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Achel Trappist Extra - Brouwerij der St. Benedictusabdij de Achelse

Not Rated.
Achel Trappist ExtraAchel Trappist Extra

Educational use only; do not reuse.

211 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 211
Hads: 445
Avg: 4.27
pDev: 13.82%
Wants: 127
Gots: 55 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Brouwerij der St. Benedictusabdij de Achelse visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: dsa7783 on 01-22-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 211 | Hads: 445
Photo of radioscooter
3.82/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Still making my way through the 'real' Trappists with fervor.

This is the first time I tried Achel.

Thankfully not as frothy and carbonated as I expected.

Appearance is excellent - apple amber with a fantastic, 2" foam that could hold up a set of stripper's ta-tas. Beautiful drapey, pimitive lacing.

None of this dissipating vanishing head - i still have some foam at the end of the glass.

Subdued aroma.

I'm not a Blonde fan, but this one is tasty. Hints of coriander, strong alcoholic vapory fruit flavors. Golden taste, if that makes sense.

No aftertaste here of any impact, making this an all-night drinker. Would be heaven paired with some Baked Brie and apples.

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Photo of midnite2sixman
4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brownish orange with a nice foamy head. The nose on this is belgian yeast delight, figs, fruity bread and raisins.

The taste is sweet and smooth up front with raisiny and ripe fruit on the tip of your tongue.

Easy, typical belgian taste on your tongue.

Drinkability is pretty solid on this one.

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Photo of jbone78
3.91/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a couple of these, just now got around to reviewing.
A- Poured in my St. Bernardus goblet. A reddish color with a nice carbonated head. Lacing not bad.
S- sugar, bold fruits like raisins.
T- This is the surprising part. there are the flavors of dark fruits, but less belgian sugar flavors and more of a sourness that I do not expect. Could bee the yeast?
M -Traditional Trappist, well carbonated.
D -Not Bad, I just prefer other trappist ales.


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Photo of petacutlasaurus
4.23/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Phew. Grabbed one recently for the minimalism of it, gathering dust on the back shelf. Glad I did! Super effervescent dark beer with inches of dark brown head that faded quickly. Smelled great with a load of dark fruits, caramel and alcohol. The taste was mostly determined by the dark fruit, but was elaborated with some burnt, smokey tinges as well as some whiskey notes and a little bit of leather and earth on the finish. All in all, a great beer that's really betrayed by its inauspiciousness and usual position deep in the back of the lowest shelf. Can't wait to try this out of the bottle one day.

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Photo of MCDuhamel
4.53/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a capped 750 ml bottle into a chalice glass, at around 50 F. Pours a very dark ruby liquor, with a dense meringue like head that coats the side of the glass. Lively carbonation is evident. The nose is a bit subtle, but mostly of fig and dried fruit, with a bit of clove. On the palette there's more of the same, but it is more evident and followed by a pronounced spiciness of alcohol, whose warming presence is made apparent. Some toffee-like character shows as well, with a definite impression from the carbonation cutting what could otherwise be a cloying sweetness. The finish is surprisingly dry, with a slightly sour fade. The mouthfeel is moderate; a bit coating, but again balanced by vigorous carbonation. There's a creaminess lent by the head.

Overall this is a world-class beer, and among the best Trappist ales I've had. It's very hard to find in Cleveland, but definitely worth seeking out.

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Photo of Vipsanius
4.27/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a little lighter than other dark Belgian ales...nice 2 finger sticky head with good retention.

The dominant aroma is of grape fruit juice...seriously. Bread, apples plums, and raisins are other scents I could pick up on.

The taste starts sweet, some spices (nutmeg, allspice), the fruit taste gives way to a chocolately flavor...very interesting yeasty bread-like aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is bit over carbonated but otherwise nice. Chewy, full bodied, sticks to the palate.

Like most other beers of this style, this definitely isn't a session beer. There's a fine line here on letting it warm up to get more flavos out of it and letting it get too warm to where the alcohol takes over...not in an annoying way, just enough to mask the other flavors. Overall, a good beer but there's some others I'd prefer in this style.

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Photo of Homers_Beer_Odyssey
4/5  rDev -6.3%

APPEARANCE - Clear amber with 2-finger head that lasts. Good lacing.

AROMA/SCENT - Hops, grain, sweet.

TASTE - Hops, nutty, bread. ABV mostly hidden.

