Thursday, February 23, 2012

Trappist Tasting

We had a hankering during our week off to get really shitty drinking awesome beers, and comparing trappists seemed like a perfect idea. There are officially 7 trappist breweries, of which we were only able to obtain 6 (Westvleteren is very hard to find). We talked to the owner of Best Damn Beer Store and he said there was talk of a Westvleteren 4 or 6 pack plus glass possibly being sold here for around $75, but he hasn't seen anything yet. We also decided to toss in two non-trappists for comparison, Karmeliet and Affligem tripel. Here is a rundown of the prices, ABVs and NSPs:

La Trappe Quad: $12.99 per 750 mL, 10% ABV, 5.7 NSP
Achel Extra: $16.99 per 750 mL, 9.5% ABV, 4.2 NSP
Orval: $5.99 per 330 mL, 6.9% ABV, 3.8 NSP
Chimay Blue: $11.99 per 750 mL, 9% ABV, 5.6 NSP
Westmalle Dubbel: $12.99 per 750 mL, 7% ABV, 4.0 NSP
Rochefort 6: $6.29 per 330 mL, 7.5% ABV, 3.9 NSP

Tripel Karmeliet: $11.99 per 750 mL, 8.4% ABV, 5.25 NSP
Affligem Tripel: $9.29 per 750 mL, 9% ABV, 7.27 NSP

Looking at the NSP scores, only Affligem and possibly the La Trappe Quad seem like a good deal, but we get screwed over living in America not having easy access to these beers. I know I have seen the Chimay Blue for cheaper here and have found the Westmalle Tripel for 11.99, so all is not lost.

For past reference, I have reviewed both Affligems, Orval, Achel Blonde, Westmalle Tripel, Karmeliet, Rochefort 10, and Chimay Tripel.

As for tasting, lets just say this is probably not the best idea to do in succession, especially since we started light and ended strong. The tasting order was as follows:

Rochefort 6
Westmalle Dubbel
Chimay Blue
La Trappe Quad

I tallied up the points from Andy, Chris and I (I think Samer and Brent mostly agreed with these ratings), and for the trappists alone we have the following point totals (30 being perfect - somewhat relative scale)

Achel: 27.5
La Trappe Quad: 25
Chimay Blue and Westmalle Dubbel: 22.5
Rochefort 6: 18.5
Orval: 14

By the time we got to Karmeliet and Affligem, our notes deteriorated into just a few illegible words. I thought they were both better than all the trappists. For specifics, we all thought Orval was incredibly boring, just some honey flavors going on. Rochefort 6 was much more flavorful than Orval and was a little sour. For Westmalle Dubbel, we have no legible notes except that its better than the previous two. Brent claimed "dubbels are probably the worst beer to throw up". We all concur. The Chimay Blue transferred the tasting over to easy, well-balanced drinking. The Achel we all loved and I noted that it tasted like "alcohol soaked raisins". For the La Trappe Quad, I noted that it was mellower than the Achel, but I lost all ability to taste at this point. Basically the moral of the story is to do a tasting with lower ABV beers and fewer beers. These are all delicious, so just drink em up.


  1. Brendan is sitting closest to me because he (1) wants me inside him, and (2) hates Arabs.

  2. only one of those is decide

  3. You guys are missing the Westvleteren...

  4. Anyone notice Chris' old man JC Penny socks??