I should have had Rochefort 6 at Easter; a good alternative to hot cross buns and it has a religious connection, being brewed at the Notre dame de St-Remy monastery. Dark amber in colour with a crusty bread aroma followed by spicey yeast and some dark fruit. Nicely balanced taste; not too much fruit and perfect bitterness and warm alcohol feel (7. 5% alc. Vol.).
Rochefort is alone amongst the Belgian Trappist breweries in that it makes only dark(er) beers. The colour comes from a generous addition of dark Munich malt. Historically water has always played a big part in beer types; London porter and Burton ale being two good English examples.
The brewing water at Rochefort is rich in calcium carbonate (as in London), best suited to the production of dark beer. Orval, which is not far away draws on a water supply which is much harder, containing calcium sulphate, (as in Burton), which is best suited to paler beers.
This is not the first Rochefort beer most people go for; it’s only brewed about once a year and accounts for approximately 1% of a total production (26000 hectolitres), which is only about 13% that of Chimay. Nonetheless like its big brothers it’s truly worldclass. Its consumption should by no means be limited to Easter.