MOUTHFEEL/PALATE/TEXTURE - Good carbonation, clean, light, effervescent, crisp, refreshing.

VALUE - $10 for an 11 oz. bottle - not that bad for an import at a restaurant.

OVERALL/DRINKABILITY - Quite drimkable for a Tripel. Not a sipping beer.

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Photo of Paddez
4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Found and bought this 750ml bottle in ABS Drinks in Winksele

Appearance: A brown & hazy liquid topped by a big, tan head. Very little lacing. Looks creamy and delicious.

Smell: Malts, raisins, dark fruits, coffee, brown sugar & some faint spicy notes. Very good but a bit too faint. Gets more full and complex as the beer warms though.

Taste: Buttery malts, toffee and dark fruits mainly. Slightly dry spices and faint hops balance out the sweetness. Yummy!

Mouthfeel & Drinkability: Full bodied, this brew is smooth and creamy. The mouthfeel fits the style really well. The alcohol is wondrously well-hidden and doesn't show at all. Excellent.

Conclusion: A most excellent beer. A prime example of the style and by far the best brew from Achel.

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Photo of acehart1
4.7/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage, sampled on Jan. 22, 2011

Got damn. This beer is fantastic. The scent is other-wordly and the carbonation is what makes this beer special. I really have no basis to judge this beer since it has been a long time since I sampled the fresh example. Either way, this stuff is fantastic. I really enjoyed the aftertaste. This beer did not disappoint.

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Photo of cdrogers
5/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from 75cl bottle to Rochefort chalice.

A: Strong dark tea and raisin color. Head was a nice off white, about 1/4 inch; seemed very thin. I generally hand wash all glasses because the dishwasher leaves a residue that seems to mess with the head. May have been too cold when poured. Second glass had a much better head.

S: Subtle hints of sweet caramel and molasses. Nothing harsh on the nose though. Balanced.

T: Has a "dark" flavor, maybe a coffee. Very smooth and has a nice tingle in the mouth and on the tongue. Get the alcohol at the end, but not without some sweetness. Maybe some brown sugar for the sweetness and that is where the "dark" comes in as well. Quite complex, but very good.

M: Just gets everything involved. In amazing experience. As mentioned above there is a nice tingle on the tongue. Nothing overpowering, it all works well together.

D: I could drink one of these every night, but at $18.99 a pop and somewhat rare in the southern Illinois region, it would be a bit impossible. It's an exceptional trappist yet again. I am somewhat biased because anything trappist I absolutely love, the monks know how to brew. Would recommend this to anyone at least once, but because of the price only. If it were cheaper and offered in a smaller size that would be even better.

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Photo of BeerLover729
4.52/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark, cloudy beverage topped by a light tan head consisting of large bubbles.

S: Caramel, apple, raspberry, astringent harshness. Crazy mixture.

T: Raspberry stands out the most from all the fruity esters but there is a presence of the apricot/date/general dark fruits thing going on and even maybe a little banana. The raspberry and other fruitiness fades to a wonderful caramel creaminess followed by a phenolic astringenty finish.

M: Medium body and bubbly carbonation. Creamy maltyness lingers on the tongue but not in a cloying way.

D: Goes down well. Each sip shows a new aspect of this complex beer.

Notes: Awesome. Trappist yeasts, gotta love em!

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Photo of tconboy
4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A nice very red with a nice tan head poured into an Achel chalice. Smells of malt and candy and dark roasty bread. Tastes beautiful with dried fruits, bready. Very very smooth. This goes down easily, highly drinkable.. especially given the ABV. Smooth mouthfeel with but still a little lively. A nice product, as you'd expect from a Trappist product.

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Photo of DrewShal9
3.75/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: hazy, golden with a white head that remains laced on the sides as the beer is drunk or stays if you don't haha
S: very fragrant, fruity, floral
T: sweet initially with tropical fruits of pineapple and guava maybe some mango that turns slightly bitter and drying at the end
M: moderately carbonated with a milky body. Dries like a champagne
O: not bad but not great either. Will return to see if it's different on a fresh palate as I had a few other brews before tasting this one.

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Photo of jdoolin
4.68/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Trivia: Achel Extra was first brewed as a Christmas seasonal beer, but because of its popularity, it is now brewed year round.

Presentation: 750mL bottle, poured into a proper Achel chalice.

