Page 2 - Rochefort 10 Complete
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website recommended keeping the beer for a couple of months to mature, so it was going to be very interesting for
          us to see the effect of a number of years of ageing on such a mighty, complex brew.

          Anyone who has seen the classic ‘Trappistes Rochefort’ lettering on the cream coloured label on the bottle, with the
          iconic white ‘10’ on a blue circular background, will have noticed a date printed on the label. Nowadays though, the
          date appears on the rear label, which in itself is a recent addition, and seems to be a more ‘computer generated’ font
          than the earlier printed dates, which had more of a dot-matrix appearance, with even earlier versions having a hand
          stamped look about them. A classic label indeed, not so much for the label’s design; more as to what is promised to
          be delivered... But I digress; it’s not so much about the bottle.... The date on the label itself is apparently five years
          ahead of the bottling date, and so seems to be some kind of ‘use-by’ guide. So for example, ’25 08 09’ on a bottle
                                             th
          means that the beer was bottled on 25  August 2004, and as for a ‘use-by’ date, it certainly doesn’t mean that the
          beer turns to vinegar at the stroke of midnight on the label date, as we shall see! (Note: there are additional notes on
          the evolution in the design of the label at the end of this article.)

          As mentioned earlier, I provided ten of the older bottles, with Stuart and Linda supplying the two most recent ones in
          order to compare the freshest examples with the aged beers. My bottles had each been purchased in the year of
          their production, (or within a couple of months), usually in batches of two or three, so that at least I had something to
          drink at the time! The bottles were stored in a cupboard at a cooler than average temperature, and in darkness.
          Obviously I cannot comment on the storage conditions in the shop or warehouse pre-purchase. I would like to think
          that these beers had been treated with the respect they deserve!

          As we settled down in the early evening at the Prince of Wales for the tasting, the last of the customers left. Such was
          the  intensity  of  the  rain  outside  that  it  seemed  nobody  wanted  to  venture  out  to  the  pub  that  night,  and  very
          unusually for such a popular pub, the four of us were left undisturbed all evening!

          The bottles were opened, and the beers were carefully decanted into large glasses, leaving an inch or so of beer and
          yeast sediment in each bottle. They were left for 10 minutes, and the condition of the head was noted at this time.
          Lynda commented that the appearance of the head does not necessarily equate to the condition of the beer. We had
          a tasting glass each for every different beer, decanting each in turn from the glass into which the beer had been
          originally poured. After the initial tasting of the clear beer, the yeast sediment was mixed with the remaining beer
          from the initial pour, in the bottle, and was added to our individual decanted beer so we could investigate what effect
          the yeast had on the beers’ flavours. Diane took tasting notes of our verbal interpretations based on the ‘classic’
          Rochefort 10 flavours as described in the paragraphs above, along with any other significant characteristics we might
          have detected. The beers were sampled ten minutes after pouring, as mentioned above. With water and dry crackers
          provided as palate cleansers, we started the tasting with the oldest of the twelve:


          The beers are identified by the date on their label.

             1.  15/09/2004

             Very thin head which disappeared quickly. Very little ‘fizz’. Very pancaked sediment. Oily looking. Aroma of port
             wine and sherry. Liveliness in the mouth was short-lived. Some degree of dryness. ‘A good sherry, but a bit over
             the  hill  for  a  beer’.  The  yeast  added  a  lot,  bringing  chocolate  flavours  and  an  enhanced  general  rich  dark
             fruitiness.

             2.  07/09/2005
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