were excellent, I definitely preferred the Rochefort. Much richer, more complex and, well, just tastier. I am definitely interested to see how the Westy develops as time goes by.
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Results of Trappist Tasting

Postby napoleon » Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:02 am

Thanks all for the advice and some offers to help me find a missing beer or two...it was a very nice welcome to the community.

First, here's what was tasted:
Orval
Westmalle Trippel
Westy 12
St. Bernardus Abt 12
Rochefort 10
Rochefort 8
La Trappe Triple
Chimay Blue (GR)
Achel Tripple
Achel Extra

And some random thoughts on the results of the tasting. I'll note that we didn't do it blind as I hadn't tried several of these beers before. The other variable is that these beers were obtained from random bottle shops in the US primarily, so one variable we didn't exactly control was age...I suspect a few might have aged a year or two in store.

1) Atomeyes was correct. The Orval wins the Sesame Street Test...which one of these is not like the others. There were definitely bitter funky notes and more hops than the others.

2) Several of the triples [Westmalle and La Trappe] taste like what I consider to be classic tripples. Namely, the alcohol is pronounced, the palate is a bit thin, and one gets some fruit esters, especially banana. This was most pronounced with the La Trappe. We all generally agreed that with La Trappe, we prefer the quad to the tripple (although we didn't have the quad for the tasting).

3) Chimay Blue was our favorite most readily available beer. We found the flavor was much richer and more complex, as well as a bit sweeter. We were surprised how carbonated they were.

4) The Achel Tripple (Bruine) blew me away, as well as several of our group. I got these fantastic notes of rum and raisin with a deep creamy mouthfeel and lingering aftertaste. This was my favorite beer of the tasting, although, it's one of the ones I wonder if it might have been aged a bit in store. We followed this with the Achel Extra, expecting it to be even better. Now, it was a very good beer, but we unanimously preferred the tripple. Many of the flavor notes were reduced in the Extra and the alcohol started to stand out a bit in the initial taste (it's only 9.5% versus 8%). Perhaps had I not had the very rich tripple prior, it might have stood out more.

5) The Westy...well, the Westy was quite good. These were bottles from the LCBO release (I'm cellaring two as well). We all quite enjoyed it, although as many have predicted it didn't live up to the hype, and no one saw Jesus or had an our of body experience. Really solid quad beer though. Everyone preferred it to the Rochefort 10 and St. Bernardus. Some of us preferred the Achel triple (including myself).

6) The Rochefort 10 was like a steak. I thought it's flavors were chewy. One of our group had fonder memories of his last tasting than this particular tasting. My take on the Rochefort was that it presented a very aggressive, monosyllabic taste profile. I wish I had found the complexity that jrenihan found. The alcohol was strong on both the 10 and the 8.

7) Finally, the St. Bernardus was probably the closest in style to the Westy. I have found that I firmly prefer it in the bottle to on tap (having tried it on tap a few times, including last week). The Westy nonetheless edges it out with more complexity and depth of flavor.

So, it's hard to pick a winner here. For me it was the Achel Tripple and for others it was the Westy. In the past I've had the barrel-aged La Trappe quad and I think that would give both of these a serious run for their money.

Thanks for all the help finding these beers. This was truly a lot of fun to be able to comparison taste across the Trappist line and vertically within the Rochefort's and the Achel's.
iguenard
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Postby iguenard » Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:07 am

I did a few open Trappist tastings like you did, and arrived at a very similar result. Then we did it blind, and the Westy came out way behind the others.

Amazing how availability (price and rarity), or never having had a beer before/anticipation plays a role in our appreciation of beer.

Thanks for the notes.
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Postby MatttthewGeorge » Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:07 pm

This past summer myself and two others did a blind tasting of Westy 12, St. Bernardus 12, Rochefort 10, Pannepot Grand Reserva & Rigor Mortis.

Two of us had St. B 12 on top, then Westy. The other guy had that flipped. All three of us had Panneport, Rigor, then Rochefort as our last three.

Wish I had the Chimay (strange that we didn't) & Achel to compare, but it was fun doing it blind so that "hype" didn't get in the way.
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Trappist Crapshoot

Postby Belgian » Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:14 pm

napoleon wrote:5) The Westy...well, the Westy was quite good. These were bottles from the LCBO release (I'm cellaring two as well). We all quite enjoyed it, although as many have predicted it didn't live up to the hype, and no one saw Jesus or had an our of body experience. Really solid quad beer though. Everyone preferred it to the Rochefort 10 and St. Bernardus. Some of us preferred the Achel triple (including myself).

Achel Blonde Tripel is real tasty! An overlooked gem.

Westvleteren is the one brewery I've only tried so few times yet have read so much about. It seems that it can be frustratingly inconsistent, brewing batches that might be great, or just good, or even mediocre to poor... and this factor is in addition to variables like aging and handling. People living over there who frequent the Belgian Abbey will even tell you St. Sixtus doesn't have such amazing quality control.

Thanks for sharing all the other notes too! One of my favorite Belgian experiences is still Westmalle Dubbel - very consistent beer, not overbearingly sweet or alcoholi-heavy to enjoy any time, and this Dubbel ages beautifully for years and years. Definite yeast signature in the earthy-mineral aspects of the flavor (same yeasty critters as used by St Sixtus, incidentally.)
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atomeyes
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Re: Trappist Crapshoot

Postby atomeyes » Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:06 am

Belgian wrote:
napoleon wrote:5) The Westy...well, the Westy was quite good. These were bottles from the LCBO release (I'm cellaring two as well). We all quite enjoyed it, although as many have predicted it didn't live up to the hype, and no one saw Jesus or had an our of body experience. Really solid quad beer though. Everyone preferred it to the Rochefort 10 and St. Bernardus. Some of us preferred the Achel triple (including myself).

Achel Blonde Tripel is real tasty! An overlooked gem.

Westvleteren is the one brewery I've only tried so few times yet have read so much about. It seems that it can be frustratingly inconsistent, brewing batches that might be great, or just good, or even mediocre to poor... and this factor is in addition to variables like aging and handling. People living over there who frequent the Belgian Abbey will even tell you St. Sixtus doesn't have such amazing quality control.

Thanks for sharing all the other notes too! One of my favorite Belgian experiences is still Westmalle Dubbel - very consistent beer, not overbearingly sweet or alcoholi-heavy to enjoy any time, and this Dubbel ages beautifully for years and years. Definite yeast signature in the earthy-mineral aspects of the flavor (same yeasty critters as used by St Sixtus, incidentally.)


kicking myself. was in buffalo last week.
accidentally bought a bomber of the Tripel instead of the Dubbel. didn't realize it until i got home.

their Dubbel is amazing. the Tripel? really boozy

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