Appearance: Absolutely gorgeous. A beautful, dark ruby brown. Produces an outstanding, off white, creamy head that hangs around for the duration and produces heavy lacing. Stunning.

Aroma: Has a very good, assertive aroma. Malt aromas, caramel, hints of chocolate are surrounded by a wonderfully pleasant fruity aroma. Only hints of alcohol.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Oh so creamy and smooth. Sweet at first, but finishes drier than I thought it would. The caramel malt flavors and sweetness hits up front, followed by the lovely fruitiness of this beer. A little bit of spiciness and alcohol, slightly warming, come in before the dry, yet flavorful finish, which is like a little echo of the malt and fruitiness I tasted before. Amazing.

Notes: Very well done. The monks at Achel should be proud of this beer, and proud that they take part in the brewing themselves (to a degree, anyway). This ale was a tremendous surprise for me. One that I will come back to again and again. Not easy to find, but well worth the effort.

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Photo of Chrysostom
3.69/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

As always, I review live, not from notes, puzzling out the libation brewed in houses of salvation. As always, I review to style (ala BJCP), modified by personal taste (contra BJCP), not solely to personal taste, which would be unfair to many great examples of styles that I don't personally favour.

My second beer from Achel (my first was a Bruin 8º), and my first had from a 750mL, or when I was even halfway sober.

(Note, that since my words below to most people won't seem to match up with my numbers on first sight, that I can not stand Rochefort. I'd drink Budweiser first. This has some of those similar spiced flavours, but to a lesser degree, so I can drink this, even if I wouldn't particularly want to.)

Without further ado, a review.

Presentation: 750mL crown-capped bottle, $17.99. Served around 45º and warming as I write. They should at least put a cork on it for $18, nearly twice the price of most other Trappists. The crown cap is somewhat difficult to remove, requiring attack with a beer key from several directions. Although I hear it's kind of rare, so I should be thankful for getting half a case. Poured in to a Chimay chalice/goblet.

A: Clear brown coming out of the bottle, somewhat hazy reddish-brown in the glass with red highlights. Poured gently, as with all Trappists, to avoid getting too many lees in the glass: on said gentle pour, one finger of head is produced, which recedes at a moderate rate (over about two to three minutes) to a cap on the face of the beer, leaving a sheet of lace down the side of the glass.

S: Spice that is very similar to Rochefort (it's nearly impossible to describe except by experience), alcohol, and bready malt. There's some yeast in there too. Doesn't sound incredibly complex, but that spice - whatever it's from, spicing or yeast - complexifies it nicely. None of the characteristic Belgian funk, but the Belgian spice, as mentioned, characteristic of Rochefort. No alcohol. No dark fruit.

T: Rochefort spice comes through loud and clear, and first. Some moderate sweetness, a little funk, and some sweet dark-bread flavours follow. Orange peel, coriander, cinnamon, and nutmeg are components of the spice. Spicing is not overwhelming like Rochefort - Rochefort has so much spice the beer is disgusting and undrinkable. Not my preferred kind of Quad/BSDA, and a demerit for the style (I rate Rochefort similarly lowly, and Chimay and St Bernardus Abbot 12 highly). It gets noticeably better and less spicy (in the bad meaning of "spiciness" as is characteristic of Satan's concoctions such as Rochefort) as it warms, bringing the beer from a 2.75 or 3 to a 3.75. Not extraordinarily complex, especially for a Trappist - the (illegitimate) spicing predominates.

M: Rich and creamy, fading to a somewhat nutty astringency on the finish. Highlight.

D: Moderate middle of "low".

O: Drop the spicing and clone Chimay or St Bernardus Abbot 12, or even Achel 8º Bruin. Not a bad beer, but not great, and disappointing for the price, rarity, expectation, and Trappist moniker.

To style (16E): 90/100 (spicing is allowed, according to BJCP)
To taste: 67/100 (spicing is not allowed, according to my palate).

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Photo of phirleh
4.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I bought this last April in New York City and it's the second last of the trappists I've yet to try (Rochefort is the last, it's in my cellar). I wasn't expecting too much, they are the most recent trappist brewery (1998) although they had brewed previous to WWI. I've heard average reviews of the Brune and Blonde, but I was completely blown away by this beer, I'm glad I chose the Extra. When the cap was popped it foamed like crazy, the smell was wine-like and fruity. The taste was similar, sweet with slight sugar, and a tangyness that reminded me of Duchesse de Bourgogne. The colour was a dark brown with a strong billowy head. Carbonation was typical of trappists, although not as prickly as some. I'll definitely grab this again, one of the top beers I've had.

