Achel Extra

Achel ExtraThere are currently seven authentic Trappist breweries in the world (six in Belgium and one in the Netherlands). To bear the Trappist logo, the beer must be brewed within the walls or vicinity of a Trappist monastery, the monastic community determines the means of production, and any profits are primarily intended for the needs of the monastery or for social services. The smallest and most recently recognized Trappist brewery is Achel Brewery (Brouwerij der Sint-Benedictusabdij de Achelse Kluis) in Achel, Belgium. Achel currently brews five beers (Achel Blonde 5°, Achel Brune 5°, Achel Blonde 8°, Achel Brune 8°, Achel Extra (Brune), Achel Extra (Blonde). Only the Blonde 8°, Brune 8°, and Extra (Brune) are distributed beyond the abbey walls.

Achel Extra (Brune) (Belgian Strong Dark Ale, 9.5% ABV) is distributed in 750 ml bottles. It pours a dark brown, with golden-red highlights visible in light. It has a fine light brown head and exhibits excellent lacing. The aroma is a little yeasty, but as the beer warms dark roasted malt dominates the smell. When I initially poured the bottle, I detected a slightly sour roasted malt flavor, but as the beer warmed a little, the sourness diminished and the toasted malt, prune, and raisin flavors were outstanding. It was at about 60°F that the superior flavor of this beer really became apparent. Some other reviewers have noted low carbonation levels, but this bottle was fully carbonated and a world class beer.

Empty Glass LacingI took another picture of the empty glass to highlight the thick lacing that was present to the end. In addition to the Achel Extra, I also highly recommend the Achel Blonde 8° and Achel Brune 8° — they are a little harder to find than most other Trappist beers (except Westvleteren), but worth seeking out.

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