Rochefort 8 was first released to the public in 1955 after Chimay helped the struggling Trappist brewery revamp their brewery and recipes. 8 was the second of the new beers created (6 being the first). 8′s recipe is nearly identical to the recipe of 6 and 10. The same ingredients are used, only slightly modified from recipe to recipe to increase the fermentable sugars and the hop balance. The name designation of “8″ refers to the mostly out of use Belgian system for measuring the gravity of the wort. The higher the number, the more fermentable material in the beer and thus, a higher alcohol level. It would be the equivalent of 1.080 in standard Original Gravity.
Recently, it was announced that the water source that feeds the Rochefort Monastery is in danger from the further development of a nearby quarry. The hard water is critical to the flavor of Rochefort and the loss of this source could irrevocably change or destroy Rochefort beers. Please visit the post I wrote to learn more and to find petitions you can sign: “Help Save Rochefort Beers.”
To read more about the Trappist Breweries and Rochefort, you can read my pieces on “The Brewing Monks: A Brief History of the Trappist Order and Monastic Brewing,” “The Brewing Monks: The Eight Trappist Breweries (Part 1),” and “The Brewing Monks: The Eight Trappist Breweries (Part 2).”
Appearance: Brown-amber, tan head, great retention.
Aroma: Toffee, light chocolate, butter scotch, brown sugar, caramel, spicy yeastiness.
Flavor: Toffee, chocolate, caramel, spice. Rich and sweet.
Overall Impression: The velvety mouthfeel and richness makes this beer incredibly enjoyable. It’s richer than the 6, but not as robust as the 10. It may be a departure from the norm, but I think I prefer the 8 over the 6 & 10. The other two are amazing, but this one (for the moment) seems to be the one I’m the most into right now. This beer is deep, rich, flavorful, balanced and powerful. So good.
Availability: This beer is usually sitting next to the Rochefort 10 and has solid distribution at better beer shops. This beer is being imported by Merchant du Vin. Check with your local beer shop that carries MdV products and request this beer if you don’t see it.
Notes: You can read more about Rochefort and my other reviews of their beers here.