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Photo of greg202stewart
4.27/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Someone tried to tell me that this beer was very limited and hard to obtain (wrong). It was however just as pricey as the rest of the Trappists. Compared to the rest Achel unfortunately ranks last on my list although I haven't tried La Trappe. I had very high expectations and it didn't meet them. It poured out a reddish brown with small head into a St. Bernardus Tulip. It had some spices and flavor but lacked the life I expect from a Trappist. It was too sweet which was a turn off. It reminded me of a St Bernardus Abt 12 that was too sweet or just slightly off. Not bad, but in my opinion ranks low on my favorite Trappist list.

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Photo of ToolHead
4.52/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

75 cl bottle; served in DBF 2004 glass.
Deep reddish brown; moderate head. Pleasant, assertive aroma with alcoholic presence and an impressive, spicy touch. Enormous taste, full of malt, alcohol, and spice; very much in-your-face. Sweetness dominates the highly complex impression, and the finish is wonderfully long and warming.
Mouthfeel is soft and rather sugary, though never unpleasantly so. Drinkability is good.
A highly impressive beer.

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Photo of Bisho
4.33/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quads are my favourite so this could have been a little biased but this is not your typical quad.

I have never been a real fan of Achel Blonde or Brune (I find them a little on the bland side) but this one took me by surprise...

A: Deep ruby brown and cloudy in appearance with a great fluffy head. Lots of lacing down the side of the glass.

S: Smells more like a fruity wine. and this is where this quad lacks the typical sweet aroma; only the fig and malt overtones. However, it just makes what is to come even more special.

T: Exceptional! Not the typical sweet aftertaste of my favourite quad (Rochefort 10), it rolls off rather dry but flavoursome all the same! Lots of malt, spice and dark fruit. YUM!

M: Very well carbonated for a quad, lots of lasting bubbles that you can still feel long after it's gone. Somewhat similar mouthfeel to the Unibroue 17.

D: You must drink this at almost room temperature to get the most out of it. Never drink it too cold. A little bit of alcohol burn afterwards but this does not affect what is surprisingly a very easy drinking quad. More please!

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Photo of AleDrinkToThat
4.88/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Three fingers of bubbly, audible beige head in a Karmeliet tulip glass, and the ale was just brown enough not to be considered burgundy, and slightly opaque.

Smell: Hints of ripe pitted fruit and spice, with sweet malt and a bright hoppiness. Those Trappists win again in the complexity arena.

Taste: Sweet dark malt hits the taste buds immediately, then opens up to reveal the fruit and spice, and finishes with the bright hops and leaves a fruity, malty aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Extremely smooth, with a sweet coating of the mouth. The alcohol is barely discernable, but does a great job of leaving the mouth and throat just a little warmer.

Drinkability: God has truly blessed the Trappists. I don't know how they do it, but each Trappist ale that I've had (five of six Belgians) has been some of the most complex, sweet nectar that has ever been poured into a bottle. The alcohol is deceptively muted in this Achel, but that %ABV measurement up there is for real, so bask in the sweetness with slow, blissful sips.

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Photo of yapi
4.67/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I must say one of those hidden gems in the trappist beer section... wonderful full flavors, so much better than the regular bruin, it's not even funny!

I have a lot of experience with drinking aged westy's - easily amongst the best beers in the world - and this one reminded me a lot of the best westy bottles I've ever had. I had the same amazingly balanced caramel and honey notes, next to the well known dark fruit/candy sugar notes of course, and well, then I'm sold.

A killer beer, and even though it's already high up in the ranks, still underrated.

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Photo of amiles
4.7/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What an amazing beer! Found this at a local shop here in Chicago, West Lakeview Liquors. Never seen this in Chicago other than 'now'. Labeled best by... 07/08. 6th of the 7 Trappist breweries I can now check off my list.

Poured a dark ruby red with a massive head that was made to impress, into a Delirium Tremens glass. Waited and waited, enjoying the aroma's. The head slow retained itself into a tan froathy head that was like no other. The aroma literally made my eyes slightly roll back in my head each time I took a wiff. Lots going on with this beer... Quite impressive. This kept my interest all the way through, as most get boring towards the end. A bit different than the other Trappists. I was sad to see this one go. Savor this one... Exceptional beer! Sip it and pour small glasses... If you find it... Buy it!

