Total Score: 8.95/10
Well I do believe Achel is one of the last Trappist brewers to cross off my list, apart from Westvleteren – aka ‘The Grail That Is Holy’ and the new ones; Engelszell, St. Joseph’s and Zundert – but we pay little heed to them. Here’s a fact for ya: In 1917 during their occupation the German army dismantled Achel brewery to salvage approximately 700 kg of copper for the war effort, i.e. their First World War effort. Bit of a waste of time in hindsight. True story.
Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Chimay chalice.
A: Slight hazed golden yellow body with a snow white 1cm head that sticks around well for an 8% ABV brew. Frankly this looks like a great Blond Tripel. There, I said it. 9/10.
S: Dry white wine grape upfront, quite a Champagne aroma, with hints of grassy hops, candi sugar and bread yeast in the background. Glad that Achel have differentiated their Blond from the other Trappist Tripels. 8/10.
T: Reminds me of a denser Duvel with a hint of Diacetyl (i.e. butterscotch) thrown in. I love Duvel – it’s still my highest rated beer – and Diacetyl has a time and a place, and this time and place is fine by me. The vinous grape notes mingle well with the green grassy “turf-like” quality of this Tripel, and the finish is a slight herbal bitterness that balances it out. Also with a brew at this percentage it doesn’t throw truckloads of sugar at you, it’s all rather well balanced. 10/10.
M: Medium bodied with a light but dense carbonation, this is where it’s at. 8/10.
D: This is definitely a tasty drop for a Duvel-lover, though lacking the brash-handed intensity of its non-Trappist cousin, Achel does manage to stand on its own two feet in the grand pantheon of Trappist beers. Overall how would I rate it in comparison to other Trappist Blonds? Well this to me is the winner over the next nearest Trappist Blond – Westmalle Tripel – albeit a slight winner, due to the Westmalle being overtly dry compared to this. Does that make sense, or am I slowly descending into madness? That is the Achel Effect. 8/10.
Food match: Chargrilled salmon with asparagus in lime vinaigrette and grated parmesan cheese (if you will) – see there is a time and place for parmesan cheese and it isn’t on a tiramisu Schneider Weisse!