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RATINGS: 735   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.93/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 285   ABV: 9.5%
Huge, copper-colored, bottle-conditioned ale, still hot off the presses, Achel Trappist Extra is the latest from the tiny brewery at the St. Benedictus Abbey at Achel, in the Northeast of Belgium. At this year's World Beer Championships in Chicago, the Extra was easily the best of the many Trappist beers tasted, scoring 97 points and an "Exceptional" rating. You will find this a very satisfying beer, with just a little malt sweetness, dried fruit flavors, warm sherry notes, and a brisk balancing backdrop of fresh hop bitterness.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Cornfield (5570) - Oak Forest, Illinois, USA - FEB 18, 2006
Pours a chestnut body with a pillowy, well-sustained tan head. The nose is fruity with dates and plums and raisins atop a spicy, caramel malt. As it warms, some soft alcohol fumes join the party. The flavor contains all of the fruit, the caramel, and alcohol while adding a touch of clove and white peppers, brown sugar, and a honey-like sweetness. Add to this a dash of hop bitterness, and you have one excellent drinking experience. It finishes on a bitter, dry note. I need to pick up a couple more of these to lay down for a while.

<font size=-4><a href=http://www.ratebeer.com/Places/ShowPlace.asp? Beverage Depot, Naperville, IL<font size=-1>

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
presario (4903) - Stampede City, Alberta, CANADA - FEB 17, 2006
First sample from my trade with Pasoe. Only arrived from Denmark 2 days ago so still a little shaken from travel. Dusty dark orange-tinted brown with a long lasting thin foamy head. Aroma is a dusty fruity malt with flavours of dried fruit. Beautiful pillowy body with a light honey sweetness. Rich fruit malt taste. Noticeable but welcome alcohol. Mead-like.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Fiend (104) - Calgary, Alberta, CANADA - FEB 17, 2006
Muddy brown color...beautiful fruity aroma. A nice balance between sweetness and hoppy bitter...I barely noticed the fact it was almost as potent as a table wine! Perfect aftertaste of smooth maltiness.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Nuffield (4082) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - FEB 11, 2006
I let my bottle sit in the "cellar" (box in a closet) for a year and a bit, but I finally had to drag it out when my mother-in-law came for a visit and I needed to show her that I share my good beers. She likes good beer! It poured a reddish chestnut brown with a substantial tan head and notable floaties. There was a lively raisin/prune/plum and caramel aroma, rich and inviting. In the mouth, the lively, moderately frothy body drove an alcohol twang that was surprising strong for a 9.5% Belgian. Still, itís not a burning alcohol, just a flavor alcohol. It finished sweet with dried fruit and malt. Pretty enjoyable, without a doubt.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
hatchy (32) - USA - FEB 1, 2006
750 ml bottle. pours a cloudy brown, decent tan head. sweet, malty smell. tastes a bit syrupy sweet, slightly fruity, and a dry, slightly hoppy aftertaste. very nice.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
bfeldmann (1050) - Wilmington, Delaware, USA - JAN 23, 2006
"Pour a orange dark color, average head, left good lacing. Smell of some berry and spices. Mouthfeel was okay. Overall its a good quad, the best but in the upper half. "

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
SoLan (1550) - Florida, USA - JAN 21, 2006
Opaque, dark brown. Hissing, billowing tan head. Nose is roasty caramel/toffee, dark fruits, rich malt, alcohol, sugar. Same flavor, sweet with a dry finish. Full, rich body perfectly carbonated. Excellent.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
Bigsilky (327) - Charleston, USA - JAN 16, 2006
750ml cork finished bottle. Wow, the absolute definintion of seamless. This beer moves gracefullly between elements of toffee, raisins, slight cigar box, and ends with a light vanilla kiss. All this without a hint at the alcohol content. Just amazing. I havenít had Westy yet but itís hard to imagine a beer better than this. I would love to see a bottle with a few years of age on it.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
FlacoAlto (4152) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JAN 14, 2006
Best by date of April 2008, Sampled January 2006
This beer sits a hazy, amber brown color in my tulip. The beer is quite well carbonated and is topped by a frothy, three-finger thick, tan colored head that leaves lacing on the side of the glass as it slowly subsides in a cacophonous mix of large through small bubble. The aroma is quite concentrated with sweet fruity notes reminiscent of figs, sweet plums, raisins and even prunes. There is also a healthy, bready, yeasty note here, as well as some notes of clove. The aroma is quite rich and sweet, but without being heavy. After a bit of time a note of alcohol becomes evident as well.

The taste has that same sweet, fruity character to it, and the body while hefty is perhaps not as rich as I was expecting. It is still palate coating enough to make this a satiating, slow sipping evening as I work my way through this 750ml bottle. It is definitely quite well carbonated as the beer foams up on the tongue, it is not quite as noticeable as in a lighter beer, but it certainly helps to lighten the body of this beer.

Actually at this point I think I would like it to be a bit less carbonated, so I spend the time to make it so. The beer softens out, and becomes even smoother than it was before. The sweetness is a bit accentuated as well, which tends to magnify the fruit notes of sweet plums and figs. In the end this beer does not quite seem rich enough, though in its defense it is at the perfect level for me to be able to finish a 750ml in an evening. The finish has a light sharpness to it (a mix of carbonation, alcohol, and a bit of spicy yeast character), plus a phenolic note of clove.

This is definitely a beer I am happy to have a 750ml bottle of, allows for a quite evening; it is contemplative when I want it to be, and light enough to just add to the experience if I happen to be distracted by a book. Definitely a good beer, one which even grows on me over time; it almost becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

<font size=-4>Purchased: <a href=http://www.ratebeer.com/Places/ShowPlace.asp? Wine & Spirits, Chicago, IL<font size=-1>

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
NYHarvey (2153) - New York, New York, USA - JAN 6, 2006
Aroma is fruit and honey sweet. Lots of pear aroma. Cloudy brown with a very thin tan head..thinnest head I have seen on a Belgian ale. Flavor is sweet fruit flavored malts with hints of caramel and candy sugar. Alcohol is noticeable and up front. Lacks some of the range of other Trappist ales I have had and frankly some of the depth as well. A great beer, but not one of the best Trappists.

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