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Photo of chefscott79
3.73/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well I was super excited to buy this because I liked their blond so much.
I was not disappointed but not super stoked on it

Appearance:dark brown with a nice head...not as carbonated as some Trappist ales that I have had recently

smell:great malt smell and as it warmed more notes of dark stone fruits

taste:it seemed a bit mellow and I did not get allot of fruit notes as much as I did on the aroma...mostly just dark malt flavors(while good) it did not wow me...also did not have a bunch of estery quality's which I was expecting

mouth feel:creamy and easy to drink

drinkablity: super easy to drink a bit too easy maybe...considering the alcohol content

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Photo of LVituri
4.94/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Uma boa surpresa foi encontrá-la no Brasil. Até então, para mim, se tratava de um rótulo lenda. Mas que cerveja equilibrada. Fascinante. Eu já era fã da Achel, porém, após esse rótulo, me tornei ainda mais admirador deste mosteiro. Uma cerveja que vale a pena.

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Photo of goldenpeanut
4.36/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found a 750ml champagne bottle at Greens (on Ponce De Leon) in Atlanta on a pub crawl with the Hogtown Brewers. (great time if you missed it) Bottle in excellent condition on exterior. Champagne cap and no cork.

I agree with the Belgian Strong Dark Ale category, it fits well, I don't always agree with how beers are classified here.

Bottle and label rather pedestrian, actually, cheap looking, don't be fooled. The quality resides within.

Belgian Dark Strong fits better than Belgian Dubbel because the malt is less pronounced than in a Dubbel, but, the color is actually more appropriate for a Dubbel than a brown. The alcohol is more in line with a Dark Strong too.

The beer pours with a nice, rich head, not too foofy and not understated either. It collapses into a nice rocky terrain soon enough and lasts if you have a laser etched glass. I decided on a goblet style glass for its presentation but I also think a tulip would work almost as well. The Monk's who brew this have chosen a goblet also confirming their divine inspiration with me.

The aroma (not the "smell" listed in the rating scheme) is a pleasant combination of dark candi sugar and alcohol. Once you get past that, there is an underpinning of rum soaked raisins and dark malt that adds sweetness. Not as spicy as a
Trappist tripel or as malty as a dubbel or as complex as a golden but very friendly and reassuring that the first sip will be clean and not disappointing. Yeast character is somewhat subdued for a Trappist tripel but similar to a dubbel but less malty. I know that's repetitive but I'm talking about different characteristics that are similar in their interpretation here.

The flavor is a mirror of the aroma, need I say more? I will. If you explode the beer on our palate you will find that the carbonation converts it totally to foam, really, a rather interesting experience as there is little carbonic bite. Alcohol presents up front but its not hot and very clean. This is most fascinating as I don't really detect alcohol strength on my palate as readily as many other judges. The flavor is not as complex as a golden or as malty as a dubbel, or, as spicy as a tripel (heard this before?). Its not really a Belgian Bruin either. I guess if forced to classify I would put it as a light but alcoholic dubbel.

The finish (not even listed in the ratings for a beer here, so sad) is decidedly on the malt side. The hop bitter is very short and lingers briefly only on the middle rear of the tongue, for a short time. Interesting. Make no mistake, the finish, while malty, is balanced and NOT cloying. This is probably due to the moderate maltiness of the beer overall. Very pleasant and clean. I like it.

Well, lets get to the heart of this evaluation, drinkability and pleasure. Where is this beer appropriate? I feel it would go well with just about any food, the high carbonation cleanses the palate much better than any wine. The restrained hop bitter leaves the palate ready for the next infusion of flavor. The flavor and alcohol please and offer a respite from the accumulation of sensories attacking the palate from the food. refreshment for the next bite, what more can you ask? The alcohol level and volume allows for maintenance of a buzz after a few cocktails before the evening meal. A reason to keep a bottle around all by itself.

This is not the most interesting or novel Belgian you will ever experience, it is, however, one of the most functional. Non beer lovers will not be put off by the bitterness or the funky yeast notes and beer lovers will appreciate its subtlety. A winner and one well worth replication by the advanced homebrewer.

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Achel Trappist Extra from Brouwerij der St. Benedictusabdij de Achelse
94 out of 100 based on 211 ratings.