One day after I scored a 6 pack of the Westvleteren XII, I received a text from my beer buddy Andy. The conversation started off simply enough, but he quickly got to the point and asked if I’d been able to procure any Westy. I briefly considered messing with him, but then decided it would probably be fun to share them, so I confessed that I had managed to get some bottles. We tried to set up a time for a tasting, but nothing in the near future would work for both of us.
We finally decided on February 2nd, and threw out a few more invites to another drinking buddy, Jarett, and his wife Sarah. The Mrs was feeling up to drinking this time, and of course Heather and Mike were eager to revisit. So thus began, the Belgian Quad blind tasting, part II.
The procedure was the same, Heather poured the beers into pint glasses, and hid the bottles. The beers were delivered to the table and we greedily started sipping.
The results for Mike and I were the same, Rochefort 10 first, Westveleteren XII second, and the St Bernardus 12 third. The Mrs joined us in preferring the Rochefort, Andy picked the Westy, and Jarett the St Bernardus.
If anything, this affirmed my notion that these are all world class beers.
I polled the crowd for what to drink next, and we decided on a Vertical tasting of Stone Imperial Russian Stout, 2009, 2010, and 2011.
Not going blind this time, we started with the oldest and worked our way forwards.
The 2009 tasted overly bitter to me, and seemed to have thinned out considerably. It lacked the usual oomph that I expect from an Imperial Stout, and I fear that at almost 4 years in the cellar, it may have been in there just a little bit too long.
The 2011 tasted much more robust than the 2009. The bitterness was in check, and it had a subtle sweetness to it. Some of the others picked up some sourness here, and thought maybe the beer had spoiled a bit. I wasn’t picking up anything at first, but as the beer opened up a bit more, I too started to detect some sour notes. We set the beer aside and chalked it up to bad luck. I have a few more in the cellar, so I plan to revisit soon.
The 2010 was also firmer than the 2009. The beer had an almost perfect balance, with just the right amount of bitterness. If Goldlilocks were drinking with us that day, she would have said that this one was “just right”.