The BIG DADDY of beers in Xian is of course the massive Rochefort 10 which comes in at a stupefying 11.3% ABV – if you believe the label on the bottle… In fact the ABV is undoubtedly higher by the time it gets to the drinker due to the fact that these beers continue to develop in the bottle much like a fine wine.
Rochefort 10 is a trappist beer. It is reddish-brown in colour, with a compact head and an aroma of figs. The mouth feel is like dark honey but bitter. Obviously, the alcohol profile is a major component in the flavour of this rich ale. It is a massive beer, packed with complex flavour and punch. A real man’s beer.
The brewery is located inside the mysterious Abbey of Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy, near the town of Rochefort, and has been brewing beer since 1595. There are thought to be 15 monks resident at the monastery. The monks are very secretive about the brewing process and the brewery is not open to the public. Much of the information publicly known about the brewery comes from only a few sources and much is conjecture. The brewery only brews 3 beers: Rochefort 6, Rochefort 8 and Rochefort 10. What is known without a shadow of a doubt is that all the beers are absolutely excellent.
Like many strong Belgian beers, those produced at Rochefort age well and can be cellared for at least five years whilst maintaining quality. The water for the beers is drawn from a well located inside the monastery walls. The current brewer is thought to be Brother Pierre.
Due to the artisan nature of the production, the beer has experienced supply shortages in the past – so drink it while you can! Rochefort beers are not cheap, mass-produced plonk. They are rare, hand-crafted, specialist beers. Rochefort 10 is RMB60 but that is money well-spent and probably the cheapest you will be able to drink this special beer anywhere in the world except maybe in Belgium when the Euro is down…
Rochefort 10 is currently available in Xian only at The Belgian Bar.